Monday, October 11, 2021

Wake-Up Call: Navy Nuke Engineer Charged With Giving Secret Info

The Justice Department said Sunday that a U.S. Navy nuclear engineer who has access to military secrets has been charged with trying to give secret information about the design of nuclear-powered submarines to another country. Jonathan Toebbe believed the person he was selling the information to for nearly a year was a representative of a foreign government, but it was actually an undercover FBI agent. The country was not named. The 42-year-old Toebbe's wife, 45-year-old Diana Toebbe, was also arrested in the espionage plot. 

The FBI said it began in April 2020 when Toebbe, who lives in Annapolis, Maryland, sent a package of documents to the foreign government and wrote that he was interested in selling sensitive information to them. The FBI got the package through its legal attache office in that country, but court documents don't say how. That led the FBI to launch an undercover operation.

➤TALIBAN SAYS U-S HAS AGREED TO PROVIDE HUMANITARIAN AID TO AFGHANISTAN: The Taliban said Sunday that the U.S. has agreed to provide humanitarian aid to Afghanistan, but is refusing to formally recognize the Taliban as the country's rulers, the statement coming after the first day of direct talks between the U.S. and the Taliban since the final withdrawal of U.S. troops at the end of August. The U.S. statement, however, didn't definitively say the U.S. would provide aid for the country, which is on the brink of economic disaster, saying instead that they'd, quote, "discussed the United States’ provision of robust humanitarian assistance, directly to the Afghan people." State Department spokesman Ned Price said, "The U.S. delegation focused on security and terrorism concerns and safe passage for U.S. citizens, other foreign nationals and our Afghan partners, as well as on human rights, including the meaningful participation of women and girls in all aspects of Afghan society." A Taliban spokesman told AP that they'd also assured the U.S. that they're committed to Afghanistan not being used by extremists to launch attacks against other countries.

➤THREE ARRESTED IN MINNESOTA BAR SHOOTING THAT LEFT ONE DEAD, 14 INJURED: St. Paul, Minnesota, police said Sunday that three men had been arrested after a shooting at a bar in the city just after midnight yesterday morning that left one person dead and 14 others injured. St. Paul Police public information officer Steve Linders said officers walked into a, quote, "hellish situation" at the Seventh Street Truck Park bar, finding victims both inside and outside, after several people called 911 around 12:15 a.m. when shots were fired. The three men who were arrested are at the hospital being treated for injuries. Peter Mazalewski, who works as a DJ at the indoor food truck and bar, told CNN, "Everybody was having fun and singing along. Then 12:15 a.m., abrupt, with no arguments or fighting, pop, pop, pop, pop, pop. And everybody hit the ground."

➤SUSPECT CHARGED WITH MURDER IN DEATH OF GEORGIA OFFICER KILLED ON FIRST SHIFT: The 43-year-old suspect in the death of a police officer in Alamo, Georgia, who was killed during his first shift with the department early Saturday has been charged with murder, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation said Sunday evening. The Bureau said it's believed that Damien Anthony Ferguson fatally shot Officer Dylan Harrison in retaliation after Harrison arrested an associate of his hours earlier following a traffic stop that escalated to Harrison using his Taser when the driver refused to identify himself. Ferguson was taken into custody yesterday afternoon without incident at his home in Alamo. Harrison leaves behind his wife and their six-month-old son.

🛫SOUTHWEST CANCELS HUNDREDS OF FLIGHTS: Southwest Airlines canceled hundreds of flights over the weekend, with more than 1,000 flights, or about 29 percent of its schedule, as of Sunday evening. Southwest said that weather issues in Florida began the problem Friday, which was compounded by unexpected air traffic control issues in the same region. Those problems then snowballed for the airline. There was talk that pilots might be involved in a sick-out or work slowdown over Southwest's Covid-19 vaccination mandate, but the airline's pilots association denied that on Saturday.

➤MASKING AND SOCIAL DISTANCING DURING PANDEMIC STOPPED SPREAD OF FLU AND RSV DURING 2020 COLD AND FLU SEASON:   Measures taken to prevent the spread of COVID-19 during the 2020 cold and flu season also curbed flu and RSV infections. Researchers from Akron Children’s Hospital found between October 2020 and April 2021, when there were masking and social distancing measures in place, there were no cases of influenza A and RSV, and just two cases of influenza B. When social distancing requirements were relaxed after March 14th, 2021, viral infections like RSV returned. Study author, Dr. Osama El-Assal says, “Numbers don’t lie. Face masking, and proper hygiene and isolation can be effective means to protect vulnerable groups, such as the elderly and young children during the respiratory virus season. It can be a simple non-medicinal way to save lives.”

➤FACEBOOK TO INTRODUCE NEW FEATURES TO PROTECT KIDS: After Wall Street Journal reports and whistleblower testimony before Congress over the past two weeks about, among other things, the harm Facebook-owned Instagram can do to teens, particularly teenage girls, and Facebook's knowledge of it without doing anything about it, the social media giant will now be introducing new features to try to help protect kids. Facebook's VP for global affairs, Nick Clegg, outlined them yesterday (October 10th) on several Sunday morning news shows. They include prompting teens to take a break from Instagram, and, quote, "nudging" teens if they are repeatedly looking at the same content that’s not conducive to their well-being. Also planned are new controls for parents of teenagers so they can supervise what they are doing online. But some critics were skeptical that these would be effective.

➤TEXAS GOP GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE ALLEN WEST HOSPITALIZED WITH COVID: Allen West, a former Florida congressman and Texas Republican Party chairman who's now a Republican candidate for governor of Texas, was hospitalized yesterday with Covid-19. However, he told AP he's "doing great" and is "just relaxing," while awaiting the results of a chest X-ray. West and his wife, Angela West, were diagnosed with Covid during the week. Both received monoclonal antibody treatments and Angela, who was vaccinated, was released to go home. Allen wasn't vaccinated, and he said doctors were worried Saturday about the lowered level of oxygen in his blood. West, a strident conservative, railed against vaccine mandates on Twitter while hospitalized yesterday.  

➤STUDY..CHILDREN WITH FOOD ALLERGIES ARE OFTEN TARGETED BY BULLIES:  Life isn’t easy for kids with food allergies. Researchers with the Children’s National Hospital looked at 100 kids with food allergies and found that nearly one-third said they had been subject to some form of food allergy-related bullying, and that just 12 percent of parents knew that their child was being bullied for this reason. Among kids who reported being bullied, two-thirds had been verbally harassed, teased, threatened, intimidated, or criticized because of their allergy. Just over half of bullying victims said they had been subjected to physical taunting—some had a problematic food tossed at them, or even slipped into their meal on purpose. Experts say parents should ask their kids about any bullying they may experience, and if bullying does take place, they should make sure their child understands that it’s not OK and get teachers and school administrators involved.

🏈RAIDERS COACH, PLAYERS RACT TO DECADE-OLD RACIAL REMARK:   Las Vegas Raiders head coach Jon Gruden apologized again Sunday and repeated that he's not racist after decade-old emails resurfaced last week in which he made a racial remark about players' union leader DeMaurice Smith, who is Black. The Wall Street Journal reported Friday that back in 2011, when Gruden was working for ESPN, he said of Smith, "Dumboriss Smith has lips the size of michellin tires." Gruden later told ESPN he used the term "rubber lips" to describe someone he saw as lying, and he was frustrated by the lockout at the time. After the Raiders' 20-9 loss to the Chicago Bears yesterday, Gruden said, "I’m not a racist. I can’t tell you how sick I am. I apologize again to D Smith, but I feel good about who I am and what I’ve done my entire life. . . . I had no racial intention with those remarks at all. I’m not like that at all. I apologize." Gruden also said he hadn't been contacted by the NFL about the remark, but added, "we'll see what happens here in the next few days." AP cited two sources as saying the NFL is looking into the issue and disciplinary action is possible, but one of them said a suspension is doubtful. Raiders quarterback Derek Carr said that Gruden had spoken to the players about the issue Friday, and that many were shocked. But he suggested the players are standing behind their coach, saying, "He was honest. He was up-front with it, and us as a team were like, 'Yeah, coach, it was 10 years ago. We love you, man. We’ve got your back.'" Raiders owner Mark Davis said Friday that they are reviewing the matter.

  • Atlanta Falcons 27, New York Jets 20
  • Green Bay Packers 25, Cincinnati Bengals 22 (OT)
  • Minnesota Vikings 19, Detroit Lions 17
  • Pittsburgh Steelers 27, Denver Broncos 19
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers 45, Miami Dolphins 17
  • New Orleans Saints 33, Washington Football Team 22
  • Philadelphia Eagles 21, Carolina Panthers 18
  • Tennessee Titans 37, Jacksonville Jaguars 19
  • New England Patriots 25, Houston Texans 22
  • Chicago Bears 20, Las Vegas Raiders 9
  • Los Angeles Chargers 47, Cleveland Browns 42
  • Dallas Cowboys 44, New York Giants 20
  • Arizona Cardinals 17, San Francisco 49ers 10
  • Buffalo Bills 38, Kansas City Chiefs 20
Tonight's Monday Night Football game on ESPN: Indianapolis Colts at Baltimore Ravens (8:15 p.m. ET)

⚾RED SOX, WHITE SOX WIN ALDS GAMES: The Boston Red Sox and Chicago White Sox won their ALDS games on Sunday, putting Boston ahead 2-1 over the Tampa Bay Rays and keeping Chicago alive against the Houston Astros in the best-of-five series. The Red Sox downed the Rays 6-4 on a 13th-inning, two-run walkoff homer by Christian Vazquez. That came after a very unusual play in the top half of the 13th when Tampa Bay's Kevin Kiermaier hit a ball that bounced off the short wall in Fenway Park's right field back onto the warning track and then ricocheted off Boston outfielder Hunter Renfroe and went into the stands. Umpires ruled it a ground rule double, which put Diaz back at third, preventing a run that would have easily scored. The next batter struck out for the third out. 

In the other ALDS, the White Sox hammered the Astros 12-6, staying alive as they're now down 2 games to 1. Game 4 for both series is today.

🏈BENGALS QB BURROW TAKEN TO HOSPITAL FOR POSSIBLE THROAT CONTUSION: Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow was taken to the hospital after the team's 25-22 overtime loss to the Green Bay Packers yesterday with a possible throat contusion. NBC Sports' Mike Florio said that the 2020 NFL draft top pick was poked in the throat at some point during the game, and The Cincinnati Enquirer reported that he was having trouble speaking.

🏈JAGUARS LOSE 20TH GAME IN A ROW: The Jacksonville Jaguars lost their 20th game in a row yesterday, falling to the Tennessee Titans 37-19. The Jaguars, whose last win was the 2020 season opener, now have the second-longest losing streak in NFL history, behind only the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' loss of 26 straight games in 1976 and 1977. Thirteen of the Jags' 20 losses have been by double digits.

🏀REPORT: NETS' IRVING TO MISS HOME GAMES FOR 'FORESEEABLE FUTURE' DUE TO VAX REFUSAL: The Brooklyn Nets' Kyrie Irving is expected to miss home games for the "foreseeable future," reported yesterday (October 10th) because he's so far refused to get vaccinated against Covid-19. Under New York City rules, home team players have to be vaccinated to play in the city, so Irving can't play at the Barclays Center. Nets coach Steve Nash told reporters yesterday, "I think we recognize he’s not playing home games. We’re going to have to for sure play without him this year. So it just depends on when, where and how much."

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