News of the Force: Saturday, January 27, 2018 - Page 1

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Jan 27, 2018, 6:22:26 PM1/27/18
                                            NEWS OF THE FORCE: Saturday, January 27, 2018 - Page 1

Diplomacy should impose reason on North Korea, US defense chief says
Flag of North Korea    
     U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis stressed diplomacy as the way to deal with the North Korean crisis yesterday during talks with his South Korean counterpart in Hawaii, a day after Seoul's top diplomat said a military solution would be unacceptable
     And North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is reportedly running out of a critical "slush fund" after all the nuclear testing over the past year.

Mattis calls U.S. and Vietnam 'like minded partners'
     The United States and Vietnam are "like-minded partners" that have a forward-looking relationship, Defense Secretary James N. Mattis said as he concluded a visit to the Vietnamese capital of Hanoi.
     Mattis and Vietnamese Defense Minister Ngo Xuan Lich met this week to discuss regional security issues. The secretary said he also met with the president of Vietnam and the general secretary of the Communist Party there. "This is the normal coordination, collaboration, consultation, as we work out a relationship with Vietnam, and leaving things in the past as our starting point," Mattis told reporters traveling with him en route to Honolulu after leaving Vietnam. He said the United States and Vietnam share values based on mutual respect and common interests, including freedom of navigation, respect for international law, and recognition of national sovereignty. "We're finally finalizing details on the possible visit of U.S. aircraft carriers going to Vietnam sometime this spring," Mattis said.
     Chief Pentagon spokesperson Dana White
said Mattis and Lich agreed to work toward a visit by the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson to Da Nang in March.
At the meeting, the two leaders committed to enhance defense cooperation based on a three-year plan of action agreed upon in October, with a focus on maritime security, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, as well as peacekeeping operations, White said. Mattis and Lich also noted recent progress on the Cooperative Humanitarian and Medical Storage Initiative and robust Coast Guard cooperation, including the arrival of a former U.S. Coast Guard cutter in Vietnam in December, she added.
Mattis highlighted the 2018 National Defense Strategy, which reaffirms the U.S.' commitment to work with partners such as Vietnam to sustain the rules-based order in a free and open Indo-Pacific region, White said.
Mattis also expressed appreciation for Vietnam's close support to the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency mission in Hanoi, White said, as it works to recover U.S. personnel missing from the war. The secretary is committed to working with Vietnam to address remaining legacy of war issues, White added.
Mattis said he will meet in Hawaii with the commander of the U.S. Pacific Command, U.S. Navy Adm. Harry Harris, as well as with South Korean Defense Minister Song Young-moo. The U.S. and South Korea have an "ironclad alliance," Mattis said. Discussions are to include denuclearization efforts on the Korean Peninsula in light of three unanimous United Nations Security Council resolutions on North Korea, he said.
The secretary highlighted diplomatic efforts on the North Korean issue, noting he was recently in Vancouver, British Columbia, for the Foreign Ministers’ Meeting on Security and Stability of the Korean Peninsula. "We'll continue to hold the line and provide credible military options so the diplomats can speak from a position of strength and persuasion," he said.

Detained Saudi billionaire confident his troubles will end soon
Saudi Arabian billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, detained in the kingdom's sweeping crackdown on corruption, said today that he expects to be cleared of any wrongdoing and released from custody within days.

Scores killed and wounded by ambulance blast in Kabul
Flag of Afghanistan     
     Buildings hundreds of yards away were shaken by the force of the explosion, which left torn bodies strewn on the street nearby amid the rubble. The United States has stepped up its assistance to Afghan security forces and increased its air strikes against the Taliban and other militant groups there.

ASEAN leaders watched India's National Day parade
     Ten Southeast Asian leaders watched a parade and stunt performances as India celebrated yesterday's anniversary of its national constitution taking effect.

Paris contemplates a wetter future
The Seine River overflowed its banks again in Paris and several nearby cities this week, a mere 18 months after reaching its highest level since 1982. Leaks were starting to appear yesterday in the basements of Paris buildings as the Seine inched higher.

U.S. and South Korea to conduct military exercises after the Winter Olympics
USFK Logo.svg    
     Joint military exercises involving tens of thousands of troops from the United States and South Korea are set to resume after the 2018 Winter Olympics, a South Korean defense official said yesterday.

Many eager for war on the Turkish-Syrian
Centered menorah surrounded by two olive branches    
     Two large Turkish flags, flattened by the rain, cover the blasted-out windows of the 17th-century mosque in Kilis, where a rocket fired by Kurdish militants in Syria slammed into the dome this week, killing two worshipers.
     The Syrian opposition will not attend a peace conference Russia is hosting next week, a spokesman said today.
     The Palestinian ambassador to the United States has hit out at President Donald Trump over the U.S.' decision to recognize Jerusalem as the Israeli capital, describing the move as "a stab in the back."
     The Russian military says Syrian troops have killed five U.S.-trained rebels in what it says was a "subversive" mission.        U.S. President Donald Trump has threatened to halt aid to the Palestinians if they do not agree to take part in peace talks. The U.S. State Department confirmed he was talking about aid for economic and security assistance.
     And people in the U.S. city of Houston, Texas, are taking part in several Holocaust remembrance events, including a burgeoning social media campaign that has rekindled the world's attention to the horrors of the extermination.

     Couzin Gym's Thought for the Day: No one is listening until you make a mistake.

U.S. Army
US Army logo.svg    
Lt. Col. Matthew A. Levine, DVM, MPH, MS, U.S. Army Veterinary Corps, will speak on "Global Health Engagement: How and Why the U.S. Military Leverages its Medical Capabilities to Promote Stability and Security" on Wednesday, Jan. 31st, at 4 p.m., at Baylor University in Waco, Texas.
     The federal government has agreed to pay $4 million to the families of a young couple killed in 2011 by a group of renegade U.S. Army soldiers, led by a private from Washington State. The payment includes $1.7 million to the mother of Michael Roark, who was killed outside of Fort Stewart, Ga.
     Three civilian employees were placed on administrative duty at the Eisenhower Army Medical Center at Fort Gordon, Ga., in the midst of a misconduct investigation, an Army spokesman has confirmed.
     When a U.S. Army staff sergeant from Georgia pulled a couple from a burning SUV, he ended up getting second-degree burns on 75 percent of his body. The 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) has honored Staff Sgt. Nicholas Davis with the Soldier's Medal for rescuing a couple from a burning car.
     U.S. Senator Heidi Heitkamp has voted to confirm R.D. James to serve as the Assistant Secretary of the Army (Civil Works) - the top civilian official overseeing the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE).
     The U.S. Army is looking for the best and brightest college students in the country to lead America's soldiers as they conduct operations around the world from relief efforts in Puerto Rico to combat operations in the Middle East and is offering a limited opportunity to current college sophomores to receive a $5,000 enlistment bonus.
     The Army has decided to keep the Texas Army National Guard's 1-149th Attack Reconnaissance Battalion equipped with Apaches. Twelve of them are at Ellington Field Joint Reserve Base in Houston and another six are based in Mississippi. Some, but not all, are the "Longbow" type.
     A former Rock Valley College police officer has been charged with theft following an investigation into falsifying employment time sheets, according to the Winnebago County (Wis.) Sheriff's Office. Vincent P. Lara, 46, of Rockford, is accused of falsifying employment time sheets regarding military drill leave. According to Deputy Chief Mike Schultz, Lara received approximately $2,300 from 2013 to 2014 as a U.S. Army Reserve member for claiming paid leave time for days when he claimed he was at military drill training, but there was no training. The sheriff's office started an investigation in October 2017 at the request of the Rock Valley College Police Department. Lara resigned from Rock Valley during the internal investigation, according to the sheriff's office. Lara currently works as a part-time police officer at the Village of Winnebago Police Department, where he is on administrative leave. Charges were filed this week the Winnebago County State's Attorney's Office.
     The Louisiana Army National Guard's 199th Brigade Support Battalion, 256th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, delivered 4,000 gallons of water to the Olive Branch Senior Care Center in Tallulah his week at the request of the Governor's Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management.
     Matthew Liepke, MD, of Oswego, has been promoted to colonel in the New York Army National Guard. Liepke, a veteran of the Iraq and Afghanistan War, is the New York Army National Guard's state surgeon, the highest ranking Army medical officer in the state.
     And Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton announced this week that he appointed Johanna Clyborne to lead MIN.IT, the state's information technology department. He said she is taking the job as a civilian. Clyborne, who begins her job on Feb. 2nd, said she will keep her part-time job with the Minnesota Army National Guard.

First Lady's rep blasts 'fake news' about her
Melania Trump Official Portrait.jpg    
First Lady Melania Trump's office is fed up with speculation about marital strife in the White House. Mrs. Trump's spokeswoman, Stephanie Grisham, took to Twitter yesterday to blast "flat-out false reporting" about the first lady that has emerged in recent days. "BREAKING," she wrote. "The laundry list of salacious & flat-out false reporting about Mrs. Trump by tabloid publications & TV shows has seeped into 'main stream media' reporting." Grisham added that Mrs. Trump is focused on her family and role as first lady, "not the unrealistic scenarios being peddled daily by the fake news."
     The British tabloid The Daily Mail reported yesterday that Mrs. Trump has spent a number of nights at a D.C. hotel in the wake of reports of allegations by adult film star Stormy Daniels that she had an affair with Donald Trump in 2006, shortly after he married Melania. The Wall Street Journal reported that Trump's personal lawyer brokered a $130,000 payment to Daniels in October 2016 to prohibit her from publicly discussing the alleged affair before the election. Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, has scheduled an appearance on ABC's "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" following the president's State of the Union address on Tuesday.
     Mrs. Trump had originally been scheduled to join her husband at an economic summit in Davos, Switzerland, this week. But her office said on the day before Trump's departure that Mrs. Trump would not be going, citing unspecified scheduling and logistical issues.
     On Thursday, the first lady paid a visit to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., in advance of International Holocaust Remembrance Day. She has joined her husband on his other foreign trips.

U.S. Navy and Marine Corps
Seal of the United States Department of the Navy.svg Seal of the United States Marine Corps.svg    
NCIS investigators joined state and local law enforcement in their search for missing Marine Corps recruit Joseph Brancato, and that yesterday's search is "just one ongoing investigative steps looking for clues," according to an NCIS spokesperson. The Boston Police said Brancato, 21, was last seen by an acquaintance. Search teams scoured the area of Turtle Pond in West Roxbury, Mass., yesterday in the hopes of finding clues that might explain the disappearance of the Marine recruit. Boston cops, state troopers accompanied by police dogs and special agents of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) canvassed the area.
     A former contractor at the Military Sealift Command (MSC) pleaded guilty for accepting bribes totaling approximately $2.8 million in the course of a bribery and fraud scheme that lasted more than a decade. 
Scott B. Miserendino, Sr., pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge Lawrence R. Leonard of the Eastern District of Virginia to an indictment charging him with one count of conspiracy, one count of bribery and three counts of honest services mail fraud. Sentencing has been scheduled for May 8 before Chief District Court Judge Rebecca Beach Smith.
Acting Assistant Attorney General John P. Cronan of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; U.S. Attorney Dana Boente, for the Eastern District of Virginia; Special Agent in Charge Martin Culbreth of the FBI’s Norfolk Field Office; Special Agent in Charge Robert E. Craig, Jr., of the Defense Criminal Investigative Service (DCIS)' Mid-Atlantic Field Office; and Special Agent in Charge Clifton J. Everton, III, of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS)’ Norfolk Field Office, made the announcement. For more than a decade, Miserendino was a contractor at the MSC, an entity of the U.S. Department of the Navy that supports and supplies the Navy and other U.S. military forces in their global warfighting and disaster relief missions. According to the plea agreement, Miserendino and Joseph P. Allen, the owner of a government contracting company, conspired to use Miserendino’s position at the MSC to enrich themselves through bribery. Specifically, beginning in about 1999, Miserendino used his position and influence at the MSC to help Allen obtain and expand commission arrangements with a telecommunications company from which MSC purchased maritime satellite communications services. Through these arrangements, Allen received a commission based on the amount of services that the MSC purchased from the telecommunications company. For more than a decade, Miserendino then used his position and influence at the MSC to perform official acts to benefit the telecommunications company, which through the commission agreement also benefitted Allen and his company. Unknown to the MSC or the tele- communications company, throughout the scheme, Allen paid half of the commissions he received from the tele- communications company to Miserendino as bribes. In total, Miserendino received almost $3 million in bribes from Allen between 1999 and 2014. For his role in the scheme, Allen pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit bribery in April 2017, and was sentenced on July 28, 2017, to five years in prison by U.S. District Judge Arenda L. Wright Allen, in Norfolk, Va. The FBI, DCIS and NCIS are investigating the case. Trial Attorneys Sean Mulryne and Molly Gaston of the Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Steve Haynie for the Eastern District of Virginia are prosecuting the case.
     The U.S. Air Force Reserve's 301st Rescue Squadron's HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopters have delivered West Coast based Navy SEALs to swim out remains during a burial at sea for former SEALs who passed away during the previous year.
     Gen. Robert Neller, the commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps, said on Thursday that the U.S. military was in the midst of "prudent" planning in case of war with North Korea. His comments come in a rare break in tensions between North and South Korea in the lead-up to the 2018 Winter Olympics.
     U.S. Marine Corps veteran Herman Jenkins has died in Pennsylvania at the age of 80. Jenkins enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps on Feb. 15, 1956. After basic training at Parris Island, S.C., he was attached to the Marine Guard Company at Arlington National Cemetery. Jenkins was one of the first African-Americans to integrate the Honor Guard Unit at Arlington.
     The Marine Corps Special Operations Command (MARSOC) has yet to deploy any of its 21 GMV 1.1s on combat operations and has no plans to do so in the near future, according U.S. Marine Corps Major Nick Mannweiler.
     Marines with Weapons Company, 1st Battalion, 24th Marines, 4th Marine Division, navigated the route to their next checkpoint during the final exercise of exercise Exercise Nordic Frost on the Camp Ethan Allen Training Site in Jericho, Vt., on Jan. 22nd.
     And the city of Newport News, Va., now has a deed in hand for the building it has eyed since 2016 to use as a day center for the homeless. Over the next several months, the vacant Marine Corps Reserve training facility at 7401 Warwick Blvd., will get transitioned into a place where the homeless can go to warm up.

Crimes and police
     A Florida Democratic mayor has been removed from office following her arrest in an FBI sting. Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) suspended Hallandale Beach Mayor Joy Cooper from office while she faces charges brought forth by a federal investigation. News of Cooper’s removal came one day after she was arrested by federal authorities. She is accused of accepting illegal campaign contributions and illegally soliciting campaign contributions. Authorities charged her with three felonies: money laundering, exceeding campaign contribution limits and official misconduct. She was also charged with soliciting contributions in a government building, which is a first-degree misdemeanor. The felony charges carry a maximum of five years in prison, while the misdemeanor charge carries a maximum one-year sentence. Cooper said she plans to plead not guilty. "I can assure you that I will vigorously fight these allegations in court," she said in a statement on Thursday. Cooper has served as Hallandale Beach mayor since 2005. She previously sat on the city commission for six years. People who worked with Cooper said she was meticulous about not accepting potentially compromising money, gifts and even items such as a soda. However, a long-term FBI investigation found otherwise. The FBI’s investigation surrounded Cooper’s association with disbarred Florida attorney Alan Koslow, who she allegedly accepted illegal campaign contributions through. Court documents show that Koslow was given a Dunkin’ Donuts bag filled with $8,000 in cash by undercover agents in August 2012. He allegedly told undercover agents he had influence with the city commission and "had the vote of the mayor." Agents reportedly met with Cooper and Koslow several times in 2012 and secretly recorded the meetings. In one such meeting, Cooper was recorded saying she and two other commissioners were a "team of three" and could ensure a favorable result for their project. Additionally, Cooper also allegedly solicited funds for Anthony Sanders, the former commissioner of Hallandale Beach, who resigned from his position in August 2017 following allegations of misconduct. Cooper posted a $12,000 bail and walked out o jail on Thursday night.
     The fight for the corpse of Charles Manson was thrown out of a Los Angeles court yesterday as another potential heir stepped into the case and the grandson of the cult leader made an emotional plea to a judge. In a hearing to determine the venue for legal battles over Manson's estate and the disposition of his remains, Jason Freeman, whose father was born by Manson's first wife, echoed the frustration of several parties who have been trying to get control of the notorious criminal's body since he died in November. "My grandfather has been on ice over 60 days," Freeman blurted in court as he choked up. Judge David Cowan divided the two dueling Manson cases, deciding that litigation over the potentially lucrative estate should remain in Los Angeles because that's where Manson was living when he was arrested and convicted in the murders of pregnant actress Sharon Tate and eight others. Judge Cowan said the case over the remains, however, belongs in either in Kings County, where the cult leader was imprisoned or Kern County, where he died at 83 in a Bakersfield hospital on Nov. 19th. A hearing is already scheduled Wednesday in Bakersfield and the Kern County coroner, which has the body, requested the case be decided there. Each of the parties that have come to court all have said they want to collect Manson's body so he can be cremated or properly buried, though some have suggested others have less noble motives, such as selling cadaver photos or carving off Manson's tattoos for sale or display. Freeman, an oil worker and former pro mixed martial arts fighter, said he got to know Manson in the last eight years of his life through phone calls and letters. He said it was not an easy or smooth relationship and that Manson had urged him not to get involved in his affairs, but that he felt it was his mission. "I'm here to claim my grandfather, have him cremated, spread his ashes and do the right thing," Freeman said. "And put this so-called monster, this historical figure that shouldn't have been blown up as big as it was for all these years, now that he's passed away, I want to help bury it."
So far, three parties have staked claims in court to collect Manson's body from the morgue and take control of any assets, which could include rights to any property he left behind, the commercial right to use his image or royalties to songs he wrote. Guns N' Roses recorded a Manson song, "Look at Your Game, Girl," and the Beach Boys, who Manson was acquainted with, recorded a variation of a tune he wrote. Freeman is being challenged by Manson's longtime pen pal, Michael Channels, who holds a will that names him as executor and sole beneficiary. A lawyer for a purported son of Charles Manson appeared in court yesterday for the first time and said he was representing Michael Brunner, whose mother was an early member of the infamous "Manson family." Mary Brunner was in jail when Manson's followers slaughtered Tate and friends, and a wealthy grocer and his wife over two nights in August 1969. Representatives for another alleged son, Matthew Lentz, who claims he was fathered by Manson during a Wisconsin orgy, has said he would appear in court, but he's been a no-show at two hearings and has yet to file court papers. However, a will purportedly signed by Manson leaving everything to Lentz, his "one living child," was filed with the Kern County coroner. Attorneys for Freeman, Brunner and Kern County have all questioned the validity of the two wills. Brunner's lawyer, Daniel Mortensen, said Manson acknowledged his client as a son, but they didn't have a close relationship. He said Brunner, a military veteran, would cremate the remains and dispose of them immediately in a dignified way "that does not appeal to culty people. He wants to as quickly as possible end the circus," Mortensen said. "He doesn't want anything ghoulish to go on with the body."
     Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi’s Office of Statewide Prosecution and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) have announced the arrest of Abdel Rahman Hussein Rabah, 42, of Tampa, for unlicensed practice of a health care profession and practice of dentistry or dental hygiene without a license. Authorities arrested Rabah at the illegal dental practice established at 6441 Eureka Springs Road in Tampa. In December 2017, the Department of Health contacted FDLE agents regarding complaints of Rabah practicing dentistry without a license. According to the investigation, Rabah posted photos on social media accounts of his dentistry work, but did not hold an active license to practice dentistry. Additionally, Rabah allegedly sometimes referred to himself as Dr. Abdel Rahman. Investigators also learned that Rabah discarded trash at his residence containing used syringes, extracted teeth, bloodied paper towels and bloodied dental gauze. Attorney General Bondi’s Office of Statewide Prosecution will prosecute this case. U.S. Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the Florida Department of Health, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office assisted in the investigation. Rabah was taken to the Hillsborough County Jail on a bond of $30,000.
A St. Louis, Mo., judge has disqualified the Circuit Attorney’'s Office from prosecuting a man shot by police last year, saying the office shouldn’'t prosecute the defendant while simultaneously investigating whether the shooting was justified. Circuit Judge Timothy Boyer’'s order late Thursday said removing Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner’'s office and appointing a special prosecutor to pursue charges against Wendell Davis would avoid “an appearance of impropriety.” The case against Davis, 27, stems from an encounter with police in August in which an officer, identified in court documents only as “"AF,"” ran after Davis then shot him during an arrest attempt. Boyer wrote that Gardner’'s office was “relying largely on the cooperation and testimony of AF in the prosecution of defendant while at the same time investigating or reviewing possible criminal conduct on the part of AF, which conduct could be inconsistent with the guilt of the defendant.” The case underscores growing distrust between Gardner’'s office and some city officers over police shooting cases. Boyer’'s ruling also comes as St. Louis aldermen are considering a bill to establish an independent investigative team within Gardner’'s office to investigate police shootings. Gardner requested last fall at least $1.3 million to launch such a team. In a prepared statement yesterday, Gardner said she was disappointed by the judge’'s decision and would review “various options.” As the only elected official in the city of St. Louis with the sole job of protecting public safety and pursuing justice,” Gardner said, “"We will continue to fight to hold police officers accountable for unlawful actions and hold offenders accountable for violence against police, just as we did in court this week."” Gardner was referring to a St. Louis jury on Thursday finding a man guilty of shooting and wounding St. Louis Police Sgt. Charles Lowe in 2015. "If we are forced to dismiss cases against criminals who assault and shoot at police because officers won’t testify in court, then these officers are putting all officers at risk and the public at large,"” Gardner’'s statement says. Boyer’'s ruling sides with a disqualification motion filed this week by Brian Millikan, the lawyer representing the officer who shot Davis. In a hearing on Wednesday, Millikan said having the same prosecutors handling shooting investigations and the connected criminal cases resulted in a “chilling effect” on officers. Under the previous administration, there was a wall between the prosecutors handling the shooting investigations and those handling the criminal case,” Millikan told the judge. “That wall has been effectively torn down.” Gardner's chief trial assistant, Robert Dierker, argued that politics was driving Millikan’s “hypothetical controversy” that would better be resolved by the city'’s elected leaders. He said the circuit attorney’s office asked officers involved in such cases for truthful testimony in the pursuit of justice but also acknowledged “"The approach in our office is to some degree a work in progress." Since Gardner took office, some city officers have refused to testify in police shooting cases, Millikan says, because of a backlog caused by prosecutors' failure to finish their investigations.
     Jose David Aguilar Moran, Honduras' new national police chief, helped a cartel leader pull off the delivery of nearly a ton of cocaine in 2013, according to the Associated Press.
     California authorities in Fresno have filed charges against a suspect they believe is responsible for a string of drive-by shootings.
     Real estate and casino mogul Steve Wynn, 76, has been accused of sexual misconduct by dozens of women.
     The grieving father of one of the students killed at a Kentucky high school last Tuesday morning is calling his son's death "just senseless." Preston Cope, 15, and Bailey Holt, 15, were both killed at Marshall County High School in Benton, Ky.
     Pakistani officials said on Thursday they are investigating whether a suspect arrested in the slaying of eight girls was linked to an international child-porn ring.
     Venezuela's chief prosecutor has ordered the arrest of the former head of the state oil company, accusing him of bankrupting the downtrodden country's primary source of income.
     Two K-9 officers, Inka and Scorpio, will be retiring next week from the Pflugerville (Texas) Police Department. The Belgian Malinois dogs have been on the Pflugerville force for more than 12 combined years.
     A shotgun was recovered on farmland near Sutton, Shrewsbury, in the U.K. during the arrest of a 45-year-old man on suspicion of murder. The West Mercia Police said it is believed the man and woman were known to each other.
     The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) has been ordered to pay $550,000 for failing to properly arm and train its members in a shooting rampage four years ago that left three New Brunswick Mounties dead and two injured. Judge Leslie Jackson handed down the sentence to a packed courtroom in Moncton yesterday that included Acting RCMP Commissioner Daniel Dubeau. The judge issued a clear rebuke to the force's leadership for not acting sooner in making sure frontline officers were equipped with high-powered rifles that could have made a difference in the lethal incident in 2014. Meanwhile, two RCMP doctors under police investigation allegedly abused their power over vulnerable young recruits who were "deeply afraid" that speaking out would damage their careers in the national police force, a lawyer who represents RCMP sexual-misconduct victims says.
     Bridgeport, Conn., Police Officer James Boulay was justified in using deadly force when he shot 15-year-old Jayson Negron last May 9th, according to a highly anticipated report released yesterday by a state prosecutor.
     A suspect was shot and killed by a Deputy U.S. Marshal in Alton, Illinois, yesterday morning, according to the U.S. Marshals Service. Officials said the Marshals' Fugitive Task Force was at the house in the 3500 block of Omega to arrest a suspect who violated bond from a previous federal arrest.
     The United States Marshals Service has announced a new list of top-wanted fugitives in central Ohio. These four criminals are wanted on charges including abduction, burglary, aggravated burglary and drug possession.
     Oakland County, Mich.'s outgoing Chief Circuit Judge Nanci Grant was honored by the U.S. Marshals Service for her work with the Fugitive Apprehension Team in Detroit and Oakland County.
     The U.S Marshals are searching for a registered sex offender who's recently cut off his GPS monitoring device. The Milwaukee (Wis.) Police issued a warrant for his arrest after accusations of child abuse. "Obviously our main concern is that he will offend again," the Deputy U.S. Marshal handling his case has said.
     And one family's nearly 50 years of service to the city of Saginaw, Mich., will soon be coming to an end. Sons often tend to look up to their fathers and sometimes even choose to follow in their footsteps. That's what led to Detective Jeff Wenzell joining the Saginaw Police Department. He and his father combined have served the people of Saginaw for almost 50 years. When his father was on the force, he was nicknamed "Frog," so Jeff now carries the nickname "Tadpole." Jeff Wenzell said his father, Robert Wenzell, who served until the mid-90s, actually told him not to become a police officer. But eventually, he said, his dad gave his blessing and some valuable advice. Jeff said his dad gave him his old badge, badge number 200, and pinned it on him when he first joined the force. He said it was an honor to follow in his footsteps and both generations have enjoyed serving the city for about five decades now. "Once you grow up in the city, your roots are here, so you care," Jeff said. "Seeing the streets as a kid and now you're an adult, you're able to do something about things that you may have seen as a kid that you wouldn't let go." On Feb. 2nd, this little tadpole will officially retire from the Saginaw Police Department. He will then serve as the police chief in Zilwaukee.

U.S. Public Health Service
United States Public Health Service (seal).svg    
Dr. Dan Jernigan, a captain in the U.S. Public Health Service and the director of the influenza division of the CDC's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, has noted that the proportion of deaths due to the flu may continue to increase as the season continues. Since the beginning of the year, one in 10 U.S. deaths have been caused by the flu.

U.S. Coast Guard
USCGC Stratton San Diego.jpg    
        USCGC Stratton (WMSL-752)
     The crew of USCGC Stratton (WMSL-752) stopped two go fast boats in three days, seizing more than 5,800 pounds of cocaine worth almost $78 million. Crews also stopped five other boats with more than 12,000 pounds of cocaine worth more than $165 million.
A U.S. Coast Guard unit stationed in Panama City, Fla., traveled to Miramar Beach, Fla., the site of the Phantom of the Aqua on Thursday to remove potentially hazardous materials from the beached sailboat.
     More than 100 buoys, or channel markers, have been damaged due to the recent cold weather that turned much of the Chesapeake Bay into a thick sheet of ice.
     The U.S. Coast Guard has scuttled a fishing vessel that sat abandoned near Dutch Harbor, Alaska, since August. The 166-foot fishing vessel Akutan's crew abandoned it after a disastrous fishing season in Bristol Bay.
     Ice-breaking operations continued yesterday morning on the Kennebec River as U.S. Coast Guard cutters worked their way farther upriver toward Richmond to demolish midwinter ice and ward off further flooding of low-lying areas in and near Augusta, Maine.
     A Tampa, Fla.-based company offering captains for hire is not required to make sure the boat operators it advertises are Coast Guard certified. The Coast Guard requires licensed captains to operate boats for charter companies offering sunset cruises and tours.
     And law enforcement set sail today for the annual Gasparilla Pirate Invasion in Tampa, Fla. Officers are advising boaters not to throw beads into the water. "We don't want the manatees and the turtles eating them," said Cmdr. Darren Hart with the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary. He also recommended that all boaters have enough life jackets for everyone on board and proper safety equipment.

                          never a surprise funny picture

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