The week’s best photojournalism

Lemur cubs and their mother at a zoo in Debrecen, Hungary. | (Zsolt Czegledi/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock)

A hot air balloon rises in Putrajaya, Malaysia. | (FAZRY ISMAIL/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock)

Workers hang a campaign banner in Jerusalem. | (REUTERS/Ammar Awad)

Schoolchildren look at a Van Gogh painting in London. | (ANDY RAIN/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock)

Museum workers walk above an aerial photograph of Berlin. | (REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch)

A smoking area at Istanbul Airport. | (VALDRIN XHEMAJ/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock)

A snowboarder competes in Verbier, Switzerland. | (VALENTIN FLAURAUD/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock)

A beach in Ashkelon, Israel. | (REUTERS/Amir Cohen)

Queen Elizabeth in Somerset, Britain. | (REUTERS/Toby Melville/Pool)

Grounded airplanes in Victorville, California. | (REUTERS/Mike Blake)

Dancers performing as human sculptures in Hong Kong. | (JEROME FAVRE/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock)

Soldiers walk in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. | (REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov)

**See last week’s best photojournalism**

…read more

Source:: The Week – World


Swatting death: California man gets 20 years for hoax call after gamers’ squabble

By Peter Szekely

March 29 (Reuters) – A California man was sentenced on Friday to 20 years in federal prison for making hoax calls, including a so-called “swatting” incident where Kansas police responded to a false report and fatally shot an unarmed man, prosecutors said.

Tyler Barriss, 26, of Los Angeles, pleaded guilty in November in U.S. District Court in Wichita, Kansas, to charges stemming from the December 2017 incident as well as dozens of similar hoax calls in which no one was hurt.

“I hope that this prosecution and lengthy sentence sends a strong message that will put an end to the juvenile and reckless practice of ‘swatting’ within the gaming community, as well as in any other context,” U.S. Attorney Stephen McAllister said in a statement.

Swatting refers to a prank in which a caller falsely reports an emergency that requires a police response, usually by Special Weapons and Tactics, or SWAT, teams.

The Kansas case arose from a spat between two online video gamers, Shane Gaskill, 20, of Wichita and Casey Viner, 19, from a suburb of Cincinnati, prosecutors said. Both pleaded not guilty last June to federal charges against them.

Viner is scheduled for a hearing next Wednesday at which he is expected to plead guilty to charges in the case, court documents showed. Gaskill is set to go on trial in Wichita on April 23.

While playing “Call of Duty: WWII” in an online tournament on Dec. 28, 2017, Viner got upset at Gaskill. He contacted Barriss, a known swatter, to punish Gaskill, federal prosecutors said.

Viner gave Barriss a Wichita address he believed was Gaskill’s, authorities said. Instead, it was that of Andrew Finch, 28.

Barriss admitted making the hoax calls to Wichita police. Authorities said he used a false name to report that he shot and killed his father, was holding …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Nation, World


Brexit crisis: Theresa May’s deal rejected for third time

By William James, Kylie MacLellan and Elizabeth Piper

LONDON, March 29 (Reuters) – Lawmakers rejected Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal for a third time on Friday, sounding its probable death knell and leaving Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union in turmoil on the very day it was supposed to leave the bloc.

The decision to reject a stripped-down version of May’s divorce deal has left it totally unclear how, when or even whether Britain will leave the EU, and plunges the three-year Brexit crisis to a deeper level of uncertainty.

After a special sitting of parliament, lawmakers voted 344-286 against May’s 585-page EU Withdrawal Agreement, agreed after two years of tortuous negotiations with the bloc.

Within minutes of the vote, European Council President and summit chair Donald Tusk said EU leaders would meet on April 10 to discuss Britain’s departure from the bloc.

The EU executive, the Commission, said that “a ‘no-deal’ scenario on 12 April is now a likely scenario,”

May had told parliament the vote was the last opportunity to ensure Brexit would take place. She cautioned that if the deal failed, then any further delay to Brexit would probably be a long one beyond April 12.

“I fear we are reaching the limits of this process in this House,” May told parliament after the defeat. “The implications of the House’s decision are grave.”

“The legal default now is that the United Kingdom is due to leave the European Union on 12th April,” she said.

The British pound, which has been buoyed in recent weeks by hopes that the likelihood of an abrupt ‘no-deal’ Brexit is receding, fell half a percent after May lost, to as low as $1.2977.


It was a third failure for May, who had offered on Wednesday to resign if the deal passed, in a bid to win over eurosceptic rebels …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Nation, World


Pregnant women resort to smuggling scheme to learn babies’ sex, police say


By Eric Cheung and Joshua Berlinger, CNN

(CNN) — A 12-year-old girl has been caught in the Chinese city of Shenzhen trying to smuggle dozens of blood samples from pregnant women into neighboring Hong Kong, apparently for sex testing, state media reported.

The girl was detained at Shenzhen’s Luohu port, according to the People’s Daily. The incident occurred on February 23, but it only became widely known after it was reported in local media Thursday.

Sex verification is illegal for pregnant women in mainland China unless it’s required for medical purposes. The traditional desire for a male heir prompted abortions and even infanticide under the nation’s previous one-child policy.

The girl said someone had offered to pay her to bring the samples across the border.

“Cross-border students basically don’t bring anything other than books, stationery and snacks, so their schoolbags usually look lean. But we saw that hers looked so full that it might burst, so we scanned her bag,” said a Luohu port staff member quoted by the People’s Daily.

Shenzhen’s immigration and customs department declined to comment on the case.

The People’s Daily said it was the second case of its kind this year. Authorities say the use of underage people to transport cross-border blood samples is become increasingly common.

The cases could raise concerns that traditional families are going to extreme lengths to ensure they have boys, as they did during the one-child policy.

The one-child policy was introduced in 1979 due to concerns by the Communist Party leadership that the population would soon spiral out of control.

Though it was axed in 2015, the country’s birth rate has not risen as officials hoped. China currently faces a massive gender imbalance, a shrinking pool of young people left to support their aging parents and grandparents, and a contracting workforce.

China has tried to combat …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Nation, World


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