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LiAngelo Ball, UCLA teammates arrested in China could get 10 years in prison if convicted

Published: Wednesday, November 08, 2017 @ 6:48 AM

LiAngelo Ball and 2 UCLA Teammates Arrested in China for Shoplifting

Shoplifting is a relatively minor infraction in the United States, but not so in China. It could lead to a long prison sentence, according to multiple outlets — and that could be bad news for the three UCLA men’s basketball players reportedly accused of committing the crime Tuesday in Shanghai.

Bruins freshmen LiAngelo Ball, Jalen Hill and Cody Riley could be sentenced to three to 10 years if convicted of “robbing public or private property using force, coercion or other methods,” according to Yahoo! Sports’ Dan Wetzel, citing the website for the Chinese mission to the United Nations.

The trio were detained Tuesday after allegedly shoplifting from a Louis Vuitton store next to the hotel where UCLA is staying ahead of its season opener Friday against Georgia Tech. The most notable of the players is Ball, the younger brother of former UCLA star (and current Los Angeles Lakers rookie) Lonzo Ball and son of LaVar Ball.

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LaVar Ball, who had planned a press conference but canceled it on the advice of his legal counsel, released the following statement:

"It is a very unfortunate situation that the Ball Family, and UCLA has to deal with at this particular time. We will comment shortly," he said, per ESPN's Arash Markazi.

William Nee, a Hong Kong-based researcher for Amnesty International, told Wetzel that those detained for crimes in China could “be detained for more than a month without American-style bail before local prosecutors even decide whether to press charges.” Nee added that the United States consulate could intervene to try and negotiate a quicker resolution to the case.

Nee added that the charges could also be greatly reduced and thus warrant a much more lenient sentence.

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5 things to know about flesh-eating bacteria in Florida waters

Published: Tuesday, May 22, 2018 @ 7:00 PM

Flesh Eating Bacteria Facts Myths and Precautions

The Florida Department of Health has a warning for Florida residents and tourists about a deadly strain of flesh-eating bacteria.

Federal health officials have said Vibrio vulnificus infections have increased each year since 2000.

As scary as that sounds, though, the likelihood of contracting the bacterium is still pretty small.

“You are more likely to die in a car accident on the way to (a) restaurant than from Vibrio,” says University of Florida microbiology professor Paul Gulig.

Here are five things to know about flesh-eating bacteria in Florida:

1. It’s the fish, not the water – Most people who die from the bacteria contracted it from eating raw or under-cooked seafood, especially shellfish, like oysters, rather than from swimming in the Gulf. Swimming in salt water with an open wound increases your chances of getting it, but that shouldn’t keep the vast majority of people from getting in the water.

2. Now is the time to be vigilant – Peak season for Vibrio is during the warmer months, between May and October. The warm weather breeds the bacteria, and people are more likely to be swimming in the water and consuming seafood while on vacation or enjoying the scenery. 

3. It’s extremely rare, and extremely deadly – According to the CDC, in 2014 there were about 90 total infections of Vibrio in the U.S., including 35 deaths. By comparison, the flu kills between 3,300 and 49,000 people every year. That being said, the bacteria is life-threatening. Vibrio kills one in three people who become infected.

4. It’s not really flesh-eating, it just looks that way – The only bacteria that are officially classified as “flesh eating” belong to the streptococcus A family. Vibrio is called “flesh eating” because it invades the blood stream and causes skin lesions that are similar to streptoccus A. 

5. Your risk is pretty low, even if you’re sick – Most people who are truly vulnerable to Vibrio already have a weakened immune system, and suffer from other ailments, like chronic liver disease. There is no evidence of person-to-person transmission. Just to be safe, though, health officials say you should clean any open wounds after you’ve gone swimming in the ocean. 

Florida beach (File photo)

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Sinkhole opens on White House lawn outside press briefing room

Published: Tuesday, May 22, 2018 @ 7:09 PM

President Donald Trump walks across the White House lawn on his way to visit Melania Trump at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center May 16, 2018 in Washington, DC. 
Pool/Getty Images
President Donald Trump walks across the White House lawn on his way to visit Melania Trump at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center May 16, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Pool/Getty Images)

A sinkhole opened Tuesday on the North Lawn of the White House, outside the press briefing room.

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Reporters shared pictures of the hole on Twitter.

Voice of America’s Steve Herman noted that he’s been watching the hole grow bigger by the day.

By Tuesday afternoon, yellow caution tape and orange cones encircled the hole. A green board was then thrown on top of it.

By later in the afternoon, the sinkhole had its own social media following.

There’s no word on what caused it or any plans to repair it 

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Retired Marine with amputated legs turned away from Six Flags ride, park cites safety

Published: Tuesday, May 22, 2018 @ 6:00 PM

A Marine veteran says he was turned away from a roller coaster ride at Six Flags Over Georgia (not pictured) because his prosthetic legs. (Photo by Dan Gold on Unsplash)
Dan Gold/Unsplash
A Marine veteran says he was turned away from a roller coaster ride at Six Flags Over Georgia (not pictured) because his prosthetic legs. (Photo by Dan Gold on Unsplash)(Dan Gold/Unsplash)

A military veteran was dismayed to be turned away from a Six Flags Over Georgia ride the other day, but the park cites safety precautions.

“We apologize to Mr. Jones for any inconvenience; however, to ensure safety, guests with certain disabilities are restricted from riding certain rides and attractions,” a statement from Six Flags said. “Our accessibility policy includes ride safety guidelines and the requirements of the federal American Disabilities Act.”

In 2010, USMC Staff Sgt. (Ret.) Johnny “Joey” Jones worked as a bomb technician while deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. He stepped on an improvised explosive device and lost both of his legs. He now uses prosthetic limbs.

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A lifelong fan of amusement parks, he says he’s been able to enjoy attractions at Disneyland, Universal Studios Hollywood and Sea World even after his injury.

“I do not try to ride a ride where your legs dangle,” he said. “I’ve only gone on rides where I knew the safety equipment could function. If there is a safe way to ride it, I’m on it.”

He and his son had boarded the Mind Bender roller coaster at Six Flags in Austell, Georgia, when an attendant said he had to exit the ride.

“I got in, the lap thing came down. I was fixed in. Once they saw my legs they asked me to get off,” Jones said. “(The attendant) said, ‘You’ve got to have two real legs to ride.’”

According to Six Flags’ safety policy, “Each rider must maintain an upright seated position with their head against the headrest and back against the seat back during the duration of the ride and their arms, hands, legs, and feet inside the ride vehicle at all times,” Six Flags’ safety policy states. “Guests must possess at least one (1) fully functioning arm and two (2) fully functional legs,” the policy posted on the Six Flags site reads. It goes on to say that riders “must have upper body control, a strong grasp, and must be restrained by a lap bar and notes that “exceptionally large or tall people may not be able to ride.”

The Mind Bender is a fast-moving attraction where the riders go upside down at times, according to the park ride’s description. “Guests should be prepared to brace for strong front-to-back, top-to-bottom and bottom-to-top forces as well as mild side-to side forces,” the safety guidelines say. “The Mind Bender is very difficult to evacuate due to the high, steep, narrow catwalks.”

In July 2011, The Associated Press reported that a U.S. Army veteran who’d lost his legs while deployed in Iraq was killed after he was thrown from a roller coaster in upstate New York. The family of Sgt. James Hackemer settled for “a seven-figure amount,” investigators having determined that “park workers didn't follow rules posted at the ride's entrance, which require that riders have both legs.”

Jones said he had not heard directly from Six Flags since posting messages about his experience on social media.

“I’m not trying to wage war against Six Flags,” said Jones, who’d like the opportunity to meet with a park representative. “There are thousands and thousands of us who are in this situation because of our service to our country. We’re just trying to reclaim a sense of normalcy.”

He also stressed that he isn’t disparaging the Six Flags attendant who turned him away, noting the employee was following guidelines. His experience at other parks has been pleasant, with employees going out of their way to accommodate him.

“If I go to Disney they’ll assign someone to walk with me to the front of the line,” he said. “They go from the angle of, ‘How can we get this guy on the ride?’ Within two seconds of walking into Universal someone walked up and said, ‘Would you like to sign up for special services?’”

At other area locations, including the Georgia Aquarium and the World of Coca-Cola, “they roll out sort of a red carpet.”

“At Six Flags I’m a burden,” Jones said. “At the other places it’s an opportunity to shine.”

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4-year-old ‘superhero’ on a mission to save Alabama’s homeless

Published: Tuesday, May 22, 2018 @ 5:38 PM

4-year-old Austin Perine is spreading love by feeding the homeless in Birmingham, Alabama.
Cedric Ribeiro, Getty Images
4-year-old Austin Perine is spreading love by feeding the homeless in Birmingham, Alabama.(Cedric Ribeiro, Getty Images)

A 4-year-old boy in Birmingham, Alabama is saving the world one person at a time by handing out food and money to the local homeless community.

He’s pitched in to build a new homeless shelter, donating $5,000, Birmingham mayor Randall Woodfin posted on Facebook:

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Austin Perine wears a red satin superhero cape that helps him work faster because “it blows in the wind,” the boy told CNN. He goes by the superhero name “President Austin” because he wants to become president of the United States.

When he visits with people on the streets, CNN reports, Austin Perine always wears his all-blue “work outfit,” complete with a T-shirt proudly displaying the hashtag #ShowLove in bold red letters.

Terance Perine, Austin’s father, told CBS News that his son was inspired to help the homeless after watching a show on Animal Planet where a panda left her cub alone.

When Austin asked what would happen to the baby panda, his dad told CBS News it appeared it would be “homeless for a while.” Austin asked him if people can be homeless too and wanted to meet a person living on the streets.

Terance Perine said that they went and bought food to hand out to some homeless people and it sparked something special in the boy. According to CNN, Austin Perine now spends his weekly allowance on food to give out to people on the street, to “show love” to the homeless. 

Washington Redskins running back Samaje Perine is Austin’s cousin, according to the Washington Redskins website.

After Austin Perine’s story was featured on CBS News, Burger King stepped in to help, giving him $1,000 a month to spend on chicken sandwiches to hand out.

Church’s Chicken also stepped up to donate to Perine’s “#ShowLove” campaign.

Birmingham’s new homeless shelter is expected to open in late 2018.

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