The UConn women’s basketball team has been cleared to begin working out in small groups again following its COVID-19 shutdown, a team spokesperson said Saturday.
All 11 players have been in a 14-day quarantine since a Tier 1 member of the program — not a player or a coach — tested positive for the coronavirus on Monday.
Additional testing this week also revealed another positive test within the program, though, following contact tracing, the timeline for the quarantine remains unchanged, as does the game schedule. The individual who tested positive was not identified.
The third-ranked Huskies have already had to cancel their first three nonconference games and postpone their Big East opener at Seton Hall. The Seton Hall game has been rescheduled from Dec. 6 to Dec. 17.
Because of the quarantine, the earliest the Huskies can resume full-team workouts is Dec. 8. Their first regular-season game is scheduled for a week later — Butler at Gampel Pavilion on Dec. 15.
One of Saudi Arabia’s most prominent women’s rights campaigners, Loujain al-Hathloul, shook uncontrollably and spoke in an uncharacteristically faint voice during a rare court appearance this week, a family member told NBC News on Thursday.
Loujain al-Hathloul’s sister, Lina al-Hathloul, told NBC News by telephone from Berlin that the siblings’ parents had witnessed the hearing in Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia, on Wednesday.
Loujain, 31, was told during the hearing that her case would be transferred to the country’s Specialized Criminal Court, which deals with terrorism cases, Lina said. It was her sister’s first court appearance since March last year, she added.
Lynn Maalouf, deputy regional director for the Middle East and North Africa at London-based rights campaigner Amnesty International, called the court transfer “a disturbing move.” The Specialized Criminal Court was “notorious for issuing lengthy prison sentences following seriously flawed trials,” she said in a statement.
Saudi authorities did not respond to NBC News’ requests for comment. NBC News was not able to independently confirm the details of Loujain’s appearance and health.
“They’re criminalizing activism,” Lina said of Saudi authorities. “It’s extremely stressful to never know what your own government can do to you.”
Diplomats from a number of states were denied entry at the courthouse under the “pretext” of Covid-19 regulations, according to Amnesty.
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Loujain, who rose to prominence when she advocated for women’s right to drive, had been on hunger strike for two weeks since October 26, her sister said. She was among a dozen other female campaigners to be arrested in May 2018, just weeks before Saudi Arabia ended a decades-long ban on women driving.
Other dissidents, including cleric Salman al-Awda, who called on the country’s rulers to be more responsive to the population’s desires for reform, have also stood trial in the country’s anti-terror court.
Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have said that at least three jailed women’s rights activists, including Loujain, have been held in solitary confinement and subjected to abuse including electric shocks, flogging and sexual assault. Saudi Arabia has strenuously denied the allegations.
Officials have not made public the specific charges against Loujain, but last year the Saudi state news agency SPA, said Hathloul and other detained women were being charged with trying to undermine security, stability and national unity.
Earlier this month, Saudi Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel Al-Jubeir told the BBC in an interview that the country had an independent judiciary and would “not allow people to lecture us.”
“Loujain al-Hathloul was detained because of issues relating to national security, dealing with foreign entities, supporting entities hostile to Saudi Arabia — it has nothing to do with advocating for women’s rights to drive,” Al-Jubeir said.
Trolling behind the anonymity afforded by an encrypted chat app, the man who called himself “Baksa” pretended he was many things: a no-holds-barred loan shark, a private eye for hire and a fortysomething Korean with a prosthetic leg living outside the law’s reach in Cambodia.
In reality he was an out-of-work recent college grad who’d been bedridden for a year after a limb-lengthening surgery to overcome insecurities about his height.
From his bedroom, Cho Ju-bin, 25, spun illusions and masterminded one of the most notorious sex crime schemes to shake South Korea in years. He blackmailed dozens of young women into providing sexually compromising images and videos, which he sold to tens of thousands of his users. Authorities say he and his collaborators, including a 16-year-old boy, ran the operation through secretive chatrooms on the app Telegram. They hunted for prey through social media and reaped their profits through the cryptocurrency bitcoin.
The case has ignited a fierce debate in South Korea about justice and how to exact punishment for digital sex crimes. The wide-reaching scandal has again exposed an underlying culture of cavalier consumption of material depicting sexual abuse. Among the hundreds being investigated as having joined the chatrooms are police officers and elementary school teachers.
“Because of the level of abuse and the number of victims, collaborators and participants, there was a collective shock to our society,” said Lee Hyo-rin, an activist and victim counselor with the support group Korea Cyber Sexual Violence Response Center.
The scheme is the latest in a series of headlines that have roiled South Korea in recent years involving illicit sex videos or spy cam recordings that have put the country’s women on edge and raised questions about the dark side of the nation’s much-touted internet and smartphone infrastructure and technological adaptation. In 2019, some of the country’s most popular K-pop stars were investigated and convicted of crimes related to the sharing of illegally recorded sexual material, some involving women who were drugged and raped.
Cho — who also called himself “CEO Park” — was sentenced to 40 years in prison on Thursday. Prosecutors had sought a life term. Others accused of conspiring with him to recruit and threaten the victims, advertise the chatrooms and monetize the profits received sentences ranging from seven to 15 years.
Police say more than 70 women, many of them minors, were lured into providing personal information under the guise of a potential high-paying liaison with an older man and then blackmailed into providing sexually explicit material
In an effort to promote safety in the pandemic, most stores are closing on Thanksgiving this year. They’re also bringing sales online — a move that’s both convenient and cost-effective for Black Friday shoppers.
“We’ve heard retailers saying, ‘We’re probably going to offer the same deals both online and in store on Black Friday so that people can shop in the way that’s most comfortable and safest for them,’” Cullen says.
That means many retailers won’t be enticing customers to brave the crowds for in-store-only doorbusters, she adds. That’s welcome news for consumers.
“Many shoppers will still feel uncomfortable going to brick-and-mortar retail stores, and many state and local governments are still imposing reduced capacity limits inside stores,” Newman said.
Aside from the safety and convenience of not having to leave home, Arnold suspects this head-to-head online competition will also be a monetary win for shoppers.
“I think the consumer is going to benefit because now it’s going to be a lot easier to compare prices with the competition online,” Arnold says.
In the past, he says, retailers could lure shoppers into stores, and consumers would often buy the products, even if they were listed online for a slightly better price. That’s because at a physical store, you have the item with you and don’t have to worry about shipping delays — even if you pay a little more for it.
LIVERMORE — A city resident who was facing charges that he raped two women decades ago died of suicide Thursday, days after hearing both his victims testify for the prosecution in a preliminary hearing, prosecutors announced.
Gregory Vien, 61, was facing charges that he sexually assaulted two women, in Livermore and Union City respectively, in 1997. One of the women was scheduled to continue her testimony Nov. 13, when he deliberately injured himself. He spent several days in the hospital and died Thursday, prosecutors said.
Vien was linked to DNA to both sexual assaults through the method of using genetic scans to identify a suspect’s family member and working backwards from there, made famous in the Golden State Killer investigation. In April, an Alameda County judge released him from jail amid concerns he was at high risk for COVID-19, sparking condemnation from Livermore’s mayor.
Had Vien been ordered to stand trial after his preliminary hearing, he likely would have remained out of jail awaiting trial.
In the May 6, 1997, attack in Union City, the then-41-year-old victim was walking to the BART station when she was “violently attacked,” dragged to a secluded area, had her clothes cut off and was sexually assaulted, according to police.
On Sept. 15, 1997, a 22-year-old woman was walking around Livermore High School when a man approached her. He pulled her from the bleachers and forced her to a dark and secluded area where he sexually assaulted her, police said.
Testifying in court last week, the second victim said under oath she was pregnant at the time and out for a walk when a masked assailant came up to her, threatened her, and sexually assaulted her repeatedly. She he told her he had a knife, and that she couldn’t leave or cry out until after he left the scene.
“He threatened me and my baby,” Doe said on the stand Nov. 12. “I felt physically ill, I felt violated and I felt sick. I was concerned about the baby. … I was scared, angry.”
In a news release announcing Vien was dead, Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley issued a written statement praising the police investigation and victims’ statement that led to Vien’s arrest.
“The survivors of these sexual assaults showed great courage in coming to court to face the man who attacked and terrorized them 23 years ago. Both women lived for all these years without knowing who assaulted her or seeing him brought to justice,” O’Malley said. “The police agencies never stopped investigating these heinous crimes in order to keep the victim-survivors and the communities of Livermore and Union City safe.”
Fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli reported to prison on Thursday to begin serving his five-month sentence for bribing his daughters’ way into college, officials said.
Giannulli’s wife, “Full House” actor Lori Loughlin, is already behind bars for her role in the college admissions bribery scheme involving prominent parents and elite schools across the country. She began her two-month prison term late last month.
Giannulli, 57, whose Mossimo clothing had long been a Target brand until recently, is in custody at a federal prison in Lompoc near Santa Barbara, California, a Bureau of Prisons spokesperson said. Loughlin, 56, is at the federal lockup in Dublin, California.
The couple was among the most high-profile parents charged in the scheme, involved hefty bribes to get undeserving teens into schools with rigged test scores or bogus athletic credentials, authorities say.
Loughlin and Giannulli were initially both ordered to report to prison on Nov. 19 but prosecutors and the defense agreed Loughlin could begin her sentence on Oct. 30. Loughlin agreed that she would not seek early release from prison on grounds related to the coronavirus pandemic.
Loughlin was also ordered to pay a $150,000 fine and perform 100 hours of community service, and Giannulli has to pay a $250,000 fine and perform 250 hours of community service.
Yea we could just do: Prosecutors recorded phone calls and emails showing the couple worked with the mastermind of the scheme, admissions consultant Rick Singer, to get their daughters into USC with fake athletic profiles depicting them as star rowers. “Fantastic. Will get all,” Giannulli responded and sent Singer the photo, according to the court filings.
Nearly sixty people have been charged in the scheme led by Singer, who secretly worked with investigators and recorded his conversations with parents and coaches to help build the case against them. Singer, who is expected to testify against any defendants who go to trial, has not yet been sentenced. More than 40 people have already pleaded guilty.
Prison terms for the parents ensnared in the scheme range from nine months to a couple weeks. Other parents who’ve served time behind bars in the case include “Desperate Housewives” star Felicity Huffman, who was sentenced to 14 days for paying $15,000 to rig her daughter’s SAT score.
Martin Philbert, the chief academic officer at the school until his dismissal earlier this year, had been at the University of Michigan since 1995, when he was hired as an assistant professor of toxicology.
An investigation found that Philbert had sexually harassed multiple women, including colleagues and graduate students over many years, according to a report released by the law firm WilmerHale this summer.
Philbert did not immediately respond to messages seeking comment Wednesday.
“The sexual misconduct of the former university provost that has been detailed in a report from the WilmerHale law firm is abhorrent and unacceptable,” Rick Fitzgerald, a spokesman for the university, said in a statement. “The University of Michigan failed on many levels as this individual advanced through the administrative ranks.”
WilmerHale is also investigating numerous allegations of sexual misconduct by another former University of Michigan employee, the late Robert E. Anderson, who was a doctor at the school for many decades.
“I’m proud to have been part of real accountability for someone at his level,” said Sarah Prescott, an attorney for the eight women, “because I think that’s still a struggle even now.”
In several of the cases in Michigan and nationally, there were common threads that many people knew in some way of problems but the abuses continued, Prescott said. “These weren’t secrets,” she said. “Martin Philbert was promoted repeatedly.”
Philbert became provost in 2017, and investigators found that inappropriate conduct continued, according to the law firm’s report. In January, several women came forward as a group to complain about his behavior.
The university placed Philbert on leave and launched the independent investigation. He was removed as provost in March and is no longer a member of the faculty.
The report concluded that there was significant evidence that Philbert engaged in a wide range of sexual misconduct — including sexual harassment, sexual relationships with subordinates and storage of explicit photos of women on his university-owned devices — and that neither the senior leadership of the university nor the office charged with investigating such complaints understood the extent or severity of the problem.
The report did not find evidence that university employees intentionally hid allegations about Philbert’s misconduct, but concluded that the school should have done more to investigate a credible allegation of sexual misconduct in 2005. The 88-page report suggested multiple changes for the university.
The settlement includes the opportunity for the women, who were not named to protect their privacy, to work with the university on changes to policy and practice, according to Prescott.
The settlement with the school does not include a release for Philbert.
“We recognize how difficult it was for these eight women to come forward to share their experiences,” Fitzgerald, the university spokesman, said. “We thank them for their courage and we apologize to each one of them and to all survivors.”
Marìa Verza and Michael Balsamo, Associated Press
Published 10:37 p.m. ET Nov. 17, 2020
Highlights of this day in history: President Richard Nixon says ‘I am not a crook’; Elizabeth I becomes Queen of England; Suez Canal opens; Congress holds first DC session; Sculptor Auguste Rodin dies; Film director Martin Scorsese born. (Nov. 17)
MEXICO CITY — The U.S. Justice Department is dropping its drug trafficking and money laundering case against former Mexican Defense Secretary Salvador Cienfuegos, Attorney General William Barr said Tuesday.
Barr said the department would drop its case so Cienfuegos “may be investigated and, if appropriate, charged, under Mexican law.” Cienfuegos, who was charged in federal court in Brooklyn, was arrested in Los Angeles last month.
Cienfuegos, a general who led Mexico’s army department for six years under then President Enrique Peña Nieto, was the highest-ranking former Mexican Cabinet official arrested since top security official Genaro Garcia Luna was arrested in Texas in 2019.
Cienfuegos was indicted by a federal grand jury in New York in 2019 and accused of conspiring to participate in an international drug distribution and money laundering scheme. Prosecutors alleged he helped the H-2 cartel smuggle thousands of kilos of cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine and marijuana while he was defense secretary in 2012-2018.
Prosecutors said intercepted messages showed that in exchange for bribes, Cienfuegos worked to ensure that the military did not take action against the cartel and that operations were initiated against rivals. He was also accused of introducing cartel leaders to other corrupt Mexican officials.
Mexican Foreign Affairs Secretary Marcelo Ebrard said later at a news conference that Mexico had expressed its displeasure with not being advised of the investigation against Cienfuegos and requested, then received, the evidence against him.
“We don’t see it as a path to impunity but rather as an act of respect toward Mexico and Mexico’s armed forces,” Ebrard said.
Ebrard denied the decision was related to the U.S. elections or the decision not to congratulate President-elect Joe Biden, noting he spoke with Barr on Oct. 26, a week before the U.S. elections.
“It doesn’t have anything to do with it. They are two different processes,” Ebrard said.
In a court filing, acting U.S. Attorney Seth DuCharme said dismissing the case would be “in the public interest of the United States.”
“The United States has determined that sensitive and important foreign policy considerations outweigh the government’s interest in pursuing the prosecution of the defendant …,” he wrote. The filing added that “the evidence in this case is strong.”
In court papers last month, U.S. prosecutors argued Cienfuegos was a significant flight risk and said he would “likely seek to leverage his connections to high level H-2 Cartel members in Mexico, as well as former high-level corrupt government officials, to assist him in fleeing from U.S. law
Coleen Rooney’s mood appeared to unaffected by her impending libel case as she ventured out for supplies in Cheshire on Friday.
The wife of former England striker Wayne Rooney is set to face Rebekah Vardy in court as soon as next week, with their protracted £1million court case scheduled for Thursday November 19.
But spirits appeared to be high as mother-of-four Coleen, 34, arrived at a local supermarket for the weekly shop.
Upbeat: Coleen Rooney’s mood appeared to unaffected by her impending libel case as she ventured out for supplies in Cheshire on Friday
The WAG offered a beaming smile as she climbed from her car and made her way inside, before leaving some time later with an overflowing trolley.
Opting for a black hooded top, Coleen looked relaxed during her latest appearance in Cheshire, where the Rooney’s own a sprawling six-bedroom mansion.
She added to her look with a pair of casual running shoes, while a smart Saint Laurent leather handbag rounded things off.
She’s pleased: The WAG offered a beaming smile as she climbed from her car and made her way inside a local supermarket
Coming soon: The wife of former England striker Wayne Rooney is set to face Rebekah Vardy in court as soon as next week, with their protracted £1million court case scheduled for Thursday November 19.
Low key: Opting for a black hooded top, Coleen looked relaxed during her latest appearance in Cheshire, where the Rooney’s own a sprawling six-bedroom mansion
The appearance comes after Rebekah, 38, looked relaxed while making her way to Dancing on Ice training with her skating gear in a pull along suitcase.
Rebekah – who is the wife of Leicester striker Jamie, 33 – donned a pair of colourful sneakers on her feet, and gave just a hint of footballer’s wife-glam by wearing a giant pair of sunglasses.
Rebekah and Jamie share children Sofia, five, Finley, three, and Olivia, 11 months. Rebekah is also a parent to children Megan, 15, and Taylor, ten, while Jamie has a daughter named Ella, ten, from his past relationship with Emma Daggett.
Coleen and Rebekah could come face-to-face in court next week, with their £1million libel case hearing scheduled for Thursday November 19.
Make way: She s seen exiting the supermarket with an overflowing trolley later that morning
I’ll do the heavy work: Coleen hefted the bags into her waiting car after making her way outside
Domestic duties: The WAG appeared to be shopping for herself, husband Wayne and their four children
The WAGS have been preparing for the court case over recent months following an explosive post made last year by Coleen accusing Rebekah’s Instagram account of leaking stories about her.
According to The Sun, Coleen is determined to make the trip to London for their first High Court hearing, after previous reports claimed the pair would not attend.
During this hearing it is understood that mum-of-four Coleen will have to explain what she meant in her allegations and show she has ‘reasonable