Horse euthanized at Los Alamitos Race Course

CYPRESS (CNS) – A 3-year-old horse was injured on the track at Los Alamitos Race Course Sunday night and later euthanized, officials confirmed today.

The quarter horse gelding named Jess Bet Me suffered the mortal injury in Sunday night’s eighth race, according to the official racing chart. Video of the race shows the horse finishing behind the rest of the pack.

The death was confirmed by Mike Marten, public information officer for the California Horse Racing Board.

Jess Bet Me’s jockey was Oscar Peinado, and the creature was trained by Rodolfo Viramontes, according to the industry website Equibase. The horse’s owners were Herasmo Hernandez, Salvador Hernandez and Jose Guiterrez.

He is at least the 20th horse to die in racing or training-related injuries at the Cypress track this year. In addition to the racing and training deaths, at least nine other racehorses have perished at Los Alamitos this year from what CHRB officials list as “other” causes of death.

The track is currently holding meets without fans in attendance due to the coronavirus pandemic.Another horse appeared to suffer an injury during Saturday afternoon’s third race. Haru’s Star is a 3-year-old filly who pulled up early and failed to finish. She was vanned off, but her fate and the nature of her injury were not immediately clear.

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Tortie kitten Lyra is a lovely little ‘lionness’

Breed: Tortoiseshell

Age: 11 months

Gender: Spayed female

Lyra’s story: Lyra is feisty, playful and sweet. Her coat is super silky and soft, with beautiful markings. She’s shy at first, but will warm up gradually. She loves to be petted and is learning to rest on laps, but she won’t hear about being carried. She loves pouncing on shiny, rattling toys and carries her favorite mice and stuffed toys like a lion with prey. She adores sitting in the sun. She’d do well alone or with a couple of other mellow cats. She’s good with calm dogs. Lyra can be protective of her food so needs space while eating.

Adoption fee: $200, includes spay, vaccines, feline immunodeficiency and leukemia virus tests, worm and flea treatment, and microchip.

Adoption procedure: DREAM Animal Rescue’s adoption process includes an application, home visit, adoption fee and adoption contract. Complete the rescue’s adoption application on its website.

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U.S. surpasses 50,000 new daily coronavirus cases for first time

By DAVID RISING and JAKE COYLE

BERLIN — The United States and South Africa have both reported record new daily coronavirus infections, with U.S. figures surpassing 50,000 cases a day for the first time, underlining the challenges still ahead as nations press to reopen their virus-devastated economies.

The U.S. recorded 50,700 new cases, according to a tally kept by Johns Hopkins University, as many states struggled to contain the spread of the pandemic, blamed in part on Americans not wearing masks or following social distancing rules.

Surging numbers in California prompted Gov. Gavin Newsom to announce just ahead of the Fourth of July weekend that he was closing bars, theaters and indoor restaurant dining over most of the state, a region that includes about 30 million people and Los Angeles County.

“The bottom line is the spread of this virus continues at a rate that is particularly concerning,” Newsom said.

Confirmed cases in California have increased nearly 50% over the past two weeks, and COVID-19 hospitalizations have gone up 43%. Newsom said California had nearly 5,900 new cases and 110 more deaths in just 24 hours.

Infections have been surging in many other states as well, including Florida, Arizona and Texas. Florida recorded more than 6,500 new cases and counties in South Florida were closing beaches to fend off large July Fourth crowds that could further spread the virus.

“Too many people were crowding into restaurants late at night, turning these establishments into breeding grounds for this deadly virus,” Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez said.

Despite the fact that the U.S. has the highest number of infections and deaths in the world by far, President Donald Trump seemed confident the coronavirus would soon subside.

“I think we are going to be very good with the coronavirus,” he told Fox Business. “I think that, at some point, that’s going to sort of just disappear, I hope.”

The U.S. has now reported nearly 2.7 million cases and more than 128,000 dead. Globally there have been 10.7 million coronavirus cases and more than 516,000 dead, according to Johns Hopkins’ count. The true toll of the pandemic is believed to be significantly higher, in part because of limited testing and mild cases that have been missed.

In South Africa on Thursday, authorities reported 8,124 new cases, a new daily record. The country has the most cases in Africa with more than 159,000, as it loosens what had been one of the world’s strictest lockdowns.

Johannesburg is a new hot spot with hundreds of health workers infected and Gauteng province, which includes Johannesburg, has more than 45,000 confirmed cases. The African continent has more than 405,000 confirmed cases overall.

India, the world’s second-most populous country with more than 1.3 billion people, surpassed 600,000 infections on Thursday after over 19,000 new cases were reported. India has reported nearly 100,000 new cases in the past four days alone.

Despite the surging numbers, the western beach of state of Goa, a popular backpacking destination, allowed 250 hotels to reopen Thursday after being closed for more than three months. Tourists will either have to carry COVID-19 negative certificates or get tested on arrival.

Many industries and businesses have reopened across the country, and Indians have cautiously returned to the streets. Schools, colleges and movie theaters are still closed.

On the medical front, the World Health Organization says smoking is linked to a higher risk of severe illness and death from the coronavirus in hospitalized patients, although it was unable to specify exactly how much greater those risks might be.

In a scientific brief published this week, the U.N. health agency reviewed 34 published studies on the association between smoking and COVID-19, including the probability of infection, hospitalization, severity of disease and death.

WHO noted that smokers represent up to 18% of hospitalized coronavirus patients and that there appeared to be a significant link between whether or not patients smoked and the severity of disease they suffered, the type of hospital interventions required and patients’ risk of dying.

In Japan, the capital of Tokyo confirmed 107 new cases of coronavirus, nearly triple that of June 24, just before the number began to spike. Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike said many cases were linked to nightclubs and bars, and urged their workers to proactively be tested and take further safety measures.

“We need to use caution against the spread of the infections,” Koike said.

South Korea confirmed 54 more COVID-19 cases as the coronavirus continued to spread beyond the capital region and reach cities like Gwangju, which has shut schools and tightened social restrictions after dozens fell sick this week.

Despite the spike in many U.S. states, several eastern states have seen their new infections slow down significantly, including New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island and New Jersey, which was going ahead Thursday with allowing its famous Atlantic City casinos to reopen.

Strict social distancing and other measures will be in place. Gamblers will not be allowed to smoke, drink or eat anything inside the casinos. They will have to wear masks in public areas of the casino and have their temperatures checked upon entering.

 

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China approves contentious Hong Kong national security law

By ZEN SOO and KEN MORITSUGU

HONG KONG — China approved a contentious national security law that will allow authorities to crack down on subversive and secessionist activity in Hong Kong, a move many see as Beijing’s boldest yet to erase the legal firewall between the semi-autonomous territory and the mainland’s authoritarian Communist Party system.

President Xi Jinping signed a presidential order promulgating the law after it was approved by the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, the official Xinhua News Agency said. It will be added to the Basic Law, Hong Kong’s constitution.

“We hope the law will serve as a deterrent to prevent people from stirring up trouble,” said Tam Yiu-Chung, Hong Kong’s sole representative on the Standing Committee “Don’t let Hong Kong be used as a tool to split the country.”

He said punishments would not include the death penalty, but did not elaborate on further details.

Passage of the law came amid fears in Hong Kong and abroad that it would be used to curb opposition voices in the Asian financial hub. The U.S. has already begun moves to end special trade terms given to Hong Kong after the former British colony was returned to China in 1997.

The legislation is aimed at curbing subversive, secessionist and terrorist activities, as well as foreign intervention in the city’s affairs. It follows months of anti-government protests in Hong Kong last year that at times descended into violence.

Speaking in a video message to the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva, Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said the law would “only target an extremely small minority” of lawbreakers, would not be retroactive, and that mainland legal bodies would only have jurisdiction in “rare, specified situations.”

Critics say it is the most significant erosion to date of Hong Kong’s British-style rule of law and the high degree of autonomy that Beijing promised Hong Kong would enjoy at least through 2047 under a “one country, two systems” framework.

Hong Kong pro-democracy activists Joshua Wong, Agnes Chow and Nathan Law issued statements on Facebook saying they would withdraw from their organization Demosisto, which then announced that it would disband with the loss of its top members.

Wong said “worrying about life and safety” has become a real issue and nobody will be able to predict the repercussions of the law, whether it is being extradited to China or facing long jail terms.

More than a hundred protesters gathered at a luxury mall in Hong Kong’s Central business district, chanting slogans including “Free Hong Kong, Revolution Now,” with several holding up a flag representing an independent Hong Kong as well as posters condemning the law.

The law’s passage “represents the greatest threat to human rights in the city’s recent history,” said the head of Amnesty International’s China Team, Joshua Rosenzweig.

“The speed and secrecy with which China has pushed through this legislation intensifies the fear that Beijing has calculatingly created a weapon of repression to be used against government critics, including people who are merely expressing their views or protesting peacefully,” Rosenzweig said in a statement.

Concerns were also expressed in Taiwan, which Beijing claims as its own territory to be brought under its control by force if necessary.

“Democracy and freedom are shared universal values of Hong Kong and Taiwan,” the island’s Mainland Affairs Council said, adding that China had betrayed its promises to Hong Kong,

The self-governing island recently said it would consider providing asylum for Hong Kong opposition figures who fear arrest.

Ahead of the law’s passage, the Trump administration said Monday it will bar defense exports to Hong Kong and will soon require licenses for the sale of items that have both civilian and military uses.

“We cannot risk these items falling into the hands of the People’s Liberation Army, whose primary purpose is to uphold the dictatorship of the (ruling Communist Party) by any means necessary,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement.

British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said his government was “deeply concerned” over reports of the law’s passage, saying that would be a “grave step.” Britain has said it could offer residency and possible citizenship to around 3 million of Hong Kong’s 7.5 million people.

“This issue is purely China’s internal affairs, and no foreign country has the right to interfere,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said Tuesday.

He said China would take necessary measures to protect its national interests in response to “the wrong acts of the United States.”

Under the law, Beijing will set up a national security office in Hong Kong to collect and analyze intelligence and deal with criminal cases related to national security.

Government critics fear Beijing will use the law to pursue political opponent. Some have questioned the legal basis on which China proceeded with the legislation, saying it undermines the Basic Law.

An earlier attempt to pass a security law in 2003 was dropped after hundreds of thousands of people marched in Hong Kong’s streets against it.

China for years had put off another such effort, but citing a new urgency after last year’s protests, announced it would bypass the Hong Kong legislature and enact the law on its own.

Chinese officials have railed against what they claim is foreign interference in the territory that they blame for encouraging the anti-government protests. Beijing condemned those protests as an attempt to permanently split Hong Kong away from China.

Drafting of the law took place amid intense secrecy, with even top Hong Kong officials reportedly not given advance notice of its specifics.

Questions linger over the effects on Hong Kong’s free press that has come under increasing political and financial pressure, as well as the operations of non-governmental organizations, particularly those with foreign connections.

The law’s passage comes after Hong Kong’s legislature in early June approved a contentious bill making it illegal to insult the Chinese national anthem. Pro-China figures have also been pushing for more “patriotic” education to be introduced into the curriculum in hopes that will boost their identification with Beijing.

___

Moritsugu reported from Beijing.

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Sources: White House aware of Russian bounties in 2019

By JAMES LaPORTA

Top officials in the White House were aware in early 2019 of classified intelligence indicating Russia was secretly offering bounties to the Taliban for the deaths of Americans, a full year earlier than has been previously reported, according to U.S. officials with direct knowledge of the intelligence.

The assessment was included in at least one of President Donald Trump’s written daily intelligence briefings at the time, according to the officials. Then-national security adviser John Bolton also told colleagues at the time that he briefed Trump on the intelligence assessment in March 2019.

The White House didn’t respond to questions about Trump or other officials’ awareness of Russia’s provocations in 2019. The White House has said Trump wasn’t — and still hasn’t been — briefed on the intelligence assessments because they haven’t been fully verified. However, it’s rare for intelligence to be confirmed without a shadow of a doubt before it is presented to top officials.

Bolton declined to comment Monday when asked by the AP if he’d briefed Trump about the matter in 2019. On Sunday, he suggested to NBC that Trump was claiming ignorance of Russia’s provocations to justify his administration’s lack of response.

“He can disown everything if nobody ever told him about it,” Bolton said.

The revelations cast new doubt on the White House’s efforts to distance Trump from the Russian intelligence assessments. The AP reported Sunday that concerns about Russian bounties also were in a second written presidential daily briefing this year and that current national security adviser Robert O’Brien had discussed the matter with Trump. O’Brien denies doing that.

On Monday, O’Brien said that while the intelligence assessments regarding Russian bounties “have not been verified,” the administration has “been preparing should the situation warrant action.”

The administration’s earlier awareness of the Russian efforts raises additional questions about why Trump didn’t take punitive action against Moscow for efforts that put the lives of American service members at risk. Trump has sought throughout his time in office to improve relations with Russia and President Vladimir Putin, moving this year to try to reinstate Russia as part of a group of world leaders it had been kicked out of.

Officials said they didn’t consider the intelligence assessments in 2019 to be particularly urgent, given Russian meddling in Afghanistan isn’t a new occurrence. The officials with knowledge of Bolton’s apparent briefing for Trump said it contained no “actionable intelligence,” meaning the intelligence community didn’t have enough information to form a strategic plan or response. However, the classified assessment of Russian bounties was the sole purpose of the meeting.

The officials insisted on anonymity because they weren’t authorized to disclose the highly sensitive information.

The intelligence that surfaced in early 2019 indicated Russian operatives had become more aggressive in their desire to contract with the Taliban and members of the Haqqani Network, a militant group aligned with the Taliban in Afghanistan and designated a foreign terrorist organization in 2012 during the Obama administration.

The National Security Council and the undersecretary of defense for intelligence held meetings regarding the intelligence. The NSC didn’t respond to questions about the meetings.

Late Monday, the Pentagon issued a statement saying it was evaluating the intelligence but so far had “no corroborating evidence to validate the recent allegations.”

“Regardless, we always take the safety and security of our forces in Afghanistan — and around the world — most seriously and therefore continuously adopt measures to prevent harm from potential threats,” said Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman.

Concerns about Russian bounties flared anew this year after members of the elite Naval Special Warfare Development Group, known to the public as SEAL Team Six, raided a Taliban outpost and recovered roughly $500,000 in U.S. currency. The funds bolstered the suspicions of the American intelligence community that Russians had offered money to Taliban militants and linked associations.

The White House contends the president was unaware of this development, too.

The officials told the AP that career government officials developed potential options for the White House to respond to the Russian aggression in Afghanistan, which was first reported by The New York Times. However, the Trump administration has yet to authorize any action.

The intelligence in 2019 and 2020 surrounding Russian bounties was derived in part from debriefings of captured Taliban militants. Officials with knowledge of the matter told the AP that Taliban operatives from opposite ends of the country and from separate tribes offered similar accounts.

Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov denied Russian intelligence officers had offered payments to the Taliban in exchange for targeting U.S. and coalition forces.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called the Taliban’s chief negotiator, a spokesman for the insurgents said Tuesday, but it was unknown whether there was any mention during their conversation of allegations about Russian bounties. Pompeo pressed the insurgents to reduce violence in Afghanistan and discussed ways of advancing a U.S.-Taliban peace deal signed in February, the Taliban spokesman tweeted.

The U.S. is investigating whether Americans died because of the Russian bounties. Officials are focused on an April 2019 attack on an American convoy. Three U.S. Marines were killed after a car rigged with explosives detonated near their armored vehicles as they returned to Bagram Airfield, the largest U.S. military installation in Afghanistan.

The Defense Department identified them as Marine Staff Sgt. Christopher Slutman, 43, of Newark, Delaware; Sgt. Benjamin Hines, 31, of York, Pennsylvania; and Cpl. Robert Hendriks, 25, of Locust Valley, New York. They were infantrymen assigned to 2nd Battalion, 25th Marines, a reserve infantry unit headquartered out of Garden City, New York.

Hendriks’ father told the AP that even a rumor of Russian bounties should have been immediately addressed.

“If this was kind of swept under the carpet as to not make it a bigger issue with Russia, and one ounce of blood was spilled when they knew this, I lost all respect for this administration and everything,” Erik Hendriks said.

Three other service members and an Afghan contractor were wounded in the attack. As of April 2019, the attack was under a separate investigation, unrelated to the Russian bounties.

The officials who spoke to the AP also said they were looking closely at insider attacks from 2019 to determine if they were linked to Russian bounties.

Associated Press writers Zeke Miller and Deb Riechmann in Washington, Deepti Hajela in New York and Vladimir Isachenkov in Moscow contributed to this report.

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Landlord and tenant plead guilty to sexually assaulting neighborhood girls in Laguna Hills

SANTA ANA — A Laguna Hills landlord pleaded guilty Monday to sexually assaulting two 7-year-old girls, and one of his tenants pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting another 7-year-old girl.

Tomas L. Fabian, 51, pleaded guilty to four felony counts of lewd or lascivious acts with a minor younger than 14, according to court records.

Cleto Angeles Trejo, 59, who rented a room in Fabian’s home, pleaded guilty to six felony counts of lewd or lascivious acts with a minor younger than 14, according to court records.

The victims lived in the neighborhood, according to authorities.

The two are scheduled to be sentenced Oct. 23.

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California’s alleged Golden State Killer set to plead guilty

By DON THOMPSON

SACRAMENTO — Forty years after a sadistic suburban rapist terrorized California in what investigators later realized were a series of linked assaults and slayings, a 74-year-old former police officer is expected to plead guilty Monday to being the elusive Golden State Killer.

The deal will spare Joseph James DeAngelo Jr. any chance of the death penalty for 13 murders and 13 kidnapping-related charges spanning six counties. In partial return, survivors of the assaults that spanned the 1970s and 1980s expect him to admit to up to 62 rapes that he could not be criminally charged with because too much time has passed.

Yet nothing is certain until he actually speaks in a Sacramento State University ballroom pressed into use as a courtroom to provide for social distancing during the coronavirus pandemic.

“I’ve been on pins and needles because I just don’t like that our lives are tied to him, again,” said Jennifer Carole, the daughter of Lyman Smith, a lawyer who was slain in 1980 at age 43 in Ventura County. His wife, 33-year-old Charlene Smith, was also raped and killed.

Investigators early on connected certain crimes to an armed and masked rapist who would break into sleeping couples’ suburban homes at night, binding the man and piling dishes on his back. He would threaten to kill both victims if he heard the plates fall while he raped the woman.

Gay and Bob Hardwick were among the survivors.

They are now looking forward to DeAngelo admitting to that 1978 assault. The death penalty was never realistic anyway, she said, given DeAngelo’s age and Gov. Gavin Newsom’s moratorium on executions.

“He certainly does deserve to die, in my view, so I am seeing that he is trading the death penalty for death in prison,” she said. “It will be good to put the thing to rest. I think he will never serve the sentence that we have served — we’ve served the sentence for 42 years.”

A guilty plea and life sentence avoids a trial or even the planned weeks-long preliminary hearing. The victims expect to confront him at his sentencing in August, where it’s expected to take several days to tell DeAngelo and Sacramento County Superior Court Judge Michael Bowman what they have suffered.


Newlyweds Keith and Patty Harrington were killed in August 1980. They are believed to be among the victims of the Golden State Killer. (Courtesy of the Harrington family)

Ron Harrington’s younger brother, Keith, was married to Patty Harrington for just three months when they were bludgeoned to death in their Orange County home in 1980 by a killer then known as the Original Night Stalker.

All four brothers were successful, but “Keith, the youngest of all of us, was the smartest,” he said. “It’s just such a loss. And every time this comes up I think of all the lives he would have saved as an emergency room doctor.”

Their father found the couple two days later.

“It was so gruesome,” Harrington said. ”My dad was never the same.”


Manuela Witthuhn, 28 was bound, raped and bludgeoned to death in 1981 in the bedroom of a single-story house in Irvine. She was alone. Her husband, David, was hospitalized at the time. DNA evidence led authorities to link the crime to the East Area Rapist, now known as the Golden State Killer. (File photo)

 


Janelle Cruz, killed in 1986, is believed to have been a victim of the Golden State Killer. (File photo)

 

The killer racked up a series of monikers for his crimes over the decades.

Visalia Ransacker.

East Area Rapist.

Original Night Stalker.

Diamond Knot Killer.

But it wasn’t until years later that investigators connected a series of assaults in central and Northern California to later slayings in Southern California and settled on the umbrella Golden State Killer nickname for the mysterious assailant whose crimes spanned 11 counties from 1974 through mid-1986.

The mystery sparked worldwide interest, a best-selling book and a six-part HBO documentary, “I’ll Be Gone in the Dark,” that premiered Sunday.

It was only the pioneering use of new DNA techniques that two years ago led investigators to DeAngelo, who was fired from the Auburn Police Department northeast of Sacramento in 1979 after he was caught shoplifting dog repellent and a hammer. He previously had worked as a police officer in the Central Valley town of Exeter from 1973 to 1976, near where the Visalia Ransacker struck more than 100 homes south of Fresno.

Investigators painstakingly built a family tree by linking decades-old crime scene DNA to a distant relative through a popular online DNA database. They eventually narrowed in on DeAngelo with a process that has since been used in other cases nationwide, but said they confirmed the link only after surreptitiously collecting his DNA from his car door and a discarded tissue.

His defense attorneys have publicly lobbied since then for a deal that would spare him the death penalty, though they did not respond to repeated requests for comment before Monday’s hearing.

Prosecutors who had sought the death penalty cited the massively complicated case and the advancing age of many of the victims and witnesses in agreeing to consider the plea bargain.

“Death doesn’t solve anything. But him having to sit though a trial or preliminary hearing, that would have helped,” said Carole, who said neither she nor her slain father believed in capital punishment.

She was so committed to seeing the case through that she temporarily moved from Santa Cruz to her adult daughter’s Sacramento home, where she has slept on an air mattress in a spare bedroom. She has told the story of her father’s death and her own recent experiences through podcasts called The Lawyer’s Daughter.

But she said it “absolutely” makes sense for prosecutors to agree to a life sentence without parole, both to spare older victims and witnesses who are most vulnerable to the coronavirus from having to appear in court, and to save taxpayers the $20 million projected cost of a trial.

Harrington supports the death penalty, but also agreed with prosecutors’ decision “just to give some degree of closure.”

“This will be a relief for all of us, to move on with our lives,” said Hardwick. “We’ve dealt with the effects of the attack for 42 years.”

***

These are the charges faced by DeAngelo. The charges linked to rapes were filed as kidnappings to commit robberies because the statute of limitations for sexual assaults has expired.

Contra Costa County:Four counts of kidnapping to commit robbery using a gun and knife between Oct. 7, 1978, and June 11, 1979, with the victims identified as Jane Does numbers 10-13.

Orange County:Four counts of murder in the Aug. 21, 1980, slaying of Keith Harrington, 24, and rape and slaying of Patrice Harrington, 27, of Dana Point; the Feb. 6, 1981, rape and slaying of Manuela Witthuhn, 28, of Irvine; and the May 5, 1986, rape and slaying of Janelle Cruz, 18, of Irvine.

Sacramento County:Two counts of murder in the Feb. 2, 1978, shootings of Kate Maggoire, 20, and Brian Maggoire, 21, as they walked their dog in their Rancho Cordova neighborhood.

Nine counts of kidnapping to commit robbery using a gun and knife between Sept. 4, 1976, and Oct. 21, 1977, with the victims identified as Jane Does numbers 1-9.

Santa Barbara County:Four counts of murder in the Dec. 30, 1979, rape and slaying of Debra Manning, 35, and slaying of Robert Offerman, 44, of Goleta, and in the July 27, 1981, slaying of Gregory Sanchez, 27, and Cheri Domingo, 35, of Goleta.

Tulare County:One count of murder in the Sept. 11, 1975, slaying of Claude Snelling, 45, during an attempted kidnapping of the victim’s daughter from their home.

Ventura County:Two counts of murder in the rape and slaying of Charlene Smith, 33, and slaying of Lyman Smith, 43, of Ventura between March 13 and March 16, 1980.

Source for charges: Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office.

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Thunder is a sweet, loving cat who deserves his own bed

Breed: Domestic shorthair


Thunder is a sweet guy ready to love someone. (Courtesy of Long Beach Spay and Neuter Foundation)

Age: 10 years

Gender: Neutered male

Thunder’s story: Thunder is a quiet senior who is looking for a kind, loving person to care for him. He lived outside someone’s home for 10 years, but despite having little human contact, he is a sweet, loving guy. Thunder deserves a bed or his own and to live indoors for the second part of his life. He’s fully vaccinated and microchipped.

Adoption donation: $50

Adoption procedure: Contact Lorraine with Long Beach Spay & Neuter Foundation at 562-544-0335 or lbsn2006@yahoo.com to arrange a meeting.

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2 Republicans opposed by Trump win in North Carolina, Kentucky

By CHRISTINA A. CASSIDY, PIPER HUDSPETH BLACKBURN and ALAN FRAM

LOUISVILLE, Ky.  — Voters rebuffed President Donald Trump and nominated two Republicans he opposed to House seats from North Carolina and Kentucky on Tuesday. Calls in higher-profile races in Kentucky and New York faced days of delay as swamped officials count mountains of mail-in ballots.

In western North Carolina, GOP voters picked 24-year-old investor Madison Cawthorn, who uses a wheelchair following an accident, over Trump-backed real estate agent Lynda Bennett. The runoff was for the seat vacated by GOP Rep. Mark Meadows, who resigned to become Trump’s chief of staff and joined his new boss in backing Bennett.

Kentucky Republican Rep. Thomas Massie, a libertarian-minded maverick who often clashes with GOP leaders, was renominated for a sixth House term. Trump savaged Massie in March as a “disaster for America” who should be ejected from the party after he forced lawmakers to return to Washington during a pandemic to vote on a huge economic relief package.

Cawthorn, who will meet the constitutionally mandated minimum age of 25 when the next Congress convenes, has said he’s a Trump supporter, and Massie is strongly conservative. Still, their victories were an embarrassment to a president whose own reelection campaign has teetered recently.

As states ease voting by mail because of the coronavirus pandemic, a deluge of mail-in ballots and glacially slow counting procedures made delays inevitable. That torturous wait seemed a preview of November, when more states will embrace mail-in voting and officials warn that uncertainty over who is the next president could linger for days.

Kentucky usually has 2% of its returns come from mail ballots. This year officials expect that figure to exceed 50%, and over 400,000 mail ballots were returned by Sunday.

New York officials expect the vast majority of votes to be mail ballots this year, compared to their typical 5% share. Counties have until eight days after Election Day to count and release the results of mail ballots, with 1.7 million requested by voters.

In the day’s marquee contests, two African American candidates with campaigns energized by nationwide protests for racial justice were challenging white Democratic establishment favorites for the party’s nominations.

First-term state legislator Charles Booker was hoping a late surge would carry him past former Marine fighter pilot Amy McGrath for the Democratic Senate nomination from Kentucky. And in New York, political newcomer Jamaal Bowman was seeking to derail House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel’s bid for a 17th term.

In Kentucky, many counties including Jefferson, the state’s largest, faced piles of mail-in ballots and reported no results. The Associated Press doesn’t expect to call the McGrath-Booker race until June 30, when Kentucky plans to release additional tallies.

Even so, Booker and supporters gathered in Louisville chanted ’from the ‘hood to the holler,” the slogan he hoped would help build a coalition of urban Blacks and rural whites.

“We have the opportunity to transform history,” Booker said.

The AP was also delaying its call in New York’s Engel-Bowman race, pending additional vote tallies.

In other contests, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky easily won the Republican nomination for a seventh Senate term and will be favored in November against McGrath or Booker.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., won renomination, cementing her rise from obscurity to progressive icon status when she ousted Democratic Rep. Joe Crowley, on track to become speaker, from the New York City district.

In Virginia, retired Army Col. Daniel Gade won the GOP Senate nomination but seems certain to lose to Democratic Sen. Mark Warner in November. Republican Scott Taylor will face Democratic Rep. Elaine Luria in a rematch between two Navy veterans in a Virginia Beach district from which she toppled him in 2018.

And Cameron Webb, a health policy researcher, won the Democratic nomination for a central Virginia House district. GOP Rep. Denver Riggleman lost his party’s nomination, fueling Democrats’ hopes that Webb, an African American, can capture the seat.

Voters endured 90-minute waits in Kentucky’s second-largest city, Lexington, and social media posts showed long lines in New York’s Westchester County deep into the evening. Yet overall, the day’s problems seemed less widespread than in recent elections in Georgia and Nevada, where some people stood in line for hours.

In Louisville, voting advocates complained that an unknown number of people stayed home because of difficulty traveling to the city’s single polling place — the Kentucky Exposition Center.

“In my neighborhood, most people don’t have cars,” said voter Michael Baker. “It’s not fair for them to have one site.”

A judge kept the polling place open an extra half hour after about 175 people, some of whom pounded on the building’s doors, demanded to vote. Louisville, the state’s biggest city, has 600,000 residents.

In the big New York and Kentucky contests, Democrats were watching whether nationwide protests sparked by last month’s killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police would translate to a decisive turnout by African American and progressive voters.

Kentucky’s McGrath has a military resume, centrists views and fundraising abilities that helped her win support from Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., to oppose McConnell.

Booker’s campaign caught fire after he attended recent protests against the March police killing of 26-year-old Breonna Taylor in her Louisville home. That helped him win support from progressive Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and the state’s two largest newspapers.

In one measure of McGrath’s financial advantage, she has spent $16 million in ads compared to Booker’s $2 million, according to Advertising Analytics, which studies campaign advertising.

In New York, Engel is supported by Democratic stars like Hillary Clinton, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the Congressional Black Caucus, plus major labor unions. He’s one of Congress’ most liberal members.

Bowman, an educator, has drawn strength from anti-racism protests and his accusations that Engel has grown aloof from his diverse district in parts of the Bronx and Westchester. Bowman has been helped by progressive groups and lawmakers like Sanders.

Cassidy reported from Atlanta and Fram reported from Washington. Associated Press writers Alexandra Jaffe and Stephen Ohlemacher in Washington, Sophia Tulp in Leawood, Kan., Michael Warren in Atlanta and Gary Robertson in Raleigh, N.C., contributed to this report.

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2 accused of possessing child pornography in Orange County

A 28-year-old man was arrested Tuesday in Santa Ana on suspicion of possessing “thousands” of child sexual abuse images and videos.


Jaime Castillo (Santa Ana Police Department)

An investigator with the Santa Ana Police Department began investigating Jaime Castillo in March for allegedly trading child erotica and child sexual abuse materials, commonly known as child pornography, according to the department.

Over the two-month investigation, involving nine search warrants, thousands of images and videos of child sexual abuse were found to be stored by Castillo, and he allegedly sent more than 75 images and videos depicting the sexual abuse of “young children,” the Santa Ana Police Department said.

Police tracked the IP address to a home in Santa Ana, and on Tuesday morning they executed a search warrant at the home, which “reaffirmed the suspicion that Castillo was storing the sexually explicit files in several data storage devices located in his home,” according to the Santa Ana Police Department.

Castillo was arrested and the devices were seized, police said.

Also, a 38-year-old man twice convicted of possession of child pornography was charged Monday with the same offense in Anaheim.

Santos Chris Hernandez pleaded not guilty at his arraignment in the jail courtroom in Santa Ana to bringing obscene matter into California and possession and control of child pornography with a prior conviction, both felonies, according to court records.

Hernandez’s probation officer discovered child pornography on Hernandez’s cellphone and reported it to Anaheim police on June 16, according to Anaheim police Sgt. Shane Carringer.

Hernandez is accused of possession more than 600 images, including 10 or more images involving a child younger than 12, according to the criminal complaint.

Hernandez pleaded guilty to possession and control of child pornography and carrying a dirk or dagger, both misdemeanors, in January 2013.

Hernandez also pleaded guilty to possession or control of child pornography with a prior conviction, sale or distribution of obscene matter of children and distribution of pornography to a minor with the intent to engage in sexual conduct in March 2018 and sentenced to two years in prison.

Hernandez was ordered to return to court July 7 for a pretrial hearing in the North Justice Center in Fullerton.

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