Jussie Smollett staged hoax attack as ‘publicity stunt…to promote his career’: Police

first_imgABC News(CHICAGO) — Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie T. Johnson blasted Jussie Smollett in an emotional press conference on Thursday in which he said that Smollett’s alleged staging of a hoax attack was a “publicity stunt…to promote his career.”“Jussie Smollett tool advantage of the pain and anger of racism to promote his career,” Johnson said. “Why would anyone especially an African-American man, use the symbolism of a noose to make false accusations? … How can an individual who’s been embraced by the city of Chicago turn around and slap everyone in the city in the face with these false claims?”Johnson charged that Smollett, an actor on the hit show ‘Empire’ who has consistently denied any role in staging the alleged attack, orchestrated it because he was “dissatisfied with his salary.”In addition to staging the attack, officials said, Smollett also sent himself a hate-filled letter to the Fox studio where the hit show is filmed.Smollett turned himself in at 5:15 a.m. local time and made a statement to police before being taken into custody. His lawyers, Todd Pugh and Victor Henderson, were not present at the time but they released the following statement the night before, “Like any other citizen, Mr. Smollett enjoys the presumption of innocence, particularly when there has been an investigation like this one where information, both true and false, has been repeatedly leaked. Given these circumstances, we intend to conduct a thorough investigation and to mount an aggressive defense.”Police add that Smollett gave no statement to police after turning himself in and that his lawyers had reached out to them Wednesday night to discuss his surrender.During a press briefing later Thursday morning, Chicago law enforcement officials said that Chicago police detectives interviewed more than 100 people and reviewed dozens of police cameras trying to get to the bottom of Smollett’s claims.Johnson, a well-regarded and popular big city police chief and Chicago native, appearing genuinely aggrieved as he described how, he said, Smollett took advantage of the pain of racism to advance his career.“Why would anyone use the symbol of a noose” to further his “own public profile,” Johnson wondered aloud.“I’m offended by what happened and I’m angry,” Johnson continued. “This publicity stunt was a scar that Chicago didn’t own and certainly didn’t deserve.”Smollett told police he was attacked by two masked men near his apartment in Chicago. The two men, Smollett initially said, shouted racist and homophobic slurs at him as a rope was wrapped around his neck and a chemical compound was poured on him. The alleged assailants yelled “MAGA country,” a reference to President Donald Trump’s “Make American Great Again” slogan, police were told.In an interview with “Good Morning America” anchor Robin Roberts, Smollett said he was heartbroken when he found out that people questioned his story.Police identified and questioned two “persons of interest” captured on surveillance video near the scene around the time of the alleged attack. The men, who are brothers, were arrested on Feb. 13 but then released without charges, with police saying they were no longer considered suspects.While being questioned by investigators, the brothers claimed that Smollett paid them to help orchestrate and stage the crime after he became upset that a letter threatening him, sent Jan. 22 to the Fox studio where “Empire” is filmed, did not get enough attention, sources told ABC News.On Wednesday, Smollett was charged with felony disorderly conduct for filing a false crime report. By that evening, police officially had classified the actor as a suspect in the ongoing investigation. Detectives subsequently presented evidence to a Cook County grand jury.“That was a pretty hateful allegation, and it really put a terrible look on Chicago,” Guglielmi told ABC Chicago station WLS in a telephone interview Thursday morning. “Chicago trusted this young man. We loved ‘Empire,’ and we took this very seriously that something this hateful could happen in our city.”Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.last_img read more

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Contactless or not? Credit unions should really give it a thought

first_imgWhen checks were first introduced, experts predicted it was the death of cash. Then came along credit cards, and once again, cash was expected to fizzle out. Then came debit cards, and, unsurprisingly, experts unanimously assumed we’d reached the end of both cash and checks.When Apple Pay initially launched in 2014, it was predicted that mobile pay options, powered by near field communication technology (NFC), would soar and eclipse other types of payments.Yet, cash and checks are still around. Even with Apple Pay, the preponderance of non-cash transactions continues to be handled using plastic cards.Now comes the question of contactless cards – are they a defensive or offensive strategy?Contactless payments pioneered in 2003, but acceptance at the point of sale was not a standard until the mass adoption of EMV cards in 2015. Although most top retailers accept contactless card payments, consumers have yet to fully accept and adopt this new method. Issuers such as Citi, Amex, Chase and Bank of America continue to lead the charge, but we have yet to see the shift in consumer payment methods.While most financial institutions are focused on finding ways to capitalize on NFC, consumers, on the other hand, are in a frenzy to understand the best method to use for their transactions: Should they insert, swipe, hover, or tap?Realizing that mobile pay isn’t going away anytime soon, financial institutions are in a rush to promote contactless cards. They hope that by issuing these cards, they’ll be able to avoid giving away 15 basis points of every credit card transaction and a half cent on every debit card transaction to Apple, or any of the other mobile wallet providers.Credit unions are faced with a tough decision to make – in order to keep their member base active, they have to add NFC. At the same time, however, adding NFC cards will only spread awareness of the ease and speed of contactless payments, ultimately highlighting the attractiveness of the mobile payment experience even more.Credit unions should consider the following points in order to help make their decisions:Evaluate your portfolio usage patterns: What percentage of your member base is using Apple Pay or any other form of mobile payment? What percentage of your transactions are being routed through mobile wallets?Evaluate your portfolio demographics: Not every consumer wants to pay with a mobile device. Apple might consider Apple Pay as the future of transactions, but still didn’t hesitate to release the Apple Card.Educate your Members: Credit unions need to up their marketing efforts to educate their members on the benefits of contactless vs. EMV chip vs. digital wallet if they don’t want to lose to mobile wallet providers.Offer additional enhancements: Although contactless cards are secure, they still don’t offer the same level of security as the fingerprint, facial scan, and two-factor authentication features of mobile payments. To really push contactless cards, credit unions need to provide slick financial management tools that can compete with what mobile wallets offer.Despite the growing popularity of mobile payment options, plastic cards aren’t going away any time soon – as long as they have contactless features, of course. Similar to what we witnessed with the evolution of cash and checks, we’re going to see a shift in the channels or methods Members use to make payments. As with every strategy, Member Experience is essential, and thus payment fragmentation becomes pivotal in educating our members to use the best method of payment. 9SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Aris Jerahian Aris is the AVP of Card Services at Orange County’s Credit Union.  A payment industry executive with more than 15 years of credit, debit portfolio management, consulting and operational … Web: www.orangecountyscu.org Detailslast_img read more

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Experts voice concerns over planned Italian second-pillar fund

first_imgA planned new publicly-run occupational pension fund for Italy is flawed and the country’s Social Security Institute (INPS) would be unsuitable to run it, according to industry experts.Claudio Pinna of consultancy group Aon and Antonio Iaquinta of State Street Global Advisors (SSGA) both told IPE that they doubted the INPS would be capable of managing the fund proposed earlier this month by the agency’s president, Pasquale Tridico.Pinna, head of retirement consulting business in Italy for Aon, said: “INPS is the institute which is dedicated to managing social security and my feeling is that this should be their main focus.“Social security in Italy is managed on a pay-as-you-go basis, and they are not experts at managing assets in that kind of way.” “We need to focus and develop the private pension system, but not in this way”Claudio Pinna, Aon“They should be focused on social security, including the funded part of social security, to allow the institute to guarantee a high quality of service to the employees around the country in Italy – and certainly the quality can be increased,” he said.Iaquinta, head of institutional clients in Italy at SSGA, said the proposal – one of a series of ideas for the Italian labour market conditions presented earlier this month – was not a good idea.“INPS has always had a specific mission. What is being discussed now is a different task and you need skilled people to do it, so it is difficult to think that INPS has the in-house expertise to run a complementary scheme,” he said.Iaquinta also said that, if the goal of the new scheme was to increase the number of Italian workers in the second pillar, there was still a lot of room to boost numbers within existing DC schemes.“We are at around a 30% participation rate,” he said. “The lack of offering is not the main reason behind the current low participation rate. It is mainly the lack of knowledge, financial education and, unfortunately, the lack of a consistent and productive public campaign on the importance of creating a second pillar scheme for yourselves.”Iaquinta also voiced concern about Tridico’s proposal for the planned new fund to invest more in Italy. “It can be a good idea to invest more in Italy and within Italy, but it is not a good thing to concentrate all the investments in one country,” he said. “Diversification is a key element.”Developing the systemAon’s Pinna conceded that the chairman of INPS had raised some key issues in his broader speech on 10 July.“The development of the private pension system in Italy is crucial, and I agree that these are important points that the government should assess,” he said.The 30% participation rate, combined with workplace pension assets amounting to less than 10% of GDP, demonstrated that the private sector pension system required change, Pinna said.“It is still not in line with the needs of the employees,” he added. “Tridico is correct; we need to focus and develop the private pension system, but not in this way.”Pinna also challenged Tridico’s assertion that there was a lack of transparency in the private pension system.“Although this was probably was true in the past for some pension funds, with the new IORP II directive, pension funds are applying these rules so there is a lot of transparency here,” said Pinna. He added that INPS was already managing two big reforms taking place in the next three years, involving a national minimum level of income and early retirement for some workers.center_img Antonio Iaquinta, SSGASSGA’s Iaquinta supported the government’s and INPS’ belief in the importance of retirement savings, but called for a focus on existing schemes rather than new solutions.“Instead of thinking about creating something new, let’s focus first on what it is already available,” he said. “Let’s focus the effort on the current second-pillar schemes and work with them on increasing the participation rates. Let’s increase the resources there, which can then be invested more and more within Italy, encouraging a virtuous circle.”IPE has contacted INPS requesting more details of the proposal, but as yet has received no response.The plan outlined by Tridico has already been rejected by the undersecretary of state in the Ministry of Labour and Social Policies, Claudio Durigon, and has met with opposition from Italian trade unions.last_img read more

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Secretary of Navy Says Trump’s Tweet is Not a Formal Order

first_imgSecretary of the U.S. Navy Richard Spencer says that he does not consider a tweet by President Trump to be an order, and that he would need a formal order to stop a review of a sailor who could lose Navy Seal status.The comments came after President Trump tweeted last Thursday: That tweet was sparked by the Navy notifying Chief Petty Officer Edward Gallagher last Wednesday that he will face a review in early December to determine whether he should remain on the elite force.Gallagher was acquitted of a murder charge in the stabbing death of an Islamic State militant captive. However, a military jury convicted him of posing with the corpse.last_img

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WATCH LIVE: President Trump Makes History Speaks at March for Life

first_imgPresident Trump will attend a pro-life march in Washington, DC today. It will be the first time a president has attended the annual March for Life. It won’t be the first time Trump has made history at the event. In 2018, he became the first president to address the March for Life through a video message. Then he and the first lady will board Air Force One and fly south to PBIA and spend the weekend at Mar-a-Lago.last_img

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Florida boy brought 2 guns, 4 knives to middle school

first_imgA 13-year-old student was arrested Tuesday after he brought two guns and four knives to Jenkins Middle School in Palatka.Sheriff Deputies responded to a call from the middle school after the school’s resource officer and administrators received a tip about the weapons.Police say the they discovered the weapons in his backpack, and they don’t know why he was carrying them.The teen faces multiple felony charges of possession of a weapon on school grounds, the Florida Times-Union reported.During a news conference Putnam County Sheriff Gator DeLoach said that weapons get on school campuses far too often.  He said it’s the second time this year that a middle school student has brought weapons to school.last_img

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