10 Year-Old Violinist Raises Money for Hurricane-Affected Pets at Austin City Limits Festival

Austin, Texas. As tens of thousands of people geared up for this year’s Austin City Limits festival, one kid in particular was more nervous than anyone else. Ten year-old Jackson Wreden was due to play his favorite violin all weekend. But not just because he dreams of becoming a musical maestro. Oh no.

The young fiddler was playing the popular music event in order to raise money. His goal? $1,000. The charity? Austin Pets Alive! A foundation set up to help animals affected by Hurricane Harvey. The devastating natural disaster displaced a lot of pets and Jackson here really wanted to help.

Hurricane Harvey caused almost unprecedented havoc in the US recently. There were 77 confirmed fatalities and more than $70bn worth of damage done. But while most of the problems have been measured in human terms, Jackson was more interested in the issues that local animals have had to face since the shocking winds blew in.

To get people to put their hands in their pockets, he stationed himself outside the festival entrance with a series of homemade signs and his violin. Then he just started playing!

“I really love pets,” Jackson says, “and I really love animals, and I want to help them out. Now they don’t have their families anymore,” he went on. “And they need new families.”

The Austin City Limits Music Festival is a yearly music festival held in Zilker Park in Austin, Texas.

Other kids were raising raising at the festival too. Like the pupils of Austin High School. The school rented out their parking lot for $40 a space. A neat idea that bolstered the school’s music department nicely.

“We think it’s a great deal,” Renee Toy, mother to an AHS senior, said.

Renee has volunteered at the fundraising event every year that her son has attended the school. The money that is raised usually goes towards things like buying instruments, taking on consultants and paying for travel expenses.

“I think every year we raise between $9,000-$10,000,” she continued. “All of that goes straight to the band. Several organizations get to participate. So today is the band fundraiser, last night was theater and next Saturday will be for the football team.”

Jackson hit his target of a thousand bucks and his friends and family could not have been more supportive, pleased or proud of him. His was a truly selfless act and he’s done a lot of good the community and, of course, for the animals. And the youngsters at Austin High School did great too…

Good work, kids!

 

Life in Jail for Homeless Man That Murdered Good Samaritan Family That Took Him In

They thought they were doing a good deed. When the Wilkinson family took a down-on-his-luck young man off the streets and invited him into their home, it was an act of pure kindness. But it was to be one which was to lead to half of the family being murdered…

Aaron Barley was homeless and desperate. Tracey and Peter Wilkinson, from Stourbridge in the West Midlands, England, took pity on him. They wanted to help him out. He moved into their home. They bought him a mobile phone. They gave him money, food, work, shelter and friendship. He would repay them by stabbing Tracey, Peter and 13 year-old Pierce repeatedly with a kitchen knife. Only Peter would survive his wounds.

Speaking to The Sun, Mr Wilkinson said: ‘I always walk the dog at 7am and Tracey always left me a cup of tea on the kitchen counter for when I got back. On that Thursday morning there was no cup there.’

He went on: ‘This is how the evil piece of scum repaid us. I will feel guilty for the rest of my life for letting this man get so close to my family.’

Barley has just been sentenced to thirty years behind bars for his vile crime.

Police investigate the scene of the crime in Stourbridge.

His 19 year-old daughter Lydia, 19, managed to escape the attack because she was away at Bristol University at the time. She told newspapers how she had surprised her mother on Mother’s Day by hiding in the back of her dad’s car just four days before the fateful stabbing.

She also spoke to The Sun, saying: ‘When he got back Dad asked Mum to go outside and open the boot of the Land Rover to get her present but to close her eyes. When she did I jumped out. We fell into each other’s arms and cried tears of joy.’

The presiding judge told Barley on sentencing him that he had ‘abused the victims’ family’s extraordinary kindness and generosity’.

‘You abused your knowledge of the family home, which you had only gained through the Wilkinsons’ extraordinary kindness and generosity to you,’ the judge continued. ‘Mrs Wilkinson and Pierce, only 13, were in bed at home, where they were entitled to feel and should have been safe.’

‘You have shown no remorse – indeed only regret that Mr Wilkinson survived his injuries and at times satisfaction in what you did achieve. You knew that you were destroying the family. It is what you intended. The Wilkinson family, and in particular Mrs Wilkinson, had done nothing but their best to help you. Mr and Mrs Wilkinson were both financially and emotionally generous to you. You betrayed their trust in every way, exploiting the knowledge of their household.’

‘It is difficult to imagine what went through Mrs Wilkinson and Pierce’s minds when you attacked them but they must have been bewildered and terrified. One of them, at least, must have been aware of the stabbing of the other.’

Barley later admitted two counts of murder and one for the attempted murder of Mr Wilkinson. He will now serve a minimum life sentence of thirty years in prison.

 

Under-Fire Donald Trump Jr. Hires Lawyer Who Specializes In Organized Crime

We told you earlier in the week how Donald Trump Jr. has been accused of shady meetings with Russian lawyers in the lead up to the 2016 presidential election. He is said to have met Natalia Veselnitskaya and discussed how to hack the election to get his father in The White House. Both the Trumps and the Kremlin have since denied this, however.

But it seems as though the rumors won’t go away and Trump Jr. is getting angry. So he’s called the big boys in. He’s hired big shot New York criminal defense lawyer Alan Futerfas to fight his corner.

But, again, it’s another move that’s caused some controversy and concern. Futerfas is renowned for his work in getting criminals off. Organized crime figures, especially. But, ironically, he’s also represented some big-time hackers…

Trump Jr: Under pressure.

Politicians and those in the political elite usually hire one of a cabal of Washington DC-based attorneys. This is the first time someone like Donald Trump Jr. has gone outside of that circle in DC for some time. And it’s got many wondering if perhaps the Trump actually might have something to hide on this occasion.

Futerfas is famous for his work representing some pretty high-ranking gangsters in the New York mafia. The Bonanno, Gambino, Genovese and Colombo crime families have all hired him to work for them in the past.

“I know there are some optical issues that people are fixated on at the moment, but the reality is, nothing happened. We will get through the process,” Futerfas told The Washington Post on Monday night.

Donald Trump Jr. has already publicly denied any wrongdoing and claims that his meetings with the Russian lawyer were merely about Russian adoption policies. And some vague talk about the Russians having damaging information about Hillary Clinton during his father’s presidential election campaign.

“Her statements were vague, ambiguous and made no sense,” Trump Jr. said in a specially-released statement about the claims. “No details or supporting information was provided or even offered. It quickly became clear that she had no meaningful information,” he went on.

 

Jennifer Lopez Donates $1m to Hurricane Relief Effort in Puerto Rico

She may be Jenny from the Block, born and raised in New York City, but Jennifer Lopez is very much in touch with her Puerto Rican heritage. Her family are from the Caribbean island and she is a frequent visitor to the unincorporated US territory. So it’s not surprising that she would feel inclined to want to help out the island – and region – after the devastating natural disaster it’s going through at the moment.

Hurricane Maria has made a huge impact on Puerto Rico and, even a full fortnight after it struck, the place is still experiencing a nightmare. The place was torn to absolute shreds. It needs help and funds in a big way. And actor and musician Lopez has stepped up to the plate. Alongside her ex-husband Marc Anthony – himself a native New Yorker from a Puerto Rican family – are rallying friends and the public to help.

Not only that, but J-Lo herself is throwing more than one million US Dollars into the pot to help those worst affected by the tragic events. And she’s not alone. Latino stars Lin-Manuel Miranda, John Leguizamo, Ricky Martin, Pitbull and Alex Rodriguez have also joined the effort.

“Alex Rodriguez and I, who are both New Yorkers, are utilizing all our resources and relationships in entertainment, sports and business to garner support for Puerto Rican and Caribbean relief efforts,” Lopez recently said.

J-Lo’s ex Marc Anthony is also set to put his hand in his pocket to help out those affected.

“Hurricane Maria has devastated our island,” Ms. Lopez said during a live-streamed Twitter announcement. “Given the loss and devastation, we need to pay attention and to urgently support Puerto Rico and the Caribbean through donations and contributions.”

“Puerto Ricans are American citizens and today Puerto Rico needs our help,” Lopez went on.

Lopez is hardly strapped for cash, either. She’s had a fabulously successful career to date, starring in many big Hollywood movies like Anaconda, Maid in Manhattan, U-Turn and Out of Sight. She’s also sold millions of records and is currently performing what is now the seventh leg of her hugely popular Las Vegas residency, All I Have, which started back in January 2016. All I Have was easily the most successful Vegas residency of 2016 and the shows have raked in over $50m to date.

Puerto Rican singer-rapper Daddy Yankee has also dug deep. He donated $100,000 to the Red Cross during a recent telethon on Telemundo, a figure matched by the show’s host Don Francisco.

“I still live in Puerto Rico so I know the struggle that we’re going through right now,” Yankee told CNN host Alisyn Camerota.

Daddy Yankee’s Despacito collaborator Luis Fonsi is also helping to raise funds for the clean up operation over in Puerto Rico.

We wish everyone the best of luck and hope they raise as much as possible to assist those that need it most.

 

Manatees – They’re No Longer An Endangered Species

They may not be much to look at, but bless them, they’re lovable and even weirdly cute. They’re manatees and they’ve had a pretty tough time of it recently. But finally, these aquatic ‘sea cows’ have some good news to celebrate. They’re no longer an endangered species.

Manatees were actually one of the very first species of animals to be listed on the Endangered Species Protection Act of 1966. Alongside American alligators, whooping cranes, red wolves and grizzly bears. And it’s been a tough ride for them ever since.

One of their most famous people out there in the manatees’ corner and fighting for them is “Margaritaville” singer Jimmy Buffett. He co-founded the sea cow-friendly Save the Manatee Club way back in 1981. Buffett helped to bring some much-needed publicity for the manatee and their tale of woe.

Finally though, there’s excellent news. Manatees in Florida and the Caribbean are now just listed as ‘threatened’, instead of ‘endangered’.

Manatees are no longer an endangered species.

West Indian manatee numbers in Florida have been depleting for years, but now they’ve reached their highest figure in years at 6,620, which is being called “a dramatic turnaround from the 1970s, when just a few hundred individuals remained.” That’s what the US Fish and Wildlife Service said in a statement recently.

Jim Kurth, the US Fish and Wildlife Service’s acting director says this about the plight of the manatee:

“While there is still more work to be done to fully recover manatee populations, particularly in the Caribbean, manatee numbers are increasing and we are actively working with partners to address threats.”
“Today we both recognize the significant progress we have made in conserving manatee populations while reaffirming our commitment to continuing this species’ recovery and success throughout its range.”

They’re now just ‘threatened’

“The decision will not diminish any existing federal protections that will continue to play a vital role in the recovery of the species,” say the Fish and Wildlife Service. “The manatee will also continue to be protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act.”

So it’s good news for environmentalists and fans of the humble manatee. But it’s not entirely smooth sailing for the sea cow. They are still very much at risk. Boat collisions, pollution, climate change, loss of habitat. These things can all still affect them…

 

Teenager jailed for 13 years after pimping out young girls for sex

A teenage girl in California has been jailed for trafficking underage girls for sex. Callous 17 year-old Jelinajane Bedrijo Almario, from Fresno, has been sentenced to serve 13 years in jail after her part in luring and forcing a group of underage girls to work as prostitutes.

Almario was just 16 years of age when she committed the crimes and has, by all accounts, shown absolutely no remorse for her crimes.

One of the charges related to her use of verbal threats against the girls which is technically ‘making terrorist threats’ in US law.

Almario would post photographs of girls, who were often as young as 14 or 15, onto well-known prostitution websites, arrange meets with men and then take them to specific motels where the girls would then be raped.

Sadly, it’s not an uncommon story. Girls are tricked and forced into prostitution all across America and the world. But California has a particular problem. A few hours north of Fresno – in the relatively rural area of Humboldt County – an innocent young girl named Elle Snow tells her own troubling story of finding herself in deep trouble after meeting the wrong man one evening.

“I met my trafficker the same way a lot of us do. I didn’t realize that I had been marked. The next morning, I woke up and this man was standing in front of me. He had these 6 inch heels which I’ve never worn heels in my life being 6 feet tall and this little pink skirt. I’ve never worn pink in my life. And he wanted me to put these on and told me I had to get to work.”

“There was no way to get out of this situation. He took my clothes, my shoes, my keys, my phone, and eventually he started saying he is not who he said he was, that he’s actually a pimp, and this is how prostitutes are made.”

“The next thing I know was being taken to a brothel. The purchasers really want new products all the time. The sex traffickers like to move their victims frequently so they can’t get to know anyone and it’s harder for law enforcement to track them.”

Elle has since set up her own organization to combat underage sex trafficking called ‘Game Over’. She works tirelessly to help stop these dangerous offenders and help undo the damage that people like them and Jelinajane Bedrijo Almario do to young girls.

Here’s more on Elle’s really quite shocking story:

Kremlin Denies Knowledge Of Russian Lawyer That Met With Trump Jr.

It looks as though news of US President Donald Trump’s supposed links with the Russians just won’t go away. Hot on the heels of his first official meeting with Russian Head of State Vladimir Putin last week, Trump is again back in the news. But this time the story revolves around his son, Donald Jr.

News leaked recently of a meeting between the former Apprentice host’s son and a top Russian lawyer. The meet with lawyer Natalya Veselnitskaya and Trump Jr., Jared Kushner and Trump’s campaign chairman Paul Manafort happened before Trump Sr. was elected. And some Democrat detractors claim that the subject of election hacking was brought up.

Russian Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told the media this when asked to comment on reports saying that Veselnitskaya might have coordinated her meetings with the Russian authorities:

“No, we don’t know who she is as we obviously cannot track all the Russian lawyers in the country and abroad.”

There has been talk that Russia and US President Donald Trump have close ties.

Donald Trump Jr. has admitted to the meetings. He told The New York Times this about the Trump Tower liaison:

“We discussed a program about the adoption of Russian children that was active and popular with American families years ago and has since been ended by the Russian government. I was asked to attend the meeting by an acquaintance, but was not told the name of the person I would be meeting with beforehand.”

The New York Times claim that the Russian lawyer was known to the FBI. Trump Jr. wouldn’t comment on that, merely claiming that the meeting has something to do with ‘information that individuals connected to Russia were funding the Democratic National Committee and supporting Mrs. Clinton.’

President Trump and his team have been forced to repeatedly reject a string of damaging allegations about his campaign having illegal ties with Russia. One recurring accusation is that he was put into power by Putin and a group of hackers. That Russia and Trump effectively ‘hacked’ the 2016 US Presidential election.

The Trump camp and his supporter maintain that such allegations are scurrilous and are aimed primarily at belittling Donald Trump and at delegitimizing his presidency. The Kremlin have also come out multiple times to deny any involvement in destroying Hillary Clinton’s chances of presidency and being involved in putting Trump into power.

Hamburg Prepares For HUGE Protests As ‘Zombies’ Descend On The City

Hamburg, Germany. It may look like a scene from the popular AMC TV show The Walking Dead, but it’s anything but. In fact, this horde of shuffling zombies are actually part of widespread protests that threaten to spill into violence.

The reason for the unrest and disobedience? Well, Hamburg is hosting the G20 summits this week. A huge meeting of heads of state, the summits usually attract protests against various leaders and their controversial policies. Often, protesters are unhappy at their own country’s indifference to perceived issues in policy.

But this protest has something a little different. That’s right… Zombies. It’s a performance piece set up by ‘The 1,000 Gestalten’ (or ‘The 1,000 figures’), a collective who organized a thousand actors to descend upon city center at once on Wednesday. All covered in clay.

A 1,000 Gestalten spokesman said the following in a statement released to the press:

“We cannot wait until change happens from the world’s most powerful, we have to show political and social responsibility – all of us – now! Our campaign is a further symbol for the fact that many people do not want to put up with the destructive impact of capitalism any longer. What will save us in the end is not our account balance but someone who will offer their holding hand.”

Protesters are making their point in Hamburg in a vary unusual way.

“The main issue is that the summit is again, after Brisbane, in a democracy,” said Wolfgang Schmidt, a politician from the city who has been heavily involved in preparations for the summit.

“You want to make sure that protest and dissenting views are heard, but you also need to maintain security, and with 42 highly protected heads of state and finance and foreign ministers, it’s a challenge.”

Many fear that the German authorities will react to protests in an overly strict manner, but there’s no escaping that security needs to be very tight, given the names on the guest list. Protesters have every right to make their point and have their voices heard, but given the threat of terrorism around the summit, those who take their protests too far will surely find themselves at odds with the riot squad.

Climate change, war, freedom of speech, a free press, human rights… These are all topics that the protesters take issue with. And with figures like US President Donald Trump and President Erdogan from Turkey at the G20, it’s not surprising that people have taken to the streets.

“No demonstrator can decide whether or where heads of state and government meet in Germany on the chancellor’s invitation,” Thomas de Maiziere, the German interior minister said yesterday.

But the German government’s words and appeals for calm can only go so far. Will the protests continue at a sensible level? Or is Hamburg facing a disastrous few days of rioting and violence? Only time will tell.

Man wanted after acid attack on two people in East London

A victim of a horrible acid attack has alleged he and his cousin aged 21 were targets of a hate crime.

Jameel Muhktar, 37, and Resham Khan were inside a vehicle in Beckon, east London, when acid was tossed through the window by a man.

Cops are still looking for John Tomlin, 24, in connection with the assault, and released his photo to the public.

Police are looking for John Tomlin over the attack

The two affected people, who were celebrating Resham’s 21st birthday attempted to drive off, chased by the suspect on foot, before crashing their car into a fence.

Both Resham and Jameel were left with ‘life-changing’ injuries when the corrosive substance was thrown at them and cops have stated there is ‘nothing to indicate the assault was religiously or racially motivated.

However, Jameel described the assault and stated the trainers and the car seat were burning, and his cousin’s skin was peeling.

He also added that he believed that the incident was a ‘hate crime’ and may be associated with ‘Islamophobia.’

The public assisted Resham and her cousin after the attack, which took place at 9.15am. Both were rushed to an east London hospital before the cops arrived.

Resham and Jameel were driving through Beckton East London when they were stopped at a red traffic light.

The car’s windows were down and were playing music, while in a celebratory mood after not having seen one another since Resham came back from an exchange year in Cyprus.

As they were waiting for the lights to change, someone hurled a corrosive substance through the open window and into the face of Resham, before going round to the side of the driver and hurling more acid at Jameel.

Resham, a Business Management student, stated she saw her clothes burn away as she struggled with the unbearable she pain.

Miss Khan stated she and Jameel attempted to drive away from their assailant but crashed the vehicle when the ‘pain became unbearable over.’ Both were forced to remove their clothes as they begged onlookers for water to help relieve the pain.

They were rushed to hospital by a kind stranger where Jameel was placed into an induced coma while Resham got a skin graft.

The Metropolitan Police are doing an investigation, but no arrests have yet been made. Police confirmed that there is no latest information to suggest that this assault was religiously or racially motivated.

As the two recuperate from their terrible ordeal, Resham bravely boldly shared her story on social media.

She explained that she had a skin graft; however, doesn’t yet know what her face will appear like. Resham’s sight has been damaged and has burned across her body.

Jameel was more horribly burnt by the acid and so was placed into an induced coma by medics, which he has currently woken up from.

Resham is at present bed-bound so has not been able to visit her cousin.

Fellow student Daniel Mann has created a GoFundMe page in a bid to raise £8,000 for his friend Resham and her cousin.

Daniel states the money raised will go towards his friend’s laser eye treatment, therapy sessions and accommodation to a location where the duo ‘feel secure’ as they recuperate from the shocking attack.

 

14 arrested in New Jersey welfare fraud investigation

Fourteen people have been apprehended in police raids over 2 days in Lakewood, New Jersey, about an ongoing investigation, which has up to now exposed roughly $2 million in purported public-assistance fraudulent activity in the town.

On Tuesday night, six people were arrested in Lakewood, New Jersey, a community of roughly 101,000, almost 38 miles southeast of Trenton, the state capital. These arrests follow the state and federal raids of four residences and Monday’s arrests of four people on charges of $1.3 million theft in public assistance over the past couple of years.

Lakewood is New Jersey’s fastest-growing town and earlier this year exceeded 100,000 inhabitants. In the Census figures, 32 percent of people in this town live in poverty. The fast population growth of Lakewood is due to a flourishing Orthodox Jewish community.

All the six people arrested faced a charge of second-degree theft by deception, a state offense, based on a prepared statement from the Prosecutor’s Office in Ocean County.

The six individuals are accused of defrauding the government of just above $670, 000, as stated by the office of the prosecutor.

Those arrested on Tuesday were William and Faigy Friedman; Yitzchok and Sora Kanarek; and Chaim and Liatt Ehrman.

The Kanareks unlawfully amassed $339,002.56 in federal housing funds, nutrition aid, Medicaid and Social Security funds, as stated by the office of the prosecutor. The Friedmans collected $14,842.28 in housing funds, food, Medicaid and energy and the Ehrmans amassed $185,692.22 in Sandy relief funds, nutrition aid, Medicaid and utility assistance, as stated by the office of the prosecutor.

The former rabbi of Oros Yisroel was Yitzchok Kanarek. Oros Yisroel  was a school for special-needs students and closed in 2015 due to state and federal tax liens of over $295,000, based on public records.

On Monday, June 26, 2017, Shimon and Yocheved Nussbaum were arrested in Lakewood, New Jersey, about a public-assistance fraud scheme. Their apprehension was part of a bigger operation, led by New Jersey and federal authorities, which led to six more arrests that day.

Those arrested on Tuesday are accused of under-reporting their incomes during a period of many years to amass public-assistance benefits they were not eligible to get.

On Monday, a renowned rabbi, Zalmen Sorotzkin, who operates the synagogue Congregation Lutzk together with businesses associated with the synagogue, was detained. Included in Monday’s arrest is Tzipporah, who is Sorotzkin’s wife; Sorotzkin’s sister-in-law and brother Rachel Sorotzkin and Mordechai; Shimon and Yocheved Nussbaum; and Mordechai and Jocheved Breskin. The Nussbaums and Mordechai and Rachel Sorotzkin are facing federal charges in United States District Court.

Others are the Breskins, who are charged with second-degree theft by fraud for supposedly amassing $585,662 in public assistance benefits they were not eligible to, the prosecutor stated in the statement.

Zalmen and Tzipporah Sorotzkin are facing similar charges for allegedly amassing $338, 642 in Supplemental Security Income, food stamps, Medicaid and Section 8 housing subsidies, as stated by the prosecutor’s office.

Rachel Sorotzkin and the Nussbaums and Mordechai face separate counts of plotting to steal government funds, as shown by a statement from the office of the United States Attorney. Each of the conspiracy counts carries a maximum possible penalty of up to 5 years behind bars and a fine of $250,000, or twice the gain from the crime.

The investigation into the alleged offense started public-assistance around 3 years back and currently, makes up various state and federal law enforcement agencies. The Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office, the Social Security Administration, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the New Jersey Treasury Department and the state comptroller’s Medicaid Fraud Division all have been investigating.