Review Category : Top Stories

ESPN: MLB Investigating Marlins P Jarred Cosart for Gambling

Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images(JUPITER, Fla.) — Miami Marlins pitcher Jarred Cosart is being investigated by Major League Baseball for possible involvement in sports related gambling, according to ESPN.com.

Trouble came Cosart’s way when he allegedly exchanged multiple direct messages with a gambling authority on his Twitter account. This exchange became public when it was shared on the site by a third party. Cosart has since deleted his Twitter account.

According to ESPN.com, MLB spokesman Pat Courtney confirmed that the commissioner’s office is investigating the situation.

ESPN.com also reports it’s unclear whether the allegations involve baseball betting or sports betting in general.

MLB Rule 21 states clearly you can’t gamble on baseball.

“Any player, umpire, or club or league official or employee, who shall bet any sum whatsoever upon any baseball game in connection with which the bettor has no duty to perform, shall be declared ineligible for one year,” the rule states. “Any player, umpire, or club or league official or employee, who shall bet any sum whatsoever upon any baseball game in connection with which the bettor has a duty to perform shall be declared permanently ineligible.”

The 24-year-old Cosart seems to have created an unconfirmed Twitter account. On it, he claimed Wednesday that his original account had been hacked.

The Marlins acknowledged the situation in a statement, “Major League Baseball is aware and they are investigating it and we have no further comment at this time.”

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“New York Times” Report: Germanwings Pilot Locked Out of Cockpit Before Crash in France

ABC News(NEW YORK) — One of the pilots of the Germanwings flight that crashed in the French Alps may have been locked out of the cockpit, a senior military official involved in the investigation told The New York Times.

The official said that the audio on the cockpit voice recorder indicated one of the pilots was outside of the cockpit and unable to re-enter, according to the paper. The unnamed official described hearing the pilot unable to re-enter the cockpit, lightly knocking on the door at first — before pounding on it.

“You can hear he is trying to smash the door down,” he told the Times.

ABC News was unable to independently confirm the report.

Investigators have not yet recovered the second black box from the Airbus A320, which crashed Tuesday in Southern France while en route to Dusseldorf, Germany. All 150 on board, including three Americans, are believed to have been killed.

Earlier Wednesday, the director of the Bureau d’Enquetes et d’Analyses (BEA) said an audio file from one of the the black boxes, the cockpit voice recorder, had been found, but did not say whether voices were heard on the recording.

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Saudi Arabian Ambassador to US Announces Airstrikes Against Houthi Rebels in Yemen

Scott Rothstein/iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — Saudi Arabian Ambassador to the United States Adel al-Jubeir said on Wednesday that his nation had begun airstrikes against Houthi rebels in Yemen.

“The use of force is always the last resort and it is with great reluctance that we took this step,” al-Jubeir said. “We will do whatever it takes in order to protect villages and the government of Yemen from falling and from facing any dangers from outside militia.”

The Saudi ambassador also told reporters that a coalition of more than 10 nations has agreed to participate in operations meant “to prevent Yemen from falling at the hands of the Houthis.”

“Rather than engage in peaceful dialogue and in a peaceful transition to a stable and democratic Yemen they have always chosen the path of violence,” al-Jubeir said of the Houthis.

Earlier in the day, State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki confirmed that Yemeni President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi left his residence on Wednesday. She did not have any further information on where Hadi had gone to. Houthi rebels were believed to have been advancing on the city of Aden, where Hadi was believed to have been.

A statement from National Security Council spokesperson Bernadette Meehan on Wednesday reiterated the U.S.’s condemnation of the “ongoing military actions taken by the Houthis against the elected government of Yemen. Those actions, Meehan says, “have caused widespread instability and chaos that threaten the safety and well-being of all Yemeni citizens.”

The statement also noted that President Obama authorized logistical and intelligence support to the coalition operations in Yemen, but has not approved any direct military action.

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Pennsylvania Man’s $7 Million Ticket Tucked in Dad’s Get-Well Card

Steve Snowden/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — A Pennsylvania man is feeling very well, thank you, after he won a $7 million lottery prize from a ticket that was enclosed in a get-well card from his father.

“I don’t play the lottery at all, but my father is a retired hospital administrator-turned-avid Lottery player,” Joseph Amorese of Easton, Pennsylvania, said, according to the New York Lottery.

Amorese’s father sent the $7 Million Golden Ticket scratch card inside a greeting card, while Amorese recovered at home from surgery.

“I scratched the ticket and it was a good thing I was already sitting down because I was shocked. I was and still am in complete disbelief,” Amorese, 46, said.

The Verizon employee said he immediately called his dad, who lives in Congers, New York, to double-check the winnings.

“I sent him a picture of the ticket and he said, ‘Yup, you won $7,000,000!’”

He also called his wife, Jodi, a social worker.

“I said, Honey, I think we won $7,000,000. And there was silence on the other end for a long time. She was too stunned to talk.”

The ticket was purchased at Just a Dollar in New City, New York.

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Taco Bell to Unveil Biscuit Taco, Hopes to ‘Reinvent the Fast Food Breakfast Experience’

lawcain/iStock Editorial/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Taco Bell will unveil a new breakfast option for those hoping to “live mas” even earlier in the day.

The company says it encourages customers to “defect to the next generation of breakfast,” beginning on Thursday when the biscuit taco is unveiled. According to a press release, the restaurant’s morning offering will include a “warm, fluffy, buttery biscuit, folded…in the shape of a taco and filled…with classic breakfast flavors that people love like sausage, eggs and cheese.”

The Biscuit Taco will be available at participating locations at a suggested price of $2.49, the company says. Flavor options will include sausage, egg and cheese; bacon, egg and cheese; crispy chicken with country gravy; and crispy chicken with the new signature jalapeno honey. Each taco will measure between 369 calories and 471 calories.

“This year is about making sure we continue to give people the food they crave in a way that’s unique to Taco Bell,” CEO Brian Niccol said. He added that he hopes the Biscuit Taco will “reinvent the fast food breakfast experience by moving away from boring, round sandwiches and inserting bold tastes and flavors.”

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Indiana Gov. Will Declare ‘Public Health’ Emergency in County After HIV Spike

iStock/Thinkstock(INDIANAPOLIS) — The governor of Indiana will declare a “public health disaster emergency” after a spike of HIV cases in southern Indiana has alarmed health officials.

I will declare a public health emergency for Scott County in the next 24 hours pic.twitter.com/WJFN2nKL0G

— Governor Mike Pence (@GovPenceIN) March 25, 2015

Gov. Mike Pence’s planned declaration comes after Scott County has seen 71 confirmed and seven preliminary positive cases of HIV. While nationwide HIV is primarily spread through sexual intercourse, this outbreak has been fueled by intravenous drug use, according to the Indiana Health Department.

“I am deeply troubled by this outbreak, and stopping it is a top priority for our department,” State Health Commissioner Dr. Jerome Adams said in a statement last week. “We are engaging local, state, and national partners to determine where we can most effectively focus our efforts. Extra care is being taken to invest resources in getting people off drugs and into treatment, since drug abuse is the clear driving force behind this outbreak.”

On Wednesday, Pence traveled to Scott County to talk to local health officials about the increase in cases and what can be done about it.

Meeting w/ Scott Co. local officials & community members regarding the HIV outbreak pic.twitter.com/Sqx9HSuEMt

— Governor Mike Pence (@GovPenceIN) March 25, 2015

A team from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has been dispatched to the region to help local and state health officials. The team, including two medical doctors and an epidemiologist, will work with state and local health officials to try and combat the rising HIV cases.

A public awareness campaign to alert residents about the increase in HIV cases has started in the region.

According to the state health department the outbreak is mainly related to the intravenous drug use of a prescription opioid painkiller called Opana, although some people reported that unprotected sex also led to infection.

“Until now, everybody thought they could just do that at will and there was no consequence to it. Now we see so many people with HIV that never knew they had it,” Scott County Sheriff Dan McClain told ABC News affiliate WHAS-TV in Louisville, Kentucky, about the outbreak that started in mid-December.

HIV experts say they hope that the state will consider allowing a needle exchange program to help combat the growing spread of HIV infections.

Anthony Hayes, managing director of public affairs and policy at Gay Men’s Health Crisis in New York, said that New York’s needle exchange program has helped to significantly reduce HIV infections through intravenous drug use.

“Research has shown over and over again that syringe exchange reduces risky behavior,” said Hayes. “What needs to happen is a compassionate reaction to what is a clearly a public health problem.”

According to the Gay Men’s Health Crisis, the National Institute of Health found that HIV rates dropped by 30 percent in areas with safe needle exchanges.

“If you clamp down too hard in an uncompassionate way…then what you end up doing is [driving] people who are using injection drugs underground,” he said. “Which will only increase this behavior.”

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Italian High Court Delays Amanda Knox Ruling

Ida Astute/ABC News(ROME) — Italy’s highest court has delayed its ruling on whether to uphold the Amanda Knox murder conviction of fellow student Meredith Kercher.

An Italian high court judge said on Wednesday that because of the volume of evidence presented to the court, a ruling won’t come until Friday.

The verdict was originally expected on Wednesday after lawyers gave their closing arguments.

Knox and her former boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, face more than 25 years in prison, though Knox says she’ll fight extradition if found guilty.

Defence lawyers in the case said there is no physical evidence that puts Knox and Sollecito at the scene of the crime. Evidence for a third person, Rudy Guede, was found all over the murder scene, however. He’s half-way through his prison sentence for the murder of Kercher.

The prosecution argued that Knox’s partial confession — later retracted — painted an accurate picture of the crime scene that indicated she was involved.

Prosecutors asked to reduce the pair’s long prison term by three months for a minor related crime whose statute of limitation had run out.

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RadioShack Could Auction Personal Data for 117 Million Customers

Getty Images(AUSTIN, Texas) — RadioShack wants to auction off customer data for as many as 117 million customers as part of its bankruptcy proceedings, according to a legal filing tied to the Texas company’s bankruptcy case that attempts to block the data sale.

The Office of the Texas Attorney General has filed paperwork with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Delaware handling the retailer’s case in which it objects to the sale of data covering names, email and mailing addresses, and purchases.

RadioShack filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last month, claiming more than $1.3 billion in liabilities and $1.2 billion in assets.

RadioShack, via email, declined to comment on the possible data sale — but privacy experts were not surprised a data sale was a possibility.

RadioShack Nostalgia: A Look Back At Its Glory Days From the 1980s and ’90s

Adi Kamdar, activist with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, said it would come in an era when online start-ups rely on customer data as assets.

“It’s worrisome, though, if the data isn’t treated under a privacy policy similar to RadioShack’s when the customer information was first collected,” Kamdar said.

The Texas attorney general’s legal objection noted that RadioShack’s online privacy policy has disclaimers such as: “We will not sell or rent your personally identifiable information to anyone at this time.”

“RadioShack gave explicit assurance to its customers not to sell their personal data, and attempts to do so would not only be a direct violation of its own privacy policies, but also a violation of Texas law,” said Cynthia Meyer, a spokeswoman for Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton. “We will continue fighting to protect consumers’ personally identifiable information.”

Adam Levin, founder of IdentityTheft 911, hopes the Texas law and other similar state laws are enough to block the sale of the data.

“Customer information — including names, emails, phone numbers and addresses — is a valuable marketing toolkit that third parties should not be able to purchase,” Levin said. “Personal information collected by Radio Shack over the years is a valuable asset, but it should not be transferable, in this case.

“In light of the fact that RadioShack’s policy states that customer data cannot be sold to a third party, the bankruptcy court should stand up for consumer privacy,” Levin said.

In addition to the Texas attorney general’s objection, another factor might yet prevent the sale of the data.

Standard General, which has been discussed as a potential buyer of RadioShack, has been working with state authorities to ensure that, if they are the ultimate owner, all of RadioShack’s policies will stay intact and customer data will not be misused, according to a source familiar with the matter.

Levin hopes the sale of the data can be blocked, saying personal data presents security risks beyond just unwanted calls from marketers.

“If this data ends up in the hands of hackers, it can be used to launch phishing attacks, leaving customers exposed to malware by email, phone and text, in order to steal more personal and financial information,” Levin said.

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Germanwings Crash: American Mother-Daughter Pair Were on Board

ABC News(NEW YORK) — Two of the Americans on board the Germanwings flight that crashed in the French Alps on Tuesday have been identified as a mother and daughter who were traveling together.

The mother has been identified as Yvonne Selke, who worked at the consulting company Booz Allen Hamilton, and the company has confirmed her identity to ABC News.

The second American victim was her daughter Emily Selke, who recently graduated from Drexel University.

“Our entire family is deeply saddened by the losses of Yvonne and Emily Selke,” the family said in a statement Wednesday. “Two wonderful, caring, amazing people who meant so much to so many. At this difficult time we respectfully ask for privacy and your prayers.”

“Booz Allen and our employees are mourning the sudden and shocking death of Yvonne Selke, an employee of nearly 23 years, and her daughter, Emily, in the Germanwings airliner crash in the French Alps this week,” Betty Thompson, an executive vice president with Booz Allen Hamilton, said in a statement.

“Yvonne was a wonderful co-worker and a dedicated employee who spent her career with the firm supporting the mission of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency,” Thompson said.

National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency Director Robert Cardillo also offered condolences.

“Every death is a tragedy, but seldom does a death affect us all so directly and unexpectedly,” Cardillo said in a statement. “All of us offer our deepest condolences and will keep her family and her colleagues in our thoughts.”

The Selkes were two of the 150 people who died in the Tuesday morning crash.

There was a third American, yet to be identified, on board, according to the U.S. State Department.

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Audio File Recovered from Germanwings Black Box

ABC News(DIGNE, France) — The spokesman for the lead investigating agency said on Wednesday that they have recovered an audio file from the black box of the downed Germanwings flight but have not found the second black box from the Airbus A320 that crashed in the French Alps.

This comes after French Prime Minister Francois Hollande said at an earlier news conference that crews had found the exterior of the black box but not the module that contains the memory equipment, though the spokesman for the Bureau d’Enquetes et d’Analyses (BEA) went on to deny any such discovery.

“We have not localized the black box,” said BEA Director Rémi Jouty. “We have not found any debris of the black box and in the history of air accidents we know about … [we] don’t remember any recorder broken into little pieces.”

When asked if they had ruled out the possibility of the crash being the result of a terrorist attack, he said the BEA is “not ruling out any hypothesis at this stage.”

Investigators have recovered an audio file from the first black box, the cockpit voice recorder, though no further details were revealed about whether or not voices are heard on the recording.

Jouty noted that it would take days for initial findings to be released, though it will be weeks before a full understanding is clear. But, he was able to weigh in and tentatively ruled several possible causes out based on the debris pattern.

“The area seems very big but the debris seems very small which is not at all consistent with an aircraft that exploded mid-air,” Jouty said.

“At the moment, there’s no information leading us to think that the weather conditions were particularly bad,” he said.

One of the problems facing investigators is the location of the crash site, as the area is very steep and unstable. Investigators and site crews have to be tied to one another when they are near the crash site to ensure their safety, Jouty said.

Earlier on Wednesday, Germanwings CEO Thomas Winkelmann noted that two Americans were on board the Germanwings flight that crashed in the French Alps Tuesday.

The U.S. State Department later confirmed that two Americans were on board.

“We are in contact with family members and we extend our deepest condolences to the families and loved ones of the 150 people on board,” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said in a statement. “We are continuing to review our records to determine whether any other U.S. citizens might have been on board the flight.”

The Germanwings plane crashed Tuesday in the Alps in southern France with 150 people on board, including two babies, the airline said. Hollande said there were “apparently no survivors.”

Searchers returned to the crash scene on Wednesday, as France’s minister of the interior said a black box voice recorder from the plane is damaged. Even so, said the official, Bernard Cazeneuve, the information on the recorder should be retrievable.

The CEO of Lufthansa, which owns Germanwings, said a full analysis of the voice recorder was expected to be done by Thursday. But Brice Robin, public prosecutor of Marseille, said on BFM TV that black box results could take several days.

The initial focus for the voice recorder investigators will be “on the human voices, the conversations,” followed by the cockpit sounds, France’s transport minister, Alain Vidalies, told Europe 1 radio Wednesday morning.

The flight data recorder has not been retrieved yet.

Police helicopter searches of the Germanwings Airbus crash site resumed Wednesday morning.

Xavier Roy, coordinator for French air rescue, told ABC News that no bodies are going to be taken from the mountain Wednesday, and that the investigation on site will take a week. Unlike other crash sites, Roy said, there isn’t much to find.

“When you go to a crash site you expect to recognize parts of an airplane.” he said. “Sadly, here you don’t see anything — just debris scattered all over.”

He added that this was a difficult area to search, as it is “nearly impossible to reach by foot,” making it challenging to get rescuers in and out of the area safely.

The top priorities now are locating bodies and the second black box, he said.

In addition to 72 Germans, 35 Spanish and two Americans on board, Winkelmann said there were two victims each from Australia, Argentina, Iran and Venezuela. One victim each came from Britain, the Netherlands, Colombia, Mexico, Japan, Denmark, Belgium and Israel, he said, adding that the list isn’t yet final because the company is still trying to contact relatives of 27 victims. Winkelmann added that in some cases, victims’ nationality weren’t clear because of possible dual citizenship.

Hollande, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy were scheduled to arrive at the crash staging area Wednesday.

The cause of the crash has not yet been determined, the Germanwings CEO said. Lufthansa called the crash “an accident.”

“Seeing the site of the accident was harrowing,” Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr tweeted Wednesday morning. “We are in deep mourning. Our thoughts are with the relatives of the victims.”

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