TIME Crime

Google Employee Arrested for Alleged Nude Photo Blackmail

He posed as a researcher studying “the public’s perception of different breast types”

A man who worked for Google was arrested earlier this month after allegedly cyberstalking a former classmate and blackmailing her with naked photos in hopes of receiving more explicit images and video.

An FBI investigation alleges that Nicholas Rotundo, a 23-year-old internal technology resident at the company, posed as a researcher in order to get naked photos from a former University of Texas at Dallas classmate, according to the San Francisco Chronicle, citing documents posted on The Smoking Gun website. It is not yet known whether Rotundo still works at Google.

In 2013, Rotundo allegedly invited the university student, whose name is blacked out on the posted documents, to join a study about “the public’s perception of different breast types” from the email account “breastperceptionstudy@gmail.com.” The student was asked multiple times to send naked photos to the “study” in return for thousands of dollars in compensation. In December of that year, responding to an offer of $8,500, she did.

The following month, she received an email from a different address saying the sender had “stumbled across” naked photos and would promise to keep them a secret in exchange for several more explicit photos and a video. Despite several subsequent warnings and threats from the sender — including ones that threatened to post the initial photos on a revenge-porn website — the student alerted university authorities and an investigation later began.

According to documents, the FBI subpoenaed Google and other companies and was able to trace the emails to an IP address belonging to “Google Nick Rotundo.” Rotundo was indicted by a federal grand jury on Oct. 8. He pleaded not guilty to one charge of computer intrusion and two charges of cyberstalking.

[San Francisco Chronicle]

TIME Military

19-Year-Old Marine Is First Soldier to Die Fighting ISIS in Iraq

A member loyal to the ISIL waves an ISIL flag in Raqqa
Reuters

Marine Lance Cpl. Sean Neal of California died in Baghdad on Thursday

The U.S. has lost its first soldier in the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) in Iraq.

The Pentagon announced Friday that Marine Lance Cpl. Sean Neal, 19, died in Baghdad during a noncombat incident on Thursday, the Washington Post reports. No further details about his death were available.

Neal’s death is the first in Iraq since the U.S. military began the mission Inherent Resolve, which targets the extremist group that has rapidly expanded its control over parts of Iraq and Syria this year.

More than 4,000 members of the military died in Iraq in the years following the 2003 invasion. President Barack Obama has said that the U.S. will not send troops back to the country after withdrawing forces in 2011, though the U.S. has begun air strikes and some ground operations as it tries to stop ISIS.

[Washington Post]

TIME LGBT

U.S. Will Recognize Same-Sex Marriage in 6 More States

Erika Turner and Jennifer Melsop of Centreville, Virginia, embrace each other after they became the first same sex marriage couple in Arlington County at the Arlington County Courthouse on Oct. 6, 2014 in Arlington, Virginia.
Alex Wong—Getty Images Erika Turner and Jennifer Melsop of Centreville, Va., embrace each other after they became the first same-sex married couple in Arlington County at the Arlington County Courthouse in Arlington, Va., on Oct. 6, 2014

Same-sex couples in Alaska, Arizona, Idaho, North Carolina, West Virginia and Wyoming will now receive federal benefits

The federal government will recognize same-sex marriage in six new states, Attorney General Eric Holder announced Saturday: Alaska, Arizona, Idaho, North Carolina, West Virginia and Wyoming. Holder’s announcement follows the Supreme Court’s decision this month to decline to hear appeals from several states that sought to maintain their marriage bans.

The government will also extend federal benefits to same-sex couples in those six states.

Holder made a similar announcement about seven other states last week, including Colorado, Indiana, Nevada, Oklahoma, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin. With Saturday’s announcement, same-sex couples will be recognized by the federal government in 32 states, plus the District of Columbia.

“With each new state where same-sex marriages are legally recognized, our nation moves closer to achieving of full equality for all Americans,” Holder said in a statement Saturday. “We are acting as quickly as possible with agencies throughout the government to ensure that same-sex married couples in these states receive the fullest array of benefits allowable under federal law.”

TIME ebola

First Ebola Worker Quarantined Under New Policy Tests Negative

New York's JFK Airport Begins Screening Passengers For Ebola Virus
Spencer Platt—Getty Images A plane arrives at New York's John F. Kennedy Airport (JFK) airport on October 11, 2014 in New York City.

The cleared nurse will be held in quarantine for 21 days under a strict new policy formulated by New Jersey and New York officials

A nurse who worked with Ebola patients in West Africa has tested negative for the virus after she was quarantined Friday upon arriving in Newark, New Jersey under a controversial new order by the governors of that state and New York.

Kaci Hickox had no symptoms when she landed, but developed a fever while quarantined at Newark International Airport, reports the New York Times. She will undergo additional tests to confirm that she is in fact cleared of Ebola.

Under a new policy announced late Friday afternoon by Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York and Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey, anyone who had direct contact with Ebola patients in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone and enters the country through Newark Liberty and Kennedy International Airport must be quarantined for 21 days.

The new measures go beyond federal guidelines and what infectious disease experts recommend. They were formulated without consulting New York’s health department or New York City’s mayor, Bill de Blasio.

“We are no longer relying on [Centers of Disease Control and Prevention] standards,” said Gov. Christie.

Health experts say that the travel bans on flights from West Africa proposed by several Republicans in Congress, as well as the new mandatory quarantines in New York and New Jersey, are likely to discourage badly needed healthcare workers from traveling to the area to help contain Ebola.

“There is a notable lack of clarity about the new guidelines announced yesterday by the state authorities in New York and New Jersey,” Sophie Delaunay, executive director of Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), for whom Hickox had been working, in a statement following Hickox’s quarantine. “we are attempting to clarify the details of the protocols with each state’s departments of health to gain a full understanding of their requirements and implications.”

Dr. Rick Sacra, who contracted Ebola in Liberia and was flown back to the United States, told the Times the mandatory quarantines “will effectively double the burden on those people, on the loss of productive time.”

Hickox herself said in a first person account published by the Dallas Morning News that her Newark Airport experience was bewildering and frightening. During six hours at the airport she was given only a granola bar and was questioned by a series of people, some of whom did not identify themselves, she said.

“I am scared about how health care workers will be treated at airports when they declare that they have been fighting Ebola in West Africa,” said Hickox. “I am scared that, like me, they will arrive and see a frenzy of disorganization, fear and, most frightening, quarantine.”

According to MSF, Hickox is now at Newark University Hospital, in a tent serving as an isolation ward. The tent is not heated and Hickox is clothed only in paper scrubs.

Hickox’s mother told the Times that Hickox was discouraged by her return from West Africa.

“She’s lived in Burma, Sudan, Uganda and Nigeria, and she’s worked for Doctors Without Borders many times,” Hickox’s mother said. “I think the frustration is that she went and did her good deed and her passion and her serving spirit, and she comes back to America and I just don’t feel they were very welcoming.”

The mandatory quarantines were implemented after Dr. Craig Spencer contracted Ebola in Guinea and was hospitalized Thursday after showing symptoms of the virus.

With additional reporting by Alice Park/New York

[NYT]

TIME Baseball

Top 10 Most Memorable Moments in World Series History

Of the 109 World Series played so far, these are the biggest highs and (depending on which side of a victory you're looking from) lows

TIME ebola

Obama Hugs Nurse Who Survived Ebola

President Barack Obama hugs nurse Nina Pham, who was declared free of the Ebola virus after contracting the disease while caring for a Liberian patient in Texas, during a meeting in the Oval Office in Washington on Oct. 24, 2014.
Saul Loeb—AFP/Getty Images President Barack Obama hugs nurse Nina Pham, who was declared free of the Ebola virus after contracting the disease while caring for a Liberian patient in Texas, during a meeting in the Oval Office in Washington on Oct. 24, 2014.

The nurse was cleared of Ebola Friday morning

A few days ago, Dallas nurse Nina Pham lay in bed in an isolated hospital room at National Institutes of Health (NIH) where her doctors donned hazmat suits to care for her. On Friday, President Barack Obama hugged Pham, now free of Ebola, in the open air of the Oval Office.

“Let’s give a hug for the cameras,” he told Pham.

Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell, NIH infectious disease head Anthony Fauci, along with several other doctors and family members, were also present at the Friday meeting.

Pham contracted Ebola while caring for Thomas Eric Duncan, the first person diagnosed with Ebola in the United States, who died Oct. 8 at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas. Pham was subsequently moved to NIH in Maryland to undergo treatment, and was declared Ebola-free Friday morning.

After a patient was diagnosed with Ebola in New York City on Thursday, the hug was a triumphant moment amid continued fear over the potential for Ebola to spread in the U.S. White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest told journalists at press briefing Friday that Pham’s recovery served as “a pretty apt reminder that we do have the best medical infrastructure in the world.”

TIME shooting

2 Dead, Including Gunman, in Washington High School Shooting

Unconfirmed reports suggest multiple students were injured in the shooting

A high school student opened fire Friday morning at Marysville-Pilchuck High School in Washington state Friday morning, killing at least one person before turning the gun on himself.

A spokesman for the Marysville Police Department told TIME that “multiple” people were injured in the incident. Four patients were taken to Providence Regional Medical Center Everett, according to the hospital’s website. Three victims remained in critical condition Friday afternoon, the Seattle Times reported.

The Times also reported several students identified the shooter as freshman Jaylen Fryberg. Jordan Luton, a student at the school, told CNN he saw Fryberg go up to a table with students, “came up from behind . . . and fired about six bullets into the backs of them.” Luton added, “They were his friends, so it wasn’t just random.” Federal law enforcement believe the shooter used a .40-caliber handgun.

The shooting occurred shortly before 11 a.m. PT. Students were evacuated while police cleared the school room to room with guns drawn.

Fryberg was a popular student, CNN reports, who played football and was named as the high school’s freshman homecoming prince. He also belonged to the local Tulalip Native American tribe, and was an avid hunter. “He was a people person,” freshman Rachel Heichel said. “He was just a really nice kid and all-around good person.”

Luton told CNN that Fryberg got into a fight with someone a few weeks before who “said something racist to him.” Fryberg was suspended, but there’s no evidence the fight had anything to do with the shooting.

Student Austin Taylor told a local news station he was standing near the shooter when the shooting began. “He had a blank stare,” he said. “He was just staring at the victims as he shot them.”

TIME Religion

Secret Service Arrests Ten Commandments Statue Smasher

State workers for the Office of Management and Enterprise Services remove the damaged remains of a Ten Commandments monument from the Oklahoma State Capitol grounds on Oct. 24, 2014 in Oklahoma City.
Sean Murphy—AP State workers for the Office of Management and Enterprise Services remove the damaged remains of a Ten Commandments monument from the Oklahoma State Capitol grounds on Oct. 24, 2014 in Oklahoma City.

The assailant told authorities that Satan made him do it

Secret Service have arrested a man who allegedly slammed his car Thursday night into a controversial Ten Commandments monument near the state capital building in Oklahoma City. The statue is now smashed to pieces.

Officials said the suspect, whose name has not been released, ran his car into the monument at about 9:00 p.m. Thursday night, reportedly saying that Satan made him do it. Oklahoma City’s KOCO news station reported that the suspect also threatened to kill President Barack Obama and said he urinated on the monument before knocking it over.

The American Civil Liberties Union, which has sued to have the monument removed, condemned the desecration of the statue. No evidence suggests there is a connection between this incident and a Satanic group wishing to install a monument to Satan alongside the Ten Commandments.

The vehicle involved in the incident was left at the scene and has been impounded.

[KOCO]

TIME ebola

NYC Officials Trace Ebola Patient’s Steps as Mayor Urges Calm

Three others have been quarantined

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio reassured residents Friday that the city is prepared to treat Ebola patients and is not at risk of a widespread Ebola outbreak, as health officials worked to clear anyone who may have come into contact with the city’s first patient.

“New Yorkers who have not been exposed to an infected person’s bodily fluids are simply not at risk,” said DeBlasio at a Friday press conference. “We’ve had clear and strong protocols from the beginning, and they have been followed to the letter.”

Health officials are currently contacting everyone Ebola patient Craig Spencer may have come into contact with since Tuesday morning “in an abundance of caution,” according to New York City Health Commissioner Mary Travis Bassett. Spencer, a doctor who returned from Guinea on Oct. 17, was diagnosed with Ebola Thursday.

Spencer’s fiancee, along with two friends, has been quarantined and restricted from public spaces. Gutter and Blue Bottle, a bowling alley and coffee shop visited by the patient, have been cleared and reopened, and a third establishment, the Meatball Shop, is closed temporarily but is expected to be cleared.


A Metropolitan Transportation Authority official told TIME that the city’s subway system is safe to ride, but noted that protocols had been updated to ensure safe handling of any potentially infectious waste. Spencer reportedly rode the subway from his home in Harlem to Brooklyn Wednesday.

Spencer is being treated in an isolation unit at New York’s Bellevue Hospital. He is in stable condition and communicating with friends via cell phone, officials said.

–additional reporting by Alice Park

TIME ebola

Doctors Without Borders Responds to New York Ebola Case

Doctor Quarantined At NYC's Bellevue Hospital After Showing Symptoms Of Ebola
Bryan Thomas—Getty Images A New York City Police officer stands at the entrance to Bellevue Hospital October 23, 2014 in New York City.

"Extremely strict procedures are in place"

Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) confirmed Friday that one its staff members tested positive for Ebola in New York City this week. While the patient’s identity, Dr. Craig Spencer, has been made public, MSF declined to provide further details about his him, citing privacy reasons.

Spencer had recently returned from Guinea, where he was part of the humanitarian aid group’s efforts to treat the Ebola epidemic there. MSF had strict procedures requiring members returning from Ebola-stricken areas to monitor themselves by taking their temperature twice a day for potential signs of a fever, an early sign of the virus. When Spencer found his temperature was high on Thursday morning, he immediately called MSF, which then contacted the New York City Department of Health & Mental Hygiene.

MORE: Ebola in New York: How Worried Should the City Be?

“Extremely strict procedures are in place for staff dispatched to Ebola affected countries before, during, and after their assignments,” Sophie Delaunay, executive director of MSF said in a statement. “Despite the strict protocols, risk cannot be completely eliminated. However, close post-assignment monitoring allows for early detection of cases and for swift isolation and medical management.”

According to the group, three MSF members and 21 locally employed staff have been infected with Ebola; thirteen have died. MSF has 3,000 employees working in West Africa to treat Ebola patients; more than 700 international staff from around the world have spent varying amounts of time in the region battling the epidemic.

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