Tornado rips off rooftops, flips cars in Little Rock, Ark.
By Andrew DeMillo | Associated Press
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — A tornado plowed through Little Rock and surrounding areas on Friday afternoon, reducing rooftops to splinters, toppling vehicles and tossing debris on roadways as people raced for shelter.
More than 350,000 people were at risk as what the National Weather Service called a “confirmed large and destructive tornado” tore through business districts and neighborhoods in Little Rock and North Little Rock.
Passengers and airport employees at Clinton National Airport in Little Rock took shelter in bathrooms and were ordered to stay there until 3:45 p.m. Aerial footage showed several rooftops were torn from homes in Little Rock and nearby Benton.
There were no immediate reports of injuries.
Nearly 70,000 customers in Arkansas were out of power on Friday afternoon, according to poweroutage.us, which tracks outages; about 37,000 were without power in neighboring Oklahoma.
Massive storms brewing over at least 15 states in the Midwest and southern U.S. on Friday have meteorologists urging people to brace for dangerous weather including tornadoes, saying the conditions are similar to those a week ago that unleashed a devastating twister that killed at least 21 people in Mississippi.
More than 85 million people were under weather advisories Friday as the National Weather Service’s Storm Prediction Center forecast an unusually large outbreak of thunderstorms with the potential to cause hail, damaging wind gusts and strong tornadoes that could move for long distances over the ground.
The area at greatest risk for storms on Friday follows a large stretch of the Mississippi River from Wisconsin all the way to Mississippi, with rare high-risk advisories centered around Memphis; and between Davenport, Iowa, and Quincy, Illinois and surrounding areas.
Forecasters issued tornado watches over both high-risk regions until Friday evening, with the weather service expecting numerous tornadoes and calling it a “particularly dangerous situation.”
All told, by Friday afternoon, tornado watches issued by the National Weather Service cover most of Missouri, Arkansas and Iowa; western Illinois; and parts of Wisconsin, Texas, Tennessee, Kentucky, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Mississippi. Tornado warnings were issued for isolated areas of Arkansas, Missouri and Illinois on Friday afternoon.
Also Friday, parts of Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico and Kansas were at risk for widespread fires due to dry conditions, high winds and warm temperatures, the weather service said.
The “intense supercell thunderstorms ” predicted for Friday afternoon are only expected to become more common, especially in Southern states, as temperatures rise around the world.
Apart from Little Rock, the major population centers at high risk for storms starting Friday afternoon include Chicago; St. Louis; Jonesboro, Arkansas; and Des Moines and Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
“There will be lots of thunderstorms … tornadoes, damaging winds, and large hail,” said Northern Illinois meteorology professor and tornado expert Victor Gensini.
People in those areas should stock emergency supplies, prepare for power outages, avoid getting stranded in places vulnerable to falling trees or severe hail, and park vehicles in garages if possible, meteorologists said.
Forecasters warned of a “relatively rare, significant severe weather threat” around Chicago that could include powerful winds, tornadoes and large hail.
In Iowa City, the University of Iowa canceled Friday’s watch party for fans who planned to gather for the women’s basketball Final Four game against South Carolina. Deputy Director of Athletics Matt Henderson said in a statement the decision was made “due to the unpredictable timing of possible severe weather and potential storm impact.”
Last Friday night, a vicious tornado in Mississippi killed at least 21 people, injured dozens and flattened entire blocks as it carved a path of destruction for more than an hour. About 2,000 homes were damaged or destroyed, according to the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency.
The toll was especially steep in western Mississippi’s Sharkey County, where 13 people were killed in a county of 3,700 residents. Winds of up to 200 mph (322 kph) barreled through the rural farming town of Rolling Fork, reducing homes to piles of rubble, flipping cars and toppling the town’s water tower.
Gensini said Friday’s atmospheric setup is similar to the conditions that were present during Mississippi’s deadly storm.
The hazardous forecast is a result of strong southerly winds transporting copious amounts of moisture from the Gulf of Mexico north, where they will interact with the strengthening storm system.
In South Dakota, Gov. Kristi Noem ordered state executive branch offices to be closed Friday in parts of the state, as freezing rain, snow and high winds were expected. Many counties were under blizzard or ice storm warnings.
The weather service is forecasting another batch of intense storms next Tuesday in the same general area as last week. At least the first 10 days of April will be rough, Accuweather meteorologist Brandon Buckingham said earlier this week.
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“We’ve all seen the coverage of the heartbreaking situations in other parts of the country. Our fervent hope is that people pay attention to the forecasts that have been out for several days now regarding Friday’s threat,” Bunting said.
Harm Venhuizen reported from Madison, Wisconsin. AP writer Isabella O’Malley contributed from Philadelphia. Lisa Baumann contributed from Bellingham, Washington and Michael Goldberg contributed from Jackson, Mississippi.
Hoka Just Launched the Rocket X 2s—and They're Fire
It’s a blessed day in the running community. If you’re not in the loop, let us be the first ones to let the cat outta the bag: Hoka just dropped a new unisex running shoe, the Rocket X 2.
If you’re someone training for a race, these are what we would like to call the one. They were designed for road racing and are geared towards elite runners—though we consider all of you *master* runners, even if you can only manage to run one mile at a 10-minute pace. We give you a gold star for effort, always.
The Rocket X 2 has a remastered carbon fiber plate; crammed between two layers of foam, it’s modern-day running technology that’s designed to propel you forward and offer an ultra-responsive landing and keep momentum with each stride Its synthetic mesh upper material delivers a snug fit to lock down your feet and deliver neutral stability, because the thought of rolling an ankle—or worse yet, your shoes flying off while running—gives us anxiety we didn’t ask for. It also is constructed with ProFly-X, which is a cushioning system that combines soft and firm foams for a pillow-soft landing and a speedy lift-off.
The Rocket X 2 is primed to be preserved for race days, and in terms of Hokas for training or just strolling about daily life, the Bondi 8 and Clifton 9 are excellent options for everyone on this planet (trust us). One of our writers is a tried and true Hoka stan and can’t get enough of Hoka sneakers’ support, whether it’s for injury prevention, training, or walking.
We’ll see you at the finish line…in a pair of Hoka’s Rocket X 2, of course.
The Hoka Rocket X 2 is now available on Hoka’s website.
The Rec Room staff independently selected all of the stuff featured in this story. Want more reviews, recommendations, and red-hot deals? Sign up for our newsletter.
Man shot driving in East Oakland
OAKLAND — A 32-year-old man was shot Friday morning while driving in East Oakland, authorities said.
ShotSpotter alerts recorded more than 30 rounds being fired, but the man sustained only a single gunshot wound to the leg and was in stable condition at a hospital, authorities said.
The man, an Oakland resident, was shot just before 6 a.m. while he was driving in the 2200 block of 48th Avenue, a mainly residential area.
Evidence found at the scene, including multiple shell casings, indicated at least two shooters were involved, authorities said.
The victim’s vehicle was hit several times by bullets but the man was wounded only once.
There were no immediate reports of any other vehicles or homes being hit.
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Police and Crime Stoppers of Oakland are offering up to $5,000 in reward money for information leading to the arrests of the shooters, Anyone with information may call police at 510-238-3426 or Crime Stoppers at 510-777-8572.
Pittsburg: Woman pleads no contest to $1.39 million embezzlement from local food company
MARTINEZ — A former employee of a Filipino food company pleaded no contest to financial crimes in a scheme to embezzle $1.4 million from her employer, prosecutors announced Friday.
Mary Antoinette Narvaez Hernandez, 60, pleaded no contest on Thursday to grand theft, identity theft, money laundering, and tax evasion, as part of a plea deal with Contra Costa prosecutors. In return, she’ll be sentenced to a year in county jail, with the potential to serve it on house arrest, as well as a seven-year suspended sentence and three years of probation.
Hernandez was the accounting manager at Ramar Foods International, a food company based in Pittsburg. She embezzled the funds over a five-year period starting in 2016. She also failed to pay $97,568 in state taxes, according to prosecutors.
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“It is for our employees, who like our family, were betrayed by her deception and thievery, that we applaud the myriad law enforcement professionals and this court for bringing her to justice,” Quesada said, according to the news release.
As part of the deal Hernandez will pay $410,198.90 in restitution.
Backed Hard: The Best Stuff We (Actually) Bought in March
Man, WTF happened in March? No, literally, can you tell us? We don’t remember. Uh… Everything Everywhere All at Once won every film award on the planet, and John Wick 4 finally came out, putting an end to next spring’s Oscars race. There was some kind of basketball tournament—is that still going on? Anyway, the month is behind us now, so let's dig in to the March edition of Backed Hard, where VICE’s product-obsessed editors and writers share their fave personal scores from the past month. Naturally, it’s full of dope tunes, killer kitchen gear, relaxing pillows—oh, just remembered that Sleep Week happened—and a perfect doormat.
Some of us whittled away March snorkeling in bathtubs full of Kewpie mayonnaise, while others were just listening to “Mayonaise” and making dishes out of Ina Garten cookbooks. We were mainlining espresso from Breville’s gorgeous Nespresso Creatista Pro, stompin’ through town in a cozy sweater drinking prebiotic banana cream soda, having sex to Sade vinyls, and zoning out with fidget spinners. All things considered, it was a pretty good month (what we remember of it, at least). Read on, and find out how we got through it.I love this mayonnaise more than I love my grandmother
We don’t get to pick our blood relatives, but we do get to pick the mayonnaise that makes it into our sandwiches, on our fries, and drizzled over our poke bowls. Kewpie is to mayo what Maldon is to salt; a gateway into Flavortown that makes you realize how great a staple can be when it’s done right (and how hard it is to go back to anything else). Kewpie’s Japanese mayo is made from egg yolk instead of whole egg, which is why it has the kind of rich, umami taste I can only describe as mayo in high def. —Mary Frances “Francky” KnappThese affordable ceramic plates that have Heath shaking in its boots
As someone in my [mumbles] mid-thirties, I recently decided that I needed to adultify my kitchen objets, including upgrading my plate situation (previously a visionless mishmash of various white and patterned dishware accumulated from the last six or so places I’ve lived). Yes, a unified ceramic aesthetic seemed like just the ticket to curing my existentialist ennui. Anyway, it turns out that the really nice stuff is pretty pricey—like, $50 per plate for the fancy brands like Heath. But this is capitalism, baby; we’ve got options. These suuuper handsome ceramic Mora plates from Amazon are only $54.99 for a set of six, and have that covetable shape (flat with a perpendicular rim) that opera-sings “garnished with microgreens” and elevates every meal you enjoy on them, even if it’s just a microwaved quesadilla. The very first night I unboxed them and served them to a visitor, I got a compliment. —Hilary PollackDo ostriches get good sleep? Because I sure did.
I constantly have an achy neck, whether it be from hunching over my laptop or accidentally sleeping in a strange position all night. This means any products that can tackle my neck pain are warmly welcomed. Needless to say, I hit a goldmine with this memory foam pillow. Not only was I able to fall asleep faster with my comfortable head position literally… well, memorized in the memory foam, but I was also able to go through my day with no neck pain. To be sure it was not a fluke, I went back to sleeping with my normal pillows, and, much to my chagrin, the neck pain resumed. Buy this, and don’t go back. —Becca SaxA super inexpensive pack of fidget spinners
When the fidget spinner craze happened, I had exactly zero interest in it. Why would I play with a toy when I feel anxious or bored? I thought. I’ll just drink wine like everybody else. Not too long ago, though, I heard that a friend of mine (who I deeply respect) used fidget spinners to focus during meetings and conversations at work. I recalled how, during meetings and phone calls at my desk, I’m usually just touching everything and opening and closing a wine key that’s sitting in front of me. So, I decided to check out this package of fidget spinners that’s literally $10. Now, I use this MF thing every goddamn day. —Adam RothbarthThe best condoms (that feel like you’re wearing nothing)
LELO is the luxury Swedish sexual wellness brand that makes some of VICE editors’ favorite vibrators, and its ultra-strong, ultra-smooth condoms 1) don’t smell like balloons 2) are super comfortable (so I hear from partners) and thin. A must for the nightstand/Jansport. —Mary Frances “Francky” Knapp
The Carhartt stays on
My furry bundle of joy just grew out of his puppy collar (weeps thinking about the thought of him ever dying), but I cheered us me up by procuring the swaggiest new accessory for him to flaunt on the streets of Brooklyn— a Carhartt RealTree camo dog collar, natch. It’s a breeze to clip on and off, not to mention it’s available on Amazon so it will only take a day or two to land in your mailbox. —Becca BlasdelThe best record for making out
I stopped collecting records when I moved to [rips some Gauloises] Europe in my twenties, so my LP collection is a 2013 time capsule—which would be fine if giving a decent blow job to Neutral Milk Hotel was possible. That’s why I made a promise to myself to start bringing more classic, sultry records into the mix, such as this (double LP) The Best of Sade vinyl. Not only is it wildly affordable and extensive, but it’s a guaranteed smooth operator for your evenings of easy listening, making out, or hosting friends for drinks. —Mary Frances “Francky” KnappThis Nespresso machine makes me feel like a pro barista
I’m just not meant for complicated coffee setups that require measuring, grinding, and knowing, like, ratios of water and stuff, but I am meant for enjoying oat milk lattes at home. As a result, I’ve been reveling in the wonder of the Breville Nespresso Creatista Pro, a magical appliance that combines the ease of use of Nespresso machines with the many beverage options that an automated espresso machine provides, from flat whites to lattes. Surprisingly simple to use and clean, it has provided me with a never-ending supply of perfect cappuccinos for the last couple of months all at the press of a button and wipe of a milk-frothing wand. I’ve been meaning to write a full and proper review of this machine for a while—and I will—but it has so many incredible features that it’s taking time to properly document each and every one. This espresso machine is truly straight out of The Jetsons. —Hilary PollackI (and my mug) are ti-ta-ni-um
After wrapping an homage to cult-fave Japanese outerwear label Snow Peak, I realized I was lacking one of the brand’s smallest (and most affordable) investment pieces: a Ti-Single 450 mug. For those unfamiliar, Snow Peak is well-known for its use of Titanium in a suite of products; the metal is incredibly lightweight and durable, making it the perfect medium to craft camping gear, cookware and tools. The Ti-Single 450 is, at its core, just a supremely lightweight mug with a handle that can fold into its body. That said, given that the mug can handle high temps and even be placed directly over an open flame, it’s quickly becoming my mug for just about anything. Whether it’s holding my fourth cup of coffee or that day’s ramen noodles for lunch, the TI-Single 450 now holds permanent real estate on my desk (right next to my lucky block of wood; it’s a long story—don’t ask). —Gregory BabcockThis toothpaste that tastes like a creamsicle
Don’t ask me about toothpaste chemistry, but do ask me about flavors, because I’m really tired of mint. I’m a huge proponent of fancy toothpaste (shoutout to Marvis, my primary) but recently have been enjoying the creamsicle-like taste of Boka’s Orange Cream Space Paste, which, yes, is for children, but so what? If it’s good enough for baby Avalon or Ryder, it’s good enough for me. Plus, it’s a natural toothpaste made with nano-hydroxyapatite, a popular ingredient in Japanese toothpastes that restores enamel, reduces sensitivity, and is 100% non-toxic. But hey, did I mention that this stuff tastes good? —Angel KilmisterA lost art
Nowadays, no one writes handwritten letters, but they should. I remember my mother forcing me to write thank-you notes to each one of the guests who attended my bat mitzvah at my coming of age. There was unbearable hand cramping, but I learned the value in a thoughtful, handwritten note. Now that I’m older and wiser, I write thank you notes for all occasions, including finishing things off with a fancy wax seal to spice things up. Everyone deserves the excitement that comes with seeing a letter addressed to them in the mail. —Becca SaxThis washable silk weighted eye mask
Falling asleep is easy for me; staying asleep is trickier. It took me an embarrassingly long time to get proper curtains in my bedroom, but some light still sneaks in, often at the time when you least want it to (an hour and a half before your alarm goes off; can the birds please shut up?). A silk sleep mask can totally change the game, providing not just an air of luxury, but a genuinely practical solution to reminding your body that it’s snooze time. Lunya makes an array of amazing sleep and loungewear products (my beau practically lives in the Cotton Silk Joggers), but the new weighted washable silk eye mask is truly a revelation—it’s filled with tiny glass beads that gently cradle and massage your face and keep the mask in place. And yes, you can put it in the fridge and wear it when you have a hangover for a refreshing, spa-like recovery session. —Angel KilmisterSoda that tastes like bananas???
I love diet soda, but have been trying to find healthier alternatives to fulfill my guilty pleasure. I was in the bodega one day and found soda that tastes like a literal banana cream pie from Olipop. This isn’t just any ordinary soda though—it a) was originally concocted to promote the last Minions movie, but was so popular the brand decided to keep it and b) supports digestive health with prebiotics and a whopping nine grams of fiber. Who said soda couldn’t be good for your health? —Nicolette AccardiA glass rinser, like the one they have in bars—but in your kitchen sink
As a person who enjoys drinking at bars, I’ve often marveled at those little spray gadgets they have built into the well that allows bartenders to clean glasses in just a couple of seconds. So when my kitchen was recently being remodeled, I was like… I wonder if you can just put one of those in your house, and folks, the answer is yes. For just $57 ($42 if you use the currently available coupon), you, too, can simply press your glass down on one of these suckers and have it sprayed to sparkling perfection in less time than it takes to say “I’ll have another Negroni.” —Hilary PollackFattening up my pooch the healthy way
Contrary to popular belief, there are picky dogs out there, and I happen to own one. In addition to being allergic to chicken, which is in practically everything they make for pets, my rescue mutt is also fairly discerning. I have wasted plenty of money on food and treats that he turns his nose up at, but much to my surprise, the dude absolutely loves Petaluma’s sweet potato jerky and dog food. Which is truly a blessing, because I can spoil him with as many treats I deem “reasonable” without worrying about his health. —Becca BlasdelThe simple doormat of my dreams
I swear to you: It was a challenge finding a simple jute doormat that satisfied my picky taste. This option from Revival Rugs is sub-$50, high-quality, works for indoor or outdoor use, and honestly just makes me happy when I come home each day. —Kate SpencerEnter the Ina-verse
I recently bought a bunch of Ina Garten cookbooks and tried to figure out what people love so much about her. I reported my findings here, but the spell these books have over me lingers. All I want to do is make truffled mac and cheese and Campari orange spritzers. If you want a good entry point, start with Modern Comfort Food; but the romantic Cooking for Jeffrey, which honors Ina’s relationship with her husband, might be my favorite. —Adam RothbarthGet a load of this garbage
T-minus one day until Earth Month, people—hurry up and look responsible. One incredibly easy step you can take to a happier planet is making the switch to these sustainable plant-based trash, recycling, and zip-top storage bags. Not only are they much cuter than your regular-degular black Hefty’s, they also break down cleanly, without producing microplastics or toxic residue. —Becca Blasdel
See you next month.
The Rec Room staff independently selected all of the stuff featured in this story. Want more reviews, recommendations, and red-hot deals? Sign up for our newsletter.
The aerospace industry needs climate-friendly fuel. Can WA help?
Snohomish Co. and WSU have partnered to establish an Everett center to help develop sustainable aviation fuels. Large-scale SAF production, remains an elusive goal.
Review: D&D: Honor Among Thieves is a worthy homage to the classic RPG
Of all the films due for release this spring, Dungeons and Dragons: Honor Among Thieves was one of my most anticipated premieres, solely on the strength of those killer trailers. The film does not disappoint. It's a fresh, good-humored, energetic, and vastly entertaining fantasy/action/comedy, boasting a stellar cast and solid emotional core that serves as a worthy homage to the famous RPG that inspired it.
(Some spoilers below, but no major reveals.)
Honor Among Thieves is set in the hugely popular Forgotten Realms campaign setting. The film's official premise is short and sweet: "A charming thief and a band of unlikely adventurers undertake an epic heist to retrieve a lost relic, but things go dangerously awry when they run afoul of the wrong people."
San Jose’s Vietnam War memorial marks 10th anniversary
On Thursday, the 10th anniversary of the Sons of San Jose Vietnam War memorial was commemorated with a remembrance ceremony.
Veterans, city officials and community members gathered to participate in an hourlong ceremony at Guadalupe River Park’s Arena Green. March 29 is National Vietnam War Veterans Day, a day meant to pay tribute to veterans of the Vietnam War.
“I just had to be around veteran guys who have gone through what we’ve gone through,” said J.D. Duenas, 76, a Vietnam War veteran, who currently resides in Rocklin.Vietnam War veteran J.D. Duenas, 76, of Rocklin, center in green jacket, participates in a remembrance ceremony for San Jose residents, who lost their lives in military service during the Vietnam War, at Guadalupe River Park’s Arena Green in San Jose, Calif. on Thursday, March 30, 2023. (Dai Sugano/Bay Area News Group)
The 13-foot-long black granite monument has etched on its surface the names of 142 men from San Jose who lost their lives in military service during the conflict from 1961 to 1975. The name of Duenas’ cousin, Juan Leon Guerrere Duenas, is among them, placed at the left corner, third from the bottom on the monument.The 13-foot-long black granite monument has etched on its surface the names of 142 men from San Jose who lost their lives in military service during the Vietnam War. (Dai Sugano/Bay Area News Group)
Their names were read aloud during the ceremony that also included remarks by San Jose Mayor Matt Mahan, former Mayor Sam Liccardo and Chuck Toeniskoetter, a Vietnam War veteran.Vietnam War veteran Chuck Toeniskoetter reads the names of San Jose residents, who lost their lives in military service during the Vietnam War. (Dai Sugano/Bay Area News Group) Veterans, city officials, and community members participate in a remembrance ceremony. (Dai Sugano/Bay Area News Group) San Jose Mayor Matt Mahan speaks during a remembrance ceremony. (Dai Sugano/Bay Area News Group) ROTC members from San Jose State University stand by the Sons of San Jose Vietnam War memorial during a remembrance ceremony. (Dai Sugano/Bay Area News Group) Dennis Fernandez Sr., the president of the San Jose Vietnam War Memorial Foundation, gets a hug from Frances Guerra of San Jose. (Dai Sugano/Bay Area News Group) Former San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo speaks during a remembrance ceremony. (Dai Sugano/Bay Area News Group) The 13-foot-long black granite monument has etched on its surface the names of 142 men from San Jose who lost their lives in military service during the Vietnam War. (Dai Sugano/Bay Area News Group)
Transgender Day of Visibility rallies held amid political backlash
By Wilson Ring | Associated Press
MONTPELIER, Vt. — Hundreds of young people gathered on the lawn of the Vermont Statehouse on Friday as part of a nationwide series of events to help build support for transgender rights amid what they denounced as an increasingly hostile climate.
Chanting, “We’re here, we’re queer, get used to it!” many draped themselves in pride flags or carried posters with messages like “yay gay” or “protect trans kids.”
Similar events were planned at capitols in states including South Carolina, Alabama, Minnesota, Nebraska and Montana, and at other venues Friday and this weekend.
Young people, some as young as middle-school, stood in front of the Vermont crowd and told of their struggles with their sexuality at a time when many people across the country refuse to acknowledge them.
Charlie Draugh, a 17-year-old high school senior from Chisago, Minnesota, who attends a boarding school in Vermont, said he was angry that groups are trying to control his life and turn him into a political pawn that he is not.
“My life is not your debate,” Draugh said. “It is not a political issue. I am not hurting anyone and I am certainly not hurting myself.”
The rallies — dubbed “Transgender Day of Visibility” — come as Republican lawmakers across the U.S. have pursued hundreds of proposals this year to push back on LGBTQ+ rights, particularly rights for transgender residents, including banning transgender girls from girls’ sports, keeping transgender people from using restrooms in line with their gender identities and requiring schools to deadname transgender students — requiring they be identified by names they were given at birth.
At least 11 states have now enacted laws restricting or banning gender-affirming care for minors: Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Georgia, Iowa, Kentucky, Mississippi, Tennessee, Utah, South Dakota and West Virginia. Federal judges have blocked enforcement of laws in Alabama and Arkansas, and nearly two dozen states are considering bills this year to restrict or ban care.
In North Dakota, the state Senate voted Thursday to override a veto by Republican Gov. Doug Burgum of a bill that would generally prohibit public school teachers and staff from referring to transgender students by pronouns other than those reflecting the gender assigned to them at birth. It’s unclear if the North Dakota House will also vote to override the veto.
On Friday, President Joe Biden issued a statement supporting Transgender Day of Visibility. The president said transgender Americans deserve to be safe and supported in every community. He denounced what he called hundreds of hateful and extreme state laws that target transgender kids and their families.
“Let me be clear: These attacks are un-American and must end,” Biden’s statement said. “The bullying, discrimination, and political attacks that trans kids face have exacerbated our national mental health crisis.”
Dana Kaplan, the executive director of Outright Vermont, which helped sponsor Friday’s event at the Vermont Statehouse, said the level of targeted hate for transgender youth is unprecedented.
“There are over 450 bills right now that are specifically targeting the LGBTQ community and trying to strip trans kids of their right to exist — when it comes down to it, their rights to play sports, their right to gender affirming health care,” Kaplan said. “These are sort of basic pillars of what we all need to be able to live our lives and and for trans young people, they are having to shoulder way more than any young person ever should.”
Vermont was the first state in the country to pass a law allowing civil unions for same-sex couples and adopted one of the first gay marriage laws. It has been known for being generally welcoming to the LGBTQ+ community.
A number of police from the Vermont capitol were watching the Montpelier rally, but there were no problems and the rally gradually began to disperse about an hour after it began.
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“I think there’s this myth of Vermont as like this lovely, perfect little state,” Overy said. “But as many of the trans kids said today… those kids still frequently face so much hatred and discrimination for being, for living their lives and that’s not okay.”
Overy, a student at the University of Vermont, said they hoped the rally would make it easier to support each other and build community among transgender people in Vermont.
“In addition, I think it also provides a place for these people to feel seen, which is so essential, and to feel welcomed,” Overy said.
Hold My Lube: The Iconic Satisfyer Pro 2 Vibrator Is 53% Off
Dabbling downstairs with your fingertips may be the au natural way to third base, but adding a sex toy to your erotic treasure chest doesn’t hurt. It’s time to slide the edible undies to the side and make room for bigger and better things. Not that undergarments that taste like Fruit Roll-Ups don’t deserve a standing ovation, but will they make you cum? Our verdict says no, which is why we stan this cult-fave clitoral vibrator that will make you orgasm no problem: the Satisfyer Pro 2. Besides taking you to O-Town and being the best-selling vibrator for VICE readers (!!!), it’s currently 53% off, which is its steepest discount in 30 days, according to Amazon.
The iconic Satisfyer Pro 2 uses air-pulse stimulation to radiate feelings of suction and pulsations similar to oral sex on le bean, and comes in three different colorways—including an icy blue, lavender, and rose pink. Its 11 different pulsing intensities should make it no problem to find one that satisfies your (highly) personal preferences. Different strokes for different folks, but the silicone head is big enough to surround the entire clitoris, gentle enough for even the lightest touch, and powerful enough to throttle you into orgasmic space, so we have high hopes.
One of our writers claimed it will have her “yodeling for many spank sessions to come,” which has made us already put in our orders. With a 4.2 star average and over 57,000 reviews on Amazon, that statement holds truth for a whole lot of happy buyers. “The bad thing about this device is the fact that you may have a heart attack using this because it will blow your MIND!!!!,” one reviewer almost fooled us with their clever way of words.
The motor on the Pro 2 is also stronger than its previous model, all while being quieter for a lovely, discreet night in even if you’re dealing with roommates the next room over (or worse yet, parents). It’s also rechargeable and waterproof, so feel free to bring it in the shower for some *water fun*.
The Satisfyer Pro 2’s 53% off discount might poof away before your clit-sucking dreams can be fulfilled, so equip yourself with this truly perfect suction vibrator while the opportunity is there.
The Satisfyer Pro 2 is available on sale on Amazon.
The Rec Room staff independently selected all of the stuff featured in this story. Want more reviews, recommendations, and red-hot deals? Sign up for our newsletter.
Undocumented California flood victims raise alarms about discrimination based on immigration status
PAJARO — Dozens of angry flood victims marched down Salinas Road on Thursday to demand respect and dignity for the storm-ravaged town’s about 3,000 inhabitants, raising alarms about alleged government discrimination — based on immigration status — against people seeking aid and demanding that all those suffering be treated equally.
Since torrents of water and contaminated mud decimated the town of primarily agricultural and blue-collar workers, flood victims have been able to return to their homes and begin the arduous journey of rebuilding.
But for many who showed up Thursday, the current means-tested aid available only to some — with others being turned away at shelters and aid lines, or filling out endless forms applying for assistance that hasn’t come — highlights systemic discrimination against undocumented residents of the agricultural community.
Jose, an undocumented resident who declined to give his last name, told the Bay Area News Group he had spent the last three weeks crammed in a double-bed hotel room in Watsonville with his wife and two children, 13 and 10 years old, paying over $100 a night out of his life savings. Unable to get any financial help from the government, he said for the first time since he emigrated to this United States 14 years ago he was “completely alone” and at his “lowest.”
“It’s absolutely unjust,” he said in Spanish. “I’m doing everything by myself and I don’t think I’m going to ever get any help from the government, even though I still pay my taxes. They forgot about Pajaro, but we are more forgotten.”The Justice for Pajaro march by flood victims and their allies progresses along Salinas Road in Pajaro on Thursday, March 30, 2023. (Shmuel Thaler – Santa Cruz Sentinel)
As marchers walked on mud, filth and debris-covered streets that have not been cleaned since evacuees were let back into town last week, others worried about the health effects of bathing in the water that officials have deemed unsafe to drink. Still, what some called the two-tiered system of help that puts people with legal immigration status above those without drew most of the anger Thursday.
Undocumented flood victims do qualify for state assistance; thousands of dollars have also poured into various fundraisers, including through the website GoFundMe, and volunteers were looking at the best ways to distribute those funds. The most robust help, though, would come in the form of financial assistance from FEMA — exclusively for those who can prove they have legal status.
The Migration Policy Institute estimates there are about 67,000 “unauthorized people” living in Monterey and San Benito counties — key rural communities that help to cement California’s status as an agricultural giant.
Gov. Gavin Newsom’s move this week to request a federal disaster declaration — a key step to allow federal funds to be used to help people in Pajaro and other storm-damaged areas of the state — drew praise from some. Still, undocumented people won’t qualify for FEMA aid and some, like Jose, are afraid they’ll be deported if they come forward seeking help.
“Everyone’s lives have been turned upside down the same way,” Jose said. “Why am I being discriminated against?”
President Joe Biden hasn’t indicated when or whether he’ll sign the FEMA aid request.Pajaro residents demanded answers and attention at the Justice for Pajaro march as they try to figure out their next steps on Thursday, March 30, 2023. (Shmuel Thaler – Santa Cruz Sentinel)
Newsom admitted during his trip to Pajaro that certain people wouldn’t be able to get assistance based on their immigration status, and acknowledged more could be done for undocumented people affected by recent storms.
“I recognize the imperative … that a lot of people here are not immediately eligible for assistance,” he said. “We have rules and regulations about protecting the privacy of people’s immigration status. There’s not a state in America that does more for farmworkers than California, and we don’t do enough. I want to repeat that … we don’t do enough.”
Other public officials have also spoken out about the lack of aid for undocumented people. Santa Cruz County Supervisor Felipe Hernandez sent a letter to Newsom on March 23 asking for specific help to undocumented community members in the Pajaro Valley that lost personal property, their homes and in some cases their jobs.
“These individuals and families are struggling without resources and access to basic needs and many of these community members will be out of work for a long period of time due to the damage to local agriculture and farmlands, causing a significant loss of jobs,” the letter says.
Clutching a loudspeaker as he guided dozens of his neighbors through Pajaro, 42-year-old Ramiro Medrano agreed there’s more the state could be doing for the most vulnerable. He remembered vividly how his parents had to dump all of their water-logged belongings on their front yard during historic Monterey County flooding in 1995 — another disastrous event that prompted calls for aid from public agencies.
- California News | Newsom takes key step to bring FEMA aid to California flood victims
- California News | Reps. Jimmy Panetta, Zoe Lofgren join Sen. Padilla letter urging Pajaro aid
- California News | Monterey spent one-fifth what Santa Cruz did on Pajaro River flood control. Did that contribute to catastrophic levee break?
- California News | Pajaro flooding victims demand answers as town hall devolves into shouting match
“We pay our taxes year in and year out, but when we need it most, we don’t get any of it back,” he said.
Medrano said he was most worried about undocumented people who he said are “going to get the short end of the stick.” He said an eviction moratorium passed by Monterey County earlier in March — which prevents evictions until Aug. 31 but does not relieve the tenant responsibility for unpaid rent — is merely a bandage on a major wound, and that what people really need is “rent assistance.”
“Was it meant to be a symbolic thing or what is it really doing? Because we know that it’s not adequate to help,” Medrano said. “Instead of going out there to ask for donations and volunteers, they need to bring back our tax dollars and reinvest in Pajaro. Monterey is so big and it has arms that are so rich and that pay so much in taxes, why not just redistribute wealth? We are valuable too.”Mud covers the floor of Healthy Harvest Berries in Pajaro on Wednesday’s California Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis, at top, visits flood-ravaged businesses, homes and farms in Pajaro. (Shmuel Thaler – Santa Cruz Sentinel)
A student created a media platform by and about people of color to fill a void in campus journalism
It was sickle cell anemia that brought Chicago-born, Detroit-raised Tiffani Jackson to Illinois State University in Bloomington-Normal in 2017. Having endured some attacks, called pain crises, while attending Grambling State University, she made the decision to move closer to home.
With that, Louisiana lost a music technology major but Illinois gained a journalism major, a change in focus prompted by her professors’ suggestions. Jackson parlayed the new focus into creating Onyx Connect, a media source for the diverse population on and around campus.
During a semesterlong stint writing for ISU’s student-run news organization, the Vidette, Jackson began scrutinizing campus-area media outlets from the lens of having transferred from a historically Black college to a predominantly white institution.
“It was a very intentional walk,” she said. “I joined to create more articles and stories about our communities. … I was the only Black reporter there; there was a Black photographer (Nodel Dugbo) there and we immediately connected. I was telling him about the stuff that I saw on campus, and he said, whatever stories you have, just tell them you want me as a photographer, and we can go on these stories together.”
While reporting, Jackson learned that Black students would arrive in Bloomington-Normal with concerns about resources such as hairstylists and barbers, and other things needed to make them feel comfortable in their new surroundings. So Jackson found people on and off campus who provide these services and wrote about them for the Vidette. The community responded. Those Vidette stories led Jackson to create a stand-alone media outlet for the underrepresented, Onyx Connect.
By February 2018, Onyx Connect was being disseminated on campus as a print-only newsletter, showcasing diverse, positive stories along with resources for students of color. Jackson wrote the articles. Dugbo took photos. Jackson funds Onyx Connect on her own — first through her internships and now as a full-time reporter.
By 2020, Onyx Connect transitioned to sharing stories on social media. Staff do person-on-the-street interviews for the camera and post videos on social media sites. These days, 15 staff members produce content for Onyx Connect. The media outlet also hosts events like Onyx on Wall Street, which connected local entrepreneurs with students of color in a meet-and-greet in 2021.
“There was about 50 different Black businesses featured,” Jackson said. “Students on campus came out … it was more about creating long-term connections for them.”Davion Holmes, right, interviews Bob Lee during the Black Heritage Ball at Illinois State University on Feb. 25, 2023, in Normal, Illinois. The ball was sponsored by the Black Students Union and covered by Onyx Connect. (Stacey Wescott/Chicago Tribune/TNS)
Members of Onyx focus a lot on community journalism, but also cover breaking news such as campus protests and the mysterious death of ISU graduate student Jelani Day. Jackson, now a culture, diversity and inclusion reporter at Springfield’s State Journal-Register, said Onyx Connect gave an ISU student from the LGBTQ community who was assaulted last semester a platform to tell his story.
“If something breaks and other media outlets are not telling the story right, we’re gonna be here to tell it the right way,” Jackson said. “Onyx is there to be able to give more context and be able to give more of our voices.”
Kierra Turpin, a senior from Elgin, is one of those voices. She joined Onyx Connect after her roommate, Victoria Aguirre, a Schaumburg resident and Onyx Connect member, found the news source through Instagram. Turpin, who transferred to ISU from Northern Illinois University during the pandemic, said Onyx Connect is the only Black news outlet on campus and it fulfills her need for a Black community away from home.
“As a person of color, it is hard to get involved with things that you don’t feel other people can understand,” she said. “Not only are the members of Onyx my community, but I get to reach out and pour into my community, people who aren’t a part of Onyx, but they get to know about these different events that Illinois State has that you might not have known otherwise.”
According to Jackson, Onyx Connect’s voices come from all educational backgrounds on campus — accounting, criminal justice, business, graphic design and marketing. Jackson trains the Onyx staff on Monday evenings, teaching journalism fundamentals and media literacy.
“Some of them have no clue what journalism is or they just want to contribute to our purpose, which they see as helping uplift a voice of someone,” Jackson said.
“It’s like, ‘Hey, come be a part of this community. We’ll train you, we’ll work together, we’ll develop these professional skills,” Turpin said.
Aguirre agrees. “It’s essentially learning a lot of new skills and being able to advance your skills with other people’s knowledge,” she said.
Prior to joining the Springfield publication, Jackson worked as an intern at WGLT, the National Public Radio affiliate in Normal for over two years and with Angela Rye’s Impact Strategies consulting firm in Washington, D.C., for a year. Two classes shy of completing her undergraduate degree, Jackson received a call from the State Journal-Register, which is part of the USA Today network, to work in Springfield. She’s been working as a reporter there for a year and a half.
“My hospital visits delayed my graduation (in 2020) since I’d be in for at least two weeks dealing with attacks and that affected my ability to get class work done on time, so I had to play catch up a lot,” Jackson said. “I was working three jobs and under a lot of stress and stress triggers sickle cell crises. It was really a struggle to manage everything on top of school, but I kept trying my best.”
Jackson’s mentor, Charles Alsberry, says her success comes from perseverance and seeking advice from the older generation. “When she is led in a certain direction, she makes sure she focuses on it,” he said. “That is her secret sauce. … She is a person that does her homework. And she is a real star and leader.”
Ryan Denham, digital content director at WGLT and Jackson’s supervisor, said Onyx Connect is different from other student media. Jackson’s entrepreneurial outlook prompted him to offer her an internship.
“She just stood out because she saw a problem in the media,” Denham said. “She didn’t just look at the problem and stare at it and talk about it. She did something to try to fix it. It’s an uncommon amount of hustle.”Onyx Connect members Kierra Turpin, left, Victoria Aguirre and Davion Holmes review footage for a social media post during the Black Heritage Ball at Illinois State University on Feb. 25, 2023, in Normal, Illinois. (Stacey Wescott/Chicago Tribune/TNS)
Jackson’s goal is to launch Onyx Connect on campuses around the nation, creating a national collegiate news network at predominantly white institutions so students of color and underserved voices are seen and heard.
“Onyx will serve as the voice and connector to resources so that students don’t feel isolated when at a predominantly white institution,” Jackson said. She hopes to start a chapter of Onyx Connect at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign by 2025. She plans to go to schools across Illinois to learn about their specific needs before establishing other chapters.
“I’ve heard from students at NIU, EIU, WIU, students who’ve seen what we’ve been doing and who are interested,” she said. “I’m just trying to figure out what campus has the biggest need right now and also making sure that the foundation at ISU is stable before trying to multiply. I really want to be able to buy a building on campus, to be able to have a headquarters where we could produce and have a safe haven.”
Aguirre, who is majoring in communication and English, didn’t realize how much she liked journalism until Jackson got her more involved with Onyx.
“Tiffani is one of the first to try and do this and although this organization is small right now, we do see it growing,” she said. “I have a few friends at Western Illinois University and Eastern Illinois University who have expressed similar feelings that we share here. They tell me how lucky we are to have such a community.”
Onyx Connect alumnus Eric Donaldson served as vice president before graduating in 2021. The marketing communication major now lives in Bloomingdale and works for a media marketing agency. He said he went to ISU because his older sister was already enrolled there, but he stayed because he found Onyx Connect.
“I wasn’t used to change,” he said. “We have to adjust regardless, but it made it easier because as a Black person in a community, it made it feel more welcoming.”
He said Onyx Connect not only highlights the underrepresented population on campus, but also highlights how it evolved over time.
Jamillah Gilbert, Onyx’s faculty adviser and ISU’s assistant director for curriculum services, said the campus needed a media outlet that connects Black students to each other and the Black community at large. Gilbert said Onyx Connect has been able to do that.
“It is unapologetically celebrating all the beauty, the talent, the dreams, the goals, the hard work and the celebrations of the community,” she said. “And when I say unapologetically, it’s without trying to muffle. Sometimes we try to dim our light to not make others uncomfortable. I believe Onyx Connect is every bit bright light and unapologetically shining.”
Jackson sees Onyx Connect as the start of her own media firm and she’s studying Byron Allen’s and Oprah Winfrey’s paths of success to pick up pointers. And Jackson is not letting her medical condition get in the way. In fact, she says living with sickle cell partly fuels her ambition. She said growing up around the term “life expectancy” pushed her to do as much as she can before that time comes.
“I want to be known as somebody who made an impact on somebody’s life,” she said. “A lot of people ask me why I chose the name Onyx. The reason is because onyx is a black stone that is known for dispelling negative energy and promoting positivity. I correlated that with our purpose, which is to dispel negative stereotypes about our community and communities of color and promote positive images and positive news stories in our media.”
More information can be found on Twitter @_theonyxconnect, Instagram @_theonyxconnectisu or Facebook at Onyx Connect Media. The group is trying to raise $5,000 on GoFundMe for equipment and apparel.
©2023 Chicago Tribune. Visit at chicagotribune.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
Sharks’ top prospect has shoulder surgery, is out for season
Forward William Eklund will miss the rest of the season after he had surgery this week to repair a torn labrum in his left shoulder, the San Jose Sharks announced Friday.
Eklund, 20, had the surgery Thursday in San Jose. Per the Sharks, Eklund is expected to be ready for the team’s next training camp in September.
Eklund, the Sharks’ top forward prospect, sustained the injury in the San Jose Barracuda’s game with the Colorado Eagles on March 22.
Eklund was injured in the second period when he fell to the ice in an awkward fashion following a puck battle with Colorado’s Nate Clurman. Eklund then slowly skated to the Barracuda’s bench, holding his arm, and did not return to the game.
Eklund played most of the season in the AHL but was recalled to the Sharks in early March and had three points in eight games. Eklund was officially returned to the AHL four days before his injury.
The Barracuda (27-32-1-4) are trying to secure a spot in the playoffs, as it entered Friday in eighth place in the AHL’s Pacific Division with 59 points, seven points back of both Tucson and Bakersfield with eighth regular season games remaining. The top seven teams in the Pacific Division make the postseason.
Eklund, who was drafted seventh overall by the Sharks in 2021, had 41 points in 57 games for the Barracuda this season. The team’s leading scorer, Andrew Agozzino, was just returned to the AHL on Thursday after he had three points in four games with the Sharks.
The Barracuda’s next games are tonight and Saturday on the road against the Texas Stars.
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What VICE Readers Bought in March: Togo Sofa Dupes and 'Sex Dust'
Is it us, or is time flying? We blinked and it went from getting dark at 4 p.m. to the blissful post-daylight-savings dream of it still being light outside when leaving work. Let’s all let out a resounding huzzah as we thank the powers that be for lessening our seasonal depression and bestowing upon us the same glory and mercy that Gwyneth Paltrow is also currently enjoying post-trial-win. March is turning out to be a truly heavenly month. On top of celebrating Everything Everywhere All At Once stealing every Oscar with our own hot dog hands, we also explored how to achieve maximum resting potential during Sleep Week, and we’re gearing up for music festival season. It’s time for our March 2023 installment of What VICE Readers Bought This Month, so let’s delve into the stuff you guys went cuckoo-bananas over this month, before it’s April and we’re all stoned out of our minds.
It cums comes as no surprise that clit-sucking vibrators and Hoka Bondi 7s topped the list of things that VICE readers bought this month, because if there’s two things we know for sure, it’s that you guys love running and orgasms—keep up the good work. The rest of March’s best-sellers include pheromone perfume (for keeping things horny), a Japanese chef's knife for mastering absolutely everything from Ina Garten’s bibliography, and nipple covers for… covering nipples. Read on for more of the top products VICE readers bought in March 2023.Reach your climax
In the words of Rec Room’s senior writer and resident sexpert Mary Frances Knapp, who reviewed Rosie, the rose-shaped clit-sucker from Tracy’s Dog, “it made my clit swoon.” On top of being, like, totally aesthetically pleasing and clit-charming, this pretty suction toy is also super lightweight, made from body-safe silicone, and incredibly travel-friendly (it fits in the palm of your hand).
If you’d rather hump your toys, no sweat—readers also went ham for the Ruby Glow massager from Rocks-Off, which offers 10 speeds for you to ride along with. While it’s not the most discreet toy, “this vibrator wants to be full-on straddled and have you just go at it,” writes Knapp.Speaking of sex….dust
Maybe you’re familiar with Moon Juice and the lore of founder Amanda Chantal Bacon, Father John Misty, and a stolen crystal, but have you actually tried its popular wellness products? It turns out that Sex Dust actually slaps. After ingesting Sex Dust every day for a month, senior writer Mary Frances Knapp “went into this experiment feeling skeptical, but I found myself feeling not only hornier from the adaptogen blend, but more creative and even open-minded.” Her only caveat: The dust is quite earthy, so “it begets a banana and date smoothie, or some hot chocolate.” Noted.Run like the wind
It’s no secret that you freaks LOVE sneaker brand Hoka—us too, mateys. There’s just something about those chunky, pillowy soles that fulfill both our aesthetic and physical needs. “When it comes to Hokas, the Bondi 7s are god’s gift to the running world,” writes Nicolette Accardi in her review of the Bondi 7s—which are (luckily) currently on sale.Do you want that TOGO?
We love our readers. Y’all have exceptional taste in decor, even if you don’t have a Logan Roy-level budget. We’re with you, babes—we’re also squirreling away our tax return for our next big purchase, which will either be a glorious Togo sofa or Wassily chair dupe. VICE readers have been buying this sick Togo armchair lookalike like hotcakes, and we don’t blame you—it’s plush velvet, highly rated, and only around $1,000, a steal compared to a real Togo sofa’s price tag.I love the way you smell
And so will every other hot single hottie at the bar, hardcore show, and famer’s market. Baddies everywhere will be coming up to you in droves because of that je ne sais quoi. Pssst…. It’s this TikTok-famous pheromone oil that comes in a convenient roll-on that you can stash in your purse, gym bag, or back pocket whenever you need a little extra confidence boost. One of our staff writers took it for a test run, and the results were interesting to say the least.You need to cut it
Fancy knives can get really pricey, but as most professional chefs and avid home cooks know, all you really need is one good knife to tackle everything from fileting fish to julienning vegetables—just make sure you keep it nice and sharp, and clean and dry it after each use. This tried-and-true Imarku knife is one of our top picks under $100, and apparently, one of yours, too.No more nippin’ out
God, don’t you hate it when the A/C flicks on mid-meeting and you find yourself peeking through your shirt? Us, too, which is why comfortable, trusty-worthy nipple covers (a.k.a. pasties) are truly a god-send. Writer Becca Blasdel reviewed a bunch last summer in hopes of having a carefree, braless season, and it turns out pasties make it possible. The two brands that are still flying off the shelves? Bare Necessities Nippies and Bonamona nipple covers.
See you next month, and thanks for shopping [rips bong].
The Rec Room staff independently selected all of the stuff featured in this story. Want more reviews, recommendations, and red-hot deals? Sign up for our newsletter.
The Rule of Law Now Depends on Republicans
Suspected human trafficker Tate released to house arrest
By Stephen McGrath and Vadim and Ghirda | Associated Press
BUCHAREST, Romania — Andrew Tate, the divisive internet personality who has spent months in a Romanian jail on suspicion of organized crime and human trafficking, has won an appeal to replace his detention with house arrest, an official said Friday.
The Bucharest Court of Appeal ruled in favor of Tate’s appeal, which challenged a judge’s decision last week to extend his arrest a fourth time for 30 days, said Ramona Bolla, a spokesperson for Romania’s anti-organized crime agency, DIICOT.
Tate, 36, a British-U.S. citizen who has 5.4 million Twitter followers, was initially detained in late December in Romania’s capital Bucharest, along with his brother Tristan and two Romanian women.
All four won an appeal Friday, and will remain under house arrest until Apr. 29, Bolla said. None of the four has yet been formally indicted. The court ruled in favor of their immediate release. Prosecutors cannot challenge the appeal court’s decision, which was final, Bolla added.
Tate, a professional kickboxer who has resided in Romania since 2017, was previously banned from various social media platforms for expressing misogynistic views and hate speech. He has repeatedly claimed Romanian prosecutors have no evidence and alleged their case is a “political” conspiracy designed to silence him.
DIICOT said in a statement after the December arrests that it had identified six victims in the human trafficking case who were allegedly subjected to “acts of physical violence and mental coercion” and sexually exploited by members of the alleged crime group.
The agency said victims were lured with pretenses of love and later intimidated, placed under surveillance and subjected to other control tactics while being coerced into engaging in pornographic acts for the financial gain of the crime group.
In January, Romanian authorities descended on a compound near Bucharest linked with the Tate brothers and towed away a fleet of luxury cars that included a Rolls-Royce, a Ferrari and a Porsche. They reported seizing assets worth an estimated $3.9 million.
Prosecutors have said that if they can prove the cars’ owners gained money through illicit activities such as human trafficking, the assets would be used to cover the expenses of the investigation and to compensate victims. Tate unsuccessfully appealed the asset seizure.
Stephen McGrath reported from Sighisoara, Romania.
Norway avalanches: Tourists among four killed in north of country
A remotely operated lab is taking shape 2.5 km under the sea
In 1962, one of the world's first underwater research laboratories and human habitats was established off the coast of Marseilles, France, at a depth of 10 meters. The Conshelf 1 project consisted of a steel structure that hosted two men for a week.
Now, more than 60 years later, another underwater laboratory is being set up not far from Marseilles, this time to study both the sea and sky. Unlike the Conshelf habitat, the Laboratoire Sous-marin Provence Méditerranée (LSPM) won't be manned by humans. Located 40 km off the coast of Toulon at a depth of 2,450 meters, it is Europe’s first remotely operated underwater laboratory.Physics under the sea
Currently, three junction boxes capable of powering several instruments and retrieving data are at the heart of LSPM. The boxes, each measuring 6 meters long and 2 meters high, are connected to a power system on land via a 42-kilometer-long electro-optical cable. The optical portion of this cable is used to collect data from the junction boxes.