Colombians accused in Haiti assassination were once trained by the US military, Pentagon says

Armed police officers stand in front of a mural of Haitian President Jovenel Moïse
Armed police in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

  • A “small number” of Colombians detained in the assassination of Haiti’s president received US military training, the Pentagon told The Washington Post.
  • They received the training while they were active members of the Colombian Military Forces, the Pentagon said.
  • It’s unclear when the training took place or how many of the suspects took part in it.
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A “small number” of Colombians detained in the assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moïse had previously received US military training, the Pentagon said on Thursday.

“A review of our training databases indicates that a small number of the Colombian individuals detained as part of this investigation had participated in past U.S. military training and education programs, while serving as active members of the Colombian Military Forces,” Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Ken Hoffman told The Washington Post.

It’s unclear how many Colombians had the training as well as when the training to place, though Colombia is a US military partner and its military members have received training and education for decades, The Post reported.

Hoffman told The Post that the Pentagon is reviewing its training databases.

The Pentagon did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

Haitian police have said that 26 Colombians and two Haitian Americans are among the suspects in Moïse’s assassination.

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Ex-solider colleague of accused Haiti assassins: ‘There has to have been a conspiracy’

Haiti Jovenel Moise and wife Martine Moise
Jovenel Moïse and his wife Martine Moïse in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, on November 28, 2016, after he won the country’s 2016 presidential election.

  • A former solider who was a colleague of the Colombian mercenaries suspected of assassinating the Haitian President says he doesn’t believe the men he knew were the killers.
  • He told Reuters that he and the other Colombian men were hired as bodyguards.
  • He said there “has to have been a conspiracy.”
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A former solider who was a colleague of the Colombian mercenaries suspected of assassinating Haitian President Jovenel Moise says he doesn’t believe that the men he knows were the killers.

Haitian authorities have said 26 Colombians and two Haitian Americans were behind Moise’s killing, but Matias Gutierrez, a retired special forces sniper who now works in security, told Reuters that he and the other Colombian men were hired as bodyguards.

“It wasn’t our commandos. There has to have been a conspiracy,” Gutierrez told Reuters. “Their extraction was total chaos. Why? Because they weren’t going on an assault, they went in support of a request by the security forces of the president.”

Gutierrez said he was not with the group last week because he tested positive for COVID-19.

Moise was killed in his home in the early morning of July 7. A motive for the president’s killing remains unclear.

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The president of Haiti was assassinated at home

Haiti president Jovenel Moise
Haitian President Jovenel Moïse.

  • Jovenel Moïse was killed by a group of assailants at his home early Wednesday morning.
  • The government did not identify the perpetrators, but said some of them were speaking Spanish.
  • The first lady was also injured by gunshot, the government said.
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The serving president of Haiti was assassinated at his home early Wednesday morning, the government said. He was 53.

Jovenel Moïse was killed in his private residence at around 1 a.m. local time Wednesday by a group of assailants, Haitian Prime Minister Claude Joseph said in a Wednesday statement.

The first lady was also injured by gunshot, the statement said.

Joseph’s statement did not identify the assailants, but said some of them were Spanish-speaking. The main languages spoken in Haiti are Haitian Creole and French.

He also The New York Times he was now in charge of the country.

Previous reports located Moïse’s private home in Pétion-Ville, an upscale suburb of the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince.

A 3D satellite image of Petion-Ville in Haiti.
A 3D satellite image of Pétion-Ville, the location of Moïse’s private home, in Haiti.

The Associated Press reported, citing Joseph, that the police had been deployed to the National Palace and Pétion-Ville.

ABC News reported that the Toussaint Louverture International Airport, near Port-au-Prince, was closed following the attack.

Moïse was deeply unpopular in his country

The attack on Moïse followed years of protests against his government, and calls for his resignation.

Moïse has served as Haiti’s president since February 2017 and the country was due to hold a general election in 2019, but they were postponed. The election is due to take place on September 2021.

Critics of Moïse said he was clinging on to power and argued that his term should have ended this February, AFP reported.

“He is doing everything, utilizing all kinds of maneuvers, to hold onto power and to ensure that he remains the only person governing in the country,” Gédéon Jean, a lawyer and human-rights activist in Port-au-Prince, told the Miami Herald in January.

In addition to the election, the people of Haiti were also due to vote in a referendum this September concerning reforms to the constitution that would give the executive leadership more power.

The move to reform the 1987 constitution, which was supported by Moïse, was extremely unpopular, and had been postponed twice due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In his statement, Joseph described the attack as “odious, inhumane, and barbarous.” He also told The Times that the president had been “cowardly assassinated,” but that the perpetrators “cannot assassinate his ideas.”

Joseph plans to address the country later Wednesday, The Times said.

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A 41-year-old bitcoin mogul died unexpectedly, leaving behind a fortune worth billions

A pile of bitcoin cryptocurrencies is seen.
A pile of bitcoin cryptocurrencies is seen.

  • Major bitcoin investor Mircea Popescu suddenly died, leaving behind a cryptocurrency fortune reportedly worth over $2 billion.
  • Popescu, 41, drowned last week off the coast of Costa Rica, local reports said.
  • His death has prompted questions about what will happen to Popescu’s enormous bitcoin fortune.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

A major bitcoin investor has suddenly died, leaving behind a cryptocurrency fortune reportedly worth more than $2 billion.

Mircea Popescu, a Romanian national, drowned last week off the coast of Costa Rica, local reports said. He was 41.

Popescu drowned at Playa Hermosa, according to Teletica.com, which reported that Popescu was swept away by the current and died.

His death has prompted questions surrounding what will now happen to Popescu’s enormous bitcoin fortune.

Popescu, a controversial figure sometimes referred to as “the father of bitcoin toxicity,” is known for launching a “bitcoin securities exchange” called MPEx in 2012, according to Bitcoin magazine.

“The website was once an early breeding ground for early bitcoin IPOs, a practice that earned him the ire of the US Securities and Exchange Commission, an agency whose power he took no shortage of joy in openly undermining,” the magazine said.

Popescu generated “an aggressive brand of unapologetic bitcoin evangelism that made his influence enduring despite documented instances of sexism, bigotry and anti-semitism,” Bitcoin Magazine said.

He has claimed to hold 1 million bitcoins, though some have estimated that he had tens of thousands of coins.

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Almost all of the current COVID-19 deaths are among those unvaccinated

vaccine reactions covid 19
Healthcare workers get the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccination at the Legacy Emanuel Medical Center on December 16, 2020 in Portland, Oregon.

  • More than 99% of those hospitalized for COVID-19 are unvaccinated, the Associated Press reported.
  • Fully vaccinated people accounted for .8% of COVID-19 deaths in May.
  • Experts are urging Americans to get vaccinated as the more transmissible Delta variant spreads.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Almost all of the COVID-19 deaths in the US are among those who are unvaccinated, an Associated Press analysis found.

While over 853,000 were hospitalized for COVID-19 in May, less than 1,200 of them or about 0.1% were people who were fully vaccinated, the AP found using data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Of the 18,000 COVID-19 deaths, only 150 were people who were fully vaccinated or only 0.8%.

“They are [vaccines] nearly 100 percent effective against severe disease and death, meaning nearly every death due to COVID-19 is particularly tragic because nearly every death, especially among adults, due to COVID-19 is, at this point, entirely preventable,” CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said during a press briefing on Tuesday.

More than 45% of all Americans are fully vaccinated against, CDC data shows, but The Washington Post reported vaccination rates have been on the decline, with fewer Americans signing up to get the shot.

This comes at a time when top health officials are urging Americans to get vaccinated as the more transmissible Delta variant – which originated in India – becomes a growing concern. It may also be able to evade protection from existing vaccines, as Insider’s Aria Bendix reported.

Walensky told NBC News that data so far shows that two doses of Pfizer and Moderna vaccines should work really well against the Delta variant, and she is encouraging people to get their second doses if they haven’t.

She is however concerned about pockets across the country that are less vaccinated than others. There’s a stark vaccine rate disparity amongst counties across the US with some at only 0.1% and others near 100%.

Those that have lower vaccine rates are at a higher risk of an outbreak as a result of the variant. Experts told Insider’s Aria Bendix and Joanna Lin Su that they ideally want a community to have at least a 75% vaccination rate so the virus is less able to pass from person to person.

“Some places are above 60%, so there are some pockets that are pretty protected,” Lisa Lee, an epidemiologist at Virginia Tech, recently told Insider. “We have to understand, though, that it just takes a couple of cases, a couple of people coming into a community, to pass this along.”

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Antivirus mogul John McAfee dies by suicide in a Spain jail while awaiting extradition on tax evasion charges

John McAfee
FILE: John McAfee

John McAfee, the founder of the antivirus software McAfee, has died by apparent suicide while awaiting extradition to the United States on tax-related criminal charges.

McAfee, 75, was found dead in a Barcelona jail cell on Wednesday, reported the Spanish publication El País, citing police sources.

The Catalan justice department confirmed McAfee’s death to Reuters.

Earlier in the day, Spain’s National Court approved the extradition of McAfee to face the US-based charges.

McAfee, who made his fortune selling antivirus software, had been arrested at Barcelona’s airport last October and held in jail while awaiting the outcome of the extradition hearings.

McAfee was accused of evading his taxes in Tennessee by failing to disclose money he made from cryptocurrency and speaking fees, as well as selling the rights to his life story for a documentary. The charges carried a sentence of up to 30 years in prison, according to the Associated Press.

McAfee was fighting the extradition, and claimed to the court earlier this month that he would be forced to spend his life in prison if he was sent to the US. Despite being jailed, the outspoken mogul’s Twitter account remained active, praising cryptocurrency and railing against his prosecution.

After launching the antivirus software, McAfee turned his attention to cryptocurrency and political activism.

McAfee, born in the UK and raised in Roanoke, Virginia, made a name for himself after founding an antivirus software company in 1987. Large US corporations began using McAfee’s software by the late 1980s, and Intel acquired the company for $7.6 billion in 2010.

Earlier, in 1994, the founder had left the company and soon after sold all his shares for $100 million.

After reportedly losing much of his fortune in the 2008 financial crisis, McAfee moved to Belize and founded the biotech firm Quorumex. In Belize, the mogul admitted to bribing members of the coast guard to stop them from hassling his ferry business. and largely withdrew from society.

“My fragile connection with the world of polite society has, without a doubt, been severed,” McAfee wrote in an email reviewed by Wired. “My attire would rank me among the worst-dressed Tijuana panhandlers. My hygiene is no better.”

In 2015, shortly after McAfee returned to the US, Tennessee police officers arrested him for driving under the influence and possession of a handgun while intoxicated, according to The Jackson Sun. McAfee had previously told news outlets he struggled with drug and alcohol addiction during his life.

That year McAfee also filed paperwork to run in the 2016 presidential race as a Libertarian candidate. The tech mogul lost the party nomination to former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson.

Recently, McAfee had actively wrote his musings on politics and tech on Twitter. He frequently touted cryptocurrency and said, “crypto is the key to unlocking our prisons.” McAfee later said he lost his entire crypto fortune.

“The US believes I have hidden crypto. I wish I did but it has dissolved through the many hands of Team McAfee,” he tweeted. “My friends evaporated through fear of association. I have nothing. Yet, I regret nothing.”

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

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Capitol rioter Ashli Babbitt’s family sues to learn the name of the Capitol police officer who fatally shot her

US Capitol riot
Riots at the US Capitol Building.

  • Ashli Babbitt’s husband has filed a lawsuit against Washington DC’s Metropolitan Police Department.
  • In the complaint, he asks for the identity of the Capitol Police officer who fatally shot his wife.
  • Ashli Babbitt was killed while storming the Capitol during the pro-Trump riots on January 6.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The family of Ashli Babbitt – who was fatally shot while storming the US Capitol building during the January 6 insurrection – has filed a complaint against Washington DC’s Metropolitan Police Department asking for the identity of the Capitol officer who shot his wife.

Babbitt was fatally shot by a police officer as she tried to enter the Speaker’s Lobby at the House of Representatives by climbing through a broken window during the January 6 siege.

No charges have been brought against the officer who shot her, and the officer has not been publicly named.

But according to court papers first obtained by CNBC and seen by Insider, Babbitt’s husband, Aaron Babbit, is now seeking access to the officer’s identity, video footage of the incident, and more.

The compliant, filed last week, alleges that the MPD “failed to comply” with a Freedom of Information Act request by missing a May 12 deadline to provide or deny the materials.

Babbitt family lawyer Terrell Roberts told CNBC that the purpose of the FOIA was to find more information out about the shooting.

The complaint is separate from a lawsuit in which the Babbitt family plans to sue both the Capitol Police and the officer who shot Babbitt for wrongful death.

The MPD would not comment on the complaint to Insider because it is pending litigation.

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The Ukrainian ambassador to Thailand died suddenly while vacationing with his son

Koh Lippe
This photograph taken on December 19, 2020 shows longtail boats moored at a beach on Koh Lipe island in the Andaman Sea.

  • Andrii Beshta, the Ukrainian ambassador to Thailand, died suddenly Sunday.
  • Beshta, 45, died while vacationing with his soon in Koh Lipe, an island in Thailand.
  • A police spokesperson said that there were no signs he was attacked.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Andrii Beshta, the Ukrainian ambassador to Thailand, died suddenly early Sunday while vacationing with his son in the Thai island of Koh Lipe.

Beshta, 45, was found dead in his hotel room at 5:30 a.m. local time. He was appointed as the Ukrainian ambassador to Thailand in 2016, according to the Agence France-Presse. He first began working in Thailand in 2007 as a diplomat, the report said.

Beshta’s son, Ostap, who was traveling with him, told authorities his father had gone to bed around 11 p.m. Saturday but woke up around 4:30 a.m. Sunday and began to vomit before he fell unconscious.

Beshta and his son had arrived at the Koh Lipe resort hotel for a vacation on Friday, according to the Bangkok Post.

“Preliminary investigations showed no signs of him being attacked, no signs of a raid or violence,” said Kissana Phathanacharoen, a police spokesperson, according to multiple reports.

According to Satun governor Ekkarat Leesen, a preliminary autopsy conducted at the Satun Hospital where his body was transported early Sunday found he died of a heart attack. Ekkarat said Beshta tested negative for COVID-19 and the disease was not involved in his death, according to the report.

Beshta’s body was transported to the Police General Hospital for a complete autopsy, the Bangkok Post reported.

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A Manhattan art installation is banning people from visiting alone after 3 people died by suicide

A man walks a dog past 'The Vessel' at Hudson Yards in Manhattan.JPG
A man walks a dog past ‘The Vessel’ at Hudson Yards in Manhattan.

  • New York City’s Vessel at Hudson Yards is reopening on Friday after shutting down following three suicides at the art installation.
  • The Vessel is now charging for admission and will require guests to buy at least two tickets.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

New York City’s Vessel at Hudson Yards is banning people from visiting alone after three people died by suicide at the art installation.

The 150-foot structure, which shut down in January after three people died by suicide over a span of a year, announced a number of policy changes for its reopening on Friday.

According to CBS New York, the formerly free destination will now cost $10 admission, and guests will be required to buy at least two tickets per visit.

Hudson Yards will also be “installing National Suicide Prevention Lifeline signage and messaging” and increasing security, CNN reported.

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2 climbers, an American and a Swiss, have died on Everest after suffering snow blindness and exhaustion

mount everest
Mount Everest is seen from Namche Bajar in Solukhumbu district, Nepal.

  • Two climbers have died on Mount Everest in the first deaths of this season, AFP reported.
  • A Swiss climber died after suffering exhaustion after reaching the top, organizers said.
  • The other climber, an American, experienced snow blindness and exhaustion.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Two climbers, one from the US and one from Switzerland, have died on Mount Everest.

Organizers of the expedition told Agence France-Presse that the two climbers died on Wednesday.

They were the first deaths in this year’s climbing season, AFP reported.

Chhang Dawa Sherpa from Seven Summit Treks told AFP that the Swiss climber died near the mountain’s summit after suffering from exhaustion. He said the climber had reached the top of the mountain.

And AFP reported that the American climber reached Hillary Step but then experienced snow blindness and exhaustion. It reported that he was brought back to Camp 4, but that he died later.

Snow blindness is an eye condition cause by overexposure to ultraviolet light. Several Everest climbers have experienced this condition in the past.

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