Florida is tied with Texas for having the most people facing charges linked to the Capitol riot, report says

capitol riot january 6
Police use tear gas around Capitol building where pro-Trump supporters riot and breached the Capitol on January 6, 2021.

  • Florida is tied with Texas for having the most people facing charges linked to the Capitol riot.
  • The Sunshine State also has the highest number of arrests of people linked to far-right groups.
  • Some Florida leaders are calling for an independent commission into the state’s links to the riot.
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Florida is tied with Texas for having the most individuals facing charges linked to the Capitol riot, according to a database compiled by USA Today.

Since supporters of then-President Donald Trump swarmed the Capitol building on January 6 – an attack that resulted in the deaths of five people – federal investigators have been ramping up their arrests.

According to a USA Today database, 47 out of the 484 rioters facing charges related to the riot are from Florida and 47 are from Texas.

Read more: Democrats are already plotting political revenge for Republicans blocking the January 6 commission

Among them was Kenneth Kelly of Ocala, Florida, who thought he was storming the White House instead of the Capitol building on January 6. Texas couple Mark and Jalise Middleton were both charged with assaulting police officers.

The Sunshine State also has the most arrests of individuals affiliated with the far-right groups Proud Boys and Oath Keepers, both heavily involved in the insurrection.

More than 40% of the Oath Keepers and about a quarter of Proud Boy members who arrested were from Florida, according to USA Today.

The report has prompted Former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist to call for an independent commission into the state’s ties to the riot, saying it will be essential in “protecting our communities from extremists,” Tampa Bay Times reported.

Cris told reporters on Friday that although most Floridians are “kind, decent people … this is one national list that I’m ashamed Florida is leading,” according to Tampa Bay Times.

The trophy for most Capitol arrests could still be passed to another state as the number of people charged in the insurrection is expected to keep growing.

The USA Today database referred to in this article is different from the Insider database, which has recorded 521 arrests so far and can be found here.

Read the original article on Business Insider

A leaked video of a Manhattan City Council candidate in a BDSM dungeon was flagged to the press by his campaign manager

Zack Weiner had BDSM footage leaker
Zack Weiner, 26, is “not ashamed” of the leaked BDSM footage.

  • Zack Weiner, who is running for Manhattan City Council, had a BDSM video of him leaked on Twitter.
  • The video was flagged to the New York Post by his campaign manager, the news outlet said.
  • In a statement, he said that he is “not ashamed” of the video and called it a “distraction” from the race.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

A video of a 26-year-old Manhattan City Council candidate being dominated by an ex-girlfriend in a BDSM dungeon was released onto Twitter, the New York Post reported.

The footage, showing Zack Weiner gagged and tied up, was posted by an anonymous account last week, the news outlet said.

The BDSM was flagged to the news outlet by Weiner’s own campaign manager, according to The Post.

The footage was filmed at Parthenon studio in Midtown, The Post reported and described the venue as well-known for its high-quality BDSM dungeons.

Weiner, who is in the race for the Upper West Side’s 6th District, confirmed to the news outlet that it was him in the footage and said that it was filmed at a BDSM dungeon in Manhattan in 2019.

In a statement posted to Twitter, Weiner said that he is “not ashamed” of the private video and that it is a “distraction” from his policies.

Read more: I’m voting for Kathryn Garcia as New York City mayor because she’s the opposite of Bill de Blasio

“This was a recreational activity that I did with my friend at the time, for fun,” Weiner wrote on Saturday. “Like many young people, I have grown into a world where some of our most private moments have been documented online.”

Noting that he might be chastised for the video, the candidate said that he trusts that “voters will choose a city council representatives based on their policy and ability to best serve the community.”

He told The Post that he is a “proud BDSMer” and described the release of the video as a “violation of trust.”

Weiner’s political platform is focused on improving the quality of life for District 6 residents, addressing the area’s storefront vacancy, improving financial literacy, and bettering neighborhood policing, his website says.

Read the original article on Business Insider

A woman mysteriously received hundreds of Amazon packages that she never ordered – and no one knows where they’ve come from

Family receives Amazon packages they didn't order
The Cannan family received more than 100 Amazon packages at their home in Buffalo, New York.

  • A woman mysteriously received hundreds of Amazon packages that she never ordered, NBC reported.
  • Jillian Cannan from Buffalo, New York, says she was getting packages delivered to her house daily.
  • It is still unclear where the packages – containing thousands of face mask brackets – come from.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

A woman from Buffalo, New York, mysteriously received hundreds of Amazon packages even though she never ordered them, NBC reported.

Jillian Cannan first started receiving the packages on June 5 and initially thought they were ordered by her business partner.

But the boxes – all of which contained thousands of silicone brackets to use inside face masks – kept coming, prompting Cannan to start investigating.

Read more: Amazon Prime employees say women get few promotions and there’s a culture of aggressive male-dominated management

“When I first started receiving the packages, I called Amazon to try and give them back, but they explained to me that they were officially mine to keep since they had been delivered to my home,” Cannan told NBC News.

The mother-of-four said she received well over 100 boxes, including some huge parcels that were dropped off on palettes by UPS trucks. Each package was addressed to the family’s home, but no sender or return address was marked on the label.

Cannan also said they didn’t have her name on them.

According to NBC, the boxes were piled so high at one point that nobody could see the family’s front door.

“At first I was convinced that it was a scam, or maybe someone trying to clear out their warehouse,” Cannan said, according to NBC. “But because all of the items were the same, I don’t think that’s the case here.”

Where the packages are coming from still remains a mystery.

After speaking to Amazon representatives, Cannan discovered that the name on the box was not registered to an Amazon account and that the tracking information for the parcels also led them nowhere.

She was, however, able to get Amazon to remove her address from the mystery order.

“Just hung up with Amazon again. They were able to stop the additional 1,000+ boxes that were set to ship out,” she posted on Facebook on Wednesday. “Still unsure of how many are already in transit.”

In an effort to use the tens and thousands of face mask brackets she is now stuck with, Cannan said her family is putting together a “decorate-your-own-face mask” kit for children at local hospitals.

“I’m trying to put a positive spin on it,” she told NBC News. “I have four little kids, and I’m trying to show them how to make lemonade out of lemons, and just kind of run with it.”

Cannan asked Amazon to donate the extra materials needed for the project and while the company reportedly initially denied her request, she is still waiting on a final response.

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

Read the original article on Business Insider

Brazil hits 500,000 COVID-19 deaths as the Amazon Gamma variant accelerates virus contagion

Brazil protesters
Demonstrators gather with signs and flags during a protest against President Jair Bolsonaro’s administration on June 19, 2021 in Sao Paulo, Brazil

  • The number of coronavirus-related deaths passed 500,000 in Brazil on Saturday.
  • Only the US, with 600,000+ deaths, surpasses Brazil.
  • Protesters took to the streets of every Brazilian city to protest Bolsonaro’s pandemic response.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The number of coronavirus-related deaths passed 500,000 in Brazil on Saturday, BBC News reported.

Brazil’s COVID-19 death toll is the second highest in the world, only surpassed by the US.

The infection rates are between 80,000 and 100,000 people every day, Sky News reported. But these are just the recorded figures. The real numbers, the media outlet said, could be up to four times higher.

The situation, according to Brazilian public health institute Fiocruz, is now “critical.”

Experts have warned that the outbreak is set to worsen because of a combination of a slow vaccine rollout, the rapid spread of highly transmissible variants, and President Jair Bolsonaro’s resistance to introducing social distancing measures.

Read more: The pandemic isn’t over just because you’re vaccinated

Only 11 percent of Brazilians are fully vaccinated, according to The New York Times World Vaccination Tracker.

Bolsonaro, a vaccine skeptic who previously suggested that shots could turn people into crocodiles or bearded ladies, has faced criticism for the slow rollout.

He initially touted unproven anti-malaria drugs and, according to a senator’s testimony during a Senate inquiry, backed herd immunity over inoculation.

Bolsonaro asked Pfizer on Tuesday to speed up the delivery of vaccines in a bid to speed up the disappointing rollout, Reuters reported.

The outbreak is also being fueled by the rapid spread of highly transmissible variants, BBC News said.

The Gamma variant, first discovered in the Amazon region, is more resistant to the effects of antibody treatment, according to CNN.

Experts are concerned that the variant could significantly increase the rate of infections over the next few months.

“Brazil faces a critical scenario of community transmission… with the possibility of worsening in the coming weeks due to the start of winter,” Fiocruz, the public health institute, said.

On Saturday, thousands of Brazilian’s protested against Bolsonaro and his government’s pandemic response.

Local media reported that protests took place in all 26 Brazilian states as well as the capital Brasilia, Reuters said.

Protesters were angry that Bolsonaro, amid a worsening COVID-19 situation, for downplaying the pandemic, ignoring mask-wearing guidance, and rejecting social distancing measures as job-killers.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Trump administration lawyers connected to his most controversial policies are struggling to find new jobs, report says

Trump lawyers
Former White House counsel Pat Cipollone, bottom left in a red tie, and Trump’s personal lawyer Jay Sekulow listen as President Donald Trump speaks at the White House in February 2020.

  • Some of the Trump administration’s top lawyers are struggling to find jobs, Bloomberg reported.
  • More than 80% of the lawyers got some kind of work in recent months, even if it’s just part-time.
  • However, some of the top lawyers are finding that the process of landing a job much more difficult.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Top lawyers who worked for the Trump administration are having a hard time finding new positions compared to those who served in previous administrations, Bloomberg reported this week.

According to a list compiled by Bloomberg Law, more than 80% of the lawyers who worked under the former president have managed to nab a job somewhere, even if their roles are only part-time or not their first choice.

However, some of them – including former Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen and former Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer – still appear to be without a job months after Trump has left office.

Read more: Tension is building between Biden’s White House and the Justice Department. They have Trump to thank for that.

Lauren Drake, a partner at search firm Macrae, told Bloomberg that the lawyers who seem to be finding it more difficult to find jobs are those who are either connected to Trump’s most controversial policies or are lacking experience.

Ken Cuccinelli, who served as Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security, agreed that those coming out of the Trump administration are facing more “discrimination.”

“I don’t think anyone coming out of the George W. Bush administration was told, ‘We can’t hire this person,'” Cuccinelli said, according to Bloomberg. “I’m sure Jan. 6 made it that much worse than it ever would have been.”

Cuccinelli also said he had a recent job opportunity slip through his fingers because they “just decided they didn’t want Trump people,” according to Bloomberg.

“It was just flat out – you can call it Trump discrimination,” he said.

Cuccinelli did not name the company in question. He is currently acting as the National Chairman of the Election Transparency Initiative,

Former Attorney General William Barr is also among those who still haven’t found full-time jobs. A person familiar with the matter told Bloomberg Law last month that the former attorney is finishing writing a book before he even considers the next steps in his career.

The lawyers are not the only ones struggling with finding work post-Trump presidency.

According to a Washington Post report published two months ago, former Trump aides are unable to score the lucrative and prestigious Washington jobs they’d hoped for.

Matt Schlapp, the chairman of the American Conservative Union who’s raked in millions lobbying the Trump White House, told The Post at the time: “If I had a dollar for every time someone in Washington said to me, hey, I’m really looking to hire someone for X job, but they can’t have worked for the Trump administration, I’d have a great sum of money.”

Read the original article on Business Insider

Federal judge strikes down CDC’s ‘authoritarian’ COVID-19 cruise ship rules, comparing it to a nationwide ban on sex because STDs exist

Cruise ship docks in Florida
Florida’s governor Ron DeSantis has called the federal judge’s ruling a “major victory.”

  • A federal judge has ruled that the CDC’s cruise ship sailing orders can no longer be enforced.
  • In the ruling, he compared the “authoritarian” rules to implementing a nationwide ban on sex because of a fear of STDs.
  • The CDC’s conditional sailing orders will become “non-binding” guidelines from July 18.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

A federal judge has ruled that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) can’t enforce its “authoritarian” pandemic-era sailing orders against Florida cruise ships from mid-July, The Washington Post reported.

US District Judge Steven D. Merryday’s ruling means that the CDC’S conditional sailing orders will become “non-binding” guidelines for Florida ships, instead of stringent requirements, from July 18.

Merryday ruled that the CDC did not satisfactorily justify its cruise safety rules, comparing halting voyages to the hypothetical situation of banning sexual intercourse across the US because of the fear of STDs.

“One is left to wonder, given the persistent risk of transmission of a communicable disease… whether the director of CDC could have – or, perhaps, should have – generally shut down sexual intercourse in the United States,” Merryday wrote.

He added that a ban on sex to reduce “zero” the transmission of “AIDS or syphilis or herpes” would not be politically prudent or enforceable.

Merryday said that the shutdown of Florida’s cruise industry by the CDC was “breathtaking, unprecedented, and acutely and singularly authoritarian.”

The CDC has until July 2 to propose a “narrower” set of guidelines to “safeguard the public’s health,” the ruling added.

Florida’s governor Ron DeSantis, who has been in a standoff with the CDC over COVID-19 vaccine requirements since last year, has hailed the ruling as a “major victory.”

“The CDC has been wrong all along, and they knew it,” he said in a statement. “Today, we are securing this victory for Florida families, for the cruise industry, and for every state that wants to preserve its rights in the face of unprecedented federal overreach.”

Read more: Baby boomers, desperate to travel, are booking lavish getaways, month-long stays in villas, and exotic cruises

The preliminary injunction against the CDC resulted from a successful lawsuit filed by Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody to halt the conditional sailing orders, which Moody argued exceed the public health agency’s authority and would cause “irreparable injury” to Florida’s economy.

No cruises have left US ports with passengers since March 2020. After cruise ships around the world became “superspreaders” at the start of the pandemic, leaving passengers infected, dead, or stranded, the CDC’s no-sail order stopped all voyages nationwide.

This was replaced by the Framework for Conditional Sailing Order (CSO) and the framework for “trial” voyages, Insider’s Brittany Chang reported. According to an updated framework, cruise companies could bypass the simulated voyages if 95 percent of passengers and crew were fully vaccinated.

The first CDC-approved fully-vaccinated cruise is due to set to sail on June 26 from Florida.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Former Gov. calls for an independent commission to investigate why so many people from Florida attended the Capitol riot

Rep. Charlie Crist
Rep. Charlie Crist (D-FL), candidate for Governor of Florida, participates in a Voting Rights Tour event held at the Lallos Restaurant in Lauderhill, Florida, on June 10, 2021.

  • Rep. Charlie Crist of Florida called for an investigation into the state’s role in the Capitol riot.
  • The former governor said Friday he was worried about how many Floridians were involved in the attack.
  • Florida is one of the two states with the most residents facing charges related to the insurrection.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Rep. Charlie Crist has called on Florida Gov. Ron De Santis to launch an independent commission into the state’s ties to the Capitol insurrection, local media reported.

Crist, who served as Florida’s governor from 2007 to 2011, told reporters on Friday he’s concerned by the number of Floridians who were arrested in relation to the January 6 attack, which resulted in the deaths of five people.

“I’m calling on Gov. Ron DeSantis to protect our democracy by ordering a non-partisan investigation of Florida’s outsized role in the Capitol Insurrection,” Crist tweeted. “Hate and insurrection can have no home here. DeSantis must act to keep us safe.”

Read more: Matt Gaetz’s former staffers are scrubbing their resumes of all links to the congressman

He also told reporters on Friday the investigation would be essential in “protecting our communities from extremists,” according to Tampa Bay Times.

“The unprecedented attack on our nation’s capitol on January the 6th was an assault on our very democracy,” he added.

Crist’s comments come after reports that of the 484 people that have so far been arrested in connection to the insurrection, 47 hail from Florida. That’s the most of any state, tied with Texas.

Florida also leads all states in arrests of individuals associated with the far-right groups’ Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers, who were both active in breaching the Capitol.

More than 40% of the Oath Keepers arrested on charges stemming from the insurrection are from the Sunshine State and about a quarter of the Proud Boys.

Cris, who is now in his third term representing Florida’s 13th Congressional District, told reporters that although most Floridians are “kind, decent people … this is one national list that I’m ashamed Florida is leading,” Tampa Bay Times reported.

DeSantis’s office did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Ethics experts are concerned that the children of top Biden aides are getting jobs in the White House, report says

President Joe Biden
The White House insists that President Joe Biden has the “highest ethical standards of anyone to ever hold this office.”

  • Several children and relatives of President Joe Biden’s top aides have secured jobs in the administration.
  • At least five children of Biden senior staffers work in the White House, The Washington Post reported.
  • Senior counsel Steve Ricchetti has three children working for Biden, the paper said.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Several children and relatives of President Joe Biden’s top aides have secured jobs in the White House, according to The Washington Post.

At least five children of Biden’s senior staff are now working in the administration, the paper reported.

Experts on ethics and diversity have expressed concern that this is a continuation of the sort of nepotism seen in former President Donald Trump’s White House, they told the Post.

“While it may not be as bad as appointing your son or daughter to a top government post as Trump did with Jared and Ivanka, it is still bad,” said Walter Shaub, who served as director of the Office of Government Ethics from 2013-2017. ‚ÄČ”‘Not as bad as Trump’ cannot be the new standard.”

Read more: Experts shared the tips and tricks to snag the coolest of the 20,000+ US government jobs open right now

On Monday, the son of a trusted Biden counselor was hired to a junior-level position. J.J Richetti, a 2020 college graduate and the son of Steve Ricchetti, was hired as a special assistant in the Office of Legislative Affairs, the Post reported.

Richhetti’s two other children also have jobs in the administration.

Daniel Ricchetti, the eldest child of the veteran White House staffer, is a senior adviser in the office of the undersecretary of state for arms control and international security. Shannon Ricchetti, the eldest daughter, works as the deputy associate director of the office of the White House social secretary.

The daughter of deputy White House chief of staff Bruce Reed, Julia Reed, works as Biden’s day scheduler, according to the Post.

And the director of the White House’s presidential personnel office, Cathy Russell, also has a child employed in the administration. Sarah Donilon, Russell’s daughter, works with the White House National Security Council, the Post reported. Russell’s brother-in-law, Mike Donilon, is a senior adviser to Biden, the paper added.

The sister of White House press secretary, Jen Psaki, was appointed a senior adviser at the Health and Human Services Department in March, the Post said.

The wife of Biden’s longtime ally and White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain also works for the Biden administration, the paper reported.

The White House insists that everyone has been hired based on their qualifications. There is no evidence that any of Biden’s aides have played a role in securing the jobs for their children or other relatives, reported the Post.

“The president has instituted the highest ethical standards of anyone to ever hold this office,” deputy White House press secretary Andrew Bates told the Post. “And he’s proud to have staffed the most diverse administration in American history with well-qualified public servants who reflect his values.”

But ethics and diversity experts are skeptical. “In a country that had just come through a pandemic, how can these children of political appointees be the only people who are qualified for employment?” Shaub told the paper.

“All political appointees should be hired similar to the way the rest of the world is hired, where it is posted, competitive and transparent,” Mark Hanis, the co-founder of Inclusive America, told the Post. “Unfortunately, with a lot of these political positions, it is relational. It’s more about who you know.”

Read the original article on Business Insider

Trump changed the date of his Juneteenth Tulsa rally after a Black Secret Service agent told him it was ‘very offensive,’ book says

Donald Trump
Former President Donald Trump.

The Trump campaign team changed the date of the controversial Tulsa rally after a Black Secret Service member told the former president that holding it on Juneteenth was “very offensive” to him, according to a forthcoming book by Wall Street Journal reporter Michael Bender.

The reported detail was revealed in an excerpt of the book, “Frankly We Did Win This Election’: The Inside Story of How Donald Trump Lost,” which was published in Politico on Friday.

According to Bender, Trump’s team – including former campaign manager Brad Parscale – was unaware of the date’s significance in America when they selected the date and location for the ex-president’s first rally since the COVID-19 outbreak.

Read more: Democrats want some of them gone, but these 9 Trump-era officials are still holding high-level positions in the Biden administration

“No one on Parscale’s team flagged that day – or that combination of time and place – as potentially problematic,” the journalist wrote, according to The Hill.

The former president said in an interview last year that it was a Black Secret Service agent who had informed him about the history of Juneteenth, although Bender has now revealed more details about that conversation.

“Yes, I know what it is,” the unnamed agent said to Trump when he asked him about the day, according to Bender. “And it’s very offensive to me that you’re having this rally on Juneteenth.”

Several hours later, Trump tweeted that he wished to change the date of his rally.

Juneteenth – celebrated on June 19 – marks the day in 1865 when Union soldiers went to Galveston, Texas, to tell the last remaining enslaved Black Americans that they were free.

President Joe Biden this week signed a bill passed by both chambers of Congress to make Juneteenth a federal holiday starting in 2021.

Additionally, Tulsa, Oklahoma – the location that Parscale selected for the rally – was the scene of one of the worst massacres of Black Americans in US history.

As many as 300 Black residents of Tulsa were killed by a mob of white locals, who looted and destroyed countless businesses and homes in 1921.

The riot also displaced thousands of Black Tulsans, with the Red Cross estimating that over 1,200 homes in the area were burned down and hundreds more looted.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Only a quarter of the 59 labs that handle the world’s deadliest pathogens have top-level biosecurity, experts warn. They fear lax rules could lead to another pandemic.

virologist working in German BSL lave
Virologists Lisa Oestereich (R) and Toni Rieger work in the new Biological Security Level 4 laboratory of the Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine (BNI) in Hamburg, Germany, on January 25, 2013.

  • There are 59 biosafety level 4 labs (BSL-4) in the world, but only a few scored high on safety.
  • A new report revealed only a quarter of countries with these labs have high biosecurity scores.
  • The labs are where researchers work with the most dangerous pathogens on the planet.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Only around a quarter of countries with biosafety level 4 labs – where researchers work with the world’s deadliest pathogens – have high biosecurity scores, according to a new report.

As US intelligence agencies are investigating the possibility that COVID-19 leaked from China’s Wuhan Institute of Virology, more questions are being raised about the safety and security of similar such labs around the world.

Gregory Koblentz, an associate professor of biodefence at George Mason University, and Filippa Lentzos at King’s College London recently mapped out all of these facilities using open-source research. Their findings can be found here.

Read more: How DNA-testing startup Helix became one of the nation’s leading coronavirus tracking labs

According to their report, there are at least 59 maximum BSL-4 labs that are currently in operation, under construction, or planned around the world. They span 23 countries, including the UK, US, China, and India.

The largest concentration of BSL-4 labs is in Europe (25) while North America and Asia have roughly equal numbers, with 14 and 13 respectively. Three-quarters of the labs are based in urban centers.

But only about one-quarter of the countries with BSL-4 labs received high scores for biosafety and biosecurity as measured by the Global Health Security Index, the report found.

“Our study also revealed that there was significant room for improvement in the policies in place to ensure that these labs were operated safely, securely and responsibly,” Koblentz and Lentzos wrote in the Guardian.

“The vast majority of countries with BSL-4 labs do not conduct oversight of the type of gain-of-function research that has been a central feature in the debate on COVID-19’s origin, as potentially responsible for the possible leak from the Wuhan Institute of Virology,” they added.

The report has some experts worried that lax controls and regulations at some locations could lead to another pandemic.

“The larger the number of institutions and the larger the number of individuals with access to these dangerous agents, the greater the risk,” Richard Ebright, a professor of chemical biology at Rutgers University, told the Financial Times. “Accidents and leaks already happen in very large numbers, especially in places that have weaker biosafety standards.”

“We need to strengthen biosafety and biosecurity rules around the world” Ebright added.

BSL-4 labs are built so that researchers can safely work with pathogens that can cause serious diseases and for which no treatment or vaccine exists. Researchers working there are highly trained and must wear personal protective equipment.

To date, more than 176 million cases of coronavirus have been reported worldwide, according to a tracker by Johns Hopkins University. More than 3.8 million people have died.

Read the original article on Business Insider