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Crime

Heavily armed Brazilian army troops and police launched a pre-dawn crackdown Saturday on gangs operating out of slums across Rio de Janeiro, following a steep rise in crime.

Five favelas were targeted by the combined forces in a swoop that started in the early hours, the Rio state security service said in a statement, and their main goal was to stop gangs behind a surge in brazen robberies of commercial trucks.

"The armed forces are responsible for the perimeters in some of these regions and based at strategic points," the state security service said, adding: "Some roads are blocked and the airspace is restricted to civilian flights over the sectors where the armed forces are operating."

In the first half of this year the city tallied 3,457 homicides, the highest level of violence since 2009 and 15 percent more than during the same period in 2016.

Many people are killed in gun fire between rival gangs competing for control of the favelas.

Heavily armed Rio police also battle with the gangs, with shootouts between the two sides often leading to injuries and deaths among bystanders, and since the beginning of the year 93 police officers have also been killed in Rio. france24.com
Homicide detectives are investigating a deadly home invasion in Cobb County.

Marietta police said a 911 call came in from the 90 block of Griggs Street around 2:30 a.m. Thursday, it was a woman saying someone was breaking into her house, and that she had shot and killed him.

The woman identified as Shaquita Green said she doesn’t know who barged into her home in the middle of the night, but she said he was armed and threatened to kill her three children.

Green said the man, who was later identified as Keandre Funches, 27, kept asking for her husband, who wasn’t home, and after forcing the family to the back of the house, she was able to get her gun and open fire.

Police later identified another suspect, who brought the home intruder into the neighborhood, as Javarian Mitchell.

Mitchell has been taken into custody and has been charged with aggravated assault with a firearm, false imprisonment, cruelty to children and felony murder. wsbtv.com
A federal jury Friday found notorious "Pharma bro" Martin Shkreli guilty of three counts of securities fraud — but acquitted him of five other criminal counts related to hedge funds investors and a drug company he founded.

The split verdict in Shkreli's trial came at about 2:37 p.m. on the fifth day of jury deliberations, after a more-than-month-long trial in Brooklyn, New York, federal court.

At that trial, prosecutors claimed Shkreli had defrauded multiple investors in his two hedge funds out of millions of dollars, only to repay them with stock and cash that he looted from a the biotech company he created, Retrophin.

Prosecutors said that he improperly used Retrophin stock and cash from the young firm to pay off the the funds' investors.

While Shkreli was acquitted of on Retrophin-related count, he was convicted of conspiracy to commit securities fraud in connection with Retrophin. cnbc.com
Thugs who carry acid on the streets will face up to four years in prison under a new crackdown announced today by prosecutors.

The Crown Prosecution Service said it would in future seek to charge offenders caught with a corrosive substance with possession of an offensive weapon.

The crime carries a potential four year jail term.

Prosecutors will be told to bring even tougher charges – carrying a maximum life sentence – against those who throw acid, even if no harm is caused to the intended victim. 

It said the move was a response to public concern about a spate of horrific attacks and a recognition of the life-changing consequences that can be inflicted by acid and similar substances.

The announcement came as details were released of the most recent acid conviction in which a burglar admitted inflicting 24 per cent burns on a 69-year-old woman by spraying corrosive liquid on her after breaking into her home in Ilford. standard.co.uk
A Massachusetts woman who sent her boyfriend dozens of text messages urging him to kill himself has been sentenced to 15 months in jail on a manslaughter charge.

Michelle Carter was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in June by a judge who said she caused the death of 18-year-old Conrad Roy III when she told him to “get back in” his truck as it was filling with carbon monoxide.

Juvenile Court Judge Lawrence Moniz also sentenced Carter on Thursday to five years of probation. 

Carter was 17 when Roy died in 2014.

During Carter’s trial, her lawyer argued that Roy was determined to kill himself and nothing Carter did could change that.

Carter faced a maximum sentence of 20 years. wkrg.com
Malaysia has seized elephant tusks and pangolin scales from Africa worth almost a million dollars, an official said Wednesday, highlighting the country's role as a hub for smuggling rare animal parts.

The contraband was found in two separate raids in the cargo terminal of Kuala Lumpur's main international airport on Sunday, customs officials said.

In the first raid, authorities found 23 ivory tusks, weighing 75.7 kilograms (167 pounds) with an estimated value of 275,000 ringgit ($64,150).

"Customs officers seized two boxes which contained a large quantity of elephant tusks," senior customs official Pudzi Man said in a statement.

The tusks had been sent from Nigeria, and the cargo was listed as food items, he said.

Separately, officials found six sacks containing 300.9 kilograms (663 pounds) of pangolin scales worth 3.86 million ringgit ($900,500), said Pudzi and the cargo had originated in the Democratic Republic of Congo. france24.com
Oskar Groening was convicted in July 2015 of being an accessory to the murder of 300,000 Jews and sentenced to four years in prison.

He saw an appeal rejected in November but has remained free pending a decision on his fitness for prison.

Kathrin Soefker, a spokeswoman for prosecutors in Hannover, told news agency DPA they have rejected a defence application for a reprieve on serving the sentence.

She said a doctor considers Groening fit to go to prison as long as there is appropriate medical care.

There has been no formal summons yet for him to start serving his sentence.

Speaking when he was sentenced, Groening said: ‘No one should have taken part in Auschwitz. metro.co.uk
A 60-year-old Texas woman wasn't taking any chances Monday morning when she heard two intruders enter her home, grabbing her pistol and shooting one of the would-be thieves dead, police said.

The woman, who was not immediately identified, confronted the two armed men after they entered her Harris County home through an open garage door around 11:30 a.m., WTSP reported. 

Cathy Hanks, a neighbor, said it's not surprising the woman fired her pistol when she saw a threat in her home, explaining: "That's really how we are. That's just Texas."

"It's the state of Texas. If you're going to go into someone's home, you're going to get shot," Hanks said.

Harris County Sheriff's Office's spokesman Thomas Gilliland told WTSP that both intruders -- neither of whom were identified -- were armed with pistols when the woman confronted them.

She fired several shots and struck at least one man, who collapsed and died in her front yard.  foxnews.com
The Alabama peanut butter caper was not the most sophisticated jailbreak, but it did the trick.

Some inmates in Walker County Jail in Jasper saved peanut butter from their sandwiches and used it like modeling clay to help alter the number above a door that led to the outside.

The change made the number resemble the ones above cell doors.

When an inmate demanded that a rookie guard open the door, the guard thought he was letting the inmate back into his cell.

Instead, on Sunday evening, a dozen inmates walked right through the door to make their escape.

“Changing some numbers on the door with peanut butter — that may sound crazy,” the county sheriff, James E. Underwood, said at a news conference on Monday.  nytimes.com