WQAD News

Missouri school employee accused of making sexual advances toward 9-year-old girl

KANSAS CITY, Mo -- After an 8-month investigation, a Hickman Mills School District mentor has been charged with two counts of enticement of a child.

Prosecutors say the man's victim was in fourth grade.

"She was 9 years old at the time," the victim’s mother Shanara Wilson said. “I am the voice for my daughter."

Wilson is a mama bear who has not stopped growling about the inappropriate sexual advances allegedly made toward her daughter by 61-year-old Gary Curry.

Last month, Wilson sat down with WDAF, frustrated Curry had seemingly gotten away with it.

"It has been over seven months. I really haven't heard anything. He has not been charged,” Wilson said. “Yeah, he can't go on Hickman Mills property, but who is to say he won't go anywhere else and get a job at another school district because that is what predators do."

Police said it started with Curry taking his victim out of class several times at Warford Elementary School, sitting with her during breakfast and in the library.

“I told my daughter, 'He has been grooming you from the beginning of the year, you know,'" Wilson said.

Curry served in the Hickman Mills School District as part of its All-In Mentoring program, a program Wilson's daughter wasn't part of.

"He wasn't actually even supposed to be working with my daughter,” Wilson said. “You have to sign a permission slip for your child to get extra help. I never signed a permission slip."

At work one day in October, Wilson received a frantic call from her little girl.

“She is crying and screaming, and the only thing I can really get out of her on FaceTime is 'Mr. Curry,'” Wilson said.

Not able to calm her down, Wilson rushed home to hear an almost unbelievable tale from her daughter about Curry.

"'He always talked to me at school, but he has been calling and texting. I didn't think nothing of it, Mom,'” Wilson said of her daughter’s statement. “Until he physically said the extravagant, nasty stuff that scared a 9-year-old."

Court records state that in October, Curry exchanged phone numbers with his 9-year-old victim; the inappropriate sexual behavior started almost immediately.

Curry allegedly sent his young victim multiple pictures of a male sex organ and text messages telling the child to send him photos as well.

He also asked the girl who checks her phone, directing her several times to delete the messages.

In one of the most shocking interactions, court records state that during a FaceTime call, Curry said to the girl, “You remember how you sucked your thumb in music class? Well, I want you to suck my d*** and have sex with you."

"My daughter is 9 years old,” Wilson said. “That was never nothing for my daughter to experience at 9 years old, especially from a teacher, someone you are supposed to trust."

To get evidence from a case like this, electronic devices are sent to the Regional Computer Forensic Laboratory, a partnership with local law enforcement and the FBI.

"If they can't get the information off of it, they will send it to the FBI Headquarters in Quantico," Kansas City Police Department Capt. Christopher Sicoli said.

In the Curry case, because much of the evidence had been deleted, the phones have been sent to the FBI’s main lab in Quantico, Virginia; recovering evidence like that can take years.

"We are being sent with hundreds and thousands of other requests from around the country,” Sicoli said. “There is only one main lab for the FBI, and every agency feeds into that lab. So it depends where we are in their queue. It is out of our control once we send it. It is on their timeline."

It was a wait that seemed to last forever to Wilson. Now that Curry has been charged, she understands it could have been much longer.

"I am thankful, and as I look at other cases in other cities. It has taken three years to even put charges out for the predator," Wilson said. “I am just thankful. I appreciate you guys for doing your job. You did it and you did it well."

Wilson and her attorney have also applied with the Missouri Commission on Human Rights to file a civil case against the Hickman Mills School District, Gary Curry and Warford Elementary music teacher Kurtis Wheeler.

There’s a huge mass embedded in the center of the moon, and astronomers aren’t sure what it is

Here is something you may not know about the moon: Earth’s clingy best friend is also the site of one of the largest known impact craters in our entire solar system. Essentially, something caused a giant hole on the moon billions of years ago, and astronomers have just discovered that there’s something big — really big — buried underneath the surface.

According to research published in the journal “Geophysical Research Letters,” the moon’s South Pole-Aitken basin hides a mass that is estimated to be 4.8 quintillion pounds (that’s — are you ready for it? — 4,800,000,000,000,000,000 pounds, all written out).

“Imagine taking a pile of metal five times larger than the Big Island of Hawaii and burying it underground. That’s roughly how much-unexpected mass we detected,” author Peter B. James said in a release.

The researchers from Baylor used various sets of data collected from space crafts that measure the gravity around the moon, and compared them to maps and imaging of the moon’s surface. As a result, they found a dense metallic mass pulling down on the floor of the basin.

So, what is it? James and his team surmise it could be metal embedded in the moon’s mantle from the asteroid impact that caused the crater some estimated 4 billion years ago. If that’s true, it could be a time machine — and a gold mine — for scientists studying the history of the universe. All of that metal, and basically the entire area surrounding the mass and the crater, could tell them a lot about how the asteroid impact happened and what the solar system was like when it did.

“[The basin is] one of the best natural laboratories for studying catastrophic impact events, an ancient process that shaped all of the rocky planets and moons we see today,” James said.

Unfortunately the crater — and the mysterious substance below — aren’t visible to mere Earthbound humans, since they’re on, literally, the far side of the moon.

This historic, haunted Denver hotel wants you to be able to consume cannabis within its walls

DENVER -- A historic hotel in Denver's Capitol Hill neighborhood says it will try to get permission to allow guests to consume cannabis in a social setting.

Some have said the Patterson Inn is one of the most haunted hotels in Denver. While many guests come to experience the supernatural, the Patterson hopes travelers will soon come for cannabis, too.

"I think it's definitely a cool setting because of the haunted past and the rich history and the spirits that live within the building," general manager Scott Allen said.

The Patterson wants to transform a room into a marijuana-friendly space. However, the Patterson is in a zone that prohibits cannabis lounges.

Still, owner Chris Chiari is fighting to open one at the hotel.

"My intention is a coffee shop -- a place where you can get a light snack, a place where you can enjoy a non-alcoholic beverage and consume cannabis in a responsible adult environment," he said.

The current social consumption ordinance prohibits marijuana lounges within 1,000 feet of schools, rec centers, and public pools.

Chiari said city administrators have overstepped their authority by placing too many restrictions that went beyond the voters' will.

But a city spokesman said that was not the case.

“When they voted for social consumption in Denver, one of the key aspects was a 1,000-foot restriction from schools. And the intent was to protect children from the exposure to cannabis," said Eric Escudero, a spokesman for the Denver’s Department of Excise and Licenses.

Chiari said he and his attorneys will ask a judge to decide whether the city went too far.

Teen blames laced marijuana for bizarre behavior after throwing baby across parking lot, attacking cars

EDMOND, Okla. - A teenager arrested after he allegedly attacked a baby outside of an Edmond supermarket blames the entire hallucination on laced marijuana.

A calm evening trip to the Crest Foods grocery store quickly turned into panic when the teenager began beating on customer’s moving cars.

“He literally just picked up the car seat and threw it with the baby in it,” a 911 caller said. “You could hear the baby screaming.”

A mother rushed over to her 1-year-old son after he was slammed onto the cement.

“Because the car seat bar was up, it protected him,” the mother told 911.

The 17-year-old even tried to bend a parking sign in half with his bare hands.

“There is very erratic behavior going on,” Jenny Wagnon from the Edmond Police Department told KFOR.

The suspect then allegedly “exposed himself” and “flipped people off” before stripping off his clothes and running through oncoming traffic into a nearby neighborhood.

“He jumped on my hood and he kicked the grill on my truck when he jumped off,” a 911 caller said.

Jack Powell saw the entire thing, telling KFOR the teen demanded weapons from neighbors.

“He was asking the guy to go get him a knife,” Powell said. “I guess he wanted to fight the people that were chasing him down the street.”

Officers were hot on the teen’s trail when they found him lying in a driveway and a fight broke out.

Finally in handcuffs, the 17-year-old told paramedics he smoked marijuana earlier that day and believed it may have been laced with acid or PCP.

A similar incident between Edmond Police and a teenage suspect played out just a little more than a month ago.

Isaiah Lewis was shot and killed by officers after running through backyards naked and breaking into a stranger’s home.

Toxicology reports are not yet released in that case, and police aren’t saying if the two incidents are related - but they are asking for the public’s help.

“What we have been doing in this investigation is trying to figure out who is distributing this marijuana laced with another drug,” Wagnon said.

The two officers were treated for minor injuries.

The teen was arrested on multiple charges including aggravated assault and battery, assault on a police officer, indecent exposure, public intoxication, and malicious injury or destruction of property.

Police worry the laced drug is being sold on their streets; they want to find it as soon as possible.

Utah group commits to catching online ‘creeps,’ but is their vigilante work illegal?

SALT LAKE CITY — A couple is taking matters into their own hands in their quest to stop child predators.

They call themselves “Creep Catchers,” and they pose as underage boys and girls online.

“It is a huge problem, and we are completely inundated with Utah creeps,” said one of the Creep Catchers who asked to be referred to as Jo. “In the last year, we have probably talked to 1,000 creeps.”

The Creep Catchers say the men who contact the decoys often begin sexually explicit conversations.

“We don’t message pedophiles first — they come to us,” Jo said. “The creep always leads.”

Often, the men ask to meet the decoy, who they know is underaged, for sex. That’s when the Creep Catchers go to the meeting place with a camera rolling.

“We are lending helping hands and we are trying to hand them [law enforcement] cases,” Jo said.

But the Creep Catchers say their efforts have not led to any arrests in Utah.

The Utah Attorney General’s office isn't thrilled with the work the group is doing. A spokesperson sent this statement to KSTU:

“Undercover sting operations are performed by specifically-trained officers who have responsibilities as investigators, and whose work must be admissible in court. No matter how well-meaning, it is dangerous and potentially illegal for individuals or groups to engage with people online with the intent of shaming, exposing and/or harassing alleged child predators.”

But Jo isn’t apologizing for her work, which she says has a personal meaning.

“I lost my virginity to a creep who was 25 when I was 13 years old. I want to prevent other children from feeling that way,” Jo said.

She understands law enforcement has their hands full with just how enormous this problem is.

“I can’t imagine, even with a staff of 100 people, they would be able to catch all of the creeps I’ve seen in Utah,” Jo said.

She has no plans to stop confronting these men to expose them and educate parents and kids about the dangers lurking on social media sites.

“They are scumbags, and I am here to expose them,” Jo said.

The Creep Catchers say they are not doing this for money. They ask anyone who wants to help to donate to agencies that protect children.

Simon Cowell gives 11-year-old cancer survivor Golden Buzzer on AGT

An 11-year-old cancer survivor fell to his knees and cried when he was awarded the Golden Buzzer on Tuesday night’s “America’s Got Talent.”

Tyler Butler-Figueroa performed Kelly Clarkson’s “Stronger” on the violin.

“I started playing the violin when I was 7 1/2,” Butler-Figueroa told the judges before his performance.

“I wanted to play the violin because I was being bullied at school,” he continued.

He said he had cancer and almost died; other kids made fun of him when he lost his hair during chemotherapy.

The North Carolina native said he was diagnosed with cancer at the age of 4 1/2.

“One day we were out to dinner,” his mother explained. “I said ‘Something doesn’t look right with Tyler.’”

She said her son was pale.

“A mother’s instinct said let me get him to the emergency room,” she said.

Doctors did some blood work and told Tyler’s mother that her son had leukemia.

“It was the worst day of my life,” she said.

Tyler began chemotherapy and lost his hair.

“When I lost my hair I was really sad and embarrassed at the same time to go to school,” Tyler explained.

“They used to make fun of me and laugh at me,” Tyler said of the other kids at school.

He said some of the kids started rumors that his cancer was “contagious.”

“They all wanted to stay away from me,” he said.

Tyler’s sadness changed when he saw a flyer at school for violin lessons.

He signed up for the class and practiced as much as he could.

“Once he started that class, it was like a sunshine,” his mother said. “He was just full of energy and happy. I was like, ‘Oh my god, I got my son back’.”

“When I play the violin it helps me forget about all the bad stuff,” Tyler said.

After his performance, Tyler said, “I’m feeling really proud of myself.”

He also said he’s been in remission for almost four years.

That’s when judge Simon Cowell hit the Golden Buzzer, guaranteeingTyler a spot in the live shows.

Ebola outbreak enters ‘truly frightening phase’ as it turns deadly in Uganda

The Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo made the long-feared jump across borders with three cases confirmed Wednesday in Uganda, including the death of a 5-year-old boy who had the virus.

The World Health Organization and Ugandan health authorities said Tuesday the Congolese boy had traveled from Congo on Sunday, entered Uganda with his family and sought medical care.

The other two confirmed cases are the boy’s 3-year-old brother and his grandmother, 50. They are being treated under isolation at the Bwera Hospital Ebola Treatment Unit, in the west of Uganda, the country’s Ministry of Health said.

In a tweet Wednesday, WHO said the boy died Tuesday night.

“The young patient – 5- year-old index case of #Ebola died last night. Two more samples were sent to UVRI and have tested positive. We, therefore, have three confirmed cases of #Ebola in #Uganda,” the tweet said, referring to the Uganda Virus Research Institute.

The ministry added that eight people who had been in contact with the family were being traced.

The Congo outbreak is both the second largest and second deadliest Ebola outbreak in history.

More than 1,300 people have died since it began in August. The epicenter is in North Kivu and Ituri provinces, among the most populous in the Congo and bordering Uganda, Rwanda and South Sudan.

Concern had been mounting that the infectious disease would cross the border, underscored by an increase in the number of cases in recent weeks.

Pressure on WHO to declare international emergency

Dr. Jeremy Farrar, director of Wellcome Trust, a UK medical research charity, said that while Uganda was well-prepared to cope with the disease, global health authorities should be ready for more cases in the Democratic Republic of Congo and other neighboring countries.

“This epidemic is in a truly frightening phase and shows no sign of stopping anytime soon,” he said in a statement.

“There are now more deaths than any other Ebola outbreak in history, bar the West Africa Epidemic of 2013-16, and there can be no doubt that the situation could escalate towards those terrible levels.”

Uganda’s Health Ministry said the boy and his grandmother had been vomiting blood, a severe symptom of Ebola, when they had presented themselves to doctors.

“Ebola is a horrific illness that ravages the human body,” said Brechtje van Lith, Save the Children’s country director in Uganda. “This first death, of a child, is a sickening reminder of the dangers of this disease.”

WHO is likely to come under pressure to declare the outbreak an international health emergency. In April, the health body said it did not constitute a “public health emergency of international concern.”

WHO defines a public health emergency of international concern as “an extraordinary event” that constitutes a “public health risk to other States through the international spread of disease” and “to potentially require a coordinated international response.”

Authorities: Don’t hug or kiss

Unlike the outbreak in West Africa that killed more than 11,000 people, there are now vaccines and experimental treatments to help stop the spread of the disease.

However, the Congo outbreak has proven difficult to bring under control because of community mistrust and violent attacks on health care workers.

“A step up in the national response with full international support is critical if we’re to contain the epidemic and ensure the very best protection for the communities at risk and for the health workers working to protect lives,” Farrar said. “This needs to be championed at the highest political levels, including at the UN and the upcoming G20.”

Uganda’s health ministry said it was vaccinating front-line health workers and people who had been in contact with the family. It said people should report any symptoms including unexplained bleeding from any body opening, vomiting of blood, bloody diarrhea and muscle pain.

It appealed to the public to “suspend social norms like shaking hands and hugging” and called on border districts to suspend mass gatherings such as weddings and markets and in places of worship.

Mistrial in controversial border aid case for man who provided migrants with shelter, water

A federal judge Tuesday declared a mistrial in the closely watched case of a humanitarian aid worker charged with three felonies for helping a pair of undocumented migrants who authorities said entered the United States illegally.

After three days of deliberations, jurors told US District Court Judge Raner Collins they were unable to reach a verdict against aid worker Scott Warren, who was charged with one count of conspiracy to transport and two of “harboring illegal aliens.” Jurors were split 8-4 in favor of acquittal on all three charges, said Warren’s attorney, Greg Kuykendall.

Warren, who volunteered for the group No More Deaths, faced up to 20 years in prison.

After the mistrial was declared, Warren told reporters the work he and others do along the border to help migrants must continue.

“Since my arrest in January 2018, at least 88 bodies were recovered from the Ajo corridor of the Arizona desert. We know that’s a minimum number and many more are out there and have not been found,” Warren said, adding that “it remains as necessary as ever for local residents and humanitarian aid volunteers to stand in solidarity with migrants and refugees.”

“It’s not the best outcome for us, but we’ll take it,” said the defendant’s father, Mark Warren, who attended the trial.

Prosecutors accused Scott Warren of hiding two men for several days in January 2018 at a property called The Barn, at one edge of the town of Ajo, 40 miles north of the US-Mexico border. No More Deaths is one of several humanitarian aid groups that use The Barn as a staging area for search-and-rescue operations and for the placement of water and food along migrant trails.

Through May of this year, the Pima County Medical Examiner reported finding the remains of 58 presumed border crossers in the deserts of Southern Arizona, bringing the total reported over the past two decades to roughly 3,000.

During his initial instructions to the jury, Collins pointedly said this case was “not a referendum on immigration policy.”

And prosecutor Nate Walters insisted the case shouldn’t be seen as a judgment of humanitarian assistance to migrants in general: “No More Deaths is not on trial,” Walters said in his opening statement. “Scott Warren is.”

But even the basic terms each side used — “illegal aliens” vs. “undocumented migrants” — reflected a divide. Over a week, the larger political context for Warren’s actions proved inescapable.

Assistant US Attorney Anna Wright argued that, in Warren’s alleged conspiracy, “one goal was to thwart the Border Patrol at every possible turn.”

Defense attorney Greg Kuykendall told jurors “there is no evidence in this case that Scott intended to violate the law. The evidence is the opposite” — Warren simply wanted to prevent deaths.

During the trial, several founders of No More Deaths testified to their efforts to develop legal and medical protocols for the group’s work, based on those of other humanitarian aid groups such as the International Red Cross. Andy Silverman, an emeritus professor of law at the University of Arizona who helped develop the protocols, said the group trained volunteers thoroughly, shared the protocols with the Border Patrol, and met regularly with the agency in part to ensure “we do things in a proper and a legal way, we do things transparently.”

The Border Patrol declined to comment on meetings with No More Deaths or on the protocols, citing pending litigation.

But another No More Deaths volunteer, Geena Jackson, said that the cooperation went only so far. “I have seen Border Patrol agents dumping out gallons of water” left for migrants, Jackson said.

Prosecutors objected successfully several times when Warren’s attorneys tried to show jurors photos or videos of migrants’ remains, or to have witnesses describe them in detail. But when Warren took the stand in his own defense, Walters questioned him aggressively about a Washington Post opinion piece Warren wrote just before the trial. Walters said it was misleading for Warren to say desert temperatures could reach 120 degrees when the two men Warren helped had crossed in the winter.

That opened the door for Kuykendall to have Warren read the entire piece to the jury on the stand, with the judge’s permission. Warren was able to air his argument that the case might set a dangerous precedent, and that the Trump administration is expanding the definitions of “transportation” and “harboring” in ways that could criminalize not only humanitarian aid work but potentially the daily lives of millions of families in which one partner is undocumented and another is a citizen. If prosecutors had hoped to leave aside the context of the Trump administration’s attempts to crack down on migrants, the reading of the op-ed brought that bigger picture back into the courtroom.

Walters and Wright relied heavily on circumstantial evidence to argue Warren conspired and hid the two men, who have since been deported. They cited phone records that showed Warren spoke to an immigration activist, Irineo Mujica, three times on January 11, one day before the two young men crossed the border from Mexico. Warren was the first person to show up at The Barn January 14, the day Mujica drove the two men there from a gas station in Ajo.

Gas station videos showed the two migrants could have had food and drinks the day they showed up, which prosecutors said suggested they weren’t in medical distress and didn’t need to stay at The Barn for days.

Border Patrol agents testified that they saw Warren pointing out landmarks as the men were getting ready to leave January 17. Prosecutors suggested he was helping them avoid a Border Patrol checkpoint.

Warren said he was helping orient the men so they would not get lost in the desert.

Jurors heard that Mujica, who was not indicted, was the founder of a migrant shelter in Sonoyta, Sonora, just south of the Arizona border. Mujica was arrested by Mexican federal police in Sonoyta Wednesday for allegedly transporting migrants illegally, according to a press release from the Mexican government, though this was not mentioned at the trial.

Warren testified that he spoke with Mujica about recovering remains Mujica knew of in the desert, and about an upcoming visit by volunteers bringing supplies to the shelter. The defense showed jurors emails demonstrating that Warren was regularly in touch with Mujica about such matters.

In a video shown to jurors by the prosecution, one of the two migrants, Kristian Perez-Villanueva, said Mujica told the two men to tell anyone who asked that “we came by ourselves, alone, on our own.” After walking for two days through the desert, he said, they waited at the gas station to be picked up and driven to The Barn. Perez-Villanueva said Mujica didn’t tell them to ask for anyone, nor did he mention Warren, and that no one told them to hide or what to do if Border Patrol agents came to the house.

Kuykendall, the defense attorney, said in his closing statement that the prosecution’s idea of “a far-flung conspiracy” based on the evidence they put forth “makes no sense.”

Warren testified that in his volunteer work he always followed the law. “How could you not do it,” he said of his work helping migrants, “living in a place where people are dying by the dozens around you every year. How could you not respond?”

There was no suggestion by prosecutors that Warren benefited in any way from the alleged conspiracy. But Wright, the prosecutor, argued Warren “had an interest in furthering Kristian and Jose’s illegal trip,” and that his aim “was the furtherance of the goals of his organization” in helping people complete their journeys to the US.

In the end, jurors could not agree on whether Warren was guilty of any of the charges.

Collins set a hearing for July 2. Prosecutors declined to say whether they would seek to retry Warren.

Deepfake video of Mark Zuckerberg presents a new challenge for Facebook

Facebook refused to remove a doctored video of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi last month, but this week the company faces a new quandary: Will it remove a fake video of its own CEO, Mark Zuckerberg?

The video, posted to Facebook-owned Instagram over the weekend, falsely portrays Zuckerberg as saying, “Imagine this for a second: One man, with total control of billions of people’s stolen data, all their secrets, their lives, their futures.”

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Mark Zuckerberg reveals the truth about Facebook and who really owns the future… see more @sheffdocfest VDR technology by @cannyai #spectreknows #privacy #democracy #surveillancecapitalism #dataism #deepfake

A post shared by Bill Posters (@bill_posters_uk) on Jun 7, 2019 at 7:15am PDT

The video was made by taking 2017 footage of Zuckerberg and using artificial intelligence technology, known as deepfake technology, to manipulate Zuckerberg’s face to make it appear he said something he didn’t. Zuckerberg’s voice is replaced by an actor’s.

The video was created by an Israeli startup called Canny AI, cofounder Omer Ben-Ami confirmed to CNN Business on Tuesday. The video and several others — depicting celebrities like Kim Kardashian and US President Donald Trump — are part of a commissioned art installation called Spectre that was on display at the Sheffield Doc/Fest in the UK from June 6-11. The videos, which Canny and a couple other companies worked with artists to make, are meant to show how technology can be used to manipulate data.

Last month Facebook declined to remove a manipulated video that made it appear House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was slurring her words. The company said it downranked the false video, meaning it would be seen in fewer people’s Facebook News Feeds. Pelosi later blasted the company, “I think they have proven — by not taking down something they know is false — that they were willing enablers of the Russian interference in our election,” she told California’s KQED.

Asked whether a doctored video of Zuckerberg would get the same treatment as the manipulated Pelosi video, Neil Potts, Facebook’s director of public policy, told a parliamentary hearing in Canada last month, “If it was the same video, inserting Mr. Zuckerberg for Speaker Pelosi, it would get the same treatment.”

An Instagram spokesperson told CNN Business on Tuesday that the site will treat the video “the same way we treat all misinformation on Instagram.” If it’s marked as false by third-party fact checkers, the spokesperson said, the site’s algorithms won’t recommend people view it.

Perhaps complicating the situation for Facebook and Instagram a call late Tuesday from CBS for the company to remove the video. The clip of Zuckberg used to make the deepfake was taken from an online CBS News broadcast. “CBS has requested that Facebook take down this fake, unauthorized use of the CBSN trademark,” a CBS spokesperson told CNN Business.

The Pelosi video was not a deepfake like the new Zuckerberg clip, but was manipulated using traditional video editing techniques. CNN Business has asked Facebook if it has any specific rules for deepfakes.

The Zuckerberg video, which was first reported by Vice, comes as the US Congress prepares to hold its first hearing on the potential threats posed by deepfake videos. Earlier this year, the US Director of National Intelligence warned that America’s adversaries may use deepfake technology in future disinformation campaigns targeting the country.

The video had less than 5,000 views before first being reported by news media, but how Facebook treats it could set a precedent for its handling of future deepfake videos.

Until recently, video hoaxes were relatively rare since they are harder to pull off than fakes of still images, but this is changing rapidly thanks to the rise of GANs, or generative adversarial networks. GANs can use data to produce new things. The technique is also used for making deepfakes.

In this case, Ben-Ami said, Canny AI chose a scene of less than a minute in length of Zuckerberg speaking, and used a computer to meld it with an actor’s voice and appropriate facial movements. It took about a day to make an initial version of the video with one of the artists’ voices standing in for a voice actor’s Zuckerberg impression and facial movements, he said. It took another two to three hours to make the final version.

CNN Business reached out to the artists behind Spectre but did not immediately receive a response.

Ben-Ami, whose company focuses on dubbing speech in videos from one language to another, is concerned about the video and others Canny AI made spreading without the context that they were created as art. But he said he also wants to raise questions about the creation of such media.

“People need to know it’s possible to do it,” he said.

Last month, Facebook announced it would spend millions to fund academic institutions studying image and video analysis. Some of that work involves tackling deepfakes, the company said. <

U.S. defends itself after humiliating Thailand at Women’s World Cup

The USWNT defended itself against criticism that it humiliated Thailand in its record 13-0 Women’s World Cup victory in France Tuesday.

Thailand’s players were in tears at the full-time whistle after suffering the heaviest defeat in World Cup history at the hands of the U.S.

There were those on social media who criticized the defending champions for celebrating each goal, but Alex Morgan – who became only the second American to score five in a World Cup match – told reporters “every goal counts.”

Morgan, who comforted Thailand player Miranda Nild after the match, said it was important for the team to “continue to go” and score as many as they could in case goal difference would ever prove to be a factor in the group stages.

“We knew that every goal could matter in this group stage game and when it comes to celebrations this was a really good team performance and I think it was important for us to celebrate together,” the striker said.

‘I respect Thailand’

The 29-year-old, who played a limited role in the U.S.’ World Cup triumph four years ago because of injury, said she felt she was at the “peak of her powers.”

“In the preparation days before this, the team in general was just feeling great,” she added.

Jill Ellis, who could become the first coach to win the Women’s World Cup twice, said her team had showed Thailand respect.

“I think to be respectful to opponents is to play hard against opponents,” she told reporters.

“As a coach, I don’t find it my job to harness my players and rein them in because this is what they’ve dreamed about. This is it for them, this is a world championship.

“I respect Thailand. I celebrate that they’re here. For us, the players are excited and I said afterward when you go into a World Cup you can talk tactics, but it’s about mentality, it is also about confidence, and so getting off on the right foot is important.

“But the reality is we also believe we have more to do no doubt. We’re going to stay humble and we go back to work.

“Games are games, and you’ve got to go out and play and compete, and a lot of this is about building momentum.”

‘We have to improve’

With the US 3-0 up by halftime, the match was effectively over. With the title holders then proceeding to score four goals in the space of six minutes early after the break, it was a rout by the 56th minute.

But Ellis proceeded to make attacking substitutions, bringing on forwards Mallory Pugh, Carli Lloyd and Christen Press, decisions she defended after the match.

“If this is 10-0 in a men’s World Cup are we getting the same questions?” she asked.

“A World Cup is about competing. It is about peaking. It is about priming your players ready for the next game.”

“You can tell by my substitutions, you play players who can get hot. And if you can play as many hot as you possibly can, feeling good, feeling the back of the net, that’s so important for a forward and for a midfielder.

“Those feelings are what can help you through the tournament. We have to come out and we have to play as hard as we possibly can in every game. This will be an incredibly hard World Cup. This is only game one.”

Thailand’s manager Nuengrutai Srathongvian did not believe the team’s opponents were morally wrong to continue to press for goals until the end.

Indeed, Srathongvian vowed that the team would improve from such an experience.

“In football, everybody is following the rules, so our opponent is trying their best. The US team was very good. We don’t have any excuse and we accept that they are better,” the coach told reporters.

“We know where we are. Playing the US is not easy, and we know we have to improve in every aspect and improve in our mentality, and the players’ experience cannot be compared to them.

“We have limited resources in terms of the players. We have a limited number of players available, and we are small in build. We have to improve on this aspect.”

‘It’s a great opportunity for women’

The thread which entwined female footballers around the world was that the battle for recognition and equality is ongoing.

Yet, not only is there inequality between men’s and women’s teams, there is also a gulf between the countries competing at France 2019, as this match proved.

The Thai team is supported by a wealthy patron, the general manager Nualphan Lamsam, who is the chief executive of one of the country’s largest insurance companies.

Her family’s company sponsors Thailand’s fledgling women’s league, and players on the national team are also employed by her company.

Morgan acknowledged not every football federation supported its women’s teams as they should.

“For these 24 teams it’s a great opportunity for women to showcase what they’ve worked their entire life towards,” she said.

“Not every federation gives the same financial effort to their women’s side, and that’s unfortunate, but I hope that this World Cup, with it being the largest audience of a World Cup thus far, it’s great to see quality games and obviously quality teams.

“My hope is that eventually we have 32 teams moving forward. But also that it encourages FIFA to put a bit of pressure on those respective federations to put more efforts into their women’s sides.”

The Build-A-Bear pay your age promotion is back — with a plan to manage the crowds

Build-A-Bear is bringing back its popular “pay your age” promotion. But after the chaos it created last time, they’ve got a plan to help control crowd size.

Last year, thousands of shoppers stood in long lines outside stores to get their hands on a new furry friend. This prompted some stores to stop accepting customers due to safety concerns.

This year, shoppers will need to need to sign up on the company’s website for a chance to get a limited ticket. If you are one of the 200,000 lucky shoppers, you’ll be able to cash in your ticket and pay your age on select days from June 24-28.

This program was so successful last year, one parent told CNN she stood in line for over seven hours to get new stuffed animals for her daughters, ages 1 and 3.

If you want a chance to win, you’d better hurry, because you only have until June 16. Winners will be notified by June 21, according to the website. Among those who sign up for tickets, ten will be chosen to win a Build-A-Bear birthday party experience.

11th Street in Rock Island reopened to traffic after rollover crash

ROCK ISLAND-- Part of 11th Street in Rock Island was blocked off to traffic after a rollover crash.

The wreck happened near 8th Avenue just before 1 p.m. on Wednesday, June 12.  A worker at a nearby store said the scene was clear by 2 p.m.

There was no word on any injuries or what may have caused the crash.  WQAD News 8 reached out to Rock Island Police for more information.

A few more showers to go… Drying out until the upcoming weekend

The small axis of steady light showers this morning has been replaced with a scattering of heavier showers and even some rumbles of thunder this afternoon.  We’ll see this persist through the early evening hours before ending well before midnight.

We’ll drop to 50 overnight with clouds giving way to clear skies by dawn, Thursday.

Thursday may be a bit breezy at times but that should be trumped with plenty of sun and highs forecast in the lower 70s.  We’ll blow in a warmer wind on Friday climbing temperatures in the upper 70s under mostly to partly sunny skies.

Clouds will thicken and lower Friday night as the next system is still on track to bring our next round of showers and a few embedded thunderstorms.  This will be more common on Saturday with an isolated chance on Sunday morning.  We’ll experience upper 70s again on Saturday before we boost temperatures in the lower 80s on Sunday.

Chief meteorologist James Zahara

Download the News 8 Weather App — for iOS, click here and for Android, click here

Download the free News 8 App — for iOS, click here and for Android, click here

Most rabies infections in the United States come from bats, CDC says

(CNN) — In the United States, the culprit behind most rabies cases has shifted from dogs to bats. The flying mammals now cause 7 out of 10 US rabies cases, according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Researchers looked at rabies trends in the United States over the span of 80 years, from 1938 to 2018. They found that most infections came from dog bites until 1960, when wildlife species — specifically bats — became the primary source for human infection. This followed nationwide efforts in the 1950s to mandate pet vaccines and implement leash control laws, the report stated.

“Reducing rabies in dogs is a remarkable achievement of the U.S. public health system, but with this deadly disease still present in thousands of wild animals, it’s important that Americans are aware of the risk,” CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield said in a news release.

From 1960 to 2018, 125 human rabies were cases reported in the United States. Of these, 28% came from contact with dogs outside the United States, where rabies vaccines may not be required or readily available. The cases acquired in the United States came from wildlife species, with 70% resulting from bat bites or scratches and the rest due to human contact with raccoons, skunks or foxes.

Once a person becomes infected, rabies is nearly always fatal without treatment. The number of deaths in the United States ranged from 30 to 50 per year in the 1940s but has since dropped to one to three deaths per year. That’s the result of routine pet vaccination and availability of post-exposure treatment with vaccine and immune globulins, proteins that trigger the body’s defense system to fight off infection.

“We wanted to write a report to raise people’s awareness that rabies is still an issue. … It’s still one of the most deadly diseases on the planet,” said Dr. Emily Pieracci, a CDC veterinarian and lead author of the report. “If you get post-exposure prophylaxis and you get that before the onset of signs or symptoms of rabies, you can prevent the disease.”

How to prevent rabies

The CDC recommends three things to prevent rabies: Avoid wildlife, vaccinate pets and seek medical attention quickly after animal contact.

Rabies is a virus that infects mammals. When an infected animal bites a human, rabies is transmitted from saliva, through the open wound and into the nerves, where the virus goes to the brain and spinal cord. This process can take between three and 12 weeks. Before the virus gets to the brain, a person may have no symptoms or only mild symptoms like fever, weakness or discomfort. At this stage, a person can get post-exposure treatment and still survive.

But once the virus gets into the brain, it multiplies and passes through glands that make saliva, becoming over 99% fatal. At that point, a person can show symptoms like confusion, abnormal behavior, hallucinations, insomnia, drooling, difficulty swallowing and hydrophobia, fear of water. Most people die within one to two weeks of these late symptoms. That’s why CDC experts recommend seeing a doctor for post-exposure treatment soon after contact with an animal, before the virus has the chance to turn fatal.

In the United States, most human deaths from rabies occur because people don’t seek medical treatment, probably because they are unaware of the animal contact. For example, bat bites can be smaller than the top of a pencil eraser, the CDC said.

“We’ve been seeing cases in people in the United States who seem to not really be aware that rabies can be transmitted by wildlife, especially bats,” Pieracci said. “A lot of times, bat bites and scratches are very tiny. So a lot of people will try to hold a bat and they don’t realize that bat has bitten.”

Healthy bats try to avoid contact with people. But those infected with rabies will act differently, being active in the day or stumbling along the ground. In these cases, people can contact their local animal control office or wildlife rehabilitation center. Pieracci said people should avoid touching all bats, regardless of how they appear.

If you happen to wake up with a bat in your immediate surroundings, you should assume rabies exposure and seek medical care right away, the CDC recommends.

Although wildlife exposure is the most common cause of rabies death in the United States, globally, infected dogs cause 98% of the 59,000 human deaths each year. Americans who travel internationally should research rabies risk at their destination and avoid contact with dogs, have travel insurance to pay for treatment, if needed, and consider pre-exposure vaccination, the CDC report advised.

Of the more than 1 million dogs imported to the United States every year, 10% come from countries with a high risk of rabies. There have been three US rabies cases reported from imported dogs since 2015.

How rabies is treated

In 2018, about 55,000 people in the United States received post-exposure treatment for possible rabies, though some may not have had contact with an infected animal. Even if the animal couldn’t be captured to confirm rabies, people who were bitten by a suspicious animal got post-exposure treatment because the disease is so deadly, Pieracci said.

Post-exposure treatment is available in almost every emergency department across the country. For people who haven’t received the rabies vaccine, treatment includes a one-time dose of immune globulins and four doses of the vaccine over the course of two weeks. People who’ve had the vaccine don’t need immune globulins, only the vaccine doses. Immune globulin costs about $312 per dose, while the rabies vaccine is $290 per dose, although hospital bills for rabies treatment can vary, according to the CDC report.

Oral rabies vaccines for wild animals have been used to control the spread of the disease from raccoons and coyotes. The program, run by the US Department of Agriculture, started in the 1990s and was successful in preventing the spread of raccoon rabies westward.

The vaccine is put into a packet and covered in flavored bait such as egg or fish to attract animals. The packets are dropped by airplane or by hand, along roads. Once the animal bites into the packet, they consume the vaccine inside and are protected against rabies.

There are no vaccines or management programs to control rabies in the bat population.

Nevada bans employers from refusing to hire those who fail marijuana tests

Starting in 2020, Nevada employers cannot refuse to hire a job applicant for failing a marijuana screening test, making it the first state to pass such a law.

“It is unlawful for any employer in this State to fail or refuse to hire a prospective employee because the prospective employee submitted to a screening test and the results of the screening test indicate the presence of marijuana,” states the law, signed by Gov. Steve Sisolak on June 5.

There are some exceptions. The law does not apply to firefighters, EMTs, employees who operate a motor vehicle, or those who, in the determination of the employer, could adversely affect others’ safety.

If an employer requires a new hire to take a screening test, then the new employee has the right to submit to an additional screening test to rebut the results, the law states. The employer must accept that follow-up test, the law says.

The law takes effect at the start of 2020.

Nevada is the first state to approve such a law regarding drug screening tests. In 2016, voters in the state approved the legal sale of recreational marijuana to adults 21 and older, and recreational marijuana sales began a year later.

The New York City Council passed a similar bill in April that banned employers from requiring a prospective employee to pass a marijuana screening test as a condition of employment. In Maine, which legalized recreational marijuana, employers are not allowed to discriminate based on marijuana usage, but there are no laws about drug testing.

Illinois governor signs abortion protections into law


CHICAGO (AP) — Gov. J.B. Pritzker has signed a bill to expand abortion protections in Illinois, a move that comes while some Republican-led states try to restrict the procedure.

The law establishes abortion as a "fundamental right" for women. Pritzker, a Democrat, signed the bill Wednesday, surrounded by advocates. He says Illinois is taking a "giant step forward" while other states are taking a "giant step backwards."

The measure rescinds decades-old regulations on abortion that had been suspended by judges. It also requires insurance coverage for abortions, contraception and related medical care.Supporters say the legislation would put existing practice into law. Republicans strongly objected.At least six states have adopted steep restrictions or bans on abortion.

2 men die while competing in Madison, Wisconsin, Ironman

(CNN) — Two men died following an Ironman 70.3 triathlon in Madison, Wisconsin, over the weekend, the Madison Fire Department said.

Todd Mahoney, 38, an apparatus engineer with the fire department, and Michael McCulloch, 61, of Cottage Grove, Wisconsin, both died during the swimming portion of the lengthy race.

The Ironman 70.3 is a three-part race, with a 1.2-mile swim, 56-mile bike ride and a 13.1-mile run.

Competitors began swimming in heats, starting at 7 a.m. Sunday, according to the Ironman website.

McCulloch was rescued from Lake Monona by the Madison Fire Department, taken to the hospital and later pronounced dead, a fire department statement said.

According to an obituary, McCulloch was a native of the area, and survived by his wife and daughter.

The fire department said it also rescued Mahoney when he was found unresponsive in the lake. He was transported to a hospital, where he died Tuesday.

Mahoney was a nine-year veteran of the fire department and occasionally was an aide to the chief. He is survived by his wife and three young sons, the department said.

The Dane County medical examiner’s office told CNN affiliate WKOW that McCulloch’s death “was consistent with an accidental drowning due in part to a medical event.” The office continues to investigate Mahoney’s cause of death, the fire department said.

“The well-being of our competitors is paramount and we are grateful for the effort and quick support of medical personnel,” Ironman said in a statement Sunday to WKOW. “We will continue to work with the local authorities to gather all the details on these incidents and will continue to do everything possible to provide a safe environment for our athletes. In respect of the families and athletes’ privacy, we will have no further comment at this time.”

Ironman didn’t immediately respond to CNN’s request for comment.

Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway issued a statement Tuesday on the men’s deaths.

“My thoughts are with the families and loved ones of the two athletes who died while competing in the Half Iron Man on Sunday,” Rhodes-Conway said. “It is a tragic coincidence that two men died competing in the same event.”

Texas mom says she was kicked out of a city pool for breastfeeding her baby

A group of moms held a “nurse-in” at a Texas swimming pool to support a woman who says she was kicked out for breastfeeding her baby.

Misty Daugereaux was at the Nessler Park Family Aquatic Center in Texas City on Sunday when her 10-month-old needed to eat.

She said she was discreetly nursing her son when a lifeguard and a manager approached and told her it was against the pool’s rules.

“She [the manager] said you need to cover up or leave,” Daugereaux told CNN affiliate KTRK. “She gave me the ultimatum. And I said, ‘Well, you show me in your policy where I need to cover up and I’ll leave.’ And, she was telling me that it was not right, that I needed to cover up. It was their policy. And I said, ‘Well, you can go call whoever you need to call, but I’m not leaving for breastfeeding my son.'”

Police were called and Daugereaux, who was there with her nephew and two sons, was asked to leave the pool. Texas City is in southeast Texas, near Galveston.

“I walked out feeling defeated because I couldn’t … stand my ground,” she said.

The Texas City police department posted footage from the responding officer’s body camera on its Facebook page.

Texas law says that “a mother is entitled to breast-feed her baby in any location in which the mother is authorized to be.”

City officials promised to review their policies and procedures in a statement issued Monday.

“We, the City of Texas City are reviewing the nursing concerns raised at the Nessler Pool and how it was addressed by our staff. We apologize to Misty Daugereaux as it is clear she was offended by how she was treated at our City Facility. City policies and procedures will be reviewed and revised as deemed necessary. Any deficiencies regarding our employee’s actions will be addressed with further training,” the statement said.

About a half-dozen women and their young children participated in a protest Monday to express their right to breastfeed wherever they need to. Daugereaux told KTRK that most of the moms were from a Galveston County breastfeeding support group.

She also said she would continue to nurse her son in public when he gets hungry.

A similar incident happened last July in Mora, Minnesota, where two mothers were asked to leave a public pool for breastfeeding their children. More than a dozen moms staged a “nurse-in” protest at the pool a few days later.

Ford recalling 1.2 million Explorers over suspension issue

Ford is recalling 1.2 million Explorers over a problem with their suspensions.

The recalled SUVs are from model years 2011 through 2017. Ford said that cars that frequently ride over rough terrain may experience a fractured toe link on their rear suspension, which can affect steering and increase the risk of an accident. Ford said one customer reported hitting a curb when the toe link broke, but it is not aware of any related injuries.

Ford said it will spend about $180 million to fix the problem, which will be done at no cost to the cars’ owners.

Ford also announced three other smaller recalls. One is a recall of 12,000 Ford Taurus and Flex cars as well as Lincoln MKS and MKT vehicles sold in Canada. They have a similar problem with their toe links. Ford said it is aware of one crash involving minor injuries associated with the problem. The affected vehicles range from model year 2009 through 2017.

Ford is also recalling 123,000 Ford F-150 pickups from 2013 with 6-speed automatic transmissions that could potentially downshift into first gear unintentionally. And it is recalling 4,300 Ford Econoline vehicles from model years 2009 to 2016 which are used as ambulances or school buses. Those vehicles have a weld in the clutch that could fail, preventing them from moving.

Boil order issued in Rapids City, Illinois

RAPIDS CITY, Illinois — A boil order has been issued for some water customers in the Village of Rapids City.

Water was shut off around 7 a.m. Wednesday morning, June 12 for customers between 17th Street and 11th Street between the 500 block of 1st Avenue and north of Illinois Route 84.  According to the Village Clerk Missy Housenga, the water came back on around 8:45 a.m.

The affected area is now under a boil order until further notice.

Any water that residents plan to drink or cook with should be boiled for at least five minutes, according to Housenga.

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