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Enlarge this image This Thursday, Jan. 23, 2020, photo provided by the Arizona Department of Public Safety shows a dummy skeleton found after a state trooper traffic stop of a 62-year-old man for an HOV lane violation in Phoenix. (Arizona Department of Public Safety via AP) AP hide caption toggle caption AP A man in Arizona was pulled over last week for attempting to disguise a fake skeleton as a passenger in his car so he could stealthily drive in the HOV lane. The 62-year-old received a penalty ticket on Thursday when a trooper noticed the skeleton wearing a camouflage bucket hat and tied upright in the passenger seat with a yellow rope, the Arizona Department of Public Safety told the AP. The man was also cited for a window tint violation when he was pulled over on Arizona State Route 101 near Apache Boulevard in Tempe. The windows presumably weren't dark enough to conceal his spooky passenger. "Think you can use the HOV lane with Skeletor riding shotgun? You're dead wrong!" the Arizona Department of Public Safety tweeted on Thursday. Think you can use the HOV lane with Skeletor riding shotgun? You're dead wrong! ☠︎ One of our motor troopers cited the 62-year-old male driver for HOV & window tint violations on SR-101 near Apache Blvd this morning. #NiceTry #YoureNotHeMan #AZTroopers pic.twitter.com/wQYY831mNY— Dept. Public Safety (@Arizona_DPS) January 23, 2020 This is not the first time a man tried to cheat the rules of the Arizona carpool lane, which is reserved for drivers with at least one passenger in the car. Another motorist was cited last April for driving in the HOV lane on a different Arizona freeway with a mannequin wearing a baseball hat and sunglasses riding shotgun. The Arizona Department of Public Safety told the Associated Press that some 7,000 people are cited every year for violating HOV lane rules. Enforcement of HOV lane rules varies from state to state, according to the Federal Highway Administration. In some states, police officers will redirect violators to general lanes, while in others, drivers can face fines from $50 in Massachusetts to more than $300 in California. Washington State passed legislation last year that sharply raised HOV violation fines to $186 on the first offense and $336 for another violation within two years. Drivers who break the rules again could face a steep fine of up to $686, and those who use a dummy to fake a passenger could pay another $200 on top of those fines. "Some folks get very creative," Guy Gill, a former State Patrol spokesman, told the Seattle Times. "We've seen mannequins, sleeping bags propped up with hats, articles of clothing, duffel bags, Halloween masks on bags. You name it, we've seen it." Since 1984, Washington State has employed a HERO program that encourages drivers to report carpool lane violations, so that police officers can target areas of the road for possible rule-breakers. Police received almost 40,000 reports in 2011, the Seattle Times reported, according to state department of transportation records. Let's block ads! (Why?) [...]
Sun, Jan 26, 2020
Source: Headlines -NPR Category: TOP NEWS
Enlarge this image The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's headquarters in Atlanta. Jessica McGowan/Getty Images hide caption toggle caption Jessica McGowan/Getty Images A patient in Orange County, Calif., has tested positive for the Wuhan coronavirus, marking the third confirmed case of the new infectious disease in the U.S., according to the OC Health Care Agency. County health officials say the new U.S. case involves a traveler from Wuhan, the central Chinese city of 11 million that has been the epicenter of the outbreak. They said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed the case Saturday, and the patient is now in isolation in good condition at a local hospital. The health agency said in a statement that officials will continue to monitor people who have had close contact with the patient. But the agency added that there is no evidence that there has been person-to-person transmission of coronavirus in Orange County and that the risk of local transmission remains low. The other two U.S. cases involve a woman in her 60s in Chicago, reported Friday, and a man in his 30s in the Seattle area, reported Tuesday. In all three cases, the patients had previously traveled to Wuhan. The CDC said last week that it has mobilized an aggressive response to the outbreak aimed at identifying and diagnosing any cases early and preventing the spread of the virus in the United States. While the CDC says it's not yet clear how easily the virus is transmitted from person to person, it says the risk in the U.S. remains low. China reported 688 new cases on Sunday from the previous day, bringing the country's total number of cases to 1,975, including 56 deaths. At least 36 cases of coronavirus have been confirmed outside China, including in France, Singapore, Vietnam, South Korea, Nepal, Hong Kong and Australia. The U.S. State Department said Saturday that it is pulling government workers and their family members out of Wuhan because of the impacts from the coronavirus outbreak. A U.S. Embassy spokesperson told NPR that "logistical disruptions stemming from restricted transportation and overwhelmed hospitals in the city of Wuhan" contributed to the decision. The State Department this week issued a "Do not travel" advisory for Hubei province. Travel restrictions have been put in place in multiple major cities in China, grounding planes and trains and blocking roads and tunnels. Large public gatherings have been banned, and major tourist attractions, including Beijing's Forbidden City and Shanghai Disneyland, are closed. Health officials are trying to limit the spread of the coronavirus during the country's biggest travel holiday, the Lunar New Year. The infectious disease was discovered from a cluster of pneumonia outbreaks in Wuhan. The city is a major transportation hub in China, with trains that run throughout the country as well as an international airport. Let's block ads! (Why?) [...]
Sun, Jan 26, 2020
Source: Headlines -NPR Category: TOP NEWS
Enlarge this image President Trump speaks in the East Room of the White House on Jan. 24, 2020. Drew Angerer/Getty Images hide caption toggle caption Drew Angerer/Getty Images In a new recording made public on Saturday, President Trump can be heard speaking with two men he has claimed to not know and ordering the firing of the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine. The hour-long recording from April 2018 captures a meeting between Trump and a group of donors that includes two associates of his personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, who in recent weeks have emerged as central figures in the impeachment inquiry: Igor Fruman and Lev Parnas. In the recording, Parnas can be heard telling Trump that the ambassador, Marie Yovanovitch, had been disparaging the president, and that he should "get rid" of her. "She's basically walking around telling everybody, 'Wait, he's going to get impeached, just wait,'" Parnas says in the recording. "Get rid of her," the president responds. "Get her out tomorrow. I don't care. Get her out tomorrow. Take her out." In an interview with NPR on Saturday, Deputy White House Press Secretary Steven Groves said the president's comments were directed to then aide John DeStefano, not to Parnas. The recording was released by an attorney for Parnas, Joseph A. Bondy, and appears to support an account of the exchange that Parnas shared during an interview this month with the MSNBC host Rachel Maddow. "I told him she's bad mouthing him and she's saying bad things about him," Parnas says in the interview. He goes on to concede that he did not actually believe that to be true. Yovanovitch was not immediately removed from her posting in Kyiv, but in the months that followed she became a frequent target of criticism among allies of the president, who accused the career diplomat of disloyalty. She was ultimately recalled as ambassador last spring. Her recall has become a key episode in the pressure campaign against Ukraine that President Trump is now on trial for in the Senate following the House's vote to impeach him. On his now infamous July 25 call with the president of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, Trump said of Yovanovitch, "She's going to go through some things." During her testimony before House impeachment investigators, Yovanovitch denied ever speaking disparagingly of the president, but did tell lawmakers she felt threatened by Trump. Yovanovitch said she was told by the State Department that she was being recalled because of concerns about her "security." The recording, which was first reported by ABC News on Friday, contradicts repeated claims by the president that he does not know Parnas, even though they have been photographed together on multiple occasions. In October, Parnas and Fruman were arrested and charged with making illegal campaign contributions – charges for which they have pleaded not guilty. In the three months since, Parnas has begun cooperating with congressional investigators as they work to unspool his role in the Ukraine affair. Parnas worked closely with Giuliani in a smear campaign against Yovanovitch and in efforts by Giuliani to pressure the Ukrainian government to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden. Earlier this month, materials released by the House show Ukraine's former top prosecutor offering Parnas damaging information about Biden in exchange for help getting rid of Yovanovitch. In her time as ambassador, Yovanovitch developed a reputation for fighting corruption in Ukraine. Speaking to Fox News on Friday, Trump defended his decision to fire Yovanovitch and denied that Parnas factored into his decision to recall her. "I have a right to hire and fire ambassadors, and that's a very important thing," Trump said. The recording released Saturday was filmed at the Trump International Hotel in Washington on a phone belonging to Fruman. Bondy, the attorney for Parnas, said it was being released in "an effort to provide clarity to the American people and the Senate as to the need to conduct a fair trial, with witnesses and evidence." Let's block ads! (Why?) [...]
Sun, Jan 26, 2020
Source: Headlines -NPR Category: TOP NEWS