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    With great success comes great re-negotiation. In the wake of the announcement that 'Spider-Man: Far From Home' is now the highest-grossing film ever in Sony Pictures' history, reports surfaced that Marvel Studios may be stepping away from the cross-studio partnership. The Hollywood trade Deadline reported Tuesday that there was a disagreement over the profit-sharing structure. According to a person close to the deal who was unauthorized to speak publicly, negotiations are not yet final. But the suggestion that Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige may not produce future live-action 'Spider-Man' movies and that the character itself might not appear in any more Marvel Cinematic Universe films quickly turned into a trending topic. Sony has held the rights to the Marvel character since 1985, but in 2015, announced a partnership with Disney and Marvel that would allow Spider-Man to be used in MCU films like 'Avengers: Endgame.' It also allowed for Feige to serve as a producer on stand-alone 'Spider-Man' movies like 'Far From Home.' The crossovers have been well-received by audiences and critics. And the teenage web-slinger has been made into a central component in the MCU with a close relationship to Tony Stark that drove the story lines in both 'Endgame' and 'Far From Home.' But as Marvel enters its 'Phase 4,' Spider-Man also has no official MCU appearances planned. Two standalone 'Spider-Man' movies are, however, reportedly in the works from Sony which would bring back director Jon Watts and star Tom Holland. Sony has also created its own web of Spider-Man spinoffs, including the Oscar-winning animated feature 'Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,' and 'Venom.' Representatives from the two studios did not respond to requests for comment.
  • Hasbro is giving plastic packaging the boot. The toy maker said Tuesday that all its packaging for new products will be mostly plastic free by the end of 2022. It plans to stop using plastic bags, elastic bands and the shrink wrap that's usually found around Monopoly, Scrabble and other board games. But Hasbro's toys, such as Mr. Potato Head, will still be made with plastic. The company said it is testing materials to replace it, but said it's challenging to find an alternative that's still safe for kids and keeps toys looking the same as the plastic ones. Hasbro, however, said it has a program that allows people to ship in their GI Joes or My Little Pony figurines to be recycled. Plastic is a menace to the environment. Much of it ends up in landfills and doesn't disintegrate, breaking down into tiny pieces that can harm birds and other animals if eaten. Some cities and states have banned plastic bags and several companies have made their own changes to reduce plastic waste. Starbucks, for example, plans to get rid of plastic straws. And toy maker Lego is looking to find an alternative to plastic for its colorful bricks. Hasbro, which is based in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, said it will begin cutting down on plastic packaging next year.
  • President Donald Trump acknowledged Tuesday his aggressive China trade policies may mean economic pain for Americans but insisted they're needed for more important long-term benefits. He contended he does not fear a recession but is nonetheless considering new tax cuts to promote growth. Asked if his trade war with China could tip the country into recession, Trump brushed off the idea as 'irrelevant' and said it was imperative to 'take China on.' 'It's about time, whether it's good for our country or bad for our country short term,' he said. Paraphrasing a reporter's question, Trump said, 'Your statement about, 'Oh, will we fall into a recession for two months?' OK? The fact is somebody had to take China on.' The president indicated that he had no choice but to impose the tariffs that have been a drag on U.S. manufacturers, financial markets and, by some measures, American consumers. Trump was clear that he didn't think the nation is at risk of a recession and that a boom was possible if the Federal Reserve would slash its benchmark interest rate. 'We're very far from a recession,' Trump said. 'In fact, if the Fed would do its job, I think we'd have a tremendous spurt of growth, a tremendous spurt.' Yet he also said he is considering a temporary payroll tax cut and indexing to inflation the federal taxes on profits made on investments — moves designed to stimulate faster growth. He downplayed any idea that these thoughts indicate a weakening economy , saying, 'I'm looking at that all the time anyway.' Asked about his remarks, White House spokesman Judd Deere said, 'The president does not believe we are headed for a recession. The economy is strong because of his policies.' Trump faces something of an inflection point on a U.S. economy that appears to be showing vulnerabilities after more than 10 years of growth. Factory output has fallen and consumer confidence has waned as he has ramped up his trade war with China. In private, Trump and his advisers have shown concern that a broader slowdown, if not an outright recession, could arrive just as he is seeking reelection based on his economic record. Trump rattled the stock and bond markets this month when he announced plans to put a 10% tax on $300 billion worth of Chinese imports. The market reaction suggested a recession might be on the horizon and led Trump to delay some of the tariffs that were slated to begin in September, though 25% tariffs are already in place for $250 million in other Chinese goods. The president has long maintained that the burden of the tariffs is falling solely on China, yet that message was undermined by his statements to reporters Tuesday prior to a meeting in the Oval Office with the president of Romania. 'My life would be a lot easier if I didn't take China on. But I like doing it because I have to do it,' Trump said. The world economy has been slowing in recent months, and recent stock market swings have added to concerns that the U.S. economy is not immune. A new survey Monday showed a big majority of economists expecting a downturn to hit by 2021. Addressing that possibility, Trump focused anew on pressuring the Federal Reserve to cut interest rates. Presidents have generally avoided criticizing the Federal Reserve publicly, but Trump has shown no inclination to follow that lead. Rather, he's positioning Fed Chairman Jerome Powell to take the fall if the economy swoons. 'I think that we actually are set for a tremendous surge of growth, if the Fed would do its job,' Trump said. 'That's a big if.' Trump recommended a minimum cut of a full percentage point in the coming months.
  • Uber will receive a $24 million incentive package from Texas officials and open a new administrative hub in Dallas, bringing with it about 3,000 jobs, Gov. Greg Abbott announced Tuesday. The offices that will open in the historic Deep Ellum section of Dallas will house various corporate functions, officials said. Abbott said in a statement that the state's 'business-friendly environment makes Texas the perfect home for innovative companies like Uber.' Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said in the same statement that Dallas was the first city in Texas where the Uber ride-sharing app became available in 2012. He says, 'Texas has been a hub of innovation for our platform.' The jobs created by the regional hub will result in a $400 million annual payroll, officials said. Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins, the county's top administrator, said the move 'will provide a huge boost to our urban core with a positive wave that will spread across our entire county and region.' Uber, which has its headquarters in San Francisco, offers ride-hailing services along with food delivery and other forms of transportation. It has yet to turn a profit and lost $1 billion in the first quarter of 2019. Executives have said it could take years to make money. The company announced in July that it has launched 'comfort' rides in dozens of cities. Riders are guaranteed 36 inches of legroom in 'newer' cars__meaning those that are under five years old__and they can request a preferred air temperature. Riders can also use the app to tell drivers they don't want to chat, avoiding what some consider an awkward exchange. In June, Uber said it would team with Volvo Cars to launch its newest self-driving vehicle. The company said it can easily install its self-driving system in the Volvo XC90 SUV. Uber and Volvo cars partnered in September 2016. This is the third car they've developed together. ___ Clarice Silber in Austin contributed to this report.
  • The European Union and Britain, which are hurtling toward a costly, damaging no-deal split in a little over two months, kicked off a high-wire week of diplomacy Tuesday by entrenching themselves deeper in their irreconcilable positions. Highlighting new British Prime Minister Boris Johnson's determination to leave the bloc on Oct. 31 even if no Brexit divorce deal is in place, his government said as of Sept. 1 it would stop attending all EU meetings where its vital interests were not at stake. Johnson's Downing Street office doubled down on the message later, stating that unless the trade backstop on the Irish border was abolished 'there's no prospect of a deal.' The EU, which is not known for its speedy diplomacy, took only half a day to rebuff a four-page proposal by Johnson on breaking a deadlock over ensuring a transparent border between the EU's Ireland and the U.K.'s Northern Ireland. The bloc said one key part of the proposal was 'incorrect' and another 'misleading.' In the diplomatic note from the EU Commission and Council to the EU's remaining 27 nations, which was obtained by The Associated Press, the member states were strongly urged not to give in to Johnson's demand that the legal withdrawal agreement the EU negotiated with his predecessor, Theresa May, be changed at this late stage. Johnson demanded late Monday that the EU re-open Brexit negotiations, scrapping 'anti-democratic' provisions for the Irish border that he said would threaten the peace process in Northern Ireland. European Council chief Donald Tusk responded quickly and vigorously, defending the so-called backstop — an insurance policy meant to avoid a hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland. 'Those against the backstop and not proposing realistic alternatives in fact support reestablishing a border,' Tusk tweeted Tuesday. 'Even if they do not admit it.' The backstop would keep Britain closely aligned with the European customs union if the two sides can't agree on other ways to prevent the reintroduction of border checks on people and goods moving between Northern Ireland and Ireland. The EU's diplomatic note said it needed to counter Johnson's assertions, insisting 'it is incorrect to state that the people of Northern Ireland have no influence over the legislation that would apply to them.' Similarly, it said 'the letter's suggestion that two separate legal, political, economic, and monetary jurisdictions already exist on the island and can be managed with an open border is misleading.' Such words left a huge rift between the sides, just as Johnson was preparing to visit German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin on Wednesday and French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris on Thursday. His trips should culminate in more talks at a summit of G-7 leaders this weekend in Biarritz, France. On a rare note of guarded optimism, Merkel suggested Tuesday that a 'practical solution' could still be found for the Irish border issue, making the backstop superfluous. But she said finding such a solution wouldn't require reopening negotiations on the current Brexit deal. Johnson has vowed to leave the EU 'come what may' on Oct. 31, with or without a deal aimed at softening the transition. To that effect, U.K. Secretary of State Steve Barclay said Tuesday that the diplomatic corps 'will only go to the (EU) meetings that really matter, reducing attendance by over half and saving hundreds of hours.' He said that would free up time for ministers and staff 'to get on with preparing for our departure on October 31 and seizing the opportunities that lie ahead.' But Johnson is facing rising criticism of his Brexit strategy at home. A leaked report showed that the British government is preparing for widespread shortages of food, fuel and medicines in the event of a no-deal Brexit. Jeremy Corbyn, leader of Britain's opposition Labour Party, vowed late Monday to do 'everything necessary' to prevent the U.K. from leaving the EU without a deal. That includes calling a no-confidence vote in Johnson's government and, if it succeeds, competing in the ensuing general election with a pledge to hold a second public vote on Brexit. After a 2016 referendum in which the public voted to leave the EU, May spent more than two years negotiating a Brexit divorce agreement with the bloc. It was repeatedly rejected by British lawmakers, primarily because of concerns about the Irish border. ___ Kirka reported from London. Frank Jordans contributed from Berlin. ___ Follow AP's full coverage of Brexit and British politics at: https://www.apnews.com/Brexit
  • A special committee will 'resolve multiple disputes' involving a Dubai government-owned developer that faces a series of lawsuits, the city-state said Tuesday, a sign of renewed economic problems in this desert sheikhdom that's home to the world's tallest skyscraper. The problems gripping Meydan, a developer whose name graces the Dubai racecourse that hosts the horseracing world's richest race, comes as the city also faces falling real estate prices. Such special committees previously resolved cases against other developers after Dubai's 2009 financial crisis, which saw the city receive billions of dollars in a bailout from Abu Dhabi, the Emirates' oil-rich capital. In this case, authorities hope the committee 'will efficiently adjudicate all cases against Meydan, expedite the process and focus all disputes in one circle of judges,' the government's Dubai Media Office said. 'Although Meydan should be able to cover its liabilities, the government is prepared to stand behind it and make good on any payments ordered by the judges,' the office told The Associated Press in a statement. Authorities did not elaborate on the potential liabilities Meydan faced. Calls to Meydan rang unanswered Tuesday night and a message sent to an email address for the company bounced back. The Financial Times, which first reported about the creation of the committee, said around 40 cases valued at several billion Emirati dirhams would be moved to the committee. A dirham trades for just over $0.25. Skyscraper-studded Dubai has sought to make itself an attractive location for international businesses and trade in a Mideast often torn by conflict. However, real-estate speculation and the Great Recession helped drag down its economy in 2009. A sharp drop in oil prices in 2014 also hurt the UAE's economy, as has tension between the U.S. and Iran and the ongoing war in Yemen. In March, research from a leading Emirati bank showed non-oil companies across the UAE had cut staff at their sharpest rate in nearly a decade. Meanwhile, Dubai's real-estate market, which had been a major economic driver, has seen its value drop by nearly a third. Other developers continue to build around the Meydan Racecourse, which hosts the annual Dubai World Cup at the end of March. This year's purse was $12 million. ___ Follow Jon Gambrell on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jongambrellAP .
  • Thousands of French police are setting up checkpoints and combing Atlantic beaches to secure the southwestern coast for the world leaders who are coming for the G-7 summit this weekend. Protesters, too, are setting up camp in towns near France's border with Spain to prepare for protests during the Aug. 24-26 gathering of major world democracies. More than 13,000 police are taking up their posts for the summit, and French and Spanish intelligence officials are coordinating against any threats, French Interior Minister Christophe Castaner said Tuesday. U.S. President Donald Trump will join host French President Emmanuel Macron and the leaders of Britain, Germany, Japan, Canada and Italy in the elegant resort town of Biarritz. Authorities are closing all air, train and road traffic to Biarritz to clear the way for the leaders. That's frustrating local businesses, since this is happening at the height of Europe's summer travel season. The city's biggest beach will also be closed. Blocked from Biarritz, activists are planning events down the coast in Hendaye and Urrugne, and in the Spanish town of Irun, to protest economic injustice, climate change and other concerns. Castaner said he expected the planned protests nearby to remain peaceful, but emphasized that security forces will be present in case demonstrations turn violent, as they have in previous international summits.
  • Soon, you could get fewer familiar ads following you around the internet — or at least on Facebook. Facebook is launching a long-promised tool that lets you limit what the social network can gather about you on outside websites and apps. The company said Tuesday that it is adding a section where you can see the activity that Facebook tracks outside its service via its 'like' buttons and other means. You can choose to turn off the tracking; otherwise, tracking will continue the same way it has been. Formerly known as 'clear history,' the tool will now go by the slightly clunkier moniker 'off-Facebook activity.' The feature launches in South Korea, Ireland and Spain on Tuesday, consistent with Facebook's tendency to launch features in smaller markets first. The company did not give a timeline for when it might expand it to the U.S. and other countries, only that it will be in 'coming months.' What you do off Facebook is among the many pieces of information that Facebook uses to target ads to people. Blocking the tracking could mean fewer ads that seem familiar — for example, for a pair of shoes you decided not to buy, or a nonprofit you donated money to. But it won't change the actual number of ads you'll see on Facebook. Nor will it change how your actions on Facebook are used to show you ads. Even if you turn off tracking, Facebook will still gather data on your off-Facebook activities. It will simply disconnect those activities from your Facebook profile. Facebook says businesses won't know you clicked on their ad — but they'll know that someone did. So Facebook can still tell advertisers how well their ads are performing. Jasmine Enberg, social media analyst at research firm eMarketer, said the tool is part of Facebook's efforts to be clearer to users on how it tracks them and likely 'an effort to stay one step ahead of regulators, in the U.S. and abroad.' Facebook faces increasing governmental scrutiny over its privacy practices, including a record $5 billion fine from the U.S. Federal Trade Commission for mishandling user data. Boosting its privacy protections could help the company pre-empt regulation and further punishment. But it's a delicate dance, as Facebook still depends on highly targeted advertising for nearly all of its revenue. CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced the 'clear history' feature more than a year ago. The company said building it has been a complicated technical process, which is also the reason for the slow, gradual rollout. Facebook said it sought input from users, privacy experts and policymakers along the way, which led to some changes. For instance, users will be able to disconnect their activity from a specific websites or apps, or reconnect to a specific site while keeping other future tracking turned off. You'll be able to access the feature by going to your Facebook settings and scrolling down to 'your Facebook information.' The 'off-Facebook activity' section will be there when it launches. The tool will let you delete your past browsing history from Facebook and prevent it from keeping track of your future clicks, taps and website visits going forward. Doing so means that Facebook won't use information gleaned from apps and websites to target ads to you on Facebook, Instagram and Messenger. It also won't use such information to show you posts that Facebook thinks you might like based on your offsite activity, such as news articles shared by your friends. Stephanie Max, product manager at Facebook, said the company believes the tool could affect revenue, though she didn't say how much. But she said giving people 'transparency and control' is important. Enberg, the eMarketer analyst, said the ultimate impact 'depends on consumer adoption. It takes a proactive step for consumers to go into their Facebook settings and turn on the feature.' People who say they value privacy often don't actually do anything about it, she said, so it's possible too few people will use this tool to have a meaningful effect on Facebook's bottom line.
  • The Latest on Britain's plan to leave the European Union (all times local): 5:10 p.m. German Chancellor Angela Merkel says the main stumbling block with Britain's departure from the European Union can be removed if a 'practical solution' is found for the Irish border issue. Speaking Tuesday after a meeting with Nordic countries in the Icelandic capital of Reykjavik, Merkel says the remaining 27 EU countries are willing to find such a solution and avoid unraveling a carefully negotiated Brexit deal agreed upon with the British government last year. The deal was repeatedly rejected by U.K. lawmakers, leading to the resignation of British Prime Minister Theresa May. She was replaced by Brexit hardliner Boris Johnson, who wants a new divorce deal. Merkel, who is hosting Johnson for talks in Berlin late Wednesday, said whichever path Britain chooses the EU is willing to cooperate closely on economic and security issues. ___ 4:30 p.m. Britain has decided to stop going to many European Union meetings unless its attendance is crucial so its diplomatic staff can better prepare for its scheduled departure from the bloc on Oct. 31. UK Secretary of State Steve Barclay said Tuesday that the diplomatic corps 'will only go to the meetings that really matter, reducing attendance by over half and saving hundreds of hours.' He says this will free up staff 'to get on with preparing for our departure on October 31 and seizing the opportunities that lie ahead.' It was another sign that British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is bent on leaving the EU 'come what may' at the end of October. Beyond preparing for Brexit, Johnson has said the diplomatic staff will also be working to prepare new relationships with the 27 remaining EU nations and looking for trade agreements with other nations. ___ 11:40 a.m. European Council chief Donald Tusk says that as long as British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is not proposing 'realistic alternatives' to the backstop agreement to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland, he is actually backing 're-establishing a border.' A key part of the divorce proposals between the EU and Britain centers on keeping the island free of physical borders between EU-member Ireland and the Northern Ireland, which is part of the United Kingdom. Both sides committed to a 'backstop solution' to keep the border open in a deal with former prime minister Theresa May, but new prime minister Johnson vehemently opposes it. Tusk tweeted that 'those against the backstop and not proposing realistic alternatives in fact support reestablishing a border. Even if they do not admit it.' ___ 9:30 a.m. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has demanded that the European Union reopen Brexit negotiations, scrapping 'anti-democratic' provisions for the Irish border that he says would threaten the peace process in Northern Ireland. Johnson, who has made similar statements in the past, formally delivered his demands to the EU late Monday in a letter to Donald Tusk, president of the European Council. Johnson is calling for an end to the so-called backstop, which would keep Britain closely aligned with the European customs union if the two sides can't agree on other ways to prevent the reintroduction of border checks on people and goods moving between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar, after a one-hour call with Johnson on Monday, said the Brexit deal wouldn't be renegotiated.
  • Stocks fell broadly on Wall Street Tuesday after another slide in bond yields and a mixed batch of corporate earnings weighed on the market. The selling pulled every major sector lower, snapping a three-day winning streak for the S&P 500. Financial sector stocks bore the brunt of the decline as investors reacted to lower yields. Technology stocks, which like banks have tended to lead the market's gains recently, gave up an early gain. Home Depot climbed after the home improvement retailer reported earnings that topped Wall Street's forecasts. But two other big retailers didn't fare as well. Investors sent Kohl's and TJX lower after their latest quarterly report cards fell short of analysts' expectations. Tuesday's market slide is the latest twist for stocks, which have been caught in the grips of volatile trading all month as anxious investors alternate between seeking shelter in bonds and pouncing on stocks when prices slump. 'The market is taking a little bit of a breather here,' said Tony Roth, chief investment officer at Wilmington Trust. 'You're getting just a little bit of consolidation after the rally we've had over the last three or four days.' The S&P 500 fell 23.14 points, or 0.8%, to 2,900.51. The Dow Jones Industrial Average slid 173.35, or 0.7%, to 25,962.44. The Nasdaq, which is heavily weighted with technology stocks, dropped 54.25, or 0.7%, to 7,948.56. The Russell 2000 index of smaller company stocks gave up 10.84 points, or 0.7%, to 1,498.01. All four indexes are on track to finish the month with losses. The market has been highly volatile all month as investors try to parse conflicting signals on the U.S. economy and determine whether a recession is on the horizon. A key concern is that the escalating and costly trade conflict between the world's two biggest economies will hamper growth around the globe. Earlier this month, President Donald Trump announced plans to extend tariffs across virtually all Chinese imports, many of them consumer products that were exempt from earlier rounds of tariffs. Uncertainty over trade clouded an otherwise strong quarterly report card from Home Depot. The home improvement retailer cut its sales expectations for the year Tuesday, citing declining lumber prices and the potential impacts to the U.S. consumer arising from recently announced tariffs. That didn't scare off investors. Home Depot shares jumped 4.4%, the biggest gain in the S&P 500, as investors focused on the company's solid quarterly results. Lowe's rode its rival's surge, finishing with a 3% gain. Kohl's, meanwhile, was the biggest decliner in the S&P 500. The department store operator reported a sharper than expected decline in sales at established locations during the second quarter. The stock lost 6.9%. Another decline in bond yields also weighed on the market Tuesday. The yield on the 10-year Treasury slipped to 1.55% from 1.59% late Monday. When bond yields fall, it pulls down the interest rates that banks pocket on mortgages and other consumer loans. That helped pull financial stocks lower. Bank of America dropped 2%. Technology stocks, which like banks have tended to lead the market's gains recently, also fell after briefly turning higher in the middle of the day. Western Digital dropped 1.9%. Some chipmakers continued to rise on news Monday that the U.S. gave Chinese telecom giant an extension to buy more supplies from U.S. companies. Qualcomm added 1.6%. Household goods makers and communication services stocks were among the decliners. Energy stocks also fell. Last week, many stock indexes around the world struck their lowest levels this year, before a late rally suggested some calm was returning to the markets in what is a traditionally low-volume time of the year. Analysts say the concerns that drove last week's sell-off could resurface at any time. Investors will be seeking new insight this week into the Federal Reserve's willingness to make further interest rate cuts. The central bank is releasing the minutes from last month's meeting of policymakers Wednesday. Two days later, Fed Chairman Jerome Powell is scheduled to deliver a speech at the central bank's annual conference in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Investors are hoping the Fed will continue to cut interest rates to shore up economic growth. The Fed lowered interest rates by a quarter-point at its last meeting, the first cut in a decade. 'Coming into this meeting Friday for the speech, the market is really going to be looking for something that suggests that (Powell) has changed his approach and that this is going to be more of a systematic lowering of interest rates,' Roth said. 'He may not provide what the market wants.' Benchmark crude oil fell 3 cents to settle at $56.18 a barrel. Brent crude oil, the international standard, rose 29 cents to close at $60.03 a barrel. Wholesale gasoline rose 2 cents to $1.68 per gallon. Heating oil climbed 2 cents to $1.85 per gallon. Natural gas rose 1 cent to $2.22 per 1,000 cubic feet. Gold rose $4.20 to $1,504.60 per ounce, silver rose 21 cents to $17.12 per ounce and copper fell 3 cents to $2.57 per pound. The dollar fell to 106.32 Japanese yen from 106.62 yen on Monday. The euro strengthened to $1.1097 from $1.1082.

The Latest Headlines You Need To Know

  • The trial of Everett Miller, the ex- U.S. Marine accused of murdering two Kissimmee police officers began Monday. Miller is facing first-degree murder charges in the 2017 shooting deaths of Officer Matthew Baxter and Sgt. Sam Howard.  The judge said he expects it will take a week to a week and a half to seat a jury in the high-profile case.  The court continues to work through the first set of 76 potential jurors who were called in Monday morning, another 76 potential jurors will be called in after that.  Miller was dressed in civilian clothes as he sat in front of potential jurors, after the judge last week denied his request to wear his military uniform at trial.  It will be up to the judge and attorneys on both sides to find 12 jurors and four alternates who will decide Miller's fate.
  • Police were searching for the man they dubbed the “Foul Mouth Bandit.” Detectives in Portland, Oregon, were trying to identify the man responsible for four bank and credit union robberies and the robbery of a bar in April 2017 when the name Tyrone Lamont Allen came across their radar. There was a problem with Allen as the suspect, however. Allen, 50, has multiple elaborate, prominent tattoos on his forehead, cheeks and neck, as seen in April 18, 2017, booking photos shot following his arrest on unrelated warrants. The tattoos include several clearly readable names on his forehead. >> Read more trending news  Only two of the four bank tellers who encountered the robber earlier that month recalled seeing tattoos, court records show. One mentioned tattoos on the man's hands and the other mentioned faded tattoos on the man's neck. None of the four witnesses noted tattoos on the robber's forehead or cheeks, which according to surveillance images of the man, were clearly visible -- and clearly bare of ink. A police forensic criminalist testified last week about how investigators solved the problem. They turned to Photoshop. 'I basically painted over the tattoos,'' Mark Weber testified, according to The Oregonian. 'Almost like applying electronic makeup.' Only then did investigators present Allen's photo to the witnesses in a photo lineup, the newspaper reported. None of the witnesses were told the photos had been altered -- which the newspaper reported is a violation of U.S. Department of Justice and other law enforcement agencies' protocols on how to handle photo lineups. According to court records, two of the four witnesses picked Allen out of the array. One said he did not see the robber in the six photos he was shown and another picked a different man's photo. Allen was subsequently charged with three counts of robbery and one count of attempted robbery. Because the targets were banks and credit unions, he is charged with federal crimes. The Innocence Project, an organization dedicated to helping exonerate wrongly convicted inmates, reports that mistaken witness identifications have contributed to about 71 percent of the more than 360 wrongful convictions in the U.S. overturned by post-conviction DNA analysis. Allen’s defense attorney, who last month filed a motion asking a judge to suppress the witness identifications at trial, argued in federal court last week that the police were trying to “rig the outcome” of the lineups by making his client look more like the man who robbed the banks and credit unions, The Oregonian reported. “This is a very, very slippery slope given the advent of technology,’’ attorney Mark Ahlemeyer said. “We don’t know where this may end.” The prosecutor in the case, Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul Maloney, defended the actions of police. “The whole idea was to make Mr. Allen blend in so his photo wouldn’t stand out,’’ Maloney argued, according to the newspaper. “These procedures were prudent. They were appropriate.’’ Maloney said the mugshot was altered to make Allen’s photo look like the disguises the robber wore, The Oregonian said. The affidavit of Brett Hawkinson, the Portland Police Bureau detective on the robbery case, states that investigators found several items of clothing in Allen’s 1998 Dodge Intrepid that looked similar to items worn by the robber depicted in surveillance footage from the crime scenes. Nowhere does Hawkinson say authorities found makeup or other tools Allen may have used to cover up his facial tattoos. Hawkinson noted the absence of the tattoos when he first looked at Allen’s booking photos and compared them to the surveillance images, his affidavit says. “The robber and Allen looked like the same person, minus the presence of Allen’s facial tattoos,” Hawkinson wrote. Nevertheless, after meeting with Allen in person at the Multnomah County Jail, Hawkinson wrote that he was certain Allen was his suspect. “After having the chance to see Allen in person and interact with him close up, I have no doubt in my mind that he is the same person depicted in the surveillance images as the robbery suspect from the OnPoint Community Credit Union, Wells Fargo Bank, Bank of the West and Advantis Credit Union robberies as described above,” Hawkinson’s affidavit states. Three days after that meeting, on May 20, Hawkinson released images from the bank robberies to the public in an effort to identify the “Foul Mouth Bandit,” who got the name from the language he used while holding up the tellers. Read Allen's motion to suppress the witness identifications below.  Tyrone Lamont Allen Motion to Suppress by National Content Desk on Scribd According to the charges against Allen, he is accused of going to OnPoint Credit Union in Portland the afternoon of April 3, 2017, and approaching a teller. The alleged robber handed the teller a $20 and asked for change, a pattern that later emerged in other robberies, as well. As the teller chatted with the man, the man leaned forward and opened a white plastic shopping bag. “Give me your (expletive) money! I have a gun! I will blow your head off,” the man said, according to court documents. The robber got away with about $6,000 that day. Similar robberies, in which the surveillance footage from each appeared to show the same man, took place the following day at a Wells Fargo branch and on April 7, 2017, an attempted robbery at Bank of the West and a successful robbery at Advantis Credit Union. In total, the man walked away with about $14,000 from the four robberies, court records show. According to Hawkinson’s affidavit, the teller in the first incident noticed tattoos on the robber’s hands. The Wells Fargo teller told detectives the man in that case had faded tattoos on his neck. There is no mention of any tattoos on the robber in either the Bank of the West or Advantis Credit Union heist. In none of the bank or credit union robberies did witnesses see a weapon. During the investigation, Hawkinson spoke with another Portland detective who was working a separate series of armed robberies in north Portland. The suspect in that case, a black man with tattoos, went to a Subway, a Papa Murphy's pizza shop, a Walgreens and a 7-Eleven and robbed each using a semi-automatic pistol. The detective, William Winters, was also investigating the robbery of Sting Tavern in Portland. Winters told Hawkinson the video surveillance from the tavern showed the robber wearing a red sweatshirt similar to the one worn by the man who robbed the Advantis Credit Union. The weight, height and build of each robber was also similar. Winters led Hawkinson to an unnamed informant who came forward and told police about a person he suspected in a series of robberies. That person was Allen. The man, identified only as the 'known person' in court records, told investigators that he met Allen through a mutual friend, who showed him Allen's April 18, 2017, mugshot alongside the robbery surveillance images later broadcast on the TV news. He said both he and the mutual friend suspected it was Allen, who they said had a violent past. 'When asked how he knew the surveillance picture on Channel 12 was Allen, the known person stated he did not know, but then he immediately changed his statement and said he knew it was Allen because it looked just like him except for no tattoos.' Hawkinson wrote that the victim in the OnPoint Community Credit Union robbery was shown a photo lineup including Allen’s photo, but said he did not see the man who robbed him. The same day, the Bank of the West victim picked a different photo from the array, but said she was unsure of her selection. The victim from Advantis Credit Union picked Allen’s photo that same day, as did the Wells Fargo victim the following day, May 3. Ahlemeyer’s motion to suppress the identifications of his client argue that none of the police reports document now the lineups were put together. Nowhere does Hawkinson’s affidavit mention that Allen’s mugshot was altered prior to it being shown to the witnesses. “The novel question in this case is whether the government can materially alter a suspect’s photograph in a way that makes him look more like the perpetrator, then secure an eyewitness identification based on that manipulated photo, and ultimately present that positive identification to a jury,” Ahlemeyer’s motion states. “The court should reject this type of fabricated evidence either as a violation of due process or under the court’s inherent supervisory power to ensure the integrity of the judicial process.” The defense attorney also argues that the identifications were “unconstitutionally suggestive” and, therefore, unreliable. “The Fifth Amendment right to due process bars the introduction of identification evidence where it was procured or tainted by unnecessarily suggestive law enforcement procedures that created a substantial likelihood of misidentification,” the motion states. The Oregonian reported that it was Ahlemeyer who first discovered his client’s mugshot had been altered. Though no police reports referenced the change, Ahlemeyer spotted the anomaly in the photo array after it was handed over as part of the discovery process. Testimony in court last week showed the order to remove the tattoos from Allen’s mugshot came from Hawkinson, an 18-year police veteran assigned to the FBI’s task force on bank heists. It was in that role that he was assigned the case. Hawkinson testified that Allen could have worn makeup during the robberies to mask the tattoos. According to The Oregonian, he said he sought to rule Allen in or out as the suspect and to determine if people who contacted investigators with information were credible. Read the criminal complaint against Tyrone Allen below. Warning: The document contains graphic language.  Tyrone Lamont Allen Criminal Complaint by National Content Desk on Scribd Hawkinson also testified that the victims were shown the photos in a double-blind lineup -- a lineup in which an officer unaware of who the suspect might be shows the photos to a witness one at a time. The technique is a way to help ensure a lack of suggestibility on the part of investigators. The double-blind lineup is one of a number of reforms the Innocence Project has endorsed to help improve eyewitness accuracy. Oregon is one of 24 states that have implemented those reforms. Finding ways for the suspect to not stand out from the “fillers,” or the people whose photos are shown alongside that the of the suspect, is another. Prosecutor Maloney argued last week that the tattoos were removed from Allen’s photo for that purpose. The Oregonian reported that Justice Department rules adopted in January 2017, just a few months before Allen’s arrest, suggest finding “filler” photos of people with attributes similar to those of the suspect. If the unique attribute cannot be replicated, investigators should black out the attribute and put similar black marks on the filler photos. On cross-examination, Hawkinson admitted that altering a suspect’s photo is not part of the bureau’s protocol, but said it is “standard practice among investigators,” the newspaper reported. “The purpose of any alteration is not to change the physical attributes but to mask things that would stand out,” Hawkinson said. “You don’t consider tattoos to be physical attributes?’’ Ahlemeyer asked. Weber, the forensic criminalist, told the court he did not write a report about the alterations he made to the photo because it wasn’t part of the bureau’s operating procedures. He admitted that he’s changed suspects’ photos in connection with past investigations. “It is hard to fathom any photo array conduct that is more ‘suggestive’ than altering a source photograph for the sole purpose of making the investigation target look more like the perpetrator,” Allen’s attorney told the court. U.S. District Judge Marco A. Hernandez told parties in the case he would issue his written ruling soon, The Oregonian reported.
  • An airport security screener was fired after handing a traveler a note with a rude message scrawled on it. >> Read more trending news  Neal Strassner was going through the Greater Rochester International Airport when the security guard handed him a torn piece of paper with the words “you ugly” written on it. 'I got handed something. I really didn't look at the thing, I kept going,” Strassner told WHAM. 'She called back to me a few times, asked me if I was going to read the note or open it or something. I look at it, look at her and kind of shrug my shoulders ... and she laughed.' The incident took place in late June. Strassner waited more than a month for the video after filing a Freedom of Information request for it, WROC reported.  The employee works for VMD Corp. a security company based in Virginia, contracted through the TSA. VMD did not comment. TSA confirmed the employee was fired, WROC reported.  “TSA holds contractors to the highest ethical standards and has zero tolerance for this type of behavior,” the agency said in a statement. “This instance, which involved a contract employee, was investigated immediately upon receiving the complaint by the traveler. The employee has since been terminated by the contractor.” Strassner was not bothered by the note, but he did notice at the end of the video the woman appears to write another one.  “I’m really curious what the other notes said,” Strassner told WROC. “I travel a lot, and the airport normally is spectacular. This was a totally weird event that they (VMD Corp.) seemed to handle properly. I travel a lot and just want to make sure they get some credit to their organization and don’t let one lady trash their whole reputation.”
  • Police asked for the public's help Tuesday identifying a suspect wanted after a retired administrator was stabbed to death Monday on a college campus in Southern California. >> Read more trending news  Authorities said they found the victim, identified as Steven Shek Keung Chan, 57, with several stab wounds in a parking lot on the California State University, Fullerton, campus just before 8:30 a.m. Monday. Police said he was pronounced dead at the scene. Investigators asked for help locating the suspect, described as an Asian man with black hair in his mid-20s. Police said he wore a black windbreaker and black pants at the time of the attack. Update 12:55 p.m. EDT Aug. 20: Police released a sketch Tuesday of the man suspected of stabbing 57-year-old Steven Shek Keung Chan to death one day earlier in a parking lot at Cal State Fullerton. Authorities said the man was last seen running northbound on Langsdorf Drive and then eastbound on Nutwood Avenue. Police believe he might have been injured in the attack and might have lacerations to one or both of his hands. Police said officers recovered a backpack which they believe belonged to the suspect during their investigation. It was found under Chen's vehicle and contained 'an incendiary device along with numerous items that were consistent with a kidnapping attempt or plot, including zip ties, wigs and other disguise materials,' police said. The bag also contained a knife separate from the one used in Monday's attack, according to authorities. Police believe Chan, who recently returned to the school as a special consultant after retiring as an administrator in 2017, was specifically targeted in the attack, according to authorities and the Los Angeles Times. Police continue to investigate. Original report: Authorities are searching for a suspect after a retired administrator was stabbed and killed Monday on a Southern California college campus. According to the Los Angeles Times, authorities said Steven Shek Keung Chan, 57, of Hacienda Heights, had several stab wounds when police found him in his car, which was parked in a lot on California State University's Fullerton campus, about 8:30 a.m. Monday. Police also discovered an 'incendiary device,' which did not go off, nearby, the newspaper reported. Police believe the assailant specifically targeted Chan, who recently returned as a special consultant after retiring as director of budget and finance and student services for extended education in 2017, the Times reported. In a tweet, university police described the suspect, who reportedly fled the scene and was still on the run late Monday, as an Asian man in his mid-20s with black hair. He was wearing black pants and a black shirt, authorities said. No further information was immediately available. In a letter to students, faculty and staff, university President Framroze Virjee called the attack 'tragic and senseless.' 'As the investigation into Steven’s death is ongoing, we are unable to provide information beyond what the Fullerton Police share publicly,' the letter read. 'What I can do, however, is join all of you in adding to the tremendous outreach of love and support that has already embraced our Titan Family during this tragic and difficult time. That begins with pausing in thought and prayer for Steven, his family, and all Titans who are grieving and grappling with the reality of such an unspeakable act and tragic loss in our community.' >> Read the full letter here Read more here.
  • A North Carolina man is accused of strangling his 15-year-old daughter before slitting her throat during a weekend visit at his home, sheriff’s deputies said. Joshua Lee Burgess, 32, of Monroe, is charged with first-degree murder in the death of Zaria Joshalyn Burgess. Zaria was visiting her father when she was slain. Union County Jail records show Burgess is also facing one count each of statutory rape of a person 15 years old or younger, first-degree statutory sexual offense, first-degree kidnapping and first-degree sexual exploitation of a minor. “The details of this murder are indescribable,” Union County Sheriff Eddie Cathey told WSOC in Charlotte. “Every officer and detective involved in this case is feeling the effects of what happened to this child. There is no logical answer to explain why this man did what he is accused of doing. Our hearts and prayers are with Zaria’s mom and her family.” Union County Sheriff’s Office officials said in a news release that Burgess walked into the agency’s lobby just before 9:30 a.m. Sunday and told a dispatcher he was there to turn himself in. The dispatcher began searching for warrants in Burgess’ name. “He stopped her. He said, ‘You’re not going to find my name. I just killed someone,’” Tony Underwood, chief communications officer for the Union County Sheriff’s Office, told WSOC. “At that point, the red flags started to go off.” After Burgess gave details of the killing and told them where to find Zaria’s body, deputies went to Burgess’ home at 5102 Hampton Meadows Road, near Wesley Chapel. Inside, they found the slain teen, authorities said. A reporter with WSOC was in the courtroom Monday for Burgess’ first court appearance, where authorities offered gruesome details of the girl’s death, including how her father reportedly killed her. Reporter Tina Terry said there was a “collective gasp” when the details were revealed, according to the news station. “It’s just pure evil,” Underwood said. Cathey on Tuesday told the news station the medical examiner found that Zaria died of a “sharp force injury to the neck.” No motive for the slaying was given. Burgess' Facebook page is filled with photos of his daughter, who he called his “mini-me.” “I love this little angel more than anything. Nothing beats quality time with my daughter,” he wrote on a post from 2015. >> Read more trending news  Zaria’s cousin, Dytaysha Wadsworth, told WSOC the victim was a sweet girl who loved her family. She was about to start her freshman year at Monroe High School. “She was just the type of kid that would come in a room or come in a house and say, ‘Hey everybody’ -- just wanting to make everybody smile,” Wadsworth said. “She was so young, and nobody deserves to leave this world like that, especially by someone they thought was gonna protect them and be there for them.” Burgess is being held without bond in the Union County Jail.

Washington Insider

  • With the Prime Minister of Denmark making it clear that she was not interested in selling Greenland to the United States, labeling the idea 'absurd,' President Donald Trump said Tuesday night that he would cancel his scheduled visit to the NATO ally in early September. 'Denmark is a very special country with incredible people, but based on Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen’s comments, that she would have no interest in discussing the purchase of Greenland, I will be postponing our meeting,' the President tweeted on Tuesday evening. In interviews this week, Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen had made clear that Greenland was not for sale, even as she welcomed the idea of closer relations between Denmark and the United States. But that wasn't enough for President Trump. On Sunday, President Trump had downplayed the issue as he returned to the White House. 'It’s not number one on the burner, I can tell you that,' the President told reporters when asked about the idea of buying Greenland. The decision obviously came as a surprise to U.S. diplomats in Denmark, as the U.S. Ambassador had put out a tweet a few hours earlier about the President's scheduled state visit. Democrats mocked the President for canceling his visit to Denmark. 'What a shame when Greenland could be covered with sand traps, water holes and lots of beautiful putting greens,' said Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA), referring to the President's golfing.