Category Archives: Breaking News

Psychic Who Bilked Man Of More Than $550,000 is Set Free

Psychic Who Bilked Man Of More Than $550,000 is Set Free, A court officer removed the handcuffs that bound the thin wrists of the former fortuneteller, and she raised her hands to wipe away tears, about to leave the courtroom a free woman.

“I’m very sorry for what happened,” the psychic, Priscilla Kelly Delmaro, told the judge.

The sentencing in Manhattan on Tuesday was the culmination of a bizarre crime of deception that stood out even against the backdrop of similar swindles that play out across decks of tarot cards and over crystal balls. The victim in the case, Niall Rice, 33, an online entrepreneur, paid more than $550,000 to Ms. Delmaro, 26, who promised to reunite him with a woman he loved. The ruse continued even after they learned the woman had died.

Ms. Delmaro left the court having served eight months in jail. She will serve four years of probation under the terms of a plea agreement, which leaned heavily in her favor after the credibility of the victim had been called into question.

Mr. Rice did not attend the hearing before Justice Larry Stephen in State Supreme Court, having returned to his native London last year. But in a victim-impact statement he wrote for the proceeding, he railed against the terms of the plea agreement, under which Ms. Delmaro would not be ordered to pay restitution. She could be forced to surrender any future assets to Mr. Rice.

“Think of a person,” Mr. Rice wrote, “going through difficult times. Perhaps it’s a death in the family, addiction, they could have just been let go from their job, even an illness or physical injury. Each one of those people you are thinking of has the potential to be a future victim of this crime.”

Ms. Delmaro’s case has been the subject of several articles in The New York Times, and is notable for the amount of money involved – Mr. Rice paid a total of $713,975 to her and another fortuneteller he had met before her – as well as the improbability of the psychics’ promises.

Mr. Rice, dissatisfied with visits to the first fortuneteller, who has not been identified or charged, visited Ms. Delmaro’s psychic shop in Times Square in 2013. He was upset that his feelings for a woman named Michelle, whom he had met in a drug-treatment center in Arizona, were unrequited. Ms. Delmaro promised to bring him and Michelle together – with the help of special crystals, a time machine and an 80-mile bridge made of gold.

Later, Mr. Rice discovered Michelle had died, but Ms. Delmaro assured him she could reincarnate the woman’s spirit into another body, going so far as to say a woman Mr. Rice was seeing in California was the new Michelle, Mr. Rice said in an interview last year.

Throughout the ruse, Ms. Delmaro told Mr. Rice her work was putting her in danger and wiping her out financially. In his statement to the court, he said he “believed Ms. Delmaro had sacrificed her business, home, car, was in $100,000 of credit card debt and had been living in a church for the last six months, all to help me.”

On one occasion, Mr. Rice and Ms. Delmaro had sex, Mr. Rice and Ms. Delmaro’s lawyer, Jeffrey Cylkowski, have both said. The change in their relationship could have made the payouts look like gifts, potentially hurting his credibility as a witness in the case.

“Delmaro will have profited $71,125 a month, tax free, for each month she was required to spend in jail,” Mr. Rice wrote. His statement was critical of the prosecutor in the case for not seeking out other victims by obtaining a search warrant for Ms. Delmaro’s cellphone. He also submitted accounts of a video that purports to show Ms. Delmaro’s companion, Bobby Evans, boasting that he was a “millionaire” and that, apparently using her middle name, “Kelly did it.”

In perhaps a final indignity, Mr. Rice’s statement was not read aloud in court on Tuesday. An assistant district attorney, Nabilah Hossain, submitted the statement into the record without comment. She did not respond to questions about Mr. Rice’s statement after the hearing.

Mr. Rice said victims, feeling ashamed, were not inclined to come forward. “For those that do, like myself, they face instant criticism, are judged as a sucker – an idiot,” he wrote.

Ms. Delmaro paused for a brief interview before leaving court. “I’m happy that I’m going to be home to my three kids,” ages 4, 6 and 8, she said. “I’ve been through so much.”

Mr. Rice, in a telephone interview on Tuesday, said, “I’m rebuilding.” He planned to start a website, he said, that “exposes psychic scams.”

United, American To Offer Refunds For Travel To Zika-Affected Regions


United, American To Offer Refunds For Travel To Zika-Affected Regions
, American and United say they will allow some customers concerned about the Zika virus to cancel or postpone their trips if they’re ticketed to fly to areas affected by the mosquito-borne virus.

United says its policy will include travel to all areas mentioned in a Centers for Disease Control alert. So far, American’s covers flights to four destinations in Central America.

“We are offering customers who are traveling to the affected regions the opportunity to rebook at a later date or receive a full refund,” United spokesman Charles Hobart said in a statement to Today in the Sky on Tuesday.

American had not yet posted its Zika policy on its website, though spokesman Ross Feinstein says the carrier decided to implement the policy Monday.

Feinstein says American will allow customers to receive a refund if they provide a doctor’s note stating they are unable to travel to one of four cities due pregnancy. The cities included in American’s waiver are San Pedro Sula and Tegucigalpa in Honduras as well as Panama City, Panama, and Guatemala City. Feinstein says American continues to review its policy.

The Zika virus has been in the news since the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) issued a travel warning alert earlier this month warning about the risk of traveling to countries in the Americas affected by the virus. Zika has been linked to an epidemic of birth defects in Brazil and is thought to be spreading to other regions of North and South America.

The CDC’s warning focused mostly on pregnant women or those seeking to become pregnant.

The World Health Organization (WHO) issued its own alert on Monday, saying it expects the Zika to eventually spread to the United States and most of the Americas.

As for United, it said its travel waivers would include countries covered in the CDC’s travel advisories.

Currently, the CDC’s advisories mention the following countries and territories in the Americas: Barbados, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, El Salvador, French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Martinique, Mexico, Paraguay, Panama, Puerto Rico, Saint Martin, Suriname and Venezuela.

American, Delta and United are the three large U.S. carriers with a significant international presence. Each flies to numerous destinations in Central and South America.

For now, Delta has no such waiver in place.

“We continue to monitor the situation closely. No flight cancelations have resulted as of this time and there is currently no waiver,” Delta spokesman Morgan Durrant says to Today in the Sky.

Durant added that Delta remains “in close contact” with both the CDC and WHO on all health risks that could affect air travelers.

Is Your Passport Expiring In 2016? Here’s Why You Need To Renew It Now


Is Your Passport Expiring In 2016? Here’s Why You Need To Renew It Now
, If you have a United States passport expiring any time in 2016, the State Department has a message for you: Renew it now.

The department anticipates a surge in passport demand throughout this year, and officials hope to avoid a crush that could leave some Americans fuming in frustration with no passport in hand on the day they planned to travel outside the country.

© James Nieves/The New York Times Officials are expecting a flood of renewals of 10-year passports issued in 2006 and 2007. The latter was the year when the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative went into effect, for the first time requiring passports for Americans returning by air from Mexico, Canada, the Caribbean and Bermuda. As millions of citizens scrambled to apply for their first passports, backlogs swelled and many were stranded.

“We were overwhelmed then, and we are not going to be overwhelmed again,” said Michele Bond, the assistant secretary of state for consular affairs, who oversees passports. She has been on a campaign to cajole Americans into renewing early.

There has also been an uptick, officials said, in first-time applications from Americans in states that have not yet complied with the Real ID Act, which sets stricter standards for driver’s licenses and other identity cards. Many people seem to have a mistaken belief that a deadline is imminent after which they will not be able to present licenses from those states for flights within the United States.

The Department of Homeland Security recently clarified the deadline: Jan. 22, 2018. As of that date, residents of states that still have not complied with Real ID will have to show an alternative, approved form of identification, such as a passport.

For now there is no hurry for travelers in the five states and a territory that have not complied so far – Illinois, Minnesota, Missouri, New Mexico, Washington and American Samoa – if they are not planning to go abroad. But some are rushing to get passports anyway (travel.state.gov), adding to congestion in the system.

State Department officials say another reason to renew soon is that many countries are now enforcing a requirement for at least six months’ validity on a United States passport. The department has experienced an increase in frantic calls from Americans who were denied entry at foreign airports and borders because their passports had less than six months to go.

Officials said they expected to issue more than 17 million new passports and renewals this year, about 1.5 million more than in 2015. Those seeking a passport for the first time must submit the application in person at a designated post office, court or other agency, and the fee is $135. Renewals will take about six weeks in 2016, up from four weeks last year. Most Americans can renew passports by mail, for a fee of $110.

No reports of casualties major damage after Spain earthquake: Mediterranean Earthquake

No reports of casualties major damage after Spain earthquake: Mediterranean Earthquake, A strong 6.3-magnitude earthquake has struck the Mediterranean between Morocco and Spain – damaging hundreds of properties and closing schools.

The 20-mile deep quake hit at 5.22am (local time), 39 miles north of the Moroccan city of Al Hoceima and 102 miles east-southeast of Gibraltar, the US Geological Survey said.

It was followed by six aftershocks including a 5.3-magnitude tremor.

There were no immediate reports of any fatalities.

Emergency services in the North African Spanish enclave of Melilla

Emergency services received 250 calls from alarmed residents in the Andalucia region, in southern Spain.

Tremors and aftershocks were felt throughout the area including in the cities of Malaga, Cordoba, Seville and Granada.

Did anyone just feel that #earthquake in #Malaga? It woke me up! #terremoto

— George Prior (@southernspain) January 25, 2016
Nothing like being woken from slumber by an #earthquake #malaga

— David W (@davidwartnaby) January 25, 2016
Mill Taylor wrote on Twitter: “Gosh, the earthquake in Malaga woke my mum up and they live in the countryside. Dad slept through it, obvs.”

Nara Hodge tweeted: “Still shaken after 6.6 #earthquake in #Malaga wakes me up.”

Sean de Bie said: “Oh my god! Woke up by the power of mother nature! Just felt my first earthquake ever. #spain #malaga.”

State TV footage showed people running into the streets in their pyjamas in Melilla, which has a population of 85,000.

Up to 200 households in the Spanish enclave on the Moroccan coast suffered damage to their properties.

Officials said schools would be closed on Monday so buildings could be checked for structural damage.

Power was reportedly being restored in areas hit by blackouts.

Images also showed concrete blocks on the ground which had come crashing down from buildings in the city.

Gosh, the earthquake in Malaga woke my mum up and they live in the countryside. Dad slept through it, obvs.

— Milli Taylor (@MillisKitchen) January 25, 2016
Still shaken after 6.6 #earthquake in #Malaga wakes me up

— Nancy Ruth (@nancyruth) January 25, 2016
Oh my god! Woke up by the power of mother nature! Just felt my first earthquake ever. #spain #malaga

— Sean De Bie (@Sean_Bieke) January 25, 2016
Around 15 people were treated for minor injuries.

Commuters were urged to use their cars only if necessary to avoid creating mass traffic jams.

In its initial assessment of the quake’s impact, USGS said there was “a low likelihood of casualties and damage”.

In February 2004, a strong 6.3-magnitude earthquake that hit near Al Hoceima killed 631 people.

On Sunday, the US state of Alaska was hit by a magnitude-6.8 earthquake.

YouTube user Elvark captured the exact moment it struck, saying: “Wow! It’s like being on a boat!”

He posted a video of the tremor shaking his home, swinging light fittings and sloshing around the water in fish tanks.

A handful of Kenai households were evacuated after explosions from a natural gas leak destroyed two homes – and a further two caught fire – following the quake.

‘Major’ hurricanes: Pacific Ocean Hurricanes

‘Major’ hurricanes: Pacific Ocean Hurricanes, Pali became the earliest hurricane on record in the central Pacific Ocean on Jan. 11, 2016, later dissipating as a tropical system on Jan. 14. In addition to being a rare January hurricane, Pali also took a peculiar track close to the equator. close to the equator for a tropical cyclone.

This was on the heels of a historically active 2015 tropical season in the Pacific Ocean, including a Tropical Depression Nine-C, which formed near the end of the year and dissipated on Jan. 1, 2016.

Pali defied odds, strengthening to a Category 2 hurricane for a time, all while moving in an unusual southward direction across the low latitudes. Around the time of Pali’s peak intensity on Jan. 12, the hurricane even displayed a fairly well-defined eye on satellite imagery.

The previous record for the earliest hurricane in the central Pacific was Hurricane Ekeka which reached hurricane status on January 30, 1992.

Dating to 1949, only two tropical storms had formed in the central Pacific in the month of January prior to Pali. Tropical Storm Winona was the first on Jan. 13, 1989, and the second was Ekeka on Jan. 28, 1992. Ekeka reached Category 3 hurricane intensity amidst the moderate El Niño of 1991-92.

According to the Central Pacific Hurricane Center, Pali’s track south of 5 degrees North latitude was “something rarely seen in the central Pacific.”

In general, most tropical cyclones do not form within 5 degrees latitude of the equator, due to the weakness of the Coriolis force needed to help generate the low-level spin needed.

Here are the “closest to equator” tropical cyclones of hurricane strength (74 mph or higher), according to hurricane specialist Michael Lowry.:

1) Typhoon Vamei: 1.5 degrees North latitude in the western North Pacific basin (Dec. 27, 2001)
2) Cyclone Agni: 2.7 degrees North latitude in the north Indian Ocean basin (Nov. 29, 2004)
3) Hurricane Pali: 3.4 degrees North latitude in the central North Pacific basin (Jan. 13, 2016)

Pali traveled even further south, while weakening, finally dissipating as a tropical cyclone around 1.7 degrees North latitude.

El Niño played a role in the formation of this unusual tropical cyclone. According to the discussion issued Thursday Jan. 7 by the Central Pacific Hurricane Center, “This low-latitude out-of-season system has tapped into significant directional shear of the low-level winds, with an El Niño related westerly wind burst south of the system, and prevailing easterly trade winds to the north providing the large scale conditions conducive for development.”

Democratic Town Hall

Democratic Town Hall, With seven days remaining before the Iowa caucuses, the three Democratic presidential candidates gathered in Des Moines for a “town hall” forum hosted by Drake University and the Iowa Democratic Party. The town hall format isn’t a debate. The candidates were never on stage at the same time; instead, they responded to questions asked by voters and CNN moderator Chris Cuomo. The event offered Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders the opportunity to persuade voters that he was electable, former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley the chance to explain why he was not irrelevant, and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton the occasion to demonstrate that her experience makes her the obvious choice to be president.

The event took place as Clinton’s lead over Sanders in Iowa narrowed, and Sanders remained ahead in the polls in New Hampshire, where the first primary will be held a week after the Iowa caucuses. In the past week, Clinton picked up endorsements from the Des Moines Register, the Boston Globe, and the Concord Monitor in New Hampshire. But as Sanders’ poll numbers surge, Clinton has become increasingly negative, pointing to Sanders’ record on guns, his alleged un-electability, his support of single-payer health care, and the fact that he’s a self-proclaimed socialist. Sanders has responded with his own negative attacks, focusing on Clinton’s cozy relationship with Wall Street and her resistance to campaign finance reform. But at the town hall, the candidates were less confrontational, as they attempted to engage directly with Iowa voters.

CNN’s Chris Cuomo pressed Sanders on how he planned to pay for free college education and universal healthcare.

“The criticism is to pay for this, what you’re really asking for is one of the biggest tax hikes in history,” Cuomo said.

“But Chris, that is an unfair criticism,” Sanders replied.

“But just to be clear,” Cuomo continued, “you are going to raise taxes to do this?”

Then Sanders said something that politicians usually avoid: “Yes. We will raise taxes, yes we will. But also let us be clear, Chris, because there’s a little bit of disengenuity out there. We may raise taxes, but we are also going to eliminate private health insurance premiums for individuals and for businesses.” Here’s his whole statement.

After having interviewed Sanders’ brother, Cuomo asked the Vermont Senator to describe both his athletic prowess—his Brooklyn basketball team apparently won the citywide championship—and what his parents would have thought of his candidacy. Watch Sanders’ emotional response as he talks about his father.

Sanders was asked to watch and respond to one of Clinton’s ads, which portrayed her as the most experienced presidential hopeful, and more prepared to lead the country. Sanders said he respects Clinton but questions her judgment in such matters as her vote in favor of going to war in Iraq, which he opposed, and her pandering to Wall Street. He drew the contrast between her experience and his good judgment.

Ohio House Explosion: Blast at Ohio Home

Ohio House Explosion: Blast at Ohio Home, An Ohio house explosion is responsible for killing a family of four in the Northfield Center Township. The blast was so powerful, that it shook homes in the neighborhood.

AP reports via MSN on Jan. 12 that medical examiners were able to identify the two adults, but were working to identify the two daughters that perished in the Ohio house explosion. The victims identifed from the tragedy are Jeffrey and Cynthia Mather, both 43; their daughters were aged 8 and 12. Authorities haven’t yet released the names of the girls.

So far it’s unknown what caused the Ohio house explosion, but Northfield Center Township fire Chief Frank Risko said the Mathers’ house was “engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived shortly after 8:30 p.m. Monday, minutes after the blast.”

Risko said the house didn’t appear to suffer from a natural gas leak. The bodies were found on the first floor of the structure. The home was 20 miles south of downtown Cleveland, according to the report.

Randy Nickschinski lived two doors down from the Mathers. He told Cleveland.com that he and his son ran to the house, kicking in the front door. The family’s dog escaped. When they yelled for the family, no one responded.

Charlie Carver ‘Teen Wolf': Comes Out On Instagram

Charlie Carver ‘Teen Wolf': Comes Out On Instagram, Actor Charlie Carver, best known for his roles on MTV’s Teen Wolf and a recent stint on season 1 of HBO’s The Leftovers, came out as gay in a series of thoughtful Instagram posts on Monday, January 11.

The handsome star, 27, repeatedly posted the same graphic that read, “Be who you needed when you were younger,” sharing his story in a five-part Instagram message.

“About a year ago, I saw this photo while casually scrolling through my Instagram one morning,” Carver told fans. “I’m not one for inspirational quotes … Nonetheless, I screen-capped the picture and saved it. It struck me for some reason.”

“As a young boy, I knew I wanted to be an actor. I knew I wanted to be a lot of things! I thought I wanted to be a painter, a soccer player, a stegosaurus.… But the acting thing stuck. It was around that age that I also knew, however abstractly, that I was different from some of the other boys in my grade,” Carver continued. “Over time, this abstract ‘knowing’ grew and articulated itself through a painful gestation marked by feelings of despair and alienation, ending in a climax of saying three words out loud: ‘I am gay.’ I said them to myself at first, to see how they felt. They rang true, and I hated myself for them. I was twelve. It would take me a few years before I could repeat them to anyone else, in the meantime turning the phrase over and over in my mouth until I felt comfortable and sure enough to let the words pour out again, this time to my family…”