last updated: Thu, 14 Dec 2017 12:16:01 -0500
Everyone has a bad day at work now and then. But if you have one of these 15 Most Stressful Jobs in the World, even one bad day can get you or someone else killed. From EMT to Coal Miner to Ice Road Trucker, these are the jobs that will keep you up at nights!
last updated: Sun, 28 Aug 2016 22:01:00 GMT
Canal jumper released on bail
AN 18-year-old man who jumped into a canal at Surfers Paradise to avoid being arrested by police on Wednesday night has been granted bail.
last updated: Wed, 13 Dec 2017 15:17:25 -0500
Doug Jones’ victory in Alabama’s special Senate election Tuesday night upset the status quo in his state in many ways ― it put a Democrat from Alabama in the U.S. Senate for the first time in 25 years, and it showed off the political clout of Alabama’s black voters.
last updated: Thu, 14 Dec 2017 14:27:04 -0500
Doug Jones’ victory in Alabama’s special Senate election Tuesday night upset the status quo in his state in many ways ― it put a Democrat from Alabama in the U.S. Senate for the first time in 25 years, and it showed off the political clout of Alabama’s black voters.
last updated: Wed, 13 Dec 2017 21:35:36 -0500
last updated: Mon, 20 Jun 2016 09:41:00 GMT
Response from Eddie, AFL not nearly enough
THERE'S so much wrong about the Eddie McGuire-James-Brayshaw-Danny Frawley pack mentality attack of Caroline Wilson. As was the AFL's insipid response on Monday.
Secret tape not the only talking point
THE reasons behind a decision to release a secret expletive-laden recording of former Chief Justice Tim Carmody are almost as juicy as the tape is expected to be.
last updated: Fri, 15 Dec 2017 01:24:27 +0000
What Happens To American Kids Whose Parents Are Deported
More than a thousand children are counting on Nora Sándigo to become their guardian if their undocumented parents are deported. How many of those promises will she now have to keep?
CSX CEO Hunter Harrison takes medical leave amid rail overhaul
(Reuters) - CSX Corp said on Thursday its Chief Executive Officer Hunter Harrison was taking medical leave, an announcement that comes amid of a controversial turnaround plan at the No. 3 U.S. railroad that has drawn customer criticism and scrutiny from regulators. The Jacksonville, Florida-based railroad said Harrison, 73, was taking a leave of absence due to unexpected complications from a recent unspecified illness.
last updated: Thu, 14 Dec 2017 18:16:03 -0500
How Deutsche Bank Served As A Crucial Bridge To The Global Financial System For A Corrupt Cyprus Bank
The Internet Is Having Very Mixed Reactions to Star Wars: The Last Jedi
It hit theaters Thursday
Star Wars: The Last Jedi, the legendary franchise’s long-awaited next chapter, finally hit the big screen in the U.S. on Thursday, drawing hordes of fans to theaters across the country. Though the film’s official premiere is Friday, Deadline estimates that Thursday’s preview viewings could rake in more than $45 million alone.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the Rian-Johnson-directed Episode VIII has been polarizing among fans who caught an early glimpse Thursday.
Some viewers raved, with several even calling The Last Jedi the best Star Wars movie in years.
Other viewers, however, let the hate flow through them.
And both sides had some choice words for the other.
One thing’s for sure: The Last Jedi is a conversation starter. (And it’s worth noting TIME film critic Stephanie Zacharek found it to be a Star Wars movie that’s truly for everyone.)
42 Lawmakers Want Hearings on Sexual Harassment in National Security
"If Congress does nothing, we send a dangerous message"
A bipartisan group of lawmakers is calling for hearings in response to an open letter on workplace sexual harassment that was signed by 223 women in the U.S. national security community.
The lawmakers say Congress owes it the women of the national security community to examine the issue of sexual harassment and assault in their workplace.
“If Congress does nothing, we send a dangerous message that we are indifferent to the inexcusable challenges women in the national security workforce endure,” the letter, which 42 members of Congress signed, reads.
On Nov. 28, the national security community’s #MeTooNatSec letter was first published. In it current and former federal officials, including diplomats and military service members, said that they had either experienced sexual assault and harassment or knew someone who had.
The letter was published in the wake of the allegations levied against embattled Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein. After Weinstein was accused of serial harassment, women across all sectors and backgrounds came forward en masse with their own stories of abuse at the hands of powerful men.
Beyond adding the voices of federal employees to the chorus of women coming forward with their own stories, the letter urges federal departments to review their own policies and implement changes. All of the federal departments named in the letter currently have anti-sexual harassment policies in place and most that responded to requests from TIME in November said those policies were already under review.
In response to that letter, a bipartisan group of lawmakers wants Congress to weigh in, too. Their effort is being led by Rep. Nanette Barragán of California, who serves on the House Homeland Security Committee. In an interview with TIME on Thursday, the Democrat said the national security letter reminded her of her own experience with harassment.
After volunteering with President Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign in Florida, Barragán says she came to Washington and got approached about getting a job within the administration. “What ended up happening was a number of these guys, as soon as they heard that I was not interested romantically, they would stop helping me,” she says.
A male friend she complained about the same issue to later turned around and hit on her, Barragán says. Not long after she “politely” turned him down — she says he put his hand on her lap one night in the back of a car — he insulted her. “He said, ‘Nanette, you don’t have to prostitute yourself out to me. I’m still going to help you get a job,'” she recalls. “I will never forget those words. And at that moment, I thought, is this what it takes to get help? To get in?”
She was reminded of that incident while reading the letter, which suggests that the varying levels of harassment that women face could be both pushing them out of jobs in national security and keeping them from ascending to positions of leadership when they stay in.
“If you don’t have more women at the top helping other women or you have men who use their power in this way it certainly could prevent having people, qualified women where they should be,” says Barragán, who returned to her home state, ran for city council and later Congress after being harassed in Washington.
The letter says the 42 members who signed on are “eager” to answer the women of the national security community’s call to address these issues. In it, they urge the House Armed Services, Intelligence, Homeland Security, and Foreign Affairs Committees to hold joint hearings to “examine the issues raised and identify the best policies to foster positive workplace cultures within the departments and agencies that are the backbone of our nation’s security.”
In the letter, Rep. Barragán, says the women of the national security community note that good policy is not enough—leadership should make clear what will and will not be tolerated. “If Congress holds the hearings and brings in the leadership and Congress sends the message that we’re going to hold them accountable I think that could be very positive to change the culture,” she says.
On national security issues, there tends to be bipartisan interest in protecting the homeland and the same can be true about making sure the men and women within the ranks are also protected, Barragán says.
“In this case the women need to have protection and not feel that they are constrained because of the community that they’re in or the agency that they work for,” she says.
Congress is facing its own reckoning on the issue of workplace sexual harassment. Three members have stepped down after reports that they had sexually harassed or groped women emerged, including John Conyers of Michigan, Al Franken of Minnesota, and Trent Franks of Arizona.
Rep. Blake Farenthold, who settled a $84,000 sexual harassment lawsuit that was filed by a former staffer in 2014, announced Thursday he will not seek re-election after another employee came forward alleging the Texas Republican was hostile and vulgar toward his employees.
There are efforts to reform the way Congress addresses its own sexual assault problems; last week, a House panel held a hearing on fixing a law that determines how workplace complaints are handled. At the same time, members have begun calling for investigations into President Donald Trump, who has been accused of sexual misconduct by over a dozen women.
The Poster for the All-Female Ocean’s 8 Is Out
"Every con has its pros," the poster promises, and in this case, the experts are all women
Warner Brothers has revealed the first movie poster for its upcoming, female-dominated Ocean‘s reboot, Ocean’s 8 — and make no mistake, this is a lady-led heist. Not a single man’s name was included on the action film’s poster.
The Ocean’s sequel features a star-studded cast of eight women: Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Rihanna, Anne Hathaway, Mindy Kaling, Sarah Paulson, Awkwafina and Helena Bonham Carter.
The plot centers around Debbie (played by Bullock), conman Danny Ocean’s estranged sister who is plotting a caper at New York’s annual Met Gala. But first, she must assemble the perfect crew.
“Every con has its pros,” the poster promises, and in this case, the experts are all women.
The cast is not exclusively female — Matt Damon and Richard Armitage are both expected to appear in the film, which is directed by The Hunger Games‘ Gary Ross.
“It’s really fun,” Bullock told Entertainment Weekly about the film’s girl-power crew. “Imagine all eight of us crammed into a makeup trailer in the morning. You think that it would be disastrous, but it was heaven, all of us just sharing information, all of us doing three jobs with families, our other jobs, the juggling. And then we get to shoot this movie together.”
Ocean’s 8 will open in theaters on June 8, 2018.
A New Zealand Judge Dismisses Almost All of Kim Dotcom’s Appeals Against Extradition
Only one of Dotcom's grounds for contesting extradition will be considered at a hearing in February
Internet entrepreneur Kim Dotcom’s attempt to contest an extradition order to the United States hit a snag Friday, after a a New Zealand judge rejected seven of his eight grounds for appeal.
Dotcom, born Kim Schmitz, is challenging a decision by New Zealand’s high court, which in February granted the U.S. the right to extradite him over alleged money laundering and copyright infringements related to the now-defunct file sharing site he founded, Megaupload.
His appeal is scheduled to be heard next February, the New Zealand Herald reports.
But on Friday a high court justice said the only one of Dotcom’s grounds for contesting the order — which include challenging the validity of police arrest warrants and New Zealand court orders — would stand.
That challenge — which the U.S. has not contested — relates to authorities in New Zealand making clones of electronic devices in his home and then sending them to the U.S.
Dotocom, an early internet millionaire, is notorious for his lavish lifestyle and political activism. He has been fighting extradition to the U.S. since 2012, according to the Herald.
Two Men Are Being Charged With Manslaughter Over the Oakland Warehouse Fire
The blaze was the worst building fire in the U.S. in more than a decade
(OAKLAND) — Two California men will go to trial on involuntary manslaughter charges in the deaths of 36 partygoers in the worst building fire in the U.S. in more than a decade, a judge ruled Thursday.
Alameda County Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Horner cited testimony describing the Oakland warehouse as a “death trap” and said Derick Almena and Max Harris had a “substantial” role in managing it. The ruling came at the end of a dayslong hearing that provided a glimpse at prosecutors’ case against the pair.
“I find there is sufficient cause to believe both defendants are legally responsible for what happened on that terrible, terrible night, and are legally responsible for the deaths of 36 individuals,” the judge said.
Almena rented the warehouse known as the Ghost Ship that burned on Dec. 2, 2016, during an electronic music concert. Harris lived there, and a witness testified that Harris was in charge of the unpermitted concert.
The warehouse had been illegally converted into living space for artists, was cluttered and had no fire sprinklers. Prosecutors say the men knowingly created a firetrap and deceived the building’s owner, police and fire officials about people living there.
The two have pleaded not guilty and say they are being scapegoated. Tony Serra, an attorney for Almena, said the judge’s premise that the building was a death trap was wrong.
“It was orderly. It was clean. It was wholesome,” Serra said. “My client did everything humanly possible within his financial means to make it that way.”
The men’s attorneys said they expected the ruling. Serra said prosecutors will have a higher standard of proof when the case goes before a jury, and Harris’ attorney, Curtis Briggs, said he expected to prevail.
Oakland was criticized following the blaze for a series of failures that allowed the warehouse to function illegally despite numerous complaints to city officials.
City Fire Marshal Miguel Trujillo testified Thursday that he did not find any records of requests by firefighters to inspect the warehouse. His testimony came two days after fire Capt. George Freelen said in court that he visited the warehouse in 2014 and reported his concerns about potential fire danger to Trujillo’s office.
On the opening day of the hearing, Aaron Marin, a musician who lived at the warehouse, called it a “museum” filled with musical instruments, trailers and other items. But he testified that he didn’t consider it a fire hazard while he was there.
Marin was able to escape the flames the night of the fire by jumping out an upstairs window. He said the window was blocked by a giant projection screen, so it wasn’t visible to most people.
A second witness, Jose Avalos, testified that he was among 15 to 25 people who lived at the warehouse at any given time and that he paid his rent of $565 a month to Harris.
But he disputed that Harris was second-in-command at the warehouse and said everyone pitched in to maintain the community.
Avalos also said police were called to the building several times to help with evictions before the fire and even knew the leaseholder by name.
The U.S. Special Envoy Backs Rex Tillerson’s Offer of Unconditional Talks With North Korea
The White House, however, has been quick to contradict the offer
(BANGKOK) — The U.S. special envoy for North Korea on Friday expressed hope that Pyongyang would accept Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s diplomatic offer of unconditional talks, although the overture has already been contradicted by the White House.
Joseph Yun told reporters in Bangkok that the talks could take place without preconditions and would serve Washington’s dual approach of pressure and engagement on Pyongyang over its nuclear program.
Yun acknowledged it’s unclear whether North Korea would be willing to talk following a period of accelerated nuclear activity, saying “it’s very hard to discern what their intent is without having real dialogue.”
“I think what Secretary Tillerson spoke to was we want to have a dialogue with them. We are open to dialogue and we hope they will agree to have a dialogue,” said Yun at the end of a two-nation tour that also included a stop in Tokyo.
“Let’s see how they respond … I am very hopeful that diplomacy has a long way to go before any next steps are considered.”
In a speech in Washington on Tuesday, Tillerson said the United States will be willing to start diplomatic talks with North Korea without preconditions. This led to questions on whether the Trump administration was exploring a new policy on North Korea after previously stating it wouldn’t negotiate with North Korean officials unless they were willing to discuss curbing their nuclear weapons and missiles program.
However, the White House was quick to contradict Tillerson’s offer. A National Security Council spokesperson said Wednesay that North Korea must not only first refrain from provocations but take “sincere and meaningful actions toward denuclearization.” The spokesperson, who was not authorized to be quoted by name and requested anonymity, said that given North Korea’s most recent missile test, now was not the time for talks.
The Head of the U.N. Voices Concern Over Myanmar’s Violations of Human Rights
He spoke about the "erosion of press freedom" in the country
(TOKYO/YANGON) – The arrest of two Reuters journalists in Yangon this week was a signal that press freedom is shrinking in Myanmar and the international community must do all it can to get them released, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on Thursday.
Guterres said his main concern over Myanmar was the “dramatic violations of human rights” during a military crackdown in Rakhine State that forced more than 600,000 Rohingya Muslims to flee the country for southern Bangladesh, and the arrest of the journalists was probably related.
“It is clearly a concern in relation to the erosion of press freedom in the country,” he told a news conference in Tokyo, referring to the detention of Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, who had been working on stories about the strife in Rakhine State.
“And probably the reason why these journalists were arrested is because they were reporting on what they have seen in relation to this massive human tragedy,” he added.
Myanmar’s Ministry of Information said in a statement on Wednesday that the Reuters journalists and two policemen faced charges under the British colonial-era Official Secrets Act. The 1923 law carries a maximum prison sentence of 14 years.
The reporters “illegally acquired information with the intention to share it with foreign media”, the ministry said in its statement, which was accompanied by a photo of the two reporters in handcuffs.
Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh say their exodus from the mainly Buddhist nation was triggered by a military offensive in response to Rohingya militant attacks on security forces at the end of August.
The United Nations has branded the military’s campaign in Rakhine State “a textbook example of ethnic cleansing” of the minority Rohingya.
Guterres said the international community should do everything possible to secure the journalists’ release and freedom of the press in Myanmar.
He called for aid to be delivered, violence contained and reconciliation promoted in Rakhine State, and for the Rohingyas’ right of return to be fully respected and implemented.
Britain has expressed “grave concerns” to the government of Myanmar over the arrest of the two journalists, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson told reporters in London on Thursday.
“We are committed to freedom of speech and people’s ability to report the facts and bring into the public domain what is happening in Rakhine state,” he said.
Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland tweeted that she was “deeply concerned” by the reports about the arrests. “Freedom of the press is essential for democracy and must be preserved,” she said.
And the president of the European Parliament Antonio Tajani also called on Myanmar to protect media freedoms and release the two.
Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo went missing on Tuesday evening after they had been invited to meet police officials over dinner on the outskirts of Yangon.
The authorities have not confirmed where the journalists are being held and, as of Thursday evening, Reuters had not been formally contacted by officials about their detention.
At Htaunt Kyant police station, where the journalists were charged, family members of Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo were told that the pair were being detained at another location by an investigative team.
“They are not here,” said Police Second Lieutenant Tin Htway Oo, according to Pann Ei, wife of reporter Wa Lone. “The police investigation team took them soon after they were arrested.”
He said he did not know where the journalists were, Pann Ei added, but he did tell her they would be brought back to the station in “two to three days at most.”
Reuters could not immediately reach Tin Htway Oo for comment.
Police Lieutenant Colonel Myint Htwe of the Yangon Police Division told Reuters the reporters’ location would not be disclosed until the investigation was complete.
“It will be known later. Please wait a while,” he said.
Britain raises concern
Reuters President and Editor-in-Chief Stephen J. Adler said in a statement on Wednesday: “We are outraged by this blatant attack on press freedom. We call for authorities to release them immediately.”
The Foreign Correspondents Club of Myanmar said it was “appalled” by the arrests and “gravely concerned” about the state of press freedom in the country. In a statement, it called on the authorities to ensure the safety of the reporters and allow their families to see them.
The foreign correspondents’ club in neighbouring Thailand said it was “alarmed by the use of this draconian law with its heavy penalties against journalists simply doing their jobs”.
“Wielding such a blunt legal instrument has an intimidating effect on other journalists, and poses a real threat to media freedom,” the Bangkok-based club said in a statement, calling for the journalists to be released.
California Is One Step Closer to Recreational Pot Sales
The state will allow people 21 and older to legally possess up to an ounce of cannabis and grow six marijuana plants at home
(LOS ANGELES) — California on Thursday issued its first batch of business licenses for the state’s upcoming legal marijuana market, setting the stage for sales to begin in January.
The first temporary license was awarded to Pure CA, which does business as Moxie brand products, a company known for its cannabis extracts.
“I couldn’t be more excited,” said Moxie CEO Jordan Lams, who credited “a lot of the stars aligning” for being awarded the first distributor license for recreational pot.
“California has been without regulations for a very long time. So there is going to be a transition period,” he added, referring to the changes coming in 2018 with legal cultivation and sales.
The release of the initial 20 temporary licenses, good for 120 days, represents another steppingstone toward legal purchases, which were approved by voters last year.
“We plan to issue many more before Jan. 1,” Lori Ajax, the state’s top marijuana regulator, said in a statement.
The first license for recreational retail sales went to Torrey Holistics in San Diego, which submitted a 60-page lease, diagrams and a detailed business plan.
Tony Hall, who opened the shop two years ago with a college friend, said he sees recreational marijuana taking off like the wine and craft beer industries.
Customers go through an electronic security gate manned by a guard. Once inside, the business looks like a stylish pharmacy with wood floors and Christmas decorations.
“The taboo part is slowly going to be removed and this is going to be like any other business,” Hall said.
In general, California will treat cannabis like alcohol, allowing people 21 and older to legally possess up to an ounce and grow six marijuana plants at home.
Come January, the newly legalized recreational sales will be merged with the state’s two-decade-old medical marijuana market, which is also coming under much stronger regulation.
The state and local governments have been rushing to develop rules for the new industry. A patchwork is emerging with some cities embracing legal sales and others banning commercial pot activity.
In the background is widespread uncertainty about whether President Donald Trump’s administration will attempt to intervene in states where marijuana is legal.
As marijuana is illegal in the eyes of the federal government, major banks are leery to do business with dispensaries and growers so much of the business is conducted in cash.
Dustin Hoffman Is Accused of Assaulting Two Women and Exposing Himself to a Minor
His lawyer called the accusations “defamatory falsehoods”
Three more women have forward to accuse Dustin Hoffman of inappropriate sexual behavior.
The women, one of whom wished to remain anonymous, spoke to Variety about their alleged encounters with the two-time Oscar winner, which ranged from sexual harassment to assault.
Hoffman did not comment on the allegations, according to Variety, although his lawyer called them “defamatory falsehoods.”
A rep for Hoffman did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.
Cori Thomas, friend of Hoffman’s daughter Karina, tells the outlet that Hoffman exposed himself to her when she was in high school. Thomas, now a playwright, claims the alleged incident took place in 1980 in New York City when she was 16.
After Hoffman had taken her and his daughter out for dinner, Thomas claims she was left alone in an apartment with the actor while she waited for her mother to pick her up. Thomas claims the actor took a shower while she waited and later emerged in a towel, which he dropped.
“He was standing there naked,” she tells Variety. “I think I almost collapsed, actually. It was the first time I had ever seen a naked man. I was mortified. I didn’t know what to do. And he milked it. He milked the fact that he was naked. He stood there. He took his time.”
Hoffman eventually put a robe on, according to Thomas, who says the actor then asked her to massage his feet. “I didn’t know that I could say no, so I did it,” she says. “And he kept telling me, ‘I’m naked. Do you want to see?’ ”
Thomas says she was “saved” when her mother arrived to pick her up, although she did not tell her what had happened until recently. She also says she never told Hoffman’s daughter, who was later a bridesmaid in her wedding. “I didn’t want to embarrass her,” Thomas explains.
Melissa Kester had recently graduated college when she says Hoffman sexually assaulted her while recording a song for his film Ishtar. Kester was invited to the recording by her boyfriend, who was working on music for the film. An aspiring writer, Kester says she bonded with Hoffman over their love of theater. When he asked for her phone number, Kester says she gave it to him.
When they met again at the recording studio, Kester says, Hoffman was struggling to record a song and jokingly asked her to stand next to him in the booth, which had a chest-level partition that blocked the lower halves of their bodies from view. “I’m standing there, and it’s kind of a small room, and he grabs me, so we’re both facing out so we’re both facing the people in the studio,” she explains. “I’m thinking that it’s kind of flirtatious and funny, like he’s holding onto me, because I’m going to help him sing better. I felt awkward. It’s a little weird. He’s hugging me while he’s singing. But ha ha ha, it’s all a joke. My boyfriend is right there.”
Kester never told her boyfriend what happened, but says Hoffman called her repeatedly after the alleged incident.
A third woman, who wished to remain anonymous, also claims Hoffman assaulted her on the set of Ishtar. She claims Hoffman “stuck his fingers right up inside of me” while she was sitting with him in the back of a crowded station wagon. She also claims later that night she went to Hoffman’s hotel room and had sex with the actor. She says the alleged incident in the car was not consensual, but when asked whether hotel encounter was, she told Variety, “I don’t know.”
Earlier this year, three women came forward with sexual misconduct allegations against Hoffman. Anna Graham Hunter told The Hollywood Reporter that Hoffman harassed and assaulted her on the set of Death of a Salesman when she was 17. Television producer Wendy Riss Gatsiounis told Variety that Hoffman propositioned her for sex during a pitch meeting and actress Kathryn Rossetter wrote in The Hollywood Reporter that the actor groped and assaulted her on Death of a Salesman.
In response to Hunter’s claims, Hoffman told The Hollywood Reporter, “I have the utmost respect for women and feel terrible that anything I might have done could have put her in an uncomfortable situation. I am sorry. It is not reflective of who I am.”
According to Variety, a spokesperson for Hoffman declined to comment on Riss Gatsiounis’s accusations. Screenwriter Murray Schisgal, who was allegedly present at the time of the incidents, told Variety in a statement, “Dustin Hoffman and I took many meetings with writers and playwrights over many years. I have no recollection of this meeting or of any of the behavior or actions described.”
Hoffman’s representatives declined to comment on Rossetter’s claims to THR, but his attorneys did reportedly put the outlet in touch with several other people who worked on Death of a Salesman who cast doubt on her claims. They included Hoffman’s brother-in-law Lee Gottsegen, actresses Anne McIntosh, Debra Mooney and Linda Hogan, actors Michael Quinlan and Andrew Bloch and production stage manager Tom Kelly, according to THR. “It just doesn’t ring true,” Kelly told the outlet. “Given my position, it’s insulting to say this kind of activity would go on to the extent of sexual violation.”
A New York Woman Has Been Accused of Laundering Bitcoin to Support ISIS
The former lab technician worked in Manhattan and has no known criminal history
(CENTRAL ISLIP, N.Y.) — A Long Island woman is accused of laundering bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies and wiring the money overseas to help the Islamic State group, according to federal prosecutors.
Zoobia Shahnaz, a 27-year-old Pakistani-born resident of Brentwood, was being held without bail following her Thursday arraignment on charges of bank fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering and money laundering, prosecutors said.
The former lab technician worked in Manhattan and had no known criminal history, according to prosecutors who said that beginning in March she fraudulently obtained more than $85,000 through a bank loan and credit cards to buy bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies online.
“She then made several wire transactions to individuals and opaque entities in Pakistan, China and Turkey, which were designed to avoid transaction reporting requirements and conceal the identity, source and destination of the illicitly-obtained monies,” court documents said.
“These transactions were motivated to benefit ISIS, which the defendant ultimately sought to join in Syria,” the documents said.
During this period, prosecutors said Shahnaz accessed numerous Islamic State propaganda websites and message boards. In January 2016, she traveled to Jordan to volunteer with the Syrian American Medical Society.
Prosecutors said Shahnaz quit her job in June without telling her family and was stopped by authorities at John F. Kennedy International Airport in July while attempting to board a flight to Islamabad, Pakistan. Her flight included a layover in Istanbul, Turkey, a common point of entry for individuals trying to join the Islamic State group in Syria, prosecutors said.
Her lawyer, Steve Zissou, said she was sending money overseas to help Syrian refugees.
“What she saw made her devoted to lessening the suffering of a lot of the Syrian refugees and everything she does is for that purpose,” Zissou said outside the courthouse.