Segue to stop making its original
Segway, which boldly claimed its two-wheeled personal transporter would revolutionize the way people get around, is ending production of its namesake vehicle. The Segway PT, popular with tourists and police officers but perhaps better known for its high-profile crashes, will be retired on July 15, the company said in a statement. The Segway, which carries a standing passenger on a wide platform, accounted for less than 1.5% of the company’s revenue last year. The company said 21 employees will be laid off, another 12 employees will stay on for two months to a year and five will remain at the Bedford, New Hampshire facility. The transportation revolution that inventor Dean Kamen envisioned when he founded the company in 1999 never took off. The Segway’s original price tag of around $5,000 was a hurdle for many customers. It also was challenging to ride because the rider had to be balanced at a specific angle for the vehicle to move forward. If the rider’s weight shifted too much in any direction, it could easily spin out of control and throw the rider off. They were banned in some cities because users could easily lose control if they were not balanced properly. Ten months after buying the company in 2009, British self-made millionaire Jim Heselden died after the Segway he was riding careened off a 30-foot cliff not far from his country estate north of London. He was 62 years old. In 2003, President George W. Bush avoided injury after tumbling off a Segway at his parents’ summer home in Kennebunkport, Maine. A cameraman riding a Segway ran over Usain Bolt in 2015 as the Jamaican sprinter did a victory lap after winning a 200-meter race in Beijing. Bolt wasn’t injured and later joked about the incident. In 2017, Segway got into the scooter business, just as the light, inexpensive and easy-to-ride two-wheelers took over urban streets. It may have been a sign that the Segway PT’s days were numbered.
Mom called two kids ‘zombies’
BOISE, Idaho — The case of two kids who were missing for months before they were found dead in rural Idaho has taken another bizarre twist, with new court documents alleging that their mother believed they were zombies and that she was on a mission to rid the world of such creatures. Lori Daybell’s longtime best friend, Melanie Gibb, has been cooperating with authorities for months, according to the documents written by Rexburg police Lt. Ron Ball. Gibb is the last known person to have seen JJ alive, according to police, when she was visiting Lori Daybell at her apartment in the small Idaho town last September. “Gibb reports that when she arrived in Rexburg, Lori Vallow informed her that JJ Vallow had become a ‘zombie,'” Ball wrote. “Gibb further reports that the term ‘zombie’ refers to an individual whose mortal spirit has left their body and that their body is now the host of another spirit. The new spirit in a ‘zombie’ is always considered a ‘dark spirit.'” It wasn’t the first time Gibb said she heard her friend talk about zombies, according to the statement. Gibb said Lori Daybell had called Tylee a zombie in spring 2019 when the teen didn’t want to baby-sit her little brother and that Lori Daybell had first learned the concept from Chad Daybell at the start of that year. Gibb said the couple believed that when a zombie takes over a person’s body, “the person’s true spirit goes into ‘limbo’ and is stuck there until the host body is physically killed,” the court document said. “As such, death of the physical body is seen as the mechanism by which the body’s original spirit can be released from limbo.”
40 puncture wounds from shark
CAPE HATTERAS, N.C. — A teenage boy received 40 puncture wounds to a leg after being bitten by a shark off North Carolina’s Cape Hatteras National Seashore. Nick Arthur, 16, of Oak Ridge was bitten on the left leg Thursday, just yards off the beach on the Outer Banks. Arthur was jumping over waves on a sandbar when he was bit. “I like tried lifting my leg up out of the water and saw, ‘Oh my god it’s a five-foot shark attached to my leg,'” Arthur said. “The pressure was so intense. I was trying to pry its mouth open.” The shark let go of Arthur after his father hit it on the snout. Arthur was taken to a hospital and received several stitches, but had no serious injuries.
Powerful quake shakes Mexico
MEXICO CITY — A powerful earthquake centered near the southern Mexico resort of Huatulco killed at least two people, swayed buildings in Mexico City and sent thousands fleeing into the streets. Mexico President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said one person was killed and another injured in a building collapse in Huatulco, Oaxaca. Otherwise he said reports were of minor damage such as broken windows and collapsed walls. Oaxaca Gov. Alejandro Murat later said a second person was killed in an apparent house collapse in the tiny mountain village of San Juan Ozolotepec. The state-run oil company known as Pemex said the quake caused a fire at its refinery in the Pacific coast city of Salina Cruz, relatively near the epicenter. It said one worker was injured and the flames were quickly extinguished. Lopez Obrador said there had been more than 140 aftershocks, most of them small. Seismic alarms sounded midmorning with enough warning for residents to exit buildings. Power was knocked out to some areas. Helicopters flew over downtown Mexico City and police patrols sounded their sirens. Groups of people still milled around in close proximity on streets and sidewalks in some neighborhoods of the capital about an hour after the quake. Many were not wearing masks despite past appeals from municipal officials for them to do so as a way to curb the spread of the new coronavirus. The U.S. Geologic Survey said the magnitude 7.4 quake hit at 10:29 a.m. along Mexico’s southern Pacific coast at a depth of 16 miles. The epicenter was 7 miles south-southwest of Santa Maria Zapotitlan in Oaxaca state It was felt in Guatemala and throughout south and central Mexico.
Cosby to test scope of #MeToo
PHILADELPHIA — In a stunning decision that could test the legal framework of #MeToo cases, Pennsylvania’s highest court will review the trial decision to let five other accusers testify at Bill Cosby’s sexual assault trial in 2018, which ended with his conviction. Cosby, 82, has been imprisoned in suburban Philadelphia for nearly two years after a jury convicted him of drugging and sexually assaulting a woman at his home in 2004. He’s serving a three- to 10-year sentence. The Supreme Court has agreed to review two aspects of the case, including the judge’s decision to let prosecutors call the other accusers to testify about long-ago encounters with the once-powerful actor and comedian. Cosby’s lawyers have long complained the testimony is remote and unreliable. The court will also consider, as it weighs the scope of the testimony allowed, whether the jury should have heard evidence that Cosby had given quaaludes to women in the past. Secondly, the court will examine Cosby’s argument that he had an agreement with a former prosecutor that he would never be charged in the case. Cosby has said he relied on that agreement before agreeing to testify in the trial accuser’s lawsuit.
Dead reptile found in pizza joint
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — File it under pizza toppings only offered in Florida. State inspectors found an 80-pound iguana stashed in the freezer at a local pizza joint. Pizza Mambo in West Palm Beach was forced to close for a day last week following the inspection by the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation. The restaurant could not be reached for comment, but an employee told the South Florida Sun Sentinel that the reptile was given as a personal gift to the owner. It was stored in a separate freezer away from the restaurant’s food and was immediately trashed after they were informed it was a violation. Non-native iguanas are multiplying so rapidly in South Florida that a state wildlife agency has been encouraging people to kill them. Iguanas aren’t dangerous or aggressive to humans, but they damage seawalls, sidewalks, landscape foliage and can dig lengthy tunnels. The males can grow to at least 5 feet long and weigh nearly 20 pounds nd female iguanas can lay nearly 80 eggs a year. The reptile is considered a delicacy by some. One company even makes iguana sausages and burgers.
3 found dead in backyard pool
EAST BRUNSWICK, N.J. — Authorities on Tuesday identified three family members who died in their backyard swimming pool. Sixty-two-year-old Bharat Patel, his 33-year old daughter-in-law Nisha Patel and her 8-year-old daughter were found unresponsive in the above-ground pool Monday afternoon by East Brunswick police responding to a 911 call from neighbors who heard screams. They all drowned. No details on how that might have happened were reported. Neighbors said the family had recently moved into the home.
’30 Rock’ episodes pulled
NEW YORK — At the request of co-creator Tina Fey, four episodes of the comedy “30 Rock” are being removed from circulation because they featured characters performing in blackface. The series aired on NBC from 2006 to 2013, but episodes are still being shown in television syndication and on streaming services including Hulu, Amazon Prime, iTunes and Peacock. Fey, who also starred as Liz Lemon in the series about the backstage world of a television show, said in a note to distributors that “I understand now that ‘intent’ is not a free pass for white people to use these images.” “I apologize for the pain they have caused,” Fey wrote. “Going forward, no comedy-loving kid really needs to stumble on these tropes and be stung by their ugliness.” Two of the four eliminated “30 Rock” episodes originally aired in 2010, with the others first shown in 2008 and 2010. They include the East Coast version of an episode first shown live. Series regular Jane Krakowski and guest star Jon Hamm appeared in blackface.
3rd shooting near protest zone
SEATTLE — Seattle police are investigating another shooting that happened near the city’s “occupied” protest zone. The shooting of the man in his 30s happened around 5 a.m. Tuesday in the Capitol Hill neighborhood east of downtown. A spokesperson at Harborview Medical Center said the man’s wounds were not life-threatening. It was the third recent shooting near the “Capitol Hill Occupied Protest.” One man was killed in a weekend shooting. Of the Tuesday morning incident Seattle police said “the victim refused to provide any information about the circumstances surrounding the shooting or a suspect descripiton.” Police said there were additional reports of shots fired in the area around the same time but there were no reports of additional victims.
Record Arctic heat in Siberia
GENEVA — The U.N. weather agency is investigating media reports suggesting a new record high temperature of over 38 degrees Celsius (100.4 degrees Fahrenheit) in the Arctic Circle amid a heatwave and prolonged wildfires in eastern Siberia. The World Meteorological Organization said Tuesday that it’s looking to verify the temperature reading on Saturday in the Russian town of Verkhoyansk with Rosgidromet, the Russian federal service for hydro-meteorological and environmental monitoring. The reports suggest yet another possible sign of global warming in the Arctic, which the agency said is among the fastest warming regions in the world and is heating at twice the global average. “Apparently, this particularly region of eastern Siberia has very, very cold extremes in winter, but is also known for its extremes in summer, so temperatures above 30 degrees Celsius in July are not unusual,” World Meteorological Organization spokeswoman Clare Nullis said. “but obviously 38 degrees Celsius is exceptional.”
Starbucks adds plant-based meat
Starbucks is adding plant-based meat to its U.S. menu for the first time. The Seattle coffee chain said Tuesday that a breakfast sandwich made with imitation sausage from Redwood City, California-based Impossible Foods is now available at a majority of its U.S. restaurants. The sandwich comes with egg and cheese and is served on a ciabatta bun. Starbucks said earlier this year that it would add plant-based meat to its menus worldwide as part of an effort to reduce its environmental impact. The company has sold milk alternatives, such as soy milk and oat milk, in the U.S. and elsewhere. But the sausage is its first plant-based food item in the U.S. In April, it began selling lasagna, pasta and wraps made with Beyond Meat crumbles in China. It also introduced a Beyond Meat breakfast sandwich in Canada in February. Beyond Meat, which is based in El Segundo, California, is Impossible Foods’ chief competitor. Asked why it went with an Impossible Foods sausage for the U.S. over one from Beyond Meat, Starbucks said it works with a variety of suppliers around the globe.
Fauci hopeful for a vaccine
WASHINGTON — Dr. Anthony Fauci said Tuesday he is cautiously optimistic there will be a COVID-19 vaccine by the end of the year or early 2021, but warned that the next few weeks will be critical to tamping down coronavirus hot spots around the country. Fauci and other top health officials also said they have not been asked to slow down testing for coronavirus. The U.S. has tested more than 27 million people, with about 2.3 million — or 8.4% — testing positive.
Rising infections seen worldwide
BERLIN — Renewed lockdown measures in a German region where hundreds of coronavirus cases sprung up at a slaughterhouse and news that the world’s top-ranked tennis player has also been infected provided a stark reminder to Europeans on Tuesday that the pandemic is far from gone. Meanwhile, Britain, which has recorded the most coronavirus-related deaths in Europe, pressed on with its easing of the lockdown by confirming that restaurants, bars, hair salons and cinemas can reopen on July 4. By contrast, Germany was reimposing some lockdown restrictions in North Rhine-Westphalia state after more than 1,550 people have tested positive for coronavirus at the Toennies slaughterhouse in Rheda-Wiedenbrueck and thousands more workers and family members were put into quarantine to try to halt the outbreak.