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  1. @Jazzy Jan Snake slithers out of spice shelves at Sydney supermarket A grocery run turned into a snake rescue for an Australian woman when she was greeted by a python poking out from a supermarket shelf. Helaina Alati, 25, was at a Sydney store on Monday when the 3m non-venomous snake slithered out. The Woolworths supermarket lies on the edge of a large expanse of bushland on the city's north- west outskirts. But encountering a snake in the spice aisle is not what Ms Alati expected. Fortunately for both parties, Ms Alati is a wildlife rescuer and familiar with snakes. "I just turned my head and he was about 20cm from my face, just looking straight at me," she told the BBC. She did a double-take but remained calm. No one else was around. Recognising it instantly as a diamond python, Ms Alati knew it wasn't venomous as it protruded and flicked its tongue. "He was looking straight at me the whole time, almost like he was saying: 'Can you take me outside please?'" she said. After filming the snake, Ms Alati alerted staff and said she could help them get it out. She retrieved a snake bag from her home, returned to the store, "tapped him on the tail and he just slithered in". She then released it away from houses in bushland - a natural habitat for the species around Sydney. 'Like a scene from Harry Potter' A trained snake handler, Ms Alati has conducted at least 20 snake rescues before. She says her friends have previously joked about her being "the snake girl", referencing a zoo scene in a Harry Potter film where the boy wizard finds that he can talk to snakes. Ms Alati says she can't speak Parseltongue like Harry, but "that scene's been mentioned to me a few times". "They kind of just gravitate to me, like maybe they just sense that I'm the kind of person into caring and protecting animals," she said. "To be honest, it's the most exciting thing that's happened in a little while given lockdown. The staff were all taking photos of it." Australia's largest city has been in a lockdown since June to fight a Delta outbreak. Grocery shopping is one of the few reasons people are allowed to leave their homes. Ms Alati said she suspected the snake had been in the shop overnight, probably initially in the ceiling where diamond pythons like to nestle. It had probably lurked on the shelf all morning as "dozens of people... passed it and grabbed spices", she added.
  2. Breaking News: Simone Biles said she withdrew from the women’s gymnastics team final because she wasn’t in a good place mentally to compete after so much pressure to win. It is not clear whether she will compete in her individual events.
  3. Top Catholic priest resigns after phone data tracked to Grindr By Hannah Frishberg July 21, 2021 | 12:47pm Msgr. Jeffrey D. Burrill in 2018. Burrill resigned this month following allegations that his phone data had been tracked to prove he regularly used the dating app Grindr and frequented gay bars. Bob Roller/CNS Thanks to data streams, the Lord is no longer the only omniscient one. Monsignor Jeffrey Burrill, the top administrator for the US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), resigned from the position this week following claims he regularly used the queer dating app Grindr and went to gay bars. The allegations were put forward by Catholic news site the Pillar, which alleges to have accessed the priest’s cellphone data, where it claims to have found evidence of his activity in both virtual and physical gay forums. “According to commercially available records of app signal data obtained by The Pillar, a mobile device correlated to Burrill emitted app data signals from the location-based hookup app Grindr on a near-daily basis during parts of 2018, 2019, and 2020 — at both his USCCB office and his USCCB-owned residence, as well as during USCCB meetings and events in other cities,” the Pillar reported. “Data app signals suggest he was at the same time engaged in serial and illicit sexual activity.” The Wisconsin-based priest’s alleged “activity” included attending a “gay bathhouse” in Las Vegas. “On Monday, we became aware of impending media reports alleging possible improper behavior by Msgr. Burrill,” Archbishop José Gomez of Los Angeles wrote in a Tuesday memo obtained by the National Catholic Reporter. “What was shared with us did not include allegations of misconduct with minors. However, in order to avoid becoming a distraction to the operations and ongoing work of the Conference, Monsignor has resigned effective immediately.” (Homosexuality, along with all sexual activity outside of heterosexual marriage, is considered a sin in Catholic doctrine.) However, a wave of condemnation has followed the Pillar’s report and its “unethical, homophobic” use of personal data. “I am a sinner. So are you. So is Msgr. Jeffrey Burrill. Not one of us has a personal life that would withstand the sort of scrutiny the Pillar has applied to Burrill,” Steven P. Millies, director of the Bernardin Center at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago, wrote in an op-ed response published by the National Catholic Reporter. “[The Pillar] spied on Msgr. Burrill (more accurately, it using ‘mined data’ from an unnamed source who spied on him) to reveal that, apparently, he had broken his promise of celibacy,” responded Jesuit priest James Martin in a viral Facebook post. “The article, which I will not link to, repeatedly conflated homosexuality with pedophilia, all under the guise of a journalistic ‘investigation.’ ” Beyond the religious community, privacy experts also denounced the Pillar’s use of Burrill’s data. The outlet’s de-anonymizing and public reporting on Burrill’s data — which it stated it obtained using Grindr-based data streams and hired an independent firm to authenticate — “unleashes this chain that a user cannot stop because they don’t even know that it was collected in the first place and they have no idea where this data actually lives,” Patrick Jackson, chief technology officer of the privacy-protection firm Disconnect, told the Washington Post. “But it’s out there, and it’s for sale.” Federal law does not prohibit this data from being sold. Grindr, meanwhile, denied that its data was publicly accessible. “The alleged activities listed in that unattributed blog post are infeasible from a technical standpoint and incredibly unlikely to occur,” a Grindr spokeswoman told the Washington Post in a statement Tuesday. “There is absolutely no evidence supporting the allegations of improper data collection or usage related to the Grindr app as purported.” The USCCB sent The Post the following statement in response to a request for comment: “On Monday, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops became aware of impending media reports alleging possible improper behavior by its general secretary, Monsignor Jeffrey Burrill. What was shared with us did not include allegations of misconduct with minors. However, in order to avoid becoming a distraction to the operations and ongoing work of the Conference, Monsignor Burrill has resigned, effective immediately. The Conference takes all allegations of misconduct seriously and will pursue all appropriate steps to address them.” Burrill did not respond.
  4. Demagogue! Lock him up! Trump rails against favorite targets in bitter speech at CPAC By SHANT SHAHRIGIAN NEW YORK DAILY NEWS JUL 11, 2021 AT 4:05 PM He’s out of office, but not out of insults. Former President Donald Trump on Sunday railed against a few of his frequent targets — President Biden, immigrants and the media — at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Dallas. “Joe Biden has brought our country to the brink of ruin,” Trump told his audience. “Right here in Texas, we are the epicenter of a border and migration crisis unlike anything anyone has seen before.” He also trashed the tech giants he sued last week for blocking him. “These Silicon Valley tyrants are also attacking our democracy itself,” he said, making baseless allegations that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg funded efforts to interfere with ballots last year. Taking note of the media covering his speech, he said: “Look at all those fake news people back there.” In an appearance earlier on Fox News’s “Sunday Morning Futures,” Trump had nothing but praise, however, for for fanatical supporters who stormed the U.S. Capitol in January. His supporters besieged the Capitol Jan. 6 following a speech he gave at a rally in Washington, as Congress was meeting to finalize Electoral College results of the November 2020 presidential election. Trump said the rally was “called by people, by patriots, and they’d asked me if I’d speak.” “They were there for one reason, the rigged election, they felt the election was rigged,” he said, repeating his discredited claims about the contest. “They were peaceful people, these were great people, the crowd was unbelievable and I mentioned the word love,” he said. “The love in the air, I’ve never seen anything like it.” Trump also reiterated that he has made up his mind about whether to run for reelection but refused to share the decision. GOP support for the twice-impeached former president remains high. He also praised Ashli Babbitt — an Air Force veteran who was fatally shot as she tried to enter a blockaded passage during the siege — as an “an innocent, wonderful, incredible woman.” Several people have been charged with crimes stemming from the rampage at the Capitol, in which five people lost their lives.
  5. Grandson of couple missing in Florida building collapse getting calls from their landline By Jesse O’Neill June 27, 2021 | 12:17am | Updated Jake Samuelson has received at least 16 staticky calls from the landline of his grandparents Arnie and Myriam Notkin, who are among the missing residents of Champlain Towers South. A man whose grandparents are unaccounted for following the Florida building collapse says he has been getting bombarded with eerie and mysterious calls from the landline inside their sunken condo, according to a report. Jake Samuelson told local outlet WBLG that he has received at least 16 calls from the number of his missing grandparents, Arnie and Myriam Notkin. When he answered the phone, he heard nothing but static each time, the report said. “We are trying to rationalize what is happening here, we are trying to get answers,” Samuelson told the TV station. He said the first call came on Thursday night, hours after the early-morning disaster that has left at least five people dead and dozens unaccounted for. “We were all sitting there in the living room, my whole family, Diane, my mother, and we were just shocked,” Samuelson told the outlet. “We kind of thought nothing of it because we answered, and it was static.” His grandparents, both in their 80s, live in apartment 302 in the Champlain Towers South, and their landline phone usually sits right next to their bed, according to the report. On Friday, Samuelson said his family received 15 more unexplained calls from the number, the station reported. The family is now waiting to hear from detectives about the bizarre and gut-wrenching calls, Samuelson added. His grandfather Arnie, 87, is known as a beloved physical education teacher and Myriam, 81, is a banker and real estate agent, the outlet said. North Miami Beach Commissioner Fortuna Smukler, who grew up with the Notkins’ three daughters, told the Miami Herald that she began losing hope when she learned that the couple lived in apartment No. 302. “At this point it would be a miracle … we’re hoping for a miracle,” she said.
  6. oh really The mother of the former Minneapolis police officer being sentenced Friday in George Floyd's death told the judge that her son is a "quiet, thoughtful, honorable and selfless man" who should not receive a lengthy sentence. Carolyn Pawlenty made the statement in court before her son, Derek Chauvin, heard his sentence on a second-degree murder charge. She didn't mention Floyd by name. https://7ny.tv/2U19UqP
  7. Derek Chauvin sentenced to 22 1/2 years in prison for the murder of George Floyd Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill sentenced the former Minneapolis police officer to 22 1/2 years in prison on Friday for the May 2020 killing of George Floyd. Chauvin was convicted in April on charges of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. Family members – including Floyd’s seven-year-old daughter Gianna and Chauvin’s mother Carolyn Pawlenty – read statements on behalf of the prosecution and the defense ahead of the sentencing. An earlier request by Chauvin’s defense team for a new trial was denied on Friday by Judge Cahill.
  8. Carl Nassib of Las Vegas Raiders is first active NFL player to announce he is gay By Jill Martin and Steve Almasy, CNN Updated 11:49 PM ET, Mon June 21, 2021 (CNN) Carl Nassib, a defensive lineman with the Las Vegas Raiders, became the first active NFL player in league history to announce that he is gay. "What's up, people," Nassib said Monday in a video on Instagram. "I'm Carl Nassib. I'm at my house here in West Chester, Pennsylvania. I just wanted to take a quick moment to say that I'm gay. I've been meaning to do this for a while now, but I finally feel comfortable enough to get it off my chest." Nassib, 28, has played five years with three teams and is entering his second season with the Raiders. He said in a statement accompanying the video that he had agonized over the decision to announce he was gay for 15 years. Nassib added that he was a private person and wasn't seeking publicity. "I just think that representation and visibility are so important," he said. "I actually hope that one day videos like this and the whole coming out process are just not necessary. But until then, I'm going to do my best and do my part to cultivate a culture that's accepting, that's compassionate." NFL commissioner Roger Goodell lauded the announcement. "The NFL family is proud of Carl for courageously sharing his truth today," Goodell said. "Representation matters. We share his hope that someday soon statements like his will no longer be newsworthy as we march toward full equality for the LGBTQ+ community. We wish Carl the best of luck this coming season." The defensive end was drafted out of Penn State by the Cleveland Browns in the third round of the 2016 NFL draft. He played for the Browns from 2016-2017, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2018 and 2019 and was signed by the Raiders as an unrestricted free agent on March 23, 2020. Nassib said he was donating $100,000 to The Trevor Project, a suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization for LGBTQ youth. He wrote in his statement that it saddened him that LGBTQ youth are at an elevated risk for suicide. Amit Paley, CEO and executive director of The Trevor Project, said the donation will help scale up crisis services. "The Trevor Project is grateful to Carl Nassib for living his truth and supporting LGBTQ youth," Paley said in a statement emailed to CNN. "Coming out is an intensely personal decision, and it can be an incredibly scary and difficult one to make. We hope that Carl's historic representation in the NFL will inspire young LGBTQ athletes across the country to live their truth and pursue their dreams. "At a time when state lawmakers are actively trying to restrict transgender and nonbinary youth's participation in school sports, this news should serve as a clarion call for greater LGBTQ inclusion in the locker room and on the field." Nassib's decision can have profound impact, LGBTQ organization says Jason Collins, who became the first openly gay NBA player when he suited up for the Brooklyn Nets in 2014, was cheering Nassib on social media. "Very proud of Carl Nassib! Incredibly happy for him and can't wait to watch him play this upcoming season!" he tweeted. Tennis legend Billie Jean King tweeted her support. "The ability to live an authentic life is so important," she wrote. GLAAD president and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis said Nassib's announcement was "a strong message." "Carl Nassib's powerful coming out is a historic reflection of the growing state of LGBTQ visibility and inclusion in the world of professional sports, which has been driven by a long list of brave LGBTQ athletes who came before him," said Ellis in a statement. "As an accomplished athlete who is now the first out gay active player in the NFL, Carl Nassib's story will not only have a profound impact on the future of LGBTQ visibility and acceptance in sports, but sends a strong message to so many LGBTQ people, especially youth, that they too can one day grow up to be and succeed as a professional athlete like him," the statement said. Penn State head football coach James Franklin said his former player had a huge heart. "I am very proud of Carl for his courage and voice. This announcement doesn't surprise me because if you know Carl, you know his strength. Carl's story continues to add chapters which will have an impact well beyond the field of play," he said in a statement. "His care and love for those around him, particularly those in need, has always been obvious. ... Carl's brave announcement will forge a path for others to be true to their authentic self." The Raiders also tweeted they were proud of Nassib. Pro Football Hall of Famer Warren Moon added to the chorus of people proud of him, and the former NFL and CFL quarterback added that he played with some guys who were gay but didn't feel comfortable coming out. "As long as they helped us win and were great teammates- their sexual preference was never a issue," he wrote on Twitter. "We live in a different time now where diversity is much more accepted. Cheers Carl, and I hope this lets other athletes know, its OK to say who you are." Nassib says players' support helped him In his Instagram statement, Nassib thanked family and friends. He also thanked the league, his coaches and other players. "I would not have been able to do this without them," he wrote. "From the jump, I was greeted with the utmost respect and acceptance." Nassib wrote that he was standing on the shoulders of people who paved the way. "I do not know all the history behind our courageous LGBTQ community," he said, "but I am eager to learn and to help continue the fight for equality and acceptance." Michael Sam came out before 2014 draft In 2014, Michael Sam became the first openly gay player to be selected in the NFL draft when the St. Louis Rams chose him in the seventh round as the 249th overall pick. The Rams cut Sam just before the season started. Sam signed with the Dallas Cowboys practice squad but never was on the active roster. He was cut after six weeks. In 2015, he appeared in one game with the Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League before leaving the team. Other NFL players have come out after they retired, including former Dallas Cowboys linebacker Jeff Rohrer, who married Joshua Ross in 2018.
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