Sept. 5 News Briefs

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Uber rolls out safety features for drivers, passengers

NEW YORK (AP) — Uber is aiming to boost driver and passenger safety in an effort to rebuild trust in the brand. The ride-hailing company has created a feature on its app to reach out to passengers and drivers if it detects an accident or unplanned stop. Drivers will also have access to a hands-free feature to pick up passengers without touching their phones, and will no longer see data detailing where they retrieved passengers in the past. CEO Dara Khosrowshahi has been overseeing Uber for a year and says safety is a priority. In April, Uber started doing annual criminal background checks on U.S. drivers and hired a company to constantly monitor criminal arrests. Last year London revoked Uber’s license, saying the company endangered public safety. It was later reinstated.

Cosby’s Hollywood Walk of Fame star vandalized by graffiti

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Bill Cosby’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame was vandalized this week by someone who scrawled the words “serial rapist.” The graffiti appeared sometime at the end of the Labor Day weekend. City News Service says Los Angeles police officers found the sidewalk star marred by a marker pen around 5:30 a.m. Tuesday. The graffiti was similar to vandalism that occurred in 2014 and has since been removed. Cosby was convicted in Philadelphia this year of aggravated indecent assault on a former Temple University employee who is among many women who have stepped forward to accuse the comedian of sexual misconduct. Cosby has denied any wrongdoing.

2020 trial set for US woman accused of aiding Islamic State

HAMMOND, Ind. (AP) — A federal judge has set a January 2020 trial for an Indiana woman accused of providing material support to the Islamic State group. Samantha Elhassani was charged last month with conspiracy to provide material support to IS, and aiding and abetting individuals in providing material support to the group. The Post-Tribune reports the 32-year-old former Elkhart, Indiana, woman pleaded not guilty during a hearing Tuesday in Hammond. The judge set her trial for Jan. 6, 2020. Elhassani told the BBC and PBS in April that during a 2015 vacation in Turkey, her Moroccan husband tricked her into traveling with their children to Syria, where he became an IS militant and died fighting for the group. She and the children ended up in a Kurdish detention camp.

Idaho probing prison fire crews after rape accusation

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Idaho is scrutinizing its program allowing prison inmates to help battle wildfires after one was charged with raping a woman working at a remote base camp in Utah. Idaho Department of Correction spokesman Jeff Ray says they’ve returned five crews to prison as they review which inmates are allowed to serve, the training they receive and how they are deployed. Meanwhile, inmate Ruben Hernandez is set make his first court appearance Wednesday on a felony rape charge alleging he assaulted the woman after she rejected his advances. He was part of a 10-person crew who cooked and did janitorial work. They were supervised by two Idaho correctional officers. Most states in the U.S. West have similar programs allowing low-level offenders to be temporarily released to aid in firefighting efforts.

Early results boost hopes for historic gene editing attempt

PHOENIX (AP) — Early results from a historic gene editing study give encouraging signs that the treatment may be safe and having at least some of its hoped-for effect, but it’s too soon to know whether it ultimately will succeed. The results announced Wednesday are from the first human tests of gene editing in the body, an attempt to permanently change someone’s DNA to cure a disease. Doctors treated four people with a genetic disorder called Hunter syndrome. Two patients had a drop in troubling sugar compounds, a possible sign that the treatment helped. Two other patients who were given a much lower dose have not seemed to benefit so far. Results were given at a conference in Greece and announced by the treatment’s maker, California-based Sangamo Therapeutics.

Trump says Nike getting ‘killed’ over Colin Kaepernick deal

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump says Nike is getting “killed” over an endorsement deal with Colin Kaepernick. Trump said on Twitter on Wednesday, “Just like the NFL, whose ratings have gone WAY DOWN, Nike is getting absolutely killed with anger and boycotts. I wonder if they had any idea that it would be this way?” Nike this week unveiled the deal with the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback, who’s known for starting protests among NFL players over police brutality and racial inequality. The deal spurred debate among fans, with some urging a boycott of the Beaverton, Oregon-based company. Some other players say they’re proud of Nike. Trump has repeatedly slammed NFL players for kneeling in protest during the playing of the national anthem. He says he’ll find it difficult to watch the NFL “until they stand for the FLAG!”