2 women drove a man’s body to a bank to withdraw his money, US police say

2 women drove a man’s body to a bank to withdraw his money, US police say
A view of the Ashtabula County Medical Center, where two women dropped off a body of 80-year-old Douglas Layman after driving him to a bank to withdraw money from his account.  (WKYC via AP)
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Updated 10 March 2024
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2 women drove a man’s body to a bank to withdraw his money, US police say

2 women drove a man’s body to a bank to withdraw his money, US police say
  • The two women were charged in court with gross abuse of a corpse and theft from a person in a protected class

ASHTABULA, Ohio: Two Ohio women have been accused of driving the body of a deceased 80-year-old man to a bank to withdraw money from his account before dropping his body off at a hospital. 

Karen Casbohm, 63, and Loreen Bea Feralo, 55, were charged Tuesday in Ashtabula with gross abuse of a corpse and theft from a person in a protected class, according to Ashtabula Municipal Court records.

Police said they were called Monday evening and told that two women had dropped off a body at the Ashtabula County Medical Center emergency room without identifying the person or themselves. A few hours later, one of them contacted the hospital with information on the deceased, who was then identified as 80-year-old Douglas Layman of Ashtabula. 

Officers responded to Layman’s residence and made contact with Casbohm and Feralo, who told them they had found Layman deceased earlier at the home where all three resided. Police allege that, with the help of a third unnamed person, they placed Layman in the front seat of his car and drove to a bank where they withdrew “an undisclosed amount of money” from his account.

Layman’s body “was placed in the vehicle in such a manner that he would be visible to bank staff in order to make the withdrawal,” Ashtabula Police Chief Robert Stell said in a news release Thursday. Stell told the (Ashtabula) Star Beacon that the bank ”had allowed this previously as long as they were accompanied by him.”

Lt. Mike Palinkas told WEWS-TV that one of the women had been in a live-in relationship with Layman for several years while the other had been staying there for a few months. The women said it was normal for them to take money from the account, but Palinkas said he didn’t have a full explanation for why they went there that day.

“Allegedly, they wanted to pay some bills but outside of that, there wasn’t a specific motivation provided,” Palinkas said.

Casbohm was arraigned and ordered held on $5,000 bond while Feralo is scheduled for arraignment next week. It’s unclear whether they have attorneys; numbers listed in their names had been disconnected. A message was sent to the county public defender’s office seeking comment if the office was defending one or both.

Police said they continue to investigate and other charges are possible. The coroner’s office said an autopsy to determine the cause of Layman’s death could take up to eight months.


Mouse shakers, power naps: Corporate America fights ‘keyboard fraud’

Mouse shakers, power naps: Corporate America fights ‘keyboard fraud’
Updated 19 June 2024
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Mouse shakers, power naps: Corporate America fights ‘keyboard fraud’

Mouse shakers, power naps: Corporate America fights ‘keyboard fraud’
  • In one viral Reddit post titled “My manager caught me with a mouse jiggler,” an employee noted that the transgression was the “last straw” after he excused himself from several meetings citing “power outages” and “thunderstorms”

WASHINGTON: A US banking giant fired more than a dozen employees for “simulating keyboard activity,” highlighting a battle within productivity-obsessed corporate America to tame a culture of faking work with gizmos such as mouse jigglers.
The sackings by Wells Fargo come as employers use sophisticated tools — popularly called “tattleware” or “bossware” — on company-issued devices to monitor productivity in the age of hybrid work that took off after the Covid-19 pandemic.
Some workers seek to outsmart them with tools such as mouse movers — which simulate cursor movement, preventing their devices from going into sleep mode and making them appear active when they may actually be getting a power nap or doing laundry.
The cat-and-mouse game — no pun intended — has spurred a wider debate in corporate America about whether screentime and the click-clacking of keyboards are effective yardsticks to measure productivity amid a boom in remote work.
The Well Fargo workers were dismissed last month following a probe of allegations involving “simulation of keyboard activity creating impression of active work,” Bloomberg reported, citing the company’s disclosures to financial regulators.
Wells Fargo “holds employees to the highest standards and does not tolerate unethical behavior,” the company said in a statement, without elaborating.

Multiple US surveys show that demand for employee monitoring software — systems that track activity via desktop monitoring, keystroke tracking and even GPS location — has shot up since the pandemic.
One Florida-based social media marketing company, according to the Harvard Business Review (HBR), installed software on employees’ devices that took screenshots of their desktop every 10 minutes.
Such surveillance has given rise to what human resource professionals call “productivity theater” — in which some employees seek to project that they are busy while doing nothing constructive.
A series of “tutorials” on platforms including TikTok and YouTube even teach how to appear busy on computer screens, which generally go black after a few minutes of inactivity.
Those include fake PowerPoint techniques for “when you need to take your afternoon nap.”
“Just hit ‘slideshow’ and you’re good,” Sho Dewan, an influencer who identifies himself as an “ex-recruiter sharing HR secrets,” said in a TikTok video that garnered millions of views.
The device will stay “active” while the presentation is on, he said flashing a thumbs up before a slide that read: “Really important work meeting.”
Among the hundreds of comments under the video, one viewer quipped: “At one point I taped a mouse to an oscillating fan — why couldn’t I have found (this) sooner?“

Another trick noted in the tutorials involves opening a notes application and placing a lock on any keyboard letter. The worker thereby appears active to tracking devices while the page fills up with row after row of the same letter.
But the most popular trick appears to be the deployment of mouse jigglers, widely available on Amazon for as little as $11.
“Push the button when you’re getting up from your desk and the cursor travels randomly around the screen — for hours, if needed!” reads one product review on Amazon.
But there remains a serious risk of getting caught.
In one viral Reddit post titled “My manager caught me with a mouse jiggler,” an employee noted that the transgression was the “last straw” after he excused himself from several meetings citing “power outages” and “thunderstorms.”
He noted that he had installed a software-based jiggler, prompting some readers to suggest using “non detectable” physical ones.
HR professionals warn of the dangers of surveilling employees and confusing keyboard activity with productivity.
One survey cited by HBR suggested that secretly monitoring employees can “seriously backfire.”
“We found that monitored employees were substantially more likely to take unapproved breaks, disregard instructions, damage workplace property, steal office equipment, and purposefully work at a slow pace,” the HBR report said.
A.J. Mizes, chief executive of the consulting firm Human Reach, said the use of mouse jigglers demonstrated a “work culture driven by metrics rather than meaningful productivity and human connection.”
“There has been a growing troubling trend of excessive surveillance in corporate America,” Mizes told AFP.
“Rather than stirring up innovation and trust, this surveillance approach will only push employees to find additional ways to appear busy.”
 

 


Noam Chomsky discharged from Sao Paolo hospital

Noam Chomsky discharged from Sao Paolo hospital
Updated 19 June 2024
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Noam Chomsky discharged from Sao Paolo hospital

Noam Chomsky discharged from Sao Paolo hospital

SAO PAULO: American intellectual, linguist and dissident Noam Chomsky was discharged from a hospital in Sao Paolo Tuesday, the facility said, and would continue an undisclosed treatment at home.
The report came as the 95-year-old’s wife, Valeria Wasserman, dismissed media reports that Chomsky had died, saying in an email to AFP: “It’s false. He is well.”
The newspaper Folha de Sao Paulo reported that Chomsky was recently taken to a hospital in the city after a stroke a year ago left him with difficulty to speak and move the right side of his body.
The couple have a home in Sao Paulo.
Chomsky first became known in the 1950s with the revolutionary theory that the ability to form structured language was innate.
He became an outspoken activist on an array of issues from US intervention in Vietnam to labor rights and the environment.


Unveiling Tunis: mural celebrates ‘invisible’ talents

Unveiling Tunis: mural celebrates ‘invisible’ talents
Updated 19 June 2024
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Unveiling Tunis: mural celebrates ‘invisible’ talents

Unveiling Tunis: mural celebrates ‘invisible’ talents
  • Supported by a Swiss foundation, the project utilized clay bricks for their availability and wide use in Tunisian construction

TUNIS: In the old medina of Tunis, a wall installation titled “1001 Bricks” showcases the talents of “invisible” creators, including art students, people with disabilities and school dropouts.
Led by Swiss artist Anne Francey, the project took shape over a year through workshops that culminated in a large bas-relief made of carved and painted clay bricks, reimagining the cityscape.
The massive artwork now graces a square in the UNESCO-listed old town of the Tunisian capital.
Its main creators are “the invisible, all these people who are on the margins of society, who have disabilities” and whom “we tend keep in the shadows and not really acknowledge,” said Francey, 68.
Despite challenges, the project engaged a wide spectrum of 550 participants including art professionals, students and members of AGIM, an association for people with motor disorders.
Mohamed Boulila, an AGIM trainer, said all those who contributed to the project left a personal touch.
“We have the power to do things despite everything and show society that we shouldn’t only be considered disabled,” Boulila, who also lives with a disability, said during a workshop.

Samia Souid, 56, a longtime teacher at AGIM, said the project had a positive impact on youths.
“Children who cannot speak expressed their feelings and their ideas” through the project, she said.
Each group of creators “imagined a metaphorical city,” with AGIM participants focusing on a city of challenges, producing sculptures akin to contemporary art.
Supported by a Swiss foundation, the project utilized clay bricks for their availability and wide use in Tunisian construction.
The initiative follows Francey’s 2019 project “1001 Hands,” inspired by the “One Thousand and One Nights” fairytale, emphasising stories that intersect endlessly, she said.
Francey noted the rarity and difficulty, on a global scale, of such a “participatory art project,” since it challenges the tradition of top-down artworks.
The installation helped blend the creations of “people of all social status,” from architecture students to youths in reintegration — people facing unemployment, substance abuse and other forms of social invisibility.
It is “a way of coming together around a constructive project that makes us dream of a harmonious society despite the hardships the country is going through,” she said.

Beyond that, the mural is a statement on public space, as the square it occupies has endured years of neglect, serving as a garbage dump and parking lot until recent renovations.
Raouf Haddad, a 42-year-old porter in the commercial neighborhood of Hafsia, said he checks in on the artwork every day and helps whenever needed.
“The entire medina should have initiatives like this,” he said.
“There are collapsing roofs and walls, alleys devoid of public lighting where people cannot pass.”
He hopes the square will one day become like Batman Alley — a once-neglected passageway in Brazil’s Sao Paulo which artists turned into a tourist attraction with a myriad of graffiti tags.
For now, however, what matters most is that “1001 Bricks will lead to new projects” in a neighborhood full of “abandoned and unexploited public spaces,” said Firas Khlifi, a 28-year-old project manager working on children’s awareness on global warming in the neighborhood.
The installation “will bring more animation because there are several festivals” in the medina each year likely to use the square for artistic performances and exhibitions, said Khlifi.
“With families there and children playing, it will increase the community’s commitment and belonging to the project.”
 

 


AI goes mainstream as ‘AI PCs’ hit the market

AI goes mainstream as ‘AI PCs’ hit the market
Updated 19 June 2024
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AI goes mainstream as ‘AI PCs’ hit the market

AI goes mainstream as ‘AI PCs’ hit the market

TORONTO, Canada: A new line of PCs specially made to run artificial intelligence programs hit stores on Tuesday as tech companies push toward wider adoption of ChatGPT-style AI.
Microsoft in May announced the new AI-powered personal computers, or “AI PCs,” which will use the company’s software under the Copilot Plus brand.
The idea is to allow users to access AI capabilities on their devices without relying on the cloud, which requires more energy, takes more time, and makes the AI experience clunkier.
The PCs feature a neural processing unit (NPU) chip that helps deliver crisper photo editing, live transcription, translation, and “Recall” — a capability for the computer to keep track of everything being done on the device.
However, Microsoft removed Recall last minute over privacy concerns and said it would only make it available as a test feature.
For now, the devices built by hardware makers like HP and ASUS run exclusively on a new line of processors called Snapdragon X Elite and Plus, built by the California-based chip giant Qualcomm.
“We are redefining what a laptop actually does for the end user,” Qualcomm’s senior vice president Durga Malladi told AFP at the Collision tech conference in Toronto.
“We believe this is the rebirth of the PC.”
At the May launch, Microsoft predicted over 50 million AI PCs would be sold in 12 months, given the appetite for ChatGPT’s powers.
Such a result would give a much needed boost to PC sales, which declined for two years from the halcyon days of the coronavirus pandemic before returning to growth in the first quarter of 2024.
Best Buy, the US retail giant, said it had trained tens of thousands of staff to sell and maintain the new line of AI PCs.
Some industry experts are more hesitant about their promise, predicting the actual benefit of upgrading to an AI laptop isn’t compelling enough yet and will need more time.
“AI’s evolutionary features aren’t revolutionary enough to disrupt traditional buying patterns,” said analysts from Forrester.
“For most information workers, there aren’t enough game-changing applications for day-to-day work to drive rapid AI PC adoption.”
Microsoft has aggressively pushed out generative AI products since ChatGPT’s release in late 2022, with new AI features available across products including Teams, Outlook and Windows.
Feeling the pressure, Google quickly followed suit while Apple entered the game earlier this month, announcing its own on-device AI capabilities rolling out to premium iPhones in the coming months and year.
The latest MacBooks and iPads already have the capability to run high-performing AI features, but Apple has been slower to highlight those powers.
“I guess we missed the boat to name it an AI PC,” Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering, joked recently about the latest generation of MacBook.


Singer Justin Timberlake charged with driving while intoxicated in the Hamptons

Singer Justin Timberlake charged with driving while intoxicated in the Hamptons
Updated 19 June 2024
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Singer Justin Timberlake charged with driving while intoxicated in the Hamptons

Singer Justin Timberlake charged with driving while intoxicated in the Hamptons
  • 43-year-old, known for such hits as “SexyBack” and “Cry Me a River,” taken into custody in Sag Harbor

SAG HARBOR, N.Y.: Pop star Justin Timberlake was charged early Tuesday with drunken driving in a village in New York’s Hamptons, after police said he ran a stop sign and veered out of his lane in the posh seaside summer retreat.
The boy band singer-turned-solo star and actor was driving a 2025 BMW in Sag Harbor around 12:30 a.m. when an officer stopped him and determined he was intoxicated, according to a court document.
“His eyes were bloodshot and glassy, a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage was emanating from his breath, he was unable to divide attention, he had slowed speech, he was unsteady afoot and he performed poorly on all standardized field sobriety tests,” the court papers said.
Timberlake, 43, told the officer he had one martini and was following some friends home, according to the documents. After being arrested and taken to a police station in nearby East Hampton, he refused a breath test, said the court papers, which listed his occupation as “professional” and said he’s “self-employed.”
The 10-time Grammy winner was released without bond later Tuesday morning after being arraigned in Sag Harbor. He was charged with a driving-while-intoxicated misdemeanor, and his next court date was scheduled for July 26, the Suffolk County district attorney’s office said.
Edward Burke Jr., a local lawyer representing Timberlake, declined to comment Tuesday other than to confirm the star doesn’t need to appear in person for his next court date. Timberlake’s California-based representatives didn’t return multiple requests for comment Tuesday.
The arrest brought a steady stream of curiosity seekers to the village’s quaint Main Street, with many taking photos in front of the brick municipal building throughout the day.
Even music legend Billy Joel, who owns a home in Sag Harbor, took in the scene outside the American Hotel, a popular hotel and restaurant located next to the courthouse where Timberlake had been spotted before his arrest.
“Judge not lest ye be judged,” the “Piano Man” singer told WPIX, declining to comment on Timberlake or his arrest.
A young Timberlake began performing as a Disney Mouseketeer, where his castmates included future girlfriend Britney Spears (he’s now married to actress Jessica Biel). He rose to fame in the behemoth boy band NSYNC, embarked on a solo recording career in 2002 and was one of pop’s most influential figures in the early 2000s.
Fluent in the inflections of pop and R&B, he’s known for such Grammy-winning hits as “Cry Me A River,” “SexyBack,” “What Goes Around...Comes Around” and “Can’t Stop The Feeling!” He has performed at Super Bowl halftime shows multiple times.
Timberlake also built an acting career, garnering acclaim in movies including “The Social Network” and “Friends With Benefits” and winning four Primetime Emmy Awards.
Last year, Timberlake was in the headlines when Spears released her memoir, “The Woman in Me.” Several chapters were devoted to their relationship, including deeply personal details about a pregnancy, abortion and painful breakup. In March, he released his first new album in six years, the nostalgic “Everything I Thought It Was,” a return to his familiar future funk sound.
Timberlake has two upcoming shows in Chicago on Friday and Saturday, then is scheduled for New York’s Madison Square Garden on June 25 and 26.
Sag Harbor, a onetime whaling village mentioned in Herman Melville’s classic novel “Moby-Dick,” is nestled amid the Hamptons, around 100 miles (160 kilometers) east of New York City. The Hamptons have long been a hot spot for the rich and famous, and various stars and otherwise prominent people have had brushes with the law there.
Located on a bay, Sag Harbor for years cultivated a more down-to-earth, “un-Hampton” reputation than its oceanfront neighbors — a place where people gathered not at a country club but at a corner bar called the Corner Bar. There is still a five-and-dime store, and a mainstay of the social scene is the quaint, cozy mid-19th-century American Hotel.
The village has long had its share of prominent homeowners and residents, including singer-songwriter Joel, former CNN host Don Lemon, Nobel Prize-winning novelist John Steinbeck, feminist writer Betty Friedan, and Pulitzer Prize winners Colson Whitehead and Lanford Wilson. Whitehead’s novel “Sag Harbor” is set there, particularly in a beachfront enclave where generations of Black families have spent summers.
In recent decades, Sag Harbor has increasingly become a destination for celebrities, wannabes and even cruise ships. Manhattan-like restaurants and pricey boutiques have multiplied. Homes fetch seven or eight figures, and the village’s evolving nature has prompted grumbles from some longtime residents about traffic, crowds and a changing character.