Robert Gearty


Atilis gym owners Ian Smith and Frank Trumbetti had opened despite lockdown orders

A South New Jersey gym was shuttered Monday and its two owners arrested, escalating a battle over the two men’s refusal to comply with Gov. Phil Murphy’s coronavirus restrictions.

A judge on Friday ordered Atilis gym owners Ian Smith and Frank Trumbetti to vacate and cease operations in Bellmawr, N.J.

They were charged Monday with disobeying that order, Acting Camden County Prosecutor Jill Mayer said.

Atilis Gym co-owners Frank Trumbetti, center right, and Ian Smith, center, react after meeting with a police officer outside their gym in Bellmawr, N.J., Monday, May 18, 2020. The gym in New Jersey reopened for business early Monday, defying a state order that shut down nonessential businesses to help stem the spread of the coronavirus. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

She said Smith, 33, of Delanco Township, and Trumbetti, 51, of Williamstown, were charged with one count of fourth-degree contempt, one count of obstruction, and one count of violation of a disaster control act.

The contempt charge is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 18 months in jail. The other two charges were disorderly persons summonses.

“From July 24 through July 27, a number of individuals were observed entered and using the gym, a direct violation of the court order,” Mayer said. “Police said both owners refused to leave the gym when asked, leading to the charges.”

Smith and Trumbetti were brought to the Bellmawr Police Department, charged and released.

Murphy has eased coronavirus restrictions on some businesses but not gyms.

Smith told Fox & Friends on Saturday that there was no reason to keep them closed.

“We can operate our business safely, responsibly,” he said. “We have shown that to be true. We haven’t had a single case of COVID reported and we have everybody’s records here,” he added. “So, we’re not backing down from this one.”

Smith’s attorney, James Mermigis, told the Newark Star-Ledger the gym was boarded up by authorities Monday and the owners do not have access to get inside.

He said he doesn’t know what Smith and Trumbetti will do next.

Mermigis insisted that keeping New Jersey gyms closed was “unconstitutional,” according to the paper.

“I do believe the governor is overreaching and I do believe this has gone too far,” he said.

Author: Robert Gearty

Source: Fox News: NJ gym owners who defied Gov. Murphy’s coronavirus shutdown orders arrested for contempt

Dictator Kim Jong Un said North Korea was no longer obligated to comply with a self-imposed moratorium on testing nuclear weapons and intercontinental ballistic missiles.

In remarks Tuesday to party leaders– and shared on state media Wednesday– Kim also warned of introducing a “new strategic weapon” in the near future.

Kim’s audience also heard him accuse the United States of making “gangster-like demands,” according to Reuters.

At times smiling or slapping the podium, Kim charged the U.S. with maintaining a “hostile policy” that included holding continued joint military drills with South Korea, adopting cutting edge weapons and imposing sanctions,

In this undated photo taken during the period of Dec. 28 – Dec. 31, 2019 provided by the North Korean government, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un attends a Workers’ Party meeting in Pyongyang, North Korea. Independent journalists were not given access to cover the event depicted in this image distributed by the North Korean government. (Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP)

“The world will witness a new strategic weapon to be possessed by the DPRK in the near future,” Kim said, using the initials for North Korea’s official name–the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, according to Reuters.

While saying he no longer felt bound to honor a moratorium, the rogue leader gave no clear indication that a resumption of such tests was impending. He also appeared to leave the door open for eventual negotiations with the U.S.

Kim has used the diplomatic stalemate to expand his military capabilities by intensifying tests of shorter-range weapons. His arsenal is now estimated to include 40 to 50 nuclear bombs and various delivery systems, including solid-fuel missiles designed to beat missile-defense systems and developmental ICBMs potentially capable of reaching the U.S. mainland.

Kim has also strengthened his negotiating position, moving the diplomacy closer to an arms reduction negotiation between nuclear states rather than talks that would culminate in a unilateral surrender of the weapons he sees as his strongest guarantee of survival.

Lee Sang-min, a spokesman for South Korea’s Unification Ministry, said North Korea carrying out its threat to showcase a new strategic weapon would be unhelpful for diplomacy.

Kim’s comments published in state media Wednesday were made at a key, four-day meeting of the ruling Workers’ Party’s Central Committee as talks between Washington and Pyongyang have faltered over disagreements on disarmament steps and the removal of sanctions.

President Donald Trump said he had a good relationship with Kim and thought the North Korean leader would keep his word, Reuters reported.

“He likes me, I like him. We get along. He’s representing his country, I’m representing my country. We have to do what we have to do.

“But he did sign a contract, he did sign an agreement talking about denuclearization,” Trump told reporters at his Mar-a-Lago club in Florida.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Author: Robert Gearty

Source: Fox News: Kim Jong Un threatens to renew testing nuclear weapons, long-range missiles

A massive mural of the face of teen climate activist Greta Thunberg in downtown San Francisco makes its debut Tuesday — even as it stirs controversy.

The artist behind the 60-foot-tall by 30-foot-wide creation is Argentine muralist Andres Iglesias, who goes by the name Cobre and is known for his “hyper-realistic” portraits. He agreed to work for free on the project, which is being sponsored by the environmental nonprofit One Atmosphere.

But Cobre was forced to go on the defensive after social media users began noting the irony of using spray paints – which they say harm the environment – to pay homage to the 16-year-old Thunberg, The Art Newspaper reported Sunday.

Cobre responded that the materials he was using were environmentally friendly, the paper reported.

“The thing is, the sprays I use are eco-friendly, and most of the paint is hand-painted with a roller,” he told the paper. “[It is] water-based so there is zero impact.”

Andres Petreselli paints a mural on the side of a building depicting Swedish teen climate activist Greta Thunberg, Friday, Nov. 8, 2019, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

One Atmosphere said Sunday in a post on city guide SF Station’s Instagram page that they were using spray cans that don’t contain environmentally damaging chlorofluorocarbons.

“We are using low-pressure cans with a minimal footprint,” the post said. “The cans and the boxes will also be recycled, although many of the cans will first have a second life as part of a separate art project.”

The nonprofit went on to say the cans have been picked up and delivered in an electric vehicle, and the artist and organizers have been traveling almost exclusively by way of electric car, electric scooter or on foot to the project site — the side of building on Mason Street, above the music venue August Hall.

“The lift being used is also electric, not diesel.” the post added.

Swedish climate activist, Greta Thunberg, attends a climate rally, in Vancouver, British Columbia, on Friday, Oct. 25, 2019. (Melissa Renwick/The Canadian Press via AP)

When asked by The Art Newspaper if he thinks Thunberg will like the project, Cobre responded, “I think she won’t care.”

She declined to comment, according to the paper.

At the same time, the paper reported some budding art critics on Twitter claimed the mural looked more like Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“I can’t be the only person that thinks the mural of Greta Thunberg in San Francisco looks like Putin, right?” one person tweeted, according to the paper.

Youth climate change activist Greta Thunberg, left, speaks at a House Foreign Affairs Committee subcommittee hearing on climate change Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2019, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

Time magazine reported that Cobre hopes the image of Thunberg will bring attention to the crisis of climate change.

He told the magazine that while most people have responded positively to the mural, some have messaged him negative comments on Instagram.

“If 95 percent [of] people are going to like it, then my job is well done,” Cobre said. “Haters gonna hate.”

Author: Robert Gearty

Source: Fox News: Greta Thunberg mural in San Francisco stirs controversy over use of spray paints

A member of the U.S. men’s fencing team staged a national anthem protest at the Pan American Games, saying, “We must call for change.”

Race Imboden and two teammates were winners of gold in a team foil competition at the games in Lima, Peru, Friday and he took a knee on the podium at the medal ceremony.

He won the gold with teammates Gerek Meinhardt and Nick Itkin, both of whom stood for the anthem.

“We must call for change,” Imboden said afterward on Twitter. “This week I am honored to represent Team USA at the Pan Am Games, taking home Gold and Bronze.”

Gold medalist Race Imboden of United States takes a knee during the National Anthem Ceremony in the podium of Fencing Men’s Foil Team Gold Medal Match Match on Day 14 of Lima 2019 Pan American Games at Fencing Pavilion of Lima Convention Center on August 09, 2019 in Lima, Peru. (Photo by Leonardo Fernandez/Getty Images)

“My pride however has been cut short by the multiple shortcomings of the country I hold so dear to my heart,” he said. “Racism, Gun Control, mistreatment of immigrants.”

The political protest could lead to disciplinary action by the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee.

“Every athlete competing at the 2019 Pan American Games commits to terms of eligibility, including to refrain from demonstrations that are political in nature. In this case, Race didn’t adhere to the commitment he made to the organizing committee and the USOPC,” Mark Jones, Vice President of Communications, USOPC said in a statement on Saturday.

“We respect his rights to express his viewpoints, but we are disappointed that he chose not to honor his commitment. Our leadership are reviewing what consequences may result.”

Colin Kaepernkick sparked controversy—and the wrath of President Trump—after kneeling during the national anthem in a protest against racial injustice.

His protest led to similar protests by athletes in other sports.

Imoden, 26, won an Olympic bronze medal in Rio De Janeiro three years ago.

Author: Robert Gearty

Source: Fox News: US fencer takes knee at Pan Am Games in protest

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents had to use tear gas and pepper spray early Saturday to stop nearly 50 “undocumented individuals” from illegally entering the U.S. after they stormed a port of entry along the U.S.-Mexico border in Texas, officials said.

The incident at the Pharr-Reynosa International Bridge took place at around 4 a.m. The bridge is closed between midnight at 6 a.m., but CBP has had to construct temporary barriers in the middle of the span due to the large influx of migrants using the bridge at night.

A CBP official told Fox News the group attempted to rush across the bridge in three waves.

“Ignoring commands to stop, the group suddenly rushed the temporary barricades, bent metal poles and disabled the concertina wire affixed to the barrier,” the official said.

CBP officers, Border Patrol agents, Pharr police and members of the Texas Department of Public Safety were called upon to prevent the group’s entry, according to the official.

“Several males in the group disregarded commands to stop and physically pushed through the barriers,” the official said. “When confronted by CBP officers, the combative individuals began assaulting the officers by punching, kicking, and attempting to grab the officers’ protective devices.”

Two individuals were charged with interference and federal charges are pending against 14 others who were apprehended, the official said, adding that Mexican officials removed the remaining individuals from the bridge.

The bridge opened to commercial traffic at 8 a.m. after a two-hour delay.

The Trump administration has mandated that asylum seekers remain in Mexico while their cases are heard in an effort to slow the flow of mostly Central American migrants to the southern border. The White House also said this week it was banning migrants from seeking U.S. protections if they pass through another country first, though that rule has been challenged in court.

Those policies and others that make it hard to seek asylum have led some migrants to cross the border illegally out of desperation

The Mexican government announced plans this week to spend millions of dollars to improve migrant shelters and detention centers that house families, but in southern Mexico, far from the U.S. border.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Author: Robert Gearty, Samuel Chamberlain

Source: Fox News: Border agents use tear gas to stop nearly 50 undocumented migrants who stormed Rio Grande bridge

A decorated Green Beret on his seventh combat tour was identified Sunday as the U.S. service member killed in action in Afghanistan.

Sgt. Maj. James “Ryan” Sartor, 40, of Teague, Texas, died Saturday in Faryab Province “as a result of injuries sustained from enemy small arms fire during combat operations,” the Pentagon said.

“We’re incredibly saddened,” said Sartor’s commander Col. Brian Rauen, KKTV reported. “Ryan was a beloved warrior who epitomized the quiet professionals. He led his soldiers from the front, and his presence will be terribly missed.”

The death was under investigation.

Sartor was assigned to Fort Carson’s 2nd Battalion, 10th Special Forces Group. His awards and decorations include a Bronze Star, the Army Times reported.

KKTV reported that Sartor joined the military 20 years ago and served five tours of duty in Iraq, one as an infantryman and four as a Green Beret.

He served another full tour in Afghanistan and was on his second in the country when he was killed, KKTV reported.

Sartor was the tenth U.S. service member to die in Afghanistan during combat in 2019.

The Taliban claimed it was behind the attack that resulted in Sartor’s death.

Author: Robert Gearty

Source: Fox News: Decorated Green Beret killed in Afghanistan remembered as ‘beloved warrior’

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