MEXICO CITY (AP) — A Mexican pet store has been temporarily closed and two employees are under investigation by prosecutors after a video surfaced of them slapping Chihuahua dogs repeatedly to “welcome” them to the store.
The Maskota pet store chain said Wednesday that it had identified the two employees from the video and filed criminal complaints against them. It said their behavior violated the chain’s commitment to animal welfare.
In the video, the two take turns holding up Chihuahuas by the scruffs of their necks and repeatedly slapping, shaking and kneeing them.
The prosecutor’s office in the north-central state of Hidalgo said it is investigating the incident as a property damage complaint.
It is unclear if Hidalgo has animal protection laws that might carry more serious penalties.
NEW YORK (AP) — Verizon is launching a mobile video service this summer that would show sports, concerts and other types of content.
The country’s largest wireless provider teased a few details of its upcoming offerings Tuesday while announcing it had completed its $4.4 billion purchase of AOL Inc. The deal is designed to help Verizon Communications Inc. expand in mobile video and advertising as more hours are spent watching video, reading and shopping on phones and tablets.
Viewers have increasing options for online video services, including Dish’s Sling TV and HBO Now.
Verizon’s mobile video service will work on competitors’ networks as well as on Wi-Fi and will include ad-supported data, says Verizon executive vice president Marni Walden. That could mean an advertiser pays for some of the data required by the video service.
BEIRUT (AP) — A Lebanese minister vowed Sunday to bring to justice guards seen in online video clips beating Islamists detained in a notorious prison where imprisoned militants were once suspected of directing terror attacks.
Interior Minister Nouhad Mashnouk told journalists that two guards whose faces are seen in the clips have been arrested and referred to military prosecutors.
“I condemn these violations and will not cease to pursue the case for one second,” he said.
The clips show a room full of detainees stripped down to their underwear. In one clip, a guard beats a detainee on his back with what looks like a green hose. He yells “keep quiet” at the screaming detainee.
Another clip shows a second guard taunting and insulting a bearded detainee while hitting him. The detainee begs for mercy and later a voice, presumably of another guard, is heard ordering the inmate to kiss the man beating him. He is kicked in the face when he attempts it.
The detainees shown, held in the Roumieh prison on the outskirts of Beirut, were handcuffed behind their back while squatting on a flooded floor.
Mashnouk blamed past governments for the poor conditions at the prison, though he said: “I am responsible for the human rights of all prisoners, regardless of their (ideological) persuasion.”
“I have inherited that prison, these conditions and those prisoners,” he said.
Mashnouk in January ordered the clearing of Roumieh’s Block B after years of warnings that the overcrowded section served as a meeting point for militants to plot attacks and strengthen their networks. Prisoners in that block were known to call into Lebanese television talk shows using smuggled mobile phones.
Mashnouk said at the time that “a big part” of twin suicide bombings in the northern city of Tripoli in January was directed from Block B. The bombing, which targeted a district predominantly inhabited by followers of the Shiite Alawite sect, was claimed by al-Qaida’s branch in Syria, the Nusra Front. Mashnouk, however, blamed the attack on the extremist Islamic State group.
LOS ANGELES (AP) — The video-game industry’s annual Electronic Entertainment Expo, which occupied the Los Angeles Convention Center this past week, was an overwhelming, exhausting experience — so many games, so little time. But most of the attendees had a similar reaction: “This is really fun.” Still, some companies came off better than others. So who won E3?
MICROSOFT VS. SONY
At this point in the Xbox One/PlayStation 4 battle, exclusive games are the best way to attract new buyers. Microsoft’s Xbox has “Halo 5: Guardians,” ”Gears 4,” ”Rise of the Tomb Raider” and the endearingly weird “Cuphead.” Sony’s PS4 has “Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End,” ”The Last Guardian,” ”Horizon: Zero Dawn,” ”Dreams” and the spooky “What Remains of Edith Finch.” WINNER: Slight edge to Sony if the long-awaited “Last Guardian” lives up to its promise.
OLD VS. NEW
Microsoft won over many fans by promising it would be making the most of the games for its previous console, the Xbox 360, playable on the newer Xbox One. Sony’s announcement of a remake of 1997’s “Final Fantasy VII” drew rapturous applause. But there are still plenty of eye-catching new titles on the horizon, from the universe-spanning “No Man’s Sky” to the down-and-dirty brawler “For Honor.” Even established properties like “Fallout” and “Call of Duty” have some new tricks up their sleeves. WINNER: New.
NINTENDO VS. ITS FANS
Nintendo die-hards took to social media to express their frustration with the company’s threadbare E3 lineup. Nintendo President Saturo Iwata responded with . well, not exactly an apology, but at least an acknowledgement of the negative feedback. Nintendo’s still a huge part of E3, but it isn’t doing much to turn around the fortunes of its fading Wii U. WINNER: The fans. They may not be happy, but they’re justified.
PROJECT MORPHEUS VS. OCULUS RIFT
Two companies are spearheading the drive to make immersive, three-dimensional virtual reality the next big thing in electronic amusement. Sony’s Project Morpheus is still rough around the edges, though we were quite taken with a Harmonix-designed app that lets users zone out to psychedelic images synched to music. The Oculus Rift, though, has come a long way, making this critic feel for the first time that this was exploration of a real 3D environment. WINNER: Oculus.
“TOYS TO LIFE” MELEE: This category, in which physical toys become animated onscreen characters, got more crowded with Warner Bros.’ “Lego Dimensions,” which features Batman, Scooby-Doo and favorites from “The Lord of the Rings” and “The Lego Movie.” Disney has added the cast of “Star Wars” to its “Infinity 3.0.” Nintendo’s adorable “Animal Crossing” critters are heading for the amiibo lineup, and Donkey Kong and Bowser are crossing over to Activision’s “Skylanders.” That franchise is also adding toy vehicles, so don’t expect it to put on the brakes anytime soon. WINNER: “Skylanders,” the original and still champ.
— YARNY VS. YOSHI: Yarny, an awkward little creature made from wire and red yarn, is the unlikely hero of Electronic Arts’ “Unravel.” His creator says the yarn represents “love, and the bonds that we make,” and a physical version of the character charmed social media with his adventures on the E3 show floor. Still, he’s no match for Nintendo’s Yoshi, whose upcoming “Yoshi’s Woolly World” is being accompanied by an adorable woven-yarn amiibo of the spunky dinosaur. WINNER (by a thread): Yoshi.
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SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — YouTube has started a video news service to showcase the most interesting clips recorded and posted by eyewitnesses at events unfolding around the world.
The service, called “YouTube Newswire,” is being compiled by Storyful, an Internet service owned by News Corp. that also recently started to package interesting stories posted on social networking leader Facebook.
YouTube is trying to make it easier to find the most compelling news clips amid the 300 hours of video posted on its site each minute. It says its visitors watch more than 5 million hours of news video each day.
Google Inc., YouTube’s owner, has been using an automated formula to highlight the top news stories in a section of its Internet search engine since 2002.
BOSTON (AP) — Police in Boston are earning praise from national law enforcement experts and community leaders for trying to be more transparent in the wake of officer-involved shootings, yet others say more can be done.
Authorities in Boston quickly released surveillance video in two recent shootings: After Boston police shot and killed a man who had shot an officer in the face during a traffic stop in March and again after deadly force was used earlier this month to subdue 26-year-old terror suspect police said lunged at them with a military-style knife.
Boston officials say their actions are an effort to be more accountable after a number of police-involved shootings across the country and the civil unrest that has often followed.
“It’s clearly the direction departments are trying to go, to release as much information they have as quickly as they can,” says Darrel Stephens, executive director of the Major Cities Chiefs Association and a former chief of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department in North Carolina.
The move comes as police departments and district attorneys look to balance the need to tamp down rumors and speculation that inflame community tensions with the need to protect the integrity of investigations and the jury selection process.
“With social media and the instant false information that tends to get put out, agencies are trying a new approach so that truth starts to emerge before rumors take over,” says Richard Beary, president of the International Association of Chiefs of Police and police chief at the University of Central Florida in Orlando.
Civil rights groups say Boston’s policy can still improve.
Matthew Segal, legal director at the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts, says there needs to be a more defined protocol for how and when video is released, noting that some community leaders have questioned how Boston authorities select who gets to view the evidence.
Seneca Joyner, an organizer with Boston’s chapter of the Black Lives Matter movement, dismisses the video release policy as an “elaborate performance” in which authorities first describe the video to media, then allow a hand-picked group of community leaders to view it and comment publicly before releasing it.
“This practice of poisoning the well of public opinion (and the grand jury pool) is an old one,” she said via email.
Jake Wark, a spokesman for Suffolk County District Attorney’s office, says release of video evidence is at the office’s discretion and done on a case-by-case basis.
He said authorities first want to gather statements from witnesses untainted by what video might show. They also want to give the victim’s family the opportunity to view it first.
The debate over how and when authorities release surveillance video also diverts attention from a critical transparency measure advocates say is long overdue in Boston and other cities: equipping police officers with body cameras.
Segun Idowu, who co-founded a local group pushing for the body cameras, says reliance on surveillance video puts police accountability at the mercy of video that can be low quality or, at worst, non-existent.
Terror suspect Usaamah Rahim’s family and some Muslim and black community leaders have said blurry surveillance video of the June 2 shooting is “inconclusive” and does not resolve questions about whether police acted responsibly.
Boston police have said they are still weighing use of body cameras, though Commissioner William Evans and other city leaders have expressed concerns about compromising community relations and discouraging witnesses and informants from coming forward.