CHICAGO (AP) — The mother of a 15-year-old girl who authorities say was sexually assaulted in an attack streamed live on Facebook said Wednesday that her daughter has received online threats since it happened and that neighborhood kids have been joking about it and harassing her family.
The woman was reunited with her daughter on Tuesday, two days after the girl went missing and a day after police learned of the attack. She said her daughter is staying with a relative and is scared to come home, and that she shares that fear.
“This is just disturbing and to think the kids think it is funny,” the mother, 32, told The Associated Press. The AP isn’t naming her to protect the identity of her daughter.
She said that since the attack, people have threatened on Facebook that “they are going to get her” daughter and that neighborhood children have been laughing about the incident and ringing the family’s doorbell looking for the girl. She said she’s shocked by the callousness people have shown since the attack, which was viewed live by about 40 people on Facebook Live — none of whom reported it to the police.
“I can’t stay here,” she said of Lawndale, the West Side neighborhood where her family lives. “I have other kids, too. I let them walk to school and now I have to take them.”
Police have questioned several people but haven’t named any formal suspects or made any arrests in the attack, which involved five or six men or boys, said department spokesman Anthony Guglielmi. He said the girl knows at least one of her attackers and that investigators are making good progress identifying those involved. He also said investigators have begun looking into the mother’s claims about the threats and harassment, and that the head of the police department, Superintendent Eddie Johnson, reached out to the family to check on their wellbeing.
Police only learned of the attack on Monday afternoon, the day after the girl went missing. Her mother went to a Lawndale police station and filled out a missing person report, then spotted Johnson outside the station and approached him. She told him her daughter had been missing since Sunday and showed him screen grab photos of the assault that friends of her daughter had sent her.
Guglielmi said Johnson immediately ordered detectives to investigate and the department asked Facebook to take down the video, which it did.
Andrew Holmes, a local activist, said a friend of the girl’s mother called him Monday asking if he could help find the video online and get it to the police, which he did. He said to him, the video showed that the girl was frightened and trying to get away.
“You could see where she was fearful. … You could see the look of fear and where she is resisting, pushing back,” he told the AP. “It looked like … she was in total shock.”
Holmes said the video shows someone pulling the girl to a bed as she struggled to get away. He said he was struck by the indifference of the others who were there.
“Other individuals were there standing around and talking and someone says, ‘Cut the lights off,'” he said, adding that the lights kept going on and off during the video, which was several minutes long.
The mother said her daughter was still terrified after police found her.
“She went to the hospital, but she was so scared she didn’t want anybody to touch her,” the mother said. She said her daughter had bruising on her neck but she was told of no other significant bruises or cuts by the doctors.
The mother said she thinks the attack happened Sunday night, and that she learned of it from friends of her daughter who saw the video, recognized her daughter, a high school freshman, as a basketball player they know, and called her, the mom.
“They couldn’t send me the video so they sent screen shots,” she said.
A spokeswoman for Facebook, Andrea Saul, declined to comment on the girl’s case, specifically, but she said the company takes its “responsibility to keep people safe on Facebook very seriously.”
“Crimes like this are hideous and we do not allow that kind of content on Facebook,” she said.
The video marks at least the second time in recent months that the Chicago Police Department has investigated an apparent attack that was streamed live on Facebook. In January, four people were arrested after a cellphone footage showed them allegedly taunting and beating a mentally disabled man.
KEY BISCAYNE, Fla. (AP) — An iguana caused quite a racket during a professional tennis match at the Miami Open, perching atop a scoreboard and then scurrying across the court.
The rather large reptile showed up at Court 1 midway through the final set of Jiri Vesely’s 6-7 (5), 6-3, 7-5 victory over Tommy Haas on Wednesday, delaying play for several minutes.
At first, they tried to continue with the match. But action was halted as attempts were made to remove the iguana.
Haas wandered over with a cellphone and snapped a selfie with the critter.
At one point, the unpaid spectator climbed down the scoreboard and ran across the court before winding up on top of another scoreboard.
Eventually, someone used a towel to grab the critter by the tail and carried him away.
Tennis Channel tweeted out video of the episode.
ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) — The Latest on a video capturing a stranger stopping a fight between two teens (all times local):
The man who interrupted a street fight in New Jersey captured in a video viewed millions of times on social media has been honored.
Ibn Ali Miller was honored by Atlantic City’s council on Wednesday night along with the two teens involved in the argument.
Miller stepped in between them in the video posted Monday and wouldn’t leave before they shook hands.
Miller says that the situation saddens him because that type of peaceful interaction should be normal and not an unbelievable occurrence.
The father of five also thanked his mother for raising him well and for the mothers of the two boys involved in the fight.
A New Jersey teenager who posted a video of a street fight interrupted by a peacemaking New Jersey man says that he is thankful for the intervention.
Jamar Mobley told CBS Philly (http://cbsloc.al/2nBjPBx) that the fight could have gone “a whole other way” if Ibn Ali Miller hadn’t stepped in.
The video had been viewed millions of times after being posted on Facebook on Monday. It starts with a fistfight in Atlantic City between Mobley and another boy as other youth record it on their phones.
Miller then walks up and tells the onlookers that they’re cowards for recording. He says the teens are “almost men” and need to start acting like it.
Miller has drawn wide praise, including a message of support on Twitter from LeBron James.
NEW YORK (AP) — For all those NFL fans longing for more action, fewer interruptions and a better flow to games, Commissioner Roger Goodell is with you.
The NFL is making plans to speed up the pace of games, including changing how video replays are handled and using a time clock for extra points. The league also is discussing with the TV networks how to make commercial breaks less intrusive.
“I watch a lot of football as a fan and as commissioner,” Goodell told The Associated Press on Wednesday after sending a letter to fans outlining the proposals. “I see when I am watching on TV or at a stadium that there are opportunities to make the game more compelling from a fan standpoint.”
For officiating replays, the referee no longer would go under a hood to watch a play. Instead, a tablet would be brought to him on the field and he would consult with league headquarters in New York. The final call would be made in New York.
Support by 75 percent of the 32 team owners would be needed at next week’s annual meetings for passage of the proposals.
In addition to a time clock for PATs when there is no TV break, the league is considering instituting a play clock after a touchdown.
Also, to improve the flow of games on the field and for television audiences, commercial breaks during the quarters would be reduced from 21 per game to 16 (four per period), although each would last 30 seconds longer. There also is a break at the end of the first quarter and another at the end of the third.
Teams also would not be allowed to make a challenge late in a commercial break, meaning no more scenes of a referee telling the TV audience when it returns that a video review will now take place — and then the network goes to another commercial. If a team decides to challenge a call at that time, the review would be done during the commercials.
The most significant change might be centralizing officiating decisions on replays, a system that has worked well for the NHL. NFL officiating director Dean Blandino and his New York staff have been involved in the process for years, but the referee has always been the final arbiter on such calls.
“We did centralized replay with our office involved for two seasons,” Goodell said, “and this is one step further where we’re going to allow the New York office to make the final determination. We think this is very smart. We still provide for the referee’s input, but instead of going under the hood, he’ll use the tablet to see the play, and speak to Dean and have their voice. We want the referee involved when we look at replays.”
Other proposals, all with the pace of games in mind, would ensure that the clock is restarted at the proper time after a ball carrier goes out of bounds, and would standardize the length of halftimes. Regular-season halftimes are supposed to last 12 minutes, but referees have used their discretion in that area.
A 5-yard delay-of-game penalty would ensue for the offending team.
The number of commercial breaks would be reduced to four per quarter, and they would each last 2 minutes, 20 seconds rather than the previous 1:50. Goodell doesn’t see those extra 30 seconds as intrusive, something league surveys back up. Those studies showed fans preferred fewer commercial interruptions over the course of a game.
“In most cases, fans won’t know the breaks are longer,” he said, adding with a chuckle, “Obviously, there’s a break point there; these won’t be 10 minutes in time.”
After a score, networks often go to commercials, then do so again following the kickoff. The league found that the case after 27 percent of scores last season.
“I find it unattractive when we see doubling-up on commercials,” Goodell said.
What won’t be touched are the natural breaks that are part of the game and that build drama.
“We’re addressing interruptions and just trying to move things along,” Goodell added.
The owners begin their meetings Sunday in Phoenix.
For more NFL coverage: http://www.pro32.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP—NFL
NEW YORK (AP) — As far as the indignities of modern air travel go, the latest ban on laptops and tablets on some international flights falls somewhere between taking off shoes at the security checkpoint and testing baby food and milk for bomb residue.
It’s yet another impediment in the name of security for already weary travelers, especially those from or passing through the 10 mostly Middle Eastern and North African countries covered by new U.S. and British policies. While not quite as disruptive as an outright ban on smartphones — much less a travel ban based on nationality — the restrictions loom large for some.
“Why are only Middle Eastern airlines subject to this ban?” asked Kelsey Norman, a doctoral student who plans to fly home Friday to Los Angeles from Beirut — and expects to have to check her laptop, a Kindle tablet and her DSLR camera. “Overall this policy is inconvenient, discriminatory, and continues to hurt America’s rapidly deteriorating reputation globally.”
New restrictions from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security prohibit the transportation in carry-on baggage of laptop computers, tablets, Kindles, some gaming devices, cameras and other electronics larger than a smartphone. The U.S. government cited unspecified threats as the reason. The U.K. government instituted a similar ban; neither government’s restrictions affect U.S. airlines.
People can still bring with them to their seat items like smartphones, duffel bags, coats, small bottles of hand lotion, snacks, earplugs and other small items.
Some, particularly business travelers, see the potential for theft, damage or compromised data if they are forced to check laptops. The anxiety is real enough that there were attempts to reroute flights to other airports immediately after the ban was announced.
Banu Akdenizli, a native of Turkey, said that being forced to fly 17 hours without her laptop will cost her precious time to work and to prepare for a conference.
“It might seem trivial to a lot of people, but what you get from these parts of the world are usually business travelers,” said Akdenizli, an associate professor of communications at the Doha, Qatar, campus of Northwestern University.
For those who must, there are ways to do a limited amount of work without laptops, tablets or other electronics.
It is possible to transfer import documents to Google Docs and do some work on a smartphone. Features can be limited for some apps; Microsoft’s Office app, for instance, allows users to open only one document at a time.
These apps are good enough for simple proofreading and minor editing, but will leave users wanting when more complex tasks are required. The text will also be small on smartphones, though there is a way to temporarily reformat it to accommodate smaller displays.
One simple task that can be done on a smartphone is communicating via email or cleaning up inboxes. In-flight Wi-Fi is required to send or receive emails.
If travelers need downtime, there is always Netflix or Amazon. Users can download content to a smartphone before leaving so that it’s easily accessible.
AT LEAST IT’S NOT PHONES
Laptops and other gadgets play only a supporting role to the smartphone for many travelers. Yet even in cases where there are restrictions on smartphones, at least in the most recent and notable example, the reasons were clear.
Last fall, Samsung asked users of its fire-prone Galaxy Note 7 to “power down and stop using the device” on planes. (The phone was later banned, and then recalled.)
One big difference with that ban and today’s regionally based restrictions is that with the Galaxy, there were widely circulated videos of Note 7s bursting into flames. There was no doubt that this would be a bad thing at 30,000 feet.
The potential danger cited by the U.S. and the U.K. is more ambiguous.
Yet even for some travelers who do not mind stowing away laptops to abide by the new rules, there is some apprehension.
Nick Lieber, a dual U.S.-Israeli citizen living in Jerusalem, plans an April trip to Chicago that will take him through Amman, Jordan, and therefore subject him to the ban. He doesn’t anticipate having to do work on his laptop during the flight.
But he worries about laptop lithium-ion batteries — which have been blamed for past aircraft fires — stored in the plane’s cargo hold. “I’m a nervous flyer already,” Lieber said.
Associated Press writers Russ Bynum in Savannah, Georgia, and Anick Jesdanun in New York contributed to this story.
KAMPALA, Uganda (AP) — Nearly a third of people in sub-Saharan Africa do not have access to safe drinking water, the World Water Council said Wednesday, urging governments to contribute adequate amounts of their budgets toward projects aimed at making safe water widely available.
“There is an absolute necessity to increase water security in order to overcome the challenges brought on by climate change and human influence … We need commitment at the highest levels,” the organization’s president, Benedito Braga, said in a statement marking World Water Day.
Africa and Asia are the most affected by scarcity of safe water, with Papua New Guinea, Equatorial Guinea and Angola reporting that clean water is available to less than 50 percent of their populations, the statement said.
Globally, at least 1.8 billion people use a drinking-water source contaminated with feces, and half of the world’s population will be living in water-stressed areas by 2025, according to the World Health Organization.
The water problem is particularly serious in sub-Saharan Africa, where 32 percent of people lack access to clean water and where some of the world’s poorest live. Water-borne diseases like cholera are common. Africa’s population is also growing quickly, putting even more pressure on available sources of safe water.
In Africa’s largest city, environmental activists protested for better access to clean water. Community leaders in Lagos, Nigeria, said residents of the sprawling city of 21 million are suffering.
“When we fetch the water, it foams and smells like petrol and detergent was poured into it,” Barakatu Elegbede said. “It will just be foaming, it’s no longer drinkable.” Residents blamed unmaintained petroleum pipes buried underground for decades.
Less than 20 percent of Lagos residents have access to clean water, said activist Akinbode Oluwafemi.
Han Seung-soo, the U.N. special envoy for disaster risk reduction and water, told Wednesday’s opening of The First General Assembly Water Dialogue that “during the past decade, water-related disasters have struck more frequently and have become more severe.”
He said over 90 percent of human loss caused by disasters has been water-related.
Associated Press videographer Lekan Oyekanmi in Lagos, Nigeria, and writer Edith M. Lederer at the United Nations contributed.