Connect with us


Aurora shooting: Five dead in Illinois workplace attack

Five people were killed and five police officers wounded Friday afternoon when a gunman opened fire inside of a warehouse in Aurora, Ill., police say.

Aurora Police Chief Kristin Zimen confirmed the suspect, 45-year-old Gary Martin, was killed in an exchange of gunfire with police after shooting several civilians as well as officers who rushed to the Henry Pratt Company warehouse after reports of gunfire. It was not immediately clear if the five fatalities included Martin.

Zimen said during a brief news conference that officers were “fired upon immediately” upon responding to the 29,000 square-foot warehouse at about 1:30 p.m. Central time. Police believe Martin was an employee at the warehouse.

Tameka Martin, who identified herself to WBEZ Chicago as the sister of the gunman, said Martin was laid off from Henry Pratt two weeks ago. She said Martin had worked there at least 20 years.

“He shot officers, so if they did shoot him and kill him, they was, I guess, defending themselves.” Martin told WBEZ.

Police say the five wounded officers were taken to local hospitals, two of whom were transferred to trauma centers. A sixth officer suffered a knee injury. Police did not take questions but scheduled a second news conference Friday night. Police did not specify if any others were injured, or how many.

Gabriel Gonzales, an Iraq War Marine veteran who can see the Henry Pratt warehouse from his front yard, said the number of police vehicles, flashing lights and armored cars Friday afternoon were giving him flashbacks.

“When you are a combat zone you expect it,” said Gonzales. “I’ve never seen this many police officers anywhere.”

He was watching his grandchildren, who were mesmerized by the activity unfolding through the window, and worrying about their brother Anthony, whose school was put under lock down.

“My grandson had a school lock down at 8 years old. I mean, can you believe that?” Gonzalez said. “Back when I was a kid, it was just tornadoes.”

Tiffany Probst, 38, a legal assistant said her best friend saw a post on Facebook about the shooting and she started texting “that your dad might be inside!”

Her father, John, has worked as a machinist in the building for over 40 years. He has three grown children and has five grandchildren. Probst raced down to the factory but it was all blocked by police.

“I knew there was no way to call him because he’s old school and never has a cellphone,” then she heard from friends father was giving TV interviews and talking with the police.

“He’s safe and talking to the news,” she said. “He’s not much of a talker, but when it comes to this, I can tell by his voice he’s real shaken up. We are looking forward to giving him a hug.”

Click to comment

Leave a Reply


Facebook unveiled a cryptocurrency called Libra

fb libra

Facebook  unveiled a cryptocurrency called Libra yesterday, as well as the Libra Association, a not-for-profit that will oversee all things Libra. While Libra’s white paper draws a lot of inspiration from other cryptocurrencies, the current governance model and blockchain implementation remind me of banks more than bitcoin.

Permissioned blockchain

The Libra Blockchain is designed like a true blockchain, with a Byzantine Fault Tolerance approach, the use of Merkle trees to guarantee the integrity and a network of nodes.

And yet, unlike popular blockchains, such as the bitcoin blockchain or the Ethereum blockchain, you won’t be able to run a node in your backyard. Only founding members of the Libra Association  will be able to run a node. There are currently 28 members, such as Vodafone, Mastercard, Visa, Stripe, Uber and Spotify.

In other words, it looks like a blockchain, but it’s not a real blockchain. It’s not truly decentralized. It’s not truly open, as the ledger of transactions will be accessible to Libra Association founding members exclusively — unless Facebook or another founding member builds a public-facing API of some sort.

Facebook is well aware of that, as the company says it plans to let anyone run a node at some point over the next five years:

To ensure that Libra is truly open and always operates in the best interest of its users, our ambition is for the Libra network to become permissionless. The challenge is that as of today we do not believe that there is a proven solution that can deliver the scale, stability, and security needed to support billions of people and transactions across the globe through a permissionless network. One of the association’s directives will be to work with the community to research and implement this transition, which will begin within five years of the public launch of the Libra Blockchain and ecosystem.

Authorized resellers

The Libra cryptocurrency is a stablecoin, as it is tied to a basket of fiat currencies and securities. So it requires a lot of oversight to make sure that every time the Libra Association mints a Libra, they buy and store the equivalent in fiat currencies and securities in a bank account.

Similarly, every time someone converts Libra into, say, USD, the Libra Association has to issue a selling order on the equivalent in fiat currencies and securities.

That’s why the Libra Association will work with a list of authorized resellers. It creates a barrier to entry and transforms the Libra Association into a regulatory body for the Libra ecosystem.

Once again, this works against decentralization as only trustworthy partners will get a license to operate as an authorized reseller. Small financial institutions will have no choice but to work with an authorized reseller if their clients want to get paid back in Libra, for instance. All the founding members become a sort of Visa or Mastercard for the 21st century.

Other stablecoins, such as USDC, work in a similar fashion. If you want to support USDC on your exchange or payment service, you have to become a member of the CENTRE Consortium.

But anybody can look at the USDC ledger, as USDC is an ERC-20 token built on top of the Ethereum blockchain. If you run an Ethereum node, you indirectly contribute to USDC transactions. And there are a ton of partner exchanges that open up a lot of opportunities.

Shadow bank

There’s a reason why French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire toldEurope 1 that Libra can’t “become a sovereign currency.” In some countries with high inflation rates, Libra could become an instant hit and power many of the peer-to-peer and even business-to-customer transactions.

But central banks that issue currencies and conduct monetary policies are members of the International Monetary Funds. They also have different objectives compared to private entities.

Given the current nature of the Libra Association, there’s a chance that Libra becomes a quasi-sovereign currency in Venezuela, Argentina, Turkey or South Africa — but it would be controlled by private companies that don’t care about monetary policies.

There’s a reason why the European Union is moving toward a single market but can’t agree at all on budget, tax harmonization and debt. Similarly, China cracked down on the shadow banking systembecause it caused systemic risks.

Governments will want strict oversight on the Libra Association because the association could change its goals overnight. What if they remove a fiat currency from the basket of fiat currencies and securities? What if they start issuing credit?

Essentially, the Libra Association is now in charge of a quasi-fiat currency and will face a ton of challenges on the regulatory front. It comes down from its governance structure and technical implementation.

Continue Reading


NYSC makes a promise to june 2019 corps members, speaks on new minimum wage

nysc june 2019

The Director-General,  NYSC, National Youth Service Corps, Brig-Gen. Shuaibu Ibrahim, has promised to adopt schemes that would make corps members employers of labour at the end of their one year compulsory service.

This is as prospective corps members prepare to resume camping in various locations across the country next week.

He also said that at the appropriate time the corps members will be communicated on the new minimum wage.

Ibrahim made the promise when he declared open a training workshop in Abuja on Saturday.

He said, “We have our usual camp activities but we will dwell much on the skill acquisition programmes targeted at making the corps members self reliant. Job is not readily available as it is but with knowledge and ideas, one can go places.

“We have such programmes on ground to train them in skill acquisition and entrepreneurial development. I can assure you that we are going to make them employers of labour.

“We are perfected arrangements to open their minds and eyes to contribute their quota to the training. The importance of the scheme is to promote connection, unity, peace and discipline amongst the corps members.

he also promised to with communicate them As for the new minimum wage.

Continue Reading