The bitcoin exchange Coinbase has been ordered to hand the IRS info on 14,355 of its highest-rolling customers

taxes

  • On Wednesday, a court ordered Coinbase to hand over information to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) about users that made transactions over $20,000 between 2013 and 2015.
  • That request includes information on 14,355 Coinbase customers across 8.9 million transactions, according to the court order. 
  • The order comes nearly a year after the IRS first requested records on all of Coinbase’s transactions between 2013 and 2015 as part of its efforts to catch tax evaders.

Just hours after wild fluctuations in bitcoin prices put Coinbase’s servers on the fritz, the cryptocurrency exchange is facing a new challenge: the US government. 

Coinbase must turn over information about thousands of its users to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), a US district court ruled on Wednesday.

As one of the leading exchanges for cryptocurrencies like bitcoin and ether, Coinbase has seen billions of dollars exchanged on its platform— some of which the IRS believes is not being accurately reported by taxpayers.

The court order requires Coinbase to hand over info on all customers who made a transaction worth $20,000 or more between 2013 and 2015. Coinbase has estimated that this request would total 8.9 million transactions between 14,355 different account holders, according to the court order.  

Among the information requested are the names, birth dates, addresses, tax IDs, transaction logs and account invoices of the Coinbase users.

That sounds like a lot of information but it’s actually a major narrowing from the IRS’s initial summons in November 2016, which sought information about every single transaction on the exchange during the period. Coinbase argued that this was an invasion of its customers’ privacy. The company initially ignored the request, before the IRS filed a petition to enforce the summons in March of this year. 

An “unprecedented victory for the industry”

A blog post from Coinbase Wednesday celebrated the ruling as a partial success, calling it an “unprecedented victory for the industry.” 

“The government’s own lawyers noted at the hearing that the IRS is not accustomed to having to fight for records in this context, and most companies just turn records over without going to court,” David Farmer, director of business operations at Coinbase, wrote in the blog.

Farmer wrote that the final number of people whose records were ordered on Wednesday is 97% lower than when the IRS first requested information.

Despite the celebration, Farmer suggested in the blog that Coinbase may not obey the request, or may challenge the order further. “In the event that we ultimately produce the documents under this Court order, we intend to notify impacted users in advance of any disclosure,” Farmer wrote. 

Wednesday’s court order denied Coinbase’s request for an “evidentiary hearing,” which Coinbase could have used to argue that the IRS showed bad faith in requesting the documents it asked for. 

Bitcoin is one of the most popular iterations of blockchain technology. Find out exactly how blockchain works with Business Insider’s special explainer.

SEE ALSO: Bitcoin’s price is collapsing and people can’t trade because 2 big exchanges have crashed

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Ex-Uber staffer says in bombshell letter that the company had a unit dedicated to stealing trade secrets (GOOG, GOOGL)

Travis Kalanick

  • A trade-theft trial between Uber and Alphabet’s autonomous vehicle unit, Waymo, has been delayed after a hearing in San Francisco on Tuesday.
  • Waymo requested the delay on Monday so that it could look into whether or not Uber had withheld evidence in the case.
  • Uber had a unit dedicated to stealing trade secrets, according to ex-staffer Richard Jacobs, who testified in court Tuesday.

A former Uber employee’s description of spying on rivals and destroying evidence caused chaos in a San Francisco courtroom on Tuesday.

The trial between Uber and Waymo scheduled to begin next week has been delayed by order of the judge, who scolded Uber for withholding evidence, according to media reports.

The allegations of cloak-and-dagger tactics at Uber, the ride-hailing giant that has been accused of stealing trade secrets involving self-driving cars from Waymo, seemed straight out of a spy novel. And the events in court added more uncertainty into a high-profile lawsuit between two of the tech industry’s most powerful players.

Judge William Alsup delayed the upcoming trial, originally scheduled for December 4, saying it would be a “huge injustice” to force Waymo to go to trial given the new evidence that surfaced in the case, according Reuters and other accounts from the hearing.

Lawyers for Waymo read a letter apparently written by former Uber security staffer Richard Jacobs, which detailed an internal unit at the company focused on stealing trade secrets.

Jacobs also testified in person on Tuesday, where he said that the surveillance team at Uber used “anonymous servers” separate Uber’s main servers, according to Bloomberg. He described it as a system that actively deletes messages after a small delay so as to leave no trace.

Waymo had requested the delay on Monday so it could look into whether or not Uber had withheld evidence in the case.

But even after Judge Alsup delayed the start of the trial, Tuesday’s hearing continued for more than two hours, with a seemingly unending series of eyebrow-raising claims and counterclaims.

The closely watched case pits two of the tech industry’s most powerful companies against each other at a time when each is racing to develop self-driving cars that could upend the automobile and transportation industries.

Waymo, the autonomous-car subsidiary of Google parent company Alphabet, sued Uber in February, alleging that a former Waymo exec Anthony Levandowski shared confidential files with Uber. Levandowski left his role at Waymo in January 2016 to found another self-driving-car company, Otto, which was acquired by Uber in August 2016.

Most of the allegations in the case date to the period when Uber was led by CEO Travis Kalanick, the cofounder who was ousted earlier this year amid criticism that the company had fostered a toxic work culture and allowed sexual harassment to flourish.

In August, former Expedia CEO Dara Khosrowshahi joined Uber as the new CEO, promising to shed the company’s “growth at all costs” mentality.

SEE ALSO: The real fight between Uber and Google over what ‘may be the most lucrative business in history’ is starting

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The ex-cop who killed Walter Scott is using his 'Swiss cheese memory' as a defense — and citing Jeff Sessions' own memory lapses as an example

walter scott

  • Michael Slager, the former South Carolina police officer who fatally shot Walter Scott in the back as he was running away, is being sentenced next week.
  • Federal prosecutors are seeking an enhanced sentence due to Slager’s alleged obstruction of justice, when he lied to investigators about the shooting.
  • Slager’s defense is citing recent testimony from Attorney General Jeff Sessions as proof that one can offer differing accounts of an event due to stress-related memory lapses — not lies.

A former South Carolina police officer who faces sentencing next week for fatally shooting an unarmed black man is citing recent testimony from Attorney General Jeff Sessions as an example of how a person’s apparently evolving memories are attributable to stress, not lies.

Michael Slager pleaded guilty last May to committing federal civil rights violations when he fired eight rounds into the back of 50-year-old Walter Scott as the South Carolina man fled a traffic stop in April 2015. Scott’s death attracted national attention after a bystander’s video of the incident went viral, inflaming the ongoing debate over racial bias and excessive force in policing.

Federal prosecutors are seeking an enhanced sentence for obstruction of justice, accusing Slager of lying about the shooting when he told investigators that Scott had charged him and attempted to steal his Taser — a false claim that the bystander’s video later refuted.

Slager’s attorneys, however, are fighting the enhanced sentencing by arguing that Slager’s contradicting stories were caused by his memory faltering under stress, and not a deliberate attempt to mislead.

“A Swiss cheese memory is a symptom of stress, not an indicator of lying,” Slager’s attorneys wrote in a court filing, first citing testimony from a forensic psychiatrist, then using Sessions as an example.

‘I don’t recall’

jeff sessionsMembers of the House Judiciary Committee grilled Sessions in November over his wavering accounts of whether he was aware of contact between members of President Donald Trump’s campaign team and Russia.

Sessions had previously testified twice that he was “not aware” of any such communication. Those assertions were called into question when recently unsealed court documents filed by special counsel Robert Mueller showed that Sessions had been aware of a young campaign adviser’s desire to set up a meeting between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Sessions had been presiding over the March 31, 2016 meeting at which the adviser, George Papadopoulos, had pitched the idea. Sessions, however, maintained in his recent testimony that his story has “never changed,” and that he has “always told the truth.” His repeated “I don’t recall” refrain has since become the subject of widespread mocking on social media and derisive video mash-ups.

“I had no recollection of this [March 31] meeting until I saw these news reports,” Sessions testified. “I do now recall the March 2016 meeting that Mr. Papadopoulos attended, but I have no clear recollection of the details of what he said during that meeting.”

Slager’s lawyers, in their court filing submitted last week, seized upon Sessions’ argument as an example of how a person under pressure could feasibly offer up several different versions of their story without purposely lying.

Michael Slager

“Like Sessions, Slager never lied or misled anyone,” Slager’s attorneys argued in a court filing. “Like Sessions, he answered the questions that were asked. When he had his memory refreshed, he added the refreshed recollection to his testimony. When he failed to remember certain items, it can be attributed to the stress or chaos of the event during which the memory should have been formed.”

The move appears to be somewhat of a taunt to the Justice Department, which is prosecuting Slager. If the prosecutors continue to call Slager a liar, they could risk appearing to call Sessions, the head of their department, a liar.

“Unlike Slager, who had been in what he perceived as a life and death struggle before he made his statements, Sessions had time to prepare for his Congressional testimony, yet still often got it wrong,” the filing said.

It continued: “Why? According to Sessions, he was working in chaotic conditions created by the Trump campaign. This was undoubtedly stressful, though not as stressful as having shot a man to death, or dealing with the aftermath of that, or facing the death penalty or life in prison. As Sessions made clear in his statement, a failure to recall, or an inaccurate recollection, does not a liar make.”

Read the full court filing below:

SEE ALSO: The mysterious death of a Border Patrol agent is prompting new calls for Trump’s border wall

DON’T MISS: This is the original story that a cop told about killing a black man before a horrifying video emerged

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Why asylum seekers are still in an Australian detention center, even after Australia abandoned it

Asylum-seekers look through a fence at the Manus Island detention centre in Papua New Guinea March 21, 2014. Eoin Blackwell/AAP/via Reuters

  • Asylum seekers and refugees have allegedly been stabbed, beaten and robbed in Papua New Guinea, where they are being forced to leave a former detention center they’ve lived in for years.
  • Australia established the offshore processing center to discourage asylum seekers from taking dangerous boat trips, but officials have been forced to leave due to local laws.
  • The remaining men are scared for their lives and have few options.

More than 400 asylum seekers and refugees still lived in a former Australian detention center in Papua New Guinea when it was stormed by local police on Thursday.

The refugees have been urged to move to other centers but are worried for their safety. Instead, many have chosen to remain at the center they have been forced to live in for years.

In September, Human Rights Watch reported that several men who had left the center had been stabbed, beaten, and robbed.” Some men were too scared to leave the center to even talk to people representing Human Rights Watch.

In 2012, Australia recommenced offshore processing of asylum seekers who arrived by boat, to dissuade human traffickers and prevent hundreds from drowning at sea, and promised to never settle them in Australia.

Detainees were split between centers on Manus Island in Papua New Guinea and the country of Nauru. But last month, Australian officials left the Manus Island regional processing center, after the Papua New Guinea Supreme Court found the facility illegal in a 2016 ruling.

The center closed on October 31 and officials urged a small number of refugees to “apply” for a transfer to the detention center in Nauru and for the remaining men to return home or move to one of three transit centers near Lorengau, the main town on Manus Island, only one of which is reported to have medical facilities.

Because of attacks, and despite them, asylum seekers feel safer where they are 

After reports of locals with machetes looting the center and attacking refugees on the island, many residents felt it was safer to stay where they are — even though food, water, and electricity are no longer provided.

“The police already, they beat some of the refugees and the local people. They attack the refugees and rob them. This place is not a safe place,” Behrouz Boochani‏, a journalist and asylum seeker on Manus Island who was reportedly arrested on Thursday, recently told the ABC.

Visiting Manus Island in September, Human Rights Watch reported nearly every refugee and asylum seeker who was interviewed had experienced or witnessed violence.

The men reported having knives put to their throats, slashed wrists, fractured skulls and even being arrested for disturbing locals after being attacked. Assailants used knives, machetes, sticks, screwdrivers, and sometimes threw rocks. 

In 2014, locals attacked the center and killed one refugee, and injured 51. And earlier this year drunk soldiers from Papua New Guinea’s Defence Forces rammed the center and fired more than 100 shots, including from an M-16 assault rifle, into the center. The men feared for their lives.

Now locals are also angry that there was no consultation regarding the centers that were built in residential areas. 

According to the Australian Associated Press, the Governor of Manus Island said locals fear they too will be in danger, so they have armed themselves with knives and other weapons as a precaution.

Few options on the outside

After promising to never resettle asylum seekers who arrive by boat in Australia, the federal government approached 30 countries to create a third country arrangement. Only three — the US, New Zealand and Cambodia — have offered resettlement.

However, far fewer people have been relocated than hoped.

Despite a $AU55 million ($42 million US) deal, Cambodia resettled only a handful of refugees and a top government official admitted the country doesn’t have appropriate social programs to support them.

New Zealand recently offered to accept a number of refugees, but Australia’s Immigration Minister said such a deal would “start the boats.”

The US was expected to take up to 1,250 refugees under an Obama-era agreement. However, when President Donald Trump came into office, he called the deal “dumb.”

So far, the US has agreed to resettle 54 refugees, but those on Manus Island are yet to be relocated.

SEE ALSO: The US will honor a ‘dumb’ refugee deal with Australia

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The ACLU has taken over 100 legal actions against the Trump administration so far — here's a guide to the most notable ones

ACLU

  • The American Civil Liberties Union has filed more than 100 legal actions against the Trump administration.
  • The ACLU’s membership has soared since President Donald Trump was elected, and the group has received millions of dollars in fundraising.
  • Many people remain divided over the ACLU’s tactics. The group received widespread criticism after defending neo-Nazi protestors in Charlottesville, Virginia, for example.

Three days after Donald Trump was elected president, the American Civil Liberties Union wrote a memo urging him to reconsider several controversial campaign promises.

Trump’s plans to deport 11 million undocumented immigrants, ban Muslims from entering the US, reduce women’s access to abortion services, reauthorize torture tactics, and open up libel laws were “not simply un-American and wrong-headed,” the ACLU said, but “unlawful and unconstitutional.”

“If you do not reverse course and endeavor to make these campaign promises a reality, you will have to contend with the full firepower of the ACLU at your every step,” the civil liberties law group cautioned the incoming president.

Trump ignored the warning. The ACLU, in response, has kept its word. On the one-year anniversary of Trump’s election, the ACLU wrote a full-page letter in The New York Times, vowing to continue its fight against many of his policies.

Since Trump’s inauguration, the ACLU has filed at least 112 legal actions, including ethical complaints, calls for investigations, Freedom of Information Act requests, and 56 full-scale lawsuits against the sitting president and his administration, ACLU spokesperson Thomas Dresslar told Business Insider.

As a nonpartisan organization, the group has a long history of targeting presidents. It fought former President Barack Obama on mass surveillance and drones, former President George W. Bush on the torture program and deportation policies, and former President Bill Clinton on the lack of prisoner rights and indefinite detention of noncitizens.

When Business Insider asked the ACLU to provide a comprehensive list of lawsuits filed against Obama and Bush during their presidencies, the group said it does not “have any such list.” But Dresslar said the number of actions filed against the Trump administration is far higher.

“Trump’s policies … coupled with his lack of understanding and respect for the rule of law amount to a constitutional crisis, the likes of which we have never seen,” said ACLU Executive Director Anthony Romero.

Many liberals and never-Trumpers welcome the aggressiveness. Within Trump’s first five months in office, the ACLU’s membership nearly quadrupled to 1.6 million, according to Romero. The newfound publicity also helped with fundraising. When Trump formally announced his first travel ban, the ACLU hauled in a record $24 million from 356,000 online donations.

FILE PHOTO: Members of the Ku Klux Klan face counter-protesters as they rally in support of Confederate monuments in Charlottesville, Virginia, U.S. on July 8, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst/File Photo

The ACLU has critics on both sides of the political spectrum. In August, many were outraged after the ACLU announced it would defend the right of white supremacists and neo-Nazis to march in Charlottesville, Virginia.

While the ACLU’s willingness to defend anyone, regardless of political affiliation, has won it praise from people on both the right and the left, it has also divided the group internally over how it should approach some of today’s most controversial issues. These organizational challenges — as well as efforts to hold the president accountable — are unlikely to go away anytime soon.

Here’s a recap of some of the ACLU’s most prominent legal challenges against the Trump administration so far:

SEE ALSO: The world’s hottest startup factory is transforming the ACLU in powerful ways

DON’T MISS: The ACLU received a record $24 million in donations after Trump’s immigration order

The travel ban

Just weeks after assuming office, Trump implemented his much-criticized travel ban on people from seven majority-Muslim countries: Syria, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Sudan, Yemen, and Somalia.

The ACLU fired back immediately, suing the Trump administration on behalf of foreign travelers detained at US airports and questioning the constitutionality of the president’s order.

Federal judges have blocked every iteration of the ban, and the Supreme Court will likely have the final say on whether the latest version, issued in September, is constitutional.

The ACLU settled the original suit with US Department of Justice officials in August.

The rejection of the first travel ban prompted the Trump administration to introduced a revised, temporary version. This time, Iraq was removed from the list and special exemptions were given to permanent residents and religious minorities.

Just before the second ban was about to expire in October, Trump officials unveiled a third version that would permanently ban people from the original seven countries, excluding Iraq and Sudan. North Korea, Venezuela, and Chad were added to the list. The ACLU has continued to challenge the orders.

“This third Muslim ban is yet another attempt to … paper over the president’s plain religious animus, which he has never disavowed,” Cody Wofsy, an ACLU staff attorney said. “The courts have not been fooled and have rightly seen the previous versions of the order as unreasonable, immoral, and unconstitutional. The same is true of this one.”

On October 17, a federal judge struck the bulk of this version down as well. The ACLU, meanwhile, says it has challenged all versions of Trump’s travel ban through at least 13 different lawsuits and more than 19 FOIA requests.

The firing of former FBI Director James Comey

Less than a week after Trump fired FBI Director James Comey, who was at the time leading the investigation into whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia during the 2016 presidential campaign, the ACLU filed a FOIA request with the Justice Department and FBI seeking records related to the firing.

“Political meddling with law enforcement investigations is a recipe for abuse of power,” said Hina Shamsi, an ACLU expert on national security. “The public has a right to know why Comey was fired so the president can be held accountable for any abuse of his position.”

The ACLU also called for a special prosecutor to be appointed to continue the Russia investigation. Former FBI Director Robert Mueller assumed the role on May 17.

A controversial raid in Yemen that left 12 civilians dead

In January, Trump approved a US military raid on a suspected Al-Qaeda base in Yemen that ended up killing up to 25 civilians, including nine children. Among the victims was Navy Seal William Owens and Nawar al-Awlaki, an eight-year-old girl who was a US citizen.

Human Rights Watch confirmed that at least 14 civilians were killed, calling for a thorough US government investigation.

The ACLU filed a FOIA request in March with the CIA and Departments of Defense, Justice, and State seeking documents related to the decision-making process that led to the botched military operation as well as the internal review of civilian deaths the US government was supposed to undertake.

In May, the ACLU filed a lawsuit demanding the government comply with the original FOIA request. The CIA refused to comply, arguing that doing so would put national security secrets at risk. The ACLU is now taking the intelligence agency to court to force the release of relevant records. Oral arguments will begin in December.

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Police reportedly used metal rods to force asylum seekers out of a former Australian detention center

manus island beat refugees

  • Papua New Guinea police reportedly used metal rods to beat refugees and asylum seekers at a former Australian detention center on Manus Island.
  • The police were trying to clear the center after Australia abandoned it three weeks ago.
  • More than 400 men had remained at the center.

Local police reportedly used metal poles to beat and force refugees and asylum seekers out of a former Australian detention center in Papua New Guinea on Friday.

PNG police confirmed to SBS News that 328 men were “moved out of the camp” but said “nobody was forced.”

A video reportedly filmed at the center on Friday morning showed guards hitting men with metal rods as they appear to be are dragged away.

The Iranian-Kurdish refugee and journalist Behrouz Boochani, who was detained during police action on Thursday, also reported on Twitter that men said they were beaten by police and were now leaving the detention center. 

 

Australian authorities left the processing center, cutting off power and water, on October 31 after the PNG Supreme Court ruled in 2016 that it was illegal.

However, many of the men feared for their lives so had chosen not to relocate to other accommodation options.

On Thursday, local authorities entered the former detention center to try and move the men and there were reports authorities were being aggressive and threatening. PNG police told Fairfax Media that they would not be using force.

On Thursday, The United Nations Human Rights Council responded to allegations of brutality by Manus Island police, saying they were “troubled” by reports of police forcibly removing asylum seekers and refugees from the center. 

“UNHCR has been given assurances that excessive for has not been used, but cannot independently confirm as staff have not been granted full access to the facilities,” the statement read. 

On Friday, Australia’s Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull confirmed that “busloads” of the men were leaving after “complying with the lawful directions of the PNG authorities,” and headed to other accommodations “as they should.”

SEE ALSO: Why asylum seekers are still in an Australian detention center, even after Australia abandoned it

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Homicides have hit a new high in Mexico — but that's not the only sign of growing insecurity

Mexico protest Guerrero Ayotzinapa 43

  • The number of homicides in Mexico has risen steadily over the past three years, particularly in areas where drug-related crime is high.
  • While much of the violence is related to organized crime, the Mexican government has been criticized for its heavy-handed response, which has led to some high-profile cases of abuse.
  • The country’s deteriorating security situation promises to play a significant role in the presidential election next year.

Mexico’s 2,764 homicide victims in October is the most recorded in any month over the last 20 years, according to data collected by the country’s federal government.

The new data puts 2017 on pace to be the most violent year in Mexico since the government began releasing homicide data in 1997.

Federal data also showed that 2,371 homicide investigations, which can include more than one victim, were opened in October — the highest monthly total over the past two decades.

Mexico homicides

The 23,968 homicide victims reported though October this year are nearly 27% more than the 18,895 recorded over the same period last year.

This year’s total through 10 months was almost 55% more than the 15,480 recorded over the same period in 2015.

Mexican federal data may in fact undercount the number of homicides in the country, however.

Civil-society groups have suggested that state governments, which submit crime data to the federal government, may misrepresent or manipulate the number of intentional killings.

“We don’t know if October was the most violent month in the last two decades. [Federal government] numbers are sufficiently poor to maintain some skepticism,” Mexican security analyst Alejandro Hope said after the data was released.

“If you want to make comparisons between different periods, you have to contrast using the homicide rate, not the absolute number.”

While 2017’s homicide number looks set to exceed the violent years between 2008 and 2012, when drug-related violence was raged across much of the country, this year’s homicide rate per 100,000 people remains below those years.

2010 and 2012 were both above 18 homicides per 100,000 people, while 2011 approached 20 per 100,000. The rate fell after 2012, bottoming out at just under 13 per 100,000 in 2014. It has risen since: 2016 saw 16.8 homicides per 100,000 people, while 2017 is at 16.9 homicides per 100,000 people through October.

Mexico homicide rates

Not all of Mexico’s deadly violence is related to drugs and organized crime, but areas where criminal groups have traditionally been active have seen already elevated homicide numbers increase.

Through October, the strategically valuable border state of Baja California saw a 94% increase in homicide victims compared to the same period last year.

Chihuahua, also a valuable border state, saw a 35% increase. Veracruz, a Gulf coast state that has been a hotbed for criminal activity, saw a 31% increase.

Sinaloa, the heartland of the cartel of the same name, had a nearly 42% increase, while Guerrero, a heavily contested hub of opium production, had a nearly 14% increase through October.

Baja California Sur, home to popular resorts in Los Cabos, has seen the most severe increase in homicides. Its 536 homicides victims through October this year were 223% more than during the same period last year and almost 400% more than during the first 10 months of 2015.

Baja California Sur’s spiraling violence was underscored on Monday, when the head of the state’s human-rights commission, Silvestre de la Toba, and his son were gunned down.

‘Security needs to remain an utmost priority’

While homicides have steadily risien, overall crime has also risen. During the first 10 months of 2017, the Mexican federal government recorded a 13% increase in reported crimes compared to the same period last year. Violent crimes other than homicide are up as well.

Attempted homicides with a firearm over the first 10 months of this year increased 39% compared to the same period last year, according to Mexican news site Animal Politico. In 66.1% of the 20,878 homicide cases opened through October this year, the crime was committed with a firearm.

Violent robberies are up 38% so far this year, with over 50,000 more reported through October than were reported over the same period last year. Within that category, violent robberies of businesses increased 62%.

Ecatepec Mexico police crime arrest

Extortion cases were up more than 12% through October — though many instances of extortion go unreported. Sexual attacks were also up more than 10% through the first 10 months of the year. Mexico, along with Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala, is experiencing severe crisis levels of femicide, or homicides specifically targeting women, according to the UN.

Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto has faced mounting criticism over crime rates that have steadily risen over the past three years and his government’s ineffective response. Peña Nieto has pushed for reforms to the country’s current security system, including a “Single Command” plan that would centralize public-security authority and reduce the autonomy of municipal police.

In an appearance before legislators this week, Interior Minister Miguel Osorio Chong touted the government’s coordinated efforts to capture 108 of the 122 criminal suspects who are considered the country’s most dangerous and defended federal security forces against charges of excessive force and other abuses.

Mexico's President Enrique Pena Nieto gives a speech during the opening of the World Cancer Leaders' Summit in Mexico City, Mexico November 14, 2017. REUTERS/Henry Romero

Osorio Chong drew attention to the problem of undermanned and underpaid police forces and responded to criticism of a security law that would formalize the military’s role in domestic law enforcement.

While critics fear the measure could shield military personnel who have committed abuses, Osorio Chong said the law “was to protect citizens” and would determine when and under what conditions the military could be deployed domestically.

Growing criticism of Peña Nieto’s handling of the security situation in the country comes as the president and his party prepare for the upcoming presidential election, scheduled for the middle of next year.

Crime is just one issue that will influence voters, but Peña Nieto himself has acknowledged its importance.

“It has to be said, we’re still not satisfied, and we still have lots more to achieve,” Peña Nieto said in a speech earlier this month. “Security needs to remain an utmost priority for the government.”

SEE ALSO: Mexican heroin is flooding the US, and the Sinaloa cartel is steering the flow

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Another woman has accused Jeremy Piven of sexual misconduct on the set of HBO's 'Entourage'

jeremy piven

  • A fourth woman has come forward to accuse Jeremy Piven of sexual misconduct.
  • Anastasia Taneie told BuzzFeed News that Piven groped her when she was working as an extra on HBO’s “Entourage” in April 2009. 
  • Piven has denied all accusations of sexual misconduct.

 

Another woman has come forward accusing actor Jeremy Piven of sexual misconduct on the set of HBO’s “Entourage.” 

Anastasia Taneie, 30, told BuzzFeed News that when she was working as an extra on “Entourage” in April 2009, Piven, one of the show’s stars, confronted her in a dark hallway and groped her breast and genitals as he forcefully pushed her against a wall.

Taneie said Piven only stopped groping her when an assistant director walked by, and that Piven then ordered her to be removed from the set, claiming she had initiated inappropriate contact.

Taneie did not file a formal complaint at the time, she told the outlet, because “I was scared at the time nobody was going to believe me. I didn’t want to make a scene. I just wanted to go home.” 

A fellow extra that day, Araceli Giacoman, told BuzzFeed that she and Taneie were among a group whom Piven had approached, and that Piven had spoken quietly to Taneie and took her with him. Giacoman said Taneie returned looking “distraught,” “scared,” and “shaken.”

Another fellow extra, Andy Lobo, told the outlet Taneie was crying after the alleged incident, and that she told him Piven had forced himself on her.

While HBO told Buzzfeed that the network “did not receive any complaints against Jeremy Piven on ‘Entourage,'” Jason Rupe, who cast extras on the show between 2009 and 2011, told the outlet that he’d had numerous complaints from women who did not want to work on the show again after being verbally harassed by men on the set.

“I do remember being quite frustrated at one point and even maybe telling one or two of the ADs, like, ‘Look, this sh–‘s gotta stop,'” Rupe said. “These are great actresses that fit exactly what you’re looking for, but they don’t want to come back because they’re getting hassled a lot.'”

Piven, 52, has denied all allegations and supported his denials by providing BuzzFeed with the results of a polygraph test he took on November 13, which the test’s examiner said he passed. 

Piven also contacted BuzzFeed to say that a previous accuser, documentary filmmaker Amy Rachelle Meador, 43, was going to retract claims she made last month to Hollywood Life, about Piven attempting to rape her at her home. Meador instead told BuzzFeed she stood by her story.

Business Insider has reached out to Piven’s representatives and HBO for further comment.

Three other women have made sexual misconduct allegations against Piven since last month, including TV personality and actress Ariane Bellamar, “Longmire” star Cassidy Freeman, and advertising executive Tiffany Bacon Scourby.

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Capitol Police are reportedly investigating leaked nude photo of a Texas GOP lawmaker

Joe Barton

  • A sexually explicit image of Republican Rep. Joe Barton of Texas surfaced on the internet on Tuesday.
  • Barton says the Capitol Hill police are investigating.
  • Barton reportedly once warned a woman that he would contact the police if she didn’t stop communicating with other women he was previously romantically involved with.

The Washington Post on Wednesday said it had reviewed a 2015 recording of Republican Rep. Joe Barton of Texas warning a woman who received “inappropriate photographs and videos” of him that he might report the matter to the Capitol Hill police. An anonymous Twitter account published a lewd photo photo of Barton on Tuesday.

In a recording of the call, The Post said, Barton confronted the woman after she was discovered to have communicated with other women who were romantically involved with Barton. The woman is also believed to have forwarded explicit materials from Barton to the other women.

“I want your word that this ends,” Barton said in the recording, according to The Post. “I will be completely straight with you. I am ready if I have to, I don’t want to, but I should take all this crap to the Capitol Hill Police and have them launch an investigation. And if I do that, that hurts me potentially big time.”

Barton reportedly continued, saying he would detail all of their exchanges to the police, including material he said he did not want to be publicly disclosed.

“You still apparently had all of those and were in position to use them in a way that would negatively affect my career,” Barton reportedly said.

If the woman shared explicit images of Barton, that may violate Texas laws prohibiting “revenge porn,” in which people publicize such material without consent as a form of retaliation, The Dallas Morning News reported Wednesday. Violators could face a year in jail and up to a $4,000 fine.

On Wednesday, Barton said in a statement that the Capitol Police would launch an investigation into the incident. The Capitol Police could not be reached by Business Insider for comment Wednesday evening.

“When I ended that relationship, she threatened to publicly share my private photographs and intimate correspondence in retaliation,” Barton said, according to The Post.

The woman said she was in contact with Barton for five years, beginning in 2011, after she published a message on his Facebook page, according to The Post. Among the sexually explicit material he sent the woman was reportedly a video of him masturbating, which The Post said appeared to be the source of the photo released on Twitter on Tuesday. The woman interviewed by The Post said she did not publish the photo.

Barton, who said the two had a consensual relationship, was still married when they became romantically involved, according to The Post.

SEE ALSO: Woman says she was called ‘mentally unstable’ after accusing Rep. John Conyers of abusive behavior

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#JusticeForJazzy: Lawyer For Brianna Brochu Says She Shouldn't Face Hate Crime Charges – Essence.com

The former University of Hartford student who jeopardized the health of her black roommate by secretly smearing body fluids on her personal belongings should not be charged with a hate crime, her lawyer said.

The Connecticut NAACP chapter had called for a hate crime charge to be filed against Brianna Brochu for using disgusting tactics to force her roommate Chennel “Jazzy” Rowe — whom she reportedly referred to as “Jamaican Barbie”—  to move out.  

The NAACP chapter believes Brochu’s actions were racially motivated and that she caused physical harm and intimidation to Rowe because she is Black. Brochu, meanwhile, was permanently expelled from the university shortly after Rowe’s disturbing story went viral.

She was charged with criminal mischief and breach of peace when she appeared in court Tuesday. But there was no hate crime charge.

Her lawyer told reporters that the case had nothing to do with race.

“I think that when it’s all said and done, what you’re going to see is that there was nothing racist that motivated this,” Lawyer Tom Stevens said, according to the New York Daily News. “These were two students who were placed together … who didn’t like each other … and it escalated.”

Local police in West Hartford said earlier this month that they were seeking a hate crime charge against Brochu. The local NAACP chapter held a rally earlier in the day before filling the courtroom during Brochu’s court appearance. 

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