Judge rules against NYC
A federal judge upended a cornerstone of New York City policing on Monday, declaring the controversial stop-and-frisk policy a violation of the constitution that unfairly targeted blacks and Hispanics. In a 198-page ruling, Judge Shira Scheindlin said police randomly stopping individuals on the street and subjecting them to searches violates the Fourth Amendment’s protection against unreasonable search and seizure. It also runs afoul of the Fourteenth Amendment’s guarantee of equal protection under the law, Scheindlin said, who stressed how young black and Hispanic males were most likely to be targeted, calling it “a form of racial profiling.” New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said his administration would appeal the ruling, telling reporters that stop-and-search was a “vital deterrent” that had taken 8,000 guns off the street more than a decade.
Brain ticks on after death
There may be a scientific explanation for the vivid near-death experiences, such as seeing a shining light, that some people report after surviving a heart attack, scientists said on Monday. Apparently, the brain keeps on working for up to 30 seconds after blood flow stops, according to a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. University of Michigan scientists did their research on nine lab rats that were anesthetized and then subjected to induced cardiac arrest as part of the experiment. In the first 30 seconds after their hearts were stopped, they all showed a surge of brain activity, observed in electroencephalograms that indicated highly aroused mental states. “We were surprised by the high levels of activity,” said senior author George Mashour, professor of anesthesiology and neurosurgery at the University of Michigan. “In fact, at near-death, many known electrical signatures of consciousness exceeded levels found in the waking state, suggesting that the brain is capable of well-organized electrical activity during the early stage of clinical death.”
Sinkhole eats resort building
Dozens of guests at a Florida resort near Walt Disney World were safely evacuated in the middle of the night on Monday when a large sinkhole opened on the property, swallowing a three-story building. “I was hearing popping noises, and I was hearing people screaming and glass breaking. The building actually twisted and separated,” Summer Bay Resort security guard Richard Shanley said. “It was like something from a movie.” Shanley was driving a golf cart on the Orlando-area resort’s main boulevard when a family hailed him to say something was wrong. Paul Caldwell, general manager of the resort, said the building collapsed almost entirely within 45 minutes, leaving only the top floor visible at ground level. He said Shanley went door-to-door to evacuate guests.
Hacker pleads not guilty
A Russian man accused of being part of a massive cybercrime ring pleaded not guilty on Monday. Dmitriy Smilianets, 29, of Moscow, entered the plea during a hearing in federal court in Newark, New Jersey. His attorney said Smilianets would fight the charges and that he was looking into possible irregularities with his arrest last year in the Netherlands. Smilianets is accused of conspiring with a team of hackers from Russia and the Ukraine to steal more than 160 million credit card numbers in a series of breaches that cost victim companies more than US$300 million.