Jeff Bezos and his crew land safely after an epic space flight

Fifty-two years after Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong landed on the moon, the founder of Amazon reached space’s shoreline. At about 9:12 a.m. this morning, Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket lifted off with Jeff Bezos, his brother Mark, 82-year-old Wally Funk, and 18-year-old Oliver Daemon on board.

A few minutes later, the capsule that carried the crew members separated from the booster, giving the newly-minted astronauts a few moments of microgravity. 

“You have a very happy crew up here, I want you to know,” one person said. 

The capsule skirted the edge of the Earth’s atmosphere and space, at a point known as the Karman line. 

About 10 minutes after take-off, the capsule began its descent. 

“It was so amazing, it was so amazing,” Daemen said as they landed. Jeff Bezos was pumping his fists and offering a thumbs-up sign through the window. 

Even billionaire rival Richard Branson, who just returned from his own spaceflight, offered a congratulatory message today. 

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A famous animal rights attorney was plotting to murder this woman

Earlier this year, the ex-husband of the well-known animal rights attorney Jennifer Emmi said he was scared for his life. He was worried, too, about his children, and their au pair who eventually became his girlfriend. 

Apparently, Emmi had been scheming to kill his new romantic partner. She pleaded guilty to several charges against her a few weeks ago after a six-month investigation. 

Last year, Emmi had apparently spoken to both a farmhand and a military sniper about murdering the woman. 

Now Emmi is behind bars, with her bond set at $3 million in cash. 

“I was set up, and I have been repeatedly set up,” she said at one point. “All I can say is I want the truth to come out. The whole thing is crazy. I don’t want to hurt anyone.” 

When is sentencing scheduled? 

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Why this Trump supporter is facing an epic fine

Apparently, a Trump supporter from New Jersey is facing a $250-a-day fine if she refuses to remove her anti-Biden signage that includes profanity, reports say.

Patricia Dilascio’s lawn is dotted with signs that illustrate her distaste for the current president, including a poster that reads: “F–k Biden.” She claims that her daughter, Andrea Dick, is the person responsible for the obscene language. 

Dick claims that the signage is protected under the First Amendment, and she appeared alongside her mother for the hearing last week.  

But Roselle Park Municipal Court Judge Gary Bundy didn’t see things from Dick’s perspective. 

“This is not a case about politics,” Bundy said. “It is a case, pure and simple, about language. It is clear from state law and statutes that we cannot simply put up the umbrella of the First Amendment and say everything and anything is protected speech.” 

What are others saying about this case, and what happens next? 

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This is the hilarious response to when a suspect tries to steal a jet

A 31-year-old man’s alleged attempt to steal a plane from a Colorado airport inspired local authorities to create a social media series called “Note to Self.”

Last week, Sterlin Antonio tried to overtake a Gulfstream jet, jumping a fence at the Centennial Airport, and drawing the attention of a police helicopter in the process. Officials likened the incident to something from the popular video game “Grand Theft Auto.” 

For their first “Note to Self” installment on Facebook, the local sheriff’s office wrote about Antonio. 

“This note is based on an actual incident (this week) where a suspect male breached the secure perimeter to the runway at Centennial Airport in an attempt to steal a jet and fly to Hawaii,” officials wrote. “We’ve all been at the point where we needed a vacation, but this took it a little far… note to self… video games are not real…stealing a jet will not go well. The suspect was arrested and is facing several attempted theft and trespassing charges.” 

What else do we know about this crime straight out of a video game? 

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What are the most important market happenings right now?

Stock futures tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average pointed to an opening decline of 500 points this morning. Futures on the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq also sunk a great deal this morning, as investors weighed the implications of increasing virus cases. 

This news comes after each of the major benchmarks logged declines last week, with the Nasdaq falling 1.87%, the Dow decreasing 0.52%, and the S&P 500 trimming 0.97%. 

Investors this week will receive corporate earnings reports from the likes of Netflix, United Airlines, and Chipotle. 

Meanwhile, the special purpose acquisition company, known as Pershing Square Tontine Holdings, has backed out of a deal to buy 10% of Vivendi’s Universal Music Group. 

“We underestimated the reaction that some of our shareholders would have to the transaction’s complexity and structure,” said Bill Ackerman, who backs the company. 

What other top headlines should you have on your radar this morning? 

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How a brave mom rescues her son from a kidnapping

Dolores Diaz and her three children were walking in Queens when a 24-year-old snatched her five-year-old son Jacob, authorities say. The man, James McGonagle, apparently hopped into his maroon sedan and started driving with the child.

Diaz and her other children chased the vehicle, trying to pull the passenger door open.

Finally, Diaz rescued her son by pulling him through the window. Onlookers apparently tried to stop the car, video shows. 

“It’s quick. I said, ‘Oh my God, my kids, please,'” Diaz said of the incident. “Because I’m screaming, the people [started] coming, and they [helped] me. One lady [came] and called the police.” 

McGonagle, who also later punched a police officer, was ultimately arrested, but his accomplice remains at large. 

“If they didn’t give my brother back I would have to punch them,” the boy’s brother said of the ordeal. 

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What happened after this elderly woman was beat up at Walmart?

A 70-year-old Walmart patron was apparently assaulted by a 17-year-old store employee while other customers did nothing, reporters say. 

According to the victim, P.K. Shader, the trouble began when she asked Jazareia Velasquez if there was any way to quicken the checkout process. 

“The young woman I dealt with started yelling at me, asking if I wanted to work there, if I needed a job there,” Shader said. 

She apparently then attempted to take a photo of the teen’s ID and planned to report her to a manager. 

“She went crazy. She flew, and she punched me, fist right here [in the face] over and over again,” Shader said. 

Walmart has since issued a statement, but the victim doesn’t feel the company is going far enough to prevent such behavior in the future. 

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This Florida man steals a gator and tries to throw it onto a roof

A Florida man was arrested for stealing a live gator from a miniature golf course and attempting to throw it onto the roof of a nearby Daytona-area bar, authorities said. 

According to local police officers, the man claimed he was “teaching it a lesson,” and was seen hitting the animal against the building’s awning. He apparently also threw the creature to the ground and stomped on it. He grabbed it by the tail, they said. The entire incident occurred just off of Highway A1A.

The 32-year-old now faces a series of charges which include burglary, criminal mischief, and injury of an alligator. The suspect’s name was not released when he was taken into custody earlier this week. As of Friday, he was still behind bars. It is unclear what happened to the alligator following the incident, or if the animal sustained any major injuries.  

What else do we know about this right now?

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Two people accused of planning to bomb the Democratic Party’s headquarters

Two California men now face a slew of charges regarding a plan to bomb the Democratic Party’s Sacramento headquarters. If convicted, the pair could wind up behind bars for 20 years.

According to federal prosecutors, 45-year-old Ian Benjamin Rogers and 37-year-old Jarrod Copeland had intended to carry out a series of violent attacks. 

“I want to blow up a democrat building bad,” Rogers had said, according to an indictment that was unsealed earlier this week. 

“According to the indictment, the defendants planned to use incendiary devices to attack their targets and hoped their attacks would prompt a movement,” said officials in a statement. 

At the beginning of this year, authorities found between 45 and 50 guns, five pipe bombs, and tons of ammunition inside Rogers’s home. 

What else do we know about this disturbing case? 

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The most important thing small businesses can do in the post-pandemic world

The pandemic has shifted so much when it comes to shopping, and small businesses have had to quickly adapt and transform in order to stay afloat. One of the biggest changes that retailers have had to integrate over the past year and a half is a contactless payment option.

It seems like this a trend that is going to stick, and small businesses that want to remain relevant will need to implement cashless options if they haven’t already. 

“Consumers are not only moving online and to ecommerce, but they’re also demanding digital payments and commerce experiences in-store with things like QR codes, that enable secure contactless payment,” one expert says.

He continued: “They want to be able to buy online and pick up in-store, order online and pick up curbside, or try a shirt on in-store and have the right size and color be waiting in their online shopping cart. Consumers are demanding these new experiences and businesses need to quickly adapt to meet these new customer demands – and this is what is driving the need for business and payment systems.”

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