MILWAUKEE—A Wisconsin man was sentenced to 3½ years in prison Friday, Feb. 24, for cutting off a woman's pinky finger with a machete and trying to close the wound with a blow torch during a ceremony for a fellow fan of a hip hop band, media reported. In August, Jonathan Schrap, 25, and three other people held a "ritualistic memorial" at his home for a fellow fan of hip hop duo Insane Clown Posse who died in 2015, a local ABC affiliate reported, citing a criminal compliant filed by the state.
NEW YORK—Billionaire Warren Buffett, whose stock picks over several decades have enriched generations of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. shareholders, delivered a black eye to the investment industry on Saturday, Feb. 25, urging ordinary investors to buy plain-vanilla index funds. "When trillions of dollars are managed by Wall Streeters charging high fees, it will usually be the managers who reap outsized profits, not the clients," Buffett said in his annual letter to shareholders. "Both large and small investors should stick with low-cost index funds," he added.
Battery failure in vehicles dogged U.S. drivers in the first three years of ownership, according to J.D. Power's 2017 dependability survey released on Wednesday, Jan. 22. The survey of 2014 models found that batteries were the most commonly replaced component in vehicles, with 44 percent more owners reporting a battery failure in this survey compared with the previous one. Audio, communication, entertainment, navigation (ACEN) was the most problematic category, accounting for 22 percent of all reported problems, according to the survey.
CANNON BALL, N.D. - Opponents of the Dakota Access Pipeline who were pushed out of their protest camp this week have vowed to keep up efforts to stop the multibillion-dollar project and take the fight to other pipelines as well. The Oceti Sakowin camp in Cannon Ball was cleared by law enforcement on Thursday, Feb. 23, and almost 50 people, many of them Native Americans and environmental activists, were arrested.
LOS ANGELES - Several major news outlets found themselves blocked from attending a Friday White House press briefing with Sean Spicer, the Press Secretary, the latest sign of worsening relations between the Trump administration and the media attempting to cover it.
Scientists in London are training bumblebees to 'score' goals by moving a mini ball to a target, demonstrating unprecedented learning abilities. Researchers first show the bee where the ball should go. The insect then copies this technique to receive a reward; taking the sting out of the ball and moving it to a target, effectively scoring a goal. Subsequent training included one bee teaching another how to move the ball to the target. The study, published in the journal Science, suggests small brains don't necessarily limit an insect's ability to adapt and learn.
WASHINGTON—President Donald Trump criticized the FBI on Friday, Feb. 24, for failing to stop leaks of national security information to the media and directed the agency to find those who pass on classified information. Trump's comments come amid media reports saying the FBI refused a White House request to knock down news stories saying members of Trump's team were in frequent contact with Russian intelligence agents during the presidential campaign.
Department store operator J.C. Penney Co. Inc. said on Friday, Feb. 24, it would close 130 to 140 stores over the next few months, and reported a bigger-than-expected drop in same-store sales for the holiday quarter. Shares of the company were down 2.6 percent in premarket trading on Friday, after initially rising 3 percent. The company said it would also initiate a voluntary early retirement program for about 6,000 employees from among its home office, stores and supply chain personnel. Fortune reported the list of stores closing would be announced in March.
WASHINGTON - The U.S. Justice Department has reversed an order by the Obama administration to phase out the use of private contractors to run federal prisons. In a memo made public on Thursday, Feb. 23, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said the Obama policy impaired the government's ability to meet the future needs of the federal prison system. The Obama administration said in August 2016 it planned a gradual phase-out of private prisons by letting contracts expire or by scaling them back to a level consistent with recent declines in the U.S. prison population.
NEW YORK - The founder of what had been one of the largest online poker websites agreed on Thursday, Feb. 23, to confront U.S. charges stemming from a long-running criminal case targeting internet firms like his operating illegally in the United States. Scott Tom, who founded Costa Rica-based Absolute Poker, pleaded not guilty in Manhattan federal court to charges he violated a federal internet gambling law and engaged in a money-laundering conspiracy.