SAN FRANCISCO

Facebook bans figures

accused of hate speech

Facebook Inc. said it’s banning a number of controversial far-right figures, including Alex Jones, Milo Yiannopoulos and Laura Loomer, for violating the social-media company’s policies on hate speech and promoting violence.

The company is also blocking religious leader Louis Farrakhan, who is known for sharing anti-Semitic views; Paul Nehlen, a white nationalist who ran for Congress in 2018; and conspiracy theorist Paul Joseph Watson. All of these individuals and accounts that represent them are also banned from photo-sharing app Instagram.

 

BOSTON

Pharmaceutical exec

guilty of conspiracy

A pharmaceutical company founder accused of paying doctors millions in bribes to prescribe a highly addictive fentanyl spray was convicted Thursday in a case that exposed such marketing tactics as using a stripper-turned-sales-rep to give a physician a lap dance.

John Kapoor, the 76-year-old former chairman of Insys Therapeutics, was found guilty of racketeering conspiracy after 15 days of jury deliberations. Four ex-employees of the Chandler, Arizona-based company, including the former exotic dancer, were also convicted.

Some of the most sensational evidence in the months-long federal trial included a video of employees dancing and rapping around an executive dressed as a giant bottle of the powerful spray Subsys, and testimony about how the company made a habit of hiring attractive women as sales representatives.

 

BALTIMORE

Mayor resigns amid

kickback scandal

Baltimore's mayor resigned under pressure Thursday amid a flurry of investigations into whether she arranged bulk sales of her self-published children's books to disguise hundreds of thousands of dollars in kickbacks.

Mayor Catherine Pugh's resignation came exactly a week after her City Hall offices, homes and multiple other locations were raided by FBI and IRS agents. A federal grand jury has been empaneled and state and local inquiries are also underway into the roughly $800,000 Pugh made over the years in exchange for her “Healthy Holly” paperbacks about health and nutrition.

Now that Pugh has resigned, acting Mayor Bernard "Jack" Young automatically becomes the permanent mayor and will not need to be sworn in.

 

NEW YORK

Lunch rules rolled

back in schools

Is white bread about to make a comeback on school lunch menus?

After complaints about taste and costs, the Trump administration rolled back a rule that required foods like pasta and bread be made with whole grains. The cafeteria directors who lobbied for the change say they just want greater flexibility to serve foods like white bread — which are more processed and have less fiber — when whole grains don't work.

Before the Obama-era rule was relaxed, schools needed temporary waivers to serve foods like white rice, which have a finer texture but also less fiber. In Ohio, districts requested waivers for such food as saltines, pasta, sub buns and French toast sticks.

 

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico

Cruise ship quarantined

for case of measles

Authorities on the eastern Caribbean island of St. Lucia said Thursday that they quarantined a cruise ship with some 300 people aboard after discovering a confirmed case of measles aboard.

Dr. Merlene Fredericks-James, the island's chief medical officer, told the Associated Press the ship was still in port and no one had been allowed to disembark since its arrival. She said a doctor aboard the ship requested 100 doses of the measles vaccine, which St. Lucia is supplying for free.

An official with St. Lucia's Marine Police identified the ship as the Freewinds. The 440-foot ship reportedly belongs to the Church of Scientology.

 

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka

New attacks on churches

planned, cardinal says

Sri Lanka's Catholic cardinal received “foreign information” that attempts would be made this week to attack a church and another church institution, according to a letter he sent Thursday to church officials that later appeared on social media.

Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith, the archbishop of Colombo and an outspoken critic of the Sri Lankan government's apparent failure to act on Indian government intelligence ahead of the Easter attacks, said in the letter that he was closing churches and Catholic schools throughout Sri Lanka and canceling public congregations for Mass “until further notice.”

 

CARACAS, Venezuela

Maduro calls for unity

in military after clashes

Flanked by uniformed commanders, Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro on Thursday urged the armed forces to combat "traitors" as he sought to project strength after opposition leader Juan Guaidó called for a military uprising two days earlier.

Speaking at Fort Tiuna, a military base in Caracas, Maduro also said the opposition had sought to provoke bloodshed in Caracas with Guaidó's call, which failed to push Venezuela's military into rebellion but was followed by deadly clashes between protesters and police in cities across the country.

 

Beacon Journal/Ohio.com wires