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Valentin Ariosto Alfonso-Arguello, 38, was charged last September for raping the girl the month prior. Authorities said Alfonso-Arguello met the girl at a Ridgeland restaurant — about 12 miles north of Jackson — where he worked and forced her to give him her number.
The girl’s mother woke up around 3 a.m. that night and found her daughter outside walking into the home while a pickup truck sped away with one door open, The Clarion-Ledger reported, citing a news release from the district attorney’s office.
The girl said Alfonso-Arguello had texted her after his shift ended, telling her he was on his way to her house. She said he raped her in his truck, despite her repeatedly telling him “no,” the press release said.
Assistant District Attorney Katie Moulds told The Ledger that eight years of Alfonso-Arguello’s 20-year sentence will be suspended, after which he will be subject to deportation or register as a sex offender and serve five years of supervised probation, the news release said.
Source: Fox News National
FILE PHOTO: People walk past the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) building in Mumbai, India, January 25, 2017. REUTERS/Shailesh Andrade
May 23, 2019
By Swati Bhat
MUMBAI (Reuters) – Indian stock markets hit record highs while the rupee and bonds rallied as early vote counting in general elections showed the ruling National Democratic Alliance with Narendra Modi at the helm winning a second term.
The NDA led by Prime Minister Modi’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was ahead in 324 seats, with the opposition United Progressive Alliance winning in 111, at 0430 GMT, about two hours after counting of about 600 million votes began, TV channel NDTV said.
Exit polls had predicted a clear win for Modi in the election that ended on Sunday, but such polls in India have sometimes proved misleading.
The ruling coalition is projected to win between 339 and 365 seats in the 545-member lower house of parliament with the Congress-led opposition alliance getting 77 to 108, an exit poll from India Today- Axis showed.
Investors broadly view the NDA and Modi as more pro-industry than the opposition-led Congress.
Modi’s government has had mixed success in its first term, facing criticism for slowing growth and a failure to create jobs while winning plaudits for implementing tough tax and banking reforms and infrastructure spending.
Investors expect a second term will give him time to carry through those reforms while pushing for more fiscal and monetary stimulus. The opposition fought the election on a policy platform promising better farm income and jobs.
The broader NSE index was up 2.55% at 12,036.75 as of 0515 GMT, while the benchmark BSE index was 2.59% higher at 40,123.86.
The NSE index rose 64.8% during Modi’s first term, through Wednesday’s close, and the BSE index gained 63.6%.
The partially convertible rupee was trading at 69.51/52 per dollar versus previous close of 69.6750.
“As expected markets have rallied but for this rally to sustain concrete steps are needed to address liquidity and credit stress,” said Rajeev Pawar, a group head at Edelweiss Financial Services.
“Revival, reflation and reform should be the mantra going ahead,” he added.
BONDS AT YEAR HIGH
Low inflation, ample liquidity support from the central bank and expectations of easier monetary policy was helping sentiment for the bond market.
The benchmark 10-year bond yield was down 5 basis points at 7.21% after touching 7.19% earlier, its lowest level since April 9, 2018.
“Supply concerns remain but those will be there at all times for this year. RBI has done 250 billion rupees worth of OMOs so far. They need to maintain the tempo,” said Bekxy Kuriakose, head of fixed income at Principal Asset Management.
Investors said health of corporate and financial sector is going to be of paramount concern and steps to address these issues need to be taken by the new government and the central bank.
“At a time when there is uncertainty over economic growth, political stability and continuity allow an economy to progress and rise above hurdles over a period of time,” Sachin Shah, fund manager, Emkay Investment Managers.
“So this outcome offers hope that policy reforms will go in the right direction.”
(Reporting by Swati Bhat; Additional reporting by Savio Shetty, Chandini M and Divya Chowdhury; Editing by Richard Borsuk)
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip – Two years ago, Gaza resident Saleh Abu Serdanah took out a small loan in order to get married and start a family. These days, the 31-year-old construction worker is on the run, hiding from police in a tiny rental apartment and unable to repay the money he borrowed.
Abu Serdanah is among hundreds of young men who have turned to Gaza’s small industry of wedding lenders for help, only to fall onto hard times because of crushing debt and lack of jobs in the impoverished territory. Many have been forced to renegotiate their debts, and others have gone into hiding. Some have even ended up in jail.
“I have never been into a police station and have never made troubles. Now I’m like a fugitive crook,” Abu Serdanah said.
Wedding lenders have filled an important need in Gaza’s conservative society, where young men and women are typically expected to marry in their late teens or early 20s. Facing a nearly 60% unemployment rate, many young Gazan men have been forced to put off their dreams of marriage because they cannot afford it.
Over a decade ago, a number of wealthy people launched charities to help young couples to pay for their weddings and settle post-marriage debts. The initiative was promoted through ceremonial mass weddings that thrived after Israel and Egypt imposed a blockade on Gaza after the Hamas militant group took power in 2007.
These charitable efforts, which still continue, paved the way for a profitable private industry to emerge, offering more substantial packages that included things like bridal dresses, invitations, bedroom furniture and meals for guests.
Allured by the idea, Abu Serdanah signed up for an offer of $2,500 through Farha Project, one of those companies, in 2017. He acknowledges that he would never have been able to marry without Farha. The November 2017 wedding included a bachelor’s party with a live band and a separate women’s ceremony the following day. The company threw in invitations, catering for 60 people and a suit and dress for the couple.
Abu Serdanah agreed to repay the money in monthly payments over two years, but managed to pay only for five months. Today, he regrets his decision.
“I was committed to paying on time for a while, but things have changed and made me unable to,” said Abu Serdanah, sitting on a mat outside the apartment he shares with his wife as a candle faintly lit the dark stairway. “There is no work, so where should I get money from?”
The blockade, aimed at weakening Hamas, has ravaged the economy. The skyrocketing unemployment rates, combined with foreign aid cuts and Hamas’ mismanagement, has left thousands of families dependent on food aid and social welfare.
Economic sanctions by the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority, ousted by Hamas in 2007, have worsened the situation. The internationally recognized Palestinian Authority says its measures, which include salary cuts to tens of thousands of former public servants, are aimed at pressuring the militant Hamas group into ceding control.
Hamas, however, remains in firm control, even as the World Bank says Gaza’s economy is in “free fall.”
A plasterer who earns 50 shekels, or about $15, a day, Abu Serdanah was certain that he would be able to manage the payments to Farha.
But due to the weak economy, there have been few workdays and he was unable to pay back his debt. Trying to save himself from prison, he asked the company to reduce his monthly installment by 50%, but its lawyer refused. Eventually, a police summons was delivered to his family’s home. He decided not to respond.
“I don’t want to stall for time, but I really can’t pay for now,” he said.
The Hamas-run Economy Ministry says at their peak, 20 such companies were registered in Gaza. But their number has dropped to five as business has withered up. The Hamas-run prosecutor’s office, the judiciary council and the police refused requests to interview people jailed for failing to pay their marriage debts, or even reveal their number.
But an official at Gaza’s general prosecution department, speaking in condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to the media, said that as of last year, courts have investigated 3,000 such cases.
This explains why the business is no longer thriving. Salama al-Awadi, manager of Farha Project, says only 7% of his clients managed to pay the monthly installments fully this year and 40% could not pay back at all. The others pay less than the agreed amount.
“We see with our eyes that the situation is hard, so we try all possible ways before resorting to the courts,” al-Awadi said, noting that his company has fallen into debt because of its customers’ struggles. Unable to collect payments, Farha owes money to service providers like carpenters and caterers.
With economic recession in Gaza, the number of clients is also dwindling. In 2018, the average monthly number of grooms signing up for contracts at Farha was 20. The year before, it was 35.
“This year would be way less,” al-Awadi said. “I canceled many contracts and our plan for 2019 is to get by with the minimum. If it remains like this, I will have no choice but to shut down.”
One of al-Awadi’s clients is 29-year-old Yehiya Taleb, whose four brothers, all married, believed it was problematic by Gaza’s standards to reach that age and still be single.
Taleb got a job working as a waiter at a cafe earning about $180 a month but that amount is not enough to cover wedding expenses. Anxious to fulfil the wish of their ailing mother, the brothers resorted to Farha Project and took out a $2,000 package.
After getting married early in May, Taleb and his wife now share a rental house in the Shati refugee camp with another brother’s family. Afraid of “failure,” he is already stressed out over how to repay the loan. He hopes to make ends meet with some help from his brothers.
“My salary can’t cover my demands. With installments, you can cover a little part of them,” he said.
Source: Fox News World
FILE PHOTO: An employee of a money changer holds a stack of Indonesia rupiah notes before giving it to a customer in Jakarta, October 8, 2015. REUTERS/Beawiharta
May 23, 2019
By Nikhil Nainan
(Reuters) – Investors bet most Asian currencies will come under further pressure, a Reuters poll showed, with trade tensions between the United States and China firmly dominating headlines once again.
With diminishing hopes of a long-awaited trade deal between the world’s top two economies, the mood across markets have been apprehensive with investors shifting money to safer bets.
Investors, who were bullish on China’s yuan for much of this year until April end, have since raised their short positions to their highest in six months, the poll of 12 respondents showed.
Trade tensions have taken a toll on the Chinese economy, but measures promised by Beijing, including massive stimulus, have started to filter through. However, with tensions escalating again, the yuan has lost about 2.5% since U.S. President Donald Trump said on May 5 he was going to raise tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese imports.
Trade reliant economies, such as Taiwan and South Korea, are among the most exposed to a deterioration in trade relations.
The poll showed market participants raise their short positions on both country’s currencies over the last two weeks with bets on South Korea’s won at their highest in more than a decade, with a slew of weak domestic data adding to the unit’s woes.
It is the region’s worst performing currency, shedding over 6% against the dollar so far this year. A state-run think tank on Wednesday called on monetary policy in the country to be substantially accommodative.
Short bets on Taiwan’s dollar climbed to their highest since January 2016.
In India, the seven-phase general election process that lasted for more than a month culminates on Thursday with vote-counting set to show whether Prime Minister Narendra Modi will win a second straight term. Exit polls have predicted a clear win for Modi, and markets have cheered them.
Long positions on the Indian rupee were marginally higher from two weeks ago. The unit is just one of two currencies in the green this year among its peers covered in this poll.
Investors turned bullish on the rupee in March for the first time in nearly a year, after Modi turned the campaign into a fight about national security, shifting the narrative away from criticism he faced on weak job growth and farm prices that saw the opposition build momentum.
Elsewhere, market participants flipped their bets on the Philippine peso, with short positions now at their highest since December last year.
Uncertainty over the political future of Thailand and Indonesia has clouded outlook due to recent disputed elections.
Accordingly, investors raised bearish bets on Thailand’s baht and Indonesia’s rupiah to their highest since November.
Protests have engulfed central Jakarta, Indonesia’s capital city, this week while the Thai central bank cautioned that the economy faces potential hazards from political uncertainty.
The Asian currency positioning poll is focused on what analysts and fund managers believe are the current market positions in nine Asian emerging market currencies: the Chinese yuan, South Korean won, Singapore dollar, Indonesian rupiah, Taiwan dollar, Indian rupee, Philippine peso, Malaysian ringgit and the Thai baht.
The poll uses estimates of net long or short positions on a scale of minus 3 to plus 3. A score of plus 3 indicates the market is significantly long U.S. dollars.
The figures include positions held through non-deliverable forwards (NDFs).
(Reporting by Nikhil Kurian Nainan in Bengaluru; Editing by Rashmi Aich)
According to the National Weather Service, a “confirmed large and destructive tornado” was observed over Jefferson City, at 11:43 p.m., moving northeast at 40 mph.
The Missouri Department of Public Safety reported extensive damage along Ellis Boulevard near Highway 54 and warned of downed power lines. Authorities warned residents that all downed lines should be considered live — and advised that people stay away from areas that have experienced heavy damage.
Gov. Mike Parson issued a statement via Twitter:
“Major tornados across state tonight, including Jeff City,” Parson wrote. “We’re doing okay but praying for those that were caught in damage, some are still trapped – local emergency crews are on site and assisting.”
News accounts and posts on social media refer to people possibly trapped in apartment complexes, gas leaks, possible damage to the Missouri Statehouse and other impacts.
There were no immediate reports about fatalities or injuries.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.
Source: Fox News National
THE HAGUE, Netherlands – Dutch polls have opened in elections for the European Parliament, starting four days of voting across the 28-nation bloc that pits supporters of deeper integration against populist Euroskeptics who want more power for their national governments.
A half hour after voting started in the Netherlands, polls open across the United Kingdom, the only other country voting Thursday, and a nation still wrestling with its plans to leave the European Union altogether and the leadership of embattled Prime Minister Theresa May.
The elections, which end Sunday night, come as support is surging for populists and nationalists who want to rein in the EU’s powers, while traditional powerhouses like France and Germany insist that unity is the best buffer against the shifting economic and security interests of an emerging new world order.
Source: Fox News World
Planes spread out across the sky, nearly wingtip to wingtip. A sniper’s bullet whizzing by the ear. Squeezing a dying soldier’s hand, so he knew he was not alone.
Across three quarters of a century, the old veterans remember that epic day on the beaches of Normandy. For historians, D-Day was a turning point in the war against Germany; for men who were among the 160,000 Allied fighters who mounted history’s largest amphibious invasion, June 6, 1944, remains a kaleidoscope of memories, a signal moment of their youth.
Not many of those brave men remain , and those that do often use canes, walkers or wheelchairs. Few are willing or able to return to Normandy for the anniversary. But listen to the stories of some who are making that sentimental journey that spans thousands of miles — and 75 years.
The day before Dennis Trudeau parachuted into Normandy, he wrote his parents a letter saying he was about to go into battle but they shouldn’t worry.
“Everything is going to be fine and dandy,” he wrote. “After all, I’m not scared.”
Trudeau had joined the Canadian military at 17 and became a paratrooper, in part because they were paid an extra $50 a month.
He’s 93 now, living in Grovetown, Georgia. But his memories of D-Day — and the day before D-Day — are undimmed.
On June 5, 1944, he and the other paratroopers sat on the tarmac and joked about how they’d be in Paris by Christmas. But when they climbed into the plane, the chatter stopped.
Trudeau’s position was by the open jump door; he could look out across the vast array of planes and ships powering toward Normandy. Planes were strung out across the horizon.
He prayed: “I just kind of told the Lord, ‘Let me see one more sunrise.'”
And then, he jumped.
Trudeau landed in water up to his waist in a flooded field. In the dark, he rendezvoused with other paratroopers. They were on the way to their objective when friendly fire hit — an Air Force bomb.
Thrown into a ditch, Trudeau heard a dying friend nearby, calling out for his mother.
“You train with him and you ate with him and you slept with him and you fought with him. And in less than three hours, he was gone,” he said.
Within hours combat would be over for Trudeau, as well. He was captured by German forces, and spent the duration in a prisoner-of-war camp. By the time the war was over he had gone from 135 pounds to about 85.
He returned to Normandy in 1955 to see the graves of eight platoon members who didn’t survive. This time, he’ll say a prayer over their graves.
“They’re the heroes. They’re the ones who gave everything they had,” he said.
There had been a number of false starts ahead of the invasion of Normandy. But Vincent Corsini knew June 6 was different. There was a certain feeling in the air — an “edge,” as he describes it. Chaplains on deck encouraged troops to pray and troops were given a good breakfast.
Certain other D-Day memories are crystal clear: peeking out over the edge of the landing craft with amazement at the U.S. firepower directed at the beach. Machine guns splattering the water as he unloaded. The weight of the 60mm mortars he carried.
Tucked against the bottom of the hill overlooking Omaha Beach, he heard someone yelling for help from the water. Taking off as much equipment as he could, he ran back to the waves and found a stranded officer.
“As I was standing there looking at him, somebody up on the hill pulled the trigger,” he said. The bullet narrowly missed his ear, feeling like a “sonic boom,” as it passed. Corsini grabbed the officer and pulled him to safety.
Corsini went on to fight through the dense hedgerows of Normandy with the 29th Infantry Division until they captured the strategic city of Saint-Lo. At his home in a retirement community in Burlington, North Carolina, a plaque on the wall — “D-Day to St. Lo” — commemorates his efforts. Another marks his receipt of the National Order of the Legion of Honor, France’s highest decoration.
He went back for the 50th D-Day anniversary and looked across a cemetery’s field of white crosses. His wife and members of the French Club he meets with monthly encouraged him to go on the 75th anniversary, at age 94.
His wartime experiences affected his life forever, he said.
“I wouldn’t change my experience for a million dollars,” he said, adding: “I wouldn’t go through it again for a million dollars.”
Frank DeVita remembers the moment he froze.
He had wanted to join the Air Force but had no peripheral vision. He wanted to join the Navy but it would take weeks to start basic training. That’s how he ended up in the Coast Guard on D-Day, ferrying troops to Omaha Beach.
His job was to lower the ramp when the craft got to shore and then raise it after the troops clamored out. But in the early morning hours, as machine gun fire rained down on the boat, that ramp served as DeVita’s shield, protecting him and the other men inside. The coxswain screamed at him to lower the ramp, and in the roar of the cannons and the craft’s diesel engines, DeVita couldn’t hear him. The coxswain screamed again.
“I froze. I was so scared because I knew when I dropped that ramp the bullets that were hitting the ramp were going to come into the boat and I’d probably be dead in five minutes,” said DeVita, 94, speaking from his home in Bridgewater, New Jersey. When he finally dropped the ramp, he said 14 or 15 troops were immediately raked by machine gun fire.
One soldier fell at his feet, his red hair full of blood: “I reached down and I touched his hand, because I wanted him to know he wasn’t alone.”
Then, when he tried to lift the ramp, it was stuck. DeVita had to crawl over dead bodies lining the bottom of the landing craft to fix it.
Again and again, the landing craft ferried men to the beach. When there were no more men to ferry, DeVita and the other sailors pulled bodies from the choppy seas.
For decades — until recently — he never spoke of these things. This June he’ll make his 12th trip back to Normandy. Eager to keep the memory of what happened there alive, he has often brought others along to places like the American cemetery at Colleville-sur-Mer .
“Pick out a tombstone, any tombstone. Place your hand on that white marble and say to yourself, ‘Six feet down is a boy.’ …. He gave his life for his country and then you lift your eyes up and you see 9,400 white marble tombstones,” he said. “They all gave their lives for their country.”
At 93, Norman Harold Kirby looks back at D-Day and the months of fighting that followed and finds it hard to remember exactly what happened.
“A lot of it, I tried to forget,” he said.
The Canadian, who now lives in Lions Bay, British Columbia, had joined the army when he was only 17 and was barely a 19-year-old private when he climbed into the landing craft that would take him to shore. The landing craft hit a mine, blowing a hole in the ship. His ears ringing from the explosion, Kirby abandoned the heavy gear he was carrying, his Bren machine gun and ammunition, and climbed over the side. Many who couldn’t swim died in the water.
“I landed on the on the beach with my knife, fork and spoon,” he said.
On Juno Beach, he remembers an intense cacophony of sounds. Aircraft flying overhead. Navy shells rocketing toward the German positions.
“The noise was just unreal…You couldn’t hear anything, anybody talking or anything. People were yelling,” he said. “You couldn’t hear them because of all the racket going on.”
Kirby went back to France and Europe several times after the war as a tourist but for years never returned to Juno Beach.
“I would not go to the beach. I always stayed away from it. I didn’t want to go,” he said. Finally his wife sent him on a trip to Normandy for the 50th anniversary of the invasion. This time, she’ll accompany him to the 75th anniversary.
Climbing into the plane that would take him to Normandy, Eugene Deibler had no idea what to expect. The 19-year-old had joined the paratroopers to avoid being a radio operator, trained for months and survived a broken ankle in jump school, but had yet to see combat.
Gathered at Merryfield Airfield in southwest England, the paratroopers had already gotten geared up to jump the night before, and then the operation was called off due to bad weather. All that pent-up energy had to go someplace, and Deibler remembers troops getting into fights.
The second night, it was a go. Climbing into the plane, Deibler remembers telling himself that if his buddies could do this, so could he.
“If you weren’t scared something was wrong with you,” he said. “Because you’re just a kid, you know?”
As they arrived at the French coast, he remembers heavy antiaircraft fire and tracer bullets from machine guns lighting up the sky like fireworks.
“We said ‘Let’s get the hell out of this plane,'” he said. The jump light went on, and out they went.
On the ground, their job was to secure a series of locks on the Douve River to prevent the Germans from opening the locks and flooding the fields. But they ran into such fierce resistance trying to secure another objective — a set of bridges — that they had to fall back.
Deibler went on to fight across Normandy, Holland and Belgium, in the Battle of Bastogne.
This will be his first time back to Normandy since the invasion, and he’d like to see what’s changed. At his Charlotte, North Carolina, home, the 94-year-old retired dentist has a collection of World War II books. He’s afraid that the great conflict will be forgotten.
“How many people remember the Civil War? How many people will remember World War I? And now it’s the same with World War II,” he said. “World War II will fade away also.”
Of all the medals and awards that Steve Melnikoff received as a 23-year-old fighting his way across Europe, the Combat Infantry Badge means the most to him. It signifies the bearer “had intimate contact with the enemy,” he said.
And Melnikoff certainly did.
When he landed on Omaha Beach on D-Day-plus-1 — June 7, 1944 — victory was far from secure. His unit was part of the bloody campaign to capture the French town of Saint-Lo through fields marked by thick hedgerows that provided perfect cover for German troops.
He remembers the battle for Hill 108 — dubbed Purple Heart Hill — for its ferocity. His job was to take up the Browning Automatic Rifle should the man wielding it go down. The Germans had shot and killed his friend who was carrying the BAR, and Melnikoff picked it up. About an hour later, he too was shot. As he went down, he looked to the side and saw his lieutenant also come under fire.
“He’s being hit by the same automatic fire, just standing there taking all these hits. And when the machine gun stopped firing he just hit the ground. He was gone,” Melnikoff said.
“That is what happens in war,” he said, speaking from his Cockeysville, Maryland, home.
For decades he didn’t talk about the war and knows some men who went to their graves never speaking about it again. But he feels an obligation now to talk about what he and others went through. In his hundredth year, he works closely with The Greatest Generations Foundation which helps veterans return to battlefields where they fought. This year on June 6, he’ll go back to the cemetery and pay his respects.
“This prosperity and peace that we’ve had for all these years, it’s because of that generation,” he said. “It can’t happen again and that’s why I go there.”
Associated Press reporters David Martin in Bridgewater, N.J. and Tom Sampson in Cockeysville, Md. contributed to this report.
Source: Fox News National
A 4-month-old girl died Wednesday after she was left in a scorching hot van outside a Florida day care center for nearly five hours, authorities said.
Jacksonville police received a call around 1 p.m. from a day care employee who said she’d discovered the infant “still strapped in her child seat unresponsive,” the sheriff’s office said in a press release.
The employee had checked the van after the infant’s mother called the day care to make after-school arrangements, but the infant hadn’t been checked-in that morning, the release said.
The girl, who had been left in the van since approximately 8:25 a.m., was rushed to a hospital where she was pronounced dead, the sheriff’s office said. Temperatures in Jacksonville on Wednesday had reached 92 degrees, according to reports.
The van’s driver and daycare co-owner, 56-year-old Darryl Ewing, was arrested and booked into jail on child neglect charges, the sheriff’s office said.
Investigators said Ewing was responsible for maintaining a driver’s log documenting all of the children in the van. Ewing had logged the two of the victim’s siblings, but not the victim, the release said. An investigation is ongoing.
Source: Fox News National
FILE PHOTO: Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May leaves Downing Street in London, Britain, January 15, 2019. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls/File Photo
May 23, 2019
LONDON (Reuters) – British Prime Minister Theresa May is expected on Friday to announce her departure from office, The Times reported, without citing a source.
May will remain as prime minister while her successor is elected in a two-stage process under which two final candidates face a ballot of 125,000 Conservative Party members, the newspaper said.
(Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge)
SAN FRANCISCO – Media law experts say a San Francisco journalist whose home was raided did not commit a crime because it’s not illegal to disclose a public record.
San Francisco Police Chief William Scott told reporters this week that freelancer Bryan Carmody conspired to steal a confidential police record into the death of the city’s former public defender.
But San Francisco attorney Duffy Carolan says the public has constitutional rights to public records such as police reports. She says criminalizing the release, receipt and publication of a public record would have a chilling effect.
A battle between the press and police is playing out in politically liberal San Francisco after police raided Carmody’s home and office earlier this month.
They seized cameras, cellphones and computers in search of a police department employee who leaked the information to Carmody.
Source: Fox News National