More than 100 phony replica Super Bowl rings found

PHILADELPHIA —

Federal authorities say they have intercepted a shipment of 108 phony replica Super Bowl rings representing many past champion teams, including the Philadelphia Eagles.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials say the rings were found in an express consignment parcel that arrived June 18 from Hong Kong marked as alloy rings.

Trade enforcement officers noted "poor craftsmanship" and detained the rings to verify their authenticity with the National Football League, the trademark holder.

Customs officials say the NFL confirmed that the rings were phony. Officials say an authorized replica of a Super Bowl ring can cost $10,000 but counterfeit ones are offered on the internet for $25.

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At least 18 hospitalized after ‘exposure to feces’ at neighborhood party in North Carolina

At least 18 people were hospitalized after a feces contamination that took place at a neighborhood gathering in North Carolina, according to health department officials.

The Mecklenburg County public information officer said those affected were attending a birthday party where the contamination took place. Officials believe prepared food came in contact with fecal matter rather than the illness resulting from bad food.

The cause of the feces contamination was likely from improper hand-washing, said health officials.

There were five reported emergency phone calls made within an hour that were related to the incident, according to WBTV in Charlotte.

More than 30 people overall were transported to a nearby hospital and health officials said being an attendee of the birthday party soon became a common theme among the patients.

Four of the people who were hospitalized were confirmed to have Shigella, which is a contagious diseas…

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Margarita-loving bear takes a dip in a California hot tub

Mark Hough had barely taken a sip of his Friday afternoon margarita when he heard twigs snapping and leaves rustling in his Altadena, California, backyard.

At first he brushed it off as the sounds of his neighbor pottering next door, but the noise grew louder.

“So I got up, looked over in the bushes and lo and behold there’s a bear climbing up over my fence,” Hough said Monday.

The sighting was the first of many encounters Hough would have with the bear that hot Friday afternoon — over the course of a few hours the bear availed itself of Hough’s backyard, his hot tub, and the cocktail he left behind.

After first spotting the bear, Hough retreated inside, only to later find the furry intruder “bobbling away in the Jacuzzi enjoying himself.”

Hough recorded video of the bear lolling in the unheated hot tub with the jets on. The creature played with the chlorinator and tossed the thermometer in the air, Hough said.

“He was pl…

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Terror suspect plotted July 4 explosion in Cleveland, FBI says

CLEVELAND —

An American-born citizen who federal authorities say recently scouted locations in Cleveland to attack people watching Fourth of July fireworks and talked of carrying out additional bombings has been charged with trying to support terrorism.

Federal authorities said Monday that Demetrius Pitts, 48, had repeatedly expressed his support for al-Qaida for more than a year and talked about setting off bombs at a July 4 parade and later in his hometown of Philadelphia.

Pitts, of Maple Heights, was due in federal court in Cleveland Monday. There were no court documents listing an attorney for him.

He was arrested Sunday after meeting an undercover agent and charged with attempted support of a terrorist organization.

FBI Special Agent Stephen Anthony said it was not clear how close Pitts was to carrying out his threats, but he said authorities couldn’t sit back and wait to find out.

Authorities first began watching Pitts in…

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Mexico gives leftist Lopez Obrador big presidential win

MEXICO CITY —

Angry and frustrated over corruption and violence, Mexican voters delivered a tidal wave presidential election victory to leftist Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, giving him a broad mandate to upend the political establishment and govern for the poor.

An official quick count from electoral authorities late Sunday forecast that Lopez Obrador would win with between 53 percent and 53.8 percent of the votes, a remarkable margin not seen in the country for many years. Early Monday, with about 20 percent of the votes counted, Lopez Obrador’s advantage was close to the quick count’s statistical sample.

A prominent exit poll predicted his party allies were poised to score big victories in congressional races, possibly winning absolute majorities in the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies.

Lopez Obrador, who campaigned on vows to transform Mexico and oust the “mafia of power” ruling the country, rode widespread voter anger and discontent w…

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