Man posing as rideshare driver accused of serial rape in San Francisco

A 37-year-old man accused of posing as a rideshare driver and raping several women in San Francisco since 2013 has been arrested, police said.

Orlando Vilchez Lazo is facing multiple charges, including false imprisonment, kidnapping, assault with intent to commit rape, sexual penetration with a foreign object and rape, the San Francisco Police Department said in a statement.

Police say he targeted women outside bars in downtown San Francisco and lured them into his car by posing as a rideshare driver before raping them.

“These assaults were not date rapes. They were not acquaintance rapes. These assaults were violent rapes committed by a serial rapist — a sexual deviant predator who was not going to stop until it was caught,” Police Cmdr. Greg McEachern told reporters.

Vilchez Lazo has been linked to four attacks in the past five years. The first assault was reported in 2013 and three others in February, May, and June of this year, but police believe there could be more victims.

“It’s very hard to believe that he wasn’t committing sexual assaults somewhere else,” McEachern said.

Vilchez Lazo was arrested Thursday after police launched an operation to monitor rideshare vehicles in San Francisco last weekend.

Detectives were looking for suspicious drivers when they pulled Vilchez Lazo over and obtained a DNA sample. They matched his DNA to evidence from a sexual assault reported in June, police said in a statement.

He is being held at the San Francisco County Jail on a bail of more than $4 million.

Authorities are still trying to determine whether he was employed by a ride-hailing company. Information on his attorney was not immediately available.

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Police departments across the country participate in the latest lip sync challenge

Those who protect and serve can also lip sync and dance — some better than others.

Police departments from around the country have been challenging one another to lip sync battles. Some of their videos have even gone viral, like the one showing the Norfolk, Virginia, Police Department’s rendition of Mark Ronson’s “Uptown Funk,” featuring Bruno Mars.

Norfolk’s video had 50 million views and more than 1 million shares as of Friday. Norfolk challenged other departments across the country and in its region. The Hampton, Virginia, Police Department responded with a video of its own Friday with a lively performance to “Good Vibrations” by Marky Mark, aka Mark Wahlberg. That police department even teamed up with the local fire department.

Other police departments began posting in June, challenging one another to see who had the best routine. The San Antonio Police Department in Texas had an officer perform solo to *NSYNC’s “Bye Bye Bye” on June 22.

The San Francisco division of the California Highway Patrol brought out a mascot with their performance of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody.”

The lip sync challenges are also taking place at the same time as another viral dance craze, the #InMyFeelingsChallenge, in which participants show their moves to Drake’s “In My Feelings” off his latest album “Scorpion.”

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McDonald’s pulls salads from 3,000 restaurants after parasite sickens dozens

An outbreak of cyclospora linked to McDonald’s salads has sickened at least 61 people in seven states, federal health officials said Friday.

The Food and Drug Administration is working with McDonald’s to identify the salad ingredients making people sick and trace them through the supply chain.

As a precaution, McDonald’s has stopped selling the salads in 3,000 fast food restaurants in 14 states to try to contain the outbreak, the FDA said.

The states are Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Minnesota, Nebraska, South Dakota, Montana, North Dakota, Kentucky, West Virginia and Missouri.

“It’s early in the investigation, but we are taking steps now to help ensure consumers know about the potentially contaminated product so that they can better protect themselves or seek treatment, especially if they have signs or symptoms of a cyclospora infection,” FDA commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb said in a statement.

Earlier this week, the Illinois and Iowa health departments said they were investigating outbreaks of a parasite that causes intestinal illness and might be linked to McDonald’s salads.

Illinois and Iowa among hardest-hit

Illinois reported 90 cases since mid-May while Iowa had 15 cases since late June. It’s unclear why their numbers are higher than those provided by federal officials.

The cyclospora parasite causes intestinal illness as a result of consuming contaminated food or water.

The symptoms, which can begin a week or more after consuming the parasite, include diarrhea and frequent, sometimes explosive bowel movements, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Those infected can experience loss of appetite, weight loss, stomach cramps or pain, nausea, gas and fatigue. Vomiting, headache, fever, body aches and flu-like symptoms can also occur.

The illness can last from a few days to a few months and patients might feel better, then get worse again. Patients can be treated with antibiotics.

Other parasite outbreaks

In an email, McDonald’s said it’s working with officials in the affected states.

“Out of an abundance of caution, we decided to voluntarily stop selling salads at impacted restaurants until we can switch to another lettuce blend supplier,” the email said. “We are in the process of removing existing salad blend from identified restaurants and distribution centers — which includes approximately 3,000 of our US restaurants primarily located in the Midwest.”

Cyclospora is also behind an ongoing outbreak linked to recalled Del Monte Fresh vegetable trays; believed to be responsible for more than 200 illnesses in four states.

The parasite is also to blame for an outbreak in Texas, although officials have not yet identified what’s making people sick there.

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Apple is helping bring education to girls in Brazil

Forty students learning how to code in a classroom on the third floor of Pontifical Catholic University in downtown Rio de Janierio got an unusual assignment Friday: Nobel Prize winner Malala Yousafzai stopped by to ask if they might help her ensure girls around the world have access to quality education.

She challenged the students to create the digital tools needed to help the Malala Fund reach young women throughout Brazil. The students readily agreed, joining 460 classmates at nine other developer academies Apple runs throughout Brazil in honing their skills by tackling real-world problems.

The program is but one example of big tech companies lending their profits, products and profile to non-profit causes. Apple announced its partnership with the Malala Fund earlier this year after CEO Tim Cook met Yousafzai at Oxford University and the two “hit it off,” said Lisa Jackson, Apple’s VP of social initiatives.

Yousafzai is a Pakistani activist who at 17 became the youngest person to win a Nobel prize. She gained international attention after Taliban soliders shot her in the head because of her efforts to improve educational opportunities for young women. She started her eponymous fund four years ago.

“They have the vision, they have the voice obviously, they have the platform,” Jackson said. “We’re here to help with everything from support to hardware to people support, which is what [this] is about. What we can do is help be a supporter in very real ways of the work that Malala and her team envision.”

The students doing the heavy lifting of creating the tools the Malala Fund needs attend one of developer academies Apple has launched in Brazil, Italy, and India since 2013. The academies use Swift, Apple’s programming language, and plan to apply their skills in fields ranging from graphic design to communications.

Each academy strives to recruit a balance of male and female students from a variety of backgrounds, and enjoys far better success than tech firms in Silicon Valley.

“When I first stated out, I had no idea there was a diversity problem for this area,” said Beatriz Magalhães, a teacher at the Rio location. “I only figured it out when I went to WWDC and there was a giant line for the men’s bathroom and not the women’s bathroom.”

Magalhães was 19 when she started attending the academy in 2014. Since becoming a teacher earlier this year, she’s watched students build apps that do everything from highlight films made by and starring women to helping epileptics keep track of their seizures.

The academies use challenge-based learning, a style of education that places students, not teachers, at the center of each lesson. Students are given challenges tied to broad topics like health, the city, or equality. Then they interview people in the communities they hope to help, using those insights to ensure people actually find their products useful.

For the Malala Fund challenge, they’ll focus on ways to increase girls’ enrollment in school, skills development for teachers and students, and advocacy.

“I am eager to see their innovative ideas to help girls in Brazil and across the globe,” Yousafzai said in a statement.

Jessica Hollander met Yousafzai as the Nobe laureate toured the academy. She found herself inspired by the young activist, who turned 21 on Thursday, and already thinking about how she can contribute to Yousafzai’s goal of educating other young women like her.

“I would like to work with kids, honestly, and on empowerment,” Hollander said. “Because for me, when you code you empower yourself.”

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