PATTAYA, Thailand -- It has all the makings of a pulp novel, though the ending is still a mystery. A high-end escort from Belarus, who says she was the mistress of a powerful Russian oligarch, flees to Thailand. But at a seaside resort known for its raunchy entertainment scene, she gets arrested for helping to conduct a sex workshop. Hoping to avoid deportation, she offers information about President Trump and Russia. But her appeal is for naught. No one has stepped forward to grant her asylum. Such has been the saga this week of Anastasia Vashukevich, who also goes by the name Nastya Rybka. The 21-year-old model and blogger was arrested Sunday in the Thai holiday town of Pattaya along with nine others involved in the sex training course, which was aimed at male Russian tourists. "She will be deported," said the chief of Thailand's Immigration Bureau, Suttipong Wongpin, in an interview Thursday. "Her immigration offense is working without a work permit."
For a brief moment in December 2017, the international spotlight shined on the case of 92 deportees who were on an Immigration and Customs Enforcement-chartered flight to Somalia. Most such flights unload their human cargo once they land, but this flight, for logistical reasons, returned home -- and brought witnesses back with it. The Somalis told of abuse on the flight, saying they were shackled with chains on their wrists, waists, and legs for more than 40 hours; forced to urinate in bottles or on themselves; and that ICE officers beat and threatened some passengers. (ICE has denied that it mistreated detainees on the flight.) But even after the spotlight dimmed, the abuse continued. The Somalis are still being held at the Krome Detention Center and the Glades County Detention Center in Florida, as their lawyers try to fight their deportations.
The internet collectively winced last week when a Prague-based charity announced a campaign to turn homeless people into wireless internet hotspots. WiFi 4 Life wants to equip Prague's homeless population with portable routers, so they can wander the city's center offering free internet to passersby. The paying gig comes with perks, including food, accommodations, clothing, and even a haircut, but many are calling the initiative exploitative of a global crisis. "The worst option would be not to try it," Lubo Boleček, chairman of WiFi 4 Life, tells Tech Insider in an email. "If you can help others, [the] only question you have to ask [is] why am I not already doing it."
A House committee voted Tuesday to pass a resolution that would allow members to pay for bulletproof vests and security personnel using taxpayer funds. The House Administration Committee passed the measure by voice vote, amending the Members' Congressional Handbook to define bulletproof vests for members as a "reimbursable" expense. The amendment allows members to use taxpayer dollars to hire security personnel for events like town halls, to accompany them "during the performance of their official duties" or to be stationed at their district offices. The resolution defines "security enhancements" like bulletproof glass for district offices as not reimbursable, but says that the costs can be incorporated into the monthly rent of the office. The new resolution comes amid a national conversation on safety and security in public spaces, namely schools, after a shooting at a Florida high school earlier this month.
Billionaire investor and longtime Trump confidant Carl Icahn dumped $31.3 million of stock in a company heavily dependent on steel last week, just days before Trump announced plans to impose steep tariffs on steel imports. In a little-noticed SEC filing submitted on February 22, 2018, Icahn disclosed that he systematically sold off nearly 1 million shares of Manitowoc Company Inc. Manitowoc is a "is a leading global manufacturer of cranes and lifting solutions" and, therefore, heavily dependent on steel to make its products. The filing came just seven days before a White House event where Trump announced his intention of imposing a 25 percent tariff on steel imports. Trump's announcement rattled the markets, with steel-dependent stocks hardest hit. Manitowoc stock plunged, losing about 6 percent of its value. Reuters attributed the drop to the fact that Manitowoc is a "major consumer of steel." As of 10:20 a.m. Friday, the stock had lost an additional 6 percent, trading at $26.21.