New York prosecutors are attempting to exploit a "Shakespearean" internal conflict at the Trump Organization between two rival dynasties, as they aim to crack the company's "mob-like code of silence," according to a new report from the Daily Beast.
Former president Donald Trump, aware of prosecutors' strategy, has been reminding employees to "stick together" and stay strong, according to the report.
The internal conflict pits the Weisselberg family — whose patriarch, Trump Organization chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg, has been indicted in a 15-year tax-fraud scheme — and the Calamari family, led by Chief Operating Officer Matthew Calamari Sr.
"They hate each other. It's a war," Allen Weisselberg's daughter, Jennifer, who has become a witness for New York prosecutors, recently told the Daily Beast.
Trump himself has always seemed to be New York prosecutors' chief target in the ongoing probe, but in order to get him, they'll need his right-hand finance man, Weisselberg, to flip, according to the report.
In order to get Weisselberg to flip, prosecutors are attempting to leverage the CFO's assistant, company controller and accountant Jeffrey S. McConney. So investigators have been trying to get Calamari's son, Matty Jr., to provide damning information about McConney, who prepared his individual taxes.
According to the report, it has become "common knowledge" in the upper echelon of Trump's business and personal circles that prosecutors are attempting to exploit the rivalry between the two families.
"It's gotten so apparent that, in multiple meetings and phone calls since the spring, Donald Trump has reminded business associates and other members of his inner orbit about the need for Trump Organization staff to 'stick together' and stay strong, according to two other people familiar with the matter," the Daily Beast reported. "The enmity between the Weisselbergs and Calamaris dates back decades, and it centers on their unwavering love of Trump. Two longtime associates described a Shakespearean conflict of rival dynasties, with dukes competing for the king's favor."
Earlier this week, Weisselberg's attorney said in court that he has "strong reason to believe there could be other indictments coming" in the investigation — which prosecutors have been aggressively pursuing.
David Aguilar was five when he first discovered Lego, entering a world where it didn't matter he was missing his forearm, and four years later, he built his first prosthesis with it.
Now on the verge of finishing a degree in bioengineering, he dreams of working to help other children who, like him, were born different.
Aguilar was born without a right forearm as a result of Poland syndrome, a rare disorder which can cause severe abnormalities in the shoulder, arm or hand, but it has not stopped him from living his life.
Now 22, this Andorran student -- who has been obsessed with robots since he was a child -- has little free time: aside from finishing his degree, he gives motivational speeches, has written a book and taken part in an innovation conference run by NASA.
But getting here hasn't been easy and his face hardens as he recalls the years when building things with Lego was his only refuge from bullying.
"When I was a teenager, I carried on playing with Lego because it was a way of escaping the bullying, it really helped me ignore all the jibes I had to put up with every day," he told AFP at his university residence near Barcelona.
During his teens, he set up a YouTube channel calling himself "Hand Solo", a play on the name of smuggler-pilot hero Han Solo from the early "Star Wars" films.
Over the years, he fine-tuned his construction skills and by the age of 17, he had managed to create a fully-functioning Lego prosthetic that allowed him to do his first-ever pushups with two arms.
Since then, he has further refined his technique, proudly showing off his latest version, the MK5, which has a much more sleek robotic look and long pale-blue "fingers" which are activated by muscles operating a motorised pulley.
Long accustomed to life without his forearm, Aguilar doesn't use a prosthesis every day but he knows that many people do, and that it can cost many thousands of euros for the newest models.
"Since I made that first prosthesis, I realised that I had the power to help other people. And when I looked in the mirror and saw myself with two arms, I thought that other people really might need that too," he said.
- Arming an 8-year-old -
After he was awarded the Guinness World Record for creating the first functional Lego prosthetic arm in 2017, news about Hand Solo's wizardry quickly spread.
Finding his story online earlier this year, Zaure Bektemissova decided to write him an email from her home in northeastern France.
Her son Beknur, she wrote, was eight-years-old and had no arms. The doctors couldn't make him a normal prosthesis and she was looking for help.
"Prosthetics are mostly standard, they are big and heavy, so for his spine it was not a good idea," she told AFP at her home in Strasbourg where the family has lived for two years since her husband took up a diplomatic post at the Kazakhstan consulate.
Aguilar promised to try and at the end of August, Bektemissova and her son drove 1,300 kilometres (800 miles) to Andorra, a tiny principality in the Pyrenees mountains, sandwiched between Spain and France, to meet him and try out the new prosthesis he'd made.
Made entirely of Lego, the lightweight device has a pincer-like grabble at the end which Beknur can control with a cord manipulated by his left foot.
"Now I can grab things with my hand, before I couldn't," beams Beknur, throwing a ball to his brother.
Having that extra bit of independence has really helped, his mum says.
And the experience has inspired Aguilar.
"If I did it for Beknur, why not for any other boy or girl who's missing an arm or a leg or a foot?" he says, his eyes alight with ideas.
© 2021 AFP
How do you help someone with their leg bitten off by a shark? Groundbreaking research by an Australian medic-surfer has uncovered a simple way to stop bleeding and save lives.
Find the middle point between the hip and the genitals, make a fist and push as hard as you can.
Shark attacks are rare but on the increase Down Under, due in large part to more people being in the water.
So surfer and Australian National University medical school dean Nicholas Taylor set out to discover how to reduce fatalities in the event of an attack.
Many fatal shark bites occur around the legs, leaving the victim to bleed to death despite making it back to shore.
In a study published by Emergency Medicine Australasia, Taylor found that a simple technique to compress the femoral artery was much more effective in stopping bleeding than traditionally-used tourniquets.
His study showed that by making a fist and pressing down on the artery around 89.7% of blood flow was stopped, versus 43.8% using a surfboard leash as a make-shift tourniquet.
The technique worked equally well with the patient wearing a wetsuit and without.
"I knew from my background in emergency medicine if people have massive bleeding from their leg, you can push very hard on the femoral artery and you can pretty much cut the entire blood flow of the leg that way," he said in a statement released by the university on Friday.
"It is easy to do and easy to remember -- push hard between the hip and the bits and you could save a life."
Taylor hopes the technique will become widely known among Australia's roughly half a million surfers, for whom shark encounters are less uncommon.
"I want posters at beaches. I want to get it out in the surf community. I want people to know that if someone gets bitten you can pull out the patient, push as hard as you can in this midpoint spot and it can stop almost all of the blood flow," he said.
© 2021 AFP
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