Dallas Texas gets 9” of rain in a single night. A typical summer gets 8.2”

Revelations 2:5 “Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent.

Important Takeaways:

  • At least one dead after Dallas area hit by 1-in-1,000-year flood
  • In Mesquite, southeast of Dallas, a body was recovered Monday afternoon from a vehicle in a creek.
  • Elsewhere, authorities conducted water rescues and evacuated residents from flooded areas; cars remained abandoned, some parked on the sides of interstates, either flooded or damaged in crashes; numerous highway ramps and lanes were shut down. At the interchange of Interstates 30, 45 and 75 — a trouble spot on good days — flooding had traffic down to a trickle in one lane.
  • In some isolated areas, the rainfall totals would be considered a 1-in-1,000-year flood — a remarkable reversal given the dramatic drought that Dallas had faced for months. Several rainfall gauges recorded more than 10 inches.
  • The downpour marked the latest such flood in the past few weeks across the United States. In one week alone, three 1-in-1,000-year rain events occurred, inundating St. Louis, eastern Kentucky and southeastern Illinois.

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Judge imposes harsher sentence than requested on man accused of encouraging U.S. Capitol rioters

By Mark Hosenball

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A judge on Thursday imposed a longer prison term than prosecutors requested on a Dallas man accused of posting inflammatory social media messages inciting people to violence at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 even though he did not himself participate directly in the rioting.

U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan sentenced Troy Smocks, 58, to 14 months incarceration and three years supervised release after he entered a guilty plea to a charge of making threats in interstate communication.

Smocks, who is Black, told the judge that the Justice Department had treated him differently than white defendants who participated directly in the riot, which followed a speech by then-President Donald Trump, a Republican, at a nearby rally.

Prosecutors said in court papers that Smocks traveled to Washington on Jan. 5 and, using accounts under the name “ColonelTPerez” and “@Colonel007” on the Parler social media network, posted threats on Jan. 6 and 7 regarding the riots.

The Justice Department said Smocks’ threats included claims that he and others would return to the U.S. Capitol the day before Biden’s scheduled inauguration carrying weapons in large numbers and that Smocks “threatened that he and others would ‘hunt these cowards down like the Traitors that each of them are’, including “RINOS, Dems, and Tech Execs.” RINO is pejorative and stands for “Republicans in Name Only.”

Smocks has been held in pre-trial detention since his arrest in January and both federal prosecutor Michael Friedman and defense lawyer John Machado told the judge they believed he now should be released from jail and put on supervised release.

But Chutkan of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, said that while Smocks claimed to have served in the U.S. military, no official record could be found to confirm this, that Smocks had an extensive criminal history, and that he had an apparent “inability to live a law abiding life.”

“He does not appear to have any genuine remorse for his actions,” Chutkan said.

(Reporting by Mark Hosenball; editing by Grant McCool)

Coronavirus pandemic advances the march of ‘cobots’

By Rajesh Kumar Singh

CHICAGO (Reuters) – While a resurgence in coronavirus cases in Texas has brought many businesses to a screeching halt, eight robots have kept All Axis Machining’s metal fabrication facility in Dallas humming.

The small, nimble robots perform multiple jobs, such as machine-tending, sanding, deburring, part inspection and laser marking, leaving owner Gary Kuzmin far less dependent on manual labor. When all the workers on one shift went into self-quarantine last month, it had no impact on the facility’s productivity.

All Kuzmin had to do was to move a couple of workers from other shifts to supervise the robots. “I have not lost any spindle time because of the pandemic,” he said.

Companies of all sizes are leaning on automation to keep factories running without compromising the health and safety of their workers. Half of the chief financial officers surveyed last month by PricewaterhouseCoopers said they were planning to accelerate automation.

With the U.S. economy grappling with a double-digit unemployment rate, however, industry’s rush to robots will fuel worries about semi-skilled or unskilled workers as low-paid, routine tasks become more likely to be automated.

“It is the most productive thing for us to have the robots,” said Kuzmin. “I don’t even look at a machine these days without thinking how I would automate it.”

Since August 2018, when All Axis Machining began using robots, its productivity has doubled with the same headcount. If not for the robots, the company would have needed to expand its staff of 30 by 50% to keep up with increase in demand.

“We are less dependent upon a semi-skilled employee,” said Kuzmin.

The pandemic has changed companies’ calculations about investments in automation, said Jeremie Capron, research chief at research and investment-advisory firm ROBO Global. “The cost of operating without a robot today in a factory is higher than it was pre-COVID,” he said.

Mark Muro, senior fellow and policy director at Washington-based the Brookings Institution, says the automation drive will result in a net reduction in the workforce as companies invest in technology not just for social distancing, but also to boost productivity and protect profits from the pandemic-induced recession.

“Technology has improved and gotten cheaper, and the financial pressure on companies is higher,” he said.

He noted, however, that since middle class and lower-paid workers tend to spend a larger share of their income than the higher-paid, it is important that productivity gains eventually result in more jobs.

“If there is… too little sharing of the gains of automation-supported growth, we will wind up with little economic activity,” Muro said.


The affordable cost of the so-called collaborative robots, or “cobots,” promises payback in months, making the changeover easier, even for small and medium-sized enterprises.

All Axis Machining, for example, spent $85,000 per robot and was able to recover the cost in five months. There are cheaper collaborative robots on the market, as well.

One of the most popular cobots sold by Denmark-based Universal Robots – a unit of Massachusetts-based Teradyne Inc. and a market leader in collaborative robotics technology – costs about $35,000, with a payback period of three to four months.

The robots are very easy to use, safe to be around and can easily be adapted to new tasks. It takes just hours to train employees to work with them, saving companies huge training expense.

Although they are not suited for heavy-duty jobs, they are designed to work alongside humans, making them the robots of choice in the age of social distancing.

California-based DCL Logistics, a third-party logistics company, decided to employ cobots to manage a 30% increase in orders in the immediate aftermath of the outbreak.

Normally, the company would have hired temporary workers to deal with the surge in orders. But bringing in new workers was fraught with safety risks, said Chief Revenue Officer Brian Tu. The robots have led to a 300% increase in productivity and a 60% jump in labor cost savings, Tu said.

DCL plans to deploy more cobots this year at its facilities in California and Kentucky.

At All Axis Machining, the cobots have allowed owner Kuzmin to stagger the shifts. The facility now runs three shifts seven days a week, with robots working the late night shift alone, without any roving inspector.

This has allowed workers in the facility to stay 30 feet apart from each other. Having seen the benefits, the company is automating its remaining machines as well.

Kuzmin, who also runs a robotics services company, says several Dallas-based manufacturers have approached him recently to install similar robots in their factories.


Universal Robots is fielding inquiries from companies seeking social distancing solutions, as well as tools to re-shore production and make their operations more flexible.

“Some companies… are talking about dozens and dozens of robots,” said Joe Campbell, senior manager of applications development at Universal Robots.

Still, the virus-induced recession is keeping many companies on the sidelines, wary of making new investments.

Tacoma, Washington-based Tool Gauge, which makes metal and plastic parts and assemblies for aerospace companies, including Boeing Co., planned to add two mobile industrial robots to its fleet of two cobots and 10 industrial robots before the novel coronavirus hammered the aviation industry.

But Tool Gauge put the robots on hold after a production shutdown at Boeing’s Washington state factories and an overall drop in orders, General Manager Jim Lee said.

(Reporting by Rajesh Kumar Singh; Editing by Joseph White and Dan Grebler)

Dallas orders curfew after tornado shreds homes; thousands without power

Dallas orders curfew after tornado shreds homes; thousands without power
(Reuters) – Police declared a curfew on Monday in parts of Dallas where a powerful tornado tore apart homes and flipped cars, leaving tens of thousands without power for a second night.

Three people were reported hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries after the Sunday storm ripped through north Dallas with maximum wind speeds of 140 mph (225 kph), according to the National Weather Service.

Emergency management workers went door to door in areas such as Preston Hollow and Richardson, checking homes without roofs or crushed by fallen trees, tagging structures with orange spray paint.

“#DallasTornado you took my job! my school!” one Twitter user, Monica Badillo, posted, along with images of shattered windows and debris at Primrose School in Preston Hollow, where she said she worked.

The Dallas Police Department (DPD) asked residents to stay indoors between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m. and told non-residents to stay out of areas where the twister left a miles-long swath of destruction.

“DPD is urging residents to remain vigilant and not enter the impacted areas for their own safety,” the department said, adding it had received reports of looting that had so far turned out to be false.

Dozens of residents were expected to spend the night at a leisure complex turned into a shelter near Love Field Airport, city authorities said.

The winds were powerful enough to cave in a Home Depot <HD.N> do-it-yourself store, leaving a mangled mess of ceiling beams.

The tornado caused traffic chaos, with numerous roads blocked and dozens of stop lights out, transport authorities said.

Fire rescue officials said it would take another day to make a final assessment of the destruction, with less than half of the affected area checked by nightfall.

About 42,000 people were without power by Monday evening, according to utility firm Oncor, which pressed helicopters and drones into its effort to find and fix damaged lines.

Some residents should prepare for a possible multi-day outage as destroyed electric equipment is rebuilt, it added.

Although no fatalities were reported in the Dallas area, severe storms were blamed for at least three deaths in Oklahoma and one in Arkansas, state authorities said.

(Reporting by Subrat Patnaik in Bengaluru, Rich McKay in Atlanta, Gabriella Borter in New York and Andrew Hay in New Mexico; Editing by Andrea Ricci and Clarence Fernandez)

Homes destroyed, thousands without power after tornado rips through Dallas

Homes destroyed, thousands without power after tornado rips through Dallas
(Reuters) – Emergency responders on Monday were assessing damage from a tornado that plowed through parts of northern Dallas late on Sunday, knocking out power to more than 175,000 homes and businesses and delaying flights at regional airports.

The city’s emergency management department said on its website that 100 traffic lights were without power and several more were knocked down on Monday morning, and crews were still surveying the damage. There were no reports of fatalities.

Some 63,000 homes and businesses in Dallas county were still without power on Monday morning, according to PowerOutage.us.

The storm left a miles-long swath of destruction through Dallas, hitting near the Love Field airport in the city’s north, the National Weather Service’s Weather Prediction Center in College Park Maryland said early on Monday.

Video footage on Twitter showed collapsed roofs, overturned cars and homes reduced to piles of debris in the wake of the twister in Richardson, Texas, a northeast suburb of Dallas. Images showed the roof and walls of a Home Depot <HD.N> store had caved in, exposing a mangled web of ceiling beams.

“It was exactly one tornado that hit at 9:02 p.m.,” said National Weather Service meteorologist David Roth.

“We also saw golf ball- and baseball-sized hail in some areas and a narrow swath of north Dallas that got between one to three inches of rain,” Roth said, or the equivalent of 2.5 cm to 7.6 cm.

(Reporting by Subrat Patnaik in Bengaluru, Rich McKay in Atlanta and Gabriella Borter in New York; Editing by Alex Richardson and Steve Orlofsky)

‘How can this be?’ Victim’s father testifies in Dallas wrong-apartment murder trial

By Brad Brooks

AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) – Texas prosecutors on Wednesday said a jury should sentence former Dallas police officer Amber Guyger to at least 28 years in prison for mistakenly entering a black neighbor’s apartment and shooting him to death as he ate ice cream.

The jury could sentence Guyger, 31, to life in prison or as little as five years behind bars for murdering 26-year-old Botham Jean on Sept. 6, 2018.

Jean’s father cried as he told the jury of his intense pain following the murder of his son, who he said brought joy to those around him.

“How could we lose Botham – such a sweet boy? He tried his best to live a good honest life. He loved God. He loved everyone,” Bertrum Jean said as he wept. “How can this be possible? I’ll never see him again. I want to see him!”

Jean’s slaying by a white police officer had provoked street protests, particularly after prosecutors initially opted to charge Guyger with manslaughter rather than murder.

Lawyers for the victim’s family said they believed the verdict was the first time a white female police officer had been found guilty of first-degree murder in the killing of an unarmed black man.

“This is a historic case and history provides us with a teachable moment,” said civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump, who also represented the family of Trayvon Martin, the Florida teenager shot and killed in 2012 by a civilian neighborhood watchman who was later cleared in court.

This case was unlike other recent high-profile killings, such as those of Michael Brown in Missouri and Philando Castile in Minnesota, since Guyger was not on duty or responding to a reported crime when she fired.

State prosecutors hammered at racist and violent text messages and social media posts that Guyger made in the months leading up to Jean’s killing.

One text Guyger wrote in January 2018 stated how she would like to use pepper spray on the crowd at a Martin Luther King Jr. parade in Dallas. In another she wrote that her black police colleagues “just have a different way of working and it shows.”

Prosecutor LaQuita Long told the jury that this past weekend marked the second birthday Jean’s family had mourned him since his death.

“I’m going to encourage you that the number you return with should be no lower than 28 years,” Long said. “That is what Botham would have celebrated on Sunday.”

Lawyers for Guyger called her mother, sister, a few fellow police officers and several acquaintances to the stand. They all said the former police officer had a caring personality.

LaWanda Clark, a longtime drug addict, told jurors how Guyger had ticketed her during a bust at a drug den a few years ago, but told the woman that she could “continue on the road that you’re on – or this can be your ticket out.”

Clark said she went through a rehab program, is now sober and employed, and credits Guyger with turning her life around.

“She let me know that I mattered,” Clark said. “That she didn’t just see me as an addict.”

Defense lawyer Toby Shook asked the jury to consider the unusual circumstances of this case, noting that Guyger “was not on duty. She just wanted to go home.”

(Reporting by Brad Brooks; Editing by Scott Malone, Bernadette Baum and David Gregorio)

Jury finds Dallas police officer guilty in shooting death of her neighbor

FILE PHOTO: Amber Guyger, who is charged in the killing of Botham Jean in his own home, arrives on the first day of the trial in Dallas, Texas, U.S., September 23, 2019. REUTERS/Jeremy Lock/File Photo

By Bruce Tomaso

DALLAS (Reuters) – A Dallas jury found former police officer Amber Guyger guilty on Tuesday of murder when she accidentally walked into a neighbor’s apartment thinking it was her own and shot him dead as he ate ice cream.

The Sept. 6, 2018, killing of Botham Jean, a 26-year-old black PwC accountant, by a white officer sparked street protests, particularly when prosecutors initially opted to bring the lesser charge of manslaughter against Guyger, 31.

“We the jury unanimously find the defendant Amber Guyger guilty of murder as charged in the indictment,” Judge Tammy Kemp read aloud to the courtroom from the jurors’ statement. A sob, which sounded like it came from Guyger’s bench, cut the judge off and Kemp paused to address the courtroom: “No outbursts.”

Guyger, who spent four years on the force before the killing, faces a mandatory sentence of life in prison for the slaying. She took the rare step of testifying in her own defense during her trial, tearfully expressing regret for shooting Jean but saying she had believed her life was in danger when she pulled the trigger.

“I’m so sorry, I’m so sorry. I have to live with this every single day,” Guyger told the jury of eight women and four men.

In cross-examination, Assistant District Attorney Jason Hermus asked her, “When you shot him twice, you intended to kill him, didn’t you?”

“I did,” Guyger responded, in a calm voice.

Prosecutors also argued that Guyger did little to help Jean even after realizing her mistake, calling the 911 emergency phone number for an ambulance but not administering first aid.

Hermus also told the jury that Guyger missed blatant clues that she was not in her own apartment – including the smell of marijuana smoke – because she was distracted after a 16-minute phone conversation on her commute with her former police partner. Guyger testified that the call was in relation to work.

The shooting stood in contrast to cases like the killings of Michael Brown in Missouri and Philando Castile in Minnesota. Guyger shot Jean while she was off duty, rather than while responding to a reported crime.

In her testimony, Guyger told jurors that the shooting “is not about hate; it’s about being scared.”

Neither prosecutors nor the defense focused on race during the trial.

(Reporting by Bruce Tomaso in Dallas, additional reporting by Brad Brooks in Austin; Editing by Scott Malone, Cynthia Osterman and Jonathan Oatis)

Crane collapses on Dallas apartment building, killing one, injuring six

A construction crane collapses amidst high winds in Dallas, Texas, U.S., June 9, 2019 in this still image taken from a social media video. Sophie Daigle via REUTERS

(Reuters) – A construction crane, apparently toppled by high winds, collapsed onto an apartment house in Dallas on Sunday and sliced through five floors of the building, killing at least one person and injuring six others, a city fire and rescue spokesman said.

The building’s parking garage was also heavily damaged, and authorities planned a thorough search of the entire structure for anyone else who may have been trapped or killed inside, the spokesman, Jason Evans, told reporters at the scene.

“We’re hoping that what we have at this point is where it ends” in terms of casualties, Evans said during the televised news briefing.

The collapse occurred just before 2 p.m. CDT as a bout of severe weather blew through the city, according to Evans and a number of eyewitness accounts reported in the news media.

A nearby resident identified as Abbey Kearney told CNN that she and her husband saw the crane come down on the Elan City Lights apartment building in downtown Dallas just as extremely high winds kicked up in the area.

“It just sliced through the building … like a hot knife through butter,” she said.

Evans said one person was found dead in a residential portion of the five-story building hardest hit by the fallen crane, and six others were taken to hospitals, two of them in critical condition.

Local media reports said the person who died was a woman.

While the precise cause of the accident was not immediately determined, Evans said there was a “strong possibility that yes, the wind did play some role in the collapse of the crane itself.”

The crane broke into several pieces that fell into different portions of the apartment building, located across the street from a large construction site, Evans said. He said did not know whether the crane was in operation at the time.

(Reporting by Steve Gorman in Los Angeles; Editing by Peter Cooney)

FAA to order inspections of jet engines after Southwest blast

U.S. NTSB investigators are on scene examining damage to the engine of the Southwest Airlines plane in this image released from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S., April 17, 2018. NTSB/Handout via REUTERS

By Alwyn Scott and Alana Wise

(Reuters) – The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration said it will order inspection of about 220 aircraft engines as investigators have found that a broken fan blade touched off an engine explosion this week on a Southwest flight, killing a passenger.

The regulator said late on Wednesday it plans to finalize the air-worthiness directive within the next two weeks. The order, which it initially proposed in August following an incident in 2016, will require ultrasonic inspection within the next six months of the fan blades on all CFM56-7B engines that have accrued a certain number of takeoffs.

Airlines said that because fan blades may have been repaired and moved to other engines, the order would affect far more than 220 of the CFM56-7Bs, which are made by a partnership of France’s Safran &lt;SAF.PA&gt; and General Electric &lt;GE.N&gt;.

The CFM56 engine on Southwest &lt;LUV.N&gt; flight 1380 blew apart over Pennsylvania on Tuesday, about 20 minutes after the Dallas-bound flight left New York’s LaGuardia Airport with 149 people on board. The explosion sent shrapnel ripping into the fuselage of the Boeing 737-700 plane and shattered a window.

Bank executive Jennifer Riordan, 43, was killed when she was partially pulled through a gaping hole next to her seat as the cabin suffered rapid decompression. Fellow passengers were able to pull her back inside but she died of her injuries.

On Wednesday, National Transportation Safety Board Chairman Robert Sumwalt said the incident began when one of the engine’s 24 fan blades snapped off from its hub. Investigators found that the blade had suffered metal fatigue at the point of the break.

Sumwalt said he could not yet say if the incident, the first deadly airline accident in the United States since 2009, pointed to a fleet-wide problem in the Boeing 737-700.

Southwest crews were inspecting similar engines the airline had in service, focusing on the 400 to 600 oldest of the CFM56 engines, according to a person with knowledge of the situation. It was the second time this kind of engine had failed on a Southwest jet in the past two years, prompting airlines around the world to step up inspections.

A NTSB inspection crew was also combing over the Boeing &lt;BA.N&gt; 737-700 for signs of what caused the engine to explode.

Sumwalt said the fan blade, after suffering metal fatigue where it attached to the engine hub, has a second fracture about halfway along its length. Pieces of the plane were found in rural Pennsylvania by investigators who tracked them on radar. The metal fatigue would not have been observable by looking at the engine from the outside, Sumwalt said.

Passengers described scenes of panic as a piece of shrapnel from the engine shattered a plane window, almost sucking Riordan out.

Riordan was a Wells Fargo &lt;WFC.N&gt; banking executive and well-known community volunteer from Albuquerque, New Mexico, the company said.

Videos posted on social media showed passengers grabbing for oxygen masks and screaming as the plane, piloted by Tammie Jo Shults, a former U.S. Navy fighter pilot, prepared for the descent into Philadelphia.

The airline expected to wrap up its inspection of the engines it was targeting in about 30 days.

The GE-Safran partnership that built the engine said it was sending about 40 technicians to help with Southwest’s inspections.

Pieces of the engine including its cowling – which covers its inner workings – were found about 60 miles (100 km) from Philadelphia airport, Sumwalt said. The investigation could take 12 to 15 months to complete.

In August 2016, a Southwest flight made a safe emergency landing in Pensacola, Florida, after a fan blade separated from the same type of engine and debris ripped a hole above the left wing. That incident prompted the FAA to propose last year that similar fan blades undergo ultrasonic inspections and be replaced if they failed.

(editing by David Stamp)

U.S. inspectors probe deadly Southwest jet engine explosion

U.S. NTSB investigators are on scene examining damage to the engine of the Southwest Airlines plane in this image released from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S., April 17, 2018. NTSB/Handout via REUTERS

(Reuters) – The National Transportation Safety Board on Wednesday was inspecting the wrecked engine of a Southwest Airlines Co jet that blew up in mid air, killing a passenger in the first deadly U.S. commercial airline accident in nine years.

NTSB officials retrieved the flight data recorder from the Boeing 737-700, which will be sent to Washington for review, as airlines around the world stepped up inspection of engines on that model of aircraft.

Southwest Flight 1380, which took off from New York for Dallas, Texas, with 144 passengers and five crew members aboard, made an emergency landing in Philadelphia on Tuesday after an engine on the plane ripped apart, killing bank executive Jennifer Riordan, 43.

Emergency personnel monitor the damaged engine of Southwest Airlines Flight 1380, which diverted to the Philadelphia International Airport this morning after the airline crew reported damage to one of the aircraft's engines, on a runway in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania U.S. April 17, 2018. REUTERS/Mark Makela

Emergency personnel monitor the damaged engine of Southwest Airlines Flight 1380, which diverted to the Philadelphia International Airport this morning after the airline crew reported damage to one of the aircraft’s engines, on a runway in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania U.S. April 17, 2018. REUTERS/Mark Makela

It was the second incident involving a failure of the same sort of engine, the CFM56, made by a partnership of France’s Safran and General Electric, on a Southwest jet in the past two years.

Passengers described scenes of panic as a piece of shrapnel from the engine shattered a window on the aircraft, almost sucking a female passenger out.

“All I could think of in that moment was, I need to communicate with my loved ones,” passenger Marty Martinez told ABC’s Good Morning America on Wednesday. During the incident, he logged on to the plane’s in-flight WiFi service to send messages to his family.

“I thought, these are my last few moments on Earth and I want people to know what happened,” Martinez said.

Southwest Airlines experienced an unrelated safety incident early on Wednesday when a Phoenix-bound flight was forced to land at Nashville airport shortly after takeoff because of bird strike.

The airline said it would inspect the fan blades of CFM56 engines on all of its 737 jets within 30 days. Minimal flight disruptions may result, it said.

NTSB Chairman Robert Sumwalt said on Tuesday at the Philadelphia airport that a preliminary investigation found an engine fan blade missing, having apparently broken off, and that there was metal fatigue at the point where it would normally be attached.

Sumwalt said the investigation could take 12 to 15 months to complete.

In August 2016, a Southwest flight made a safe emergency landing in Pensacola, Florida, after a fan blade separated from the same type of engine and debris ripped a hole above the left wing. That incident prompted the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration to propose last year that similar fan blades undergo ultrasonic inspections and be replaced if they failed.

Riordan’s death was the first in a U.S. commercial aviation accident since 2009, according to NTSB statistics.

Riordan was a Wells Fargo banking executive and well-known community volunteer from Albuquerque, New Mexico, according to a Wells Fargo official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

(Reporting by Brendan O’Brien in Milwaukee; Additional reporting by Arunima Banerjee in Bengaluru; Writing by Scott Malone; Editing by Peter Graff and Bernadette Baum)