Today I have an update about Craig Hicks, the North Carolina man who gunned down his Muslim neighbors over an alleged parking dispute. There's also some bad news about Tinder, especially if you are over the age of 30. Plus, a cool way IKEA is making their furniture more high tech.
Do you think the new Tinder Plus is a minus? Do you think Craig Hicks deserves the death penalty? Have you ever had a terrifying encounter with your neighbor? Discuss these or any news items in the comments or Tweet me directly (or just follow me) @AmandaLauren.
More News About the Chapel Hill Shooter
More news has been released about Craig Hicks, the man who shot and killed his Muslim neighbors, Deah Shaddy Barakat, his wife, Yusor Mohammad Abu-Salha, and her sister, Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha.
In October, Hicks went over to Bakarat's apartment to complain about noise while the couple was cleaning up from a dinner party and playing the board game Risk (not exactly loud activities). He lifted his shirt to reveal a holstered gun. The coupled decided not to call the police, but even if they did, law enforcement couldn't have done much because Hicks had a concealed carry permit.
On January 7, after an encounter with Hicks, Ms. Abu-Salha texted her husband,
I just got yelled at for it by that crazy neighbor, who said we are only allowed two spots.
The complex they lived in allowed permits for up to two cars, but only one officially assigned spot. The couple was assigned space 20B and the next space, 20C, belonged to Mrs. Hicks. There were five additional spaces in the lot that were unassigned and could be used for extra cars. Residents were permitted to have illegally parked cars towed, but Hicks abused the privilege so often that the homeowners association asked him to stop. A police search even revealed Hicks kept "pictures and detailed notes on parking activity."
To avoid future conflict, Bakarat gave his family and friends who visited highlighted parking maps.
By mid-January, friends of the couple were becoming concerned about this ongoing conflict. They felt Hicks was obsessing over the couple, especially Yusor, because of the way she dressed. Nida Allam, a close friend of the couple, told The New York Times:
If you look at Deah, he looks like your average white guy. But Yusor wears the head scarf. And so does Razan.
And if you were wondering, prior to being gunned down by Hicks, Deah Shaddy Barakat, Yusor Mohammad, and Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha were all parked in legal spots and not in Hicks's spot. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.
Tinder Tells 30-Somethings They Have to Pay to Play
Tinder changed all the rules of the hook-up game, and now they’re doing it again, but most people think it’s not for the better. This week, Tinder Plus, a premium service that adds additional features to the popular app, was launched. One of those features is Rewind, which allows users to back up to the previous match, if your fingers perhaps moved faster than your heart. Another feature is Passport, which allows users to check out matches in other locations or set up a few hook-ups before traveling. Tinder Plus also allows unlimited likes because that’s no longer allowed on the free version. After about 100 swipes within a currently unspecified time frame, Tinder will lock free users out of swiping for 12 hours. Tinder Plus is also entirely ad-free.
While paying for additional features sounds fair, their pricing structure may not be. In the U.S., Tinder requires all users over 30 to sign up for Tinder Plus, which costs $19.99 per month. Free Tinder is still open to those under 30, with the upgraded version costing only $9.99 per month.
Tinder spokeswoman Rosette Pambakian justified the company’s pricing structure to NPR:
Over the past few months, we've tested Tinder Plus extensively in several countries. We've priced Tinder Plus based on a combination of factors, including what we've learned through our testing, and we've found that these price points were adopted very well by certain age demographics. Lots of products offer differentiated price tiers by age, like Spotify does for students, for example. Tinder is no different; during our testing we've learned, not surprisingly, that younger users are just as excited about Tinder Plus but are more budget constrained and need a lower price to pull the trigger.
Most people over 30 have not reacted positively to these new changes, including Bad Johnson screenwriter Jeff Tetreault, who said what many men are probably thinking:
I guess I'm gonna have to go back to reading on the toilet.
But, writer and comedienne Amy Dresner made a good point:
Most Tinder encounters are one-night stands in the dark so what difference does your age make? And I get to pay more because I'm MORE mature and experienced in bed and life.
There’s always Mixxxer, which calls itself "a mobile sex finder." They’re offering women free membership though May 31.
Netanyahu Addresses Congress
On Tuesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited Congress, where he made a speech addressing the U.S.'s current negotiations with Iran over nuclear weapons. Netanyahu doesn't believe Iran is negotiating in good faith and thinks the current negotiations will ultimately strengthen Iranian-backed, anti-Israel terrorist groups, including Hezbollah.
Netanyahu has many issues with Iran, including their Supreme Leader (that's his official title) Ayatollah Khamenei’s Twitter account:
Today the Jewish people face another attempt by yet another Persian potentate to destroy us. Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei spews the oldest hatred, the oldest hatred of anti-Semitism with the newest technology. He tweets that Israel must be annihilated — he tweets. You know, in Iran, there isn't exactly free Internet. But he tweets in English that Israel must be destroyed.
Netanyahu also argued that ISIS and Iran are currently competing against each other, as if they are two contestants in a terrorist pageant of sorts:
Iran and ISIS are competing for the crown of militant Islam. One calls itself the Islamic Republic. The other calls itself the Islamic State. Both want to impose a militant Islamic empire first on the region and then on the entire world. They just disagree among themselves who will be the ruler of that empire.
He also name-dropped a popular HBO drama:
In this deadly game of thrones, there's no place for America or for Israel, no peace for Christians, Jews, or Muslims who don't share the Islamist medieval creed, no rights for women, no freedom for anyone. So when it comes to Iran and ISIS, the enemy of your enemy is your enemy.
Netanyahu then explained the difference between ISIS and Iran:
The difference is that ISIS is armed with butcher knives, captured weapons, and YouTube, whereas Iran could soon be armed with intercontinental ballistic missiles and nuclear bombs. We must always remember — I'll say it one more time — the greatest dangers facing our world is the marriage of militant Islam with nuclear weapons. To defeat ISIS and let Iran get nuclear weapons would be to win the battle, but lose the war. We can't let that happen.
While President Obama was not personally present for the speech, his reaction to it wasn’t exactly positive, noting the Prime Minister didn’t offer any solutions to the problem:
I did not have a chance to watch Prime Minister Netanyahu's speech. I was on a videoconference with our European partners with respect to Ukraine. I did have a chance to take a look at the transcript. And as far as can I tell, there was nothing new. The prime minister, I think, appropriately pointed out that the bond between the United States and America [sic] is unbreakable and on that point I thoroughly agree. He also pointed out that Iran has been a dangerous regime and continues to engage in activities that are contrary to the interest of the United States, to Israel, and to the region. And on that, we agree. He also pointed out the fact that Iran has repeatedly threatened Israel and engaged in the most venomous of anti-Semitic statements, and no one can dispute that. But on the core issue, which is how do we prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, which would make it far more dangerous and would give it scope for even greater action in the region, the prime minister didn't offer any viable alternatives.
· Swedish furniture giant IKEA is introducing a line of lamps, tables, and desks with wireless Qi charging devices built right in. Like most of IKEA's furniture, this feature will remain relatively affordable, costing only $22 more than the regular versions of the same pieces. The store will also sell kits for $34 to integrate the charging pad into preexisting future pieces.
· Mark Cuban and Ann Coulter have been elected President and Vice President, but don’t worry — it’s only for the movie Sharknado 3, which is scheduled to air in July. If you loved the first two campy SyFy channel classics, you’ll also be delighted to know Ian Zeiring and Tara Reid will be returning as Fin and April.
· The New York Times recently revealed that Hillary Clinton used a personal email address during the four years she served as head of the State Department and violated the Federal Records Act by not archiving her emails. The email address she used was firstname.lastname@example.org, which, if you were wondering, is no longer active.