National briefs: Mets mascot fired, Trump’s cell phone privacy, Gun groups, Ohio state and the job market


New York Mets mascot Mr. Met reacts with the crowd during the Mets home opener against the Houston Astros on April 11, 2005, at Shea Stadium in New York. New York’s beloved mascot flashed an upraised middle finger at a fan during Wednesday night’s 7-1 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers, and the employee will not work for the Mets again.(AP Photo/Gregory Bull, File)

Corey Keenan

Mets mascot gives fan the finger, employee fired

NEW YORK — Even Mr. Met is frustrated with the team’s disappointing start.

New York’s funny-looking mascot flashed his “middle” finger at a fan during Wednesday night’s 7-1 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers, and the team says the employee who did it won’t work in the costume again.

A person tweeted video of the incident, which soon went viral online, and the club quickly issued a statement.

“We apologize for the inappropriate action of this employee,” the Mets said in an email attributed to the organization. “We do not condone this type of behavior.”

Mr. Met, known for having an oversized head with baseball seams, is among the sport’s most recognized mascots.

Expected to contend for a playoff spot, the Mets are 23-28, hurt by injuries to ace starter Noah Syndergaard, closer Jeurys Familia and slugger Yoenis Cespedes.


Trump’s cellphone use worries security experts

WASHINGTON  — President Donald Trump, who blasted Hillary Clinton for using a personal email server, might be a walking magnet for eavesdropping and malware if he is using an unsecured cellphone to chat with foreign leaders.

Trump has been handing out his cellphone number to counterparts around the world, urging them to call him directly to avoid the red tape of diplomatic communications. The practice has raised concern about the security and secrecy of the U.S. commander in chief’s communications.

In today’s world of cyber espionage, cellphone security experts say such a policy is not only unorthodox, but dangerous. Voice calls can be intercepted. A cellphone’s signals to nearby phone towers can give up its precise location. Even cellular networks are vulnerable. And knowing someone’s number makes it easier to infect a phone with malware.

“Hillary Clinton’s email server was like Fort Knox compared to Trump just carrying around a regular cellphone,” said Andrew McLaughlin, former deputy chief technology officer for the Obama administration.

McLaughlin said it’s possible the number that Trump is giving to world leaders rings to someone else’s phone, who then transfers the call to the president, a system that could protect Trump from anyone trying to monitor his communications.


Gun-rights group opposes hearing aid legislation

PORTLAND, Maine — A proposal designed to make hearing aids more affordable has generated resistance from a gun rights group.

Gun Owners of America is organizing opposition against the bill, because it believes the measure would change the way certain hunting products are regulated.

A bipartisan group of senators introduced the measure. They have said the rule change would allow hearing aids intended to compensate for mild to moderate hearing impairment to be sold over the counter, rather than by prescription.

Gun Owners of America worries the legislation could include hearing enhancement devices that hunters use to better track game in its definition of an over-the-counter hearing aid, Pratt said. That could give the U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulatory authority over at least some aspects of hunting, he said.

Sen. Charles Grassley, an Iowa Republican who introduced the bill with Warren, said the proposal wouldn’t affect hunting tools in any way.


Ohio State attacker faulted ‘moderate’ Muslims

COLUMBUS, Ohio — A man responsible for a car-and-knife attack at Ohio State University last year left behind a torn-up note in which he urged his family to stop being “moderate” Muslims and said he was upset by fellow Muslims being oppressed in Myanmar.

Abdul Razak Ali Artan also wrote: “In the end, I would like to say that I pledge my allegiance to ‘dawla,’” an Arabic word that means state or country and a likely reference to the Islamic State group. He concludes by saying he’s leaving his property to his beloved “but yet ‘moderate mother.’”

Artan’s family was baffled by that note, which caused them a great deal of anguish, said Bob Fitrakis, a Columbus attorney representing the family.

The 18-year-old Artan was shot and killed by an Ohio State officer moments after driving into a crowd on Nov. 28 and then attacking people with a knife, leaving 13 injured.


US job market looks solid 8 years after recession ended

WASHINGTON — Eight years after the Great Recession ended, the U.S. job market has settled into steady growth.

The 4.4 percent unemployment rate matches a decade low. Many people who had stopped looking for jobs are coming off the sidelines to find them. More part-timers are finding full-time work. About all that’s still missing is a broad acceleration in pay.

On Friday, when the government releases the jobs report for May, that pattern is likely to extend itself. The consensus expectation of economists is that the Labor Department will report that employers added 176,000 jobs, according to a survey by FactSet, a data provider. That’s right in line with the monthly average of 174,000 over the past three months.

Annual growth in average hourly earnings was a so-so 2.6 percent in April. For workers who aren’t supervisors, average hourly pay has risen just 2.3 percent.


Associated Press

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