The Wider World

“Flash” robbers besiege stores

“FLASH” mob robberies have broken out in California and Minnesota (Shutterstock).

A wave of  “flash” robberies is breaking out across California and Minnesota, as mobs of masked thieves sacked stores in both states.

According to United Press International, a “flash mob” on Friday ransacked a Home Depot in Lakewood, taking sledgehammers, crowbars and hammers. Such devices were used in attacking other stores.

Los Angeles Times reports similar raids on a Nordstrom store in Canoga Park, several stores at the Beverly Center, a Nordstrom store at The Grove shopping center and jewelry stores in Beverly Hills.

Similar incidents were reported in Walnut Creek, California and in several locations in Minnesota. Security guards and increased police patrols have been summoned to deter these crimes.

Police say the method used is to quickly enter a store, grab high-value merchandise and flee to cars parked right outside the exit. At one store, the management tried to trap the thieves by locking the doors, but they used sledgehammers to smash through the glass and escape.

Omicron now surfaces in Europe

A NEW VARIANT of coronavirus – omicron – has been detected in Europe (Shutterstock).

A new strain of coronavirus – omicron – identified recently in South Africa has now appeared in several European countries. According to the Associated Press, cases have been identified in Great Britain, Germany and Italy, as well as Israel and Hong Kong.

The variant – which is possibly more contagious than the original version – has led to travel restrictions to and from countries where infections have been detected.

It’s possible that omicron is in the U.S. “We have not detected it yet,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top government expert on infectious diseases, but such a highly transmissible variant “almost invariably … is ultimately going to go essentially all over.”

Sports: Alabama, Michigan prevail

The Michigan Wolverines and the Alabama Crimson tide won crucial college football games Saturday, but it wasn’t easy.

Michigan (now 11-1) defeated Ohio State (10-2) by 42-27 for its first win over the Buckeyes since 2011. Alabama (11-1) rallied from a late 10-0 deficit to prevail 24-22 in four overtimes over rival Auburn (6-6) to win their Iron Bowl game.

With those victories, both teams are close to locking up spots in the four-team College Football Playoffs. A third team would be top-ranked Georgia (12-0), which slammed Georgia Tech (3-9) 45-0 on Saturday.

Weather: Living in the Seventies

The West Orange County area will be living in the 70s – that is, daytime temperatures in that range for at least a week. Forecasts call for Sunday to have a high of 77 (overnight low of 49) under sunny skies. The thermometer will dip and rise in the range of 76 to 73, but the weather will still have plenty of sunshine at least through next Friday. In coastal areas of Huntington Beach, it’ll be a bit cooler, with Sunday at 73 (51 overnight) and then 68 (52) on Monday before rising back into the 70s on Tuesday.

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