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About the Author
Rich Robinson is the CEO and publisher of Rise News. He is also a journalist and a native of Miami. Robinson graduated from the University of Alabama and can be followed on Twitter @RichRobMiami.

So You Want To Send Some Amazon Packages To Croatia? That Will Be $1 Million

David Beslic just wanted to send a few items back to family in his native Croatia from his home in Toronto.

So he went to Amazon, purchased what he wanted (A blender, one laptop case and two keyboard covers) and listed an Croatian address as the place of delivery.

Sounds simple enough in this ever connected globalized economy. Nothing that Amazon can’t handle.

Yeah, not so much.

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Yep. The shipping and handling was 1,000,000 for the four items that only cost $59.96.

Beslic took his surprise and frustration to Facebook where a friend of his who works for Amazon became aware of the situation. The friend is apparently bringing it to the attention of higher ups at the company.

Beslic, a regular Amazon customer is taking it all in stride however.
“It would be more I guess if [I were] not a regular customer,” Beslic said. “A billion or so.”

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Photo Credit: David Beslic/ Facebook

Beyond Viral: The Actually Touching Story Behind The Drunk Guy In The Barney Costume

Brandon Priest is an unassuming 23 year old. From Brunswick, GA, Priest works at a Ebay call center and is still a kid at heart who still loves to watch cartoons and does some cartoon animation as a hobby.

He’s in a local band named Midwayer too. And oh yeah, he also has a 4 year old daughter who takes up the rest of his time.

Trust me, this is important background info.

You see, Priest is a bit of a celebrity now- well at least an online celebrity. A photo of him has been circulating around the Internet close to light speed with thousands of shares on Facebook and other social media sites.

The only problem? Priest is in a Barney the Dinosaur costume and you have no that its him in there and you certainly don’t know the great life lesson that he learned by being goofy.

It just really went to show me how much you actually miss out on when you say no to opportunity and I think it was an amazing life lesson for myself.

Here’s our strangely poignant interview with Brandon Priest, the dude who dressed up as Barney and played pool at a Georgia bar.

Rise News: What is the story behind the viral photos?

Brandon Priest (Barney): Friday I had watched the Jim Carrey movie, Yes Man – the movie where he has to say yes to anything, and lately I hadn’t been getting out of the house at all. I had been just staying inside playing video games and turning down offers from hanging out with friends and the movie really reminded me how much I actually say no to things that might have ended up being fun so I basically made a post on facebook saying that I wanted to start saying yes to more crazy things and hanging out with more people that I wouldn’t normally hang out with.

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Rise News: Why did you decide to dress up as Barney?

Barney: A friend of mine Mercedes actually immediately hit me up and said she had found a Barney outfit in her attic from her kids birthday party a couple years ago and asked if I would be down with wearing it around town and I just went for it haha.

I really enjoyed it. I spent the first part of the day just hugging kids and taking hundreds of pictures, riding around on the tour bike on St Simons island. I think I made a lot of people happy by just dressing up in a silly costume and that was awesome.

People kept buying me free shots and drinks when I hit up the bars and I ended up getting really drunk and some guys talked me into playing pool. I was so wasted I think I only managed to get one ball in (its also really hard to play pool when you’re in a suit that doesn’t have fingers).

Rise News: Did you post the photo on social media or how did it start to go viral?

Barney: I believe a guy named Kyle took the picture and put it on his reddit.

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Rise News: What do you think about how viral it has gotten? 

Barney: I had no idea I’d wake up the next morning and the picture would have 5 million views and all the facebook shares. So many sites and stuff have been hitting me up and I personally think its great. It just really went to show me how much you actually miss out on when you say no to opportunity and I think it was an amazing life lesson for myself.

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Photo Credits: Brandon Priest

Florida Gators QB Will Grier Suspended For Season After PED Use

The Florida Gators have lost their weapon at quarterback for the season after the team announced that Will Grier was suspended for failing a test for performance enhancement drug use.

According to multiple media reports, Grier received an automatic one year ban from the NCAA after failing the test for PEDs.

According to ESPN, Grier failed the test after taking an over the counter drug that was not approved by team trainers. It is not clear what he took that would have triggered a failing test result.

The news was first reported by gridironnow.com

Grier is a freshman from North Carolina who has taken the league by storm after leading the Gators to a perfect 6-0 record.

Florida will play undefeated LSU in Baton Rouge on Saturday.

The Internet reacts:

Read More: The Florida Gators Will Shock The College Football World This Year

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Photo Credit: arctic_whirlwind/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

VICE Media Executive To Give Free Advice For Miami Startups At Event Tuesday Night

Miami’s bustling startup community will be centered on Lincoln Road Tuesday night for a talk by VICE Media’s Dan Perry on how to produce an effective content strategy for new businesses.

The event is hosted by Jurnid, a publishing platform startup that connects publishers with top freelance talent. The event will allow people in Miami’s startup and small business ecosystem to ask questions and learn from Perry on best practices to web content.

From Jurnid on what to expect:

“Join Dan Perry and a growing list of game changing Miami based startups for an evening of discussion focused on content strategy. Develop a content strategy for your startup, brand, organization or business that works. Build a more engaged community around your products and services. Learn what current trends are affecting your digital signals and how to cut through the noise of information overload. We focus heavily on Q&A after a very short presentation, so bring your questions!”

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Andrew Quarrie, the founder of Jurnid said that the event could be a game changer for some local businesses.

“We want founders and attendees to walk away with answers and insights related to their specific implementation of a content strategy,” Quarrie said. “Since we focus heavily on Q&A, this becomes a forum where we can learn from each other’s experience. Aside from knowledge gained, making peer and media related connections are important to building relationships for the exchange of ideas and more.”

Quarrie said that Perry was picked as the speaker because of his experience leading Vice Media’s expansion across three continents.

“He [Perry] comes with a wealth of knowledge and experience to share,” Quarrie said. “Entrepreneurs, marketers, and anyone in business responsible for developing a content strategy can learn from engaging in this discussion.”

The event will be taking place October 13 from 6:30 PM to 8:00 PM at WeWork co-working space (350 Lincoln Road, Miami Beach, FL 33139).

Quarrie said that there is a shift happening in the digital marketing space, as display ads and traditional SEM style push in advertising are not as effective as the pull of stories that are native to the websites, apps, and various media properties of businesses and brands.

“Organic and native stories perform better for engaging readers, which can help with high quality web traffic, lead generation, and brand loyalty,” Quarrie said. “It is important for startups to tell original stories even while in the early stages of building a product. Drive better engagement with your current and potential customers – pre and post launch – know what resonates with your audience.”

Rise News is a media sponsor of the event.

Rise News readers can attend it for free by using this link for tickets: 

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/content-strategy-for-startups-powered-by-jurnid-tickets-18928268962?discount=WE1013

Photo Credit: b k/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

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Exclusive: Man Says Florida Bar Bouncer Physically Moved Him Off Dance Floor Because He Is Gay

A gay couple was physically separated from each other Saturday night by a bouncer working at a Boca Raton, Florida bar.

Joseph Raia, a 22-year-old Florida State University graduate and Miami native, said on his Facebook that he and his boyfriend were singled out because of their sexuality.

Raia’s social media post quickly went viral after he blasted Blue Martini Boca for the treatment he said that he received at the bar.

“The bouncer was paid to remove us from the bar because the men who ordered the bottle service did not want us there anymore because we were gay.”

“For the past four years I have been openly gay and extremely fortunate to have never had a problem, felt threatened, or been discriminated against because of who I am until Saturday night, Raia wrote on the social media site. “I am proud and happy of who I am but unfortunately I experienced how hateful homophobia can be at Blue Martini Boca.”

Raia said that he was dancing with his boyfriend within a group of four other friends when he was grabbed and separated from them.

“The bouncer had pulled me off saying ‘We can’t have this here, you two can’t be here, you need to stop it and leave,'” Raia said. “I was genuinely shocked and did not understand why or where it was coming from. I kept asking why this was happening, what was his reason for attempting to kick us out.”

Raia said that he knows the reason for the physical treatment he received.

“A friend had come up to us to see what was going on and said he had witnessed a man who had ordered bottle service give the bouncer cash, thinking to himself that it was weird, but now making sense,” Raia said. “The bouncer was paid to remove us from the bar because the men who ordered the bottle service did not want us there anymore because we were gay.”

Another bouncer at the bar came over to Raia and apologized about the incident and said that the bouncer who touched Raia would be “reprimanded.”

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The logo for Blue Martini at one of their 12 national locations. Photo Credit: Nick Bastian/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

“The manager on duty had said the same thing, that Blue Martini does not stand for this, and gave us $100 gift card to use when we return. I said I would never be coming back and we had spent much more than that, having a great night until that point but he would not let us leave without taking it,” Raia wrote on Facebook. “We left upset, hurt, and threatened since we did not know if the men would become physical towards us. I have never in my entire life felt wrong for being who I am and after the support from friends and family now realize that we were not wrong for dancing with each other.”

In an interview with Rise News, Raia said that he thinks the bouncer who got physical with him should be fired.

“As for the bouncer that tried to eject us, I would like to know that he has been removed from his position. The manager said there would be an investigation and then he would be reprimanded, but a slap on the wrist isn’t enough of a consequence for his illegal act of discrimination and bribery,” Raia told Rise News. “In our shock and being upset, we did not file a police report l, which we should have. At the time all we wanted to do was leave before someone got physically hurt.”

Raia said that he was fearful that the men who ordered the bottle service would turn physical toward he and his boyfriend.

 “I am unapologetically proud of who I am and who I have become and I will not change because of pressures from someone else.”

“The men who ordered bottle service did not directly speak with us, only the bouncer,” Raia said. “They just stared at us, which was why the second bouncer suggested us to move.”

Rise News has tried to reach Blue Martini Boca for comment numerous times. A manager on call Wednesday evening said that she did not know who the on-call manager was on Saturday, and had not heard about the incident. The general manager of the bar could not be reached for comment before publication of this story.

Raia said that he would not be returning to any of the 12 Blue Martini locations.

“It is true that the actions of one man does not represent the actions of the group, but all the locations look the same. I would not feel comfortable being in the same environment that the incident occurred in,” Raia told Rise News. “As it stands now, I feel like I have to watch my back while walking down the side walk with my boyfriend. I know there is a time and place to show affection freely but I stand by my belief that we did nothing wrong.”

Raia ended his viral Facebook post with a poignant message.

“Our love is the same as anybody else’s love,” Raia said. “I am unapologetically proud of who I am and who I have become and I will not change because of pressures from someone else.”

Rise News will update this story with additional information as it becomes available. 

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Cover Photo Credit: Joseph Raia/Facebook

Yikes: Here’s What The Candidates Would Look Like After 8 Years In The White House

Being President is tough.

Up early each morning. Sleepless nights worrying about far flung crises and domestic troubles alike.

It’s no secret that being President takes a toll on the body- and seems to age the office holder in a big way.

Well, the folks at Sachs Media Group decided to see what the 2016 presidential candidates would look like after 8 years in the White House, and the results aren’t pretty.

“The presidency takes a heavy toll on those who hold the nation’s highest office, often aging them beyond the actual years in office,” a statement on the Sachs Media site said. “Sachs Media Group commissioned photo restoration and manipulation firm Phojoe to envision how current candidates might look at the end of a hypothetical two-term presidency in January 2025.”

Each looks like a version of the cryptkeeper in some form or fashion.

Let’s take a look at the damage:

Ben Carson:

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Bernie Sanders:

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Carly Fiorina:

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Chris Christie:

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Donald Trump: 

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Hillary Clinton:

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Jeb Bush:

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Joe Biden:

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John Kasich:

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Marco Rubio:

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Mike Huckabee:

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Rand Paul:

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Scott Waker:

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Ted Cruz:

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Remind us why anyone wants this job again?

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All Photo Credits: Sachs Media Group

Israeli Soldier Kills Palestinian Woman In West Bank

A 19 year old Palestinian woman was shot and killed by a Israeli solider on the eve of Rosh Hashanah in Hebron, a city in the West Bank.

The Israeli Defense Force announced the shooting via Twitter.

According to multiple media reports, Hadeel al-Hashlamun was a student but it is unclear what exactly led to the shooting- although Israeli officials say that al-Hashlamun was trying to stab a soldier.

The shooting comes on the heels of a failed terrorist attack a few hours earlier in Hebron.

From Reuters:

“A Palestinian militant died when a bomb he was trying to throw at Israeli forces blew up near the West Bank city of Hebron overnight, officials from both sides said on Tuesday, as tension mounted on the eve of the Jewish Yom Kippur fast day.”

 
Watch: A video showing the aftermath of the shooting of Hadeel al-Hashlamun.

This is a developing story. 

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Cover Photo Credit: Youth Against Settlements/ Facebook

No Internet, Casey Anthony Is Not Dead

Facebook has been awash in shares of a story about the death of Casey Anthony, the woman who in 2011 was found not guilty of murdering her young daughter in a trial that grabbed international headlines.

Could it be really true?

Well it is according to two so called “news” websites- Breaking13News.com and Now8News.com who posted identical stories.

From the two sites:

“According to “Unconfirmed reports coming out of Warren, Ohio state that the body of Casey Anthony was found in a rest stop near I-71, bludgeoned to death.  At 1:37 PM on Monday, a traveler noticed a body in the back of a pickup truck abandoned in a grassy field about 20 yards from the parking area as he was walking his dog. The man said as he approached the vehicle, there was a horrible stench in the air. He was shocked to find a young female, in her late 20’s to early 30’s, partially dismembered.”

The tale of Anthony’s untimely demise has been shared thousands times on Facebook and has been popping up on people’s news feeds for a few days now.

But Internet fact checker Snopes.com has called foul on the report, deeming it to be untrue and little more than an attempt to make money with click bait headlines.

From Snopes:

“This report is false: Casey Anthony has not died. Breaking News 13 is one of many fake news sites on the Internet that mimic the appearance of local television news outlets and publish fictitious stories masquerading as real news accounts in order to lure in readers and thereby generate social media shares and advertising revenue — and because of her controversial stature, Casey Anthony is a favorite subject for eyeball-grabbing headlines.”

Rise News called a number listed on the BreakingNews13.com website to allow the operators a chance to respond, but it did not seem to be connected.

Button line people: start paying closer attention to the sources where you get your news from.

H/T to Inquisitr.com for first reporting the existence of Now8News.com.

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Cover Photo Credit: Screenshot from BreakingNews13.com

This Florida Democrat Didn’t Vote To Give Gay Veterans Equal Partner Benefits In Congress

Congresswoman Corrine Brown, a long serving Democratic member of the US House didn’t vote to extend federal benefits to the spouses of LGBT couples last Thursday.

In a shocking move first reported by Politico, Brown reversed course on her previous support of an amendment that according to the Human Rights Campaign would “correct outdated language” in statutes that define spouses as a member of the “opposite sex”.

The proposed amendment- the Veteran Spouses Equal Treatment Act was proposed by Dina Titus (D-NV) and was designed to allow same-sex spouses of military veterans to receive benefits entitled to them under federal law.

“This amendment would take a critical step in ensuring in statute that the voices of LGBT veterans are consistently heard and ensure the LGBT community is represented when addressing the issues that affect minority veterans,” a statement from the Human Rights Campaign said.

Brown, the ranking member of the House Veterans Affairs Committee voted present when the amendment came to a vote.

“I never question someone’s motives for how they vote, but what upset us is, one, she changed her vote and second, she didn’t let us know and she is our leader,” Titus was quoted by Politico as saying about Brown. “We’re talking about a number of options….We’re going to do something. We want to hear her explanation and we want her to hear why we are upset. It was really disappointing.”

While Brown’s vote didn’t impact the outcome of the failure of the amendment to pass (12 of the 14 Republicans on the committee voted against it), it has sparked questions about her motivations and whether it is due to her positioning for the 2016 election- when she is expected to compete in a more conservative district.

Twitter was not pleased with the Congresswoman after the vote.

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Photo Credit: JAXPORT/Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Don’t Call It A Comeback- Hillary Clinton Extends Lead Over Bernie Sanders In New Poll

Hillary Clinton has apparently begun to right the ship of her sluggish Presidential campaign and has started to grow her base of support in the Democratic party- according to a new poll out today.

The poll, commissioned by CNN, shows Clinton extending her national lead over Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, while Vice President Joe Biden sits in a strong third place.

The survey of 392 Democratic leaning voters was taken by phone on September 17-19 and has a margin of error of 5 percent. Clinton takes 42 percent of the vote according to the survey, while Sanders scoops up 24 percent.

The poll is good news for Biden, as it is one of his strongest showings in a national survey- he comes in at a strong third place with 22 percent.

Meanwhile, it has been reported that Jill Biden, the wife of the Vice President supports her husband in running for president.

The first Democratic debate is October 13.

Results:

Clinton: 42%
Sanders: 24%
Biden: 22%
O’Malley: 1%

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Cover Photo Credit: Jonathan Lidbeck/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

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