News briefs Oct. 20

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Amazon sues 1000 people writing false product reviews 

FILE - In this Oct. 18, 2010 file photo, an Amazon.com package awaits delivery from UPS in Palo Alto, Calif. Amazon is suing more than 1,000 people for advertising their services writing fake reviews for as little as $5 as it seeks to crack down on bogus reviews on its site. The complaint filed Friday, Oct. 16, 2015 in King County Superior Court in Seattle marks the latest effort by the online powerhouse to crack down on fraud on its site. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma, File)
An Amazon.com package awaits delivery from UPS in Palo Alto, Calif. Amazon is suing more than 1,000 people for advertising their services writing fake reviews. (Associated Press)

Amazon is stepping up its fight against bogus product reviews on its site, suing more than 1,000 people for allegedly offering to post glowing write-ups for as little as $5 apiece.

The complaint, filed in state court in Seattle on Friday, takes aim at what is believed to be a burgeoning practice online: Some people try to make money by writing testimonials about products they have never even tried. And some companies try to boost sales by commissioning such reviews.

Online shoppers are relying more and more on consumer reviews on everything from restaurant meals and Uber rides to hotel rooms and iPhone cases. About 45 percent of consumers consider product reviews when weighing an online purchase, according to Forrester Research.

Retailers have tried to crack down on paid-for bogus reviews in a variety of ways.

Bill Clinton takes a more active role in wife’s campaign

Hillary Rodham Clinton, Bill Clinton
Democratic presidential candidate, former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, gesture to supporters on Roosevelt Island in New York. (Associated Press)

Former President Bill Clinton will headline his first rally for his wife’s presidential campaign on Saturday.

He plans to address supporters of Hillary Rodham Clinton’s second White House bid before the Iowa Democratic Party dinner in Des Moines. The gathering is an important stop for presidential candidates seeking support in the early caucus state.

The former president will be joined by pop star Katy Perry, who endorsed Clinton earlier this year.

After largely staying off his wife’s campaign, Clinton has taken a more active role in recent weeks. He’s begun raising money for her bid at events across the country. With the highest favorability of any living president, Bill Clinton is considered one of his party’s most effective messengers.

The Great Salt Lake is not the source of the rotten egg smell.

Researchers say an well-known unpleasant smell that regularly drifts off the Great Salt Lake is caused by wastewater pumped into Farmington Bay, not the lake itself. (Associated Press)

An unpleasant smell that regularly drifts off the Great Salt Lake is caused by treated wastewater pumped into a popular bay, not the lake itself, according to Utah experts.

“Fifty percent of the water going into Farmington Bay is treated sewage water,” said Utah State University researcher Wayne Wurtsbaugh. “So it’s not surprising that it smells.”

The area about 15 miles north of Salt Lake City gets its characteristic odor when the nutrient-rich wastewater feeds algae blooms that in turn feed bacteria after they die, Wurtsbaugh tells the Standard-Examiner newspaper in Ogden

Israeli police build barriers to calm recent violence in Jerusalem

Israeli border police check Palestinians ID at a checkpoint as they exit the Arab neighbourhood of Issawiyeh in Jerusalem, Sunday, Oct. 18, 2015. Palestinian assailants carried out a series of five stabbing attacks in Jerusalem and the West Bank on Saturday, as a month-long outburst of violence showed no signs of abating. The unrest came despite new security measures that have placed troops and checkpoints around Palestinian neighbourhoods in east Jerusalem. (AP Photo/Oded Balilty)
Israeli border police check Palestinians ID at a checkpoint as they exit the Arab neighbourhood of Issawiyeh in Jerusalem, Sunday, Oct. 18, 2015. (Associated Press)

Israeli police say they have set up a concrete barrier between a Jewish and an Arab neighborhood in east Jerusalem amid soaring tensions.

Police spokeswoman Luba Samri says Sunday the slabs were placed there for security reasons, without elaborating.

Israeli media showed footage of a crane lowering the slabs between the Arab neighborhood of Jabal Mukaber and the Jewish area of Armon Hanatziv. Rocks and firebombs have often been hurled from the Arab area at houses in the Jewish neighborhood.

Israel has taken unprecedented measures to try to quell a monthlong spate of violence. It has deployed soldiers in Israeli cities and erected concrete barriers and set up checkpoints outside some Arab neighborhoods of east Jerusalem, where most of the attackers have come from.

Thousands rush across as Croatia opens border with Serbia

A group of migrants walk on the road near a border line between Serbia and Croatia, near the village of Berkasovo, Serbia, Monday, Oct. 19, 2015. Tension was building among thousands of migrants as they remained stranded in fog and cold weather in the Balkans on Sunday in their quest to reach a better life in Western Europe, two days after Hungary closed its border with Croatia and the flow of people was redirected to a much slower route via Slovenia. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)
A group of migrants walk on the road near a border line between Serbia and Croatia, near the village of Berkasovo, Serbia, Monday, Oct. 19, 2015. (Associated Press)

 

Thousands of people trying to reach the heart of Europe surged across Serbia’s border into Croatia as police ended a two-day bottleneck Monday that had reduced many to mud-caked misery.

The surprise move allowed an estimated 3,000 more migrants to travel into Croatia bound for Slovenia, the next agonizing obstacle looming on the West Balkans route that currently serves as asylum seekers’ main eastern entrance to the European Union. Slovenia, which also has been struggling to slow the flow of humanity across its frontiers, faced another evening wave of trekkers seeking to cross the small Alpine country and reach Austria and Germany to the north.

“Without any announcement, the borders opened. When the borders opened, everybody rushed,” said Melita Sunjic, a spokeswoman for the United Nations refugee agency positioned on the Serb-Croat border. “The last person to go was a young boy without a leg, and we helped him cross in a wheelchair.”

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