B.C. Man Gabriel Klein Found Guilty Of 2016 High School Stabbings

NEW WESTMINSTER, B.C. — A judge who found a man guilty of second-degree murder and aggravated assault in an attack on two B.C. high school students says there is no evidence that Gabriel Klein’s mental health affected his ability to foresee the consequences of his actions.

Associate Chief Justice Heather Holmes of the B.C. Supreme Court said Klein had no reason to harm the two girls at Abbotsford Secondary School on Nov. 1, 2016, and that his conduct was “incomprehensible.”

“His mental state at the time of the attack can have extremely little weight,” she said in delivering her verdict on Friday.

Defence lawyer Martin Peters had argued in December that Klein, who was 21 at the time of the attack, did not have the intent to kill 13-year-old Letisha Reimer when he walked into the school’s rotunda.

Letsiha Reimer is shown in a photo, part of a memorial to her outside Abbotsford Senior Secondary School on Nov. 7, 2016.

He urged Holmes to find his client guilty of manslaughter.

Peters argued there was reasonable doubt related to the murder charge because his client exhibited odd behaviour and mental distress beforehand, suggesting he did not intentionally plan to kill anyone.

He said in his closing arguments the Crown proved its case in the assault against the girl whose name is under a publication ban, and Klein should be found guilty on that charge.

Reimer died after being stabbed 14 times and her friend, who was also stabbed, suffered serious injuries.

Letisha Reimer is shown in a photo, part of a memorial to her outside Abbotsford Senior Secondary School on Nov. 7, 2016.

Surveillance videos played by the trial showed Klein stealing alcohol from a liquor store and a hunting knife from a sporting goods store hours before the attack. Peters said his client committed the thefts because he wanted to get drunk and use the weapon to stab a police officer in hopes of triggering a suicide-by-cop scenario.

Holmes said Klein “adroitly stole bottles of rum from the liquor stole” and the knife, asking store clerks where the items were located and going directly to them. When he walked into the rotunda, he had the knife out of the packaging and under his clothing, the judge said.

She said Klein quickly moved to attack Reimer after her friend escaped.

There is “abundant” evidence showing Klein acted with “purpose and foresight” in the lead up to the attack, Holmes said.

He was diagnosed with schizophrenia at a forensic psychiatric hospital in June 2017 and has been receiving treatment but was deemed mentally fit to stand trial.

Klein’s diagnosis of schizophrenia is “unchallenged,” said Holmes.

Sentencing has been scheduled for two days, starting June 1, when victim impact statements will be heard by the court. The sentence for second-degree murder is life in prison with the earliest chance of parole set at 10 years.

A memorial to Letisha Reimer is shown outside Abbotsford Senior Secondary School on Nov. 7, 2016.

Crown attorney Rob Macgowan said in his closing argument that Klein faked symptoms of a mental disorder after his arrest in order to be found not criminally responsible of the crimes and even told a psychiatrist who assessed him at a hospital that his lawyer would use that as a defence.

Holmes said there was no evidence that the strange behaviour and sounds exhibited by Klein in the hours before the attack indicated a mental condition, but that doesn’t mean they were “deliberately feigned.”

Dave Teixeira, a spokesman for Reimer’s , said the family was relieved by the verdict.

“This is just one more step in the journey,” he said outside court.

He read a statement from Ellie Reimer about the loss of her daughter, which said: “The people who are serving the sentence are those of us who no longer have Letisha in our lives.”

Young men arrive to lay flowers at a makeshift memorial outside Abbotsford Secondary School on Nov. 2, 2016.

Peters said his client will “have a life sentence, no matter what,” but Holmes will look at a Gladue report to address the number of years Klein has to serve before he is eligible for parole. The report reviews the circumstances of Klein’s upbringing and Metis heritage, Peters said.

Klein was born in Winnipeg and had a “troubled upbringing” with his parents separating when he was a young teenager, he said, adding that his client moved to Alberta and grew up in Red Deer and Edmonton.

Klein will be sent to the regional assessment centre when he is sentenced and his mental health will be evaluated, Peters said.

“I’m hoping that he obtains a disposition which keeps him in a psychiatric facility,” he said.

“He is schizophrenic. A mental health facility will be a far better setting for him.”

He said Klein is remorseful.

“It’s an extraordinary thing to kill someone and to have to live with that,” Peters said.

“And he does live with it every day.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 6, 2020. 

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By The Wall of Law March 7, 2020 Off

$40M class-action lawsuit alleges Ontario long-term care home did not follow provincial COVID-19 orders

A $40-million class-action lawsuit against Ontario’s worst-hit nursing home alleges that the facility’s actions were “callous and arrogant” and its negligence led to its mass and deadly COVID-19 outbreak.

The lawsuit was filed at the Ontario Superior Court on Tuesday against Southbridge Care Homes and its 308-bed Orchard Villa long-term care and retirement home, where the novel coronavirus has infected at least 96 staff and 225 residents and killed at least 77 people.

The 24-page document starts with Orchard Villa’s history of violations recorded in Ontario Ministry of Long-Term Care’s inspection reports dating back to 2015, when Southbridge Care Homes first purchased and began operating the former family-owned nursing home. 

“The serious complaints concerned pronounced shortages of staff which were impacting the care of residents, abuse and neglect of residents, shortage of linens and continent supplies among other serious deficiencies,” the lawsuit’s lead lawyer Gary Will said.

“Orchard Villa was not prepared for the outbreak of COVID-19 and did not have adequate policies and procedures in place to prevent the spread.”

The claim makes damning accusations against the home and how it allegedly failed to follow provincial guidelines to keep residents and staff safe against COVID-19, resulting in deaths and the mass spread of the disease. 

“The stories of what occurred at Orchard Villa over the past two months are shocking and heartbreaking,” Will said in a statement. “This tragedy did not need to happen and should never be allowed to happen in the future.” 

Toronto law firm Will Davidson LLP filed the lawsuit on behalf of all residents and family members of Orchard Villa, and the class-action’s representative plaintiff Sylvia Lyon, whose 80-year-old mother died of COVID-19 at the home. 

Orchard Villa was among the facilities named in a “gut-wrenching” military report released Tuesday, revealing the grim state of five long-term care facilities grappling with COVID-19.

CTV News Toronto has reached out to the home and its parent company about the allegations, which have not been tested or proven in court, but have not yet received a response.

Orchard Villa

Lawsuit alleges Orchard Villa failed to keep residents safe

The lawsuit chronicles COVID-19’s spread in Ontario, and the governmental responses that followed, including various emergency measures limiting gatherings and shutting down businesses. 

The claim alleges Orchard Villa did not take heed of the provincial measures. While Ontario prohibited gatherings of more than five people, the home allegedly “continued to permit residents to routinely sit together in the dining rooms for three meals per day.” 

While the home declared a COVID-19 outbreak on April 9, Orchard Villa allegedly did not confine all residents to their rooms, including for meals, until April 14. 

The lawsuit alleges that while many long-term care homes vigorously closed their doors to outsiders, Orchard Villa allegedly permitted family members to deliver laundry to residents in some wings of the home. 

The statement of claim alleges that Orchard Villa also failed to provide “adequate or proper personal protective equipment in a timely manner.” It alleges that the home “repeatedly” directed staff to use the “same personal protective equipment – despite contamination.”

Orchard Villa

In addition to dealing with a deadly disease, the lawsuit alleges that staff shortages were leaving residents with “inadequate care in respect of basic necessities, such as bathing and maintaining catheters.”

“As a result, residents suffered from urinary tract infections, dehydration, and other related physical ailments, resulting in hospitalizations and/or deaths,” the document alleges. 

“Throughout this period, Orchard Villa continued to contact families of residents with automated phone messages, re-assuring them that Orchard Villa had the situation under control.”

The claim alleges that families were provided with “inaccurate or incomplete” information and the home failed to report that deaths had occurred as a result of COVID-19. Families first learned from media reports, allegedly, that 31 people had died at the home due to the disease. 

“The plaintiff states that the defendants failed to correct their behaviour, despite instructions, directions, and compliance orders from the Ministry of Long-Term Care.” 

According to the claim: “A persistent lack of resources, staffing, and protocols and/or adherence to such protocols rendered the infiltration of COVID-19 into Orchard Villa inevitable” and “The defendants’ actions were callous and arrogant and offend the ordinary community standards of moral and decent conduct.”

The lawsuit also alleges that the home failed to comply with provincial directives to prevent infection spread among staff and residents. 

“They failed to institute reasonable measures to prevent COVID-19 from infecting residents of Orchard Villa, such as undertaking proper screening of visitors and practicing social distancing,” the document alleges.

“They failed to employ and properly train competent staff on proper, safe and adequate measures for preventing COVID-19 from infecting residents and staff of Orchard Villa.”

Orchard Villa

The story of Ursula Drehlich

Sylvia Lyon’s late mother Ursula Drehlich was confined to a wheelchair and was deaf. She had lived at Orchard Villa since October 2013 and was paying a monthly fee of approximately $2,474.40 for care and residency. 

The claim said that Lyon regularly visited her mother at the home and noticed “distinct changes in the level of care” after July 2015 when the home was purchased by Southbridge. 

The claim alleges that from March 11 until April 11, Ursula Drehlich “moved freely throughout Orchard Villa” before she was confined to her room.

The claim further alleges that she was cared for by staff who allegedly had “improper or inadequate personal protective equipment, which had been contaminated by repeated usage.”

Drehlich tested positive for COVID-19 on April 21, and she passed away two days later. 

“My mother Ursula was a good, decent individual who had overcome many obstacles in her life. We entrusted her care to the owners of Orchard Villa,” Lyon said in a statement.

“I consider it my duty to my mother to push for an investigation of this tragedy. Those that are responsible for this state of affairs must take responsibility and be held accountable.

“Orchard Villa received over $11 million in funding each and every year from the Ontario government. Yet each year the care provided was less and less.” 

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source https://toronto.ctvnews.ca/40m-class-action-lawsuit-alleges-ontario-long-term-care-home-did-not-follow-provincial-covid-19-orders-1.4955728

By The Wall of Law May 27, 2020 Off

DeSantis sends Jamaican- and Cuban-American to Supreme Court

MIAMI — Gov. Ron DeSantis appointed two Floridians from minority communities to the state Supreme Court on Tuesday: a Palm Beach County circuit judge who immigrated from Jamaica and a former assistant U.S. attorney who is the son of Cuban immigrants.

Renatha Francis, who will be the first Caribbean-American to serve on the Florida court, and John Couriel are replacing Barbara Lagoa and Robert Luck. DeSantis appointed Lagoa and Luck to the court last year, but they were subsequently appointed to the U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeal by President Donald Trump.

DeSantis, a Republican, said at a Miami news conference that he picked them because he believes they will make their decisions based on the law, not their own preferences.

Francis, 42, has served as a circuit court judge since 2017, the last six months in the family and probate division in Palm Beach County. She operated a bar and trucking company in Jamaica before moving to the United States as an adult after graduating from the University of the West Indies in 2000. Francis graduated from Florida Coastal Law School in 2010, then worked for a judge and an appeals court as a staff attorney before being appointed to the bench three years ago.

She cannot take office until Sept. 24 under a state law that says justices must have at least 10 years experience. She became a lawyer on Sept. 24, 2010.

Francis had the backing of the Florida Legislative Black Caucus, as there had been no black justices on the seven-member court. DeSantis said her background reminded him of Alexander Hamilton, one of the founding fathers who also immigrated from the Caribbean.

“Hamilton articulated what Judge Francis deeply understands: that the judiciary lacks authority to indulge its legislative preferences,” he said.

Couriel, 41, works as a private attorney specializing in civil litigation involving Latin America. According to his application, he frequently represents Latin American financial institutions and investors in U.S. court proceedings. He served three years as the vice chair of the American Bar Association’s international criminal law committee and was an assistant U.S. attorney from 2009 to 2012 in South Florida. He is a 2000 graduate of Harvard College and graduated from Harvard Law School in 2003.

DeSantis said Couriel “is giving up a lot of money to serve and I think that says a lot about John, his character and how important the rule of law is that he would be willing to” be a judge.

DeSantis picked Francis and Couriel from recommendations by the Florida Supreme Court Judicial Nominating Commission, which he appoints. Francis and Couriel will face a retention vote on the November 2022 ballot.


Spencer reported from Fort Lauderdale.

Adriana Gomez Licon And Terry Spencer, The Associated Press

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source https://toronto.citynews.ca/2020/05/26/desantis-sends-jamaican-and-cuban-american-to-supreme-court/

By The Wall of Law May 26, 2020 Off

Coronavirus in Canada: Reopening plans province-by-province

In March, Canada began shutting down as the number of COVID-19 cases and resulting deaths soared. Now, with the initial stage of the epidemic slowing in many parts of the nation, provinces and territories are rolling out their reopening plans. Every jurisdiction is providing detailed advice, some with colour-coded charts and graphics.

A few general caveats:

  • A business or service may have reopened but that does not mean it has returned to “before COVID-19” standards.
  • People should expect that public health limits and distancing guidelines are in place, governing everything from the number of people in stores and restaurants to how professionals deal with close-contact situations and even how many people can attend a funeral. Self-isolation rules and other restrictions often do not apply to essential workers, such as truckers.
  • Not all services will resume in all areas at the start of each reopening phase.


There are rules on a national level in areas of federal jurisdiction:

  • Everyone returning from foreign travel must immediately go into a mandatory 14-day quarantine
  • All air travellers must wear masks
  • All international flights are restricted to airports in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto and Montreal
  • The Canada-U.S. border is closed to non-essential travel until at least June 21

To skip directly to information and instructions for your home province on this post, follow the applicable link below:

British Columbia
New Brunswick
Prince Edward Island
Nova Scotia
Newfoundland and Labrador

British Columbia

Name: Restart Plan

Current status: Stage 2, as of May 19

What reopens:

  • Restoration of health services
    • Re-scheduling elective surgery
  • Medically related services:
    • Dentistry, physiotherapy, registered massage therapy, and chiropractors
    • Physical therapy, speech therapy, and similar services
  • Retail sector
  • Hair salons, barbers, and other personal service establishments
  • In-person counselling
  • Restaurants, cafés, and pubs
  • Museums, art galleries, and libraries
  • Office-based worksites
  • Recreation and sports
  • Parks, beaches, and outdoor spaces
  • Child care
  • Parents will have the choice of bringing their children back to class on a part-time basis on June 1

Gatherings: Limited to 50 or fewer

Self-isolation after interprovincial travel: No

What’s next: Phase 3 from June to September.

What’s on the reopening schedule:

  • Hotels and Resorts (June 2020)
  • Parks – broader reopening, including some overnight camping (June)
  • Film industry – beginning with domestic productions (June/July)
  • Select entertainment – movies and symphony, but not large concerts (July)
  • Post-secondary education – with mix of online and in-class (September)
  • K-12 education – with only a partial return this school year (September)

Here is B.C.’s main provincial COVID-19 website.


Name: Relaunch Strategy

Current status: Stage 1, as of May 14

What reopens:

  • Retail businesses like clothing, furniture and book stores
  • All farmers’ market vendors
  • Hairstyling and barber shops
  • Cafés, restaurants, pubs and bars can reopen for table service
  • Some scheduled, non-urgent surgeries to resume
  • Museums and art galleries.
  • Daycares and out-of-school care
  • Day camps, including summer school.
  • Post-secondary institutions will continue course delivery
  • Places of worship and funeral services
  • Dog parks and playgrounds

NOTE: Calgary and Brooks are on a more gradual schedule due to higher case numbers

 Gatherings: Limited to 15 or fewer indoors and 50 or fewer outdoors

Self-isolation after interprovincial travel: No

What’s next: Stage 2 (timing is TBD)

What’s on the reopening schedule:

  • K-12 schools
  • Libraries
  • More surgeries scheduled
  • Services by health disciplines, such as acupuncture and massage therapy
  • Personal services, such as artificial tanning, esthetics, cosmetic skin and body treatments, manicures, pedicures, waxing, facial treatments and reflexology
  • Larger gatherings permitted 15 people indoors and 30 outdoors
  • Movie theatres and theatres

Here’s the main provincial COVID-19 website.


Name: Re-Open Saskatchewan Plan

Current status: Phase two, as of May 19

What reopens:

  • Retail businesses, including clothing stores, jewellers, toy stores, travel agencies, marinas, flower shops
  • Shopping malls
  • Personal service businesses, including hair salons, registered massage therapists, acupuncturists
  • Public markets and farmers’ markets

As of May 19, Saskatchewan Health Authority entered phase one of its own reopening schedule, focusing on:

  • outpatient physiotherapy appointments
  • kidney health services
  • some laboratory services
  • home care (e.g. bathing services) expanded immunizations

Gatherings: Limited to 10 or fewer

Self-isolation after interprovincial travel: No

What’s next: Phase three (timing TBD)

What’s on the reopening schedule:

  • Personal service businesses, including tattoo artists, estheticians, manicurists, suntanning parlours
  • Restaurant and food services
  • Gyms and fitness facilities
  • Licensed establishments
  • Childcare facilities

Here’s the main provincial COVID-19 website.


Name: Restoring Safe Services

Current status: Phase one, as of May 4

What reopens:

  • non-urgent surgery and diagnostic procedures
  • therapeutic and health care services
  • retail businesses
  • restaurants – patio/walk-up services
  • hairstylists and barbers
  • museums, galleries and libraries
  • outdoor recreation and campgrounds, including playgrounds, marinas, golf courses, outdoor yoga

Gatherings: Limited to 25 people or fewer indoors and 50 people outdoors, as of May 22

Self-isolation after interprovincial travel: Yes

What’s next: Phase two, beginning no earlier than June 1

What’s on the reopening schedule:

  • Restaurants, bars etc. to operate patio and dine-in services
  • Sports activities
  • Swimming pools, fitness clubs and community centres
  • film production

Here’s the main provincial COVID-19 site.


Name: A Framework for Reopening Our Province

Current status: Stage 1, as of May 19

What reopens:

  • retail stores with street-front entrances, car dealerships
  • off-leash dog parks, water sports, tennis courts, outdoor sports facilities etc.
  • scheduled surgeries, procedures and services in hospitals, independent health facilities, clinics and private practices
  • religious services, drive-in only
  • libraries for pickup or deliveries
  • indoor and outdoor household services, such as cleaning and maintenance
  • veterinarians, pet grooming

Gatherings: Limited to five or fewer

Self-isolation after interprovincial travel: No

What’s next: Stage 2 (timing TBD but likely 2-4 weeks after Stage 1)

What’s on the reopening schedule:

  • More workplaces, including service industries as well as office and retail workplaces
  • Larger public gatherings

Here’s the main provincial COVID-19 site.


Name: Gradual Resumption of Activities under the COVID-19-Related Pause

Current status: The province’s gradual reopening doesn’t have defined phases, such as those in other provincial plans. Reopening unrolled on a sector-by-sector basis, beginning on May 4.

What reopens:

  • Gradual withdrawal of checkpoints in remote regions within the province
  • Street-front retail businesses open
  • Non-priority mining and manufacturing enterprises, as well as construction sector, resume
  • Real estate brokers and building appraisers
  • Pre-schools and elementary schools open
  • Childcare services back in business
  • Outdoor sports and leisure activities

Note: Greater Montreal is on a more gradual schedule due to higher case numbers

Gatherings: As of May 22, limited to 10 people outside, including those from no more than three households

Self-isolation after interprovincial travel: No

What’s next: Rolling, sector-by-sector reopenings

What’s on the reopening schedule:

  • Dental services
  • Therapeutic care businesses, including physiotherapy, massage therapy
  • Libraries and museums
  • Performance halls, film studios (without audiences)

Here’s the main provincial COVID-19 site

New Brunswick

Name: Recovery Plan

Current status: Yellow level, as of May 22

What reopens:

On May 22:

  • Two-household bubble can be extended to close friends and family with indoor gatherings limited to 10 or fewer people
  • Non-regulated health professionals and businesses open, including acupuncturists and naturopaths.
  • Personal services and businesses may open, including barbers, hairstylists, spas, estheticians, manicurists, pedicurists and tattoo artists.

On May 29:

  • Outdoor public gatherings of 50 people or fewer
  • Religious services, including wedding and funerals, of 50 people or fewer, both indoors and outdoors
  • Elective surgeries and other non-emergency health-care services will increase.
  • Low-contact team sports
  • Swimming pools, saunas and waterparks, gyms, yoga and dance studios, rinks and indoor recreational facilities, pool halls and bowling alleys

On June 19: Overnight camps open

Gatherings: Limited to 10 or fewer (as of May 22)

Self-isolation after interprovincial travel: Yes

What’s next: Green level (timing TBD)

What’s on the reopening schedule:

  • Family and friends bubble
  • Gatherings with physical distancing of 50 or fewer
  • Increase in elective surgeries and other non-emergency health-care services
  • Non-regulated health professionals/businesses
  • Personal services businesses
  • Swimming pools, saunas and waterparks
  • Gyms, yoga and dance studios
  • Rinks and indoor recreational facilities
  • Pool halls and bowling alleys
  • Low-contact team sports

Here’s the main provincial COVID-19 website.

Nova Scotia

Name: Easing of Some Public Health Measures press release (No official plan unveiled to date)

Current status: Initial steps, as of May 1

What reopens:

  • Two-household bubble
  • provincial and municipal parks, community gardens
  • garden centres, nurseries and similar businesses
  • sport fishing is permitted from shore or boat
  • golf driving ranges
  • Cottages (restricted to one household unit at a time)
  • drive-in religious services will be allowed

Gatherings: Limited to 5 or fewer

Self-isolation after interprovincial travel: Yes

What’s next: A detailed recovery plan is still TBD

What’s on the reopening schedule: TBD

Here’s the main provincial COVID-19 site.

Prince Edward Island

Name: Renew PEI, Together

Current status: Phase Two, as of May 22

What reopens:

  • Members of the same household may gather outdoors with up to 10 other individuals from different households and indoors with up to five other individuals. Household units can expand by one or two members
  • Retail outlets
  • Greenhouses and nurseries
  • Construction, maintenance and repair services
  • Cleaning and restoration services
  • Hairdressers, barbers, and pet grooming.
  • Daycares
  • Health-service providers, including massage therapists
  • Dental care for emergency and urgent treatments

Gatherings: Limited to household plus up to 10 others outdoors, household plus five others indoors

Self-isolation after interprovincial travel: Yes

What’s next: Phase 3, potentially on June 1

What’s on the reopening schedule:

  • Gatherings of up to 15 people indoors and 20 people outdoors
  • Organized recreational activities including soccer, baseball and day camps, swimming pools and gyms
  • Art galleries, libraries and community centres
  • Nail salons, spas, tattoo studios
  • Indoor dining at food premises
  • Accommodation at campgrounds, inns, B&Bs (P.E.I. residents only)
  • Elective dental care

Here’s the main provincial COVID-19 site.

Newfoundland and Labrador

Name: A Foundation for Living with Covid-19

Current status: Alert Level 4, as of April 30

What reopens:

  • Double household bubble
  • Funeral and wedding gatherings restricted to 10 people or fewer
  • Recreational fishing and hunting, golf courses
  • Municipal parks
  • Some health care services resume
  • In-person services offered by professional services, such as lawyers and accountants
  • Gardening centres, landscaping services
  • Animal daycares

Gatherings: Limited to 10 or fewer

Self-isolation after interprovincial travel: Yes

What’s next: Alert Level 3, no earlier than June 8

What’s on the reopening schedule:

  • Gatherings expand to no more than 20 people
  • Day-use campsites
  • Summer day camps
  • Field sports, outdoor pools
  • Private health clinics
  • Retail stores, including those in shopping malls
  • Personal service businesses, including hair salons
  • Dine-in eating

Here’s the main provincial COVID-19 site.

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source https://www.macleans.ca/news/canada/coronavirus-in-canada-reopening-plans-province-by-province/

By The Wall of Law May 26, 2020 Off

AP News in Brief at 12:04 a.m. EDT

Pandemic brings smaller, subdued Memorial Day observances

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Americans settled for small processions and online tributes instead of parades Monday as they observed Memorial Day in the shadow of the pandemic, which forced communities to honour the nation’s military dead with modest, more subdued ceremonies that also remembered those lost to the coronavirus.

On the weekend that marked the unofficial start of summer, authorities warned people heading to beaches, parks or backyard barbecues to heed social-distancing rules to avoid a resurgence of the disease that has infected 5.4 million people worldwide and killed over 345,000, including nearly 100,000 Americans, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.

Memorial Day commemorations were cancelled or toned down across the country. Veterans, along with nursing home residents, have made up a significant portion of those who died in the U.S. outbreak.

Frank Groblebe and his wife placed lilacs on several graves at Mountview Cemetery in Billings, Montana, including those of his mother and father, who served in the Philippines as a Navy Seabee during World War II. Groblebe said he approved of plans to curtail the ceremony, which included a motorcycle procession and moments of quiet remembrance.

“This is our freedom. This is our history. It’s what they fought for,” Groblebe said, briefly choking up with tears. “Anything that shows respect for it is all right with me.”


Biden marks Memorial Day at veterans park near Delaware home

NEW CASTLE, Del. (AP) — Joe Biden made his first in-person appearance in more than two months on Monday as he marked Memorial Day by laying a wreath at a veterans park near his Delaware home.

Since abruptly cancelling a March 10 rally in Cleveland at the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee has waged much of his campaign from his home in Wilmington. When Biden emerged on Monday, he wore a face mask, in contrast to President Donald Trump, who has refused to cover his face in public as health officials suggest.

Biden and his wife, Jill, laid a wreath of white flowers tied with a white bow, and bowed their heads in silence at the park. He saluted. “Never forget the sacrifices that these men and women made,” he said after. “Never, ever, forget.”

“I feel great to be out here,” Biden told reporters, his words muffled through his black cloth mask. His visit to the park was unannounced, and there was no crowd waiting for him.

Biden briefly greeted a county official and another man, both wearing face masks and standing a few feet away. Biden also yelled to a larger group standing nearby, “Thank you for your service.” His campaign says Biden has gone to the park for Memorial Day often in the past, though services were cancelled Monday amid the pandemic.


Trump honours fallen soldiers as nation battles against virus

BALTIMORE (AP) — President Donald Trump honoured America’s war dead in back-to-back Memorial Day appearances colored by an epic struggle off the battlefield, against the coronavirus.

Eager to demonstrate national revival from the pandemic, Trump doubled up on his public schedule Monday, while threatening to pull the Republican National Convention out of Charlotte in August unless North Carolina’s Democratic governor gives a quick green light to the party’s plans to assemble en masse.

The U.S. death toll from the pandemic approached 100,000; North Carolina two days earlier reported its largest daily increase yet in COVID-19 sickness.

Trump first honoured the nation’s fallen at Arlington National Cemetery. Presidents on Memorial Day typically lay a wreath and speak at the hallowed burial ground in Virginia. But the coronavirus crisis made this year different.

Many attendees arrived wearing masks but removed them for the outdoor ceremony in front of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Trump, maskless as always in public, gave no remarks. He approached a wreath already in place, touched it and saluted.


Arbery family lawyer: Feds looking into how case handled

ATLANTA (AP) — A lawyer for the family of Ahmaud Arbery said Monday that a federal prosecutor told the slain man’s mother federal officials are investigating potential misconduct by local officials who handled the case.

Lawyer Lee Merritt said U.S. Attorney Bobby Christine, whose jurisdiction includes southern Georgia, met with him and Arbery’s mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones, on Thursday.

“They wanted us to know they had already been involved in the investigation,” Merritt said.

Barry Paschal, a spokesman for Christine, declined to confirm or deny whether the meeting happened.

“Our office does not discuss active investigations, including addressing whether or not those investigations exist,” Paschal said.


In Bolsonaro’s Brazil, everyone else is to blame for virus

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — With Brazil emerging as one of the world’s most infected countries, President Jair Bolsonaro is deflecting all responsibility for the coronavirus crisis, casting blame on mayors, governors, an outgoing health minister and the media.

By contrast, he portrays himself as a clear-eyed crusader willing to defend an unpopular idea — that shutting down the economy to control COVID-19 will ultimately cause more suffering than allowing the disease to run its course. The refusal of governors to fall into line with his decree allowing gyms to open, he said, verged on authoritarianism.

Confronted with a travel ban imposed on Brazil by the U.S. because of widespread COVID-19, one of his advisers called it press hysteria.

Since the outbreak started, the Brazilian leader has avoided acknowledging the potential effects of his actions, particularly in undermining local leaders’ stay-at-home recommendations. A rare exception came in mid-April, as Bolsonaro appointed a new health minister tasked with sparing the economy from the coronavirus.

“Reopening commerce is a risk I run because, if it (the virus) gets worse, then it lands in my lap,” he said.


Worker shortage concerns loom in immigrant-heavy meatpacking

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — When Martha Kebede’s adult sons immigrated from Ethiopia and reunited with her in South Dakota this year, they had few work opportunities.

Lacking English skills, the brothers took jobs at Smithfield Foods’ Sioux Falls pork plant, grueling and increasingly risky work as the coronavirus sickened thousands of meatpacking workers nationwide. One day half the workers on a slicing line vanished; later the brothers tested positive for the COVID-19 virus.

“It was very, very sad,” Kebede said. “The boys teared up seeing everyone.”

The brothers — who declined to be identified for fear of workplace retaliation — are among roughly 175,000 immigrants in U.S. meatpacking jobs. The industry has historically relied on foreign-born workers — from people in the country illegally to refugees — for some of America’s most dangerous jobs.

Now that reliance and uncertainty about a virus that’s killed at least 20 workers and temporarily shuttered several plants fuels concerns about possible labour shortages to meet demand for beef, pork and chicken.


California issues guidelines for church reopenings

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Religious services in California will look much different under rules unveiled Monday that limit attendance to 100 people and recommend worshippers wear masks, limit singing and refrain from shaking hands or hugging.

The state released guidance under which county health departments can approve the reopening of churches, mosques, synagogues and other houses of worship. They have been closed since Gov. Gavin Newsom issued a stay-at-home order in March to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

It’s not immediately known how soon in-person services will resume. Counties that are having success controlling the virus are likely to move quickly. Others with outbreaks — such as Los Angeles County, which has about 60% of California’s roughly 3,800 deaths — may choose to delay.

The guidelines ask worshippers to wear masks, avoid sharing prayer books or prayer rugs and skip the collection plate. They also say to avoid large gatherings for holidays, weddings and funerals and warn that activities such as singing or group recitation “negate” the benefits of social distancing.

The guidelines say even with physical distancing, in-person worship carries a higher risk of transmitting the virus and increasing the numbers of hospitalizations and deaths and recommend houses of worship shorten services.


Branson’s Virgin Orbit fails on first rocket launch attempt

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Richard Branson’s Virgin Orbit failed Monday in its first test launch of a new rocket carried aloft by a Boeing 747 and released over the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Southern California.

The inaugural launch had appeared to be going well until moments after the rocket was dropped from beneath the left wing of the jumbo jet dubbed Cosmic Girl.

“We’ve confirmed a clean release from the aircraft. However, the mission terminated shortly into the flight. Cosmic Girl and our flight crew are safe and returning to base,” Virgin Orbit said in its official Twitter commentary on the launch.

There was no immediate word on what went wrong with the rocket, which carried a test satellite.

Will Pomerantz, Virgin Orbit’s vice-president for special projects, commented during a preflight briefing Saturday that about half of first rocket launches fail.


Lock your cars! Vehicle theft spikes in COVID-19 pandemic

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The coronavirus hasn’t been kind to car owners.

With more people than ever staying home to lessen the spread of COVID-19, their sedans, pickup trucks and SUVs are parked unattended on the streets, making them easy targets for opportunistic thieves.

Despite silent streets and nearly nonexistent traffic, vehicle larcenies shot up 63% in New York and nearly 17% in Los Angeles from Jan. 1 through mid-May, compared with the same period last year.

And many other law enforcement agencies around the U.S. are reporting an increase in stolen cars and vehicle burglaries, even as violent crime has dropped dramatically nationwide in the coronavirus pandemic. It’s a low-risk crime with a potentially high reward, police say, especially when many drivers leave their doors unlocked or their keys inside.

“You might as well put a sticker on the window that says ‘come take my stuff,’” said an exasperated Alex Villanueva, the Los Angeles County sheriff.


US communities face tough choices on opening public pools

MISSION, Kan. (AP) — Public pools will look very different this summer if they open at all with the coronavirus threat still looming, as teenage lifeguards will be tasked with maintaining social distancing and spotting COVID-19 symptoms in addition to their primary responsibility of preventing drownings.

Pools that do plan to open will take precautions, including screening temperatures on entry, requiring lifeguards to wear masks and significantly reducing the number of swimmers allowed in the water and locker rooms, said Dr. Justin Sempsrott, the medical director for the lifeguard certification program Starguard Elite and executive director of Lifeguards Without Borders, which works to reduce drownings worldwide.

“It’s definitely not going to be business as usual this season,” he said.

Amid the uncertainty, sales of inflatable pools that cost less than $150 have increased by 165% over the seven-week period that began March 15, compared with the same period last year, according to NPD Group, a data and consulting firm. Meanwhile, most of the people who were planning to install in-ground pools in their yards before the COVID-19 shutdown caused economic havoc have decided to proceed, said Sabeena Hickman, the CEO of the Pool & Hot Tub Alliance, an industry trade group, which reached out to the country’s top 25 residential pool builders.

“It appears as if a lot of people are looking for pools and hot tubs for staycations,” she said. “We are anticipating that it will be a strong season for backyard pools.”

The Associated Press

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Arbery family lawyer: Feds looking into how case handled

ATLANTA — A lawyer for the family of Ahmaud Arbery said Monday that a federal prosecutor told the slain man’s mother federal officials are investigating potential misconduct by local officials who handled the case.

Lawyer Lee Merritt said U.S. Attorney Bobby Christine, whose jurisdiction includes southern Georgia, met with him and Arbery’s mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones, on Thursday.

“They wanted us to know they had already been involved in the investigation,” Merritt said.

Barry Paschal, a spokesman for Christine, declined to confirm or deny whether the meeting happened.

“Our office does not discuss active investigations, including addressing whether or not those investigations exist,” Paschal said.

Arbery was fatally shot Feb. 23 when a white father and son pursued the 25-year-old black man after spotting him running in their subdivision just outside of Brunswick. They told police they believed he was responsible for break-ins in their neighbourhood. More than two months passed before Gregory McMichael and his son, Travis McMichael, were arrested on charges of felony murder and aggravated assault.

Brunswick Circuit District Attorney Jackie Johnson has defended her office’s involvement. The elder McMichael worked for her as an investigator before retiring a year ago, which required the office to step away from the case.

She handed the case to Waycross Circuit District Attorney George Barnhill. That prosecutor also recused himself, but not before writing a letter saying he believed the McMichaels had been justified in trying to hold Arbery until police arrived and their actions were “perfectly legal.”

Jeff Amy, The Associated Press

@repost Child Lawyer

Via Joint Custody Agreement

source https://toronto.citynews.ca/2020/05/25/arbery-family-lawyer-feds-looking-into-how-case-handled/

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