Day: April 10, 2019

041019-School_Shootings_Suicides

041019-School_Shootings_Suicides

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Survivors and family members of the slain victims of the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, sued the school board, sheriff’s office and others for negligence Wednesday, saying the agencies initially had promised a financial settlement but secretly worked behind the scenes to prevent a deal.

More than two dozen family members and survivors filed 22 lawsuits in state court in South Florida against the School Board of Broward County; the Broward Sheriff’s Office; former deputy Scott Peterson, who was a school resource officer; Andrew Medina, who was a school security monitor; and Henderson Behavioral Health Clinic, a mental health facility where suspect Nikolas Cruz was treated.

Cruz is accused of fatally shooting 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Valentine’s Day in 2018.

“It’s a daily struggle. They are not the people they were before February 14,” Lisa Olson, whose son, William, was shot in each arm, said at a news conference. “My son didn’t go to school today. He couldn’t and we have many days like that now.”

Cathleen Brennan, a school district spokeswoman, said the district doesn’t comment on pending or ongoing litigation. The sheriff’s office didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Cruz, 20, a former student at the school, remains jailed, charged with 17 counts of first-degree murder. He has offered to plead guilty if prosecutors take the death penalty off the table. Prosecutors have refused.

Immediately after the shooting, the families of the victims were approached by the sheriff’s office and school board representatives “who said all the right things. They wanted to be a part of the solution…They wanted to help bring justice. We took them at their word,” said Todd Michaels, attorney for the family of Joaquin Oliver, who was killed.

Instead, the agencies hired a law firm to lobby the Florida Legislature behind the scenes to stop the resolution, Michaels said.

Mitch Dworet, who lost one son in the shooting and another son was injured, said he wants someone to be held accountable.

“There were failures. I want to be in court,” Dworet said. “If you have children you can’t imagine the life that I lead now.”

About 20 miles (32 kilometres) away, a state commission investigating the shooting heard from four victims’ family members who said they were notified their loved ones had been killed in ways that were often confusing and lacking in sympathy or empathy.

The families said they waited hours before being told about the death of their spouse or child and that no one appeared to be in charge of family notifications.

Debbie Hixon said she first learned of her husband’s death from text messages offering condolences.

“I threw my phone across the room,” said Hixon, whose husband, Chris, was the school’s athletic director. “It is not how I should have found out.”

Fred and Jennifer Guttenberg learned of the shooting when their son called to say he couldn’t find his 14-year-old sister, Jaime.

Fred Guttenberg sent Jaime’s friends to hotel near the school where students’ family members were gathering while he checked hospitals. About three hours after the shooting, he contacted a police officer and friend who told him Jaime was dead. The Guttenbergs eventually went to the hotel to receive official notification 10 hours after the shooting. They were told the news in a crowd of people and were shown little empathy, they said.

“Somehow or another in this process the families became last on this list of what needed to be dealt with,” Fred Guttenberg said. “Whatever gets decided needs to start with families first.”

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source https://canoe.com/news/world/26-parkland-shooting-victims-sue-school-board-sheriff

By The Wall of Law April 10, 2019 Off

The Latest: Family wants answers after immigrant dies

LOS ANGELES — The Latest on the death of a man after a stint in a California immigration detention facility (all times local):

10:12 a.m.

The family of a 27-year-old man who died after a stint at a California immigration detention facility says they want answers about what happened to him.

Melissa Castro said Wednesday that she was called Feb. 8 by Immigration and Customs Enforcement and told her husband had a “passing out episode” and was in the hospital.

Castro says when she arrived she found Jose Ibarra Bucio in the intensive care unit with a brain hemorrhage and a coma he never woke up from.

Castro says immigration authorities released her husband from custody about two weeks later as his health was deteriorating. He died March 21 after the family removed life support.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement says Ibarra was released for humanitarian reasons and declined to discuss his health condition.

Immigration authorities say Ibarra was taken into custody from a state prison following a conviction for fleeing a traffic officer while driving recklessly.

Ibarra had come to the U.S. from Mexico as a child.

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7:08 a.m.

The family of a 27-year-old man who died after a stint at a California immigration detention facility says they want answers about what happened to him.

Melissa Castro said Wednesday that she was called Feb. 8 by Immigration and Customs Enforcement and told her husband had a “passing out episode” and was in the hospital.

Castro says when she arrived she found Jose Ibarra Bucio in the intensive care unit with a brain hemorrhage and a coma he never woke up from.

Castro says immigration authorities released her husband from custody about two weeks later as his health was deteriorating. He died March 21 after the family removed life support.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement says Ibarra was released for humanitarian reasons and declined to discuss his health condition.

Immigration authorities say Ibarra was taken into custody from a state prison following a conviction for fleeing a traffic officer while driving recklessly.

Immigrant advocates say a 27-year-old man died after a stint in California’s largest immigration detention facility and his family wants to know what happened.

The Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights is holding a press conference Wednesday about the death of Jose Ibarra Bucio.

The group says Ibarra was held at an immigration detention centre in Adelanto and collapsed on his way to an immigration court hearing. The organization says he was taken to a hospital, went into a coma and later died.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement says Ibarra was released Feb. 22 due to “humanitarian concerns.” The agency declined to discuss his health condition.

Immigration authorities say Ibarra was taken into custody from state prison following a conviction for fleeing a traffic officer while driving recklessly.

The Associated Press

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source https://toronto.citynews.ca/2019/04/10/the-latest-family-wants-answers-after-immigrant-dies/

By The Wall of Law April 10, 2019 Off

The Latest: UK, European firms appeal against no-deal Brexit

BRUSSELS — The Latest on Britain’s exit from the European Union (all times local):

11:35 a.m.

Groups representing manufacturers in the U.K. and across the continent have appealed to European leaders to work with Britain to avoid a divorce from the bloc without a deal.

Make UK and sister organization Ceemet issued a joint letter to heads of state and chief negotiator Michel Barnier warning of economic shock in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

The groups say that while they recognize efforts have been made to address the chaos that a no-deal scenario would cause, “it must be clear that neither the EU nor the UK are ready, and as a consequence European industry is also not adequately prepared, for this cliff edge scenario.”

Prime Minister Theresa May travels to Brussels Wednesday to ask for another extension to Britain’s departure, until June 30. Britain is currently scheduled to leave the EU on Friday.

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9:30 a.m.

European Council President Donald Tusk is meeting leaders including British Prime Minister Theresa May ahead of an emergency summit to decide whether to grant the United Kingdom a further delay in its departure from the European Union.

Donald Tusk meets the leaders of Lithuania, Latvia, The Netherlands and finally May shortly before Wednesday evening’s summit begins.

It’s likely to be a rough day for the embattled British leader as she pleads for a second extension until June 30, to prevent Britain’s departure now scheduled for Friday.

Tusk has suggested an even longer delay of up to a year with conditions attached to ensure Britain does not stymie EU decision making if it remains a member.

EU countries have become increasingly exasperated with the political division and uncertainty in Britain.

The Associated Press

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source https://toronto.citynews.ca/2019/04/10/the-latest-uk-european-firms-appeal-against-no-deal-brexit/

By The Wall of Law April 10, 2019 Off

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

Netanyahu appears to edge toward re-election in Israeli vote

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appeared to be headed toward re-election early Wednesday, as exit polls and partial results showed him edging ahead of his main competitor in a tight race that was seen as a referendum on the long-serving leader.

Both Netanyahu and former military chief Benny Gantz, leader of the rival Blue and White party, declared victory in speeches to boisterous gatherings of supporters. But as the night went on, there were growing signs that Netanyahu’s Likud was pulling ahead.

With a victory, Netanyahu would capture a fourth consecutive term and fifth overall, which this summer will make him Israel’s longest-ever serving leader. Perhaps more crucially, re-election will give him an important boost as he braces for the likelihood of criminal charges in a series of corruption scandals.

The 69-year-old prime minister has been the dominant force in Israeli politics for the past two decades and its face to the world. His campaign has focused heavily on his friendship with President Donald Trump and his success in cultivating new allies, such as China, India and Brazil.

But the corruption scandals created some voter fatigue. Along with two other former military chiefs on his ticket, Gantz was able to challenge Netanyahu on security issues, normally the prime minister’s strong suit, while also taking aim at the prime minister’s alleged ethical lapses.

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Loughlin, husband, others hit with money laundering charge

BOSTON (AP) — Federal prosecutors added money laundering to the list of accusations against actress Lori Loughlin, her fashion designer husband, Mossimo Giannulli, and 14 other prominent parents Tuesday in the college admissions bribery case, increasing the pressure on them to plead guilty as other parents have agreed to do.

Loughlin, who starred in the sitcom “Full House,” and Giannulli are among 33 wealthy parents accused of participating in a scheme that involved rigging college entrance exams and bribing coaches at top universities. The new charges come a day after “Desperate Housewives” actress Felicity Huffman, 12 other parents and a coach agreed to plead guilty.

The parents were arrested last month on a single charge of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud. An indictment brought Tuesday adds a charge of money laundering conspiracy against the couple and the 14 other parents.

Other parents indicted on the new charge Tuesday include Michelle Janavs, whose family developed the microwave snack line Hot Pockets before selling their company, and William McGlashan, who co-founded an investment fund with U2’s Bono in 2017.

McGlashan’s attorney John Hueston said Tuesday the case against him “is deeply flawed.”

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Feds charge 2 dozen in billion dollar Medicare brace scam

WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal agents on Tuesday broke up a billion dollar Medicare scam that peddled unneeded orthopedic braces to hundreds of thousands of seniors. Two dozen people were charged, including doctors accused of writing bogus prescriptions.

The Justice Department said the scheme relied on overseas call centres to pry Medicare numbers from beneficiaries. Authorities also announced charges against owners of call centres, telemedicine firms and medical equipment companies that shipped unneeded back, shoulder, wrist and knee braces.

Profits from the scheme were laundered through offshore shell companies and then used to buy high-end cars, yachts and luxury homes here and abroad, officials said.

Medicare’s anti-fraud unit said it’s taking action against 130 medical equipment companies implicated. The companies billed the program a total of $1.7 billion, but not all of it was paid out.

The loss to Medicare was estimated at more than $1.2 billion.

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NYC orders mandatory vaccines for some amid measles outbreak

NEW YORK (AP) — Health officials Tuesday ordered nearly everyone in a heavily Orthodox Jewish New York City neighbourhood to be vaccinated for measles or face fines, reviving a public-health strategy that experts say hasn’t been used in the U.S. in recent memory.

The emergency order came as the city, a suburban New York county and some other parts of the nation grapple with a spurt in a disease the U.S. declared eradicated almost two decades ago.

“This is an unusual action,” New York Mayor Bill de Blasio acknowledged, “and it’s because of the sheer extent of the crisis.”

Meanwhile, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention elevated its response to measles, establishing a larger team to focus on outbreaks that have sickened 465 people nationwide this year — the second-greatest number of cases reported in the U.S. since measles was eliminated domestically in 2000.

The nation’s biggest city is in the midst of its biggest measles outbreak since 1991, with 285 cases diagnosed since last fall — compared to two in all of 2017, officials said. They blamed the spike partly on anti-vaccine campaigns spreading misinformation that immunizations are dangerous.

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Nielsen to face odd dynamics of post-Trump job market

WASHINGTON (AP) — As she heads out the door, departing Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen will confront the odd dynamics of the post-Trump job market.

Sure, opportunities await — but also perhaps some closed doors.

Outgoing top administration officials typically have a wide array of options in both the public and private sector — including speaking engagements, TV contracts, book deals, academic posts and corporate gigs. But some former Trump aides have found their options more limited than did their predecessors, in part due to controversy surrounding President Donald Trump’s policies on issues such as the environment and immigration, as well as his record of racially-charged language.

Nielsen, who resigned Sunday, has a resume offering expertise in managing a massive cabinet agency. But she also may face scrutiny as the public face of the administration’s family separation policy.

“It’s a totally different environment than a normal cabinet secretary leaving a normal administration, especially with her overseeing a lot of very controversial policies that have upset a lot of people,” said Matt Lattimer, who served under President George W. Bush and is co-founder of the Javelin literary agency. “She’s going to have to answer questions about those policies.”

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Cop’s attorney: ‘Perfect storm’ led to unarmed woman’s death

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A Minneapolis police officer who shot and killed an unarmed woman as she approached his squad car after calling 911 was reacting to a loud noise and feared an ambush, his attorney said Tuesday, calling the shooting “a perfect storm with tragic consequences.”

Mohamed Noor and his partner were rolling down a dark alley in response to a call from Justine Ruszczyk Damond, a dual citizen of the U.S. and Australia, who contacted police about a possible sexual assault. That’s when a bicyclist appeared in front of them and they heard “a bang,” defence attorney Peter Wold said.

“It is the next split second that this case is all about,” Wold said in his opening statement at Noor’s trial on murder and manslaughter charges.

The officer fired a single shot, killing Damond, whose death rocked both countries and led to changes in the Minneapolis Police Department. The shooting in July 2017 came just two weeks after an officer in New York was ambushed and killed in a parked vehicle.

Attorneys for Noor, who was fired after being charged in the case and never talked to investigators, argue that he used reasonable force to defend himself and his partner from a perceived threat. But prosecutors say there is no evidence of any threat to justify deadly force.

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Indian bishop charged with repeatedly raping nun

NEW DELHI (AP) — Indian authorities charged a Roman Catholic bishop on Tuesday with repeatedly raping a nun in her rural convent, a case that helped make the sexual abuse of nuns a major issue in the church.

Bishop Franco Mulakkal was charged with rape, illegal confinement and intimidation, said Hari Sankar, a district police chief in the southern state of Kerala, India’s Catholic heartland.

The nun who made the accusations, who has not been publicly identified, said she went to police last year only after complaining repeatedly to church authorities. Eventually, a group of fellow nuns launched unprecedented public protests to demand Mulakkal’s arrest. He was arrested but released after a few weeks.

Mulakkal was the official patron of the nun’s community, the Missionaries of Jesus, and wielded immense influence over its budgets and job assignments. The nun said the rapes occurred between 2014 and 2016.

Mulakkal has denied the accusations, calling them “baseless and concocted” and saying the accusing nun was trying to pressure him to get a better job.

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Border chaos forces truckers to wait hours, sometimes days

CIUDAD JUAREZ, Mexico (AP) — To deal with a surge of migrating Central American families, the Trump administration has reassigned so many inspectors from U.S.-Mexico border crossings that truckers are waiting in line for hours and sometimes days to get shipments to the United States.

Truckers have been sleeping in their vehicles to hold spots in line in Ciudad Juarez, across the border from El Paso, Texas. The city brought in portable toilets, and an engine oil company hired models in skin-tight clothing to hand out burritos and bottled water to idled drivers.

“My family doesn’t recognize me at home anymore,” Jaime Monroy, a trucker who lives in Ciudad Juarez, said after sleeping overnight in his truck hauling a load of wooden furniture. “I leave at 3 in the morning and come back at 10 at night.”

The waits are a reminder that even though President Donald Trump walked back his threat to close the border, the administration has created significant impediments for truckers and travellers with its redeployment of customs agents.

Business leaders are starting to lose patience as they struggle to get products to American grocery stores, manufacturers and construction sites.

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US forces: 3 Marines killed, Afghan contractor wounded

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — U.S. forces in Afghanistan revised on Tuesday the death toll from a Taliban attack the previous day near the main American base in the country, saying three service members were killed but not a contractor who was initially reported among the fatalities.

The U.S. and NATO Resolute Support mission issued a statement “to clarify initial reporting” about Monday’s roadside bombing of an American convoy near the main U.S. base. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack.

The Pentagon said later that all three service members killed were Marines.

The mission said a roadside bomb hit the convoy near the Bagram Airfield, killing three American service members, and said “the contractor who was reported as killed, is alive.”

The statement said “the contractor, an Afghan citizen, was initially treated along with other injured civilians, later identified as a contractor and treated at Bagram Airfield.”

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Red Cross visits to Venezuela jails include military prisons

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — The International Committee of the Red Cross has regained access to prisons in Venezuela, including highly guarded military facilities where dozens of inmates considered political prisoners are being held, as President Nicolas Maduro seeks to counter mounting criticism of his government’s human rights record.

The fact that the visits include military prisons, which hadn’t been previously reported, was confirmed to The Associated Press by a human rights lawyer and family members of those detained.

International Red Cross President Peter Maurer on Wednesday wraps up a five-day visit to Venezuela, where the Geneva-based group is among international organizations trying to carve out a space to deliver badly needed humanitarian aid and technical assistance free of the winner-take-all politics contributing to the country’s turmoil.

Red Cross representatives visit prisons every year in more than 100 countries, following an established protocol allowing it to verify conditions of confinement and hold private conversations with inmates in which they can voice complaints and send messages to loved ones.

But the group had been denied access in Venezuela at least since 2012.

The Associated Press

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Red Cross visits to Venezuela jails include military prisons

CARACAS, Venezuela — The International Committee of the Red Cross has regained access to prisons in Venezuela, including highly guarded military facilities where dozens of inmates considered political prisoners are being held, as President Nicolas Maduro seeks to counter mounting criticism of his government’s human rights record.

The fact that the visits include military prisons, which hadn’t been previously reported, was confirmed to The Associated Press by a human rights lawyer and family members of those detained.

International Red Cross President Peter Maurer on Wednesday wraps up a five-day visit to Venezuela, where the Geneva-based group is among international organizations trying to carve out a space to deliver badly needed humanitarian aid and technical assistance free of the winner-take-all politics contributing to the country’s turmoil.

Red Cross representatives visit prisons every year in more than 100 countries, following an established protocol allowing it to verify conditions of confinement and hold private conversations with inmates in which they can voice complaints and send messages to loved ones.

But the group had been denied access in Venezuela at least since 2012.

The renewed visits in Venezuela began March 11 when a Red Cross delegation visited a model prison in Caracas, the Simon Bolivar Center for the Formation of New Men. Eighty-seven foreigners are being held.

But more significant was the visit two weeks later to the military-run Ramo Verde prison outside Caracas, which holds 69 people the opposition considers political prisoners.

Sandra Hernandez, whose husband, Sgt. Luis Figueroa, has been jailed at Ramo Verde since January for leading a military uprising against Maduro, was present last week when a white-colored vehicle emblazoned with the international Red Cross’ logo pulled up to the prison entrance.

She was there for her once-a-week visit, delivering basic staples — pasta, rice and cheese — that have become harder to afford since she was fired from her $7-a-month job as a teacher in what she said was retaliation for her husband’s opposition to the government.

She said that if not for remittances sent by a relative in Spain, her husband could starve on the scant rations provided by prison authorities.

While her husband told her he wasn’t among the small group of prisoners allowed to speak with the Red Cross representatives, she was hopeful the visit would help improve dire conditions for all inmates, many of whom she said are suffering from lack of medical attention and claim to have been tortured. The AP was unable to independently verify those claims.

“It’s very important they talk to prisoners and see firsthand what’s happening inside,” she said.

Red Cross officials declined to comment and the group has made little mention of the prison visits, saying only in a Tweet that it had begun visiting jails under the auspices of civilian penitentiary authorities. It made no mention of the visits to the military-run facilities. The organization commonly avoids describing such visits except in a “confidential dialogue” with officials

Prisons Minister Iris Varela has said the visit to the civilian facility, and others to come, were part of an effort to share with the world Venezuela’s positive experience rehabilitating inmates.

Left unsaid by both sides was that the Red Cross had also secured access to military detention facilities.

The majority of people held at the Ramo Verde are military personnel accused of plotting to overthrow Maduro. Many more, including five oil executives with U.S. passports, are being held in the basement jail of the military counterintelligence headquarters in the capital.

“This is an important first step, but make no mistake, it’s also an attempt by Maduro to gain legitimacy with the international community,” said Alfredo Romero, a human rights lawyer who was told of the Red Cross visit by prison workers when trying to visit clients at Ramo Verde. “It’s not in itself going to change the government’s willingness to improve conditions.”

A senior government official played down the significance of the Red Cross visits, describing them as part of a broader push to work more closely with several international agencies, including the World Food Program and the Pan American Health Organization. The official spoke on condition of anonymity due to lack of authorization to discuss those talks publicly.

The international Red Cross’ sister organization, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, recently said it had received a waiver from Maduro to deliver aid to some 650,000 people in Venezuela beginning this month. Maduro has long denied a humanitarian crisis, considering aid offers a “Trojan horse” to pave the way for a foreign military intervention.

Similarly, opposition leader Juan Guaidó, who is recognized by 50 nations as Venezuela’s rightful leader, has tried to control the distribution of U.S.-supplied aid in a bid to weaken Maduro’s grip on power.

In another attempt to counter growing criticism, Maduro last month welcomed a delegation sent by the United Nations’ High Commissioner for Human Rights. He previously had called such visits a politically biased threat to Venezuela’s sovereignty.

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Associated Press writer Joshua Goodman reported this story in Caracas and AP writer Jamey Keaten reported from Geneva.

Joshua Goodman And Jamey Keaten, The Associated Press

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By The Wall of Law April 10, 2019 Off