U.S. appeals court lets Arkansas curb abortion surgeries during the pandemic

U.S. appeals court lets Arkansas curb abortion surgeries during ...

NEW YORK (Reuters) – A U.S. appeals court on Wednesday allowed Arkansas to enforce a ban on most surgical abortions a part of a state directive aimed at postponing medical procedures not deemed urgent during the coronavirus outbreak.

The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis, Missouri, lifted a federal judge’s order that had allowed the procedure to continue to be performed. The appeals court ruling does not affect abortions induced through medication in the early stage of pregnancy, which is still allowed.

The ruling comes two days after another federal appeals court allowed Texas to enforce curbs on abortions via medication as part of that state’s response to the pandemic.

Arkansas and Texas are among a handful of conservative states that have pursued limits on abortion during the crisis, saying they want to ensure that medical resources, including protective equipment, are available to help healthcare facilities cope with people with COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the virus.

The 8th Circuit said that the lower court judge “usurped the functions of the state government by second-guessing the state’s policy choices in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Sex toy sales take off amid Colombia’s coronavirus quarantine

Sex toy sales take off amid Colombia's coronavirus quarantine ...

BOGOTA (Reuters) – Gerson Monje holds up his cellphone to proudly show off his online sex shop. A red banner reading “sold out!” is plastered across half of the products.

While most Colombian businesses suffer during a five-week lockdown meant to curb the spread of the coronavirus, one online industry has seen an explosion in sales in the usually conservative country: sex toys are flying off virtual shelves.

“Sales started going up on day four of the quarantine,” said Monje, who is still able to have products delivered to customers amid the national lockdown. “We’ve seen a rise of 50%.”

“People are at home and have more time on their hands. They’re with their partners or alone and need fun in their daily activities when it comes to being intimate,” Monje said.

Reuters spoke to six online sex shops in Colombia and all said they have seen a swell in sales since the quarantine began. Colombians are meant to remain at home until Apr. 27, except for outings to buy food and medicine and visits to banks, among other exceptions.

Sex toys could help people keep their spirits up during long isolation, psychologist Dr. Carolina Guzman said and might lead to an easing of sexual mores.

“Colombia has a very conservative idea around sexuality and communication surrounding it,” she said. “It’s a good time for people to allow themselves to work on their curiosity and to understand that buying and using these products is a great thing.”

Other countries have seen a similar phenomenon. Sales of sex toys in Denmark have more than doubled, while British lingerie chain Ann Summers said sex toy sales were up 27% in the last week of March.

Inside the Sex Sense sex shop in Bogota, manager Adriana Marin watched Pope Francis give a Good Friday Mass on her computer as she sprayed boxes of products with disinfectant.

Her online shop sales have taken off even though her storefront is closed and there is stiff competition. There are about 30 other sex shops in her neighborhood alone.

At the Bali Sex Store in Medellin, sales are up 140%.

Products with mobile phone applications that allow separated partners to control toys for one another are particularly popular, said Katty Gonzalez, the store’s marketing director.

“Before people didn’t have time because of so many things going on in their daily lives and I think that because of what’s happening at the moment, it’s giving them the opportunity to explore different things,” she said.

Indonesia locks up people for breaking virus quarantine rules.

SRAGEN, Indonesia – Fed up with people breaking virus quarantine rules, one Indonesian politician has decided to scare rulebreakers straight by locking them in a “haunted house.”

Sragen regency head Kusdinar Untung Yuni Sukowati says she issued the unusual edict this week to deal with an influx of people to the area after lockdowns in the capital Jakarta and other major cities.

Some newcomers, however, weren’t respecting orders that they isolate themselves for 14 days to prevent the spread of coronavirus across the region on Indonesia’s densely populated Java island.

So Sukowati instructed communities to repurpose abandoned houses that were feared to be haunted — tapping widespread beliefs in the supernatural, which play a key role in Indonesian folklore.

Five people have been tossed into Sragen’s spooky jails so far.

“If there’s an empty and haunted house in the village, put people in there and lock them up,” Sukowati told AFP Tuesday when asked about the rule.

Officials in Sepat village chose a long-abandoned house and outfitted it with beds placed at a distance and separated by curtains.

So far, the village has locked up 3 recently-arrived residents who are being forced to spend the remainder of their 2-week quarantine in the spooky abode.

Among them was Heri Susanto, who said his punishment hadn’t brought him face to face with any ghosts — so far.

“But whatever happens, happens,” said Susanto, who came from neighboring Sumatra island.

“I know this is for everyone’s safety. Lesson learned.”

Chipotle Paying Record $25 Million Fine Over Tainted Food, Norovirus Outbreaks

Chipotle Agrees to Record $25 Million Fine Over Tainted Food ...

Chipotle Mexican Grill has agreed to pay a $25 million fine to resolve criminal charges accusing the fast-food chain of sickening more than 1,100 customers between 2015 and 2018.

The Justice Department announced the agreement Tuesday, noting it’s the largest fine ever for a food safety case.

As part of the three-year deferred prosecution deal, the company has also agreed to comply with an improved food safety program.

Chipotle was charged with two counts of violating the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act for producing products that led to several food-borne illness outbreaks, prosecutors said.

“This settlement represents an acknowledgment of how seriously Chipotle takes food safety every day and is an opportunity to definitively turn the page on past events and focus on serving our customer’s real food made with real ingredients that they can enjoy with confidence,” Chipotle Chairman and CEO Brian Niccol said in a statement.

According to the agreement, Chipotle admits to at least five foodborne illness outbreaks over the three-year period in Los Angeles, Boston, Virginia, and Ohio in which workers failed to comply with food safety protocols.

U.S. Attorney Nick Hanna said hundreds of customers fell ill because Chipotle failed to ensure employees knew and complied with safety protocols. Tuesday’s “steep penalty” should not only result in greater protections, he added, but remind others in the industry to “review and improve their own health and safety practices.

More than 230 people became sick at a Simi Valley, Calif., location in 2015 because the restaurant failed to pass along information about an ill employee. More than 140 customers became sick at a Boston location following a norovirus outbreak.

“This case highlights why it is important for restaurants and members of the foodservice industry to ensure that managers and employees consistently follow food-safety policies,” said Assistant Attorney General Jody Hunt.

Cook County Jail Inmate Fears For Her Life In The Midst Of The COVID-19 Pandemic

 A federal judge said there will be no mass release of inmates from the Cook County Jail, COVID-19 or not. In late March the jail had two positive cases. Now it is potentially the largest cluster of COVID-19 in the country.

There have been 289 detainees who tested positive. Two inmates died, and the virus is the suspected cause.

Also, 167 correctional staff members and jail staff members have tested positive.

The jail might be the hottest spot in the country, a veritable petri dish of despair. Now a woman who likely shouldn’t be there is speaking from the inside.

Jessica Huff is in Cook County lockup on a burglary charge. She could be out, but her case is gummed up because she has another retail theft charge out of DuPage County, so she couldn’t get out on the monitoring she was granted in Cook County.

“I have a heart condition,” she said. “I have what is called endocarditis.”

She also has asthma, making her legal tangle life or death.

She is staying in the jail’s hospital. It’s Cermak 3 East Division H.

“All of us up here are in Cermak because we have severe conditions that we cannot be in population in the jail for,” Huff said. “That they are bringing people up here with COVID and placing them in the isolation cells that we have to live on this unit with. I was just in isolation for 24 hours for COVID because my roommate had severe symptoms of it. She’s still in isolation.”

Huff said the guards do not have protective masks or rubber gloves “at all times.”

Jail officials say all guards have proper personal protective equipment and are ordered to wear it at all times.

“I’m not admitting guilt, but if I were guilty, I don’t deserve a death sentence,” Huff said. “I don’t deserve to die in here. Nobody deserves to die in here. I fear for my life.”

And worse, she said it seems like her jailers simply don’t know what to do.

“They have sheets and towels underneath the doors of these cells to try to block them from the air coming out,” Huff said.

Patient safety is the number one concern, said Cook County Health. They run the jail hospital. The sheriff’s department said all guards are under order to wear PPE at all times.

As for why Huff is still in custody, she may not be soon. The warrant in DuPage County was just canceled. Friday the sheriff’s department brought her case to the state’s attorney and public defenders’ offices. She could have her electronic monitor removed in short order.

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Joseph Lowery, civil rights leader, and MLK aide, has died at 98yrs old

The Rev. Joseph E. Lowery fought to end segregation, lived to see the election of the country’s first black president and echoed the call for “justice to roll down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream” in America.

For more than four decades after the death of his friend and civil rights icon, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., the fiery Alabama preacher was on the front line of the battle for equality, with an unforgettable delivery that rivaled King’s – and was often more unpredictable. Lowery had a knack for cutting to the core of the country’s conscience with commentary steeped in scripture, refusing to back down whether the audience was a Jim Crow racist or a U.S. president.

“We ask you to help us work for that day when black will not be asked to get in back; when brown can stick around; when yellow will be mellow; when the red man can get ahead, man; and when white will embrace what is right,” Lowery prayed at President Barack Obama’s inaugural benediction in 2009.

Lowery, 98, died Friday at home in Atlanta, surrounded by family members, they said in a statement. He died from natural causes unrelated to the coronavirus outbreak the statement said. 

Obit Joseph Lowery
In this Aug. 14, 2013  photo, civil rights leader the Rev. Joseph E. Lowery speaks at an event in Atlanta.


“Tonight, the great Reverend Joseph E. Lowery transitioned from earth to eternity,” The King Center in Atlanta remembered Lowery in a Friday night tweet. “He was a champion for civil rights, a challenger of injustice, a dear friend to the King family.”

Chicago’s McCormick Place to be turned into a 3,000-bed hospital.

McCormick Place is being turned into a makeshift hospital to treat COVID-19 patients.

The Army Corps of Engineers said it will have 3,000 beds and that all three halls of the convention center will be used.

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Patients will be separated by the level of care they require.

The hospital is expected to be up and running by April 24.

A similar facility is opening on Monday, at a convention center in New York.

Coronavirus COVID-19 Chicago patients to be treated at McCormick Place

 

MillerCoors shooting suspect identified as 51-year-old Milwaukee man, fired from company earlier that day

MILWAUKEE (AP/WTVO) — Law enforcement sources have identified Anthony Ferrill as the suspect who opened fire at the Miller brewing headquarters Wednesday afternoon, killing five people before turning the gun on himself, ABC News reports.

                                                              Anthony Ferrill (Shooter)

At a press conference on Thursday, police identified the five victims as Jesus Valle, Jr., 33, Gennady Levshetz, 51, Trevor Wetselaar, 33, Dana Walk, 57, and Dale Hudson, 50.

Police searched a home on Milwaukee’s north side Thursday as they hunted for clues about why an employee at one of the nation’s largest breweries gunned down five co-workers before taking his own life.

The house, a one-story home with a massive jungle-gym in the backyard, was roped off with crime scene tape Thursday morning. A squad car sat in the driveway and investigators were seen entering the home. Neighbor Erna Roenspies, 82, said the man who lives in the house has worked at the brewery for 15 years as an electrician.

The shooting happened Wednesday afternoon at Molson Coors Brewing Co.’s massive brewery complex in Milwaukee, which employs around 1,000 people. Authorities have said the shooter was a 51-year-old man from Milwaukee but haven’t released his name. Molson Coors CEO Gavin Hattersley said the shooter was “an active brewery employee.”

Authorities have offered no motive for the attack and have not released details about how the shooting unfolded. They also have not released the names of the victims.

The brewery complex includes a mix of corporate offices and brewing facilities. It’s widely known in the Milwaukee area as “Miller Valley,” a reference to the Miller Brewing Co. that is now part of Molson Coors. A massive red Miller sign towers over the complex and is a well-known symbol in Milwaukee, where beer and brewing are intertwined in the city’s history.

Officers worked for hours Wednesday to clear the more than 20 buildings in the complex where more than 1,000 people work. Police announced at a late evening news conference that the work was done and all employees had been allowed to go home.

R. Kelly’s Legal professional: Ex-Spouse Drea Kelly Could Be Arrested Over Allegations

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Steven Greenberg, the lead protection legal professional in Illinois for shamed singer R. Kelly, revealed on social media that the alleged rapist, R. Kelly, went to court docket to seek out out whether or not his spouse, Drea Kelly, would spend a while behind bars for “allegations” she made.

“#RKelly in divorce court docket this morning to see whether or not Drea goes to get locked up for her allegations,” Greenberg tweeted.

Steve Greenberg@SGcrimlaw

in divorce court this morning to see whether Drea is going to get locked up for her allegations

Greenberg didn’t supply any additional data on what might trigger Drea Kelly to go to jail, and it is unlikely that she is presently behind bars. 

In reference to the circumstances in opposition to R. Kelly, Derrel McDavid, Kelly’s longtime supervisor, requested a speedy trial in April to face the federal expenses in opposition to him. McDavid faces little one pornography and obstruction of justice expenses within the new indictment from the feds. It alleges McDavid performed a key position in paying off victims and witnesses within the lead-up to Kelly’s 2008 Cook County little one pornography trial, which led to Kelly’s acquittal, in accordance with the Solar-Instances.

Kelly and McDavid deny the entire allegations in opposition to them and keep their innocence.