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.”

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.

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.

Comparing Immigration Raids Under Trump, Obama

Protesters chant outside the Grayson County courthouse in Sherman, Texas, Feb. 16, 2017. In an action called "A Day Without Immigrants," immigrants across the country are expected to stay home from school, work and close businesses to show how critic

WASHINGTON – When Immigration and Customs Enforcement ((ICE)) agents arrested at least 680 undocumented immigrants in cities around the United States last week, immigration advocates hailed it as the first “mass enforcement operation” of the Donald Trump era.

“It is time to sound the national alarm bell,” said a group of organizations led by United We Dream.

But is it? The truth is more nuanced.

Barack Obama inherited and expanded the capacity to identify, apprehend, and deport unauthorized immigrants, according to the Migration Policy Institute, and he used it as president, deporting more than 2.5 million people between 2009 and 2015.

At the border, there was a “near zero tolerance system, where unauthorized immigrants were increasingly subject to formal removal and criminal charges.”

Immigration enforcement, as laid out in a 2014 memo, also focused on immigrants who committed crimes and those who arrived after the beginning of 2014.

“A more robust enforcement system inevitably inflicts damage on established families and communities,” the Migration Policy Institute report said.

What ICE did not do during the Obama era was detain people who were in the wrong place at the wrong time. ICE was instructed to arrest only people who were targeted in advance and not just anybody swept up in a raid, so-called collateral arrests.

Obama said his government did not have the desire to deport millions of undocumented immigrants whose only crime was to enter the country illegally.

And now?

President Donald Trump’s Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States executive order shows that collateral arrests are not to be avoided.

“Many aliens who illegally enter the United States and those who overstay or otherwise violate the terms of their visas present a significant threat to national security and public safety,” the order says.

After last week’s enforcement operations, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary John Kelly said that 75 percent of the people apprehended had criminal records. This implies that 25 percent of the 680 arrests reported by DHS were non-criminals.

ICE said during “targeted” enforcement operations officers frequently encounter additional suspects who may be in violation of federal immigration laws. “Those persons will be evaluated on a case by case basis and, when appropriate, arrested by ICE,” the agency said.

Rep. Michelle Grisham, D-N.M., speaks during the third day of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, July 27, 016.

Rep. Michelle Grisham, D-N.M., speaks during the third day of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, July 27, 2016

On Capitol Hill, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus has requested a meeting with ICE’s acting director to learn about the location of last week’s operations, the reason for apprehensions, the number of people detained with criminal convictions and the number of parents with minors arrested along with the arresting reason.

“The request to have the meeting, of course, is to get real information, data, about who is apprehended, who are the targets, where, and confirm that information with our constituents … and to make sure that we are following the law, and we’re clear that people are getting due process and that they know their rights, and the fact that we are not causing, which we are, fear and panic in our communities,” New Mexico congresswoman and caucus chair Michelle Grisham said.

A sign alerts customers a bakery is closed for the day as part of an immigration protest, Feb. 16, 2017, in Perth Amboy, New Jersey.

A sign alerts customers a bakery is closed for the day as part of an immigration protest, Feb. 16, 2017, in Perth Amboy, New Jersey.

Building a basis for comparison

While fear is running high in immigrant communities, it is still too early to say how different the Trump administration’s policies will be from the previous ones.

Syracuse University’s Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) intends to follow it. TRAC is building a baseline “against which arrests by fugitive operation teams and other components of ICE can be compared under the new Trump administration.”

Using case-by-case records of both apprehensions and removals, TRAC has put together an initial report that shows 65,332 individuals were detained and deported by ICE during FY 2016, the last year of Obama’s presidency. TRAC says that amounts to approximately 1,250 per week.

Only a small part of those arrests, however, were the result of ICE raids or other enforcement operations. “Instead, most of these estimated weekly 1,250 ICE apprehensions happened when ICE assumed custody of individuals held by another law enforcement agency,” the TRAC report says.

Putting aside the other law enforcement agencies, TRAC says that “less than 300 individuals were arrested each week from their place of work, where they lived, or other places they may have been when found” by ICE.