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5 days ago · by · 0 comments

Seventy Arrested At Georgia House Party For Less Than Oz of Marijuana

 

 

Cartersville, Georgia police are facing criticism after arresting 70 people at a house party in an Atlanta suburb after no one would claim ownership of a stash of marijuana that totaled less than an ounce. Partygoers say police entered the home without permission or a warrant, and arrested everyone inside when they couldn’t determine the owner of the less than an ounce of marijuana they seized.

Cartersville police responded to a “shots fired” call around 2:18 AM on New Year’s Eve at the Morgan Square apartments on Cain Drive. Someone from the apartment complex called 911 to report the noise from the party, drawing police to the site of the party, just blocks from the apartment complex. Partygoers allege that the sounds were fireworks, not gunfire and that while police were checking things out-they smelled marijuana in the front yard. They say police didn’t have a warrant at that point but they said two officers entered the home anyway.

Deja Heard had rented the home where the party was held through Air BnB to celebrate her 21st birthday by having a “Christmas Lingerie Party”. Flyers for the party said “Party Alert. East Atlanta Santa’s 21st Sexy Christmas Lingerie Pajama Party” and advertised a cover for drinks, Jell-O shots, “drunk/strip Twister” and beer pong.

Those arrested ranged in age from 15 to 31 years old and some remained in jail 2 days after the arrest- causing them to lose their jobs. Jail records showed that 63 of the 70 arrestees had all been processed with a single count of marijuana possession under one ounce. Some parents of those arrested have cried foul at the arrests, claiming that if the incident happened in Atlanta, the attendees would’ve walked away with a $75 ticket.

Several of those arrested, now called “the Cartersville 70” on social media, have given interviews to local media outlets saying they fear they will have a criminal record. Austen Davis told a reporter “I was told we were just being detained; one of the officers said we’re putting you in a van to keep y’all warm.” Others say they were verbally abused during their arrest. Along with the attorneys representing the young people arrested, the NAACP is now involved.

The Georgia chapter of the NAACP said most of the drug charges should be dropped because officers didn’t have the right to search the home. “We believe, based on what we know from the police report and independent witnesses and video, that there was a violation of people’s Fourth Amendment rights,” The Fourth Amendment protects citizens from unreasonable searches and seizures of property. The NAACP contends that the house and those attending the party were unlawfully searched and that citations could have been issued, rather than arresting the party-goers.

In a news release, police said they obtained a warrant and found two stolen guns, marijuana individually packaged and several smoking devices throughout most of the first-floor rooms. Individually packaged suspected cocaine and cocaine-related paraphernalia were also located upon initial contact with multiple subjects, the release said. According to Cartersville Police Lt. M.E. Betttikofer, the police investigation is presently ongoing.

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1 week ago · by · Comments Off on Daily HI4E.org Trivia Contest Winners For The Week Ending: Sunday, January 7th, 2018.

Daily HI4E.org Trivia Contest Winners For The Week Ending: Sunday, January 7th, 2018.

In an effort to broaden the company’s “social interaction” with our clients and FaceBook fans, Daily Trivia Questions are posted on both of our business pages. Here are the weekly standings for this past week, and the winner of the Sunday night Weekly Drawing for an AmEx gift card!            

Congratulations  – To this past week’s Trivia Contest Winner!!   Our latest contest winner for the weekly FaceBook HealthInsurance4Everyone/Health & Life Solutions, LLC Trivia Contest, drawn randomly by computer late Sunday evening, January 7th, 2018 was:

 

SUSANNE  KILLION

Bedford, VA

Winner Of A $25.00 AmEx Gift Card

 

Each day, fans who have “liked” either of our company FaceBook pages (HealthInsurance4Everyone  or Health & Life Solutions LLC) are able to test their skills with our Daily TRIVIA QUESTION.  The first 20 winners who post the correct answer to the TRIVIA QUESTION, will then get entered into the weekly drawing held late on Sunday evenings for a $25.00 Am Ex Gift Card.


Weekly Gift Card winners will be posted in our blog at this site.  Remember to become a FaceBook “fan” on either of our company pages to enter and post your answers. 

 

Here are the daily contestants from last week’s Trivia Contest that were entered into the Sunday drawing:

 

 

01/01/18

 

Jill Nauyokas

Jenifer Garza

Dean Bruss

Wendy Messer-Brinnon

Eleazar Ruiz

Alysia Jackson

Luis Y Katie Santos

Jessica Davis

Brandi K Chaney

Darlene Whyte

Kelly Ann Hammond

Jenn Anthony

Rebecca Fauteux

Kathleen Hickman

Stacy Lynn Nelson

Diane Hamric

Tina Kaiser

Amy Chavis

Mike Adamski

Amanda Saltsman

Joann Tompkins-Winborn

 

1/2/18

 

Susanne Killion

Jennifer Mason

Trish Hysell

Sheri Boydston

Melissa Ann Stura-Bassett

Kathi Taylor

Adaria Johnson

Kari Reed

Dave Mcpheron

 

 

1/3/18

 

Kathy Rubio

Brittany Light

Chelsie Nicole

Jill Nauyokas

Annette Broxton

Jenifer Garza

Cheryl Hall

Diane Hamric

Kathleen Marks

Sunney Michelle Johnson

Jennifer Downing

Kizzy Alvarez DeSantis

Jennifer Kinner

Preeti Chand

Paula Rousseau

Christy Hawkes

Pamela Gonzalez

Nyeasia Pippin

Karen Ann Hinkle

Desire Kightlinger Swarm

Kristina Rosson

Kari Reed

Wendy Messer-Brinnon

Trish Musgrave

Beth Meemo

 

 

 

1/4/18

 

Kathleen Marks

Carol Scheive

Jenifer Garza

Amanda Rosario

Brittany Light

Misty Flanigan

Debbie Burke Garretson

Christina Montes

Beth Meemo

Jill Nauyokas

Diane Hamric

Mary Ann Cody

Kacie Rogers

Amy Conyers

Wilma Mast

Deborah Farris

Susanne Killion

Mike Adamski

Anna Nichols

Be Schwerin

Annette Broxton

 

 

 

1/5/18

 

Wilma Mast

Marilyn Wall

Jill Nauyokas

Brian Fulop

Anggie Marie

Michelle Cervantes

Jenifer Garza

Sheila Vives

Dale Fish

Jennifer Saavedra

Betsey Riddle

Debbit Burke Garretson

Tina Mimick

Eleazar Ruiz

Paula Rousseau

Laura Del Robertson Dougherty

Trish Musgrave

Dean Bruss

Amy Chavis

Amanda Peters

 

 

1/6/18

 

Sara Biason

Jenifer Garza

Trish Musgrave

Jill Nauyokas

Kimberly Snyder

Kim Floyd

Luis Y Katie Santos

Misty Flanigan

Jennifer Lang

Kayla Clemons

Mary Pettiford

Emily Rice Bowersock

Dean Bruss

Helen Saez Deverter

Beeg Reeb

Denise Hauer

Darlene Whyte

Diane Hamric

Hollie Jahnke

Jodi Stevens

Sheila Carvell

Kizzy Alvarez DeSantis

 

 

1/7/18

 

Melissa Ann Stura-Bassett

Brandi K Chaney

Crystal Young

Jean Simmons Homfeld

Jackie Poole

Sarah Harrison

April Ashcraft

Jill Nauyokas

Betsy Riddle

Christy Hawkes

Trish Musgrave

Amy Chavis

Jenifer Garza

Chelsie Nicole

Sunney Michelle Johnson

Eleazar Ruiz

Chris Maxwell

Rebecca Fauteux

Luis y Katie Santos

Isis Sample

Aaron Chambers

Stacy Lynn Nelson

Mike Adamski

 


Be sure to watch both of our FaceBook pages for your chance to win and enter again next week, with questions posted daily on HealthInsurance4Everyone or at Health & Life Solutions, LLC!!

Remember that if you try your hand at answering the Trivia Question several days each week, your odds of winning the Sunday weekly drawing are much better.  Also note that a number of the posted answers each day are from contestants who have forgotten to “Like” one of our pages, so their names WILL NOT be entered at the end week drawing for the gift card, giving our fans a better chance!

You may also find that if you “Like” BOTH of the business pages, you will receive faster notifications of the other players as they post their answers to compete with you!  

—————————————————————-

At Health Insurance 4 Everyone, we not only want to improve our customer service but also interact with our customers on a social media level that wasn’t available before. Interested in connecting with us?  Look us up on….

 

Twitter: Healthinsurane4  (Follow Us On Twitter To Receive Faster Notifications When Daily Trivia Questions Posted, & To Be Immediately Notified When Weekly AmEX Gift Card Winners Are Announced!!)

 

 

Click-On for LinkedIn To Follow Our Posts: LinkedIn

 

Like us on facebook: HealthInsurance4Everyone or Health & Life Solutions, LLC

 

Over 54,000 Combined Fans/Followers To Our Social Media Sites, & We’re Growing Daily!

 

Follow Mark Shuster, Founder/Owner at Health & Life Solutions, LLC for daily health tips!

news to healthy living and current events!

 

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Find out more about LegalShield, our corporate partner which gives you the power to talk to an attorney about any legal issue, and offering high-quality Identity Theft plans.

 

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2 weeks ago · by · 0 comments

North Korea Calls New Sanctions An Act of War

 

 

North Korea has called the most recent U.N. Security Council sanctions “an act of war” and warns that the US and other nations which supported the strict measures will pay a heavy price.  The United Nations Security Council unanimously adopted US-drafted sanctions against North Korea in response to their last intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) test which experts have said are the most advanced yet.  The new sanctions will strangle North Korea’s energy supplies and tighten restrictions on smuggling.  Then, just days after the new sanctions were imposed; the United States imposed two additional sanctions on two North Korean officials.  The new U.S. Treasury sanctions will freeze all U.S. assets of two North Korean officials accused of being behind the missile program.

North Korea’s foreign ministry lashed out against the latest sanctions, saying the US is intimidated by the nation’s nuclear power.  “The United States, completely terrified at our accomplishment, is getting more and more frenzied in the moves to impose the harshest-ever sanctions and pressure on our country,” the statement said.  North Korea warned that if the United States “wishes to live safely, it must abandon its hostile policy” toward North Korea.  “We define this ‘sanctions resolution’ rigged up by the US and its followers as a grave infringement upon the sovereignty of our Republic, as an act of war violating peace and stability in the Korean peninsula,” the statement said.

Korea foreign ministry described the new resolution as a “complete economic blockade” and threatened nations that helped pass it. “Those countries that raised their hands in favor of this ‘sanctions resolution’ shall be held completely responsible for all the consequences to be caused by the ‘resolution’ and we will make sure for ever and ever that they pay heavy price for what they have done,” the statement said.

The sanctions cut exports of gasoline, diesel and other refined oil products by a total of 89%. It also bans the export of industrial equipment, machinery, transportation vehicles and industrial metals to North Korea, and requires countries currently hosting North Korean migrant workers to repatriate them within 24 months.  According to the UN, around 100,000 North Koreans work overseas and most of their wages are sent back home, bringing an estimated $500 million each year for Kim Jong Un’s regime.  The new UN resolution also prohibits countries from smuggling North Korean coal and other prohibited commodities by sea and authorizes member states to inspect, seize and impound any vessels in their territorial waters found to be transporting prohibited items.  This month, Washington asked the UN to ban 10 ships from entering ports across the world over alleged dealings with North Korea.

Three months ago, the UN passed a US-drafted resolution that at the time was described by US ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley as “by far the strongest measures ever imposed on North Korea.”  The previous measures, adopted in September, had been designed to accomplish six major goals: cap North Korea’s oil imports, ban textile exports, end additional overseas laborer contracts, suppress smuggling efforts, stop joint ventures with other nations and sanction designated North Korean government entities.

 

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2 weeks ago · by · 0 comments

Devastating Bronx Fire Kills 12

 

 

 

Twelve people were killed and four critically injured, after a fire broke out in an apartment building in the Bronx borough of New York City.  Dozens of other victims were rescued with injuries but were expected to recover.  The fast moving fire sent residents running into the freezing temperatures for safety just before 7pm on Thursday.

The fire was started by a three year old boy who had been playing with the burners on the stove in a first floor apartment.  The boy’s screams alerted his mother that a fire had erupted.  The mother fled the burning apartment with the boy and his 2-year-old sibling, leaving the apartment door open.  That fatal mistake allowed the fire to spread quickly through the 5 story building-trapping families on the floors above.

FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro said the apartment’s stairway acted “like a chimney” as the fire burst from the apartment, feeding the flames and allowing them to spread throughout the building.  The smoke from the fire filled the stairway and halls, quickly cutting off visibility to those trapped inside.  The 26-unit apartment building was required to have self-closing doors, which swing shut on their own to keep fires from spreading, city Housing Preservation and Development Department spokesman Matthew Creegan said.  Investigators will look at whether the door to the apartment was defective or if an obstruction prevented it from closing, he said.

Killed in the blaze were Maria Batiz, 58; her 8 -month-old grand-daughter Amora Batiz; Gabriel Yaw Sarkookie, 48; Justice Opoku, 54; Solomon Donkor, 49; William Donkor; Hannah Donkor, 17; Shantay Young, 19; Karen Francis, 37; Kylie Francis, 2; Charmela Francis, 7 and Emmanuel Mensah, 28.  Mensah, has been hailed a hero for heading back into the fire to save others.  Private Mensah, had been home from Army duty for the holiday after finishing basic training in Georgia.   His father said he had been awarded a medal for marksmanship and was planning to join the military police.  He was scheduled to head to Virginia and from there to battlefields unknown.  His sister wept as she said he always put others before himself.

Mensah, lived in Apartment 11, on the 3rd floor with a friend of his father’s who was at home with his wife and four children when the fire broke out.  After Mensah got that family to safety, he returned and pulled out four more people.  He was last seen heading back into the fire to help others.  When he couldn’t be found, family members said they were hoping he was among those injured in the fire.  His remains were found in Apartment 15 on the 4th floor.

One family, the Stewarts, lost four family members during the deadly blaze.  Karen Stewart-Francis, Kylie Francis, Charmela Francis, and their cousin Shawntay Young were killed.  In all, 13 family members — cousins, uncles, aunts – all lived in the building after emigrating from Jamaica between 1980-2004 and deciding to stay close.  Another family member, Holt Francis, emerged alive from the deadly mix of smoke and flames, but was put into a medically induced coma with a dire prognosis.  Family members say he’s a fighter and the family wasn’t ready to throw in the towel just yet. His wife Karen was killed in the blaze.

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3 weeks ago · by · 1,156 comments

Blackout At Atlanta Airport Strands Thousands

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A fire at an underground electrical facility caused an 11 hour blackout that brought the world’s busiest airport to a standstill.  The blackout at the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport led to the cancellation of more than 1,500 flights and stranding tens of thousands of people in darkened terminals or on the tarmac, where some passengers sat for more than five hours on grounded planes.

The power outage began shortly after 1 p.m. leaving passengers in dim and overcrowded terminals as afternoon turned to evening.  Frustrated travelers lighted their way through smoky corridors with cellphones.  On Twitter, passengers reported waiting on the tarmac for more than five hours as the lack of power at the terminals made it hard to de-plane.  Getting out of the terminals quickly became difficult as traffic snarled access roads and MARTA trains ran at capacity to downtown.

The train between terminals was shut down and elevators, escalators, automatic doors and baggage carousels stood still.   Screens went black and the intercom for flight updates was silent.  No one could get reliable phone or internet service to access texts, email, flight apps or social media.  With a lack of information, travelers were too nervous to leave their spots, fearing the power might soon return at any moment and they’d lose their place in the line they were in.

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed later said the fire was so intense that it damaged two substations serving the airport, including the airport’s back-up power system and prevented emergency crews from accessing the site for two to three hours.  Paul Bowers, Georgia Power’s president and CEO said there was a failure in the switchgear that caused the fire and the fire was contained by 3:30pm.  An estimated 30,000 people were affected by the power outage.

Delta bore the brunt of the impact, cancelling approximately 900 flights and diverting 48 more. The carrier said about 300 flights would also be cancelled on Monday, as the chaos spilled into one of the busiest air travel weeks of the year.  The blackout led the Federal Aviation Administration to declare a ground stop at the airport, preventing Atlanta-bound flights in other airports from taking off and causing inbound flights to be diverted. The ground stop in Atlanta disrupted air travel across the United States.

Some power was restored just before midnight but stranded travelers were still sleeping on the floor the day after the outage.  Long ticket and security lines were moving slowly as normalcy began returning to the airport Monday.  Volunteers in shirts that said, “Ask Me,” tried to allay concerns and passed out doughnuts to those in line, many of whom shared horror stories about the night before.

Some travelers said airline and airport employees did their best to take care of stranded passengers, handing out blankets, beverages, even slices of pizza.  Others reported a lack of communication, widespread rumors, the strong smell of fire near baggage claim and a taxi line that amounted to “pandemonium.”  While some fortunate passengers were able to board the flights departing Atlanta the day after the outage, other passengers were being told they’d have to wait hours or days.  One airline was telling passengers it would be five days before they could get a flight out.

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3 weeks ago · by · 600 comments

Investigative Reports Prompt Puerto Rico To Review All Deaths After Maria

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Facing mounting evidence that Puerto Rico has vastly undercounted the number of people who died because of Hurricane Maria, Gov. Ricardo A. Rosselló ordered that every death on the island since the devastating storm be reviewed.  Officials will look review all deaths attributed to natural causes after the hurricane, which made landfall Sept. 20 and knocked out power to 3.4 million Puerto Ricans and to their hospitals and clinics.

Roselló made the order to the Puerto Rico Demographic Registry, which is the island’s vital statistics bureau, and to the Department of Public Safety following the investigative media reports on the death toll and after residents claiming deaths of their loved ones were caused by Maria.  The governor also said he’d create an expert panel to review the island’s death certification process.

The Puerto Rican government has put the official death toll at 64 but several investigations have revealed that nearly 1,000 more people died.   The prolonged blackout hampered critical medical treatment for some of the island’s most vulnerable patients, including many who were bedridden or dependent on dialysis or respirators. But if they died as a result, the storm’s role in their deaths may have gone officially unrecorded.

Several news organizations, including The New York Times, conducted independent analyses and found that the number of deaths traceable to the storm was far higher than the official count.  The Times’s review, based on daily mortality data from Puerto Rico’s vital statistics bureau, found that 1,052 more people than usual had died across the island in the 42 days after Maria struck. The analysis compared daily figures for 2017 with an average of figures for the corresponding days in 2015 and 2016.

The leading causes of death on the island in September were diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease, Puerto Rican government data show.  There was a sharp 50 percent spike in the number of recorded deaths from sepsis, a complication of severe infection that can be tied to delayed medical care or poor living conditions.    Reports emerged of people being unable to use oxygen and dialysis equipment, unable to refrigerate insulin, evacuated from hospitals that lost emergency power and other problems.

Reviewing the circumstances surrounding each death will require interviewing family members and doctors who signed death certificates to find out if, for example, a heart attack might have been brought on by stress from the hurricane, or might have been fatal because an ambulance could not get through debris-blocked streets in time to help.

The governor’s announcement comes as the Center for Investigative Journalism in Puerto Rico reported that nearly three months since the storm, 45 people are still listed as missing and efforts by Puerto Rico’s police to locate them have been minimal or almost nonexistent.    Parts of the island are still without power leaving many to celebrate Christmas in the dark.   The power grid is only operating at 70 percent of capacity and officials say power won’t be fully restored until the end of May.

 

 

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4 weeks ago · by · 16 comments

Disney’s Bid To Buy 21st Century Fox

 

 

 

Disney is set to buy a major part of 21st Century Fox for $52.4 billion.  Both sides have  said it will likely take 12 to 18 months to complete.  They will still have to sell the deal to government regulators, who must review the merger to determine its effects on competitors and consumers.   That task will likely fall to the Justice Department, which weeks ago took the rare step of suing companies in a different blockbuster deal: AT&T’s bid for Time Warner.

Members of Congress have already stated that they want to hold hearings on Disney’s billion dollar bid to buy 21st Century Fox.  Key voices on competition and consumer protection fear the deal will only solidify Disney’s dominance in entertainment — granting it too many major box-office franchises and too much power over regional sports networks and streaming video services.  Lawmakers don’t actually have a say in major mergers but they tend to scrutinize them anyways since the Department of Justice investigations happen outside of public view.  Hearings-sometimes featuring testimony from major chief executives — can ultimately shape public opinion about the companies’ plans.

If the deal goes through, Disney will own the rights to everything from the Avatar movies to FX’s The Americans.  They will also own the film rights to the Marvel comics characters associated with the X-Men and Fantastic Four, which Marvel sold off to Fox long before either was a Disney subsidiary.  Federal Communications Commission regulations state that no one company can own more than one broadcast network and since Disney already owns ABC, Fox broadcast network was off the table.

Fox, will maintain the rights to Fox News, Fox Sports 1, the Fox broadcast network and the Fox studio lot in Los Angeles.  Fox broadcast network is home to everything from The Simpsons to New Girl to The X-Files. The network launched in 1986 and by the mid-’90s, it was a mainstay in most American homes, competing with ABC, CBS, and NBC.

The massive deal would consolidate two of the biggest players in Hollywood and would reshape the media and entertainment industries.  Disney will also get Fox’s 30 percent share of ownership of Hulu in this deal.  Disney already owns a 30 percent share so Fox’s share will now make Disney the majority shareholder in Hulu.  NBC still owns a 30 percent stake and Warner Bros. owns the remaining 10 percent.

Disney already announced plans for its own streaming business in 2019, which will feature films from Disney and Pixar, content that specifically won’t be available on Netflix.  Hulu already has 12 million subscribers so it remains to be seen whether Disney will piggyback their own streaming business with Hulu or just convert Hulu into Disney’s streaming service.  Disney’s Marvel and Lucas film franchise will still appear on Netflix as part of a multiyear agreement, but that runs out in a few years and will almost certainly be exclusive to their own streaming service.

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1 month ago · by · 0 comments

Nearly 1,000 People Died In Puerto Rico After Maria Hit

 

 

 

 

 

An investigation by the Center for Investigative Journalism in Puerto Rico has revealed that nearly 1,000 more people died in the 40-day period after Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico compared to that same time period last year. These findings sharply contradict the storm’s “official” death toll of 62.   The government allowed 911 bodies to be cremated without being physically examined by a government medical officer to determine if they should be included in the official death toll from the storm.  Each cause of death was listed as being of “natural causes.”

The revelation of the new data also coincides with accounts from relatives’ reports of victims that point to problems with essential health services such as dialysis, ventilators, oxygen, and other critical circumstances caused by the lack of electricity in homes and hospitals throughout Puerto Rico.

The majority of the deaths were men and women over 50 who died in hospitals and nursing homes from conditions such as diabetes, Alzheimer’s, kidney disease, hypertension, pneumonia and other respiratory diseases. When compared to the same time period from 2016, there was a significant increase in deaths, especially in hospitals and nursing homes.

Some have said they considered heart attacks and people who died of lack of oxygen because of lack of power as hurricane-related deaths, while others said they considered those “natural causes.”  Accurate information about the death toll is important because it allows victims’ families to claim federal relief aid.  It has also been used as a measure of how effective relief efforts have been.  The official death toll likely fails to take account of all those who died as a result of the deadly hurricane.

Demographer José A. López, the only person at the registry in charge of analyzing this data, has said that the increase in deaths in the first two post-Maria months is significant and the government’s inability to link more deaths to the hurricane shows that the current process of documenting causes of death in a disaster is not working and must be reformed.  López and the Department of Health appeared before Puerto Rico’s Senate to request that a dialogue begin about the issue and that they lead to changing the system.

Currently, linking a death to a disaster depends almost exclusively on a physician making an annotation related to the hurricane in the death certificate and listing the clinical cause of death, but both doctors and hospitals maintain that their responsibility and knowledge are strictly tied to the clinical cause of death.  In most cases, the doctor who certifies the death may not be the same doctor who was in charge of the patient.   Because of this, most death certificates do not include additional information about the other circumstances that could lead to death — such as the stress caused by an emergency; lack of power, transportation services or medications; lack of access to health services; changes in diet; and increases in ambient temperatures, among others.

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1 month ago · by · Comments Off on Oscar Pistorius Sentence Doubled

Oscar Pistorius Sentence Doubled

 

 

South Africa’s Supreme Court of Appeals has more than doubled the prison sentence for Olympic and Paralympic runner Oscar Pistorius, who was convicted of murdering his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in 2013.  The sentence has now been increased from six years to 15 years, with time served.  Under that initial sentence, which the court called “shockingly lenient,” Pistorius could have been released on parole in mid-2019. Now, the earliest he’ll be eligible for parole is 2023.  Supreme Court judges are generally reluctant to change sentences handed down by trial courts, and it’s rare for them to change one so dramatically.

Pistorius killed Steenkamp in the pre-dawn hours of Valentine’s Day 2013 by shooting four times through a closed toilet cubicle door with his 9 mm pistol. He claimed he mistook the 29-year-old model and reality TV star for an intruder.  Throughout the trial, the prosecution had been looking to prove that the couple had gotten into an argument, and Pistorius intentionally murdered his girlfriend.  A few of Pistorius’s neighbors testified to hearing an argument that lasted nearly an hour, followed by a woman screaming before and during the shots being fired.

A police ballistics expert concluded that the first shot fired through the bathroom door hit Steenkamp in the hip and caused her to collapse.  The second shot missed.  Prosecutors tried to prove that Steenkamp screamed while she was hit by two more shots as she covered her head with her arms in a desperate attempt to protect herself.

Pistorius was initially convicted of manslaughter by trial Judge Thokozile Masipa.  That conviction was overturned and replaced with a murder conviction by the Supreme Court in 2015.  Masipa then sentenced Pistorius to six years for murder, which prosecutors called much too lenient.

Supreme Court Justice Willie Seriti said a panel of judges unanimously upheld an appeal by prosecutors against Pistorius’ original six-year sentence for shooting Steenkamp.   The Supreme Court agreed that the sentencing was too leniant, saying in a full written ruling released later that “the sentence of six years’ imprisonment is shockingly lenient to a point where it has the effect of trivializing this serious offence.”  The Supreme Court said Pistorius “displays a lack of remorse, and does not appreciate the gravity of his actions.”  As Seriti delivered the verdict he said “Pistorius should have been sentenced to the prescribed minimum of 15 years for murder.”

The new sentence of 13 years and five months took into account the one year and seven months Pistorius served in prison and under house arrest after his manslaughter conviction.  The new sentence was backdated to start on the day he began his murder sentence, on July 6 last year.  Pistorius must serve at least half of the 13 years and five months — nearly seven years — before he can be considered for parole. He has served a year and five months of his murder sentence.

 

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1 month ago · by · 826 comments

NBC Fires Matt Lauer After Sexual Misconduct Allegations

 

In the latest of accusations of inappropriate behavior, longtime NBC “Today Show” anchor Matt Lauer has been fired after he was accused of inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace.  Several women have stepped forward to accuse Matt Lauer of sexual harassment or sexual assault.  NBC News chairman Andrew Lack said, “While it is the first complaint about his behavior in the over twenty years he’s been at NBC News, we were also presented with reason to believe this may not have been an isolated incident.”

Various news sources have reported that Lauer once gave a sex toy to a colleague along with a note about how he wanted to use it on her.   Lauer is also accused of exposing himself to a colleague and reprimanding her when she rejected his advances.  The New York Times reported that one former NBC employee was summoned by Lauer to his office in 2001 where he allegedly locked the door and sexually assaulted her.

Lauer, 59, who co-anchored the Today Show for more than 20 years, offered an apology,  “There are no words to express my sorrow and regret for the pain I have caused others by words and actions.  Some of what is being said about me is untrue or mischaracterized, but there is enough truth in these stories to make me feel embarrassed and ashamed.  Repairing the damage will take a lot of time and soul searching and I’m committed to beginning that effort.  It is now my full-time job. The last two days have forced me to take a very hard look at my own troubling flaws. It’s been humbling. I am blessed to be surrounded by the people I love. I thank them for their patience and grace.”

It has been reported that there are as many as eight accusers, though they have asked to remain anonymous.  Several accusers have said they complained to executives at the network about Lauer’s behavior, which fell on deaf ears.  NBC has denied this telling NBC News “current NBC News management was never made aware.”

An NBC spokesperson confirmed Lauer will not receive a payout for the rest of his contract.  Lauer, who had just signed a contract last year that would keep him in the anchor chair through 2018, had a contract worth a reported $20 million.  After firing Lauer, NBC News’ human resources department said they’re now sifting through Lauer’s emails in an effort to bring more justice to any colleagues who may have suffered in silence.  NBC News president Noah Oppenheim promised swift action against anyone who may have known about sexually inappropriate behavior and didn’t report it.

Lauer’s first wife, Nancy Alspaugh, whom he was married to from 1981 to 1989, said she was shocked by the longtime “Today” host’s firing amid sexual misconduct claims, and she said called him one week ago to let him know she had been approached by a reporter working on an exposé about him.  Alspaugh said the accusations against Lauer are shocking and out of character.  “I think, for the people that really know him and really love him and they want to get the good stuff out. I want to get out the fact that he made a contribution to my nonprofit, that he helped me when my husband died.  The selfless, giving part of him, which people tend to forget whenever this kind of a situation comes up. He would give you the shirt off his back if you really needed it. He did that for everybody. From the lowest person on set to, you know, the highest powers. “

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