President Xi Jinping of China is set to rule the country indefinitely after Chinese lawmakers passed changes to the country’s constitution abolishing presidential term limits. The National People’s Congress voted 2,958 in favor of the amendment, two opposed and three abstained. Xi assumed leadership of China’s Communist Party in 2012 and has consolidated power to levels not seen since the era of Mao Zedong. The change in presidency now aligns with other posts Xi holds, as head of the Communist Party and head of the military, neither of which have term limits.
After becoming president in 2013, Mr Xi fought corruption, punishing more than a million party members. Critics say he has used the anti-corruption purge to sideline political rivals. At the same time, China has clamped down on many emerging freedoms, increasing its state surveillance and censorship programs which critics attain was a move to silence opposition.
The constitutional change officially allows him to remain in office after the end of his second term in 2023. Many believe that now that the constitution has been altered- that Xi Jinping intends to rule for the rest of his life unchallenged. There has been no national debate as to whether a leader should be allowed to stay on for as long as they choose.
The two-consecutive-term limit to China’s presidency was put in place by Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping in 1982 in order to avoid the kind of chaos and tumult that can sometimes happen when you have a single authoritarian leader, as China had with Mao Zedong. Among many campaigns launched by Zedong were “The Great Leap Forward” in 1957 that aimed to rapidly transform China’s economy from an agrarian economy to an industrial one. This campaign led to the deadliest famine in history and the deaths of more than 45 million Chinese people between 1958 and 1962. Zedong also initiated the Cultural Revolution in 1966, a program to remove “counter-revolutionary” elements of Chinese society that lasted 10 years and was marked by violent class struggle and widespread destruction of cultural artifacts. It has officially been regarded as a “severe setback” for the Peoples Republic of China.
The National People’s Congress is also likely to confirm China’s new government line-up for the next five years, kicking off Xi Jinping’s second term as president, ratify a law to set up a new powerful anti-corruption agency and ratify the inclusion of the president’s political philosophy in the constitution. His philosophy is officially called “Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for the New Era”. Schoolchildren, college students and staff at state factories will have to study the political ideology, which the Communist Party is trying to portray as a new chapter for modern China.
Haiti has suspended the British charity Oxfam as it investigates reports that it tried to cover up sex crimes by senior aid workers in Haiti after the devastating 2010 earthquake. An internal Oxfam review concluded in 2011 that senior aid workers hired prostitutes at Oxfam properties in Haiti and then tried to cover it up. Prostitution is illegal in Haiti, but Oxfam refused to report the activity of its aid workers to Haitian police. Oxfam’s internal report also includes claims that three Oxfam staff members physically threatened a witness during the internal investigation.
The report confirms that Roland van Hauwermeiren, the country director in the Caribbean nation for Oxfam’s Great Britain arm, admitted to hiring prostitutes to his official residence. A news report revealed there had been at least one “Caligula orgy” with women dressed in Oxfam T-shirts. No public disclosures were made of the alleged abuse at the time, though the 2011 report shows that the director and six others were dismissed or resigned for misconduct, including three who did so because of “use of prostitutes.” All of the names in the document were redacted besides van Hauwermeiren. Oxfam said in a statement that the full un-redacted reports will be given to the Haitian government. The Charity Commission has said it was not told the full story when Oxfam first looked into the allegations in 2011.
The scandal around van Hauwermeiren, who also faced allegations about work in Chad in 2006 where he presided over an office with employees accused of hiring prostitutes. The history of alleged abuse, and the fact that he was allowed to go on to work for another charity in Bangladesh, prompted Oxfam to call for an independent review of itself by women’s rights groups.
An internal investigation by the charity into sexual exploitation, the downloading of pornography, bullying and intimidation is claimed to have found children may have been exploited by employees. The report also clarifies that the charity was aware of concerns about the conduct of two of men at the center of the Haiti allegations when they previously worked in Chad.
Oxfam has been hit with dozens more misconduct allegations involving a slew of countries, in the days since The Times of London revealed Oxfam tried to cover up the sex crimes by senior aid workers in Haiti. The charity now faces worries about funding from the British government and its ability to fundraise while multiple prominent ambassadors for the group have resigned.
Missouri’s Governor Eric Greitens was arrested after a grand jury indicted him on charges of felony invasion of privacy stemming from an extramarital affair in 2015. The indictment accuses Greitens of blindfolding and tying up a woman with whom he was having a consensual affair, and then taking her picture without her consent—and threatening to release the naked photograph if she ever spoke publicly about the affair. Greitens was arraigned and later released on his own recognizance. He has acknowledged the affair but denies any criminal behavior including allegations of abusing or threatening the woman. Greitens remained defiant amid calls for resignation and impeachment less than 24 hours after a St. Louis grand jury indicted him for felony invasion of privacy.
Greitens is a former U.S. Navy SEAL who was elected in 2016 after he ran on a pro-gun, anti-Obama platform. After news of the affair broke in early January 2017, Greitens and his wife, Sheena, released a joint statement after a number of inquiries from the news media about the relationship. The couple revealed that there “was a time when he was unfaithful in our marriage.” “This was a deeply personal mistake,” the Greitens, who have two young children, said in the statement. “Eric took responsibility and we dealt with this together honestly and privately.”
The accusations were relayed by the woman’s ex-husband, but she has not commented. The identified but still unnamed woman is a St. Louis area hairstylist. She told her ex-husband that she’d had an affair in 2015 with Eric Greitens — then philanthropist, now governor — and that he had tied her to home exercise equipment, taken a photo of her naked and threatened to publicly release it if she ever told anyone about him. She said Greitens later apologized and said he’d deleted the photo. She also told her ex-husband that Greitens had slapped her against her will, after she told Greitens she had had sex with her husband. The conversation was part of a therapeutic exercise but was recorded without her knowledge. The man filed for divorce in 2015, a few months after the affair.)
Behind the scenes, many state political figures and journalists had been aware of rumors about Greitens’ affair since September 2016. Journalists had held back from publication because the woman had not recorded the conversation herself or released it to the media, and she repeatedly declined to be interviewed on the record.
When Greitens was running for governor against Chris Koster, Roy Temple, an advisor to the Koster campaign, heard a rumor about the affair and contacted a mutual friend to him and the ex-husband. Temple said he met with the ex-husband to see whether he’d be interested in publicly telling his story, but the man, a prominent St. Louis entertainer, declined to proceed because he didn’t want his two children learning about the affair. The man only came forward in 2017 after a national reporter at another outlet called his 15-year-old about the allegations.
On February 11, 2018, a Russian commercial plane crashed near Moscow, killing all 71 people on board. Among the victims of the crash were 65 passengers including 3 children and 6 crew members. The cause of the crash is unknown. The Saratov Airlines flight 703, crashed shortly after take-off from Moscow’s Domodedovo airport. The plane was headed to the city of Orsk on the Kazakhstan border and officials have said most of the passengers were from the eastern part of the Orenburg region which is on the southern end of the Ural Mountains.
Officials say the aircraft’s speed and altitude started to fluctuate soon after take-off. A preliminary analysis of the on-board flight recorder indicated the plane had problems two-and-a-half minutes after it took off, at an altitude of around 4,265ft. Moments before the crash, Flight 703 had gained an altitude of 5,900 feet. The 7 year old passenger jet then went into a steep decent until it disappeared from the radar at an altitude of around 3,000 feet.
The Russian Interstate Aviation Committee is investigating the crash. They said that faulty instruments could have given the pilots wrong speed data. The instruments began displaying different speed readings, probably because of iced speed sensors while their heating systems were shut off, the committee said. When the crew detected the issue, they switched off the plane’s autopilot. They eventually took the plane into a dive at 30-35 degrees.
Witnesses say the plane, an Antonov An-148 aircraft, was in flames as it fell from the sky. The crash was caught by a surveillance camera in a nearby house. The footage showed that the aircraft slammed into the ground and immediately burst into flames. The plane crashed near the village of Argunovo, about 50 miles south-east of Moscow. Wreckage and body parts are strewn over a large area of about 74 acres. More than 1,400 body parts and hundreds of plane fragments have been recovered from the crash site.
Rescue workers reached the site 2.5 hours after the crash. More than 700 people are involved in the search operation, struggling through deep snow. The emergencies ministry is collecting DNA samples from victims’ relatives as part of the identification process of the 65 passengers and 6 crew members. The wreckage of Flight 703 was scattered over a half mile wide area.
News outlets have reported that the pilot had declined to have the aircraft de-iced before the departure even though the weather at the time of departure included snow showers and −5°C temperature at Domodedovo Airport. The procedure is optional and the crew’s decision is based mainly on the weather conditions.
Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine filed suit against chemical giant DuPont, charging the company with illegally dumping a toxic chemical from its Washington Works plant into the Ohio River for decades. The Ohio lawsuit comes as the Environmental Protection Agency ordered DuPont to test water near its Washington Works plant for another chemical, GenX—which was billed as a replacement for C8 but which is linked to many of the same health problems.
The suit charges DuPont released the chemical, which is used in Teflon coating, even though it knew of the dangers of PFOA, also known as C8, which has been linked to cancer, thyroid disease, high cholesterol and low birth weight in babies. Studies have found Tristate residents have a higher level of the chemical in their bodies, likely a result of industrial discharge into the Ohio River.
“Human Exposure to PFOA — even at very low levels — has been linked to kidney and testicular cancer, thyroid disease, pregnancy-induced hypertension and low birth weight, high cholesterol and ulcerative colitis,” the lawsuit says. PFOA is known to be toxic and carcinogenic in animals and is resistant to typical environmental degradation processes. The lawsuit alleges DuPont negligently caused environmental contamination and created a public nuisance by allowing PFOA to enter air, soil and water in Ohio. “DuPont’s conscious disregard for the right of Ohio and the safety of its citizens has caused and continues to cause substantial harm to Ohio, and the property and natural resources it holds in a trust for its citizens and will likely cause substantial harm in the future,” the lawsuit says.
DuPont has been hit with a number of lawsuits in recent years after many have said the company released toxins into the environment. The company now faces 3,500 lawsuits filed in federal court by Mid-Ohio Valley residents in a 185-square-mile area around Parkersburg, West Virginia. An Ohio man who developed cancer was awarded $5 million in compensatory damages against DuPont in 2016.
A New Jersey city filed a $1.1 billion lawsuit against DuPont, alleging the company spun off the Chambers Works facility to avoid environmental cleanup costs. It alleges the Chambers Works site, where Teflon has been manufactured since 1938, is polluted because of a toxic chemical used in the product’s manufacturing. The lawsuit claimed DuPont dumped over 100 million pounds of toxic chemicals into the water and ground since the plant opened in 1892. Toxins from these products, which generated billions of dollars in sales for DuPont, impacted residents as far as two miles away from the plant. Hazardous substances including mercury, benzene and ethyl chloride were all used at the plant. DuPont settled that class action suit for $8.3 million.
1 month ago ·
by HealthInsurance4Everyone ·
Comments Off on Daily HI4E.org Trivia Contest Winners For The Week Ending: Sunday, February 11th, 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, February 11th, 2018 was:
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:
Stacy Lynn Nelson
Paula M Bondy
Lyvona Lena Perry
Kizzy Alvarez DeSantis
Brandi K Chaney
Kendra Lynne Ramsey
Karen Ann Hinkle
Ashley Stamey Phillips
Suzie Mize Lockhart
Sunney Michelle Johnson
Amy Marie Wilkinson
Rachael Dakota-Two-Feather Smith
Kelly Jo Francisco
Carla M. Williams
Kizzy Alvarez DeSantis
Michelle R. Carlino
Rachael Dakota-Two-Feather Smith
Tiffany Greene Elliott
Karen Ann Hinkle
Kendra Lynne Ramsey
Kizzy Alvarez DeSantis
Rachael Dakota-Two-Feather Smith
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!
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An appeals court has ruled that children who migrate to the United States with their parents without permission do not have the right to a government-appointed lawyer in U.S. immigration courts. The judges rejected a claim by the American Civil Liberties Union and immigrant groups that children have a constitutional due process right to a free attorney. In the ruling, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals said “A system already exists to give the children a fair hearing, and requiring the government to provide free attorneys would be an expense that would “strain an already overextended immigration system.”
The plaintiffs said many of the thousands of children the government seeks to deport each year appear before judges without a lawyer because they can’t afford one or find one to take their cases for free. The result is an unfair process that pits children with no ability to navigate complex legal issues against seasoned government attorneys, the groups say.
The 9th Circuit considered a case filed by a 13-year-old boy identified only as “C.J.” who fled Honduras with his mother after facing death threats, including a gun to his head, when he refused to join a gang. C.J. testified in immigration court that he rebuffed recruitment attempts from the Maras gang three times, and eventually they held a gun to his head and threatened to kill his mother, aunt and uncles.
They fled Honduras, arriving in the U.S. in 2014 and the boy was placed in deportation proceedings three months later. An immigration judge told the boy’s mother he had a right to an attorney, but she said she did not have money, according to the court ruling. The case went forward without an attorney, and the judge rejected the boy’s asylum application. The judge said C.J. failed to present evidence that he had been persecuted, or feared persecution if he returned to Honduras, a requirement to establish eligibility for asylum.
The boy was appealing the ruling and sought a free court-appointed attorney for himself and other immigrant children who face deportation hearings. The Ninth Circuit upheld the Board of Immigration Appeals’ decision finding C.J.’s due process rights were not violated when he wasn’t given free legal counsel and that the immigration judge had given him a fair hearing. The panel said the immigration judge had delayed the case for over a year so his mother could retain counsel for her son, and also noted that the Department of Homeland Security had given her a list of pro bono attorneys.
The ruling drew critical responses from immigrant rights advocates, who fear it could set off mass deportations against children in similar situations. In response to the ruling, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) said, “If permitted to stand, this ruling will result in the deportation of thousands of vulnerable children to some of the most violent places on earth.”
The ruling is another crushing blow for the estimated 1.1 million undocumented children currently living in the United States that fear deportation. Advocates argue that criminal defendants, citizens or not, have the right to government-funded legal representation, yet that right doesn’t extend to immigration cases-leaving helpless children vulnerable.
San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón says he will throw out more than 3,000 marijuana-related convictions made in San Francisco courts since 1975. Any charges that were before the state’s legalization of marijuana went into effect this year will be dismissed with no action necessary from those convicted. Prosecutors are also reviewing whether to reduce nearly 5,000 other drug convictions from felonies to misdemeanors. Those that don’t involve violence or other crimes may be thrown out on a case by case basis. Since 1975, nearly 8,000 people have been convicted of marijuana related crimes in San Francisco.
The announcement comes just weeks after California’s legalization of recreational marijuana use went into full effect with the new year. The move is allowed under the 2016 ballot measure that legalized recreational cannabis use in California. Prop. 64, the voter approved initiative that legalilized marijuana use in California, allows defendants to petition to have their convictions thrown out but the process requires lawyers, time and money.
Nearly 5,000 people in California have petitioned courts to have a marijuana conviction expunged since Prop. 64 took effect but there are millions of Californians with marijuana convictions on their record. San Francisco’s decision to retroactively apply Proposition 64 has been applauded as a massive “step forward”—one that must be replicated throughout California and in other states that have legalized marijuana in order to “truly repair the drug war’s harms.”
“A criminal conviction can be a barrier to employment, housing and other benefits, so instead of waiting for the community to take action, we’re taking action for the community,” Gascon said. Gascon’s office said there was racial motivation behind the decision-noting that in 2010-11, African-Americans represented six percent of San Francisco’s population but represented nearly half of marijuana arrests in the city.
The decision has the backing of the governor’s office as well. Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom said “This example, one of many across our state, underscores the true promise of Proposition 64 – providing new hope and opportunities to Californians, primarily people of color, whose lives were long ago derailed by a costly, broken and racially discriminatory system of marijuana criminalization.” “This isn’t just an urgent issue of social justice here in California – it’s a model for the rest of the nation.”
A middle school English teacher in Louisiana was arrested after asking a question at a Vermillion Parish school board meeting. Deyshia Hargrave was arrested in a now-viral video, after she stood up at a school board meeting and questioned why the superintendent was getting a $30,000 raise, when the teachers hadn’t gotten a raise in nearly a decade. During the meeting, Hargrave addressed the superintendent directly after the school board allowed the audience to comment on a vote to grant his raise.
Deyshia Hargrave: “Superintendent, how are you going to take a raise when there’s ELA—when I first started teaching ELA, there was like 20, 21 kids in a class, and now there’s 29 kids in a class that we are now having. And we have not gotten raises. How are you going to take that money? Because it’s basically taking out of the pockets of teachers.”
Anthony Fontana: “All right, stop. Stop right now. That’s not germane to what’s on the agenda tonight. Deyshia Hargrave: “Yes, it is!”
Woman: “Come on now!”
Deyshia Hargrave: “How are you going to take”—
Anthony Fontana: “What’s on the agenda is the superintendent’s contract.”
Crowd: “With a raise!”
She was ruled out of order by Board President Anthony Fontana for asking a question when board policy said only comments were allowed. After her questioning, the teacher voluntarily left the room after being asked to leave and was then forcibly arrested in the hallway by a marshal. Hargrave was charged with remaining after being forbidden and resisting an officer, but they were later dropped after the school board declined to press charges.
The school district says they do not plan to discipline her. Vermilion Parish superintendent Jerome Puyau, who now makes about $140,000 annually with his new raise said of the incident “I don’t support our people getting arrested. I do not. However, a person has to follow the rules.” Puyau said the pay bump boosts his salary to the level of what his counterparts make. He also pointed out that his school district ranks sixth in performance while his salary is 57th.
Puyau said that his family has been bombarded with death threats since the video of the incident went viral. “My sisters, my family — we’re all educators,” he said. “It is not fair to our families, anyone’s families, anyone in Vermilion Parish.”
Hargrave said she would like to receive an apology from both the superintendent and the marshal who arrested her. She also would like to see other people to speak out for what they believe. “I’m hoping for teachers, people outside of education, to have a voice,” she said. “Show up. You don’t have to say anything, just show up. Just do something.”
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has scheduled a briefing for January 16th, 2018 , to outline how the U.S. public should prepare for the event of a nuclear war. The scheduled briefing comes as tensions between the United States and North Korea continue to rise. A notice on the CDC’s website states “While a nuclear detonation is unlikely, it would have devastating results and there would be limited time to take critical protection steps. Despite the fear surrounding such an event, planning and preparation can lessen deaths and illness. For instance, most people don’t realize that sheltering in place for at least 24 hours is crucial to saving lives and reducing exposure to radiation. While federal, state, and local agencies will lead the immediate response efforts, public health will play a key role in responding.”
The session will include information on what public health programs are doing at the federal, state, and local level to prepare for a nuclear detonation, according to the announcement. Additional information will cover how planning for a nuclear detonation is similar to and different from other emergency responses. The website already has information on What to Do During a Radiation Emergency which lists a nuclear power plant accident, a nuclear explosion or a dirty bomb are examples of radiation emergencies.
While officials stress an attack remains unlikely, Hawaii’s emergency management authorities have released guidelines on what to do, while a monthly statewide siren test was resurrected on Dec. 1, 2017. Over the weekend, Hawaii residents were panicked for a short time from an emergency alert notification sent out on Saturday claiming a ballistic missile threat was inbound to Hawaii. The alert turned out to be a false alarm according to state leaders and emergency officials, who blamed it on an employee who “pushed the wrong button.”
“BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII. SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER. THIS IS NOT A DRILL,” the emergency alert read. The Hawaii Emergency Management Agency quickly updated the alert to: “THERE IS NO MISSILE THREAT OR DANGER TO THE STATE OF HAWAII. REPEAT. FALSE ALARM, “ but many residents didn’t get the update for 15 to 30 minutes as many factors such as cell tower and a person’s location came in to play.
Many are hopeful for a thawing of relations Kim Jong Un said in a New Year’s Day address that he wanted his country to compete in the Olympics. His statement was seen as an olive branch after a tense year of aggression. Recently, officials from North Korea and South Korea met in the Demilitarized Zone for the first high-level talks in more than two years. During the meeting, North Korea said it would send a delegation of athletes, officials and cheerleaders to the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea, in February. The two countries will also reinstate a military hotline that was suspended for nearly two years.