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2 weeks ago · by · Comments Off on More Police Reforms Passed As Civil Unrest Continues

More Police Reforms Passed As Civil Unrest Continues

 

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With mass uprising over police brutality showing no signs of abating, more policy changes are taking shape around the country.  San Francisco announced last week that trained, unarmed professionals will respond to noncriminal calls instead of police. Colorado lawmakers passed a bill to introduce sweeping police changes, including banning choke holds and requiring officers to intervene if they see excessive force being used. Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said he will reallocate $3 million from the police department’s budget toward public health initiatives. The Minneapolis City Council unanimously passed a resolution to replace the police department with a community-led public safety system.  Minneapolis Councilmember Alondra Cano said, “We acknowledge that the current system is not reformable, that we would like to end the current policing system as we know it.”

Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont imposed a series of reforms on the Connecticut State Police, including a ban on choke holds, a mandate that officers use body cameras and dashboard cameras, and restrictions on a program that funnels military equipment to local law enforcement.  Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds signed a police reform bill into law, prohibiting the use of a choke hold in an arrest “except when a person cannot be captured any other way or has used or threatened deadly force” and preventing an officer from being hired in Iowa if they have a previous felony conviction, were fired for misconduct, or left before they could be fired for misconduct.  The bill also requires annual anti-bias and deescalation training for law enforcement and allows the Iowa Attorney General to prosecute officers for a criminal offense resulting in the death of a human being.

Michigan State Senator Jeff Irwin introduced Senate Bill 945 which would require the addition of “implicit bias, deescalation techniques, and mental health screening” as part of the Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards certification process for new law enforcement officers.  The bill was drafted before the death of George Floyd in response to the broader problem of police brutality and passed the State Senate unanimously on June 4. Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas announced a series of police reforms, including whistle blower protections, independent review of officer-involved shootings, and use of body cameras by police officers.  New Jersey has banned police departments from using choke holds and similar neck and carotid restraints.  According to Attorney General Grewal’s order, “Because these tactics create a substantial risk of death or serious bodily harm, officers who cause a subject’s death or injury while performing them face potential criminal liability” except when “deadly force is necessary to address an imminent threat to life”.

Meanwhile, counties and cities across the country, including Cleveland, Denver and Indianapolis, are declaring racism a public health crisis. Seattle City Council member Kshama Sawant is calling for a section of downtown known as the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone to remain permanently in community control. Protesters took over several city blocks last week after the Seattle Police Department abandoned its Capitol Hill precinct and stopped trying to violently disperse marches.  The Seattle City Council voted unanimously to ban police use of tear gas and choke holds.

The New York Police Department announced it is dismantling its plainclothes anti-crime unit and the 600 officers in the unit will be reassigned. In 2018, news outlets reported plainclothes anti-crime officers had been involved in 31% of fatal police shootings in New York since 2000. Meanwhile, Albuquerque, New Mexico, has announced plans to create a new civilian department made up of social workers and others to respond to non-emergency 911 calls. In Georgia, the state Legislature reopened with a call to pass a hate crimes bill. Georgia is one of four states with no hate crime laws.

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2 weeks ago · by · Comments Off on Covid 19 Prediction Warns It Hasn’t Gone Away

Covid 19 Prediction Warns It Hasn’t Gone Away

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With more than 2.06 million cases, America has the world’s largest COVID-19 confirmed cases to date. It’s also first when it comes to the total number of deaths, with more than 117,000 people having died of COVID-19 complications. Nearly 7.5 million people have had confirmed infections worldwide and over 420,000 people died.  As US states are opening up their economies, Harvard Global Health Institute director Dr. Ashish Jha predicts that the US will cross 200,000 deaths sometime in September.  Jha explained his estimates only take into account the next few months, but COVID-19 will obviously not disappear after that.

“The pandemic won’t be over in September so I’m really worried about where we’re going to be in the weeks and months ahead.  We’re really the only major country in the world that opened back up without really getting our cases as down low as we really needed to,” Jha noted, adding that the US is the only advanced country in the world not to have a proper contact tracing system setup. People should continue to maintain social distancing and wear masks, Jha advised. They should also “put pressure” on the government to advance testing and contact tracing programs.

“But even if we assume that it’s going to be flat all summer, that nothing is going to get worse, we’re going to stay flat all summer — even if we pick that low number, 800 a day — that’s 25,000 a month,” Jha pointed out. “In three and a half months, we’re going to add another 87- 88,000 people, and we will hit 200,000 sometime in September.”  Jha said anyone who still thinks the summer will bring a dramatic decrease in cases is “engaging in wishful thinking.” Coronavirus cases and associated hospitalizations may be falling in Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut, he said, but cases are surging in Arizona, Texas, Florida, and the Carolinas. The Harvard professor of public health said he is not trying to scare people into staying home by raising concerns about the number of deaths he’s predicting.

In Brazil, the coronavirus death toll has topped 43,000 with the total number of confirmed cases at over 850,000. It now has the second-highest number of COVID-19 deaths and cases in the world behind the United States.  According to the health ministry, the COVID-19 mortality rate in Brazil is five% and nearly 388,500 people have recovered from COVID-19 in Brazil.

China reported its highest number of daily infections in months, raising concern over a second wave of the outbreak. In Beijing, authorities have reimposed lockdown measures after a new cluster of cases emerged last week.  The cluster, the capital’s first locally transmitted cases in nearly two months, raised mainland China’s total number to 83,132. Almost 4,700 people have died in China, where the pandemic originated in December.

The World Health Organization says the pandemic is accelerating in Africa, with the most affected countries being South Africa, Algeria, Nigeria, Egypt and Sudan.  In Yemen, medical authorities warn deaths linked to the pandemic could exceed war-related fatalities in the port city of Aden.  The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. Learn how COVID-19 spreads and practice these actions to help prevent the spread of this illness.

Covid 19 isn’t going anywhere anytime soon so the recommendations to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 as the world’s economy reopens are:  Keep 6 feet of social distance between yourself and others; wear a mask or cloth covering when around others-especially when in situations where you can’t maintain the 6 feet of social distancing; clean your hands often, either with soap and water for 20 seconds or a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol; avoid close contact with people who are sick; disinfect frequently touched surfaces regularly and stay home if you are feeling any symptoms.

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1 month ago · by · Comments Off on Third Arrest In Ahmaud Arbery Shooting

Third Arrest In Ahmaud Arbery Shooting

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Authorities in Georgia have arrested a third man in the shooting death of Ahmaud Arbery, the 25-year-old man who was chased down and shot to death by two men in February. The man, William “Roddie” Bryan, 50, was arrested on charges of felony murder and attempted false imprisonment. He filmed the video showing Arbery jogging down a narrow road in Brunswick, Georgia, in broad daylight, before being ambushed. Retired police officer Gregory McMichael and his son Travis were both arrested and charged with murder and aggravated assault earlier this month.
The video Bryan recorded on his cellphone shows Arbery trying to run around the McMichaels’ truck before turning sharply toward Travis McMichael and tussling over his shotgun. Arbery was shot three times and collapsed in the street. The 36-second video was not released until more than 10 weeks after the killing and spurred calls for the McMichaels’ arrests. It does not show what led up to the final moments of Arbery’s life.
Gregory McMichael — a former prosecutorial investigator, ex-Glynn County police officer and Travis’ father — told police that he and his son chased Arbery after seeing him at a neighbor’s under-construction home. They said he fit the description of a suspect in a rash of break-ins, according to an incident report. Surveillance footage from inside the under construction home show Arbery entered the home and was inside for approximately 3 minutes looking around but he did not take anything before leaving to continue his jog.
Bryan is accused of using his vehicle on multiple occasions between about 1 p.m. and 1:20 p.m. that day to “attempt to confine and detain Ahmaud Arbery without legal authority,” the warrant states. Investigators believe this “underlying felony helped cause the death of Ahmaud Arbery,” Georgia Bureau of Investigation Director Vic Reynolds said, referring to the charge of attempted false imprisonment. Bryan’s lawyer Kevin Gough, had said his client committed no crime, was no vigilante and would be the state’s “star witness.” He said his client has no relationship with the McMichaels. Bryan’s name appears in the police report filed the day of the shooting. Gregory McMichael told police that after he and his son Travis attempted and failed to stop Arbery, “Roddy” tried to intercept him, according to the report.
Gough told new outlets last week that Bryan was working in his yard when he saw a person he did not know being chased by a vehicle he recognized from the neighborhood. During an interview, Bryan said he prays for the Arbery family every night and said of the video, “I hope that it, in the end, brings justice to the family and peace to the family.”
The attorneys representing members of the Arbery family said they were relieved. “We called for his arrest from the very beginning of this process,” the family’s attorneys S. Lee Merritt, Benjamin Crump, and L. Chris Stewart, said. “His involvement in the murder of Mr. Arbery was obvious to us, to many around the country and after their thorough investigation, it was clear to the GBI as well. I can say Wanda Cooper and Marcus Arbery were very, very relieved to see this arrest finally take place. Not only have we been waiting since the McMichaels were arrested, they have been waiting for three months for all three of these men to be brought into custody,” Merritt said.
Bryan was booked into the Glynn County Jail, where the McMichaels are being held on charges of murder and aggravated assault. The father and son’s legal teams have said the full details of the case haven’t made it into the public arena, and they’ve promised the truth will exonerate their clients.

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2 months ago · by · Comments Off on UFCW Criticizes Reopening Meat Packing Plants Without Mandatory Safety Guidelines

UFCW Criticizes Reopening Meat Packing Plants Without Mandatory Safety Guidelines

 

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The United Food and Commercial Workers Union, the country’s largest meatpacking workers’ union, is condemning the reopening of 14 meatpacking plants under a recent executive order by the US Administration.  The union is calling for CDC coronavirus safety guidelines to be made mandatory, as at least 30 meatpacking workers have died of COVID-19 and over 10,000 have been exposed to or infected by the coronavirus. The industry work practices under normal circumstances tend to put workers in close proximity to each other, working at high speed as they cut up animal carcasses.

The pandemic caused at least 30 meatpacking plants to temporarily close over the past two months, resulting in a 40% drop in pork production capacity and a 25% drop in beef production capacity, the union said.  The U.S. Agriculture Department said 14 plants that had closed due to outbreaks of the virus were in the process of reopening this week.  The 14 plants included a Smithfield Foods Inc pork facility in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, that started operating on May 7 and another in Waterloo, Iowa, that Tyson Foods said earlier in the week would resume limited operations.  The agriculture department also said meat facilities operated by JBS USA [JBS.UL] in Minnesota and Wisconsin, and six other Tyson plants were reopening.

UFCW has previously said more protective equipment and testing would be required to open the plants.  But as plants reopened without these measures in place, UFCW International President Marc Perrone criticized the decision.  “Today’s rush by the Trump Administration to re-open 14 meatpacking plants without the urgent safety improvements needed is a reckless move that will put American lives at risk and further endanger the long-term security of our nation’s food supply.  Since the executive order was announced, the Administration has failed to take the urgent action needed to enact clear and enforceable safety standards at these meatpacking plants.”

Health guidelines issued by CDC and OSHA to help reduce the spread of Covid-19 in slaughterhouses includes face coverings, health training in multiple languages, and more distancing between workers. Processing lines in meat plants typically run at high speeds, with employees eviscerating animals inches apart from each other. Slowing lines down and spreading workers out will undoubtedly increase the cost of producing meat, but Perry says it’s a small price to pay to protect their lives.  CDC is also asking meat plants to do away with the contentious practice of offering “attendance bonuses,” in which companies offer hundreds of dollars of incentives to workers on the condition that they don’t miss their shifts.

The common criticism of OSHA and CDC’s Covid-19 guidance to meatpackers is that it’s entirely optional. This has resulted in an inconsistent patchwork of protections by plant and by state which leaves workers at risk for other outbreak.  Unions are asking for standardized workplace protections against airborne diseases like Covid-19.  Such requirements wouldn’t be without precedent.  In 2010, following the H1N1 pandemic, OSHA began to draft mandatory guidelines to reduce the spread of viruses that spread through air and respiratory droplets.  That rulemaking was finalized in 2017 but was halted during the change in US Administration.

 

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2 months ago · by · Comments Off on Experts Warn of Spikes In Covid 19 Cases 2 to 3 Weeks From Reopening

Experts Warn of Spikes In Covid 19 Cases 2 to 3 Weeks From Reopening

 

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In just a few months, Covid 19 has spread across the globe and left in its wake a trail of social paralysis, economic ruin and even death.  While states across the US issued stay at home orders to slow their healthcare systems from being overrun, other states like New York, weren’t so lucky.  As some U.S. states start to lift pandemic-related restrictions on businesses and public spaces, there is a fear that infections will resurge in those places — and that if that happens, the virus won’t stay put.

Crystal Watson of the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security said “I do believe we are going to see additional surges of cases from this epidemic that will not be contained within a state.  Neighboring states and perhaps states across the country and countries across the world are going to have cases imported from those outbreaks.”  Experts say the problem is that diagnostic testing remains so limited that a second surge of cases could silently build. The nationwide goal of conducting 2 million tests a week is below what most experts say is needed to adequately track the virus and that plan won’t be in place until at least the end of May.

No one knows how quickly and how expansively the spread of the virus will pick up as states roll back restrictions, and governors are generally outlining gradual changes.  The incubation period of 2 to 14 days coupled with the turn-around time of test results in some areas taking a few days, means we just have to wait and see if reopened states will experience a surge in cases.  More than half the states have relaxed restrictions but experts say it will be at least two to three weeks before we see an increase in the number of infections because it takes time for individuals to infect others and for them to display symptoms.

Public health experts warned of the possibility of spikes before states made the decision to reopen. Even as their predictions prove true in some states, others are still moving forward with plans to reopen. Proponents of relaxing social distancing restrictions also point out that spikes in positive cases are to be expected with expanded testing.

In Georgia, gyms, salons, and restaurants are operating with limits. In Colorado, retail stores can have curbside pickup and elective surgeries are back on. And starting tomorrow, malls, theaters, and restaurants in Texas can open with 25% occupancy. These and other states have plans for further easing of distancing policies as long as case counts don’t spike.  If these states do see spikes they may have to roll back the restrictions as needed.

 

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2 months ago · by · Comments Off on Protests Erupt Again As Michigan Governor Extends Orders to May 28

Protests Erupt Again As Michigan Governor Extends Orders to May 28

 

 

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Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer extended a state of emergency declaration until May 28, over the objections of some state lawmakers.  Whitmer signed a series of executive orders hours before the state of emergency was set to expire on April 30 and extended it to May 28, citing the growing number of cases and deaths in the state from the disease. The governor said that in some counties in western and northern Michigan, cases are doubling every six days or faster.

When the order was extended, the state had 41,379 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 3,789 deaths, according to data from the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University. Wayne County, Michigan, is the fourth-highest county of deaths in the nation with 1,782 coronavirus-related fatalities, according to the data.

Whitmer has faced fierce backlash for her strict stay-at-home mandate.  She extended the order earlier this month until May 15 but eased some restrictions on public activities as the state’s coronavirus cases stabilize.  Whitmer said that while she understands that people are anxious to get back to work and are restless, Thursday’s protests were “disturbing. … Swastikas and the confederate flag, nooses and automatic rifles do not represent who we are as Michiganders.  There is nothing that I want more than to just flip the switch and return to normal, but that’s not how it’s going to work, unfortunately. The only way we can get through this and take the next steps forward is if we all continue to do our part.”

Hundreds of people protested outside the Michigan Capitol building in Lansing-defying social distancing rules, many of them armed with assault rifles and wearing tactical gear.  The crowd packed into the Capitol rotunda and tried to storm onto the floor of the legislative chamber.  Protesters held signs, waved American flags and even carried firearms, while some chanted “Let us in!” and “This is the people’s house, you cannot lock us out.” Others tried to get onto the House floor but were blocked by state police and sergeants-at-arms.

The House and Senate had voted to approve legislation that would allow them to sue Whitmer over her emergency declarations as armed protesters stormed the state capitol.  They also voted on another bill that would extend some of her emergency measures, but crucially not the stay-at-home order. Their bill would also allow restaurants, bars and gyms to reopen. Whitmer vowed to veto the bill.  Amid the chaos Democrat Senator Sylvia Santana was pictured wearing a bulletproof vest and surgical mask while at her desk, as a colleague tweeted an image of rifle-wielding men on a balcony above her.

The governor is claiming authority to rule by executive order under two pieces of legislation – the 1976 Emergency Management Act and a similar 1945 law that allows a governor to declare a state of emergency and assume emergency powers.  Arguments center around the fact that the 1976 law says governors must go to the Legislature if they want to extend the state of emergency past 28 days. The 1945 act says governors decide when the emergency is over.

Whitmer’s extended order bans gyms, theaters, bars and casinos from opening, and limits restaurants to carry-out and delivery orders only.  Restaurants can allow up to five people inside at a time to pick up orders, but only if they follow social distancing guidelines by staying six feet apart.  The restrictions do not apply to office buildings, grocery stores, markets, food pantries, pharmacies, drug stores, medical equipment/supplies providers, health care facilities, residential care facilities, juvenile justice facilities, warehouse and distribution centers, or industrial and manufacturing sites.

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3 months ago · by · Comments Off on Covid 19 Projections

Covid 19 Projections

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The coronavirus pandemic continues in almost every corner of the globe, with the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases worldwide surpassing 1 million people — though the true number is certain to be far higher due to a critical lack of testing globally.  The largest number of cases is in the United States with over 350,000 confirmed.  Over 10,000 people in the US have died of Covid-19 as the virus continues to spread.

In Europe, COVID-19 has pushed hospitals across the continent past their breaking points. Spain has reported over 120,000 cases and their death toll topped 10,000.  In the U.K., London’s ExCeL convention center has been converted into an enormous field hospital with plans to treat up to 4,000 COVID-19 patients. Over 2,300 people have died from the disease across the U.K.

In Italy, there are over 100,000 confirmed cases and their COVID-19 deaths have topped 15,000.  It’s been reported that Italy’s true toll is far higher because the country can’t spare the resources to test every dead body.  U.S. Vice President Mike Pence said models predict the United States faces a trajectory of COVID-19 deaths similar to Italy’s.  The computer model used by the White House projects close to 82,000 COVID-19 deaths in the United States by August 4, assuming the country implements full social distancing until the end of May.

The 81,766-death projection is a slightly less grim figure than the 93,531 cited earlier by the administration. The model projects that the country may need fewer hospital beds, ventilators and other equipment than previously estimated, and that some states may reach their peak of COVID-19 deaths sooner than expected.  Not all states are using the federal government’s forecasting model.

While the White House projects that coronavirus cases in the nation’s capital would peak later this month, the local Washington, DC government is relying on a different computer model that says it won’t peak until late June or early July.  Health experts warn against early optimism and say it’s best to prepare for worst case scenarios.

Experts say that pandemic modelling is almost never precise and the Covid-19 pandemic, the uncertainty in the projections is because of lack of access to good data coupled with the fact that we just don’t know enough about the coronavirus.  Another factor that adds to the uncertainty is how people will behave and what kinds of policies will be enacted to change contact patterns in the weeks and months ahead.  The ranges estimated really depends on how much people actually adhere to social distancing policies and how quickly these policies are issued.

 

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4 months ago · by · Comments Off on Coronavirus Cases In The US

Coronavirus Cases In The US

 

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The World Health Organization is warning the number of cases of COVID-19 caused by coronavirus is approaching 100,000 worldwide, with more than 3,100 deaths due to the illness. Most of the deaths and infections have occurred in China, where health officials reported 139 new cases and 31 new deaths recently.  

South Korea confirmed 438 new cases, making their total number of confirmed cases over 5,700.  Italy has over 3,000 confirmed cases and more than 100 deaths have been reported. Officials have closed down schools in Italy, South Korea, Japan, France, Pakistan, Iran and elsewhere, with nearly 300 million children kept home from school worldwide. 

In the United States, there are now more than 300 confirmed cases and the death toll has reached 11 — with 10 of the deaths occurring in Washington state. California recorded its first coronavirus death: an elderly man who traveled on a Princess cruise ship that departed from San Francisco and traveled to Mexico in February. Governor Gavin Newsom has ordered the ship quarantined off the coast of California and is airlifting tests for passengers and crew. Governor Newsom made the announcement as he formally declared a state of emergency across California.

The CDC issued new guidance for clinicians on screening patients for novel coronavirus and assessing their risk for infection. The agency also started shipping its coronavirus assay to labs across the U.S. and in other countries.  According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 13 states in the US have reported confirmed or presumptive positive cases of COVID-19. Washington State has the highest number of cases with 70 confirmed illnesses and 10 associated deaths. California has 60 positive cases and 1 death. 

Of the confirmed cases in California, 42 of them are linked to repatriation or international travel. Cases are rising rapidly in New York, where there are 22 confirmed cases across the state with an additional 24 testing results pending, and 122 individuals under investigation.  In response to the rise in cases, the US Senate passed an $8.3 billion bill to fight the outbreak. This came just a day after the bill was approved by the House of Representatives. More than $3 billion is expected to be put into research and development of treatments, vaccines, and testing.

 

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4 months ago · by · Comments Off on Jennifer Dulos Disappearance Draws Attention to Domestic Violence & the Family Court System

Jennifer Dulos Disappearance Draws Attention to Domestic Violence & the Family Court System

 

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In Connecticut and around the country, advocates say the case of Jennifer Dulos has helped bring attention to and highlighted questions about how to improve the family court system.  Long before she disappeared, the mother of 5 told the courts that her husband was verbally abusive and that she feared for her life. In filings in the divorce case, Jennifer Dulos said she was worried for her safety and that of the couple’s children. Jennifer wrote in a 2017 affidavit “I am afraid of my husband. I know that filing for divorce and filing this motion will enrage him. I know he will retaliate by trying to harm me in some way.”  Fotis Dulos, 52, denied the claims and argued Jennifer Dulos was unfit to have sole custody of the children. They were involved in a contentious divorce and custody battle when she disappeared in May of 2019, almost 2 years after filing for divorce.  

Though her body has not been found, authorities believe she was killed in a violent attack at her home in New Canaan.  They suspect that Fotis Dulos had been lying in wait for Jennifer and attacked her when she arrived home after dropping her children off at school. Police allege that Fotis Dulos and his girlfriend Michelle Troconis went to Hartford, Connecticut, to dispose of 36 garbage bags containing items with Jennifer Dulos’ blood on them on the night that Jennifer disappeared.  The two were charged with tampering with evidence and hindering prosecution in connection with the disappearance but both later made bail.

On January 7th, 2020, Fotis Dulos was arrested at his home and charged with capital murder, murder, and kidnapping in relation to the disappearance of Jennifer. His former girlfriend, Michelle Troconis, was also charged with conspiracy to commit murder. Fotis Dulos’s friend and former attorney, Kent Douglas Mawhinney was also charged with conspiracy to commit murder.  Prosecutors believe both Mawhinney and Troconis worked with Dulos on his alibi for the day of Jennifer Dulos’ disappearance. Fotis Dulos committed suicide on January 28 2020. His former girlfriend, Michelle Toconis and friend, Kent Douglas Mawhinney both still face their charges in the disappearance. Mawhinney also faces charges of spousal rape.

Karen Jarmoc, CEO of the Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence, said warning signs in the case may have gone unheeded.  Jennifer Dulos’ concerns “really didn’t seem to be viewed as a red flag in the court by the judge,” Jarmoc said. The couple also had filed 300 motions in their divorce and child custody cases before Jennifer Dulos disappeared.  State and national advocates say that reflects a need for judges to better recognize and address so-called “litigation abuse,” long stretches of drawn-out court motions and appearances they say can be their own form of abuse or become a possible warning sign for possible violence.  “We find that abusers often file multiple things in order to drag their ex-partner into court, to do that to harass them, to be near them, to cause them financial hardship and stress,” said Karen Jarmoc, whose group is exploring legislative proposals that could lead to criminal penalties for unnecessary filings in family court.

 

Nationally, more than half of killings of girls and women are related to intimate partner violence, according to a 2017 study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  State Sen. Alex Bergstein, a Democrat from Greenwich, planned to call for new legislation Friday that would require family court judges to give more weight to claims of domestic violence when handling child custody cases.  “Unfortunately, the loss of her life has brought attention, increased attention to this issue. But this is an issue that is real and present, every day, in all parts of our state and in every community, and we need to address it head on.”

 

Danielle Pollack, an ambassador specializing in family court reform with Child USA, a Philadelphia-based organization, said abuse “gets lost, it gets discredited” when courts look simultaneously at other factors when granting custody, especially claims of alienation.  We’re helping states build their custody statutes in a way that puts the safety of the children first,” said Pollack, whose group helped to pass legislation in Louisiana and is currently working on a similar bill in Pennsylvania. “Kids are still getting in these very dangerous situations.”

 

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5 months ago · by · Comments Off on Five Confirmed Cases of Coronavirus In The US

Five Confirmed Cases of Coronavirus In The US

 

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The deadly coronavirus that originated in Wuhan, China less than a month ago, has spread to 13 other countries.  It has spread to Australia, Cambodia, Canada, France, Japan, Malaysia, Nepal, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, the US, and Vietnam.  The US now has five confirmed cases of a deadly coronavirus that originated in Wuhan, China, less than a month ago. The confirmed cases in the US are in Washington, Illinois, California and Arizona.  Four of the US patients had recently traveled to Wuhan and one was a Wuhan resident traveling through California. 

The outbreak has killed 81 people and infected more than 2,800 in mainland China.  Authorities have sealed off the city of Wudan, the epicenter of the outbreak. All of Wuhan’s public transportation — including buses, ferries, and trains have been shut down.  Trains and airplanes coming in and out of the city were halted and roadblocks were installed to keep taxis and private cars from exiting the city.

The World Health Organization called the lockdown of the city of 11 million people unprecedented.  In an effort to contain the outbreak, two smaller Chinese cities, Huanggang and Ezhou, travel restrictions were also imposed.  Authorities then expanded the number of cities on lockdown to 10. The lockdown is affecting some 33 million people, as medical workers struggle to slow the spread of a novel strain of coronavirus.

The coronavirus family is a large group of viruses that typically affect the respiratory tract. Coronaviruses can lead to illnesses such as the common cold, pneumonia, and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), which resulted in 8,000 cases and 774 deaths in China from November 2002 to July 2003.  Patients with the new coronavirus — known as 2019-nCoV — have reported symptoms like fever, coughing, and difficulty breathing. Those who have died were elderly or otherwise unwell, according to Chinese officials. No deaths have been reported outside China.

Initially, authorities suspected that the coronavirus — which likely originated at a wholesale seafood market — could spread to humans only from animals but it was later determined that humans could transmit the virus to one another.  The CDC recommends avoiding all nonessential travel to China’s Hubei province, where Wuhan is. They also recommend that people traveling to China avoid contact with sick people, particularly those with cold symptoms like coughs or runny noses.  Travelers are advised to wash their hands frequently with soap and water and scrub for at least 20 seconds. They should refrain from touching their eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands. Elderly travelers and anyone with preexisting health conditions should consult a doctor before traveling to China. 

The CDC said the risk in the United States is still low but they are advising precautions and monitoring the situations.  All of the US patients who have tested positive for the virus have been isolated and are recovering. The CDC said 32 people who had contact with the US cases have tested negative for the virus and the agency plans to test more people in the coming days. 

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