Browsing articles from "May, 2019"

Chicago Police Roll Out Hundreds Of Pages Of Records In Jussie Smollett Case

May 31, 2019   //   by Administrator   //   News from US  //  Comments Off on Chicago Police Roll Out Hundreds Of Pages Of Records In Jussie Smollett Case

Jussie Smollett arrives at a Chicago courthouse for a hearing in March.

Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images


hide caption

toggle caption

Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images

Jussie Smollett arrives at a Chicago courthouse for a hearing in March.

Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images

Just over two months after prosecutors dropped the charges against Jussie Smollett, a controversial move that angered Chicago’s police department, that department has released hundreds of pages of records pertaining to the comprehensive case investigators had developed against the Empire actor.

The document dump Thursday, which had been set in motion with a court order last week, offers a fuller depiction of the twisting path that led from Smollett’s report of a hate crime to his arrest for allegedly faking that report. Among the new details that came to light with the release is the fact that Smollett has an arrest record — a previous arrest and conviction — though the document does not clarify for what, exactly.

The actor’s legal team did not immediately respond to NPR’s request for comment Thursday.

In general, though, the heap of booking materials, arrest reports, and other official forms reveal little that hasn’t already been noted in media coverage or public comments from Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson. What they do offer is a vivid portrait of what law enforcement saw and heard in their initial response — and how they used those details, together with footage from local security cameras and conversations with the Uber driver who drove the two brothers allegedly involved in the fake attack, to piece together their final conclusion.

You can read all of those documents for yourself, if you’d like, by scrolling to the bottom of this post or by clicking here.

State's Attorney Closely Followed Smollett Case After Recusal, Text Messages Show

The Jussie Smollett Allegations: A Timeline Of What Happened When

The files were not always destined for the light of day. In late March, when the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office decided not to pursue the 16-count grand jury indictment against Smollett, the records were placed under seal in an unusual move. It was only after a legal push by a group of media companies, NPR and member station WBEZ included, successfully challenged that order last week that the Chicago Police Department was allowed to release the documents.

As evidenced by the legal wrangling, Thursday’s release also has significance beyond the information it offers readers: It is a new marker in the dissension that’s been brewing between Chicago’s authorities over the case.

Superintendent Johnson, for one, made no secret of his displeasure with the decision by the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office to drop the case, and then-Mayor Rahm Emanuel decried the move as a “whitewash of justice.” Within a couple of weeks, the City of Chicago took matters into its own hands, filing a civil complaint against Smollett that demanded that he reimburse local authorities for “the cost of overtime spent investigating his false police report.”

That price tag: more than $130,000.

This is not the end of the document release either. Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said Thursday that officers plan to roll out another 300-plus pages of redacted materials next week, “including hand written detective notes, subpoena records and ancillary material.”

And there will be still another release after that.

“The final release will be pertinent video files that require a heavy amount of digital redaction for things like license plates of unrelated vehicles and the blurring of faces of individuals not involved in the criminal investigation. We hope to have that completed by the week after next.”

Read the police documents

Comedy Central’s ‘New Negroes’ Highlights Black Comedians Who Tell Their Truths

May 31, 2019   //   by Administrator   //   News from US  //  Comments Off on Comedy Central’s ‘New Negroes’ Highlights Black Comedians Who Tell Their Truths



AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

There’s a new show on Comedy Central that’s paying respects to everything black comedy comes from and where it’s headed. It’s called “The New Negroes.”

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, “THE NEW NEGROES”)

BARON VAUGHN: Some people thought that you would all be like, negro? No, burn this show to the ground with the hot fire of black Twitter and salt the earth so nothing may grow there.

CORNISH: It’s part standup showcase, part song in the vein of ’90s shows like “In Living Color” and “Def Comedy Jam.” The minds behind it are rapper Open Mike Eagle and comedian Baron Vaughn. I sat down with Vaughn to talk about how it all got started.

From one new negro to another, welcome to ALL THINGS CONSIDERED.

VAUGHN: Happy to be here. Happy to be a thing that is considered.

CORNISH: So this originated as a live show, right?

VAUGHN: Yeah. A couple years ago, the first iteration of “The New Negroes” happened. It was at the Bridgetown Comedy Festival in Portland, Ore. I was struck by the range of styles that I saw with all of the black comedians.

CORNISH: But let me jump in there.

VAUGHN: Yes.

CORNISH: Why was that significant to you, especially if you’d been working in the biz for a while?

VAUGHN: The term black comedy or black comedian tends to be a very, you know, specific box. You know, like, people expect you to look, talk, feel a certain way and that your content will always be a certain thing as well.

CORNISH: Like what? You’re being vague.

VAUGHN: Yeah, I’m being very vague. Thank you very much for noticing. I guess I would say like sometimes talking about, quote, unquote, “the hood,” life in the hood, sex or sexuality in a very specific way, something that’s been established in the past. There’s a full generation or maybe even two generations of black comedians that haven’t had to adhere, I guess you could say, to the segregation that the comedy scene has always sort of had and have influences from all over the place, have styles from all over the place, want to talk about everything. Sure, they might talk about the hood. They might talk about sex if that’s their genuine experience. But the expectation that they have to talk about those things, I would say, is gone.

CORNISH: What kind of comedy showcases did you enjoy growing up – because the opening credits of the program have a very ’90s feel that made me think of kind of, like, “In Living Color” or “Def Comedy Jam,” like the style of the graphics and the fonts and the colors. And it made me wonder about your background.

VAUGHN: Thank the Lord you recognized those things.

CORNISH: I mean, it’s not subtle.

VAUGHN: Yeah.

CORNISH: I was like, I’m in the Wayback Machine right now.

VAUGHN: The intro is a tribute to a lot of those shows, like black sitcoms that we grew up loving – “Family Matters” and “What’s Happening!!” and “Sanford And Son” and, you know, like, all of these different – like “Amen” – “Amen” was how I wanted to start the thing.

CORNISH: Are you serious?

VAUGHN: And just have the – like the blue sky that says “New Negroes” and you come down. And then I get out of the car like I’m Sherman Hemsley, do the little dance. There was going to be – we had all these ideas. These are sitcoms that, you know, we used to love – “227.” We wanted to try to do all these different things.

CORNISH: Oh, so good.

VAUGHN: Yeah. So those shows are influential to us.

CORNISH: Yeah. And the way you guys – the way you guys talk about some pretty big ideas in the culture right now is really interesting. I want to play a clip from the opening monologue between you and Open Mike Eagle on your episode about toxic masculinity.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, “THE NEW NEGROES”)

OPEN MIKE EAGLE: Because everybody’s talking about masculinity and how toxic it has become. I mean, it hasn’t become. It’s been this way. It’s, like, ingrained in our culture, plays a big part in things like workplace harassment, homophobia, domestic violence.

VAUGHN: Right – mass shootings, police brutality, Matt Damon.

OPEN MIKE EAGLE: Whoa. Whoa. Whoa. Whoa. Baron. Baron. If you’re going to put Matt Damon on that list, put him first.

(LAUGHTER)

VAUGHN: OK.

CORNISH: OK. (Laughter) So my apologies to Matt Damon but very good joke. And one thing I’m interested in is this flies in the face of something we hear from a lot of maybe older comedians which is like audiences are too PC. They talk about these things in a way that’s very annoying. And you guys are not doing that at all.

VAUGHN: There’s all these different kinds of issues that Mike and I are very confused about or, you know, want to dig into. So it’s like, how can we talk about these things with a little consideration but then also make them silly? A lot of comedians go, yeah, there’s, you know, audiences are too PC. They’re too sensitive. And I don’t agree with that. I just think that the sensibilities of the audience have evolved beyond what we all assumed was comedy before. So I don’t think that a comedian is supposed to be like, oh, I can’t even do a joke. It’s like, no, just evolve. You know, do better jokes; learn more.

CORNISH: And there are really great women comedians on the show as well. And in that episode, they did comedy that – it was unexpected, right? It wasn’t just like, men are this, and women are that, just kind of like what I think can happen with that kind of theme. Is there a moment from that episode that you enjoyed or a comedian that you liked?

VAUGHN: Sonia Denis is a comedian that I’ve had my eye on for a while.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, “THE NEW NEGROES”)

SONIA DENIS: But no. I went to see a psychiatrist recently. And for those of you that are like, I’m happy, what’s that? Like, shut up. No, you go to a person. You tell them all the deep, dark secrets you can’t tell your friends without bumming them out. And they throw pills at you. And some days, you feel all right – would recommend. It’s pretty tight.

VAUGHN: She has a very wild energy on stage. You know, there’s a lot of voices. There’s a lot of animation and has this rhythm that’s very quick and just jumping all over the place. And I kind of like that. I mean, I don’t kind of like it. I like it a lot. Obviously, I like it enough to put her on my TV show.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, “THE NEW NEGROES”)

DENIS: It’s like, can you sexually harass your therapist? Yes, you can. Whoops. They tell you you can tell them anything, but apparently there are boundaries.

CORNISH: In the age of social media and podcasts, it almost seems like a comedy showcase is old-fashioned. Like, there’s so many ways a comedian can come up and get attention. What do you think is the value in this format?

VAUGHN: I think the value in this format is to see that standup comedy is its own thing. You know, in the world of social media, it is very easy to get big. But being able to get on stage in front of a group of people that came to see something and report, whether it be on your experience or how you feel about the world around you, in a way that is structured in the standup comedy style is its own thing.

CORNISH: The whole idea for this came from you being a kind of, as you said, like, elder statesman – right? – in your comedy community. And now you have your own show. What’s this moment like for you?

VAUGHN: All I can think of is ways to do it better. You know, my personal mission is to show somebody their new favorite comic. That is my personal mission. If people watch the show and walk away with, I really liked that comic and then will follow that person’s career for the rest of their career, then my job is done. The work is done as far as I’m concerned.

CORNISH: Baron Vaughn is a comedian and one of the creators of the Comedy Central show “New Negroes.” Thank you for speaking with us.

VAUGHN: Happy to speak with you.

CORNISH: The season finale of “The New Negroes” is on tomorrow.

Copyright © 2019 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Trump Announces New Tariffs On Mexico To Force Cooperation On Illegal Immigration

May 31, 2019   //   by Administrator   //   World News  //  Comments Off on Trump Announces New Tariffs On Mexico To Force Cooperation On Illegal Immigration

President Trump has announced plans to impose escalating tariffs on goods imported from Mexico in an attempt to stop migrants from entering the U.S. over the southern border. U.S. Customs and Border Protection released this photo, taken on Wednesday at El Paso, Texas.

AP


hide caption

toggle caption

AP

President Trump has announced plans to impose escalating tariffs on goods imported from Mexico in an attempt to stop migrants from entering the U.S. over the southern border. U.S. Customs and Border Protection released this photo, taken on Wednesday at El Paso, Texas.

AP

Updated at 10 p.m. ET

President Trump announced that he will begin imposing tariffs on all goods imported from Mexico beginning June 10 unless that country does more to help reduce illegal immigration from Central America.

In a statement issued late Thursday, the president cited his authority under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, and said the crisis at the southern border requires action.

“Accordingly, starting on June 10, 2019, the United States will impose a 5 percent Tariff on all goods imported from Mexico.  If the illegal migration crisis is alleviated through effective actions taken by Mexico, to be determined in our sole discretion and judgment, the Tariffs will be removed.  If the crisis persists, however, the Tariffs will be raised to 10 percent on July 1, 2019.”

Trump added that unless the Mexican government takes steps to “dramatically reduce or eliminate” the flow of Central American migrants moving through its country, tariffs will go to 15% on August 1, to 20% on Sept. 1, and to 25% on Oct. 1. “Tariffs will permanently remain at the 25 percent level unless and until Mexico substantially stops the illegal inflow of aliens coming through its territory,” he wrote.

Mexico’s deputy foreign minister for North America, Jesus Seade, said that it would be disastrous if Trump imposed the new tariffs.

Trump’s surprise announcement comes as the administration is urging Congress to approve the pending U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement which is designed to replace the North American Trade Agreement reached in 1994. It is not immediately clear what impact the tariff threat will have on the draft agreement.

Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, in a conference call with reporters, said the trade agreement and tariff threat “are not linked.”

“These are not tariffs as part of a trade dispute,” Mulvaney said. “These are tariffs as part of an immigration problem. USMCA is a trade mattter and completely separate.”

When asked which Mexican imports the administration means to target, Mulvaney replied “all of them.”

Acting Secretary for Homeland Security Kevin McAleenan, in the same conference call, said the border crisis has become “a national emergency.”

“U.S. immigration authorities now have over 80,000 people in custody, a record level that is beyond sustainable capacity with current resources,” he said.

The president’s statement called for action by Mexico:

“Mexico’s passive cooperation in allowing this mass incursion constitutes an emergency and extraordinary threat to the national security and economy of the United States.  Mexico has very strong immigration laws and could easily halt the illegal flow of migrants, including by returning them to their home countries.  Additionally, Mexico could quickly and easily stop illegal aliens from coming through its southern border with Guatemala.”

Trump Says U.S. Will Impose New Tariffs On Mexico Over Illegal Border Crossings

May 31, 2019   //   by Administrator   //   World News  //  Comments Off on Trump Says U.S. Will Impose New Tariffs On Mexico Over Illegal Border Crossings



ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Tonight President Trump said the U.S. will begin imposing tariffs on all goods from Mexico until that country takes what he calls effective action to stop migrants. The president announced the action in a series of tweets. Then on a conference call, White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney told reporters that escalating tariffs will start at 5% in June.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

MICK MULVANEY: If the Mexican government is unwilling to assist us in resolving the situation on our southern border, that tariff will go to 10% on July 1, 15% on August 1, 20% on September 1 and 25% on October 1.

SHAPIRO: NPR national political correspondent Mara Liasson is here to explain what this means. Hi, Mara.

MARA LIASSON, BYLINE: Hi, Ari.

SHAPIRO: OK, the president is using something called the International Emergency Economic Powers Act to sanction Mexico. Who is actually going to pay these tariffs?

LIASSON: Well, no surprise – Americans are going to pay these tariffs in the form of higher prices from all the goods that come over the border from Mexico, many of which are actually manufactured by American companies in Mexico. Every single good from Mexico is going to be subject to these tariffs. And on this conference call with Mick Mulvaney, he was asked, does the president understand that Mexico is not going to pay these tariffs; Americans will? And the answer was, Americans are paying right now in the cost of illegal immigration. And national security is the first and foremost priority of the president, and he has to do this.

SHAPIRO: Tell us about the legality of this.

LIASSON: Well, it’s going to be challenged in court. And the other question – NAFTA, or NAFTA 2.0, the USMCA, the renegotiated and updated NAFTA, is about to be presented to Congress. The president wants Congress to pass it – to ratify it. And we asked Mick Mulvaney, well, doesn’t this complicate that? He said this is completely separate. That’s a trade treaty. This is a national security, immigration matter. But of course the Mexican government is going to see this as a monkey wrench in the NAFTA process.

SHAPIRO: And what would it take for Mexico to stop migrants from entering its southern border?

LIASSON: According to the White House, it would be very easy – that they could stop the unlawful flow of migrants; they can interdict them on their southern border; they can tighten up the border with Guatemala. And the president and his top officials make it sound like it’s very easy but that Mexico, according to the president’s statement, has been passively cooperating in allowing this mass incursion.

SHAPIRO: Is there any indication of what would satisfy the White House for meeting the threshold of adequately stopping this flow of migrants?

LIASSON: Well, that’s a very good question. And Mick Mulvaney was asked that. He said, we’re not going to put out a specific number, but we want the number of people crossing the border – he didn’t make a distinction between illegal and legal asylum-seekers and others. He said, we will judge success by the number of people crossing the border. It needs to come down substantially. So once again the president has returned to his go-to issue, which is what he calls an invasion, in his statement, by hundreds of thousands of people coming through Mexico.

SHAPIRO: That’s NPR’s Mara Liasson on new tariffs. The president announced tonight on goods coming into the U.S. from Mexico. Thanks, Mara.

LIASSON: Thank you.

Copyright © 2019 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Saybie, Born At 8.6 Ounces In San Diego, Is Now The World’s Tiniest Surviving Baby

May 30, 2019   //   by Administrator   //   News from US  //  Comments Off on Saybie, Born At 8.6 Ounces In San Diego, Is Now The World’s Tiniest Surviving Baby

The baby, whom nurses at a San Diego hospital called “Saybie,” is believed to be the world’s tiniest surviving newborn.

Sharp HealthCare


hide caption

toggle caption

Sharp HealthCare

The baby, whom nurses at a San Diego hospital called “Saybie,” is believed to be the world’s tiniest surviving newborn.

Sharp HealthCare

Her first life accomplishment was setting a world record.

A girl believed to be the smallest-ever surviving baby — weighing just 8.6 ounces — has been released from a California hospital, officials revealed on Wednesday.

After almost five months in a neonatal intensive care unit, the baby girl, who was nicknamed Saybie by the staff, left the San Diego hospital earlier this month and instantly earned a place in the history books.

Her parents decided not to allow her real name to be released.

Saybie was born prematurely at 23 weeks of gestation weighing about as much as a large apple.

Dr. Edward Bell of the University of Iowa, which maintains the Tiniest Babies Registry, confirmed that Saybie is the smallest baby the registry has ever recorded.

“Baby Saybie has the lowest birth weight among the infants in the Tiniest Babies Registry,” Bell told NPR. “The registry contains only those infants submitted and medically confirmed. We cannot rule out even smaller infants who have not been reported to the registry.”

Her mother was experiencing complications and underwent an emergency cesarean section after doctors discovered the baby was not gaining weight and the mother’s life was thought to be at risk.

A San Diego hospital on Wednesday revealed the birth of the girl believed to be the world’s tiniest surviving baby. She’s been identified only by the nickname Saybie.

Sharp HealthCare


hide caption

toggle caption

Sharp HealthCare

A San Diego hospital on Wednesday revealed the birth of the girl believed to be the world’s tiniest surviving baby. She’s been identified only by the nickname Saybie.

Sharp HealthCare

Saybie was “a micro preemie,” a baby born before 28 weeks of gestation who, the hospital’s statement notes, often deal with serious medical challenges involving brain and lung issues, and they are more prone to infections, having spent less time with their mother’s blood supply. As a result, they rarely survive. (Babies are typically born after 40 weeks of pregnancy.)

“It was the scariest day of my life,” said Saybie’s mother in a video released by Sharp Mary Birch Hospital for Women Newborns in San Diego. “I just felt very uncomfortable, and I thought, maybe this was part of the pregnancy.”

At first, doctors were not confident Saybie would defy the odds, telling the baby’s parents to start preparing for the worst: Saybie’s father was told he would have about an hour with her before she would die.

“But, that hour turned into two hours, which turned into a day, which turned into a week,” said Saybie’s mother, whom the hospital has not named since she requested that she stay anonymous. It was distressing in the moment, the mother said, but she is now overjoyed looking back at what she now calls a “beautiful” experience.

A pink sign by her crib read “Tiny but Mighty.” When she left the unit, nurses placed a miniature graduation cap on her.

A nurse holds Saybie wearing a tiny graduation cap before she leaves the neonatal intensive care unit at the Sharp Mary Birch Hospital for Women Newborns in San Diego.

Sharp HealthCare


hide caption

toggle caption

Sharp HealthCare

A nurse holds Saybie wearing a tiny graduation cap before she leaves the neonatal intensive care unit at the Sharp Mary Birch Hospital for Women Newborns in San Diego.

Sharp HealthCare

“She is the smallest baby,” the mother said. “But she’s mine.”

Saybie was about 7 grams lighter than the previous smallest baby, who was born in 2015 after 25 weeks of gestation in Germany, according to the registry.

Hospital officials say Saybie was discharged as a healthy 5-pound infant.

How did baby Saybie overcome the odds?

A mix of the right genetics and good luck, hospital staff have said, but some also believe a more inexplicable factor was at play.

“She’s a miracle,” said Kim Norby, a nurse in the hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit. “That’s for sure.”

Opposition Leader Juan Guaidó Talks Political Negotiations, Crisis In Venezuela

May 30, 2019   //   by Administrator   //   News from US  //  Comments Off on Opposition Leader Juan Guaidó Talks Political Negotiations, Crisis In Venezuela



ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

It’s been four months since Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido declared himself the nation’s legitimate president and rejected Nicolas Maduro’s reelection as fraudulent. Guaido has the support of millions of Venezuelans, the United States and dozens of other countries, yet Nicolas Maduro remains president. Meanwhile, Venezuela’s economic crisis with deep shortages of food, medicine and fuel, grows worse.

NPR’s John Otis interviewed Juan Guaido today, and John joins us from Caracas to talk about it. Hi there.

JOHN OTIS, BYLINE: Hi, Ari.

SHAPIRO: First set the scene for us. How and where did you talk with Juan Guaido?

OTIS: Well, we were trying to get in touch with him for a while, and his people finally called and said, hey, look; we can do the interview, but you got to get here. And they didn’t tell us exactly where it was going to be. We got to an office building, and finally only there did they tell us what floor and what room it was going to be in. They have to be very careful about, you know, moving around. They move around between safe houses and so forth because there’s been a lot of repression by Maduro’s government against Guaido and his close associates, many of them who have been arrested.

We ended up in a rather nondescript office. There was hardly any furniture in there. It was just really Guaido sitting at a table with a glass of water. His eyes were pretty bloodshot. He looked quite tired. But you know, he says his movement’s going to keep up the fight.

SHAPIRO: Let’s get into your conversation with him. There have been talks between Juan Guaido’s emissaries and representatives of Venezuela’s government, the Maduro regime, in Norway. Did Guaido say those talks are making any progress?

OTIS: Guaido said that there had been no concrete advances in the talks. There have been two rounds so far just in the past month, so that is a good thing. And also I pointed out to him that, you know, negotiations often take a long time. And here’s how Guaido responded.

JUAN GUAIDO: (Speaking Spanish).

OTIS: So what Guaido is saying – that, you know, it’s fine to take your time in some kind of a typical, normal negotiations, but Venezuela’s really in a tragic state right now. There’s massive food and medicine shortages. People are dying, and there really is no time to spare. That said, he did say that they would try to keep doing talks with the other side if that could lead to a breakthrough at some point.

SHAPIRO: Guaido has also tried to get the military to turn against Maduro. The latest effort was April 30, one month ago. Those efforts have all failed. Does he think that’s been a mistake?

OTIS: He wouldn’t admit that it was a mistake. In fact, he said, you know, we’ve got to try lots of different things, you know, everything from street pressure to negotiations to trying to get the Venezuelan military to turn against Maduro. It didn’t happen this time, but he says, you know, that doesn’t mean it’s not going to happen in the future.

SHAPIRO: Did he talk about how often he speaks with people in the Trump administration?

OTIS: Yes. You know, he said he’s in regular contact with officials in Washington. In fact right as we got into the office to do the interview, he’d just gotten off the phone with Vice President Mike Pence. They had about a 30-minute conversation about the situation here in Venezuela. He says, you know, he’s talking with U.S. officials all the time. And you know, you’ll remember the Trump administration has been one of the biggest backers of Guaido.

SHAPIRO: Guaido has also asked for strategic and operational planning support from the U.S. Did he say whether he’s gotten that?

OTIS: He was pretty coy. He tries to avoid specifics about that kind of thing. He doesn’t want to show all his cards. He pointed out that many Venezuelans would love to see some kind of U.S. involvement here, even a U.S. invasion, again, because the situation here is so dire.

GUAIDO: (Speaking Spanish).

OTIS: Now, here he’s saying that even though military intervention would be violent, there’s already a lot of violence and tragedy and unnecessary loss of life in Venezuela just because of the humanitarian emergency here.

SHAPIRO: That’s NPR’s John Otis in Caracas, Venezuela, where he interviewed Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido today. Thanks a lot.

OTIS: Thanks very much.

Copyright © 2019 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Louisiana Lawmakers Approve Strict Abortion Limit, Dem. Governor Says He Will Sign it

May 30, 2019   //   by Administrator   //   World News  //  Comments Off on Louisiana Lawmakers Approve Strict Abortion Limit, Dem. Governor Says He Will Sign it

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said he’s ready to sign legislation that would ban abortions as early as six weeks of pregnancy when the bill reaches his desk.

Melinda Deslatte/AP


hide caption

toggle caption

Melinda Deslatte/AP

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said he’s ready to sign legislation that would ban abortions as early as six weeks of pregnancy when the bill reaches his desk.

Melinda Deslatte/AP

The Louisiana House approved a strict new abortion law barring the procedure once a heartbeat is detectable, a point before many women may realize they are pregnant.

By a vote of 79-23, the lawmakers banned abortions as early as six weeks of pregnancy. Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards said in a statement that he “ran for governor as a pro-life candidate,” and intended to sign the abortion ban.

“As I prepare to sign this bill, I call on the overwhelming bipartisan majority of legislators who voted for it to join me in continuing to build a better Louisiana that cares for the least among us and provides more opportunity for everyone,” he said.

More than a dozen Democratic lawmakers approved the bill, along with all of the Republicans.

Reviewing NPR's Language For Covering Abortion

Supreme Court Upholds Indiana Provision Mandating Fetal Burial Or Cremation

The Louisiana legislation does not include an exception for a pregnancy due to rape or incest. It does allow abortions to prevent a woman’s death or if the pregnancy presents “a serious risk of the substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function.” It also allows an abortion if the pregnancy is “medically futile.”

Six other states — Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, Ohio, Missouri and Alabama — have recently passed laws banning abortion. The Missouri law bars abortion after eight weeks of pregnancy. Alabama‘s law is considered the toughest in the nation, carrying a penalty of up to 99 years for doctors who would defy the ban.

Teasing Kids About Their Weight May Make Them Gain More

May 30, 2019   //   by Administrator   //   World News  //  Comments Off on Teasing Kids About Their Weight May Make Them Gain More

Kids with overweight or obesity may suffer long-term effects when they’re teased or bullied, often gaining more weight later, a new study finds.

Andree Frischkorn/EyeEm/Getty Images/EyeEm


hide caption

toggle caption

Andree Frischkorn/EyeEm/Getty Images/EyeEm

Kids with overweight or obesity may suffer long-term effects when they’re teased or bullied, often gaining more weight later, a new study finds.

Andree Frischkorn/EyeEm/Getty Images/EyeEm

School can be tough on kids who have overweight or obesity. They’re often cruelly teased and bullied. And this type of bullying may lead to long-term consequences, according to a study published Thursday in the journal Pediatric Obesity.

The study, conducted by researchers at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Md., found that making fun of kids for their weight is linked to increased weight gain well into adulthood — and the more teasing that kids and teens experience, the more weight they may gain.

“There’s this school of thought that says [weight-based] teasing might have a motivating effect on youth,” says study author Natasha Schvey, assistant professor of medical and clinical psychology at the Uniformed Services University. “This study shows that that’s not only not true but that teasing might increase weight gain over time.”

Mental And Physical Toll Of Bullying Persists For Decades

The Call-In: Childhood Obesity Rates Are At Their Highest Since 1999

To assess the link between teasing and weight gain, the authors recruited 110 children and young teens (average age was about 12 years) who were either overweight themselves or who had two parents with overweight. Having parents with overweight classifies children as at risk for being affected by overweight or obesity later in life.

During their first visit, the kids were asked to report whether they had been made fun of based on their size. Among participants with overweight, 62% reported they had been teased about their weight at least once, while 21% of straight-size, at-risk participants reported they had been.

The researchers followed up with these kids for an average of 8.5 years, some for up to 15 years.

Whether they had overweight at the study’s start or not, those who reported being teased often for their weight gained 33% more body mass, on average, and 91% more fat per year than their peers who weren’t teased.

Schvey cautions that the study was observational and could not directly determine cause and effect. “But we can say weight-based teasing was significantly linked with weight gain over time,” she says.

Other research has shown that the stigma associated with overweight or obesity contributes substantially to negative health effects, including increased body dissatisfaction, which may lead to unhealthy coping mechanisms like binge eating.

Teasing can also lead to increased levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which can stimulate appetite, and increase risk for depression and anxiety — both of which contribute to disordered eating. It also may drive kids away from physical activities like sports and gym classes, where they risk getting made fun of for their size.

People affected by overweight or obesity bear an outsize burden of stigma and shame in the U.S. and elsewhere, says Stephen Pont, associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Texas at Austin’s Dell Medical School, who works with patients affected by overweight or obesity.

“In the Western world, weight shaming is very common,” he says. “Folks who are larger are often picked on in cartoons, in TV shows and commercials. Sometimes it’s meant in a positive way, but when we talk to our patients, [they say] it makes them feel bad.”

Hating On Fat People Just Makes Them Fatter

Unlike many other studies, though, the new study assessed whether being teased about their weight during the pivotal window of childhood affected people’s weight over time and into their adult years.

“I really do think this is an area that needs more attention,” says Rebecca Puhl, deputy director for the Rudd Center for Food Policy Obesity at the University of Connecticut (Puhl previously taught Schvey). “This is contributing to poor health, bottom line.”

Puhl also notes that the finding that over 60% of kids with overweight in the study were bullied shows how common this is for youth. “What [this] is telling us is that we need to do a better job protecting adolescents from weight-based teasing,” she says.

For instance, while most public schools in the U.S. have anti-bullying policies in place, many do not contain provisions against weight-based teasing or bullying.

Parental support for taking action against weight-based teasing is high: In another study Puhl conducted, at least 81% of parents endorsed school-based policies addressing this type of bullying.

Not just peers, but also parents, teachers and even health care providers tease kids about their weight, the study notes. If these adult figures are truly serious about helping kids with obesity or overweight, Puhl says, they should be finding ways to reduce teasing — and teach kids strategies to cope with and transcend the insults when they happen.

“Clinicians and pediatricians need to be paying attention to this issue,” Puhl says.

Susie Neilson is an intern on NPR’s Science Desk. You can contact her at sneilson@npr.org and follow her on Twitter: @susieneilson.

Opinion: Brazil’s Prison Massacres Send A Dire Message

May 29, 2019   //   by Administrator   //   News from US  //  Comments Off on Opinion: Brazil’s Prison Massacres Send A Dire Message

Family members of inmates wait and pray in front of the Puraquequara prison in the city of Manaus, the capital of northern Brazil’s Amazonas state, on Monday. Dozens of inmates were killed in four jails in northern Brazil on Sunday and Monday, authorities said, in the latest wave of violence to rock the country’s severely overpopulated and dangerous prison system.

Sandro Pereira/AFP/Getty Images


hide caption

toggle caption

Sandro Pereira/AFP/Getty Images

Family members of inmates wait and pray in front of the Puraquequara prison in the city of Manaus, the capital of northern Brazil’s Amazonas state, on Monday. Dozens of inmates were killed in four jails in northern Brazil on Sunday and Monday, authorities said, in the latest wave of violence to rock the country’s severely overpopulated and dangerous prison system.

Sandro Pereira/AFP/Getty Images

Robert Muggah is the co-founder of the Igarapé Institute, a Brazil-based think and do tank that focuses on security and justice across Latin America, Africa and Asia. He is also co-founder of the SecDev Group, a digital consultancy working in the Middle East, Eurasia and South Asia. He advises governments and business and civil society groups in Latin America and around the world on data-driven and evidence-based security, justice and new technologies.

Once again, Brazil’s hellish prisons are making global headlines. The spotlight this week is on Manaus, the capital of the country’s northern Amazonas state, where violence at different prisons left 55 inmates dead.

On Sunday, the mutilated bodies of 15 prisoners were discovered at one Manaus prison, many of them reportedly showing signs of strangulation and stab wounds from sharpened toothbrushes. Another 40 bodies were recovered on Monday from three other prisons, reported to have signs of asphyxiation.

In virtually any other country, prison massacres on this scale would trigger a national crisis and high-level resignations. In Brazil, it barely registers on most people’s radar.

Many Brazilians are numb to violence, especially when it occurs in prisons. The country has the highest number of recorded homicides in the world, more than 51,000 last year, according to official statistics assembled by a group of independent researchers. Brazil also registers the world’s third-largest prison population, over 704,000 inmates. That figure is almost twice the amount of available cell space — just under 416,000 — which leads to severe overcrowding, inhumane conditions, brutal riots and periodic jailbreaks.

While the latest outbreak of prison violence in Manaus is still under investigation, it is likely connected to disputes between warring drug factions. The fact that the killings occurred simultaneously across multiple prison facilities suggests it involved the settling of scores between gangs. That many of the victims were killed in front of their families during visiting hours only adds to the horror.

Sending a message

These kinds of gruesome acts are performative — they are intended to send a message to rank and file and rival factions. The more violent, the more effective they are at keeping gang members in line.

State authorities speaking to the local media played down the idea that rival drug factions were involved, describing it instead as a violent internal disagreement that spiraled out of control. Amazonas’ secretary for penitentiary administration, Marcus Vinícius de Almeida, added that the state should not be held responsible since prisoners will kill one another if they want to. The mayor of Manaus, Arthur Virgílio Neto, admitted that the state had lost control and that there was open warfare between rival gangs.

Historically, prison violence has broken out over drug gang disputes or frustration over dire prison conditions. The conditions in most of the country’s jails are inhumane, often crowding dozens of people into spaces designed for a handful. A former justice minister once declared that he’d rather die than spend time in a Brazilian jail cell.

A Brazilian police officer stands guard at the entrance of the Anísio Jobim Penitentiary Complex in Manaus, Brazil, Tuesday. Dozens of inmates were killed in different prisons in Amazon state on Sunday and Monday.

Andre Penner/AP


hide caption

toggle caption

Andre Penner/AP

A Brazilian police officer stands guard at the entrance of the Anísio Jobim Penitentiary Complex in Manaus, Brazil, Tuesday. Dozens of inmates were killed in different prisons in Amazon state on Sunday and Monday.

Andre Penner/AP

Recent history of prison violence

The latest prison massacres share uncanny resemblances with the violent outbreaks that spread across northern Brazil in late 2016 and early 2017. In January 2017, another 56 people were slaughtered in one of the same private prisons, the Anísio Jobim Penitentiary Complex, as this week’s carnage. Over the course of a few weeks in 2017, another 70 inmates were decapitated and stabbed to death in prisons across northern Brazil and dozens more escaped.

The bloodletting in 2017 was widely attributed to disputes between the Família do Norte gang and the Primeiro Comando da Capital, or PCC, who were fighting over control of the prison system and the cocaine trade. This week the regional attorney general, Leda Mara Albuquerque, has already linked the latest outbreak of violence to the Família do Norte.

Brazil’s prison violence is legendary. The homicide rate for inmates is six times higher than the national average. An especially brutal episode occurred in 1992, when 111 inmates were killed during a riot in the Carandiru prison in São Paulo. This incident led to the formation of the PCC, today Brazil’s most powerful drug-trafficking faction.

Other prison massacres have occurred in the northern Rondonia state in 2002, the northeastern states of Maranhão in 2010 and Pernambuco in 2011, Rio de Janeiro in 2014, and across Rondonia and Amazonas in 2016 and 2017. In fact, 24 of Brazil’s 26 states (and district capital) have suffered prison violence in the last decade.

The Amazonas military police’s shock troops claimed to have brought Sunday’s prison violence under control within 45 minutes. Families of several inmates disagree, describing scenes of chaos in the wake of the police intervention. Amazonas’ prison authorities have said they are suspending visiting hours for all prisons across the state and are investigating who was behind the carnage.

For its part, the federal government announced that it will deploy a penitentiary intervention task force made up of some 100 federal penal authorities and federal police to assist. There are already hundreds of troops stationed in Amazonas, many of them deployed there after the prison riots of 2017. Justice Minister Sergio Moro has also approved the transfer of several gang leaders to federal prisons.

Deep reforms needed

These kinds of reactive measures are not enough to stem massacres from recurring. Deeper reforms are required. According to an official investigation of the 2017 prison riots in Amazonas, violence was allowed to escalate because the local penal authorities — some of whom knew about a planned “rebellion” brewing in the prisons — failed to notify the state military police in advance. There were similar red flags this time around.

The prisons also suffer from massive shortages of staff: There are just one judge and two prosecutors responsible for handling as many as 17,000 cases a year and inspecting the state’s eight prisons. Making matters worse, the private company managing Anísio Jobim prison, Umanizzare, was singled out for offering uneven services and charging double the cost per prisoner than the national average.

The reality, however, is that Brazil’s prison problem is tremendously hard to fix. One of the reasons is because they are often literally administered by drug factions who serve as judges, jurors and executioners. Most prisons are divvied up among competing gangs, and the government exerts nominal control.

Much of Brazil is socially conservative and supports a strong prison system and tougher sentences. Recent polls suggest most of the public favors lowering the age of criminal responsibility from 18 to 16. This partially helps explain the appeal of President Jair Bolsonaro, elected in October 2018 on a tough-on-crime ticket.

Opinion: Brazil's High Murder Rate Could Get Even Worse If Gun Laws Are Relaxed

The latest Manaus killings are almost guaranteed to inspire retribution inside and outside the prison walls. Amazonas is already one of Brazil’s most violent states. The homicide rate in its capital city is 45 per 100,000 last year, almost twice the national average. As recent history has shown, Brazil’s prison wars often spill onto the street and spread across state borders.

To reform the penitentiary system, Brazil needs to step back from its policy of mass incarceration. Since 2018, just over 8,650 prison spaces were built in the country — but the number of new inmates jumped by more than 17,800 over the same period, according to national news sources.

At a minimum, the government needs to focus on reducing both the stock and flow of inmates. This means drastically reducing the number of pretrial detainees, who currently make up an estimated 36% of the entire caseload. Federal and state-level judges, prosecutors and public defenders need support to resolve outstanding cases. Much greater attention is needed to rehabilitate first-time offenders and keep at-risk adolescents from joining a gang — 70% of Brazilian offenders end up back in jail within five years.

Brazil’s government needs to deliver a comprehensive strategy for public security, and the penal system in particular. Rather than imposing harsher sentences and building new prisons, the authorities need to ensure suspects are provided with a hearing within 24 hours of their arrest and expand the network of public defenders.

But real change must go beyond reforming sentencing procedures and improving prison conditions, though both are necessary. Brazil needs to decriminalize drugs, promote proportional sentencing and offer rehabilitation opportunities for offenders — all of which are dim prospects in a country inured to violence.

In Oklahoma, Tulsa Braces For More Flooding, Big Test Of The City’s Levees

May 29, 2019   //   by Administrator   //   News from US  //  Comments Off on In Oklahoma, Tulsa Braces For More Flooding, Big Test Of The City’s Levees



ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

People in Tulsa, Okla., are bracing for more rain tonight and tomorrow, and that means more flooding in a city that has already been drenched. It’s led to floods, evacuations and a big test of the city’s levees. Matt Trotter of member station KWGS in Tulsa joins us now. Hi, Matt.

MATT TROTTER, BYLINE: Hi, Ari.

SHAPIRO: How bad is it right now there in Tulsa?

TROTTER: So the Arkansas River that runs through Tulsa – since last Monday, it’s up from 11 feet, which is a little above average but still pretty typical to more than 23 feet.

SHAPIRO: Wow.

TROTTER: Its highest recorded level was back in 1986 at 25. So it’s still 2 feet below that all-time high, but it’s still really high here.

SHAPIRO: And how is the city dealing with all of this water?

TROTTER: Well, we have a levee system, and that’s keeping water out of a lot of areas right now as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers lets water out of Keystone Dam. That’s the main dam for the reservoir upstream from us. But the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is just trying to balance those releases with what comes into the reservoir as we get just a ton of rain. I mean, some areas around us have had 20 inches in the past month. So it’s a lot of rain that we’re trying to deal with.

SHAPIRO: Yeah. Tell us about what city leaders are saying right now.

TROTTER: Sure. So earlier this afternoon, Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum held a news conference to give an update. Here’s what he had to say about the levees.

(SOUNDBITE OF PRESS CONFERENCE)

G T BYNUM: The levees continue to operate as they’re designed. They do have a heavy load on them. They’re being tested in a way that they never have been before. We continue to encourage people that live behind those to please proactively relocate.

TROTTER: And the mayor is calling this a high-risk situation right now but not an emergency just yet.

SHAPIRO: Not yet, but more rain is expected tonight and tomorrow. So what is the outlook for the future?

TROTTER: Well, the Army Corps of Engineers is in charge of the dam, and they’re hoping things will improve in a few days. What they told us during the briefing this afternoon was as long as what flows into the reservoir stays even or below what they’re letting out, then things should be OK. They expect the level to start decreasing sometime this afternoon, and that’ll make a little bit of room for any additional rain that falls in the area tonight.

SHAPIRO: Now, I understand that today city officials warned people to stay out of parks along the river. Have people actually been going there where the river has flooded?

TROTTER: Yeah, that’s actually been sort of an interesting problem that’s happened. People want to go look at the river, see what’s basically a historic flood situation. They’re taking photos and selfies. I’ve seen pictures of people actually wading into the river, full-on bathing in the river like it’s their own personal hot tub or something like that. So today…

SHAPIRO: Not something people should be doing.

TROTTER: (Laughter) No, absolutely not. There’s a few risks. The obvious one is it’s dangerous just to walk around an area where the water’s been eating away at the ground. Sinkholes could open up. But there’s also raw sewage in this floodwater, and there’s also venomous snakes. There’s water moccasins that have washed down with the flood.

SHAPIRO: All right, Matt Trotter of member station KWGS in Tulsa, Okla., thank you for joining us, and stay safe there.

TROTTER: You’re welcome.

Copyright © 2019 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Pages:1234567...13»

Categories

Current Times

  • NPT: 2019-09-16 04:46 AM
  • EDT: 2019-09-15 07:01 PM
  • PDT: 2019-09-15 04:01 PM