Category Archives: Safety

Trump Signs Executive Order To Halt Family Separations

By: Andrew Restuccia, Lorraine Woellert of politico

President Donald Trump signed an executive action Wednesday that ends the administration’s policy of separating migrant families crossing the U.S.-Mexico border, abandoning the president’s previous stance that only Congress can fix the problem.

“I didn’t like the sight or the feeling of families being separated,” the president told reporters in the Oval Office, flanked by Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and Vice President Mike Pence. “I think anybody with a heart would feel strongly about it. We don’t like to see families separated.”

Yet Trump said that he wanted to continue enforcing a strong policy at the border, an issue he campaigned on: “We are keeping a very powerful border and it continues to be a zero tolerance. We have zero tolerance for people that enter our country illegally.”

The action came after Trump and his team faced harsh criticism from lawmakers, activists, religious leaders and former first ladies over the separation of children from their parents in custody, which was panned almost universally as cruel and damaging to the kids’ well-being.

It was a remarkable shift from a president who is typically reluctant to bow to outside pressure. He often doubles down on his existing stance when confronted with criticism.

With cable news flashing images of migrant children held in cages and lawmakers’ offices facing a flood of angry phone calls, the president was under increased pressure to come up with a speedy solution. White House aides came to the conclusion on Wednesday that Congress was unlikely to act quickly to resolve the crisis, even though they sent signals that Trump would be willing to sign a narrow, stand-alone fix without other immigration-related provisions.

The decision to end the separation policy via executive action appeared to have happened quickly, and some in the White House were left in the dark. Key members of the White House legislative affairs team, which had been working with Hill lawmakers in a bid to find a legislative fix, were left out of the loop and hadn’t seen text of the executive action as of early Wednesday afternoon, according to two people familiar with the issue.

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North Korea and US Leaders Meet Face To Face

By : Everett Rosenfield & Nyshka Chandran

U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un met face-to-face Tuesday morning for their highly anticipated summit. After hours of talks, the U.S. president said he was heading toward “a signing” with Kim, but there was no immediate indication of what sort of agreement would be signed.

The summit began with the two men briefly shaking hands and taking a photo side-by-side, then moving to another room, where they sat and made brief statements for the press.

“We’re going to have a great discussion and, I think, tremendous success. It will be tremendously successful. And it’s my honor,” Trump said.

“We will have a terrific relationship — I have no doubt,” the president added.

For his part, the North Korean leader said, “It was not easy to get here. The past worked as fetters on our limbs, and the old prejudices and practices worked as obstacles on our way forward. But we overcame all of them, and we are here today,” according to a translation provided by the White House.

Trump responded: “That’s true.”

Following those comments, the two leaders began what was said to be a one-on-one meeting, with only translators in attendance.

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Aaron Persky, Judge Who Gave Lenient Sentence On Turner Rape Case, is Recalled From Office

By: Christal Hayes of USA Today

The controversial judge who sparked outrage after offering a lenient sentence to Brock Turner, a former Stanford University swimmer convicted of sexual assault, was recalled from office Wednesday — becoming the first California jurist recalled from the bench in 86 years.

Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Aaron Persky, 56, became the target of a recall after sentencing Turner, who could have faced 14 years in prison, to only six months behind bars.

While the now-famous 2016 sentencing hearing happened before the #MeToo movement took hold over the country, ballots cast Tuesday were made in the backdrop of the movement, which has emboldened sexual assault survivors and forced criminal investigations and oustings of powerful men, most notably with Harvey Weinstein.

Persky’s supporters contend Turner’s sentence was lawful — and the recommended sentence from probation officials. But those calling for the recall say this is just one of many sentences handed down from Persky that were far too light.

Two women are running on the ballot to succeed Persky: civil attorney Angela Storey and prosecutor Cindy Hendrickson.

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Manafort Tried Tampering With Witnesses On His Case

By: Reuters

President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, who has been indicted by U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller, attempted to tamper with potential witnesses, Mueller said in a court filing on Monday.

Mueller, who is investigating possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, asked the judge overseeing the case in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to revoke or revise an order releasing Manafort ahead of his trial.

Manafort was released to home confinement after his arraignment in October.

Mueller has indicted Manafort in federal courts in Virginia and Washington, D.C., with an array of allegations from money-laundering and failing to register as a foreign agent, to bank and tax fraud. Manafort has pleaded not guilty.

FBI Special Agent Brock Domin, in a declaration filed with Mueller’s motion, said Manafort had attempted to call, text and send encrypted messages in February to two people from “The Hapsburg Group,” a firm he worked with to promote the interests of Ukraine.

The FBI has documents and statements from the two people, as well as telephone records and documents recovered through a search of Manafort’s iCloud account showing that Trump’s former campaign manager attempted communication while he was out on bail, according to Domin.

The communications were “in an effort to influence their testimony and to otherwise conceal evidence,” Domin wrote. “The investigation into this matter is ongoing.”

Manafort is the most senior member of Trump’s campaign to be indicted, though the charges do not relate to campaign activities.

Mueller urged Judge Amy Berman Jackson to “promptly” schedule a hearing on the whether to change Manafort’s conditions of release, which could result in Manafort going to jail.

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Trump Cancels Major Meeting

By: Mike Calia of CNBC

President Donald Trump canceled his historic nuclear summit with Kim Jong Un on Thursday, accusing North Korea of “tremendous anger and open hostility.”

The meeting, which would have marked the first face-to-face encounter between a sitting U.S. president and a North Korean leader, was set for June 12 in Singapore.

“Sadly, based on the tremendous anger and open hostility displayed in your most recent statement, I feel it is inappropriate, at this time, to have this long-planned meeting,” Trump wrote in a letter to Kim, which was released Thursday morning.

Stocks fell and gold rose after news of the cancellation broke.

Much of the letter was written in seemingly friendly terms, including praise for North Korea’s recent release of three American prisoners. In contrast, Trump also appeared to issue a threat that conjured memories of his war of words with Kim last year.

“You talk about your nuclear capabilities, but ours are so massive and powerful that I pray to God they will never have to be used,” Trump wrote.

The cancellation appeared to take South Korea’s government by surprise. The nation’s president, Moon Jae-in, had played a pivotal role in setting up recent diplomatic developments.

A representative of Moon’s office said the South Korean administration was “trying to figure out what President Trump’s intention is and the exact meaning of it,” according to the country’s Yonhap News Agency. Moon and his aides convened emergency meetings to address the shock announcement, which broke shortly before midnight in Seoul.

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Sleeping In On The Weekend Could Save Your Life

By: Nicola Davis of The Guardian

Many people complain they do not get enough sleep, and it seems they are right to be concerned. Researchers have found that adults under the age of 65 who get five or fewer hours of sleep for seven days a week have a higher risk of death than those who consistently get six or seven hours’ shut-eye.

However the effect of short sleeps over a few days may be countered by a later lie-in. The research found that individuals who managed just a few hours’ sleep each day during the week but then had a long snooze at weekends had no raised mortality risk, compared with those who consistently stuck to six or seven hours a night.

“Sleep duration is important for longevity,” said Torbjörn Åkerstedt, first author of the study, at the Stress Research Institute, Stockholm University, and Karolinska Institute, also in the Swedish capital.

The study, published in the Journal of Sleep Research, is based on data from more than 38,000 adults, collected during a lifestyle and medical survey conducted throughout Sweden in 1997. The fate of participants was followed for up to 13 years, using a national death register.

Åkerstedt said researchers had previously looked at links between sleep duration and mortality but had focused on sleep during the working week. “I suspected there might be some modification if you included also weekend sleep, or day-off sleep.”

Once factors such as gender, body mass index, smoking, physical activity and shift work, were taken into account, the results revealed that those under the age of 65 who got five hours of sleep or under that amount seven days a week had a 65% higher mortality rate than those getting six or seven hours’ sleep every day. But there was no increased risk of death for those who slept five or fewer hours during the week but then managed eight or more hours’ sleep on weekend days.

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NYC Mayor Advises Police To End Marijuana Smoking Related Arrests

By Sonia Moghe and Susannah Cullinane

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has told top brass at the city’s police department to stop arresting people who are caught smoking marijuana in public, according to a City Hall aide.

Currently, smoking in public can lead to arrest, while possession of small amounts of marijuana can lead to a summons.

This weekend, the mayor told the NYPD to issue summonses for smoking pot in public, instead of making arrests.

The NYPD has already begun a working group to evaluate its marijuana enforcement procedures and present its recommendations within 30 days, at the mayor’s request. The mayor made it clear this weekend that ending public marijuana smoking arrests is one of the changes he wants.

Any changes to NYPD’s policy on smoking in public would not take effect until the end of the summer.

NYPD Deputy Commissioner of Public Information Phil Walzak told CNN that the 30-day working group is already underway, and that the issue is “certainly part of that review.”

“The working group is reviewing possession and public smoking of marijuana to ensure enforcement is consistent with the values of fairness and trust, while also promoting public safety and addressing community concerns,” Walzak said.

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Tea May Could Fight Lung Cancer

By Swansea University

Nanoparticles derived from tea leaves inhibit the growth of lung cancer cells, destroying up to 80% of them, new research by a joint Swansea University and Indian team has shown.

The team made the discovery while they were testing out a new method of producing a type of nanoparticle called quantum dots. These are tiny particles which measure less than 10 nanometres. A human hair is 40,000 nanometres thick.

Although nanoparticles are already used in healthcare, quantum dots have only recently attracted researchers’ attention. Already they are showing promise for use in different applications, from computers and solar cells to tumour imaging and treating cancer.

Quantum dots can be made chemically, but this is complicated and expensive and has toxic side effects. The Swansea-led research team were therefore exploring a non-toxic plant-based alternative method of producing the dots, using tea leaf extract.

Tea leaves contain a wide variety of compounds, including polyphenols, amino acids, vitamins and antioxidants. The researchers mixed tea leaf extract with cadmium sulphate (CdSO4) and sodium sulphide (Na2S) and allowed the solution to incubate, a process which causes quantum dots to form. They then applied the dots to lung cancer cells.

They found:

• Tea leaves are a simpler, cheaper and less toxic method of producing quantum dots, compared with using chemicals, confirming the results of other research in the field.

• Quantum dots produced from tea leaves inhibit the growth of lung cancer cells. They penetrated into the nanopores of the cancer cells and destroyed up to 80% of them. This was a brand new finding, and came as a surprise to the team.

The research, published in Applied Nano Materials, is a collaborative venture between Swansea University experts and colleagues from two Indian universities.

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Documents Reveal Troubling Documents For Net Neutrality Repeal

By: Medium

This past week, AT&T apologized for for its “serious misjudgment” in hiring U.S. President Donald Trump’s personal attorney Michael Cohen to provide “insights” into how the new administration would handle issues like net neutrality and AT&T’s proposed merger with Time Warner Cable.

Although Pai denied hearing from Cohen, new scheduling documents obtained through FOIA by corruption watchdog American Oversight show the Chairman met with with top AT&T executives at a private dinner in Barcelona a month after the company began paying Cohen. One of the top AT&T representatives present at this meeting was noted net neutrality enemy Bob Quinn, who hired Cohen and has since stepped down over the controversy.

These revelations come on the tail of one of the most problem-ridden and undemocratic consultations in the FCC’s history. Throughout the comment period, the agency refused to address problems with fake comments, alleged DDoS attacks that prevented Internet users from commenting, and failed to release of thousands of important consumer complaints over net neutrality violations until the last minute.

At this point, members of Congress must vote to support the CRA and reverse the agency’s disastrous net neutrality repeal when the resolution hits the Senate floor in just over 24 hours. Then they need to hold a public hearing to investigate what went on between AT&T, Cohen, and the FCC, and give the public the answers they deserve.

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Google Under Investigation For Secretly Mining Data

By: John Rolfe of Daily Telegraph

THE ACCC is investigating accusations Google is using as much as $580 million worth of Australians’ phone plan data annually to secretly track their movements.

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission chairman Rod Sims said he was briefed recently by US experts who had intercepted, copied and decrypted messages sent back to Google from mobiles running on the company’s Android operating system.

The experts, from computer and software corporation Oracle, claim Google is draining roughly one gigabyte of mobile data monthly from Android phone users’ accounts as it snoops in the background, collecting information to help advertisers.

A gig of data currently costs about $3.60-$4.50 a month. Given more than 10 million Aussies have an Android phone, if Google had to pay for the data it is said to be siphoning, it would face a bill of between $445 million and $580 million a year.

Google’s privacy consent discloses that it tracks location “when you search for a restaurant on Google Maps”. But it does not appear to mention the constant monitoring going on in the background even when Maps is not in use.

The Oracle experts say phone owners’ data ends up being consumed even if Google Maps is not in use or aeroplane mode is switched on. Nor will removing the SIM card stop it from happening. Only turning off a phone prevents monitoring, it says.

The information fed back to Google includes barometric pressure readings so it can work out, for example, which level of a shopping mall you are on. By combining this with your coordinates Google knows which shops you have visited.

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