Month: July 2019

A prominent disabled advocate for legalising assis

first_imgA prominent disabled advocate for legalising assisted suicide has defended his position, but has promised to reconsider his support if shown evidence that casts doubt on the safety of a similar law in the US.Dr Tom Shakespeare (pictured) is one of the most high-profile supporters of Disabled Activists for Dignity in Dying, the group set up by the charity Dignity in Dying, which leads the campaign to legalise assisted suicide.He is among those backing a private member’s bill being proposed by the Labour MP Rob Marris, which is due to be debated – and voted on – by MPs on 11 September.The bill, which applies to England and Wales, would allow an assisted suicide for people found to be terminally-ill with less than six months to live.Shakespeare is the author of influential books on disability rights, and is an academic specialising in medical sociology, disability studies and the social and ethical aspects of genetics, while he also co-authored a major report on disability for the World Health Organisation.He is currently a senior lecturer at the University of East Anglia’s Norwich Medical School.Now, in an interview with Disability News Service (DNS), he has said he has to accept the possibility that he could be wrong about the risks of a new law and whether the safeguards proposed would be strong enough.He said he had listened to campaigners on both sides, had read as much evidence as he could, had “thought about it very hard with an open mind”, and knew “as much as most people about independent living and the health system”, and was still supportive of a change in the law.But he added: “I am not God. I cannot predict, of course I can be mistaken. It would be extraordinarily arrogant to suggest that I am infallible.“I could be wrong, of course I could be wrong, but of course I don’t think I’m wrong, I think I’m right.”In a further admission that could give heart to those opposing the bill, he said it was clear that all of the terminally-ill people affected by the proposals should also be seen as “disabled”, even though many other supporters of legalisation have repeatedly denied that the bill has any relevance to disabled people.Marris himself told DNS that disabled people like Baroness [Jane] Campbell were guilty of “wilful misinterpretation” when they claimed his bill was about disability and disabled people, adding: “This bill is not about disability, it’s about terminal illness. The two are separate.”But Shakespeare disagrees. He said the bill was about a “very, very small minority of people who are in the end stage of terminal illness. And yes, they are disabled, they would be classed as disabled, of course they would.”Shakespeare used the term “disabled people” frequently during the interview to explain why he supports Marris’s bill.He said: “I think disabled people should have control over their lives, throughout life, I think that’s an absolute principle of the disability movement.“Nothing about us without us, the issue of autonomy. It’s the absolute central thrust of the disabled people’s movement.“It seems to me to be inconsistent that you should say to a disabled person who is fully competent, fully capable, that if at the end of their life when they have terminal illness, in very limited circumstances, they wish to take control of their death, they’re not going to be allowed that.“It seems to me to be protectionism. It seems to me to be saying that people can’t be trusted.”His views on assisted suicide contrast with those of many of his friends within the disability movement.But although he has “immense respect” for disabled activists such as Baroness [Jane] Campbell, Liz Carr and Mik Scarlet, all fierce opponents of the bill, and whose arguments he takes “very seriously”, he said he finds it “really unfortunate that disability organisations have been as of one voice in opposing it”.He insisted that he would not support any assisted suicide law that would put disabled people at risk, and added: “That headline fear, I can understand where it’s come from, disabled people have been treated badly over the centuries, but I don’t think it’s a realistic fear.”But he admitted that he does not know if there will be mistakes – with some people dying when they do not want to – if assisted suicide is legalised.He said: “I don’t know. This is about people having individual choice. A mistake would be somebody who was under so much pressure from their relatives that they just lied and lied and lied, when they were talking to doctors and they were talking to judges.”And he said he was not convinced by fears that some disabled people would choose an assisted suicide to avoid being a “burden” on relatives.He said: “I just think that that’s not likely. If that was an issue… we would already have lots of people killing themselves to save their families money. I don’t think we have that.“It is a theoretical worry, but I don’t think it is a real worry. I think the real worry is the covert euthanasia, the mercy killing, the parents killing themselves and their disabled children.“Those are the things that we should be worried about, not a few people who are in the terminal stage of illness deciding to end their lives a bit earlier to avoid pain and suffering.”But he admitted that he does not know how the new law would protect against the risk that some terminally-ill people would believe their families would be better off without them.He said: “I don’t know. But they are going to be dead within six months; this is not going to be people who are going to be a burden for long, sadly.”He added: “You can’t stop people feeling a burden. You can’t protect against that. The weight of their argument has got to persuade the judge and the doctors.”And he pointed to laws that already exist that allow anyone dependent on medical technology, such as tube feeding, ventilators, or dialysis, to ask for those medical interventions to be withdrawn at any time.This means, he said, that these people could already decide to end their own lives if they felt they were a burden on their family.He said: “Do they? No, they don’t. Show me the evidence that those people are refusing treatment because they are being a burden on their relatives. They are not doing it.”Shakespeare also claimed that the right to assisted suicide was “part of independent living”.He said: “It’s not a choice between independent living and killing yourself quickly. You can have independent living right up to the last minute. It’s about a very limited number of people who are going to die… soon.”He insisted that the argument that disabled people need a legal right to independent living before there can be any discussion of a legal right to assisted suicide was a “red herring”.He said: “The reason people are choosing assisted dying at the end of life is not because they can’t get the Independent Living Fund, it’s not because they can’t live independently in their homes, it is because they can’t swallow, they have to choose between medicating their pain effectively or being lucid.“It’s because they fear being utterly, utterly dependent at the end of life and they want a better death and they know they are going to die.”He also said he believed that the judge and two doctors who would have to agree to an assisted suicide would be able to detect if that person had been “rehearsed, coached, pressured, otherwise dominated by family members to accept something that they don’t want for themselves”.He said: “With interviewing them at length without the family members being present, I believe that that would be detectable.”He was also dismissive of concerns that a minority of doctors would be tempted to sign off requests for assisted suicide to save NHS resources for those who were not terminally-ill.He said: “I think it goes against their entire training.  I work in a medical school, I see the ethos… people are far more likely to be kept alive against their will… I think it would be scaremongering to suggest otherwise.”Shakespeare said Britain had more in common with the US state of Oregon – where he believes legalisation has worked well and as intended – than Belgium and the Netherlands, where broader assisted suicide laws have led to “a lot of concerns”.He said: “Can we see comparable laws to the one proposed in the UK? Yes we can, we can see it in Oregon. “Are there any substantive problems with Oregon? I don’t think there are.“Of course there are concerns, there are concerns about everything. I am not a Nazi! If I had seen strong evidence that the Oregon law was harming people, then I would not in any sense be supporting something similar in the UK.”He added: “We are in a society very similar to Oregon, except that we have a free NHS and they don’t. If you put new evidence to me, I would have to rethink, but I haven’t yet seen any evidence about problems with Oregon.”Shakespeare said that he was in favour only of legalising assisted suicide for those who were terminally-ill, with less than six months to live.He said: “If the current bill did pass, I think the vast majority of people like me would say, ‘this far and no further.’”He compares the situation with abortion law in the UK, with abortion legal in certain circumstances, but no “abortion on demand”.He said: “It’s a compromise that is accepted by the majority of people and I think that’s the same with assisted dying.“There are some people, the libertarians, some of the assisted dying lobby, some of whom would say everybody should be allowed access to this at all times, but it’s not the law on offer and if it was offered, I and many, many people, the majority of people, would oppose it.”last_img read more


July 31, 2019 0

The care regulator has faced accusations from a co

first_imgThe care regulator has faced accusations from a committee of MPs and peers that it ordered a “whitewash” of abuse allegations at a private hospital for disabled people that was later exposed by a BBC documentary.Two senior figures in the Care Quality Commission (CQC) were asked yesterday (Wednesday) to explain why their organisation failed to act over abuse at Whorlton Hall in County Durham four years before an abusive regime was exposed by an undercover BBC reporter.Harriet Harman, the Labour chair of the joint committee on human rights, asked Dr Paul Lelliott, CQC’s deputy chief inspector of hospitals and its mental health lead, and Ian Trenholm, its chief executive, why their organisation had “suppressed” a critical inspection report about Whorlton Hall, written in 2015, which was never published.Harman said she did not understand why Lelliott (pictured) had appeared so surprised at allegations passed to him in the Panorama documentary when a draft report written by CQC’s own inspectors in 2015 had included allegations of bullying and “inappropriate behaviour” by staff at Whorlton Hall.The 2015 report said patients in the hospital “did not know how they could protect themselves from abuse”.The evidence session was part of the committee’s inquiry into the detention and inhuman and degrading treatment experienced by young autistic people and people with learning difficulties in assessment and treatment units and other institutions.The committee heard that the CQC team sent to inspect Whorlton Hall in 2015 included a person with learning difficulties, as part of the regulator’s experts by experience programme, which sends service-users to assist on inspections of care homes, hospitals and care agencies across England.But the 2015 report was never published, which led its lead inspector, Stanley Wilkinson, to lodge a complaint with his CQC superiors.The CQC executive who considered his complaint said it should be published, and Lelliott said it would be, Harman revealed.But instead of publishing it, CQC sent a smaller, less experienced team of just three members to carry out a second inspection, which failed to mention any allegations of bullying or abuse in its report, concluding instead that standards at Whorlton Hall were “good”.This second team did not include an expert by experience.Harman said: “It looks like there was a diligent inspection in 2015, it looks like they discovered what we then saw to our horror on Panorama on our televisions, it looks like CQC didn’t publish that 2015 report, it was suppressed.“There was a row about it, and a strong complaint from the lead inspector, and then the report was supressed despite a commitment to publish it and then a new team was sent in and they produced a report which was a whitewash and said Whorlton Hall was good.”After Lelliott claimed that the “key findings” of the first report were included in the second report, Harman said: “They were not, because the abuse and bullying had vanished.”She said Wilkinson had told CQC that this refusal to publish his report “fails in our duty to protect people” and “compromised the safety, care and welfare of patients”, and that the culture within CQC was “toxic”.Wilkinson had added: “I am raising these issues because I believe something serious could happen which could put CQC under the spotlight.”Harman told Trenholm and Lelliott: “He was right, wasn’t he?”Trenholm said he and his colleagues had still not got “to the bottom of what happened during that period” and so had launched an independent review.And he said that if Wilkinson had thought there was any significant abuse at Whorlton Hall, he would have recommended an “inadequate” rating – instead of “requires improvement” – and CQC would have acted immediately and called police, which would have led to the hospital being forced to close.Lelliott said that what he saw in the Panorama programme had been “horrifying and sickening”.But he said the 2015 report had not concluded that abuse was taking place at Whorlton Hall, and he added: “I had no idea that abuse of that type was happening.”And he insisted that CQC had “a track record of taking decisive action when we have evidence of abuse or malpractice or poor care”, although Whorlton Hall was “a wake-up call for us and for the whole system”. A note from the editor:Please consider making a voluntary financial contribution to support the work of DNS and allow it to continue producing independent, carefully-researched news stories that focus on the lives and rights of disabled people and their user-led organisations. Please do not contribute if you cannot afford to do so, and please note that DNS is not a charity. It is run and owned by disabled journalist John Pring and has been from its launch in April 2009. Thank you for anything you can do to support the work of DNS…last_img read more


July 31, 2019 0

Stolen officers weapon used in fatal Mission District shooting updated

first_img Tags: crimes • SFPD Share this: FacebookTwitterRedditemail,0% 0% Police have since identified the victim as 23-year-old Abel Enrique Esquivel, Jr.In a statement released today, police said that on Monday at 4:50 p.m. they arrested 18-year-old Erick Garcia Pineda and 24-year-old Jesus Perez-Araujo, at 16th Street and Mission streets.“Pineda was booked into San Francisco County jail on charges of homicide, multiple counts of robbery, conspiracy, burglary and attempted murder. Perez-Araujo was booked on multiple counts of robbery, burglary, and conspiracy,” police said in a statement. Both are San Francisco residents.Police also took 18-year-old Daniel Cruz of San Francisco into custody at 4 p.m. Tuesday on Mission at 22nd Street. “Cruz was booked into SF County Jail on homicide, conspiracy, robbery and possession of stolen property charges,” according to the statement.Police said that the investigation found that Pineda, Perez-Araujo and Cruz “were responsible for several robberies that occurred in the Mission District between August 13th and August 15th.”The three are also suspects in an aggravated assault that occurred at approximately 2:17a.m. on Mission between 22nd and 23rd streets, according to police.We will update this post if more information becomes available. center_img The victim of a mid-August shooting in the Mission District succumbed to his wounds, and an investigation has found that the weapon used in the incident was stolen from a San Francisco Police officer’s car, CBS San Francisco reports.Police confirmed the report in a statement today. “During the course of the investigation, it was determined that the weapon used in the homicide was a personal firearm registered to a San Francisco Police officer that was stolen from his personal vehicle on Aug. 12, 2017.”The Police Officers Association, a union representing San Francisco officers, told CBS the officer didn’t realize his car had been broken into.The shooting occurred around 2 a.m. on Aug. 15, and police reported that the man was standing at 26th Street and South Van Ness Avenue when he was shot by a suspect for whom, at the time, no description was available.last_img read more


July 31, 2019 0

Californias Homemade Food Operations Act would aid street food vendors — but

first_imgViolating California’s retail food laws is a misdemeanor that can carry fines and up to six months in county jail. Many of the cooks who would benefit from implementation of the law are immigrants, women and people of color who are already marginalized in the American economy. For undocumented migrants and temporary visa-holders — especially women, for whom food businesses are a common way to make ends meet — run-ins with the law also bring the risk of deportation and separation from the family and community they’ve built here.La Cocina, a food business incubator in the Mission, has been helping informal food businesses shift into the formal economy since 2005. When Ofelia thought she was being followed by a city employee and feared a second citation, she went to La Cocina for the support and resources to legalize her tamale business.La Cocina program manager Emiliana Puyana said that while the organization “feels strongly that the [new] law is just one step” to support food entrepreneurs, it “really does provide a viable avenue for legal access to a supplemental income.”For “people in the Mission who are pushed to the margins and criminalized, this removes that barrier,” she said.One common criticism of the bill, voiced by county health department officials from across the state while state lawmakers considered it, was that the lowered safety standards would lead to an increase in foodborne illness. Puyana dismissed that criticism as a “scare tactic used to keep people out of industries that would vastly benefit from having them there.”“This is already happening,” Puyana added, noting that the economy developed here by informal food vendors is “vibrant and beautiful” and hasn’t caused a disproportionate number of food-poisoning cases. She expects that the same will continue under the new law — and that more potential hazards will be corrected because of it.She is only concerned with the permitting process itself, saying that the digital system to which the city has shifted most of its permit applications is not easy for many immigrants to navigate. “This law will affect, for the most part, immigrants and people of color and people who are incredibly strategic and creative about the way they generate income,” she said. But many of those folks are less well-versed in computers or in “jumping online to fill out a lengthy permit” application. She hopes that if San Francisco officials opt into the new law, they will rectify this.Lucero Muñoz, photographed here in 2009, is one of the many street food vendors who’ve struggled with permit issues.Department of Public Health spokeswoman Veronica Vien could not, at this point, share details on the process for developing permits or considering the amendments necessary to adopt the law. “We understand the city is interested in opting into the program,” she said. “We are still in the early stages of review,” hoping to ensure “smooth sailing if the city ultimately adopts the program.”Ofelia and Reyna no longer have a stake the decision made in San Francisco. After 25 years of struggling to make ends meet in the Mission, they were displaced: They recently moved to Oakland, where they’re still trying to formalize their business. They’re working now to obtain permits and a lease on a kitchen in the Fruitvale District. Until then, they continue selling to old and new customers using social media and personal networks.“The ironic part” of being an undocumented migrant, Reyna says, is that “we’re not able to work without a Social [Security Card] — but we are able to create a business.” Through those businesses, she says, people like her and her mother are able to find dignity and make a difference in their community.“Street vending allows our community members to become part of this community and economy and sustain ourselves,” she says. “It’s time to acknowledge that and stop citing and incarcerating them for selling their goods to make a living.”And street vending goes beyond economics, she says, reflecting on her family’s journey from Mexico to Mission Street and now to Oakland. “There’s something about migrating and being able to carry your food with you and provide it to different communities and still find that connection.” When you share food, she says, you belong.Because both women are undocumented, Ofelia and Reyna asked that we not use their last names. Because they continue to operate informally until their food vendor permit is approved or the new law takes effect at a county level, we have also decided not to disclose the name of their business. Salvadoran chicken and pork tamales wrapped in banana leaves and tied with a string.San Francisco will likely be among the first, according to Matt Jorgensen, founder of the C.O.O.K. Alliance, the lead advocacy group pushing for the bill.Jorgensen has been working with county officials across California, as well as a state-level working group. He said the law went largely ignored by local officials until the end of the year, but that several counties across the state are now taking steps to potentially adopt it. And, based on conversations he’s had with city staff and elected officials here, he believes San Francisco will be among them.Before pushing for the new law, Jorgensen co-founded Josephine, an Oakland-based meal-sales app that connected home cooks with local customers. The service was shut down in 2016 after a sting operation by Alameda County Environmental Health and Berkeley Public Health officials over concerns about food safety in unpermitted kitchens. The company, which would have benefitted from the new law, continued operating in Portland and Seattle for a short time, but closed all operations in 2018 before the new law passed.While his company will not reopen, Jorgensen said in September that he plans to continue efforts to “influence the home-cooking economy” and make it easier for people to start small food businesses—or test out bigger ideas—using the new permits.California food business regulations require that food for sale be prepared in a certified commercial kitchen that has been inspected and meets requirements for storage temperatures, sinks, ventilation, wastewater systems and more. Since 2012, exemptions have been made for “Cottage Food” operators — cooks in registered and permitted home kitchens preparing small amounts of packaged foods deemed low-risk for foodborne pathogens. Home-cooked meals — like those prepared and sold by Ofelia and an estimated 50,000 other home cooks across the state — did not qualify for that exemption.The new law allows counties to create special microenterprise home-kitchen permits, which would include food safety standards better suited to a home kitchen. These permits would be limited to businesses with no more than one full-time employee and less than $50,000 in gross annual sales. Counties can place further restrictions on home-cooking operations, such as the types of food allowed and the days and times a kitchen can operate.The law will allow home cooks — many of whom are already making and selling food — to legitimize their businesses and no longer risk sanctions. It will also lower the price of starting or testing out a small food business: The cost of renting or building a commercial kitchen is a significant barrier to entry. Ofelia was hawking tamales near the bus stop at the corner of 18th and Mission when the police officer approached. It was early in the morning, in 2005, and she had just finished selling for the day to the local workers, high school kids, and moms who were her daily customers. The officer issued her a ticket, speaking only in English.A migrant from Guerrero, Mexico, Ofelia didn’t fully understand until later that she was being charged with illegal street vending, facing a fine of nearly $400. As a monolingual Spanish speaker, she couldn’t defend herself until her court date, when an interpreter and community supporters helped her to fight the charge.The case was dismissed, but the fear lingered, says Ofelia’s 26-year old daughter, Reyna, as she translates and fills in the details of that incident. In the years since, mother and daughter have continued to navigate the edges of San Francisco’s economy. Ofelia continued selling on the street, while loyal customers kept watch for police. A local coffee shop owner invited her to sell her wares within the restaurant. Then, someone Ofelia thought worked for the city started following her, Reyna says. Ofelia was scared. She had no other way to make a living.In September, Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law a bill that may make it easier for Ofelia — and thousands of others selling home-cooked food directly to customers — to legalize their businesses. The Homemade Food Operations Act took effect Jan. 1, but it still has a long way to go: In order for cooks to benefit from it, individual California counties must opt in and create a local permitting process. So far, no county has done so. Subscribe to Mission Local’s daily newsletter Email Addresslast_img read more


July 31, 2019 0

TICKETS for Saints away trip to Salford City Reds

first_imgTICKETS for Saints’ away trip to Salford City Reds on Friday February 18 (8pm) are now on sale.They are priced £20 for adults and £15 concessions.If you require coach travel it leaves Birchley St at 6.30pm, priced at £6.50 (Season Ticket Holders) and £7.50 (Non Season Ticket Holders).Please note, Salford didn’t send Saints any Junior tickets – they are £10 to buy on the day.Junior ‘Swaps’ are available.To buy your ticket or coach travel, call into the Saints Superstore in St Helens Town Centre or call 01744 455 050.last_img read more


July 31, 2019 0

Jake Spedding is recalled to the side with Tommy L

first_imgJake Spedding is recalled to the side with Tommy Lee missing out.Justin Holbrook will choose his 17 from:1. Jonny Lomax, 2. Tommy Makinson, 3. Ryan Morgan, 4. Mark Percival, 6. Theo Fages, 7. Matty Smith, 8. Alex Walmsley, 9. James Roby, 10. Kyle Amor, 12. Jon Wilkin, 13. Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, 16. Luke Thompson, 18. Dominique Peyroux, 20. Morgan Knowles, 24. Danny Richardson, 26. Jake Spedding, 28. Regan Grace, 32. Matty Lees, 36. Zeb Taia (pictured).Lee Radford will select his Hull side from:1. Jamie Shaul, 2. Mahe Fonua, 3. Carlos Tuimavave, 4. Josh Griffin, 5. Fetuli Talanoa, 6. Albert Kelly, 7. Marc Sneyd, 8. Scott Taylor, 9. Danny Houghton, 10. Liam Watts, 13. Gareth Ellis, 14. Jake Connor, 15. Chris Green, 16. Jordan Thompson, 17. Danny Washbrook, 19. Steve Michaels, 21. Sika Manu, 22. Josh Bowden, 28. Brad Fash.The game kicks off at 8pm and the referee is James Child.Tickets for the clash remain on sale from the Ticket Office at the Totally Wicked Stadium, by calling 01744 455 052 or online here.last_img read more


July 31, 2019 0

Join us as the first team squad and coaching staff

first_imgJoin us as the first team squad and coaching staff are introduced ahead of the new season.Guests will enjoy a two-course meal and the night will also feature exclusive interviews with players and Justin Holbrook as we look forward to the new campaign.Prices are £36 for 2019 Members or £42 for Non-Members, while for under 16s they are £18 and £24.Dress code for attendees is lounge suits or smart wear and the night will begin at 6.45pm.To book, call us on 01744 455 053 or buy online here.last_img read more


July 31, 2019 0

Brunswick County files suit against Chemours and DuPont

first_imgBrunswick County’s Public Information Officer Amanda Hutcheson released a statement about the lawsuit. It reads, “The filing of formal legal action against Chemours and DuPont represents another crucial step in protecting our public drinking water supply. It sends a clear message that Brunswick County will simply not stand for the discharge of emerging or unregulated chemicals into our public drinking water supply. Let us be clear…we will ensure that any company that threatens this vital resource is held responsible. Furthermore, our litigation team is consulting the nation’s leading experts to determine the best long-term water testing and treatment methods for the entire county. As part of that, we will ensure that the costs for doing so do not fall upon the rate payers, but upon those dumping the unregulated chemicals in the water.” BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — Brunswick County is now part of a growing list of lawsuits filed against Chemours and DuPont over the GenX contamination.National law firm Baron & Budd announced today that it has filed suit on behalf of Brunswick County in the United States Eastern District of North Carolina against Chemours and DuPont.- Advertisement – The firm is pursuing legal action on the County’s behalf to recover costs required to investigate, manage, reduce and remove chemicals from drinking water drawn from the Cape Fear River. Harold Seagle of North Carolina-based Seagle Law will serve as co-counsel in the case.Through initial investigations, Brunswick County has obtained evidence that Chemours and DuPont not only manufactured  perfluorinated chemicals (“PFCs”) at the Fayetteville Works plant in Fayetteville, North Carolina since 1980, but also released PFC chemicals into the Cape Fear River over the span of many years without disclosure. The companies continued to deposit PFCs into the river as recently as September.The legal team representing Brunswick County will be led by Baron & Budd Shareholder Scott Summy.Related Article: New Hampshire sues 3M, DuPont, other chemical companiesIn the 1990s, Summy filed the first MTBE lawsuit against Conoco on behalf of Wilmington residents, which was settled in 1997 after a Wilmington-based jury rendered a multi-million-dollar verdict to cover the costs of medical monitoring.“To think that DuPont and Chemours released their waste products directly into the Cape Fear River, which it knew was public drinking water for thousands of people, is unimaginable,” said Summy. “The unfortunate challenge now facing Brunswick County is contaminated drinking water caused by the non-disclosed deposit of PFCs into the Cape Fear River. The County is dedicated to ensuring its residents’ safety and quality of life are protected, which is why it has filed a lawsuit to resolve this situation.”last_img read more


July 30, 2019 0

Local Buddhist monk reacts to Thai cave rescue

first_img00:00 00:00 spaceplay / pause qunload | stop ffullscreenshift + ←→slower / faster ↑↓volume mmute ←→seek  . seek to previous 12… 6 seek to 10%, 20% … 60% XColor SettingsAaAaAaAaTextBackgroundOpacity SettingsTextOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundSemi-TransparentOpaqueTransparentFont SettingsSize||TypeSerif MonospaceSerifSans Serif MonospaceSans SerifCasualCursiveSmallCapsResetSave Settings BOLIVIA, NC (WWAY) — The world waited patiently as each child was saved from the cave in Thailand. For one Buddhist monk, he was ecstatic to hear they were safe.“Feel good. Really happy,” Phra Vidhuradhammaporn said.- Advertisement – Vidhuradhammaporn is an abbot originally from Thailand, living in Brunswick County at the Thai Buddhist Monastery in Bolivia. He closely followed the updates about the kids. He says one major belief in Buddhism is that the actions in a past life will affect you in your next life.“Bad karma in the past can be diluted by the new karma. But in actuality, you need enough power. Even with one drop or two drop, it’s not enough. You need to mix it with more and more power,” Vidooradhammaporn said.He believes the Thai students were trapped in the cave initially because of bad karma in a previous life. But everyone working to save them generated good karma.Related Article: Trump backs push for Bible classes in schools“It changed. It became a good thing happened. Cause and effect. The law of karma,” Vidhuradhammaporn said.Vidhuradhammaporn says he and others prayed for their safety and this was only possible because of how much effort everyone put in, bringing balance to the situation.“Good karma. That many people helped to do it. Helped the group of the boys,” Vidhuradhammaporn said.The Abbot was actually up late almost every night to see the latest information about the boys, so it was a relief to him when he saw they were all saved.last_img read more


July 30, 2019 0

North Carolina asked feds to open vote fraud case last year

first_imgLeslie McCrae Dowless Jr. (Photo: WSOC) RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina’s top elections official issued an urgent plea nearly two years ago for the Trump administration to file criminal charges against the man now at the center of ballot fraud allegations that have thrown a 2018 congressional race into turmoil.N.C. Board of Elections Executive Director Kim Strach warned in a January 2017 letter first obtained by The Associated Press that those involved in illegally harvesting absentee ballots in rural Bladen County would likely do it again if they weren’t prosecuted.- Advertisement – Josh Lawson, the top lawyer for the elections board, said Friday that Strach’s memo was followed less than a month later with the first of several in-person meetings during which state investigators provided FBI agents and federal prosecutors with evidence accusing Leslie McCrae Dowless Jr. and others of criminal activity.“Our findings to date suggest that individuals and potentially groups of individuals engaged in efforts to manipulate election results through the absentee ballot process,” Strach wrote in the letter, dated 10 days after President Donald Trump’s inauguration. “The evidence we have obtained suggest that these efforts may have taken place in the past and if not addressed will likely continue for future elections.”At the time, there was only an acting U.S. attorney in office. Later in 2017, Trump’s appointee arrived, but took no action to prosecute the matter. Instead, he assigned his staff to focus on a different priority — prosecuting a handful of non-citizens who had allegedly voted.Related Article: North Carolina lieutenant governor in voter fraud videoA spokesman for Robert J. Higdon, Jr., who took over as the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina in September 2017, has declined to comment on why no charges were filed following the state’s criminal referrals against Dowless and other Bladen County political operatives. Justice Department spokeswoman Kelly Laco in Washington also declined to comment on Friday.Higdon’s office issued a media release in August of this year touting charges against 19 foreign nationals it said voted in North Carolina in the 2016 presidential election, during which more than 6.9 million ballots were cast in the state. The cases were filed in the wake of Trump’s false claim that he lost the 2016 popular vote to his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton because millions of illegal immigrants had cast ballots across the country.But court filings reviewed by AP show several of the cases built by Higdon’s office were against longtime legal permanent residents or those who had been granted citizenship only to have authorities later determine they had been untruthful on their applications. At least four have pleaded guilty, with the only sentence meted out so far going against an Italian man who has lived legally in the United States since 1985. The judge in the case gave him a $200 fine and no prison time.State elections board Chairman Joshua Malcolm declined Thursday to evaluate how U.S. prosecutors handled the board’s referral of its 2016 Bladen County elections investigation, saying the board has a “very particular role.” The agency’s staff has legal authority to investigate elections crimes, but cannot make arrests or file criminal charges.After federal prosecutors took no action, documents show the elections board referred the case to state prosecutors in January 2018. No charges were filed before the November general election, which was marred by voting irregularities involving absentee ballots cast in Bladen and two neighboring counties. Authorities say Dowless is the subject of an investigation into those irregularities.“Our role is to investigate matters … and to refer matters to prosecutors and law enforcement officials to carry out their responsibility,” said Malcolm, a Democrat. “We don’t control what happens once we make a referral.”The board has refused to certify the results of the November general election for the state’s 9th congressional district. Republican Mark Harris leads Democrat Dan McCready by just 905 votes in 2018’s only still unresolved House election, according to unofficial results. State leaders from both parties now concede a do-over election might eventually be needed, though GOP officials have sought to put the blame for the mess squarely onto the elections board.The board plans to weigh the evidence against Dowless and others at a Jan. 11 public hearing.Investigators are looking into whether Dowless, 62, ran an illegal operation to collect large numbers of absentee ballots from voters in at least two counties with the intent of aiding the GOP candidates.A convicted felon, Dowless didn’t respond this week to messages seeking comment. His lawyer, Cynthia Adams Singletary, said that any speculation regarding her client and the 9th District election is premature and unwarranted. Through his attorney, Dowless has declined to be interviewed by state investigators.Harris, the GOP congressional candidate, said in an interview last week that it was his decision to hire Dowless, though he denied knowledge of any potential wrongdoing.last_img read more


July 30, 2019 0