AP News in Brief 08-12-19

  • Children, mainly of Latino immigrant parents, hold signs Sunday in support of them and those individuals picked up during an immigration raid Wednesday at a food processing plant. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

  • People visit a makeshift memorial Aug. 6 at the scene of a mass shooting at a shopping complex in El Paso, Texas. (AP Photo/John Locher, File)

Mass shootings have Latinos worried about being targets

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — When Michelle Otero arrived at an art show featuring Mexican-American women, the first thing she did was scan the room. Two exits. One security guard.

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Then she thought to herself: If a shooter bursts in, how do my husband and I get out of here alive?

Otero, who is Mexican-American and Albuquerque’s poet laureate, had questioned even attending the crowded event at the National Hispanic Cultural Center a day after 22 people were killed in a shooting at an El Paso, Texas, Walmart.

That shooting and an earlier one in Gilroy, California, killed nearly two dozen Latinos. The violence has some Hispanics looking over their shoulders, avoiding speaking Spanish in public and seeking out escape routes amid fears they could be next.

A huge immigration raid of Mississippi poultry plants last week that rounded up 680 mostly Latino workers, leaving behind crying children searching for their detained parents, also has unnerved the Hispanic community.

Epstein’s guards worked extreme OT shifts morning of death

NEW YORK — Guards on Jeffrey Epstein’s unit were working extreme overtime shifts to make up for staffing shortages the morning of his apparent suicide, a person familiar with the jail’s operations told The Associated Press.

The person said that the Metropolitan Correctional Center’s Special Housing Unit was staffed with one guard working a fifth straight day of overtime and another who was working mandatory overtime. The person wasn’t authorized to discuss jail operations publicly and spoke Sunday on the condition of anonymity.

The jail staff failed to follow protocols leading up to Epstein’s death , according to a report from The New York Times, deepening the fallout from what led to the highly connected financier’s apparent suicide.

Epstein should have been checked on by guards in his cell every 30 minutes, but that didn’t happen the night before his apparent suicide, a law enforcement official told the Times.

The Times spoke to the official on the condition of anonymity. The Associated Press has not independently confirmed the information.

5 children killed in day care center fire in Pennsylvania

ERIE, Pa. — An early morning fire in Pennsylvania at a residential building housing a day care center killed five children and sent the owner to the hospital, authorities said.

The fire was reported in Erie, a northwest lake town, at about 1:15 a.m. Sunday, Chief Guy Santone of the Erie Fire Department said.

The victims ranged in ages from 8 months to 7 years, Santone said. The Erie Regional Chamber and Growth Partnership lists a day care at the fire address.

Valerie Lockett-Slupski, standing across the street from the fire-damaged house, said she was the grandmother of four of the children, and that they were staying at the day care because their parents were working overnight, the Erie Times-News reported . She said the family had two boys and two girls and had used the day care for almost a year.

“So we are all at a loss, trying to figure out how this happened,” Lockett-Slupski told the newspaper.

‘Let our voices be heard’: Citizens march against immigration raids

CANTON, Miss. — The children of Sacred Heart Catholic Church streamed out into Mississippi’s heat on a blistering Sunday afternoon, carrying what they said was a message of opposition against immigration raids their parents could not.

“I will not sit in silence while my parents are taken away,” read a sign carried by two Hispanic boys. They were among a group of several dozen marchers who set out on foot from the church to the town square in Canton to protest the 680 migrant arrests at seven poultry plants in Mississippi last Wednesday.

“Imagine coming home and not finding your parents,” said Dulce Basurto-Arce, an 18-year-old community college student, describing how parents of friends were arrested. “We are marching so no other kid has to go through what we went through. Let our voices be heard!”

Basurto-Arce spoke from the steps of the same courthouse in Canton where Martin Luther King Jr. once rallied protesters against segregation in a 1966 “March Against Fear” across Mississippi.

Churches were the backbone of the civil rights movement. Today, as President Donald Trump and Republican allies continue to defend the raids, churches have emerged as the top sources of spiritual and material support to the mostly Mexican and Guatemalan workers targeted by the raids.

Trial to start in million-dollar suburban Utah drug ring

SALT LAKE CITY — As America’s opioid crisis spiraled into a fentanyl epidemic, prosecutors say one young Utah man made himself a drug kingpin by creating counterfeit prescription painkillers laced with the deadly drug and mailing them to homes across the United States.

Former Eagle Scout Aaron Shamo, 29, will stand trial beginning Monday on allegations that he and a small group of fellow millennials ran a multimillion-dollar empire from the basement of his suburban Salt Lake City home by trafficking hundreds of thousands of pills containing fentanyl, the potent synthetic opioid that has exacerbated the country’s overdose epidemic in recent years.

The federal government’s case is expected to offer a glimpse at how the drug, which has killed tens of thousands of Americans, can be imported from China, pressed into fake pills and sold through online black markets to people in every state.

Prosecutors have alleged that dozens of the ring’s customers died in overdoses, though the defense disputes that and Shamo is charged only in connection to one: a 21-year-old identified as R.K., who died in June 2016 after snorting fentanyl allegedly passed off as prescription oxycodone.

Shamo’s family, though, said he’s been singled out even as deeply involved friends are offered more lenient plea deals. His father, Mike Shamo, said his son was a chess whiz as a kid who experimented with marijuana in his teen years, but later earned his Eagle Scout badge crocheting blankets for a hospital.

From wire sources

When light is lethal: Moroccans struggle with skin disorder

CASABLANCA, Morocco — Determined for her 7-year-old son to attend school despite a life-threatening sensitivity to sunlight, Nadia El Rami stuck a deal with the school’s director: Mustapha would be allowed in the classroom, but only if he studies inside a cardboard box.

Mustapha Redouane happily accepted the arrangement. He knew his mother’s idea would silence the school’s worries about his condition, a rare genetic disorder called xeroderma pigmentosum, or XP, which can make sun rays and other sources of ultraviolet light extremely damaging to the skin and eyes. The disorder is more common in North Africa than much of the world.

“I hate the sun anyways. It gives me blisters,” he said, sitting on his mother’s lap, his face covered with the dark brown freckles that the school director considered a distraction to other students.

Now 8, Mustapha has already had 11 operations to remove cancerous growths on his skin.

His family is among thousands around the world struggling with XP, and increasingly sharing advice and seeking new treatments. In Morocco, families are also fighting for recognition, government help — and the simple right to go to school.

___

North Korea boosts Kim’s rising status as global statesman

SEOUL, South Korea — There’s no question that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is in full control of his nation. But a recent change to how he’s being formally described in the North Korean Constitution may allow him even more diplomatic leverage as he steps with increasing confidence onto the world stage for negotiations over his powerful weapons program.

Despite a flurry of unprecedented summits between Kim and the world powers that surround him, the outcome of that crucial diplomacy is very much in question amid currently deadlocked nuclear disarmament talks and an outburst of North Korean weapons tests in recent weeks.

North Korea on Friday said that its rubber-stamp parliament will hold its second meeting of the year on Aug. 29. It follows weeks of intensified North Korean weapons tests and belligerent statements over U.S.-South Korea military exercises and the slow pace of nuclear negotiations with the United States.

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Kim has said he said he would seek a “new way” if Washington doesn’t change its hard-line stance on sanctions relief by the year’s end, though experts doubt he’ll fully abandon diplomacy and give away his hard-won status as a global statesman.

President Donald Trump on Saturday said that Kim wrote him a “beautiful” three-page letter in which he expressed desire to meet once again to “start negotiations” after U.S.-South Korea military exercises end, and also apologized for the flurry of short-range missile tests.

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