Trump defends himself anew against charges that he is racist

AP Photo
AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) — President Donald Trump is defending himself anew against accusations that he is racist, this time after recent disparaging comments about Haiti and African nations.

“No, No. I’m not a racist,” Trump said Sunday, after reporters asked him to respond to those who think he is. “I am the least racist person you have ever interviewed. That I can tell you.”

Trump also denied making the statements attributed to him, but avoided the details of what he did or did not say.

“Did you see what various senators in the room said about my comments?” he asked, referring to lawmakers who were meeting with him in the Oval Office on Thursday when Trump is said to have made the comments. “They weren’t made.”

Trump stands accused of using “shithole” to describe African countries during an immigration meeting with a bipartisan group of six senators. The president, in the meeting, also questioned the need to admit more Haitians to the U.S., according to people who were briefed on the conversation but were not authorized to describe the meeting publicly.

Trump said in the meeting that he would prefer immigrants from countries like Norway instead.

The White House has not denied that Trump said “shithole” though Trump has already pushed back on some depictions of the meeting.

A confidant of Trump’s told The Associated Press that the president spent Thursday evening calling friends and outside advisers to judge their reaction to his remarks. Trump wasn’t apologetic and denied he was racist, instead blaming the media for distorting his meaning, said the confidant, who wasn’t authorized to disclose a private conversation and spoke on condition of anonymity.

Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois, the only Democrat at Thursday’s meeting, said Trump had indeed said what he was reported to have said. Durbin said the remarks were “vile, hate-filled and clearly racial in their content.” He said Trump used the most vulgar term “more than once.”

Trump commented as Durbin was presenting details of a compromise immigration plan that included providing $1.6 billion for a first installment of the president’s long-sought border wall.

Trump took particular issue with the idea that people who’d fled to the U.S. after disasters hit their homes in places such as El Salvador, Guatemala and Haiti would be allowed to stay as part of the deal, according to the people, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to publicly describe the discussion.

When it came to talk of extending protections for Haitians, Durbin said Trump replied, “We don’t need more Haitians.'”

“He said, ‘Put me down for wanting more Europeans to come to this country. Why don’t we get more people from Norway?'” Durbin said.

Republican Sens. David Perdue of Georgia and Tom Cotton of Arkansas, who also attended the meeting, initially said in a statement Friday that they “do not recall the president saying these comments specifically.” On Sunday, they backtracked and challenged other senators’ descriptions of the remarks.

Perdue described as a “gross misrepresentation” reports that Trump used the vulgarity. He said Durbin and Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina were mistaken in indicating that was the case. Graham also attended the meeting.

“I am telling you that he did not use that word. And I’m telling you it’s a gross misrepresentation,” Perdue said on ABC’s “This Week.”

Cotton told CBS’ “Face the Nation” that he “didn’t hear” the word used – “and I was sitting no further away from Donald Trump than Dick Durbin was.”

Trump insisted in a tweet on Friday that he “never said anything derogatory about Haitians other than Haiti is, obviously, a very poor and troubled country. Never said ‘take them out.’ Made up by Dems.” Trump wrote, “I have a wonderful relationship with Haitians. Probably should record future meetings – unfortunately, no trust!”

Trump has defended himself against accusations of being a racist on numerous occasions, including during his insistence that President Barack Obama was not American-born and after he opened his presidential campaign in 2015 by describing Mexicans as rapists and drug peddlers.

Word of Trump’s comments threatened to upend delicate negotiations over resolving the status of hundreds of thousands of immigrants who were brought to the country illegally as children. Trump announced last year that he will end the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, unless lawmakers come up with a solution by March. The program shielded these immigrants, often referred to as “Dreamers,” from deportation and granted them permits to work.

Trump tweeted earlier Sunday that the program is “probably dead” and blamed Democrats. He elaborated on the way to dinner Sunday night with House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., saying Democrats “don’t want to help the DACA people.”

Some Democrats have threatened to vote against legislation to extend government funding, which expires on Friday, unless protections for the Dreamers are included.

“Honestly I don’t think the Democrats want to make a deal,” Trump said. “I think they talk about DACA, but they don’t want to help the DACA people.”

Trump said Democrats aren’t for securing the border or stopping the flow of drugs, but are for taking money away from the military.

“We have a lot of sticking points but they’re all Democrat sticking points,” he said. “We are ready, willing and able to make a deal, but they don’t want to.”

Associated Press writer Jonathan Lemire contributed to this report.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)


Trump defends himself anew against charges that he is racist
Trump defends himself anew against charges that he is racist
{$excerpt:n}
Source: AP HEADLINES

The Latest: Doctor: Hospitals treating 16 shooting victims

AP Photo
AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee

PARKLAND, Fla. (AP) — The Latest on the deadly shooting at a Florida high school (all times local):

7:15 p.m.

Doctors say 16 people wounded in a deadly shooting at a Florida high school are being treated at area hospitals.

Dr. Evan Boyar at Broward Health North told reporters Wednesday that eight victims and the suspect had been brought to his hospital. Boyar says two victims died, three were in critical condition and three were in stable condition. He says three patients were still in the operating room Wednesday evening. The suspect was treated and released to police.

Boyar says all the victims were shot but declined to comment on their ages or the extent of their wounds.

Eight other victims were taken to other hospitals, but he did not have information on their conditions.

Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel says a 19-year-old former student has been arrested in the shooting that killed 17 people.

6:35 p.m.

Democratic Rep. Ted Deutch of Florida says lawmakers have offered their condolences after the latest school shooting, this one in his district.

Deutch says he found his colleagues’ outreach – in his words – both “heartwarming and obscene.” Authorities say 17 people died in Wednesday’s attack in Parkland, Florida, and the suspect, a 19-year-old former student, is in custody.

The congressman says he uses the word “obscene” because school shootings have become so commonplace that lawmakers were offering him guidance on what to expect in coming days as constituents grapple with the tragedy.

Deutch says it’s time to find ways to save lives. He says he wants President Donald Trump to call those concerned to the White House to “do something” about gun violence.

—-

6:30 p.m.

A Florida sheriff says that 12 of the 17 confirmed deaths in Wednesday’s shooting attack on a high school were found in the school.

Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel says the attack began outside the school Wednesday afternoon.

He told reporters that authorities subsequently found 12 people dead in the building and two more dead just outside the school and one more in a nearby street. Israel says two other people died later under medical treatment.

Israel says the suspect, a 19-year-old former student of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, is in custody. He says the male suspect was checked out at a hospital after his arrest and is now being held at a secure location in a public building.

6:05 p.m.

A sheriff says 17 people have died in the shooting attack on a South Florida high school.

Sheriff Scott Israel of Broward County says the 19-year-old suspect is in custody and that investigators are beginning to “dissect” what happened in the attack Wednesday at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.

He says the suspect, a former student, was previously expelled for disciplinary reasons.

Israel says the man had at least one AR-15 rifle as well as multiple magazines.

He says most of the fatalities were inside the building though some were found fatally shot outside.

5:40 p.m.

A man says he watched as officers arrested the suspect in the shooting at a Florida high school, where authorities are reporting numerous deaths.

Michael Nembhard told The Associated Press he was in his garage watching TV news coverage of the shooting when he heard a police officer repeatedly yelling, “get on the ground!”

Nembhard says he looked up to see a teenage boy on the ground about 150 yards (meters) away with an officer pointing a gun at him. The officer stood over the boy until other officers arrived, handcuffed him and led him away.

A federal official who spoke on condition of anonymity identified the suspect as Nicolas Cruz. The official says he wasn’t authorized to discuss it publicly.

Authorities say the suspect is a former student about 18 years old.

—-

5:20 p.m.

A federal official has identified the Florida school shooting suspect as Nicolas Cruz.

The official spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity. The official says he had been briefed on the investigation into the shooting at the South Florida high school, but was not authorized to discuss it publicly.

Authorities in Florida say the shooter opened fire at the school Wednesday afternoon, killing “numerous” people. The shooting sent frightened students running out into the streets and SWAT team members swarming the building.

Authorities later announced that they had taken a former student, about 18 years old, into custody after locating him off the school grounds.

5 p.m.

Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel says the Florida high school shooting suspect is a former student about 18 years old.

He says the suspect was arrested without incident off school grounds in a nearby community. He didn’t elaborate on when the suspect had attended Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.

A shooter opened fire at the school Wednesday afternoon, killing “numerous” people, sending students running out into the streets and SWAT team members swarming in before authorities took the shooter into custody.

Israel says the FBI has arrived and will begin processing what he describes as “horrific scene.”

He called it a “catastrophic day.”

4:40 p.m.

Parents described scenes of chaos as they rushed to find their frightened children after a shooting at a South Florida high school.

Caesar Figueroa says he was one of the first parents to arrive at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, seeking his 16-year-old daughter after the shooting there.

A shooter opened fire at the school Wednesday, killing several people and sending students running out into the streets as SWAT team members swarming in. Authorities later reported they had taken the shooting suspect into custody.

Figueroa says: “It was crazy and my daughter wasn’t answering her phone.”

According to Figueroa, she texted him that she was hidden in a school closet with friends after she heard gunshots.

4:25 p.m.

A school official says there are numerous fatalities from the high school shooting in South Florida.

Broward County Superintendent Robert Runcie sayid Wednesday afternoon: “There are numerous fatalities. It is a horrific situation.” He added, “It is a horrible day for us.”

The Broward County Sheriff’s Office tweeted Wednesday afternoon that “so far we have at least 14 victims.” The tweet added: “Victims have been and continue to be transported to Broward Health Medical Center and Broward Health North hospital.”

The sheriff’s statement didn’t elaborate on the victims or the extent of their injuries.

4:15 p.m.

The White House has canceled its daily press briefing after a Florida high school shooting that sent students rushing into the streets.

President Donald Trump has spoken with Florida Gov. Rick Scott about the shooting. He says in a tweet that the White House is “working closely with law enforcement on the terrible Florida school shooting.”

He earlier tweeted his condolences to the families of the victims.

Spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders says Trump has offered Florida federal assistance, if needed. The homeland security secretary has also been in touch with state and local officials.

Sanders says, “We continue to keep the victims, and their friends and family, in our thoughts and prayers.”

4:10 p.m.

Authorities say the shooter at a South Florida high school is now in custody.

The Broward County Sheriff’s Office gave no details in briefly tweeting that development. It did not identify the shooting suspect nor say how the person was taken into custody.

Television footage showed police putting a person in the back of a police car outside the high school.

4 p.m.

Parent John Obin says his son, a freshman at the South Florida high school where the shooting erupted, was in class when he heard several shots. The father says his son advised that teachers quickly rushed students out of the school. He adds the boy told his father that he walked by two people on the ground motionless – and apparently dead – as students rushed outside.

Obin says: “This is a really good school, and now it’s like a war zone.”

Coral Springs Police said on their Twitter account Wednesday that Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School was locked down and that students and teachers inside should remain barricaded until police reach them.

3:55 p.m.

The shooting at a South Florida high school sent students rushing into the streets as SWAT team members swarmed in and locked down the building. Police were warning that the shooter was still at large even as ambulances converged on the scene and emergency workers appeared to be treating those possibly wounded.

Aerial television news footage showed police in olive fatigues, with weapons drawn, entering the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland. Then dozens of students could be seen frantically running and others quickly walking out. A police officer waved the students on, urging them to quickly evacuate the school.

Some students exited the building in single-file rows with hands raised overhead to show they carried no weapons. Others held onto other students as they made their way out past helmeted police in camouflage with weapons drawn.

3:45 p.m.

Len Murray’s 17-year-old son, a junior at the South Florida high school where shooting was reported, sent his parents a chilling text: “Mom and Dad, there have been shots fired on campus at school. There are police sirens outside. I’m in the auditorium and the doors are locked.”

Those words came at 2:30 p.m. Wednesday. A few minutes later, he texted again: “I’m fine.”

Murray raced to the school only to be stopped by authorities under a highway overpass within view of the school buildings in Parkland.

No information was immediately given to parents, Len Murray says. And he says he remained worried for all those inside.

“I’m scared for the other parents here. You can see the concern in everybody’s faces. Everybody is asking, ‘Have you hard from your child yet?'”

3:15 p.m.

Authorities say a shooter at a Florida high school is still at large.

The Broward Sheriff’s Office shared the information on its Twitter account after Wednesday afternoon’s shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.

It wasn’t immediately clear how many people were wounded.

2:30 p.m.

Authorities say they’re responding to a shooting at a Florida high school.

The Broward Sheriff’s Office has told news outlets the shooting occurred Wednesday afternoon at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.

It wasn’t immediately clear how many people were wounded.

—-

Associated Press writers Jennifer Kay, Freida Frisaro, David Fischer, Curt Anderson, Adriana Gomez Licon and Josh Replogle contributed to this report.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)


The Latest: Doctor: Hospitals treating 16 shooting victims
The Latest: Doctor: Hospitals treating 16 shooting victims
{$excerpt:n}
Source: AP HEADLINES

5 killed as mud sweeps away homes in California burn areas

AP Photo
AP Photo/Richard Vogel

LOS ANGELES (AP) — At least five people were killed and homes were swept from their foundations Tuesday as heavy rain sent mud and boulders sliding down hills stripped of vegetation by Southern California’s recent wildfires.

Rescue crews used helicopters to lift people to safety because of blocked roads, and firefighters slogged through waist-high mud to pull a muck-covered 14-year-old girl out of the ruins of a home in Montecito, northwest of Los Angeles, where she had been trapped for hours. She was taken away on a stretcher.

Five bodies were found in and around Montecito, Santa Barbara County Fire Department Capt. Dave Zaniboni said.

Several houses were destroyed, and residents were unaccounted for in neighborhoods hard to reach because of downed trees and power lines, he said. The mud was reported to be up to 5 feet (1.5 meters) deep in places.

“We’re performing multiple rescues. There will be more,” Zaniboni said, adding that some of those brought to safety were buried in mud. There was a backlog of scores of callers requesting help.

Sally Brooks said a “boulder slide” occurred outside her home in nearby Carpinteria in the dead of night.

“We were laying in bed listening to the rain, and out of nowhere our bed just started shaking, and we could hear just this, like, thunder,” she told KTLA-TV.

Photos posted on social media showed upside-down cars along debris-clogged roads and mud waist-deep in living rooms.

Forecasters said the maximum rainfall occurred in a 15-minute span starting at 3:30 a.m. near the Montecito, Summerland and Carpinteria areas of Santa Barbara County. Montecito got more than a half-inch in five minutes, while Carpinteria received 0.86 inches in 15 minutes.

Crews worked to clear debris from roads across the Los Angeles metropolitan area, including a key stretch of U.S. 101 that was brought to a standstill along the border of Santa Barbara and Ventura counties. Nearly 30 miles of the highway were shut down at point.

Mandatory evacuations were ordered for about 700 homes in sections of Los Angeles County that burned last month in the biggest wildfire on record in California.

The storm walloped much of the state with damaging winds and thunderstorms. Downtown San Francisco got a record 3.15 inches (8 centimeters) of rain on Monday, smashing the old mark of 2.36 inches (6 centimeters) set in 1872.

Associated Press writers John Antczak and Andrew Dalton in Los Angeles and Olga R. Rodriguez in San Francisco contributed to this report.

Follow Weber at -https://twitter.com/WeberCM.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)


5 killed as mud sweeps away homes in California burn areas
5 killed as mud sweeps away homes in California burn areas
{$excerpt:n}
Source: AP HEADLINES

Victims' families: Jealousy drove car wash shooting suspect

A man suspected of gunning down four people at a Pennsylvania car wash was driven by jealousy, according to family members of the shooting victims.

State police said Timothy Smith, 28, was armed with a semi-automatic rifle, a .308-caliber rifle and a handgun and was wearing a body armor carrier without the ballistic panels inserted when he opened fire early Sunday morning at Ed’s Car Wash in Saltlick Township, a rural town about 55 miles (89 kilometers) southeast of Pittsburgh.

Twenty-seven-year-old William Porterfield, 25-year-old Chelsie Cline, 23-year-old Courtney Snyder and 21-year-old Seth Cline were all killed.

Smith was on life support Sunday and not expected to survive after suffering a gunshot wound to his head. State police said it was possible that the gunshot wound was self-inflicted.

Authorities would not reveal how Smith knew the victims, but Chelsie Cline’s half-sister, Sierra Kolarik, told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that Smith had developed an obsession with Cline.

Cline shared a meme on her Facebook page last week that read, “After this week, I rlly (sic) need to get taken out … on a date or by a sniper either one is fine w me at this point.” A Facebook friend of hers named Tim Smith replied, “I could do both.”

Porterfield’s pregnant wife, Jenna Porterfield, 24, told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that a state police investigator told her that Smith was a jealous former boyfriend of Cline.

Porterfield said that she was told by family members of other victims that her husband and Cline had spent the past two days together after Cline ended a relationship with Smith. Porterfield said that she and her husband – who were married in November – had been “having some troubles” this month.

“I’m not holding that against Will. We weren’t fighting. We were fixing. And if he was with someone else while we were having problems, honestly, I don’t care what he did. I’m not going to hold that against him,” Porterfield told the newspaper. “I’d give anything to have him back.”

State police said Smith was the first person to arrive at the scene and parked his pickup truck on the side of the two-bay car wash. They said he shot Porterfield and Cline when they got out of their car and walked to the side of the car wash.

Snyder and Seth Cline arrived in a pickup truck at the same time and were both shot and killed in their vehicle, state police said. Another unidentified woman in the rear seat took cover in the truck and survived with only minor injuries from broken glass.

Cayleigh Myers said she was friends with Seth Cline, Chelsie Cline’s half-sibling, and described the construction worker as “very outgoing, very funny and very smart.”

“You always had fun when you were around him,” Myers said. “He would give his shirt off his back for you, anything, it didn’t matter what it was, what time it was, if you need him, you could call him. He was everything.”

Ed Bukovac, who owns the car wash, told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that a neighbor called him around 4 a.m. Sunday and said something was wrong at his business. Bukovac said police were on the scene by the time he arrived and that he had few other details about what happened.

A man who lives nearby told the newspaper that he heard about 30 gunshots over a span of several minutes.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

Victims' families: Jealousy drove car wash shooting suspect
Victims' families: Jealousy drove car wash shooting suspect
{$excerpt:n}
Source: AP HEADLINES

Federal judge: Florida's felon voting restoration flawed

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — In a ruling that could reverberate in this year’s crucial elections, a federal judge ruled that Florida’s system of restoring voting rights for felons who have served their time is arbitrary and unconstitutional and needs to be changed as soon as possible.

U.S. District Judge Mark Walker issued the blistering ruling Thursday in response to a lawsuit filed last year against Gov. Rick Scott by a voting rights organization. Plaintiffs include people whose requests to restore their right to vote were turned down even though they completed their prison sentences.

Walker, who was appointed by President Barack Obama, ordered both sides to offer ways to remedy the system by Feb. 12. His 43-page ruling blasted Scott and state officials for the current system to restore voting rights, which can take years.

“A person convicted of a crime may have long ago exited the prison cell and completed probation,” Walker wrote. “Her voting rights, however, remain locked in a dark crypt. Only the state has the key – but the state has swallowed it.”

John Tupps, a spokesman for Scott, defended the process and suggested an appeal is likely.

“The governor believes that convicted felons should show that they can lead a life free of crime and be accountable to their victims and our communities,” said Tupps. “While we are reviewing today’s ruling, we will continue to defend this process in the court.”

The ruling comes just months before Florida voters will be asked to alter the current ban. Backers of a constitutional amendment last week won a place on the November 2018 ballot. If sixty percent of voters approve, most former prisoners would have their rights automatically restored.

For decades, Florida’s constitution has automatically barred felons from being able to vote after leaving prison. The state’s clemency process allows the governor and three elected Cabinet members to restore voting rights, although the governor can unilaterally veto any request.

Walker said in his ruling that the automatic ban is legal, but the process can’t be arbitrary or swayed by partisan politics. He noted, for example, that Scott and the Cabinet restored voting rights to a white man who had voted illegally but told Scott that he had voted for him. Walker also pointed out that others who acknowledged voting illegally – but were black – had their applications turned down.

Florida has a slow process for restoring voting rights to felons who have completed their sentences. It requires a hearing, and applicants are often denied. Shortly after taking office in 2007, then-Republican Gov. Charlie Crist convinced two of the state’s three Cabinet members to approve rules that would allow the parole commission to restore voting rights for non-violent felons without hearings, and within a year, more than 100,000 felons were granted voting rights.

But Gov. Rick Scott and Attorney General Pam Bondi pushed to end automatic restoration of voting rights as one of their first acts upon taking office in 2011. Since then, most former prisoners have to wait at least five years before they can even apply to have their rights restored. Over the last seven years, fewer than 3,000 of them have had their rights restored.

“Today a federal court said what so many Floridians have known for so long: that the state’s arbitrary restoration process, which forces former felons to beg for their right to vote, violates the oldest and most basic principles of our democracy,” said Jon Sherman, an attorney with the Fair Elections Legal Network. “While the court has yet to order a remedy in this case, it has held in no uncertain terms that a state cannot subject U.S. citizens’ voting rights to the limitless power of government officials.”

Florida’s ban on felon voting – along with a voting list purge that took some non-felons off voting rolls – likely cost then-Vice President Al Gore the 2000 presidential election. Republican George W. Bush won Florida that year, and thus the White House, by 537 votes in an election that took five weeks to sort out.

Before the 2000 election, then-Secretary of State Katherine Harris hired a company to purge felons from the state’s voting lists. But the process was flawed and many eligible voters were removed from rolls because of mistaken identity. Others were convicted of misdemeanors and not felonies.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

Federal judge: Florida's felon voting restoration flawed
Federal judge: Florida's felon voting restoration flawed
{$excerpt:n}
Source: AP HEADLINES

Pentagon to allow transgender people to enlist in military

AP Photo
AP Photo/Charles Dharapak

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Pentagon is allowing transgender people to enlist in the military beginning Jan. 1, despite President Donald Trump’s opposition.

The new policy reflects growing legal pressure on the issue, and the difficult hurdles the federal government would have to cross to enforce Trump’s demand to ban transgender individuals from the military. Two federal courts already have ruled against the ban. Potential transgender recruits will have to overcome a lengthy and strict set of physical, medical and mental conditions that make it possible, though difficult, for them to join the armed services.

Maj. David Eastburn, a Pentagon spokesman, says the enlistment of transgender recruits will start Jan. 1 and go on amid the legal battles. The Defense Department also is studying the issue.

Eastburn told The Associated Press on Monday that the new guidelines mean the Pentagon can disqualify potential recruits with gender dysphoria, a history of medical treatments associated with gender transition and those who underwent reconstruction. But such recruits are allowed in if a medical provider certifies they’ve been clinically stable in the preferred sex for 18 months and are free of significant distress or impairment in social, occupational or other important areas.

Transgender individuals receiving hormone therapy also must be stable on their medication for 18 months.

The requirements make it challenging for a transgender recruit to pass. But they mirror concerns President Barack Obama’s administration laid out when the Pentagon initially lifted its ban on transgender service last year.

The Pentagon has similar restrictions for recruits with a variety of medical or mental conditions, such as bipolar disorder.

“Due to the complexity of this new medical standard, trained medical officers will perform a medical prescreen of transgender applicants for military service who otherwise meet all applicable applicant standards,” Eastburn said.

Last year, then-Defense Secretary Ash Carter ended the ban on transgender service members, allowing them to serve openly in the military. He said that within 12 months – or by July 2017 – transgender people also would be able to enlist.

Trump, however, tweeted in July that the federal government “will not accept or allow” transgender troops to serve “in any capacity” in the military. A month later, he issued a formal order telling the Pentagon to extend the ban. He gave the department six months to determine what to do about those currently serving.

Trump’s decision was quickly challenged in court, and two U.S. district court judges have already ruled against the ban. Part of one ruling required the government to allow transgender individuals to enlist beginning Jan. 1.

The government had asked that the Jan. 1 requirement be put on hold while the appeal proceeds. The Pentagon move Monday signals the growing sense within the government that authorities are likely to lose the legal fight.

“The controversy will not be about whether you allow transgender enlistees, it’s going to be on what terms,” said Brad Carson, who was deeply involved in the last administration’s decisions. “That’s really where the controversy will lie.”

Carson worried, however, that the Defense Department could opt to comply with a deadline on allowing transgender recruits, but “under such onerous terms that practically there will be none.” Carson, who worked for Carter as the acting undersecretary of defense for personnel, said requiring 18 months of stability in the preferred sex is a reasonable time.

“It doesn’t have any basis in science,” he said, noting that experts have suggested six months is enough. “But as a compromise among competing interests and perhaps to err on the side of caution, 18 months was what people came around to. And that’s a reasonable position and defensible.”

Let’s block ads! (Why?)


Pentagon to allow transgender people to enlist in military
Pentagon to allow transgender people to enlist in military
{$excerpt:n}
Source: AP HEADLINES

21 Rohingya women recount rape by Myanmar armed forces

AP Photo
AP Photo/Wong Maye-E

UKHIA, Bangladesh (AP) — The use of rape by Myanmar’s armed forces has been sweeping and methodical, The Associated Press found in interviews with 29 Rohingya Muslim women and girls now in Bangladesh.

They were interviewed separately, come from a variety of villages in Myanmar and now live spread across several refugee camps in Bangladesh. Yet their stories were hauntingly similar. The military has denied its soldiers raped any Rohingya women.

Here are the accounts as told by 21 women and girls. They agreed to be identified in this story by their first initial only, out of fear the military will kill them or their families.

SHE IS ONLY 13

She is only 13, but R had already learned to fear the military men. Last year, she says, soldiers stabbed her father to death.

One day in late August, 10 soldiers barged into R’s house. They snatched her two little brothers, tied them to a tree and beat them.

R tried to run out the front door, but the men caught her. They tethered her arms to two trees. They ripped off her earrings and bracelets, and stripped off her clothes.

R screamed at them to stop. They spit at her.

Then the first man began to rape her. The pain was excruciating. All ten men forced themselves on her before she passed out.

R’s older brothers carried her toward the border. Once in Bangladesh, a doctor gave her emergency contraceptives.

R desperately misses her little brothers, and her sleep is plagued by nightmares. She struggles to eat.

Before the rape, she says softly, she was pretty.

RAPED TWICE

F and her husband were asleep at home in June when seven soldiers charged into their bedroom. The men bound her husband with rope and gagged him with a scarf they ripped from F’s head.

They yanked off F’s jewelry and stripped off her clothes. They threw her to the floor, where the first soldier began to rape her.

Her husband wriggled the gag from his mouth and screamed. One soldier shot him, and another slit his throat.

After the assault, the men dumped F’s naked body outside her home and set it on fire. The neighbors rescued her. Two months later, she realized she was pregnant.

In September, her nightmare began again. F was asleep at a neighbor’s house when five soldiers broke down the door.

The soldiers slashed the throat of the 5-year-old boy who lived there and killed his father. They stripped off the women’s clothes. Two men raped F, and three men raped her friend.

After the men left, the women lay on the floor for days before fleeing for Bangladesh.

Despite everything, F is determined to love the child.

HER HUSBAND BLAMED HER

K and her family were settling down to breakfast one morning in late August when they heard the screams of other villagers outside. Her husband and three oldest children bolted out the door.

But K was nearly 9 months pregnant and had two toddlers to watch. She couldn’t run anywhere.

The men barged in, threw her on the bed, yanked off her jewelry and stole the money she had hidden in her blouse. They ripped off her clothes and tied down her hands and legs with rope. When she resisted, they choked her.

And then they began to rape her.

She was too terrified to move. One man held a knife to her eyeball, one a gun to her chest. Another forced himself inside her. Then they switched places. All three men raped her.

She began to bleed and was certain her baby was dying.

She blacked out.

When she awoke, the men had gone. Her husband blamed her for the assault, admonishing her for not running away.

The family fled to Bangladesh. Two weeks later, K gave birth to her son.

I WAS IN IMMENSE PAIN

R was at home in late August with her husband and five of her six children when she heard a commotion outside. She saw houses going up in flames in her village.

Her husband ran out, but she had the children to take care of.

Five soldiers barged into the house. Her children screamed and ran outside.

The men stripped off her clothes, took her necklace and kicked her in her back with their knees. Then one of the men began to rape her, while the other four held her down and hit her with their guns. When it was over, they took money and her husband’s clothes from the wardrobe.

She fled to Bangladesh with her family the next day. She struggled to move with her injuries, and had to use a walking stick.

“I was in immense pain,” she says, pausing to take a long breath at the memory. “It hurt so much to walk through the hills.”

Four days later, she arrived in Bangladesh.

ALLAH SAVED US

A was at home praying with her four children in late August when about 50 soldiers surrounded her village and opened fire on the men.

A began to shake; she had heard of soldiers raping women in other villages.

Three men burst into her house and told her to get out. She refused. They beat her.

Her children screamed. The soldiers slapped them, then threw them out of the house.

Two of the soldiers hit her until she fell. One pressed his boot against her chest, pinning her down. They took off her jewelry and stripped off her clothes.

Then all three raped her, punching and kicking her when she screamed. One pressed a knife to the back of her neck, making her bleed. She still bears a faint scar.

After the attack, she bled so heavily she thought she was dying. A farmer told her that her husband had been shot to death, so her brother, mother and daughter helped her make the painful trek to Bangladesh.

“They wanted to wipe us out from the world,” she says of the military. “They tried very hard, but Allah saved us.”

In the first few days after the attack, she cried all the time. Now she cries silently in her mind.

THE BABY GIRL WAS DEAD

M was at home feeding her son rice in late August when a bullet from the military blasted through the bamboo wall of her house and struck her teenage brother.

Her husband and children ran out of the house. But M was 8 months pregnant, and did not want to leave her brother behind. For two days, she stayed by his side, until he died.

Soon after, four soldiers charged into her house.

They began slapping and punching her. Three soldiers dragged her outside the house, stripped her and beat her. When she screamed, they put a gun in her mouth.

The first man began to rape her, while the other two held her down and punched and kicked her pregnant belly.

After the second rape, she kicked them so ferociously, they finally left.

M felt intense cramping in her belly. She gave birth that night at home. The baby girl was dead. M buried the infant in an unmarked grave by her house.

Her husband returned, and they made the three-day walk through the hills to Bangladesh.

“They humiliated us, they destroyed our land and farm, they took our cows, they took our produce,” she says. “How would I go back? They destroyed our livelihood.”

WHEN WILL I HAVE PEACE?

H was reciting the sunrise prayer at home in late August with her husband and six children when she heard a commotion outside.

A dozen soldiers burst through her door and started beating her husband. They grabbed three of her children by their feet, carried them outside and bashed them against trees, killing them.

Her husband screamed, and H ran out of the house. As she fled, she heard gunshots behind her. She never saw her husband again.

She made it with her three other children to the nearby hills, where other women from her village were hiding. But soldiers descended upon the women and dragged them away to rape them.

They ripped off H’s clothes, took her jewelry and tied her hands behind her back with her headscarf.

One man held her head and hands back, while another held her legs. The third raped her. Then they switched. All three men raped her.

Her crying children refused to leave her side during the assault. The soldiers slapped them, kicked them, tried to shove them away. They refused to budge.

When the soldiers finished, her 8-year-old daughter tried to cover her naked body with her torn clothing.

It took her and her children four days to reach Bangladesh.

“I’ve lost my husband, I’ve lost my children, I’ve lost my country. When will God take me back to my country?” H says. “When will I have peace?”

I BURN INSIDE FOR MY CHILDREN

When seven soldiers stormed into the house in October, 2016, S’s husband fled. The soldiers began beating her parents.

A soldier beat S with his gun, ripped two of her babies from her arms and dropped them on the floor. They tore the clothes off S, her mother and several other young women in the house, and took S’s earrings and money she had hidden in her clothes.

Two soldiers took S to a field. They covered her mouth with their hands to stop her screams. They held her down and raped her.

When it was over, she hid in the hills but eventually returned home.

In August, S was at home with her family when the military began firing rocket launchers at houses, setting them ablaze. Her husband and two eldest children fled, but she stayed behind to pack up her baby girls and a few belongings. One baby was in a swing, the other sleeping on the floor.

A rocket launcher hit the house. The babies went up in flames before her eyes.

There was nothing she could do. So she ran. She hid with the rest of her family in the hills for several days before making the 3-day trek to Bangladesh.

“I burn inside for my children, but what can I do?” she asks. “They burned to death. I guess that was my destiny.”

SHE TOLD NO ONE

The military surrounded N’s village one early morning in late August. Around 18 soldiers stormed her house, and dragged N outside with her sister-in-law and mother-in-law.

The women were taken to the center of the village, where soldiers robbed them of their jewelry.

Three men then took her to the hills and stripped her naked. Two men held down her hands while a third raped her. Then they switched positions. All three raped her.

During the attack, they showed her their knives and beat her. She was too frightened to fight back.

When it was over, they left her there. She returned home and told no one about the rape.

She was in agony after the assault and bled for eight days.

SHE SAW HER VILLAGE BURNING

There was no warning before five soldiers suddenly stormed into 16-year-old S’s house one morning in early August.

They searched the home for money and valuables. Then they slashed her husband’s neck, killing him. The men briefly left to ransack other neighboring houses, before returning.

Two soldiers pulled her into a room, snatched her 3-month-old son from her arms and put him on the floor. They searched her clothes for valuables and took her earrings. Another three men came in and began to beat her with guns while the others stripped off her clothes.

One soldier held down her hands, and another put his gun in her mouth. All five men raped her.

When she struggled, they beat her. She could hear her baby crying and was terrified the men would kill him.

When they were finished, they let her get dressed and then dragged her bleeding body outside to the center of the village. Soldiers were dragging other women they had assaulted out of surrounding houses. The men beat S and the other women again, then left them.

S ran back to her house, grabbed her baby and ran. As she fled, she saw soldiers lining men and boys up and shooting them. When she made it to the hills, she looked down and saw her village burning.

SHE NEVER SAW HER SON AGAIN

The soldiers had been harassing T’s family for days: Showing up and stealing their food, urinating in their rice, hitting T and, once, stripping off her clothes.

And then one morning in mid-August, five men dragged her husband out of the house, where they slashed his neck. They grabbed her 10-year-old son and dragged him outside; she never saw him again. Her 12-year-old daughter managed to flee.

The soldiers took off T’s earrings and nose ring, then stripped off her clothes. When she screamed, they kicked her.

Then they pinned her to the floor. Two men held her while the first man raped her. Then they switched. One man put a gun in her mouth to silence her screams.

Afterward, she bled for two days. Months later, her back still hurts from the attack.

When they finished, they ate the food in her kitchen and stole her chicken and duck. They also dragged away the body of her husband.

She ran into the hills and found her daughter and father. They tried to find safety in neighboring villages, but the military kept showing up. With nowhere to go, they headed toward Bangladesh.

ALL I HAVE LEFT ARE MY WORDS

N’s husband was walking down a road in late August when several villagers saw soldiers grab him and drag him into the hills. Later that day, children in the hills came upon his head, along with several other corpses. Soldiers were milling around near the bodies.

N stayed in her house with her 8-year-old daughter for the next few days, unable to stop crying. Then suddenly, around 80 soldiers descended on the village. Five soldiers came to her door and shouted: “Who’s inside?”

N was terrified. The men barged in.

One man held her as she screamed and fought. They covered her eyes with tape, and hit her head with a gun. Two held her in place while three others began rifling through her clothing. There was nothing for them to steal; she’d already hidden her valuables.

They ripped her clothes off and beat her in the head with a gun until she blacked out. When she awoke, her vagina was swollen, bleeding and covered in sores. She had clearly been raped; by how many men, she does not know.

She was in too much pain that day to leave the house. She and her daughter fled the next day for Bangladesh. She bled for eight days, and three months later still has trouble urinating.

“I have nothing left,” she says, blinking back tears. “All I have left are my words.”

SHE BLED FOR SIX DAYS

N, 17, was at home with her parents and siblings in late August when she heard the crackle of gunfire. Suddenly, 10 men burst into the house. They began slashing open sacks of rice looking for valuables.

Then the soldiers tied her hands with rope behind her back and put tape over her mouth.

Five of the men held her frantic family back, hitting them with their guns. They ripped off her clothes, snatched her earrings and took the money she had hidden in her new blouse.

When she tried to protest, they hit her with their guns.

They threw her to the floor. Five men then took turns raping her, while the others helped hold her down.

Her parents were forced to watch. When they screamed, the soldiers beat them. Eventually, they stood in silence as their daughter was assaulted.

After the men left, N’s parents untied her and washed her. She bled for six days.

The family left for Bangladesh the next day. N was in too much pain to walk, so her father carried her over the border.

IT WAS JUST ALL PAIN

Around 100 soldiers surrounded A’s village one afternoon in late August. A’s husband fled, leaving her alone in the house with their 2-year-old son.

Two soldiers came into her house. One soldier threw her baby on the floor, then grabbed A by the neck. Both men slapped her and pointed their guns at her.

They tore off her clothes. She wept and begged them to stop. One of the men took off her earrings. Then they shoved her to the ground, laughing at her.

One soldier pressed his knife to her right hip and cut into her flesh. Both of them punched her in the face.

The men then took turns raping her. She could hear her son crying. She prayed to Allah, terrified the men would kill her and her boy.

“It was just all pain,” she says now.

As the soldiers walked out, they fired their guns toward the sky.

After the rape, she couldn’t eat for days and struggled to walk. She hid in the nearby hills with her son until she found her husband. Together, the family walked for 14 days until they finally crossed the border into Bangladesh.

TEARING HER FLESH WITH THEIR TEETH

M was at home with her husband, her sister-in-law and her sister-in-law’s brother in late August when security forces stormed their village. The husbands fled, leaving M alone in the house with her sister-in-law, who was in the shower.

Three men kicked the door open. They tied M’s arms behind her back.

They dragged her sister-in-law out of the shower. They bit her face and body, tearing her flesh with their teeth. All three men raped her, then stabbed her torso and her breasts with their knives, killing her.

One of the men came over to M, stripped her clothes off and took her earrings.

He unzipped his pants, pushed her down onto her back and then raped her. He choked her and punched her in the face and chest, and bit her eyebrow.

She was terrified she would be killed like her sister-in-law. She screamed so loudly that her neighbors came running. The men then fled.

She has no plans to return to Myanmar.

“How can I go where there is all this pain and suffering?” she says.

SHE DOES NOT KNOW HOW THEY DIED

D was at home one evening in late August when she heard noise outside. Her two older sons and husband rushed out of the house, leaving her alone with her 3-year-old boy.

Three men entered her home. She screamed and her son began to cry.

They took her nose ring and earrings, then ripped off her clothes.

One man restrained her arms and held a knife to her hip while the other two men raped her. She feared the men would kill her, so she stifled her screams.

After two hours, the men finally left. When her husband returned, he found her naked. But she was too ashamed to tell him what had happened to her.

She was so swollen and bled so much that she found it difficult to walk for nearly three weeks after the rape.

They fled to another village. While there, people from her village told her that her home had been burned, and that they had seen the dead bodies of her eldest sons. She does not know how they died.

D and her family arrived in Bangladesh in October.

IT WAS NEVER-ENDING

It was late August and K was around four months pregnant when soldiers swarmed her village.

Four men smashed the door open, tied up her husband and began beating and kicking the couple’s children. They kicked K’s 3-year-old daughter in the head so hard that she died of her injuries three days later.

They dragged K’s husband out of the house and took him to a police station.

They snatched the money she had hidden in her blouse and took her earrings. Then they ripped off her clothes.

They hit her face and kicked her back. They tied her up and began to rape her, one after the other. The men kicked her so viciously, she feared the baby inside her would die.

“It was never-ending,” she says now.

Just before the men left, they shoved a gun inside her vagina. The pain was excruciating.

The next day, a village leader helped raise the money the soldiers demanded to release K’s husband from the police station.

In November, K gave birth to a baby boy. He was two months’ premature, and his skinny arms are barely wider than an adult’s thumb. K is too malnourished to produce much milk for him, so he is subsisting on sugar water.

SHE FEARED HER BABY WAS DYING

S was pregnant and at home with her family in late August when 20 soldiers surrounded her village. All the men in the area fled, including her husband.

Four soldiers burst into the house, grabbed her two crying toddlers and beat them. She tried to run, but they caught her and dragged her deeper inside the home to a bathing area.

One man threatened her with a gun, another with a knife. They ripped her clothes off, and took her gold earrings and gold chain. They threw her to the floor.

One man held her left arm, one held her right arm and one held down her legs, while the fourth man raped her. Then they switched. All four men raped her. When she screamed, they threatened to shoot and stab her.

They kicked and punched her so hard, she feared the baby inside her was dying. Finally, they left.

After the attack, she felt sharp pains in her belly and bled for a month. For two weeks, she thought the baby had died. Finally, she felt something moving inside her.

Her husband never returned home. She does not know whether he is dead or alive.

IF WE CAN LIVE PEACEFULLY

It was mid-afternoon one day in late August when about 10 men in camouflage uniforms entered M’s house. Her three children began to scream and cry. Five men took her husband away, and four forced her out of the house and into the nearby hills.

One of the men held a gun to her. They tore her clothes off and took her earrings. They bit her face and her body and hit her.

They tied her mouth with her own headscarf. And then three of the men held her down while the other man raped her. The attack lasted for hours; all four of the men raped her.

The men eventually released her and she stumbled back to her house. Her husband was not there.

After resting for five days, she took her children and began the three-day journey to Bangladesh. She had to use a walking stick to move her battered body.

Despite the horror she endured, she would consider returning to her homeland – if she is assured of her family’s safety.

“If we can live peacefully side by side like we do here in Bangladesh, then I will go back,” she says.

WE’VE HAD ENOUGH TORTURE

F was at home in late August when she heard screaming outside. Her husband went to investigate and saw that about 300 soldiers and Buddhist villagers had surrounded the area. The men began burning houses and arresting people. Soldiers separated the men from the women.

About eight soldiers and villagers grabbed F’s husband and tied his hands behind his back. They tore off her and her mother’s jewelry. Then they took the women outside and set fire to F’s house.

Around 100 men took F, her mother and about 20 other women to another village. The soldiers beat them with guns, kicking and slapping them.

Once they reached the next village, the women were forced to lie down on the ground next to each other. The men tied their wrists together with rope and began to rape them.

Ten men raped F, beat her with their guns, kicked her and slapped her. She could hear her mother crying and calling “Allah” as she, too, was raped.

It was dark when the men finally left. F managed to wriggle her wrists free of the rope and ran into a field. In the morning, she returned to search for her mother, but she had vanished. She saw at least five women lying dead on the ground, their throats cut.

She has no idea what has become of her husband. And she cannot imagine returning to her homeland.

“We’ve had enough torture,” she says.

SHE DOES NOT KNOW IF HER HUSBAND IS ALIVE

S was lying in bed with her husband and son after dinner in late August when around 10 soldiers burst into the house. A few took her husband outside. Five stayed behind, and one pointed his gun at her.

She tried to run, but they grabbed her and kicked her back, stomach and chest. They stripped off her clothes and took her necklace and earrings. Three men raped her.

Her young son began to cry. A soldier pointed his gun at the child and he screamed louder.

S was in agony. After the men were finished, they took her outside, naked. Her son followed them. About two dozen other women, also naked, had been dragged outside as well.

The soldiers forced the women to march toward a rice paddy, beating and kicking them as they walked. S felt blood running down her legs. Once they arrived, the men ordered them to lie down. S fought back and soldiers kicked her. She fell to the ground.

Three more soldiers began to rape her.

When at last the assault was over, S fled back toward her house with her son, only to find her home had been burned along with many others. She does not know if her husband is alive.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)


21 Rohingya women recount rape by Myanmar armed forces
21 Rohingya women recount rape by Myanmar armed forces
{$excerpt:n}
Source: AP HEADLINES

Michigan St AD retires; Dantonio defends himself

AP Photo
AP Photo/Al Goldis

EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan State University’s athletic director retired two days after the university president resigned over the school’s handling of sexual abuse allegations against its disgraced former sports doctor, Larry Nassar.

Mark Hollis, who had been in the job for 10 years, disclosed the move Friday during a meeting with a small group of reporters on campus. He was asked why he would not stay on.

“Because I care,” Hollis said, holding back tears. “When you look at the scope of everything, that’s the reason I made a choice to retire now. And I hope that has a little bit, a little bit, of helping that healing process.”

Hours later, the university named its vice president to serve as acting president after the departure of President Lou Anna Simon. Bill Beekman is expected to serve briefly in the role until the board of trustees can hire an interim president and then a permanent leader.

Also Friday, USA Gymnastics confirmed that its entire board of directors would resign as requested by the U.S. Olympic Committee. The USOC had threatened to decertify the organization, which besides picking U.S. national teams is the umbrella organization for hundreds of clubs across the country.

Some of the nation’s top gymnasts, including Olympians Aly Raisman, McKayla Maroney, Simone Biles and Jordyn Wieber, said they were among Nassar’s victims.

At the university board’s meeting, Chairman Brian Breslin said it was “clear that MSU has not been focused enough on the victims.” The trustees, he said, want to resume discussions with those who have sued the school to “reach a fair and just conclusion.” Talks broke down last year.

The board plans to ask an independent third party to review health and safety at the school, and it wants state Attorney General Bill Schuette to consider appointing a neutral investigator to conduct an inquiry of the Nassar matter “to promote bipartisan acceptance of the results.” Schuette, who is running for governor, will further detail his probe in a news conference Saturday.

Trustee Brian Mosallam addressed his remarks toward the victims: “I am so truly sorry. We failed you.”

Beekman is vice president and secretary of the board. He began working at the university in 1995 and previously led the MSU Alumni Association. He has an undergraduate degree from MSU.

“I think our culture here at Michigan State clearly needs to improve,” he said. “We need to be able to make everybody that comes on our campus feel safe.”

Simon submitted her resignation Wednesday after Nassar, a former Michigan State employee, was sentenced to 40 to 175 years in prison for molesting young girls and women under the guise of medical treatment.

Several of the 150-plus victims who spoke at his sentencing hearing were former athletes at the school, and many victims accused the university of mishandling past complaints about Nassar.

“I don’t believe that I’ve ever met him,” Hollis said of Nassar. He insisted he did not know about complaints of abuse until an Indianapolis Star report in 2016.

Gov. Rick Snyder said Friday he is mulling an inquiry into the university, depending on whether it would interfere with other investigations such as the attorney general’s. Under the state constitution, the governor can remove or suspend public officers for “gross neglect of duty,” corruption or “other misfeasance or malfeasance.”

“The governor hasn’t seen enough done for the survivors after everything they’ve gone through,” spokeswoman Anna Heaton said. “He wants to make sure that something is being done.”

U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos confirmed Friday that her agency is also investigating the Nassar scandal. She said in a statement that what happened at the school is “abhorrent” and “cannot happen ever again – there or anywhere.”

The Education Department was already reviewing separate complaints about the school’s compliance with Title IX, the law that requires public schools to offer equal opportunities to both genders, and compliance with requirements about providing campus crime and security information.

The board expressed support for Simon before her resignation, but she faced pressure from many students, faculty and legislators. While there has been no evidence that Simon or Hollis knew of Nassar’s sexual abuse, some of the women and girls who accused him said they complained to university employees as far back as the late 1990s.

Board members, who are elected in statewide votes, have also come under intense scrutiny. Two announced they will not seek re-election. Another, Joel Ferguson, apologized at the meeting for conducting an interview in which he said there was more going on at Michigan State than “this Nassar thing.”

The university faces lawsuits from more than 130 victims. Ferguson previously had said victims were ambulance chasers seeking a payday. The school resisted calls for an independent investigation before asking Schuette for a review a week ago.

Dozens of Michigan State students gathered Friday evening on campus to protest the school’s handling of the Nassar allegations. Some were expected to march to the Breslin Center where the men’s basketball team was hosting Wisconsin Friday night.

Organizers called for students attending the game to wear teal-colored T-shirts in the “Izzone,” a vocal student cheering section named after head basketball coach Tom Izzo.

In a recent filing, Michigan State asked a judge to dismiss the lawsuits on technical grounds. The school says it has immunity under state law and that the majority of victims were not MSU students at the time of the alleged assaults.

“These arguments can seem disrespectful” to victims, but a defense is required by Michigan State’s insurers, Simon wrote last week in a campus-wide email. She added, “We have the utmost respect and sympathy” for victims.

The board last month authorized the creation of a $10 million fund to offer victims counseling and mental health services.

A Title IX probe conducted by the university cleared Nassar of sexual assault allegations in 2014. He was advised by the school to avoid being alone with patients while treating their “sensitive areas,” but the school did not follow up on and enforce its request.

At least 12 reported assaults occurred after the investigation ended, according to a university police report that was provided to the FBI for review by the U.S. attorney.

Hollis said he did not know about the 2014 investigation and has told as much to the FBI and campus police.

Former Michigan State rower Cate Hannum, who was treated by Nassar and wrote an open letter criticizing Simon’s handling of the case almost a year ago, said Hollis would not be retiring if he had “approached the situation with integrity from the very beginning instead of adopting a not-my-problem attitude.”

Now it doesn’t matter what Hollis did for MSU athletics, she said, “because he will be remembered for egregiously failing his female athletes.”

Hannum reached out to Nike about the apparel company’s partnership with Michigan State. Nike replied with a letter and a phone call to Hannum, who said she’s pleased with the response.

“We stand in support of athletes and we’ve expressed our deep concerns with Michigan State University,” the letter said. “We are following the details of the rapidly developing events at the university and evolving actions by the Board of Trustees.”

A message seeking comment was left with Nike earlier this week by The Associated Press.

Before the Spartans basketball game Friday night, football coach Mark Dantonio briefly addressed reporters in response to an ESPN report detailing various allegations involving Michigan State football and basketball players.

“I’m here tonight to say that any accusations of my handling of any complaints of sexual assault individually are completely false,” Dantonio said. “Every incident reported in that article was documented by either police or the Michigan State Title IX office. I’ve always worked with the proper authorities when dealing with the cases of sexual assault.”

The fallout also includes former Michigan State basketball player Travis Walton, put on administrative leave by the Los Angeles Clippers, who employ him as an assistant coach with their G League team. Walton had assault and battery charges dismissed and was named in a sexual assault report in 2010, according to ESPN, citing a police report and university document. Hollis said he would conduct his own investigation about sexual assault allegations against Walton, a former Michigan State sexual assault counselor told ESPN.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)


Michigan St AD retires; Dantonio defends himself
Michigan St AD retires; Dantonio defends himself
{$excerpt:n}
Source: AP HEADLINES

US jury acquits Peruvian defendant in FIFA bribery case

AP Photo
AP Photo/Andres Kudacki

NEW YORK (AP) — A former South American soccer official was acquitted Tuesday of a corruption charge stemming from the FIFA bribery scandal after two others were convicted last week, capping a trial in which U.S. prosecutors sought to expose a culture of greed and corruption among the powerful men who oversee the world’s most popular sport.

Jurors found Manuel Burga, the 60-year-old former president of Peru’s soccer federation, not guilty of a single racketeering conspiracy charge.

Burga wept when the acquittal was announced.

After the verdict, he came out of the courtroom, his eyes wet and said: “God Bless America. That’s all I can say.”

Burga said he would go home and resume a career as a lawyer that had been largely left behind for the last 15 years during his career as a soccer executive.

“My history in soccer is finished,” he said. “I’ll go back to the law.”

On Friday, jurors told U.S. District Judge Pamela Chen they were deadlocked on Burga’s case but had reached guilty verdicts on multiple charges against two other former officials: Juan Napout, of Paraguay, and Jose Maria Marin, of Brazil. Chen gave jurors the holiday weekend to think about Burga’s case.

The judge had jailed Marin, 85, and Napout, 59, after their convictions Friday. The two were acquitted on some lesser charges. Burga, meanwhile, was waiting on his passport to return home.

Marin, Burga and Napout had been arrested in 2015. Prosecutors accused them of agreeing to take millions of dollars in bribes from businessmen seeking to lock up lucrative media rights or influence hosting rights for the World Cup and other major tournaments controlled by FIFA.

Burga was the first person to be acquitted among the more than 40 people and entities in the world of global soccer charged in the U.S. in connection with an investigation that uncovered hundreds of millions of dollars in bribes and kickbacks. Of those, 24 pleaded guilty in addition to the two convictions Friday.

World soccer’s governing body had said last week it would seek compensation and a share of the cash.

“As the jury has found a number of defendants guilty of the charged crimes, FIFA will now take all necessary steps to seek restitution and recover any losses caused by their misconduct,” according to a statement from FIFA.

During the trial, the defense argued that the men were innocent bystanders framed by untrustworthy cooperators angling for leniency in their own cases. Burga’s lawyer claimed there was no proof he took bribes.

“I would submit to you that never has more been made of less evidence,” said Burga’s lawyer, Bruce Udolf.

Burga got some unwanted attention early in the trial when prosecutors claimed he unnerved the government’s star witness, a former marketing executive from Argentina, by directing a threatening gesture at him – running his fingers across his throat in a slicing motion. The lawyer claimed his client was merely scratching his throat, but the judge took the incident seriously enough to tighten Burga’s house arrest conditions.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)


US jury acquits Peruvian defendant in FIFA bribery case
US jury acquits Peruvian defendant in FIFA bribery case
{$excerpt:n}
Source: AP HEADLINES

N. Korea says it's a 'pipe dream' that it will give up nukes

AP Photo
AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korea said it is a “pipe dream” for the United States to think it will give up its nuclear weapons, and called the latest U.N. sanctions to target the country “an act of war” that violates its sovereignty.

The U.N. Security Council unanimously approved tough new sanctions against North Korea on Friday in response to its latest launch of a ballistic missile that Pyongyang says can reach anywhere on the U.S. mainland. The resolution was drafted by the United States and negotiated with the North’s closest ally, China.

“We define this ‘sanctions resolution’ rigged up by the U.S. and its followers as a grave infringement upon the sovereignty of our Republic, as an act of war violating peace and stability in the Korean peninsula and the region and categorically reject the ‘resolution,'” North Korea’s foreign ministry said in a statement on Sunday.

The ministry said the sanctions are tantamount to a “complete economic blockade” of North Korea.

“If the U.S. wishes to live safely, it must abandon its hostile policy towards the DPRK and learn to co-exist with the country that has nuclear weapons and should wake up from its pipe dream of our country giving up nuclear weapons which we have developed and completed through all kinds of hardships,” said the statement, carried by the North’s official Korean Central News Agency.

DPRK is short for North Korea’s official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

The resolution adopted by the Security Council includes sharply lower limits on North Korea’s refined oil imports, the return home of all North Koreans working overseas within 24 months, and a crackdown on ships smuggling banned items including coal and oil to and from the country.

The Trump administration’s success in achieving the resolution won praise from the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Ben Cardin of Maryland. “That was a good move, a major accomplishment,” he said.

Cardin, who spoke on “Fox News Sunday,” said the stepped-up sanctions should be followed by diplomacy aimed at bringing the U.S. and China together on a sustained effort to ease tensions in that region.

But the resolution doesn’t include even harsher measures sought by the Trump administration that would ban all oil imports and freeze international assets of the government and its leader, Kim Jong Un.

The resolution drew criticism from Russia for the short time the Security Council nations had to consider the draft, and last-minute changes to the text. Two of those changes were extending the deadline for North Korean workers to return home from 12 months to 24 months – which Russia said was the minimum needed – and reducing the number of North Koreans being put on the U.N. sanctions blacklist from 19 to 15.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)


N. Korea says it's a 'pipe dream' that it will give up nukes
N. Korea says it's a 'pipe dream' that it will give up nukes
{$excerpt:n}
Source: AP HEADLINES