Audio recording emerges of ‘orchestra’ of crying children in migrant detention center

first_imgU.S. Customs and Border Protection(NEW YORK) — Young migrant children, fighting through tears, can be heard crying “Mami” and “Papa” in an eight-minute audio clip first obtained by ProPublica.The children are believed to be between 4 and 10 years of age, and they’re crying because their parents have been detained elsewhere after crossing the U.S.-Mexico border, according to an activist who provided the recording.“Well, we have an orchestra here — what’s missing is a conductor,” said a male voice on the recording, someone believed to be a U.S. Border Patrol agent.One of the children heard on the recording is a 6-year-old girl from El Salvador begging a consulate official to let her call her aunt. She repeats the digits and announces, through tears: “My mommy says that I’ll go with my aunt, and that she’ll come to pick me up there as quickly as possible.”ProPublica caught up with the U.S.-based aunt — herself seeking asylum in the country — who confirmed that the little girl’s family paid $7,000 to a guide to smuggle them into Mexico and then the U.S.The call she received from her niece rendered her powerless, she told ProPublica.“Imagine getting a call from your 6-year-old niece,” she said. “She’s crying and begging me to go get her. She says, ‘I promise I’ll behave, but please get me out of here. I’m all alone.’”ProPublica reported that the girl and the rest of the wailing children heard on the audio hadn’t been at the facility a full 24 hours “so their distress at having been separated from their parents was still raw.” And while some officials were doling out snacks, the outlet claimed that many children “were inconsolable.”The recording was captured last week and given to Jennifer Harbury, a civil rights attorney who confirmed its authenticity to ABC News. She told ProPublica the person who made the recording was a client of hers who asked to remain anonymous because that person feared retribution. That person “heard the children’s weeping and crying, and was devastated by it.”Government statistics indicate that, so far, nearly 2,000 children were separated from their families over a six-week period in April and May.Melania Trump’s spokeswoman issued a statement after several days of images of crying children appearing on television and online saying that the first lady “hates to see children separated from their families,” and the president said on Friday: “I hate the children being taken away” before blaming those actions on Democrats and “their law.”There is no such law.“To a select few in the media, Congress and the advocacy community, I’d like to start with a message for you: This department will no longer stand by and watch you attack law enforcement for enforcing the laws passed by Congress,” Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said on Monday at the National Sheriffs’ Association in New Orleans. “We will not apologize for the job we do, for the job law enforcement does and for the job the American people expect us to do.”Those comments came a day after she said on Twitter: “We do not have a policy of separating families at the border. Period.”Attorney General Jeff Sessions has justified the fracturing of families by quoting The Bible.“I would cite you to the Apostle Paul and his clear and wise command in Romans 13, ‘To obey the laws of the government because God has ordained them for His purposes,’” he said last week.White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders didn’t directly defend Sessions’ quoting of the Bible, but suggested it’s religiously prudent to enforce the law.“I can say that it is very biblical to enforce the law. That is actually repeated a number of times throughout the Bible,” Sanders said. “It’s a moral policy to follow and enforce the law.”The president on Monday took a hardline on the border crisis during an announcement of a Space Force.“The United States,” he said, “will not be a migrant camp and it will not be a refugee holding facility.”Save & CloseCopyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.last_img read more

Loan applications for home purchases jump 12%

first_imgKan attributed that to mortgage rates falling to record lows. The 30-year fixed mortgage rate dropped to 3.43 percent, down 2 basis points from the prior week’s contract rate and 99 basis points below the year-ago figure.The broader index, which includes refinance applications, still dropped because the vast majority of last week’s mortgage activity, 72 percent, was refinancing. Although home loan applications for purchases climbed, they accounted for only about a quarter of the pie.With the coronavirus pandemic putting a major damper on home-buying, the purchase index is down more than 20 percent year-over-year. The week ending April 3, purchase application activity fell to its lowest level since 2015.The refi index fell 7.3 percent — the second consecutive decline. Kan attributed that to refinance rates remaining higher than purchase loan rates.“Lenders are still working through pipelines at capacity, and observed changes in credit availability for refinance loans have also in turn impacted rates,” he said.Three weeks ago, for the week of April 10, MBA’s overall mortgage index trended up thanks to homeowners looking to refinance. Some have speculated that homeowners converted some home equity to cash to weather the economic slowdown.Write to Erin Hudson at [email protected] This content is for subscribers only.Subscribe Now (Credit: iStock)Home loan applications dropped last week as refinancing requests waned but requests for purchases showed a healthy gain.The Mortgage Bankers Association’s index measuring home loan application volume slid 3.3 percent, seasonally adjusted, for the period ending April 24 from the week before. But one element of that index — a metric tracking mortgage applications to buy single-family homes — jumped by 12 percent, nearly four times the previous week’s rise.Joel Kan, MBA’s associate vice president of economic and industry forecasting, said in a statement that it could be “a sign of the start of an upturn in the pandemic-delayed spring homebuying season, as coronavirus lockdown restrictions slowly ease in various markets.”He also noted it was the strongest level in about a month and pointed to a “significant gain” in New York after five of the past six weeks saw purchase activity decline.Purchase applications in New York rose 13.7 percent last week — not seasonally adjusted — after dropping 8.3 percent the week before.In California, activity increased by 17.2 percent, unadjusted, after edging up by 2.9 percent the previous week. Washington saw purchase activity rise by 16.1 percent unadjusted on the heels of a 12.3 percent gain.Read moreHomeowners looking to refinance boost mortgage applicationsApplications for home loans at lowest level since 2015These banks are pulling back from mortgage lending. Here’s what that means to the housing marketlast_img read more

England scraps coronavirus quarantine for ‘high value’ business travelers

first_imgBut these rules will be loosened in England from December 15, when travelers can be released early from quarantine after receiving a negative COVID test. Shapps said the change will allow “more travel to support the economy and jobs.” The exemptions come into place at 4 a.m. on Saturday.The Department for Transport said the change relates to individuals “undertaking specific business activity which would deliver a significant benefit to the U.K. economy – including activity that creates or preserves 50+ UK jobs.”But the guidance said individuals “will only be exempt when undertaking the specific business activity and will only be able to meet with others as required by that specific activity.”It also applies to “high talent” individuals working in certain arts and sports jobs that require international travel.The department added: “Public Health England do not anticipate these changes will raise the risk of domestic transmission, due to the protocols being put in place around these exemptions, however all exemptions will remain under review.”While other European countries have introduced testing for travelers to replace quarantines, the U.K. has maintained strict rules on self-isolation for several months, despite calls from the aviation sector to change tack. “High value” international business travelers will not have to quarantine when traveling to England, even if they come from places classed as high-risk for the coronavirus, the U.K.’s Transport Secretary Grant Shapps announced this evening.TV production staff, journalists, some performing arts professionals and “recently signed elite sportspersons” will also be exempt “subject to specific criteria being met.”The current rules require travelers to self-isolate for 14 days on return from a country that is not on the U.K.’s “safe” travel corridor list.last_img read more

NEJC Capitol Update: ‘It is my goal to keep our state off [The Daily Show]’

first_imgTo keep our readers better informed about the state government actions that impact our communities, we feature an update columns each Monday from one of northeast Johnson County’s elected officials: Rep. Barbara Bollier, Rep. Stephanie Clayton, Rep. Jarrod Ousley, Rep. Melissa Rooker and Sen. Kay Wolf. Rep. Clayton submits this week’s update:Deadlines are looming in the Kansas Legislature, and we are moving at a frenetic pace in our House committees to finish our work so that we can get our business to the House Floor, vote the bills out, and send them over to the Senate so they can be reviewed.In Social Services Budget committee, I had the opportunity as a legislator to call for a Post Audit of the KEES computer program, which is designed to streamline the eligibility system for State Benefits. The KEES system has been delayed from going “live” for years, and I consider this to be a big problem. It is my hope that the audit will reveal why this is happening, and lead to a quick resolution so that Kansas is able to more efficiently deliver services to vulnerable citizens.My chief legislative project, the Transparency Act, had a hearing in a House committee and a Senate committee. As many of you know, Senator Wolf has been instrumental in getting the bill, designed to live-stream proceedings in select committee rooms, through the Senate. The main roadblock is in the House, although I am optimistic, as the hearings on both sides went very well.I was intensely displeased to see that our Governor rescinded the protections for LGBT State Employees. I personally believe that LGBT citizens should not be discriminated against, and I also believe that the ill-treatment of such citizens has a disastrous effect on the image of our state. I have friends and family members who are LGBT, but more importantly, I have constituents who are, and it is my job to make sure that all of my constituents are being served well- which obviously includes making sure they aren’t being discriminated against. When the Governor’s executive action was revealed, Kansas became the object of ridicule on The Daily Show. Many of you have heard me say that it is my goal to keep our state off of that show, and while the goal may seem frivolous, that show is a barometer for national perception of our state. Why does what the rest of the country thinks about Kansas matter? Because, if we are seen as backward or hateful, companies will not want to do business here. Organizations will not want to hold their conventions here. People will not want to live here.All legislators, as well as our Governor, want to see Kansas first grow, and then thrive economically. The problem here is that we have fundamental disagreements as to how we get the state to that endpoint. It has always been my belief that if we have a strong, reasonable, stable and, yes, *friendly* Kansas, then business will grow. I remain committed in my endeavor to make it “nice” here, so that our citizenry and economy can prosper.I enjoy hearing from constituents. Please e-mail me at [email protected], find me on Facebook, or follow me on twitter @sscjocoks for real-time updates from the statehouse.last_img read more

Heat wave may have claimed 13 lives

first_imgBut the slightly cooler temperatures were likely little solace to the nearly 30,000 Southern California Edison customers without power as of Tuesday afternoon, according to SCE spokeswoman Vanessa McGrady. Of those, more than 3,000 in 60 communities had been without electricity for more than 36 hours. About 1,200 San Gabriel Valley and Whittier area residents had been without power going on two days, according to McGrady. Among the hardest hit communities were Whittier, with 144 customers affected; La Habra, with 188; West Covina, with 100; and El Monte, with 88. – From staff and wire reports165Let’s talk business.Catch up on the business news closest to you with our daily newsletter. Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Family members said McGlothan had several fans running inside the home, but that she refused to open her windows fearing that neighborhood children would look inside. They said McGlothan also refused to allow servicemen to install an air conditioner purchased for her by her apartment’s management company. On Monday, a couple in their 80s was found dead at about 4:30 p.m. in their apartment in the 5100 block of Laurel Canyon Boulevard in Valley Village, near Studio City. Firefighters who first responded to the scene said temperatures inside the apartment had reached about 110 degrees and that an air conditioning unit was not on at the time. The dead man was identified as 82-year-old Lugassi Menahem. The woman’s identity was being withheld pending notification of next of kin. In Lancaster, coroner’s investigators were also looking into the death of 53-year-old Linda Burkhart, whose body was found Sunday in the car in which she is believed to have been living. “None of the (causes of death) in these cases have been confirmed,” said Dietz. “But they are all possibly heat related.” Coroner’s investigators were still trying to determine the places of residence of the remaining heat-related fatalities late Tuesday, said spokesman Craig Harvey. Temperatures were expected to drop significantly this week as the high pressure system that caused the heat wave moves eastward past California and Arizona, said Stuart Seto, weather specialist with the National Weather Service. An elderly Pasadena woman was among 13 Southland residents likely killed as a result of the Labor Day weekend heat wave, coroner’s investigators said Tuesday. The body of Dorothy McGlothan, 85, was found in her apartment in the 900 block of North Raymond Avenue in Pasadena at about 1:11 p.m. Sunday, said Larry Dietz, watch commander for the Los Angeles County Coroner’s office. Firefighters said all the windows were closed inside McGlothan’s apartment when they arrived on Sunday afternoon and that temperatures inside hit 120 degrees. Temperatures in Pasadena reached 106 degrees on Sunday, according to Accuweather.com. last_img read more

Lunar New Year at Folkmoot

first_imgJoin Folkmoot for a Friendship Dinner celebrating the Lunar New Year on Friday, February 8, 2019 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the Folkmoot Friendship Center, located in the Historic Hazelwood School at 112 Virginia Avenue in Waynesville.Lunar New Year, commemorated in China, Japan, Korea, Vietnam, Mongolia and Tibet, is observed February 5 – February 19, 2019 at the turn of the lunisolar calendar, a calendar based on both the moon phase and the time of the solar year. It is known as “Spring Festival” in modern China. 2019 is the “Year of the Pig” and is predicted to bring health, wealth and happiness to those who avoid conflicts and excessive gambling. Some spiritual pundits suggest that the Year of the Earth Pig is also a great time to love bacon.Folkmoot’s Lunar New Year Dinner is hosted by Chinese language students and their teachers. Guests at this celebration will learn about the various cultures of Asia and enjoy a music and dance performance and traditional Chinese foods including dumplings, bam bam chicken, garlic broccoli and Yangzhou style fried rice. Participants will have an opportunity for Chinese paper cutting, calligraphy, origami and language lessons.Limited seating is available. Please purchase Lunar New Year tickets in advance by calling 828.452.2997 or purchasing electronically, at Folkmoot.org. Parking is available in the back of the Folkmoot building for year-round events.Folkmoot’s year-round programming initiatives have been made possible by the Community Foundation of Western North Carolina and the Cherokee Preservation Foundation.Folkmoot is a nonprofit organization dedicated to celebrating many cultures in one community.last_img read more

South African scientist hailed as power woman

first_imgDr Patience Mthunzi has been named one of 20 ‘Youngest Power Women in Africa 2012’ by Forbes Magazine. In April last year, Mthunzi was honoured by President Jacob Zuma with the Order of Mapungubwe in Bronze, one of the country’s highest national awards, for her local and international contribution in biophotonics. (Images: CSIR)MEDIA CONTACTS• Tendani Tsedu Media Relations ManagerCSIR+27 12 841 3417RELATED ARTICLES• Digital drum boosts computer literacy • Hi-tech solution to fix roads • Engineering improves healthcare • Green light for titanium powder pilot Wilma den HartighA South African scientist has been named one of 20 ‘Youngest Power Women in Africa 2012’ by Forbes Magazine. These are women – all under the age of 45 – who are bringing about positive change on the continent by influencing African business, technology, science, policy and media.Dr Patience Mthunzi, a scientist at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), was recognised for her pioneering work in the area of biophotonics, a field of science that enables microscopic study of biological molecules, cells and tissue using laser.Mthunzi is one of only three South Africans to be listed in the magazine – the other two are both prominent figures in the media industry.She heard about the listing late in December last year, and she says making it onto the prestigious list was completely unexpected. “I feel so honoured and humbled for being one of the three South Africans to have made it onto this list,” she says.Mthunzi is fast gaining an international reputation for her work, and she says although she doesn’t work for accolades, the recognition inspires and motivates her to do more.In April last year, she was honoured by President Jacob Zuma with the Order of Mapungubwe in Bronze, one of the country’s highest national awards, for her local and international contribution in biophotonics. This order is awarded to South African citizens for excellence and exceptional achievement.She is South Africa’s only senior scientist for the biophotonics research group within the CSIR National Laser Centre, and she is also the first biophotonics PhD graduate in South Africa.As she was unable to study biophotonics at a local university, Mthunzi became the first South African PhD student at the School of Physics and Astronomy of the University of St Andrews in Scotland.Developing innovative testing devicesBiophotonics is an emerging area of science in South Africa. Mthunzi explains that it is a versatile, multi-disciplinary field that can be applied to find solutions for challenges in areas such as medicine, agriculture, environmental and life sciences.Research conducted under the umbrella of biophotonics involves disciplines such as physics, biology, medicine and engineering.Part of Mthunzi’s job description is to come up with novel ideas, and that is what she loves most about her work.She’s leading a project to determine possible medical applications using laser technology. “The field has applications for any disease,” she says.She is developing an HIV testing device that makes use of lasers to test blood samples.The device will be particularly useful in remote areas of the country and could change the way HIV testing is done. “Often people in rural areas have to walk long distances to clinics to get tested,” she says. “By the time they get there, it is too late to draw blood and send it with a courier to be tested at a laboratory elsewhere.”Mthunzi explains that the testing tool would be based on site at a clinic. She would like to design the device in such a way that it doesn’t require a medical professional to operate it.“It will be possible to get results immediately and will be easy to use, even by volunteer staff who receive some training,” she says.She is also working on introducing DNA and genes into stem cells and finding applications for lasers in the treatment of cancer. “Our cancer research is looking into ways to separate cancerous and non-cancerous cells,” she says.A hybrid scientistMthunzi’s interest in the field developed when she joined the CSIR’s Laser Centre in 2004, as a biochemist. “I didn’t even know what a laser was,” she recalls. “I was encouraged to do a PhD in laser physics, and I found the field very exciting.”She’s always had an interest in various branches of science such as medicine, physics and natural sciences and even zoology. “I see science in everything,” she says.With biophotonics, she can experiment in all these areas, but Mthunzi says the country needs researchers who are experienced in multiple disciplines.“If I only knew biology, I would be limited in what I can do and come up with,” she says.“Some people call me a hybrid because my undergraduate qualification and my Master’s are in biology, followed by a PhD in physics, but I see myself as just a scientist.”Her peers in laser research are mostly physicists and from that perspective her biology background is somewhat unusual. “But it has equipped me perfectly for the job,” she says.Growing biophotonics and science in SAMthunzi set up a fully functioning biophotonics laboratory at the CSIR and the facility is closely integrated with nearby optical laboratories on the council’s campus in Pretoria. The laboratories are within walking distance of each other, which makes research work much easier.She says South Africa needs more scientists and she enjoys promoting the field. She belongs to the South African Young Academy of Science, an organisation that contributes towards the development of scientific capacity and awareness in South Africa and promotes science at all levels of education.What she would like to see is a greater interest in biophotonics in the country. Mthunzi hopes that in the future biophotonics will become an established discipline locally and be taught as a degree.She says young people also need mentors to inspire them because that’s what helped her achieve her goals.“What helped me as a child is being surrounded by good mentors,” she says. “My aunt was my mentor. She was such a guru. I wanted to be just like her.” The aunt was a teacher and the first person in her family to obtain a Master’s degree.Other South Africans on the listTwo other South African women, both prominent figures in the media industry, were also recognised by Forbes Magazine.Yolanda Sangweni is a senior editor at ESSENCE.com, one of the leading publications for black women in the US. She is also the co-founder of AfriPOP!, an online magazine that focuses on contemporary African youth culture, music, fashion and film from an Afropolitan perspective.Journalist, broadcaster and author Redi Tlhabi is the producer of a documentary on the former South African president Thabo Mbeki. She is also a columnist for the Sunday Times newspaper and author of Endings and Beginnings: A Story of Healing, a book based on her childhood experiences. Tlhabi is the host of a new talk show on Al Jazeera English television channel that will focus on politics, culture, music, health and science.last_img read more

Business Intelligence: Assisted by Enterprise Search for Unified Information Access

first_imgBusiness Intelligence (BI) is increasingly being used by businesses for synthesizing data culled from many company databases to create reports and dashboards that can identify patterns and trends.  BI has had its share of success, but it sometimes isn’t able to tell the whole story.  That’s because BI is limited to analyzing structured data stored in databases.  It doesn’t consider unstructured data.But the amount of unstructured data is growing much more quickly than the amount of structured data.  For example, there are significant sources of unstructured data being stored in organizations, particularly in documents and emails that are basically untapped by BI.  That’s not to mention information being created on blogs, Facebook pages, wikis and microblogging platforms like Twitter.  A typical ratio of unstructured to structured data found in an organization is about 80:20.  Unstructured data isn’t easy to analyze, and because of that, unstructured data hasn’t typically been included in the analysis of  BI tools.Unlike BI, Enterprise Search focuses on trying to uncover information held in unstructured data, but there are limitations as to what search can do.  While search can help identify unstructured content, it isn’t very good in analyzing what the content means. BI is based on analytics that have been built on top of the structured search SQL queries, but not much work has been done to create a similar sort of analytic framework to run on top of unstructured search results.While analysis of unstructured data still remains a stumbling block, recently vendors are trying to at least unite the worlds of BI and Enterprise search to provide a more comprehensive approach for finding business information and understanding important trends and patterns in that data.  The result is something that is being called Unified Information Access (UIA).  UIA is a term that is being popularized by Forrester, and some vendors, like Attivio, are beginning to target products in this space.Most Enterprise Search solutions try to mimic the simple one-field search method popularized by Google and are more recently also including faceted search as an option.  On the other hand, BI applications tend to have much more complex interfaces for specifying analysis criteria, often requiring many pages of options to be completed.  UIA tries to combine the two technologies.  UIA queries are built as a combination of both search terms and analysis criteria.  The results are then returned in a format that resembles a portal or mashup.  In this way, the results from the two technologies are combined and reported on within the same result screen.  One of the interesting aspects of UIA is that analytic results are supplemented with links into structured data elements.Using UIA, analytic results are improved because unstructured data can be brought in as backup information to support the conclusions of the analytics.  The approach allows a user to be able to interact with all data in the corporation, not just the unstructured or just the structured data components.UIA is an interesting idea and I’d expect that we will see more BI products try to integrate unstructured data into their analytic results.last_img read more

September 8 is Literacy Day

first_img Locally, the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information is encouraging schools to engage students in creative activities on Friday, September 7, to highlight the importance of literacy in skills development. International Literacy Day 2018 will be observed on Saturday, September 8, under the theme ‘Literacy and Skills Development’. Story Highlights According to a UNESCO report, this year’s focus will be on youth and adults within the lifelong-learning framework. The effective linkages between literacy and skills will also be explored. International Literacy Day 2018 will be observed on Saturday, September 8, under the theme ‘Literacy and Skills Development’.According to a UNESCO report, this year’s focus will be on youth and adults within the lifelong-learning framework. The effective linkages between literacy and skills will also be explored.Locally, the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information is encouraging schools to engage students in creative activities on Friday, September 7, to highlight the importance of literacy in skills development.Some of the suggested activities are the mounting of a ‘word wall’ to include jargons and pictures from vocational areas; design posters depicting the theme; and students to read aloud and to invite guests to schools to participate in reading sessions.Meanwhile, the education regions within the Ministry will host two joint events on September 7. Regions One, Two and Six will host an event at the Pembroke Hall Primary School in Kingston from 10:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., while Regions Three, Four and Five will host another event at the William Knibb Memorial High School in Trelawny, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.The day’s events will include a plenary session, exhibition, read-aloud sessions, the reading of UNESCO’s and the Minister of Education, Youth and Information, Senator the Hon. Ruel Reid’s Literacy Day messages, and a concert hour.This year marks the 52nd observation of the day, which is used to highlight the significance of literacy for international development and advancement of all human beings.last_img read more

Spotted Celebrity Edge Floated Out at STX

first_imgWorkers at STX France shipyard were working late on Monday night, January 22, in order to float out Celebrity Cruises’ newest ship Celebrity Edge.It took seven tugs to carry out the maneuver, the shipbuilder said.The vessel is now moored in the basin of Saint Nazaire where it will be fitted out with the remaining installations and shipboard amenities.The ship is set for delivery in October 2018.Celebrity Cruises signed a letter of intent for two 117,000 gross ton cruise ships with French shipbuilder STX France in December 2014.Its Edge Class sister ship, to be named Celebrity Beyond, is scheduled for delivery in spring 2020, and the third and fourth Edge Class ships would be delivered in fall 2021 and fall 2022, respectively.Featuring a length of 300 meters and a width of 38 meters, the new vessels will be able to carry 2,900 guests in 1,450 staterooms.World Maritime News Staff; Image & Video Courtesy: STX Francelast_img read more