Archive for June, 2017

Girl Pleads With Mother After Castile Killing: ‘I Don’t Want You to Get Shooted!’

The terrified four-year-old witness to the killing of Philando Castile by a Minnesota cop pleaded with her mother to cooperate with police moments after his death telling her “I don’t want you to get shooted,” a newly released police video shows.

The video, which came out with a bundle of evidence from the Castile trial, captures the interaction between Diamond Reynolds, Castile’s girlfriend, and her daughter as they were held in the back of a squad car shortly after the shooting.

Philando Castile’s Girlfriend and Her Daughter in Tears After Shooting1:39

In the heart-wrenching video, a handcuffed Reynolds yells “F—!” — and immediately her young daughter begins to cry begging her mother to “please stop cussing and screaming because I don’t want you to get shooted.”

The weeping girl then embraces her mother, who tells her to give her a kiss.

“I can keep you safe,” says the girl, while wiping away tears from her face.

“I can’t believe they just did that,” Reynolds whispers to herself — to which the girl begins to cry uncontrollably.

Reynolds then attempts to get out of her handcuffs, and the girl again desperately yells for her to be calm, out of fear for her mother’s safety.

“No! Please no! I don’t want you to get shooted!” she said.

“They’re not going to shoot me, I’m already in handcuffs,” Reynolds responds in an attempt to pacify the frazzled girl.

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Puerto Ricans to vote between statehood & independence

Puerto Ricans to vote between statehood & independence

Puerto Rico is preparing to vote on becoming the 51st US state, but there are several other options that the islanders can choose from in the non-binding referendum, including maintaining the status quo to becoming a full-fledged country on its own.

Amid a historic bankruptcy declaration, Puerto Ricans will head to the polls on Sunday to reexamine the island’s relationship with the United States.

The options are to maintain Puerto Rico’s status as a commonwealth, become the 51st state in the Union, become a “free association” state, or declare independence and take full control of its governance for the first time in its history.

The conquistador Juan Ponce de Leon began Spain’s settlement on the island in 1508, and it remained a Spanish colony and military outpost until the Spanish-American War in 1898, when it came under US sovereignty.

In 1917, Puerto Ricans were granted United States citizenship. Public Law 600, a 1950 federal law, authorized the island’s residents to draft and adopt their own Constitution, which they did in 1952. At that point, Puerto Rico gained commonwealth status. The question voters face now is: what they want the status of the island to be going forward.

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Noose found in African American Smithsonian museum

In the US context, the noose is meant to represent lynchings of African Americans that took place primarily from the 1860s to the 1960s [File: Getty Images]

In the US context, the noose is meant to represent lynchings of African Americans that took place primarily from the 1860s to the 1960s [File: Getty Images]

US police have launched an investigation after a noose was found in a public exhibition space of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, DC, the second such incident in less than a week.

David Skorton, secretary of the Smithsonian Institute, said in a statement that the rope was found by tourists on Wednesday on the floor of the Segregation Gallery of the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC).

NMAAHC, which opened last September in a ceremony that included then-President Barack Obama, is the only national museum in the US devoted exclusively to documenting African American life, history and culture.

Museum Founding Director Lonnie Bunch III said in a statement that the noose represents “a deplorable act of cowardice and depravity” and serves as “a painful reminder of the challenges that African Americans continue to face”.

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Let women use medical cannabis to ease period pain, says NY Democrat

Let women use medical cannabis to ease period pain, says NY Democrat

A New York politician is leading a campaign to allow women in the US state to treat menstrual cramps with medical marijuana.

Linda Rosenthal, a member of the New York State Assembly, has called for painful periods to be placed alongside epilepsy and multiple sclerosis on a list of conditions whose sufferers are eligible to buy medical marijuana.

“This is a woman’s health issue,” said Rosenthal in an interview with Newsweek. “Men have really been [the ones] who’ve run state houses, governorships, presidencies, and some issues that are just about women have gotten shortchanged.”

The bill, which already passed the state’s Health Committee in a landslide 21 to two vote, will next be debated on the Assembly floor. Following that, the potentially groundbreaking law will need to be signed off by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.

Cuomo signed New York’s medical marijuana program into law in 2014, but the Democrat has since come in for criticism over what some have perceived as a “restrictive” implementation of the law.

The American Academy of Family Physicians estimates that up to 20 percent of women in the US experience intense pain during their periods, with many unable to get out of bed or go to work – a fact Rosenthal thinks may help sway some of her more conservative colleagues.

“Some women can’t leave their bed for a week,” she said. “People are starting to understand that medical marijuana is a useful tool to relieve suffering and women’s suffering from severe menstrual cramps.”

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Minnesota measles outbreak bigger than all cases in 2016… for entire US

Minnesota measles outbreak bigger than all cases in 2016… for entire US

Minnesota’s measles outbreak has surpassed the number of cases in the whole of the US last year. Health officials and imams in the Somali-American community are working to prevent the spread of the deadly disease during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

As of June 1, there were 73 confirmed cases of measles in Minnesota in 2017, the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) said, compared to a total of 70 recorded measles cases in the entire US in 2016, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). At least 8,250 Minnesotans have been exposed to measles in day care centers, schools, hospitals and clinics, state health officials said.

The vast majority of victims in the Gopher State ‒ 68 of them ‒ have been unvaccinated, and most are preschool children. A significant number have been hospitalized. Of the 73 cases, 60 are in the Somali community.

The outbreak “has nothing to do with being Somali,” Kris Ehresmann, director of infectious disease control for MDH, told CNN. “It’s just the sheer fact of being unvaccinated.”

The anti-vaccine movement has targeted Minnesota’s Somali-American community. At a recent community meeting about the outbreak, an anti-vaccine advocate handed out fliers that claimed “some children suffer permanent brain damage from the vaccine, and some die from it,” Public Radio International reported.

The spread of misinformation about the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine’s link to autism has had a devastating effect on the community. Its vaccination rate dropped from 92 percent in 2004 ‒ which was higher than the state average ‒ to just 42 percent.

Much of the disinformation about vaccines in the Somali community comes from British researcher Andrew Wakefield, who first proposed a link between vaccines and autism in a paper which has been widely discredited as fraudulent. Wakefield visited Minneapolis at least three times in recent years, including during a smaller outbreak among the Somali-American community in 2011. During that meeting, he downplayed the severity of the disease, a state health official told the Washington Post.

Autism occurs in about one in 32 Somali children, compared to one in 36 white children, according to a 2013 University of Minnesota report. Citing numerous studies on the MMR vaccine, the CDC states that “there is no link between vaccines and autism.”

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