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In August, the Justice Department released a graphic 79-page report, which found a “deep-seated culture of violence” aimed at young offenders held at Rikers Island. The report, the result of a two-and-a-half-year investigation on conditions at jail facilities between 2011 and 2013, detailed, among other damning findings, the wanton use of solitary confinement imposed on youth.
While New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced just Wednesday the end of solitary confinement for 16- and 17-year-old inmates, the move addressed just one of the 73 recommendations made by federal prosecutors to slow the violence while boosting investigation integrity and accountability.
US Attorney General Eric Holder and Manhattan US Attorney Preet Bharara wrote in court filings that four months of negotiations with city officials have failed to lead to an “agreement as to lasting, verifiable, and enforceable reforms."
The lawsuit described a violent environment in which jail guards provoke inmate fights, beat inmates while yelling “stop resisting,” pressure inmates to avoid reporting beatings, and fail to adequately investigate incident reports.
Jail officials have been "deliberately indifferent to harm" of young inmates by failing to report abuse, falling short on staffing measures, and failing to discipline abusive officers, the suit added.
"To date, defendants have failed to take sufficient and effective measures to remedy these deficiencies," the suit said.
The suit asked for a judge to issue a consent decree to demand reforms occur. The city has agreed to such action, according to the suit, as reported by AP.
Neither the mayor’s office nor city attorneys answered AP’s requests for comment.
De Blasio and city corrections commissioner Joseph Ponte have touted some recent improvements to the nation’s second-largest jail system, including a cap - 30 days, down from 90 days - on solitary stays, a more equitable staff-to-inmate ratio, and funding for increased surveillance video capabilities over the next two years.
But federal prosecutors said these reforms have yet to reach 18-year-old inmates, noting that there have been 71 reported incidents of force used against 18-year-olds between September and November in Rikers facilities without surveillance cameras. As of last month, at least 40 of those inmates were being kept in solitary confinement.
The August report on the 11,000-inmate jail system found that about 44 percent of male inmates aged 16 to 18 in custody as of October 2012 had been subjected to some level of physical violence by corrections officers on at least one occasion.
“For adolescent inmates, Rikers Island is broken,” Bharara, the US attorney in Manhattan, said. “It is a place where brute force is the first impulse rather than the last resort, a place where verbal insults are repaid with physical injuries, where beatings are routine, while accountability is rare.”
The report called the findings “extraordinary” since young offenders between the ages of 16 and 18 made up only about 6 percent of the average population at Rikers (682 young male offenders in 2013). They were “involved in a disproportionate 21 percent of all incidents involving use of force and/or serious injuries.”
A 2012 report by the ACLU and Human Rights Watch found that, in 2011, more than 95,000 youths under age 18 were held in prisons and jails, and that “young people in solitary confinement are routinely denied access to treatment, services, and programming required to meet their medical, psychological, developmental, social, and rehabilitative needs.”
This month, a correctional guard at the Rikers Island was arrested over the death of a homeless former Marine who was left inside a 101-degree jail cell earlier this year. The guard faces multiple counts of falsifying records and misconduct.
Prior to the arrest, Mayor De Blasio introduced new measures to try and avoid sending mentally ill people to Riker’s Island after similar accounts of abuse.
Former UKIP candidate Paul Rimmer came under fire on Tuesday for posting comments on social media about the football club’s alleged support of homosexuality.
Rimmer, who was previously an activist for the British National Party (BNP), posted quotes from the Bible accompanied by a damning report of Liverpool’s recent performances, saying they would not improve unless they “repented.”
“From the Bible, Sodomy defiles a Nation. Those who promote it will be punished & vomited out of the Land. Lev.18.23. In 2012 Liverpool FC sponsored the City’s Gay Pride Parade. Unless they repent they will be under a continual curse,” the post read.
This was followed by a comment about the unacceptability of homosexuality.
“Everyone knows homosexuality is wrong, but now we have to pretend it’s nice & normal and anyone who points out it’s a perversion is evil. This is a deep moral & spiritual sickness in our nation,” he added.
His other social media posts include criticism of the BBC for being “totally unpatriotic, anti-Christian & anti-white,” worshipping “sodomy & blackness” and pushing “pro-Moslem propaganda.”
He has further labeled feminists who criticized his remarks as “feminazis.”
UKIP described Rimmer’s comments as “idiotic” while Liverpool FC Supporters’ Committee LGBT representative Paul Amman called Rimmer “inaccurate.”
Amman said he was proud of the work the club had achieved to reduce homophobic discrimination.
“The club has got a proud record of tackling discrimination and fighting inequality and has done some fantastic work,” he said.
“LFC has never sponsored Liverpool Pride but has marched at the event for three years in succession. Members of the women’s team, staff, club officials, supporters, ambassadors and directors have taken part, showing their support and recognizing the wider LFC family.”
He clarified that having an active LGBT Supporters group does not hinder the sporting prowess of a top Premiership club.
“Also, Manchester City has a lively LGBT Supporters group called Canal Street Blues, which hasn’t stopped them from topping the table,” he added.
Rimmer, who gained a degree in politics from Cambridge University, defended his statements, telling the Liverpool Echo they were not his opinions, but the word of God.
“Basically it says in the Bible that certain forms of behavior go against the laws of God and therefore God will react to them and he will curse those who willfully disobey him.”
“I am only repeating what is said in the Bible – it’s not my opinion, it’s what the Bible says.”
“It’s just to make people aware God has a law and if you infringe this law there will be consequences,” he said.
“If people get upset by this it’s up to them. Christ calls on us to repent and believe.” he added.
Rimmer was arrested in 2012 while challenging a rainbow flag hung at Toxteth police station in Liverpool.
LG started shipping smart TVs with webOS software this year, bringing a relatively easy-to-use way to stream content from the internet to a television. Now LG has announced that webOS 2.0 for smart TVs is coming next year. The company plans to begin showing off its latest smart TV software at the Consumer Electronics Show […]
Officers taking part in the investigation of the so-called “VIP” abuse ring have appealed for victims to come forward with information relating to the inquiry.
Detective Superintendent Kenny McDonald, who is leading the investigation, made a public plea for witnesses on Thursday.
“I appeal to men who were subjected to abuse 30 years ago to come forward. We are also investigating the murder of three young boys – we are determined to find answers.”
Much of the information currently available was given by one alleged victim, known as Nick.
Nick claimed he was abused at high-profile parties and events between the ages of seven and 16 at various London locations, including a flat in Dolphin Square, Pimlico, which is currently being investigated.
McDonald said Nick was a “credible” witness who was telling the truth, and urged residents of Dolphin Square from the 1970s to come forward, as they may have “seen or heard something that they only understand the significance of now.”
No details of the murder inquiries were released, but this is the first time the police have confirmed the number of possible murders they are investigating. Officers are also exploring the possibility that boys were abused at other locations in London, including military establishments.
The latest investigations, which also include allegations that a child was run over, come after Nick gave his first public broadcast in November, where he claimed that his abusers would always “do what they wanted.”
“Some of them were quite open about who they were. They had no fear at all of being caught, it didn't cross their mind,” he said.
Nick further said they “created fear that penetrated every part of me – day in, day out. You didn't question what they wanted, you did as they asked without question and the punishments were very severe.”
“They were very powerful people and they controlled my life for the next nine years,” he added.
The father of an eight-year-old boy killed in 1985 came forward in November, claiming his son Vishal could have been murdered by the Westminster pedophile ring.
Retired magistrate Vishambar Mehrotra recorded a male prostitute who telephoned him claiming his son may have been abducted and taken a local west London hotel. He also allegedly claimed there were “very highly placed people” there.
When Mehrotra initially reported the telephone call, the police refused to investigate a case involving “judges and politicians.”
A man in his 50s on a Xiamen Air flight from Hangzhou to Chengdu on Sunday opened the emergency door of a plane before departure.
"It's my first time seeing a passenger open the safety door. He told the attendants he just wanted some fresh air ... hope our flight won't be delayed for too long," a passenger wrote online, The South China Morning Post reports.
Want some fresh air? Open the emergency exit. Xiamen Airlines, China today. pic.twitter.com/LEZ9m9J77Y
— PJ de Jong (@jong_pj) 15 декабря 2014
Fortunately, the exit was just above a wing and no inflatable chute was deployed. So the flight attendants were able to fix the door and proceed with the take-off. However, they placed the man in another seat, as far from emergency exits as possible.
The airline officials said they had no intentions to inform the airport police to penalize the man.
"He did not cause delays or any other direct losses to the airline," an employee told the Southern Metropolis Daily newspaper.
However it is not the first case of misbehavior in Chinese domestic flights.
Last week a man on flight from Xi’an to Sanya used an emergency exit “to get off the plain quicker,” he told the police. The inflatable chute was deployed and that caused a delay of the plane’s next take-off by two hours. Besides, the airline company will have to check and fix emergency chute and door. The cost of the work is reportedly over $16,000.
— STOMP (@stompsingapore) 16 декабря 2014
On Friday, the plane flying from Bangkok to Nanjing had to come back to Bangkok after a woman threw a cup of noodles in boiling water at a flight attendant while her friend threatened to blow up the plane.
These cases have caused great consternation in China, as people fear such behavior in international flights is spoiling the image of the country. The China National Tourism Administration pledged that the Chinese involved in such cases would be punished and their names would be put in a special list of travellers causing trouble.
The research, conducted by the charity Alzheimer’s Research UK found that 49,349 people died last year from dementia, compared to 32,429 in 1990. Despite Britons living longer, the data shows the total number of deaths from dementia has risen by 52 percent.
While heart disease and stroke were still the UK’s most common killers, improvements in treatments have meant the number of casualties from these illnesses has decreased over the same time period. However, there are few resources available in Britain to combat dementia.
“With 225,000 people developing dementia every year – the equivalent to one person every three minutes – the condition is one of the biggest health and social care challenges we face,” said the head of research and development at the Alzheimer’s Society, Dr James Pickett.
“Despite these statistics, funding for dementia research lags far behind other conditions like cancer. It is vital that we see a step change in dementia research funding so that it is proportionate to the economic and social impact of the condition,” he said.
Pickett also warned that because dementia is rarely seen as an actual cause of death, the number of casualties every year is likely to have been underestimated.
According to the study, the UK has the 17th best life expectancy for men diagnosed with dementia or its related illnesses, but was ranked 24th out of 188 countries for female life expectancy. On average, male dementia patients are expected to live 6.2 years after diagnosis, while women will live 6.6 years.
The report follows new figures released by Public Health England and the Alzheimer’s Society earlier this month, showing that elderly dementia sufferers were significantly more at risk of spending Christmas alone.
According to UK charity Community Care, “hundreds of thousands” of people with dementia could “face exclusion” this Christmas, with 47 percent of people admitting they were worried their relatives and friends would react badly to “unusual behavior.”
Sony Pictures Entertainment decided to withdraw the comedy, starring James Franco and Seth Rogan, who play journalists asked by the CIA to assassinate the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
UK Deputy Prime Minister Clegg said Sony had a “responsibility” to stand up to the “police state” while speaking on his regular LBC phone-in show.
“They have got it wrong,” the Liberal Democrat leader said. “It’s a comedy for heaven’s sake.”
Clegg added: “It is just extraordinary that in a free society, we are allowing these online thugs from a police state to intimidate people having a bit of fun at the expense of North Korea.”
The group, which hacked Sony, released a threatening message and through the hacking attack embarrassing emails and other personal information were leaked. The hackers have been linked by US officials directly to the North Korean regime. The threats led to five major US cinema chains refusing to show the movie until ultimately Sony decided to withdraw the movie’s release.
“We should not allow this appalling police state in North Korea, who obviously have no sense of humor either because this is a comedy film about what happens to the North Korean leader, we cannot allow them to basically intimidate cinema chains and stop people enjoying what is by the sound of it a Christmas comedy film,” Clegg said.
He admitted that Sony has “quite a heavy responsibility” and has to make sure that people are kept safe.
However, he added: “We cannot have a police state basically through hacking and intimidation stopping free societies like ours having films on in cinemas that we want to see.”
In their threatening message, the group Guardians of Peace, allegedly responsible for the hacking attack, said: “Remember the 11th of September 2001.
“We recommend you to keep yourself distant from the places at that time. (If your house is nearby, you’d better leave.)
“Whatever comes in the coming days is called by the greed of Sony Pictures Entertainment. All the world will denounce the SONY.”
A Sony spokesperson said: “Sony Pictures has no further release plans for the film,” which means it probably won’t be released on DVD either.
Meanwhile, New Regency has canceled the production of a planned Gore Verbinski thriller, 'Pyongyang,' which was set to be filmed starting in March 2015, starring Steve Carell.
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