LOS ANGELES A federal judge has ruled that the U.S. Department of Justice’s current system of detaining children with their mothers after they have crossed the U.S.-Mexico border violates an 18-year-old court settlement.The decision Friday by U.S. District Judge Dolly Gee in California is a victory for the immigrant rights lawyers who brought the case, but its immediate implications for detainees were not yet clear. The ruling upholds a tentative decision Gee made in April, and comes a week after the two sides told her that they failed to reach a new settlement agreement as she had requested.The 1997 settlement at issue bars immigrant children from being held in unlicensed, secure facilities. Gee found that settlement covered all children in the custody of federal immigration officials, even those being held with a parent.Peter Schey, executive director of the Center for Human Rights and one of the attorneys who brought the lawsuit, said federal officials “know they’re in violation of the law.””They are holding children in unsafe facilities. It’s that simple,” Schey told The Associated Press. “It’s intolerable, it’s in humane, and it needs to end — and end sooner rather than later.”Justice Department spokeswoman Nicole Navas said Saturday that her agency was reviewing the order.The new lawsuit was brought on by new major detention centers for women and children in Texas that are overseen by the U.S. government but are managed by private prison operators. Together, the centers have recently held more than 2,000 women and children between them after a surge of tens of thousands of immigrants from Central America, most of them mothers with children, many of whom said they were fleeing gang and domestic violence back home.The Justice Department had argued it was necessary to modify the settlement and use detention to try to deter more immigrants from coming to the border after last year’s surge. The department said it was an important way to keep families together while their immigration cases were being reviewed, but the judge rejected that argument in Friday’s decision.Gee gave the Department of Justice one week to show cause why she should not enter an injunction that would require the government to comply with the ruling within 90 days.But since the tentative ruling in April, Immigration and Customs Enforcement has vowed to make the facilities more child-friendly and provide better oversight.
WARWICK, RI (WPRI) — As John F. Kennedy was training at Newport Naval Station at the start of World War II, a young Texan was also training with the Navy, never imagining his path would cross with JFK during one of the most tragic weekends in American history.
Kennedy would marry at Newport’s Hammersmith Farm, which would later be nicknamed “The Summer White House.” While JFK’s political star was rising, Elmer Boyd, who’s now 87 years old, rose through the ranks of the Dallas Police Department. Boyd recently visited Rhode Island for the reunion of the U.S.S. Bailey,and looked back at that day when JFK’s life ended, and countless conspiracy theories began.
“I was working a murder case,” Boyd said, adding that his job was to guard accused assassin Lee Harvey Oswald. In fact, Boyd was always to Oswald’s left, except for one violent moment that was seen live across the country.
“It wasn’t a federal case yet,” Boyd said, referring to the hours after the assassination. “But we knew it was a big deal, and we were determined to get the facts.”
Boyd was engaged in the security preparations leading up to the president’s visit, but as it would be today, the Secret Service made the key decisions. So, he couldn’t shed any light on why the president’s limousine was not protected during the motorcade with a specially made plastic bubble top. It would later be reported that the enclosure was not bullet proof, but the decision not to use it would fuel a few conspiracy theories.
Boyd pointed out that a Dallas newspaper ran an extensive article on the morning before the assassination about how the social issues of the era provoked some Texas tension for the president. But Boyd said those concerns were not reflected in the Secret Service briefings in the days and hours before the shots were fired at Kennedy around 12:30 in the afternoon on November 22, 1963.
As Boyd and some 19 other Dallas detectives worked the case, the first shocker came from across town where Boyd’s friend and fellow officer J.D. Tippit was shot to death, with Oswald put in cuffs for that homicide.
“We had at least two real good witnesses to the Tippit shooting,” Boyd said. “They said Oswald shot him across the hood of the car. Then, after he fell, [Oswald} went around and shot him again. And he reloaded his pistol and took off running and that’s when he went to the theater and got caught.”
For detective Boyd, the facts surrounding the Tippit shooting would trump Oswald’s series of denials over the next two days.
“I was assigned to get him in and out of the jail for the police, FBI and Secret Service to talk to him,” Boyd recalled. “And I was there for 70 to 80 percent of the interrogations.”
And during the dozens of times Oswald was walked between the numerous investigators and his cell, Boyd was there, listening to the responses to the media from the former Marine, and Russian defector. One quote stands out to this day.
“He said I hadn’t shot anybody. They’re trying to make a patsy out of me,” Boyd said.
But when asked if he believed Oswald, the tall Texan was short.
“No,” Boyd said. “No, I didn’t.”
While Oswald was hammered with questions from local and federal investigators, Boyd listened and tried to make sense of it all. But he said at times, the suspect talked in circles.
“Well, he would talk to you about anything, except shooting the president,” Boyd said. “The rest of the time, he was as cool as he could be. He would give you an answer. It wasn’t always the truth, but he would answer you.”
Boyd’s assignment kept him going around the clock, until about 3:30 in the morning on November 24. “They sent me home,” he said. “To get some rest.”
But like the rest of the nation, he was watching as Oswald was transported from the police station to the county jail. Boyd was on a couch, observing history with his father-in-law.
“There’s a scuffle,” the broadcaster said as order turned to chaos in grainy black and white. “Oswald has been shot. Oswald has been shot.”
Boyd doesn’t recall the emotions he felt watching his colleagues deal with skirmish that followed the gunfire, but he knew who the gunman was.
“I said that looked like old Jack Ruby. And sure enough it was. I knew him. He was a nightclub operator.”
To hear that he was somehow connected to organized crime and a conspiracy to silence Oswald, the self-proclaimed patsy, didn’t make sense to Boyd.
“He wasn’t a big mafia thing like they tried to make him out to be,” Boyd said with a slight grin. “We knew him as just a club owner. He had even made us sandwiches as we investigated the assassination. But we told him we were fine and he gave them to the news people.”
After Oswald was shot to death, Boyd and his partner were assigned to guard Ruby.
“First thing he said, ‘are y’all mad at me?’” Boyd recalled. “[My partner] told him, ‘no Jack. I’m not mad at you, but what you did was a terrible thing.’”
Then, a shocker from the man who was so familiar with police, he would make them a platter of sandwiches.
“He said ‘if you and Mr. Boyd had been with [Oswald], I might not have shot him,’” Boyd said. “I think about that. I just wonder, you know. Was it true? I think Ruby wanted to be a hero. That’s what I think.”
Boyd didn’t talk about the case in public for about 40 years, saying he just wasn’t that kind of guy. But as the theories about various plots grew in number and depth, he said he couldn’t help but noticed that so many others were offering what he knew was false information.
“Every time I’d read the paper, my partner would call and we would say, did you see that? Did you hear that?” Boyd said. “And we’d agree. Well, that just didn’t happen.”
As someone who was dialed in to the investigation for those terrible two days in November of 1963, and for the weeks that followed, Boyd’s opinion grew clear.
“I don’t think it was a conspiracy,” he said. “Now, like I said, I don’t try to change anyone else’s opinion. But I don’t think it was a conspiracy.”
Boyd, who turns 88 in September, is sad to say that he is one of only two Dallas detectives out of the 20 who investigated the assassination, who are still alive.
One person was hospitalized after the blaze was sparked on a pool deck of the Cosmopolitan Hotel and Casino.
A fire erupted Saturday on the pool deck of a Las Vegas hotel, sending thick smoke billowing high above The Strip.
Two people were treated for smoke inhalation and one of them was hospitalized after the blaze was sparked on a pool deck of the Cosmopolitan Hotel and Casino, Clark County Fire Department Deputy Fire Chief Jeff Buchanan told NBC News.
The fire torched trees and cabanas at the Bamboo Pool on the west side of the hotel, but made little impact inside the building, according to the department. The Cosmopolitan said in a statement that “proper evacuation procedures were used.”
The fire was extinguished about 45 minutes after it was reported at about 12:15 p.m. (3:15 p.m. ET), according to NBC affiliate KSNV. The cause of the fire is under investigation, according to the hotel statement.
By Vivian Salama
BAGHDAD — Turkish jets struck camps belonging to Kurdish militants in northern Iraq Friday and Saturday in what were the first strikes since a peace deal was announced in 2013.
The strikes in Iraq targeted the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, whose affiliates have been effective in battling the Islamic State group.
The Kurds of Syria and Iraq have become a major part of the war against the Islamic State group, with Kurdish populations in both countries threatened by the militants’ advance. Syrian, Iraqi and Turkish Kurds took part in cross-border operations to help rescue tens of thousands of displaced people from the minority Yazidi group from Iraq’s Sinjar Mountain in August last year and they continue to fight in cooperation with one another against the Islamic State group in areas along the Iraq-Syria border.
They have been somewhat effective in limiting the expansion of the Islamic State militants across northern Iraq but there are concerns that Turkish airstrikes on the PKK could jeopardize Kurdish positions.
WHO ARE THE KURDS?
The Kurds are an ethnic group with their own language and customs whose nomadic past led to their modern-day dispersal across several countries, mostly Turkey, Iraq, Syria, Iran and Armenia. Sunni Muslims make up the vast majority, but there is a sizeable Shiite population, particularly in Iran.
After the collapse of the Ottoman and Qajar empires and the subsequent creation of these modern states, Iraq, Iran and Turkey each agreed to oppose the creation of an independent Kurdistan, making them the largest stateless minority group in the world. With nearly 25 million people living in five countries, they continue to push for self-rule.
WHAT IS THEIR ROLE IN TURKEY?
Turkey is home to an estimated 15 million Kurds, about one-fifth of the country’s population of 76 million. Most are Sunni Muslim.
The PKK has fought a three-decade war, initially for independence and later for autonomy and greater rights for Kurds. The conflict with the PKK has killed tens of thousands of people since 1984.
Turkey and its U.S. and European allies consider the PKK — which has Marxist origins — a terrorist organization for killing civilians in urban bombings.
In 2012, Turkey launched secret talks with the PKK’s imprisoned leader, Abdullah Ocalan, to end the conflict. The talks were made public in 2013 and the PKK declared a cease-fire a few months later.
Kurds accused Turkey of not doing enough to help Syrian Kurds during the battle against Islamic State militants over the Syrian Kurdish border town of Kobani, prompting violent clashes and straining the fragile peace process.
Tensions flared again after an Islamic State suicide bombing in the southeastern Turkish city of Suruc on Monday killed 32 people. Kurdish groups held the Turkish government responsible, saying it had not been aggressive in battling the Islamic State group.
Turkey’s pro-Kurdish party, the People’s Democratic Party, said the strikes on the PKK in Syria and Iraq amounted to an end of the two-year-old truce. It called on the government to end the bombing campaign and resume a dialogue with the Kurds.
Turkey views Kurds in Iraq as an ally but is suspicious of Syrian Kurds who are affiliated with the PKK. Ankara is worried that Kurdish gains in Iraq and in Syria will encourage the aspirations of its own Kurdish population.
WHERE DO THEY STAND IN IRAQ?
Five million Kurds have their own government in Iraq’s semi-autonomous north and have significant representation in the central government with several key posts including the presidency, which is allocated to Kurds. They currently represent about 20 percent of Iraq’s population, making them the largest ethnic minority.
There are two main Iraqi Kurdish factions: The Kurdistan Democratic Party is led by Kurdish Regional Government President Massoud Barzani, and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan is led by former Iraqi President Jalal Talabani. The factions fought a bloody war for power over northern Iraq in the mid-1990s, before agreeing to a power-sharing deal that ended the fighting in 1998.
The Iraqi Kurdish militia, known as the peshmerga, has been a major force in repelling the Islamic State group’s onslaught in recent months, with nearly a dozen countries rushing to its aid with weapons and training in the absence of genuine support from a strained Iraqi military.
The United States has been one of the most ardent protectors of Iraqi Kurds for over a generation, helping establish and enforce a safe haven in northern Iraq to protect them from Saddam Hussein. After the U.S.-led 2003 invasion of Iraq, U.S. officials sought to give equal power to Kurdish politicians even in navigating the delicate rivalry between the factions.
WHERE DO THE KURDS STAND IN SYRIA?
Kurds are the largest ethnic minority in Syria, making up more than 10 percent of the country’s pre-war population of 23 million people. They are centered mostly in the impoverished northeastern province of Hassakeh, wedged between the borders of Turkey and Iraq.
The Kurdish Democratic Union party, or PYD, is the most powerful political force among Syria’s Kurds. The party is a deeply secular, and affiliated with the PKK. The People’s Protection Units, known by its Kurdish acronym YPG, is the main Kurdish fighting force in Syria.
Since Syria’s civil war began, the Kurds have made unprecedented gains, strengthening their hold on the far northeast reaches of the country and carving out territory where they declared their own civil administration in areas under their control. They have demonstrated a surprising resilience in their fight against Islamic State group militants in Kobani, pushing them out in January with the help of U.S.-led airstrikes. More recently last month, they ejected the Islamic State group from their stronghold of Tal Abyad along the border with Turkey, robbing the IS of a key avenue for smuggling oil and foreign fighters.
Associated Press writers Suzan Fraser in Ankara, Turkey, Nasser Karimi in Tehran, Iran, and Zeina Karam in Beirut contributed to this report.
Kurds fight the IS group while being bombed by Turkey Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Google Plus Share via Email More Options Resize Text Print Article Comments 4 Turkey strikes Kurdish militants in Iraq(1:55) Turkish warplanes struck Kurdish militants in northern Iraq, expanding and complicating the air war launched by Turkey against the Islamic State in Syria a day before.
The alligator, dubbed CockadoodleQ, died just 12 hours after being rescued. WABC-TV reported that it was likely an illegal pet that was released once it got too big for the owner to take care of.
“We have no knowledge of the conditions CockadoodleQ had lived in prior to his arrival that contributed to his death,” the ACC said in a statement. “Exotic animals such as alligators are illegal to have as pets in New York City.”
Witnesses told WABC that they believed the alligator could have been dropped off, or it could have come from the sewer or river. The alligator was found 50 feet from the Harlem River.
“He was pretty feisty,” Deputy Inspector Chris Morello told the New York Daily News.
Police said they believed the alligator was looking for water when they found it crossing the street.
“Some people were very surprised. They’ve never seen an alligator, never seen a reptile of that size let alone here in the city street,” Eddie Perez, a witness, told WABC.
An animal rescuer told the New York Daily News that the alligator appeared to have been one- or two-years-old.
Last week police rescued nine boa constrictors and an alligator from a Brooklyn residence, resulting in one arrest.
WABC reported that New York City’s health codes prohibit people from owning alligators as pets.
The changes come after an I-Team 8 investigation uncovered a flaw in the system that allows contractors to retain positive grades for work they complete, but doesn’t always penalize them when consumers pay in advance and the work is never started.
Here’s how it works:
Angie’s List allows paying members to review contractors, companies and even physicians by giving them letter grades and written comments.
The I-Team 8 investigation examined hundreds of pages of reviews from various contractors and found that in some cases, customers were indicating that work was never done even though some paid money in advance for services. Angie’s List says those reviews should have been considered “work done.”
Why is that significant?
Because Angie’s List ranks contractors by letter grade and gives more weight to those letter grades based on completed projects. So if customers are paying money in advance and no work is ever done by a contractor, those reviews aren’t counting as much – allowing contractors to hold onto inflated grades they perhaps did not earn.
In response to this finding, Angie’s List conducted an internal audit within the past 90 days and discovered that this is happening in almost 1 out of every 100 cases, according to Angie’s List spokeswoman Cheryl Reed.
“Let me be clear, reports where money exchanged hands are intended to be ‘work done’ reports,” said Angie’s List Founder, Angie Hicks, during a recent sit-down interview with I-Team 8.
Hicks, who co-founded Angie’s List with CEO Bill Oesterle, says she is willing to make changes and plans to add a pop-up window and additional follow-up emails to help guide consumers when they make reviews. Additional emails will also be sent to anyone who provides a “C” grade or lower to a contractor or company, regardless of whether work was completed or not.
Within 10 days, Angie’s List says it will:
- Making that policy more clear
- Reach out a second time to offer help to consumers who have a bad experience
- Review its records to see if there are other cases that were mistakenly marked “work not done.”
One of the businesses examined during I-Team 8’s investigation was Carmel-based Green Frog Restoration, which was given a “C” by Angie’s List under the roofing category – that ranking including five “F” grades in the past year and one “A” from 2013.
Despite five “F’s,” Green Frog Restoration was showing it had a “C” ranking from Angie’s List. The same company was given an “F” ranking by the Better Business Bureau.
Barbara Duke knows what grade she would give the Green Frog Restoration. When asked, she said: “The F.”
Duke and her husband, Robert, said they were contacted by Green Frog Restoration, who asked if they could fix their roof, siding and shed following a hail storm. The Dukes said they agreed and signed a contract, turning over an insurance check worth $10,000.
“They come and got the check and then we didn’t hear anymore from them,” said Barbara Duke.
Barbara says she calls the company once or twice a week but no one answers. No one answered the door when I-Team 8 showed up at the Carmel business office listed as the company’s address. Our repeated phone calls were also not returned. An office manager at the business complex said she had not seen the tenants in a month.
Randy White also lost money to Green Frog Restoration.
“Whatever grade is below F, that’s what Green Frog should get,” White told I-Team 8 by phone.
When I-Team 8 notified Angie’s List that both White and the Dukes had paid money in advance but never received services, a spokeswoman confirmed that there were other similar instances and said that the company’s rating should be a “D.”
This isn’t the first time Angie’s List methods have been questioned. A federal lawsuit filed earlier this year alleged that contractors and companies can improve their position by paying advertising fees on the website. Angie’s List sought to have that case thrown out and a spokeswoman denied the assertions, saying that contractors and companies who advertise are held to a higher standard and are required to give discounts. Spokeswoman Cheryl Reed did not dispute, however, that discounts offered by the highest-rated companies are often at the top of Angie’s List.
INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Angie’s List plans to make significant changes to its review online system in the next 10 days.