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UN approves 30-day ceasefire to end deadly bombing in Syria’s Ghouta

Added: 24.02.2018 23:51 | 0 views | 0 comments


The United Nations on Saturday passed a resolution calling for a 30-day ceasefire across Syria, but Western diplomats said they were sceptical the Syrian regime would actually end its ferocious assault on the rebel-held suburb of Eastern Ghouta.  After days of intense negotiations, Russia agreed not use its veto to scuttle the UN security council resolution, which calls for a halt to fighting as well as the delivery of humanitarian aid and the evacuation of the wounded from besieged areas.  The unanimous passage of the resolution was hailed by Western diplomats, who had pushed hard for a deal amid a week of intense Syrian regime bombing of Eastern Ghouta. Hours before the vote, the civilian death toll climbed above 500.   Nikki Haley, the US ambassador to the UN, castigated Russia for days of delays which slowed the passage of the resolution. “In the three days it took us to adopt this resolution how many mothers lost their kids to the bombing and the shelling?” A picture taken on February 20 shows smoke plumes rising following a reported regime air strike in the rebel-held town of Hamouria, in the besieged Eastern Ghouta region Credit: ABDULMONAM EASSA/AFP/Getty Images It remains to be seen what impact the deal crafted in meeting rooms at the UN’s New York headquarters in New York will have on the ash-filled streets of Eastern Ghouta. Mrs Haley said the US was “deeply sceptical the regime will comply” with the ceasefire and called on Russia to pressure Assad’s forces to respect it. Russia demanded that the resolution not include a specific time for the ceasefire to go into force. The text instead reads that it should begin “without delay”, making it unclear when the fighting would actually stop. The ceasefire does not extend to terrorist groups such as the Islamic State or al-Qaeda. Both Russia and the Syrian regime accuse large swathes of the Syrian rebels of being al-Qaeda members, giving themselves a broad license to continue strikes.    “Russia used this loophole in previous agreements to continue bombing indiscriminately,” said Elizabeth Tsurkov, a research fellow at the Forum for Regional Thinking, an Israeli think tank. Members of the United Nations Security Council vote for ceasefire to Syrian bombing in eastern Ghouta, at the United Nations headquarters in New York Credit: REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz One Western diplomat said they feared the exemption on al-Qaeda might render the resolution “worthless” but that they were still hopeful its passage at UN would compel Russia to at least reduce the violence in Eastern Ghouta.   “The people are happy but they do not trust the regime and its allies,” said one man in Eastern Ghouta, after hearing the news from New York. The council had been due to vote on Friday but the vote was delayed. Nikki Haley, the US ambassador to the UN, tweeted her frustration, demanding a vote, as the discussions continued late into Friday afternoon. Unbelievable that Russia is stalling a vote on a ceasefire allowing humanitarian access in Syria. How many more people will die before the The Security Council agrees to take up this vote? Let’s do this tonight. The Syrian people can’t wait.— Nikki Haley (@nikkihaley) February 23, 2018 More than 500 people have been killed since the assault began Sunday night, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. New air strikes on the Syrian rebel enclave of Eastern Ghouta on Saturday took the civilian death toll from seven days of devastating bombardment to more than 500. A Syrian rescuer helps a man at the site of Syrian government bombardments in Douma Credit: HAMZA AL-AJWEH/AFP “This is about saving lives,” said Sweden's UN Ambassador Olof Skoog. "UN convoys and evacuation teams are ready to go. It's time for the council to come together and shoulder its responsibility to urgently avert a situation that is beyond words in its desperation,” he said. Russia is one of five permanent members of the Security Council that can veto a draft resolution. It has done so repeatedly throughout Syria’s civil war, torpedoing numerous efforts to stem the bloodshed even as its air force carries out bombing runs on behalf of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, a close ally. Russia had described civilian testimonies from the embattled area as “mass psychosis” earlier in the week, and blocked a UN Security Council vote.  Ghouta dispatch On Friday, French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel wrote a joint letter to Russian President Vladimir Putin, calling for an immediate truce in Eastern Ghouta. “France and Germany condemn in the strongest possible terms the deliberate and indiscriminate attacks against civilian populations, including very large numbers of children, and against civil and medical infrastructure in clear violation of the most fundamental international humanitarian law,” it read. The letter included a condemnation of the attacks on Damascus by opposition fighters inside Eastern Ghouta, but ended with a call for Russia to “assume its full responsibilities”. In a statement released Friday, the European Union called for an immediate ceasefire and access for aid trucks, citing a “moral duty” to protect civilians. Damascus (South West Syria) territorial control map "The European Union is running out of words to describe the horror being experienced by the people of Eastern Ghouta," the bloc said. US president Donald Trump said Russia and Iran's behavior in Syria was a 'disgrace'. Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu also spoke out Friday. "Russia and Iran must stop the regime," he said. Turkey, Iran and Russia are co-signatories on the de-escalation agreement. Mr Cavusoglu said the offensives in Eastern Ghouta and Idlib were "contrary" to the agreements negotiated by the three countries. How Russia's secret mercenary army came up against the US in Syria Eastern Ghouta is the last holdout of Islamist and opposition fighters near the capital. The densely populated area has been under siege since April 2013 and has become synonymous with civilian suffering – either through starvation and lack of access to medical supplies, or under intense aerial bombardment. On Friday, helicopters dropped barrel bombs on homes in the Hamorieh neighbourhood, and warplanes strafed the residential neighbourhood of Ein Tarma. According to Save the Children, more than 70 per cent of buildings in Ein Tarma have been destroyed or damaged. Infrastructure across Eastern Ghouta has sustained heavy damage, and some areas have not had water or electricity for two years. Twenty-two hospitals and clinics have bombed since Sunday. Medical charities have accused the Syrian government of deliberately targeting healthcare facilities, which is a war crime. Hala, 9, receives treatment at a makeshift hospital following Syrian government bombardments on rebel-held town of Saqba, in Eastern Ghouta  Credit: AMER ALMOHIBANY/AFP Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) said 13 hospitals it supports have been destroyed or damaged this week and that medical staff were struggling to cope with repeated mass-casualty influxes. The latest surge in violence in Eastern Ghouta is thought to be the first phase of an assault that will eventually include ground troops and will follow the same arc as Syrian government forces’ battle for east Aleppo. In Aleppo, the population was starved and endured weeks of air raids, after which ground troops moved in and fought block by block until the entire area was back under government control. Surviving civilians and militants were then bussed to Idlib province, one of the last areas of Syria still controlled by anti-government forces.

There's an uptick in HIV in these millennial groups. Here's why

Added: 24.02.2018 23:19 | 0 views | 0 comments


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) just released a report about HIV trends for people under 30 in the U.S., and the numbers show an increase in one particular group: 25- to 29-year-olds. After collecting data from all over the country on HIV and AIDS diagnoses between 2010 and 2014, the CDC found that overall rates of infection for 13- to 29-year-olds has remained stable overall. And for some of the younger groups, like those aged 15 to 19, rates have actually gone down. But "We can't pat ourselves on the back just yet," said Craig Wilson, a professor of epidemiology and public health at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, in an interview. SEE ALSO: 3 of 4 kids who've died from flu this year weren't vaccinated, say federal doctors Wilson notes that although we're seeing an overall "flattening" in the number of HIV infections in younger demographics — which is certainly better than an increase — the results shouldn't be taken as too encouraging. "There are good things if you look at it historically, but the bad part is, why aren’t we doing better?" asked Wilson, who was not involved in the CDC report.  Although these are estimations and not exact numbers, rates increased from around 32 to 35 cases per 100,000 people in the 24- to 25-year range and from around 30 to 34 cases in the 26- to 27-year range between 2010 and 2014. (Collectively, these fall under the CDC data collection system for the 25-29 year range.) HIV — a virus that attacks and destroys cells in the body's immune system to the point that it causes acquired immune deficiency syndrome, or AIDS — has existed in the U.S. since the 1970s and was first recognized by medical experts in the early 1980s. Nearly four decades later, tens of thousands of new infections are diagnosed in the U.S. each year. Risk of infection from sex, however, can be reduced by over 90 percent if modern PrEP medications are taken as directed, says the CDC. These drugs are designed to stop HIV from establishing itself or spreading throughout the body. And, of course, a person has to know they're infected to start taking medication. What's worrisome is that the younger demographic of 13- to 29-year-olds makes up a disproportionate number of new HIV infections. The CDC says this group made up 23 percent of the U.S. population in 2014, but accounted for 40 percent of diagnoses that year.  Why aren't the infection numbers going down? The flattening trend in HIV diagnosis among younger teens and millennials isn't bad, in the sense that matters could be worse — and still could get much worse. Wilson cites CDC stats from 2016 that he called "scary"; this government report projected that half of black gay men and a quarter of Latino gay men would be diagnosed with HIV in their lifetimes.  Although there's potential for HIV diagnoses to dramatically increase in some populations, experts still find the recent flattening trend unacceptable. "The status quo isn’t so good — we need to do a better job," said Sharon Nachman, division chief of pediatric infectious diseases and professor of pediatrics at Stony Brook Medicine, who also took no part in the CDC report.  New @CDCMMWR: Study analyzing #HIV among 13-29 year-olds underscores the importance of targeting prevention efforts to persons <18 and continuing through the mid-twenties. https://t.co/jpJw3HRwtq — Dr. Anne Schuchat (@CDCDirector) February 23, 2018 A primary reason why overall rates aren't dropping, and are actually increasing in 25- to 29-year-olds, is that millennials are failing to take the first preventative steps, like getting tested. "Even though the rates may be stable, millennials are less likely to have had an HIV test, even compared to older groups," said Brandon Brown, an HIV expert at the University of California Riverside School of Medicine who played no part in the report, over email.  There could be many reasons for this, he noted, like millennials believing they're not at risk, or possibly thinking HIV is now a manageable illness.  But getting tested is critical to getting the currently "flattening" trend to begin tracking down.  Wilson said the greater goal is for 90 percent of people infected with HIV to know their diagnosis, and then for 90 percent of those who know to receive therapy for HIV — therapy that decreases transmission. "If we hit those numbers, we’ll start seeing downtrends, because HIV transmission is taking place from those not on therapy," said Wilson. Inadequate testing, however, is not just the fault of millennials. Getting people to know their status requires doctors doing a better job about talking to their patients about testing.  Nachman says doctors should ask about about HIV the same way they ask about smoking. And all doctors these days, from cardiologists to dentists, seem to ask whether you smoke. "Until we normalize HIV testing and remove testing stigma, this will continue to be a problem where many don’t know their status," said Brown. WATCH: Google is learning how to predict heart disease by looking at your eyes  

From: www.yahoo.com

David and Louise Turpin facing additional charges over California 'house of horrors'

Added: 24.02.2018 22:03 | 0 views | 0 comments


A couple facing trial over the torture and false imprisonment of their 13 children had four more charges filed against them on Friday in a California court. The Riverside County district attorney filed three further charges of child abuse against David and Louise Turpin, and one count of felony assault by Mrs Turpin against one of her children. The couple are pleading not guilty to all 42 charges, including torture, false imprisonment, abuse of a dependent adult and child abuse, as well as one count of lewd conduct with a minor against Mr Turpin. Lawyers for the couple said they are both pleading not guilty to the additional charges filed on Friday. "Today we filed an amended complaint in the Turpin case this afternoon," said John Hall, spokesman for the district attorney's office, speaking outside court after the hearing. David and Louise Turpin with their children "We have amended the complaint to file three new charges on both defendants of child abuse, and one new count against only defendant Louise Turpin of felony assault. "There have been no counts that have been removed, and no other additional counts other than those. "It's further investigation that we've been doing in this case has led us to amend the complaint. That's not uncommon in cases," he added. "It could add some time to the exposure that they're facing, I don't have that tabulated right now." Mr Hall said he was not aware of any changes to the charges filed against the couple last month. Evidence which will be passed to the defence in discovery includes “voluminous” video and audio recordings, and physical evidence, according to Dave Macher, attorney for Louise Turpin. A new Felony Settlement Conference was set for March 23, where the attorneys for all sides will discuss the charges with the judge, and a new preliminary hearing was scheduled for May 14. The May hearing will likely involve testimony from police officers involved in the case, without the Turpin children being present, Mr Hall said. David and Louise Turpin's mugshots at a press conference on January 18 David Turpin appeared in court dressed in a black suit with a blue shirt, and had trimmed his hair since his first court appearance. He sat facing forward, with a lawyer sat between him and his wife. Mrs Turpin wore a fitted black suit and turned to watch the scores of journalists, law enforcement and public file into the court. The two defendants spoke only to confirm the date of the next court hearing. The Turpins’ children, aged between two and 29, have been taken into care and are split between two foster homes, sources say. Having lived under the tyrannical and abusive rule of their parents their whole lives, the children have not experienced many of the things other children take for granted – they are currently being introduced to iPads, Harry Potter movies, and even toothbrushes. The alleged abuse was revealed when one of the children, a 17-year-old girl, escaped out of a window at their house in Perris, California, and called 911. Police arrested David and Louise Turpin at the property last month. The house in Perris, California where the Turpins lived Mike Hestrin, Riverside County district attorney, said police found the girl’s 12 siblings inside the four-bedroom home, padlocked and shackled to the furniture, lying in their own urine and faeces. All 13 children were hospitalised, and were so malnourished they were at risk of shock. The eldest child, a 29-year-old woman, weighed just 82lbs (5 stone) when she was rescued. Officials said a total $570,000 has been donated from around the world to help pay for their healthcare and education. "In cases like this there are long-term needs like behavioral health, housing, scholarships, educational support, tutors and medical needs," Erin Phillips, a spokeswoman for the Riverside University Health System told CNN. "It's been amazing the outpouring of love and sentiments," Phillips said. "It reminds us there is so much light in this world in contrast to such a dark case." Jack Osborn and Caleb Mason, lawyers who represent seven of the older children, said that staff had converted a ward at Corona Medical Center to make them more comfortable, with an outdoor area where they can exercise and play sports. "That in itself is a new experience for them, understanding that they do have rights and they do have a voice," Mr Osborn told CBS. "That's a big deal, deciding what they're going to read, deciding what they're going to wear, these are all things that are decisions they make every day that are new and empowering." Corona mayor Karen Spiegel said nurses at the hospital looking after the Turpins’ children told her they were “warm” and “appreciative”. "They talk about how warm and loving these kids are and so appreciative," she said. "Some of them have never really seen a toothbrush before... Things that we just take for granted mean so much to these kids." Detailing the allegations against the Turpins at a press conference last month, Mr Hestrin said the children were “hogtied” and subject to “frequent beatings and even strangulation”. “As a punishment starting many years ago they began to be tied up, first with ropes,” he said. “One victim was tied up and hogtied. When that victim was able to escape the ropes the defendants started using chains and padlocks. “These punishments would last for weeks or even months,” he added. “The victims were often not released from their chains to go to the bathroom.” Mr Hestrin said the couple engaged in the psychological torture of their children, taunting them at their home with toys and food that they were not allowed to touch. Police are understood to be still combing through a stack of the children's journals recovered from the house, looking for further evidence of the alleged abusive treatment by their parents.

Little girl writes President Trump a letter suggesting ways to keep kids safe

Added: 24.02.2018 19:17 | 1 views | 0 comments

In September 2016, Jacob Hall was shot and killed on the school playground in Townville, South Carolina. Jacob was six. The shooter was fourteen. His friend Ava Olsen watched it happen. Following the shooting, she penned a letter to President Trump about keeping kids safe in school. Four months later, Mr. Trump wrote her back. Mark Strassmann reports.

From: feeds.cbsnews.com

How a Little Boy in Illinois Restored Power at a School in Puerto Rico

Added: 24.02.2018 16:50 | 0 views | 0 comments


For his 7th birthday, a boy in Illinois collected school supplies for kids in Puerto Rico instead of asking for gifts for himself. His kindness led to a bigger surprise than anyone imagined.

From: www.yahoo.com

Families of Columbine and Sandy Hook school shooting victims think Parkland may be different: 'These kids are going to change the world'

Added: 24.02.2018 16:34 | 0 views | 0 comments


Few of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students had even been born the day two gunmen shot and killed Coni Sanders’ father in a massacre at Columbine High School in 1999 – the largest school shooting in America at the time. “This has been 18 years of, every time there is a mass shooting all of the adults start screaming at each other and telling each other why they’re wrong,” said Ms Sanders, who has worked as a forensic therapist for violent offenders since her father, Columbine High School teacher Dave Sanders, was murdered. Indeed, since the day of the shooting, many students of Stoneman Douglas have spoken up unequivocally about the need for more gun control.

From: www.yahoo.com

David and Louise Turpin facing additional charges over California 'house of horrors'

Added: 24.02.2018 16:01 | 0 views | 0 comments


A couple facing trial over the torture and false imprisonment of their 13 children had four more charges filed against them on Friday in a California court. The Riverside County district attorney filed three further charges of child abuse against David and Louise Turpin, and one count of felony assault by Mrs Turpin against one of her children. The couple are pleading not guilty to all 42 charges, including torture, false imprisonment, abuse of a dependent adult and child abuse, as well as one count of lewd conduct with a minor against Mr Turpin. Lawyers for the couple said they are both pleading not guilty to the additional charges filed on Friday. "Today we filed an amended complaint in the Turpin case this afternoon," said John Hall, spokesman for the district attorney's office, speaking outside court after the hearing. David and Louise Turpin with their children "We have amended the complaint to file three new charges on both defendants of child abuse, and one new count against only defendant Louise Turpin of felony assault. "There have been no counts that have been removed, and no other additional counts other than those. "It's further investigation that we've been doing in this case has led us to amend the complaint. That's not uncommon in cases," he added. "It could add some time to the exposure that they're facing, I don't have that tabulated right now." Mr Hall said he was not aware of any changes to the charges filed against the couple last month. Evidence which will be passed to the defence in discovery includes “voluminous” video and audio recordings, and physical evidence, according to Dave Macher, attorney for Louise Turpin. A new Felony Settlement Conference was set for March 23, where the attorneys for all sides will discuss the charges with the judge, and a new preliminary hearing was scheduled for May 14. The May hearing will likely involve testimony from police officers involved in the case, without the Turpin children being present, Mr Hall said. David and Louise Turpin's mugshots at a press conference on January 18 David Turpin appeared in court dressed in a black suit with a blue shirt, and had trimmed his hair since his first court appearance. He sat facing forward, with a lawyer sat between him and his wife. Mrs Turpin wore a fitted black suit and turned to watch the scores of journalists, law enforcement and public file into the court. The two defendants spoke only to confirm the date of the next court hearing. The Turpins’ children, aged between two and 29, have been taken into care and are split between two foster homes, sources say. Having lived under the tyrannical and abusive rule of their parents their whole lives, the children have not experienced many of the things other children take for granted – they are currently being introduced to iPads, Harry Potter movies, and even toothbrushes. The alleged abuse was revealed when one of the children, a 17-year-old girl, escaped out of a window at their house in Perris, California, and called 911. Police arrested David and Louise Turpin at the property last month. The house in Perris, California where the Turpins lived Mike Hestrin, Riverside County district attorney, said police found the girl’s 12 siblings inside the four-bedroom home, padlocked and shackled to the furniture, lying in their own urine and faeces. All 13 children were hospitalised, and were so malnourished they were at risk of shock. The eldest child, a 29-year-old woman, weighed just 82lbs (5 stone) when she was rescued. Officials said a total $570,000 has been donated from around the world to help pay for their healthcare and education. "In cases like this there are long-term needs like behavioral health, housing, scholarships, educational support, tutors and medical needs," Erin Phillips, a spokeswoman for the Riverside University Health System told CNN. "It's been amazing the outpouring of love and sentiments," Phillips said. "It reminds us there is so much light in this world in contrast to such a dark case." Jack Osborn and Caleb Mason, lawyers who represent seven of the older children, said that staff had converted a ward at Corona Medical Center to make them more comfortable, with an outdoor area where they can exercise and play sports. "That in itself is a new experience for them, understanding that they do have rights and they do have a voice," Mr Osborn told CBS. "That's a big deal, deciding what they're going to read, deciding what they're going to wear, these are all things that are decisions they make every day that are new and empowering." Corona mayor Karen Spiegel said nurses at the hospital looking after the Turpins’ children told her they were “warm” and “appreciative”. "They talk about how warm and loving these kids are and so appreciative," she said. "Some of them have never really seen a toothbrush before... Things that we just take for granted mean so much to these kids." Detailing the allegations against the Turpins at a press conference last month, Mr Hestrin said the children were “hogtied” and subject to “frequent beatings and even strangulation”. “As a punishment starting many years ago they began to be tied up, first with ropes,” he said. “One victim was tied up and hogtied. When that victim was able to escape the ropes the defendants started using chains and padlocks. “These punishments would last for weeks or even months,” he added. “The victims were often not released from their chains to go to the bathroom.” Mr Hestrin said the couple engaged in the psychological torture of their children, taunting them at their home with toys and food that they were not allowed to touch. Police are understood to be still combing through a stack of the children's journals recovered from the house, looking for further evidence of the alleged abusive treatment by their parents.

World Briefs: 9 India schoolkids killed in suspected hit-and-run

Added: 24.02.2018 16:00 | 0 views | 0 comments

February 25, 2018 5:00 AM
NEW DELHI • At least nine pupils were killed and 20 others injured in eastern India's Bihar state yesterday after a vehicle crashed into them outside their school in an apparent hit-and-run incident, police said.

From: www.straitstimes.com

The school-to-prison pipeline punishes kids of color for being poor

Added: 24.02.2018 10:49 | 0 views | 0 comments

We need to take a long look at whether we are going to invest in more police, or better schools for our children

From: www.nbcnews.com

The school-to-prison pipeline punishes kids of color for being poor

Added: 24.02.2018 10:48 | 0 views | 0 comments

We need to take a long look at whether we are going to invest in more police, or better schools for our children

From: www.nbcnews.com

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