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Westlake Legal Group > News Corporation (Page 225)

A New Bloodsucking Leech Species Found Hiding Outside Washington, D.C.

Westlake Legal Group anna_phillips_-_img_0033_1_custom-af1952353fc7b48747db5d13523f4f61bc2a28f6-s1100-c15 A New Bloodsucking Leech Species Found Hiding Outside Washington, D.C.

Macrobdella mimicus, the first new species of medicinal leech discovered in over 40 years The Smithsonian Institution hide caption

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The Smithsonian Institution

Westlake Legal Group  A New Bloodsucking Leech Species Found Hiding Outside Washington, D.C.

Macrobdella mimicus, the first new species of medicinal leech discovered in over 40 years

The Smithsonian Institution

With an olive-green body encasing three jaws, each lined with more than 50 teeth, it looks like a cigarette-sized relative of the skin-crawling creature from the Alien films. Actually, it’s far less sinister: a new species of a bloodsucking leech.

Anna Phillips, the curator of parasitic worms at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C., led the team that recently discovered Macrobdella mimicus in almost their own backyard.

Uncovered in the swamps of Charles County in Maryland, it’s the first species of medicinal leech discovered in North America since 1975, Phillips says.

Their superficial likeness to the common species known as Macrobdella decora, found across the northern U.S., has allowed them to go undetected for so long, leading the team to name the new species “mimicus,” after the Greek word meaning “imitator.”

DNA tests ultimately led the team to identify the leech as a new species. Parasitologists look to the arrangement of pores on the bottom of leeches’ bodies to help distinguish species. The researchers noticed a slight discrepancy in the arrangement of the leeches’ accessory pores — pores that secrete mucus to allow mating leeches to latch together.

“It’s been here this whole time,” Phillips said in a press release from the Smithsonian Institution. “We just hadn’t looked at it in this new way.”

But once the scientists ventured into the new species’ native habitat, it didn’t take much for Phillips’ team to catch the specimens — or rather, for the specimens to catch them.

“Our collection method is to roll up our pants, wear water sandals, and wade in about knee-deep, make a little bit of movement, stir up the vegetation and the mud and — they come to us,” Phillips said in an interview with NPR’s Weekend Edition.

Phillips says humans shouldn’t necessarily fear their bite alone.

But when leeches are harmed — whether yanked, burned or salted — Phillips says, they can regurgitate the bacteria that sits in their intestines to facilitate their digestion into the wound, leading to infection.

Leeches, parasitic worms that feed on the blood of animals and humans, have an ancient history in medical quackery due to the belief that bloodletting helped purge the “tainted” human body of various ailments.

In recent years, however, medicinal leeches are making a comeback in hospitals and scientists’ labs.

The anticoagulants found in their saliva can facilitate blood flow, preventing blood clots from forming in damaged tissue. Surgeons also use the critters during reconstructive procedures, such as finger reattachment, to replace stale blood with fresh, leech-drawn, oxygenated blood.

NPR’s Peter Breslow and Melissa Gray produced and edited this story for broadcast. Emma Bowman produced this story for Web.

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Dorian strengthens to Category 5 hurricane, marches west toward USA's East Coast

CLOSEWestlake Legal Group icon_close Dorian strengthens to Category 5 hurricane, marches west toward USA's East Coast

Dorian is forecast to be a Category 4 as it continues to track toward Florida. ACCUWEATHER

Port St. Lucie, Florida –Hurricane Dorian strengthened to a “catastrophic” Category 5 storm Sunday with sustained winds of 160 mph on an unrelenting march toward the nation’s East Coast.

The National Hurricane Center said the storm had roared to within 225 miles east of West Palm Beach, Florida, as of 8 a.m. and was heading west at about 8 mph. The storm was expected to turn north, and it remained unclear where landfall might occur.

A long stretch of the coast including Florida, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina remained in play. 

“A slower westward motion should occur for the next day or two, followed by a gradual turn toward the northwest,” the center said in an advisory. “On this track, the core of extremely dangerous Hurricane Dorian should be moving over Great Abaco soon, and continue near or over Grand Bahama Island later tonight and Monday.

Stay updated on Hurricane Dorian: Get USA TODAY’s Daily Briefing in your inbox

“The hurricane should move closer to the Florida east coast late Monday through Tuesday night.”

The Bahamas were under siege, with storm surge in some areas expected to exceed 10 feet in some areas, posing “serious threat to both life and property across much of the northern Bahamas,”  AccuWeather Meteorologist Brandon Buckingham said.

The slow pace of the storm meant some areas could be drenched by up to two feet of rain, Buckingham said.

As the Bahamas braced for the worst, the Ministry of Labour warned businesses that “laws regarding price gouging and price hoarding will be scrupulously enforced” over the next several days.

More: 5 things that make Dorian a dangerous hurricane

More: Dorian is a ‘major’ hurricane. What does this mean?

Dorian is powerful but compact. Satellite images of Dorian portray the hurricane as a relatively small feature, with hurricane-force winds “only” extending out from the center by about 30 miles, while tropical storm-force winds extend outward from the center of the hurricane by about 105 miles, AccuWeather said. This is only about half of what is average for a hurricane.

“I’ve seen a lot of storms bigger than that,” said Ken Graham, director of the National Hurricane Center in Miami. “When it gets close to the coast, people have a tendency just to look at the center, but you have to think of it as bigger.”  

Some Floridians were cautiously optimistic. A mandatory evacuation order for parts of Martin County was rescinded. A similar order for Brevard County’s barrier island was postponed for by 24 hours – from 8 a.m. Sunday to 8 a.m. Monday.

President Donald Trump was receiving briefings on Hurricane Dorian from the presidential retreat at Camp David. Vice President Mike Pence said Trump and others in the administration are watching the storm closely.

“It’s an extremely dangerous hurricane, and while some are reporting changes in the track, anyone in the path of Hurricane Dorian should listen to state and local and first responders and public safety personnel and heed their warnings,” Pence said.

Contributing: Doug Stanglin; The Associated Press

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Ocasio-Cortez mocks ‘straight pride’ parade: More like a ‘I-Struggle-With-Masculinity’ parade

Westlake Legal Group GxWWfaHbRXTHeGE_cWx0bFHDt5SGJfXinQOb46gi0AM Ocasio-Cortez mocks 'straight pride' parade: More like a 'I-Struggle-With-Masculinity' parade r/politics

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Hurricane Dorian Intensifies To Category 5 Storm

McLEAN’S TOWN CAY, Bahamas (AP) — An already dangerous Hurricane Dorian intensified yet again Sunday as it closed in on the northern Bahamas, threatening to batter islands with Category 5-strength winds, pounding waves and torrential rain as people hunkered down in schools, churches and other shelters.

The National Hurricane Center in Miami said Dorian’s maximum sustained winds have increased to 160 mph (260 kph), up from 150 mph (240 kph). It is moving west at 8 mph (13 kph). “Devastating hurricane conditions” are expected in the Abacos Islands early Sunday and across Grand Bahama Island later in the day, the center said.

Millions from Florida to the Carolinas kept a wary eye on Dorian, meanwhile, amid indications it would veer sharply northeastward after passing the Bahamas and track up the U.S. Southeast seaboard. But authorities warned even if its core did not make U.S. landfall and stayed offshore, the potent storm would likely hammer U.S. coastal areas with powerful winds and heavy surf.

Westlake Legal Group 5d6bbafb3b0000e000cabf5d Hurricane Dorian Intensifies To Category 5 Storm

Dante Carrer / Reuters Palm trees blow in the wind during the arrival of Hurricane Dorian in Marsh Harbour, the Great Abaco Island, Bahamas, on Sunday.

In the northern stretches of the Bahamas archipelago, hotels closed, residents boarded up homes and officials hired boats to move people from low-lying areas to bigger islands as Dorian approached.

Bahamas Prime Minister Hubert Minnis warned that Dorian is a “dangerous storm” and said any “who do not evacuate are placing themselves in extreme danger and can expect a catastrophic consequence.”

Small skiffs shuttled Saturday between outlying fishing communities and McLean’s Town, a settlement of a few dozen homes at the eastern end of Grand Bahama island, about 150 miles (240 kilometers) from Florida’s Atlantic coast. Most people came from Sweeting Cay, a fishing town of a few hundred people about 5 feet (1.5 meters) above sea level.“We’re not taking no chances,” said Margaret Bassett, a ferry boat driver for the Deep Water Cay resort. “They said evacuate, you have to evacuate.”

Over two or three days, the slow-moving hurricane could dump as much as 4 feet (1 meter) of rain, unleash devastating winds and whip up a dangerous storm surge, said private meteorologist Ryan Maue, seconding some of the most reliable computer models.

Westlake Legal Group 5d6bbb0c240000330071c3a6 Hurricane Dorian Intensifies To Category 5 Storm

Maria Alejandra Cardona / Reuters Locals and tourists enjoy the beach before the arrival of Hurricane Dorian in St. Augustine, Florida, on Saturday.

Government spokesman Kevin Harris said Dorian was expected to impact some 73,000 residents and 21,000 homes. Authorities closed airports for The Abaco Islands, Grand Bahama and Bimini, but Lynden Pindling International Airport at the capital of Nassau remained open. 

The sounds of hammers and cash registers echoed across the Bahamas as the archipelago that lies just southeast of Florida rushed to prepare for Hurricane Dorian.

Jeffrey Allen, who lives in Freeport on Grand Bahama, said he had learned after several storms that sometimes predictions of damage don’t materialize, but he still takes precautions.

“It’s almost as if you wait with anticipation, hoping that it’s never as bad as they say it will be. However, you prepare for the worst nonetheless,” he said.

On average, the Bahamas archipelago gets a direct hit from a hurricane every four years, officials said. Construction codes require homes to have metal reinforcements for roof beams to withstand winds into the upper limits of a Category 4 hurricane, and compliance is generally tight for residents who can afford it. Risks are higher in poorer communities, which typically have wooden homes and are generally in lower-lying areas.

The slow-crawling storm was predicted to take until Monday afternoon to pass over the Bahamas, and then turn sharply and skirt up the U.S. coast, staying just off Florida and Georgia on Tuesday and Wednesday and then buffeting South Carolina and North Carolina on Thursday.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis warned residents along that state’s densely populated Atlantic coast, “We’re not out of the woods yet.”

He noted some forecast models still bring Dorian close to or even onto the Florida peninsula.

“That could produce life-threatening storm surge and hurricane force winds,” DeSantis said. “That cone of uncertainty still includes a lot of areas on the east coast of Florida and even into central and north Florida, so we are staying prepared and remaining vigilant.”

Westlake Legal Group 5d6bbf743b00007902cabf62 Hurricane Dorian Intensifies To Category 5 Storm

Scott Olson via Getty Images Shoppers grab supplies at a boarded-up strip mall in preparation for Hurricane Dorian on Saturday in Indialantic, Florida.

In Miami, Carmen Segura said she had installed hurricane shutters at her house, bought extra gas and secured water and food for at least three days. She felt well prepared and less worried, given the latest forecasts, but still was uneasy given the storm’s unpredictability.

“Part of me still feels like: So, now what?” Segura said.

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster declared a state of emergency, mobilizing state resources to prepare for potential storm effects. President Donald Trump already declared a state of emergency and was brief late Saturday about the storm.

The hurricane upended some Labor Day holiday weekend plans in the U.S.: Major airlines allowed travelers to change their reservations without fees, big cruise lines rerouted their ships and Cumberland Island National Seashore off Georgia closed to visitors. Disney World and Orlando’s other resorts held off announcing any closings.

Sherry Atkinson, who manages a hotel on North Carolina’s Outer Banks, said the hurricane wasn’t spoiling holiday vacations for guests.

“So far, there hasn’t even been a snippet of conversation about evacuations,” she said.

Associated Press writers Tim Aylen in McLean’s Town Cay; Seth Borenstein in Washington; Michael Weissenstein in Havana, Cuba; Adriana Gomez Licon in Miami; Brendan Farrington in Tallahassee, Florida; Julie Walker in New York; Michael Kunzelman in College Park, Maryland; and Amy Forliti in Minneapolis contributed to this report.

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Texas gun law changes take effect one day after deadly shooting near Odessa and Midland

CLOSEWestlake Legal Group icon_close Texas gun law changes take effect one day after deadly shooting near Odessa and Midland

A traffic stop triggered a deadly shooting rampage. Warning: Some viewers may find this video disturbing. Wochit, Wochit

A bulk of gun law changes took effect in Texas on Sunday, loosening restrictions just one day after a mass shooting near Odessa and Midland left at least 5 people dead. 

The laws open more opportunities for Texans to have firearms and store ammunition in public places.

From churches to public schools to foster homes, the laws also loosen restrictions on where a firearm is permitted.

The laws were already set to take effect Sept. 1 but come just one day after a routine traffic stop on Interstate 20 triggered a deadly shooting rampage.

Police in Texas say the incident began at 3:13 p.m. CDT Saturday when an assailant described only as a white male in his mid-30s driving a gold-colored car was pulled over by a pair of state troopers for a traffic violation.

Midland-Odessa shooting: 5 dead, 21 wounded in mass shooting in Midland-Odessa, Texas; shooter killed

The stop turned violent when the man grabbed a rifle and shot multiple times at the pair of troopers through the rear window, wounding one. He then sped off, shooting at other motorists and passers-by.

The changes were implemented by Republican state legislators in the last session that ended in June 2019. Here’s a look at the laws, taken verbatim from the Texas State Law Library website:

HB 121 — Relating to a defense to prosecution for the offense of trespass by certain persons carrying handguns. Provides a defense for License To Carry holders who unknowingly enter establishments that prohibit guns with signage if the LTC holder promptly leaves the property after being asked.

HB 302 — Relating to the carrying, storage, or possession of a firearm or firearm ammunition by certain persons on certain residential or commercial property Prohibits residential lease agreements from restricting the possession of firearms by residents or their guests.

HB 1143 — Relating to the transportation or storage of a handgun or other firearm or ammunition by a handgun license holder in a school parking area. Updates the Texas Education Code to prevent school districts from regulating the manner in which a licensed person’s handgun, firearm, or ammunition is stored in their vehicle in a school parking area.

HB 1177 — Relating to carrying a handgun during a state of disaster. Prevents citizens from being charged with a crime for carrying a handgun without a License To Carry while evacuating from a declared state or local disaster area, or while returning to that area. Also gives disaster shelters the option to accommodate evacuees with firearms.

HB 1387 — Relating to the number of school marshals that may be appointed to serve on a public school campus or at a private school. Loosens restrictions on how many armed school marshals a school district or the governing body of an open-enrollment charter school may appoint.

HB 1791 — Relating to the carrying of handguns by license holders on property owned or leased by a governmental entity. Updates language in the Texas Government Code related to the carrying of firearms on property owned or leased by a government entity.

HB 2363 — Relating to permitting certain foster homes to store firearms and ammunition in the same locked location. Updates specifications for how foster parents may store their firearms in a foster home.

SB 535 — Relating to the carrying of a handgun by a license holder on the premises of certain places of religious worship. Clarifies the Texas Penal Code by removing “a church, synagogue, or other established place of religious worship” from the list of prohibited locations for carrying a firearm.

SB 741 — Relating to restrictive covenants regarding firearms or firearm ammunition. Prohibits a property owners association from prohibiting or restricting the possession, transportation, or storage of a firearm or ammunition. Also prohibits restrictions on the lawful discharge of a firearm.

Contributing: Olivia Sanchez, Marco della Cava and Chris Woodyard, USA TODAY

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Hey, Look What’s New At The State Fair: The Federal Reserve

Westlake Legal Group mattson-minneapolis-fed-016fdc2f942f5c3354eeb5b3632af4a1dc1c7608-s1100-c15 Hey, Look What's New At The State Fair: The Federal Reserve

Karmi Mattson, the Minneapolis Federal Reserve Bank’s manager of public programs, says she and her colleagues are at the state fair to teach Minnesotans about what the Fed does. Mark Zdechlik/MPR News hide caption

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Mark Zdechlik/MPR News

Westlake Legal Group  Hey, Look What's New At The State Fair: The Federal Reserve

Karmi Mattson, the Minneapolis Federal Reserve Bank’s manager of public programs, says she and her colleagues are at the state fair to teach Minnesotans about what the Fed does.

Mark Zdechlik/MPR News

Beyond the cattle barn, the “oink booth,” the haunted house and meat-on-a stick, the Minnesota State Fair has a new attraction this year.

Tucked away in the education building at the fairgrounds near St. Paul is an exhibit featuring something anybody would love — free dough.

“How often do you get free money? Genuine U.S. currency,” shouted Karmi Mattson, who manages public programs for the Minneapolis Federal Reserve Bank, which set up its first-ever booth at the fair.

Sound too good to be true? Yup.

It’s not spendable cash that the Fed’s giving away. It’s shredded, worn-out money the bank has taken out of circulation.

At the fair, which attracted more than 2 million visitors last year, the Minneapolis Fed is helping introduce the bank to thousands of Minnesotans at a time many people are concerned about the economy.

“We know that a lot of folks out there don’t understand the mission of the Fed and all of our many activities. So, we’re just hear to raise a little bit of awareness,” Mattson said.

Fed officials get questions like, “Is now a good time to refinance my house?”

Visitors to the fair booth learn that the Federal Reserve System — of which the Minneapolis Fed is just a part — sets interest rates, manages the currency, including destroying worn bills, and oversees banks.

One visitor, Peter Andersen, 80, of St. Paul, learned the Federal Reserve System is divided into twice as many districts as the six he thought existed.

Unlike President Trump, who’s likened Fed Chairman Jay Powell to an enemy, Andersen has a favorable opinion of the central bank and its mission.

“They monitor money, and they watch interest rates, and watch over the economy and make sure the inflation is not overdone,” Andersen said. “I think they do a good job and they need to remain separate. The president should not, in my opinion, have any influence on the Fed.”

In addition to getting a free bag of finely shredded currency, visitors to the Fed booth can spin a big trivia wheel for a chance to win a Fed fanny pack.

Maggie Catambay, 79, landed on a question about the average daily value of the electronic transfers the Fed handles for banks. The wheel offered three options: $1.3 billion, $10.3 billion and $103 billion.

Catambay went with the largest figure, the correct answer.

She, too, said she has no beef with the Fed. She thinks Trump’s attacks on the central bank for not lowering interest rates more are for personal reasons.

“It’s ridiculous. It’s all about Trump and Trump’s money and Trump’s debts,” Catambay said.

She said it’s a good idea for the Minneapolis bank to raise its profile with a fair booth.

“You can never have enough information,” she said.

Mattson said Catambay and Andersen are typical of visitors. She said she and her colleagues are not getting any pushback from fairgoers.

“We’re seeing quite the opposite. A lot of support,” Mattson said. “People thanking us for what we do, thanking us for being here.”

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In Venezuela, A Rum-Maker Gives Gang Members A Way Out — Via Rugby

Westlake Legal Group _dsc13671_slide-532abbe45255e47d6be674eb6d78e077bbfe354a-s1100-c15 In Venezuela, A Rum-Maker Gives Gang Members A Way Out — Via Rugby

Young men practice rugby at Hacienda Santa Teresa, an estate belonging to a Venezuelan rum company. The estate serves as a practice field for neighboring communities of Aragua state, using rugby to help at-risk youths stay away from criminal life and violence. Adriana Loureiro Fernández for NPR hide caption

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Adriana Loureiro Fernández for NPR

Westlake Legal Group  In Venezuela, A Rum-Maker Gives Gang Members A Way Out — Via Rugby

Young men practice rugby at Hacienda Santa Teresa, an estate belonging to a Venezuelan rum company. The estate serves as a practice field for neighboring communities of Aragua state, using rugby to help at-risk youths stay away from criminal life and violence.

Adriana Loureiro Fernández for NPR

Amid the chaos and misery that have engulfed Venezuela lies a strange parcel of tranquility, tucked within a valley surrounded by poplar trees and mountains some 20 miles south of the Caribbean coast.

It is a field populated by dozens of lanky teenage boys who are spending this particular evening — as they often do — galloping around the grass in pursuit of an oval ball.

These impoverished Venezuelans are training in the skills of a sport not often seen in a South American nation that’s mad about soccer, baseball and horse racing: They are playing rugby.

Their game is taking place on the grounds of a hacienda, a picturesque country estate that includes a distillery and sugarcane plantation, in the Aragua Valley about 40 miles west of the capital Caracas.

The estate belongs to Santa Teresa, makers of Venezuela’s oldest brand of rum, which has — its website proudly proclaims — withstood “wars, revolutions, invasions, even dictators” since it first started distilling more than 200 years ago.

Westlake Legal Group comp-rugby-1_custom-ea1aba394224638017f00958af5961b1f1bddfa7-s1100-c15 In Venezuela, A Rum-Maker Gives Gang Members A Way Out — Via Rugby

Left: A worker at Santa Teresa rum factory oversees the bottling process. Right: The estate belongs to one of the most popular rum brands in Venezuela. Adriana Loureiro Fernández for NPR hide caption

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Adriana Loureiro Fernández for NPR

Westlake Legal Group  In Venezuela, A Rum-Maker Gives Gang Members A Way Out — Via Rugby

Left: A worker at Santa Teresa rum factory oversees the bottling process. Right: The estate belongs to one of the most popular rum brands in Venezuela.

Adriana Loureiro Fernández for NPR

Rugby is one more albeit unusual play in the rum-maker’s history of negotiating the country’s turbulent times, this time by helping turn its neighborhood away from violent crime, especially by gangs.

Watching this evening’s training session is Guillermo Morales, 21, a keen rugby player who would normally be on the field but has been sidelined by an injury. “Here, you don’t see what you see at home, like guns and drugs,” says Morales, who lives nearby. “Here, we are away from all that.”

Surviving Venezuela’s mayhem these days is “really tough,” he says. “You just want to cry and cry.” For him, coming here to play rugby in the safe haven of a country estate provides a welcome escape from reality.

Westlake Legal Group _mg_0196_slide-de3b95c3d053543accb86659b451e95245444a36-s1100-c15 In Venezuela, A Rum-Maker Gives Gang Members A Way Out — Via Rugby

Rodney Ospino (center) listens to his coach during rugby practice at Hacienda Santa Teresa. Some 2,000 mostly poor youngsters from the surrounding neighborhoods play rugby at the estate as part of a program to deter them from joining gangs. Adriana Loureiro Fernández for NPR hide caption

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Adriana Loureiro Fernández for NPR

Westlake Legal Group  In Venezuela, A Rum-Maker Gives Gang Members A Way Out — Via Rugby

Rodney Ospino (center) listens to his coach during rugby practice at Hacienda Santa Teresa. Some 2,000 mostly poor youngsters from the surrounding neighborhoods play rugby at the estate as part of a program to deter them from joining gangs.

Adriana Loureiro Fernández for NPR

The story of how rum and rugby came to be mixed in this part of Venezuela begins in 2003, and has since evolved into local legend. Criminal gangs, hungry for guns, were particularly active in the surrounding communities at that time. Rivalries abounded; homicides were common.

According to Bernardo López, manager of the Santa Teresa Foundation, three gang members broke into the hacienda, in the hope of stealing the security guards’ weapons.

The men were captured. Instead of handing them over to the police, for certain imprisonment, the rum-maker’s chief executive, Alberto Vollmer, offered them a chance to atone for their crime by working unpaid at the distillery for a few months instead.

López says the gang members agreed. Yet when they eventually reported for work, they showed up with their whole gang — some 20 other men — “saying that if [Vollmer] was offering jobs, they wanted jobs for everyone.”

Westlake Legal Group _dsc1831_slide-37d3feedb93855c7bfb80cc4dbbbf16e6a2e39e8-s1100-c15 In Venezuela, A Rum-Maker Gives Gang Members A Way Out — Via Rugby

The sun sets on a road at Hacienda Santa Teresa. According to Bernardo López, manager of the Santa Teresa Foundation, three gang members broke into the hacienda in 2003, in the hope of stealing the security guards’ weapons. Instead of punishment, they were offered a chance to atone for their crime by working unpaid at the distillery for a few months. Adriana Loureiro Fernández for NPR hide caption

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Adriana Loureiro Fernández for NPR

Westlake Legal Group  In Venezuela, A Rum-Maker Gives Gang Members A Way Out — Via Rugby

The sun sets on a road at Hacienda Santa Teresa. According to Bernardo López, manager of the Santa Teresa Foundation, three gang members broke into the hacienda in 2003, in the hope of stealing the security guards’ weapons. Instead of punishment, they were offered a chance to atone for their crime by working unpaid at the distillery for a few months.

Adriana Loureiro Fernández for NPR

Eager to build bridges with a community with soaring unemployment, and to reduce the threat of gang crime, Vollmer took them in, says López.

Vollmer is a descendant of a German merchant who migrated to Venezuela in 1830. He is also a rugby enthusiast — having played as a schoolboy — who believes this rough and rugged sport is character-building because it helps nurture respect, sportsmanship, discipline and humility.

It would therefore be a good idea, Vollmer concluded, to introduce the gangs to the game.

This became the starting point of what became Project Alcatraz, a rehabilitation program that Santa Teresa has since expanded to include vocational training, psychological counseling and formal education. The name is both a nod to the notorious California prison and to the gannet bird, which is what alcatraz translates to in English.

Westlake Legal Group _dsc1465_slide-64cd591495585d6db5bd3c0c6d72471e38f60401-s1100-c15 In Venezuela, A Rum-Maker Gives Gang Members A Way Out — Via Rugby

Members of the youth division of Project Alcatraz’s rugby team practice. Adriana Loureiro Fernández for NPR hide caption

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Adriana Loureiro Fernández for NPR

Westlake Legal Group  In Venezuela, A Rum-Maker Gives Gang Members A Way Out — Via Rugby

Members of the youth division of Project Alcatraz’s rugby team practice.

Adriana Loureiro Fernández for NPR

Some 2,000 mostly poor youngsters from the surrounding districts regularly play rugby at the hacienda as part of a preventive program to deter them from joining gangs.

“They fall in love with our rugby,” says Luis Daniel “Chino” López, coach of the youth team, as he gazes at his players out on the field wrestling over the ball.

The hacienda is a kind of refuge for them, he says — although the realities of life in Venezuela sometimes intrude. “They sometimes say ‘Oh, Chino, I’m hungry,’ but we help them with that. Sometimes we give them food.”

Westlake Legal Group _dsc1572_slide-6e9f58d5d338c9298d174882b000338428a7e90d-s1100-c15 In Venezuela, A Rum-Maker Gives Gang Members A Way Out — Via Rugby

People watch and cheer during rugby practice at Hacienda Santa Teresa. Adriana Loureiro Fernández for NPR hide caption

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Adriana Loureiro Fernández for NPR

Westlake Legal Group  In Venezuela, A Rum-Maker Gives Gang Members A Way Out — Via Rugby

People watch and cheer during rugby practice at Hacienda Santa Teresa.

Adriana Loureiro Fernández for NPR

According to the Santa Teresa Foundation, the Alcatraz project has sharply lowered the homicide rate in the locality in recent years. Crime, however, remains a problem.

Gertrudis, a middle-aged widow who lives nearby — and who wants her full name withheld for fear of reprisals — says no one in the neighborhood dares go outside after 7 p.m. for fear of being robbed or assaulted.

She concedes the rugby at the Santa Teresa hacienda might help lower crime, but appears far more concerned about her daily ordeal of lining up to get food from 4 a.m., regular power outages and Venezuela’s chronic shortage of medicines.

Project Alcatraz has expanded to include hundreds of prison inmates. Its representatives regularly visit Venezuelan penitentiaries to organize rugby games and recruit players.

Westlake Legal Group _dsc1377_slide-cc4df042ff6aa7e83b94542b8ed8f41114cf56fc-s1100-c15 In Venezuela, A Rum-Maker Gives Gang Members A Way Out — Via Rugby

Rugby team players race after each other on the field. Adriana Loureiro Fernández for NPR hide caption

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Adriana Loureiro Fernández for NPR

Westlake Legal Group  In Venezuela, A Rum-Maker Gives Gang Members A Way Out — Via Rugby

Rugby team players race after each other on the field.

Adriana Loureiro Fernández for NPR

Santa Teresa now hosts a one-day rugby 7-a-side tournament for inmates. At the most recent, in December, 13 prison teams took part, escorted to the estate by prison guards and surrounded by a security ring of National Guard soldiers.

“Imagine the atmosphere,” says Bernardo López of the Santa Teresa Foundation. “We have 300 inmates in the hacienda, and their handcuffs are taken off. They exchange their uniforms for rugby clothes, and start to play.

“You can see their families cheering from the bleachers. There are moms, who have come to meet their sons and children who’re able to see their fathers. Afterwards, they can hug, and talk.”

None of this work has been made easier as Venezuela grapples with economic collapse and a political crisis in which the U.S.-backed opposition leader Juan Guaidó has been leading a campaign to oust President Nicolás Maduro, arguing that he was illegally reelected.

Westlake Legal Group _mg_0359_slide-6b39a77ca3ca4bd09825fba6fa340ef27cb150a6-s1100-c15 In Venezuela, A Rum-Maker Gives Gang Members A Way Out — Via Rugby

Alcatraz team members take a rest in the stands after practice. Adriana Loureiro Fernández for NPR hide caption

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Adriana Loureiro Fernández for NPR

Westlake Legal Group  In Venezuela, A Rum-Maker Gives Gang Members A Way Out — Via Rugby

Alcatraz team members take a rest in the stands after practice.

Adriana Loureiro Fernández for NPR

As the country’s instability deepens, getting gangs to agree to participate in Project Alcatraz has become harder, says López.

“Gangs right now in Venezuela are not the gangs that we used to manage in 2003,” he says. “Gangs now are huge. We’re talking about hundreds of men.”

Yet he’s undeterred. Rehabilitation and rugby will continue, he says.

“We don’t do this to sell rum. We sell rum to do this. This is our purpose.”

Westlake Legal Group _mg_0443_slide-0626f22edfd3f1caaa66382f98047452899de0cf-s1100-c15 In Venezuela, A Rum-Maker Gives Gang Members A Way Out — Via Rugby

The sun sets after rugby practice at Hacienda Santa Teresa in May. Adriana Loureiro Fernández for NPR hide caption

toggle caption

Adriana Loureiro Fernández for NPR

Westlake Legal Group  In Venezuela, A Rum-Maker Gives Gang Members A Way Out — Via Rugby

The sun sets after rugby practice at Hacienda Santa Teresa in May.

Adriana Loureiro Fernández for NPR

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Hurricane Dorian bears down on Bahamas with 160 mph winds as islands hunker down, ‘taking no chances’

A menacing Hurricane Dorian took aim at the northern Bahamas early Sunday, strengthening to a “catastrophic” Category 5 storm packing winds of 160 mph and the threat of torrential rain that could last for days as millions in the U.S. along the Southeast coast from Florida to North Carolina are keeping an eye on where the storm may head next.

The National Hurricane Center as of 8 a.m. Sunday reported the center of the Category 5 storm was located around 35 miles east of Great Abaco Island in the Bahamas and 225 miles east of West Palm Beach, as it was moving west at 8 mph with maximum sustained winds of 160 mph.

Dorian is an “extremely dangerous” hurricane according to Fox News Senior Meteorologist Janice Dean, who said the storm is set to deliver a “devastating blow” to the northwest Bahamas Sunday through Monday.

Westlake Legal Group DorianTracker1 Hurricane Dorian bears down on Bahamas with 160 mph winds as islands hunker down, 'taking no chances' Travis Fedschun fox-news/world/disasters/hurricanes-typhoons fox-news/weather fox-news/us/disasters/hurricanes-typhoons fox-news/us/disasters fox-news/science/planet-earth/natural-disasters/hurricane-dorian fox news fnc/us fnc article 169f3af9-5983-5802-acb2-3845e1740753

The location of Hurricane Dorian early Sunday.

“Dorian’s slowing forward motion will keep hurricane conditions over the islands for this prolonged period of time,” Dean said.

HURRICANE DORIAN’S PATH: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

In the northern stretches of the Bahamas archipelago, hotels closed, residents boarded up homes and officials hired boats to move people from low-lying areas to bigger islands as Dorian approached.

Westlake Legal Group BahamasDorian3 Hurricane Dorian bears down on Bahamas with 160 mph winds as islands hunker down, 'taking no chances' Travis Fedschun fox-news/world/disasters/hurricanes-typhoons fox-news/weather fox-news/us/disasters/hurricanes-typhoons fox-news/us/disasters fox-news/science/planet-earth/natural-disasters/hurricane-dorian fox news fnc/us fnc article 169f3af9-5983-5802-acb2-3845e1740753

Workers board up a shop’s window front as they make preparations for the arrival of Hurricane Dorian, in Freeport, Bahamas. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)

Government spokesman Kevin Harris said Sunday that Dorian was expected to impact some 73,000 residents and 21,000 homes. Authorities closed airports for The Abaco Islands, Grand Bahama, and Bimini, but Lynden Pindling International Airport at the capital of Nassau remained open.

Jeffrey Allen, who lives in Freeport on Grand Bahama, told the Associated Press he had learned after several storms that sometimes predictions of damage don’t materialize, but he still takes precautions.

“It’s almost as if you wait with anticipation, hoping that it’s never as bad as they say it will be. However, you prepare for the worst nonetheless,” he said.

Westlake Legal Group BahamasDorian1 Hurricane Dorian bears down on Bahamas with 160 mph winds as islands hunker down, 'taking no chances' Travis Fedschun fox-news/world/disasters/hurricanes-typhoons fox-news/weather fox-news/us/disasters/hurricanes-typhoons fox-news/us/disasters fox-news/science/planet-earth/natural-disasters/hurricane-dorian fox news fnc/us fnc article 169f3af9-5983-5802-acb2-3845e1740753

People shop for supplies before the arrival of Hurricane Dorian, in Freeport, Bahamas, Friday, Aug. 30, 2019. (AP Photo/Tim Aylen)

Forecasters warn that Dorian’s slow-motion may bring a prolonged period of life-threatening storm surge, devastating hurricane-force winds, and heavy rains capable of producing life-threatening flash floods on the Abaco Islands and Grand Bahama through Monday.

Between 12 to 24 inches of rain is forecast for the northwestern Bahamas, with isolated amounts up to 30 inches, according to the NHC. Dorian is also forecast to bring a life-threatening storm surge with water levels raised as much as 15 to 20 feet above normal in areas of onshore winds on the Abaco Islands and Grand Bahama Island.

“Near the coast, the surge will be accompanied by large and destructive waves,” the NHC said.

Westlake Legal Group DorianTracker2 Hurricane Dorian bears down on Bahamas with 160 mph winds as islands hunker down, 'taking no chances' Travis Fedschun fox-news/world/disasters/hurricanes-typhoons fox-news/weather fox-news/us/disasters/hurricanes-typhoons fox-news/us/disasters fox-news/science/planet-earth/natural-disasters/hurricane-dorian fox news fnc/us fnc article 169f3af9-5983-5802-acb2-3845e1740753

The forecast track of Hurricane Dorian. (Fox News)

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis asked Floridians to keep the Bahamas in their thoughts while also preparing for whatever impacts Dorian may bring.

“The Bahamas are going to get absolutely leveled by this thing because this thing’s a strong storm. The Bahamas are flat,” DeSantis said Saturday. They got no defense to this storm and it’s going to churn over there; it’s going to dump perhaps two feet of rain on the Bahamas.”

DORIAN NEARS BAHAMAS BRINGING 150 MPH WINDS, THREAT OF STORM SURGE; TRUMP WARNS IT COULD BE AMONG ‘STRONGEST’ TO HIT IN DECADES

Bahamas Prime Minister Hubert Minnis warned that Dorian is a “dangerous storm” and said any “who do not evacuate are placing themselves in extreme danger and can expect a catastrophic consequence.”

Small skiffs shuttled Saturday between outlying fishing communities and McLean’s Town, a settlement of a few dozen homes at the eastern end of Grand Bahama island, about 150 miles from Florida’s Atlantic coast. Most people came from Sweeting Cay, a fishing town of a few hundred people about 5 feet above sea level.

“We’re not taking no chances,” Margaret Bassett, a ferry boat driver for the Deep Water Cay resort, told the AP. “They said evacuate, you have to evacuate.”

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The slow-moving storm may take until Monday afternoon to pass over the Bahamas, and then turn sharply and skirt up the U.S. coast, possibly staying just off Florida and Georgia on Tuesday and Wednesday and then affecting South Carolina and North Carolina on Thursday.

Westlake Legal Group DorianTracker4 Hurricane Dorian bears down on Bahamas with 160 mph winds as islands hunker down, 'taking no chances' Travis Fedschun fox-news/world/disasters/hurricanes-typhoons fox-news/weather fox-news/us/disasters/hurricanes-typhoons fox-news/us/disasters fox-news/science/planet-earth/natural-disasters/hurricane-dorian fox news fnc/us fnc article 169f3af9-5983-5802-acb2-3845e1740753

The uncertainties of where Hurricane Dorian could turn north and possibly impact the Southeast coast of the U.S. (Fox News)

But forecasters warn that Dorian’s path could easily shift and bring some of the worst conditions to coastal locations.

“If there is a difference in the track by 30 miles, that’s the difference between tropical-storm-force and hurricane winds,” Dean said Sunday on “Fox & Friends.” That’s why we have to wait for every forecast.”

Fox News’ Melissa Leon and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group Dorian5-1 Hurricane Dorian bears down on Bahamas with 160 mph winds as islands hunker down, 'taking no chances' Travis Fedschun fox-news/world/disasters/hurricanes-typhoons fox-news/weather fox-news/us/disasters/hurricanes-typhoons fox-news/us/disasters fox-news/science/planet-earth/natural-disasters/hurricane-dorian fox news fnc/us fnc article 169f3af9-5983-5802-acb2-3845e1740753   Westlake Legal Group Dorian5-1 Hurricane Dorian bears down on Bahamas with 160 mph winds as islands hunker down, 'taking no chances' Travis Fedschun fox-news/world/disasters/hurricanes-typhoons fox-news/weather fox-news/us/disasters/hurricanes-typhoons fox-news/us/disasters fox-news/science/planet-earth/natural-disasters/hurricane-dorian fox news fnc/us fnc article 169f3af9-5983-5802-acb2-3845e1740753

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Detained Immigrants Claim They Were Forced to Work Without Pay

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Sally Pipes: This Labor Day, celebrate America’s job creators as well as our workforce

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_5987129884001_5987125022001-vs Sally Pipes: This Labor Day, celebrate America's job creators as well as our workforce Sally Pipes fox-news/us/economy/labor-unions fox-news/us/economy/jobs fox-news/us/economy fox-news/politics/regulation/business fox-news/politics fox-news/opinion fox news fnc/opinion fnc article 429b250d-1cd7-5e0c-982e-0de70c7cf4be

.Ask Americans what Labor Day means, and they’ll likely say it marks the end of summer. One last chance to wear white and go for a swim before the pool is drained.

But as its name suggests, Labor Day was established to celebrate labor –- organized labor, to be more specific.

The idea for the holiday is often attributed to Peter J. McGuire, co-founder of the American Federation of Labor – the precursor to today’s AFL-CIO. McGuire proposed establishing a holiday to honor those “who from rude nature have delved and carved all the grandeur we behold.”

BRADLEY BLAKEMAN: LABOR UNIONS AND MEMBERS SHOULD SUPPORT REPUBLICANS – DEMS TAKE WORKERS FOR GRANTED

He has a point. So today, let’s honor the people responsible for that grandeur – namely, the profit-seeking entrepreneurs and business people who make our economy hum.

Since its inception, Labor Day has steadily shifted away from the more radical side of the labor movement.

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When President Grover Cleveland declared Labor Day a national holiday in 1894, it was the result of the AFL’s lobbying efforts. The union spent years working to make Labor Day a more moderate and popular alternative to May Day, which had become synonymous with radicalism and riots.

This year marks the 125th anniversary of Labor Day becoming a national holiday. What better way to mark the occasion than by embracing the holiday’s moderate roots – and celebrating the pursuit of profit, alongside the dignity of work?

After all, profit allows businesses to create and sustain the jobs that Labor Day celebrates.

Consider that in 2018, corporate profits rose 7.8 percent, compared to 3.2 percent in 2017. Last year, companies added about 200,000 jobs per month, up from 179,000 in 2017. This past April, average hourly earnings were 3.2 percent higher than the year before. Unemployment hit a 50-year low the following month.

American workers are better off when companies are thriving.  A steady stream of profits is far more effective at delivering wage growth, job security, and employee satisfaction than even the toughest union negotiator.

Since the mid-20th century, wage growth has helped propel Americans into higher income brackets. In fact, the middle class is actually shrinking, because an increasing number of people are making too much money to be considered middle class anymore.

Despite this progress, businesses leaders are reluctant to embrace the role that profit-seeking plays in improving society.

People like Warren Buffett and Bill Gates are apologizing for their success and calling for higher taxes. Just last month, nearly 200 CEOs from the Business Roundtable resolved that companies should focus more on helping society and less on generating profits for shareholders.

Businesses can most effectively serve workers and society by making money. Profit is patriotic.

Consider the impact the Great Recessions had on workers.

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Employers laid off about 1.5 million workers in 2008 as companies declared bankruptcy and shut down. Unsurprisingly, a Gallup poll conducted the next year found that 31 percent of workers were worried about getting laid off.

Close to 60 percent thought it was unlikely they would be able to find “a job as good as the one they had” if they were laid off, according to a 2010 poll.

Compare that to 2016, when the recession had ended and business was booming. Only 19 percent of workers were worried about getting laid off, according to Gallup. Over 60 percent thought it was likely that they could find a good job if they were.

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Similarly, a 2017 Pew poll found that half of workers thought “there were plenty of jobs available in their community,” up from just 10 percent in 2010.

American workers are better off when companies are thriving. A steady stream of profits is far more effective at delivering wage growth, job security and employee satisfaction than even the toughest union negotiator.

This Labor Day, let’s celebrate the pursuit of profit alongside workers. There’s plenty of room at the barbecue.

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE BY SALLY PIPES

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_5987129884001_5987125022001-vs Sally Pipes: This Labor Day, celebrate America's job creators as well as our workforce Sally Pipes fox-news/us/economy/labor-unions fox-news/us/economy/jobs fox-news/us/economy fox-news/politics/regulation/business fox-news/politics fox-news/opinion fox news fnc/opinion fnc article 429b250d-1cd7-5e0c-982e-0de70c7cf4be   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_5987129884001_5987125022001-vs Sally Pipes: This Labor Day, celebrate America's job creators as well as our workforce Sally Pipes fox-news/us/economy/labor-unions fox-news/us/economy/jobs fox-news/us/economy fox-news/politics/regulation/business fox-news/politics fox-news/opinion fox news fnc/opinion fnc article 429b250d-1cd7-5e0c-982e-0de70c7cf4be

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