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Westlake Legal Group > News Media (Page 90)

Thousands In Maui Evacuated After Brush Fire Rages In Hawaii

Westlake Legal Group miami_county-f0054b9717e505c25ad8839d4fb6706b3fac1e1b-s1100-c15 Thousands In Maui Evacuated After Brush Fire Rages In Hawaii

A brush fire that erupted over fallow land Thursday morning in Maui caused thousands to be evacuated and temporarily disrupted the island’s primary airport. Courtesy of the County of Maui /The County of Maui hide caption

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Courtesy of the County of Maui /The County of Maui

Westlake Legal Group  Thousands In Maui Evacuated After Brush Fire Rages In Hawaii

A brush fire that erupted over fallow land Thursday morning in Maui caused thousands to be evacuated and temporarily disrupted the island’s primary airport.

Courtesy of the County of Maui /The County of Maui

Hawaii emergency officials have ordered thousands of residents in parts of central Maui to evacuate as firefighters battle a blaze that has ripped through parched land, scorching some 3,000 acres.

Maui Mayor Mike Victorino said at a press conference that four helicopters were deployed to put out the fire before nightfall, but as it grew dark, the fire was still raging.

“Once it gets dark, and we haven’t been able to contain this fire, we’re in trouble. We’re in deep trouble,” Victorino said.

County officials in Maui said a brush fire was reported around 10:42 a.m. local time Thursday near the Kuihelani Highway. Fire officials said winds blowing 20 mph and higher fanned flames across fallow fields. The blaze swept through parts of nearby Maui Veterans Highway, leaving it charred, according to The Maui News.

Officials did not say what may have caused the blaze. No deaths, injuries or structure damage was immediately reported.

The evacuation in Maui, the second-largest Hawaiian island with a population around 144,000, has filled up local shelters, some of which are being run by the Red Cross.

Oprah Winfrey, who owns a home in Maui, told a local resident on Twitter that she has given emergency responders access to one of her private homes. “Hoping for the safety of all,” she tweeted.

“A big mahalo to @Oprah for giving @mauicounty access to your private road for use to assist in the #Mauifire,” tweeted Hawaii Gov. David Ige.

According to Hawaii’s Department of Transportation, flights had been diverted from Kahului Airport, which was operating briefly on a power generator a result of the fire, but power has been restored and flights have resumed, transportation officials said.

Still, as the blaze continues, Hawaii tourism officials are advising visitors planning trips to or from the Kahului Airport to contact their airlines to check the status of the flights.

Maui Police Lt. Gregg Okamoto said at a news conference that as fire-related concerns have been growing, the island has been experiencing disruptions with people trying to call 911 to report emergencies.

“I encourage the public, if you need to call 911, keep calling in and you’ll get through eventually,” he said.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Mike Pence heads to border to defend migrant facilities as Democrats decry 'unconscionable' conditions

CLOSEWestlake Legal Group icon_close Mike Pence heads to border to defend migrant facilities as Democrats decry 'unconscionable' conditions

Members of congress vowed to shut down a Homestead, Florida facility being used to hold migrant minors separated from their families (July 2). AP, AP

WASHINGTON – Two events today more than 1,700 miles apart will put on display the deep divisions over the worsening migrant crisis at the southern U.S. border. 

Battling to shape public perceptions of the worsening migrant crisis at the southern U.S. border, Vice President Mike Pence and a group of Republican senators will head to the border to tour a migrant detention center while Democrats host a high-profile hearing about the centers featuring testimony from government watchdog officials and some of their most outspoken members, including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. 

The dueling events will put all eyes — and TV cameras – on conditions at the facilities, which have drawn intense scrutiny due to reports chronicling severe overcrowding and inadequate care for migrant families. All of this comes against the backdrop of the deaths of at least six migrant children who have died in federal custody and nationwide raids expected this weekend by Immigration and Customs Enforcement that would leave even more undocumented migrants in federal custody.  

Pence says TV welcome: VP defends conditions at border centers, says he’ll bring cameras on tour

‘They tore out a piece of my heart’: Migrant mother describes toddler’s illness, death

Pence, senators tour detention center

Democrats have expressed outrage over what they say is inhumane treatment of migrant families. 

But Pence and Republican senators want to push back on those criticisms. They contend that the border facilities have become overwhelmed because Democrats have refused to work with them on policies that would stem the flow of migrants across the border. Pence has criticized lawmakers such as Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., who have compared the detention facilities to concentration camps.

“It is really contemptible that some in Congress have referred to U.S. detention facilities as concentration camps,” Pence told reporters Wednesday during a trip to California. “That’s an outrage. The Nazis killed people. Our Customs and Border Protection personnel save lives every day.”

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Tex., said he visited a detention facility in McAllen, Texas — the same Pence will tour with a handful of senators today, and said that the crisis along the border “was worse than I’ve ever seen it,” noting that the packed cells he saw were built for 300 people but housing about 1,100. 

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“The crisis has gotten materially worse in significant part because congressional Democrats keep galloping to the left on immigration so that as a policy matter, they essentially support open borders,” Cruz said. “Until we close the loopholes, a lot more children will be victimized.” 

While Cruz highlighted the worsening conditions in such centers, Pence vowed to bring along TV cameras as he toured the facility in McAllen, Texas and said Thursday the aim of the visit with Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee was to show people a facility and level of care that would “make the American people proud.” 

“What people are going to see is not the situation many Democrats have described but actually a situation where our CBP agents are providing humanitarian care, health care, shelter, food, sustenance in a way that would make the American people proud,” Pence said Thursday. 

More: Mike Pence visiting border to counter ‘absurd’ claims about treatment of migrants, aide says

Pence noted Wednesday that the detention centers are “overwhelmed” because “our system was simply never designed to deal with this” and said, “we’re going to lean into this crisis.” 

Sen. John Kennedy, R-La., agreed and criticized planned House testimony from Rep. Ocasio-Cortez, a freshmen Democrat from New York who has become a progressive star on social media. 

“Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez’s opinion counts, just not to me. She can’t be objective on this issue,” he said. “I think her mind is made up and I don’t think any amount of testimony would change her mind. I don’t think she understands the problem and I question her judgment. I think she’s more famous than wise.”

Democrats highlight Ocasio-Cortez in hearing about migrant centers

While Republicans are touring, Democrats on the House Oversight and Reform Committee will put the spotlight on the Trump administration and discuss the treatment of migrants.

Despite Republican attacks on Ocasio-Cortez, House Democrats will make her one of the stars of Friday’s hearing on the conditions of the centers.

She, along with Reps. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., and Veronica Escobar, D-Texas, will testify before the committee about their visit to the border earlier this month, where they toured a detention facility in Clint, Texas and met with families who said they had been separated. The congresswomen bashed the facility after the tour, telling a large swath of reporters that the conditions of the center were horrid. 

More: AOC criticizes CBP after report of secret Facebook group as agency opens investigation

CLOSEWestlake Legal Group icon_close Mike Pence heads to border to defend migrant facilities as Democrats decry 'unconscionable' conditions

A young girl described her treatment while locked in a Texas border station where hundreds of other migrant children have been detained this year. (July 1) AP, AP

Ocasio-Cortez called it “unconscionable,” saying, “no woman should ever be locked up in a pen when they have done no harm to another human being.”

Detained women who spoke with the lawmakers during the visit “all began sobbing,” Ocasio-Cortez said on Twitter, “out of fear of being punished, out of sickness, out of desperation, lack of sleep, trauma, despair.”

The Border Patrol facility in Clint made headlines after a group of lawyers who had spent time there went public with their findings, detailing children sleeping on floors and being held without access to medical care, clean water or toothbrushes. It has become the epicenter of the migrant crisis in large part because assessing conditions border facilities is difficult due to limited access to sites.

The congressional committee will hear from activists and the Department of Homeland Security’s acting Inspector General, Jennifer Costello, who issued the scathing watchdog reports chronicling unsafe conditions inside detention facilities. 

“The American people are deeply concerned about the inhumane detention centers at the border and the number of children separated from their families,” said Rep. Elijah Cummings, the chairman of the committee. “We look forward to hearing about the steps necessary to correct this crisis manufactured by the Trump Administration.”

Later this month, the committee will hear testimony from Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan about the centers and the separation of families. 

Opinion: Trump plan to incarcerate migrant children at Fort Sill again shows worst of America

Friday’s hearing follows an inspector general’s report released by Costello this month that described the conditions at detention facilities in the Rio Grande Valley as “a ticking time bomb.” The report included photos showing migrants crowded behind chain-link fences, huddling under blankets on the floor and some holding up their hands and signs.

Contributing: Maureen Groppe and Alan Gomez

Read or Share this story: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2019/07/12/mike-pence-alexandria-ocasio-cortez-star-events-migrant-crisis/1704086001/

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9 Meat Myths Nutritionists Wish You’d Stop Believing

Westlake Legal Group 5d1b69472400003500faa350 9 Meat Myths Nutritionists Wish You’d Stop Believing

These days, there’s no shortage of confusing information about eating meat, its effects on our health, and what to look for when buying it. The labels on most meat products make the buying process even more complicated, as you spend (what feels like) hours trying to decipher what’s sneaky marketing lingo versus legit nutritional information.

“Many people are afraid of meat products because of the fear-based marketing that’s commonly used,” Michigan-based registered dietician Kelsey Lorencz told HuffPost. “They don’t know what to do, since they can’t afford the organic, free-range, antibiotic-free items, but are afraid of what’s in the conventional products.”

To help you make better meat-related decisions, both in the store and the kitchen, here’s the truth behind nine common meat myths so you can finally breathe easier.

Myth 1: All red meat is bad for you.

Processed and unprocessed meats (organic, grass-fed, grain-fed) get lumped together as being the same, but not all red meat is created equal. “Red processed meats, like deli meats and cured meats (salami, hot dogs), should be avoided due to their potential carcinogen activity,” said L.J. Amaral, clinical and research dietitian at Cedars-Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles. But when it comes to the effects of unprocessed meat, there are no conclusive studies on risk for disease in our bodies.

The American Institute for Cancer Research supports people eating up to three portions of red meat per week. “The right cuts in small quantities are a rich source of bioavailable (heme) iron, vitamin B12, zinc, and selenium, among other nutrients,” said Edwina Clark, a California-based registered dietitian and head of nutrition at online vitamin seller made for_. She suggests choosing grass-fed, USDA-certified organic beef, with minimal visible fat, and keeping portions to roughly 4 ounces (or the size of the palm of your hand).

Myth 2: White meat is healthier than red meat.

White meat is known for having a health halo over red meat, but a recent study found that both raise cholesterol— and with it, the risk for cardiovascular disease. “Because white meat, like chicken and pork, is typically given a heart-friendly green light, this can lead to these types of meat being overconsumed,” said Los Angeles-based registered dietitian Megan Casper. Moderating meat intake while increasing non-meat protein consumption (veggies, dairy and legumes), show the best cholesterol benefit, say researchers.

Myth 3: What the cows eat doesn’t make a difference.

Swapping grain-fed for grass-fed beef does make a difference in nutrient profiles and health effects, Amaral said. Grass-fed cattle generally eat only grass and other foraged foods. (A seal from the American Grassfed Association on the label means the animals were fed a 100% forage diet and were never treated with hormones or antibiotics.)

How does this change the nutrient profile of the beef? Besides being an excellent source of protein, heme iron (the type of iron that’s super-easy for the body to absorb) and vitamin B12, grass-fed beef contains more heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, a higher concentration of conjugated linoleic acid (a type of fat that can reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer), as well as higher levels of antioxidants, such as vitamin E.

Myth 4: It doesn’t matter how you cook the meat.

“If you grill your meats, especially fatter meats, those meats come with an increased risk of cancer and decreases the health benefits of the meat,” Amaral said. That’s because grilling usually means cooking at a higher temperature. “The fat drippings can go into the fire, and increase the amount of flame the meat’s exposed to,” she explained. “This creates harmful compounds called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH), and heterocyclic amines (HCA), and these compounds can damage your cells.”

Because of how tricky it can be to nail down the exact level of PAH or HCA exposure a person gets from cooked meats, studies so far haven’t been able to establish a definitive link between these compounds and cancer in humans. However, “there is evidence of plausible mechanisms operating in humans,” according to a 2018 report by the American Institute for Cancer Research. Bottom line: Why chance it?

Myth 5: Cooking at high heat is only a risk for red meat, not poultry and fish.

The phenomenon of PAH and HCAs forming from high-heat cooking isn’t limited to red meat. The same is true for poultry and fish, according to the American Institute for Cancer Research. “The premise is based on the heme iron found in animal products,” Amaral said. “When the heme compounds in meat, poultry or fish are heated over a fire at high temperatures, it changes the cell and makes it more reactive in the body.” The best way to consume meat of any kind is to use less hot cooking methods, such as sautéing or using the oven, a crockpot or an instant pot.

Myth 6: If you don’t eat meat, you won’t get enough protein.

We don’t need as much meat as we think we do to meet daily protein needs. A 2016 report by the World Resources Institute found that the average person’s protein consumption actually exceeded dietary requirements by one-third.

The report also found that the gap between the average American’s daily protein needs and the amount they’re already scoring from plant sources is less than the equivalent of 4 ounces of chicken breast (which contains half or more of your daily needs, said Casper). The average recommended daily intake of protein is 46 grams for adult women and 56 grams for adult men. This handy calculator can help you determine how much is best for you.

Myth 7: Meat labeled ‘all-natural’ means it’s healthier.

Beef, pork or poultry labeled as being “all-natural” doesn’t necessarily mean it’s better for you. “‘Natural’ simply means that the product doesn’t contain artificial ingredients or added colors and is minimally processed,” Clark said. However, it doesn’t refer to the methods used to produce the meat. U.S. Department of Agriculture certified organic animal products, on the other hand, are free from antibiotics and hormones, have been given access to the outdoors, and have been reared on organic feed.

Myth 8: It’s best to buy chicken and pork that’s labeled hormone-free.

“Labels such as ‘hormone-free’ on chicken are misleading, as added hormones aren’t found in any chicken sold in the U.S.,” Lorencz said. (As of 1960, the Food and Drug Administration banned the use of hormones in poultry production.) Hormones aren’t allowed in raising hogs, either, so labels aren’t allowed to say “no hormones added” unless they also state that “federal regulations prohibit the use of hormones,” according to the USDA.

Hormones may be used to promote growth in cattle, however. Beef products can only say “no hormones administered” on the label if proper documentation has been provided to the USDA proving no hormones were used while raising the animals. Buying USDA certified organic beef can help to ensure that the meat you’re purchasing hasn’t been given growth hormones.

Myth 9: Meats advertised as having no added nitrites or nitrates are better for you.

Not necessarily. Sodium nitrite ― used alone or in addition to sodium nitrate ― is used as a preservative in cured meats, such as bacon and hot dogs. When exposed to high heat during cooking (say, via frying or barbecuing), these preservatives combine with the natural breakdown of proteins (amines) to form compounds called nitrosamines, most of which are known carcinogens, according to the USDA.

The obvious solution is to buy meats that are nitrite- and nitrate-free, but these meats might contain celery salt as a preservative instead, which is deceptive. “Celery is a magnificent source of nitrates, and when added to a processed meat that will be cooked at high heat, has exactly the same effect as if it was added artificially,” Lorencz said. Your best bet, she advised, is to buy meats with no nitrites, nitrates or celery salt, or to cook these foods at lower temperatures for a longer amount of time.

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The 2008 Crash Made This Madrid Suburb a Ghost Town. Now It’s Coming Alive.

In Valdeluz, a town outside Madrid that was envisioned as a commuter’s paradise when it was created 15 years ago, there was always supposed to be a school. And a private one, for kindergartners to high schoolers, opened in September 2007 — just a year before the global financial crisis burst Spain’s property bubble.

Soon enough, Valdeluz turned into one of Spain’s infamous “cuidades fantasma,” or ghost towns, filled with unwanted property and unfinished construction. Homeowners defaulted on mortgages, real estate promoters went bankrupt, and houses were repossessed. The school, half-built and meant to accommodate 1,500 students, shut down in 2013, making Valdeluz the largest municipality in Spain without an academic center.

ImageWestlake Legal Group 00ghosttown-3-articleLarge The 2008 Crash Made This Madrid Suburb a Ghost Town. Now It’s Coming Alive. Valdeluz, Spain Spain European Sovereign Debt Crisis (2010- )

Along one of the many residential blocks in Valdeluz that can at times still feel desolate.

Valdeluz is rebounding from a lost decade, alongside a national economy that emerged from recession in late 2013. But the town’s recovery is occurring at a pace and on a scale that have little to do with the pipe dreams that fueled the project’s launch before the financial crisis, when Valdeluz was billed as the first town built from scratch in Spain. Developers expected upscale buyers to arrive en masse; today, Valdeluz is happy to see renters with families, engaged and eager to form a fresh community.

Two years ago, the school reopened as a smaller, public institution.

Inside the primary school.

Enrollment has grown quickly, to 303 in primary grades. But instead of a secondary school, there is an abandoned construction site next door. Frustrated parents, who have to transport their older children to schools in towns miles away, have hoisted a large banner on the unfinished walls: “When is the school coming?”

The secondary school, next to the primary school, remains unfinished. Parents of older students have to transport them to schools in other towns.

“A town without a school is a place without life,” said Santiago Nova Grafión, the school’s director. “We’re now in a better economic situation and getting more and more pupils. But this has little to do with the completely unrealistic ambitions that some people here once had.”

Valdeluz now covers just one-quarter of the land planned in 2004, when construction started. In that more compact space, apartments are selling and rents are climbing. Some tenants have even started to move to neighboring villages because Valdeluz is becoming too pricey.

Inevitably, the swings of Spain’s economy has meant that one buyer’s misery became another’s opportunity. At the peak of the housing crisis, some younger buyers moved in, lured by the affordability of a brand-new home they could buy from banks that had repossessed more than half the apartments in Valdeluz.

Javier Guzmán Jiménez, the president of the local branch of the conservative Popular Party, bought his home in 2010. He recalled that he was the last person to buy a house from Reyal Urbis, the real estate company that started the Valdeluz project and eventually filed for bankruptcy. Reyal Urbis was liquidated in 2017, having amassed a debt of more than 3.5 billion euros, or about $4 billion.

In 2010, Mr. Guzmán Jiménez paid €270,000 for his home, in a block where residents share a swimming pool, a playground and a paddle tennis court, a popular sport in Spain. His next-door neighbor waited one more year and got a better deal: €200,000. A neighbor who bought early, before Spain’s construction bubble burst, paid €470,000 for an identical house.

Outside Javier Guzmán Jiménez’s home. Mr. Guzmán Jiménez.

“At first, living here felt pretty sad, sometimes even a bit frightening,” said Mr. Guzmán Jiménez, now 50, as he recalled the empty streets of Valdeluz during the crisis. “We felt a bit like the first settlers, knowing that we just had to stick it out and pray for better times.”

Valdeluz was envisioned as a community of 30,000 residents that was a short train ride away from Madrid.

Valdeluz is about 40 miles by car from Madrid, next to the much larger town of Guadalajara. What persuaded promoters to build it was the development of Spain’s high-speed train network and the government’s decision to put a station here on the route linking Madrid and Barcelona. The station opened in 2003, in an empty patch of farmland.

The train station is decorated with black-and-white photographs of historic bridges and stations that were the backbone of Spain’s early railway system. The station feels as if it, too, belonged to a bygone era.

The only security guard working on a weekday morning said the ticket office had closed about 18 months ago, after its employee retired. A handful of cars were parked in a lot designed for dozens of commuters.

The train station’s ticket office closed about 18 months ago. The high-speed rail line connects Madrid and Barcelona.

“Valdeluz exists because of the promise that it would take 18 minutes to travel from here to Atocha,” one of Madrid’s main train stations, said Alicia Avila Milan, a politician from the center-right Ciudadanos party. “We got the tracks, but we never got all the trains that were meant to stop here.”

Valdeluz is now a curious mix of the shiny and the derelict. At one end of the main street, a ramp leads into an abandoned building site covered with graffiti. That was meant to be the town’s main supermarket until the retailer went bankrupt during the crisis. A nearby apartment building has a shimmering outdoor pool and looks to be in prime condition — except an open field remains where a wing was planned. The town’s only church is nearly finished but still surrounded by a wire fence.

The nearly completed Parroquia San Jerónimo church.

A few residents remember when squatters took over some of empty property during the crisis, dashing any hope of a modern but quiet life in Madrid’s countryside.

“When the house prices collapsed, we got some very undesirable people coming here, but they’ve thankfully now gone,” said Dr. Bárbara Marquís, a dentist who moved to Valdeluz from Madrid in 2009 and opened a clinic in 2013. “It’s been about having patience.”

Valdeluz may never grow as once planned, but it has a young and growing population that contrasts with the rest of Spain’s heartland, which is aging. More businesses are opening, and some infrastructure is being improved.

A gas tank near the town’s golf course. Dr. Bárbara Marquís.

During a visit two months ago, subcontractors for Orange, a telecommunications operator, were laying the town’s first fiber-optic cable. A few meters away, Adrian Romanillos, a chef and an entrepreneur, was supervising the painting and interior renovations of his new tapas bar.

Mr. Romanillos said he had checked some basic demographics before taking a risk on Valdeluz: The average age is 32, and about 800 children under 16 live in the area. The young could pressure their parents to take them out for tapas, he figured.

“I have here the right combination of strong demand and very limited competition,” he said.

The road that leads to Valdeluz’s golf club is lined with oaks, some over 500 years old. The privately owned club opened in 2007 and survived the crisis, finding profitability last year. Now it is about to start a new development phase, adding a hotel, a horse-riding center and dozens of houses on the edge of the golf course.

On a green at the private golf club. Borja Ochoa, the club’s sports director.

“The truth is that almost all the golf courses of Spain were built not just for golf but with one common goal: to build and sell nice houses around them, with views onto the greens,” said Borja Ochoa, the club’s sports director. “We’re finally out of a crisis that forced everybody to shelve their projects. Everybody can now go back to their original plans.”

Empty tree-lined boulevards often lead to nowhere.

As Valdeluz continues to recover, some residents are worried about a round of frenzied building activity. Many apartments face empty lots, now covered with poppies. Having bulldozers and construction cranes rumble through does not appeal to everybody.

“If this place doesn’t grow any further, that is just fine by me,” said Vanessa Garrido Nuero, who rents an apartment with her husband and 3-year-old daughter. “We moved here not to be in a crowded and noisy place but because we planned on having children and wanted them to grow up in a secure, green and quiet place.”

Empty lots beside a Valdeluz neighborhood. Vanessa Garrido Nuero.
An unused bridge crossing over train tracks.

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Pair facing manslaughter charges in death of Grammy-winning jazz drummer

Two people are facing manslaughter charges in connection with last month’s slaying of a Grammy-winning jazz drummer, according to a report.

Indicted in connection with the June 2 death of Lawrence Leathers, 37, were his girlfriend Lisa Harris, 41, and her friend, Sterling Aguilar, 29, the New York Daily News reported.

According to authorities, Aguilar grabbed Leathers in a chokehold after the musician and Harris argued inside their Bronx apartment in New York City.

R. KELLY ARRESTED ON CHILD PORNOGRAPHY, OTHER FEDERAL CHARGES IN CHICAGO: US ATTORNEY

Aguilar squeezed Leathers’ neck for about 30 minutes while Harris sat on Leathers’ chest and repeatedly punched him, the Daily News reported.

Westlake Legal Group lawrence-leathers-Getty Pair facing manslaughter charges in death of Grammy-winning jazz drummer fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/new-york fox-news/us/crime/homicide fox-news/entertainment/music fox-news/entertainment/genres/jazz fox-news/entertainment/events/grammys fox news fnc/entertainment fnc Dom Calicchio article 5d4cc6cb-138d-51a3-b2d0-267fdfdef68a

Lawrence Leathers performing in Paris, Sept. 5, 2015. (Getty Images)

Later, Harris dumped Leathers’ body in the stairwell of their apartment building and never called authorities, the report said.

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After an investigation, both Harris and Aguilar were arrested a day after the attack, according to the Associated Press.

Leathers, a native of Lansing, Mich., worked on two Grammy-winning albums by Cecile McLorin Salvant.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

Westlake Legal Group lawrence-leathers-Getty Pair facing manslaughter charges in death of Grammy-winning jazz drummer fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/new-york fox-news/us/crime/homicide fox-news/entertainment/music fox-news/entertainment/genres/jazz fox-news/entertainment/events/grammys fox news fnc/entertainment fnc Dom Calicchio article 5d4cc6cb-138d-51a3-b2d0-267fdfdef68a   Westlake Legal Group lawrence-leathers-Getty Pair facing manslaughter charges in death of Grammy-winning jazz drummer fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/new-york fox-news/us/crime/homicide fox-news/entertainment/music fox-news/entertainment/genres/jazz fox-news/entertainment/events/grammys fox news fnc/entertainment fnc Dom Calicchio article 5d4cc6cb-138d-51a3-b2d0-267fdfdef68a

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French minister sparks outcry for hosting lavish taxpayer-funded dinner with lobsters, $500 bottle of wine: report

A French minister has come under fire for a picture of a lavish dinner he hosted for friends and relatives at an upscale restaurant – at the expense of taxpayers.

Francois de Rugy is French President Emmanuel Macron’s Ecology Minister and president of the National Assembly.

Westlake Legal Group f41e5d12-FRANCE French minister sparks outcry for hosting lavish taxpayer-funded dinner with lobsters, $500 bottle of wine: report fox-news/world/world-regions/france fox news fnc/world fnc Bradford Betz article 0cf101de-fa34-5f8d-8c0d-a8b49259bb7d

Ecology Minister Francois de Rugy has sparked outcry after a photo of a lavish dinner he hosted went public.  (Fracebook/@francoisderugy)

The picture, first published on the investigative website Mediapart, showed 5 lobster tails, a $560 bottle of white wine, and a table decorated with crystals.

FRANCE’S YELLOW VEST PROTESTERS RETURN TO THE STREETS ENRAGED BY BILLIONS PLEDGED TO REBUILD NOTRE DAME

The controversy, likely to further damage Macron’s standing with the general public, comes amid France’s so Yellow Vest protesters who have spoken out against perceived widening inequality in the country.

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President Macron has played down his image as “president of the rich” after reports accused him of ordering presidential china and a new swimming pool for his vacation him sparked similar outcry.

Westlake Legal Group FRANCE French minister sparks outcry for hosting lavish taxpayer-funded dinner with lobsters, $500 bottle of wine: report fox-news/world/world-regions/france fox news fnc/world fnc Bradford Betz article 0cf101de-fa34-5f8d-8c0d-a8b49259bb7d   Westlake Legal Group FRANCE French minister sparks outcry for hosting lavish taxpayer-funded dinner with lobsters, $500 bottle of wine: report fox-news/world/world-regions/france fox news fnc/world fnc Bradford Betz article 0cf101de-fa34-5f8d-8c0d-a8b49259bb7d

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Facing Deployment While Fearing That Family Members Will Be Deported

Westlake Legal Group orona-duo_custom-0cd742688597139e17067e16f34a1c881ed2b4f9-s800-c15 Facing Deployment While Fearing That Family Members Will Be Deported

Enoch Orona, a Navy petty officer, hoped his military status would allow him to help protect his mother, Maria Teresa, who entered the country illegally 35 years ago. Courtesy of Enoch Orona hide caption

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Courtesy of Enoch Orona

Westlake Legal Group  Facing Deployment While Fearing That Family Members Will Be Deported

Enoch Orona, a Navy petty officer, hoped his military status would allow him to help protect his mother, Maria Teresa, who entered the country illegally 35 years ago.

Courtesy of Enoch Orona

Enoch Orona is unsure when he’ll be dispatched for his third tour of duty. But the Navy sailor’s greatest fear is not combat — it’s returning home to find that his mom isn’t there.

Orona, 30, is paying close attention to the news, checking his phone often for any updates on immigration raids that President Trump announced could begin any day now. He can’t help but imagine men with guns surrounding his parents’ home in Virginia.

“It would be like the world crashing down if I come back home to find out that my mother’s been deported,” Orona said. “She’s been pretty much my support this entire time. She supported my dream of going into the military when I was younger. She supported me when I was on deployment when I called home.”

Orona, a Navy petty officer, hoped his military status would allow him to help protect his mother, who entered the country illegally 35 years ago. His lawyer told him he qualifies for a program designed to prevent the deportation of undocumented residents whose husbands, wives, sons or daughters are fighting overseas for the United States.

As NPR first reported in June, the Trump administration is now looking to end or scale back the program as part of its crackdown on illegal immigration. Government lawyers have been told the program protecting family of active duty service members and veterans is “being terminated,” which the families and lawmakers fear could harm military readiness.

Obama-era program

The first known cases of discretionary parole were granted under President George W. Bush, but President Barack Obama formalized the “parole in place” program in a 2013 policy memo to ensure those fighting in Afghanistan and elsewhere wouldn’t worry about their relatives while on duty.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services acknowledged that officials are now “reviewing the categorical use of parole.”

“Under the law, parole is to be used sparingly on a case-by-case basis when there is an urgent humanitarian need or significant public benefit,” a USCIS official told NPR. “At this time, USCIS has no new announcement on this issue as it is still in review.”

The Pentagon did not respond to specific questions about the program being scaled down.

The United States military has historically depended on immigrants in times of battle. Many immigrants who join the military go on to become U.S. citizens. Nearly 130,000 troops have been naturalized from more than 30 foreign countries since Oct. 1, 2001, according to USCIS statistics.

Service members aware of the proposed changes to the parole in place program say their anxiety has increased as the Trump administration announced plans to carry out immigration sweeps in 10 major cities.

Lewis Ramos, 22, an operations specialist in the U.S. Army National Guard, already had his deployment orders to a combat zone when he heard the immigration raids would likely include Chicago, where he lives with his mother and family.

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Lewis Ramos, 22, an operations specialist in the U.S. Army National Guard, stands with his mother, Rosa Elena Ramos, who arrived illegally 30 years ago from Mexico. He recently learned she would receive the protection by the time he leaves later this month. Courtesy of Michael Jarecki hide caption

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Courtesy of Michael Jarecki

Westlake Legal Group  Facing Deployment While Fearing That Family Members Will Be Deported

Lewis Ramos, 22, an operations specialist in the U.S. Army National Guard, stands with his mother, Rosa Elena Ramos, who arrived illegally 30 years ago from Mexico. He recently learned she would receive the protection by the time he leaves later this month.

Courtesy of Michael Jarecki

Worried about his mother, who arrived illegally 30 years ago from Mexico, Ramos contacted a lawyer who was able to quickly file for parole in place. Ramos was lucky. He recently learned she would receive the protection by the time he leaves later this month. But he thinks about fellow soldiers and what could have happened.

“It would always linger in the back of my head,” Lewis said. “I do not want to cause anybody to lose their life because I’m thinking of home. But in times off, or when I would get homesick, it would really hit me hard.”

Ramos’ attorney, Michael Jarecki, said the United States should be “rolling out the red carpet” for service members instead of threatening to end protections for the loved ones of the people “who are serving our country going to the farthest reaches of the world to protect those of us who remain at home.”

Political response

The possibility of its termination has caught the attention of many in Washington, including several top Democratic presidential candidates.
Sen. Kamala Harris of California called the action “beyond cruel.”

Sens. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Kirsten Gillibrand of New York charged the administration with trying to cut off a “critical lifeline” for undocumented family members of service members.

Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., who is not running for president, told NPR the program is a matter of national security and wrote a letter to the acting heads of the Defense Department and Department of Homeland Security asking them to keep the parole in place program going.

“He’s going to be focused on his family. He’s not going to be focused on his job, which puts him in danger, puts his squad in danger, puts his unit in danger of attack,” said Duckworth, a combat war veteran.

House Democrats are trying to block Trump from ending the program. Rep. Mark Takano suggested adding a provision to the annual defense authorization legislation that would ensure immediate family members of the armed services would be eligible for parole in place under the Immigration and Nationality Act.

While the House is expected to approve that provision, the issue will still need to be negotiated with the Republican-led Senate, which is working on its own version of the defense bill.

Supporters of Trump say it’s time to curtail a program that the Obama administration should never have formalized.

RJ Hauman, the government relations director at FAIR, which advocates for stronger immigration enforcement, said Obama exceeded his constitutional powers when he bypassed Congress and formalized the program, much like when he created DACA, the deferred action program for those brought to the country illegally as children.

“Throughout our history, military personnel have fought to preserve and protect our constitutional form of government,” Hauman said. “A core principle is that the president must abide by laws, not override them with policy memos and executive orders.”

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Orona, the oldest of two children, describes himself as very protective of his family. He says he talks with his mother almost every day. Courtesy of Enoch Orona hide caption

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Courtesy of Enoch Orona

Westlake Legal Group  Facing Deployment While Fearing That Family Members Will Be Deported

Orona, the oldest of two children, describes himself as very protective of his family. He says he talks with his mother almost every day.

Courtesy of Enoch Orona

Orona’s mother, Maria Teresa, said she wouldn’t know what to do if forced to return to El Salvador. She hasn’t been back since she left 35 years ago. Her husband is a pastor of a local church. She says her life now is in the United States.

“It’s very difficult,” she said. “There are a lot of people who live day by day unsure whether they’ll be arrested. And to be sent where we don’t have anything or anyone.”

Margaret Stock, an immigration attorney who represents the family, said Orona has been denied parole in place once before but that immigration officials have acknowledged that they didn’t have all of her correct information. Stock said it’s crazy to think Orona is going through this when he could be deployed at any time.

“I think most people can imagine what it would feel like if you were fighting for your country overseas and at the same time the government that’s employing you in battle is trying to deport your family,” she said.

Orona, the oldest of two children, describes himself as very protective of his family. He says he talks with his mother almost every day.

He keeps them abreast of the news. He gives them updates on reports of immigration sweeps. But mostly, he says, he just waits.

He hopes the call will be positive that his mom will be protected. And not that she’s been taken into custody.

“Like, there’s nothing that I could possibly do right,” he said. “And that’s very scary.”

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Russian S-400 defense systems arrive in Turkey after U.S. warns of sanctions

The first shipment of Russia’s S-400 air defense missile systems arrived at an airbase near Ankara, Turkey Friday despite Washington’s warning that such a move would bring sanctions.

U.S. officials are worried the Turkey-Russia deal could give the Kremlin access to crucial intelligence shared between Washington. and Turkey and compromise NATO developments.

TURKEY PREPARES TO RECEIVE RUSSIAN MISSILE SYSTEM, AS QUESTIONS SWIRL OVER POTENTIAL US PUNISHMENT

Experts are especially concerned about the development of the F-35 fighter jet, with which Turkey is involved. Officials told Turkey if the S-400 purchase went through the country would be barred from the F-35 program.

The U.S. has strongly urged NATO member Turkey to pull back from the deal — reportedly costing more than $2 billion — warning the country that it will face economic sanctions under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act if it goes ahead with the purchase. It has also said Turkey won’t be allowed to participate in the program to produce high-tech F-35 fighter jets.

Sanctions would mark a new low in the already-tense relations between Turkey and the U.S. Last year, the United States imposed sanctions on Turkey over its detention of an American pastor, triggering a Turkish currency crisis.

The deal with Russia — the first such deal between Russia and a NATO member — has also raised concerns that Turkey is drifting closer to Moscow’s sphere of influence. Turkey has refused to bow to U.S. pressure, insisting that choosing which defense equipment to purchase is a matter of national sovereignty. It has said it was forced to buy the S-400s because Washington refused to supply the American-made Patriot systems to Turkey.

U.S. officials have since encouraged Turkey to buy the Patriot missile defense system instead of the S-400s. But Turkey says the offer does not meet its requirements, including possible future joint production.

The U.S. has already stopped training Turkish pilots on the F-35, and given Ankara until the end of July to get its personnel out of the U.S.

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Turkey maintains that it has fulfilled all of its financial obligations concerning the F-35 program and cannot be excluded from the project.

The Associated Press and Fox News’ Hollie McKay contributed to this report. 

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The Crash Made This Madrid Suburb a Ghost Town. Now It’s Coming Alive.

In Valdeluz, a town outside Madrid that was envisioned as a commuter’s paradise when it was created 15 years ago, there was always supposed to be a school. And a private one, for kindergartners to high schoolers, opened in September 2007 — just a year before the global financial crisis burst Spain’s property bubble.

Soon enough, Valdeluz turned into one of Spain’s infamous “cuidades fantasma,” or ghost towns, filled with unwanted property and unfinished construction. Homeowners defaulted on mortgages, real estate promoters went bankrupt, and houses were repossessed. The school, half-built and meant to accommodate 1,500 students, shut down in 2013, making Valdeluz the largest municipality in Spain without an academic center.

ImageWestlake Legal Group 00ghosttown-3-articleLarge The Crash Made This Madrid Suburb a Ghost Town. Now It’s Coming Alive. Valdeluz, Spain Spain European Sovereign Debt Crisis (2010- )

Along one of the many residential blocks in Valdeluz that can at times still feel desolate.

Valdeluz is rebounding from a lost decade, alongside a national economy that emerged from recession in late 2013. But the town’s recovery is occurring at a pace and on a scale that have little to do with the pipe dreams that fueled the project’s launch before the financial crisis, when Valdeluz was billed as the first town built from scratch in Spain. Developers expected upscale buyers to arrive en masse; today, Valdeluz is happy to see renters with families, engaged and eager to form a fresh community.

Two years ago, the school reopened as a smaller, public institution.

Inside the primary school.

Enrollment has grown quickly, to 303 in primary grades. But instead of a secondary school, there is an abandoned construction site next door. Frustrated parents, who have to transport their older children to schools in towns miles away, have hoisted a large banner on the unfinished walls: “When is the school coming?”

The secondary school, next to the primary school, remains unfinished. Parents of older students have to transport them to schools in other towns.

“A town without a school is a place without life,” said Santiago Nova Grafión, the school’s director. “We’re now in a better economic situation and getting more and more pupils. But this has little to do with the completely unrealistic ambitions that some people here once had.”

Valdeluz now covers just one-quarter of the land planned in 2004, when construction started. In that more compact space, apartments are selling and rents are climbing. Some tenants have even started to move to neighboring villages because Valdeluz is becoming too pricey.

Inevitably, the swings of Spain’s economy has meant that one buyer’s misery became another’s opportunity. At the peak of the housing crisis, some younger buyers moved in, lured by the affordability of a brand-new home they could buy from banks that had repossessed more than half the apartments in Valdeluz.

Javier Guzmán Jiménez, the president of the local branch of the conservative Popular Party, bought his home in 2010. He recalled that he was the last person to buy a house from Reyal Urbis, the real estate company that started the Valdeluz project and eventually filed for bankruptcy. Reyal Urbis was liquidated in 2017, having amassed a debt of more than 3.5 billion euros, or about $4 billion.

In 2010, Mr. Guzmán Jiménez paid €270,000 for his home, in a block where residents share a swimming pool, a playground and a paddle tennis court, a popular sport in Spain. His next-door neighbor waited one more year and got a better deal: €200,000. A neighbor who bought early, before Spain’s construction bubble burst, paid €470,000 for an identical house.

Outside Javier Guzmán Jiménez’s home. Mr. Guzmán Jiménez.

“At first, living here felt pretty sad, sometimes even a bit frightening,” said Mr. Guzmán Jiménez, now 50, as he recalled the empty streets of Valdeluz during the crisis. “We felt a bit like the first settlers, knowing that we just had to stick it out and pray for better times.”

Valdeluz was envisioned as a community of 30,000 residents that was a short train ride away from Madrid.

Valdeluz is about 40 miles by car from Madrid, next to the much larger town of Guadalajara. What persuaded promoters to build it was the development of Spain’s high-speed train network and the government’s decision to put a station here on the route linking Madrid and Barcelona. The station opened in 2003, in an empty patch of farmland.

The train station is decorated with black-and-white photographs of historic bridges and stations that were the backbone of Spain’s early railway system. The station feels as if it, too, belonged to a bygone era.

The only security guard working on a weekday morning said the ticket office had closed about 18 months ago, after its employee retired. A handful of cars were parked in a lot designed for dozens of commuters.

The train station’s ticket office closed about 18 months ago. The high-speed rail line connects Madrid and Barcelona.

“Valdeluz exists because of the promise that it would take 18 minutes to travel from here to Atocha,” one of Madrid’s main train stations, said Alicia Avila Milan, a politician from the center-right Ciudadanos party. “We got the tracks, but we never got all the trains that were meant to stop here.”

Valdeluz is now a curious mix of the shiny and the derelict. At one end of the main street, a ramp leads into an abandoned building site covered with graffiti. That was meant to be the town’s main supermarket until the retailer went bankrupt during the crisis. A nearby apartment building has a shimmering outdoor pool and looks to be in prime condition — except an open field remains where a wing was planned. The town’s only church is nearly finished but still surrounded by a wire fence.

The nearly completed Parroquia San Jerónimo church.

A few residents remember when squatters took over some of empty property during the crisis, dashing any hope of a modern but quiet life in Madrid’s countryside.

“When the house prices collapsed, we got some very undesirable people coming here, but they’ve thankfully now gone,” said Dr. Bárbara Marquís, a dentist who moved to Valdeluz from Madrid in 2009 and opened a clinic in 2013. “It’s been about having patience.”

Valdeluz may never grow as once planned, but it has a young and growing population that contrasts with the rest of Spain’s heartland, which is aging. More businesses are opening, and some infrastructure is being improved.

A gas tank near the town’s golf course. Dr. Bárbara Marquís.

During a visit two months ago, subcontractors for Orange, a telecommunications operator, were laying the town’s first fiber-optic cable. A few meters away, Adrian Romanillos, a chef and an entrepreneur, was supervising the painting and interior renovations of his new tapas bar.

Mr. Romanillos said he had checked some basic demographics before taking a risk on Valdeluz: The average age is 32, and about 800 children under 16 live in the area. The young could pressure their parents to take them out for tapas, he figured.

“I have here the right combination of strong demand and very limited competition,” he said.

The road that leads to Valdeluz’s golf club is lined with oaks, some over 500 years old. The privately owned club opened in 2007 and survived the crisis, finding profitability last year. Now it is about to start a new development phase, adding a hotel, a horse-riding center and dozens of houses on the edge of the golf course.

On a green at the private golf club. Borja Ochoa, the club’s sports director.

“The truth is that almost all the golf courses of Spain were built not just for golf but with one common goal: to build and sell nice houses around them, with views onto the greens,” said Borja Ochoa, the club’s sports director. “We’re finally out of a crisis that forced everybody to shelve their projects. Everybody can now go back to their original plans.”

Empty tree-lined boulevards often lead to nowhere.

As Valdeluz continues to recover, some residents are worried about a round of frenzied building activity. Many apartments face empty lots, now covered with poppies. Having bulldozers and construction cranes rumble through does not appeal to everybody.

“If this place doesn’t grow any further, that is just fine by me,” said Vanessa Garrido Nuero, who rents an apartment with her husband and 3-year-old daughter. “We moved here not to be in a crowded and noisy place but because we planned on having children and wanted them to grow up in a secure, green and quiet place.”

Empty lots beside a Valdeluz neighborhood. Vanessa Garrido Nuero.
An unused bridge crossing over train tracks.

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Pair facing manslaughter charges in death of Grammy-winning jazz drummer

Two people are facing manslaughter charges in connection with last month’s slaying of a Grammy-winning jazz drummer, according to a report.

Indicted in connection with the June 2 death of Lawrence Leathers, 37, were his girlfriend Lisa Harris, 41, and her friend, Sterling Aguilar, 29, the New York Daily News reported.

According to authorities, Aguilar grabbed Leathers in a chokehold after the musician and Harris argued inside their Bronx apartment in New York City.

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Aguilar squeezed Leathers’ neck for about 30 minutes while Harris sat on Leathers’ chest and repeatedly punched him, the Daily News reported.

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Lawrence Leathers performing in Paris, Sept. 5, 2015. (Getty Images)

Later, Harris dumped Leathers’ body in the stairwell of their apartment building and never called authorities, the report said.

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After an investigation, both Harris and Aguilar were arrested a day after the attack, according to the Associated Press.

Leathers, a native of Lansing, Mich., worked on two Grammy-winning albums by Cecile McLorin Salvant.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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