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How Families, Separated At The Border By Trump Policies, Are Coping

WXXI US News - Tue, 06/15/2021 - 7:57am
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How Biden Tried To Mend Fences With European Allies

WXXI US News - Tue, 06/15/2021 - 7:57am
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How 'Chaos' In The Shipping Industry Is Choking The Economy

NPR Topics: Economy - Tue, 06/15/2021 - 6:30am

The U.S. trade deficit is hitting record highs — and it's fueled by a surge in demand for imports, mostly from East Asia. On both land and at sea, the shipping industry is struggling to keep up.

(Image credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

How 'Chaos' In The Shipping Industry Is Choking The Economy

WXXI US News - Tue, 06/15/2021 - 6:30am
Whidbey Island is a lovely place about 30 miles north of Seattle on the Puget Sound. Most days the tranquil sounds of rolling waves and chirping birds provide an escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. But these days, all is not so serene. Residents are complaining about the ruckus created by humongous container ships anchored off their shore. "We've never seen them this close before," a Whidbey Islander told a local news station . "We're hearing the throbbing noise at night. ... It's a nuisance." The noise has been so loud that residents have been complaining to the county sheriff's office about it. Whidbey Islanders are getting a front row seat to the growing U.S. trade deficit, which is hitting record highs . It's fueled by a surge in demand for imports, mostly from East Asia. There's so much cargo being shipped to the U.S. from Asia right now that the ports of Seattle and Tacoma are chock-full of container ships. "We are seeing a historic surge of cargo volume coming into

Catholic Bishops Consider Whether Pro-Choice Politicians Should Be Denied Communion

WXXI US News - Tue, 06/15/2021 - 5:52am
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News Brief: Biden Mends Fences, California Reopens, Border Separations

WXXI US News - Tue, 06/15/2021 - 5:35am
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5 Views From Belarus On The Country's Political Crisis

WXXI US News - Tue, 06/15/2021 - 5:11am
MOSCOW — Not so long ago, the image of Belarus was of a peaceful, if tightly controlled, former Soviet republic, squeezed between Poland and Russia. Now the country's pro-democracy leaders are warning their country could turn into a North Korea in Europe: a state run by a dangerous, unpredictable leader who survives through fear and repression. Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko has been cracking down on his opponents since a presidential election in August. Mass protests broke out after Lukashenko declared himself the winner of a sixth term in office and forced his main challenger, Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, into exile. Lukashenko reacted with violence. According to the Belarusian opposition, more than 35,000 people have been detained since August — in a country of less than 10 million. Human rights activists in the country say there are more than 480 political prisoners . In November, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe concluded that the election had been rigged

The Violent Arrest Of A Woman With Dementia Highlights The Lack Of Police Training

WXXI US News - Tue, 06/15/2021 - 5:07am
It's been nearly a year since police officers in Loveland, Colo., injured an older woman with dementia and then laughed at the footage of her arrest. The fallout continues. Two of those officers resigned and are now facing criminal charges , including assault and excessive use of force. They and the city are being sued in federal court. The rest of the police force — there are 118 sworn officers — is undergoing additional de-escalation training. The case has drawn national attention to a problem that experts say is widespread across law enforcement agencies: Police often lack the skills to interact with people suspected of crimes who are in mental distress or have physical disabilities. In June, a Walmart employee called police and said a woman, later identified as 73-year-old Karen Garner, tried to leave without paying for $14 worth of items. Officer Austin Hopp arrived first. His body camera video showed him pulling up as she walked down a road and then wrestling her to the ground

Violent Colorado Arrest Puts Spotlight on How Police Treat Disabled People

Latest Updates From Kaiser Health News - Tue, 06/15/2021 - 5:00am

Nearly a year after police officers in Loveland, Colorado, injured an elderly woman with dementia and then laughed at footage of her arrest, two of those officers are facing criminal charges while the rest of the department undergoes additional training. The fallout has drawn national attention to a problem that experts say is widespread across law enforcement agencies: Police often lack the skills to interact with people with mental and physical disabilities.

Last June, a Walmart employee called police after Karen Garner, 73 at the time, tried to leave without paying for $14 worth of items. Soon after, Officer Austin Hopp’s body camera video showed, he pulled over beside her as she walked down a road and wrestled her to the ground in handcuffs after she failed to respond to his questions. Afterward, Garner’s lawyers say, she sat in jail for several hours with a dislocated and fractured shoulder as Hopp and two other officers laughed while watching the body camera video.

According to a federal complaint, Garner has dementia and also suffers from sensory aphasia, which impairs her ability to understand. Her violent arrest has other elderly people worried about potential encounters with police, Loveland resident June Dreith told Police Chief Robert Ticer during a public meeting last month.

“They are now seriously afraid of the police department,” Dreith said.

Hopp resigned and faces felony charges of assault and attempting to influence a public servant — a charge related to allegations of omissions when reporting the arrest — as well as official misconduct, a misdemeanor. Another officer, Daria Jalali, also resigned and is charged with three misdemeanors: failure to report excessive force, failure to intervene and official misconduct. Neither has entered a plea in court. A third officer, who watched the video with them, resigned but has not been charged.

An independent assessment of the Loveland Police Department by a third-party consultant is underway. The city and involved officers face a federal lawsuit, filed by Garner in April, alleging excessive use of force and violations of the Americans With Disabilities Act.

Ticer declined to be interviewed, but through his public information officer he characterized the Garner incident as a problem with an individual officer, not with the department’s operations.

“Our training currently, in the past and present, is always to make sure our officers are up to speed on as much training as they can on how to interact with people in crisis who may have mental health issues,” Ticer said during the public meeting in May at department headquarters.

Loveland’s police department, like many others, requires officers to be trained to respond to people with mental illness and developmental disabilities. But no national standards exist. That means the amount of training law enforcement officers receive on interacting with disabled people varies widely.

“On the whole, we’re doing terrible,” said Jim Burch, president of the National Police Foundation, a nonprofit organization focused on police research and training. “We have to do much, much better at being able to recognize these types of issues and being more sensitive to them.”

While comprehensive data on the frequency of negative interactions between police and people with mental disabilities is lacking, interactions with the criminal justice system are common. The Bureau of Justice Statistics has estimated about 3 in 10 state and federal prisoners and 4 in 10 local jail inmates have at least one disability.

“There’s a very large number of people that police are coming into contact with that have an intellectual disability or mental health challenge,” Burch said. “Do we have a systemic problem? We think that we do.”

Colorado requires a minimum of two hours of training on interacting with people with disabilities, although legislation aims to improve on that by creating a commission to recommend new statewide standards.

Loveland’s officers are certified in crisis intervention training. The department also has a co-responder program, which pairs law enforcement officers with mental health clinicians, although this team was not called during Garner’s arrest. Since that incident, questions remain about the department’s readiness to interact with disabled citizens.

“We could always use more and more training. We could train every single week for eight hours a day, but we could do that all the time and never go out on calls,” said Sgt. Brandon Johnson, who oversees training. “It’s just balancing our available workforce and our time and our service to the community and our staffing levels.”

Loveland police officers are now undergoing Alzheimer’s awareness training, and five staff members will be trained as de-escalation instructors, department officials said.

Training on how to interact with disabled people varies, but the basics include identifying such individuals early in an encounter instead of relying on use of force.

“It’s scary, because you don’t know why they’re not following your commands,” said Ali Thompson, a former deputy with the Boulder County Sheriff’s Office who now serves on the Colorado Developmental Disabilities Council. “So, your adrenaline starts pumping and you think … ‘They’re not listening to my commands because they have a warrant or because they have a gun on them,’ or you come up with all of these scenarios to explain it.”

Garner’s rough arrest is “not an isolated incident by any means,” Thompson said. She said she would not have thought to attribute noncompliance to conditions like autism or dementia when she was a young patrol officer.

“We need to start bringing those possibilities into those ‘what if’ scenarios,” Thompson said.

In addition to teaching how to identify disabled people, organizations such as the International Association of Chiefs of Police help prepare officers for such situations by showing them how to speak in short phrases, refrain from touching, and turn off sirens and flashing lights. Research on which disability-specific efforts actually reduce bad outcomes is scant, but experts point to other types of curricula as relevant, too, including crisis intervention training, instruction on de-escalating tensions and sessions on mental illness.

“Just training in and of itself is not going to create that long-term change that we are hoping for,” said Lee Ann Davis, director of criminal justice initiatives at The ARC, a national disability advocacy organization.

That means going beyond officer training to address the many areas in which people with disabilities are not being identified and supported, she said. One of The ARC’s programs, Pathways to Justice, brings in not only law enforcement officials but also attorneys and victim service providers for instruction.

“So our goal is to help communities understand that this is a communitywide issue, that there’s not one specific spoke within the criminal justice system or in our communities that can address it adequately alone,” Davis said.

Johnson, the Loveland sergeant in charge of training, said officers have been engaged for years in community outreach such as supporting the Special Olympics.

Despite the actions of the three officers who resigned, Johnson believes the department is adequately prepared to interact with disabled citizens. At the same time, he acknowledges limitations.

“We have to be the first responder. We have to have a good foundational understanding of all of it,” he said. “But we’re also not … we’re also not experts.”

KHN (Kaiser Health News) is a national newsroom that produces in-depth journalism about health issues. Together with Policy Analysis and Polling, KHN is one of the three major operating programs at KFF (Kaiser Family Foundation). KFF is an endowed nonprofit organization providing information on health issues to the nation.


This story can be republished for free (details).

Categories: National News Content

Being Vaccinated Doesn’t Mean You Must Go Maskless. Here’s Why.

Latest Updates From Kaiser Health News - Tue, 06/15/2021 - 5:00am

For more than a year, public health officials have repeatedly told us that masks save lives. They’ve warned us to keep our distance from our neighbors, who’ve morphed into disease vectors before our eyes.

Now they are telling us that if we’re vaccinated, we no longer need to wear masks or physically distance ourselves in most cases — even indoors. To many people, myself included, this seems hard to reconcile with so many long months of masking and physical distancing and sacrificing our social lives for fear of covid-19.

What is an anxious, pandemic-weary (and wary) soul to do?

First, it’s important to stress that the dramatic rollback of mask-wearing and physical distancing recommended last month by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — a policy California has adopted starting Tuesday as part of a broader reopening — applies only to people who have been fully vaccinated.

Even if you are vaccinated, though, you don’t need to change your behavior one iota if doing so makes you uncomfortable.

“Nothing in the CDC guidelines says to stop wearing a mask,” says Dr. José Mayorga, executive director of the UCI Health Family Health Centers. “It’s a recommendation, but if you choose to wear one, that’s OK. You shouldn’t be stigmatized.”

Mayorga has lost five relatives to covid, including a favorite aunt, and he knows from personal experience how hard it can be to rush back into so-called normalcy.

“Many people have not been directly impacted by covid,” he says. “But for those of us who have been, it’s natural to have concern or fear, thinking, ‘Oh, I can take my mask off? But is it really safe?’”

Some people are just cautious by nature and won’t be rushing to jettison their masks and rub elbows with unmasked strangers. “I know that, realistically, I can do pretty much anything once I’m fully vaccinated, but mentally it’s scary,” says 36-year-old Sacramento resident Shannon Albers, who got her second dose of the Pfizer vaccine on May 27. “It’s going to be weird, after a year of them drilling into us ‘Wear a mask, wear a mask, wear a mask,’ to be around a bunch of people who aren’t wearing masks.”

Early in the pandemic, the CDC said masks were not necessary. Then, it changed its guidance so emphatically that masks became an indispensable part of our wardrobes. Now the advice has changed again.

“For scientists, it is very understandable that there is this revision of recommendations based on new research,” says Roxane Cohen Silver, a professor of psychology, public health and medicine at the University of California-Irvine. “But for the general public, that could sound very confusing.”

Early on, many people feared catching the coronavirus from surfaces and even disinfected groceries before putting them away. Now, the virus is believed to spread mainly through the air, and the notion of spraying or wiping down everything you bring into the house seems silly.

We don’t know how long the vaccines’ protection lasts, but it is increasingly clear that being vaccinated reduces the risk of infecting others.

“Vaccinated people have very little risk of infection; they can do what they want to do,” says Dr. George Rutherford, a professor of epidemiology at the University of California–San Francisco. “I think we’re in pretty good shape, and I think it’s going to be pretty much a disease-free summer.”

In California, the rate of positive covid tests has dropped from a seven-day average of over 17% in early January, at the peak of the winter surge, to under 1% now. The number of hospitalized covid patients statewide has fallen from over 22,000 to below 1,300 in the same period.

Around 46% of Golden State residents have been fully vaccinated, lagging behind numerous other states but ahead of the national rate of just under 43%. Some millions more have built up immunity after a covid infection.

As more people get protection, the covid virus finds fewer susceptible bodies, further reducing transmission and producing a downward spiral in the number of cases.

If you are indoors with other people you know to be vaccinated, you can dispense with masks. Want to cook dinner for a group of vaccinated friends you haven’t seen for several months? Carpe diem — and don’t worry about wearing masks or sitting spaced apart.

But if you are in a mixed crowd — say, a grocery store — and don’t know who’s vaccinated, wear a mask, even though your personal risk is low. If the workers are wearing masks, it’s a matter of respect to wear one yourself. Some people may be nervous about being there — those who are immune-compromised, for example, or can’t get vaccinated for some other health reason — and they won’t know if you’ve had your shots.

“Forget about the medical benefit,” says Bradley Pollock, associate dean for Public Health Sciences at the UC-Davis School of Medicine. “If you are wearing a mask, people who are not vaccinated don’t need to feel uncomfortable around you. So, it’s kind of a courtesy issue.”

The presence of children is another good reason to mask up. Most kids ages 12 to 16 haven’t been vaccinated yet, and those under 12 can’t be, yet. They’ll probably have to wear masks in school this fall.

And though children have not been hit by covid nearly as hard as adults, and are not efficient transmitters of the virus, thousands of kids have been hospitalized with it nonetheless — including about 4,000 nationwide diagnosed with a frightening multisystem inflammatory syndrome.

Mayorga, who is fully vaccinated and has young children, says he wears a mask “to protect them and to model good behavior.”

Public health experts agree that vaccinating as many people as possible, including children, is the way out of the pandemic.

But the rate of vaccinations has slowed recently. One of the biggest contributions you can make to the public good right now is to get vaccinated — and help others do the same.

Some people aren’t vaccinated because they lack mobility and can’t get to an appointment. Check in with elderly neighbors, and if they haven’t been vaccinated and need a ride, offer to drive them. You can also check with your local department on aging, community groups that serve the elderly, public health agencies or hospitals to ask if they are seeking drivers.

Perhaps the biggest impact you can have is persuading friends and loved ones to get the vaccine – and then urging them to persuade others.

If they think the vaccines were rolled out too fast to be safe, tell them that related coronavirus vaccine research has been going on for more than a decade. Point out that hundreds of millions of covid shots have now been given and serious side effects are rare — and are being carefully monitored by officials.

You might also need to rebut the widespread notion that the vaccine could suddenly produce some terrible, unforeseen health impact a few years down the road. “That just doesn’t happen,” Pollock says.

Expect to encounter resistance at first, but be persistent. It can take numerous conversations to assuage anxieties, but your close friends will listen.

“If your best friend tells you they did this, that’s highly influential — more than some talking head,” Pollock says.

This story was produced by KHN, which publishes California Healthline, an editorially independent service of the California Health Care Foundation.

KHN (Kaiser Health News) is a national newsroom that produces in-depth journalism about health issues. Together with Policy Analysis and Polling, KHN is one of the three major operating programs at KFF (Kaiser Family Foundation). KFF is an endowed nonprofit organization providing information on health issues to the nation.


This story can be republished for free (details).

Categories: National News Content

Southwest Airlines Resumes Flights After Tech Glitch Caused Delays Across The Country

WXXI US News - Tue, 06/15/2021 - 1:48am
A nationwide weather data outage disrupted Southwest Airlines flights Monday night, causing long delays for some passengers across the country. The company blamed the problem on issues with Southwest's third-party weather data provider. A company spokesman for Southwest told NPR the system "experienced intermittent performance issues" that prevented weather information from being sent to flight crews. That information is required to safely operate the plane, Dan Landson with Southwest Airlines said in an email. "While Southwest Teams and the vendor worked to restore connectivity, we implemented a ground stop to protect the safety of our crews and customers," Landson said. It appears the system went down roughly around 9 p.m. ET. By midnight, the airline said it was able to resume some flight operations. Still, flights experienced residual delays throughout the night. For Monday, Southwest reported 1,415 delays , according to, a site that tracks airline cancellations,

Biden And The EU Call A Truce In A 17-Year Trade Fight To Focus On Threats From China

WXXI US News - Tue, 06/15/2021 - 1:01am
Updated June 15, 2021 at 7:18 AM ET President Biden on Tuesday announced a truce in a long-running trade war with the European Union, saying it was time to put aside the fight and focus together on the growing trade threats posed by China. His Brussels stop at EU headquarters was the latest part of his mission to mend ties with allies that were strained by the go-it-alone approach of his predecessor before he sits down with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Geneva. "I've been making the case that the U.S. and Europe — and democracies everywhere — are stronger when we work together to advance our shared values like fair competition and transparency. Today's announcement demonstrates exactly how that can work in practice," Biden said in a statement. Biden also launched a trade and technology council during his session with Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, and Charles Michel, president of the European Council. The high-level group will work on strategies to

A House Panel Will Investigate Trump DOJ Surveillance Of Lawmakers And Journalists

WXXI US News - Mon, 06/14/2021 - 8:18pm
Updated June 14, 2021 at 10:19 PM ET The Democratic-led House Judiciary Committee will open an investigation into efforts by the Trump-era U.S. Department of Justice to seize metadata from devices belonging to members of Congress, journalists and the then-White House counsel. Word of the partisan probe came as current Attorney General Merrick Garland, said the DOJ will "strengthen" its policies on obtaining records from lawmakers. The developments follow the recent lifting of gag orders, which has revealed the use of subpoenas by the Trump administration's Justice Department. The department secretly subpoenaed Apple in February 2018 for account information of then-White House counsel Don McGahn and his wife, and secured a gag order that barred the tech giant from telling them about it, a person familiar with the matter told NPR's Ryan Lucas . Apple informed the McGahns of the subpoena last month after the gag order expired, Lucas reported Sunday. And last week, it emerged that the

Business Report: Will the area be a regional tech hub?

WXXI US News - Mon, 06/14/2021 - 6:09pm
In the latest WXXI Business Report, Matt Hurlbutt, president of Greater Rochester Enterprise, talks about the idea for regional ‘tech hubs’ that U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer says is part of the $250 billion U.S. Competition and Innovation Act. Plus, Former Xerox CEO Ursula Burns has a new memoir; hear what she has to say about racial equity. And, Dress for Success Rochester, an organization that helps women secure sustainable employment, will be offering a mobile service.

Two local hospitals reporting zero active COVID-19 ICU patients.

WXXI US News - Mon, 06/14/2021 - 5:16pm
Officials with Rochester General Hospital and Unity Hospital say that those hospitals do not have any active COVID-19 cases in their Intensive Care Units. They say that patients currently admitted to the ICU with COVID-like symptoms are experiencing the long-haul effects. Dr. Jake Lyons, Medical Director for Unity’s ICU, attributes this milestone to a more knowledgeable staff and the vaccines. “We learned a lot along the way,” Lyons says. “We were better at managing some of the complications that COVID would have on the patients, but a large component, in my opinion, is the vaccinations.” Lyons says his most recent active COVID-19 cases were patients who were unvaccinated. He says his staff has been battle-tested, and is prepared to take on cases again if they need to. “We're still going to remain on guard, it's still going to be something that we have to worry about,” says Lyons. “Hopefully, we won't have the stress on our ICU’s, and we'll be able to provide more direct care to those

The Girl Scouts Have Unsold Cookies Left. 15 Million Boxes!

WXXI US News - Mon, 06/14/2021 - 5:15pm
The Girl Scouts have an unusual problem this year: 15 million boxes of unsold cookies. The 109-year-old organization says the coronavirus — not thinner demand for Thin Mints — is the main culprit. As the pandemic wore into the spring selling season, many troops nixed their traditional cookie booths for safety reasons. "This is unfortunate, but given this is a girl-driven program and the majority of cookies are sold in-person, it was to be expected," said Kelly Parisi, a spokeswoman for Girl Scouts of the USA. The impact will be felt by local councils and troops, who depend on the cookie sales to fund programming, travel, camps and other activities. The Girl Scouts normally sell around 200 million boxes of cookies per year, or around $800 million worth. Rebecca Latham, the CEO of Girl Scouts of New Mexico Trails, said her council had 22,000 boxes left over at the end of the selling season in late spring, even though girls tried innovative selling methods like drive-thru booths and

The Strong Museum starts an archive of TV game show history

WXXI Arts & Culture News - Mon, 06/14/2021 - 5:00pm
The Strong National Museum of Play already highlights a number of ways that people have fun, including toys and electronic and video games. Now you can add TV game shows to that mix.

The Strong Museum starts an archive of TV game show history

WXXI US News - Mon, 06/14/2021 - 5:00pm
The Strong National Museum of Play already highlights a number of ways that people have fun, including toys and electronic and video games. Now you can add TV game shows to that mix.

Biden Says Russia's Putin Is A 'Worthy Adversary' Whether Or Not He Trusts Him

WXXI US News - Mon, 06/14/2021 - 4:58pm
President Biden said he's not focused on whether he can "trust" the Russian president ahead of their sit-down this week, but he's hoping he will be able to find some areas where he can work with Vladimir Putin — while laying out "red lines" for other areas. Biden spoke with reporters after a day of meetings with NATO allies in Brussels. He said that he discussed the upcoming U.S.-Russia summit with alliance members and that leaders were supportive of his outreach to Putin. Biden has repeatedly said he wants a stable and predictable relationship with Russia. On Monday, he called Putin "tough" and "bright" and said he's a "worthy adversary." "It's not about trusting, it's about agreeing," Biden said. "When you write treaties with adversaries, you don't say: 'I trust you.' You say: 'This is what I expect.' " Biden said he hopes that Putin is interested in "changing the perception the world has of him" and that he would engage in "appropriate behavior for a head of state." Biden said he

Netanyahu's Legacy After 12 Years As Israel's Prime Minister

WXXI US News - Mon, 06/14/2021 - 4:27pm
Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit ARI SHAPIRO, HOST: Though the outcome of the vote in Israel's Parliament yesterday was anticipated, it was not without tumult. (SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING) UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #1: (Non-English language spoken). (CROSSTALK) AUDIE CORNISH, HOST: Amid the heckling and by a one-vote margin, Naftali Bennett became prime minister of Israel, ousting Benjamin Netanyahu. Bennett is a former ally and aide to Netanyahu. They're both right-wing politicians. But Bennett is backed by a coalition from the left, right and center that was united in the desire for a new leader, someone not so divisive as Netanyahu or facing a corruption trial, as he is. SHAPIRO: Netanyahu answered with a speech calling the new government dangerous and vowing to continue fighting to return his Likud Party to power. He punctuated the point in English. (SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING) BENJAMIN NETANYAHU: (Non-English language spoken). We'll be back soon. We'll be back.
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