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Archive for March, 2021

After a Firefighter’s Death, His Son Gets a Truck Birthday Parade

Matt Boney said a fire chief had grabbed him on Tuesday night as they prepared to pull the body of their fallen comrade, Jared Lloyd, from the rubble of an assisted living center in Rockland County, New York, where Lloyd had died trying to rescue residents from a fire hours earlier.

The chief, he said, told him that one of Lloyd’s two sons, Logan, was turning 6 on Wednesday — in just a few hours — and had asked his mother if a fire truck could come to his house for his birthday.

“And that’s how this all started,” said the chief, Ken Conjura of the Spring Valley Fire Department, who is Logan’s stepfather.

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Boney, a firefighter in Rockland County, started making calls at around noon Wednesday but didn’t expect what happened next. Before long, he said, calls started pouring in from firefighters, police officers and contractors throughout the region.

Boney said he had soon realized that he was going to need a bigger staging area for the vehicles, and he directed everyone to meet in a giant parking lot outside a Pfizer office in Pearl River, New York.

More than 200 vehicles — fire trucks, police cars, ambulances, dump trucks and tow trucks — streamed into the lot and lined up in more than a dozen orderly rows.

“We knew it was going to be big, but we didn’t know it was going to be that big,” Boney said. “We were all in awe, like: ‘Oh my God. This is really happening.’”

The procession, reported by Lohud.com, had been organized as Rockland County firefighters were still grieving the loss of Lloyd, 35, an avid golfer, president of the firefighters’ softball league, a die-hard New York Mets fan and father to two boys, Logan and Darius, 4, his colleagues said.

Lloyd, who had been a Rockland County firefighter for more than 15 years, radioed a call for help from inside the Evergreen Court Home for Adults in Spring Valley, New York, before the building collapsed on Tuesday, authorities said.

“He was that guy that you could call and he would be here in a minute,” Conjura said. “He was that guy that couldn’t leave because he was afraid to miss something. He was that guy you want to have on your team. He’s going to be a big, big, tremendous loss to this department.”

Logan, who was still absorbing his father’s death, didn’t know if any fire truck was coming for his birthday, Conjura said. But as the huge procession of vehicles left the lot and headed to the boy’s street, Conjura told Logan to come outside.

It was gray and rainy, and the sound of the sirens came first.

Then the vehicles arrived, a long, snaking river of flashing red, white and blue lights through the streets of Nanuet.

The vehicles seemed to stretch for miles — fire engines from Monsey, police cars from Orangetown, ambulances from Stony Point, dump trucks from MCM Paving & Excavation from West Haverstraw — and so many more from so many places.

Logan watched as the vehicles rolled by his house for more than 40 minutes, stopping occasionally so firefighters could hand him presents.

“It was unbelievable,” Conjura said. “He was super excited. He was very happy.”

On a day of mourning and loss, the procession, Conjura said, was about answering a call to service.

“It just speaks about firefighters — even in their darkest moments, they shine,” he said. “They get together and make things happen. That’s what the volunteer fire service is all about: picking each other up.”

For Biden, a New Virus Dilemma: How to Handle a Looming Glut of Vaccine

President Joe Biden, right, tours Pfizer's manufacturing plant in Kalamazoo, Mich., on Feb. 19, 2021. (Doug Mills/The New York Times)
President Joe Biden, right, tours Pfizer’s manufacturing plant in Kalamazoo, Mich., on Feb. 19, 2021. (Doug Mills/The New York Times)

WASHINGTON — Biden administration officials are anticipating the supply of coronavirus vaccine to outstrip U.S. demand by mid-May if not sooner, and are grappling with what to do with looming surpluses when vaccine scarcity turns to glut.

President Joe Biden has promised enough doses by the end of May to immunize all of the nation’s roughly 260 million adults. But between then and the end of July, the government has locked in commitments from manufacturers for enough vaccine to cover 400 million people — about 70 million more than the nation’s entire population.

Whether to keep, modify or redirect those orders is a question with significant implications, not just for the nation’s efforts to contain the virus but also for how soon the pandemic can be brought to an end. Of the vaccine doses given globally, about three-quarters have gone to only 10 countries. At least 30 countries have not yet injected a single person.

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And global scarcity threatens to grow more acute as nations and regions clamp down on vaccine exports. With infections soaring, India, which had been a major vaccine distributor, is now holding back nearly all of the 2.4 million doses manufactured daily by a private company there. That action follows the European Union’s decision this week to move emergency legislation that would curb vaccine exports for the next six weeks.

Biden administration officials who are inclined to hold on to the coming U.S. surplus point to unmet need and rising uncertainty: Children and adolescents are still unvaccinated, and no one is certain if or when immunity could wear off, which could require scores of millions of booster shots.

“We want to, largely, be a part of the global solution here,” Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, said this week. But she added, “There are still a number of factors that are unpredictable that we need to plan for to the best of our ability, including the variants and the impact and what will be most effective, as well as what will work best with children.”

Killing of youths sparks protests in northwest Pakistan

By Jibran Ahmad and Saud Mehsud

PESHAWAR/DERA ISMAIL KHAN, Pakistan (Reuters) – Thousands of protesters broke through a police blockade in northwestern Pakistan on Sunday as they tried to march on the city of Bannu and then on to Islamabad to demand a government probe into the deaths of four young men who they allege were tortured and killed by security forces.

Police fired tear gas in an attempt to keep them from entering the city of Bannu, which lies on the way to Islamabad, on Sunday evening.

The protesters were carrying the bodies of the four young men, aged between 15 and 20, found in a shallow grave on March 21 in the town of Jani Khel, outside Bannu.

“The government didn’t pay any attention to us and left us alone to mourn the slain boys,” Haji Mohammad Wali, one of the protesters, told Reuters by phone.

Relatives of the dead, alleging they died during interrogation by security forces, held a sit-in in Jani Khel for nearly a week, refusing to bury the bodies until an investigation was opened against an army officer they said was responsible.

A Pakistani military spokesman declined to comment about the incident on Sunday, and the military has not commented publicly on the case.

The central government has not commented on the case.

Officials of the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa provincial government, including Chief Minister Mahmood Khan, travelled to Bannu on Sunday to meet with protesters.

“This incident is a challenge for my government and law enforcement agencies,” Khan said in a statement, adding those responsible for the deaths will be held accountable.

The protesters said that after their demands for an inquiry went unheard they decided to march to Islamabad – 300 km (190 miles) away – and local police tried to stop them by placing barricades in Bannu.

The four dead boys had been missing for several weeks, according to their relatives. Relatives said their bodies bore signs of torture when they were found.

Protests were also held in the port city of Karachi on Sunday.

Derek Chauvin Trial: What To Know About The Charges, Jurors And More

(Photo: Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/HuffPost; Photo: Getty Images)
(Photo: Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/HuffPost; Photo: Getty Images)

Opening statements in the high-profile trial of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer who knelt on George Floyd’s neck as he lay dying in May 2020, are set to begin at 9 a.m. local time Monday.

Chauvin, 45, is charged with second- and third-degree murder as well as manslaughter in Floyd’s death. He has pleaded not guilty on all counts.

Video recorded on a bystander’s cellphone and viewed millions of times across the world showed Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man, crying out for help as Chauvin, who is white, and two other police officers pinned him to the ground.

Floyd’s killing sparked months of nationwide protests against police brutality and racism and led to a worldwide reckoning against racial injustice.

Here’s what else you need to know as Chauvin’s trial unfolds:

How Floyd Died

On May 25, 2020, the Monday of Memorial Day weekend, two Minneapolis police officers ― Alexander Kueng and Thomas Lane ― responded to a call shortly after 8 p.m. about a man trying to use a counterfeit $20 bill at a corner market, according to a criminal complaint filed by the state of Minnesota.

The suspect, Floyd, was sitting in a parked car near the store with two other passengers when Kueng and Lane arrived, the complaint stated. After Lane began speaking to Floyd, the officer pointed his gun at Floyd’s open window. He then pulled Floyd out of the car and handcuffed him. Floyd “actively resisted” being handcuffed, according to the complaint.

Read the full criminal complaint against Chauvin here.

Once handcuffed, Floyd was “compliant,” following Lane’s directions and engaging in a short conversation with the officer, the complaint stated. At 8:14 p.m., as Lane and Kueng attempted to walk Floyd to their patrol car, Floyd “stiffened up, fell to the ground and told the officers he was claustrophobic.”

Two more officers ― Chauvin and Tou Thao ― arrived about that time. They joined the other officers in trying to get Floyd into the backseat of the patrol car, but Floyd was not cooperating, according to the complaint. Floyd “began saying and repeating that he could not breathe.”

Duckworth, Hirono change course on Biden nominees after White House conversations on AAPI representation

Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., reversed course on vowing to object to President Joe Biden’s nominees because of a lack of Asian American and Pacific Islander representation Tuesday evening after a spokesperson from her office said she had received assurances from the Biden administration.

“Senator Duckworth appreciates the Biden administration’s assurances that it will do much more to elevate AAPI voices and perspectives at the highest levels of government, including appointing an AAPI senior White House official to represent the community, secure the confirmation of AAPI appointments and advance policy proposals that are relevant and important to the community,” said Ben Garmisa, a spokesperson for Duckworth.

“Accordingly, she will not stand in the way of President Biden’s qualified nominees — which will include more AAPI leaders,” Garmisa said.

Duckworth, who is Asian American, had been joined by Sen. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, who also had said she would vote to block nominees for lack of AAPI representation. She, too, changed her position late Tuesday.

Earlier, Duckworth and Hirono had expressed frustration that none of Biden’s 15 secretary-level Cabinet members are Asian Americans or Pacific Islanders.

“There’s no AAPI representation in the Cabinet,” Duckworth told reporters Tuesday afternoon. “There’s not a single AAPI in a Cabinet position. That’s not acceptable. That’s what I told the White House.”

“I’ve been talking to them for months, and they’re still not aggressive, so I’m not going to be voting for any nominee from the White House other than diversity nominees,” she said, “I’ll be a ‘no’ on everyone until they figure this out.”

Duckworth said she told the White House earlier Tuesday about her stance. Hirono had joined Duckworth’s call in an interview Tuesday afternoon on MSNBC’s “Deadline: White House.”

2 spring breakers drugged, raped woman, then partied, cops say. She died in South Beach hotel

Two North Carolina men visiting South Beach have been arrested and accused of drugging and raping a woman who later died in her hotel room, police say.

The men, Evoire Collier, 21, and Dorian Taylor, 24, are also accused of stealing the woman’s credit cards to spend money on their trip in South Beach. Investigators are trying to determine whether the woman died of an overdose, possibly from a pill the men supplied. The Miami-Dade Medical Examiner’s Office said Monday it is conducting further tests, and no cause of death has been determined.

The arrests come as Miami Beach police and city officials have been grappling with the overwhelming spring break crowds, instituting an 8 p.m. curfew aimed at cracking down on rowdy revelers on the streets. In recent weeks, South Beach has seen brawls, crowd stampedes and police confrontations involving the use of pepper balls.

Miami Beach police have made over 1,000 arrests since February and at least five officers have been hurt on the job, according to the department. Interim City Manager Raul Aguila, on Saturday, called for the curfew to “contain the overwhelming crowd of visitors and the potential for violence, disruption and damage to property” during what has at times been a chaotic spring break period.

The charges Collier and Taylor face are far more serious: burglary with battery, sexual battery, petty theft and the fraudulent use of a credit card. If the drug they gave her is proven to have played a role in her death, the men could potentially face a manslaughter or murder charge.

The victim, a 24-year-old woman visiting from Pennsylvania, was staying at the Albion Hotel, 1650 James Ave.

Both men, who hail from Greensboro, North Carolina, were booked into a Miami-Dade jail on Sunday, records show.

On Monday afternoon, prosecutor Ayana Duncan said the men should be held in jail before trial because they could face even more serious charges depending on the results of the death investigation. “Both are from out of state,” Duncan said. “There is the potential they could otherwise abscond.”

One Major Side Effect of Drinking a Glass of Wine, Says Science

One Major Side Effect of Drinking a Glass of Wine, Says Science

We’re betting you’ve heard that drinking wine is good for your heart health…and you’ve used that factoid as an excuse to splurge on your favorite cabernet with dinner at least once before. But that’s the worst reason to drink wine.

Not to burst your bubble, but the jury is still out on whether wine actually has any heart-boosting properties. Sure, it has antioxidants that might lower your LDL cholesterol and your cardiovascular inflammation. But that only applies to red wine, not white, and even then some studies say wine has health benefits and some say…ehhh, maybe not.

So are there any confirmed side effects from enjoying a glass of vino every night? Yes, but you’re not gonna like it: drinking even just one glass of wine is a surefire way to mess with your sleep.

If you’re surprised, we get it—most people associate drinking a glass of wine with getting drowsy, and some people even purposely use a glass of wine to help them unwind and drift off to sleep at night. If wine makes you sleepy, then how can it be bad for your nightly zzz’s? (Related: 9 Eating Habits That Are Hurting Your Sleep, According to Doctors.)

The problem lies not in the start of your sleep cycle (i.e. the falling asleep part), but in the later stages. One glass of wine can for sure help you nod off; it has sedative and muscle relaxing properties. However, as your body starts to metabolize the alcohol, the sleepy effects wear off and cause disruptions in the second and third cycles of sleep—often about two to four hours after you initially dozed off.

If you’re thinking “Okay, so what?” or assuming you can just roll over and go back to sleep, you should know that these alcohol-induced wakings can decrease the total amount of rapid eye movement (REM) sleep you get in a night.

This means you have a bigger problem than a night of less-than-stellar sleep: REM sleep is the deepest and most restorative kind of sleep there is, and not getting enough won’t just leave you a little groggy in the morning. An ongoing deficit of sleep, also called sleep debt, can cause cognition impairments and increase your risk of certain health conditions, like mood disorders, diabetes and hypertension.

Stimulus checks: Lawmakers demand prompt payments to Social Security recipients

Many Social Security recipients and other beneficiaries still haven’t received the third round of stimulus payments, according to a letter from lawmakers calling for quick distribution, even though millions of payments have already been made.

“We were alarmed to learn recently that most Social Security, SSI, RRB, and VA beneficiaries who are not required to file a tax return have not yet received their payments and the IRS is unable to provide an expected timeline for these payments,” the chairs of the House Ways and Means Committee wrote in a letter on Monday. “Some of our most vulnerable seniors and persons with disabilities, including veterans who served our country with honor, are unable to pay for basic necessities while they wait for their overdue payments.”

The Internal Revenue Service hasn’t announced when federal benefits recipients who don’t file taxes will get their payments, promised a timeline would be provided “as soon as it becomes available,” the agency said on Monday in a press release.

The IRS didn’t respond to Yahoo Money’s requests for an updated timeline. The Social Security Administration also did not respond to Yahoo Money’s request about when those payments will be available.

El nombre del presidente Donald Trump en un cheque de estímulo emitido por el IRS para ayudar a combatir los efectos económicos adversos del brote de COVID-19. (Archivo)
Photo: Getty

Recipients of those benefits should get the third payment the same way as their regular benefits, according to the IRS. Those who don’t file taxes but receive benefits would also automatically receive the stimulus payment. Some recipients may need to file their 2020 taxes to get a payment for qualifying dependents.

“People in this group should file a 2020 tax return to be considered for an additional payment for their dependent as quickly as possible,” the IRS said.

The latest round is $1,400 per eligible individual plus a $1,400 bonus per dependent. Around 158.5 million households are expected to receive a payment under the new stimulus deal, according to the White House.

Asian woman dragged by car in San Francisco in shocking attack

<p>Asian woman dragged by car in San Francisco in latest shocking attack</p> (ABC7)
Asian woman dragged by car in San Francisco in latest shocking attack

(ABC7)

An Asian-American woman was repeatedly punched in the face and dragged down the street by a car in the latest shocking attack in a wave of violence against the Asian community.

The San Francisco woman was attacked and robbed from behind in broad daylight and dragged by the getaway car when she refused to let go of her purse.

The woman, who gave her name as Clarisse, was attacked by three people as she walked home with a friend from church in the city on Sunday.

When she refused to let go she was punched three times in the face and hung on to her her bag for as long as possible.

But as the car veered away from her she was left sprawled in the street as the whole shocking incident was caught on camera by a neighbour.

 

Clarisse told ABC7 she had message of forgiveness for her attackers.

“Know that you’re loved, know people are there to help you,” she told the station.

“I know it’s hard now but we need to get back and have people in work and school so they are predictively occupied and don’t feel like they need to do things.”

Clarisse says she does not know if the attack was racially motivated and the police are continuing their investigations.

There has been a wave of anti-Asian violence across the United States during the coronavirus pandemic.

This includes the mass shooting at Asian-owned spas in Atlanta, Georgia, that saw eight people gunned down, including six Asian women.

SXSW 2021: From Demi Lovato to Olivia Munn in ‘Violet’ here are the best and buzziest movies from this year’s virtual edition

Last year, the SXSW Film Festival was an early casualty of the emerging coronavirus pandemic, which forced the Austin-based event to shut down for the first time in its history. Flash-forward to 2021 and the show went on… in a virtual edition. Even though viewers couldn’t attend in person, SXSW still generated headlines as the launching pad for movies you’ll likely be hearing about for the rest of the year, from the intensely personal documentary Demi Lovato: Dancing With the Devil to Justine Bateman’s #MeToo-era directorial debut Violet. Here’s Yahoo Entertainment round-up of the best and buzziest movies we saw during the festival.

Demi Lovato: Dancing With the Devil and Introducing, Selma Blair

After years of seeing their stories told by other sources, Demi Lovato and Selma Blair take control of their own narratives in two of SXSW’s buzziest documentaries. Filmed after Lovato’s near-fatal 2018 overdose, Dancing With the Devil features the Disney Channel icon-turned-pop superstar dropping one bombshell revelation after another about her troubled past, from surviving a sexual assault at 15 to her recent break-up with fiancé Max Ehrich. But the four-part series — which premieres on YouTube on March 23 — also gives Lovato’s fans reason to hope that better days are ahead for her: The singer talks about how recovery has left her in a healthier headspace, allowing her to explore her life, her sexuality and to “really live my truth.”

Selma Blair's fight with multiple sclerosis is depicted in the SXSW documentary 'Introducing, Selma Blair' (Photo: Joseph Yakob/SXSW)
Selma Blair’s fight with multiple sclerosis is depicted in the SXSW documentary Introducing, Selma Blair. (Photo: Joseph Yakob/SXSW)

Introducing, Selma Blair is also filled with painful, but healing truth-telling. Diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2018, the Cruel Intentions star allows director Rachel Fleit to document the impact of the disease on her mind and body. When she’s not receiving intensive medical treatments, Blair reflects on her Hollywood career, and how she feels she never found her place in an industry that often demands that actresses subscribe to a specific appearance and behaviors. A candid, open-hearted portrait of a challenging life, Introducing, Selma Blair received an award for Special Jury Recognition for Exceptional Intimacy in Storytelling, and is set to premiere on discovery+ later this year. — Ethan Alter