Tennessee company cancels plan to recruit armed guards for Minnesota polls
MINNEAPOLIS—The Tennessee-based company that advertised for ex-special forces members to serve as armed guards at Minnesota polling places on Nov. 3 has told the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office that it is rescinding its recruitment for the positions.Attorney General Keith Ellison launched a probe into Atlas Aegis on Tuesday, the same day that a pair of local advocacy groups filed federal lawsuits in response to ads placed by the company seeking to hire armed guards for the “protection of election polls” in Minnesota.In a settlement reached Friday, Atlas Aegis agreed that it will not provid...
Star Tribune (Minneapolis)
San Diego judge upholds state ban on private immigration detention centers
SAN DIEGO — A San Diego federal judge largely upheld California’s law banning private prisons in a ruling late Thursday, acknowledging that the state has the authority to ensure the health and welfare of federal detainees within its borders.Under the ruling, at least four immigration detention centers with the capacity to house approximately 5,000 people would be phased out over the coming years.However, the ruling carved out an exception when it comes to privately-operated facilities that house pretrial inmates charged with federal crimes who are in the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service. U...
The San Diego Union-Tribune
Could pre-flight COVID-19 testing be coming to O'Hare?
CHICAGO — Rapid COVID-19 tests soon might be available to passengers and employees at O’Hare International Airport, from a company that plans to offer the tests at other major airports starting Wednesday.XpresCheck plans to begin offering COVID-19 tests developed by Abbott Laboratories at JFK and Newark Liberty international airports Wednesday. The Abbott ID NOW tests deliver results in 13 minutes or less.XpresCheck, a subsidiary of XpresSpa Group, is in talks with the City of Chicago to potentially offer the tests at O’Hare as well.“The goal is to create a safer travel environment, work envir...
Otay Mesa detainees say shift of health services to private contractor complicates care
SAN DIEGO — After spending the first part of the pandemic in the spotlight for a large COVID-19 outbreak at Otay Mesa Detention Center, Immigration and Customs Enforcement has contracted out medical care at the facility to the private prison company that owns and operates it.Detainees interviewed by the San Diego Union-Tribune say the medical care, which they and their advocates already had criticized, has grown even worse under the private operator CoreCivic than it was under ICE.Detainees complain of missed and late medications, multiple-day waits for medical attention and a lack of transfer...
The San Diego Union-Tribune
Amazon tries to make it easier to identify green products with new 'Climate Pledge Friendly' label
SEATTLE — “Time is fleeting,” Amazon tells shoppers who click on its new Climate Pledge Friendly label, an hourglass with wings. It began appearing next to about 25,000 items for sale on its website Wednesday that meet at least one of 19 sustainability standards.The standards, including one related to packaging issued by Amazon itself, cover a wide range of product characteristics, some of which include explicit efforts to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions associated with their production. Other standards that earn Amazon’s Climate Pledge Friendly label require only that a product be made of...
The Seattle Times
70% of imported KN95 masks fail US filtration standards, study finds
PHILADELPHIA — Up to 70% of KN95 masks do not meet the U.S. standards for effectiveness, according to a new study by ECRI, a Pennsylvania-based patient safety organization.The findings suggest an increased risk of contracting COVID-19 for health care workers and patients at hospitals that imported the masks from China to deal with massive shortages of protective equipment during the early days of the pandemic. (N95 masks meet the U.S. standards for effectiveness.)Public health experts have already criticized KN95 masks for featuring ear loops instead of straps that go around the head and neck....
The Philadelphia Inquirer
Commentary: While the West dithers, Russia stays busy
August was busy for Russia this year. While dealing with growing popular protests in the east, Moscow has sought to distract attention by engaging in nefarious activities, both at home and abroad. It’s prepared to intervene in neighboring Belarus, confronted U.S. military forces on land, at sea and in the air, stepped up its interference in the U.S. presidential elections and poisoned yet another opposition figure.None of these activities have gone unnoticed in Europe or the United States. But so far, the actions have been met with a few words of condemnation that together amount to little mor...
Developmentally disabled hit hard with pandemic job losses
DETROIT — When COVID-19 hit, one segment of the workforce was hit especially hard: people with developmental disabilities.Employment advocates across the country are working to overcome challenges amid the pandemic to keep their clients engaged in training and employed. They’re balancing the availability of jobs with the safety of their clients and the comfort levels of their families.Laquita Parker, 46, builds snack boxes for patients as she works as a dietary aide at StoneCrest Center in Detroit. Parker is among five dietary aides with a developmental disability who work at the center.“In Fe...
The Detroit News
Commentary: Pull US troops out of Syria
A Russian combat vehicle collided with a U.S. armored vehicle in Syria on Aug. 25, reportedly injuring at least four American service members. It was clear from recently surfaced video that this was no accident, as the Russian vehicles appear to be recklessly and intentionally harassing the U.S. combat vehicles. Many Americans will want to reflexively push back against Russia. The course of action that best safeguards America’s interests and security, however, is to end our pointless presence in Syria.“We can’t let them intimidate us!” the thinking goes. If the United States were to withdraw o...
These states aren't waiting for the feds to create COVID-19 worker safety rules
Ron Smith, a bus operator in San Mateo County, California, says at least six of his colleagues have tested positive for the new coronavirus. But until recently, he said, it was unclear whether bus operators should keep going to work if they were exposed to a sick colleague. The bus drivers union also wasn’t getting updates on the number of workers falling ill.Smith said he’s worried about getting infected on the job and exposing his wife, who has Parkinson’s disease. “I would like to know the risk that I am taking coming to work, and the possibilities that I could expose my family member,” he ...