Nation and world news briefs

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Prosecutors considering charges against woman who went on anti-Asian racist tirades

LOS ANGELES — Prosecutors in Torrance are considering misdemeanor charges against a woman whose racist, anti-Asian tirades were captured on cellphone video at a park, authorities announced Wednesday.

Police say that Lena Hernandez, 56, of Long Beach berated two people in separate incidents at Charles H. Wilson Park in Torrance last week. Video clips of the encounters that were posted on Twitter quickly went viral and triggered outrage among the public and elected officials.

The incidents came to light June 10 when a woman later identified as Hernandez accosted a younger woman who was exercising on a set of stairs at the park, unleashing a string of profanities and telling her to “go back to whatever … Asian country you belong in.”

A second video from the same day shows what appears to be the same woman berating an Asian man who had parked near her car at Wilson Park.

In the video, the woman says, “You know what, you need to go home,” while glancing at the man’s vehicle, where his two children are sitting. The unidentified man responds, “I am home,” before the woman tells him to stop playing games.

The woman is then heard using a profanity and threatening to kill the man, who turns his camera to record the woman’s license plate before she refers to him as a “Chinaman,” speaking to him in gibberish and complaining that his vehicle was parked too close to her Honda.

Investigators also linked Hernandez to a third incident that occurred in October at the Del Amo Fashion Center in which they say she verbally assaulted a custodian and struck another person who tried to intervene, Torrance Police Chief Eve Berg said at a news conference last week.

“We believe that that suspect is responsible for all three of these incidents,” Berg said. “That victim too has been contacted by detectives in regard to this matter.”

On Wednesday, detectives and members of the police department’s specialized crisis intervention team found Hernandez in a park in San Pedro and spoke to her about the three incidents. All of the encounters are misdemeanor crimes but because none occurred in the presence of an officer, Hernandez was not arrested when police interviewed her, authorities said.

Prosecutors had not made a filing decision against Hernandez as of early Thursday.

—Los Angeles Times

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US left with 63 million doses of hydroxychloroquine after FDA rules it doesn’t help against coronavirus

Good news for President Donald Trump — he can have all the hydroxychloroquine he wants.

The federal government suddenly finds itself with a surplus of more than 60 million doses of hydroxychloroquine now that the FDA has deemed the anti-malarial medication ineffective in treating coronavirus.

CNN reports that the government began stockpiling donated dosages in late March. That surplus also reportedly includes 2 million doses of a similar drug, chloroquine, that was donated by the Bayer company.

“I worry that history will judge this as having over-invested in one treatment pathway as opposed to looking more broadly at a larger number of treatment candidates,” School of Public Health at the University at Albany dean David Holtgrave, who co-authored a study on hydroxychloroquine and coronavirus, told CNN.

Trump and his media surrogates had long touted hydroxychloroquine as a “game changer” in efforts to contain the pandemic that has killed 120,000 Americans.

The president claimed without proof last month that he had begun taking hydroxychloroquine as a preventive measure against coronavirus. A week later, he said he had stopped using it.

The World Health Organization ended its trial of hydroxychloroquine Thursday after finding no reason to believe it is an effective treatment for COVID-19, according to The Hill. The FDA reached its conclusion Tuesday.

—New York Daily News

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Half of world’s children affected by violence, UN report says

UNITED NATIONS — Half of the world’s children — around 1 billion — are affected by physical, sexual or psychological violence every year, the United Nations said on Thursday.

Those children can suffer injuries, disabilities and death, as nations have failed to protect them, according to a report released by several U.N. agencies, including the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF.

The report found that in 2017, around 40,000 children were victims of homicide.

“There is never any excuse for violence against children,” WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a press release. “We have evidence-based tools to prevent it, which we urge all countries to implement.”

UNICEF director Henrietta Fore warned that matters could be worsening amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“Lockdowns, school closures and movement restrictions have left far too many children stuck with their abusers, without the safe space that school would normally offer,” she said.

While nearly 90% of countries have laws in place to protect their under-18 citizens against violence, fewer than half said these are strictly enforced, according to the report.

Only around a third of nations said victims could access support services, a quarter provided programs on parent and caregiver support, and even fewer had programmes to change harmful norms.

The report said global action is needed to ensure there is enough financial and technical support for countries to implement prevention strategies.

The report is based on surveys of more than 1,000 decision-makers from 155 countries between 2018 and 2019.

—dpa

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