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JMH nurse in federal custody after allegedly threatening VP Kamala Harris in videos

Fri, 2021-04-16 17:15

A nurse at Jackson Memorial Hospital has been placed in federal custody after she allegedly recorded videos making threats to Vice President Kamala Harris.

According to the arrest affidavit, 39-year-old Niviane Petit Phelps, a Miami Gardens resident, has been charged in federal court with making threats to kill Harris.

Investigators said Petit Phelps, a mother of three, recorded the threats in a series of videos that she sent to her husband, who is currently serving time in prison.

According to officials, in one of the videos, Petit Phelps said, “Kamala Harris, you are going to die. Your days are numbered already. Someone paid me $53,000 just to [expletive] you up.”

Federal authorities said Petit Phelps’ threats were so serious that she practiced at a gun range and applied for a concealed weapons permit.

A spokesperson for Jackson Health System released a statement that reads, “Niviane Petit Phelps had been employed at Jackson Health System since 2001. In the last couple of years, she worked as a licensed practical nurse at the Ambulatory Care Center West at Jackson Memorial Medical Center. She has been suspended without pay while we process her employment termination.”

Please check back on WSVN.com and 7News for more details on this developing story.

Pfizer vaccine to return to MDC North site amid J&J vaccine pause

Fri, 2021-04-16 16:58

Pfizer vaccines will return to FEMA-supported vaccination sites amid the pause of distribution for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

First-dose Pfizer shots will soon be available again at Miami-Dade College’s North Campus and the other FEMA-supported sites.

The return of the Pfizer vaccine is hoped to increase vaccine access during the pause with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Pfizer shots will start on Tuesday, April 20 at the MDC site, which is at Northwest 27th Avenue and 113th Street.

UK military prepares for big role in Prince Philip’s funeral

Fri, 2021-04-16 16:48

WINDSOR, England (AP) — British soldiers, sailors and air force personnel were practicing, polishing and making final preparations Friday for Prince Philip’s funeral, a martial but personal service that will mark the death of a royal patriarch who was also one of the dwindling number of World War II veterans.

More than 700 military personnel are set to take part in Saturday’s funeral ceremony at Windsor Castle, including army bands, Royal Marine buglers and an honor guard drawn from across the armed forces.

But coronavirus restrictions mean that instead of the 800 mourners included in the longstanding funeral plans, there will be only 30 inside St. George’s Chapel for the service, including the widowed Queen Elizabeth II and her four children.

Philip, who died April 9 at age 99, was closely involved in planning his funeral, an event which will reflect his Royal Navy service and lifelong military ties — and his love of the rugged Land Rover. Philip drove several versions of the four-wheel-drive vehicle for decades until he was forced to give up his license at 97 after a crash. His body will be borne to the chapel on a modified Land Rover Defender that he designed himself, painted military green and with an open back to carry a coffin.

The children of Philip and the queen — Prince Charles, Princess Anne, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward — will walk behind the hearse. So will grandsons Prince William and Prince Harry, although not side by side. The brothers, whose relationship has been strained amid Harry’s decision to quit royal duties and move to California, will flank their cousin Peter Phillips, the son of Princess Anne.

The moment is likely to stir memories of the image of William and Harry at 15 and 12, walking behind their mother Princess Diana’s coffin in 1997, accompanied by their grandfather Philip.

Armed forces bands will play hymns and classical music before the funeral service, which will also be preceded by a nationwide minute of silence.

Inside the gothic chapel, the setting for centuries of royal weddings and funerals, the service will include Royal Marine buglers sounding “Action Stations,” an alarm that alerts sailors to prepare for battle. That was a personal request from Philip, who spent almost 14 years in the Royal Navy and saw action in the Mediterranean, Indian Ocean and Pacific during World War II.

Gen. Nick Carter, the head of Britain’s armed forces, said the ceremony would “reflect military precision and above all, I think, it will be a celebration of a life well-lived.”

“It will also show, I think, how much the armed forces loved and respected him,” Carter told the BBC. “The military always have a great respect for people who have their values and standards, and who indeed have shown great courage.”

Along with Philip’s children and grandchildren, the 30 funeral guests include other senior royals and several of his German relatives. Philip was born a prince of Greece and Denmark and, like the queen, is related to a thicket of European royal families.

Mourners have been instructed to wear masks and observe social distancing inside the chapel, and not to join in when a four-person choir sings hymns. The queen, who has spent much of the past year isolating with her husband at Windsor Castle, will sit alone.

People continued to lay flowers outside the castle, 20 miles (32 kilometers) west of London, as they have done all week, despite official entreaties to stay away because of the coronavirus.

Many said they were motivated by sympathy for the queen, who has lost her husband of 73 years.

“Mainly we are here for the queen,” said Barbara Lee, who came with her children and grandchildren. “You know, we feel so sorry for her, the same as we would for our own grandmothers, mothers. It’s a long time to have been with somebody, a whole life, and she must be absolutely devastated. And so must they all, because at the end of the day they are a normal family.”

Prince Edward, the youngest son of Philip and the queen, and his wife Sophie stopped Friday to look at the flowers and cards. Many were written by children, others by politicians including Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

The prime minister’s handwritten message said: “In grateful memory of a man to whom the nation owes more than words can say. Sent on behalf of the nation.”

In a break with custom, members of the royal family who have served in the armed forces or have ceremonial military appointments will wear civilian clothes to the funeral.

The decision, signed off by the queen, means that Harry won’t risk being the only member of the royal family not in uniform. Harry lost his honorary military titles after he gave up frontline royal duties last year. As a result, protocol suggested that Harry, an army veteran who served two tours of duty in Afghanistan, would only wear a suit with medals at royal functions.

The decision also sidesteps another potential controversy after reports that Prince Andrew, the queen’s second-oldest son, considered wearing an admiral’s uniform to his father’s funeral. Andrew retains his military titles even though he has been sidelined from royal duties because of scandal around his friendship with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.

No appointment needed at Broward FDOH sites to receive Pfizer vaccine

Fri, 2021-04-16 16:31

Broward County is providing easier access to COVID-19 vaccinations.

According to the Florida Department of Health in Broward, no appointment is required at the county’s Department of Health vaccination sites to receive the Pfizer vaccine.

Officials said patients who have already made appointments at any of these sites may either visit at any time during operating hours or keep their appointment time.

For more information, click here.

Anyone with questions and concerns about the coronavirus can call the Florida Department of Health’s 24-hour hotline at 1-866-779-6121.

Raul Castro confirms he’s resigning, ending long era in Cuba

Fri, 2021-04-16 14:48

HAVANA (AP) — Raul Castro said Friday he is resigning as head of Cuba’s Communist Party, ending an era of formal leadership by he and his brother Fidel Castro that began with the 1959 revolution.

The 89-year-old Castro made the announcement Friday in a speech at the opening of the Eighth congress of the ruling party, the only one allowed on the island.

He said he was retiring with the sense of having “fulfilled his mission and confident in the future of the fatherland.”

Castro didn’t say who he would endorse as his successor as first secretary of the Communist Party. But he previously indicated that he favors yielding control to 60-year-old Miguel Diaz-Canel, who succeeded him as president in 2018 and is the standard bearer of a younger generation of loyalists who have been pushing an economic opening without touching Cuba’s one-party system.

His retirement means that for the first time in more than six decades Cubans won’t have a Castro formally guilding their affairs, and it comes at a difficult time, with many on the island anxious about what lies ahead.

The coronavirus pandemic, painful financial reforms and restrictions imposed by the Trump administration have battered the economy, which shrank 11% last year as a result of a collapse in tourism and remittances. Long food lines and shortages have brought back echoes of the “special period” that followed the collapse of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s.

Discontent has been fueled by the spread of the internet and growing inequality.

Much of the debate inside Cuba is focused on the pace of reform, with many complaining that the so-called “historic generation” represented by Castro has been too slow to open the economy.

In January, Diaz-Canel finally pulled the trigger on a plan approved two congresses ago to unify the island’s dual currency system, giving rise to fears of inflation. He also threw the doors open to a broader range of private enterprise — a category long banned or tightly restricted — permitting Cubans to legally operate many sorts of self-run businesses from their homes.

This year’s congress is expected to focus on unfinished reforms to overhaul state-run enterprises, attract foreign investment and provide more legal protection to private business activities.

The Communist Party is made up of 700,000 activists and is tasked in Cuba’s constitution with directing the affairs of the nation and society.

Fidel Castro, who led the revolution that drove dictator Fulgencio Batista from power in 1959, formally became head of the party in 1965, about four years after officially embracing socialism.

He quickly absorbed the old party under his control and was the country’s unquestioned leader until falling ill inh 2006 and in 2008 handing over the presidency to his younger brother Raul, who had fought alongside him during the revolution.

Raul succeeded him as head of the party in 2011. Fidel Castro died in 2016.

FDOH reports over 7,000 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday

Fri, 2021-04-16 14:24

There have now been more than 2.15 million reported cases of the coronavirus in Florida, with 34,330 deaths.

As of 2 p.m. Friday, the Florida Department of Health reported 2,155,744 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state, an increase of 7,296 from Thursday’s update.

The state also reported a single-day increase of 92 deaths.

There are now 467,464 total confirmed cases in Miami-Dade County and 226,990 total cases in Broward.

The total number of cases in Palm Beach County has now reached 138,063 and 6,711 total cases have been reported in Monroe County.

Health officials reported 87,943 hospital admissions statewide.

For a full breakdown of the cases in Florida, click here.

Seven Mile Bridge to be shut down for 3 hours on Saturday due to popular running event

Fri, 2021-04-16 14:11

Locals and visitors of the Florida Keys should be aware that the Seven Mile Bridge will be shut down for some time on Saturday due to a popular event.

The 40th annual Seven Mile Bridge Run will take place, leading to the shut down of the bridge in both directions for approximately three hours.

Motorists and residents are advised to plan accordingly and be across the bridge before the cut-off time at 6 a.m.

The bridge will reopen to drivers at around 9 a.m.

No spectators will be allowed for this year’s event.

For those taking part in the event: don’t miss the bus! The last bus will leave Knights Key at 5:45 a.m.

The Bike to the Beach event for autism awareness will also take place, early Saturday morning.

At 5 a.m., approximately 50 bicyclists will depart Miami and end their ride at the Islander Resort in Islamorada.

The bicyclists are not expected to cause traffic congestion but motorists should be cautious on the roadway.

Cancer patient originally given months to live celebrates final chemo treatment at Broward Health

Fri, 2021-04-16 14:01

After getting life-shattering news, one South Florida woman decided to get a second opinion that saved her life.

It wasn’t easy for Nanita Edwards to hold onto hope after a doctor told her she only had months left to live.

“Told me that I had 6 months to a year to live and there was nothing that they were able to do,” said Edwards.

After she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer last July, she was preparing to say goodbye.

“I remember that feeling right now, to today, that I was dying,” she said.

She still decided to get a second opinion.

The simple act of doing so was a little piece of hope so deep down within Edwards.

Edwards said she didn’t even realize she was still hanging onto it as she met Dr. Scott Jordan, who specializes in Gynecologic Oncology at Broward Health.

“I looked over the chart, and I noticed that she did have advanced ovarian cancer, but she had BRCA2 mutation,” said Jordan.

The mutation was the start of a fighting chance for Edwards.

“Those are also the patients that respond the best to treatment and that we can hope to get into remission,” said Jordan.

“That felt great,” said Edwards. “I started feeling better about myself then.”

Months went by and Edwards didn’t get sicker — she got better.

On Friday, she received a standing ovation.

Edwards also received a certificate to commemorate her last chemotherapy treatment, and her new lease on life, filled with nothing but hope for the future.

“Someone told me there is hope for you, that you can get better and do better, and here I am,” she said. “I can jump up and down and walk and just give Jehovah the praise.”

To celebrate, Edwards said she and her family are planning a trip to Orlando for early summer.

23-year-old Central Florida man wins $235 million Powerball jackpot

Fri, 2021-04-16 12:25

A young Florida man is celebrating his newfound riches.

The Florida Lottery announced that 23-year-old Thomas Yi of Land O’ Lakes claimed a $235.4 million Powerball jackpot from the drawing held March 27.

Officials said Yi chose to receive his winnings as a one-time lump sum of $160,038,447.27.

“Even after matching all six numbers, I was in disbelief and took my ticket to a retailer to have it checked,” Yi told the Florida Lottery. “The clerk at the counter instantly became excited and kept repeating that I had won the $235 million POWERBALL jackpot. I knew then that this would be life changing.”

Despite being a millionaire, Yi told the FLorida Lottery he plans to pursue higher education in either a business or medical field.

He is the youngest player in Florida Lottery history to claim a Powerball jackpot prize.

Yi purchased his winning ticket from a Publix in Lutz. The store will also receive a $95,000 bonus commission for selling the winning ticket.

Texas House passes bill dropping permit to carry handgun in public

Fri, 2021-04-16 11:25

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Texas handgun owners would no longer need a license or training to carry their weapon in public under a bill that cleared a major vote Thursday over Democrats who railed against loosening gun laws after the 2019 mass shooting at an El Paso Walmart.

Texas has more than 1.6 million licensed handgun owners. But scrapping that required permit has been a long-sought goal of conservative activists in gun-friendly Texas, where the National Rifle Association is currently trying to reincorporate to avoid a lawsuit from New York state, which is aiming to put it out of business over alleged financial abuses.

If approved, Texas would become by far the largest of roughly 20 states that already allow handgun owners to carry their weapons in public without a permit.

But the timing of the GOP-led House passing the bill now — after years of stalled efforts — angered opponents whose chances for tightening gun laws after the Walmart shooting that killed 23 people are fading. Texas lawmakers did not meet in 2020, making this the first year gun-control bills have been filed since the attack.

“Even knowing the political realities, I was hopeful,” said Democratic state Rep. Joe Moody, whose district is in El Paso. “But now here we are, the first legislative session back since then, and it’s another date that’s going to be burned into my heat.”

Republican state Rep. Matt Schaefer, who is carrying the bill, repeatedly mentioned the number of other states with similar laws during more than five hours of debate and failed efforts by Democratic efforts to derail or weaken the measure.

“It’s time to restore faith in law-abiding Texans,” Schaefer said.

The bill passed 84-56 along mostly party lines.

The measure has drawn opposition from Texas police chiefs, as well as some firearm instructors who run licensing courses, who critics say have a financial incentive to oppose the change. Obtaining a handgun license in Texas costs between $100 and $150, according to Schaeffer, and applicants must also go through criminal history and background checks.

The bill now goes to the Senate, where its prospects are uncertain. Republican Gov. Greg Abbott has been silent amid calls for gun control and did not mention the El Paso shooting while laying out his legislative priorities in February.

Pet owner claims coyote came after dog in Dania Beach

Fri, 2021-04-16 09:28

A pet parent in Dania Beach had to defend her dog when, she said, he became the target of a coyote.

Karina Jaramillo loves her dog Gucci and said he has a great personality.

“Like an Englishman,” she said. “He’s very well behaved. He’s the love of my life.”

Jaramillo said on Wednesday night they were walking by a Walgreens when she suddenly had to fight for the life of her 10-year-old Pomeranian.

“He jumped on us,” she said, referring to a coyote.

She said the whole ordeal happened so fast, she wasn’t able to snag a picture of the wild animal.

Jaramillo said she was certain the animal running toward her and Gucci was a coyote.

“Very long, very tall,” she said. “Very long ears and very skinny. I grabbed Gucci in my arms. I was like, ‘Ahh!’ Screaming like this, ‘Ahhhhh!'”

Jaramillo fell and scrapped her knee and right arm but her screams alerted someone who was passing by who helped in scaring the coyote away.

As she held Gucci walking home, Jaramillo said the coyote reemerged but was ultimately frightened by traffic on Sheridan Street.

Another coyote was spotted in Hallandale Beach in March.

“I was, like, shocked. I couldn’t believe what it was,” said Frankie Gadman, who spotted the animal in his backyard.

The wild animal has also been spotted in Tamarac, Margate and Hollywood.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officials said coyotes are in all 67 counties across the state and are in every state, except Hawaii.

Experts advise residents to expect more interactions with coyotes.

“I was like [in] fear for his life,” said Jaramillo. “That was my biggest fear.”

FWC has an interactive map on its website showing pinned locations where coyotes have been sighted and interacted with.

Neighbors now say they are being cautious.

“This is a dog neighborhood, you know?” said dog walker Kristina Santa. “Everybody is walking with their dogs, jogging with their dogs.”

Car smashes into Miramar home; homeowner said crashes in area are becoming frequent

Fri, 2021-04-16 08:48

A car made a smashing stop into a home in Miramar.

The crash happened at a home along Miramar Parkway and 66th Avenue at around 2 a.m., Friday.

Homeowner Frank Donis said crashes like this latest one are becoming a dangerous trend in the area.

“We’ve been facing a really horrible safety issue in this corner of Miramar Parkway,” said Donis. “In the last month we have had more than 20 accidents, I mean with property damage. Three times my car was impacted by, I guess, drunk drivers. I don’t know, it’s just extremely frustrating and we live in fear now.”

The car has since been towed away from the scene.

The side of Donis’ home was left with damage.

Police are investigating the crash.

UK military prepares for big role in Prince Philip’s funeral

Fri, 2021-04-16 08:28

LONDON (AP) — British soldiers, sailors and air force personnel were making final preparations Friday for Prince Philip’s funeral, a martial but personal service that will mark the passing of a royal patriarch who was also one of the dwindling number of veterans of World War II.

More than 700 military personnel are set to take part in Saturday’s funeral ceremony at Windsor Castle, including army bands, Royal Marine buglers and an honor guard drawn from across the armed forces.

But coronavirus restrictions mean that instead of the 800 mourners included in the funeral plans before Philip’s death last week, there will be only 30 inside St. George’s Chapel, including the widowed Queen Elizabeth II and her four children.

Philip, who died April 9 at age 99, was closely involved in planning his funeral, an event which will reflect his Royal Navy service and lifelong military ties – and his love of the rugged Land Rover Defender. Philip drove several versions of the four-wheel-drive vehicle for decades until he was forced to give up his license at 97 after a crash. His body will be borne to the chapel on a modified Land Rover that he designed himself, painted military green and with an open back to carry a coffin.

He and the queen’s children – Prince Charles, Princess Anne, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward – will walk behind the hearse. So will grandsons Prince William and Prince Harry, although not side by side. The brothers, whose relationship has been strained amid Harry’s decision to quit royal duties and move to California, will flank their cousin Peter Phillips, the son of Princess Anne.

The moment is likely to stir memories of the image of William and Harry at 15 and 12, walking behind their mother Princess Diana’s coffin in 1997, accompanied by their grandfather Philip.

Armed forces bands will play hymns and classical music before the funeral service, Inside the chapel, Royal Marine buglers will sound “Action Stations,” an alarm that alerts sailors to prepare for battle. Philip spent almost 14 years in the Royal Navy and saw action in the Mediterranean, Indian Ocean and Pacific during World War II.

Gen. Nick Carter, the head of Britain’s armed forces, said the ceremony would “reflect military precision and above all, I think, it will be a celebration of a life well-lived.”

“It will also show, I think, how much the armed forces loved and respected him,” Carter told the BBC. “The military always have a great respect for people who have their values and standards and who indeed have shown great courage, and I think that, when we look back at his war record, that sense of courage and what he did is something all of us have great admiration for.”

Along with Philip’s children and grandchildren, the 30 funeral guests include other senior royals and several of is German relatives. Philip was born a prince of Greece and Denmark and, like the queen, is related to a thicket of European royal families.

Mourners have been instructed to wear masks and observe social distancing inside the chapel, and not to join in when a four-person choir sings hymns. The queen, who has spent much of the past year isolating with her husband at Windsor Castle, will sit alone.

In a break with custom, members of the royal family who have served in the armed forces or have ceremonial military appointments will wear civilian clothes to the funeral.

The decision, signed off by the queen, means that Harry won’t risk being the only member of the royal family not in uniform. Harry lost his honorary military titles after he gave up frontline royal duties last year. As a result, protocol suggested that Harry, an army veteran who served two tours of duty in Afghanistan, would only wear a suit with medals at royal functions.

The decision also sidesteps another potential controversy after reports that Prince Andrew, the queen’s second-oldest son, considered wearing an admiral’s uniform to his father’s funeral. Andrew retains his military titles even though he has been sidelined from royal duties because of scandal around his friendship with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.

Defense Department confirms leaked video of unidentified aerial phenomena is real

Fri, 2021-04-16 07:30

(CNN) — The Defense Department has confirmed that leaked photos and video of “unidentified aerial phenomena” taken in 2019 are indeed legitimate images of unexplained objects.

Photos and videos of triangle-shaped objects blinking and moving through the clouds were taken by Navy personnel, Pentagon spokeswoman Sue Gough said in a statement to CNN. She also confirmed that photos of three unidentified flying objects — one “sphere” shaped, another “acorn” shaped and one characterized as a “metallic blimp” — were also taken by Navy personnel.

“As we have said before, to maintain operations security and to avoid disclosing information that may be useful to potential adversaries, DOD does not discuss publicly the details of either the observations or the examinations of reported incursions into our training ranges or designated airspace, including those incursions initially designated as UAP,” Gough said.

She also said that the Unidentified Aerial Phenomena Task Force, created in August to investigate UFO sightings observed by the military, has “included these incidents in their ongoing examinations.”

The Navy photos and videos were published by Mystery Wire and on Extraordinary Beliefs’ website last week but had been circulating online since last year.

There have been “a number of reports of unauthorized and/or unidentified aircraft entering various military-controlled ranges and designated air space in recent years” the Navy said in 2019. Last year, the Pentagon released three videos showing “unidentified aerial phenomena” — clips that the US Navy had previously confirmed were real.

US intelligence agencies have been directed to give unclassified reports about UAP’s to Congress in June.

Debates spark over mask-wearing policies, booster shot likely for those who received Pfizer vaccine

Fri, 2021-04-16 07:27

The debate over the safety of wearing a mask has reached local school districts and congressional hearings. Additionally, health officials said anyone who received the Pfizer vaccine may soon need a booster shot.

The race to get the COVID-19 vaccine is still going strong across South Florida.

“We actually feel a lot better, a lot safer,” one man said.

Pfizer’s CEO announced that people will likely need a second shot within 12 months of being fully vaccinated. Experts also said regardless of your vaccination status, masks are still needed.

“What we don’t know right now, but we will know as we gather more information, is that you can get infected even though you’ve been vaccinated, and because you’re vaccinated, have no symptoms,” said top infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci.

The news caused sparks to fly and a clash in Congress over mask-wearing policies and social distancing.

“Making this a personal thing and it isn’t,” Fauci said.

“It’s not a personal thing,” Congressman Jim Jordan said.

Jordan and Fauci had a heated debate over relaxing restrictions until Congresswoman Maxine Waters stepped in.

“You are. That is exactly what you’re doing,” Fauci said. “We’re not talking about liberties, we’re talking about a pandemic that has killed 560,000 Americans.”

“The American people want Dr. Fauci to answer the question,” Jordan said. “What does it have to be?”

“Your time has expired sir,” Waters said. “If you need to respect the chair and shut your mouth.”

The debate has also impacted state and local leaders.

On Wednesday, Florida’s education commissioner sent a letter to the school districts which read in part, “We ask that school districts, which currently are implementing a mandatory face covering policy, reverse their policy to be voluntary for the 2021-2022 school year.”

South Florida schools said they will stick to guidance from the CDC.

Maxine Waters tells Jim Jordan to ‘shut your mouth’ after GOP congressman feuds with Fauci

Fri, 2021-04-16 06:49

(CNN) — Republican Rep. Jim Jordan and the nation’s top infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci got into a heated exchange Thursday over the country’s Covid-19 mitigation measures, which ended with Democratic Rep. Maxine Waters telling Jordan to “shut your mouth.”

During a House subcommittee hearing about federal government’s response to the pandemic, Jordan, an Ohio conservative, asked Fauci when the nation can begin relaxing physical distancing measures and mask-wearing — posing it as a question as to when Americans will regain their freedom and liberties.

Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, started to respond that the time will be when the United States has more Americans vaccinated and has a level of coronavirus infection that is low enough that it’s “no longer a threat.”

Jordan then interrupted Fauci, asking for a specific number.

“We had 15 days of ‘slow the spread’ turn into one year of lost liberty,” Jordan said. “What metrics, what measures, what has to happen before Americans get more freedoms back?”

“You’re indicating liberty and freedom. I look at it as a public health measure to prevent people from dying and going to the hospital,” Fauci countered. “This will end, for sure, when we get the level of infection very low. It is now at such a high level, there is a threat again of major surges.”

Fauci later said to Jordan, “You’re making this a personal thing and it isn’t.”

“It’s not a personal thing,” Jordan fired back.

“No, you are,” Fauci said, sounding exasperated. “That is exactly what you’re doing.”

Fauci defended his recommendations as being consistent and based on Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Covid-19 guidance.

“Right now, we have about 60,000 infections a day, which is a very large risk for resurge. We’re not talking about liberties. We’re talking about a pandemic that has killed 560,000 Americans,” said Fauci, who later said his “best estimate” would be to have the number of infections per day to be “well below” 10,000 a day.

The back-and-forth between Fauci and Jordan — who have clashed before — continued for a few minutes until the subcommittee chair, Democratic Rep. James Clyburn of South Carolina, announced that Jordan’s time expired.

When Jordan tried to continue questioning Fauci, Waters interjected from across the room.

“You need to respect the chair and shut your mouth,” she told Jordan.

Later in the hearing, when Jordan asked Fauci the same questions and griped whether Americans would be wearing masks two years from now, Fauci told the congressman he was “ranting.”

Thursday’s hearing was to examine the Biden administration’s progress on vaccines with the CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky and the chief science officer of the Covid-19 response Dr. David Kessler also as witnesses.

Police: Gunman dead, multiple shot at Fedex facility

Fri, 2021-04-16 00:50

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Multiple people were shot at a Fedex facility in Indianapolis late Thursday, and the suspected gunman killed himself, police said.

When police arrived, officers observed an active shooting scene at the facility, Indianapolis police spokesperson Genae Cook told reporters early Friday.

Cook confirmed multiple people were shot but did not give a specific number. She added that the gunman has died and the public is not believed to be in immediate danger.

Fedex released a statement early Friday saying it is cooperating with authorities and working to get more information.

“We are aware of the tragic shooting at our FedEx Ground facility near the Indianapolis airport. Safety is our top priority, and our thoughts are with all those who are affected,” the statement said.

Live video from news outlets at the scene showed crime scene tape in the parking lot outside the facility.

A witness who said he works at the facility told WISH-TV that he saw a man with a gun after hearing several gunshots.

“I saw a man with a submachine gun of some sort, an automatic rifle, and he was firing in the open,” Jeremiah Miller said.

Another man told WTTV that his niece was sitting in her car in the driver’s seat when the gunfire erupted, and she was wounded.

“She got shot on her left arm,” said Parminder Singh. “She’s fine, she’s in the hospital now.”

He said his niece did not know the shooter.

US expels Russian diplomats, imposes sanctions for hacking

Fri, 2021-04-16 00:28

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Biden administration announced Thursday the U.S. is expelling 10 Russian diplomats and imposing sanctions against several dozen people and companies, holding the Kremlin accountable for interference in last year’s presidential election and the hacking of federal agencies.

The sweeping measures are meant to punish Russia for actions that U.S. officials say cut to the core of American democracy and to deter future acts by imposing economic costs on Moscow, including by targeting its ability to borrow money. The sanctions are certain to exacerbate tensions with Russia, which promised a response, even as President Joe Biden said the administration could have taken even more punitive measures but chose not to in the interests of maintaining stability.

“We cannot allow a foreign power to interfere in our democratic process with impunity,” Biden said at the White House.

Sanctions against six Russian companies that support the country’s cyber efforts represent the first retaliatory measures against the Kremlin for the hack familiarly known as the SolarWinds breach, with the U.S. explicitly linking the intrusion to the SVR, a Russian intelligence agency. Though such intelligence-gathering missions are not uncommon, officials said they were determined to respond because of the operation’s broad scope and the high cost of the intrusion on private companies.

The U.S. also announced sanctions on 32 individuals and entities accused of attempting to influence last year’s presidential election, including by spreading disinformation. U.S. officials alleged in a declassified report last month that Russian President Vladimir Putin authorized influence operations to help Donald Trump in his unsuccessful bid for reelection as president, though there’s no evidence Russia or anyone else changed votes or manipulated the outcome.

The actions, foreshadowed by the administration for weeks, signal a harder line against Putin, whom Trump was reluctant to criticize even as his administration pursued sanctions against Moscow. They are the administration’s second major foreign policy move in two days, following the announcement of troop withdrawals from Afghanistan. Until now, Biden has largely focused on the coronavirus pandemic and economy in his first months in office.

Biden said that when he advised Putin days earlier of the forthcoming measures — which included expulsion of the 10 diplomats, some of them representatives of Russian intelligence services — he told the Russian leader “that we could have gone further but I chose not to do so. I chose to be proportionate.”

“We want,” he said, “a stable, predictable relationship.”

Even so, Russian officials spoke of a swift response, with Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov warning that “a series of retaliatory measures will come in the nearest time.”

Other American measures are expected, though the administration is not likely to announce them. Officials have advised that their response to Russia would be in ways both seen and unseen.

The sanctions are the latest in a series of actions that successive presidential administrations have taken to counter Russian behavior seen as antagonistic. It is unclear whether the new U.S. actions will result in changed behavior, especially since past measures — both Trump and Barack Obama expelled individual diplomats during their presidencies — have failed to bring an end to Russian hacking.

But experts suggest this latest round, even while not guaranteed to curb cyberattacks, might have more resonance because of its financial impact: The order makes it more difficult for Russia to borrow money by barring U.S. banks from buying Russian bonds directly from the Russian Central Bank, Russian National Wealth Fund and Finance Ministry. It could complicate Russian efforts to raise capital and give companies pause about doing business in Russia.

The impact of the sanctions and the U.S. willingness to impose costs will be weighed by Putin, though he is unlikely to make “a 180” degree pivot in his behavior, said Daniel Fried, a former assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian Affairs.

“The issue is, how can we push back against Putin’s aggression, while at the same time keeping open channels of communication and continuing to cooperate with Russia in areas of mutual interest,” Fried said. “And it seems to me the Biden administration has done a pretty good job framing up the relationship in exactly this way.”

Eric Lorber, a former Treasury Department official now with the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, said the administration, is “surely trying to balance putting pressure on Russia, pushing back on Russia, while at the same time, not engaging in full-fledged economic warfare.”

The White House did not impose sanctions related to separate reports that Russia encouraged the Taliban to attack U.S. and allied troops in Afghanistan, saying instead that Biden was using diplomatic, military and intelligence channels to respond.

Reports of alleged “bounties” surfaced last year, with the Trump administration drawing criticism for not raising the issue directly with Russia. Administration officials said Thursday they had only low to moderate confidence in that intelligence, in part because of the ways in which the information was obtained, including from interrogations of Afghan detainees.

Among the companies sanctioned are websites U.S. officials say operate as fronts for Russian intelligence agencies and spread disinformation, including articles alleging widespread voter fraud in 2020. The individuals who were targeted include Konstantin Kilimnik, a Russian and Ukrainian political consultant who worked with former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and who was indicted in special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation.

The Treasury Department said Thursday that Kilimnik had provided “sensitive information on polling and campaign strategy” to Russian intelligence services. That went further than Mueller’s office, which said in 2019 that it had been unable to determine what Kilimnik had done with the polling data after getting it from the Trump campaign.

Also sanctioned were the Kremlin’s first deputy chief of staff, Alexei Gromov, several individuals linked to Yevgeny Prigozhin, a businessman with close ties to Russia’s president, nicknamed “Putin’s chef” for serving Kremlin functions, and several front companies the U.S. says helped Prigozhin evade sanctions imposed earlier.

The U.S. also sanctioned eight individuals and entities tied to Russia’s occupation in Crimea.

Biden informed Putin that the sanctions were coming earlier this week. Administration officials have made clear in their contacts with the Russia side that they are hoping to avoid a “downward spiral” in the relationship, according to a senior administration official who briefed reporters on the condition of anonymity following the sanctions announcement.

The two leaders had a tense call in which Biden told Putin to “de-escalate tensions” following a Russian military buildup on Ukraine’s border, and said the U.S. would “act firmly in defense of its national interests” regarding Russian intrusions and election interference.

In a television interview last month, Biden replied “I do” when asked if he thought Putin was a “killer.” He said the days of the U.S. “rolling over” to Putin were done. Putin later recalled his ambassador to the U.S. and pointed at the U.S. history of slavery and slaughtering Native Americans and the atomic bombing of Japan in World War II.

U.S. officials are still grappling with the aftereffects of the SolarWinds intrusion, which affected agencies including the Treasury, Justice and Homeland Security departments. The breach exposed vulnerabilities in the supply chain as well as weaknesses in the federal government’s own cyber defenses.

Veteran BSO communications employee arrested on fraud, misconduct charges

Fri, 2021-04-16 00:10

A longtime Broward Sheriff’s Office communications employee was arrested on charges of workers’ compensation fraud and official misconduct.

Forty-five-year-old Jennifer Blum was taken into custody at BSO’s Public Safety Building, Wednesday evening.

The agency said she lied about falling on the job and collected $1,300 in workers’ compensation.

In a statement, Broward Sheriff Gregory Tony wrote, “It’s disappointing that we have to announce the arrest of one of our employees, but I made a commitment to Broward residents that BSO would be an agency of transparency and accountability.”

Blum began forking for BSO in January 2000. She has been suspended without pay.

Police arrest 19-year-old after scuffle with officers in Miami Beach; fight breaks out in same area hours later

Thu, 2021-04-15 23:06

Surveillance and cellphone cameras captured two separate scuffles breaking out on the same day at a popular area in Miami Beach’s entertainment district.

A fight broke out in the area of Ninth Street and Collins Avenue on Thursday over what, witnesses said, was over a stolen bottle of liquor. The fight lasted for several minutes before Miami Beach Police officers arrived to break up the skirmish.

7News was in the area to cover an incident involving police officers that occurred overnight Thursday. As 7News was preparing to air the story, the fight broke out.

Surveillance cameras from the nearby Sherbrooke Hotel, owned by Mitch Novick, captured Kedyn Apelu, a nearly 300-pound, 6-plus-foot 19-year-old, apparently refusing to go to the ground despite the officers’ efforts to handcuff him.

Soon after, a Taser is deployed, and more than a half dozen police officers work to restrain Apelu.

“Spring break is a year-round situation, just mayhem,” Novick said.

After the Taser was deployed and the 19-year-old was restrained, officers would escort the subject to the back of a waiting police cruiser.

Apelu was visiting the area from Washington, but he would spend part of his vacation in the Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center.

The 19-year-old was brought to Mount Sinai Medical Center before he was taken to the West Miami-Dade jail. He was booked on charges of assault on an officer and resisting arrest.