Ahead of crucial Kavanaugh vote, hundreds of protesters rally in front of Supreme Court

first_imgJane Roper / Instagram (WASHINGTON) — The debate over Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination spilled into the streets of Washington, D.C., Thursday as hundreds of protesters rallied outside the Supreme Court.Vocal opponents to President Trump’s nominee for the nation’s high court chanted near the steps of the courthouse; some of Kavanaugh’s supporters demonstrated as well.Crowds of activists, many of whom wearing black — commonly associated with supporting sexual assault survivors — swarmed inside the Hart Senate Office Building Thursday afternoon.The controversy over Kavanaugh’s nomination is coming to a head now as the Senate prepares to vote on his nomination, likely in the next two days.Trump nominated Kavanaugh on July 10 but decades-old accusations of sexual assault created drama and logistical hurdles late in the confirmation process.Protesters have been coming to Washington in waves since last week, when both Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford, one of Kavanaugh’s accusers, testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee in hearings that seen around the world.Ford accused Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting in the early 1980s when both were teenagers.Two other women also accused Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct.Kavanaugh has repeatedly denied the accusations, which became the focus of an FBI investigation. Senators are reviewing the results of the probe ahead of a cloture vote Friday.A vote on Saturday can come as early as Saturday afternoon.Against the backdrop of senators reviewing the results of the investigation and charges that the probe was limited in scope, some protesters appeared to be arrested, surveillance footage showed.Local police had not released arrest numbers by Thursday afternoon.Actress Amy Schumer was shown in line appearing to prepare to be arrested in the Senate building amid the protest.Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who supports Kavanaugh’s nomination, addressed the stream of protesters from the Senate floor Wednesday, talking about how Republicans are coming into contact with protesters in their offices.“I want to make it clear to these people who are chasing my members around the hall here or harassing them at the airports or going to their homes. We’re not being intimidated by these people. There is no chance in the world they’re going to scare us out of doing our duty,” McConnell said.One memorable and arguably pivotal moment with a protester came when one woman, identifying herself as a sexual assault survivor, confronted Sen. Jeff Flake in an elevator as he was on his way to vote in the Senate Judiciary Committee, the day after the Ford and Kavanaugh hearings.Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.last_img read more

Woman convicted in texting suicide case is headed to jail

first_imgABC News(BOSTON) — Michelle Carter, who as a teenager sent texts urging her then-boyfriend to commit suicide, is heading to jail for 15 months, a Massachusetts judge ruled Monday.Carter, now 22, was taken into custody following a brief appearance in court.Carter was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in 2017. She was sentenced to 2.5 years in jail with 15 months to be served and the rest suspended.Carter was allowed to stay out of jail while she appealed in the state courts. Her conviction was upheld by the Massachusetts Supreme Court last week.Carter’s attorneys then filed an emergency motion for a stay of sentence which was denied hours before Monday’s court appearance.Carter’s attorneys said they will appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.“This case legally is not over,” Carter’s defense attorney said.The case stems from the July 2014 death of 18-year-old Conrad Roy III, who died of carbon monoxide poisoning after locking himself in his truck in Massachusetts.Prosecutors argued Carter, then 17, was reckless and caused his death by telling Roy to get back in the car even though they say he didn’t want to die.The defense claimed that Carter had previously tried to talk Roy out of harming himself.Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.last_img read more

Michigan couple dies hours apart after 56 years of marriage, family says

first_imgWill and Judy Webb, both 77 years old, died just hours apart while holding hands on March 6, 2019. They spent their final hours together in hospice care after both battling a series of health complications. https://t.co/EZAyd63avQ— WXYZ Detroit (@wxyzdetroit) March 22, 2019A Michigan couple who rarely spent a day apart after 56 years of marriage died on the same day in the hospital.They first connected at the age of 14, according to WXYZ. When Will Webb enlisted in the U.S. military, Judy Webb would write letters to him, their daughter said.“They just became friends and have been together ever since,” MaryBeth Webb said.Later, Will Webb worked nights as a printer and Judy Webb worked days at a local hospital. She would stay up late to wait for him to get home every night.MaryBeth Webb said her parents are the reason her family is tight-knit.“We just had a lot of fun — a lot of good times,” MaryBeth Webb said.The couple rarely spent a day apart before their health started to decline late last year, their daughter said.In December, Judy Webb’s health began to suffer following a medical procedure that “basically didn’t go well,” MaryBeth Webb told The News-Herald. She suffered from an infection that almost killed her on New Year’s Eve and was then transported to Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, where she remained on a ventilator, their daughter told the Southgate-based newspaper.The next day, Will Webb collapsed from exhaustion, The News-Herald reported.“My dad — seeing her like that — it was too much for him,” MaryBeth Webb told the newspaper. “From that point on, everything that happened to her happened to him in a different place.”When Judy Webb spiked a fever, so did her husband. When she began to suffer from congestion, he got pneumonia, and their health failures continued to parallel each other’s until they died, their daughter said.After Will Webb was put into hospice care, his wife requested that she be placed there too.On the day they died, their beds had been pushed together and they were holding hands, MaryBeth Webb told WXYZ. Will Webb died at 2 a.m., and Judy Webb died just hours later, their daughter said.She continued, “When my dad died, my mom just kind of – she wasn’t responsive at all, verbally — but you could see her pick up her hand and she was rubbing my dad’s hand like, ‘I’ll be there soon.’”MaryBeth Webb said her parents “didn’t want to live without each other,” describing their relationship as “a great love story.”“I’m happy that they went together and don’t have to suffer losing each other, but it’s still hard,” MaryBeth Webb told The News-Herald.The couple leaves behind three daughters, five grandchildren and four great-grandchildren, according to their obituary.Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved. KatarzynaBialasiewicz/iStock(Southgate, Mich.) — A Michigan couple who rarely spent a day apart after 56 years of marriage died on the same day in the hospital.Judy and Will Webb of Southgate, Mich., both 77, were holding hands before they died in a hospice center on March 6, their daughter, MaryBeth Webb, told ABC Detroit affiliate WXYZ.They first connected at the age of 14, according to WXYZ. When Will Webb enlisted in the U.S. military, Judy Webb would write letters to him, their daughter said.“They just became friends and have been together ever since,” MaryBeth Webb said.last_img read more

Hundreds under quarantine at UCLA, Cal State University after measles scare

first_imgmattjsosa/iStock(LOS ANGELES) — Students and staff at two Los Angeles universities were under quarantine on Thursday amid fears that they may have been exposed to measles.More than 300 students, faculty and staff at UCLA and Cal State University, Los Angeles were under quarantine while health officials work to determine if they have been vaccinated, the universities said.University health officials said 198 staff and student employees at Cal State were ordered to stay home, avoid contact with others and notify to authorities if they develop measles symptoms, according to a statement from the university released Thursday.The university said those affected may have been exposed to measles at a campus library on April 11 and they were either unvaccinated or couldn’t immediately verify that they are immune.“The Department of Public Health has asked Cal State LA employees who were potentially exposed through their presence in Library North on the specified date and times to provide immunization records or be checked for immunity at the Student Health Center and not return to work until they receive clearance from Department of Public Health officials,” Cal State said in a statement. “The Department of Public Health has determined that there is no known current risk related to measles at the library at this time.”Separately, UCLA said it screened more than 500 students, faculty and staff who may have come into contact with a student who contracted measles. Of those people, 119 were initially placed under quarantine. On Thursday night, the university announced that 43 of those people established proof of immunity and were released.“We expect that those notified will be quarantined for approximately 24–48 hours until their proof of immunity is established. A few may need to remain in quarantine for up to seven days,” UCLA Chancellor Gene Block in a statement Wednesday. “A few may need to remain in quarantine for up to seven days. We have arranged for those who live on campus to be cared for at UCLA while they are quarantined.”Jade McVay, a UCLA student who was quarantined, described the situation as “really stressful at that moment.”“I was calling my bosses and trying to explain to them that I wasn’t gonna be at work as I should be,” McVay added. “And I was like, ‘Oh, shoot, now i have to email my professor and explain to him that I might not be able to be back in time for my midterm that I had later that afternoon.’”Measles are highly contagious and can be transmitted through coughing or sneezing.“I ended up being cleared at the end of the day, but that was an initial fear: Was — am — I going to cause harm to myself and others?” McVay continued. “I think I got lucky in my time frame that I was there, ’cause my friend that was in there was quarantined for, I think, 18 hours, whereas I was in and out in just a couple. I think it’s wild the different levels of experiences that we had. I do appreciate UCLA’s efforts in making it as stress free as possible, even though it may be a little be stressful.” The quarantines came on the heals of a Centers of Disease Control and Prevention announcement that confirmed 695 reported cases of measles in the U.S, marking the highest level since the disease was domestically eradicated in 2000. California had reported 38 measles cases as of Thursday.CDC officials attributed the “high number of cases” to large outbreaks in Washington state and New York, which began late last year.The spike in cases stems, in part, from the spread of misinformation about vaccines online. Anti-vaccination activists have gained more traction on social media amid false claims linking vaccinations to autism.The measles vaccine, now administered along with immunization for mumps and rubella, is regarded by public health practitioners as safe and highly effective. The CDC recommends for all Americans above age 1 to get vaccinated.“I know there is concern about measles, particularly among the very small percentage of our community who have not been vaccinated,” UCLA Chancellor Block said. “Please be assured that we have the resources we need for prevention and treatment, and that we are working very closely with local public health officials on the matter.”Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.last_img read more

7 killed, 22 injured as alleged mass shooting suspect targets more than 15 locations in Odessa, Texas: Police

first_imgvmargineanu/iStock(ODESSA, Texas) — Seven people were killed and at least 22 others injured when a gunman armed with an AR-type assault rifle went on a rampage in Odessa and Midland in Western Texas on Saturday before he was shot to death in a gunfight with police, according to authorities.The latest mass shooting in America came exactly four weeks after 22 people were gunned down at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, and another nine people killed the next day by another gunman in Dayton, Ohio.The suspect in Odessa, whose name has yet to be released by officials, allegedly launched the mass shooting after getting pulled over by police for a minor traffic violation, officials said. He then drove around in his vehicle randomly firing at victims in more than 15 different locations, including a car dealership and a movie theater, police said.The victims killed ranged in age from 15 to 57, and Odessa Police Chief Michael Gerke said on Sunday that the carnage could have been much worse had police not killed him before he got inside a crowded movie theater.“He showed up at a movie theater, which would tend to show his motive,” Gerke said.The chief declined to identify the suspect during the news conference, saying, “I’m not going to give him any notoriety for what he did.”He told reported the suspect’s name would be released soon, but not in a public forum.Gerke said that among the 22 people injured were three law enforcement officers and a 17-month-old girl.Texas Gov. Greg Abbott lamented having to go to another “shattered” Texas town to discuss a mass shooting, saying, “Too many Texans are dying.”During the news conference, Abbott read a text message from the mother of the toddler who was wounded in the rampage.“This is all of our worst nightmare,” the mother wrote in the text, according to Abbott. “But thank God she is alive and relatively well.”The mother said her daughter suffered injuries to her lip, teeth and tongue, and shrapnel wounds to her chest.“She’s having surgery tomorrow to remove the shrapnel from her chest and to fix her lip and mouth and to get a better look at her tongue,” the mother wrote. “We are thanking God for healing her and appreciate continued prayers.”Police initially said five people were killed, but that number included the shooter. On Sunday, Gerke said the number of people allegedly killed by the gunman rose overnight from four to seven.“It should have been a great day, a long holiday weekend,” Gerke said. “Instead, it was a little after 3 in the afternoon we had something happen that we’d never wish on anyone.”The shootings unfolded just at 3:15 p.m. local time when a Texas Department of Public Safety officer pulled the suspect’s gold Honda over for failing signal before making a turn, Gerke said.As the officer approached the Honda, the suspect opened fire without warning, wounding the officer, who later underwent surgery and remained hospitalized on Sunday, officials said.Christopher Combs, special agent in charge of the FBI field office in San Antonio, said the weapon used in the shooting was an AR-type rifle. He said it remained under investigation how the suspect obtained the weapon.Gerke said that after the suspect, described as white and in his 30s, shot the trooper, he fled along Interstate 20 toward Odessa, targeting people more than 15 different locations.When he reached 42nd Street in Odessa, he opened fire again, wounding several more people, authorities added.As police from multiple agencies scrambled to stop the rolling rampage, authorities mistakenly thought there were two gunmen after the suspect ditched his vehicle and allegedly carjacked a U.S. Postal Service van, officials said.The alleged killer then sped toward the Cinergy center, a local entertainment complex that includes a cineplex and a laser-tag range.Meztli Sanchez told ABC News that she was playing laser-tag with her 7-year-old son, when people rushed into the indoor range, screaming that the shooter was outside.Sanchez said she, her son and other panicked patrons ran to the rear of the cineplex, where some ran into a field as more gunfire broke out.“I grabbed my son and put him behind me and held him against the wall until the shooting stopped,” Sanchez told ABC News on Sunday morning when she returned to Cinergy center to pick up her truck, which she left in the parking lot.A cellphone video taken by a witness showed the suspect speeding toward the cineplex in the postal van before a police officer in a marked SUV rammed the van on the driver’s side, causing it to spin out and stop. Within seconds, police open fire on the van, killing the driver inside.The suspect was shot and killed by responding officers after he rammed at least one patrol cars with the stolen mail van, police said.The motive for the shooting is under investigation, police said.A Midland police officer was also shot and underwent surgery, Morales said.The three injured officers suffered non-life-threatening wounds, officials said.Midland Memorial Hospital received six patients and another 13 patients were taken to Medical Health Center, according to the hospital’s president, Russell Tippin.Three of shooting victims died after being taken to hospitals, officials said.Cinergy Entertainment, the entertainment center where the rampage came to an end, released a statement on Twitter calling the shooting a “senseless tragedy.”“The safety of our team members and guests are our top priority and we are extremely grateful for the swift response from local authorities & first responders,” the statement read.“The state of Texas and the Department of Public Safety are working closely with local law enforcement to provide resources as needed and deliver justice for this heinous attack,” Gov. Abbott said in an earlier statement.“We will not allow the Lone Star State to be overrun by hatred and violence. We will unite, as Texans always do, to respond to this tragedy,” he added. “We offer our unwavering support to the victims, their families, and all the people of Midland and Odessa.”President Donald Trump tweeted that he’s been briefed by the attorney general.“FBI and Law Enforcement is fully engaged,” he tweeted. “More to follow.”The shooting came a day before eight new laws that ease restrictions on guns went into the effect in Texas, including prohibiting landlords from banning tenants from having guns in their apartments and allowing people licensed to carry concealed weapons to have firearms in churches and other places of worship.The Odessa-Midland rampage was the fifth mass shooting in Texas since September 2017 that have left a combined 72 people dead and 78 wounded.Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.last_img read more

Texas sets new single-day record for coronavirus deaths

first_imgOvidiu Dugulan/iStockBy MORGAN WINSOR and EMILY SHAPIRO, ABC News(NEW YORK) — A pandemic of the novel coronavirus has now killed more than 552,000 people worldwide.Over 12.1 million people across the globe have been diagnosed with COVID-19, the disease caused by the new respiratory virus, according to data compiled by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University. The actual numbers are believed to be much higher due to testing shortages, many unreported cases and suspicions that some governments are hiding the scope of their nations’ outbreaks.Since the first cases were detected in China in December, the United States has become the worst-affected country, with more than 3.1 million diagnosed cases and at least 133,106 deaths.Here is how the news developed Thursday. All times Eastern:6:52 p.m.: Arizona launches ‘Project Catapult’ to increase testingGov. Doug Ducey announced at a Thursday press conference he is signing an executive order to reduce indoor dining in Arizona to less than 50% of a restaurant’s capacity.In addition, he said the state will be launching “Project Catapult” to drastically increase testing. The goal is 35,000 tests per day by the end of July, and 60,000 tests by the end of August.Ducey urged Arizonans to stay at home multiple times during the press conference as the state deals with a surge in cases.“The virus is widespread and the more activity that is happening in our economy, the more the spread will continue,” he said.The governor pointed out that the RN, the disease’s capacity to spread, had fallen from 1.18 to 1.10 in the 10 days since the mask mandate and other restrictions went into effect. The number measures the average amount of people one infected person will spread the disease to. Officials look for a number under 1 to say the disease is under control.Ducey also said he spoke to Dr. Deborah Birx, response coordinator for the White House coronavirus task force, who told him that getting out of the “zone” that Arizona is in will be a two- to four-week event.6:47 p.m.: Texas sets new single-day record for deathsTexas, in the middle of a surge of coronavirus cases, set a new one-day record total with 105 deaths reported Thursday.The state has confirmed 9,782 new cases since yesterday with a 15.03% positivity rate on tests.The death toll rose to 2,918 with the 105 reported Thursday.As has been the case in Florida, hospitals are now overcrowding across Texas. In especially hard-hit Houston, Texas Medical Center now says it is at 105% capacity.Houston has added a third free testing site, as the two it had offered 650 tests a day and they ran out by noon.6:14 p.m.: Kentucky mandates face coveringsKentucky Gov. Matt Beshear is mandating masks or facial coverings for the entire state in places where people cannot socially distance.The executive order will go into effect Friday at 5 p.m. and last for 30 days.Beshear has struggled with other politicians in his state over issuing COVID restrictions. Just hours before making the mask announcement at a press conference, a circuit judge issued a temporary restraining order against new executive orders signed by the governor related to COVID-19. He promised to fight the ruling.The governor announced there were 333 new cases of coronavirus in the last day and four deaths.In May, Beshear recommended people wear masks in public, but said it was not a requirement.4:27 p.m.: California reports highest daily death totalCalifornia reported 149 new deaths on Thursday — the highest daily number of fatalities so far.Gov. Gavin Newsom stressed that the number may be attributed to lags in reporting, pointing out that the day after the Fourth of July only six deaths were reported.Hospitalizations have jumped 42% in the last two weeks and intensive care unit admissions increased 29%.3:30 p.m.: 11,312 pregnant moms diagnosed with coronavirus, most of them Latina: CDCThe Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said it is aware of 11,312 pregnant women who have tested positive for COVID-19 in the U.S.Of those, 3,252 women have been hospitalized and 31 have died, the CDC reported.The disproportionate share of the pregnant women to test positive were Hispanic/Latina women.The CDC recorded that 4,553 of the women were Hispanic/Latina and 2,140 were white.2:50 p.m.: Over 1,000 TSA employees have tested positive for COVID-19The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) says 1,018 of its employees have tested positive for COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic.Of that number, 647 have recovered and six have died.New York City’s John F. Kennedy International Airport has had the highest number of positive cases with 116 TSA employees.Second to JFK is New Jersey’s Newark Liberty International Airport where 69 TSA workers have tested positive.The TSA has taken steps to help protect workers like requiring employees to wear face coverings and installing plexiglass at screening locations. There have also been calls from major U.S. airlines for the TSA to conduct temperature screenings on passengers.2:20 p.m.: North Carolina reports highest day of hospitalizationsNorth Carolina reported its highest day of hospitalizations and second-highest day of cases on Thursday, Gov. Roy Cooper said.At least 1,034 patients are currently in hospitals, Cooper said.Hospitals and ICUs still have capacity, Cooper said, though officials are concerned about the future hospital capacity in the Charlotte area, said Dr. Mandy Cohen, secretary of North Carolina’s Department of Health and Human Services.12:45 p.m.: Fauci calls coronavirus ‘a public health person’s worst nightmare’Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, described the coronavirus as “a public health person’s worst nightmare” at the “Future of Healthcare Summit” put on by The Hill.“It’s a spectacularly transmissible virus,” he said.Fauci recommended that states seeing a surge of cases consider pausing reopening.“Rather than think in terms of reverting back down to a complete shutdown, I would think we need to get the states pausing in their opening process,” he said. “Looking at what did not work well and try to mitigate that.”Fauci said states can help curb the spread by doing “very fundamental things,” like closing bars, wearing masks, washing hands and maintaining social distancing.“If you look at the curve, for example, in New York City, which was hit harder than any place in the world really, has been able to successfully bring down the number of new infections, hospitalizations and deaths to an extremely low level,” Fauci said.“In some of the southern states, the states have not really followed those guidelines,” he said.11:34 a.m.: Florida’s positivity rate leaps to 18%Florida’s positivity rate has leapt by 4.3% and now stands at 18.3%, the state’s Department of Health said Thursday.Florida has a total of 332,783 people diagnosed with COVID-19. Of those, 17,167 people are in hospitals, according to the state data.Miami-Dade County, which includes Miami, and Broward County, which includes Fort Lauderdale, are especially hard-hit.Miami-Dade’s positivity rate is 26.2%. Broward County’s positivity rate has soared by 8.8% to reach 22.7%.10:40 a.m.: Florida has 56 hospitals with no ICU bedsIn Florida, 56 hospitals, including in Miami-Dade and Broward, reported zero ICU beds available, according to an internal FEMA memo obtained by ABC News.Another 35 Florida hospitals reported that ICU capacity was at 10% or less, the memo said.Texas is also a hot spot, reporting 10,028 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday — the state’s highest single-day increase, according to the memo.The FEMA memo also noted that in Tennessee, people ages 21 to 40 are accounting for the majority of new and total cases.Tennessee’s number of new cases remains on the rise. Nashville, Memphis, Chattanooga and Knoxville are areas of particular concern, the memo said.10 a.m.: At least 26 Mississippi lawmakers have COVID-19At least 26 Mississippi legislators have the coronavirus — which accounts for about one in every six state lawmakers, The Mississippi Clarion Ledger reported.Ten other cases are linked to the lawmakers’ outbreak, the Ledger said.Mississippi is “seeing numbers as high as we have seen at any point since the very beginning,” Gov. Tate Reeves said Wednesday, as he warned that the overwhelmed health system is a “slow-moving disaster.”As of July 5, Mississippi had 609 hospitalizations with confirmed infections, 165 ICU patients and 98 ventilated patients — all of which are near record levels for the state, according to an internal FEMA memo obtained by ABC News.Mississippi was one of the first states to reopen businesses in late April, but on July 1 the governor said he would pause a full reopening given the rising cases.Face masks are currently not required statewide, but on Wednesday Reeves said he’s not ruling that out.9:30 a.m.: More cases among teens, young adults near Chicago There’s been an upward trend in coronavirus cases among teens and young adults over the last two weeks in Lake County, Illinois, about 40 miles north of Chicago, the county health department said Wednesday. “We are finding that many young people who attended social gatherings with their friends have become infected,” Dr. Sana Ahmed, medical epidemiologist for the county, said in a statement.The health department said it’s working closely with Lake Zurich High School after multiple cases were linked to athletic camps. The school has suspended camps until further notice and participants of the poms, football and baseball camps were asked to quarantine for two weeks, the county said.A case was also linked to an athlete at Vernon Hills High School, the county said. Illinois on Wednesday reported its biggest single-day increase in COVID-19 cases in a month, reported ABC Chicago station WLS-TV. Illinois has over 149,000 diagnosed cases and at least 7,099 deaths.8:24 a.m.: ICU ward at the heart of Italy’s outbreak is now coronavirus-freeThe main hospital in Bergamo, one of Italy’s hardest-hit cities in the coronavirus pandemic, has had its first day without any COVID-19 patients in intensive care. A spokesperson for Papa Giovanni XXIII hospital told ABC News on Thursday that, “after 137 days, there are no more patients COVID-19 positive in the ICU wards.”Italy once had the highest number of COVID-19 cases and deaths in the world, with the epicenter in the country’s northern region. The outbreak there now appears to be under control. In total, more than 242,000 people in Italy have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and at least 34,914 have died — the fourth-highest death toll, according to a count kept by Johns Hopkins University.7:15 a.m.: CDC chief says reopening schools is ‘critical public health initiative’The director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said he believes reopening schools is “a critical public health initiative.” Speaking to ABC News chief anchor George Stephanopoulos on Good Morning America on Thursday, Dr. Robert Redfield said the CDC’s guidance for protecting against the novel coronavirus remains the same but that the agency will be providing “additional reference documents” to aid communities wanting to reopen their K-12 schools this fall. The CDC chief noted that the guidelines are not requirements. “The one thing I really want to say that would personally sadden me, and I know my agency, is if individuals were to use these guidances that we put out as a rationale to keep schools closed,” Redfield said. Redfield’s comments come after President Donald Trump threatened on Twitter to “cut off funding” to schools that don’t reopen in the fall and criticized the CDC’s guidance as “very tough,” “expensive” and “impractical.”During Wednesday’s press briefing, Vice President Mike Pence told reporters that the CDC would revise its guidance next week in response to Trump’s critique. “It’s not a revision of the guidelines; it’s just to provide additional information to help the schools be able to use the guidance we put forward,” Redfield said on GMA.The CDC’s current guidance for reopening schools calls for 6 feet of space between desks, staggered scheduling and the use of face masks. When pressed on which of those guidelines were too tough or impractical and would be relaxed next week, Redfield said the CDC would continue working with communities to decide which preventative strategies work best for them. “These decisions about schools are local decisions,” he added. “We’re prepared to work with any school and school district to see how they can take these guidances, this portfolio of strategies, and do it in a way that they’re comfortable that they can reopen their schools safely.”6:03 a.m.: Ohio State pauses sports workouts after receiving results of COVID-19 testingThe Ohio State University athletics department announced Wednesday night that it has paused all voluntary workouts on campus following the results of its most recent coronavirus testing of student-athletes.The move affects the workouts of seven teams at the school, which include men’s and women’s basketball, field hockey, football, men’s and women’s soccer and women’s volleyball.The university previously revealed Wednesday that a total of 125 student-athletes have been tested for COVID-19 as part of proactive screening prior to the start of voluntary summer workouts on campus. At least eight of those test results were positive, according to Columbus ABC affiliate WSYX-TV.It’s unknown how many others have tested positive since then.“The university is not sharing cumulative COVID-19 information publicly as it could lead to the identification of specific individuals and compromise their medical privacy,” The Ohio State University Department of Athletics said in a statement Wednesday. “The health and safety of our student-athletes is always our top priority.”A student-athlete who tests positive for COVID-19 will self-isolate for at least 14 days and receive daily check-ups from the athletics department’s medical staff. Student-athletes who live alone will isolate in their residence, while those with roommates will isolate in a designated room on campus, according to the Ohio State University Department of Athletics.5:52 a.m.: 3-year-old girl battles COVID-19 after 35-year-old mother dies from virusA toddler in Florida has tested positive for COVID-19 after her mother died from the disease, according to a report by Miami ABC affiliate WPLG-TV.Shaquana Miller Garrett, 35, contracted the novel coronavirus while working at the front desk of a hospital in Fort Lauderdale. She was a diabetic, considered a higher risk of becoming severely ill with the virus, and had to be hospitalized within days of her diagnosis, her family told WPLG.Garrett died on July 2, leaving behind a husband and two young children. So far this month, more than a dozen people under the age of 60 have died from COVID-19 in Miami-Dade and Broward counties, according to WPLG.“She was my best friend,” her brother, Curtis Miller, told WPLG.Now, her 3-year-old daughter Kennedy is battling the virus. The little girl has developed a fever, according to Miller.3:27 a.m.: US records over 58,000 new casesMore than 58,000 new cases of COVID-19 were identified in the United States on Wednesday, bringing the national total soaring past three million, according to a count kept by Johns Hopkins University.The latest daily caseload is just under the country’s record set on Tuesday, when more than 60,000 new cases were identified in a 24-hour reporting period.A total of 3,055,081 people in the United States have been diagnosed with COVID-19 since the pandemic began, and at least 132,309 of them have died, according to Johns Hopkins. The cases include people from all 50 U.S. states, Washington, D.C., and other U.S. territories as well as repatriated citizens.By May 20, all U.S. states had begun lifting stay-at-home orders and other restrictions put in place to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus. The day-to-day increase in cases then hovered around 20,000 for a couple of weeks before shooting back up and crossing 60,000 for the first time Tuesday.Many states have seen a rise in infections in recent weeks, with some — including Arizona, California and Florida — reporting daily records. Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.last_img read more

Man run over, killed by three separate hit-and-run drivers who all fled the scene

first_imgABC News/KABC-TVBy JON HAWORTH, ABC News (LOS ANGELES) — A man was struck and killed by three separate hit-and-run drivers who all fled the scene after colliding with him while he was crossing a street Sunday and now police are appealing to the public for help in finding the perpetrators.The incident occurred at approximately 7:39 p.m. in the South Los Angeles neighborhood of Florence when 50-year-old Jose Fuentes was crossing a street when a motorcycle traveling northbound collided with him, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.In video released by the LAPD, Fuentes can be seen lying in the road after being struck by the motorcycle as it speeds away. Just seconds later, Fuentes is then hit by a white sedan which also fled the scene after the collision, according to ABC News’ Los Angeles station KABC-TV.In a separate video of the same accident that was released by the Los Angeles Police South Traffic Division, the man on the motorcycle can be seen stopped somewhere down the road before getting back on his motorcycle and fleeing.“Nobody stopped and helped out Mr. Fuentes as he lied there,” said LAPD Detective Ryan Moreno is a statement in front of the press. “The guy on the motorcycle, he kind of went out onto the street, maybe [he could have] stopped to block traffic and prevented even the second or third collision from happening. But he elected to get on his motorcycle and took off and left and fled the scene.”Fuentes was subsequently hit a third time following the motorcycle and the white sedan but police did not release any information on that vehicle or a possible description of the suspect. Not one of the three vehicles stopped after striking Fuentes.Authorities are now looking for all three suspects but were only able to say that they are looking for a dark colored sports bike being driven by a man as well as a white colored sedan.Said the LAPD in a separate written statement on their website: “On April 15, 2015, the City Council amended the Los Angeles Administrative Code and created a Hit and Run Reward Program Trust Fund. A reward of up to $50,000 is available to community members who provide information leading to the offender’s identification, apprehension, and conviction or resolution through a civil compromise.”Anyone with information regarding Fuentes’ death is asked to contact the LAPD’s South Traffic Division.Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.last_img read more

New York man who traveled to DC with Proud Boys arrested

first_imgWin McNamee/Getty ImagesBy LUKE BARR, JACK DATE, JULIA JACOBO, AARON KATERSKY and ALEXANDER MALLIN, ABC News(WASHINGTON) — Federal authorities are continuing to charge rioters who took part in the siege on Capitol Hill.These are the most recent charges:New York man who said he traveled with the Proud BoysA man who said he traveled to Washington, D.C., with a former NYPD officer and members of the Proud Boys to take part in the siege on the Capitol has been charged by the Department of Justice.New York resident Christopher Kelly allegedly posted photos of himself with rioters on Facebook, according to federal court documents.Kelly specifically said he was traveling with his brother, who the FBI confirmed is a retired NYPD officer, according to the complaint.He allegedly also responded to comments on his Facebook page in real time as the riots were taking place.ABC News’ previous coverage has identified the Proud Boys as an “alt-right” or “far-right extremist group” that has engaged in violence and whose members include those with connections to white nationalism.Rioter who attacked police officer with hockey stickMichigan resident Michael Joseph Foy was arrested after he allegedly assaulted a police officer with a hockey stick at the Capitol riot.Following a tip, the FBI identified Foy as the man seen in a New York Times video swinging a hockey stick repeatedly at a Metropolitan Police officer who had been pulled from an entryway to the Capitol by the mob, according to federal court documents.Foy attacked the officer for 16 seconds before he was knocked down by another rioter, according to the FBI’s analysis of the video. Foy later entered the Capitol through a broken window, the affidavit says.Proud Boys organizer charged with joining the violenceOne of the leaders of the Proud Boys, Joseph Biggs, was arrested Wednesday in Florida on charges related to the violence at the Capitol.Biggs’ charging affidavit describes the Proud Boys’ planning leading up to the Capitol riot, including messages that were sent to the group by its leader Enrique Tarrio, who was arrested the day before the attack.In one message, Tarrio allegedly encouraged the Proud Boys to not wear their traditional black and yellow colors so they could “be incognito and we will spread across downtown DC in smaller teams,” according to the court documents.Biggs echoed that call in a separate message on Parler, directing his comments to Antifa, saying, “We will be blending in as one of you. You won’t see us. You’ll even think we are you … We are going to smell like you, move like you, and look like you. The only thing we’ll do that’s us is think like us!” the affidavit states.Investigators identified Biggs in multiple photos and videos from the Jan. 6 insurrection, dressed in a blue and gray plaid sweater.The affidavit notes that Proud Boys member Dominic Pezzola, who has already been indicted, joined Biggs in the riot and can be seen with an earpiece in his right ear, along with multiple individuals the FBI says were identified wearing earpieces from the Proud Boys.In a Jan. 18 interview with the FBI, Biggs denied having any knowledge of a pre-planned attack on the Capitol and said he had no idea who planned it.In the affidavit for Biggs’ arrest, an FBI agent describes the Proud Boys as “a nationalist organization with multiple U.S. chapters and potential activity in other Western countries.”Man who attacked Metropolitan Police officerA Connecticut man who allegedly assaulted Metropolitan Police Officer Daniel Hodges has been arrested.Hodges was the officer seen in video being smushed in the doorway and crying out for help.Ridgefield resident Patrick McCaughey, who is a citizen of both the U.S. and Germany, is charged with assaulting a police officer, disorderly conduct and illegally being inside the U.S. Capitol, according to federal court documents.McCaughey allegedly pinned Hodges to a door with a police shield, which McCaughey illegally obtained, court documents state.“As McCaughey was using the riot shield to push against Officer Hodges, numerous other rioters behind and around McCaughey appeared to add to the weight against Officer Hodges,” the charging affidavit states.McCaughey was identified by a childhood friend who called the FBI tipline. Security camera footage included in the affidavit also shows McCaughey allegedly holding a MPD riot shield.The affidavit also states that the majority of McCaughey’s actions were captured on a YouTube video in which he can allegedly be heard saying, “Don’t try and use that stick on me boy” while continuing to push Hodges with shield. The “stick” he was referring to is believed to be Hodges’ police riot baton, the affidavit states.He then allegedly began to strike officers with that shield.McCaughey was ordered held without bail during his court appearance Wednesday.A federal judge described the YouTube video as “extraordinarily disturbing,” saying it was sufficient evidence to keep him in custody.Hodges told ABC News last week he thought he’d die as a result of the rioters’ actions.“I thought, ‘This could be the end,’ or ‘I could not get out of this completely intact,’” he said.Man who questioned FBI’s loyalty to the constitutionA Florida man was arrested Wednesday morning in Alexandria, Virginia, for his alleged participation in the Capitol riot.Samuel Camargo was identified by authorities based on tips provided by associates and his own social media posts, according to federal court documents.The FBI contacted Camargo by phone, and in that conversation, Camargo allegedly admitted that he attended the protests in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 6 but had since returned to Broward County, Florida, according to the charging affidavit.Camargo allegedly then became uncooperative in the interview, questioning the investigating agent’s loyalty to the constitution, court records state.Apparently thinking the conversation had gone well, Camargo allegedly posted a message on social media stating, “Just finished speaking to an FBI agent, I believe I’ve been cleared.”Camargo faces four charges, including civil disorder, entering a restricted building, disruptive conduct in a restricted building and violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds, the court documents state.Rioter who brought firearms to Washington, D.C.A New York man who allegedly brought firearms and a bulletproof vest to Washington, D.C., on Jan. 6 was arrested and charged.Samuel Fisher allegedly posted a photo of himself holding a gun in front of a Trump flag with the caption, “Can’t wait to bring a liberal back to this freedom palace,” according to federal court documents.After the riot, he allegedly posted a photo of multiple firearms on a couch, the FBI affidavit states.Prosecutors pointed to multiple statements Fisher posted on social media that they say suggests he was prepared to engage in violence during the riot.“We must stand up to these people and take our world back,” he allegedly wrote on Dec. 3, 2020.In another post that same day, Fisher allegedly wrote, “It’s time to bring the pain upon them.”On the day of the insurrection, Fisher allegedly posted, “I’m Going To the parking garage super early” and “Leaving s— in there maybe except pistol.”He continued, “And if it kicks off I got a Vest and My Rifle.”In a separate post, Fisher allegedly called on Trump to “fire the bat signal… deputize patriots… and then the pain comes.”“1 Million Pissed off men with guns…bad idea,” Fisher allegedly wrote. “We aren’t looking to fight or hurt anyone… but the odds that this is going to be solved any other way… is next to nothing.”Fisher was ordered held without bail during his court appearance Wednesday.Authorities said during the hearing that they recovered a shotgun, knife, two machetes, two bulletproof vests and 1,000 rounds of ammunition, including shotgun shells and ammunition for an AR-15 in his Chevrolet Tahoe.Two other firearms were also recovered during searches by federal investigators, prosecutors said.Assistant U.S. Attorney Benjamin Schrier said the amount of ammo and the number of guns is a concern to federal prosecutors.Rioters from Michigan, Florida arrestedThe Justice Department has announced the arrest of Karl Dresch in Michigan based on his own extensive documenting of his participation in the riot via social media, according to federal court documents.In one comment on an unidentified post the day after the riot, Dresch wrote, “Mike Pence gave our country to the communist hordes, traitor scum like the rest of them, we have your back give the word and we will be back even stronger,” the affidavit states.“We must stand up to these people and take our world back” / “It’s time to bring the pain upon them,” Fisher wrote on Dec. 3.Jesus Rivera of Florida was also arrested Wednesday for his participation in the Jan. 6 riots.Investigators cite videos Rivera uploaded to his Facebook Live of him joining the crowd that stormed the building.First conspiracy charges filed against Virginia manThe Justice Department has filed its first conspiracy charges from the Capitol riot against a Virginia man who they allege was an apparent leader of a group of militia members who were part of the mob that stormed the building.Thomas Edward Caldwell is identified in an FBI affidavit as a member of the Oath Keepers. An agent alleges that he helped organize a group of eight to 10 of his fellow members to storm the Capitol with the intention of disrupting the counting of the Electoral College vote.The group can be seen in video walking uniformly through a crowd of rioters trying to gain entrance to the Capitol.Those members included co-conspirators Jessica Watkins and Donovan Crowl, who were charged for their role in the riots earlier this week. In social media posts, both Crowl and Watkins referred to Caldwell as “Commander,” according to the court documents.While inside the Capitol, Caldwell allegedly received Facebook messages telling him to “seal” in lawmakers in the tunnels under the Capitol and to “turn on gas.” Other messages appeared to be trying to give him updates on the locations of lawmakers, the affidavit states.Other texts reveal the extensive planning and even potential attacks that he and other members of the Oath Keepers were mounting leading up to the riots.On Jan. 1, Caldwell allegedly messaged an individual recommending a room at the Comfort Inn Ballston in Arlington, Virginia, saying, “This is a good location and would allow us to hunt at night if we wanted to.”After the riot, Caldwell allegedly posted a Facebook message stating, “Us storming the castle. Please share. Sharon was right with me! I am such an instigator!” the affidavit states. He later wrote, “We need to do this at the local level. Lets storm the capitol in Ohio. Tell me when!”Man seen wearing ‘Murder the Media’ shirtA rioter who posed in front of the U.S. Capitol while wearing a shirt with the words “Murder the Media” emblazoned on it has been charged with illegally entering the Capitol. The phrase had also been etched onto a door inside the building, according to federal court documents.In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, Nicholas DeCarlo admitted that he entered the Capitol, but said he did so as a “journalist.”The charging documents against DeCarlo state that he is not on record as a credited journalist.Rioter seen attacking police with a batA man who was captured on surveillance video attacking law enforcement with a bat at the entrance of the Capitol turned himself in to the Metropolitan Police Department on Monday.Emanuel Jackson is allegedly the rioter seen in photos the FBI released to the public, according to federal court documents.On the surveillance video, Jackson is allegedly seen making a fist and repeatedly striking a Capitol police officer while attempting to force himself into the building, his arrest affidavit states.Later, he is “clearly observed” with a metal baseball bat striking a group of both Capitol and D.C. police officers, according to the court document.It is unclear whether Jackson has retained an attorney.Houston police officerA longtime Houston Police officer who resigned after he participated in the riot has been federally changed.Tam Dinh Pham initially denied his involvement in the siege when he was interviewed at his home in Richmond on Jan. 12, according to court documents.After the interview, Pham agreed to hand over his cellphone, which investigators noticed had no photos from Jan. 6, the affidavit states. However, the “Deleted Items” folder contained photos and images of him inside the Capitol building.When agents advised Pham that it is illegal to lie to the FBI, he admitted that he was part of the crowd that stormed into the Capitol but denied taking part in any violence, according to the court documents.Woman in Louis Vuitton sweaterA woman has been charged for participating in the riot after at least six people identified her by the Louis Vuitton sweater she was wearing that day.In one video, Gina Bisignano allegedly was seen taking part in a skirmish with police trying to protect the Capitol building, according to an FBI affidavit.Bisignano was allegedly part of a crowd that crushed a screaming police officer while a rioter grabbed his gas mask. At one point, Bisignano allegedly told the officer, “You hurt my f—— leg,” the court documents state.In a separate video, Bisignano is allegedly seen feet away from police, telling them to stand down.“We the people are not going to take it any more,” she could be heard saying in another video, according to the affidavit. “You are not going to take away our votes. And our freedom, and I thank God for it. This is 1776, and we the people will never give up. We will never let our country go to the globalists.”After entering the Capitol, Bisignano was allegedly heard telling other rioters, “We need Americans. Come on guys. We needs patriots! You guys, it’s the way in. We need some people.”Two Texas rioters, including a former Marine, accused of violenceTwo Texas men have both been arrested over their roles in the violence at the Capitol, the Justice Department announced Tuesday.Ryan Nichols and Alex Harkrider were identified from photos they posted to their social media accounts, along with several threatening messages calling for a violent overthrow of the government, according to an arrest affidavit.In one video posted online, Nichols, a former Marine, can allegedly be seen yelling into a bullhorn in the direction of a large crowd, saying, “If you have a weapon, you need to get your weapon!” the federal court document states.Nichols also allegedly said, “This is the second revolution right here folks!” and “This is not a peaceful protest,” according to the affidavit.Both Nichols, 30, and Harkrider, 33, are seen in videos trying to force entry into the building, with Nichols allegedly spraying what appears to be a large canister of pepper spray in the direction of officers. Nichols was also allegedly in possession of a crowbar, the court document states.The FBI also noted several other social posts from Nichols, including one on Dec. 24 that showed a bullet and stated, “By Bullet or Ballot, Restoration of the Republic is Coming,” according to the affidavit. Another post on Dec. 28 stated, “Pence better do the right thing, or we’re going to MAKE you do the right thing.”Nichols was once featured on The Ellen Degeneres Show in 2018 after he drove 18 hours to rescue dogs before Hurricane Florence made landfall in North Carolina.It is unclear whether Nichols and Harkrider have retained attorneys.Member of extremist group Three PercentersRobert Gieswein — part of the Oath-keepers, an extremist group related to The Three Percenters — was charged with assaulting a federal officer with bear spray and a baseball bat.According to court documents, Gieswein “encouraged other rioters as they broke a window of the Capitol building; entered … and then charged through the Capitol building.”An FBI affidavit confirmed that Gieswein runs a private paramilitary training group called the Woodland Wild Dogs and that he was identified from a patch for that group that was visible on a tactical vest he wore during the attack on Congress.The affidavit said Gieswein gave a media interview echoing anti-Semitic conspiracy theories and that Congress needs “to get the corrupt politicians out of office. Pelosi, the Clintons … every single one of them, Biden, Kamala.”Retired NYFD firefighterFreeport, New York, resident Thomas Fee surrendered to the FBI Tuesday morning at the bureau’s resident agency on Long Island.Fee, a retired NYFD firefighter, allegedly sent a relative of his girlfriend a selfie of himself inside the Capitol, prosecutors said. He’s been charged by authorities.In the text message, Fee, 53, allegedly wrote that he was “at the tip of the spear,” a reference to the Capitol rotunda, according to the court documents.Fee drove to Washington, D.C., on Jan. 5, and a license plate reader in New York picked up the Chevy Tahoe he was driving upon his return on Jan. 7, the court documents state.At his court appearance Tuesday, a judge ordered Fee to avoid all political gatherings and to avoid the U.S. Capitol and all state capitols upon his release. He must also surrender his two guns — a pistol grip shotgun and an antique rifle.Federal prosecutors also recommended evaluation and treatment for substance abuse and mental health treatment.Fee posted his home as collateral for her $100,000 bond.It is unclear whether Fee has retained an attorney.Former FIT studentNicholas Moncada, a 20-year-old former student at the Fashion Institute of Technology in Manhattan, was taken into custody at his Staten Island home Monday. He allegedly livestreamed his “storming” of the Capitol on Jan. 6, prosecutors said.Moncada allegedly also posted a selfie of himself inside the Capitol, captioning it, “Outside Pelosi’s office.”He was recognized by fellow FIT students, who then alerted the FBI to his involvement, according to the court documents.During an appearance in a Brooklyn federal court Tuesday, Moncada was ordered to stay away from potentially antagonizing political events and speech after his release on $250,000 bond. His travel is also restricted to New York and Washington, D.C.“There’s obviously troubling conduct here,” Assistant U.S. Attorney David Kessler said, though he noted the government did not object to Moncada’s release on bond.The bond was signed by Moncada’s mother, grandmother and aunt.Moncada was an illustration major, but had not been enrolled at the school since May 2020 and did not receive a degree, a spokesperson for FIT told ABC News.In a statement to ABC News Monday, Moncada’s attorney, Mario Gallucci, said he is not facing any violent charges.“Mr. Moncada was taken into custody this morning by the FBI and has been charged with various sections of the United States Code for trespassing inside a restricted building and trying to disrupt or impeded the conduct of Government business, as well as, trespassing on the floor of various Government rooms including the House of Congress, the lobby adjacent to the floor and the Rayburn Room of the House of Congress,” Galluci said. “I do not believe he is being charged with committing any acts of violence. Mr. Moncada denies any participation in the effort to overthrow the Government, and he looks forward to defending his good name.”Dozens of rioters who participated in the siege have already been taken into custody.Last week, the man seen wearing a “Camp Auschwitz” hoodie, Olympic gold medalist swimmer Klete Keller and several members of law enforcement were arrested in connection to the riot.Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.last_img read more

11 soldiers sickened after ingesting unauthorized substance during training exercise

first_imgMivPiv/iStockBy ROSA SANCHEZ, ABC News(NEW YORK) — A Texas Army base and law enforcement authorities are investigating after 11 soldiers became sick after ingesting an unauthorized substance during a training exercise at Fort Bliss on Thursday.Two of the soldiers remained in critical condition, Fort Bliss’ 1st Armored Division said in an update Friday morning.The Fort Bliss’ 1st Armored Division initially said the soldiers became sick after ingesting an “unknown substance,” according to a statement released Thursday. On Friday, officials described the substance as “acquired outside of authorized food supply distribution channels,” though did not identify it further.Those harmed include one warrant officer, two noncommissioned officers and eight enlisted members, officials said. All have been under observation at William Beaumont Army Medical Center since Thursday afternoon.Officials at the military base, in cooperation with law enforcement officials, are continuing to investigate the incident, the updated release said. There is no threat to the public, officials said.The 1st Armored Division — also known as “Old Ironsides”– is a renowned armored division, consisting of approximately 17,000 highly trained soldiers, according to the Army’s website.ABC News’ Joshua Hoyos contributed to this report.Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.last_img read more

A week in the life

first_img Previous Article Next Article Comments are closed. A week in the lifeOn 11 Jan 2000 in Personnel Today Conferences on culture changes, appraising outsourcing, mentoring, meetings on incentives… it’s all in a week’s work for an HR director. By Paul SimpsonMonday8am The weekend’s haul of e-mails stands at 109. Three are from the managing director who has just been to a “change the culture” conference and wants to know what we can do to change the culture at Acme Printing International. He’s pencilled – or rather e-mailed – in a meeting with myself for tomorrow on the subject at 9am. His final chilling e-mail asks, “Have we ever seriously appraised outsourcing?” There are a handful of nominations for the employee of the year award (so far the winner is going to be the employee who suggested the award, we must avoid that).An e-mail arrives from a reporter at the Argus asking if we will be shedding 100 jobs at our Nottingham plant after losing a children’s TV magazine contract. A very good question which I’ll put to our sales director Bill when he returns from his country retreat.9am Our forthcoming tribunal hearing has taken a turn for the worse. Four months ago, it was all hale and hearty talk of total victory. Now the barrister who, I’m beginning to suspect, has every requirement of his profession save that of a fine legal mind, is saying: “The bottom line is, we’re guilty”. This is one more tribute to our sales director’s hands-on approach to hiring ’em and firing ’em. The barrister wants to rehearse Bill’s testimony, I say I’ll fix it.7pm Bill pops his head around the door to announce he can’t attend Thursday’s meeting on incentives because he’s out with clients. I eschew the obvious reply. “Nice to know we still have some”, and ask about the lost contract. He growls something which sounds like: “It ain’t over, till it’s over”, and storms out.Tuesday9am Our first “change the culture” summit. Actually, all the boss wanted to talk about was outsourcing, although he did describe that irrepressible American Tom Peters as his mentor. This could be the most disastrous example of mentoring since Eddie Large took Syd Little under his wing. I agree to do a detailed appraisal of the costs and benefits of outsourcing my department and to call some consultant he met over the weekend. As he leaves, Brian says he’d like to put changing the culture on the agenda for the next board meeting. I nod, wondering how far he wants to go with this. The last time we asked staff to describe the company, their favourite adjective was “feudal”.9pm Consultant “can’t possibly talk” to me until next week. Our solicitor says we are to be buried under a mountain of evidence at the tribunal. The plaintiff’s statement is a mere 51 pages long compared to the scanty seven we extracted from Bill. Our finance director Peter gleefully informs me, in a snotty e-mail, that my department costs have risen 38 per cent in the past year.5pm The Argus is on the phone. The hack tells me which company has won the contract from us. I promise to ring her back when I have some news. Two more Employee of the Year votes. I have to e-mail Brian’s secretary to remind her that her boss can’t win because directors are excluded.Wednesday8am Something’s going on: the sales director is all shiny and smart. And the managing director has had his hair cut for the third time this decade. My secretary Janice goes on some mild industrial espionage and breathlessly informs me that we are the lucky recipients of a surprise visit from the chairman. It’s hard to breathe over the fumes of Mr Sheen.9pm Our knighted chairman paid a surprise visit to our stockbrokers instead and is now at some symposium in Geneva. Bill and I interview a female candidate for export sales manager. Bill’s idea of a killer question is: “Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?” She gave the expected answer and Bill nodded approval. She’ll get the job, which could be interesting because she seems a lot smarter than Bill. When it’s over, I ask him about the contract and he becomes evasive.5pm Our audit of employees’ use of the Internet at head office reveals that a member of the finance department spends 25 per cent of his working day on the Web. Nor, sad to say, is he downloading boring screeds about accountancy. Peter has already recommended withdrawing his Internet privileges and giving him an official warning. After another call from the Argus, I ring the managing director who confirms that we have lost the contract and may lose some jobs, but he didn’t want to tell me until he’d given Bill the chance to find replacement business. I politely suggest that one way we could usefully change the culture is by communicating with each other, but he bristles and says, “I don’t see why you have to take that attitude.”Thursday8am Exit interview with our very talented marketing director Sue. “Will Brian see your report?”, she asks. “If you want him to,” I say. She insists and then proceeds to take the company apart. After 10 minutes, I’ve run out of euphemisms. After 15 minutes, I’m just putting it down verbatim. I’ll tell Brian it’s useful ammo for our “change the culture” campaign.1pm Hmmm. further study of the Internet audit reveals that Brian has been spending a lot of time surfing “outsourcing” web sites. The incentives meeting ended inconclusively. Morale among sales staff is low and it’s not just down to Bill’s “hands on the windpipe” management style. They’re supposed to get commission but the market is so tight commission seems about as real as the lost continent of Atlantis. Bill’s idea of staff incentives is not firing them, but his deputy, John, who’s a bit closer to the foot soldiers, has a few good if not dazzlingly original ideas, although I know the finance director’s lip will curl at the thought of paying for a sales conference.5pm Ted, managing director of our Nottingham plant, is on the phone, incoherent with rage. The Argus has run the story. He’s already got a message to call the print union’s national officer. Why didn’t we warn him? Why indeed? Janice says I’ve got a message to call the union too. I send an urgent e-mail to Bill and Brian asking them if there’s any news on new business. As Bill doesn’t always read his e-mails – he says he hasn’t had proper training – I ask Janice to take a hard copy over.Friday8am Absenteeism on our management training courses has reached an alarming 17 per cent. Peter has already e-mailed me suggesting we suspend the programme. I understand his keenness when I open his weekly financial report: as a group, we are now a mere £6.5m below our revenue forecast for the current financial year. By just putting all the awful figures down together with the minimum of commentary Peter has compiled a devastating indictment of the company. Much more of this and “change the culture” will be superseded by “change the board”.9pm The solicitor rings to tell me that Bill has been briefed but his voice is so firmly stuck in neutral I know it went badly. “How much are we looking at?” I ask. “Ten grand? Twenty?” With an evasion so ingrained I suspect it must be genetic, he says he can’t possibly speculate.5pm Bill is off nursing his wounds in Oxfordshire. Janice is heading down the pub for a Friday night of revelry with most of the sales force. Brian has just accelerated out of the car park after e-mailing me that he has “squared” the union at Nottingham. I must remember to ask him to define specifically how he’s “squared” them. The tribunal starts on Monday. Simon, the office wag, is running a sweepstake on the damages. My fiver is on £20,000. My last two e-mails of the working week: from John telling me our new Australian salesperson has been making up fictitious meetings with clients while staying at home in bed and a final nomination for the Employee of the Year award, for the employee who came up with the idea. All in all, an odd week, nothing constructive achieved but nothing too destructive allowed to happen either. As I tidy up my desk, I see a Post-It from Brian timed 4.46 today which says simply “Outsourcing!!!” Just a little something for the weekend from the managing director. Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more