Chat with us in Facebook Messenger. Find out what’s happening in the world as it unfolds.
MANAGUA, May 31 (UPI) — At least 16 people died during protest marches on Nicaragua’s Mother’s Day in several cities across the country hours after business leaders called for new elections.
Organizers planned the marches, called “Mothers of April,” to protest the more than 70 people allegedly killed by police and pro-government gangs during protests in April against President Daniel Ortega‘s plan to raise social security taxes and cut benefits, human rights advocates said.
That plan was shelved, but the protests grew into a movement against state violence and Ortega himself.
Wednesday’s marches were a continuation of these protests — but resulted in more deaths as demonstrators came under attack by armed gunmen.
The Nicaraguan Center for Human Rights — also identified as CENIDH using its Spanish acronym — which confirmed the death toll, accused the Nicaraguan government of attacking protesters in a statement Thursday.
“CENIDH strongly condemns the acts of violence and repression by the government of Daniel Ortega,” the group said. “We can categorically affirm, for having participated in this march and following up on these criminal actions, that the aggressors were the repressive police and shock forces under the command of Daniel Ortega and his wife, [Nicaraguan Vice President] Rosario Murillo.”
CENIDH counted eight deaths in Managua, including a 15-year-old boy and a man who was shot in front of his mother. Four more people were killed in Estelí and one killed in Masaya, the human rights group said.
El Nuevo Diario reported that the son of a police officer was killed by police during the Managua protest. Francisco Reyes Zapata, 34, was shot in the head while participating in the march.
The bullet is believed to have come from a police officer’s AK-47, the victim’s brother told the paper.
Two of the victims killed in Managua were members of the Sandinista Youth, a pro-government organization that demonstrators have blamed for carrying out attacks against them in recent weeks.
Pro-government media blamed “right-wing delinquents” for the deaths.
After the bulk of the violence Wednesday, a group of anti-government demonstrators retaliated by vandalizing the Dennis Martinez Stadium, the country’s new multi-million dollar baseball venue.
Around this area, streets were blocked off by demonstrators and sounds of mortar fire and gunshots rang out through the night.
The protest violence on Wednesday came after a day in which Nicaragua’s private business leaders announced their strongest disavowal of Ortega — after years in which the private business sector has been accused of coddling the self-described socialist leader — by calling for new elections.
That morning, Nicaragua’s richest man, Carlos Pellas, best known for his Flor de Caña rum brand, said in an interview with La Prensa that the country was “exhausted” and needed new elections. He added that Ortega has an “enormous responsibility” to both facilitate and accept changes to make the government more inclusive and democratic.
Hours later, the Superior Counsel of Private Enterprise echoed Pellas’ words and issued a statement that said the country’s Supreme Court members must be replaced and new elections held.
After those statements were published and just before violence struck in several Mothers of April marches, Ortega appeared at a pro-government rally in Managua to give a speech to his supporters.
“Nicaragua is not the private property of anyone,” he said. “Nicaragua’s owners are all Nicaraguans regardless of political thought, religious thought, ideological thought.”
The Buffalo Bills are releasing veteran center Eric Wood.
The team has reached an injury settlement with Wood, multiple media outlets reported Thursday.
The 32-year-old Wood announced in January that he was retiring due to a neck injury that was revealed in a season-ending physical.
Wood did not formally retire in January because the team was trying to work through salary-cap issues. According to the Buffalo News, if the Bills placed Wood on the reserve/retired list before June 1, his cap number would jump from its current $8.625 million to $10.39 million.
A first-round pick of Buffalo (No. 28 overall) in the 2009 NFL Draft, Wood spent his entire nine-year career with the franchise, earning Pro Bowl honors in 2015.
Wood started all 16 regular-season games in 2017 as well as an AFC wild-card loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars. He started all 120 games he has played with Buffalo.
Beth Bowlen Wallace released a statement Thursday that she wanted to be appointed to succeed her father, but the Pat Bowlen Trust quickly responded with a statement of its own, saying she is not qualified to take over the team.
“Pat did not designate Beth as a trustee or appoint her to a leadership position, nor did he instruct the trustees to specifically mentor her,” the Trust said in a statement. “He made it clear that his children were not automatically entitled to a role with the team and that they would have to earn that opportunity through their accomplishments, qualifications and character.
“As trustees honoring the clear wishes of Pat, we have thoroughly evaluated whether Beth is capable of succeeding her father as controlling owner. We have determined that she is not capable or qualified at this time.”
Pat Bowlen, who is battling Alzheimer’s disease, left his role as controlling owner of the Broncos in July 2014. He placed the team’s ownership in the hands of three trustees — president and CEO Joe Ellis, team counsel Rich Slivka and attorney Mary Kelly.
Bowlen Wallace expressed her desire to lead the team, saying in her statement that working in team management “is something I have prepared for and dreamed of doing.”
In an interview with The Athletic, Bowlen Wallace said she had “completed the criteria laid out by the trustees” — a point refuted by the Bowlen Trust.
“The statements issued by Beth Bowlen Wallace today are contrary to Pat Bowlen’s long-standing succession plan that he created over many years of careful consideration,” said the Trust statement, adding that it will “vigorously defend Pat’s plan in responding to these and any statements that are contrary to Pat’s words and intentions.”
The Carolina Panthers waived offensive tackle Zach Banner, the team announced Thursday.
Banner’s release comes two months after the Panthers claimed the 6-foot-8, 360-pounder off waivers from the Cleveland Browns.
A fourth-round draft pick of Indianapolis in 2017, Banner was waived prior to the start of the season and claimed by the Browns.
The former USC product appeared in eight games with Cleveland as a rookie — all in a reserve role.
Johnny Manziel will see his first CFL action on Friday night but it will be in a backup role.
Manziel, who signed a two-year contract with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats earlier this month, will come off the bench for the team in its preseason opener against the Toronto Argonauts, head coach June Jones said, per USA Today.
Jones added that there is no quarterback controversy on the team and said that incumbent Jeremiah Masoli “absolutely” will be the starter when the regular season opens on June 16.
“Masoli is going to play until I feel good about it,” said Jones of the preseason opener. “And then the rest of the game will be whatever we decide — 15 plays each, or whatever.”
Manziel has not played in a game since the end of the 2015 season with the Cleveland Browns, with the exception of two appearances in the Spring League during April.
“It’s going to be fun just getting back on the field, getting the chance to play, take some snaps, and do what I love doing,” said Manziel on Thursday. “I’m excited from a personal standpoint just to get back, take some snaps and run around.”
The former Heisman Trophy winner acknowledged over the weekend that there is a steep learning curve to the CFL game.
Manziel played 15 games over two seasons with Cleveland after the team selected him with the 22nd overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft. He completed 57 percent of his passes with seven touchdowns, seven interceptions and seven fumbles.
Significant problems off the field led to Manziel’s fall. He was investigated by Dallas police in 2016 for domestic violence against an ex-girlfriend, but the charges were dropped when he agreed to undergo counseling.
Following the 2015 season, Manziel entered a rehabilitation center and was suspended for the first four games of the 2016 season for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy.
WASHINGTON — Healthcare organizations based in Boston hope to expand their clinical partnership to engage more veterans with mental health and substance use diagnoses.
The groups unveiled the initiative Thursday at the annual conference of the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans in Washington.
In a nearly three-year partnership, the Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program has set up a full-service clinic onsite at the New England Center and Home for Veterans. The clinic is a “safe and welcoming environment” where caregivers can provide case management and counseling to veterans who are struggling with mental health issues and active substance use, said Lena Asmar, director of behavior health programs at the NECHV.
Other veteran care centers “are still resistant to work with folks who use drugs in the way that we do,” Asmar said. “If they’re intoxicated, we won’t kick them out.”
Asmar told dozens of veteran affairs managers at the Grand Hyatt Hotel that the clinic applies a “harm reduction approach,” which respects the rights of patients who use illegal substances and aims to reduce negative consequences associated with drug use. Clinicians and case managers are trained in “trauma-informed care” so they all recognize the signs and symptoms of trauma and understand what veterans have gone through.
BHCHP and NECHV started the Office Based Addiction Treatment partnership in 2015 amid a rising number of opioid-related deaths among homeless veterans in the Boston area, Geren Stone, medical director of the joint facility, said.
The collaborative model of treatment provides “a lower barrier of entry” for veteran patients “in the transitional housing that are really unstable or actively using other substances,” Stone said. “We meet each week to discuss not only what’s going on and around their addiction, but also their housing process because that impacts their care.”
Stone said 75 patients have been treated since the program began; four patients died after they had either been actively in treatment or refused to participate in follow-up treatments. Currently, 26 patients are in the program.
Stone hopes the program administrators from across the country who gathered at Thursday’s workshop will replicate the clinic’s success in their home facilities.
Adam DeCiccio, a regional manager at Veterans Inc. who attended the briefing, said he agreed with the panelists that the best time to intervene with veterans is when “they are in a safe place” and “a comfortable setting.”
DeCiccio, a veteran himself, joined the U.S. Army four days before the Sept. 11 terror attacks and left the service in 2007. He said he saw other veterans struggling with opioids who were kicked out of shelters without receiving the drug abuse treatment they needed. That old way of triage “just doesn’t really work anymore,” he said.
The success of this clinic partnership is due to the way organizers create an empathetic relationship between patients and the medical team, said Steven Ward, manager of the Veterans Employment Program at Volunteers of America in Michigan, who also attended the conference.
“A relationship can be maintained,” Ward said, leading to higher chances of success.
Ajayi’s view may very well be correct, but the three-tier carousel in 2017 has ballooned a bit during the offseason.
While LeGarrette Blount has since moved on to the Detroit Lions, Corey Clement is now joined by Darren Sproles after the veteran speedster’s return from a torn ACL. Wendell Smallwood and Donnel Pumphrey are also in the mix while former Washington Redskins running back Matt Jones was added to the team as well.
“Obviously, things have gotten a little shaken up in our room,” the 24-year-old Ajayi said, via Philly.com. “I’m excited to get into that lead role, do what’s needed of me and just go bull. It was kind of a year and a half removed from being ‘the guy.’ So I’m excited to kind of get back in that role and showcase again to the world what I can do.”
Ajayi is entering his contract year, a situation with which the running back is keenly aware.
“Obviously, you understand what the stakes are going into this season,” Ajayi said. “I’m not going to let it affect the way I carry out my business. Obviously, yeah, I understand that is something that will come to a crossroads at some point, whether it’s during the season or at the end of the year.”
Ajayi showcased the workhorse mentality during the 2016 season in Miami. He rushed for 1,272 yards and eight touchdowns as the Dolphins punched a ticket to the postseason for the first time since 2008.
The 6-foot, 223-pound Ajayi didn’t get out of the blocks as fast in 2017, leading to a midseason trade with the Eagles for a conditional fourth-round pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. The Miami Herald reported that Ajayi was jettisoned because of “team culture, locker room chemistry and player buy-in.”
Ajayi had rushed for 465 yards on 138 carries, but had been held out of the end zone with Miami.
He had 70 carries for 408 yards and one touchdown in seven games with the Eagles while adding 10 catches for 91 yards and a score.
May 31 (UPI) — Pharmaceutical company Apotex Corp. announced a voluntary recall of its Fluticasone Propionate Nasal Spray on Thursday after it was found to contain glass particles.
The Florida-based company said it was alerted to the small glass particles in its Fluticasone Propionate Nasal Spray USP 50 mcg per spray 120 Metered Sprays through a customer complaint and warned the glass could cause the pump to malfunction and result in user discomfort.
“There is a potential for patients to be exposed to the glass particles and mechanical irritation cannot be ruled out. Local trauma to the nasal mucosa might occur with use of the defective product,” the company said.
Apotex said it hadn’t received any reports of incidents related to the recalled products.
The nasal sprays were distributed nationwide and Apotex sent a recall letter to wholesalers and distributers to arrange for the recalled nasal sprays to be returned.
Consumers, wholesalers, retailers, hospitals and institutions were instructed to stop using the product immediately.
The nasal spray is used to treat seasonal and perennial allergies and manage sinus pain and pressure in patients 4 to 17 years of age.
Apotex encouraged consumers who experienced problems using the recalled product to submit a report.
May 31 (UPI) — New dams for hydroelectricity are altering Cambodia’s Mekong River, and could threaten fish migration, livelihoods and regional food security — and the predictable seasonal patterns that farmers and anglers depend on.
A new paper from the University of Illinois and Iowa State University, published this month in the Journal of Soil and Water Conservation, suggests officials partner with locals, who have a deep knowledge of the river, to address the problem. Their knowledge, along with technical and scientific findings, is important for developing effective strategies to adapt to the changing flows and uses of the river.
“Due to years of civil wars that destroyed infrastructure and hindered modernization, only a little more than half of the Cambodian population has access to electricity,” Kenneth Olson, professor emeritus in the Department of natural Resources and Environmental Science at UI, said in a press release. “Hydropower is a critical building block for needed modernization. However, using the water resources for power presents difficult trade-offs for fishers and farmers.”
The Mekong River and the Tonle Sap Lake and River area dominate the Cambodian landscape. The Tonle Sap River is a tributary of the Mekong River, which connects it with Tonle Sap Lake northwest of Phnom Penh, Cambodia’s capital.
“This unique, complex hydrological system is strongly influenced by the Asian monsoon,” Olson wrote. “During the monsoon season, the Tonle Sap Lake surface area enlarges to become four times greater than in the dry season and hold nine times more water by volume. The surface water level can change by more than 30 feet, so homes are either in floating villages or on stilts.”
The phenomenon occurs because of the seasonal flooding that begins in May and June, which causes the Mekong River to back up into the Tonle Sap River and Lake. When the rain stops in November and water levels in the Mekong River begin to drop, flow in the Tonle Sap River reverses and becomes a tributary again. That means the smaller river flows northwest into the lake for six months out of the year, and reverses and flows into the Mekong River for the other six months.
The flooding brings needed sediments and nutrients for crops and fishing. But the sedimentation increase can also shut down dry-season navigation between the capital and regional centers because it makes the already-shallow lake even more shallow over time.
There are plans to build 11 more dams on the main stem of the lower Mekong River. River ecology scientists and environmentalists are concerned, however, about how the dams will affect the historically predictable downstream flows and seasonal flood patterns, which birds, fish and plant communities have adapted to over time.
Fish migration is the biggest concern, because of Cambodia’s dependence on fish for high-quality protein and food security, and one of the dams under construction will block fish migration and could flood homes behind it.
“The tradeoffs among hydroelectricity production, food security, and fisheries’ livelihoods are difficult and complex, and developing an integrated resource management plan is not an easy task,” Olson said. “Broad participatory approaches that include local residents in the scientific and technical information exchanges can improve decision-making and better meet government, industry, and rural communities’ goals.”
Fishers and farmers can keep adapting if they’re given opportunity, resources and tools, he said. The issues don’t only affect Cambodia, though — they impact the food security of urban people throughout Southeast Asia.