• TUSD sup’t Gabriel Trujillo continues to allow harassment in TUSD from the “Fisher Plaintiff”: Whistleblowers

    TUSD sup’t Gabriel Trujillo continues to allow harassment in TUSD from the “Fisher Plaintiff”: Whistleblowers

  • How TUSD paid for its last $12 million pay period

    The list of all sources are in the table below. It is interesting that the bottom item on the list is Prop 301 Performance Pay at $263.83 for the entire district, considering the fiasco regarding hoarding it during the HT Sanchez era.

  • Consuelo Hernandez wins Sunnyside school board race

    Consuelo Hernandez has just won a seat on the Sunnyside school board after one of her opponents was kicked off the ballot for having enough invalid signatures to no longer qualify to run.

    Only two candidates remain for the two open seats.

    Consuelo is one of the Three Hernandez Siblings that are running for offices in Southern Arizona. Her sister Alma just won her LD3 House race since there are no Republicans running for the two open seats, thus making the primary race the determining election. The other sibling that remains in an open race is LD2 House incumbent Daniel Hernandez Jr. read more

  • TUSD granted partial Unitary Status in Deseg Case: Still remains under federal court supervision

    TUSD granted partial Unitary Status in Deseg Case: Still remains under federal court supervision

  • Cosby to Fight ‘Sexually Violent Predator’ Tag at Sentencing

    Read more of this story here from Truthdig RSS by MARYCLAIRE DALE / The Associated Press.

    Bill Cosby’s sentencing hearing Monday will begin with testimony about his sex offender evaluation and, presumably, a fierce debate over whether the 81-year-old actor should be branded a sexually violent predator.

    The stakes are high given the lifetime counseling, community alerts and public shaming the designation would trigger. And it could become evidence in the defamation lawsuits filed against Cosby by accusers who say he branded them liars when he denied molesting them.

    Defense lawyers say the state’s latest sex-reporting law, despite several revisions, remains unconstitutional.

    “It’s the modern-day version of a scarlet letter,” said lawyer Demetra Mehta, a former Philadelphia public defender, “which I think is sort of an interesting philosophical issue at this time with the #MeToo movement, but also criminal justice reform.”

    Pennsylvania’s sex-offender board has examined Cosby and recommended he be deemed a predator, concluding that he has a mental defect or personality disorder that makes him prone to criminal behavior. Montgomery County Judge Steven T. O’Neill will have the final say Monday.

    O’Neill has presided over the case for nearly three years, from shortly after Cosby’s December 2015 arrest to a 2017 trial that ended in a jury deadlock to the jury finding this past April that Cosby drugged and molested a woman at his suburban Philadelphia estate in 2004. He faces anything from probation to 30 years in prison on the three felony counts of aggravated indecent assault.

    It’s unclear if the judge, in weighing the predator label, will consider the dozens of other Cosby accusers who have gone public or his deposition in the trial victim’s 2006 lawsuit, when Cosby acknowledged getting quaaludes to give women before sex; described sex acts as the “penile entrance” to an “orifice” and “digital penetration”; and said he often gave young women alcohol but didn’t drink or take drugs himself because he liked to stay in control.

    Defense lawyers fighting the predator label note that sexual offender registration laws are in flux in Pennsylvania and elsewhere.

    Numerous courts, including the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, have found the laws so vague as to be unconstitutional. Courts have also debated whether the programs unfairly amount to extra punishment, especially for people convicted of misdemeanors. Cosby has added one of the state’s top appellate lawyers, Peter Goldberger, to his defense team.

    “This is going to probably be a very important case for sex-offender law when it’s up on appeal,” Mehta said. “It’s an area of law that is just sort of unsettled right now. . There’s a lot up on appeal, but there’s not a lot decided.”

    Pennsylvania alone now has 2,200 people classified as sexually violent predators, of the more than 20,000 people on its Megan’s Law list of sex offenders. The Megan’s Law group has their names, pictures and towns listed online, but they’re not subject to the same monthly counseling mandates as the “predator” group, and authorities don’t actively warn communities of their nearby presence.

    The stigma may not be as paralyzing for a man like Cosby — in his 80s, living in a gated house and presumably not looking for work or going to the local gym. However, it’s one more stain on his reputation.

    Defense motions note that the sex offender board’s recommendation followed an evaluation by just a single board member, and that the evidence needs only to meet a “clear and convincing” standard.

    That violates Cosby’s “right to reputation without confrontation, without trial by jury and without proof beyond a reasonable doubt,” defense lawyer Joseph Green Jr. argued in a July court filing.

    Legal experts believe a “predator” classification would be a legal finding that Cosby accusers could use in their defamation suits, including one involving seven women plaintiffs that’s pending in Massachusetts.

    “That may (also) be about legacy protection, about what the obituary says, what the Wikipedia page says,” said Daniel Filler, dean of Drexel University’s Kline College of Law. “You can bet, especially in crowd-sourced things, everything’s going to begin with ‘he’s a sexually violent predator.’ It’s like a slogan. He has a tag now.”

  • Christine Blasey Ford Will Testify About Sexual Assault Allegation

    Read more of this story here from Newsy Headlines by Newsy Headlines.


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    The woman who accused Supreme Court Justice nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her while they were in high school has agreed to testify before Congress.

    Late Friday night, committee Chairman Chuck Grassley extended the deadline for Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s decision on whether she'll testify on Wednesday. The Senate Judiciary Committee delayed voting on Kavanaugh’s confirmation amid Ford’s sexual assault allegation last week. 

    In an interview last week with the Washington Post, Christine Blasey Ford said Kavanaugh groped her, tried to remove her clothes and put his hands over her mouth when she tried to scream. Kavanaugh denies the incident ever happened.

    Negotiations between the Committee and Ford's lawyers have been ongoing and details are still up in the air. 

    Additional reporting from Newsy affiliate CNN

  • Comcast Beats 21st Century Fox in Bid for European Broadcaster

    Read more of this story here from Truthdig RSS by The Associated Press.

    LONDON—Comcast has emerged as the top bidder for European broadcaster Sky after a rare auction held by British regulators.

    After three rounds of secret bidding on Friday and Saturday, Comcast offered the higher price of 17.28 pounds ($22.58) per share for Sky, the equivalent of nearly 30 billion pounds ($39 billion). Rival 21st Century Fox offered 15.67 ($20.47) per share.

    Sky shareholders must now decide whether to sell their shares to Comcast. Comcast said it hoped to complete the sale by the end of October.

    “Sky is a wonderful company with a great platform, tremendous brand and accomplished management team,” Comcast Chairman and CEO Brian Roberts said in a statement. “This acquisition will allow us to quickly, efficiently and meaningfully increase our customer base and expand internationally.”

    Britain’s regulator, the Takeover Panel, set up the auction to reduce uncertainty for Sky after months of offers and counteroffers from the American media giants. Sky is Europe’s largest pay-television operator, with 22.5 million customers in seven countries and popular programming including English Premier League soccer and “Game of Thrones.”

    Fox owns 39 percent of Sky. It now must decide whether to sell its stake or remain a minority shareholder.

    Fox had long been trying to acquire the 61 percent of Sky it doesn’t already own. Fox founder Rupert Murdoch’s last bid sank amid a 2011 phone-hacking scandal, in which journalists working for Murdoch newspapers were accused of gaining illegal access to the voicemail messages of crime victims, celebrities and members of the royal family.

    A bidding war emerged last December, when Comcast made an offer for Fox’s entertainment assets, which Walt Disney Co. is in the process of buying for about $71 billion. Comcast eventually dropped out of that contest to focus on its acquisition of Sky.

    British regulators organized the auction in part to ensure that Sky’s value didn’t erode during the long bidding process. The last time such an auction took place was in 2007, when Tata beat out CSN to buy Britain’s Corus, creating what at the time was one of the world’s top five steelmakers.

  • Kavanaugh Accuser Accepts Senate’s Request to Tell Her Side

    Read more of this story here from Truthdig RSS by LISA MASCARO and MARY CLARE JALONICK / The Associated Press.

    WASHINGTON—The woman accusing Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of a decades-old sexual assault has accepted a Senate committee’s request to tell her side next week but Christine Blasey Ford wants to resume negotiations over the exact terms of her appearance, her lawyers said Saturday.

    It was not immediately clear whether the Republican-run Senate Judiciary Committee would agree to more talks with Ford’s team. Also unclear was when she might come to Capitol Hill and whether she was offering to speak in a public session or a private one. The committee wanted her to appear Wednesday, but she prefers her earlier request for Thursday, according to a person familiar with the negotiations who was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly.

    Her lawyers’ letter to the committee’s GOP majority was released just at the 2:30 p.m. deadline set by the chairman, Sen. Chuck Grassley, to respond to the panel’s latest offer. Grassley, R-Iowa, had set a possible Monday vote to decide whether to recommend Kavanaugh’s nomination to the full Senate.

    A senior official at the White House said the letter amounted to “an ask to continue ‘negotiations’ without committing to anything. It’s a clever way to push off the vote Monday without committing to appear Wednesday.” The official was not authorized to publicly discuss the Senate negotiations and spoke on condition of anonymity.

    The lawyers wrote that Ford “accepts the Committee’s request to provide her first-hand knowledge of Brett Kavanaugh’s sexual misconduct next week.”

    Attorneys Debra Katz and Lisa Banks said many aspects of Grassley’s latest offer were “fundamentally inconsistent” with the committee’s promise of a “fair, impartial investigation.” They said they remained disappointed by the “bullying” that “tainted the process.” Yet they remained “hopeful that we can reach agreement on details.”

    It was unclear whether Grassley would permit more negotiations Saturday, with patience among Republicans is running thin. The GOP is facing enormous pressure from its base of conservative leaders and voters to swiftly approve Kavanaugh, who would become the second of President Donald Trump’s nominees to sit on the nation’s highest court, before the Nov. 6 election.

    A spokesman for GOP Sen. Mike Lee of Utah, a committee member, tweeted that Ford “agreed to nothing. She rejected the committee’s offer to testify Wednesday.”

    Earlier Saturday amid the latest deadline standoff Vice President Mike Pence called Kavanaugh “a man of integrity with impeccable credentials.” He expressed confidence that Republicans “will manage this confirmation properly with the utmost respect for all concerned” and said he expected Kavanaugh to join the high court soon.

    Grassley had set a Friday night deadline for the 51-year-old California psychology professor to agree to the committee’s latest offer setting terms for her appearance. Grassley said that if she missed that deadline, he would scrap the hearing and his committee would vote on sending Kavanaugh’s nomination to the full Senate.

    Ford’s lawyers asked for another day. In a tweet aimed at Kavanaugh shortly before midnight, Grassley said he was giving them additional time.

    “She shld decide so we can move on. I want to hear her. I hope u understand. It’s not my normal approach to b indecisive,” Grassley wrote.

    Ford’s accusations and the standoff over the terms of her appearance have left the appeals court judge’s confirmation in jeopardy. And just seven weeks from an election in which Democrats are hoping to capture control of the House and maybe the Senate, her emergence also has drawn intensified attention to the #MeToo movement’s focus on sexual abuse.

    Ford says an inebriated Kavanaugh pinned her on a bed, muffled her cries and tried removing her clothes when both were teenagers in the 1980s. Kavanaugh has denied doing this and said he wants to appear before the committee as soon as possible to clear his name.

    In backing away from his deadline, Grassley underscored the sensitivity with which Senate Republicans have tried handling Ford. Moderate female voters will be pivotal in many races in the elections and the #MeToo movement has elevated the political potency of how women alleging abuse are treated.

    In requesting another day to decide, Katz called Grassley’s original deadline “arbitrary” and said its “sole purpose is to bully Dr. Ford and deprive her of the ability to make a considered decision that has life-altering implications for her and her family.”

    Earlier Friday, Grassley rejected concessions Ford wanted if she is tell her story publicly before the committee.

    Grassley turned down Ford’s request that only senators, not attorneys, be allowed to ask questions. The committee’s 11 Republicans — all men — have been seeking an outside female attorney to interrogate Ford, mindful of the election-season impression that could be left by men trying to pick apart a woman’s assertion of a sexual attack.

    He also rejected her proposal that she testify after Kavanaugh, a position lawyers consider advantageous because it gives them a chance to rebut accusations.

    Grassley’s stance reflected a desire by Trump and GOP leaders to usher the 53-year-old Kavanaugh onto the high court by the Oct. 1 start of its new session and before the November elections, when Democrats are mounting a robust drive to grab congressional control.

    Friday was the latest in a string of tumultuous days for Kavanaugh, whose ascension to the Supreme Court seemed a sure bet until Ford emerged last weekend and provided details of the alleged assault.

    Earlier, Trump ended a week of constraint and sarcastically assailed Ford, tweeting that if the episode was “as bad as she says,” she or “her loving parents” surely would have reported it to law enforcement.

    Trump’s searing reproach defied the Senate Republican strategy, and the advice of White House aides, of not disparaging Ford while firmly defending his nominee and the tight timetable for confirming him.

    The president’s tweet brought blistering rejoinders from Democrats and a mix of silence and sighs of regret from his own party. Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, who hasn’t declared support for Kavanaugh, called the remark “appalling.”

    Grassley rebuffed other Ford requests, including calling additional witnesses. Ford wants an appearance by Mark Judge, a Kavanaugh friend who Ford asserts was at the high school party and in the room where the incident occurred.

    Grassley consented to other Ford demands, including that she be provided security and that Kavanaugh not be in the hearing room when she testifies.

    Ford’s request for security comes after her lawyers said she has relocated her family due to death threats.

    ___

    Associated Press writer Jonathan Lemire in Bridgewater, New Jersey, contributed to this report.

  • Vatican And China Reportedly Reach Agreement On Bishop Appointments

    Read more of this story here from Newsy Headlines by Newsy Headlines.


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    Diplomats from the Vatican and Beijing have come to a provisional agreement on the appointment of Catholic bishops in China. 

    The agreement reportedly gives China the authority to propose potential bishops, with final approval coming from the pope. 

    The issue of who had that authority divided the countries for decades — China and the Vatican haven't had official diplomatic relations since 1951

    Critics of the agreement say it cedes too much power to the Chinese state, which has reportedly overseen a recent crackdown on religious groups in the country.

    China is home to an estimated 10 million Catholics, although they are divided between state-sanctioned churches and underground congregations.

  • Aide Working On Kavanaugh Messaging Resigns After Harassment Claim

    Read more of this story here from Newsy Headlines by Newsy Headlines.


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    As a Supreme Court nominee faces a sexual assault allegation, a Senate Judiciary Committee spokesperson working on the GOP's messaging about it resigned after an old sexual harassment claim against him resurfaced. That's according to several news outlets.

    NBC News reports 29-year-old Garrett Ventry worked in North Carolina General Assembly's office and was fired after several months. The report says Republicans who knew about the claim against Ventry expressed concern that he could not lead a proper response to Christine Blasey Ford's claims against Brett Kavanaugh.

    A spokesperson for the Senate Judiciary Committee told NBC that Ventry denies any wrongdoing and "he decided to resign to avoid causing any distraction from the work of the committee."

  • Attack On Iranian Military Parade Leaves Dozens Dead

    Read more of this story here from Newsy Headlines by Newsy Headlines.


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    An attack Saturday on a military parade in southwestern Iran has left more than 20 people dead and dozens more injured.

    The attack took place in the city of Ahvaz, during a parade marking the anniversary of the Iran-Iraq war's start 38 years ago.

    Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif wrote on Twitter that the attack was the result of "regional terror sponsors and their US masters."

    Gunmen reportedly disguised themselves as members of the military and opened fire from a park near the parade route.

    The city of Ahvaz is some 50 miles from the Iraq border and has a significant Sunni Arab population. One of the groups that has reportedly claimed responsibility for the attack is an Arab separatist group based in the city. 

    Additional reporting from Newsy affiliate CNN

  • Death Toll Reaches 209 as Survivor Found in Capsized Tanzania Ferry

    Read more of this story here from Truthdig RSS by TOM ODULA / The Associated Press.

    NAIROBI, Kenya—The death toll soared past 200 while a survivor was found inside a capsized Tanzania ferry two days after the Lake Victoria disaster, officials said Saturday, while search efforts were ending to focus on identifying bodies.

    The survivor, an engineer, was found near the engine of the overturned vessel, Mwanza regional commissioner John Mongella told reporters. The Tanzanian Broadcasting Corporation, which reported the death toll, said he had shut himself into the engine room. His condition was not immediately known.

    Colorful coffins arrived, and the work would now focus on identifying bodies, Tanzania’s defense chief Venance Mabeyo told reporters at the scene. Families of victims gathered and prepared to claim the dead.

    “We have found him after three days and now we are transporting his body to Kamasi for burial,” said Temeni Katebarira, the brother of one victim.

    Mass graves were dug, and workers continued to haul the dead from the water. Abandoned shoes were scattered on the shore.

    “From morning till now we have retrieved more than 58 bodies. This includes both children and adults,” said TropistaTemi, a Red Cross volunteer. “Because of the congestion we have not been able to do full totaling. Later, we will do a full tally.”

    But the total number of deaths might never be known. No one is sure how many people had been on board the badly overloaded ferry, which officials said had a capacity of 101. It capsized in the final stretch before shore on Thursday afternoon as people returning from a busy market day prepared to disembark, while horrified fishermen and others watched.

    Officials on Friday said at least 40 people had been rescued.

    President John Magufuli has ordered the arrests of those responsible. He said the ferry captain already had been detained after leaving the steering to someone who wasn’t properly trained, The Citizen newspaper reported.

    “This is a great disaster for our nation,” Magufuli told the nation in a televised address late Friday, announcing four days of national mourning.

    Pope Francis, the United Nations secretary-general, Russian President Vladimir Putin and a number of African leaders have expressed shock and sorrow.

    The MV Nyerere, named for the former president who led the East African nation to independence, was traveling between the islands of Ukara and Ukerewe when it sank, according to the government agency in charge of servicing the vessels.

    Accidents are often reported on the large freshwater lake surrounded by Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda. Some of the deadliest have occurred in Tanzania, where aging passenger ferries often carry hundreds of passengers and well beyond capacity.

    In 1996, more than 800 people died when passenger and cargo ferry MV Bukoba sank on Lake Victoria.

    Nearly 200 people died in 2011 when the MV Spice Islander I sank off Tanzania’s Indian Ocean coast near Zanzibar.

Cosby to Fight ‘Sexually Violent Predator’ Tag at Sentencing

Read more of this story here from Truthdig RSS by MARYCLAIRE DALE / The Associated Press.

Bill Cosby’s sentencing hearing Monday will begin with testimony about his sex offender evaluation and, presumably, a fierce debate over whether the 81-year-old actor should be branded a sexually violent predator.

The stakes are high given the lifetime counseling, community alerts and public shaming the designation would trigger. And it could become evidence in the defamation lawsuits filed against Cosby by accusers who say he branded them liars when he denied molesting them.

Defense lawyers say the state’s latest sex-reporting law, despite several revisions, remains unconstitutional.

“It’s the modern-day version of a scarlet letter,” said lawyer Demetra Mehta, a former Philadelphia public defender, “which I think is sort of an interesting philosophical issue at this time with the #MeToo movement, but also criminal justice reform.”

Pennsylvania’s sex-offender board has examined Cosby and recommended he be deemed a predator, concluding that he has a mental defect or personality disorder that makes him prone to criminal behavior. Montgomery County Judge Steven T. O’Neill will have the final say Monday.

O’Neill has presided over the case for nearly three years, from shortly after Cosby’s December 2015 arrest to a 2017 trial that ended in a jury deadlock to the jury finding this past April that Cosby drugged and molested a woman at his suburban Philadelphia estate in 2004. He faces anything from probation to 30 years in prison on the three felony counts of aggravated indecent assault.

It’s unclear if the judge, in weighing the predator label, will consider the dozens of other Cosby accusers who have gone public or his deposition in the trial victim’s 2006 lawsuit, when Cosby acknowledged getting quaaludes to give women before sex; described sex acts as the “penile entrance” to an “orifice” and “digital penetration”; and said he often gave young women alcohol but didn’t drink or take drugs himself because he liked to stay in control.

Defense lawyers fighting the predator label note that sexual offender registration laws are in flux in Pennsylvania and elsewhere.

Numerous courts, including the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, have found the laws so vague as to be unconstitutional. Courts have also debated whether the programs unfairly amount to extra punishment, especially for people convicted of misdemeanors. Cosby has added one of the state’s top appellate lawyers, Peter Goldberger, to his defense team.

“This is going to probably be a very important case for sex-offender law when it’s up on appeal,” Mehta said. “It’s an area of law that is just sort of unsettled right now. . There’s a lot up on appeal, but there’s not a lot decided.”

Pennsylvania alone now has 2,200 people classified as sexually violent predators, of the more than 20,000 people on its Megan’s Law list of sex offenders. The Megan’s Law group has their names, pictures and towns listed online, but they’re not subject to the same monthly counseling mandates as the “predator” group, and authorities don’t actively warn communities of their nearby presence.

The stigma may not be as paralyzing for a man like Cosby — in his 80s, living in a gated house and presumably not looking for work or going to the local gym. However, it’s one more stain on his reputation.

Defense motions note that the sex offender board’s recommendation followed an evaluation by just a single board member, and that the evidence needs only to meet a “clear and convincing” standard.

That violates Cosby’s “right to reputation without confrontation, without trial by jury and without proof beyond a reasonable doubt,” defense lawyer Joseph Green Jr. argued in a July court filing.

Legal experts believe a “predator” classification would be a legal finding that Cosby accusers could use in their defamation suits, including one involving seven women plaintiffs that’s pending in Massachusetts.

“That may (also) be about legacy protection, about what the obituary says, what the Wikipedia page says,” said Daniel Filler, dean of Drexel University’s Kline College of Law. “You can bet, especially in crowd-sourced things, everything’s going to begin with ‘he’s a sexually violent predator.’ It’s like a slogan. He has a tag now.”

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TUSD sup’t Gabriel Trujillo continues to allow harassment in TUSD from the “Fisher Plaintiff”: Whistleblowers

TUSD sup’t Gabriel Trujillo continues to allow harassment in TUSD from the “Fisher Plaintiff”: Whistleblowers

Our permission is granted to media, bloggers, and others to publish our letter. We are the sole authors of our letters.

76th Open Letter to the Community:

ShEEE’s BACK! Gloria Copeland Back at Sahuaro High School Interfering with its Operation and the Board and Superintendent Do Absolutely Nothing

From: TUSD Whistleblowers– Comprised of a Large Group of Extremely Concerned TUSD Administrators, Teachers, Former Students/Class of 2018, Retired Administrators, Parents, & Grandparents

ShEEE’s Back! read more

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Consuelo Hernandez wins Sunnyside school board race

Consuelo Hernandez has just won a seat on the Sunnyside school board after one of her opponents was kicked off the ballot for having enough invalid signatures to no longer qualify to run.

Only two candidates remain for the two open seats.

Consuelo is one of the Three Hernandez Siblings that are running for offices in Southern Arizona. Her sister Alma just won her LD3 House race since there are no Republicans running for the two open seats, thus making the primary race the determining election. The other sibling that remains in an open race is LD2 House incumbent Daniel Hernandez Jr. read more

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TUSD granted partial Unitary Status in Deseg Case: Still remains under federal court supervision

TUSD granted partial Unitary Status in Deseg Case: Still remains under federal court supervision

TUSD is currently under a decades-old federal desegregation court order. To be in compliance with the Federal Court and to get off of the Deseg Case is known as “Unitary Status.”

Today, the Court has granted partial unitary status to TUSD within some specific areas while other areas have not yet been found unitary. Importantly, the Court will continue to oversee all areas of the court decree/USP until full unitary status is granted. The District remains under obligation to report on all areas to the Court. The Court anticipates one more year prior to the District being granted full unitary status. read more

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Cosby to Fight ‘Sexually Violent Predator’ Tag at Sentencing

Read more of this story here from Truthdig RSS by MARYCLAIRE DALE / The Associated Press.

Bill Cosby’s sentencing hearing Monday will begin with testimony about his sex offender evaluation and, presumably, a fierce debate over whether the 81-year-old actor should be branded a sexually violent predator.

The stakes are high given the lifetime counseling, community alerts and public shaming the designation would trigger. And it could become evidence in the defamation lawsuits filed against Cosby by accusers who say he branded them liars when he denied molesting them.

Defense lawyers say the state’s latest sex-reporting law, despite several revisions, remains unconstitutional.

“It’s the modern-day version of a scarlet letter,” said lawyer Demetra Mehta, a former Philadelphia public defender, “which I think is sort of an interesting philosophical issue at this time with the #MeToo movement, but also criminal justice reform.”

Pennsylvania’s sex-offender board has examined Cosby and recommended he be deemed a predator, concluding that he has a mental defect or personality disorder that makes him prone to criminal behavior. Montgomery County Judge Steven T. O’Neill will have the final say Monday.

O’Neill has presided over the case for nearly three years, from shortly after Cosby’s December 2015 arrest to a 2017 trial that ended in a jury deadlock to the jury finding this past April that Cosby drugged and molested a woman at his suburban Philadelphia estate in 2004. He faces anything from probation to 30 years in prison on the three felony counts of aggravated indecent assault.

It’s unclear if the judge, in weighing the predator label, will consider the dozens of other Cosby accusers who have gone public or his deposition in the trial victim’s 2006 lawsuit, when Cosby acknowledged getting quaaludes to give women before sex; described sex acts as the “penile entrance” to an “orifice” and “digital penetration”; and said he often gave young women alcohol but didn’t drink or take drugs himself because he liked to stay in control.

Defense lawyers fighting the predator label note that sexual offender registration laws are in flux in Pennsylvania and elsewhere.

Numerous courts, including the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, have found the laws so vague as to be unconstitutional. Courts have also debated whether the programs unfairly amount to extra punishment, especially for people convicted of misdemeanors. Cosby has added one of the state’s top appellate lawyers, Peter Goldberger, to his defense team.

“This is going to probably be a very important case for sex-offender law when it’s up on appeal,” Mehta said. “It’s an area of law that is just sort of unsettled right now. . There’s a lot up on appeal, but there’s not a lot decided.”

Pennsylvania alone now has 2,200 people classified as sexually violent predators, of the more than 20,000 people on its Megan’s Law list of sex offenders. The Megan’s Law group has their names, pictures and towns listed online, but they’re not subject to the same monthly counseling mandates as the “predator” group, and authorities don’t actively warn communities of their nearby presence.

The stigma may not be as paralyzing for a man like Cosby — in his 80s, living in a gated house and presumably not looking for work or going to the local gym. However, it’s one more stain on his reputation.

Defense motions note that the sex offender board’s recommendation followed an evaluation by just a single board member, and that the evidence needs only to meet a “clear and convincing” standard.

That violates Cosby’s “right to reputation without confrontation, without trial by jury and without proof beyond a reasonable doubt,” defense lawyer Joseph Green Jr. argued in a July court filing.

Legal experts believe a “predator” classification would be a legal finding that Cosby accusers could use in their defamation suits, including one involving seven women plaintiffs that’s pending in Massachusetts.

“That may (also) be about legacy protection, about what the obituary says, what the Wikipedia page says,” said Daniel Filler, dean of Drexel University’s Kline College of Law. “You can bet, especially in crowd-sourced things, everything’s going to begin with ‘he’s a sexually violent predator.’ It’s like a slogan. He has a tag now.”

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Christine Blasey Ford Will Testify About Sexual Assault Allegation

Read more of this story here from Newsy Headlines by Newsy Headlines.


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The woman who accused Supreme Court Justice nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her while they were in high school has agreed to testify before Congress.

Late Friday night, committee Chairman Chuck Grassley extended the deadline for Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s decision on whether she'll testify on Wednesday. The Senate Judiciary Committee delayed voting on Kavanaugh’s confirmation amid Ford’s sexual assault allegation last week. 

In an interview last week with the Washington Post, Christine Blasey Ford said Kavanaugh groped her, tried to remove her clothes and put his hands over her mouth when she tried to scream. Kavanaugh denies the incident ever happened.

Negotiations between the Committee and Ford's lawyers have been ongoing and details are still up in the air. 

Additional reporting from Newsy affiliate CNN

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Comcast Beats 21st Century Fox in Bid for European Broadcaster

Read more of this story here from Truthdig RSS by The Associated Press.

LONDON—Comcast has emerged as the top bidder for European broadcaster Sky after a rare auction held by British regulators.

After three rounds of secret bidding on Friday and Saturday, Comcast offered the higher price of 17.28 pounds ($22.58) per share for Sky, the equivalent of nearly 30 billion pounds ($39 billion). Rival 21st Century Fox offered 15.67 ($20.47) per share.

Sky shareholders must now decide whether to sell their shares to Comcast. Comcast said it hoped to complete the sale by the end of October.

“Sky is a wonderful company with a great platform, tremendous brand and accomplished management team,” Comcast Chairman and CEO Brian Roberts said in a statement. “This acquisition will allow us to quickly, efficiently and meaningfully increase our customer base and expand internationally.”

Britain’s regulator, the Takeover Panel, set up the auction to reduce uncertainty for Sky after months of offers and counteroffers from the American media giants. Sky is Europe’s largest pay-television operator, with 22.5 million customers in seven countries and popular programming including English Premier League soccer and “Game of Thrones.”

Fox owns 39 percent of Sky. It now must decide whether to sell its stake or remain a minority shareholder.

Fox had long been trying to acquire the 61 percent of Sky it doesn’t already own. Fox founder Rupert Murdoch’s last bid sank amid a 2011 phone-hacking scandal, in which journalists working for Murdoch newspapers were accused of gaining illegal access to the voicemail messages of crime victims, celebrities and members of the royal family.

A bidding war emerged last December, when Comcast made an offer for Fox’s entertainment assets, which Walt Disney Co. is in the process of buying for about $71 billion. Comcast eventually dropped out of that contest to focus on its acquisition of Sky.

British regulators organized the auction in part to ensure that Sky’s value didn’t erode during the long bidding process. The last time such an auction took place was in 2007, when Tata beat out CSN to buy Britain’s Corus, creating what at the time was one of the world’s top five steelmakers.

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Kavanaugh Accuser Accepts Senate’s Request to Tell Her Side

Read more of this story here from Truthdig RSS by LISA MASCARO and MARY CLARE JALONICK / The Associated Press.

WASHINGTON—The woman accusing Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of a decades-old sexual assault has accepted a Senate committee’s request to tell her side next week but Christine Blasey Ford wants to resume negotiations over the exact terms of her appearance, her lawyers said Saturday.

It was not immediately clear whether the Republican-run Senate Judiciary Committee would agree to more talks with Ford’s team. Also unclear was when she might come to Capitol Hill and whether she was offering to speak in a public session or a private one. The committee wanted her to appear Wednesday, but she prefers her earlier request for Thursday, according to a person familiar with the negotiations who was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly.

Her lawyers’ letter to the committee’s GOP majority was released just at the 2:30 p.m. deadline set by the chairman, Sen. Chuck Grassley, to respond to the panel’s latest offer. Grassley, R-Iowa, had set a possible Monday vote to decide whether to recommend Kavanaugh’s nomination to the full Senate.

A senior official at the White House said the letter amounted to “an ask to continue ‘negotiations’ without committing to anything. It’s a clever way to push off the vote Monday without committing to appear Wednesday.” The official was not authorized to publicly discuss the Senate negotiations and spoke on condition of anonymity.

The lawyers wrote that Ford “accepts the Committee’s request to provide her first-hand knowledge of Brett Kavanaugh’s sexual misconduct next week.”

Attorneys Debra Katz and Lisa Banks said many aspects of Grassley’s latest offer were “fundamentally inconsistent” with the committee’s promise of a “fair, impartial investigation.” They said they remained disappointed by the “bullying” that “tainted the process.” Yet they remained “hopeful that we can reach agreement on details.”

It was unclear whether Grassley would permit more negotiations Saturday, with patience among Republicans is running thin. The GOP is facing enormous pressure from its base of conservative leaders and voters to swiftly approve Kavanaugh, who would become the second of President Donald Trump’s nominees to sit on the nation’s highest court, before the Nov. 6 election.

A spokesman for GOP Sen. Mike Lee of Utah, a committee member, tweeted that Ford “agreed to nothing. She rejected the committee’s offer to testify Wednesday.”

Earlier Saturday amid the latest deadline standoff Vice President Mike Pence called Kavanaugh “a man of integrity with impeccable credentials.” He expressed confidence that Republicans “will manage this confirmation properly with the utmost respect for all concerned” and said he expected Kavanaugh to join the high court soon.

Grassley had set a Friday night deadline for the 51-year-old California psychology professor to agree to the committee’s latest offer setting terms for her appearance. Grassley said that if she missed that deadline, he would scrap the hearing and his committee would vote on sending Kavanaugh’s nomination to the full Senate.

Ford’s lawyers asked for another day. In a tweet aimed at Kavanaugh shortly before midnight, Grassley said he was giving them additional time.

“She shld decide so we can move on. I want to hear her. I hope u understand. It’s not my normal approach to b indecisive,” Grassley wrote.

Ford’s accusations and the standoff over the terms of her appearance have left the appeals court judge’s confirmation in jeopardy. And just seven weeks from an election in which Democrats are hoping to capture control of the House and maybe the Senate, her emergence also has drawn intensified attention to the #MeToo movement’s focus on sexual abuse.

Ford says an inebriated Kavanaugh pinned her on a bed, muffled her cries and tried removing her clothes when both were teenagers in the 1980s. Kavanaugh has denied doing this and said he wants to appear before the committee as soon as possible to clear his name.

In backing away from his deadline, Grassley underscored the sensitivity with which Senate Republicans have tried handling Ford. Moderate female voters will be pivotal in many races in the elections and the #MeToo movement has elevated the political potency of how women alleging abuse are treated.

In requesting another day to decide, Katz called Grassley’s original deadline “arbitrary” and said its “sole purpose is to bully Dr. Ford and deprive her of the ability to make a considered decision that has life-altering implications for her and her family.”

Earlier Friday, Grassley rejected concessions Ford wanted if she is tell her story publicly before the committee.

Grassley turned down Ford’s request that only senators, not attorneys, be allowed to ask questions. The committee’s 11 Republicans — all men — have been seeking an outside female attorney to interrogate Ford, mindful of the election-season impression that could be left by men trying to pick apart a woman’s assertion of a sexual attack.

He also rejected her proposal that she testify after Kavanaugh, a position lawyers consider advantageous because it gives them a chance to rebut accusations.

Grassley’s stance reflected a desire by Trump and GOP leaders to usher the 53-year-old Kavanaugh onto the high court by the Oct. 1 start of its new session and before the November elections, when Democrats are mounting a robust drive to grab congressional control.

Friday was the latest in a string of tumultuous days for Kavanaugh, whose ascension to the Supreme Court seemed a sure bet until Ford emerged last weekend and provided details of the alleged assault.

Earlier, Trump ended a week of constraint and sarcastically assailed Ford, tweeting that if the episode was “as bad as she says,” she or “her loving parents” surely would have reported it to law enforcement.

Trump’s searing reproach defied the Senate Republican strategy, and the advice of White House aides, of not disparaging Ford while firmly defending his nominee and the tight timetable for confirming him.

The president’s tweet brought blistering rejoinders from Democrats and a mix of silence and sighs of regret from his own party. Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, who hasn’t declared support for Kavanaugh, called the remark “appalling.”

Grassley rebuffed other Ford requests, including calling additional witnesses. Ford wants an appearance by Mark Judge, a Kavanaugh friend who Ford asserts was at the high school party and in the room where the incident occurred.

Grassley consented to other Ford demands, including that she be provided security and that Kavanaugh not be in the hearing room when she testifies.

Ford’s request for security comes after her lawyers said she has relocated her family due to death threats.

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Associated Press writer Jonathan Lemire in Bridgewater, New Jersey, contributed to this report.

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Vatican And China Reportedly Reach Agreement On Bishop Appointments

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Diplomats from the Vatican and Beijing have come to a provisional agreement on the appointment of Catholic bishops in China. 

The agreement reportedly gives China the authority to propose potential bishops, with final approval coming from the pope. 

The issue of who had that authority divided the countries for decades — China and the Vatican haven't had official diplomatic relations since 1951

Critics of the agreement say it cedes too much power to the Chinese state, which has reportedly overseen a recent crackdown on religious groups in the country.

China is home to an estimated 10 million Catholics, although they are divided between state-sanctioned churches and underground congregations.

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Aide Working On Kavanaugh Messaging Resigns After Harassment Claim

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As a Supreme Court nominee faces a sexual assault allegation, a Senate Judiciary Committee spokesperson working on the GOP's messaging about it resigned after an old sexual harassment claim against him resurfaced. That's according to several news outlets.

NBC News reports 29-year-old Garrett Ventry worked in North Carolina General Assembly's office and was fired after several months. The report says Republicans who knew about the claim against Ventry expressed concern that he could not lead a proper response to Christine Blasey Ford's claims against Brett Kavanaugh.

A spokesperson for the Senate Judiciary Committee told NBC that Ventry denies any wrongdoing and "he decided to resign to avoid causing any distraction from the work of the committee."

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Attack On Iranian Military Parade Leaves Dozens Dead

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An attack Saturday on a military parade in southwestern Iran has left more than 20 people dead and dozens more injured.

The attack took place in the city of Ahvaz, during a parade marking the anniversary of the Iran-Iraq war's start 38 years ago.

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif wrote on Twitter that the attack was the result of "regional terror sponsors and their US masters."

Gunmen reportedly disguised themselves as members of the military and opened fire from a park near the parade route.

The city of Ahvaz is some 50 miles from the Iraq border and has a significant Sunni Arab population. One of the groups that has reportedly claimed responsibility for the attack is an Arab separatist group based in the city. 

Additional reporting from Newsy affiliate CNN

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Death Toll Reaches 209 as Survivor Found in Capsized Tanzania Ferry

Read more of this story here from Truthdig RSS by TOM ODULA / The Associated Press.

NAIROBI, Kenya—The death toll soared past 200 while a survivor was found inside a capsized Tanzania ferry two days after the Lake Victoria disaster, officials said Saturday, while search efforts were ending to focus on identifying bodies.

The survivor, an engineer, was found near the engine of the overturned vessel, Mwanza regional commissioner John Mongella told reporters. The Tanzanian Broadcasting Corporation, which reported the death toll, said he had shut himself into the engine room. His condition was not immediately known.

Colorful coffins arrived, and the work would now focus on identifying bodies, Tanzania’s defense chief Venance Mabeyo told reporters at the scene. Families of victims gathered and prepared to claim the dead.

“We have found him after three days and now we are transporting his body to Kamasi for burial,” said Temeni Katebarira, the brother of one victim.

Mass graves were dug, and workers continued to haul the dead from the water. Abandoned shoes were scattered on the shore.

“From morning till now we have retrieved more than 58 bodies. This includes both children and adults,” said TropistaTemi, a Red Cross volunteer. “Because of the congestion we have not been able to do full totaling. Later, we will do a full tally.”

But the total number of deaths might never be known. No one is sure how many people had been on board the badly overloaded ferry, which officials said had a capacity of 101. It capsized in the final stretch before shore on Thursday afternoon as people returning from a busy market day prepared to disembark, while horrified fishermen and others watched.

Officials on Friday said at least 40 people had been rescued.

President John Magufuli has ordered the arrests of those responsible. He said the ferry captain already had been detained after leaving the steering to someone who wasn’t properly trained, The Citizen newspaper reported.

“This is a great disaster for our nation,” Magufuli told the nation in a televised address late Friday, announcing four days of national mourning.

Pope Francis, the United Nations secretary-general, Russian President Vladimir Putin and a number of African leaders have expressed shock and sorrow.

The MV Nyerere, named for the former president who led the East African nation to independence, was traveling between the islands of Ukara and Ukerewe when it sank, according to the government agency in charge of servicing the vessels.

Accidents are often reported on the large freshwater lake surrounded by Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda. Some of the deadliest have occurred in Tanzania, where aging passenger ferries often carry hundreds of passengers and well beyond capacity.

In 1996, more than 800 people died when passenger and cargo ferry MV Bukoba sank on Lake Victoria.

Nearly 200 people died in 2011 when the MV Spice Islander I sank off Tanzania’s Indian Ocean coast near Zanzibar.

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Vatican, China Make Breakthrough Deal on Bishop Appointments

Read more of this story here from Truthdig RSS by FRANCES D'EMILIO / The Associated Press.

VATICAN CITY—The Vatican and China said Saturday they had signed a “provisional agreement” over the appointment of bishops, a breakthrough on an issue that stymied diplomatic relations for decades and aggravated a split among Chinese Catholics.

The deal resolved one of the major sticking points in recent years, with the Vatican agreeing to accept seven bishops who were previously named by Beijing without the pope’s consent.

The development comes nearly seven decades after the Holy See and Beijing severed official relations. Beijing’s long-held insistence that it must approve bishop appointments in China had clashed with absolute papal authority to pick bishops.

With the status of the seven bishops now reconciled, the Vatican said all bishops in China are now in communion with Rome — even though the Catholic community in China is still split between Catholics who belong to the official Chinese church and those in the underground church who remained loyal to the pope.

“Pope Francis hopes that, with these decisions, a new process may begin that will allow the wounds of the past to be overcome, leading to the full communion of all Chinese Catholics,” a Vatican statement said.

Some Chinese Catholics have opposed such a deal, notably Hong Kong Cardinal Joseph Zen, who before the deal was announced called it a sell-out of Chinese Catholics who refused to join the state Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association and who paid the price of remaining faithful to Rome during years of persecution.

There was also no immediate mention in the deal of the status of several underground bishops named by the pope.

Vatican spokesman Greg Burke, speaking in Vilnius, Lithuania, where Pope Francis was visiting, indicated the accord would serve as a blueprint for future appointments of bishops, who lead the faithful in their dioceses.

Burke told reporters the aim of the accord “is not political but pastoral, allowing the faithful to have bishops who are in communion with Rome but at the same time recognized by Chinese authorities.”

The Vatican’s No. 2 official indicated that the pope and the Chinese authorities would jointly approve new bishop appointments.

“What is required now is unity, is trust, and a new impetus: to have good pastors, recognized by the Successor of Peter (Pope Francis) and by the legitimate civil authorities,” said Cardinal Pietro Parolin.

A Vatican official, speaking earlier this year on the contours of the plan, said the deal allows the pope to effectively veto future bishop names proposed by Beijing. That official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because diplomatic negotiations were involved, had described it as the best arrangement the Holy See could achieve for now.

The deal’s provisional nature left open the possibility of improvements down the line.

The Vatican described the provisional agreement as “the fruit of a gradual and reciprocal rapprochement” following a “long process of careful negotiation.”

While the agreement could help pave the way for formal diplomatic ties and possibly an eventual papal trip to China, it was also sure to anger Catholics who vigorously advocated for the Vatican to maintain a hard line on caring for the 12 million Catholic faithful in China. Cardinal Zen didn’t immediately respond to an Associated Press request for comment on the deal.

The accord was signed in Beijing during a meeting between China’s deputy minister for foreign affairs, Wang Chao, and the Vatican undersecretary for state relations, Monsignor Antoine Camilleri.

In Beijing, the Foreign Ministry said that “China and the Vatican will continue to maintain communications and push forward the process of improving relations between the two sides.”

Even as China professed the desire for better relations with the Holy See, the deal was signed against a backdrop of a Chinese crackdown on religions.

In one glaring case of the plight of pro-Vatican Catholics in China, Bishop Guo Xijin, head of an underground diocese, was whisked away in March by government agents in the southern village of Saiqi.

It wasn’t immediately clear how the new accord affected him and others opposing Chinese authorities.

“The question now is: what is going to happen to the bishops who are under house arrest?” said the Rev. Bernardo Cervellera, a Vatican-China expert and chief editor of the missionary news agency Asia News.

Cervellera cited Shanghai’s underground bishop and others under house arrest, as well as priests who were imprisoned. He said about a year ago, some 10 priests were in prison in Hebei province near Beijing, but he didn’t know their current situation.

The Vatican “had to start a dialogue from a weak position because China is very powerful and therefore dictated the rules of this dialogue,” Cervellera told the AP.

Under President Xi Jinping, China’s most powerful leader since Mao Zedong, faithful are seeing their freedoms shrink even as the country experiences a religious revival. Experts and activists contend that as Xi is consolidating power, he is waging the most systematic suppression of Christianity since the Chinese constitution allowed for religious freedom in 1982.

Xi is trying to infuse all of the religions in China with “Chinese characteristics” such as loyalty to the Communist Party.

As part of this drive, Islamic crescents and domes have been stripped from mosques and a campaign is underway to “re-educate” tens of thousands of Uighur Muslims. Tibetan children have been moved from Buddhist temples to schools and banned from religious activities during summer holidays, state-run media have reported.

This spring, a 5-year plan regarding Christians was introduced, along with new rules on religious affairs. Over the last few months, local governments across China have shut down hundreds of private Christian “house churches.”

The Vatican spokesman indicated there was still some ways to go for better relations between the Catholic Church and China.

“This is not the end of a process. It’s the beginning,” Burke said. “This has been about dialogue, patient listening on both sides even when people come from very different standpoints.”

In Beijing, Zhang Ye, a 31-year-old Catholic leaving church after a Saturday evening Mass, said the Vatican couldn’t afford to ignore the importance of China and the growing number of believers in the country.

“My biggest wish is that we can have more communication and interactions with the Vatican,” he said.

Bridging different points of view has characterized much of Francis’ five-year papacy, and led to the Vatican helping improve relations between another communist nation, Cuba, and the United States.

In Taiwan, the reaction focused on the plight of ordinary Catholics in China.

“As the world watches China increasingly tightening control over religious practices, Taiwan trusts that the Holy See has made appropriate arrangements to ensure that Catholic adherents in China will receive due protection and not be subject to repression,” Taiwan’s Foreign Ministry said.

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Nicole Winfield in Vilnius, Lithuania; Xun Hou, Wayne Zhange and Gillian Wong in Beijing; Johnson Lai in Taipei and Paolo Santalucia in Rome contributed.

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