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Miami mom faked son’s abduction, faces murder charge

Tori Holland

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Boy Found Dead-Florida

MIAMI (AP) — A Miami woman faked her son’s abduction after trying to drown him twice, with witnesses rescuing the boy from a canal the first time, and the second attempt ending in the boy’s death, officials said Saturday.

Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle said Patricia Ripley, 45, is facing attempted and premeditated murder charges and being held in jail with no bond. No attorney was listed in jail records.

The boy, Alejandro Ripley, 9, was autistic and nonverbal. He was found floating in a canal Friday.

In an interview Saturday, Fernandez Rundle said Ripley apparently tried to drown her son an hour earlier at a different canal but nearby residents heard yelling and rescued him. Then, Fernandez Rundle said, Ripley drove her son to another canal.

“Unfortunately when she took him to the second canal, and there was no one there,” Fernandez Rundle said in an interview with The Associated Press. “She tried it once, and people rescued him. He was alive. He could have stayed alive. She intended, from all the facts of the case, to kill him.”

Fernandez Rundle said an autopsy was being done on the boy Saturday to determine if he had other injuries or perhaps had something toxic in his system. She said no decision has been made yet on whether prosecutors will seek the death penalty.

Fernandez Rundle also noted that because the boy was nonverbal, he could not have told his initial rescuers what had happened with his mother.

“He can’t say anything to his rescuers. We talk about children being voiceless. This is another level of voicelessness. He was incapable of saying that ‘mommy put me in the water.’”

Miami-Dade police department says the mother first claimed she was ambushed by two black men who demanded drugs and took her cellphone, tablet and son, before fleeing Thursday night, prompting an Amber Alert in the area south of Miami.

The boy’s body was pulled out of a golf course canal early Friday as police continued to interrogate the woman.

An arrest affidavit says she provided “conflicting statements,” and finally was confronted with statements of witnesses and video footage showing the first attempt to push the boy into the canal.

The document says she recanted her story and admitted she drove to another site and led the boy into the canal stating “he’s going to be in a better place.”

After being a professional journalist for 5 years and understanding the ups and downs of health care sector all over the world, Tori shifted her focus to the digital world. Today, she works as a contributor for News Brig with a knack for covering general and health news in the best possible format.

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Dutch mink cull starts as coronavirus spreads to 10th farm

Evan Lewis

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Dutch mink cull starts as coronavirus spreads to 10th farm

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) – Dutch mink farms have begun a government-ordered cull amid concern that animals infected with coronavirus could transmit the illness to humans.

FILE PHOTO: A mink farm is seen during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Oploo, Netherlands June 3, 2020. REUTERS/Piroschka van de Wouw/File Photo

Infected mink have been found on 10 Dutch farms where the ferret-like animals are bred for their fur, according to the country’s Food & Wares Authority.

“All mink breeding farms where there is an infection will be cleared, and farms where there are no infections won’t be,” said spokeswoman Frederique Hermie.

The government ordered the cull of 10,000 mink on Wednesday after determining that affected farms could act as a long-term reservoir of disease.

Dutch mink were first infected with coronavirus by their handlers in April. In May, the government identified two cases in which humans had been infected by sick animals — the only animal-to-human transmissions known since the global outbreak began in China.

The cull involves farm workers in protective clothing using gas on mink mothers and pups. The bodies will be sent to a disposal plant and the farms will be disinfected.

Groups opposed to the fur trade say the outbreak is another reason to close all farms.

“We are calling for the 24 countries around the world that still allow mink farming to very rapidly evaluate the situation and evidence coming out of the Netherlands,” said Clair Bass, executive director of the Humane Society International.

The group says China, Denmark and Poland are the largest mink producers, with 60 million killed annually for their fur.

According to the Dutch Federation of Pelt Farmers there are 140 mink farms in the Netherlands, exporting 90 million euros ($101.56 million) worth of fur a year.

Federation spokesman Wim Verhagen said the cull was “very hard for farmers to accept” as few infected animals show visible signs of sickness. The government is compensating affected farmers.

($1 = 0.8862 euros)

Reporting by Toby Sterling; Editing by Mike Harrison

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Separate attacks kill 14 Afghan forces in Kabul, northeast

Tori Holland

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Separate attacks kill 14 Afghan forces in Kabul, northeast

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Two separate militant attacks killed 14 Afghan security personnel on Saturday in the northeastern Badakhshan province and the capital of Kabul, officials said.

A roadside bomb killed 11 security force members in Badakhshan when it tore through a security vehicle responding to attacks on checkpoints in Khash district. Sanaullah Rohani, spokesman for Badakhshan’s provincial police chief, said a local commander was among the dead, and that four militants were killed in the fighting.

An hour-long gunbattle also erupted in Kabul’s Gul Dara district when insurgents attacked a police checkpoint, killing three police officers, said Interior Ministry spokesman Tariq Arian.

Both Afghan officials said the Taliban had carried out the attacks, although no one immediately claimed responsibility.

The Taliban on Saturday claimed an attack a day earlier that killed 10 policemen in the southern Zabul province. Afghan government officials said the Taliban ambushed an Afghan police convoy on Friday after setting off a roadside bomb.

U.S. forces had carried out two sets of airstrikes Friday against the Taliban in western and southern Afghanistan. These were the first U.S. strikes following a brief cease-fire declared by the insurgents for a major Muslim holiday last month.

Since the signing of a U.S.-Taliban peace agreement at the end of February, U.S. forces have only once before announced a strike against the Taliban, in defense of Afghan forces.

The uptick in fighting comes as U.S. peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad embarked on a new round of diplomatic trips to Qatar, Pakistan and Afghanistan, according to a U.S. State Department statement Friday.

The U.S.-Taliban agreement was signed to allow American soldiers to return home, ending America’s longest military engagement.

The deal also calls for Afghans in Kabul and the Taliban to start negotiations to decide the country’s future. Those negotiations have been delayed because of political feuding between Afghanistan’s President Ashraf Ghani and his rival in last year’s presidential polls, Abdullah Abdullah.

___

Associated Press writer Maamoun Youssef in Cairo contributed to this report.

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Washington Mayor Bowser, ‘unbought and unbossed,’ challenges Trump

Evan Lewis

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Washington Mayor Bowser, 'unbought and unbossed,' challenges Trump

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser has drawn a battle line right up to the White House.

Washington, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser is surrounded by clergy as she speaks during a vigil as protests continue on the streets near the White House over the death in police custody of George Floyd, in Washington, U.S., June 3, 2020. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque?

Bowser, one of seven black female mayors of America’s 100 largest cities, on Friday declared a small but symbolic patch of the U.S. capital – a section of 16th Street bounded by a church on one side and Lafayette Square opposite the White House on the other – “Black Lives Matter Plaza.”

The Democratic mayor then had the District Of Columbia’s departments of transportation and public works paint giant yellow letters spelling “Black Lives Matter” followed by the city’s flag on the street spanning two city blocks leading to plaza. To finish, Bowser posted on Twitter a video taken from a nearby roof showing the White House overlooking the results.

“There are people who are craving to be heard and to be seen,” Bowser told a news conference, “and to have their humanity recognized, and we had the opportunity to send that message loud and clear on a very important street in our city.”

Glynda Carr, president and chief executive of Higher Heights for America PAC, a political action committee dedicated to helping more liberal black women win elective office, said Bowser “showed the world that she leads, unbought and unbossed.” Carr’s organization has never raised money for Bowser.

For his part, the Republican president denounced Bowser as “incompetent.”

Washington’s status as the seat of the federal government has not always been a comfortable fit for its residents or elected leaders. The city’s population of about 700,000 people – 46.4% black and 45.6% white, according to the Census Bureau – is politically liberal and heavily Democratic.

The ongoing protests over the death of George Floyd, a black man who died in police custody in Minneapolis last month, have heightened that tension and thrust Bowser – mayor since 2015 – into the national spotlight.

Bowser has supported peaceful demonstrators while denouncing violence and looting. Trump has advocated a militarized response to civil unrest and even summoned a contingent of active-duty troops to Washington, though they were never deployed on the streets. Bowser said she did not want any out-of-state military forces in Washington.

When Trump threatened protesters who come near the White House with “vicious dogs” and “ominous weapons,” Bowser shot back with a comment that summed up their relationship.

“There are no vicious dogs & ominous weapons. There is just a scared man. Afraid/alone. … I call upon our city and our nation to exercise great restraint even while this President continues to try to divide us,” Bowser wrote on Twitter.

After baton-swinging federal police fired smoke canisters, flashbang grenades and rubber bullets to drive away peaceful protesters near the White House so Trump on Monday could pose holding a Bible in front of a church near what is now “Black Lives Matter Plaza,” Bowser called the scene “shameful.”

A single mother to a toddler, Bowser is only the second woman to serve as Washington’s mayor and the first to win a second term in office.

Like other elected officials in Washington over the years, Bowser has advocated statehood for the District of Columbia, which has no voting members of Congress even as states with smaller populations have two senators and one member of the House of Representatives. Washington’s mayor was a federal appointee until the 1970s when the city was granted “home rule” and began electing its mayors.

Bowser also clashed with Trump during the federal government shutdown in 2019, over relief funds offered to the city during the coronavirus pandemic and over his plans to hold a grand military parade in the capital.

Trump castigated her on Twitter on Friday.

“The incompetent Mayor of Washington, D.C., @MayorBowser, who’s budget is totally out of control and is constantly coming back to us for ‘handouts,’ is now fighting with the National Guard,” Trump wrote.

Reporting by Nandita Bose in Washington; Editing by Heather Timmons and Will Dunham

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