Labour has published an election manifesto that in

first_imgLabour has published an election manifesto that includes pledges on social care and welfare reform, but offers few new policies on disability rights.The manifesto says Labour is the “party of equality” and that that “no person should suffer discrimination or a lack of opportunity”.But it warns that, with the exception of the “protected” areas of health, education and international development, “there will be cuts in spending” under a Labour government.It promises reform of the work capability assessment (WCA), the test introduced by the last Labour government in 2008 to assess eligibility for employment and support allowance (ESA), with a new focus on the “support disabled people need to get into work”, and a new independent scrutiny group of disabled people set up to monitor the WCA.There will also be a new specialist support programme “to ensure that disabled people who can work get more tailored help”.And Labour promises to abolish the “bedroom tax”, which it says is “cruel”, with two-thirds of those affected by cuts in housing benefit being disabled people or families with a disabled member. The manifesto also promises that a Labour government would abolish the employment tribunal fee system introduced by the coalition, improve training for teachers on working with disabled children, and strengthen the law on disability, homophobic, and transphobic hate crime.On social care, the manifesto focuses on older people and carers, rather than disabled people of working-age, saying: “Care is at the heart of Labour’s values. No-one should fear old age or be left to struggle alone caring for a loved one.”Since 2010, it warns, billions of pounds have been cut from adult social care budgets, which it says has left “300,000 fewer older people getting vital care services, at the same time as the number of older people in need of care is increasing”.As with the Conservatives, the Greens, the Liberal Democrats and UKIP, Labour promises to integrate the health and social care systems, while also focusing on mental health.The manifesto says that “vulnerable older people, disabled people and those with complex needs will be helped to have more control of their lives”, with the entitlement to a personal care plan, the option of a personal budget “where appropriate”, and a single named person to coordinate their care, as well as “better information and advice on managing their condition”.It also pledges to end time-limited, 15-minute social care visits, introducing instead “year-of-care budgets” that would cover all of a person’s physical, mental health and social care needs and improve care in people’s own homes, and recruiting 5,000 new home-care workers – under the control of the NHS – to “help care for those with the greatest needs at home”.A separate health and care manifesto promises to do more to ensure that people with mental health problems, learning difficulties and autism “enjoy the same rights as anyone else”, with “meaningful progress” for these groups a priority.It also promises to consult on a new offence of corporate neglect for directors of care homes, which could mean a prison sentence if they neglect or are involved in abuse of people in their care.Disability News Service contacted disabled Labour candidates Emily Brothers and Mary Griffiths-Clarke for their views on the manifesto, but they failed to respond.But Dame Anne Begg (pictured), the disabled Labour candidate standing in Aberdeen South, was able to comment, although the Scottish Labour manifesto had not yet been published.She said Labour’s promise to strengthen the law on disability hate crime was “very welcome”, as was the section on supporting disabled people to live independently, including the abolition of the bedroom tax.She said: “There is also a promise to set up an independent scrutiny group of disabled people to look at how the WCA could be reformed.  “I would like any Labour government to go further on this, as I think a fundamental rethink [of the WCA] is required and so would hope any scrutiny group would have a role in this.“I am also glad there is an acknowledgement that there needs to be a specialist programme to give tailored help to disabled people seeking work.“Those on ESA are not well served by the present Work Programme and [the specialist programme for disabled people] Work Choice.”Dame Anne added: “I also think the plans to set up a single service to meet all the needs of a person’s health and care needs will be welcomed by disabled people, as they are often the people who are passed from one service to another and sometimes fall between the cracks.”She also praised Labour’s focus on a right to access talking therapies for people with mental health problems, which she said was “particularly important for those who are trying to get back in to, or remain, in work and used to be a feature of the Pathways to Work scheme the last Labour government had in place and which the coalition government scrapped.”last_img read more

LabourList readers believe that the MPs who quit t

first_imgLabourList readers believe that the MPs who quit the Labour Party last week should resign their parliamentary seats and trigger by-elections, our latest survey has found.So far, all those MPs who have left the party intend to sit as Independents – but the Labour leadership has said it would be “honourable” for them to fight by-elections instead. Over 70% of 7,250 respondents to the most recent LabourList survey agree.Following the resignation of Joan Ryan, Labour announced plans to consult on extending the “right to recall”, which would allow constituents to force a by-election should their MP leave the party under whose banner they were elected.Over 71% of LabourList readers said they would be in favour of such an extension. Currently, the process by which an MP loses their seat via a recall petition can only be prompted by exceptional circumstances, such as receipt of a custodial prison sentence.A week ago, deputy Labour leader Tom Watson responded to the party split news with a statement in which he paid tribute to his former colleagues and said their resignations called for a “moment for regret and reflection, not for a mood of anger or a tone of triumph”.Asked whether they agreed with this statement, the majority of LabourList readers who took the survey said they did – but over 45%, 3,221 respondents, disagreed.Of the nine Labour MPs who quit last week, eight joined The Independent Group. The new grouping in parliament – also made up of former Tory MPs Anna Soubry, Heidi Allen and Sarah Wollaston – does not have an agreed set of policies yet but all members support a fresh EU referendum.Although over 72% of LabourList readers said they would not vote for an Independent Group candidate if an election were held today, almost 28% said they would – including more than a quarter of those who voted Labour in 2017.1. This week, a number of Labour MPs quit the party but none plan to resign their seats. Should they step down as MPs and trigger by-elections?Click to enlarge.Yes – 70.7% (5,128)No – 29.3% (2,122)2. Labour has announced plans to consult on extending the right of constituents to recall their MPs if they leave the party under whose banner they were elected. Should the right to recall MPs be extended?Click to enlarge.Yes – 71.% (5,075)No – 28.2% (1,994)3. Tom Watson reacted to the departure of seven MPs on Monday by saying it was “a moment for regret and reflection, not for a mood of anger or a tone of triumph”. Was he right?Click to enlarge.Yes – 54.5% (3,855)No – 45.5% (3,221)4. So far, every MP in The Independent Group is anti-Brexit and in favour of another EU referendum. If an election were held today and you could vote for one of their candidates, would you?Click to enlarge.No, and I voted Labour in 2017 – 69.5% (4,926)Yes, and I voted Labour in 2017 – 25.3% (1,791)No, and I didn’t vote Labour in 2017 – 2.7% (192)Yes, and I didn’t vote Labour in 2017 – 2.5% (178)The survey was open from 10am on Friday 22nd February until 8pm on Sunday 24th February. Thank you to all 7,250 readers who took part.Tags:Tom Watson /By-election /John McDonnell /Weekly Survey /Luciana Berger /The Independent Group /last_img read more

At the launch of Labours European election campai

first_imgAt the launch of Labour’s European election campaign, Jeremy Corbyn told his audience that a few weeks ago he decided to stop asking about Brexit at PMQs and “thousands of people said thank you”. Instead, he would question the Prime Minister on austerity – council budget cuts, social mobility, life expectancy, generally her failure to tackle the “burning injustices” that she promised to address in 2017. The Labour leader hasn’t made Brexit a key topic in any of his weekly head-to-heads since almost two months ago.It was no surprise that Corbyn didn’t opt for Brexit today then, even though he held talks with the PM last night and the government has newly announced that the withdrawal agreement bill will be brought to the Commons in June. With the Tory benches once again particularly sparse, the Labour leader chose to go on the theme of ‘for the many not the few’. Although the slogan is also being used for the Euro elections, none of those manifesto policies were raised (perhaps they will get an airing next week, the day before recess begins). Corbyn’s sole focus was domestic.“In the last two years, nine of the UK’s richest hedge fund tycoons have donated £2.9m to the Conservative Party,” he pointed out. “Is this a government for the many or in the pockets of an elite few?” This set the tone for the rest of the session, which could well have been mistaken for a pre-general election PMQs. Armed with quotes from economist Sir Angus Deaton, who this week warned that the UK’s vast pay, wealth and health inequalities were “making a mockery of democracy”, Corbyn hit the government hard on its economic record.The Labour leader took the opportunity to promote his big policy announcement from last weekend, when he used a Young Labour event to reveal that the party would extend the real living wage of £10 an hour to under-18s. “If you’re old enough to do the job, you’re old enough to be paid the wage to do the job. Does the Prime Minister agree with that principle?” Of course, May’s reply confirmed she didn’t, as she argued that abolishing the ‘youth rate’ of minimum wage would cost young people jobs – the same bad argument peddled by the Conservatives when Labour introduced the NMW in 1998.The Prime Minister point-blank refused to answer the following pertinent questions. And no wonder. Corbyn raised the genuinely shocking cases of a food bank being set up for schoolchildren in Great Yarmouth (represented in parliament by Tory chair Brandon Lewis) and another established by PCS union in a government department. Unable to mount a defence, May simply repeated that it is important for people to be in work, ignoring rising in-work poverty as usual.“This country is seeing the rich get richer while the poor get poorer, while the government is in the pockets of a super rich elite,” Corbyn concluded. “More children in poverty. More pensioners in poverty. More people struggling to make ends meet. When is the government going to reverse the tax giveaway to the super rich and end the scandal of inequality in modern Britain?” A good rehearsal for the next general election campaign. Tags:PMQs /Theresa May /Austerity /Jeremy Corbyn /last_img read more

Neighbors bristle at plan to remove trees on SF Missions 24th Street

first_imgFor Luis Gutiérrez, the owner of La Reyna Bakery on 24th Street near Folsom Street, the decades-old ficus tree in front of his shop shields the rows of baked goods in his window from the sun and his customers from the rain. But on Jan. 5, the city posted a notice announcing it would remove the ficus and at least five others along Mission’s 24th St. “We’re against removing the trees,” says Gutiérrez. “They serve more good than bad,” he continued, before listing all the reasons why he wants to keep the mature trees, like providing privacy for people’s homes and giving the street a distinct character.The city says these trees have been inspected and determined to be a risk to public safety, but neighbors want the trees to stay. Gutiérrez says he will appeal the city notice. 0% Tags: 24th Street • department of public works • trees Share this: FacebookTwitterRedditemail,0%center_img Today, the perennials stand tall, bending away from the buildings and forming one of the thickest canopies of leaves in the Mission. The signature grove provides its residents and pedestrians shade in the summer and shelter in the rain, and that can be hard to find in a city with one of the lowest rates of tree coverage in the country.But the city says that the approximately 2,700 ficus trees that were planted decades ago have become a problem — their limbs are prone to falling, and sidewalks buckle around their muscular roots. The trees have damaged cars and caused injuries, according to Rachel Gordon, a spokesperson for the Department of Public Works. In November 2014, the director of the Department of Public Works issued a general order (Order No: 183151) to streamline the process for removing these trees.“Now they’re just picking off trees slowly,” says Tree Rubenstein, a longtime advocate of preserving trees in the city and resident of the neighborhood. “It’s gonna really change the feel of the area.”The Department of Public Works doesn’t know how many ficus trees have been removed since 2014’s order.Twenty years ago, a former supervisor tried to clear all the ficus trees that line Mission’s 24th St. In 1998, Supervisor Jose Medina pushed for an “economic revitalization project” along 24th Street between Valencia St. and Potrero Avenue that involved clear-cutting 180 ficus trees and replacing them with smaller ones.Medina envisioned this plan, which he had collected $400,000 of city funds to execute, would make the strip look more like Noe Valley’s end of 24th Street, with sunlight spilling onto the sidewalks and stores extending their hours late into the night. At the same time, the Department of Public Works had ordered the removal of 73 ficus trees that were causing problems.But activists rallied together, gathered over 700 signatures on a petition, and successfully blocked Medina’s and the city’s attempt to remove the trees.  Carolyn Blair, who sat on the city’s Urban Forestry Council for eight years while also running the SF Tree Council in the 1990s, says there is no good reason to remove ficuses.“Ficus trees can live to be 150 years old,” she said. “The only reason the city wants to cut them down is they have to maintain them. DPW sees it as an expense.”Cleaning the damage from a ficus tree can cost $395 to $1,776, and it costs the city $1,973 to plant a new tree. Blair says the small, “toothpick trees” don’t compare to 50- or 60-year-old tree. In the past, Blair has successfully stopped Department of Public Works’ attempts to remove large trees by bringing in an arborist to counter the city’s claims. Gordon says that the city never wants to remove a tree unless it is absolutely necessary for public safety. The Department of Public Work’s 2014 general order stipulates that if the problem can be abated by pruning the trees, then removal is unnecessary. It also directs the Department of Public Works to replace the trees that have been removed. The city tries to pick trees that are suited to each microclimate in the city. Friends of the Urban Forest, a non-profit that helps plant street trees, said it’s  “always disappointed to see large, mature trees removed. Larger trees provide greater ecosystem services,” said Dan Flanagan, the executive director of Friends of the Urban Forest, a non-profit that helps plant street trees.“However, we recognize that big trees can be dangerous, especially in urban environments, if they die or aren’t properly maintained or become structurally unsound. Ficus trees, also known as Indian Laurel Fig trees, have an unfortunate tendency to be structurally unstable.” Anyone can appeal the notice of removal within 30 days of posting. For the trees on 24th Street, the final day to appeal is Feb. 3. last_img read more

Mission history bars of long ago

first_imgBig John & Harris’s Town Pump During the early 1900s, 2162 Mission St., which now houses Young’s Cleaners & Alterations, was home to The Mayfield saloon. The above token was “good for 5 cents in trade” at the Mayfield, which occupied the address from 1907, where it appears in the San Francisco-Oakland Directory, to 1910 (when the coin was made). 2162 Mission Street. Photo by Abraham Rodriguez. Potrero Ave. Saloon and Boarding House25th and Potrero, 1911. SFOpenHistoryThis photo shows the Potrero Ave. Saloon and Boarding House, located 50 feet south of 25th St. on Potrero Ave, in 1911. August Legner, the owner of the bar (which, according to the San Francisco Call, was located at 24th and Potrero Avenue), was arrested on March 19, 1910, for possession of opium (check out the story here). During the 1950s, the corner of 25th and Potrero Avenue (specifically 1298 Potrero Ave.) was the location of the U-Toast-It Fountain lunch restaurant; today it contains the Potrero Market & Deli.25th and Potrero Avenue market. Photo by Abraham Rodriguez. The Mayfield SaloonThe Mayfield. eBay New Terminal TaverneBay It may be the Casa Guadalupe 3 market now (at 2988 Mission St.), but in 1939, 2999 Mission St. was where the New Terminal Tavern stood. This 1939 business card was saved from a visit to the 1939’s World’s Fair, and shows the name of the business’ two proprietors, “Cliff” Osborne and “Vic” Mendez. According to the eBay seller, the bar was in operation at least from 1938 to 1941. Calling itself “The Bright Spot of The Mission,” the New Terminal Tavern served a special merchant’s lunch, and the “finest in whiskeys, beer and wines.”2999 Mission Street. Photo by Abraham Rodriguez. Martin’s Hole in the Wall Another old-school bar with an interesting name was Big John & Harris’ Town Pump. One account described the watering hole as “a Hillbilly bar,” while photographer Dave Glass called it “a dive bar with a mix of locals, sailors and a few hookers. The place attracted the best pool players with their weekend pool tournaments, sometimes won by a one-armed Hawaiian man named Danny Hart.” The Town Pump also was known to have live music, with bands playing there in the late 1960s and ‘80s. Today, the locale, whose address was most likely from 2190 to 2196 Mission St., is another Young’s Cleaning & Alterations (2192 Mission St.) and the City Smoke Shop (2196 Mission St.). 2192-2196 Mission Street. Photo by Abraham Rodriguez.center_img 0% The Mission has long been an entertainment zone for the city — home to racetracks, bear and bullfights, beer parlors (including The Willows), and other amusements. Some of those old bars, such as Elixir (established in 1858) and Homestead (since 1902), still stand, while several have gone the way of the dinosaur. This week, we will be exploring some of the watering holes of The Mission that are no more — what they were, where they stood and what is there today. Roddy’s Fish BowleBayRoddy’s Fish Bowl claimed to be the longest bar in the world. How long? So long that “those bartenders down at the end speak — with a Southern accent!” It is said that there were seven bartenders working during one shift to cover the entire bar space. In the spirit of being the biggest and the best, Roddy’s, located at 2631 Mission St., also claimed to serve the biggest beer in all of San Francisco. This matchbook from the bar is from sometime during 1940s or ‘50s (the building was constructed in 1904). An Irish immigrant owned the Mission bar and another  at 1633 Fillmore St. (there was also later a Roddy’s at 32nd Ave. & Noriega, and another in Antioch.) Today, an available-for-rent space stands where the Mission branch of Roddy’s once stood. 2631 Mission Street. Photo by Abraham Rodriguez. eBay You have to love a bar named Martin’s Hole in the Wall. The establishment appears to have opened in 1934, and touted itself as being a place “where a good drink can be had at all times.” Today, 2048 Mission St., which was built in 1906, contains two apartments; next door at 2050 Mission is the Buy Sell Loan.2048 Mission Street. Photo by Abraham Rodriguez. Tags: bars Share this: FacebookTwitterRedditemail,0%last_img read more

Anchor Brewing workers crack open union drive with rally at 24th and

first_img Subscribe to Mission Local’s daily newsletter Email Address “We represent Bayer Pharmacy, Guittard Chocolate, workers in recycling in Alameda. A broad spectrum of companies and manufacturers belong to Local 6,” said Agustin Ramirez, lead organizer for the ILWU in Northern California.Other ILWU members thought the partnership between brewers and the union was a natural fit. “Our warehouse division represents  wine distributors, like Gallo wines, so it makes perfect sense for this group of workers,” said Samantha Levens, who’s with the marine division of the ILWU. “I know people like to purchase union made beer. It’s kind of a selling point,” she continued. “This is a great group of people and I think this rally shows that the workers have a lot of support.”Kelly agreed. “This is a grassroots, bottom-up organizing effort by Anchor Brewing workers,” he said, looking over the jubilant crowd. He gave high marks to the San Francisco DSA labor organizing committee. “They gave us space to meet in. They’ve been completely helpful.”Before fanning out to the bars, labor organizers, DSA activists and brewery workers made speeches into a bullhorn, exhorting the Anchor employees to stay resolute. After promising the workers that the ILWU will be there “every step of the way,” Ramirez led the crowd in a chant. “What time is it?” Ramirez yelled into the bullhorn.“Union Time!” the crowd yelled back. Workers charge that their wages have stagnated after Sapporo acquired Anchor in 2017. Garrett Kelly has worked for Anchor for three years in the fermentation department and makes $18.35 an hour. “I want to spread the word and show management at Anchor what solidarity and worker power looks like,” said Kelly, who commutes from Oakland. He said that management wasn’t happy when the workers announced their intent to unionize. “Management corralled us into an empty conference room, asked if we were on the clock, and said no one could meet with us,” said Kelly. He hopes that Anchor Brewing management will negotiate with them in good faith, but says plans to proceed are in place regardless. “We gave management 48 hours to respond,” Kelly said. “But we’re going to file with the National Labor Relation Board in a few weeks, whether management supports that or not.” The new union would be part of ILWU Warehouse Union Local 6, which is based in Oakland, and represents warehouse workers across the bay area. Employees of San Francisco’s venerable Anchor Brewing gathered at the 24th Street BART plaza Thursday evening with members of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union and the labor committee of the Democratic Socialists of America hours after launching a union drive at their Potrero Hill plant. Earlier that day, Anchor workers delivered a letter to the management of Anchor Brewing Company, announcing their intent to unionize the brewery. It would be the first unionized craft brewery in San Francisco and in the country. BART commuters exiting the station grew confused as the plaza quickly filled with Anchor workers, unionized longshoremen and DSA activists. The mood in the plaza was jubilant. DSA members and Anchor workers planned to distribute flyers and posters in bars on and around 24th Street. “We’re helping to announce the union drive, and our support of workers in America,” said Sarah Jane Holcombe, a DSA member.last_img read more

Hundreds attend Port City Pride Block Party

first_imgWILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Port City Pride held their Inaugural Block Party in Downtown Wilmington on Saturday. The event was aimed at celebrating LGBTQIA individuals and allies in the community.Hundreds of people, young and old, came out to the free event that featured live entertainment, food trucks, and vendors.- Advertisement – Event organizer Lorraine Barnes says the goal of the block party was more than just a celebration. She hoped to also educate the city of Wilmington on issues important to the LGBTQIA community.“It incorporates all of us and it just shows everybody that we truly are one community, and we don’t need to be separated anymore,” said Barnes.“One of the main objectives of this event is to heal the lines of division in our community.”Related Article: Couples say ‘I do’ for free on Valentine’s DayBarnes says her favorite part of the block party was the positive atmosphere and bringing everyone together.She hopes to have more events like this in the future.last_img read more

Man accused of beating woman who lost eye arrested in Brunswick County

first_imgJemar Bell (Photo: Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office) BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — The Brunswick County man accused of choking a woman and beating her so severely that she lost an eye is now behind bars.According to online records, Jemar Lee Bell, 36, was booked into the Brunswick County Detention Center just before 11:00 p.m. Wednesday.- Advertisement – He is charged with assault on a female, first degree kidnapping, and parole violation.The crimes happened between September 1 and October 14.He is currently being held without bond.last_img read more

NHSO Felon arrested for trafficking heroin stolen guns

first_imgNEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — Following an investigation, the New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office arrested a man they say was trafficking large quantities of heroin and other drugs into the county from New Jersey.During November, New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office Vice-Narcotics Detectives conducted an investigation of Shawqi Rahim Gray, 36. Gray was suspected of trafficking large quantities of heroin into New Hanover County from New Jersey. Detectives also learned Gray is a convicted felon and is wanted out of Easton, Pennsylvania for the crimes of possession with intent to sell and deliver cocaine and heroin. During the course of the investigation, Detectives were led to 2702 Oleander Drive where a search warrant of the residence was conducted.- Advertisement – “This is the largest seizure of heroin and fentanyl that we’ve ever seized,” said New Hanover County Sheriff Ed McMahon.The execution of the search warrant on November 30, yielded:-393.15 grams of raw heroin (equivalent of approximately 19,000 bags of heroin)-803 bags of heroin ready for sale and or delivery-110 grams of fentanyl (used as a cutting or mixing agent for heroin)-8.5 grams of cocaine-10 grams of marijuana-5 firearms (two of the firearms were reported as stolen)-$47,390.00 in US currencyDrugs, drug paraphernalia, and guns seized at 2702 Oleander Drive on November 30th (Photo: Justin McKee/WWAY)Related Article: Prince’s family sues doctor who prescribed him pain pillsDetectives additionally found thousands of empty wax bags with various stamps along with 78.4 grams of another unknown cutting agent used for manufacturing heroin.“Majority of those bags are empty. You figure, each one of those bags goes anywhere from $10 to $20, so this could be up to $1 million seizure on the street, once it was all mixed,” said Sheriff McMahon.Sheriff McMahon says the fentanyl that drug dealers lace heroin with is very dangerous and that’s why this bust is such a big deal. “To be able to get this off of the street, the drug unit just did a great job. I’m very proud of them. Just one grain, again, one grain of the fentanyl can kill you.”Gray was taken to the New Hanover County Detention Facility and charged with the following:-2 counts of trafficking heroin or opium (trafficking by possession and manufacturing)-Possession with intent to sell and deliver heroin-Manufacturing heroin-Maintaining a dwelling for illegal controlled substances-Possession of firearm by a convicted felon-2 counts of possession of a stolen firearm-Simple possession of Schedule VI controlled substance-Possession of drug paraphernaliaIn addition, Gray was served with the active warrant from Pennsylvania. Gray is currently awaiting trial at the New Hanover County Detention Facility under a $10 million secured bond.This latest investigation continues local authorities’ ongoing fight against the opioid crisis.“We’re gonna continue working together with all the agencies, with all the federal agencies, with Wilmington Police Department and we’re gonna go after the drug dealers,” said Sheriff McMahon. He says more arrests could be coming soon.last_img read more

Bitty Beaus Coffee owner Amy Wright heads to the Big Apple for

first_imgWheels up! Heading to NYC to represent Bitty & Beau’s Coffee at CNN Heroes Tribute Show! (Photo: Amy Wright) WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Bitty and Beau’s Coffee owner Amy Wright was nominated for the CNN Hero of the Year award and now is headed to New York City to find out if she won.She was named a CNN Hero back in June. The story featured Wright and two employees Matt and Jessie. The segment shows the inspiration that many see every day when walking into the coffee shop. We have featured Wright and her husband as an Extraordinary Person of the Week.- Advertisement – Each of the heroes received a $10,000 cash prize. One of the 10 will be named “CNN Hero of the Year” and receive an additional $100,000 for his or her cause.Their efforts are being highlighted at “CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute,” a global broadcast event on CNN airing Sunday, December 17 at 8 p.m. ABC’s Kelly Ripa will join Anderson Cooper as co-host for this star-studded 11th-annual show, live from New York’s American Museum of Natural History.last_img read more

Jury tells pork giant to pay 4735M in nuisance lawsuit

first_imgRALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A federal jury decided Friday that the world’s largest pork producer should pay $473.5 million to neighbors of three North Carolina industrial-scale hog farms for unreasonable nuisances they suffered from odors, flies and rumbling trucks.The jury found that Smithfield Foods owes compensation to six neighbors who complained in their lawsuit that the company failed to stop “the obnoxious, recurrent odors and other causes of nuisance” resulting from closely packed hogs, which “generate many times more sewage than entire towns.”- Advertisement – The jury awarded $23.5 million in compensatory damages and $450 million in punitive damages, which will be reduced to a total of $94 million under limits in state law.The case comes after two previous, related lawsuits rocked agribusiness in the country’s No. 2 pork-producing state. Juries in those two cases awarded damages of about $75 million intended to punish Smithfield, though those amounts also were required to be cut.North Carolina legislators reacted by adopting new barriers against nuisance lawsuits that all but eliminate the ability of neighbors to sue Smithfield Foods or any other agribusiness. Critics billed the legislation as an attack on private property rights in order to protect a well-heeled industry.Related Article: Sen. Burr takes GOP fire over Trump Jr subpoenaU.S. Sen Thom Tillis and U.S. Rep. David Rouzer suggested they might seek national legislation after hearing Friday from agribusiness executives and agriculture officials from North Carolina, Georgia, Delaware and Texas in Raleigh.“Today’s nuisance lawsuits that are destroying livelihoods and communities in North Carolina are the tip of the iceberg for what is to come absent a well-informed public and good public policy,” Rouzer said in a prepared statement Thursday. “This is a very slippery slope that threatens the very existence of every form of agriculture nationwide.”Industry group the North Carolina Pork Council decried the jury’s decision in a statement warning that it could lead to more lawsuits across the country.“This verdict will spread from eastern North Carolina to all corners of American agriculture,” the group said, calling for an appeal of the decision they described as unfair and unjust.Environmental advocates said there’s good reason pork producers have been getting hit with penalties.“These juries are repeatedly seeing problems with the kind of waste management that’s used,” said Cassie Gavin, a lobbyist with the North Carolina Sierra Club. “Clearly it’s time for the state and the industry to take a hard look at their waste management and modernize it so the public is protected.”The Pender County farms at the center of the lawsuit held thousands of hogs owned by a Smithfield Foods subsidiary. Smithfield was sued because plaintiffs’ lawyers said the company used strict contracts to dictate how farmers raised Smithfield’s animals.One neighbor who was not part of the suit compared the waste stench to long-dead corpses he found during his career as a police officer and firefighter, news outlets reported. Wesley Sewell testified that he bought his house out of foreclosure without realizing the hog operations were nearby and sometimes fled to another home when the smells were too strong.Lawyers for the neighbors said Smithfield hasn’t taken measures that would minimize the nuisances, for example by sending trucks along a back road to pick up hogs for slaughter in the middle of the night instead of rumbling past sleeping homes. Nor has the company covered the waste pits or otherwise tried to capture the smell and bacteria resulting from pooling liquefied waste, lawyers for the neighbors said. The company has done that in Missouri and Colorado, attorneys said.The predominant method of handling hog waste in North Carolina is collecting it in open-air pits that are emptied by spraying liquid excrement on farm fields. The method was banned at new livestock operations in 1997, when industrial-scale hog operations began to be planned near the Pinehurst golf resort two years before it would host the U.S. Open tournament.Smithfield has continued using the low-cost method because it helps the company produce pork for less than in China, lawyers for the neighbors said. Smithfield is owned by Hong Kong-headquartered WH Group, which posted profits of about $1 billion last year.last_img read more

Road access cut off to Wilmington after Florence

first_img00:00 00:00 html5: Video file not found spaceplay / pause qunload | stop ffullscreenshift + ←→slower / faster ↑↓volume mmute ←→seek  . seek to previous 12… 6 seek to 10%, 20% … 60% Surf City will not resume dune restoration until November2:24Gov. Cooper tours Fair Bluff Fire Station, talks hurricane recovery0:55School supply giveaway aims to help those affected by Florence1:41Northside Pool repairs almost complete0:30Support the Port among winners of disaster recovery grant0:56Vet receives a free roof after losing one to Florence0:55HOPE NC INTERVIEW3:25Hampstead woman loses home in Florence, surprised with help 10 months later2:04Tropical Integrated Warning Team meeting helps agencies prepare during hurricane season1:56US 421 bridge work continues after Florence washout0:47Teens help those affected by Hurricane Florence, Matthew2:08Florence victims face 100-degree days in FEMA trailers1:04Volunteers desperately needed to assist with building efforts after Hurricane Florence3:39Hurricane shifts sand in coastal waters, could increase swimming threats2:13First responders join WARM in hurricane recovery efforts0:59Oak Island Pier set to reopen Wednesday0:25Oceanic Restaurant ready to dive in on Mother’s Day0:30Possible return date for Jervay community released2:18New Hanover Schools hourly employees won’t get paid for five days2:14Hurricane Recovery round table gives residents access to mroe help post-Florence2:10Brunswick Town Historic Site museum reopens Saturday1:00Wilmington man meets paramedics who saved his life hours before hurricane2:20Rep. David Rouzer talks Mueller report, storm recovery4:24Spruce up your yard at annual spring plant sale in Burgaw0:47RESIDE Disaster Relief Shelter holds rubbon cutting0:54Students say “Thank you” to first responders1:25AG sues Florida tree removal company for alleged price gouging in Wilmington2:14’Cross Creek Hero’ continues to lend a helping hand2:17USO shows appreciation to the coast guard, shutdown, hurricane0:52Proposed tax credit could assist repairs for historic homes in disaster zones2:04Two New Hanover schools to move into new buildings next month1:26NC students write book about experience with Hurricane Florence1:22Luncheon highlights ’growth and transformation’ in downtown Wilmington0:32Gov. Roy Cooper says downtown Wilmington ’revitalized’ after Florence2:02Community rolls together to get topsail beach skating rink back open after storm1:36Cape Fear Garden Club plants the seed for Airlie Gardens’ Florence recovery0:57Wilmington firefighters honored for rescue during Hurricane Florence1:50Rep. David Rouzer talks rebuilding damaged dike in Bladen County1:40Fix to Kelly dike system still in limbo following community conversation2:13Neighbors fight to stop construction of ’essential’ hospital water system2:31County, city still waiting on millions in Florence reimbursement1:51Wilmington Mayor Bill Saffo talks Florence recovery 6 months after storm1:51Boiling Spring Lakes: Only 40% of recovery completed since historic hurricane2:26Owner moves to new location after Florence wipes out iconic restaurant1:06Pender community surfs its way to recovery months after storm1:27ONLY ON WWAY: Gov. Cooper gives recovery update six months post-Florence7:42’This is a miracle’: Whitestocking community gets help to rebuild church2:19Bethlehem Baptist Church is on the road to recovery after Florence1:22800+ Pender students still displaced several months after historic hurricane1:58Are some homes worth the renovation after Hurricane Florence?1:17Free seeds offer easier start to families replanting0:54Cape Fear Volunteer Center needs help moving Florence survivors into new homes0:53Florence survivor finds new housing, not out of the woods yet0:31Rebuild continues almost 6 months since Hurricane Florence1:35Rebuild continues almost 6 months since Hurricane Florence2:19Florence destroys Pender County farm, help comes from across country2:07How can we improve for next time? Pender reviews storm response to Florence1:40USS Battleship North Carolina continues to battle Mother Nature1:54Will Carolina Beach businesses reopen in time for start of season?2:05FEMA assistance starts to end, Florence victims still without homes2:07New Hanover County issues Hurricane Florence after action report1:22Veteran forced out of garage after Florence moves into camper0:31Gov. Cooper proposes funding aimed to help schools recovering from Florence1:44Florence clean up efforts ongoing1:54Pender Co. ends Hurricane Florence state of emergency0:16Volunteers needed to clean up Ev-Henwood Nature Preserve in Leland0:30University breaks ground on new student housing0:57Topsail Island is back open post-Florence1:38Barfield: ’State of the county is strong’2:17Habitat breaks ground on 4 new homes in Wilmington0:54Volunteer attorneys could help homeowners denied help from FEMA4:06Pro bono FEMA clinic for those affected by Hurricane Florence4:06First ever pender county state of education and economy held in burgaw1:52Wrightsville Beach restaurant closed since Florence starts rehiring staff0:53Hurricane Florence victims can still apply for disaster mitigation0:55Are you ready for breakfast?1:00Historic grounds reopens after shutdown1:27Hurricane Florence recovery summit brings survivors together1:31New Wrightsville Beach school planned with storms, floods in mind0:33TX official offers affordable housing advice after experiencing Hurricane Harvey1:04Whitestocking residents welcome truckload of donations from Pennsylvania3:06FEMA hosting meeting to address flood mitigation questions, concerns3:39University still repairing classrooms and apartments four months after hurricane0:30Cooper to Trump: End shutdown so NC can rebuild after Hurricane Florence0:33Experts say affordable housing is in more trouble following Florence0:58Stranger drives across country to reunite NC boy fighting cancer with his dog2:19Will a $2M flood plan save the Battleship North Carolina parking lot?1:05Woman says Florence damage is severely affecting her health1:54When you can learn more about applying for buyouts on flood-prone homes0:25Pender County students to receive free meals through January 310:20Animal aid group says majority of supplies lost after theft1:02Duke energy wants customers to help with $760m storm cost0:44Find out how you can help the environment by getting rid of your Christmas tree1:02New study researches how Hurricane Florence could have impacted pregnancies2:16Ward gives back to his community during the holidays1:32Gov. Cooper reflects on efforts to rebuild following Hurricane Florence3:14Gov. Cooper: 2018 was a tough year for North Carolina2:37Man designs ornaments made from Florence debris0:38Businesses team up to host Hurricane Florence recovery fundraiser0:56Rain lowers ’Christmas on the Square’ turnout0:54XColor SettingsAaAaAaAaTextBackgroundOpacity SettingsTextOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundSemi-TransparentOpaqueTransparentFont SettingsSize||TypeSerif MonospaceSerifSans Serif MonospaceSans SerifCasualCursiveSmallCapsResetSave Settings WILMINGTON, N.C. (AP) — Authorities are looking at going by air and water to get food into a North Carolina city that was cut off from road access by Florence’s floodwaters.The major highways into the Wilmington area, Interstate 40 and U.S. 74, were not accessible Sunday, officials said.- Advertisement – “There is no access to Wilmington,” Woody White, chairman of the county Board of Commissioners, said Sunday at a news conference.State Transportation Secretary Jim Trogdon said one of his top priorities was determining how to restore ground access to the area. Trogdon said the state was working with the Department of Defense and National Guard to see if they could get first responders through to Wilmington in high-water vehicles. He also said officials were working on “other contingencies to support Wilmington on the ocean side.”While the city was cut off from the outside, streets in Wilmington were busy with motorists.Related Article: Brewery offers tasty way to pay it forward to first respondersVictor Merlos was overjoyed to find a store open for business since he had about 20 relatives staying at his apartment, which still has power. He spent more than $500 on cereal, eggs, soft drinks and other necessities, plus beer.“I have everything I need for my whole family,” said Merlos.Police guarded the door of another store and only 10 people were allowed inside at a time. Dallas Perdue told The Associated Press he waited about two hours to get into the store to buy a few groceries.Nearby, a Waffle House restaurant limited breakfast customers to one biscuit and one drink, all take-out, with the price of $2 per item. The line for gasoline at a Costco store stretched about a half-mile down a road.The water utility, Cape Fear Public Utility Authority, had said Sunday that it had only a 48-hour supply of fuel to provide water. However, it said later in a news release that a source of fuel had been found and there was no immediate threat to service.While Wilmington has survived its share of hurricanes, including Hurricane Fran in September 1996, the city of 120,000 has not suffered the amount of rain that fell from Florence, which has since weakened to a tropical depression.Typically, it’s a tourist city and home to EUE Screen Gems, a movie studio that helped give the city the nickname of “Hollywood of the East,” although production has dropped since lawmakers scaled back film incentives. Television shows such as “Dawson’s Creek” and “One Tree Hill” were filmed there, as well movies that include “The Hunger Games” and “Iron Man 3.”It’s the hometown of basketball great and Charlotte Hornets owner Michael Jordan and is known for its historic homes and its annual Azalea Festival.But as the rain continued to fall, its officials were asking North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper for additional law enforcement, including the National Guard, White said.Patients on oxygen and dialysis were being moved from New Hanover County Medical Center to Hoggard High School, a new shelter scheduled to open to the public at 5 p.m. Sunday. It has room for 1,387 people.Click here for the latest road conditions.last_img read more

Update on City of Whiteville operations and services

first_img The City of Whiteville will be returning to normal operations on Wednesday, September 19, 2018, with the exception of activities related to the City’s Parks and Recreation Department.  The Parks and Recreation Department will later announce when normal operations and scheduled activities will resume.Solid Waste ServicesResidential trash service will begin today, Tuesday, September 18 and will continue through September 19.  Due to the effects of Hurricane Florence and contamination concerns, customers are being asked to place their recycling materials container along with their trash container for pick-up, through Monday, September 24.Related Article: North Carolina Insurance Commissioner gives tips on how to prep for hurricanesDowntown Recovery EffortsThe City is placing dumpsters on Madison Street for assisting downtown businesses in recovery efforts.Leaf and Limb ServicesResidents are asked to place leaf and limb debris on the roadside until full collection services can be coordinated/restored.Utility Accounts/BillingWater/Utility late fees are waived this month.  Water/Utility bills are normally due on or before September 24. Due to Hurricane Florence, customers will have until October 5, 2018 to submit payments.  After, which time, normal service fees will apply.PermitsPermitting Fees associated with damage from Hurricane Florence will be waived. WHITEVILLE, NC (Press Release) — Whiteville has released information in regards to their operations and services within the city.City Operations- Advertisement – last_img read more

Police investigating robbery at Wilmington produce shop

first_img Dandron said the victim, a 74-year-old woman who works at the produce shop, was looking for her keys when the suspect came in. She said the suspect started helping the employee look for her keys.Dandron said the suspect went into the bathroom and then came out and hit the employee with something and taped her mouth shut. She said the suspect took an undisclosed amount of money and ran.Police are still looking for the female suspect. (Photo: MGN Online) WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Wilmington Police are investigating a robbery at a store on Princess Place Drive.Spokeswoman Jennifer Dandron with the Wilmington Police Department said officers responded to Herbert’s Fresh Produce at 2011 Princess Place Drive around 8:20 p.m. Wednesday.- Advertisement – last_img read more

73yearold Whiteville man charged with child sex crimes

first_imgErnest Paul Jones (Photo: Columbus Co. Sheriff’s Office/Whiteville PD) WHITEVILLE, NC (WWAY) — A man accused of going into businesses around Whiteville and acting suspiciously toward young girls is now charged with child sex crimes.Ernest Paul Jones, 73, is charged with indecent liberties with a child and sexual battery.- Advertisement – According to a news release from the Whiteville Police Department, detectives were made aware of Jones’s behavior when a resident notified them.Chief Jeffrey Rosier requested the NC State Bureau of Investigations conduct a joint investigation. That led to the arrest of Jones, who was taken into custody at his home on Paul Jones Drive Thursday morning.His bond is now set at $1.5 million.Related Article: Wilmington man charged with DWI after fatal bike crashIf you have any additional information about Jones or his activities, contact Det. Amy Corder at (910) 642-5111.last_img read more

UNSOLVED Man shot during storm power outages in Wallace

first_img A day that started with a strong storm in Wallace turned into a storm of chaos for the Wallace Police Department and a nightmare for Rosetta Lamb.“I was in the bed asleep and my son got a phone call after 11 p.m.,” Lamb said.Lamb said, earlier that night, her nephew Michael Lamb had gone to 6215 South NC 41 Highway, the Fast Lane Convenience Store, and saw a Duke Energy employee working on the power line.Related Article: Assault charge dropped against NC State guard Eric Lockett“Standing on the back of his truck working on the power line right here and Michael had parked his girlfriend’s car right over there and Michael was just standing here carrying on a general conversation with him,” Lamb said.That was the last conversation Michael ever had. Detective Eric Short with Wallace Police said Michael was shot around 10:30 p.m.“Witnesses say that an unknown black male approached our victim,” Short said.He says the suspect shot Michael twice.“The Duke Energy Employee seeked cover, so he wasn’t able to see anything,” Short said.Rosetta said she drove to the scene as soon as she heard.“I’ll never forget it and to see the puddle of blood on the ground where my nephew was laying dying and he’s already in route to the hospital,” Lamb said. “There’s nothing you can do but ask, why?”Rosetta said Michael was well known in the community.“He was fun, very charming, outgoing, a people person. Never met a stranger.”She said she does not know why someone would do this, but she said it was not random.“Oh it was definitely targeted. I mean it was execution style.”Detective Short said they are following several leads in the case. He said they learned early in the case of a white Impala. He also said something happened two days earlier that could be connected.“On about the second of October, 2015, there were some vehicle break-ins in Pender County which some items were stolen that could be of interest in this case,” Short said.He said they are also looking into a possible motive.“Investigators can’t rule out at this time that money was a possible motive in this homicide,” Short said. “Investigators know that he had a settlement check.”There is something that made this investigation a little more complicated.“There was another homicide that happened that morning,” Short said. “The state Bureau of Investigation was here assisting the first murder. Resources were really exhausted for the day.”“And I had said to him, I said, ‘You be careful. Did you hear about that first murder?’ He was like, ‘Yeah. That was my close friend, but I’m not worried about nothing,’” Lamb said.Investigators initially thought the two murders were connected, but now say they are not.Now, almost four years have passed and his family just wants answers especially for Michael’s daughters.“How do you explain to a child that you’re never going to see your father again?”She hopes one day they all get to see justice.“I want justice served for the way it was so brutal,” Lamb said. “I mean it was just.. they meant to take life, so I want justice served and whoever did this, or whoever planned it, whoever was the person or people in the car, the getaway car, I want them all. I want justice for Michael.”Wallace Police Chief James Crayton said Geovoney West was convicted of killing his uncle, Walter West, that morning in the first homicide.If you know anything about Lamb’s murder, please call the Wallace Police Department. WALLACE, NC (WWAY) — The Wallace Police Department is looking for answers in a murder that happened in the middle of a power outage from a strong storm.Michael Lamb, 25 was shot and killed at a convenience store in Wallace on October 4, 2015.- Advertisement – last_img read more

Possible return date for Jervay community released after demands by neighbors

first_img Nearly 6 months since the community had to be cleared out because of water damage, neighbors have gone to community leaders in the 29th voting precinct in inner city Wilmington. Those precinct officials have in turn have come together to request city leaders pay more attention to the ongoing issue.“We are still in the fight of our lives,” said Acquanetta McNeil who was one of many displaced residents.McNeil took that fight to city leaders asking they step up to prevent what happened in Jervay from happening again following a storm. This comes as she and several neighbors tells us they don’t have a steady place to live.Related Article: New Florence flooding forecasts are good news for South Carolina“We’re still getting the same answer, it’s more or less I don’t know now,” said McNeil.McNeil has called Jervay home since it was built 15 years ago. She now lives in Columbus County and commutes to work in New Hanover County. This is all happening now months later than what she and other neighbors initially heard from complex officials. Neighbors in Jervay tell WWAY they were told that they would be back by March.“We have been left, it’s like we have been left high and dry and it’s like nobody cares,” said McNeil.McNeil and other neighbors are at their wits ends, they’re now seeking help from community leaders.“They told us that they couldn’t find their personal items,” said E.B. Davis Sr. “And one lady had expressed that she had thought about killing herself and all this and so it was just horrendous.”Davis Sr. and other Democratic Party leaders reached out to city council. Councilman Kevin O’Grady confirmed with WWAY that the community’s owner, Telesis Corporation, has responded to the city. An email sent by the corporation’s attorney was given to the Democratic Party and it revealed the timeline of ongoing repairs at Jervay. The attorney informed O’Grady and city staff that some residents could be able to return to Jervay in June.“My sense of it is that they are dealing with the same problems that our local residents are dealing with in trying to get the insurance money so that they can get their houses repaired,” said O’Grady.An image inside the Jervay apartment of Acquanetta McNeil (PHOTO: Acquanetta McNeil)Hollis Briggs challenges what was sent to city officials by Telesis. He says neighbors like McNeil have returned to apartments that are still gutted of interior walls and flooring. McNeil provided WWAY with a short video showing the interior of the apartment.“We’ve lived here most of our lives, we work here and we want to be treated fairly just like everybody else,” said McNeil who spoke before council Tuesday asking for more planning be done to help low-income residents.Brendella Blanks with Jervay also informed WWAY that she was not aware of any delays impacting the repair process. The information given to city officials by Telesis showed there was one issue with insurance still hindering repairs to the Jervay Community Center. 00:00 00:00 spaceplay / pause qunload | stop ffullscreenshift + ←→slower / faster ↑↓volume mmute ←→seek  . seek to previous 12… 6 seek to 10%, 20% … 60% XColor SettingsAaAaAaAaTextBackgroundOpacity SettingsTextOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundSemi-TransparentOpaqueTransparentFont SettingsSize||TypeSerif MonospaceSerifSans Serif MonospaceSans SerifCasualCursiveSmallCapsResetSave Settings WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Hurricane season is one month away. For dozens of neighbors in the Jervay community, they still feel the impacts of hurricane Florence.Neighbors say no one has returned to the community after they were forced to vacate.On Tuesday a spokesperson for Jervay only would tell WWAY’s Andrew James that, “they are working to get the units repaired”. They would not provide an official timeline that outlined when neighbors may be allowed to return.- Advertisement – last_img read more

New partnership provides clear pathway for youth soccer players

first_imgWILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — The YMCA of Southeastern NC and the Wilmington Hammerheads are partnering together to serve more kids and families through recreational soccer.Starting in the fall of 2019, the YMCA of Southeastern NC will operate all of the recreational soccer programming while the Wilmington Hammerheads focus on their classic programming.- Advertisement – This will provide a pathway for youth soccer players that begins at the YMCA recreational level and continues through the Wilmington Hammerhead Classic Program for those who want to advance their soccer skills beyond the recreational level.“I think its unique because its about two groups that want to do what’s best for the kids and so we have put our resources together to make it really convenient and fun and get more kids playing the game,” said Wilmington Hammerheads Executive Director Carson Porter.Both organizations currently serve about 4,000 youth athletes.Related Article: A game-changer: $1.9B complex will house soccer stadium in downtown Raleigh“We start at about age 2, they’re not playing competitive games against others, we’re introducing them to the sport, all the way up to age 18, our high schoolers, and about 12 percent of them will go to that next step beyond recreational,” said Lee Spooner, athletics director for the YMCA of Southeastern NC.So why are so many kids interested in recreational soccer today?“Its just a fun sport and I think it allows the kids to be kids, they get to run, they get to chase a ball, its just a natural way for them to be active and move around, and there’s a lot less coaching than in other sports, in other words its the players’ game,” Porter said.For more information, contact the YMCA of Southeastern NC or the Wilmington Hammerheads.last_img read more

Two men hurt in Wilmington shooting

first_img Police set up a crime scene in the Prince Mini Mart parking lot at 30th Street and Princess Place Drive.A lieutenant on scene told WWAY that two young males were shot near the convenience store.They have been transported to New Hanover Regional Medical Center with non-life threatening injuries.Related Article: Robeson Co. detective fired after investigation into DNA related to Hania caseThe convenience store had damages.New Hanover County Sheriff’s deputies aided police in the response.The investigation is ongoing and anyone with information is asked to contact the Wilmington Police Department. Two hurt in Wilmington shooting near Prince Mini Mart on June 18, 2019 (Photo: Andrew James/WWAY) WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Two 19-year-olds were hurt in a shooting Tuesday night in north Wilmington, according to Wilmington Police.Police responded to a shotspotter alert around 10:30 p.m. in the 2900 block of Princess Place Drive.- Advertisement – last_img read more

Ħal Far murder Update Fenechs cousin amongst witnesses

first_imgThe court resumed the compilation of evidence against Francesco Fenech and Lorin Scicluna on Wednesday. The two soldiers are being accused of murdering Lassana Cisse earlier this year.The first witness to take the stand was a police officer who was on the scene of the murder on the day of the tragic event. He went the events of the day, how he accompanied the two other victims of with other police officers to Mater Dei Hospital and how one of the victims reported hearing two petards, amongst other evidence. The police officer also explained how the taxi driver that called in the incident reversed to see what was going on after seeing a body on the road and then got afraid and drove off again. He also explained amongst others that Lorin Scicluna was the first to be arrested. He also presented a CD with footage he shot of the site.The second witness to testify was Dylan German who recognised the two men accused of the cold-blooded murder. He is also Francesco Fenech’s cousin. In Court he explained how he got to know Lorin Scicluna  and how his cousin (Fenech) started acting differently on issues of racism. He also explained to the Court that Lorin Scicluna had told him what happened at Ħal Far, that Fenech was involved and that he threw the left over bullets in the sea at Delimara.German also explained how Inspector Arnaud had asked him to confront Francesco Fenech during the investigations and how the latter started crying. He also added that Fenech never talked about racist issues with him.When defence lawyer Gianella De Marco asked the witness about Scicluna’s aim, the latter’s lawyers objected. German said that his cousin used to hit the target.In the counter-examination, Franco Debono who is defending Scicluna asked German why he testified differently in Court from what he said to the Police during the investigation process, to which the young man replied that he was in shock during the investigations and that the correct version of events is the one he gave under solemn oath in Court.During the previous hearing the Court had advised that there was enough evidence to accuse the two men for the murder of Lassana Cisse on the 6th of April in Triq il-Ġebel in Birżebbuġia.The Court which was presided by Magistrate Ian Farrugia has been adjourned to 16th of July at 10.30am.Prosecution is being led by Inspectors Keith Arnaud and Trevor Micallef.Lorin Scicluna is being assisted by Franco Debono, Kris Busietta and Julian Farrugia, whilst Francesco Fenech is being assisted by Gianella De Marco.Arthur Azzopardi is representing parte civile.For a detailed log of the hearing in Maltese click here.WhatsApp SharePrint <a href=’;cb={random}’ target=’_blank’><img src=’;cb={random}&amp;n=ab2c8853&amp;ct0={clickurl_enc}’ border=’0′ alt=” /></a>last_img read more