News ID: 90790
Publish Date : 30 May 2021 - 23:53

TEXAS (The Hill) – A Texas sheriff’s office fired 11 jail employees and suspended six others over the February death of a 23-year-old inmate who was allegedly stripped and beaten during the Lone Star State’s severe winter storm. Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez told reporters that the employees who were let go “betrayed my trust and the trust of our community”, the Hill reported. The sheriff’s office had launched an investigation into the incident involving Jaquaree Simmons, who was pronounced dead from blunt force trauma to the head and a brain bleed a day after jail workers allegedly repeatedly beat him out of security cameras’ view. “During a natural disaster, we expect to see the very best in our employees,” Gonzalez said, according to local ABC affiliate KTRK. Instead, the sheriff stated, the 11 employees “abused their authority”, adding, “Their conduct toward Mr. Simmons was reprehensible.” “They showed complete disregard for the safety and well-being of a person they were directly responsible for protecting,” he continued, noting, “They escalated, rather than de-escalated, the situation. Their conduct was unacceptable and inexcusable and has discredited them, the sheriff’s office and their fellow employees.”

NICOSIA (AFP) – Cyprus voters went to the polls Sunday for parliamentary elections amid simmering public anger over the “golden passports” corruption scandal on the Mediterranean island. Ultra-nationalists looking to exploit the anti-establishment mood have also played on concerns over migration, another hot-button issue for the European Union’s most easterly member state. A record 658 candidates, representing 15 parties, are vying for 56 seats in parliament before an electorate of more than 550,000. “There is a very unhappy electorate fed up with the political elite and parliament,” said Hubert Faustmann, professor of history and political science at the University of Nicosia. “People are fed up with corruption in public life.”

GENEVA (AFP) – The UN rights chief voiced alarm Sunday at deadly clashes in the Colombian city of Cali, calling for an independent investigation and accountability for the violence. Pointing to reports that 14 people had died since Friday amid massive anti-government protests in Colombia’s third-largest city, Michelle Bachelet said a swift investigation and resumption of dialogue was needed. “It is essential that all those who are reportedly involved in causing injury or death, including state officials, are subject to prompt, effective, independent, impartial and transparent investigations and that those responsible are held accountable,” the UN High Commissioner said in a statement. Her comments came after the Colombian army on Saturday tightened its control over Cali, a city of 2.2 million, after clashes pitted police against armed civilians. The country is in the second month of protests against the government of President Ivan Duque.

CANTERBURY (Sputnik) – A state of local emergency has been declared for Canterbury region in New Zealand after a night of heavy rain resulted in severe flooding and power cuts, the local government announced on Sunday. “The Canterbury Civil Defence Emergency Management Group has declared a state of local emergency in Canterbury, extending emergency powers across the entire region, as heavy rain continues to cause flooding,” the statement reads. According to the Stuff news portal, over 4,000 homes are currently at risk of flooding in the city of Ashburton, the authorities began evacuations of the most affected areas. The police urge people to stay home and self-evacuate if they have concerns about flooding, the website said. Several roads have been closed across the region, some 300 households have experienced power cuts, Stuff stated. The downpours are likely to continue until Monday in what weather forecasters call a “one-in-a-hundred-year event.”

Colombo (Reuters) – Sri Lankan authorities Sunday said they will sue the owners of a Singapore-registered cargo carrier which has burned for 11 straight days off the island’s west coast and caused some of its worst-ever marine pollution. Police said a criminal investigation was also launched into the blaze aboard the MV X-Press Pearl, which was carrying 25 tons of nitric acid and a huge amount of plastic raw materials. The intense fire, still burning at the rear of the 186 meter (610 feet) vessel, has destroyed much of the cargo, some of which also fell into the Indian Ocean. Tons of microplastic granules have inundated the South Asian nation’s famed beaches, forcing a fishing ban and sparking fears of ecological devastation. Sri Lanka’s Marine Environment Protection Authority said it met with attorney general Sanjaya Rajaratnam on Sunday to plan legal action against the owners of the vessel, its crew, as well as insurers. “We have gone through the details and will be taking action against those responsible,” MEPA Chairman Dharshani Lahandapura told reporters in Colombo. She said they were, however, yet to make an assessment of the environmental damage, but she believed it was the “worst marine pollution” Sri Lanka has ever suffered.

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