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Father of murdered Georgia student fears her death is being exploited in heated immigration debate

The father of Laken Riley, a Georgia nursing student killed while she was jogging, is remembering her as a “strong person” who excelled in academics but fears her death is being exploited as a political wedge that has “incited people” for the November election. While politicians have evoked her name at campaign rallies, in speeches and in an eponymous immigration-related bill, turning it into an election year flash point after she was killed, police say, by a suspect who entered the U.S. illegally two years ago, Jason Riley has taken the past month following her death to reflect. “I wish I would have been there to protect her,” he said in an interview that aired Monday on NBC’s “TODAY” show — the first time he has spoken publicly since his daughter was killed. “I wish it would have been me.” Laken Riley’s slaying has fueled the already heated debate over immigration policies during the Biden administration, and it drew further attention when President Joe Biden referred to her in an unscripted moment during his State of the Union address this month. “I’d rather her not be such a political, how you say — it started a storm in our country,” Jason Riley said of his daughter’s death, “and it’s incited a lot of people.” As a result of the divisiveness, he said, “there’s people on both sides that have lashed out at our families,” referring to him and Riley’s mother. While he and her mother divorced when Riley was young, he and his daughter remained close, calling each other often, he said. She spoke about wanting to graduate from Augusta University’s nursing college and work at a children’s hospital. She wrote down her goals for the year, which included going on a date after she had been such a “study bug,” her father said. She was so preoccupied with school, her sorority and church that the pair last spoke about two weeks before she died. “It was really surreal. I just didn’t want to believe it — it’s still hard to believe,” Jason Riley said of what happened, choking back tears. “I wake up every day thinking that I can call her, and I can’t.” Adding to the difficulty of grieving is the national spotlight on her death, which only exploded following Biden’s State of the Union address. Halfway into Biden’s speech, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., goaded him from the gallery to “say her name,” prompting Biden to hold up a pin Greene had given him earlier with “Laken Riley” on it. Biden said her name, although he appeared to mispronounce it as “Lincoln Riley,” describing her as “an innocent young woman who was killed by an illegal” — a term that drew criticism from immigration advocates who recognize it as dehumanizing language. (Biden told MSNBC he regrets having used the word.) “My heart goes out to you,” Biden told Riley’s family during his speech. “Having lost children myself, I understand.” But in reaction to what Biden said, Jason Riley feels overwhelmed over how politicized the circumstances surrounding his daughter’s death have become. “I think it’s being used politically to get those votes,” Jason Riley said. “It makes me angry. I feel like, you know, they’re just using my daughter’s name for that. And she was much better than that, and she should be raised up for the person that she is. She was an angel.” Jason Riley said he does support former President Donald Trump and that while he prefers his daughter’s death “not be so political,” it has opened up necessary discussions about how best to secure the southern border and help women, including those who are victims of human trafficking. “Laken has been a rallying cry for secure borders and for the illegal immigration policies of this current administration, but there’s many women we don’t get to hear about,” he said. On the day of Biden’s State of the Union address, a bill in honor of Riley’s daughter authored by Rep. Mike Collins, R-Ga., passed the GOP-led House with 37 Democrats supporting it. If it is signed into law, the Laken Riley Act would require U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to take into custody undocumented immigrants who commit theft-related crimes, such as shoplifting, and allow state attorneys general to sue to prevent the U.S. homeland security secretary from taking immigration action when perceived “policy failures” harm the state or its citizens. Some Democrats have accused Republicans of specifically using Riley’s death to score political points. Sen. Raphael Warnock, D-Ga., called the House bill “smoke and mirrors” created by Republicans and urged that “rather than demagoguing this tragic death by this young woman, they ought to get serious.” Trump, who met with Riley’s mother, Allyson Phillips, and stepfather before a campaign rally in Georgia this month, has blamed Biden’s policies for contributing to her death as a record high number of migrants have crossed the southern border. Phillips has declined media requests while the police investigation continues. In a Facebook comment posted in response to Biden’s speech, she wrote it was “pathetic” that “Biden does not even KNOW my child’s name.” The suspect, a Venezuelan citizen named Jose Antonio Ibarra, entered the U.S. illegally in 2022 near El Paso, Texas, immigration officials said. Last summer, police in New York charged him with acting in a manner to injure a child less than 17 and a motor vehicle license violation. He was released before immigration authorities could ask police to hold him. In October, Ibarra and his brother, who was also in the country illegally, were issued citations for shoplifting from a Walmart in Athens, Georgia, police said. Ibarra had failed to appear in court on a bench warrant. He was living in an apartment in Athens less than a mile from the University of Georgia campus. Riley, 22, was reported missing Feb. 22, when, a friend said, she went for a run at the college’s intramural fields that morning and never returned. She was an experienced runner, having competed in high school and run marathons, and her father said she would typically work out with friends. But on that day she went alone. Her body was found in some woods on campus, and police said she suffered “visible injuries” and died of blunt force trauma. Ibarra was named as a suspect the next day after, investigators said, they had connected him to security video, according to a federal affidavit obtained by The Associated Press. Police have found no specific motive for the attack, which they described as a “crime of opportunity.” Ibarra remains booked in the Clarke County Jail on several charges, including malice murder, aggravated battery, aggravated assault, kidnapping and concealing the death of another. Jason Riley said his daughter’s killing shows that people crossing into the U.S. are not being properly vetted, although he is unsure whether that would have made a difference in her case. “I understand them wanting to come here for a better life,” he said of migrants, “but when you have gang members and people who can commit violent crimes, especially against women, I think we can stop some of that.” While Trump’s campaign rhetoric has sought to connect migrants with a surge of criminal activity, expert analysis and available data from major-city police departments show that despite several high-profile incidents, there is no evidence of a migrant-driven crime wave. The apparently random attack on the University of Georgia campus led to demands from the community for security upgrades. The school said it would commit more than $7 million to new safety initiatives, including additional police and emergency call boxes. Jason Riley said he has avoided news coverage of his daughter’s death and details of the case, preferring instead to remember her life. Despite her name’s being brought up in a political context, he said, he would rather think about how others remembered her at her funeral, where hundreds showed up to pay their respects. Her mother’s family is also establishing a scholarship fund and a foundation to raise awareness of homicides and safety for young women. “She was only 22. She had a lot of life left to give to the world,” Jason Riley said. “If everybody could live like Laken,” he added, “it would make the world a better place.” Priscilla Thompson and Rebecca Byrd reported from Buford and Erik Ortiz from New York. This story first appeared on NBCNews.com. More from NBC News: Georgia Latino groups condemn ‘heinous’ crime at UGA as they fear anti-immigrant rhetoric Conservative influencer helped steal a table used to assault officers on Jan. 6, FBI says Georgia doctor found liable of emotional distress after posting videos of decapitated baby

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No special treatment for Latrell in swearing saga: Abdo

Camera IconLatrell Mitchell raised plenty of eyebrows with an expletive-laden radio cross on Thursday night. (Dave Hunt/AAP PHOTOS) Credit: AAP No special treatment for Latrell in swearing saga: Abdo Jasper BruceAAPMarch 19, 2024 9:02AM Topics Share to FacebookShare to TwitterEmail UsCopy the Link

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BHP recommits to diversity, ESG initiatives

The West Australian Perth Now Click to open navigation ‌‌ Breaking News Economy Markets Property Commercial Property Workplace Matters Camera IconNot Supplied Credit: News Corp Australia BHP recommits to diversity, ESG initiatives Duncan EvansNCA NewsWire March 19, 2024 9:02AM Topics Originally published as BHP recommits to diversity, ESG initiatives Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Email Us Copy the Link Your Local News Share to TwitterShare to FacebookShare to InstagramShare to YoutubeEmail UsGet Digital Edition Perth Now Email UsNewsletter Chevron Down IconSubmit story tip Camera IconSubmit photos Get Digital EditionDigital edition Chevron Down IconBack to top

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Report slurred speech, facial drooping early to avert stroke – Nephrologist

A Nephrologist at the Olabisi Onabanjo University Teaching Hospital, Sagamu, Ogun State, Dr Olawale Adefemi, says many cases of stroke could have been prevented if those with the medical condition had reported its early signs that include facial drooping, slurred speech, or difficulty walking in time to a doctor. The expert noted that the signs can come on suddenly and may still include severe headaches, dizziness, and loss of balance or coordination, and noted that instead of a call for help, most people will choose to wait or take medicine. He underscored the seriousness of such events, noting that it could lead to a full-blown stroke if there is any further delay in seeking medical intervention. According to the World Health Organisation, stroke is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide, and it is likely to worsen in developing countries over the next two decades. WHO noted that stroke carries a high risk of death, while survivors can experience loss of vision or speech, paralysis, and confusion. According to the global health body, annually, 15 million people worldwide suffer a stroke, out of which five million die, and another five million are left permanently disabled, thus, placing a burden on family and community. WHO stated that stroke is uncommon in people under 40 years, adding that when it does occur, the main cause is high blood pressure. According to the National Institute of Health, and National Library of Science, Nigeria stands to risk the further straining of its resources as a result of the increasing prevalence of stroke and other cardiovascular diseases due to epidemiological transition. It put the current prevalence of stroke in Nigeria at 1.14 per 1000, while the 30-day case fatality rate is as high as 40 per cent. “Management of the disease is largely conservative while there is little or no funding for high-quality research. Primary prevention is the key to reducing the burden of the disease in a country with such poor resources,” the NIH stated. Speaking with PUNCH Healthwise, Adefemi the nephrologist stated that getting medical attention quickly can make the difference between life and death, and can also reduce the chance of long-term disability. While urging people to be aware of the signs of a stroke, and seek help immediately if they experience any of the aforementioned signs, he explained that a stroke occurs when blood flow to the brain is interrupted, which can lead to the death of brain cells. He added, “There are two main types of stroke: ischemic and hemorrhagic. Ischemic strokes are caused by a blood clot that blocks the flow of blood to the brain. Hemorrhagic strokes are caused by a bleed in the brain. “The symptoms of both types of stroke can be similar, but the treatment is different. For example, ischemic strokes may be treated with a drug that dissolves the blood clot, while hemorrhagic strokes may require surgery to stop the bleeding. “Strokes can happen to anyone, regardless of age or other health factors. It’s important to know the signs of a stroke and to seek medical help right away if you think you or a loved one may be experiencing one. “Early intervention is key to reducing the impact of a stroke and increasing the chance of a full recovery. “Often, people ignore the symptoms of a stroke or write them off as something else, such as a migraine or dizziness. But any sudden onset of symptoms like weakness, numbness, or slurred speech could be a sign of a stroke, and it’s important to get help right away. The sooner treatment is started, the better the outcome will be.” He lamented that many people don’t recognise the symptoms of a stroke, or don’t want to bother a doctor with what they believe are minor complaints. “Stroke occurs when blood flow to the brain is interrupted, which can lead to the death of brain cells. When this happens, it’s essential to restore blood flow as quickly as possible to limit the damage. That’s why getting to a doctor quickly is so important. “It is better to be safe than sorry, and people need to seek help as soon as possible if they suspect they or a loved one may be experiencing a stroke. “There are several risk factors for stroke, including high blood pressure, diabetes, and smoking. However, anyone can have a stroke and it’s not just a problem for older people. “In fact, strokes are becoming increasingly common in younger people, including those in their 30s and 40s,” he noted. The nephrologist, however, stressed the importance of controlling risk factors and living a healthy lifestyle to reduce the risk of a stroke. He emphasised that it is important to embrace a healthy lifestyle to lower the risk factors, including eating a balanced diet, getting regular exercise, and giving up smoking. The physician also said there is a need to control other health conditions that can increase the risk of stroke, such as atrial fibrillation and heart valve disease. “I can’t stress enough how important it is to be aware of your risk factors for stroke and to take steps to reduce them.”

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Reserve Bank tipped to keep rates on hold as analysts watch for clues on cuts

The West Australian Perth Now Click to open navigation ‌‌ Breaking News Economy Markets Property Commercial Property Workplace Matters Camera IconNot Supplied Credit: News Corp Australia Reserve Bank tipped to keep rates on hold as analysts watch for clues on cuts Jack QuailNCA NewsWire March 19, 2024 9:03AM Topics Originally published as Reserve Bank tipped to keep rates on hold as analysts watch for clues on cuts Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Email Us Copy the Link Your Local News Share to TwitterShare to FacebookShare to InstagramShare to YoutubeEmail UsGet Digital Edition Perth Now Email UsNewsletter Chevron Down IconSubmit story tip Camera IconSubmit photos Get Digital EditionDigital edition Chevron Down IconBack to top

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Yen holds nerve as BOJ decision looms; dollar resurgent

SINGAPORE : The yen dwindled near the 150 per dollar level on Tuesday but held its ground ahead of a pivotal policy decision from the Bank of Japan (BOJ), while the U.S. dollar towered over its peers as bets for early rate cuts there were trimmed. Rate decisions from the BOJ and the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) come under the spotlight in the Asia day, and currency moves were subdued early on Tuesday with traders hesitant to take on new positions ahead of the outcomes. The yen was last little changed at 149.14 per dollar, while the Australian dollar fell 0.06 per cent $0.6556. The BOJ, in particular, takes centre stage, given swirling speculation that the dovish central bank could finally phase out years of uber-easy policy at the conclusion of its two-day policy meeting on Tuesday. Against the euro, the yen steadied at 162.18, with the Japanese currency likewise little changed against the Aussie at 97.78. The Nikkei newspaper reported on Monday the BOJ is set to decide on ending its negative interest rate policy and also call time on its yield curve control and purchase of risk assets at this month’s meeting. “If they do hike… I think we have to wait at least several more months for the subsequent hike into positive territory,” said Gareth Berry, FX and rates strategist at Macquarie. “It’s not going to be back-to-back March and April hikes. There will be grounds for pause… they’re not in a rush.” Japanese policymakers have been quick to caution that accommodative monetary conditions will likely remain even after the BOJ ends its negative interest rate policy, tempering any market expectations for a hawkish shift in the central bank’s policy stance. That would likely keep the yen under pressure in the near term as well, given still-stark interest rate differentials between Japan and the United States, and as bets the Federal Reserve is likely to keep rates higher for longer ramp up. “Anytime the Fed and the BOJ are moving policy settings at about the same time, it’s always the Fed that rules and dominates the price action, even in dollar/yen. So BOJ’s decisions generally are, as far as the yen is concerned, a matter of secondary importance,” said Berry. RATES OUTLOOK Down Under, expectations are for the RBA to keep rates on hold later on Tuesday, with major local banks in Australia forecasting no change in rates until at least end-August. “Holding policy rates steady and policy guidance broadly unchanged seems like a reasonably straightforward decision in the presence of high uncertainty,” said Carl Ang, fixed income research analyst at MFS Investment Management. “Overall, greater clarity on the outlook for inflation and its return to target seems like a necessary precursor to more dovish signalling and possibly lower rates by year-end.” The Aussie found some support at the start of the week from better-than-expected Chinese data, but due to a resurgent U.S. dollar, it was still some distance away from a roughly two-month high of $0.6667 hit earlier in the month. The New Zealand dollar was similarly pinned near Monday’s two-week low and last bought $0.6079. Elsewhere, the euro rose 0.02 per cent to $1.08735, having touched a two-week trough of $1.0866 in the previous session. Sterling fell 0.05 per cent to $1.2723. A rebound in the greenback – helped by a recent run of resilient U.S. economic data pointing to still-sticky inflation, has paused the dollar’s decline as investors adjust their expectations of the pace and scale of Fed cuts this year. That comes ahead of the Fed’s policy decision also due this week, where focus will be on any clues for how soon the central bank could commence its rate easing cycle. “We expect the FOMC to continue to show a three-cut baseline for 2024 at its March meeting and have lowered our own forecast to three cuts vs four previously in 2024,” said Goldman Sachs chief U.S. economist David Mericle in a client note. Against a basket of currencies, the dollar rose 0.02 per cent to 103.60, after having touched a roughly two-week high of 103.65 in the previous session.

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Nvidia’s new software tools meant for companies adding AI to business

SAN JOSE : Nvidia on Monday unveiled software aimed at making it easier for businesses to incorporate artificial intelligence systems into their work, broadening the chipmaker’s offerings. The release highlights Nvidia’s push to expand its presence in the AI application execution sector, called inference, where the company’s chips don’t dominate the market, said Joel Hellermark, CEO of Sana, a maker of AI assistants for companies. Nvidia is best known for providing the chips used to train so-called foundation models like OpenAI’s GPT-4. Training involves ingesting large amounts of data and is done mostly by AI-focused and large tech companies. Now, companies of all sizes are scrambling to incorporate those foundation models into their work, which can be complicated. The Nvidia tools released on Monday are designed to make it easier to modify and run various AI models on Nvidia hardware. “It’s like buying a ready-made meal rather than going out and purchasing ingredients yourself,” said Ben Metcalfe, a venture capitalist who founded Monochrome Capital. “The Googles and Doordashes and Ubers, they can do all of this themselves, but now that Nvidia has more GPUs available they need to enable more companies to get value out of GPUs,” he said. Those less tech-savvy companies can use the “prepared recipes” to get their systems up, he said. For example, ServiceNow, a firm that provides software for use by technical support staff inside big businesses, said it used Nvidia’s tools to create a “copilot” to help solve corporate IT problems. Nvidia has some big-name partners for the new tools: Microsoft, Alphabet Inc’s Google and Amazon will offer them as part of their cloud computing services, and Google, Cohere, Meta and Mistral are among companies offering models. But OpenAI, its financial backer Microsoft and Anthropic, two of the largest providers of foundation models, are notably missing from the list. Nvidia’s tools offer a potential revenue boost for the chipmaker: They are part of its existing software suite that costs $4,500 a year for each Nvidia chip if used on in a private data center or $1 per hour in a cloud data center.

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Oregon man found guilty of murder in 1980 cold case of college student after DNA link

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A man living in the suburbs of Portland, Oregon, has been found guilty in the 1980 cold case murder of a 19-year-old college student. Multnomah County Circuit Judge Amy Baggio on Friday found Robert Plympton, 60, guilty of first-degree murder in the death of Barbara Mae Tucker, KOIN-TV reported. Plympton was not convicted of rape or sexual abuse because prosecutors failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that it happened while she was still alive, the judge said. A medical examiner determined Tucker had been sexually assaulted and beaten to death. In 2021, Gresham police arrested Plympton after they said DNA technology linked him to the crime. Tucker was expected at a night class at Mt. Hood Community College on Jan. 15, 1980. Witnesses said she had been seen running out of a bushy, wooded area on campus and that a man came out of the area and led her back to campus. A student found Tucker’s body the next day near a campus parking lot. Physical evidence from the scene was maintained and a DNA profile match eventually led investigators to Plympton. Multnomah County Chief Deputy District Attorney Kirsten Snowden said there was no evidence that Tucker and Plympton knew each other, The Oregonian/OregonLive reported. Plympton said he was innocent and that he didn’t match the description of a man seen pulling her into the bushes. He is scheduled to be sentenced in June. The Associated Press

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Cuba protests US comments following protests against power blackouts, food shortages

HAVANA (AP) — Cuba’s government on Monday protested as interventionist comments from the U.S. Embassy on the island following demonstrations against power blackouts and food shortages by hundreds of people in eastern Cuba. Cuba’s Foreign Ministry delivered a note expressing the complaint to the chargé d’affaires at the U.S. diplomatic mission in Havana, Benjamin Ziff. On Sunday, protesters took to the streets in the eastern city of Santiago decrying power outages lasting up to eight hours and shortages of food. State media confirmed the protests in Santiago, while the U.S. Embassy in Havana said there were also reports of protests in a number of other provinces across the island. Videos showing people chanting “electricity and food” were quickly shared by Cubans on and off the island on platforms like X and Facebook. A nongovernmental human rights group that monitors Cuba said there had been at least three arrests. The U.S. Embassy urged the Cuban government to respect the protests in a post on its Facebook page. “We urge the Cuban government to respect the human rights of the protesters and attend to the legitimate needs of the Cuban people,” it said. On Monday, Cuban Deputy Foreign Minister Carlos Fernández de Cossío, speaking to The Associated Press, called the comments “disrespectful“ and an ”open interference is Cuba’s domestic affairs.” “It was also cynical, as we said publicly, and hypocritical because it was referring to issues that are occurring in Cuba in which there’s an import and responsibility from the U.S. government,” said Fernández de Cossío, referring to the longstanding U.S. embargo on the island. Cuba is facing one of the worst economic and energy crises in its history. Waves of blackouts have grown worse in recent weeks, adding to frustrations over food shortages and inflation that have made it increasingly difficult to make ends meet on the communist-governed island. Hundreds of thousands of people have migrated, with many headed to the United States. The Associated Press

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Man pleads guilty to murder in Hawaii after killing lover and encasing his body in tub

HONOLULU (AP) — A man pleaded guilty to murder Monday, about two years after his lover’s decomposing body was found encased in concrete in a bathtub in one of Hawaii’s most exclusive gated communities. Juan Tejedor Baron, now 25, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the death of Gary Ruby, 73. As part of a plea deal, prosecutors won’t seek a sentence of life without possibility for parole. Prosecutors will recommend a minimum term of 20 years to the Hawaii Paroling Authority, according to the plea agreement. According to court documents, Baron killed Ruby, poured cement over this body and planned to fraudulently take ownership of his car and home in Honolulu’s Hawaii Loa Ridge neighborhood. Property records showed Ruby purchased the house in 2002 for nearly $2.2 million. Ruby’s decomposing body was excavated by authorities in March 2022 from a standalone soaking tub, after his brother told police he hadn’t heard from Ruby in weeks. Ruby’s last email to his brother mentioned he had “met a new love interest named Juan” who was significantly younger, police said. Police said Baron covered the cement with coffee grounds to mask the smell. U.S. Marshals and Los Angeles police arrested Baron after finding him in a crawl space at the back of a Mexico-bound bus in Anaheim, California. Baron had long wanted to take responsibility, but Baron’s lawyers had discovered evidence of possible prosecutorial misconduct in the case, said defense attorney Kyle Dowd. The plea agreement says Baron’s attorneys will withdraw a motion alleging that a former prosecutor on the case showed photographic evidence during presentations to community members, which could have tainted the jury pool. Baron is considered to have overstayed a visa, according to the plea document. If he’s granted parole, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement will take custody of Baron and start removal proceedings. Baron is from Colombia, Dowd said. Jennifer Sinco Kelleher, The Associated Press

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