Former USC gynecologist George Tyndall arrested on sexual assault charges

first_imgABC News(LOS ANGELES) — Former University of Southern California gynecologist George Tyndall was arrested on Wednesday in the wake of allegations levied by hundreds of former students who claimed he sexually assaulted them under the guise of medical care.Tyndall, who has been accused of molesting more than 400 female patients over his decades-long career at the university, was arrested at his California apartment on felony sexual assault charges Wednesday morning, authorities said.The former campus doctor was charged with 18 counts of sexual penetration and 11 counts of sexual battery by fraud for “sexually assaulting 16 young women over the course of seven years while he worked as a gynecologist at the University of Southern California,” the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office said in a statement Wednesday.“Tyndall is accused of sexually assaulting 16 female students at a campus health center. The victims, who range in age from 17 to 29, went to the facility for annual exams or for other treatment,” prosecutors said in a statement, adding the alleged incidents took place between 2009 and 2016.Officers with the Los Angeles Police Department have previously said the scope of their investigation spans more than three decades.Tyndall, 72, resigned from his position in 2017.His arrest came in the wake of several lawsuits filed against both Tyndall and the university. One of the suits claimed USC ignored complaints that Tyndall allegedly made crude remarks, took inappropriate photographs and groped patients to “satisfy his own prurient desires.”A federal judge recently granted preliminary approval to a $215 million class-action settlement for former patients, according to university, which has agreed to pay the women. Under the terms of the settlement, approximately 17,000 students who received women’s health services during Tyndall’s tenure would each be eligible to receive between $2,500 and $250,000. The amount would depend on the severity of the alleged misconduct and the women’s willingness to offer written statements “detailing their experience of Dr. Tyndall’s conduct, the personal impact, and any injury they wish to be considered,” the university said.Former University of Southern California President Max Nikias stepped down last summer amid criticism over how he handled the accusations against Tyndall.USC Interim President Wanda Austin said she hopes Tyndall’s arrest helps to bring together the campus community.“We care deeply about our community and our top priority continues to be the wellbeing of our students, health center patients and university community,” Austin said in a statement. “We hope this arrest will be a healing step for former patients and our entire university.”Tyndall could face as many as 53 years in state prison if convicted as charged. Prosecutors recommended that bail be set at more than $2 million.Tyndalls’ attorneys, Leonard Levine and Andrew Flier, said he denies the allegations.“After a year of being tried in the press, Dr. Tyndall looks forward to having his case adjudicated in a court of law where the truth will finally prevail,” they said in a statement. “He remains adamant he will then be totally exonerated.”Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.last_img read more

Hades wins Game of the Year at DICE Awards 2021

first_imgJeffrey RousseauStaff WriterThursday 22nd April 2021Share this article Recommend Tweet ShareToday, Supergiant Games’ Hades won Game of the Year at the 24th annual DICE Awards, one of five honors the game received.It earned this achievement ahead of Animal Crossing: New Horizons, Final Fantasy 7 Remake, Ghost of Tsushima, and The Last of Us 2.Related JobsEnvironment Artists – New IP South East Creative AssemblyLead Sound Designer South East Creative AssemblyRemote Environment Artist Console Studio UK UK & Europe Big PlanetDiscover more jobs in games The DICE Award organizers the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences awarded Hades with Outstanding Achievement for Game Direction, Outstanding Achievement for Game Design, Outstanding Achievement for an Independent Game, and Action Game of the Year.Ghost of Tsushima won the next-most categories, with four awards including Adventure Game of the Year. The only other multiple award winners were Half-Life: Alyx and The Last of Us 2, each of which won two categoriesHere is the list of winners in full:Game of the Year — HadesAction Game of the Year — HadesAdventure Game of the Year — Ghost of TsushimaFamily Game of the Year — Animal Crossing: New HorizonsFighting Game of the Year — Mortal Kombat 11 UltimateRacing Game of the Year — Mario Kart LiveRole-Playing Game of the Year — Final Fantasy 7 RemakeSports Game of the Year — Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2Strategy/Simulation Game of the Year — Microsoft Flight SimulatorImmersive Reality Technical Achievement — Half-Life: AlyxImmersive Reality Game of the Year — Half-Life: AlyxMobile Game of the Year — Legends of RuneterraOnline Game of the Year — Fall Guys: Ultimate KnockoutOutstanding Achievement in Game Design — HadesOutstanding Achievement for an Independent Game — HadesOutstanding Achievement in Game Direction — HadesOutstanding Achievement in Animation — The Last of Us Part 2Outstanding Achievement in Art Direction — Ghost of TsushimaOutstanding Achievement in Character — Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles MoralesOutstanding Achievement in Original Music Composition — Ghost of TsushimaOutstanding Achievement in Audio Design — Ghost of TsushimaOutstanding Achievement in Story — The Last of Us Part 2Outstanding Technical Achievement — Dreamslast_img read more

REBNY, Building Trades join forces on development, policy

first_imgOne of the new committee’s two subcommittees, focusing on development, was formed in light of REBNY’s recognition that “there can be value added by utilizing union construction workers” on projects. REBNY’s developer members have used union contractors for decades but have been doing more open-shop projects in recent years, leading to clashes with the Building Trades, led by Gary LaBarbera.A press release from the two groups says, “The goal is to facilitate open competitive bidding for all solicitations, with developers evaluating all bids pursuant to their business judgment.”That language is similar to Related’s agreement in that it expresses a willingness to hire union labor on a bid-by-bid basis, but isn’t a pledge to use an all-union workforce. The BCTC had held protests and run a massive campaign to push Related to hire only union labor before reaching a compromise earlier this year.The second subcommittee will “identify ways to harmonize political and legislative objectives in the mutual interest of BCTC and REBNY.” It’s unclear what this will mean for the fight to expand prevailing wage requirements in the city, an issue on which the city’s chapter of the BCTC remained fairly quiet during the most recent state legislative session. The push for expanding prevailing wage, which fell short, was led by that state chapter of the BCTC.REBNY and the BCTC have often found themselves on opposite ends of the negotiation table, perhaps most notably when the popular tax break, formerly 421a, lapsed and then was revised. The union group had fought for prevailing wage to be applied to all projects receiving 421a, an effort fiercely opposed by the real estate trade group. Ultimately, the state passed legislation subjecting only some projects to the requirement. This content is for subscribers only.Subscribe Now BCTC’s Gary LabBarbera and REBNY’s Jim WhelanThe Real Estate Board of New York and the Building and Construction Trades Council, two groups that have historically clashed on development policy, plan to team up.The groups announced on Thursday an agreement to form a “joint industry advancement committee” to promote the health of New York City’s economy and of the real estate industry.Details on the committee’s goals weren’t provided, but the announcement follows another agreement between the BCTC — an umbrella group for construction workers unions — and the Related Companies over work at Hudson Yards, following more than a year of fighting between them.Read moreWhy prevailing wage didn’t happenRelated, LaBarbera reach deal over Hudson Yards last_img read more

City identifies cause of fatal wall collapse in Brooklyn

first_img Full Name* City officials say inadequate support for a retaining wall led to the death of construction worker Jashim Mia. (NYPD via Twitter) City officials say inadequate support for a retaining wall led to the death of a construction worker in a Brooklyn yard on Monday.Jashim Mia, 39, was killed on Tuesday when a retaining wall collapsed at 454 42nd Street in Sunset Park, according to the New York City Police Department and Department of Buildings. He was hired to repair the retaining wall, and was performing excavation work along the length of the structure. Inadequate shoring along the wall caused it to crumble, a DOB spokesperson said.Mia was pronounced dead at the scene. Another 25-year-old worker was injured and taken to NYU Langone Lutheran Hospital, according to the NYPD.The owners of the adjacent property, 453 43rd Street, had hired Mia and other workers to repair the wall, according to DOB. The work required access to 454 42nd Street. DOB has since issued a partial vacate order for the backyards of both homes. The owners of 453 43rd Street, listed in property records as Wilfredo and Rosael Roman, didn’t immediately respond to a message seeking comment.The DOB’s investigation of the incident is ongoing. Contact Kathryn Brenzel Message* This content is for subscribers only.Subscribe Now Email Address*last_img read more

‘Star’ Reading Buses driver gets award

first_imgA Reading Buses driver has been awarded ‘Star of the Month’ after a regular commuter wrote to the operator praising him.Alan Jones has won a ‘Star of the Month’ award following praise from a commuterAlan Jones, 42, has worked for the company for just under 14 years.Says Caroline Anscombe, Reading Buses HR Director: “Alan is a fantastic example of how to give great customer service which is something on which we pride ourselves.“We employ a mystery traveller company to help improve our on-board experience and Alan always excels and is regularly given high scores.”last_img read more

New Transdev Directors named; road map for future growth revealed

first_imgVitto Pizzuti is promoted to Operations Director, based in Harrogate, while Paul Turner is promoted to Commercial Director position based in BurnleyTransdev has promoted two new Directors, Vitto Pizzuti and Paul Turner, as the operator announces a road map for future growth following the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic.Vitto takes up the position of Operations Director in Harrogate, while Paul takes on the role of Commercial Director based in Burnley.Both men started as bus drivers early in their transport careers.Vitto joined as a driver for Trentbarton in 2004, where he soon rose to become General Manager at the company’s Sutton depot. He became Operations Manager at Trentbarton’s Nottingham depot in 2016, and joined Transdev as Head of Delivery in June 2018.Paul meanwhile brings experience from a 12-year career with passenger transport consultancy the TAS Partnership, where he worked to improve leading bus and light rail groups. After time spent at First Yorkshire he moved to become Head of Commercial Development at Transdev in 2018.Vitto will help oversee a ‘digital transformation’ of Transdev’s engineering function. Called ‘Power Up’, a full-fleet digital management system is being introduced starting in Harrogate and spreading across the company. It will give Transdev engineers the ability to carry out vehicle inspections electronically for the first time, Vitto says, with data being fed into its parts stores and finance colleagues. It will allow operations teams to see what buses are available at a glance, and speed up the flow of information back to engineers for more efficient maintenance.He adds that Transdev is investing in driver training and welfare facilities, and is preparing to launch new buses for York City Sightseeing, Witchway Burnley and Manchester as well as Cityzap, between Leeds and York.In the meantime, Paul will be working to attract customers back to buses as demand for travel returns. “We’re already working with key destinations to explain how we can help with their return in the next few months. It’s not just about promoting our product – we now blend that with reassurance about safety and hygiene through our ‘Clean, Safe, Ready to Go’ campaigns.Transdev continues to develop its dialogue with customers, informed through its regular ‘Talk Shop’ briefings. Eight or nine new schedules have been produced in the last few months, Paul says, led by data and trends. July will see the next set of changes introduced.CEO Alex Hornby welcomed the promotions. He says: “Vitto and Paul are among the very best at what they do. Our operational and commercial functions – and the teams who support them – are in great hands, and I am very much looking forward to continuing to develop our visionary and customer-led business with our many amazing colleagues throughout our company.”last_img read more

DUP leader: No prospect of Northern Ireland deal

first_imgThe DUP are especially against any deal that would include a standalone Irish language act, as demanded by Sinn Féin.”In our view, there is no current prospect of these discussions leading to an Executive being formed”— Arlene Foster (@DUPleader) February 14, 2018Foster’s statement came as a surprise as on Monday U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May and Irish PM Leo Varadkar traveled to Belfast to discuss progress, with May saying there was “the basis of an agreement.”Foster called on the Westminster government to set a budget and begin to make policy decisions but noted that Northern Ireland “is best governed by local Ministers who are accountable to local people.” There is “no current prospect” of restoring power-sharing in Northern Ireland, Democratic Unionist Party leader Arlene Foster said Wednesday.The DUP and Sinn Féin have been engaged in start-stop talks to find agreement since the Northern Ireland Executive collapsed over the handling of a green energy scheme in January 2017. Civil servants have largely been making day-to-day decisions on public services during that time. Northern Ireland has a power-sharing government in which Irish nationalists and unionists must work together, a system set up to provide a political settlement after years of conflict.“At the moment, we do not have a fair and balanced package,” Foster said in a statement. “We cannot and will not be held to ransom by those who have refused to form an executive for over thirteen months.”last_img read more

Tinder woes and snarky bosses: Young and Russian in DC

first_imgAccording to Montoya, the Russians have learned from watching the Chinese, who rely more heavily on “nonprofessional collection” — drawing intelligence from all sorts of nationals with access to sensitive information, rather than primarily relying on professional operatives. The Chinese model is often called “a thousand grains of sand.”As evidenced by Butina — who schmoozed relentlessly, actively sought publicity and questioned candidate Donald Trump at a campaign event while allegedly coordinating her activities with a Russian government official — young Kremlin agents in the U.S. are also becoming more brazen.“They don’t think there are any boundaries because of what the Russians did to us in 2016,” said Montoya, explaining that successful exploits in the U.S. can help young Russians break into their country’s elite at a time when average citizens are suffering from economic stagnation. “That’s the risk-reward of what these kids are trying to do. They’re enterprising and they do it because they think the payoffs will be huge.”Meanwhile, Russians here are also often targets for recruitment by U.S. intelligence services. Sivaev, at the World Bank, mentioned a Russian friend who believed she was being groomed for recruitment by the U.S. government. Through Sivaev, she declined to speak to me.While Russians of all ages can be potential assets, men between the ages of 45 and 55 are the riper targets than their younger comrades for U.S. government recruitment, according to Mike Rochford, a retired FBI special agent who served as espionage section chief in the bureau’s counterintelligence division. “We notice that people of that age, especially in Russia, tended to have a more realistic point of view,” he said. “Marriages go bad, ambitions go bad, they don’t get promotions. Some people have bad situations with their superiors. Some people lose money in the stock market. Their mom and dad die.”Life on campus as a Russian is more or less normal. Former counterintelligence officials say Russians are particularly fond of the honey trap, the use of attractive young people, usually women, to compromise or gain influence over intelligence targets, usually older men.Of course, the prospect of Russian agents using sex as a weapon of statecraft is a real one. Former counterintelligence officials say Russians are particularly fond of the honey trap, the use of attractive young people, usually women, to compromise or gain influence over intelligence targets, usually older men. Prosecutors allege that Butina, for example, used a romantic relationship with Paul Erickson, a 56-year-old Republican operative, to further her aims as she sought access to conservative political networks such as the NRA and the annual CPAC conference (Butina’s lawyer claims the two were genuinely in love).Not every use of the honey trap fits that stereotype. One former top counterintelligence official described his consternation at the recklessness of State Department officials of both sexes during the Obama years, who indulged in sexual favors from in-room masseurs during their stays at the Moscow Ritz, the same hotel made infamous by the Steele Dossier’s unsubstantiated allegations about Donald Trump’s behavior in the presidential suite.The thirty-something Russian woman, who has earned the Kremlin’s ire for her writing in praise of economic sanctions, said she is on guard for a certain kind of approach. “I’m not worried of young Russians,” she said. “I’m worried of young, blue-eyed, model-looking guys.”The age-old tactic has been given a new spin by dating apps, which allow would-be spies to make far more passes and do so at a safe distance, posing new challenges for U.S. counterintelligence — as well as for single Russians just trying to get a date.“We can’t go to Tinder and say, ‘Give us a list of everyone with a Russian surname,’” said Frank Montoya Jr., a former FBI special agent and former director of the Office of the National Counterintelligence Directorate. But nothing prepared the young Russians of Washington for the wintry blast of social isolation and suspicion that followed the arrest this July of an attractive young Russian apparatchik. When Maria Butina, 29, was charged with acting as an unregistered Kremlin agent from her perch as a grad student at American University, it seemed to confirm Washington’s worst suspicions about them.To be young and Russian in Washington is, often, to live in the gray ambiguities of a John Le Carré Cold War spy novel.Now, more so than ever, the capital’s young Russiantonians find themselves living in a battlefield of the new Cold War.Their Tinder dates keep asking them if they’re spies. Their landlords are interrogating them. Their resumes are getting tossed in the trash, and when they do get the job, their boss might warn them not to mention their nationality to people at the office. If that sounds bad, many of them — especially opposition figures and gay men in exile — are regarded with more suspicion by their own government back home than by their new neighbors here.To be young and Russian in Washington is, often, to live in the gray ambiguities of a John Le Carré Cold War spy novel. You’re pretty sure those questions about being a spy are innocent flirtations, and your boss might be joking when he asks you to keep your birthplace to yourself, but it is not totally clear. Then there’s the too-good-to-be true job offer on LinkedIn: Have you lucked out, or are you being recruited for something else?When friends with ties to official Washington bail on plans to hang out, a calendar conflict can take on more sinister overtones. “Are they really busy? Who knows?” mused Maria Snegovaya, a young academic from St. Petersburg who recently entered the fog of Russian expat life in D.C. “You’re not hired for that job. Why is that?” U.S. flags fly near the Mall in Washington on July 3 | Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty ImagesOverall, she is a fan of her new home.She was heartened to find a popular anti-Putin slogan scrawled in Cyrillic on a bathroom wall at Solly’s, a Dive Bar on U Street, and has even contributed some graffiti of her own to the D.C. streetscape. Shortly after arriving here, she came across posters advertising RT, the Kremlin-backed media outlet, on H Street—a hip section of Northeast Washington—and vandalized them with marker, writing “Putin’s motherfuckers” and “stop war in Ukraine.”That attitude does not play well back home.After volunteering with So Others Might Eat, a D.C.-based charity for the poor, she wrote a post saying the homeless in Washington eat better than patients in Russian hospitals, where the food is notoriously lousy, provoking fierce criticism in Russia.In Washginton, though, she feels welcome. “Americans are really nice and polite people,” she said. “They’re better than Russians actually.” Just a little more on edge these days.Ben Schreckinger is a reporter for POLITICO. Dating apps such as Tinder allow would-be spies to make more passes at a safer distance | Joe Raedle/Getty ImagesInstead, people with access to sensitive information are trained to be wary when engaging with young Russians (as well as young Chinese nationals, or even people who do not appear to be foreign at all) on dating apps and social media.“If she has a Russian last name, that doesn’t mean don’t engage, especially if you’re really attracted to her,” Montoya advises. Instead, deep state daters should be on the lookout for red flags once they swipe right. “Are they asking specific questions about what you do? Do they persist in those questions? And when are they asking you about those things? Is it after a drink? After a lot of drinks? Is it pillow talk?”Montoya advises a bit of common sense. “If that person is really interested in you, they’re going to ask about your family, they’re going to ask about your hobbies, they’re going to ask you about where you want to go for drinks tomorrow night,” he said. “They’re not going to ask you what you do in that windowless room in the belly of the beast in Langley.”When he was working in sensitive government posts, Montoya even had to warn his three young sons that they could be targeted online by women seeking access to their father. LinkedIn may be worse than dating apps, added Montoya, who regularly received unsolicited business propositions from Russian and Chinese women on the networking site.“Nick,” a 20-something Russian-born U.S. citizen who holds a security clearance and works as a consultant for a major defense contractor described being the target of suspected phishing attempts on both platforms. The first was the prospective offer of a cushy job in private equity, made via LinkedIn. Nick, who spoke on the condition that his real name not be used, was immediately wary because private equity firms rarely recruit consultants. When the man who initiated the discussions passed Nick on to an associate with a generic address, Nick bailed, figuring a legitimate offer would come from a business’s email domain.Besides going online, the counterintelligence threat posed by Russians in Washington is evolving in other ways. Not so long ago, the Russian émigré party scene in Washington was off the hook. Every weekend, promoters would throw Slavic night bashes at venues like Ozio on M Street and Eden on Farragut Square. Euro-pop beats pounded and vodka shots flowed. In 2013, Mari Vanna, a three-story restaurant and nightclub littered with Soviet-era kitsch, opened in DuPont Circle and became the Russian diaspora’s de facto party house. Its “KGB Karaoke” nights on Wednesdays raged into the morning hours. Top Russian acts like Ivanushki International would swing through town to play gigs, and Washington Capitals stars Alexander Ovechkin and Alexander Semin would sometimes join in the revelry with students and summer workers from all over the former Soviet Union.“Before, I would call an event and say, ‘Hey we’re going to have Ukrainian Independence Day,’ and everybody would come,” Andrey Bessarabov, better known as DJ Bezza, a Soviet-born IT worker who moonlights for Troika Party, a promoter of Eastern European club nights in the area. “It didn’t matter Ukrainian, Russian. Nobody differentiated.”Then Vladimir Putin annexed Crimea, and the headlines were filled with talk of sanctions. The party scene began to fracture along political lines. The Ukrainians went their own way. Suddenly parties marking Defender of the Fatherland Day seemed in poor taste given their Russian nationalist overtones. “A lot of people felt negative about it, so I kind of stopped organizing them,” Bessarabov confided over cake on a recent Friday night at Mari Vanna. Also On POLITICO US officials charge DC resident with acting as illegal Kremlin agent By Josh Meyer and Darren Samuelsohn McCain’s choice of Russian dissident as pallbearer is final dig at Putin, Trump By Josh Meyer Washington’s numerous campuses are also sites of counterintelligence concern, both because university study is a common cover for foreign agents and because of the sensitive research conducted on them. Butina was enrolled as a graduate student at American University while allegedly pushing the Kremlin’s agenda here.“If there’s someone coming over here from Russia, and they’re getting access to universities,” warned Rochford, “Then they should be looked at very, very hard, because they have conflicted loyalties.”Counterintelligence officials regularly meet with university officials all over the country to warn them of just that, with mixed results. Many administrators are loath to turn away bright students or researchers on account of vague warnings about national security. One former top counterintelligence official said that the University of Maryland and Johns Hopkins, which perform a lot of classified military research, take such concerns more seriously than the universities in the District.Life on campus as a Russian is more or less normal, reports Alexander Naumov, a sophomore pursuing international relations and Russian studies at George Mason University in northern Virginia.Naumov, a tall 19-year-old with frosted tips, came to the U.S. from a small Russian town as a child. A dual citizen who wants to dedicate his career to improving U.S.-Russia relations, Naumov said he has not experienced discrimination, though friends have joked that it will be difficult for him to get a security clearance. He also told of a Russian classmate who returned to his dorm room last year to find someone had tried to set fire to his Russian flag, which had burn marks on it.The Russian flag flies in front of the Russian Embassy in Washington on December 29, 2016 | Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty ImagesNaumov and his mother have recently reconnected with their Russian heritage through an annual march from the White House to the Mall organized to commemorate Soviet World War II veterans. Russian Maria Butina was arrested on July 15 for conspiring to influence U.S. politics by cultivating ties with political groups | STR/AFP via Getty ImagesSnegovaya has good reason to wonder.“He is a guy who could have been joking about it,” he said, “but even joking felt very uncomfortable.”Those uncomfortable interactions can follow Russiantonians home. One Russian journalist in Washington whose first name is Natalia often goes by Natasha. Natalia, who asked that only her first name be used, told me she was perturbed when her landlady, who perhaps had been watching too much “Rocky & Bullwinkle,” recently began to question her about using the nickname, as if it were some sort of spy alias. The landlady seemed satisfied when Natalia showed her a Wikipedia article explaining that “Natasha” is a standard diminutive for Natalia.Late on a recent Monday night, a lanky man smoking a cigarette on the sidewalk outside Blagden Alley in Shaw loudly complained about his recent experience dating a Russian woman. His ex-girlfriend is brilliant, he explained to me, after I overheard him spilling his sorrows. She works for an international NGO and excels at math, but she also cheated on him. And she becomes erratic when drinking. He leaned forward to show me what he said was a scar on his forehead from when she had beaned him with a full glass of vodka, though I couldn’t make it out in the light of a streetlamp.That kind of domestic combat appears to be an isolated incident. Mostly, men in Washington seem to be intrigued by Russian women, though they do keep asking if they’re spies. “When you go on dates people joke about it a lot,” said Alina, a petite 21-year-old Muscovite who recently graduated from Duke, moved to Washington this summer and declined to provide her last name during a brief interview at Mari Vanna.The questions from men about being a spy are “mostly for flirting,” said one thirty-something Russian woman on the D.C. dating scene. “At least I treat it this way.” While opposition supporters were largely game to speak for this article, those more sympathetic to the Kremlin — or tied to Butina — were not. A spokesman for the Russian Embassy did not respond to an email seeking guidance on the city’s young Russians, nor did the Center for the National Interest, a pro-Kremlin D.C. think tank with ties to Butina. Elena Branson, the New York-based chair of the Kremlin-aligned Coordinating Council of Organizations of Russian Compatriots of the U.S.A., also did not respond to an email seeking guidance on young Russians in Washington who support Putin.A lawyer for Butina suggested speaking to Anton Fedyashin, the director of the school’s Carmel Institute of Russian Culture & History, in which Butina was active. Neither Fedyashin nor the press office at American University responded to inquiries. Susan Carmel, a local philanthropist who funds the center and is a friend of former Russian ambassador Sergei Kislyak, said through a spokeswoman that she was unavailable for an interview.Robert Ainsley, who oversees an exchange program for young opera singers between Moscow’s Bolshoi Theatre and the Washington National Opera, did take my call. He said the program, which Carmel funds, has been an unmitigated success. “At least on an artistic and a cultural level there is no problem between these nations,” he said, though he noted that diplomatic tensions have made it more difficult to secure visas for Russian singers to come here.***Of course, life for young Russiantonians is not an unending stream of side-eye glances and faux glasnost. The standard of living here is far better than in Russia, where the GDP per capita is about $9,000. And for a sizeable number of young Russians who came to Washington fleeing persecution, the city is a haven.Oleg Tomilin, a gay man from the city of Voronezh in southwestern Russia came to Washington in 2014 seeking political asylum. He is middle-aged but said he knows 40 or 50 gay Russian men in the area, mostly in their 20s and 30s, who are doing the same. One of them is 29-year-old Andrew Nasonov, who previously worked in Voronezh as a journalist and activist against anti-LGBT laws. Before he fled to Washington, he was accosted there by Russian police and accused of participating in a conspiracy to murder someone in Moscow. “It’s been feeling like I have two families and I really want to do everything I can to bring them together,” he said, and to “decrease the chance of miscalculation, which could lead to grave consequences.”***I first encountered Naumov at an August gathering at the Russian Embassy commemorating the World War II Battle of Kursk, a 1943 Soviet victory over Germany that helped turn the tide on the Eastern front.In an ornate second-floor ballroom, Russian ambassador Anatoly Antonov toasted the bravery of the Soviet soldiers with vodka and repeatedly hammered home the theme that the Russian government would not tolerate any attempts to desecrate their memory (a reference to the same historical reevaluations that forced DJ Bezza to cancel his Defender of the Fatherland Day raves).It was no karaoke night at Mari Vanna, where “KGB” has been dropped from the event name but a dedicated clutch of loyalists continues to gather each Wednesday to suck down Baltika beers and belt out Russian pop songs among antique samovars, reading the lyrics off screens that otherwise play endless loops of the Soviet cartoon “Nu, Pogodi!” But in addition to Naumov and a number of well-groomed embassy staffers, a handful of other young Russians nibbled on finger food and browsed an exhibition about the battle. The young guests, by-and-large more sympathetic to the Kremlin than critical of it, stood around a table expressing frustration that of late, all Washingtonians want to talk to them about is politics, and their opinions of Putin, a topic they would just as soon avoid.And for a sizeable number of young Russians who came to Washington fleeing persecution, the city is a haven. “When you tell people you’re a Russian journalist, you have to explain you’re not propaganda” — Karina OrlovaWhen he first arrived here four years ago, a gay couple provided Nasonov and his now-husband with free housing for a year in Columbia Heights and then Silver Spring, Maryland. Another gay couple provided them with free housing for another year in Falls Church, Virginia. When Nasonov, who has taken a break from activism and turned instead to making art, launched a GoFundMe to pay rent on a studio near the Takoma Metro station, Washingtonians he had never met put up the money for it.Nasonov has no intentions of leaving the city. “For me to go back to Russia, it’s like equal to death,” he said. “I’m afraid of it.”That’s what Karina Orlova, 32, feared when she fled Moscow for Washington three years ago. An opposition journalist, she made statements about the January 2015 Charlie Hebdo massacre and images of the Prophet Mohammed that earned the ire of Chechen Muslims. Orlova was used to hearing from cranks, but after Ramzan Kadyrov, the strongman who rules Chechnya as Putin’s vassal, spoke out to condemn images of Mohammed, she began receiving credible death threats from Chechens on Facebook.In February 2015, opposition leader Boris Nemtsov was murdered outside the Kremlin, apparently by Chechens tied to Kadyrov, and Orlova decided to move to Washington. Here she writes for Echo of Moscow, an opposition radio station, and for subscribers to her channel on the Russian messaging app Telegram, about American culture and politics.When she divulges her occupation to people in Washington, they often respond with a knowing smile. “When you tell people you’re a Russian journalist, you have to explain you’re not propaganda,” she said. Last year, Nick who came to the U.S. as an adolescent, found his suspicions aroused again when he engaged in an extended flirtation on Tinder with a young woman he came to believe was targeting him for intelligence-gathering purposes. “I don’t know if I was targeted specifically or whether I became an asset of potential interest as we started getting to know each other,” he said.“One thing that I noticed was very, very quick replies, something that is very unusual on Tinder,” he recalled. “The questions would be very, very, very, very sort of like pointed.”Nick kept his responses vague, though he did mention a love for tea-drinking, and eventually he worked up the nerve to ask her out. But when she declined the invitation, her reason was a little too on the nose.“She said she was actually a tea sommelier and that she had an event this weekend,” he recalled. “I was like, ‘Wow that’s so unusual. This is the nicest excuse you could have given me, but I also think it happens to not be true.’” Nick blocked her two days later.Besides going online, the counterintelligence threat posed by Russians in Washington is evolving in other ways.Many administrators are loath to turn away bright students or researchers on account of vague warnings about national security.last_img read more

Man Dies After Jumping Out of California Ambulance

first_imgPatient was struck by a car The man, who may have been suffering from mental health issues, slipped out of restraints Saturday and pushed past the attendant to open the ambulance’s rear door, California Highway Patrol Officer Mark Latulippe said. The BMW driver, a 40-year-old Carlsbad woman, called 911 to report hitting a pedestrian. She was taken to a hospital in unknown condition and her car was towed, the newspaper said. All contents © copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. The patient was being transferred by private ambulance from Tri-City Medical Center in Oceanside to the Veterans Administration hospital in La Jolla, the Union-Tribune reported. ENCINITAS, Calif. (AP) – A 23-year-old man jumped out of the back of a moving ambulance and was struck by a car and killed on an interstate near San Diego, authorities said. The patient landed in southbound lanes of Interstate 5 in Encinitas and managed to jump the center divider. As the man sprinted across northbound lanes he was struck by a BMW, Latulippe said. He died at the scene.last_img read more

Vaccine Rollout Confirms Public Health Officials’ Warnings

first_imgSuch complaints have become a common refrain in a nation where public health officials have been left largely on their own to solve complex problems. It’s difficult to plan too far ahead because the number of doses the state receives can fluctuate. Hospitals cannot give all their workers shots on the same day because of possible side effects and staffing issues, so they must be spaced out. “Let’s just say that I was disappointed how they handled testing, and the vaccine deployment has reminded me of how disappointed I was when they handled testing,” said Dr. Mysheika Roberts, health commissioner in Columbus, Ohio. An ongoing investigation by The Associated Press and Kaiser Health News detailed how state and local health departments have been underfunded for decades. Public health officials have warned since the spring that they lacked the staff, money and tools they needed to deploy a vaccine. The money was not approved until the end of December. By MICHELLE R. SMITH and CANDICE CHOI Associated Press Operation Warp Speed, the federal vaccine program, had promised to distribute enough doses to immunize 20 million people in the U.S. in December. It missed that target, and as of Friday, about 6.6 million people had received their first shot, according to a tracker from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. About 22 million doses have been delivered to states. “The recurring theme is the lack of a national strategy and the attempt to pass the buck down the line, lower and lower, until the poor people at the receiving end have nobody else that they can send the buck to,” said Gianfranco Pezzino, who was the public health officer in Shawnee County, Kansas, until retiring last month. “It is possible. It is feasible,” he said. “I don’t see the level of urgency, the feeling of urgency in anybody around here. And that’s really, honestly, that’s the only thing that could make a difference.” “There just hasn’t been good messaging about the safety and the purposefulness of the safety protocols,” Garrow said. University of Scranton nursing student Glen Johnson administers the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to a medical professional during a clinic at the Throop Civic Center in Throop, Pa. on Saturday, Jan. 9, 2021. The Lackawanna County Medical Society had about 400 doses of the Moderna vaccine on hand to administer to people in Pennsylvania’s Phase 1A group of the vaccine rollout plan, which is limited to healthcare personnel and long-term care facility residents. (Christopher Dolan/The Times-Tribune via AP) The Trump administration defined its primary role as developing coronavirus vaccines and delivering them to states, which would then take over and ensure that vaccine doses traveled “the last mile” into arms. Each state had to develop its own plan, including issuing guidelines for who gets vaccinated first. Several health experts complained about that approach, saying it led to confusion and a patchwork response. Several public health officials and experts say they believe some of the early glitches are smoothing out. Marcus Plescia, chief medical officer for the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, said the slow start should not be surprising given the immense scale of the task. Some states are getting creative. Oregon held a mass vaccination event at the state fairgrounds with the help of the National Guard. The governor said it aimed to vaccinate 250 people per hour. New Jersey planned to open six vaccine “megasites” where officials hope more than 2,000 people per day can eventually get their shots. States lament a lack of clarity on how many doses they will receive and when. They say more resources should have been devoted to education campaigns to ease concerns among people leery of getting the shots. And although the federal government recently approved $8.7 billion for the vaccine effort, it will take time to reach places that could have used the money months ago to prepare to deliver shots more efficiently. Still, Plescia said the federal government could have done more ahead of the rollout — such as releasing billions of dollars earlier to help with staffing, technology and other operational needs. As they work to ramp up the shots, state and local public health departments across the U.S. cite a variety of obstacles, most notably a lack of leadership from the federal government. Many officials worry that they are losing precious time at the height of the pandemic, and the delays could cost lives. “It was not going to be seamless,” he said. President-elect Joe Biden on Friday called the rollout a “travesty,” noting the lack of a national plan to get doses into arms and reiterating his commitment to administer 100 million shots in his first 100 days. He has not shared details and was expected to discuss the effort this week. His office announced a plan to release most doses right away, rather than holding second doses in reserve, the more conservative approach taken by the Trump administration. Rhode Island health officials said it can take up to seven days to get doses out to people once they are received. Officials in several states, including Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, Kentucky and New Jersey, said the lack of supply is one of the biggest obstacles to getting more people vaccinated. What’s needed is a national, wartime-type effort to get vaccines out to as many people as possible, multiple experts said. Medical emergencies can be covered 24 hours a day, seven days a week, said Pezzino, who is also a senior fellow at the Kansas Health Institute. Why not make vaccinations available on that schedule? The American Hospital Association has estimated that 1.8 million people need to be vaccinated daily from Jan. 1 to May 31 to reach widespread immunity by the summer. The current pace is more than 1 million people per day below that. “You don’t need 50 different states trying to do this kind of work. What you want to have is a smorgasbord of information sources that address different populations that any one state can use,” Osterholm said. “That’s what we don’t have right now.” A public education campaign could have helped address the hesitancy among health care workers that has slowed the rollout of the first shots, said James Garrow, a spokesman for the Philadelphia health department. Instead, officials for months talked about the speed at which they were developing the vaccines — which did not help alleviate concerns that it might not be safe. Some communities have seen large numbers of medical workers put off getting the shot, even though they are first in line. Columbus, Ohio, has had lower-than-expected demand among top priority groups, including emergency medical workers. The federal government has done little to provide information resources that local officials can tailor to their own communities, to address concerns of people such as pregnant women or Black men living in rural areas, said Dr. Michael Osterholm, an infectious disease expert at the University of Minnesota, who is a member of Biden’s COVID-19 advisory board. Vaccine distribution involves a long, complex chain of events. Every dose must be tracked. Providers need to know how much staffing they will need. Eligible people must be notified to schedule their shots, given the vaccine’s handling requirements and the need to observe people for 15 minutes after the shot — all while social distancing is observed. PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Public health officials sounded the alarm for months, complaining that they did not have enough support or money to get COVID-19 vaccines quickly into arms. Now the slower-than-expected start to the largest vaccination effort in U.S. history is proving them right. But without a federal plan, such efforts can amount to “throwing spaghetti at a wall to see what sticks,” said Chrissie Juliano of the Big Cities Health Coalition, which represents metropolitan health departments. Choi reported from New York. Associated Press Writer Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar in Washington also contributed to this report.last_img read more