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A look at local races in the 2020 election
Source:  News - Wicked Local Walpole
Friday, 07 August 2020 22:21

State Primary: Sept. 1Early Voting: begins Oct. 19General Election: Nov. 3Voting by Mail applications are now available at your local town clerk's office. U.S. SenateIncumbent: Edward MarkeyCandidates: Democrats -- Markey, Joseph P. Kennedy III; Republicans – Shiva Ayyadurai, Kevin O’Connor; Green Party – Andre Gray; [...]

Westwood High's Class of 2020 'in-person' graduation set for Aug. 9
Source:  News - Westwood Press
Friday, 07 August 2020 22:21

Here's what you need to know about Westwood High School's "in-person" graduation ceremonies for the Class of 2020 on Sunday, Aug. 9, at 11 a.m. at the football field.

A look at local races in the 2020 election
Source:  News - Westwood Press
Friday, 07 August 2020 22:21

State Primary: Sept. 1Early Voting: begins Oct. 19General Election: Nov. 3Voting by Mail applications are now available at your local town clerk's office. U.S. SenateIncumbent: Edward MarkeyCandidates: Democrats -- Markey, Joseph P. Kennedy III; Republicans – Shiva Ayyadurai, Kevin O’Connor; Green Party – Andre Gray; [...]

A look at local races in the 2020 election
Source:  News - Brookline TAB
Friday, 07 August 2020 22:21

State Primary: Sept. 1Early Voting: begins Oct. 19General Election: Nov. 3Voting by Mail applications are now available at your local town clerk's office. U.S. SenateIncumbent: Edward MarkeyCandidates: Democrats -- Markey, Joseph P. Kennedy III; Republicans – Shiva Ayyadurai, Kevin O’Connor; Green Party – Andre Gray; [...]

A look at local races in the 2020 election
Source:  News - Dover-Sherborn Press
Friday, 07 August 2020 22:21

State Primary: Sept. 1Early Voting: begins Oct. 19General Election: Nov. 3Voting by Mail applications are now available at your local town clerk's office. U.S. SenateIncumbent: Edward MarkeyCandidates: Democrats -- Markey, Joseph P. Kennedy III; Republicans – Shiva Ayyadurai, Kevin O’Connor; Green Party – Andre Gray; [...]

Another 1.2 million Americans filed for first-time unemployment benefits last week
Source:  WHDH-TV - Home
Friday, 07 August 2020 13:56

(CNN) — In recent weeks the recovery from America’s jobs crisis seemed to have hit a roadblock, but last week’s claims for first-time unemployment benefits fell more than expected.

That said, another 1.2 million Americans filed for initial jobless benefits in the week ending August 1 on a seasonally adjusted basis, the Department of Labor reported on Thursday. That was down from the prior week’s 1.4 million claims.

It was a reversal of a trend in the past two reports, in which initial claims increased. First-time claims peaked at 6.9 million in the last week of March and then declined for four months. But around mid-July, they reversed directions and rose again.

That’s not a good look for a labor market that desperately needs to recover after millions of workers were displaced by the pandemic. But last week offered hope that claims could head lower once again.

Not adjusting for seasonal factors, just under 1 million people filed initial unemployment claims last week. Normally seasonal adjustments help smooth out the data, but the huge numbers during the pandemic have instead distorted it.

The government’s $600 weekly boost to regular unemployment benefits, which was introduced as part of the first stimulus package to combat the fallout from the pandemic, ran out on July 31.

As a result, the jobless in Oklahoma are seeing cuts of as much as 86%, for instance. Those in Massachusetts are getting 53% less than what they did when the $600 benefit was in effect.

This means millions of laid-off Americans are trying to survive on less than half of what they have received for the last four months.

Lawmakers in Washington continue to bicker over how much federal assistance should be provided. Republicans proposed a $200 weekly enhancement for at least two months before transitioning to replacing 70% of laid-off workers’ former wages through the end of 2020. Democrats, on the other hand, are calling to continue the $600 supplement until early next year.

“Because we did not put the public health measures in place necessary to successfully reopen, the coronavirus has spiked, and the jobs gains we saw in May and June have stalled, if not reversed. Now is not the time to cut benefits that are supporting jobs,” wrote Heidi Shierholz, senior economist and director of policy at the Economic Policy Institute, in a blog post.

Slashing benefits could also exacerbate racial inequality, she added. Minority communities are suffering more in this pandemic because of factors like higher rates of serious infection, less wealth to fall back on and more job losses and front-line work.

American workers continue to need help

While Washington is butting heads in negotiations, American workers continue to need help to make ends meet.

Rising Covid-19 infections across the country have stalled the reopening of the economy and have made it harder for people to return to work. In addition, money from government’s paycheck protection program, which allowed companies to hire back workers, is running out.

Continuing claims for benefits, which count people who have applied for government aid for at least two weeks in a row, came in at 16.1 million on a seasonally adjusted basis, more than 800,000 claims lower than the week before. These continued claims trail first-time claims by a week.

And those numbers are only regular jobless benefits and don’t include the pandemic assistance the government rolled out over the past months.

Last week, 656,000 people in 51 states filed initial claims to seek pandemic unemployment assistance, down from 909,000 claims in the week before. Continued claims for pandemic assistance were little changed around 13 million.

Counting all of last week’s initial claims together totals 1.6 million without seasonal adjustments. For reference, in the same week last year, only about 180,000 people filed for jobless benefits on an unadjusted basis.

Counting all people who claimed benefits under the various government programs up until the week ending July 18, 31.3 million Americans filed claims — up nearly 500,000 from the week before.

The government’s pandemic emergency unemployment compensation program, which provides those who have exhausted their benefits with an additional 13 weeks of payments, had more than 1.1 million claimants — up about 90,000 from the week before. Congress created it in March as part of its historic expansion of the nation’s unemployment program. It expires Dec. 31.

Additionally, more than 413,000 people are participating in the Short-Time Compensation workshare program, which is designed to avoid layoffs by allowing employers to reduce workers’ hours and employees to claim partial unemployment benefits. A year ago, there were fewer than 13,000 people in the program.

To fund all of these unemployment benefits programs, states are borrowing billions of dollars.

Some 18 states have received authorization to borrow a total of $13.8 billion this month. But so far in August, only eight states have drawn down just over $1 billion, according to the Treasury Department.

Among the states that recently joined the list are Georgia, New Jersey, New Mexico, Pennsylvania and Virginia.

Ten states have already borrowed $19.2 billion to fund their share of unemployment benefits, which typically last 26 weeks. California tops the list with a balance of nearly $8.4 billion.

The jobless are guaranteed to receive their payments, regardless of where the money comes from. It’s not unusual for states to turn to the federal government for loans during economic downturns.

‘Surviving Jeffrey Epstein’ pivots toward the next phase of the story
Source:  WHDH-TV - Home
Friday, 07 August 2020 13:55

(CNN) — After a pair of Jeffrey Epstein docuseries aired in May, Lifetime seemingly weighs in late with “Surviving Jeffrey Epstein.” But this two-part production — which borrows its title from the network’s R. Kelly documentaries — takes on a new dimension with the July arrest of Ghislaine Maxwell, the late financier’s alleged accomplice in his sex-trafficking crimes.

Much of the material and interviews here were covered in “Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich,” which aired on Netflix; and to a lesser degree an Investigation Discovery project that tilted toward Epstein’s death while in federal custody called, “Who Killed Jeffrey Epstein?”

The one-year anniversary this month of his death provides the ostensible hook for this followup. But the filmmakers have done additional work — including interviews conducted remotely due to Covid-19 concerns — to significantly and quickly advance the story up to and beyond Maxwell’s arrest.

Maxwell has pleaded not guilty to charges of helping groom, recruit and sexually abuse minors, and has been jailed pending trial.

Against that backdrop, perhaps the most distinctive aspect of “Surviving Jeffrey Epstein” resides in its emphasis on Maxwell and others who allegedly abetted Epstein’s abuse of underage girls and young women. That includes survivors of Epstein’s abuse who were pressured to recruit for him, and the feelings of guilt associated with that.

“He groomed me to be exactly what he wanted me to be,” says Epstein victim Courtney Wild, who tearfully recalls bringing two or three girls to Epstein in a day, and later discusses her activism along with other survivors who fought to see Epstein brought to justice.

The documentary also details how Maxwell — the daughter of British media tycoon Robert Maxwell — introduced Epstein to “high society,” as journalist Daniel Bates puts it, saying that she “opened doors for him.” Forensic psychiatrist Barbara Ziv, who testified in the Bill Cosby and Harvey Weinstein trials, describes the relationship between them as having appeared to be “mutually parasitic.”

The interviews highlight the extent to which Epstein’s high-profile associations validated him in the eyes of those he preyed upon — almost uniformly girls from disadvantaged backgrounds, who were dazzled by the sprawling estates, private jets and famous people with whom he interacted. Epstein further used his wealth to essentially launder his reputation through philanthropic donations.

The second part devotes considerable time to Virginia Roberts Giuffre’s allegations against Prince Andrew, who has stated that he has no recollection of meeting her and denied the allegations; and the non-prosecution agreement Epstein’s attorneys negotiated with Alex Acosta, who had been the U.S. Attorney for Florida’s Southern district.

Addressing the media on Aug. 3, directors Annie Sundberg and Ricki Stern discussed their efforts to amend the project by incorporating recent events, with Stern noting that Maxwell’s arrest “adds a much more uplifting end to the story, and it’s just the beginning.”

Despite the abundant coverage already devoted to the case, the circumstances surrounding Epstein’s death have fueled speculation about what shoes will potentially drop next, and who else could be implicated.

“We need her to talk, but she doesn’t deserve a plea deal,” Giuffre says regarding Maxwell, in an interview conducted after her arrest.

“Surviving Jeffrey Epstein” inevitably covers a lot of familiar territory, such as clips from Epstein depositions previously shown in the earlier docuseries. Still, it’s a sober update — especially for those who haven’t closely followed the case — that emphasizes the perspective of the survivors whose determination exposed Epstein’s predatory behavior while drawing strength and comfort from each other.

In that sense, this four-hour project isn’t exactly the beginning, but rather the latest phase of the story, which, hopefully, marks the beginning of the end.

“Surviving Jeffrey Epstein” will air Aug. 9-10 at 8 and 9 p.m. ET, respectively, on Lifetime.

Delta CEO: ‘Well over 100 people’ have been banned from flying after refusing to wear masks
Source:  WHDH-TV - Home
Friday, 07 August 2020 13:53

(CNN) — Dozens of people have been barred from flying on Delta airplanes for refusing to comply with the airline industry’s mask policies, Delta CEO Ed Bastian told CNN’s Julia Chatterley on Friday.

“We’ve had well over 100 people that have refused to keep their mask on during the flight,” he added.

A spokesperson confirmed to CNN Business that those people have lost the ability to book future flights on Delta.

Delta, along with other major US carriers, warned in mid-June that airlines would begin banning passengers who refuse to wear masks during air travel in an effort to beef up enforcement of the policy. The federal government has not made mask-wearing a mandate, leaving it up to airlines to enforce their own policies.

The carrier has put in place some of the strictest pandemic-related policies in the industry, including requiring health screenings for passengers who cannot wear masks and pledging to leave middle seats empty to put distance between travelers.

Bastian said in a separate interview with CNN last month that the vast majority of Delta passengers are compliant. But the customers who are not have caused disruptions.

Last week, for example, a Delta flight taking off from Detroit was forced to return to the gate when two of their customers refused to wear masks, the airline said.

“You can’t get on the plane without wearing your mask. But we do have some customers that don’t want to keep their mask on during flight,” Bastian said Friday. “We remind them several times over the course of getting ready to take off to please keep that mask on. But if they insist upon not wearing it — we insist that they’re not going to travel on Delta today.”

Bastian has made a focus on health-related policies a core part of Delta’s response to the pandemic.

In a note to employees on Thursday, the CEO reiterated that boosting customer satisfaction and assuring passengers of their safety is a key part of Delta’s current business strategy: “We want to ensure that those who travel now are choosing Delta.”

That “will help bring in the additional revenue we need to reduce our cash burn,” the letter reads. “It also will build additional loyalty and affinity for our brand, which will power our growth when demand begins to come back.”

Appeals court sides with teen who spoke out against assault
Source:  WHDH-TV - Home
Friday, 07 August 2020 13:47

CAPE ELIZABETH, Maine (AP) — A federal appeals court has ruled that a lower court was justified in blocking the suspension of a Maine high school student who posted a note in a bathroom to draw attention to sexual assault.

Cape Elizabeth schools suspended Aela Mansmann, then a 15-year-old sophomore at Cape Elizabeth High School, after she posted a note in a bathroom that said: “There’s a rapist in our school and you know who it is.â€� The American Civil Liberties Union of Maine then took on Aela’s case, and a federal judge blocked the suspension while defending Aela’s note as free speech.

United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit in Boston ruled on Thursday that the lower court was within its right to stop the suspension.

The court’s ruling states that Aela’s actions were “far from the best wayâ€� for the student “to express her concerns about student-on-student sexual assault and Cape Elizabeth H.S.’s handling of sexual assault claims.â€� However, the appeals court also found that the lower court did not abuse its own discretion in stopping the suspension.

The school district said the Cape Elizabeth School Board will meet in the future to determine its next steps. The district said it maintains that placing the note was an act of bullying against another student. It also said in a statement that it was “disappointed� in the appeals court ruling.

“We have always encouraged our students to speak out on matters that are important to them and we will continue to do so,” the district said in the statement. “But from our perspective that is not what this case was about.â€�

Aela said in a statement issued by the ACLU that the ruling was a victory for students who want to vocally oppose sexual assault.

“I hope this ruling helps more students speak up about sexual assault, and other topics that are important to them,� the statement said.

Heart attack victims may be dying because of coronavirus fears, study finds
Source:  WHDH-TV - Home
Friday, 07 August 2020 13:40

(CNN) — Doctors may have been right to be concerned that people with heart problems were avoiding the ER due to Covid-19, according to a new study published Friday.

It provides evidence that people have stayed away from the emergency room even with acute heart attack symptoms. And some may have died as a result.

Researchers from the Providence Heart Institute system based in the US northwest looked at the records of more than 15,000 heart attack patients from between December 30 and May 16 of this year.

They found “important changes” in heart attack hospitalization rates. Patients also fared worse during the early and later parts of the pandemic, they reported Friday in the medical journal JAMA Cardiology.

And patients with the most serious type of heart attack appeared to be more than twice as likely to die at one point.

There was a substantial decrease in hospitalizations early in the pandemic, with the case rates starting to fall on February 23.

Patients hospitalized for a heart attack during the pandemic tended to be younger by about 1 to 3 years than patients before the pandemic. The authors think older patients may have had a “greater reluctance” to get medical help if they had symptoms. Typically, older people have gotten sicker from Covid-19.

Patients who were hospitalized for a heart attack during the pandemic spent less time at the hospital than before the pandemic. This may be because hospitals wanted to keep beds open in case they were needed for Covid-19 patients, the researchers said. The patients were all seen at hospitals within the Providence St. Joseph Health System in Alaska, California, Montana, Oregon, Texas and Washington.

Patients were also more likely to be sent home from the hospital rather than sent to a rehabilitation center. That may have been out of a concern about the risk of being exposed to the novel coronavirus at those facilities.

Around March 29, the number of people hospitalized for a heart attack did increase, but it was at a slower rate than before the pandemic. It took five full weeks to go back to the levels hospitals were seeing pre-pandemic. The researchers think the shift may have been after doctors started encouraging patients with symptoms to follow through and get care.

The researchers couldn’t find evidence that doctors were treating patients any differently than they would when there wasn’t a pandemic. Yet there was a real difference in how well some patients did.

There was a substantial increase in deaths among patients who suffered a more serious type of heart attack called STEMI. That’s when one of the arteries is blocked and blood and oxygen can’t get to the heart.

The rate of people who died from these serious heart attacks was even greater during the later part of the pandemic, the study found.

“Compared with the before COVID-19 period, however, patients with STEMI had a statistically greater risk of mortality during the later COVID-19 period,” they wrote. One way of analyzing the deaths, called an observed to expected ratio, indicated patients were more than twice as likely to die from STEMI heart attacks during the study period.

Time matters with a serious heart attack. A delay in care due to a patient’s reluctance to seek help or because emergency medical services were behind or the emergency department was full could hurt the chances of survival.

This study is in line with what others have found. Early research published before it was peer reviewed saw a 25% drop in the number of acute coronary syndrome cases in March of this year compared to March of 2018 and 2019.

A letter published in May in the New England Journal of Medicine found the number of patients in the US undergoing imaging for a stroke decreased by 39% since before the pandemic.

The researchers say more study is needed to determine exactly what contributed to the increased number of deaths.

In April, concerned about this trend, the American Heart Association put out an urgent statement asking people to call 911 if they felt heart attack symptoms like chest pain, shortness of breath, or nausea. For women it’s more common to have symptoms like unexplained tiredness and nausea or vomiting.

The AHA’s Don’t Die of Doubt campaign was necessary, the association’s president Dr. Mitchell S.V. Elkind said, because people having a heart attack have a much better chance of surviving if they get help immediately.

“If people feel that they might be having symptoms of a heart attack or stroke, then they should call 911, even during the pandemic,” Elkind said.

Elkind, who was not a part of the Providence study, said he would like to know more about why this has been happening.

“Common sense would tell us that many people were afraid to come into the hospital during the pandemic, but there are some other reasons as well,” Elkind said.

In addition to fear, he heard patients say that they didn’t want to be a bother to doctors who are so busy. Elkind is a neurologist at New York Presbyterian Hospital and professor of neurology and epidemiology at Columbia University.

Elkind said there may also have been fewer people having heart attacks.

“This is a little bit more controversial theory,” Elkind said. But with everyone on lockdown, there were fewer cars on the road and less pollution. “We know that air pollution is an important risk factor for heart attacks and strokes. So that could account for some of the same effect. There may have been an actual decrease in incidence of these events.”

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