This is terrible
March 4, 2019

President Trump and immigration activists alike have decried how dangerous it is for migrants — and especially women — to trek through Mexico to the United States. Now, The New York Times has put a conservative estimate on that number, writing that it has compiled "more than 100 documented reports of sexual assault of undocumented women along the border in the past two decades."

The reported assaults come via "interviews with law enforcement officials, prosecutors, federal judges, and immigrant advocates around the country, and a review of police reports and court records in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California," the Times says. And seeing as undocumented women likely fear that filing reports with police will lead to deportation, officials tell the Times this number "likely only skims the surface" of assaults that actually occurred.

To get a sense of those unreported claims, the Times also interviewed migrant women and girls. One mother described how smugglers helped her cross into McAllen, Texas, then locked her in a room, drugged her, and "raped us so many times they didn't see us as human beings anymore." Other stories — some at the hands of border patrol agents — are similarly disturbing.

Trump said in January that "one in three women are sexually assaulted on the dangerous trek up through Mexico." That number seems to stem from "limited surveys," the Times says, but implies that assaults don't happen "after women reach the supposed safety of the United States." In fact, considering both these reported and unreported stories, sexual assault seems to be "an inescapable part of the collective migrant journey." Read more at The New York Times. Kathryn Krawczyk

January 14, 2019

The mayor of a city in Poland has died after being stabbed onstage during a charity event Sunday.

Pawel Adamowicz, who has been the mayor of Gdansk for 20 years, was attacked while live on television. The suspect who rushed the stage was recently released from prison, BBC reports. Adamowicz underwent five hours of surgery but died from his injuries, Poland's Health Minister confirmed.

Adamowicz, 53, was attending an annual charity event that raises money for hospital equipment. He was speaking onstage when a 27-year-old with a criminal record stabbed him in apparent revenge for his imprisonment. The suspect said Adamowicz's former Civic Platform party "had wrongfully imprisoned him" and that he was "tortured" in jail, BBC reports via local television footage. He is believed to have used a media pass to get past security, per Al Jazeera.

Adamowicz was re-elected to lead Gdansk, a city of about 500,000 people, for a sixth term in the fall. He had left the Civic Platform party to run as an independent, The Associated Press says. He was known as a progressive supporter of "sex education in schools, LGBT rights and tolerance for minorities," and "often mingled freely with citizens," AP writes. A spokeswoman for the opposing Law and Justice party said Adamowicz's murder should be "absolutely condemned by all" sides of the "political spectrum." Kathryn Krawczyk

January 3, 2019

The Holocaust's devastation may have ramped up faster than anyone imagined.

With limited data, previous reports have concluded that 6 million Jews were killed throughout the Holocaust. But just how quickly they were murdered has probably been vastly underestimated, a study published Wednesday found.

"Scholars have struggled to estimate death tolls" after retreating German forces destroyed records at the end of World War II, BuzzFeed News says. So for this study, Tel Aviv University biomathematician Lewi Stone looked at railroad records during the Holocaust's deadliest murder campaign. The yearlong Operation Reinhard saw 480 railway deportations from Polish towns, but three months of the campaign were especially deadly. About 1.5 million Jews were killed during just 100 days in 1942, the study shows.

This new finding reveals a "hyperintense kill rate" during Operation Reinhard, as the study puts it. While previous estimates put the Holocaust kill rate at an astounding 50,000 murders per month, the death rate may have been up to 10 times higher during those three months. That's about double the monthly death rate of 243,300 during the 1994 Rwandan genocide.

A University of Bern historian suggested the new study's estimates are too high, saying the entire operation killed 1.32 million people, per BuzzFeed News. Still, seeing as "large-scale murder operations in the last 25 years" were possibly "preventable," the study says understanding the Holocaust and other genocides could be "the most important goal of social science."

Read more at BuzzFeed News, or read the whole study at Science Advances. Kathryn Krawczyk

December 14, 2018

Friday marked six years since 28 people, mostly children, were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School. On the same day, another threat to the school forced its evacuation.

At around 9 a.m. Friday, police say the Newtown, Connecticut school received a bomb threat and evacuated everyone inside, local ABC affiliate WCVB reports. Police later said the threat was likely not credible, but school was still canceled for the rest of the day, per local station Fox 61.

A wave of bomb threats were emailed to businesses, schools, and government buildings across the U.S. on Thursday, but were determined to be a hoax. Sandy Hook's threat didn't seem to be connected to these widespread threats, police told Fox 61. The building where the Sandy Hook shooting happened in 2012 was previously demolished and a new school was rebuilt. Police began sweeping the existing school after everyone was evacuated.

Local gun control group Newtown Action tweeted the news and asked readers to "please stand with our community as we attempt to survive another tragic anniversary." Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) quickly responded with the tweet below. Kathryn Krawczyk

October 29, 2018

More than 75,000 children in the U.S. ended up in the emergency room between 2006 and 2014 after being shot. Half of them wound up there because they were intentionally attacked.

The Los Angeles Times reports that 11.3 of every 100,000 American children were shot and went to an emergency room during those nine years. And that number only appears to be growing, said the Times, citing a Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine study published Monday.

The average age of the children sent to emergency rooms after being shot was just 14.8 years old, the study found. But just 39 percent of these incidents were accidents, while another 49 percent were "intentional assaults," the Times notes. The rate of children being shot was at its highest in 2006 and fell until 2011, but then rose again each year until the study's data collection ended in 2014.

An "overwhelming majority" of these gunshot victims were male, and especially likely to be between the ages of 15 and 17, the Times reports. And overall, 6.6 percent of all young gunshot victims ended up dying of their injuries, the study found. Treating these victims cost an average of $270 million per year, with patients who required additional hospital care accruing the largest costs. The study only drew from data collected in hospitals, so there's no telling how patients' health is affected in the long term, or how much money they spend on recovery once they're discharged. Read more about the study at the Los Angeles Times. Kathryn Krawczyk

October 22, 2018

Despite a federal judge ordering in July that the U.S. government stop giving undocumented children in migrant shelters psychotropic medications, the practice is continuing, civil rights attorneys said in a court filing on Friday.

Attorneys from the Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law said that children at the Shiloh Residential Treatment Center in Texas and other migrant shelters run by the federal Office of Refugee Resettlement say they are still being administered "psychotropic drugs without informed parental consent or court order." The government is "almost certainly not complying" with a California federal judge's July 30 order, the lawyers said, offering written statements from four children and one child's aunt about the medication they are being given inside Shiloh.

A 17-year-old whose name was redacted said they are given three medications in the morning, including Zoloft, and four at night. The teen sees a doctor every two weeks, and "he tells me the drugs I need to take, but doesn't explain why," the teenager wrote on Oct. 18. "The drugs make me feel really tired and sluggish. I have trouble concentrating in class. Sometimes I have stomach pain and a lot of headaches. Sometimes I feel numb on one side of my body. I tell the doctor about these problems, and he says it is all normal." The Department of Health and Human Services, which oversees the Office of Refugee Resettlement, told CBS News the agency will submit a reply to the court filing on Friday. Catherine Garcia

July 31, 2018

In a case of mistaken identity, police officers in Aurora, Colorado, fatally shot a homeowner just moments after he shot and killed an intruder.

The officers were responding to a call on Monday from a woman who said someone was breaking into her house, USA Today reports. When they arrived at the home, it was a "very chaotic and violent scene," and the officers heard gunshots. Almost immediately, they encountered an armed man. An officer shot him, and he was rushed to a hospital, where he died from his injuries.

It was quickly determined the armed man lived in the house, and had just shot and killed the intruder. "This is a very heartbreaking and tragic situation for everyone involved," Aurora Police Chief Nick Metz said in a statement. "We are providing assistance through our victim advocates to help the family of the deceased resident through this very difficult time." Catherine Garcia

June 10, 2018

An undocumented immigrant from Honduras died by suicide May 13 inside a jail cell in Starr County, Texas, a U.S. Customs and Border Protection spokesperson said Sunday.

Marco Antonio Muñoz, 39, was arrested by Border Patrol agents May 11 in Weslaco, Texas. Authorities said he was taken to a processing center, where he became "disruptive and combative," and was moved to a jail. There, he died by self-strangulation. Authorities said he was checked on by officers every 30 minutes, and there was a camera inside his cell.

Border Patrol agents who spoke to The Washington Post said Muñoz had a breakdown when he was separated from his wife and 3-year-old son. An agent said once Muñoz was told his family would be separated, he "lost it" and "they had to use physical force to take the child out of his hands." The Customs and Border Protection agency spokesperson did not mention anything about Muñoz's family.

The Trump administration has announced it is cracking down on people crossing the border illegally, and in order to prosecute adults that are caught, families are being separated, with parents going to jail and children being placed with the U.S. Office of Refugee Resettlement. Catherine Garcia

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