Washington — Donald Trump, that most unconventional of presidential candidates, last spring pledged that he would act perfectly presidential when the time was right. “I will be so presidential that you’ll call me and you’ll say, ‘Donald, you have to stop that, it’s too much,’” he promised during a March television interview. Less than two […]
Shaare Zedek Medical Center To Announce New Neurological Center And Elevation To A Trauma One Center
Shaare Zedek Medical Center on Wednesday 29 Cheshvan announced the development of the new Helmsley Neurological Center allowing the hospital to further strengthen its position in treating terror and other seriously wounded patients who are triaged to a trauma center, as well as stroke patients and those suffering from other types of neurological trauma. As […] Read the rest of this entry »
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Detroit — Fiat Chrysler says its new gas-electric hybrid minivan will get the equivalent of 84 miles per gallon in electric mode and 32 mpg in city-highway mileage when in hybrid mode. The redesigned Chrysler Pacifica minivan went on sale earlier this year, and the hybrid version is due in showrooms in December. The company […]
A bipartisan group of lawmakers is planning to introduce a bill Thursday seeking to limit the consideration of a victim’s race and gender in determining their compensation in civil suits.
The bill, called the Fair Calculations Act, comes after an October report in The Washington Post, as well as academic work, that found rampant use of racial and gender income averages in determining these damages. As a result, women and minorities could receive significantly less compensation than white men in similar cases.
Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., who is sponsoring the Senate bill with Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., views it as an issue of civil rights. “We have baked into our system something that is so, almost astonishingly, unjust — it’s unacceptable to me,” he said in an interview. Gillibrand, in an emailed statement, agreed: “In this day and age, the courts should not be allowed to say one life is worth more than another.”
Rep. Joe Kennedy, D-Mass., who is sponsoring the House bill with Rep. Mia Love, R-Utah, also cited concerns about the financial impact. By using these demographic averages, he said in an interview, “we are continuing the proliferation of systemic economic injustice that has existed in our country for quite a long time.”
But the bill is not without its critics. Lawrence Spizman, the president of the National Association of Forensic Economics, a group of experts who make these compensation calculations, says the bill’s introduction is purely political. “Race, gender, religion, sexual orientation are the buzzwords of liberal politicians,” he said.
Although Spizman said he doesn’t expect the bill to pass, if it does he expects there to be unintended consequences.
“If females and minorities get the same, who’s going to pay for that? Insurance companies,” he said. Because insurance companies tend to foot the bill for large damages awards, he argues, those increased costs would be passed onto the companies and individuals buying the insurance.
Should it become law, the bill would prohibit federal courts from issuing awards that consider the victim’s race or gender, among other demographic variables. It would also direct the Justice and Labor departments and the Department of Labor to make similar, although nonbinding, guidelines for state courts and forensic economists — advising them that the current practice may violate federal equal protection laws, among other things. Issuing guidelines such as these is a common tactic used by the executive branch to influence state law.
However, Booker and Kennedy, along with academics, expect state courts and private settlements, which comprise the vast majority of these cases, to follow suit. Martha Chamallas, a law professor at Ohio State, said it is common for “federal courts [to] be a model [for] state courts.”
Also, Chamallas says, the law affecting court practices “changes the dynamics of settlements.” That is, if a female or minority defendant knows he or she could receive more in court with a demographic-neutral calculation, a discriminatory private settlement would be rejected.
The bill’s prospects of passing remain unclear, as it will likely find stronger support among Democrats yet faces a Republican-led Congress. But the bill’s sponsors are optimistic, especially in light of Love’s co-sponsorship.
“There’s a certain fairness tenet that Americans hold regardless of what party they’re in,” Booker said. And Love’s co-sponsorship “shows this is something where Democrats and Republicans can come together.”
The bill probably will be referred to the Senate and House Judiciary Committees after its introduction.
(c) 2016, The Washington Post · Kim Soffen
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Grassroots movement Darkenu intends to show empathy
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Mexico City — Officials in the Mexican state of Nuevo Leon are expressing disappointment at Carrier Corp.’s announcement it will keep hundreds of jobs in the United States rather than send them south of the border. Carrier says it has made a deal with President-elect Donald Trump to keep the jobs at its plant in […]
Donald Trump promised to “drain the swamp” in the nation’s capital. Instead, he’s diving right in. So far, the president-elect is tapping people with deep ties to Washington and Wall Street as he fills out his Cabinet, turning to two power centers he vilified as greedy, corrupt and out of touch with Americans during his […] Read the rest of this entry »
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In the moments before the charter jet plummeted more than 9,000 feet into the Colombian mountains Monday night, the plane’s pilot signaled a fuel emergency, calling out for assistance with an emergency landing.
An audio recording of the final conversation between the pilot and air traffic controller was leaked to Colombian press Wednesday, providing the clearest image yet of the crash that killed 71 people, including the members of the Chapecoense soccer team from Chapecó, Brazil.
A voice heard on the recording, identified by W Radio of Colombia as the pilot, calls out to a female air traffic controller, telling her the plane, LaMia 933, needs to land immediately.
“Miss, LaMia 933 is in complete failure, complete electrical failure, without fuel,” the pilot says in the recording. Colombian aviation authorities have not confirmed the authenticity of the recording, but affirmed in a news conference Wednesday that the plane was out of fuel at the time of impact.
The air traffic controller on the recording is heard telling the pilot the runway is ready, warning him to expect rain on the surface. He pleads for “vectors,” or landing directions, and she tries to guide him.
“You’re at zero-point-one miles to the Rio Negro border,” the woman says. “I don’t have your altitude.”
“9,000 feet, miss,” he cries out. “Vectors! Vectors!”
The woman tells him he is about 8 miles from the runway. “What’s your altitude now?” she asks. The other end of the call goes silent.
“Jesus,” an unidentifiable voice is heard saying. The air traffic controller continues to ask for the pilot’s position, but receives no response.
In a news conference Wednesday night, Colombian aviation authorities confirmed that at about 9:40 p.m. on the night of the crash, the pilot reported a fuel emergency and, about 10 minutes later, a total electrical failure.
After inspecting the site, investigators found that the plane had no fuel when it slammed into the mountain. Planes are required to account for an additional 30 to 45 minutes of fuel beyond the amount needed to get to the destination airport, authorities said.
The voice data recorders recovered in the investigation are expected to help authorities find out why or how the crew had insufficient fuel. Data from Flightradar24 showed the aircraft flying in a circular pattern before it crashed.
The plane’s tail collided with the top of a mountain in the Cerro Gordo range in Colombia, fracturing its rear as the rest of the plane slid down the other side of the slope. Just before it collapsed, the plane was traveling at a speed of 135 knots (about 155 MPH), which authorities said was a slow speed for a plane of this type.
The slower speed — along with the fact that the plane did not explode on impact — might explain how six people were able to survive, authorities said.
Rescue teams have recovered 71 bodies from the wreckage, and continue to collect forensic evidence, authorities said. The remainder of the investigation could take months. The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board is taking part in the investigation because the plane’s engines were made by an American manufacturer.
The six survivors were recovering in hospitals, with three in critical but stable condition, the Associated Press reported.
In a video obtained by Reuters via RCN, members of the Brazilian soccer team and Bolivian flight crew are seen speaking to local television reporters before the plane took off toward Medellín.
“We are ready to offer them the best service,” one crew member tells the reporter from the cockpit.
Another smiles as he stands in the aisle with some of the soccer players, telling the camera the crew hoped to deliver the team with “good results.”
“It’s a very important final for us,” one of the players says in the video. “Being taken by LaMia makes it all right.”
(c) 2016, The Washington Post · Samantha Schmidt