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Manslaughter Charge Dropped Against Alabama Woman Who Was Shot While Pregnant

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Prosecutors in Alabama said on Wednesday that they were dropping a manslaughter charge against Marshae Jones over the death of the fetus she was carrying when she was shot in the belly.

The case stirred outrage across the country in late June after a grand jury indicted Ms. Jones, who was accused of starting a fight that resulted in the shooting. The state recognizes a fetus at any stage of development as a “person” for criminal homicide or assaults.

The same grand jury declined to charge the woman who fired the shot, Ebony Jemison, finding that she had fired in self-defense during an altercation with Ms. Jones on Dec. 4. The police have said that Ms. Jones, 28, who was five months pregnant, started the fight and failed to remove herself and her fetus from harm’s way.

“We are gratified the district attorney evaluated the matter and chose not to proceed with a case that was neither reasonable nor just,” the law firm representing Ms. Jones, White Arnold & Dowd, said in a statement.

Lynneice Washington, the district attorney for part of Jefferson County, said in a news conference, “After viewing the facts of this case and the applicable state law I have determined that it is not in the best interest of justice to pursue prosecution of Ms. Jones on the manslaughter charge for which she was indicted by the grand jury. Therefore, I am dismissing this case and no further legal action will be taken against Ms. Jones in this matter.”

Man Shot Outside White House Told US Secret Service He Came to Shoot People

She said the decision not to prosecute Ms. Jones was in no way a criticism of the grand jury. “The citizens took the evidence presented them by the Pleasant Grove Police Department and made what they believed to be a reasonable decision to indict Ms. Jones,” she said. “The members of the grand jury took to heart that the life of an unborn child was violently ended and believed someone should be held accountable. But in the interests of all concerned, we are not prosecuting the case.”

Ms. Washington, a Democrat, who became Alabama’s first black female district attorney when she was elected in 2016, had signaled earlier that she might drop the charges.

Marshae Jones in a photo provided by her family.

The police initially charged the second woman, Ms. Jemison, with manslaughter in the death of the fetus. That charge was dismissed after the grand jury failed to indict her.

At the time, the police said Ms. Jones’s “involvement and culpability” would be presented to a grand jury to determine if she, too, should be charged.

“When a five-month pregnant woman initiates a fight and attacks another person, I believe some responsibility lies with her as to any injury to her unborn child,” Lt. Danny Reid of the Pleasant Grove Police Department said then. “That child is dependent on its mother to try to keep it from harm, and she shouldn’t seek out unnecessary physical altercations.”

Abortion rights activists, already up in arms over Alabama’s recent adoption of the most restrictive anti-abortion law in the country, assailed the indictment of Ms. Jones as a demonstration of the dangers of the “personhood” movement, which presses for laws like those in Alabama that give the rights of fetuses equal or greater weight than the rights of the women who carry them. An organization that supports abortion rights in Alabama, the Yellowhammer Fund, helped Ms. Jones post bail.

But the case provoked little outrage in Pleasant Grove, the city of 10,000 people on the western edge of Birmingham where Ms. Jones was shot.

According to a law enforcement officer with direct knowledge of the investigation who spoke on the condition of anonymity, Ms. Jones and Ms. Jemison, 23, had been feuding over a man they both worked with. The officer said that Ms. Jones spotted Ms. Jemison in the parking lot of a Dollar General store in Pleasant Grove on Dec. 4 and started fighting with her.

Ms. Jones had hit Ms. Jemison several times and pinned her in her vehicle, the officer said, when Ms. Jemison reached for a gun and fired point blank into Ms. Jones’s stomach.

The uproar over the indictment of Ms. Jones is not the first time that the application of Alabama’s fetal rights laws has attracted criticism and concern.

Alabama has prosecuted hundreds of women for using controlled substances while they are pregnant, under a 2006 “chemical endangerment” law, according to an investigation by ProPublica and Al.com. Doctors have argued that such prosecutions discourage pregnant addicts from seeking the treatment that they and their fetuses need.

Entrepreneur, contributor, writer, and editor of Sostre News. With a powerful new bi-lingual speaking generation by his side, Sostre News is becoming the preferred site for the latest in Politics, Entertainment, Sports, Culture, Tech, Breaking and World News.

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Three Disney World Employees Among 17 Arrested in Florida Child Sex Sting

Three Disney World employees were among the 17 people arrested in a child sex sting operation in Florida, law enforcement officials announced on Wednesday.

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Three Disney World Employees Among 17 Arrested in Florida Child Sex Sting

Three Disney World employees were among the 17 people arrested in a child sex sting operation in Florida, law enforcement officials announced on Wednesday.

In the operation, dubbed “Operation Child Protector,” undercover officers posed as 13- and 14-year-old children on social media and online dating apps between July 27 and Aug. 1.

The undercovers made contact with each of the suspects before proposing they meet at a location in Polk County, where they were busted.

In total, the arrests led to 49 felony and two misdemeanor charges. Those arrested were aged 26 to 47. All were from Central Florida except for one 33-year-old man from California.

“What you see on this board … are deviants. Incredible deviants,” Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said at a press conference on Tuesday, motioning to photos of the alleged pervs. “They travel from as far away as Clewiston, Florida. One even came from Los Angeles.”

“Much to their chagrin, instead of meeting with young children, they were met by law enforcement officers who were online undercover posing as children.”

Kenneth Javier Aquino, 26, a lifeguard at Animal Kingdom Lodge at Disney World, was arrested while still wearing his Disney polo shirt and swimsuit, according to the sheriff’s office.

Aquino engaged in an online conversation on social media with an officer, posing as a 13-year-old girl, authorities said. He then asked the “girl” to send photos, and sent her an explicit video of himself, police said.

Aquino told officers he is a Navy veteran and has a pregnant girlfriend.

Jonathan McGrew, a 34-year-old custodian at Disney World, was nabbed by an undercover officer posing as a 13-year-old girl.

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McGrew allegedly told the “girl” that he wanted her to come over and have sex with him and his girlfriend, 29-year-old Savannah Lawrence, who also works as a custodian at tourist mecca.

McGrew sent her explicit videos of him and Lawrence performing sexual acts on each other, authorities said.

A rep for Disney World didn’t immediately return a message.

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China Reports First Human Death from Monkey B Virus

China has reported the first human infection and death in the country caused by a rare infectious disease found in primates known as the Monkey B virus.

The Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention said a 53-year-old veterinary surgeon who worked in a research institute specializing in nonhuman primate breeding in Beijing dissected two monkeys in March and became ill about a month later.

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China Reports First Human Death from Monkey B Virus

China has reported the first human infection and death in the country caused by a rare infectious disease found in primates known as the Monkey B virus.

The Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention said a 53-year-old veterinary surgeon who worked in a research institute specializing in nonhuman primate breeding in Beijing dissected two monkeys in March and became ill about a month later.

He began experiencing nausea, vomiting, fever and neurological issues, and died in May.

Blood and saliva samples were tested and researchers in April found evidence of the Monkey B virus, also known as the herpes B virus.

Researchers said a male doctor and female nurse who were in close contact with the victim tested negative for the virus.

The Monkey B virus is prevalent among macaque monkeys but infection among humans is extremely rare. Since the virus was identified in 1932, just 50 cases have been reported, with the majority of those in North America. Untreated B virus infections in humans are serious, however, with a fatality rate of about 80 percent.

Symptoms include fever, shortness of breath, and progress to more serious complications such as swelling of the brain and spinal cord.

Laboratory workers and veterinarians in close contact with the animals are most at risk as people typically get infected with the virus if they are bitten or scratched by an infected macaque, or have contact with the monkey’s eyes, nose or mouth.

But the virus is unlikely to mutate in a way that poses a problem to the general population. Just one case of human-to-human transmission of the virus has ever been documented.

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U.S. Remembers 9/11 Terrorist Attacks as The Pandemic Changes Tribute Traditions

Americans are commemorating 9/11 with tributes that have been altered by coronavirus precautions and woven into the presidential campaign, drawing both President Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden to pay respects at the same memorial without crossing paths.

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U.S. Remembers 9/11 Terrorist Attacks as The Pandemic Changes Tribute Traditions

Americans are commemorating 9/11 with tributes that have been altered by coronavirus precautions and woven into the presidential campaign, drawing both President Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden to pay respects at the same memorial without crossing paths.

In New York, a dispute over coronavirus-safety precautions is leading to split-screen remembrances Friday, one at the Sept. 11 memorial plaza at the World Trade Center and another on a nearby corner. The Pentagon’s observance will be so restricted that not even victims’ families can attend, though small groups can visit the memorial there later in the day.

Trump and Biden are both headed — at different times — to the Flight 93 National Memorial near Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

Trump is speaking at the morning ceremony, the White House said. Biden plans to pay respects there in the afternoon after attending the observance at the 9/11 memorial in New York.

Meanwhile, Vice President Mike Pence is also due at ground zero — and then at the alternate ceremony a few blocks away.

In short, the anniversary of 9/11 is a complicated occasion in a maelstrom of a year, as the U.S. grapples with a health crisis, searches its soul over racial injustice and prepares to choose a leader to chart a path forward.

Still, 9/11 families say it’s important for the nation to pause and remember the hijacked-plane attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people at the trade center, at the Pentagon and near Shanksville on Sept. 11, 2001, shaping American policy, perceptions of safety and daily life in places from airports to office buildings.

“I know that the heart of America beats on 9/11 and, of course, thinks about that tragic day. I don’t think that people forget,” says Anthoula Katsimatides, who lost her brother John and is now on the board of the National Sept. 11 Memorial & Museum.

Friday will mark Trump’s second time observing the 9/11 anniversary at the Flight 93 memorial, where he made remarks in 2018. Biden spoke at the memorial’s dedication in 2011, when he was vice president.

The ground zero ceremony in New York has a longstanding custom of not allowing politicians to speak, though they can attend. Biden did so as vice president in 2010, and Trump as a candidate in 2016.

Though the candidates will be focused on the commemorations, the political significance of their focus on Shanksville is hard to ignore: Pennsylvania is a must-win state for both. Trump won it by less than a percentage point in 2016.

Around the country, some communities have canceled 9/11 commemorations because of the pandemic, while others are going ahead, sometimes with modifications.

The New York memorial is changing one of its ceremony’s central traditions: having relatives read the names of the dead, often adding poignant tributes.

Thousands of family members are still invited. But they’ll hear a recording of the names from speakers spread around the vast plaza, a plan that memorial leaders felt would avoid close contact at a stage but still allow families to remember their loved ones at the place where they died.

But some victims’ relatives felt the change robbed the observance of its emotional impact. A different 9/11-related group, the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation, set up its own, simultaneous ceremony a few blocks away, saying there’s no reason that people can’t recite names while keeping a safe distance.

The two organizations also tussled over the Tribute in Light, a pair of powerful beams that shine into the night sky near the trade center and evoke its fallen twin towers. The 9/11 memorial initially canceled the display, citing virus-safety concerns for the installation crew. After the Tunnel to Towers Foundation vowed to put up the lights instead, the memorial changed course with help from its chairman, former Mayor Mike Bloomberg, and Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Tunnel to Towers, meanwhile, arranged to display single beams for the first time at the Shanksville memorial and the Pentagon.

Over the years, the anniversary also has become a day for volunteering. Because of the pandemic, the 9/11 National Day of Service and Remembrance organization is encouraging people this year to make donations or take other actions that can be accomplished at home.

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