Unfairly criticized by The Caribbean Voice (Pt One)

first_imgDear Editor,I would like to address several issues raised by The Caribbean Voice (TCV) regarding my recent letter, in late August, on suicide in Guyana.TCV states as follows:“The Caribbean Voice wonders why Ms Baliram (whose letter was recently published in the local media) is casting doubt on the 2015 suicide rate for Guyana, which shows a reduction from 44.2 to 30.6 per 1000,000 [sic] inhabitants, and not all or any previous rates.”I have always been skeptical about the WHO statistics on suicide, particularly for Guyana; where misclassification, under-reporting, poor data collection methods/procedures, and heavy corruption are serious problems skewing the data. Moreover, my skepticism has intensified since there has been a robust increase in the suicide rate in 2012 for males, females and both sexes, followed by a sharp decline in 2015 in spite that the primary triggers (root causes) arising out of the social, economic and political turmoil remain virtually unaddressed and that interventions of any kind remain sparse. Such an increase in the 2012 data is only possible:  (a) if something unusual had pushed almost twice the number of Guyanese into suicide (b) or if the data is of poor quality. The latter is highly plausible, since there was nothing unusual in 2012. Obviously, the 2012 data obscures the consistent increase in the suicide rate and gives the false impression of a decline. Given this narrative, I do not see how, in good conscience, anyone can speak of a real reduction in suicide in this country.TCV states as follows:“According to Ms Baliram, a significant reduction in suicide can come about by addressing the abnormally high levels of stress arising out of the catastrophic social, economic and political conditions. Stress mechanistically drives suicide directly or indirectly by disrupting brain functions, thereby unleashing mental illness (e.g. depression, schizophrenia etc.) or substance abuse (e.g. alcoholism), or both. Stress basically hijacks the brain in eliciting suicidal behaviours.The limited characterization by Ms Baliram runs counter to the complete picture.”(A) I am highly confident that I have advanced a fundamental hypothesis on suicide in this country. But it was unfairly criticized by TCV. I am convinced that unbearable stress drives the bulk of this problem, which causes Guyana’s suicide rate to stand above the global average. Even though TCV talks about copycatting and other secondary issues arising from stress (depression, anxiety, hopelessness, suicidal thoughts, dysfunctional relationships, and divorce, etc) in impacting suicide, it obviously fails to see this connection.  (b) TCV needs to know that stress in itself is a risk factor for suicide. Additionally, it is the key player driving this problem in this country because it is chronic, abundantly high, and is unbearable.  Moreover, stress has the ability to rewire the brain through alterations in its chemistry, its cellular structures, and gene expressions and functions (dubbed here as hijacked brain) in diminishing the ability to cope with life situations.  (c) TCV also unreasonably complained that my explanation is limited. TCV needs to know that, as a research scientist, my job is to zero in on the crux of the problem, and this is precisely what I have done. I am not sure why TCV is unable to map the details to the key points I have outlined. TCV needs to know that it is expected of anyone working in the area of suicide to be able to do this. TCV needs to know that due to my academic training, I have no trouble elaborating on the intricate details in a forum which permits the publication of lengthy articles with complex diagrams, due to the complexity of suicide. In fact, I have created a model explaining suicide in this country with stress as the key player, and I hope to share this with the Guyanese people in the near future.Sincerely,Annie Baliramlast_img read more

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Alleged mastermind remanded

first_imgCJIA cocaine bustTwenty-seven-year-old Delvor Bunbury, who is the alleged mastermind in the smuggling of almost two kilograms of cocaine at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport, has turned himself over to the Police and on Friday appeared at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Courts.Delvor BunburyThe Victoria Road, Plaisance, East Coast Demerara (ECD) resident stood before Magistrate Leron Daly and denied the allegation with which he has been charged.The charge allege that he, on September 11, 2017 at Bel Air, Georgetown, attempted to traffic one kilogram, 828 grams of cocaine through Travis Mendonca, who was recently sentenced to three years in prison for naro-trafficking.His Attorney, Latchmie Rahamat, in a bail application, said the narcotics were not found in Bunbury’s possession, and as such he has no knowledge of it.The attorney, in her petition, told Magistrate Daly that the cocaine was found at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA), and added that, to date, the said cocaine that the accused is being charged for has not been seen by him.Police Prosecutor Simone Payne objected to bail being granted, noting that the first accused in the matter – Mendonca — gave Police information implicating the accused, who has a similar matter presently before the court.In that matter Bunbury, Gavin Harris and ex-cop Louie Dublin were all remanded to prison after they were found to be in possession of 588 grams of cocaine at CJIA for the purpose of trafficking, but were later released on bail.In the present matter, Bunbury was remanded to prison until October 20, when the matter would be called again. Earlier this week, a wanted bulletin was issued for Bunbury after Mendonca was arrested and jailed, and reportedly had implicated him.However, currently, several members of the Police Narcotics Branch are now under close arrest following the disappearance of the said cocaine.The cocaine which disappeared from the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) Headquarters at Eve Leary was already tendered as evidence against the two defendants.Acting Police Commissioner David Ramnarine has confirmed that an investigation has been launched by the Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR).He also told media operatives that the cocaine was discovered missing on Tuesday last, but he did not go into details.last_img read more

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Unsolved cases called priority

first_imgFor his part, Weiss said he will be pursuing funds for the plan during budget deliberations that begin in April. “In a budget of $7billion, a $10million program isn’t that much,” Weiss said. Weiss, who has announced plans to run for city attorney in 2009, last week donated $100,000 from his City Council office budget to the Los Angeles Police Department to clear up 100 backlogged cases to be tested for DNA evidence. “The people who have been raped and had evidence collected from them in the most intrusive way deserve to have their cases tested and resolved,” Weiss said. LAPD statistics showed there were 50 rapes reported last month and 74 in October. For the year, there have been 801 rapes reported, compared with 928 in 2006. “This is the crime that a perpetrator commits over and over again,” Weiss said. “We should be doing more to get these people off the streets.”160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWhicker: Clemson demonstrates that it’s tough to knock out the champWeiss’ plan would hire 22 new criminalists and four lab technicians over the next two years and provide additional rape kits with a goal to clear up the backlog over 30 months. To dramatize the point, Weiss cited the case of a woman who was assaulted in her home while her 15-year-old son was asleep in an adjoining bedroom. “Like all rape victims, her body was one of the crime scenes,” Weiss said. “Evidence was collected and packaged in a rape kit. The detective was told it would take eight months to analyze the rape kit.” Weiss said detectives believed the woman’s rapist was a repeat offender. When the rape kit was processed, police believe the rapist also attacked two other victims – one of them a child. Aides to Villaraigosa and Bratton said they are studying Weiss’ proposal. Calling it the “public safety scandal of our era,” a Los Angeles city official proposed a $10million program Monday to clear a backlog of 7,000 homicides and rapes dating back at least a decade. Councilman Jack Weiss, who wrote a letter with the proposal to Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Los Angeles Police Chief William Bratton, said he will be pressing to make solving the crimes a top priority next year. “I am going to hold hearings every week on the backlog of DNA cases until every woman and man in this city is outraged,” said Weiss, who chairs the City Council’s Public Safety Committee. “Everyone says that public safety is our top priority. Well, there should be no higher priority than getting rapists and murderers off the streets of our city.” last_img read more

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Veterans recall siege as new film premieres

first_imgWHITTIER – John Armendariz doesn’t need an excuse to socialize with his fellow veterans of World War II’s Battle of Iwo Jima, although there are not many left. But with Clint Eastwood’s movie “Flags of Our Fathers” opening Friday, Armendariz gets to commiserate specifically about life after the famous battle – one of the costliest in U.S. Marine history. More than 6,800 Americans and 22,000 Japanese died in the 36-day battle between Feb. 19 and March 26, 1945. Although the 81-year-old Whittier resident agreed recently to an interview for the History Channel, he said he and most of the Iwo Jima veterans he knows have been reluctant to talk publicly about the battle. Of the six, three were killed shortly thereafter and the other three men were notably silent on the subject the rest of their lives, despite earning celebrated hero-status. Five of the soldiers were Marines, the sixth a U.S. Naval corpsman – Bradley’s father, John Bradley. According to the movie’s Web site, John Bradley never displayed a copy of the historic photograph in his home and told his son only that “the real heroes of Iwo Jima were the guys who didn’t come back.” At the same time the flag was being raised on Mount Suribachi, Armendariz was on the other side of the mountain looking for land mines on the beach. One of the men with him from his unit was an old friend from his childhood home in Boyle Heights, Oscar Morales. Morales, 81, and Armendariz still get together over a beer occasionally at their local American Legion post in Pico Rivera, where Morales now lives. “We were in the second wave that landed on the island on Feb. 19,” Morales said. “John was my partner as we crossed the island the following day. We had to fight our way back.” On the 11th day of the battle, Morales was hit in the head by shrapnel, but was patched up and sent back to the front lines as the leader of a small squad. The two veterans plan on attending the movie on opening day Friday with the free tickets provided to them by the movie’s publicist. “I have a lot of friends, but none are quite like my friendship with John, after what we went through,” Morales said. “I’ve known him most of my life.” pam.wight@sgvn.com (562) 698-0955, Ext. 3029160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREThe joys and headaches of holiday travel: John Phillips“None of us really talked much about it other than to our families for years,” said Armendariz, who belonged to the same regiment as the flagraisers. “Most of us were very young men – 17 or 18 years old. To see so many of them lose their lives like that, it’s a hard thing to take. I’m not sure it should have happened.” Armendariz said the experience of such loss had a lasting effect which he had to work to “shrug off.” “I’m only speaking about this in the name of those who died,” he said. On the 26th day, Armendariz was shot through the elbow and sent home. He was later awarded a Purple Heart. The movie is based on a book by James Bradley, the son of one of the six soldiers depicted raising an American flag on top of Iwo Jima’s Mount Suribachi in an iconic photograph that came to symbolize American victory in the war. The story focuses on the lives of the six men after the battle. last_img read more

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Mesut Ozil has ‘told Arsenal teammates he is moving to Manchester United’

first_img Mesut Ozil looks to be on his way out of Arsenal 1 Mesut Ozil has reportedly told his Arsenal teammates he is joining Manchester United.The World Cup-winning playmaker is out of contract at the Emirates Stadium next summer and has failed to agree new terms.Arsene Wenger has repeatedly stressed he wants to keep Ozil at the club and has insisted the 29-year-old is eager to extend his stay in north London.But he admitted for the first time publicly last week that he could not rule out a January departure for Ozil or Alexis Sanchez, who is also out of contract in the summer of 2018.Now, according to the Daily Mirror, the German has told Gunners pals he is ready to join bitter rivals Manchester United.Ozil worked under United boss Jose Mourinho during his time at Real Madrid and is understood to be eager for a reunion with the self-styled Special One at Old Trafford.He has endured mixed fortunes since joining Arsenal in a £42.5 million deal in 2013, with the languid playmaker delighting and frustrating fans in equal measure.But losing Ozil to United for free next summer would come as a bitter blow to the Gunners’ faithful.last_img read more

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Hand-washing device to combat disease

first_imgWhile many people try using a bucket of water and a towel for hand-washing outside a toilet, the water evaporates from open buckets, and the continuous use of the same water leads to contamination. “Experts say one gram of faeces can contain 10 million viruses, one million bacteria, one thousand parasites and one hundred worm eggs,” says Ngorima. “This increases the risk of serious infection and contamination if one does not wash one’s hands properly with soap after using the toilet.” “The device limits water wastage, with around 30 hand washes per two litres of water. It has a soap dish and typically hangs upside down on a bracket fastened to a wall.” Hand-washing with soap could cut these figures by half. However, water scarcity meant that many rural and peri-urban people in South Africa faced sanitation and hygiene challenges,” Ngorima said. According to the CSIR’s Ester Ngorima, diarrhoea and acute respiratory infections caused the death of millions of children under the age of five in the developing world. Diarrhoea was estimated to kill around two to three million children annually. The device is easy enough to use – you need an empty two-litre bottle filled with clean water; the hand-washing dispenser is then be screwed onto the opening of the bottle. “The dispenser releases enough water to enable hygienic hand-washing with soap,” Ngorima explains. “To get the water, place your hands under the device and lift the plunger. When you lower your hands, the device seals itself. The CSIR patented the device in 2006, and has set up a commercialisation agreement with two small black empowerment companies to sell the device in bulk directly to clients such as municipalities, contractors and non-governmental organisations. More than 110 000 of the CSIR’s hand-washing dispensers have already reached communities across South Africa. “This is mostly as part of municipalities’ sanitation drives and through non-governmental organisations in the water and sanitation sector,” Ngorima said. Easy to use, limits water usage South Africa’s Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has developed an innovative, affordable hand-washing device to enable poor communities to combat life-threatening water-borne diseases with minimal water usage. Unsupervised children and domestic animals tend to drink this water, which is also exposed to dust. The two Pretoria-based licencees, who cover all nine provinces in the country, are Zibako Trading Enterprises and Magnolia Ridge Properties. 20 October 2010 Cutting down infection risk Commercialisation, sanitation drive SAinfo reporterWould you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See: Using SAinfo materiallast_img read more

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Two-Week Spending Extension Averts Shutdown

first_imgCongress has averted a government shutdown on 4 March by approving a temporary spending bill today that funds federal agencies for another 2 weeks. The extension of the so-called continuing resolution reduces current spending by $4 billion, but none of the science, energy, and education programs that would suffer greatly under a bill passed last month by the House of Representatives would be affected. The latest vote gives the House and Senate until 18 March to compromise on a final 2011 spending bill.President Barack Obama says he will sign the measure. But his statement issued immediately after the vote this morning by the Senate cautions Congress that the final agreement “should cut spending and reduce deficits without damaging economic growth or gutting investments in education, research, and development that will create jobs and secure our future.” See our 2012 Budget coverage.last_img read more

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Not unexpectedly, a new drug-resistant ‘superbug’ pops up in the United States

first_imgFor years, public health experts have warned us that deadly bacteria are developing resistance to all our available antibiotics. This week, researchers reported the first known U.S. case of an Escherichia coli infection resistant to colistin, a harsh drug seen as a last resort to knock out stubborn infections. The finding, described in the American Society for Microbiology journal Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, is no big surprise to researchers tracking the rise of resistant bacteria. The resistance gene, known as mcr-1, was discovered in E. coli in China last year, and has since cropped up in Europe.As the United States crosses the same ominous milestone, research to understand resistance and develop new drugs is surging ahead. As Science reported earlier this month, evolutionary biologists have recently revisited old dogma about how best to prescribe antibiotics—revealing that trusted strategies such as using a high dose may not actually help prevent resistance. Other research has focused on designing new antibiotics that bacterial evolution hasn’t yet anticipated. Last week, chemists at Harvard University described a powerful way to make new variations on the widely used class of antibiotics known as macrolides—a finding that spurred a new company. Meanwhile, governments are trying to find ways to incentivize the costly development of antibiotics—but as a Science feature detailed last year, an unfriendly market makes it hard to persuade companies that the search can be profitable. A new report from U.K. economist Jim O’Neill, also released last week, proposes a list of solutions to the resistance crisis, from new meat labeling practices to $1 billion incentives for drug companies.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)last_img read more

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Calcutta HC directs government to file affidavit on Pinki’s case

first_imgThe Calcutta High court on Friday directed the state government to file an affidavit within two weeks on the progress of Pinki Pramanik’s case and submit the case diary before the court on the next date of hearing.The PIL was moved before the division bench of Calcutta High Court comprising Chief Justice J.N. Patel and Justice Sambuddha Chakrabarti.The court has also sought clarification of Pinki’s detention in an isolated cell inside the male prison even before her sex determination test results were out. The division bench gave liberty to petitioners to involve the cyber crime cell in finding out how the objectionable MMS content went viral on the internet. The court has mentioned in its order that the petitioners can file a complaint with the police in one week’s time on how the MMS was circulated.The high court on Thursday permitted a PIL to be moved on the alleged harassment of Asian Games gold medallist athlete.”We appealed before the court to look into the humiliation and harassment issue as far as Pinki’s case is concerned. She has been mentally tortured and her privacy has been affected a lot,” said advocate Bharati Mutsuddi.A former CPM lawmaker from Hooghly, Haripal and an ex-member of the state women’s rights commission, Mutsuddi said that every individual has the right to live with dignity as per the constitutional provisions. “In this case Pinki’s right to dignity has been violated. She was utterly helpless thus we came forward and moved the PIL,” she said.advertisementMeanwhile, leader of the Opposition in West Bengal Assembly Suryakanta Mishra dubbed the whole issue as the violation of Pinki’s human rights. “It was definitely violation of human rights in the case of Pinki,” Mishra said in the Assembly lobby. He further said that their move to raise the issue in the Assembly was rejected as the matter was already sub-judice.The West Bengal government on Friday pleaded ignorance about the alleged harassment of Pinki Pramanik. “I have not received any complaint from Pinki’s family or any sports body. We have got no written complaints saying whatever is going on is illegal,” state sports minister Madan Mitra said, when asked about alleged atrocities being meted out to the athlete.He said that the government was keeping a close watch on all the developments regarding the gold medallist sprinter.Pinki is fighting a legal battle after she was accused of being a male and arrested for alleged rape. An MMS clip, purportedly showing the athlete completely naked and undergoing tests at a private nursing home, has also gone viral online.The 29 second clip was reportedly circulated after Pinki underwent a gender verification test at a private nursing home in North 24-Parganas district where the sprinter was taken subsequent to her arrest on June 14.Last week, the court of chief judicial magistrate, Barasat, (North 24-Parganas) Anita Mathur, rejected the bail plea of Pinki and remanded her to further judicial custody till July 12. The court also allowed the prosecution plea to take Pramanik for a chromosomal test to conclusively determine her gender.On July 4, stated Human Rights Commission (WBHRC) directed the state government and the police to look into the alleged inhumane torture’ on Pinki in jail custody. The commission had asked the principal secretary (health) to prepare a report and submit it in next seven days. It also ordered principal secretary (home) and the state director general of police to investigate into the matter.The athlete had twice undergone gender determination tests in two different government hospitals but on both the occasions the test results were inconclusive.”The 11-member medical team examined Pinki and sent her blood samples to laboratories outside the state. It will take at least next 7-10 days to receive the test reports. The reports would be submitted to the court only after that,” said SSKM medical super Tamal Ghosh told MAIL TODAY.Ghosh had formed the medical board at the state-run premier hospital for conducting tests on the athlete. The medical panel was led by forensic department head DN Kahali.As the matter is sub-judice, Ghosh declined to disclose the location where the test samples were sent.Pramanik won gold in 4×400 metres relay at the 2006 Asian Games in Doha, Qatar. She was a silver medallist at the Melbourne Commonwealth Games the same year.Immensely talented Pinki, however, had been involved in a few unsavoury incidents since she started her career. Pinki’s misery began when she was caught with firearm in her bag in November 2004. It turned out to be a frame-up, as a police probe later unearthed. But a night in custody seemed to have changed her life forever.advertisementPinki’s father Durgacharan Pramanik was a rickshaw puller and the family hails from a remote village Tilakdih in Purulia (bordering Jharkhand).Training in this remotest hamlet meant running about 10-kilometres everyday by the river-side, till she was brought to Kolkata. Hailing from a poor family, Pinki couldn’t continue studies after passing class-X exams. Pinki’s talent got noticed in March 2002 during an inter-district meet. Two months later she created three state records, in 100m, 200m and 400m, in her age-group.Later, the Sports Authority India (SAI) took her under its fold and former national record holder Geeta Zutsi helped in honing her skills. Pinki retired from athletics three years ago.The 25-year-old athlete used to work with Eastern Railway’s Sealdah division as a travelling ticket examiner. She was suspended Pramanik on June 16 following her remand in judicial custody.last_img read more

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