Opinion: What exactly is Flake looking for?

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I understand why people may be surprised to learn that a person can be charged with a sex crime when there is no evidence other than the allegation of the person claiming to be the victim. But that’s the way the law works in many states, including Maryland, where Christine Blasey Ford said she was assaulted by Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh when they were teenagers. In a sex crime case, “he said, she said” may be enough to send someone to prison for a long time.
Agree with them or not, these laws make sense. Corroborating evidence is often nonexistent in sex crime cases. There is rarely an eyewitness to the assault because most of these crimes are committed when no one else is around. Physical evidence, while certainly present in some cases, is often elusive when the allegation relates to an incident that occurred many days or years before the report is made.
That’s why there should not be any expectation that the FBI, which is conducting a supplemental background investigation into Judge Brett Kavanaugh, will be able to corroborate Christine Blasey Ford’s allegation.
And although Ford has identified Mark Judge as an eyewitness to the alleged assault, he may have been too drunk to remember the incident at all. And it should not be surprising if the other people who may have been present that day over 36 years ago simply have no memory of the gathering now. It makes perfect sense that they would not remember it as clearly as Ford. It was an extremely significant day for her, not so much for them.
Of course, there would also not be any physical evidence available to corroborate this allegation. It was not reported at the time. And, because it was allegedly an attempted rape, there may not have been any physical evidence even if it was investigated by law enforcement the very next day.
And while the FBI may now be slightly expanding what was initially a very restricted investigation, the effort remains focused on gathering interview notes, not investigating a crime.
Consider how significant the difference is. In addition to tight time constraints that are usually not present in criminal investigations, the FBI is also expected to follow traditional protocols for conducting a background investigation. This will likely mean the investigation will be extremely limited. I do not expect the FBI will try to turn over every rock, follow every lead, or even re-interview critical witnesses if new evidence is uncovered during the investigation.
While I initially thought Rachel Mitchell, the Arizona prosecutor brought in by Sen. Chuck Grassley to question Ford before the Senate Judiciary Committee, believed Ford’s allegations, I must have been wrong. Mitchell has since written a five-page memo criticizing various aspects of Ford’s testimony and, unnecessarily in my opinion, explaining why Kavanaugh shouldn’t be criminally charged based solely on Ford’s statements.
Although I agree with that conclusion based on the very limited information presented at the committee hearing (a deficiency Mitchell seems to acknowledge), a robust criminal investigation could very well change that calculation and uncover sufficient evidence to charge Kavanaugh with a crime. But, despite at least one request, it doesn’t appear that will ever happen unless Ford personally initiates it, something she has so far chosen not to do.
The problem is that at least one senator critical to Kavanaugh’s nomination wants more than just the word of Ford. In requesting this FBI supplemental investigation, Sen. Jeff Flake expressed what appears to be a common thought: Ford’s testimony was “compelling” and “credible” but we need more evidence because Kavanaugh is entitled to a “presumption of innocence to the accused, absent corroborating evidence.”
But what sort of corroborating evidence is Flake looking for. Would it be sufficient if the FBI could simply corroborate that there was a party in the summer of 1982 that both Ford and Kavanaugh attended? Would it be enough if the FBI could prove that Kavanaugh, despite his claims to the contrary, has been so intoxicated on one or more occasions that he blacked out? Or is Flake going to require independent evidence that the sexual assault actually occurred?
Of course, this is a judicial confirmation and not a criminal trial. Awarding Kavanaugh a presumption of innocence after Ford’s allegation is neither necessary nor appropriate under the law. The Senate’s constitutional obligation in this process is to provide the President with its “advice and consent” with respect to judicial nominees. In fulfilling that responsibility, the Senate looks to a wide variety of factors, none of which are exclusively determinative. There is no such thing as a “presumption of confirmation.”

Neymar scores hat trick in victory

PARIS, FRANCE - OCTOBER 03: Neymar Jr of Paris Saint-Germain celebrates his second goal during the Group C match of the UEFA Champions League between Paris Saint-Germain and Red Star Belgrade at Parc des Princes on October 3, 2018 in Paris, France. (Photo by Xavier Laine/Getty Images)

Xavier Laine/Getty Images

Paris Saint-Germain bounced back from their opening-match loss against Liverpool to beat Red Star Belgrade 6-1 at home in the UEFA Champions League on Wednesday. Neymar bagged a hat-trick, while Edinson Cavani, Angel Di Maria and Kylian Mbappe also got on the scoresheet. 

After a slow opening 20 minutes, the Ligue 1 champions shifted gear and barely gave the visiting Serbs any breathing room. Neymar opened the scoring with a free-kick and doubled his tally minutes later before Cavani and Di Maria added to the score.

Mbappe got his deserved goal after the break but Red Star pulled one back through former Chelsea man Marko Marin. Neymar completed his hat-trick inside the final 10 minutes.

Les Parisiens are favoured to advance from Group C alongside the Reds, who face Napoli on Matchday 2.


New Central Role Will Unlock Full Potential of Neymar, PSG

PSG manager Thomas Tuchel has experimented with his biggest star of late, using Neymar in a new central role as a main playmaker. In the formation, the Brazilian slots in behind Cavani and next to two attack-oriented players―in this case, Mbappe and Di Maria.

As The Athletic’s Nico Morales pointed out, the system carries some major risks due to Neymar’s defensive limitations:

But the former Barcelona man tracked back well on Wednesday, showing a healthy and needed work rate in midfield. Behind him, Adrien Rabiot bounced back from a rough start and Marco Verratti was his usual dominant self picking up runners with the ball.

The result was an efficient, impressive outing from the hosts. The threat of Neymar soaked up tons of attention, with defenders moving away from their own box to attack the trickster as soon as he touched the ball. That opened up tons of space for his team-mates, who took full advantage.

Former NFL star Chad Johnson watched Wednesday’s contest and came away impressed after Neymar bagged his second goal:

The system will be more severely tested against better teams who will pressure Neymar on the ball, but based on what we’ve seen so far, he has adapted well to the role and should be able to deal with that. He’s already showing a knack for finding space in between the lines despite limited time in the new role.

It’s a brave move from Tuchel to use Neymar in this way, but this role may just push Neymar to an even higher level―to the benefit of his team-mates.


Despite Liverpool Debacle, PSG Remain Among UCL Favourites

Many fans and pundits were down on the Ligue 1 giants after their disappointing loss against Liverpool on the opening matchday, but some context is in order.

For starters, it remains the only blemish on an otherwise perfect record this season. Any team can have a bad day or a bad run―just ask defending champions Real Madrid, who lost to CSKA Moscow on Tuesday and are now winless in their last three outings.

It’s also worth noting PSG hadn’t played a true top team since the Trophee des Champions and went into the match at Anfield untested. Top teams need to face the best to grow as a unit, and the Liverpool match served as a learning experience.

The schedule is about to heat up significantly for Les Parisiens, per sportswriter Jonathan Johnson:

This is a team that should be judged on how they perform in the second half of the season, and not an early-season trip to Anfield. PSG have dominated since that setback and appear to be right back on track.


Depth and Versatility Key to Difficult Stretch for Les Parisiens

There was a minor cause for concern in the first half when Di Maria went down with a knock that required some treatment and saw him removed from the pitch for a brief spell. But PSG fans likely didn’t worry when they saw who was warming up to potentially replace him:

Julian Draxler and Moussa Diaby are both exciting attacking talents who can hold their own in a variety of roles. The former can even play in midfield, giving Tuchel even more options.

PSG’s tough stretch of matches will carry into November, with fixtures against Lyon, Napoli (twice), Marseille, Lille, Monaco and Liverpool all to come before the calendar turns to December. Les Parisiens have ample depth to deal with any absences, however, and enough versatility to switch formations if needed.

Few teams can match the Ligue 1 giants in both departments, and thanks to their healthy eight-point lead in the domestic competition, Tuchel can already start thinking about rotating with an eye on the Champions League.


What’s Next?

PSG will host Lyon in Ligue 1 on Sunday, while Red Star visit FK Zemun in the Serbian SuperLiga.

Hatch: Trump ‘may have to give up’ tax returns

“It’s funny they wouldn’t bring that up by the election (2016),” the Utah Republican told CNN’s Manu Raju. “I’d be happy to look into it. But right now, I don’t know enough about it.”
Democrats, including Trump’s opponent Hillary Clinton, often slammed Trump for not releasing his tax returns during the 2016 election. Clinton questioned what Trump was hiding by not releasing his returns, saying, “So you have got to ask yourself, why does he not release them?” during a May 2016 campaign stop.
When asked if Trump should release his tax returns, Hatch said: “He may have to — he may have to give up those returns,” but wouldn’t commit to seeking the returns himself. “I don’t know,” he said. “I’ve been in so many things.”
“If I was him, I wouldn’t want to give them up,” Hatch added.
The Times investigation reported that Trump had received at least $413 million in today’s dollars from his father’s real estate empire by hiding millions in gifts in a “sham corporation” along with his siblings. Trump dismissed the report in a tweet Wednesday as “very old, boring and often told hit piece.”
Trump’s lawyer, Charles Harder said the report was “100% false” in a statement Tuesday.
During his campaign for office, then-candidate Trump broke with presidential election norms when he refused to produce his tax returns for public review. White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters Wednesday she is “not aware of any plans” for the President to release his tax returns.

Trump is casting Kavanaugh as a victim. He’s felt the same

Kavanaugh himself has strenuously denied the allegations against him.
It also serves as a reminder that Trump, himself, faces a list of accusations, which he has denied. His reaction to Kavanaugh, therefore, is not happening in a vacuum, something he acknowledges.
“When you say does it affect me in terms of my thinking with respect to Judge Kavanaugh? Absolutely. Because I’ve had it many times,” Trump told reporters at the news conference amid the United Nations General Assembly last week.
“People want fame. They want money,” he added, alluding to what he thinks are the motivations of accusers.
During the 2016 presidential campaign, at least 13 women accused Trump of misbehavior ranging from sexual harassment and sexual assault. They came forward in the wake of a 2005 “Access Hollywood” tape that was released in October 2016 in which he is caught saying on a hot mic: “And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything … Grab them by the p***y. You can do anything.”
The White House — through press secretary Sarah Sanders and others — has dismissed all the allegations against him as old news that had been litigated during the campaign.
The President has also voiced suspicion about the year-old #MeToo movement in private, complaining that allegations made decades later can ruin a man’s life, people familiar with those conversations say. He has questioned why women wait so long to come forward if they are telling the truth. On Tuesday, he expressed concern for men in this moment.
“It is a very scary time for young men in America, where you can be guilty of something you may not be guilty of,” Trump told reporters. “This is a very, very — this is a very difficult time. What’s happening here has much more to do than even the appointment of a Supreme Court justice.”
And on Tuesday night, he unleashed on Ford, Kavanaugh’s accuser, after previously calling her a credible witness.
“How did you get home? I don’t remember. How’d you get there? I don’t remember. Where is the place? I don’t remember. How many years ago was it? I don’t know,” Trump said at a campaign rally in Mississippi, mimicking Ford’s testimony last week to the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Trump’s comments were met with laughter and applause from the crowd.
For context on his own experience, here’s a list of women who have made claims against Trump and their allegations, which the White House has denied:

Jessica Leeds

Leeds accused Trump of grabbing her chest and attempting to move his hand up her skirt on a flight in the 1980s.

Kristin Anderson

Anderson said she was sitting with friends at a Manhattan nightclub in the early 1990s when a man suddenly put his hand up her skirt. Moments afterward, she said she recognized the man to be Trump. The two had not spoken or met before the incident occurred. She first made the allegations to The Washington Post, which reported her claim that Trump touched “her vagina through her underwear.” CNN has not been able to independently confirm Anderson’s claim.

Jill Harth

Trump allegedly made unwanted sexual advances towards Harth, including groping her under her skirt on two different occasions in 1992 and 1993 during initial meetings regarding a business venture, according to Hart’s lawyer.

Temple Taggart

The former Miss Utah alleged that Trump twice subjected her to unwanted sexual advances in 1997. She said Trump gave her a non-consensual embrace and kissed her on the lips during a rehearsal for the Miss USA Pageant. She said the behavior was repeated later during a meeting at Trump Tower.

Cathy Heller

Heller told the Guardian that Trump “took my hand, and grabbed me, and went for the lips,” without her consent in 1997 at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club in Florida. The Guardian reported that it spoke to a friend who Heller told about the incident and a relative who witnessed part of it. CNN has not been able to independently confirm Heller’s claims.

Karena Virginia

Karena Virginia said that in 1998 Trump groped her breast without her permission while waiting for a car service outside the US Open.

Mindy McGillivray

McGillivray said Trump grabbed her butt in 2003 when she was assisting a photographer hired to work a concert at Mar-a-Lago.

Natasha Stoynoff

Stoynoff alleged that in 2005 while on assignment to write a story on Trump’s wedding anniversary for People magazine, Trump pushed her against a wall, started “forcing his tongue” down her throat, and physically attacked her during a tour of the Mar-a-Lago.

Rachel Crooks

Crooks said that in 2006, while she was working as a receptionist at the Bayrock Group, which was located in Trump Tower, Trump kissed her on the mouth without her consent.

Jessica Drake

In a hotel suite at a charity golf tournament at Lake Tahoe, Nevada, in 2006, Drake alleges that Trump hugged and kissed her and two other women. Drake, an adult film actress and director, said she later received a phone call from Trump, who asked her to return and go out to dinner or attend a party with him. When she declined, he offered her $10,000 and use of his private jet if she accepted.

Ninni Laaksonen

Ninni Laaksonen, the former Miss Finland, accused Trump of grabbing her butt before an appearance on CBS’ “The Late Show with David Letterman” in 2006.

Summer Zervos

Zervos, a former contestant on “The Apprentice,” alleged that in 2007, Trump kissed her on the lips during a lunch meeting in his New York City office. On a separate occasion in Beverly Hills, she alleges he kissed her aggressively and touched her breast.
Zervos filed a lawsuit against Trump in January 2017 alleging that he defamed her after she said in 2016 that he sexually assaulted her. Last month, Trump was instructed to provide written responses to questions from Zervos’ legal team.
According to CNN’s Erin Burnett, Trump suggested her friend, who was with him in a Trump Tower boardroom in 2010, take some Tic Tacs. Then he leaned in to kiss her on the lips, which caught her off guard.
“I was really freaked out,” the woman later told Burnett.
After that, Trump invited her into his office alone. He told the woman she was “special” and proceeded to give her his cell phone number.
“I ran the hell out of there,” the friend told Burnett.

Christine Blasey Ford inspired me to break my silence

I know, because in my own way I’ve spent the past two weeks doing just that.
Like so many, I’ve been on an emotional roller coaster as I’ve absorbed the headlines and relived my own experience of being attacked as a teenager. But I’ve also been inspired and spurred by Ford’s example to figure out what I can do to seek redress decades after the fact.
Naomi Seligman

The man who attacked me will never be nominated to the Supreme Court, and I haven’t had to parse my words and defend my actions before an audience of millions. Still, I recognize many aspects of Ford’s experience: her hesitation in coming forward, her fear of humiliation and the value she’s found in seeking to protect others from harm.
It began, for me, with a single haunting detail: how Brett Kavanaugh, in Ford’s description, turned up the music and covered her mouth so nobody would hear her scream.
I wasn’t sure at first why this bothered me so much. Then I realized it was because, when I was assaulted as a 17-year-old high school senior from suburban Massachusetts, I was unconscious — passed out from drinking at my first college party — so my attacker hadn’t needed to take precautions to keep me quiet. My haunting details were the ones I absorbed after I came to: my disheveled clothing, the soreness, the missing bra that I found hanging from a tree outside.
Trump and Kavanaugh meet #MeToo

Trump and Kavanaugh meet #MeToo

Like Ford, I didn’t report the assault, out of embarrassment, shame and uncertainty about the process. And I continued to do nothing, even as I embarked on a successful career in political advocacy and pushed aggressively for public accountability in many fields, including government ethics and gender equity.
Those who know me know it’s not in my nature to let things go. I’m a fighter through and through. Yet, for 29 years, I let the single most painful experience of my life go unaddressed and unrepaired. It was always there, lurking, but I could not think about it.
There was a moment, when the #MeToo movement first gained ground, when I reached out to my attacker on Facebook, thinking I could somehow call him to account. But I had no clear plan, and when he responded, I realized that there was no conversation I wanted with him.
It wasn’t until I read — and reread — Ford’s account that I gained some sort of clarity. I felt in my bones that I had to take action. The big question was how.
Alyssa Milano: We can't let Trump and Kavanaugh be America's face

Alyssa Milano: We can't let Trump and Kavanaugh be America's face

I knew a lot about my attacker. Not only did we talk at that party at a Boston-area college, but a week after the attack I went with him to a fraternity formal on his own campus in an attempt to normalize what had happened. Yes, I went on a date with my rapist. As soon as I walked in and the DJ played “Seventeen,” I knew I’d made a terrible mistake.
A couple of years later, I was in college at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and I ran into him again. He was just visiting the campus, but he began ribbing me like an old friend, then followed me to a restaurant. I was petrified and angry. It turned out he was childhood friends with a resident assistant I knew and had boasted to her about taking away my virginity. He’d even described the blood.
When I started thinking back on those days, I realized I couldn’t remember who, other than the RA, I’d ever told. I called a close friend, and she didn’t know anything. Neither did my family. Only my first boyfriend after the rape remembered. That alone helped me breathe again.
Trump's mockery emboldens rape culture

Trump's mockery emboldens rape culture

I knew from my research before Ford’s testimony that my attacker had a wife and children, and I thought about letting the matter drop. I wasn’t out for revenge. Maybe — you never know — he’d changed and become a better person. But I also knew that my attacker was a professor at a community college, where I had to think he was in regular close contact with young women. Other people’s lives and well-being were at stake, too.
The more I thought about that, the harder I found it to sleep. And so, one morning before dawn, the day after Ford’s letter to Sen. Dianne Feinstein broke, I wrote everything down in a letter to the college. I wanted the administration to know his history. I wanted to make sure that anyone who came forward with a complaint would be heard and believed. Most of all, I was determined that no other woman would have to wait 30 years, or anywhere close, to tell her story.
The Title IX coordinator, whose role includes oversight into complaints alleging sexual harassment and assault, called me within hours and was sympathetic and supportive. She also told me there had been no sexual assault complaints about him for as long as she’d been at the college, and perhaps that should have made me feel better.
But it didn’t. Just because nobody had complained, I couldn’t be sure he hadn’t traumatized someone else the way he had traumatized me.
Of course, my attacker will likely never be held accountable for what he did. I have to live with that. But I know, at least, I’ve given voice to my scared 17-year-old self — and just maybe helped protect someone else. For me, Ford’s bravery has been transformative already.
Will I do more? I’m not ruling it out. I know that nothing about the long years after sexual assault are easy to work through. Telling our stories is often excruciating, with no guarantee that we will be believed. But it can also be crucial: Think of the two survivors who challenged Republican Sen. Jeff Flake in an elevator and played a part in persuading him to consider a delay in the Kavanaugh confirmation. Our voices, in this moment, have become essential, and silence intolerable.

Paddleboard yoga may have landed this man in prison

LaMarche was sentenced to nine months in prison on Monday. He had pleaded guilty to theft of government property and wire fraud in March, admitting he collected more than $177,000 in disability payments, according to the Department of Justice.
While receiving disability payments, LaMarche owned and operated Emerald City Charters, a sailing outfit whose promotional video showed him sailing the boats.
Investigators from the Railroad Retirement Board Office and the US Coast guard also dug up a Seattle tourism video that showed LaMarche and others doing yoga on paddleboards.
Both videos were used to incriminate LaMarche, according to the US District Court for the Western District of Washington.
The 67-year-old’s scheme began in 1988, when LaMarche claimed he could no longer work as a railway conductor due to a back injury. Five years later, he began receiving a disability annuity from the Railroad Retirement Board.
Despite the Railroad Board investigating the disability claim in 2015, LaMarche continued to submit false reports, saying he could not “lift, pull or carry heavy items,” was “unable to run or jump” and had “debilitating headaches daily,” the Justice Department said.
US District Judge James Robart called LaMarche a “thief” at his sentencing.
“He’s obviously made a lot of money, but he’s stealing every year,” Robart said.
The investigation ordered LaMarche to pay $177,369 in restitution as well as an additional $177,369 in penalties, according to the US Attorney’s Office in the Western District of Washington.
Although Emerald City Charters’ website claims “the fun isn’t stopping anytime soon,” their head captain won’t be able to man the decks until 2019. After the nine months in prison, LaMarche will be under supervised release for two years.
His captains license is currently under review by the US Coast Guard, a Coast Guard spokesman told CNN.
LaMarche was ordered to report to prison on Tuesday.

This season’s highest-paid college football coaches

Ohio State coach Urban Meyer, left, and Alabama head coach Nick Saban shake hands during a press conference at the Marriott downtown convention center in New Orleans, Wednesday, Dec. 31, 2014. Ohio State is slated to square off against Alabama in the Sugar Bowl on New Year's Day. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

Brynn Anderson/Associated Press

Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban tops the annual USA Today list of highest-paid coaches in college football with a total salary of $8.3 million for the 2018 season.

Saban is followed by the Ohio State Buckeyes’ Urban Meyer ($7.6 million), the Michigan Wolverines’ Jim Harbaugh ($7.5 million), the Texas A&M Aggies’ Jimbo Fisher ($7.5 million) and the Auburn Tigers’ Gus Malzahn ($6.7 million) in this year’s top five, released Wednesday.

The Tide coach, who signed an eight-year, $74.4 million contract extension in July, said last year he “probably” wasn’t worth his salary.

“But I don’t really do this for money, and I never really have,” he told reporters. “I started out in this profession making $8,000 a year, and that was after two years as a graduate assistant making nothing. I was going to graduate school and loading trucks at night, and my wife worked in the registrar’s office, and we were happy when my dad brought us a case of peas so we could have a side dish.”

Saban is tied with fellow Bama legend Bear Bryant for the most national championships as a head coach with six, including five since joining the Tide in 2007.

Meanwhile, Meyer won’t receive his full salary for the 2018 campaign.

Ohio State announced in August he would “forgo six weeks of compensation” in addition to his since-served three-game suspension for his handling of domestic-violence allegations against former assistant Zach Smith, who was fired in July.

Harbaugh found himself nearing the hot seat after a season-opening loss to the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, but Michigan has bounced back with four straight wins.

In all, there are 13 coaches with total pay of at least $5 million, which doesn’t include potential bonuses, and 82 coaches who are earning at least $1 million this season.

Seven schools (Air Force, Army, Baylor, BYU, Rice, SMU and Temple) didn’t provide information for the USA Today database. 

A suspect is in custody after an active shooter situation, Florence County officials say

One of the five law enforcement officers shot on Wednesday has died, Florence County Coroner Keith von Lutcken said, according to CNN affiliate WBTW.
[Previous story, published at 6:33 p.m. ET]
Three Florence County, South Carolina, Sheriff’s Office deputies and two city officers were shot Wednesday, chief deputy Glenn Kirby said, according to CNN affiliates.
The shootings took place during an active shooter incident, which is now over, the Florence County Emergency Management Department said on its Twitter page.
The extent of the injuries was not immediately known.
A suspect is in custody, the county said.
The scene of the shooting in Vintage Place off Hoffmeyer Road remains a crime scene, the county emergency management said.
“Prayers with injured officers in Florence and their families,” South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott said on social media.
More details to follow.

Another typhoon barrels toward Japan

The typhoon is projected to track near southern Japan on Saturday morning local time with sustained winds of 120 kph (75 mph) — the equivalent of a Category 1 hurricane.
This storm comes on the heels of Typhoon Trami, which made landfall this past Sunday in Wakayama province.
The country has seen more than its fair share of named storms this year: Eight came close enough to bring direct impacts on the country.
Kong-rey will be the third former super typhoon to impact Japan this year, though — like the previous two, Jebi and Trami — the storm will have weakened below the super typhoon threshold (winds greater than 240 kph) when it reaches the island nation.
Eight named storms have already had a direct impact on Japan in 2018.

In the first days of September, Jebi — the strongest typhoon to hit the mainland in 25 years packing wind gusts of over 200 kph (125 mph) — slammed into Kochi province.
When Typhoon Kong-rey nears mainland Japan, it is currently not forecast to be as strong as Jebi or even Typhoon Trami, which made landfall as a strong typhoon 157 kph (97 mph).
However, it is forecast to follow a similar track that Typhoon Prapiroon took in early July, skirting between the Korean Peninsula and western Japan.
Typhoon Prapiroon and a stationary “Baiu” front caused one of the deadliest disasters Japan has experienced since the earthquake and tsunami of 2011. Hundreds died from flooding as Prapiroon drew moisture across the mountainous terrain of central Japan. In the course of 10 days, some locations in Japan received two to four times the amount of rain they normally receive in the month of July.
This storm is not forecast to dump nearly as much rain, but portions of southern Japan and South Korea could see upwards of 250 mm (6 inches) of rain as Kong-rey passes by — which could lead to flash flooding and the potential for landslides.

Inspectors found nooses hanging in cells at an ICE detention facility

“We identified serious violations that are important to inform ICE of immediately,” the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General said in a report released this week.
The management alert outlines a number of “issues requiring action” discovered by inspectors from the independent office when they conducted an unannounced visit to the Adelanto ICE Processing Center in May. The facility, located about 80 miles northeast of Los Angeles in Adelanto, is owned and operated by The GEO Group, a private prison contractor that runs a number of large immigrant detention centers in the United States.
“ICE takes seriously the OIG’s findings, and has agreed to conduct a full and immediate review of the center to ensure compliance with detention standards and expedite necessary corrective actions,” agency spokeswoman Lori Haley said in a statement.
Immigrant rights advocates said troubling findings in the government watchdog’s report echo concerns they’ve been raising for years about the facility and others like it. But even they seemed stunned by some details inspectors unearthed:

Nooses were found in more than a dozen cells

Braided bedsheets hanging from vents — referred to as nooses by staff and detainees — were found in about 15 cells inspectors visited, according to the report. That’s a violation of ICE standards, the report says, and “shows a disregard for detainee health and safety.”
One detainee told inspectors: “I’ve seen a few attempted suicides using the braided sheets by the vents and then the guards laugh at them and call them ‘suicide failures’ once they are back from medical.”
Detainees also noted sometimes the bed sheets were used to create privacy within cells, or as clotheslines. But given that a man died after being found hanging by his bedsheets in a cell at Adelanto in March 2017, and that at least seven suicide attempts have occurred at the facility, the report says ICE should prioritize addressing the issue.
“ICE’s lack of response to address this matter at the Adelanto Center shows a disregard for detainee health and safety,” the report says.
The report cites a 2017 Los Angeles Times story, which described at least four suicide attempts at the facility and notes that detainees had gone on hunger strikes to protest conditions there.

A disabled detainee was ‘inappropriately held’ in solitary confinement for days

A disabled detainee asked to be placed in administrative segregation but instead was placed in disciplinary segregation and “inappropriately held” there for nine days, according to the report. ICE uses “disciplinary segregation” to describe the practice more commonly known as solitary confinement.
“Based on our file review,” the report says, “in those 9 days, the detainee never left his wheelchair to sleep in a bed or brush his teeth … We also observed medical staff just looking in his cell and stamping his medical visitation sheet rather than evaluating the detainee, as required by ICE standards.”
After inspectors raised the issue with a medical health services administrator, the detainee was moved to medical for observation, according to the report.

A detainee reported that his teeth fell out while he was waiting for dental care

Another detainee interviewed by inspectors said he’d been waiting more than two years for cavities to be filled and had multiple teeth fall out in the meantime.
“Our detainee interviews and review of medical records revealed that detainees are placed on wait lists for months and, sometimes, years to receive basic dental care, resulting in tooth loss and unnecessary extractions in some cases,” the report says.
A review of records found that no detainees had received fillings in the last four years.
“When we asked one of the dentists why fillings were not performed, he said he barely has time to do cleaning sand screening, so as a result he does not do fillings,” the report says.

Inspectors say ICE should conduct a ‘full review’ of the facility

ICE should conduct a full review of the facility and GEO Group’s management, the inspector general said. Haley, the ICE spokeswoman, said the agency concurred with that recommendation.
“Adelanto, like all ICE detention facilities, is subject to stringent, regular inspections. Any compliance issues found during such reviews must be promptly addressed,” she said.
GEO Group didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment. The company bought the facility in 2010 and entered into an agreement to house ICE detainees there in 2011.
In a statement included in the OIG report, ICE said it would be conducting its own inspection of the facility this month to gauge whether it complies with the agency’s detention standards.
“The safety, rights and health of detainees in ICE’s care are paramount. ICE is concerned by the OIG’s findings,” wrote Nathalie Asher, ICE’s executive associate director for enforcement and removal operations. “However, the OIG’s draft report lacks important context on some issues. For example, when a disciplinary infraction occurs, it may be necessary to remove the detainee from the general population while the matter is investigated to ensure the safety and security of the facility.”

Advocates say past warnings haven’t been heeded

The Trump administration has pushed to expand the use of detention facilities to hold immigrants who are in deportation proceedings. An average of more than 40,000 detainees are in custody daily at ICE facilities, according to government statistics.
Immigrant advocacy organizations have long criticized the Adelanto facility, where more than 1,600 immigrant men and women were held when inspectors visited in May.
On Tuesday, advocates argued that the government watchdog report proves that officials haven’t taken meaningful steps to address years of complaints.
“ICE has ignored the ACLU’s repeated complaints about abuse and neglect at Adelanto,” Michael Kaufman, an attorney for the ACLU Foundation of Southern California, said in a statement. “The OIG’s disturbing report (reveals) that GEO and ICE officials continue to disregard immigration detainees’ well-being, often with tragic consequences.”
This isn’t the first time that the inspector general has warned of problems in ICE detention.
In a December 2017 report, the watchdog said inspectors had found long waits for medical care, possible misuse of solitary confinement and inappropriate treatment of detainees at several US immigrant detention facilities.
Advocates argue the recurrence of such findings in surprise inspections shows the inadequacy of ICE’s own monitoring efforts.
The agency maintains that it ensures facilities meet standards through an “aggressive inspection program” and an oversight office that conducts compliance inspections and reviews detainee deaths.