Friday News: Free at last

RONNIE LONG RELEASED AFTER BEING WRONGFULLY IMPRISONED FOR 44 YEARS: In the mid-1970s, Long was a 20-year-old Black man living in Concord when he was accused of raping a white woman. He was convicted in 1976 by an all-white jury that included members who had connections to the victim — the 54-year-old widow of a former textile executive at Cannon Mills, the town’s biggest employer. Long was sentenced to 80 years in prison. His release comes as the country — and Long’s home state — find themselves engaged in a renewed debate over how Black men and women are treated by police and the courts. Long’s attorneys have said that more than 40 fingerprints collected from the rape scene were never shared and did not match Long’s. Semen samples also were never disclosed to the defense. They later disappeared.

MAYOR BALDWIN SETS RALEIGH CURFEW IN ANTICIPATION OF PROTESTS: "By setting a curfew, it is my hope that we can allow those assembled the opportunity to exercise their right to free speech in a peaceful way, without violence or destruction from opportunists who don’t share the goals of peaceful protesters," Baldwin said in a statement. "We want to create a safe space for all who want to come together while maintaining a sense of civility and accountability. Raleigh is our home, and downtown is the heart and the heartbeat of our community." Several downtown businesses were already preparing for the protests Friday morning by boarding up their doors just in case protests become violent. Protests in the wake of George Floyd's death in police custody in Minnesota in May turned into riots, with people vandalizing and looting businesses downtown and setting several fires. Law enforcement responded by deploying tear gas and firing rubber bullets into crowds to disperse people.

ALAMANCE COUNTY JAIL (ALSO MAJOR ICE DETENTION FACILITY) HAS COVID 19 OUTBREAK: Five people in the Alamance County jail have tested positive for COVID-19. Testing at the Piedmont Correctional Institution found two prisoners transferred from Alamance County on Friday, Aug. 21, carried the coronavirus, according to a release from the Alamance County Sheriff’s Office, and three staff members also tested positive. The Health Department plans to test all inmates and jail staff over 48 hours, and the jail plans to test or quarantine all inmates entering the jail. The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services defines an outbreak in a "congregant living setting" like the jail as two or more cases. Outbreaks end 28 days after symptoms start in the last person diagnosed, or after the last positive test of a person who is not showing symptoms.

SENATE PROBES INVOLUNTARY TREATMENT WITH HYDROXYCHLOROQUINE AT NURSING HOMES: Fearing the experimental use of hydroxychloroquine went “unchecked” in nursing homes struck by the coronavirus, three U.S. senators are calling on federal authorities to determine whether providers improperly treated patients, failed to disclose serious side effects or faced any repercussions from regulators responsible for oversight of the industry. In a letter sent Thursday to the inspector general of the Department of Health and Human Services, Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass), Robert P. Casey Jr. (D-Pa.) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) pointed to state inspection reports that cited nursing homes for treating residents with the antimalarial drug without the consent of patients or their family members. They also cited media accounts that chronicled the use of hydroxychloroquine in nursing homes across the country, including the 238-bed Southeastern Veterans’ Center outside Philadelphia, where doctors administered a so-called “covid cocktail” to about 30 residents in April. The drug was given to 11 residents who had not been tested for the virus, as well as those who suffered from heart ailments and other underlying conditions, The Washington Post reported. President Trump started talking about the off-label use of anti-malarial drugs in March. The FDA subsequently issued an emergency-use authorization, but made clear the drugs should be administered only during clinical trials or in hospitals, where teams of doctors could provide intense heart monitoring. In June, the FDA announced the drugs had caused cardiac problems and other serious side effects in covid-19 patients and revoked the emergency-use authorization.

JAPAN'S PM SHINZO ABE RESIGNS DUE TO RECURRING ILLNESS: Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan said on Friday that he was resigning because of ill health, thrusting his country, amid a global pandemic, into a new period of political uncertainty after a record-setting tenure that provided unaccustomed stability at the top. Mr. Abe, 65, has been prime minister for nearly eight consecutive years, a significant feat in a country that had seen six prime ministers in the six years before he took office in 2012. During his tenure, he oversaw Japan’s recovery from a devastating earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster, restored a semblance of economic health and curried favor with an unpredictable American president, Donald J. Trump. Yet despite his long hold on power — his second stint as prime minister, having held the post in 2006-7 — Mr. Abe failed to reach some of his signature goals. He was unable to revise the pacifist Constitution installed by postwar American occupiers, or to secure the return of contested islands claimed by both Japan and Russia so that the two countries could sign a peace treaty to officially end World War II. Mr. Abe said during a news conference Friday evening that he had suffered a relapse of the bowel disease that led him to resign during his first stint in office. The leading candidates to replace Mr. Abe include Taro Aso, the long-serving deputy prime minister and a former prime minister; Yoshihide Suga, the chief cabinet secretary to Mr. Abe; Shigeru Ishiba, a former defense minister who once ran against Mr. Abe for party leader; Fumio Kishida, a former foreign minister; and Taro Kono, the current defense minister.



With absolutely no research

or analysis to back it up, I am predicting Shigeru Ishiba will take Abe's place. It's a 3 + 3 syllable combination name, rolls off the tongue well, and is already starting to sound like a Prime Minister in my mind.

It's been a long week, what can I say.