Venezuela has long been in chaos. The South American country is plagued by a disastrous, multi-year recession and political instability, mismanagement, and corruption. There isn't enough bread, so the government has arrested bakers. There isn't enough food, so the military is trafficking limited supplies for personal profit. Pets are starving, as their owners can no longer spare them food, and, as The New York Times reported in a lengthy story Sunday, children are starving to death, too.
Times reporters conducted a five-month investigation, interviewing medical staff at hospitals across Venezuela. The doctors they spoke with reported a heart-rending increase in malnutrition cases among their youngest patients:
Parents ... go days without eating, shriveling to the weight of children themselves. Women line up at sterilization clinics to avoid having children they can't feed. Young boys leave home and join street gangs to scavenge for scraps, their bodies bearing the scars of knife fights with competitors. Crowds of adults storm dumpsters after restaurants close. Babies die because it is hard to find or afford infant formula, even in emergency rooms. [The New York Times]
Statistical information about the scale of the malnutrition crisis is difficult to find, as the Venezuelan government has attempted to suppress such damaging data. One 2015 report from the Venezuelan Ministry of Health offers a grim hint: It said the mortality rate for children younger than four weeks increased by 100 percent — from 0.02 percent to just over 2 percent — between 2012 and 2015.
Since then, Venezuela's man-made famine has only worsened, but President Nicolas Maduro continues to reject international aid. Read the rest of the Times report here. Bonnie Kristian
The Justice Department still has about 140 eminent domain cases active along the Texas border, the Texas Civil Rights Project says. And at least 114 of those cases have progressed since Biden's 60-day study period ended on March 21, according to the group, which represents a handful of families fighting to keep their land, including the Cavazos family. Earlier this week, the U.S. government won the title to six acres of the Cavazos family's 77-acre ranch, Politico reports. The family said Biden broke his promise to end land seizures and they are asking the government to return the title to their land.
Customs and Border Protection and the Army Corps of Engineers "have suspended surveys, negotiations with landowners, and similar real estate acquisition activities, in accordance with the president's proclamation," a CBP spokesperson told Politico. But CBP and the White House referred questions about the eminent domain cases to the Justice Department, which said it has sought to delay the cases rather than end them, pending completion of Biden's review. The White House did not explain why the review has blown past its deadline.
"They can have all the excuses they want but it's real dicey to look at what they're doing right now," a person who consults with the White House on immigration policy and has grown frustrated tells Politico. "It's a lot of stuff Trump was doing." Peter Weber
Several people were shot late Thursday night at a FedEx facility near the Indianapolis International Airport.
Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department spokesperson Genae Cook said when officers responded to a report of shots fired at the facility, they discovered an "active shooter incident." Cook said police believe the shooter fatally shot himself and there is no active threat to the community. Law enforcement has not said how many people were injured in the shooting or if there are any deaths, only revealing that multiple victims have been taken to area hospitals.
To take his mom on the vacation of her dreams, Dustin Vitale needed to raise $10,000 in order to fly all 14 of his immediate family members to Egypt, and the Philadelphia middle school teacher came up with an idea that would make his hometown proud.
Last year, Dustin's mother, Gloria, was diagnosed with terminal bladder cancer. Dustin knew how much she wanted to see the pyramids, and figured if he could make cheesesteaks and sell them to friends and family, he'd raise enough money to get his mother and their family to Egypt. His mom provided her tried and true recipe, and Dustin got to work whipping up cheesesteaks and fries.
It wasn't long before word spread about Dustin's delicious cheesesteaks and the reason behind his new venture, and people soon lined up outside his house to pick up an order. When a food truck operator learned that Dustin was doing all of this from his home kitchen, he offered his services. After six weeks, Dustin raised $18,000.
Their trip is planned for later this year, and Gloria told CBS News that the love being shown to her is "overwhelming." For Dustin, it didn't matter where his mother wanted to go — he would take her anywhere. "If she would have asked to go to the moon, I would have made that happen as well," he said. Catherine Garcia
"If you can't tell the difference in the feel of those things, it's crazy," and Potter "deserves" the consequences, Robertson said on Thursday's 700 Club, holding both a handgun and a Taser. "You know, I am pro-police, folks. I think we need the police, we need their service, and they do a good job, but if they don't stop this onslaught, they cannot do this," he said, pivoting to the other prominent police killing in the Minneapolis area. "And the thing that's going on in Minnesota about that Derek Chauvin — I mean, they ought to put him under the jail, he has caused so much trouble by kneeling on the death of George Floyd, I mean on his neck — it's just terrible what's happening."
"We don't have the finest in the police department," Robertson said. "They're low-paid people, Terri," and we need to hire "a more superior workforce." (The average annual wage for a police officer in the U.S. in 2019, not including overtime, was $67,600, or $71,840 in Minnesota, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.) "We need police! We need them and we need to honor them and I'm all for," Robertson said. "But at the same time, we cannot have a bunch of clowns running around who are underpaid and who really are not the best and brightest." Peter Weber
Here's the video of Pat Robertson calling the ♂️ "a bunch of running around who are underpaid and are not the best and brightest" with subtitles. pic.twitter.com/jTbtSn19rd
Arkansas is one step closer to celebrating Arkansas Day instead of Confederate Flag Day.
On Thursday, the Arkansas House voted 80-7 in favor of legislation that would abolish Confederate Flag Day, established in response to the 1957 desegregation of Little Rock Central High School, The Associated Press reports. Confederate Flag Day is the Saturday before Easter.
The bill's authors wrote that Arkansas Day will honor the state's "rich history, national treasures, diverse cultures, unmatched hospitality, shared spirit spirit, and human resilience." The measure now heads to the state Senate, and if it passes, Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) said he will sign it. Catherine Garcia
President Biden on Thursday announced the expulsion of 10 Russian officials from the U.S. and new sanctions to target various Russian actions against U.S. interests, including interfering it U.S. elections, the SolarWinds hack, Moscow's crackdown on dissidents, and its occupation or Ukraine's Crimea region. Biden did not mention, or sanction Russia over, bounties Russian intelligence allegedly paid Afghan militants to kill U.S. troops.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said at Thursday's press briefing that a review Biden ordered of classified reports found that intelligence community has only "low to moderate confidence" in the bounties reports. "The reason that they have low to moderate confidence in this judgment is in part because it relies on detainee reporting, and due to the challenging environment and also due to the challenging operating environment in Afghanistan," Psaki said. "So it's challenging to gather this intelligence and this data." She said there's strong evidence Russia's GRU intelligence service interacts with Afghanistan's criminal networks.
On Thursday, the Florida Senate voted 23-17 in favor of an "anti-riot" bill that would increase criminal penalties for assault against law enforcement and defacing monuments and public property during riots.
One Republican joined all the Democrats in voting against the measure, which would also penalize local governments that interfere with law enforcement trying to contain riots. Following last summer's Black Lives Matter protests, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) pushed for the bill, and critics say it's a way to curtail First Amendment rights and silence political dissent. Supporters of the measure believe it makes police officers safer.
In a statement, DeSantis, who is expected to sign the bill as soon as next week, said the legislation "strikes the appropriate balance of safeguarding every Floridian's constitutional right to peacefully assemble, while ensuring that those who hide behind peaceful protest to cause violence in our communities will be punished." Catherine Garcia