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Patheon acquires a Roche facility

South Carolina plant will beef up pharmaceutical service firm’s chemical side

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The gap between the number of black inmates in New York granted parole versus white inmates is stunning

sing sing correctional facility new york

Black inmates who go before the New York State Board of Parole have a dramatically lower chance for release than white inmates, a recent New York Times investigation found.

As part of a broader analysis into racial disparities in the New York state prison system, the Times reviewed three years’ worth of parole decisions for male inmates, and found that one in four white inmates are released at their first parole hearings, while fewer than one in six black or Latino inmates are released.

Between 2013 and 2016, the board released 30% of white inmates who were convicted of property crimes, but just 18% of their black peers. The disparity is even more obvious among young inmates — with 30% of white inmates under 25 being released, and just 14% of black and Latino inmates.

The Times also compared the parole outcomes of several pairs of inmates with similar criminal histories and convictions, but different racial backgrounds and parole outcomes.

In one such case, the Times compared two inmates interviewed by separate parole commissioners at different times, but both with histories of petty crime and diagnosed mental illnesses. They even made similar pleas to the parole board, explaining that they didn’t want to spend their lives in prison.

John Kelly, who was white, was homeless when he was arrested on charges of shoplifting from a Duane Reade. Darryl Dent, who was black, told the board he had been “confused” and hearing voices when he stole a wallet in a Manhattan church.

Kelly was granted parole. Dent was told his release would be “incompatible with the welfare of society.”

Transcripts of board hearings also demonstrated how rushed and disorganized the parole hearing process can be, with dozens of inmates being brought before the board and given just 10-minute interviews, often over a video conference rather than in person.

“We were a mess,” parole board commissioner Marc Coppola said in one videotaped board meeting in September. “We didn’t even know who was in the chair.”

The understaffed board is also composed of predominantly white commissioners, many of whom earn six-figure salaries and have no background in rehabilitation. Meanwhile, the inmates they interview are mostly black and Latino.

A spokesman for New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a statement that his administration is a “strong proponent of bringing more diversity” to the parole board.

The Times notes that it’s impossible to determine whether race factors into each individual parole decision, but a pattern of racial inequality is evident from the data.

Read the full New York Times report here »

SEE ALSO: Trump’s election is bringing a new urgency to the thousands of inmates who have petitioned Obama for clemency

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NOW WATCH: Animated map reveals who would win the election if only certain demographics voted

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Medical News Today: Moderate drinking may cause irregular heartbeat

Although some research suggests that light to moderate drinking is good for the heart, a new study shows it may lead to a form of arrhythmia.

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Solar device desalinates water efficiently

Thermal insulator boosts performance by protecting the device’s sunlight absorber from heat loss

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The strange ways smugglers use everyday foods to conceal illegal drugs

Border patrol agents drug smuggling meth tortillas food

Each year, billions of dollars in illegal narcotics circle the globe, feeding the demand of millions of users.

At every step, authorities try to intercept the drugs and apprehend their purveyors. In response, traffickers have developed a variety of inventive ways to obscure their illicit goods.

On the US-Mexico border, a preferred method among traffickers seems to be concealing drugs in shipments of food.

At the end of October, Customs and Border Protection agents found 3 pounds of meth hidden in a package of tortillas.

That was just a few weeks after CBP agents in San Diego intercepted 3,100 pounds of marijuana concealed in a shipment of cucumbers.

Those incidents came after similar seizures over the summer.

In August, border agents uncovered more than 4,000 pounds of marijuana hidden among limes. In two incidents in early July, border agents found well over 200 pounds of meth hidden in shipments of jalapeños and cucumbers.

Here’s a non-exhaustive list of ways traffickers have used food to disguise their wares.

SEE ALSO: In the world’s 2nd-biggest cocaine producer, narco traffickers are expanding their influence

Stuffed chili peppers and fake carrots

Drug traffickers have often mixed legitimate business with their illicit activities, in part so that the former can conceal the latter. Vaunted drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzmán, now in prison in Mexico, was no exception.

“He opened a cannery in Guadalajara and began producing thousands of cans stamped ‘Comadre Jalapeños,’ stuffing them with cocaine,” Patrick Radden Keefe wrote in his New York Times Magazine profile of Guzmán, before “vacuum-sealing them and shipping them to Mexican-owned grocery stores in California.”

In one instance, according to a court in San Diego, 1,400 boxes of canned peppers, containing “hundreds of kilos of cocaine,” were intercepted at the border.

More recently, officials in Texas discovered a shipment of marijuana wrapped in orange tape and a concealed within a cargo of carrots. The bust uncovered more than a ton of weed worth a half-million dollars.

Drugs hidden within food shipments can make it deep into the US. In December 2015, police in Chicago were tipped off to the arrival of a tomato shipment with nearly 120 pounds of cocaine in it — drugs with a street value of almost $7 million.

Watermelons, pineapples, and other produce

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In February 2014, just a few days before Guzmán was captured for the second time, it was reported that authorities in Culiacán, the capital of Sinaloa state, seized more than 4,000 cucumbers and plantains stuffed with cocaine.

In another case, a checkpoint in Arizona came across a shipment of marijuana that had been packaged in green plastic with yellow streaks — giving the bundles the appearance of watermelons.

Authorities on the US-Mexico border have also discovered crystal meth hidden in pineapples.

Tamales

In August 2014, CBP officers at George Bush airport in Houston intercepted nine bags holding 7 ounces of cocaine hidden inside tamales, which were contained in a box of 200 tamales the traveler — a man from El Salvador — didn’t disclose to authorities.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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Medical News Today: Back pain may raise risk of mental health problems

In a new largest-of-its-type study, deep links are found between back pain and mental health in lower- and middle-income countries.

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Medical News Today: Can Tea Tree Oil Help Treat Psoriasis?

What is psoriasis and what is tea tree oil? Learn how tea tree oil may be used for psoriasis as well as other natural remedies. Can lifestyle changes help?

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Video by New York Times reporter shows just how massive the Standing Rock protest camp is

standing rock

The camp housing protesters of the Dakota Access Pipeline have come to resemble a small city with “streets” crisscrossing the prairie between the tents, teepees, and quickly-erected shacks where the protestors have dug themselves in, according to photos and videos posted by reporters on the ground. 

Thousands of protesters have gathered in Cannon Ball, North Dakota since August to protest the building of the Dakota Access Pipeline, a proposed 1,172-mile pipeline enabling North Dakota-produced oil reach refining markets in Illinois.

USA Today estimates that there are between 1,000 and 3,000 protestors living in the camp. Another 2,000 veterans are set to join the protestors, as well as relieve those who have endured weeks of sub-zero temperatures. 

Here’s New York Times reporter Jack Healy’s video from the camp:

The federal government announced in November that they would close public access to the area on December 5, but authorities have since said they don’t have plans to forcibly remove activists. 

While the protests have mostly been peaceful, there’s been clashes with local police and authorities on a number of occassions. In late November, police sprayed water cannons on protesters and deployed tear gas cannisters in below-freezing temperatures. Morton County Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier said in a press conference that the water cannon was used to “repel” protest activities when demonstrators became “aggressive.” Activists maintain they were peacefully demonstrating at the time.

The protests began because the pipeline is set to run beneath the Standing Rock Sioux reservation in North Dakota. The protestors’ chief concern, beyond fossil fuel emissions, is that the pipeline may contaminate drinking water and habitats across the entire Missouri River basin.

Standing rock

Here’s New York Times reporter Jack Healy’s view from on the ground:

 

 

SEE ALSO: The government will let Standing Rock protesters continue to demonstrate

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NOW WATCH: WATCH: The NYPD is looking for this man who allegedly stole $1.6 million worth of gold flakes

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Medical News Today: White wine may raise melanoma risk

New study suggests alcohol intake should be considered a risk factor for melanoma, after finding white wine may be independently linked to the skin cancer.

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ACS journals enact new safety policy

Authors to be required to address novel or significant hazards

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