Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Pedestrian Struck and Injured by Train in University City

Pedestrian Injured in University City Train Accident

University City Train Accident

Pedestrian Struck and Injured by Train in University City

University City, Pennsylvania (September 20, 2017) – A pedestrian was injured after being struck by a train in University City on Wednesday evening.
According to a local news source, the accident happened at about 6 p.m. on the Market-Frankford Line at the 40th Street Station.
The injured pedestrian was taken Penn Presbyterian Medical Center for treatment of serious injuries.
An investigation into the incident is ongoing.
If you are injured in an accident and you need legal assistance, contact Edelstein Martin & Nelson – Personal Injury Lawyers Philadelphia. For many years, we have been helping clients in personal injury cases obtain financial compensation for their losses. We have a professional team of attorneys who will fight aggressively for you and see to it that you get served the justice you deserve. Contact our University City personal injury attorney today at (888)208-1810 and let us lend a hand. You can also chat with us via live chat on our website.

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1 Killed, 2 Injured in Bicycle-Car Accident on Route 74 in Robeson Twp

Woman Killed in Robeson Bicycle Accident on Route 74

Robeson Bicycle Accident

1 Killed, 2 Injured in Bicycle-Car Accident on Route 74 in Robeson Twp

Robeson Township, Pennsylvania (September 20, 2017) – One person was killed and two others injured in a fatal collision involving a bicycle and a vehicle in Berks County, on Tuesday evening, according to a local news source.
The collision reportedly happed at about 6:30 p.m. September 19, on Route 74 near Old River Road and Schuylkill Road.
As per the article, a woman was riding the bicycle when she was struck by a vehicle.
Three people were injured in the collision and were transported to Reading Hospital for treatment. One of the victims, however, died a short time later.
The names of the victims of the fatal collision were not revealed.
The police are investigating the circumstances of the fatal collision.
We condole with the family of the victim of the accident. May they find peace and strength as they mourn the untimely death of their beloved.
Losing a loved one because of the negligence of a third party can be a traumatizing experience. It is advisable, however, that you file a case in court. Wrongful death attorneys at Edelstein Martin & Nelson – Personal Injury Lawyers Philadelphia, will protect your rights as you seek justice. We will assist you in your cases as we pursue the best possible outcome in your case. We will not rest until you receive a fair financial compensation for your loss. For more information, contact our Berks County personal injury and wrongful death lawyer today at (888)208-1810, or reach us via live chat on our website.

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Meet the all-star team of lawyers Robert Mueller has assembled for the Trump-Russia investigation

Navy Surgeon General calls photos of Navy nurse flipping off newborn babies 'highly offensive'

navy surgeon general

The Navy's Surgeon General has sent a message to Navy Medicine commanders around the world criticizing the "highly offensive" photos of a nurse flipping off newborn babies at Naval Hospital Jacksonville, Florida.

Vice Adm. Forrest Faison called the photos "unprofessional and inappropriate" behavior that was inconsistent with the service's core values of honor, courage, and commitment. He also called for a 48-hour stand down for all Navy medical personnel, in which units would review their oaths, reasons for serving, and talk through the use of cell phones and social media.

The admiral's message came just days after a local Fox News affiliate obtained images taken at the Jacksonville hospital, in which a purported Navy nurse made a baby dance to rap music in one video, while a photo showed someone giving the finger to a baby with the caption, "How I currently feel about these mini Satans."

"As health care professionals, we are entrusted with the lives and well-being of all those who have volunteered to defend our freedom, including their families. We owe them the best care and compassion our nation can offer. We also owe them our unqualified respect," Faison wrote.

"Any behavior that falls short of this expectation will be dealt with appropriately. This type of inappropriate conduct violates two of my core values: (1) be worthy of the trust placed in our hands in the privilege of caring for America’s sons and daughters, and (2) be worthy of the “uniform” we wear, both military and civilian, and all that we represent. At every level of the enterprise, we must send a clear message that Navy and Navy Medicine leadership take every allegation of offensive and unacceptable online conduct seriously and will hold responsible individuals accountable for their actions."

A spokeswoman at the hospital told AP the employees in the photos have been removed from patient care. It was unclear how many employees were involved.

“We have identified the staff members involved," the hospital wrote on Facebook. "They have been removed from patient care and they will be handled by the legal system and military justice. We’re in the process of notifying the patient’s parents.”

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One of the biggest battles in Washington involves a century-old tradition and Trump's quest to remake the courts

  • Chuck GrassleyThe Senate is engaged in a fierce battle over the future of the "blue slip" process.
  • It's one of the only pieces of leverage the party that doesn't control of the White House has over judicial nominations — which President Donald Trump is making at rapid pace.
  • Republicans who spoke of the value of the practice when President Barack Obama was in office are now seeking for it to be slightly curtailed.

A massive battle has erupted in the Senate over the future of what is known as the "blue slip" process, and its resolution will likely have a defining effect on President Donald Trump's efforts to remake the federal judiciary.

The blue slip is a Senate tradition in which senators can give or withhold their blessing for a judicial nominee from their state — which provides the party that does not control the White House with leverage over a good number of the president's nominations.

The process is intended to provide a more bipartisan consensus on judges who will serve in or represent a senator's home state when the president is of the opposition party, encouraging communication between the White House and home-state senators before a nomination. But the opposition party has sometimes used the blue slip process to stonewall nominations and prevent the president from naming judges in their states.

That could be a big concern for Trump, who has been moving at a breakneck pace to secure what one Democratic senator called "the single most important legacy" of his administration. As Trump has seen his legislative agenda stall in a Congress where both chambers are controlled by the GOP, judicial nominations provide a way for the president to achieve something consequential early in his presidency.

With Democrats now having the ability to — in many states — prevent Trump's judicial nominees from advancing, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told The New York Times last week that he thought the blue slip practice should be scrapped for circuit court nominations.

"My personal view is that the blue slip, with regard to circuit court appointments, ought to simply be a notification of how you're going to vote, not the opportunity to blackball," McConnell told the Times, adding that he still favored keeping the practice in place in its current form for district court judges.

But whether or not that tradition is followed is not up to McConnell. It comes down to whether Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley decides to stick with the process. Speaking to The Washington Times last week, Grassley said he hasn't made up his mind, telling the publication, "You need to ask me in a month."

Despite what McConnell says now, Republicans argued in favor of honoring the blue slip process when they didn't control the White House. A Democrat-led Judiciary Committee honored their wishes.

Several circuit court vacancies were left open for years by the end of President Barack Obama's second term because Republican senators refused to return blue slips and advance his nominees. Though the denial of a blue slip does not prevent a judge from being approved, both Democratic and Republican chairmen of the Senate Judiciary Committee honored the process, declining to advance nominees when home-state senators refused to provide their approval.

And now, with Republicans in the White House, Democrats hold the cards.

'It isn't an invitation to thwart the president's power to nominate'

Republican Sen. Mike Lee of Utah, a member of the Judiciary Committee, told Business Insider in a statement that the blue slip process "should be used to prompt consultation between the Senate and the White House," but that it "isn't an invitation to thwart the president's power to nominate."

A number of conservatives have taken issue with the blue slip process recently, saying that Democrats are using it just to stonewall the president.

Carrie Severino, the chief counsel of the Judicial Crisis Network, a group that has gone to bat to defend Trump's nominees with large ad buys, told Business Insider in a recent interview that the practice "is not something" Democrats "can be allowed to abuse," adding that it is not longstanding tradition for the refusal of a blue slip to mean a nominee cannot move forward. She added that Democrats "are trying to create a filibuster of one."

Mike Lee Utah

Democrats, on the other hand, have pointed to hypocrisy on behalf of Republicans who touted the blue slip process while Obama was president. They have also insisted that they are not using the process to obstruct the president, but to ensure both proper vetting of the nominees and that they are consulted on nominations from their states.

Democratic Sen. Chris Coons of Delaware, a member of the Judiciary Committee, told Business Insider that the blue slip process has historically been "followed by members of both parties" and "ensures senators are consulted regarding nominees for seats from their home states."

"Judges are appointed with lifetime tenure, so it is critical that senators have the ability to secure judges for their home states that are qualified for their positions," Coons said.

"This isn't a partisan issue, either — this allows Republican senators to prevent Democratic presidents from confirming unqualified or inappropriate judges for their home states, and vice versa," he continued. "The blue slip process encourages bipartisanship, too, and it increases the chances of consensus candidates. Ending the blue slip process would diminish the ability of senators to provide input based on the local needs of their states, making it increasingly difficult for the Judiciary Committee to function in a bipartisan way."

Pointing to past statements from McConnell and other Republicans, Democratic Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, a Judiciary Committee member, told Business Insider in a statement that the practice "ensures that home-state senators and the people they represent can weigh in on the judges who will serve them."

"Republicans, Leader McConnell and Chairman Grassley among them, have taken advantage of this tradition for decades," Whitehouse said. "People who claim to be Senate institutionalists should not engage in wholesale destruction of Senate traditions just for immediate partisan advantage."

Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, the ranking member on the Judiciary Committee, has issued multiple statements over the summer taking aim at those on the right who chastised the blue slip process.

"I want to set the record straight with respect to blue slips," she said in a July statement. "The blue slip has been used since 1917 and history is being misrepresented in a brazen attempt to destroy the Senate's prerogative to 'advise-and-consent' on judicial nominees. ... It was always honored during the Obama administration — even when Republicans did not return blue slips for up to two and a half years."

"The bottom line is that no circuit court nominee has been confirmed without two blue slips from home-state senators since at least 1981," she added. "As far as this senator is concerned, no senator should be chastised for thoroughly vetting nominees using a tool that's been around for 100 years."

Feinstein took issue with organizations such as the Judicial Crisis Network criticizing the process, saying that they, The Wall Street Journal editorial board, and the conservative megadonor Koch brothers didn't share "a lot of concern" when Republicans refused to return blue slips for some of Obama's nominees.

Charles Grassley Dianne FeinsteinThe issue turned hot recently after a trio of Democratic senators refused to provide blue slips for two of Trump's judicial nominees.

The first instance was when Democratic Sen. Al Franken of Minnesota refused to sign off on Trump's nomination of Minnesota Supreme Court Judge David Stras for a vacancy on the 8th US Circuit Court of Appeals earlier this month. Franken said he could not support Stras, nominated by Trump in March, after studying his record, and would not return a blue slip to the committee.

Franken was followed by Sens. Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden of Oregon later in the same week. The Oregon Democrats announced they would block Ryan Bounds, an assistant US attorney in Oregon, from a seat on the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals because he had not been approved by a bipartisan judicial selection committee in their state.

Trump has an unprecedented 140-plus vacancies to fill, some of which are the direct result of Republicans refusing to provide blue slips to Obama's nominees. And 30 states have at least one senator who caucuses with Democrats. Though his nominees have received blue slips from Democratic senators in Colorado, Michigan, and Indiana, Trump has so far mostly avoided naming judicial nominees for district and circuit courts from states represented by at least one Democrat.

Roughly 80% of Trump's nearly 50 nominees to these courts have come from states represented by two senators from his party — a much higher percentage than that of Obama's nominees from such states at the same point in his presidency. Just five of Trump's nominees hail from states with two Democratic senators.

Changing the rules

While Grassley has not yet made any conclusive statements on whether the Judiciary Committee plans to honor the blue slip process, he has signaled the rules might change.

Earlier this year, he said on C-SPAN's "Newsmakers" program that he believes "the blue slip is more respected for district court judges historically than it has been for circuit."

But in 2015, Grassley vowed to stick by the system no matter who was elected president, writing in the Des Moines Register.

"I appreciate the value of the blue-slip process and also intend to honor it," he said. And a Grassley spokesperson told The Washington Post earlier this year that Grassley "fully expects senators to continue to abide by" the tradition.

Should the blue slip be scrapped for circuit court judges, Trump would seemingly have free rein to nominate from the more than half of states where he was likely to face strong opposition. Since then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in 2013 killed the filibuster for lower-court nominees in an effort to help push through more of Obama's choices, judges need just a 51-vote majority for confirmation.

Republicans currently hold a 52-seat majority, plus the tie-breaking vote from Vice President Mike Pence.

The Republican 'double standard'

There is evidence that backs up both sides' arguments on the historical use of the blue slip. As the Post reported earlier this year, objections by home-state senators did not block nominations until the 1950s when, during the civil rights movement, southern senators wanted more of a say over what judges would represent their states. They succeeded in getting that say, but only for a short while, according to a Congressional Research Service report, which noted that "since 1979, the impact of negative blue slips has varied as leadership in the Senate Committee on the Judiciary has changed."

"We've never really had an absolute blue-slip process on circuit court judges, so if the Democrats are trying to do that, that's wrong," Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah, a former Judiciary Committee chair, told The Hill.

But writing in 2014 when Obama was in office, Hatch wrote in an op-ed, "I sincerely hope that the majority will not continue to sacrifice the good of the Senate and the good of the country simply to serve short-term political interests."

"I’m glad" then-Judiciary Committee Chair Patrick Leahy, a Vermont Democrat, "has preserved the blue slip process," he wrote. "It should stay that way."

Indeed, in 2009, every Senate Republican, which included Hatch and McConnell, signed a letter to Obama at the start of his term that laid out their belief in the necessity of consultation with home-state senators for judicial nominations. The letter also stated that senators expected the blue slip process to be maintained "regardless of party affiliation."

"Regretfully, if we are not consulted on, and approve of, a nominee from our states, the Republican Conference will be unable to support moving forward on that nominee," the letter stated. "Despite press reports that the Chairman of the Judiciary Committee now may be considering changing the Committee's practice of observing senatorial courtesy, we, as a Conference, expect it to be observed, even-handedly and regardless of party affiliation. And we will act to preserve this principle and the rights of our colleagues if it is not."

That goes to what Carl Tobias, a University of Richmond professor and expert on judicial nominations, said to Business Insider in a recent interview.

When it comes to a discussion of the blue-slip process, there's a "double standard."

Speaking to Business Insider in an email exchange Tuesday, Tobias said there is ample evidence of that double standard, such as when McConnell, who is now calling for the process to be abolished on circuit court nominees, blocked an Obama nominee by not returning his blue slip.

"Moreover, GOP senators blue slipped many circuit and district nominees in all eight years of Obama's tenure and Sen. Leahy and Sen. Grassley as chairs honored all of those blue slips for circuit and district nominees even when only one senator objected," he said. "There is no persuasive reason for making an exception for circuit nominees."

Republican and Democratic senators "agree that they are more critical than district nominations," he continued, adding that circuit court rulings apply to multiple states, make more policy, and are the courts of last resort for 99% of cases, since the Supreme Court hears so few.

As for Grassley, Tobias said he has been "very fair" in chairing the committee. Tobias said that while Grassley is facing a lot of pressure to make the change on blue slips, he can stall for a while before having to come to a decision.

"He has not forced the issue and has many nominees who can receive hearings in the near term without changing blue slips," he said.

SEE ALSO: Trump is quietly moving at a furious pace to secure 'the single most important legacy' of his administration

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NOW WATCH: Putin's controversial bridge to connect Russia to annexed Crimea will be the longest in Russian history

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Injuries Reported in Northeast Philadelphia Multi-Vehicle Collision

Motorist Injured in Northeast Philadelphia 3-Vehicle Collision

Northeast Philadelphia 3-Vehicle Collision

Injuries Reported in Northeast Philadelphia Multi-Vehicle Collision

Northeast Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (September 20, 2017) – Injuries were reported in a three-vehicle collision on Interstate-95 in northeast Philadelphia on Wednesday morning.
The accident was reported shortly after 6 a.m. September 20, in the northbound lanes of the roadway, near Academy and Woodhaven Roads.
The manner in which the collision occurred is under investigation but the police confirmed that three vehicles were involved in the collision which resulted in one vehicle overturning.
An ambulance was dispatched to the scene of the collision but no word was provided on the number of the injured motorists and the severity of the injuries.
Northbound traffic was backed up to facilitate an investigation into the incident.
If you are hurt in an accident caused by the negligence of someone else, we advise you to contact Edelstein Martin & Nelson – Personal Injury Lawyers Philadelphia and file a case in court. Our expert attorneys will help you wind your way through the complicated legal system as you seek financial compensation for your injuries, losses, and damages. We will pursue the best possible outcome for your case. For more information contact our Philadelphia personal injury attorney today at (888)208-1810. You can also reach us via live chat on our website.

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The Coast Guard is detecting a new trend among high-seas narco smugglers

narco submarine

Since June, Coast Guard vessels patrolling the US's southern approaches have stopped seven low-profile smuggling vessels — stealthy ships that ride low in the water to spirit illicit cargos from South America to Mexico and the US.

Akin to self-propelled semi-submersibles used by smugglers for the same purpose, low-profile vessels are boats designed to run near or at surface level to present the smallest possible radar signature.

Low-profile vessels usually have a sharp bow to cut through the water and an elongated body to transport cargo — typically high-value drugs like cocaine. Some only have masts or conning towers that stick out above water, and they are often outfitted with multiple outboard engines and painted to blend in with the water.

The Coast Guard said the last time a low-profile vessel was stopped prior to the current fiscal year was in late May 2016. Six narco subs were caught during that fiscal year (and one was intercepted in September, the first month of fiscal year 2017).

The seven interdictions since June occurred in drug-transit areas in the eastern Pacific, off the coasts of South and Central America.

US Coast Guard narco sub drug smuggling seizure Pacific Ocean

In mid-August, Coast Guard cutter Steadfast intercepted a suspected low-profile vessel several hundred miles off the coast of Central America, seizing more than 6,000 pounds of cocaine and arresting four suspected traffickers.

Another low-profile vessel — six feet wide and 54 feet long — was stopped by Coast Guard cutter Waesche off the Central American coast in early June, after the cutter tracked the vessel for almost 100 miles. The Waesche's crew arrested four suspected smugglers and seized 2.79 tons of cocaine.

The US and partner forces have stepped up their activity in the eastern Pacific, and cocaine production has risen considerably in Colombia, the world's biggest producer of the drug.

The result has been "a significant increase in narcotics removal" in drug-transit areas off South and Central America, the Coast Guard said.

During fiscal year 2016, the Coast Guard set a record by seizing more than 443,000 pounds of cocaine bound for the US. The service says it is on pace for another record-setting amount of seizures this fiscal year, though officials have warned that it doesn't have the resources to fully address the trafficking activity it detects.

Central America drug trafficking map

The ocean area from Colombia to the Galapagos and up to the Mexican and US coasts is about the size of the continental US, Vice Adm. Charles Ray, the Coast Guard's deputy commandant for operations, said at a hearing earlier this month.

"On any given day we'll have between six to 10 Coast Guard cutters down here," Ray added. "If you imagine placing that on [an area the size of] the United States ... it's a capacity challenge."

Coast Guard drugs

US officials believe about 90% of the cocaine shipped to the US traverses the sea at some point, typically arriving somewhere in Central America or Mexico and being smuggled over the US-Mexico land border.

The Drug Enforcement Administration says about 93% of the cocaine sent to the US comes through the Mexico/Central America corridor.

US anti-narcotics officials also think they intercept about one of every four tons of cocaine headed for the US, with about 69% of it stopped in the eastern Pacific Ocean.

Narco subs — a category that includes fully submersible vessels, semi-submersible vessels, or towed containers — appeared in the 1990s, as Colombian smugglers sought to stay ahead of law-enforcement's detection abilities.

Fully submersible and semi-submersible vessels are hard to detect and expensive to build (though their cargos are valuable enough that a single trip can cover the price), so interceptions of them are not that common.

coast guard drug smuggling

Low-profile vessels, which are not technically semi-submersible, are the majority of seized drug-smuggling vessels, according to a 2014 report.

Low-profile vessels can come in various forms, often balancing speed and stealth in different ways. A more recent variation appears to be what naval expert HI Sutton called "very slender vessels" — elongated vessels that go through waves rather than over them. In April, Guatemalan forces found an abandoned vessel that appeared to be a VSV, as did the crew of the Waesche in June.

VSVs sacrifice cargo size for stealthiness and speed, and their appearance suggests a maturation in the designs of Colombian traffickers — in particular Los UrabeƱos, the country's most powerful criminal group — Sutton notes.

Narco sub low-profile vessel Guatemala

Narco subs are typically constructed near Colombia's Pacific coast, assembled under cover of jungle canopy.

They're moved through rivers and mangroves to the coast once completed, and their smuggling routes typically take them out into the Pacific — sometimes around the Galapagos Islands — before turning north.

"In recent years, 'narco-sub' vessels (mostly LPVs) have been built with upper lead shielding which helps to minimize their heat signature and hence they can evade infrared sensors," according to a 2014 paper in Small Wars Journal. "Some of the newer models have piping along the bottom to allow the water to cool the exhaust as the ship moves, making it even less susceptible to infrared detection."

In addition to the Coast Guard air and sea assets deployed to stop traffickers, US Customs and Border Patrol have eight P-3 Orion maritime patrol aircraft converted into Long Range Trackers. The former Navy aircraft have been upgraded with radars originally designed for the F-16 fighter jet, as well as optical sensors.

SEE ALSO: Here's how drugs are getting smuggled from South America to the US

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NOW WATCH: Watch the US Coast Guard seize a narco sub laden with $73 million worth of cocaine

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