Unconfirmed reports are claiming that “more than 100” AIDS researchers and staff en route to the International AIDS Conference in Australia are among the nearly 300 killed onboard Malaysia Flight MH17.
Most major news organizations are repeating the claim that “more than 100” or “108” AIDS researchers, staff, NGO members, or other attendees headed to the 20th annualÂ International AIDS Conference in Melbourne were killed when a Russian surface-to-air missile shot Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 out of the sky.
Australia’s ABC News was one of the first to make the claim, quoting the president of the International AIDS Society (IAS).
About 100 of the 298 people killed on the downed Malaysia Airlines jet were heading to the AIDS 2014 conference in Melbourne, including researchers, health workers, activists and people living with HIV.
IAS president and Nobel laureate Francoise Barre-Sinousi has told the National Press Club in Canberra the loss of life is difficult to comprehend.
“We are all with our phones waiting for confirmation and hoping that it cannot be confirmed,” she said.
Next of kin are still being informed, but Dutch HIV researcher and former IAS president Dr Joep Lange and his wife and collaborator Jacqueline van Tongeren are among those killed.Â
The Sydney Morning Herald reports:
About 100 of the 298 people killed in the Malaysia Airlines crash were heading to Melbourne for a major AIDS conference, conference attendees have been told.
Delegates at a pre-conference in Sydney were told on Friday morning that about 100 medical researchers,Â health workers and activists were on the plane that went down near the Russia-Ukraine border, including former International AIDS Society president Joep Lange.
And The Australian reported:
MORE than 100 AIDS activists, researchers and health workers bound for a major conference in Melbourne were on the Malaysia Airlines flight downed in the Ukraine.
It is believed that delegates to the 20th International AIDS Conference, due to begin on Sunday, will be informed today that 108 of their colleagues and family members died on MH17.
If these extreme numbers are true, it is a devastation beyond comprehension and an immeasurable loss to science and the world.
“There’s been confirmed a number of senior people who were coming out here who were researchers, who were medical scientists, doctors, people who’ve been to the forefront of dealing with AIDS across the world,” Victoria Premier Denis Napthine told reporters in Melbourne on Friday,Â according to Haaretz. “The exact number is not yet known, but there is no doubt it’s a substantial number.”
Among those believed dead from the MH17 crash are veteran AIDS researcher and former IAS president Dr. Joep Lange, World Health Organization (WHO) media adviserÂ Glenn Thomas, andÂ Netherlands AIDS activistÂ Pim de Kuijer.
Austraia’sÂ The AgeÂ reports that expected to attend the International AIDS Conference are “about 14,000 people from more than 200 countries, including Nobel laureates, leading scientists, government officials and people living with HIV…to assess how far the world has come in the fight against HIV/AIDS, and to seek consensus on what more needs to be done.”
On Twitter, the hashtagÂ #AIDS2014Â has become filled with updates and messages of condolence.
For a selection of tweets and additional details, read our initial report:Â Breaking: Top Researchers Traveling To International AIDS Conference Killed In Malaysian Crash
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Burn Bags and Use of Personal Email: Justices’ Security Practices Even Worse Than Leak Investigation Showed
Multiple sources familiar with the court’s operations told CNN that justices often used personal email accounts for sensitive communications, employees used printers that didn’t produce logs and “burn bags” to collect sensitive materials for destruction were often left open and unattended in hallways.
“This has been going on for years,” one former employee said.
Some justices were slow to adopt email technology — they were “not masters of information security protocol,” according to one source — and court employees were afraid to confront them over the security risks.
Supreme Court marshal Gail Curley in her investigative report noted that printer logs intended to track document production were insufficient, but a former employee said employees who had VPN access could print documents from any computer, and remote work during COVID-19 shutdowns and otherwise meant draft opinions could have been taken from the building in violation of court guidelines.
Curley’s report noted that court methods for destroying sensitive documents should be improved, but three employees said striped burn bags supplied to chambers were often left sitting out unattended, and each justice had their own protocols for disposing of court documents.
A source familiar with court security practices said some colleagues stapled burn bags shut, while others filled them to capacity and left them near their desks, and others simply left them sitting in hallways where anyone with access to non-public areas could have taken sensitive materials.
Ethics Complaint Against Sinema Urges Investigation Into Staffers’ Duties and Her Possible ‘Abuse of Taxpayer Dollars’
If you are hired to work in Senator Kyrsten Sinema‘s office on Capitol Hill there is a 37-page memo you’ll want to read detailing all the responsibilities her staffers are required to perform, from getting her groceries, calling Verizon and going to her D.C. home to wait for a repair person if the internet goes out, scheduling massages, and ensuring her very detailed airplane requirements are met.
“It is your job to make her as comfortable as possible on each flight,” the memo says, as The Daily Beast first reported in December.
But now a group of 13 non-profit organizations have joined to file an ethics complaint against Senator Sinema (I-AZ), a new Daily Beast report reveals Friday, including details from that 37-page memo which the newly-independent lawmaker directed to be drawn up. Dated Thursday, the complaint is titled: “Letter to Senate Ethics Committee Regarding Reports of Sinema Abusing Taxpayer Dollars.”
“Senate Ethics guidelines stipulate that staff should not be asked to perform personal errands for members. This is an unambiguous ethical boundary,” the group’s complaint reads.
It also points to that 37-page memo, which it says, “indicates that staff are required, as a condition of their jobs, to carry out numerous tasks that are outside the scope of public employment, including doing personal errands for the Senator, carrying out household tasks at her private residence, and advancing their own funds for her personal purchases. It makes unreasonably precise scheduling demands, and former staff have confirmed some of the allegations.”
The allegations continue.
“And, most troubling, it calls on staff members, who are employed and paid by the public and explicitly barred from campaign activity, to schedule and facilitate political fundraisers and meetings with campaign donors, presumably during the workday while they are on the clock and physically on federal property.”
“Senate staff are prohibited under your guidelines from engaging in political activity ‘on Senate time, using Senate equipment or facilities.’ While you have not prohibited campaign activity outside work hours, the plain language of the memo clearly implies that Sen. Sinema expects her staff to carry out these scheduling tasks during the workday. And these tasks may separately violate Senate Rule 41.1, which explicitly prohibits Senate employees from ‘solicit[ing]’ campaign funds.”
The complaint also alleges that “Sen. Sinema required her staff to schedule three physical therapy and massage sessions a week related to her training for athletic competitions, and to tightly manage her dietary schedule — while allotting only a 30-minute period on Wednesdays for meetings with the constituents she represents.”
The carefully-worded complaint adds, “the allegations paint a picture of a Senator who is not only unresponsive to her constituents, but also disrespectful and even abusive to her employees and wholly unconcerned about her obligations under the law.”
The Daily Beast has posted a copy of the complaint here.
You can read The Beast’s full report here.
Santos May Owe Thousands in Unpaid Traffic Violation Fines and Fees Across Two States: Report
When he left for Washington, D.C., U.S. Rep. George Santos also appears to have left a string of unpaid traffic violation fines and fees in two states, including red light, double parking, and overtime parking citations totaling thousands of dollars.
The embattled serial liar and freshman New York GOP lawmaker “may owe more than $3,400 in unpaid citations, according to records from New York City and Florida,” CBS News reports.
Included in that total is $1,299.10 from Florida for toll violations that “racked up late fees and were ultimately sent to collections agencies.”
It appears that in November of 2016, as soon as he got his New York driver’s license after having one in Florida, a car previously ticketed via a red light camera whose plates match one registered to Santos “began piling up citations in New York City — 29 in the next two and a half years, according to city government records, which do not identify the drivers of vehicles being ticketed.”
“More than $1,800 in payments were made for 17 citations, but another 12 remain unpaid, with $2,142.61 still due, according to city records.”
CBS News also points to a New York Post report from January revealing “a Nissan Rogue driven frequently by Santos in recent months had been issued speeding tickets at least five times since he was elected on Nov. 8, ‘including four times in school zones.'”
Santos is under numerous state and federal investigations that span the gamut from campaign finance to allegedly stolen charity funds donated to save the life of a veteran’s service dog. The dog died after the vet could not afford to pay for the operation.
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