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8-year-old girl dies in Border Patrol custody: May 18 rundown

May 18


U.S. Customs and Border Protection has confirmed that an investigation is underway after an 8-year-old girl has died while in their custody in Texas. And Montana has become it the first state in the nation to enact an outright ban on the social media platform TikTok. These stories and more highlight the rundown for Thursday, May 18, 2023.

Death of 8-year-old Girl in U.S. Border Patrol custody raises concerns

In a recent statement from U.S. Customs and Border Protection, it was confirmed that an 8-year-old girl died while in their custody in Texas. According to the CBP, the girl experienced a “medical emergency” and was subsequently transported to a nearby hospital where she passed away. The CBP has not disclosed the nationality of the girl or provided further details about the circumstances surrounding her death.

The news of this young girl’s death arrives amidst growing concerns about the potential surge at the border, which may strain available resources and impact the level of care provided to migrants undertaking the arduous journey in pursuit of their court hearings.

Last week, a similar incident occurred when a 17-year-old, who was born in Honduras and had traveled alone, died while under the custody of the U.S. Health and Human Services Department.

House Democrats call for George Santos’ removal amid criminal case

House Democrats challenged their Republican colleagues to oust Rep. George Santos, R-N.Y., from the chamber following his indictment on 13 criminal counts, including fraud and money laundering.

The New York congressman’s legal troubles prompted Democrats to call for his expulsion, but House Republicans blocked a Democratic resolution that would have removed him from office and moved to refer the decision to the House Ethics Committee.

Democrats argue that referring the decision to the House Ethics Committee is unnecessary since the committee is already conducting an investigation into the allegations against Santos. House Democrats called the maneuver a “cop out.”

Responding to the move to expel him, Santos claimed that Democrats were trying to hold him accountable without affording him a fair chance to prove his innocence in a trial. The lawmaker has also indicated previously that resigning is not an option he is considering at this time.

Federal reparations proposal introduced to address racial wealth gap

A group of House Democrats led by Rep. Cori Bush, Mo., put forward a “Reparations Resolution” in an attempt to jump-start a program to compensate Black Americans. This move comes at a time when California lawmakers are also considering a list of reparations for Black residents at the state level.

While the exact figure for a total potential payout for reparations is still being determined, Bush suggests that the cost could be at least $14 trillion. The proposed funding for such a substantial undertaking remains a topic under discussion, but the congresswoman has asserted that a debt is owed in order to close the racial wealth gap that persists in the country.

2021 Washington Post poll found just 28% of Americans supported reparations, while 65% opposed paying cash reparations to the descendants of enslaved Black people. Two-thirds of Black respondents supported the idea, but only 18% of White respondents did.

Montana becomes first state to enact outright ban on TikTok

Montana has become the first state in the nation to pass a law outright banning the popular social media app TikTok. Gov. Greg Gianforte, R, signed the measure Wednesday, May 17, with the ban scheduled to go into effect on Jan. 1 of the next year, pending the outcome of anticipated legal challenges.

“Today, Montana takes the most decisive action of any state to protect Montanans’ private data and sensitive personal information from being harvested by the Chinese Communist Party,” Gianforte said in a statement.

While several states and the federal government have previously implemented restrictions on TikTok’s usage on state and federal devices, Montana’s ban takes a more comprehensive approach by seeking to eliminate the app from app stores altogether.

“Governor Gianforte has signed a bill that infringes on the First Amendment rights of the people of Montana by unlawfully banning TikTok, a platform that empowers hundreds of thousands of people across the state,” TikTok spokesperson Brooke Oberwetter said in a statement. “We want to reassure Montanans that they can continue using TikTok to express themselves, earn a living, and find community as we continue working to defend the rights of our users inside and outside of Montana,”

The move comes amid ongoing discussions surrounding data privacy and national security concerns associated with Chinese-owned technology companies. TikTok, owned by the Beijing-based company ByteDance, has faced scrutiny from lawmakers and regulators over potential data collection practices and its handling of user information.

Walgreens settles with San Francisco over opioid distribution case

Walgreens has reached a settlement with the city of San Francisco, agreeing to pay a sum of $230 million to resolve a case concerning the pharmacy’s distribution practices of opioids. The resolution comes after a federal court determined that Walgreens had made a substantial contribution to the ongoing opioid epidemic, particularly within the streets of San Francisco.

San Francisco City Attorney David Chiu has hailed this settlement as a significant victory for the city, asserting that it stands as the largest settlement ever obtained by a city in litigation involving the opioid crisis and a single company. San Francisco had originally sought a staggering amount of over $8 billion in damages from Walgreens, making this agreement a substantial compromise for both parties involved.

The case brought against Walgreens alleged that the company’s distribution practices were a key factor in fueling the opioid epidemic, which has devastated communities across the country.

Los Angeles exotic dancers vote on union formation at local strip club

Exotic dancers at a Los Angeles strip club are set to vote today on whether to form a union. If the majority votes in favor, the “Star Garden Topless Dive Bar Dancers” would become the first and only unionized group of strippers in the United States. Representing the employees is the Actors Equity Association, a union with over a century of experience representing actors, singers, and dancers, representing more than 50,000 workers.

The decision to pursue unionization stems from the shared concerns of the exotic dancers, which echo those of other performers, including wage theft, post-show security, and workplace safety.

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