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Juror dismissed for sleeping during murder trial

KISSIMMEE, Fla. – Both the prosecution and the defense have now rested their presentation of evidence, according to the judge presiding over the trail of Christopher Otero-Rivera and Angel Rivera.Christopher Otero-Rivera and his father, Angel Rivera, are charged with second-degree murder in the death of Otero-Rivera’s estranged wife in Osceola County.Before the trial of two men accused in the 2019 murder and dismembering of Nicole Montalvo resumed Tuesday, the judge dismissed a juror who he said was found to be sleeping on multiple occasions during the proceedings.[TRENDING: What ingredients make a vaccine? | Air show plane on move after landing in ocean | DeSantis signs ‘anti-riot’ bill into law]The judge said Juror No. 16 was dismissed from the case and would be replaced by an alternate juror who has been attentive throughout the proceedings.The state rested its case Tuesday around 3 p.m. but before they did, jurors heard from a former jail mate of Otero-Rivera.The former jail mate said in his 8 months of being in the same jail pod with Otero-Rivera, they had many conversations. He said that Otero-Rivera said he wanted to kill Nicole Montalvo.When asked if Otero-Rivera ever spoke about specific ways to kill her, his former jail mate said Otero-Rivera mentioned a car bomb.A second jail mate was also called to testify and said Otero-Rivera had spoken about getting out of jail and killing Montalvo.But the focus wasn’t just on Otero-Rivera, jurors also heard from a neighbor who said he lives diagonally across from the Rivera property, and said he had a concerning conversation with Angel Rivera.The neighbor said Rivera offered him $10-thousand to kill Montalvo.Before the defense began calling witnesses, Otero-Rivera and his father both said they would not take the stand.The defense only called Wanda Rivera as their witness, late this afternoon. She is the wife of Angel and mother of Christopher.The trial is expected to resume tomorrow morning at 9 a.m.Montalvo, 33, was reported missing in October 2019 after she failed to pick up her 8-year-old son from school. Her dismembered remains were later found buried on property owned by the Riveras. Otero-Rivera and Montalvo had a son together, but they were separated at the time of her death.

First on CNN: Pelosi concedes to even partisan split on 1/6 commission in effort to jumpstart talks

Pelosi briefed her leadership team on the new proposal Monday evening, the source said, as she looks to break a logjam with Republicans on the commission to investigate the attack on the US Capitol.Pelosi teased the changes in a letter to colleagues on Friday afternoon. The speaker wrote that she had “once again sent a proposal for such a Commission to the Republicans, modeled after the 9/11 Commission.”It’s still unclear whether the change will be enough for Republicans to get on board. As Pelosi herself has said, the makeup of the proposed commission was just one of the sticking points that had stalled talks on the commission, with Democrats and Republicans at odds over the scope of what the panel would investigate — including former President Donald Trump’s role leading up to the insurrection. Republicans are calling for an examination of violence surrounding last year’s protests of police brutality, too.”The challenge that we have is: what is the scope? The scope — what we want is one thing: the truth. ‘What happened on 9/11 and how we can prevent it from happening again?'” Pelosi said at a news conference last week. “It’s not about reviewing the elections. It’s not about examining Black Lives Matter. It’s about what happened on January 6 and how we can prevent it from happening again. So if we can agree on scope, I think that we can agree on a commission. The size, timing, all the rest of that, those are negotiable, and that’s not the main part of it.”Her letter to colleagues on Friday was met with surprise by Republicans who are involved in the negotiations.”We’ve never seen it, and if our minority leader’s never seen it, then I don’t know what she’s talking about,” said Rep. Rodney Davis a Republican from Illinois and the ranking GOP member on the House Administration Committee. “But in the end it’s up to her to actually fulfill what she said she did.”Davis’ committee would lead the legislative process on the bill.The offices of both House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who have been actively involved with the negotiations, told CNN they have yet to see a new draft proposal and they have not had any communication with Pelosi on the commission in several weeks.On Tuesday, McConnell signaled that he was ready to deal, but hadn’t heard of any changes to the proposal. “Number one, the commission needs to be balanced,” McConnell said. “And number two, the scope of it needs to deal with a little bit broader than just January the sixth. We’ve also had a number of violent disturbances around the country last year, and I think we ought to look at this broader scope, and with a totally balanced, 9/11-style commission. If she were willing to put that forward, I think it would enjoy broad bipartisan support.”Pelosi announced plans to form the commission in February. The goal was to create an independent, bipartisan panel tasked with investigating the circumstances surrounding the attack on the Capitol.But the proposal was immediately met with partisan bickering. Republicans complained about the imbalance of Pelosi’s initial offering of seven Democratic appointees to only four from the GOP, in addition to their desire for the panel to investigate a wide range of political extremism from both the right and left. Pelosi and Democrats have argued the commission should be solely focused on what led to the events of January 6.In late March, Democrats made it clear they were willing to abandon the idea of the commission if an agreement could not be reached and proceed with investigations in various House Committees, but Pelosi continued to insist that she was committed to making the panel a reality. Still, Davis said he thought Pelosi’s announcement of a new proposal was just political maneuvering.”This is just the typical gamesmanship she’s playing with the 9/11-type of commission,” Davis said. “We’ve got a bill that would lay out a very even condition based upon recommendations from some of the 911 commissioners. But she’s not serious, and this is another example of her lack of seriousness of actually getting to the bottom of what happened.”CNN’s Lauren Fox contributed to this report.

CDC advisers will meet Friday to discuss the J&J vaccine. Here's what could happen next

The CDC and US Food and Drug Administration recommended a pause on use of the J&J coronavirus vaccine last week following six reported US cases of a rare and severe type of blood clot. They are investigating whether there are more cases and whether other types of blood clots might be associated with the vaccine. The pause was also intended to give experts time to inform doctors about how to look for and treat these clots.The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices met on April 14, but members said they needed more information about the J&J vaccine and the blood clot cases.Dr. William Schaffner, a non-voting ACIP member and infectious diseases professor at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, told CNN that the committee delayed making a decision because there will likely be more reports of blood clots connected to the vaccine, and members need to understand the demographics of those cases.Schaffner said Friday’s meeting could play out a few different ways.ACIP could recommend that use of the vaccine resume with no changes, or the committee could recommend that the US stop using the J&J vaccine altogether.Schaffner said it’s more likely that ACIP will recommend that use of the vaccine resume with a warning about possible adverse effects — and potentially, advice to the highest-risk populations to steer clear of this vaccine altogether. ACIP chair Dr. Jose Romero told CNN that the committee also has the option to recommend the pause continue until more information is gathered — though he believes enough data has been generated at this point for ACIP to make a decision.Romero said he has yet to examine the data that will be considered Friday but does not believe the committee will decide to recommend a complete stop to use of the vaccine in the US.”CDC scientists can make an estimate of what the benefit-risk analysis would be, and that’s certainly going to inform us in our decision,” said Romero. “Whoever uses the vaccine — as with any vaccine in this country — they should be informed about any risks associated with it.”He noted that a potential Covid-19 vaccine booster dose may eventually need to be considered.”If there’s a high-risk population that is indicated that they should not receive the vaccine, then I would imagine the CDC will make recommendations about what the alternative vaccine would be in that group,” Romero said.What action could ACIP take?One blood clot case in a 25-year-old man was reported during the vaccine’s clinical trial. Though the six cases that led to the pause last week were all among women between the ages of 18 and 48, Schaffner said that may not be an accurate representation of risk.Nearly 8 million people in the US have now received the J&J vaccine. Doctors could realize now that cases of these rare blood clots that they’ve recently seen were connected to the vaccine, and new cases could emerge among people who have received the vaccine in recent weeks. “Some of the ACIP members are concerned that this additional reporting may show cases of men or older persons, who are currently not represented in the reporting of the six cases, and so they didn’t think the entire picture of risk has been developed,” said Schaffner.CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said Monday that the agency is now looking through a handful of reported adverse events after use of the J&J vaccine.Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said Sunday that he expects the vaccine to come back on the market with restrictions or warnings after Friday’s meeting.J&J Chief Scientific Officer Dr. Paul Stoffels said Tuesday the company believes the benefits of the vaccine outweigh the risks. “The safety and well-being of the people who use our product is our number one priority and we strongly support awareness of the signs and symptoms of this extremely rare event to ensure the correct diagnosis, appropriate treatment and expedited report by health care professionals,” Stoffels said.Romero, who also serves as Arkansas’ secretary of health, said there could be additional recommendations for states and physicians around how to manage J&J doses that have already been distributed. He said he believes states will accept the committee’s recommendations. “My counsel to the governor as we go forward will be, ‘Let’s see what the CDC says,'” said Romero. “More than likely — I mean more than 98% — I’m going to say I agree with the recommendations issued by the committee, and those are the ones we should follow in our state.”Though there is some concern that the J&J vaccine pause will fuel vaccine hesitancy, an Axios-Ipsos poll published Tuesday showed that 88% of Americans think the CDC and FDA were acting responsibly when they recommended the pause.”I really think, and I really hope that the American public will look at this pause and look at what we have done during this pause as an indication of how safe the vaccine system and the vaccine pipeline is in this country,” said Romero.Will this impact vaccine supply in the US?President Joe Biden and other officials have said whatever decision is made about the Covid-19 vaccine, it will not hinder the vaccination effort in the US.The FDA requested Monday that manufacturing of the J&J vaccine be paused at a Baltimore Emergent BioSolutions facility while it conducts an investigation into contamination that affected at least one batch of J&J’s vaccine.”We want to convey to the American public we have two vaccines that are readily available — the Pfizer and Moderna — and people should continue to roll up their sleeves to get vaccinated,” CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said last week.Walensky said that while the CDC conducts a risk-benefit analysis of the J&J vaccine, the agency has reached out to more than 10,000 providers to inform them about what to watch out for, in case other people experience similar adverse events.Those who have received the J&J vaccine within the last three weeks have a very low risk of developing the rare blood clot that will decrease over time, the CDC says. The agency recommends those who experience certain symptoms, including sudden, severe headache, leg swelling and shortness of breath, seek immediate medical treatment.CNN’s Naomi Thomas, Ryan Prior, Jen Christensen, Virginia Langmaid, Ashley Ahn and Jacqueline Howard contributed to this report.

British Columbia projects C$9.7 bln deficit in 2021-22

Article content VANCOUVER — The Canadian province of British Columbia expects its 2021-22 budget deficit to reach C$9.7 billion ($7.69 billion), after closing the last financial year with a projected deficit of C$8.1 billion, budget documents released on Tuesday showed. The projected deficit for 2020-21 is lower than the previous estimate of C$13.6 billion, the documents showed. The budget proposes C$67.6 billion in overall spending in the current financial year, including C$3.3 billion in pandemic recovery measures, and assumes real GDP growth of 4.4%, the documents showed. It will include a near-doubling of subsidized childcare spaces, free public transportation for children under 12 and roughly C$2.2 billion on climate change measures over five years, the documents said. The budget “builds a bridge to recovery and the better days that are ahead,” Selina Robinson, BC’s minister of finance, told the provincial legislature. In a briefing with reporters, she noted that COVID-19 variants could still pose a threat to the province’s economic recovery. ($1 = 1.2574 Canadian dollars) (Reporting by Moira Warburton in Vancouver; Editing by Dan Grebler)

Budget 2021 Addresses Pandemic and Provides Road Map for More Equitable Economic Recovery–CUPE BC

Article content BURNABY, British Columbia — Today’s provincial budget makes smart, strategic investments in priority areas while laying the groundwork for a post-pandemic economic recovery that puts working people first, CUPE BC President Paul Faoro said today. “Given the circumstances, this budget must have been incredibly challenging to put together, and my hat’s off to Finance Minister Selina Robinson and the public servants across government who have built a plan to support British Columbians through the remainder of the pandemic and to build a stronger, more equitable economy as we recover,” said Faoro. “We’re very pleased to see continued investments in K-12 public education, including $3.5 billion in capital funding over three years. And B.C. continues to lead when it comes to quality, affordable childcare, bringing an additional 20 school districts into the Seamless Day Pilot Program, adding another 3,750 childcare spaces. An economic recovery plan that doesn’t include universal childcare is doomed to failure.” Faoro said the record $26.4 billion in capital investments will be an important part of B.C.’s economic recovery. Geared towards projects in the education, health and transportation sectors, the investments will result in tangible assets for the future, but also will create jobs now. “Getting more people back to work in the private sector is fundamental for a strong public sector,” said Faoro. Article content “It’s important to note that the Budget also provides significant increases in funding to address the so-called ‘other’ public health emergency, the opioid overdose crisis,” said Faoro. “The budget also continues the Horgan government’s strong work on fighting poverty, with the largest-ever permanent increase to income assistance and disability rates in provincial history. That stands in stark contrast to the former BC Liberal government’s decision to strip bus passes from disabled people. That was reversed early on by the BC NDP, but it continues to be a great example of how important elections are. “I’m also pleased to see that kids will now be able to use transit for free, helping families make ends meet and reducing emissions at the same time—and helping develop a new generation of transit-users. And the new investments in rapid transit and roads will make it easier for people to get to and from their work, school and play. “Strong public services are key to getting us through this pandemic, and they will be absolutely crucial to supporting workers and communities as we rebuild,” said Faoro. cope491 View source version on Contacts Clay Suddaby 604-313-1138 CUPE National Communications Representative @CUPEBC