PPP/C to roll out campaign in all regions – Jagdeo

first_img…scrutineers to be dispatched to witness electoral activitiesAs the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) announces their plans for the Guyanese people amid the upcoming elections, campaigning will also be done extensively in all communities to highlight some of the projects that will be undertaken under their governance.Opposition Leader Bharrat JagdeoThis was announced by Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo during a recent press conference, where he signalled their draft of developmental plans for several years. While there have been protest actions on their part to ensure constitutional adherence, he said their focus is positioned towards the common man.“We’re happy that we’re moving forward. The PPP will start aggressively to campaign because we want people to hear what our plans are for the next few years. We will review. We will see how we go and our strategy to protest the Government will be under review but we are not a party of protest,” he noted.Jagdeo, who is also the party’s General Secretary, said they will venture out into every region and the wider communities to meet and engage the public. The party intends to put forward the plans they have outlined and how they will benefit the population.“We’re more comfortable talking about development. We want to carry that message in every corner of this country and we want the people to see and understand the plans for the next five years and how all of them will benefit from these plans. We want to go [out to] every region and every community to talk to people about this. That’s where we would like to take the campaign.”At a previous press conference, he had assured that the PPP would work for all Guyanese regardless of their race, religion, or geographic location. However, it was noted that the party’s political opponents have always painted them as pro-Indian – an area where not enough was done in order to change or tackle this perception.This time around, they will be seeking to end this stereotype by further broadening their base. Already, he had said, the PPP has gained significant backing from new supporters.A number of valid developments have been promised in the party’s manifesto, which was released some time ago. Their plans have tackled areas which have seen mass outcries from the Guyanese public.The education sector under the PPP Administration is said to be geared towards improved access, quality, affordability and preparing Guyanese students at the Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) and tertiary levels. This is to ensure that they secure better-paying jobs in line with the requirement of the economy.Prominent among these would be the delivery of free education at the University of Guyana (UG) and enhanced access through the use of Information and Communications Technology (ICT). Previously, it was explained that free university education would not be available initially but within two or three years as they work out the details of this policy initiative. The party had also announced plans to give out 20,000 online scholarships, which will help with private education especially in courses that are not offered by UG.Meanwhile, as it relates to the power woes, the PPP has also committed that the resuscitation of the Amaila Falls Hydropower Project would be among its top priorities for the energy sector.To this end, the General Secretary said that the PPP Administration will move onto a gas power plant, which it believes could be done easily. To this end, the General Secretary said that the PPP Administration will move onto a gas power plant, which it believes could be done easily. However, while this will bring another 20 megawatts into the system, he stressed that it will not come into fruition until maybe 2021. As such, they will have to rely on fossil fuel initially to stabilise power supply in the country and bring an end to the constant blackouts.As they campaign alongside the elections preparations, the Opposition Leader said they will dispatch officials to scrutinise activities under the Guyana Elections Commission. On October 1, the Commission will embark on the Claims and Objections period – a process that would be under watch by their scrutineers.“GECOM has decided now to move forward with preparations and Claims and Objections will start on 1st October. A preliminary list of electors will be extracted from the current NRR and posted all across the country. We are going to put in place our scrutineers because that is the right place where you get registered if you are not on the voters’ list,” he informed.last_img read more

Excellence, intrigue, adventure at Dusi 2014

first_img17 February 2014 The 2014 Dusi Canoe Marathon produced excellence, intrigue and adventure as Andy Birkett and Sbonelo Zondi sped to a dominating victory in the men’s race and Abbey Ulansky and Robyn Kime held off Abby Adie and Anna Adamova for the women’s win. The hard preparation work put in by Birkett and Zondi was well rewarded as the pair won all three days of the 120 kilometre marathon, which takes place between Pietermaritzburg and Durban. With luck working against them, the duo had finished fourth and third respectively in the 2013 Dusi, which was contested in singles (K1s), but within two weeks they had teamed up to win the Non-Stop Dusi and smash the record by over 17 minutes. Not long after that they announced their intention to take on the 2014 Dusi together, and it paid off as they turned in a faultless and spectacular performance.‘A really special feeling’ “The whole journey has been amazing. I’m super chuffed, especially with our discipline over this last year, and it’s a really special feeling to have won,” an elated Birkett said after claiming his fourth Dusi title. “It almost feels like this is the first Dusi I’ve ever won because of the whole change in start procedure here on day three and the finish is a really amazing experience.”‘A dream come true’ “At last! This is a dream come true for me,” exclaimed Zondi, who became the second black winner of the iconic canoe marathon, following in the footsteps of Thulani Mbanjwa, who claimed the honours in 2008 with “Dusi Duke” Martin Dreyer. Both Zondi and Mbanjwa are products of the very successful Change a Life Academy development programme at Nagle Dam, outside of Pietermaritzburg, which is headed up by Dreyer, a seven-time Dusi champion.Given up hope Birkett and Zondi led by almost 10 minutes heading into the final day and tellingly, when Hank McGregor and Jasper Mocke chose run over the Burma Road portage, rather than risk the paddle through the Graveyard, Molweni and Island rapids, it signalled that the second placed crew had given up hope of catching the leaders. McGregor, a three-time flatwater marathon world champion, and Mocke, one of the world’s leading surf skiers, gave it their all but could not stay with Birkett and Zondi on the race’s taxing portages, and even on the water Birkett and Zondi were a match for them. Cam Schoeman, a former doubles (K2) flatwater marathon world champion, teamed up with Czech star, Jakub Adam, one of the world’s elite flatwater paddlers, to take third place. It was a remarkable performance from Schoeman, who had to deal with a shoulder ligament injury, while Adam became the first international paddler in the 63 year history of the Dusi to stand on the podium.Women’s race In the women’s race, Ulansky and Kime were pushed all the way by Adie and Adamova and by the time they reached Durban only a minute and seven seconds separated the two leading boats. It was a women’s record ninth win for Ulansky (nee Miedema), a South African who now lives in Canada, and a fifth victory for Kime, with three of those being achieved with Ulansky. For Adie, it was an unfortunate sixth runner-up finish, while Adamova, the sister of Jakub Adam, became the first international to stand on the women’s podium.‘Over the moon’ “We are over the moon to make it three in a row,” Ulansky smiled afterwards. “Robs and I have paddled together for a while and formed a great partnership, and this year was more challenging for us as, number one, we had stronger competition and, number two, we have had other commitments, so we weren’t as strong as we wanted to be, but we had great fun and really worked hard,” said Ulansky. “We tried so hard and it’s a little disappointing to have come so close and not been able to win it, but we worked really hard, and in the end it wasn’t quite enough,” Adie commented. Third place went to sisters Tamika and Bianca Haw. Still in school, Bianca had finished fifth in the K1 race in 2013 and only three weeks before the 2014 Dusi had won gold in the women’s junior race at the African Continental MTB Championships in the Western Cape.An adventure The Dusi, however, is about a lot more than the elite paddlers. For the vast majority of the field it is an adventure: for former Natal flyhalf Graeme “Gudgie” Dixon, who paddled his 40th consecutive Dusi and his second in succession with his daughter; for people like brothers, Brad and Rowan White, who took time away from their families to team up for a second time; for people like Bob Harvey and Tony Ferguson, who missed a takeout and went downstream on the river, where no boats go, and who were rescued by helicopter after a four-hour wait. Behind the elite paddlers, the true heart of the Dusi beats strongly, with camaraderie, which one could almost term a tradition, the order of the day. It is seen not only in the paddlers, but in the army of volunteers that make it possible to host a 120-kilometre race over the course of three days in some extremely testing conditions and over challenging terrain.A place they treasure For many of the competitors, the Valley of a Thousand Hills, through which the race passes, has become a place they treasure and a place in which the Dusi organisers, Natal Canoe Club, has over the years paid back the residents by building schools and sports fields, and looking after the vegetation and river. Within the hearts of many Dusi veterans, there beats a love of this beautiful piece of Africa. On the rivers making their way to the Indian Ocean and over the steep hills many internal barriers are broken and many stories, which will last a lifetime, are experienced. There is something about the adventure that grabs those who have taken on and finished the Dusi. It remains more than a canoe marathon, it remains a definitive South African experience.last_img read more

Ohio Ag Weather and Forecast October 8, 2019

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Sunny and dry for the rest of the week. Temperatures will slowly climb through the period. There can be a few more clouds around on Thursday, but they will not have any good moisture threat.Saturday Rain totalsA cold front moves through the state on Saturday. This cold front is part of a very strong system that will pound the upper Midwest and northern plains with snow later this week. However, the front has limited moisture by the time it gets here, and will losing some strength too, with the strong low maturing over Canada. All that to say that we expect showers over Ohio with 90% coverage on Saturday, rain totals from a tenth to half an inch.Mostly sunny, dry and cooler for Sunday. We may even see some patchy frost Sunday morning over Ohio, but the threat does not look as impressive as 24 hours ago. However, models are still significantly different…with the GFS model much colder, and the Euro more mild. We will continue to watch this period for changes in cold air magnitude as we get closer to its arrival. WE stay dry for Monday with plenty of sunshine.Tuesday of next week, we see clouds increase, and then a few showers work through. From Tuesday afternoon through Wednesday midday we can see a few hundredths to half an inch of moisture develop, with the heaviest action overnight Tuesday night and Wednesday morning in far SE Ohio. Coverage will end up being around 70% of the state.We finish the 10 day period and go through the entire 11-16 day window with rain free weather. WE are dry from next Wednesday afternoon through the following Wednesday (23rd) with generally sunny to partly cloudy skies. As it stands right now, this could turn out to be another excellent harvest window.last_img read more

OpenHeatMap: Custom Heat Maps for Geo Data

first_imgA Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… marshall kirkpatrick Tags:#Location#Product Reviews#web Related Posts Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic…center_img 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market Pete Warden is many things to many people. To Facebook corporate headquarters, he’s a pest to manage with legal pressure. To nerdy bloggers around the Web, he’s a thoughtful guy who stops by and drops smart comments here and there. At ReadWriteWeb, we think of him as one of our favorite data geeks online.Now Pete Warden is aiming to become something new: the guy who built the easiest way to publish maps on any website. His new project OpenHeatMap is an open-source tool to embed visualizations of data with a location element and changes over time. It works in Flash or HTML5, and it could be just the hackable thing you’re looking for – if you’re looking for a way to see where time, space and a set of numbers all come together.Warden’s been working on the service for six months, and he describes it like this: “My one-sentence description is ‘YouTube for maps,’” he says. “If you have location data in an Excel spreadsheet, you can save it out as a CSV file, upload it to OpenHeatMap and get an interactive online map that you can customize, share and embed.” It’s a GPL JQuery plug-in that lets you display data with a location component, as well as over time.Curious about where people around the world are Tweeting about a particular topic the most? Want to see world income levels as reported over the last 100 years by the World Bank, playing forward like a little movie map? Got your own data set you want to put on a map? That’s what OpenHeatMap aims to make easy to do.Why This Is Important“This has the potential to make public data relevant to the lay user,” Alex Howard, government 2.0 beat writer for O’Reilly Media, says. “One of the biggest challenges government agencies, municipalities and any other body has is converting open data to information which people can take knowledge from. One of the most powerful ways humanity has developed to communicate information over time is through maps. If you can take data in an open form – and CSV files are one of the most standard formats available – then you have an opportunity to tell stories in a way that’s relevant to a region and personalized to an individual. That’s a meaningful opportunity. The fact that you can embed it and that it’s licensed on GPL and on GitHub is a significant contribution by Pete Warden to humanity’s ability to tell stories.”The service isn’t perfect at launch – it’s still buggy and rendering is a little slow – but OpenHeatMap could be the beginning of something very useful and important. Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hostinglast_img read more

Athletes in the ‘Zone’ at CWG Village

first_imgThe term ‘Games Village’ is a bit of a misnomer for the place where athletes are lodged during their stay in the Capital. It is a city in its own right.There is no facility or convenience one cannot find inside its premises and visitors can spend their whole free time in the International Zone of the Village.For those on their first trip to India in particular, it is no less than an eye- opener.Not surprisingly, the area remains full of people throughout the day. It is also a place where friendships develop and old acquaintances are revived.The handicraft store is never short of visitors, who seem to have taken a deep liking to the items on offer. “I like the stuff in the store very much. It is very exotic,” 14- year- old Charlotte Carey, a table tennis player from Wales, told Mail Today on Thursday.Charlotte, accompanied by two of her teammates, bought a pair of bracelets and seemed quite proud of her newest possessions.Traditional Indian handicrafts present a special charm for people coming from far- off lands and Kevin Coulter is no different.The general team manager of the Norfolk Island contingent was very interested in the goods that are on display. “These are very fascinating items. I am just surveying the stuff and may buy something a few days later,” he said, while inspecting a small decorative item made of alabaster.Coulter did not hesitate in enquiring about the material used for making the handicrafts. The store is run by the Central Cottage Industries Emporium.advertisement”We receive a lot of visitors everyday but sales are not so heavy at the moment. The visitors mostly just inspect the items on sale. May be the sales will pick up in the coming days,” Ashwani Arora, the manager of the store, said.Another favourite hangout for athletes seems to be the Shahnaz Hussain Beauty Salon. After all, who doesn’t want to be pampered? Mail Today found Indian hockey players Gurbaj Singh and Sarvanjit Singh having a haircut, while some foreign female athletes were enjoying a manicure session.”It’s an off day for us today so we decided to relax and enjoy ourselves,” Sarvanjit said.The official merchandise store has a wide array of stuff on show and also offers the famous ( or infamous) vuvuzela, known for the cacophony of noise it made during the FIFA World Cup earlier this year in South Africa.”They are priced at Rs 250 per piece,” Aisha Bhagat, the store manager for Premier Brands, said. “The most popular items among the athletes are the jugs and sippers.” The official t- shirts also seemed to find favour with a lot of athletes.The transactions were not without some hitches, though.”Most of the foreign visitors come with the currency of their own countries, while we can only accept payment in Indian rupees.After selecting some item, they may have to go to the bank to convert the currency or to withdraw money from the ATM,” Aisha said.No wonder the Central Bank of India outlet at the International Zone seems to draw one of the biggest crowds.The convenience store has virtually everything that can be of daily use on offer. “The soft drinks and colas are going off the shelf at a fast rate,” an attendant at the store said. “Detergents are also selling fast.” However, there was one item which did not see much sale.”The condoms at our store are hardly finding any buyers as there is a free dispenser just down the alley,” the attendant said.last_img read more

Galaxy Fold vs Mate X Battle of the foldable phones

first_img Now playing: Watch this: Wireless charging 36 Photos How To • Huawei P30 phone announcement: How to watch, what to expect Related coverage 12GB Mobile software 4 rear cameras Connector Galaxy Fold vs. Huawei Mate X: CNET editors react RAM 512GB Kirin 980 processor No Mobile World Congress 2019 See All Price off-contract (USD) 9:54 Two 10-megapixel, 8-megapixel 3D depth 3:30 6.6-inch (2,480×1,148 pixels); 6.38-inch (2,480×892); 8-inch OLED (2,480×2,200) 2:13 Jun 1 • The Nubia Alpha looks like either a house arrest bracelet or Batman’s phone Foldable display, wireless charging, fast charging See it TCL’s DragonHinge lets phones bend and fold 4G or 5G The Huawei Mate X will come in one configuration: 5G. In fact, Huawei boasts that it’s the fastest foldable phone there is (a claim we can only check when 5G is going strong). Samsung, on the other hand, will have 4G and 5G configurations, so you’re not tied to 5G if you’re not interested in paying the extra for 5G access.Price and sale dateAffordable foldable phones aren’t here yet, but companies like TCL are working on it, and Motorola is rumored to sell a $1,500 foldable Motorola Razr. You’ll have to earmark at least $2,000 if you’re going to get either the Galaxy Fold or Huawei’s Mate X. But hold on. Let’s say you have the extra dough to spend. When do you get each phone, and will they sell where you live?  Review • Huawei P30 review: The P30 Pro’s fantastic photos for less USB-C Storage Galaxy Fold: First impressions of Samsung’s foldable… The specs (that we know about) reading • Galaxy Fold vs. Mate X: Battle of the foldable phones Now playing: Watch this: Huawei Mate X Galaxy Fold: $1,980, on sale April 26 in select markets, including the US. That converts to about £1,500 or AU$2,800.Huawei Mate X: 2,300 euros, sale date starting in select markets around June or July. Huawei says it isn’t announcing sale markets until 5G networks start taking off. Because of tensions with the US government, it’s doubtful that the Mate X will sell in the US. However the price converts roughly to $2,600, £2,000 or AU$3,660.Read: Mate X foldable phone is $$$, but Huawei hints at cheaper future foldable phones Display size, resolution But what about the screen durability? Glass isn’t at a point where it can bend enough to fold (but glassmakers are working on that), so polymer it is. That’s not a screen material you think of as being worth $2,000 or more, but there you have it. The bottom line is that with version one of foldable phones, it seems likely there will always be trade-off of one sort or another. We’ll have to see both phones side by side to see which one gets more in the way.Read: I used the Huawei Mate X and now I’m a foldable phone believerThe camerasSamsung gives its Galaxy Fold a total of six cameras: three on the back, two on the front and one on the cover. Is this confusing or helpful? How easy is it to remember which camera to use for which type of photo you want to take? And how do quality and convenience compare to the Huawei Mate X’s four cameras? It looks like there are three, but Huawei consumer CEO Richard Yu confirmed there are four — one that the company will turn on in March when it launched the Huawei P30 series of phones. $1,980, converts to £1,500 or AU$2,800 Android 9.0 with Samsung One UI 4:39 Best laptops for college students: We’ve got an affordable laptop for every student. Best live TV streaming services: Ditch your cable company but keep the live channels and DVR. 4.6-inch Super AMOLED; 7.3-inch QXGA+ Dynamic AMOLED Share your voice Front-facing camera Galaxy Fold screens: 4.6-inch exterior7.3-inch interior screenHuawei Mate X ‘screens’:8-inch OLED displayIn “closed” position, front screen is 6.6 inchesIn “closed” position, rear screen is 6.38 inchesLit-up screen switches as you turn the phone At least one N/A Jul 9 • Killer cameras and battery life might meet their match in the Note 10 Galaxy Fold vs. Mate X The fold, the screensDoes your phone fold in or out? Samsung’s Galaxy Fold takes the form of a book, with its largest screen on the inside, protected by the outer “cover.” Except in this case, one of the “covers” has a screen on it. Huawei takes the opposite approach, with the screen hugging the frame. The advantage here is that you have one screen that can act like three, depending on how you hold the phone.  Octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 512GB 8GB Comments Can Motorola’s Razr top Galaxy Fold by going smaller? Expandable storage No N/A 60 Photos Notch versus ‘wing’The Galaxy Fold has a fairly wide eyebrow notch on its 7.3-inch screen. This blacked-out area houses two camera lenses and sensors. The Mate X’s 8-inch display is notch-free, but it does have a strip on the back where the cameras line up, and a curved “wing” that serves as a handhold. I got a chance to open and close the Mate X, and I think this wing is a clever design workaround that makes sense. It seemed to mostly work as a grip, though it isn’t a comfy handle, but it does help stabilize the device when it’s opened up in tablet form, making it easier to hold without cropping the sides. 2,299 euros, converts to $2,600, £2,000 or AU$3,660 29 Power button Power button Processor Samsung Galaxy Fold Now playing: Watch this: News • Huawei P30 Pro in a gorgeous orange finish leaks Mentioned Above Huawei P30 (128GB, black) • Time for a state of the union on foldable phones. There are currently two top brand contenders, Samsung’s Galaxy Fold and Huawei’s Mate X. Both have plastic (polymer) screens that fold in half down the middle, premium specs and a sky-high price to match. They may both fold, but the similarities end there. For example, the Fold will sell on April 26 for $1,980 (with a 5G version incoming later this year). Preorders begin April 15. Meanwhile, the Mate X set its price higher, at 2,300 euros (roughly $2,600). It’ll come in a 5G model only and will start selling this summer. The Galaxy Fold also has one small screen on the outside and a large screen on the inside, while the Mate X uses one screen on the outside in three different ways. It shapeshifts depending on how you hold the device. Samsung’s phone comes with six cameras. While I’ve never seen the Galaxy Fold in the flesh (this was the closest I got to it), a new YouTube video claiming to show off the Fold appeared online.Commentary: Rushing foldable phones doesn’t work. Just ask Samsung and Huawei Foldable display, fast charging CNET may get a commission from retail offers. Jun 29 • Galaxy S10 5G, OnePlus 7 Pro LG V50 ThinQ 5G: Why you shouldn’t rush to buy a 5G phone 2:43 Huawei Motorola Samsung Published: Feb. 24 at 12:05 p.m. PTLate update, March 20 at 10:27 a.m. PT: Added new links. 4,500 mAh Now playing: Watch this: 16-megapixel (ultra wide-angle), 12-megapixel (wide-angle), 12-megapixel (telephoto) Galaxy Fold: Samsung reveals more about its foldable… Fingerprint sensor Mobile World Congress 2019 $534 Galaxy Fold vs. Huawei Mate X: Battle of the foldable phones Every foldable phone coming your way Foldable phones are so tantalizingly close Galaxy Fold is the most exciting phone in years Using the Mate X made me a foldable phone believer Battery Camera Huawei Mate X is a foldable phone with 5G May 13 • Galaxy S10E vs. iPhone XR: Every spec compared 4,380 mAh 20 Photos Close up with the Galaxy Fold screen, notch and hinge The Mate X, which I briefly tried out, has four cameras (three you can see now and one that’ll launch in March) and 5G across the board. And where the Galaxy Fold’s hinge won’t lay completely flat, Huawei boasts about the sophistication of its patented hinge.We’re still learning more about both phones. But here’s what we know about both foldable phones so far, and how they both plan to take control of our brave new foldable world. Mate X foldable phone: Here’s what it’s really like to use Tags Huawei P30 Now playing: Watch this: Foldable Phones Tablets Phoneslast_img read more

Immigrant children detained in Virginia center allege abuse

first_imgA person walks into the entrance of the Shenandoah Valley Juvenile Center on Wednesday, 20 June, 2018 in Staunton, Va. Immigrant children as young as 14 housed at the juvenile detention center say they were beaten while handcuffed and locked up for long periods in solitary confinement, left nude and shivering in concrete cells. The abuse claims are detailed in federal court filings that include a half-dozen sworn statements from Latino teens jailed there for months or years. Photo : APImmigrant children as young as 14 housed at a juvenile detention center in Virginia say they were beaten while handcuffed and locked up for long periods in solitary confinement, left nude and shivering in concrete cells.The abuse claims against the Shenandoah Valley Juvenile Center near Staunton, Virginia, are detailed in federal court filings that include a half-dozen sworn statements from Latino teens jailed there for months or years. Multiple detainees say the guards stripped them of their clothes and strapped them to chairs with bags placed over their heads.”Whenever they used to restrain me and put me in the chair, they would handcuff me,” said a Honduran immigrant who was sent to the facility when he was 15 years old. “Strapped me down all the way, from your feet all the way to your chest, you couldn’t really move. … They have total control over you. They also put a bag over your head. It has little holes; you can see through it. But you feel suffocated with the bag on.”In addition to the children’s first-hand, translated accounts in court filings, a former child-development specialist who worked inside the facility independently told The Associated Press this week that she saw kids there with bruises and broken bones they blamed on guards. She spoke on condition of anonymity because she was not authorized to publicly discuss the children’s cases.In court filings, lawyers for the detention facility have denied all allegations of physical abuse.Many of the children were sent there after US immigration authorities accused them of belonging to violent gangs, including MS-13. President Donald Trump has repeatedly cited gang activity as justification for his crackdown on illegal immigration.Trump said Wednesday that “our Border Patrol agents and our ICE agents have done one great job” cracking down on MS-13 gang members. “We’re throwing them out by the thousands,” he said.But a top manager at the Shenandoah center said during a recent congressional hearing that the children did not appear to be gang members and were suffering from mental health issues resulting from trauma that happened in their home countries – problems the detention facility is ill-equipped to treat.”The youth were being screened as gang-involved individuals. And then when they came into our care, and they were assessed by our clinical and case management staff … they weren’t necessarily identified as gang-involved individuals,” said Kelsey Wong, a program director at the facility. She testified 26 April before a Senate subcommittee reviewing the treatment of immigrant children apprehended by the Homeland Security Department.Most children held in the Shenandoah facility who were the focus of the abuse lawsuit were caught crossing the border illegally alone. They were not the children who have been separated from their families under the Trump administration’s recent policy and are now in the government’s care. But the facility there operates under the same program run by the US Office of Refugee Resettlement. It was not immediately clear whether any separated children have been sent to Shenandoah Valley since the Trump administration in April announced its “zero tolerance” policy toward immigrant families, after the lawsuit was filed.The Shenandoah lockup is one of only three juvenile detention facilities in the United States with federal contracts to provide “secure placement” for children who had problems at less-restrictive housing. The Yolo County Juvenile Detention Facility in California has faced litigation over immigrant children mischaracterized as gang members.  In Alexandria, Virginia, a board overseeing the Northern Virginia Juvenile Detention Center voted this week to end its contract to house federal immigration detainees, bowing to public pressure.The Shenandoah detention center was built by a coalition of seven nearby towns and counties to lock up local kids charged with serious crimes. Since 2007, about half the 58 beds are occupied by both male and female immigrants between the ages of 12 and 17 facing deportation proceedings or awaiting rulings on asylum claims. Though incarcerated in a facility similar to a prison, the children detained on administrative immigration charges have not yet been convicted of any crime.Virginia ranks among the worst states in the nation for wait times in federal immigration courts, with an average of 806 days before a ruling. Nationally, only about half of juveniles facing deportation are represented by a lawyer, according to Justice Department data.On average, 92 immigrant children each year cycle through Shenandoah, most of them from Mexico and Central America.Wong said many of the 30 or so children housed there on any given day have mental health needs that would be better served in a residential treatment unit. But such facilities are often unwilling to accept children with significant behavioral issues, she said.Wong and other managers at the Shenandoah center, including Executive Director Timothy J. Smith, did not respond to phone and email messages seeking comment this week. A city manager on the local commission that oversees the facility referred questions to an official at the Refugee Resettlement agency, who did not respond to a phone message.Financial statements reviewed by AP shows the local government commission that operates the center received nearly $4.2 million in federal funds last year to house the immigrant children – enough to cover about two-thirds of the total operating expenses.The lawsuit filed against Shenandoah alleges that young Latino immigrants held there “are subjected to unconstitutional conditions that shock the conscience, including violence by staff, abusive and excessive use of seclusion and restraints, and the denial of necessary mental health care.”The complaint filed by the nonprofit Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs recounts the story of an unnamed 17-year-old Mexican citizen apprehended at the southern border. The teen fled an abusive father and violence fueled by drug cartels to seek asylum in the United States in 2015.After stops at facilities in Texas and New York, he was transferred to Shenandoah in April 2016 and diagnosed during an initial screening by a psychologist with three mental disorders, including depression. Besides weekly sessions speaking with a counselor, the lawsuit alleges the teen has received no further mental health treatment, such as medications that might help regulate his moods and behavior.The lawsuit recounts multiple alleged violent incidents between Latino children and staff at the Shenandoah center. It describes the guards as mostly white, non-Spanish speakers who are undertrained in dealing with individuals with mental illness. The suit alleges staff members routinely taunt the Latino youths with racially charged epithets, including “wetback,” ”onion head” and “pendejo,” which roughly translates to dumbass in Spanish.A 16-year-old who said he had lived in Texas with his mother since he was an infant ended up at Shenandoah in September after a police officer pulled over a car he was riding in and asked for ID, which he couldn’t provide. As one of the few Latino kids who is fluent in English, the teen would translate for other detainees the taunts and names the staff members were calling them. He said that angered the guards, resulting in his losing such modest privileges as attending art classes.”If you are behaving bad, resisting the staff when they try to remove you from the program, they will take everything in your room away – your mattress, blanket, everything,” he said. “They will also take your clothes. Then they will leave you locked in there for a while. This has happened to me, and I know it has happened to other kids, too.”The immigrant detainees said they were largely segregated from the mostly white juveniles being held on criminal charges, but they could see that the other housing units had amenities that included plush chairs and video gaming consoles not available in the Spartan pods housing the Latinos.In their sworn statements, the teens reported spending the bulk of their days locked alone in their cells, with a few hours set aside for classroom instruction, recreation and meals. Some said they had never been allowed outdoors, while the US-born children were afforded a spacious recreation yard.The Latino children reported being fed sparse and often cold meals that left them hungry, though meals of American fast food were occasionally provided. Records show Shenandoah receives nearly $82,000 a year from the Agriculture Department to feed the immigration detainees.The lawsuit said the poor conditions, frequent physical searches and verbal abuse by staff often escalated into confrontations, as the frustrated children acted out. The staff regularly responded “by physically assaulting the youth, applying an excessive amount of force that goes far beyond what is needed to establish or regain control.”In the case of the Mexican 17-year-old, the lawsuit said a staff member who suspected him of possessing contraband threw him to the ground and forcibly tore off his clothes for an impromptu strip search. Though no forbidden items were found, the teenager was transferred to “Alpha Pod,” described in the lawsuit as a unit within the facility designated for children who engage in bad behavior.The lawsuit said Latino children were frequently punished by being restrained for hours in chairs, with handcuffs and cloth shackles on their legs. Often, the lawsuit alleged, the children were beaten by staff while bound.As a result of such “malicious and sadistic applications of force,” the immigrant youths have “sustained significant injuries, both physical and psychological,” the lawsuit said.After an altercation during which the lawsuit alleged the Mexican teenager bit a staff member during a beating, he was restrained in handcuffs and shackles for 10 days, resulting in bruises and cuts. Other teens interviewed as part of the court case also reported being punished for minor infractions with stints in solitary confinement, during which some of the children said they were left nude and shivering in cold concrete cells.Academic studies of prison inmates kept in solitary confinement have found they often experience high anxiety that can cause panic attacks, paranoia and disordered thinking that may trigger angry outbursts. For those with mental health issues, the effects can be exacerbated, often worsening the very behaviors the staff is attempting to discourage.A Guatemalan youth sent to the center when he was 14 years old said he was often locked in his tiny cell for up to 23 hours a day. After resisting the guards, he said he was also restrained for long periods.”When they couldn’t get one of the kids to calm down, the guards would put us in a chair – a safety chair, I don’t know what they call it – but they would just put us in there all day,” the teen said in a sworn statement. “This happened to me, and I saw it happen to others, too. It was excessive.”A 15-year-old from Mexico held at Shenandoah for nine months also recounted being restrained with a bag over his head. “They handcuffed me and put a white bag of some kind over my head,” he said, according to his sworn statement. “They took off all of my clothes and put me into a restraint chair, where they attached my hands and feet to the chair. They also put a strap across my chest. They left me naked and attached to that chair for two and a half days, including at night.”After being subjected to such treatment, the 17-year-old Mexican youth said he tried to kill himself in August, only to be punished with further isolation. On other occasions, he said, he has responded to feelings of desperation and hopelessness by cutting his wrists with a piece of glass and banging his head against the wall or floor.”One time I cut myself after I had gotten into a fight with staff,” the teen recounted. “I filled the room with blood. This happened on a Friday, but it wasn’t until Monday that they gave me a bandage or medicine for the pain.”The lawsuit alleges other immigrant youths held at Shenandoah have also engaged in cutting and other self-harming behaviors, including ingesting shampoo and attempting to choke themselves.A hearing in the case is set for July 3 before a federal judge in the Western District of Virginia.Lawyers on both sides in the lawsuit either did not respond to messages or declined to comment, citing strict confidentiality requirements in the case involving children.The child development specialist who previously worked with teens at Shenandoah told AP that many there developed severe psychological problems after experiencing abuse from guards.”The majority of the kids we worked with when we went to visit them were emotionally and verbally abused. I had a kid whose foot was broken by a guard,” she said. “They would get put in isolation for months for things like picking up a pencil when a guard had said not to move. Some of them started hearing voices that were telling them to hurt people or hurt themselves, and I knew when they had gotten to Shenandoah they were not having any violent thoughts.”She said she never witnessed staff abuse teens first-hand, but that teens would complain to her of injuries from being tackled by guards and reveal bruises. The specialist encouraged them to file a formal complaint.Though lawyers for Shenandoah responded with court filings denying all wrongdoing, information contained in a separate 2016 lawsuit appears to support some of the information contained in the recent abuse complaints.In a wrongful termination lawsuit filed against the Shenandoah center, a former staff member said he worked in unit called “Alpha Pod” where immigrant minors were held, “including those with psychological and mental issues and those who tend to fight more frequently.”The guard, Trenton Farris, who denied claims that he punched two children, sued the justice center alleging he was wrongly targeted for firing because he is black. Farris said most staff members at the facility are white, and that two white staff members involved in the incident over which he was fired went unpunished.Lawyers for the center denied the former guard’s claims, and the case was settled in January.last_img read more