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Newly released data shows a spike in deaths in Puerto Rico around Hurricane Maria

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By Leighton Schneider

Mario Tama/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — The number of deaths in Puerto Rico spiked dramatically toward the end of 2017, according to data released Friday by the island’s Demographic Registry, bolstering claims of an undercount of fatalities related to Hurricane Maria.

The figures show that there was an increase of 1,397 deaths on the island during the September through December 2017 compared to the same period the year before.

Hurricane Maria made landfall as a category 4 storm on Sept. 20, 2017.

During the first full month after Maria made land fall, the island say an increase of 683 deaths compared to Oct. 2016.

The report does not indicate which of the September 2017 deaths occurred before Maria struck nor did the agency provide location, cause or ages of the dead.

The document released Friday also indicates there were an additional 209 deaths on the island during the next three months, January through March of 2018, compared with the first three months of 2017.

In a statement, Wanda Llovet Diaz, the director of the Demographic Registry said “The public information on fatalities was consistently provided in accordance with the public policy of transparency.”

Earlier this week, researchers at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health estimated that between Sept. 20 and Dec. 31, there were 4,645 “excess deaths,” according to the report in the New England Journal of Medicine. The government’s official death toll currently stands at 64.

The report relied on household surveys to generate the estimate, which researchers said had a margin of error of plus or minus 3,852, meaning the actual number of deaths could be as low as 793 or as high as 8,498. However, they say about 5,000 is a likely figure.

The number of lives claimed following Maria remains something of a mystery on the island. A team from George Washington University is currently leading an independent effort, commissioned by the island’s government, to count the dead. Dr. Lynn Goldman, dean of the Milken Institute School of Public Health, told ABC News the task of counting the deaths is an exhausting one that involves interviewing people involved in the care of those who passed away.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Source:: National News

      

Gun control advocates stage 'Wear Orange Weekend' and NRA hits back

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By Leighton Schneider

Erik McGregor/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — On the first day of “Wear Orange Weekend,” the National Rifle Association and gun control advocates traded barbs on Twitter.

Wear Orange Weekend is an initiative started by Everytown for Gun Safety, an organization launched in 2014 by former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg to lobby for more stringent gun control.

Supporters were encouraged to wear orange starting all weekend starting on Friday, June 1, which is National Gun Violence Awareness Day.

Early Friday morning, the NRA changed its logo on Twitter to orange, and tweeted that “Orange has always been ours.”

“Orange has been hunters and sportsmen’s choice for decades,” the NRA said in a later tweet. “No organization in the world does more than the NRA to promote the safe and responsible use of firearms.”

Orange is the color traditionally worn by hunters because of its high visibility. In some states, hunters are required to wear at least some orange clothing in an effort to avoid hunting accidents.

Gun control activists tweeted back at the NRA, including Fred Guttenberg, whose daughter Jamie died in the February shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla.

Wear Orange Weekend continues through Sunday, June 3, and organizers say it will be marked by hundreds of events nationwide.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Source:: National News

      

A 12-year-old already working in a university lab said he hopes 'to help people'

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By Leighton Schneider

ABCNews.com(NEW YORK) — Daniel Liu has aspirations to one day go to Harvard or the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Until then, he will spend lots of time in a University of Toledo laboratory — where he has studied since he was 11. He is now 12.

An assistant professor of chemistry at the university who is part of Daniel’s research team said he was skeptical at first that an 11-year-old would even be allowed into the lab. But Daniel was allowed in and since then, the professor has fully supported his young colleague.

“I’ll be honest, sometimes it’s a little intimidating for me,” Dr. Michael Young told ABC affiliate WTVG in Toledo. “I think to myself, ‘What would I be doing today if I had been that good at age 11?'”

“I suspect it won’t be long before he’s telling me things I don’t know,” Young said.

“He’s a genius,” another member of Daniel’s team, Dr. Mohit Kapoor, a postdoctoral researcher, said of the boy to WTVG. “He knows most of the things going on around this lab.”

Daniel is a force to be reckoned with. On the first exam a typical lab participant takes, the average score is a 50. Daniel got a 99.

The three-person research team that includes Daniel is trying to create a cheaper, faster and more environmentally friendly way to make pesticides and pharmaceutical drugs.

One of Daniel’s career goals is to benefit society.

“I’d like to develop drugs to help people who have illnesses or medical conditions,” he said.

For now, in addition to his lab research he is in school.

“I’m taking all my classes here at UT, but I am also enrolled at high school, so I am getting credit there for these classes,” he said.

Besides his potential game-changing research, he’s also going to cross a major milestone on June 3: becoming a teenager when he turns 13.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Source:: National News

      

The new Fab Five of "Queer Eye" gearing up for Season 2

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By Stephen Iervolino

Netflix(LOS ANGELES) — After pulling off eight radical makeovers in Georgia in its first season, the “Fab Five” of Queer Eye will soon be back for another round.

The Netflix reboot of the original Queer Eye for the Straight Guy TV series, which broke ground with its cast of openly gay men when it first appeared on television in 2003, brings with it a mix of a little social awakening and a side of sass.

“Back then [with the original show], people were accepting of gays if they were decorators and cooks and fashion. But god forbid, any of them would’ve been like, ‘My husband’ or ‘my children’ on the show. It wasn’t accepted then,” Fab Five member Bobby Berk told Nightline. “So I really wanted to bring that part of our lives into mainstream.”

“It’s so important to see [LGBTQ] people that are married. I love that story. I used to lose so much sleep. I was like, ‘Will that ever be allowed?'” Van Ness told Nightline.

Like in the original show, each cast member has a specialty. Berk focuses on home; Antoni Porowski, food and wine; Karamo Brown is the culture expert; Jonathan Van Ness, grooming; and Tan France is the personal stylist.

The old title, Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, was also changed to Queer Eye to make the show “more inclusive,” Berk said.

The Fab Five’s personal stories have resonated with younger fans, many of whom find they can relate to the show’s stars.

“I grew up so severely bullied and so severely aware of how I was. [I was] really, really overweight. My hair was this wide, Van Ness said. “So many people have said to me, like, ‘Thank you for looking, being different.'”

Watch the full story on ABC’s Nightline tonight at 12:35 a.m. ET.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Source:: Entertainment News

      

The land of the free and the home of the brave

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By By Elaine Wheat ”Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” …read more

Source:: Dewitt County – Victoria Advocate

      

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