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As defense opens, Trump attorneys accuse Democrats of 'blind drive' to impeachment

As defense opens, Trump attorneys accuse Democrats of 'blind drive' to impeachmentAttorneys for President Trump opened their defense in his Senate impeachment trial Saturday morning by charging that the case presented by House Democrats was full of “bluster and innuendo,” and that “devastating evidence” would lead to the inevitable conclusion that the two articles of impeachment now being considered have no merit.




POSTED JANUARY 25, 2020 3:22 PM

Robert Koehler: Serial ‘pillowcase rapist’ suspect was building a ‘dungeon’ before arrest

Robert Koehler: Serial ‘pillowcase rapist’ suspect was building a ‘dungeon’ before arrestProsecutors in Florida believe a 60-year-old man building a “dungeon” under his home is the so-called pillowcase rapist, who authorities say broke into women’s houses and concealed his face with pillows and towels in as many as 40 assaults in the state since the 1980s.Robert Koehler was arrested on 18 January after authorities say they tied his DNA to samples collected from a 1983 case. The sample also matched DNA collected from several other cases between 1981 and 1986, according to the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office.




POSTED JANUARY 24, 2020 11:19 AM

A 62-year-old Chinese doctor in Wuhan 'at the front line' of the coronavirus outbreak has died after treating patients

A 62-year-old Chinese doctor in Wuhan 'at the front line' of the coronavirus outbreak has died after treating patientsChinese state media confirmed that Liang Wudong, an ENT specialist who retired in March 2019, died after treating coronavirus patients in Wuhan.




POSTED JANUARY 25, 2020 9:55 AM

Canada ‘Will Not Stop’ Until It Has Answers on Iran Crash

Canada ‘Will Not Stop’ Until It Has Answers on Iran Crash(Bloomberg) -- Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland said her government will be relentless in seeking answers from Iran on the jet crash that killed 57 Canadians this month near Tehran.Justin Trudeau’s second in command, speaking in an interview with Bloomberg TV in Davos, Switzerland, said Canada wants a “real, independent” analysis of the airplane’s black box, along with transparency on what exactly happened. She also said Canada is receiving support from allies in pressing on the issue, particularly from the Netherlands and Ukraine.“I am confident we will get those answers because Canada is relentlessly focused on getting them and we will not stop until we get them,” Freeland said.Iran is under intense international pressure to provide full accountability over the circumstances that caused the crash of the Ukrainian International Airlines plane on Jan. 8. The three-year-old Boeing Co. 737-800 was shot down about two minutes after takeoff from Tehran. While nearly half the victims were Iranians, the crash was also one of the worst air tragedies ever involving Canadians. Many of the victims were doctors, engineers and Ph.D. students who represented a microcosm of the northern nation’s immigration policies.Nafta RatificationSeparately in the interview, Freeland also commented on plans to get the new North American free trade agreement ratified in Canada’s parliament, calling it the top priority for the government.The deal, a result of a year of rough negotiations with Donald Trump’s administration, has been passed in the U.S. Senate and is awaiting the president’s signature. It has also been approved in Mexico.Ratification won’t be a straightforward process in Canada, however. Trudeau’s team will need to get the support of at least one opposition party to pass legislation, and expedite debate, after losing its parliamentary majority in October’s divisive election.With all of Canada’s provincial premiers calling for a speedy ratification, Freeland said she’s confident the governing Liberals will be able to win support for the deal.To contact the reporter on this story: Theophilos Argitis in Ottawa at targitis@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Theophilos Argitis at targitis@bloomberg.net, Stephen WicaryFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.




POSTED JANUARY 24, 2020 10:34 AM

Damaged By Drone Strike: Suleimani's Sainthood Is Now Being Questioned

Damaged By Drone Strike: Suleimani's Sainthood Is Now Being QuestionedIran’s brand is thinning among the Shi’a and Suleimani’s departure creates breathing room for the Shi’a in the region.




POSTED JANUARY 24, 2020 10:52 AM

Chinese Uighurs in Saudi face impossible choice

Chinese Uighurs in Saudi face impossible choiceHis eyes brimming with tears, a Uighur student in Saudi Arabia holds out his Chinese passport -- long past its expiry date and condemning him to an uncertain fate as the kingdom grows closer to Beijing. The Chinese mission in Saudi Arabia stopped renewing passports for the ethnic Muslim minority more than two years ago, in what campaigners call a pressure tactic exercised in many countries to force the Uighur diaspora to return home. Half a dozen Uighur families in Saudi Arabia who showed AFP their passports -- a few already expired and some approaching the date -- said they dread going back to China, where over a million Uighurs are believed to be held in internment camps.




POSTED JANUARY 25, 2020 9:18 PM

Iranian airplane makes emergency landing at Tehran airport

Iranian airplane makes emergency landing at Tehran airportAn Iranian airplane made an emergency landing at a Tehran airport, the semi-official Mehr news agency reported on Saturday. The plane was en route from Tehran to Istanbul but returned because of a technical problem and landed safely at Mehrabad airport without any injuries to passengers or crew, Mehr reported, citing an official at the Imam Khomeini airport, the departure point of the airplane. The report did not provide any additional details about the technical problem encountered by the airplane, which belonged to the Iran Airtour company.




POSTED JANUARY 25, 2020 2:25 PM

Racist threats rattle students, faculty at university

Racist threats rattle students, faculty at universityWINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) — Three months after a set of anonymous, threatening, racist, antisemitic and homophobic emails sent a wave of fear through the sociology department at Wake Forest University, the department chairman says he's still waiting for university leaders to announce a meaningful response. Alarmed by what he deemed white supremacist terrorism, chairman Joseph Soares canceled sociology classes for a week. When they resumed, Wake Forest police officers were stationed outside classrooms and the building itself.




POSTED JANUARY 25, 2020 10:21 AM

Seven months detained: seven-year-old is longest-held child migrant in US

Seven months detained: seven-year-old is longest-held child migrant in USMaddie Hernandez and her father, Emerson, fled crime in Guatemala. After months, her parents says she has changedEmerson Hernandez and his daughter Maddie have withstood hunger and thirst.They’ve been dumped in a threatening border city in Mexico, a foreign country with nowhere to shelter. And, for seven months, they’ve been locked up at what critics call a “baby jail”.The father and daughter have weathered all of this just for a chance at asylum in the United States after they fled a home in Guatemala that’s now overrun with crime.“I don’t want my daughter to grow up in that environment of delinquency. I really am afraid that something could happen to her,” Emerson told the Guardian.Maddie has been detained the longest of any child currently held in family immigration detention across the country, her attorneys say. On 17 January, she turned seven years old at Berks county residential center, a controversial detention facility in Pennsylvania where she has spent roughly 8% of her life.Despite her lawyers exhausting the legal avenues that could get her out, the government won’t release her and Emerson together.A spokesperson for US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (Ice), the agency detaining them, said, “ICE’s custodial determinations for Mr. Hernandez and Maddie have been based on the merits and factors of their individual cases and are in conformity with the law and current agency priorities, guidelines and legal mandates.”Emerson said Maddie has always been strong, but being confined for such a long time has changed her. She’s gone from an easy, smiley little girl to someone who has become violent and throws explosive temper tantrums, according to her parents and an attorney.“Her change was sudden,” Emerson said. “And she says to me, ‘When are we going to leave this place?’”The truth is no one knows. The Flores settlement, a landmark 1997 federal agreement that regulates child and family detention, made it the longstanding rule that kids and families should be released within 20 days. But there have been huge exceptions: Bridget Cambria, a lawyer representing Maddie, said the longest she was aware of a child being held through family detention was 707 days.Emerson and Maddie are desperate to see the rest of their family, Maddie’s mother, Madelin, and her newborn baby, who still hasn’t met his dad. Madelin traveled to the US with a visa and lives in New Jersey, but Maddie’s visa application was denied. She and Emerson made a more perilous journey north last spring, when they went a full day without stopping.“That day was hard for me,” Emerson remembered. “To see that my daughter said to me, ‘Papi, I’m thirsty, Papi, I want to eat,’ and I had nothing to give her.”Madelin said she came to the US because she thought her family would be reunited soon after. But Maddie and Emerson were swept into the Trump administration’s increasingly hardline immigration policies, and Madelin hasn’t seen them since.Last April, Emerson and Maddie finally made it to the US only to be turned back to Tijuana, Mexico, through the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), a Trump-era program that returns people across the border while they await US immigration court hearings.Suddenly, they were homeless in one of the world’s most dangerous cities.Emerson called Madelin to say there was no space for them at the local shelter. “I remember that he started to cry, and I did, too, because we didn’t know what to do,” she said.A US Customs and Border Protection spokesperson said around 57,000 people had been subject to MPP, and in October, Reuters found that 16,000 migrants under 18 had been sent to Mexico.At least 816 violent attacks against migrants under MPP have been reported, including 201 cases of children who were kidnapped or almost kidnapped, according to the not-for-profit Human Rights First.On days when Emerson and Maddie found housing with good Samaritans, she rarely went outside because the city was so dangerous.“Tijuana is not a very pretty place, it’s not a safe place,” Emerson said.After two months in Mexico, they got their opportunity to go in front of a US immigration judge in June. Emerson made the mistake of following advice he said an immigration official gave him. He told the judge that he had come to the US to give his daughter a better life, a line that completely discredited his case.There are immigration laws that protect asylum seekers. There aren’t immigration laws that protect devoted parents.The judge gave him two options: he could return to Mexico and, against all odds, continue to fight for the right to come to the US. Or – after all Emerson and Maddie had endured –they could return to Guatemala.Faced with an impossible choice, Emerson opted for the latter because at least if something happened to him at home, his family could look after his daughter and wife. But when he and Maddie boarded a plane, it didn’t land in Guatemala. Instead, they took a long trip deep into the country’s interior, to Berks county residential center in Leesport, Pennsylvania.The family immigration detention facility garnered national notoriety a few years ago after an employee admitted to sexually assaulting a 19-year-old woman who was being held there. Critics have advocated for its closure, and reports of poor medical care and racism from employees have hamstrung the facility’s reputation.But it continues to operate, as it has since 2001.After Emerson and Maddie arrived at Berks, they met Cambria, the attorney who has helped to revive their asylum bid. When the government flew them to San Diego in July and tried to return them to Mexico again, Cambria quickly filed a federal lawsuit to bring them back to Berks, where they’ve remained ever since.That lawsuit could eventually set a major precedent as to whether children can legally be placed under MPP. A ruling in Maddie’s favor would mean other kids like her could sue the government, arguing they shouldn’t be sent to Mexico. (Ice’s spokesperson said the agency did not comment on pending litigation.)But Maddie didn’t come to the US to challenge immigration policy. She’s a kid who celebrated a Christmas and a birthday in detention, without her mom and little brother.“This little girl is not doing well psychologically, we’ll put it that way,” said Cambria. “She’s saying things that are scary. She’s very sad.”Ice has offered for Maddie to leave Berks, but without Emerson. This family separation is legally dubious, and Cambria said it was unprecedented in her experience representing immigrant families.Amy Maldonado, another of Maddie’s lawyers, said Ice could release both Maddie and Emerson at any time, and has done so for families in similar situations.Cambria said she doesn’t know why Ice is treating Emerson and Maddie differently from any other family at Berks. But the detention center is only for parents with children. If Maddie leaves and Emerson doesn’t, he’ll be sent away to another facility for adults or returned to Mexico.Maddie is so young that she thinks of everything she’s gone through as a vacation, and she keeps telling her parents she’s ready for the vacation to be over.“When I speak to her, she sometimes cries and says, ‘Mami, I want to leave already,’” Madelin said.“‘I want to leave already.’”




POSTED JANUARY 26, 2020 4:00 AM

Trump complains his impeachment defense has a lousy time slot

Trump complains his impeachment defense has a lousy time slotSince being elected president, Donald Trump has tweeted about “ratings” exactly 100 times, according to the Trump Twitter Archive.




POSTED JANUARY 24, 2020 1:27 PM

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