Hikers Missing In Joshua Tree Park Amid Soaring Temperatures

Rescuers are searching for Rachel Nguyen and Joseph Orbeso, reported missing on Friday, in Joshua Tree National Park in California,

National Park Service

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National Park Service

Dozens of rescuers are scouring Joshua Tree National Park in Southern California amid intense heat for two hikers, who were reported missing on Friday.

Rachel Nguyen, 20, of Westminster, Calif., and Joseph Orbeso, 21, of Lakewood, Calif., set out for a hike on Thursday, said Joshua Tree National Park Public Information Officer George Land. The mercury there hit 100 degrees Fahrenheit that day.

Day 4 Joshua Tree Search. Over 50 dedicated searchers from 3 counties and the US Border Patrol brave 110 deg temps to continue the search. pic.twitter.com/am4WP3AQvg

— SBCSDVolunteerForces (@VolunteerForces) August 1, 2017

When the couple hadn’t returned by the next day, the owner of the Airbnb where they were staying grew concerned and called police. Rangers found the hikers’ car at a parking lot at the head of a popular trail called Maze Loop on Friday. A “ping” of Orbeso’s cell phone was recorded from inside the park on Thursday, said Land.

Rescuers thought they spotted tracks near the vehicle heading north into a canyon, and while dogs seemed to pick up on a scent, they were unable to find anything, according to a statement by Joshua Tree National Park Search & Rescue, a volunteer group.

Two airplanes, two helicopters, six canine tracking teams and up to 100 ground searchers are all being used to try to locate the couple. Already they have covered “thousands of miles,” said Land.

On Monday several rescuers were themselves overcome by the heat. One rescuer as well as canine units had to be airlifted out of the park, said Joshua Tree National Park Search & Rescue.

The San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department is assisting with the search. Public Information Officer Jodi Miller said they had to pull their searchers out of the field by noon Tuesday due to the extreme heat.

She said they expect to return to the field Wednesday at least in the morning when it is cooler.

San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Emergency Management team tweeted Tuesday, “Over 50 dedicated searchers from 3 counties and the US Border Patrol brave 110 deg temps to continue the search.”

Triple-digit temperatures are common in Joshua Tree National Park during this time of year. Land said it is essential for hikers to take special precautions, like starting out early when it is cooler, taking more water than one thinks is necessary (Land says a gallon per person per day is a good measure) and letting somebody know exactly where one plans to hike.

Land says it is rare for hikers to succumb to the heat in the park, which is 800,000 acres of desert visited by more than 2 million people a year, but it does happen.

Last August, a 56-year-old female hiker died after suffering from heat-related symptoms on a 100-degree day.

Meantime, highs on Wednesday are once again expected to hit the triple digits, as the search for Nguyen and Orbeso goes on.

“We are continuing the search until at least the end of the week,” said Land.

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Housing Program Worth Billions Lacks 'Basic Accountability,' Says GAO

A man walks into the building of the Internal Revenue Service, which oversees the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit Program, in Washington, D.C., on March 10, 2016.

Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP/Getty Images

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Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP/Getty Images

An $8 billion federal program to build housing for the poor is so lacking oversight that virtually no one in government knows how it is working, a government auditor testified before Congress today.

“IRS and no one else in the federal government really has an idea of what’s going on,” said Daniel Garcia-Diaz, an auditor with the Government Accountability Office while testifying before the U.S. Senate Committee on Finance. “These are basic accountability requirements we would expect of any program, especially one as important as this one.”

The program, called the Low Income Housing Tax Credit program, gives developers and investors billions of dollars in tax credits to build new affordable housing for tens of thousands of people each year. It is one of the federal government’s two main programs to provide housing for the poor, along with the Section 8 rental assistance program.

But an investigation in May by NPR and the PBS program FRONTLINE found that LIHTC is producing fewer new units of housing each year while costing taxpayers 50 percent more in tax credit dollars – even after accounting for increasing construction costs.

Garcia Diaz said there is no way for government auditors to determine whether the projects are costing too much, whether developments are completed on time, or if the buildings are in compliance — because the IRS does not collect or maintain that data.

Diaz noted that the IRS has only audited seven of the 58 state agencies that administer the program in more than 30 years, and when audits were completed, significant problems were found.

“The LIHTC program is a very hard program to review,” he told lawmakers at the hearing, called as the committee revisits the tax code to look for solutions to a growing shortage of low-income housing in the U.S. “The lack of information at a federal level, basic information about allocations awarded to projects, placed-in-service dates, are just very difficult for us to review.”

The IRS is able to take the tax credits back from developers and investors when projects go bad, but Garcia-Diaz said the IRS is unable to tell auditors how many times that has happened, if ever. NPR and FRONTLINE found at least three instances where some of the largest affordable housing developers in the country were charged with stealing money from the program.

The GAO is now working on a report that will examine the cost of the developments and ask where exactly all the money is going. The agency is assembling its own database of more than 1,900 projects. The report is expected early next year.

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Suicide Attack On Shiite Mosque Leaves At Least 29 Dead In Afghanistan

After a suicide attack on a Shiite mosque in Herat, relatives of the victims grieve for the loved ones they lost in the violence Tuesday.

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Hamed Sarfarazi/AP

A Shiite mosque in western Afghanistan was stormed during evening prayers Tuesday, torn asunder by grenades and a suicide bomber’s detonated vest, law enforcement officials say. By the time the scene had settled at the place of worship, at least 29 people were killed and dozens more were injured.

And local officials say the death toll could still rise.

“Two attackers entered the mosque and started shooting and throwing grenades at people,” worshipper Mohammad Adi, who was hospitalized for his wounds after the assault, tells Reuters.

“Based on our initial information two terrorists were involved, one of them wearing a suicide vest who detonated himself while the second one was armed with a rifle,” local police spokesman Abdul Ahad Walizada tells the news agency Agence-France Presse. “They are both dead.”

No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, which unfolded at the Jawadia mosque in the city of Herat, near Afghanistan’s border with Iran. Both news services note the Taliban has denied involvement in the violence.

The Associated Press describes the aftermath of the attack:

“[Local lawmaker Mehdi] Hadid said he saw several pieces of a body that was being identified as the assailant. Although it’s not clear if there was a second attacker, witnesses in the area reported hearing a second explosion about 10 minutes after the initial bomber detonated his explosives.

“The mosque was badly damaged with windows blown out, walls and even the large dome peppered with shrapnel and everywhere was blood from the victims, said Hadid.

“Located just 50 meters (150 feet) away was an Afghan National Police station, but Hadid said the police were too frightened to take action and stood outside the mosque while the attack happened.”

The violence follows on the heels of another deadly attack in Afghanistan, this one launched Monday on the Iraqi Embassy in Kabul. As NPR’s Scott Neuman reported, witnesses described an embassy building that was racked with gunfire and several explosions.

Reuters notes that so far this year, more than 1,700 civilians have been killed in Afghanistan. The persistent violence has at times attracted protests from Afghans fed up with what they see as the government’s failure to maintain its citizens’ safety.

“Our leaders are doing nothing to stop this carnage,” one protester said earlier this year, just days after a car bomb killed more than 150 people in Kabul.

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Jerry Garcia Turns 75: A 'Dark Star' Celebration

Jerry Garcia would have turned 75 on Tuesday.

Jim Marshall

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Jim Marshall

It’s hard to believe that Jerry Garcia would have turned 75 Tuesday.

Eight days after his 53rd birthday, the Grateful Dead legend died in his sleep at a recovery center, while trying one last time to shake his addictions.

Garcia was always an old soul: He’d been here before and he knew it. He was already familiar with the rules, yet he defied conventions and created a body of work that many are still discovering and appreciating.

There are countless ways to mark his birthday — Grateful Dead theater meet up, anyone? — but 75 seems like too significant a number to ignore. So here’s another tribute: a five-track playlist of different versions of “Dark Star,” the song that launched 246 jams over The Grateful Dead’s 28-year history. To my mind, it was the song that pushed Garcia and the entire band to their exploratory and avant garde edges.

For the record: These five versions are chosen using no other criteria than the fact that I dig them.

Happy Birthday, Jerry Garcia: A ‘Dark Star’ Mix

Cover for What a Long Strange Trip It's Been: The Best of the Grateful Dead

“Dark Star” single (1967)

  • Song: Dark Star [Single Version]

It’s mind-blowing to think the band released this as a single on a 45 RPM record. Not only did it not make a noticeable splash, but Grateful Dead bassist Phil Lesh has been quoted saying, “It sank like a stone.” An inauspicious start…

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Courtesy of the Artist

“Dark Star” from Live Dead (1969)

  • Song: Dark Star

For those who hadn’t seen the band by 1969, this was their introduction to a live version of “Dark Star.” Many argue it is definitive.

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long strange trip cover

Courtesy of the Artist

“Dark Star” from Long Strange Trip soundtrack (2/13-14/70)

  • Song: Dark Star

From the legendary Feb. 13 and 14, 1970 shows recorded at the other Fillmore: New York City’s Fillmore East. (Note: This is a different version than the one included on Dick’s Picks Vol. 4.)

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Courtesy of Artist

“Dark Star” from The Closing Of Winterland (12/31/78)

  • Song: Dark Star

If you listen closely to the recording of this track from either the CD or the DVD, you can hear a desperate Deadhead call out, “Dark Star!” from the crowd. It’d been almost four years since the band had played the song by the time it graced the legendary Winterland stage one last time. (It was closed, then demolished shortly thereafter.) This is one for the ages.

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Cover for Wake Up To Find Out: Nassau Coliseum, Uniondale, NY, March 29, 1990

“Dark Star” from Wake Up To Find Out: Nassau Coliseum Uniondale, New York (3/29/90)

  • Song: Dark Star

In later years, the band exploded with creativity once more, as the introduction of MIDI technology allowed it to add even more textures and layers to its music. This track captures glimpses of those sounds, but mostly it shows off an amazing jam with jazz saxophonist Branford Marsalis. He was quoted as being astounded at the way the entire place erupted from hearing just the first few bars.

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Maxine Waters' Words Get Covered, Remixed And Transformed Into A Gospel Jam

When the U.S. Congress is involved, it needn’t take long for a bit of seemingly mundane procedural language to go viral. Last Thursday, Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) was attempting to grill Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin about an unanswered inquiry; when Mnuchin began filling time by complimenting the congresswoman, she interrupted, encouraged him to answer her questions directly, and testily and repeatedly interjected with an instant meme: “Reclaiming my time.”

“Reclaiming my time” can now be applied to virtually any time-wasting and/or exasperating situation, and as of Sunday, its evolution as a meme includes a gospel remix by actor and singer Mykal Kilgore. Looping his voice to create a virtual choir, Kilgore turns Waters’ words into a soaring 90-second jam.

“Our beloved ‘Auntie’ Maxine Waters laid this sermon down so good that I had to sing about it,” Kilgore writes in the song’s YouTube description. “Whenever anybody tries to distract me or block me (even with praise or platitudes) I’m gonna have to let them know that I’m #ReclaimingMyTime!!!!!!!”

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Federal Judge Strikes Down Portions Of An Alabama Abortion Law

Reproductive Health Services, shown here in 2014, is a Montgomery, Ala., clinic that performs abortions and is the plaintiff in this federal lawsuit.

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Brynn Anderson/AP

A federal judge in Alabama has struck down portions of a state abortion law, saying they are unconstitutional. The law — unique to Alabama — had meant that a minor without parental consent for an abortion could face a legal proceeding involving the district attorney, her parents and a person representing the fetus.

Alabama law requires that a minor obtain parental consent before an abortion. Since 1987, the state has allowed for minors to obtain a court order to bypass that requirement. According to court documents, typically those hearings would involve only the judge, the minor and her lawyer.

That changed in 2014, when amendments dramatically expanded the number of people involved in the hearing to decide whether a minor should be allowed to obtain an abortion. It said the district attorney must be involved. If the minor’s parents or guardians learn of the hearing, they can also be involved.

The 2014 amendments also allowed the court to appoint a legal representative for the interests of the fetus, and for that person to join in the proceedings. Also, “prosecutors could object to the pregnant girl’s wishes” and call witnesses, according to The Associated Press.

Abortion rights advocates say expanding the number of people involved in the hearing was a violation of the minor’s privacy.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Susan Walker of the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Alabama said Friday that the presence of the minor’s parents and the lack of anonymity rendered the judicial bypass option meaningless, and the 2014 amendments violated “her right to an anonymous judicial bypass hearing.”

“Today’s ruling is a victory for women, for young people, and for reproductive health in Alabama,” Andrew Beck, a senior staff attorney with the ACLU’s Reproductive Freedom Project, said in a statement. “By undermining their confidentiality, this law put teenagers participating in the judicial bypass process in real danger.”

The ACLU filed the lawsuit on behalf of Reproductive Health Services, a clinic that performs abortions.

The defendants, including Alabama’s attorney general, had argued that the additional people included in the hearings were valuable for providing “guidance and assistance” to the minor.

“The bypass court is hardly the appropriate setting for such counseling, in any event; it is neither a physician’s office, nor a classroom, nor any other such place of instruction or guidance,” the judge stated.

Citing a Supreme Court case on parental consent, the judge said: “The only proper purpose of the bypass proceeding … is the adjudication of the minor’s maturity and whether she is well informed to make the abortion decision on her own, or, failing that, where her best interests lie.”

The ACLU had argued that allowing witnesses to be called “destroys any expectation the minor could have of maintaining her confidentiality during the bypass process – the district attorney or guardian ad litem for the fetus could subpoena the minor’s teacher, her neighbor, her aunt, or her boyfriend to testify that the minor is immature and/or that an abortion is not in her best interest.”

No other state “either mandates or permits” the involvement of parents, the district attorney, a legal representative for the fetus, or witnesses not called by the minor, for any reason, the judge says.

Seven states do not require parental consent at all for a minor seeking an abortion, according to the court order.

The ACLU offered this story of a 12-year-old who was raped and impregnated by a relative, which it sees as illustrative of the dangers of the law:

“Even though the initial trial court granted her an abortion without parental consent, the district attorney appealed the decision. The minor has since won the appeal to obtain an abortion but her ability to obtain an abortion was delayed by the involvement of the district attorney.”

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Christopher Wray Confirmed As Next FBI Director

Christopher Wray is sworn in during his confirmation hearing for FBI director before the Senate Judiciary Committee last month.

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The Senate has easily confirmed Christopher Wray to be the next FBI director, a position he assumes after former Director James Comey was ousted by President Trump in May.

The 50-year-old former Justice Department lawyer was approved by a 92-5 vote.

Wray was Trump’s choice to lead the FBI after he decided to fire Comey — a controversial decision which led to the appointment of special counsel Robert Muller to take over the bureau’s investigation into Russian interference in last year’s elections and possible collusion between top aides to the Trump campaign and Russia.

During his confirmation hearing last month before the Senate Judiciary Committee — which approved him unanimously for the post — Wray stressed his independence from the White House and underscored that he believes the intelligence community’s determination that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential race, even though Trump has at times cast doubt on that assessment.

Wray pledged he would “never allow the FBI’s work to be driven by anything other than the facts, the law and the impartial pursuit of justice. Period.” And he added that anyone who thought he would pull any punches as FBI director “sure doesn’t know me very well.”

Wray also said he was “very committed to supporting Director Mueller in the special counsel investigation in whatever way is appropriate for me to do that,” and added that any effort to tamper with or influence the investigation would be “unacceptable and inappropriate” and would, in his view, need to be dealt with “very sternly.” Wray also said he had not given anyone “any kind loyalty oath at any point in the process” when he was under consideration for the appointment by the White House.

According to NPR’s Carrie Johnson, Wray “has spent years working in and around the U.S. Justice Department, making national security policy and overseeing cases against corrupt business executives. But he’s operated outside the spotlight, by design.”

That shunning of the spotlight has earned him praise and led many to conclude he can help steady the agency at a time of upheaval and increased scrutiny. Wray was a former federal prosecutor in Atlanta before joining the George W. Bush Justice Department as it dealt with the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks.

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U.S. Citizen, Held By Immigration For 3 Years, Denied Compensation By Appeals Court

In a “botched” investigation, Immigrations and Customs Enforcement kept Davino Watson, a U.S. citizen, imprisoned as a deportable alien for nearly 3 1/2 years.

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Davino Watson told the immigration officers he was a U.S. citizen. He told jail officials he was a U.S. citizen. He told a judge. He repeated it again and again.

There’s no right to a court-appointed attorney in immigration court. Watson, who was 23 and didn’t have a high school diploma when he entered ICE custody, didn’t have a lawyer of his own. So he hand-wrote a letter to immigration officers, attaching his father’s naturalization certificate, and kept repeating his status to anyone who would listen.

Still, Immigration and Customs Enforcement kept Watson imprisoned as a deportable alien for nearly 3 1/2 years. Then they released Watson, who was from New York, in rural Alabama with no money and no explanation. Deportation proceedings continued for another year.

Watson was correct all along: He was a U.S. citizen. After he was released he filed a complaint. Last year, a district judge in New York awarded him $82,500 in damages, citing “regrettable failures of the government.”

On Monday an appeals court ruled that Watson, now 32, is not eligible for any of that money — because while his case is “disturbing,” the statute of limitations actually expired while he was still in ICE custody without a lawyer.

The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals acknowledged that the ruling is “harsh,” but said it was bound by precedent.

“There is no doubt that the government botched the investigation into Watson’s assertion of citizenship, and that as a result a U.S. citizen was held for years in immigration detention and was nearly deported,” the court ruled. “Nonetheless, we must conclude that Watson is not entitled to damages from the government.”

“We think that the analysis of the law by the majority opinion is clearly wrong, respectfully,” says Watson’s lawyer, Mark Flessner. Flessner is considering a number of possible next steps, including an appeal to the Supreme Court.

Watson is now living in Brooklyn and has finished his GED, Flessner says.

A ‘Legal Disaster’

The details of the case are “arcane,” as U.S. District Judge Jack Weinstein put it in his decision last year. Watson was born in Jamaica and moved in with his dad in the U.S. as a teenager. He was 17 when his father was naturalized in 2002, so he became a U.S. citizen on that day, too.

In 2007, Watson pleaded guilty to selling cocaine. When his sentence ended in May 2008, he was arrested by ICE officers.

Watson had already told them he was a citizen, and given them his father and stepmother’s names and a phone number to call and confirm.

ICE officers didn’t call the number. They did attempt to look up his father, Hopeton Ulando Watson, but they confused him with a Hopeton Livingston Watson.

Hopeton Livingston Watson — the wrong Hopeton Watson — was not a U.S. citizen. He also lived in Connecticut instead of New York, didn’t have a son named Davino and arrived in the U.S. at the wrong time. But the officers apparently didn’t notice the mistakes. Based on the wrong file, they concluded that Watson was not a citizen and marked him for deportation.

A yearslong ordeal followed as Davino Watson, while detained, tried to fight his deportation in a complex case involving both U.S. and Jamaican laws.

He wasn’t released until November 2011.

The “whole legal disaster” could have been avoided if Watson had an attorney at the outset, wrote the district judge who ordered his damages. With a lawyer, “plaintiff probably promptly would have been declared a citizen and released almost immediately after he was arrested, if he were arrested at all,” he said.

Then, after his arrest, the government investigation into his status was marked by “mindless failure,” “carelessness,” and “easily avoidable error,” Weinstein said.

“ICE did not follow their own procedures of what to do with the detained immigrant makes a claim of U.S. citizenship,” Flessner, the lawyer now working on Watson’s case, tells NPR. “It was crystal clear from the beginning, had DHS done its homework properly, that he has been a U.S. citizen since 2002.”

“Plaintiff was badly treated by government employees,” Weinstein, the district judge, wrote last year. “He deserves a letter of apology from the United States in addition to damages. But the court is not empowered to order this courtesy.”

An ‘Untimely’ Case?

The court of appeals doesn’t dispute any of those facts. The problem, the judges ruled, is one of timing.

The two-year statute of limitations on his “false imprisonment” started ticking when Watson first went before a judge, the majority said. That meant it expired while he was still in ICE custody, without a lawyer. The district court judge had ruled that this case merited an exception, as Courthouse News reports:

“Weinstein had agreed to apply the principle of equitable tolling to stop the clock, blaming Watson’s lack of legal counsel and education for the lawsuit’s untimeliness.

“The Second Circuit, however, found that Watson’s case did not meet this exception.

” ‘Equitable tolling is a rare remedy to be applied in unusual circumstances, not a cure-all for an entirely common state of affairs,’ the majority wrote.

“In a dissent, U.S. Circuit Judge Robert Katzmann skewered his colleagues’ reasoning.

” ‘I would hope that nothing about Watson’s 1,273‐day detention can be said to have been “an entirely common state of affairs,” ‘ he wrote. ‘If it were, we should all be deeply troubled.’ “

The majority did acknowledge that Watson’s case is “extraordinary in a number of unfortunate ways,” but determined none of them justified the exception. Watson needed to file a complaint from detention to receive any compensation now.

Flessner, Watson’s lawyer, says the ruling “turns false imprisonment statute of limitation claims kind of on their head.”

It means a person in custody for an extended period of time would have to file a false-imprisonment claim while detained, “before it’s been determined that they’ve been falsely imprisoned,” he said. “I mean, this is not only applicable to immigration cases … there’s lots of citizens that are falsely or wrongly imprisoned.”

Unusual, Not Unique

Mary Meg McCarthy, the director of the Heartland Alliance National Immigrant Justice Center, says it’s not unusual for a person fighting deportation to spend years in detention.

McCarthy’s group became involved in Watson’s case in October 2011. She says she can’t think of what he could have done, as a detainee asserting his citizenship, to make the process faster.

“The system is very bureaucratic and very, very complicated to navigate,” she tells NPR. “It’s very Kafka-esque.”

“His case lingered on and on because he kept saying, ‘I’m a U.S. citizen and I shouldn’t be deported,’ ” she says.

The very fact that he kept asserting his status meant more organizations pulled into the process, more layers of bureaucracy, more time, she says. And while a lawyer could have sped up the process, Watson didn’t have one. After two years, a pro bono attorney was appointed to help with one of his legal challenges, McCarthy says, but that didn’t help with his ICE proceedings.

Watson is not the only U.S. citizen to be detained in immigration court.

NPR’s Eyder Peralta reported on the phenomenon in December:

“It’s illegal for U.S. immigration authorities to hold Americans in detention.

“However, an NPR analysis of data obtained through a Freedom of Information Act Request shows that hundreds of American citizens each year find themselves in a situation similar to [Lorenzo] Palma’s. Those data show that from 2007 through July of last year, 693 U.S. citizenswere held in local jails on federal detainers — in other words, at the request of immigration officials. And 818 more Americanswere held in immigration detention centers during that same time frame, according to data obtained through a separate FOIA request by Northwestern University professor Jacqueline Stevens and analyzed by NPR.

“To be sure, the numbers represent a tiny percentage of all the cases reviewed by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, but advocates say holding even a single U.S. citizen should not be tolerated. …

“A separate NPR review of court records showed that in dozens of similar cases, Americans asserted their citizenship only to be sucked into a system they should have never been a part of. Some were held for days; others, for months. Some were denied bail, and most were denied a court-appointed lawyer.”

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Met Museum Turns Over Ancient Vase Suspected Looted From Italy

The ancient mixing bowl now in the possession of Manhattan’s District Attorney.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

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The Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Metropolitan Museum of Art delivered an ancient vase by courier to Manhattan’s district attorney last week. The DA had issued a warrant for the Greco-Roman vessel on July 24, citing “reasonable cause to believe” the museum was in possession of stolen property.

The vase handover was first reported in The New York Times on Monday.

The terra cotta vessel, which dates to 350 B.C., is what’s called a krater: a large mixing bowl used to dilute wine with water. The contested krater bears the image of Dionysus, the god of wine and theater. (Or, alternately, the god of wine and ecstacy.)

Questions about the vase’s provenance surfaced in 2014, when The Journal of Art Crimepublished an article by forensic archaeologist Christos Tsirogiannis, in which he offered evidence the vase had no collecting history prior to 1989, and it matched photos in possession of a convicted art dealer. As a result, he argued, the Met should return the vase to Italy.

Tsirogiannis wrote that the item was likely illegally excavated after 1970, when UNESCO prohibited illicit trade of cultural property.

“When I sent American police the information, they immediately told me that this was ‘a great case,’ ” Dr. Tsirogiannis told the Times. “It was abundantly clear that this rare object had been stolen.”

A museum spokesman told the Two-Way the Met had tried to resolve the issues surrounding whether the vase was legally exported since the questions first arose in the 2014 article.

“The Museum has worked diligently to ensure a just resolution of this matter,” Kenneth Weine, museum spokesman, said in a statement. “Upon the publication in 2014 of an image of the piece, the Museum began reaching out to the Italian Ministry of Culture – which is in keeping with prior agreements we have with the Italian government. When the Manhattan DA contacted The Met in recent months, we immediately took the piece off display, and last week delivered it to the prosecutor’s office.”

The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City has turned over an ancient vase to authorities after a warrant was issued for its seizure. Above, the museum in May.

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Richard Drew/AP

“The Museum is always committed to working with government partners to resolve an issue regarding an item in our collection,” Weine added.

The museum says it paid $99,000 to buy the item from Sotheby’s in 1989. The museum provided no further information on the item’s acquisition or provenance; Sotheby’s told the Times it was not aware of any issues with the piece when it was sold.

The DA’s office says that based on similar instances in the past, the next step in the process is sending the vase back to Italy.

In 2008, the Met returned to Italy a similar vase known as the Euphronios krater, which had been acquired in 1972. The Times reports that authorities and the museum believe both kraters are linked to Giacomo Medici, an art dealer arrested in 1997 and convicted of smuggling in 2004.

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Kelela Returns With A Sensual Invitation On 'LMK'

Kelela, “LMK”

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Courtesy of the artist

Part of the thrill of Kelela’s work, I suspect, has always been her ability to cast erotica against any form.

When Cut 4 Me, a 2013 mixtape in collaboration with UK bass corps Fade to Mind, showed us what spiked, proggish grime against the silk of her voice could possibly do, the impact was surprisingly sumptuous, if not flat-out hot.

Three years later, Hallucinogen, an EP under care of Warp Records, shifted Kelela gently toward the more enabling framework of Miami bass and 90’s-flavored R&B. Yet, courtesy of production as angular as concrete and glass (Arca and a few Fade to Mind brethren are to blame), Kelela’s voice still felt tantalizingly bound, confined to alien structures that forced her to provide heat amid space and shadow.

So it is with strange pleasure that “LMK,” the lead single of her debut album, Take Me Apart, marks perhaps the most digestibly sexy option she’s yet released. Gone is the funny bondage of wobbly engineering and tone poetry. This is the epoch of Kelela-as-Kelela; pillowy, lush, and queued for the club.

The single’s art — her name in translucent Amharic atop a photo of her throat — could not signal a more clear charge for the new album. Here is her voice, unbound, as sensuous and as raw as it will ever be.


Take Me Apart debuts October 4th from Warp Records.

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