Special grand jury to investigate 8-year-old boy’s death

first_imgtzahiv/iStock(NEW YORK) — A special grand jury is expected to examine the events that lead to an 8-year-old boy freezing to death inside his NYPD cop dad’s garage, prosecutors announced.“Immediately following the tragic death of Thomas Valva, I assembled a team of expert prosecutors in the area of child abuse and child fatalities to investigate the circumstances surrounding the death of Thomas,” Suffolk County District Attorney Timothy Sini said in a statement Monday.Michael Valva, 40, and his fiance, Angela Pollina, 42, were both charged in a five-count indictment for the Jan. 17 second-degree murder of Thomas Valva, who has autism.During the initial investigation into Thomas’ death, prosecutors reviewed “voluminous records” and interviewed “numerous witnesses” that made it “clear that it is appropriate and in the public’s interest to convene a Special Grand Jury to conduct a thorough investigation of all the circumstances surrounding the death of Thomas Valva,” Sini said.The special panel may investigate Child Protective Services (CPS), a source familiar with the case told ABC News. Request for further comment from the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office was not immediately received.“This has nothing to do with the charges related to Michael Valva,” attorney John LoTurico told ABC News on Tuesday. “The term ‘special grand jury’ has the intention is to file a report, meaning they make recommendations for organizations to change behaviors and procedures.”At the end of the panel’s investigation, a report will be released, Sini said.For more than a year, Thomas’ biological mother, Justyna Zubko-Valva, said she alerted Nassau County Family Court judges to remove her three children from her estranged husband’s custody.Thomas was allegedly forced by his father and Pollina to sleep inside their unheated garage on Bittersweet Lane in Center Moriches overnight in 19 degree weather.The next morning, Valva called 911 saying Thomas fell in the driveway and was unresponsive.Valva, a New York Police Department officer since 2005, has been suspended without pay, according to an NYPD department spokeswoman.When first responders arrived at the house, Valva was giving his son CPR in the basement, prosecutors said. It was later determined at the hospital that Thomas had died from hypothermia, officials said.“Everyone is assuming he is guilty of murder. Murder is not what we have here,” said LoTurico. “He tried to render aid, CPR, mouth to mouth, he tried to resuscitate his son, he called 911. He didn’t have intent to kill or deprave indifference.”Valva is “distraught” and has been on suicide watch since his arrest, his attorney said, adding that his office has received several death threats and hate mail since agreeing to take on the case.“I have had numerous homicide cases in my career and never has my office received this type of backlash,” LoTurico noted. “Despite the outrageous charges, Michael Valva is still entitled to a presumption of innocence and to a fair trial.”Valva and Pollina have entered not guilty pleas to the charges. Request for comment from Pollina’s attorney Matt Tuohy was not received.Since Thomas’ death, the CPS Transformation Act — a collective of six bills — was introduced. It is expected to reform the system with new laws including a specialized unit for all cases involving children with special needs.Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.last_img read more

Press release: Arrest made following Home Counties waste mountains

first_img Waste criminals put both the environment and local communities at risk with their reckless actions. The Environment Agency is determined to bring culprits to justice. A 44-year-old man from Maidenhead, in Berkshire, was held at Eton Wick on 21 May, by Thames Valley Police in connection with large-scale illegal waste tipping across Surrey, west London, Buckinghamshire, Kent and Hampshire.The spate of incidents started in March this year, and has so far seen 35 incidents of waste deposited unlawfully.The arrest is part of an ongoing investigation between the Environment Agency and Metropolitan Police and Thames Valley and Surrey forces.A tipper lorry and van believed to be involved in the illegal waste operation were seized as part of the operation. The investigation continues, with various lines of enquiry being pursued.Emma Viner, Area Enforcement Manager for the Environment Agency, said: Last year, the Environment Agency stopped illegal waste activity at 812 sites – more than two a day, disrupting illegal operators and helping legitimate business to grow.In 2017/18, the EA made 93 successful waste-crime prosecutions, resulting in 17 prison sentences. We encourage anyone with information to contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111. We are pleased a suspect has been arrested in connection with a number of suspected large-scale illegal dumping incidents across four counties and west London.last_img read more

Israel wields startup tech against coronavirus second wave

first_imgThat, he added, means collecting electronic data in real time so that public decision-makers can take swift and precise actions.Balicer said that at the start of the pandemic Clalit teams worked with the Israeli health ministry and local start-up Diagnostic Robotics to draft a questionnaire which people who suspect they have coronavirus symptoms can fill in and send on their smartphone.An algorithm then assesses the person’s probability of infection and cross-checks this information with that of “millions of others”, said Kira Radinsk, head of Diagnostic Robotics. “When the system identifies an increasing number of symptomatic cases, an alert is sent to the deputy director of the ministry of health who generally immediately approves a series of tests for the given location,” she told AFP.”This allows resources to be allocated quickly where they are needed,” such as imposing restrictions on a specific neighborhood or town, without placing the entire economy in lockdown. It is where the two meet, at the crossroads of human behavior and smart public health management, that the further spread of COVID-19 can be best avoided, says Ran Balicer, head of innovation at Clalit, Israel’s biggest health services provider.”We have to find a new status quo,” he told AFP. “We have to find a new normal” in balancing a less restricted economy and preventing a surge in infection.”The exact point of equilibrium is very difficult to guesstimate or to assess or to model,” he said.To achieve the goal, it is essential to “use the best technological tools to monitor the state of health of the population”, he said. Topics : Israel’s armory in the battle against the novel coronavirus includes thermal cameras scanning crowds and algorithms trawling vast medical databanks for real-time indicators of an infection spike.The Jewish state is enlisting the help of local startups in the hope of stemming a “second wave” of the virus.The chaos of daily life in Israel, or “balagan” as it is known in Hebrew, stands in contrast with the seemingly calm efficiency of its hi-tech firms.center_img Track and treat? Until recently Israel took pride in its COVID-19 figures of less than 20,000 confirmed infections and about 300 deaths in a population of nine million, low compared to counties in Europe and the Americas.But as it eased lockdown measures the numbers climbed, to the point where Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called Tuesday for the use of “digital solutions” to flatten the curve.Wendy Singer of Start-Up Nation Central, an organization that promotes Israeli innovation, says that entrepreneurs had worked before on artificial intelligence projects with government and health professionals and academics.That experience, she said, made it possible to “just pivot in order to meet a corona-based challenge.”One example is Israeli facial recognition startup Anyvision, recently accused by rights groups of providing the country’s military with tools for mass surveillance in the Palestinian territories.Microsoft divested its holdings in Anyvision but later said that an independent audit of the firm’s practices indicated that the charges were untrue.Shortly after the outbreak of coronavirus Anyvision installed thermal cameras at Sheba Medical Centre near Tel Aviv, Israel’s largest hospital and its flagship facility in the battle against the pandemic.The heat-seeking system was deployed to let officials spot hospital staff with a fever.Its facial recognition software shows “in seconds” anyone who came into contact with an infected staffer and allows officials to determine precisely who should go into isolation, said Anyvision’s Alex Zilberman.”Imagine a nurse or a doctor who tested positive,” he said.”We would have had to call them on the phone and ask, ‘Who have you met in the past 14 days?'””In a place like a hospital, where you meet thousands of people that’s impossible to answer”, he said. Automated medicine A profusion of cameras, identity-matching; how far is big data from Big Brother?”It’s a very powerful system,” says Anyvision’s Zilberman. “You need to make sure it’s being used in the right way and to do that we have multiple safeguards.”That includes making sure that access to the system is compartmentalized, with various actions limited to different levels of authorized users.To ease the load on hospitals, the Israeli government signed a deal with local startup Datos which offers a platform for remote medical care.Patients download an app and then measure their vital signs and input the results, generating data processed by the company’s algorithm.The system then sends reminders to patients or people in quarantine.”At the start of the [coronavirus] crisis, health services had to call patients twice a day regardless of their condition,” Datos founder Uri Bettesh told AFP.That was a drain on important resources, he said, adding that with his app there is only a need to make contact if the patient’s data shows it to be  necessary, freeing up staff to focus on severe cases.last_img read more

LUH dealing with six flu cases a day as visitor ban continues

first_imgLetterkenny University Hospital is dealing with an average of six new cases of flu every day as the crisis continues this week.The public is being urged not to visit the building, as visiting restrictions remain in place again this weekend.Seán Murphy General Manager Letterkenny University Hospital is calling for full cooperation with the safety measures, “We are appealing to people to co-operate with the visiting restrictions so that we can protect the many very sick patients in the hospital. “We are seeing on average 6 new cases of flu in the hospital every day. Patients with flu must be accommodated in isolation to prevent the spread of infection and this is putting severe pressure on the availability of beds for other seriously ill patients who need to be admitted for treatment.“We need the co-operation of the public to protect our patients and prevent the spread of infection from the flu and to minimise the chances of it being brought into the hospital.“Our staff are working very hard to care for the many seriously ill patients in the hospital and we need to do everything we can to support them and protect our patients from additional risks of the flu virus.“Anyone carrying the flu virus can spread it for 1-2 days before developing symptoms and up to 5 days after symptoms develop. You may be spreading the flu and not even know it.” Family will only be allowed to visit in exceptional cases.In exceptional cases only, family members may arrange with the ward manager to visit critically ill patients. To arrange a visit, please call the hospital on 074 9125888 and ask to be put through to the manager on the ward who will decide if a visit can be facilitated without compromising the welfare of the patients on the ward or the welfare of the visitors.Mr Murphy added: “We are appealing to people to co-operate with hospital staff. Visitors who arrive without prior agreement from the ward manager will be asked to leave. This is a necessary to protect the many very sick patients in the hospital who are vulnerable to infection. It is critical that their care and treatment is not further complicated by the flu.”LUH dealing with six flu cases a day as visitor ban continues was last modified: December 15th, 2019 by Rachel McLaughlinShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)last_img read more

49ers mailbag: Who could replace Goodwin as deep threat?

first_imgSANTA CLARA –Time for a fan mailbag to usher in the 49ers’ first “Game Week.” OK, that’s a misnomer. But it sounds better than “Exhibition Opener Week At Regular-Season Prices!”Are you happy the ‘9ers aren’t on Hard Knocks like my Raiders? Avoid the circus or would you have hoped for the extra #content? (@Domatron5)Wouldn’t we all just prefer a reality show on Jimmy Garoppolo and his three brothers? Even the Kardashians would blush. Kidding, it’s not happening. The 49ers do produce a quality, …last_img

Red Blood Cells Are Master Contortionists

first_imgBiophysicists have analyzed why red blood cells are able to squeeze through tight spaces on their journeys through our tissues, reports the UCSD Jacobs School of Engineering.  Their membranes contain a network of 33,000 hexagons arranged in a complex geodesic dome formation.  Each hexagon vertex is joined with flexible lines to a central maypole-like proto-filament, giving it the ability to twist and contort without breaking.  This contortionist ability serves another purpose beyond just enabling the cell to get through tight spaces: it also helps squeeze out the oxygen into the tissues.  Despite being twisted, folded, flattened or stretched, the geodesic structure permits the cell to pop back into its familiar biconcave shape.    The press release states, “Their paper in Annals of Biomedical Engineering uses aeronautical terms commonly used to describe the changing position of an airplane to explain how the six attached spectrin fibers make a proto-filament swivel and flip.”  Science Now took note of this study on “bendable blood.”The shape of red blood cells is also the optimum for maximizing surface area (for diffusion) without sacrificing volume (for payload).  If they were rigid disks, they would get stuck, starving tissues of oxygen and causing death.  As you work today, think about those little erythrocyte spelunkers making their rounds, delivering the goods from that last breath of air to every cubic micrometer of your body.  The Creator thought of everything.(Visited 8 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Where The US Women Are Likely To Play In The World Cups

Check out FiveThirtyEight’s Women’s World Cup predictions.Let’s begin with a confession …This article is 100 percent a selfish undertaking to determine if I will get to see the U.S. women’s national team play live at the Women’s World Cup, which begins Saturday. You see, I blindly bought tickets to “Match No. 49,” a semifinal matchup June 30 in Montreal. As a 27-year-old woman looking to relive her experience as an 11-year-old fanatic during the 1999 Women’s World Cup, I want nothing more than to see the USWNT play in that game.That’s what brings me to this article — a guide to following the USWNT.Below you’ll find the chances of seeing the U.S. in Vancouver, Edmonton, Ottawa, Montreal and Moncton in each knockout-stage round, based on FiveThirtyEight’s Women’s World Cup predictions.For example, FiveThirtyEight projects that the U.S. has a 65 percent chance of making the semifinals. Based on the U.S.’s most likely path, there is a 51 percent chance that the Americans will participate in the semifinal game in Montreal (Match No. 49) and a 14 percent chance that they will participate in the game in Edmonton. read more