How a protester helped saved Memorial Day for New Yorkers

Linda Bouferguen may have single-handedly saved the holiday weekend in New York.

The young Brooklyn nursing student was twice arrested this month outside City Hall for violating the state’s lockdown on nonessential gatherings during small, socially distanced demonstrations against New York’s shutdown.

But the pandemic-induced ban violated her First Amendment rights, insisted Bouferguen, who watched Gov. Andrew Cuomo make exceptions this week to the “no gathering” rules for Memorial Day and religious events — but not protests.

She sought official permission to hold another demonstration and when she was ignored, Bouferguen went to court.

With the help of the New York Civil Liberties Union, Bouferguen filed a federal lawsuit against Cuomo Friday. Hours later, the gov abruptly reversed course on lockdown rules forbidding non-essential gatherings and protests.

Of course, the change also means traditional Memorial Day events like barbecues, house parties and other get togethers now have a green light, provided the events have less than 10 people and abide by social distancing rules.

“I don’t consider myself a hero,” said Bouferguen, 32. “Any American would have done what I did.”

Bouferguen, who was born in the former Soviet Union, was surrounded by 24 police officers as she stood outside City Hall May 8 waving an American flag with a handful of other demonstrators, including her 52-year-old mom, Elena.

“This should never happen in America,” she said, describing how she was handcuffed, forced into a police van and issued a summons. When she returned to protest the following day, she was arrested again, Bouferguen said.

For Bouferguen, who used to work at a small accounting firm that saw 20 of their clients shutter their businesses as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, the legal victory is bittersweet.

“I know people who committed suicide because they lost everything, nurses who lost their jobs and others who suffered heart attacks because hospitals wouldn’t care for them,” she told The Post. “This just has to stop.”

Bouferguen moved to the US with her parents 20 years ago after her father, a native of Algeria who had fled to Russia during the Cold War, was “constantly harassed” by police and the military when the Chechen War began, during the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.

“He was dark-skinned, and I guess they thought he was a terrorist,” she said. “We never protested in Russia because we were not allowed, but when the Soviet Union collapsed, my mother went out into the streets,” she said, adding her mother is “very proud” of her determination to protest outside City Hall.


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Pupils working at home ‘more at risk on their laptop from perverts and gangs than in the classroom’ – The Sun

SCHOOLKIDS are more at risk working at home on their laptop than they would be back in the classroom, a child protection chief warned yesterday.

Too much time learning online is leaving many youngsters vulnerable to a much wider range of dangers than coronavirus, according to Emily Konstantas.

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She said reports of paedophiles targeting children on the internet have rocketed since the lockdown began – but others could suffer long-term harm if left alone with a computer.

Lonely, unhappy or attention-seeking kids risk stumbling across damaging content, fall into the hands of county lines gangs or simply forget how to interact with other pupils.

Ms Konstantas, chief executive of the Safeguarding Alliance, which provides guidelines to organisations working with children, said: “We must not allow the coronavirus pandemic to turn into a child abuse epidemic.

Wider impact on children’s physical and mental health

“Over the past couple of months, many children have been using the internet for the first time and suddenly it has become the new norm for many of them.

“We have to take into consideration parents who are under increased pressure and stress at this time. They have work and financial stresses and children are feeling increasingly lonely and parents are providing them with devices perhaps they wouldn’t have had access to before the coronavirus crisis.

“This is a cause for increasing concern.”

The PM’s eagerness to re-open schools next week has also been supported by a report warning that children will suffer lifelong damage because of the lockdown.

Documents seen by members of SAGE, the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies, predict a wider impact on children’s physical and mental health, education and development.

It states: “A cohort of children have experienced a shock to their education, which will persist and affect their educational and work outcomes for the rest of their lives.

“The current lockdown may lead to an increase in adverse childhood experiences, for example: domestic violence, poor parental mental health, child neglect or abuse.”

Several police forces have reported or predicted a rising number of criminals targeting minors during the lockdown.
Thames Valley cops said they had received 64 reports in March, compared to 26 during the same month last year.

The NSPCC has warned that lockdown is the highest period of risk for online child abuse it has ever seen.

And the number of cases reported to the National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children had increased by 107 per cent during the lockdown period in the US.

Last week The Sun on Sunday revealed how experts fear ten years of progress by kids from the most deprived backgrounds has been reversed by two months of lockdown – and standards will plummet further without an urgent return to lessons.

Tory MP Robert Halfon, who chairs the Commons education committee, said the latest revelations highlight the urgent need to re-open schools next month as planned.

He added: “We need to think about the terrible risk lockdown poses to these children which could destroy their life chances just as we talk about the minimal risk posed by them going back to school.”


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The shocking reason hospitals keep their prices a secret from you

Congress has provided hospitals with nearly $200 billion of our hard-earned tax dollars to help them weather the coronavirus pandemic. House Democrats just passed a bill adding another $100 billion. Now it’s time to stop bailing out hospitals and start helping financially stressed families get better health care at lower costs.

In health care, most prices are hidden. Earlier this month, big, profitable hospital systems were in court to make sure that American patients remain in the dark, challenging a Trump administration rule that would require them to publicize prices, including those negotiated with insurance companies.

No other industry is fighting to hide prices from consumers. When given pricing information, people know how to shop for value. With websites like Amazon and Kayak, Americans use price information to secure the best deals. This forces providers to compete by lowering prices and improving quality. Health-care markets don’t work like this.

Imagine going to the grocery store to buy milk, bread and butter, but without any prices. You check out and the grocer tells you that your bill will come in a few weeks. In about a month, you get both an explanation of grocery benefits from your insurer and a bill from the grocer for $150.

You know this can’t be right — a gallon of milk, a loaf of bread and a pack of butter can’t cost this much. You call your insurer, and they ask what you are complaining about. Without their discount, you would have paid $250. They saved you $100!

Sounds crazy, but this is how we pay for most of our health care. It’s actually worse because of huge price variation across insurers. The parallel would be if two other people purchase those same goods and one of them is charged $50 and the other is charged $400.

A lack of price information has led both insurers and hospitals to become lazy and inefficient. They can deliver mediocre or even poor care at high cost and still see their bottom lines improve. Counter to common perception, health insurers aren’t interested in lower health-care costs since they gain more revenue from higher spending. Insurers pass the higher costs to employers and employees through higher premiums while they tell us what a great “discount” we received.

The Trump administration rule would also require hospitals to post prices for at least 300 shoppable services on their websites in a consumer-friendly way. With this information, consumers and employers would force insurers, hospitals and health-care providers to compete by lowering costs and improving value. By lowering what Americans spend on health care, it will leave families with more income to save for their retirement, help pay for their kids’ education, or take a family vacation. Now, more than ever, Americans have a greater incentive to make smart health care choices, as high deductible plans and health savings accounts are both growing.

The hospitals claim the Trump administration exceeded its authority in issuing its price transparency rule. We don’t know if that’s true, but there’s a simple fix. Congress can pass this action and ensure that Americans have access to real prices in health care.

This is especially important now as the economic recession pinches family budgets across the country. Congress has already taken care of hospitals. Now it should help patients by giving them the control and information they need to be effective health-care shoppers.

Brian Blase served as a special assistant to President Trump at the National Economic Council, 2017-19. He is president of Blase Policy Strategies LLC.

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Fox News meteorologist blames New York governor Andrew Cuomo for coronavirus deaths of parents-in-law in nursing home – The Sun

A FOX News senior meteorologist who lost parents-in-law to the coronavirus has blamed New York Governor Andrew Cuomo for their deaths. 

Janice Dean spoke out after seeing Cuomo on CNN joking about his brother, Chris, needing a large cotton swab for a Covid-19 test because of his big nose.

It comes as Governor Cuomo has been on the defensive after a state directive requiring nursing homes to admit coronavirus patients is being blamed for thousands of deaths.

More than 4,300 New York patients who were confirmed or suspected to have coronavirus were discharged from hospitals straight to nursing homes. 

Dean, who appeared on Tucker Carlson’s prime time show, blasted the governor because both of her in-laws died at a nursing home in New York State.

She said that her mother and father-in-law, Michael and Dolores Newman, both died of the virus after they were exposed to the virus in nursing homes.

Her father-in-law, Michael, an Air Force veteran and former New York City firefighter, was placed in a nursing home after it became apparent he was suffering from dementia.

The fact that I am seeing, last night, him … making fun, inappropriate jokes and insensitive jokes, cruel jokes… it is not something to joke about

Dean said that she and her husband were notified a week before Michael’s death that the nursing home was moving him to another floor.

She said: "I believe that floor was used for recovering COVID patients.

"I can’t prove that. We can’t get any confirmation on any of this."

She said she was speaking out after watching a CNN interview in which anchor Chris Cuomo —  the governor's younger brother — failed to address the growing controversy and instead performed prop comedy with giant cotton swabs.

During Wednesday’s episode of Cuomo Prime Time the New York governor recounted how he was tested for coronavirus on live TV during his daily press briefing on Sunday.

This led his brother to joke he had a big nose and required a baseball bat-sized nasal swab for a test.

Dean said: "The fact that I am seeing, last night, him … making fun, inappropriate jokes and insensitive jokes, cruel jokes … make no mistake.

"I am glad that Chris Cuomo has recovered from Covid because he apparently did have it. 

"And I'm glad that their family is well, but my family is not well. And that is not something to joke about."

A state directive on March 25 said nursing homes could not refuse patients who had been discharged from hospitals with coronavirus 

The justification was that officials feared the hospital system would be overwhelmed and was focused on creating as much hospital space as possible.

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Dominic Cummings' wife described how he 'collapsed and had spasms'

Dominic Cummings’ wife described how he ‘collapsed and had spasms’ during family’s coronavirus isolation – but failed to mention that they had broken lockdown to travel from London to Durham

  • Dominic Cummings’ wife Mary Wakefield wrote an account of coronavirus ordeal
  • She described how No10 chief ‘collapsed’ and had spasms as he was bedridden 
  • But she did not mention that family had relocated to Durham during isolation
  • Revealed their son nursed Mr Cummings despite claim they went for childcare  
  • Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19

Dominic Cummings’ wife gave a detailed account of the family’s coronavirus ordeal – but failed to mention that they had broken lockdown to travel from London to Durham.

Journalist Mary Wakefield revealed that No10 chief Mr Cummings, 48, spent 10 days bedridden after ‘collapsing’ and having ‘spasms’ with the disease at the end of March.

Despite claims that the couple travelled 260 miles so they could access childcare, the article Ms Wakefield wrote for the Spectator last month says he was nursed by their young son.

And it gave the strong sense that the family had remained in the capital, saying Mr Cummings had ‘rushed home’ when she first developed symptoms, and that they ’emerged from quarantine into the almost comical uncertainty of London lockdown’.

Mr Cummings with his wife Mary outside their London home last year, after he had begun working for Mr Johnson

March 23 Boris Johnson announces lockdown. 

March 27: On the same day the Prime Minister tests positive for coronavirus, his top aide is seen running across Downing Street to get home to his wife Mary Wakefield. 

She later wrote in The Spectator that Mr Cummings did ‘rush home’ to look after her when she developed symptoms. 

March 28 & 29: Mr Cummings develops symptoms of the disease over the weekend, Downing Street confirms, with Mrs Wakefield saying he felt ‘weird’. 

He reportedly collapsed before spending ten days bedridden with a high fever, spasms and breathlessness. 

March 31: The Government adviser was in Durham, according to the investigation, with police confirming they visited an individual who had travelled to the city from London to self-isolate.

April 5: Mr Cummings is allegedly spotted by a witness at the grounds of his parents’ home near Durham at 5.45pm with a child believed to be his son. The same evening Scotland’s chief medical officer Catherine Calderwood resigns for breaching lockdown rules for visiting her second home. 

April 14: The PM’s aide is photographed in Downing Street for the first time since recovering from coronavirus.

Boris Johnson was today warned he cannot stonewall demands to sack his right hand man for flouting lockdown rules by travelling to his parents’ Durham farm to self-isolate. 

He was spotted by a witness at the gate of the property, with Abba’s Dancing Queen playing loudly. 

The bombshell revelations sparked accusations of hypocrisy with Mr Cummings’ position branded ‘untenable’, and signs of disquiet among Tory MPs. 

Dorset police and crime commissioner Martyn Underhill warned this morning that the flagrant breach will be thrown in the face of officers as they tried to restrain sun-seeking visitors on what is expected to be a hot bank holiday weekend.   

In a defiant statement this morning, a No10 spokesman said he had not broken any guidelines with the 264-mile trip.

‘Owing to his wife being infected with suspected Coronavirus and the high likelihood that he would himself become unwell, it was essential for Dominic Cummings to ensure his young child could be properly cared for,’ the spokesman said. 

‘His sister and nieces had volunteered to help so he went to a house near to but separate from his extended family in case their help was needed. His sister shopped for the family and left everything outside. 

‘At no stage was he or his family spoken to by the police about this matter, as is being reported. His actions were in line with coronavirus guidelines. Mr Cummings believes he behaved reasonably and legally.’  

Allies pointed to a comment from deputy chief medical officer Jenny Harries on March 24, when she was asked what parents should do if both fall ill. ‘A small child is vulnerable. If adults cannot look after the child, that is an exceptional circumstance,’ Dr Harries said.  

Mr Cummings spend 14 days off work, twice the usual period of quarantine, sparking questions about his health. But No 10 throughout insisted he was ‘in contact’ with staff in Downing Street. 

Mr Cummings and Ms Wakefield married in 2011. Mary is a journalist for the Spectator and the daughter of Sir Humphry Tyrrell Wakefield, owner of Chillingham Castle and a friend of Prince Philip. 

In her account, Ms Wakefield said her husband ‘rushed home’ after she became ill. ‘But 24 hours later he said ”I feel weird”.’. 

‘Day in, day out for ten days he lay doggo with a high fever and spasms that made the muscles lump and twitch in his legs. He could breathe, but only in a limited, shallow way,’ she wrote.

‘After a week, we reached peak corona uncertainty. Day six is a turning point, I was told: that’s when you either get better or head for ICU. 

‘But was Dom fighting off the bug or was he heading for a ventilator? Who knew? I sat on his bed staring at his chest, trying to count his breaths per minute. 

‘The little oxygen reader we’d bought on Amazon indicated that he should be in hospital, but his lips weren’t blue and he could talk in full sentences, such as: ‘Please stop staring at my chest, sweetheart.’

Despite the suggestion that the couple had gone to Durham for childcare, Ms Wakefield said Ceddy, had ‘administered’ Ribena to Mr Cummings with the ‘grim insistence of a Broadmoor nurse’. 

‘This might be my only useful advice for other double-Covid parents or single mothers with pre-schoolers,’ she wrote. 

‘Get out the doctor’s kit and make it your child’s job to take your temperature. Any game that involves lying down is a good game.’ 

On the end of their ordeal, Ms Wakefield said they had emerged from quarantine into the ‘uncertainty of London lockdown’. 

‘After the uncertainty of the bug itself, we emerged from quarantine into the almost comical uncertainty of London lockdown. Everything and its opposite seems true. People are frightened and they’re calm; it’s spring and it’s not. Queueing’s a pain in the ass and the most fun you’ll have all day. 

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Incredible pics show model swimming with seven 40lb stingrays off Cayman Islands in picturesque Stingray City – The Sun

ATLANTA supermodel Taylor Adkins has done a stunning shoot surrounded by deadly giant stingrays in the Caribbean.

Taylor was filmed posing in the water with a school of rays that have a wingspan of 42 inches in the shallows of Stingray City, Cayman Islands.

The area regularly hosts up to 60 sting rays and is the only place on the gorgeous islands where you can legally feed them.

A 2012 study suggests there are only 8,400 left in the world.

The stingrays in the shoot are estimated to be about twelve years old and weigh around 40lb.

Females give birth to 2–10 pups twice per year in the shallow water like in these photos, after a gestation period of about four months.

Due to the tourism industry regarding the rays as one of the key attractions to the Caribbean, each ray is worth about $2.5 million to the local economy. They are well-looked after by the locals, but they also have the ability to fend for themselves.

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Police probe death of unborn baby after woman has illegal ‘abortion by post’ at 28 weeks – four weeks past limit – The Sun

POLICE are probing the death of an unborn baby after a woman took “pills by post” abortion drugs while 28 weeks pregnant.

They were mailed under a new “home abortion” scheme set up after laws were relaxed because of the pandemic.

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But she was already four weeks past the legal 24-week termination limit — and 18 weeks past a new ten-week limit for medical ­abortions at home under Covid-19 regulations. Her baby was stillborn.

Babies born prematurely at 28 weeks typically have a 90 per cent chance of survival.

The British Pregnancy Advisory Service (Bpas), which runs the “pills by post” service, has confirmed it is investigating the case, plus eight more where women were beyond the ten-week limit.

A Midlands coroner is investigating the 28-week death and police have also been informed.

Last night a whistleblower said: “The ‘pills by post’ system has been brought in but a 40-minute phone call can never be the same as a proper medical consultation.

“There needs to be a proper investigation to find out just what went wrong.”

Under the scheme, a woman must consult a trained nurse or midwife in a 40-minute phone or video chat to get a prescription, with the pills mailed out.

But critics have warned the system is ripe for abuse or error.

How the rules were changed

RULES brought in last month mean women can now have a medical abortion at home up until week ten of pregnancy.

But they must consult a medic over the phone or video chat to get a prescription, with the pills sent by post.

Previously, abortions in England could be carried out only in a hospital, by a specialist provider or by a licensed clinic.

They also had to be approved by two doctors.

The new law lasts for two years under Covid-19 measures.

And pro-life groups have claimed abortion rights campaigners have taken “advantage of this crisis” to lobby for the “backdoor policy”.

Charity Bpas typically carries out 60,000 abortions each year in the UK, with around 97 per cent referred to them from the NHS.

The new home abortions have been allowed since March 31 because of the coronavirus crisis.

It was estimated 44,000 women would need abortions in the 12 weeks from April 1.

Bpas said it has issued more than 8,000 “pills by post” treatments since the scheme began.

Medical abortions require two pills — mifepristone and misoprostol. Before the change in the law, which has a time limit of two years, abortions in England could happen only in a hospital, licensed clinic or at a specialist provider.

Two doctors would also need to certify it did not breach the terms of the 1967 Abortion Act.

Last night Clare Murphy, of Bpas, said: “The swift establishment of a telemedical early medical abortion service at the start of this crisis has been a phenomenal achievement in women’s healthcare, enabling women to safely access the care they need at home.

“It has meant women have been able to end pregnancies at the ­earliest gestations, protecting their health and those around them by removing the need to travel long distances to clinics where social distancing is simply not possible.

“For women who are and remain unable to leave their homes due to underlying health conditions or coercive relationships, this scheme has quite simply been life-saving.

“We are aware of a vanishingly small number of pregnancies which were treated beyond the ten week gestational band, with just one over 24 weeks.”


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Burglars raid Wetherspoons pub in Liverpool during lockdown but leave with just PEANUTS – The Sun

DOPEY burglars broke into a Wetherspoons pub during lockdown – and literally left with PEANUTS.

Bungling Kevin Lloyd, 35, and his accomplice Dean Kempster, 42, smashed their way into the boozer at Liverpool Lime Street train station, Merseyside, but couldn't find anything valuable to steal.

They ended up grabbing three packets of salted peanuts from behind the bar at around 9pm on May 9.

But the hapless duo triggered an alarm which sent an alert to the manager, who called the cops.

The manager got there just in time to see the pair trying to flee the scene and they were quickly arrested by officers.

Cops found the three packets of peanuts stashed in their pockets.

Both pleaded guilty to burglary and Lloyd was jailed for 12 weeks and ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £156.

Kempster received a sentence of 12 months suspended for 12 months.

He must also pay a victim surcharge of £128 and £85 costs.

Chief inspector Dave Rams, of the BTP, said: “Using the lockdown as an opportunity to commit crime at a time of national emergency when people were being asked to stay at home to save lives, is particularly heinous, as demonstrated by the severity of the sentences.

“Thankfully, due to the alarm activation system, the fruits of Lloyd and Kempster’s criminal labour amounted to just three packets of peanuts, which should give both pause for thought.

“Despite these unprecedented times, BTP continues to patrol and police stations and trains as normal, so rest assured that our approach to crime and safety on the railway is very much business as usual.”

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New York man nearly decapitated father in alleged Zoom-call slaying, report says

A Long Island man who allegedly knifed his father to death while his dad was chatting on Zoom nearly decapitated him, a report said Friday.

Thomas Scully-Powers, 32, allegedly confessed to police after the afternoon killing in Amityville on Thursday, it was revealed in court, Newsday reported.

“He kept breathing, so I had to keep stabbing him,” Scully-Powers told police, a prosecutor said at his arraignment Friday, according to Newsday.

The son used several knives in the attack and sliced his father’s throat to the bone from ear to ear, prosecutors reportedly said.

He also admitted to stabbing his father several times in the chest, then turning him over and plunging a knife into his back, according to the report.

The victim, 72-year-old Dwight Powers, was found dead at the home he shared with his son on Dixon Avenue after other participants on the video conference called 911, police said.

Scully-Powers jumped out of a window to avoid arrest, but was captured a short while later trying to wash himself off with Dr. Pepper stolen from a nearby deli, Newsday reported.

He was ordered held without bail and at his arraignment on murder charges, the newspaper reported.

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William Roddie Bryan tried to ‘confine and detain’ Ahmaud Arbery, warrant says

The Georgia man who recorded the shooting death of Ahmaud Arbery was arrested in part because he repeatedly tried to “confine and detain” the unarmed jogger with his vehicle in the minutes leading up to Arbery’s death, according to his arrest warrant.

The warrant for William “Roddie” Bryan Jr. alleges he “did attempt to confine and detain Ahmaud Arbery without legal authority … utilizing his vehicle on multiple occasions” in the 20 minutes before the fatal shotgun blasts, according to CNN.

Bryan, 50, acted “with the intention of confining and detaining Arbery,” the warrant states.

The Brunswick, Ga., man was arrested Thursday on charges of felony murder and criminal attempt to commit false imprisonment.

Bryan’s video helped incriminate his neighbors Gregory McMichael, 64, and Travis McMichael, 34 — the white father and son charged with the Feb. 23 shooting death of Arbery, 25, who was black.

The pair reportedly chased the unarmed Arbery for more than four minutes before Travis McMichael shot Arbery at close range with a shotgun following a tussle.

Only after the video surfaced and went viral two months later — prompting a national outcry — were the McMichaels arrested.

Ironically, it later surfaced that it had been Gregory McMichael, a former Glynn County police officer and prosecutorial investigator, who had first leaked the clip to the press — because he thought it would make him and his son look better.

The elder McMichael told police that he and his son suspected Arbery in a rash of break-ins in the neighborhood.

Bryan, who is also white, has always insisted he was just a good Samaritan, but an expanded version of his video, released by S. Lee Merritt, Arbery’s family’s attorney, showed that he got into his vehicle and also chased Arbery.

A person can be charged with felony murder in Georgia if he or she is alleged to have contributed to another’s death, even unintentionally, while committing another felony. The charge of attempted false imprisonment is that felony in this case, Georgia Bureau of Investigation Director Vic Reynolds said Friday in a news conference, according to CNN.

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