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Hampton Roads Child Fatality Review Team lacks power, support

State law has always limited the way the Hampton Roads Child Fatality Review Team operates. It cannot subpoena people involved in cases, nor hand down directives based on its findings.

Ultimately, the lack of attention to the alarm the team sounds is the fault of no single individual or organization. It is an entire system that has accepted the death by abuse of an average of 13 children each year in the region.

Chinese green energy firm has possible links to Italian criminals, Sicilian Mafia

The story of Suntech’s fall links China to Italy, Germany, London and Wall Street, passing through some of the world’s leading tax havens and ending up — Dolce Vita fashion — in some of the most luxurious spots in Rome.

It’s a tale about the nexus of offshore financial secrecy and Italy’s onshore culture of corruption, featuring a cast of characters that includes figures linked to a businessman who has served, authorities allege, as a front for Mafia clans.

The story can be told in full detail for the first time thanks to secret offshore files and court ...

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Tennessee inmate execution details kept secret

The state of Tennessee doesn't want you to know how it will kill the condemned.

It doesn't want you to know who will flip the switch, sending a lethal dose of pentobarbital through the veins of death row inmates. And it doesn't want you to know how it obtained that pentobarbital — which isn't available from any legal drug manufacturer — as well. State correction officials have even banned the media from visiting inmates on death row.

As Tennessee makes an unprecedented push to set execution dates, it is doing so in the shadows, cloaking its plans in ...

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Extra Extra Monday: States grapple with child-abuse deaths, Tenn. plans secret executions, N.Y. confronts aging gas lines

Tennessee plans executions in secret | The Tennessean

The state of Tennessee doesn't want you to know how it will kill the condemned.

It doesn't want you to know who will flip the switch, sending a lethal dose of pentobarbital through the veins of death row inmates. And it doesn't want you to know how it obtained that pentobarbital — which isn't available from any legal drug manufacturer — as well. State correction officials have even banned the media from visiting inmates on death row.

As Tennessee makes an unprecedented push to set execution dates, it is doing so ...

Read more ...

LAFD recruit program suspended amid concerns of mismanagement, nepotism

The Los Angeles Fire Department’s recruitment program has been suspended following a Los Angeles Times article last month that revealed serious flaws in the system.

The Times found that thousands of candidates who passed a written test weren’t considered because their paperwork did not come in within the first 60 seconds of the filing period. The department also is wrestling with concerns about nepotism after data showed that one in five recruits in a training class are relatives of working firefighters.

Read more here.

Mean Streets: Tracking traffic deaths in New York City

More than half of the 27 pedestrians killed by cars in New York City this year died on major roadways. That’s just one of the findings of a new WNYC analysis of traffic deaths, Mean Streets

WNYC worked with the NYPD to compile an accurate list of traffic deaths after finding discrepancies between its statistics and those kept by advocacy groups.

The station is tracking each death using an interactive database that includes names, dates, locations, street view maps and brief descriptions of the deaths.

A campaign inquiry in Utah is the watchdogs’ worst case

Investigators say former Utah Attorney General John Swallow “exploited a web of vaguely named nonprofit organizations in several states to mask hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from payday lenders,” The New York Times reports.

“Public records, affidavits and a special legislative report released last week offer a strikingly candid view inside the world of political nonprofits, where big money sluices into campaigns behind a veil of secrecy.”

Read the entire story.

Mothers in Kentucky passing drug addictions to fetuses during pregnancy

Trinity is part of a heartbreaking surge in babies born dependent on drugs because of their mothers’ addictions — which continues to escalate unabated despite Kentucky’s crackdown on prescription-drug abuse.

The state has seen hospitalizations for drug-dependent newborns soar nearly 30 fold in a little more than a decade — from 28 in 2000 to 824 in 2012, according to a recent drug report from the Kentucky Injury Prevention and Research Center. Preliminary figures suggest that number will surpass 900 in 2013, according to state officials.