Extra Extra : Consumer Safety

Extra Extra Monday: Prenatal screening tests, prison labor programs and nonprofit donations

Oversold and misunderstood: Prenatal screening tests prompt abortions | The New England Center for Investigative Reporting

Sparked by the sequencing of the human genome a decade ago, a new generation of prenatal screening tests, including MaterniT21, has exploded onto the market in the past three years. The unregulated screens claim to detect with near-perfect accuracy the risk that a fetus may have Down or Edwards syndromes, and a growing list of other chromosomal abnormalities.

But a three-month examination by the New England Center for Investigative Reporting has found that companies are overselling the accuracy of their tests and doing little to ...

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America's gun-toting guards armed with poor training, little oversight

Armed security guards have become a ubiquitous presence in modern life, projecting an image of safety amid public fears of mass shootings and terrorism. But often, it’s the guards themselves who pose the threat.

Across the U.S., a haphazard system of lax laws, minimal oversight and almost no accountability puts guns in the hands of guards who endanger public safety, a yearlong investigation by The Center for Investigative Reporting and CNN has found.

Extra Extra Monday: Drug-addicted nurses, police shootings and lottery winners

Addicted nurses steal patients’ drugs | The News Leader (Staunton, VA)

A statewide investigation by The News Leader found about 900 nurses publicly disciplined by the licensing board from 2007 to mid-2013 for drug theft and use at work.

Across Virginia, scores of patients in pain during the last decade were denied necessary medication because a nurse was stealing it.

 

In 179 fatalities involving on-duty NYPD cops in 15 years, only 3 cases led to indictments — and just 1 conviction | New York Daily News

A Staten Island grand jury’s decision not to indict white NYPD Officer Daniel Pantaleo for the ...

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Poorly rated nursing homes got HUD-guaranteed mortgages anyway

Hundreds of the country’s worst nursing homes have received mortgages backed by The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), according to a report by the Center for Public Integrity.

HUD requires nursing homes applying for construction and rehabilitation loans to provide quality reports. Still, an analysis of loan and ratings data found that the number and volume of one-star facilities receiving HUD insurance climbed every year from 2009 to 2012.

Records show troubled stockbrokers often cluster near the affluent and elderly

Stockbrokers who’ve been in trouble with regulators tend to cluster in certain places in the country where the affluent and elderly are easily accessible and where regulatory punishment is lax, a Wall Street Journal data analysis shows. The Journal found these hotspots in south Florida and Long Island, long known as havens for troubled brokers, but also in places around Detroit, Las Vegas and parts of California. The Journal’s analysis, showing a total of 16 such hotspots, came after the reporters pieced together stockbroker records from 27 states detailing the disciplinary and employment histories of about 550,000 ...

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Landslide safety all over the map in Washington

The deadly Oso landslide in March sparked a debate over Snohomish County’s apparent failure to protect residents at the base of a known landslide zone.

But Washington state is dotted with landslide-prone slopes, and many counties and cities do less than Snohomish County to keep homes away from harm.

A joint KUOW-EarthFix investigation found that local rules vary widely around the state, leaving some communities with much smaller margins of safety than others.

Danger lurks underground from aging gas pipes

About every other day over the past decade, a gas leak in the United States has destroyed property, hurt someone or killed someone, a USA TODAY Network investigation finds. The most destructive blasts have killed at least 135 people, injured 600 and caused $2 billion in damages since 2004.

A crack found in a cast-iron service main caused an apartment building explosion in Birmingham, Alabama last year. Alabama Gas Corp. built and operated that pipeline, according to the Montgomery Advertiser, one of the Gannett-affiliated publications involved in the project.

The Advertiser recently went to court over Alagasco documents it obtained ...

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Inside the JBS Butchertown hog slaughter plant

The JBS Swift pork processing plant in Louisville has struggled during the past decade with odor violations, zoning disputes and fights over truck traffic. It's also dealing with tighter rules on how hogs are humanely handled and killed.

Twice in the last nine months, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has slapped JBS with "egregious violations" of the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act at its Butchertown facility on Story Avenue.

Data breach mystery leads from Arizona counterterrorism site to China

Lizhong Fang, a Chinese national and computer programmer, had access to a variety of sensitive information during his short time at the Arizona Counter Terrorism Information Center in Phoenix. His work on facial recognition software allowed him to view the Arizona driver’s license database as well as law enforcement records.

Fang disappeared in 2007, and those responsible for hiring him say the privacy of up to 5 million people has been compromised. Officials never disclosed the possible privacy breach.

Read the story by The Center for Investigative Reporting and ProPublica.

In rush to find lethal injection drug, prison officials turned to a hospital

When the Louisiana Department of Corrections didn’t have the drugs it needed to execute inmate Christopher Sepulvado this January it turned to an unusual source: a hospital.

According to The Lens, the state bought 20 vials of hydromorphone from Lake Charles Memorial Hospital a week before Sepulvado’s execution. The hospital typically uses the drug to ease the suffering of patients. The private, nonprofit hospital didn’t know the drug was going to be used for an execution.

Read the story here.

 

Want to learn more about covering execution secrecy?

Journalists from four states recently joined IRE to discuss ...

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