Beyond the County: Police departments in California didn’t report some shootings; Ryan may be giving up on Trump; UN appeals for aid for hurricane hit Haiti |

Beyond the County: Police departments in California didn’t report some shootings; Ryan may be giving up on Trump; UN appeals for aid for hurricane hit Haiti

In this Oct. 8, 2016 photo provided by Ron Wallace, Richard and Catherine Wallace stand with a 2,261.5-pound pumpkin that Richard grew to set the North American giant pumpkin record at the Frerichs Farm Pumpkin Weigh Off in Warren, R.I. WJAR-TV reported Richard Wallace's pumpkin beat the record set by his son, Ron, at the same event last year. (Ron Wallace via AP)
AP | Ron Wallace


Study: Texas, California didn’t report some police shootings

HOUSTON — Hundreds of police departments in Texas and California failed to report officer-involved shooting deaths as required by law in the past decade, a recent study found.

Research by Texas State University in San Marcos found registries created by the two states to report all in-custody deaths did not list about 220 use-of-force fatalities in Texas and 440 in California from 2005-2015, the Houston Chronicle reported Monday.

The Texas and California attorney general’s offices and police officials in both states confirmed to the newspaper that many cases were missing.

“We’re not really blaming anyone — this is an incredibly complex problem,” said Howard Williams, one of the Texas State University professors who conducted the study. But he said it’s hard to change policy, improve training or purchase new equipment “when you simply lack the data to even know what’s going on.”

Texas and California are the only states to require reporting of all in-custody deaths, including jail deaths and officer-involved shootings, according to the newspaper. In each state, the attorney general’s office collect reports. Failing to report a death at the hands of a police officer is a misdemeanor in Texas; there is no penalty in California.

Voting begins in California as mail ballots go out

SACRAMENTO — Election Day is almost a month away, but voting season has arrived in California.

County election officials began sending ballots Monday to millions of voters who registered to vote by mail. Monday was also the day when voters can begin casting ballots in person during business hours at their county elections office, though some were closed for Columbus Day.

Before noon, dozens of voters had cast ballots early in Orange County, said Neal Kelley, the county’s registrar of voters.

“As I’m speaking, trucks are being loaded with almost 800,000 ballots that are being mailed out,” Kelley said.

The California secretary of state reported last week that nearly 18.3 million people were registered to vote as of Sept. 9. Forty-five percent are Democrats, 27 percent are Republicans and 23 percent are unaffiliated.

Assault on Sikh man shocks, angers Richmond mayor

RICHMOND — The mayor of the San Francisco Bay Area city of Richmond is expressing his sympathies to the city’s Sikh community following a brutal attack on a man last month.

The East Bay Times reports Richmond resident Maan Singh Khalsa was attacked by three men on Sept. 25. They cut off his religiously mandated unshorn hair and cut him at an intersection near Hilltop Mall Drive following a confrontation.

A Sikh civil rights organization, The Sikh Coalition, called last week for hate crime charges to be brought against two of the men who have been arrested. A third man remains at large, the newspaper reported.

Mayor Tom Butts says the assault left the Richmond community shocked and seeking justice for the 41-year-old Khalsa.

The case is being reviewed by the district attorney.

Winner named at giant pumpkin annual weigh-off

HALF MOON BAY — An annual pumpkin-weighing contest in Northern California has a new winner: a third-grade teacher in Washington state who raised a giant one weighing 1,910 pounds.

Cindy Tobeck, 42, who lives outside Olympia, Washington, said her pumpkin grew steadily since she planted it in April, spending much of that time in a greenhouse with heated soil. She said the secret to growing giant pumpkins is using the right seed.

“I am just over the moon elated right now,” she said. “It was just a real steady grower. It wasn’t an explosive grower… it kept growing well into the summer when a lot of pumpkins slow down.”

Hers came from a 2,230-pound pumpkin that won a different contest last year.

Tobeck beat out more than two dozen other pumpkins from Oregon, Washington and California, said Timothy Beeman, a spokesman for the Safeway World Championship Pumpkin Weigh-Off in Half Moon Bay. The runner-up weighed 1,723 pounds. Tobeck was shy of the contest record by about 150 pounds.

At $6 a pound, Tobeck will receive nearly $11,500 in prize money


Giving up on Trump? Ryan focusing on saving GOP majority

WASHINGTON — House Speaker Paul Ryan, the nation’s top elected Republican, effectively abandoned Donald Trump Monday, telling anxious fellow lawmakers he will not campaign for or defend the floundering businessman in the election’s closing weeks. Pro-Trump members rebelled in anger, accusing Ryan of conceding the election to Hillary Clinton.

Indeed, Ryan said he would devote his energy to ensuring Clinton doesn’t get a “blank check” as president with a Democratic-controlled Congress, according to people on his private conference call with GOP House members. While the Wisconsin Republican did not formally rescind his own tepid endorsement of Trump, he told lawmakers they were free to do just that and fight for their own re-election.

Trump fired back on Twitter, saying Ryan “should spend more time on balancing the budget, jobs and illegal immigration and not waste his time on fighting Republican nominee.”

Trump retained the backing of the Republican National Committee, which has overseen crucial field efforts for the candidate in battleground states. On a conference call with RNC members, chairman Reince Priebus said the party remains in full coordination with Trump.

“Everything is on course,” Priebus said, according to a participant in the call.

Trump, Clinton offer few plans for Syrian mess lying ahead

WASHINGTON — Whoever wins the White House, he or she will inherit the war in Syria, one of the most complex and brutal crises in the world. But neither Hillary Clinton nor Donald Trump has articulated a comprehensive or realistic proposal to deal with it

With Syrian President Bashar Assad and his allies Russia and Iran dug in and no sign the fighting is nearing an end, the new U.S. president will confront a problem for which there is no clean or clear solution. The civil war, complicated by the occupation of key areas by the Islamic State and other extremist groups, has further destabilized the Middle East and spread outward, along with millions of refugees, around the globe.

Presidential nominees Clinton and Trump spar repeatedly over the best way forward.

Trump has said the only American interest in Syria is defeating the Islamic State group and has suggested he might leave Syria’s fate to Russia and Iran.

“I don’t like Assad at all, but Assad is killing ISIS,” Trump said at Sunday night’s debate. “Russia is killing ISIS. And Iran is killing ISIS. And those three have now lined up because of our weak foreign policy.” He continued: “Syria is no longer Syria. Syria is Russia and it’s Iran.”

For showing how contracts work best, 2 economists win Nobel

Let insiders easily cash in stock options, as Enron did, and you risk seeing executives abandon a failing company. Encourage contractors to sacrifice quality to cut costs and you might cause problems like those that led the U.S. Justice Department to phase out privately run prisons.

Designing contracts is a tricky business. For their groundbreaking work on how to make contracts fairer and more effective, Oliver Hart of Harvard University and Bengt Holmstrom of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology won the 2016 Nobel prize for economics Monday. They will share the 8 million kronor ($930,000) award for their contributions to contract theory.

For decades, the two men have studied practical problems involving the countless kinds of contracts that underlie modern commerce:

How should companies pay their executives? What types of tasks should government agencies outsource to private contractors? How best to write an auto insurance policy to protect drivers from financial loss without lulling them into carelessness?

Pay packages, Holmstrom’s work suggests, are best tailored to avoid either punishing or rewarding CEOs for happenings beyond their control.

After hurricane, chaos lingers in water-logged N. Carolina

LUMBERTON, N.C. — With floodwaters from Hurricane Matthew on the rise, at least one North Carolina city appeared near chaos Monday, its police station shuttered and sporadic gunfire in the air, and authorities worried that more communities could end up the same way.

The storm is gone, but it left behind a water-logged landscape where flooding was expected to persist for the rest of the week. At least three rivers were forecast to reach record levels, some not cresting until Friday. In many areas, the scene resembled a repeat of Hurricane Floyd, which caused $3 billion in damage and destroyed 7,000 homes as it skirted the coast in 1999.

Officials were concerned that other cities could suffer the fate of Lumberton, a community of 22,000 people about 80 miles from the ocean.

The Rev. Volley Hanson worried that stress from the lack of running water and electricity might push people over the edge. Robeson County, which includes Lumberton, had North Carolina’s highest violent crime rate in 2014.

“The cash is going to be running out. We’ve already got street vendors hawking water, Cokes and cigarettes. Cigarettes are at seven bucks a pack,” Hanson said. “It’s nuts here, and it’s going to get worse.”


Nearly a week after hurricane hit Haiti, UN appeals for aid

MARFRANC, Haiti — At a cramped police station serving as a makeshift clinic, Darline Derosier fastened IV drips to jail cell bars, wiped the brows of cholera patients and tended to the wounds of those injured when Hurricane Matthew slammed into Haiti’s southwestern peninsula.

She was the only health worker helping about 40 patients Monday inside the station bereft of police as she waited for help to arrive in the hard-hit town of Marfranc nearly a week after the Category 4 storm struck Oct. 4.

Among the patients was an elderly woman lying unconscious on a jail cell floor with a leg bandaged in an old rag and a man with gashes around his neck, his eyes fluttering.

“People will die soon if we don’t get some aid,” an overwhelmed Derosier told The Associated Press.

The town is a 45-minute drive southwest from the coastal city of Jeremie, where food, medicine and fresh water are finally arriving but still slow to reach increasingly desperate communities.

Ethiopia blames Egypt for forcing new state of emergency

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia — Ethiopia’s government on Monday blamed Egypt for supporting outlawed rebels and forcing the declaration of the country’s first state of emergency in a quarter-century as widespread anti-government protests continue.

There is “ample evidence” that Egypt provided training and financing to the Oromo Liberation Front, labeled a terrorist organization by Ethiopia, government spokesman Getachew Reda told journalists in the capital, Addis Ababa. “We know for a fact that the terrorist group OLF is receiving all kinds of support from Egypt.”

Egypt last week denied any support for the Ethiopian rebels. The two countries have long been in a dispute over a massive hydroelectric dam that Ethiopia is building on the Nile River, with Egypt saying the project will reduce its share of the river’s flow.

The six-month state of emergency declared Sunday will be used to reorganize the security forces to better respond to the anti-government protests throughout much of the Oromia region, Getachew said.

3 Syrians aid German police in alleged bomb plot suspect

BERLIN — A Syrian man wanted for allegedly preparing a bombing attack was apprehended by three of his countrymen, who overpowered him, tied him up in their apartment, and then alerted police, authorities said Monday.

The overnight arrest of Jaber Albakr ended a nearly two-day nationwide search for the 22-year-old that German authorities launched after finding several pounds of explosives and components hidden inside an apartment in the eastern city of Chemnitz on Saturday.

Albakr arrived in Germany amid a flood of 890,000 asylum seekers last year. Saxony criminal police chief Joerg Michaelis said that the three Syrians who captured him recognized the suspect from wanted posters police posted online as part of the manhunt.

After taking him to their apartment late Sunday night, two of the Syrians bound and held Albakr while the third brought a mobile phone photo of Albakr to a local police station, leading to the arrest early Monday, Michaelis said.

Medics plead for access to Syria’s embattled Aleppo

BEIRUT — Doctors Without Borders pleaded on Monday for access to treat the wounded in the rebel-held part of Syria’s Aleppo as government forces pressed ahead with an offensive that has killed hundreds of people in recent weeks.

The international charity, also known by its French acronym MSF, said in a statement that medical workers in Aleppo are exhausted and that the overstretched facilities face an impending fuel shortage. MSF, which supports eight hospitals in Aleppo’s besieged eastern quarters, says just 35 doctors remain in the area, serving a population of 275,000.

Eastern Aleppo’s Health Directorate said the wounded were sleeping outside overcrowded hospitals, waiting for care. The U.N. has warned that the Aleppo bombardment by Syrian and Russian warplanes could leave thousands more dead by the year’s end.

“Russia and Syria must stop the indiscriminate bombing now and abide by the rules of war to avoid the extreme suffering of the unprotected civilian population,” said Pablo Marco, MSF’s operations manager for the Middle East.

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