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Puerto Rico in Crisis: A Race Against Time to Evacuate the Infirm

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Maribel Casas was in the middle of a dialysis treatment when she got an unexpected text message from her sister saying she had to be at Isla Grande Airport, a small airfield in San Juan, Puerto Rico, by 2 p.m. Her relatives in Miami had managed to get her a seat on a humanitarian flight off the island.

Casas ended her treatment two hours early. “I told the nurse: ‘I have to go. I’m leaving,'” she said.

Only after she landed in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, did she learn that the private plane she had traveled on belongs to the rapper Pitbull, who lent his jet to evacuate cancer patients and others like Casas, who need constant treatment to live.

 

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Image: Evacuees arrive in Miami Elderly and ill evacuees from Puerto Rico arrive at Opa Locka Executive Airport in Miami. Their evacuation was coordinated by Fundacion Stefano. Courtesy Fundacion Stefano

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Click link below for article and videos:

https://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/puerto-rico-crisis/puerto-rico-crisis-race-against-time-evacuate-infirm-n810686

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Workers laid off at now-closed Florida nursing home where 12 died

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A Florida nursing home where a dozen patients died after Hurricane Irma knocked out power has closed and laid off its 245 employees, according to a notice to state officials.

The patients, between the ages of 57 and 99, died last month after The Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills failed to evacuate them from the sweltering facility in the days after the storm, state officials said.
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The nursing home informed state officials in a letter dated September 27 that the facility had closed seven days earlier and its employees were out of jobs.
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“A 60-day notice could not be provided due to unforeseen business circumstances that occurred after the impact of hurricane Irma,” the letter said.
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The 245 workers included occupational, speech and physical therapists, nurses and dietary aids, according to the letter.

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Click link below for article and video:

http://www.cnn.com/2017/10/07/us/florida-hollywood-nursing-home/index.html

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‘We’ve got to go!’ A California couple awoke to flames crackling. They couldn’t flee. So they jumped in their pool.

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Daniel Pomplun jolted awake. It was 1:30 a.m. Tuesday, and he heard the crackling of flames. He noticed the power was out, and he rose from bed and went to the window.

They had been fast asleep, and Daniel and his wife, Cindy, had missed the warnings. The residents of Santa Rosa, Calif., had been evacuating for more than three hours already as the rapidly spreading wildfire approached. The red glow through the window told Daniel it was too late. The fire was here.

“Cindy! Wake up!” Pomplun, 54, shouted, shaking her. “We’ve got to go!”

They threw on the closest clothing: for Cindy, a light T-shirt and cargo pants, and for Daniel, a Minnesota Vikings sweatshirt and University of Minnesota sweatpants. They grabbed the car keys and ran to the front door.

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The swimming pool at the Pomplun home, where they took refuge as the Tubbs fire burned through their neighborhood, destroying their home. (Stuart Palley/For The Washington Post)

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‘We’ve got to go!’ A California couple awoke to flames crackling. They …

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Desperate Puerto Ricans are drinking water from a hazardous-waste site

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Jose Luis Rodriguez waited in line Friday to fill plastic jugs in the back of his pickup truck with water for drinking, doing the dishes and bathing.

But there is something about this water Rodriguez didn’t know: It was being pumped to him by water authorities from a federally designated hazardous-waste site, CNN learned after reviewing Superfund documents and interviewing federal and local officials.
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Rodriguez, 66, is so desperate for water that this news didn’t startle him.
  
“I don’t have a choice,” he said. “This is the only option I have.”
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More than three weeks after Hurricane Maria ravaged this island, more than 35% of the island’s residents — American citizens — remain without safe drinking water.

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Click link below for article and video:

http://www.cnn.com/2017/10/13/us/puerto-rico-superfund-water/index.html

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Freed Taliban hostage says wife was raped

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A Canadian man who was freed along with his family after five years in militant captivity in Pakistan said his captors authorized the killing of one of his children and raped his wife.

“The stupidity and the evil of the Haqqani network’s kidnapping of a pilgrim and his heavily pregnant wife engaged in helping ordinary villagers in Taliban-controlled regions of Afghanistan was eclipsed only by the stupidity and evil of authorizing the murder of my infant daughter, Martyr Boyle,” Joshua Boyle told reporters upon his arrival at Toronto’s Pearson Airport Friday night.
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He said his captors’ actions were a retaliation for his “repeated refusal to accept an offer” from them.
 
 Boyle, his American wife, Caitlan Coleman, and their three children were freed Thursday in a mission carried out by Pakistani forces based on intelligence from US authorities.

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Couple freed from militant captivity arrived in Canada Friday night

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Click link below for article and video:

http://www.cnn.com/2017/10/14/asia/taliban-family-freed-canada-boyle-speaks/index.html

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Gunshots, a Cry of ‘Kill the Hostages,’ Then Freedom for Canadian-American Family

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Stuffed by their captors into the back of a car with their children as they were being ferried across the rugged tribal areas of northwest Pakistan, an American woman and her Canadian husband were in the final moments of their five-year ordeal as hostages.

But suddenly, shooting erupted. One of their abductors, a Taliban-linked militant, shouted, “Kill the hostages.”

The militants found themselves cornered by Pakistani troops. The gun battle ended, and soldiers pulled the family from the vehicle, to be taken by helicopter to Islamabad. They were safe. The Pakistanis, acting on information provided by American intelligence and collected from drones that had been tracking the hostages, had pulled off Wednesday’s risky operation.

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Gunshots, a Cry of ‘Kill the Hostages,’ Then Freedom for Canadian …

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Trump to Scrap Critical Health Care Subsidies, Hitting Obamacare Again

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President Trump will scrap subsidies to health insurance companies that help pay out-of-pocket costs of low-income people, the White House said late Thursday. His plans were disclosed hours after the president ordered potentially sweeping changes in the nation’s insurance system, including sales of cheaper policies with fewer benefits and fewer protections for consumers.

The twin hits to the Affordable Care Act could unravel President Barack Obama’s signature domestic achievement, sending insurance premiums soaring and insurance companies fleeing from the health law’s online marketplaces. After Republicans failed to repeal the health law in Congress, Mr. Trump appears determined to dismantle it on his own.

Without the subsidies, insurance markets could quickly unravel. Insurers have said they will need much higher premiums and may pull out of the insurance exchanges created under the Affordable Care Act if the subsidies were cut off. Known as cost-sharing reduction payments, the subsidies were expected to total $9 billion in the coming year and nearly $100 billion in the coming decade.

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 President Trump signed an executive order on health care in the Roosevelt Room of the White House on Thursday. Credit Doug Mills/The New York Times

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Click link below for article:

Trump to Scrap Critical Health Care Subsidies, Hitting Obamacare Again

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