Ron DeSantis says state education board can move to withhold the salaries of supervisors and board members who implement mask mandates
In a move that escalated Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis' fight over mask mandates, the governor's office said Monday that the state board of education could move to withhold the salaries of superintendents and school board members who disregard the governor's executive order that effectively prohibits mask mandates in school districts. © Joe Raedle/Getty Images MIAMI, FLORIDA - JULY 13: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis takes part in a roundtable discussion about the uprising in Cuba at the American Museum of the Cuba Diaspora on July 13, 2021 in Miami, Florida.
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — A last-minute court hearing is set Friday in Florida for Nikolas Cruz, the man police said has confessed to the 2018 massacre of 17 people at a suburban high school. © Provided by Associated Press FILE - In this Dec. 10, 2019, file photo, Parkland school shooting defendant Nikolas Cruz appears at a hearing in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. A court hearing is set Friday, Oct. 15, 2021 in Florida for Nikolas Cruz, the man police said has confessed to the 2018 massacre of 17 people at a high school. The hearing in Broward County Circuit Court was scheduled abruptly Thursday and does not describe the purpose.(Amy Beth Bennett/South Florida Sun Sentinel via AP, Pool, File)
The hearing in Broward County Circuit Court was scheduled abruptly Thursday and does not describe the purpose. But WSVN-TV reported without citing sources by name that Cruz would plead guilty to all 17 murder counts against him. Cruz's attorneys did not respond to calls, texts and emails from The Associated Press.
Rome trial opens for 4 members of Egyptian security forces
ROME (AP) — The trial of four high-ranking members of Egypt’s security forces started Thursday without the Egyptians on hand to face charges they were involved in the abduction, torture and killing in Cairo of an Italian doctoral student. Giulio Regeni’s parents and sister walked into the Rome courthouse without making a statement. The Italian government announced on the eve of the trial that it would join the trial's civil portion as an injuredGiulio Regeni’s parents and sister walked into the Rome courthouse without making a statement. The Italian government announced on the eve of the trial that it would join the trial's civil portion as an injured party in the case.
Cruz also would plead guilty to 17 counts of attempted murder at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High in Parkland, according to the report. The hearing is before Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scherer, court records show. No trial date had been set.
The South Florida Sun Sentinel, also without citing sources by name, reported that lawyers would be present for a status hearing before the judge on Friday, but Cruz would not be present and the pleas would be entered at a later date.
Cruz would still face a jury to determine whether he gets the death penalty or life in prison, the report said. Prosecutors have always insisted that Cruz deserves death for the slayings.
The Broward County state attorney’s office issued a statement Thursday night saying Cruz's lawyers would have to comment on any possible guilty plea.
The West Needs to Unite to Fight for Human Rights
The long-standing accusations surrounding a 1988 massacre of thousands in Iran underscores the need for the West to act to defend the rule of law.While the world's dictatorships always seem to have each other's backs, the world's democracies are failing to do the same when it comes to standing up for their own core values such as human rights and the rule of law. Too often we forgo our moral, and at times legal, responsibilities for the sake of pragmatism, and sometimes out of sheer greed for petrodollars.
“We have to refer all of your questions to the defense,” the state attorney’s statement said. “There have been no plea negotiations with the prosecution. If he pleads guilty, there would still be a penalty phase.”
Preparations have been ongoing for what would be the biggest murder trial in Broward County history, and one of the most infamous crimes ever in Florida.
Cruz, 23, was arrested about an hour after the attack with an AR-15 semiautomatic rifle on Valentine’s Day 2018.
His lawyers have repeatedly offered to plead guilty in return for a guaranteed sentence of life in prison, but prosecutors have refused to drop their pursuit of the death penalty. A guilty plea would both avoid a traumatic, lengthy trial and still allow a jury to decide Cruz’s fate.
Much of the penalty phase would likely focus on Cruz’s mental condition at the time of the slayings, with prosecutors emphasizing their horrific nature and Cruz’s intensive planning beforehand.
FDA Rule Will Allow Over-the-Counter Hearing Aids and Cut the Cost for Buyers
The FDA proposal, if approved, would allow greater competition in the hearing aid market and lower prices as a result.If approved, the proposed rule would remove several barriers to millions of Americans who need to access the devices. It would allow patients with mild to moderate hearing issues to bypass the hearing exams and prescriptions now required to get hearing aids, the FDA said. The proposal would also allow people to buy hearing aids either online or over the counter at pharmacies and other stores, the AP reported.
Tony Montalto, president of the Stand With Parkland group that represents the families of the victims, said Thursday night that neither he nor any parent he has spoken to has been informed that Cruz would plead guilty, but he is not surprised. Montalto’s 14-year-old daughter died in the shooting.
“There is very little doubt he murdered my beautiful daughter, Gina, or the 16 other victims. There is very little doubt he shot the other 17 people and terrorized all the other students at the school. We just hope the system gives him justice,” Montalto said.
When asked if he believes Cruz deserves the death penalty, Montalto said, “As a society, we need to disincentivize to the maximum extent possible anyone from attacking our schools, whatever form that takes.”
Anderson reported from St. Petersburg, Florida.
Nation's top high school athletes, coaches and teams named at the inaugural USA TODAY High School Sports Awards show .
Two standout, multi-sport athletes, a history-making coach and an inspiring comeback snagged awards at the USA TODAY High School Sports Awards show.Payton Verhulst, of Bishop Miege High School in Kansas, was announced as the nation’s overall Female Athlete of the Year. Ga’Quincy “Koolaid” McKinstry, of Pinson Valley High School in Alabama was named the nation’s overall Male Athlete of the Year. Pamela McDonald, the first woman to coach a boys soccer team to a Florida High School Athletic Association state title, was announced as the nation’s Coach of the Year and the Brentwood High School volleyball team, whose coach suffered a stroke this season, was named Team of the Year.