Body of missing N.Y. woman identified in Dominican Republic; body believed to be boyfriend’s found in ocean

NEW YORK — A New York tourist who vanished along with her boyfriend while on vacation in the Dominican Republic was identified Wednesday as a woman who died in a hospital on the Caribbean island last week, authorities said.

Portia Ravenelle, 32, was found unconscious March 27 on a road that leads to the international airport in Santo Domingo, police said.

The Mount Vernon woman was rushed to a local hospital, where she died April 4, Dominican National Police spokesman Frank Felix Duran Mejia told Diario Libre.

The body of a man was found in the ocean March 31 — about 20 miles from where Ravenelle was found. Authorities believe it is her boyfriend Orlando Moore.

Because the corpse was water damaged and decomposed, fingerprints can’t be used to identify the body, Duran Mejia said.

Instead, photos of tattoos on the man are being sent to Moore’s brother for identification, police said. Moore sported a “MILANO” tattoo on his arm.

Authorities believe the couple crashed and went off the road into the ocean as they headed back to the airport just before 2 a.m. on March 27 to fly home. Their rental car, cops said, is in the sea.

The couple’s neighbors in Mount Vernon reacted with shock Wednesday.

“I had no idea they were going on vacation. I had some things going on in the house and I needed Orlando’s assistance. He told me he was out of the country,” said John Hollis, 52, Moore’s neighbor.

They last spoke early on March 26, and Moore said he was coming home.

Hollis said he and Ravenelle — who had two daughters and a son — were good friends.

— N.Y. Daily News

Trump administration appeals denial of Kentucky’s Medicaid work requirements

LEXINGTON, Ky. — The Trump administration Wednesday appealed last month’s decisions by a federal judge that struck down work requirements and other tougher eligibility standards for Medicaid recipients in Kentucky and Arkansas.

Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar and other federal health officials, who are defendants in a lawsuit challenging the states’ new Medicaid rules, have asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to review the cases.

Twice in the last year, U.S. District Judge James Boasberg in Washington, D.C., has rejected Bevin’s Kentucky HEALTH proposal and returned it to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for further consideration. States cannot refashion Medicaid “in any way they choose,” Boasberg wrote in his most recent order March 27. By law, Medicaid must promote health coverage for people, not deny it on an arbitrary and capricious basis, he said.

Kentucky’s new rules for several hundred thousand able-bodied Medicaid recipients were supposed to have begun April 1.

Sixteen Kentucky Medicaid recipients sued the federal government in January to prevent Bevin from adding 80-hour-a-month work, study or volunteer requirements; premiums; monthly reporting duties; and six-month coverage lock-out periods for failing to cooperate for able-bodied adults who are enrolled in the state’s $9.7 billion-a-year Medicaid program.

Some of the same Medicaid recipients prevailed over Bevin in an earlier version of the suit last year, but Bevin made minor changes to his Kentucky HEALTH proposal and resubmitted it to HHS for re-approval.

Bevin repeatedly has threatened to terminate Kentucky’s expanded Medicaid program for more than 400,000 low-income adults if the courts prevent him from going forward with the tougher eligibility rules of Kentucky HEALTH.

— Lexington Herald-Leader

Al Capone family home in Chicago sells for $226,000 — double the asking price

CHICAGO — The red brick two-flat in the South Side Park Manor neighborhood that legendary mobster Al Capone once lived in sold April 5 for $226,000.

The 2,820-square-foot two-flat, at 7244 S. Prairie Avenue, sold for more than double its $109,900 asking price.

“We had like 80 offers on it,” listing agent Ryan Smith of Re/Max Properties said. “We had a lot of press on it, so I think that helped it out.”

Capone moved into the two-flat with his mother and sister in 1923 after moving to Chicago from New York. Although Capone’s name was never actually on the purchase deed, his mother’s and wife’s names were on it, and the family owned the two-flat until the 1950s, when his mother died. After Capone got out of prison in 1939, he lived in Florida until his death in 1947.

Built about 1909, the two-flat, which sits on an extra-wide lot, has had several owners since the Capones, and in 1989, the Commission on Chicago Landmarks and the Illinois Historic Sites Advisory Council both rejected bids to make the house an official landmark.

A previous owner listed it in 2009 for $450,000 and later for $300,000, $250,000, $225,000 and $179,900 before taking it off the market in 2016. In November, it sold out of foreclosure to a subsidiary of Goldman Sachs called MTGLQ Investors LP. Public records do not yet identify the buyers.

“I have no idea what the buyers want to do with it,” Smith said.

The seller first listed the two-flat in February. It has six bedrooms, hardwood floors, wood trim and molding, and large, octagonal living rooms in each unit.

— Chicago Tribune

South Korea’s top court may decriminalize abortion

SEOUL, South Korea — Ever since South Korea’s criminal laws were written in 1953, abortion has been illegal here — punishable by up to a year in prison for the woman, up to two years for the physician.

On Thursday, the country’s top court may change that. The Constitutional Court is expected to rule on a case challenging the constitutionality of the abortion ban. The developments are being closely monitored by women’s advocates and evangelical Christians alike.

The case has created a political issue out of something that, unlike in the U.S., was for decades a non-issue. The law has seldom been enforced, and abortion is widely available at most clinics. Abortions have dramatically decreased in South Korea, from about 30 women out of 1,000 undergoing the procedure in 2005 down to about 5 in 1,000 in 2017, a result of the increased availability and awareness of birth control.

Yet a newly energized feminist movement in the country is pushing for abortion to be decriminalized, saying it has endangered women’s health, saddled them with social stigma and exposed providers to criminal liability.

“It’s resulted in women seeking abortions having to travel farther at greater expense and time, and endure humiliation to get the procedure,” said Yoon Jung-won, an obstetrician-gynecologist at Green Hospital in Seoul and an activist with the Sexual and Reproductive Rights Forum. “It’s skewed the doctor-patient relationship, perceptions about patient rights and how women themselves feel about terminating their pregnancy.”

In 2017, more than 235,000 people signed a petition urging South Korean President Moon Jae-in to decriminalize abortion, saying it was unfairly penalizing the actions of women.

“A pregnancy doesn’t happen with a woman alone,” the petition said. “Unwanted births are tragic for the mother, child and the nation.”

— Los Angeles Times