Court upholds ruling that children held at border have adequate food, bedding, sanitation

SAN FRANCISCO — In a closely watched case, a federal appeals court Thursday upheld an order requiring immigration authorities to provide children detained at the border with adequate food, water, bedding, toothbrushes and soap.

A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected an appeal by the Trump administration to an order by a federal judge in Los Angeles who found the government was violating a 1997 settlement by failing to provide detained minors with safe and sanitary conditions.

U.S. District Judge Dolly Gee issued the order in 2017 after finding that minors in U.S. Customs and Border Protection custody were held in conditions that deprived them of sleep and did not have adequate food, clean water or basic hygiene items. The settlement, known as the Flores agreement, required the children be given safe and sanitary quarters.

The government appealed, arguing the order changed the settlement agreement. The original settlement said nothing about allowing children to sleep or wash themselves with soap, the federal government said.

The 9th Circuit disagreed, saying the enumerated items ordered by the judge fell under the settlement’s requirement that children be kept in safe and sanitary conditions.

— Los Angeles Times

Suspect found guilty in knife attacks on Ashton Kutcher’s date, other women

LOS ANGELES — A jury found suspect Michael Gargiulo guilty in three knife attacks on young women.

Gargiulo, 43, was convicted of murdering Ashley Ellerin, 22, and Maria Bruno, 32, and attempting to kill Michelle Murphy, 26, in attacks in the Los Angeles area between 2001 and 2008. The jury deliberated more than three days before it reached its verdict.

Prosecutors said Gargiulo’s alleged series of stabbings began in the Chicago area in 1993.

One night in August of that year, Tricia Pacaccio, 18, was celebrating her high school graduation with friends before they headed off to college. She dropped off a friend about 1 a.m. before heading home. She walked up to her door carrying her house key but never made it inside.

Her father found her on the doorstep later that morning with numerous stab wounds to her chest, shoulder and neck.

Gargiulo, 17 at the time, was a friend of Pacaccio’s younger brother. It wasn’t until a decade later that investigators discovered that the DNA collected from her fingernails was his, according to court documents. He was charged in Pacaccio’s killing in Illinois in 2011.

But by then, prosecutors say, Gargiulo had moved to the Los Angeles area and killed Ellerin.

— Los Angeles Times

Teen and young adult e-smokers much more likely to use marijuana, study finds

Adolescents and young adults who vape electronic cigarettes are far more likely to also use marijuana, according to research released this week.

The study, published online this week in JAMA Pediatrics, said the odds of marijuana use among young people who used e-cigarettes was 3.5 times greater than among those who said they had not used e-cigarettes.

The research examined marijuana use among 10- to 24-year-old subjects through a compilation of 21 studies from the United States, Canada, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand.

The authors, who include researchers from Boston Children’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, say policymakers should pay attention to this connection.

“These findings should be taken into account in the design of public policies aiming to restrict access to to minors,” the authors wrote. The studies’ results, they added, “highlight the importance of addressing the rapid increases in e-cigarette use among youths as a means to help limit marijuana use in this population.”

The authors’ review of existing research also seemed to support the theory that nicotine impacts the developing brain, influencing how people respond to addictive substances. In fact, younger adolescents who vape were much more likely to use marijuana than even their somewhat older e-cigarette-using peers.

The odds of youngsters ages 12 to 17 years old using marijuana if they vaped were more than four times higher than they were in peers who didn’t vape. In young adultvapers ages 18 to 24, the odds of their smoking marijuana were more than two times higher than among peers who didn’t use e-cigarettes.

— The Philadelphia Inquirer

July was hottest month on record, U.S. climate scientists say

WASHINGTON — July was the warmest month in the 140 years that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has kept a global temperature dataset, the U.S. government agency said Thursday.

The July average temperature across global land and ocean surfaces was 16.75 degrees Celsius (62.15 Fahrenheit), which was 0.95 Celsius (or 1.71 Fahrenheit) above the 20th-century average of 15.8 Celsius (60.44 Fahrenheit) and was the highest since NOAA’s record-keeping began in 1880.

The most notable warm temperature departures from average occurred in Alaska, Central Europe, northern and southwestern parts of Asia and parts of Africa and Australia, according to NOAA. Temperatures in these regions in July were about 2 degrees Celsius (35.6 Fahrenheit) above the 1981-2010 average or higher.

The data also shows that 9 of the 10 warmest Julys have occurred since 2005, with the last five being the five warmest Julys on record. July 1998 was the only July in the previous century among the 10 warmest on record.

— dpa

Seized Iranian tanker free to leave Gibraltar

MADRID — An Iranian oil tanker held by Gibraltar for more than a month was cleared for release Thursday, despite a last-minute request by the United States to keep it impounded.

British troops helped capture the tanker Grace 1 on July 4 off Gibraltar, a British overseas territory on the southern tip of Spain.

London said it stopped and seized the vessel because it was carrying Iranian oil to Syria in violation of EU sanctions.

Gibraltar Chief Minister Fabian Picardo said his government was allowing the vessel to set sail after talks with Iranian officials, who assured him the cargo would not be transported to Syria.

“In light of the assurances we have received, there are no longer any reasonable grounds for the continued legal detention of the Grace 1 in order to ensure compliance with the EU Sanctions Regulation,” Picardo said in a statement.

Gibraltar’s Supreme Court had been due to decide Thursday on whether Grace 1 could continue to be held. It was anticipated that the ship would be freed, because the court order allowing its detainment was due to lapse and the government had not said that it would seek an extension.

But the proceedings took a twist when the U.S. Department of Justice made a request to seize the ship.

In an interview with CNN, Picardo said the appeal from Washington came too late to factor into Thursday’s decision to release the Grace 1, but that Gibraltar was still studying it.

He suggested that it was possible for the vessel to be re-seized before it left Gibraltar’s waters.

— dpa