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Mexico identifies two women who may have received non-consensual surgeries in ICE detention

The finding is part of a larger Mexican investigation into allegations of improper medical care for detained migrant women at ICE’s privately-run Irwin Country Detention Center in Ocilla, Georgia.

In a statement released during the weekend, Mexico’s Foreign Ministry said one Mexican national received “a surgical intervention” that she did not authorize. The ministry specified that the operation was not a hysterectomy, and said she did not receive post-operative care. The woman also did not receive treatment for a hernia, the statement adds.

A second woman in Mexico allegedly underwent a gynecological surgery “without her full consent,” according to the Ministry, which did not specify the type of surgery. The statement says she did not “receive an explanation in Spanish of the medical diagnosis or the nature of the medical procedures that would be performed.” The government says it is “verifying” this case.

Reached for comment on Tuesday, ICE released a statement attributed to Acting Director Tony Pham that the allegations “raise very serious concerns that deserve to be investigated,” and are being reviewed by both the Office of Inspector General where the original whistleblower complaint was filed, and the Department of Homeland Security.

“If there is any truth to these allegations, it is my commitment to make the corrections necessary to ensure we continue to prioritize the health, welfare and safety of ICE detainees,” Pham said in the statement.

In September, Dawn Wooten, a licensed practical nurse formerly employed at Georgia’s Irwin County Detention Center filed a complaint raising concerns about an undetermined number of hysterectomies supposedly performed there, as well as alleged medical neglect.

At least 20 women have since been interviewed by Mexican officials as part of the ongoing investigation. According to an earlier statement by the Foreign Ministry, five women said they had “interactions” with a doctor who has been linked to allegedly improper surgeries.

Dr. Ada Rivera, medical director of the ICE Health Service Corps, has said in a statement that since 2018, only two individuals at the Irwin County Detention Center have been referred to certified, credentialed medical professionals at gynecological and obstetrical health care facilities for hysterectomies.

“Based on their evaluations, these specialists recommended hysterectomies. These recommendations were reviewed by the facility clinical authority and approved,” Rivera said, citing agency data.

Through a spokesperson, LaSalle Corrections, the company that operates Irwin facility, said in a statement that “all females in our care receive routine, age-appropriate gynecological and obstetrical health care, consistent with recognized community guidelines for women’s health services.”

LaSalle also mentioned the two cases cited by ICE’s Rivera as the only two referred to certified, credentialed medical professionals at gynecological and obstetrical health care facilities for hysterectomies in compliance with National Commission on Correctional Health Care (NCCHC) standards.

According to the Ministry, Mexico’s consulate in Atlanta, Georgia is in contact with a lawyer for a possible class action lawsuit and “with the women who could be included in it, in order to explore legal channels that address the violation of their rights.”

Coronavirus live updates: Mexico confirms 1st case of someone with both COVID-19 and influenza

There were 44,614 new cases of COVID-19 identified in the United States on Sunday, according to a real-time count kept by Johns Hopkins University.

The latest daily tally is down by more than 10,000 from the previous day and falls well under the country’s record set on July 16, when there were 77,255 new cases in a 24-hour-reporting period.

An additional 400 coronavirus-related fatalities were also recorded Sunday, down from a peak of 2,666 new fatalities reported on April 17.

A total of 7,762,809 people in the United States have been diagnosed with COVID-19 since the pandemic began, and at least 214,771 of them have died, according to Johns Hopkins. The cases include people from all 50 U.S. states, Washington, D.C. and other U.S. territories as well as repatriated citizens.

By May 20, all U.S. states had begun lifting stay-at-home orders and other restrictions put in place to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus. The day-to-day increase in the country’s cases then hovered around 20,000 for a couple of weeks before shooting back up and crossing 70,000 for the first time in mid-July. The daily tally of new cases has gradually come down since then but has started to climb again in recent weeks.

Week-over-week comparisons show the number of new cases reported across the nation continues to go up, as does the usage of intensive care units, but the number of new deaths are down, according to an internal memo from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that was obtained by ABC News last week.

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New Mexico reports 298 new coronavirus cases

SANTA FE, N.M. — New Mexico officials have reported 298 additional known COVID-19 cases and three more deaths, increasing the statewide totals to 30,296 cases with 890 deaths. The additional cases reported Saturday included 75 in Bernalillo County, 67 in Dona Ana County, 32 in Chaves County, 22 in Lea County and 20 in Curry County. The three deaths occurred one each in Bernalillo, Curry and Dona Ana counties and involving people in their 70s or 80s with underlying conditions.

HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE VIRUS OUTBREAK:

— President Trump’s doctors say he’s doing well in hospital, in ‘good spirits’


— Trump’s diagnosis shows US vulnerability to the coronavirus

— India’s COVID-19 fatalities top 100,000, only trail US, Brazil

— Madrid starts first day under a partial lockdown with police controlling travel in and out of the Spanish capital, which has become a coronavirus hotspot.

— The Nobel Prizes show how slow, basic science pays off, even though everyone wants quick fixes to global problems. The Nobels, with new winners announced next week, often concentrate on unheralded and methodical basic science.

— The NFL postponed Sunday’s game between New England and the Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs after positive coronavirus tests on both teams.

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Follow AP’s pandemic coverage at http://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak

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HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:

PHOENIX — Numerous inmates say Arizona’s prison system has failed to provide necessary testing, supplies and treatment during the coronavirus pandemic. The Arizona Republic reports that dozens of letters from inmates in recent months said the Arizona Department of Corrections, Rehabilitation and Reentry wasn’t protecting staff and inmates during the outbreak. The Republic reports inmates’ letters describing fears and frustrations, asking for help while others provided graphic details in personal narratives of surviving the virus. A department spokesperson denied many allegations by inmates, including that sick inmates weren’t tested. Department spokesperson Judy Keane also cited health and safety protocols announced during the pandemic.

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LONDON — Britain has recorded 12,872 new coronavirus infections, by far the highest daily total since the outbreak began, though the figure includes a backlog of previously unreported cases.

The government says the figure includes an unspecified number of deaths over the past week that have not been reported because of a now-resolved “technical issue.”

Saturday’s total is more than 5,000 cases more than the previous high, recorded earlier this week.

Britain is seeing a second spike in coronavirus cases, though the daily number can’t directly be compared to the outbreak’s U.K. peak in April because many more tests are now being performed now.

The number of hospitalizations and deaths is also rising but remains far below the U.K.’s springtime peak. Another 49 COVID-19 deaths were reported on Saturday. Britain’s official coronavirus death toll is 42,317.

The government has imposed restrictions on social gatherings to try and curb the spread of the virus, and almost a third of the country’s population of 66 million is under tighter local lockdown measures.

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NEW YORK

Mexico, Plagued by Cartel Wars, on Cusp of Legal Cannabis ‘Green Rush’ | World News

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – For Guillermo Nieto, a Mexican businessman who grew up smoking pot, the cannabis greenhouse on his family’s vast farmlands in Guanajuato state is part of a bigger dream. One that involves deep-pocketed pharmaceutical companies.

Nieto and several Mexican businessmen have spent years positioning themselves for a time when the country opens up what would be the world’s biggest legal cannabis market in terms of population, where the drug can be lawfully cultivated and sold.

Mexico finally outlined rules in July covering cannabis for medical use, and the sign-off is expected in coming weeks.

A bigger prize may also be close for Nieto and foreign companies; Senate majority leader Ricardo Monreal told Reuters he expected a law to be passed before December for recreational use of the drug, allowing regulated private firms to sell it to the public.

“It’s going to generate a market,” said Nieto, wearing a smart blue shirt, blazer, and bright marijuana-leaf print yellow socks. “We are expecting to create jobs and revenue for the government. We think it could really help our economy.”

Indeed the legal cannabis industry is already a multi-billion-dollar global trade, and some big players, including Canada’s Canopy Growth and The Green Organic Dutchman, and a unit of California-based Medical Marijuana Inc, told Reuters they were eager to tap the new Mexican market.

Business aside, Nieto says the new regulations will have a profound social impact on the conservative nation of 126 million people, where drugs are a sensitive subject due to a long and painful history of violence perpetuated by feuding cartels.

“The first thing that will happen is that no Mexican will die or go to jail because of this plant,” Nieto said.

“With that, everyone wins.”

Dario Contreras Sanchez aims to set up a business making products like soaps and pain-relieving oils from cannabis that he would grow legally near his family’s hacienda in Durango state, where the powerful Sinaloa Cartel has held sway for decades.

He believes farmers near him who cultivate the plant for narcos would want to sell their produce lawfully – if the government permits them.

“Most of the people want to work legally,” said Contreras Sanchez, whose sister married into the family of former Mexican drug lord Amado Carrillo Fuentes.

However Mexicans are by no means unified on this issue.

While a growing cannabis industry promises to be a money-spinner, it faces resistance from campaigners who are worried that regulations for both medical and non-medical cannabis will heavily favor big, often foreign corporations.

They fear legislation will shut out small family producers and fail to offer a path to legalization for many farmers who make a living by feeding Mexico’s illegal narcotics trade.

The initial regulations covering medical use permit entrepreneurs such as Nieto to grow marijuana on behalf of pharmaceutical companies and allows foreign businesses to import medical cannabis products into the country.

However Mexico’s Supreme Court, which has effectively legalized cannabis by ruling prohibition is unconstitutional, has given the government

Mexico, plagued by cartel wars, on cusp of legal cannabis ‘green rush’

By Drazen Jorgic

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – For Guillermo Nieto, a Mexican businessman who grew up smoking pot, the cannabis greenhouse on his family’s vast farmlands in Guanajuato state is part of a bigger dream. One that involves deep-pocketed pharmaceutical companies.

Nieto and several Mexican businessmen have spent years positioning themselves for a time when the country opens up what would be the world’s biggest legal cannabis market in terms of population, where the drug can be lawfully cultivated and sold.

Mexico finally outlined rules in July covering cannabis for medical use, and the sign-off is expected in coming weeks.

A bigger prize may also be close for Nieto and foreign companies; Senate majority leader Ricardo Monreal told Reuters he expected a law to be passed before December for recreational use of the drug, allowing regulated private firms to sell it to the public.

“It’s going to generate a market,” said Nieto, wearing a smart blue shirt, blazer, and bright marijuana-leaf print yellow socks. “We are expecting to create jobs and revenue for the government. We think it could really help our economy.”

Indeed the legal cannabis industry is already a multi-billion-dollar global trade, and some big players, including Canada’s Canopy Growth and The Green Organic Dutchman, and a unit of California-based Medical Marijuana Inc, told Reuters they were eager to tap the new Mexican market.

Business aside, Nieto says the new regulations will have a profound social impact on the conservative nation of 126 million people, where drugs are a sensitive subject due to a long and painful history of violence perpetuated by feuding cartels.

“The first thing that will happen is that no Mexican will die or go to jail because of this plant,” Nieto said.

“With that, everyone wins.”

Dario Contreras Sanchez aims to set up a business making products like soaps and pain-relieving oils from cannabis that he would grow legally near his family’s hacienda in Durango state, where the powerful Sinaloa Cartel has held sway for decades.

He believes farmers near him who cultivate the plant for narcos would want to sell their produce lawfully – if the government permits them.

“Most of the people want to work legally,” said Contreras Sanchez, whose sister married into the family of former Mexican drug lord Amado Carrillo Fuentes.

However Mexicans are by no means unified on this issue.

While a growing cannabis industry promises to be a money-spinner, it faces resistance from campaigners who are worried that regulations for both medical and non-medical cannabis will heavily favor big, often foreign corporations.

They fear legislation will shut out small family producers and fail to offer a path to legalization for many farmers who make a living by feeding Mexico’s illegal narcotics trade.

‘GREEN RUSH’ FRONTIER

The initial regulations covering medical use permit entrepreneurs such as Nieto to grow marijuana on behalf of pharmaceutical companies and allows foreign businesses to import medical cannabis products into the country.

However Mexico’s Supreme Court, which has effectively legalized cannabis by