Fatalities

5 children killed in day care center fire in Pennsylvania

ERIE, Pa.

An early morning fire in Pennsylvania at a residential building housing a day care center killed five children and sent the owner to the hospital, authorities said.

The fire was reported in Erie, a northwest lake town, at about 1:15 a.m. Sunday, Chief Guy Santone of the Erie Fire Department said.

The victims ranged in ages from 8 months to 7 years, Santone said. The Erie Regional Chamber and Growth Partnership lists a day care at the fire address.

Valerie Lockett-Slupski, standing across the street from the fire-damaged house, said she was the grandmother of four of the children, and that they were staying at the day care because their parents were working overnight, the Erie Times-News reported . She said the family had two boys and two girls and had used the day care for almost a year.

“So we are all at a loss, trying to figure out how this happened,” Lockett-Slupski told the newspaper.

Immigration

‘Let our voices be heard’: March against raids

CANTON, Miss.

The children of Sacred Heart Catholic Church streamed out into Mississippi’s heat on a blistering Sunday afternoon, carrying what they said was a message of opposition against immigration raids their parents could not.

“I will not sit in silence while my parents are taken away,” read a sign carried by two Hispanic boys. They were among a group of several dozen marchers who set out on foot from the church to the town square in Canton to protest the 680 migrant arrests at seven poultry plants in Mississippi last Wednesday.

“Imagine coming home and not finding your parents,” said Dulce Basurto-Arce, an 18-year-old community college student, describing how parents of friends were arrested. “We are marching so no other kid has to go through what we went through. Let our voices be heard!”

Basurto-Arce spoke from the steps of the same courthouse in Canton where Martin Luther King Jr. once rallied protesters against segregation in a 1966 “March Against Fear” across Mississippi.

International

When light is lethal: Moroccans struggle with skin disorder

CASABLANCA, Morocco

Determined for her 7-year-old son to attend school despite a life-threatening sensitivity to sunlight, Nadia El Rami stuck a deal with the school’s director: Mustapha would be allowed in the classroom, but only if he studies inside a cardboard box.

Mustapha Redouane happily accepted the arrangement. He knew his mother’s idea would silence the school’s worries about his condition, a rare genetic disorder called xeroderma pigmentosum, or XP, which can make sun rays and other sources of ultraviolet light extremely damaging to the skin and eyes. The disorder is more common in North Africa than much of the world.

“I hate the sun anyways. It gives me blisters,” he said, sitting on his mother’s lap, his face covered with the dark brown freckles that the school director considered a distraction to other students.

Now 8, Mustapha has already had 11 operations to remove cancerous growths on his skin.

His family is among thousands around the world struggling with XP, and increasingly sharing advice and seeking new treatments. In Morocco, families are also fighting for recognition, government help — and the simple right to go to school.

COURTS

Trial to start in million-dollar suburban drug ring

SALT LAKE CITY

As America’s opioid crisis spiraled into a fentanyl epidemic, prosecutors say one young Utah man made himself a drug kingpin by creating counterfeit prescription painkillers laced with the deadly drug and mailing them to homes across the United States.

Former Eagle Scout Aaron Shamo, 29, will stand trial beginning Monday on allegations that he and a small group of fellow millennials ran a multimillion-dollar empire from the basement of his suburban Salt Lake City home by trafficking hundreds of thousands of pills containing fentanyl, the potent synthetic opioid that has exacerbated the country’s overdose epidemic in recent years.

The federal government’s case is expected to offer a glimpse at how the drug, which has killed tens of thousands of Americans, can be imported from China, pressed into fake pills and sold through online black markets to people in every state.

Prosecutors have alleged that dozens of the ring’s customers died in overdoses, though the defense disputes that and Shamo is charged only in connection to one: a 21-year-old identified as R.K., who died in June 2016 after snorting fentanyl allegedly passed off as prescription oxycodone.

Shamo’s family, though, said he’s been singled out even as deeply involved friends are offered more lenient plea deals. His father, Mike Shamo, said his son was a chess whiz as a kid who experimented with marijuana in his teen years, but later earned his Eagle Scout badge crocheting blankets for a hospital.

— Associated Press

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