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Los Angeles deputies break ranks to admit beating of jail visitor

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Two Los Angeles county sheriff’s deputies who are accused with three colleagues over the beating of a jail visitor have broken ranks on the eve of a trial and pleaded guilty.

Noel Womack and Pantamitr Zunggeemoge struck a deal with prosecutors which could see them testifying against their former colleagues, the Los Angeles Times reported on Monday, citing court filings.

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Womack ended years of denials by admitting deputies brutalised a visitor, Gabriel Carillo, who was handcuffed and held to the floor in a room at the sheriff’s department’s main jail facility in February 2011.

Federal authorities have investigated reports of several similar incidents in 2010 and 2011. Deputies allegedly beat visitors in a windowless, secluded room and then wrote reports falsely claiming the victims had instigated violence.

Womack agreed to plead guilty to a felony charge that he lied to FBI agents when he said he did not know if Carillo, who was visiting his brother, was handcuffed.

Zunggeemoge entered a guilty plea earlier this year, court records show, according to the Times. The agreement between prosecutors and Zunggeemoge, who had faced allegations of abuse and dishonesty, was sealed by a judge, keeping details secret.

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The trial of the five deputies is due to begin on 16 June. The plea agreements mark the first time in two decades that a sheriff’s deputy has been convicted in federal court of crimes related to excessive force.

Prosecutors have portrayed Sergeant Eric Gonzalez as a ringleader who fostered abusive behaviour. Gonzalez and the other accused deputies, Sussie Ayala and Fernando Luviano, have pleaded not guilty.

guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media 2015

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Kellyanne Conway lashes out at Democratic voters as ‘racist and sexist’ at Ohio GOP dinner

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Making an appearance at a Republican Party dinner in Columbus, Ohio, Kellyanne Conway accused Democratic voters of being "racist and sexist," in a diatribe as she tried to boost the fortunes of her boss, President Donald Trump.

According to a report from Cincinnati.com, Conway attacked the leading Democratic presidential nominees before making her claim.

“Their top three candidates are white, career politicians in their 60s and 70s, which I have nothing against except they (Democrats) certainly do,” Conway reportedly told the crowd. “I don’t know why the heck the Democratic party electorate is so racist and sexist. I can’t figure it out.”

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Betsy DeVos’ DOE threatens to cut university funding for positive portrayal of Islam

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The U.S Department of Education threatened to pull federal funding from a Middle East studies course jointly run by Duke University and the University of North Carolina because it portrays Islam too positively.

The DOE ordered the universities to change their program or lose its federal grant money. In a letter to UNC, the department criticized the program, arguing that topics like Iranian art and film have “little or no relevance” to the Middle East studies program. The letter also argues that the program “appears to lack balance” because its programs are not focused on the discrimination faced by “religious minorities in the Middle East," including Christians and Jews.

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Wall Street is ignoring the omens of recession — here’s why

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The Federal Reserve seems a lot more concerned about the state of the economy than it’s been letting on.

The Fed lowered its target interest rate by a quarter point on Sept. 18, the second such cut since July – and the first reductions since the Great Recession more than 10 years ago.

Judging by the words of Fed Chair Jerome Powell, this isn’t that big a deal. In his statement following the decision, he said: “We took this step to help keep the U.S. economy strong in the face of some notable developments and to provide insurance against ongoing risks.”

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