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Florida jury awards $17 million to abused migrant female farm workers

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A federal jury awarded almost $17.5 million to five former female employees of a South Florida farm who said they were either raped and sexually harassed at a vegetable packing plant, their lawyer and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) said on Thursday.

Three men, including two sons of the owner of Moreno Farms, near Fort Myers in southwest Florida, were accused of sexual harassment in 2011 and 2012 against the women in coolers and an office trailer at the packing house, including rape, groping, kissing and threats they would be fired if they refused to have sex with supervisors, according to the legal complaint brought against Moreno Farms.

However, the women are unlikely to receive a penny as the packing house closed after the case was brought and the men were never arrested, said a lawyer for the women, Victoria Mesa-Estrada.

“It’s more of a symbolic victory,” Mesa-Estrada said. “The women knew that when the case was brought. But for them it was a question of justice.”

Four of the women attended the two-day trial in Miami. “They were in tears when the verdict was read,” said Mesa-Estrada.

Reuters does not identify rape victims.

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The accused men did not appear in court nor was the company represented by an attorney during the trial. Reuters was unable to reach any of the accused men or Moreno Farms or their lawyers.

The women, three from Mexico, and two from Central America, were fired for resisting the three men, identified as Oscar and Omar Moreno, and packing line supervisor Javier Garcia, according to the complaint.

Three of the women were raped and two escaped attempted rape, according to the legal complaint. One woman was raped three times and one was raped by both brothers at the same time.

The women will be granted special U visas for victims of crime who assist law enforcement in prosecuting cases, said Mesa-Estrada.

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The women originally went to the police in Hendry County a few weeks after the abuse but prosecutors decided there was insufficient evidence to build a case against the men, said Mesa-Estrada.

“There was no real effort to investigate,” she said.

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QAnon authors in a fight over doing an audiobook — because they think their followers can’t read

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On Monday, The Daily Beast reported that the authors of a popular book for believers in the QAnon conspiracy theory are in a bitter fight over whether or not to release an audiobook version.

QAnon: An Invitation to The Great Awakening came out last year and peaked near the top of the Amazon bestseller list in March. One of the book's co-authors, Dustin Nemos, is publicly attacking another co-author, who goes by the name of "JoeM," for his "petty and hostile and paranoid" refusal to help produce an audiobook, and notes that it is necessary because a disproportionate number of QAnon believers are elderly, have bad eyesight, and may not be able to read the book as text. JoeM, for his part, has accused Nemos of being a "grifter" who is trying to make a buck off of true believers.

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Population of Earth to reach 9.7 billion in 2050: UN

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The world population is expected to climb to 9.7 billion in 2050 from 7.7 billion today, with the population of sub-Saharan Africa doubling, a United Nations report released Monday said.

The population could then grow to 11 billion by 2100, according to the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs's "World Population Prospects" report.

The study paints a picture of a future in which a handful of countries see their populaces surge as life expectancy lengthens while the global growth rate slows amid declining fertility rates.

By 2050, more than half of the world's population growth will be concentrated in just nine countries: India, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Indonesia, Egypt and the United States.

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Trump’s only winning strategy is to tear down Democrats — because he has nothing to promote: MSNBC panel

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President Donald Trump has little to promote for 2020, so political analysts on MSNBC think that he'll likely spend the campaign working to tear everyone else down.

Howard Fineman noted that if Trump intends to do a "tear down" campaign, the most important things Democrats will have are policy proposals to set themselves apart from a White House that is unwilling to pass anything through Congress.

"It's just a question of can he do what he did in 2016 and 2018, which was, frankly, mobilize voters in a fear-tactic kind of way," said Fineman during Monday's "Meet the Press."

Host Kasie Hunt said that it seems the new Trump poll numbers show that his base is losing enthusiasm as they go into the election.

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