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Florida sheriff defends deputies who stood by as teens drowned – and blames the girls

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Stung by criticism of his deputies after a dash cam video appeared to show them standing around as three teens drowned while trapped in a car that ran into a cemetery pond, a Florida sheriff blamed the girls for their own deaths.

Earlier in the week, the video was released where deputies could be heard describing screaming coming from the car containing 16-year-old Dominique Battle, 15-year-old Ashaunti Butler, and 15-year-old Laniya Miller following a car chase.  After one deputy is heard saying, “I hear them yelling, I think!” another replies “They’re done. They are 6-7, dude.”

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According to Bay News 9, Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri lashed back on Friday at the reports, insisting his officers did drop their gun belts and tried to save the teens.

“In reports that were written by the deputies who took their gun belts off, took their clothes off and went in the water – those deputies aren’t lying,” Gualtieri said.

Gualtieri then noted that the teens were running from the police in a stolen car at 4 in the morning, before he pointed the finger back at the victims.

“This isn’t a problem with the Sheriff’s Office,” said Gualtieri. “This isn’t a problem with the police. This is a problem with those kids engaged in criminal conduct running from the police. The police tried to go into the water and save their life and they couldn’t do it.”

Pinellas County has released multiple videos from the scene, with none showing the car going in the pond or officers attempting to free the girls.

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Watch the original dash cam video below:

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White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney caught on tape saying US is ‘desperate’

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White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney was caught on tape admitting that, despite President Donald Trump's policy preferences, the United States is "desperate" for more immigrants, according to a recording obtained by the Washington Post.

He further undermined the administration's claims of its economic prowess, admitting that immigration is necessary for sustained economic growth.

"We are desperate — desperate — for more people," Mulvaney said, according to the post, stressing that it should be legal. "We are running out of people to fuel the economic growth that we've had in our nation over the last four years. We need more immigrants."

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Hawaii holds woman over missing children amid suspicious deaths and ‘doomsday cult’ links

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A 46-year-old American woman with reported links to a doomsday cult and to at least three people whose deaths are being investigated has been arrested in Hawaii over the disappearance of her two children.

Lori Vallow was arrested Thursday on the island of Kauai and charged with felony desertion of the children, 7-year-old Joshua Vallow, who is autistic, and 17-year-old Tylee Ryan, police said in a statement.

According to US media reports, the children, who have different fathers, were last seen on September 23, 2019.

Their disappearance was reported in November by the boy's grandparents, who live in Louisiana and had heard nothing from the children for an extended period.

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Pressured by US sanctions, Cuba struggles to pay its debts

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Foreign companies going unpaid, creditor countries told to be patient: as Cuba struggles under the weight of US sanctions it has also been struggling to pay its debts, raising serious concern among its partners.

Having negotiated a restructuring of its debt with 14 countries through the Paris Club of creditors in 2015, Cuba last year failed to make timely payments to six of them - Austria, Belgium, Britain, France, Japan and Spain.

The Caribbean nation was supposed to pay those countries "$32 to $33 million" of the total $82 million due in 2019, one diplomatic source said. Its failure to do so leaves it facing stiff interest payments of 9 percent.

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