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Pastor who stole more than $631,000 from AIDS charities claims he’s ‘entitled to it’

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A New York City pastor is being charged with stealing money that was allocated to go to help HIV-positive drug addicts to use for Caribbean vacations and gifts for himself.

According to the New York Daily News, Bronx Pastor Reginald Williams, of the Charity Baptist Church of Christ, scammed nonprofit groups out of more than $631,000. Two others, Bennie Hadnott and Naomi Barrera, helped Williams and were charged with grand larceny in the Manhattan Supreme Court Wednesday.

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Hadnott scored $40,000 from a contract with his Tondah Consulting Group and he managed to get $54,000 in kickbacks on top of it.

“Williams allegedly used the money to pay off his American Express bill and write cashier’s checks to himself and his wife,” NYDN reported.

Two taxpayer-funded nonprofits were completely plundered, according to prosecutors. Barrera is accused of using proceeds from a real estate sale. Barrera scored $30,000 and Williams pocketed $135,000.

“Prosecutors said Williams also had a lucrative expense reimbursement hustle,” wrote the NYDN. “They said he expensed $100,000 spent on trips to the Bahamas, Jamaica and the Dominican Republic and treated himself to $170,000 worth of dinners and bar tabs. He allegedly double-dipped his reimbursements by submitting the same receipts to both ARC affiliates.”

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The men “shamelessly stole from publicly funded organizations dedicated to helping vulnerable New Yorkers,” said Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance. “Even while their organizations struggled financially – failing to meet contractual obligations and even furloughing employees without pay – these defendants continued to drain the coffers for their personal gain.”

Williams’ attorney disputes the account, saying that he raised over $14 million for the foundation. Because he raised the money, “he was entitled to” it, said attorney Paul Martin. “The board made the decision to pay my client, to pay him for the years in which he got no salary.”

Read the full report from the New York Daily News.

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US ‘lies’ slammed after Mike Pompeo blames Iran for drone attacks without proof

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Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Abbas Mousavi forcefully rejected Sunday unsubstantiated charges by by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and US Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) regarding the recent drone attacks that caused serious damage to two crucial Saudi Arabian oil installations.

“It has been around 5 years that the Saudi-led coalition has kept the flames of war alive in the region by repeatedly launching aggression against Yemen and committing different types of war crimes, and the Yemenis have also shown that they are standing up to war and aggression,” Seyyed Abbas Mousavi said in a statement.

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Why are college students so stressed out? It’s not because they’re ‘snowflakes’

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Across the country, college classes are well underway, the excitement of the start of the year is waning and student stress is on the rise. Frantic calls home and panicked visits to student health services will start to dramatically increase. And before long, parents and observers will start wondering what is wrong with these kids. Why can’t they handle the pressures of college and just pull it together?

College student stress is nothing new. Anxieties over homesickness, social pressures, challenging course loads and more have been a common feature of the U.S. college experience for decades. But, without question, student stress levels and psychological distress are measurably worse than before. According to a national study published earlier this year in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology, major depression among young adults (18-25) rose 63 percent between 2009 and 2017. They also report that the rate of young adults with suicidal thoughts or other suicide-related outcomes increased 47 percent from 2008 to 2017.

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Kaiser healthcare workers plan for nation’s largest strike since 1997

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More than 80,000 Kaiser Permanente emergency medical technicians, nurses, respiratory therapists and other staffers are threatening to walk out of work next month, in what could be the nation's largest strike since 1997.

The authorization to strike, approved by 98% of the union members who voted, does not mean a walk out will happen, but it does allow union leaders to call one as early as Oct. 1, giving them leverage ahead of negotiations with the California-based health care giant. Kaiser Permanente, comprised of 39 hospitals and nearly 700 medical officers, serves more than 12 million members in seven states across the country.

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