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New DOJ scandal emerges as anti-gay ‘Hookers for Jesus’ group gets awarded major grant

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According to an exclusive report from Reuters, internal complaints are emerging from the US Justice Department’s anti-human trafficking grant program. The complaints stem from two nonprofits that were denied funds which instead went to two less established groups “whose applications were not recommended by career DOJ officials.”

“The awarding of more than $1 million total to the two groups, Hookers for Jesus in Nevada and the Lincoln Tubman Foundation in South Carolina, has triggered a whistleblower complaint filed by the Justice Department’s employee union to the department’s Inspector General,” Reuters reports.

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Hookers for Jesus is run by born-again Christian Annie Lobert who is also a trafficking survivor. The organization runs a safe house which bars occupants from reading “secular magazines” that portray worldly views/advice on living, sex, clothing, makeup tips.” When asked if her organization is all-inclusive, Lobert replied that they are “not going to discriminate toward anyone.”

“But we are Christian. And there is an understanding before they come in here that we are Christian,” she added.

Reuters also reported that the group’s staff training manual describes homosexuality as immoral and describes drug use as “witchcraft.”

A Nevada official who reviewed a state grant in 2018 questioned whether Hookers for Jesus treated sex-trafficking victims like “prisoners.”

Read the full report here.

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Privacy rights may become next victim of killer pandemic

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Digital surveillance and smartphone technology may prove helpful in containing the coronavirus pandemic -- but some activists fear this could mean lasting harm to privacy and digital rights.

From China to Singapore to Israel, governments have ordered electronic monitoring of their citizens' movements in an effort to limit contagion. In Europe and the United States, technology firms have begun sharing "anonymized" smartphone data to better track the outbreak.

These moves have prompted soul-searching by privacy activists who acknowledge the need for technology to save lives while fretting over the potential for abuse.

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Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards honors staffer who died from COVID-19

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Gov. John Bel Edwards (D-LA) offered a moving tribute to a member of his staff who died from COVID-19.

"On behalf of the first lady and my entire administration, it is with heavy hearts that we mourn the loss of our dear April, who succumbed to complications from COVID-19," he posted on Twitter, along with photos.

"She brightened everyone’s day with her smile and was an inspiration to everyone who met her," he continued.

"She lived her life to the fullest and improved the lives of countless Louisianans with disabilities as a dedicated staff member in the Governor's Office of Disability Affairs. April worked hard as an advocate for herself & other members of the disability community," he wrote.

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Washington state nurses share shocking stories from their war against coronavirus

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by Ken Armstrong and Vianna Davila

Nurses at one hospital in southeastern Washington state have alleged that, amid the COVID-19 pandemic, they were ordered by supervisors to use one protective mask per shift, potentially exposing themselves to the novel coronavirus.

At another hospital, just east of Seattle, nurses had to use face shields indefinitely.

At a third hospital, on Washington’s border with Oregon, nurses reported that respirators were expired. The hospital responded, the nurses said, by ordering staff to remove stickers showing that the respirators might be as much as three years out of date.

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