Ross Perot, former presidential candidate, dies at age 89

Political News Ross Perot, former presidential candidate, dies at age 89

Kris Connor/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Businessman and former presidential candidate Ross Perot has died.

He was 89 years old.

Family spokesperson James Fuller confirmed his death Tuesday to ABC News, and did not immediately disclose the nature or cause of his death.

“With deep sadness, I am letting you know that Mr. Perot passed away early Tuesday at his home, surrounded by his family,” Fuller said in the statement.

“Mr. Perot was a true patriot and a dedicated humanitarian. He will be missed greatly,” Fuller said.

He is survived by his wife Margot and their five children.

“Family, friends, and associates are encouraged to honor Mr. Perot’s memory by continuing to support his commitment to these organizations: Circle Ten Council of the Boy Scouts of America, Perot Museum of Nature and Science, North Texas Food Bank, Salvation Army DFW, Teach for America: Dallas/ Fort Worth, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and Visiting Nurses Association of Dallas,” Fuller said in the statement.

The billionaire businessman became a household name due to his role as a third party candidate in the 1992 and 1996 presidential races.

According to Forbes’ latest available data, Perot was worth $4.1 billion at the time of his death.

Early in his life, he served in the Navy, before returning home and making the treatment of veterans and prisoners of war a part of his later activism work.

He made his billions through his computer systems work, starting his career at IBM before leaving to found Electronic Data Systems, an information technology and services company.

His most notable foray into politics started with his 1992 presidential bid, when he ran as an independent candidate against then-President George H. W. Bush and Democratic challenger Bill Clinton.

He tried again in 1996, running as the creator of the Reform Party, winning 8.4 percent of the vote when he faced off against then-President Clinton and Republican challenger Bob Dole.

Fellow Texan and former President George W. Bush released a statement of condolences.

“Texas and America have lost a strong patriot. Ross Perot epitomized the entrepreneurial spirit and the American creed. He gave selflessly of his time and resources to help others in our community, across our country, and around the world. He loved the U.S. military and supported our service members and veterans. Most importantly, he loved his dear wife, children, and grandchildren. Laura and I send our heartfelt condolences to the entire Perot family as they celebrate a full life,” Bush said in his statement.

This is a breaking news story. Please check back for updates.

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Posted On 09 Jul 2019

Billionaire activist Tom Steyer enters 2020 presidential contest, after passing on bid earlier this year

Political News Billionaire activist Tom Steyer enters 2020 presidential contest, after passing on bid earlier this year

iStock(NEW YORK) — Tom Steyer, the billionaire liberal activist who earlier this year said he would not pursue the Democratic nomination for president, reversed course on Tuesday, announcing his campaign for president in 2020.

“The other Democratic candidates for President have many great ideas that will absolutely move our country forward, but we won’t be able to get any of those done until we end the hostile corporate takeover of our democracy,” Steyer said in a release.

“As an outsider, I’ve led grassroots efforts that have taken on big corporations and won results for people. That’s not something you see a lot of from Washington these days. That’s why I’m running for President.”

Steyer, who has poured millions of his own money into electing Democrats throughout the years, said in January that he would not seek the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020, instead saying he would redouble his efforts to impeach President Donald Trump.

“I will be dedicating 100 percent of my time, effort and resources to one cause: working for Mr. Trump’s impeachment and removal from office,” he said in January.

In a tweet on Tuesday, he conceded that his efforts to “hold the president accountable” are “not enough.”

But now Steyer is shifting its focus to beating Trump at the ballot box, and in a four-minute video released Tuesday, he unveiled his platform for his presidential bid, focused on curbing the influence of corporations in politics and combating climate change.

“I think what people believe is that the system has left them,” he said in the video. “I think that people that corporations have bought the democracy, that the politicians don’t care about or respect them, don’t put them first, are not working for them, but are actually working for the people who have rigged the system. Really what we’re doing is make democracy work by pushing power down to the people.”

Steyer seems to be angling to cast himself as an outsider with a populist message to appeal to the broad spectrum of ideologies in the Democratic Party, amid the massive Democratic field, which now still stands at 24 candidates after California Rep. Eric Swalwell’s exit Monday.

“Americans are deeply disappointed and hurt by the way they’re treated by what they think is the power elite in Washington, D.C., and that goes across party lines and it goes across geography,” he asserted. “We’ve got to take the corporate control out of our politics … We care about improving the world and handing it on to the next generation in a way so that they can lead better lives than we’ve had.”

“And that’s exactly what I’m doing,” he added.

In 2018, through his two political organizations, Need to Impeach and NextGen America, Steyer spent $120 million in the midterm elections with the goal of electing progressive candidates across the country, turning out young voters and garnering support for Trump’s impeachment.

Despite his multi-million dollar push to impeach the president, which began in 2017 with the launch of the grassroots organization he heads dedicated to removing Trump, the word “impeachment” is never mentioned throughout his announcement video. But the video does briefly feature the president, his son, Donald Trump Jr.; Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell; and other controversial figures including: former Trump campaign chairman, Paul Manafort; former pharmaceuticals CEO, Martin Shrkeli; and disgraced financier Bernie Madoff.

Steyer has been one of most generous Democratic donors in the past few election cycles, pouring at least $236 million in federal elections since 2014, according to the Center for Responsive Politics’ analysis of campaign finance data.

Steyer quickly rose to the single biggest political contributor in 2014 when he funneled nearly $74 million into federal elections through a super PAC he launched that year, NextGen Climate Action.

He has since remained as one of the top donors, spending more than $91 million during 2016 election cycle and another $74 million in the last cycle.

The California billionaire also dropped $12 million into Need to Impeach in its first year.

So far this election cycle, Steyer has given $250,000 to Latino Victory Fund and $25,000 to Young Democrats of America Political Action Committee, though we’re expected to see bigger numbers once super PACs file new FEC reports next week.

His outside groups position him to begin his presidential ambitions with a robust grassroots network, despite his late entry into the race.

The former hedge fund investor joins the crowded field with only one week before the qualifying deadline for the second Democratic debates in Detroit at the end of this month. To land on a debate stage, he will need to cross the 65,000 donor mark or garner 1 percent in at least three polls, but both appear unlikely in such a short time frame.

Even if he accumulates 65,000 donors, Steyer would be the 21st candidate to qualify and likely be edged out by the 20 other candidates who have secured a spot through polling, according to the Democratic National Committee’s tiebreaker rules.

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Posted On 09 Jul 2019

Missing American scientist found dead in Greece, research institute says

WORLD NEWS Missing American scientist found dead in Greece, research institute says

Biotechnology Center of the TU Dresden(LONDON) — An American scientist has been found dead in Greece, nearly a week after she vanished.

Greek authorities recovered the body of U.S. citizen Suzanne Eaton on Monday evening, according to the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics in Dresden, Germany, where Eaton was a research group leader.

The 59-year-old molecular biologist is survived by her husband and two sons.

“It is with enormous sadness and regret that we announce the tragic demise of our dearest friend and colleague, Suzanne Eaton,” the institute said in a statement Tuesday. “We are deeply shocked and disturbed by this tragic event. Suzanne was an outstanding and inspiring scientist, a loving spouse and mother, an athlete as well as a truly wonderful person beloved to us all. Her loss is unbearable.”

The Hellenic Police, the national police service of Greece, have not responded to ABC News’ requests for comment.

Eaton, a native of Oakland, Oklahoma, was attending a conference on the Greek island of Crete last week when she disappeared. She was last seen on the afternoon of July 2 near the port city of Chania. Greek authorities had launched a search for her in the area.

Eaton’s running shoes were also missing, leading colleagues to suspect she may have gone for a run.

“The authorities have not yet completed their investigation regarding the events that may have transpired on Tuesday afternoon, 2nd July, and we will provide further updates as we receive information,” the institute said.

An official with the U.S. Department of State told ABC News Monday they were aware of reports that an American citizen was missing in Greece and were working closely with local authorities as they carried out search efforts.

Eaton was also a professor at the Biotechnology Center of the Technical University of Dresden in Germany, known as TU Dresden. Her colleagues there described her as “an immensely renowned scientist” and a “remarkable person.”

“We were shocked to learn of the death of our dear colleague and friend, Prof. Suzanne Eaton,” Hans Muller-Steinhagen, rector of the TU Dresden, said in a statement Tuesday. “We have lost an immensely renowned scientist and a truly outstanding human being.”

“We have come to know Suzanne as a lively and committed woman who made a decisive contribution to the development of our institute. Her sudden and untimely death is devastating for us all,” Michael Schroeder, director of the TU Dresden Biotechnology Center, said in a statement Tuesday. “We will remember Suzanne as a remarkable person. We are profoundly saddened and speechless.”

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Posted On 09 Jul 2019

‘Stranger Things’ season three off to record-breaking start, says Netflix

Entertainment News  'Stranger Things' season three off to record-breaking start, says Netflix


Netflix(NEW YORK) — Stranger Things is off to a record-breaking third season — at least, according to Netflix.

In a Monday tweet, Netflix claimed that “40.7 million household accounts have been watching the show since its July 4 global launch — more than any other film or series in its first four days.”

It should be noted that Netflix defines a view as a member account that has watched 70 percent of one episode of a series, or 70 percent of a film.

The tweet goes went to claim that “18.2 million have already finished the entire season.”

All Netflix viewer numbers need to be taken with a grain of salt, however, since unlike Nielsen viewer numbers, Netflix’s audience measurements and their methods aren’t available for independent verification.

Stranger Things, set in the 1980s, follows a group of kids — played by Finn Wolfhard, Gaten Matarazzo, Caleb McLaughlin and Millie Bobby Brown — who encounter supernatural events in their seemingly ordinary town of Hawkins, Indiana.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved. 

Posted On 09 Jul 2019

87% of US hospices surveyed had deficiencies, inspector general says

LPETTET/iStock(WASHINGTON) — A pair of startling new reports from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General paints a troubling picture of America’s hospice system — with serious deficiencies in some cases and a lack of action from the federal government to remedy them.

According to the reports, released Tuesday, 87% of hospices that were surveyed over a five-year period that participated in Medicare had a deficiency, which means that they failed to meet one or more Medicare requirements to provide adequate care. And most of the hospices with a deficiency had multiple deficiencies.

Deficiencies can involve anything from poor care planning to serious deficiencies such as improperly vetting staff and inadequate quality control. According to the reports, 20% of hospices surveyed had serious deficiencies (when “a hospice violates one or more standards and the hospice’s capacity to furnish adequate care is substantially limited or adversely affects the health and safety of patients”) — a number that quadrupled from 2012 to 2015 and then decreased slightly in 2016.

To conduct the survey, nearly all of the more than 4,500 hospices that provided care to Medicare beneficiaries were contacted (90 percent of U.S. hospices are certified by Medicare). Of the 300 hospices across the country identified as poor performers (those with serious deficiencies), the report discovered that some had a history of serious deficiencies and complaints. One-third of hospices had complaints filed against them and for almost half of these hospices, the complaints were severe.

“They key takeaway is that when hospices do not fulfill their obligations, there can be real human costs and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services [CMS] needs to hold hospices accountable,” said Nancy Harrison, the deputy regional inspector general. CMS is part of the Department of Health and Human Services.

The reports laid out 12 examples of when patients were harmed due to their hospice care. In one instance, a hospice patient developed maggots around his feeding tube insertion site. In another, hospice staff failed to recognize and report signs and symptoms of possible sexual assault of a beneficiary. And in a third case, a patient who needed to receive 24-hour respiratory care got no treatment for two months.

“In order to ensure quality care and protect the health and safety of patients, CMS needs to follow through when it does identify problems,” Harrison said.

One of the problems the report identified was a lack of accountability. None of the hospices associated with the 12 cases in the reports faced serious consequences from CMS for causing harm. Harrison said that there should be more intermediate remedies such as monetary penalties and staff discipline to help address the issues.

“Other than termination, CMS does not have the tools to hold hospices accountable,” Harrison said.

What’s especially troubling to Harrison is that there is no way for patients to look up the performance record of a hospice prior to entering its care.

“You can go onto Hospice Compare and find a hospice provider near your home, but you cannot see how well that hospice performs,” Harrison said. “Hospice Compare tells you nothing about deficiencies nor does it give you the number complaints against the hospice.”

According to the reports, the top four poor-performing states are Texas, California, Missouri and South Carolina.

The OIG listed a series of recommendations for CMS to adopt to improve its quality of care including making all of its deficiency and complaint data public, increasing oversight of hospices with a history of serious deficiencies and strengthening requirements for hospices to report abuse, neglect and other harm.

“There are a lot of great hospices out there,” Harrison said. “There are a lot of highly skilled professionals who are dedicated to helping people leave this life with comfort and dignity, and the public should know about them. Families should be able to find them. It shouldn’t be secret.”

CMS did not immediately respond to requests for an interview.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

US Women’s National Team describe historic fourth World Cup title

Sports News US Women's National Team describe historic fourth World Cup title

Naomi Baker – FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images(NEW YORK) — The U.S. Women’s National Team are back home after their historic World Cup win and the celebrations have just begun.

Megan Rapinoe, Alex Morgan, Julie Ertz, Rose Lavelle, Alyssa Naeher, Carli Lloyd, Jessica McDonald, Crystal Dunn and the rest of the USWNT joined ABC News’ Good Morning America along with their coach Jill Ellis for a welcome home party and shared in the ongoing excitement on the heels of their record-breaking run.

When asked how she felt about being part of a dynasty, Rapinoe said, “I think it suits us. This team fits well into that word.”

The now four-time FIFA Women’s World Cup champions defeated the Netherlands 2-0 Sunday to earn their second consecutive title and notched some impressive records throughout the 2019 tournament in France.

For Lavelle, the win was the manifestation of something she worked towards her whole life.

“I never liked to call it a dream. It’s always something I’ve envisioned,” she said. “And I felt like it was going to be a reality someday.”

The U.S. broke its own record for the most FIFA Women’s World Cup wins of any country with four and joins Germany as the only other country with back-to-back titles.

They scored the most goals in a single Women’s World Cup match — 13 against Thailand in their first match in the group stage — and set a new record for the most goals scored in a FIFA Women’s World Cup tournament — 26 in total.

Co-captain Morgan tied a record, which had stood from Michelle Akers when the tournament began in 1991, for the most goals scored in a single women’s soccer game with five in the win over Thailand.

The team’s manager, Ellis, became the first women’s coach to ever win two World Cup titles in the history of the sport. She became the first coach in men’s or women’s soccer to win two World Cup titles since the 1930s.

“It’s been the greatest team I’ve ever been involved with,” Ellis said of the group of talented players.

Sunday’s final was the most-watched soccer match on English-language television since the 2015 Women’s World Cup final, according to Fox Sports who broadcasted the tournament.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 09 Jul 2019

15-year-old Coco Gauff describes her ‘roller coaster’ Wimbledon run

Sports News 15-year-old Coco Gauff describes her 'roller coaster' Wimbledon run

ABC News(NEW YORK) — Tennis phenom Cori “Coco” Gauff, appeared cool and calm as she took Wimbledon by storm, but she said Tuesday she was just as surprised as everyone that she became the star of the All England Club.

“This has all happened as a surprise,” Gauff said on ABC News’ Good Morning America. “I came into the tournament as a wild card into qualifying, and then to end up playing the No. 1 seed in qualifying, and then once I got through qualifying, playing my idol first round, this tournament has really been a roller coaster.”

Gauff, 15, was ranked No. 313 in the world going into Wimbledon.

She became the youngest player to ever qualify for Wimbledon and defeated 39-year-old Venus Williams in straight sets in the first round. After beating Williams, she beat Magdaléna Rybáriková to reach the third round, where she faced Polona Hercog of Slovenia.

That match on Friday cemented her place in history, as she fought back from two match points, including a second set tiebreak, to come out on top. In doing so, Gauff became the youngest player to make it to the second week of Wimbledon since 1991.

“Being down those match points and then coming back, that was definitely a great feeling,” said Gauff, who competed at Wimbledon while taking school tests.

Throughout her inspiring run, Gauff was supported by family, friends and strangers in her hometown of Delray Beach, Florida, who gathered at a local restaurant to watch her matches. She received support online from celebrities including from Beyoncé’s mom, Tina Knowles, Jaden Smith and former first lady Michelle Obama.

Even so, Gauff said it was the cheering fans present at Wimbledon that stand out as her greatest memory from tournament.

“I think the most I’m going to remember is the crowd here,” she said. “Ever since the first match they’ve been supporting me, even when I was down those match points they were supporting me, and even after I lost my match they were clapping for me.”

“The people here have just been so kind and so amazing,” she added.

Gauff’s parents, Corey and Candi Gauff, also went viral during Wimbledon for their reactions to their daughter’s incredible play.

Gauff said she always felt her parents’ support both on and off the court.

“Their support means a lot to me,” she said. “After the match, the first thing that came out of their mouths was that they were proud of me, even though I didn’t play my best, but they were still proud of me that I fought as hard as I could.”

Gauff is only allowed to play a limited number of pro tournaments due to her age. She said she hopes to play in the Citi Open in Washington, D.C., later this month. Fans can also catch her at the U.S. Open in August.

“For sure I’m going to be playing in New York,” she said.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 09 Jul 2019

Family fights for screening that could have saved son from muscle-wasting disease

Courtesy Philipps Family(NEW YORK) — After finding out that a simple screening could have prevented their son from developing an often fatal muscle-wasting disease, one couple is fighting to make the genetic test required for other newborns so no other family has to suffer the way they did.

Chris and Regina Philipps of Haddon Heights, New Jersey, describe their 17-month-old son, Shane, as a typical toddler in every way.

“I call him a thrill seeker,” Chris Philipps, 34, told ABC News’ Good Morning America. “Very happy, very pleasant, waves to everybody that comes in.”

Regina Philipps, 33, added that he is “very bright” and “very loving,” saying, “we always say he’s an old soul.”

When Shane was just 10 months old, he was diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy, a genetic disease that affects the motor nerve cells in the spinal cord, and eventually erodes your ability to eat, walk or even breathe. It is the number one genetic cause of death for infants, according to the nonprofit advocacy group Cure SMA. It currently affects approximately 1 in 11,000 babies in the U.S.

While it’s classified as a rare disease, “as a rare disease it’s relatively common,” according to Dr. Darryl C. Devivo, a child neurologist at Columbia University’s Department of Pediatrics.

In severe cases “it’s a life-threatening disease,” Devivo added. “It’s a disabling disease in all cases.”

If Shane had been screened, diagnosed and treated before he started exhibiting symptoms of the disease “his outcome would basically be a normal life,” his mom told GMA.

“Now, we just don’t know what his life will be like,” she said, adding that doctors have said he’ll likely never walk.

The life expectancy of babies diagnosed with SMA can vary based on the type and severity. Babies born with SMA Type I usually die before the age of 2, according to the SMA Foundation. Babies with other forms, such as Shane’s SMA Type II, can survive longer and into adulthood, though the disease can take a significant toll on motor skills, development and more.

“It’s a very unfortunate situation for all of us, but a lot of people out there have it way worse, and we are very lucky to live in a time with all these treatments,” Chris Philipps said.

Why SMA is so hard to diagnose in babies without the screening

One of the issues with diagnosing SMA before a baby exhibits symptoms, however, is that the symptoms of the often deadly disease are largely undetectable for the first few months of a baby’s life.

“Shane was born totally healthy, not an abnormal pregnancy at all, he was actually really strong we felt for a baby, holding his head up on his own after a week,” Regina Philipps said.

At 6 months old, she said that he wasn’t doing small things such as kicking his legs, but as first-time parents, they were initially told that it shouldn’t be something to worry about.

“We took him to the pediatrician, she said ‘I don’t think anything’s wrong, every baby develops differently,'” Regina Philipps said.

After the baby’s development and motor skills continued to regress and physical therapy did not help, they eventually went to a neuromuscular specialist, where they received the life-altering diagnosis.

“We got a diagnosis at around 10 1/2 months,” Regina Philipps said. “It’s crazy that you can have a disease that presents totally normal for the first six months of your baby’s life.”

When it comes to baby Shane’s prognosis, Chris Philipps said: “We wish we knew.”

“It’s a completely new world now that these treatments are out there, so really doctors don’t know,” he added.

Their mission to make SMA screenings standard

The fact that this heartache could have been prevented if Shane had started treatment before he exhibited symptoms is why the family has made it their mission to make SMA screenings standard for newborns in the U.S.

At the moment, they say they believe it’s not on the standard genetic screening panel because it is so rare, but Chris Philipps said the fact is that “it makes such a dramatic impact on those who do have it.”

The laws vary state-to-state, and while a handful already require the screening, their home state of New Jersey currently does not. The Philipps have been fighting for a new bill that would add SMA to the list, which they say is currently being held up in a state senate committee.

“I walked around after the diagnosis crying for like three days and I figured that wasn’t helping anyone, so I better do something,” Regina Philipps said. “I feel like we wouldn’t have these treatments now if we didn’t have other mothers, fathers and families fighting even if it was too late for their own kids.”

She continued: “Even though we can’t go back in time and change the course of Shane’s future or get him screened, we still have to do that for other families so they don’t have to go through what we go through.”

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