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The costs of shooting at moving vehicles

A Philadelphia Inquirer  analysis of vehicle shootings – based on police department Internal Affairs documents and interviews with attorneys, police, and community member – finds that  despite increased restrictions on firing weapons at cars,  it’s still happening and has cost the city $5.8 million in settelments since 2002 because it is dangerous and “rarely works.”
"[S]ince 2002, Philadelphia police officers have shot 43 people in vehicles, killing ….  Eight out of 10 times that police shot into vehicles, officers were found to have violated department policy. The most common punishment for those found guilty of violating the rules, records show, was a reprimand.”
Read the full story here.


A look inside North Dakota’s deathly oil fields 

Reveal News looks into work conditions at the Bakken oil and gas fields, calling the shale oil boom a “serial killer” – with a worker dying, on average, every six week in an accident. Since 2006, 74 have died, according to a Reveal analysis of Canadian and US government data.  The investigation found a lack of safety regulations, compensation for families, and accountability for the deaths of rig workers. “[D]eeply entrenched corporate practices and weak federal oversight inoculate energy producers against responsibility when workers are killed or injured…. Oil companies also offer financial incentives to workers for speeding up production [shielding] themselves [from potential safety problems] through a web of companies to avoid paying the full cost of settlements … when something goes wrong.”
Read the full story here.


Maine legislators close the door on open meetings – editor pushes through

In investigating how Maine offiicials get around open meeting laws, John Christie, editor in chief at the Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting, crashed a meeting of the powerful state Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committee. Finding the public chamber where they normally met empty, Christie saw that committee were entering a private suite through a locked door. But Christie went around to another door marked “Legislators and Staff Only,” and found 5 of the 13 committee members at a desk. “I had brought with me a copy of the state’s Freedom of Access Act because I had seen repeated reports in the media of closed-door meetings about the budget. I quoted portions of the act to the legislators, including one that states the public’s business, which includes deliberation by committees of more than three, is to ‘be conducted openly.’”
Read the full story here.

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Searching for the Red Cross’s $500 Million Haiti relief funds

After Haiti was devastated by an earthquake in 2010, the American Red Cross raised nearly half a billion dollars in relief efforts. But now, five years later, an NPR and ProPublica investigation of documents and emails from the charity, shows very little but badly managed projects, “questionable spending and dubious claims of success.”

From the story:
“The organization out-raised other charities by hundreds of millions of dollars — and kept raising money well after it had enough… But where exactly did that money go? Ask a lot of Haitians — even the country's former prime minister — and they will tell you they don't have any idea.”
Read the full story here.

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Suicide rates of female veterans alarmingly high

Information from a new government study shows female military veterans commit suicide at a much higher rate than women as a whole, reports the Los Angeles Times. Factors behind the “staggering” rates vary, but experts suggest that among potential causes might be disproportionate selection of women with a higher risk of suicide as w suicide and the possibility that sexual assault and other traumatic experiences are a cause. From the story:
“Though suicide has become a major issue for the military over the last decade, most research… has focused on men… Little has been known about female veteran suicide… For women ages 18 to 29, veterans kill themselves at nearly 12 times the rate of nonveterans.”
Read the full story here.