Day: September 28, 2021

Taiwan lawmakers brawl as opposition party protests government’s handling of COVID pandemic

close Video Taiwan lawmakers brawl over government’s handling of COVID pandemic Taiwan’s legislature scuffled as the chamber’s head tried to make a speech on the economy
Chaos broke out in Taiwan’s legislature Tuesday after opposition lawmakers rushed the podium during an important policy address to protests how the government handled the COVID-19 pandemic.
The opposition lawmakers — members of the Nationalist Party, or Kuomintang — broke through a protective barrier formed by members of the ruling Democratic Progress Party, as they shouted for the speaker's resignation.
The chamber's head, Su Tseng-Chang, was opening his annual address on the government's performance with a focus on national security and the economy.
In this image taken from video by Taiwan's EBC, Premier Su Tseng-chang, in purple mask, tries to make a policy speech amid a scuffle between opposition Nationalist party and ruling Democratic Progressive Party lawmakersduring a parliament session in Taipei, Taiwan, Tuesday, Sept. 28, 2021. (EBC via AP )
In the ensuing melee, which was captured on video, a few lawmakers were shoved to the ground, others poured out bottles of water onto their opponents, and Su was unable to give his speech.
The Nationalist Party has criticized the ruling administration over its response to the coronavirus pandemic. Legislators on Tuesday waved signs which called recently shortened quarantine requirements for pilots a “big breach.”
Taiwan faced a large coronavirus outbreak in May and June this year, in which more than 800 people died. Many had suspected the outbreak had come from pilots returning home who only had to do three-day quarantines. The original source of the May outbreak hasn't been officially confirmed.
Last November, another fist-fight broke out inside parliament after Nationalist Party members brought pig guts into the chamber and threw them to protest Taiwan's removal of a ban on American pork products.
President Tsai Ing-wen’s administration had lifted a longstanding ban on imports of U.S pork a few months prior, in a move seen as one of the first steps toward possibly negotiating a bilateral trade agreement with the United States.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Three Washington State frat members get probation in alcohol-related death of freshman

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Three former members of a fraternity on the Washington State University campus were sentenced last week to eight months of supervised probation for the death of a 19-year-old freshman who died after drinking a large amount of liquor.
Maxwell Rovegno, Cameron Thomas, and Nolan Valcik each pleaded guilty to one count of furnishing liquor to Sam Martinez during a November 2019 Alpha Tau Omega fraternity chapter event. The Whitman County Medical Examiner ruled Martinez's death an accident by alcohol.
The three defendants were each ordered to pay $1,000 in fines, with $500 suspended, according to court documents. In total, 15 people were charged in the case. Other defendants have been granted continuances until March 2022.
Sam Martinez, 19, died after consuming a large amount of alcohol during a 2019 fraternity event at the Washington State University campus, a wrongful death lawsuit claims. (Sam Martinez)
In a Facebook post, Martinez's mother, Jolayne Houtz, said she read a statement in court during the sentencing.
“On Nov. 12, 2019, Bellevue Police knocked on our front door and spoke the words that are every parent's worst nightmare: Your beloved son is dead. We sank to our knees on the floor, and we wailed and screamed so long we grew hoarse. We could barely breathe from the pain of it,” the statement said.
“You called yourselves his brothers. You said you would have his back. Instead, you turned your backs on him when he needed you most. If just one of you had made the call that night for help, Sam would be with us today,” Houtz continued. “We believe some of you may know much more than you have shared with investigators about what happened that night. Some of you may even still be covering up in the name of your so-called brotherhood.”
Houtz and Hector Martinez, Sam's father, have filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the university and the fraternity, which was suspended on the WSU campus until 2026.
Martinez lost consciousness within a few hours of drinking a half-gallon of rum on Nov.11, 2019 but emergency medical personnel were not contacted until the next morning “when it was far too late to save his life,” the lawsuit states.
The suit accused the fraternity of conducting hazing rituals, including forcing pledges to eat raw onions. Another activity called the “Blackout Date Dash” included allegedly handcuffing pledges from the fraternity and a sorority and locking them in a room.
The keys to the cuffs were at the bottom of a fifth of alcohol and the pair could only be freed once they consumed the bottle, the suit says.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Gabby Petito Case: Brian Laundrie’s Florida home flooded with flowers addressed to late fiancée

close Video Gabby Petito's father honors his daughter at memorial: 'Gabby is the most amazing person I've ever met Gabby Petito's father, Joseph Petito, and stepfather, Jim Schmidt, gave remarks at a memorial service on Sunday for the slain 22-year-old
NORTH PORT, Fla. – A flood of flower deliveries addressed to Gabby Petito continue to arrive at Brian Laundrie’s family’s home in North Port, Florida, where she lived for roughly two years before departing on a cross-country road trip with her fiancé in June.
The initiative is meant to keep Gabby's memory alive as Brian Laundrie's parents keep facing backlash on several fronts.
Petito, 22, disappeared in late August and her remains were found on Sept. 19 in Wyoming’s Teton-Bridger National Forest. A coroner later declared her death a homicide.
Laundrie, 23, returned to the North Port home by himself on Sept. 1.
His parents then reported him missing on Sept. 17, three days after telling authorities they last saw him.
His parents, Chris and Roberta Laundrie, have laid low and refused to answer multiple questions from Fox News Digital reporters during their infrequent trips outside the house.
next Image 1 of 4 Several different delivery drivers have dropped off flowers at the Laundries' home.
prev next Image 2 of 4 A makeshift memorial outside the Laundries' home.
prev next Image 3 of 4 prev Image 4 of 4 One delivery driver who dropped off flowers at the Laundries' front porch for Petito on Tuesday afternoon was visibly shaken up about what her family is experiencing.
“I have a daughter who’s 30,” the delivery man told reporters outside the house. “I don’t know what the family is going through but I can only imagine.”
Another flower delivery was from a person in New Hampshire.
“RIP Gabbie,” a note on the flowers said. “We will not let the Laundrie family get away with this. We will fight for justice.”
Laundrie has been named a person of interest in Petito's disappearance and death.
Some of the flowers are being placed by a makeshift memorial near the road outside the Laundries' home, while others have been dropped off at the front door. A civilian parking enforcer briefly turned flower deliveries away on Monday, telling people to take them to a bigger memorial at city hall. Authorities were no longer interfering with the deliveries on Tuesday.
next Image 1 of 5 Gabby Petito disappeared in late August while on a cross-country road trip and her remains were found on Sept. 19. (@petitojoseph/Instagram )
prev next Image 2 of 5 (Steve Petito )
prev next Image 3 of 5 (Steve Petito)
prev next Image 4 of 5 (Steve Petito)
prev Image 5 of 5 (Steve Petito)
“She's a beautiful person,” a North Port resident who lives two miles away told Fox News on Monday. “Everybody's here – we're here for Gabby. And I just wanted them to be able to see some beauty.”
The Laundries' lawyer, Steven Bertolino, declined to comment on the flower deliveries Tuesday.
Police has spent more than a week searching for Brian Laundrie in the nearby Carlton Reserve, an unforgiving 24,000-acre expanse about 15 miles from the Laundries' home. On Sunday police said the search would be scaled back and based on “targeted intelligence.”
Attention shifted Monday to a campground about 75 miles north of North Port after Duane “Dog the Bounty Hunter” Chapman received a tip that the Laundrie family had gone camping there twice in early September.
“They were registered, went through the gate. They’re on camera. They were here,” Chapman told Fox News's Michael Ruiz on Monday. “We think at least if he’s not here right now, we are sure he was caught on camera as he went in the gate — that he was here for sure. Not over in the swamp.”
Park records obtained by Fox News show that Brian Laundrie's mom, Roberta, checked into the park on Sept. 6 and checked out on Sept. 8, three days before Petito was officially reported missing.
A federal arrest warrant was issued for Brian Laundrie on Sept. 23 for alleged debit card fraud between Aug. 30 and Sept. 1.

Mayorkas admits ‘tragic rise’ of delta variant at US-Mexico border ‘surprised’ him

close Video DHS Secretary Mayorkas on expected new wave of Haitian migrants, horse patrol DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas discusses the new wave of expected Haitian migrants, the Biden administration's immigration policies, horse patrol at the border and 'Remain in Mexico' policy.
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas conceded Monday that the surge of the COVID-19 delta variant at the border took him by surprise.
Speaking virtually at the 18th Annual Immigration Law and Policy Conference at Georgetown University, Mayorkas said, “What I didn't expect was the tragic rise of the delta variant. And we took a step back by reason of that. I did not expect to be in late September where we are.”
“We are confronted with a population of people that, as a general matter, that have a rate of illness of approximately 20%,” he continued. “When one is speaking of 7,000 or 7,500 people encountered at the border every day, if one takes a look at that the system, it is not built for that in a COVID environment where isolation is required.”
Mayorkas' comments came a day after he told “Fox News Sunday” host Chris Wallace that approximately 12,000 Haitian migrants have been released into the United States amid the surge at the border in recent weeks.
“Approximately, I think it's about 10,000 or so, 12,000,” Mayorkas said regarding the number of those released. He also said that number could increase after 5,000 other cases are processed.
“It could be even higher. The number that are returned could be even higher. What we do is we follow the law as Congress has passed it,” he added.
Former President Trump released a statement Sunday blasting the Biden administration for releasing the migrants, claiming they are doing so “with no vetting, checking or even minimal understanding of who they are.”
“Some are very sick with extremely contagious diseases, even worse than the China Virus. They are not masked or mandated, but just let free to roam all over our Country and affect what was just a year ago, a great Nation,” Trump said.

Navy advocacy group urges DOD to fill gaping holes in leadership

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EXCLUSIVE: A Navy advocacy organization sent a letter to Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro urging the leaders to fill major holes in U.S. Navy leadership and address other issues facing the force.
“Sadly, the Navy in recent years has struggled in the face of what can only be called a policy neglect that has spanned several administrations and is incompatible with a country that boasts the strongest fleet on Earth,” the Association of the United States Navy said in a letter obtained by Fox News on Monday.
The AUSN represents Navy veterans and active duty sailors.
The organization noted that although the problems in the Navy have been “well-known,” the current administration has still not moved to fill “key positions in the Navy” that are instead “still being held by acting officials, not Senate-confirmed officials, which will further delay efforts to turn around this proud military institution.”
The letter noted that the roles of undersecretary of the Navy, assistant secretary for Manpower and Reserve Affairs, and assistant secretary for Research, Development, and Acquisition are all being held by “acting officials,” not Senate-confirmed leaders.
“As worrisome as this problem is, we are even more troubled by the lack of any nominations for these positions,” the letter said.
“We urge you to immediately prioritize the filling of these positions with nominees who are ready to make the case for a strong, well-organized Navy that is prepared to overcome the problems of the last few years and take on the large and growing number of missions we all know are critical to the defense of this nation,” the letter continued.
The organization pointed to problems that have plagued the Navy recently, including the recent crash of a training jet in Texas and the deaths of five sailors in a helicopter crash that took place off the coast of California.
The letter argued that the lack of commitment to growing the Navy and gaps in training will make it harder for the U.S. to “meet challenges around the world, including a need to deter China in the Indo-Pacific.”
“We at the Association of the United States Navy are prepared to meet with you as needed to discuss how to identify the best candidates for these positions and stand ready to support the nomination process,” the letter concluded.
The Navy could not immediately be reached for comment.

Charter jet with over 100 American evacuees departs Kabul

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A private charter jet is bringing over 100 Americans and green card holders, as well nine Special Immigrant Visa holders, back to the United States after they were left in Afghanistan.
“Groups of veterans and concerned Americans have come together utilizing their expertise gained from years of service to ensure that those Americans in need are not left behind,” Mark Geist, of The Shadow Warriors Project, told Fox News of the multi-group effort to bring the Americans home. The Shadow Warriors Project assisted Project Dynamo and the Human First Coalition.
Among the people who were evacuated from Kabul on Tuesday were 59 children under the age of 18, and 16 kids under the age of three. Geist could not provide the exact number of Americans aboard the plane and will have more information once it lands in the United Arab Emirates, before its final destination to the U.S.
“Project Dynamo’s goal has always been focused on bringing Americans and our allies home. In large part our success is due to the many partnerships we have developed with organizations, governments, and donors. The teamwork has been awe inspiring. We pray that we have more opportunities in the future to continue our mission and honor the promise,” said Bryan Stern, a founder of Project Dynamo.
“My experiences in Benghazi just reinforced my dedication,” Geist, who is a former Marine and a member of the Annex Security Team, which fought the Battle of Benghazi, Libya, said.
The State Department and the United Arab Emirates’ Ministry of Foreign Affairs also cooperated with the effort, and the Taliban facilitated the departure of the aircraft.
“We are proud to be a part of this effort and of the teamwork that helped to bring these Americans and allies home,” said Alex Plitsas, spokesman for Human First Coalition.
Biden administration officials estimated earlier this month that roughly 100 Americans remained in the country following the Aug. 31 withdrawal from the country.
The State Department has established a team to coordinate across government agencies and with advocacy groups, nonprofits and others for the evacuation effort, which is working closely with the Department of Defense, a State Department spokesperson told Fox News. The spokesperson added that the department will not go into details on involvement with any specific groups at this time.
Another jet earlier this month flew Americans and lawful permanent residents from Kabul in an evacuation effort, with the White House saying that the Taliban was “cooperative.”
“We are deeply grateful to the continued efforts of Qatar in facilitating operations at HKIA and helping to ensure the safety of these charter flights,” National Security Council spokesperson Emily Horne said in a statement on Sept. 9. “We have been working intensely across the U.S. government to ensure the accuracy of the manifest and the safe departure and transit of the aircraft, and today’s safe flight is the result of careful and hard diplomacy and engagement.”
President Biden has come under fierce criticisms for the withdrawal, most notably after 13 U.S. service members were killed in a suicide bombing last month.
“Joe Biden has blood on his hands. The buck stops with the President of the United States. This horrific national security and humanitarian disaster is solely the result of Joe Biden’s weak and incompetent leadership. He is unfit to be Commander-in-Chief,” Republican New York Rep. Elise Stefanik wrote on social media after their deaths.
This is a developing story and will be updated.

4-year-old mistakenly given adult COVID-19 vaccine instead of flu shot

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A 4-year-old girl in Maryland was given the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine instead of the seasonal flu shot she was scheduled to receive at her local pharmacy, according to a report by the Baltimore Sun.
Victoria Olivier brought her daughter to get the flu vaccine to a Walgreens in Baltimore, where a pharmacist mistakenly administered her an adult dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.
The vaccine has not yet been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for children under 12.
Phil Caruso, a spokesperson for Walgreens, told Fox News in an email that patient safety is the company’s “top priority.”
“Events like this are extremely rare and we take this matter very seriously,” Caruso wrote in a statement. “We are in touch with the patient’s family and we have apologized. Our multi-step vaccination procedure includes several safety checks to minimize the chance of human error. We’ve recently reviewed this process with our pharmacy staff in order to prevent a future occurrence.”
The error comes as children under 12 remain ineligible for the vaccine, though Pfizer-BioNTech has submitted clinical trial data from a COVID-19 vaccine study among kids ages 5-11 to the FDA, the companies announced Tuesday.
A request for emergency approval is anticipated to follow in the coming weeks, Fox News reported. Trial data included findings among 2,268 participants ages 5-11, which suggested the smaller dose shot was safe, well tolerated and resulted in neutralizing antibody responses.
A health care worker administers a dose of a Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine to a child at a pediatrician's office in Bingham Farms, Michigan. (Emily Elconin/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
Olivier told the Baltimore Sun she and her family were “stunned” by the incident. They had apparently dialed a 24/7 nurse’s hotline, Poison Control and contacted Olivier’s network of social media friends for help. So far, the child has had no major side effects, the news outlet reported.
“The vaccines, the way they change between age has a lot more so to do with the dose,” said Panagis Galiatsatos, MD, MHS, assistant professor, of Division of Pulmonary & Critical Care Medicine at John Hopkins.
Galiatsatos told Fox News that when a child is given a higher dose, the result is that the probability of side effects will increase.
“It got our attention, [the] human error, now we investigate how likely the dire outcome is,” Galiatsatos said, adding the probability of harm is low.
“Close monitoring, making sure the child follows up with their health care professional – that is what I would recommend,” he added.
“There's been errors in medicine that have been brought into the spotlight, which makes the next one preventable,” Galiatsatos said.
In a statement to Fox News, the FDA reminded that it has not “evaluated data pertaining to the safety and effectiveness” of the Pfizer vaccine for use in children under 12, nor has it approved or authorized emergency use of the vaccine for that pediatric population.
“We are glad to hear that the child is doing well and hope that she eventually received her flu vaccine,” the spokesperson wrote in an email. “As per the vaccination provider agreement, it is mandatory for vaccination providers to report vaccine administration errors whether or not associated with an adverse event to VAERS [The Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System].”
The Olivier family is reportedly not planning to file a complaint with the Maryland Board of Pharmacy.
Fox News' Kayla Rivas contributed to this report.

Brian Laundrie manhunt: Florida park documents confirm family camped out after Gabby Petito disappearance

close Video Gabby Petito case: Dog the Bounty Hunter joins search for Brian Laundrie Gabby Petito case: Dog the Bounty Hunter joins search for Brian Laundrie
NORTH PORT, Fla. – Brian Laundrie’s mom Roberta did check in to a Florida park about 75 miles north of the family’s home earlier this month, records obtained by Fox News show.
Laundrie, 23, vanished on Sept. 14 – although his parents didn’t say anything until three days later. His 22-year-old fiancée Gabby Petito was found dead in Wyoming on Sept. 19 – weeks after the couple was seen camping near the site of her remains. The coroner later ruled her death a homicide.
Duane “Dog” Chapman, also known as Dog the Bounty Hunter, announced Saturday he was entering the search for Laundrie, and tips quickly poured in. He told Fox News he received a heads-up on Monday that Laundrie’s parents spent the night in Fort De Soto Park with their son twice in early September from Sept. 1 to 3 and Sept. 6 to 8.
The documents confirm Chapman’s suspicion that the Laundries went camping at the Fort De Soto Park outside St. Petersburg between his return from out West on Sept. 1 and the day Petito’s mother reported her missing, Sept. 11. They show the family checked in on Sept. 6 and out on Sept. 8 – but there's no record on the document of them the week prior.
“I will no longer give that dog credibility or dignify his false claims with the time of my reply,” Steven Bertolino, Laundrie’s attorney, told Fox News. However he admitted told local media that the family camped out on Sept. 6 and 7 and that “they all left the park.”
(Fox News)
The documents show the checkout was actually recorded on Sept. 8 – three days before Petito officially became a missing person.
Thomas Rutherford, , another camper whos name appeared on the ledger, and his wife were celebrating their anniversary at the campground, three spots down from the Laundries, he told Fox News.
He could “vaguely remember” seeing their truck and camper because he and his wife rarely see campers attached to vehicles anymore. Other than that, he had no interaction with the family.
VideoChapman on Tuesday questioned why the family would go camping when Petito, who lived with them, was nowhere to be found. Neighbors had also raised concerns about the camping trip.
Online sleuths reported that a law enforcement helicopter flew over the area of the campground overnight. However a Pinellas County sheriff spokesperson told Fox News the department was not conducting an investigation at Fort De Soto.
Laundrie and Petito embarked on a cross-country journey in mid-June in a converted white Ford Transit van with the plan to visit national parks along the way. They had begun dating years earlier after meeting at their local Long Island, N.Y. high school and had moved to North Port, Florida, to live with Laundrie’s parents.
VideoLaundrie was subsequently named a person of interest in Petito’s disappearance, and on Thursday, the FBI issued an arrest warrant for bank card fraud. Authorities alleged he used someone’s Capital One Bank card and the personal identification number during the time when Petito was missing. Neither investigators nor a spokesperson for Petito’s family have said whether the card belonged to Petito.
Fox News recently obtained the missing persons’ report for Petito, in which her mother, Nichole Schmidt, stated that her daughter was last seen at 7 a.m. on Aug. 30 at Grand Teton National Park. Schmidt wrote in the report that her Long Island home was a “probable destination.”
But she never left Wyoming.
Fox News' Audrey Conklin contributed to this report.

CIA and State Department officials face increased Havana Syndrome attacks

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The Central Intelligence Agency was forced to evacuate an intelligence officer serving in Serbia after the officer suffered serious injuries consistent with those associated with Havana Syndrome, part of a rise of such attacks on U.S. officials overseas.
“We take each report we receive extremely seriously and are working to ensure that affected employees get the care and support they need,” a State Department spokesman said of continued attacks on American officials.
The most recent incident in Serbia is part of what officials have called an expansion of similar attacks on U.S. spies and diplomats stationed in overseas locations. Who is perpetrating the attacks remains a mystery, though government officials and scientists believe the assailants are using what they described as a “directed-energy source.”
The attacks have happened at multiple locations overseas and in the U.S. and have become more common.
Dr. James Giordano, a Georgetown University professor of neurology and adviser to the government, said in “the past 60 to 90 days, there have been a number of other reported cases” on U.S. soil and around the world.
“They are seen as valid reports with verified health indicators,” Giordano said.
The attacks can cause symptoms such as dizziness, memory loss and a range of other issues, resulting in a drop in morale within the State Department and the CIA and causing some officials to be reluctant to take overseas assignments.
Some attacks have even targeted top officials within the Biden administration, most recently when members of CIA Director William Burns' staff reported symptoms consistent with an attack during a trip to India earlier this month.
Most frustrating is that the U.S. government still doesn't know who is behind the attacks or have certainty about how they're being carried out.
“In terms of have we gotten closer? I think the answer is yes – but not close enough to make the analytic judgment that people are waiting for,” CIA Deputy Director David Cohen said earlier this month of the effort to get to the bottom of the mystery.
How to respond to the attacks if they are coming from a foreign adversary such as China or Russia is also unclear, with some current and former officials believing Russia could be behind them. Russia has denied it, and no evidence has so far emerged of Russian involvement.
But Jason Killmeyer, a counterterrorism and foreign policy expert formerly with Deloitte Consulting LLP, believes the U.S. should do more even without attribution, calling for increased defensive measures and applying pressure to foreign intelligence agencies to see how they react.
“We’re five years into this thing,” Killmeyer said. “There’s no ‘smoking gun’ coming.”

Texas Border Patrol agents discover stash houses packed with nearly 100 illegal immigrants

close Video Texas sheriff rips the Biden administration for Border Patrol’s ‘inundated’ resources Jackson County Sheriff AJ Louderback says the administration wants open borders as thousands of migrants are released into the country.
Border Patrol agents in Texas discovered two stash houses just a stone’s throw from the U.S.-Mexico border packed with nearly 100 illegal immigrants.
Laredo Sector Border Patrol agents and other law enforcement agencies discovered the first stash house at a home on Ligarde Street Thursday afternoon. The individuals were from Guatemala, Mexico, El Salvador, and Honduras, U.S. Customs and Border Protection said.
One of two stash houses discovered last week in Texas. (
The second discovery came the following evening. Border Patrol agents received a tip about several illegal immigrants being housed at a home on Philadelphia Street – about five miles northwest of the first stash house.
Agents discovered more than 40 illegal immigrants inside the house. Those individuals had come from Honduras, Guatemala, and Mexico.
CBP said none of the apprehended migrants had been wearing personal protective equipment (PPE). Agents provided them with PPE and they were medically screen before being processed.
CBP has not said whether any of the migrants tested positive for COVID-19. Fox News has reached out to CBP seeking additional information.
CBP said in a press release that the often “substandard conditions” encountered at stash houses can foster a breeding ground for illnesses or other communicable diseases.
The discovery of the stash houses comes after border officials in Del Rio, Texas cleared a camp following the flood of thousands of Haitian migrants earlier this month.
Fox News' Caitlin McFall contributed to this report.