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Dispatches Human Race

Human Race

(Richard B. Levine)


U.S. Attorney General William Barr, the French government, and Jeffrey Epstein’s accusers want answers as to how the billionaire was able to kill himself in his cell at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in New York. Autopsy results could put to rest internet conspiracy theories that Epstein’s wealthy associates orchestrated his death to keep him from revealing their secrets. Officials said Epstein, 66, hanged himself. Officials have questioned why the jail took him off suicide watch despite evidence he had tried to take his life a previous time. Prosecutors had charged Epstein with sexually abusing and trafficking underage girls. Anonymous sources said the guards assigned to Epstein worked extreme overtime shifts and did not check on him for hours before he was found dead. Barr announced a pair of federal inquiries by the FBI and the Justice Department’s inspector general and said the department would continue looking into Epstein’s alleged crimes: “This case will continue on against anyone who was complicit with Epstein. Any co-conspirators should not rest easy.” French officials also demanded an investigation into Epstein’s death but did not confirm whether they had planned to charge Epstein, who had a residence in Paris.


Evan Vucci/AP 

Ken Cuccinelli (Evan Vucci/AP )


The Trump administration finalized new “public charge” rules that will reduce legal immigration to the United States. Ken Cuccinelli, acting director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, said the policy encourages self-reliance and self-sufficiency. “Our rule generally prevents aliens who are likely to become a public charge from coming to the United States or remaining here and getting a green card,” he said. The rule change requires the government to consider an immigrant’s need for public assistance along with other factors, like education, household income, and health. Cuccinelli said the rule will not change humanitarian-based immigration programs. But it will affect about 400,000 people a year who already live in the United States and want to become permanent residents.


Patrick Kovarik/AFP/GettyImages

Toni Morrison (Patrick Kovarik/AFP/GettyImages)


Toni Morrison, Nobel Prize–winning author, died on Aug. 5 at age 88. Born in Ohio in 1931 to an African American family, she showed an early love for literature. Morrison earned her master’s degree in English from Cornell University and became a teacher at Howard University. She took a job as editor for Random House in 1965 and would work there for 18 years while publishing her own books, songs, and essays. Morrison wrote 11 novels, dealing primarily with the lives of African American women and the effects of racism on the vulnerable. She won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1993. Morrison also had a distinguished career as an academic and received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2012.



A plaintiff, identified only as S.D., has filed a lawsuit against the Boy Scouts of America (BSA), claiming its negligent practices have allowed hundreds of sex abuse cases. The suit was filed by three law firms for a group called Abused in Scouting. Lawyers say they have identified 350 sexual predators who volunteered with the BSA. S.D. himself alleged a scout leader assaulted him “hundreds” of times back in the 1970s. The suit accuses BSA of covering up and not properly documenting instances of abuse. Boy Scout officials in a statement apologized and said they have updated their reporting system and have begun an investigation into the cases brought to their attention by the lawsuit.



A federal judge blocked three pro-life measures in Arkansas. The measures include a ban on abortions after 18 weeks, a requirement that abortion providers be certified in obstetrics and gynecology, and a ban on any abortion instigated because of a diagnosis of Down syndrome. The American Civil Liberties Union and Planned Parenthood filed a lawsuit against Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge, claiming the state’s new measures are all unconstitutional. District Judge Kristine Baker agreed and blocked the laws from going into effect during litigation. She wrote that the abortion advocates were likely to win their case entirely in the end. Rutledge has appealed to the 8th Circuit for reinstatement of the measures.