Skip to main content

Dispatches Human Race

Human Race

Mayra Rodriguez (right) poses with former Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards in March 2017. (Courtesy of And Then There Were None)

Awarded

A jury in Maricopa County, Ariz., awarded former Planned Parenthood employee and whistleblower Mayra Rodriguez $3 million in a wrongful termination lawsuit. Rodriguez said the clinic at which she worked failed to report an abortion performed on a minor impregnated by an adult as required by state law and falsified the records and charts of other patients. She filed complaints, and the clinic then fired her, claiming to have found narcotics in her desk. Rodriguez said the drugs were not narcotics but medication she had not yet transferred to the purchasing department for disposal, a common practice. 

“I hope my case is a lesson to other workers that shows them that the truth will prevail,” Rodriguez said. “I also hope my case is a lesson to employers who abuse their power: Sometimes the underdog wins and justice will be done.”

Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images for Lincoln Center

David Koch (Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images for Lincoln Center)

Died

David H. Koch, chemical engineer, vice president of Koch Industries, and billionaire known for his staunch support of libertarian politics, died on Aug. 23 at age 79. Koch was one of four sons of Fred Koch, who made a fortune by setting up oil refineries around the world in the 1930s. David Koch battled prostate cancer for 20 years and donated to cancer research, medical centers, educational institutions, and arts and cultural centers. He ran as the Libertarian Party’s nominee for vice president in 1980 and, with his brother Charles, donated to many conservative or libertarian politicians and organizations such as the Heritage Foundation and the Cato Institute. Koch had a net worth of $50.5 billion.

EFE

Peru (EFE)

Revealed

Peruvian archaeologists have revealed a possibly 3,800-year-old mural from one of the oldest civilization centers in the Americas. The wall was found in a public ceremonial building from the Caral civilization, once found in the Huaura province near Lima, Peru. It shows what appear to be a humanoid frog and the figures of people as well as four human heads with snakes around them and a seed with a face. According to interviews from the BBC, this could represent the tribe waiting for rain during a famine. Experts agree that the Caral civilization began to decline around 1800 b.c. and believe this mural might point to the reason why. 

Accused

Federal prosecutors say Fredrick Brown, a former military records technician, cheated thousands of U.S. servicemen of millions of dollars through an extensive identity theft plot. Brown and four conspirators allegedly took pictures of individuals’ information from a medical records system and passed this on to contacts who used the data to break into the servicemen’s banking accounts. They allegedly transferred money from the accounts to bank accounts run by hired associates. According to the court documents, the group targeted older and disabled veterans who were likely to receive better benefits. The five defendants are now in jail, and the Justice Department says it is working to provide resources for the plot’s victims. 

Linked

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says research suggests a link between vaping habits and 153 cases of lung disease in 16 states. The CDC said it needs more information before making a definite statement about the connection. The patients studied were primarily adolescents and young adults with symptoms that included fever, cough, vomiting, dizziness, and chest pain. Many of them had admitted to using products with cannabis-related substances, including e-cigarettes. According to CNN, these cases can be hard to record properly since it is not mandatory for state health departments to report vaping-related lung disease, though a few states have begun issuing notices to help doctors link symptoms with their use.