Jail director leaves over alleged toxic workplace

Page revived the board last year after it had been dormant for several years, and named Duvall as its chairman. From the start, Duvall, Taylor and other members have repeatedly decried a lack of transparency in county government that keeps essential information from reaching them. Page and County Council Chairwoman Lisa Clancy, D-5th District, have credited the board members for staying vigilant.

“It will be difficult to get to the truth of these allegations, some clearly contradicting others, without an external review,” Taylor wrote in an email to Duvall, Banasco, Page and Clancy. “As a Board member, I’m at a loss as to how to be most helpful and effective without knowing the truth.”

Clancy told her colleagues Tuesday the allegations were “weighing heavy” on her and the she wanted the council to gather more information through its Justice, Health and Welfare committee.

Banasco had been a former jail administrator at county jails in San Antonio and Fort Worth, Texas, and also worked in the Florida prison system. In 2016, the American Jail Association named him jail administrator of the year.






Raul Banasco

Raul Banasco took over as St. Louis County’s new director of justice services on Nov. 25, 2019.


The signed letter asked officials to “understand that many of us have worked here 15, 20, 25 years or more and have worked under numerous leaders. … Unfortunately, the current director has created a situation that we can no longer tolerate nor sit idle while he destroys and undermines the operations for his own pleasure because he can and because he has been allowed to do so.”

Lancashire fire: Huge blaze breaks out in Oswaldtwistle – toxic smoke warning issues

A Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service spokesperson said: “We currently have 10 fire engines in attendance at a fire involving a commercial premises in Oswaldtwistle.

“There’s a lot of smoke being produced and so anyone in the vicinity being affected by the smoke plume are advised to close their windows and doors as a precaution.”

More to follow…



Florida family charged with selling toxic chemical as a coronavirus cure to thousands


Mark Grenon, 62, and his sons, Jonathan, 34, Joseph, 32, and Jordan, 26, all of Bradenton, Florida, supposedly manufactured, promoted, and sold “Miracle Mineral Solution” (MMS), a chemical solution containing sodium chlorite and water, the criminal complaint affidavit says.

The men sold the toxic bleach under the guise of Genesis II Church of Health and Healing, an entity they allegedly created in an attempt to avoid government regulation, the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida said in a statement.

They’ve been charged with criminal contempt, conspiracy to defraud the United States and conspiracy to violate the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act for their alleged actions, the US Attorney’s Office said.

CNN hasn’t been able to reach the Grenons or their lawyers for comment.

The men allegedly claimed that MMS could prevent, treat and cure Covid-19, according to federal prosecutors. They’re accused of telling customers to orally ingest the chemical, “which causes the solution to become chlorine dioxide, a powerful bleach, typically used for industrial water treatment or bleaching textiles, pulp, and paper,” federal prosecutors said.

The affidavit also alleges that the Grenons had previously marketed MMS as a miracle cure-all for dozens of other serious diseases and disorders, including cancer, Alzheimer’s, autism, multiple sclerosis, and HIV/AIDS.

The Grenons allegedly sold tens of thousands of bottles of MMS nationwide, including to consumers throughout South Florida.

The US Food and Drug Administration has not approved MMS for treatment of Covid-19, or for any other use, but has received reports of people requiring hospitalizations, developing life-threatening conditions, and dying after drinking MMS, according to the US Attorney’s Office.

“The Genesis II Church of Health and Healing has actively and deliberately placed consumers at risk with their fraudulent Miracle Mineral Solution, and Americans expect and deserve medical treatments that have been scientifically proven to be safe and effective,” said Catherine Hermsen, assistant commissioner of the FDA’s Office of Criminal Investigations.

“We commend the efforts of our law enforcement partners for vigorously investigating this matter. The FDA will continue our efforts to make sure these and other like-minded sellers do not jeopardize the health of Americans during this pandemic and in the future,” she continued.

In April, the FDA had already sent a warning letter to Genesis II Church of Health and Healing and multiple websites associated with the firm.

The agency has also issued previous warnings that chlorine dioxide poses a significant risk to health and is not shown to be safe and effective for any health use.

EU on brink: ‘Toxic’ Franco-German relations exposed as Brexit ‘weakens Merkel’

Germans are apparently split over whether French President Emmanuel Macron’s power in Europe is in their best interest. One the one hand, Mr Macron is profoundly pro-European, as opposed to the National Rally’s Marine Le Pen, who he beat to the presidency back in 2017, which should help protect the integrity of the EU amid the Brexit shake-up. On the other hand, he carries a certain weight in Europe that some in Germany perceive as a threat to Germany’s dominance, especially considering the UK’s exit from the bloc.

Brexit could damage Germany’s power because the UK and Germany are more aligned economically, with France leaning far more to the left, so German Chancellor Angela Merkel will be losing a key ally in that department.

After Mr Macron was elected, Mrs Merkel asserted that his win would be good for Franco-German relations.

Her spokesman Steffen Seibert tweeted in both French and German: “Your victory is a victory for a strong and United Europe and for French-German friendship.”

However, German newspaper Der Tagesspiegel was a little more cautious.

READ MORE: Macron’s chilling vision of EU’s post-Brexit future exposed

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French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel (Image: GETTY)

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Brexit will change the dynamics within the EU (Image: GETTY)

After Mr Macron’s election, it read: “Emmanuel Macron’s victory reinforces France’s weight within the EU, to the detriment of Germany, weakened by Brexit which deprives it of a parsion ally of economic liberalism.”

Since then, the relationship between France and Germany ‒ and their leaders President Macron and Chancellor Merkel ‒ has suffered.

Mark Leonard, the director of the European Council on Foreign Relations, told The Guardian in December: “The Franco-German relationship is the single most important relationship in the EU and it’s in a totally toxic condition.

“And it’s going to get worse before it gets better.”

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson is negotiating the UK’s future trade terms with the EU (Image: GETTY)

For one thing, Mr Macron and Mrs Merkel have hugely different leadership styles ‒ the French leader is a young, ambitious and impatient first-term President, while the German leader is a cautious, pragmatic, consensus-building fourth-term Chancellor.

While the EU is looking to Mr Macron and Mrs Merkel for leadership with coronavirus and Brexit, both leaders are facing domestic problems that have exacerbated their personal differences.

Not only that but their electorates have vastly different views of Europe ‒ in general, the French do not see the EU as working properly and desire a big shake-up, whereas Germans tend to think the bloc is working fine as it is.

Mr Macron, now over half way through his mandate at the Élysée Palace, has become increasingly frustrated with Mrs Merkel’s slow pragmatism.

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Mr Macron and Mrs Merkel meet during the coronavirus pandemic (Image: GETTY)

To make matters even more tricky, her authority has weakened since she announced she would not run again when her term ends in 2021 and her grand coalition of Christian Democrats (CDU) and Social Democrats (SPD) is divided and worried about pressure from the Greens on the left and the Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) on the right.

Francois Heisbourg of the International Institute for Strategic Studies said: “Germany is in political paralysis, incapable of taking a major decision, and will probably remain so until elections in September 2021.

“Hence Macron’s frustration: France has ideas; Germany is sticking its fingers in its ears.”

The make-up of Mrs Merkel’s coalition doesn’t help either.

The centre-left SPD opposes Mr Macron’s proposals on developing an EU military and security capability, while the conservative CDU is against his plans for further economic integration of the Eurozone.

Mr Leonard said: “Macron basically bet the farm on building a new relationship with Germany, reforming France and working with Berlin to reform Europe.

“He appointed German-speaking ministers and spent his first year wooing the Germans ‒ but nothing materialised, so he pivoted.”

He added that the French President “has not hung around for Berlin, or even shied away from upsetting it.

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Mr Macron and Mrs Merkel carry out a joint press conference (Image: GETTY)

“His approach has been to launch his initiatives, try to build relationships with other countries and involve the Germans later. It hasn’t gone down very well.”

Other European players have also been irritated by President Macron’s maverick ways, not being afraid to stand alone on a topic, for example when he insisted on a shorter Article 50 extension, imposed his line-up for top jobs and vetoed EU accession talks for North Macedonia.

After the French leader told The Economist that Nato was “brain dead”, Mrs Merkel apparently told him she understood his “desire for disruptive politics” but was “tired of picking up the pieces”.

In December, Mr Macron and Mrs Merkel had a private dinner in London where they cleared the air.

It was the first step in repairing their relationship, but it will likely take more than one meeting to heal the divisions that have been appearing on the continent.



Trump dubbed ‘toxic’ by David Miliband as ex-Labour hopeful calls for immigration reform

To coincide with last week’s World Refugee Day, Mr Miliband discussed the issue of refugees within the US and how since Trump came to office four years ago the discussion had become “more toxic” leading to the slashing of support budgets for those most in need. Yet, the International Rescue Committee president and CEO condemned Trump’s movements on the issue, which has seen refugee numbers across the globe reach figures unseen since the devastating days of World War 2. Since coming to power, Trump has installed an “America first” attitude, which sees the country’s primary focus remain more firmly on itself.

Examples of this include Trump’s decision to axe monetary support for institutions such as NATO and the World Health Organisation (WHO), as well as his vow to build a wall between the US and Mexico to keep out immigrants.

But the manner in which Trump has gone about turning a humanitarian issue into a political one led Mr Miliband to remind the President that forgetting refugees is akin to forgetting his country’s past, which was built on those in need centuries ago.

Speaking to Express.co.uk, the former South Shields MP said: “In the US it’s obviously become a more toxic, political issue.

“The US historically has welcomed more refugees than any other country through its refugee resettlement programme but that’s been slashed under President Trump.

“And the truth is that he has been part of a wider trend in which issues of immigration and issues of refugees have become very confused.

“In the US, there hasn’t been an immigration reform bill for 30 years, since 1986, and so the debate about immigration has overwhelmed the facts about refugees.

“It’s not a case that one is good and one is bad – it’s just that they’re different because people move for different reasons. And so I think the debate has polarised.”

Last week, the IRC shared figures from the UN Refugee Agency (UNHRC), which showed that around one percent of humanity – around one in every 97 people on the planet – have now been affected by forced displacement.

JUST IN: David Miliband exposes brutal crisis engulfing globe

He added: “The debate is open in the sense of fair play that many people have can still be called on and I think that is one of the things that has happened in the COVID crisis is that how our societies are run has come out of the shadows and the real lives of people is more clear.

“I always say that the biggest danger for refugees is that they get dehumanised and some of the rhetoric dehumanises them.

“But when you know them as work mates, as neighbours, as family members you can see they are just like you or me.”



Trump dubbed ‘toxic’ by David Miliband as ex-Labour hopeful calls for immigration reform

To coincide with last week’s World Refugee Day, Mr Miliband discussed the issue of refugees within the US and how since Trump came to office four years ago the discussion had become “more toxic” leading to the slashing of support budgets for those most in need. Yet, the International Rescue Committee president and CEO condemned Trump’s movements on the issue, which has seen refugee numbers across the globe reach figures unseen since the devastating days of World War 2. Since coming to power, Trump has installed an “America first” attitude, which sees the country’s primary focus remain more firmly on itself.

Examples of this include Trump’s decision to axe monetary support for institutions such as NATO and the World Health Organisation (WHO), as well as his vow to build a wall between the US and Mexico to keep out immigrants.

But the manner in which Trump has gone about turning a humanitarian issue into a political one led Mr Miliband to remind the President that forgetting refugees is akin to forgetting his country’s past, which was built on those in need centuries ago.

Speaking to Express.co.uk, the former South Shields MP said: “In the US it’s obviously become a more toxic, political issue.

“The US historically has welcomed more refugees than any other country through its refugee resettlement programme but that’s been slashed under President Trump.

“And the truth is that he has been part of a wider trend in which issues of immigration and issues of refugees have become very confused.

“In the US, there hasn’t been an immigration reform bill for 30 years, since 1986, and so the debate about immigration has overwhelmed the facts about refugees.

“It’s not a case that one is good and one is bad – it’s just that they’re different because people move for different reasons. And so I think the debate has polarised.”

Last week, the IRC shared figures from the UN Refugee Agency (UNHRC), which showed that around one percent of humanity – around one in every 97 people on the planet – have now been affected by forced displacement.

JUST IN: David Miliband exposes brutal crisis engulfing globe

He added: “The debate is open in the sense of fair play that many people have can still be called on and I think that is one of the things that has happened in the COVID crisis is that how our societies are run has come out of the shadows and the real lives of people is more clear.

“I always say that the biggest danger for refugees is that they get dehumanised and some of the rhetoric dehumanises them.

“But when you know them as work mates, as neighbours, as family members you can see they are just like you or me.”