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Blind man denied citizenship after he is denied the use of Braille

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CBS

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Lucio Delgado was born blind and uses a cane to get around

A blind man has been denied US citizenship after immigration agents refused to provide him with an English language sentence to read in Braille.

Lucio Delgado, 23, was born blind and uses a cane to get around. He moved to the US from Mexico six years ago.

Mr Delgado said he was offered a large-print sentence to read, which he could not, being totally blind.

Mr Delgado, who is legally blind under Illinois state law, was told to get a doctor’s note to prove his condition.

“Over here I was going to get the education I couldn’t get In Mexico,” he told CBS News from his home on a farm in Pembroke Township, Illinois – about 70 miles (110km) south of Chicago.

After taking the test in May, he recently received a letter from US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) informing him that he had been rejected.

“Unfortunately, you were unable to read a sentence in the English language,” the letter said. “Regrettably, you were unable to achieve a passing score on the reading portion of the naturalisation test.”

“I really wasn’t expecting not to be provided that very basic accommodation,” he told the Washington Post newspaper. “It was quite a shocker, honestly.”

“I was going to be someone. I was going to make my family here and there proud,” he told CBS.

He was told during the test to go and get a doctor’s note to prove that he was blind, but he could not afford to do so because he does not have health insurance.

A spokesman for the USCIS told the Post that they began offering Braille tests in November, months after Mr Delgado sat for his exam.

A lawyer for Mr Delgado said the USCIS had contacted him since his story was first reported last week to offer him another appointment later this month.


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Nathaniel Woods executed in Alabama despite campaign to save him

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Getty Images

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Nathaniel Woods died on Thursday in Alabama

A man in Alabama has been put to death for the murder of three police officers despite a campaign to save him .

Nathaniel Woods, 43, was convicted of masterminding an ambush against the officers as they tried to arrest him on drugs charges in 2004.

He had always protested his innocence. Activists and celebrities including Martin Luther King III and Kim Kardashian West intervened in the case.

On Thursday the US Supreme Court issued a stay of execution but then lifted it.

This allowed the execution by lethal injection to go ahead at Holman Prison. Woods was pronounced dead at just after 09:00 (15:00 GMT).

Woods’ execution was the first in Alabama this year.

Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall said in a statement: “Tonight, justice has been served.”

According to court documents, in 2004, Woods and his friend Kerry Spencer got into an argument with two of the police officers and threatened them.

Later that day, the officers were killed as they tried to arrest Woods and Spencer at a suspected drug house in the city of Birmingham. One other officer was injured.

Prosecutors said it was Spencer who had opened fire on the officers but accused Woods of luring the officers.

Woods was convicted by 10 out of 12 jurors. Alabama is the only US state that does not require a unanimous vote to enforce the death penalty.

Spencer was also handed the death penalty and is still on death row. In an open letter, he wrote: “Nathaniel Woods is 100% innocent, I know that to be a fact because I’m the person that shot and killed all three of the officers.

“Nathaniel Woods doesn’t even deserve to be incarcerated, much less executed.”

Kim Kardashian West, one of the high-profile figures who championed Wood’s case, said after the stay of execution was lifted: “My heart and prayers are with Nate and his family.”

Martin Luther King III, the son of Martin Luther King Jr, called Woods’ death a “mockery of justice”.

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Coronavirus: Grand Princess cruise ship waits off California for virus tests

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Reuters

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Coronavirus test kits were delivered to the ship by helicopter

A cruise ship carrying 3,500 people is waiting off the coast of California while tests for coronavirus are carried out on about 100 of them.

One passenger died and at least four others became infected on a previous voyage by the ship, the Grand Princess.

Test kits were delivered by military helicopter on Thursday as the vessel sat off San Francisco.

The US has now recorded about 200 cases and 12 deaths as the global struggle with the virus continues.

More than 92,000 cases have been recorded worldwide, with 80,552 in China, where the virus originated. China also accounts for the vast majority of deaths – 3,042 to date.

Stocks in Asia and the UK fell sharply on Friday as investors continued to worry about the broader economic effects of the virus.

What do I need to know about the coronavirus?

Why is the cruise ship under such scrutiny?

Californian Governor Gavin Newsom has refused to allow the ship to dock until its passengers are properly assessed. Test results are expected later on Friday.

There are 142 Britons among those aboard the ship, which is returning from a voyage to Hawaii after a trip to Mexico last month.

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AFP

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The Grand Princess, one of the world’s largest cruise ships, is being held off the Californian coast

A man who sailed on the Grand Princess to Mexico died of coronavirus on Wednesday. The 71-year-old from the Sacramento area had underlying health conditions, officials say.

Two other passengers from that voyage are in hospital with the virus in northern California while two Canadians who recently sailed on the ship tested positive after returning home.

Another US passenger from the Mexico voyage, Judy Cadiz, said she and her husband had fallen ill after returning but had not given it much thought until learning of the death.

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Media caption‘I received death threats for having coronavirus’

Now they cannot get a straight answer about how to get tested, she was quoted as saying by the Associated Press.

“They’re telling us to stay home, but nobody told me until yesterday to stay home,” she added.

“We were in Sacramento, we were in Martinez, we were in Oakland. We took a train home from the cruise. I really hope that we’re negative so nobody got infected.”

Another cruise ship, the Diamond Princess, saw a dramatic outbreak while being held in quarantine in Japan last month. Six people died, with 621 infected.

Both ships are operated by the same company, Princess Cruises.

The US Congress is rushing to approve a bumper emergency aid package to combat coronavirus, with the White House acknowledging the country lacks enough test kits.

Nine of the 12 fatalities were from the same nursing home in Seattle, Washington State, but infections have been reported across 20 states.

What is happening elsewhere?

  • Egypt records 12 coronavirus infections aboard a cruise ship on the Nile
  • The Vatican and Serbia both report their first cases
  • Iran’s official death toll rises to 124 with 4,747 confirmed cases nationwide
  • Islamic Friday prayers are cancelled in towns and cities across the Middle East
  • Israel and the Palestinian Authority put the city of Bethlehem under quarantine after seven people are diagnosed with coronavirus
  • Canada announces nine new cases, eight of them in its westernmost province, British Columbia, with a national total to 45
  • The UK records its first death – an older patient with underlying health conditions. The number of UK people diagnosed with the virus reaches 116
  • Italy’s death toll rises to 148 after 41 new fatalities on Thursday – the country’s highest single-day toll so far

How have you been affected by the spread of Covid-19? Share your experiences by emailing .

Please include a contact number if you are willing to speak to a BBC journalist. You can also contact us in the following ways:

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‘I received death threats for having coronavirus’

A man who contracted the coronavirus on board the Diamond Princess cruise ship has said he has received “graphic” death threats.

Carl Goldman, who owns California-based radio station KHTS and remains in self-isolation, told the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire programme there was “a lot of unnecessary hysteria”.

Watch the Victoria Derbyshire programme on BBC Two and BBC News Channel, 10:00 to 11:00 GMT – and see more of our stories here.

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Facebook removes ‘deceptive’ Trump census ads

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Facebook has removed a series of misleading adverts from the Donald Trump campaign promoting “the Official 2020 Congressional District Census”.

The adverts made it appear respondents were taking part in the official 2020 US census, which begins on 12 March.

They were promoted by a fundraising group backed by Republican officials and Mr Trump’s re-election team.

“There are policies in place to prevent confusion around the official US census,” Facebook said.

“This is an example of those being enforced,” said the spokesperson.

The adverts began running on Facebook on 3 March. Clicking the link takes users to a general survey focusing on Republican talking points.

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Facebook

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A typical ad which appeared on Facebook

The adverts were paid for by the “Trump Make America Great Again Committee”, a part of Mr Trump’s official re-election fundraising efforts.

It is backed by the Trump campaign and the Republican national party.

It owns and operates the Facebook pages of both Donald Trump and Mike Pence, which ran the controversial adverts.

The adverts were “deceptive” and “unacceptable”, said Vanita Gupta, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, which helped Facebook craft its policy on census interference.

“If Trump says a fake census is ‘official’, people are going to think its official,” she said in a series of tweets. “Trump’s deceptive ads will confuse people about how and when to participate in the 2020 Census, threatening their right to get counted and bring resources and political power to their communities.”

Facebook has come under pressure to increase its role in blocking political interference in the past.

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donaldjtrump.com

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The website that appears after clicking on the ad uses the same controversial terminology

Those who clicked the link in the advert were sent to a page on the Donald Trump website where they were asked to complete a survey.

The survey begins by asking about age and political leaning, before asking questions about Trump talking points such as “Obamacare”, “the Democrats’ failed Impeachment Witch Hunt” and “Nancy Pelosi and the Radical Left”.

Those who fill out the Trump campaign’s “census” are ultimately sent to a web page calling for donations.

The BBC saw more than three hundred versions of the advert, each targeting different states and demographics.

For example, one advert specifically targeted men aged over 45 in Texas, whereas another targeted women aged over 45 across the US.

Most adverts were aimed at older people, with one exclusively targeting men and women aged over 65 in Maine, Florida, Arkansas and Arizona.

It is not clear exactly how many adverts were run, or how many people would have seen them, only that most of the adverts had been seen by fewer than one thousand people.

The official census is mandated under the US Constitution and takes place every 10 years, counting every resident.

The census has political implications as it is used to determine the number of seats each state holds in the House of Representatives, as well as how federal funding is allocated for the next 10 years.

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AEW: Singing for my brother’s hero 17 years after he died

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AEW

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Liz, with brown hair, singing in the choir third from the right. On the left, Meredith Bell, whose viral video made this possible

How do you stay close to a loved one after they pass away?

Some people will try and bring them up in conversation, others may even maintain the relationship by sending text messages to their number.

For Liz Rose, the answer was to keep up a hobby she shared with her brother – watching professional wrestling.

Little did she know 17 years later that she would be performing the entrance music for her brother’s favourite wrestler live as he walked to the ring.

“My brother loved wrestling and he loved Chris Jericho,” she said. “Greg wanted to be a wrestler, he was planning on going to wrestling school after high school. Then he was in a car accident.

“Moving forward with my life as a kid, wrestling was something I could look back on and have good memories. Going into adulthood, if I saw a match on TV I would watch it, it helped me feel connected to him.”

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Liz Rose

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Liz said her brother would go to events specifically to see Jericho – and even made belts and signs for the wrestler

For years, simply watching wrestling on television was enough for the 29-year-old to maintain a connection with her brother.

But a quirk of fate made everything change when Liz had the opportunity to become part of the choir that performed Chris Jericho’s entrance theme at the All Elite Wrestling (AEW): Revolution pay-per-view on 29 February 2020.

Chris Jericho was the first AEW world champion. During his time with WWE, he became a six-time world champion and was the first “undisputed” champion.

He is also an accomplished musician with his band Fozzy. The video to Judas, which he uses as his entrance music, has been viewed more than 35 million times on YouTube.

While it is uncommon for wrestlers to enter the ring to anything other than their pre-recorded theme, for a wrestler as popular as Jericho, exceptions can be made.

Fans have called the performance “the best entrance of the year” and “goosebump-inducing“, while Chris Jericho himself said it was “the best ring entrance I’ve ever had in almost 30 years in the business“.

For Liz, her brother’s fandom of Chris Jericho made it all the more significant.

“It was extremely emotional,” she said. “I’ve been getting so many messages and comments from AEW fans, describing this as an important moment in wrestling, how this entrance had an impact on them.

“Over the course of my life I felt like I processed the grief in certain ways. It’s strange how after all this time, something like this happening can bring me back to how I felt as a kid.

“For me to think of my brother knowing I was a part of that moment in wrestling, proud I helped his hero… I felt close to him in a way I had not felt since he was alive.”

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Liz Rose

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Liz and Greg together before his car accident

The opportunity would not have afforded itself were it not for a bit of luck and a viral video.

Meredith Bell, who knew Liz from local theatre in Philadelphia, became the architect of her future when her a cappella cover of Jericho’s entrance music became a Twitter hit in January 2020.

She told the BBC that Jericho contacted her directly and asked if she could rally up some friends to perform the song live at AEW: Revolution.

Meredith contacted Liz, who leapt at the opportunity – and when she found out about the significance this performance would have for Liz, she did something to make the moment even more special.

“Meredith had a necklace made for me before we left for the trip,” Liz said, “with a picture of Greg in it.

“She made a point to acknowledge how special this was for me. The group knew about it and was very supportive and kind. It was extremely emotional.”

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Liz Rose

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The pendant Meredith made for Liz

After the performance, Meredith took to social media to share the story of Greg and Liz with the world. And once again her post caught the eye of Chris Jericho, who called it an “amazing story”.

And this brought everything “full circle”, Liz says.

“When he responded to the video,” she said, “it was shocking and overwhelming. I said a little prayer to my brother, and said that this is because of you.

“I never would have been into wrestling if not for him. It was an experience I got to enjoy through my love for him and his love for wrestling. It was an amazing moment.”

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Harvey Weinstein moved to jail after having heart surgery

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Reuters

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Harvey Weinstein is awaiting sentencing after being found guilty of two sexual assault charges, including rape

Harvey Weinstein has been moved Rikers Island jail in New York City after undergoing heart surgery.

The ex-movie mogul was convicted last month of two sexual assaults, including rape, at his trial on 25 February.

After the trial, he complained of chest pains and was taken to hospital where he had a stent implant to remove a blockage, a spokesperson said.

He is due to be sentenced on 11 March, and faces up to 25 years in prison for the convictions relating to two women.

Weinstein was cleared of the most serious counts of predatory sexual assault and first-degree rape. But he was found guilty of third-degree rape and a first-degree criminal sexual act. His lawyers say he will appeal.

Many of Weinstein’s accusers, along with other critics, had expressed frustration at the news of his hospital transfer, arguing that he should be held in jail.

His lawyers told local media that neither he nor they had any power over the decision.

“It was a New York City Department of Corrections decision, that that was the most suitable place for a 67-year-old man with a laundry list of illnesses who went from being in a walker to being in a wheelchair,” lawyer Arthur Aidala told The Hollywood Reporter.

The former movie executive still faces charges in Los Angeles of assaulting two women in 2013, and there are other cases under review.

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In December 2019, lawyers said they reached a tentative $25m (£19m) deal with some accusers.

In all, at least 80 women had accused him of sexual misconduct stretching back decades, including actresses Gwyneth Paltrow, Uma Thurman and Salma Hayek. Most of those complaints, however, have not led to criminal charges, as they are beyond the statute of limitations – meaning they happened too long ago.

The allegations were at the centre of the #MeToo movement that prompted women to go public with misconduct allegations against powerful men.

The movie executive once enjoyed phenomenal success with Oscar winners such Pulp Fiction, Good Will Hunting, The King’s Speech and Shakespeare in Love.

What did the trial deal with?

Weinstein – who denied all charges – was convicted of sexually assaulting former production assistant Mimi Haleyi in 2006 and raping Jessica Mann, a former aspiring actress, in 2013. The judge ordered him sent to jail immediately.

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Reuters

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Weinstein showed no emotion in the minutes after the verdict

A third-degree rape charge in New York is defined as engaging in sexual intercourse with a person who is incapable of consent, or under age 17, or who has not given consent for a reason other than the inability to consent.

Prosecutors portrayed Weinstein as a serial predator who used his position of power in Hollywood to manipulate and attack women.

The defence team said sex between the movie executive and the accusers was consensual, and that the accusers simply wanted to advance their careers.

The allegations amounted to “regret renamed as rape”, the defence said. Two of the accusers kept in contact with Weinstein and had sex with him after the alleged attacks, they pointed out.

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Coronavirus: White House concedes US lacks enough test kits

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The White House has acknowledged the nation does not have enough coronavirus test kits as cases of the disease ticked upwards on both US coasts.

Vice-President Mike Pence said the Trump administration would not be able to meet its objective of delivering one million testing kits this week.

Congress meanwhile moved with unusual speed to approve a bumper emergency aid package to combat the outbreak.

Globally, authorities have confirmed more than 92,000 cases of the virus.

The vast majority – more than 80,000 – are in China, where the virus originated. Worldwide, more than 3,000 people have died.

The US death toll from the coronavirus climbed to 12 on Thursday, with all but one of the victims in the north-western US state of Washington.

There are now more than 200 cases of Covid-19 in 20 states.

Where is it spreading?

In Washington, officials in the Seattle area announced 20 new cases of the virus, bringing the total in that state to 70, according to its health department.

Nine of the US dead so far were from the same nursing home in suburban Seattle, which is now being investigated by authorities to see if it followed infection-prevention guidelines.

Some major Seattle-area businesses, including Microsoft and Amazon, have shut down some operations or urged employees to work from home,

San Francisco reported its first cases of the coronavirus on Thursday.

New York saw its caseload double overnight to 22, all of them in or near the city. The city’s mayor called on the federal government to send more test kits urgently.

About 200 people have been quarantined in the US state of Rhode Island because of their links to a school trip to Italy that has resulted in three cases of the coronavirus.

What do I need to know about the coronavirus?

Where are the testing kits?

At a press briefing on Monday, Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Stephan Hahn said close to a million tests would be ready by the end of this week.

But Vice-President Pence – who is co-ordinating the US response to the outbreak – conceded on Thursday that that target would not be met.

“We don’t have enough tests today to meet what we anticipate will be the demand going forward,” Mr Pence said during a visit to a factory in Minnesota.

He added: ‘We’re focused very much on a cruise ship just off the California coast today.”

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It is not clear how many testing kits will be available, but Republican Senator Rick Scott told Bloomberg News the figure will be “way smaller than that”.

President Donald Trump says the US has had so relatively few confirmed cases of the virus because of his administration’s decision to prohibit US entry to foreign nationals who have visited China – epicentre of the outbreak – and Iran during the previous 14 days.

Mr Trump tweeted earlier on Thursday that there were only 129 cases of the virus in the US.

But health experts fear the virus may be spreading undetected in US communities because of a lack of testing kits.

The president is expected to sign an $8.3bn (£6.4bn) funding bill passed 96-1 by the US Senate on Thursday. It is intended to help state and local governments combat the coronavirus.

What’s going on with that cruise ship?

Officials ordered a cruise ship with about 3,500 people on board – including 142 Britons – to lie at anchor off the California coast until passengers and crew can be tested, after a previous voyager died of the virus.

On Thursday, a Coast Guard helicopter lowered test kits on to the 951ft (290m) Grand Princess vessel by rope.

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AFP

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The Grand Princess, one of the world’s largest cruise ships, is being held off the Californian coast

Princess Cruise Lines said fewer than 100 people aboard had been identified for testing. Results are expected by Friday.

“The ship will not come on shore until we appropriately assess the passengers,” California Governor Gavin Newsom said.

A man who sailed on the ship last month died of the coronavirus on Wednesday. The 71-year-old from the Sacramento area had underlying health conditions, said officials.

Two other passengers from that voyage are in hospital with the virus in Northern California, officials said.

How is Wall Street reacting?

Concerns about the economic impact of the outbreak slammed Wall Street shares again on Thursday, sending the three main US stock indexes down more than 3%.

Travel companies were again some of the hardest hit, with shares in Royal Caribbean Cruises sinking more than 16% and Carnival Corp dropping 14%.

Airlines also suffered double-digit declines, after the International Air Transport Association warned the industry could lose as much as $113bn this year.


How have you been affected by the spread of Covid-19? Share your experiences by emailing .

Please include a contact number if you are willing to speak to a BBC journalist. You can also contact us in the following ways: