December 18th, 2013
10:37 AM ET

Military Retirees: You Betrayed Us, Congress

Military retirees are outraged that Congress will start voting Thursday on a budget deal that trims military pensions, calling the move "an egregious breach of faith."

"The Democratic Senate Armed Services Chairman says they are going look at this in the new year when Congress returns. But they are up against, certainly, some lawmakers who think that this is terrible," CNN's Dana Bash reports.

The Military Coalition, some 27 military groups, wrote to leaders in Congress and President Obama late Wednesday about their "strong objection" and "grave concern" over the budget deal.

The deal cuts pension cost of living raises by 1 percentage point for military retirees who aren't disabled and not yet 62 years old. Cost of living hikes are automatic raises intended to keep up with inflation.

The problem is, most military retirees are a lot younger than private sector retirees. They enlist in their 20's and retire in their 40's. Very few stay on till they are 62 - those who may be lucky enough to escape major injuries at war, or rose to higher echelons in the military system.

When compounded, the 1 percentage point cut could result in much more than a 20% reduction in retiree pensions over 20 years.

Senator Patty Murray responded on “New Day” Wednesday saying this provision was just one of many compromises. (SEE VIDEO BELOW)

"There's things in this I like. There are things in this I don't like," Senator Murray said.

"But at the end of the day, if we couldn't find a compromise on how we move forward, then we would be facing a $20 billion hit to our defense industry—meaning layoffs, and uncertainty, and a lot of furloughs harming a lot of families across the country.”

 

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December 18th, 2013
10:30 AM ET

Arrest, Strip-Search Of Indian Diplomat In New York Triggers Uproar

The arrest and detention of an Indian consular official in New York on visa fraud charges has created a diplomatic uproar, with punitive steps taken against State Department officials in New Delhi.

Devyani Khobragade, India's deputy consul general, was arrested on December 12 after she dropped her daughter off at school, CNN's Pamela Brown reports.

She was not handcuffed until she arrived at the courthouse, a law enforcement source familiar with the case told CNN, calling that "a courtesy not afforded to most people," including alleged white-collar criminals.

Court papers allege that Khobragade had submitted false documents to obtain a work visa for her female housekeeper, paying her less than the amount stated.

Khobragade, 39, was held in a cell with other females and strip-searched in New York following her arrest, the U.S. Marshals Service said, noting such treatment was standard procedure in her case and that no policies were violated. She eventually posted bond and was released.

She has been moved to India's Permanent Mission to the United Nations, an Indian external affairs ministry official said.

The case has set off outrage in India about Khobragade's treatment by U.S. law enforcement officials. But it has also drawn concern from human rights advocates about her allegedly underpaying her housekeeper.

The Indian government has described the diplomat's treatment by the U.S. justice system as barbaric.

"We are shocked and appalled at the manner in which she has been humiliated by the U.S. authorities," Indian external affairs spokesman Syed Akbaruddin said last week. He called the treatment of Khobragade "absolutely unacceptable."

New York police were not involved. The U.S. Marshals Service handled her detention.

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December 18th, 2013
10:15 AM ET

Family Wants To Keep Life Support For Girl Brain Dead After Tonsil Surgery

Who gets to decide when to end life support when a person is brain dead?

The mother of 13-year-old Jahi McMath, who was declared brain dead Thursday, three days after undergoing surgery to remove her tonsils, said Tuesday that the family should make the call. CNN's Stephanie Elam reports.

"I don't want her off life support because I really feel like she can wake up," Nailah Winkfield told CNN's Piers Morgan. "I feel like it's just been a rough week for her and, if they just give her some more time, then she'll be able to wake up."

Jahi's family has presented Children's Hospital & Research Center in Oakland, California, with a cease-and-desist letter aimed at preventing the hospital from taking her off a ventilator, attorney Christopher B. Dolan said Tuesday.

"If the hospital wants to terminate Jahi's life, they should go to court and get a judge to authorize that, not pressure a parent into signing a document in the middle of the night or telling them at 8:30 tomorrow morning your child will be (dead)," he told CNN.

Doctors had recommended the tonsillectomy to treat Jahi's sleep apnea, weight gain, inability to concentrate, short attention span and uncontrolled urination, her uncle Omari Sealey told CNN on Monday in a telephone interview.

"They said that she would have more energy, focus more, lose weight, and the urinating would stop," he said.

The surgery, which occurred December 9, initially appeared to have gone well, said Sandy Chatman, Jahi's grandmother who is herself a nurse and saw the girl in the recovery room.

"She was alert and talking, and she was asking for a Popsicle because she said her throat hurt," Chatman said.

But Jahi was then moved to the intensive-care unit, and her relatives were denied access to the eighth-grader for 30 minutes; when they finally were allowed to see her, they knew something was wrong. "Upon entry, they saw that there was way too much blood," Chatman said.

"We kept asking, 'Is this normal?'" Sealey said. "Some nurses said, 'I don't know,' and some said, 'Yes.' There was a lot of uncertainty and a lack of urgency."

Sealey said that when Chatman noticed that her granddaughter's oxygen levels were dangerously low, she called for help.

But Jahi went into cardiac arrest. The medical staff performed chest compressions to revive her and gave her clotting medications, but nothing worked.

On Tuesday, a CT scan revealed that two-thirds of Jahi's brain was swollen.

Sealey said that Jahi's brain had been deprived of oxygen. "Now she is 100% brain damaged," he said. "Medically dead."

CNN could not independently confirm Sealey's account.

When asked about the case, hospital spokeswoman Melinda Krigel cited privacy laws.

A statement from the hospital's chief of pediatrics, Dr. David Durand, read: "Our hearts go out to this patient and her family. Unfortunately, we have not been authorized by the family to share information with the public about this matter. Consequently, we are not able to correct misperceptions created about this sad situation.

"Nonetheless, we want to assure the community that we are doing everything in our capacity to provide support to the grieving family. We have been caring for children in this community for over 100 years and have a longstanding commitment to delivering the highest quality care for all."

Dr. Lisa Thebner, a pediatrician in private practice in New York who was not involved in the case, said excessive bleeding - though rare - is not unheard of in such operations, given that the tonsils are removed from the back of the throat, an area rich in blood vessels.

Still, she said, "This was a highly unusual complication."

When told that his niece was brain dead, Sealey said the entire family went into "complete devastation."

"We pray over her daily," Sealey said. "We kiss her. I charge her iPod and make sure it is in her ears every night when I sleep next to her."

But he said he had accepted that she was legally dead.

An official from the Oakland coroner's office told CNN that Jahi's death was reported Thursday to the office.

"Once a death is reported to us, we have a duty and responsibility to immediately proceed to where the body lies, examine the body, make identification, make inquiry into the circumstances, manner, and means of death, and, as circumstances warrant, either order its removal for further investigation or disposition, or release the body to the next of kin," the official said, quoting California law.

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December 18th, 2013
10:07 AM ET

Lottery Winner Gives $40 Million Jackpot to Charity

In today's edition of the "Good Stuff" a Canadian lottery winner says he's giving away his $40 million to charity. CNN's Chris Cuomo reports.

Tom Crist says he made enough money as CEO of an electrical products company that when he won the lottery, he decided immediately that every dollar should go to charities in memory of his wife who died of cancer.

He told the CBC News: "I did very well for myself. I've done enough that I can look after myself, for my kids, so they can get looked after into the future. I don't really need that money."

Though he waited seven months to tell his children, he says they're cool with his plan.

If you have #GoodStuff news, let us know! Leave a comment, post on Facebook, or tweet to @ChrisCuomo & @NewDay using #NewDay and submit your story on iReport.

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