Technology and Toys Panel – 2019 Stanford Medicine Big Data | Precision Health

Researchers and leaders from academia, hospitals, government and industry gathered for two days at the 2019 Big Data in Precision Health conference at Stanford Medicine to spark collaborations, address challenges, and identify actionable steps for using large-scale data analysis and technology to improve human health.

Speakers on a panel about technology and toys included:
Moderator: Dennis Wall, PhD, Stanford Medicine
Zhenan Bao, PhD, Stanford
Ali Javey, PhD, University of California Berkeley
Dina Katabi, PhD, MIT
Maja Matarić, PhD, USC

For more information, visit https://bigdata.stanford.edu/

Handling of Jeffrey Epstein in jail being investigated by Florida county

Palm Beach County launched an internal investigation into its sheriff’s deputies monitoring of Jeffrey Epstein, following allegations he had “improper sexual conduct” while on work release from jail.

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Epstein served a 13-month jail sentence in 2008 after he pleaded guilty to soliciting prostitution in a deal with federal prosecutors. The Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office allowed Epstein to participate in a work-release program wherein he could spend up to 12 hours a day, six days a week, at his office in West Palm Beach, despite being registered as a sex offender.

This week, Epstein was accused of having “improper sexual contact” with young women while on that work release by attorney Brad Edwards, who is representing several alleged victims in a new federal sex trafficking case against Epstein.

The Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office announced Friday that Sheriff Ric Bradshaw “ordered an Internal Affairs investigation into the Jeffrey Epstein matter,” according to a statement.

PHOTO: Palm Beach County Sheriff Ric Bradshaw speaks to members of the press, Nov 29, 2018.Taylor Jones/TNS/Newscom, FILE

Palm Beach County Sheriff Ric Bradshaw speaks to members of the press, Nov 29, 2018.

“Sheriff Bradshaw takes these matters very seriously and wants to determine if any actions taken by the deputies assigned to monitor Epstein during his work release program violated any agency rules and regulations, during the time he was on PBSO work release program,” the statement said.

“All aspects of the matter will be fully investigated to ensure total transparency and accountability,” it continued.

Attorney Edwards claimed Epstein “was able to have visitors that were under the age of 21” while on work release, but he knows none who were under the age of 18.

PHOTO: Attorney Brad Edwards speaks to the press after a bail hearing in financier Jeffrey Epsteins sex trafficking case on July 15, 2019 in New York City.Johannes Eisele/AFP/Getty Images, FILE

Attorney Brad Edwards speaks to the press after a bail hearing in financier Jeffrey Epstein’s sex trafficking case on July 15, 2019 in New York City.

“What you’re going to learn is he was not sitting there conducting some scientific research for the betterment of the community, but he was having office visitors, some who were flown to him from New York and continuing to engage in similar conduct, literally while he was in ‘jail,'” Edwards claimed.

Epstein, 66, was arrested on July 6 for alleged sex trafficking of minor girls in Florida and New York. Some of the charges date back to the early 2000s.

On Thursday in New York, he was denied bail. He faces up to 45 years in prison if convicted.

GOP lawmakers push back on Trumps intervention in possible Amazon contract

Top Republicans on the House Armed Services Committee are warning President Donald Trump against intervening in a $10 billion cloud computing contract the Department of Defense is considering awarding to Amazon, according to a letter first obtained by ABC News.

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“While it is understandable that some of the companies competing for the contract are disappointed at not being selected as one of the finalists, further unnecessary delays will only damage our security and increase the costs of the contract,” writes Rep. Mac Thornberry, the ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee.

Trump suggested Thursday at the White House that he could intervene in the process, which would be an unusual move, especially in light of the attacks Trump has launched against Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.

PHOTO: President Donald Trump stands in the East Room of the White House during a ceremony, July 18, 2019.Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images

President Donald Trump stands in the East Room of the White House during a ceremony, July 18, 2019.

Companies who submitted bids for the contract included Amazon, Microsoft, IBM, and Oracle. Amazon and Microsoft are the finalists, and the DOD is poised to make a decision next month. Amazon is viewed as the favorite to win the contract, but the process has been disputed by the competitors.

“I’m getting tremendous complaints about the contract with the Pentagon and with Amazon,” the president said Thursday in the Oval Office. “They’re saying it was not competitively bid. This is going a long time, I guess probably before this administration. And we’re looking at it very seriously. Great companies that are complaining about it, so we’re going to take a look at it. We’ll take a strong look at it.”

Trump has often criticized Bezos, complaining that Amazon takes advantage of the U.S. Postal Service, that the company does not pay enough taxes, and that the Washington Post, which is personally owned by Bezos, covers his administration unfairly.

PHOTO: Rep. Mac Thornberry speaks during the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) Policy Conference in Washington, DC, March 25, 2019.Sopa Images/LightRocket via Getty Images, FILE

Rep. Mac Thornberry speaks during the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) Policy Conference in Washington, DC, March 25, 2019.

It is common practice for U.S. companies, especially defense contractors such as Boeing and Lockheed Martin, to fight and go to court over massive defense contracts. But it is unusual for a president to become involved in the process.

In the letter, committee members say they are in charge of the process.

“Our committee has conducted oversight of this contract from the beginning,” it says.

Not all Republicans agree with Thornberry. Senator Marco Rubio wrote a letter to National Security Advisor John Bolton this week, urging a delay in awarding the contract, because it “suffers from a lack of competition.”

“Even though 200 companies were initially interested, DoD instituted such a restrictive criteria that only four companies bid on JEDI. DoD then further used the arbitrary criteria to eliminate two of the bidders, IBM and Oracle, leaving only Amazon and Microsoft,” Rubio wrote.

Senator Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) also expressed concerns about the process directly to President Trump while they flew on Air Force One together last week. Johnson has raised concerns about potential conflicts of interest in the process, including the involvement of two DOD employees who may have had connections to one of the competing companies, and has encouraged the DOD Office of the Inspector General to investigate the matter.

“Given the significant amount of taxpayer dollars associated with this particular contract, I respectfully request DOD to delay awarding this contract to any company until DOD OIG completes its investigation,” Johnson wrote in a letter to Acting Secretary of Defense Mark Esper.

Trump says White House helping rapper ASAP Rocky, who is detained in Sweden

President Donald Trump spoke out for the first time Friday about the case of rapper A$AP Rocky, who has been held in a Swedish jail for more than two weeks without charges following a street fight.

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The president said the White House has been communicating with Sweden and working on the release of the hip-hop star, who will be detained at least until July 25, a judge ruled Friday.

“A$AP Rocky is a situation in Sweden. Sweden’s a great country and they’re friends of mine, the leadership. And we are going to be calling, we’ll be talking to them, we’ve already started and many, many members of the African-American community have called me — friends of mine, and said could you help?” Trump told reporters on Friday when asked about the case.

The rapper’s unusual case has become a cause celebre, attracting the attention of stars such as Kim Kardashian West, who directly appealed to the president. Trump also revealed that first lady Melania Trump personally appealed to him and asked him to help the rapper.

PHOTO: A$AP Rocky performs during the 42nd American Music Awards in Los Angeles, Nov. 23, 2014.Mario Anzuoni/Reuters, FILE

A$AP Rocky performs during the 42nd American Music Awards in Los Angeles, Nov. 23, 2014.

A$AP Rocky has been in pre-trial detention since July 2, following a June 30 street fight that broke out in Stockholm. Two other performers who were with the rapper that night, Bladimir Corniel and David Rispers, were also detained.

“We are very disappointed because this is frankly unjust,” A$AP Rocky’s Swedish attorney, Sloban Jovicic, told ABC News in a phone interview on Friday. He disputed the prosecution’s argument that the rapper could flee the country.

“This is unjust because he is incarcerated because the prosecutor is applying the rule of ‘flight right.’ There is no risk for flight risk or escape because A$AP would never jeopardize his career, brand, support from his fans, friends and celebrities all over the world,” Jovicic said.

A Change.org petition demanding the rapper’s release, which has been shared widely by Hollywood stars and artists from all corners of the hip-hop world, has garnered over 600,000 signatures and celebrities from Kardashian West to Justin Bieber have been calling for the rapper’s release.

Kardashian West, who has developed a close relationship with the Trump administration through her advocacy for criminal justice reform, confirmed a TMZ report on Thursday that she and her husband, hip-hop star Kanye West, appealed to the president through his son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner to help free the rapper. Kardashian West also worked with Trump to help free Alice Johnson, a grandmother who had been serving life on drug charges.

“Thank you @realDonaldTrump , @SecPompeo, Jared Kushner & everyone involved with the efforts to Free ASAP Rocky & his two friends. Your commitment to justice reform is so appreciated,” she tweeted.

The State Department announced on Wednesday that Assistant Secretary of State for Consular Affairs Carl Risch traveled to Sweden and is in the country currently.

“[A$AP Rocky] knows that celebrities and fans have a petition of support to bring him home he would never jeopardize that. It’s frankly unjust for them to think he would not act responsibly and accordingly in this matter,” Jovicic told ABC News.

Regarding the upcoming hearing on July 25 Jovicic said, “we need to be prepared and assume the prosecutor will press charges. We are hoping for justice in a fair trial.”

A$AP Rocky — whose given name is Rakim Mayers — is part of the hip-hop collective A$AP Mob, and was in Sweden as part of the European leg of his tour.

The rapper is “suspected of aggravated assault,” according to a press release posted to the website of the Stockholm prosecutor’s office. But the rapper’s attorney told ABC News that he and his companions were acting in self-defense.

“You have to also see this from his point of view, he came to Sweden to perform for his fans and he was attacked, followed and harassed,” Jovicic said on Friday. “My client begged and pleaded with these attackers to stop and he acted in self defense. And now he is the one in jail. That’s unjust.”

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4 Chicago police officers fired over alleged cover-up of Laquan McDonald shooting

Four Chicago police officers have been fired over their alleged cover-up of the 2014 murder of a black teenager, Laquan McDonald, by former officer Jason Van Dyke.

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The Chicago Police Board voted on Thursday to discharge Sgt. Stephen Franko and officers Janet Modragon, Daphne Sebastian and Ricardo Viramontes. They have the right to appeal the decision, which went into effect immediately.

“The department is bound by the decision of the board,” Chicago Police Department spokesman Thomas Ahern told ABC News in a statement Thursday night. “The affected members have further options they may exercise if they so choose.”

The four former officers were accused of making false statements about the shooting, which took place on the night of Oct. 20, 2014. Van Dkye, who fired 16 shots at the 17-year-old McDonald in a span of 15 seconds, was convicted by a jury last year of second-degree murder and 16 counts of aggravated battery with a firearm.

PHOTO: People celebrate the guilty verdict in the murder trial of Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke outside the Leighton Criminal Court Building in Chicago, Oct. 5, 2018. Van Dyke was found guilty of murder for fatally shooting Laquan McDonald.Jim Young/AFP/Getty Images

People celebrate the guilty verdict in the murder trial of Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke outside the Leighton Criminal Court Building in Chicago, Oct. 5, 2018. Van Dyke was found guilty of murder for fatally shooting Laquan McDonald.

The Chicago Police Board wrote in its findings and decision that Franko “failed to properly supervise his officers” that night, nearly five years ago. The sergeant reviewed and approved “critical case reports” that contained “several demonstrable and known falsehoods,” according to the board.

Meanwhile, Modragon, Sebastian and Viramontes were all present when McDonald was killed. They gave statements that night to a detective and again early the next morning to Chicago’s Independent Police Review Authority, according to the board.

“It was their statements that would be used by the investigators to determine whether the fatal shooting of Mr. McDonald was justified — or whether a crime by their fellow officer had been committed,” the board wrote. “As sworn officers, each understood the importance of their statements to that investigation and understood that their statements must be truthful and complete. Each of the three officers failed in their duty — either by outright lying or by shading the truth.”

The Chicago police union, the Fraternal Order of Police, lambasted the board’s ruling, saying it will “no doubt lead to more violence in the city and quite likely more violence against the police.”

“These officers served the citizens of this city with courage, integrity, and adherence to the rule of law,” Martin Preib, second vice president of the Fraternal Order of Police, said in a statement. “Too bad you couldn’t do the same.”

German Chancellor expresses “solidarity” with freshman lawmakers after Trump attack

German Chancellor Angela Merkel criticized President Donald’s Trump’s comments that four Democratic congresswomen should “go back” to where they came from, saying the idea “contradicts America’s strength,” and expressed “solidarity with the attacked women.”

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The chancellor, who made the comments on Friday during her annual press event, said the country’s strength is derived from the contributions of people from many backgrounds, and that Trump’s comments — first expressed on Twitter and repeated to his supporters at a campaign rally — run “counter to this impression.”

“This is something that contradicts America’s strength,” she said.

Theresa May, the outgoing U.K. prime minister, has also criticized the remarks, saying through a spokesperson they were “completely unacceptable,” according to the BBC.

PHOTO: German Chancellor Angela Merkel speaks during her summer press conference in Berlin, on July 19, 2019.John Macdougall/AFP/Getty Images

German Chancellor Angela Merkel speaks during her summer press conference in Berlin, on July 19, 2019.

The president targeted four progressive Democrats — Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., and Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass — saying they “came from countries whose governments are a complete and total catastrophe.” Three of the lawmakers were born in the U.S., and Omar came to the U.S. as a refugee as a child.

Omar fired back, calling it a “blatantly racist attack on four duly elected members of the United States House of Representatives, all of whom are women of color.”

Trump then doubled down on the comments — against Omar, in particular — at a campaign rally in Greenville, NC, saying: “I said I have a suggestion for the hate-filled extremists who are constantly trying to tear our country down. They never have anything good to say, that’s why I say, hey, if they don’t like it let them leave. Leave, let them leave.”

He looked on as his largely white crowd broke into repeated chants of “Send her back!” Omar, who was born in Somalia, is one of the first two Muslim women in Congress.

On Thursday night, a crowd in Omar’s home state of Minnesota greeted her arrival from Washington with the chant, “Welcome home, Ilhan!”

The U.S.-German has shown signs of stress since Trump’s ascent to the Oval Office. A poll conducted by the Pew Research Center and Koerber-Stiftung in Germany in late 2018 found that 78% of Germans feel the US-German relationship was bad — a 17% increase from 2017.

Merkel has held her post since 2005 and has said she will leave office when her current term ends in 2021.

Pressed by reporters about her health after it appeared she was shaking during several recent public appearances, Merkel, who turned 65 this week, brushed aside concerns.

“I hope there is life after my time in office and I would like to lead it in good health,” she said.