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In The News

Feb 27, 2009

NATIONAL – The federal stimulus bill, approved by Congress and signed by President Obama, allows states to expand eligibility for unemployment benefits to people in at least two of the following situations: workers who left their jobs for compelling family reasons which can include domestic violence; those looking for part-time work (who are primarily women); workers who request extra financing for dependents who qualify for benefits; and workers who had exhausted their benefits and are now in job training programs. Each state sets its own criteria as to which workers are eligible for unemployment benefits, but the stimulus bill will add a $7 billion incentive for states to extend benefits, the New York Times reports.

CA – University of San Francisco student and former ROTC member Ryan Kenneth Caskey was arrested and charged with raping four fellow female classmates while they were unconscious. Caskey allegedly supplied alcoholic beverages to the victims, and assaulted them after they passed out. He is charged with four counts of rape of an unconscious person, and four counts of assault with force likely to produce great bodily injury. Caskey’s commission in ROTC was terminated upon his arrest, and he has been suspended from school. His preliminary hearing is set for March 5.

NY – The founder of an upstate New York television station has been arrested for beheading his wife. Aasiya Hassan had recently filed for divorce from her husband, Muzzammil Hassan, and police had responded to several domestic violence calls at the couple’s home, CNN reports. After the gruesome homicide, the Vice President of the Islamic Center of North America, Imam Mohamed Hagmagid Ali, released a statement, “This is a wake up call to all of us that violence against women is real and cannot be ignored. It must be addressed collectively by every member of our community… We, the Muslim community, need to take a strong stand against domestic violence… women who seek divorce from their spouses because of physical abuse should get full support from the community and should not be viewed as someone who has brought shame to herself or her family… We must make it a priority to teach our young men in the community what it means to be a good husband.”

TX – Federal Judge Samuel B. Kent retired and pled guilty to obstruction of justice in order to avoid a trial on five other charges involving sexually inappropriate behavior with employees, the New York Times reports. Judge Kent was indicted last August and accused of forcing himself on his case manager and secretary, who described his advances as particularly lewd. Had he not stepped down, Kent would have been the first district judge to be tried on federal sexual harassment charges.