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Maine nurse defies Ebola quarantine with bike ride

A nurse who vowed to defy Maine's voluntary quarantine for health care workers who treated Ebola patients followed through on her promise Thursday, leaving her home for an hour-long bike ride.

Kaci Hickox and her boyfriend stepped out of their home Thursday morning and rode away on mountain bikes, followed by a state police cruiser.

It was the second time Hickox broke quarantine. She left her home Wednesday evening briefly to speak to reporters, even shaking a hand that was offered to her.

Hickox contends there's no need for quarantine because she's showing no symptoms. She's also tested negative for the deadly disease.

"I really hope that we can work things out amicably and continue to negotiate," she said Thursday morning while riding on a dirt trail.

There was no immediate comment from state health officials, who were going to court to detain Hickox for the remainder of the 21-day incubation period for Ebola that ends on Nov. 10

"There's a lot of misinformation about how Ebola is transmitted, and I can understand why people are frightened. But their fear is not based on medical facts," Norman Siegel, one of her attorneys, said Wednesday.

Hickox, who treated Ebola patients while volunteering in Sierra Leone with Doctors Without Borders, was the first person forced into New Jersey's mandatory quarantine for people arriving at the Newark airport from three West African countries. Hickox spent the weekend in a tent in New Jersey before traveling to the home she shares with her boyfriend, a nursing student at the University of Maine at Fort Kent.

"I'm not willing to stand here and let my civil rights be violated when it's not science-based," she said Wednesday evening.

Word spread quickly around the town of 4,300 residents on the Canadian border.

Fort Kent resident Priscilla Staples says some residents are "fearful" of Hickox's presence in the community, but she believes Hickhox "has done nothing wrong and she has every right in the world to go for a bike ride."

Generally, states have broad authority when it comes to such matters. But Maine health officials could have a tough time convincing a judge that Hickox poses a threat, said attorney Jackie L. Caynon III, who specializes in health law in Worcester, Massachusetts.

"If somebody isn't showing signs of the infection, then it's kind of hard to say someone should be under mandatory quarantine," he said.

Ebola, which is spread through direct contact with the bodily fluids of an infected person, has killed thousands of people in Africa, but only four people have been diagnosed with it in the United States. People can't be infected just by being near someone who's sick, and people aren't contagious unless they're sick, health officials say.

Guidelines from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend daily monitoring for health care workers like Hickox who have come into contact with Ebola patients. But some states like Maine are going above and beyond those guidelines.

In the very early stages of Ebola, patients may still test negative because the virus has not yet reached detectable levels in the blood. The CDC says it may take up to three days after the onset of symptoms for the virus to reach detectable levels in some patients, prompting repeat testing in some cases.

The defense department is going even further. On Wednesday, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel ordered military men and women helping fight Ebola to undergo 21-day quarantines that start upon their return — instead of their last exposure to an Ebola patient.

President Barack Obama warned that overly restrictive measures imposed upon returning health care workers could discourage them from volunteering in Africa.

But Maine Gov. Paul LePage, who canceled campaign events to keep tabs on the situation, maintained that the state must be "vigilant" to protect others.

State law allows a judge to grant temporary custody of someone if health officials demonstrate "a clear and immediate public health threat."

The state's court filing was expected Thursday, officials said.

If a judge grants the state request, then Hickox will appeal the decision on constitutional grounds, necessitating a hearing, Siegel said.

Siegel said the nurse hopes her fight against the quarantine will help bring an end to misinformation about how the Ebola virus is transmitted.

"She wants to have her voice in the debate about how America handles the Ebola crisis. She has an important voice and perspective," he said.

Thu, 30 Oct 2014 07:41:08 -0700

Gunfire, arrests erupt as Giants fans revel in win

The celebration in San Francisco's streets over the Giants' World Series victory turned raucous and violent in some areas with people injured by gunfire, officers hurt by bottles thrown by revelers, and police making arrests.

The partying unfolded peacefully with fans gathering in the streets and uncorking champagne, lighting bonfires, dancing in a mosh pit and hugging strangers Wednesday night as their team scored its third series win in as many championship appearances, a triumph all the more gratifying by its arrival at the end of a seventh, winner-takes-all 3-2 game.

"I knew they were going to win. It's the Giants. They do this all the time," San Francisco native Barbra Norris, 54, said of the team's odds-defying win in an away game played the night after a crushing shutout in Kansas City.

But in some areas, the atmosphere grew rowdier as the night wore on. Video footage showed fans on the roofs of buses and a police car that had been tagged and its windows smashed.

Violence left three people injured in separate incidents, two by gunshots and one in a stabbing, said Officer Gordon Shyy, a police spokesman. The gunshot victims' wounds were not life-threatening, and the stabbing victim suffered serious injuries.

Shortly after the celebrating began, Shyy said officers made "a handful of arrests" as fans filled the streets and blocked traffic around the Civic Center, in the Mission District and on Market Street within walking distance of AT&T Park. Updated arrest figures were not expected until later Thursday.

Shyy said bottles struck police in multiple areas.

"These objects were thrown at officers as they attempted to disperse crowds" and help firefighters put out bonfires, he said.

Multiple officers suffered minor injuries, Shyy said, but did not provide an exact number. He also said one was treated at a hospital for injuries.

The area around Third and King streets was especially raucous with thousands of fans spraying beer, smashing bottles, lighting fires and setting off fireworks. That prompted police in riot gear to move in and set up a perimeter.

At one point, riot police lined up three rows deep, leading people to hurl bottles, some shattering on the street and others hitting cringing officers, the newspaper reported.

The wild street scenes lasted into the early hours Thursday. Shyy said crowds were still in the streets in some areas and stoking bonfires shortly after midnight, and officers continued to try to clear the areas. But by 1:30 a.m. PDT, he said crowds had dispersed for the most part.

Earlier in the evening, across from San Francisco City Hall, where the exterior lights had been glowing orange all week, more than 9,000 people gathered in an outdoor plaza where the city had set up a Jumbotron and a vendor sold hot dogs — but no beer.

"You come out here to feel the pulse of the city. When it's the seventh game, you want to get the vibe," said Geoff Goselin, 61.

The diverse crowd sang "Let's Go, Giants" whenever their counterparts 1,800 miles away rooted for the home team and chanted a prophetic "M-V-P" whenever Giants ace Madison Bumgarner took the mound.

"Bumgarner is the beast, the man," Aden Bacus, 41, shouted after the exhausted pitcher secured a series of strikes on the heels of giving up a gasp-inducing triple. "I'd be lying if I told you I wasn't nervous there at the end."

Amid the revelry, Mayor Ed Lee said the city would host a parade and celebration for the team Friday.

San Francisco police maintained a heavy presence but kept a cool distance as marijuana smoke wafted over Civic Center Plaza and jubilant fans set off fireworks and popped open cans of Pabst Blue Ribbon someone sold out of a cooler.

One indication of the mood was that several fans said they would have been able to stomach a Royals victory with a shrug, if not a smile.

"It would have been really cool for Kansas City to win the World Series at home," said David Janmohamed, 23.

Thu, 30 Oct 2014 07:33:02 -0700

Apple CEO Tim Cook: 'I'm proud to be gay'

One of the most powerful men in the tech and U.S. business industry, Tim Cook has announced he's gay.

In a 10-paragraph op-ed for Businessweek published early Thursday morning, the Apple CEO wrote,"While I have never denied my sexuality, I haven’t publicly acknowledged it either, until now. So let me be clear: I’m proud to be gay, and I consider being gay among the greatest gifts God has given me."

The reveal is hugely significant, evidenced if nothing else by the apparent crash of Businessweek's website and the article only minutes after it was posted.

When standing in the shadow of the most valuable company in the world, there's little ability to keep your entire personal life out of the public eye. Cook's sexual orientation has been the subject of rumor and discussion— as this Gawker headline from 2011 clearly shows.

And in June as CNBC's "Squawk on the Street" discussed the lack of openly gay CEOs in Fortune 500 companies. Co-host Simon Hobbs found out insider info doesn't always equal public knowledge.

Jim Stewart, The New York Times Columnist: "Not one would allow to be named."

Simon Hobbs, CNBC Anchor: "Well, I think Tim Cook is fairly open about the fact that he's gay at the head of Apple, isn't he? Oh, dear. Was that an error?"

Cook's leadership of Apple — which started in the unenviable position, by the way, of having to be Steve Jobs' successor — has been largely viewed as admirable. (Video via YouTube / Martin T)

The company continues to lead the tech industry on seemingly all relevant fronts. Cook, of course, unveiled Apple's latest iPhone models last month along with specs and a release date for Apple's venture into wearable tech with its smart watch. (Video via Bloomberg & Apple)

Cook finished his op-ed noting two pictures of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy greet him when he arrives to work each day, though he said his announcement certainly doesn't make him their equal.

"All it does is allow me to look at those pictures and know that I’m doing my part, however small, to help others. We pave the sunlit path toward justice together, brick by brick. This is my brick."You can see the full article on Businessweek.

This video includes images from Getty Images.

Thu, 30 Oct 2014 07:05:30 -0700

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