Woman gives surprise birth on plane helped by doctor, nurses – National & International News – TUE 4May2021

New mom Lavinia Mounga with newborn son Raymond and Dr. Dale Glenn, who assisted the birth.

Woman gives birth on plane. Biden raises refugee cap. Palestinians evicted in Jerusalem to make way for Jewish settlers. Iran-UK-US talks on hostages, sanctions.


Woman gives birth on plane with specialists on hand

On April 28, Lavinia “Lavi” Mounga boarded a Salt Lake City-Honolulu flight for a family vacation. Midflight, Mounga unexpectedly went into labor. Early reports indicated that Mounga’s family had not even known she was pregnant. As it turns out, Mounga was 28 weeks pregnant with a baby boy. Her delivery was about 9 weeks premature. Luckily for Mounga, and her baby, Raymond, there was a family medicine doctor from Hawaii and three neonatal intensive care nurses from Kansas on board her flight. The specialists answered the urgent call for assistance and managed to deliver tiny Raymond safely into the world.

Dr. Dale Glenn said, “We’re all trying to work in a very small, confined space in an airplane, which is pretty challenging. But the teamwork was great”. The story of Mounga’s unexpected delivery went viral after a passenger on the flight uploaded a video about it to TikTok, a video-sharing app. The video captures the moment when flight attendants announce the new arrival to loudly applauding passengers.

The three nurses were able to visit Lavinia and Raymond at a Honolulu hospital. One of the nurses, Mimi Ho, said, “We all just teared up. She called us family and said we’re all his aunties, and it was so great to see them”.

Mounga has since been discharged from the hospital but baby Raymond will have to remain in the NICU unit for a while yet.

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Biden quadruples Trump’s refugee cap

President Biden has raised the US’ annual refugee cap from 15,000 to 62,500 after weeks of outcry from activists and refugee agencies. Biden had initially opted to keep Trump’s number in place. Biden now says Trump’s “historically low” number “did not reflect America’s values”. Trump had gradually reduced the cap from 110,000 in Obama’s last year to 15,000 over his four years in office.

Biden also says he intends to raise next year’s cap to 125,000. However, he says it is unlikely that either this year’s or next year’s figure will be reached. For this, Biden blamed the immigration system he inherited from Trump, which Secretary of State Antony Blinken recently said was “intentionally broken”.

The humanitarian organization World Relief took issue with Biden’s scapegoating of his predecessor for his own administration’s shortcomings. World Relief dismissed Biden’s assertions that his administration was rebuilding refugee resettlement programs dismantled under Trump “a completely false narrative” and “a purely political calculation”.

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Israeli settler to displaced Palestinian: “If I don’t steal your home, someone else will”

Last night, Israeli soldiers evicted 6 Palestinian families from their homes in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah. These are six of the 28 Palestinian families settled in Sheikh Jarrah in 1956 when the West Bank and East Jerusalem were under Jordanian control. A deal between the Jordanian government and a UN refugee agency at the times resettled displaced Palestinians in the neighborhood and built homes for them, on the condition that the families would forfeit their claim to refugee status. But Jordan lost its mandate over the area in the 1967 war, and the Israeli government voided the claims.

Israeli courts have ruled that the land the homes were built on was under Jewish ownership before 1948. A Palestinian cartographer found proved this to be untrue after searching archives in Ankara, but the court dismissed his evidence. The court ruled that the Palestinian families, who own the deed to the homes, must either leave to make way for Israeli settlers, or pay rent on their own homes to the settlers.

Mona al-Kurd, a member of one of the evicted families, recorded an interaction with one of the settlers taking over her home, a man named Jacob. In the video, al-Kurd confronts Jacob, in English: “Jacob, you know that this is not your home.”

Jacob replies in a thick Brooklyn accent: “Yes, but if I go, you don’t go back, so what’s the problem? Why are you yelling at me?”

Al-Kurd responds, “You are stealing my house!”

Jacob answers, “If I don’t steal it, someone else will steal it. So why are you yelling at me?”

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Diplomatic dance over Iran hostages, debts, sanctions

For over 5 years, British-Iranian Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe has been in an Iranian prison, serving a sentence for spying charges. Recently, as her first sentence was drawing to a close, an Iranian court sentenced her to another year in prison. Zaghari-Ratcliffe had gone to Iran some years ago to champion women’s causes, which brought her to the authorities’ attention. Iran is infamous for imprisoning activists of all kinds, but Nazanin’s husband Richard maintains that there is more to her case.

Richard Ratcliffe and other supporters believe that Iran is holding Nazanin hostage over a decades-old British debt to Iran. In the 1970s, the Shah of Iran, who came to power by a US-backed coup, had ordered some military equipment from Britain. He made an advance payment, now worth approximately £400 million (over $550 million). But then, the Shah was overthrown in the 1979 Iranian Revolution, and the equipment was never delivered. Iran has since been pressing the UK to return the money.  

Over the weekend, Iranian media reported that Britain and Iran had entered negotiations for Nazanin’s release. They also reported talks of a prisoner swap deal between the US and Iran. British, American and Iranian officials subsequently denied the reports.

But now, UK foreign office minister James Cleverly has confirmed that the two country’s are in talks over the debt, but denies any connection to the Zaghari-Ratcliffe case.

Also, two American prisoners in Iran have been moved to cells in Iran’s notorious Evin prison, where prisoners have previously been housed before being released. Iranian media reports have also indicated movement on the possible lifting of sanctions by the US in connection with the nuclear negotiations. US officials have denied these reports as well.

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