Couple Accused Of Keeping 7-Year-Old Locked In Outdoor Cage For Weeks

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A preliminary hearing is set for Thursday in Circuit Court for a man charged with child abuse and felonious restraint after he — and an Albany County woman — allegedly kept a 7-year-old child in an outdoor cage.

Jena-HarmanJena Harman, the child’s mother, and Alexander Smith are charged with one count each of child abuse and three counts each of felonious restraint, according to District Court felony information documents.

If guilty of all four counts, Harman and Smith each face up to 20 years imprisonment.

They were arrested July 24 after Albany County Sheriff’s Office Deputies responded to a residence on Fox Creek Road and allegedly found the child in a cage.

Harman’s case was bound over to District Court. Her arraignment hasn’t been scheduled yet.

The Public Defender’s Office is representing Harman.

Tom Fleener, attorney with Fleener and Vang, is representing Smith, and Josh Merseal, Deputy County and Prosecuting Attorney, is prosecuting.

Smith’s hearing, scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Thursday in Circuit Court, will determine whether his case is bound over to District Court.

Before the arrests, the Sheriff’s Office began receiving complaints of child abuse and requests for welfare checks dating back to August.

Deputies responded to the property after receiving a tip July 23 that the child was being kept in a cage there.

After arriving, deputies discovered the cage was about six feet square, five feet tall and constructed of cattle paneling and wooden snow fence. Plywood covered half of the top opening. Inside the cage, deputies discovered a cot, clothing, books, a toothbrush, toothpaste and a five-gallon bucket, according to court documents.

A metal chain and “dog-leash-style latch” were allegedly used to keep the child locked in the cage.

The child told deputies he/she had been in the cage on and off for three weeks, using the restroom from the cage, taking meals in the cage and sleeping overnight in the cage — even during rainstorms.

Harman allegedly referred to the cage as the child’s playpen and kept the child in the cage because he/she was misbehaving, according to District Court documents.

Smith told deputies he disliked the child but kept the child in the cage to ensure his/her safety, according to the affidavit.

Both Harman and Smith remain incarcerated at the Albany County Detention Center on $100,000 cash bonds.

Pennsylvania mother smells foul odor, finds son died 4 days earlier

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A mother, alerted by a foul odor, found out her son died four days earlier in their Pennsylvania home, and on Monday an autopsy was under way and the boy’s father remained jailed in the case.

childs-body-foundThe 8-year-old boy, Jarrod Tutko, Jr., was among five children in the family who suffer from medical or developmental problems, according to the Harrisburg Patriot-News website.

He was being cared for by his father in an upper bedroom of the Harrisburg home while his mother, Kimberly Tutko, tended to his 10-year-old sister, who is comatose, on another floor, according to the Patriot-News website.

The mother had not seen the boy, who was prone to smear feces on himself, in four years out of fear she would carry an infection back to his sister, the news site reported.

Dauphin County Assistant District Attorney Fran Chardo declined to confirm the details of the news report.

The boy’s mother called police on Friday night after she asked her husband about a stench coming from an upper floor of their rented half of a two-family home.

He told her their son was dead, and then brought the decomposing body from the third-floor bedroom, police said.

An autopsy on the boy’s body was being conducted on Monday, Chardo said.

The father, Jarrod Nicholas Tutko, 38, was being held on $500,000 bail on charges of child endangerment, concealing the death of a child and abuse of a corpse.

The couple’s other five children were placed in the custody of Dauphin County child welfare authorities.

How the obesity epidemic is ruining America’s sex life

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From 1980-2010, the number of obese American children aged 6-11 more than doubled, from 7% to 18%.

2-photosfatWhile childhood obesity can presage a host of problems, greatly increasing the risk of cancer, heart disease and diabetes, less discussed is the effect it will eventually have on a person’s sex life.

In the new book “XL Love” (Rodale), health-policy journalist Sarah Varney informs us that these negative effects begin surprisingly early for many, such as how overweight girls begin puberty younger than their healthy-weight counterparts.

“Some 15% of American girls now begin puberty by first or second grade,” Varney writes. “Over the last quarter-century, the age at which American girls begin menstruating has decreased by 2.5 months.”

Carlton Gorton, a doctor in Belzoni, Miss., an area with higher-than-average rates of obesity, told Varney that “he has discovered girls as young as 5 and 6 years old who are developing pubic hair. These alarming signs of puberty are usually related to his patients’ ample body fat.”

Some of these young patients, whom the doctor describes as “off the growth chart,” even come to him for monthly hormone shots that “hold them off from going through puberty.”

Early puberty, meanwhile, leads to a host of dangerous issues.

“Among girls who go though early puberty,” Varney writes, “there is an increased incidence of depression; alcohol, tobacco and substance abuse; riskier sexual adventures; teen pregnancy; and even suicide attempts.”

Girls who get their periods earlier are “more likely to be sexually active sooner than girls the same age and are more likely to become pregnant and contract sexually transmitted diseases.”

Varney also references a study that “found that women with early periods had an elevated risk for unwanted sexual touching and an even greater risk for forced sexual activity.”

In the teen years, excess weight can also be an obstacle for a girl’s romantic development.

One 2005 study found that “a teenage girl’s odds for a romantic relationship…dropped 6 to 7 percent for every 1-point increase in her body mass index.”

With dating becoming that much more challenging, overweight girls often wind up in one of two categories, neither positive: Some become late bloomers, leaving them behind in knowing how to forge real relationships as they approach adulthood; or, seeking approval, they have sex earlier, leading to even lower self-esteem and continually high risks of pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.

A TEENAGE GIRL’S ODDS FOR A ROMANTIC RELATIONSHIP…DROPPED 6 TO 7 PERCENT FOR EVERY 1-POINT INCREASE IN HER BODY MASS INDEX.

 – Study From 2005

Margaret Villers, an assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, examined more than 20,000 responses in a study of teenage girls.

Villers and her team found that “when obese girls did have sex,” they were “three times as likely as healthy-weight girls to have had sex by the age of 13; 30% more likely to have sex with more than three boys by the end of high school; [and] less likely to use condoms.”

Varney writes that based on feedback from therapists, “Overweight teenage girls can be reluctant to refuse any advances out of fear that they’ll have few chances in the future for romantic and sexual attention.”

Furthermore, a 2011 study found that “extremely obese high-school girls” were “less likely to have sexual intercourse overall…But when they did have a sexual encounter, 42% reported using drugs or alcohol — four times the rate of healthy-weight girls.”

This is troubling for a host of reasons, not the least of which is that “since girls who were drunk or high often ‘did more’ sexually than they originally intended, [they] were more likely to have sex without birth control.”

Jennie Noll, a professor at Penn State who participated in that study, “worries that heavy girls who become sexually active aren’t developing mature sexual identity that will serve them well on their journey to adulthood; they’re just stuck in a cycle. [Some guy is] going to call her beautiful, [and then she thinks], ‘It felt good when that kid came on to me at the party. I slept with him.’ But it doesn’t do anything to move [her] on in a developmental fashion.”

“The picture that is emerging of heavy teen girls and sex,” Varney writes, “is one of extremes: girls who enter adulthood romantically and sexually inexperienced, and those who begin sex very early, by the age of 13, and pursue sexual encounters more recklessly.”

“I don’t think either of those cases,” Noll says in the book, “is going to have healthy relationships unless they’ve found Prince Charming.”

In addition to the psychological and maturation problems these factors set in place, there is also, according to Varney, the fact that 92% of girls who are obese as teens will remain so as adults, leading to problems such as feelings of sexual inadequacy and difficulty reaching orgasm due to decreased blood flow to the clitoris.

FOR EVERY 50 POUNDS OVERWEIGHT YOU ARE, YOU LOSE AN INCH OF PENIS.

 – Dr. Edward Karpman

A 2006 study even found that “one out of three obese women said that because of her weight, she ‘usually or always did not enjoy sexual activity, had little sexual desire, experienced difficulty with sexual performance and avoided sexual encounters.’”

The news is little better for heavy men. While overweight boys might not have the depth of challenges overweight girls do, once into adulthood — where 80% of those boys will remain overweight — the extra weight creates similar feelings of inadequacy, along with unique and troubling problems of their own.

“For every 50 pounds overweight you are, you lose an inch of penis,” Dr. Edward Karpman, a California urologist, says in the book.

“A man’s penis is actually fixed to his abdominal wall, holding it in place,” writes Varney, based on Karpman’s explanation. “The more a man’s fattening belly grows outward, ‘the more it eats their penis,’ leaving them with, according to the doctor, ‘this little nubbin of a penis.’”

Extremely obese men face an extreme version of that, called “buried penis syndrome.”

As Varney explains, “abdominal fat and skin drape out and over a man’s pubic area, causing a host of problems.”

There are plenty of reasons for America to lose weight. “XL Love,” with its portrait of sexual dysfunction and loss of intimacy, shows us one of the saddest.

3-year-old boiled alive after being knocked out of mother’s arms, falling into heated sugar syrup

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A three-year-old Indian boy was boiled alive after being knocked out of his mother’s arms into a pot of heated sugar syrup.

trilokpuriThe boy, named only as Dev, fell into the syrup which had been left outside a sweet shop.

He was knocked into the syrup after a rickshaw ran into his mother, Pinky, in a busy Delhi street.

The rickshaw driver fled the scene.

Pinky told the Hindustan Times that she wanted to take Dev to see his father and broke her own rule of walking on a narrow, crowded street close to their home when the accident occurred.

“I was carrying Dev in my arms, when suddenly we were hit by the speeding rickshaw while we were standing outside a sweet shop.

“I lost my balance and my son fell inside the pot filled with hot syrup, prepared for jalebis (a popular sweet in India). I started screaming for help, but no one came forward.”

Pinky suffered severe burns to her hands and arms as she tried to pull Dev out of the pot.

In response to the tragedy, Delhi has banned the rickshaws from the roads.

Kristina Riddell Accused Of Running Over Woman For Reporting Child In Hot Car

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A concerned couple calls police about a young boy left in a hot car.

But when the cops arrived, it’s the good Samaritans who needed an ambulance.

Kristina-RiddellThe boy’s mother is charged with running over the couple who called 911 on her.

Now, Shannon Dominguez, 43, is confined to a wheelchair. Doctors say she may never walk the same again.

“Every day is a chore. Every day is stressful,” says Dominguez.

They never could have imagined calling police to help a child left alone in a hot car would end up like this.

“All four windows were rolled up. And it was in the direct sun. It scares the heck out of me. It’s some innocent child might die,” says Dominguez.

Now, she’s dealing with a crushed left leg.

“My tibia has a spiral break. My fibula has three breaks in it. They put a rod in there,” she says.

Dominguez and her boyfriend Alan Mason say Kristina Riddell, 27, ran over them with her white Honda on June 7 just after 1: 30 p.m.

“She heard me on the phone with police,” says Dominguez, who called for help when she saw the boy alone in the car.

The drama unfolded in front of a Dollar Tree store at 2255 Main St. in Longmont.

Dominguez says Riddell got mad, threatened to beat her up and punched Mason in the face.

Dominguez says they were standing in an empty parking space when Riddell then got in her car, backed up and accelerated towards them, hitting Dominguez first, then Mason.

He went over the hood.

“She had her windows down, so I grabbed onto the door. She drug me about 20 feet. I realized she was not going to stop, so I let go. I tumbled in the parking lot,” says Mason. He suffered internal and external bruising.

Police soon arrested Riddle at her home at 1208 Meadow St. in Longmont.

She wasn’t there when FOX31 Denver stopped by Tuesday.

“She gets to work every day. She gets to cook for her family. She gets to go out on the weekends with her family. I can’t do any of that,” says Dominguez.

Doctors tell Dominguez she may never walk normal again.

For now, she’s bound to a wheelchair.

“It’s hard. We use to be so active and now I can’t do much of anything,” she says.

But the couple says if they could do it over again, they would.

“If it means helping a child, I’d do it in a heartbeat,” says Dominguez.

“We might do it a little different next time, says Mason. “Probably call 911, then leave.”

Riddell has an extensive criminal record, including arrests for assault, domestic violence and multiple driving violations.

Now, she’s facing charges of hit-and-run, assault and child abuse.

Woman slits husbands throat, claims she was dreaming of filleting a fish

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A Dillonvale woman charged with attempted murder and aggravated assault after authorities say she claimed she was dreaming about filleting a fish when she sliced her husband’s throat in his sleep went before a Jefferson County judge for her arraignment Monday.

JJON0728_5149 (1)ond was set at half a million dollars for Judy Jones, 44, in a shocking case of domestic violence that authorities say could have ended in murder if the couple’s daughter hadn’t acted.

“She made threats that she was going to kill him,” Jefferson County Sheriff Fred Abdalla said. “And she almost did early Saturday morning. So she’s been charged now with the prosecutor handling the case got her charged with felony 1s and 2 for attempted murder and aggravated assault.”

This all happened at the family’s home at 19 2nd Street in Dillionvale and Abdalla said this isn’t the first time Judy Jones thought about killing her husband. Abdalla says Jones’ daughter told investigators her mother had been planning this for about a year, and that 16-year old girl’s call to 911 immediately after it happened likely saved her father’s life. Thomas Jones, 49, is in the hospital recovering. “He’s got stitches from almost (ear to ear) so we just have to wait for it to go through the court system,” Abdalla said.

Investigators said Judy Jones eventually changed her story and admitted trying to kill her husband. She told the court she can’t afford a lawyer. She’ll be back in court again Wednesday afternoon.

Rats Entered Corpses Through Vagina And Anus At D.C. Hospital, Ex-Worker Says

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Are you about to eat? Don’t start if you’re going to read this.

n-MORGUE-large300A rat infestation at Providence Hospital in Washington, D.C, was so bad that the rodents were entering corpses through the vagina and anus, a former worker says.

Doris Kennard won a $237,000 judgment for emotional distress against the hospital on July 18, court records show. A lawyer for the hospital said “we vehemently disagree with the verdict” and will appeal.

In a stomach-churning interview (above) with Fox News in D.C., Kennard recounted some of the details from her stint as a contract worker in the hospital morgue several years ago: Rats chewed through the body bags to feast on the cadavers. In 2010, one rat even attacked her, landing her in the hospital.

Kennard, whose job was in part to clean the deceased, said in documents that she pulled what she believed to be the string of a “feminine product” out of a cadaver and it turned out to be a rat, which then bit her.

She told the station that the problem was so intense that she could not get someone else to work with her.

Kennard theorized that the morgue’s coolers broke down, so bodies warmed and perhaps attracted the vermin from a nearby hospital trash compactor. Kennard’s lawyer, Gregory Lattimer, accused the hospital of a coverup in the report and said the infestation has persisted for decades.

A hospital rep told HuffPost on Friday, “The District of Columbia Department of Health and two of their field inspectors toured our facilities today and found absolutely no evidence that would support the claims that were alleged.”

The hospital gift shop was closed by health inspectors in January after they spotted rodent droppings and a “bag of food chewed on by some sort of pest,” D.C. outlet WUSA 9 reported.

Kennard originally filed the suit in December 2012, according to records. An attorney for the hospital asked for a mistrial on July 17 but was rejected.

The hospital’s attorney, Hugh W. Farrell with Farrell & Gunderson, offered the following statement:

We vehemently disagree with the verdict and will file an appeal. At the time of the alleged incident, a thorough investigation was completed by the Hospital and the District of Columbia Department of Health which revealed no truth to the allegations. There was absolutely no evidence of the alleged rat activity. We look forward to correcting this verdict on appeal.

No ‘rainbow families’: Ethnic donor stipulation at fertility centre ‘floors’ local woman

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A Calgary woman says she was shocked to learn of a policy at the city’s only fertility treatment centre that restricts patients from using sperm, eggs or embryos from donors who do not match their ethnic background.

10063443Catherine, who asked to use only her first name, said she sought invitro fertilization at the Regional Fertility Program last March as a single woman. During routine consultations with her doctor she was told she could only use sperm from donors who were white, like her.

“That’s when everything went downhill,” she told the Herald. “I was absolutely floored.”

Dr. Calvin Greene, the clinic’s administrative director, confirmed the private facility will not treat couples or singles who insist on using donors of a different ethnicity. The policy has been in place since the clinic opened in the 1980s.

“I’m not sure that we should be creating rainbow families just because some single woman decides that that’s what she wants,” he said. “That’s her prerogative, but that’s not her prerogative in our clinic.”

A statement on the clinic’s website reads: “it is the practice of the Regional Fertility Program not to permit the use of a sperm donor that would result in a future child appearing racially different than the recipient or the recipient’s partner.”

Greene said doctors at the clinic feel “a child of an ethnic background should have the ability to be able to identify with their ethnic roots.” He added patients should have a “cultural connection” to their donors.

The Alberta Human Rights Commission upheld the policy after a white couple brought a complaint against the clinic about five years ago, Greene said.

They were not infertile but had hoped to use non-Caucasian sperm. “Our psychologist evaluated them and really didn’t see why a couple that is not infertile should be choosing sperm donors they have no cultural relationship with.”

Interracial couples treated at the clinic have the option of using donors that are ethnically similar to either one of the partners, he added, noting most patients want their children to resemble them.

According to the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta, doctors can refuse to provide non-emergency treatment on moral grounds as long as they refer patients to other doctors who will. However the Regional Fertility Program is the only fertility clinic in Calgary, so patients must go to Edmonton, Saskatoon, Vancouver or beyond if they don’t agree with its policy. Women receiving fertility treatment often need daily or very frequent treatments for a matter of months.

Greene said the clinic’s policy follows similar guidelines used with in-province adoption and foster care, where children are placed with families of their same cultural background whenever possible.

“I would ask you, why would you not choose somebody of your own cultural background?”

Catherine said there are many reasons. By the time she narrowed down her pool of potential donors to those who met Canadian standards, had a good health history and a compatible blood type, she was left with only 20 or so Caucasian candidates to choose from. Many of them had already been used by several other patients in Calgary.

“Frankly, it’s appalling how many people have the same donors, probably because of this policy,” she said. “A friend of mine just went through this process and used the donor that I would have picked.”

Looking at other ethnicities significantly increased her options. While many people do want children who will look like them, she said she is less concerned with the colour of her potential child’s skin than the demeanour, personality and health history it might inherit from its biological father.

But Greene countered that there are lots of quality Caucasian donors available. “She needs to look harder, because I can tell you reasonable people can easily find a suitable donor.”

He added that visible minorities often have the most trouble finding candidates because their pool — as dictated by the clinic — is generally smaller.

Greene was adamant the rule follows the spirit of Canada’s Assisted Human Reproduction Act, which demands doctors place priority on the well-being of potential children and refrain from producing “designer” babies.

But Tim Caulfield, a University of Alberta law professor and legal expert in assisted reproduction, said the policy is “archaic.”

“To assume that the colour of one’s skin determines their culture, determines their well-being I think is unfortunate,” he said, noting many could argue the Regional Fertility Program is producing designer kids by virtue of its own restrictions.

Children whose ethnicity is different than their parents will “have a different life experience,” he acknowledged. But “to assume that these different types of life experiences somehow put them at a disadvantage, or that we have to ensure that everyone has some kind of ‘normal’ family is, I think, a mistake.”

The law around assisted reproduction is murky, he said, but in today’s multicultural society, and with demographic predictions holding that Caucasian people will soon be the minority in many Canadian cities, there is no way to dictate what a given family should look like.

Ultimately Catherine’s family may never involve biological children. At 38, she hasn’t yet ruled out returning to the clinic to continue her IVF, but her experience has made her reconsider whether she really needs to have a child of her own.

“I think I’ve come to terms and accepted that having children in your life doesn’t necessarily mean ownership of one.”

Tom Greer, 80, Has No Regrets About Shooting Pregnant Intruder To Death

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A home burglary turned to shit for two people after the 80-year-old homeowner walked in on them and ended up shooting a woman to death.

Tom-GreerTom Greer said he came home Tuesday night to find a man and woman inside his home. Greer said they both tackled him and jumped on top of him before robbing his safe of thousands of dollars.

What the couple didn’t know was that Greer was not defenseless… he had a .22 caliber Smith and Wesson revolver in his pocket. The pair ran from the home when they saw Greer was armed, but the woman wasn’t quick enough.

After firing at her in an alley behind his house, Greer said the woman stumbled and then begged for her life. “She says, ‘Don’t shoot me, I’m pregnant! I’m going to have a baby!’ And I shot her anyway,” Greer said.

When asked what happened next, Greer said he shot the woman a second time. “She was dead. I shot her twice, she best be dead … (The man) had run off and left her,” he said. “I shot her so that’s going to leave a message on his mind for the rest of his life.”

Greer was taken to the hospital to treat a severe shoulder and collarbone injury. Police have not identified the woman, who was found dead at the scene, aside from saying she was in her ’20s.

One of Greer’s neighbors told reporters that the couple may have stolen Greer’s car in another incident and that Greer had been robbed several times before. “Apparently the couple has been doing this neighborhood for quite some time,” he said.

Long Beach Police are still investigating, but at this time no one has been arrested – including Greer. I’m not sure what a jury would do to Greer if he is charged and stands trial, but from what little I read on California’s castle doctrine his actions were not quite covered by the law. According to California Penal Code Section 198.5, homicide is excusable if:

Any person using force intended or likely to cause death or great bodily injury within his or her residence shall be presumed to have held a reasonable fear of imminent peril of death or great bodily injury to self, family, or a member of the household when that force is used against another person, not a member of the family or household, who unlawfully and forcibly enters or has unlawfully and forcibly entered the residence and the person using the force knew or had reason to believe that an unlawful and forcible entry occurred. As used in this section, great bodily injury means a significant or substantial physical injury.

Personally, I have no sympathy for people who are killed while committing home burglaries. But prosecutors may have to charge Greer despite the circumstances. That first shot may have been excusable, even though the woman was running away, but that second shot may cause Greer some serious legal issues – double trouble if it turns out the woman actually was pregnant.

Man Beat His Two Cats To Death With Golf Club Because They Betrayed Him

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An Erie man pleaded guilty Monday in Erie County Court to beating his two cats to death with a golf club.

Christopher-BisbeeChristopher J. Bisbee, 32, pleaded guilty to one second-degree misdemeanor count of cruelty to animals in a plea deal that dropped an additional cruelty to animals count.

According to court records, Bisbee attacked the cats after one of them scratched him. He told investigators he felt “betrayed” by the animals.

He said he “struck both cats numerous times with a golf club until they no longer were moving.”

As part of the agreement, Assistant District Attorney Mark Richmond said, Bisbee, of the 900 block of Pennsylvania Avenue, may not own any domestic animals while serving his sentence. He also must pay $263 restitution to the Humane Society of Northwestern Pennsylvania.

The charge carries a maximum penalty of two years in prison and a $5,000 fine. Sentencing is set for Oct. 7 before Judge Shad Connelly.

Bisbee’s lawyer, Stephen Sebald, said Bisbee waived his right to a preliminary hearing and applied to the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition program, a special probation program for nonviolent first-time offenders, but he was denied admission.

Bisbee also “proactively sought mental health counseling,” Sebald said. A report from Bisbee’s doctor will be submitted to the court before sentencing, Sebald said.

Erie County Detective Greg Acri filed the charges after an investigation by Humane Society Animal Enforcement Officer Merle Wolfgang.

Wolfgang said a tip triggered the investigation. According to the criminal complaint, several peo ple at Bis bee’s residence implicated Bisbee in the animals’ deaths.

She retrieved the cats’ bodies from Bisbee’s trash June 25, 2013, and discovered that they had “apparent trauma to their heads.”

An examination at the North East Animal Hospital indicated the cause of death was “focused blunt force trauma to the head.”

In an interview with investigators in August, Bisbee admitted he had killed the cats.

“I am glad one of the charges stuck.” Wolfgang said Monday. “If there are mental health issues, I am glad he is getting some help.”