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By Robert A. Vella

A redacted version of the full Muller report will be released today [correction] tomorrow by Attorney General William Barr.  We’ll see whether or not the redactions speak more loudly than what is not redacted.

E.U. retaliates

From:  EU Takes Aim at Trump’s Heartland With Tariff-Retaliation Plan

The European Union published its preliminary list of U.S. goods being targeted in a $12 billion plan for retaliatory tariffs over subsidies to Boeing Co., with a focus on farm products from areas that help form President Donald Trump’s political base.

The European Commission began a public consultation over the American products ranging from ketchup and nuts to video-game consoles and bicycle pedals. The World Trade Organization will ultimately decide the level of damages the EU can seek, with a verdict possible toward the end of this year or in early 2020.

The EU retaliation plan follows a U.S. threat to seek $11 billion in damages through duties on European goods ranging from helicopters to cheeses to counter state aid to Airbus SE. Both moves stem from parallel, 14-year-old, disputes at the WTO over market-distorting support for aircraft makers.

Trump veto

From:  Trump vetoes resolution calling on US to pull support of Saudi-led Yemen war

President Trump Tuesday vetoed a joint resolution calling on the U.S. to end military assistance to Saudi-led forces fighting in Yemen’s ongoing civil war, calling it “an unnecessary, dangerous attempt to weaken my constitutional authorities.”

It was just the second veto of Trump’s presidency.

Both houses of Congress had invoked the War Powers Resolution of 1973 in a bid to end American involvement in the conflict, which has raged in the Middle Eastern country since 2015. Congress lacks the votes to override Trump’s veto.

Southwest water cutbacks

From:  Trump signs bill endorsing Colorado River drought plan

This aims to protect water users from losses and prevent Lake Mead and Lake Powell from falling to critical lows. Lake Powell is 37 percent full, while Lake Mead is 41 percent full, just above a threshold that would trigger a first-ever declaration of a shortage by the federal government.

The three-state lower basin agreement, negotiated among California, Arizona and Nevada, lays out a framework for taking less water from Lake Mead and sharing in cutbacks between 2020 and 2026.

[…]

Water managers say the plan acts as a temporary “bridge” for more negotiations toward a plan for dealing with potential shortages after 2026.

The river provides for about 40 million people and more than five million acres of irrigated farmland.

Nineteen years of drought and chronic overuse, combined with the effects of climate change, have pushed the levels of the river’s reservoirs lower and lower.

Wetlands deregulation

From:  States say half of wetlands would lose protection under EPA proposal

(Reuters) – Fourteen states, including New York and California, and the District of Columbia said the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposal to replace an Obama-era water regulation would end federal protection for half of wetlands and 15 percent of streams across the country.

The attorneys general issued a joint statement on Monday critical of the EPA’s proposal to narrow the scope of protections in the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule that President Barack Obama’s administration expanded in 2015 to cover a wide range of water bodies.

The public comment period for the EPA proposal closed on Monday. It is one of dozens of the Trump administration’s efforts to rescind environmental rules to boost the energy and agriculture industries.

Opioid and drug busts

From:  60 doctors, pharmacists charged in largest US opioid prescription bust

Federal prosecutors charged 60 physicians and pharmacists Wednesday with illegally handing out opioid prescriptions in what they say is the biggest crackdown of its kind in U.S. history.

A special strike force from the U.S. Department of Justice, which led the investigation, began making arrests in five states early Wednesday.

Most of the defendants face charges of unlawful distribution of controlled substances involving prescription opioids. Authorities say they gave out about 350,000 prescriptions, totaling more than 32 million pills, in Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, West Virginia and Alabama.

Prosecutors say those charged behaved more like drug dealers than medical professionals.

From:  Trio arrested in dark web pill mill bust called largest pill seizure in NJ history

Three New Jersey men have been arrested and charged with running a counterfeit drug storefront on the dark web that sold hundreds of thousands of narcotic pills nationwide in exchange for cryptocurrency, according to Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance’s office.

The investigation targeted an operation advertising itself as “Sinmed” on the dark web, or darknet — an encrypted portion of the internet that is only accessible using anonymity-providing cyber tools like the Tor Browser.

Investigators seized nearly a half-million pills, the largest ever seizure of pills in the state of New Jersey, according to Vance’s office.

6 thoughts on “E.U. retaliates, Trump veto, Southwest water cutbacks, Wetlands deregulation, Opioid and drug busts

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