By Robert A. Vella
A federal judge has ruled that an injunction blocking the Trump Administration’s ban on asylum applications at the border is to be applied nationally. CNN has cited high-level government officials who assert that a top U.S. spy in Russia was extracted (i.e. withdrawn from the country) because of fears that the individual’s identity could have been exposed by President Trump’s close relationship with Russian officials in 2017. Hurricane Dorian refugees trying to flee the devastated Bahamas have been denied entry into the U.S. by Trump’s harsh anti-immigration policies. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is launching an investigation into why it rebuked the National Weather Service (NWS) for telling the truth about Trump’s contrived and inaccurate Hurricane Dorian “weather forecast.” A new public opinion poll shows Americans’ strong support for more gun control measures in the wake of recent mass shootings. In climate news, Trump’s deregulatory and anti-science policies – as well as short-sighted and profit-driven attitudes within the nation’s energy infrastructure – have stimulated plans to build nearly 200 new natural gas power plants as the world is rapidly running out of time to successfully mitigate the global warming crisis. And, in Australia, climate change is threatening the complete ecological collapse of the nation’s largest river system.
Asylum ban blocked
NEW YORK (Reuters) – A federal judge in California on Monday dealt a setback to a new Trump administration rule that sought to block almost all asylum applications at the border, ruling that an injunction against the rule should apply nationwide.
The rule, unveiled on July 15, requires most immigrants who want asylum in the United States to first seek asylum in a third country they had traveled through on their way to the United States.
It forms part of U.S. President Donald Trump’s anti-immigration policy, a centerpiece of his 2016 election campaign and a major issue as he seeks re-election in November 2020.
In a previously undisclosed secret mission in 2017, the United States successfully extracted from Russia one of its highest-level covert sources inside the Russian government, multiple Trump administration officials with direct knowledge told CNN.
A person directly involved in the discussions said that the removal of the Russian was driven, in part, by concerns that President Donald Trump and his administration repeatedly mishandled classified intelligence and could contribute to exposing the covert source as a spy.
The decision to carry out the extraction occurred soon after a May 2017 meeting in the Oval Office in which Trump discussed highly classified intelligence with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and then-Russian Ambassador to the US Sergey Kislyak. The intelligence, concerning ISIS in Syria, had been provided by Israel.
Hundreds of Hurricane Dorian survivors crowded into a ferry anchored in Freeport, Bahamas, on Sunday evening, after days on the sweltering islands with limited food, water and power. Just 2½ hours across the ocean, safety and relief waited in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Then, an announcement blared from the boat’s intercom speakers.
“Please, all passengers that don’t have a U.S. visa, please proceed to disembark,” a crew member said in a video captured on board.
The refugees’ plight comes after bipartisan calls to waive all visa requirements for Bahamas survivors. On Wednesday, Sens. Marco Rubio (R) and Sen. Rick Scott (R) of Florida wrote an open letter to President Trump urging him to allow in refugees with relatives in the United States. Eighteen other Florida lawmakers made a similar appeal.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s acting chief scientist said in an email to colleagues Sunday that he is investigating whether the agency’s response to President Trump’s Hurricane Dorian tweets constituted a violation of NOAA policies and ethics.
In an email to NOAA staff that was obtained by The Washington Post, the official, Craig McLean, called the agency’s response “political” and a “danger to public health and safety.”
President Trump’s incorrect assertion on Sept. 1 that Alabama “would most likely be hit (much) harder than anticipated” set off a chain of confusion and outrage among the public, and within NOAA. At the time, the National Weather Service’s forecast guidance showed only a very small risk (about 5 percent) of tropical storm-force winds for a small portion of Alabama. However, Alabama was not in the storm forecast track from the National Hurricane Center, which showed Hurricane Dorian skirting the East Coast.
Gun control poll
With six in 10 worried about a mass shooting in their community, Americans by a 17-point margin express confidence that stricter gun control laws would reduce such incidents, and even more endorse improved mental health monitoring and treatment to that end.
Two measures, specifically, remain overwhelmingly popular: Eighty-nine percent in a new ABC News/Washington Post poll support background checks for all gun purchases, including private and gun show sales; and 86 percent back “red flag” laws allowing the police to take guns from individuals found by a judge to be a danger.
By a 15-point margin, 56 to 41 percent, the public supports banning the sale of assault weapons. That’s off its recent peak, 62 percent, after the shootings at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, last year, but well up from its low, 45 percent in late 2015.
Powerful hurricanes. Record-breaking heatwaves. Droughts that bring ruin to farmers. Raging forest fires. The mass die-off of the world’s coral reefs. Food scarcity.
Instead, utilities and energy companies are continuing to invest heavily in carbon-polluting natural gas. An exclusive analysis by USA TODAY finds that across the United States there are as many as 177 natural gas power plants currently planned, under construction or announced. There are close to 2,000 now in service.
Faced with a looming ferocious summer with little rain forecast, the New South Wales government has embarked on a Noah’s Ark type operation to move native fish from the Lower Darling – part of Australia’s most significant river system – to safe havens before high temperatures return to the already stressed river basin.
Researchers have warned of other alarming ecological signs that the Lower Darling River – part of the giant Murray-Darling Basin – is in a dire state, following last summer’s mass fish kills.