News Daypop Archives

Scott Pruitt Resigns As EPA Administrator Amid Ethics Scandals

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt has resigned after months of ethics controversies, citing “the unrelenting attacks” on himself and his family, which “have taken a sizable toll on all of us.” President Donald Trump first tweeted the news Thursday that Pruitt had resigned. “I have accepted the resignation of Scott Pruitt as the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency,” Trump tweeted. “Within the Agency Scott has done an outstanding job, and I will always be thankful to him for this.” Pruitt’s resignation follows months during which the EPA administrator has been embroiled in controversy. Trump said on Twitter that Pruitt’s recently Senate-confirmed deputy Andrew Wheeler will on Monday assume the duties of acting administrator of the EPA.... [Read Full Story]

Protester Climbs Statue Of Liberty On July 4 Shutting Down Liberty Island

A protest against U.S. immigration policy forced the evacuation of the Statue of Liberty on the Fourth of July, and a woman held police at bay for hours after she climbed the base and sat by the statue’s robes. The woman’s climb forced thousands of visitors to leave the iconic American symbol on the nation’s birthday. About 100 feet above ground, the woman engaged in a four-hour standoff with police before two officers climbed up to the base and went over to her.  She and the officers edged around the statue toward a ladder, and she climbed down about 25 feet to the monument’s observation point and was taken into custody. The woman, Therese Okoumou, told police she was protesting the separation of immigrant children from parents who cross the U.S.-Mexico border illegally. Jay W. Walker, an organizer with Rise and Resist, arranged the demonstration and said the other demonstrators had no idea the woman would make the climb, which wasn’t part of the planned protest. “We don’t know whether she had this planned before she ever got to Liberty Island or whether it was a spur-of-the-moment decision,” Walker said.  Visitors were forced to leave Liberty Island hours before its normal 6:15 p.m. closing time.... [Read Full Story]

Two Critically Ill From The Same Nerve Agent That Poisoned Ex-Russian Spy

Tests on two Britons found unconscious in their home determined that they were poisoned by the same nerve agent used against a former Russian spy and his daughter earlier this year, British police said Wednesday. The discovery triggered new security precautions in the area of Amesbury, England, where the couple were sickened. The town is seven miles from Salisbury, where former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter were poisoned with the military-grade nerve agent Novichok in March. The British government blamed Russia for the attack. Moscow has repeatedly denied any involvement. The man and the woman, both in their mid-40s, remain in critical condition. Investigators are now focusing on how and where the man and the woman came into contact with Novichok.... [Read Full Story]

12 Boys, Soccer Coach Found Alive in Flooded Cave In Thailand After More Than 1 Week

Rescuers found 12 boys and their soccer coach alive deep inside a partially flooded cave in northern Thailand late Monday, more than a week after they disappeared and touched off a desperate search that drew international help and captivated the nation. Video released early Tuesday showed the boys in their soccer uniforms sitting on a dry area inside the cave above the water as a spotlight, apparently from a rescuer, illuminated their faces. Chiang Rai provincial Gov. Narongsak Osatanakorn said the 13 were in the process of being rescued, but he cautioned that they were not out of danger yet.  The discovery of the boys was captured on video and posted on the Thai Navy SEAL Facebook page. The youths appeared alert, chatty even and seemed anxious to see daylight again. Officials said the boys, ages 11 to 16, and their 25-year-old coach need to first be examined by navy doctors and fed before they can be extricated from the partially flooded cave, and even that could pose difficulties if the water level begins to rise, as it did earlier in the search.... [Read Full Story]

Plan In Place To Dismantle Korean Nuclear Program Within A Year

The United States has a plan that would lead to the dismantling of North Korea’s nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs in a year, U.S. National security adviser John Bolton said today, although U.S. intelligence reported signs that Pyongyang doesn’t intend to fully give up its arsenal. Bolton said top U.S. diplomat Mike Pompeo will be discussing that plan with North Korea in the near future. Bolton added that it would be to the North’s advantage to cooperate to see sanctions lifted quickly and aid from South Korea and Japan start to flow. Bolton’s remarks on CBS’ “Face the Nation” appeared to be the first time the Trump administration had publicly suggested a timeline for North Korea to fulfill the commitment leader Kim Jong Un made at a summit with President Donald Trump last month for the “complete denuclearization” of the Korean Peninsula.... [Read Full Story]

Housing Assistance Extended For Nearly 1,700 Puerto Rican Hurricane Evacuees

A judge has ordered federal emergency officials to extend vouchers for temporary hotel housing for nearly 1,700 Puerto Rican hurricane evacuees, saying ending the program could cause irreparable harm. The decision came shortly after civil rights group LatinoJustice PRLDEF filed a lawsuit seeking relief for the Puerto Ricans, whose federal housing assistance vouchers were set to expire at midnight Sunday, meaning the evacuees could have been evicted from the hotels. The order says the agency cannot end its Transitional Sheltering Assistance program until at least midnight on Tuesday. The organization is pushing to let families stay another six months. U.S. District Judge Leo Sorokin of Massachusetts wrote that ending the program would drain other public resources.  In a statement, FEMA said it was “aware of the Judge’s ruling regarding the end of the Transitional Sheltering Assistance program for Puerto Rico and is working with its vendor and notifying hotels that the TSA program has been extended until 5 July to comply with the Court’s order.”... [Read Full Story]

5 People Dead In Shooting At Maryland’s Capital Gazette Newsroom

Five people are dead and several others are injured after a shooting at a building where the Capital Gazette is located in Annapolis, Maryland, Thursday afternoon. The gunman, a Maryland man in his late 30s, targeted the Capital Gazette in the Annapolis shooting that killed five people, police said, and is now in custody. Police have not identified the man at this time, but he is currently being interrogated, Anne Arundel County police spokesman Lt. Ryan Frashure said at a press conference shortly after 5:30 p.m., about three hours after police first received reports of multiple gunshots fired. Officials did not have exact numbers of how many people were injured, around three people are being treated for injuries. The wounded are being treated at two local medical centers, including Anne Arundel Medical Center.... [Read Full Story]

Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy Announces Retirement; President Trump Will Make His Second Supreme Court Pick

Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement Wednesday. The 81-year-old Kennedy said in a statement he is stepping down after more than 30 years on the court. A Republican appointee, he has held the key vote on such high-profile issues as abortion, affirmative action, gay rights, guns, campaign finance and voting rights. Kennedy said he had informed his colleagues and President Trump of his plans, and that his retirement will take effect at the end of July. President Trump praised Kennedy as a man of “tremendous vision” and said his search for a new justice would begin “immediately.” Without Kennedy, the court will be split between four liberal justices who were appointed by Democratic presidents and four conservatives who were named by Republicans. Trump’s first high court nominee, Neil Gorsuch, was confirmed in April 2017. It is likely that the President will name a nominee within weeks, setting in motion a process that could allow confirmation by the time the court reconvenes in early October. Trump already has a list of 25 candidates — 24 judges and Utah Sen. Mike Lee — and has said he would choose a nominee from that list.... [Read Full Story]

Federal Judge Orders Separated Families To Be Reunited Within 30 Days

A judge in California ordered United States border authorities to reunite separated families within 30 days. If children are younger than 5, they must be reunified within 14 days of the order issued by US District Judge Dana Sabraw in San Diego. Judge Sabraw, an appointee of former President Bush, also issued a nationwide injunction on future family separations, unless the parent is deemed unfit or doesn’t want to be with the child. He also requires the government to provide phone contact between parents and their children within 10 days. More than 2,000 children have been separated from their parents in recent weeks and placed in government-contracted shelters – hundreds of miles away, in some cases – under a now-abandoned policy toward families caught illegally entering the US.... [Read Full Story]

Supreme Court Rules For Anti-Abortion Clinics’ First Amendment Rights

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court ruled that California cannot require “crisis pregnancy centers” to provide information about the availability of abortion services elsewhere in the state, a move that rules in favor of anti-abortion clinics that claimed state law violated their First Amendment rights. The case was brought by two “crisis pregnancy centers” and challenged a California law called the “California Reproductive Freedom, Accountability, Comprehensive Care, and Transparency Act”, otherwise known as the FACT Act. The law required the clinics to notify pregnant women seeking services that California provides free or low-cost abortion services and tell the women if staff at the center are licensed healthcare professionals. The clinics argued the California law limited their right to free speech by requiring them to provide information on abortion, which they opposed.... [Read Full Story]

Supreme Court Upholds President Trump’s Travel Ban, Rejects Muslim Bias Claim

A divided Supreme Court upheld President Donald Trump’s ban on travel from several mostly Muslim countries Tuesday, the conservative majority taking his side in a major ruling supporting his presidential power. One liberal justice said the court was making a historic mistake by refusing to recognize the ban discriminates against Muslims. The 5-4 decision was a big victory for President Trump in the court’s first substantive ruling on one of his administration’s policies. The ruling came on an issue that has been central for President Trump through his presidency. Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the majority opinion for the five conservative justices, including President Trump nominee Neil Gorsuch. Roberts wrote that the travel ban was well within U.S. presidents’ considerable authority over immigration and responsibility for keeping the nation safe. He rejected the challengers’ claim of anti-Muslim bias.... [Read Full Story]

FDA Approves First Drug Derived From Marijuana Plant

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the first prescription drug derived from the marijuana plant, as a treatment for rare forms of epilepsy that primarily afflict children. The drug, called Epidiolex, is an oral solution containing highly purified cannabidiol (CBD), which is one of scores of chemicals in the cannabis sativa plant, commonly known as marijuana. The drug contains only trace amounts of the psychoactive element THC and does not induce euphoria. Epidiolex was approved for patients age 2 and older who suffer from Lennox-Gastaut and Dravet syndromes. Both cause uncontrolled daily seizures and put patients at high risk for other physical and intellectual disabilities, injury and early death. The disorders afflict fewer than 45,000 people in the United States, but experts expect Epidiolex to be prescribed for other types of epilepsy as well. The drug is the first treatment approved for Dravet syndrome. The medication, tested in three randomized, placebo-controlled trials with more than 500 patients, was effective in reducing seizures, the FDA said.... [Read Full Story]

President Trump Has Harsh Words For Rep. Maxine Waters After Restaurant Controversy Involving Kirstjen Nielsen And Sarah Sanders

On Monday, President Donald Trump called Rep. Maxine Waters “an extraordinarily low IQ person” in response to a weekend speech in which the Los Angeles Democrat urged people opposed to the administration’s policies to confront cabinet members. Monday’s presidential tweet was apparently prompted by comments that Waters made Saturday, alluding to the heckling of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, who was dining at a Mexican restaurant in Washington, D.C., last Tuesday when she was confronted by protesters, and White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders being asked last Friday to leave a Lexington, Virginia, restaurant by its owner. Rep. Waters had said: “Let’s make sure we show up wherever we have to show up. And if you see anybody from that Cabinet in a restaurant, in a department store, at a gasoline station, you get out and you create a crowd. And you push back on them. And you tell them they’re not welcome anymore, anywhere.”... [Read Full Story]

U.S. Still Working On Reuniting Over 2,000 Children with Families

A total of 500 were reunited with their families and 2,053 left to go, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) reported this weekend. They also announced plans to partner with agencies in order to quickly return the remaining minors with their parents. The DHS assured it had a “well-coordinated” process in place to return the thousands of children separated from their guardians per the “zero tolerance” policy which until days ago was in full force along the U.S. southern border. The Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has implemented a tracking mechanism which they say will work to “”every minor and parent or guardian.” The DHS said  “The United States government knows the location of all children in its custody and is working to reunite them with their families.” These new details came after more than two months of confusion over how detained migrant parents, who are shuttled from facility to facility run by different government agencies, would ever reunite with their children, who are sent to shelters and foster homes scattered across the country.... [Read Full Story]

President Trump Calls For Immediate Deportation Of Undocumented Immigrants With ‘No Judges Or Court Cases’

President Donald Trump said on Sunday that people who enter the United States illegally should be sent back immediately to where they came from without any judicial process, likening them to invaders who are trying to “break into” the country. In a series of tweets on Sunday, Trump said: “We cannot allow all of these people to invade our Country. When somebody comes in, we must immediately, with no Judges or Court Cases, bring them back from where they came.”  He then said, “Cannot accept all of the people trying to break into our Country. Strong Borders, No Crime!” It was unclear if Trump was advocating an expansion of the provision that allows expedited removals of illegal immigrants at or near the U.S. border, a policy his administration has encouraged since he took office. The President did not differentiate between illegal immigrants and people who entered the United States to seek asylum protection.... [Read Full Story]

Koko, The Gorilla Who Knew Sign Language, Dies At 46

Koko, the gorilla who mastered sign language, has died. The Gorilla Foundation said the 46-year-old western lowland gorilla died in her sleep at the foundation’s preserve in Northern California’s Santa Cruz Mountains on Tuesday.  Koko was born at the San Francisco Zoo, and Francine Patterson began teaching the gorilla sign language as part of a Stanford University project in 1974. The foundation said “Koko’s capacity for language and empathy opened the minds and hearts of millions.” Koko appeared in many documentaries and twice in National Geographic magazine. The gorilla’s 1978 cover featured a photo that the animal had taken of herself in a mirror. The foundation said it will honor Koko’s legacy with a sign language application featuring Koko for the benefit of gorillas and children, as well as other projects.... [Read Full Story]

First Lady Melania Trump Visits Immigrant Children At Texas Detention Center

Melania Trump visited two Texas facilities yesterday, which are housing some of the more than 2,300 migrant children sent by the U.S. government after their families entered the country illegally. The first lady visited the Upbring New Hope Children’s Center in McAllen, Texas on Thursday.  This comes after President Donald Trump signed an executive order halting the practice of separating families. However, his policy of criminally prosecuting illegal border-crossers remains. ... [Read Full Story]

Ex-Archbishop Of Washington, D.C. Suspended From Ministry After Sex Abuse Claims

Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, the former head of the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C., has been removed from public ministry by the Vatican following a “credible and substantiated” allegation of sexual abuse involving a teenager from nearly 50 years ago. Roman Catholic Church officials in New Jersey revealed that McCarrick, 87, also had been accused of sexual misconduct by adults three times in the past, and two of those accusations resulted in secret settlements. In a written statement, McCarrick said he was “shocked” when he learned of the allegation involving a minor some months ago and supported a thorough investigation by the police and the Archdiocese of New York, where he was working as a priest when the abuse allegedly occurred. McCarrick said, “While I have absolutely no recollection of this reported abuse, and believe in my innocence, I am sorry for the pain the person who brought the charges has gone through, as well as for the scandal such charges cause our people.” ... [Read Full Story]

President Trump Signs Executive Order To Keep Families Together At Border

Under growing pressure to act unilaterally to address the immigration crisis, on Wednesday President Donald Trump signed an executive order that he said would keep immigrant families at the border together. Trump said he didn’t like the sight of families being separated, but said the “zero tolerance” policy of prosecuting everyone who tries to cross the border illegally would continue. “It’s about keeping families together,” Trump said, “while ensuring we have a powerful, very strong border.” I think the word ‘compassion’ comes into it,” he said. “My wife feels strongly about it. I feel strongly about it. Anybody with a heart would feel this way,” he added. Vice President Mike Pence added that they are calling upon Congress to change the laws. Trump adds that the word “compassion” comes into it. Trump has been trying to win over congressional support on immigration amid a crisis along the border involving the separation of immigrant children from their families.... [Read Full Story]

Bipartisan Group Of Former US Attorneys Calls Attorney General Sessions To Stop Family Separation

More than 75 former U.S. attorneys are calling on Attorney General Jeff Sessions to stop family separations, saying the decision to implement a policy that has led to more than 2,000 children taken from their parents. In a letter to Sessions, the bipartisan group says that under the Trump administration’s policy, prosecutors are told to prosecute everyone who crosses the border illegally for “illegal entry,” which they say forces them into a criminal process that requires children be separated, even though the crime is only a misdemeanor. Former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Texas, Ken Magidson, signed the letter; and also wrote in an editorial Tuesday that the administration’s policy is legal, but not moral. He called on Sessions to give prosecutors discretion that would allow families to stay together.... [Read Full Story]

United States Withdraws From U.N. Human Rights Council

The U.S. will withdraw from the United Nations Human Rights Council, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley announced Tuesday. The decision to exit the U.N. comes after more than a year of calling for reform, and accusing it of an anti-Israel bias. However, it also comes just one day after its High Commissioner criticized the U.S. over President Donald Trump’s immigration policies, especially separating families at the U.S.-Mexican border. Haley blasted the U.N. body as a “hypocritical and self-serving organization that makes a mockery of human rights” and “is not worthy of its name.” She said that after repeated warnings by the Trump administration, “Regrettably, it is now clear that our call for reform was not heeded.” In her remarks Tuesday, Haley specifically cited countries like Venezuela and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, both of which are members of the body. The Human Rights Council was created in 2006 after its precursor the Human Rights Commission was disbanded by then-Secretary General Kofi Annan because of a “credibility deficit.” The body consists of 47 member states, with a specific number of seats given to each region of the world. ... [Read Full Story]

Justice Department Investigating James Comey Memos After FBI Referral

Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz said on Monday that his office is investigating fired FBI Director James Comey ’s private memos and whether any possible classified information in them was properly handled. Comey documented his interactions with President-elect and then President Trump in a series of documents. Some of the memos were shared with a law professor with the intent that its contents be provided to the New York Times.  Horowitz told the Senate Judiciary Committee, in response to a question from chairman Chuck Grassley, that “We received a referral on that from the FBI, we are handling that referral and we will issue a report when the matter is complete.”  Horowitz appeared alongside FBI Director Chris Wray in a hearing about last week’s release of his report about the FBI’s handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation. President Trump suggested that the report cleared him of wrongdoing. “It totally exonerates me. There was no collusion. There was no obstruction,” Trump told reporters last Friday.... [Read Full Story]

Former First Ladies Join Together To Condemn Trump Administration’s Family Separation Policy

On Monday, former first lady Michelle Obama responded to the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy of separating immigrant parents from their children at the border, citing former First Lady Laura Bush’s condemnation, saying: “Sometimes truth transcends party.” Obama is now the fourth first lady to speak out against the policy, including the current first lady, Melania Trump. Hillary Clinton also responded to the policy, telling an audience in New York on Monday that it is a “moral and humanitarian crisis” and that “every human being with a sense of compassion and decency should be outraged.”... [Read Full Story]

Suspect Killed After Shooting At Walmart In Washington State

Two people were shot and the suspect killed at a Walmart Supercenter in Tumwater, Washington state, police said Sunday. Police responded to a shooting just after 5 p.m. PDT at a Walmart Supercenter in Tumwater, Washington; Tumwater is about 65 miles south of Seattle.  Officers originally responded to a report of a car driving in the wrong direction, but as the officers were in route they were dispatched to reports of a carjacking nearby with shots fired.  Around 5:30 p.m. Thurston County Dispatch began receiving calls of shots fired “in or around the Tumwater Walmart and parking lot,” according to police. Police say the suspect exited the store and attempted to carjack a car in the parking lot, shooting an adult male occupant of the car in the process. The adult male victim was treated for gunshot wounds and was airlifted to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. The suspect attempted another carjacking in the Walmart parking lot, and was approached by two armed civilians. One of the armed civilians shot the suspect, and the suspect died at the scene. ... [Read Full Story]

Thousands Protest Administration’s Family Separation pPolicy

Thousands of protesters chanted and held signs Sunday, demanding the Trump administration stops separating children from their parents at the border.  A newly-opened “tent city” along the Texas border is now at the center of the national immigration debate. The camp is housing teenage boys who illegally entered the United States — unaccompanied by an adult. The march was organized by Democratic Congressman Beto O’Rourke. “We were told there were 98 kids in this tent city yesterday, we were told today there are 200 kids,” O’Rourke said. “We’ve all got to own this, we cannot blame this on Trump, we cannot blame this on a political party — this is America right now, and so America’s gotta show up.” The Department of Homeland Security numbers show that over a six-week period, nearly 2,000 children were separated from nearly as many adults.... [Read Full Story]

Thousands Protest Administration’s Family Separation Policy

Thousands of protesters chanted and held signs Sunday, demanding the Trump administration stops separating children from their parents at the border.  A newly-opened “tent city” along the Texas border is now at the center of the national immigration debate. The camp is housing teenage boys who illegally entered the United States — unaccompanied by an adult. The march was organized by Democratic Congressman Beto O’Rourke. “We were told there were 98 kids in this tent city yesterday, we were told today there are 200 kids,” O’Rourke said. “We’ve all got to own this, we cannot blame this on Trump, we cannot blame this on a political party — this is America right now, and so America’s gotta show up.” The Department of Homeland Security numbers show that over a six-week period, nearly 2,000 children were separated from nearly as many adults.... [Read Full Story]

Secretary Of State Mike Pompeo Says U.S. Will Not Ease Sanctions Until North Korea Denuclearizes

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Thursday that the United States will not ease sanctions against North Korea until it denuclearizes. Pompeo, meeting in Seoul with top South Korean and Japanese diplomats, said Trump’s claim that the North’s nuclear threat was over was issued with “eyes wide open,” and brushed off a North Korean state media report suggesting Trump would grant concessions even before the North fully rids itself of nuclear weapons. “We’re going to get denuclearization,” Pompeo said in the South Korean capital. “Only then will there be relief from the sanctions.” Pompeo emphasized that the drills, which North Korea claims to be preparation for a northward invasion, could still be resumed if Kim Jong Un stops negotiating in good faith.... [Read Full Story]

Trump Foundation Is Sued By New York Attorney General Over “Misuse Of Charitable Assets”

The New York attorney general has asked a judge to close down the Trump Foundation, accusing the charity of fraudulent dealings and campaign funding violations. Mr. Trump is accused of using charity money to buy a $10,000 painting of himself, to hang at one of his golf clubs, and of resolving a row about Mar-a-Lago with a donation to charity, made with foundation funds. He is also accused of using a foundation fundraiser to drum up political support for his presidential campaign. US law forbids using a charity to support “private interests” or political campaigns. Barbara Underwood, the attorney general, submitted the documents before the state supreme court in Manhattan on Thursday, at the end of a two-year investigation into the charity.... [Read Full Story]

Ex-Fraternity Member At Penn State Is First To Plead Guilty In Hazing Death

A former Penn State fraternity brother has entered the first guilty plea in connection with the death of pledge Tim Piazza, who died after falling down fraternity house stairs during an alcohol-fueled hazing ritual, prosecutors said. Ryan Burke, who was accused of forcing Piazza to drink from a bottle of vodka the night of his fall, pleaded guilty Wednesday to four counts of hazing and five counts relating to unlawful acts involving liquor. Burke, now 21, admitted to his role in the hazing and will be sentenced on July 31, according to prosecutors.... [Read Full Story]