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    By: KDKA-TV News Staff HARRISBURG (KDKA) — The Pennsylvania Department of Health is reporting 2,751 new cases of Coronavirus and 23 additional deaths. The statewide total number of cases has risen to 198,446 since Monday’s report, according to the state’s data. Today’s increase is the largest daily increase to date. The number of tests administered within the last seven days, between Oct. 20-26 is 245,029 with 12,380 positive cases, according to the Health Department. There were 34,946 test results reported to the department through 10 p.m. Monday. The Health Department says all 67 counties in Pennsylvania have had cases of COVID-19. Current patients are either in isolation at home or being treated at the hospital. The statewide death toll has risen to 8,696. There are 2,254,523 patients across the state who have tested negative for the virus to date. The state Health Department numbers show there are 25,624 resident...
    Washington (CNN)Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is under investigation for potentially violating a federal law that forbids federal employees from engaging in political activity while on duty or while inside federal buildings over his address to the Republican convention in August.The Office of the Special Counsel, an independent federal investigative agency, launched a probe into Pompeo's speech to the Republican National Convention while on a taxpayer funded trip to Jerusalem on August 25, according to two House Democrats. It is the second investigation into potential Hatch Act violations that the OSC has opened into Pompeo, whose use of resources and decision-making at the State Department, along with his wife's, have triggered a series of investigations by the agency's inspector general.Second probe"Our offices have confirmed that the Office of Special Counsel has launched a probe into potential Hatch Act violations tied to Secretary Pompeo's speech to the Republican National Convention," Rep....
    Sven Spichiger, Washington State Department of Agriculture managing entomologist, displays a canister of Asian giant hornets vacuumed from a nest in a tree behind him on October 24, 2020, in Blaine, Washington. ELAINE THOMPSON/POOL/AFP via Getty Images Officials with the Washington State Department of Agriculture captured scores of Asian giant hornets, sometimes known as "murder hornets," after a nest of the invasive species was discovered last week.  The insects are typically seen in China, Japan, Thailand, and other Asian countries. They were first spotted in the US last December. The insects can destroy entire colonies of honeybees, and can even kill humans. Visit Insider's homepage for more stories. Officials with the Washington State Department of Agriculture on Saturday captured scores of Asian giant hornets, an invasive species sometimes known as "murder hornets," after a nest was discovered last week. According to the Washington Invasive Species Council, the...
    By: KDKA-TV News Staff HARRISBURG (KDKA) — The Pennsylvania Department of Health is reporting 2,219 new cases of Coronavirus and 33 additional deaths. The statewide total number of cases has risen to 190,579 since Wednesday’s report, according to the state’s data. The number of tests administered within the last seven days, between Oct. 16-22, is 235,737 with 10,840 positive cases, the Health Department says. There were 39,757 test results reported to the department through 10 p.m. The Health Department says all 67 counties in Pennsylvania have had cases of COVID-19. Current patients are either in isolation at home or being treated at the hospital. The statewide death toll has risen to 8,625 There are 2,200,868 patients across the state who have tested negative for the virus to date. The state Health Department numbers show there are 25,122 resident cases of COVID-19 in nursing and personal care homes across Pennsylvania....
    By: KDKA-TV News Staff HARRISBURG (KDKA) — The Pennsylvania Department of Health is reporting 2,063 new cases of Coronavirus and 30 additional deaths. The number of cases today is one of the highest numbers since the beginning of the pandemic, but there was a faulty data file which prevented some lab results from being properly reported. Some of the cases should have been part of Oct. 21’s report. The statewide total number of cases has risen to 188,360 since Wednesday’s report, according to the state’s data. The number of tests administered within the last seven days, between Oct. 15-21, is 231,482 with 10,375 positive cases, the Health Department says. There were 37,114 test results reported to the department through 10 p.m. The Health Department says all 67 counties in Pennsylvania have had cases of COVID-19. Current patients are either in isolation at home or being treated at the...
    Trump Hotel is in Washington, DC Donald Trump makes a big show of giving away his annual paycheck to some agency each year. He can afford to, since the Secret Service has rewarded him with two years worth of pay just in the money it has spent on golf carts. Really. And then there’s the money that the Air Force has dropped at Trump’s Scottish golf resort. And how Trump has doubled the dues at several of his clubs so that people wanting insider access have to pony up at least $200,000 to bend his elbow in the buffet line (for the buffets that they are still having despite COVID-19). Assembling the full list of all the ways Trump has tapped his position to line his pockets over the last four years, is a project that will probably still be occupying scholars in the year 3020. However, there is at...
    Colorado marijuana sales have topped $1 billion since the pandemic began, according to figures released this week by the state Department of Revenue. Legal marijuana sales topped $200 million in August for the second month in a row. Counting back to March of this year, when Colorado and the rest of the nation began shutting down over the pandemic, dispensaries have sold over $1.1 billion in marijuana products — and that's not counting sales in September and October, or back in February and January. And that's with prices at a three-year high. Readers had plenty to say about this record-breaking run in their Facebook comments on our story. Says Felicia: Good to see unemployment checks so well used. Adds Ed: No money to pay rent but plenty to purchase pot. Counters Josh: Is this the '50s? The MJ industry supports thousands of jobs...
    The focus of Governor Jared Polis's October 16 press conference was a plan for distributing a future COVID-19 vaccine that will be submitted to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention later today. But this information was accompanied by revelations regarding data about the novel coronavirus's current spread through the state, including a new record for daily cases and hospitalizations that continue to soar, with no end in sight. In revealing these figures, Polis encouraged people to cut back on gatherings. "If you have social plans this weekend with some friend to get together at their house or whatever it is, I suggest you avoid them for a few weeks," he said. The key Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment stats cited by Polis: 1,312 new positives today, as well as 352 hospitalizations. Those hospitalizations, he noted, are "the most since late May, and I am very concerned about this trend....
    Colorado marijuana regulators have adopted new waste management rules intended to reduce the industry's growing carbon footprint. According to the state Department of Public Health and Environment, 3,650 tons (7.3 million pounds) of marijuana plant waste was produced by the state's pot industry in 2019, and that number would be increased to 7,300 tons by a requirement that unused plant matter and product be mixed with waste such as sawdust, mature compost, bleach, coffee grounds, sand, glass or shredded paper — as long as the marijuana-to-waste ratio is 50/50. Although the state Marijuana Enforcement Division didn't remove or alter the 50/50 requirement as had been discussed at previous meetings, the MED did open up several paths around it in the department's latest round of extensive rule updates, adding new exemptions for biomass recycling and composting methods. According to CDPHE marijuana environmental impact researcher and small business consultant Kaitlin Urso, the new...
    Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Trader Joe's has set the bar for safety among grocery retailers in Colorado — but even the best practices can't guarantee that the novel coronavirus won't gain admittance. According to the latest report from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, the chain's Colorado Springs branch has suffered an outbreak. It's one in a wave of site-based infections that's set a new record for the third week in a row. The CDPHE considers an entity an outbreak after two or more COVID-19 cases among residents, staffers or other people connected to a specific location are confirmed within a fourteen-day period, or two or more cases of respiratory illness with an onset of symptoms within a fourteen-day period are paired with at least one additional COVID-19 diagnosis. The CDPHE's October 14 update lists 897 total outbreaks in the state so far: 274 active, 623 resolved. That's...
    Joe Biden's recollection that he was once "arrested" in apartheid South Africa, along with black congressional colleagues, was one of many statements he had to walk back during the Democratic primaries. But the eventual acknowledgment by Biden, now the Democratic presidential nominee, that the 1976 incident didn't happen as described contained a new set of errors. Details of the 1976 trip reviewed by the Washington Examiner show that the then-34-year-old Delaware senator was never in the South African city of Johannesburg, where the fictional arrest episode was said to take place. U.S. foreign policy toward South Africa was for years a high-profile issue for Biden, the former two-term vice president and 36-year Delaware senator. In 1986, as a senior member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee preparing for what would be the first of three presidential bids, Biden grilled Reagan administration officials over U.S. relations with South...
    This week we learned that anti-government paramilitary groups discussed kidnapping Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam during the same June meeting in Ohio, where they plotted to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Witmer. On this week’s episode of “The Hunt with WTOP national security correspondent J.J. Green,” Scott Stewart, former State Department Counterterrorism agent, details how the plot evolved. toggle audio on and off change volume download audio Scott Stewart, former State Department Counterterrorism agent, on the plot to kidnap two governors SIGN UP TODAY for J.J. Green’s new national security newsletter, “Inside the SCIF.” The weekly email delivers unique insight into the intelligence, national security, military, law enforcement and foreign policy communities.
    In August, the Weld County District Attorney's Office revealed that a grand jury "has accepted the investigation into the death of Jonelle Matthews," a twelve-year-old who vanished from her Greeley home in late 1984 — although her remains weren't found in a rural Weld County field until 2019. Attention immediately turned to Steven Pankey, who had been named a person of interest in the case by the Greeley Police Department. Pankey was a resident of Idaho, and a prominent one, having twice run for governor of that state, in 2014 and 2018. Now, the 69-year-old Pankey has been formally indicted on five counts related to Matthews' death: murder in the first degree after deliberation, murder in the first degree/felony murder, second-degree kidnapping and two crime of violence charges.Related Stories Jonelle Matthews Death With Bizarre Tie to Politician Goes to Grand Jury Ex-Denver DA Using Familial DNA to Heat Up Cold...
    A dispute over a contract bid involving a state-funded hemp research center is testing the industry's relationship with Colorado agriculture regulators and Governor Jared Polis's administration. The creation of a state Hemp Center of Excellence by the Colorado Department of Agriculture (CDA) was stipulated in a bill introduced in 2018 by state senator Don Coram, a hemp grower himself; the idea was to help direct U.S. Department of Agriculture-approved research, outreach and educational efforts for the state's hemp industry. But when the contract for the Hemp Center's initial management was awarded not to a hemp entity but to the Marijuana Policy Group, a firm that specializes in THC-related work, several influential industry members and trade organization reps — most of whom are ardent supporters of Polis's political career — called foul. In a July letter protesting the MPG's selection, over 100 hemp industry members and organizations, including Coram, voiced their concerns related...
    Colorado has seen over $1.1 billion in marijuana sales since the COVID-19 pandemic began in this country, according to figures from the state Department of Revenue. Legal marijuana sales topped $200 million in August for the second month in a row, reaching the second-highest monthly total since recreational sales started in 2014. Counting back to March of this year, when Colorado and the rest of the nation began shutting down over the pandemic, dispensaries have sold over $1.1 billion in marijuana products — and that's not counting sales in September and October. Dispensaries sold over $218.6 million worth of marijuana products in August, DOR data shows. Recreational sales accounted for more than $176.5 million (also the second-highest monthly total since 2014), while medical marijuana sales remained strong at just over $42 million.Related Stories Marijuana Sales Smash Previous Monthly Record, Cross $200 Million Colorado Pot Prices Reach Three-Year High, Up...
    It's no longer a matter of debate: According to new data from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, this state has been hit by a third wave of COVID-19. Key indicators of this status include a positivity rate just a whisper under the red line that government officials have cited as a reason for alarm and skyrocketing outpatient visits for people with symptoms of the novel coronavirus, as well as case and hospitalization counts that have climbed at a disturbing pace over the past month. Here are the grim statistics in major categories updated by the CDPHE at 4 p.m. Sunday, October 11, juxtaposed with figures from October 4 and September 13:Related Stories COVID-19: Polis on Why He's Extending Statewide Mask Order King Soopers' Response to Complaints About Poor Mask Use Inmate Claims COVID-19 Mess at Denver Jails 78,461 cases (up 5,385 from October 4 and 17,137 from...
    This week is a real free-for-all, with virtual events bringing the world to you. Take a serious or silly look at the upcoming election, meet artists and learn the latest on COVID-19. Then on Saturday, get out of the house for World Archaeology Day. Here are the ten best free things to do this week. COVID-19 Webinar: Colorado Six Months in Monday, October 12, 8:30 a.m. What has Colorado learned about the coronavirus since March? How has the state's response evolved since that first wave of cases in the spring, and what insights have we gained about communication, testing, tradeoffs and the efficacy of public-health guidance? During this free public webinar presented by the Colorado School of Public Health, the Denver Museum of Nature & Science, and the Institute for Science & Policy, Jill Hunsaker Ryan, executive director of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, and Kacey...
    Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that he would be releasing more of Hillary Clinton's emails after the president publicly criticized him about the subject on Fox News. Pompeo made the comments to Dana Perino of Fox News on Friday after the "Daily Briefing" host played for him criticism from the president about the lack of released documents. "They're in the State Department, but Mike Pompeo has been unable to get them out. Which is very sad. Actually I'm not happy about him for that reason," said Trump in the recording. "He was unable to get them out, and I don't know why, you're running the State Department, you get them out, forget about the fact that they were classified! Let's go! Maybe Mike Pompeo finally finds them, OK?" he added. Perino also played video from Trump criticizing Pompeo...
    Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Friday that more information about Hillary Clinton could be disclosed to the public before Election Day. Responding to complaints by an impatient President Trump, the nation's top diplomat told Fox News that the State Department is busy preparing for some sort of release that keeps national security interests protected. "We’ve got the emails, we’re getting them out," Pompeo said. "We're going to get all of this information out so the American people can see it. You will remember there was classified information on a private server. It should have never been there. Hillary Clinton should never have done that. It is unacceptable behavior." Since the 2016 campaign, Trump has dogged Clinton for her use of an unauthorized private email server, hosted in the basement of her home in Chappaqua, New York, while she was secretary of state from 2009 to 2013. Trump announced...
    By: KDKA-TV News Staff HARRISBURG (KDKA) — For the third day in a row, Pennsylvania is reporting over 1,300 new cases of COVID-19. The Pennsylvania Department of Health is reporting 1,380 new cases of Coronavirus and nine additional deaths. The statewide total number of cases has risen to 169,308 since Thursday’s report, according to the state’s data. On Thursday, the state reported 1,376 new cases and 1,309 on Wednesday. The number of tests administered within the last seven days, between Oct. 2-8, is 211,544 with 7,805 positive cases, according to the Health Department. There were 34,228 test results reported to the department through 10 p.m. Thursday. The Health Department says all 67 counties in Pennsylvania have had cases of COVID-19. Current patients are either in isolation at home or being treated at the hospital. The statewide death toll has risen to 8,308 . There are 1,999,765 patients across the...
    The Colorado Marijuana Enforcement Division has issued a recall of products from AlpinStash, a wholesale recreational marijuana cultivation in Lafayette. According to the October 8 recall, issued in conjunction with the state Department of Public Health and Environment, marijuana grown by AlpinStash was found to have potentially unsafe levels of mold and arsenic, making it Colorado's first marijuana recall ever issued over heavy metals. Heavy metals such as arsenic, nickel, copper, mercury and cadmium can be found found in growing nutrients and fertilizers used to enhance the flavor, yield and potency of marijuana. According to the National Institutes of Health, long-term exposure to heavy metals can lead to liver or kidney damage, abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, heart abnormalities, a disrupted nervous system, anemia and more. Recalled products should have a cultivation facility license number on their packaging: 403R-00603. Here are the recalled AlpinStash strains and their harvest dates:Related Stories...
    Secretary of State Mike Pompeo attends an event in Vatican City during his trip to Europe in October 2020.Vatican Pool/Getty For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.Before taking a long-scheduled trip to Rome last week, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo did perhaps the last thing you would expect from a diplomat planning to meet with Pope Francis. He launched a public critique of the Catholic Church, calling on the pope to end an arrangement between the Vatican and China that permits shared input on the appointment of bishops. “The Vatican endangers its moral authority, should it renew the deal,” Pompeo tweeted late last month. The criticism stunned Vatican officials, who promptly declined Pompeo’s request for a meeting with Francis last week. Popes do not regularly meet with US officials so close to a presidential election and, perhaps conscious of...
    Two ISIS fighters known as one half of the 'Beatles' terror group have been indicted of conspiracy to murder US citizens for the deaths American hostages in Syria and Iraq.  Alexanda Kotey, 36, and El Shafee Elsheikh, 32, are expected to make their first federal court appearance this afternoon in Alexandria, Virginia, an official from the Department of Justice told the Associated Press.  The pair are both British but renounced their citizenship when they joined ISIS in Syria in 2014.  They are accused by the State Department of murdering two dozen hostages including Americans James Foley, Steven Sotloff, Peter Kassig and Kayla Mueller, and at least eight other hostages from different countries, including the UK.  Foley and Sotloff were journalists working in the region and Kassig and Mueller were aid workers.   Alexanda Kotey and El Shafee Elsheikh, shown in March 2019, are being transferred from military custody in Iraq to the US and are...
    Two members of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) were in transit to the United States on Wednesday and were scheduled to appear in federal court in Alexandria, Virginia, later Wednesday afternoon, a law enforcement source confirmed to CBS News investigative producer Pat Milton. The Associated Press reports the men are El Shafee Elsheikh and Alexanda Kotey, two of four men dubbed "the Beatles" by the hostages they held captive because of their British accents. The Justice Department is preparing to announce charges against them Wednesday, a law enforcement official told the AP.  Justice Department officials are scheduled to hold a new conference at 11 a.m. ET – Watch it live in the video player above.  The expected charges are a milestone in a years-long effort by U.S. authorities to bring to justice members of the group known for beheadings and barbaric treatment of American aid workers, journalists and...
    The most recent COVID-19 outbreaks report from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment set an unfortunate record for new entries, including three Greek houses at Colorado State University in Fort Collins. Add the outbreaks at Phi Delta Theta, Pi Kappa Phi and Sigma Pi to one at Kappa Sigma in early September and another pair (Chi Omega and Gamma Phi Beta) later in the month and that's a total of six fraternities or sororities at the school that have been hit by the disease — and that number doesn't include the two dormitories placed under quarantine amid a rise in Colorado case counts largely attributable to infections among college students. Unlike the University of Colorado Boulder, which made a temporary shift to remote learning after its COVID-19 numbers began spiking, CSU is still holding in-person classes. But judging from our visit to Fort Collins on Saturday, October 3,...
    Though Denver Public Schools will be shut down until October 16, the Denver Public Library is just starting a soft reopening, and many workers for the City and County of Denver are doing their gigs from home, Halloween is still happening. The holiday comes as coronavirus cases rise nationally and President Donald Trump, who is dealing with COVID-19, mugs as though he's doing fine and encourages residents of the United States not to be scared. But plenty of people are, especially as they contemplate kids and trick-or-treat activities. And so the Denver Department of Public Health and Environment has released a set of guidelines regarding what people can do to reduce their risk of transmitting or catching the virus as they celebrate Halloween. The guidelines are based on the county's current status on the state's COVID-19 Dial Dashboard, where Denver falls somewhere in the middle, under Safer at Home, Level 2 Concern, with enough cases...
    Colorado State University-Pueblo will offer a new hemp agriculture degree program next fall, funded in part by the United States Department of Agriculture. CSU-Pueblo already offers other cannabis degree programs and has been home to the Institute of Cannabis Research since 2016; current undergraduates can pursue a bachelor's degree in cannabis biology and chemistry or a minor in cannabis studies. Starting next year, however, students can narrow their studies to focus on industrial hemp, thanks to a new research program starting up at several colleges around the country. CSU-Pueblo's Industrial Hemp Education, Agriculture and Research (InHEAR) program will require students to take courses specifically tailored toward agricultural hemp research and either do an internship with one of CSU-Pueblo’s hemp industry partners or conduct research at the Institute of Cannabis Research. Development of the new curriculum is funded by a $275,000 grant from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture; similar degrees are...
    Rome — Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s opposition to a controversial Vatican deal with China is a mere “tactical difference” between partners, U.S. officials said following his visit to the Holy See. “The Vatican's playing the long game when it comes to human rights and religious liberty,” a senior State Department official told reporters Thursday. “Tactical agreements and tactical differences will come and go, but the broader strategic vision, the United States and the Vatican are in lockstep and have been for generations, and will be for generations to come, I think.” Pope Francis’s team rebuffed Pompeo’s denunciation of an agreement designed to facilitate the appointment of bishops in mainland China through a mechanism that gives Beijing some influence over the selection. Pope Francis is treating China with “kid gloves” throughout the talks, according to another American ambassador, but Pompeo’s team emphasized that Holy See and the State Department cooperate...
    PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — The coming weekend could be the best of the fall for Maine's leaf peepers. Most of the state is experiencing peak fall foliage conditions, while coastal and southern Maine are showing moderate color change, the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation & Forestry said. Northern Maine typically peaks earlier than the rest of the state, and parts of the far north are already past peak, the forestry department said. “The lack of rain this summer and the early widespread frost jumpstarted the progression of foliage colors this season,” noted Gale Ross, the department's fall foliage coordinator. The state is encouraging leaf watchers to practice social distancing while peeping this year due to the coronavirus pandemic. Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Tags: Maine
    Andrew Wommack Ministries International defied the Colorado Attorney General's office when it staged an event for around 800 people during a late June-early July Bible conference. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment subsequently declared the gathering a COVID-19 outbreak, after two positive staff cases, six positive attendee cases and one probable attendee case. Now, Wommack and company are coming back for more. The organization sued Governor Jared Polis, among others, in federal court over safety protocols that could cramp its style during the AWMI Minister’s Conference, slated to start on October 5. On September 29, the court denied a ministry motion for a temporary restraining order to allow the event, prompting an appeal to the Tenth Circuit Court mere hours later. AWMI is represented by Liberty Counsel, which describes itself as "an international nonprofit, litigation, education, and policy organization dedicated to advancing religious freedom, the sanctity of life, and the...
    (CNN)A man died while hiking a trail in a New Hampshire state park Saturday, making for the third hiking/climbing-related fatality within a week, according to the New Hampshire Fish and Game department. The unidentified man was hiking at Arethusa Falls on Saturday when he went ahead of his friends to the top of the falls, which have an average height of 70 feet, according to a news release from the department. When the friends caught up, they found their friend's body. They hiked to an area that had cellphone reception and promptly called 911, the release said. The death was one of three reported between September 20 through the 26, according to the department. Read MoreOn Friday, another man died after suffering a "catastrophic equipment malfunction" while climbing Rumney Climbing Rocks, the department said. According to interviews with the man's friend and nearby hikers, the man said he was...
    PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Pennsylvania’s “woefully outdated” computer system used to handle unemployment claims will not get previously promised upgrades. For the past few months, The Department of Labor and Industry’s Secretary Jerry Oleksiak has said the new system would go live in October. With just a few days to go, the state announced it will now pause the launch of the new system. This comes at the recommendation of state legislators, stakeholders and the U.S. Department of Labor, according to the Department of Labor and Industry. The release states: “Pennsylvania will avoid potentially disrupting people relying on unemployment compensation by pausing the launch of the new system that will change how to file for claim and benefits.” Small business owner Ryan Smith wants his money. They say they owe him $13,000. He cleans ductwork for a living, but when he could no longer safely enter clients’ homes, he applied for...
    In January 2019, Finnish journalist Jessikka Aro was notified by the U.S. State Department that she would be receiving its International Women of Courage Award. But the offer was later rescinded after it came to light that Aro had been vehemently critical of President Donald Trump on social media. The State Department and allies of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo have denied that Aro’s anti-Trump posts had anything to do with that decision, but a new report by the State Department Inspector General’s Office says otherwise. “The report tracks how the discovery of the journalist’s remarks worried senior U.S. officials and prompted a decision to withdraw the honor to avoid a possible public relations debacle,” journalist John Hudson reports in the Washington Post. “The report’s release is likely to worsen tensions between the (State) Department’s leadership and the inspector general’s office, which has undergone several shake-ups following the firing of...
    The State Department decided that Finnish journalist Jessikka Aro would not receive the International Women of Courage (IWOC) award because her negative retweets about President Donald Trump were “not suitable,” were “out of place,” and were likely to cause “blowback” against Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and First Lady Melania Trump on the world stage. Then the Trump administration lied to the public about why it made this decision, the State Department’s Office of Inspector General confirmed in a report on its findings. Senate Democrats asked for and received an Inspector General investigation that ultimately found Aro’s tweets about Trump were a bridge too far for the Trump administration. The investigation was sought after Foreign Policy magazine reported in March 2019, in rather straightforward fashion, that the Trump administration had cancelled Aro. The section on the State Department’s internal considerations on the rescission of the award (the award was ultimately...
    Andrew Harnik/AFP/Getty For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.Secretary of State Mike Pompeo urged foreign leaders to “secure unalienable rights” in a United Nations speech on Wednesday, which laid the “crisis” in international human rights at the feet of longtime American adversaries and multilateral bodies like the UN. “Authoritarian governments, from China to Iran to Venezuela, are depriving our fellow human beings of their basic rights,” he said. “Meanwhile, many multinational organizations have lost their way, focusing on partisan policy preferences while failing to defend fundamental rights.” Pompeo’s speech, which was part of an event hosted by the United States during the UN General Assembly, was marketed as a celebration of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the foundational document for decades of human rights policy. Instead, Pompeo promoted his own narrowly-defined idea of human rights, which was formalized...
    Anna Moneymaker/CNP/Zuma For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.Last month, in a video seemingly devoid of irony, former ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell declared that “President Trump is the most pro-gay president in American history.” Believable perhaps if one’s head has been buried in sand for three years, Grenell’s video was part of an outreach effort by Log Cabin Republicans and other right-leaning groups hoping to persuade LGBTQ voters to back Trump. Left out was any mention of the steady, faith-based crusade taking place in Trump’s State Department, where anti-LGTBQ views and policies have increasingly become standard under the leadership of Mike Pompeo. “There has been a steady drumbeat of anti-LGBTI efforts.” Pompeo, who took over at Foggy Bottom in April 2018, has long opposed same-sex marriage and once described homosexuality as a “perversion.” He’s maintained close ties with the...
            by Scott McClallen  Michigan voters will see a proposal on the November 3 ballot asking if the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund (NRTF) should increase the spending allowance on recreational improvement projects each year. The NRTF, created in 1984, is a constitutionally restricted fund to develop and purchase public land using funds generated from interest and earnings on state-owned mineral rights programs. “The Michigan NRTF has served its original purpose well since its establishment nearly five decades ago,” Sen. Ed McBroom, R-Vulcan Township, said in a statement. “These reforms are timely to help ensure that today’s needs are better funded, which is why I support this ballot proposal to change the state constitution. We should be focused on taking better care of the attractions and assets we have, including our parks, trails and water access. This proposal will provide needed flexibility while allowing use of the funds for...
    By Brad Brooks MOLALLA, Sept. 17 (.) – With their resources strained, thousands of exhausted firefighters battled by air and ground on Thursday to slow the advance of the deadly wildfires sweeping the western United States, where a senator said parts Oregon seem bombed. Dozens of fires have burned about 1.3 million hectares in California since mid-August and another 647,500 hectares in the states of Oregon and Washington since Labor Day on September 7, devastating several small cities, destroying thousands of homes and leaving at least 34 dead. The Oregon Department of Forestry said 6,500 firefighters from the state and elsewhere in the United States and Canada are working to stop the fires, along with community members and emergency personnel from government agencies. Twenty-six fires were still active in Oregon on Thursday, according to the state’s Office of Emergency Management. The California Department of Forestry and...
    Need to stay updated on coronavirus news in Texas? Our evening roundup will help you stay on top of the day’s latest updates. Sign up here. Texas health officials announced Monday they are changing the way the state reports a key metric used to evaluate the extent of coronavirus infection, a move that conceded that the state’s previous method of calculating the “positivity rate” muddied the extent of viral transmission by mixing old data with new. The Texas Department of State Health Services said it will now “primarily rely” on a new calculation of the daily positivity rate — defined as the share of tests that yield positive results — which takes into account the date on which a coronavirus test was administered. Officials said the new metric will give a more accurate representation of viral transmission in Texas on a given day. It also means that each day’s positivity...
    Normally, a party does everything possible to avoid litigation. Polonius advised Laertes to “beware of entrance to a quarrel.” Litigation is a disaster. It is expensive and time-consuming. It is always risky to be a plaintiff, but it is more than risky to be on the receiving end —unless of course you are Donald Trump — and your lawyer is Bill Barr. It is nothing short of amazing that Bill Barr’s Justice Department has intervened in the civil suit for libel brought by the writer E. Jean Carroll. Carroll claims Trump raped her in a Bergdorf Goodman dressing room in the 1990s, many years before he was President. That alleged conduct is most likely beyond any period of limitations. But when Carroll aired her allegations, Trump from his “bully presidential pulpit” called her a liar, denied Carroll’s charges and asserted that it couldn’t have happened because Carroll is “not his...
    Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said he's considering legislation that would put Austin's police department under state funding as a way to protect it after the city council voted to defund it. 'This proposal for the state to takeover the Austin Police Department is one strategy I'm looking at,' Abbott, a Republican, tweeted from his personal Twitter account Thursday.  'We can't let Austin's defunding & disrespect for law enforcement to endanger the public & invite chaos like in Portland and Seattle.' On Saturday, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton confirmed the sentiment behind Abbott's tweets, telling Fox News that the idea is a response to Austin's city council voting to defund $150million from the city's police department in August - a move that Austin Mayor Steve Adler is supporting.  Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (in March) said the state could take over the Austin Police Department in response to the city council's decision to...
    With the November presidential election just over 60 days away, recent actions and reports over the last week from all three of the government departments responsible for protecting the vote raise new concerns about the Trump administration’s commitment to a free and fair election. Even as senior government officials continue to raise alarms about foreign actors seeking to attack the election, the major entities of federal government that share responsibility for election security—the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Justice, and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, which oversees and coordinates the nation’s 17 intelligence agencies—have taken steps that appear to undermine or compromise the nation’s ability to conduct a free and free election in November and combat foreign interference. Last week, in a surprise move, DNI John Ratcliffe announced that he was ending verbal, in-person congressional briefings on election security ahead of November. While the...
    West Hollywood; Seattle; Portland; Pasco, Wash.; and Palos Verdes Estates, Calif. These are just a handful of the cities where recently arrested Kenosha, Wis., rioters are listed as coming from. And as riots continue to pop up across the United States, such data has fueled speculation about the origins of the agitators and how they might be organized. PORTLAND POLICE CHIEF URGES ELECTED OFFICIALS TO 'HOLD PEOPLE ACCOUNTABLE' FOR 'NIGHTLY VIOLENCE' The records released so far reveal a mix – of out-of-towners, of people whose home city police do not know and also locals. Records reflect plenty of Kenosha residents have been swept up in the arrests there, just as Washington, D.C., and Minneapolis residents have taken part in the unrest in those cities. In perhaps the most high-profile piece of speculation, President Trump on Monday night in an interview with "The Ingraham Angle" claimed that he'd spoken to someone who was on a "plane from a certain city this weekend and in...
    By: KDKA-TV News Staff HARRISBURG (KDKA) — The Pennsylvania Department of Health is reporting 521 new cases of Coronavirus on Monday, but no additional deaths. The statewide total number of cases has risen to 134,025 since Sunday’s report, according to the state’s data. The Health Department says all 67 counties in Pennsylvania have had cases of COVID-19. Current patients are either in isolation at home or being treated at the hospital. The number of tests administered within the last seven days, between Aug. 24 and Aug. 30, is 159,917 with 4,456 positive cases, according to the Health Department. There were 22,467 test results reported to the department through 10 p.m. Sunday. These results represent the total number of tests administered. The statewide death toll stands at 7,673. At this time, 1,524,195 people have tested negative for the virus in Pennsylvania. #COVID19 Update (as of 8/31/20 at 12:00 am):• 521 additional...
    Unemployed Tennesseans could see an additional $300 federal weekly unemployment benefit by the end of this week or early next, Department of Labor and Workforce Commissioner Jeff McCord said Tuesday. The department received about $236 million in grant funds from the Federal Emergency Management Agency on Monday to provide an additional $300 weekly benefit to Tennesseans and is processing payments in the coming days. “We did receive funding for that grant yesterday afternoon from FEMA,” McCord told reporters at the state Capitol on Tuesday. “We anticipate implementing and processing those payments here within the next few days.” Tennessee’s requirement that unemployment claimants be actively looking for work will be reinstated in September, McCord said. The department temporarily suspended the work search requirement for unemployment benefits at the height of the pandemic. “We also have to look for a long-term repair to our state’s economy, get Tennesseans...
    As Minnesota Senate Republicans consider whether to remove Steve Kelley as Commissioner of the state’s Department of Commerce, his decision to challenge Enbridge’s proposed Line 3 oil pipeline in court has drawn intense scrutiny. The GOP broadly backs the $2.6 billion pipeline, which would carry 760,000 barrels of oil per day across northern Minnesota and create thousands of construction jobs amid the state’s economic downturn. Regulators on the state’s Public Utilities Commission have repeatedly approved the project, saying building the new, larger, 36-inch pipeline would be safer than continuing to operate a 34-inch one built in the 1960s that is operating at half-capacity and considered a spill risk — or allowing rail to instead be transported by rail to market. But Line 3 has been fought by environmental groups like The Sierra Club, who say new fossil fuel infrastructure is reckless and unnecessary amid climate change. And several tribes —...
    Alex Wong/Getty For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis and more, subscribe to Mother Jones' newsletters.Mike Pompeo’s speech at the Republican National Convention on Tuesday is strange. And not because of anything he said—but because it happened at all. When he appeared via a recorded address from Jerusalem, praising President Donald Trump for “bold initiatives in nearly every corner of the world,” he showed a bold disregard for federal law that should have stopped him from participating in the event. The Hatch Act bars federal officials from engaging in political activity while on duty, yet Pompeo recorded his speech during an official diplomatic visit to Israel. Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Texas), a member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, has already launched an investigation into Pompeo’s appearance, which he called “highly unusual” and possibly “illegal.”  “Senate-confirmed Presidential appointees may not even attend a political party convention.” Pompeo’s virtual appearance at the convention...
    U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (not pictured) make joint statements during a news conference after a meeting in Jerusalem, August 24, 2020.Debbie Hill | Reuters WASHINGTON — Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is slated to address the Republican National Convention on Tuesday, a move that upends decades of precedent and ethics guidelines aimed at separating America's national security and foreign policy decision-makers from the whims of partisan politics. The speech, which was recorded in Israel and is slated to air Tuesday night, is now under investigation by the House Foreign Affairs Committee's subpanel on oversight. The subcommittee's chairman, Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-Texas, called the speech "highly unusual and likely unprecedented" and suggested, "it may also be illegal." It has also made waves among former diplomats and foreign policy experts, who say his address, recorded while on official travel, smashes through the last remaining guardrails intended to...
    Republicans are gearing up for the second night of the 2020 GOP convention, with First Lady Melania Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo set to headline Tuesday’s festivities. Tuesday night’s theme will be “Land of Opportunity,” which the campaign says “will honor the opportunities all Americans have because of President Trump’s policies.” Speaking to reporters Tuesday, Trump campaign communications director Tim Murtaugh reiterated the commander-in-chief’s promise to speak every night of the four-day event, saying that he “will have a significant role again tonight and will appear more than once during the programming.” First Lady Melania Trump Mrs. Trump will deliver her remarks live from the White House Rose Garden, which has just undergone a weeks-long renovation at the first lady’s request. The update, announced in late July, included electrical upgrades for TV appearances, a new walkway and new flowers and shrubs. The project was meant to be...
    Republicans are gearing up for the second night of the 2020 GOP convention, with First Lady Melania Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo set to headline Tuesday’s festivities. Tuesday night’s theme will be “Land of Opportunity,” which the campaign says “will honor the opportunities all Americans have because of President Trump’s policies.” Speaking to reporters Tuesday, Trump campaign communications director Tim Murtaugh reiterated the commander-in-chief’s promise to speak every night of the four-day event, saying that he “will have a significant role again tonight and will appear more than once during the programming.” First Lady Melania Trump Mrs. Trump will deliver her remarks live from the White House Rose Garden, which has just undergone a weeks-long renovation at the first lady’s request. The update, announced in late July, included electrical upgrades for TV appearances, a new walkway and new flowers and shrubs. The project was meant to be an...
    CAIRO (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok discussed "positive developments in the Sudan-Israel relationship," the State Department said in a statement on Tuesday. Pompeo and Hamdok also agreed that agreement on the Ethiopian Grand Renaissance Dam, a giant hydropower dam on the Blue Nile, was crucial to regional stability, the statement said. (Reporting by Nayera Abdullah; Writing by Nadine Awadalla; Editing by Alex Richardson) Copyright 2020 Thomson Reuters.
    (CBS Detroit ) – Michigan’s department of health and human services says 14 coronavirus outbreaks have been reported in schools, according to the Detroit News. Outbreaks have been reported in at least four state regions. Cases in grades K through 12 and in colleges are being documented. The health department says it’s working with schools to make sure parents are notified if their child is sick. © 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Related
    The Iowa Department of Education on Thursday denied a request from Des Moines Public Schools to start the school year fully online, arguing that the state's goal is to allow "parents to choose what's best for their child" — not school districts. What are the details?Last month, Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) ordered schools in the state to begin the new year by offering at least 50% of its classes within the school building. The order permitted school districts to apply for an exemption from the law allowing them to operate in a primarily virtual option, but outlined that such requests would need to be approved by the state. The state's guidelines delineated that districts must have a 2-week rolling average positive test rate of at least 15% in their county before they can transition. In a letter to the district Thursday, Education Department Director Ann Lebo said the...
    The governor of Texas and other regional officials have announced they are banning a raise in property tax for all localities that defund the police. The move, announced on Tuesday, is designed to stop Texan towns and cities from following the example of Austin. Last week Austin City Council unanimously approved a proposal to cut the police budget by $150 million, about 34 per cent of its current total, and reinvest in other resources. 'When crime is on the rise, the last thing we should do is defund the police,' said Greg Abbott, the Republican governor, speaking at the Bob Bolen Safety Complex - the training facility and headquarters for the Fort Worth fire and police departments. Greg Abbott, pictured Tuesday in Fort Worth, announced a proposal to discourage defunding Abbott, in a wheelchair since 26, said cities that defund police couldn't raise property taxes He added that any...
    Weeks before the government warned Americans not to plant the mysterious, unsolicited seeds from China that started appearing in their mailboxes, a man in Booneville, Arkansas planted the seeds in his garden. Doyle Crenshaw’s story was covered in the media earlier this month when he planted the seeds and discovered they grew squash-like fruit. “We brought them down here and planted the seeds just to see what would happen, every two weeks I’d come by and put Miracle Grow on it and they just started growing like crazy,” Crenshaw told CBS-TV affiliate KSFM. After Crenshaw’s story was reported, the Arkansas Department of Agriculture announced it would remove the plant to study it. “Our concern is from an invasive-pest aspect: These seeds could introduce an invasive weed or an invasive insect pest or a plant disease,” spokesman Scott Bray told the outlet at the time. Fox News reported this week that...
    In the battle for air supremacy, a bald eagle just proved that technology is no match for brute strength. The giant bird recently attacked a drone, destroying it and sending it to the bottom of Lake Michigan. A bald eagle in Michigan's Upper Peninsula "launched an airborne attack" on a drone operated by the state's Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) late last month, the department said Thursday. During the squabble, the eagle tore off the drone's propeller, making the device plummet 162 feet through the air and into the lake.  The "brazen" eagle versus EGLE clash took place while environmental quality analyst and drone pilot Hunter King was mapping erosion along the shoreline. The data is being used to help communities cope with rising water levels.  Get Breaking News Delivered to Your Inbox When King faced poor satellite reception, he pressed the "Go Home" button, recalling...
    (CBS DETROIT) – A $950 drone belonging to the State of Michigan was being flown to document shoreline erosion damage in the Upper Peninsula when it was suddenly a bald eagle launched an airborne attack.  The large bird tussled with the drone briefly and then ripped off one of the drone’s propellers and sent it to the bottom of Lake Michigan near Escanaba. Hunter King, a pilot for the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (ironically EGLE) was operating the drone when the July 21 attack occurred.  He was mapping shoreline erosion for use in the agency’s efforts to document and help communities cope with high water levels. King had completed about 7 minutes of the mapping flight – his fourth of the day in the area – when satellite reception got spotty.  He pressed the “Go Home” recall button.  The drone returned on a strong satellite...
    A growing number of tourist destinations are slowly starting to allow Americans to reenter their countries — with health and safety mandates in place — following coronavirus-related travel shutdowns. More specifically, U.S. citizens now visit a number of Caribbean-based beach destinations in addition to certain areas in the Middle East, Europe and Southeast Asia. Hotels In Aruba, Dutch Antilles. (Photo: MyLoupe/UIG Via Getty Images) CORONAVIRUS HOTSPOTS LIKE FLORIDA, NEVADA STILL SEEING INCREASED INTEREST FROM TOURISTS, TRAVEL SITE'S DATA SUGGESTS  Countries including Antigua, Aruba, Barbados, Barbuda, Belize, Bermuda, Cambodia, Croatia, Dominican Republic, Egypt, French Polynesia, Jamaica, Maldives, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Rwanda, Serbia, St. Barths, St. Lucia, St. Vincent, Tanzania, Turkey, Turks and Caicos, United Arab Emirates and the Virgin Islands are currently allowing U.S. travelers to enter their borders. Since March, at the height of the coronavirus pandemic, the U.S. Department of State urged Americans to avoid traveling internationally due to COVID-19, issuing a “Level...
              People wanting to visit their loved ones residing in nursing homes and assisted living facilities will be able to starting August 29, the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) announced Monday. This will be the first time visitors have been allowed into long-term care facilities since March 31. MDH’s latest guidance assigns levels to nursing homes and assisted living facilities according to the number of reported COVID-19 cases over a 28-day period. If any facility experiences active cases or exposure in the past 28 days, they are ranked “Level 1.” If not, they are “Level 2.” “Level 1” facilities must adhere to restrictions similar to those currently in existence: outdoor and window visitations only, social distancing between all residents, no trips off of facility property, personal protective gear (PPE) for staff, and medical screenings twice a day. The difference for facilities ranked “Level 2”...
    Secretary of State Mike Pompeo Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has learned a little something from Attorney General Bill Barr: Whatever you do, pre-spin the findings of watchdog reports before they are actually released. That's what Pompeo's spokespeople did Monday before release of the inspector general's report on his end-run around Congress to make an $8.1 billion arms sale to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. It also just happens to be the close of an investigation that had originally been opened by inspector general Steve Linick, before Pompeo had him canned and Linick's replacement subsequently resigned after recusing himself from the arms probe.  So the final report, which clears Pompeo of breaking the law, was issued by acting State Department inspector general Diana Shaw—who, if she plays her cards right, may or may not survive Pompeo's reign at the agency. At issue was whether the national security "emergency" Pompeo declared...
    Secretary of State Mike Pompeo followed the law governing controversial “emergency” weapons sales to Saudi Arabia, according to a watchdog report that shows State Department officials sidestepping congressional efforts to curtail civilian casualties. “The secretary's emergency certification was executed in accordance with the requirements of the” Arms Export Control Act, the State Department office of the inspector general concluded. “However, OIG also found that the Department did not fully assess risks and implement mitigation measures to reduce civilian casualties and legal concerns associated with the transfer of [precision-guided munitions] included in the May 2019 emergency certification.” State Department officials hailed the report as a vindication of Pompeo’s decisions regarding a batch of arms deals that angered lawmakers, sparking a controversy that metastasized into Democratic allegations that he instigated the firing of the State Department inspector general in order to protect his reputation. Pompeo’s team emphasized that the report...
    COLLIN COUNTY (CBSDFW.COM) – A 74-year-old Richardson man with underlying health conditions who died August 3 at a local hospital is the latest person in Collin County to pass away after receiving a COVID-19 diagnosis. The Department of State Health Services reported 180 new cases in Collin County, including 76 in Plano. The total number of positive cases in Collin County is 7,833, including 2,015 in Plano. The county has 2,572 active cases, including 608 in Plano. There are 23 positive cases in the Denton County portion of Plano and 14 people have recovered. With the Denton County cases, the total number of positive cases in Plano is 2,038. Health & Safety What if I think I’m sick? People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported – ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness. An updated symptom list can be found at the CDC’s symptoms webpage. Please call...
    Anton Novoderezhkin/Getty In Moscow, the State Department’s offer of $10 million in exchange for evidence of Russian election interference rang hollow. The move was perceived not as a shark bite, but rather as a toothless scowl of the Trump administration—nothing more than an election-year propaganda stunt. “Desperate much?” crowed the Kremlin-funded media outlet RT. “The State Department website will now be overwhelmed by people ratting out their neighbors,” quipped Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova. For the benefit of Western audiences, Russian officials and state-sponsored media outlets mocked the idea of such a “bounty” as a ridiculous proposition—but on a domestic front, the State Department’s initiative was met with an obvious pushback, to make sure that no one gets any ideas. ‘America’s Dying’: Russian Media Is Giddy at Chaos in the USA State-controlled Russian media sprang into action, laboring to dissuade any potential takers of the tempting reward. Deputy...
    Alex Henderson August 10, 2020 7:00AM (UTC) This article originally appeared on AlterNet. One of the inspectors general who President Donald Trump fired earlier this year was Steve Linick, former IG for the U.S. State Department. The Project on Government Oversight has investigated Linick's firing and is reporting that according to its sources, the firing was "likely motivated in part by a review into alleged misconduct by the U.S. ambassador to the United Kingdom, Robert Wood 'Woody' Johnson IV, a long-time friend of the president." According to an article that POGO members Danielle Brian, Nick Schwellenbach and Adam Zagorin wrote for the organization's website, "(An) inspection report, which went to the London embassy for comment in late April, about two weeks before then-Inspector General Steve Linick's firing, has been sitting on the desk of his replacement — who unexpectedly announced Wednesday that he would be leaving his post Friday." : They...
    This digitally-colorized scanning electron micrograph (SEM) depicts purple-colored Yersinia pestis bacteria, the pathogen that causes bubonic plague. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) The New Mexico Department of Health said Friday that a man in his 20s died from the septicemic plague. The death marks the state's first human death of the plague since 2015. The department said the plague originates with wildlife, namely rodents, and is often spread to humans by fleas. Visit Insider's homepage for more stories. A New Mexico man in his 20s died of the septicemic plague in the state's first death from the condition since 2015, the state's Department of Health announced Friday. The department said the man was based in the state's Rio Arriba County and died after he was hospitalized. "An environmental investigation will take place at the person's home to look for ongoing risk to immediate family...
    More than 500 inmates at an Arizona state prison tested positive with coronavirus on Tuesday, according to local health officials.  The 517 inmates who tested positive at the Arizona State Prison Complex Tucson Whetstone Unit make up nearly half up the unit's 1,066 population.    They've been housed together in separate areas and are receiving medical care, according to a statement released by the Arizona Department of Corrections, Rehabilitation and Reentry, AZ Central reports.  517 inmates tested positive at the Arizona State Prison Complex Tucson Whetstone Unit RELATED ARTICLES Previous 1 Next Yale University student demands tuition reimbursement for... Alaskan cruise line cancels all future trips after a... Share this article Share The new cases are a 72 per cent jump in the department's identified coronavirus cases.     Previously, the department reported that there were 890 inmates statewide who had tested positive with coronavirus....
    A pair of House Committees issued subpoenas Monday that would require testimony and depositions from top aides to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo – including the senior advisor alleged to have walked his dog and performed other errands. House Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Rep. Eliot Engel and House Oversight Committee chair Carolyn Maloney, both Democrats, fired off the subpoenas Monday as part of an ongoing probe into the firing of Inspector General Steve Linick. Pompeo asked President Trump to fire Linick, who was probing a variety of State Department matters, including allegations that aide Toni Porter walked Pompeo's dog and did other tasks while on the government payroll. He also was probing a Saudi arms sale and allegations regarding Pompeo's wife.  Mike Pompeo is pictured with new puppy Mercer in a photo shared to Instagram. Two House panels have subpoenaed a quartet of State Department officials, including a senior...
    Agriculture officials have captured their first Asian giant hornet this month in Washington State - but are in a race against the clock to find the rest before mating season starts. The Washington State Department of Agriculture revealed in a press release that state's first Asian giant hornet, nicknamed 'murder hornet', was trapped on July 14.  Officials set up bottle trap near Birch Bay in Whatcom County and, following a review at WSDA's entomology lab, confirmed the hornet's species on July 29. This is the first hornet detected in a set trap, rather than found in the environment like the last five confirmed sightings in Washington. 'This is encouraging because it means we know that the traps work,' Sven Spichiger, managing entomologist for the department. said in the press release.  'But it also means we have work to do.' The Washington Department of Agriculture announced that officials captured their first...
    The spread in the states Using criteria provided by the White House, analysts at Covidexitstrategy.org are tracking each state’s progress in reducing symptoms and case numbers and conducting testing. The group of public health and crisis experts includes members from the U.S. Digital Response and Duke University’s Margolis Center for Health Policy and has built the website to track each state’s progress toward stopping the spread of COVID-19. Members of the team have experience working at the White House, Department of Health and Human Services and on the Ebola epidemic in West Africa, the website says. The group says a downward trajectory of illness reported and of documented cases is critical. So far, not many states have a downward trend, but several are getting close.   According to Covidexitstrategy.com, the use of accurate, real-time data to inform decision-making is essential for infectious disease control. To fill in information gaps across...
    The State Department appointed longtime Senior Foreign Service member Jim DeHart as the U.S. Coordinator for the Arctic Region Wednesday. DeHart holds the rank of Minister Counselor and has been a member of the Senior Foreign Service for 28 years, according to the State Department. He most recently served as a senior adviser in South Korea and previously led the U.S. diplomatic mission in Oslo, Norway. Eyeing #Russia and #China, @StateDept announced the appointment of U.S. Coordinator for the #Arctic Region Jim DeHart to lead the policy-making & diplomatic engagement on Arctic-related issues to advance U.S. interests in the region related to safety and security. @VOANews pic.twitter.com/4VlhsAqZiX — VOA Nike Ching 张蓉湘 (@rongxiang) July 29, 2020 A senior State Department official told reporters Wednesday that a more robust regional policy helped further U.S. interests in the Arctic region such as “security, sustainable economic growth, cooperation among Arctic states” and...
    Photo via Adobe ImagesFlorida’s agriculture secretary is raising concerns about packages of seeds bearing Chinese characters and the name China Post that people are receiving unsolicited in the mail. The Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is asking Floridians to report the “suspicious seed packages,” which might also be labeled as jewelry. “Plant seeds from unknown sources may introduce dangerous pathogens, diseases, or invasive species into Florida, putting agriculture and our state’s plant, animal and human health at risk,” Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried said in a prepared statement. “Anyone receiving these suspicious seed packets should not open them, should not plant them, should limit contact with them, and should report them immediately to both our department and USDA (U.S. Department of Agriculture) officials.” The crazy conspiracy....that is very real. Google “Chinese Seeds” and learn how mysterious packages of seeds are showing up....all over the country....but why? https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.newsweek.com/utah-residents-are-being-mailed-unidentified-seeds-china-1520243%3famp=1...
    Bryan Bedder/Getty Images The New York State Health Department is conducting an investigation into potential social distancing violations that took place at a Chainsmokers concert in the Hamptons over the weekend. New York has been in a state of emergency since March 7 due to the coronavirus pandemic, and was once the epicenter of the virus — sometimes seeing more than 800 deaths per day. Despite vast improvements in the state, an executive order from Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s (D) still requires social distancing and bans all non-essential gatherings of more than 50 people until August 20. The Chainsmokers concert sold roughly 3,000 tickets, and although it was a drive-in event, most attendees were seen outside of their vehicles. In a statement obtained by Mediaite, Dr. Howard Zucker, commissioner of the State Health Department, expressed his concerns to Southampton supervisor Jay Schneiderman: As commissioner of Health,  I have also issued a number...
    Hundreds more people in Maryland and Virginia have reported receiving mysterious packets of seeds in the mail that look like they’ve come from China. The Department of Agriculture is working to identify them and there is concern people could be planting an invasive species. Days after first alerting residents to unlabeled seed packets showing up in mailboxes across the commonwealth, Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Affairs spokesman Michael Wallace said the department received more than 900 emails and hundreds of calls from consumers reporting they’d gotten a similar package. The packages are addressed to the resident and some say they contain earrings or necklaces, but Wallace said the recipient finds a nondescript plastic bag of seeds inside. “It is too early to tell if it’s being sent to one particular ZIP code or area. Right now, it appears to be all over the state, as well as all over...
    The State Department said it has an "unwavering" commitment to bringing Islamic State fighters who killed U.S. citizens to justice. The agency sent this message as the families of the dead renew calls for captors, some of whom are being held in the Middle East, to be put on trial in the United States. “Seeking the safe return of U.S. citizens held hostage abroad and justice for the families of those murdered by their captors is a hallmark of this administration’s policy,” a State Department spokesperson told the Washington Examiner. “The Department of State’s commitment to these goals is unwavering.” Last week, the parents of ISIS victims Kayla Mueller, James Foley, Peter Kassig, and Steven Sotloff — all abducted and killed by members of ISIS — penned a joint op-ed in the Washington Post urging the Trump administration to take action. “Some of the men who...
    Analysis: What the heck is going on in Portland? McDonalds will require customers to wear masks in its restaurants Ames schools back to the drawing board on fall plans after governors orders © Provided by Ames Tribune A decision regarding how Ames students will return in the fall to classrooms will be made by Aug. 10, according to a message sent by the school district on Tuesday night. Photo by Nirmalendu Majumdar/Ames Tribune How Ames students will return to classrooms this fall will be decided by Aug. 10, according to a message sent by the school district Tuesday night. Superintendent Jenny Risner started Monday's virtual school board meeting off with an explanation of how Gov. Kim Reynolds' recent proclamation affected the district's current return to learn plan. "What we quickly realized, along with many other districts, after reviewing our return to learn plans that had already received state approval...
    Artiom Vyacheslavovich Radchenko and Olexandre Vitalievich Ieremenko were indicted in January 2019 in the state of New Jersey for having stolen several thousand computer files from the computers of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), including quarterly and annual results of companies. According to the Justice Department, they then resold this information before it was made public. “Cybercriminals do not obey or respect the laws of any country,” US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement. The State Department is offering a million dollar reward for each of them as part of its program against transnational criminal organizations. It is the first time that the Secret Service, responsible for the protection of personalities and which offers the other half of the sum, has offered a reward for a foreign national prosecuted in the United States.
    A vehicle is seen in a caravan protest asking the state of Florida to fix its unemployment system on May 22, 2020 in Miami Beach, Florida.Joe Raedle/Getty Images Florida's unemployment office is cutting nearly 1,000 workers from its call center — around a quarter of its representatives — at a time when the state's jobless claims continue to rise and long wait times persist. The Department of Economic Opportunity, which administers unemployment benefits in Florida, ended contracts with two companies that supplied hundreds of contractors to field phone calls from laid-off workers. The firms, AECOM and UDT, respectively, had around 800 and 155 representatives working on the account, according to department spokeswoman Paige Landrum. Zoom In IconArrows pointing outwards They collectively represent about a quarter of the Department's customer service representatives. It is unclear whether additional workers will be hired.Unemployment increasingThe reason for the cuts is hazy. The Florida unemployment office maintains...
    China has a “neo-imperial” ambition to make the entire world comply with its communist ideas, according to a senior State Department official. “We know that the Chinese Communist Party’s neo-imperial ways aren’t incidental to its character but are an essential feature of a nationalist and Marxist-Leninist mindset,” State Department assistant secretary David Stilwell, who leads the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, said Tuesday. “Beijing wants to dominate its immediate neighborhood — and eventually impose its will and its rules on your neighborhood too, wherever you may be.” Noting Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s denunciation of China’s claims to sovereignty over vast swathes of the South China Sea, Stilwell emphasized that the United States will aid “allies and friends,” such as the Philippines, if China uses force to deprive such neighboring states of their economic rights in the waterways. “We are building our military capabilities. We...
    One of the perennial lessons of the Trump presidency is that you can never put anything past him. There is no bottom—he will go as low as he can. That became painfully apparent once again last week, when we learned that Trump has sat on his hands for months and did nothing in response to reports that Russia paid bounties for the targeted killing of American soldiers in Afghanistan. The New York Times reported that Russia’s military intelligence arm has offered a bounty to Taliban fighters for every confirmed kill of U.S. and coalition fighters serving in Afghanistan. The CIA reportedly confirmed the veracity of the information after interrogating prisoners and recovering a large stash of U.S. dollars at a captured Taliban base. Former national security adviser John Bolton reportedly briefed Trump on the information in March 2019, and U.S. intelligence officials told the Times that Trump was presented with a list of options in March 2020,...
    Former New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly warned on "Hannity" Tuesday that the Big Apple may return to the bad old days of the 1970s and 80s if the spike in crime and political attacks on law enforcement are not reversed soon. "New York was the safest big city in America for several decades, a lot of hard work done by a lot of people," Kelly -- who served as commissioner under mayors David Dinkins and Michael Bloomberg -- told host Sean Hannity. "I lay the problems of New York City solely at the feet of [Mayor] Bill de Blasio. He has eviscerated the police department." "One of the most important, significant things [de Blasio] did was to eliminate the anti-crime units throughout the city -- they are the real crime fighters," said Kelly, referring to the plainclothes units that were disbanded last month. "[They were] the ones who have been able to address the violent crime for several decades in New...
    The Trump administration is reportedly planning to establish a division dedicated to pandemic response at the State Department after facing criticism earlier this year for shuttering the National Security Council's (NSC) pandemic office in 2018. CNN reported that NSC officials hosted an interagency meeting Thursday to discuss plans for the new office. NSC officials did not immediately respond to a request for confirmation from The Hill. Today's meeting reportedly centered on hammering out details for the new office and working on a proposal that would require President TrumpDonald John TrumpHouse panel approves 0.5B defense policy bill House panel votes against curtailing Insurrection Act powers after heated debate House panel votes to constrain Afghan drawdown, ask for assessment on 'incentives' to attack US troops MORE's signature for the office's approval. Former homeland security adviser Lisa Monaco, who served under former President Obama, indicated that the Trump administration ran the risk of...
    ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — The Maryland Department of Health is urging you to “Answer the Call” if they try to reach you as part of their contact tracing in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. The health department is launching a state-wide outreach campaign to get people to answer the phone when they see “MD COVID” or 240-466-4488 as the incoming call on their phone. CORONAVIRUS COVERAGE: TIMELINE: Coronavirus In Maryland, Tracking The Spread Latest coronavirus stories from WJZ Latest CDC Guidelines The campaign features people who have recovered from the virus. The state has more than 1,300 contact tracers reaching out to people who may have been exposed to the virus. For the latest information on coronavirus go to the Maryland Health Department’s website or call 211. You can find all of WJZ’s coverage on coronavirus in Maryland here.
    Former Department of Justice Deputy Director of Public Affairs Ian Prior said on “America’s Newsroom” on Tuesday that Attorney General William Barr is “a threat to the deep state, not the rule of law.” Prior penned a Washington Times op-ed, which was published on Monday. In it, he wrote: “Democrats are furious at Attorney General Bill Barr. They should be.” “Mr. Barr is trying to tear the deep state up by its roots and expose the delusions of moral superiority that have infected so many in the intelligence and federal law enforcement communities,” the op-ed said. Last week, a federal appeals court ordered a lower court to allow the case against former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn to be dismissed, as requested by the Justice Department. Also last week, a House Judiciary Committee hearing focused on oversight of the Department of Justice was marked by searing accusations and explosive interruptions...
    HARRISBURG (KDKA) — The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources has created an online survey and are asking public input to help plan the future for forestlands in Pennsylvania. The Department is seeking the opinions of those who visit and enjoy approximately 17 million acres of forestlands in Pennsylvania. A link to the online survey can be found online. “As the department moves forward in developing a new strategic plan, those who appreciate, work in, or recreate in Pennsylvania’s  forests have a remarkable opportunity to shape the future management and sustainability of Pennsylvania’s forest resources,” Dunn said in a press release. ”I encourage all to become a part of this state’s rich forest planning heritage by completing the survey.” The survey opens on July 1 and will be able to be accessed until August 31. The survey takes approximately 10 minutes to complete. Details on Pennsylvania’s state forestlands and 20 state...
    LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — The head of Arkansas' prison system said Monday she's retiring at the end of July following an outbreak of coronavirus that has infected more than 2,300 inmates. Arkansas Department of Corrections Secretary Wendy Kelley announced her retirement at a state Board of Corrections meetings. Kelley served as the director of the Department of Correction from January 2015 until July 2019, when Gov. Asa Hutchinson named her secretary of the reorganized the department. “It has been my honor to serve this department because of you," she wrote in an email to the department's staff Monday. “I have been so blessed to work with you all!" Kelley is leaving the department after an outbreak of coronavirus at prison facilities, primarily the Cummins Unit. Kelley warned at a news conference in April that if the virus got into one of the state's facilities “it will be disastrous.” Kelley...
    HARRISBURG (KDKA) — The Pennsylvania Department of Health is reporting 621 new cases of Coronavirus on Saturday, in addition to 24 more deaths. The statewide total number of cases has risen to 84,991 since Friday’s report. The Health Department says all 67 counties in Pennsylvania have had cases of COVID-19. Current patients are either in isolation at home or being treated at the hospital. The statewide death toll has reached 6,603. Most of the patients hospitalized are ages 65 or older, and most of the deaths have occurred in patients 65 or older. There are 646,780 patients who have tested negative to date. To see the state’s county-by-county breakdown of cases and deaths, visit this link. Currently, all 67 counties are in the yellow or green phase of reopening. More information on the Coronavirus pandemic: CDC Coronavirus Information CDC Global Map of Confirmed COVID-19 Cases Pennsylvania Department...
    THE terrorism threat from white supremacist groups is "on the rise" after a year of high-profile attacks across the globe, the State Department has warned. The threat of "racially or ethnically motivated terrorism, particularly white supremacist terrorism" remains a challenge globally, according to the department's 2019 report on terrorism. 1 The State Department said the threat of white supremacy terrorism is "on the rise"Credit: Getty Images - Getty The department said the high-profile 2019 attacks - including the shooting at a mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand in March, the shooting in an El Paso, Texas, Walmart last summer, and a shooting in a synagogue in Halle, Germany last fall - continue a troubling trend that began in 2015. The counter terrorism bureau has increased its efforts to combat racially/ethnically motivated terrorism as violence seems to be both "on the rise and spreading geographically," it added. Targets of these white supremacist...
    Florida reported a whopping 8,942 new coronavirus cases Friday — nearly doubling its previous record set two days earlier and prompting an immediate shutdown of alcohol consumption at bars. The Florida agency that governs bars announced the ban on Twitter just minutes after the Department of Health reported Friday’s numbers, which eclipsed the previous record of 5,508 set Wednesday. “Effective immediately, the Department of Business and Professional Regulation is suspending on-premises consumption of alcohol at bars statewide,” Florida Department of Business & Professional Regulation Secretary Halsey Beshears tweeted. Over the last week, Florida has recorded 29,163 new infections, which is nearly a quarter of the state’s total number of confirmed cases since the pandemic began more than three months ago, according to the Miami Herald . The state’s total number of confirmed cases now stands at 122,960. Deaths in the peninsula are also skyrocketing with 137 new deaths reported...
    Florida has announced a ban on alcohol consumption at its bars after its daily confirmed coronavirus cases neared 9,000. The Florida agency that governs bars announced the ban on Twitter Friday just moments after the state's Department of Health reported 8,942 new confirmed cases – topping the previous record of 5,500 set on Wednesday.  "Effective immediately, the Department of Business and Professional Regulation is suspending on premises consumption of alcohol at bars statewide," the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation tweeted. State officials have attributed much of the new outbreak to young adults flocking to bars after they reopened in most of the state about a month ago, with many of them ignoring social distancing restrictions aimed at lowering the virus's spread. Get Breaking News Delivered to Your Inbox More than 24,000 new cases have been reported since Saturday, accounting more than a fifth of the 111,724 cases...
    RIO RANCHO, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico has erected its first-ever bilingual Spanish-English billboards at two lakes around invasive species. The state Department of Game and Fish announced this month officials posted two billboards at Elephant Butte Lake and a third at Caballo Lake. The signs inform boaters to “clean, drain and dry” their watercraft and that watercraft needs an inspection when encountering an open inspection station. Inspecting watercraft is the first defense against accidentally transporting aquatic invasive species like zebra and quagga mussels into New Mexico waters. U.S. Bureau of Reclamation spokeswoman Mary Carlson said state and federal officials want to raise awareness about the threats posed by aquatic invasive species. Carlson said zebra and quagga mussels have caused millions of dollars in damage to dams, reservoirs, irrigation systems, and drinking water conveyance systems in other states. “We get a large number of boaters at Elephant Butte from El...
    The State Department doubled the bounty on the leader of the Islamic State. The agency’s Rewards for Justice program announced this week that it is now offering $10 million for information about the location or identity of ISIS leader Amir Muhammad Sa’id Abdal-Rahma al Mawla, up from $5 million. Al Mawla was placed in charge of the terrorist network after Abu Bakr al Baghdadi was killed in October during a Delta Force operation. Al Mawla, also known as Hajji Abdallah and Abu-Umar al Turkmani, was labeled a “ specially designated global terrorist” by the United States in March. (US State Department) After ISIS confirmed Baghdadi’s death, it claimed its new leader’s name was Abu Ibrahim al Hashimi al Qurayshi. U.S. intelligence was not familiar with the name at the time but discovered that it was another identity used by al Mawla. The State...
    The threat of racially and ethnically motivated terrorism from white supremacists is “on the rise and spreading geographically” across the country and world, according to a new State Department report. The report, which is published annually with yearly country-by-country terrorism developments, outlined certain groups that are increasingly becoming the focus of hate crimes. The “white supremacist and nativist movements and individuals increasingly target immigrants; Jewish, Muslim, and other religious minorities; lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and/or intersex (LGBTI) individuals; governments; and other perceived enemies,” according to the report, published by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Last year brought several high-profile profile attacks spurred by white supremacist ideology, including shooting at a mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand, in March; the shooting in an El Paso, Texas, Walmart last summer and the gunman who opened fire in a synagogue in Halle, Germany, this past October. see also Far-right groups Boogaloo and...
    A 24-year-old Northern Fairfield County man was arrested after allegedly threatening to kill police on Twitter. On Wednesday, June 24, Connecticut State Police Headquarters received a complaint from a resident in the state of Virginia reporting a disturbing tweet on Twitter, the department said. According to police, the tweet said: "imma kill a cop today and when they ask me why I did it, imma tell them he was acting nervous and looked at me wrong." The department's Western District Major Crime Squad was assigned to investigate the incident and was assisted by State Troopers from Troop A, Southbury. The squad was able to identify Alexander Hassinger, of Sandy Hook, as the alleged sender, and arrested him at his home around 5:10 p.m. Wednesday, state police said. He was charged with harassment and breach of peace, state police said.  Hassinger was released after posting a $10,000 bond and is scheduled...
    EUREKA, Calif. (AP) — More than 10,700 pot plants were eradicated in Humboldt County during an investigation of illegal cannabis cultivation in the Dinsmore area, authorities said Thursday. Search warrants were served Wednesday on two parcels that did not have the required county permit or state license for commercial cannabis cultivation, the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office said. The state Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Department of Food and Agriculture’s CalCannabis division assisted the operation. Multiple violations were issued for water diversion and pollution and trash deposits near a waterway. There were no arrests. Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Tags: California
    Washington (CNN)The Department of Justice is calling Hawaii's mandated 14-day self-quarantine for travelers from outside the state likely unconstitutional, discriminatory and "insufficiently tailored to ensuring public safety."On Tuesday, the Justice Department filed a statement of interest in support of a federal lawsuit brought last week by a group of Nevada and California residents who own property in Hawaii and seek a temporary restraining order against Hawaii Gov. David Ige's mandate.The Justice Department's involvement is especially notable at a time when several states in recent days have seen a spike in coronavirus cases and the virus has infected over 2.3 million Americans.The Justice Department in its filing said that Hawaii's requirement has caused "real harm" to the state's tourism industry, "at a time when Americans most need their States to support efforts to reopen businesses in a manner consistent with public health."Since March, Ige has imposed 14 days of self-quarantine for...
    HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — A grand jury investigation into Pennsylvania’s large natural gas drilling industry released Thursday by state Attorney General Josh Shapiro has found systematic failures in state departments regulating that industry. The report comes after nearly two years of investigation into the state’s Marcellus Shale exploration industry. It notes that the state’s Department of Environmental Protection and State Department of Health failed to protect Pennsylvanians by not policing or investigating environmental complaints, failed to collect health data and failed to warn the public when they were at risk. The grand jury recommends giving Shapiro’s office the ability to criminally investigate the industry as well as other increased regulations. (© Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
    The State Department has sanctioned five Iranian ship captains for delivering 1.5 million barrels of gasoline and related components to Venezuela. The individuals will be added to the List of Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons maintained by the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, pursuant to updates of Executive Order 13599 made after the U.S. dropped out of the Iran nuclear deal. As a result, their assets will also be blocked and “their careers and prospects will suffer from this designation,” said the State Department. Oil is Venezuela’s largest export but due to the country’s breakdown of their refining network ever since Maduro succeeded Hugo Chavez as Venezuela’s president in 2013, gasoline has become scarce there and oil production has plummeted more than 60%, according to CNBC. Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza called the sanctions “criminal,” and said that the actions were “more evidence of the hatred of...
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