IT40 News for 05/15/2018

GAZA CITY, GAZA -- MONDAY, MAY 14, 2018: Medical units carry away a wounded Palestinian shot by Israeli forces during a protest on the border fence separating Israel and Gaza in a camp east of Gaza City, Gaza, on May 14, 2018. (Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)


#1 Fears of more deaths in Gaza as Israel’s actions condemned

Another day of protests is expected at the Gaza border Tuesday as international condemnation poured in over Israel's use of force against unarmed Palestinian protesters this week.

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At least 58 Palestinians were killed by Israeli troops during protests over the Trump administration's controversial opening of the US Embassy in Jerusalem, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry, the deadliest day in Gaza since the 2014 Israeli invasion.

Doctors Without Borders called on the Israeli army to stop using deadly force against demonstrators, saying their actions were "unacceptable and inhuman."

"This bloodbath is the continuation of the Israeli army's policy during the last seven weeks: shooting with live ammunition at demonstrators, on the assumption that anyone approaching the separation fence is a legitimate target," Marie-Elisabeth Ingres, the group's representative in Gaza, said in a statement.

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#2 Lava from Hawaii volcano nears an evacuation route, warning issued on gas exposure

Lava from one of the world’s most active volcanoes snaked closer to the Big Island’s Highway 137 — coming within a mile and a half Monday night to choking off one of the last remaining evacuation routes for residents in lower Puna, officials said.

Scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey said that red-and-orange lava continues to flow from fissure 17, but has slowed to about two-tenths of a mile in the past six hours. The situation is considered extremely dangerous.

USGS officials said the lava flow has been releasing audible jets of gases that they could be heard as scientists flew over the area.

Kilauea began erupting on May 3. Since then, fissures have been generated mostly in Leilana Estates subdivision, where nearly 2,000 residents were ordered to evacuate. Lava has destroyed more than 40 structures, including two dozen homes.

Geologists warn that Kilauea's summit could have an explosive steam eruption that would hurl huge rocks and ash miles into the sky.

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#3 Ten children are removed from a squalid California home with a feces-covered bathroom as their parents are charged with neglect and torture

Ten children have been removed from a Northern California home after police found them living in squalid conditions, including a bathroom completely covered in feces.

The children, who range in age from 4 months to 12 years, were taken into protective custody after they were found living in what police describe as 'squalor and unsafe conditions' at the home in Fairfield, north of San Francisco.

Police said on Monday that their parents Jonathan Allen, 29, and Ina Rogers, 30, had been arrested and charged with neglect and torture.

Ten children have been removed from a Northern California home after police found them living in squalid conditions, including a bathroom completely covered in feces

Ina Rogers, 30, and Jonathan Allen, 29, have been charged with neglect and torture after police removed 10 children from their squalid home in Fairfield, California 

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#4 Senate intelligence committee sets key vote on CIA director nominee Gina Haspel

CIA nominee Gina Haspel is expected to be confirmed by the full Senate after two key Democrats announced their support of her historic nomination.


CIA director nominee Gina Haspel, who would be the first woman to lead the spy agency, is expected to pass a key committee vote that a congressional source told Reuters is now set for Wednesday.

The U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee will reportedly hold the vote behind closed doors, which is its traditional procedure. If approved by the committee, Haspel's nomination would head to the Senate, which is expected to narrowly confirm her appointment.

A second Democrat on Saturday said he would vote in favor of Haspel, even as Republican Sens. John McCain and Rand Paul have signaled they will buck President Trump and oppose her historic nomination.

Republicans hold a slim 51-49 majority in the Senate, with Vice President Pence able to break any tie vote. The Democratic support gives Haspel's contentious nomination some much-needed breathing room.

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#5 Populist Cleric Moqtada al-Sadr Likely To Win Iraq’s Parliamentary Election

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Populist cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, a long-time adversary of the United States, has all but won Iraq’s parliamentary election, the electoral commission said, in a surprise turn of fortune for the Shi’ite leader.

In the first election since Islamic State was defeated in the country, Iran-backed Shi’ite militia chief Hadi al-Amiri’s bloc was in second place, while Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, once seen as the front-runner, trailed in third.

The preliminary results were based on a count of more than 91 percent of the votes cast in 16 of Iraq’s 18 provinces. 

Sadr’s bloc did not run in the remaining two provinces, Kurdish Dohuk and the ethnically-mixed oil province of Kirkuk. The results there, which may be delayed due to tensions between local parties, will not affect Sadr’s standing.

Unlike Abadi, a rare ally of both the United States and Iran, Sadr is an opponent of both countries, which have wielded influence in Iraq since a U.S.-led invasion toppled Sunni dictator Saddam Hussein in 2003 and thrust the Shi’ite majority into power.

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#6 U.S. Embassy Move, Bloodshed Add to Friction Between U.S. and Allies

WASHINGTON—Washington’s allies in Europe and the Middle East criticized the U.S. for opening a new embassy in Jerusalem on Monday and called on Israel to restrain its forces after dozens of Palestinian protesters were killed in clashes.

The episode marked the latest point of discord to emerge between the U.S. and many of its major partners after Washington withdrew from the nuclear deal with Iran last week.


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#7 $1 million mystery gift to inauguration traced to conservative legal activists

© Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/TNS
Chief Justice of the United States John G. Roberts, Jr. administers the oath of office to President Donald Trump during the 58th Presidential Inauguration on Jan. 20, 2017 in Washington, D.C.

WASHINGTON - One of the largest contributions to President Donald Trump's inaugural committee in 2016 appears to have been orchestrated by a set of powerful conservative legal activists who have since been put in the driver's seat of the administration's push to select and nominate federal judges.

The $1 million inaugural gift came from a Northern Virginia company called BH Group LLC. Unlike other generous corporate inaugural donors, like Bank of America and Dow Chemical, though, BH Group was a cipher, and likely was set up solely to prevent disclosure of the actual donor's name.

Almost nothing is known about the company, including who runs it or its reason for being beyond writing a seven-figure check on Dec. 22, 2016, almost a month before Trump was sworn in.

While the source of the money used to make the gift was masked from the public, a trail of clues puts the contribution at the doorstep of some of the same actors - most notably Leonard Leo, an executive vice president at the conservative Federalist Society - who have helped promote Trump's mission, and that of his White House counsel, Don McGahn, to fill judicial vacancies as quickly as he can with staunchly conservative, preferably young jurists.

Set up four months to the day before it made the donation, BH Group's address, as given in its Virginia incorporation papers, is a virtual office in Arlington; the only person identified on the filing is a Donna Smith.

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#8 Sichuan Airlines pilot was ‘sucked halfway’ out of window, captain says

© REUTERS/Stringer
Workers inspect a Sichuan Airlines aircraft that made an emergency landing after a windshield on the cockpit broke off, at an airport in Chengdu

The co-pilot of a Sichuan Airlines flight that was forced to make an emergency landing on Monday was "sucked halfway" out of the plane after a cockpit windshield blew out, local media reported citing the aircraft's captain.

Captain Liu Chuanjian, hailed as a hero on social media after having to land the Airbus A319 manually, told the Chengdu Economic Daily his aircraft had just reached a cruising altitude of 32,000 feet when a deafening sound tore through the cockpit.

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The cockpit experienced a sudden loss of pressure and drop in temperature and when he looked over, the cockpit's right windshield was gone.

"There was no warning sign. Suddenly, the windshield just cracked and made a loud bang. The next thing I know, my co-pilot had been sucked halfway out of the window," he was quoted as saying.

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#9 Jared Kushner Says Palestinian Protestors Are ‘Part of the Problem’

Jared Kushner told the crowd at the opening of the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem Monday that he was optimistic about the prospects for peace in the area, even as reports emerged that Israeli soldiers killed over 41 Palestinians at the Gaza border who were protesting the very event at which he was speaking.

“We believe it is possible for both sides to gain more than they give so that all people can live in peace, safe from danger, free from fear, and able to pursue their dreams,” Kushner told the crowd. Kushner, the President’s son-in-law and senior adviser, has been tasked with overseeing Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts.

But Kushner’s comments — a rarity in themselves, given his infrequent public appearances — came shortly after violence erupted at the Israel-Gaza border. Israeli soldiers shot and killed at least 41 Palestinians protesting the Trump administration’s decision to move the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Israel, according to the Associated Press. The Israeli military said on Twitter that thousands of protestors were “hurling firebombs & explosive devices, burning tires, throwing rocks, & attempting to ignite fires in Israeli territory.” According to the AP, at least 772 protestors were wounded, with at least 86 in critical condition, marking the deadliest day in Gaza since the last major fighting nearly four years ago.

Kushner did address the violence at the border, saying the protestors were “part of the problem.”

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#10 Trump’s visa changes are clawing a famous crab town. And they voted for him.

© Provided by NBCU News Group, a division of NBCUniversal Media LLC
Banner Year Forecast For Lower Chesapeake Blue CrabsWaterman Monroe Dorsey releases undersized blue crabs from their commercial boat near Hooper Island, Marylond, on June 8, 2016.

HOOPERS ISLAND, Maryland — This community voted overwhelmingly for Donald Trump. But now his immigration restrictions are killing their livelihood — legendary crabs that are a mainstay of the local economy and a regional delicacy.

For decades, Hoopers Island, known for its crabbing industry, has relied on a federal seasonal work program — known as H-2B visas — to keep its businesses humming. This has allowed employers to hire foreigners, mostly Mexican women, to come temporarily to pick crab meat.

But this year, the Trump administration's cap on H-2B visas — and a shift from a first-come, first-served based model to a lottery system that has disadvantaged Hoopers Island seasonal workers — has left the island without 40 percent of the visas they have needed in the past.

"Right now, we're shut down," said Morgan Tolley, manager of A.E. Phillips and Sons Seafood. "We're in self preservation mode."

Just two miles away, in what should be the start to the peak season, Harry Phillips, the owner of Russell Hall Seafood, stands in an empty picking room once filled with the women he's had working for him for over 25 years.

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