Tag Archives: crisis

Measles Crisis: Judge Dismisses Parents’ Suit Against NYC

Measles Crisis: Judge Dismisses Parents’ Suit Against NYCPhoto Illustration by Elizabeth Brockway/The Daily Beast/GettyA New York judge on Thursday dismissed a lawsuit brought against the city’s Department of Health by five parents who refuse to vaccinate their children.The dismissal shores up an emergency order declaring the city’s measles outbreak a public health emergency. In addition to mandating the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine for children in zip codes affected by the crisis, it threatened parents with fines of up to $ 1,000.There have been 329 confirmed cases of the viral illness, mostly among observant Jews in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn. “The unvarnished truth is that these diagnoses represent the most significant spike in incidences of measles in the United States in many years and that the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn is at its epicenter,” Kings County Supreme Court justice Lawrence Knipel wrote.Knipel debunked the parents’ arguments, concluding that their medical objections to vaccines ran counter to scientific evidence; their religious objections weren’t supported by doctrine, and were only relevant to school admissions; and their moral objections, such as their insistence on informed consent for vaccines, were misplaced.“A fireman need not obtain the informed consent of the owner before extinguishing a house fire,” he wrote. “Vaccination is known to extinguish the fire of contagion.”Jay Begun, founder of Kindercare Pediatrics in Williamsburg and an instructor in the Department of Pediatrics at Mount Sinai, said the dismissal was a victory for the community.“Now more people will be encouraged to immunize their children, and it will create a safer environment for everyone,” he said. “This proves that the greater good trumps the marginal opinions of a small segment of the population.”But, he added, when it comes to enforcing the order, “the less punitive the better and the more educational the better.”One Hasidic father, who asked that his name not be shared in order to protect his privacy, felt that the dismissal was a step toward safety for his community.“It is still scary to go out with the kids in Williamsburg, but hopefully this will help turn around the situation,” he said.Robert Krakow, the parents’ attorney and a frequent representative of parents who claim their children were injured by vaccines, said he wasn’t particularly surprised by the judge’s decision.Krakow claimed that a new version of the order presented during the hearing said the city could fine parents per day, as opposed to only once, for refusing to vaccinate their children.“Wouldn’t you expect, when the city handed over the order and said the criminal provisions are removed, that they would also highlight any significant changes?” he said. “I didn’t hear them say anything about fines per day. Let’s just say we’re investigating it.”The decision came on the same day that the Health Department announced it had issued summonses to three parents for not vaccinating their children. The department also shut down four yeshivas for not complying with its order that unvaccinated students be forbidden from attending. A daycare that was shut down earlier this week, United Talmudical Academy, reopened today under close supervision by the Health Department.Read more at The Daily Beast.



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U.S. House Democrats blame Trump for worsening border crisis

U.S. House Democrats blame Trump for worsening border crisisHouse Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Thursday that bipartisan immigration reform, which has eluded Congress and the White House for years, is still the solution. It is in fact “inevitable,” Pelosi said on the sidelines of a Democratic party meeting in Leesburg, Virginia. In Washington, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican, also called for bipartisan discussions on immigration.



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Trump Taps New Mr. Fix-It for Border Crisis

Trump Taps New Mr. Fix-It for Border CrisisPhoto Illustration by The Daily Beast/GettyHomeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen resigned from her position on Sunday evening, after serving 16 turbulent months as the nation’s top national security official and the president's punching bag on border security.Nielsen’s immediate departure comes only two days after President Donald Trump announced that he was withdrawing the nomination of Ronald D. Vitiello to head U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Homeland Security agency tasked with enforcing Trump’s border policy, in favor of a “tougher” nominee who has yet to be named.Trump lambasted the current enforcement of American immigration laws for years, and as the nation’s top immigration and national security official, those laws and their implementation fell under Nielsen’s purview.In a tweet, President Trump said Nielsen “will be leaving her position,” and announced that Kevin McAleenan, the current U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner, will become acting secretary as he searches for a permanent replacement.In her resignation letter, Nielsen appeared to lay partial blame on Congress for failing to provide the Department of Homeland Security with “all the tools and resources… to execute the mission.”“I hope that the next Secretary will have the support of Congress and the courts in fixing the laws which have impended our ability to fully secure America’s borders and which have contributed to discord in our nation’s discourse,” Nielsen wrote.Nielsen’s ouster comes amid a continuing—even continuous—shakeup in the Trump administration. The president cleaned house after the midterm elections, ditching former Attorney General Jeff Sessions and other officials he viewed as disloyal or unwilling to cooperate on strategy.Officials inside the Department of Homeland Security told The Daily Beast that they have speculated Nielsen would be out of a job sometime after the midterms. Nielsen, Trump and National Security Adviser John Bolton have often quarreled about the department’s strategy on immigration, officials said, and Nielsen is regularly chastised for not taking a tough enough stance on border security.One former department official told The Daily Beast that Trump’s decision to replace Nielsen with the head of U.S. Customs and Border Protection was indicative of the president’s superficial understanding of immigration and national security policy.“Just because there’s a new man at the helm of DHS, the border crisis will be fixed?! Ha!” the official said in a text. “They think just because he’s former CBP, and he understands the border, he’ll fix it? I don’t think so.”Plus, the official added, “getting a man is so stereotypical!”Nielsen was one of three women in Trump’s cabinet.Internally, staffers and officials said Nielsen was viewed by some as too loyal to the president, often catering to his demands despite the legal implications. Officials said Nielsen’s public rhetoric on immigration and asylum is crafted specifically to cater to President Trump.The general focus of the department has changed drastically under Nielsen’s leadership, too, officials said. Over the past year, most of the department’s high-level briefings and meetings have centered around threats by foreign actors, particularly those from South America. At the same time, the department has drawn back from looking at threats posed by people living in the U.S. who have the potential to carry out mass casualty attacks, the officials said.Even after shootings in Pittsburgh and California, the department continued to focus more of its attention on border security and migrant caravans, DHS staffers told The Daily Beast.In news briefings compiled for the secretary and her senior staff over a three-week period obtained by The Daily Beast, the secretary was shown to have overwhelmingly received news updates on migrant caravans and Trump’s remarks on immigration enforcement, despite two mass shootings and security concerns about midterm elections at the time.The top of the press packet compiled and distributed on November 9, 2018, the day after the shooting in Thousand Oaks, reads: “Administration Moves To Require Asylum Seekers To Go To Designated Ports Of Entry.” Under that section, the briefing quotes and bolds a Breitbart headline: “Fewer than 10 percent of Central American Migrants Arriving At Border Have Legitimate Asylum Claim.”Out of about 19 pages of  quoted media text, one and a half focused on the California shooting, three and a half on border security and immigration and six on the Mueller investigation. The rest of the pages touched on news about cybersecurity, terrorism investigations and other DHS-related topics.Despite that near-myopic focus on immigration, the president has reportedly been frustrated with Nielsen’s enforcement of some of his more controversial border policies for some time, most notably the chaotic implementation and eventual reversal of its family separation policy in late spring. At the time, Nielsen told reporters that the policy didn’t even exist—“period”—even as the government held hundreds of undocumented minor children who had forcibly been taken from their parents.Nielsen was reportedly berated by President Trump in a Cabinet meeting in May 2018 over his perception that she was not doing enough to keep the southern border secure. The verbal flogging, detailed by The New York Times, prompted Nielsen to draft a resignation letter which she ultimately decided not to deliver.Both the Department of Homeland Security and Nielsen herself denied she planned to step aside at the time.For months, Nielsen soldiered on, testifying to the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, where she defended the administration's new, controversial policy of separating children from their parents if they cross the border illegally, even if they are claiming asylum. Trump, according to the Times report, had suspected Nielsen along  was privately resisting his order to implement this policy as a deterrent. “Our policy is if you break the law, we will prosecute you,” Nielsen said. “You have an option to go to a port of entry and not illegally cross into our country.”As she left the hearing, she answered a reporter’s question as to her future. “I have not resigned, I didn’t threaten to resign,” she said, according to Politico. Nielsen, a cybersecurity expert who previously worked in the George W. Bush administration, is a protégée of Gen. John F. Kelly, whom she replaced at the top of Homeland Security in early December. Read more at The Daily Beast.Got a tip? Send it to The Daily Beast here



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Libya fighting could trigger new refugee crisis, says EU, amid fears of civil war

Libya fighting could trigger new refugee crisis, says EU, amid fears of civil warForces loyal to Libya’s beleaguered UN-backed government carried out airstrikes on Saturday to try to stop rebel troops advancing on Tripoli, raising fears the country may be heading back to full-blown civil war.  As the army of Khalifa Haftar, a military strongman in control of eastern Libya, claimed to have seized control of Tripoli's airport, EU officials warned that instability could trigger a fresh flow of migrants and refugees heading towards Europe.  A meeting of G7 foreign ministers called on Gen Haftar to halt his offensive and even his traditional supporters Russia and Egypt expressed concern that his sudden advance would plunge Libya into chaos.  The 75-year-old general’s advance on Tripoli appears to be a power play designed to strengthen his negotiating position ahead of a UN-brokered conference on Libya’s future scheduled for later this month.  Since the fall of Gaddafi in 2011, the country has been fractured and its government divided. A UN-backed government controls Tripoli with the support of several militias from western Libya while Gen Haftar is in charge of most of the east.  Territorial control in Libya The UN hoped that the conference would pave the way for national elections but Gen Haftar decided to use military force against his western rivals.   “Haftar felt that Tripoli players had not submitted enough to him ahead of the national conference," said Jalel Harchaoui, research fellow at the Clingendael Institute. "So he chose military force to change the facts on the ground.” The UN’s envoy for Libya, Ghassan Salame, said he hoped the conference would still go ahead as planned.  Gen Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA) said Saturday they had seized control of Tripoli’s main airport, which has not been functional since large parts of it were destroyed in fighting in 2014.   Militia forces supporting the government carried out at least one airstrike south of Tripoli against his troops. No casualties were reported. The LNA said it would shoot down any aircraft over western Libya and target the airfields from which they took off.  Up to 1 million refugees and migrants are estimated to be in Libya, many being held in horrific conditions in militia-run detention centres. The EU has supported Libyan militia coastguards to stop migrants crossing the Mediterranean towards Europe.  The U.N. Envoy for Libya, Ghassan Salame, speaks during a news conference in Tripoli, Libya April 6, 2019.  Credit: REUTERS/Hani Amara Antonio Tajani, president of the European parliament, warned that fighting in Libya would “risk generating a new migratory crisis, with increased flows heading mainly towards Italy and other Mediterranean countries”. He called on the EU to “intervene immediately” to prevent a chaotic escalation.  The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) also raised concerns about the fate of migrants being held in detention centres if fullscale fighting broke out around them. “The safety of migrants in detention is especially concerning should there be an escalation in military action,” the IOM said.  G7 foreign ministers meeting in France called on Gen Haftar to “halt all military activity and movements towards Tripoli”. Jean-Yves Le Drian, the French foreign minister, said: ”There is a fundamental principle in Libya. There will be no military victory. The solution can only be a political solution.” The foreign ministers of Russia and Egypt, which have both backed the military strongman, met in Cairo on Saturday and also said there needed to be a political solution in Libya.  However, Russia also warned against efforts to blame Gen Haftar for the insecurity in the country.  While Gen Haftar’s troops have advanced rapidly over 48 hours, it is not clear they have the strength to defeat the coalition of militias supporting the government and seize control of Tripoli.  Nearly 150 of his soldiers and dozens of vehicles were captured by pro-government forces on Friday as they tried to join the offensive towards Tripoli.



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Joe Biden Is Facing a Political Crisis — And He's Not Even Running (Yet)

Joe Biden Is Facing a Political Crisis — And He's Not Even Running (Yet)As women claim Joe Biden touched them in inappropriate ways, questions about gender will linger ahead of his potential 2020 race.



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Joe Biden's presidential hopes face crisis as second accuser details unwanted touching

Joe Biden's presidential hopes face crisis as second accuser details unwanted touchingJoe Biden is facing the first major crisis of an as-yet-unannounced presidential bid after a second woman accused him of unwanted touching and Democrats debated if the claims should disqualify him. The former US vice president was said to have pulled a woman’s head towards him to “rub noses” at a political event – an allegation that emerged just days after a similar claim became public.  Amy Lappos, the former congressional aide who made the accusation, said the behaviour was not “sexual” but it was inappropriate and called on Mr Biden not to seek the White House.  The developments have put Mr Biden’s conduct around some women, which supporters describe as affectionate but critics call “handsy”, in the spotlight and raised questions about his presidential hopes.  Mr Biden comfortably tops polls for who should win the Democratic Party’s 2020 presidential nomination to take on Donald Trump, though the vote is still 20 months away.   Amy Lappos, central in black and white top, and Joe Biden, left, at an event in October 2009 Credit: Courtesy of Amy Lappos However unlike more than a dozen rival candidates, Mr Biden has waited before jumping into the ring – though an announcement is widely expected and could come within weeks.  Nancy Pelosi, the most senior Democrat in the House of Representatives, treadled a careful line on Tuesday when addressing the claims, aware of the political implications of her reaction.  She said the claims should not “disqualify” Mr Biden from running for office but urged him to reconsider his behaviour in the future.  “I’ve known Joe Biden a long time. My grandchildren love Joe Biden. I mean he’s an affectionate person, to children, to senior citizens, to everyone. That’s just the way he is,” Ms Pelosi said.  However she urged him to join the “straight arm club” by meeting people with a handshake.  “He has to understand in the world that we’re in now that people’s space is important to them. And what’s important is how they receive it, not necessarily how you intended it," she said.  Lucy Flores said that Joe Biden had acted inappropriately at a political event in 2014 Credit: AP Photo/John Locher Democratic 2020 candidates also offered nuanced responses to the allegations, stating that they believed the women but stopping short of calling for Mr Biden not to launch a bid.  Sen. Kamala Harris of California said she believed his accusers but that it's up to Mr Biden to decide whether to run. Over the weekend, presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren said Mr Biden "needs to give an answer" about what occurred. Another 2020 hopeful, Kirsten Gillibrand, said: "If Vice President Biden becomes a candidate, this is a topic he'll have to engage on further." Ms Lappos’s account emerged on Monday after she posted about her experience online and later gave an interview to the Connecticut newspaper The Hartford Courant.  The incident occurred at a 2009 political fundraiser Greenwich, Connecticut, when Mr Biden was vice president and Ms Lappos was an aide to congressman Jim Himes.  She told the paper: "It wasn't sexual, but he did grab me by the head. He put his hand around my neck and pulled me in to rub noses with me. When he was pulling me in, I thought he was going to kiss me on the mouth.” She added: “There's absolutely a line of decency. There's a line of respect. Crossing that line is not grandfatherly. It's not cultural. It's not affection. It's sexism or misogyny." Joe Biden's talks to customers during a stop at Cruisers Diner in Seaman, Ohio, in 2012 Credit: AP A few days before the claim emerged, another woman, Lucy Flores, said Mr Biden had once put his hands on her shoulders, smelt her hair and kissed the back of her head at a political event.  “Yes, of course, I want him to change his behavior. And I want him to acknowledge it was wrong,” Ms Flores said in an interview about the incident, which happened in 2014 when she was running as a Democrat to be Nevada lieutenant governor.  The claims have led to days of debate on cable news channels about Mr Biden’s behaviour in light of the MeToo movement, which triggered a watershed moment in the discussion about sexual harassment. In a lengthy statement issued after the first accusation and reportedly shared when approached about the second, Mr Biden denied acting inappropriately.  Part of the statement read: "In my many years on the campaign trail and in public life, I have offered countless handshakes, hugs, expressions of affection, support and comfort. And not once – never – did I believe I acted inappropriately. If it is suggested I did so, I will listen respectfully. But it was never my intention. “I may not recall these moments the same way, and I may be surprised at what I hear. But we have arrived at an important time when women feel they can and should relate their experiences, and men should pay attention. And I will.” Donald Trump took a shot  Mr Biden on Tuesday, mocking him over the allegations. Former Defence Secretary Ashton Carter makes remarks as his wife Stephanie listens with  Joe Biden Credit: Getty In a speech to a fundraising dinner for the National Republican Congressional Committee, the US president twice alluded to the claims. Mr Trump told the dinner, which raised $ 23 million for Republicans running for the House of Representatives, a story about wanting to kiss a general he met in Iraq who had promised an expedient end to a campaign against Islamic State militants in Syria. "I said, 'General: come here and give me a kiss.' I felt like Joe Biden," Mr Trump said, drawing laughter and applause. Earlier, he told the crowd – which was dotted with members of the House – that they would be "going into the war with some socialists" in the next election. "It looks like the only non-, sort of, heavy socialist is being taken care of pretty well by the socialists," Mr Trump said. The President, who  has denied multiple accusations of sexual misconduct on his part, said: "Welcome to the world, Joe. You having a good time, Joe?"



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Trump aides repeat threat to shut down U.S.-Mexico border on migrant crisis

Trump aides repeat threat to shut down U.S.-Mexico border on migrant crisisThe Trump administration on Sunday doubled down on its threat to shut down the southern border with Mexico, a day after it cut aid to Central American countries which President Donald Trump blasted for deliberately sending migrants to the United States. Faced with a surge of asylum seekers from Central American countries who travel through Mexico, Trump said on Friday there was a “good likelihood” he would close the border this coming week if Mexico does not stop unauthorized immigrants from reaching the United States.



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Trump aides repeat threat to shut down U.S.-Mexico border on migrant crisis

Trump aides repeat threat to shut down U.S.-Mexico border on migrant crisisFaced with a surge of asylum seekers from Central American countries who travel through Mexico, Trump said on Friday there was a “good likelihood” he would close the border this coming week if Mexico does not stop unauthorized immigrants from reaching the United States. Speaking to ABC’s “This Week” show, White House acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney said the president had few other options in the absence of any support from Democrats for more border security or legislative action to change the immigration law. If closing the ports of entry means that, that’s exactly what he intends to do,” Mulvaney said.



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Pompeo blames Russia, Cuba for Venezuelan crisis

Pompeo blames Russia, Cuba for Venezuelan crisis“This story is not complete without acknowledging the central role Cuba and Russia have played and continue to play in undermining the democratic dreams of the Venezuelan people and their welfare,” Pompeo told reporters. “Moscow, like Havana, continues to provide political cover to the Maduro regime, while pressuring countries to disregard the democratic legitimacy of the interim president Guaido,” he added. The Trump administration has taken several steps in recent weeks to ratchet up pressure on Maduro and bolster Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido, recognized by the United States and more than 50 other countries as interim president.



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What the India-Pakistan Crisis Taught China

What the India-Pakistan Crisis Taught ChinaBeijing also shares a disputed border with New Delhi.



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