More Sanctions as Trump Shows Military Restraint on Iran

U.S. President Donald Trump announced new sanctions Friday on Iran’s central bank, calling them the most severe sanctions ever imposed on a country. But it appears that he wants to avoid military action against Tehran, in response to recent cruise missile and drone strikes against Saudi Arabia’s oil facilities. White House Correspondent Patsy Widakuswara has this story.
 

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Will US Republicans Feel the Heat from Climate Change?

Francis Rooney is a Republican congressman from a conservative Florida district who opposes federal funding for abortions and supports President Donald Trump’s plans for construction of a wall along the Mexican border.But he also recently co-sponsored a carbon pricing bill and is one of a handful of lawmakers from his side of the aisle who have bucked orthodoxy and acknowledged human beings are responsible for global warming.The modern Republican Party is one of the few political forces in the world whose leadership denies manmade climate change, but there are now small yet perceptible signs of changes within its ranks, driven by an increase in extreme weather events and shifting public opinion.FILE – House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., second from left, poses during a ceremonial swearing-in with Rep. Francis Rooney, R-Fla., right, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Jan. 3, 2019.“Seventy-one percent of the people in my district say that climate change is real. We’re scared of sea-level rise and we want the government to do something about it,” Rooney, citing recent polling, said at a talk this week organized by the World Resources Institute.In late July, he along with Democrat Dan Lipinksi of Illinois introduced a new bill aimed at setting a price on carbon emissions, one of several similar proposed laws currently before the House of Representatives.Extreme weatherFor now, the legislation has no hope of passing: fellow Republicans are highly unlikely to take it up in the Senate, and even if it did clear the upper house, Trump would almost certainly exercise his veto. But the bills “indicate that Republicans and Democrats are beginning to agree that a price on carbon is the most efficient way to reduce America’s emissions,” the Citizens’ Climate Lobby wrote in a blog post on the subject.FILE – A man hangs his clothes after washing them at the Mudd neighborhood, devastated after Hurricane Dorian hit the Abaco Islands in Marsh Harbor, Bahamas, Sept. 6, 2019.“Republicans are getting very nervous about their lack of any serious policy on climate change, because climate change is beginning to have huge costs to average everyday Americans,” Paul Bledsoe, a former staffer for ex-president Bill Clinton and lecturer at American University, told AFP.  There is a broad scientific consensus that warmer oceans are supercharging hurricanes, making Category 4 and 5 storms more common. New research suggests that warming may also be affecting global atmospheric currents, thus increasing the frequency of ultra slow-crawling hurricanes like last month’s Dorian and 2017’s Harvey.Rooney and Representative Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania, who also supports a carbon tax, are the two most outspoken Republican lawmakers on climate change, but in recent months others have begun talking about the need to reduce emissions.These include Senator John Barasso from deep red Wyoming, who earlier this year introduced a bill to expand nuclear power, in part citing the need to address climate change, and a handful of others including Alaska’s Lisa Murkowski and John Cornyn of Texas who have made similar calls to expand renewables.But if the majority of the party of Lincoln remains ostensibly skeptical of the science surrounding climate change, it was not ever thus.FILE – The coal-fired Plant Scherer in Juliette, Ga., June 3, 2017. The Trump administration is doing away with a decades-old air emissions policy opposed by fossil fuel companies, a move that environmental groups say will result in more pollution.Rightward lurchKarolyn Bowman, a senior fellow at the conservative-leaning American Enterprise Institute told AFP that when Americans first became conscious of it in the late 1960s, environmentalism was a non-partisan cause — indeed, it was under President Richard Nixon that the Environmental Protection Agency was created. The practice of imposing taxes to reduce emissions was later used to great effect by former president George H.W. Bush, who in 1990 signed an amendment to the Clean Air Act that placed a price on sulfur dioxide to address the then-serious problem of acid rain, a wildly successful policy.But Republicans then assumed a harder tack driven by lobbying from special interest groups funded by the likes of the Koch brothers, along with the emergence of an anti-taxation wing under the Republican Congress of the 1990s and the Tea Party movement of the late 2000s.The question of what happens next is up for debate. A Trump victory in 2020 would put to rest any chance of a serious climate policy becoming law in the U.S., according to Bledsoe, even if younger Republicans are starting to care more about the issue.But David Karol, the author of “Red, Green and Blue: The Partisan Divide on Environmental Issues,” said the emergence in Congress of the bipartisan “Climate Solutions Caucus” in 2016 was an interesting development, even if some environmentalists have deemed it a way for Republican legislators to “check a box and claim to care.”“Even if that’s true, the fact that the GOP politicians felt a need to do this says something about where they think public opinion is,” Karol said.
 

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US Marines Charged in Connection With Human Smuggling Ring

Thirteen U.S. Marines arrested in July in connection with an alleged human smuggling operation in Southern California are now facing formal charges from the military.The charges range from failure to obey an order to drunkenness and theft, and include the alleged transportation of undocumented immigrants, according to a statement from the 1st Marine Division.Two of the Marines, Lance Corporal Byron Law II and Lance Corporal David Salazar-Quintero, were arrested on July 3 after border patrol agents found them picking up three illegal aliens along a stretch of Interstate 8, about 11 kilometers (7 miles) north of the U.S. border with Mexico.According to court documents, Law and Salazar-Quintero admitted to having been in contact with a recruiter, who offered to pay them for transporting the illegal immigrants from the interstate to other locations.Law told authorities he and Salazar-Quintero were never paid for the interaction, according to the complaint.A third Marine was arrested by U.S. Border Patrol a week later, on July 10.The other 10 were taken into custody during what some officials described as a sting operation July 25 at Camp Pendleton, a Marine Corps base located about 79 kilometers (49 miles) north of San Diego.In a statement following the mass arrests, the Marine Corps’ 1st Division said the regiment’s commanding officer “will act within his authority to hold the Marines accountable at the appropriate level, should they be charged.”In addition to the Marine Corps and U.S. Border Patrol, officials with the Naval Criminal Investigative Service also aided in the initial investigation.According to the Marine Corps, none of the Marines detained as part of the investigation were assigned to the U.S. military operation to support efforts to secure the U.S. southern border with Mexico.

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Bus With Chinese-Speaking Tourists Crashes in Utah; 4 Dead 

A bus carrying Chinese-speaking tourists crashed near a national park in southern Utah, killing at least four people and critically injuring up to 15 others, authorities said Friday. 
 
The morning wreck near Bryce Canyon National Park left 12 to 15 people with “very critical injuries,” the Utah Highway Patrol said on Twitter. 
 
Highway Patrol Cpl. Chris Bishop told The Associated Press that he expected the number of injured to be higher. 
 
The tour bus with 30 people aboard crashed near a highway rest stop about 7 miles (11 kilometers) from the park entrance. It’s not yet clear what caused the crash. 
 
Highway Patrol photos show the top of a white bus smashed in and one side peeling away as the vehicle rests mostly off the side of a road near a sign for restrooms. Authorities were tending to people on the road, and others stood around covered in shiny blankets, the photos show. 
 
Bishop said injured victims were sent to three hospitals. One of them, Intermountain Garfield Memorial Hospital, said it received 17 patients. 
 
A spokesman for the small hospital in the tiny town of Panguitch tweeted that three people were in critical condition, 11 in serious condition and three in fair condition. Lance Madigan said Intermountain had sent two helicopters and two planes to help transport victims. 
 
Patients also were being taken to Cedar City and St. George, Bishop said. 
 
Bryce Canyon has the world’s largest concentration of irregular columns of rock, called hoodoos, according to the National Park Service website. The park, about 300 miles (480 kilometers) south of Salt Lake City, draws more than 2 million visitors a year.   

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23 States Sue Trump to Keep California’s Auto Emission Rules

California sued Friday to stop the Trump administration from revoking its authority to set greenhouse gas emission and fuel economy standards for cars and trucks, enlisting help from 22 other states in a battle that will shape a key component of the nation’s climate policy.Federal law sets standards for how much pollution can come from cars and trucks. But since the 1970s, California has been permitted to set tougher rules because it has the most cars and struggles to meet air quality standards. On Thursday, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration withdrew California’s waiver.The NHTSA action does not take effect for 60 days, but state leaders did not wait to file a lawsuit. Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom, who has clashed with President Donald Trump on several fronts, vowed the state “will hold the line in court to defend our children’s health, save consumers money at the pump and protect our environment.”The Trump administration’s decision does not just affect California. Thirteen other states, plus the District of Columbia, have adopted California’s standards.A spokesman for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration declined to comment on the lawsuit. But Thursday, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao said the rules “were making cars more expensive and impeding safety because consumers were being priced out of newer, safer vehicles.””We will not let political agendas in a single state be forced upon the other 49,” Chao said.The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said its authority to set nationwide fuel economy standards pre-empts state and local programs.California Attorney General Xavier Becerra cited a 2007 U.S. Supreme Court decision that rejected the NHTSA’s argument that greenhouse gas emission standards under the Clean Air Act interfered with its ability to set fuel economy standards.”The Oval Office is really not a place for on-the-job training. President Trump should have at least read the instruction manual he inherited when he assumed the Presidency, in particular the chapter on respecting the Rule of Law,” Becerra said in a statement.Federal regulators said the regulation would not impact California’s programs to address “harmful smog-forming vehicle emissions.”Joining California in the lawsuit are attorneys general from Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin.The cities of New York and Los Angeles and the District of Columbia also joined the lawsuit.The lawsuit highlighted a day of climate-related action by California leaders, which included an executive order from Newsom directing state transportation officials to consider climate goals in their planning and direct money where possible to programs that will reduce reliance on cars.Newsom’s order, issued Friday morning, also calls on pension funds for state employees and teachers to consider climate risk when making its investments. The pension fund already considers climate risk and the University of California has said it will divest its endowment and pension funds from fossil fuels.Alex Jackson of the National Resources Defense Council called the order welcome but said he’d like to see more action instead of goal-setting.

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Revelers Reach Gates of Area 51 Then Peacefully Rejoin Party

Hundreds of curious Earthlings from around the world traveled to the secret Area 51 military base in the Nevada desert after seeing an internet hoax dubbed “Storm Area 51.”About 100 made it all the way to the gates of the remote site that has long been the focus of UFO conspiracy theories.
 
A Canadian was cited for indecent exposure, but nobody broke down the gates in search of three-eyed aliens and no UFOs appeared in the sky.Police officers guard an entrance to the Nevada Test and Training Range near Area 51 near Rachel, Nevada, Sept. 20, 2019.It wasn’t long before the revelers peacefully rejoined 2,000 other people at alien-themed festivals in the tiny towns of Rachel and Hiko.As he walked away from one of the gates, 25-year-old Cyril Soudant of Lille, France, said he was disappointed at how few people were at the event.
 
He took video for his YouTube channel and said he would wait until Friday night to make his final assessment on the experience.”If we get together, have some music, have some beers, that would be a success,” Soudant said.  
 
Among the revelers was Jade Gore, who quit her job at a Dairy Queen in Worthington, Minnesota, and drove to Nevada with Tracy Ferguson. They wrote “Area 51 bound” and “Comin 4 Dem Alien Cheeks” in green paint on the windows of their car.”People were taking pictures and laughing the whole way,” said Gore, 19, who sported dyed green hair and eyebrows.  
 
Ferguson, a truck driver, said they decided to make the trip after seeing the social media post in June calling for people to converge on the remote U.S. Air Force test site.”It started as a joke and now people are getting to know each other,” said Ferguson, 23, of Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
 
Authorities expected more people to arrive throughout the day for the festivals offering music and other alien-related activities.
 
They were sternly discouraged by the military and other law enforcement from acting on the internet hoax that joking said, “They can’t stop all of us. Let’s see them aliens.”People holds signs at an entrance to the Nevada Test and Training Range near Area 51 near Rachel, Nevada, Sept. 20, 2019.A music group called Wily Savage erected a stage Thursday near the Little A’Le’Inn in Rachel and began playing after dark for several hundred campers who braved temperatures that dropped to about 45 degrees (7 Celsius).”It started as a joke, but it’s not a joke for us,” Wily Savage guitarist Alon Burton said. “We know people will come out. We just don’t know how many.”Daniel Martinez, 31, a dealer of Pokemon collectible cards from Pomona, California, was among the first to whirl and dance at the dusty makeshift festival grounds. He stayed warm beneath a wolf “spirit hood” and faux fur jacket.”Here’s a big open space for people to be,” he said. “One person starts something and it infects everybody with positivity. Anything can happen if you give people a place to be.”Another gathering was planned Friday and Saturday at the Alien Research Center souvenir store in Hiko. Owner George Harris said his “Alien Basecamp” would focus on music, movies and talks about extraterrestrial lore.Hiko and Rachel are a 45-minute drive apart on a state road dubbed Extraterrestrial Highway, and a two-hour drive from Las Vegas.Michael Ian Borer, a University of Nevada, Las Vegas, sociologist who researches pop culture and paranormal activity, called the festivities a blend of interest in aliens, the supernatural, government conspiracies and the desire to know what is unknown.”Area 51 is a place where normal, ordinary citizens can’t go. When you tell people they can’t do something, they just want to do it more,” Borer said.

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Trump Renews Threat to Dump IS Fighters at Europe’s Border

U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday renewed threats to dump captured Islamic State fighters on Europe’s doorstep if countries there continue to refuse to take back all their foreign fighters. 
 
Trump said he was continuing with plans to draw down forces in Syria, saying the U.S. had done the world a big favor by eliminating the terror group’s self-declared caliphate and that it was time for other countries to step up. 
 
“We’re asking them to take back these prisoners of war,” Trump told reporters during a meeting with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison in the Oval Office at the White House. 
 
“They’ve refused,” he added. “And at some point I’m going to have to say, ‘I’m sorry, but you’re either taking them back or we’re going to let them go at your border.’ ” 
 
This is not the first time Trump has chastised Washington’s European allies over the issue of IS foreign fighters. 
 
In February, after tweeting that the IS caliphate was “ready to fall,” the president took allies to task over their reluctance to repatriate the captured fighters:The United States is asking Britain, France, Germany and other European allies to take back over 800 ISIS fighters that we captured in Syria and put them on trial. The Caliphate is ready to fall. The alternative is not a good one in that we will be forced to release them……..— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 17, 2019According to the latest U.S. estimates, the coalition-backed Syrian Democratic Forces are still holding more than 2,000 foreign fighters in makeshift prisons in northeastern Syria, along with thousands other IS fighters from Syria and Iraq. 
 
U.S. and SDF officials have warned that attempted jailbreaks have become common, as many of the facilities, designed to serve as temporary prisons, have been pushed to their limits. 
 
“This is not sustainable,” Chris Maier, director of the Pentagon’s Defeat IS Task Force, told reporters Wednesday at the Pentagon. “There are not prisons controlled by forces in northeast Syria that can house 10,000 ISIS fighters.” 
But despite repeated calls by the U.S. and by the political wing of the SDF for countries to repatriate citizens and residents who left to fight for the terror group, the number of prisoners has remained fairly steady. 
 
“We ask for their countries to get them back. Nobody responds,” Sinam Mohammed, the U.S. representative of the Syrian Democratic Council (SDC), said last week. 
 Cuban facilitySome U.S. officials and lawmakers have floated the idea that some of the IS fighters could be moved to a facility like the one in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, built after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks to hold terrorists and fighters aligned with al-Qaida. 
 
But Trump on Friday rejected the idea. 
 
“The United States is not going to have thousands and thousands of people that we have captured stationed at Guantanamo Bay, held captive at Guantanamo Bay, for the next 50 years, and us spending billions and billions of dollars,” he said. 
 
“They can try them, do whatever they want,” the president said of the European countries. “If they don’t take them back, we’ll probably put them at the border and then they’ll have to capture them again.” 

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США посилили санкції проти Ірану через напад на нафтові об’єкти Саудівської Аравії

Сполучені Штати запровадили новий етап санкцій проти Ірану, в тому числі проти його центрального банку та фонду національного добробуту, у зв’язку з нападами на нафтову інфраструктуру Саудівської Аравії, в яких Ріяд та Вашингтон звинувачують Тегеран.

Президент США Дональд Трамп, розповідаючи про санкції журналістам 20 вересня, назвав їх «санкціями найвищого рівня, коли-небудь запровадженими проти будь-якої країни».

Згідно з повідомленням Казначейства США, санкції спрямовані на Центральний банк Ірану, Національний фонд розвитку Ірану, а також компанію Etemad Tejarate Pars, що базується в цій країні.

У Казначействі назвали установи, проти яких запровадили нові санкції, основними джерелами фінансування «маріонеток і терористичних відгалужень», до яких віднесли зокрема організацію «Корпус вартових ісламської революції», її військовий підрозділ «Кудс» та збройний рух «Хезболла», який діє в Лівані.

Читайте також: Помпео: США прагнуть «мирного вирішення» кризи з Іраном​

Казначейство застерегло інші країни від порушення накладених на Іран санкцій.

Причиною санкцій Вашингтона стали атаки безпілотників на нафтопереробні заводи концерну Saudi Aramco в Саудівській Аравії.

14 вересня безпілотники обстріляли два нафтопереробні заводи. Відповідальність взяли на себе єменські повстанці-хусити, пов’язані з Іраном. У Держдепартаменті США в нападі звинуватили Тегеран. Іран звинувачення відкидає.

Саудівська Аравія, яка вважається найбільшим експортером нафти в світі, удвічі знизила добовий видобуток. Ціни на сировину різко зросли. Вартість нафти марки Brent збільшилася майже на 14% – до 70 доларів за барель.

Президент США Дональд Трамп розпорядився при необхідності використовувати нафтові резерви країни для стабілізації ситуації.

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US, El Salvador to Sign Asylum Deal 

The United States planned to sign an agreement Friday to help make one of Central America’s most violent countries, El Salvador, a haven for migrants seeking asylum, according to a senior Trump administration official. 
 
The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan would sign a cooperative asylum agreement.'' 
 
Two other officials described the agreement as a first step in the governments' working together on asylum. Details of the agreement will be settled in the weeks ahead, they said. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity. 
 
The agreement could be struck despite the fact that many Salvadorans are fleeing their nation and seeking asylum in the United States. A Salvadoran delegation has been in the U.S. this week discussing the matter. FILE - Mexican officials and U.S. Border Patrol officers return a group of migrants to the Mexico side of the border as Mexican immigration officials check the list, in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, July 25, 2019.Remain-in-Mexico policy
 
The asylum agreement would be the latest effort by President Donald Trump's administration to force asylum-seekers in Central America to seek refuge outside the United States. Immigration officials also are forcing more than 42,000 people to remain in Mexico as their cases play out, and they have changed policy to deny asylum to anyone who transited through a third country en route to the southern border of the U.S. 
 
The agreement would be another step by the Trump administration aimed at stopping the flow of migrants into the United States. McAleenan also signed a  "safe third country" agreement with Guatemala, but officials in that country are still working out how it would be implemented. 
 
The arrangement with El Salvador was not described as a
safe third country” agreement, under which nations agree that their respective countries are safe enough and have robust enough asylum systems, so that if migrants transit through one of the countries they must remain there instead of moving on to another country. 
 
The U.S. officially has only one such agreement in place, with Canada, but has been working toward others in Honduras and agreed to the one in Guatemala that has not yet been implemented. 
 
The Trump administration this year threatened to withhold all federal assistance to three Central American countries unless they did more to stem the migrant flow. Congress resisted the move, as experts had said that the cuts would most likely only exacerbate the number of migrants seeking to make the hazardous journey to the U.S. because of a further lack of resources. 
 
In June, the State Department announced that the Trump administration was reversing some of the cuts but would not approve future aid to those nations. The State Department said then that $370 million from the 2018 budget would not be spent and instead would be moved to other projects. FILE – MS-13 gang members wait to be escorted upon arrival at the maximum-security jail in Zacatecoluca, El Salvador, Aug. 9, 2017.Dangerous placeGang-plagued El Salvador is among the world’s deadliest countries, with one of the highest homicide rates on the globe. 
 
According to a 2018 State Department report, human rights issues included allegations of “unlawful killings of suspected gang members and others by security forces; forced disappearances by military personnel; torture by security forces; harsh and life-threatening prison conditions; arbitrary arrest and detention; lack of government respect for judicial independence.” 
 
Many people who flee from El Salvador have said they and their families were threatened by gang members. Teenagers often are pressured to join gangs and have had their lives and their families threatened if they refuse. Some young women are forced to become the girlfriends of gang members, facing rape or murder if they refuse. 
 
The two main street gangs in El Salvador are MS-13 and the 18th Street gang, both of which trace their origins to Los Angeles, where many Salvadorans sought refuge during their country’s civil war. Gang members arrested for crimes in the U.S. were deported back to El Salvador, taking their knowledge of gang culture with them. Trump frequently seizes on MS-13, also known as Mara Salvatrucha, as a reason to tighten U.S. immigration policy. 

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New York Mayor de Blasio Drops 2020 Presidential Bid

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has ended his campaign for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.De Blasio struggled to gain traction in a sprawling field of Democrats seeking the presidency. He announced his decision in an MSNBC interview on Friday.De Blasio launched his bid in May, but his campaign largely failed to take off.De Blasio says he feels he’s contributed all he can “to this primary election.” He tells MSNBC’s Morning Joe show “it’s clearly not my time.”The mayor had announced his presidential run by heading to the Statue of Liberty, where he said the country is in an “identity crisis” around immigration, which he called “the founding and unifying element of the American experience.””We are figuring out who we are,” he said then. “There are American values we need to return to and fight for in order to achieve our greatest potential.”On his campaign’s first day, he dived into an insult match with President Donald Trump.
 
“He’s a con artist. I know his tricks. I know his playbook,” the mayor said.Trump tweeted that de Blasio was “considered the worst mayor in the U.S.”The Republican president said, “He is a JOKE, but if you like high taxes & crime, he’s your man. NYC HATES HIM!”When de Blasio took office in 2014, he seemed briefly poised to become a leading voice for an emerging left wing of the Democratic Party. His central message was fighting income inequality, a theme he hit in the video announcing his presidential candidacy.“There’s plenty of money in this world. There’s plenty of money in this country. It’s just in the wrong hands,” he said.Liberal enthusiasm faded during his first term, partly because of political missteps at home and the emergence of bigger names elsewhere. He faced obstacles trying to distinguish himself in a crowded field.

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