Hurricane Dorian expected to hit Bahamas as ‘devastating’ storm, then shift toward Carolinas
“Homes, houses, structures can be replaced,” the prime minister of the Bahamas said Saturday as he urged people to evacuate areas at risk. “Lives cannot be replaced.”
Hurricane Dorian strengthened and shifted slightly early Saturday, setting it on course to potentially miss a direct hit with Florida and make landfall in the Carolinas.
The Bahamas, meanwhile, braced for the powerful Category 4 storm to move near or directly over parts of the country from early Sunday to Monday, prompting officials there to urge residents to evacuate areas most at risk.
“Homes, houses, structures can be replaced,” the prime minister of the Bahamas said Saturday. “Lives cannot be replaced.”
Tourists vacationing in the Bahamas were sent to government shelters set up in schools, churches and other buildings offering protection from the storm as residents evacuated.
In Florida, Gov. Ron DeSantis warned residents of his state to remain vigilant, cautioning that the hurricane could change course again and bring dangerous storm surges and flooding even if it does not make landfall there.
“As you’re looking at these forecasts, a bump in one direction or the other could have really significant ramifications in terms of impact,” the governor said at a Saturday morning news conference.
Dorian’s maximum sustained winds increased to nearly 150 miles per hour with even higher gusts, which brings it close to a Category 5 storm, defined as having winds 157 miles per hour or higher.
The northwestern Bahamas are expected to start feeling the effects of the hurricane as early as 2 a.m. Sunday, officials said.
“On its present track, it’s expected that the islands of Abaco and Grand Bahama will be seriously impacted by Hurricane Dorian on Sunday, Sunday night and into Monday,” said Jeffrey Simmons of the country’s meteorology agency. “This is a very strong and dangerous hurricane.”
About 73,000 people and 21,000 homes are at risk, with a potential storm surge of 10 to 15 feet, the country’s prime minister, Hubert Minnis said.
To put that into perspective, Minnis said, “I am 6-foot-1, surges will be two to three times my height.”
“Heavy rains, capable of life-threatening flash floods are expected over portions of the Bahamas and coastal sections of the southeastern United States this weekend through much of next week,” the National Hurricane Center said Saturday.
Authorities said they closed airports in the Abaco Islands, Grand Bahama and Bimini, but Lynden Pindling International Airport in the capital of Nassau would remain open.
Police: 21 People Shot, 5 Killed in Mass Shooting in Odessa and Midland, Texas
At least 21 people were shot and five killed in a mass shooting in and around the cities of Odessa and Midland, Texas, Saturday afternoon.
Police later confirmed that the shooter, a white man in his mid-30s, had been killed by officers at the Cinergy movie theater in Odessa.
The shootings sent the two neighboring west Texas cities into chaos as police hunted for the gunman. Businesses and hospitals went into lockdown. The gunman apparently switched vehicles, hijacking a USPS mail van during his rampage, leaving police to initially report that there were two shooters roaming the area. They later clarified that there was only one gunman.
Here’s what we know so far.
What happened in Midland and Odessa?
Odessa Police Chief Mike Gerke said that the incident began when the suspect was pulled over for a traffic stop by a Texas Department of Public Safety trooper about 3:15 p.m. Central Time. The suspect shot the trooper and fled in a gold-colored Honda.
The traffic stop happened on Interstate 20, the highway that connects Midland and Odessa. At least one other person was shot on I-20, police said.
Gerke said the gunman then shot multiple people on 42nd Street in Odessa.
At some point, the gunman hijacked a U.S. Postal Service van. Gerke said the believes the postal employee is among the victims.
Midland and Odessa (cities of about 140,000 and 100,000 people, respectively), are about 20 miles apart, connected by Interstate 20. They are about 240 miles east of El Paso, where a gunman targeting Hispanic victims killed 22 people at a Walmart on Aug. 3.
“This was a joint effort by a multitude of departments to find this animal and bring him to justice,” Gerke said at a later press conference.
How did people respond to the mass shooting?
Multiple businesses, offices and dorms at the University of Texas of the Permian Basin were put on lockdown during the shooting, according to local news station CBS 7. Music City Mall in Odessa, Texas was closed during the shooting, with CBS 7 reporting a chaotic scene as police worked to clear the area.
About 5:30 p.m., anchors at CBS 7 in Odessa were told “we’ve gotta go” and left a live shot following reports of people running through the Music City Mall, where the TV news studios are located. The anchors left the live shot, but continued to broadcast off screen. They later returned on air, but were told once again that they had to evacuate after multiple officers enter the studio. CBS 7 reported officers were going store-to-store in the mall, clearing the building.
Midlands Police Department had initially reported that a Home Depot store had been the site of one of the shootings, although the company said in a statement to TIME that none of its stores had been the site of a shooting.
Reached at 6:45 p.m. EST, Madison Tate, director of marketing and community relations at the Odessa Regional Medical Center, could not confirm whether patients had been sent to their hospital but said the hospital was on lockdown along with the rest of the city.
Who is the mass shooter in Midland and Odessa?
The shooter has not yet been identified, although Gerke said that he is a white man in his mid-30s.
The El Paso department/branch of the FBI said just before 6:30 p.m. Central that “it is too soon to know motive or the identity of the suspect.”
Police had initially said the shooter or shooters were believed to be shooting people from two separate vehicles — a hijacked U.S. Postal Service van and a small “gold/white” Toyota truck, according to the Midland Police Department. Police later said the two vehicles were associated with the same person.
Gerke said police have since received additional unverified reports about an active shooter, “which is to be expected because our citizens are a little jumpy after this,” but noted these reports were not confirmed. He added that “once this individual was taken out of the picture, there have been no more victims.”
Police declined to comment on the type of weapon used during the shooting, though earlier statements had cited a rifle.
Who are the victims?
There 21 shooting victims, Gerke said. As of 7:30 p.m. Central, it is unclear whether the five people who were killed are included in that number.
Russell Tippin, CEO and president of the Medical Center Health System, confirmed that 14 victims were inside Medical Center Hospital but did not note the ages or conditions of any patients.
A local news station, NewsWest9, has reported that one of the victims is a 17-month-old baby, who was transported to the hospital after being shot in the face.
The suspect injured police from three different agencies–– officers from the Odessa Police Department and Midland Police Department, and a Texas Department of Public Safety trooper.
How are politicians responding to the shooting in Midland and Odessa?
Texas Governor Greg Abbott said in a statement that he and the First Lady were “heartbroken over this senseless and cowardly attack.” He thanked first responders for their quick action.
“I want to remind all Texans that we will not allow the Lone Star State to be overrun by hatred and violence,” Abbott said. “We will unite, as Texans always do, to respond to this tragedy.”
President Donald Trump said on Twitter that Attorney General William Barr had briefed him on the shooting, and that the FBI and law enforcement are “fully engaged.”
Attorney General for Texas, Ken Paxton, said in a statement that he was “horrified to see such a senseless act terrorize the fine people of the Permian basin” and thanked first responders for their response.
Former Texas congressman and 2020 Presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke, whose hometown of El Paso was devastated by the Aug. 3 mass shooting, spoke out about gun control measures from the campaign trail in Virginia.
“We don’t know how many have been shot. We don’t know how many people have been killed, the condition of those who have survived. Do not yet know what the motivation is, do not yet know the firearms that were used or how they acquired them. We do know this is f—-d up,” O’Rourke said.
“We do know this has to stop in this county. There is no reason that we have to accept this as our fortune, as our future, as our fate.”
1 in custody, multiple active shooters reported in Midland, Odessa
MIDLAND/ODESSA, TX– UPDATE: The City of Midland says that authorities have taken a suspect into custody at the Cinergy of Midland. No other details have been released.
The City of Odessa will be holding a press conference starting at 5:30 p.m. CBS7 will share the press conference live. ___
From the City of Midland: We believe there are two shooters in two separate vehicles. One suspect is believed to be at the Cinergy in Midland and the other is believed to be driving on Loop 250 in Midland. The two vehicles in question are: gold/white small Toyota truck and a USPS Postal Van. Please stay away from these areas and stay indoors.
USPS has recalled its vehicles to help authorities track down the suspect.
From the City of Odessa: 20 injuries have been reported in connection to the shooting. No other details are availabe at this time.
From DPS: The public is urged to avoid I-20 in Odessa, Midland and Big Spring as authorities search for a suspect who has shot several people including an officer. ___
The City of Odessa is urging the public to stay inside their homes.
According to the City of Midland, a suspect shot a trooper in the westbound lanes of I-20 and shot several people afterwards.
Authorities are searching for a second suspect who may have taken a U.S. Post Office vehicle. ___
Authorities are responding to reports of an active shooter in Odessa on Saturday afternoon.
The Midland Police Department shared on its Facebook page that there are reports of an active shooter in Odessa near Home Depot.
The UTPB campus has gone into lock-down.
No other details are available at this time.
Omar fires back after Alabama GOP calls for her expulsion
Omar, however, noted that she was elected by the people of Minnesota’s fifth congressional district, “not the Alabama Republican party.”
Minnesota Congresswoman Ilhan Omar is firing back in a public feud with the Alabama Republican Party. Omar called out the state GOP for its support of a Senate candidate that was embroiled in numerous sexual assault allegations, after the state party urged that she be expelled from Congress.
According to AL.com, Alabama Republicans moved to support a resolution calling for the removal of the freshman congresswoman, citing her past controversial statements on the September 11th terrorist attacks, which her supporters said were taken out of context; comments she made on campaign finance that many considered to be anti-Semitic, for which she apologized; and her staunch support of the Palestinian people in the face of the Israeli government.
In their resolution, the party calls for its state’s congressional delegation to begin the process of seeking Omar’s expulsion from the House.
Omar, however, noted that she was elected by the people of Minnesota’s fifth congressional district, “not the Alabama Republican party.”
Moore announced back in June that he was throwing his hat back into the ring and running for Senate in the state, looking to defeat incumbent Doug Jones in a rematch. Moore, a Republican, narrowly lost to Jones in a 2017 special election to fill former Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ vacant Senate seat.
Taking a page out of President Trump’s playbook, Moore has repeatedly lambasted Democrats for carrying out what he claimed was “evidence of intent to disrupt a state Senate race” after both Republicans and Democrats widely condemned his 2017 run as numerous women came forward with detailed accounts of sexual misconduct against Moore when he was a judge and many of the accusers were minors. Moore has denied any wrongdoing.
He said such “collusion” by Democratic operatives in Washington would not be tolerated and claimed, without evidence, Jones was the “beneficiary of election hacking.”
Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx to announces move to expunge marijuana convictions
Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx announced Tuesday a partnership with Code for America to expunge the criminal records of people convicted of marijuana charges.
When the drug becomes legal across Illinois in January, many people will be eligible for expungement. The partnership with Code for America will use Clear My Record technology to automatically seal tens of thousands of eligible cannabis convictions in Cook County.
“The technology and innovation made possible through our partnership with Code for America will help us provide broad and equitable conviction relief for tens of thousands of people while ensuring that more of our time and resources can be used to combat violent crime,” said Kim Foxx. “This partnership is one of many steps Cook County is taking to leverage technology in order to better serve our community and bring our criminal justice system into the 21st century.”
It was two years ago Aaron Floyd was arrested on drug possession, which is his only felony conviction.
“I was walking down the street and a police pulled me over, took my weed. Took me to jail and they charged me,” Floyd said.
That one incident has now changed the course of his life.
“It’s hard for me to get a job,” Floyd said. “I call and they keep popping up. The only job I can get is Uber Eats and they help me a lot.”
With this new partnership, that obstacle could soon be obsolete. Floyd’s conviction will be expunged as Illinois gets ready to legalize marijuana.
Other in the same situation might soon benefit use of technology that will automatically find those records.
“Our software encodes the law and simply makes it possible to read those records very, very quickly,” said Jennifer Pahlka with Code for America. “That outputs the convictions that are legally available to be cleared.”
Code For America has helped to clear more than 8,000 marijuana convictions in San Francisco. Those convictions can hurt people’s chances of finding a job or even housing.
Code for America’s partnership with Cook County expands our Clear My Record program to a second state and further proves that justice can happen at the scale and speed we know is possible in the digital age,” said Jennifer Pahlka, Founder and Executive Director, Code for America. “Thanks to the leadership of State’s Attorney Foxx, we’ll provide conviction relief expeditiously, at reduced cost, and in bulk in Illinois, and help tens of thousands of individuals get a fresh start. And we’ll continue to show that government can work as it should for all people, when we bring government into the 21st century.”
Under the new law, felony marijuana offenses of amounts involving under 30 grams will be expunged. Furthermore, not prosecuting low-level cases should free up prosecutors to pursue more serious crimes.
“If you look at the top 10 cases that are referred to the State’s Attorney’s Office, six out of 10 are related to drug possession cases. Six out of 10 in a city like Cook County that is dealing with the epidemic of gun violence,” Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx.
Once a record is expunged, a notice will be mailed to that person. The Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office hopes to begin the process before the end of the year. They said they will start with the most recent convictions and work their way backwards. Those with 30 to 500 gram possession charges will have to petition to have their charges expunged. And non-automatic expungements are not guaranteed, since prosecutors will have the ability to object.
Iowa’s Longest-Serving Republican Switches to Democratic Party, Citing Trump
Rep. Andy McKean, Iowa’s longest-serving Republican lawmaker, left his party on Tuesday to join the Democrats, and cited President Donald Trump as a factor in his decision.
“With the 2020 presidential election looming on the horizon, I feel, as a Republican, that I need to be able to support the standard bearer of our party,” McKean told reporters at the Iowa Capitol during a news conference on Tuesday. “Unfortunately, that’s something I’m unable to do.”
McKean named several behaviors by Trump that he said were “unacceptable.”
“He sets, in my opinion, a poor example for the nation and particularly for our children by personally insulting, often in a crude and juvenile fashion, those who disagree with him, being a bully at a time when we are attempting to discourage bullying, his frequent disregard for the truth and his willingness to ridicule or marginalize people for their appearance, ethnicity or disability,” he said.
He added: “I believe that his actions have coarsened political discourse, have resulted in unprecedented divisiveness, and have created an atmosphere that is a breeding ground for hateful rhetoric and actions. Some would excuse this behavior as telling it like it is and the new normal. If this is the new normal, I want no part of it.”
McKean, who served seven terms in Iowa’s house after being elected in 1978, then three terms in the senate before retiring in 2006, rejoined the house in 2016 and returned to a very different political atmosphere than the one he’d been accustomed to. “I found myself increasingly uncomfortable with the stance of my party on the vast majority of high profile issues and often sympathetic with concerns raised by the minority caucus,” he said.
McKean’s exit puts him among other state Republican legislators in suburban districts who have left the party in recent years.
Armed man arrested at Missouri Walmart
An armed white man in his twenties was arrested Thursday afternoon at a Missouri Walmart, Springfield police said.
Officers responded to a call of an active shooter at the Walmart Neighborhood Market, Police Lt. Mike Lucas said.
But no shots were fired and no one was injured, police said.
“All we know is the fact that he walked in here heavily armed with body armor on, in military fatigues and caused a great amount of panic inside the store. So he certainly had the capability the potential to harm people,” Lucas said.
The man was detained by an off-duty fireman until officers arrived and took the suspect into custody, police said in a statement.
“At this time, the investigation is ongoing and we are working to determine his motives,” the statement said.
Lucas said the recent spate of mass shootings in public places may have placed customers on heightened alert, leading them to call police reporting an active shooter.
“And then obviously what’s happened in Texas and Dayton and all that kind of stuff in the last seven days — that’s on everybody’s mind,” Lucas said.
Africa party in colonial museum sparks anger after partygoers dressed in pith helmets and blackface
Congolese community groups in Belgium are furious after revellers turned up to an Africa-themed party held in the grounds of a colonial museum dressed in pith helmets and blackface.
For more than a century, the Royal Museum for Central Africa has stood as a monument to the worst excesses of Belgium’s brutal occupation of the Congo, which inspired Joseph Conrad’s nightmarish Hearts of Darkness.
On Sunday, about 2,000 people attended an open-air party organised by company Thé Dansant. Photos posted on social media showed one partygoer blacked up and others in leopard skin print and others dressed as colonial era explorers.
“Ethnic, exotic or African is not a costume that you can put on and take off,” Emma Lee Amponsah of the Café Congo organisation told the Bruzz newspaper.
She criticised the organisers for festooning a stage with skulls on sticks for evoking voodoo and cannibalism. “In this way stereotypes are constantly being maintained,” she said, “explain to me how an event like this can still exist in 2019.”
In 1897, a human zoo of 267 Congolese people were exhibited in the grounds of the former Royal estate in the leafy Brussels suburb of Tervuren. Seven Congolese died of exposure after being shown to about a million Belgians during the World Exhibition.
Packed to the brim with more than 180,000 looted items, including the beheaded skulls of vanquished tribal chiefs, and more than 500 stuffed animals slaughtered by hunters, the museum celebrated the exploits of the Belgians who turned a huge swathe of Africa into a slave state.
Largest US immigration raids in a decade net 680 arrests
Families are scared to death after a massive ICE operation swept up hundreds of people. In fact, about 680 suspected undocumented workers were arrested in Mississippi in one of the largest worksite operations ever conducted by ICE agents.
MORTON, Miss. (AP) — U.S. immigration officials raided seven Mississippi chicken processing plants Wednesday, arresting 680 mostly Latino workers in the largest workplace sting in at least a decade.
The raids, planned months ago, happened just hours before President Donald Trump visited El Paso, Texas, the majority-Latino border city where a man linked to an online screed about a “Hispanic invasion” was charged in a shooting that left 22 people dead.
“On a day when we seek unifying words and acts to heal the nation’s broken heart, President Trump allows so many families and communities to be torn apart,” said Angelica Salas, executive director of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights.
About 600 U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents fanned out across the plants operated by five companies, surrounding the perimeters to prevent workers from fleeing.
In Morton, about 40 miles (65 kilometers) east of the capital of Jackson, workers filled three buses — two for men and one for women — at a Koch Foods Inc. plant.
Those arrested were taken to a military hangar to be processed for immigration violations. About 70 family, friends and residents waved goodbye and shouted, “Let them go! Let them go!” Later, two more buses arrived.
A tearful 13-year-old boy whose parents are from Guatemala waved goodbye to his mother, a Koch worker, as he stood beside his father. Some employees tried to flee on foot but were captured in the parking lot.
Workers, including Domingo Candelaria, who could show they were in the country legally were allowed to leave the plant after agents searched the trunks of their vehicles.
“It was a sad situation inside,” Candelaria said.
Mississippi is the nation’s fifth-largest chicken producing state and the plants’ tough processing jobs have mainly been filled by Latino immigrants eager to take whatever work they can get. Chicken plants dominate the economies of Morton and other small towns east of Jackson.
Based in Park Ridge, Illinois, Koch is one of the largest poultry producers in the U.S, with operations in Mississippi and five other states. The company didn’t respond to telephone calls and emails seeking comment.
Matthew Albence, ICE’s acting director, told The Associated Press in an interview Wednesday in Pearl, just down the road from the Koch plant, that the raids could be the largest-ever workplace operation in any single state. Asked about their coinciding with Trump’s visit to El Paso, Albence responded, “This is a long-term operation that’s been going on.” He said raids are “racially neutral” and based on evidence of illegal residency.
The companies involved could be charged with knowingly hiring workers who are in the county illegally and will be scrutinized for tax, document and wage fraud, Albence said.
Bill Chandler, executive director of the Mississippi Immigrant Rights Alliance, called the “terrible” raids “another effort to drive Latinos out of Mississippi,” and he blamed Trump for fanning racism with his past incendiary comments about immigrants.
“This is the same thing that Trump is doing at the border with the Border Patrol,” he said, referring to the increased crackdown on migrants coming into the U.S.
Major immigration raids were common under President George W. Bush, including one at a kosher meatpacking plant in Postville, Iowa, in 2008 that resulted in about 400 arrests. President Barack Obama avoided them, limiting workplace immigration efforts to low-profile audits.
Trump resumed workplace raids, but the months of preparation and hefty resources they require make them rare. Last year, the administration targeted a landscaping company near Toledo, Ohio, and a meatpacking plant in eastern Tennessee. The former owner of the Tennessee plant was sentenced to 18 months in prison last month.
On Wednesday, a hangar at a Mississippi Air National Guard base in Flowood, adjoining the Jackson airport, was set up to process those who were detained. Employees formed seven lines, one for each workplace raided, with fingerprint scanners and document printers at each interview station.
Cooling misters blew in front of fans, and 2,000 catered meals were ordered.
Agents who arrived at the Morton plant passed a chain-link fence with a sign that said the company was hiring. Workers’ wrists were tied with plastic bands and they deposited personal belongings in clear plastic bags.
“This will affect the economy,” Maria Isabel Ayala, a child care worker for plant employees, said as the buses left. “Without them here, how will you get your chicken?”
Other companies targeted in the raids included Peco Foods Inc., which has plants in Bay Springs, Canton and Sebastopol; PH Food Inc. in Morton; MP Food Inc. in Pelahatchie and Pearl River Foods Inc. in Carthage.
“We are fully cooperating with the authorities in their investigation and are navigating a potential disruption of operations,” Peco, based in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, said in a statement. The company added that it participates in E-Verify, a government program to screen new hires for immigration status.
No one answered the phone at Pearl River Foods. A woman who answered the phone at PH Food declined to comment or identify herself. A telephone listing could not be found for MP Food
This is the time to debate the future
After the 2020 presidential election, even if
President Trump is defeated, there are some really tough global decisions that
will have to be made.
First, even if Britain does not leave the EU, is
the EU prepared to defend itself from internal conflicts and external threats?
The reality is that NATO exists to prevent European nations from going to war
with each other as much as it exists to defend against Russia.
Second, can America still afford to be the
world’s global police force when Americans and other nations are no longer
interested and willing to use military force unless directly attacked? What
does this mean for a new President when it comes to dealing with Iran,
protecting Israel, fighting terrorism and helping to ensure stability in the
Third, can the world live with a nuclear Iran and
North Korea? What price are Americans and others willing to pay, if any, to
prevent that from happening? If it does happen, if it is not already the
reality and we just don’t know, how will it change the existing global balance
of power and the current dynamics of the Middle East?
Fourth, how much intellectual theft will China be
allowed to get away with to build and dominate A.I. and its global economic
impact as well as military might? How far we are from that tipping point is an
open question but we are certainly moving in that direction unless something is
done and done soon.
The technological interference in the 2016
election was a prelude to a new form of warfare. This new war is coming and
America is not fully prepared nor are our allies and corporate enterprises.
While we have been distracted playing politics over the past three years, our
opponents have been organizing, preparing and growing stronger. Whether
Congress impeaches the President or not, time is running out for us to be
prepared for the new warfare that will be coming.
Over the past two Democratic presidential debates
these major issues have not been the focus of discussion and debate but they
must be a part of the conversation going forward.
Technology is not only changing our economy and
the global nature of work, it is also reordering the old global order.
It’s time for a bigger and broader debate in the
Democratic Presidential Debates focused on the future of work and the future of
the global order from economics to foreign and military affairs that is bigger
than simply just breaking up big tech.
Thank you and God Bless us. For constructive dialogue, you may contact me directly >>>
Hon. Robinson is the former Chairman, City of Houston Transportation, Technology and Infrastructure Committee; Former Vice Chairman, Houston-Galveston Area Council Transportation Policy Council (H-GAC TPC) and Associate Professor of Public Administration, Barbara Jordan-Mickey Leland School of Public Affairs, Texas Southern University.