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10 things you need to know today !

1. 16 states sue over Trump’s national emergency declaration

Image: Gavin Newsom, Xavier Becerra

California and 15 other states on Monday filed a lawsuit to challenge President Trump’s declaration of a national emergency on the Mexican border. Trump said Friday he was declaring the emergency to free up money needed to build his promised border wall. California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said Trump was overstepping his authority by trying to sidestep Congress, which, in a deal to prevent a government shutdown, gave the president just a fraction of the $5.7 billion he was demanding for the wall. “The president admitted that there’s not a basis for the declaration,” Becerra said. “He’s now trying to rob funds that were allocated by Congress legally to the various states and people of our states.”

Joining California in the suit are Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, and Virginia.Becerra’s statement slammed the president’s justification for a national emergency as a “hyped crisis.”

“Unlawful southern border entries are at their lowest point in 20 years, immigrants are less likely than native-born citizens to commit crimes, and illegal drugs are more likely to come through official ports of entry,” the attorney general’s statement said. “The only national emergency is the president’s trafficking in lies and deceit,” Connecticut Attorney General William Tong said in a statement earlier Monday.

Trump said on Friday that he would bypass Congress by declaring a national emergency to build a border wall along the nation’s southern border, after a protracted battle in which Congress has repeatedly declined to give the president billions to build border barriers.A national emergency declaration gives the president special powers to take taxpayer dollars from other budgets to pay for border wall construction, but legal challenges to such an effort are inevitable. Before the emergency was declared, Becerra vowed “to reject this foolish proposal in court the moment it touches the ground.”

Trump signaled in remarks last week that he anticipated lawsuits.

“We will have a national emergency, and we will then be sued. And they will sue us in the Ninth Circuit, even though it shouldn’t be there,” the president said, referring to the nation’s largest circuit court whose area encompasses California. “And we’ll possibly get a bad ruling and then we’ll get another bad ruling and then we’ll end up the Supreme Court, and then hopefully we’ll get a fair shake and we’ll win in the Supreme Court, just like the ban.”

NBC asked White House aides for a response to the lawsuit, but they have not yet provided a comment.

[NBC News]

2. Bernie Sanders announces he’s running for president again in 2020

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders announces he is a candidate

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) announced early Tuesday that he is running for president in 2020, joining an increasingly crowded field of nearly a dozen candidates vying for the Democratic nomination to challenge President Trump. “We began the political revolution in the 2016 campaign, and now it’s time to move that revolution forward,” Sanders told Vermont Public Radio. Sanders also sent out a campaign email. “I’m running for president because, now more than ever, we need leadership that brings us together — not divides us up,” he said in the email to supporters. Sanders called Trump a “pathological liar, a fraud, a racist, a sexist, a xenophobe, and someone who is undermining American democracy as he leads us in an authoritarian direction.”

Text of Sanders’ announcement

Here is the complete text of the announcement email.

Brothers and Sisters–

I am writing to let you know I have decided to run for president of the United States. I am asking you today to join me as part of an unprecedented and historic grassroots campaign that will begin with at least a million people from across the country.

Please join our campaign for president on day one and commit to doing what it takes to win this election.

Our campaign is not only about defeating Donald Trump, the most dangerous president in modern American history. It is not only about winning the Democratic nomination and the general election.

Our campaign is about transforming our country and creating a government based on the principles of economic, social, racial and environmental justice.

Our campaign is about taking on the powerful special interests that dominate our economic and political life. I’m talking about Wall Street, the health insurance companies, the drug companies, the fossil fuel industry, the military-industrial complex, the private-prison industry and the large multi-national corporations that exert such an enormous influence over our lives.

Our campaign is about redoubling our efforts to end racism, sexism, homophobia, religious bigotry and all forms of discrimination.

Our campaign is about creating a vibrant democracy with the highest voter turnout of any major country while we end voter suppression, Citizens United and outrageous levels of gerrymandering.

Our campaign is about creating a government and economy that works for the many, not just the few. We are the wealthiest nation in the history of the world. We should not have grotesque levels of wealth inequality in which three billionaires own more wealth than the bottom half of the country.

We should not have 30 million Americans without any health insurance, even more who are under-insured and a nation in which life expectancy is actually in decline.

We should not have an economy in which tens of millions of workers earn starvation wages and half of older workers have no savings as they face retirement.

We should not have the highest rate of childhood poverty of almost any major country on Earth and a dysfunctional childcare system which is unfair to both working parents and their children.

We should not have a regressive tax system in which large, profitable corporations like Amazon pay nothing in federal income taxes.

Make no mistake about it. The powerful special interests in this country have unbelievable power and they want to maintain the status quo. They have unlimited amounts of money to spend on campaigns and lobbying and have huge influence over the media and political parties.

The only way we will win this election and create a government and economy that works for all is with a grassroots movement – the likes of which has never been seen in American history.

They may have the money and power. We have the people. That is why we need one million Americans who will commit themselves to this campaign.

Stand with me as we fight to win the Democratic nomination and the general election. Add your name to join this campaign and say you are willing to do the hard work necessary to transform our country.

You know as well as I do that we are living in a pivotal and dangerous moment in American history. We are running against a president who is a pathological liar, a fraud, a racist, a sexist, a xenophobe and someone who is undermining American democracy as he leads us in an authoritarian direction.

I’m running for president because, now more than ever, we need leadership that brings us together – not divides us up. Women and men, black, white, Latino, Native American, Asian American, gay and straight, young and old, native born and immigrant. Now is the time for us to stand together.

I’m running for president because we need leadership that will fight for working families and the shrinking middle class, not just the 1 percent. We need a president who understands that we can create millions of good-paying jobs, rebuild our crumbling infrastructure and construct the affordable housing we desperately need.

I’m running for president because we need trade policies that reflect the interests of workers and not multi-national corporations. We need to raise the minimum wage to a living wage, provide pay equity for women and guarantee all workers paid family and medical leave.

I’m running for president because we need to understand that artificial intelligence and robotics must benefit the needs of workers, not just corporate America and those who own that technology.

I’m running for president because a great nation is judged not by how many billionaires and nuclear weapons it has, but by how it treats the most vulnerable – the elderly, the children, our veterans, the sick and the poor.

I’m running for president because we need to make policy decisions based on science, not politics. We need a president who understands that climate change is real, is an existential threat to our country and the entire planet, and that we can generate massive job creation by transforming our energy system away from fossil fuels to energy efficiency and sustainable energy.

I’m running for president because the time is long overdue for the United States to join every other major country on Earth and guarantee health care to all people as a right, not a privilege, through a Medicare-for-all program.

I’m running for president because we need to take on the outrageous level of greed of the pharmaceutical industry and lower prescription drug prices in this country.

I’m running for president because we need to have the best educated workforce in the world. It is totally counter-productive for our future that millions of Americans are carrying outrageous levels of student debt, while many others cannot afford the high cost of higher education. That is why we need to make public colleges and universities tuition free and lower student debt.

I’m running for president because we must defend a woman’s right to control her own body against massive political attacks taking place at the local state and federal level.

I’m running for president because we need real criminal justice reform. We need to invest in jobs and education for our kids, not more jails and incarceration. We need to end the destructive “war on drugs,” eliminate private prisons and cash bail and bring about major police department reform.

I’m running for president because we need to end the demonization of undocumented immigrants in this country and move to comprehensive immigration reform. We need to provide immediate legal status for the young people eligible for the DACA program and develop a humane policy for those at the border who seek asylum.

I’m running for president because we must end the epidemic of gun violence in this country. We need to take on the NRA, expand background checks, end the gun show loophole and ban the sale and distribution of assault weapons.

I’m running for president because we need a foreign policy which focuses on democracy, human rights, diplomacy and world peace. The United States must lead the world in improving international cooperation in the fight against climate change, militarism, authoritarianism and global wealth inequality.

That is why we need at least a million people to join our campaign and help lead the movement that can accomplish these goals. Add your name to say we’re in this together.

Needless to say, there is a lot of frightening and bad news in this world. Now, let me give you some very good news.

Three years ago, during our 2016 campaign, when we brought forth our progressive agenda we were told that our ideas were “radical,” and “extreme.” We were told that Medicare for All, a $15 an hour minimum wage, free tuition at public colleges and universities, aggressively combating climate change, demanding that the wealthy start paying their fair share of taxes, were all of concepts that the American people would never accept.

Well, three years have come and gone. And, as result of millions of Americans standing up and fighting back, all of these policies and more are now supported by a majority of Americans.

Together, you and I and our 2016 campaign began the political revolution. Now, it is time to complete that revolution and implement the vision that we fought for.

So here is my question for you:

Will you stand with me as part of a million person grassroots movement which can not only win the Democratic primary, not only win the general election but most importantly help transform this country so that, finally, we have a government that works for all of us and not just the few? Add your name to say you will.

Together we can create a nation that leads the world in the struggle for peace and for economic, racial, social and environmental justice.

And together we can defeat Donald Trump and repair the damage he has done to our country.

Brothers and sisters, if we stand together, there is no limit to what we can accomplish.

I hope you will join me.

Thank you very much.

In solidarity,

Bernie Sanders

[USA Today]

3. Trump issues ultimatum to Venezuelan military leaders

Donald Trump

President Trump on Monday called on Venezuela’s military to get behind opposition leader and self-declared interim president Juan Guaido, warning of dire consequences if the armed forces continue to back President Nicolas Maduro. “You will find no safe harbor, no easy exit, and no way out. You will lose everything,” Trump said, referring to Venezuelan military leaders in a speech at Florida International University in Miami.

“We seek a peaceful transition of power, but all options are open.” Maduro, who started a second term last month despite allegations he won re-election by fraud, said Trump tried to give orders to Venezuela’s military in an “almost Nazi style.” “Who is the commander of the armed forces, Donald Trump from Miami?” Maduro said.“They think they’re the owners of the country.”

Trump said “a new day is coming in Latin America,” as he sought to rally support among the largest Venezuelan community in the U.S. for Guaido. The U.S. recognizes him as the country’s rightful president and condemns Maduro’s government and its socialist policies.

As the monthslong political crisis stretched on, the military has blocked the U.S. from moving tons of humanitarian aid airlifted in recent days to the Colombian border with Venezuela. The aid shipments have been meant in part to dramatize the hyperinflation and shortages of food and medicine that are gripping Venezuela. Trump said of Maduro, “He would rather see his people starve than give them aid.”

Critics say Maduro’s re-election last year was fraudulent, making his second term illegal.

Venezuela’s power struggle is headed to a potentially violent showdown Saturday, when Guaido will try to run caravans of U.S. humanitarian aid across the Venezuelan border from Colombia. Maduro denies a humanitarian crisis exists, blaming the Trump administration for mounting a coup against him.

More than 2 million Venezuelans have fled the country in the last two years, most flooding across the border into Colombia, Brazil and Peru. Those left behind struggle to afford scarce supplies of food and medicine as inflation soars.

Maduro maintains support from Russia, China and Turkey, while Guaido has won recognition from dozens of world leaders in Latin America and Europe, who are demanding that Maduro holds new elections or steps down.

Trump urged the Venezuelan military to accept Guaido’s offer of amnesty and refrain from violence against those opposing Maduro’s government. And he praised the Venezuelan opposition, saying of the people of Venezuela, “They are turning the page on dictatorship and there will be no going back.”

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said earlier Monday that the U.S. “knows where military officials and their families have money hidden throughout the world.”

South Florida is home to more than 100,000 Venezuelans and Venezuelan-Americans, the largest concentration in the country. Speaking in the presidential battleground state, Trump also sought to draw a contrast with the policies of progressive Democrats, which he brands as “socialist,” as he gears up for re-election.

Trump said that “socialism has so completely ravaged” Venezuela “that even the world’s largest reserves of oil are not enough to keep the lights on.” He added: “This will never happen to us.”

“Socialism promises prosperity, but it delivers poverty,” he said.“Socialism is dying and liberty, prosperity and democracy are being reborn” throughout the hemisphere, Trump said, expressing hope that soon, “This will become the first free hemisphere in all of human history.”

In Cuba, the foreign minister, Bruno Rodriguez, tweeted that he considered “offensive” Trump’s speech and that it “confirms the threat of military aggression against Venezuela.” He added, “Humanitarian aid is a pretext for a war.”

Shortly after Trump ended his speech, he tweeted, “I ask every member of the Maduro regime: End this nightmare of poverty, hunger and death. LET YOUR PEOPLE GO. Set your country free! Now is the time for all Venezuelan Patriots to act together, as one united people. Nothing could be better for the future of Venezuela!”

Guaido addressed the crowd in a pre-recorded video released by the White House and thanked Trump and the state of Florida for their support. “Now there is a debate between the democracy and dictatorship — one between life and death,” Guaido said in Spanish. “Today this fight is existential.”

Trump said the U.S. is “profoundly grateful” to dissidents and exiles who have protested and raised alarms about the actions of the Maduro government. But his administration has also come under criticism for not doing enough to grant asylum to those fleeing the country.

“President Trump is two-faced on the Venezuela issue,” said Florida Democratic Party Chairwoman Terrie Rizzo. “He talks about fighting the Maduro regime, but his administration keeps deporting and detaining Venezuelans fleeing repression from the Maduro regime.”

Trump had been spending the holiday weekend at his private club in West Palm Beach, Florida.

[The Associated Press]

4. Protesters slam Trump’s national emergency declaration

Hasil gambar untuk Protesters slam Trump's national emergency declaration / GIF

Demonstrators gathered in dozens of cities across the U.S., including Washington, D.C., and Chicago, on Monday’s Presidents Day holiday to protest President Trump’s declaration of a national emergency on the Mexican border. Activists called Trump’s declaration, which he made to free up money to fund his border wall, amounted to an abuse of power trampling on Congress’ authority to decide how taxpayer money is spent. Trump said the wall is necessary to curb illegal immigration and drug smuggling, but protesters said Trump was manufacturing a crisis for political purposes. “We disagree with the state of emergency declared by the president and stand with our immigrant colleagues and friends,” said Darcy Regan, executive director of Indivisible Chicago, which organized that city’s protest.

Trump invoked the emergency powers on Friday after Congress declined to fulfill his request for $5.7 billion to help build the wall that was his signature 2016 campaign promise. His move aims to let him spend money appropriated by Congress for other purposes.

The Republican president says a wall is needed to curb illegal immigrants and illicit drugs coming across the border. Democrats and opponents of the wall say it is unnecessary.

The protests in Chicago and Washington each drew a few hundred people on Monday afternoon. Protesters gathered in Chicago’s Federal Plaza carried signs that read “Dump Trump” and “Fake Emergency” and chanted “No wall, no fear, immigrants are welcome here.”

Cheryl Krugel-Lee, a 32-year-old student, said she brought her 4-year-old daughter to the protest in freezing weather to set an example for her.“This was a power grab by the Trump administration, and it’s immoral and illegal,” Krugel-Lee said.

Organizers said 250 events were planned, including in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Democrats have vowed to challenge the national emergency declaration as a violation of the U.S. Constitution. California state Attorney General Xavier Becerra said in television interviews that his state and others would sue the Trump administration on Monday.

[Reuters]

5. Trump says Rosenstein was involved in ‘treasonous’ coup talk

Image result for Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein to step down in March: official

President Trump on Monday accused Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein of “illegal and treasonous” activity after former Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe said he and Rosenstein had discussed the possibility of using the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office. “Wow, so many lies by now disgraced acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe. He was fired for lying, and now his story gets even more deranged,” Trump tweeted. “He and Rod J. Rosenstein, who was hired by Jeff Sessions (another beauty), look like they were planning a very illegal act, and got caught.”

Trump’s comments came after McCabe, who is promoting his book ahead of its Tuesday release, appeared on CBS’s 60 Minutes on Sunday. Rosenstein, who appointed Special Counsel Robert Mueller, is expected to step down in March.

Rosenstein had been expected to depart shortly after new Attorney General William Barr assumed office. Barr was confirmed for the role by the U.S. Senate last week.

The Justice official said Rosenstein’s departure was not related to renewed allegations that he considered wearing a wire in meetings with Trump and using the 25th amendment of the U.S. Constitution to remove the president from office.

Rosenstein, the No. 2 official at the Justice Department, in May 2017 named Special Counsel Robert Mueller to investigate ties between Trump’s 2016 presidential election campaign and Moscow. The investigation continues.

[The Washington Post, Reuters]

6. N.C. elections chief: GOP operative ran ballot ‘scheme’ in contested race

North Carolina’s elections director, Kim Strach, said Monday that a Republican operative oversaw an illegal absentee-ballot “scheme” aiming to benefit a GOP congressional candidate in last year’s midterm elections. The GOP candidate, Mark Harris, led his Democratic rival, Dan McCready, by 905 votes, but election officials have refused to certify the election. Strach’s testimony came at the start of a state elections board hearing on suspicions that mail-in ballots were tampered with in the 9th congressional district race. The first session of the hearing, which is expected to last days and determine whether to certify the election or hold a new one, did not produce evidence that Harris knew about the efforts of the operative, Leslie McCrae Dowless Jr.

One witness, Kimberly Sue Robinson, said she turned over her signed, blank ballot to Dowless’ workers in an unsealed envelope. She said she’d done the same thing in previous elections, trusting Dowless would make good choices. The registered Republican’s vote was counted in November’s election.

Dowless was hired to produce votes for Harris and Bladen County Sheriff Jim McVickers, but his methods last year included paying people to visit potential voters who had received absentee ballots and getting them to hand over those ballots, whether completed or not, Dowless worker Lisa Britt testified.

It’s illegal in North Carolina for anyone other than a guardian or close family member to handle a voter’s ballot.

Dowless was called to testify late Monday, but his attorney said he wouldn’t do it without legal protection against prosecution for events he described. The board refused.

Britt testified she collected about three dozen sometimes unfinished ballots and handed them to Dowless, who kept them at his home and office for days or longer before they were turned in, said Britt, whose mother was formerly married to Dowless. While the congressional and sheriff’s races were almost always marked by voters who turned in unsealed ballots, Britt said she would fill in down-ballot local races — favoring Republicans — to prevent local elections board workers from suspecting Dowless’ activities.

“Most people aren’t concerned with the school board or some of the other little people on there,” Britt said.

While Dowless and Harris’ main campaign consultant were in constant contact, she didn’t have any indication Harris knew about the operation, Britt said. “I think Mr. Harris was completely clueless as to what was going on,” Britt said.

Britt’s mother said she overheard a phone conversation in which Harris and Dowless before November’s election discussed the Republican’s strong showing. Sandra Dowless said Harris asked McCrae Dowless, the ex-husband who she lived with for six months last year, how he knew the Republican was running strongly. “I know the people and I know how they vote,” Sandra Dowless recounted her ex-husband as saying.

Strach said McCrae Dowless paid local people he recruited $125 for every 50 mail-in ballots they collected in Bladen and Robeson counties and turned in to him. That means they could have been altered before being counted.

The operation’s scope allowed Dowless to collect nearly $84,000 in consulting fees over five months leading into last year’s general election, said Strach, adding that in addition to reviewing financial and phone records investigators questioned 142 voters in the south-central North Carolina counties.

Harris received 679 mail-in ballots in Bladen and Robeson counties, compared to 652 for McCready, Strach said. But McCready’s lawyers contend nearly 1,200 other mail-in ballots were sent to voters and never returned — enough to erase Harris’ Election Day lead.

Strach was expected to touch on the unreturned ballots later in the hearing. “It’s not just about those that have been returned. It’s potentially about those that haven’t been returned,” she said.

Dowless and Harris attended Monday’s hearing. McCready did not.

Four of the five members on the elections board — composed of three Democrats and two Republicans — would need to agree a new election is necessary.

If that doesn’t happen, McCready’s lawyers said state officials should send their findings to the Democrat-dominated U.S. House and let it decide whether Harris should be seated — arguing that the U.S. Constitution gives the House authority over the elections and qualifications of its members.

[The Associated Press, The New York Times]

7. Roger Stone apologizes for Instagram post with crosshairs near federal judge

Roger Stone late Monday took down an Instagram post with a crosshairs symbol next to the head of U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson, the judge overseeing his criminal case in Washington, D.C., and filed a notice of apology with the court. The photo and comment were “improper,” he acknowledged, and he “recognizes the impropriety and had it removed.” In the post’s caption, Stone, a longtime Republican operative and adviser to President Trump, wrote that Special Counsel Robert Mueller used “legal trickery” to ensure that his criminal trial for lying to Congress, witness tampering, and obstruction went before Berman Jackson. He said in a subsequent post that he did not intend to threaten the judge.

Early in Stone’s case, prosecutors designated it as “related” to a prosecution brought by Mueller’s office last year against Russian nationals accused of hacking the Democratic National Committee and giving information to WikiLeaks via the online persona Guccifer 2.0 — actually Russians, according to the government — during the 2016 presidential election. The DNC hacking case was already assigned to Jackson, and by marking Stone’s case as “related,” that meant it got assigned to Jackson as well under the court’s rules.

Stone challenged the “related” designation, arguing there was no direct connection between his case and the defendants and alleged facts in the DNC hacking case. Prosecutors countered that Stone’s case and the DNC hacking case involved common search warrants and underlying events — that the alleged interference by Russians in the 2016 election was the subject of the congressional investigation that Stone is charged with trying to obstruct.

A version of the photo that Stone shared appeared earlier on conspiracy websites including one called Americans for Innovation, which engages in false deep state theories about the “pay-to-play new world order.”

A blog post titled “MUELLER’S JUDGE AND PROSECUTOR TAKE THEIR ORDERS FROM HILLARY,” from Feb. 6, features the photo of Jackson superimposed over a background featuring the words “CORRUPTION CENTRAL” and the crosshairs sign. The post also contains pictures of former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, Rep. Adam Schiff, and others, with similar backgrounds and editing.

The photo Stone posted to his Instagram account — @rogerstonejr, which has nearly 42,000 followers — featured a zoomed-in version of the Jackson picture featured on Americans for Innovation.

On Feb. 15, Jackson issued a one-paragraph order stating she wouldn’t take any action related to Stone’s objections. She wrote that the current case assignment was “consistent” with the court’s rules about related cases, but didn’t elaborate further.

Jackson was nominated by President Barack Obama to the US District Court for the District of Columbia and was unanimously confirmed by the Senate in March 2011. In May 2017, she dismissed a wrongful death lawsuit against Hillary Clinton, following the attacks on an American diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya.

Jackson is also overseeing the criminal case of former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort in Washington. Stone is due back in court before Jackson on March 14 for a status hearing.

[BuzzFeed News]

8. 5 Americans arrested on weapons charges in Haiti

Image result for 5 Americans arrested in Haiti as violent protests continue

Five Americans have been arrested in Haiti on charges that they had illegal weapons, Haiti Foreign Minister Bocchit Edmond confirmed Monday. The Americans, along with a Russian, a Serb, and a Haitian national were arrested at a police checkpoint near the Caribbean island nation’s central bank. They reportedly had assault rifles, pistols, bulletproof vests, and drones. The U.S. embassy has issued a “do not travel” alert as the country is engulfed in protests calling for the resignation of President Jovenel Moise following corruption scandals and economic troubles. Demonstrators have blocked roads with burning tires and other debris, and clashed with police.

In an interview with CNN, Gédéon said the individuals arrested were in possession of automatic weapons, pistols, satellite phones and drones.

Gédéon said the people were taken into custody Sunday night while in suspicious cars without license plates.

The US State Department issued a statement Monday confirming arrests by the Haitian National Police of “a group of individuals, including some US citizens.””When US citizens are arrested overseas we seek Consular Access as soon as possible and provide appropriate Consular assistance as provided by the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations,” said the statement, which did not identify the Americans or provide further details.

The State Departmen on Thursday issued a Level 4 “Do not travel” travel advisory for Haiti, citing “crime and civil unrest” and “widespread, violent, and unpredictable demonstrations in Port-au-Prince and elsewhere in Haiti.”

The State Department ordered all “non-emergency US personnel and their families” to leave Haiti, saying the country has “limited ability to provide emergency services to US citizens in Haiti.”

“Protests, tire burning and road blockages are frequent and unpredictable,” the advisory stated.

“Violent crime, such as armed robbery, is common. Local police may lack the resources to respond effectively to serious criminal incidents, and emergency response, including ambulance service, is limited or non-existent.”

[CNN, Bloomberg]

9. 3rd migrant in 3 months dies in Border Control custody

Image result for Third migrant dies in Border Patrol custody in as many months

A 45-year-old undocumented Mexican immigrant died Monday in Border Control custody. The case followed the deaths of two children from Guatemala, ages 7 and 8, in the agency’s care in December. The immigrant was arrested by police in Roma, Texas, on Feb. 2 after crossing the border illegally. He requested medical attention and was examined at a local hospital. He “was cleared” by medical professionals and returned to the Rio Grande City Border Patrol Station, according to a Customs and Border Protection statement. The next day the immigrant requested medical attention again, and was taken to another hospital, receiving a diagnosis of cirrhosis of the liver and congestive heart failure. He was kept in the hospital and died Monday.

The incident follows two cases in December when children from Guatemala, ages 8 and 7, died after crossing the U.S. border into New Mexico, drawing widespread condemnation from critics of the Border Patrol.

That prompted Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Kevin McAleenan to issue new guidelines requiring his agents to more quickly inform CBP leadership, Congress, and the public of the death of people in its custody. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen later followed up by ordering more robust medical screenings of children it holds in its custody.

Those deaths followed intense criticism of the agency’s handling of children during the administration’s now-rescinded “zero-tolerance” that led to more than 2,800 family separations along the border.

Customs and Border Protection spokesman Andrew Meehan said the official cause of death in Monday’s case remains unknown, and that the immigrant’s identity is not being released. Meehan said the department is following newly created notification guidelines following deaths in its custody and has alerted Congress and the Mexican government of the immigrant’s death.

“This loss of life is tragic,” Meehan said in a statement. “Our condolences go out to the family and loved ones. CBP remains committed to ensuring the safe and humane treatment of those within the care of our custody.”

[USA Today]

10. Sailor in iconic WWII victory photo dies at 95

Related image

George Mendonsa, a World War II Navy quartermaster shown in an iconic Times Square V-J Day photograph commonly known as “The Kiss,” has died at the age of 95. Mendonsa was on leave in New York City, in uniform, when Japan’s surrender was announced. He went to a Times Square bar for a drink. When he left, he saw a young nurse. Giddy and remembering nurses who tended to wounded comrades, he took her in his arms, dipped her backwards, and kissed her. Photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt snapped a picture and it was published in Life magazine. The authors of The Kissing Sailor concluded the nurse, once thought to be Edith Shain, was Greta Zimmer Friedman, an Austrian-born Holocaust refugee and dental assistant. [The Washington Post]

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