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Nation & World Briefs


Thursday, August 09, 2018
Court orders ban on harmful pesticide, says EPA broke law

WASHINGTON — A federal appeals court ruled Thursday that the Trump administration endangered public health by keeping a widely used pesticide on the market despite extensive scientific evidence that even tiny levels of exposure can harm babies’ brains.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco ordered the Environmental Protection Agency to remove chlorpyrifos from sale in the United States within 60 days.

In a split decision, the court said Thursday that Pruitt, a Republican forced to resign earlier this summer amid ethics scandals, violated federal law by ignoring the conclusions of agency scientists that chlorpyrifos is harmful.

“The panel held that there was no justification for the EPA’s decision in its 2017 order to maintain a tolerance for chlorpyrifos in the face of scientific evidence that its residue on food causes neurodevelopmental damage to children,” Judge Jed S. Rakoff wrote in the court’s opinion.

For now, Army stops discharges of immigrant recruits

The U.S. Army has stopped discharging immigrant recruits who enlisted seeking a path to citizenship — at least temporarily.

A memo shared with The Associated Press spells out orders to high-ranking Army officials to stop processing discharges of men and women who enlisted in the special immigrant program.

“Effective immediately, you will suspend processing of all involuntary separation actions,” read the memo signed July 20 by Acting Assistant Secretary of the Army for Manpower and Reserve Affairs Marshall Williams.

The disclosure comes one month after the AP reported that dozens of immigrant enlistees were being discharged or had their contracts cancelled. Some said they were given no reason for their discharge. Others said the Army informed them they’d been labeled as security risks because they have relatives abroad or because the Defense Department had not completed background checks on them.

Dems pounce on GOP lawmaker’s downfall, blast ‘cesspool’

WASHINGTON — Democrats are jumping on a Republican congressman’s insider trading indictment to decry a culture of corruption they say President Donald Trump has fostered, a theme they hope will help them seize congressional control in November’s elections.

“The brazen corruption, cronyism and incompetence of the Trump Administration is reflected in the conduct of House Republicans,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said Thursday in a letter to her Democratic colleagues. She called the GOP-run Congress “a cesspool of self-enrichment, secret money and special interests,” and urged Democrats to use their August recess to emphasize that.

Pelosi’s statement came a day after Rep. Chris Collins, R-N.Y., was arrested and indicted on securities fraud charges involving his use of inside information about a troubled biotech company. Collins, a stalwart Trump defender and one of his earliest congressional supporters in the 2016 presidential race, has denied wrongdoing.

Hours earlier, a pair of junior Democrats struck the same note in a conference call with reporters.

“The fish rots from the head,” said Rep. John Sarbanes, D-Md. He said Trump is “the most ethically blind president we’ve ever seen.”

Kobach’s lead in Kansas race falls to 91 votes

TOPEKA, Kan. — Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach’s lead over Gov. Jeff Colyer in the Republican primary has shrunk to only 91 votes after election officials discovered a mistake in the listing for one county’s results in the state’s tally of votes.

The lead is minuscule when compared with the 311,000 votes cast.

The final, unofficial results posted on the secretary of state’s website show Kobach winning Thomas County in northwest Kansas, with 466 votes to Colyer’s 422. But the tally posted by the Thomas County clerk’s office shows Colyer with 522 votes, or 100 votes more, a number the clerk confirmed to The Associated Press on Thursday.

Bryan Caskey, state elections director, said county officials pointed out the discrepancy Thursday following a routine request for a post-election check of the numbers to counties by the secretary of state’s office.

County election officials have yet to finish counting late-arriving mail-in ballots or provisional ballots provided to voters at the polls when their eligibility wasn’t clear.

Prosecutors shift to fraud charges in Manafort trial

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — After three days of dramatic and even salacious testimony in the trial of Paul Manafort, prosecutors on Thursday returned to the nuts and bolts of their case against the former Trump campaign chairman as they sought to show he obtained millions of dollars in bank loans under false pretenses.

Attorneys for special counsel Robert Mueller also got a rare — and narrow — acknowledgment from U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III that he likely erred when he angrily confronted them a day earlier over whether he had allowed a witness to watch the trial.

The judge’s comments and detailed testimony about Manafort’s loans opened the eighth day of his trial as prosecutors began presenting the bulk of their bank fraud case against him after spending days largely on tax-evasion allegations.

On Thursday, a bank employee told jurors how she discovered discrepancies in the information he put on his loan application, including holes in his claims about a New York City property.

In another instance, James said Manafort maintained that there were no mortgages on a separate New York property when there actually were. All the while, Manafort signed paperwork indicating he understood that he could face criminal or civil penalties if he lied to the bank.

From Associated Press