Category Archives: World

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Immigrants Sue US Over End to Temporary Protected Status

Immigrants from four countries and their American-born children sued the Trump administration Monday over its decision to end a program that lets them live and work legally in the United States.

Nine immigrants and five children filed the suit in federal court in San Francisco alleging the decision to end Temporary Protected Status for El Salvador, Haiti, Nicaragua and Sudan was racially motivated.

The status is granted to countries ravaged by natural disasters or war. It lets citizens of those countries remain in the U.S. until the situation improves back home.

More than 200,000 immigrants could face deportation due to the change in policy, and they have more than 200,000 American children who risk being uprooted from their communities and schools, according to plaintiffs in the case filed by the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California and other immigrant advocates.

Salvadoran plaintiff Orlando Zepeda has lived in California for more than three decades and is raising his 12- and 14-year-old children in Los Angeles. He said the change would be daunting.

Zepeda has worked in building maintenance for the past eight years and fears he wouldn’t recognize the country he left during the middle of a civil war when he was just a teenager.

“My home and family are here,” he said in a statement.

A message for the Department of Justice seeking comment was not immediately returned.

It’s the latest lawsuit filed against the Trump administration over its crackdown on immigration. A case filed last month by Haitian and Salvadoran immigrants in Massachusetts also alleges the decision to end temporary protected status was racially motivated.

Both suits came after Trump used vulgar language to describe the arrival of immigrants from Haiti and African countries.

The lawsuit in California alleges that the U.S. narrowed its criteria for determining whether countries qualified for temporary protected status. Since taking office, the Trump administration has ended the program for the four countries.

Choice: Country or family

The program was created for humanitarian reasons and the status can be renewed by the U.S. government following an evaluation.

El Salvador was designated for the program in 2001 after an earthquake and the country’s status was repeatedly renewed. The Trump administration announced in January that the program would expire for El Salvador in September 2019.

At that time, the American children of those immigrants could face the choice of leaving their country with their parents or staying without them, according to the lawsuit, which seeks class-action status for the children.

“These American children should not have to choose between their country and their family,” Ahilan Arulanantham, advocacy and legal director of the ACLU of Southern California, said in a statement.

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Immigrants Sue US Over End to Temporary Protected Status

Immigrants from four countries and their American-born children sued the Trump administration Monday over its decision to end a program that lets them live and work legally in the United States.

Nine immigrants and five children filed the suit in federal court in San Francisco alleging the decision to end Temporary Protected Status for El Salvador, Haiti, Nicaragua and Sudan was racially motivated.

The status is granted to countries ravaged by natural disasters or war. It lets citizens of those countries remain in the U.S. until the situation improves back home.

More than 200,000 immigrants could face deportation due to the change in policy, and they have more than 200,000 American children who risk being uprooted from their communities and schools, according to plaintiffs in the case filed by the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California and other immigrant advocates.

Salvadoran plaintiff Orlando Zepeda has lived in California for more than three decades and is raising his 12- and 14-year-old children in Los Angeles. He said the change would be daunting.

Zepeda has worked in building maintenance for the past eight years and fears he wouldn’t recognize the country he left during the middle of a civil war when he was just a teenager.

“My home and family are here,” he said in a statement.

A message for the Department of Justice seeking comment was not immediately returned.

It’s the latest lawsuit filed against the Trump administration over its crackdown on immigration. A case filed last month by Haitian and Salvadoran immigrants in Massachusetts also alleges the decision to end temporary protected status was racially motivated.

Both suits came after Trump used vulgar language to describe the arrival of immigrants from Haiti and African countries.

The lawsuit in California alleges that the U.S. narrowed its criteria for determining whether countries qualified for temporary protected status. Since taking office, the Trump administration has ended the program for the four countries.

Choice: Country or family

The program was created for humanitarian reasons and the status can be renewed by the U.S. government following an evaluation.

El Salvador was designated for the program in 2001 after an earthquake and the country’s status was repeatedly renewed. The Trump administration announced in January that the program would expire for El Salvador in September 2019.

At that time, the American children of those immigrants could face the choice of leaving their country with their parents or staying without them, according to the lawsuit, which seeks class-action status for the children.

“These American children should not have to choose between their country and their family,” Ahilan Arulanantham, advocacy and legal director of the ACLU of Southern California, said in a statement.

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Trump to Help States Arm Some Teachers, Backs Off Gun Buyer Age-Limit

The White House pledged Sunday to help individual states provide “rigorous firearms training” to some teachers and endorsed a bill to tighten the federal background check system for gun purchasers, but backed off of President Donald Trump’s earlier endorsement of raising the minimum age to purchase some guns.

In a conference call with reporters, administration officials said Trump will urge states to give law enforcement the power to temporarily seize guns from people or preventing them from purchasing the weapons if they demonstrate a threat. The president will also support expanding mental health programs.

WATCH: Student walkout

​Trump earlier expressed support for raising the minimum age for buying assault weapons from 18 to 21, but the plan announced Sunday does not include that. 

There has been an increased national focus on gun control policy following last month’s mass shooting at a Florida high school that left 17 people dead. Authorities have charged a 19-year-old with the killings, saying he used a semi-automatic rifle.

Many students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., have been vocal in calling for state and national leaders to take actions to ensure another such shootings do not happen again. Students across the country are planning a walkout Wednesday, the one-month anniversary of the Parkland shooting, as well as a march in Washington on March 24.

Trump wants to help states train specially qualified school personnel who volunteer to carry firearms and to encourage military veterans and retired police officers will be encouraged to seek new careers as teachers.

The idea of arming some teachers has been controversial and has drawn sharp opposition from the National Education Association, the country’s largest teachers lobby, among other groups. NEA President Lily Eskelsen Garcia has said teachers should be focused on educating students and that there need to be solutions that will “keep guns out of the hands of those who want to use them to massacre innocent children and educators.”

Under the White House plan, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos will chair a commission on school safety and violence that will report recommendations to Trump, probably within a year, according to administration officials. The panel will focus on a number of areas, including existing rating systems for “violent entertainment,” effects of press coverage of mass shootings, campus security best practices and the effectiveness of “psychotropic medication for treatment of troubled youth.”

DeVos characterized the administration’s efforts as “a pragmatic plan to dramatically increase school safety.”

“We are committed to working quickly because there’s no time to waste,” DeVos told reporters. “No student, no family, no teacher and no school should have to live the horror of Parkland or Sandy Hook or Columbine again.”

Senator Chuck Schumer criticized the White House plan in a tweet Sunday night, saying the administration “has taken tiny baby steps designed not to upset” the National Rifle Association gun-lobbying group while a gun violence epidemic “demands giants steps be taken.” He pledged Democrats will push for stricter steps, including universal background checks for gun buyers and a ban on assault weapons.

The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence was also critical of the Trump administration’s plan.

“Americans should be able to expect President Trump to follow-through on the critical measures he acknowledged were needed, but today’s announcement was woefully inadequate and showed a profound lack of leadership that is crucial at this time,” said the group’s Co-President Avery Gardiner.

Gardiner said the group also wants universal background checks, bans on new assault weapons and allowing court-issued restraining orders to prevent people who represent a threat to themselves or to others from having access to guns.

Florida enacted its own law last week banning the purchase of firearms by anyone under the age of 21.

The NRA has filed a lawsuit challenging the law, calling it “an affront” to the U.S. Constitution’s Second Amendment, which many believe enshrines gun ownership.

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Trump to Help States Arm Some Teachers, Backs Off Gun Buyer Age-Limit

The White House pledged Sunday to help individual states provide “rigorous firearms training” to some teachers and endorsed a bill to tighten the federal background check system for gun purchasers, but backed off of President Donald Trump’s earlier endorsement of raising the minimum age to purchase some guns.

In a conference call with reporters, administration officials said Trump will urge states to give law enforcement the power to temporarily seize guns from people or preventing them from purchasing the weapons if they demonstrate a threat. The president will also support expanding mental health programs.

WATCH: Student walkout

​Trump earlier expressed support for raising the minimum age for buying assault weapons from 18 to 21, but the plan announced Sunday does not include that. 

There has been an increased national focus on gun control policy following last month’s mass shooting at a Florida high school that left 17 people dead. Authorities have charged a 19-year-old with the killings, saying he used a semi-automatic rifle.

Many students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., have been vocal in calling for state and national leaders to take actions to ensure another such shootings do not happen again. Students across the country are planning a walkout Wednesday, the one-month anniversary of the Parkland shooting, as well as a march in Washington on March 24.

Trump wants to help states train specially qualified school personnel who volunteer to carry firearms and to encourage military veterans and retired police officers will be encouraged to seek new careers as teachers.

The idea of arming some teachers has been controversial and has drawn sharp opposition from the National Education Association, the country’s largest teachers lobby, among other groups. NEA President Lily Eskelsen Garcia has said teachers should be focused on educating students and that there need to be solutions that will “keep guns out of the hands of those who want to use them to massacre innocent children and educators.”

Under the White House plan, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos will chair a commission on school safety and violence that will report recommendations to Trump, probably within a year, according to administration officials. The panel will focus on a number of areas, including existing rating systems for “violent entertainment,” effects of press coverage of mass shootings, campus security best practices and the effectiveness of “psychotropic medication for treatment of troubled youth.”

DeVos characterized the administration’s efforts as “a pragmatic plan to dramatically increase school safety.”

“We are committed to working quickly because there’s no time to waste,” DeVos told reporters. “No student, no family, no teacher and no school should have to live the horror of Parkland or Sandy Hook or Columbine again.”

Senator Chuck Schumer criticized the White House plan in a tweet Sunday night, saying the administration “has taken tiny baby steps designed not to upset” the National Rifle Association gun-lobbying group while a gun violence epidemic “demands giants steps be taken.” He pledged Democrats will push for stricter steps, including universal background checks for gun buyers and a ban on assault weapons.

The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence was also critical of the Trump administration’s plan.

“Americans should be able to expect President Trump to follow-through on the critical measures he acknowledged were needed, but today’s announcement was woefully inadequate and showed a profound lack of leadership that is crucial at this time,” said the group’s Co-President Avery Gardiner.

Gardiner said the group also wants universal background checks, bans on new assault weapons and allowing court-issued restraining orders to prevent people who represent a threat to themselves or to others from having access to guns.

Florida enacted its own law last week banning the purchase of firearms by anyone under the age of 21.

The NRA has filed a lawsuit challenging the law, calling it “an affront” to the U.S. Constitution’s Second Amendment, which many believe enshrines gun ownership.

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Trump Wants to Make Schools Safe by Arming School Teachers

The White House on Sunday vowed to help provide “rigorous firearms training” to some schoolteachers and formally endorsed a bill to tighten the federal background checks system, but backed off President Trump’s earlier call to raise the minimum age to purchase some guns to 21 years old from 18 years old.

Responding directly to last month’s gun massacre at a Florida high school, the president said the federal government will help states implement a number of moves, including training for specially qualified school personnel volunteers to carry firearms. Military veterans and retired police officers will be encouraged to seek new careers as teachers.

The idea of arming some teachers has been controversial and has drawn sharp opposition from the National Education Association, the country’s largest teachers lobby, among other groups.

The White House says Trump also backs new laws to reform and  strengthen background checks for potential gun buyers and allow states to seek court orders to take away weapons from those who have shown to be a threat to themselves and others.

Trump is also proposing expanding mental health programs.

Many of the student survivors have urged Washington to toughen restrictions on gun purchases, including  raising the minimum age to purchase some guns to 21 years old from 18 years old.  But, such measures are fiercely opposed by the National Rifle Association.

After 17 people were shot and killed last month at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., Trump elevated the issue of school safety in his administration. He called for raising the minimum age for purchasing an AR-15 or similar-style rifles from 18 to 21 years old.

“Now, this is not a popular thing to say, in terms of the NRA. But I’m saying it anyway,” Trump said in a Feb. 28 meeting with lawmakers. “You can buy a handgun — you can’t buy one; you have to wait until you’re 21. But you can buy the kind of weapon used in the school shooting at 18. I think it’s something you have to think about.”

But the plan released Sunday did not address the minimum age for gun purchases. When asked by reporters about the age issue, a senior administration official said it was “a state-based discussion right now” and would be explored by a commission chaired by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.

DeVos characterized the administration’s efforts as “a pragmatic plan to dramatically increase school safety.”

“We are committed to working quickly because there’s no time to waste,” DeVos said on a Sunday evening conference call with reporters.  “No student, no family, no teacher and no school should have to live the horror of Parkland or Sandy Hook or Columbine again.”

Nikolas Cruz, charged with the shooting at Marjory Stonelam Douglas High School last month, is just 19 and allegedly used a AR-15 assault-style weapon.

He was also a well-known troublemaker at Douglas high school and made a number of violent threats.

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Digital ads, Social Media Hide Political Campaign Messaging

The main events in a political campaign used to happen in the open: a debate, the release of a major TV ad or a public event where candidates tried to earn a spot on the evening news or the next day’s front page.

That was before the explosion of Facebook, Twitter and YouTube as political platforms. Now some of a campaign’s most pivotal efforts happen in the often-murky world of social media, where ads can be targeted to ever-narrower slices of the electorate and run continuously with no disclosure of who is paying for them. Reporters cannot easily discern what voters are seeing, and hoaxes and forgeries spread instantaneously.

Journalists trying to hold candidates accountable have a hard time keeping up.

“There’s a whole dark area of campaigns out there when, if you’re not part of the target group, you don’t know anything about them,” said Larry Noble of the Campaign Legal Center in Washington, which seeks greater transparency in political spending. “And if reporters don’t know about it, they can’t ask questions about it.”

The problem came to widespread attention during the 2016 presidential race, when Donald Trump’s campaign invested heavily in digital advertising, and the term “fake news” emerged to describe pro-Trump propaganda masquerading as online news. Russian interference in the campaign included covert ads on social media and phony Facebook groups pumping out falsehoods.

The misinformation shows no sign of abating. The U.S. Senate election in Alabama in December was rife with fake online reports in support of Republican Roy Moore, who eventually lost to Democrat Doug Jones amid allegations that Moore had sexual contact with teenagers when he was a prosecutor in his 30s. Moore denied the accusations.

Politicians also try to create their own news operations. U.S. Rep. Devin Nunes’ campaign funded a purported news site called The California Republican, and the executive director of Maine’s Republican party last month acknowledged that he runs an anonymous website that is critical of Democrats.

Phony allegations are nothing new in politics. But they used to circulate in automated phone calls, mailers that were often tossed in the trash or, as far back as the 1800s, in partisan newspapers that published just once a day, noted Garlin Gilchrist, executive director of the Center for Social Media Responsibility at the University of Michigan.

The difference now is how quickly false information spreads.

“The problem is something that’s always existed … but social media is a different animal than news distribution in the past,” Gilchrist said.

A study released this past week found that false information spreads faster and wider on Twitter than real news stories. Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology traced the path of more than 126,000 stories on Twitter and found that the average false story takes about 10 hours to reach 1,500 users compared with about 60 hours for real ones. On average, false information reaches 35 percent more people than true news.

A data analysis by Buzzfeed’s news site after the 2016 election found that the most popular fake stories generated greater engagement on Facebook than the top real stories in the three months before Election Day.

Because it’s increasingly easy to fabricate videos, which are viewed as the most reliable evidence available online, reporters “need stronger tools” to weed out frauds, Gilchrist said.

Social media also upends campaign advertising practices. Federal regulations require a record of every political advertisement that is broadcast on television and radio. But online ads have no comparable requirements.

Earlier this month, Twitter Chief Executive Officer Jack Dorsey announced that the platform would take new steps to try to stop harassment and false information. Facebook has partnered with media organizations, including The Associated Press, to flag false information on its platform. It recently announced plans to reform its political advertising, including making all ads on a page visible to all viewers, regardless of whether they were intended to see the spots. It also will require a line identifying the buyer on every political ad and create a four-year archive.

Still, because there are so many candidates for office in the U.S., Facebook is limiting itself to federal races at first.

“Facebook is moving faster than regulators are around the world toward some better stuff,” said Sam Jeffers of the UK-based group Who Targets You, which pushes for better online campaign disclosure.

He cited three recent elections in which underdog campaigns invested heavily in online ads and beat the polling expectations to win: the 2015 parliamentary races and the Brexit vote and the U.S. presidential race the following year.

Who Targets You designed an online tool that will collect Facebook political ads and deposit them in a database.

In the U.S., the nonprofit investigative outlet ProPublica has a similar project underway with a widget called Political Ad Tracker, which can be downloaded by readers to build a database of online ads. Other organizations, including the AP, have begun publishing stories specifically intended to knock down false information circulating on social media.

Some efforts are more local. In Seattle’s municipal election last year, online ad spending increased 5,000 percent over the previous cycle in 2013. Eli Sanders, a reporter for the alternative weekly The Stranger, unearthed a city ordinance that requires any outlet that distributes a political ad to make copies available for public inspection. His reporting inspired the city’s ethics and elections commission to demand the data from online outlets.

Google and Facebook have shared some fragmentary information with the Seattle commission, and through them Sanders is getting his own window into the online political marketplace. One outside group that supported the candidate who won the mayoral election, Jenny A. Durkan, spent $20,000 on one ad on a Google platform that the company displayed between 1 million and 5 million times.

“Just like at the national level, locally there is this whole segment of political advertising that is not transparent,” Sanders said.

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Digital ads, Social Media Hide Political Campaign Messaging

The main events in a political campaign used to happen in the open: a debate, the release of a major TV ad or a public event where candidates tried to earn a spot on the evening news or the next day’s front page.

That was before the explosion of Facebook, Twitter and YouTube as political platforms. Now some of a campaign’s most pivotal efforts happen in the often-murky world of social media, where ads can be targeted to ever-narrower slices of the electorate and run continuously with no disclosure of who is paying for them. Reporters cannot easily discern what voters are seeing, and hoaxes and forgeries spread instantaneously.

Journalists trying to hold candidates accountable have a hard time keeping up.

“There’s a whole dark area of campaigns out there when, if you’re not part of the target group, you don’t know anything about them,” said Larry Noble of the Campaign Legal Center in Washington, which seeks greater transparency in political spending. “And if reporters don’t know about it, they can’t ask questions about it.”

The problem came to widespread attention during the 2016 presidential race, when Donald Trump’s campaign invested heavily in digital advertising, and the term “fake news” emerged to describe pro-Trump propaganda masquerading as online news. Russian interference in the campaign included covert ads on social media and phony Facebook groups pumping out falsehoods.

The misinformation shows no sign of abating. The U.S. Senate election in Alabama in December was rife with fake online reports in support of Republican Roy Moore, who eventually lost to Democrat Doug Jones amid allegations that Moore had sexual contact with teenagers when he was a prosecutor in his 30s. Moore denied the accusations.

Politicians also try to create their own news operations. U.S. Rep. Devin Nunes’ campaign funded a purported news site called The California Republican, and the executive director of Maine’s Republican party last month acknowledged that he runs an anonymous website that is critical of Democrats.

Phony allegations are nothing new in politics. But they used to circulate in automated phone calls, mailers that were often tossed in the trash or, as far back as the 1800s, in partisan newspapers that published just once a day, noted Garlin Gilchrist, executive director of the Center for Social Media Responsibility at the University of Michigan.

The difference now is how quickly false information spreads.

“The problem is something that’s always existed … but social media is a different animal than news distribution in the past,” Gilchrist said.

A study released this past week found that false information spreads faster and wider on Twitter than real news stories. Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology traced the path of more than 126,000 stories on Twitter and found that the average false story takes about 10 hours to reach 1,500 users compared with about 60 hours for real ones. On average, false information reaches 35 percent more people than true news.

A data analysis by Buzzfeed’s news site after the 2016 election found that the most popular fake stories generated greater engagement on Facebook than the top real stories in the three months before Election Day.

Because it’s increasingly easy to fabricate videos, which are viewed as the most reliable evidence available online, reporters “need stronger tools” to weed out frauds, Gilchrist said.

Social media also upends campaign advertising practices. Federal regulations require a record of every political advertisement that is broadcast on television and radio. But online ads have no comparable requirements.

Earlier this month, Twitter Chief Executive Officer Jack Dorsey announced that the platform would take new steps to try to stop harassment and false information. Facebook has partnered with media organizations, including The Associated Press, to flag false information on its platform. It recently announced plans to reform its political advertising, including making all ads on a page visible to all viewers, regardless of whether they were intended to see the spots. It also will require a line identifying the buyer on every political ad and create a four-year archive.

Still, because there are so many candidates for office in the U.S., Facebook is limiting itself to federal races at first.

“Facebook is moving faster than regulators are around the world toward some better stuff,” said Sam Jeffers of the UK-based group Who Targets You, which pushes for better online campaign disclosure.

He cited three recent elections in which underdog campaigns invested heavily in online ads and beat the polling expectations to win: the 2015 parliamentary races and the Brexit vote and the U.S. presidential race the following year.

Who Targets You designed an online tool that will collect Facebook political ads and deposit them in a database.

In the U.S., the nonprofit investigative outlet ProPublica has a similar project underway with a widget called Political Ad Tracker, which can be downloaded by readers to build a database of online ads. Other organizations, including the AP, have begun publishing stories specifically intended to knock down false information circulating on social media.

Some efforts are more local. In Seattle’s municipal election last year, online ad spending increased 5,000 percent over the previous cycle in 2013. Eli Sanders, a reporter for the alternative weekly The Stranger, unearthed a city ordinance that requires any outlet that distributes a political ad to make copies available for public inspection. His reporting inspired the city’s ethics and elections commission to demand the data from online outlets.

Google and Facebook have shared some fragmentary information with the Seattle commission, and through them Sanders is getting his own window into the online political marketplace. One outside group that supported the candidate who won the mayoral election, Jenny A. Durkan, spent $20,000 on one ad on a Google platform that the company displayed between 1 million and 5 million times.

“Just like at the national level, locally there is this whole segment of political advertising that is not transparent,” Sanders said.

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