'Secret prison within a prison': Report details solitary confinement practices at Northwest detention center in Tacoma
OLYMPIA, Wash. — The Northwest detention center in Tacoma holds people in solitary confinement on average more than any other dedicated U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) facility, according to a new watchdog report.The report by the University of Washington’s Center for Human Rights also contends that the center — in violation of ICE’s own policies — imposes solitary confinement on inmates with mental-health issues, or who are exercising their First Amendment rights by going on hunger strikes.The report is based on federal government records and documents by the company that opera...
The Seattle Times
Coronavirus is striking American mink farms, but Illinois' shrinking fur industry has so far escaped the virus
Outbreaks of coronavirus have struck mink farms in Wisconsin and Michigan, but Illinois’ shrinking fur industry so far appears to have remained free of the disease, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said.An agency spokeswoman said that as of mid-November, two farms in Wisconsin — the nation’s largest mink-producing state by far — have detected the coronavirus in their animals, as have a dozen in Utah and one in Michigan.For now, though, no Illinois producers have reported finding the virus in their animals.Mink raised on farms to become fur coats or hats have become a recent source of coronav...
Biden expected to usher in an era of worker-friendly labor policies
Labor activists eager to capitalize on the pro-worker sentiment fueled by the pandemic will soon have a friend in the White House.President-elect Joe Biden is expected to push to make it easier for workers to unionize and hold employers accountable for working conditions, a sharp U-turn from the business-friendly employment policies pursued by President Donald Trump.Among the most immediate changes will be new leadership at the National Labor Relations Board and Department of Labor, the latter of which is currently helmed by Eugene Scalia, a former corporate attorney who has been criticized by...
Bahamas is set to start offshore oil drilling just 150 miles off South Florida
MIAMI — Florida’s waters may be protected from offshore drilling but the Bahamas plans to start looking for oil in less than a month at an exploratory well just 150 miles off the coast of the Sunshine State.Bahamas Petroleum Company, or BPC, said in a regulatory filing last week that it contracted the UK-registered Stena IceMAX drill ship to begin work on the Perseverance No. 1 oil well in the southern Bahamas. The ship, currently anchored in Las Palmas in the Canary Islands, is scheduled to arrive in the Bahamas on or around Dec. 15, the company said.“BPC anticipates that it will take 4-5 day...
Under Trump, hundreds of small changes in immigration rules have had a huge impact
PHILADELPHIA — Immigration lawyers call it the “no-blank-space policy.”In 2019, the Trump administration imposed a rule requiring immigrants seeking asylum or other humanitarian relief to fill in every space on the application, even if the question doesn’t apply to them. If they leave one spot empty — say, they don’t write down a middle name, because they don’t have one — the document is rejected.That causes more than delay in refiling. It can derail entire claims and open the door to deportation. Last week two national immigrant advocacy groups filed a federal class-action lawsuitBut the blan...
The Philadelphia Inquirer
Released records confirm what CBP still won't say about border stops of Iranian Americans
SEATTLE — Customs and Border Protection officials have never fully explained what happened on a January weekend when hundreds of people born in Iran were held for as long as nine hours at the Blaine border.An apparent memo leaked later that month appeared to show Seattle Field Office leadership directed officers to send individuals born in Iran and elsewhere in the Middle East into an extra screening process, fearing retaliation after the U.S. killing of Iran’s Gen. Qassem Soleimani.But Customs and Border Protection (CBP) did not confirm the memo.Now, documents ordered released by a federal ju...
The Seattle Times
FCC fines telemarketer nearly $10 million for spoofed Caller ID
SAN DIEGO — The Federal Communications Commission has fined a San Diego man and his telemarketing company nearly $10 million for “spoofed” Caller IDs on robocalls made ahead of the 2018 primary election that contained false accusations about a candidate in a North County state assembly race.According to the FCC, Ken Moser and his company, Marketing Support Systems, displayed the Caller ID number of a rival telemarketing company on some 47,610 pre-recorded robocalls in violation of the Truth in Caller ID Act.The act prohibits manipulating Caller ID information with the intent to defraud, cause ...
The San Diego Union-Tribune
Fiat Chrysler, Peugeot-maker PSA Group set shareholder meetings to approve merger
Shareholders for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and Peugeot-maker PSA Group are to meet in January to decide whether to approve the proposed merger between the two companies.The companies announced Wednesday they would hold general meetings for their respective shareholders on Jan. 4 “in order to approve the merger of their companies to allow the creation of Stellantis, which will become the world’s fourth largest automobile manufacturer by volume.”Leaders of the companies have previously said they aim to complete the merger by the end of the first quarter.Regulatory approvals have been moving forw...
Detroit Free Press
Minnesota regulators approve permits for Enbridge pipeline
Two Minnesota regulators Thursday granted environmental permits for Enbridge’s Line 3 oil pipeline across northern Minnesota, critical approvals needed for construction to begin soon on the controversial $2.6 billion project.The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) approved permits dealing with water quality and wetland issues arising from construction of the 340-mile pipeline. Also, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) granted several Line 3 permits.The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers still must approve its own environmental permit — one Enbridge has said that it expects to get s...
Star Tribune (Minneapolis)
'Even $15 an hour is a joke.' Are Florida restaurants ready for the new minimum wage?
MIAMI — Zak Stern didn’t flinch when he saw Floridians vote for a $15 minimum wage.Stern, who launched South Florida’s artisanal bread craze at Wynwood’s Zak the Baker, has been raising his employees’ salaries over the last three years to reach a $15 minimum this year, despite how coronavirus affected his bottom line.“Look, we did it. We proved you can do it,” he said. “I baked it into the model.”More than 60% of Floridians voted for Amendment 2 on Tuesday, raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2026. Businesses will have until Sept. 30, 2021 to prepare for the first hike, when wages go f...