Michigan border sees 1,700% increase in drug seizures amid pandemic
DETROIT — U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials say they’ve had an unprecedented year with a 1,700% increase in marijuana seizures and 200% increase in seized firearms during the pandemic.The seizures were conducted by the Detroit Field Office, which oversees the Ambassador Bridge, Detroit Windsor Tunnel, the Blue Water Bridge in Port Huron, the International Bridge in Sault Ste. Marie and the Detroit Metropolitan Airport.From Oct. 1, 2019, through Sept. 30, drug enforcement operations in Michigan’s five ports netted more than 9,000 pounds of marijuana, 211 pounds of cocaine, more than ...
The Detroit News
Editorial: US antitrust case against Google a welcome start
Angst over President Donald Trump should not cloud judgment of a new federal antitrust case against Google.In announcing the case last week, Trump’s Department of Justice launched a new era of antitrust enforcement to rein in excessive control that giant digital platforms have over life and commerce.This is vitally important, long overdue and must continue during the next presidency.There is bipartisan support for regulatory enforcement, prompted by widespread concern about unfair competition and a lack of transparency and accountability by these platforms.While Google, Facebook and other plat...
The Seattle Times
Susan Tompor: Social media scams skyrocket during the COVID-19 crisis
Social media is a great way to spot a sweet picture of your little niece getting a flu shot or your nephew scoring that big goal in hockey — especially as we try to embrace a new socially-distant lifestyle.But the scammers know exactly where to find you during the fight against the spread of COVID-19.Social media isn’t just for keeping up with family — or arguing about politics. You suddenly might be scrolling through Facebook one day and spot a way to track down a missing stimulus payment.Or find a new love of your life. Or a job. Or a great deal on a pair of designer shoes.And, you might los...
Detroit Free Press
Military, police in Washington state prepare for possible civil unrest after election
SEATTLE — As tension builds toward Election Day, law enforcement officials in Washington and elsewhere are preparing for the prospect that this year’s long, hot summer of unrest won’t end on Nov. 3, regardless of who wins the presidency.If anything, officials worry that pressure will only build in the coming weeks, faced with the possibility of a contested election, spiking gun sales and ongoing civil unrest over institutional racism and police violence, all driven by a tsunami of social media misinformation and conspiracies from the right and left, not to mention from foreign adversaries.“I c...
The Seattle Times
Tough fire season takes toll on firefighters' mental health
Josh Baker just got home from a 50-day deployment to three California wildfires. Although his job wasn’t dangerous — he worked on a support team, making calls to track down equipment such as port-a-potties and bulldozers — the hours were long, the stakes were high and the work was exhausting.He’s still feeling tense. “I’m anxious, nerves are kind of frayed, things that would normally not be a big deal — kind of water off a duck’s back — hit a little harder,” said Baker, a California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire) fire captain who spoke to Stateline as a member of the age...
Nation and world news briefs
AstraZeneca cleared by US regulators to resume vaccine trialAstraZeneca Plc, the U.K. drugmaker developing a coronavirus vaccine with the University of Oxford, has been cleared by U.S. regulators to restart a trial halted in the country for more than a month on concerns about a volunteer who became ill, according to a person familiar with the decision.The person asked not to be identified because the information isn’t public.A decision to allow the study to resume would remove a significant impediment for AstraZeneca and Oxford as they try to get their coronavirus shot across the line. They ar...
Tribune News Service
Florida regulators to seek more details about injuries suffered on theme park rides
ORLANDO, Fla. — The public often doesn’t know what happens when someone is hurt at a theme park, in a system where parks self-report visitors’ health problems to the state.State regulators plan to talk with Florida’s biggest theme parks about making their visitor injury reports more accurate after an Orlando Sentinel investigation revealed that Universal Orlando had disclosed a tourist’s broken neck as “numbness” and a child’s broken foot and leg bones as “foot pain.”“It’s not giving a true picture of what’s happening at the theme parks. That has to change,” said state Sen. Linda Stewart, D-Or...
Commentary: In the race for a COVID-19 vaccine, how do we balance risk and safety?
The great race for a COVID-19 vaccine has more than 130 medicines in development, with 40 being tested on humans, of which 10 are in large, phase 3 trials. The U.S. Government has invested about $11 billion in Operation Warp Speed, making advance purchases from Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer/BioNTech, Sanofi/GlaxoSmithKline, Novavax and AstraZeneca — betting that at least some will be soon approved by regulators as “safe and effective” vaccines.No matter your Twitter feed, “vaccines have been one of the greatest public health tools to prevent disease,” as The New York Times explained in Ja...
Susan Tompor: IRS still reaching out to send stimulus checks
Many lower income households who are still wondering why they didn’t get a stimulus check of $1,200 or more are getting another second chance.The Internal Revenue Service is extending what had been an Oct. 15 deadline until Nov. 21 for those who typically don’t file a tax return to get their information to the IRS.The IRS is trying to connect with people who typically don’t file a tax return and have not received a stimulus check or Economic Impact Payment yet. Those stimulus payments began rolling out in April but millions did not get money yet.Who needs to do extra work to get money?The goal...
Detroit Free Press
Immigrants can still get their US work visas expedited, but it will cost a lot more
U.S. immigration authorities announced this week that, effective Monday, they will increase the fee for priority processing of work visa applications, a special process that allows expediting the case’s adjudication for an additional, hefty cost.Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) allows U.S. employers or foreign applicants to pay a $1,440 fee for premium processing, in addition to other fees required for the type of forms submitted.This fee, which is attached to Form I-907, Request for Premium Processing Service, will increase to $2,500, the immigration agency said in a news release....