Nation and world news briefs
FCC chief who ended net neutrality says he’ll quit Jan. 20WASHINGTON — U.S. Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai said he’ll leave the agency Jan. 20, eliminating the possibility of a holdover Republican majority at the agency that could have temporarily stymied changes sought by the incoming Biden administration.Since being elevated to the chairmanship by President Donald Trump in 2017, Pai, a Republican, has led the commission in dismantling net neutrality regulations and pushed for fast wireless broadband service.Pai’s term as a commissioner extends to July 2021 and he could h...
Tribune News Service
'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
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...
Appellate ruling scraps conversion therapy bans in cities across Florida
MIAMI — As a result of a federal appeals court ruling that struck down laws in Palm Beach County banning LGBTQ conversion therapy, other Florida municipalities with similar laws can no longer enforce such bans on therapies that attempt to change a minor’s sexual orientation or gender identity.That’s according to attorney Rob Rosenwald of the city of Miami Beach, which in 2016 became the first city in Florida to pass a law banning licensed medical providers from practicing conversion therapy on a child.The two laws struck down by a panel of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, in Palm Beach Count...
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...
Brazil aviation agency is first foreign regulator to clear Boeing 737 Max to fly
Brazil’s national civil aviation authority on Wednesday became the first foreign air safety regulator to join the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in approving the Boeing 737 Max to fly passengers again.The agency indicated that, like Europe’s aviation regulator, it too is asking Boeing to make some further design improvements that would be retrofitted to the Max later.In a statement, the Brazilian authority said that after “long independent work to reauthorize the operation of the aircraft,” it agreed with and adopted the FAA evaluation that the immediate safety issues with the Max ...
The Seattle Times
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
Michigan adds 6,290 COVID-19 cases, 145 more deaths
DETROIT — Michigan added 6,290 cases and 145 more deaths from COVID-19 on Tuesday as cases continue to surge across the state.Of the Tuesday deaths, 51 were identified during a delayed records review, the state said.The latest additions bring the state’s total of confirmed cases to 320,506 and deaths to 8,688 since the virus was first detected in Michigan in March, according to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.Michigan finished last week with a record of 50,892 cases, the sixth consecutive record week for confirmed infections, surpassing last week’s total of 44,019 new case...
The Detroit News
Mayo launches therapy to prevent COVID-19 hospitalizations
MINNEAPOLIS — Jay Clark thought he was suffering from nothing more than sinus and chest congestion. But just to be sure, he took a COVID-19 test.So when the result came back positive, Clark couldn’t believe it. Four days later, the 67-year-old Rochester resident became one of the first COVID-19 patients in Minnesota to receive a new treatment that could prevent those with the virus from being hospitalized.“I notice a little tightness in my chest,” Clark said the night before receiving the infused medication at Mayo Clinic last week. “I’m not short of air, but I don’t think I want to go run a m...
Star Tribune (Minneapolis)
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