Top News Headlines – Sept 18, 2019

Top News Headlines – Sept 18, 2019


Trump Administration  to look at Immigration Social Media Accounts

As part of the new application process for immigrants, the Trump administration will require that information about their social media accounts be included in the application process.  The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) wants to collect social media user names, not passwords, for some 19 platforms including Twitter, Youtube, LinkedIn, MySpace, Flickr, China’s Tencent Weibo and Russia’s VKontakte.  This according to NextGov.

The change comes after the President’s Executive order 13780 dated March 6, 2017.  This was the second iteration of Trump’s temporary travel ban on visitors from specific terrorism-plagued countries. DHS has been collecting publicly available social media data since 2012 but had not been requesting this information from those submitting documents. The executive order also asked DHS to improve the screening process for visas. 

By obtaining social media handles it “ will assist DHS by reducing the time needed to validate publicly-available posted information to the applicant and prevent mis-associations,”  says agency. “ Social media may help distinguish individuals of concern from applicants whose information substantiates their eligibility for travel or an immigration benefit.” U.S. Immigration Services say that refusing to hand over a  user name will not necessarily lead to denial of the requested benefits.


Trump says US ‘Locked and Loaded’ After Saudi Attack Amid Oil Price Surge 

The president wrote on Twitter Sept 15, regarding the recent oil refinery drone attacks on Saudi Arabia, “ There is a reason to believe that we know the culprit, are locked and loaded, depending on verification. We are waiting to hear from the kingdom as to who they believe was the cause of this attack, and under what terms we should proceed.”

The President’s tweet follows a statement from  Secretary of State Mike Pompeo over the weekend that confirmed Iran was to blame for the attack. He said, “ Tehran is behind nearly 100 attacks on Saudi Arabia while Rouhani and Zarif pretend to engage in diplomacy.” The Secretary went on to say, “Amid all the calls for de-escalation, Iran has now launched an unprecedented attack on the world’s energy supply, there is no evidence the attacks came from Yemen.”

A general in Iran recently said that Iran is now ready for a ‘full-fledged’ war with the United States. “Everybody should know that all American bases and their aircraft carriers in a distance of 2,000 kilometers around Iran are within the range of our missiles.” This was a comment made by Amirah Hajizadeh, an Iranian commander said the state-backed Tasnim News Agency. 


California adds Iowa to ‘travel-ban’ over refusal to fund gender transitions

California announced last week that Iowa has now been added to the list of states now on its ever-growing travel ban. Why? Because Iowa has passed a new prohibition against funding gender transition surgeries under Medicaid.  The announcement made by state Attorney General Xavier Becerra means that on October 4, California will no longer offer tax-payer funded trips to Iowa for any public employee or student at a state-run university. 

On the federal level, the Trump administration has rolled back the Obama-era decision that sex-based discrimination under existing law included protections for gender identity.  In May, the Health and Human Resources Department ruled that doctors were not to perform operations of this sort, stating that gender identity was not protected under sex discrimination law in health care. 

Iowa’s Gov. Kim Reynolds said, “ This narrow provision simply clarifies that Iowa’s Civil Rights Act does not require taxpayer dollars to pay for sex reassignment and other similar surgeries.”  Pat Garrett, Spokesperson for Reynolds commented, “ This returns us to what had been the State’s position for years.”


World’s Largest Jellyfish Wash Ashore On Maine’s  Beaches 

The world’s largest jellyfish, the Lion’s Mane, has recently been seen washed up on beaches in Maine.  The Lion’s Mane jellyfish can grow up to 5 feet in length and can have tentacles up to 100 feet long, and according to the Portland Herald, the massive jellyfish have been known to sting beachgoers. 

A senior research scientist at Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences in East Boothbay, Nick Record, tracks jellyfish sightings in the Gulf each summer.  There were hundreds of jellyfish sightings this year. The typical number of jellyfish sightings range from 300 to 700 and this year many were about the giant jellyfish. 

While reports of jellyfish sightings have been up in recent years it has been difficult for researchers to discern whether there is actually an increase in the creature’s presence.  If in fact there is an increased number of Lion’s Mane jellyfish in the Gulf of Maine then it is likely because of warming oceans, says Record. He also remarked, “Every once in a while I get pictures of people holding a Lion’s Mane jellyfish and don’t do that!”


Weak Two: Empty Seats Out Number Fan’s in Several NFL Stadiums 

Just into week two of the NFL’s 100th season kick-offs, many fans are wondering about all the empty seats.  Some took to social media and posted comments and pictures of huge amounts of empty seats at the games.

The most startling is the recent turnout at the LA Memorial Coliseum where the Rams were playing the New Orlean Saints.  Many fans went on social media with questions about the small size of the crowds. Another shocker was the Redskins game at FedExField who played the Dallas Cowboys. Again many posted on social media asking ‘where the fans went?’ In each photo shot, there are huge scattered sections with empty seats.

 And again at Miami’s Hard Rock Stadium where the Miami Dolphins lost 43-0 to the New England Patriots.  In New York, there were again fans posting on social media showing the stadium with sparsely filled seats. No reasons as of yet given for the lackluster opening season. Maybe recent scandals and protests have the fans feeling uninspired?

Today’s Quote is from Thomas Jefferson,

“ If you want something you never had,  you have to do something you’ve never done.”