Damaged Dam in Northern California Prompts Evacuations, Controversy with National Security Adviser Flynn, North Korea Ballistic Missile Test, ICE Agents Arrests and Deports Hundreds, and National Academic Bowl Competition Results: South Region.
Hello, welcome to the Daily Moth! Hope your weekend was good. It is Monday, February 13. Ready for news?
The Oroville Dam in Northern California has serious issues — and it’s forced over 180,000 people to be evacuated. The dam is currently working “okay — it’s holding up Lake Oroville (the lake water levels are very high from heavy rainfall the past winter) — but its spillway, which is a concrete “path” to release water from the lake, started to erode last week with a big hole in the middle of it. The hole continued to expand as water continued to flow over it, it’s now a 200-foot wide hole that is 50 feet deep (and increasing).
This is what prompted officials to use the emergency spillway, which is adjacent to the damaged spillway. This was never done before. The hill below emergency spillway is not paved and has trees and boulders on it, and when the waters flowed, it caused a muddy, messy flow of rushing water.
That emergency spillway was also eroding and people are concerned that the hill could collapse and there’d be a 30-foot wall of water that will overwhelm the small cities that lie below the dam, so that’s why there were evacuations, which caused many traffic jams last night as everybody tried to get out at once. Dam officials are now switching between the two spillways so they don’t overwhelm either one. Helicopters have also dropped rocks into the hole on the main spillway, but it will eventually have to be repaired and it could cost $100 to $200 million.
The dam seems to be under control with levels getting lower and water no longer flowing over the emergency spillway. Officials will inspect the dam and make a determination on if it is safe for people to return. Very concerning situation with the dam.
There is controversy with President Trump’s National Security Adviser Michael Flynn — because there are reports that Flynn talked with a Russian government representative about sanctions levied against Russia by Obama — before Trump was inaugurated. It is illegal for a “private citizen” to be involved in diplomacy.
The sanctions were prompted by U.S. intelligence officials concluding that Russia hacked into DNC emails in an attempt to influence the U.S. election.
It was revealed previously that Flynn did have talks with Russia, but VP Mike Pence said previously that Flynn told him the sanctions were not discussed. Now Flynn says he might have discussed sanctions, but he is not sure (he can’t remember).
Why this is a big deal: when Obama levied sanctions against Russia late December — ordering 35 Russian diplomats to leave the country and closing two Russian compounds in the U.S. — the Russian President Putin did not immediately reciprocate with sanctions as they wanted to “delay” until the new Trump administration took over.
Trump liked this decision by Putin — see his tweet on December 30.
Tweet: [“Great move on delay (by V. Putin) - I always knew he was very smart!”]
At the time it was already known that Trump was “friendly” with Putin, but now the question is: did Flynn tell Russia that the new administration would scale back on the sanctions or made other assurances of a softer approach? If this did happen, then that is illegal, since Trump was not yet inaugurated. Did Flynn act alone in this or was Trump aware? How many other White House staff was aware of this?
Reporters are continuing to press the White House for responses on Flynn. Kellyanne Conway, the counselor to the president, said Trump has confidence in Flynn. Sean Spicer (Press Sec.) said Trump was evaluating the situation.
On Saturday, North Korea launched a test of a ballistic missile — the missile was not armed and traveled about 300 miles before it landed into the East Sea/Sea of Japan. The missile was launched while Trump was hosting the Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the Mar-a-lago resort in Florida. It prompted a late-night, brief press conference where Shinzo said this missile test was in violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions and that it can’t be tolerated. President Trump followed up with a very brief message saying the USA stands behind Japan 100%.
North Korea has been testing ballistic missiles for a long time now, defying the international community’s objections. North Korea appears to have done this purposefully to coincide with the Trump/Abe meeting and test what their reaction would be.
This test is alarming because the missile used solid rocket fuel and was launched from land, which was different from previous submarine-fired missiles. It is harder to detect a planned land/solid fuel launch because it takes less time to fill up and requires less support vehicles/gas tanks for a liquid fuel missile, which can alert people via satellite that a missile launch is coming.
This is the second country to “illegally” test-fire a ballistic missile since Trump was inaugurated — Iran did a test two weeks ago, prompting Trump to say Iran was “on notice.” North Korea is definitily “on notice” as well — they are one the most-sanctioned countries — and we will see if there are any official actions from the White House or the international community in response to the missile test. There might be an emergency U.N. Security Council meeting to discuss this.
Last week more than 600 people in 11 states were arrested by ICE Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers in their efforts to find and arrest undocumented/illegal immigrants. Officials from ICE said they planned the enforcement several weeks ago and that it was not an “increase” — saying it was no different from ICE arrests under the Obama administration (in 2012 over 400,000 people were arrested and deported and in 2015, 2,000 were arrested in one week.)
But there is an increased media attention of the arrests — mainly because of President Trump’s rhetoric of deporting criminal immigrants, building a wall, and his executive actions that expanded the powers of ICE agents. This has caused serious fear and tension among immigrant communities and their American family/friends. They worry that this is only the “beginning” of a very strict campaign by ICE/Homeland Security to continue ramp up the arrests and deportations.
President Trump tweeted yesterday about the arrests:
Tweet: [“The crackdown on illegal criminals is merely the keeping of my campaign promise. Gang members, drug dealers & others are being removed!”]
A key difference between the Obama/Trump administrations is that under Obama, ICE focused on undocumented people with violent, serious criminal offenses, while under Trump, the definition of “criminal” could be expanded to include any crimes — such as being illegal or having a traffic violation.
We will see what happens with ICE, but for now, multiple organizations that advocate for undocumented immigrants are taking action to protect them. The ACLU tweeted various instructions/rights that people have if they are apprehended by ICE officials.
[Images of ACLU Tweets]
Two Deaf organizations, the Council de Manos and the Texas Latino Council of the Deaf & Hard of Hearing issued vlogs that had an “ASL” version. I’ve linked them below.
The National Academic Bowl for Deaf/HoH Students competition have started: there are four regional competitions (South, West, Midwest, East) in which the top 20 teams will advance to the National competition at Gallaudet University.
Last weekend was the South regional competition at the North Carolina School for the Deaf at Morganton with 20 teams competing. The Texas School for the Deaf are the champions with Maryland School for the Deaf coming in second place. Starr’s Mill (mainstream school in GA) came in third and Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind (my alma mater) came in fourth. Congratulations to the top four teams. The champion, TSD, broke a record of the highest # of points during a preliminary match with 90 out of 102 possible points. Nice!
The next regional competition (West) will be this weekend at the California School for the Deaf, Riverside.
For more information, check out the link. http://www.guyouthprograms.com/ab-home.html
That is all for today. See you tomorrow and stay with the light!