Historically low water in Mississippi River exposes century-old shipwreck. Trump deposed in defamation case brought by rape accuser. ‘Mysterious’ deaths of Russian elites raise eyebrows as Putin imposes martial law.
Historically low water in Mississippi River exposes century-old shipwreck
A lack of rainfall in the Ohio River Valley has caused the Mississippi River to reach near record-low water levels. This has created an immense problem for the country’s already strained supply chain. Many businesses, and especially agriculture businesses, rely on the Mississippi River to ship their goods to ports for export. The US Army Corps of Engineers is also in the process of building a 1500-foot-wide underwater levy to prevent saltwater from the Gulf from creeping further upriver to endanger drinking water sources in Louisiana.
Amidst all this havoc, residents in Baton Rouge, LA, discovered the remains of an old shipwreck had emerged from the receding waters. Louisiana state archaeologist Chip McGimsey has spent the last two weeks surveying the 95-foot-long wreck. McGimsey believes it to be the remains of the Brookhill Ferry, which transported people, horses and goods across the river before a bridge was built. Reports show the ferry sank in a storm in 1915.
“Eventually the river will come back up and (the ship) will go back underwater,” McGimsey said. “That’s part of the reason for making the big effort to document it this time — cause she may not be there the next time”.
Meteorologists believe the river’s water levels will continue to fall for the next few weeks. This is likely to create more work for McGimsey, who says he has already received reports of two other possible shipwrecks having appeared in the area.
Trump deposed in defamation case brought by rape accuser
Three years ago, columnist E. Jean Carroll accused Donald Trump, who was then President, of having raped her in a fitting room of a Manhattan department store in the mid-1990s. Trump publicly denied the accusations, saying Carroll was “not my type”. This prompted Carroll to bring a defamation case against him.
In 2020, then-US Attorney General Bill Barr moved to substitute the US Government as the defendant in the case. Barr argued that Trump was acting in his capacity as a federal employee when he denied Carroll’s accusations. This would have killed Carroll’s lawsuit, as the US Government can’t be sued for defamation. Judge Lewis Kaplan, who is presiding over the case in a federal district court in New York, quickly rejected Barr’s move.
Then a few months ago, a US Appeals Court declined to rule whether Trump was acting in his capacity as a federal employee when he denied the accusation. Instead, they referred the case to another appeals court in D.C., where Trump was when he issued the denial.
Trump attorney Alina Habba recently attempted to block a deposition of Trump in the case, pending the D.C. review. Judge Kaplan rejected this motion and set Oct. 19 as the date for Trump’s deposition. Kaplan ruled Trump had litigated the case “with the effect and probably the purpose of delaying it”. This ruling prompted another tirade from Trump on social media in which he repeated the defamatory statements that prompted the suit in the first place.
Both Carroll’s and Trump’s depositions in the case will remain confidential until the trial opens on Feb. 6, 2023.
‘Mysterious’ deaths of Russian elites raise eyebrows as Putin imposes martial law
The death of Russian gas magnate Nikolay Petrunin is the latest to raise questions about whether Vladimir Putin is targeting Russian elites critical of his prosecution of the war in Ukraine. Petrunin died after over a month in a coma, officially attributed to COVID-19 complications.
A high-ranking “incorruptible” judge Sergey Maslov was killed in the blast on the Crimean bridge. A few weeks before that on Sept. 21, Russian aviation expert Anatoly Gerashchenko died after falling down stairs. On Sept. 1, Ravil Maganov, CEO of Russian oil giant Lukoil and outspoken critic of the Ukraine war, fell to his death from the window of his hospital room.
Putin decrees martial law in annexed Ukraine territories.
Today, Putin declared martial law in the four recently annexed Ukrainian territories of Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia. The decree comes ahead of an expected Ukrainian offensive. Russian officials in Kherson have already ordered Russians in the area to evacuate.
But Putin is also imposing extra security in Russia, with three ascending security alert levels across different regions in Russia. The highest level apples in regions bordering Ukraine, with orders calling for increased public enforcement and restrictions of traffic into and out of these regions. In central and southern regions of Russia, which includes Moscow, the public can expect “vehicle searches and traffic restrictions” and “tighter public order security”. The lowest level of security applies to the rest of Russia, including Siberia and the Russian Far East.
Regional governors throughout Russia have orders to set up command centers and increase their cooperation with military authorities. The order will increase the authority and autonomy of regional military leaders throughout Russia, essentially martial law by another name.
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