“Humanitarian crisis” unfolds in Jackson with no end in sight – National & International News – WED 31Aug2022

Jackson under boil water notice once again after pipes freeze, break.

 

 

Jackson’s water crisis could take $billions to fix. Mar-a-Lago: DOJ details months of obstruction by Trump. Drought forces China to ration electricity.

 

 

NATIONAL NEWS

“Humanitarian crisis” unfolds in Jackson with no end in sight

Even as floodwaters recede, it’s unclear when Jackson’s water system will be fully operable. Adding to the confusion is the apparent friction between the state and local authorities. Mayor Lumumba’s office and Gov. Reeves’ office do not appear to have communicated with one another. However, both have been in contact with the White House. Lumumba and Reeves are also each making contradictory statements regarding the crisis. Gov. Reeves has warned residents that whatever water coming into their homes is undrinkable “raw” water from the reservoir. Meanwhile, Lumumba says this isn’t true. Lumumba does say that Jackson’s residents should continue boiling their water, as they’ve been advised to do for over a month.

Jackson residents aren’t taking any chances and are assuming the worst. Residents have told reporters that when any water comes out of their taps, it’s cloudy and brown.

Drive-up distribution points have opened throughout the city where residents receive one case of bottled water per car. Many residents are waiting in their cars for hours in lines that stretch for miles. Often, the supply points run out of water within 30 minutes of opening their doors. Those who arrived to the line even minutes too late ended up waiting hours in the hot sun for nothing.

A long overdue investment

President Biden has authorized FEMA assistance to deal with the immediate crisis. But Jackson’s water woes have been going on for years and are likely to continue without major intervention.

State and local authorities at least agree on one point: this is not going to be a quick fix, or a cheap one. Jackson’s antiquated water infrastructure has suffered decades of neglect and under investment. Lumumba estimates that a complete overhaul of Jackson’s water delivery system may cost $2 billion. And neither the city, the state, nor the federal government has yet volunteered to pony up.

State Sen. David Blount (D-Jackson) has called for a special legislative session to discuss the issue. Blount advocates putting a portion of the state’s $2.5 billion in surplus funds towards fixing Jackson’s water system. If they do, it will be the first time in decades the state has made such a monumental investment in Jackson’s utility infrastructure. By contrast, as Blount points out, “the state has spent hundreds of millions of dollars to benefit regional utility authorities on the Gulf Coast and in DeSoto County“. Wealthier and whiter communities in nearby Rankin County also received state funds to build a new sewer plant, severing them from Jackson’s crumbling system.

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Mar-a-Lago: DOJ details months of obstruction by Trump

Late last night, the Department of Justice filed a brief contesting a petition by Donald Trump’s attorneys in the investigation of top secret documents seized from Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home by the FBI. A hearing tomorrow will determine whether Trump’s attorneys will be successful in having a “special master” appointed to oversee the FBI’s investigation. A special master reviews document evidence in a case to ensure that none of it is subject to attorney-client privilege.

Trump’s attorneys want the special master to review whether any of the documents are subject to “executive privilege”. On this point, the DOJ’s counter-filing stated unequivocally that there was “no legal basis” for such a review. By law, executive privilege applies only to sitting presidents.

The DOJ also contends that appointing a civilian special master to the investigation could potentially further compromise national security. Some of the 700 pages of documents seized by the FBI contains classified information on intelligence gathering practices and even human intelligence assets. The FBI agents already reviewing the case had to be given higher security clearances just to view the material.

Months of obstruction

A photo from the DOJ showing top secret documents alongside Trump’s collection of framed magazine covers at Mar-a-Lago.

In the filing, the DOJ also sought to debunk “meritless accusations” from Trump’s legal counsel and his supporters that DOJ had treated Trump “unfairly”. The filing outlines months of negotiations between the department and Trump’s team. It reveals that Trump’s team lied repeatedly when they claimed to have no classified documents other than what they had already surrendered.

DOJ also provided a photo of top secret files on the floor at Mar-a-Lago, sitting alongside Trump’s personal paraphernalia (in this case a box of framed magazine covers). Previous reports described that material in top secret folders seized from Mar-a-Lago were taken out of their folders and mixed in with other material, such as Trump’s personal photos and magazine clippings.

During a June search of the property, agents were “expressly forbidden” by Trump’s counsel from opening certain boxes in a storage room to verify they contained no classified material. Agents later removed several boxes of top-secret and above-top-secret material from the storage room. 

More troubling still, multiple civilian sources told DOJ that other material was “likely concealed and removed” from the estate to hide it from investigators. This means there may be still more classified material out there that the FBI hasn’t yet got hold of.

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INTERNATIONAL NEWS

Drought forces China to ration electricity

China depends heavily on hydroelectric dams for its power needs. Now, an 11-week drought has dried up reservoirs and rivers across the country. This has forced some of China’s largest cities to ration electricity use. As a result, manufacturing centers that normally run 24/7 are going dark for much of the day. High-rise offices in financial hubs like Shanghai are also having to do without air conditioning, despite weeks-long stretches of 100+ degree temperatures.

This is the longest drought in China’s recorded history and could have global implications. Months of high temperatures and no rain have devastated crops. This will contribute to a rise in food prices rises in coming months, especially since Europe has been experiencing similar droughts. The slowdown in China’s factories could also affect international traders that rely on Chinese manufacturing.

Meanwhile, several provinces in China have ramped up coal-fired plants to ease power shortages. This is a major setback in efforts to convince China and other developing countries to decrease their coal use to ease climate change.

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