Defense Secretary Mattis promises support to Ukraine, says reviewing lethal aid (Source Reuters) U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis on a visit to Ukraine said Washington would keep up pressure on Russia over what he called its aggressive behavior and signaled his personal support for providing weapons to Kiev. Mattis said Russia had not abided by the Minsk ceasefire agreement meant to end the separatist conflict in eastern Ukraine and that the United States would maintain sanctions on Moscow. “Despite Russia’s denials, we know they are seeking to redraw international borders by force, undermining the sovereign and free nations of Europe,” Mattis told reporters, alongside Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko. Mattis’s visit, timed for Ukrainian Independence Day, is the second high-profile show of U.S. support in as many months, after U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson came to Kiev in July. According to U.S. officials, a plan to provide defensive weapons to Ukraine has made its way to the White House but has not been signed. Thus far the Pentagon says it has provided $750 million in non-lethal aid to Ukraine since 2015, which includes radars and Supplying weapons “will be a huge boost of support to Ukraine,” said Michael Carpenter, a former deputy assistant secretary of defense for the region. Carpenter said the weapons under discussion cannot effectively be used to take territory, which means providing them would help stabilize the situation.
Georgia Officer Who Said “We Only Kill Black People” Resigns As Department Moves To Fire Him (Source buzzfeed.com)
A Georgia police officer who told a white woman during a traffic stop she had nothing to worry about because “we only kill black pe ople” resigned Thursday after the department announced he would be fired.
After watching the footage and conducting an internal investigation, Cobb County Police Chief Mike Register said Thursday that the department was going to fire Lt. Greg Abbott, emphasizing that the comments were “inexcusable and inappropriate.” “I’ve known Abbott for a number of years, always perceived him to be an honorable man, and he made a mistake,” Register told reporters. “I don’t know what’s in his heart, but I know what’s in his mouth, and it’s not appropriate.” After being notified of his impending termination, the lieutenant decided to retire Thursday afternoon, his attorney, Lance LoRusso, told BuzzFeed News. In the video of the July 2016 traffic stop recently obtained by WSB Channel 2 News, a nervous woman can be heard telling Abbott that she’s afraid to put her hands down to get her cell phone because “she’s seen way too many videos of cops…”
She trails off and Abbott interjects, standing at the passenger side window, “But you’re not black. Remember, we only kill black people. Yeah. We only kill black people, right?” “All the videos you’ve seen, have you seen any white people get killed?” he continues.
Texas residents told to evacuate homes or DIE amid warning water levels could rise to 80 feet (Source Yahoo News)
Flood-stricken residents in Texas have been told to evacuate their homes or face dying after Hurricane Harvey saw river levels rise to dangerous levels. The US Army Corp of Engineers sent out a stark warning last night that residents living in Barlow Lake Estates in Works Bluff who choose to stay will not necessarily be rescued.
Horrifyingly, they added that people who stay should find ways to ensure their bodies are identified. Tyler County Emergency Management wrote on Facebook: “River levels will rise to near seventy nine feet. With additional rain fall accumulations, a potential elevation could reach near eighty two feet. “All residents living in Mt. Neches, Barlow Lake Estates, Works Bluff on CR 4415, Sheffield Ferry and Bottom Loop-CR 4700 who have not already evacuated must do so immediately. “Anyone who chooses to not heed this directive cannot expect to be rescued and should write their social security numbers in permanent marker on their arm so their bodies can be identified.
“The loss of life and property is certain.” The warning comes after the death toll from Hurricane Harvey climbed to at least 31, with the fire department in Houston searching thousands of flooded homes to ensure “no people were left behind”. Among the dead are six family members – four of them children – whose bodies were pulled on Wednesday from a van that had been swept off a Houston bridge into a bayou.
Hurricane Harvey damaged ExxonMobil refineries, causing hazardous pollutants to leak (Source inhabitat.com)
After Hurricane Harvey devastated parts of Texas last weekend, you probably didn’t think the situation could get any worse. Sadly, it did. On Tuesday, ExxonMobil acknowledged that two of its refineries were damaged during the natural disaster, causing hazardous pollutants to leak into the environment. The acknowledgment was made in a regulatory filing with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, following repeated complaints on social media of an “unbearable” chemical smell in parts of Houston. In the filing, ExxonMobil said that a floating roof covering a tank at ExxonMobil’s Baytown oil refinery sank due to heavy rain. This, in turn, caused it to dip below the surface of oil or other materials stored there, causing “unusually high emissions, especially of volatile organic compounds, a category of regulated chemicals,” reports the Washington Post.
The Baytown Refinery is the second largest in the country. ExxonMobil is seeking a permit to empty the tank and make repairs. Reportedly, the company is planning to “conduct an assessment to determine the impact of the storm once it is safe to do so.” A spokesperson for ExxonMobil refused to say what was in the tank.
The extent of Hurricane Harvey’s damage doesn’t end there. ExxonMobil’s Beaumont petrochemical refinery suffered damage to its sulfur thermal oxidizers, which capture and burn sulfur dioxide. As a result, the plant expelled 1,312.84 pounds of sulfur dioxide into the atmosphere — well in excess of allowable emissions. The company said in a statement, “The unit was stabilized. No impact to the community has been reported. Actions were taken to minimize emissions and to restore the refinery to normal operations.” According to Luke Metzger, director of the group Environment Texas, “Most of the unauthorized emissions come from the process of shutting down, and then starting up, the various units of the plant, when pollution control devices can’t be operated properly and there’s lots of flaring.” Flaring is usually done when releasing chemicals without burning them is more hazardous for the local community and environment. The company admitted to flaring hazardous materials at its Baytown refinery both Sunday and Monday.
Putin promises retaliation in growing diplomatic feud with US (Source washingtonexaminer.com) Russian President Vladimir Putin plans to retaliate against the State Department’s latest rebuke of his policies, his spokesman warned. “We regret the unconstructive stance taken by our counterparts in the United States and, of course, we cannot afford to leave unfriendly, and sometimes hostile steps towards us without retaliation,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Thursday, according to state-run media. That statement suggests that the diplomatic feud will escalate following the State Department’s decision to close three Russian facilities in the United States. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s team justified that move as a response to Putin’s requirement that the United States cut hundreds of personnel operating in Russia. But the State Department called for an end to the tit-for-tat, saying that the two sides had reached “parity” in the fight. Russian diplomats maintain that the United States is to blame for the strained ties between the former Cold War rivals. “By tradition we are for good-natured relations with the United States,” Peskov said. “Moreover, we believe that these relations must be advanced in the interests of peace and global stability and in the interests of settling crucial world and regional problems.”
North Korea fires missile over Japan, sharply escalating tensions (Source Reuters) North Korea fired a missile that flew over Japan and landed in waters off the northern region of Hokkaido early on Tuesday, South Korean and Japanese officials said, marking a sharp escalation of tensions on the Korean peninsula. The test, which experts said appeared to have been an intermediate-range Hwasong 12 missile, came as U.S. and South Korean forces conduct annual military drills on the peninsula, against which North Korea strenuously objects. Earlier this month, North Korea threatened to fire missiles into the sea near the U.S. Pacific territory of Guam after U.S. President Donald Trump warned Pyongyang would face “fire and fury” if it threatened the United States. North Korea has conducted dozens of ballistic missile tests under young leader Kim Jong-Un, the most recent on Saturday, but firing projectiles over mainland Japan is rare.
“North Korea’s reckless action is an unprecedented, serious and grave threat to our nation,” Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told reporters.