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  • Purestock/iStock/Thinkstock(SAN DIEGO) -- A small butterfly native to southern California and northwestern Mexico could be threatened by President Donald Trump's proposed border wall.The Quino checkerspot butterfly was once common to the area but has seen its habitat eroded over the past century and is now listed as an endangered species, according to the Center for Biological Diversity. It's one of the species listed in a lawsuit brought against the U.S. Department of Homeland Security by the center and other environmental groups over the wall.Environmentalists claim the butterfly and a number of other species, including the Riverside fairy shrimp and the Pacific pocket mouse, could be in trouble if the Trump administration goes through with its plan to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border."It really can't fly above around 15 feet above the ground," J.P. Rose, a staff attorney for the Center for Biological Diversity, told ABC affiliate KGTV in San Diego. "So if you put in a 30- to 40-foot wall along the border, the ability of it to migrate from northern Mexico to the U.S. is going to be impossible."The lawsuit is challenging DHS's ability to waive environment laws requiring review before the wall is built. But the DHS is arguing that it is within its right to issue the waivers.U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel was set to hear arguments Friday on the lawsuit. Curiel is no stranger to Trump, who blasted the judge in 2016 when he was presiding over one of the cases against Trump University. Then a candidate for president, Trump told The Wall Street Journal that Curiel, who was born in Indiana, has "an absolute conflict" of interest regarding the case because "of Mexican heritage."Trump has since agreed to settle the various Trump University lawsuit for $25 million. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals this week cleared the way for attendees of Trump University to get some of their money back, upholding Curiel's decision and rejecting arguments from a lone objector who threatened to derail the settlement.When asked by KGTV if the lawsuit is also about a more general opposition to the wall, Rose replied that "it's definitely both.""We are in solidarity with civil rights, immigrant rights, human rights groups who are against this wall," Rose said.Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
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  • iLexx/iStock/Thinkstock(DETROIT) -- A Michigan family is searching for a bone marrow donor for their 6-month-old who suffers from a rare immune disorder.Doctors initially did not think that baby Elias would make it to 7 months, his mother, Evelyn Argirokastritis, told ABC Detroit affiliate WXYZ. The immune disorder he suffers from is so uncommon that he's only the 22nd person in the United States to ever be registered with it, WXYZ reported.Time is of the essence for Elias, who is kept in sterilized isolation to prevent him from coming in contact with even the most minor of illnesses, which for him could be fatal, his mother said.Doctors are especially worried that it is the season for RSV, or respiratory syncytial virus, Argirokastritis said."If he were to get the respiratory infection that's going on, it could be lethal," she added.The family feels "helpless" that they are not a match and "can't do anything" for Elias, Argirokastritis said. After none of Elias' extended family turned out to be a match either, Argirokastritis turned to Be the Match, the national registry for bone marrow donations.The online registry did not present any matches for Elias, either.Now, the family, who lives in Macomb County, is hosting "Be the Match" events in Detroit to help expedite the search. All that's needed to see if you're a match is a few swabs from a kit and about 20 seconds."He needs just the smallest amount of bone marrow from you to help him live a full life," Argirokastritis explained.The mother is pleading with potential matches to get tested to help save someone's life."Everyone could be a hero," she said. "You don’t know who’s out there waiting for you, who’s been spending the last three, four years in a hospital just waiting for you."Argirokastritis is still holding onto hope that her young son will get a second chance at a healthy life. Their next match event will be held on Saturday afternoon at the Village of Rochester Hills, according to WXYZ."So, get up, go to one of my drives, and swab your cheeks," Argirokastritis said. "Someone’s waiting for you."
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  • danielfela/iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The woman at the heart of a controversy surrounding a cancelled $156 million contract to provide 30 million meals for victims of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico says she is being turned into a scapegoat for problems with how FEMA handles contracts with small businesses.House Democrats have asked for the Oversight Committee to subpoena FEMA officials to explain why the contract was issued to a small company called Tribute Contracting, LLC run by Atlanta-based business owner Tiffany Brown — the sole employee listed for that business.Brown and FEMA disagree on why the contract was canceled—the agency says the deliveries were late, she says there were logistical breakdown that caused delays and communication issues with the agency.As Democrats turn a critical eye on the agency’s response to Hurricane Maria, Brown also says she's now been turned into a scapegoat for flaws in FEMA's process for dealing with small business contracts."I resent the fact that this is turning into an attack, it's an attack on FEMA using me as a vessel. Please don’t use me as a vessel. If you want to attack FEMA or address FEMA’s concerns please attack it from a more intelligent perspective instead of it being about me," Brown said Friday.Democrats on the House Oversight committee are asking for FEMA officials to be subpoenaed to explain why such a large contract was granted to such a small company in the first place. Ranking Member Elijah Cummings and Rep. Stacey Plaskett, who represents the U.S. Virgin Islands, say in a letter to Chairman Trey Gowdy that Tribute has a history of failing to fulfill government contracts and that FEMA officials should have considered that in their decision.The Democrats say the contract, which was first reported by The New York Times, is an example of problems within FEMA similar to problems with the federal response to Hurricane Katrina."It appears that the Trump Administration's response to the hurricanes in Puerto Rico in 2017 suffered from the same flaws as the Bush Administration's response to Hurricane Katrina in 2005," Democrats on the House Government Oversight and Reform Committee wrote in a letter demanding FEMA officials explain how and why it canceled contracts related to hurricane response."One of the primary reasons FEMA failed to deliver these meals is because it inexplicably awarded a contract worth approximately $156 million to deliver 30 million emergency meals to a tiny, one-person company with a history of struggling with much smaller contracts," Democrat Elijah Cummings, D-Md., wrote in the letter.The committee letter lists five previous government contracts with Tribute from 2013 and 2014 that were cancelled "for default" or for inability to deliver the products ordered in the contract. One of those contracts was with the Government Printing Office which issued a decision in 2016 that "no agency in the executive branch" would enter contracts with Tribute until 2019. But FEMA said in its statement that exclusion only applied to GPO.Brown told committee staff that she proposed supplying the meals at the lowest cost, according to the letter, and that she "worked 24 hours a day, 7 days a week" to fulfill it. She also told committee staff that FEMA knew she would use subcontractors to produce and deliver the meals."It is difficult to fathom how FEMA could have believed that this tiny company had the capacity to perform this $156 million contract," Democrats wrote in the letter. "There have been numerous examples of disastrous contracting decisions by agencies that selected the lowest bidder without conducting an adequate analysis of the company's ability to deliver on the contract."Cummings and Plaskett are asking for the committee to subpoena FEMA and the Department of Homeland Security for documents related to the Tribute contract but also all documents related to contracts that have been cancelled or are in default that are related
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  • TheaDesign/iStock/Thinkstock(CINCINNATI) -- A $3,000 reward is being offered for information in a suspected hate crime in Cincinnati after a car was vandalized last May.Video from the May 4, 2017, incident shows a person defacing a vehicle that belonged to a person of Middle Eastern descent, Cincinnati FBI officials said at a press conference Friday, ABC affiliate WCPO reported.The car had its tires slit and was spray-painted with swastikas and offensive phrases, according to the FBI. Graffiti painted on the car included, "Musslim [sic] Terrorist," "Go Home" and "Trump America." The vehicle's windows were also broken."We believe that this vehicle was specifically targeted because it was owned by a person of Middle Eastern descent," special agent in charge Angela Byers said, WCPO reported."Because of their wide-ranging impact, investigating hate crime is a priority for the FBI," Byers added. "And they will not be tolerated."The Cincinnati chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations said Friday it was offering its own $1,000 reward as well, WCPO reported."We thank the FBI for its action in this case and hope it sends a strong message that acts of anti-Muslim bigotry will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law," CAIR-Cincinnati executive director Karen Dabdoub said in a news release.The individual believed responsible can be seen wearing a light-colored hoodie and dark pants.Anyone with information is asked to call the FBI.
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  • welcomia/iStock/Thinkstock(LOCUST GROVE, Ga.) -- A police officer is dead and two sheriff's deputies are injured after they were shot while attempting to serve an arrest in Henry County, Georgia, Friday.The two Henry County sheriff’s deputies arrived at the home on St. Francis Court in Locust Grove early this morning to serve the arrest warrant and soon realized they would need backup, so they radioed for help, Henry County Sheriff Keith McBrayer said in a press conference. A Locust Grove officer then arrived on the scene to assist.But while trying to serve the warrant, an altercation broke out, according to the sheriff, and all three officers were shot.“The Locust Grove police officer died shortly after at the hospital. One sheriff’s deputy is in serious condition and in surgery right now at Atlanta Medical [Center]. The other sheriff’s deputy is in fair condition at Atlanta Medical,” McBrayer said.When asked about reports that the warrant stemmed from a traffic violation, McBrayer said he was not sure.The suspect is deceased, according to the sheriff. Georgia Bureau of Investigation spokesperson Nelly Miles said officials are still notifying next of kin before identifying the suspect.“It is a very emotional time for the Henry County community,” Miles said.There were other people in the residence at the time of the shooting, the sheriff added, but none of them were injured.Both sheriff’s deputies were wearing bulletproof vests at the time of the incident, McBrayer said.“You never know what’s going to happen when you take someone into custody,” he added.GBI is currently investigating the incident.
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