WASHINGTON — Days before the expiration of President Donald Trump’s much-contested travel ban, the White House is reviewing a security report that aides say could serve as the basis of a new, and perhaps broader, version.

The classified report by the Department of Homeland Security, sent to the White House last week, is a study of the available security and intelligence information in countries worldwide, not just the six Muslim-majority nations subject to Trump’s order banning travel by their citizens to the United States. That order expires Sunday.

Based on the findings, Trump could decide to keep the travel ban in place, or either limit or expand it, possibly before Sunday.

The order also stopped all refugee resettlement in the U.S. for 120 days, so that ban would continue in effect for roughly a month more. The Supreme Court in June had allowed the refugee ban to take effect, with exceptions for refugees who could show a “bona fide” connection to the U.S., along with a revised travel ban for 90 days in the six specified nations.

David Lapan, spokesman for the Department of Homeland Security, said it was “certainly possible” that more countries could come under travel restrictions.

—Tribune Washington Bureau


SEC reveals 2016 hack that may have been used for illegal trades

WASHINGTON — The nation’s top financial markets regulator has revealed that its computer system was hacked last year and that private information might have been used to make “illicit gains” through stock trades.

Jay Clayton, chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, said in a statement posted on the agency’s website Wednesday night that officials learned last month that the “previously detected” 2016 incident might have been exploited by the hackers for financial gains. The SEC has launched an internal investigation.

The intrusion into the SEC’s EDGAR online database, which companies use to make required securities filings that often contain important financial information, comes on the heels of the revelation by the Equifax credit reporting firm that a hack of its computer system exposed the Social Security numbers and birth dates of as many as 143 million people.

“The SEC’s disclosure, which comes not even two weeks after Equifax revealed that it had been hacked, shows that government and businesses need to step up their efforts to protect our most sensitive personal and commercial information,” said Sen Mark Warner, D-Va., a leading lawmaker on cybersecurity matters.

Warner said he plans to question Clayton about the incident when he appears before the Senate Banking Committee on Tuesday for a previously scheduled oversight hearing.

—Los Angeles Times


Multiple pilot failures deemed cause of Pence’s LaGuardia skid

WASHINGTON — A series of errors by the pilots of the plane carrying then vice presidential candidate Mike Pence sent it skidding off a runway in New York in October, the National Transportation Safety Board said in a final report establishing probable cause of the accident.

The safety investigator said the first officer, who landed the Eastern Airlines Boeing 737-700, sailed far beyond the start of the runway before touchdown on the rainy evening, and should have aborted the landing and returned for a second try. The plane didn’t touch down until passing over about 4,200 feet (1,280 meters) of runway, leaving it just 2,800 feet to stop. The plane was damaged when it hit a crushable concrete barrier at the end of the runway. No injuries were sustained by the 37 passengers or 11 crew members.

“Several failures in close succession” caused the mishap, the investigators concluded.

The plane’s captain also didn’t announce he was assuming control from the co-pilot during the landing roll, going against procedure, which led to both pilots “attempting directional inputs that were at odds with the other,” the NTSB said. That was a “breakdown of basic crew management,” it said.

—Bloomberg News


Senate race in Alabama pits Trump against his own supporters and advisers

FLORENCE, Ala. — President Donald Trump will swoop into Alabama on Friday to bolster the campaign of Sen. Luther Strange, a soft-spoken former state attorney general now in danger of losing the seat he was tapped to fill just months ago after Jeff Sessions joined the administration.

But in this conservative state that overwhelmingly supported Trump and prides itself as the heart of Old Dixie, some think the president is backing the wrong man. And they’re not sure his visit will help.

Voter enthusiasm instead runs high for the more Trump-like candidate, Roy Moore, the state’s polarizing former chief justice. His far-right, Bible-quoting views twice resulted in him being forced off the bench for defying higher court decisions, including the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in favor of gay marriage. Die-hard supporters have no doubt he will be just as unwavering if they send him to Washington.

The GOP establishment has poured millions of dollars into Strange’s campaign, much from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s aligned Senate Leadership Fund.

But a rival group, run by allies of Stephen K. Bannon, the former Trump adviser, backs Moore, turning Tuesday’s GOP runoff into a trial run for several upcoming outsider-versus-establishment contests to be waged in Arizona, Nevada and other states ahead of the 2018 midterm election.

The race also marks a new kind of power struggle for the hearts and minds of Trump voters — one that pits Bannon, an influential figure in the president’s campaign, against Trump himself.

—Tribune Washington Bureau


10th resident from sweltering Florida nursing home dies

HOLLYWOOD, Fla. — A 10th person from the Hollywood nursing home that turned into a deadly hothouse when its air conditioning lost power after Hurricane Irma has died, police said.

Hollywood police said Martha Murray, 94, died Wednesday. She joined nine others, including 93-year-old Carlos Canal, another several-days-later victim, who fell ill after power partially went out at the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills and portable air coolers failed to prevent the facility from overheating.

Efforts to reach members of Murray’s family were unsuccessful Thursday afternoon.

In a statement Wednesday, the state Agency for Health Care Administration said at least eight of the residents at the home died after not receiving proper medical attention. The Broward County Office of the Medical Examiner has not yet released official causes of death for any of the victims, pending toxicology tests, it said in a statement.

But that hasn’t stopped authorities from asking — and casting blame — about how more than 100 patients could be left indoors with spot coolers that failed to ward off the tropical heat, instead of evacuating them to Memorial Regional Hospital’s emergency room, which did not lose power and was right next door.

—Miami Herald


UN World Food Program gets substantial funding, but ‘needs are not being met’

NEW YORK — Funding for the U.N. World Food Program is substantial compared to other times in the agency’s history, but more is needed to meet global needs, the agency’s executive director said.

The United States is responsible for more than half of the funding, David Beasley, executive director of the program said this week during side briefings at the U.N. General Assembly in New York.

“That clearly indicates that the United States is not backing down (from) the humanitarian side of international issues, Beasley told reporters.

Beasley, a Republican and former South Carolina governor who was nominated by President Donald Trump to head the world’s largest food agency, said his first objective in assuming the position in April “was to protect U.S. funding and other major donor funding at a time period where we were facing the worst humanitarian crisis.”

Of WFP’s $3.2 billion in funding, $1.7 billion is from the United States, Beasley said. Also of note was that funding for WFP was passed with bipartisan support from legislators, he said.

“To see them find something that they could rally around, (something) positive … to help hungry children, it was a very significant message to the world,” Beasley said.

—Los Angeles Times


Ugandan president wants to hold the office for life, sparking protests in the streets

KAMPALA, Uganda — After more than 31 years in power, 73-year-old Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni is carefully planning for the 2021 elections, determined to run for office again.

It needs a deft manipulation: a change in the Constitution to remove the 75-year age limit for presidential candidates, but he’s done that before. In 2005, Museveni’s party used its majority in parliament to remove the constitutional two-term presidential limit.

Riotous scenes in Uganda’s parliament Thursday and protests in defiance of a police ban on demonstrations suggested that this time, the path might not be so smooth. Parliament deferred debate on the bill, which it plans to take up at a later date.

Police fired tear gas and arrested dozens of protesters opposed to the removal of the age limit, which would allow Museveni to rule for life. Authorities in Uganda have frequently jailed opposition politicians who have contested presidential elections against Museveni.

As lawmakers packed the parliament and hurled abuse over a planned contentious bill to remove the age limit, a police helicopter circled overhead and special security police armed with automatic weapons surrounded the parliament.

Opposition leader, Latigo Ogenga, said his party was determined to prevent Museveni from remaining in power after his term expires.

—Los Angeles Times

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