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House Passes $36.5 Billion Relief Package After Hurricane and Wildfire Disasters
This aid comes on top of the $15.3 billion relief measure approved by Congress in September following Hurricane Harvey. The bill advances to the Senate, which will resume session next week, before heading to the desk of President Trump, who early Thursday suggested he may withdraw federal relief workers from Puerto Rico.
As reported by the Los Angeles Times:
"More than three weeks after Hurricane Maria raked the island, some 85% of the people remain without power, with nearly half of its 3.4 million residents lacking running water.
Food and basic supplies remain scarce in the mountainous interior, waterborne diseases pose a growing threat, and many hospitals are in dire circumstances. Deaths attributed to the storm stand at 45, but the number is expected to rise.
The Environmental Protection Agency this week advised against "tampering with sealed or locked wells or drinking from these wells" after reports of Puerto Rico residents trying to get water from wells at "Superfund" hazardous-waste sites.
In a series of tweets early Thursday, Trump implied that Puerto Rico was to blame for its problems, and suggested he would not endorse the type of years-long, multibillion-dollar federal recovery effort that typically follows a storm of such magnitude, or another large-scale disaster, striking a U.S. locale."
For a deeper dive:
Disaster Package: New York Times, Reuters, USA Today, LA Times, PBS Newshour, Houston Chronicle, CNN, Politico. Trump: Washington Post, New York Times, NBC News, CNN, USA Today. Commentary: Washington Post, Jessica Trisko Darden op-ed, New York Times, Paul Krugman column, Washington Post, Jennifer Sciubba & Jeremy Youde op-ed
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Malaysia Sends Plastic Waste Back to 13 Wealthy Countries, Says It Won’t Be 'the Rubbish Dump of the World'
The Southeast Asian country Malaysia has sent 150 shipping containers packed with plastic waste back to 13 wealthy countries, putting the world on notice that it will not be the world's garbage dump, as CNN reported. The countries receiving their trash back include the United States, the United Kingdom, France and Canada.
Madagascar has embarked on its most ambitious tree-planting drive yet, aiming to plant 60 million trees in the coming months. The island nation celebrates 60 years of independence this year, and the start of the planting campaign on Jan. 19 marked one year since the inauguration of President Andry Rajoelina, who has promised to restore Madagascar's lost forests.