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The Only National Park Site Reopening Amid Shutdown Is in a Trump Hotel
By Julia Conley
While 380,000 federal employees have been out of work on furlough for 12 days and 420,000 more are working without pay due to the government shutdown, the General Services Administration has reportedly found the funding to reopen the Old Post Office tower in Washington, DC, which shares a building with President Donald Trump's hotel.
Although the government shutdown is expected to continue into next week at least, the tower is set to reopen by the end of this week, according to a report by E&E News.
Considering the president's financial interest in ensuring the tower remains open, Citizens for Ethics and Responsibility in Washington (CREW) executive director Noah Bookbinder said Wednesday that the reopening "raises all manner of conflict of interest questions."
The tower, which is operated by the National Parks Service (NPS), is part of a building now run by the Trump Organization. The historic Old Post Office was restored and turned into the Trump International Hotel in 2013.
The hotel has been the subject of lawsuits and numerous complaints by government watchdog groups since Trump took office in 2017, as numerous foreign heads of state have stayed there, likely violating the Constitution's emoluments clause which forbids the president from accepting payments from foreign governments.
Now, amid reports that national parks across the country have become overrun by garbage, human waste and damaging illegal behavior on protected lands, the tower site alone will reopen to the public.
It's unclear whether the Trump administration intervened directly to reopen the tower—but critics and government watchdogs regarded the development as another possible example of the president's self-serving actions, placing the profits of his businesses ahead of the public interest.
"The Trump administration is using your tax dollars to keep an NPS site at his luxury hotel open while the rest of Americans are wading through garbage and locked gates," wrote Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.) on Twitter. "The corruption and disgrace of this government are without bottom."
Reposted with permission from our media associate Common Dreams.
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Wolves and Jaguars Are Already Threatened by Border Razor Wire As Trump Vetoes Bid to Block Emergency Wall Funding
President Donald Trump issued the first veto of his presidency Friday, overturning Congress' vote to block his national emergency declaration to fund a border wall that environmental advocates say would put 93 endangered species at risk. However, the president's decision came the same day as an in-depth report from UPI revealing how razor wire placed at the border in the last four months already threatens wildlife.
Yet another whale has died after ingesting plastic bags. A young male Cuvier's beaked whale was found washed up in Mabini, Compostela Valley in the Philippines Friday, CNN reported. When scientists from the D' Bone Collector Museum in Davao investigated the dead whale, they found it had died of "dehydration and starvation" after swallowing plastic bags―40 kilograms (approximately 88 pounds) worth of them!
By Joe Sandler Clarke
"Don't expect us to continue buying European products," Malaysia's former plantations minister Mah Siew Keong told reporters in January last year. His comments came just after he had accused the EU of "practising a form of crop apartheid."
A few months later Luhut Pandjaitan, an Indonesian government minister close to President Joko 'Jokowi' Widodo, warned his country would retaliate if it was "cornered" by the EU.
By Luis Torres
For some people who live along the U.S.-Mexico border, President Trump's attempt to declare a national emergency and extend the border wall is worse than a wasteful, unconstitutional stunt. It's an attack on their way of life that threatens to desecrate their loved ones' graves.
At least 150 people have died in a cyclone that devastated parts of Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi over the weekend, The Associated Press reported Sunday. Cyclone Idai has affected more than 1.5 million people since it hit Mozambique's port city of Beira late Thursday, then traveled west to Zimbabwe and Malawi. Hundreds are still missing and tens of thousands are without access to roads or telephones.
"I think this is the biggest natural disaster Mozambique has ever faced. Everything is destroyed. Our priority now is to save human lives," Mozambique's Environment Minister Celso Correia said, as AFP reported.