#California (US State): ‘I’ve never seen this before’

Martyn Smith, a professor of toxicology at the University of California, Berkeley, told CNN the levels of PCE and chloroform would be essentially safe for human consumption. “I wouldn’t have any problem in drinking this water if these were the only chemicals in it,” he said. The problem with Superfund sites, he said, is that you don’t know what else is present.

“I’ve never seen this before,” he said, referring to the idea a Superfund site would be used as a source of public drinking water. Boiling the water, he said, would reduce possible contamination. And it’s somewhat understandable, Smith added, that people in Puerto Rico would turn to possibly questionable drinking water sources given the scope of the crisis.

Still, a Superfund site — a location with known health risks — is just about the last place a person would want to turn to find drinking water, even in a crisis, said Erik Olson, head of the health program at the Natural Resources Defense Council, an environmental advocacy group.

“There are thousands of chemicals out there that could be in a Superfund site and only a relative handful are covered by standards,” he said. “What I would be worried about is stuff that isn’t showing up on EPA’s drinking water standards. It just sounds really risky to me to be serving water out of a Superfund well.”

People waiting in line for water on Friday were largely unaware of these concerns. Some of them had heard the EPA announced this week that it had received reports that Puerto Ricans were getting water from Superfund sites. But those interviewed assumed that wasn’t this well.
Mayra Perez, a 59-year-old retiree, expressed pride in the quality of the water.
“I’m sure there are no chemicals in this water,” she said.

Aixa Chevere, a mother of two, said she would find a new source of water if this site was shown to be contaminated. Already, the family spends three to four hours per day waiting in lines for basic services and goods, including water. “We would boil the water or search for bottled water” if it were dangerous, she said. “We would find some other alternative.”
That day, however, she loaded the water into her trunk of her car.

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#Brazilian restaurant sorry for signs accusing Israel of genocide, urging boycott

https://www.timesofisrael.com A Brazilian Arab food restaurant apologized for placing anti-Israel signs at its entrance after a massive Jewish-led boycott campaign on social media.

One of the owners of Papaya Verde restaurant, in Recife, sent a note to the Pernambuco Jewish federation stressing that the big and colorful “Free Palestine! it’s not war, it’s genocide” and “Boycott Israel!” stickers on its front window had been removed, reported Folha de Pernambuco newspaper on Tuesday.

“My sincere apologies to all who were offended. The power of written words does not convey my true feeling, which is to always work for the culture of peace among the peoples who have a great example in Brazil. I never intended to spread hatred or any other negative sentiment towards the Jewish community,” read the note from restaurateur Antônio Siqueira Campos.

The message from Campos was “peaceful and purposeful,” the Jewish federation’s president Sonia Sette told JTA.

“We’re perplexed, the material exhibited is extremely offensive towards the State of Israel. The images provoked outrage to the members of our community and beyond. We consider it fundamental that the serious issues involving Israel and Palestinians be treated with responsibility, respect and in a peace-seeking manner,” read a statement from the Jewish federation.

“Manifestations such as these exposed in the restaurant, in addition to conveying false concepts, contribute to spreading a message of hatred, shaking relations and reducing the path of understanding,” the statement said.

The Palestinian Alliance of Recife published a statement reportedly signed by the restaurateur’s partner, who reiterated his position as anti-Israel militant, using racist speech including words such as genocide, apartheid and more.

Partner João Asfor is of Palestinian descent. In a statement to the newspaper he wrote, in part: “I am a Palestinian! I am proud of my homeland and I am not deaf to the suffering of my people. I do not accept the genocidal Israeli government in the same way I do not accept the stupid Brazilian coup government.” He noted that the two partners in the restaurant have different opinions, and also noted that he has Jewish friends.

In April, a local private school decorated a third-grade classroom with Nazi flags during a lesson on totalitarian regimes. The school ended up removing a Facebook post praising the teacher — who also wore a swastika band around his arm like a Nazi soldier — after it drew major criticism.

Recife is the site of the Kahal Zur Israel temple, the first synagogue established in the Americas, in 1637, during the short period that the Dutch ruled a small area of the then-Portuguese colony.

#ACLU sues over #Kansas law that targets Israel boycotts

http://abcnews.go.com The American Civil Liberties Union filed a federal lawsuit Wednesday on behalf of a teacher challenging Kansas’ new law barring state contractors from participating in boycotts against Israel, saying it’s a clear violation of her free speech rights.

The lawsuit was brought on behalf of Esther Koontz, a math and science curriculum coach at a Wichita public school, seeks to overturn a law that took effect July 1 and prohibits the state from entering into contracts with individuals or companies participating in a boycott of Israel. Twenty-one states have such policies, from liberal California to conservative strongholds such as Alabama and Texas; in Kansas, the measure had strong bipartisan support.

States have enacted their laws in recent years amid an increasingly visible movement protesting Israel’s policies toward Palestinians. Backers of boycotting Israeli companies argue that they’re defending Palestinians’ human rights, while boycott critics contend the goal is to destroy the Jewish state.

“The government does not get to use its leverage to silence one side of the debate,” Brian Hauss, an ACLU attorney, told The Associated Press. The ACLU is asking to have enforcement of the law blocked while the case proceeds.

Supporters of the Kansas law argue that it doesn’t prevent people from protesting Israel’s policies or boycotting Israeli companies but just requires them to forgo state contracts if they do. Supporters contend the state has the right to choose its contractors.

State Rep. Randy Powell, a conservative Olathe Republican who pushed for the law, said he’s confident that it’s constitutional.

During the Kansas Legislature’s debate earlier this year, state officials also described Israel as an important trading partner, with Kansas exporting $56 million worth of products there in 2016 while buying $83 million worth. Republican Gov. Sam Brownback made an unpublicized visit to Israel in late August and early September, during which he met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

“Boycotts of Israel are really a discriminatory effort by a few people who aren’t necessarily interested in a peaceful resolution in the Middle East,” said Jacob Millner, Midwest regional director for the Israel Project.

But Dima Khalidi, executive director of Palestine Legal, a group supporting pro-Palestinian advocates, said the Israel government and pro-Israel groups unfairly attempt to paint boycott backers as radicals or terrorism supporters.

The lawsuit says Koontz, who lives about 25 miles (40 kilometers) north of Wichita in north Newton, is a Mennonite and the wife of a pastor. She decided to boycott Israeli products and services to “support the Palestinians’ struggle for equality.”

In July, a Mennonite Church USA convention voted to sell its holdings in companies profiting from the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories, joining the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and the United Church of Christ in approving such divestment measures.

A Kansas State Department of Education official told Koontz in August that she could not be paid as a teacher trainer. The lawsuit names the department’s head, Education Commissioner Randy Watson, as the defendant.

“This lawsuit is a really important step to make sure that our right to dissent is protected,” Khalidi said.

#NATO allies have agreed to maintain a stable military presence in #Afghanistan, bolstered by President Barack #Obama’s decision to make a smaller cut in U.S. troop levels than he had planned.

Obama has been urging NATO leaders gathered in Warsaw to expand their support for the war against the Taliban.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said the allies also made commitments to continue to fund the Afghan security forces through 2020, and are “close to” the needed $5 billion per year.

The U.S. has pledged to provide $3.5 billion annually to fund Afghan forces, and the government in Kabul is expected to contribute as much as $500 million. Allies would provide the remaining $1 billion. The funding would maintain a total of 352,000 Afghan Army troops and police officers.

Stoltenberg said it’s too soon to say exactly how many troops allies will agree to keep in Afghanistan but he believes force levels will remain largely stable at about 12,000.

#NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg says that the next #NATO summit will be held in Brussels in 2017.

The NATO leader made the announcement on Saturday at a summit being held in Warsaw.

Stoltenberg said the summit will be held at the revamped NATO headquarters in Brussels, where the Western military alliance is headquartered, which will be ready in 2017.

#EPA ‘gathering more information’

It’s unclear whether there are public health risks from this particular well, however.
The EPA said it plans to do testing in the area over the weekend.

“The EPA is gathering more information about the quality of water from the wells associated with our Dorado groundwater contamination site, as well as other Superfund sites in Puerto Rico,” the agency said in a statement issued to CNN on Friday. “While some of these wells are sometimes used to provide drinking water, the EPA is concerned that people could be drinking water that may be contaminated, depending on the well. We are mindful of the paramount job of protecting people’s health, balanced with people’s basic need for water.”

Regional EPA spokesman Elias Rodriguez confirmed the location is part of a Superfund site.

Autoridad de Acueductos y Alcantarillados, the water authority, was unaware that this well site was part of the Superfund program until CNN provided maps showing that this was the case, according to Luis Melendez, sub-director for environmental compliance at the utility.

Melendez maintained the water is fit for public consumption. The well was opened on an emergency basis and is not part of the regular drinking water supply, he said.

In 2015, this well in Dorado, which is located near a shopping center, was found by the EPA to be safely within federal standards for PCE and chloroform, two industrial chemicals.

#NorthDakota (US State): Riot police & military Humvees enter Standing Rock camp

https://www.rt.com Military vehicles, bulldozers and riot-geared police have moved into the Oceti Sakowin camp near the Standing Rock Sioux reservation in North Dakota, intended to clear out the remaining protesters against the Dakota Access Pipeline.

Live-streams from across the Cannon Ball River showed police, including state troopers from Wisconsin, and what looked like National Guard troops entering the mostly abandoned encampment on Thursday morning, accompanied with armored vehicles and construction equipment.

About 100 protesters remained in the camp on Wednesday, defying the deadline for evacuation ordered by North Dakota’s governor.

Oceti Sakowin, or “Seven Council Fires,” is the native name for the Sioux nation. The protest camp was set up north of the Standing Rock Sioux reservation. The tribe has tried to stop the construction on the segment of the Dakota Access Pipeline under Lake Oahe, on grounds that it endangered their water supply.

Thousands of environmental activists, Native Americans and even US military veterans have taken part in protests that began in March 2016.

#PuertoRico (Territory): Desperate Puerto Ricans are drinking water from a hazardous-waste site

http://www.cnn.com Jose Luis Rodriguez waited in line Friday to fill plastic jugs in the back of his pickup truck with water for drinking, doing the dishes and bathing.

But there is something about this water Rodriguez didn’t know: It was being pumped to him by water authorities from a federally designated hazardous-waste site, CNN learned after reviewing Superfund documents and interviewing federal and local officials.

Rodriguez, 66, is so desperate for water that this news didn’t startle him.

“I don’t have a choice,” he said. “This is the only option I have.”

More than three weeks after Hurricane Maria ravaged this island, more than 35% of the island’s residents — American citizens — remain without safe drinking water.

It’s clear some residents are turning to potentially risky sources to get by.

Friday afternoon, CNN watched workers from the Puerto Rican water utility, Autoridad de Acueductos y Alcantarillados, or AAA, distribute water from a well at the Dorado Groundwater Contamination Site, which was listed in 2016 as part of the federal Superfund program for hazardous waste cleanup.

Residents like Rodriguez filled small bottles from a hose and piled them in their vehicles. Large trucks with cylindrical tanks on their backs carried the water to people elsewhere. Some of the trucks carried the name of the municipality of Dorado. Others simply were labeled with the words “Agua Potable,” Spanish for potable water.

In announcing the addition of the Dorado site to the Superfund program, the US Environmental Protection Agency says the area was polluted with industrial chemicals, including tetrachloroethylene and trichloroethylene, which “can have serious health impacts including damage to the liver and increasing the risk of cancer,” according to the EPA.

#Unashamed (Sexual Immorality): Busty brunette gets completely naked during X-rated dance routine on primetime TV

http://www.dailystar.co.uk The clip shows brunette stunner Sandra Bustamante performing an impressively-choreographed routine alongside her dance troupe to Beyonce’s 2009 smash-hit Green Light.

Wearing a small green skirt and matching bra, she elegantly twirls and twists around the stage, before falling into the arms of her partner.

He leans over her as she bends backward before sending her pirouetting back across the stage, whipping her skirt off in the process to leave her with only a small leaf covering her modesty.

The crowd go wild as she is hoisted onto the shoulders of the group before she is placed back down to earth for the grand finale.

She turns her back on the audience before whipping round 180 degrees, throwing her arms in the air and sending her bra flying to reveal her perky pair before the clip, thought to be shot in 2012, cuts out.

Almost two million people have seen the video since it was posted online, with users on social media site Reddit recirculating the memorable routine in recent weeks.

“God I love South America,” wrote one viewer.

“Can you imagine this being shown on Children in Need? Maybe it would help their donations…”

Another comment read: “Wouldn’t mind seeing more of these performances!”

Earlier this week, steamy video emerged showing daytime TV minx Holly Willoughby’s first modelling job on TV.

The young beauty starred in a 1998 lingerie advert for underwear brand Pretty Polly.

With Unprecedented Chaos in #Washington, Israel Sets New Red Lines Over Iran in Syria

https://www.haaretz.com It is still the best show in town. Almost nine months have passed since Hurricane Donald hit Washington for the first time, and a little more than 11 months since Trump’s victory in the U.S. presidential elections. Sometimes it seems the world has begun to get used to the daily dose of drama.

The Twitter attacks in the early morning hours, the late accounting on Twitter when sleep tarries, the biweekly resignations of senior officials – it is easy to become addicted to the ceaseless action of the most irregular president in the history of the United States.
But then, out of the noise, once every few weeks comes a reminder of the true significance of the matter. One such occurrence was the interview given at the beginning of the week by Republican Senator Bob Corker, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, to The New York Times. Corker, who has announced his intention of leaving politics next year, raised the curtain and supplied the American public with a glimpse into what is happening behind the scenes, between the White House and Capitol Hill.

In the interview, and in an earlier press release, Corker raised the following claims: Trump is running the government as if it was his reality show “The Apprentice.” The alliance of the responsible adults – retired generals John Kelly, the White House chief of staff, and Secretary of Defense James Mattis, along with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson – is busy most of the time restraining Trump, who could very well push the entire country into chaos. Trump’s statements about foreign affairs are worrying and are capable of unintentionally leading to the outbreak of World War III. Corker finished with something many senators, including his colleagues from the Republican Party, agree with but do not feel free to express.