Category Archives: Noticias
Lu Han Photo: IC
Fans hold up a sign (center) with Lu Han’s surname on it at a concert in Shenzhen on December 31, 2015. Photo: IC
For anyone who wants to get a better understanding of Chinese fandom nowadays, the first group you might want to study are the Lu fans – followers of Chinese singer/actor Lu Han, one of the hottest stars in the country lately.Dubbed by foreign media as the “Chinese Justin Bieber,” the 27-year-old Beijing-born superstar has received an incredibly warm welcome since returning home after ending his contract with the South Korean pop group EXO in 2014.
Recently he completed his debut show during the China Central Television Spring Festival Gala on January 27 and was awarded a 2016 Figure of the Year award by the China News Service along with big names such as American-Chinese physicist Chen-Ning Yang.
It’s hard for anyone living in China to ignore the startling online figures involving Lu and his fans – a post of his on Sina Weibo that had 100,252,605 comments was recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records in 2015 as “the most highly commented on Sina Weibo post.” A post he made on the eve of the Lantern Festival (February 10) garnered 1.18 million likes and was reposted 1.84 million times.
Moreover, he holds records on many Chinese digital music platforms such as Tencent Music where his 2015 album Reloaded I sold more than 3 million copies. Lu is also at the top of the Star Box-office Chart on nuomi.com, one of the country’s largest online ticket-buying platforms, for the 2016 China-Hollywood co-production The Great Wall, in which he plays the warrior Peng Yong.
While some disregard these numbers, calling Lu fans naocanfen (senseless fans), his fan base actually sees supporting their idol as a serious cause.
Dedicated fan base
“These figures are created bit by bit by millions of Lu fans, not individuals who abandon their personal lives to work online or so-called shuijun,” said Tian Tian, one of the managers of the Lu Han Bar, a Lu fan club on Chinese forum platform Baidu Tieba. In China, shuijun, or “water army,” refers to people who are paid to post messages online to increase a target’s online influence.
“Most of us are rational people who understand where the boundary between star-chasing and our personal lives lies,” the 27-year-old woman, also a Lu fan for the past four years, told the Global Times on Monday.
With 3.25 million registered members, the Lu Han Bar is probably the country’s largest Lu fan club. It encompasses not only online platforms, but also 33 offline branch clubs in China and other countries and regions including the US and Australia. The fan club has a total of 300 managers.
Every morning, hundreds of thousands of members flood the online Lu Han Bar to sign-in and share news about Lu. It is “very much like disciples carrying out their regular morning prayer,” describes GQ China in an in-depth 2015 report on Lu fans.
For Tian, her day as club manager starts by making a daily post in which fans can greet each other and then she moves on to browsing through posts about Lu on the platform to screen out “unqualified” ones, while others in the club’s working group update the star’s schedule, music, videos and pictures with the latest happenings.
“We don’t get paid. We do this purely out of our love for Lu,” said Tian. “We use our free time to manage the club, so there are no such things as full-time or part-time jobs here.”
According to Tian, the club’s only income is from self-made items related to the star, which “are sold at the lowest price possible to fans.” Any money earned from these sales are only used for activities related to their idol. Additionally, the group has been carrying out charity work in Lu’s name for years.
“This started about two years ago when Lu came back to China and started to have more freedom to interact with fans,” said Tian. “Lu asked us to donate money to charity instead of sending him birthday gifts every year.”
The Great Wall, which released in China on December 6, 2016 and debuted in Europe in January, currently holds a 5/10 on Chinese media review platform Douban.
The film opens up in the US, UK and South America on Friday. Some netizens have started wondering if die-hard Lu fans in these countries will end up artificially pushing the film’s rating up to an 8/10 on the review platform.
“We’ve told fans to go rate the film based on their true feelings after watching it, instead of deliberately giving it a false rating on Douban,” said Tian.
This viewpoint reflects the fan group’s preference for a positive and healthy relationship with their idol.
Which isn’t to say there aren’t fans who go overboard. However, “crazy” fans who go to extremes such as ambushing the star at home or readily resorting to Internet bullying when they see anyone badmouth the idol online are seen as “illegitimate fans” by the group.
Lu fans range in age from primary school students to senior citizens, according to Tian. With such a large group, Tian thinks it is only natural that there will be some extremist fans among the millions of healthy fans.
“Many Lu fans I know were born after 1995,” Mu Tou, a 25-year-old Lu fan, told the Global Times. “And it’s true that many of them are just kids and sometimes are rude.”
In the eyes of many of Lu’s fans, Lu is much more than just a handsome-looking star who is good natured and humble. He is polite, “sweet to fans,” hardworking and “sometimes like a big boy who is a bit awkward with words.”
“For me, he is an example to live up to,” said Mu. “He always inspires me to become a person like him – a positive and considerate person who never whines about life.”
Newspaper headline: Making a megastar
Fuente: Global Times Outbrain
A Chinese veteran who was stuck in legal limbo and trapped in India for more than 50 years has finally arrived home after the bilateral governmental efforts of China and India.
Wang Qi is warmly welcomed upon his arrival in Xi’an, Shaanxi Province. Photo: CFP
A man raises a banner to welcome Wang Qi back to China at Beijing Capital International Airport before Wang transferred to a flight to Xi’an on Saturday. Photo: Li Hao/GT
Source: Global Times – Agencies
During the Lantern Festival this week, Wang Qi finally stepped back onto Chinese soil after being stuck in India for more than half a century. After landing in Beijing, he went straight to his long-missed hometown of Xianyang, Shaanxi Province.
His son, one of his daughters, daughter-in-law and granddaughter also came with him. His Indian wife and other daughter were delayed in India because of visa issues.
More than 40 of his Chinese family members and former army comrades waited to greet them at Xi’an Xianyang International Airport. Wang Zuguo, one of Wang Qi’s comrades, said he had brought a gift for Wang.
“Though all those years have passed, we’ve not forgotten him,” he said.
Wang Qi was a soldier dispatched to the China-India border in the 1960s to work as a surveyor building roads. He wandered into Indian territory by mistake one day and wound up behind bars for several years. After his release, he was not allowed to leave India and ended up marrying and having children. After years of efforts by his family, the media and the Chinese government, he finally came home this week.
Wang Zhiyuan, the 84-year-old eldest brother of Wang Qi, told the Xi’an-based Chinese Business View that they are two of seven siblings from Xuezhainan village, Xianyang.
Wang Qi was the third child of the family. He was born in 1937, attended a local elementary school and went to Xianyang for middle and high school with Wang Zhiyuan.
After graduating from high school, he played basketball for the Shaanxi provincial team. Then, in 1960, Wang Qi asked a mutual friend to tell Wang Zhiyuan that he was going to join the army in Northwest China’s Qinghai Province.
After signing up, Wang Qi was only able to keep in touch with his family through letters.
In 1961, their mother told Wang Zhiyuan she missed Wang Qi. So he took her to Qinghai to see him. When they arrived, the commander said Wang Qi would soon be dispatched to another place, and granted Wang Qi a week’s vacation to see his mother.
The three of them took a photo that week which turned out to be the last photo all three of them would ever take together.
Years later, Wang Zhiyuan realized that they visited just before his brother was sent to the China-India border, which was why the director granted his brother a week’s leave to be with his family.
After this meeting, the family lost contact with Wang Qi. After the Cultural Revolution (1966-76) started, Wang Zhiyuan asked the army for news of his brother, and was told he had gone missing near the border. The army said it had looked for him without success.
In 1983, their mother died without ever finding out what had happened to her missing son.
A strange letter
In the summer of 1986, Wang Zhiyuan, who was back working in Xianyang at that time, received a phone call from one of his other brothers, saying they had received a letter with some strange foreign writing on it. Wang immediately rushed home, hoping this letter might have something to do with his missing brother.
When he saw the writing on the envelope, his eyes immediately filled with tears, because he recognized his brother’s handwriting.
Since nobody could recognize where the letter came from, Wang Zhiyuan asked around in Xianyang. Finally he was able to discover that the address was located in an Indian village.
The letter read, “Dear mother, dear brothers and sisters, how are you? It’s been decades, now I’ve finally got the chance to write and tell you how I’m doing.”
The letter was only one page long. Wang Qi told his family he had gotten married and had two sons and two daughters. He said that his children were in school and that he has a business which supports his family.
But his eldest son died from disease in 2007 as his family could not afford to pay for medical treatment.
The first thing Wang Zhiyuan did after receiving the letter was to burn incense at his mother’s tomb and read the letter aloud there, he told the Chinese Business View. Then all of the siblings started writing to Wang Qi in India, updating him on their lives.
Stuck in India
In 1963, several weeks after India’s defeat in the 1962 Sino-Indian war, 23-year-old Wang Qi accidentally strayed into Indian territory during the New Year’s Day holiday.
Wang recalled to the Global Times that he got lost in a forest, and when he saw a car which belonged to the Indian Red Cross Society, he called out for help.
The Indian Red Cross Society, however, handed him over to a Indian military base in Assam. Over the six years that followed, Wang was moved between jails in Rajasthan, Delhi and Punjab, where he was interrogated by the Indian Army, who suspected that he was a spy. A 1968 document issued by the Punjab state authorities which Wang showed the Global Times says that he was arrested for “illegally entering Indian territory, threatening India’s State security.”
Wang was finally released in 1969, and was sent to a small village called Tirodi in Madhya Pradesh, Central India. At that time, the village, surrounded by lakes and forests, was the place where the Indian government sent domestic dissidents and refugees.
After the Indian police told Wang that he could neither return to China nor get Indian citizenship, Wang realized that he would probably have to spend the rest of his life in Tirodi. His legal identity was unclear, as he lacked documents proving he was a Chinese citizen, such as a passport, meaning he was unable to travel internationally.
He made a living by working at a local mill, built his own house in around 1970 using his savings, and eventually opened a shop. In 1975, Wang married a local woman, Sushila.
Despite starting his own family, he never stopped trying to get back to China. According to the Times of India, in the 1980s, Wang petitioned an Indian court, seeking a visa. He hoped that he could return to China at least once in his lifetime. But the petition failed.
Wang is not the only veteran that was trapped in India in the aftermath of the Sino-Indian War. Another soldier Liu Shurong, a Chongqing native that also lives in Tirodi, had a similar experience. But unlike Wang, who wants to return to China, Liu can no longer speak fluent Chinese, and said he is not willing to return to China as he no longer has any relatives in the country.
Wang Zhiyuan’s son Wang Yingjun grew up listening to others in his family telling stories about his uncle Wang Qi. After the family finally got in touch with Wang Qi, he expressed desire to come back home, come back to Shaanxi, hoping his family can help.
In 2009, Wang Yingjun decided to visit his uncle in India with his family’s support. They finally met in a hotel in New Delhi.
Wang Qi told his nephew about what had happened over the years, filling in the details about how he went missing and what he had done to survive. He said he has always been a foreigner in India. Because his legal identity was unclear, he was often been bullied by locals and he said his biggest wish is to return home.
Wang Yingjun then started helping his uncle get together the documents needed to apply for a passport and visa. After returning to China, he continued to help his uncle. In 2012, the army division Wang Qi used to be in sent someone to Xianyang to investigate his case.
The Chinese Embassy in India has been in contact with Wang over the past few years, making great efforts in smoothing the way for him to return and visit China which included communicating with the Indian side to process his exit and entry permits. The Chinese Embassy in India issued a 10-year Chinese passport to him in 2013 and has been providing him with a certain amount of money per annum since then.
His son Vishnu told the Hindustan Times in October last year that they were informed that “the Indian authorities might grant his father permission to travel to China provided he is ready to stay back there and not return to India.”
On January 31, his story was picked up by the BBC, who ran a feature detailing his life and ongoing struggle to return home, bringing international attention to his case.
Finally, Wang Qi flew back to Xi’an Saturday after receiving an exit permit from the Indian government. He then visited his village, saying that he hopes he can spend his final years there.
Wang told Global Times early this month that he is prepared to stay in China for good. His wife and son also said that they will follow Wang wherever he goes.
Wang’s village committee in Xianyang has decided that they will give him a piece of land and ensure he has a good life in his hometown.
But according to a Legal Mirror report on Sunday, due to cultural differences, Wang’s children have met with some difficulties in adjusting to local dining and toilet habits on their trip.
Newspaper headline: Long road home
Fuente: Global Times Outbrain
Getting parents’ approval and blessing for marriage is one of the most important things for lovers. However, as the old Chinese saying goes, the more the father-in-law sees his son-in-law, the more displeasing he feels towards the young man.This proved true as most of my friends’ fathers think that their daughters deserve the best.
One of my friends once introduced her boyfriend, who is handsome and a PhD student with a full scholarship, to her father. The father said, “You are much better than him. Are you sure you want to marry a man like this?”
Clearly, what the father perceives is very different from others. This is not a stand-alone case. I even have a friend whose father persuaded her to break up with her boyfriend after only spending a few hours with him.
Her father constantly said bad things about her boyfriend when they were still together and even made her go on blind dates with other men.
Although the two eventually married, the road was quite bumpy.
Hearing so much about my friends’ stories, I was a bit nervous when I brought my boyfriend to meet my family for the first time.
One thing that gave me some relief was my boyfriend did a lot of research about what my father likes and dislikes and brought gifts accordingly. He also prepared topics beforehand in case they were left alone.
When the day finally arrived, my boyfriend dressed in a new suit and showed up with several bags of gifts in hand.
When my father picked us up, he looked my boyfriend over from head to toe, and he did not even speak to him on the drive home.
The air was frozen, and I got a feeling that things were ruined.
However, later that day, the situation seemed to become better than I had expected.
The turning point was when we were dining outside. My father saw how he attentively took care of my needs at the table, and how readily he was taking the baijiu (hard liquor) shots, which is seen as a merit for men in China.
Later, I shared this story with my friends. The conclusion we have is that if you want to marry a man’s daughter, being nice to her is the best way to win his favor.
This article was published on the Global Times Metropolitan section Two Cents page, a space for reader submissions, including opinion, humor and satire. The ideas expressed are those of the author alone, and do not represent the position of the Global Times.
Illustration: Xia Qing/GT
A couple of weeks ago, after having my Spring Festival dinner with family, I joined a WeChat group that shows pictures of what people across China were eating. In China, different cities have various cuisines and dishes for the special holiday.
At first, I was having a good time looking at all the photos. I enjoyed learning how people in different cities were focusing on different dishes. For example, in provinces in Central China, they focus on buns and noodles, and not so much on vegetables. However, across Southern and Eastern China, there are several vegetable dishes that we must have.
The atmosphere was quite happy and light. Then one guy started firing on these cities, saying their food looked ridiculous.
“Why do you Northeasterners only eat dumplings on the special holiday? Your dumplings look so floppy,” he said. “And why do people from Jiangsu Province use so much soy sauce when cooking? They look like piles of dung.”
Immediately, everybody in the WeChat group went crazy. That guy didn’t apologize, and he felt that he was only making jokes about the food and that people were overreacting.
For me, these aren’t light issues. When you make fun of food, you are making fun of a lifestyle and a culture without trying to understand.
Last year, I visited the Mosuo people in South China’s Yunnan Province. They make up the only matriarchal society left in China. These people still live in the old ways and produce food organically on a family basis.
When I was there, one of the dishes they treated me with was the salted pork. Every family raises pigs, and during holidays, they slaughter the pigs and salt them thoroughly for a long time, sometimes over 10 years. One of the families led me down to the storage area and showed me a stack of pigs, some going back years.
Later on, some tourists I went with said it was revolting for them to keep food for that long. He called it a backwards practice and the salted pork we ate looked like charcoal.
In addition, I found out later that many other friends of mine have the same practice of salting pork for years back in their hometowns. The tradition started in the past when food was scarce and they had to find a way to preserve the food for a long time.
I’ve always thought that food is an important part of culture, because it represents how the society transformed over the years, what geological locations they lived in and what kind of resources were available.
In China, there has long been a tradition of fighting over food. Netizens engage in wars all the time about whether tofu paste should be sweet or salty, or whether you should eat porridge with pickled cucumber or meat. These arguments around differences in taste sometimes spiral up to attacks against people based on where they are from.
However, if you ask me, that kind of attitude is wrong. In my opinion, you don’t have to get used to the food or like it, but you can’t take something that has so much culture and deem it ridiculous to show your superiority.
That doesn’t show your superiority, it only shows your ignorance.
This article was published on the Global Times Metropolitan section Two Cents page, a space for reader submissions, including opinion, humor and satire. The ideas expressed are those of the author alone, and do not represent the position of the Global Times.
Fuente: Los Angeles Times Education
The owner and operator behind a network of four Koreatown-area schools that authorities allege was actually a “pay-to-stay” immigration scheme pleaded guilty to federal charges Thursday, according to prosecutors.
Three people, including owner and headmaster Hee Sun “Leonard” Shim, 53, of Beverly Hills, were arrested in 2015 as authorities announced an indictment alleging that few of the hundreds of students enrolled actually attended the schools, and that many in fact lived out of state and had never set foot on campus.
Shim and employees Hyung Chan “Steve” Moon and Eun Young “Jamie” Choi were accused of immigration offenses and conspiracy. Moon and Choi have already pleaded guilty and await sentencing.
Shim pleaded guilty to conspiracy and immigration document fraud and faces up to 15 years in prison when he’s sentenced on June 5, the U.S. Attorney’s office said. He also had to forfeit $465,000 that was seized during the raids almost two years ago.
The three operated schools that offered immigration paperwork to students for as much as $1,800 for six months, assuring them they did not need to attend classes. Among those listed as active students were people living in Las Vegas, Seattle, Dallas and Honolulu, according to an affidavit in the case.
Authorities paid routine, unannounced visits at the schools – Prodee University/Neo-America Language School; Walter Jay M.D. Institute, an Educational Center; the American College of Forensic Studies; and Likie Fashion and Technology College – and found that there were few, if any, classes in session. Some had only one to three students. An instructor told investigators that one of his classes, Introduction to Politics, regularly had zero students, according to the affidavit.
When officials asked for records for the students, Shim sent shoddy files that listed the same bank account number for multiple students and contained clear signs that they’d been doctored, according to the affidavit.
Investigators said they suspected the scheme brought in about $6 million a year.
For breaking California news, follow @JosephSerna on Twitter.
MORE LOCAL NEWS
Fuente: ABC News
Four black people charged with a hate crime in an attack on a white mentally disabled man that was captured by a cellphone camera and shown live on Facebook are scheduled to return to court, where they’re expected to enter pleas in the case.
The four whose hearings are scheduled for Friday in Chicago have been in custody since early January. At their first hearing, a judge called them a danger to society and refused to allow them to post bail.
The case gained international attention because the attack was shown on Facebook Live. On the video, the suspects are seen beating the schizophrenic victim and can be heard taunting him and shouting profanities against white people and then-President-elect Donald Trump.
The four also face aggravated kidnapping and other charges.
Fuente: ABC News
The Northeast is digging out from a winter storm that dumped a foot or more of snow along the New York-to-Boston corridor, forced the cancellation of schools in cities big and small and grounded thousands of flights.
The storm Thursday came a day after temperatures soared into the 50s and 60s, giving millions of people a taste of spring. But then it was back to reality.
“We were waiting for a good one all year,” said Morgan Crum, a manager at Katz Ace Hardware in Glastonbury, Connecticut, where more than 50 people stopped in to buy shovels, ice melt, gas cans and other storm provisions. “We live in New England. This is what we expect.”
Numerous accidents were reported as drivers dealt with blowing and drifting snow and slippery streets. Stretches of Interstate 95 in Rhode Island were closed in the afternoon after tractor-trailers got stuck.
Dozens of motorists got stranded on New York’s Long Island after they couldn’t make it up icy ramps. Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said snow plow drivers were going to have a “long night” working on icy roads.
Schools in New York City, Philadelphia, Boston and elsewhere called off classes for the day and government offices told non-essential workers to stay home. The mayor of Boston said schools would be closed Friday as well.
Thousands of flights were canceled across the region and planes bound for New York’s Kennedy Airport were ordered held on the ground for hours while crews cleared the runways.
In Rhode Island, they got “thundersnow,” with whiteout conditions accompanied by the rumble of thunder.
“It’s pretty nuts here,” Felecia White said as she and friends hunkered down in a restaurant in Newport, Rhode Island, waiting for the weather to improve. “Even with four-wheel drive, you can’t do anything. You can’t see across the street.”
Some neighborhoods in New York City saw a foot or more of the white stuff. Boston and Providence, Rhode Island, recorded more than 10 inches of snow and East Hartford, Connecticut, saw more than 19 inches.
Farther north, Berwick, Maine, recorded more than 16 inches of snow and Lee, New Hampshire, got 14 inches.
The Philadelphia area was largely spared after being told to expect up to 8 inches. Some suburbs received 5 inches, but by the afternoon, the sun was out.
Associated Press writers Chris Carola in Albany, New York; Shawn Marsh in Manasquan, New Jersey; Kiley Armstrong and Verena Dobnik in New York City; Bob Lentz and Mike Sisak in Philadelphia; Dave Collins in Hartford, Connecticut; Mark Pratt, Denise Lavoie and Bob Salsberg in Boston; Michelle Smith, Jennifer McDermott and Matt O’Brien in Providence, Rhode Island; Kathy McCormack and Holly Ramer in Concord, N.H., and Patrick Whittle in Portland, Maine contributed to this report.
Fuente: ABC News
No one likes to pay tolls, some more so than others. And toll-collection agencies across the country are fed up.
Some drivers blatantly zip through toll gates without paying. Others get more creative, like the truck driver accused of using fishing line to flip his license plate to avoid capture, or the motorcyclist who used a toggle switch to retract his plate.
Agencies that operate highways, tunnels and bridges say they’re losing millions of dollars annually to the scofflaws, and they’re stepping up their efforts to collect what’s owed with a stronger police presence, partnerships between states and other stricter enforcement measures.
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey’s police force has arrested several drivers in recent weeks who had each racked up hundreds of toll violations and owed thousands of dollars — or much more — in unpaid tolls and fees. The toll evaders were charged with theft and other criminal charges.
Evaders cost the Port Authority about $31 million in unpaid tolls in 2015, the last year for which data are available. A recent audit showed the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission lost about $37 million to toll violators.
“Toll evasion is costly for everyone, especially law-abiding drivers,” said Joe Pentangelo, a spokesman for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey police department. “Getting toll cheats is just one of the many things our officers do, but it’s an important task. It’s something we take very seriously.”
BAGS OF TRICKS
Detecting and catching violators has become a high-stakes game of cat-and-mouse.
A truck driver was accused in March 2016 of using fishing line to flip his license plate to avoid paying tolls from New Jersey into New York City on the George Washington Bridge. Police found a fishing line rigged from the cab to a hinge on the front license plate. They say the line could flip the plate out of view going through the toll plaza, while the rear license plate was bent up to defeat security cameras.
A few months later, a man on a motorcycle used a retractable license plate to skip a toll at the Holland Tunnel in Jersey City. Authorities say the license plate was concealed as the motorcycle entered an E-ZPass lane, and an officer then saw the man use a toggle switch to return the license plate to its proper position.
The motorcyclist eventually pleaded guilty to a disorderly persons offense in municipal court.
In New York, the police department has had to police its own officers to make sure they aren’t using a type of license-plate cover on personal vehicles that conceals the numbers. Spokesman Peter Donald told the New York Post that about a dozen officers were ticketed for having the improper covers.
Some people and businesses have accumulated debts totaling thousands of dollars — or higher.
Among them are the owner of a New Jersey trucking company accused of racking up more than $1 million in unpaid tolls and fees. The man was arrested last month at an airport while trying to board a flight to Aruba. Authorities say the company had 100 trucks going through tolls with a delinquent E-ZPass automatic payment account more than 100 times per day.
COST OF EVASION
While states can target residents who chronically skip tolls, getting payment from evaders who live in other states can be difficult. Many are looking into agreements with other states that would make it easier to collect.
Interstate agreements are on the rise, said J.J. Eden, president of the Alliance for Toll Interoperability, a Durham, North Carolina-based government organization that promotes toll industry standardization.
Loss caused by toll evasion “gets to be a financial hit for the toll agencies, so they see these high numbers and realize they have to do something,” he said. “It’s just basically a matter of fairness.”
Scofflaws are often hit with fines and penalties that can add thousands to their bills, while states and agencies can also file lawsuits, use debt collection services and bar them from renewing a driver’s license or vehicle registration until they settle up.
They also can have their vehicles impounded and often face theft charges over the unpaid tolls, though sometimes the matters are downgraded to lesser charges.
The Transportation Corridor Agencies, which oversees the operations of the 51 miles of toll roads in Orange County, California, said roughly 4 percent of the 300,000 daily transactions it sees result in a violation. The TCA partners with the California Highway Patrol for enforcement of toll payments, as well as pursuing the most egregious violators.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, recently announced a new regulation allowing the state Department of Motor Vehicles to suspend the registration of motorists who fail to pay three or more toll violations within a five-year period. Previously, the DMV was allowed to suspend a registration when someone avoided five or more toll payments within 18 months.
Fuente: ABC News
A federal appeals court has handed a resounding victory to Washington state and Minnesota in their challenge of President Donald Trump’s travel ban, finding unanimously that a lower court ruling suspending the ban’s enforcement should stay in place while the case continues.
The 3-0 decision from the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals sided with the states on nearly every issue presented.
Some legal scholars who reviewed it said the Justice Department could face long odds in any immediate appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, though that won’t necessarily stop the administration from trying. Trump tweeted “SEE YOU IN COURT” after the ruling came out Thursday — prompting a sharp retort from Washington Gov. Jay Inslee: “Mr. President, we just saw you in court, and we beat you.”
Here’s a look at the legal issues in the court’s ruling and what comes next.
WHAT DOES THE RULING MEAN?
For now, it means refugees and people from seven majority-Muslim nations identified in the president’s surprise Jan. 27 executive order can continue entering the country. Travelers from those countries won’t be detained, or put back on planes heading overseas, and there won’t likely be more protests jamming the nation’s airports as there were after Trump issued the surprise order.
But the executive order isn’t dead, either — it just isn’t being enforced while the courts debate its legality. The federal government has 14 days to ask the 9th Circuit to reconsider Thursday’s decision. It could also file an emergency appeal with the U.S. Supreme Court, which would go to Justice Anthony Kennedy for referral to the rest of the court.
Rory Little, a former Supreme Court clerk who teaches at the University of California Hastings College of the Law, doesn’t think that’s such a good idea. In addition to seeking to overturn a reasoned decision, he said, Trump would be facing Chief Justice John Roberts, who just wrote an annual report in which he raved about his District Court judges. The president repeatedly insulted the Seattle judge who ruled against him, in addition to the appeals judges who followed suit.
“I think Kennedy and Roberts are seething about the president insulting their judges,” Little said. “If they go to the U.S. Supreme Court, they risk getting a serious adverse ruling.”
WHAT DID THE COURT CONSIDER?
There have been, in effect, two items before the court: the government’s appeal of the lower judge’s ruling, and its motion to put that ruling on hold pending the appeal. On Thursday, the panel denied the motion for stay and set a briefing schedule for fuller arguments on the merits of the appeal.
That prompted some confusion among those watching the case, many of whom expected it to be returned to the Seattle courthouse. Washington’s lawyer, state Solicitor General Noah Purcell, wrote to the Seattle court’s clerk late Thursday to note the state wouldn’t be making an expected court filing because of the new appellate briefing schedule.
Barring an immediate appeal to the Supreme Court, the government’s opening brief is due March 3, with the states’ filing due March 24.
In denying the motion for stay, the court said it was considering whether the administration was likely to win its appeal, whether suspending the travel ban had harmed the government, and whether the public interest favored granting the stay or rejecting it.
The judges agreed that the lower court’s ruling was appealable — the only question on which the states lost. They rejected the DOJ’s argument that the states lacked standing to sue, noting that some faculty members at state universities were unable to travel, for example.
But most forcibly, they rejected the DOJ’s notion that the president has nearly unlimited authority over immigration decisions.
“There is no precedent to support this claimed unreviewability, which runs contrary to the fundamental structure of our constitutional democracy,” the opinion said.
A PROBLEMATIC EXECUTIVE ORDER?
Based on what they know so far, Trump’s executive order poses some serious constitutional concerns, the panel said. For example, the government hasn’t shown that it complies with due process, by giving those affected notice or a hearing before restricting their ability to travel.
While the government insisted that most or all those affected don’t have such rights, the court disagreed. The protections of the Fifth Amendment’s due process clause aren’t limited to U.S. citizens, the judges said.
Furthermore, while the White House Counsel Donald McGahn issued guidance days after the executive order saying it didn’t apply to legal permanent residents of the U.S., some of whom had been caught up in the travel ban, that guidance was of little use, the court wrote.
“The Government has offered no authority establishing that the White House counsel is empowered to issue an amended order superseding the Executive Order signed by the President,” the opinion said. “The White House counsel is not the President, and he is not known to be in the chain of command for any of the Executive Departments.”
A LIBERAL COURT?
Many conservatives denounced the ruling, and some law professors criticized various aspects of it, including its lack of analysis regarding a law giving the president power to suspend entry of “any class of aliens” when he finds their entry “would be detrimental” to the country.
Republican Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas called the decision misguided and wrote off the court it came from as “the most notoriously left-wing court in America.”
While the 9th Circuit certainly has a lefty reputation, based in part on the long tenure of the many liberal judges that Democratic President Jimmy Carter appointed, legal scholars say the label is less deserved than it used to be. Two of the judges on the panel that made the ruling are Democratic appointees, while one, that Judge Richard Clifton, was appointed by President George W. Bush.
Carl Tobias, a law professor at the University of Richmond Law School, said Clifton’s decision to join the opinion should allay any concerns that it was motivated by politics instead of the law. That should make the government think twice before going to the Supreme Court, he said.
During oral arguments Tuesday, Clifton “was asking the best questions that might lean toward the government, but even he wasn’t persuaded on the law or the facts, so that makes it really tough for the government,” Tobias said. “I don’t think they’re going to be well-received at the Supreme Court for all kinds of reasons, but mainly because this is a reasonable decision. The precedents are there, they’ve weighed the issues, and even Clifton signed it.”
AP writer Terry Chea in San Francisco contributed to this report.
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Fuente: ABC News
One worker was missing and two were injured after an explosion sparked a fire at a Louisiana pipeline Thursday night, officials said.
Authorities don’t yet know what caused the fire on the Phillips 66 pipeline in Paradis, but a crew of six workers was cleaning it at the time, St. Charles Parish Sheriff Greg Champagne said at a news conference.
Two of the workers were hospitalized — one taken to a burn center— and three had minor or no injuries, the sheriff said. The remaining worker was unaccounted for, and a helicopter was being brought in to help search for him.
Champagne said the source of the 20-inch pipeline had been shut off but the fire would have to burn off the rest of the liquid inside, which could take hours or even days.
“They tell us the best thing that can happen right now is for the product to burn off,” he said.
The pipeline was carrying a highly volatile byproduct of natural gas, which was burning cleanly and very hotly over a 30- to 40-foot area, the sheriff said.
“It’s just a big blow torch,” he said.
Sixty homes were evacuated and highways were being diverted around the area in Paradis, which is about 30 miles west of New Orleans.