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US Border Patrol cancels 'crowd control' training exercise near Texas polling station

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By CJC

iStock/Thinkstock(EL PASO, Texas) — Border patrol officials on Tuesday abruptly canceled a “crowd control exercise” it had planned for Election Day near a Hispanic neighborhood along the Texas-Mexico border a half a mile from a polling place.

The event, which had been scheduled for noon Eastern time, drew sharp criticism from the American Civil Liberties Union and others that said the timing seemed to be aimed at trying to intimidate Hispanic voters. The Trump administration and border officials sharply rejected that allegation, saying the exercise was preparation for the potential influx of migrants who have been traveling north through Mexico.

In a statement released to reporters, U.S. Customs and Border Protection said it had canceled the event “out of an abundance of caution and due to inaccurate reporting that caused unneeded confusion in border communities.” CBP said it would continue training exercises in coming days “as necessary to ensure border security and the safety of the American people.”

“The timing of this is suspicious,” the ACLU in Texas tweeted. “The Trump administration, and by extension the (Texas Gov. Greg) Abbott administration, have done quite enough to intimidate voters without staging military rehearsals on Election Day.”

Tyler Q. Houlton, press secretary for the Homeland Security Department, issued a statement prior to the event’s cancellation insisting that the exercise was appropriate and not tied to Election Day.

“The suggestion that ongoing exercises at ports of entry in anticipation of a potential mass arrival of migrants are tied to voting by any group is flat-out wrong,” he said in a statement. “DHS has worked tirelessly to ensure the security of our election systems and will always secure our borders regardless of what day it might be.”

Border patrol officials in Texas had invited media to witness the training exercise, which was scheduled to take place at a railroad crossing west of the Paso Del Norte Port of Entry. The site of the training exercise would have been a half a mile away from the Armijo Recreation Center, a polling station in El Paso.

The exercise was planned as President Donald Trump also deployed thousands of active-duty service members to the border in response to a caravan of migrants from Central America moving through Mexico. Caravan participants interviewed by ABC News have said they are fleeing poverty and crime and are seeking asylum in the United States; Trump has described the slow-moving group as “invaders” and a national security threat, urging them to return home or settle in Mexico.

Rep. Beto O’Rourke, the Democrat looking to unseat Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz, said he didn’t understand why anyone would be angry with asylum seekers “doing what any human being would do.”

“No walls, no CBP exercises (are) going to keep us from honoring our laws, our commitments” to process asylum applications, O’Rourke told reporters late Monday. “Why this is happening now, why the president is stirring these issues up at this moment with 24 hours before we decide this election – I’ll leave that to you to conclude.”

When asked about training exercises on Election Day, a CBP spokesman in Texas had said border patrol officials were monitoring the caravan and making the “necessary preparations.”

“These include participating in operational readiness exercises and the mobilization of resources to ensure the facilitation of lawful trade and travel,” he said.

Immigration activists and the ACLU say the migrant caravan represents a humanitarian crisis, not a national security threat.

“Instead of practicing to handle nonexistent crowds, the Border Patrol could practice something useful and timely: how to properly interview and process refugee asylum seekers,” the ACLU’s executive director in Texas, Terri Burke, told The Washington Post.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Source:: National News

      

Watch now: Dolly and Sia deliver an inspirational video for "Here I Am," even though they're not in it

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By Music News Group

RCA Nashville The new video for Dolly Parton and Sia‘s duet version of “Here I Am” is out now, though neither the Country Music Hall of Famer or the pop star appear in it.

Instead, the clip mirrors the lyrics of the song, following a wide variety of people as they find comfort in some of life’s hard moments.

“Here I am/Reaching out/To give you love that you’re without/I can help you find what you’ve been searching for,” the two sing in the new recording of Dolly’s 1971 song for the Netflix film, Dumplin‘.

The full version of the soundtrack — which features stars like Miranda Lambert, Elle King, Mavis Staples, Alison Krauss and others helping Dolly recreate more of her classics — arrives November 30, before the movie begins streaming December 7.

You can check out the “Here I Am” video on YouTube now.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Source:: Country Music News

      

Election Day weather: Severe storms knock out power to some polling stations; others plagued by humidity

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By JTP

ABC News(NEW YORK) — Many voters around the country had to carry umbrellas and wear rain boots to the polls Tuesday as severe storms hit the Interstate 95 corridor along the East Coast on Election Day.

In North Carolina, ballots in some precincts couldn’t be fed through tabulators, apparently due to high humidity, said the North Carolina Bipartisan State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement

In those cases, ballots were stored in secure “emergency bins” and would be tabulated as soon as possible, the board said.

“All ballots will be counted,” the board said in a statement. “The State Board office has advised county election officials to work with their precinct officials to ensure voting areas are kept as cool and dry as possible.”

“Wake County they have already replaced some of the tabulators and the new tabulators are working,” said North Carolina State Board of Elections spokesman Patrick Gannon.

The board is looking at extending the voting hours in certain locations, he added.

Wet weather also slowed lines at some New York City polling places.

The city’s elections board said voters’ wet hands and clothing appear to be leaving some ballots damp, causing them to jam in the machines.

The showers are expected to leave the East Coast by Tuesday night as election results roll in.

Severe storms first struck overnight in Tennessee, where one person died from a tornado in Christiana.

The twister’s winds reached up to 135 mph.

The weather also left some polling stations in Tennessee without power, the state’s elections coordinator, Mark Goins, told ABC News. Most polling places have generators and batteries to continue running their election operations, but at least one polling station without power in Knox County was forced to use emergency paper ballots, Goins said.

He said he does not expect the loss of power to cause a significant delay of election results.

Over 1 million Tennesseans had voted early before this round of storms hit the state.

In other parts of the country, rain was forecast to change to snow in the Upper Midwest and around the Great Lakes, with some snow accumulation possible from North Dakota to the Twin Cities.

Snow is also expected in the northern Rockies, with half a foot possible.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Source:: National News

      

Harpo, is that you? Oprah Winfrey, Steven Spielberg to adapt 'The Color Purple' musical into a film

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By Music News Group

ABC/Randy Holmes(LOS ANGELES) — The Color Purple is coming back to theaters, but with a musical twist. Warner Bros. is adapting the Broadway musical based on The Color Purple into a film.

The original 1982 film and subsequent musical was based on the Pulitzer Prize Alice Walker novel. The film was directed by Steven Spielberg film and starred Whoopi Goldberg and Oprah Winfrey. It later went on to earn 11 Academy Award nominations and was Winfrey’s feature acting debut, which earned her an Oscar nod.

Although the film didn’t receive any Oscars, nor did its hit Broadway musical in 2005, the 2016 revival that starred Cynthia Erivo won the play two Tonys, including best musical revival.

Winfrey, Quincy Jones and Steven Spielberg are all on board to produce the big-screen musical. No word yet on when we might see it.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Source:: Entertainment News

      

Michael Douglas receives star on Hollywood Walk of Fame after 50 years in the biz

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By Music News Group

Gregg DeGuire/Getty Images(HOLLYWOOD) — Michael Douglas received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame Tuesday, in recognition of his 50-year anniversary in the entertainment business.

He accepted the honor with his wife Catherine Zeta-Jones, his son Cameron, and his 101-year-old father, movie legend Kirk Douglas, looking on.

“My dad is here,” Michael said during his speech at the ceremony. “In a month, Kirk turns 102 years old. So those of you who took the under on him making 80, you lost a long time ago.”

He continued, getting choked up, “It means so much to me, Dad, that you’re here today. I’ll say it simply and with all my heart: I’m so proud to be your son.”

Douglas received a star near the corner of Hollywood and Vine, just a few feet from his father’s own star.

His China Syndrome co-star Jane Fonda was a guest speaker at the ceremony, and she talked about how they both had to deal with the challenges of having fathers who were movie legends.

“Michael has not only carved out his identity as a great, great actor with tremendous range, but as a great producer as well,” Fonda said. “He has rightfully been bestowed with all of the awards Hollywood has to offer… and now finally, a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.”

Douglas is starring in a new Netflix series, The Kominsky Method, debuting on November 16.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Source:: Entertainment News

      

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