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Family arrivals rise sharply at U.S.-Mexico border in August Federal officials blame hike on reversal of separation policy BY ELLIOT SPAGAT Associated Press

S A N D I E G O • More than

16,000 families were apprehended at the border in August, authorities said Wednesday, a dramatic increase from previous months that the administration of President Donald Trump blamed on legal loopholes and a reversal of a widely denounced policy that separated parents and children at the border. The number of family arrivals reached 15,955, a sharp increase from July that Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Kevin McAleenan said was one of the highest on record. Families accounted for more than one-third of the people stopped at the border. He called the increase “a direct response to gaps in the legal framework,” adding, “we’re not surprised by it, but it’s been a very stark trend.” Overall, people arrested or stopped at the border totaled 46,560, up 17 percent from 39,953 in July and up 52 percent from 30,567 in August 2017. Arrests have risen from July to August in four of the previous five years, indicating seasonal factors may be an influence. The number of people arriving as families increased 30 percent from July to August, outpacing the overall increase. The numbers offer a glimpse into the impact of the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy on illegal crossings that was introduced in April, which resulted in the separation of more than 2,500 children from their parents. Trump effectively ended the practice of separating families in June amid heavy criticism. With the midterm elections looming and immigration a key issue in congressional races


A Honduran man carries his 3-year-old son as his daughter and other son follow to a transport vehicle after being detained in July by U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agents in San Luis, Ariz.

across the country, McAleenan called the situation “a crisis of significant proportions from a humanitarian perspective and a security perspective.” The arrest tally is also the latest reminder of how border crossings have shifted over the last decade from predominantly Mexican men to Central American families and children. The Border Patrol, which polices official ports of entry, made 37,544 arrests in August, including 12,774 of people who came as families and 4,396 children traveling alone. An additional 9,016 were stopped elsewhere, including 3,181 who came as families and 376 as unaccompanied children. Last week, the Trump administration moved to abandon a long-standing court settlement that limits how long immigrant children can be kept locked up, proposing new regulations that would allow the government to detain families until their immigration cases are decided. Administration officials said

that ending the so-called Flores agreement of 1997 will speed up the handling of asylum requests while also deterring people from illegally crossing the border. The move angered immigrant rights advocates and is all but certain to trigger a court battle. Border arrests are an imperfect gauge of illegal crossings because they don’t indicate how many people got away. Trump touted border arrests when they fell sharply during his first few months in office to less than 16,000 in April 2017. The arrest tally rose in 11 of the following 12 months, topping 50,000 in March, April and May. The administration said Tuesday that it will expand its tent shelter for minors crossing the border to 3,800 beds and keep it open through the end of this year. The facility at Tornillo, Texas, opened with a 360-bed capacity for 30 days, is being expanded based on how many children are in the care of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Trump OKs sanctions for foreign election meddlers BY DEB RIECHMANN Associated Press

WA S H I N GTO N • President Donald Trump signed an executive order Wednesday authorizing sanctions against foreigners who meddle in U.S. elections, acting amid criticism that he has not taken election security seriously enough. “We felt it was important to demonstrate the president has taken command of this issue, that it’s something he cares deeply about — that the integrity of our elections and our constitutional process are a high priority to him,” said national security adviser John Bolton. The order calls for sanctioning any individual, company or country that interferes with campaign infrastructure or distributes disinformation and propaganda interfering with U.S. elections, Bolton told reporters. It requires the national intelligence director to make regular assessments about foreign interference and asks the Homeland Security and Justice departments to submit reports on meddling in campaign-related infrastructure. It lays out how the Treasury and State departments will recommend sanctions to impose. With the midterm elections now two months away, National Intelligence Director Dan Coats said the U.S. is not currently seeing the intensity of Russian intervention that was experienced in 2016, but he didn’t rule it out. He said the U.S. is also worried about the cyberactivities of China, North Korea and Iran. Coats said Trump’s order directs intelligence agencies to determine whether an individual, entity or country has interfered in a U.S. election and, if so, to turn the information over to the attorney general and Department of Homeland Security. He said the order also directs intelligence officials to conduct an assessment after elections to

inform the public about what might have occurred. “This clearly is a process put in place to try to assure that we are doing every possible thing we can, first of all, to prevent any interference with our elections, to report on anything we see between now and the election, but then to do a full assessment after the election to assure the American people just exactly what may have happened or may not have happened,” Coats said. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and Sen. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., are pushing a bill that would prohibit foreign governments from buying election ads, using social media to spread false information or disrupting election infrastructure. They said Trump’s order recognizes the threat, but doesn’t go far enough. The order gives the executive branch the discretion to impose sanctions for election meddling, but the bill would spell out sanctions on key economic sectors of a country that interferes. Those backing the legislation say that a nation would know exactly what it would face if caught. Virginia Sen. Mark Warner, ranking Democrat on the Senate intelligence committee, said the order leaves the president with broad discretion to decide whether to impose tough sanctions. “Unfortunately, President Trump demonstrated in Helsinki and elsewhere that he simply cannot be counted upon to stand up to (Russian President Vladimir) Putin when it matters,” said Warner, who is sponsoring the bill. At a July 16 news conference with Putin in Helsinki, Trump was asked if he would denounce what happened in 2016 and warn Putin never to do it again. Trump did not directly answer the question. Instead, he delivered a rambling response, including demands for investigation of Hillary Clinton’s email server and his description of Putin’s “extremely strong and powerful” denial of meddling.

Lab test may someday identify dangerous gene mutations BY MALCOLM RITTER Associated Press

NEW YORK • Scientists

say they have found a new way to help determine whether specific genetic abnormalities are likely to make people sick, a step toward avoiding a vexing uncertainty that can surround DNA test results. Researchers used genetic engineering to create thousands of tiny variations in a gene linked to breast cancer, and tested each one in a lab to predict whether it would promote the disease if it appeared in a person. When those predictions were checked against what scientists already knew about the BRCA1 gene, “we were very accurate,” said Lea Starita of the Brotman Baty Institute for Precision Medicine in Seattle. The technique, which she and her colleagues hope to extend to other genes, is aimed at easing a frustrating problem in genetic testing. Sometimes those tests reveal an abnormality in a gene linked to the disease, but nobody knows whether that particular quirk is haz-

ardous. It’s called a “variant of uncertain significance,” or VUS. Such a result can cause anxiety and worse: Experts talk about women who have had breasts removed after learning they had a VUS in a gene linked to breast cancer, only to find out years later that further research showed their

variants were harmless. The new work aimed to identify tiny variants in the BRCA1 gene’s DNA code that keep it from working. Mutations that disable this gene greatly raise the risk of breast and ovarian cancer. Results were published Wednesday by the journal Nature. Researchers created

nearly 4,000 tiny variations in key sections of the gene. Then they tested whether each variant crippled the gene within cells that die when BRCA1 isn’t working. That let them predict which variations would promote cancer if found in a person. To check the accuracy of their predictions, they

consulted a database that lists the effects of BRCA1 variants. Results showed 169 of the variants they generated had been declared dangerous in the database, and the test had predicted that in 162 of them. Similarly, the test correctly categorized 20 of 22 variants deemed harmless in the database.

Researchers plan to expand the test to other genes that can predispose people to cancer. It might also be expanded to genes linked to other diseases. Going beyond cancer genes would raise the difficult challenge of finding appropriate lab tests, said Jay Shendure of the Baty institute.

NOTICE TO CONTRACTORS OWNER: The Board of Governors for the Missouri State University Sealed bids for the RENOVATION OF 107 AND 108, STRONG HALL will be received at the Office of Planning, Design & Construction, Missouri State University, 901 S. National, Springfield, MO 65897, until 2:00 p.m. on SEPTEMBER 25, 2018 and then publicly opened and read aloud. With each proposal, a certified check or bid bond properly executed by the bidder in the amount of five percent (5%) of the bid shall be submitted. Plans and specifications can be obtained from the Office of Planning, Design & Construction upon receipt of a $25.00 refundable deposit for documents returned within thirty days from date of bid. All sets of specifications required other than in person will be mailed at bidder’s expense. Electronic sets of plans and specifications are also available at https://plans.missouristate.edu/.


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Attention of bidders is particularly called to the requirements as to the conditions of employment to be observed. Bidders must agree to comply with the prevailing wage rate provisions and other statutory regulations as referred to in the specifications.

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