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‘They are alive!’: These Mexican children are in a terrible nightmare, please pray

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This has to be the most heartbreaking story about Mexico City I’ve read. In fact, it’s one of the most nightmarish, unimaginable things I have ever read, period.

After the deadly earthquake that has so far claimed at least 230 lives, a school collapsed south of Mexico City, crushing 21 children between the ages of 7 and 13 along with five adults. As searchers continued working for the last 24 hours, they located several signs of life under the rubble using a thermal scanner.

From Yahoo News (AFP):

“They are alive! Alive!” shouted Civil Protection volunteer Enrique Garcia, 37. “Someone hit a wall several times in one place, and in another there was a response to light signals with a lamp,” he said.

“We have been at this since yesterday, but we cannot reach them, because they are trapped between two slabs…”

They’ve rescued 11 children and one teacher from the rubble. But they can’t reach these children yet. It’s painstaking, heart-rending work, and the parents are beyond comfort.

“No one can possibly imagine the pain I’m in right now,” said one mother, Adriana Fargo, who was standing outside what remained of the school waiting for news of her seven-year-old daughter.

In the Condesa neighborhood, Karen Guzman sat on a stool in the street with her back to one of the collapsed buildings. She said she could not bear the tension of the search for around 30 people thought to be under the rubble, among them her brother.

Beside her were two street poles tagged with lists of rescued people, but they do not include the name of her brother Juan Antonio, a 43-year-old accountant who worked on the top floor of the four-story building.

“My mom is looking for him in hospitals because we don’t trust those lists. Sometimes I think nobody knows anything,” she said.

This has to be a parent’s worst nightmare, and also for the poor, trapped, scared children.

Perspectives

Mexico earthquake: 230 confirmed dead as rescue efforts continue – live | World news | The Guardian

https://www.theguardian.com/world/live/2017/sep/20/mexico-earthquake-survivors-rescue-liveIt’s unclear how many children have been pulled out alive and how many survivors may still be trapped. The rescue efforts are continuing as Mexico City heads towards nightfall. At the collapsed school, officials have issued an urgent call for lamps, oxygen tanks, medicine and thermal blankets, according to Agren:

But there is still hope. There was total silence while rescue workers used a sensor to painstakingly identify possible human activity. A rescue dog was then sent in, and as a result, two areas were identified and marked with green painted circles where digging will be targeted over the next few hours despite the pouring rain.

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Final thoughts

There is very little to say. Prayer, if you believe in God and His power to rescue, is appropriate. If only there were a way to hug these parents through the Internet…

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Budget head Mulvaney picked as Trump’s next chief of staff

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Budget head Mulvaney picked as Trumps next chief of staff

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump has picked budget director Mick Mulvaney to be his acting chief of staff, ending a chaotic search in which several top contenders took themselves out of the running for the job.

“Mick has done an outstanding job while in the Administration,” Trump tweeted Friday. “I look forward to working with him in this new capacity as we continue to MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!”

Trump added that his current chief of staff, John Kelly, will be staying until the end of the year. “He is a GREAT PATRIOT and I want to personally thank him for his service!” Trump wrote.

Trump’s first pick for the job, Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff Nick Ayers, took himself out of the running last weekend and decided to leave the White House instead. The decision caught the president and many senior staffers by surprise, and Trump soon found that others he considered front-runners were not interested in the job.

It was not immediately clear why the president decided to make Mulvaney’s appointment temporary. One senior White House official said there was no time limit on the appointment and Mulvaney would fill the role of chief of staff indefinitely, regardless of the “acting” title.

Key to his selection: Mulvaney and the president get along and the president likes him personally. Additionally, Trump prized the former congressman’s knowledge of Capitol Hill and political instincts as the White House prepares for a Democratic-controlled House and the president’s upcoming re-election campaign.

The decision came suddenly. Trump had grown frustrated with the length of the search and the growing perception that no one of stature wanted the job, according to one person familiar with his thinking.

Mulvaney received the news before the president tweeted his announcement. They spoke face to face Friday afternoon at a meeting that was supposed to be about the budget and spoke by phone later in the evening, according to a second White House official. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the personnel matter on the record.

“This is a tremendous honor,” Mulvaney tweeted. “I look forward to working with the President and the entire team. It’s going to be a great 2019!”

Mulvaney, who will be Trump’s third chief of staff, will now take on his third job in the administration. He is head of the Office of Management and Budget, and for a time simultaneously led the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

The White House originally said Russell Vought, Mulvaney’s deputy, would be taking over at OMB. But press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Friday night that Mulvaney will not resign that job even though he “will spend all of his time devoted to his role as the acting Chief Of Staff for the President.”

Sanders said Vought “will handle day to day operations and run OMB.”

Mulvaney had signaled in recent weeks that he wasn’t interested in being chief of staff, with a person close to him telling reporters that he’d made clear that he would me more interested in taking over as secretary of the Treasury or Commerce. But the White House officials disputed reports that captured that sentiment, and said the president didn’t need to change Mulvaney’s mind.

A former tea party congressman, Mulvaney was among a faction on the hard right that pushed GOP leaders into a 2013 government shutdown confrontation by insisting on lacing a must-pass spending bill with provisions designed to cripple President Barack Obama’s signature health care law.

Trump’s pick generated little immediate reaction on Capitol Hill, where most of Mulvaney’s allies are part of the conservative House Freedom Caucus. But his knowledge of Congress and how government works is likely to be an asset in the coming months.

The appointment of the affable, fast-talking South Carolinian came just hours after another candidate for the post, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, took himself out of contention. Christie cited family reasons in a statement saying he was asking Trump to remove him from consideration. He had met with Trump on Thursday to discuss the job, according to a person familiar with the meeting who was not authorized to discuss it publicly.

Ayers, who had cited family concerns as a reason he didn’t accept the post, tweeted Friday: “The right father of triplets got the job…Congratulations @MickMulvaneyOMB!” Both men are, coincidentally, fathers of triplets.

Trump’s first chief of staff, Reince Priebus, served for six months before leaving in July 2017. Trump tweeted his choice of Kelly to replace him before he formally offered the retired four-star Marine general the job.

For some months, Kelly had success streamlining the decision-making process in the West Wing and curtailing access to the undisciplined president. But Trump grew weary of the restrictions and Kelly’s influence waned as the two men frequently clashed.

As the search dragged on after Ayers bowed out, with no backup at the ready, the void had been filled with Trump’s specialty: drama.

British journalist Piers Morgan suggested he would be a good fit in an op-ed for The Daily Mail, while former major league slugger Jose Canseco tweeted his interest to Trump. Speculation swirled around an array of Trump associates, prompting some to distance themselves from the job.

When former House Speaker Newt Gingrich visited the White House this week, he insisted it was merely to see the Christmas decorations.

The wild process was hardly a novelty for the Trump administration, which has struggled with high staff turnover and attracting top talent, but it underscored the tumult of Trump’s Washington. In past administrations, chief of staff was a sought-after job, typically awarded after a careful process. Now, many view the job as a risky proposition, given Trump’s propensity for disorder and his resistance to being managed.

Author Chris Whipple, an expert on chiefs of staff, had called the search process “sad to watch.”

“In his first two years, Trump devalued the position by failing to empower anyone to perform the job, and now he’s turned the search for a replacement into a reality show,” said Whipple, author of “The Gatekeepers,” a book on the subject. “The only thing more broken and dysfunctional than the White House itself seems to be the search for the new White House chief of staff.”

Trump on Friday disputed that notion.

“For the record, there were MANY people who wanted to be the White House Chief of Staff. Mick M will do a GREAT job!” he tweeted.

___

Associated Press writer Zeke Miller contributed to this report.

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Economy

J&J hammered by report it knew of asbestos in baby powder

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J&J hammered by report it knew of asbestos in baby powder

NEW YORK (AP) — Johnson & Johnson is forcefully denying a media report that it knew for decades about the existence of trace amounts of asbestos in its baby powder.

The report Friday by the Reuters news service sent company shares into a tailspin, suffering their worst sell-off in 16 years.

Reuters is citing documents released as part of a lawsuit by plaintiffs claiming that the product can be linked to ovarian cancer. The New Brunswick, New Jersey company has battled in court against such claims and on Friday called the Reuters report, “one-sided, false and inflammatory.”

Shares are down more than 9 percent, the most severe decline since 2002.

In the report, Reuters points out that documents show consulting labs as early as 1957 and 1958 found asbestos in J&J talc. Further reports by the company and outside labs showed similar findings through the early 2000s.

In its statement Friday, Johnson & Johnson said “thousands of independent tests by regulators and the world’s leading labs prove our baby powder has never contained asbestos.”

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To continue in our quest, we’ve launched our first Patreon page to generate the revenue we need to make the site grow and thrive. We’re now in Google News as one of the few non-leftist voices appearing on the most powerful aggregator in America. Our traffic has tripled in just over two months. Now, it’s time to take it to the next level.

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