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Pentagon Preparing Options To Build Barriers If Trump Declares National Emergency

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The Pentagon is formulating options to build barriers on the Southern US border in the possibility that President Donald Trump declares a national emergency there, according to USA Today.

“The Department of Defense is reviewing available authorities and funding mechanisms to identify options to enable border barrier construction,” said Navy Capt. Bill Speaks, a Pentagon spokesman. “As there has not been such a declaration made, it would be inappropriate to comment further on those efforts.”

The verification of the preparations comes after Trump on Thursday gave his most definitive guidance yet that he was considering a declaration of a national emergency as a method of freeing up funds for a border wall if talks with Democrats fail to yield a deal on his signature issue, in the midst of the partial government shutdown.

“If this doesn’t work out, probably I will do it – I would almost say definitely,” Trump said. “We have plenty of funds if there’s a national emergency.”

Trump’s declaration of an emergency at the southern border would authorize the Army Corps of Engineers to design barriers and let contracts to build them.

Money would come from the Pentagon’s budget for construction projects approved by Congress but not yet spent. 

Rep. Mac Thornberry, the top Republican on the House Armed Services Committee, said in an interview that he opposed diverting money from the Pentagon’s, or any other department’s budget, to pay for the border barriers. Diverting the money from the military would prevent it from, for example, building barracks to house troops.

In a follow-up statement to the Texas Tribune, Thornberry elaborated on his view.

“It is disappointing that the best interests of the country do not seem to be everyone’s top priority,” he said. “We should fund the rest of the government and improve border security, leaving the political posturing behind.”


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Vaping-Related Lung Injury Cases In U.S. Reach 1,500, With 33 Deaths

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WASHINGTON, Oct. 17 (NTS) — The CDC stated Thursday that 1,479 vaping-related lung injury cases arose across the country as of Oct. 15.
  A total of 33 deaths occur in 24 U.S. states, with a median age of 44 years old, according to the CDC.
  Among 849 patients with knowledge on substances used in e-cigarettes three months before symptom onset, about 78 percent reported using products containing THC, the principal psychoactive compound in marijuana, while 10 percent reported exclusive use of nicotine-containing products, according to the CDC.
  ”This is extremely complicated and difficult. It’s fatal or potentially fatal with half of the cases requiring intensive care,” said CDC Principal Deputy Director Anne Schuchat at a Congress hearing on Wednesday.
  Schuchat said the approaching flu season complicates efforts to diagnose vaping cases.
  The rising number of vaping-related deaths has terrified the country. The FDA is creating a policy that will remove the market of unauthorized, non-tobacco-flavored e-cigarettes.
  The CDC advised that people abstain from using e-cigarettes because the precise cause(s) of lung injury is not yet known.

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Four People Killed, Three Injured In Early Morning Mass Shooting In Brooklyn

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(NBC) — Four people are dead and three injured after an early morning shooting on Saturday in Brooklyn, New York, law enforcement officials said.

The shooting happened at 6:55 a.m. in the Crown Heights neighborhood at what New York Police Department officials described as “an illegal gambling location.”

At least 15 shots were fired, and as of Saturday morning, police had recovered two guns so far — a nine-millimeter handgun and a revolver. NYPD Chief of Detectives Dermot Shea said he would not be surprised to find more.

“We have four males deceased inside,” Shea said, adding that their ages range from 32 to 49. “They are still at the scene. We are waiting on the medical examiner’s office.”

Three other people, two men, and one woman were injured by gunfire. Shea said they are being treated at a hospital and their wounds are not life-threatening. An eighth person was injured as he tried to escape the firefight.

Two of the dead men were from out of town, while the others resided in Brooklyn. It is unclear if the men who are not from Brooklyn came specifically to play at the gambling hall, which Shea said appeared to focus on card and dice games.

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One Injured In New Hampshire Church Shooting

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(ABC) — Authorities are investigating a shooting at a church in Pelham, New Hampshire, on Saturday morning, the governor said.

“State officials are on scene assisting local first responders in the response and investigation of a shooting in Pelham, NH,” Governor John Sununu said on Twitter.

A spokeswoman for Lowell General Hospital in Massachusetts said they are treating one victim from the shooting, but did not release any additional information.

This is a breaking story. Please check back for updates.

Live coverage of the shooting below.

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