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Shock and Confusion After Bahamas Evacuees Forced Off Ferry Headed to Florida

The future is uncertain for 70,000 people in the Bahamas left homeless by Hurricane Dorian.

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(TMU) — In a truly gut-wrenching scene, Bahamians attempting to flee the hurricane ravaged islands were kicked off of a ferry en route to Fort Lauderdale, Florida on Sunday evening.

The scene played out on social media as Brian Entin, investigative reporter for 7 News in Miami, shared video of the chaos as it unfolded, shortly after Bahamians attempting to leave the island of Grand Bahama boarded the ferry having just spent hours waiting in line.

Historically, visas are not required for Bahamians traveling to the United States if they qualify for the Visa Waiver Program and apply at the airport in Freeport or Nassau. According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), “Based on a bilateral agreement, in certain circumstances, many Bahamians and citizens of the British overseas territory of the Turks and Caicos Islands do not require a visa.” 

The obvious problem is that these Bahamians are attempting to travel after a massive natural disaster that destroyed the Freeport Airport and has made traveling from island to island extremely difficult and, according to Angus Johnston, City University of New York professor, the program had been expanded to ferries in light of Dorian.

https://twitter.com/studentactivism/status/1170895312724078592

Announcements like the one below echoed through the ferry causing confusion.

According to Entin, passengers “were told before boarding it was ok with Bahamian passport and clean polce [sic] record. Something has now changed.”

Discussion between Entin and passengers appear to show that it was fairly commonplace for Bahamians to travel to the U.S. without a visa.

https://twitter.com/BrianEntin/status/1170853692934971393

According to Hannah Morse, a reporter with the Palm Beach Post, the Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line “spent nearly a full day” working with CPB to pre-clear evacuees.

The cruise ship Grand Celebration successfully evacuated upwards of 1500 Bahamians on Friday without requiring visas.

https://twitter.com/BrianEntin/status/1170893491511054337

Before the chaos unfolded on board the ferry, CBP Acting Commissioner Mark Morgan tweeted that “no visa document requirements have changed.”

https://twitter.com/CBPMarkMorgan/status/1170809183807115264

According to a tweet posted on Wednesday by Florida Senator Marco Rubio, he, along with Senator Rick Scott, planned to send President Donald Trump a letter asking the administration to waive visa requirements for Bahamians with close relatives in the U.S. displaced by Dorian.

The letter reads:

“As Americans, and others throughout our hemisphere and across the globe, work to provide aid and assistance for the many needs of the Bahamian people at this time, perhaps one of the most basic yet meaningful steps our government can take immediately is to ensure that those who have lost everything, including family members in some instances, are provided the opportunity for shelter and reunification with family in the United States.

Florida enjoys historically deep ties with the Bahamas and, by proximity, many Floridians have family in the Bahamas. While parts of the Bahamas endured sustained winds of 180 miles for almost two days, Florida watched and prepared for Dorian’s landfall. Although Florida’s east coast continues to experience high winds and storm surges, our state is fortunate to avoid a direct hit. Floridians are now eager to help their family and friends in the Bahamas.”

Only hours before the confusing situation unfolded onboard the ferry, Entin shared footage from the Freeport Harbour terminal where those who had managed to secure ferry tickets were locked inside the building.

https://twitter.com/BrianEntin/status/1170809351830999046

Outside the terminal, crowds gathered to find a padlocked door and no information. According to Entin, the process lacked organization with no one going “outside giving anyone information. No police or port workers. People have to push to the door to yell to the man guarding it and shout their questions.”

Entin shared one more video as the ferry disembarked Freeport, leaving weary Bahamians—who were likely heaving a collective sigh of relief only moments before—back at square one with little hope and information from local officials.

As Entin’s videos spread across social media Sunday night, Twitter users expressed their shock and outrage.

Meanwhile, despite the plethora of evidence that Bahamians are in a state of emergency and are now unable to easily enter the United States, U.S. officials are concerned about “the national security implications if China steps in” to fill the “vast needs” of a country only 50 miles off the coast of Florida.

Let’s hope it isn’t as bad as it looks and the U.S. is not, in fact, more concerned “about the potential for such a powerful economic and political adversary to gain a greater foothold in such proximity” than it is about the plight of the Bahamians that barely lived through one of the most catastrophic hurricanes in recorded history.

 

The future is uncertain for 70,000 people in the Bahamas left homeless by Hurricane Dorian.

By Emma Fiala | Creative Commons | TheMindUnleashed.com

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Animals

Dolphin Swims Through Louisiana Neighborhood in Aftermath of Hurricane Ida

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A Louisiana family was shocked to find a dolphin swimming through their neighborhood in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida.

Amanda Huling and her family were assessing the damage to their neighborhood in Slidell, Louisiana, when they noticed the dolphin swimming through the inundated suburban landscape.

In video shot by Huling, the marine mammal’s dorsal fin can be seen emerging from the water.

“The dolphin was still there as of last night but I am in contact with an organization who is going to be rescuing it within the next few days if it is still there,” Huling told FOX 35.

Ida slammed into the coast of Louisiana this past weekend. The Category 4 hurricane ravaged the power grid of the region, plunging residents of New Orleans and upwards of 1 million homes and businesses in Louisiana and Mississippi into the dark for an indefinite period of time.

Officials have warned that the damage has been so extensive that it could take weeks to repair the power grid, reports Associated Press.

Also in Slidell, a 71-year-old man was attacked by an alligator over the weekend while he was in his flooded shed. The man went missing and is assumed dead, reports WDSU.

Internet users began growing weary last year about the steady stream of stories belonging to a “nature is healing” genre, as people stayed indoors and stories emerged about animals taking back their environs be it in the sea or in our suburbs.

However, these latest events are the surreal realities of a world in which extreme weather events are fast becoming the new normal – disrupting our lives in sometimes predictable, and occasionally shocking and surreal, ways.

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Animals

Mom in LA Suburbs Fights Off Mountain Lion With Bare Hands, Rescues 5-Year-Old Son

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A mother in Southern California is being hailed as a hero after rescuing her five-year-old son from an attacking mountain lion.

The little boy was playing outside his home in Calabasas, a city lying west of Los Angeles in the Santa Monica Mountains, when the large cat pounced on him.

The 65-pound (30 kg) mountain lion dragged the boy about 45 yards across the front lawn before the mother acted fast, running out and striking the creature with her bare hands and forcing it to free her son.

“The true hero of this story is his mom because she absolutely saved her son’s life,” California Department of Fish and Wildlife spokesman Captain Patrick Foy told Associated Press on Saturday.

“She ran out of the house and started punching and striking the mountain lion with her bare hands and got him off her son,” Foy added.

The boy sustained significant injuries to his head, neck and upper torso, but is now in stable condition at a hospital in Los Angeles, according to authorities.

The mountain lion was later located and killed by an officer with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, who found the big cat crouching in the bushes with its “ears back and hissing” at the officer shortly after he arrived at the property.

“Due to its behavior and proximity to the attack, the warden believed it was likely the attacking lion and to protect public safety shot and killed it on sight,” the wildlife department noted in its statement.

The mountain lion attack is the first such attack on a human in Los Angeles County since 1995, according to Fish and Wildlife.

The Santa Monica Mountains is a biodiverse region teeming with wildlife such as large raptors, mountain lions, bears, coyote, deer, lizards, and snakes. However, their numbers have rapidly faded in recent years, causing local wildlife authorities to find new ways to manage the region’s endemic species.

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Video Shows Taliban Taking Joyride in Captured US Blackhawk Helicopter

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The rapid fall of Kabul to the Taliban has resulted in a number of surreal sights – from footage of the Islamist group’s fighters exercising at a presidential gym to clips of combatants having a great time on bumper cars at the local fun park.

However, a new video of Taliban members seemingly testing their skills in the cockpit of a commandeered UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter shows the chilling extent to which U.S. wares have fallen into the hands of a group it spent trillions of dollars, and exhaustive resources, to stamp out.

In the new video, shared on Twitter, the front-line utility helicopter can be seen taxiing on the ground at Kandahar Airport in southeastern Afghanistan, moving along the tarmac. It is unclear who exactly was sitting in the cockpit, and the Black Hawk cannot be seen taking off or flying.

It is unlikely that the Taliban have any combatants who are sufficiently trained to fly a UH-60 Black Hawk.

The helicopter, which carries a $6 million price tag, is just a small part of the massive haul that fell into the militant group’s hands after the country’s central government seemingly evaporated on Aug. 14 amid the withdrawal of U.S. and coalition troops.

Some 200,000 firearms, 20,000 Humvees and hundreds of aircraft financed by Washington for the now-defunct Afghan Army are believed to be in the possession of the Taliban.

The firearms include M24 sniper rifles, M18 assault weapons, anti-tank missiles, automatic grenade launchers, rocket-propelled grenades and mortars.

Taliban fighters in the elite Badri 313 Brigade have been seen in propaganda images showing off in uniforms and wielding weaponry meant for the special forces units of the Afghan Army.

The U.S. is known to have purchased 42,000 light tactical vehicles, 9,000 medium tactical vehicles and over 22,000 Humvees between 2003 and 2016.

The White House remains unclear on how much weaponry has fallen into Taliban hands, with National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan admitting last week that the U.S. lacks a “clear picture of just how much missing $83 billion of military inventory” the group has.

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