Tag Archive: Blue Cross Plan Offerings


 

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A disturbing report by the Associated Press reveals that Algeria has abandoned more than 13,000 migrants in the Sahara Desert over the past 14 months, including pregnant women and children.  The expelled migrants have been rounded up, sometimes at gunpoint, and forced to walk in the blistering heat with no food or water.  Survivors interviewed by the Associated Press say they were rounded up, crammed into trucks, driven into the desert and then dropped off and forced at gunpoint to walk into neighboring Niger without food or water. An unknown number of migrants have died during the journey.

The majority head to Niger, across a 10 mile trek through no-man’s-land in temperatures as high as 118 degrees. Some survive while others wander for days before a UN rescue squad can find them. Untold numbers perish; nearly all of the more than two dozen survivors interviewed by The Associated Press told of people in their groups who simply vanished into the Sahara.

Algeria’s mass expulsions have picked up since October 2017, as the European Union renewed pressure on North African countries to head off migrants going north to Europe via the Mediterranean Sea or the barrier fences with Spain.  Algeria provides no figures for its involuntary expulsions but the number of people crossing on foot to Niger has been increasing since the International Organization for Migration (IOM) started counting in May 2017.  An estimated total of 11,276 men, women and children survived the march.  At least another 2,500 were forced on a similar trek into neighboring Mali, with an unknown number succumbing along the way.

The migrants’ accounts are confirmed by videos collected by the Associated Press over several months, show hundreds of people stumbling away from lines of trucks and buses, spreading wider and wider through the desert.  They travel in crammed trucks for six to eight hours before being dropped in the desert and pointed in the direction of Niger.

In early June, 217 men, women and children were dropped off well before reaching the usual drop-off stop, dubbed Point Zero.  “There were people who couldn’t take it. They sat down and we left them. They were suffering too much,” said 18-year-old Aliou Kande from Senegal.  Kande said nearly a dozen people simply gave up, collapsing in the sand. His group of 1,000 also got lost and wandered for 11 hours in the heat of the desert. He never saw the missing people again.

Despite the threat of violence and expulsion, for many migrants, Algeria is a necessary transit point to recover their strength and to save enough money before attempting to continue their journey towards Europe. Algerian authorities have refused to comment on the AP’s revelations but has denied criticism that it is committing rights abuses by abandoning migrants in the desert in the past, calling the allegations a “malicious campaign” intended to inflame neighboring countries.

 

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The Manhattan district attorney has announced new criminal charges against 66 year old film producer Harvey Weinstein that could have the disgraced Hollywood mogul spending the rest of his life in prison.  In May, Weinstein was arrested on charges related to sexually assaulting two women. The new allegations involve a forcible sex act on a third woman that occurred in 2006.  Experts believe he could take a plea bargain to avoid facing 25 years in a criminal case that may hinge on actresses providing “prior bad acts” testimony, a key contributor to the Bill Cosby guilty verdict.

More than 100 women have accused him of sexual misconduct spanning decades.  Weinstein denied all allegations of nonconsensual sexual activity.  In early June, he pled not guilty on two counts of rape and one first-degree criminal sex act charge.  He remained free after he turned in his passport, paid $1 million bail and agreed to wear a monitoring device while under house arrest. Those charges stem from allegations from two women — one involving an incident in 2004, and one in 2013 — according to the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office.

As more women came forward with allegations against Weinstein, the New York Police Department and the Manhattan DA’s Office launched a joint investigation culminating in the charges. A grand jury indicted Weinstein on three felony counts on May 30.

Weinstein surrendered to authorities, seven months after The New Yorker and The New York Times published accounts from several women accusing him of various forms of sexual misconduct.  The New Yorker article contained on-the-record accounts from 13 actresses who reported Weinstein forcibly received or performed sexual acts on the women.  The accounts unleashed a flood of accusations of sexual harassment, assault and rape against Weinstein.

Among his accusers are some of Hollywood’s most well-known actresses including Ashley Judd, Gwyneth Paltrow, Angelina Jolie, Rosanna Arquette, Kate Beckinsale, Daryl Hanna, Salma Hayek, Lena Headey, Lauren Holly, Natasha Henstridge, and Heather Graham.  He was also accused of retaliating against women who refused his advances by discouraging studios from working with them.  Harvey Weinstein’s wife of a decade, Georgina Chapman, announced in a statement that she was leaving him.  Chapman received primary custody of their two children in their divorce.

The scandal emboldened women around the world to accuse powerful men of sexual harassment as part of the #MeToo movement and led to the ousting of many of them from their positions. It also led a great number of women to share their own experiences of sexual assault, harassment, or rape on social media under the hashtag #MeToo. The scandal’s impact on powerful men in various industries came to be called the “Weinstein effect”.  The Times and the New Yorker jointly won the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service for their reporting on Weinstein.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Accused NSA whistleblower Reality Winner has pled guilty to retaining and transmitting a document to a news organization after reaching a deal with the U.S. government to serve a 5-year prison sentence. Winner had faced up to 10 years in prison on charges she violated the Espionage Act by leaking a top-secret document to The Intercept about Russian interference in the 2016 election.  She’s been imprisoned for the last year at the Lincoln County Jail in Georgia.

Winner, a former Air Force linguist, was arrested last June and accused of sharing a classified report about Russian interference in the 2016 election with the news media.  Ms. Winner, who was honorably discharged from the Air Force in 2016, was working as a contractor for the National Security Agency when she obtained a copy of a report that described hacks by a Russian intelligence service against local election officials and a company that sold software related to voter registration.

The Intercept, an online news outlet that a prosecutor said Ms. Winner admired, published a copy of the top secret report shortly before Ms. Winner’s arrest was made public. The report described two cyberattacks by Russia’s military intelligence unit, the G.R.U. — one in August against a company that sells voter-registration-related software and another, a few days before the election, against 122 local election officials.

An F.B.I. affidavit made public after her arrest last year said there was a visible crease mark on the file, a scan of which The Intercept had provided to the government while trying to authenticate it. That prompted investigators to surmise it was a printout.  Audit trails showed six people had printed copies, but only one — Ms. Winner — had used a work computer to send emails to The Intercept.

A search warrant application said she had found the report by plugging keywords into the N.S.A.’s system that fell outside her normal work duties.  Computer security experts noted that the printer appeared to leave barely visible microdots on the printout identifying the serial number of the printer and the date and time of the printing: 6:20 a.m. on May 9, 2017.

The Justice Department prosecuted Ms. Winner under the Espionage Act, a World War I-era law that criminalizes the unauthorized disclosure of national-security secrets that could be used to harm the United States or aid a foreign adversary.  Her decision to plead guilty to one felony count allows the government to avoid a complex trial that had been scheduled for October.

Winner is the second person known to have reached a plea agreement in a leak prosecution case under the current administration.  Former F.B.I. agent, Terry J. Albury, pled guilty in April, but prosecutors in that case have hinted that they will ask that he serve 46 to 57 months in prison.  The Justice Department has recently filed charges in at least two other leak-related cases.  James Wolfe, a former Senate Intelligence Committee staff member, was arrested and charged with lying to the F.B.I. about his contacts with reporters, including a Times reporter with whom he had a personal relationship and whose phone records the department secretly seized, during a leak investigation.  In another case, Joshua A. Schulte, a former C.I.A. software engineer, was charged with violating the Espionage Act and other laws based on accusations that he sent a stolen archive of documents and electronic tools related to the agency’s hacking operations to WikiLeaks, which called them the Vault 7 leak.

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In Annapolis, Maryland, five people were left dead and two others injured after a gunman armed with a shotgun and smoke grenades stormed the newsroom of the Capital Gazette newspaper on the afternoon of June 28th.   The suspect, Jarrod W. Ramos, 38, was taken into custody at the scene and was charged on Friday morning with five counts of first-degree murder.  Police say Ramos refused to cooperate with the authorities or provide his name and was identified using facial recognition technology.

The attack was covered in real time by some of the journalists who found themselves under siege. A message saying “please help us” with the address of the office building was tweeted from the account of Anthony Messenger, a summer intern. A crime reporter, Phil Davis, described how the gunman “shot through the glass door to the office” before opening fire on employees.  “There is nothing more terrifying than hearing multiple people get shot while you’re under your desk and then hear the gunman reload,” Mr. Davis wrote.

Davis said during a phone interview that the gunman was silent as he stalked the newsroom, stopping once to reload as journalists huddled in fear under their desks.  Once the police arrived, staff members put their hands in the air and shouted, “We’re not him,” Mr. Davis recalled. The gunman was hiding under a desk as the police moved in. He did not exchange gunfire with officers when he was taken in.

Police say Ramos had a long history of conflict with the Capital Gazette, which produces a number of local newspapers along Maryland’s shore, suing journalists there for defamation and waging a social media campaign against them.  “This was a targeted attack on the Capital Gazette,” said William Krampf, acting chief of the Anne Arundel County Police Department. “This person was prepared to shoot people. His intent was to cause harm.”

In July 2012, Mr. Ramos filed a defamation lawsuit in Maryland’s Prince George’s County Circuit Court against Capital Gazette Communications, its then editor and publisher and a former reporter, claiming that his reputation had been damaged after the newspaper published a story in 2011 about Mr. Ramos’s guilty plea in a harassment case. Three months later, he filed a fuller complaint alleging invasion of privacy.  The lawsuit was later dismissed by Judge Maureen M. Lamasney after a March 2013 hearing, in which Mr. Ramos, who represented himself, was unable to identify anything that was falsely reported in the July 2011 article nor could he cite examples about how he had been harmed. According to the appellate decision that later affirmed the dismissal, Ramos showed no understanding of defamation law.

During a press conference, Acting Deputy Chief William Krampf told reportrs that the suspect had made violent threats against the paper and the paper had been threatened the day of the shooting.  Krampf could not specifically confirm what the threats entailed or if the shooter targeted anyone specifically but did say the shooting was a targeted attack.  Those killed in the shooting were identified as longtime editor and columnist Rob Hiaasen, editorial page editor Gerald Fischman, columnist and editor John McNamara, sales assistant Rebecca Smith and editor and community reporter Wendi Winters.

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U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials in Ohio raided another company and said 146 workers were arrested as part of a year-long investigation into Fresh Mark, a northern Ohio meat supplier.  ICE officials raided the company’s plant in Salem, Ohio, about 4 p.m. Tuesday. Search warrants also were served at three other locations in the state.  An ICE spokesman said the investigation continues and could result in additional charges. He did not rule out charges against Fresh Mark employees who may have hired workers in the country illegally.

Fresh Mark was once touted by the government as a partner in preventing hiring undocumented workers. Under the Obama administration, ICE announced the supplier was the first Ohio company to partner with a program meant to “curtail the employment of unauthorized workers,” according to a 2012 news release announcing ICE’s partnership with Fresh Mark. “We are honored to be selected by ICE to participate in this program,” Fresh Mark human resources director Mark Sullivan said in the news release. “For nearly a decade, Fresh Mark has proactively partnered with the government to ensure the integrity of our workforce and the IMAGE program will be a tremendous addition to our future employee verification process.”

Under the program, called the ICE Mutual Agreement between Government and Employers, or IMAGE, employers can voluntarily partner with the agency by taking steps to weed out undocumented workers. They must use the government’s E-Verify system, which checks employees’ I-9 employment eligibility status and create hiring policies.  After the June 19th raid, ICE said the company may have knowingly hired undocumented workers and many are using fraudulent identification belonging to U.S. citizens.

Immigration officials lined up dozens of workers, many dressed in white helmets and smocks, outside the meat-processing plant in rural Ohio.  An ICE spokesman confirmed that about 60 workers at the Fresh Mark plant in Salem who were detained have been released.  Workers who are in the country legally but did not have proper documentation with them at the time of the raid were released after officials determined they are authorized to work in the United States.  ICE officials said they also released several workers for health and family reasons and other humanitarian concerns.

The remaining 86 workers detained in the raid are being held at the Northeast Ohio Correctional Center on Hubbard Road and the Geauga County jail while they await deportation proceedings.  The men were sent to the East Side private prison and the women were sent to Geauga County.  Sister Rene Weeks, of St. Paul Parish in Salem, said the majority of those detained in the raid were Guatemalan nationals who fled violence in that country and they comprise a large percentage of Salem’s immigrant community.  She added that those released for humanitarian reasons included parents who had children left behind after the raid as well as one woman who is several months pregnant and another who has leukemia.  “They were pretty terrified when the raid happened and relieved to be back with their families, but they are also worried about what comes next,” Sister Rene said.  Sister Rene said many of those who were released met with immigration lawyers Wednesday at St. Paul Parish.

ICE has carried out several such raids in recent months. Two weeks ago, it arrested 114 workers at a gardening company’s two Ohio locations. In April, ICE raided a meatpacking plant in rural Tennessee and arrested 97 immigrants. In January, ICE raided dozens of 7-Eleven stores nationwide, arresting 21.

 

 

 

 

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A Denver man is recovering after he was shot when an off-duty FBI agent dropped his gun while doing a backflip in the middle of the dance floor at a downtown Denver bar.  Twenty-four year old Tom Reddington, was shot in the leg by the single round of gun fire.  The Denver Police Department is facing criticism because no charges have been filed.  They say they’re still waiting for pending lab results before deciding if the off-duty agent, Chase Bishop, will face charges in connection with the accidental shooting.

Reddington’s lawyer told news outlets that his client could have died if it weren’t for a quick thinking security guard who removed his belt and used it as a tourniquet.  He said the off-duty agent offered no help to Reddington immediately after the shooting and that his client will have to undergo vascular surgery to repair a major artery in his leg.

Bishop, 29, a Washington D.C.-based FBI agent, was visiting Denver for training.  While there he visited Mile High Spirits where he before accidentally fired his handgun after it fell from his holster when he executed a backflip trying to impress a crowd of onlookers.  Video of the incident shows the agent, Chase Bishop, dancing on the outdoor dance floor and then doing a back-flip.  While doing the flip, his gun falls from his holster.  He picks up his gun, which discharged a single round as he picked it up-and puts it back into his holster.

According to military records, Chase is a decorated war veteran who served in the army from November 2011 to February 2017.  He was deployed to Afghanistan in February 2013. He was an Army Intelligence Officer and achieved the rank of captain in October 2016.  Bishop was also twice awarded the Army Commendation Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, a Meritorious Unit Commendation and a Global War of Terrorism Service Medal, among others.

Legal experts are outraged that the Denver police and District Attorney have not filed charges in the incident even with video evidence of what transpired.  Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper also weighed it on the situation.  “Those instances where someone puts the public at risk, should have consequences.  Sources in the FBI have said that the agent will be held accountable and that his stupid actions should not tarnish the reputation of the agency.

Mile High Spirits released a statement in regards to the shooting.   It is shocking that the only shooting to ever occur at our establishment came about as a result of an FBI agent entering our distillery tasting room carrying a loaded firearm without our knowledge, in violation of our rules.”

While it is not illegal for off-duty agents of law enforcement branches to have concealed weapons in establishments that serve alcohol or that do not allow firearms- it is illegal for them to consume alcohol while carrying a weapon.

 

 

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Amazon’s Echo devices are garnering scrutiny over potential eavesdropping after a family in Portland, Oregon had their private conversation recorded by their Amazon Echo device and sent to someone in their contact list.  They learned of the invasion of privacy when they received a nightmarish phone call two weeks ago.  “Unplug your Alexa devices right now,” a voice on the other line said. “You’re being hacked.”  The caller, an employee of the husband, had received audio files of their conversations.

The Portland family had an Echo smart home speaker in every room of their house to help control their heat, lights and security system.  The woman, who identified herself only by her first name, Danielle said “My husband and I would joke and say, ‘I’d bet these devices are listening to what we’re saying.”  She added that the device did not tell her that it would be sending the recorded conversations.

Danielle said they unplugged all the devices, contacted Amazon and spoke to an Alexa engineer, who apologized multiple times.  Although Amazon offered to “de-provision” the devices of their communications features so they could keep using them to control their home, Danielle and her family reportedly want a refund instead.  Though the conversation was a mundane one – they were talking about hardwood floors, the couple said they will never plug the devices in again.

Amazon’s full statement on the issue seems to show Alexa, the company’s virtual personal assistant powered by artificial intelligence, was trying a little too hard.  Their statement explained: Echo woke up due to a word in background conversation sounding like “Alexa.” Then, the subsequent conversation was heard as a “send message” request. At which point, Alexa said out loud “To whom?” At which point, the background conversation was interpreted as a name in the customers contact list. Alexa then asked out loud, “[contact name], right?” Alexa then interpreted background conversation as “right.” As unlikely as this string of events is, we are evaluating options to make this case even less likely.

Other smart home speakers carry similar risks that privacy advocates have been warning about as the popularity of these types of devices grows.  Daniel Kahn Gillmor, a staff technologist for the American Civil Liberties Union’s Speech, Privacy and Technology Project, said that the intuitive nature of connected devices can mask their complexity and the possibility of malfunction. “The Amazon Echo, despite being small, is a computer — it’s a computer with microphones, speakers, and it’s connected to the network,” he said. “These are potential surveillance devices, and we have invited them further and further into our lives without examining how that could go wrong. And I think we are starting to see examples of that.”

Last year, a North Carolina man said the same thing had happened to him.  His Echo device recorded 20 seconds of his conversation and sent it to his insurance agent without his knowledge.  Google had to release a patch last year for its Home Mini speakers after some of them were found to be recording everything.  While “home assistants” such as the Amazon Echo, Google Home and Apple HomePod have been big sellers in the past few years, they’ve brought with them many concerns over privacy.  These recorded-conversation incidents show what can happen when people welcome devices into their home that are always listening.

 

 

 

 

 

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On May 18th, 2018, a shooting at Santa Fe High School in Texas ended with ten people dead and thirteen injured.   Eight students and two teachers were killed.  The suspected shooter was taken into custody and later identified by police as Dimitrios Pagourtzis, a 17-year-old student at the school.  He is charged with capital murder of multiple persons and aggravated assault against public servant.  He is being held without bail and if convicted, faces a maximum sentence of 40 years to life.

The incident occurred in the school’s art complex which consists of four rooms connected to one another with interior hallways, and other rooms.  Witnesses said the two targeted classrooms are connected by a ceramics room the shooter accessed by damaging a door window.  The shooting began around 7:30 a.m., when Pagourtzis entered the school armed with a shotgun and a .38 revolver, both guns legally belonged to his father.  Witnesses say the shooter entered the art classroom first where he fatally shot students.  One wounded victim told reporters the shooter walked into the classroom and pointed at another person, saying “I’m going to kill you”.

According to a witness, students barricaded themselves in the art classroom storage closet and the shooter shot through the door with a shotgun. He left the art room briefly, causing students to leave the closet and attempt to barricade the art room door but he pushed the door open. Upon spotting a student he knew, he said “Surprise!” and shot the student in the chest.

Law enforcement received the first calls at 7:32 a.m., according to an affidavit filed in Galveston County court and officers engaged him within four minutes and allowed for the safe evacuation of other students and faculty.  The first one to confront Pagourtzis was the school’s police officer John Barnes, who tried entering the art complex looking for the shooter.  Pagourtzis appeared to be ready for Barnes and fired at him, hitting him in the upper arm.  Barnes was listed in stable but critical condition at University of Texas Medical Branch.  Other law enforcement officers arriving at the scene exchanged a volley of gunfire with the suspect.

Authorities say at around 8:02 a.m. — 30 minutes after the shooting started — Pagourtzis exited one of the art classrooms and surrendered after being injured during the shoot-out with police.  It’s unclear how long Pagourtzis was actively shooting students and teachers inside the school.  Authorities recovered several homemade explosive devices at the school, inside Pagourtzis’ vehicle and in his home.

Investigators offered no immediate motive for the shooting but said the shooter stated he intended to kill everyone he shot and wanted to spare the students he liked, so he could “have his story told.”  He also stated to police that he had planned to kill himself but he did not have the courage to take his own life.  Eight students and two teachers were killed in the shooting.  The victims were identified as Jared Black, 17; Shana Fisher, 16; Christian Riley Garcia, 15; Aaron Kyle McLeod, 15; Angelique Ramirez, 15; Christopher Stone, 17; Kimberly Vaughan, 14; Sabika Sheikh, 17; Cynthia Tisdale, 63 and Glenda Anne Perkins, 64.

The mother of 16 year old victim Shana Fisher said her daughter had repeatedly turned down the shooter’s advances in the last four months, including a public confrontation that occurred one week before the shooting.  The high school junior allegedly told her parents Pagourtzis told her he was going to kill her after the confrontation.

 

 

 

 

 

kim jong un.jpgNorth Korea has abruptly cancelled high-level talks with South Korea and threatened to pull out of a planned summit with Donald Trump in protest of joint U.S.-South Korea military drills currently being staged on the peninsula.  The scheduled talks with South Korea were a follow-up to a rare summit that was held on April 27th.  Representatives had planned to discuss further details of the agreements they had made at the historic summit including ridding the peninsula of nuclear weapons and turning the armistice that ended the Korean War in 1953 into a peace treaty.

The North Korean state news agency called the U.S.-South Korea air force drills “deliberate military provocation.”  North Korean leader Kim Jong-un also directly criticized Trump’s national security adviser, John Bolton, for saying North Korea could follow the so-called Libyan model for nuclear abandonment.  In a statement issued through the state news agency, Kim called Bolton’s idea an “awfully sinister move to impose on our dignified state the destiny of Libya or Iraq which had been collapsed due to yielding the whole of their countries to big powers.”

A North Korean official said the country had no interest in a summit with US if it was based on “one-sided” demands to give up nuclear weapons, according to state media.  Citing first vice minister of foreign affairs Kim Kye-gwan, North Korea’s central news agency said the fate of the US summit as well as bilateral relations “would be clear” if Washington speaks of a Libya-style denuclearization for the North.

The statement added Trump would remain as a “failed president” if he followed in the steps of his predecessors.  “We will appropriately respond to the Trump administration if it approaches the North Korea-US summit meeting with a truthful intent to improve relations,” Kim said. “But we are no longer interested in a negotiation that will be all about driving us into a corner and making a one-sided demand for us to give up our nukes and this would force us to reconsider whether we would accept the North Korea-US summit meeting.”

The joint U.S.-South Korea two-week military drills, known as Max Thunder, involve fighter jets and aircraft from the U.S. Air Force, Army, Navy and Marine Corps. North Korea has long claimed the drills are rehearsals for a military invasion.  In the past, they have threatened an “all-out offensive” in response to the exercises and condemned them as pouring “gasoline on fire”.  The “Max Thunder” drills involve 100 warplanes, including an unspecified number of B-52 bombers and F-15K jets.  The US and South Korea have insisted that that all drills are purely for defense purposes, and based out of a mutual defense agreement they signed in 1953.  They also say the exercises are necessary to strengthen their readiness in case of an external attack.

 

 

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Hawaii’s governor has readied plans for a mass evacuation of the state’s Big Island-warning residents to be ready to evacuate at a moment’s notice, as an eruption at Kilauea volcano strengthened.  Officials say levels of toxic sulfur dioxide are rising, as is the threat of an explosion that could send lava, rocks and even large boulders into residential areas.  Hundreds of residents continue to evacuate the area and more than two dozen homes have been destroyed so far. Geologists say the volcanic eruptions are expected to continue.

Concerns have been mounting since the Kilauea erupted May 3, sending 2,200-degree lava bursting through cracks into backyards in the Leilani Estates neighborhood, destroying 36 structures, including 26 homes. As the magma shifted underground, a magnitude-6.9 earthquake also rocked the Big Island.    A new fissure spewing lava from Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano formed in the southeast corner of the Big Island, raising anxieties as the state braces for potentially violent eruptions.

The new fissure, a crack in the ground allowing lava to pour out, appeared to be several hundred yards long and was producing spatter rising “many tens of feet into the air,” the U.S. Geological Survey said.  It was spotted west of state Highway 132 and led state officials to call for some residents along Halekamahina Loop Road to leave their homes.  Steam and lava spatter could be seen from the new fissure, officials said.

Residents have been warned about the possibility of an explosive eruption at the volcano’s Halema’uma’u Crater because of the withdrawal of lava from the Kilauea summit lake.  “This could generate dangerous debris very near the crater and ashfalls up to tens of miles downwind,” the warning said. The danger comes from the lava level that is dropping inside the volcano. If it falls below the water table, water will pour onto the lava, generating steam that will likely explode from the summit in a shower of rocks, ash and sulfur dioxide gases.  Boulders as big as refrigerators could be tossed a half-mile and ash plumes could soar as high as 20,000 feet spread over a 12-mile area, according to the Hawaii Civil Defense.

President Trump declared the Big Island a disaster area. The move will allow federal financial assistance for state and local governments as they repair roads, parks, schools and water pipes damaged by the eruption.  The Big Island, also known as the island of Hawaii, has a population of about 190,000 people.  The Hawaii National Guard has prepared to use ground convoys and even helicopters to pluck hundreds of residents out of danger if necessary.  The Hawaii National Guard is prepared, with only 90 minutes’ notice, to rescue 2,000 people in troop-carrying vehicles and Blackhawk or Chinook helicopters

“We can move 226 people in one convoy. So we could move 226 at once with about an hour and a half notice, and we would drop them off somewhere. The vehicles could come back, and we would just do that round-robin,” Lt. Col. Shawn Tsuha said.