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US officially rejoins Paris Climate Accord

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US officially rejoins Paris Climate Accord

The US officially rejoined the Paris Climate Accord on Friday — almost a month after President Biden declared that the US again accepted the agreement’s terms.

Former President Donald Trump withdrew the US from the accord. He said it was ineffective because it allows countries to voluntarily restrain their own pollution and seeks to hold the US and other industrialized countries to a higher standard.

Although Trump said in 2017 the US was pulling out, the move was largely symbolic and it didn’t actually happen until last year following a one-year notification period to the United Nations.

UN officials cheered the return of the US — even though Biden’s climate team, led by John Kerry, is angling to help craft a more ambitious pact at a meeting in Glasgow, Scotland, in November.

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said it “is itself very important,” and former UN global warming chief Christiana Figueres told the Associated Press that’s because “it’s the political message that’s being sent.”

Biden issued a statement on his first day in office last month saying: “I, Joseph R. Biden Jr., President of the United States of America, having seen and considered the Paris Agreement, done at Paris on December 12, 2015, do hereby accept the said Agreement and every article and clause thereof on behalf of the United States of America.”

Rejoining has little immediate effect on the US, but complements other first-month Biden initiatives to hamper industries that extract fossil fuels. He also canceled construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada and banned future permits for oil and gas drilling on federal lands.

No. 1 carbon emitter China also is a member of the 2016 accord — but Trump scoffed at the idea that the authoritarian state would voluntarily curb its own pollution. The US left the agreement amid negotiation on how countries should implement a new transparency regime.

“What we won’t do is punish the American people while enriching foreign polluters,” Trump said in 2019 at a shale gas industry conference in Pennsylvania.

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Two women charged after brawl at Arizona Bath & Body Works

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Two women charged after brawl at Arizona Bath & Body Works

They were surrounded by soap — but still fighting dirty.

Two women were charged after a wild caught-on-camera brawl at an Arizona Bath & Body Works on Saturday, a report said.

The feud at the Scottsdale store began when one woman was accused of cutting another in line, before devolving into a brawl when employees intervened, police told the Arizona Republic.

“She was standing too close to the African American lady who had a child with her,” witness Genevieve Denslow told the newspaper.

“Race wasn’t the initial problem but racial slurs were called during the fight,” said Denslow, who recorded part of the fracas.

The footage, which was posted to Twitter by Denslow, begins with a woman and an employee exchanging shoves before another worker joins in and wrestles the customer to the ground.

“Oh my god!” somebody can be heard saying as the trio hit the ground.

Two other workers step in, along with a second woman who appears to coming to the defense of the customer.

“Let go of her!” a woman yells, according to the video.

The second woman then starts wrestling with one of the workers before a male employee breaks them up, yelling, “enough!”

“Out now,” the man tells the two women.

“She attacked me,” the first woman responds.

“You attacked her,” the man responds.

It was not immediately clear which two women were charged in the melee.

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FL man arrested for murder after wife found buried in backyard

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FL man arrested for murder after wife found buried in backyard

A Florida man was busted after his newlywed wife’s remains were found buried in their backyard, authorities said.

Roberto Colon, 66, of Boynton Beach was arrested Saturday on a charge of first-degree murder in the slaying of 45-year-old Mary Stella Gomez-Mullet, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported.

The couple tied the knot in January just weeks after meeting each other, news station CBS12 reported.

Colon allegedly told authorities that he wed Gomez-Mullet to give her US citizenship in exchange of taking care of his mother, the outlet reported.

Gomez-Mullet was reported missing on Feb. 20 after a friend overheard a concerning encounter between her and Colon over the phone, police said.

The pal told authorities that Gomez-Mullet was yelling, “No, no, no, Roberto!” before the call ended.

She tried calling Gomez-Mullet back, but the phone went straight to voicemail, the outlet reported.

On Feb. 24, a bloody purse containing items belonging to Gomez-Mullet was found about a mile from Colon’s home, authorities said.

When questioned by authorities about her disappearance, Colon suggested that she disappeared while he was at a doctor’s appointment on Feb. 18.

He also said they had got into an argument in which she accused her of stealing his mother’s money, the outlet reported.

Detectives later searched his home and uncovered blood stains on the front door, in the garage and inside of the workshop, the outlet reported.

He claimed that the blood may have belonged to one of his dogs that died years ago, but lab tests confirmed that the samples belonged to a human, the paper reported.

When confronted with the new evidence, Colon allegedly told detectives that Gomez-Mullet was “swimming with the fishes,” news station WPTV reported.

“Find the body,” Colon yelled to detectives. 

Then as officers left his property, Colon said to them, “Well, at least you didn’t find a body at my house,” WPTV reported.

But during a search of the backyard Friday, authorities found human remains that were identified as Gomez-Mullet.

“Our heartfelt condolences are with Mary’s family and loved ones,” Boynton Beach Police Chief Michael G. Gregory said in a statement. “We remain dedicated to this ongoing investigation and bringing justice to her family.”

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Biden administration releasing families from migrant centers

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Biden administration releasing families from migrant centers

The Biden administration will transform two Texas facilities where detained migrant families are held into Ellis Island-style rapid processing centers, meaning adults and children who cross the border will be housed for a maximum of 72 hours before being released into the U.S.

In a court filing Friday, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) said families will continue to be detained at a 2,400-bed detention center in Karnes City and an 839-bed detention center in Dilley in Texas, but the U.S. government intends to hold adults and children at those sites for three days or less.

Migrant families previously held at a third facility, the 96-bed Berks County family detention center in Leesport, Pa., have all been released, according the ICE disclosure made Friday in the decades-old Flores lawsuit filed on behalf of migrant children. That detention center will instead be used by ICE to hold adults.

All three family detention centers opened when now-President Biden was vice president to President Barack Obama. While running for president, Biden pledged to release detained families.

Meanwhile, the Department of Homeland Security has preliminary plans to transform the two facilities in southern Texas into rapid processing centers aimed at screening 100 families per day, The Washington Post first reported, citing internal emails outlining the previously unpublicized changes.

The number of unaccompanied minors and families arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border this year “are expected to be the highest numbers observed in over 20 years,” Russell Hott, a senior official with ICE, wrote in an email sent to staff members on Thursday.

Even as the two facilities in southern Texas are transformed into rapid-processing centers, that “may not be sufficient to keep pace with apprehensions,” Hott warned in the email reviewed by the Post. And those who cannot be housed at those centers even for 72 hours will be transferred to nearby hotels.

ICE-contractor MVM will transport families unable to be housed at those facilities to hotels, and the company plans to select hotels in McAllen, El Paso and Phoenix, Ariz., Hott wrote.

The detention centers in Dilley and Karnes will served as quick-release intake facilities, where unaccompanied minors and families would undergo background checks and be released before preliminary court hearings, unnamed DHS officials told the Post. Some migrants would enroll in alternatives to detention, such as ankle-monitoring programs.

Anyone who tests positive would quarantine for 10 days, the officials said. Non-profit partners would work to organized airplane and bus tickets to their final destinations in the U.S., often to stay with family members or friends while awaiting their court hearings.

In an op-ed published by Fox News on Friday, Thomas Homan, the former Acting Director of ICE under the Trump administration argued Biden’s team created a crisis at the border in “record time” by ending accomplishments made by the Trump administration within the first 40 days since Inauguration Day.

Homan said illegal crossings at the southern border were at historic lows when Trump left office, an achievement reached in part through agreements with Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador. He credited Trump for the Remain in Mexico Program, as well as the border wall to slow illegal entry into the U.S. and the Title 42 designation that would require most illegal aliens to be immediately returned to Mexico because of the COVID pandemic.

Homan said Biden’s rollback of most of Trump’s policies are “facilitating illegal entry” into the U.S. The Biden administration is also under criticism from Republicans for considering changing the names of some facilities at the border to “reception centers” to communicate a message that people will be rapidly released, the Washington Examiner reported.

But lawyers who work with detained immigrant families welcomed the new 72-hour release plans and credited the Biden administration for announcing the shift. They noted that even shorter detention stays could be harmful to children.

“Family detention will never truly be over until the facilities are closed and the contracts with ICE end,” Bridget Cambria, executive director of the legal group Aldea – The People’s Justice Center, told The Associated Press.

The Biden administration has already released several families seeking asylum who had been detained for a year or longer in Texas and in some cases came within hours of deportation. Those families will pursue their cases while remaining subject to ICE monitoring.

In his early days, Biden has confronted increasing numbers of families and unaccompanied children crossing the U.S.-Mexico border, leading to shortages of space in Border Patrol holding cells and long-term facilities for children operated by Health and Human Services. In the case of the Border Patrol, hundreds of children in recent weeks have been detained longer than 72 hours, the general limit set by the agency’s standards.

Biden stopped the practice initiated by former President Donald Trump of expelling unaccompanied immigrant children under public health authority. Officials expelled thousands of children to their countries of origin without giving them a chance to seek asylum or other protections under federal law.

The Biden administration continues to expel immigrant families and adults.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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