News Roundup 10/17/2017


By Jessica Murray

1. Mt. Wilson Fire:

At least a dozen people were evacuated from the Mt. Wilson Observatory Tuesday morning, according to The Los Angeles Times. A 30 acre wildfire threatens the historic mountaintop observatory and multiple surrounding television broadcast towers. 

The fire broke out around 4 a.m., with the cause still under investigation. It is 5% contained as of 10 a.m., according to Angeles National Forest officials. No mandatory residential evacuations have been issued as of yet. About 300 firefighters and 13 air tanks are on the scene attempting to further contain and extinguish the fire. 

"Right now, it's not fast moving, just going where it can find fuel," said Nathan Judy, Angeles National Forest spokesman. 

Hundreds of millions of dollars worth in communications equipment are also at risk, according to Angeles National Forest official Seneca Smith.

Source: Los Angeles Times

2. Judge Blocks Trump's Latest Provision:

United States Judge Derrick Watson of Honolulu, Hawaii has blocked President Donald Trump's latest restrictions on travel that would have taken effect this week. The open-ended ban targeted people from Iran, Libya, Chad, Syria, Yemen, Somalia and North Korea, as well as certain government officials from Venezuela. It was the third revision of a policy previously implemented in January, which targeted Muslim-majority countries.

Tuesday's rulings have set another battle over Trump's executive authority, which legal experts expect will ultimately land in the U.S. Supreme Court. Judge Watson said Hawaii is likely to succeed in proving that Trump's latest travel ban violates federal immigration law. 

The policy "lacks sufficient findings that the entry of more than 150 million nationals from six specified countries would be 'detrimental to the interests of the United States,'" wrote Watson. Hawaii did not challenge entry restrictions from North Korea or Venezuela.

Source: Reuters

3. Amazon Studios Chief Roy Price Resigns:

Roy Price has resigned five days after being suspended as the head of Amazon Studios after allegations of sexual harassment of television producer Isa Hackett were made. Hackett produces Price's show "The Man in the High Castle," for which the two went on a promotional tour at Comic-Con's 2015 convention in San Diego. 

It was at the convention when Price began the harassment. Hackett says Price repeatedly made lewd remarks and unwanted propositions while at the convention. Albert Cheng has been named head of Amazon Studios for the meantime.

Source: Los Angeles Times

4. ISIS Defeated in Raqqa:

Major military operations have ceased in the Syrian city of Raqqa, as jihadists lost their control over their self-declared capital. The development marks a major victory in the fight against ISIS. Military operatives are now clearing the city of "sleeper cells" and "mines," according to Talal Salo, spokesman for the U.S. backed Syrian Democratic Forces. 

"The situation in Raqqa is under control and soon there will be an official statement declaring the liberation of the city," said Salo.

ISIS used the city of Raqqa to launch terror attacks around the world. The terror group now controls a small strip of territory along the Euphrates River in Northern Syria.

Source: CNN

5. Worst Hot-Air Balloon Crash in History Ruling:

On Tuesday Federal investigators ruled that the worst hot-air balloon crash in history was caused by the pilot's poor decision making, which was impaired by his medical conditions and medications. The balloon hit power lines before crashing and burning, killing all 16 passengers. 

The pilot, Alfred Nichols, launched in fog and then descended through clouds that impaired his ability to see and avoid obstacles, according to the National Transportation Safety Board. 

Nichols took Valium and OxyContin, and was flying with enough Benadryl in his system to have the blood alcohol content of a drunk driver, investigators said. Nichols had 4 convictions of drunk driving in the past. The Federal Aviation Administration doesn't require a medical certificate to fly a hot-air balloon as it does for plane pilots. 

“The pilot’s poor decisions on the day of the accident were his and his alone, but they affected those who flew with him,” said Robert Sumwalt, chairman of the board.

Source: USA Today