The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, joined by 18 major news organizations, asked a Cook County judge to dismiss a subpoena issued to freelance reporter Jamie Kalven to answer questions about how he obtained a secret autopsy report that revealed a murdered black teenager had been shot 16 times by Chicago police, and that a video of the incident existed. The news organizations argued that Kalven should be protected by the Illinois Reporter’s Privilege Act, even though he doesn’t meet the law’s definition of journalist. Kalven, an activist for police reforms, has vowed to never reveal his sources. RCFP director Bruce Brown said the case “is a perfect example of why reporters must be able to protect confidential sources.”
Trade deficit grew in October
The U.S. purchased $244.6 billion worth of goods and services from foreign sellers in October, and sold $195.9 billion to them, resulting in a single month trade deficit of $48.7 billion. The October deficit was $3.8 billion more than the previous month’s deficit, the Bureau of Economic Analysis said. Among countries with the largest trade deficits in October were China ($31.9 billion), Mexico ($6.0 billion) and Japan ($5.9 billion).
Immigration law enforcement: By the numbers
During Fiscal Year 2017, U.S. Customs and Border Protection apprehended 303,916 illegal aliens who crossed the U.S.-Mexico border. Also, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement arrested 143,470 and deported 226,119 illegal aliens during the last fiscal year. A year-end report from the Department of Homeland Security reported that ICE Homeland Security Investigations arrested 4,818 illegal aliens who engaged in criminal gang activity, including 796 who were members of the transnational Marastrucha-13 narco-violence gang.
“Trusted Travelers” were not trustworthy
In separate incidents, agents at two Arizona border crossings—the Port of Nogales and the Dennis DeConcini Crossing—arrested women who used their special fast lane privileges to smuggle drugs into the U.S. A 25-year-old woman was arrested at the DeConcini Crossing when a canine helped agents uncover 48 pounds of methamphetamines worth $144,000 hidden in the vehicle’s spare tire well. Two days later, a 71-year-old woman with access to the special lane at Nogales was arrested with 41 pounds of meth worth more than $123,000 and 12 pounds of heroin worth almost $216,000, U.S. Customs and Border Protection said.
FTC moves to block titanium dioxide merger
The Federal Trade Commission filed a complaint to block the proposed $1.67 billion acquisition of Cristal by Tronox Ltd. in a deal that would combine two of the nation’s top producers of titanium dioxide, a material which is used as a pigment for paint, industrial coatings, plastic and paper. If consummated, the acquisition of Saudi Arabia-based Cristal and Stamford, Conn.-based Tronox would increase the risk of future anticompetitive conduct by Tronox, the FTC said. After the proposed merger, the FTC added, Tronox-Cristal and rival Chemours Co. would control more than 80% of the titanium dioxide production capacity in the North American market.
Court keeps “sanctuary city” suit on track
San Francisco County Superior Court Judge Harold Kahn overruled the San Francisco county sheriff’s attempt to dismiss a Judicial Watch lawsuit to have a “sanctuary city” policy declared unlawful. JW filed the suit a year ago in the name of a county resident. In his decision, Judge Kahn wrote that the county sheriff’s policy of refusing to communicate with federal immigration law officials “stands as an obstacle to the accomplishment of Congress’ asserted purpose of enabling federal immigration officials to gain access to inmates who may have violated federal immigration laws.”
Rip ‘n Read is a daily compilation of press releases found on hundreds of websites that are maintained by the federal government, think tanks, watchdog groups and national advocacy organizations. Press releases selected for this feature are, in the opinion of the editor, exceptionally newsworthy, interesting or just plain curious.
The press releases and documents linked to this report were posted on their websites on Tuesday, December 5