Monday News: Xenophobia


DURHAM CITY COUNCIL MEMBER HAS CITIZENSHIP CHALLENGED BY LOSER: Caballero told The Herald-Sun in 2017 that her family moved to the United States when her father was in graduate school and that she became a U.S. citizen at age 14. Sunday’s joint statement repeated that Caballero is a citizen and also a registered voter who has lawfully voted in Durham since 2010. “Javiera has faced these sorts of baseless claims about her citizenship throughout this election, and it’s time for our community to speak with one voice to say that enough is enough,” Reece said in the statement. “Durham must be a city that works for everyone, and that must include our immigrant neighbors.” Johnson, the city’s mayor pro tempore, said Caballero and many other immigrants have had to endure suspicion throughout their lives.

AETNA SAYS PERSONAL RELATIONSHIPS HELPED BLUE CROSS WIN DHHS CONTRACTS: State officials knew a committee member who analyzed proposals for one of the largest contract bids in state history was dating an executive for a company that won a big chunk of that contract, the Department of Health and Human Services said in a recent filing. The department, and the company that won that contract, argue that the relationship doesn't equal a full-on conflict of interest. They're asking a state tribunal reviewing the contracting process to reject a number of complaints from Aetna Better Health of North Carolina Inc., which is challenging the process in hopes of winning the contract itself. The stakes are high: this deal is part of a $6-billion-a-year plan to shift management duties for much of the state's Medicaid program onto private companies. Aetna argues that the DHHS evaluation committee that reviewed company proposals over-weighted things in Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina's favor, causing Aetna to narrowly miss out on one of the five contracts involved.

BANKRUPTCY JUDGE CALLS A TEMPORARY HALT TO LAWSUITS AGAINST SACKLER FAMILY: In a hearing, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Robert Drain strongly brushed aside the argument from a group of state attorneys general that lawsuits against members of the wealthy Sackler family would be essential to getting accountability in the case. His decision does not mean that a tentative settlement struck between the company and about half the states would become a final agreement. How much members of the Sackler family should be held accountable for the role Purdue Pharma played in the crisis was at the center of the hearing. State attorneys general are evenly divided over whether to accept terms offered by Purdue to settle some 2,600 claims against it. About half of them say the proposed deal is too lenient to family members who siphoned billions out of their privately held company and stashed much of it overseas. Those attorneys general are pressing separate state claims against the Sacklers and want those cases to continue even as Purdue’s bankruptcy case plays out.

AFTER HEART ATTACK, BERNIE'S TUESDAY DEBATE CHALLENGE IS TO APPEAR HEALTHY: His campaign has not made his doctors available for interviews, and while Mr. Sanders has pledged to release his medical records, he has not yet done so. His health issues have cast a degree of uncertainty over his campaign and left his aides rushing to reassure voters about his age and health, just as he was trying to improve his standing in a race that in recent weeks has become more of a two-person contest between Senator Elizabeth Warren and former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. But if debates are an endurance test for all candidates, Tuesday’s event has now taken on new urgency for Mr. Sanders, as he seeks to dispel doubts and show a national audience that he is physically capable of competing for the Democratic nomination. Mr. Sanders has been preparing for the debate at his home in Burlington, where he has largely followed his typical pre-debate playbook: Rather than conducting intensive drills and mock debates — which he and his team generally do not view as productive given how many candidates will be onstage — Mr. Sanders has been having conversations with his close advisers, including his wife, Jane Sanders, about policy and his record.

KURDS STRIKE DEAL WITH SYRIAN ARMY TO TAKE OVER NORTHEAST, U.S. FORCES LEAVING: Syrian government troops began moving toward towns near the Turkish border Sunday night under a deal struck with Syrian Kurds, following a chaotic day that saw the unraveling of the U.S. mission in northern Syria. By the time Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper appeared on CBS’s “Face the Nation” to announce that President Trump had ordered the final withdrawal of the 1,000 U.S. troops in northeastern Syria, it was already clear that the U.S. presence had become unsustainable, U.S. officials said. The announcement by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) that they had reached an agreement with the Iranian- and Russian-backed government of President Bashar al-Assad further undermined the prospect of any continued U.S. presence in the country. The deal will bring forces loyal to Assad back into towns and cities that have been under Kurdish control for seven years. “An agreement has been reached with the Syrian government — whose duty it is to protect the country’s borders and preserve Syrian sovereignty — for the Syrian Army to enter and deploy along the Syrian-Turkish border to help the SDF stop this aggression” by Turkey, the SDF said in a statement.