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Hurricane Maria knocks out power across Puerto Rico

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HURRICANE-WEFORNEWS

San Juan, Sep 21, 2017: Hurricane Maria, the most powerful storm to make a direct hit on Puerto Rico in almost a century, has ravaged the island and knocked out electricity supply across the island, the media reported.

Governor Ricardo Rossello told CNN on Wednesday night that the entire system was down.

“Puerto Rico, which has been through a long recession and is deeply in debt, has a power grid that is a little bit old, mishandled and weak,” Rossello said.

“It depends on the damage to the infrastructure… I’m afraid it’s probably going to be severe. If it is, we’re looking at months as opposed to weeks or days.”

The Governor told CNN that at least one person was killed in the storm when a board was ripped from the house it had been nailed to by the wind and hit the victim.

“We still don’t have a lot of information… We’re virtually disconnected in terms of communications with the southeast part of the island.”

Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico, a US territory with 3.3 million people, earlier on Wednesday as a category 4 storm, reports Efe news.

After moving past Puerto Rico, it has now weakened to a category 2 storm and was currently advancing towards the eastern part of the Dominican Republic with winds of up to 175 km/h, the Washington-based National Hurricane Centre (NHC) announced.

The hurricane, which made landfall in Puerto Rico on Wednesday as category 4, is located 90 km east-northeast of Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, and is moving toward the northwest at 19 km/h, according to the United States National Hurricane Centre (NHC).

The NHC said that Maria will continue moving towards the northwest, although a decrease in forward speed is expected through Thursday night and that a turn to the north-northwest will likely occur on Friday.

It is also expected to strengthen during the next day or two and could regain major hurricane status by later Thursday.

A hurricane warning was still in effect for Puerto Rico, Culebra and Vieques, from Cabo Engano to Puerto Plata in the Dominican Republic, the Turks and Caicos Islands, and the southeastern Bahamas.

The once-major hurricane has already killed seven people after it made landfall on the Caribbean island nation of Dominica on Tuesday, said Gaston Browne, the Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda.

Browne said he had been communicating with the Prime Minister of Dominica, Roosevelt Skerrit, who reported “widespread devastation” and whose own house was shredded by the storm.

IANS

India

India Offers $100 Million Line of Credit To Sri Lanka For Solar Projects

India’s High Commissioner to Sri Lanka Gopal Baglay called on Minister of Power Dullas Alahapperuma and reiterated India’s commitment towards a strong and multi-faceted bilateral partnership including in the power sector, the Indian mission said in a statement.

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solar plant at Jamia

Colombo: India has offered a Line of Credit worth $ 100 million to Sri Lanka for three solar projects in the country, according to an official statement.

India’s High Commissioner to Sri Lanka Gopal Baglay called on Minister of Power Dullas Alahapperuma and reiterated India’s commitment towards a strong and multi-faceted bilateral partnership including in the power sector, the Indian mission said in a statement.

They discussed various issues of mutual interest including ways to expedite progress on bilateral power projects currently under discussion between the two sides.

The Indian envoy also handed over a copy of a letter conveying an offer from India to Sri Lanka for a Line of Credit (LoC) worth $100 million for three solar projects announced during the International Solar Alliance Founding Conference held in March, 2018 in New Delhi, the statement said.

The LoC will cover financing for rooftop solar systems meant for 20,000 households and 1,000 government buildings all across the island. The combined generation capacity of these rooftop systems will be about 60 MW, it said.

The LoC will also provide financing for a floating solar power plant. The implementation of the LoC will begin with the conclusion of an LoC agreement between the two sides, it said.

The Indian High Commissioner conveyed that the $100 million LoC is in line with the national priorities of India and Sri Lanka to enhance the share of solar and renewable energy in overall energy generation, the statement added.

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Politics

A vote to confirm Barrett “is a vote to strike down the Affordable Care Act”: Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer

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Chuck Schumer
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said President Trump’s decision to nominate Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court has put “Americans’ healthcare in the crosshairs.”

“The American people should make no mistake — a vote by any Senator for Judge Amy Coney Barrett is a vote to strike down the Affordable Care Act and eliminate protections for millions of Americans with pre-existing conditions,” Schumer wrote in a statement.

“As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to rage, unabated by this Administration, healthcare was already the number one issue on the ballot in November. President Trump has promised to nominate Supreme Court Justices who will “terminate” our health care law and decimate the health care system for American Indians and Alaska Natives. In Judge Barrett, President Trump has found the deciding vote.”

The Supreme Court is set to hear oral arguments just after the November election in a case about the Affordable Care Act. Senate Republicans have indicated they may vote to confirm Barrett before Election Day — meaning she could be seated on the bench for that case.

In an early 2017 law review essay, reviewing a book related to the Supreme Court ruling on the Affordable Care Act, Barrett criticized Chief Justice John Roberts’ rationale that saved the law in 2012.

“Chief Justice Roberts pushed the Affordable Care Act beyond its plausible meaning to save the statute,” Barrett wrote. “He construed the penalty imposed on those without health insurance as a tax, which permitted him to sustain the statute as a valid exercise of the taxing power.”

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Biden urges US Senate not to confirm Supreme Court nominee before election

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Vice President Joe Biden

Joe Biden released a statement reacting to Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination and focused on health care and protecting the Affordable Care Act.

“Today, President Trump has nominated Judge Amy Coney Barrett as the successor to Justice Ginsburg’s seat. She has a written track record of disagreeing with the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision upholding the Affordable Care Act. She critiqued Chief Justice John Roberts’ majority opinion upholding the law in 2012,” Biden said.

He added that the Senate should not act on the vacancy until after the American people select their next president.

Senate Republicans have outlined a possible confirmation hearing for Barrett that could have her confirmed before Election Day.

The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear oral arguments just after the election in a case about the Affordable Care Act. The case is brought by a coalition of Republican state attorneys general and the Trump administration, who argue the law’s individual mandate is unconstitutional, and the entire law must fall.

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