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Roundtable: Government Shutdown Aggravates Border Chaos

Migrants run as tear gas is thrown by U.S. Border Protection officers to the ...

Credit: Associated Press

Above: Migrants run as tear gas is thrown by U.S. Border Protection officers to the Mexican side of the border fence after they climbed the fence to get to San Diego, Calif., from Tijuana, Mexico, Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2019.


Alison St John, KPBS News

Jean Guerrero, KPBS News

Jeff Light, San Diego Union-Tribune

Greg Moran, San Diego Union Tribune

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Chaos At the Border

In the early hours of New Year’s Day, a group of 150 migrants attempted to breach the San Diego-Tijuana border fence.

They were doused with tear gas and pepper spray by border agents who said they were throwing rocks. A Border Patrol news release says migrants were attempting to lift children over the concertina wire atop the border fencing.

Witnesses said the rock-throwing began in response to the tear gas.

RELATED: Witnesses Dispute US Authorities’ Account Of New Year’s Border Tear Gas Incident

The government shutdown has severely impacted immigration courts and is increasing the waiting time to apply for asylum. Many border agents are working without pay.

Nuclear Advocates Worry About Waste Transfer At San Onofre

Southern California Edison would like to continue burying nuclear waste from San Onofre this month, but opposition to this move is increasing.

RELATED: Safety Concerns Mount As Edison Awaits NRC’s OK To Bury Radioactive Waste

Because there is not yet a solution to the problem of nuclear waste, San Onofre is becoming a de facto nuclear dump.

Even nuclear power advocates like retired Admiral Len Haring are alarmed at the way SCE is handling waste removal and storage.

In August, a canister loaded with 54 tons of nuclear waste got stuck as it was being lowered into the concrete storage bunker. It could have fallen 18 feet.

A Nuclear Regulatory Commission report says it is likely all 29 canisters already buried were banged around and scratched repeatedly in the storage process.

Former City Attorney Mike Aguirre has asked for an FBI investigation into possible criminal wrongdoing in the way Edison is handling the storage of spent fuel.

Cyberattack Disrupts Delivery of Union-Tribune, L.A. Times And Others

A cyber-attack thought to have been launched from a foreign country caused some 85 percent of subscribers to the San Diego Union-Tribune to miss Saturday’s newspaper.

The attack infected production of multiple newspapers across the U.S. — including the Los Angeles Times — which share the production platform of Tribune Publishing.

The virus was discovered to be Ryuk, which spreads from computer to computer, encrypting files with an unbreakable code. Ryuk is often used to demand a ransom in bitcoin, although in this case no ransom amount was named.

New Law Allows Some Mentally Ill Defendants To Be Diverted Into Treatment

A controversial state law allows some offenders with mental illness to access a pre-trial diversion program, get treatment and have the charges against them dropped.

This law, intended to steer the mentally ill into treatment and away from jail at the discretion of a judge, was included in a massive budget bill and signed by Governor Brown in June.

The diversion can last up to two years. Two cases of diversion have been granted so far in San Diego, both by Judge Harry Elias.

The law is championed by many mental health advocates and fiercely opposed by prosecutors and law enforcement. San Diego prosecutors have opposed diversion in every case in which it has been sought, calling it unconstitutional.

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