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Hurricane Florence drops to Category 2, but remains dangerous storm with massive potential surge

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Eye of Florence, imaged by astronaut Alexander Gerst from ISS

The eye of Florence imaged Wednesday from the ISS.

Overnight the wind speeds in Hurricane Florence slowed, bringing the storm from a Category 4 down to a Category 2, with maximum sustained winds around 110 MPH. That’s the good news, and it’s seriously good news. There is still a possibility that the storm may re-intensify before making landfall, but at present it seems the coast may be spared the direct impact of record-breaking winds.

However, that’s about all the good news. The physical area of the storm has continued to increase, meaning that when Florence does reach land, it will impact a broader area. And forecasts continue to call for the forward progress of the storm to all but halt as it approaches land, leaving Florence positioned to deliver storm surge, flash flooding, and heavy rains leading to extensive flooding of rivers and streams for a prolonged period.

Despite the drop in wind speed, Florence remains a dangerous storm. Anyone still in the area who has the ability to leave, should leave. And plan on the possibility of being away for a period of days, at least as the storm grinds slowly inland.

The outer rainbands from Florence will reach North Carolina before noon today. They will be accompanied later in the day by tropical storm force winds. Some areas could still be facing high winds and rain for several days as the storm lingers in the area, moving very slowly, first to the southwest, and then turning to the northwest as it becomes less organized.

Storm Surge
Storm surge predictions as of Thursday AM

Possible storm surge predictions remain dire, particularly along the coast near Wilmington, and north of the suspected impact site along rivers leading into the Pamlico Sound. Storm surge is likely to be compounded by heavy rain leading to flash flooding. A reminder: Do not attempt to drive through water, even if it appears to be shallow. 

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Without immigration, Britain is set to wither away

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By Olivia Bridge

We’ve only a little over six months to go until the Article 50 deadline but the government’s attempts to ease anxieties have been feeble. In particular, we know nothing about the kind of immigration system we’ll see after Brexit.  The long-overdue white paper contained a miniscule 20 paragraphs on the topic.

The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) published a report over the summer – Open and Controlled: A New Approach to Immigration After Brexit – which sought to ease public angst and find some solutions. It’s worth detailed analysis, because it shows just how significant the problem facing the UK is unless we develop a liberal approach to the issue.

It honed in on 18 key industries of concern in the event of no-deal or a bad deal, ranging from manual roles such as manufacturing, construction and agriculture to highly-skilled professional roles like healthcare, education, technology and life science. It also found further casualties of Brexit work in mid-skill categories in the creative and media industries, hospitality, retail, public transport, haulage, logistics and warehouses.

Seasonal and temporary workers from Europe are the backbone of many UK industries, working tirelessly throughout the year to respond to consumer peaks and troughs by filling gaps recruiters struggle to hire for. Horticulture alone requires 60,000 additional seasonal workers to tend to crops every year. Supermarkets need 1,000 extra staff just for Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day.

Retailers that survived the financial crash are now preparing for a second wave of chaos. Independent and small shops have already been elbowed off the high street by a shifting consumer demand that expects cheap next-day delivery right to our front doors. Larger franchises that once raked in revenue while offering free shipping and discounts are combing out losses. New Look, Marks & Spencer, Debenhams and House of Fraser all expect to close store space. Toys R Us has fallen into administration. John Lewis has seen a 77% profit drop and warn Brexit will be responsible for further price increases.

Retail Economics warn a no-deal Brexit would see a £7.8bn cost increase for the whole industry. But a fallen pound is the least of their worries. Currently, 43,000 Large Goods Vehicle (LGV) drivers and 113,000 warehouse personnel are from the EU, accounting for over 14% and 25% of the sectors’ total workforce respectively. This is aggravated by a heavily-ageing workforce. The industry, therefore, expects to see a shortage of 52,000 workers post-Brexit.

Without reliable couriers and delivery drivers, retailers and supermarkets are bracing themselves for bare shelves come Christmas. They’ll have to choose whether to slash their profits or raise prices and drive loyal customers away.

The embryonic government efforts to counter some of these problems underestimate the scale of the challenge. Michael Gove has released plans to trial an agricultural worker scheme, taking a leaf out of the CBI’s Seasonal Agricultural Labour Scheme suggestion. But, unlike the CBI, the environment secretary’s scheme has a limitation of 2,500 workers per every six months. This is too low. Industry professionals believe around 11,500 workers are realistically needed by 2021 to save the UK farming industry.

In the absence of a plan, immigration experts speculate that European citizens will have to go through the immigration system currently in place for non-EU migrants. That leaves a massive hole.

Seasonal workers required in the future would not qualify for entry under the current Tier 2 Work Visa requirements, which are particularly stringent. They dictate that workers must earn over £30,000 per year, have almost £1,000 in personal savings, pass an English language test and possess a job offer from a company or employer who already have a sponsorship licence. This would be disastrous to British industries. And anyway, Tier 2 Work Visas are capped at 20,700 per year.

The first thing to do is lift the cap. The UK has some ambitious plans for the future that simply would not be achievable with it in place.

Take the construction of Hinkley Point C, the UK’s first nuclear power plant in over 20 years. It requires experienced workers with unique knowledge of nuclear power. Industry professionals estimate they will be looking to recruit for 25,000 individual roles as well as 5,600 workers for on-site – most of whom will be found across the Channel.

Combine this with the infrastructure of Crossrail – which has already extended its deadline to autumn next year – the construction of High Speed 2, the expansion of Heathrow and the initiative to introduce smart meters to every home and business by 2020 and we have a crisis ahead.

The UK is not equipped to execute these projects alone and within their timeframes. Even if every one of the 1.36 million currently unemployed people in the UK were suddenly trained and hired in sectors facing shortages, the technology sector estimates it would still need to fill 1.5 million tech-savvy roles by 2030 in order to remain a global innovation hub. The UK will have to sacrifice some – if not most – of its future projects if the government refuses to demolish the cap.

Employers and businesses are anyway reluctant to cater for Tier 2 workers in the current climate. You can see why. An uncertain future has been mixed with extortionate costs, a time-consuming process and a 202-page immigration guidance document. Many managers are unsure how to even apply for a sponsor licence while small to medium-sized companies struggle to cough up Home Office visa fees as well as the legal advice necessary to navigate the application.

The CBI report therefore makes for a depressing read. Our post-Brexit landscape couldn’t be further from the lies we bought. Without immigration, the Britain that we know will wither away. Our rolling hills and meadows are more likely to harbour rotting food in their fields, ‘taking back control of our waters’ will set the stage for fishing disputes with EU member states, festivals like Glastonbury will struggle to fill smaller slots due to free movement limitations, and a shortage of train drivers, bus engineers and baggage handlers will increase delays and queues for travellers and commuters. None of this suggests a green and pleasant land.

To overcome these avoidable shortfalls, the CBI report puts forth 14 policy recommendations for the UK government to adopt. It seeks to establish a new immigration system in favour of EU migrants under a compulsory registration scheme. EU migrants hoping to stay in the UK beyond three months would have to register and prove that they are working, studying or self-sufficient.

It also advocates a complete reform of the Tier 2 visa route and a removal of the cap. This would ultimately allow so-called ‘lower skilled’ migrants to work in the UK, and not just professional graduates.

British industries cannot wait any longer. They need answers now. The government must outline a future immigration plan for European workers. The survival of UK companies, businesses and industries depend on it.

Olivia Bridge is a specialist content writer and political correspondent for the Immigration Advice Service and leading Immigration Lawyers UK.

The opinions in politics.co.uk’s Comment and Analysis section are those of the author and are no reflection of the views of the website or its owners.

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Fox Loses #1 Spot in Ratings – But There’s a Catch

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Fox may be down in ratings for the week, but CNN has nothing to be excited about.

In a rarity, Fox News didn’t score the #1 spot in primetime ratings last week, which was the first time that happened in 15 weeks. The reason wasn’t a dropoff in viewership, but rather the result of a temporary boost in viewership that ESPN saw due to the U.S. Open, peaking with the match between Serena Williams and Naomi Osaka.

“Fox News finished second in primetime for the week of September 3 to September 9. The week prior, the network celebrated its 14th consecutive week as the No. 1 cable network in primetime” reported the Daily Caller. Fox remained #1 overall in daytime ratings.

The real story though is just how hilariously bad CNN is doing. Fox News averaged 2.26 million viewers in primetime. CNN averaged only 690,000 daily average viewers, which is worse than HGTV (1.3 million), and Nickelodeon (883,000).

In other words, CNN’s reporting is being beaten out both by home improvement shows, and the network that’s the home of Spongebob Squarepants.

In the age of Trump, the networks most explicitly backing the so-called “resistance” are struggling, which should be a sign that the public isn’t buying the narrative they’re selling. Back in February, CNN announced the layoffs of 50 people. At the time of those layoffs, CNN was averaging a comparatively higher 783,000 daily viewers, or 28% more than now. Most interestingly, CNN’s layoffs focused exclusively on their digital/online division, which is bizarre, given that analysts say that’s what has the most potential for growth. RELATED: CNN Ratings Slide – 50 Layoffs Planned

Among CNN’s recent stories include blaming the death of Mollie Tibbett’s at the hand of an illegal alien on “toxic masculinity,” dismissing criticisms of Antifa (which is majority-white) as “racist,” misrepresenting comments from Lanny Davis to run anti-Trump coverage, and kicking a guest off a segment for explaining how security clearances work.

Who wants to tune into that cuckoo land?

At this rate, the only place people will be tuning into CNN is against their will in an airport.

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Author: Matt

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Report: College Professor Shot Himself To Protest Trump

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Trump Derangement Syndrome has gotten so bad that radical leftists have taken to literally shooting themselves in protest of President Donald Trump.

According to a bizarre report from the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Mark J. Bird, a professor emeritus at the College of Southern Nevada, shot himself in the arm inside a campus bathroom on Aug. 28 – and the story only gets stranger from there:

A 911 call was made after several CSN employees and at least one student saw Bird stumble out of the bathroom, bleeding, before he collapsed, the report said. None of the witnesses — who later told police they only recalled hearing “a loud noise” — initially knew that Bird was armed and had shot himself, according to the [police] report.

One college employee told police that he held Bird’s hand to calm him down as others tried to stop the bleeding. While waiting for authorities to arrive, Bird said he had shot himself in protest of President Donald Trump, police noted in their report. The report did not elaborate.

After arriving at the scene, police found a black and white .22 pistol and a spent shell casing on the bathroom floor. Additionally, they found a $100 bill taped to a bathroom mirror along with a note that said, “For the janitor.”

However, whatever statement Bird was trying to make by idiotically shooting himself backfired. He faces several felony charges, including discharging a gun within a prohibited structure, carrying a concealed weapon without a permit, and possessing a dangerous weapon on school property. A preliminary hearing on the case is scheduled for Sept. 17.

Furthermore, we may never know exactly what Bird was “protesting” because, unsurprisingly, CSN did their best to sweep the entire incident under the rug. The day of the shooting, a campus-wide alert was issued around 9:00 a.m. – 45 minutes after Bird was found – but all it said was that the scene was safe and the firearm had been recovered. The incident was not mentioned again save for a brief blip at the end of the September edition of “The Chronicle,” the college president’s monthly newsletter emailed to staff.

Even more infuriating, Bird is still employed by CNS – and he allegedly teaches “Human Behavior,” of all things.

Unless Bird is sacrificing himself as a living example of precisely how humans shouldn’t behave, there’s no reason he should be teaching Human Behavior, or any other class, at any college anywhere, ever.

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Author: Ann

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