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Wildfire Smoke Travels Hundreds of Miles

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Screen Shot 2016-03-24 at 1.54.35 PMThe National Weather Service says that the smoke from the wildfires burning in Oklahoma and Kansas has spread throughout the nation–at an alarmingly fast rate. Smoke has been detected in Springfield, Missouri, about 290 miles to the east, and in St. Louis, about 460 miles to the northeast of the fires. These fires have consumed more than 600 square miles of largely rural land along the Kansas-Oklahoma border since Wednesday. Springfield meteorologist Mark Burchfield commented on the overwhelming nature of the smell, saying that it was “pretty strong” as he was leaving for work Thursday morning. The winds are also perpetuating the fight against this fire, spreading the smoke across areas adjacent to the Kansas-Oklahoma border since Wednesday.

A TIMELINE OF EVENTS

At 10:45 a.m, authorities announced that the wildfire has destroyed 85 square miles of grassland in the Texas Panhandle. However, no one has been gravely injured in the fire that began Wednesday. The Texas A&M Forest Service said Thursday that the largest wildfire has burned about 70 square miles in rural areas in Carson, Hutchinson, Roberts and Gray counties. Agency spokeswoman Linda Moon said that many homes were evacuated in Skellytown, about 45 miles northeast of Amarillo, but the families were allowed to return after a few hours. A smaller fire has started about 15 square miles of grassland in Wheeler County.

At 10:20 a.m, another grass fire started in Kansas, a couple states over from Oklahoma blaze–the two fires spanning over several miles. A shelter for evacuated residents has been established at a high school. At this time, several small structures have been damaged but no injuries have been reported. A sheriff’s department official wasn’t able to confidently describe the size of the fire. “The National Weather Service says wind gusts of up to 50 mph were reported early Thursday in nearby Wichita. Winds had died down to 30 mph around daybreak and were expected to continue losing strength,” Reports ABCNews.

At 8:50 a.m., authorities gave a rough estimate of the damage inflicted: 625 square miles in Oklahoma and Kansas. The worst damage in Kansas is in Barber and Comanche counties, where the fScreen Shot 2016-03-24 at 1.54.41 PMire continues to burn Thursday. Forestry Services spokeswoman Michelle Finch-Walker says crews are surveying the damage from a birds-eye view to get a concrete value of acres burned.  An emergency management official said earlier Thursday that the fire had burned approximately 300 acres of land in total.

At 8:35 a.m., fourteen patients were evacuated from a local Kansas hospital due to the fire. Medicine Lodge Memorial Hospital sent 12 patients to a nursing home Wednesday night and the other two to a hospital close-by. Authorities say the blaze went around the Barber County town of about 2,000 residents, and plans are being made to return the patients to the facility Thursday. Hospital CEO Kevin White says that the evacuation was merely precautionary. He also described the smoke as very dense, so thick that it “completely obliterated the sun” at 5 p.m. Wednesday, an hour before the patients left. He said that the fire was “pretty scary.”

At 8:20 a.m., the wildfire restarted in Kansas county–where it was momentarily contained. Comanche County Emergency Management coordinator John Lehman says crews have been dispelled to combat the fire on Thursday. The blaze had been under control Wednesday night. Lehman says the blaze reignited when the strong winds blew the embers into the dry grass. He says that once embers hit dry grass, “away it goes.”

“The fire has burned about 37miles in the county after starting Tuesday near the Kansas border in Oklahoma, and has burned a further 280 square miles in neighboring Barber County.” Reports the Associated Press.

At 6:45 a.m., hundreds of firefighters battled the 30 to 40 mile line of fire in a rural Barber County in southern Kansas that has already lost 280 square miles of land to the wildfire. Kansas Incident Management Team spokeswoman Darcy Golliher said Thursday that it is unclear exactly how much land the fire has claimed. She says the Kansas State Highway Patrol will fly over Thursday afternoon to evaluate the damage. No one has been injured, but one home has been destroyed.

At 1:20 a.m., authorities reported a wildfire in south-central Kansas but has been contained. However, the fire still poses a substantial threat. Ben Bauman, director of public affairs for the Kansas Department of the Adjutant General, said in a statement early Thursday that “the fires in Comanche County are under control. Fires in adjacent Barber County have improved but are still being monitored.” Bauman says the fire encircled the town of Medicine Lodge, where authorities had said earlier that up to 1,000 structures were threatened. One home and outbuilding were destroyed in the far end of town. The fire started in an Oklahoma border county Tuesday and moved into Kansas. It has burned nearly 110 square miles. Gov. Sam Brownback declared a state of emergency for certain states, but said that many states should not follow suit.

Jesse Anderson has written extensively about legal matters and current events. She offers fresh perspectives on controversial issues and consistently reports objectively on notable political cases. Anderson grew up in Baltimore, Maryland and frequently volunteers for organizations like Civic Works, RAINN and Kids Against Hunger. She hopes to change the face of politics and make a positive impact on the world around her.

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Syria al-Qaeda Leader Attacked, Unsure of His Survival

An air strike struck Abu al-Khayr al-Masri in the Syrian province of Idlib on Sunday, based on unconfirmed reports.

The Egyptian is second-in-command to overall al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, according to BBC News.

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An air strike struck Abu al-Khayr al-Masri in the Syrian province of Idlib on Sunday, based on unconfirmed reports.

The Egyptian is second-in-command to overall al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, according to BBC News.

Syrian opposition forces, the Local Co-ordination Committees, posted a photo of the car which was targeted for the attack, as stated by them.

Car with roof shattered is shown in photo taken from Syrian opposition activists

The car, in the town of al-Mastuma, was targeted by “international coalition aircraft”, the group said.

Additionally, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that an al-Qaeda official was killed in a strike, but did not confirm it was Abu al-Khayr al-Masri.

The Egyptian, whose real name is Abdullah Muhammad Rajab Abd al-Rahman, was reportedly released from custody by Iran in 2015 as part of a prisoner swap.

Last year, Abu al-Khayr al-Masri was reported to have given his blessing to a decision by al-Qaeda’s affiliate in Syria, al-Nusra Front, to cut formal ties with the global jihadist network.

The Syrian jihadist with ties broken with al-Qaeda had renamed its name to Jabhat Fateh Al-Sham, as reported by CNN.

According to Ahmad Hasan Abu al Khayr al-Masri, al-Qaeda has embraced the split. The man Masri would replace as an upranking to No. 2 of the leadership position in the terror group, is al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri. Zawahiri expressed his opinion on the split in a supportive manner and called for infighting between jihadist groups to end.

Although Jabhat Fateh al-Sham was no longer linked to an external entity, the U.S. still kept it on its list of foreign terrorist groups and continued to target air strikes.

Therefore, in January, Jabhat Fateh al-Sham dissolved itself and formed an alliance with four smaller Syrian jihadist groups called Hayat Tahrir al-Sham. The move seemed to deem an attempt by the group to distance itself from al-Qaeda.

Tahrir al-Sham as since then fought rebel groups for control of the Idlib province in Syria, implying that it was them who had instigated suicide bombs on Saturday against the military in the government-controlled city of Homs.

Although the death of Abu al-Khayr al-Masri is uncertain, the Guardian has stated that he has been killed based off of what jihadists are stating.

The immediate circumstances of Masri’s death were unclear. Video online showed a tan four-door Kia sedan destroyed at a roadside with a large hole in its canopy but its windscreen mostly intact. The location of the attack was unusually far west for a US drone strike.

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Breaking News

Developments in Presidential Race, Trump does Terribly at Forum as Clinton shines

November is lurking around the corner and will be here before you know it, so my question to you is, have you decided who you will vote for? I have, and I proudly say my choice is Hillary Rodham Clinton. I am informing you all that there are ample development in the race for the presidency of the United States…

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November is lurking around the corner and will be here before you know it, so my question to you is, have you decided who you will vote for? I have, and I proudly say my choice is Hillary Rodham Clinton. I am informing you all that there are ample development in the race for the presidency of the United States.

First of all, Donald Trump, according to Kristina Vong’s article at Thehill.com, wrongly corrected a veteran Marine during a forum. The veteran, a woman named Rachel Fredericks, asked Mr. Trump how he plans to stop 20 veterans from committing suicide, daily. Trump tried to correct the woman, who needed no correction. He said it is actually 22, trying to emerge correct, when he was essentially incorrect.

Mr. Trump also does not have a real plan to defeat ISIS, as “his plan is to have a plan” according to Igor Bobic at the Huffington Post. He also insulted military leaders calling them embarrassments to the country when they were under President Obama. He wants to give the generals 30 days to come up with a plan to defeat ISIS.  Of course, this even makes it more obvious that Mr. Trump does not have a plan to defeat ISIS. Why, then did he call our current president the founder of ISIS? How can you give your vote to someone so unprepared and unfit for the presidency that constitutes a whole country? Sorry to say, but Donald Trump is not someone to vote for, at least not as US President!

According to Sean Colarossi at PoliticusUSA.com, a presidential forum highlighted how prepared Trump and Clinton are compared to each other, with Clinton appearing as the more prepared one, very easily. Clinton was engaged with questions, expressed gratitude, and was very prolific and intelligible in her responses. To reiterate, Trump has not a plan to defeat ISIS, where Hillary has a well thought-out plan. She outlined her plan, entailing it could take any form and she iterated and supports the idea that terror suspects should not be able to purchase firearms. Clinton also covered issues like mental health, illuminating the fact that it is overlooked, and mental health should no longer be stigmatized and victims of mental disorders should have access to resources. On the other hand, Trump gave generic answers like that he knows what is going on in the world. Also according to Colarossi’s article, Trump showed as an “empty suit” and “showed he is not prepared to be commander-in-chief” and that the contrast between him and Clinton could not be clearer”; this essentially means Clinton showed to be immensely more prepared to lead and did not focus on attacking others, like Trump’s approach does.

Lastly, Donald Trump has insulted women, children, ethnic groups, religious groups, his opponent, our current president, the military, and the list goes on. He is patronizing and unprepared to preside over our country as well. He constantly attacks others, with no action in mind. Consider if you want to have him as president, seriously!

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Politics

Senator Elizabeth Warren Highlights that Trump is a “Racist Bully” and that a Vote for Jill Stein Would Only Help Trump

Senator Elizabeth Warren recently, and I must say, very appropriately, called Donald Trump a “racist bully.” She said also that a vote for the Green Party’s presidential nominee, Jill Stein, is essentially a vote for Donald Trump…

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Senator Elizabeth Warren Highlights that Trump is a "Racist Bully" and that a Vote for Jill Stein Would Only Help Trump

Senator Elizabeth Warren recently, and I must say, very appropriately, called Donald Trump a “racist bully.” She said also that a vote for the Green Party’s presidential nominee, Jill Stein, is essentially a vote for Donald Trump.

Adding to her speech at Roxbury Community College, the senator said,  Trump has constantly proven to be a “thin-skinned, racist bully.” She then said his approach is hateful, with parts of his campaign being based on hate and that it is not characteristic of our country: that our country “is better than that.”

Warren then took the stance that, no, voters should not vote for Dr. Jill Stein over Secretary and Democratic Presidential Nominee, Hillary Clinton. Her reasons are simple. Anything can be precocious in getting Trump even inches closer to the White House, as she said in essence. Warren then suggested directly that a vote for Stein is a vote that brings Mr. Trump closer to the White House.

Also today, Dr. Stein even voiced more apprehensions and warning about Donald Trump. She did so by calling him a neo-fascist, basically. She generally suggested in her interview with Democracy Now, that Trump resonates fascist qualities of leaders of the past. This makes it clear that a vote for Trump is a vote for misfortune and peril in the United States.

Recently, on “Hannity” on Fox News, Trump generalized minorities once again, fabricating a vibe that illegal immigrants have been acutely responsible for deaths and fatalities in the country. One woman came forward, saying this is not an isolated issue. Trump, once again, has me disappointed in him and terrified if he gets elected.

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