1. Hurricane Irma now Cat 4 as it heads for eastern Caribbean
Pioneer press: Hurricane Irma grew into a powerful Category 4 storm Monday as it approached the northeastern Caribbean and was forecast to begin buffeting the region Tuesday.
The storm had maximum sustained winds of 130 mph (215 kph) late Monday afternoon, and the U.S. National Hurricane Center said additional strengthening was expected. Irma was centered 490 miles (790 kilometers) east of the Leeward Islands and moving west at 13 mph (20 kph).
Emergency officials warned that the storm could dump up to 10 inches (25 centimeters) of rain, unleash landslides and dangerous flash floods and generate waves of up to 23 feet (7 meters) as the storm drew closer. U.S. residents were urged to monitor the storm’s progress in case it should turn northward toward Florida, Georgia or the Carolinas.
Evan Myers, chief operating officer of AccuWeather, said in a statement, “this hurricane has the potential to be a major event for the East Coast. It also has the potential to significantly strain FEMA and other governmental resources occurring so quickly on the heels of (Hurricane) Harvey.”
2. Haley says North Korea is 'begging for war,' calls for strongest possible UN sanctions
Fox News: Yesterday, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley asked the body’s Security Council to impose the strongest possible sanctions against North Korea in response to the rogue nation’s most recent nuclear test, saying “the time for half measures … is over.”
Haley spoke at U.N. headquarters in New York a day after North Korea claimed to have conducted an underground test on a hydrogen bomb. It was North Korea’s sixth such test, following five previous ones on a nuclear warhead and recent launches of inter-continental missiles to land such weapons on foreign soil. The United States is calling for a U.N. vote on sanctions as early as next week.
Halley said, “We cannot kick this can down the road any longer. Enough is enough. War is never something the United States wants. ... But our country's patience is not unlimited."
3. Republicans divided on Trump's expected DACA announcement
Fox News: Some top Republicans have spoken out to challenge President Trump’s expected announcement Tuesday that reportedly calls for the end of the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA. House Speaker Paul Ryan and other Republicans urged Trump to hold off on scrapping the program and allow lawmakers some time to come up with a legislative fix.
Trump’s reported plan calls for a six-month delay that would give Congress some time to pass legislation that would address the hundreds of thousands of immigrants covered by the program. Some see Trump’s reported delay as an attempt to kick the can down the road, and putting the pressure on Congress. One vocal opponent called it “Republican suicide.”
Representative Steve King from Iowa said on Twitter, “ending DACA now gives chance 2 restore Rule of Law. Delaying so R Leadership can push Amnesty is Republican suicide.” King, who believes that DACA is unconstitutional, warned that pushing the decision to Congress would be a mistake. He said last week, "we've got enough of never-Trumpers in Congress that are undermining the president's agenda.”
4. Undocumented immigrants fearful of seeking assistance after Harvey
Fox News: FEMA has crews set up across our area, encouraging those who have been effected by hurricane Harvey to file a claim. However, there are those in the Hispanic community who are fearful of coming forward because of their immigration status.
More than 30 percent of the population in Dickinson is Hispanic, some of whom are undocumented and fearful that if they come forward they may get deported. The city and local law enforcement has been trying to get the word out about FEMA assistance on their website and social media pages. Even going door to door. So far the city is happy with the response now that FEMA has a crew out here. You just need a social security number of someone who lives in the household.
"We just want everyone to understand the role of FEMA, that they're here only to offer assistance from the federal government," Sergeant Tim Cromie of the Dickinson Police Department says. "They're here and they are going to gather some information, but that's just so that they can start the claims process and the assessment process to determine if anyone is eligible for assistance. There's no other reason they're here to gather the information of anyone in the city."
FEMA will stay in Dickinson until next Sunday to help assist all of the residents that suffered a loss during hurricane Harvey.
5. Super Bowl LII Countdown Reaches 5 Months
Channel 5: The Downtown Council said the Nicollet Mall renovation is expected to be finished by November. The mall is scheduled to host Super Bowl Live - a outdoor festival - during the lead-up to the big game. Crews are also working on renovations to the Minneapolis Armory, which will host several Super Bowl events. It should be finished by late October or early November. Road construction on Washington Avenue near the stadium, which will carry a lot of the Super Bowl traffic, is now finished. The City of Minneapolis said it will stop all construction projects near the stadium a few months before the Super Bowl.
Here is a look at some key dates or time periods leading up to Super Bowl 52 on Feb. 4 at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis:
August and September 2017 - Face-to-face interviews conducted with those hoping to volunteer
October 2017 - Renovations expected to be completed at Minneapolis Armory
November 2017 - Nicollet Mall renovation project expected to be completed
January 2018 - Volunteer training scheduled
Feb. 4, 2018 - Super Bowl LII, U.S. Bank Stadium