The Ripcurrent: California Wildfires, Russian Poisoning, Trump Tapes

Viviane E. Kim and Amy Whitman News Aug 23, 2020

California Wildfires Rage On

We hoped the severity of Californian wildfires would decrease, but dangerous weather conditions threaten to worsen the fires. They are said to have sparked from lightning strikes coming from previous storms and bad weather. The dryness of brushes and forests around the area are vulnerable to the spread of wildfire, which makes residential areas nearby threatened by the fast moving flames.

The National Weather Service issued a red flag warning of extreme fire danger starting at 5 AM Sunday and ending at 5 PM Monday. The areas from Sonoma County to Monterey County have been affected, and Cal Fire, the state department of fire protection, deployed almost all of its fire engines. On Saturday Governor Gavin Newsom announced that the state had secured a “major disaster declaration” from President Trump; this will provide federal services to those affected and will help with organizing the response to the fires. Cal Fire assistant deputy director Daniel Berlant stated to the San Francisco Chronicle, “Even one fire is too many fires...with the potential of more lightning-sparked fires being in the dozens to hundreds, it is going to be a significant issue if we have more large, damaging fires.”

Source -Amy Whitman

Russian Opposition Leader is Poisoned

On Thursday, Russian opposition leader Aleksei Navalny collapsed on board a plane flying from Siberia to Moscow following a meeting with fellow organizers; medical staff rushed over and the plane made an emergency landing. Family and critics of Putin’s regime called foul play by poisoning, pointing out that efforts to silence Mr. Navalny, a prominent anti-Kremlin politician, coincided with important local elections held in September. The only thing Navalny was reported to have ingested pre-flight was a cup of tea.

The Kremlin is notorious for offing its enemies with ingestible poison or nerve agents: another harsh critic of the Russian government, Anna Politkovskaya, became horribly sick after drinking tea on a Russian flight, and several other critics experienced similar symptoms to Mr. Navalny’s after ingesting beverages on domestic flights.

After a long detainment in a Siberian hospital, Russian medical officials agreed to transfer Navalny for treatment in Germany; Mr. Navalny is now in stable comatose condition in Berlin.

Source -Viviane Kim

More Secret Trump Tapes

After her book was released last month, Mary Trump faced harsh questioning about the credibility of her sources. In response, she released 15 hours of audio recordings of phone calls she conducted with the president's sister, federal judge Maryanne Trump Barry. Barry was unaware that Mary was recording the calls—a practice that is legal in New York state. In the calls, Barry admonished Trump's handling of the Mexican border and questioned his intellectual abilities. She said that she "did his homework for him", "he was a brat", "he doesn't read", and alleged that someone "took his exams" for him. She also called into question the president's character, telling Mary "Donald is out for Donald, period," recalling her brother's speech at their father's funeral, in which he spent more time talking about himself than their father. Most notably, she said, "Donald is cruel"  and "has no principles". Trump's senior campaign advisor, Jason Miller, attributed the statements to sibling rivalry.

Source Source -Viviane Kim

Viviane E. Kim

Viviane, a sophomore, is Editor-in-Chief of The Current. She's an aspiring pianist, flutist, artist, and activist. She has won several writing competitions and performed with the SBU Orchestra.

Amy Whitman

Amy is The Current’s Multimedia lead. A junior, she contributes to our podcast and News column. She loves writing, reading, sports, and film, and plans to major in journalism and political science.

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