The U.S. at a glance ...
Manson dead: The infamous murderer Charles Manson, whose savage slayings horrified the world, died in a Kern County hospital this week at age 83. The wild-eyed sex cult leader, who was serving a life sentence for guiding his followers on a brutal killing spree in August 1969, had been ailing and was hospitalized for intestinal bleeding in January. Members of the so-called Manson Family murdered seven people in Los Angeles over the course of two nights, with the ritualized killings meant to bring on an apocalyptic race war. Their victims included the actress Sharon Tate, who was the wife of film director Roman Polanski and was eight and a half months pregnant at the time. Manson never admitted to ordering the killings and was denied parole a dozen times. “People are saying that this should be some kind of relief, but oddly enough it really isn’t,” said Debra Tate, sister of Sharon Tate. “Although I’ve forgiven, I have not forgotten.”
Trump vs. sports dad: President Trump this week turned his Twitter wrath on LaVar Ball, the father of one of three UCLA basketball players arrested for shoplifting in China, calling Ball “very ungrateful” after he questioned Trump’s role in securing the players’ release from custody. “I should have left them in jail!” Trump tweeted. LiAngelo Ball, Jalen Hill, and Cody Riley, all freshmen at UCLA, were accused this month of stealing designer sunglasses from a Louis Vuitton store in Hangzhou, ahead of an exhibition game against Georgia Tech. If convicted, they would have faced up to 10 years in prison. Trump said he spoke to President Xi Jinping on their behalf during his recent trip to Beijing. The players, who have been suspended indefinitely, later thanked Trump in a press conference at UCLA. “Do I think the president helped? I don’t know,” the elder Ball said in an interview. “If you helped, you shouldn’t have to say anything.”
Keystone spill: About 5,000 barrels of oil, roughly 210,000 gallons, leaked from the Keystone Pipeline last week, staining a field in a remote part of the state. No livestock or drinking-water sources were threatened by the spill, which happened at least a mile away from any homes. Calgary-based TransCanada, which owns the pipeline, said the leak was “completely isolated” within 15 minutes. The news galvanized environmentalists opposed to the controversial Keystone XL extension, which would carry an estimated 830,000 barrels of oil a day from Canada through Montana, South Dakota, and Nebraska to meet the existing Keystone pipeline. “This disastrous spill from the first Keystone Pipeline makes clear why Keystone XL should never be built,” said Jared Margo lis, an attorney with the Center for Biological Diversity. Days after the spill, the Nebraska regulators approved the Keystone XL route through the state.
Van Horn, Texas
Border Patrol death: A U.S. Border Patrol agent died this week on a remote stretch of highway in western Texas, prompting President Trump to renew calls for a border wall with Mexico. Agent Rogelio Martinez, 36, and his partner both suffered traumatic head injuries during a nighttime stop to investigate a drainage culvert along Interstate 10, where drug smugglers are known to hide. Both men were airlifted to El Paso, where Martinez died of his injuries. A Border Patrol union spokesman said that the agents appeared to have been attacked from behind with rocks, but a local sheriff suggested the pair’s injuries were consistent with falls. The desolate area, which is part of the Border Patrol’s Big Bend Sector, is the fifth-highest sector for marijuana seizures. If foul play was involved, it would be the first time an on-duty Border Patrol agent has been killed since the 2010 murder of Brian Terry in Arizona, which catalyzed the push for tougher border enforcement.
Haitians’ permits scrapped: The Department of Homeland Security this week ordered nearly 60,000 Haitians, who were permitted to live and work in the U.S. after their country was devastated by a 2010 earthquake, to leave the U.S. in the next 18 months or face deportation. The Obama administration had renewed Temporary Protected Status for Haitians several times, judging that conditions in their home country, the poorest in the Wes tern Hemisphere, were too unstable for many to return. The Trump administration, however, said that the “extraordinary conditions” permitting their presence in the U.S. “no longer exist.” Money sent home by Haitians living abroad accounts for one-fourth of the country’s national income. Some 320,000 people in the U.S. have Temporary Protected Status; the government will announce next month if protections for the largest group, nearly 200,000 peo- Los Angeles ple from El Salvador, will be extended.
Puerto Rican diaspora: More than 168,000 Puerto Ricans fleeing the devastation of Hurricane Maria have left the island for the U.S. mainland, with nearly half of them settling in Orlando with family and friends, The New York Times reported this week. Another 100,000 people are booked on flights to Orlando through Dec. 31. The mass migration—the largest from the island in U.S. history—could reshape the politics of one of the country’s most important swing states. Puerto Ricans tilt Democratic, and their numbers in Florida had risen from 479,000 in 2000 to more than 1 million even before the storm. The influx could also strain local resources. The Orlando area’s two school districts, already among the country’s fastest-growing, have taken in 3,280 new students since the hurricane hit in September. “We’ve been handling growth,” said Mayor Teresa Jacobs of Orange County. “We just can’t handle it in a matter of weeks.”