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10 things you need to know today: September 12, 2019

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Harold Maass
Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren
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1.

Supreme Court allows Trump asylum restrictions to take effect

The Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that, despite ongoing legal challenges, the Trump administration can enforce strict new restrictions against asylum seekers who arrive at the southern border, lifting a lower court order blocking the policy. The restriction mostly affects Central Americans. In July, the administration said it would only consider asylum requests from migrants who had tried and failed to get protection in the first country they traveled through, usually Mexico or Guatemala. Immediately after the new policy was announced, four immigrant-rights groups filed lawsuits challenging it. Earlier this week, a federal judge reinstated a nationwide injunction prohibiting the Trump administration from turning away asylum applicants. The matter is likely to return to the Supreme Court once lower courts rule on the legal challenges. [The Washington Post]

2.

10 Democratic presidential hopefuls head to debate stage

Democratic presidential hopefuls head into the party's third presidential debate on Thursday, with polls showing Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) gaining ground on the consistent frontrunner, former Vice President Joe Biden. A new poll by NPR and Marist showed Warren leading in favorability among the candidates for the 2020 Democratic nomination, 10 of whom qualified for spots on the stage in Houston. An Economist/YouGov poll published Wednesday showed Warren tying Biden with 26 percent support among registered voters, although most polls show Biden holding onto his frontrunner status. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) came in third in the poll with 16 percent support. South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) followed at 6 percent. [PBS, Washington Examiner]

3.

Report: Bahamian hurricane refugees won't get temporary protected status

The U.S. will not grant temporary protected status to people from the Bahamas displaced by Hurricane Dorian, NBC News reported Wednesday, citing a Trump administration official. The report came two days after Acting Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Mark Morgan said the White House was considering granting the status to Bahamian hurricane refugees. President Trump on Monday had also said he was considering extending temporary protected status, but, at the same time, he expressed wariness about immigration from the islands east of South Florida. Bahamians can still come to the U.S. temporarily, provided they have proper travel documents, but they reportedly will not be granted work permits. About 300,000 people from other countries currently live in the U.S. under the temporary status, including Haitian earthquake survivors. [NBC News]

4.

Trump delays tariff increase as goodwill gesture

President Trump on Wednesday said he would delay imposing higher tariffs on $250 billion worth of Chinese imports. The increase in the levies from 25 percent to 30 percent had been set to take effect on Oct. 1, but Trump said he would push the date to Oct. 15 "as a gesture of goodwill," and at the request of Beijing. The move followed an announcement by China that it would exempt 16 U.S.-made products from its new tariffs ahead of U.S.-China trade negotiations scheduled for next month. China said it was showing its good faith, but some analysts said Chinese farms and companies would benefit most from Beijing's relief. [The Washington Post, MarketWatch]

5.

Purdue Pharma reaches tentative opioid-suit settlement

Purdue Pharma and its owners, the Sackler family, reportedly have reached a tentative settlement with thousands of local governments, states, and tribes that have sued over the drug manufacturer's alleged role in the opioid crisis. Firm details were not immediately available, but two people involved in the negotiations told The New York Times that Purdue, maker of OxyContin, would be filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and be dissolved. A new company, not controlled by the Sacklers, would be created and continue selling Purdue's medicines, but the profits would go to the plaintiffs. The Sackler family would pay out $3 billion of its own wealth over seven years. Purdue would reportedly donate "rescue" drugs for addiction treatment and overdose reversal. Sixteen states suing Purdue have rejected the proposed deal. [The New York Times, NBC News]

6.

Trump administration announces plan to ban flavored vaping products

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar announced Wednesday that the Food and Drug Administration would propose blocking the sale of flavored e-cigarette products. The news came a year after the FDA declared vaping an "epidemic." The regulations would not amount to a full ban on vaping products, as tobacco-flavored e-cigarettes would still be allowed, but Azar said the FDA was finalizing plans to "clear the market of flavored e-cigarettes" to fight a rise in teen vaping. Six people recently have died from a lung disease tied to e-cigarettes. More than 450 possible cases have been reported in 33 states. Until a cause for the crisis is found, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have warned people against vaping altogether. [NBC News]

7.

Report: Trump pushed aides to have NOAA refute tweet contradicting him

President Trump pressured aides to have the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration correct forecasters who contradicted his claim that Hurricane Dorian was a threat to Alabama, The New York Times reported Wednesday, citing people familiar with the matter. Trump denies pressuring NOAA. He made the statement about Dorian's potential threat to Alabama after forecasters had said the storm would turn north and head up the East Coast, leaving the state in the clear. The National Weather Service's Birmingham, Alabama, office tweeted that Alabama was not at risk. After Trump's alleged call to have NOAA "clarify" the situation, NOAA, which is in the Commerce Department, issued an unsigned statement saying the Birmingham office should not have ruled out impact in Alabama, a rare rebuke of forecasters. [The New York Times]

8.

Chinese businesswoman found guilty of lying to get into Mar-a-Lago

A jury found Yujing Zhang, the Chinese woman arrested this year at President Trump's Mar-a-Lago club, guilty of unlawfully entering a restricted building and lying to Secret Service agents to get onto the Trump property in Palm Beach, Florida. "She lied to everyone to get onto that property," U.S. Attorney Ronaldo Garcia told jurors Tuesday in his closing statement. Zhang represented herself, but did not present a defense, frustrating jurors. "Ultimately that's what hurt her — it hindered our ability to know her side," juror Nibaldo Padilla said. "We would have liked to have her story. Her story in this case could have influenced the jury, it could have or at the very least explained her side of things ... it's unfortunate." [CNN]

9.

Trump and senators discuss gun background checks

President Trump said Wednesday he was working with a bipartisan group of senators who are trying to revive a failed 2013 bill on gun-sale background checks. "We're looking at background checks," Trump said. "At the same time, all of us want to protect our great Second Amendment" guaranteeing gun rights. He added: "We're going to take a look at a lot of different things and we'll be reporting back in a short period of time." Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin (W.V.) and Chris Murphy (Conn.) and Republican Sen. Pat Toomey (Pa.) told reporters they discussed gun control with Trump by phone and hoped for a decision soon on whether Trump would back their proposal, which comes after a series of deadly mass shootings. [The Hill, Reuters]

10.

Oil maverick T. Boone Pickens dies at 91

Oil tycoon T. Boone Pickens died Wednesday after a series of strokes in 2017, and head injuries from what his spokesman called "a Texas-sized fall" that year. He was 91. Pickens built his fortune and helped shape the oil and gas business starting in the 1950s. He increased his wealth and prominence in the 1980s as a corporate raider, investing in major oil companies and pushing executives to make changes to boost shareholder value. "I was hell-bent on shaking things up," he wrote in a 2017 Forbes op-ed. "I was a disrupter before disrupters were cool." He later became an advocate of renewable energy, and unsuccessfully tried to launch a massive wind farm project. In 2008, he started a campaign to reduce U.S. dependence on foreign oil. [CNN, The Associated Press]