The U.S. at a glance ...
Sikh immigrant attacked: Police are looking for a gunman who allegedly shot a 39-year-old Sikh man in suburban Seattle while shouting, “Go back to your own country.” The victim, originally from India’s Punjab province, was washing his car last Friday evening when he was approached by a 6-foot-tall white man wearing a mask. The stranger asked the man why he was cleaning his car, argued with him, and then shot him in the arm. He is expected to live. The shooting, which comes just weeks after two Indian men were shot to death in a racially motivated attack in Olathe, Kan., is being investigated as a hate crime. “He is just very shaken up, both him and his family,” said Jasmit Singh, a leader of the local Sikh community. “The climate of hate that has been created doesn’t distinguish between anyone.”
Lincoln County, Tenn.
Bird flu reported: A farm that produces chicken for Tyson Foods was ordered to cull its flock after an outbreak of avian influenza, the first case at a commercial farm this year. The H7 strain of avian influenza doesn’t pose a serious health risk to humans, but is highly contagious among birds, leading to fears that the outbreak could spread to nearby farms. Some 73,500 birds were culled over the weekend at the southern Tennessee farm, with Department of Agriculture officials quarantining roughly 30 nearby poultry farms. South Korea, which is coping with its own bird flu outbreak, banned imports of U.S. chickens and eggs after the announcement. A 2015 outbreak in the Midwest led to the culling of more than 48 million birds, costing the U.S. poultry and egg industry $386 million in exports.
Burial fund overwhelmed: The opioid epidemic has caused so many deaths that West Virginia’s state burial fund for needy families is nearly depleted with four months left in the fiscal year. The state’s Department of Human Services said this week that it has conducted 1,508 burials so far this year, with enough money left for only 63 more. West Virginia has the highest rate of fatal drug overdoses in the nation. In 2015, the state’s drug overdose death rate was nearly three times the national average. West Virginia earmarks about $2 million a year for its indigent burial program, which provides funeral homes $1,250 per person to cover burial expenses when the deceased’s family can’t or won’t. The program ran out of funds last year, too. “When you get an overdose, typically it’s going to be a younger individual who’s not financially in a great position,” said Robert Kimes of the West Virginia Funeral Directors Association.
Camp Lejeune, N.C.
Marine nude-sharing ring busted: The Defense Department opened a criminal investigation this week into the posting of thousands of nude and private photos of Marine Corps women on a 30,000-member, male-only Facebook group page. On the “Marines United” page, active-duty and veteran Marines shared and commented on private photos shared by former partners, as well as images taken from personal social media accounts. Some of the photos sparked sexually explicit remarks, with some men urging each other to rape female Marines. Marisa Woytek, a Marine lance corporal, said she heard from friends that innocent photos of her on Instagram were shared on the site, followed by a long string of degrading comments. “I love the Marine Corps,” Woytek said. “But after seeing that, I wouldn’t re-enlist.” Marine Corps commandant Gen. Robert Neller called the harassment “embarrassing to our Corps, to our families, and to the nation.”
DHS may split families: To deter illegal immigration, Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly confirmed this week, his agency may start separating mothers and children caught crossing the U.S. border. Kelly said the department may adopt a new policy of placing children apprehended with their parents at the border either with relatives in the U.S., or in foster care. Currently, women and children are held together in detention centers for up to three weeks, and then released to wait until their immigration status is resolved. In recent years, most of the women and children trying to cross the Mexican border have been fleeing violent drug gangs and chaos in Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador. “I would do almost anything to deter the people from Central America getting on this very, very dangerous network that brings them up from Mexico,” Kelly said.
WikiLeaks hits CIA: The Central Intelligence Agency is reeling from what appears to be the biggest security breach in its history, after WikiLeaks published a massive trove of documents this week purporting to show the spy agency’s tools for hacking into everyday devices and software. WikiLeaks released 8,761 documents and files, including instructions for breaking into smartphones, messaging apps, computer operating systems, and even smart televisions. Some of the techniques described would allow intelligence agents to turn on cameras and microphones in the devices to snoop on their owners, and to bypass the encryption on supposedly secure services such as Signal, WhatsApp, and Telegram. Intelligence sources said the files appear to be genuine, and could do “grave if not irreparable damage” to the CIA’s ability to spy on ISIS and other terrorist networks and penetrate the defenses of such cyberadversaries as Russia, China, and Iran.