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Report: Feds Release Far More Illegal Aliens in Texas Than Any Other US State

by Kristin Tate

Amid the border crisis, President Obama’s Health and Human Services (HHS) has been quietly releasing illegal immigrant minors onto U.S. soil. According to HHS’ Office of Refugee and Resettlement, a total of 30,340 unaccompanied minors have already been released from federal custody after being placed in a foster home. Although foreign minors have been set free in all 50 states, Texas has received far more than any other U.S. state.

As of July 7, 4,280 illegal immigrant minors were released in Texas.

It is easy to imagine that many Texas residents are frustrated and may feel unfairly targeted by the federal government–the illegal immigrants will impose many costs on the state. Texas’ schools, hospitals, and other public facilities will now be forced to accommodate the growing number of foreigners dumped in the state.

Several other states received a large number of the minors: New York: 3,347; Florida: 3,181; California: 3,150; Virginia: 2,234.

Other states, however, received very few. Only one illegal immigrant minor was released in Montana, while three were released in Vermont.

HHS’ process for deciding how many illegals are brought to each state is unclear. The migrants’ foster families, or “sponsors,” are often located through nonprofit organizations. Breitbart Texas has reported closely on the process of becoming a foster parent of a foreign youth.

The HHS website said, “Ensuring that a potential sponsor can safely and appropriately care for the child is a top priority.  A background check is conducted on all potential sponsors, and steps are taken to verify a potential sponsor’s identity and relationship to the child.  In some cases where concerns are raised, a home study is done. Before children are released to a sponsor, they receive vaccinations and medical screenings. We do not release any children who have a contagious condition.”

In some cases, sponsors can make up to $7,400 per month for housing up to six illegal immigrants at a time. The payments are dispersed by the federal government. A spokesman from Catholic Charities, one organization seeking out foster parents for the unaccompanied minors, told Breitbart Texas that the illegal immigrants are also provided with taxpayer subsidized education, health care, transportation, and an “allowance.”

See video here.

http://www.breitbart.com/Breitbart-Texas/2014/07/30/Report-Feds-Release-Far-More-Illegal-Aliens-in-Texas-Than-Any-Other-US-State

Texas Democrats to Abbott: Denounce militia groups

by Jacob Fischler

All the Democrats in Texas’ congressional delegation sent a letter today to the Republican gubernatorial nominee, Attorney General Greg Abbott, calling on him to denounce civilian militia groups moving to the Rio Grande Valley to patrol the border.

“We hope you agree with us that these militant and potentially volatile groups patrolling the border are not in the best interest of Texas,” the letter’s last paragraph reads. “As the highest ranking executive with law enforcement responsibility, we hereby request that you denounce the actions of these militia groups and clarify the jurisdiction these militia groups have to patrol alongside local law enforcement and Border Patrol agents.”

The Democratic delegation — including Valley congressmen Rubén Hinojosa, Filemon Vela and Henry Cuellar — was “deeply disturbed” by reports and images of armed men patrolling the border, the letter said, which promoted violence against the influx of child immigrants and their families who have flooded across the Rio Grande in recent months.

And the Democrats pointed a damning finger at Abbott and the rest of the state’s (all Republican) leadership for not condemning the groups.

An Abbott spokeswoman said the group was playing politics instead of acting to help the situation.

“As Attorney General, Greg Abbott calls on congressional Democrats to immediately support federal funding for the National Guard and the Texas Department of Public Safety—which have been deployed to secure the border because the federal government failed to do its job,” wrote Attorney General’s Office spokeswoman Lauren Bean. “It’s time for Texas’ elected representatives to do more than talk; they need to be part of the border security solution.”

The statement did not address Abbott’s position on the militia groups.

The 12 congressional representatives pointed out the federal Customs and Border Protection has not endorsed the militias due to concerns they “could have disastrous personal and public safety consequences,” as well as negative public relations results.

“Furthermore, the actions of these militia groups perpetuate the stigma that the border is a war zone, which is certainly not the case, and only continues to hurt the economic potential of an important area of our state.”

A spokeswoman from state Sen. Wendy Davis’, D-Forth Worth, campaign for governor did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

With Thursday the only remaining working day before Congress’ five-week August recess, members remained voting Wednesday evening. Cuellar and Vela did not return calls seeking comment. A spokeswoman for Hinojosa said the congressman was still voting after 6 p.m. Wednesday and would “probably not” return a call by press time.

http://www.themonitor.com/news/immigration/texas-democrats-to-abbott-denounce-militia-groups/article_fa729f38-1830-11e4-93f5-0017a43b2370.html

Texas Jury Awards $27 Million Verdict against McDonald’s Following Teens’ Deaths

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SOURCE Standly Hamilton, LLP

BRYAN, Texas, July 30, 2014 /PRNewswire/ – A Texas jury today awarded a $27 million verdict against fast food giant McDonald’s after finding that lax security at one of the chain’s restaurants contributed to the deaths of two Texas teenagers in 2012.

Blinn College students Denton James Ward, 18, of Flower Mound, and Lauren Bailey Crisp, 19, of Dripping Springs, died in the early morning hours of Feb. 18, 2012, after stopping with another couple at a McDonald’s location in College Station where police repeatedly had been called to break up fights.

While walking through the McDonald’s parking lot near the Texas A&M University campus, Mr. Ward and a friend were viciously attacked by a mob. They then were loaded into Mr. Ward’s SUV by their girlfriends. As they raced toward a nearby hospital, Ms. Crisp’s friend ran a red light and collided with a pickup truck in a crash that resulted in Ms. Crisp’s death.

The teens’ families claimed McDonald’s should have provided better security at the restaurant, where police were called more than 20 times to break up fights in the year leading up to the deaths, according to trial evidence. Despite the location’s history of late-night violence, McDonald’s never hired any security personnel and never installed security cameras to help protect customers.

“We hope this verdict sends a powerful message to McDonald’s and other companies that protecting customers is more important than late-night revenue,” says attorney Chris Hamilton of Dallas’ Standly Hamilton, LLP, lead trial counsel for the teens’ families. “The night these two kids died, this was a dangerous location, and McDonald’s knew it. Yet they did nothing to prevent their senseless deaths.”

During the six-day trial, witnesses testified that Mr. Ward died in the parking lot after being kicked and stomped by 15 to 20 attackers. McDonald’s maintained that Mr. Ward died in the car wreck that followed, and that the company wasn’t responsible for the teens’ safety.

One of the attackers, Marcus Jones, was sentenced to 90 days in jail for assaulting Mr. Ward’s friend. No other arrests were made. College Station Police officers testified they regularly were called to the location to break up fights and disperse unsupervised crowds numbering in the hundreds between 2 a.m. and 4 a.m. on weekends. Despite that testimony, two former managers who were working at the same McDonald’s that night testified they were unaware of any problems.

The $27 million verdict handed down in the 361st District Court of Judge Steve Smith is for actual damages.

Standly Hamilton, LLP, is home to trial lawyers who handle high-stakes contingency fee litigation for both plaintiffs and defendants, and transactional attorneys who represent real estate and corporate clients in a wide spectrum of business transactions. For more information, visit http://www.standlyhamilton.com.

http://www.newswest9.com/story/26154272/texas-jury-awards-27-million-verdict-against-mcdonalds-following-teens-deaths

Nasty chikungunya virus gaining traction in U.S.

by John Bacon

Chikungunya, a mosquito-borne virus that has swept through the Caribbean in recent months, is making gains in the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says.

The CDC issued a count this week indicating almost 400 cases have been diagnosed in non-Caribbean areas of the United States this year, all but two of them contracted outside the United States. Another 215 cases were diagnosed in Puerto Rico, where 199 were contracted locally. Florida leads the way among states, with 107 cases, and its two locally contracted cases are the only ones in the continental U.S.

“With the recent outbreaks in the Caribbean and the Pacific, the number of chikungunya cases among travelers visiting or returning to the United States from affected areas will continue to increase,” the CDC said.

At least 20 New Jersey residents have tested positive for chikungunya, a mosquito-borne virus that has spread through the Caribbean. (July 30) AP

Officials said that chikungunya (pronounced chik-un-GUHN-ya) — spread by bites from infected Aedes aegypti or Aedes albopictus mosquitoes — is not contagious from person to person, is typically not life-threatening and will likely resolve on its own.

Chikungunya causes symptoms such as fever and joint pain within a week after a person is bitten by an infected mosquito. Patients can also develop severe headaches, muscle pain and swollen joints. There is no vaccine and no specific treatment.

From 2006‒2013, studies identified an average of 28 people per year nationwide with positive tests for recent chikungunya virus infection. All were travelers visiting or returning to the United States from affected areas, mostly in Asia.

In late 2013, chikungunya virus was found for the first time in the Americas on islands in the Caribbean. The CDC notes that travelers can protect themselves by preventing mosquito bites. Other advice: When traveling to countries with chikungunya virus, use insect repellent, wear long sleeves and pants and stay in places with air conditioning or that use window and door screens.

The word chikungunya, from the East African Kimakonde language, translates loosely as contorted or hunched over from pain.

See video here.

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/07/30/chikungunya-virus-united-states/13358377/

EXCLUSIVE: Report reveals ‘disturbing trend’ of brazen attacks against border security by gangs, drug and human traffickers

by Jana Winter

EXCLUSIVE: A game warden hit in the head with a rock while trying to seize a raft. Police officers wounded in an hours-long standoff with a gang member wanted for murder. Criminals spewing obscenities and death threats at local cops before asking for – and receiving – medical treatment.

And that was just last week.

A weekly report distributed by a Texas state agency to senior law enforcement officials paints a grim picture of the Mexican border, where authorities regularly confront illegal immigrant gang members and draw automatic gunfire from across the Rio Grande, and where local, state and federal authorities fight a never-ending battle against drug smugglers.

The most recent Border Operations Sector Assessment report compiled by the Texas Department of Public Safety’s Border Security Operations Center, dated July 25 and obtained by FoxNews.com, details local and federal authorities encountering smugglers carrying millions of dollars’ worth of marijuana, cocaine and methamphetamine, some of which was found in vehicles filled with biblical passages and religious items; federal agents being assaulted and shot at; gang members brazenly approaching people in their homes; and ranch workers witnessing men crossing into the U.S. wearing camouflage and carrying long guns and automatic weapons.

CLICK HERE TO READ THE REPORT

“In recent weeks the traffic appears to have slowed slightly, yet assaults on law enforcement have increased. This is a disturbing trend that needs to be addressed,” Chris Cabrera, vice president of the National Border Patrol Union, Rio Grande Valley Sector, told FoxNews.com.

“It is paramount that we get this problem under control. It is evident that we need more agents in the field to address the various threats posed to law enforcement as well as to our nation.”

The Austin-based Border Security Operations Center serves as the focal point for the six Joint Operations and Intelligence Centers located along Texas’ border with Mexico. Officials there analyze intelligence from state, local and federal law enforcement agencies in an effort to facilitate communication among them.

In the week of July 16-23 alone, according to the report, U.S. authorities apprehended 6,028 illegal immigrants, 4,152 of whom were not from Mexico. Most came from Central America. But there also were people from Russia, Morocco, China, Cuba and India, among other nations.

Cabrera, the union rep for the Rio Grande Valley Sector, the most heavily trafficked portion of the border, was shown a copy of the report by FoxNews.com. He contends the increase in attacks against law enforcement and the compilation of such events–including the game warden assault that occurred in Cabrera’s sector — should have been shared with him and his colleagues. But only higher-up officials receive the weekly reports, he said.

A spokesman for the Texas Department of Public Safety declined to respond on the record; Border Patrol did not return FoxNews.com’s request for comment.

The 83-page report for July 16-23 reveals, among other things, that authorities seized $478,879 in U.S. currency, recovered more than seven tons of marijuana (street value: $6.35 million) and turned up more than a million dollars’ worth of cocaine and methamphetamine.

Most of the marijuana was found in an abandoned stash house, resulting in no arrests, while most of the other drugs were found inside vehicles stopped by law enforcement.

The report also revealed Texas Parks and Wildlife game wardens routinely encountered illegal immigrants and gang members, and detained hundreds to be turned over to Border Patrol agents. One reported being hit in the head with a rock while trying to seize a raft used to ferry illegal immigrants across the river. “A Game Warden attempted to seize a raft and was assaulted on the head with a rock that was thrown from the MX river bank,” the report reads. “The subject surrounded himself with children to avoid counter measures. Wardens patrolling the river heard approximately 15 rds of automatic gunfire in MX. A total of 55 IAs were detained,” the report says.

Game wardens also reported seeing people wearing black uniforms and armed with rifles on the Mexican side of the river, and they said gunshots from automatic weapons were heard throughout the night on at least four different occasions.

Last week FoxNews.com reported that Border Patrol agents patrolling the Rincon Peninsula, south of Mission, Texas, and across the river from Reynosa, Mexico, had been forced to run for cover when rounds of .50 caliber gunfire were shot from the Mexican side to the U.S. side of the Rio Grande. Without any protection from such high-caliber rounds, the agents were forced to hide until the barrage stopped. Federal and state sources who work in the area said they believe the gunfire continued for about 15 minutes.

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE ABOUT THIS INCIDENT

“This happens all the time. We’re out on the border, often we are alone, and all you hear is gunfire,” a Border Patrol agent working an overnight shift along the Rio Grande said last week.

“We are sitting ducks, and it’s only getting worse. Every night, it gets worse.”  Continue reading here.

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2014/07/30/exclusive-report-reveals-disturbing-trend-brazen-attacks-against-border/

NYT Editorial: Repeal Prohibition, Again

It took 13 years for the United States to come to its senses and end Prohibition, 13 years in which people kept drinking, otherwise law-abiding citizens became criminals and crime syndicates arose and flourished. It has been more than 40 years since Congress passed the current ban on marijuana, inflicting great harm on society just to prohibit a substance far less dangerous than alcohol.

The federal government should repeal the ban on marijuana.

We reached that conclusion after a great deal of discussion among the members of The Times’s Editorial Board, inspired by a rapidly growing movement among the states to reform marijuana laws.

There are no perfect answers to people’s legitimate concerns about marijuana use. But neither are there such answers about tobacco or alcohol, and we believe that on every level — health effects, the impact on society and law-and-order issues — the balance falls squarely on the side of national legalization. That will put decisions on whether to allow recreational or medicinal production and use where it belongs — at the state level.

We considered whether it would be best for Washington to hold back while the states continued experimenting with legalizing medicinal uses of marijuana, reducing penalties, or even simply legalizing all use. Nearly three-quarters of the states have done one of these.

But that would leave their citizens vulnerable to the whims of whoever happens to be in the White House and chooses to enforce or not enforce the federal law.

The social costs of the marijuana laws are vast. There were 658,000 arrests for marijuana possession in 2012, according to F.B.I. figures, compared with 256,000 for cocaine, heroin and their derivatives. Even worse, the result is racist, falling disproportionately on young black men, ruining their lives and creating new generations of career criminals.

There is honest debate among scientists about the health effects of marijuana, but we believe that the evidence is overwhelming that addiction and dependence are relatively minor problems, especially compared with alcohol and tobacco. Moderate use of marijuana does not appear to pose a risk for otherwise healthy adults. Claims that marijuana is a gateway to more dangerous drugs are as fanciful as the “Reefer Madness” images of murder, rape and suicide.

There are legitimate concerns about marijuana on the development of adolescent brains. For that reason, we advocate the prohibition of sales to people under 21.

Creating systems for regulating manufacture, sale and marketing will be complex. But those problems are solvable, and would have long been dealt with had we as a nation not clung to the decision to make marijuana production and use a federal crime.

In coming days, we will publish articles by members of the Editorial Board and supplementary material that will examine these questions. We invite readers to offer their ideas, and we will report back on their responses, pro and con.

We recognize that this Congress is as unlikely to take action on marijuana as it has been on other big issues. But it is long past time to repeal this version of Prohibition.

http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2014/07/27/opinion/sunday/high-time-marijuana-legalization.html?_r=1

State GOP rep tells party to tone down Hispanic rhetoric

by Glenn Evans

Hispanic Texans will remain a growing Democratic voting bloc if Republicans keep wrapping inflammatory words around issues important to both Latinos and Republicans, a GOP state representative said Wednesday in Longview.

“Hispanics are Republicans — they just don’t know it yet,” Dallas Republican Rep. Jason Villalba of Dallas told the Republican Women of Gregg County during a luncheon. “That’s absolutely true. What Hispanics want is the ability to have an opportunity. They want the same thing our forefathers had.”

One of the few Latino Republicans in the Texas House of Representatives, Villalba is traveling Texas telling party members not to squander a natural affiliation with a largely conservative, religious, family-oriented community.

“In the last five to 10 years … there’s been some white-hot rhetoric,” he said, citing party members who call illegal immigrants, “illegals” and say they bring disease into America. “Hispanics sit back, and they hear these words. … And they just turn off.”

That phenomenon he described was in evidence on recent news reports showing sign-toting, red-faced conservatives blocking government-chartered buses carrying children and families to California from Texas’ border with Mexico.

The 13-term lawmaker is reaching out to his own party because Latino voters will comprise a plurality here, meaning they will be the largest distinct population, within six years.

In 19 years, he added, Hispanics will be the majority population, comprising more than half of all Texans.

“And these are not folks that are here illegally,” Villalba said. “These are folks that were born here. These folks, today, vote disproportionately for the Democrats. That is troubling to me. If Texas flips and turns (pro-Democrat) blue, what that means is there will not be enough electors in the state (electoral college) to elect a Republican president.”

Immigration reform, abortion, small business support and other issues near and dear to Republicans and many Hispanics should bring the two groups closer, he said.

“So, we’ve got to start talking about these issues in a way that is more sensitive,” he said. “This is not about being politically correct. This is about talking to folks, winning their votes.”

He got that right, the Gregg County Democratic chairman said. James Cogar expressed doubt the GOP can follow Villalba’s advice.

“When these same voters watch gun-toting, screaming activists yelling at these little children to go home, it is hard for them to feel drawn to the GOP,” Cogar said. “The Republicans’ actions speak much louder than any perceived cultural similarity they think they may share (with Hispanics).”

Villalba and other party members blame the border surge on President Barack Obama’s 2012 executive order barring deportation of young illegal immigrants brought by parents. According to news reports, drug cartels are twisting Obama’s action into the false hope launching thousands of children to journey here from Central America.

Villalba disagreed, though, that the surge was Obama’s goal, a position Gov. Rick Perry implied in a recent interview but shied from when pressed.

“I do not believe this is a conspiracy of the Obama administration,” Villalba said. “I believe firmly this is a result of his unconstitutional action (in 2012). I don’t think the conspiracy talk affects whether or not Hispanics believe the Republican party is the right home for them.”

Continue reading here.

http://www.news-journal.com/news/local/state-gop-rep-tells-party-to-tone-down-hispanic-rhetoric/article_7956a452-5052-5a79-aa8a-e8e3c0b9c585.html

LGBT marriage, divorce, and overall legal chaos

by George Nielsen

Marriage in the LGBT community is a constant uphill battle. With legislation often leaning against their rights, many find it difficult to become legally wed with their significant other. And now, in the age of modern marriage, the problem has extended to divorce. Equal protection of the law, a clause written into the United States Constitution, is commonly overlooked or blatantly broken.

Marriages come with certain protections and clauses in both state and federal law. Taxes, social security, entitlements and more legal benefits require proof of marriage. In states where LGBT marriage has not been legalized, it’s enough of a battle for the slightest legal protections and benefits to be granted.

What happens to citizens in the LGBT community who choose to separate? Divorcees are also granted certain protections under the law including retirement benefits and social security entitlements. In states which don’t recognize same sex marriage, however, the best those in the LGBT can do is get their marriage voided, which provides no record, no legal recognition and no benefits.

One woman in Texas is taking the issue to court, a first for the state. Cori Jo Long married outside of the state because Texas would not grant legal marriage status. Married in 2010, she and Brooke Powell chose to divorce this year, but the only option for them in Texas is to void the marriage entirely. Long’s attorney explained, “If the court voids the marriage, she does not get anything. It’s like it never happened. You were never married.”

Long is bringing the case to court while Powell has chosen to accept the uncomfortable legal situation in Texas. Powell’s attorney said, “If you live in Texas, you kind of have to be okay with that. I know there are groups out there advocating for change.  [Powell] would like to see the law change, but until then, she’s just living in Texas because this is where her heart is and where her family is.”

For conflicting state laws, even the simplest LGBT case becomes a complicated process, so what happens with a complicated case? Complete chaos. A heterosexual married couple can receive a divorce in as little as 60 days. LGBT filings can be prolonged for months or even years. And when child custody is involved, it can become an ugly situation in the courts with custody and visitation being denied because of court complications or adoptions being reversed. For both the children and parents, it’s an unfair and extremely unnerving ordeal.

According to Lasiter & Jackson, “Gay and lesbian parents face these issues on a daily basis, despite the findings of previous research which has shown gay and lesbian persons to be just as effective in parenting as heterosexual parents. Furthermore, children raised by gay and lesbian parents are as well-adjusted as their peers raised by heterosexual parents. However, in many states, sexual orientation continues to play a significant role within the courts in determining child custody awards.”

So far there are nineteen states which regularly recognizing same sex marriage. These include California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington and Washington DC. States that are behind the times include Utah, Oklahoma, Virginia, Michigan, Idaho, Arkansas, Texas and Wisconsin. Prior to 2004 same sex marriage was not recognized in any state.

For couples like Long and Powell, the law seems to always be against them. The youth and conflict covering LGBT laws becomes apparent quickly as the fine print is still in the process of being written. Fierce and often unjustified resistance has led to a track record of abuse throughout the legalization process in the United States. The pioneers of the LGBT community remain hopeful and continue to press the courts for their rights.

http://www.commdiginews.com/business-2/legal-insurance-marketing/lgbt-marriage-divorce-and-overall-legal-chaos-22513/

Iraq Fights Kurds Over Crude in Texas Tanker Battle

by Laurel Calkins

Iraq persuaded a U.S. judge to order the seizure of $100 million of oil inside a tanker anchored off Galveston, Texas, that it claims was illegally pumped from wells in Kurdistan.

Kurdish officials “misappropriated” more than 1 million barrels of oil from northern Iraq and exported them through a Turkish pipeline, according to a complaint filed yesterday in Houston federal court. U.S. Magistrate Judge Nancy Johnson in Galveston authorized U.S. marshals to seize the cargo and have it moved ashore for safekeeping until the dispute is resolved.

The problem, the judge said at an emergency hearing today, is that the vessel is outside U.S. territorial waters. She said if the ship crosses that boundary, her order must be enforced. But until that happens, it’s out of her hands.

“Seems to me this is not a matter for U.S. courts to tell the government of Iraq who owns what,” Johnson said. “This just seems way outside our jurisdiction.”

The U.S. officially recognizes Kurdistan as part of Iraq, although the Kurdish people have jockeyed with the Baghdad-based national government for autonomy for more than a decade. Oil revenues from the northern oil fields could fuel Kurdistan’s fight for independence.

“Either they’ll bring the oil into port, where we’ll take possession of it, or they’ll sail off somewhere else,” Phillip Dye Jr., a Houston-based attorney for the Iraqi Oil Ministry, said in a telephone interview today. His clients don’t know who bought the cargo, and he said he had no reports that any oil has been removed from the tanker yet. In a separate court filing, AET Inc., a lightering services firm, identified Talmay Trading Inc. as the company that hired it to transfer the crude.

The Iraqi government warned Kurdish officials to stop the illegal exporting through Turkey, which began in December, according to the complaint. The crude shipment left Ceyhan, Turkey, on June 23, and has “changed destinations multiple times” while at sea, according to the filing. The ship is anchored about 60 miles southeast of Galveston, according to data compiled by Bloomberg, outside U.S. territorial waters.

U.S. Refinery

If a U.S. refinery accepts shipment of the crude, it will send a signal to the rest of the world that it is acceptable to do business with the Kurdish government, said Carl Larry, president of Oil Outlooks & Opinions LLC.

“It opens the door to some kind of breakup in that region where you could have a separate Kurdistan and Iraq,” Larry said in a telephone interview. “It’s definitely going to create that separation, and more people are going to recognize that and respect it.”

Bernadette Meehan, a spokeswoman for the National Security Council, said in an e-mail that “U.S. policy on this issue has been clear and consistent. Iraq’s energy resources belong to all of the Iraqi people.”

Arrest Warrant

The Iraqi Oil Ministry asked U.S. marshals to oversee lightering operations to remove crude from the tanker and store it onshore at Iraq’s expense. The proposed arrest warrant filed with the complaint didn’t ask to seize the United Kalavrvta, the Marshall Islands-flagged tanker, which is too large to enter the Houston Ship Channel and offload cargo directly.

The tanker was cleared by the U.S. Coast Guard to proceed with offloading, the agency said.

AET, a Kuala Lumpur-based company, and Dallas-based AET Offshore Services Inc. yesterday filed a request in Houston federal court for a declaratory judgment on its rights in the matter.

Talmay Trading

AET said it entered into a lightering contract — transferring cargo between ships — with Talmay Trading, a British Virgin Islands-based company. AET said it has yet to receive instructions for the transfer of the crude oil aboard the United Kalavrvta. While the ship was underway, AET said it had been contacted by lawyers for Iraq claiming the oil was its property. A spokesperson for Talmay couldn’t be immediately reached for comment.

“As the Republic of Iraq has put AET on notice of its claim to title and/or possession of the crude at issue, AET requests that this court determine the validity of that claim,” AET said in the filing.

At today’s hearing, AET lawyer Andy Durham told the judge the company is “between a rock and a hard place.”

“We are not permitted to take possession of the cargo which, according to the Republic of Iraq, is stolen property,” he said. Harold Watson, a lawyer for the Kurds who shipped the oil, declined to comment.

Oil producers are actively pursuing resources in coordination with the Kurdistan Regional Government, which estimates the northern territory holds 45 billion barrels of oil reserves. The Kurdish government expanded its control over the country’s resources in early June, when Kurdish Peshmerga armed forces took control of northern Iraq’s key oil hub, Kirkuk, after militants routed the Baghdad government’s army.

The primary case is Ministry of Oil of the Republic of Iraq v. 1,032,212 Barrels of Crude Oil Aboard the United Kalavrvta and the Ministry of Natural Resources of the Kurdistan Regional Governate of Iraq, 3:14-249, U.S. District Court, Southern District of Texas (Galveston).

(An earlier version of the story was corrected because the estimated oil reserves were listed as trillion instead of billion.)

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-07-29/iraq-gets-u-s-court-order-seizing-tanker-crude-off-texas.html

Perry scores 1,200 Schwab jobs for Texas

by Kathleen Pender

Texas Gov. Rick Perry has lured 1,200 Charles Schwab jobs to El Paso and Austin with nearly $6 million in cash grants from a state investment fund.

The Texas Enterprise Fund is providing $1.45 million for a new Schwab facility in El Paso, which will create 445 jobs and $21.5 million in capital investment over the next 10 years, the governor said in a press release.

“We have purchased an existing office building there,” says Schwab spokeswoman Sarah Bulgatz. “It will be a new operations center for us. We’re currently hiring people for operations positions there.”

In Austin, the fund will provide $4.5 million, contingent upon the completion of a local incentive package from Travis County, to create 823 jobs and $210 million in capital investment over the next decade. Schwab has operated in Austin for 20 years and has about 1,000 employees there in a variety of departments.

Bulgatz could not say how many of the new jobs will move to Texas from San Francisco, but said San Francisco will remain the brokerage firm’s headquarters.

Schwab has about 2,000 employees in San Francisco but said earlier this year it plans to move a significant number of them to other locations over the next three to five years. It has about 3,400 people in Phoenix, 2,000 in Denver and 1,000 in Orlando, with other large employment centers in Indianapolis, Chicago and Richfield, Ohio.

The enterprise fund was created by the Texas Legislature in 2003 to lure business to the state. It says the fund is “used only as a final incentive tool where a single Texas site is competing with another viable out-of-state option.” The fund, which has spent a total of almost $560 million, is sometimes criticized as corporate welfare.

“We are very pleased to be expanding our footprint in Texas,” Joseph Martinetto, Schwab’s chief financial officer, said in the press release.

Todd Rufo, director of San Francisco’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development, noted that the city has added 67,000 jobs since 2010 and is the second-fastest-growing large county in the United States based on private-sector employment. But the Schwab news “underscores that we as a city cannot take our economic success for granted. Companies every day are making decisions about where they want to grow jobs, and that’s why Mayor Lee remains focused on attracting, retaining and growing jobs in the city,” Rufo said.

http://blog.sfgate.com/pender/2014/07/24/rick-perry-scores-1200-schwab-jobs-for-texas/