News briefs | The Fresno Bee

White House says DeSantis of making a ‘mockery’ of migration response

WASHINGTON — The White House issued a sharp rebuke of Ron DeSantis on Wednesday after the Florida governor activated the state’s National Guard in response to a surge in Cuban migrants arriving by sea, accusing the Republican of “creating a problem” as the Biden administration is attempting to crack down on border enforcement.

“We have seen Gov. DeSantis does political stunts. That is how he perceives to fix this issue from Florida,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters at a press briefing.

“We’re talking about people coming from countries who are dealing with political strife, who are dealing with issues where they’re trying to find asylum. And he treats them like pawns,” Jean-Pierre said. ”So we have called that out, over and over again. And we will continue to do that.”

DeSantis issued an executive order last week activating the Florida National Guard, claiming that “the negative impacts of Biden’s lawless immigration policies continue unabated.”

“The burden of the Biden administration’s failure falls on local law enforcement who lack the resources to deal with the crisis,” DeSantis stated.

But officials at the Department of Homeland Security said that the Florida National Guard would only serve in a supporting role to existing federal operating, offering aerial support to Customs and Border Patrol.

The Biden administration introduced a new parole program last week providing a new pathway for legal status in the United States for Haitians, Cubans and Venezuelans, while announcing a plan to bar entry to those arriving illegally for up to five years.

—McClatchy Washington Bureau

Uganda declares end to Ebola outbreak after new cases abate

Uganda declared an official end to its Ebola outbreak, easing fears that the deadly virus would spread beyond the country’s borders.

“Uganda put a swift end to the Ebola outbreak by leaning up key control measures such as surveillance, contact tracing and infection, prevention and control,” the African country’s ministry of health and the World Health Organization said in a statement.

Widespread testing hasn’t detected new cases in more than 42 days, an indication that the virus is no longer spreading. The typical incubation period between exposure and infection is 21 days.

The outbreak resulted in a total of 164 cases, according to the WHO. Of those, 142 were confirmed by lab tests, and 39% of the people with confirmed infections died, the WHO said.

The epidemic was sparked by the Sudan strain of ebolavirus, one in a handful of pathogens known to cause the severe bleeding disease in humans. Other recent flare-ups in West Africa and the Democratic Republic of the Congo were caused by a better-known strain called Zaire, which is commonly referred to simply as Ebola.

—Bloomberg News

Missouri boarding school accused of abusing students is shutting down

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Agape Boarding School, the embattled unlicensed Christian facility in southwest Missouri that has been dogged by abuse allegations for years, is closing its doors.

The action comes as the Missouri attorney general’s office said it planned to continue its petition for a court injunction to close the school, which opened near Stockton in 1996.

“For the past 30 years Agape Boarding School has provided over 6,000 boys with an opportunity to get their life back on track and toward a bright future,” the school’s former director, Bryan Clemensen, said in a news release issued Wednesday.

He said the decision to close was “voluntary” and “due to the lack of financial resources to continue caring for the boys.”

Since late 2020, the school has been scrutinized by Missouri law enforcement, child welfare officials, law makers and former students. Several of those students tested in Jefferson City urged lawmakers to do something about the years of abuse and protect the children still at the school. Legislators passed a law as a result that for the first time implemented some regulations on such schools.

—The Kansas City Star

Gov. Hochul urges NY public colleges to offer students abortion pills

NEW YORK — Gov. Kathy Hochul is pressing the state’s public colleges and universities to make abortion pills available to students — a measure that has been stalled in the Legislature since 2019.

Hochul, who outlined her plans this week in her 2023 State of the State address, said she would ensure all colleges and universities in the State University of New York and City University of New York systems either offer abortion pills at student health centers or form relationships with local reproductive health care providers to refer students.

Hazel Crampton-Hays, a spokeswoman for the governor, said the proposal “can either be done administratively by these respective institutions or legislatively.”

Spokespeople for both systems indicated they would work with the governor to ensure access to reproductive health care. The rep for CUNY added that all health centers have practitioners who can at minimum prescribe the pills or make referrals to nearby providers.

A bill in Albany to offer abortion medication on public college campuses, proposed in 2019, was still in committee at the end of last session. It originally just applied to SUNY, but was expanded to include CUNY last year, according to Assemblyman Harvey Epstein, its sponsor in the chamber alongside state Sen. Cordell Cleare.

Epstein’s estimated directive could include $5 million in state funding to support schools that do not yet have the infrastructure or resources in place, mostly community colleges.

—New York Daily News

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this story was originally published January 11, 2023 5:08 PM.