Nation briefs for May 15

Border wall to go up in national monument, wildlife refuge

PHOENIX — The U.S. government plans on replacing barriers through 100 miles (161 kilometers) of the southern border in California and Arizona, including through a national monument and a wildlife refuge, according to documents and environmental advocates.

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The Department of Homeland Security on Tuesday again waived environmental and dozens of other laws to build more barriers along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Funding will come from the Defense Department following the emergency declaration that President Donald Trump signed this year after Congress refused to approve the amount of border wall funding he requested.

Barriers will go up at Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, a vast park named after the unique cactus breed that decorates it, and Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge, which is largely a designed wilderness home to 275 wildlife species. The government will also build new roads and lighting in those areas in Arizona.

Environmental advocates who have sued to stop the construction of the wall say this latest plan will be detrimental to the wildlife and habitat in those areas.

Consumers could be collateral damage if US expands tariffs

WASHINGTON — For many Americans, President Donald Trump’s trade war may soon get very real.

His administration is preparing to extend 25% tariffs to practically all Chinese imports not already hit with duties, including toys, sneakers, shirts, alarm clocks, toasters and coffeemakers. That’s roughly $300 billion worth of products on top of the $250 billion targeted earlier.

“The administration’s decision to announce a tax on every product coming from China puts America’s entire economy at risk,” the Retail Industry Leaders Association said in a statement. “Americans’ entire shopping cart will get more expensive.”

Trump’s tariffs are meant to put pressure on China in trade negotiations. The two countries have held 11 rounds of talks over American allegations that China steals technology, forces foreign companies to hand over trade secrets and unfairly subsidizes its own companies in a push to challenge U.S. technological dominance.

The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative on Monday published a list of 3,805 products that could be hit for the first time with 25% tariffs. The list includes things like tuna, pacifiers, saw blades, flashlights, door chimes, billiard balls and golf carts. It excludes pharmaceuticals and rare-earth minerals used in electronics and batteries.

Synagogue shooting suspect pleads not guilty to hate crimes

SAN DIEGO — The man suspected of killing a woman in a shooting at a Southern California synagogue pleaded not guilty to federal hate crime charges Tuesday.

John T. Earnest spoke twice during the brief hearing — to acknowledge his name and to say he agreed with his court-appointed attorney’s decision against seeking bail.

Earnest, 19, is charged with bursting into the Chabad of Poway synagogue on April 27 and opening fire with an assault rifle, killing one and injuring three.

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Peter Ko, an assistant U.S. attorney, told the judge that the government had not decided whether to seek the death penalty. He reaffirmed plans to try Earnest separately and simultaneously with a state charge of murder that is classified as a hate crime, which also exposes Earnest to a potential death sentence.

Earnest had a buzz haircut and didn’t wear glasses, unlike his first appearance in state court two weeks ago, when he had a full head of hair. He looked blankly at Magistrate Judge Michael Berg as the judge explained the proceedings and followed along with his attorney, Kathryn Nester, as she flipped pages of the charging document that the judge read aloud. Earnest’s wrists and ankles were shackled.

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