Scary Teen Stories, a Gold Mine for Studios, Streaming Companies

Scary folk tales and urban legends have always captivated people’s imaginations, especially those of the young. Now, “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark,” a collection of short stories for children by author Alvin Schwartz and illustrator Stephen Gammell has been adapted by Oscar-winning producer Guillermo Del Toro and director André Øvredal. During its opening weekend, the movie grossed more than $20 million, proving again that teen horror flicks are a lucrative genre. Penelope Poulou has more.

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Sudan: While Peace Deal is Signed, Women Fight for Representation

Women were an integral part of protests that led to the ouster of Sudan’s Omar al-Bashir and in demonstrations after his downfall. But many leaders now say they feel they have been locked out of political agreements and do not expect to be named to any positions in the regional council. In Khartoum, Esha Sarai and Naba Mohiedeen speak with female politicians and feminists who are pushing for more representation.

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Trump Administration Under Renewed Fire From Environmentalists

The Trump administration is under renewed fire from environmentalists following its move earlier this week to weaken the Endangered Species Act. At the same time, more than two dozen states and cities as well as a coalition of health and environmental groups are suing the administration over its rollback of the Clean Power Plan, one of President Barack Obama’s signature regulations to reduce the nation’s carbon emissions. White House Correspondent Patsy Widakuswara has more.

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Few Employers Held Accountable in U.S. Immigration Raids

Immigration raids in the U.S. led to the apprehension of more than 1,500 undocumented immigrants at job sites last year. They are among about 250,000 immigrants deported in 2018 by the Trump administration. On average about 15 employers per year face criminal charges for hiring undocumented workers. As VOA’s Brian Padden reports, advocates and opponents of tighter immigration restrictions argue that raids do little to deter illegal immigration as long as employers are not held accountable. 

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Ugandan Online Publishers Criticize Registration as Political Control

Uganda’s Communication Commission announced, Aug. 8, 2019, that all commercial online publishers must register with the government. The commission says the publishers have to be watched to ensure they are posting appropriate content.  Ugandan social media influencers and news organizations see the requirement as a step toward limiting freedom of speech and the press. Halima Athumani reports from Kampala.

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Worth of a Girl: VOA Looks at Devastating Effects of Child Marriage

About 650 million girls worldwide were married before age 18. That is about 17% of the world’s female population, according to UNICEF. These marriages often keep girls from completing their education and can lead to devastating psychological and physical consequences. In a yearlong project, Voice of America met with child brides from Albania to Pakistan to Tanzania.Jesusemen Oni has more.

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San Francisco Sues Trump Administration Over Rule to Limit Legal Immigration

The city of San Francisco and nearby Santa Clara County sued President Donald Trump’s administration on Tuesday, seeking to block a new rule that would drastically reduce legal immigration by denying visas to poor migrants.

Some experts say the new rule could cut legal immigration in half by denying visas and permanent residency to hundreds of thousands of people if they fail to meet high enough income standards or if they receive public assistance such as welfare, food stamps, public housing or Medicaid.

“This illegal rule is just another attempt to vilify immigrants,” San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera said in a statement. Trump has made efforts to curb both legal and illegal immigration, an issue he has made a cornerstone of his presidency and one that he has stressed again as the campaign for the 2020 presidential election heats up.

The rule, unveiled on Monday and to take effect Oct. 15, expands the definition of a public charge, allowing denials to visa applicants who fail to meet income requirements or who receive public assistance.

“The final rule rejects the longstanding, existing definition of public charge, and attempts to redefine it to include even minimal use of a much wider range of non-cash benefits,” said the lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in San Francisco.

“The final rule will worsen the health and well-being of the counties’ residents, increase risks to the public health, undermine the counties’ health and safety-net systems, and inflict significant financial harm,” the suit said.

San Francisco is both a city and a county. Santa Clara County includes the city of San Jose and various other parts of Silicon Valley.

The suit names U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, the Department of Homeland Security and their directors as defendants. The former agency declined to comment and the latter did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The suit claims the new rule violates the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 by contradicting the longstanding definition of public charge as a person “primarily” dependent on public assistance for survival.

The suit also claims the new rule would split families, undermining immigration laws to prioritize family unification; misapplies the intent of Congress on the description of self-sufficiency of immigrants; and runs contrary to the statutes governing SNAP, also known as food stamps.

The National Immigration Law Center said it also will file a lawsuit to stop the rule from taking effect. The attorneys general of California and New York have also threatened to sue.

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AP Interview: Kamala Harris on Her Bus Tour Through Iowa

Kamala Harris is on the move.

During the course of a five-day sprint across Iowa that included 17 stops across 11 counties, the Democratic presidential candidate ordered tacos from a tacqueria in Storm Lake, sampled a pork chop at the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines, called bingo at a senior center in Muscatine and toured the Coyote Run farm in Lacona.

The Associated Press interviewed Harris on her bus, which blared her name in bold, vibrant colors as she traveled through a state that she repeatedly said has “made me a better candidate.”

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., enters a rally, Aug. 12, 2019, in Davenport, Iowa.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Q:  What have you learned from the people you have met on this trip so far?

A:  I’ve heard from everyone from farmers to teachers, to people who have been laid off, to seniors who are worried about their Medicare coverage and their prescription drug costs, to students really worried about student loan debt. A lot of people worried about climate change, and there’s an intersection between some of those. What I’ve enjoyed about it is, you know, given the travel schedules we all have, to be in for me, with all of the states that we have to cover. Being in one state for five to six straight days, doing it on the bus in a way that we’re not just going to the places where there are airports and kind of … but instead can get out to places where there are no airports but where people live. How many people came up to me and said, ‘Thank you for coming,’ because they’re not necessarily used to seeing with any frequency at all presidential candidates. I’ve been saying from the beginning, and I’m still in that phase, that it’s really important for me to listen as much as I’m talking.
Q:  Why was it so important to be in Iowa for so long?

A:  There are some practical reasons, to be sure. The Senate’s not in session so I could actually do five straight days. Five straight days, it’s a luxury of sorts. To be able to do that, to do it and to stay, and, really, we’ve been all over the state. It’s almost like being embedded when you as a journalist do that, right? Which is being able to really just dive in and not to have split attention to really just be here. Like this, looking out the window and seeing the flooding and seeing … one of the things I am very focused on in Iowa is the water issue, both in terms of issues of rain and flooding but also clean water is just a big issue in the state. I was just in Michigan. It’s a big issue there. When you talk to a mother in Flint or in Detroit, and you talk to a mother here, they’re having the same conversation, which is that there is poison in the water that their babies are drinking. That’s real. And they’re saying, What is my government doing about it? And they’re saying, “I don’t have any other source of water, and sometimes I have to drink that water that I know has chemicals in it that my child shouldn’t be drinking.” That’s real. For me, that’s the thing about these kinds of trips, which is very affirming. It’s about proving my hypothesis, if you will, which is that we have more in common than what separates us.

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., arrives for a visit at the Bickford Senior Living Center, Aug. 12, 2019, in Muscatine, Iowa.

Q:  How do you think about balancing telling people why you want to be their president and responding to things that President Donald Trump says?

A:  I feel the need to speak about what he says when it is so clearly destructive, hateful or not reflective of the words of a leader, which is often. But I just think that this is a moment that is challenging leaders to have the courage to speak and say that is not effective of a leader, much less the leader of our nation and the so-called free world. People gotta speak up. There’s a speech that I give about hate, and it was actually part of my stump for a long time. Which is about the importance of speaking truth even when it makes people uncomfortable and speaking the truth about racism, anti-Semitism on and on. … We must agree that whoever is the subject of that and is being attacked should never be made to fight alone. That’s what is going on in my head when I hear certain statements that he makes. It’s about all of us collectively saying we’re not going to stand by and witness an attempt to beat people down without standing up, collectively, and saying we’re all in this together.

Q:  Your campaign’s headquarters are in Baltimore. What did you think of the president’s comments about the city and its residents?

A:  Our headquarters are in Baltimore, very purposely chosen. I remember spending time in Baltimore when I was at Howard. Baltimore is a great American city. It’s got a profound history, it’s got a profound culture. And yeah, it has challenges, but it also has made incredible contributions. I put his attack on Baltimore in the same lane of all of the other attacks, right? He is disrespectful. He clearly is not a student of history in terms of understanding the historical significance of certain moments in time or certain places, and the fact that he spoke the word he did about Elijah Cummings … it’s just continually further evidence of a person who does not understand the significance of the words of the president of the United States. Those words should be used in a way that is about lifting people up, not beating them down. The people of Baltimore are the people he represents. To speak of them like the other is just vivid evidence of the fact that the guy does not understand his job and therefore should not be in that job. Most other people, if they keep showing they don’t understand what the job requires, get fired. He needs to get fired. That’s why I’m running against him. Dude gotta go!

Q:  How did you come up with that line?

A:  It was a Saturday night in Las Vegas. It was one of our last events and I’m going on. I’m making the point about how our campaign is so much bigger than about getting rid of Donald Trump, it’s about the future of America and making the transition. As a point of emphasis, and also because I got very casual in my conversation because it was just late … So I said, just as a basic point, ‘We all know dude gotta go.’ At which point people — because it was Las Vegas on a Saturday night — people started chanting, ‘Dude gotta go, Dude gotta go.’ I don’t know how many times, the whole place. I did it again, I think, last night, and people kind of liked it. But it makes the point. At some point the conversation about what is not right … At some point, these things are just really self-evident, and so for me, the issue that our campaign is about is not only that kind of obvious point, but what are we going to build. That’s why I talk about the fact that people want a problem-solving president, somebody who can be transformative in a way that is about transforming lives, that is about building up our country in a way that is about strengthening us.

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