Woman arrested for vandalizing Wall Street’s famed bull statue

A woman was arrested Friday for allegedly vandalizing the famed “Charging Bull” statue that has decorated Wall Street for nearly three decades.

Courtney Fallon, 33, was arrested Friday and charged with two misdemeanors, according to the New York Police Department.

The stunt was part of a political protest against the Trump Administration’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord, according to a group claiming responsibility for the act.

A statement posted on the @DrawTheBlueLine Twitter handle claims to be from Fallon and takes credit for the vandalism.

“I also tarred and feathered the sculpture of ‘Charging Bull’ with corn oil and powdered blue chalk which I photographed and captioned, ‘Be bull-headed in the face of climate change denial and demand action now,'” the statement says.

Fallon’s tweet said a “Suffragette-style sash” was draped across “Fearless Girl,” a separate statue that was installed across from “Charging Bull” earlier this year.

The tweet said Fallon “chose the corn oil and chalk specifically because they wouldn’t cause any harm,” hoping it “would therefore not be perceived as an act of vandalism.”

“That was idiotic of me and it is so painfully obvious now,” the statement says. “I define property damage as antithetical to peaceful protest.”

Fallon did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

Trump announced his decision to take the U.S. out of the deal in June, insisting it was unduly harsh on Americans and gave an unfair advantage to other nations.

Many on Wall Street were highly critical of the president’s decision to withdraw from the Paris agreement.

Jamie Dimon, CEO of JP Morgan, said in June that he “absolutely disagrees” with Trump’s decision.

It even inspired Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein to tweet for the first time. He called the move a “setback” for the environment and for the country’s “leadership position in the world.”

Morgan Stanley also voiced support for staying in the pact ahead of Trump’s final announcement.

Trump’s decision was also met with broad push back from businesses, cities and states across the country who said they would do their part to uphold America’s commitment to the climate accord.

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Hurricane Irma victims need your help

Hurricane Irma killed at least 33 people in the US and flooded major cities including Jacksonville, Florida and Charleston, South Carolina.

Millions are without power in the Southeast. Almost every home in the Florida Keys is damaged, according to FEMA.

Before causing devastation in the United States, Irma hit Cuba late Friday as a Category 5 hurricane.

More than 40 people were killed when Irma tore through several Caribbean islands, knocking down trees and leveling buildings.

There are several ways you can help.

Donate money: Find out more about charities aiding Hurricane Irma victims by clicking on the button below:

Donate blood: OneBlood, in Florida, is urging people living outside of Hurricane Irma’s path to visit their local blood center and donate blood as soon as possible. All blood types are needed, however, there is an urgent need for platelet donations as well as O negative blood.

Offer a place to stay: If you have housing available for evacuees, you can create a listing on Airbnb’s Irma page.

HomeAway is offering free or discounted rental homes for anyone displaced by the storm. All service fees are waived for those affected by the disaster and checking in between September 11 and October 15.

Give your time: The American Red Cross and United Way of Miami-Dade are calling for volunteers to help with relief efforts.

Connect with Impact Your World on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @CNNImpact.

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Monroe County reopens Florida Keys to residents after Hurricane Irma

Monroe County evacuees, who waited anxiously after Hurricane Irma, were making their way back home Sunday, but not without Mayor George Nugent’s warning. 

“The Keys are not what you left several days ago when you evacuated,” Nugent said during a Saturday afternoon press conference. 

Authorities reopened the Florida Keys’ Marathon area until mile marker 47, just north of the Seven Mile Bridge, Saturday and the Lower Keys Sunday.  Only those who were able to prove they were residents, business owners or disaster workers were allowed.

“Know that medical services, food, water and electricity are extremely limited,” Monroe County spokesperson Cammy Clark said. 

Residents waited in line to pass through a checkpoint in Florida City. Emotions were high as some were denied entry. Tourists were still not allowed in the Florida Keys. 

“Have all your supplies,” Monroe County administrator Roman Gastesi said. “Supplies are very limited.”

The second checkpoint at mile marker 47 reopened Sunday at 7:30 a.m. Authorities were asking residents to bring provisions and medications to sustain themselves for several days. Services are almost non-existent.

“There is no functioning hospital to admit patients in the Middle or Lower Keys,” Clark said. “Fishermen’s Hospital in Marathon is not open and the Lower Keys Medical Center in Key West only has its emergency room open.”

For nearly a week after the Category 4 storm made landfall on Cudjoe Key, access beyond mile marker 74 was limited only to government employees, search-and-rescue personnel, some volunteers and credentialed journalists. 

“We’ve been very lucky 12 years since Wilma. This is the big one that we have been practicing for,” Gastesi said. 

The Florida Keys Aqueduct Authority, Keys Energy Services and The Florida Keys Electric Coop reported making progress, but the majority of the area remained without power. There was a boil water order. And with FEMA reporting the majority of the buildings were damaged, many residents will find themselves homeless and it is going to be hot this week. 
“What ever you do, do not drink the water,” Monroe County director of emergency management Marty Senterfitt said. 
 
Authorities in the Caribbean and the U.S. reported Hurricane Irma-related circumstances left 74 people dead. Nine of those deaths were in Monroe County and that number could grow as residents head back to hard-hit areas. 
 
Deputies identified a 62-year-old man found dead Saturday in Big Pine Key but they had yet to notify his family. Monroe County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Deputy Becky Herrin said detectives were struggling to identify four  white men who were found dead. 

 
Three of the men have grey hair and wore a beard. Rescue personnel found one under rubble on 28th Street in Marathon, another was in a partially sunken boat offshore of Stock Island and another — who was wearing a red life jacket — was across from the Big Pine Key cemetery.
 
A 59-year-old man who was injured after falling was pronounced dead at Jackson Memorial Hospital, but he also has yet to be identified. 
Gastesi said making a decision about when to allow residents to return to the areas destroyed was tough. 
“We know there will be many challenges ahead, especially for our hardest hit areas in the Lower Keys, but we want our residents and business owners to come back to rebuild their lives, their livelihoods and our economy,” Gastesi said.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency was still involved in the recovery effort. They were working in coordination with the Department of Defense and other federal agencies.
FEMA announced the U.S. Postal Service resumed delivery and retail operations in Key Largo and Tavernier, and the Social Security Cycle 3 payments will be delivered Sept. 20. The National Guard continued their search and rescue efforts this weekend. 
“There is a heavy law enforcement presence in that area to prevent looting and provide security,” Clark said. 
The U.S. Coast Guard worked with the U.S. Navy and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in Key West to open the shipping channel from the sea buoy to the Mole Pier. The Port of Key West reopened with restrictions Friday.  
“Our goal is to fully open the Port of Key West for all navigational needs as soon as possible, but we first have an obligation to ensure safety of the port and vessels,” said Coast Guard Capt. Jeffrey Janszen, the commander of the Key West sector. 
The Federal Aviation Administration was sending a large mobile air traffic control tower to Key West. 
 
 “We are prepared to restore the Keys back to the special paradise we love,” Gastesi said. 
 
ACCESS TO SHELTERS: The Red Cross opened shelters at Marathon Middle High School, 250 Sobrero Beach Rd., and Island Christian High School, 83400 Overseas Hwy., in Islamorada. They were also getting ready to open shelters at Sugarloaf High School, 255 Crane Blvd., in Summerland Key, Key West High School, 2100 Flagler Ave., and Coral Shores High School, 89901 Old Hwy., in Tavernier. 
 
ACCESS TO HEALTHCARE: Also in Tavernier, the Mariners Hospital opened Friday. The Community Health for South Florida also opened its Tavernier Health Center, 91200 Overseas Highway, for primary care and pediatric services. There were also medical care stations at Florida Keys Community College on Stock Island and at Marathon City Hall. The Department of Health and Human Services activated their 1-800-985-5990 helpline. 
 
WHERE TO FIND WATER: There was a precautionary boil water notice in effect. The Florida Keys Aqueduct Authority workers were distributing water from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily in Summerland Key on Horace Street, Big Pine Key on Drinka Road, and at the Big Coppitt Pump Station on U.S. 1 at Mile Marker 10. 
 
WHERE TO FIND ICE: Winn-Dixie and Sanderson Farms were giving free ice to Big Pine Key residents at 251 Key Deer Blvd. The Fresco y Más Grocery Store will start distributing free ice at 10 a.m. 
 
WHERE TO FIND FOOD: There were food distribution centers at Coral Shores High School, 89901 Old Hwy., in Tarvernier; Marathon High School, 350 Sombrero Beach Rd.; Sugarloaf School, 255 Crane Blvd., in Summerland Key; Searstown Shopping Center at 3316 N. Roosevelt Blvd.; and the National Key Deer Refuge Office 179 Key Deer Blvd., Big Pine Key.  
 
LIMITED COMMUNICATION: Cell phones were down, but those who could make it to The Green Parrot at 601 Whitehead St., in Key West had access to a coveted landline. Monroe County has an information hotline: 1-800-955-5504.
 
HAZARDS AT SEA: The U.S. Coast Guard was asking the public to report hazards to navigation at 304-433-3352.

 

 

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Gas supply is getting better in Florida

Florida drivers are having a much easier time finding fuel in the wake of Hurricane Irma.

In fact the biggest problem today isn’t gas stations without gas. It’s gas stations without power.

“Power is by far the biggest issue there. There’s plenty of fuel there now,” said Tom Kloza, chief oil analyst with the Oil Price Information Service.

About 30% of more than 7,000 stations for which data is available were not selling gas as of midday Friday, according to crowdsourcing platform GasBuddy. That’s a big improvement from the 72% of reported stations that weren’t selling gas early Tuesday.

The bigger problem now appears to be stations that still are without power. About 21% of the reported stations in the state do not currently have power, according to GasBuddy. Power outages hit Florida hard as Irma drove up the state. As of Friday, 1.9 million utility customers were still without power.

Kloza said stations with power but without gas likely are having problems hiring trucks to bring gas from the various terminals to the stations. Patrick DeHaan, senior petroleum analyst at GasBuddy, agrees.

“There’s still a lot of temporary disruptions,” he said. “There’s a lot of stations that still need to be refueled, and there’s limited manpower for delivering fuel.”

Kloza said most stations with power should have gas by early next week, at which point he thinks the panic buying which has been part of the problem will ease.

“There have been runs on stations. People are tank topping because they’re worried they won’t find gas when they need it,” he said. Social media has been adding to the problem, he said. A report that a station has just gotten a delivery causes people in the area to rush there to buy.

One of the big reasons for the improvement in the supply of gasoline: Ships have finally been able to bring gasoline to Florida ports. Because the state has few refineries of its own, it needs to rely on tankers and barges to deliver virtually all of its fuel.

Port Everglades, Port Canaveral and Port of Tampa are all open and “actively prioritizing fuel tanker ships,” according to the Florida Division of Emergency Management.

“There’s been an armada of ships and barges bringing gasoline down to Florida,” said Kloza.

Florida officials also said that highway patrol troopers were escorting fuel resupply trucks to places that needed them.

The federal government has offered assistance as well. It waived restrictions on what types of ships can deliver fuel and on the types of fuel that can be used.

–CNNMoney’s Matt Egan contributed to this story.

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Gas supply is getting better in Florida

Florida drivers are having a much easier time finding fuel in the wake of Hurricane Irma.

In fact the biggest problem today isn’t gas stations without gas. It’s gas stations without power.

“Power is by far the biggest issue there. There’s plenty of fuel there now,” said Tom Kloza, chief oil analyst with the Oil Price Information Service.

About 30% of more than 7,000 stations for which data is available were not selling gas as of midday Friday, according to crowdsourcing platform GasBuddy. That’s a big improvement from the 72% of reported stations that weren’t selling gas early Tuesday.

The bigger problem now appears to be stations that still are without power. About 21% of the reported stations in the state do not currently have power, according to GasBuddy. Power outages hit Florida hard as Irma drove up the state. As of Friday, 1.9 million utility customers were still without power.

Kloza said stations with power but without gas likely are having problems hiring trucks to bring gas from the various terminals to the stations. Patrick DeHaan, senior petroleum analyst at GasBuddy, agrees.

“There’s still a lot of temporary disruptions,” he said. “There’s a lot of stations that still need to be refueled, and there’s limited manpower for delivering fuel.”

Kloza said most stations with power should have gas by early next week, at which point he thinks the panic buying which has been part of the problem will ease.

“There have been runs on stations. People are tank topping because they’re worried they won’t find gas when they need it,” he said. Social media has been adding to the problem, he said. A report that a station has just gotten a delivery causes people in the area to rush there to buy.

One of the big reasons for the improvement in the supply of gasoline: Ships have finally been able to bring gasoline to Florida ports. Because the state has few refineries of its own, it needs to rely on tankers and barges to deliver virtually all of its fuel.

Port Everglades, Port Canaveral and Port of Tampa are all open and “actively prioritizing fuel tanker ships,” according to the Florida Division of Emergency Management.

“There’s been an armada of ships and barges bringing gasoline down to Florida,” said Kloza.

Florida officials also said that highway patrol troopers were escorting fuel resupply trucks to places that needed them.

The federal government has offered assistance as well. It waived restrictions on what types of ships can deliver fuel and on the types of fuel that can be used.

–CNNMoney’s Matt Egan contributed to this story.

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Nigeria announces $5.8 billion deal for record-breaking power project

The government of Nigeria has announced the award of a $5.8 billion contract to build what will be the largest power plant in the country.

 

The 3,050-megawatt Mambila hydroelectric power project in the state of Taraba will be delivered by a consortium of Chinese state-owned construction firms.

 

The megaproject will feature four dams between 50 and 150 meters tall, and take six years to complete, the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, told reporters in Abuja.

 

The Chinese Export-Import Bank will finance 85% of the development, with the Nigerian government contributing 15%.

 

Minister Fashola claimed the project will deliver far-reaching benefits.

“(Mambila) will have a transformational effect on all of Nigeria’s socio-economic development,” he said through a government spokesman, “It will have considerable positive impact on electricity supply nationwide, productivity, employment, tourism, technology transfer, rural development, irrigation, agriculture and food production.”

 

False starts

 

The Mambila hydropower plant has been in development for over 30 years, but previous administrations have made little progress.

 

In 2007, the Nigerian government awarded a $1.4 billion contract to two Chinese construction firms for a 2,600-megawatt plant, but the agreement broke down soon after.

 

Attempts were made to revive the deal without success. But the deadlock was broken by conversations between the presidents of China and Nigeria in 2016, according to the spokesman of Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari.

 

“The major breakthrough in the execution of this project was achieved when President Muhammadu Buhari initiated discussions at the level of the President of the Peoples Republic of China in the course of his State Visit (in 2016),” wrote government official Garba Shehu.

 

The meeting resulted in the creation of a consortium of Chinese companies to deliver the project, according to Shehu, and an agreement that the Chinese government would commit finance to it.

 

Power shortage

Despite being one of the largest economies in Africa, over 40% of Nigerians live without access to electricity, according to World Bank figures.

 

Hydropower, one of the cleanest and cheapest forms of power, is a key target for development as Nigeria is currently exploiting just a fraction of its potential resources.

The country is also seeking to shift away from oil dependency, after plummeting oil prices triggered a recession.

 

The clear need for the Mambila project could make it more likely to succeed, some analysts believe.

 

“The prospects of project implementation starting are perhaps stronger than in previous decades,” says Elizabeth Donnelly, deputy head of the Africa Programme at UK think tank Chatham House. “Nigeria continues, albeit slowly, with its complex power sector reform and badly needs to generate – and more importantly distribute – more power for its 180 million people.”

 

“Hydroelectricity is an important part of this mix, particularly for rural electrification.”

 

Risk factors

The location of the development could lead to complications.

 

“There is strong competition for land in Taraba state, which regularly sees outbreaks of ethno-religious violence,” says Donnelly. “Such a project, with its need to resettle people, could considerably worsen the conflict dynamics and humanitarian situation in the state.”

 

Environmental groups have also raised concerns about the potential impact.

 

“If the Mambila dam project does continue, it could mean disastrous environmental and social impacts for those already living in poverty along the banks of the Benue River,” warned NGO International Rivers,

 

The Nigerian government says that 100,000 people will be displaced by the development, and has pledged to resettle and compensate them.

 

Taraba state Governor, Darius Dickson Ishaku, has welcomed the project for its potential to boost tourism and agriculture.

 

Chinese interests

 

The power plant is one of several major Chinese investments in Nigeria, including multiple railway projects.

 

In January, Chinese Foreign Affairs Minister Wang Yi announced plans to invest a further $40 billion in Nigeria.

 

“Nigeria is seen as an important power that China wants good relations with,” says Yun Sun, a scholar of Chinese foreign policy at US think tank, The Stimson Center.

 

Sun adds that the primary motivation is financial. Investments such as the Mambila power plant make good business sense.

 

“Nigeria is using Chinese banks to hire Chinese companies for the project, which will create profits and jobs,” she says. “China also wants to identify large projects that make it look good and (Mambila) falls into this category.”

 

But while China is likely to gain from the deal, Sun sees higher risk on the Nigerian side.

 

“I am less optimistic about the financial impact on the Nigerian economy as the project is very large and there is a question about how Nigeria will repay the 85% finance from the Export-Import Bank,” she says. “There could be implications for the national debt.”

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