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US To Start Charging Asylum Seekers Application Fees


The US will become just one of just four countries to charge asylum-seekers a fee to apply for protections, according to a finalized policy announced Friday.

The move is just the latest by the Trump administration to target and restrict protections for those fleeing their home countries. The US now joins the ranks of Iran, Fiji, and Australia in charging a fee. In the US, asylum-seekers will be charged $50 on asylum applications starting in October.

“A $50 fee is in line with the fees charged by these other nations,” the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) explained in the final rule posted Friday.

However, one asylum officer who spoke with BuzzFeed News on condition of anonymity said the fee was discouraging.

“The larger problem is that humanitarian applications by their nature should be free,” the officer said. “The idea of charging people who are fleeing — and not helping if they don’t pay up — is disgusting.”

Another asylum officer said it will cost the agency more to collect the fee than $50, “which doesn’t come close to covering the cost of adjudicating an asylum application.”

“This is a penalty against asylum applicants,” the officer added.

The asylum fee is just one of many changes included in the rule issued by USCIS, which is primarily funded by immigrants’ applications, such as filing for a green card or work permit. The agency is required to review its fee structure every two years.

The final rule will make it so immigrants seeking to naturalize and applying to become US citizens will have to pay upwards of $1,170, a jump from $640.

Agency officials said Friday the rule was increasing fees for many applications to recoup money it needs to remain functioning.

“USCIS is required to examine incoming and outgoing expenditures and make adjustments based on that analysis,” USCIS deputy director for policy Joseph Edlow said in a statement. “These overdue adjustments in fees are necessary to efficiently and fairly administer our nation’s lawful immigration system, secure the homeland and protect Americans.”

The agency has been in the midst of a financial crisis for the last several months, warning that it will furlough upward of 70% of staff if it does not receive emergency funding from Congress by the end of August.

The reasons for the funding shortage, though have been debated — agency officials cite a massive decline in immigration applications due to the pandemic, while immigrant advocates and experts argue that the Trump administration’s restrictive policies have played a part in the budget issues.



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Apple may be ditching the lightning charging cable for some iPhones by 2021, analyst says



The company may ditch the charging cable and port on its premium iPhone models in 2021, Ming-Chi Kuo, a top Apple (AAPL) analyst with TF International Securities, said in a report Thursday. The company will instead opt for a completely wireless device as it aims to better differentiate the more expensive iPhone models, Kuo said. Apple already makes wireless charging docks for iPhone 8 and subsequent models.
Kuo’s report also estimates that Apple will release five new iPhone models next year. He predicts the company will release a 4.7-inch model in the first half of the year and four 5G-enabled versions — 5.4 and 6.1 inch lower end models and 6.1 and 6.7 higher end models — in the second half of the year. Kuo’s predictions for releases in the second half of 2020 echo those in a report from JP Morgan analysts released earlier last week.

Of course, the predictions detailed in the report, which are based on supply chain checks are just that — predictions. Apple did not respond to a request for comment on this story.

The report also indicates that the lightning cable could be on its way to joining the long list of input technology that Apple has killed over the years, which has at times created confusion over the industry standard and what tech accessories customers should invest in for the long haul.
There was the 1998 release of the iMac that — to some customers’ horror — did away with the floppy disk drive, featuring only a re-writable CD drive. A decade later, Apple released the MacBook Air with no disk drive at all (and teens everywhere said goodbye to the tradition of burning mixtapes for one another).

Likewise, current Apple laptops no longer come with traditional USB ports, opting instead for the slimmer USB-C plug-in, but making it so that users have to buy adapters if they want to use older tech.

In 2012, Apple switched to the lightning cable after getting rid of the 30-pin iPhone charger. But the company has slowly been phasing the lightning cable out of its iPad designs. And, of course, the lightning cable no longer plugs directly into many Apple computers.

The headphone jack disappeared in 2016 with the iPhone 7.

That means getting rid of the lightning cable would make for an entirely wireless iPhone. At the very least, such a move would help AirPods sales, after Apple announced a premium version of the wireless headphones this year.



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Charging docs show woman had 94 bottles of liquor, drugs inside car at time of deadly crash


DUNDALK, Md. — Charging documents reveal the hours and hours of drinking that led up to a deadly crash that killed an innocent teen.

According to charging documents, 30-year-old Jennifer Jones was driving north on Delvale Avenue swerving in and out of oncoming traffic, when it drove onto a sidewalk and hit 15-year-old Trinity Brooks as she was walking.

After striking Brooks, the car ran into a tree, and then crashed through the fenced in backyards of four different homes.

Family friends say Trinity was walking home from Weis Markets and was just two blocks from her front porch. She attended Dundalk High School and people who knew her say she was a loving friend, daughter and sister to four siblings.

“If you needed anything, she would take the shirt off her back to give it to you,” said William Oney about Trinity.

RELATED:

Friends share memories of teen struck, killed while walking on sidewalk

Charging documents say a responding firefighter administered Narcan to Jones after she was found unconscious inside the vehicle and believed to be under the influence of an opioid. That EMT told police Jones admitted to him that she had 7 “shots”.

Jones was taken to Johns Hopkins Bayview Hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

An officer who met her at the hospital wrote in his report that they could smell alcohol coming from Jones’s breath, who later failed a field sobriety test.

Jones admitted to officers that she drinks heavily and had been doing it right up until about five minutes before the crash. Police think she may have also been on drugs at the time of the crash, as Jones told them she was a recovering heroin user. Police also found a heroin capsule in Jones’s jacket pocket.

According to charging documents, Jones also told officers she did not remember the crash, only drinking and driving. She said she was heading to pick up her boyfriend in Sparrows Point and didn’t know why she ended up going in the opposite direction.

Police say Jones consented to give blood samples and those have been sent over to Maryland State Police to undergo an alcohol and chemical analysis. During the blood test, an hour and a half after the crash, an officer heard Jones say, “I’m drunk”.

The next day police got a search and seizure warrant for Jones’s rental car. Inside they found two empty 200 milliliter bottles of Fireball 66 proof, 92 miniature bottles of 99 brand liquor, marijuana and marijuana paraphernalia, and 28 pills of Bupropion Hydrochloride, a prescription used to treat depression.

Jones waived her right to a bail review and remains held without bond, charged with negligent manslaughter, which carries a 10-year maximum sentence. However, the Assistant State’s Attorney handling the case said more charges may be filed after Baltimore County Police finishes its investigation.

A memorial for Trinity continues to grow on Delvale Avenue where the family is hosting a candlelight vigil on Friday at 6 p.m. They said all are welcome.

Trinity’s viewing will be on Monday, Dec. 9 from 3 p.m. – 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. – 9 p.m. at the Connelly Funeral Home of Dundalk. Her funeral service will be on Tuesday at 10 a.m. If you’d like to help this family with funeral expenses, you can donate to their

GoFundMe page.





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Celebrity Entertaiment

MoviePass is charging for service despite being shut down



The ghost of the shuttered MoviePass appears to be haunting bank accounts this October.

The movie subscription service, which shut down for good Sept. 14, has allegedly resurrected from the dead, appearing as a variety of mysterious charges on credit cards, former members tell The Post.

Maricar Tinio from Chicago says she was charged twice for unknown fees in September after service was terminated — once for her $9.95 membership and another for $5.64.

“I think they need a class-action lawsuit filed against them,” she says.

Rachel Vidak of Boulder, Colorado, canceled her account in January 2019 when MoviePass “began retracting the promises that made them worthwhile” and was still charged twice in September — once on the day of the shutdown announcement. She ended up filing a fraud claim with her bank to get her money back and is now a member of AMC’s unlimited Stubs program.

“It feels like theft,” she says. “I can say for certain that my trust in them is completely gone. Even if they manage to make a comeback, I strongly doubt I  would ever consider going back to them.”

In an email statement to The Post, CEO Mitch Lowe says reports that subscribers were charged following the Sept. 14 service interruption are “false” and former subscribers are simply misreading their bank accounts.

“One single subscriber, out of the many thousands of MoviePass subscribers, was charged $9.95 on September 15 and has been refunded that amount,” he says. “We are aware that some of our subscribers have mistaken refunds appearing on their credit card statements for charges.”

MoviePass made a splash when it launched a $9.95 monthly membership for unlimited theater screenings, which quickly resulted in troubles for the company. Though it quickly added millions of users, the company started running out of cash just as fast and even lowered its prices to combat the turmoil.

CEO Mitch Lowe then announced it was dropping its unlimited plan but after a revolt from subscribers, brought it back just days later. Behind the scenes, the company completely ran out of funds, the app started crashing and the service became nearly impossible to use. MoviePass finally crashed and burned when Helios and Matheson’s stock tanked and desperate measures for a reverse stock split fizzled.

After briefly blaming fraud and schemes from theater owners for its troubles, a temporary shutdown was announced in July before it officially terminated on Sept. 14.

Though no longer operational, many Twitter users reported random charges from MoviePass in the past month since the shuttering and vented their frustrations online.

“A big middle finger to MoviePass, which despite having closed on 9/14, is still charging my card ($4.64 for no service). Canceling my card, but there’s a reason why this company failed,” one person wrote.

“I’ve literally had to put a block on them through my bank because they wouldn’t stop charging me,” one crafty user advised another.

“MoviePass why are you charging my credit card? There is no service and your app says no charges until there is a change,” another chimed in.

Others are frustrated that since the app has been terminated, they can’t even reach customer service to dispute claims.

“Please explain why I was just charged for your service, when your service is currently down. I’m only contacting you via Twitter because your website has lost the feature to communicate with you,” one user vented.

Some users even report that they were charged in the days before the announcement — and even the day of — that service was canceled.

“Shameful MoviePass that on the very day you are closing you are still charging people for their (no longer available) plans,” one person wrote.

“MoviePass charged me on the 12th and shut down on the 14th. I need that refund or it’s war. #stopplayingwithme,” wrote another.





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