Hurricane Maria

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New Problem in Puerto Rico: Energy Firm Puts Its Foot Down

Whitefish Energy says it won't fulfill remainder of work unless it gets the $83M it's owed

(Newser) - The Montana energy company that set up a controversial, since-canceled contract to help restore Puerto Rico's power after Hurricane Maria had agreed to work through Nov. 30 before heading out. But now it's stopping work altogether, claiming the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority owes it upward of $83... More »

Puerto Rico Hurricane Affecting US Hospitals in a Big Way

Saline solution bags, a basic medical staple, are in short supply because makers on island hit hard

(Newser) - A shortage of saline was already an issue in US hospitals. Now the country is teetering on "the brink of a significant public health crisis," per a letter earlier this month from the American Hospital Association to Congress. It all comes down to a problem with the bags... More »

Report: Energy Company in Puerto Rico Jacking Up the Tab

Contractors for Whitefish Energy making up to $100 an hour, but Whitefish is billing $319

(Newser) - Called an "unusual" arrangement right from the start, a Montana energy company working in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria is now raising eyebrows even higher. The New York Times reports Florida linemen hired as contractors by Whitefish Energy are making up to $100 an hour with double time, which,... More »

FEMA Wants to Airlift Displaced Puerto Ricans to NY, Florida

But logistics are still an issue for temporary relocation, and most don't want to leave

(Newser) - Florida and New York could soon see an influx of temporary new residents, reports CNN , as FEMA works with those two states to let Puerto Rican hurricane survivors relocate to the US mainland. At the top of the list would be the 3,000 or so people stuck in shelters... More »

TJ Maxx Wins Praise Over Decision in Puerto Rico

Parent chain TJX is paying workers even though stores are shuttered

(Newser) - Some employees of the chain that owns TJ Maxx in Puerto Rico haven't worked in weeks because of Hurricane Maria, but that doesn't mean they've lost their paychecks. Parent company TJX, which also owns Marshalls and HomeGoods, has continued to pay its employees all the while, reports... More »

Puerto Rico Scraps $300M Contract to Small US Firm

Whitefish Energy only had two employees when Hurricane Maria hit the island

(Newser) - A lucrative but controversial contract awarded to a tiny US company to restore power to Puerto Rico is no more. Puerto Rico pulled the plug on the $300 million deal Sunday, hours after Gov. Ricardo Rossello called for the move, reports the Washington Post . The contract between the Puerto Rico... More »

Firm With 2 Full-Time Workers Lands $300M Puerto Rico Deal

Tiny Whitefish Energy happens to be financed by a big supporter of President Trump

(Newser) - A tiny for-profit company out of Montana has landed a $300 million contract to help get the power back on in Puerto Rico, reports the Spokesman-Review . How tiny? Whitefish Energy had just two full-time employees on the day Hurricane Maria slammed into the island. However, the company suggests that figure... More »

What New York Is Doing for College-Age Maria Victims

Tuition help being offered to displaced students at 64 state universities

(Newser) - Mainland US universities are offering a helping hand to students in Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands affected by Hurricane Maria. Some schools are granting students discounted tuition at the rate for in-state residents; others are waiving tuition altogether for a semester, NPR reports. Tuition help is being offered... More »

Experimental Balloons Restore Internet in Puerto Rico

Google parent launches 'Project Loon'

(Newser) - Google's parent Alphabet Inc. says its stratospheric balloons are now delivering the Internet to remote areas of Puerto Rico where cellphone towers were knocked out by Hurricane Maria. Two of the search giant's "Project Loon" balloons are already over the country enabling texts, emails, and basic web... More »

Trump Has Officially Rated His Response to Puerto Rico

'I'd say it was a 10'

(Newser) - On Thursday, President Trump gave himself perfect marks for the federal government's response to the ongoing disaster in Puerto Rico, USA Today reports. "I'd say it was a 10," Trump told reporters during a meeting with Gov. Ricardo Rossello of Puerto Rico. According to the Washington ... More »

Unemployment Claims Fall to Lowest Level Since 1973

Claims for jobless aid drop by 22K to 222K

(Newser) - The number of Americans collecting unemployment benefits fell last week to the lowest level since Richard Nixon was president, the AP reports. The Labor Department said Thursday that claims for jobless aid dropped by 22,000 to 222,000, the fewest since March 1973. The less volatile four-week average slid... More »

Hospital Ship Sits Off Puerto Rico, Mostly Empty

Red tape, general confusion preventing hurricane victims from being treated on USNS Comfort

(Newser) - After Hurricane Maria, the USNS Comfort was sent to Puerto Rico, where the floating hospital has been idling offshore for almost two weeks. But CNN reports that only 30 or so of the ship's 250 available beds are occupied, and that its surgery facilities, medical staff, and supplies have... More »

Water for Puerto Ricans Being Pumped From Superfund Site

According to a CNN report

(Newser) - Most of the people waiting in line for water Friday at a well in Puerto Rico were unaware it was coming from a federally designated Superfund site, reports CNN , which made the discovery after reviewing documents and speaking with officials. With more than 35% of residents still lacking water three... More »

Trump Talks Pulling FEMA Amid Struggle to Help Puerto Rico

Chuck Schumer says FEMA's work is 'not even close to done'

(Newser) - President Trump is warning that hurricane relief for Puerto Rico has an end date even as federal officials acknowledge a massive food shortage on the island three weeks after Hurricane Maria. "We cannot keep FEMA, the Military & the First Responders, who have been amazing (under the most difficult... More »

Mark Zuckerberg Shows How Not to Promote a New Product

Facebook CEO intros Spaces app by 'teleporting' to hurricane-destroyed Puerto Rico

(Newser) - Mark Zuckerberg was excited to show off the new Facebook Spaces app Monday, a virtual-reality product that allows cartoon versions of yourself to wander in faraway places, so he decided to demonstrate with a "magical" tour—of hurricane-devastated Puerto Rico. "There's a lot of people who are... More »

Trump Claims He Invented the Term 'Fake'

He defends throwing paper towels in Puerto Rico

(Newser) - President Trump defended his throwing of paper towels to Puerto Rican hurricane victims in a weekend interview on a Christian network—and claimed to have invented the term "fake." The towel-throwing, which San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz described as "terrible and abominable," was simply a... More »

Another Hurricane Maria Victim: Monkey Island

It's one of the world's most important sites for primate research

(Newser) - As thousands of troops and government workers struggle to restore normal life to Puerto Rico, a small group of scientists is racing to save more than 1,000 monkeys whose brains may contain clues to some of the most important mysteries of the human mind. One of the first places... More »

San Juan Mayor: Trump Tossing Towels Was 'Terrible'

And 'abominable,' says Carmen Yulin Cruz

(Newser) - There's no love lost between San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz and President Trump, and that situation wasn't much changed following the president's trip to Puerto Rico on Tuesday. Cruz, you'll recall, lashed out last Thursday against the administration's categorization of federal relief efforts as... More »

Trump to Puerto Rico: You've Thrown Budget 'Out of Whack'

'And that's fine,' he says

(Newser) - "Every death is a horror," President Trump said Tuesday while meeting with local and federal officials at Muniz Air National Guard Base in Puerto Rico, but other remarks he made weren't quite so heavy. While discussing his administration's response to the devastation on the island, he... More »

As Trump Heads to Puerto Rico, Not Everyone Is Excited

'We appreciate all the help that we've received, but his comments are not true'

(Newser) - President Trump is planning to meet hurricane victims as well as officials and first responders when he visits Puerto Rico on Tuesday—but not everybody will be happy to see him. The AP spoke to residents angry about the president's description of some officials as "ingrates" who "... More »

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