ABC 6: Local leaders react to historic summit

ABC 6: Local leaders react to historic summit

By: Rebecca Turco

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – The historic summit between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is making waves around the world.

Monica Lee, the president of Rhode Island’s Korean-American Association, has dreamed for peace in the Koreas her entire life, so to see Kim promise denuclearization was a life-changing moment. She woke up around 3 a.m. to watch the summit in real-time. “I really hope for continued communication with a great outcome,” she said. “It’s not only Korean hope, and hope for the world. Who needs nuclear? No country needs that.”

Rhode Island’s congressional delegation remains skeptical over what will come of this peace agreement, pointing to the lack of a specific action plan for denuclearization.

“It was more of a photo opportunity than a substantive diplomatic agreement,” said U.S. Senator Jack Reed (D). Reed feels the U.S. is the only party making a concession by pulling out of military exercises in South Korea – an announcement the president made at a press conference afterward.

U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D) also feels the summit left more to be desired. “All of the items listed in the announcement have been echoed by past North Korean leaders,” he said in a statement. “I hope we can progress beyond this list to a meaningful accord that yields lasting peace.”

U.S. Rep. Jim Langevin (D) says it’s still not clear whether the summit was a publicity stunt from North Korea: “Both the President and Kim have a history of failing to honor their commitments, so we need to see verifiable, concrete steps if we are to achieve peace on the Korean peninsula,” Langevin said in a statement.

Rhode Island’s GOP Chairman Brandon Bell tells ABC6 News this summit is being made into a partisan issue when it’s not. “The biggest superpower and the isolated country North Korea getting together is a big thing.”

Homeland Preparedness News: House committee advances opioid anti-trafficking legislation

Homeland Preparedness News: House committee advances opioid anti-trafficking legislation

Reps. Jim Langevin (D-RI) and Peter King (R-NY) recently praised the efforts of the House Committee on Homeland Security in advancing legislation designed to address opioid trafficking.

The congressmen said passage of their Joint Task Force to Combat Opioid Trafficking Act allows the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to establish a Joint Task Force to better coordinate the interdiction of illicit fentanyl and other opioids entering the United States.

DHS Joint Task Forces coordinate activities across the Department for border security, crisis response, and regional cooperation. Under the Langevin-King legislation, the Department would be authorized to create new task forces focused on opioid interdiction.

“The opioid crisis is devastating communities in Rhode Island and across the nation,” Langevin, a senior member of the committee, said. “We must stop the flow of overseas fentanyl into our communities, and that requires continued collaboration and integration across the Department of Homeland Security. A new Joint Task Force will provide important coordination among the DHS component agencies and between the Department and private sector partners.”

King said the action and support from the Homeland Security Committee is an important step and a recognition of Langevin’s efforts.

“I will continue to do all that I can to make sure the Joint Task Force to Combat Opioid Trafficking Act becomes law, and we stop this epidemic from destroying our communities,” he said.

The congressman referenced a report from Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO), the ranking member of the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee, highlighting synthetic opioids like fentanyl are often transported in the mail or by private parcel delivery services from overseas. McCaskill has sponsored companion legislation in the Senate.

The bill now heads to the full House for further consideration.

Warwick Beacon: Seniors advised on how to stay ahead of scammers, hackers

Warwick Beacon: Seniors advised on how to stay ahead of scammers, hackers

Change your password and only friend the people you know. That was some of the advice given a group of senior Friday as Congressman Jim Langevin, co-founder and co-chair of the congressional cybersecurity caucus visited Pilgrim Senior Enrichment Center to offer ways for seniors to protect themselves from hackers and scams while surfing the web.

“You are not helpless,” Langevin said. “There are things you can do to protect yourself in this whole thing…The Internet is here to stay but it has never been built for security.”

Comparing it to locking your house and keeping your car safe from theft, seniors must take the right steps to stay away from today’s manipulation tactics and scams.

John Martin, a representative from Rhode Island AARP encouraged seniors to become involved in the AARP’s Fraud Watch Network which will keep members updated on recent scams and allow them to report a scam if they were to come across one. The website, will allow seniors to stay informed and safe while spending time on Facebook and other popular sites.

“You have a part time job,” Martin said, comparing staying up-to-date on the latest scams to doctors reading recent medical journals.

Rhode Island Cybersecurity Officer Mike Steinmetz also gave a presentation about how to make sure the senior’s Facebook settings were set to private. He also told seniors about how changing passwords every so often is a good way to keep hackers out of their accounts.

“Be careful about your location, too,” Steinmetz advised. “If you go on vacation post the pictures after you get home.”

RI State Police Computer Crimes Unit Captain, John Alfred discussed the different types of scams and how to identify them. He explained social engineering as a manipulation of people, criminals trying to get people to give them personal information that they can use to take advantage of and scam the individual.

Alfred stressed how important is to approach emails and websites with caution. He explained that hackers try to look like legitimate companies.

“Your bank is not going to reach out to you in an email asking for personal information,” he said. “Anytime someone asks you to wire money, be very suspicious. Try not to be too trusting… please be skeptical.”

One senior, Christopher Brook explained how important he thought the information was, and he was glad to have learned it.

“All of this is very relevant,” Brook said. “The crooks are staying ahead of the legislation and common sense.”

Town Hall: Lawmakers Respond To SCOTUS Ruling On Case About Gay ‘Wedding’ Cake

Town Hall: Lawmakers Respond To SCOTUS Ruling On Case About Gay ‘Wedding’ Cake

By Alex Nitzberg

On Monday morning the United States Supreme Court issued its 7-2 decision in the case concerning Jack Phillips, the Christian owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop in Colorado who declined to make a homosexual “wedding” cake.

Some liberal legislators are both denouncing the Court’s decision and calling for the passage of LGBT-related legislation.

In her statement House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) called for the codification of “sexual orientation” as well as “gender identity” into civil rights legislation:

“Our nation’s story is one of ever-expanding freedoms and progress toward a future of equal, full rights for all,” she stated. “To carry forth that progress, the Congress must immediately move to pass the Equality Act, to remove all doubt that sexual orientation and gender identity warrant fundamental civil rights protections in the workplace and in every place. Democrats will never stop fighting for every American’s right to full equality and equal justice under the law.”

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA), a self-described “Progressive Democrat” and “Proud member of the #resistance” tweeted: “SCOTUS today missed an opportunity to reaffirm fundamental civil right protections for #LGBTpeople. The only way to ensure #LGBT people across the country are protected from the kind of discrimination in Masterpiece is to pass the Equality Act! #OpenToAll

Rep. David Price (D-NC) tweeted: “I support equal rights for all because I believe in an America that doesn’t discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation. Today’s #MasterpieceCakeshop SCOTUS ruling tells us how much farther we must go in the fight for equal rights. We must pass the#EqualityActNow.”

Rhode Island Rep. Jim Langevin (D) tweeted his disapproval of the Court’s ruling and called for legislation: “Disappointed with the SCOTUS ruling in #Masterpiece today. Though narrow, it highlights the need for national LGBT anti-discrimination laws. We must pass the#EqualityAct and ensure businesses open to the public are #opentoall.”

Likewise, New York Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D) tweeted: “SCOTUS#MasterpieceBakery ruling is disappointing – but be clear still leaves intact our civil rights laws. Congress must pass #EqualityAct, to expand anti-discrimination laws to protect gender identity & sexual orientation. All Americans deserve equal protection under the law!”

Rep. Mark Takano of California (D) tweeted: “Today’s ruling in the Masterpiece case was narrow, but that doesn’t make the rising tide of anti-LGBT discrimination any less dangerous. We must pass the#EqualityActNow to ensure that LGBT Americans are never denied service because of who they love or who they are. #OpenToAll

But not everyone in Congress bemoaned the ruling—some Republican members expressed their satisfaction with the Court’s decision.

In his statement Utah Sen. Mike Lee (R) said that, “The Colorado Civil Rights Commission’s hostility toward the religious beliefs of Mr. Phillips was incompatible with the First Amendment,” and he added that “Today’s decision is a win for our nation’s founding principle that our laws must be applied in a manner that is neutral toward religion.”

Freedom Caucus Chair Mark Meadows (R-NC) praised the outcome,tweeting: “Today’s SCOTUS decision in the Colorado baker case underscored one of America’s most foundational principles: the government must never discriminate against an individual’s sincerely held religious beliefs.”