Had worked for Iowa dairy for four years: Cristhian Rivera, accused of murdering college student Mollie Tibbetts in Iowa last month, worked for a farm owned by the family of Craig Lang, former president of the Iowa Farm Bureau and a former GOP primary candidate for Iowa’s Secretary of Agriculture. The dairy’s co-owner and manager Dane Lang clarified Wednesday afternoon that the farm did not use a federal E-Verify check, despite the company’s claim earlier in the day that it did. Read more HERE, HERE, and HERE.

FOOD SAFETY

Honey class-action suit will go forward: A California  judge has rejected the Sioux Honey Association’s (SHA) bid to dismiss a class action that alleges its use of the term “pure” is misleading because of the presence of trace amounts of glyphosate in its honey. The complaint cites testing by FDA that found some 41 parts per billion (ppb) of glyphosate in honey made by SHA, the Iowa-based association that includes 300 members from across the country and produces some 40 million pounds of honey annually. READ MORE

Southern Cal’s algae problem: A new, comprehensive survey led by USC scientists shows the Southern California coast harbors some of the world’s highest concentrations of an algal toxin dangerous to wildlife and people who eat local seafood. The findings are a “smoking gun” linking domoic acid produced by some types of algae to deaths of marine birds and mammals, says one of the researchers. READ MORE

FOOD SECURITY

California water wars: Hundreds of California farmers rallied at the state Capitol in Sacramento on Monday to protest state water officials’ proposal to increase water flows in a major California river, a move state and federal politicians called an overreach of power that would mean less water for farms in the Central Valley. Representatives from the state’s salmon fisheries had a different take on the subject. READ MORE

TARIFFS

Details on farmer aid: A $12 million aid package available to farmers was introduced earlier this summer as a way to offset any damaging effects stemming from ongoing tariff disputes. Details are expected to be released as soon as this Friday. Agweb says sign-up will begin Sept. 4 and will be based on 2018 production. READ MORE

Trade tensions taking toll: According to CNBC, delegations from China, India, Italy and Spain have canceled visits to meet with North Dakota’s bean, pea and lentil growers in September due to trade tensions.  The annual visits are crucial to American farmers who usually use the visits to fill orders and make new business connections. With the cancellation and tariffs on crops, growers are seeing prices at an all time low for the first time in over a decade. READ MORE

CYBER SECURITY

Fire department says Verizon ‘throttled’ its service during wildfire emergency: Verizon Wireless says a customer service error—not net neutrality—was responsible for the continued “throttling” of the wireless data service of a fire department vehicle during a recent battle against a California wildfire. Bandwidth throttling is the intentional slowing or speeding of an internet service by a service provider. The Santa Clara Fire Department said in a court filing Monday that while it was helping fight the Mendocino Complex fire—the largest wildfire in the state’s history—the crew assigned to one of the department’s trucks saw its service dramatically impeded. READ MORE

More ransomware: A recent wave of ransomware attacks against organizations around the world have been linked to a notorious North Korean threat actor, security firm Check Point says. The campaign appears highly targeted, with at least three organizations in the United States and worldwide severely affected. Because some victims decided to pay large ransoms in order to retrieve access to their files, the campaign operators are estimated to have netted over $640,000 to date. READ MORE

HUMANITARIAN CRISES

Venezuelan earthquake adds to turmoil: Venezuela was hit by a 7.3 earthquake on Tuesday night, the most powerful since 1900, adding to the turmoil wreaked by the country’s economic crisis. Cars were flattened by collapsing walls, supermarket shelves completely wiped out and gaping holes in the ground emerged all over the country as the tremors ripped through its major cities. Read more HERE and HERE.

Neighbors to discuss Venezuelan migrant crisis: Ecuador will organize a meeting of 13 Latin American countries to discuss the Venezuelan migrant crisis. More than two million people have fled economic collapse in Venezuela during a four-year recession, according to the United Nations, piling pressure on neighboring countries. Pregnant women leave the country to give birth, and the International Monetary Fund has estimated that the country’s inflation rate will reach  1 million percent inflation by year-end. Read more HERE, HERE, and HERE.

Syrian army offensive may be ‘catastrophic’: A Syrian army offensive in the rebel-held enclave of Idlib would have a “catastrophic” humanitarian impact and cause levels of civilian suffering unprecedented in the seven-year war, aid agencies have warned. READ MORE

WEATHER EMERGENCIES

Hurricane threatens Hawaii: As Hurricane Lane threatens Hawaii lives and property on the Hawaiian islands, residents prepare. There is the possibility of Lane making a direct hit on one or more of the islands late this week and into this weekend. The ultimate severity of impacts will depend on the exact track and strength of Lane. Read more HERE, HERE, and HERE.

PUBLIC HEALTH

Hospitals closing at record rate: Hospitals have been closing at a rate of about 30 a year, according to the American Hospital Association, and patients living far from major cities may be left with even fewer hospital choices as insurers push them toward online providers like Teladoc Inc. and clinics such as CVS Health Corp’s MinuteClinic. READ MORE

Record number of mosquitos test positive for West Nile: A West Nile warning has been issued on Long Island. A record number of mosquitoes are testing positive for the virus, including more than two dozen samples in one week alone in Suffolk County, CBS2 reported Tuesday. READ MORE