What actually closes in a US government shutdown?

President Donald Trump pauses during his address to the March of Life participants from the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, on Friday. (AP)
Updated 20 January 2018

What actually closes in a US government shutdown?

WASHINGTON: Hundreds of thousands of US government defense workers, park rangers and business regulators could be temporarily out of work if Congress fails to pass a budget before a midnight Friday deadline.
But the looming government shutdown due to lack of funding — which would be the second in five years — does not mean every office closes its doors.
Vital services will still be provided by law enforcement, immigration officers, the central bank, veterans’ hospitals and the military.
During the two-week shutdown in October 2013, around 800,000 workers were furloughed.
This time, about 850,000 workers, out of a total 3.5 million, could be told to stay home — without pay — until Congress reaches an agreement, the American Federation of Government Employees estimates.
The following is a rundown of who is and isn’t affected in a government shutdown:

The 1.5 million uniformed members of the US military, mostly in the Defense Department but also 40,000 with the Department of Homeland Security, will remain at work.
“All military personnel performing active duty will continue in a normal duty status,” the Pentagon ordered Thursday.
But a large number of civilians in both departments, including about three-fourths of the roughly 740,000 civilians who work for the Pentagon, will stay home.
That will slow many operations, and could impact the huge defense private sector, which depends on Pentagon contracts.
Officials of the Customs and Border Patrol, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and US Citizenship and Immigration Services will remain on the job checking and processing people entering the country by land, sea and air.

The White House, Congress, federal courts and the Veterans Administration will all continue to operate. The US Postal Service will continue to deliver the mail.
The investigation by special prosecutor Robert Mueller into possible collusion between Russians and President Donald Trump’s election campaign will remain active.

The US capital is funded by the federal budget, which could have affected some services, but Mayor Muriel Bowser said Friday that all city employees will report to work and no services will be interrupted.
“I want to be perfectly clear that Washington, DC is open. DC government will continue to provide services to our residents,” she said.
Bowser also said that the city will pick up trash at the multiple national park properties around the city while park employees are furloughed.

The Federal Aviation Administration, which oversees air traffic control, will remain at work, and airports will remain open for travelers.

According to tentative plans, national parks and museums will remain open, but some public employees at the parks could be furloughed while private contractors, who supply food and other services, will maintain operations.

Disease monitoring and prevention will slow. About 61 percent of the staff of the Centers for Disease Control will be furloughed, according to The Washington Post, and much of the research-focused National Institutes of Health will be shuttered.

Other agencies will largely shut down, including the Internal Revenue Service, the Social Security Administration, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Department of Education, the Commerce Department, the Labor Department, and the Environmental Protection Agency.
That means people and businesses will not get documents and permissions processed, contractors will have difficulty moving ahead on their projects, and disaster relief will slow.

Assange sues Ecuadorian government over ‘fundamental rights’ breaches

Updated 19 October 2018

Assange sues Ecuadorian government over ‘fundamental rights’ breaches

  • Wikileaks founder Assange has filed a lawsuit in Ecuador seeking better access to communications
  • Assange has lived in the Andean nation’s London embassy for six years

QUITO: Julian Assange is sueing the Ecuadorian government over breaches of his “fundamental rights.” 

Wikileaks founder Assange has filed a lawsuit in Ecuador seeking better access to communications as part of his asylum in the Andean nation’s London embassy, where he has lived for six years, his lawyer told a news conference on Friday.

The whistleblowing website said its general counsel arrived in Ecuador on Thursday to launch a legal case against the government for “violating (Assange’s) fundamental rights and freedom.”
“The move comes almost seven months after Ecuador threatened to remove his protection and summarily cut off his access to the outside world, including by refusing to allow journalists and human rights organizations to see him,” WikiLeaks said.
It added that the embassy was requiring Assange’s visitors — including journalists and lawyers — to disclose “private or political details such as their social media usernames.”
The Ecuador government issued no immediate statement in response.
Assange’s legal action comes with speculation mounting that Ecuador was preparing to end its standoff with the British government by terminating his six-year asylum.
Quito confirmed blocking Assange’s Internet and mobile phone access in March after accusing him of breaking “a written committment” not to interfere in Ecuador’s foreign policies.
Assange found refuge in the embassy in 2012 after a British judge ruled he should be extradited to Sweden to face allegations of sexual assault, and he feared being transferred to the US.
US Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in March 2017 that arresting Assange for leaking sensitive US government files through his websites was a “priority.”