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Journalists in Houston report from flooding newsrooms, help with rescues, and provide vital information to storm-ravaged regions. President Trump pardons a former Arizona sheriff who repeatedly engaged in racial profiling while defying a court order, among other brutalities—after trying to get the Justice Department to drop the case. Also as the storm bore down on Texas, Trump aide and nationalist Sebastian Gorka was ousted from the White House and guidelines were issued for Trump’s ban on transgender military personnel. The Trump administration also reported ready to roll back limits on supplying local law enforcement with surplus grenade launchers, high-caliber weapons, and other military gear, ending an Obama administration order that followed debate on “militarization” of the police response to the Ferguson protests. Scattered violence punctuates anti-hate demonstration in Berkeley as anti-fascist protesters attack right-wing group that had scheduled and then canceled a march. -Dru Menaker, Chief Operating Officer


The most pressing threats and notable goings-on in free expression today


While a TV station flooded, a reporter stayed on air—and helped deputies rescue a driver
Two KHOU 11 News reporters continued broadcasting during the floods, transmitting live feeds from the north side of Houston. For half an hour, they were the only ones broadcasting for a major Houston station. Their composure and steadfast reporting while their newsroom evacuated won them praise from colleagues and viewers.

Trump pardons former Sheriff Joe Arpaio
The move drew outcry from civil rights groups, which accuse Arpaio of violating the Constitution in his crackdown on illegal immigration. The pardon is the first of Trump’s presidency, though he did not follow his predecessors’ practice of consulting with lawyers at the Justice Department before announcing his decision.

Gorka says he’s heading back to Breitbart
While former White House aide Sebastian Gorka said his role with Breitbart News hasn’t yet been defined, he will be returning to the site where he once served as a national security editor. He has previously been accused of having links with far-right groups in Europe.

Trump expected to lift ban on military gear to local police forces
Civil rights advocates warned that the program’s reinstatement threatened to inflame tensions in communities where such equipment has been deployed in the past. Local access to the high-powered gear was put on national display in 2014 in Ferguson.

Black-clad anarchists swarm anti-hate rally in California
Thousands gathered Sunday in response to a planned anti-Marxism protest that was canceled amid concerns demonstrators might be attacked. The counter-demonstration was largely peaceful for several hours until the antifa, or anti-fascists, overran police barricades around the protest area.

The Guardian launches U.S. nonprofit to support story-telling and independent journalism
In addition to providing grants to support powerful story-telling and independent journalism, the new organization will work to advance freedom of expression and freedom of the press, and explore opportunities for partnerships across academia, think tanks, non-profits, and other organizations.


Argentine Paper Stood Up to the Generals, but Succumbed to Market Forces
The tributes praised the paper’s actions during the late 1970s, when mothers lined up outside the publication’s offices seeking information about their children who had vanished as part of the brutal military junta’s campaign to get rid of anyone it deemed to be an opponent.

President Macron asks Turkey’s leader to free jailed French reporter
Loup Bureau has been detained since July 26, accused of aiding and assisting a terrorist organization for reporting on Kurds living near the Iraq border. Macron’s office said that he and Erdogan agreed to maintain contact to find a “positive outcome as soon as possible” for the freelance journalist.

Germany, in a First, Shuts Down Left-Wing Extremist Website
The Interior Ministry said the website was an “influential platform for left-wing extremists,” and had been used to spread criminal content and to incite violence. Peaceful demonstration is enshrined in Germany’s Constitution, but the authorities have taken action against hate speech and incitements to violence.

Uzbekistan Pulls Live TV Talk Shows
In a major reversal of the media policy under the country’s autocratic late leader Islam Karimov, state media were allowed to run live talk and discussion shows starting earlier this year, but the government’s patience with some gadfly journalists appears to have run out.

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