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House votes to block Trump administration's weapons deal with Saudi Arabia amid veto threat
Wed, 17 Jul 2019 18:24:09 -0400

House votes to block Trump administration's weapons deal with Saudi Arabia amid veto threatThe vote highlights backlash against a weapons deal for $8.1 billion in bombs, precision-guided missiles and other weapons to the Saudis and its allies.


Poll: 38 Percent of Democrats Say American Dream Is Unattainable for Them
Thu, 18 Jul 2019 14:57:15 -0400

Poll: 38 Percent of Democrats Say American Dream Is Unattainable for Them38 percent of Democrats say they do not believe they will achieve the American dream in their lifetimes, compared to just 11 percent of Republicans, according to a new Gallup poll.Two-thirds of independents said they see the dream as attainable, compared to 31 percent who said they do not. Overall, about 70 percent of Americans feel that American dream could be grasped, the poll reported, while 29 percent disagree.The 38 percent of Democrats who said they did not believe they could achieve the American dream represented a sharp increase from a decade ago, when 29 percent of Democrats said the same. President Trump has described the Republican party as "the party of the American Dream," perhaps contributing to the increasing partisan split on the matter."The American dream is back," the president said after taking office in 2017. "We're going to create an environment for small business like we haven't had in many, many decades."


UPDATE 1-U.S. amphibious group patrols Arabian Sea as Iran tensions simmer
Thu, 18 Jul 2019 11:43:48 -0400

UPDATE 1-U.S. amphibious group patrols Arabian Sea as Iran tensions simmerAt a thumbs-up sign from a sailor, a U.S. Harrier fighter jet takes off from the amphibious assault ship USS Boxer in the Arabian Sea as an oil tanker passes, a nautical mile away. The patrol is "standard" but the situation - growing tension between the United States and Iran - is not. "We want to make sure that we assure allies in the region and to ensure freedom of navigation and free flow of commerce," says Colonel Fridrik Fridrikson, commanding officer of the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit.


The Latest: Police: Suspect in family slayings was boyfriend
Thu, 18 Jul 2019 11:56:36 -0400

The Latest: Police: Suspect in family slayings was boyfriendA Georgia police chief says a suspect charged with killing a woman and her three young children was the woman's live-in boyfriend, and likely the children's father. Police found 29-year-old Jerrica Spellman and her children, including an infant girl, stabbed in a Columbus apartment late Wednesday. Columbus Police Chief Ricky Boren told reporters Thursday that Jackson and Spellman lived together.


Marine Corps Tells Rep. Duncan Hunter He Can’t Use Trademarked Corps Material for His Campaign
Thu, 18 Jul 2019 05:32:00 -0400

Marine Corps Tells Rep. Duncan Hunter He Can’t Use Trademarked Corps Material for His Campaign"It is personally disappointing to Congressman Hunter that he is now being told that he cannot use this motto or image that thousands of Marines like Congressman Hunter, who went to war under this banner, have used for tattoos, coins, and multiple other items of personal sentiment," Harrison told Task & Purpose.Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) has been told to stop using the Marine Corps' emblem and the 1st Marine Division's motto in his campaign literature, Corps officials confirmed.The Marine Corps Trademark Licensing Office has sent Hunter, a Marine veteran, a cease and desist letter telling him to quit using the Eagle, Globe, and Anchor emblem along with the phrase, "No Better Friend, No Worse Enemy," on a fundraising mailer that accuses his political opponent of having links to terrorism, NBC News first reported on Wednesday."Please be advised that you are more than welcome to simply and accurately state that you are a Marine Corps veteran, or provide other information about your service that is based on fact," according to the letter, which NBC News posted online. "As an alternative, we do offer a 'Marine Veteran' logo (Attachment B) for use by Marines to indicate their pride in service."Marine Corps spokesman Capt. Joseph Butterfield confirmed the Corps had "taken appropriate action" to address the campaign mailers cited in the NBC story.


Puerto Rico: thousands protest governor's sexist and homophobic texts
Wed, 17 Jul 2019 22:46:04 -0400

Puerto Rico: thousands protest governor's sexist and homophobic texts* Ricardo Rosselló resisting calls to resign over leaked messages * Ricky Martin and other performers join crowds on streets of San JuanThousands marched in Puerto Rico to demand the resignation of Rossello. Photograph: Eric Rojas/AFP/Getty ImagesAccompanied by some of Puerto Rico’s most famous performers, thousands of people marched to the governor’s residence in San Juan on Wednesday chanting demands for the embattled governor, Ricardo Rosselló, to resign after the leak of online chats that show him making misogynistic slurs and mocking his constituents.The crowd ranged from teenagers to retirees, with some waving the island’s flag printed in black and gray rather than red, white and blue to symbolize their discontent with a government they call corrupt and unresponsive to its people. Musicians Ricky Martin, Residente and Bad Bunny marched and addressed the crowd.Police erected concrete barricades and shop owners covered store windows with metal sheeting or plywood as if a hurricane were coming. The multicolored umbrellas that form a photogenic awning over the street in front of the governor’s mansion were taken down.The turnout filled several city blocks in colonial Old San Juan but appeared to fall short of the many tens of thousands that some Rosselló opponents had predicted. Many older protesters went home before nightfall as chanting young people filled Old San Juan’s Totem Plaza and the first few blocks leading up to the 16th century fortress where the governor resides.Karla Villalon has three elementary-age children and an 81-year-old grandmother. Her kids have been uprooted twice in two years when first one school, then another, was closed by budget cuts under Rosselló. Her grandmother, a retired teacher, is anguished over the possibility of losing her pension in future rounds of cutbacks.Villalon was outraged when Rosselló’s former education secretary was arrested and accused of steering millions in improper contracts to politically connected contractors. Then hundreds of pages of online chats between Rosselló and members of his administration leaked, revealing the men mocking women, the disabled and victims of Hurricane Maria. Villalon has had enough.“It’s the final straw,” the homemaker said before the march. “My kids’ classrooms have mold in them ... There’s just so much outrage that’s been building over time.”Demonstrators chant and wave Puerto Rican flags in San Juan. Photograph: Gabriella N Baez/ReutersThe Rosselló administration has remained under siege since the weekend after leaked text messages between the governor and a number of his inner circle revealed a slew of misogynist and homophobic comments shared between the group.A number of senior members of the administration have already resigned in the wake of the scandal, but on Monday Rosselló refused to tender his resignation, claiming that while the messages were inappropriate they were not illegal.“I’m not proud of what I did,” Rosselló told reporters on Tuesday. “Those were merely comments – but they were hurtful comments. So, I apologize for what I’ve done but again, I need to move forward and continue on the work we’re doing for Puerto Rico.”The affair only adds to sustained criticism of Rosselló’s leadership as sweeping austerity and privatization measures imposed after Hurricane Maria decimated the island almost two years ago drew public backlash.Puerto Rico, an unincorporated US territory, is in the midst of a multibillion-dollar debt crisis now managed by an unelected oversight board appointed in Washington that oversees much of the island’s economic affairs.Shortly before the text message scandal, referred to as “RickyLeaks”, a number of administration officials and contractors, including the former education secretary Julia Keleher, were arrested by the FBI over allegations of corruption and misappropriation of $15.5m in federal funds apportioned to Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria.Workers cover shop windows with wood in preparation for protests against Governor Ricardo Rosselló near La Fortaleza in San Juan, Puerto Rico, on Wednesday. Photograph: Carlos Giusti/APKey figures in the movement to oust Rosselló remained hopeful that the protests on Wednesday would remain peaceful.A number of high-profile Puerto Ricans, including the actor and playwright Lin-Manuel Miranda, singer Ricky Martin and trap artist Benito Martínez Ocasio, known by his stage name Bad Bunny, have also lent vocal support to the protests. Martin and Ocasio are expected to appear at the protests.San Juan’s firebrand mayor, Carmen Yulín Cruz, an outspoken critic of Rosselló, told the Guardian by text message the demonstrations would mark “a historic day in Puerto Rico”.Cruz, who announced she would challenge Rosselló in elections next year, became the face of resistance to the Trump administration’s faltering efforts to assist during the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Maria.Both Mayor Cruz and Ricky Martin also appeared as targets of abuse in the leaked text messages.According to the messages, Rosselló referred to Cruz as “off her meds” while other administration officials mocked Martin’s sexuality.


North Carolina father of 7 dies trying to save his drowning children at beach
Wed, 17 Jul 2019 15:36:56 -0400

North Carolina father of 7 dies trying to save his drowning children at beachA North Carolina father drowned Sunday while rescuing two of his youngchildren who were swept away by a wave while walking on a submerged jetty atWrightsville Beach


Delaware woman who says she was brutally beaten in the Dominican Republic sues resort for $3 million
Thu, 18 Jul 2019 07:07:28 -0400

Delaware woman who says she was brutally beaten in the Dominican Republic sues resort for $3 millionThe Delaware woman who claims she was beaten unconscious in the Dominican Republic has sued the resort for $3 million.


America will roast for 4 days
Thu, 18 Jul 2019 13:29:53 -0400

America will roast for 4 daysTens of millions of Americans will feel triple-digit heat between Thursday and Sunday. The National Weather Service (NWS) noted that 20 to 30 high temperature records could fall between the Rockies and the East Coast. There will be little relief even at night: The weather agency expects 123 records for the warmest daily low temperature to be either broken or tied this week. The Midwest will see many of the highest extremes on Thursday and Friday, while the East Coast will feel its most intense heat on Saturday.The NWS labeled this excessive heat as "scorching." On Saturday in Washington D.C., the confluence of humidity and air temperatures are forecast to produce a heat index (or feeling) of around 110 F. Meteorologist Michael Ventrice called these forecasted conditions "dangerously hot." Indeed, heat waves kill more Americans than any other weather event.Although climate change doesn't produce weather -- like sprawling fronts of unusually warm air, hurricanes, or wildfire conditions -- it does make these events worse. Any heat wave today, for example, is sitting atop boosted global temperatures. These elevated temperatures are responsible for June 2019 being the warmest June in 139 years of record-keeping, and 18 of the 19 warmest years on record occurring since 2001.This added heat means more record hot weather becoming not just possible, but occurring more frequently. "A barely noticeable shift in the mean temperature from global warming can end up turning a 'once-per-decade' heatwave into a 'once-per-year heatwave' pretty easily," Patrick Brown, an assistant professor in the Department of Meteorology and Climate Science at San Jose State University, said over email. Shifting averages mean more heat.Image: Climate central / climatecentral.org> The likelihood of extreme heat, like what we are seeing in the US Midwest this week, increases nonlinearly with the warming of average temperatures (caused by increases in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations). pic.twitter.com/Q20frMvgVa> > -- Patrick T. Brown (@PatrickTBrown31) July 17, 2019"Heat waves are occurring more often than they used to in major cities across the United States, from an average of two heat waves per year during the 1960s to nearly six per year during the 2010s," noted the U.S. Global Change Research Program.SEE ALSO: Climate change will ruin train tracks and make travel hellBoosted temperatures translate to more heat records. In the last decade, for instance, twice as many daily high heat records have been set as daily low records in the U.S. > NYC has chance for hottest feels like temperature in the country on Saturday but DC and Philly will make a run at it also. pic.twitter.com/w6Hl31WhxK> > -- Bill Karins (@BillKarins) July 18, 2019The powerful driver of the increased frequency of extreme heat is clear. In the late 1850s, physicists like John Tyndall discovered that certain gases, like carbon dioxide, trap radiative heat on Earth -- meaning solar radiation reflected off the planet's surface and heat emitted from Earth itself. Today, atmospheric concentrations of the heat-trapping gas carbon dioxide are at their highest levels in at least 800,000 years, though likely millions of years. What's more, atmospheric CO2 levels are now increasing at rates that are unprecedented in both the historic and geologic record. "What's important to recognize is the changes humanity is driving at present are commensurate with the most significant events in the history of life on this planet," Matthew Long, an oceanographer at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, told Mashable in March.  WATCH: Ever wonder how the universe might end?


Your Kids Won't Have Any Room For Candy After These Halloween Dinner Ideas
Wed, 17 Jul 2019 15:46:00 -0400

Your Kids Won't Have Any Room For Candy After These Halloween Dinner Ideas


Tucker Guest: ‘People of Color’ Label Is Racist Because It Gives ‘Virtue’ to Dark Skin
Thu, 18 Jul 2019 03:45:56 -0400

Tucker Guest: ‘People of Color’ Label Is Racist Because It Gives ‘Virtue’ to Dark SkinMoments after the crowd at President Trump’s Wednesday night rally chanted “Send Her Back!” at Somalia-born Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN), a guest on Fox News’ Tucker Carlson Tonight argued that the term “people of color” should be done away with because it gives people with dark skin “special virtue.”While airing the president’s rally in the background, host Tucker Carlson invited conservative art critic and commentator Roger Kimball on to help decide whether or not America is a racist country.“Is America more racist than it was five years ago? Ten years ago?” Carlson asked.“Clearly not,” Kimball replied, adding that both the country as a whole and college campuses are “less racist” than they ever have been. He then pivoted to taking aim at the four Democratic congresswomen of color that have recently been the target of racist attacks by Trump, calling them the “Juvenile Squad.”Claiming that the young lawmakers—Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib, Ilhan Omar, and Ayanna Pressley—aren’t really legislators but instead “burnishing their own celebrity,” Kimball then issued a request.“I wish they would give the phrase ‘people of color’ a rest,” he declared. “We need to retire that phrase because it is a racist phrase.”“What does that mean?” Carlson asked.“You are a nice color, Tucker,” Kimball said. “I think of myself as being sort of a pleasing pink. But everyone has a color.”“It is a racist term because the idea is that somehow you are trapped by your skin color,” he continued. “That having dark skin imbues you with a special virtue, and having white skin imbues you with a special evil, or a liability, and that is a racist idea.”Kimball went on to call for the media to stand up against the use of the term because, in his view, it is being “used as a bludgeon to criminalize policy differences and criminalize differences of opinion.”Carlson, meanwhile, lamented that many people allow the use of the label to go unchallenged because they “are remarkably passive in the face of hyperaggressive racists like Ilhan Omar.”The Fox News host has been hyperfocused on Omar of late, devoting large chunks of his program to extremely negative coverage of the Muslim congresswoman. Earlier this month, the anti-immigrant host accused Omar—a U.S. citizen who immigrated from Somalia—of despising America and described her as a “living fire alarm” for the country's immigration laws.Following widespread outrage over his remarks, Carlson doubled down the following night, devoting the first 20 minutes of his show to blasting Omar and inviting a guest on who said the Minnesota lawmaker “would be a member of the KKK” if she weren’t in Congress.Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.


Russia considers joining EU payment system meant to save Iran nuclear deal
Thu, 18 Jul 2019 10:24:07 -0400

Russia considers joining EU payment system meant to save Iran nuclear dealRussia has said it may join a European Union payment system aimed at salvaging the Iran nuclear deal if it is expanded to include oil purchases.  The system, called Instex, is designed to facilitate payments to Iran despite the US trade sanctions reimposed on the country after Donald Trump pulled out of the landmark agreement in 2018.  With its economy reeling from the US blockage of crucial oil exports, Iran said this month it would begin enriching more uranium than allowed by the “joint comprehensive plan of action”. Tensions with the United States and United Kingdom have risen following several attacks on tankers in the Gulf. Iran said on Thursday it had seized a foreign oil tanker that was “smuggling fuel”. In a not-so-subtle reference to the United States, Vladimir Putin's spokesman on Thursday called Instex an “important initiative” to protect European companies from “illegal attempts by third countries to limit their activities”. He said Russia was watching to see how well it functioned. “With consideration of the initial experience using this system when it is activated, we can't exclude our cooperation in this,” the spokesman said.  Foreign minister Sergei Lavrov, however, complained on Wednesday that Instex was only covering deliveries of food, medicine and other humanitarian aid, “which aren't banned by the Americans anyway”. To bolster Iran's economy and ensure the survival of the deal, Instex would need to facilitate oil exports as well, he said.  “Payments of a few million dollars have been completed through this channel. That's nothing compared to the obligations that Iran's partners took on as part of the join comprehensive plan of action,” he said during a press conference with the foreign minister of Côte d'Ivoire. “These assume the unimpeded purchase of Iranian oil and the unimpeded transfer of payments for delivering this energy source.” German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov talk ahead a German-Russian forum on Thursday Credit: Marius Becker/AFP Another possibility for easing the situation around Iran emerged with reports this week that US senator Rand Paul, who is known for his opposition to US interventions abroad, had gotten Mr Trump's approval to sit down with Iran's foreign minister in an attempt to reduce tensions. Backed by 10 EU states, Instex was launched in January but only went online last month. It offers Iran a credit line of several million euros, far less than the €20bn in annual trade the EU did with Iran before the US sanctions. The EU has said it would welcome third countries to join Instex but is still deliberating over whether the system should include oil payments.  Saving the nuclear deal will require the continued support of Moscow, a key ally of Tehran that has fought alongside it to keep Bashar al-Assad in power in Syria. Russia is building two nuclear power plants in Iran and has sold it arms like surface-to-air missiles.  It is China, however, that may be able to do the most for Iran's economy by buying its crude oil in defiance of US sanctions. Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif attends a UN session on sustainable development on Wednesday Credit: Kena Betancur/AFP Mr Lavrov's comments echoed those of Iranian officials who said Instex was a positive development but insufficient to keep the county solvent.   The country's envoy to the United Nations called the system a “very lovely car but without any gasoline”. Russia was continuing talks with Iran, Europe and China to “find not symbolic but real ways of giving Iran the economic benefits that are an inherent part of the deal,” Mr Lavrov said.


Chappaquiddick 50 years on: The car crash that forever tarnished Ted Kennedy
Wed, 17 Jul 2019 18:03:43 -0400

Chappaquiddick 50 years on: The car crash that forever tarnished Ted KennedyHe was the handsome young senator from an American political dynasty, widely tipped to win the White House. Heavily favoured to win the Democratic nomination for the presidency, Ted Kennedy looked set to square-off against Republican incumbent Richard Nixon at the 1972 election.But his hopes of emulating his older brother John F Kennedy were irreparably damaged 50 years ago.A car crash in Chappaquiddick would claim the life of a young female political campaigner and forever tarnish his reputation. Here The Independent examines the incident. What happened?On 18 July, 1969, Kennedy, aged 37 at the time, had been attending a party on Chappaquiddick Island, part of the affluent Massachusetts resort Martha’s Vineyard.The Massachusetts senator had left the party with Mary Jo Kopechne, a 28-year-old political campaign specialist. He later testified at inquest that she had asked him to drop her back at a hotel.At around midnight, Kennedy’s car swerved off a narrow, unlit bridge with no guardrails and plummeted into the Poucha Pond.He escaped the sinking saloon. Kopechne did not. Kennedy claimed he made several attempts to save her before giving up and returning to the party on foot.Later, he said he returned with two friends for another rescue attempt but that was foiled by the strong tide.Ten hours passed before the senator reported the incident to the police, minutes before Kopechne’s body was recovered from the vehicle. John Farrar, the diver who recovered the corpse, said he believed she died from suffocation rather than drowning, trapped potentially for hours in a small air pocket inside the car. What action was taken?Just a week after the crash on 25 July, Kennedy pleaded guilty to a charge of leaving the scene of an accident and received a suspended two-month prison sentence, the statutory minimum for the offence.His attorneys had argued he should be granted a lenient sentence by the judge, due to his age, character and prior reputation. That night the senator made a speech in which he insisted he had not been driving under the influence of alcohol at the time of the crash, as well as denying “widely circulated suspicions of immoral conduct” surrounding his relationship with Kopechne.He described his decision not to immediately report the incident to the police as “indefensible”, stating that he was overcome by a “jumble of emotions—grief, fear, doubt, exhaustion, panic, confusion, and shock.”An inquest would later conclude there was “probable cause to believe” Kennedy had been operating the vehicle negligently. A tarnished figureKennedy’s inaction caused significant damage to his reputation.Prior to the incident, he was popular throughout the country and was seen by many to follow in the footsteps of his brothers, John and Robert, by running for the presidency. Five years before the crash, Kennedy had been re-elected to the senate with 75 per cent of the vote. In an election 15 months after the crash, his margin of victory was reduced to 64 per cent. He did not run in the 1972 or 1976 presidential race, a decision likely taken as a result of Kopechne’s death. When Kennedy decided to run in 1980, renewed interest in the Chappaquiddick incident hindered his campaign.His Democratic primary opponent, then-president Jimmy Carter, frequently called into question Kennedy’s character by alluding to the events on the resort island. After a failed campaign, Kennedy abandoned his White House dreams. He went on to serve in the Senate for another four decades until his death.In Kennedy’s posthumous memoir, True Compass, he called the incident a “horrible tragedy that haunts me every day of life.” The Edward M Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate, a body created in honour of his 47 years of service in the Senate, has no plans to commemorate the incident and the death of Kopechne.


New bill would guarantee free legal representation for illegal immigrants seeking asylum
Thu, 18 Jul 2019 08:16:10 -0400

New bill would guarantee free legal representation for illegal immigrants seeking asylumA Democrat lawmaker introduces the Equal Justice for Immigrants Act to guarantee the right to counsel for illegal immigrants. Judge Alex Ferrer reacts.


7,800 police in Philippines punished for deadly drug raids
Thu, 18 Jul 2019 08:43:07 -0400

7,800 police in Philippines punished for deadly drug raidsThousands of Philippine police officers have received administrative punishments with more than 2,000 dismissed for wrongdoings during raids where drug suspects were killed under the president's crackdown, officials said Thursday. Communications Assistant Secretary Marie Rafael Banaag told a news conference that 14,724 police were investigated for their involvement in police drug operations that led to deaths from July 2016 until last April. A tally presented by Banaag showed that 2,367 police officers have been fired, 4,100 suspended while the rest were reprimanded, demoted, had their salaries forfeited or deprived of certain privileges.


Pakistan lost $50 million from airspace restrictions: minister
Thu, 18 Jul 2019 15:52:16 -0400

Pakistan lost $50 million from airspace restrictions: ministerPakistan's aviation minister on Thursday said that his country suffered loses of over eight billion rupees ($50 million) from airspace restrictions imposed since February which affected hundreds of commercial and cargo flights. Pakistan closed its airspace after an attack by a Pakistan-based militant group in Indian-controlled Kashmir led to clashes between the nuclear-armed powers, adding flight time for passengers and fuel costs for airlines. “Over eight billion rupees worth of losses have been suffered by the Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority,” Ghulam Sarwar Khan, Pakistan’s aviation minister told a press conference in Karachi.


'Not what your mom sent you:' Teen takes legendary senior photos in a bathrobe
Thu, 18 Jul 2019 12:25:44 -0400

'Not what your mom sent you:' Teen takes legendary senior photos in a bathrobeEvan Dennison wanted to do something funny for his senior photos. No one believed he would actually do it. Now he is a "legend."


Surprise — The Future of Planned Parenthood Is Abortion
Thu, 18 Jul 2019 06:30:17 -0400

Surprise — The Future of Planned Parenthood Is AbortionPlanned Parenthood’s board has fired the organization’s president, Leana Wen, after less than a year on the job. According to reports, Wen was dismissed because the board deemed her insufficiently dedicated to expanding Planned Parenthood’s political advocacy, particularly on abortion.The news comes as a shock for a few reasons. For one thing, Wen was appointed just last fall to replace Cecile Richards, who resigned on good terms after leading the institution for twelve years.But it’s surprising, too, if Wen’s ouster was due to her reluctance to focus more on politics than on public health, as several reports suggest was the case. In June, after all, Planned Parenthood announced a six-figure ad campaign, “Bans Off My Body,” to oppose recent state laws regulating abortion. Judging from Wen’s Twitter account, she was perfectly comfortable promoting what the group frequently calls “reproductive rights.”Why, then, was she forced to depart so unceremoniously, and what does her abrupt exit say about the future of Planned Parenthood?Wen’s dismissal is perhaps best understood in light of the escalating national fight over abortion policy. As blue states have codified the right to abortion on demand, in many cases deeming it a “fundamental right,” red states have passed limitations like heartbeat bills to protect unborn human beings earlier in pregnancy.Planned Parenthood has long sought to downplay its commitment to abortion, calling itself a health-care organization and spreading the lie that abortion is only 3 percent of its business, even as its clinics perform between one-third and half of all abortions in the U.S. annually. The group’s leadership evidently believes this political moment demands more aggressive advocacy.And Wen wasn’t up to the task. Considering her record thus far, she was hired for the “M.D.” beside her name, and little else. She came across in interviews like a placid physician repeating rote talking points drilled into her on the drive to the studio. She consistently inserted the phrase “as a doctor” into her messaging to give the organization the gloss of medical legitimacy, and she never sounded like the polished, sure-footed political advocate Richards had.Plenty of turmoil, meanwhile, was taking place behind the scenes. “Wen had tried to refocus the organization’s mission and image as a health provider offering a wide array of services, including abortions,” sources told the Washington Post this week. “Those close to Wen said she was opposed by some board members and others who wanted to emphasize the organization’s commitment to abortion rights.”In January, Wen told BuzzFeed News she wanted to restructure the organization’s goals, noting that people aren’t going to Planned Parenthood to make a political statement. “What we will always be here to do is provide abortion access as part of the full spectrum of reproductive health care,” Wen said. “But we also recognize that for so many of our patients we are their only source of health care.”The day BuzzFeed published its profile, though, Wen backtracked. “I am always happy to do interviews, but these headlines completely misconstrue my vision for Planned Parenthood,” Wen tweeted that morning. “Our core mission is providing, protecting and expanding access to abortion and reproductive health care. We will never back down from that fight.”Wen’s termination sheds some light on this quick reversal. It’s easy to imagine that she faced internal backlash for appearing to have shied away from abortion advocacy, and that her public about-face was an effort to pacify critics within the organization.It didn’t work. In February, top political staffers left Planned Parenthood, reportedly amid ongoing conflict over Wen’s management style. Now that tension seems to have boiled over. Six sources told BuzzFeed this week that “significant management issues [were] part of the board’s decision to oust Wen,” and one “said her removal was accelerated by the intensifying battle over abortion rights, saying that she was not the right leader in this climate.”Perhaps the most revealing detail from Buzzfeed’s report? Two sources said Wen angered staffers by refusing to use “trans-inclusive” language, “for example saying ‘people’ instead of ‘women’ and telling staff that she believed talking about transgender issues would ‘isolate people in the Midwest.’”This anecdote might well be the key to understanding what happened to Wen and where Planned Parenthood’s leaders intend to go from here. Surely she wasn’t fired for her recalcitrance on preferred pronouns. But with a national spotlight on the abortion debate, Planned Parenthood’s leaders are ready to take off the kid gloves.Wen’s firing suggests that, instead of claiming to be just a normal health-care organization, Planned Parenthood intends to capitalize on its status as an influential left-wing interest group. To do that, it must become a purveyor of the entire progressive agenda, to the point of embracing the “intersectional” language promoted by transgender activists. So the mild-mannered Wen had to go.Pro-lifers have long known what Planned Parenthood itself appears to be admitting: The group’s ultimate goal is to wield its political influence within the progressive movement to continue profiting from abortion.


House Vote to Repeal Obamacare Tax Shows Health Care Tension
Wed, 17 Jul 2019 18:58:51 -0400

House Vote to Repeal Obamacare Tax Shows Health Care Tension(Bloomberg) -- The House voted overwhelmingly to repeal a tax Wednesday intended to fund the Affordable Care Act, preserving tax breaks for employer-sponsored insurance plans favored by large corporations.In a reversal of the usual partisan roles, Democrats rather than Republicans led the charge to kill a key part of Obamacare.The bill to repeal the levy commonly known as the “Cadillac tax” passed 419-6 with bipartisan support. The 40% excise tax on the most generous and expensive employer health-insurance plans was included in Obamacare as a measure that economists said would help curb health costs.Congress kept delaying its implementation so the tax has never actually been collected. Had it gone into effect, it would have hit about one in five employers that offer health benefits to their workers, according to estimates from the Kaiser Family Foundation.The vote to repeal the tax highlights the conflicting forces pulling at Democrats when campaigning versus legislating.Several of the party’s presidential candidates led by Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren support replacing nearly all private insurance with a government-run system financed by tax increases. Former Vice President Joe Biden, the front-runner in the race, has a less sweeping plan to bolster Obamacare, but it still would offer a public health insurance option funded by tax hikes on the wealthy.But in Congress, Democrats and Republicans are facing pressure from labor unions and large companies to move in the opposite direction by keeping tax advantages for employer-sponsored plans. Supporters of repealing the tax say keeping it in place would force employers to offer less generous health insurance to their workers.Employers can reap large tax savings by compensating their employees in the form of more extensive health insurance, rather than wages, which are subject to payroll taxes. Employer-paid premiums are exempt from federal income and payroll taxes, and the premiums employees pay are also often excluded from taxable income.Changing Minds“I’ve been a supporter of the Cadillac tax because I thought it would” lower health care costs, said Representative Steny Hoyer of Maryland, the No. 2 Democrat in the House. “But I’ve read some additional material on it and it’s obviously overwhelmingly thought this will not have the effect in terms of raising money or controlling cost that I thought it would have.”The dissonance among Democrats about whether to expand or shrink employer-sponsored health coverage makes them look like “gymnasts,” said Representative Mike Kelly, a Pennsylvania Republican.“Where are you on this stuff?” he said. “Wait a minute, you’re all advocating that there be no such thing as employer-sponsored coverage.”The repeated delays in imposing the Cadillac tax delays mean that Congress was never able to test whether it would curb the explosion of health care spending, which has risen an average 4.2% every quarter between 2010 and 2018, according to data from the Kaiser Family Foundation.The repeal also would mean that the Treasury Department won’t collect the $201 billion the Joint Committee on Taxation estimated it would raise over a decade.Obamacare TaxesObamacare included several other tax increases, including a 3.8% tax on investment income and a 0.9% levy on wages for top-earners. The portion of the law that was supposed to be financed through the Cadillac tax instead would be paid for through deficit spending, unless lawmakers propose a last-minute tax increase to offset the cost.Democrats have generally opposed measures to chip away at President Barack Obama’s signature legislative achievement, but the Cadillac tax has been unpopular since it became part of the code.The measure to repeal it, H.R. 748, was passed under a fast-track procedure requiring two-thirds support among House members.Yet popularity doesn’t necessarily mean good policy, said Marc Goldwein, senior vice president at the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget. Politicians don’t like the tax on health benefits, but nearly every economist thinks the Cadillac tax or a similar measure is necessary to help slow the rise in health-care costs and curb overuse of health services, he added.“Just because it’s bipartisan doesn’t mean it’s good,” he said.Not all Democrats are on board with eliminating the tax. Representative Ron Kind, a Wisconsin Democrat, said he opposes the repeal because the cost isn’t offset and there wasn’t any discussion about how scuttling the tax would affect the Affordable Care Act overall.“I think we are lapsing into some very bad habits in the majority,” he said. “We need to start instilling some fiscal discipline in this place and making some tough decisions.”Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, hasn’t committed to addressing the issue in his chamber. Because the repeal effort is led by Democrats, it sets up a path for McConnell to use it as a vehicle to attach Republican tax priorities, such as correcting errors in the 2017 tax law or extending several expired tax breaks that benefit the biodiesel and energy industries.“We’ve kicked the can down the road for so long on this one that the assumption is that it’s never going to go into effect,” said Representative Dan Kildee, a Michigan Democrat. “There’s a certain inevitability to this one getting repealed.”\--With assistance from Emily Wilkins.To contact the reporter on this story: Laura Davison in Washington at ldavison4@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Joe Sobczyk at jsobczyk@bloomberg.net, Laurie AsséoFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


Samantha Bee Shocked Kellyanne Conway Somehow Even ‘More Racist’ Than Trump
Wed, 17 Jul 2019 23:27:18 -0400

Samantha Bee Shocked Kellyanne Conway Somehow Even ‘More Racist’ Than TrumpTBSSamantha Bee didn’t have time to cover all of President Trump’s recent “racisms,” instead choosing to zero in on his demand that four freshmen Congresswomen of color go back to the countries “from which they came.” “Sadly, the only thing that should surprise anyone is that he wrote ‘from which they came’ to avoid ending a sentence with a preposition,” the Full Frontal host joked. “Way to go, Shakespeare, now return your head to the orifice from which it came.” “Of course, it wasn't long before spokes-golem Kellyanne Conway leapt to his defense by somehow sounding more racist than her boss,” Bee continued before playing the clip of the White House counselor literally responding to a reporter’s question with, “What’s your ethnicity?” “Fun fact,” Bee said, “that's also how she answers the phone.”  Seth Meyers Tears Into Cowardly Republicans Hiding from Racist Trump TweetsFrom there, she moved onto the resolution condemning Trump’s remarks that passed the House with the support of only four Republican members. “So most House Republicans are A-OK with racism,” Bee said, “which is great news if Biden is elected because at least he has a history of working with segregationists.” The host spent the rest of her opening segment breaking down just how racist Trump’s policies are, including his efforts to stop even legal immigration to the United States. “It’s almost as if he doesn’t like people from certain parts of the world or something,” Bee said. “God, if only there were a word for that.” For more, listen to Samantha Bee on The Last Laugh podcast below.Read more at The Daily Beast.Got a tip? Send it to The Daily Beast hereGet our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.


'Nobody cares about us': Hunger and despair for India flood victims
Thu, 18 Jul 2019 06:42:29 -0400

'Nobody cares about us': Hunger and despair for India flood victimsChest-deep in brown, flowing monsoon water and holding bags of clothes and utensils above their heads, residents in the Indian state of Bihar are hungry and despairing. "When many of us poor people drown, then the politicians suddenly take notice... But otherwise, nobody cares about us," shopkeeper Raj Majhi told AFP. Majhi's home -- like many others -- is submerged, with only rooftops remaining above floodwaters.


Patients Learn Their Doctor is Child Sex Assault Suspect
Wed, 17 Jul 2019 18:35:09 -0400

Patients Learn Their Doctor is Child Sex Assault SuspectA man charged with sexually assaulting a toddler is also St. Louis doctor.


Big Guns: Army Prototypes Range-Doubling New Artillery Weapon to Outgun Russia
Wed, 17 Jul 2019 03:02:00 -0400

Big Guns: Army Prototypes Range-Doubling New Artillery Weapon to Outgun RussiaThe Army is building prototypes of a new artillery cannon that can more than double the range of existing weapons and vastly alter the strategic and tactical landscape shaping land war into the future.The Army program, called Extended Range Cannon Artillery, has been developing for several years; it is now entering a new phase through an Army deal with BAE Systems to build “Increment 1” prototypes.“This prototype phase will address capability gaps in the Army’s indirect fire systems and improve the rate and range of fire with the development of power distribution software and hardware integration solutions,” a BAE Systems statement said.During testing thus far, the Army has successfully fired a 155mm artillery round 62 kilometers - marking a technical breakthrough in the realm of land-based weapons and progressing toward its stated goal of being able to outrange and outgun Russian and Chinese weapons.Currently, most land-fired artillery shot from an M777 Towed Howitzer or Self-Propelled Howitzer are able to pinpoint targets out to 30km - so hitting 62km dramatically changes Army offensive attack capability. As part of an effort to ensure the heavy M777 is sufficiently mobile, the Army completed a “mobility” demonstration of ERCA prototypes last year.


From Soup to Salmon: Slow-Cooker Recipes for a Fast and Healthy Dinner
Thu, 18 Jul 2019 16:21:00 -0400

From Soup to Salmon: Slow-Cooker Recipes for a Fast and Healthy Dinner


‘I saw hate in his eyes’: White security guard pulls gun on black police officer
Wed, 17 Jul 2019 04:52:26 -0400

‘I saw hate in his eyes’: White security guard pulls gun on black police officerSheriff’s deputy Alan Gaston thought they were on the same side.One man, Mr Gaston, was a high-ranking officer in the Lucas County, Ohio, sheriff’s department with 34 years of experience.The other was a security guard contracted to protect an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) office in Toledo.But then the guard pulled his gun. He raised his voice. He put a hand on Mr Gaston’s arm and rested his finger on the trigger.In a matter of seconds, what began with a routine errand at the IRS escalated into a frightening standoff between a white security guard and a black police officer, who said he heard hate in the guard’s shouts and believed he would be shot.“You don’t expect to be ambushed by someone who you think is on the same team,” Mr Gaston told The Washington Post.“I feel there was definitely some racial overtones involved. And I’m not the type of person to throw the race card, I’m just telling you the facts. I looked in his eyes and I saw hate in his eyes.”He had stopped by the IRS office during his shift on 31 May to ask a question about a letter the agency sent him.He was in full uniform, his badge and his firearm in clear view.The security guard, identified in court documents as Seth Eklund, asked Mr Gaston to leave his gun in his patrol car.When Mr Gaston replied he couldn’t do that, he said Mr Eklund became hostile. Mr Eklund accused Mr Gaston of reaching for his weapon, shouting “get your hands off your gun”, even though Mr Gaston said his hands were visible and nowhere near his holster.Mr Gaston, who has years of experience teaching defensive tactics, decided it was time for him to leave.He recalled a wide-eyed elderly couple in the office waiting room watching the exchange, and he said he feared for the bystanders’ safety. Mr Gaston turned to go.As he walked out of the cramped office, Mr Eklund drew his gun, trained it on Mr Gaston’s back and followed him. At one point, Mr Gaston said, Mr Eklund tried to arrest the uniformed officer.“He came around the corner with his weapon out, telling me, ‘you had your chance, you’re not going anywhere, I’m detaining you’,” Gaston said.“That’s when I was preparing myself to be shot. The hate and anger he had against me, I was getting ready to be shot by this security guard for no reason.”Mr Eklund, who could not be reached for comment, pleaded not guilty to one charge of aggravated menacing in a court appearance on Monday.Mr Gaston and his wife have also filed a lawsuit against Mr Eklund and the two security firms that apparently employed him.Representatives of those companies, Paragon Systems and Praetorian Shield, did not respond to requests for comment. The IRS declined to comment.The local news station WTVG published what it claims to be security camera footage of the interaction and The Washington Post obtained screenshots of the video.The images show Mr Gaston backing away and attempting to leave the building in an elevator. But Mr Eklund, gun still drawn, blocks the door with his foot.Mr Gaston says he felt cornered, scared. He took out his phone to take a picture of Mr Eklund, he said, and the security guard finally holstered his weapon.Heather Taylor, president of the Ethical Society of Police in St Louis, said that Mr Eklund behaved recklessly and likely would not have treated a white officer the same way.“We know what it’s like being an African American police officer in a city,” Ms Taylor said. “A lot of us realise that, hey, even though you’re in uniform, that doesn’t mean you’re safe.”The tense scene recalled other, infamous incidents with grisly endings. Ms Taylor pointed to the case of Jemel Roberson, a black security guard who was killed by a Midlothian, Illinois, police officer while they both responded to a shooting at the bar where Roberson worked.She also mentioned Detective Jacai Colson in Maryland, who was killed by a fellow officer while working undercover. Mr Colson, according to a lawsuit, had his badge in his hand and was shouting “Police! Police!” before he was killed.“You’re not given the benefit of the doubt as a minority,” Ms Taylor said. “It’s something we’ve been highlighting forever and now here’s another example of it.”She applauded Mr Gaston’s cool demeanour in the face of what she said was potentially lethal bigotry.Mr Gaston said he didn’t feel that Mr Eklund respected him as a law enforcement officer, and in more than three decades of police work has never dealt with anything like that.He was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and severe depression, he said. He’s been on medical leave and is seeing a counsellor twice a week. The civil suit Mr Gaston and his wife filed seeks compensation.The standoff between Mr Gaston and Mr Eklund ended, he said, when Toledo police officers responded to a 911 call from inside the building that mentioned a man who has “got a gun” and “won’t leave”. The caller didn’t mention that the man was a police officer.When Toledo police arrived, Mr Gaston recounted, they told Mr Eklund: “You know he’s a uniformed deputy sheriff, right? We can go anywhere in this building we want.”Washington Post


Argentina acts against Hezbollah, blamed for terror attacks
Thu, 18 Jul 2019 14:01:22 -0400

Argentina acts against Hezbollah, blamed for terror attacksArgentina's government on Thursday branded Hezbollah a terrorist organization and froze its assets, 25 years to the day after a bombing blamed on the Lebanese-based group destroyed a Jewish community center in Argentina's capital, killing 85 people. The nation's Financial Information Unit took the action a day after President Mauricio Macri's government created a list of terrorist organizations to help coordinate actions with other nations and as the nation held memorial services for victims of the attack, for which no one has been convicted. The unit noted that Hezbollah has been accused of responsibility for a 1992 attack on the Israeli Embassy in Argentina that killed 29 people, as well as the 1994 attack on the Argentine-Israelite Mutual Association in Buenos Aires.


Ex-chairman of Vietnam's BIDV bank dies in detention
Thu, 18 Jul 2019 03:22:37 -0400

Ex-chairman of Vietnam's BIDV bank dies in detentionA former head of Vietnam's second largest listed bank, the Joint Stock Commercial Bank for Investment and Development of Vietnam (BIDV), died in detention on Thursday, state media and three sources with direct knowledge of the situation said. Tran Bac Ha was arrested in November last year in a widening crackdown on corruption in the Southeast Asian country, which has seen its Communist-ruled government launch investigations into hundreds of public officials and several executives at state-owned enterprises jailed. Ha had not stood trial and was being held at a military detention center near Hanoi, the Vietnamese capital, the Tuoi Tre newspaper reported.


Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Nancy Pelosi planning to meet one-on-one
Wed, 17 Jul 2019 16:16:34 -0400

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Nancy Pelosi planning to meet one-on-oneEarlier this month, Nancy Pelosi downplayed four votes from a group of progressive Democrats against a border funding bill.


Mnuchin Warns Europe Not to Breach U.S. Sanctions on Iran
Thu, 18 Jul 2019 09:17:31 -0400

Mnuchin Warns Europe Not to Breach U.S. Sanctions on Iran(Bloomberg) -- Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin made clear that participating in the U.S. financial system means abiding by its sanctions amid a European effort to sidestep American economic pressure on Iran to continue trade.Germany, France and the U.K. created a financing vehicle known as Instex in January to allow companies to do some trade with Iran without the use of U.S. dollars or American banks -- thus allowing them to get around wide-ranging American sanctions that were imposed after the Trump administration abandoned the 2015 Iran nuclear deal last year.“We’ve been very clear that we expect U.S. sanctions to be adhered to,” Mnuchin said in response to questions from reporters on Thursday in France where he met with Group of Seven counterparts. “Whether it’s Iran or anyone else, if people want to participate in the dollar system people will be obligated to follow the U.S. sanctions.”He said that Instex should be “careful on diligence.”Treasury’s top sanctions official, Sigal Mandelker, sent a letter in May warning European allies not to violate sanctions through Instex. Mnuchin confirmed that a letter was sent.European countries broadly opposed Trump’s decision to withdraw from the nuclear accord but have struggled to deliver the economic benefits Iran expected from the deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, since the U.S. quit. In the meantime, U.S. sanctions have delivered a blow to Iran’s economy, fueling inflation, reducing oil revenue and pressuring President Hassan Rouhani’s government. Instex was supposed to help address that, but so far it has largely failed to get up and running.Frustrated at the U.S. withdrawal and stalled European efforts, Iran has already breached some of the limits on its nuclear program imposed under the deal, and has warned European governments that it will give up on the accord entirely unless they can find some way to work around the U.S. sanctions.To contact the reporter on this story: Saleha Mohsin in Washington at smohsin2@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Alex Wayne at awayne3@bloomberg.net, Elizabeth Wasserman, Bill FariesFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


India's 'dosa king' dies one week into life term
Thu, 18 Jul 2019 04:51:22 -0400

India's 'dosa king' dies one week into life termAn Indian restaurant tycoon known as the "Dosa King" died in hospital Thursday, a week after beginning a life sentence for the murder of a love rival. P. Rajagopal, 71, was convicted for the murder of his love interest's husband in 2004, but only went to jail this month when the Supreme Court rejected his final appeal. Rajagopal, who turned his Saravana Bhawan restaurant into a global chain, died at Chennai's Vijaya hospital where he was taken on Tuesday with heart problems.


France turns down citizenship for immigrant nurse because she 'works too much'
Thu, 18 Jul 2019 09:27:55 -0400

France turns down citizenship for immigrant nurse because she 'works too much'France has rejected an immigrant nurse’s application for citizenship on the grounds that she was working too many hours a week in breach of the statutory 35-hour week and strict limits on overtime. The nurse, whose name and nationality have not been made public, holds three jobs and averages 59 hours a week, which the authorities said placed her “in violation of regulations on working time in France”. The 35-hour rule introduced under a Socialist government in 2000 gave France one of the world’s shortest working weeks, but it has since been loosened and employees may be permitted to work up to 48 hours a week including overtime.  The Préfecture in Val-de Marne, near Paris, said in a letter to the nurse that it was “postponing” her naturalisation application for two years. The letter was posted on social media by one of her friends, Nicolas Delage. “I find this scandalous,” Mr Delage told the online newspaper 20 Minutes. “One reason for granting [French] nationality is work. She is not stealing anyone’s work.” Sanjay Navy, a lawyer, said immigrants were often denied naturalisation for working too many hours. “I’ve seen similar cases before this. This is not an isolated decision.” Mr Navy said he had seen a number of naturalisation applications by security guards turned down because they had multiple employers and worked too many hours. According to the most recent official figures, some 63,000 immigrants were granted French citizenship in 2017. The French are bitterly divided over the 35-hour week, which became a campaign issue in the 2017 presidential election. The unsuccessful conservative candidate, François Fillon, promised to abolish it, arguing that it caused economic stagnation. Emmanuel Macron, the victorious centrist, has stopped short of scrapping it but has introduced greater flexibility for companies to negotiate longer hours with staff. An economy ministry report in April which revealed that more than 300,000 civil servants work less than 35 hours a week caused outrage among private-sector employees, many of whom say they regularly work longer hours to achieve their targets. A baker in northern France was fined €3,000 (£2,700) last year for breaching legal limits on work hours by opening his bakery seven days a week. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings.


The U.S. Marine Corps Has Lost More Than 25,000 Marines to Misconduct
Thu, 18 Jul 2019 03:42:00 -0400

The U.S. Marine Corps Has Lost More Than 25,000 Marines to MisconductThe Marine Corps has lost more than 25,000 Marines to misconduct over the past decade, according to Commandant Gen. David Berger.In his 2019 Commandant's Planning Guidance, Berger said that the Corps "continued loss of 8,000 Marines per year to non-EAS attrition is unacceptable," using an acronym to describe the end of active service in an enlistment.A total of 25,336 Marines were booted from the Corps between 2009 and 2019; 11,765 were for drug and alcohol offenses, while 13,571 were over unspecified misconduct."This must change," Berger wrote, noting that the cost to replace that many Marines was in excess of $1 billion.Interestingly, that number should be even higher, as its section on drug use reveals. Since Oct. 2017, 2,410 Marines tested positive for illegal drug use, but only 1,175, or 48.8%, had been separated. "I am deeply troubled by the continued retention of Marines failing to adhere to our standards related to drug use.""We are an elite institution of warriors, and will remain so on my watch," Berger wrote. "It is our shared responsibility to ensure the continued health of our collective soul and identity."Toward the end of the 26-page document, which largely focused on changes Berger intended to implement as the top Marine officer, the new commandant talked about misconduct in the force and what he called "destructive" behavior.Of sexual assault, for example, Berger said that despite the Corps' efforts, "the continued rise in reporting leads me to conclude that we still do not fully understand the scope and scale of this issue, or that we can say with any confident that the measures we have taken to date are preventing sexual assaults."


Flynn had $4.6M unpaid legal tab, records show
Thu, 18 Jul 2019 11:04:37 -0400

Flynn had $4.6M unpaid legal tab, records showLaw firm Covington & Burling took on Trump's ex-national security adviser Michael Flynn in early 2017, when his lobbying and consulting work came under scrutiny.


Lawyer: El Chapo was whisked away within hours of sentencing
Thu, 18 Jul 2019 16:47:52 -0400

Lawyer: El Chapo was whisked away within hours of sentencingOnly hours after receiving a life sentence, convicted Mexican drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman was forced to make a sudden departure to the highest-security prison in the U.S. to serve the term, his lawyer said Thursday. A government helicopter whisked the narco, notorious for his daring jailbreaks, out of New York City on Wednesday after the sentencing in federal court in Brooklyn, said defense attorney Jeffrey Lichtman. For most defendants, there's a lag between sentencing and a decision by the Bureau of Prisons on where to house them.


White-collar prosecutions and corporate fines drop under Trump
Thu, 18 Jul 2019 07:56:01 -0400

White-collar prosecutions and corporate fines drop under TrumpA drop in white-collar crime prosecutions and corporate fines during the Trump administration has prompted a warning from a leading law firm.New York-based Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz issued a memo to its clients noting the “significant” decrease in both the number of cases and the scale of penalties over the last two years.The lawyers advised businesses not to relax their approach to laws and regulations, adding: “Our experience suggests that succumbing to such temptation would be a mistake.”It comes after data from the US Department of Justice revealed white-collar prosecutions – including offences of fraud, antitrust violations and identity theft – hit a 20-year low earlier this year.Prosecutions peaked in 2011, during Barack Obama’s first term in office, and have steadily declined since, according to Syracuse University’s TRAC reports.“White-collar prosecutions since President Trump assumed office generally have been lower than in previous administrations,” researchers said. Corporate fines from criminal prosecutions also plunged by more than 90 per cent, according to a study comparing the last year of the Obama administration and the first year under President Trump.The “lighter touch” approach towards the banking industry is further demonstrated by a large drop in the number of cases pursued by the Securities and Exchange Commission, according to analysis by The New York Times.“In such an environment, companies might be tempted to think that having an effective compliance programme is less urgent and less important than the past,” Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz told its clients on Wednesday.“In fact, now is arguably the best time for corporations to continue investing in their compliance programmes to ensure they have in place an effective and comprehensive set of compliance policies, procedures and internal controls.”> Extraordinary memo from Wachtell tonight conceding that white collar enforcement in Trump era is way down pic.twitter.com/2ljocRQOlr> > — Sujeet Indap (@sindap) > > July 18, 2019The Department of Justice has previously tried to deny suggestions that white-collar prosecutions are decreasing, claiming a three per cent rise during the year to September 2018, with more than 6,500 suspects charged nationwide.“President Donald Trump is a law-and-order president—and this is a law-and-order administration,” said attorney general Jeff Sessions, less than three weeks before he resigned at Mr Trump’s request.


'Pharma Bro' Martin Shkreli to stay behind bars, loses appeal of conviction
Thu, 18 Jul 2019 09:39:48 -0400

'Pharma Bro' Martin Shkreli to stay behind bars, loses appeal of convictionA federal appeals court upheld the conviction and seven-year prison term of Martin Shkreli, the pharmaceutical executive known as "Pharma Bro," for defrauding investors in his hedge funds and conspiring to manipulate the stock of Retrophin Inc, a biotechnology company he ran. In a 3-0 decision, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan on Thursday rejected Shkreli's argument that his trial judge gave incorrect and confusing instruction about securities fraud to the Brooklyn jury that convicted him. Shkreli, 36, had been appealing his August 2017 conviction on two securities fraud counts and one conspiracy count.


Texas teen arrested for spitting in tea bottle and putting it back, police say
Thu, 18 Jul 2019 13:57:36 -0400

Texas teen arrested for spitting in tea bottle and putting it back, police sayPolice arrested a 15-year-old boy for spitting in an Arizona Tea bottle and putting it back on the shelf at an Odessa Albertsons, according to CB7.


Kremlin Opens Door to Changing Constitution as Succession Looms
Wed, 17 Jul 2019 13:27:56 -0400

Kremlin Opens Door to Changing Constitution as Succession Looms(Bloomberg) -- The Kremlin raised the possibility of changing Russia’s Constitution after a top lawmaker proposed bolstering parliament’s powers, in a move that could help to extend President Vladimir Putin’s rule.The idea of constitutional amendments, including allowing parliament a say in forming the government, received “a widespread response” and are “a matter for discussion,” Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, told reporters on a conference call Wednesday.Putin in 2024 must step down as president to avoid violating a constitutional ban on more than two consecutive terms. While he’s previously ruled out changing the constitution to remain as president, advisers are examining ways to effectively prolong his grip on power, which is already the longest since Soviet dictator Josef Stalin.The Kremlin is considering changing the electoral system in an effort to secure its lock on the lower house of parliament in 2021 elections amid a plunge in popularity of the ruling United Russia party, according to people familiar with the preparations. Keeping a strong hold on the legislature, known as the State Duma, would widen Putin’s room for maneuver. It could potentially allow him to switch roles to retain power as head of the ruling party and prime minister with expanded constitutional authority at the expense of the presidency, according to two people close to the Kremlin and a ruling-party legislator.Selecting MembersState Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin, a key Putin ally, used an op-ed article Wednesday in Parlamentskaya Gazeta, the official publication of parliament, to argue that Russia must fix the “lack of a necessary balance between the work of the legislative and executive branches.”This means “at a minimum” allowing lawmakers to take part in selecting government ministers, and “this will require changes to the Constitution,” Volodin said. Currently, parliament votes to approve the prime minister and the government team he or she selects.Volodin said he was arguing for only minor “targeted” changes that didn’t fundamentally alter the balance of power in Russia, and his article didn’t mention the succession issue.The proposed constitutional amendments would also limit the powers of the presidency, said Alexei Chesnakov, a former senior Kremlin official who now consults the authorities.‘Various Scenarios’“Putin hasn’t decided yet how to implement the power transfer, so it’s useful to air various scenarios to give the authorities more room for maneuver,” he said via message.While pro-government members of parliament mostly backed Volodin’s idea, one senior United Russia lawmaker urged caution, and the head of the Kremlin’s human rights commission, Mikhail Fedotov, said he opposed any change to the constitution.The Kremlin’s efforts to find alternative means of keeping Putin in power haven’t gotten very far.Efforts to coax the leader of neighboring Belarus into a potential merger with Russia -- which would enable Putin to take over as head of the united state -- have floundered. Meanwhile, the move earlier this year by Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev to step down while retaining a foreign policy and security role isn’t seen by many as a realistic model in Russia because the new president could theoretically still challenge Putin.(Updates with ex-Kremlin official’s comment from 8th paragraphs.)To contact the reporter on this story: Henry Meyer in Moscow at hmeyer4@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Gregory L. White at gwhite64@bloomberg.net, Tony HalpinFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


India demands Pakistan release accused 'spy' after world court ruling
Thu, 18 Jul 2019 04:46:21 -0400

India demands Pakistan release accused 'spy' after world court rulingIndia on Thursday demanded that Pakistan release an alleged spy after the International Court of Justice called for a review of a death sentence against him. The arch-rivals each declared victory after the world court ruling made late Wednesday. India's Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar said Jadhav, a former navy officer, "is in the illegal custody of Pakistan under fabricated charges" as he welcomed the court ruling.


View Photos of the Lexus GXOR Concept
Thu, 18 Jul 2019 12:59:00 -0400

View Photos of the Lexus GXOR Concept


What Rare Earths Tell Us about China's Competitive Strategy
Wed, 17 Jul 2019 12:27:00 -0400

What Rare Earths Tell Us about China's Competitive StrategyThe recent debate over whether or not China will carry through on its threats to stop exporting rare earth minerals to the United States is an important one. It raises deeply unsettling questions about the strength of America's defense industrial supply chain. But Beijing’s monopolization of the global rare earths industry gives it far more than a card to play in an escalating trade war. The game is far bigger and the stakes higher than even many national-security experts seem to realize.In the minds of Chinese strategists, this issue is ultimately about which nation, China or America, wins the central struggle of the twenty-first century, the race for world leadership. Obviously, they intend to win and to win big.The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) considers rare earths to be essential for growing China’s power and eclipsing the United States. Official Chinese propaganda outlets recently called rare earths “strategic resources” for the “six new technology groups” that Beijing sees as engines of China’s future strength. These include information technology, medical technology, new materials, new energy sources, space technology, and advanced shipbuilding. According to the report, a major breakthrough in the application of rare earths is being made every five years, and one out of every six new inventions involves these minerals.


I was a military doctor. The Pentagon's plan to cut doctors will make whole system worse.
Thu, 18 Jul 2019 07:00:10 -0400

I was a military doctor. The Pentagon's plan to cut doctors will make whole system worse.As an Army physician, I earned my patients' trust by serving side-by-side with them. Now,


Arrested reporter slams conditions at US detention centers
Wed, 17 Jul 2019 17:26:13 -0400

Arrested reporter slams conditions at US detention centersA Spanish-language reporter who was recently released from immigration custody said Wednesday he was held for 15 months in detention centers that were plagued by insects and he had to bathe with cold water from water hoses. During a news conference, Manuel Duran discussed what he called inhumane conditions at immigration detention facilities in Louisiana and Alabama. Duran was released from an Alabama facility on bail last week as immigration courts consider his request for asylum.


‘Quite phenomenal’: Arctic heatwave hits most northerly settlement in world
Wed, 17 Jul 2019 06:09:37 -0400

‘Quite phenomenal’: Arctic heatwave hits most northerly settlement in worldThe planet's most northerly human settlement is in the midst of an "unprecedented" heatwave as parts of the Arctic endure one of their hottest summers on record.Canada's weather agency confirmed on Tuesday that temperatures in Alert, Nunavut, peaked at 21C at the weekend – far exceeding the July average for the area of around 5C.Overnight temperatures on Sunday remained above 15C; again, well in excess of nighttime lows that usually hover around freezing in a settlement that lies less than 900km from the North Pole.The previous temperature record for the town, of 20C, was set in 1956.In a further alarm bell for the region, the mercury climbed above 20C for a second day on Monday – the first time Alert's climate station has recorded two consecutive days of 20C-plus temperatures in its history.Alert is the northernmost permanently inhabited place in the world – with a population numbering less than 100 – and is far to the north of the Arctic Circle.David Phillips, Environment Canada's chief climatologist, said the weather in the far north of Canada was "quite spectacular" and "unprecedented".He told the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation: "It's nothing that you would have ever seen." Armel Castellan, a meteorologist at the Canadian environment ministry, told AFP the extreme weather was "quite phenomenal"."It's an absolute record, we've never seen that before," he said.Unusually, Victoria, 4,000km south of Alert, enjoyed cooler temperatures of 20.6C while the Arctic settlement baked.Tyler Hamilton, a meteorologist at The Weather Network, said: "These two communities have a staggering amount of lines of latitude in between them, with the City of Victoria situated at 48°N, while Alert is plopped north of 82°N."This is in fact the first time a temperature warmer than 20C has been measured north of 80° on the planet."Alert's heatwave comes as nearby Alaska saw its own record temperatures earlier this month.Anchorage, the state's largest city, sweltered in 32C on 4 July – shattering the seasonal high of around 24C.Other local records were set across southern Alaska and came after five weeks of above average temperatures in the outlying US state.Rick Thoman, a climate specialist at the University of Alaska, said at the time that exceptionally warm weather events would only become more frequent because of the loss of sea ice and warming in the Arctic Ocean."These kinds of extreme weather events become much more likely in a warming world," he said."Surface temperatures are above normal everywhere around Alaska. The entire Gulf of Alaska, in the Bering Sea, in the Chukchi Sea south of the ice edge, exceptionally warm waters, warmest on record, and of course record-low sea ice extent for this time of year off the north and northwest coasts of the state."Research published at the start of the year found Arctic summers may be hotter than they have been for 115,000 years.Evidence that this century is the warmest the region has faced for millennia came from plants collected in the remote wilderness of Baffin Island.As glaciers melt in the Canadian Arctic, landscapes are emerging that have not been ice-free for more than 40,000 years.“The Arctic is currently warming two to three times faster than the rest of the globe,” said Simon Pendleton, a PhD student at the University of Colorado at Boulder who led the research.


Russia summons U.S. diplomat in Moscow in protest over visa row
Thu, 18 Jul 2019 11:44:13 -0400

Russia summons U.S. diplomat in Moscow in protest over visa rowRussia summoned a representative of the U.S. embassy in Moscow on Thursday to issue a protest after U.S. officials alleged Russia had refused visas to teachers at an international school in Moscow, the Russian foreign ministry said. The ministry said in a statement it had not denied the visas, but that teachers at the school were entering Russia under diplomatic visas, despite not being diplomats. It said Russia was ready to issue visas promptly to U.S. diplomatic personnel as soon as Washington started issuing visas promptly to Russian diplomats in the United States.


Christ Cathedral, formerly Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove, reopens after renovation
Wed, 17 Jul 2019 21:36:48 -0400

Christ Cathedral, formerly Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove, reopens after renovationThe former Crystal Cathedral in Orange County is newly remodeled, renamed and is now a Catholic church.


New Jersey judge who cited alleged rapist's 'good family' in court ruling steps down
Wed, 17 Jul 2019 19:16:18 -0400

New Jersey judge who cited alleged rapist's 'good family' in court ruling steps downSuperior Court Judge James G. Troiano has drawn an intense backlash over his decision to bar prosecutors from bringing adult charges against the teen.


Trump mocked for tweet on arrest of Mumbai attacks suspect
Thu, 18 Jul 2019 05:38:33 -0400

Trump mocked for tweet on arrest of Mumbai attacks suspectPakistanis Thursday mocked US President Donald Trump's claim that the alleged Mumbai attacks mastermind had been arrested "after a ten-year search" while he was actually in the public eye for much of the decade. Hafiz Saeed, a firebrand cleric accused by Washington and New Delhi of being behind the 2008 attacks, was taken into custody on Wednesday, days ahead of a trip by Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan to Washington for his first meeting with Trump. "After a ten-year search, the so-called 'mastermind' of the Mumbai Terror attacks has been arrested in Pakistan.


After census debacle, White House to knock out senior Commerce official
Thu, 18 Jul 2019 13:24:46 -0400

After census debacle, White House to knock out senior Commerce officialSenior Trump aides have sparred with the policy director for Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross over the census, 5G and other issues.


Venezuela’s Black Market Comeback Hints at Looming Devaluation
Thu, 18 Jul 2019 13:52:59 -0400

Venezuela’s Black Market Comeback Hints at Looming Devaluation(Bloomberg) -- After months looming in the background, Venezuela’s black market is back.The difference between the black market price to buy dollars and the official rate is blowing out after months of relative stability. In just one week, the bolivar has depreciated 18% against the dollar on the streets where the currency is traded informally, now costing 10,130 bolivars, according to MonitorDolarVzla, which compiles the average of a myriad of sources. That compares with 7,336 bolivars at the official rate.After years of an artificially strong official rate, President Nicolas Maduro’s government has overseen a dramatic devaluation in the past few years to essentially price the bolivar in line with the black market.To keep the relationship from gaping out again, the government implemented tight monetary requirements on banks earlier this year to keep bolivars on lock down at the central bank. The efforts were designed to drain liquidity and to keep local currency out of the hands of Venezuelans who typically swap them for dollars to retain purchasing power amid hyperinflation.While those controls are still in place, the gap is widening. Under the current exchange regime, Venezuela has swung drastically to become expensive in dollars.While the reason behind the sudden increase in price is unclear, some economists point to pressure built up from an overvalued bolivar and an increase in public spending.“The currency wasn’t depreciating at the same rate as inflation and now we’re seeing that relationship normalize,” said Henkel Garcia, director of the Caracas-based consultancy Econometrica, who thinks the real value of the bolivar should be around 25,000 to 30,000 per dollar.\--With assistance from Alex Vasquez and Fabiola Zerpa.To contact the reporter on this story: Patricia Laya in Caracas at playa2@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Daniel Cancel at dcancel@bloomberg.netFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.



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