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  • Trump lawyers contradict one another as they conclude first phase of impeachment trial 

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    The president’s top White House lawyer has repeatedly told the Senate Trump did nothing wrong in withholding aid to Ukraine, even as other lawyers on his defense team directly contradicted that assertion over the last two days. 

    Tue, 28 Jan 2020 18:45:05 -0500
  • Bolton, who may hold impeachment bombshell, has a history of settling scores

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    John Bolton has many times before been at the center of a maelstrom that is in good part of his own making. And each time, he has somehow emerged eager for more. 

    Tue, 28 Jan 2020 12:00:33 -0500
  • Historians unveil rare photos of Sobibor death camp

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    Hundreds of newly discovered photographs, including some taken at the Sobibor death camp, represent a "quantum leap" in research into Nazi crimes against humanity, historians at the Berlin museum Topography of Terror said Tuesday. Historians said the "exceptional collection" provided unprecedented insights into the Sobibor camp in German Nazi-occupied Poland, about which little is known even 75 years after the end of World War II. The trove, consisting of 361 black-and-white photos and several written documents, also includes photos believed to show convicted Nazi guard John Demjanjuk, who denied ever being at Sobibor.

    Tue, 28 Jan 2020 12:43:19 -0500
  • Dem Senator Agrees Hunter Biden is a ‘Relevant’ Impeachment Witness

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    Senator Joe Manchin (D., W.V.) on Wednesday said he believes Hunter Biden may be a pertinent witness in the Senate impeachment trial."I think so, I really do," Manching said when asked on MSNBC's Morning Joe whether he thought the former vice president's son was a "relevant" witness. "I don't have a problem there because this is why we are where we are.""I think that he could clear himself from what I know and what I've heard," Manchin went on, "but being afraid to put anybody that might have pertinent information [on the witness stand] is wrong, whether you're Democrat or Republican."> .@WillieGeist asks @Sen_JoeManchin if Hunter Biden is a 'relevant witness.' Sen. Manchin responds: "I think so; I really do." pic.twitter.com/ZESiUMWTWc> > -- Morning Joe (@Morning_Joe) January 29, 2020The Senate is currently entering the two-day question and answer phase of impeachment, after which it will vote on whether to subpoena witnesses and documents to be used as evidence at the trial. Democrats would like to summon former White House national security adviser John Bolton to testify, however Republicans may then insist on calling Hunter Biden as well as the whistleblower whose complaint set off the impeachment process.Hunter Biden was the head of Ukrainian natural gas company Burisma Holdings from 2014 through early 2019. In 2016, at the behest of U.S. and European Union officials, then-vice president Joe Biden pressured Ukraine to fire top prosecutor Victor Shokin over suspicions of corruption. Shokin had in the past led an investigation into Burisma for corruption within the company.Manchin, whose state of West Virginia contains a strong base of support for Trump, is one of three Senate Democrats who have remained publicly undecided on whether to acquit or convict the President."I know it’s hard to believe that. But I really am [undecided]. But I have not made a final decision. Every day, I hear something, I think ‘this is compelling, that’s compelling,'" the Senator said on Tuesday. "Everyone’s struggling a little bit."

    Wed, 29 Jan 2020 09:42:13 -0500
  • Harvard professor charged with hiding China ties, payments

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    A Harvard University professor was charged Tuesday with lying about his ties to a Chinese-run recruitment program and concealing payments he received from the Chinese government for research. Charles Lieber, chair of the department of chemistry and chemical biology, is accused of hiding his involvement in China's Thousand Talents Plan, a program designed to lure people with knowledge of foreign technology and intellectual property to China. Lieber was arrested early Tuesday at his office at the Ivy League university, officials said.

    Tue, 28 Jan 2020 16:47:15 -0500
  • U.N. criticizes Iraq trials of ISIS 'members', including human shields

    The United Nations raised "serious concerns" on Tuesday about the trials of hundreds of alleged Islamic State members in Iraq, some of whom merely prepared meals, offered medical services or even acted as human shields for the jihadist group. Iraq has processed thousands of cases under its anti-terrorism law - including of detainees from outside the Middle East transferred from neighboring Syria - in the aftermath of a 2014-17 war against Islamic State militants.

    Tue, 28 Jan 2020 09:05:06 -0500
  • 11 Beautiful Examples of When Historic and Modern Architecture Come Together

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    Wed, 29 Jan 2020 12:50:00 -0500
  • The Trump administration failed to convince the UK to ditch Huawei and its other allies aren't listening either

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    The UK defied Trump to permit Huawei limited access to its 5G network.

    Wed, 29 Jan 2020 05:57:00 -0500
  • Mitt Romney violated Senate rules by drinking chocolate milk

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    Sen. Mitt Romney, a Utah Republican, was caught drinking chocolate milk out of a bottle on the Senate floor on Tuesday afternoon — a breach of the Senate impeachment trial rules.

    Wed, 29 Jan 2020 07:03:05 -0500
  • Lev Parnas’ Lawyer Set To Attend Senate Impeachment Trial

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    Lev Parnas’ attorney Joseph Bondy is set to attend the Senate impeachment trial tomorrow during the first day of the question-answer period. His co-counsel Stephanie Schuman is also expected to appear, The Daily Beast has learned.“Like many other New York constituents, Mr. Bondy reached out and asked for gallery tickets, and we said yes,” said Justin Goodman, a spokesperson for Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), the Senate Minority Leader.Bondy told The Daily Beast Tuesday that his client was also trying to attend tomorrow’s proceedings in the Senate trial but would be unlikely to be able to enter the chamber because he wears an ankle monitor. Senate rules bar individuals from bringing any electronics into the chamber during the trial. Tuesday evening, U.S. District Judge J. Paul Oetken indeed modified Parnas' pretrial release to allow him to travel to Washington, but denied the removal of his monitor.Lev Parnas Dishes on Kushner, Maduro, and SorosParnas, a Florida businessman, worked with Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani to investigate a company linked to former Vice President Joe Biden. He was charged with election-related crimes in October and has pleaded not guilty. Parnas’ work with Giuliani is a core part of Democrats’ arguments to remove the president for abuse of power.Parnas has provided materials, including phone records, to House investigators over the last several weeks. Bondy has publicly lobbied for lawmakers to bring his client in for questioning on his interactions with Giuliani, President Donald Trump, and others caught up in the U.S.-Ukraine scandal. Bondy’s appearance tomorrow comes as senators debate whether to allow former National Security Adviser John Bolton into the chamber for questioning or whether to allow lawmakers to view his manuscript in a classified setting.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.

    Tue, 28 Jan 2020 17:29:51 -0500
  • Trump, trying to head off testimony, says Bolton would have started 'World War Six'

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    As pressure mounts on senators to allow John Bolton’s testimony in President Trump’s impeachment trial, the president used Twitter to trash his former national security adviser.

    Wed, 29 Jan 2020 09:37:47 -0500
  • Goldman Says Market Volatility Too Low as Sanders Rises in Polls

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    (Bloomberg) -- Investors unnerved by Elizabeth Warren’s rising poll numbers last year seem remarkably blase at the rising prospects for Bernie Sanders, according to Goldman Sachs Group Inc.’s global head of market strategies.“The market thinks that his ability to win against Trump is significantly lower than Warren’s ability to win against Trump -- even though there is nothing in the actual polls that would tell you that is right,” said Goldman’s Brian Friedman. The outcome is “as unknown and uncertain as ever. Vol is just too low.”Warren and Sanders are two of the top-tier candidates vying to become the Democratic party’s nominee to run against Trump in November. When Warren’s odds on betting site PredictIt hit a peak of 52% back in October, some on Wall Street were gripped by fears about the Massachusetts senator’s perceived anti-business policy platform.Warren’s chances have since crashed to under 10%. Sanders, a senator from Vermont, has seen surging odds, but there’s been no similar wave of concern among investors -- despite the potential that his policies would be to the left of Warren’s, Friedman said at a briefing in Sydney Wednesday.Investors overall are telling Goldman they strongly expect Trump to win re-election, given a solid economy and the advantage of incumbency, Friedman said. Even so, his narrow margins of victory in rust-belt states in 2016 suggests the potential for surprises, he said.Morgan Stanley Says Economy Can’t Promise Trump Re-ElectionSanders rose to 21% support among Democrats and those who lean Democratic in the latest Quinnipiac University national poll, behind former Vice President Joe Biden at 26% and ahead of Warren on 15%.“The people who control money in New York, L.A. or London -- they just have this opinion that’s really unfounded by the polling data in the states that will ultimately decide the election,” Friedman said.Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg placed fourth in the Quinnipiac survey, with 8%. He is the founder and majority owner of Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News.To contact the reporters on this story: Garfield Reynolds in Sydney at greynolds1@bloomberg.net;Adam Haigh in Sydney at ahaigh1@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Mark Cudmore at mcudmore8@bloomberg.net, Christopher Anstey, Cormac MullenFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

    Wed, 29 Jan 2020 00:26:35 -0500
  • Israel's Air Force Has a New Air-Launched "Rampage" Ballistic Missile

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    And it was just used for the first time.

    Tue, 28 Jan 2020 12:00:00 -0500
  • Indonesia's Aceh unveils new female flogging squad

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    The masked woman nervously approaches her target, shuffles into position and then unleashes a flurry of lashes -- proving herself as the newest member of the first female flogging squad in Indonesia's Aceh province. Such behaviour constitutes a morality crime in Aceh, the only region in the world's biggest Muslim-majority nation that imposes Islamic law -- known as Sharia.

    Tue, 28 Jan 2020 10:58:45 -0500
  • Syrian troops capture key town in rebel-held Idlib province

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    Syrian government forces captured one of the largest and most strategic rebel-held towns in the country's northwest, the Syrian military and opposition activists said Wednesday, part of a Russian-backed military assault that has displaced hundreds of thousands of people fleeing to safer areas. The town of Maaret al-Numan in Idlib province, which had been in rebel hands since 2012, sits on the highway linking Damascus with Aleppo and is considered critical to President Bashar Assad's forces. Its capture is the latest in a series of military triumphs for Assad.

    Wed, 29 Jan 2020 03:32:13 -0500
  • Canada's Chinese community faces racist abuse in wake of coronavirus

    Golocal247.com news

    Country has seen just three confirmed cases of the virus but panic is already spreading, causing an uptick in racist incidentsWhen Toronto resident Terri Chu tweeted that she and other Chinese mothers feared the “inevitable wave of racism” that would accompany the spread of coronavirus around the world, she didn’t realize how visceral the reactions would be.“My Twitter has just exploded with vitriol since this morning,” she said on Tuesday. “But it’s just par for the course, growing up as a minority when you’re not part of a dominant class.”Canada has so far seen three confirmed cases of the virus, which originated in China, but members of the country’s Chinese community have already become the target of racism.What is the virus causing illness in Wuhan?It is a member of the coronavirus family that has never been encountered before. Like other coronaviruses, it has come from animals, or possibly seafood. New and troubling viruses usually originate in animal hosts. Ebola and flu are examples.What other coronaviruses have there been?Severe acute respiratory syndrome (Sars) and Middle Eastern respiratory syndrome (Mers) are both caused by coronaviruses that came from animals.What are the symptoms of the Wuhan coronavirus?The virus causes pneumonia. Those who have fallen ill are reported to suffer coughs, fever and breathing difficulties. In severe cases there can be organ failure. As this is viral pneumonia, antibiotics are of no use. The antiviral drugs we have against flu will not work. If people are admitted to hospital, they may get support for their lungs and other organs as well as fluids. Recovery will depend on the strength of their immune system. Many of those who have died are known to have been already in poor health.Is the virus being transmitted from one person to another?Human to human transmission has been confirmed by China’s national health commission. As of 27 January, the Chinese authorities had acknowledged more than 2,700 cases and 56 deaths. In the past week, the number of confirmed infections has more than tripled and cases have been found in 13 provinces, as well as the municipalities of Beijing, Shanghai, Chongqing and Tianjin. The virus has also been confirmed outside China, in Hong Kong, Macau, Japan, Nepal, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, the US, and Vietnam. There have not been any confirmed cases in the UK at present, with the more than 70 people tested for the virus all proving negative. The actual number to have contracted the virus could be far higher as people with mild symptoms may not have been detected. Modelling by WHO experts at Imperial College London suggests there could be as many as 100,000 cases, with uncertainty putting the margins between 30,000 and 200,000.How worried are the experts?There were fears that the coronavirus might spread more widely during the week-long lunar new year holidays, which start on 24 January, when millions of Chinese travel home to celebrate, but the festivities have largely been cancelled and Wuhan and other Chinese cities are in lockdown.At what point should you go to the doctor if you have a cough, say?Unless you have recently travelled to China or been in contact with someone infected with the virus, then you should treat any cough or cold symptoms as normal. The NHS advises that there is generally no need to visit a doctor for a cough unless it is persistent or you are having other symptoms such as chest pain, difficulty breathing or you feel very unwell.Should we panic?No. The spread of the virus outside China is worrying but not an unexpected development. It increases the likelihood that the World Health Organization will declare the outbreak to be a public health emergency of international concern on Thursday evening. The key concerns are how transmissible this new coronavirus is between people and what proportion become severely ill and end up in hospital.Sarah Boseley Health editor and Hannah Devlin The country saw a similar wave of xenophobia during 2003 Sars outbreak, which also started in China.During that panic, many Chinese-run businesses in Canada took steep losses as fear overrode public health advice: Toronto lost an estimated C$1bn as residents and tourists avoided the city, especially areas with a high concentration of Chinese businesses.The irrational public worry that paralyzed much of the city seems to be returning, said Amy Go, the interim president of the Chinese Canadian National Council for Social Justice.“I was hopeful it wasn’t going to be like 2003. But it’s is. It’s happening now and it’s just going to be amplified [by social media].”When a popular Toronto blog, reviewed a new Chinese restaurant on Instagram on Monday, the post quickly received a torrent of racist comments.And nearly 9,000 parents in the York school district – an area north of Toronto – signed a petition demanding students who had traveled to China in the last 17 days be prevented from attending school.“This has to stop. Stop eating wild animals and then infecting everyone around you,” wrote one petition signer. “Stop the spread and quarantine yourselves or go back.”On Monday, the board – which represents 208 schools – condemned the petition amid fears students will be targeted based on their ethnicity.“We are aware of an escalated level of concern and anxiety among families of Chinese heritage,” wrote York board chair Juanita Nathan and education director Louise Sirisko. “Individuals who make assumptions, even with positive intentions of safety, about the risk of others, request or demand quarantine can be seen as demonstrating bias and racism.”Chu said fears about the coronavirus were disproportionate.“Air pollution and the proliferation of STDs are far greater public health risk to my kids than the coronavirus right now – it’s being completely blown out of proportion,” she said. The total death toll of Sars in Canada was 44, she said. “Last year in Toronto, 41 people got hit by cars.”Racist responses have also been seen in other countries with Chinese diaspora communities. In Australia, Queensland MP Duncan Pegg warned residents of false health bulletins circulating online that stoked fear of communities with high proportions Asian residents.But Go also said that the reactions in Canada – which includes some of the most ethnically diverse cities in the world – expose a current of everyday racism which is always present.“Two or three months from now, the coronavirus will likely be gone. But this is not just a public health issue. This is an issue of racism in Canada. “The best thing to come from this – the best impact – would be people collectively learning that we can do better.”

    Tue, 28 Jan 2020 13:51:19 -0500
  • Chinese villages are cutting themselves off from the world with makeshift brick walls to try to stop outsiders from giving them the Wuhan virus

    Golocal247.com news

    The Wuhan coronavirus has killed 106 people, infected 4,500, and spread to more than a dozen countries, China's health commission said Tuesday.

    Tue, 28 Jan 2020 05:18:23 -0500
  • 'Now they can chase their dreams': Bangladesh allows Rohingya children to study

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    Rohingya refugees reacted with surprise and joy on Wednesday to the news that Bangladesh would provide formal education to their children, two and a half years after they were forced to flee Myanmar. Human rights groups have long campaigned for the nearly half a million effectively stateless Rohingya children in Bangladesh’s refugee camps to be allowed access to quality education, warning of the costs of a 'lost generation'.

    Wed, 29 Jan 2020 08:39:28 -0500
  • ‘Oh God!’: Whoopi Goldberg Threatens to ‘Cut Off’ Rambling Dershowitz in Contentious Interview

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    Fresh off his latest stint arguing against impeachment on the floor of the Senate, Alan Dershowitz appeared on The View via satellite from Washington, D.C. on Wednesday morning and the interview was just as insane as you may have imagined. From the start, the hosts had an unusually hard time keeping Dershowitz on track as his filibustered about the framers’ intentions and his newfound theory that the president must commit a crime to be removed from office. Asked to name one other constitutional scholar who believes that, Dershowitz began talking about, “In 1867 the dean of the Columbia Law School…” “Wait, wait, wait,” moderator Whoopi Goldberg interrupted. “In 1492, Columbus sailed the seas of blue, but listen, I need us to move on.” When he refused to move on, she told him, “Here’s the thing, Alan, you’re not going to get any time because you’ve got four people trying to ask questions. So I’m asking you to move faster.” Trevor Noah Destroys Alan Dershowitz’s Impeachment HypocrisyHe continued to press his point, arguing that scholars are only taking that position because Donald Trump is being impeached. “If Hillary Clinton were being impeached, they'd all be on my side,” he said, to which Joy Behar yelled, “That’s just baloney!” “So I'm moving you on or I'm cutting you off, one or the other is going to happen,” Goldberg added to cheers from the audience “I don't want to make this contentious but we only have several minutes.” When Dershowitz chortled in response, she said, “You're laughing. I've always been respectful to you and you've always been respectful to me. So I need to move us on.” With that, she played a clip of Dershowitz making the exact opposite argument about the necessity of a crime during the Clinton impeachment. All he could really do was make a joke about his appearance in 1998—“First of all, I want to admit one thing, I was dead wrong about my haircut”—and say that he’s “changed his mind” about a lot of things over the years. But as Sunny Hostin then pointed out, even if you did need a “crime” to convict Trump, the Government Accountability Office already determined that Trump’s decision to withhold aid to Ukraine was illegal. “They didn't say that, no, no, no,” Dershowitz said. “Sunny, I'll tell you what, let's bet $1,000 to be contributed to the peace of Israel and Palestine.” As she maintained her position, he contradicted that organization by saying, “They have no jurisdiction to conclude it's a crime. Moreover, the GAO is dead wrong. The president conducts foreign policy. He has the right to withhold funds.” By the time Dershowitz started quoting Abraham Lincoln, Goldberg could be heard groaning, “Oh god!” And all of that was before Meghan McCain got her chance to ask a question. Newt Gingrich and Whoopi Goldberg Go at It Over Trump’s ‘Lynching’ CommentsRead 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.

    Wed, 29 Jan 2020 12:10:12 -0500
  • GOP Rep. Doug Collins announced a Senate bid. The Republican Party was not thrilled.

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    Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.) launched his Senate bid Wednesday, and the National Republican Senatorial Committee was far from pleased.It's not a surprise that Collins, a staunch President Trump supporter, is entering the ring and forcing a standoff with the incumbent Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.), who was appointed to finish the term of former Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) after Isakson resigned last year for health reasons.But the Republican Party doesn't want a race within its own ranks. Per Politico, a standoff in Georgia could jeopardize the Republican effort to hold the Senate majority, and the establishment is sticking with Loeffler. The NRSC released an angry statement in response to Collins' announcement, bluntly calling the congressman's decision-making shortsighted and selfish and accusing him of putting the party's greater prospects at risk. > NEW statement from @NRSC ED @KevinMcLaughlin on Doug Collins' selfish and shortsighted decision to enter the GA Senate ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/BizAEPW0Yv> > -- Jesse Hunt (@JJHunt10) January 29, 2020More stories from theweek.com It's 2020 and women are exhausted The 3 kinds of Republicans that Bolton's testimony would reveal The tragedy of Joe Biden

    Wed, 29 Jan 2020 10:23:00 -0500
  • Erdogan Warns Russia Risks Split With Turkey on Syria Attack

    (Bloomberg) -- Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan voiced rare recent criticism of Russia for its conduct in Syria, saying his “patience is running out” over the ongoing bombing of opposition Islamist forces in Idlib province.“As of now, Russia is loyal to neither Astana nor Sochi” agreements, Erdogan told reporters on his way back from a visit to African countries, according to Anadolu Agency.He was referring to accords struck by the two countries in recent years to curtail fighting in northern Syria. Russia and Turkey have stepped up their cooperation in the Syrian conflict while finding themselves on opposite sides of other Middle Eastern conflicts, such as the one in Libya.“If we are loyal partners, Russia will make its position clear,” Erdogan said. “Either it will have a different process with Syria, or it will have a different process with Turkey. There’s no other way.”The comments follow reports that Syrian government forces, backed by Russia, have taken control of Ma’arrat al-Nu’man, the biggest town in Idlib province. The strategically important area last changed hands in 2012, Anadolu reported on Wednesday.Russia responded to Erdogan’s comments by saying it’s committed to strictly implementing its obligations on Syria, the state-run Tass news service reported, citing the Foreign Ministry in Moscow.Millions of Syrians fleeing fighting in Syria over the years have headed for Turkey, and officials there have long warned of another major exodus as combat escalates in Idlib.(Updates with Russian Foreign Ministry in sixth paragraph)To contact the reporter on this story: Firat Kozok in Ankara at fkozok@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Onur Ant at oant@bloomberg.net, Mark Williams, Paul AbelskyFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

    Wed, 29 Jan 2020 07:31:59 -0500
  • The Israeli Army Is Unprepared for a Ground War with Iran and Hezbollah

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    If Israel has to go to war tomorrow against Iran or its Lebanese proxy Hezbollah, there’s a problem. The Israeli mechanized division that would defend Israel’s northern border, or enter Syria or Lebanon to eject Iranian and pro-Iranian forces, are in bad shape.

    Tue, 28 Jan 2020 05:53:00 -0500
  • Doomsday couple Lori Vallow and Chad Daybell were found vacationing in Hawaii — but their kids are still nowhere to be found

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    After months of searching, police found Idaho doomsday couple Lori Vallow and Chad Daybell vacationing in Hawaii — but their kids are still missing.

    Mon, 27 Jan 2020 17:59:38 -0500
  • Unite Here labor union staying neutral in Democratic primary

    Golocal247.com news

    The international union representing hotel and casino workers said Tuesday that it will not endorse a candidate in the Democratic presidential primary, casting doubt as to whether its influential Nevada local will follow suit ahead of the state’s caucuses. A statement from Unite Here, the parent of the large Nevada union representing hotel and casino workers, did not indicate whether the Culinary Union, the union's largest local, would issue its own endorsement before Nevada's Feb. 22 caucuses. The Culinary Union, a 60,000-member group made up of housekeepers, bartenders, porters and others who work in the casino resorts, is considered one of the more influential forces in Democratic politics in the state.

    Tue, 28 Jan 2020 17:10:21 -0500
  • As coronavirus spreads, Biden says Trump is 'the worst possible person' to keep America safe

    Golocal247.com news

    As evidence, Biden cited Trump’s response to the 2014 Ebola epidemic. Earlier, Trump tweeted that “it will all work out well.” Trump’s potential Democratic rivals, however, are not so sure. The second is about Trump’s leadership.

    Tue, 28 Jan 2020 15:45:48 -0500
  • US Navy’s first Triton drones arrive in Guam

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    Two drones arrived in Guam and will serve as part of an early operational capability to develop a concept of operations for the high-altitude, long-endurance systems.

    Tue, 28 Jan 2020 16:25:12 -0500
  • Warning shots fired as migrants rush Serbia's border with Hungary

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    A Hungarian security officer fired three warning shots early on Tuesday after about 60 migrants tried to force their way through a checkpoint on the border with Serbia, and Serbian police said later they had arrested 37 people for trying to cross the frontier illegally. No one was wounded in the incident, which took place at the Roszke/Horgos border crossing, Hungarian police spokeswoman Szilvia Szabo said. Hungarian police said the group tried to enter the European Union member state at the crossing at about 0430 GMT, prompting the security officer on site to fire the warning shots.

    Tue, 28 Jan 2020 04:04:13 -0500
  • Parnas Lawyer: Giuliani Delivered Graham Letter Calling for Sanctions on Ukrainian Officials

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    In late 2018, Rudy Giuliani said he delivered an unusual missive to Sen. Lindsey Graham, according to the lawyer of one of his ex-associates: a letter calling for sanctions on a host of Ukrainian government officials, including one widely viewed in the West as a brave reformer and another who helmed the company where Hunter Biden was a board member.Joseph Bondy, the attorney for Lev Parnas, an indicted Florida businessman involved in the U.S.-Ukraine saga, told The Daily Beast that Giuliani showed his client the letter and told him he delivered it to Sen. Graham (the letter misspelled the South Carolina Republican’s first name as “Lingsey”). Bondy said Giuliani also showed Parnas a second, similar letter addressed to Sigal Mandelker, who at the time was a top official at the Treasury Department. The letters, which The Daily Beast reviewed, claim that an eclectic mix of Ukrainian political figures and businesspeople were part of an alleged “organized crime syndicate.” The letters claim that the individuals were “actively involved in the siphoning of funds appropriated by the American government for aid to Ukraine.” And they claim that the alleged crime syndicate used those funds to buy black-market military parts from a Russian company under U.S. sanctions. All the while, they say, Ukraine’s then-prosecutor general (Giuliani ally Yuriy Lutsenko) couldn’t fight the crime because then President Petro Poroshenko wouldn’t let him take the case to court.“It concerns me, as should any fellow American, that a taxpayer’s money is rudely been stolen in Ukraine [sic],” reads the letter to Mandelker.The letter-writer introduces himself in the letter addressed to Mandelker as a Ukraine-born U.S. citizen named Michael Guralnik who graduated from the Soviet Military Academy and was “a 10-year veteran of the Soviet Army.” The letter to Graham, meanwhile, also bears Guralnik’s name but contains no introduction. It arrived a month before Giuliani tried to help former Ukrainian top prosecutor Viktor Shokin travel to the U.S. and meet with Graham, Bondy said. A few weeks before the date of the Guralnik letter, Giuliani sent Graham a letter of his own asking his staff to help three unnamed Ukrainians get visas so they could come to the U.S. and share information about the Bidens. The State Department did not give Shokin a visa. The letters say that the “only way” to “stop this syndicate” is to sanction the individuals involved. Both letters list 12 people, along with phone numbers for some of them. Included on the list are Mykola Zlochevskiy, the head of the scandal-plagued Ukrainian company where Joe Biden’s son Hunter Biden was a board member; Valeriya Gontareva, the head of the National Bank of Ukraine from mid-2014 to mid-2017; and Kateryna Rozhkova, who was her deputy. Graham and Giuliani did not respond to repeated requests for comment, and it was not immediately clear if lawmakers ever even considered the sanctions. A spokesperson for Graham did not respond to a request for comment. Mandelker did not comment on the record for this report. When contacted, Guralnik hung up the phone and texted, “Do not call any more.”The inclusion of Gontareva and Rozhkova’s names is notable. In 2016, Gontareva oversaw the Ukrainian government’s decision to seize control of a bank that belonged to oligarch Ihor Kolomoisky. Ukrainian officials alleged that Kolomoisky and his allies had misappropriated billions from the bank. Kolomoisky has pushed to regain control of the bank, even as the FBI has investigated him for financial crimes. And in the wake of her decision, Gontareva has faced death threats and danger. Her home was vandalized, and someone left a coffin with her likeness inside it outside the Central Bank offices, as The Washington Post reported. Years after the nationalization of the bank, the danger persists. In August 2019, she was hit by a car in London and hospitalized. The next month, her home in Ukraine was burned down, per the Kyiv Post. Gontareva’s fight to reform Ukraine’s financial sector won her devoted allies in the West, who saw her as one of Kyiv’s few genuine reformers. Kolomoisky, meanwhile, is an intimidating figure to many in Ukraine, and some have alleged he has ordered contract killings. He also funded a private militia that fought Russian-backed separatists in Eastern Ukraine. His connection to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has also long raised eyebrows; the TV show that boosted Zelensky’s public profile aired on a TV channel that Kolomoisky owns, and one of Kolomoisky’s former lawyers is now a senior aide to Zelensky (Giuliani and U.S. officials have raised concerns with Zelensky’s team about that aide, Andriy Bohdan). Jordan Libowitz, a spokesperson for the government watchdog organization Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, told The Daily Beast that the Guralnik letters mean Giuliani should answer more questions about his Ukraine work.“While we can’t obviously speak to the veracity of these claims, it does seem to look more and more like Rudy Giuliani is incredibly deeply involved with some seriously shady business in Ukraine and we need more information, not only on his activities, but his activities and those of his associates on behalf of or benefiting Donald Trump,” he said. “As bad as these things look on their face, they’re so much worse if you consider the involvement of the president of the United States. There is so little we know, but enough to know that we need to know a lot more.” 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.

    Wed, 29 Jan 2020 04:25:14 -0500
  • Mexico deports 2,300 Hondurans who crossed illegally in '2020 Caravan'

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    Mexican migration authorities said they have deported 2,300 Hondurans who illegally crossed over from Guatemala with a caravan heading to the United States.

    Tue, 28 Jan 2020 12:37:23 -0500
  • Johnson to Hail Hope and Opportunity of Brexit Just as U.K. Leaves EU

    (Bloomberg) -- U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson will make a speech to the nation at 10 p.m. on Friday -- an hour before the country leaves the European Union.After three years of political turmoil over Brexit, Johnson said finally leaving the bloc will be “a great moment for our country”. It will be a time of “hope and opportunity” and a chance to come together, he said in a Facebook broadcast released by his office.The prime minister said he will mark the moment in a way that’s “mindful” of the nation’s divisions over breaking with the bloc. His Conservative Party has spent decades divided over the U.K.’s relationship with the EU and even Johnson’s own family has been split. Last year his brother Jo quit the cabinet over the premier’s Brexit plans.“I will be celebrating in a way that I hope is respectful of the scale of the event, that does justice to the astonishing feat that Britain has accomplished, but also is mindful or everybody’s feelings about what we are doing,” he said.To contact the reporters on this story: Jessica Shankleman in London at jshankleman@bloomberg.net;Olivia Konotey-Ahulu in London at okonoteyahul@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Tim Ross at tross54@bloomberg.net, Thomas Penny, Robert HuttonFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

    Wed, 29 Jan 2020 12:46:58 -0500
  • GOP Senators Urge Barr to Declassify Footnotes in Russia-Probe IG Report: ‘The American People Have a Right to Know’

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    Two Republican senators on Tuesday urged Attorney General William Barr to declassify four footnotes in the inspector general’s report on the FBI's Russia investigation."We are concerned that certain sections of the public version of the report are misleading because they are contradicted by relevant and probative classified information redacted in four footnotes," Senators Chuck Grassley (R., Iowa) and Ron Johnson (R., Wis.) wrote in a letter to Barr. "This classified information is significant not only because it contradicts key statements in a section of the report, but also because it provides insight essential for an accurate evaluation of the entire investigation.""The American people have a right to know what is contained within these four footnotes and, without that knowledge, they will not have a full picture as to what happened during the Crossfire Hurricane investigation," the senators continued.The IG report centered on the FBI's application for a FISA warrant to surveil former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page. The report found numerous issues with agents' handling of the application, so much so that the U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court issued a rare public rebuke of the FBI for withholding exculpatory information about Page from the court and for failing to verify the information contained in the infamous Steele dossier, which formed a "central and essential" part of the FISA application."The frequency with which representations made by FBI personnel turned out to be unsupported or contradicted by information in their possession, and with which they withheld information detrimental to their case, calls into question whether information contained in other FBI applications is reliable," the court wrote in December.The letter does not specify which four of the dozens of redacted footnotes in the report the senators are referring to. One prominent redacted footnote refers to Steele's relationship with Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska, which could have conceivably affected the analysis provided in his dossier. Another redacted footnote contains information about Steele's "primary sub-source."Grassley has served on numerous committees throughout his seven terms in the Senate, while Johnson is the current chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, which oversees the FBI and the Department of Justice probe into the bureau's Russia investigation.

    Wed, 29 Jan 2020 08:19:38 -0500
  • Get Early Access to Backcountry’s Big Winter Sale Right Now

    No description related. Click here to go to original article.

    Mon, 27 Jan 2020 16:30:00 -0500
  • White supremacist appeals death penalty in church massacre

    White supremacist Dylann Roof on Tuesday appealed his federal convictions and death sentence in the 2015 massacre of nine black church members in South Carolina, arguing that he was mentally ill when he represented himself at his capital trial. In a 321-page legal brief filed with the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Roof's lawyers ask the court to review 20 issues, including errors they say were made by the judge and prosecutors that “tainted” his sentencing. Roof's appellate lawyers said Roof had been diagnosed with “schizophrenia-spectrum disorder, autism, anxiety, and depression,” but that he “jettisoned” his experienced trial attorneys to stop them from preventing evidence of his mental illness to jurors.

    Tue, 28 Jan 2020 17:56:52 -0500
  • Aerial Comeback: The Attempted Return Of the P-51 Mustang

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    Why did the Air Force say now?

    Mon, 27 Jan 2020 22:00:00 -0500
  • Joe Biden has half the young voters Bernie Sanders does because of his 'anti-millennial' stance, but the boomer candidate says he cares 'like the devil' about them

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    In a New York Times interview, Joe Biden said that if millennials want to see a change in their economic situation, they need to get more involved.

    Wed, 29 Jan 2020 12:01:21 -0500
  • White House objects to Bolton book; Trump impeachment trial starts new phase

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    The White House on Wednesday objected to the publication of a book written by President Donald Trump's former national security adviser John Bolton that depicts Trump as playing a central role in a pressure campaign on Ukraine, as the Senate impeachment trial entered a new phase. A letter from the White House's National Security Council to Bolton's attorney said the manuscript appeared to contain "significant amounts of classified information" and could not be published in its current form.

    Wed, 29 Jan 2020 06:03:24 -0500
  • CDC Splits With China on Coronavirus Spread as Possible U.S. Cases Hit 110

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    As authorities in China scrambled to handle a coronavirus that has killed at least 81 people, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Monday described a surging potential crisis even as they pushed back on the latest thinking from Beijing about just how easily it spreads.Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, told reporters that the number of confirmed cases stateside had reached five—and that there had been a total of 110 “persons under investigation” for the virus in 26 states over the past week.Thirty-two of those people tested negative, and there had been no confirmed person-to-person transmissions inside the country, Messonnier said on Monday. The confirmed cases in the U.S. include patients in Orange County, California; a man in his 30s in Washington state; a woman in her 60s in Chicago; a passenger who felt ill after flying into Los Angeles International Airport; and a student at Arizona State University who does not live in university housing, the CDC said on Sunday. All of the U.S. cases appeared to involve patients who had recently traveled from Wuhan, China—the epicenter of the deadly virus. Seventy-three people were still being evaluated for the virus as of Monday.Fifth U.S. Case of Coronavirus Confirmed in Patient Who Traveled From Wuhan, China“We understand that many people in the United States are worried about this virus and how it will affect Americans,” Messonnier said, adding that “risk depends on exposure,” which for Americans remained “low” on Monday.In each U.S. case, health officials have said they will trace the patient’s contacts and identify anyone who may have had prolonged exposure, then monitor those individuals for symptoms. In the U.S., anyone who has had close contact with confirmed patients has not been quarantined unless and until they display symptoms.That policy came into question over the weekend, when China’s health minister Ma Xiaowei said “the ability of the virus to spread is getting stronger” and that authorities in that country now believe the virus can spread during the incubation period—even before infected patients become symptomatic. A study published last week in the journal Lancet appeared to bolster that contention.But Messonnier said the CDC had not seen “any clear evidence of patients being infectious before symptom onset” as of Monday, even if authorities in the U.S. “are being very aggressive and very cautious in tracking close contacts” of infected individuals.“This outbreak is unfolding rapidly, and we are rapidly looking at how that impacts our posture at the border,” said Messonnier. “I expect that in the coming days, our travel recommendations will change.”Experts said that even as statements from Chinese health officials had to be viewed through a political lens, outright dismissal of asymptomatic transmission was premature.Eric Toner, a senior scientist with the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security and the University’s School of Public Health, called the question “nuanced.” “It’s hard to know why the [Chinese] minister was so sure,” said Toner. “The evidence we have seen is quite suggestive of pre-symptomatic transmission, at least in some people, but not conclusive. He may have information that we do not.”For now, officials were still screening passengers at five American airports: Los Angeles International Airport, San Francisco International Airport, John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, and Chicago's O'Hare International Airport. Of course, fewer travelers are coming out of Wuhan in the wake of a travel lockdown late last week; Messonnier said the CDC had screened approximately 2,400 people in those airports so far but that “the number of people coming from Wuhan is declining.”Though Chinese authorities halted travel from Wuhan to stop the spread of the virus, the U.S. is among several countries—including France and Russia—that were given special permission to evacuate diplomats and private citizens. In addition to the 81 dead in China—76 of whom reportedly lived in Wuhan—nearly 3,000 people across the world, including a 9-month-old baby girl in Beijing, had confirmed cases of the virus as of Monday morning. Aside from the five cases in the U.S., more have been reported in Thailand, Taiwan, Australia, Macau, Singapore, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, France, Canada, Vietnam, and Nepal. There had been no deaths from the virus reported outside of China as of Monday morning. But the new fatalities in that country over the weekend, including an 88-year-old man in Shanghai, stoked fears that the government had failed to contain the infection’s spread. Beijing announced Monday morning that it would push back the official end of the Lunar New Year holiday to Thursday from Sunday in order to “reduce mass gatherings” and “block the spread of the epidemic,” according to a statement from China’s cabinet.Meanwhile, Wuhan’s mayor, Zhou Xianwang, on Monday offered to step down, along with the city’s party secretary, Ma Guoqiang, in order to “appease public indignation.” He said the pair were prepared to take responsibility for the crisis after days of public outcries from citizens, on social media and elsewhere.“Our names will live in infamy, but as long as it is conducive to the control of the disease and to the people’s lives and safety, Comrade Ma Guoqiang and I will bear any responsibility,” Zhou reportedly said Monday.Dr. Adrian Hyzler, chief medical officer for Healix International, which provides medical information to travelers, told The Daily Beast the CDC will know much more about how easily the virus spreads once the incubation period—estimated at a maximum of 14 days—has passed in the five U.S. cases. “If, as the Chinese are saying, patients are contagious before symptoms develop, then it is much harder to control,” he said.Editor’s note: This story has been updated to clarify that the CDC cleared 32 people who tested negative for the virus out of 110 potential cases.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.

    Mon, 27 Jan 2020 14:26:32 -0500
  • Evan Rachel Wood under fire over tweet calling Kobe Bryant a ‘rapist’

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    Actor Evan Rachel Wood is facing backlash for calling Kobe Bryant a “rapist” shortly after it was reported he and his 13-year-old daughter had died in a helicopter crash.Bryant, 41, and his daughter Gianna were killed alongside seven other people when the helicopter they were travelling in crashed in Calabasas, California on Sunday.

    Tue, 28 Jan 2020 13:51:00 -0500
  • U.K. Says Huawei Decision Won’t Affect U.S. Intelligence Sharing

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    (Bloomberg) -- The U.K.’s decision to allow China’s Huawei Technologies Co. to be involved in building its 5G telecom networks won’t affect trans-Atlantic intelligence sharing, despite U.S. threats to the contrary, Digital Secretary Nicky Morgan said.Britain gave the green light for Huawei kit to be used in non-sensitive parts of its new networks Tuesday, ending a protracted debate. In the run-up to the decision, there was a steady drumbeat of warnings from President Donald Trump’s administration that the U.S. may hold back secret intelligence if Prime Minster Boris Johnson pressed ahead with giving the company a role.Asked in a Bloomberg Television interview whether she’d had assurances before the decision to include Huawei -- deemed a high-risk vendor, Morgan said: “Yes, we’ve obviously had a lot of advice from our various security agencies about that,” before adding: “There is no reason why the decision should or would affect our ability to share classified data with the U.S. or our allies.”U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo, who was among officials to warn Britain ahead of the decision, is in London on Wednesday and is likely to raise the issue in meetings with ministers. A slew of U.S. congressional figures have already criticized the U.K.’s position and Johnson and Trump spoke about the issue on Tuesday evening, with the premier underlining the need for Western allies to work together to break the market dominance of a small number of companies.“I know that there are very strong feelings in the U.S. particularly in relation to China, but there are many, many areas where we cooperate very fully in lots of different ways with the U.S., and I think that special relationship will remain,” Morgan said on Wednesday. “We would like eventually to have more providers to work with the U.S. and other countries creating or supporting companies to have this capability,” she said, “so we don’t have to rely on high-risk vendors in the future.”U.S. Disappointed as Johnson Gives Huawei Partial 5G Role (1)With Ericsson AB and Nokia Oyj the only alternatives, Huawei’s involvement is needed to ensure the networks are resilient because “we would never want to rely just on two vendors,” Morgan said.“That’s why a third provider is necessary,” she said. “At the moment it’s deemed to be Huawei, it’s a high risk vendor, but hopefully the market will respond to calls for more diversification so we will have a better choice in the future.”Morgan, who earlier told LBC Radio that the National Security Council decision on Huawei was “unanimous,” pointed out that the U.K. has monitored the Chinese company’s involvement in U.K. telecom networks for years, and is “clear-eyed” about the risk. That, she said, informed the decision to keep the company out of core networks and sensitive locations and limit them to a 35% share of the market.“We know more about Huawei, the way they operate, their capabilities, than any other country, which means we are confident we can mitigate the risk,” Morgan said. “We would not make the decision if we thought that it compromised national security at all.”\--With assistance from Anna Edwards and Matthew Miller.To contact the reporter on this story: Alex Morales in London at amorales2@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Tim Ross at tross54@bloomberg.net, Giles Turner, Thomas PennyFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

    Wed, 29 Jan 2020 05:09:11 -0500
  • Retired Navy SEAL accused of war crimes attacks 'cowards' who testified against him

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    Retired Chief Special Operator Edward Gallagher, the Navy SEAL who was accused and acquitted of several war crimes, has posted a video on Facebook and Instagram attacking his former platoon members who testified against him during his court-martial.In the video, posted Monday, Gallagher called the men "cowards" and highlighted their "names, photos, and — for those still on active duty — their duty status and current units," the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. While covering Gallagher's case, the Union-Tribune reported the names of some of his platoon mates, but did not publish their photos.Gallagher was acquitted on several charges, including murdering a captured 17-year-old Islamic State suspect, but was found guilty on one charge related to posing for photos with the militant's corpse, resulting in his demotion. President Trump intervened in the case multiple times, saying Gallagher was being treated "very unfairly," and in November he overruled the SEAL commander and Navy Secretary and ordered Gallagher's rank restored. Gallagher now routinely appears on conservative programs and has appeared alongside Trump at political fundraisers. SEALs have been the targets of terrorist groups, and publicizing their names and photos endangers them and the Navy's mission, former SEALs told the Union-Tribune. David Shaw, a former petty officer 1st class, defended the men. "Each and every one of the guys who came forward were performers of the highest caliber and people of the highest reputations within the platoon," he said. "[One] was selected to serve at the most premier institution at Naval Special Warfare, and that tells you everything you need to know about his performance and speaks volumes about his character."More stories from theweek.com It's 2020 and women are exhausted The 3 kinds of Republicans that Bolton's testimony would reveal The tragedy of Joe Biden

    Wed, 29 Jan 2020 00:28:00 -0500
  • The Army Wants To Use AI To Predict Where the Next Battle Will Take Place

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    The Aided Threat Recognition from Mobile Cooperative and Autonomous Sensors program will tell the Army where the enemy will strike next.

    Tue, 28 Jan 2020 14:16:00 -0500
  • Restaurant honors 'Good Samaritan' who helped stop abduction

    North Carolina A&T graduate student Cody Byrd, 24, received a “Good Citizen Award” at a ceremony presented by the Biscuitville restaurant chain. Byrd will eat free for a year, and he shared his first free meal with his mother on Tuesday, news outlets reported. Byrd was dining at the Greensboro location in December when he noticed a man watching the child, he told news outlets and police.

    Wed, 29 Jan 2020 08:01:21 -0500
  • These 5 Submarines Could Destroy The World In 30 Minutes

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    And there isn't any way to stop them.

    Tue, 28 Jan 2020 20:30:00 -0500
  • Biden-Tied Lobbyist Bought Island Property from Biden’s Brother, Gave Him Mortgage Loan

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    Financial records reviewed by Politico show that Joe Biden's brother James sold one of his three parcels of land in the U.S. Virgin Islands at a substantial profit to a well-connected lobbyist who then extended a mortgage to James on the remaining two parcels.In May 2005, James Biden purchased an acre of land on Water Island for $150,000. He then applied for and received an easement to divide the property into three plots, one of which he sold to lobbyist Scott Green — a decade-long Senate staffer for Joe Biden in the 1980s — for $150,000. James had initially purchased all three parcels for $150,000, meaning that he made his money back and was able to keep the majority of the one acre plot for himself.Green’s lobbying firm, Lafayette Group — which features a photo of Green with Biden on its website and quotes Biden endorsing Green — earned two government contracts from the Federal Emergency Management Agency worth a total of $5.8 million on April 11, 2010.Three days later, Green extended a $133,300 mortgage to James Biden for his remaining Water Island property. Property records reviewed by Politico show that Green had “received full payment and full satisfaction” and released the mortgage in September 2013.Joe Biden and his family traveled to Water Island several times during his vice presidency, but did not stay on his brother’s or Green’s land, which remains undeveloped.Lafayette Group earned tens of millions of dollars in government contracts during the course of Biden’s time as vice president. During his time in the Senate, Biden also advocated for a number of areas in which Green’s lobbying intersected, including a broadband network for first responders and the non-profit Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E.) program.

    Tue, 28 Jan 2020 09:28:49 -0500
  • Police find mom of 2 missing kids in Hawaii with husband

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    Police say a mother of two missing kids has been found in Hawaii along with her new husband, but there’s still no sign of the children in the cross-country investigation, which includes several mysterious deaths.

    Tue, 28 Jan 2020 09:39:48 -0500
  • Venezuelan police capture fugitive Colombian senator who fled via dentist's office

    Venezuelan special police detained a fugitive Colombian former senator who had illegally crossed the border, the force's chief said, four months after she escaped custody by climbing out of her dentist's office in Bogota. Aida Merlano, a former Conservative senator who was imprisoned last year for vote buying, made her theatrical escape in October, lowering herself with a rope and fleeing on the back of a delivery motorcycle. Jose Dominguez, head of Venezuela's FAES Special Action Force, wrote on his Instagram account late on Monday that officers detained her in the city of Maracaibo, capital of western Zulia state by the Colombian border.

    Tue, 28 Jan 2020 11:32:37 -0500
  • Donald Trump again hits Fox News – and Chris Wallace – this time over impeachment coverage

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    President Trump adds to his list of grievances against Fox News, this time over impeachment coverage. It was once his favorite source of information.

    Wed, 29 Jan 2020 11:56:13 -0500
  • China Is Perfectly Prepared to Fight the Last Virus

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    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- China has a bigger and more sophisticated toolbox to combat any economic slowdown from the coronavirus than in 2003, when it battled the SARS pandemic. The challenge now is a worsening backdrop both domestically and abroad, and how both hamper the effectiveness of Beijing's response.It's hard to be precise about the damage given the situation is still unfolding. Bloomberg Economics is likely to downgrade its projection for China’s first-quarter growth from its current forecast of 5.9%. When Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome raged in the second quarter of 2003, China's expansion cooled to 9.1% from 11.1% in the prior three months.Trouble is brewing beyond China's shores, too. With trade wars, heightened tension between Iran and the West and declining demographics, there were plenty of challenges before this outbreak. The International Monetary Fund is penciling in growth of 3.3% this year, after crawling along at 2.9% in 2019. Yet that pace has stalled from the 3.4% estimate just a few months ago. In 2003, the world economy expanded more than 4% and approached 6% in 2007.China has changed dramatically in the past 17 years. For starters, its economy is roughly eight times the size. But on a more granular level, key elements of monetary- and currency-policy frameworks have evolved. Most notably, the country has a more flexible exchange rate, to put it mildly. While the central bank still manages the contours of the yuan's moves, the currency was pegged at 8.3 to the dollar for a decade until July 2005. Moreover, the People’s Bank of China now uses an array of rates to manage borrowing costs. In 2004, it was considered almost revolutionary when China raised interest rates, a measure that hadn’t been deployed as a tool of economic management in nine years.These changes allow policy shifts to come more frequently. Faced with the trade war and a cooling domestic economy, the PBOC began 2020 with a statement of intent: The central bank cut the required reserve ratio for lenders by half a percentage point, the latest in a series of reductions. This signals that officials were aiming to shore up liquidity in the private sector well before the Wuhan outbreak. Damage from the coronavirus might conceivably tip the central bank's hand.Yet China’s perilous corporate-debt burden could remain a constraint. Over the course of last year, worries that a benchmark interest-rate cut wouldn't reach the private sector kept the PBOC from acting, despite expectations it would do so. Whether easier monetary policy in China would trickle through the rest of the global economy remains an open question. Many multinational firms have already started to relocate their supply chains as a result of the trade war.When SARS broke out, China was still basking in the glow of its entry to the World Trade Organization in late 2001. Six years later, growth reached a peak of 15%. Executives and officials the world over marveled at the mainland economy and Beijing’s decision-making prowess. Globalization was still very much in vogue and China became shorthand for a flattening world. Few dared offending Beijing, let alone consider imposing tariffs. (The idea of a trade war horrified President George W. Bush’s administration.) American economic diplomacy amounted to the Treasury Department’s gentle prodding that maybe China could, pretty please, end the yuan's hard peg to the greenback.Many of the people who went out of their way to praise China also urged it to rebalance its economy, to focus less on exports and investment and more on consumption. That shift has largely happened. But now China is more susceptible to changes in household sentiment — precisely the slice of the economy that a fresh outbreak will hit hardest. Since late last week, travel has been curtailed and Lunar New Year holiday activities were curbed in many parts of China.The good news is that Beijing can deploy more weapons to address this slowdown than in 2003. But given the scale of the changes since then, that may not matter much. Nor will this arsenal be particularly effective if the global economy, which China feeds and relies upon, remains a shadow of its former self.To contact the author of this story: Daniel Moss at dmoss@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Rachel Rosenthal at rrosenthal21@bloomberg.netThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg LP and its owners.Daniel Moss is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering Asian economies. Previously he was executive editor of Bloomberg News for global economics, and has led teams in Asia, Europe and North America.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

    Tue, 28 Jan 2020 17:00:36 -0500
  • Mexican Narcos, More Brazen by the Day, Land Coke Plane on a Highway and Shoot a General

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    CALI, Colombia—Talk about a tough commute. Traffic was backed up for miles early Monday morning in the Mexican state of Quintana Roo after drug traffickers landed a twin engine prop plane on Highway 307, near the resort town of Bacalar.Mexican Police Chief Arrested in Mormon Massacre CaseThe flight—which originated in South America and had been tracked by radar since entering Mexican airspace—touched down at about 4:30 a.m. A task force led by the senior commander of military operations in that state moved out to intercept.When soldiers worked their way through the traffic jam caused by the plane they were met by a light cavalry force consisting of some 50 vehicles belonging to well-armed, ground-based accomplices who had been waiting for the delivery. The sicarios had also cut down roadside trees and signs to create a makeshift runway for the aircraft. By the time the army showed up, the traffickers already were hustling to offload more than a half ton of cocaine.In the pitched battle that followed, Mexican troops came under fire from military-grade weapons, including a high-powered .50 caliber sniper rifle. When the firefight was over the general in charge had been hit, his driver killed, and at least two more soldiers wounded. Two suspects were apprehended nearby. A portion of the contraband cargo, the .50 cal, a few other rifles, and two vehicles also were seized. The pilots and other traffickers, along with an unknown quantity of narcotics, apparently escaped.To make room for more marching powder, the plane had been gutted of all seats save the pilots’. Authorities retrieved 26 individually wrapped packages of cocaine in the raid, altogether weighing some 600 kilograms (1,320 pounds). Given that the average U.S. street price for the drug is about $96 per gram, that makes the captured haul worth some $57,600,000 dollars.Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador issued a rather laconic statement later that day about the “confrontation,” confirming that the raid was indeed led by General José Luis Vásquez Araiza, who heads up the 34th military zone, and that “unfortunately they shot him.” Quintana Roo Governor Carlos Joaquín González took to Twitter to offer his condolences to the soldiers and their families and to praise their “hard work and courage ensuring the security of Quintana Roo.”Boilerplate rhetoric aside, security in Quintana Roo is in relatively short supply of late, as cartels carry out turf wars in areas once safe for tourists. The Associated Press reported six people were killed in drug-related violence over the weekend in the popular beach town of Cancún, farther north on the same highway where the plane landed. This once placid region in southeast Mexico, near the border with Belize, is now part of a major smuggling corridor, which led to Quintana Roo’s murder rate nearly tripling in 2018. Though homicide rates fell slightly in 2019, decapitated and dismembered victims still draw unwelcome attention from the press, stoking fears that the steady stream of foreign visitors, so crucial to the local economy, might be scared away.The image of a drug plane blocking traffic on a national highway in broad daylight has drawn eyeballs throughout the hemisphere. But the incident also highlights just how bold and fearless the cartels have become.    * * *A GRIM NEW STANDARD* * *Most cocaine that enters the United States from South America makes a stopover in Mexico. It comes by land, sea, and air, in shipping containers and submarines and modified planes like the one captured this week. Cocaine production in the Andean nations is soaring, especially in Colombia, which now produces about 70 percent of the global supply. To enhance their profits, Mexican cartels have recently taken to importing raw coca paste and refining it in their own country, so as not to have to pay middlemen to cook it on site. As heroin and marijuana have steadily declined in value, thanks to synthetic opioids and legalization respectively, cocaine remains a more stable and valuable commodity—making the cartels “desperate” to obtain it, according to Robert Bunker, a security analyst with the U.S. Army War College.Why the Drug War Can’t Be Won—Cartel Corruption Goes All the Way to the TopWhat Bunker describes as “the cartels’ increasing brazenness” is also fueled by their growing power, it seems, to get away with just about anything, including colluding with senior Mexican officials. In the last month, U.S. prosecutors have charged two high-level Mexican national police officers with taking millions in bribes.  “They have become so used to operating with such high levels of impunity that this is becoming the new standard of their activities,”  Bunker told The Daily Beast.In reference to the airborne smuggling episode in Quintana Roo, a high-ranking source within one of Mexico’s cartels (who requested anonymity for security reasons) described the operation as daring to the point of being foolhardy.“I am surprised that a group with access to a plane and that amount of cocaine would land on a road instead of a more secure location,” the source said. He also said the tactics were “sloppy” and suggested the lack of “lookouts” and “exit routes” indicated the traffickers might be too cocky for their own good. “There should have been blockades ready in case they were under surveillance,” he said.Bunker said one of the more likely culprits behind the highway-as-tarmac plot is the Jalisco New Generation Cartel [CJNG]. Now one of the nation’s most powerful crime groups, the CJNG has been encroaching on Quintana Roo for the last few years, driving the surge in violence there.Bunker also said the presence of a .50 caliber rifle and other assault weapons is in line with the CJNG’s paramilitary profile. Additionally, one of the two men arrested at the scene was a Jalisco native.“The cartel unit was more than willing to go toe-to-toe with the Mexican armed forces in a tactical engagement,” said Bunker. That’s also in line with CJNG’s aggressive behavior, as the cartel has also shot down army helicopters and attacked military convoys in the past.* * *TROUBLE IN PARADISE* * *Quintana Roo isn’t the only tourist hotspot suffering from new and unusually high levels of violence in Mexico. Once the playground of Hollywood elites, Acapulco is now among the most dangerous cities in the Americas. Tijuana, on the border with California, was the site of a record-breaking 2,518 murders in 2018. Even Mexico City, long thought to be the safe-zone free from organized crime, has been rocked by gun battles among armed groups. Murders in Mexico reached an all-time high last year, with more than 35,500 victims.Part of the spike in killings is due to the cartel world fragmenting, meaning no one group can maintain order and hegemony—what Bunker calls a “Pax Mafiosa”—over its territory.Up until a few years ago, places like Quintana Roo had been relatively exempt from narco violence because government officials and powerful business owners—including wealthy investors from within established criminal organizations—wanted to keep the tourist dollars rolling in. But today’s new breed of next-gen narcos like the CJNG have shown themselves all too willing to challenge that hierarchy. In Quintana Roo, the move of CJNG into tourist safe havens “is slowly changing the ‘off-limits’ rules that once existed,” Bunker said.“These groups do not fear kicking over the old economic interests in Mexico or the power structure that exists behind them.”The cartel insider agreed that the security situation in places like Quintana Roo could continue to worsen.  “The narcos are getting bolder,” he said, “and it isn’t going to get better.”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.

    Wed, 29 Jan 2020 04:37:32 -0500
  • Japan confirms virus in man who had not been to China

    Golocal247.com news

    Japanese authorities said Tuesday a man with no recent travel to China has contracted the novel strain of coronavirus -- apparently after driving tourists visiting from Wuhan, where a deadly outbreak began. The man in his sixties from Nara in western Japan drove two groups of Wuhan tourists earlier in January and was hospitalised on Saturday with flu-like symptoms, the health ministry said. Health Minister Katsunobu Kato said the country had confirmed two new cases, bringing the total so far in Japan to six.

    Tue, 28 Jan 2020 05:13:08 -0500
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