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  • Trump declares himself 'chief law enforcement officer' as he issues numerous pardons news

    The president on Tuesday exercised his pardon power, granting clemency to or commuting the sentences of nearly a dozen people convicted of crimes.

    Tue, 18 Feb 2020 15:39:52 -0500
  • Mom, daughter plead not guilty to slaying 5 close relatives news

    A mother and her adult daughter pleaded not guilty Tuesday to killing five of their close relatives, including three children, at an apartment outside Philadelphia. Forty-six-year-old Shana Decree and her 20-year-old daughter Dominique Decree sat side by side in court in suburban Bucks County and affirmed their pleas to charges of first-degree murder and conspiracy. Shana closed hers briefly as the judge read the names of the victims.

    Tue, 18 Feb 2020 10:49:52 -0500
  • 'Gun Girl' Kaitlin Bennett's appearance on Ohio University campus sparks protests news

    The provocateur posted video of herself in a truck as students threw drinks and shouted expletives at her as the vehicle attempted to leave.

    Tue, 18 Feb 2020 15:58:00 -0500
  • Who Makes the Finest Weapons: America, China, or Russia? news

    Let's take a look.

    Tue, 18 Feb 2020 09:35:00 -0500
  • Kidnappers prey with ‘total impunity’ on migrants waiting for hearings in Mexico news

    Report finds 80% of migrants waiting have been abducted by the mafia and 45% have suffered violence or violationA score or so migrants crouch in the dark corridor of the safe house where they have been waiting for a month. Today, their turn has come to go back on the road again – not across the US border, however, but deeper into Mexico, to save their skins.Outside, a minivan pulls up, driven by Baptist pastor Lorenzo Ortiz to take the migrants to relative safety, and away from kidnap, extortion and violation.This is Nuevo Laredo, in the north-west corner of Tamaulipas state, opposite Laredo, Texas, the world’s busiest commercial trans-border hub. The people waiting to board the van have already crossed into the USA, but have been sent back under the Trump administration’s so-called Migrant Protection Protocols - known as “Remain in Mexico” – whereby would be asylum seekers must await their appointed hearing south of the border.MPP was rolled out in January last year, since when an estimated 57,000 people now wait south of the border for their asylum hearing date. Tens of thousands more are waiting just for the initial application for asylum.These are the faces behind statistics in a shocking report by Doctors Without Borders (MSF), which found 80% of migrants waiting in Nuevo Laredo under MPP to have been abducted by the mafia, and 45% to have suffered violence or violation. The door of the safe house opens and blinding sunlight beckons those awaiting, as does Pastor Ortiz, who arrives across the border from Laredo each morning to take a vanload to the larger city of Monterrey, Nuevo León.There can be no tarrying, explains another local pastor, Diego Robles, from the First Baptist church. “If they walk to the corner of the block,” he says, “they’re likely to be kidnapped.”Robles knows the risk he runs. Last August, criminals approached Aarón Méndez, a Seventh Day Adventist managing another shelter nearby, demanding he hand over Cubans in his care, whose relatives in the USA might pay high ransoms for their release.He refused – and has not been seen since, joining the 50,000 disappeared in Mexico’s undeclared war since 2006. The safe house – its gate kept closed with padlock and chain – is crammed with some 180 people, mostly indoors, some in a back yard enclosed by breeze blocks.Their stories are terrifying and consistent.Moy Eduardo fled his home in El Salvador after members of the MS-13 gang abducted and killed his brother after the family failed to pay sufficient extortion money. He eventually arrived at Nuevo Laredo bus station, only to be forced into a car and taken to a farm some distance from town. There, he was pistol-whipped, while the kidnappers called his cousin in Atlanta and demanded an $8,000 ransom.“They said if I didn’t pay, they’d hand me over to ‘other people in our organisation’,” he recalled. Four days later, his desperate relative wired money, and Moy Eduardo was released.He told the story to US authorities when applying for asylum, “but they didn’t believe me and sent me back”. Moy Eduardo has a court date in April, but is desperate to leave Nuevo Laredo. “I cannot stay here – they said if they saw me again, they’d kill me”.“It’s become big business,” says Pastor Robles “It’s a way for the drug cartels to diversify. It is worse in Tamaulipas than other border states, and worse in Nuevo Laredo than anywhere else in Tamaulipas. There’s no formula to the abductions and disappearances – they are kidnapped, beaten, women violated; most return, but not all”.Nuevo Laredo was for years controlled by the hyper-violent Zetas group, and is now territory of its offshoot, the North-east cartel. But their one-time associate, now rival, the Gulf cartel is knocking at the gates, backed by the Jalisco cartel, eager for access to the city’s vast commercial transit routes into the USA. .While the Zetas/North-east cartel control migrant movement within Nuevo Laredo, the Gulf and Jalisco cartels often bring migrants to the city. And each group sees migrants and asylum seekers as a source of easy money.“They go after the ones who’ve been brought here by a rival cartel. They have to pay twice,” says Pastor Ortiz “And the Cubans – because they know the Cubans have richer relatives.”Inside the safe house, Yaqueline and her daughter Lisbeth, described how she was given a code by their coyote after fleeing gang violence in San Pedro Sula, Honduras.She was told that in Nuevo Laredo, the word “rana” – frog – would ensure safe passage. But when three thugs approached them outside the government migrant registration offices, they were told the word meant they were property of the enemy; mother and child were bundled into an SUV.Relatives north of the border were again contacted. After five days, they were still unable to find the ransom money, and Yaqueline and Lisbeth were released to find their own way to Pastor Robles’ church. Asked if she had been maltreated, Yaqueline lowers her eyes, gestures towards the child, and crossed herself. “The gangs were bad in Honduras, but it is even more dangerous here.”All these people have US “Notice to Appear” papers for dates months away, when they will re-cross the bridge into Laredo, Texas, and enter a tent court beside the Rio Grande, for a cursory video-link hearing to a judge hundreds of miles away in San Antonio. Less than 1% are granted asylum.Those summoned to court begin gathering on the Mexican side of the bridge before 4am. A group from Cuba and Venezuela assembles first, manifestly nervous.There are 67 on the docket to appear at the tent court, but by 6am, only 29 are shuffled through into the canvas corridor, to plead their case, and await judgment on a screen from 150 miles away. The rest are presumed to have given up and returned home. Reporters have never been admitted into the Laredo tent court.“The authorities make no attempt to intervene, says Pastor Ortiz, “the mafia is right there in the open, and there’s nothing done to stop them. It’s total impunity for the cartels.”Local and national governments play down the abduction emergency. Edwin Aceves, the chief investigator for the Office of Disappeared Persons in Nuevo Laredo, said he had received “no reports of kidnapping and extortion of migrants. These are just rumours.”Meanwhile, Mark Morgan, acting commissioner for US Customs and Border Protection, told a round-table of reporters last year he was unaware of reports of kidnapping, while Mexico’s foreign minister, Marcelo Ebrard, has said kidnaps were “not a massive number”; his department had information on 20 cases nationally.Mexico’s leftwing government cooperates enthusiastically with President Trump’s MPP. In contrast to the pastors’ buses helping migrants wait in relative safety, government buses chartered depart daily from Nuevo Laredo’s state migration centres to take migrants back to the border with Guatemala. Even one of those was hijacked last autumn, surrounded by gunmen aboard pickup trucks, and migrants taken. But here at the safe house, the minivan is ready to take people on a round-trip, to relative safety away from Nuevo Laredo, and then back again to cross the border when their date arrives. The group shuffles out of the front door on to the sidewalk and scrambles onboard. Pastor Robles says a prayer for the road through the front passenger window – and off they go, in the opposite direction to that of their plans, but away from the clutches of the mafia.

    Tue, 18 Feb 2020 10:37:09 -0500
  • Russian Intelligence Recruited Mexican Man to Spy on FBI Informant in Miami, Feds Say news

    Russian intelligence recruited a Mexican citizen to track down the whereabouts of an FBI informant in Miami who previously provided the U.S. government with information on Russian operations “implicating national security interests of the United States.”The Mexican man, Hector Alejandro Cabrera Fuentes, was arrested on Monday after being recruited by a Russian official last year, according to The Miami Herald and the Justice Department. After renting out a specific Miami property at the direction of the official, Fuentes allegedly traveled to Moscow earlier this month for more instructions. At this meeting, Fuentes was given the description of the informant’s car, was told to locate it, to obtain the license plate number, and to take note of “the physical location” of the vehicle.The informant was described only as a “confidential human source” for the FBI counterintelligence division who had provided information on Russian espionage activities in the state, the Herald reports.Fuentes and the official planned to meet again in April or May 2020 so Fuentes could share what he found out about the informant's vehicle, federal prosecutors say.But the plan was foiled when Fuentes and his Mexican wife arrived in Miami from Mexico City on Feb. 13, and he took a Chrysler sedan rental car to the residence of the informant the following day. He tried to enter the condominium complex by tailgating behind another vehicle.The sedan drew the attention of a security guard, who approached the vehicle. As the guard was making the approach, Fuentes’ wife allegedly exited the car and took a photo of the license plate on the informant’s car.The guard questioned the pair about their business at the building, and Fuentes gave the name of someone he claimed to be visiting. The guard didn’t recognize the name, and told him to leave.Two days later, Fuentes and his wife were preparing to board a flight to Mexico City at Miami International Airport when a Customs and Border Protection agent inspected the wife's phone. The agent discovered the license plate photo in her “recently deleted folder.” Fuentes admitted to asking his wife to take the photo, and a review of Fuentes’ phone showed that his wife had sent the picture to him via WhatsApp message. He later admitted to officials that a Russian official had tasked him with the operation, and messages on his phone showed the official initiated and directed their meetings.It was not immediately clear where Russian intelligence recruited Fuentes, but he reportedly resided in Singapore and had ties to other parts of the world as well. In his first court hearing on Tuesday, he told the judge, “None of my family knows I’m here.” Fuentes admitted to having a second family in Russia: a wife and two daughters. He said he had visited them while he was in Russia having meetings with the official. The official allegedly told Fuentes he could help get his Russian family out of the country. “We can help each other,” the agent is said to have told him.It’s possible the “confidential human source” targeted by Fuentes and the Russian official was a defector. In 2017, a CIA source with access to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s inner circle and files reportedly defected after alerting the U.S. about Putin’s plans to meddle in the 2016 election. Reports said the former Russian foreign policy official ended up in the Washington area. 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.

    Tue, 18 Feb 2020 21:25:51 -0500
  • Billionaire investor Leon Cooperman ramps up his criticism of Bernie Sanders, calling him a 'bigger threat' to the stock market than coronavirus news

    "He is not a socialist. He is, rather, a communist," Cooperman said about the Vermont senator in a CNBC interview.

    Tue, 18 Feb 2020 16:42:19 -0500
  • Hunter Biden Served on Board of Trade Group That Lobbied Obama Admin for Increased Ukraine Aid: Report news

    Hunter Biden, son of former vice president Joe Biden, was on the board of a trade group that lobbied the Obama administration for increased U.S. aid to Ukraine, according to a report Tuesday.From 2012 through 2018, the younger Biden served as a director for the Center for U.S. Global Leadership and was connected as well with its affiliate, the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition, The Daily Caller reported. The two groups, which include about 400 larger corporations and non-government organizations, lobbied for increased spending abroad by the State Department’s International Affairs Budget, including a special focus on Ukraine.At the time, Joe Biden was also advocating for increased U.S. spending in Ukraine.Hunter Biden's small private equity firm, Rosemont Seneca, featured other well-connected politicos as well, including his partner Devon Archer, who was a former adviser on Obama Secretary of State John Kerry’s 2004 presidential campaign, and another partner, Kerry’s son-in-law Christopher Heinz.“Hunter Biden works for [Archer]. So we’ve got the top level politicos with us. All of my guys, is as top tier as it gets,” a businessman named Bevan Cooney wrote in text messages released in connection with an unrelated criminal case against Archer. “You don’t get more politically connected and make people more comfortable than that.”In 2013, the groups held an event honoring Joe Biden for his work supporting increased spending abroad, an event Hunter Biden was also introduced as having a "very special relationship with our honoree."Biden's separate lucrative position on the board of Ukrainian energy company Burisma Holdings while his father was vice president and in charge of addressing corruption in Ukraine has also drawn scrutiny and featured prominently in the impeachment proceedings against President Trump. That position earned Biden at least $50,000 a month for his advice on “transparency, corporate governance and responsibility, international expansion and other priorities.”During a July 25 phone call with Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, Trump asked Zelensky to help his administration investigate allegations that Joe Biden used his position as vice president to help the Ukrainian gas company avoid a corruption probe soon after Hunter Biden was appointed to its board of directors. That phone call led to an Intelligence Community whistleblower complaint that ultimately sparked a formal impeachment inquiry into Trump’s actions.Biden has said that in the spring of 2016, during his tenure as vice president, he called on Ukraine to fire the top prosecutor investigating the energy company paying his son. Biden suggested he would withhold $1 billion in U.S. aid to Ukraine if the country did not fire the prosecutor, who was accused by the State Department and U.S. allies in Europe of being soft on corruption.

    Tue, 18 Feb 2020 11:28:16 -0500
  • John Oliver explains the pros and cons of Medicare-for-all, goes with the pros news

    John Oliver kicked off his new season of Last Week Tonight on Sunday by looking at "an issue that has dominated the Democratic primary -- and I'm not talking about why Tom Steyer doesn't look richer" (though he did address that). Mostly, he tackled Medicare-for-all, comparing the "government-funded, single-payer program" proposed by Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) with the current U.S. system championed by conservatives and, with various degrees of modifications, other Democratic candidates.Conservatives are right, Oliver conceded, that "America does have one of the best health care systems in the world for rich, famous people. Unfortunately, too many people are born in this country with a terrible pre-existing condition called Not Being Beyonce." For so many Americans, "our system is badly broken," he said, not just the 27.5 million with no insurance but also the nearly 44 million underinsured and at risk for bankruptcy from medical expenses.The current system is a patchwork of private insurance, government programs, and crowdsourcing gambles, Oliver said. "Any solution that might put an end to that is worth at least considering, surely, and to be honest, I personally think there is a lot to be said for Medicare-for-all. So tonight, let's take a look at it: Not the politics of whether it can pass, but what it actually is." He focused on the three main objections: Cost, wait time, and choice."I get that big change is scary -- it is human nature to prefer the devil you know over an uncertain alternative -- but the devil you know is still a devil," Oliver said. And for all the U.S. fearmongering about Britain's National health System, "I will be honest with you, I've never had a bad experience and I don't know anyone who has, but since moving to America, I don't think I have met anyone who doesn't have at least one insurance industry horror story." There is a lot of NSFW language -- so much so, it makes sense when Oliver calls the U.S. system "the Kama Sutra of health care." Watch below. More stories from Mike Bloomberg is not the lesser of two evils Obama poked Trump on the economy. Trump took the bait. The family of 1 new Trump pardon recipient donated $200,000 to Trump's re-election effort last fall

    Tue, 18 Feb 2020 04:15:48 -0500
  • Federal judges' association calls emergency meeting after DOJ intervenes in case of Trump ally Roger Stone news

    An association of federal judges has called an emergency meeting after Attorney General William Barr intervened in the case of Trump ally Roger Stone.

    Tue, 18 Feb 2020 12:57:07 -0500
  • LA adopts new 'war room' strategy for tackling homelessness news

    Los Angeles city and county officials on Tuesday announced a new strategy to speed the process of getting homeless people into permanent housing that is modeled on the federal government’s response to natural disasters. The creation of a “Housing Central Command” marks an overhaul of how agencies work together in addressing the growing number of people living on the street, according to the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority. Previously the system was slowed by red tape and gaps in information showing what housing units were available and who is eligible to move into them, officials said.

    Tue, 18 Feb 2020 20:11:02 -0500
  • Virginia lawmakers reject assault weapons ban news

    Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam's push to ban the sale of assault weapons failed on Monday after some of his fellow Democrats balked at the proposal.

    Mon, 17 Feb 2020 11:51:36 -0500
  • Man arrested after allegedly tracking U.S. source for Russia news

    A U.S. official told CBS News that the government source is someone who has provided information on Russian intelligence services.

    Tue, 18 Feb 2020 21:09:32 -0500
  • New Mexico woman who was pregnant with third child still missing three years later news

    Elizabeth Brooks Hernandez, 29, was last seen by her boyfriend, Miguel Martinez, who told police he dropped her off at a welfare office in Albuquerque, New Mexico on November 16, 2017. Police suspect foul play, but no arrests have been made. The Albuquerque Police Department is investigating.

    Mon, 17 Feb 2020 14:20:00 -0500
  • China virus death toll surges past 2,000: govt news

    The death toll from China's new coronavirus epidemic jumped past 2,000 on Wednesday after 136 more people died, with the number of new cases falling for a second straight day, according to the National Health Commission. This brings the total number of confirmed cases in mainland China to 74,185. In its daily update, the National Health Commission reported 1,749 new cases of people infected with the virus nationwide, the lowest number of new cases this month.

    Wed, 19 Feb 2020 01:12:11 -0500
  • The Turkish Trap: How Erdogan Made New Enemies and Enraged the Arab Community news

    As Recep Erdogan sends Turkish troops and Syrian rebel fighters into Libya, it has become clear that the Syrian forces Turkey-backed were never meant to fight for Assad but instead do Turkey's bidding.

    Tue, 18 Feb 2020 14:48:00 -0500
  • Police filmed a woman trying to sneak into Shanghai in the trunk of a car to avoid being quarantined for coronavirus news

    The woman had visited her hometown in Hubei Province, the center of the outbreak, and was returning to Shanghai, where she works. She was quarantined.

    Tue, 18 Feb 2020 12:43:05 -0500
  • Michael Bloomberg Is a Condescending Jerk . . . news

    The hunt is on for offensive clips of Michael Bloomberg talking off the cuff, and over the weekend a new one circulated. In the version passed around, Bloomberg nonchalantly tells his Oxford audience that he could teach anyone how to farm — “even people in this room”: “It’s a process; you dig a hole, you put a seed in, you put dirt on top, add water, up comes the corn.” He adds that modern “information economy” jobs require more “gray matter.”The denunciations came quickly and furiously, many of them pointing out that farming these days is a pretty high-tech endeavor. There are three things to know about this episode.First, the version of the clip that went around left out important context. Bloomberg was very explicitly not talking about modern farmers, but rather about “the agrarian society” that “lasted 3,000 years” before the industrial era, which lasted 300. His point was that the modern economy does not create good, reliable jobs for low-skilled workers the way that past economies did. You can see the full discussion starting around 41:30 here (though the actual query that prompted Bloomberg’s rambling answer starts at 37:30):Second, while the added context renders countless responses to the clip irrelevant, it doesn’t change the fact that Bloomberg comes across as a condescending jerk. His entire comment feels like an in-joke between him and the elite Oxford audience. At one point he talks of the need to provide the “dignity of a job” to the masses so they don’t “set[] up the guillotines someday.” And of course, even primitive farming hundreds of years ago was not just a matter of dig hole, plant seed, water, up comes corn.But third, the broad outline of his economic analysis is correct — unremarkable, even — in terms of the basic facts rather than the tone with which they are spoken. So even as Bloomberg proved he was almost comically out of touch, he raised important issues that policymakers really should be thinking about.It is true that, after living most of their history as hunter-gatherers, humans switched to agriculture and later to industrial production. It’s also true, by definition, that in a society where the overwhelming majority of people actually work as farmers — as was the case even into America’s early years — farming must be something that the overwhelming majority of people can learn to do. And most important, it’s true that work is changing today in ways that give a big advantage to high-IQ people with college degrees, while making it difficult for folks at the bottom as those agricultural and manufacturing jobs disappear.When Bloomberg emphasized that old-school work involved “processes,” he evoked the concept of the “routine task,” meaning something accomplished by following and repeating a specific series of steps. It has been extremely well documented for more than a decade and a half that jobs focusing on these types of tasks are in marked decline, largely because routine tasks are the easiest type of work to automate.Back in 2003, one of the earlier papers on this subject found that about 60 percent of the “demand shift” toward college-educated workers from 1970 to 1998 could be explained by computerization. More recent work confirms the decline of routine jobs and adds that robots can displace competing human workers and reduce wages. A famous book about a decade ago argued that, in a “race between education and technology,” the demand for highly skilled workers had outpaced the supply of people with the needed education and training, leading to high wages for a select few and widening inequality.Unlike farming hundreds of years ago or manufacturing work after World War II, many of these new jobs are not the kind of thing that just about any healthy person with a good work ethic can learn to do. They might require extensive training and technical knowledge, a four-year degree or more, specific personality traits, etc. Some people are of the belief that everyone in the country, no matter their natural intelligence or disposition, is capable of acquiring these things with enough effort, but even if that’s true, we have not come anywhere near making it happen. It’s a legitimate matter of concern.As I spelled out in a print piece last year, I don’t think it’s time to panic over automation right now, though the combination of automation and trade has certainly clobbered manufacturing work in the areas that relied on it most. Nationwide, unemployment is low and productivity growth is anemic, which is the opposite of what you’d expect to see if robots were taking jobs at a pace that should worry us.But I don’t think that’s going to be true forever, as robots become able to do a higher and higher percentage of the things humans can. While it’s far in the future, the ultimate fear is that robots will become capable of doing just about anything productive that most people could do — and do it cheaply — paving the way to a world where there’s no need for a lot of people to work at all.At that point, maybe government handouts like a “universal basic income” will be enough to pacify the folks left behind. Or, as Bloomberg speculated, maybe the pitchforks really will come out for the arrogant technocrats who run everything.

    Mon, 17 Feb 2020 16:46:07 -0500
  • NSA whistleblower who leaked Russian hacking report petitions for clemency news

    Reality Winner was sentenced to five years in 2018 after leaking classified report about Russia’s interference in the 2016 electionSupporters of Reality Winner, a National Security Agency whistleblower who leaked classified information about Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election, petitioned Donald Trump on Monday for her early release from prison.Alison Grinter, an attorney representing the former US air force intelligence specialist, announced at a press conference in Dallas that she had submitted 4,500 letters of support to the federal office of the pardon attorney, the division of the Department of Justice that advises the US president on executive clemency decisions.Winner was sentenced to five years and three months in August 2018 after admitting breaching the espionage act by passing top secret documents to an investigative news website about the Russian hacking of voting software and its efforts to disrupt dozens of local election systems ahead of the 2016 election.“Our country was attacked by a hostile foreign power,” The Intercept quoted Grinter as saying at the press conference.“Our national healing process cannot begin until we forgive our truth tellers and begin the job of rebuilding what was taken from us: election security, accountability for those who endeavor to undermine our democracy; and safeguarding the American right to government by and for the people. None of this can begin in earnest while we are still punishing those who tell us the truth.”The petition states of Winner, 28: “Her continued incarceration is costly, unnecessary to protect the public, burdensome to her health and wellbeing, and not commensurate with the severity of her offense.”Trump called Winner’s sentence “unfair” in an August 2018 tweet attacking then-attorney general Jeff Sessions, describing her actions as “small potatoes” compared to what he alleged his 2016 opponent Hillary Clinton had done with classified information while she was secretary of state during the administration of Barack Obama.A three-year state department investigation cleared Clinton of any wrongdoing in October 2019.Winner said of Trump in a phone interview with CBS News from Georgia’s Lincoln county jail in 2018 that she “can’t thank him enough” for the tweet, which she said confirmed her lawyers’ view that the sentence was unfair.The Department of Justice did not immediately return a request for comment from the Guardian on Monday.

    Mon, 17 Feb 2020 15:01:07 -0500
  • Abbott says top Malaysian leaders suspected pilot of MH370 news

    Former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has said the “top levels” of the Malaysian government long suspected that the disappearance of a plane almost six years ago was a mass murder-suicide by the pilot. Abbott was prime minister when Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 carrying 239 people vanished on March 8, 2014, while flying from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. Australia, working on Malaysia's behalf, coordinated what became the largest search in aviation history, but it failed to find the plane before being ended in 2017.

    Wed, 19 Feb 2020 03:02:31 -0500
  • Skydiving instructor, former Army Ranger dies after skydiving accident in Florida

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

    Tue, 18 Feb 2020 12:08:10 -0500
  • Airbnb security guard sentenced to prison for murdering US woman in Costa Rica news

    A security guard for an apartment complex with Airbnb rental units has been sentenced to 16 years in prison for the 2018 murder of an American tourist.Carla Stefaniak, a Venezuelan-American who lived in Miami, was in San Jose, Costa Rica, celebrating her 36th birthday when she was brutally murdered.

    Tue, 18 Feb 2020 14:43:01 -0500
  • The first poll of Susan Collins' 2020 senate race shows her tied with Democratic challenger news

    Maine's 2020 Senate race is uncharted territory for Republican Sen. Susan Collins.Colby College released the first poll of this year's Maine Senate race, and it shows the four-term incumbent statistically tied with her Democratic challenger, Maine House Speaker Sara Gideon. While 42 percent of respondents said they'd vote for Collins in the fall, 43 percent said they'd opt for Gideon, marking an unusually tough road ahead for Collins."This could be the kind of race Sen. Collins has not had to deal with before," said Dan Shea, Colby College's lead researcher on the poll. Collins secured her first Senate election in 1996 by about six points and won far more easily in her three re-elections since. Yet with Maine's second congressional district flipping to Democrat Jared Golden in 2018, it looks like the rest of the state could follow suit.Collins infuriated many Democratic voters when she voted to confirm Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh in 2018. The tight margin could also stem partly from Collins' vote to acquit President Trump during his impeachment trial. A total of 37 percent of poll respondents said they were disappointed with her role in the impeachment process, while 30 percent said they were proud and 31 percent said they had mixed feelings. When asked if the Senate's acquittal was the right decision, 48 percent said yes and 49 percent said no.Colby College surveyed 1,008 registered voters from Feb. 10–13 with a margin of error of 3 percent. About 30 percent of surveys were conducted via cell phone and landline, while 70 percent were conducted online.More stories from Mike Bloomberg is not the lesser of two evils Obama poked Trump on the economy. Trump took the bait. The family of 1 new Trump pardon recipient donated $200,000 to Trump's re-election effort last fall

    Tue, 18 Feb 2020 17:32:00 -0500
  • Indiana professor is suspended for calling police on student who wouldn't switch seats news

    "This decision is in the best interest of Dr. Borna and the University," Ball State University said in a statement.

    Mon, 17 Feb 2020 16:46:00 -0500
  • Russia Hate This: Why the Astute-Class Submarine Is the Pride of the Royal Navy news

    An excellent submarine.

    Tue, 18 Feb 2020 19:45:00 -0500
  • Chinese police reportedly put a professor under house arrest, cut his internet, and kicked him off social media after he criticized President Xi over the coronavirus news

    Xu Zhangrun, a law professor at the elite Tsinghua University, had published a scathing essay on the Chinese government's handling of the coronavirus.

    Mon, 17 Feb 2020 12:30:16 -0500
  • A 6-year-old was held in a mental health center for 2 days without her mother's consent, and her lawyer says other parents have come forward to claim the same thing happened to their children news

    Nadia King, 6, was taken from her elementary school in a sheriff's department cruiser to a mental health center, where she was held for two days. Her mother's attorney will sue in federal court.

    Tue, 18 Feb 2020 17:32:39 -0500
  • Group of more than 1,000 judges calls emergency meeting amid Trump concerns news

    Judges will meet to address alarm over the president intervening in politically sensitive casesA national association of federal judges has called an emergency meeting to address growing concerns about the intervention of Donald Trump and justice department officials in politically sensitive cases, according to US media reports.Cynthia Rufe, a Philadelphia US district judge who heads the independent Federal Judges Association, which has more than 1,100 members, told USA Today the group “could not wait” until its spring conference to discuss the matter.“There are plenty of issues that we are concerned about,” Rufe told USA Today. “We’ll talk all of this through.”The meeting comes after more than 2,000 former US justice department officials, including some of the top government lawyers in the country, called on the attorney general, William Barr, to resign in the wake of the Roger Stone scandal.Alumni of the Department of Justice posted to Medium on Sunday a group letter that tore into Barr for “doing the president’s personal bidding” in imposing on prosecutors the recommendation of a reduced sentence for Stone, a longtime friend of Trump who was convicted of lying to and obstructing Congress and threatening a witness in the Russia investigation.Barr, the officials said, had damaged the reputation of the department for “integrity and the rule of law”.The spiralling constitutional crisis began last week when Barr imposed his new sentencing memo, slashing a seven- to nine-year proposed prison term suggested by career prosecutors. In the fallout, the four prosecutors who had handled the case resigned in disgust.US district Judge Amy Berman Jackson, who is presiding over the Stone’s case, has ordered both sides to participate in a conference call on Tuesday to discuss the status of the case. Following the call, it was confirmed that Stone’s sentencing would go ahead on Thursday.Rufe voiced her strong support for Jackson, according to USA Today.“I am not concerned with how a particular judge will rule,” Rufe said. “We are supportive of any federal judge who does what is required.”It was not clear whether the FJA would issue a statement after the emergency meeting. The Guardian contacted the FJA for comment.

    Tue, 18 Feb 2020 10:50:03 -0500
  • Tennessee inmate moved to death watch; attorneys seek stay news

    Tennessee inmate Nicholas Sutton was placed on a death watch early Tuesday ahead of his scheduled execution later this week for the decades-old killing of a fellow inmate. Meanwhile, Sutton's attorneys made two last ditch appeals to the U.S. Supreme Court. Inmates on death watch are kept under 24-hour surveillance in a cell beside the execution chamber, the Tennessee Department of Correction said.

    Tue, 18 Feb 2020 12:09:56 -0500
  • China-led $280 million Kyrgyzstan project abandoned after protests

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

    Tue, 18 Feb 2020 06:56:16 -0500
  • Report: Obama reportedly expects he'll have to play a 'prominent role' in uniting Democrats this summer news

    The New York Magazine reports former president Barack Obama's radio silence on the 2020 Democratic primary is part of a "choreographed strategy" on the part of Obama, who is "increasingly sure he will need to play a prominent role in bringing the party back together and calming its tensions later this summer."

    Tue, 18 Feb 2020 18:02:13 -0500
  • Voter to Biden: 'What the hell is going on with your campaign?' news

    Biden said his campaign was aware that he would face difficulty in the Iowa caucuses due to lack of diversity in the state.

    Mon, 17 Feb 2020 18:34:17 -0500
  • Grandparents, uncle charged in beating death, torture of Montana boy news

    During the investigation into the boy's death, police seized cellphones belonging to the suspects that showed the family torturing him, the affidavit says.

    Tue, 18 Feb 2020 15:48:28 -0500
  • Coronavirus Means the Federal Reserve Must Cut Interest Rates news

    History, and SARS, give us a guide of what could happen. A

    Tue, 18 Feb 2020 13:37:00 -0500
  • The coronavirus is slamming the US travel industry, with experts predicting it will wipe out more than $10 billion in spending from Chinese visitors news

    Chinese travelers represented 7% of all visitors to the US in 2019 and 16% of visitor spending. The economic impact is forecast to be worse than SARS.

    Tue, 18 Feb 2020 16:51:20 -0500
  • Cab driver intervenes and saves passenger from falling for a $25,000 scam news

    When a Northern California cab driver realized that his 92-year-old passenger was about to become the victim of a scam, he quickly devised a plan to save her.Two weeks ago, Roseville Cab owner Raj Singh picked the woman up from her home, and she directed him to drive her to the bank. While on the way, the woman told Singh that she received a call from someone who told her she owed the IRS $25,000, and she was on her way to withdraw the money. Immediately, Singh determined that she had been targeted by a scam artist, but the woman didn't believe him.Singh suggested the pair stop by the police station in Roseville, where an officer could talk more about the scam with her. The woman agreed, and Singh went inside to explain what was happening. An officer came out to the cab, and the woman shared more details about the call. After talking with the officer, she agreed that the call was not from the IRS, and Singh drove her back home. The woman's money remains safely in the bank."We love this story because several times throughout, Raj could have just taken his customer to her stop and not worried about her well-being," the Roseville Police Department said on Facebook. "He took time from his day and had the great forethought to bring the almost-victim to the police station for an official response."More stories from Mike Bloomberg is not the lesser of two evils Obama poked Trump on the economy. Trump took the bait. The family of 1 new Trump pardon recipient donated $200,000 to Trump's re-election effort last fall

    Tue, 18 Feb 2020 01:37:00 -0500
  • 'Tiger widows' shunned as bad luck in rural Bangladesh news

    Abandoned by her sons, shunned by her neighbours and branded a witch. Women like her are ostracised in many rural villages in Bangladesh, where they are viewed as the cause of their partner's misfortune. "My sons have told me that I am an unlucky witch," she told AFP in her flimsy plank home, in the honey-hunters' village of Gabura at the edge of the Sundarbans -- a 10,000-square-kilometre (3,860-square-mile) mangrove forest that straddles Bangladesh and India.

    Tue, 18 Feb 2020 02:31:23 -0500
  • Huge locust outbreak in East Africa reaches South Sudan news

    The worst locust outbreak that parts of East Africa have seen in 70 years has reached South Sudan, a country where roughly half the population already faces hunger after years of civil war, officials announced Tuesday. Around 2,000 locusts were spotted inside the country, Agriculture Minister Onyoti Adigo told reporters. The locusts have been seen in Eastern Equatoria state near the borders with Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda.

    Tue, 18 Feb 2020 11:39:55 -0500
  • Trump issues pardon of former owner of San Francisco 49ers news

    U.S. President Donald Trump issued a pardon for Eddie DeBartolo Jr., the former owner of the San Francisco 49ers football team, a White House spokesman told reporters on Tuesday. DeBartolo Jr. pleaded guilty in 1998 to a felony charge of failing to report that Louisiana's former governor, Edwin Edwards, had extorted $400,000 from him to win a license for his riverboat casino, the San Francisco Chronicle reported at the time. DeBartolo Jr., whose team won five Super Bowl titles during his tenure as owner, was selected to be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2016.

    Tue, 18 Feb 2020 12:14:04 -0500
  • Tennessee flooding: 'Unprecedented' floods make homes slide into river news

    Authorities managing dams in Tennessee and Mississippi must make difficult decisions as floodwaters swell along the states’ rivers; the surging water pressing against the dams has to be released at some point, and when it does, it often spells disaster for individuals living downstream from the dams.Case in point: two large homes slid into the flood-swelled waters of the Tennessee River over the weekend.

    Mon, 17 Feb 2020 14:18:08 -0500
  • Fox News Keeps Rudy Giuliani On-Air Despite Internal ‘Disinformation’ Docs news

    Even though internal Fox News documents caution that frequent guests Rudy Giuliani and John Solomon traffic in “disinformation,” the network can’t seem to quit booking them.Since The Daily Beast first reported on the 162-page document, produced by the network’s research division known as the “Brain Room,” Giuliani—who, according to the briefing, has a “high susceptibility to disinformation”—has made at least four separate appearances on Fox. And Solomon, whom the documents accused of playing an “indispensable role” in Team Trump’s Ukraine “disinformation campaign,” has popped up twice on the Fox Business Network.The internal briefing, titled “Ukraine, Disinformation, & the Trump Administration,” accused the former New York City mayor Giuliani of amplifying disinformation pushed by bad-faith Ukrainian actors like former Ukrainain prosecutor Yuriy Lutsenko and indicted oligarch Dmytro Firtash. The document also noted Giuliani’s ties to indicted associates Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, who Murphy writes had “strong reported financial links to Firtash.”“Reading the timeline in its entirety—not a small task—makes clear the extensive role played by Rudy Giuliani and his associates, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, in spreading disinformation,” the briefing added.Despite the network’s own research team preaching caution over Trump’s personal hatchet man peddling conspiracies and agitprop through the media, shows on Fox News and Fox Business Network have continued to host Giuliani for freewheeling interviews in which he has repeatedly (and baselessly) claimed he is in possession of “smoking gun” evidence that proves former Vice President Joe Biden’s son Hunter was involved in criminal activity in Ukraine.Days after the president was acquitted of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress in the Senate impeachment trial, Giuliani appeared on Trump-boosting host Jesse Watters’ weekend Fox News program to declare that he had three witnesses who were ready to “name names” in a Hunter Biden investigation.During the Feb. 8 interview, Giuliani said he wanted to make sure that Trump was “totally vindicated” following the impeachment proceedings in which the president was accused of withholding military aid in order to pressure the Ukrainian president to investigate the Bidens. "I want to prove what happened because I believe if we prove what happened, he will be totally vindicated,” Giuliani told Watters.Later in the interview, Giuliani insisted he was in possession of documentation that would be the “smoking gun” for Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham’s potential probe into Hunter Biden’s business dealings.“Lindsey, get started,” Giuliani laughed. Interestingly, the following morning, Graham announced on CBS News’ Face the Nation that Attorney General William Barr had established an “intake process” to gather any information Giuliani has collected on the Bidens. Federal prosecutors, meanwhile, have continued to gather additional information in its investigation of Giuliani, Parnas, and Fruman.Fox News Internal Document Bashes Pro-Trump Fox Regulars for Spreading ‘Disinformation’While Graham was revealing Barr’s process for taking in Rudy’s Biden dirt, the ex-mayor also made an appearance on Fox News’ Sunday Morning Futures, hosted by Trump loyalist Maria Bartiromo. Much like his Watters interview, Giuliani claimed he was in possession of all kinds of documentation that would nail the Bidens and Democrats.“The amount of crimes the Democrats committed in Ukraine are astounding,” he shouted while waving around a piece of paper. “If there were a document about you or me like this. I think we’d be in jail by now.”Another assertion he made to Bartiromo and Watters was that the so-called black ledger, which triggered then-Trump campaign chief Paul Manafort’s resignation in 2016 after it alleged Manafort received million of dollars in undisclosed cash payments from Ukraine’s former pro-Russian government, is a “forgery.” Giuliani’s frequency of appearances on network, despite the “disinformation” documents being made public, isn’t entirely surprising. Fox News was dismissive of the significance of its own research team’s accusations about the ex-mayor, along with pro-Trump columnist Solomon, and pro-Trump lawyers Joe diGenova and Victoria Toensing.“The research division of FOX News produces a briefing book for all major stories, which serves as a standing collection of extensive data on major topics for internal use by all those in editorial functions. The Ukraine briefing book is nothing more than a comprehensive chronological account of what every person involved in the Ukraine controversy was doing at any identifiable point in time, including tracking media appearances of major players who appeared on FOX News and in many other outlets,” Mitch Kweit, senior vice president of the Brain Room, said in a statement to The Daily Beast. “The 200-page document has thousands of data points and the vast majority have no relation to FOX News—instead it’s now being taken out of context and politicized to damage the network.”And since that internal Fox briefing was made public, Solomon has continued to appear at least on Fox Business’ Lou Dobbs Tonight. The first of those appearances came on Feb. 7, in which the disgraced “investigative reporter” pushed allegations from former Manafort associate Rick Gates that the aforementioned black ledger is a “fabrication.”Indeed, both Solomon and Giuliani have argued for months that the ledger is a fake as part of an effort to cast doubt on the origins of the Russia investigation. Despite their repeated claims that the document is fraudulent, the FBI and American media outlets have corroborated many of its details, specifically the payments received by Manafort.In two additional Fox appearances last week, Giuliani continued to beat the drum that he had “smoking gun” evidence that would take down the Bidens, clear Manafort’s name, and reveal that Democrats sought interference from Ukraine in the 2016 election to stop Trump.And in a Wednesday night interview with Fox News anchor Shannon Bream—one of the network’s so-called “straight news” hosts—Giuliani confirmed that he was feeding information on the Bidens to Barr, but said he wasn’t receiving “special treatment.”“Not only am I not—I’m not getting special treatment, I’ve been getting terrible treatment,” he exclaimed. “This should have been investigated three years ago. If President Trump had gone on the stage and said, ‘I pressured the president of another country to dismiss a prosecutor,’ there’d be an investigation the next day.”Calling for Bream and her viewers to tune into his podcast to get the “facts” of Biden’s alleged corruption in Ukraine, Giuliani repeated his baseless claim that the ex-veep bribed the Ukrainian government to end an investigation into his son.“They are lying and lying and lying, and the corrupt media just repeats it,” Giuliani fumed while wildly asserting at the same time that former top Ukrainian prosecutor Viktor Shokin—whom the Obama administration called upon to be fired over corruption allegations—had been poisoned. (The implication, which Giuliani has made before, was more than clear.)It was one recent appearance on the Fox Business Network, however, where the network played host to Giuliani truly taking his disinformation campaign to a whole other level—again, all despite internal documents warning of his susceptibility to such propaganda.Waving around an iPad he claimed was full of evidence that proved a “Democratic scam” in Ukraine, Giuliani told extremely sympathetic host Trish Regan—one of the most overtly pro-Trump hosts on the network—that Democrats actually want to assassinate him over his Ukrainian smear campaign.“That’s why they’re so crazy on the subject of Ukraine, and why they want to literally kill me,” Giuliani yelled to Regan after alleging he could show proof that the Obama administration funneled $5.3 billion of unaccounted aid to Ukraine, adding that’s “how all those oligarchs become oligarchs.”Furthermore, Giuliani claimed that the person alleged to be the whistleblower at the center of Trump’s impeachment was involved in some byzantine plot to use Ukrainian dirt in early 2016 to hurt the Trump campaign and stop Trump from becoming president.“How about the whistleblower? I mean, we need to know how long the whistleblower was involved in conspiracies to take out President Trump,” a wide-eyed Giuliani bellowed. “I have a suspicion that the whistleblower was there at the beginning.”“Uhhh, January of 2016, there was a meeting at the NSC,” he continued as Regan nodded along. “Staff members, they asked the three Ukrainian prosecutors to go get dirt on Manafort and the Trump campaign. The NSC doesn’t ask you to go get dirt! They wanted to turn them into the producers of political garbage, which they did. One of the people there who spoke up very, very strongly and made a follow-up telephone call to collect the dirt seems to be the whistleblower.”Manafort, meanwhile, wasn’t even a member of the Trump campaign in January 2016, as he didn’t join until late March 2016 as campaign convention manager. He wouldn’t be promoted to campaign chief until May 19, 2016. Giuliani & Co. Plot New Biden Probes as Trump’s Ukraine Team Lies in RuinRead 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, 18 Feb 2020 04:54:01 -0500
  • Stacey Abrams says she's open to running as VP on Democratic ticket news

    Stacey Abrams, the former Democratic gubernatorial candidate for Georgia who called out alleged voter suppression during that election, said Monday that she “would be honored” to be the vice presidential candidate on the 2020 Democratic ticket.

    Mon, 17 Feb 2020 18:16:03 -0500
  • Missing Milwaukee woman, two daughters found dead in garage news

    Amarah Banks, 26, Zaniya Ivery, 5, and Camaria Banks, 4, were discovered after the arrest of Banks' boyfriend, Arzel J. Ivery, in Memphis, Tennessee, authorities said.

    Mon, 17 Feb 2020 12:04:00 -0500
  • Yes, China's New DF-100 Anti-Ship Missile Are a Big Problem news

    Not good at all.

    Tue, 18 Feb 2020 09:45:00 -0500
  • A Chinese film director and 3 family members died from the novel coronavirus after they self-quarantined in their home news

    Before he died, the director sent his goodbye to his friends including his son in London: "Farewell to those I love and to those who loved me!"

    Wed, 19 Feb 2020 04:11:41 -0500
  • Huawei loses legal challenge against US federal purchase ban news

    Washington has the right to block US federal agencies from buying products by Huawei on cybersecurity grounds, a judge has ruled, dismissing the Chinese telecom giant's legal challenge to a purchase ban. Huawei filed the suit nearly a year ago, claiming that Congress had failed to provide evidence to support a law that stopped government agencies from buying its equipment, services, or working with third parties that are Huawei customers. The dispute was one of several fronts in a bruising trade war between Beijing and Washington, which has accused the tech firm of stealing trade secrets from American companies and warned allies that its equipment could be used to spy on other countries.

    Wed, 19 Feb 2020 03:13:08 -0500
  • Pakistan tests a new cruise missile. Can it hit inside India? news

    The new Ra'ad II could have range of up to 600 kilometers.

    Tue, 18 Feb 2020 14:08:08 -0500
  • Judge rejects request from Trump ally Roger Stone to delay sentencing hearing news

    The decision comes after a contentious week for the Justice Department, as it faces allegations of political meddling in criminal cases tied to the president.

    Tue, 18 Feb 2020 15:57:04 -0500
  • Obama’s childhood home hits the market for $2.2m news

    A seemingly unremarkable house in Honolulu is priced at a premium due to the part it played in the formative years of the 44th president of the United States.The property was home to Barack Obama between the ages of three and six, from 1964 to 1967. His mother attended the nearby University of Hawaii during that time.

    Tue, 18 Feb 2020 11:34:55 -0500
  • US judge dismisses lawsuit over transgender pronoun dispute news

    A judge dismissed a professor's lawsuit against a small, public university in Ohio that rebuked him for not addressing a transgender student using the student's preferred gender terms. Nicholas Meriwether's federal lawsuit alleged that Shawnee State University officials violated his rights by compelling him to speak in a way that contradicts his Christian beliefs. Schools officials contended that such language was part of his job responsibilities, not speech protected by the First Amendment, and that the case should be dismissed.

    Mon, 17 Feb 2020 14:34:29 -0500
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