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  • Rep. Justin Amash turned on Trump. Will his Michigan district follow him — or turn on him?

    Rep. Justin Amash turned on Trump. Will his Michigan district follow him — or turn on him?If you want to understand how impeachment is being seen by actual Americans, there may be no better place to go than Grand Rapids, Mich. In part that’s because the area around Grand Rapids, comprising Michigan’s Third Congressional District, is one of only about two dozen districts in the nation to vote for Barack Obama and for Donald Trump.


  • PHOTOS: Deadly shooting at California football party

    PHOTOS: Deadly shooting at California football partyFour people were killed and six more wounded when “unknown suspects” sneaked into a backyard filled with people at a party in central California and fired into the crowd, police said.


  • PHOTOS: Hong Kong police storm university held by protesters

    PHOTOS: Hong Kong police storm university held by protestersPolice breached a Hong Kong university campus held by protesters early Monday after an all-night siege that included firing repeated barrages of tear gas and water cannons. Anti-government protesters have barricaded themselves inside Hong Kong Polytechnic University for days.


  • Ukraine ex-president named witness in power abuse probe

    Ukraine ex-president named witness in power abuse probeUkraine's former president Petro Poroshenko has been designated a witness in a criminal investigation related to the nomination of judges, the state investigation bureau said on Monday. Poroshenko has been embroiled in a number of investigations since leaving office in May. "His status is that of a witness," a spokeswoman for the state investigation bureau, which handles high-profile cases, told AFP.


  • Head of Vatican financial regulator leaves job weeks after police raids

    Head of Vatican financial regulator leaves job weeks after police raidsThe Vatican said on Monday the head of its financial regulator would leave, weeks after unprecedented police raids on his organization and another key arm of the Catholic Church's bureaucracy. Rene Bruelhart, a 47-year-old Swiss lawyer, told Reuters he had resigned from the top job at the Financial Information Authority (AIF), but did not go into further detail. Vatican police entered the offices of the AIF and of the Secretariat of State - the administrative heart of the Catholic Church - on Oct. 1, as part of an investigation into an investment the Secretariat hade made in London real estate.


  • Massachusetts man arrested after son, 5, allegedly takes heroin to school and brags it makes him feel like Spider-Man

    Massachusetts man arrested after son, 5, allegedly takes heroin to school and brags it makes him feel like Spider-ManA father is facing drug possession charges after his son, 5, allegedly took heroin to school and said tasting it made him feel like Spider-Man.


  • Israeli military says 4 rockets fired from Syria intercepted

    Israeli military says 4 rockets fired from Syria interceptedThe Israeli military said it intercepted four incoming rockets from Syria on Tuesday and explosions were heard shortly after that in Damascus, a week after another Israeli strike targeted a top Palestinian militant in the Syrian capital. There was no immediate official comment from Syria but the SANA state news agency reported explosions were heard near Damascus International Airport, indicating a potential Israeli retaliatory strike. The Israeli military would not comment on the explosions in Syria, but Defense Minister Naftali Bennett was convening the top military brass in Tel Aviv to discuss the latest developments.


  • China's H-20 and JH-XX Stealth Bombers: Beijing's Very Own Deadly B-2 Bombers?

    China's H-20 and JH-XX Stealth Bombers: Beijing's Very Own Deadly B-2 Bombers?What role will they have? Should America be worried?


  • Christine Blasey Ford makes rare public remarks, a year after Kavanaugh ordeal

    Christine Blasey Ford makes rare public remarks, a year after Kavanaugh ordealProfessor who accused Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault says ‘I did not feel courageous. I was simply doing my duty as a citizen’Dr Christine Blasey Ford accepting an award from the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California in Beverly Hills on Sunday night. Photograph: Alberto E Rodríguez/Getty ImagesChristine Blasey Ford, who accused supreme court justice Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault, made a rare public appearance on Sunday night.“When I came forward last September,” she said, accepting an award from the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California in Beverly Hills, “I did not feel courageous. I was simply doing my duty as a citizen.”embed“I understood that not everyone would welcome my information, and I was prepared for a variety of outcomes, including being dismissed.”Blasey Ford, a professor of psychology at Palo Alto University in California, came forward in September 2018, as Kavanaugh’s nomination was before the Senate.In testimony before the Senate judiciary committee, she alleged that he assaulted her at a party in suburban Maryland in 1982, pinning her down, groping her, trying to remove her clothing and putting his hand over her mouth when she screamed.Kavanaugh angrily denied the allegation – and similar claims against him – and was confirmed as Donald Trump’s second supreme court pick.His ascent, after that of Neil Gorsuch, tipped the ideological balance of the highest court in favour of conservative justices.Kavanaugh also appeared in public last week, addressing an event on Friday in Washington and staged by the Federalist Society, the rightwing group which has played an influential role in Trump’s supreme court picks.“I signed up for what I knew would be an ugly process,” he said. But he said he had expected his confirmation to be “maybe not that ugly”.Kavanaugh was confirmed by just two votes, the narrowest margin for a supreme court justice since 1881.His appearance at Union Station in Washington was greeted by protests, including women dressed up as characters from The Handmaid’s Tale television series.Last year, lawyers for Ford said her life had been “turned upside down” and she had effectively gone into hiding, such was the vitriol directed her way after her testimony in the Senate.Ford “received a stunning amount of support from her community and from fellow citizens across our country”, the lawyers said in a letter to Senate judiciary committee chairman, Chuck Grassley.“At the same time, however, her worst fears have materialized. She has been the target of vicious harassment and even death threats. As a result of these kind of threats, her family was forced to relocate out of their home. Her email has been hacked, and she has been impersonated online.”At the Beverly Hills event on Sunday, Blasey Ford accepted the Roger Baldwin Courage Award, named for the founder of the ACLU. When coming forward, she said, she had “simply thought that it was my duty as a citizen and that anyone in my position would do the same thing”.


  • Trump floats idea of testifying in impeachment inquiry

    Trump floats idea of testifying in impeachment inquiryAfter House Speaker Nancy Pelosi dared him to testify in the ongoing impeachment probe, President Trump on Monday said he would “strongly consider it.”


  • Rodney Reed's mother says the 'truth will and shall set him free' after her son was granted a stay of execution

    Rodney Reed's mother says the 'truth will and shall set him free' after her son was granted a stay of executionRodney Reed has spent 20 years in prison for the 1996 murder of a 19-year-old woman named Stacey Stites.


  • Hong Kong protesters attempt daring escape down ropes as police seal off university

    Hong Kong protesters attempt daring escape down ropes as police seal off universityDozens of Hong Kong protesters escaped a two-day police siege at a campus late Monday by shimmying down ropes from a bridge to awaiting motorbikes in a dramatic and perilous breakout that followed a renewed warning by Beijing of a possible intervention to end the crisis engulfing the city. Clashes rumbled throughout the day between protesters and police who had threatened to use deadly force to dislodge activists holed-up in the Hong Kong Polytechnic University. The university siege has become a battle of wills between Hong Kong's stretched police force and the constantly-innovating protest movement. Late Monday dozens of black-clad protesters used a rope to slither down several metres on to a motorway below where they were picked up by waiting motorbike riders. In an apparently co-ordinated effort, thousands of Hong Kongers streamed towards the Polytechnic University campus to break the siege, as clashes simultaneously raged with police nearby in Kowloon. It was not immediately clear how many protesters remained inside Polytechnic University. This was probably the most surreal thing I have ever witnessed in the Hong Kong protests. Protesters just attempted a daring escape through a bridge at Polytechnic University. Volunteers on motorbikes came in drives to drive them out asap. Police fired teargas. HongKongProtestspic.twitter.com/huhSo3Mxo9— Michael Zhang 張雨軒 (@YuxuanMichael) November 18, 2019 Demonstrators barricaded inside the university lit a fire at an entrance in efforts to deter police surrounding the campus, after officers stormed in early morning and made arrests. Protesters have continued to arm themselves with bows and arrows, petrol bombs and bricks.  Police have said that anyone leaving campus will be taken into custody, and urged all protesters still on campus to surrender peacefully.  “A university is supposed to be a breeding ground for young talents, but it has unfortunately become a battlefield for criminals and rioters,” said Kwok Ka-chuen, a police chief superintendent. “Hong Kong’s rule of law has been pushed to the brink of total collapse.” Police have described the Polytechnic campus as a “weapons factory,” saying they had received a report that several toxic and dangerous chemicals, including highly volatile explosives, had been stolen from a laboratory.  Police have been accused of using excessive force against protesters Credit: AFP “We must warn that the university campus has become a powder keg where danger is far beyond what we can estimate,” said Mr Kwok. As the university deadlock continues, former British foreign secretary Malcolm Rifkind urged Hong Kong authorities to exercise restraint.  “A bloodbath on a Hong Kong campus would be devastating,” he said in a statement issued by Hong Kong Watch, a UK-based advocacy group. Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam “has the responsibility to do everything possible to prevent a massacre.”  Protesters also appear to be facing down a timeline as supplies run out.  “Hong Kong police are creating a humanitarian crisis inside PolyU,” Ken Woo Kwok-wang, acting president of the student union, told a Hong Kong newspaper. “We are trapped. There is insufficient food and the number of injured is on the rise, and the hygiene situation is getting worse.” Protests have disrupted Hong Kong continuously for nearly six months. They first kicked off against a now-withdrawn extradition proposal, though sentiments have pivoted to target the police, who protesters accuse of brutality, and more broadly, China, over concerns that Communist Party rule is eroding freedoms in the former British colony. Demonstrators have called for a range of political and governance reforms, though Beijing has reiterated that it won’t give in to demands. There is “absolutely no room for compromise,” read a harshly-worded editorial in the People’s Daily newspaper, a Communist Party mouthpiece. Demonstrators set the entrance to PolyU ablaze Credit: Emilio Navas/SOPA/REX As clashes escalated significantly over the last week, forcing schools to shut, fears have grown that China may again call on military reinforcements to restore order, a move that would recall the Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989 when soldiers fired on peaceful student demonstrators.  Speculation mounted further after Chinese troops stationed in Hong Kong were spotted in the streets over the weekend cleaning up protest sites, an act authorities have said was voluntary. Hong Kong authorities said Monday it would stop enforcing an anti-mask ban after the city’s highest court ruled it unconstitutional. The order was first enacted in October, using an emergency regulations ordinance that gives Ms Lam sweeping authority, a move that could make it easier for police to identify protesters and make arrests.  On Wednesday, judges will hear arguments to decide whether further actions will be taken over the ban.  Some hospital services were unavailable on Monday as staff weren’t able to travel given transport and traffic disruptions due to the protests. Subway stations in some areas also remain closed after serious vandalism, including setting train cars ablaze. Skirmishes broke out in other neighbourhoods, leaving clouds of tear gas hanging in the air. In the neighbourhood of Mongkok, protesters formed a human chain by early evening, with some reportedly making petrol bombs on the street.  Since mass protests kicked off in early June, police have arrested nearly 4,500 people, aged 11 to 83, for unlawful assembly, possession of offensive weapons, arson, and taking part in a riots – a serious charge that carries a maximum of ten years in prison. About 150 of those arrests, of individuals aged 13 to 54, were made over the weekend. Additional reporting by Yiyin Zhong


  • TikTok is reportedly considering a rebrand in the US to shed its Chinese roots

    TikTok is reportedly considering a rebrand in the US to shed its Chinese rootsByteDance, the company which owns short-form video app TikTok, has recently come under fire due to the fact that it is headquartered in China.


  • Mexico, Uruguay and Caribbean Community reject use of force in Venezuela -statement

    Mexico, Uruguay and Caribbean Community reject use of force in Venezuela -statementMexico, Uruguay and representatives of the Caribbean Community on Monday rejected the use of force and human rights violations in Venezuela, urging a peaceful and democratic solution to solve the crisis in the troubled South American nation. The group issued the statement after Venezuela's opposition staged nationwide protests against Nicolas Maduro on Saturday and called for a new wave of demonstrations to revive stalled efforts to topple the deeply unpopular ruling Socialist Party.


  • 'People aren't stupid': de Blasio slams Bloomberg's 'stop-and-frisk' apology

    'People aren't stupid': de Blasio slams Bloomberg's 'stop-and-frisk' apologyFormer NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg apologized for the controversial "stop-and-frisk" policy, but Bill de Blasio says he had six years to say sorry.


  • Spanish court says wanted Venezuelan spy still missing

    Spanish court says wanted Venezuelan spy still missingA Spanish National Court official confirmed Monday that a former Venezuelan spymaster accused of attempting to "flood" the United States with drugs remains missing since an order for his arrest pending extradition was issued this month. The official said the order for Maj. Gen. Hugo Carvajal’s arrest in Madrid was issued Nov. 8, after the court reversed an earlier ruling that rejected the U.S. extradition request for allegedly being politically motivated. Carvajal was for over a decade the eyes and ears in the military of late Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez.


  • If A Chinese-American War Happens, It Will Start In The South China Sea

    If A Chinese-American War Happens, It Will Start In The South China SeaChina has been preparing for just that fight.


  • Sri Lanka's Rajapaksa likely to re-boot China ties

    Sri Lanka's Rajapaksa likely to re-boot China tiesThe unfinished, purple-headed Lotus Tower soars uselessly into the Colombo sky, mired in corruption allegations -- a project typical of China's misadventures in Sri Lanka under a political dynasty that has just returned to power. With the Rajapaksas clan now back, Beijing will likely be too, experts say. On Monday Gotabaya Rajapaksa was sworn in as president, almost five years after his brother Mahinda's decade in charge ended in ignominy in 2015 as allegations of corruption and nepotism surfaced.


  • Trump Weighs Testifying on Impeachment After Silencing His Aides

    Trump Weighs Testifying on Impeachment After Silencing His Aides(Bloomberg) -- Donald Trump said Monday that he’s “strongly considering” testifying in his own impeachment inquiry, responding in a tweet to a suggestion from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi after again insulting her and congressional Democrats for pursuing his removal from office.Trump indicated that he thinks his testimony -- possibly in writing -- would be a way to resolve the inquiry and get Congress focused on issues he’d like to advance before his 2020 re-election campaign, including a new North American trade deal and drug prices.The president’s tweet contrasts with his defiant approach to the impeachment inquiry thus far. The White House has refused to provide access to documents and witnesses, creating a stand-off between the two branches of government and leaving current members of the administration stuck in the middle.Some, including the National Security Council’s top Ukraine expert, Alexander Vindman, have defied the order not to comply with congressional subpoenas. Others, including former National Security Adviser John Bolton and his deputy Charles Kupperman, have sued to force a court decision on whether they should testify.Read more of the latest updates from the Democrats’ impeachment inquiry/Trump’s suggestion, though, echoes his move during Robert Mueller’s probe of Russian interference in the 2016 election. After months of negotiation between his lawyers and Mueller, the president agreed only to answer a limited set of questions in writing.Pelosi said in an interview with CBS’s “Face the Nation” on Sunday that Trump “has every opportunity to present his case,” including by testifying under oath or submitting a written statement to impeachment investigators.Trump and many congressional Republicans have demanded public testimony by the anonymous whistle-blower who first raised alarms about the president’s effort to force the Ukrainian government to investigate his political rivals. Pelosi said she wouldn’t allow the person’s identity to be exposed.“I will make sure he does not intimidate the whistle-blower,” the California Democrat said. “This is really important, especially when it comes to intelligence, that someone who would be courageous enough to point out truth to power.”Several witnesses in the inquiry have corroborated the whistle-blower’s allegation that Trump sought to pressure Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy into investigating a company once connected to former Vice President Joe Biden’s son, Hunter. The effort was led by Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani.(Updates with White House blocking testimony in third and fourth paragraphs)To contact the reporter on this story: Alex Wayne in Washington at awayne3@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Alex Wayne at awayne3@bloomberg.net, Joshua Gallu, Larry LiebertFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


  • Paul Erickson, Russian Agent Maria Butina’s Boyfriend, Pleads Guilty to Fraud

    Paul Erickson, Russian Agent Maria Butina’s Boyfriend, Pleads Guilty to FraudPhoto Illustration by The Daily Beast/GettyPaul Erickson, the former boyfriend of convicted Russian agent Maria Butina, has pleaded guilty to wire fraud and money laundering, according to a plea agreement filed in a South Dakota federal court Monday afternoon.In a two-page statement detailing the factual basis for the plea, Erickson said he conned someone only identified as “D.G.” into wiring him $100,000 under the pretense that the money was for a real estate investment in North Dakota. As part of the plea filed in U.S. district court in South Dakota, Erickson admits the money was not for a real estate deal. He also notes that he wired $1,000 of the money to a person called “M.B.” An attorney for Erickson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.The case against Erickson, a well-known conservative operative who shuttled between Washington D.C. and South Dakota, was separate from the one lodged against Butina in Washington, D.C. Butina, a Russian national who cultivated relationships with powerful American conservative activists including Erickson, pleaded guilty to conspiring to violate laws prohibiting covert foreign agents. As part of her agreement she has promised to cooperate with American law enforcement. She was deported earlier this year after serving a short prison sentence to her native Russia where she received a hero’s welcome.Paul Erickson, Russian Agent Maria Butina’s Boyfriend, Indicted for FraudErickson became involved in relationship with Butina in 2013. As The Daily Beast previously reported, the duo dressed up as Rasputin to Butina’s flame-haired Empress Alexandra during a 2016 birthday party. The over-the-top gathering included an ice sculpture of a bottle imprinted with the Soviet hammer and sickle from which vodka flowed.The couple, who at one point lived together in South Dakota, had some kind of business together. The two were listed as the sole officers of Bridges LLC, a company registered in the state in February 2016, though it’s unclear what the company did or how it operated.Erickson was indicted in February on allegations that he ran a criminal scheme from 1996 to 2018 in which he was accused of using a chain of assisted living homes called Compass Care. Prosecutors alleged that Erickson also defrauded investors through a company called Investing with Dignity that claimed to be “in the business of developing a wheelchair that allowed people to go to the bathroom without being lifted out of the wheelchair.” The indictment says he also ran a fraudulent scheme that claimed to be building homes in the Bakken oil fields of North Dakota.Maria Butina’s Beau Snookered Investors With a Shady Oil DealAs first reported by The Daily Beast in July, several people have sued Erickson in California, Virginia, and South Dakota, claiming he misrepresented himself and his businesses and failed to pay investors back.The Daily Beast was first to unveil Erickson’s business scheme in North Dakota where he knowingly misled investors about owning a company there, according to a 2015 judgement filed in a California court. Two individuals who Erickson approached told The Daily Beast that he swindled them into investing in a land deal he had set up near Williston, North Dakota. Erickson told the two that he owned land there and would set up a transaction between two of his companies.One of the companies he represented while soliciting investments was Northern Plains Holdings, LLC, according to investors and people familiar with the deal. The North Dakota secretary of state’s office told The Daily Beast it did not have record of such a company connected to Erickson. In a complaint filed in a lawsuit in 2015, one of the investors alleged Erickson planned to use a company he controlled to sell undeveloped North Dakota land it owned to a second company Erickson controlled.In an email in November of 2013 to a potential investor for the Bakken deal, Erickson asked for funding for what he called his “new real estate development venture” in North Dakota. “I’m extremely proud of the work of our development team as together we find new ways to service the office and housing needs of this new American gold rush,” Erickson wrote. In the email, Erickson called his new business the “Bakken oil fields” and said it was set up to capitalize on the boom in North Dakota.“Due to your interest in my work and in consideration of past kindness, I would welcome your investment of any amount you choose (up to $100,000),” the email said. Erickson garnered at least $50,000 from the email exchange and did not pay any of it back, according to the judge’s decision on the 2015 case.— Pervaiz Shallwani contributed to this story.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.


  • Jodie Chesney's killer jailed for life as judge laments criminals 'carving up areas' of London

    Jodie Chesney's killer jailed for life as judge laments criminals 'carving up areas' of LondonTwo drug dealing teenagers have been jailed for life for the "callous and casual" murder of girl scout Jodie Chesney, who was stabbed to death in an east London park. County lines dealer Svenson Ong-a-Kwie, 19, and his 17-year-old apprentice, Arron Isaacs had been looking to take revenge on rivals when they killed Jodie by mistake, the Old Bailey heard. The popular 17-year-old student had been relaxing with friends in Amy's Park in Harold Hill, east London, on the evening of March 1 when two shadowy figures emerged from the dark and one knifed her in the back. She screamed and collapsed in the arms of her boyfriend, Eddie Coyle, 18, as her attackers made off in a fellow drug dealer's car. Days later, they were arrested together as they fled from the rear of a house connected with the youth. The defendants denied Jodie's murder, each blaming the other for inflicting the fatal wound. But prosecutor Crispin Aylett QC told jurors that both were responsible for the killing, amid incidents of "casual violence" in the drug-dealing world. The jury deliberated for less than six hours to find them guilty last week of Jodie's murder. Jodie Chesney Judge Wendy Joseph QC handed Ong-a-Kwie a life sentence with a minimum of 26 years. She sentenced Isaacs to be detained at Her Majesty's Pleasure for at least 18 years. She said that Jodie's death led to a "world of anguish" for her family, which came amid "tit for tat" incidents. Jodie was the victim of "callous, casual and irresponsible violence" which had shocked the community "to the core", she said. On the evidence, she found Ong-a-Kwie was the stabber and the 17-year-old his "enthusiastic supporter". Isaacs was initially shielded by anonymity, but now he can be named after the judge lifted reporting restrictions. In doing so, she said: "What is important is that a blameless girl is dead at the hands of those engaged in and those that associate with drug dealing on the streets which Jodie and other blameless young people must live. "This death has brought great unease in the community. Those suffering, which spreads much further than Jodie's friends and family, need and have a right to known and understand how this has come about." The judge lamented the impact of criminals that had "carved up areas of the capital of this country". She added: "The dangers this brings to decent law-abiding members of the public is graphically spelled out in this case." The court heard moving tributes to Jodie and the "ripple effect" her murder had among friends, family and the wider community. Mr Coyle has been left with post-traumatic stress from witnessing her murder. Svenson Ong-a-Kwie was a county lines drug dealer Credit: PA He said: "Jodie was funny, silly, she always made fun of me and she had a bright future ahead of her. She was full of energy and was always out doing something. We had been going out for three months. "I've never lost anyone before and for the first funeral I've gone to to be my own girlfriend's is incredibly hard. I loved her." Jodie's father, Peter Chesney, who gave up a job in the City, said: "I have lost the most precious human being I will ever know. I have no idea how I'm going to continue my life or come to terms with the loss." Her sister, Lucy, said: "Jodie will be greatly missed and the people who caused such tragedy to a whole family should hang their head in shame. You have ripped away a bright future that was destined to make a change to many lives." The court heard that Ong-a-Kwie had convictions for possessing and supplying drugs. He admitted being in breach of a six-week suspended sentence for handling stolen jewellery dating back to October last year. Isaacs had previous convictions for possessing a screwdriver, actual bodily harm, possession of cannabis as well as aggravated vehicle-taking.


  • Israel’s New Way of War

    Israel’s New Way of WarCommuters on Route 4, driving toward the Israeli coastal city of Ashdod on November 12, were shocked by an explosion, a rocket impact next to a major intersection. Had it fallen on a car or one of the many trucks plying the route, there would have been deaths, and the road would have been closed. Instead, police and Israeli Home Front Command units came and cordoned off the sidewalk, and drivers went about their day. Twenty-five miles south of where the rocket landed, other rocket teams from Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), an Iranian-backed terrorist group, were preparing to fire more than 400 rockets at Israel during a brief flare-up in fighting. Most of them would be intercepted by Israel’s high-tech air defense.The ability of millions of Israelis to mostly go about their day while Israel’s air force carries out precision air strikes nearby is due to Israel’s latest achievements in fighting war. It also comes with questions about whether Israel is being effective and what this latest revolution in military affairs means in the long term.A week after the November 12 clashes, they had faded into the background, one day of battle among dozens since March 2018, when Hamas launched a series of protests called the Great Return March. More than 2,000 rockets have been fired, many of them in short spurts. Several times, Israel almost launched a major ground operation. But it has held back. Its Iron Dome air-defense system, which looks like a giant green pack of cigarettes mounted on a truck, intercepted 90 percent of the rockets in the battle with Islamic Jihad. The sophisticated system, developed with U.S. support, not only targets incoming projectiles by firing a missile at them; it even calculates precisely where the threat might hit and works accordingly with a separate system of sirens that warn Israelis to seek shelter.As in almost every attack since Israel pulled its forces from Gaza in 2005, I went down to the border. The area has changed dramatically over the years. In 2008, before Operation Cast Lead, areas of Sderot, a border town, were dilapidated and depressing. Under fire, without any protection, the people were traumatized. Now there are new parks and shopping centers. Israel didn’t go to war on November 12 because it didn’t need to, and it sees diminishing returns in entering Gaza and getting bogged down in fighting. It also knows that civilian casualties would result. In Cast Lead, around 1,400 Palestinians were killed; in the Gaza war in 2014, more than 2,400, according to estimates. Gaza is densely populated; imagine trying to fight a war in Manhattan. Civilians will suffer.However, the volume of rocket fire from Gaza in the past year and the extent of Israeli airstrikes are as large as in previous wars. In July 2018, Israel struck 40 targets in what it said were the largest strikes since the 2014 war. In November 2018, around 500 rockets were fired. In response, Israel struck 160 targets that month. In May 2019, more than 600 rockets were fired at Israel. In the recent battle with Islamic Jihad, Israel hit around 20 PIJ targets. A mistaken airstrike also killed eight civilians from one Palestinian family.Israel dubbed its recent operation “Black Belt” and aimed it at deterring PIJ, which poses a challenge for Israel if there is also conflict with Hezbollah in the north. Delivering a blow to the organization by killing a senior commander to “stabilize the situation” is what Jerusalem hoped to achieve. “Our assessment shows we dealt a significant blow to PIJ’s capabilities,” an IDF spokesman said in a press briefing.This is Israel’s new way of war. It mirrors a type of war that most advanced Western countries, particularly the United States, now fight. It involves precision airstrikes or special forces and complex intelligence-gathering through the use of satellites, cyber technology, and other sources. Gone are the days of heavy armor, of Israel’s Moshe Dayan or America’s George Patton and all that. This “revolution in military affairs” that was unveiled in the early 1990s mandates the use of technology and now involves “asymmetry,” which basically means that on one side you have an F-35 and on the other you have a guy with an AK-47. It’s not simple in reality, because groups such as Islamic Jihad have developed long-range rockets, with Iran’s backing.Nevertheless, in the overall picture, Israel has reached extreme precision in its airstrikes, putting a missile in a bedroom rather than taking out a whole house. Air defense, including Iron Dome and other systems such as the U.S.-made Patriot, enable Jerusalem to avoid a ground war and to focus on the Iranian threat. This is a major revolution for Israel. Thirteen years ago the country was dragged into a conflict with Hezbollah in Lebanon and suffered many early setbacks on the ground. That war taught Israel that its decade and a half of fighting Palestinian terror in the West Bank and Gaza had degraded the army’s ability to engage in a larger complex conflict.Now Israel prefers to prepare for the larger conflict with Iranian-backed groups while managing the conflict in Gaza and carrying out airstrikes in Syria against Iranian targets that are largely shrouded in secrecy. These precise strikes, such as one on a Hezbollah “killer drone” team in August, could lead to a larger conflict. As it faces a variety of threats, from Hezbollah and other Iranian-backed groups, Israel will have to use its air defense against major rocket threats, relying on the tactics it honed in the precision strikes. New technologies enabled Israel to refrain from major conflicts with the Palestinians. In the next war, they will be tested on a much larger scale, on multiple fronts.


  • Russia hands back captured naval ships to Ukraine before summit

    Russia hands back captured naval ships to Ukraine before summitMOSCOW/KIEV (Reuters) - Russia on Monday handed back three naval ships it captured last year to Ukraine, something Kiev wanted to happen before a four-way peace summit on eastern Ukraine next month in Paris. The handover, confirmed by the two countries' foreign ministries, occurred in the Black Sea off the coast of Crimea, which Russia annexed from Ukraine in 2014. Russia seized the ships in the same area in November last year after opening fire on them and wounding several sailors.


  • Racist, anti-Semitic incidents prompt Syracuse to halt fraternity activities; Alpha Chi Rho suspended

    Racist, anti-Semitic incidents prompt Syracuse to halt fraternity activities; Alpha Chi Rho suspendedSyracuse suspended a fraternity and halted social activities at all of them for the semester after a series of racist and anti-Semitic incidents.


  • Colombia church massacre victims ID’d with DNA put to rest

    Colombia church massacre victims ID’d with DNA put to restRelatives of those killed in a Colombia massacre put their loved ones to rest Monday nearly two decades after the attack – while also warning that the government hasn’t done enough to prevent a similar tragedy from happening again. Family members held a memorial ceremony in the Chocó province town of Bojayá following a painstaking process in which forensic scientists used DNA to identify nearly 80 people initially buried in mass graves. People were sheltering in a church as leftist rebels clashed with paramilitaries in 2002, and a mortar shell exploded inside, killing dozens.


  • Has the U.S. Army Created Its Ultimate Weapon?

    Has the U.S. Army Created Its Ultimate Weapon?Armed Army robot vehicles conducted reconnaissance, called for indirect fire and then, when directed by human decision-makers, attacked and destroyed enemy targets in a recent experiment designed to assess the technical maturity and readiness of autonomous ground drones.


  • In northeast Syria, last Assyrians fear Turkish advance

    In northeast Syria, last Assyrians fear Turkish advanceSince fleeing her hometown in northeastern Syria, Suad Simon prays every day for the safety of her husband, who stayed behind with other fighters to defend their majority-Assyrian village. Assyrian Christians like Simon, who escaped the town's occupation by the Islamic State group in 2015 and did not choose to emigrate, now anxiously watch the advance of Turkish forces towards their villages in the south of Hasakeh province. Simon, 56, fled her village of Tal Kefji that is not far from areas still hit by sporadic fighting and sought refuge with a relative in Tal Tamr to the south.


  • IRS whistleblower reportedly met with Senate staffers this month

    IRS whistleblower reportedly met with Senate staffers this monthA career official at the Internal Revenue Service who filed a whistleblower complaint over the summer, accusing at least one political appointee at the Treasury Department of trying to interfere with an audit of President Trump's tax returns, met with Senate Finance Committee staff members earlier this month, a congressional aide told The New York Times. The whistleblower spoke with staffers for Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), the chairman and ranking Democrat of the Senate Finance Committee. The whistleblower contacted the staff of the House Ways and Means Committee in July, claiming that political appointees were getting involved in the audit and putting pressure of some kind on senior IRS officials, the Times reports.Details of the allegations remain unclear, and the House Ways and Means Committee is still reviewing the complaint. "We generally do not comment on whistleblower meetings, their contents, or even if they happened," Michael Zona, a spokesman for Grassley, told the Times. "Additionally, federal law prohibits the discussion of protected taxpayer information."A person familiar with the matter told the Times the complaint does not directly implicate Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who has refused to comply with a congressional request to release six years worth of Trump's personal and business tax returns.More stories from theweek.com The potential lie that could actually destroy Trump The coming death of just about every rock legend How China can win a trade war in 1 move


  • Minneapolis Police Admit to Discovering 1,500 Untested Rape Kits, Spanning Over 30 Years, Found in Storage

    Minneapolis Police Admit to Discovering 1,500 Untested Rape Kits, Spanning Over 30 Years, Found in Storage“We had failure in terms of the auditing process of those kits"


  • Bangladesh organises onion airlift as prices hit record high

    Bangladesh organises onion airlift as prices hit record highSouth Asia's onion crisis has widened, with Bangladesh airlifting supplies of the vegetable and the prime minister claiming prices are so high she has stopped eating them. The spike in Bangladesh has put a staple ingredient for much South Asian food out of reach of the country's poor and follows a similar price hike in India. Prices in Bangladesh rocketed after India banned exports to conserve its own stocks after they were hit first by drought and then by heavy monsoon rains. As prices reached record levels, Bangladesh’s largest opposition party blamed the government for the hike and on Monday called for nationwide protests. The humble bulb is so important to daily cooking in South Asia that shortages have a history of political fallout and a reputation for even toppling governments. One kilo of the vegetable in Bangladesh usually costs 30 taka (27p) but soared to up to 260 taka (£2.37) after India's export ban was imposed. Hours-long queues have formed to purchase the staple of South Asian cuisine Credit: AFP India has seen its own spike in prices after a sharp fall in production and the issue has become a political headache for Delhi. India has already released its national buffer stocks and imposed measures to stop onion hoarding. Hasan Jahid Tusher, deputy press secretary for Bangladesh's prime minister Sheikh Hasina, told AFP onions were being imported by air freight, and that “prime minister said she has stopped using onion in dishes”. None of the dishes at the PM’s residence in Dhaka on Saturday contained onions, he added. Media in Bangladesh reported onion consignments arrived at a major port in Chittagong city on Sunday after the government imported stocks from Myanmar, Turkey, China and Egypt. The increasing prices have pushed onions off restaurant and domestic menus, with Bangladeshis having to adjust their cooking and tastebuds. “Onion has become an essential part of the taste buds of the people of this region, including Bangladesh,” a restaurateur called Shafiqul Islam told bdnews24. “A food can be eatable, but not much delicious without onion. Onion is a must for fish and meat recipes, biriyani and many other dishes.” The state run Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB) has attracted long queues waiting for subsidised onions. “Even if I have to stand another two hours, I will do that. I can save some 250 taka by buying one kilo of TCB onion. I am standing here because I have to save money,” said Ratan, an English teacher. “I am 41 years old. I have never seen onion prices ever crossing beyond 120 taka.” Drought badly hit India's first onion harvest in the spring, while unusually heavy monsoon rains hit the second harvest. The fluctuating price of onions is widely used as an everyday measure of inflation and a sudden inability for the poor to buy them can quickly focus concern over wider economic problems. Indira Ghandi came to power in 1980 citing soaring onion prices as a metaphor for economic failures of the government. The issue dominated state elections in 1998 and again became a political crisis in 2010. India last week said it was importing 100,000 tons of onions in a bid to curb rising prices. Pakistan has meanwhile seen its own vegetable inflation, with a spike in tomato prices. A government finance adviser came in for widespread mockery after he insisted tomatoes were to be found for 17 rupees (8p) per kg. The price is more than 10 times that.


  • Iraqi Spy Chief: ISIS Regrouping and Plotting Mass Prison Breaks

    Iraqi Spy Chief: ISIS Regrouping and Plotting Mass Prison BreaksHead of Iraqi military intelligence Lt. Gen. Saad al-Allaq said in a Monday interview with CNN that ISIS is regrouping and planning new attacks as well as prison breaks.According to al-Allaq, top ISIS leaders have fled north from Syria into Turkey, where they are currently trying to reestablish the organization."Some of its important leadership fled north, I mean in the direction of neighboring countries and into border areas like Gazientep [in southern Turkey]," said al-Allaq. "They have secretly crossed into these areas from the Syrian-Turkish border -- top leaders who have money. They crossed with the help of smugglers by paying [a] large amount of money and have secretly entered Turkish territory."Al-Allaq said that the ISIS supporters who managed to flee into Turkey "play a key role in the recruitment of fighters and terrorists."In comments to CNN, spokesmen for the Turkish government said they were looking into al-Allaq's allegations. Turkey has arrested a sister, wife, and other family members of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the self-styled "Caliph" of ISIS, who was killed by U.S. special forces in October. The country has also detained 42 people accused of carrying out wire transfers for ISIS.Turkey's recent invasion of northeast Syria sparked fears among U.S. lawmakers that ISIS members held in Kurdish detention facilities would be set free in the ensuing fighting. President Trump has made clear his backing for Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan, although he has threatened to impose sanctions against Turkey if the country acted in ways Trump considered "off-limits."Trump ally Senator Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.) has said the withdrawal of American troops from the region in advance of Turkey's invasion was a "disaster in the making" that "ensures ISIS comeback."


  • UPDATE 3-Saudi-led coalition says Yemen's Houthis seize ship in Red Sea

    UPDATE 3-Saudi-led coalition says Yemen's Houthis seize ship in Red SeaThe Saudi-led coalition fighting the Iran-aligned Houthi movement in Yemen said on Monday the Houthis had seized a vessel towing a South Korean drilling rig at the southern end of the Red Sea. The vessel was seized late on Sunday by armed Houthis, Coalition spokesman Colonel Turki al-Malki said in a statement carried by Saudi state media. South Korea said two of its vessels were captured, a tug boat and a sand dredger, each of which had one South Korean national was on board.


  • Biden, lone top 2020 Democrat to oppose federal marijuana legalization, cites 'gateway drug' concern

    Biden, lone top 2020 Democrat to oppose federal marijuana legalization, cites 'gateway drug' concernJoe Biden, the only 2020 Democratic front-runner to oppose federal legalization of marijuana, said more study is needed on risks of using the drug.


  • 2 dead as French bridge collapse sends vehicles into river

    2 dead as French bridge collapse sends vehicles into riverA 15-year-old girl and a truck driver died Monday when a road bridge collapsed in rural southwest France, dumping several vehicles into a river and prompting nationwide questions about bridge safety. Bystanders were able to rescue the girl’s mother after her car fell into the Tarn River near the village of Mirepoix-sur-Tarn, regional prosecutor Dominique Alzeari told reporters. Several hours later, Mirepoix-sur-Tarn Mayor Eric Oget said on BFM television that a truck driver whose vehicle fell into the river was also found dead, and rescuers were working to extract his body.


  • China's Plans To Fight A Nuclear War Against America Would Kill Millions

    China's Plans To Fight A Nuclear War Against America Would Kill MillionsA scary scenario.


  • 'I stand for the truth': the man sentenced to 47 years for crimes he didn't commit

    'I stand for the truth': the man sentenced to 47 years for crimes he didn't commitRuben Martinez was released from prison on Tuesday after 12 years. Now he and his wife can finally start their life togetherRuben Martinez and his wife Maria in Los Angeles. Ruben was recently exonerated of all crimes. Photograph: Dan Tuffs/The GuardianRuben and Maria Martinez are having a honeymoon this week – 12 years after their wedding day.Ruben was arrested in 2007, just five months after they tied the knot, accused of a string of armed robberies in Los Angeles he did not commit. He was sentenced to 47 years in prison in 2008, and for more than a decade Ruben and his wife fought to prove his innocence, with appeals that repeatedly failed.On Tuesday, however, the couple’s prayers were answered. The LA district attorney’s office agreed that Ruben was wrongfully convicted, a judge formally deemed him innocent, and for the first time in more than 4,500 days, Ruben walked free.“This is a divine miracle,” Ruben, now 49, told the Guardian on Thursday, as he sat inside the food pantry in El Monte, just outside of LA, where Maria works. “All of this time crying in my cell, it’s like I was in a dark tunnel … and finally God has brought the light to the darkness.”Ruben and Maria, 59, were giggly and joyful as they discussed his freedom, saying they felt like newlyweds spending their first week together. While exonerations are exceptionally rare, the couple said they never wavered in their belief that this day would come.They had faith to keep them hopeful – as well as a binder of evidence. A marriage shattered by arrest: ‘They just stereotyped him’The two grew up in LA county and met in 2003 at the Victory Outreach church in East LA. They were friends for years and got married on 9 December 2006; Maria carries around a framed photo of them lighting a candle on their wedding day.At the time, Ruben was making ends meet as a day laborer, and on the morning of 1 June 2007, he woke up at 4.30am looking for a gig, leaving the house with only $5 in his wallet. He completed a job moving some furniture and was walking down the street to a liquor store near his home in Boyle Heights when Los Angeles police department officers approached – and arrested him.“I thought something bad had happened to my family,” he said. “I sat in the back of that cop car thinking, what could it be?”The officers took him to a station for questioning, and a detective asked him if he knew why he was arrested. When he said no, the detective asked him to try on a painter’s mask, which Ruben refused to do. Police then asked him if he had tattoos, and when he said he did not, they made him take his shirt off to prove it, he said.“‘Who do you hang around with?’” police continued, according to Ruben. He said it became clear that officers were trying to establish some sort of gang affiliation based on his neighborhood.“They just stereotyped him as a Boyle Heights, East LA Mexican gangbanger,” said Maria.Eventually police told him he was being charged with “second-degree robbery while personally armed with a firearm”.He told the officers he knew nothing about any robberies, and the questioning quickly ended.Maria came home to find police had put up yellow tape and turned her home into a crime scene, executing a search warrant for robbery.“The house was in shambles,” she said.Ruben MartinezRuben, who was jailed while awaiting trial, later learned he was being charged with nine felony counts stemming from five robberies between December 2005 and May 2007 at the same Boyle Heights auto body shop – a business he had never patronized. He matched some parts of the victim’s description of the suspect, though the suspect was a bit taller and had been wearing a mask for most of the robberies.The simplest way forward for Ruben was to plead guilty. Prosecutors offered him a plea deal that would give him a two-year sentence, and his lawyer urged him to sign.Ruben never even considered it: “Everybody was telling me to take it … but it wouldn’t be right on my behalf, saying I was a thief. That would be a lie. I don’t believe in lying. If a man’s going to stand, let him stand for the truth.”Maria knew the risks of rejected a deal, but said she always supported her husband’s decision: “He didn’t do it.” Prosecution with ‘no evidence’After learning the specific robbery dates in court, Maria went through all of Ruben’s pay stubs and found paperwork showing he was working during two of the alleged incidents – on a job at CBS Studios and another at a metal processing facility. The temporary agencies that employed Ruben gave Maria time sheets and a list of people he carpooled with on those days. She gave those to his lawyer, but the attorney did not use the documents during the trial and did not call his alibis from the carpool as witnesses.Ruben’s supervisors did testify on his behalf, but prosecutors attacked their credibility, alleging that one was biased and another had made a typo on one time sheet.The only physical evidence from the five crime scenes was a single palm print. It did not match Ruben’s. Police knew one suspect had committed all the crimes and had no evidence from Ruben’s home to connect him to any of the offenses.A first trial in November 2007 ended in a mistrial with a deadlocked jury. Prosecutors moved forward with a second trial, which ended in guilty verdicts on all counts. On 20 May 2008, Ruben was sentenced to 47 years and eight months in state prison.Ruben’s incarceration devastated his whole family.Maria broke down as she recounted the milestones missed: “I got robbed of a lot of stuff. Sharing our first anniversary behind bars, it was so sad.”When Ruben’s nephew was killed the day of his conviction, Maria hid the news, worried he wouldn’t be able to cope. When Ruben’s mother passed away in July 2010, he wasn’t able to go to the funeral. During the holidays each year, his family would honor him by passing around a hat and collecting donations that could go to his prison care packages.After Ruben ended up in a state prison 200 miles away from LA, most of his family couldn’t afford to visit any more.Ruben said the hardest part was the physical separation from Maria: “We lost our time alone, that intimacy where she’s looking into my eyes. We couldn’t share our pain over the phone.”‘There’s two people in the room – me and Jesus. And both of us know I didn’t do it.’ Photograph: Dan Tuffs/The GuardianHe survived by praying in his cell, he said: “‘Jesus, you know I didn’t do this.’ There’s two people in the room – me and Jesus. And both of us know I didn’t do it.”Maria refused to give up on the case. A former secretary for the sheriff’s department, she kept detailed records of all his files proving his alibis. One of Ruben’s sisters took an early withdrawal from her retirement to pay for an attorney, and his family filed petitions and appeals. The courts denied each one.In 2015, Maria learned she had one final option. The district attorney (DA), Jackie Lacey, had established a new conviction review unit. Without the help of an attorney, Maria put together a claim for Lacey’s office. Maria also had the support of a close friend and retired homicide detective, Catherine Wills, who had become a mother figure to her and twice directly appealed to the prosecutor.And for the first time in a decade, the system took Maria’s binder of evidence seriously. DA investigators interviewed witnesses and alibis and concluded it was not possible that Ruben committed any of the robberies. ‘They never gave up hope’Ruben’s exoneration is an anomaly in LA county. Since the creation of Lacey’s review unit, he is only the third person to have a conviction reversed – and the first to successfully bring a claim without an attorney. The unit has received more than 1,900 claims during that time.“A lot of people come up to me and say there’s somebody in prison who’s innocent,” Lacey told the Guardian this week. “The moral of the story is you’ve got to listen … Ruben is an inspirational figure, larger than life, no bitterness … They never gave up hope.”Lacey said her office would use Ruben’s case in trainings, adding: “There are mixed emotions when you see a mistake in the system, because you have so much faith in the system.”Ruben will be entitled to $140 for every day of his incarceration, which could amount to more than $600,000. But Lacey acknowledged that could never make up for the suffering of his family: “I can’t even imagine, 11 years … It’s hard to even explain it or think about it.”Maria said she did not have animosity towards the DA’s office: “They’re human, and it’s not their fault. It was just the system.”Ruben immediately celebrated his freedom with a double cheeseburger, fries and a strawberry shake. The next morning, his first day on the outside, he decided to volunteer at the food bank where his wife works. He thought it would be a good way to show his gratitude.


  • Tillerson says Trump actions 'wrong' if proven

    Tillerson says Trump actions 'wrong' if provenTillerson, a former oil executive who was unceremoniously fired by Trump in March last year, was asked about the scandal in an interview with the PBS Newshour broadcast Monday. "So if you're seeking some personal gain and you're using, whether it's American foreign aid, American weapons or American influence, that's wrong, and I think everyone understands that," he said.


  • Warren Calls Out Blackstone for ‘Shameless’ Profits From Housing

    Warren Calls Out Blackstone for ‘Shameless’ Profits From Housing(Bloomberg) -- Elizabeth Warren called out Blackstone Group Inc. for its real estate practices as she laid out her tenants’ rights plan, accusing the company of “shamelessly” profiting from the 2008 housing crisis.Her criticism on Monday was the latest instance of the Democratic 2020 presidential candidate singling out Wall Street companies and investors by name for actions she says contribute to inequality.In a Medium post where she laid out proposals to strengthen tenants’ rights, Warren assailed Blackstone for going on a “shopping spree” in the wake of the 2008 crisis and buying apartments and single-family homes that had been foreclosed. She also took aim at Colony Capital Inc. and Cerberus Capital Management.“Some of the same Wall Street firms that tanked the dream of home ownership for millions of American families are now the country’s biggest landlords -- profiting off the destruction they caused,” Warren wrote in her post.Blackstone noted that in fact it began purchasing homes through a now-independent company it founded, Invitation Homes, in 2012, after the housing crisis that began in 2008 had abated. The company said vacant homes were dragging down property values for surrounding homes, and Blackstone’s purchases and billion-dollar investments in renovations boosted local economies and employment. The firm was spending $150 million a week buying single-family homes.“Though we are only a tiny percentage of the housing market, we are proud of our investments, which are helping address the housing shortage by adding high-quality, professionally managed rental housing, while contributing to local economies and creating jobs -- all on behalf of our investors, which include retirement systems for millions of teachers, nurses, firefighters and other pensioners,” said Jen Friedman, senior vice president for global public affairs at Blackstone.Blackstone is one of the world’s largest real-estate investors, and has about $554 billion in total assets under management. The business is so profitable it has made both founder Stephen Schwarzman and president Jonathan Gray, who oversaw Blackstone’s massive real estate growth, billionaires several times over.Warren has singled out some of the largest U.S. corporations, including Facebook Inc., Exxon Mobil Corp., Walmart Inc., and Wells Fargo & Co., as she campaigns for the Democratic nomination by championing working- and middle-class families. The Massachusetts senator promised to break up big corporations, crack down on their political influence and enforce strict regulations on Wall Street.She has also engaged in fights with such Wall Street figures as Lloyd Blankfein and Leon Cooperman.Warren’s latest attack comes in a policy proposal to withhold federal funding from corporate landlords with a history of “harassing” tenants. Corporate landlords would be required to publicly disclose data like median rent, the number of tenants they’ve evicted and building code violations, as well as the names of any individuals with an ownership interest of 25% or more.Warren also pointed to Blackstone’s $5.3 billion deal to buy New York’s Stuyvesant Town, an 80-acre Manhattan development with more than 11,000 apartments. Under the terms of the deal, about 5,000 of those apartments would remain “affordable” for 20 years, according to an announcement by New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio.Warren has proposed spending $500 billion to build about 3 million housing units in the U.S., and also said her administration would provide a nationwide right-to-counsel and establish a federal grant program aimed at benefiting low-income tenants facing eviction. She said she’d create a federal Tenant Protection Bureau, modeled after the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, a key component of the 2010 Wall Street overhaul legislation that she advocated.(Updates with details on Blackstone’s housing purchases in fifth paragraph.)To contact the reporters on this story: Misyrlena Egkolfopoulou in Washington at megkolfopoul@bloomberg.net;Heather Perlberg in Washington at hperlberg@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Wendy Benjaminson at wbenjaminson@bloomberg.net, ;Sam Mamudi at smamudi@bloomberg.net, Gregory MottFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


  • Avalanche hits Indian army post in Himalayas, 6 killed

    Avalanche hits Indian army post in Himalayas, 6 killedAn avalanche hit an Indian army post Monday on a Himalayan glacier in the disputed Kashmir region, killing four soldiers and their two civilian porters, the army said. Rescuers pulled six soldiers and two porters from the snow, said army spokesman Lt. Col. Abhinav Navneet. The group was on patrol near the post when the area was hit by the avalanche, Navneet said.


  • Too Far Left? Some Candidates Don't Buy the Argument

    Too Far Left? Some Candidates Don't Buy the ArgumentLONG BEACH, Calif. -- The crowded Democratic field of presidential candidates grappled with President Barack Obama's advice and legacy Saturday, the day after the former president sounded an unusual public warning about moving too far left in the primary race.While none were willing to directly rebuff Obama, a few candidates offered implicit criticism, saying that Democrats should be careful to steadfastly back the field so that whoever wins the nomination can count on enthusiastic support from all corners of the party."What we're doing right now, creating these dynamics within the Democratic Party, we've got to be careful," Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey said, his voice rising as he addressed reporters in Long Beach, California, after speaking at the state's Democratic convention. "Because whoever is the nominee, we have one shot to make Donald Trump a one-term president. And so I'm not interested in delineating left or right or criticizing other folks.""Let's stop tearing each other down, let's stop drawing artificial lines," he added. "I'm tired in this election of hearing some people say, 'Well if this person gets elected, I can't support them,' and then other people say, 'If this person gets elected, I can't support them.' Are you kidding me?"During a televised forum sponsored by Univision, Jorge Ramos, an anchor for the Spanish-language station, asked Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont if Obama was right in saying that "the average American doesn't think we have to completely tear down the system."Sanders chuckled briefly and responded, "Well, it depends on what you mean by tear down the system.""The agenda that we have is an agenda supported by the vast majority of working people," he said. "When I talk about raising the minimum wage to a living wage, I'm not tearing down the system. We're fighting for justice. When I talk about health care being a human right and ending the embarrassment of America being the only major country on earth that does not guarantee health care for every man, woman and child, that's not tearing down the system. That's doing what we should have done 30 years ago."Julian Castro, who served as the housing secretary under Obama and has embraced some of the most left-leaning policies during the primary, said that he "always takes what President Obama says very very seriously."But, he emphatically said that he believed any of the candidates would be well-positioned to defeat Trump."I don't think that anybody in this campaign has articulated a vision for the future of the country that would not command a majority of voters in November of 2020," he said. "Their vision for the future of the country is much better and will be more popular than Donald Trump's."The comments came just a day after Obama spoke at a forum in Washington, D.C., and warned against Democrats moving too far to the left, particularly on issues such as health care and immigration. While Obama did not mention any candidate by name, he took aim at the "activist wing" of the Democratic Party and "left-leaning Twitter feeds," saying they were out of touch with the average voter."This is still a country that is less revolutionary than it is interested in improvement," he told an audience of some of the party's wealthiest donors Friday evening.The remarks were a rare departure for Obama. While the former president has spoken privately with nearly all the candidates, he has been careful to avoid exerting any influence on the race.Aides said his comments were intended to calm the nerves of Democrats who were worried about the strength of their historically large field, but Obama ended up reinforcing some of their more pressing concerns.Some establishment Democrats, elected officials and top donors have fretted that the liberal platforms of Sanders and Sen. Elizabeth Warren would complicate their paths to the general election, arguing that they would lose voters in rural areas and in the suburban districts that helped the party win back the House last year. They are particularly worried about the politics of "Medicare for All," fearing it could transform health care, an issue that has been a political asset for Democrats, into a liability."We're changing something that clearly is a message that, in 2018, resonated with voters and we're making the issue about our plan rather than what the president has or has not done," former Sen. Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota said.Among the liberal wing of the party, Obama's remarks prompted fierce backlash online and the creation of the hashtag TooFarLeft by Peter Daou, a former adviser to Hillary Clinton.Warren declined to address Obama's implicit criticism and instead praised the former president's efforts on health care."I so admire what President Obama did. He is the one who led the way on health care and got health care coverage for tens of millions of Americans when nobody thought that was possible," she said, speaking to reporters after a campaign event in Waverly, Iowa."Those are huge changes in this country, and they have made a difference for millions of people, and I will always be grateful," she said.Former Gov. Deval Patrick of Massachusetts did not address Obama's comments directly but argued that he defied ideological labels."Don't put me in a box," he told reporters. "I don't fit. By the way, neither do most voters.""One of the most exciting things about this moment is that the public's appetite for solutions as big as the challenges we face is greater than it's been in a long, long while," he said. "Our goals should be ambitious."Patrick received a tepid response to his five-minute speech at the California Democratic Convention in Long Beach on Saturday, his first major address since declaring his bid for the presidency."I am not running, my friends, to be president of the Democrats. I am running to be president of the United States." But he quickly added: "I'm not talking about a moderate agenda. This is no time for a moderate agenda. I'm talking about being woke, while leaving room for the still waking."Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota was among those objecting to Obama's premise. She published a tweet listing some of the priorities of the progressive left, with the rejoinder, "Count me in!"This article originally appeared in The New York Times.(C) 2019 The New York Times Company


  • China says Hong Kong courts have no power to rule on face mask ban

    China says Hong Kong courts have no power to rule on face mask banHong Kong's High Court ruled on Monday that colonial-era emergency laws, which were revived to justify the mask ban, were "incompatible with the Basic law", the mini-constitution under which Hong Kong was returned to China in 1997.


  • Passenger dies after fall from balcony on Carnival’s Horizon during cruise

    Passenger dies after fall from balcony on Carnival’s Horizon during cruiseA man fell from a balcony to a deck below on the Carnival Horizon cruise ship as it was returning to port in Miami, officials say.


  • Mexican president defends indigenous pensions plan

    Mexican president defends indigenous pensions planMexico’s president on Monday defended a plan to provide pensions to indigenous people starting at age 65, compared with 68 for other Mexicans. Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who was elected last year after campaigning to help marginalized people, said those who question the idea should visit poor indigenous communities to see how residents live. “It is painful that a senior in the city, age 65, is better preserved than an indigenous person of 65 because they work, they eat poorly, they have to walk for kilometers and they suffer greatly,” López Obrador said.


  • American Submarines Are in the Crosshairs of China

    American Submarines Are in the Crosshairs of ChinaChina will deploy a force of aerial drones to stalk American submarines in the Western Pacific.


  • Brooke Skylar Richardson: My Biggest Regret Is Not Telling Anyone I Was Pregnant

    Brooke Skylar Richardson: My Biggest Regret Is Not Telling Anyone I Was PregnantAlbert Cesare/The Cincinnati Enquirer via AP, PoolIt’s been nearly three years since 18-year-old Brooke Skylar Richardson gave birth alone, in her family home, and buried the baby in her backyard. She’s been through a grueling trial—charged with aggravated murder, involuntary manslaughter, and child endangerment—and endured a national media circus. But to this day, Richardson says her biggest regret is not telling someone when she discovered she was pregnant.Richardson was acquitted of the most serious charges against her last month, in a trial that transfixed her small town of Carlisle, Ohio, and made headlines across the country. Critics dubbed the teenager a “baby killer” and started Facebook groups calling for her murder, while supporters claimed her case set a dangerous precedent for pregnant women..In her first interview since the trial, Richardson told Cosmopolitan she spent much of that time agitating over what happened to her baby, whom she named Annabelle. Every night, she told Cosmo, “I would lie down and wish that I could have died in place of Annabelle.”“I wish I would have done it differently,” she added. “I’m plagued by guilt every day for not telling someone.”Ohio Cheerleader Found Not Guilty of Murdering Her Newborn BabyRichardson discovered she was pregnant in April 2017, at a gynecologist appointment her mother had arranged to get her birth control. Instead of prescribing the pill, however, the doctor informed her she was 32 weeks along. Then 18 years old, and focused on finishing her senior year of high school, Richardson told no one.Weeks later—on her senior prom night, weeks before the baby was due—Richardson gave birth in her family bathroom. To this day, she maintains it was a stillbirth. (“I did not hurt, harm, or kill Annabelle,” she told Cosmo.) Panicked, she ran outside and dug a shallow grave in her backyard. She covered it with pink flower petals.Months after, when Richardson finally told a doctor the outcome of the pregnancy, the doctor reported her to authorities for suspected child abuse. Police assigned to the case questioned her for hours, until she admitted to trying to cremate the remains. Later, her defense team would say this confession was coerced, and the prosecution’s own expert witness would also say there was no evidence of burning.But as news of her story spread, people in Richardson’s town and beyond started calling her a monster. Friends and classmates lined up in front of her house to take pictures, and commenters on social media called for her death.“It was the worst nightmare,” her mother, Kim Richardson, previously told 48 Hours. “Purgatory every day. Our lives have been completely turned upside-down.”Brooke told Cosmo that she felt “like I was dying” during the trial. “Very few things have been harder than having to listen to prosecutors allege horrible, unthinkable things of me and put countless photos of my daughter’s bones on a big screen,” she said.Cheerleader Accused of Murdering, Burying Newborn Goes on TrialEven now, after a jury found her not guilty on three different charges, the scrutiny on Richardson remains. Hours after her acquittal, when she went to a gathering with friends, someone sent pictures to the media. In October, relatives of her baby’s father organized a candlelight vigil for Annabelle at a local community center. Now 20 years old, Richardson has been unable to join her friends at college or even find a job beyond a part-time role with the law firm that represented her. Her eating disorder—which became a fixture of the dramatic coverage around her case—has persisted, and she has also been diagnosed with mild PTSD and severe depression.“I’m still living with a lot of fear,” Richardson told Cosmo. “The past two years have been nothing short of a nightmare. After being constantly afraid and paranoid of everyone and everything around me, I’m having a hard time letting that go.”Richardson will still have to serve three years on probation for the one charge on which the jury found her guilty—gross abuse of a corpse. Still, she has signed up for paralegal classes at a community college, and says she plans to seek treatment for her eating disorders. She hopes to eventually work for the Ohio Innocence Project.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.


  • Riot police use water cannons to disperse Georgia protesters

    Riot police use water cannons to disperse Georgia protestersRiot police in Georgia used water cannons on Monday to disperse anti-government protesters who have taken to the streets after the ruling party backtracked on promised electoral reforms. Hundreds of riot police in body armour and helmets sprayed water to break up a crowd of several hundred protesters outside the parliament building in the capital Tbilisi. Police also cleared protesters away from the city's main thoroughfare, Rustaveli Avenue, where they have blocked traffic since the last week.


  • John Oliver Says If You Want to Irritate Donald Trump, Fill Out the 2020 Census

    John Oliver Says If You Want to Irritate Donald Trump, Fill Out the 2020 Census“This administration clearly thinks that some people don’t count,” Oliver says.


  • Private zoo owner in Crimea pleads for public to take 30 of his bears so he won't have to euthanise them

    Private zoo owner in Crimea pleads for public to take 30 of his bears so he won't have to euthanise themThe owner of a struggling safari park in Crimea is giving more than thirty bears to save them from euthanasia.  Oleg Zubkov, the owner of the Taigan Lion Park near Simferopol, said he is seeking new homes for the animals because he can no longer afford to feed them. It comes after inspectors ordered the safari park, which is famous for its large collection of lions, found violations of veterinary regulations and ordered it closed for three months.  Speaking on his Youtube channel, “the Lion Man,” Mr Zubkov said he could not afford to feed and look after the animals without the revenue from ticket sales and was left with no choice but to find them new homes or put them down.  “Twelve lions and tigers will be moved to other zoos shortly, and a final decision will be made about… shooting 30 bears from the park,” he says in the video. “I’ve forced into these extreme measures because there are no other options left,” he said. Oleg Zubkov with BBC television presenter  Simon Reeve Credit:  Jonathan Young Mr Zubkov said he had already fed several dozen of his Vietnamese pigs to the lions and tigers in a bid to cut costs, and that he had informed regional veterinary authorities about his decision to cull his bears.  Valery Ivanov, the head of the state veterinary committee in Crimea, told Interfax no documents related to the killing of animals had been received.  The Taigan Safari Park, which is home to 2,500 animals, was opened in 2012. Mr Zubkov also runs a second zoo, called Skazka, in Yalta.  Both have been the subject of numerous complaints about the conditions in which the animals are kept, according to local officials.  Last year Taigan was at the centre of a small scandal after one of the lions bit a 46 year old female tourist posing for photographs with the animal.  Mr Zubkov's career has not passed without controversy Credit: Media Drum World / Alamy Stock Photo Mr Zubkov insists that his bears live in better conditions than in many other zoos in Russia, and that the biting incident was the only one of its kind. He has complained that authorities have been trying to shut him down ever since Russia annexed the Black Sea peninsular after Vladimir Putin annexed it from Ukraine in 2014.  Mr Zubkov was an enthusiastic supporter the annexation at the time, and even featured in Russian television reports promising that his “fighting lions” would maintain order during the controversial referendum on “reunification” with Russia.  In the months afterwards he made an unsuccessful bid to enter local politics and even tried to call Vladimir Putin during his annual phone-in show to invite him to the safari park.   But by 2015 he had begun to complain that he and his zoo had become the target of a campaign of harassment by local officials apparently determined to put him out of business.


  • Joe Biden leads crowded Democratic field by 20 points in new South Carolina poll

    Joe Biden leads crowded Democratic field by 20 points in new South Carolina pollA Quinnipiac University poll out of South Carolina shows Biden leading the Democratic field by 20 points including high favorablity and recognition.


  • Turkey orders detention of 133 military personnel over suspected Gulen links: Anadolu

    Turkey orders detention of 133 military personnel over suspected Gulen links: AnadoluTurkey has ordered the detention of 133 military personnel over suspected links to a network Ankara accuses of organizing an attempted coup in 2016, the state-run Anadolu news agency said on Tuesday. The suspects are being sought in an operation centered in the western coastal province of Izmir, Anadolu said, adding that 82 of them were serving members in the military. Ankara blames U.S.-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, who has lived in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania since 1999, of masterminding the failed putsch on July 15, 2016.