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  • 2020 Vision: Democratic field continues to shrink as Inslee and Moulton drop out

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    The presidential primary field further winnowed this week, with Washington Gov. Jay Inslee and Massachusetts Rep. Seth Moulton announcing their withdrawals.

    Fri, 23 Aug 2019 13:27:20 -0400
  • Chinese ship inches closer to Vietnam coastline amid South China Sea tensions

    A Chinese survey vessel on Saturday extended its activities to an area closer to Vietnam's coastline, ship tracking data showed, after the United States and Australia expressed concern about China's actions in the disputed waterways. The Haiyang Dizhi 8 vessel first entered Vietnam's exclusive economic zone (EEZ) early last month where it began a weeks-long seismic survey, triggering a tense standoff between military and coastguard vessels from Vietnam and China. The Chinese vessel continued to survey Vietnam's EEZ on Saturday under escort from at least four ships and was around 102 kilometres (63 miles) southeast of Vietnam's Phu Quy island and 185 kilometres (115 miles) from the beaches of the southern city of Phan Thiet, according to data from Marine Traffic, a website that tracks vessel movements.

    Sat, 24 Aug 2019 01:35:00 -0400
  • Russian doctor has trace of radiation after explosion

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    More than 100 Russian medical workers who helped treat victims of a recent mysterious explosion at a military testing range have undergone checks and one man has been found with a trace of radiation, officials said Friday. It was followed by a brief rise in radiation levels in nearby Severodvinsk, but the authorities insisted it didn't pose any danger. The Arkhangelsk regional administration said Friday that 110 medical workers have undergone checks that one man was found with a low amount of radioactive cesium-137 in his muscle tissue.

    Fri, 23 Aug 2019 11:12:24 -0400
  • Russia launches floating nuclear reactor in Arctic despite warnings

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    Russia will launch the world's first floating nuclear reactor and send it on an epic journey across the Arctic on Friday, despite environmentalists warning of serious risks to the region. Loaded with nuclear fuel, the Akademik Lomonosov will leave the Arctic port of Murmansk to begin its 5,000 kilometre (3,000-mile) voyage to northeastern Siberia. Nuclear agency Rosatom says the reactor is a simpler alternative to building a conventional plant on ground that is frozen all year round, and it intends to sell such reactors abroad.

    Fri, 23 Aug 2019 03:01:09 -0400
  • Police are trying to arrest their way out of a mass shooting epidemic, and experts warn it could have dire consequences

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    The arrests won't fully or permanently stop a person determined to inflict mass death — and the US is nowhere near close to tackling the root causes.

    Thu, 22 Aug 2019 13:50:59 -0400
  • Radical gun reform may finally have a voice in Washington

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    An ambitious agenda by the March for Our Lives activists may be the first time the majority of Americans get real representationA young girl looks on as she attends a vigil for the victims of the recent mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio. Photograph: Drew Angerer/Getty ImagesMarch for Our Lives, the national youth gun violence prevention movement founded by survivors of last year’s school shooting in Parkland, Florida, released a sweeping gun reform agenda this week.The agenda calls for significantly raising the standards for gun ownership in America, and reducing by about 100m the total number of guns in circulation.It’s a dramatic, ambitious plan. And it may represent the first time in decades that the majority of Americans will get any real representation in the gun control debate in Washington.March for Our Lives’ young activists endorsed an Australia-style mandatory government buyback and destruction of “assault weapons”. They want to decrease the number of guns in circulation by 30% – which would mean roughly 100m fewer firearms in American hands. They proposed regulations that would dramatically raise the bar for who is allowed to purchase a gun, putting US law much more in line with European countries. And they want to revisit the 2009 supreme court decision, District of Columbia v Heller, which enshrined a pro-gun interpretation of Americans’ second amendment right to bear arms.These proposals are substantially more aggressive, and more ambitious, than anything the Democrats in Washington have fought for in years. In fact, for decades, gun control groups and progressive politicians have done a poor job at representing the majority of Americans in Congress when it comes to gun control. A surprising voidDemocrats have fought for minor new restrictions on gun buying – and been defeated by the Republican party’s gun absolutists – but, fundamentally, the Democratic party has remained supportive of gun ownership.Democratic lawmakers’ efforts to “ban assault weapons”, for example, have not meant an actual ban on these guns, but only a ban on future sales, meaning that Americans could keep the millions of military-style rifles they already own. President Obama’s signature gun control legislation after the 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School was a compromise bill that would have closed just a few of the gaping loopholes in the nation’s background check system – a measure so weak it’s doubtful whether it would have had any effect on gun violence at all.The country’s largest gun control groups, too, have made great efforts to portray themselves as pro-“gun safety”, not anti-gun. They routinely advertise themselves as supporters of Americans’ second amendment right to bear arms. And they have focused on “commonsense reforms”, such as getting what activists see as particularly extreme weapons off the streets, or requiring a criminal background check before every gun sale.This lack of any explicit anti-gun side in the American gun debate is strange.Although many Americans may not realize it, gun owners are a minority in the United States. American civilians overall own an estimated 300m to 400m firearms, more than one gun per person. But this frequently cited statistic obscures how concentrated American gun ownership is.In recent surveys, roughly 70% to 80% of Americans said they do not personally own a gun, and a majority said that nobody in their household owns a gun. Just 3% of American adults own half the country’s guns, according to a definitive 2015 survey. This small group of gun super-owners have an average of 17 guns each.Gun absolutists – the activists who oppose any gun control measures, who want Americans to be able to own any kind of gun, and carry them everywhere – are a minority within that minority. According to the best available estimates, fewer than 10% of American gun owners overall are members of the National Rifle Association.There appear to be at least as many Americans who are vehemently anti-gun as there are NRA members.Recent Gallup polls have found that 28% of American adults say they would support a law banning handgun ownership, except by the police and other “authorized persons”. A 2017 Pew Research Center survey found that 9% of American adults believed that “almost no one” should be legally allowed to own guns – about the same proportion as the number of adults who believed that “almost everyone” should be able to own them.A coalition of 9% of American adults would translate into more than 20 million people. That’s a group four times larger than the NRA, which claims between 5 million and 6 million members.Only a minority of Americans oppose most private gun ownership. But there’s strong majority support for much tougher gun control laws than the ones currently on the books.A 2017 Pew survey found 68% supported banning assault-style weapons. Seventy-one percent supported having a federal database to track all gun sales. A 2018 Gallup survey found 68% of respondents supported raising the legal age to buy certain guns. A Quinnipiac poll in May found 77% of respondents were in favor of requiring people to obtain a license before being able to purchase a gun.It’s not hard to find Americans who oppose the country’s current gun culture. They show up at gun control rallies, holding signs that say things like “Repeal the Second Amendment”. They live in neighborhoods burdened by decades of daily gun violence. They’ve lost family members or friends to shootings. They keep asking: why can’t we just get rid of the guns?But for years, these Americans’ views have not been well represented by America’s “gun safety” groups, and they have had virtually no representation in Congress.This may finally be starting to change. Moving the gun debateIn 2016, a progressive activist launched Guns Down America, a small organization that advocates not simply for “gun sense laws”, but for “a future with fewer guns”. Following the Parkland shooting, the young March for Our Lives activists have advocated unapologetically for bold reform, though they, like other American gun control activists, say they’re not anti-gun and their proposals for stricter regulation represent the interests of “responsible gun owners”.It’s not yet clear how much the 2020 Democratic presidential candidates will move towards embracing these majority opinions on gun control policy. But there’s already been movement towards the actual middle of the debate.In 2016, Obama argued in a CNN Town Hall that “issues like licensing, registration, that’s an area where there’s just not enough national consensus at this stage to even consider it”. This year, the New Jersey senator Cory Booker made gun licensing the center of his 2020 gun control platform.After the mass shooting targeting Latino families in El Paso, the former Texas congressman Beto O’Rourke said he endorsed not just an assault weapon ban, but a mandatory federal buyback of assault weapons. On Wednesday, he became the first Democratic 2020 candidate to tweet that he supported March for Our Lives’ new policy agenda.O’Rourke’s campaign did not back away from the most controversial elements of the youth activists’ plan, including their desire to revisit the supreme court’s current interpretation of the second amendment, enshrined in the Heller decision.“While Beto agrees with the court’s holding that the second amendment allows for regulation, he does not agree with the entirety of the Heller decision,” said Aleigha Cavalier, O’Rourke’s national press secretary. “One piece of the Heller case Beto believes should be revisited is the court’s decision to strike down DC’s safe storage requirements.”America’s gun debate may soon actually have two sides.

    Fri, 23 Aug 2019 01:00:08 -0400
  • Man Throws Brick at Woman's Head in One of Several Random NYC Attacks

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    A man has attacked at least four people in random Manhattan attacks this August, police said.

    Fri, 23 Aug 2019 13:38:39 -0400
  • L.L. Bean's Huge End-of-Summer Sale Is Taking Up to 70% Off

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    Thu, 22 Aug 2019 14:17:00 -0400
  • Brexit Held at the Border

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    In the last two days Prime Minister Boris Johnson has proposed that Ireland temporarily leave the European Union to align with the economic rules of a post-Brexit U.K. German chancellor Angela Merkel has suggested, somewhat flippantly, that the U.K. could figure out a special trading arrangement for itself and Ireland in the next 30 days. And French president Emmanuel Macron has said that there’s still room for negotiation between the U.K. and the EU, but he’s willing to be “the hard boy.” Maybe Macron is taking the EU marriage metaphor a little too personally . . .What on earth is going on?It’s been three years since a majority of the U.K.’s electorate voted to leave the European Union. And so far, all that Brexit has generated is a great deal of nearly incomprehensibly vocabulary. First we got Theresa May’s red lines, her attempt to define how it was exactly that Brexit means Brexit, and what the future relationship, if any, the United Kingdom would have with the EU. These red lines, an end to freedom of movement from EU member states into the U.K., and an exit from the EU’s customs union ruled out the Norway option but not Canada Plus Plus. Or Canada Plus Plus Plus. Yes, I’m serious.According to the withdrawal agreement negotiated between Theresa May and the rest of the EU, that future relationship has to be figured out in the transition period. That’s a two-year window after the U.K. leaves the EU in which it would continue to follow EU rules until they came to a trade agreement. That is, unless there is a no-deal Brexit and the U.K. simply exits the European Union on October 31 and conducts business with the world based on World Trade Organization rules. Got it? Well, sort of.The focus is now on the Irish-border backstop. Basically, the backstop is a promise that there will be no hard border — a customs border across the island of Ireland, between the Republic of Ireland and the six counties of Northern Ireland. Irish public officials have argued (with the support of the EU) that a frictionless border is necessary for economic and political reasons. The frictionless border is understood there as part of the the peace settlement in Northern Ireland, following the 1998 Good Friday Agreement. So too the “all-island economy” that it creates. The backstop is a promise by the U.K. to keep Northern Ireland following a number of regulations and customs rules that match it to the Republic of Ireland.This promise became the focus of Tory and Brexiteer anger at Theresa May’s withdrawal agreement. First, because it created what seemed like a negotiating trap for the U.K. during the transition period. Having already agreed to keep Northern Ireland (and the rest of the U.K. with it) aligned with the EU’s rules as part of a backstop, the EU would have less incentive to come to another, different trade relationship to supersede that agreement. The price to be paid for testing and pushing the EU might carve up the United Kingdom itself. If Great Britain diverged from the EU at the end of the transition period, Northern Ireland would be partially politically detached from the Union, and perhaps its citizens would have to go through customs to travel within their own country, from Belfast to Birmingham.Recently Johnson has begun calling the backstop “undemocratic” and hinting that it violates the Good Friday Agreement. He has a point. The backstop would keep Northern Ireland subject to EU rules and regs in which they have no say. It would deprive Northern Ireland’s elected ministers to Parliament of any voice on matters that would be routine for MPs in any other constituent nation of the United Kingdom. That seems quite a lot like a partial form of Irish unification. But the Good Friday Agreement ensures that Irish unity can be achieved only by a majority vote for it in the six counties and another one in the Republic of Ireland.Proponents of the backstop hold that this measure would merely be the decision of a sovereign Parliament over a part of its territory. It is an agreement between Parliament and the EU and doesn’t legally touch Ireland. That’s true. But, the reality is that it would create checks between constituent parts of the U.K. that normally exist between two different countries. It does so in order to prevent those checks on the island of Ireland. And it does so to meet the expectations of the Irish government based in Dublin. To whom would Northern Irish people turn when trade policy affects them? Nobody they directly elect would have a constitutional say.Effectively these economic rules would be imposed on Northern Ireland as if it were a kind of EU colony, and done in the interests of the Republic of Ireland. This may satisfy the historical imagination of Irish nationalists. (Believe me, there is a delicious irony to be savored here.) But it is hard to argue that such a result is consonant with the Good Friday Agreement. Or a wise way to endear Northern Irish unionists to the Irish government.All of this confusion is the result of a kind of gamesmanship. The EU and U.K. each want to use the Irish border as a reason to crack the other’s negotiating position. The EU would like to see the U.K. bounced into a permanent customs union in which it has no say, effectively maintaining the economic size and power of the EU while reducing the political influence of Eurosceptical Britannia. On the other side, the U.K. would like to see the Irish-border issue work in the opposite way, forcing the EU to strike an especially good and liberal trade deal with the U.K. that comes with fewer strings attached than those on Norway or other states that have non-standard arrangements.The lesson is rather obvious. You cannot predetermine what kind of infrastructure will be at a border and what laws will be enforced at it, in the absence of a durable agreement on trade in goods and materials. The EU and the U.K. have been trying to resolve questions in the wrong order. Both have done so out of a reasonable fear of loss.But the hour is late, and the real work must be done.

    Thu, 22 Aug 2019 17:22:09 -0400
  • Trump struggles to pronounce various words during rambling speech to veterans

    Golocal247.com news

    Donald Trump struggled to pronounce a series of words in front of military veterans during a rambling speech that ranged from attacks on media outlets he disagrees with to threats to release Isis militants into EuropeWednesday’s official event in Louisville, Kentucky, nominally used to announce a cancellation of student debt owed by permanently disabled US veterans, at times resembled a Trump campaign rally, and saw the president repeatedly stumble over lines read out from a teleprompter.

    Thu, 22 Aug 2019 10:53:26 -0400
  • Hong Kong families form peaceful human chains ahead of airport protest

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    Thousands of chanting Hong Kong protesters joined hands to form human chains on Friday in a peaceful protest, with almost three months of anti-government demonstrations showing no sign of let-up across the Chinese-ruled territory. Demonstrators, families young and old, some people masked, some using hand wipes to stay clean, linked hands across different districts as others held up banners thanking overseas nations for supporting "freedom and democracy" in Hong Kong. "I joined the Hong Kong Way because it’s peaceful," said protester Peter Cheung, 27.

    Thu, 22 Aug 2019 20:45:04 -0400
  • Rep. Steve King wants to make abortion point in 'softer way'

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    Backed by supporters at a news conference in Des Moines, the Iowa Republican affirmed his belief that abortion should be outlawed with no exceptions for rape or incest. King faced criticism for his comment Aug. 14 that questioned whether there would be "any population of the world left" if not for births due to rape or incest. The remarks were condemned by numerous groups and individuals, including Republican and Democratic candidates seeking to oust King, Democratic presidential candidates as well as the Iowa Republican Party and Rep. Liz Cheney, the No. 3 Republican in House leadership.

    Fri, 23 Aug 2019 18:31:07 -0400
  • Pompeo meets Trudeau, says China detention of two Canadians 'wrong'

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    American officials are working to secure the release of two Canadians held by China, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Thursday as he sat down with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. The two Canadians -- former diplomat Michael Kovrig and businessman Michael Spavor -- were detained in December and accused of espionage. The detention came nine days after Canada had arrested Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou on a US warrant.

    Thu, 22 Aug 2019 12:08:13 -0400
  • Putin Needs to Bury This Relic of Stalin

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- As Europe marks 80 years of the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact, which carved up eastern Europe between the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany, Russia is trying to defend the agreement again. There is no political benefit to doing this. President Vladimir Putin needs to abandon his Stalinist inheritance of a foreign policy based solely on national interest.If Moscow needed any reminder that many in eastern Europe still hold the treaty against it and still consider it a threat, plenty came on the anniversary. The governments of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Romania – the countries directly affected by the pact’s secret protocol – issued a joint statement saying the document “sparked World War II and doomed half of Europe to decades of misery.”More than a million people gathered to celebrate the Baltic Chain, the 419-mile (675 kilometer) long line of people who protested Soviet rule on Aug. 23, 1989. The demonstrators didn’t pick that day at random – they, too, were making the point that the subjugation of their countries by the Soviet Union began with the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact.Russia is fighting back. In Moscow, the original of the treaty is now exhibited alongside documents relating to both the 1938 Munich Agreement, where British and French leaders sanctioned the Nazi annexation of the Sudetenland, and Poland’s subsequent invasion of part of Czechoslovakia.At the opening of the exhibition earlier this week, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov spoke of Britain and France’s treachery: By cosying up to Hitler, they forced the Soviet Union to sign a deal with the Nazis to ensure its own security, he said. Had the Western Europeans listened to the Soviets and set up a collective security system, the bloodshed of World War II could have been averted. Lavrov was making a clear analogy with Russia’s efforts to build an alternative security architecture in today’s Europe – an idea the Kremlin hasn’t abandoned despite the rest of Europe’s lack of interest.For its part, the Russian mission to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the group the Kremlin sees as the foundation for its alternative security architecture, tweeted on Aug. 20 that lots of other countries had signed pacts with the Nazis before the Soviet Union did.Kremlin officials can say all this until they go hoarse, but that can’t erase the undeniable fact that the Soviet Union’s security didn’t require it to grab the Baltics and parts of Poland and Romania. Poland, which tried to benefit from the Nazis’ aggression, has admitted it was in the wrong when it invaded part of Czechoslovakia. President Lech Kaczynski apologized for it in 2009.In 1989, the Soviet Union, too, officially condemned the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact – but subsequent Russian communications about it, including an entire article signed by Putin himself in the Polish daily Gazeta Wyborcza, have come with the caveat that lots of others were at it, too.These excuses are a major reason other European countries don’t trust Russia: To them, Putin and his subordinates are saying that Moscow would do something like this all over again if its interests dictated it, small countries be damned.Concern this might happen was what drove eastern Europeans into the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. The reality of the annexation of Crimea – another opportunistic move dictated ostensibly by Russian security considerations – is pushing Ukraine in the same direction.If Putin’s goal was to inspire trust and start a meaningful conversation about collective European security in an age of increasing global competition, an unconditionally apologetic stance would work much better. Refraining from invading neighboring countries would be an even more meaningful step.I suspect, however, that Putin doesn’t really believe in such goals, because, like Stalin, he thinks a deal with the devil, based on common interest rather than trust, is the best.My epiphany about the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact came when I read the long-lost diary of Alfred Rosenberg, Nazi ideologue and Hitler’s one-time minister for the Occupied Eastern Territories. Rosenberg was skeptical about the deal and recoiled in horror when fellow Nazi Richard Darre told him of Joachim von Ribbentrop’s comment that he had “felt as though among old party comrades” when meeting the Soviet leadership.Incredulously, Rosenberg recounted that during Ribbentrop’s visit, Stalin raised his glass not just to Hitler but also to Heinrich Himmler, the Nazi security chief, calling him “the guarantor of order in Germany.”“Himmler has eradicated communism, i.e. those who believed in Stalin, and this one – without any need for it – raises a toast to the exterminator of his faithful,” Rosenberg noted.For Stalin, any kind of ideology took a back seat to expediency. He was a man of interests, not values. In that sense, Putin, an avowed anti-communist who has condemned Stalin on many occasions, is following the dictator’s realpolitik. His adherence to his current Orthodox Christian brand of social conservatism is as flimsy as Stalin’s link to leftist idealism was. If Putin can do a deal that will promote what he sees as Russia’s interests, he will do it with anyone. He will wear any hat required of him while doing so, and raise any toast. He is oblivious to Molotov-Ribbentrop’s biggest lesson of all: That such agreements don’t hold.That’s why eastern Europeans, and especially Ukrainians, are so worried about the possibility of a grand bargain between Putin and a U.S. president, most recently Donald Trump. The consequences for them could be comparable to those of the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact.What’s needed from Russia isn’t an apology for carving up Europe with Hitler, but a different foreign policy is – one in which principles trump interests. Only such a change can bring closer the idealistic vision of a Europe that stretches from Lisbon to Vladivostok, a goal to which both Russian and European leaders still like to refer. And that shift shouldn’t come at a moment of weakness, as it did in the waning years of the Soviet Union. Restoring trust should be a conscious process. It will take some time.To contact the author of this story: Leonid Bershidsky at lbershidsky@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Edward Evans at eevans3@bloomberg.netThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Leonid Bershidsky is Bloomberg Opinion's Europe columnist. He was the founding editor of the Russian business daily Vedomosti and founded the opinion website Slon.ru.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

    Fri, 23 Aug 2019 07:52:10 -0400
  • Newt Gingrich says slavery needs to be put 'in context,' calls 1619 project a 'lie'

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    "There were several hundred thousand white Americans who died in the Civil War in order to free the slaves," Gingrich argued.

    Thu, 22 Aug 2019 11:53:09 -0400
  • An innocent man spent months in jail after customs officials thought honey he brought back from Jamaica was liquid meth

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    Leon Haughton told The Washington Post he was jailed for 82 days after customs officials in Baltimore alleged that the three jars of honey were meth.

    Fri, 23 Aug 2019 16:42:21 -0400
  • 2020 Toyota GR Supra vs. 2019 Ford Mustang Shelby GT350: Which Is the Better Driver's Machine?

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    Vastly different yet similarly capable, one of these rear-drive sports coupes begs to be driven harder than the other.

    Fri, 23 Aug 2019 08:00:00 -0400
  • Hotline for detained migrants featured on Orange is the New Black shut down

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    Hotline shut down by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement connected detained migrants to an advocacy groupFounded in 2013, the hotline connected migrants with advocates at Freedom for Immigrants, which also consulted for the Netflix production and was named in the show. Photograph: Handout/Getty ImagesUS Immigration and Customs Enforcement (Ice) has shut down a national hotline that connected detained migrants to an advocacy group, a month after the hotline was featured in a storyline in the hit TV series Orange is the New Black.Founded in 2013, the hotline connected migrants in the world’s largest immigration detention system with advocates at Freedom for Immigrants, which also consulted for the award-winning Netflix production and was named in the show.Freedom for Immigrants runs and supports visitation programs in detention centers. It sent a cease-and-desist letter to Ice, alleging the government agency was retaliating and violating its right to exercise free speech after its profile grew.“Ice is attempting to silence its critics and block people in immigration detention from connecting with communities on the outside,” said Christina Fialho, the group’s co-executive director. “It’s disappointing, but not unexpected, that Trump’s Ice would engage in such cruel and undemocratic behavior.”Shawn Neudauer, an Ice spokesman, said all Ice facilities provide detainees with reasonable access to phones and that detainees are allowed to make free calls to an Ice-approved list of free legal service providers.“Pro bono organizations found to be violating [Ice] rules may be removed from the platform,” Neudauer said. “However, removal from this platform in no way limits the ability of an Ice detainee to phone such an organization directly should the detainee wish to do so.”The Ice phone system is operated by Talton Communications, which is mandated to provide free extensions to groups such as the UN refugee agency, consulates and Freedom for Immigrants.Freedom for Immigrants had three pro-bono extensions operating in detention centers when Donald Trump took office. Ice shut down two of the extensions before the final one was closed on 7 August.Fialho said the cease-and-desist letter was the first step in potential litigation, though the group was hoping to avoid court.“We very much hope we can resolve this amicably, but our team is also ready to enforce our rights under the constitution,” she said.Before Ice shut down the hotline it closed more than a dozen of Freedom for Immigrants detention center visitation programs. They were ultimately reinstated.The final season of Orange is the New Black focuses on the immigration detention system, which is run by Ice, and highlights how difficult it is for people in prison to contact family or friends because of the high cost of making phone calls in detention.In one scene, Gloria (Selenis Leyva) tells Maritza (Diane Guerrero) about the hotline and warns: “You gotta be careful, though. Apparently as soon as Big Brother figures out you’re using the hotline, they shut it down.”Fialho said the hotline was important for helping migrants connect with the outside world.“We would get calls from people who hadn’t been able to communicate with family members to tell them they’ve been taken by Ice, that they are in this particular immigration detention facility,” she said.While the extension number was supposed to be written on a sheet available to migrants in every detention center, Fialho said Ice had never made it easily available and people learned about the hotline through word of mouth instead.Now that the extension is gone, detained migrants can still use the Freedom for Immigrants hotline, but the group will have to shoulder the cost. The extension was also supposed to be unmonitored. Ice can listen in on a normal call.Orange is the New Black actors including Guerrero, Emily Tarver and Laura Gómez signed a letter to Ice demanding the hotline be restored.

    Fri, 23 Aug 2019 17:10:37 -0400
  • Trump fumes over emissions deal between automakers and California

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    The president decried a deal between the most populous U.S. state and four major automakers.

    Thu, 22 Aug 2019 13:22:13 -0400
  • Japan, U.S. reach framework trade pact, no tariff cuts on Japan cars - Nikkei

    The United States and Japan have reached the broad framework of a trade agreement, with Washington maintaining tariffs on Japanese autos but Tokyo cutting tariffs on U.S. beef and pork, Japan's Nikkei business daily said on Saturday. U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Economy Minister Toshimitsu Motegi reached the deal on Friday in Washington, and it will be announced at a meeting of President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe expected on Sunday on the sidelines of the Group of Seven summit in Biarritz, France, the newspaper said. The report comes shortly after Motegi told reporters in Washington that he and Lighthizer had made "big progress" in their talks.

    Fri, 23 Aug 2019 20:26:04 -0400
  • Iranian oil tanker pursued by US says it is going to Turkey

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    An Iranian-flagged oil tanker pursued by the U.S. amid heightened tensions between Tehran and Washington changed its listed destination to a port in Turkey early Saturday after Greece said it wouldn't risk its relations with America by aiding it. The crew of the Adrian Darya 1, formerly known as the Grace 1, updated its listed destination in its Automatic Identification System to Mersin, Turkey, a port city in the country's south and home to an oil terminal.

    Sat, 24 Aug 2019 03:33:40 -0400
  • Amazon fires: Bolsonaro actively trying to devastate rainforest, leaked documents show

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    Jair Bolsonaro hopes to sabotage conservation efforts in the Amazon, leaked documents show.A series of powerpoint slides reveal that Brazilian government officials intend to build a bridge, motorway and hydroelectric plant through the rainforest.

    Thu, 22 Aug 2019 11:26:45 -0400
  • More is More

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    Thu, 22 Aug 2019 08:00:00 -0400
  • More than 6,100 flights delayed across the US over thunderstorms in the Northeast

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    The Northeast is being hit with heavy rain, causing a flurry of flight delays and cancellations

    Fri, 23 Aug 2019 00:24:25 -0400
  • China Buys American Soybeans after Vowing to Boycott U.S. Farm Products

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    China purchased a comparatively small amount of U.S. soybeans several days ago after promising to boycott U.S. farm products amid deteriorating trade negotiations with the Trump administration.Beijing reached agreements last week to buy 9,589 metric tons of American soybeans for the current marketing year and 66,000 metric tons for the following year, which starts September 1, according to data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture released Thursday.An August 5 statement from China's Ministry of Commerce said Chinese companies would boycott American farm products in response to the Trump administration's heavy tariffs on Chinese products. In May, the White House upped tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports from 10 percent to 25 percent, claiming Beijing had reneged on the previously agreed terms of a trade deal. The U.S. also currently has a 25 percent tariff on $50 billion worth of Chinese high-tech products.In response, China has slapped 25 percent tariffs on tens of billions in U.S. goods, including cars, planes, propane, soybeans, beef, and whiskey. The duties caused a steep drop in American farm exports, and the Trump administration has since compensated farmers up to $28 billions for their losses.Despite apparently breaking its boycott, China, which is the world's largest soybean importer, is still not purchasing anywhere near as many American soybeans as it has in the past. Last year, American sales of soybeans to China dropped 74 percent as Beijing gave its business to South America.President Trump has long complained about China's trade practices, accusing the country of contributing heavily to the U.S. trade deficit as well as stealing intellectual property from American companies.“Now we have a Trade Deficit of $500 Billion a year, with Intellectual Property Theft of another $300 Billion. We cannot let this continue!” the president wrote in a tweet around the time of China's retaliatory tariffs.The administration had said it planned to impose tariffs on another $300 billion in Chinese goods by September 1, but later said it would delay imposing them until December."Despite the U.S. decision to delay tariffs on some Chinese goods . . . if the United States rides roughshod over China’s opposition and imposes any new tariffs, China will be forced to adopt retaliatory actions," Chinese Ministry of Commerce spokesman Gao Feng said Thursday.

    Thu, 22 Aug 2019 13:05:27 -0400
  • Turkey vows not to quit army post surrounded in Syria

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    Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Friday that Turkish troops will not quit a military observation post in northwestern Syria where they are surrounded by government forces. "We are there, not because we can't leave but because we don't want to leave," he told a news conference in Lebanon, denying that Turkish troops had been "cut off" by a government advance into the jihadist-ruled Idlib region. Earlier, Syrian regime forces overran a string of towns and villages in the north of Hama province, including the town of Morek, where the Turkish observation post is located, Syria's state news agency SANA said.

    Thu, 22 Aug 2019 20:42:58 -0400
  • Released from death row, then returned — forced to prove race discrimination a second time

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    Cases before N.C. Supreme Court show link between slavery, Jim Crow and modern death penalty is as connected as 'ropes of the lynch-man's noose'

    Fri, 23 Aug 2019 20:01:55 -0400
  • Experts say there is still a clear route for Trump to win reelection in 2020 even if a recession strikes

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    Many analysts believe that a recession would tank US President Donald Trump's chances of reelection in 2020, but that's not necessarily the case.

    Thu, 22 Aug 2019 10:13:02 -0400
  • Russia's Chechnya inaugurates what it says is Europe's largest mosque

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    Authorities in the Russian region of Chechnya on Friday inaugurated what they said was the largest mosque in Europe in a pomp-filled ceremony attended by local and foreign officials. Named after the Prophet Mohammed, the marble-decorated mosque has capacity for more than 30,000 people and has been described by the Chechen authorities as the "largest and most beautiful" mosque in Europe. Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov, an ally of President Vladimir Putin, said the mosque -- located in Shali, a town of 54,000 just outside the regional capital Grozny -- was "unique in its design, and majestic in its size and beauty".

    Fri, 23 Aug 2019 09:33:45 -0400
  • Sanders campaign boss concedes he may not win New Hampshire

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    The campaign manager for Bernie Sanders emphasized Thursday that New Hampshire is a critical presidential primary state he expects Sanders to win, but he's leaving room for a scenario in which Sanders falls short. Faiz Shakir said he doesn't "like the language of must-win," though he does believe it is an important early voting state.

    Thu, 22 Aug 2019 20:44:00 -0400
  • After Beating and Hernia, American Prisoner Paul Whelan Refused Hospitalization by FSB Doctors

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    KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEVMOSCOW–Paul Whelan, a U.S. citizen held in Russia on suspicion of spying, looked pale and sick when his prison guards brought him to Lefortovo court on Friday. He said he had been beaten and is suffering from a hernia, but his condition is hardly a surprise after eight months in Moscow’s Lefortovo, a prison run but the Russian Federal Security Service, FSB, and it looks like Whelan has learned only too well how incarceration there operates.Whelan is facing 20 years in Russian prison for spying, after accepting a flashcard that allegedly contains some sensitive information. His family is far away, he does not speak the Russian language, and on top of everything the 49-year-old security manager for a Michigan-based auto parts company is suffering from a painful inguinal hernia, with part of his intestine having ruptured the abdominal wall.Paul Whelan, Accused U.S. Spy Held in Moscow, Says a Russian Investigator Threatened His LifeWhen the judge suggested calling an ambulance in the middle of the hearing on Friday morning, Whelan rejected the idea, as a useless waste of time: “The nurses won’t take me to a hospital, they will only check my blood pressure, temperature, and say, ‘You are fine,’” he told the court.By now Whelan must have learned the rules and brutal methods in Russian prisons. “No ordinary ambulance can take a prisoner who is under FSB investigation to the hospital,” Alexander Cherkasov, chair of the Memorial Human Rights Center told The Daily Beast. “There is a specialized hospital 20 where they normally take sick prisoners, after a certain bureaucratic procedure.”Also, no Russian nurse working for an ambulance carries strong painkillers. (Russian doctors are not allowed to prescribe strong drugs even for people dying in agonizing pain, so Russians suffer from pain all over the country, many committing suicide.)Whelan looked and sounded doomed. He said that his health condition worsened after his prison guard beat him. The incident happened earlier this month, when Whelan was being moved from one cell to another. Whelan’s lawyer, Vladimir Zherebenkov, told The Daily Beast, “I have checked: prison guards did not know that my client had a hernia, they made him carry all his stuff himself to a different cell. The treatment in Lefortovo is inhuman.”  On Friday, Whelan told the judge, “If you call for a doctor who would hospitalize me, I don’t mind calling for the ambulance.” But just as he predicted, the nurses on call checked him right at Lefortovo Court and decided against his hospitalization.Whelan, who holds U.S., Canadian, British, and Irish passports, was arrested on December 28 in his hotel room a few steps away from the Kremlin. His lawyer Zherebenkov predicted early on the way the case was likely to develop: “They will pickle Paul for a year or more, as he is clearly just a pawn; and then they will swap him for some important Russian kept in American prison,” the lawyer told The Daily Beast in January.Almost eight months later Zherebenkov still has not seen any solid evidence establishing his client’s guilt. “The FSB  investigation has not presented us with a single solid piece of material, so our truth in this case is even stronger than half a year ago–that’s why FSB want more time,” the lawyer said.Meet Putin’s American Prisoner, Paul WhelanAccording to Media Zona, a group of journalists reporting on news about Russian prisons and court cases, at least 99 detainees died in detention centers and prisons used by investigators in 2016. Many more died in prison camps. “It is hard for us to find out what causes the deaths of prisoners—when prison guards crack somebody’s head open, they say that the detainee fell down and died in an accident,” Dmitry Shvets, a Media Zona reporter told The Daily Beast. But the problem is not just physical violence. “Lefortovo prison is famous for psychological torture by isolation. The inmates cannot communicate with each other, no prisoner has a chance to use a phone.”Whelan’s family was aware that the FSB wanted to extend the time for investigation for two more months. ”This morning's hearing was more theatrical than his previous hearings—ejecting the media, calling an ambulance—but we were not surprised by the result,” Whelan’s twin brother, David, told The Daily Beast.Read more at The Daily Beast.Got a tip? Send it to The Daily Beast hereGet our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.

    Fri, 23 Aug 2019 14:42:12 -0400
  • Modi Ally Calls for Boycott of China Companies on Kashmir, Trade

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    (Bloomberg) -- Terms of Trade is a daily newsletter that untangles a world embroiled in trade wars. Sign up here. Indians should stop buying from Chinese companies and the government should reconsider trade concessions to its biggest neighbor after China allied with Pakistan on Kashmir, according to an economic policy group linked with the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party.Companies like technology giant Huawei Technologies Co. should be barred from accessing the Indian market in the future and Chinese companies should be banned from state tenders, Ashwani Mahajan, co-convenor of the Swadeshi Jagran Manch, affiliated to the ruling party’s ideological parent, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh said in an interview Thursday.“Not just in Kashmir, we believe that Chinese companies are a security threat to India especially in telecom,” Mahajan said by phone. “Not just in consumer goods, they’re a threat in telecom because their companies have massive support from the state, are allowed to vastly underbid Indian companies and win tenders for critical infrastructure.”The group met Indian telecom companies on Aug. 17 to discuss strategies to be used to curb Chinese industry. The organization had also written a letter to Prime Narendra Modi seeking action against China, Mahajan said. Calls made to the Prime Minister’s Office seeking comment went unanswered.This isn’t the first time that the Swadesh Jagran Manch has called for a ban on Chinese goods and companies. The group, along with the Confederation of All India Traders had called for a similar ban in March this year after China blocked the blacklisting of Pakistan-based Maulana Masood Azhar, founder of the militant group Jaish-e-Mohammed, at the U.N. Security Council.A ban called by both organizations during the festival of Diwali in 2016 wasn’t successful, although traders anticipated the sale of Chinese products would fall by 30%, the Press Trust of India reported. India has a trade deficit of over $53 billion with China.To contact the reporter on this story: Archana Chaudhary in New Delhi at achaudhary2@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Ruth Pollard at rpollard2@bloomberg.net, Abhay SinghFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

    Thu, 22 Aug 2019 17:00:00 -0400
  • Chaotic scene as DNC votes down climate change debate at San Francisco meeting

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    The move sparked loud and angry backlash from climate change activists who believe the Democratic Party should change the rules to allow for a debate focused solely on climate issues.

    Thu, 22 Aug 2019 21:03:43 -0400
  • Dog owner charged with second-degree murder in Detroit 9-year-old's mauling death

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    Pierre Cleveland, 33, of Detroit will face charges of second-degree murder, involuntary manslaughter and having a dangerous animal causing death

    Thu, 22 Aug 2019 18:42:45 -0400
  • Fox News is a dangerous state propaganda outlet. Sarah Sanders' job confirms that

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    What hope is there for the truth when the press and the state are one and the same?‘Fox has realized that Trump is lucrative, and Trump has realized that Fox will say anything he wants them to say.’ Photograph: Jim Watson/AFP/Getty ImagesThe only surprising thing about Sarah Sanders joining FOX News was that it took this long. The former Trump press secretary is a perfect fit for the network, a faithful and shameless propagandist for the right. It would have been shocking if she’d ended up anywhere other than “Trump’s personal YouTube channel.” It is, however, perhaps the most explicit confirmation we have that FOX now functions as the kind of “state television” apparatus that Americans think is is peculiar to countries like Russia and Iran.No network interested in airing journalism or reliable commentary would ever go near Sarah Huckabee Sanders. As White House press secretary, she became infamous for the brazenness of her duplicity. Press secretaries are meant to be spin artists, and a good portion of the job consists of finding ways to excuse or downplay presidential misconduct, but Sanders took things to a new level. For example, here she is claiming Trump would never incite or condone violence:“I certainly don’t think that the president, at any point, has done anything but condemn violence against journalists or anyone else… In fact, every single time something like this happens, the president is typically one of the first people to condemn the violence, and the media is the first people to blame the president.”And here is Trump himself, inciting and condoning violence against protesters:“If you see somebody getting ready to throw a tomato, knock the crap out of them, would you? Seriously, OK? Just knock the hell ... I promise you I will pay for the legal fees. I promise, I promise.”That comment reflected Trump’s attitude to protests generally, saying “we need a little more” of the audience “hit[ting] back” against dissenters. As for attacks on journalists specifically, when soon-to-be-elected Montana congressman Greg Gianforte attacked a Guardian reporter, throwing him to the ground and punching him, Trump’s response was: “Any guy that can do a body slam, he is my type!” (Gianforte was convicted of assault.) Perhaps worst of all, Trump told police that they should stop being “too nice” with arrested suspects, and should perhaps stop protecting suspects’ heads from hitting the doorframe as they were being loaded into the back of police cars.It’s difficult to find a way to twist “I’m serious, I want you to hit people” into “condemning violence” but Sanders didn’t even bother to try to spin the existing facts. She was utterly and completely unprincipled. And the violence comment is just one among many. According to the Mueller report, Sanders even acknowledged to investigators that she had fed the press a claim that was “not founded on anything,” when she said the administration had “heard from countless members of the FBI” who had lost faith in James Comey. Sanders even smeared the many women who have accused Trump of sexual assault as being liars themselves.Actually, the press were almost lucky when they got lies out of Sanders, because most of the time they got nothing at all. Sanders barely did her job. Daily press briefings “all but vanished” during her tenure and she didn’t respond to media inquiries. This might have been for the best—the daily press briefings serve the government more than they serve the cause of truth and transparency, by giving an opportunity for state official to massage facts to fit their narrative. The almost refreshing aspect of the Trump presidency is the frankness of its dishonesty. Other presidents pretended to care about the truth, but didn’t. The Trump administration doesn’t pretend.Thus Sanders and FOX are a match made in heaven (or perhaps somewhere else). FOX has become as much of a state propaganda outlet as RT is for Russia or PressTV is for Iran. There is a revolving door between the White House and the network: Hope Hicks went from the administration to the network, Bill Shine from the network to the White House. Sean Hannity, who speaks regularly with the president, initially vowed to simply “cover” him as a member of the press but then began actively campaigning for Trump. Jane Mayer’s exhaustive reporting in the New Yorker has showed that FOX and the White House have a symbiotic relationship, both collaborating to push a far right agenda. FOX has realized that Trump is lucrative, and Trump has realized that FOX will say anything he wants them to say.The hiring of Sarah Sanders is just confirmation of what was already plain. But it shows just how insidious the FOX operation is: we are essentially living in a country where the president has a TV network, and can manipulate public perception at will. That makes it all the more critical for us to build independent media outlets that can serve as an effective counterweight. We are struggling against the combined forces of the state and the most popular cable news channel. What hope is there for the truth when the press and the state are one and the same? * Nathan Robinson is the editor of Current Affairs and a Guardian US columnist

    Sat, 24 Aug 2019 03:00:35 -0400
  • Overstock CEO resigns over relationship with Russian 'spy'

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    The chief executive of the e-commerce firm Overstock.com stepped down Thursday over his relationship with an alleged Russian intelligence operative jailed for meddling in US politics. Patrick Byrne only recently admitted that he had a close relationship with Maria Butina for three years, during the period when she beguiled top Republican and National Rifle Association officials with talk of strengthening Moscow-Washington relations and her flair with guns.

    Thu, 22 Aug 2019 18:56:32 -0400
  • It Takes Black Women in the U.S. 20 Months to Earn What White Men Make in a Year. Here's the History Behind That Wage Gap

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    Equal Pay Day begs us to understand how such inequities came to be, and why they have been so difficult to move beyond

    Thu, 22 Aug 2019 10:30:50 -0400
  • Iran has highly accurate missiles which it has not publicized: deputy defense minister

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    Iran has produced highly accurate missiles which it has not publicized, Iranian Deputy Defence Minister General Qassem Taqizadeh said on Friday, according to the semi-official Fars news agency. U.S. President Donald Trump pulled out of an international agreement on Iran’s nuclear program last year and stepped up sanctions on Tehran in order to curb Iran’s development of ballistic missiles and its support for proxies in Syria, Yemen, Lebanon and Iraq. Iran displayed what it described as a domestically built long-range, surface-to-air missile air defense system on Thursday, amid rising tensions with the United States.

    Fri, 23 Aug 2019 10:51:42 -0400
  • Extracted eggs may stop extinction of northern white rhino

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    Wildlife experts and veterinarians said Friday there is hope to prevent the extinction of the northern white rhino because they successfully extracted eggs from the last two remaining females of the species. The eggs will be used to reproduce the species through a surrogate. The groundbreaking procedure was carried out Thursday on the northern white rhinos known as Najin and Fatu who cannot carry a pregnancy.

    Fri, 23 Aug 2019 11:15:15 -0400
  • Gary Ray Bowles: Death row serial killer executed by lethal injection despite last-minute plea

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    A serial killer who admitted killing six gay men in just eight-months in the US east coast has been executed.Gary Ray Bowles was given a lethal injection in Florida late Thursday after more than 20 years on death row.

    Fri, 23 Aug 2019 03:46:50 -0400
  • A Federal Court Strikes a Powerful Blow for Free Speech and Religious Freedom

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    Earlier today, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the constitutional order, limited the reach of expansive nondiscrimination laws, and protected a Christian couple from having to choose between their business and their conscience.The facts of the case are simple. The plaintiffs, Carl and Angel Larsen, are videographers who create “commercials, short films, and live-event productions.” While they work with anyone of any race, sex, sexual orientation, or religion, they will not produce videos that advance viewpoints that violate their Christian beliefs. That includes videos that “contradict biblical truth; promote sexual immorality; support the destruction of unborn children; promote racism or racial division; incite violence; degrade women; or promote any conception of marriage other than as a lifelong institution between one man and one woman.”The Larsens hoped to begin producing wedding videos, but Minnesota interpreted its human-rights act to require them to “produce both opposite-sex- and same-sex-wedding videos, or none at all.” Minnesota would also require them to produce videos that depicted “same- and opposite-sex weddings in an equally ‘positive’ light.” This raised the possibility that a gay couple who didn’t like the subjective quality of a video the Larsens produced for them could seek state sanctions based on alleged sexual-orientation discrimination.With the assistance of my friends and former colleagues at the Alliance Defending Freedom, the Larsens filed suit, claiming that Minnesota’s rule would compel them to speak in support of messages they oppose. The trial court ruled in favor of the state, and the Larsens appealed.One of the key constitutional questions of our time is whether the First Amendment will retain its supremacy and potency even as nondiscrimination rules and regulations expand in scope and reach. In this case, the Eight Circuit answered answered with an emphatic “Yes,” and it did so through a majority opinion that provided a clear roadmap for future courts and future controversies.Judge David Stras’s majority opinion begins with a simple, obvious, but crucial conclusion. The Larsens’s wedding videos are a “form of speech that is entitled to First Amendment protection.” Though they don’t make feature films, their wedding videos would still clearly communicate a message in the same way that films do. As the court explained, their wedding videos would be designed to tell “healthy stories of sacrificial love and commitment between a man and a woman” and celebrate the “divinely ordained” marriage covenant.Moreover, the fact that the Larsens were producing videos for profit did not diminish their constitutional protection. Documentaries make money. Feature films make money. Are they not clearly protected speech? To put it plainly, Minnesota was attempting to engage in one of the most intrusive state actions on the First Amendment. It was attempting to compel the Larsens to deliver a message they opposed.Yet that finding did not end the inquiry. State agencies have long argued that the governmental interests supporting public-accommodation laws and other nondiscrimination statutes are so compelling that they can and should override the speech protections of the First Amendment. In constitutional legalese, they claim that nondiscrimination laws are so vital they should be able to survive “strict scrutiny.”If the court did find that nondiscrimination laws can even compel speech, it would invert the constitutional order. It would relegate the First Amendment to second-class status — less potent than a mere state regulation. Indeed, this is the argument that much of the legal Left has been making for years. They view First Amendment–based arguments against public-accommodation laws or other nondiscrimination statutes as a form of special pleading by religious Americans, a request to be exempt from the fair and just rules that govern the rest of us.But this is exactly backwards. The First Amendment is part of our nation’s governing document, and it recognizes the unalienable rights possessed by all Americans — not just people of faith.  State and local regulators are engaged in special pleading. They’re seeking carve-outs from the supreme law of the land.Judge Stras understands this reality quite clearly. “Even antidiscrimination laws, as critically important as they are,” he writes “must yield to the Constitution. And as compelling as the interest in preventing discriminatory conduct may be, speech is treated differently under the First Amendment.”Yes. Exactly. He continues:> Regulating speech because it is discriminatory or offensive is not a compelling state interest, however hurtful the speech may be. It is a “bedrock principle . . . that the government may not prohibit the expression of an idea simply because society finds the idea itself offensive or disagreeable.”There are those who will claim that this decision will clear the way for wholesale discrimination in the name of “free speech.” It will do no such thing. Instead it will protect a small minority of creative professionals who do not discriminate against any member of any protected class from being conscripted into saying things they do not believe.We can expect that Minnesota will appeal to the Supreme Court, and if the Court accepts review it will be difficult to see SCOTUS reversing the court of appeals. The case that wedding videos represent protected speech is very strong, and once it’s deemed to be protected speech, the Court would have to contradict key prior precedents to overcome the Larsons' rights of conscience and compel their speech as a condition of doing business.One should always be cautious when projecting case outcomes, but the Eighth Circuit has laid the judicial foundation for a ruling that should, ultimately, reaffirm the primacy of the Constitution in American law.

    Fri, 23 Aug 2019 18:32:29 -0400
  • Half of Venezuela's Oil Rigs May Disappear If U.S. Waivers Lapse

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    (Bloomberg) -- A looming U.S. sanctions deadline is threatening to clobber Venezuela’s dwindling oil-rig fleet and hamper energy production in the nation with the world’s largest crude reserves.Almost half the rigs operating in Venezuela will shut down by Oct. 25 if the Trump administration doesn’t extend a 90-day waiver from its sanctions, according to data compiled from consultancy Caracas Capital Markets. That could further cripple the OPEC member’s production because the structures are needed to drill new wells crucial for even maintaining output, which is already near the lowest level since the 1940s.A shutdown in the rigs will also put pressure on Nicolas Maduro’s administration, which counts oil revenues as its main lifeline. The U.S. is betting on increased economic pressure to oust the regime and bring fresh elections to the crisis-torn nation, a founding member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and Latin America’s biggest crude exporter until recent years.Venezuela had 23 oil rigs drilling in July, down from 49 just two years ago, data compiled by Baker Hughes show. Ten of those are exposed to U.S. sanctions, according to calculations by Caracas Capital Markets. The Treasury Department extended waivers in July for service providers to continue for three more months, less than the six months the companies had sought.Most other government agencies involved in the deliberations opposed any extension, a senior administration official said last month, adding that another reprieve will be harder to come by.“Almost half the rigs are being run by the Yanks, and if the window shuts down on this in two months, then that’s really going to hurt Venezuela unless the Russians and the Chinese come in,” said Russ Dallen, a Miami-based managing partner at Caracas Capital Markets.Output RiskA U.S. Treasury official said the department doesn’t generally comment on possible sanctions actions.More than 200,000 barrels a day of output at four projects Chevron Corp. is keeping afloat could shut if the waivers aren’t renewed. That would be debilitating to Maduro because the U.S. company, as a minority partner, only gets about 40,000 barrels a day of that production.The departure of the American oil service providers would hurt other projects in the Orinoco region, where operators need to constantly drill wells just to keep output from declining. The U.S.-based companies are also involved in state-controlled Petroleos de Venezuela SA’s joint ventures in other regions such as Lake Maracaibo.Limiting ExposureHalliburton Co., Schlumberger Ltd. and Weatherford International Ltd. have reduced staff and are limiting their exposure to the risk of non-payment in the country, according to people familiar with the situation. The three companies have written down a total of at least $1.4 billion since 2018 in charges related to operations in Venezuela, according to financial filings. Baker Hughes had also scaled back before additional sanctions were announced earlier this year, the people said.Schlumberger, Baker Hughes, Weatherford, PDVSA and Venezuela’s oil ministry all declined to comment.Halliburton has adjusted its Venezuela operations to customer activity, and continues operating all of its product service lines at its operational bases, including in the Orinoco Belt, it said in an emailed response to questions. It works directly with several of PDVSA’s joint ventures, and timely payments from customers are in accordance with U.S. regulations, it said.Hamilton, Bermuda-based Nabors Industries Ltd. has three drilling rigs in Venezuela that can operate for a client until the sanctions expire in October, Chief Executive Officer Anthony Petrello said in a July 30 conference call, without naming the client.The sanctions carry geopolitical risks for the U.S. If Maduro manages to hang on, American companies would lose a foothold in Venezuela, giving Russian competitors such as Rosneft Oil Co. a chance to fill the void. Chinese companies could also benefit. Even if the waivers get extended, the uncertainty hinders any long-term planning or investments in the nation by the exposed companies.Rosneft’s press office didn’t respond to phone calls and emails seeking comment on operations in Venezuela.\--With assistance from David Wethe, Debjit Chakraborty and Dina Khrennikova.To contact the reporters on this story: Peter Millard in Rio de Janeiro at pmillard1@bloomberg.net;Fabiola Zerpa in Caracas Office at fzerpa@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Tina Davis at tinadavis@bloomberg.net, Pratish Narayanan, Joe RyanFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

    Fri, 23 Aug 2019 00:00:01 -0400
  • Chinese buyers pull back from U.S. housing market, hurting home sales

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    Chinese investors are buying fewer U.S. homes because of money controls in China. That's lowering prices and giving U.S. buyers a better chance to buy

    Fri, 23 Aug 2019 15:13:52 -0400
  • Trump's new Pentagon's chief says the US is testing once-banned missiles to 'deter Chinese bad behavior'

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    The US has walked away from a missile pact with Russia, and that allows the military to focus on what Esper called its "number 1 priority:" China.

    Thu, 22 Aug 2019 10:28:57 -0400
  • Hong Kong protesters form 30 mile human chain as UK warns tourists of mobile phone checks at Chinese border

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    Supporters of Hong Kong's pro-democracy movement created human chains on both sides of the city's harbour, inspired by a historic protest 30 years ago in the Baltic states against Soviet control. They linked hands at first, then many switched on their smartphone lights and held them up to create a row of white lights against the nighttime skyline. Organisers hoped the chains, which traced three subway routes, would total 25 miles in length, though estimates put the final turnout at around 30 miles. It was the latest protest in a nearly 11-week-old movement that began with calls to scrap a now-suspended extradition bill and has widened to include demands for full democracy and an independent inquiry into alleged police brutality at protests. It comes as the Foreign Office has updated its travel advice for people travelling to Hong Kong, amid the continuing protests, warning that some travellers' electronic devices have been checked at the border. People light up laser beams at the hill top of Lion Rock in Hong Kong  Credit: AFP Nearly two million Latvians, Lithuanians and Estonians formed The Baltic Way, a human chain more than 370 miles long, on August 23 1989. Organisers of The Hong Kong Way said it would "be a show of solidarity among people who are united against the extradition law and police violence, and a plea for international support". The statement on the Foreign Office website reads: "In light of ongoing protests and demonstrations in Hong Kong, there are reports of greater scrutiny from mainland authorities at border crossings between the mainland and Hong Kong. "This includes reports that travellers' electronic devices have been checked at border crossings. You should be aware that the thresholds for detention and prosecution in China differ from those in Hong Kong." It continues: "A large protest action is also planned for August 24 (Saturday) targeting the transportation system to and from Hong Kong International Airport, and in the Kowloon East Kwun Tong area. "Passengers are advised to allow extra time to travel to the airport." Demonstrators join hands to form a human chain during the Hong Kong Way event in the Tsim Sha Tsui district  Credit: Bloomberg Earlier on Friday, accountants in Hong Kong marched in support of the pro-democracy movement, while the Canadian Consulate banned its staff from leaving the city on official business after a British Consulate employee was detained in mainland China. The head of the cabin crew union for Hong Kong airline Cathay Dragon said she had been fired in retaliation for supporting the movement, adding to the chill in the semi-autonomous Chinese territory. The Canadian Consulate did not say whether the travel restriction on local staff was related to the detention of the British Consulate employee, Simon Cheng Man-kit. He went missing two weeks ago after going on a business trip from Hong Kong's high-speed rail terminal to Shenzhen, a mainland city just across the border. "At present, locally engaged staff will not undertake official business travel outside of Hong Kong," the Canadian Consulate said in a statement. During a daily briefing, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said China respects Canada's decision, but countered it with a Confucius quote: "A gentleman is open and poised; a petty man is unhappy and worried." Demonstrators join hands to form a human chain during the Hong Kong Way event in the Central district of Hong Kong Credit: Bloomberg Mr Geng elaborated that those who are "above board" will have their rights guaranteed in China, while people with "an ulterior motive to engage in illegal activities" may have to be "extremely cautious". Mr Cheng had worked for the British Consulate since December 2017 as an international trade and investment officer for the Scottish government. China said this week that Mr Cheng is a Hong Kong resident who had been placed in administrative detention for 15 days for violating public order regulations. China often uses public order charges against political targets and has sometimes used the charge of soliciting prostitution. Ou Shaokun, an anti-corruption activist, alleged in 2015 that he was framed by authorities in southern Hunan province who said they found him in a hotel room with a prostitute. The UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office said it is urgently seeking further information about Mr Cheng. "Neither we nor Simon's family have been able to speak to him since detention," the office said. "That is our priority and we continue to raise Simon's case repeatedly in China, Hong Kong and London and have sought to make contact with Simon himself." Mr Geng, the foreign ministry spokesman, said on Friday that Mr Cheng's case is merely a public security issue and not a "diplomatic matter". Demonstrators join hands to form a human chain during the Hong Kong Way event in the Central district Credit: Bloomberg A few thousand accountants gathered in a city square around noon and marched to government headquarters, becoming the latest profession to back the movement publicly following rallies by lawyers, teachers and medical workers. One participant, Sarah Wong, said accountants are usually quiet because they are focused on getting the numbers right, but they cannot remain silent anymore. Kenneth Leung, a politician who represents the accounting industry, said that the now-suspended extradition bill that sparked the protests would have affected accountants, because many of them have clients in mainland China and travel there. The legislation would have allowed suspects to be extradited to the mainland to face trial. "The profession as a whole needs to come out to express their concerns and grievances," he said. Rebecca Sy, the airline union head, told a news conference that Cathay Dragon dismissed her without giving a reason, but that the firing came after she was pulled from a flight at short notice and asked by an airline representative to confirm that a screenshot from Facebook was from her account. Hong Kong crisis | Comment and analysis "It's not just about the termination of the job, it's also the whole issue, it's terrifying. All my colleagues are all terrified," Ms Sy said. "I feel so sorry for them because I'm no longer in that position to protect them. I used to be the one to stand behind them, to back up all of my colleagues." Cathay Dragon is owned by Hong Kong's main carrier, Cathay Pacific, which has come under pressure from Chinese authorities for employing people who support the protests. The company said in a statement that Ms Sy's departure "has nothing to do with her union leadership role or her union activities". The Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions called her firing a "blatant suppression and retaliation on her participation in the anti-extradition bill movement and her actions to mobilise her colleagues to participate as a trade union leader". The Canadian government updated its travel advice for China on Thursday to warn of stepped-up border checks on smartphones. "Increased screening of travellers' digital devices has been reported at border crossings between mainland China and Hong Kong," the advisory said. There have been reports that Chinese immigration officers are inspecting phones for photos related to the protests.

    Fri, 23 Aug 2019 21:37:32 -0400
  • The Hyde Amendment Denies Women Health Care. Yes, Abortion Is Health Care

    Golocal247.com news

    The Hyde Amendment keeps women of color, young people, the LGBTQ community, immigrants and lower-income people from accessing abortion care, writes Congresswoman Barbara Lee. She says it's time for Congress to repeal it.

    Fri, 23 Aug 2019 14:26:57 -0400
  • Former police officer charged with murder for botched Houston raid

    Prosecutors are reviewing 14,000 criminal cases involving the drug squad that conducted the raid for evidence of improprieties, Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg told a news conference. In January, then police officer Gerald Goines wrote in an affidavit to obtain a search warrant that an informant had bought heroin at the house, Ogg said. On Jan. 28, Goines and his Houston narcotics squad entered the house without knocking, as allowed under the warrant.

    Fri, 23 Aug 2019 19:15:07 -0400
  • US and Taliban resume talks on ending America's longest war

    Golocal247.com news

    A United States envoy and the Taliban resumed negotiations Thursday on ending America's longest war after earlier signaling they were close to a deal. A Taliban member familiar with, but not part of, the talks that resumed in Qatar said U.S. envoy Zalmay Khalilzad also met one-on-one Wednesday with the Taliban's lead negotiator, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar. Baradar is one of the Taliban's founders and has perhaps the strongest influence on the insurgent group's rank-and-file members.

    Thu, 22 Aug 2019 22:43:35 -0400
  • Man Who Stopped to 'Assist' Woman Having Car Trouble Accused of Sexually Assaulting Her

    Golocal247.com news

    Police in Monroe County, Indiana are working to identify a suspect in a rape case.

    Fri, 23 Aug 2019 17:51:19 -0400
  • 20 of the Craziest Pickup Trucks Ever

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

    Fri, 23 Aug 2019 11:55:00 -0400
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