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  • Romney speculates Turkey called Trump's bluff: 'Are we so weak and inept?'

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    The Utah senator delivers an impassioned speech on the Senate floor that accuses the president of betraying American values.

    Thu, 17 Oct 2019 18:20:21 -0400
  • One year on, migrant caravan leaves unexpected legacy

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    A year ago, thousands of Central American men, women and children chasing the American dream arrived in Mexico in a massive caravan that has left a lasting legacy -- just not the one people generally thought it would. Fleeing chronic poverty and brutal gang violence at home, they banded together in hopes of finding safety in numbers against the dangers of the journey, including criminal gangs that regularly extort, kidnap and kill migrants. The images made an impact around the world: carrying their meager belongings on their backs, many migrants pressed small children to their chests or held them by the hand.

    Fri, 18 Oct 2019 21:25:40 -0400
  • The Chicago teachers' strike shows how to go on offense against neoliberalism

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    Chicago teachers led the battle against destructive reforms seven years ago – now they’re showing all working people left behind by cuts how to fight‘Together, the coordinated strikes have put more than 30,000 workers on the picket lines – more than 1% of the city’s population.’ Photograph: Xinhua/Barcroft MediaIn 2012, when Chicago teachers walked off the job in their first strike in 25 years, the cards were stacked against them, nationally and locally. Today, they’re on strike again – and on the offense against austerity.Seven years ago, Rahm Emanuel had just been elected mayor and was looking to deal the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU), who he saw as a barrier to privatizing the city’s education system, a crushing defeat. That agenda was shared by both Republicans and Democrats across the country, with a barrage of attacks on teachers’ unions, devastating budget cuts to schools and charter school networks – intended to undercut public schools and do an end run around their unions – rapidly multiplying.Yet after electing a new militant leadership in 2010 that pledged to fight not just for bread-and-butter issues like higher pay but a broad agenda of “educational justice” and opposition to austerity, Chicago teachers won that strike, inspiring educators and workers of all kinds across the country – and planting the seeds of future unrest in schools across West Virginia, Oklahoma, Arizona, Oakland, Denver and elsewhere, in the teachers’ strike wave that kicked off last year.Chicago teachers are again on strike, now against the recently elected mayor, Lori Lightfoot. As in 2012, their demands are focused on burning issues in their schools and the city as a whole rather than simply wages and benefits (a strategy that has been called “bargaining for the common good”). And they’re waging that fight alongside another striking union, SEIU Local 73, which represents bus aides, janitors, classroom assistants and other school staff – many of whom earn below-poverty wages.CTU’s staffing demands are straightforward: a nurse, counselor, librarian and social worker in every school. The current ratio of students to counselors, nurses and social workers in Chicago public schools (CPS) far exceeds professional association recommendations. The National Association of School Psychologists recommends one psychologist for every 700 students; last year, each CPS psychologist served 1,760. For nurses, the ratio is four times what is recommended; for social workers, nearly five times. The union is also demanding enforceable caps so that classes aren’t overcrowded, which CTU says is the case in nearly a quarter of all Chicago classrooms.The union is also connecting its bargaining to the city’s affordable housing crisis, demanding housing assistance for both its members and its students, nearly 16,000 of whom experience homelessness. The op-ed pages of the city’s newspapers have upbraided this proposal, but CTU argues that “to fully support our public schools, we must address the lack of sustainable, affordable housing in our city” – a problem faced by cities throughout the country.CTU is breaking new ground, both in the kinds of broad working-class demands it is putting forward and by striking alongside SEIU Local 73. Together, the coordinated strikes have put more than 30,000 workers on the picket lines – more than 1% of the city’s population. Yesterday, a sea of CTU red and SEIU purple swarmed the city’s downtown in the afternoon, with thousands on the streets for a mass march after morning school pickets.The union is up against Lightfoot, a political newcomer who won office earlier this year by campaigning as a progressive and running on an education agenda that borrowed heavily from CTU’s: an elected school board rather than one appointed by the mayor, a freeze on charter expansion and major investments in public schools. But Lightfoot’s progressive posturing is now running up against tens of thousands striking Chicago teachers and staff who want more than progressive rhetoric – they want hard commitments, put in writing and legally enforceable through their contract.If she continues to balk at union demands at the bargaining table, Lightfoot will probably see the goodwill she has maintained from average Chicagoans since taking office disappear. The signs don’t look good for her: a Chicago Sun-Times poll conducted just before the strike shows that the public is backing the CTU over the mayor and school board. The same was true for Rahm Emanuel in 2012.Critics on the school board and in mainstream media have responded with the common refrain that Chicago is broke and can’t afford such demands. But Chicago is awash in wealth – enough for Lightfoot to approve the giveaway of $1.3bn in public money to luxury real estate firm Sterling Bay for the mega-development project Lincoln Yards. CTU has long argued that the way to pay for their demands is clear: end these corporate giveaways and tax the rich.The nationwide neoliberal education reform movement was on the march when CTU struck in 2012. But after numerous corruption scandals, growing charter school unionization and strikes, and teacher walk-offs in states throughout the country, that movement is on its heels. Just as the Democratic party has been forced to at least feint left on issues like Medicare for All and free public college tuition because of Bernie Sanders’s presidential campaigns, the party has been forced to back off of its most fervent support for corporate education reform.Chicago teachers led the way in the fight against these destructive reforms seven years ago. Today, they’re showing educators around the country how to fight not only for themselves, but for all working people who have been left behind by budget cuts and the dismantling of the public sector.The education policy scholar Pauline Lipman once described Chicago as “the incubator, test case and model for the neoliberal urban education agenda”. This week, teachers are working to make sure Chicago is where that agenda ends. * Miles Kampf-Lassin is an editor at In These Times. * Micah Uetricht is the managing editor of Jacobin and host of its podcast The Vast Majority. He is the author of Strike for America: Chicago Teachers Against Austerity and coauthor of the forthcoming Bigger Than Bernie: How We Go From the Sanders Campaign to Political Revolution in Our Lifetimes

    Sat, 19 Oct 2019 06:00:22 -0400
  • Former concentration camp guard, 93, goes on trial in Germany

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    A 93-year-old former concentration camp guard arrived in court in a wheelchair on Thursday, in what could be one of Germany's last trials of Nazi war crimes. Bruno D., whose surname cannot be given for legal reasons, is accused of being an accessory to 5,230 murders in the final months of World War Two.

    Thu, 17 Oct 2019 14:50:54 -0400
  • Border Patrol's growing presence at hospitals creates fear

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    An armed Border Patrol agent roamed the hallways of an emergency room in Miami on a recent day as nurses wheeled stretchers and medical carts through the hospital and families waited for physicians to treat their loved ones. The agent in the olive-green uniform freely stepped in and out of the room where a woman was taken by ambulance after throwing up and fainting while being detained on an immigration violation, according to advocates who witnessed the scene. The presence of immigration authorities is becoming increasingly common at health care facilities around the country, and hospitals are struggling with where to draw the line to protect patients' rights amid rising immigration enforcement in the Trump administration.

    Thu, 17 Oct 2019 16:58:45 -0400
  • Protest Leaders Ignore Ban, Call for March: Hong Kong Update

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    (Bloomberg) -- Hong Kong protest organizers said they would lead demonstrators through Kowloon on Sunday in a march despite losing an appeal against a police ban on the procession.The Appeal Board on Public Meetings and Processions supported the police’s refusal to approve the march because of the potential for violence, Radio Television Hong Kong reported. The rally was originally called to protest a government ban on masks and comes after Wednesday’s attack on Civil Human Rights Front’s organizer Jimmy Sham by hammer-wielding thugs in Mong Kok.Protesters are seeking to keep the pressure on Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam with a 20th straight weekend of demonstrations. Earlier this week, Lam was twice shouted down in the city’s legislature by opposition lawmakers as she discussed her annual policy address.The protests began in opposition to Lam’s since-scrapped bill allowing extraditions to mainland China and have expanded to include calls for greater democracy and an independent inquiry. The unrest has turned increasingly violent, with frequent clashes between protesters and police.Here’s the latest (all times local):March to go ahead (5:17 p.m.)Civil Human Rights Front convener Figo Chan said he will lead a march Sunday along the route originally planned and he will be joined by other prominent pro-democracy activists including Leung Kwok-hung, Albert Ho and Cyd Ho, RTHK reported.Demonstrators planned to walk from Tsim Sha Tsui to the express rail terminus in West Kowloon before the police banned the march. The protesters could face arrest, but all of the city’s protests have had to deal with risks, whether they received police permission or not, RTHK cited Chan as saying.March ban upheld (2:30 p.m.)Hong Kong protesters lost an appeal against the police ban of their planned march on Sunday through Tsim Sha Tsui on concern about violence, RTHK reported.Organizers had planned to march through Tsim Sha Tsui to the west side of the district, where the high-speed train station to mainland China is located. Civil Human Rights Front Sham was one of the organizers of the event.Despite the police ban, protesters could still go ahead with the march. Activists mostly ignore restrictions on their gatherings and have continued to show up at events that lack police permits, with some devolving into violent clashes.On Friday night protesters formed human chains citywide, with everyone covering their faces in some way in defiance of the mask ban. People masqueraded as Disney characters, animals and super heroes, but the most popular mask was one of China President Xi Jinping. In Tsim Sha Tsui a long line of protesters linked hands, all wearing a facade of Xi’s smiling face.Lam may reshuffle ExCo (1 p.m.)Chief Executive Lam said she would consider reorganizing the city’s Executive Council, its de facto Cabinet, but would wait until protests had ended.The beleaguered leader of Hong Kong said on an RTHK radio program that she doesn’t “blindly” support the actions of each officer but fully supports the force in enforcing the law. She urged people to wait for a report from Independent Police Complaints Council into the recent clashes, RTHK said. Lam again rejected calls for an independent inquiry into police brutality, the latest coming from Chinese University’s vice-chancellor, Rocky Tuan.Taiwan gets letter (10:45 a.m.)Taiwan’s Criminal Investigation Bureau confirmed it had received a letter from the Hong Kong police offering assistance in the case of Chan Tong-kai, Central News Agency reported.There is no precedent for the cooperation and the Taiwan bureau will follow up with relevant departments for discussion, CNA reported.Homicide suspect to surrender himself to Taiwan (11:28 p.m.)Hong Kong’s Chief Executive received a letter Friday from Chan Tong-kai, a Hong Kong man who’s been accused of killing his pregnant girlfriend during a Valentine’s Day trip to Taiwan, saying that he’d decided to surrender himself to Taiwan, according to a statement on the website of Hong Kong’s government.Chan, who’s currently serving a prison sentence for money laundering in a Hong Kong jail, “requested the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government to assist him in making the relevant arrangement,” according to the statement.Hong Kong newspaper Sing Tao Daily reported earlier on Friday, citing a person it didn’t identify, that Chan made the decision after consulting with a pastor.Protesters march across city (1 p.m.)Demonstrators marched in the Central financial district on Hong Kong Island, temporarily blocking traffic, as well as in the Tsim Sha Tsui and Mong Kok neighborhoods of Kowloon. Some carried a banner calling on the Hong Kong government to agree to their five demands, which include an independent inquiry into police violence, an amnesty for arrested protesters and greater democratic freedoms.Police deny weekend permit (12:30 p.m.)Hong Kong police denied a protest permit for the Civil Human Rights Front’s planned march in Kowloon on Sunday. The group -- whose organizer Jimmy Sham was hospitalized this week -- has been behind some of the largest protests during the last five months, including a few that have drawn over one million people. In many cases, protesters have continued to show up at events that lack police permits, with some devolving into violent clashes with police.\--With assistance from Dominic Lau.To contact the reporter on this story: Iain Marlow in Hong Kong at imarlow1@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Brendan Scott at bscott66@bloomberg.net, Stanley JamesFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

    Sat, 19 Oct 2019 06:09:49 -0400
  • Could France and Germany Jointly Build an EU Aircraft Carrier?

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    All in all, a European carrier will only come about in a world where Germany is willing and able to commit far more resources to defense than it currently does; and can arrive at a joint vision with France on how to use such an expensive vessel to project force abroad. That’s not the world we live in yet.

    Fri, 18 Oct 2019 23:00:00 -0400
  • Why Mexico Is Cooperating with Us on Immigration

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    One of the reasons border apprehensions have dropped from their alarming peak in May is that Mexico has been pretty aggressive in stopping third-country nationals from traversing its territory on their way north to make bogus asylum claims so they can be released into the U.S.But why has Mexico been willing to work with us like this? It's especially curious because in the past, Mexico was not at all eager to help us limit illegal immigration, a pattern we might have expected to intensify with last year’s election as president of left-wing populist Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (commonly known as AMLO, pronounced as a word rather than initials).No doubt President Trump's tariff threats had some effect. Three-quarters of Mexico's exports go to the U.S., and despite increased integration of our economies over the past couple of decades, they still need us a lot more than we need them. Also, Trump's mercurial temperament clearly has the Mexicans worried that he could do something rash (similar to Iran's fears about Reagan if the hostages weren't released before he was inaugurated).But it's unlikely that these things would be enough to move a sometimes touchy nationalist like AMLO. Rather, I think a big part of the explanation is that the current flow of illegals is mainly made up of foreigners, not Mexicans. Earlier waves of mass infiltration across our southern border consisted mainly of Mexicans, and while Mexico quickly took back its people who had been nabbed by the Border Patrol, it did little if anything to reduce the flow. They did establish a police-like unit of the country's immigration agency called Grupo Beta, which worked on Mexico’s northern border (opposite our southern border), but its remit was to help potential illegals with water and first aid and protect them from criminals.But the current flow is very different. Yes, there are still a significant number of Mexicans sneaking across the border, but fewer than there used to be. Mexico's economy has grown and developed to a point where fewer people see the need to emigrate. Also, there just aren't that many able-bodied, working-aged people left in rural areas of Mexico, which is now about as urbanized as the U.S.The current illegal flow, by contrast, is mainly non-Mexican, mostly from Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador (the “northern triangle” countries of Central America), but with growing numbers from Haiti, Cuba, various African countries, and even the Middle East. There had always been a small number of what the Border Patrol calls OTMs (Other Than Mexicans), but they now constitute the majority of the flow.When the first caravan to catch the world's attention passed through Mexican towns on its way north in spring 2018, it was often welcomed with mariachi bands, offers of food and water, and even medical checkups. But as more caravans arrived, plus many migrants in smaller groups, all drawn by loopholes in American law that facilitated their release into the U.S., the welcome started to wear out. As the Washington Post wrote this spring:> But six months and several caravans later, much of that welcome has dried up. Most media have left. And the people of Mapastepec, and other places that have been overwhelmed, are showing their fatigue with the growing stream of migrants.> > "People . . . previously opened their doors to these migrants, but they do not have much extra money here," said Roberto Sarabia, 56, who works at a small grocery store. "What little they could give, they’ve already given."Exhaustion has turned to resentment. As the Central American illegals started piling up in Tijuana, preparing to cross to San Diego, local residents last November staged a protest; the NPR report offered a sense of the mood:> Demonstrators held signs reading "No illegals," "No to the invasion" and "Mexico First." Many wore the country's red, white and green national soccer jersey and vigorously waved Mexican flags. The crowd often slipped into chants of "Ti-jua-na!" and "Me-xi-co!" They sang the national anthem several times.Tijuana's mayor at the time, who was in political hot water generally (he subsequently lost his bid for reelection), rushed to try to take advantage of the situation by sporting a "Make Tijuana Great Again" red baseball cap.> Con ustedes el alcalde de Tijuana, Juan Manuel Gastélum, capaz de decir “que me perdonen las organizaciones defensoras de DH, pero los derechos humanos son para humanos derechos” … CaravanaMigrante pic.twitter.com/DkSuKeFBaF> > — Risco (@jrisco) November 16, 2018And it's not just Tijuana. The El Paso Times recently wrote about the newly developed Cuban community across the river in Juarez. Many Cuban illegals are giving up on their U.S. asylum gambit and deciding to settle down in Juarez (proving they were really economic migrants all along). And it's creating resentment. As a burrito seller said of the Cubans, "They don't get along with Mexican people. They get in a little group by themselves. A lot of people don't like them here." And a business consultant complained, "There are people who are coming looking for a handout, who want us to help them, when they could also look for work."The flow of illegals passing through Mexico to make bogus asylum claims in the U.S. has grown so large that some of them aren't bothering to head all the way to the border and are applying for asylum in Mexico instead. The number of asylum applications submitted to Mexico's refugee agency (COMAR) more than tripled in the first eight months of this year compared to the same period in 2018. The asylum burden seems to have gotten so bad that the refugee agency has removed the helpful video it used to host on its website explaining how to apply.And over the weekend, a large group of illegal aliens from Africa, the Caribbean, and Central America tried to set out on another caravan in southern Mexico, but were stopped by police and the National Guard (a new paramilitary force established by AMLO specifically for border control). Most telling was this bit of video from a Mexican news outlet, showing the commander of a National Guard platoon addressing his men before confronting the latest caravan. He starts his pep talk by saying, "No one will come to trample our country, our land!"> “Nadie va a venir a pisotear nuestro país, nuestra tierra”, son las palabras de un comandante de pelotón de la GuardiaNacional durante la redada de hoy contra migrantes haitianos y africanos.> > @Chechetc corresponsal de @WRADIOMexico pic.twitter.com/9YexXMqMsF> > — Salvador Zaragoza A. (@SalvadorZA) October 13, 2019None of this is to say that our border has been fully secured, or that we don't need to plug the loopholes that sparked this flow in the first place, or that interior measures such as E-Verify, workplace enforcement, and curbing sanctuary cities are no longer needed. And it's entirely possible that if Mexico hits a serious economic road bump in the future, a new Mexican-illegal surge will take place, and the political calculus will be very different.But for now, the United States and Mexico have a confluence of interests in stopping the flow of third-country "asylum-seekers" heading for the American border. Mexicans love their country, as they should, and they're tired of foreigners using it as a doormat.

    Thu, 17 Oct 2019 16:09:22 -0400
  • Clever-Approved Travel Gear That Looks Good and Works Even Better

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    Fri, 18 Oct 2019 15:34:55 -0400
  • Trump actions look 'clearly' impeachable, says leading conservative legal figure

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    Jack Goldsmith, who worked in the Justice Department under George W. Bush, says President Trump deserves to be impeached, but he’s critical of how the Democrats are going about it.

    Fri, 18 Oct 2019 05:01:12 -0400
  • Next-Gen Dodge Challenger Coming in 2023? Don't Be So Sure, Says Dodge

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    The number 2023 spotted on press photos has people all excited, but Dodge told C/D it doesn't mean anything.

    Fri, 18 Oct 2019 15:40:00 -0400
  • A day without teachers: 32,000+ educators in Chicago went on strike. Here's what happened

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    Chicago Public Schools teachers went on strike Thursday morning, seeking smaller class sizes, more support staff and a pay raise.

    Fri, 18 Oct 2019 01:29:44 -0400
  • High-profile cases turn spotlight on domestic violence in Russia

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    Natalia Tunikova's partner pushed her towards the open balcony in their high-rise Moscow flat, before punching her to the floor. A Moscow court later ruled that her use of force in self-defence was not justified. Cases like Tunikova's are ever more widely reported in Russia, leading to a public outcry in a country that has no specific law on domestic violence and where feminist movements like #MeToo had little impact.

    Fri, 18 Oct 2019 22:34:40 -0400
  • Clinton email probe finds no deliberate mishandling of classified information

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    A U.S. State Department investigation of Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server while she was secretary of state has found no evidence of deliberate mishandling of classified information by department employees. The investigation, the results of which were released on Friday by Republican U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley's office, centered on whether Clinton, who served as the top U.S. diplomat from 2009 to 2013, jeopardized classified information by using a private email server rather than a government one.

    Fri, 18 Oct 2019 20:09:56 -0400
  • House GOP Leader Praises Mark Zuckerberg for Political Ads Policy

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    (Bloomberg) -- Facebook Inc. chief executive Mark Zuckerberg’s decision not to ban political ads that Democrats say are inaccurate drew praise from the top Republican in the House of Representatives Friday.Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, a California Republican, said he appreciated Zuckerberg’s comments on Thursday that policing political speech would be undemocratic.“The idea of banning speech you might not like is nonsense, but sadly the mindset is creeping into places like college campuses and our presidential campaign platforms,” McCarthy told reporters. “Yesterday was a heartwarming reminder that free expression is the best business model in the world.”In recent weeks, the presidential campaigns of Democrats Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren have called on Facebook to remove ads from President Donald Trump’s campaign that include claims with no evidence. Facebook has declined to do so, raising the larger question of whether such ads on social media should be regulated.“I don’t think most people want to live in a world where you can only post things that tech companies judge to be 100% true,” Zuckerberg said Thursday at Georgetown University in Washington. “People should be able to see for themselves what politicians are saying.”“In a democracy, I believe people should decide what’s credible, not tech companies,” Zuckerberg said.\--With assistance from Emily Wilkins.To contact the reporter on this story: Erik Wasson in Washington at ewasson@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Joe Sobczyk at jsobczyk@bloomberg.net, Anna Edgerton, Laurie AsséoFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

    Fri, 18 Oct 2019 12:26:56 -0400
  • Rep. Nunes tries to use Steele dossier to defend Trump during closed-door hearing

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    During a closed-door impeachment meeting on Capitol Hill, Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) brought up a topic that surprised some attendees: the Steele dossier. The context, according to three sources familiar with the episode, was his effort to explain why President Trump might be “upset” about Ukraine.

    Fri, 18 Oct 2019 15:18:50 -0400
  • Mexico breaks ground on new airport project outside capital

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    Mexico broke ground Thursday on a project to supplement the capital's overtaxed international airport, finally making headway on a controversial alternative to another, equally controversial one that was scrapped last year after being about a third built. Bulldozers cleared earth at the site of the Santa Lucia air base north of Mexico City, and a backhoe scooped the soil into the backs of military-green trucks as President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, top government officials and armed forces brass looked on. A video showed a rendering of the envisioned facility, which involves converting Santa Lucia for civilian use and building two additional landing strips and which the president vowed to inaugurate in spring 2022.

    Thu, 17 Oct 2019 21:40:07 -0400
  • New ICE Program Exposes Hundreds of Fraudulent ‘Family Units’ Trying to Cross The Border

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    U.S. immigration authorities have discovered hundreds of instances at the border of “family unit fraud,” or unrelated individuals posing as families, over the last six months thanks to a new investigative initiative.Authorities exposed 238 fraudulent families presenting 329 false documents, according to the results of an investigation run by Border Patrol and Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations unit in El Paso, Texas, the results of which were announced Thursday.More than 350 of those individuals are facing federal prosecution for crimes including human smuggling, making false statements, conspiracy, and illegal re-entry after removal. Authorities have referred 19 children to U.S. Health and Human Services as a result of this investigation. Another 50 migrants fraudulently claimed to be unaccompanied minors."Some of the most disturbing cases identified involve transnational criminal organizations (TCOs) and individuals who are increasingly exploiting innocent children to further their criminal activity," ICE said in a statement.In some cases, criminal organizations made deals with the children's biological parents to transfer children as young as 4 months old to the U.S. and pose as a family unit either for human smuggling purposes or to fraudulently obtain immigration benefits, ICE said.“These are examples of the dark side of this humanitarian crisis that our Border Patrol and HSI agents are working tirelessly to identify,” said El Paso Sector Interim Chief Gloria Chavez. “We will pursue the highest of judicial consequences for those who commit fraud and exploit innocent children.”The Trump administration has attempted to end the "catch and release" policy for migrant family units, which provides migrant families an expedited release into the U.S. as their asylum cases are being processed.Then–acting Homeland Security secretary Kevin McAleenan said last month that the vast majority of migrant families who enter the country illegally will no longer be eligible for “catch and release” due to the implementation of stricter policies. One such policy, the Migrant Protection Protocols, requires that migrants wait in Mexico while their asylum claims are being adjudicated.

    Fri, 18 Oct 2019 08:41:26 -0400
  • Parents of Dead Teen Compare Trump Cronies to ‘Henchmen’ at Meeting Britain Denies Asking For

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    Carlo Allegri/ReutersThe grieving family of 19-year-old Harry Dunn have spoken out about their ill-fated meeting with Donald Trump at the White House in a new interview. Charlotte Charles and Tim Dunn told CNN on Thursday morning that the president “doesn’t understand” how the accident that killed their son has “broken” their family. Dunn was killed when 42-year-old American Anne Sacoolas, who is married to an intelligence officer who was working at a spy base in Croughton, England, hit his motorcycle head-on while driving down the wrong side of the road on Aug. 27. Sacoolas initially cooperated with authorities, but then left the country under diplomatic-immunity protections in early September before authorities could formally investigate her or charge her with a crime. Dunn’s parents had only hoped to convince Trump to send Sacoolas back to the U.K. for justice, not to meet her in person. Radd Seiger, the family spokesman, who appeared on CNN with the family, added that during the visit, new National Security Adviser Robert C. O’Brien “snarled” at him and jeered that Sacoolas “would never return” to the U.K. “I used to look up to that institution,” Seiger told CNN. “But it’s a bunch of henchmen trying to make him look good.”During the White House meeting, Trump surprised Dunn’s parents with the announcement that Sacoolas, who they had made clear they would only meet on U.K. soil if she returned to assist the investigation, was behind a door waiting. Grieving Parents ‘Ambushed’ by Trump, Who Had Teen’s Killer Waiting at White HouseIn an email to The Daily Beast on Thursday, Seiger shot down White House denials that photographers were present for the supposed meetup. “We do not know who the photographer(s) were or which organization they were from,” the family spokesman said. “But they were there and had cameras and were clearly poised to grab that “poster picture shot” in the event that the president’s callous plan had come off.”Seiger continued: “Further, if President Trump really had Harry’s best interests at heart and really only wanted to comfort them he would have a) given advance notice of his intention to convene such a meeting with Mrs Sacoolas b) sought consent from us instead of springing it on us c) arranged for it to take place in a neutral and controlled environment with mediators and therapists around and out of the glare of the media spotlight [and] d) called off his attack dog Robert O’Brien who snapped, snarled and intimated his way through the meeting within feet of grieving people.”On Wednesday, Trump said he arranged the meeting at the request of U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who has been very vocal about Sacoolas returning to England. Johnson had earlier insisted Sacoolas return and promised he would take the matter up personally with the president.But on Thursday, Downing Street denied it had asked for such a meeting between Sacoolas and Dunn’s parents to take place and had not been informed or involved in the planning. “The P.M. and the president spoke last Wednesday and the P.M. asked the president to do all he could to resolve the issue,” a spokeswoman for the prime minister’s office told The Guardian. “During the conversation, the president raised a possibility of a meeting with Anne Sacoolas at the White House, but at that stage we weren’t aware of any plans for the family to go [to the U.S.], so it wasn’t discussed further.”The Sacoolas family, who have assembled a team of lawyers versed in international diplomacy and extradition, are expected to return to the U.K. this weekend. 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.

    Thu, 17 Oct 2019 10:07:47 -0400
  • Moms Demand Action founder says advocacy group is not anti-gun

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    Moms Demand Action founder Shannon Watts spoke with CBS News' Major Garrett for this week's episode of "The Takeout"

    Thu, 17 Oct 2019 22:08:49 -0400
  • Marine Corps says another WWII hero misidentified in iconic, flag-raising Iwo Jima photo

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    Three historians using film footage from Mount Suribachi identified one of the six flag-raisers as Cpl. Harold 'Pie' Keller - not Pfc. Rene Gagnon.

    Thu, 17 Oct 2019 15:45:47 -0400
  • 'Powderkeg' in Germany amid Turks-Kurds conflict

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    Syrian Kurd Mohamed Zidik, 76, still buys his bread and baclavas from his Turkish neighbours in Berlin, but he knows better than to expound on his views about Ankara's offensive in his hometown. Since Turkish forces launched their assault on Kurds in northeastern Syria, tensions have risen in Germany where millions of Turks and Kurds live side by side. Shops have been trashed, knife attacks reported and insults traded, prompting Germany's integration commissioner Annette Widmann-Mauz to call for restraint.

    Sat, 19 Oct 2019 06:04:31 -0400
  • Kremlin wants information from Turkey about Syria deal with U.S. - RIA

    The Kremlin said late on Thursday it expected to receive information from Turkey after Ankara agreed a deal with the United States to halt its offensive in Syria for five days, the RIA news agency reported. Turkey agreed on Thursday to pause its offensive in Syria to let Kurdish forces withdraw from a "safe zone" Ankara had sought to capture, in a deal hailed by the Trump administration and cast by Turkey as a complete victory. "We expect to receive information from Turkey," RIA quoted Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov as saying.

    Fri, 18 Oct 2019 03:15:20 -0400
  • Atatiana Jefferson's death highlights a long history of police violence in Fort Worth, and the community says it's time for a 'reckoning'

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    Atatiana Jefferson was shot and killed by Fort Worth police officer Aaron Dean. Her death was the sixth fatal police shooting in the city since June.

    Fri, 18 Oct 2019 11:07:22 -0400
  • Russia's Stealth Su-57 Is a Beast, But Can Russia Afford It?

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    It's pretty expensive for Russia's flagging economy.

    Sat, 19 Oct 2019 04:00:00 -0400
  • Asylum-seeking Mexicans are more prominent at US border

    Lizbeth Garcia tended to her 3-year-old son outside a tent pitched on a sidewalk, their temporary home while they wait for their number to be called to claim asylum in the United States. The 33-year-old fled Mexico's western state of Michoacan a few weeks ago with her husband and five children — ages 3 to 12 — when her husband, a truck driver, couldn't pay fees that criminal gangs demanded for each trailer load. "I'd like to say it's unusual, but it's very common," Garcia said Thursday in Juarez, where asylum seekers gather to wait their turn to seek protection at a U.S. border crossing in El Paso, Texas.

    Fri, 18 Oct 2019 20:46:20 -0400
  • Ethiopia Ruling Coalition to Shake Up Decision-Making Structures

    (Bloomberg) -- Ethiopia’s ruling coalition plans to overhaul of its decision-making structures and to tear-up its ideology of three decades, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s part of the alliance said.The Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front, which has Marxist-Leninist roots, is a former rebel movement made up of four ethnically-based regional parties -- including Abiy’s Oromo Democratic Party -- and five affiliated regional parties.The ODP announced the plans Friday to restructure the coalition and replace the EPRDF’s ideology of “revolutionary democracy,” which it branded divisive and “undemocratic.”The move comes as the ruling coalition gears up for elections scheduled for next year, in which the EPRDF’s constituent branches must compete with opposition parties amid a political opening up.“Revolutionary Democracy”The EPRDF has promoted the “revolutionary democracy” since it toppled a military junta in 1991 and during ascendancy of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front within the alliance. While the TPLF rules Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region, which consists of 6.1% of the population, the Oromo and Amhara ethnic groups make up almost two-thirds of the population.Ethiopian Premier Abiy Wins Nobel Peace Prize for Eritrea AccordThe push to overhaul the coalition’s structure is a means to increase the representation for Oromo and Amhara within EPRDF executive organs, giving them greater sway ahead of the elections, according to Ermias Tesfaye, an independent consultant in Burayu, Oromia state.The existing decision-making structure “allows a small group to make decisions” over Ethiopia’s complex ethnically-based federation and is “not compatible with the current state of the struggle,” the ODP said.A rushed restructuring of the EPRDF would send the country into chaos, the TPLF said in an Oct. 15 statement.To contact the reporter on this story: Nizar Manek in Nairobi at nmanek2@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: David Malingha at dmalingha@bloomberg.net, Helen NyamburaFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

    Fri, 18 Oct 2019 12:16:04 -0400
  • Polls show Americans have come to support Trump's impeachment much faster than Nixon's or Clinton’s

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    President Trump hasn’t just crossed the 50 percent threshold on impeachment, peaking at 50.3 percent earlier this week. He’s gotten there faster than Richard Nixon — and, for that matter, Bill Clinton, who never got there at all.

    Thu, 17 Oct 2019 11:54:18 -0400
  • Washington Group Fighting Affirmative Action Used Proud Boys As Guards

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    John Rudoff/GettyAn anti-affirmative action campaign used members of the Proud Boys for security—and is now claiming it didn’t realize its protection team was an organization labeled a hate group.On Nov. 5, voters in Washington state are set to decide on the future of Referendum 88, a measure that would allow affirmative action hiring in public jobs. The measure has support from civil rights groups like the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), but faces opposition from a state veterans group and the organization Washington Asians for Equality, which claims the measure would lead to preferential treatment for some groups. This summer, some of those opponents partnered with a more notorious organization: the Proud Boys, who featured the signature drive in a recently surfaced propaganda video.The Proud Boys—designated a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center—prioritizes street fights and has extensive connections to more explicit white supremacist organizations. But unlike many other extremist groups, the Proud Boys frequently cozy up to the more mainstream right. Their current leader, Enrique Tarrio, is a Florida director of Latinos for Trump, despite marching in 2017’s deadly white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.Republicans Are Adopting the Proud BoysIn the August video, a Washington Proud Boy claims Referendum 88 backers solicited the Proud Boys’ help in delivering signatures to the secretary of state’s office.The group “gave us a call asking for security to help take the signatures for Referendum 88 down to the capitol building,” he says in the video, which referendum supporters like the group Washington Fairness surfaced this week.The video goes on to show the group riding in a truck with the signatures and speaking into walkie-talkies for reasons that are not immediately apparent. The clip concludes with an advertisement for gas masks, which the Proud Boy says he used during a summer brawl with anti-fascists in Portland, Oregon.Reject Ref. 88, the organization that allegedly hired the Proud Boys, disavowed knowledge of them.“The Referendum 88 petition drive worked with many volunteers during the signature gathering phase,” organizer Linda Yang said in an email. “We didn’t know the association of these individuals you refer to, nor did they tell us. The Reject Ref.88/I-1000 campaign welcomes people from all walks of life who believe in equality for all, regardless of race. Those who don’t believe in that principle—be they on the far left or the far right—are not welcome in this campaign.”But as the Seattle Stranger noted, Yang even appeared in the Proud Boys’ video, explaining her opposition to Referendum 88. In the video, she gives different account of her group coming to work with the Proud Boys. After trying and failing to hire a security company to help deliver referendum signatures, “I got a call saying ‘hey there’s a group, they’re willing to help,’” she said in the video. “I said ‘we’ll take it.’”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.

    Thu, 17 Oct 2019 18:16:34 -0400
  • Mexico flies 300 Indian migrants to New Delhi in mass deportation

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    Mexico has deported more than 300 Indian nationals to New Delhi, the National Migration Institute said late on Wednesday, in what it described as an unprecedented transatlantic deportation.

    Thu, 17 Oct 2019 17:32:34 -0400
  • Peek Inside Eero Saarinen’s Iconic General Motors Technical Center

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

    Thu, 17 Oct 2019 11:22:04 -0400
  • China says will work with the U.S. to address each other's core concerns

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    Chinese Vice Premier Liu He said on Saturday that China will work with the United States to address each other's core concerns on the basis of equality and mutual respect, and that stopping the trade war would be good for both sides and the world. "The two sides have made substantial progress in many fields, laying an important foundation for the signing of a phased agreement," Liu, also the chief negotiator in the trade talks, told a virtual reality conference in Nanchang, the capital of southeastern Jiangxi province. It's what producers and consumers alike are hoping for," Liu said in a rare public speech about the trade war.

    Fri, 18 Oct 2019 23:06:52 -0400
  • Joe Biden digs at Elizabeth Warren after debate: Polls don't show 'anybody else as a frontrunner'

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    "You know, I haven't seen any polling showing that nationally, on average, that anybody else is a front-runner," Joe Biden said.

    Thu, 17 Oct 2019 17:23:19 -0400
  • Murderer who triggered Hong Kong protests will go to Taiwan: pastor

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    A man who inadvertently triggered Hong Kong's huge protests after he murdered his girlfriend in Taiwan has agreed to return to the island to face justice, a clergyman who has visited him in prison said on Friday. Chan Tong-kai, 20, is wanted in Taiwan for the murder of his pregnant girlfriend during a holiday the two Hong Kongers took there in February last year. The case triggered an ill-fated proposal by Hong Kong's pro-Beijing government to ram through a sweeping extradition bill which would have allowed the city to extradite suspects to any territory, including the authoritarian mainland.

    Fri, 18 Oct 2019 15:05:47 -0400
  • The Latest: Woman denies link to Alabama child abduction

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    A woman described as a person of interest in the abduction of a 3-year-old Alabama girl is denying any involvement. Attorneys for 29-year-old Derick Irisha Brown of Birmingham released a statement Friday saying she had no role in the kidnapping and hopes for the safe return of Kamille "Cupcake" McKinney. Brown and a man were arrested earlier this week after being described as persons of interest in the child's abduction from a birthday party last weekend.

    Fri, 18 Oct 2019 13:23:31 -0400
  • World War II's Allied Raid of Berlin Involved 1,000 Bombers (But Germany Fought On)

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    Did Germany have a center of gravity?

    Sat, 19 Oct 2019 01:30:00 -0400
  • McCarthy tries to defend Mulvaney’s clarification on quid pro quo

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    At a press conference on Friday, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., took several questions about White House acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney’s initial statement and clarification on whether there was a quid pro quo between the Trump administration and the president of Ukraine.

    Fri, 18 Oct 2019 13:34:59 -0400
  • Bannon Teams Up With Chinese Group That Thinks Trump Will Bring on End-Times

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    Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast / Photos Getty/Courtesy Claws of The Red DragonAfter trying to launch his own cryptocurrency and failing to turn an Italian monastery into a training camp for Europe’s far right, former Trump adviser Steve Bannon has a new plan: teaming up with a Chinese spiritual movement that reportedly believes Trump will bring about Judgment Day.On Saturday night, viewers of the rabidly pro-Trump cable news channel One America News Network will witness the premiere of Bannon’s latest effort, a ripped-from-the-headlines political thriller modeled after the real-life legal battle that ensued following the arrest of an executive for Chinese tech company Huawei in Canada. Bannon didn’t exact for subtlety as the executive producer of the film, Claws of the Red Dragon. Chinese communist officials in the movie meet in shadowy rooms to discuss the utmost importance of their “secret plan,” while an intrepid reporter investigating Huawei stand-in “Huaxing” finds a dead cat left on her car in warning. In a Bannonian touch at the end, viewers are left with an Edmund Burke quote warning that evil triumphs when “good men do nothing.” The message is obvious: Chinese executives and officials are intent on undermining other countries, and Western institutions have been too cowardly or greedy to stand up to them. What will be less clear to OANN’s viewers is that the movie’s funder, digital video company New Tang Dynasty, is closely tied to a spiritual movement that reportedly believes Donald Trump, Bannon’s former boss, will help usher in the end times.New Tang Dynasty is part of the Epoch Media Group, a collection of far-right media outlets linked to Falun Gong, a Chinese spiritual movement that has been repressed by the Chinese government. The group’s members apparently now see Trump’s presidency and Chinese trade war as a fateful moment. In August, NBC News reported on the company’s attempts through its newspaper, The Epoch Times, to promote Trump through huge Facebook ad buys and increased links to pro-Trump officials and conservative media.But Falun Gong practitioners also see Trump as more than just a convenient political ally, according to the NBC report. Former members of Falun Gong told NBC News that the group’s adherents “think the world is headed toward a judgment day” in which communists are going “to a kind of hell.” “Trump is viewed as a key ally in the anti-communist fight,” the NBC News report reads.Bannon, who said he helped expand the film’s distribution, plans to expand it to Brazil, Italy, and Poland. Bannon wasn’t concerned about his new ally’s reportedly apocalyptic views of Trump. “If they think Donald Trump is something special, then they think Donald Trump is something special,” he said. “It’s kind of like some of the deplorables,’ right?”Teaming up with the Epoch Times may be unusual, but it makes sense for Bannon, who has repeatedly railed against Chinese trade practices and economic influence. The film is light on references to the Epoch Times, and appears to contain no references to Falun Gong, aside from a throwaway line about the harsh treatment doled to some Chinese citizens.At one point, the reporter character picks up a copy of a free Chinese-government-funded newspaper and complains about its lack of accuracy. In the background, an Epoch Times newspaper box stands as a silent point of comparison. OANN president Charles Herring told The Daily Beast that his company doesn’t have any business relationship with New Tang Dynasty. “One America News has extensively reported on espionage and cyber warfare concerns against the United States by Huawei and the Chinese Government,” Herring said in a statement.  “Leading experts and policy makers on both sides of the aisle argue that implementation of 5G technology using American infrastructure suppliers is critical to protecting US national security interests. Claws of the Red Dragon highlights these concerns and the different interests and conflicts in fundamental beliefs involved.”New Tang Dynasty and Bannon didn’t respond to requests for comment. Claws ends with Canada poised on the brink of a clash with China, with Canadian citizens arrested in China in retaliation for the Huaxing executive’s own detention (as happened in the real world). A Canadian Huaxing executive contemplates suicide, while his girlfriend, the reporter, sees her parents arrested in China as retaliation for her articles exposing Canada’s efforts to appease the Chinese government. Bannon described the Epoch Times group as “scrappy.” “Their object is to be the leading conservative news sources in the United States in the next five years,” Bannon said. While OANN has struggled to get anywhere near rival Fox News’ viewership number, the Claws broadcast on Saturday could have one notable viewer: Trump himself. The president has frequently praised OANN amid his own clashes with Fox News, increasingly tweeting about what he’s watching on the channel. 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.

    Sat, 19 Oct 2019 05:16:13 -0400
  • Volvo launches very first fully electric vehicle: the XC40 Recharge

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    Volvo has officially launched its very first EV line and its very first EV: The XC40 small SUV is the first member of the Recharge family. To add to the firsts surrounding this launch, the XC40 small SUV is also the first of the brand equipped with an Android-powered infotainment system -- it's better late than never. This premiere has been coupled with an announcement by the company about their plans to launch a fully electric car every year "with the rest hybrids." Recharge will be the name encapsulating all the brand's electrified vehicles.

    Thu, 17 Oct 2019 11:13:06 -0400
  • Netanyahu's Latest Call for Unity Government Is Quickly Rejected

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    (Bloomberg) -- Benjamin Netanyahu’s main rival turned down the Israeli prime minister’s renewed call to set aside political differences and join a national unity governmentNetanyahu has until late next week to form a ruling coalition or risk the country’s president handing the mandate to former military chief Benny Gantz. Short of a majority in parliament, the premier’s efforts to coax Gantz’s Blue and White bloc, the largest in the legislature, into a power-sharing agreement have so far failed.“All of Israel’s citizens look around and see how the Middle East is changing for the worse in front of our eyes,” Netanyahu said Thursday in a tweet. “Those who need to know, know that the security challenges are growing, and they are not waiting for us.”The prime minister didn’t specify the threats facing Israel. But his statement follows the decision by President Donald Trump to withdraw U.S. troops from northern Syria as he seeks to end America’s presence in long-running Middle Eastern conflicts.The U-turn has boosted Israel’s main regional foe, Iran, which is a key supporter of the government in Damascus, and stoked speculation in Israel over the future reliability of the country’s superpower patron.Gantz quickly rejected Netanyahu’s offer.“I received a proposal today that one must refuse,’’ Gantz said in a tweet. “We will wait for the President’s mandate and begin serious negotiations for the establishment of a liberal unity government that will lead to change and restore hope to the citizens of Israel.”\--With assistance from Ivan Levingston.To contact the reporter on this story: Yaacov Benmeleh in Tel Aviv at ybenmeleh@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Alaa Shahine at asalha@bloomberg.net, Mark Williams, Paul AbelskyFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

    Thu, 17 Oct 2019 10:37:51 -0400
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    Prince William and wife Kate leave Pakistan, day after aborted flight

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    Fri, 18 Oct 2019 03:39:48 -0400
  • Long-extinct Tasmanian tigers spotted at least eight times, officials say

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    Between 2016 to 2019, the report notes seven sightings of the Tasmanian tiger. It "had black stripes on the back side of the body."

    Fri, 18 Oct 2019 13:23:03 -0400
  • Ousted Communist leader Zhao Ziyang is buried: family

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    A former Chinese Communist Party leader ousted after he opposed the use of force to quell 1989 democracy protests was buried over a decade after he died, his family said, in a service ignored by state media. Zhao Ziyang, who is a revered figure among Chinese human rights defenders, is still a sensitive topic in the country, where commemorations of his death are held under tight surveillance or prevented altogether. There was no mention of his burial ceremony Friday on state media, and searching for his name on social media returned no results.

    Sat, 19 Oct 2019 05:21:00 -0400
  • Ex-officer who killed black man given 1-year prison sentence

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    A former Georgia police officer who fatally shot an unarmed, fleeing black man was sentenced to one year in prison Friday, nearly two weeks after a jury acquitted him of manslaughter charges but found him guilty of violating his oath of office. Superior Court Judge Stephen Scarlett in Camden County near the Georgia-Florida state line also gave Zechariah Presley four years of probation. Presley's wife said her husband was the "backbone" of their family, and their sons would be devastated if he were away longer.

    Fri, 18 Oct 2019 17:30:06 -0400
  • View 2020 Chevrolet Corvette vs. Porsche 718 Cayman Cargo Comparison Photos

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    Thu, 17 Oct 2019 10:26:00 -0400
  • U.S. Air Force F-35s Are Knocking on Russia’s Back Door

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    The U.S. Air Force has stood up a fighter squadron to operate F-35A Lightning II stealth fighters in Alaska. It might not be long before F-35s join Alaska-based F-22s in intercepting Russian bombers and other warplanes that frequently probe American defenses.

    Fri, 18 Oct 2019 01:30:00 -0400
  • Mystery traders 'made $1.8bn from stock bet' placed hours before Trump tweeted talks with China were ‘back on track’

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    */Unknown actors may have made billions from the turmoil Donald Trump has created in the markets through erratic tweets, shoot-from-the-hip foreign policy, and the trade war with China, according to a new report.

    Fri, 18 Oct 2019 16:16:20 -0400
  • Income Inequality Has Soared While Taxes Have Become Dramatically Less Progressive . . . or Not

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    The truth gets its boots on pretty quickly in the Internet age. On October 6, the New York Times ran a piece broadcasting the striking claims made by the economists Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman in the new book The Triumph of Injustice. Just a couple of weeks later, it’s clear that these claims are built atop a foundation of often questionable and sometimes indefensible assumptions.Per Saez and Zucman, while the rich have been pulling in more and more of the nation’s income — grabbing about a fifth of it now, double what they got a few decades back — they’re paying lower and lower tax rates. Indeed, in 2018, the richest 400 Americans paid the lowest overall tax rate (including state, local, and federal taxes) of any income group. While the very richest Americans in 1950 paid two-thirds of their income in taxes, in 2018 it was down below a quarter; even the full top 0.1 percent barely pay more than the bottom 90 percent these days. It’s not that much of an exaggeration to say we have a flat tax system, not a progressive one.The debunkings came from everywhere: a Twitter thread by Journal of Public Economics editor Wojtek Kopczuk, an article by the economic historian Phil Magness, an academic response from the economist David Splinter, a report from the Republican side of the Senate’s Joint Economic Committee (JEC), a traditional book review in Le Grand Continent, and more.Let’s take the two claims, rising inequality and rich people paying low tax rates, in turn. Both of these problems are probably overstated, in the latter case quite dramatically, in Saez and Zucman’s numbers. And I say “probably” only because no one writing about these trends should pretend that even the best estimates are much more than guesswork, and necessarily so, because the data here are spotty and there are legitimate disagreements over what should even count as income and tax payments.The alleged rise of income inequality was recently the focus of some congressional hearings about the government’s plan to start reporting more data on the topic, as well as an extensive but readable summary of the academic literature from the JEC Republicans. You might think this would be an easy question to answer, whether the rich are pulling away from the rest of us, because the IRS can tell you how much income people report to the government. But — I hope you’re sitting down — not all income is reported to the government. And that’s only the first big obstacle to measuring inequality accurately.We know from the “national accounts,” the data we use to monitor overall economic activity, approximately how much money goes unreported overall. But to account for the missing money while measuring inequality, we need to know how much unreported income goes specifically to the rich versus the poor, and that is hard to do. Splinter, for example, argues that Saez and Zucman use a method that gives too much of this income to the rich; Splinter’s own approach relies on data from IRS audits and gives more of it to folks down the income scale.If your eyes are glazing over, I have bad news: As the JEC report details, this is only the first of many technical decisions researchers must make that affect the results. Should we worry about income inequality before or after taxes are taken out? Should we include governmental transfers as income? Should we analyze married couples together or separately, bearing in mind the decline of marriage in recent decades, especially among the poor? How to handle corporate profits that are retained rather than given out to shareholders? How to handle stocks that have grown in value but have not been sold?The JEC report provides a remarkable buffet of options to anyone wanting to find a study to cite in favor of a preferred narrative, with the general pattern being that Saez and Zucman’s work is on the high end. By all accounts, pre-tax income has become more concentrated at the top, though this trend is more dramatic in some estimates than others. But the share of post-tax income going to the top 1 percent may have risen only from 7.2 to 8.5 percent from 1979 to 2015.If it’s hard to tell how much money people make, it’s even harder to calculate their total tax rates, which requires you to know not only their income but also their payments to several levels of government. Once again the IRS is very helpful when it comes to what’s reported to the federal government, but then you also have to estimate how much money people across the income spectrum spend on state income taxes, sales and property taxes, etc. It’s no easy task.And here too, beyond problems with the basic data, there are arguments over what to include. A big one — a way that The Triumph of Injustice departs even from its authors’ own previous work — has to do with the tax on corporate profits. Since corporations are just legal entities, they don’t really pay these taxes; people do. And there’s a lot of debate over how much of this tax burden falls on corporate shareholders, as opposed to other folks, including workers and customers, who tend to be less wealthy and might benefit if the government didn’t take this money. Faced with this conundrum, the right-leaning Tax Foundation will point to studies showing “that labor bears between 50 and 100 percent of the burden of the corporate income tax,” while the left-leaning Tax Policy Center assigns 60 percent of the burden to shareholders, 20 percent to capital in general (because the corporate tax has spillover effects for other forms of capital), and 20 percent to labor.Saez and Zucman’s approach? To assume the entire corporate tax falls on shareholders, and to make this clear only after their number-crunching has been reported as fact in the national media. As the economist Tyler Cowen put it in a scathing post, “no Western fiscal authority I have heard of thinks of tax incidence in these terms.” And as this animation from Kopczuk shows, this new assumption largely explains a big change in the trend for rich people’s taxes even relative to Saez and Zucman’s own approach in a recent paper with Thomas Piketty:> So why is sky falling in the S-Z book? Recall this animation. There are just two changes of relevance here. One is corporate tax incidence. This is what turns very mild decline in progressivity into rapid drop. The other somewhat important one is treatment of capital gains pic.twitter.com/vOQchHMGAY> > -- Wojtek Kopczuk (@wwwojtekk) October 15, 2019There are other points too at which anyone making a chart like this needs to make decisions about what to include as taxes, and for whom. For instance, what are we to make of “refundable” income-tax credits that are paid even to people with no income-tax liability to offset? Should we treat those as offsetting the other taxes that people pay, which after all is one of their purposes? Or should we just classify them as outright transfers, not part of the tax system at all? Unsurprisingly, Saez and Zucman do not include them, because they would boost income and thereby reduce taxes as a percentage of income for the poor.As with inequality, we can point to other sources of data on tax progressivity to show that Saez and Zucman are an outlier. Splinter’s response illustrates this, and so does this from Jason Furman, who headed the Obama administration’s Council of Economic Advisers:> The standard data shows that the tax system is overall progressive. This chart combines CBO estimates for federal taxes with ITEP estimates for state & local taxes. Federal income taxes highly progressive, when you add in payroll/state/local/etc. is still progressive but less so. pic.twitter.com/WTOgm58Fyo> > -- Jason Furman (@jasonfurman) October 7, 2019At every step of the way, Saez and Zucman made decisions that skewed the income distribution toward the top and the tax burden away from it. You can have a reasonable debate about the best way to analyze these data and what they say about our tax policies. But it does no one any favors to treat these estimates as established fact, the way the New York Times did.

    Fri, 18 Oct 2019 14:00:58 -0400
  • Mayor Pete Buttigieg Drops Fundraiser Tied to Laquan McDonald Coverup

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    REUTERSMayor Pete Buttigieg’s presidential campaign announced Friday that the co-host of a controversial campaign fundraiser was dropping out amid sharp public criticism over the role he played in delaying the release of a video of an infamous 2014 shooting death of a black teenage boy.The would-be co-host, Steve Patton, is a former Chicago city attorney who pushed to withhold video depicting the death of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald until after a contentious mayoral runoff election, more than a year after a judge had ordered the video to be released. Patton already donated $5,600 to Buttigieg in June—a donation that the South Bend mayor’s campaign said it would be returning. “Transparency and justice for Laquan McDonald is more important than a campaign contribution,” Chris Meagher, the Buttigieg campaign’s national press secretary, told The Daily Beast. “We are returning the money he contributed to the campaign and the money he has collected. He is no longer a co-host for the event and will not be attending.”Patton’s role in the Friday fundraiser, first reported by the Associated Press, prompted sharp criticism of Buttigieg, including from the Rev. Jesse Jackson, the city’s most prominent civil rights leader, who called on the Democratic nominee to “adjust his schedule.”Buttigieg’s campaign had initially declined to comment on the story, directing the Associated Press to his “Douglass Plan” to end systemic racism.Buttigieg, who is struggling in the polls among black voters, has had difficulty trying to reconcile his sweeping proposals for deconstructing structural racism with his record as the mayor, where he fired the city’s first black police chief and has conceded that he has failed in diversifying the city’s law enforcement. South Bend’s police department is 90 percent white while the city itself is 27 percent black.In June, Buttigieg left the campaign trail following the shooting death of a black man, Eric Logan, by a white police officer. At a town hall discussing the shooting, Buttigieg was heckled by angry South Bend residents who demanded that he focus on the city’s problems with racism in its police force rather than his run for the White House.“I just want you to know that we’re not running from this,” Buttigieg said at the time. “Of course I’m upset. A man died in this city at the hands of one of the people in charge of protecting the city.”Other president campaigns were quick to jump on Patton’s participation in the fundraiser as evidence of misplaced priorities. Rob Flaherty, digital director for Buttigieg rival Beto O’Rourke, tweeted that it was “good to see that despite The Pete Pivot, he’s remaining consistent on some things.”According to Federal Election Commission filings, Patton donated $2,700 to O’Rourke’s 2018 campaign for the U.S. Senate.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, 18 Oct 2019 12:10:30 -0400
  • Fate of Japan's imperial dynasty rests on shoulders of 13-year-old

    When Japan's youngest prince, Hisahito, visited Bhutan in August on his first overseas trip just months after his uncle Naruhito became emperor, his trip was regarded as the debut of a future monarch on the world stage. Emperor Naruhito, 59, who became monarch on May 1 following the abdication of his father, Akihito, will proclaim his enthronement in an Oct. 22 ceremony before foreign and domestic dignitaries. Japan only allows males to ascend the ancient Chrysanthemum Throne and changes to the succession law are anathema to conservatives backing Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

    Thu, 17 Oct 2019 20:30:12 -0400
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