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DC5m United States mix in english 544 articles, created at 2017-10-24 18:20

 

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1.1

Trump, Corker clash ahead of Senate Republican lunch (16.99/17)

WASHINGTON -- In a furious exchange of tweets and counter-tweets, President Donald Trump said a Republican senator "couldn't get elected dog catcher" while the senator fired back that Trump was "utterly untruthful."
"#AlertTheDaycareStaff," tweeted Sen. Bob Corker, an outspoken GOP critic of Trump.
The latest contretemps come ahead of Trump's planned lunch with Republican senators on Capitol Hill, as Congress turns its focus to overhauling the nation's tax code.
Early Tuesday (Oct. 24), Corker said on NBC's "Today" that the Republican-led Congress should set the course on taxes after Trump shot down at least one GOP idea on retirement plans on Monday.
Asked if Trump should leave well enough alone, Corker said, "I think that's the best way for us to have success."
That prompted an angry Twitter response from the president, who said, "Bob Corker, who helped President O give us the bad Iran Deal & couldn't get elected dog catcher in Tennessee, is now fighting Tax Cuts...."
Corker took to his own Twitter account to respond: "Same untruths from an utterly untruthful president. #AlertTheDaycareStaff."
See the Twitter exchange below
Corker, the Senate Foreign Relations chairman, has previously dubbed the White House an "adult day care center" and charged that Trump could be setting the nation on a path to World War III. Trump has called Corker "Liddle' Bob Corker."
Nonetheless, Republicans and the Trump administration are determined to get tax legislation into law this year, and all sides seem to think they can unite around that goal.
Prior to the lunch, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., implicitly criticized Trump on Monday, though not by name, for getting a draft deferment during Vietnam for bone spurs in his foot. And Trump spent much of August lashing out at Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and blaming him for the Senate's failure to pass legislation to repeal and replace " Obamacare ."
No. 3 Senate Republican John Thune of South Dakota said he hopes to hear Trump "drive home the message that he wants to be a partner, a constructive partner that helps us get accomplishments that help everybody."
"If you have people who are running for re-election next year, whether it's a House member or one of the senators who's up this year, I think the best thing you can go back and talk about is that you got results," Thune added. "And I think that to the degree the president delivers that message it will be very well received by Republican senators."
The tax plan crafted by Trump and Republican leaders calls for steep tax cuts for corporations and potentially for individuals. It would double the standard deduction used by most Americans, shrink the number of tax brackets from seven to three or four, and repeal inheritance taxes on multimillion-dollar estates. But crucial details of the plan have yet to be worked out, notably what income levels would fit with each tax bracket.
Bob Corker, who helped President O give us the bad Iran Deal & couldn't get elected dog catcher in Tennessee, is now fighting Tax Cuts....
... Corker dropped out of the race in Tennesse when I refused to endorse him, and now is only negative on anything Trump. Look at his record!
Same untruths from an utterly untruthful president. #AlertTheDaycareStaff
Isn't it sad that lightweight Senator Bob Corker, who couldn't get re-elected in the Great State of Tennessee, will now fight Tax Cuts plus!
- Erica Wener, AP Congressional Correspondent

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President Trump Heads To Capitol Hill With Clear Message
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Trump Corker Couldn't Elected Dog Catche
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Trump and a key Senate Republican are fighting on Twitter
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Corker urges Trump to "stay out" of the tax reform process
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10 Things to Know for Today
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Sen. Bob Corker doesn’t regret slamming Trump
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High stakes as Trump heads to Hill
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Trump plans lunch with GOP senators as focus turns to taxes
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Ahead of visit to talk tax cuts on Capitol Hill, Trump spars with Sen. Bob Corker
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1.3

Weather Service checking to confirm Carolinas tornadoes (12.99/17)

RALEIGH, N. C. (AP) - The Carolinas are cleaning up after being slammed by severe thunderstorms with damaging winds and flooding and possible tornadoes that flipped tractor-trailers and small planes, broke storefront windows and pushed at least one house off its foundation. At least 98,000 homes and businesses lost power, forcing some schools to close Tuesday.
The National Weather Service reported that many trees and power lines were brought down Monday afternoon and evening across western North Carolina and South Carolina. Small planes were flipped over and their hangars crumpled at the Hickory Regional Airport. Drivers navigated flooded streets in Asheville and Boone, and possible tornados left trails of damage. Fire departments rescued drivers from flooded roads in Pickens County in western South Carolina.
As many as nine tornadoes were reported in the western Carolinas and the weather service planned to send crews Tuesday to confirm whether the damage was caused by tornadoes or high winds. The worst problems appeared to be in Spartanburg, South Carolina and Hickory, North Carolina.
"You could hear it howl through downtown," Michael Parsons, whose Michael's Jewelers store in North Wilkesboro was damaged when a nearby roof blew off, told WXII News 12, the local NBC affiliate.
JoAnn Perez arrived home shortly after the storms passed to see her home pushed off its concrete slab, with her dogs and cat inside it, in Shelby, North Carolina.
No deaths have been reported from the storms. Spartanburg Regional Hospital said it had treated eight people with minor injuries.
Duke Energy said by late Tuesday morning, its crews were working to restore electricity to more than 78,000 customers. About 66,000 were without service in North Carolina and another 12,000 were powerless in South Carolina.
In South Carolina, an apparent tornado crunched buildings, flipped tractor trailers, downed trees and wrecked homes in the Spartanburg area. The Highway Patrol reported approximately 20 accidents in Spartanburg County, as well as traffic light malfunctions and trees down in roadways Monday afternoon.
Daily rainfall records were reported in Asheville and Charlotte in North Carolina, as well as the Greenville-Spartanburg area in South Carolina. Totals ranged from about 2 inches (5 centimeters) in Charlotte to more than 3.5 inches (9 centimeters) in Asheville..
Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Possible tornadoes flip planes, destroy hangars at North Carolina airport
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Severe weather slams Carolinas, many without power
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0.0

Your guide to World Series Game 1 -- Can Keuchel's command stymie Dodgers' bats? (10.99/17)

LOS ANGELES -- If you don't like this World Series matchup, then you probably hate ice cream, puppies and rainbows. It's the first World Series showdown between 100-win teams since 1970, and the 205 combined wins for the Dodgers and Astros is the second-most of the wild-card era:
1998: Yankees (114) versus Padres (98) -- 212
2017: Dodgers (104) versus Astros (101) -- 205
2004: Cardinals (105) versus Red Sox (98) -- 203
1999: Braves (103) versus Yankees (98) -- 201
2016: Cubs (103) versus Indians (94) -- 197
Keep up with the latest as baseball's top teams contend for the title.
• Ultimate playoff guide » | WS Picks »
• Five key World Series questions »
• Star-studded Series hinges on depth »
• Are the dominant Dodgers underdogs? »
• Verlander regains dominance, destiny »
• Altuve, Astros show heart of champ »
• Insider: Projecting the World Series »
• Schedule » | Complete coverage »
On top of that, the Astros are looking for the first World Series championship in franchise history, while the Dodgers are trying to snap the record for most postseason appearances in a row without a title (this is their 11th postseason trip since their last victory over the A's to take the title in 1988). On top of that, you get Clayton Kershaw and Justin Verlander and Jose Altuve and Corey Seager and Carlos Correa and Cody Bellinger and George Springer and Kenley Jansen 's cutter and Lance McCullers ' curveball and the wondrous beards of Dallas Keuchel and Justin Turner.
The most important thing of the day: It's going to be hot. The forecasted game-time temperature of 96 degrees would be the hottest temperature for a World Series game since 1984, the first year Baseball-Reference.com includes temperature data. Game 1 in Arizona in 2001 had a game-time temperature of 94 degrees, and while the Diamondbacks normally close the roof in such weather, it was open that night under decree of Major League Baseball. Per historian John Thorn, that's the only World Series game since 1975 played at a temperature hotter than 81 degrees.
The hottest playoff game since 1984 also was at Dodger Stadium, in Game 1 of the 2014 NLDS against the Cardinals with a 96-degree game-time temp. Yes, Kershaw started the game, and you might remember that was when he took a 6-2 lead into the seventh inning only to melt down as the Cardinals scored eight runs in the inning.
Kershaw said on Monday the heat isn't a big deal: "I don't think it's going to change anything. I think by 5:00, the sun will be down. They're from Houston, I'm from Texas; it's going to be hot for everybody. We're all used to it."
Dallas Keuchel (14-5,2.90) vs. Clayton Kershaw (18-4,2.31), 8:09 p.m. ET (Fox)
The stakes: Besides two franchises that have waited forever and 29 years for a title, how about two of the greatest pitchers of this generation trying to cement their legacies with some clutch World Series performances. Verlander came away empty in two appearances with the Tigers, while Kershaw makes his World Series debut. In his three postseason starts, Kershaw has gone 6⅓,5 and 6 innings, with a 3.68 ERA. He has held batters to a.194 average, but six of the 12 hits he has allowed have been home runs. Indeed, all seven of his runs have come on home runs. Going back to the regular season, he has now given up at least one home run in eight consecutive starts. So while Verlander enters pitching some of the best baseball of his career -- he has a 1.23 ERA in 58⅔ innings with the Astros -- Kershaw might not be at his physical peak and has to cut down on the gopher balls.
If the Dodgers win: Remember that the Dodgers benefited against both the Diamondbacks and the Cubs from some scrambled rotations. Arizona had to use Zack Greinke and Robbie Ray in the wild-card game, while the Cubs churned through all their top pitchers in the final two games of their NLDS. There will be no such break in this series, as the Astros will start ace No. 1A in Keuchel in the opener on five days' rest. The Dodgers have scored 25 runs in Kershaw's three starts. They'd love to give him that run support again and avoid going up against Verlander needing a win just to avoid losing both games at home.
If the Astros win: They say the road team needs to get a split of those first two games, and the Astros would have to be feeling good if they can win Game 1 as they turn to Verlander for Game 2.
One key stat to know: This is probably just a statistical quirk, but let's throw it out there: Since 2006, the team to clinch its pennant first has gone on to win the World Series just once -- the 2008 Phillies. The Dodgers clinched on Thursday, the Astros on Saturday. Verlander said Monday that it's not so crazy. "I've been to two World Series where we swept the championship round and the team we were playing went six or seven games, and I felt like we lost a step with the downtime. It's such a unique sport where you go all season long with not having that many off days at all, and then all of a sudden you find yourself with a week off, it can be different."
The matchup that matters most: Keuchel versus the patience of the Dodgers' hitters. Keuchel lives on the edges -- at the bottom of the strike zone and the corners. The Dodgers thrive by not swinging at pitches out of the strike zone, as they had the lowest chase rate of any team in the regular season, and some of their regulars -- mostly notably Yasiel Puig and Chris Taylor -- have been even more patient in the postseason (Puig has swung at just two first pitches in 35 plate appearances).
Here's what we mean with Keuchel: Among the 134 pitchers with at least 100 innings, Keuchel ranked 133rd in percentage of pitches in the strike zone, at 42.9 percent. He wants you to pound that sinker into the ground or chase the slider or changeup. He doesn't have the raw stuff, however, to induce a super-high chase rate; his rate of 30.2 percent ranked 30th.
The Dodgers would love to run up Keuchel's pitch count in the hot weather and get to a Houston bullpen that manager A. J. Hinch has lost some confidence in. It will be interesting to see if McCullers is available in the pen, although Hinch said on Monday that it's "very likely" McCullers starts Game 3 or 4.
The prediction: Kershaw gives up a home run -- but it's just a solo shot to Carlos Correa, and he pitches 5⅔ solid innings. Kenta Maeda (who has thrown five perfect relief innings in the postseason), Brandon Morrow and Kenley Jansen shut it down from there. Dodgers win 4-1.

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1.9

Commander of 1st flight of space shuttle Challenger dies (10.99/17)

Paul Weitz, a retired NASA astronaut who commanded the first flight of the space shuttle Challenger and also piloted the Skylab in the early 1970s, has died. He was 85.
Weitz died at his retirement home in Flagstaff, Arizona, on Monday, said Laura Cutchens of the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation. No cause of death was given.
A NASA biography says Weitz was among the class of 19 astronauts who were chosen in April 1966. He served as command module pilot on the first crew of the orbiting space laboratory known as Skylab during a 28-day mission in 1973.
Weitz also commanded the first launch of the shuttle Challenger in April 1983. The five-day mission took off from the Kennedy space Center in Florida and landed at Edwards Air Force Base in California. The Challenger was destroyed and seven crew members killed during its 10th launch on January 28,1986.
In all, he logged 793 hours in space and retired as deputy director of the Johnson Space Center in May 1994.
Weitz was born in Erie, Pennsylvania, on July 25,1932, and graduated from Pennsylvania State University with a degree in aeronautical engineering in 1954, according to NASA. He then joined the Navy, serving on a destroyer before being chosen for flight training and earning his wings as a Naval Aviator in September 1956. He served in various naval squadrons, including service in Vietnam, before joining the Astronaut Corps.
According to the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation, Weitz returned to the Navy after his mission on Skylab mission and retired as a captain in July 1976 after serving 22 years. He then came out of retirement to re-join NASA.
"Paul Weitz's name will always be synonymous with the space shuttle Challenger. But he also will be remembered for defying the laws of gravity - and age," said Curtis Brown, board chairman of the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation and an astronaut and veteran of six space flights. "Before it became commonplace to come out of retirement, Paul was a pioneer. He proved 51 was just a number."
The foundation is supported by astronauts from the Mercury, Gemini, Apollo, Skylab, Space Shuttle and Space Station programs and annually provides scholarships for 45 students.

Paul Weitz, commander of 1st flight of space shuttle Challenger, dead at 85
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Commander of 1st flight of space shuttle Challenger dies
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Paul Weitz, commander of space shuttle Challenger's first flight, dies at 85
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Commander of 1st flight of space shuttle Challenger dies
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Commander of 1st flight of space shuttle Challenger dies
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0.5

In our opinion: Raqqa's capture underscores the need for vigilance in the Middle East (10.99/17)

Now is not a time to become complacent, nor is it a time to believe terrorists have once and for all been conquered.
The capture of Raqqa, capital of forces of the Islamic State group for more than four years, is a major victory for U. S.-led forces in the region, but it’s not a time to declare victory over terrorism.
As CNN reported, the Islamic State group now controls only small towns scattered through the desert. The “caliphate,” or rule by a religious leader, has ended in all major cities. The group now can only attempt to unite its followers online.
But terrorists are capable of causing much destruction without the control of important territory. The Islamic State group, in particular, has been successful in inspiring lone-wolf crimes in the United States and elsewhere without its direct involvement.
There is little reason for local police departments in Utah or elsewhere to stop being on guard against such things, nor for U. S. military forces to believe their work is done.
And the Islamic State group, or factions of its former followers, easily could attempt to rebrand themselves and again take advantage of seething anti-West anger in the region.
The Islamic State group, itself, grew out of AQI, or “al-Qaida in Iraq,” which began in 2004 when U. S. forces were struggling to establish an independent government in Iraq. In 2013, it merged with an affiliate of al-Qaida forces in Iraq.
It was during President Barack Obama’s second term that the Islamic State group began acquiring territory in Syria, establishing its own system of taxation and using extortion and oil exports to fund its operations. Its unique brand of cruelty led to a rift with al-Qaida, which cut ties with the group in 2014, and soon it began inspiring terrorist attacks around the world, calling for followers to wage all-out war on the West.
The Islamic State group gained popularity initially by exploiting ethnic divisions through guerrilla tactics. There is little reason to believe it or other nascent groups now won’t use similar tactics to gain power and control.
Raqqa’s current situation offers examples of how this might happen. The city’s Arab population, many who were forced to flee, are mostly Sunni. They remain heavily persecuted by the Russian-backed Syrian regime, which controls territory not far from Raqqa. The Kurds who helped U. S. forces in the region are adamant about wanting their own homeland.
Add to this the many residents of Raqqa who stayed in place and who now are forced to live amid rubble, in many cases mourning the loss of loved ones and wondering whom to blame.
No one should claim that peace has come to Raqqa or the surrounding area. Much now depends upon coalition forces and their ability to establish a stable government that provides basic necessities and that rules through reasonable laws, not force. Much depends, too, on Russian-backed forces not trying to assert power over the city.
For all intents, the Islamic State group now has been discredited and defeated. The U. S. military and the Syrian Democratic Forces it supports deserve credit for that. But in the whack-a-mole game that is terrorism in a region dominated by despair, hatred and revenge, now is hardly the time to relax.

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0.2

Lazio club president vows to take on anti-Semitic fans over Anne Frank stickers (9.99/17)

The president of Lazio football club has promised a new anti-Semitism campaign after fans plastered Rome's stadium with stickers of Anne Frank wearing city rivals Roma's team shirt.
Claudio Lotito visited the capital's main synagogue to disassociate the club from the hardcore fans who plastered the stickers around the Stadio Olimpico during Sunday's Serie A game against Cagliari.
Mr Lotito said the club would intensify efforts to combat racism and anti-Semitism and announced Lazio would organise an annual trip to Auschwitz concentration camp with 200 young fans to "educate them not to forget".
The images of Anne Frank, the young diarist who died in the Holocaust, was the latest in a long line of racist and anti-Semitic incidents involving Lazio supporters, including a banner in the city derby nearly 20 years ago aimed at Roma supporters that read "Auschwitz Is Your Homeland; The Ovens Are Your Homes".
The head of the European Parliament also strongly denounced the fans who used Anne Frank's image, saying anti-Semitism has no place in Europe.
Antonio Tajani, himself Italian, told the European Parliament in Strasbourg that "using the image of Anne Frank as an insult against others is a very grave matter".
He said the EU must remain a place of religious tolerance where Europe's Jewish communities feel welcome, and anti-Semitism must be confined to the past.
"The Jewish communities are part of our European Union. I am proud to have fellow citizens belonging to the Jewish faith, and I think that anti-Semitism must remain only a horrible experience of our past, a horrible experience of the century that has ended," he said.
Former Italian premier Matteo Renzi said: "The anti-Semitic squalor that prompted some Lazio fans to make fun of even Anne Frank's memory is a shameful gesture.
"Obviously we're talking about a small minority but not shedding light on this news would be a mistake. Because when things like this happen it's important that children know and learn how to deal with a complete lack of dignity."
The northern end of the stadium where Lazio's "ultra" fans usually sit was closed on Sunday for the match with Cagliari, due to racist chanting during a match against Sassuolo earlier this month.
As a result, Lazio decided to open the southern end and let the ultras in where Roma's hardcore fans sit for their home matches in the stadium the sides share.
With a long stadium ban likely and police launching a criminal inquiry, Lazio's ultra group, the "Irriducibili" (diehards), expressed surprise at the widespread outrage.
"There are other cases that we feel should lead the newscasts and fill newspaper pages," the group said in a statement on Facebook.
AP

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0.3

UK Dismisses Fake ‘Russian Influence’ Concerns over Brexit (9.99/17)

Opposition lawmaker Ben Bradshaw last week urged the government to look into reports by advocacy group Open Democracy suggesting that the origin of some Brexit campaign funds was unclear.
Bradshaw said in parliament the issue should be investigated “given the widespread concern over foreign and particularly Russian interference in Western democracies”.
Read more from Reuters here .

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Islamic State funded five-month siege in Philippines, says military chief (9.99/17)

The Islamic State group sent at least £1.1 million to finance the siege of the Philippine city of Marawi, with assault leaders using the 2014 IS seizure of the Iraqi city of Mosul as a blueprint, the Philippine military chief has said.
General Eduardo Ano oversaw the military campaign that ended the five-month siege in Marawi this week.
The defeats of IS in Syria and Iraq, and now IS-aligned gunmen in Marawi, show a major vulnerability of the extremists. Their territorial occupations tend to crumble over time as they are cornered in urban settings by the relentless firepower of US-backed offensives,
The counter-terrorism victories have given governments confidence that IS - which shocked the world with its rise a few years ago - can be defeated, said Gen Ano, who added: "They underestimated the reaction of the different countries in the world, the alliances.
"With what happened in Mosul, the Philippines and Raqqa, the different countries are now confident that if ever an Isis siege would erupt ... they now have the recipe or the formula to fight it."
He said the Philippine military is ready to share its battle experiences in mosque-studded Marawi.
The siege, which was launched on May 23, left more than 1,100 combatants and civilians dead, including more than 900 militants, and displaced 400,000 residents, including the entire population of Marawi, a bastion of the Islamic faith in the predominantly Roman Catholic Philippines.
Military air strikes, artillery and heavy machine-gun fire turned the lakeside city's central business district and outlying communities into a smouldering wasteland of disfigured buildings and bullet-pocked mosques and houses.
It was one of the most devastating urban fights the country has witnessed since the Second World War, the military chief said.
Like in Mosul, the militants plotted to launch the Marawi siege on the first day of Ramadan, the holy Muslim month of fasting, but they were forced to attack prematurely after Philippine army troops raided the hideout of its leaders.
They also took hundreds of hostages as human shields and employed snipers to slow the advance of the military, Gen Ano said.
"Every day, they watched videos of Isis in Mosul," he Ano said of the Marawi siege leaders, including Isnilon Hapilon, a major Asian terror suspect who was killed by Filipino troops last week.
"That was their blueprint, that was their pattern," he said, adding that troops recovered IS video discs of the Mosul violence in captured militant positions in Marawi.
It took about three weeks for thousands of government forces, who have been battling insurgents in jungle settings, to adapt to the urban fighting, Gen Ano said.
The massive offensive led to the killings of at least 10 key terror suspects from different extremist groups that have pledged allegiance to IS, including Hapilon, four siblings belonging to the local Maute clan, and Indonesian and Malaysian militants, he said.
It would have taken five to 10 years for troops to hunt down and find all those militant leaders in the jungles of the south, where Gen Ano said the extremists had mastery of the terrain and support from local clans.
AP

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 9 /544 
1.2

Austrian conservative chief Kurz seeks coalition with right-wing Freedom Party (9.95/17)

Austrian conservative leader Sebastian Kurz has said he will try to form a coalition government with the right-wing Freedom Party after winning this month's election.
Mr Kurz's People's Party and the Freedom Party campaigned for tougher immigration controls, quick deportations of asylum-seekers whose requests are denied and a crackdown on radical Islam.
Austria's president tasked Mr Kurz on Friday with forming a government.
Mr Kurz said that after meetings with all the other parties in parliament he decided to invite the Freedom Party to enter talks on a coalition - a decision that was widely expected.
He told reporters that his prospective partner, Freedom Party leader Heinz-Christian Strache, had shown "a will to bring about change in Austria together".
Mr Kurz, 31, is foreign minister in the outgoing government under Chancellor Christian Kern, a centre-left Social Democrat, and is on track to become Europe's youngest leader.
He said he will try to form a government by Christmas. His party finished first in the October 15 election, but no party was close to a parliamentary majority on its own.
He said a "basic condition" for the new administration is "a clear pro-European direction".
"Austria can only be strong if we are not just members of the European Union, but also actively help to strengthen the European Union," he said.
Austria will hold the EU's rotating presidency in the second half of next year.

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 10 /544 
1.4

Some Kenmore appliances will still be made by Whirlpool (8.99/17)

Although Sears stores will no longer sell Whirlpool appliances, the two companies have not completely severed ties.
According to Sears, Whirlpool will continue to manufacture appliances for Sears’ own Kenmore brand. That means customers can still buy a Whirlpool-made dishwasher, fridge, or washing machine at Sears—except it will wear a Kenmore badge.
The longstanding relationship between Whirlpool and Kenmore “is not affected,” wrote Sears spokesman Howard Riefs in response to an e-mailed inquiry from Reviewed.com.
Related
Appliances sold under the Kenmore brand are made by a variety of different manufacturers including LG, Frigidaire, and Whirlpool. These relationships are usually subject to the terms of multi-year contracts.
Currently, Whirlpool makes the majority of Kenmore’s side-by-side refrigerators, top-loading washing machines and matching dryers, and dishwashers.
Historically, Kenmore appliances were exclusively sold at Sears. Today, Kenmore is the first major appliance brand to officially be sold on Amazon.

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 11 /544 
1.0

Anger as Portuguese court quotes Bible as man gets suspended sentence for assaulting ex with spiked bat (8.82/17)

Women's rights groups in Portugal have reacted angrily to a court decision that quoted the Bible in justifying a suspended sentence for a man convicted of assaulting his ex-wife with a spiked bat because of alleged adultery.
The man was given a 15-month suspended sentence and a fine of 1,750 euros for using a bat spiked with nails to assault the woman in the street in 2015, leaving her covered in cuts and bruises.
The prosecutor had argued the sentence was too lenient and asked an appeal court for prison time of three years and six months, but judges rejected his request.
In a written ruling, the judges expressed "some understanding" for the attacker, saying a woman's adultery is "a very serious offence against a man's honour and dignity".
They noted the Bible says an adulterous woman should be punished by death and also cited a 1886 Portuguese law that gave only symbolic sentences to men who killed their wives for suspected adultery.
The judges at the appeal court in Porto, Portugal's second-largest city, wrote that they were making reference to the Bible and an old law "to stress that a woman's adultery amounts to conduct which society has always condemned and condemned very strongly".
The written ruling became public this week and sparked outrage on Portuguese social media, with rights groups speaking out.
The Women's Alternative and Response Union described the ruling as "inadmissible" because it legitimised violence against women and blamed the victim.
It said the separation of powers in Portugal means there is no place for the Bible in the courts.
The group plans to stage street protests on Friday.
Portugal's Superior Magistrates Council, an oversight body, said it had taken note of the "vivid criticism from broad sections of public opinion", but added courts are independent and it could not intervene, even when faced with "archaic, inappropriate or unfortunate" comments by judges.
The woman could appeal to Portugal's higher courts.

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 12 /544 
0.1

Trump's refugee ban ends, new screening rules coming (8.52/17)

President Donald Trump's four-month worldwide ban on refugees ended Tuesday, officials said, as his administration prepared to unveil tougher new screening procedures.
Under an executive order Trump signed earlier this year, the United States had temporary halted admissions for refugees from all countries, with some exceptions. The end-date written into the order came and went Tuesday with no new order from Trump to extend it.
Refugees seeking entry to the U. S. will face what officials described as more stringent and thorough examination of their backgrounds, in line with Trump's "extreme vetting" policy for immigrants. The Homeland Security Department, the State Department and other U. S. agencies have been reviewing the screening process during the temporary ban.
The new screening procedures were to be announced shortly, said a State Department official, who wasn't authorized to comment by name and requested anonymity.
Yet even with the ban lifted, refugee admissions are expected to be far lower than in recent years. Last month, Trump capped refugee admissions at 45,000 for the fiscal year that started Oct. 1, a cut of more than half from the 110,000 limit put in place the year earlier by President Barack Obama. And the actual number admitted this year could be far lower than Trump's 45,000 cap, which sets a maximum but not a minimum.
The refugee restrictions were in addition to Trump's broader "travel ban" on people from several countries. Courts have repeatedly blocked that policy, but largely left the temporary refugee policy in place.
Trump has made limiting immigration the centerpiece of his policy agenda. In addition to the travel ban, which initially targeted a handful of Muslim-majority nations, the president rescinded an Obama-era executive action protecting young immigrants from deportation and vowed to build a wall along the southern border with Mexico.

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 13 /544 
1.0

FBI: Florida man sympathized with IS, wanted to bomb mall (7.70/17)

A Florida man who described himself as a sympathizer of the Islamic State extremist group faces terrorism-related charges stemming from a purported plot to bomb a Miami-area shopping mall, according to court documents filed Monday.
Vicente Adolfo Solano, 53, appeared at a brief hearing Monday afternoon on a charge of attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction at the Dolphin Mall west of Miami. Solano was arrested Friday after accepting a fake bomb provided by the FBI outside the mall, according to an FBI affidavit.
U. S. Magistrate Judge Chris McAliley said she will appoint a public defender to represent Solano, who is being held without bail. A bond hearing is set Thursday and Assistant U. S. Attorney Karen Gilbert said the government wants him kept behind bars until trial as a risk of flight and danger to the community.
Solano told the judge he works as a painter earning $13 an hour. No relatives appeared at the hearing. Court records show Solano has had only minor brushes with the law, most recently in 2014 and 2015 for driving with a suspended license. That document noted he had no prior felony record.
The FBI began investigating Solano in late September after a confidential informant tipped agents off about his plans, the affidavit said. Most of the subsequent conversations were recorded. Investigators also found three pro-Islamic State videos that Solano allegedly sent to the confidential informant.
"I am here because I like the way (Islamic State) confronts the United States and the countries of the coalition," Solano allegedly said in one video, wearing a black mask and shirt and standing in front of black flag. "The United States is the most terrorist country of all. I am going to plant a bomb... that's how it's going to be done."
In a second video, Solano said he is a "sympathizer of the Islamic group, ISIS" using another acronym for the Islamic State.
It's not clear from the affidavit whether Solano had any links to any foreign terrorist groups. At one point, he told the confidential informant he had not discussed his plot with anyone else.
His plans started to come together in October when the confidential informant introduced Solano to an undercover FBI employee who could supposedly help build a bomb. Solano provided a sketch of the food court at the mall, which he thought would be most crowded, according to the FBI.
"It's easy because look ... I go in, I sit down, I leave it and goodbye. I leave it. I won't have a problem with that," Solano said in one conversation recorded by the FBI.
After buying screws and other materials to build the bomb, Solano met with the two undercover FBI men at a hotel to put it together. Then the three of them drove over to the mall, where "Solano took steps that he believed would arm the device and the timer to count down" on the fake bomb, the affidavit said.
____
Follow Curt Anderson on Twitter: http://twitter.com/Miamicurt
Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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 14 /544 
1.5

Feds Seek 8 Years In Prison For Cop Convicted Of Shooting Into Car Full Of Teens (7.43/17)

CHICAGO (CBS) — Federal prosecutors Monday asked for an eight-year prison sentence for a veteran Chicago Police officer convicted earlier this year of using unreasonable force when he wounded two teenagers in an on-duty shooting.
Officer Marco Proano fired 16 shots in nine seconds at a stolen Toyota Avalon full of teenagers at 95th and LaSalle in December 2013. The shooting was caught on camera, and jurors took less than four hours to find him guilty in August of two civil rights violations.
Now, the feds have asked for a hefty prison sentence while tension remains high between Chicago Police and the communities they serve. In a memo filed Monday, Assistant U. S. Attorney Georgia Alexakis noted that Proano “could have killed each and every one of those passengers.”
“By sheer chance, his bullets struck only two of the passengers,” Alexakis wrote, “and through another stroke of luck for (Proano), those passengers survived.”
Meanwhile, Proano has taken no responsibility and has shown no remorse for what happened, the prosecutor wrote. Proano has even lamented to court officials “that he felt a sense of ‘betrayal’ because he served the community for many years, and is now ‘left out in the cold.’”
Responding to the feds’ recommendation, Proano’s attorney Dan Herbert asked he be given three years in prison and a $3,000 fine — the minimum sentence. Herbert also asked that his surrender date be set in January 2018 “so he can spend the holidays with his wife, three children, and the rest of his family.”
Herbert said prosecutors were trying to “ride the wave of antipolice sentiment” in asking for an eight-year sentence and that Proano was “somewhat of a scapegoat in this case.”
Proano’s sentencing hearing is set for Nov. 20.
CPD has sought to fire Proano, but he remains on the force for now, Alexakis noted.
When Proano arrived at 95th and LaSalle on Dec. 22,2013, the driver of a car full of teens had fled. A BB gun later fell out of the car, and Proano watched as the car suddenly began to reverse with one teen hanging out of a window. Another teen had lunged forward from the back seat, thrown the car into reverse and pushed the gas pedal with his hands. No one was in the vehicle’s path.
Proano can be seen in dashcam video stepping forward, holding his gun sideways. Seconds later, he steps backward as the car reverses into view. Proano then lifts his gun again with both hands, upright, and a flash can be seen as he appears to open fire.
Proano has said he pulled the trigger to protect the teen hanging out the window.
(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2017. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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 15 /544 
1.1

Trump's $25,000 check to Gold Star family dated same day as article (7.41/17)

President Trump did follow through on his promise to send a personal check for $25,000 to a Gold Star family. However, it was dated on the same day as a Washington Post report that said the family was still waiting. Veuer's Nick Cardona (@nickcardona93) has that story.

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 16 /544 
0.5

World Series opener could be hottest on record as heat wave continues to scorch Southern California (6.42/17)

Santa Ana winds continued to blow across the Southland on Tuesday, bringing another day of record-breaking temperatures, red-flag warnings and what could be the warmest World Series game on record, weather officials said.
At 5 a.m., some cities in Southern California had already topped 90 degrees, said Rich Thompson, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service. Those temperatures — 90 in Van Nuys, 91 in Burbank — were a hint of what was to come, he added.
“It’s been a very, very warm morning and that’s going to lead into a very, very hot day,” Thompson said.
That could mean record-breaking heat for the World Series, which opens at 5:09 p.m. when the Dodgers face the Astros at Dodger Stadium. Before today, the hottest World Series game on record was played in Phoenix in 2001, Thompson said, when the Arizona Diamondbacks took on the New York Yankees in 94-degree weather.
Tonight’s forecast? 97 degrees.
Downtown L.A., Burbank and Long Beach were each expected to top out at 104 degrees, Thompson said. Pasadena could hit 106 degrees.
Red-flag warnings were issued for much of Los Angeles and Ventura counties, with forecasters and firefighters keeping a wary eye on the hot temperatures, low humidity and strong winds.
“Extreme fire behavior is likely if any fire ignition begins… threatening life and property,” read an alert from the National Weather Service. “The public should be very, very careful.”
The winds should start to die off Wednesday, Thompson said, bringing a slight dip in temperatures. The cooldown should continue the rest of the week, which should end with temperatures in the upper 80s or 90s.
“Definitely still warmer for this time of year, but it’ll be an improvement over today,” Thompson said.
kate.mather@latimes.com
@katemather

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 17 /544 
1.4

GAO: Climate change already costing US billions in losses (6.41/17)

A non-partisan federal watchdog says climate change is already costing U. S. taxpayers billions of dollars each year, with those costs expected to rise as devastating storms, floods, wildfires and droughts become more frequent in the coming decades.
A Government Accountability Office report released Monday said the federal government has spent more than $350 billion over the last decade on disaster assistance programs and losses from flood and crop insurance. That tally does not include the massive toll from this year's wildfires and three major hurricanes, expected to be among the most costly in the nation's history.
The report predicts these costs will only grow in the future, potentially reaching a budget busting $35 billion a year by 2050. The report says the federal government doesn't effectively plan for these recurring costs, classifying the financial exposure from climate-related costs as "high risk."
"The federal government has not undertaken strategic government-wide planning to manage climate risks by using information on the potential economic effects of climate change to identify significant risks and craft appropriate federal responses," the study said. "By using such information, the federal government could take the initial step in establishing government-wide priorities to manage such risks."
GAO undertook the study following a request from Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine and Sen. Maria Cantwell of Washington, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.
"This nonpartisan GAO report Senator Cantwell and I requested contains astonishing numbers about the consequences of climate change for our economy and for the federal budget in particular," said Collins. "In Maine, our economy is inextricably linked to the environment. We are experiencing a real change in the sea life, which has serious implications for the livelihoods of many people across our state, including those who work in our iconic lobster industry."
The report's authors reviewed 30 government and academic studies examining the national and regional impacts of climate change. They also interviewed 28 experts familiar with the strengths and limitations of the studies, which rely on future projections of climate impacts to estimate likely costs.
The report says the fiscal impacts of climate change are likely to vary widely by region. The Southeast is at increased risk because of coastal property that could be swamped by storm surge and sea level rise. The Northeast is also under threat from storm surge and sea level rise, though not as much as the Southeast.
The Midwest and Great Plains are susceptible to decreased crop yields, the report said. The West is expected to see increased drought, wildfires and deadly heatwaves.
Advance copies were provided to the White House and the Environmental Protection Agency, which provided no official comments for inclusion in the GAO report.
Requests for comment from The Associated Press also received no response on Monday.
President Donald Trump has called climate change a hoax, announcing his intent to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate accords and revoke Obama-era initiatives to curb greenhouse gas emissions. Trump has also appointed officials such as EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, Energy Secretary Rick Perry and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, all of whom question the scientific consensus that carbon released into the atmosphere from burning fossil fuels is the primary driver of global warming.
Earlier this month Trump nominated Kathleen Hartnett White of Texas to serve as his top environmental adviser at the White House. She has credited the fossil fuel industry with "vastly improved living conditions across the world" and likened the work of mainstream climate scientists to "the dogmatic claims of ideologues and clerics."
White, who works at a conservative think tank that has received funding from fossil-fuel companies, holds academic degrees in East Asian studies and comparative literature.
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 18 /544 
0.8

The Latest: Saudi crown prince defends his social reforms (6.23/17)

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) - The Latest on a major investment conference being held in Saudi Arabia (all times local):
5 p.m.
Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has defended his bold reform plans, including the kingdom's decision to lift the ban on women driving, saying that "we were not like this in the past."
The prince says that "we want to go back to what we were: moderate Islam," speaking during a rare public appearance at a major investment conference in Saudi Arabia on Tuesday.
The heir to the throne says the kingdom will work to defeat extremist ideas and ensure that young Saudis live in harmony with the rest of the world.
He says: "We will eradicate the remnants of extremism very soon... We represent the moderate teachings and principles of Islam."
He addressed a panel that included business titans Stephen Schwarzman of U. S. private equity firm Blackstone and Masayoshi Son of Japan's technology conglomerate SoftBank.
The panelists later lavished praise on the 32-year-old prince for his "passion", "vision" and "enthusiasm" but he interjected, saying he is only "one of 20 million people. I am nothing without them."
___
4:15 p.m.
Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has announced plans for a new $500 billion city to be built in the country's northwest that will be run entirely on alternative energy and be an innovation hub for the future.
The project, dubbed Neom, will be built on untouched land along the country's Red Sea coastline near Egypt and Jordan. The ambitious project could lead the way in the use of drones, driverless cars and robotics.
The kingdom's sovereign wealth fund, which the crown prince chairs, the Saudi government and global technology firms will help build the city.
Prince Mohammed announced the project Tuesday at a major investment conference in Riyadh aimed at shining a spotlight on the kingdom's efforts to diversify its revenue streams away from dependence on oil exports.
___
10:30 a.m.
Saudi Arabia has opened a major investment conference aimed at shining a spotlight on the country's efforts to diversify its revenue streams and overhaul its economy and society.
At the heart of these reforms are plans to build the world's largest sovereign wealth fund. The kingdom hopes to do this by listing less than 5 percent of state-owned oil firm Aramco and transferring control of those funds to its Public Investment Fund, or PIF as its known. The fund grabbed headlines with a $3.5 billion investment in ride-hailing service Uber last year.
The conference, dubbed the Future Investment Initiative, starts Tuesday and runs for three days. It's being attended by giants in the business world, corporate managers from some of the world's largest firms and top Saudi officials.
Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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 19 /544 
17.3

Man sentenced to 55 years in triple slaying in Indiana (5.99/17)

A 25-year-old man has been sentenced to 55 years in prison after reaching a plea deal in the stabbing deaths of three people in northwestern Indiana.
Sebastian Wedding of Lake County apologized Monday, saying he's "sorry for everything that happened," before learning his punishment in Newton County Superior Court. The Post-Tribune reports he agreed to plead guilty to two counts of murder.
In exchange, he avoids a possible sentence of life without parole.
Wedding's co-defendant, 25-year-old Derrick Cardosi of Sumava Resorts, is scheduled for trial in January on charges including murder.
The bodies of 20-year-old Justin L. Babbs, 23-year-old Richard Thomas and 39-year-old Kimberly Spears were found stabbed multiple times Aug. 28 in a home in Sumava Resorts, an unincorporated community about 35 miles (55 kilometers) south of Gary.
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7.4

Pressure mounts on Trump over troops killed in Niger (5.44/17)

WASHINGTON -- Lawmakers on Capitol Hill were still searching for answers Tuesday morning about the deaths of four American soldiers in Niger.
Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford said Monday that U. S. troops waited an hour after the ambush began to call for help. He said it took an additional 60 minutes for French air power to arrive on the scene, but by then it was too late for the four Americans.
CBS News' Major Garrett reports that from President Donald Trump's earliest days in office, he has urged field commanders to carry out more counter-terrorism operations, all the while promising minimum second-guessing from Washington.
But with Sen. John McCain and others calling for more information -- and hinting at investigations -- that approach may be meeting its deadliest, and most politically hazardous test in Niger, reports Garrett.
President Trump ignored questions on Monday about the mission in Niger, but Dunford, his top military adviser, denied the Pentagon was withholding information.
"I think we do owe the families and the American people transparency in incidents like this, and we intend to deliver just that," Dunford said, calling the incident "complex."
He did release some basic details of the attack, saying that on October 3, a dozen U. S. soldiers joined more than two dozen Nigerien fighters on a mission north of Niger's capital, Niamey. A day later, the group came under attack from approximately 50 militants, described by Dunford as well-trained and well-equipped, and associated with or inspired by ISIS.
Gunfire raged for an hour before the Americans radioed for help. With minutes, a surveillance drone was overhead, but it was another hour before French air cover arrived.
Staff Sergeants Bryan Black, Jeremiah Johnson and Dustin Wright were killed in action and evacuated that evening, but the body of La David Johnson wasn't recovered until two days later.
Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain said Americans want to know what went wrong, and what the mission was about.
"I have a question about the whole operation," McCain said Monday. "Come on. I have a question, why four men died."
Along with those answers, Dunford vowed to find out why Johnson was separated from his unit.
Mired in a dispute with the president over his condolence call to her, Johnson's widow Myesha said Monday that she hasn't been allowed to see his body. And she, too, wants to know "how he got killed, where he got killed, or anything."
Dunford said Pentagon policy allows the family to see the remains of a fallen loved one. He said he did not know if Johnson's widow was denied that right, but would find out.
The White House is deferring to the Pentagon on the investigation, though pressure is building for the commander-in-chief to demand, or provide, more answers.

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South Korean Olympic organizers downplay concern over NKorea (5.42/17)

By NICHOLAS PAPHITIS Associated Press
ANCIENT OLYMPIA, Greece (AP) - South Korea's Olympic organizers played down concern over ongoing tensions with North Korea on Monday and also said that work has been completed on all venues for the 2018 Pyeongchang Games.
Lee Hee-beom, president of the Pyeongchang organizing committee, said the International Olympic Committee has made it very clear that the Feb. 9-25 games will go ahead as scheduled.
"There is no Plan B," Lee said, speaking at the birthplace of the ancient Olympics shortly after the last rehearsal for Tuesday's official flame-lighting ceremony.
"We know that the world is watching the current geopolitical situation on the Korean peninsula," he said. "We continue to work very closely with all the relevant authorities and stakeholders to ensure we can deliver a safe and secure games for everyone involved."
Lee said that all competition and non-competition venues are complete. He said infrastructure works, including high-speed rail and highways, are already done and will be fully operational by December.
Lee added that his main concern for the games is the weather, and told The Associated Press that artificial snow will be provided if needed.
In the rehearsal among the ruined temples and sports facilities of Ancient Olympia in southern Greece, a Greek actress playing the part of an ancient priestess offered a token prayer to the old pagan gods of the site.
It was the traditional appeal for fire from heaven to light the Olympic flame, using a bowl-shaped mirror to focus the sun's rays on her torch.
For a few fraught minutes, it looked as if Apollo and Zeus would not oblige. The priestess shifted position, walked around the mirror and tried again. On the third attempt, the sun slipped out from behind clouds for long enough to light the torch, which will serve as a back-up if Tuesday's ceremony is overcast, as forecast.
Lee was delighted, saying that Pyeongchang also won the games on its third bid, and said he isn't really concerned whether it rains Tuesday.
"Lighting the torch is important, the date is not so much important," he said.
Tuesday's first torchbearer will be Greek skier Apostolos Aggelis. He will then pass the torch to former Manchester United soccer player Park Ji-sung, a South Korean. The flame will be carried around Greece before reaching South Korea on Nov. 1.
The South Korean leg of the relay will involve 7,500 torch-bearers, who will cover a total 2,018 kilometers.
Lee said that the torch relay and accompanying events should help boost ticket sales. He said that about 30 percent of tickets have been sold domestically, and international sales are at about 50 percent of the target.
"We will be able to achieve full stadia," Lee said. "Koreans are late decision-makers."
Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Trump comments concern judge, loom over Bergdahl sentencing (5.25/17)

President Donald Trump's criticism of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl has become a factor in the soldier's sentencing as a military judge weighs the president's impact on public perception of military justice.
The judge deciding Bergdahl's punishment for walking off his post in Afghanistan in 2009 heard defense arguments Monday that Trump recently reaffirmed his scathing criticism and is preventing a fair sentencing hearing. Bergdahl faces a maximum sentence of life in prison after pleading guilty last week to desertion and misbehavior before the enemy.
The judge, Army Col. Jeffery R. Nance, allowed the attorneys to question him about whether he was swayed by Trump's comments, and responded that he would be fair.
"I don't have any doubt whatsoever that I can be fair and impartial in the sentencing in this matter," Nance said.
But he had stern words for prosecutors about what effect Trump's comments would have on public perception of the case. He indicated he would issue a ruling later on the defense request to dismiss the case because of Trump.
While campaigning, Trump repeatedly called Bergdahl a "traitor" who deserved harsh punishment such as being shot. Nance previously ruled those comments were "disturbing" but didn't amount to unlawful command influence and noted the statements were made before Trump became commander in chief.
But last week Trump addressed his past comments when asked about them at a news conference. He replied that he couldn't say anything more about the case, "but I think people have heard my comments in the past." That, the defense said, shows he harbors the same views now that he commands the military.
Prosecutors argued Trump's comments didn't reaffirm his campaign-trail criticism and were narrowly focused on answering a reporter.
But Nance said he was having a "hard time" with prosecutors' interpretation, noting public confidence in military courts was something he had to consider.
Nance said his interpretation was that Trump was essentially saying: "I shouldn't comment on that, but I think everyone knows what I think on Bowe Bergdahl."
Former Army lawyer Eric Carpenter said the judge has to worry not only about whether Trump has directly influenced the case, but also what the public thinks under a military justice concept called apparent unlawful command influence. Nance's remarks Monday should resolve the question of whether Trump directly swayed the court, but the judge could still make concessions to the defense to address these concerns, Carpenter said.
"It gives you a clue that he's concerned about public appearance, and he can grant pretty significant remedies just to preserve the public's faith in the system," said Carpenter, who teaches law at Florida International University.
Carpenter doubts the judge would dismiss the case outright, but said Nance could limit Bergdahl's punishment because of Trump.
The White House issued a statement Friday that any military justice case must be "resolved on its own facts." White House representatives didn't respond to an email seeking comment Monday.
Bergahl's sentencing, set to begin Monday, has been delayed until Wednesday because one of the defense attorneys wasn't available until then, the judge said.
Bergdahl, 31, pleaded guilty last week. Prosecutors made no deal to cap his punishment, so the judge has wide leeway to decide his sentence. Several more days of testimony are expected.
Nance is expected to weigh factors including Bergdahl's willingness to admit guilt, his five years of captivity by Taliban allies, and serious wounds suffered by soldiers and a Navy SEAL who searched for him.
Bergdahl, from Hailey, Idaho, was captured after walking off his remote post in 2009. He has said he was caged, kept in darkness and beaten, and tried to escape more than a dozen times before President Barack Obama brought Bergdahl home in 2014 in a swap for five Taliban prisoners at Guantanamo Bay.

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Mark Wahlberg hopes God forgives him for ‘Boogie Nights’ (5.25/17)

Mark Wahlberg says he hopes God will forgive him for his turn as a porn star in the 1997 film “Boogie Nights.”
Wahlberg told the Chicago Tribune ahead of an event with Chicago Cardinal Blase Cupich on Friday that he hopes “that God is a movie fan and also forgiving” because he says he’s made “some poor choices” in the past. Wahlberg listed “Boogie Nights” when asked if he’s prayed for forgiveness for any of his movies.
“Boogie Nights” follows the career of Wahlberg’s character Dirk Diggler through the porn industry in the 1970s and 1980s.
Wahlberg has talked frequently about his Catholic faith and hosted an event honoring Pope Francis during his U. S. visit in 2015. Wahlberg jokingly asked the pope’s forgiveness for the movie “Ted” at that event.

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0.0

Body of unidentified young boy found on Texas beach (5.21/17)

GALVESTON, Texas– The Galveston Police Department has confirmed that the body of a young boy was found washed ashore Friday, according to KIAH.
A person walking along the sand around 5:30 p.m. noticed something in the surf near the 700 block of Seawall Blvd and discovered the body, police said. They immediately called 911.
The body appears to be of a young boy ranging from age 3 to 5 years old. The child is described as approximately 3 feet tall with a slender build, black hair and brown eyes.
"This is an extremely unusual case for Galveston Island, and the circumstances surrounding this death grow more and more suspicious as time goes on," Galveston police wrote on Facebook. "We are still waiting on the official Medical Examiner’s report from the autopsy; however, we will continue to treat this death as a homicide until we can unequivocally prove otherwise."
The young boy’s sketch photo is now available on the City of Galveston website and Galveston Police Department ’s social media sites.
Investigators have not received any missing person reports for a toddler and have reached out to other agencies.
Filed in: News
Topics: body, Texas beach

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Russian presidential hopeful Sobchak demands release of political prisoners (5.19/17)

A Russian TV host who wants to become a presidential candidate has opened her first news conference by demanding the release of all political prisoners.
Ksenia Sobchak announced her presidential bid last week, arguing that Russia has grown tired of its political elite.
Critics said her run would further fragment the opposition while lending the March election a veneer of legitimacy.
Ms Sobchak is the 35-year-old daughter of President Vladimir Putin's mentor, former St Petersburg mayor Anatoly Sobchak. Her mother is a legislator at the Federation Council, the upper chamber of the Russian parliament.
She first became known as a fashionable socialite before launching a successful TV career.
She has joined anti-Kremlin protests and has been often critical of the government, but she has largely avoided criticising Mr Putin.
He has not yet said whether he will seek re-election but he is widely expected to run.
Speaking in a packed room, Ms Sobchak told reporters that at least 30% of Russians remain without representation and voting for her should change that.
She has named Igor Malashenko, one of the pioneers of post-Soviet television and the man behind the 1996 re-election of Boris Yeltsin, as her campaign chief.
Ms Sobchak would not say how much she expects the campaign to cost, saying only that she planned to receive funding from anonymous businessmen.

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Minnesota city council passes resolution to welcome refugees (5.13/17)

A Minnesota city council has passed a resolution proclaiming it's a "welcoming community" after one council member proposed a moratorium on refugee resettlement.
WJON-AM radio reports that the St. Cloud City Council passed the resolution Monday night on a 5-1 vote.
Last week, Jeff Johnson said he wanted to limit refugee resettlement until the city has more information about the number of people moving there and the possible cost to taxpayers for providing services. Johnson planned to bring up his proposal at a council meeting next month. Johnson's was the sole vote against the resolution, which was introduced by Jeff Goerger.
The St. Cloud Times reports that Goerger said it's important to show "this one guy" doesn't represent the "voice of the people of our community."
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2.3

Fiat Chrysler reports profit gains despite U. S. sales slump (5.12/17)

DETROIT -- Fiat Chrysler Automobiles reported a third-quarter earnings boost despite weaker sales in the U. S.
The London-based automaker reported earnings of $1.07 billion in the third quarter, an increase of 50% over the same period a year ago.
The company, which has its U. S. headquarters in Auburn Hills, Mich., outside Detroit, touted a record third-quarter, citing a drop in expenses related to debt reduction, strong performance in North America, a higher margin in Latin America and profits in the luxury Maserati brand.
The improvements came despite a weaker sales picture in the U. S.
Pretax profits of $2.1 billion beat analysts' expectations for pretax profits of $1.02 billion, according to MarketWatch. Earnings per share of 70 cents were an increase over 56 cents during the same period in 2016.
The third-quarter results follow a mammoth second quarter for Fiat Chrysler when it earned $1.35 billion, which was a 207% increase over the same period in 2016.
Fiat Chrysler reported improvements in all regions from the same period in 2016:
•North America. Pretax profits increased slightly to $1.51 billion from $1.5 billion.
•Latin America. They rose to $69 million from a loss of $19 million..
•Asia. Profits increased to $128 million, from $25 million.
•Europe. With Fiat operations based in Italy, tthey were up to $149 million from $122 million.
Although net revenue fell at Maserati, the brand’s pretax profits increased to $133 million from $121 million. Components, including Magneti Marelli, also increased to $149 million from $132 million.
Vehicle shipments in North America dropped 6% to 592,000 from 627,000 from the same period a year ago.

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Xi Jinping ‘plots shake-up’ of men running China’s massive military machine (4.63/17)

China’s powerful Central Military Commission (CMC) could expand one of its top tiers to better grapple with the day-to-day running of the world’s biggest military.
Sources close the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) said two or three officers could be promoted to vice-chairmen to complement the two-man structure already in place.
The new line-up will be revealed on Wednesday after the Communist Party ends its five-yearly national congress in Beijing.
Several sources said the result would be a compromise between the wishes of President Xi Jinping, who chairs the CMC, and those of various political and military vested interest groups.
“Xi wants to share the political and administrative powers of the two CMC vice-chairmen because he has realised that the existing structure is incapable of managing the CMC’s day-to-day affairs,” one source said.
“Too much paperwork has built up awaiting approval since the four former general headquarters were replaced by 15 smaller functional units. But none of the 15 department heads is real decision maker.”
In January, Xi dissolved the PLA’s four former general staff, general political, general logistics and general armaments headquarters and distributed their powers among the 15 new departments.
As part of an unprecedented military overhaul launched in 2015, the PLA’s seven military regions were also restructured into five theatre commands, and plans put in place to trim troop numbers by 300,000 to 2 million.
China has the world’s biggest military force. Now Xi Jinping wants it to be the best
Under the present system, the CMC comprises a chairman, two vice-chairmen, and eight regular members: the defence minister, the heads of the four former headquarters, and the commanders of the air force, navy and rocket force.
A military source said the two vice-chairmen system reduced former chairman and president Hu Jintao to a figurehead when he was in office, and Xi wanted to dilute the vice-chairmen’s power to stop himself from being undermined.
“The ideal combination is one chairman plus four vice-chairmen, because it is not easy for four people to collude with each other, and they can act as checks and balances,” the source said.
“Xi might also keep several CMC members, but they will be just consultants, not decision-makers like before.”
Under the constitution, the CMC must have “several” vice-chairmen and “several” members, giving Xi scope to make such changes.
The source said jockeying was already under way for the potential openings.
“The structure of the present CMC leadership is not adequate for the PLA’s modernisation and many vested interest groups have spared no effort to promote candidates for the new CMC vice-chairmen, with the front runners all the most trusted men from Xi’s camp,” the source said.
“Unlike his predecessors Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao, Xi is a strong leader like Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping and will have the final say on the commission’s new line-up.”
PLA Air Force General Xu Qiliang, one of the two incumbent CMC vice-chairmen, is in the running to take over the top vice-chairman’s position with the expected retirement of 70-year-old General Fan Changlong.
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Xu worked alongside Xi in Fujian province and has been on the commission since 2007 when Hu was chairman.
Another familiar face, General Zhang Youxia, a former director of the CMC’s equipment development department, is tipped to advance to Xu’s No 2 spot. Like the president, Zhang is from Shaanxi province and the two men share family ties through their fathers.
The other two front runners are General Li Zuocheng, a decorated veteran of the Sino-Vietnamese war and incumbent head of the CMC’s Joint Staff Department, and General Wei Fenghe, former chief of the PLA’s Rocket Force.
There has been speculation that Li might be promoted to the third CMC vice-chairman, while Wei is tipped to replace General Chang Wanquan to be China’s new defence minister and the fourth-ranking vice-chairman’s position.
Hong Kong-based military observer Liang Guoliang said there could be new faces at the top of the CMC as Xi presses on with his military shake-up.
“Xi needs to break traditional promotion rules to elevate more younger and capable generals if he wants to meet his goals,” Liang said.
In his work report to the party congress last Wednesday, Xi said the PLA must modernise by 2035 and become a top-ranked military by 2050.
The new CMC leadership will be disclosed after the party’s Central Committee unveils the 25 members of the Politburo and seven people on the Politburo Standing Committee.

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The upshot: Xi joins the Communist Party’s greats and China’s anti-graft tsar heads for the exit (4.51/17)

Two of the highlights of the closing session of the Communist Party’s national congress on Tuesday were the elevation of Chinese President Xi Jinping to a status on a par with late paramount leaders Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping, and the departure of anti-graft tsar Wang Qishan and Vice-President Li Yuanchao from the top leadership.
Xi’s political philosophy is officially enshrined in the party’s constitution
At the closing session in Beijing’s cavernous Great Hall of the People, Xi declared that his governing philosophy, officially called “Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era”, had been added to the party’s constitution.
The widely expected move will further tighten the “core” leader’s grip on power and put Xi on a par with Mao and Deng.
Xi’s political philosophy, now officially part of the party’s “Guide to Action”, runs the gamut from macroeconomics to foreign policy and ideological control.
It is fleshed out in dense official language in 14 sections but the main points are:
Politics
- Uphold the principle of one-party rule
- Improve governance and party efficiency through administrative reforms
- Strengthen party discipline
- Further integrate and institutionalise the party and state power
- Deepen links with and support for the grass roots
Anti-corruption chief Wang Qishan steps down from top Chinese leadership as Xi Jinping’s name is enshrined in Communist Party charter
Economy
- Pursue a more balanced approach to development
- Government to play a director’s role
- Strengthen key state sectors but allow greater freedom for the private economy in other areas
- Encourage technology and innovation
- Take part in and shape globalisation
Society
- Strengthen ideological control
- Encourage Chinese culture. Promote nationalism and China’s exceptionalism
- Reduce wealth gaps and clean up the environment – two main sources of public grievance
Defence and diplomacy
- China to be a status quo power but to take a more proactive role
- Uphold national interests, national security and sovereignty
- Uphold “one country, two systems” and unification of China with Taiwan
- Ensure the party’s absolute control over the military
- Transform China’s military into one of the best in the world
China has the world’s biggest military force. Now Xi Jinping wants it to be the best
The new line-up of the powerful Central Committee has been revealed
More than 2,300 carefully vetted delegates from around the country cast their votes behind closed doors for the new Central Committee, a ruling council with 204 full members and 172 alternates.
They also voted to determine who would make up the CCDI.
The list of Central Committee candidates did not include Wang Qishan, 69, a Politburo Standing Committee member and CCDI chief, confirming a South China Morning Post report that he had bowed out of the top leadership.
Vice-President Li Yuanchao, who is only 66 and has not reached retirement age, was also not on the list, meaning that he too will be stepping down from the Politburo.
Meanwhile, Zhao Leji has been named as a CCDI member, a move that the Post reported could pave the way for him to fill Wang’s shoes at the anti-graft unit.
Li Zhanshu, Xi’s chief of staff, was not named as a member of the CCDI, contrary to other foreign media speculation.
The line-up of the top leadership will be unveiled on Wednesday
The line-up of the Politburo and its Standing Committee, the party’s innermost circle of power, will be revealed on Wednesday after the new Central Committee has had its first meeting. The meeting will be the culmination of months-long behind-the-scenes horse trading in the lead-up to the twice-a-decade leadership reshuffle.
Xi and other Politburo Standing Committee members will appear before the media at around 11.45am on Wednesday, according to state media.
The Post has reported that along with Xi and Premier Li Keqiang, the new Politburo Standing Committee will include Li Zhanshu, Zhao Leji, Wang Huning, Han Zheng and Wang Yang.

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1.8

Police once saved life of man accused of killing officer (4.50/17)

LIBERTY TOWNSHIP, Ohio – Police say they saved the life of alleged cop killer Jason Marble by performing CPR and giving him Narcan in 2015. Marble is now accused of fatally shooting Ohio police officer Justin Leo.
“It was rather disturbing to find out that we saved his life, and two years later he ended an officer’s life,” Liberty Township Police Chief Rich Tisone told WJW on Monday.
Police were called to a home on Indiana Avenue in Girard about 10 p.m. Saturday. Shortly after they arrived sources say Marble shot Officer Leo. Another officer returned fire killing Marble.
Several police flags line the street where Leo was shot. Some neighbors have blue ribbons tied on trees and small memorials in their yard. Leo, 31, had worked as a police officer for Girard for about five years.
Girard Mayor Jim Melfi said in the past few days they have heard dozens of stories on how the young officer impacted so many lives.
“For example, he had a call about some young kids playing in the neighborhood, maybe trespassing and he showed up in uniform. He ended up tossing the football to them,” Melfi said.
There are others who have written on Facebook, saying the officer even helped pay for a traffic ticket that was given to a disabled veteran.
“He was an amazing person,” Melfi said.
Many lined the streets Monday waiting for police to escort Officer Leo’s body to a funeral home in his hometown.
“I wanted to be here for his family,” said Don Whisler, of Girard. “I didn’t know him. But it’s so sad. It hurts.”
Filed in: News
Topics: Kill, officer

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Mika Brzezinski sets release dates for next 3 books (4.21/17)

Mika Brzezinski (brzezin-ski) has release dates set for her next three books.
The "Morning Joe" co-host will publish three works over the next two years in her "Know Your Value" series, Hachette Books told The Associated Press on Tuesday. Along with a September 2018 reissue of the best-seller "Knowing Your Value: Women, Money, and Getting What You're Worth," Brzezinski will publish "Comeback Careers" and "The Millennial Challenge" in spring 2019. The books all were announced last summer.
Brzezinski had threatened to cancel her deal with Weinstein Books after reports of multiple allegations of sexual harassment and assault by Harvey Weinstein. Hachette Book Group, which had a publishing partnership with Weinstein, shut down Weinstein Books and transferred titles under contract to the Hachette Book imprint.
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The Latest: Senator says Niger ambush part of bigger debate (4.21/17)

The Latest on the four service members killed in Niger (all times local):
8:15 a.m.
The chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee says an examination of U. S. military involvement around the world needs to be a part of the discussion around this month's fatal ambush of four U. S. soldiers in Niger.
Republican Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee tells NBC's "Today" that what happened in Niger will launch a bigger debate that was already under way.
Corker says his committee will hold hearings on the matter.
He adds that it may be time for Congress to update the rules for U. S. military engagement with terrorists across the globe. Corker notes that U. S. soldiers are operating under rules first put in place in 2001 — after the 9/11 attacks.
___
4:10 a.m.
The top U. S. general says four U. S. special operations forces died in Niger (nee-ZHEHR') Oct. 4 amid a "complex situation" and a "difficult firefight."
Gen. Joseph Dunford, the Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman, says the American people, including the families of the fallen soldiers in Niger, deserve answers about this month's deadly ambush.
Some 800 U. S. service members are supporting a French-led mission to defeat the Islamic State, al-Qaida and Boko Haram in West Africa.
Dunford acknowledges many questions remain about what happened near Niger's Mali border.
They include whether the U. S. had adequate intelligence and equipment for its operation, whether there was a failure of planning and why it took so long to recover one the bodies.
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4 Questions About The Alexander-Murray Health Insurers Subsidies Bill (4.21/17)

Upon its unveiling last week, the health insurance “stabilization” measure drafted by Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA) received praise from some lawmakers. For instance, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) stated that “health care reform ought to be the product of regular order in the Senate, and the bill [the sponsors] introduced today is an important step towards that end.”
Unfortunately, the process to date has not resembled the “regular order” its sponsors have claimed. Drafted behind closed doors, by staff for a committee with only partial jurisdiction over health care, the bill’s provisions remained in flux as of last week. Moreover, the bill apparently will not undergo a mark-up or other committee action before the bill is either considered on the Senate floor—or, as some have speculated, “air-dropped” into a massive catch-all spending bill, where it will receive little to no legislative scrutiny.
Four questions help clarify the process concerns regarding the Alexander-Murray proposal.
Following my article last week highlighting how the cost-sharing reduction payments appropriated in the legislation would represent taxpayer funding of plans that cover abortion, a reporter for the Catholic-run Eternal Word Television Network interviewed senators Alexander and Murray (along with myself) about the issue.
Alexander told reporter Jason Calvi that he “hadn’t discussed” the life issue with staff, indicating he had little inkling of the effects of the legislation he sponsored:
Alexander then claimed that “I’m sure the president will address” the abortion funding issue. But executive action—which a future president can always rescind—is no substitute for legislative language. The pro-life community derided President Obama’s executive order designed to segregate abortion payments and federal funding as an accounting sham.
As I wrote in June, Republican leaders—including Senate leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), and Mike Pence, the current vice president—clearly noted during debates on Obamacare that the law would provide for taxpayer funding of abortion coverage. The Alexander-Murray bill would do likewise unless and until the legislation includes an explicit ban on abortion funding.
Call it the “Klobuchar Kickback,” call it the “Golden Gopher Giveaway,” but Section 2(b) of the bill contains provisions relevant only to Minnesota. Specifically, that provision would allow a state’s basic health program—which states can establish for individuals with incomes between 133 and 200 percent of the federally defined poverty level—to receive “pass-through” block grant funding under a waiver.
Currently, only New York and Minnesota have implemented basic health programs, and of those two states, only Minnesota has also sought a state innovation waiver under Obamacare. Last month, the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), in approving Minnesota’s application for an innovation waiver, said it could not allow the state to receive “pass through” funds equal to spending on the basic health program, because the statute did not permit such an arrangement. The Alexander-Murray bill would explicitly permit basic health program spending to qualify for the “pass through” arrangement, allowing Minnesota—the only state with such an arrangement—to benefit.
Likewise, multiple sources both on and off Capitol Hill have indicated that language in Section 2(c) of the bill (the bottom of page 4), which would change the standard of approval for state waivers from providing coverage to individuals “at least as affordable” as that in Obamacare to providing coverage “of comparable affordability,” was specifically designed to ensure that federal officials would approve Iowa’s insurance waiver. However, the Hawkeye State withdrew its waiver request yesterday, potentially rendering this provision moot.
Alexander notably demurred on this topic when asked last week. One reason: As Politico has noted, it remains unclear whether or the extent to which Alexander’s committee has jurisdiction over the legislation he wrote. Revisions to the Obamacare state innovation waiver process comprise roughly half of the 26-page bill, yet the Senate HELP Committee shares jurisdiction over those matters with the Senate Finance Committee, whose chairman has derided legislation giving cost-sharing payments to insurers as a “ bailout.”
Even as he praised the Alexander-Murray bill as a return to “regular order,” McCain—himself a committee chairman—doubtless would take issue with another committee “poaching” the Senate Armed Services panel’s jurisdiction, or failing to hold a mark-up entirely. Yet the process regarding the Alexander-Murray bill could include two noteworthy legislative “shortcuts”—which some may view as a deviation from “regular order.”
A close review of the documents indicates that HELP Committee staff made changes to the bill even after Alexander and Murray announced their agreement last Tuesday. The version of the bill obtained by Axios and released last Tuesday evening —version TAM17J75, per the notation made in the top left corner of the bill text by the Office of Legislative Counsel—differs from the version (TAM17K02) publicly released by the HELP Committee on Thursday.
Notwithstanding Alexander’s apparent revelation regarding the Hyde amendment last Wednesday, the bill revisions did not include pro-life protections. But the revisions did include a change from “budget” neutrality to “deficit” neutrality in one instance, as well as other legislative changes.
The revisions to the legislation, coupled with Alexander’s apparent lack of understanding regarding its implications, raise questions about what other “surprises” may lurk within its contents. For all the justifiable complaints regarding the lack of transparency over Republicans’ “repeal-and-replace” legislation earlier this year, the process surrounding Alexander-Murray seems little changed—and far from “regular order.”

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Tillerson visits India seeking help fighting Taliban in Afghanistan (4.18/17)

Oct. 24 (UPI) -- U. S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson visited India Tuesday -- part of a multi-day trip to Asia and the Middle East that officials say is designed to cement a relationship instrumental in ending the war in Afghanistan.
After making a surprise visit in Afghanistan Monday and traveling from Islamabad, Pakistan, Tuesday, Tillerson and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani arrived in New Delhi .
Tillerson seeks a design for the region which involves a cooling of tensions between India and Pakistan, as well as persuading the Pakistani government to take stronger action to end ties with the Taliban and other jihadist groups. Withdrawal of support would end the war in Afghanistan, India Express reported Tuesday.
Last week, Tillerson addressed the Center for Strategic and International studies in Washington, D. C., and identified India as one of "two bookends of stability on either side of the globe" -- the United States being the other -- and mentioned Pakistan and China as disruptive forces in the region.
"India needs a reliable partner on the world stage, and the U. S. is that partner," Tillerson said.
The Asia and Middle East trip, an ambitious diplomatic initiative to secure partnerships in the region, comes as President Donald Trump 's administration has developed a "conditions-based" approach to Pakistan that involves cutting ties with jihadists undermining stability in Afghanistan.
Pakistani Prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi has said "injecting" India into the relationship will not lead to a resolution.
India is expected to seek additional military technology from the United States, including state-of-the-art military drones.

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Apex high school student struck by car while in crosswalk (4.18/17)

Apex, N. C. — An Apex high school student was struck by a vehicle on Tuesday morning while walking to school, authorities said.
Apex police said the boy was hit while in a crosswalk and was taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
Police did not immediately know if charges would be filed.

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Catalonia set for international appeal against Spain's move to curb powers (4.17/17)

Catalonia's government is appealing against plans by Spain's central authorities to directly run the troubled north-eastern region.
Officials want to take the legal battle to international courts.
Regional spokesman Jordi Turull said the appeals will be lodged in Spain's Constitutional Court and Supreme Court against prime minister Mariano Rajoy's decision to sack all members of the Catalan government and curtail powers of the regional parliament.
Spain's Senate is expected to approve Mr Rajoy's plan on Friday, triggering previously untapped constitutional powers to act against regional leaders disobeying the country's top law.
"We are going to respond in a very solid way," Mr Turull said at the end of the regional government's weekly cabinet meeting. "We will exhaust all internal ways in order to turn to the international justice if needed."

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Whiskey makers meet at Mount Vernon distillery (4.16/17)

MOUNT VERNON, Va. (AP) — Expert whiskey makers from across the country are converging on George Washington’s Mount Vernon estate, working on a special recipe to honor the father of our country.
The Distilled Spirits Council is sponsoring distillers from across the country to collaborate on a rye whiskey to commemorate Thursday’s tenth anniversary of the reconstruction of Washington’s distillery. At the time of his death in 1799, Washington ran one of the largest distilleries in the U. S.
Since the distillery resumed operations a decade ago, Mount Vernon has produced and sold tens of thousands of bottles of whiskey and brandy to raise funds to support the estate. The spirits can be purchased at the Inn and the Shops at Mount Vernon.

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Czech leader to ask election winner Babis to form government (4.14/17)

The Czech president on Tuesday was expected set to ask populist billionaire Andrej Babis, whose ANO movement won parliamentary elections, to try to form a new government.
The office of President Milos Zeman announced the move. The president usually appoints the chairman of the strongest party to head the government as prime minister.
Babis' movement won 78 seats in the lower house of Parliament on Saturday. He needs coalition partners to govern with a parliamentary majority.
Eight other parties and groups won seats, including the anti-migrant and anti-EU party Freedom and Direct Democracy, which finished fourth.
Babis has indicated he would like to rule with the conservative Civic Democratic Party that finished second with 25 seats. But the Civic Democrats and other parties consider Babis unsuitable to lead the government because he faces charges of fraud linked to EU subsidies.
Acting at the request of police, lawmakers in the lower house agreed to lift the immunity from prosecution for Babis and his deputy in ANO, Jaroslav Faltynek, in September. That decision allowed police to investigate Babis' involvement in the $2 million fraud and charge him.
Following the election, it is necessary for the new lawmakers to again lift the immunity from prosecution to allow police to complete the investigation.
The new house has yet to convene for the first time, and no date for a vote has been set.
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Indonesia parliament endorses draconian law on groups (4.11/17)

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — Indonesia’s parliament on Tuesday endorsed a presidential decree that gives officials sweeping powers to ban organizations deemed as threats to national unity.
The decree, signed in July by President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo, has already been used to ban Hizbut Tahrir, an Islamic organization that advocates for a global caliphate. It required parliamentary approval to become permanent law.
Lawmakers from 10 parties, including Widodo’s governing coalition, voted 314-131 to amend a law regulating mass organizations in line with the decree. More than three quarters of lawmakers in the 560-seat legislature were present for the vote.
Rights activists have condemned the decree, which is supported by moderate groups such as Nahdlatul Ulama, Indonesia’s largest Muslim organization. They called it a “troubling violation” of the rights to freedom of association and expression.
Minister of Home Affairs Tjahjo Kumolo said the government was open to criticism of the law and revision if needed.
The decree allows officials to sidestep the courts when banning organizations it deems contrary to the country’s constitution.
It was issued following months of sectarian tensions in the world’s most populous Muslim nation that shook the government and undermined its reputation for practicing a moderate form of Islam.
Several thousand people from Muslim groups including the banned Hizbut Tahrir, a group that campaigned for Indonesia to adopt Shariah law and become a caliphate, protested outside parliament.
Copyright © 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.
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Turkey: Journalists on trial over minister's hacked emails (4.11/17)

Six journalists appeared in a Turkish court on terror charges Tuesday for reporting on a trove of allegedly hacked emails suggesting misconduct by Turkey's energy minister.
The defendants are accused of disseminating propaganda for terrorist groups and other terror-related offences after their reports on Berat Albayrak, a son-in-law of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The reports were based on emails reportedly stolen from Albayrak's personal email account by hackers and made available on WikiLeaks. The government has not confirmed their authenticity.
Speaking outside the Istanbul courthouse, defendant Derya Okatan, managing editor of Etkin News Agency, insisted she and colleagues were acting in the public's interest and accused the government of trying to hide acts that were "illegitimate, illegal and against the interests of the public."
Three of the defendants have been in jail for over 10 months. Okatan and two others were released from custody in January pending the outcome of the trial.
More than a hundred journalists have been arrested in Turkey over terror-related charges since last year's failed coup attempt. Turkey insists the arrests are related to alleged criminal activity and not for journalistic work.
Deniz Yucel, a German journalist for the Die Welt newspaper, was arrested Feb. 14 on terror charges and espionage. This month a Turkish court sentenced a Finnish-Turkish reporter for The Wall Street Journal, Ayla Albayrak, to two years and one month in prison for engaging in propaganda for the outlawed Kurdish rebels.
Both Yucel and Albayrak deny the allegations.
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US general: Many questions remain about Niger attack (4.10/17)

By LOLITA C. BALDOR Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) - The U. S. special forces unit ambushed by Islamic militants in Niger didn't call for help until an hour into their first contact with the enemy, the top U. S. general says, conceding many questions linger about the assault that killed four American troops and triggered a political brawl.
Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters the American people and the fallen soldiers' families deserve answers about the deadly ambush in the West African nation. But Dunford said Monday that he still lacks many details about how the attack unfolded.
At a Pentagon news conference, Dunford asked for patience as the military continues to investigate the incident.
Dunford's description of the assault, however, underscored how long the mid-morning attack dragged on, and that it was many hours before the wounded and killed were evacuated. He said that "within minutes" after the unit called for assistance, a U. S. drone was moved into position overhead, providing surveillance and full-motion video. He declined to say if it was armed, but said it did not fire.
Another hour went by before French fighter jets arrived, but the wounded weren't taken out until later in the afternoon when French helicopters arrived along with additional Niger troops. The bodies of three Green Berets who were killed were evacuated that evening, he said.
"I make no judgment as to how long it took them to ask for support," Dunford said. "I don't know that they thought they needed support prior to that time. I don't know how this attack unfolded. I don't know what their initial assessment was of what they were confronted with."
A battle-hardened commander, Dunford recalled situations when, "you're confronted with enemy contact, your initial assessment is you can deal with that contact with the resources that you have."
He added that under the military's rules, U. S. forces only accompany Niger troops on missions in that area when "the chances of enemy contact are unlikely." But he also agreed that it is an inherently dangerous area, and U. S. forces are there as part of a training and advising mission to help local Niger forces learn to deal with the various al-Qaida and IS-linked groups operating in the region.
Dunford acknowledged that nearly three weeks after the attack, many questions remain. They include whether the U. S. had adequate intelligence, equipment and training, whether there was an accurate assessment of the threat in that area, and how the U. S. troops became separated in the fight. Another question is why it take so long to recover the body of a fourth American serviceman, Sgt. La David Johnson, who was missing for two days before his body was found by Niger troops and turned over to the U. S.
Dunford said the 12-member Army special forces unit had accompanied 30 Nigerien forces on a reconnaissance mission to an area near the village of Tongo Tongo, about 85 kilometers north of the capital on Oct. 3. They ended up spending the night there, and when they were returning to their base the next morning, they encountered about 50 enemy fighters traveling by vehicle, carrying small arms and rocket-propelled grenade launchers.
Dunford said the White House was notified by the operations center when it became clear that at least three U. S. forces had been killed, and more direct notifications were made when officials realized that Johnson was missing. When he received the call about Johnson, Dunford said he made a "20-second" call to Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and got immediate approval to bring the "full weight of the U. S. government to bear" in order to locate the missing soldier.
Independent of the events surrounding the attack, Johnson's death and his family's ordeal have triggered a major political row. After Johnson's body was returned to the U. S., President Donald Trump said at one point that he had done more than any of his predecessors to honor the dead and console their families.
Members of Congress are also demanding answers. Last week, Sen. John McCain, the Republican chairman of the Armed Services Committee, even threatened a subpoena to accelerate the flow of information from the administration. Asked about the congressional complaints, Dunford said that if lawmakers believe they aren't getting enough information, "then I need to double my efforts to provide them with information."
He said the military will try to wrap up its investigation into the incident as quickly as possible. The FBI is also investigating, but that probe likely focuses on counterterrorism, and any information or intelligence related to threats to the U. S.
Dunford defended the broader American mission in Niger, saying U. S. forces have been in the country intermittently for more than two decades. Currently, some 800 U. S. service members are supporting a French-led mission to defeat the Islamic State, al-Qaida and Boko Haram in West Africa.
"We are back to conducting operations as normal," he said. "Our intent is to continue operations there and continue to train, advise, assist our partners."
Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Bob Corker calls Trump an 'utterly untruthful president' in escalating feud (4.10/17)

WASHINGTON – Turns out, President Trump's feud with Tennessee Republican Sen. Bob Corker isn't over.
Their war of words escalated on Tuesday as the president insisted the prominent Republican senator "couldn't get elected dog catcher" — and Corker described the president as "utterly untruthful."
Trump attacked Corker over Twitter after the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee defended his previous comment that the White House resembles an adult day care center and criticized his aggressive approach to North Korea.
"Bob Corker, who helped President O give us the bad Iran Deal & couldn't get elected dog catcher in Tennessee, is now fighting Tax Cuts...." Trump tweeted.
Trump then referred to Corker's decision not to seek reelection next year: "Corker dropped out of the race in Tennesse (sic) when I refused to endorse him, and now is only negative on anything Trump. Look at his record!"
Corker – who says Trump did actually offer to support his re-election bid – responded with a zinger: "Same untruths from an utterly untruthful president. #AlertTheDaycareStaff."
The back-and-forth came hours before Trump and Corker find themselves in the same room. The president is scheduled to attend the weekly Senate Republican policy lunch at the U. S. Capitol.
Earlier, in an appearance on ABC's Good Morning America, Corker said Trump is unnecessarily raising tensions by escalating tensions with North Korea over its nuclear weapons program – and suggested that he let diplomats deal with the problem.
"The president undermines our secretary of State, raises tensions in the area by virtues of the tweets that he sends out and I would just like for him to just leave it to the professionals for a while and see if we can do something that is constructive for our country, the region and the world," Corker said.
The argument between the Republicans isn't necessarily a petty feud. While Republicans have a Senate majority, they control only 52 of the 100 votes. Every votes counts and only a few defectors can deprive the GOP of major legislation, as happened with attempts to repeal and replace President Barack Obama's health care plan.
Trump and Corker have clashed repeatedly, especially after the Tennessean announced he would not seek re-election. Corker declined to seek a third term. (He's been elected twice)
After a Trump attack on Oct. 8, Corker responded on Twitter: "It's a shame the White House has become an adult day care center. Someone obviously missed their shift this morning."
Later that day, in a New York Times interview, Corker said Trump's rash statements and reckless threats could set the United States "on the path to World War III."
Corker did not regret either of those statements on Tuesday, telling Good Morning America: “I don’t make comments that I haven’t thought about.”
In addition, Corker has said that Trump did try to talk him into running for the Senate again and offered to help him, but he decided against seeking another term.
Corker also criticized Trump over negotiations on a tax cut bill. The senator questioned a Trump tweet Monday that took one proposal off the table, a call to reduce the amount of money that people can invest in pre-tax 401(k) accounts.
“If you start taking things off the table before you get started, you make that very difficult,” Corker told ABC. “What I hope is going to happen is the president will leave this effort to the tax-writing committees."
Corker also appeared on NBC's Today show, where he questioned the utility of Trump's visit to the GOP policy lunch.
“I think it's fine for him to come over," he told NBC. "I do look at these things as more of a photo op. They're not really about substance, but more power to him.”

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NBC-2.com WBBH News for Fort Myers, Cape Coral & Naples, Florida (3.60/17)

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) - A 20-year-old University of Florida student has died in a fall from a third-floor balcony at an apartment complex.
Gainesville Police Department Lt. Paris Owens tells news outlets that witnesses called police when they saw Ian Burns fall shortly after 6 p.m. on Saturday.
An incident report says Burns was taken to UF Health Shands Hospital. It didn't indicate when he died.
The report also didn't say how Burns fell.
No further details were immediately available.
Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Briton fighting against IS killed in Raqa (3.35/17)

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By AFP
27 mins ago in World
A British man fighting alongside Kurds against the Islamic State group in Syria has been killed during the push to liberate Raqa, his family said Tuesday.
Sniper Jac Holmes, from Bournemouth in southern England, who was fighting with the Kurdistan People's Protection Units, was clearing mines on Monday when he died, his mother told the Press Association.
"He stood up for what he believed in and he had the courage of his convictions to go out and do something where he thought that the West were not doing enough," Angie Blannin told PA.
"To defeat ISIS he felt that it was not just a Syrian problem, or Middle Eastern problem, it was a world problem," she said of the 24-year-old.
Kurdish officials told her that her son had been clearing mines in the city, despite being a sniper.
"It is all a bit sketchy but I am guessing he stepped on a landmine or one went off close to him, or it was a suicide vest."
Blannin said she had initially tried to talk her son, a former painter and decorator, out of going to fight IS in 2015, but described him as "very headstrong."
He fought alongside Kurdish soldiers and had previously suffered a gunshot wound.
"I am extremely proud of him. All my family are incredibly proud," his mother told PA.
US President Donald Trump said Saturday that the end of the Islamic State "caliphate is in sight" with the fall of Raqa.
The declaration came four days after US-backed Kurdish-led forces recaptured the city, the capital of IS's self-proclaimed caliphate and its last major stronghold in Syria.

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Kenya police disperse demonstrators as Odinga tempers poll protest call (3.32/17)

NAIROBI (Reuters) - Kenyan police used bullets and teargas on Tuesday to disperse a small demonstration in Nairobi two days before elections, as the main opposition leader appeared to row back from a call for his supporters to hold protests during the vote.
In the western city of Kisumu, around 2,000 demonstrators marched on the election board offices, witnesses said, responding to Raila Odinga’s appeal for protests against Thursday’s repeat presidential ballot. They dispersed peacefully.
Odinga is boycotting the contest against incumbent Uhuru Kenyatta. He says it will not be free and fair because the election board has not made sufficient progress in carrying out reforms he demanded after the original election held in August was annulled.
Odinga had urged his supporters to ensure Thursday’s vote did not take place, repeatedly saying there would be “no elections”.
But on Tuesday he told the BBC he was not calling for protests on polling day itself. “We have not told people to protest on polling day. We have not said that at all. We have told people to stay away,” he said in a radio interview.
When called for clarification, Odinga’s spokesman said he was saying “peaceful protests” would still take place and that the opposition would fully explain their plans on Wednesday.
The country’s Supreme Court is still hearing several cases challenging the legality of Thursday’s poll or Odinga’s withdrawal.
At least 49 people have died in political violence since the August ballot, evoking unwelcome memories of the aftermath of a disputed 2007 poll, when more than 1,200 people were killed.
The political stand-off has also blunted growth in East Africa’s richest economy, a nation valued for its stability and relative freedom in a region roiled by conflict.
Last week Odinga supporters disrupted at least three official pre-polling events. Police said some election board staff were seriously injured. POLL DELAY?
The head of the election board said last week it was not clear a free and fair poll could take place due to intimidation and political interference.
His comments followed the resignation of an election commissioner, who fled the country and released a statement saying she had been threatened, although she did not say who had done so.
A day before the Aug. 8 poll, another member of the election board had been found tortured and murdered.
On Monday, the International Crisis Group, a global thinktank, called for a delay in the election, saying “proceeding under current conditions would deepen Kenya’s ethnic cleavages and prolong a stalemate that has already claimed dozens of lives and come at a high economic cost.”
Both the election board and the government have said the vote will go ahead, irrespective of whether Odinga contests it, and only a court ruling could legally delay the re-run ballot beyond the end of October.
On Tuesday, police fired tear gas and bullets into the air to disperse protesters in the capital Nairobi.
In Kisumu, an Odinga stronghold, demonstrators said that the polls should not take place, but were unclear on how they should be stopped.
“All we know is that there will be no elections. As to how this will be done, we are waiting for the big announcement by Baba (Odinga) tomorrow,” said one demonstrator, market trader James Ouma.
Around him protesters waved branches and blew whistles as they marched.
Kenyatta officially won the first election, on Aug. 8, by 1.4 million votes, but the Supreme Court annulled that vote on Sept. 1 over procedural irregularities.
After the Supreme Court ruling, Odinga’s team presented a list of demands to the election board.
Some have been met - opposition monitors will now have access to the board’s computers as results come in, a key official has gone on an extended holiday, and results will not be transmitted without a copy of a paper form from tallying centres.
The board said it was impossible to meet other demands - such as changing the technology provider - in the short time frame allotted for new elections.
The Kenyan constitution said fresh elections must be held within 60 days of nullified ones.

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Kenya opposition chief: people should stay home, not protest during polls
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Kenyan police fire tear gas, warning shots ahead of election
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The Latest: Kenya Supreme Court urged to delay elections (3.28/17)

The Latest on Kenya's upcoming re-run of presidential elections on Oct. 26 (all times local):
3:10 p.m.
Kenya's Supreme Court is to meet a day before Thursday's repeat presidential elections to decide whether the polls should go ahead if a credible vote cannot be guaranteed.
The court will hear a case brought by three Kenyans who are urging that the elections be postponed until the electoral commission can hold free and fair elections, as is mandated by the constitution.
Human rights activist Khelef Khalifa, one of the petitioners, said Tuesday that the Supreme Court judgment nullifying President Uhuru Kenyatta's August re-election stated that the fresh election must be credible and verifiable. Khalifa said the chairman of the electoral commission has stated he cannot guarantee a credible election. Khalifa said Kenya is on the brink social breakdown as government crackdowns on opposition protests have killed 67 people and if the election on Thursday is not credible an even bigger crisis could result. Khalifa said the three want elections postponed until the electoral commission can deliver a credible vote.
___
2:05 p.m.
Kenyan police have fired tear gas and warning shots to disperse small groups of opposition protesters ahead of a presidential election on Thursday that opposition leader Raila Odinga plans to boycott.
The sporadic confrontations in downtown Nairobi on Tuesday occurred amid bustling traffic and forced some city workers and passers-by to race away from the acrid clouds of tear gas.
A police officer told The Associated Press that he and his colleagues were firing blanks.
Human rights activists have said police fatally shot 67 people since the Aug. 8 election whose annulment by the Supreme Court opened the way to the new vote.
President Uhuru Kenyatta, who was declared the winner in the August vote, wants to press ahead with the election despite concerns about its credibility.
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Kenya returns to polls but deepening doubts about legitimacy of vote raise spectre of violence
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The Latest: Kenya police disperse protesters with tear gas
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Iraqi Kurd parliament delays elections for 8 months
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3.1

EU lawmakers urge Malta money laundering inquiry, Europol role in probe of journalist's murder (3.23/17)

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Union should hold an inquiry into Malta’s anti-money laundering rules, and Europol should join the investigation into last week’s murder of a Maltese investigative journalist, EU lawmakers said on Tuesday.
Daphne Caruana Galizia, the prominent reporter killed by a car bomb last week, had written extensively and published leaked documents on alleged money laundering cases involving top Maltese officials.
“We want a serious investigation by the European Commission on Malta’s respect of the European rules against money laundering,” EU Green legislators Eva Joly and Sven Giegold said in a joint statement.
“The Maltese government has failed to take serious action against high level cases of money laundering in its country”, they added.
The EU Justice Commissioner Vera Jourova said in a letter to EU Greens MEPs dated Oct. 23 that “based on the information available so far, there appear to be no grounds to suspect a systematic breach of Union law pertaining to the prevention of money laundering” in Malta.
But she added that the Commission has requested more information from the Maltese authorities on recent cases of alleged money laundering involving Keith Allen Schembri, the chief of staff of Prime Minister Joseph Muscat.
Joly, a French lawmaker who chairs the assembly’s inquiry committee on the Panama Papers, also called for the appointment of an international investigator to shed light on the killing of Caruana Galizia.
The president of the EU Parliament, the Italian conservative Antonio Tajani, echoed Joly’s calls to pursue all trails in the murder investigation.
He said that Europol, the EU law enforcement agency, should participate in the inquiry “as part of an international investigation where all police forces can contribute to find the culprits”.
The Maltese government has sought assistance from the U. S. Federal Bureau of Investigation and from Dutch experts to help resolve the case.
The Parliament will hold later on Tuesday a debate during its plenary sitting on the “protection of journalists and the defence of media freedom in Malta.”
The press room of the EU assembly in Strasbourg has been renamed after Caruana Galizia.

Serbian defense minister denounces US official for remarks
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Serbian defense minister denounces US official for remarks
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Serbian defense minister denounces US official for remarks
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1.0

Michigan hospitals cancel elective surgeries after water main break (3.20/17)

FARMINGTON HILLS, Mich. -- Two hospitals are canceling elective surgeries and procedures due to a water emergency following a water main break in suburban Detroit.
Providence Park Hospital in Novi says ambulances were being rerouted on Tuesday morning away from the hospital. Some patients were being transferred to Providence Hospital in Southfield.
Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital said in a statement on its website that it has no water service and its clinics are closed for the day.
The 48-inch water main break, which took place on Monday night in Farmington Hills, prompted a boil water advisory for about a dozen communities in the area. The affected communities include parts or all of Bloomfield Township, Commerce Township, Farmington Hills, Keego Harbor, Oakland Township, Orchard Lake, Novi, Novi Township, Rochester Hills, Wixom, West Bloomfield Township and Walled Lake.
The Great Lakes Water Authority says residents may see low water pressure or discoloration in the affected areas.
According to CBS Detroit, residents should not drink the water without boiling it for at least one minute and letting it cool down.
Crews are working to repair the water main break and says it's hoping to have the pipe back in operation this week.
"We hope to be able to boost pressures, hopefully by late Wednesday, early Thursday," Great Lakes Water Authority spokeswoman Sheryl Porter said. "That's if everything works very smoothly. But with these situations, I can never tell if it's going to be smooth or not."
Authorities say the advisory could remain in effect until Thursday or Friday.

Boil water advisory issued in Detroit area after main break
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Oakland County water emergency: Everything we know
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11 Oakland County areas under boil-water alert
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Rock dropped from I-75 overpass leads to murder charges for 5 teens (3.18/17)

DETROIT — Genesee County Prosecutor David Leyton Monday charged five teens with second-degree murder for the death of a motorist killed Oct. 18 by a piece of concrete dropped off an Interstate 75 overpass.
Kenneth White, 32, of Mount Morris Township outside Flint, died from injuries he sustained when the concrete smashed through the windshield of a work van in which he was riding. Investigators immediately suspected that the concrete was dropped intentionally, unlike similar incidents in May along Interstate 696, which were considered accidental.
Leyton said the teens, who range in age from 15-17, all attend Clio High School. They have been charged as adults. Arraignments are expected Tuesday morning.
The second-degree murder charge carries up to life in prison. The teens also are charged with conspiracy to commit murder and malicious destruction of property.
More: Frozen pizzas cover interstate after tractor-trailer accident
More: Driver dies after semi is blown off Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel
Investigators said White, a construction worker and father of a 5-year-old son, was heading home in a van driven by a friend about 8:30 p.m. Thursday. The van was travelling south on I-75 at about 70 mph when it approached the Dodge Road overpass, where the concrete fell on the vehicle from the overpass.
The chunk, weighing about six pounds, rocketed through the windshield, fractured White's skull and caused other injuries. He later was pronounced dead at Hurley Medical Center.
Contributing: The Associated Press. Follow John Wisely on Twitter: @jwisely

Teens charged with murder after overpass 'prank'
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Teens charged after man killed by rock thrown from Michigan overpass
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Rock dropped from I-75 overpass leads to murder charges for 5 teens
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Rock dropped from overpass kills driver; teens charged with murder
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1.8

Retired four-star Army general blasts Trump for 'inane' behavior (3.15/17)

Retired four-star Army Gen. Barry McCaffrey is blasting President Trump for Trump's "inane" behavior amid controversy over the president's call to the widow of a fallen soldier.
“We’re cruising toward a war with North Korea, and for eight days we’ve watched inane behavior by the president, Congresswoman Wilson and the chattering class in Washington,” McCaffrey said in an interview with The Washington Post.
“It really makes me sick, to be honest. I’m sure his phone call with the widow was absolutely disastrous. He wings stuff. He doesn’t have any empathy. But I think there’s a larger issue: What are we doing here?”
McCaffrey added that he's beginning to wonder if "the country's losing its moorings."
Trump has been embroiled in controversy during the past week over comments he made to the widow of Sgt. La David Johnson.
Rep. Frederica Wilson Frederica WilsonOvernight Health Care: Senate won't vote on ObamaCare repeal bill | GOP chairman ready to resume bipartisan talks | Republicans nix idea of pairing repeal with tax reform Fla. lawmaker warned officials before retirement home tragedy Florida Dem: 'Abomination' that seniors were left at nursing home where 8 died MORE (D-Fla.) said last week Trump told Jonson's widow that he "knew what he signed up for." Trump denied Wilson's account and repeatedly attacked the Florida Democrat.
Myeshia Johnson on Monday confirmed the account of Wilson and said she was "hurt" by some of the comments Trump made.
“Whatever Ms. Wilson said was not fabricated, what she said was 100 percent correct,” Myeshia Johnson said. “Why would we fabricate something like that?… I was very angry at the tone of his voice and how he said it.”
On Monday, Trump tweeted he had a "very respectful conversation" with Myeshia Johnson.

War of words spreads to soldier's widow, Trump
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President Trump Heads To Capitol Hill With Clear Message
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5 things for October 24: Niger, harassment, tax overhaul, climate, World Series
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Tornadoes suspected of causing damage across Western NC on Monday (3.10/17)

Possible tornadoes and powerful straight-line winds struck the Charlotte region on Monday afternoon, damaging planes, cars and buildings at Hickory Regional Airport, downing trees and power lines across the region and causing flooding from Biltmore Village in Asheville to North Tryon Street in Charlotte.
Crews from the National Weather Service in Greer, S. C., plan to survey damage in Alexander, Burke, Cleveland and Catawba counties on Tuesday to track damage from suspected tornadoes, NWS meteorologist Lauren Carroll said late Monday. Alexander and Cleveland said their schools will be closed on Tuesday, while Hickory Public Schools and Watauga County Schools will operate on a two-hour delay for staff and students.
At least one tornado is believed to have traveled through parts of Cleveland, Catawba, Burke and Alexander counties beginning at about 3:30 p.m., Carroll said. Another could be responsible for the airport damage. No injuries were reported by late Monday.
Weather Service teams will inspect reported damage to numerous roofs and cars along the path of the storms and will measure the intensity of the storms, Carroll said.
One of the hardest hit areas was Caldwell County, where dozens of trees were uprooted and debris littered the streets, media outlets reported.
Duke Energy reported that most of its outages were in Catawba County, where 30,600 customers were without power at 9 p.m. Monday, and Wilkes County, which had 20,800 with no electricity. The storms spared Mecklenburg County, where only 136 customers lost power.
Flooding led to swiftwater rescues in Boone, while Caldwell County officials confirmed that at least 10 houses were damaged and that a mudslide occurred on N. C. 90 at Staircase Road, Observer news partner WBTV reported. Flooding also closed part of Broad Street in Statesville. Interstate 77 was partially flooded from north of Harris Boulevard to Davidson.
The National Weather Service also plans to survey damage in Spartanburg County and other parts of South Carolina where tornadoes were suspected.
Some parts of the Carolinas remained under tornado watches until at least 10 p.m., including Anson and Richmond counties and Chesterfield, S. C.
The American Red Cross opened shelters at South Caldwell High School, 7035 Spartan Drive in Hudson; Alliance Bible Fellowship Church Hall, 1035 Highway 105 in Boone; and at the Wilkes Senior Center, 228 Fairplains School Road in North Wilkesboro. A shelter was on standby at the Ellenboro Fire Department, 175 Depot St. in Bostic, Rutherford County.
People can check shelter availability and whether a shelter is open on the Red Cross emergency app. It may be downloaded in your mobile phone app store. or text “GETEMERGENCY” to 90999. Anyone considering going to the shelter in Rutherford County is urged to check the app first to confirm the shelter has been opened.
Among the damage incidents reported early Tuesday:
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Little damage in York, Chester from Monday storm
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Possible tornado in Spartansburg, South Carolina leaves damage
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Gusty Winds Down Trees Across Tri-State Area
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Eurozone companies hiring at fastest pace in over a decade (3.10/17)

Companies in the eurozone are hiring at the fastest pace in over a decade, according to a closely-watched survey of business activity published Tuesday.
The purchasing managers' index, a gauge of activity in the services and manufacturing sectors by IHS Markit, edged down to 55.9 points in October from 56.7 in September. The index is on a 100-point scale, with anything above 50 indicating growth.
Though the index's overall figure edged down, the relatively high level suggests the 19-country eurozone economy continued its strong period of expansion this year.
Firms reported a rise in orders, leading to the need to hire more staff. The rate of job creation was the highest in over a decade.
Manufacturing in particular is enjoying a boom, thanks in part to a decline in the value of the euro earlier this year. Jobs growth in the sector was the highest since the survey began in June 1997.
France and Germany stood out as top performers in the bloc, with smaller economies growing at a slightly slower but still robust pace.
"The eurozone economy has had a good year so far, and the initial signs are that this has continued at the start of the final quarter of 2017," said Andrew Harker, associate director of IHS Markit.

Eurozone companies hiring at fastest pace in over a decade
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Eurozone companies hiring at fastest pace in over a decade
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Eurozone companies hiring at fastest pace in over a decade
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Zendaya, Cate Blanchett talk about empowerment at InStyle Awards (3.09/17)

LOS ANGELES — Cate Blanchett and Zendaya pointed out that fashion means more than just clothes. They talked about how style and beauty can be empowering for women at the third annual InStyle Awards on Monday at The Getty Center.
Zendaya says fashion has become a platform to showcase different types of beauty. She says that mothers have told her that their daughters like their hair now because she wore an Afro.
Blanchett added that fashion can be an extension of who women are.
The two stars were among honorees including Elle Fanning, Demi Lovato, hair stylist Harry Josh and makeup artist Hung Vanngo at the soiree that included celebrity guests like Cindy Crawford, Ellen Pompeo, Connie Britton and Kate Bosworth.

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Zendaya, Cate Blanchett preach empowerment at InStyle Awards
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Russia's 2018 World Cup costs grow by $600m (3.09/17)

Russian authorities say next year's World Cup will cost $600 million more than previously planned.
There was no immediate explanation from organizers or the Russian government for the latest cost rise, published in a government decree Tuesday and signed by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev.
Costs have risen by 34.5 billion rubles ($600 million) to 678 billion rubles ($11.8 billion), the decree states.
Of that, 57.6 percent comes from the federal budget. There is another 13.6 percent from regional government budgets, with a further 28.8 percent from "legal entities," a category which can include both private and state-run companies.
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Russia’s 2018 World Cup costs grow by $600m
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Russia's 2018 World Cup costs grow by $600m
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Russia's 2018 World Cup costs grow by $600m
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What can be done about the abandoned embassy next door? (3.09/17)

WASHINGTON (AP) - It's an only-in-Washington sort of problem, but a very real quality-of-life issue for residents and local politicians. The nation's capital is littered with abandoned and neglected diplomatic buildings - old embassies, consulates or ambassadors' former homes.
These buildings all enjoy diplomatic status from the State Department, which means they are tax-free and the city government can't touch them. In some cases, these neglected properties have become genuine public safety hazards and magnets for squatters.
District of Columbia City Council members complain their hands are tied as long as State protects these buildings. But the department's options are limited as well. Aside from nagging, all they can do is threaten to revoke a building's diplomatic status. And that's a rare and extreme step that risks an international diplomatic incident.
© 2017 Associated Press

What can be done about the abandoned embassy next door?
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What can be done about the abandoned embassy next door?
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What can be done about the abandoned embassy next door?
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Kuwait ruler sees complications from prolonged Qatar dispute (3.09/17)

Kuwait's ruler cautions the crisis between a quartet of Arab countries and Qatar "could see more complications" even as he continues to try and mediate an end to the diplomatic standoff.
Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah made the comments Tuesday before lawmakers in Kuwait's National Assembly, saying that "the crisis could see more complications that will have a negative effect regionally and internationally, and can harm Gulf nations and their people."
One immediate consequence is that the annual Gulf Cooperation Council summit, scheduled for December, is reportedly being delayed until next year.
The crisis erupted in June when Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt severed ties with Qatar and accused it of backing extremist groups. Qatar denies the allegations and says the moves are politically motivated.
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Kuwait ruler sees complications from prolonged Qatar dispute
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Kuwait ruler sees complications from prolonged Qatar dispute
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Kuwait ruler sees complications from prolonged Qatar dispute
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0.7

Parish president moves to axe unpopular tax (3.09/17)

A parish president in south Louisiana says she is moving to rescind an unpopular economic development tax.
The three-quarter cent sales tax was adopted by the Parish Council last November.
The tax had been collected since January in six parish economic development districts along Interstate 12.
St. Tammany Parish President Pat Brister said in a statement Monday that the $4 million generated would have been useful. But, she said, taxpayers and businesses have made it clear they do not favor the tax.
She said she has asked the local sheriff to stop collecting the tax. She said she will seek an ordinance officially removing it in the coming weeks.
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Parish president moves to axe unpopular tax
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Parish president moves to axe unpopular tax
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Parish president moves to axe unpopular tax
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1.0

Natural gas company announces another slight rate decrease (3.09/17)

New Jersey Natural Gas customers will wind up saving more than a dollar a month with a recently-approved rate reduction.
The state Board of Public Utilities approved a decrease in the energy-efficiency rate Friday. NJ.com reports the lower rate means that customers who use the average rate of natural gas will see their annual bill drop by $13.40.
New Jersey Natural Gas says the change will go into effect on Nov.1.
The utility previously announced a 0.7 percent decrease in rates, and a typical customer can expect to spend about $1,057 a year on natural gas.
New Jersey Natural Gas provides service to approximately 500,000 homes in Burlington, Monmouth, Ocean, Middlesex, Morris and Sussex counties.
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Natural gas company announces another slight rate decrease
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Natural gas company announces another slight rate decrease
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Natural gas company announces another slight rate decrease
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0.8

Police asking for help locating missing man with dementia (3.08/17)

KALAMAZOO, MI -- The Kalamazoo County Sheriff's Office is asking for the public's help locating a missing man who has dementia.
Robert Allen Srackangast, 78, was reported missing Monday, Oct. 23 around 10 p.m.
Police said Srackangast was last seen leaving Borgess Hospital around 6:30 p.m. and did not make it home to Comstock Township.
Srackangast is 5 feet, 6 inches tall and weights approximately 180 pounds. He has brown hair and brown eyes.
Police said he was last seen wearing a burgundy sweatshirt, jeans, white shoes, a blue baseball hat with red brim and glasses.
Srackangast was last seen driving a white 2015 KIA Rio with Michigan registration BZG9389
Anyone who might have information is asked to contact the Kalamazoo County Sheriff's Office at 269-383-8748 or Silent Observer at 269-343-2100. Information can also be reported online at www.kalamazoosilentobserver.com.

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Kate Steinle's dad to continue testimony in day 2 of trial (3.07/17)

Kate Steinle's father is expected back on the stand in day two of the trial for the man accused of killing her. Steinle's death on Pier 14 has been in the center of the national debate over sanctuary cities. Jim Steinle was the first witness called by the prosecution; he held back tears as he described his final moments with his daughter who was shot while they were walking together on Pier 14. During opening statements, the prosecutor picked up the gun that killed Steinle. Diana Garcia told the jury that Jose Garcia Zarate pointed the gun at Steinle. That is the key question the jury must decide, whether Garcia Zarate intended to pull the trigger."The charge is murder, in this particular context it's in the 2nd degree and what we need to show is that he intended to fire that gun," said Alex Bastian, district attorney's spokesperson. Seconds after the gun was fired Garcia Zarate threw it in the bay. His defense team contends he picked it up wrapped in a cloth, fired it accidentally and got rid of it to make it stop shooting. The gun had been stolen from a car belonging to a federal ranger four days prior to Steinle's death. That ranger will testify in the upcoming days. The trial is expected to resume at 10 a.m.

Murder trial set for man who stoked immigration debate
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Trial in Iowa City slaying moved to Scott County
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Trial continues for San Francisco pier killing that provoked immigration debate Video
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911 call after teacher found dead: "I think someone killed my wife" (3.03/17)

STRONGSVILLE, Ohio -- Police are investigating the circumstances surrounding the death of a middle school teacher in Ohio.
CBS News affiliate WOIO-TV reports 49-year-old Melinda Pleskovic was found dead inside of her home in Strongsville late Monday night.
Pleskovic's husband apparently notified authorities of her death. During a conversation with a 911 operator, he said, "I think someone killed my wife."
Pleskovic was a sixth grade teacher at Strongsville Middle School.
The school district released a written statement in response to her death, which reads in part: "We have been informed of an investigation being conducted by the Strongsville Police Department regarding an incident at the home of one of our 6th grade teachers. As this is an ongoing police investigation, we are unable to comment any further at this time. We will, however, have crisis counselors on hand for students to speak with as we are aware this is unsettling and has been publicized through the media."
Pleskovic is survived by her husband and son, Kyle.

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0.0

Here's what to do during a boil water advisory (2.41/17)

A boil water advisory can be a nuisance - but it also keeps residents safe.
It's a public health advisory given by government officials when a city or community's water system could be contaminated by bacteria. Until the advisory is lifted, residents are advised to boil water before drinking it or using it to cook to ensure there is no bacteria before consumption.
More boiling water:
Oakland County water emergency: Here's what we know
How long to boil water for purification?
Boil water advisories typically happen due to a water main break and/or a loss of pressure in the water system.
So what should you do if you're affected by a boil water advisory?
To prevent contamination, you must boil all tap water you use inside your home. To do so:
To be clear, you must boil your water before using it to:
For more tips, read more from the Centers for Disease Control (doc).
According to the CDC, you also can disinfect your water if boiling it is not an option. There are different steps, depending on whether the tap water is clear or cloudy. You also must sanitize your containers properly before storing the safe water.
Read more on disinfecting your water here (doc).
Make sure you don't swallow any water when bathing or showering. And use caution when bathing babies and/or young children. Consider a sponge bath to reduce the chance of them swallowing water, according to the CDC.
For more tips and answered questions, read this CDC document .
Contact Brian Manzullo: bmanzullo@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @BrianManzullo.

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11 Oakland County communities, hospitals under boil water advisory
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11 Oakland County communities, hospitals under boil water advisory
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11 Oakland County communities, hospitals under boil water advisory
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1.4

Cult of personality thrives on the geopolitical playing field of the world’s two powerhouses (2.30/17)

Like President Xi Jinping and Tung Chee-hwa, the first Chief Executive of Hong Kong, I love football – or soccer if you prefer.
I was hooked as soon as I could stand up, ably aided and abetted by my late father who, when I instinctively held out my hands to catch a ball he threw towards me as a toddler, said: “No, kick it son, use your feet.” An example, if ever there was one, of how coaching and education can shape basic human instinct into something unexpected, new and pleasurable.
That must be why they call it “The Beautiful Game’’.
Of course, it isn’t always beautiful by any stretch. Problems big and small blight the sport, but to get back to the action, there is nothing worse than a greedy striker who despite having not scored for weeks, insists on doing it all himself and hitting a 25-yard scorcher into the top corner, selfishly ignoring teammates in better positions, and missing by a mile.
Big Charlie White, the manager of Invergowrie Lad’s Club (under 12s) – my first organised team – would berate our serial offender thus: “Hey, MacDonald, how many times have I told you, there is no ‘I’ in team.”
As the final whistle looms on another year of tumult and uncertainty, the cult of the individual is alive and well, in fact, it never went away, hidden in plain sight for times just like these.
It appears the top two teams in the premier league of geopolitical power have come out for the second half of a chaotic and bruising contest. Both teams need to put some steel in their backline and neither can afford to lose a goal. In fact, if you ask me John, at this stage, I reckon they’d both settle for a draw.
In post-party congress Beijing President Xi invokes stars of the past Mao Zedong – who was fond of red cards – and Deng Xiaoping to cement his grip on power and keep the team-China party-hearty as it embarks on a new golden era dripping with trophies, including the Fifa World Cup.
In the United States, where they like to think they do things differently, it’s also time to wheel out the old greats. New boss Donald Trump is spending too much time on the golf course, has lost the dressing room and performances are suffering.
On cue, past presidents-turned-super-subs, the experienced mid-field trio of Obama, Bush and Clinton dust off their old boots to tell team USA, and all their fans, that despite the recent bad run of form, the “American Dream” is still on.
All this tells us is that we have failed – miserably – to learn the lessons of the past.
If we – whether fans of the Reds or the Stars and Stripes – are content with this outcome, then it’s time to look in the mirror. Our schizoid and blinded culture swells with self-satisfied indignation.
The cult of the individual begins with and relies on delusion. Surely, the time has come for us to realise this simple fact.

Op-Ed: Where will Xi take China, and the world?
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What is Xi thinking? China's leader makes the constitution
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China's Xi Is Elevated To New Level, With Echoes Of Mao: The Two-Way: NPR
npr.org

 

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Estranged wife of Lucena’s top drug personality shot dead (2.20/17)

LUCENA CITY – The estranged wife of Sahjid Alcala, this city’s alleged top drug personality who was arrested on drug charges in November last year, was shot dead by still a unidentified assailant early evening Tuesday, police said.
Supt. Reynaldo Maclang, chief of the Lucena City Police Station, said Arlene Alcala, 38, was shot dead inside her car in Barangay Ilayang Iyam around 6:30 p.m. She died on the spot, police said.
“We have no witness yet,” Maclang said.
In September last year, police officers armed with a search warrant raided Arlene’s house in San Juan Estate in Barangay Isabang, Tayabas City.
The raiders recovered six sachets of crystal meth, or shabu, worth P1,500; a sachet containing suspected marijuana seeds; and magazines and bullets for a .45-caliber pistol. She was able to post bail.
Meanwhile, Sahjid is still detained at the Pagbilao District Jail in Barangay Talipan in nearby Pagbilao town. –Delfin T. Mallari Jr. /atm

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Indonesian police arrest 9 suspected Islamic militants
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Apprenticeships Could Narrow the U. S. Skills Gap (2.14/17)

In mid-March, during one of those CEO meetings that President Donald Trump used to hold before they were disbanded, Marc Benioff, the chief executive of Salesforce.com, was asked to make some brief remarks. One of Benioff’s passions is apprenticeships; he believes that if the U. S. had an apprenticeship system like Germany or Australia, it could make a significant dent in the unemployment rate, especially among the millions of people who lack college degrees.
After quickly introducing himself, Benioff cut to the chase. “We’d love to encourage you to take a moonshot goal of creating 5 million apprenticeships in the next five years,” he told Trump.
“Let’s do that,” replied the president, breaking into a big smile. “Let’s go for that 5 million. Okay?”
Last week, in an announcement that was barely noticed, the Labor Department unveiled its Task Force on Apprenticeship Expansion. In addition to three cabinet secretaries—Betsy DeVos at Education, Wilbur Ross at Commerce and Alexander Acosta at Labor—the panel will include several chief executives of Fortune 500 companies, some union representatives and the heads of key lobbying groups like the National Association of Manufacturers. Plus John Ratzenberger, the actor who played Cliff Clavin, the postal carrier on “Cheers.” He's an advocate for skills training.
This is hardly an encouraging first step. Government-appointed task forces rarely make the kinds of bold recommendations needed to jump-start a new idea. That will be especially true of this panel. There are too many interest groups with too many competing agendas to reach the necessary compromises, so the final report is likely to be mush. Like so much else with Trump, it's hard to imagine this apprenticeship push amounting to anything.
Which is a real shame. According to the Department of Labor, there are 6.1 million jobs that employers can’t fill because they can’t find enough skilled workers. A study conducted this summer by the National Center for the Middle Market at Ohio State University found that 44 percent of mid-market companies
1
said they had difficulty recruiting people who had the skills they needed. Some 37 percent said their growth was constrained by a lack of talent. Small businesses, meanwhile, complain that there are “few or no qualified applications” to fill job openings.
At the same time, young people who didn’t attend college are having a hard time finding jobs that pay more than the minimum wage. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are 5.1 million Americans who want full-time work but can only find part-time jobs. The unemployment rate for high school graduates and college dropouts is close to 20 percent. Peter Boockvar, the chief market analyst for the economic advisory consulting firm the Lindsey Group, told the Washington Post recently that nearly one out of five Americans between the ages of 25 and 54 are out of work.
This mismatch has a name: the skills gap. The solution, obviously, is to get prospective workers the skills training they need. But this turns out to be something the U. S. is not very good at. Community colleges, which should be a big part of the answer, focus more on standard college material than on vocational training, and their dropout rate is appalling high.
Government retraining programs have had almost no impact. A large part of the reason, says Nicholas Wyman, an expert on job training and apprenticeships, is that “all the supposed training takes place in a classroom” rather than on a factory floor or in a company office.
As for apprenticeships, the only U. S. industry that relies on them is construction, and that is in part because unions use them to keep non-union labor away. (Five of the 23 members of the task force represent either construction unions or the construction industry.)
Yet if done right, apprenticeships could do a lot to close the skills gap. In a good apprenticeship program, unskilled workers would be guided by mentors, get on-the-job training and take narrowly tailored classes in community college.
For companies, apprenticeship programs would mean that instead of waiting fruitlessly for skilled workers to walk in the door, they could build the workforce they need. Government’s role would be to supply enough money to help subsidize the salaries of the apprentices, certify that the apprenticeships meet certain minimum standards, push community colleges to align themselves with an apprenticeship movement, and help create a culture where apprenticeships are seen as a head-held-high alternative to a college degree.
It doesn’t take a task force to figure that out. All it takes is a look across the ocean to see what other countries have done. Put aside Germany, which has had a culture of apprenticeship for hundreds of years. Take, instead, the U. K., which in the late 1990s not only had high unemployment but had the same kind of pessimism among the unemployed that the U. S. now faces. In a bid to spur the economy, the government of Tony Blair decided to revive the country’s apprenticeships, which had nearly died out.
Between 2003 and 2012, according to Thomas Bewick, who advised the Blair government, the number of apprentices grew from 75,000 to 800,000 a year. It’s now up to 1 million a year.
What’s required beyond some government money, Bewick told me, is to get business to buy in.
“In Australia,” said Wyman, who is Australian, “apprenticeships are employer-led, with government as a partner at the table.” Australia also uses nonprofits, called Group Training Organizations, which match apprentices with companies. These organizations pay the apprentices and handle everything from teaching workplace behavior to providing insurance to managing recruitment. Companies pay the apprentice’s wage and a small fee to the nonprofit. Organizing apprenticeships this way is attractive to small and medium-sized businesses for whom running their own programs would be intimidating.
What one hears these days is that big U. S. companies that would like to try to start employing apprentices have lost hope that the Trump administration will ever do anything serious to push the issue along.
What is needed is not a task force, but a person with a vision for how apprenticeships can finally be a tool to shrink the skills gap. A person who is respected in the business community, and can get it to rally around a plan.
Thus my advice to the Trump administration: Disband your task force and give the job to Marc Benioff. And then get out of the way.
This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.
To contact the author of this story: Joe Nocera at jnocera3@bloomberg.net
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jonathan Landman at jlandman4@bloomberg.net

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Weather forecast for Raleigh, Durham, Cary, Chapel Hill and Fayetteville (2.13/17)

Raleigh, N. C. — Strong storms that brought strong wind and heavy rain to parts of central North Carolina overnight have moved out of the area, making way for sunny skies on the second day of the work week.
The storms Monday night brought much needed rain to the Triangle, but left more than 1,00 people in Wake County without power at their peak. At least 98,000 homes and businesses lost power across North Carolina.
Most of the power outages were concentrated to the western part of the state. Roughly 37,000 customers were in the dark around Hickory early Tuesday morning, according to the Duke Energy power outage map, and the National Weather Service was checking to confirm reports of tornados.
At times, the storms dumped up to 7 inches of rain per hour on parts of North Carolina, but most people around the central part of the state got half an inch to an inch and a half.
The storms were brought on by a cold front, but it will take a few days for temperatures to drop.
The Triangle will stay warm on Tuesday, in the low to mid 70s, under partly cloudy skies, according to WRAL meteorologist Elizabeth Gardner.
"We're going to stay warm this morning," Gardner said. "We do end up with some cooler temperatures a little later in the week."
Wednesday will be much cooler as highs top out in the mid 60s. The rest of the week should remain dry with highs in the low 70s.
Humidity will stick around on Tuesday, too, Gardner said. Dew points will linger in the 50s but plummet to the 30s in the middle of the week.
"It will stay on the muggy-ish side today, but tomorrow those dew points drop down into the 30s—same thing on Thursday," Gardner said. "That indicates a very dry air mass. It's going to feel great."

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Here Are 2017's 15 Fallen U. S. Soldiers And How To Help Their Families (2.12/17)

At the Brigade level, he is a social-security number that is tracked. At Division level, he is a story board. At the Corps level, he is a statistic. At the Company and Platoon level, he is a gaping hole in the souls of a hundred men. To his family, it is the end of the world. —Jim Gourley, 2010
We have been discussing Gold Star families for the better part of a week now. The longer this spectacle continues, the sadder it becomes. The controversy is ostensibly about how our politicians and society treat the loved ones of those who have given the last full measure of devotion, but any meaningful focus on the stories and needs of these families themselves has been conspicuously absent. This article won’t mention the actions of politicians on either side of the aisle, because the story should never have been about them in the first place.
But maybe we can bring some good out of the fact that the families of the fallen have become the subject of our media cycle. To formalize a Twitter thread I posted on Wednesday, here is a short profile of every serviceman we lost in 2017, as well as verified GoFundMe accounts or memorial funds for many of their families. These are the people who matter. Let’s focus on them.
Chief Owens was killed in action in a Navy SEAL raid against the ISIS leader. His wife, Carryn, was honored with a standing ovation that lasted more than two minutes at this year’s State of the Union address.
De Alencar was a green beret who promised his stepdaughter he’d be home for her graduation. Eighty of his fellow green berets took his place. SFC De Alencar’s widow recently released a video of her phone call with President Trump.
In lieu of active GoFundMe accounts for SCPO Owens and SFC De Alencar, donations can be made to the Special Operations Foundation, which provides scholarships for the children of special operators who were killed in action.
Lee was killed in action by a roadside bomb in Iraq, outside of Mosul, during the coalition-led offensive to retake the city from ISIS. A ranger school classmate remembered Lee as “a friend, a true gentleman, and an American hero. He had a southern drawl even during movement to contact in the swamps. He adored his girlfriend and loved his country.”
A GoFundMe for a scholarship in Lee’s honor is here .
Thomas was an Army Ranger on his third deployment. He had 11 siblings. His obituary described him as “a walking contradiction. He drove a Jetta and rode a vintage Harley. He could strike a menacing paralyzing pose then flash a smile, wink his deep blue eyes, give you a bear hug and be the most loveable person alive. He was equally comfortable draped in half a dozen small kids as he was in the tools of war. He was smart, spoke Farsi, studied emergency medicine and radio technology.”
A GoFundMe for Thomas’s family is here .
Rodgers was a member of Third Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment with Thomas. “He was a man of very few words, but when he spoke you listened.” Friends remembered that he had wanted to be a Ranger since he was a little boy.
The Rodgers family set up a memorial fund in his honor, in conjunction with the Illinois Prairie Relief Foundation. The fund will provide college scholarships for other members of Third Ranger Battalion.
Houck married his high school sweetheart. They have a five-year-old son and three-year-old daughter. His father remembered that Houck’s “family was the most important thing to him” and described him as “a hell of a father, a husband, a son, a brother, a soldier.”
A GoFundMe for Houck’s wife and children is here .
Baldridge’s last post on Facebook was a video of Shaquille O’Neal dancing, accompanied by the caption “how I feel knowing deployment is almost over.”
A GoFundMe for Baldridge’s family is here .
Bays, 29, is survived by his wife Jasmin and his three young daughters: Laura, Mia, and Julia. From a story about Bays’ dignified transfer ceremony: “Soldiers, supporting local veterans, and representatives to the family quietly watched as Bays’ mother April Briggs Bays cried into her daughter Lindsay’s arms.” A procession of veterans on motorcycles accompanied Bays from the airport to the funeral home.
Hunter came from a family with a history of military service. He married on October 15,2016, and had only been in Afghanistan for a month before he was killed. He and his wife had just discovered that they were expecting.
A GoFundMe page for SGT Hunter’s family is here .
Butler was a green beret who had also served as a Latter Day Saints missionary in Ghana. His family released the following statement: “The Army values are: ‘Loyalty, Duty, Respect, Selfless-Service, Honor, Integrity, Personal Courage’. Aaron Butler personified those values in everything he said and did. In a life that was all too brief, our dear son and brother made the ultimate sacrifice for his country. While we are heartbroken to become a Gold Star family, we honor Aaron’s service and sacrifice. Aaron was a strength to us, an inspiration to those around him, and a joy to have in our family.”
Missildine was just 20 years old. At a candlelight memorial service in his hometown of Tyler, Texas, hundreds of people promised to pray for Missildine’s family every day at 10 a.m. and 10 p.m. for the next six months.
Wright’s family has a 205-year history of military service. Men from the Wright family have fought in every one of America’s wars, from 1812 to the Global War on Terror. He spoke to his brother on the phone 10 days before the ambush that killed him. Their last words to each other were “I love you.”
Wright’s family is raising money for the Fisher House and the Green Beret Foundation in his honor.
Black was remembered as an incredible husband and father. From a local news story about him: “Another neighbor says Black’s mom, a teacher in the Sumner School District, was excited several days ago about what this year would bring. Now everything has changed, as loved ones grieve yet again for an American hero.”
Those close to Johnson described him as “a red, white, and blue, rock-solid American with a great heart.” From a local news story about Johnson: “When an Army chaplain showed up Wednesday night trying to locate Debbie Gannon, it was like a gut punch to friends. ‘I knew it was, right then that was the, I knew who it was and I knew it was going to be Debbie’s son,’ said Jeff Baldrige, a 30-year Air Force veteran. ‘There’s so much horrible that’s going on in America, that just piles on another one that’s really, really close to home.’”
Johnson married his childhood sweetheart, whom he had known since he was six years old. Johnson’s widow is pregnant with the couple’s third child.
A GoFundMe for SGT Johnson’s family is here .

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Remember when banning bump stocks was a thing? (2.09/17)

And then, nothing. Check out this Google Trends search data on "bump stocks":
Interest in bump stocks surged in the wake of the Vegas shooting on Sunday, October 1, but it almost as quickly faded. By October 14 -- less than two weeks after the shooting -- the search interest in bump stocks was back to pre-shooting levels.
That lack of interest has coincided with a major slowdown in congressional action. California Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein has introduced a bill that would ban bump stocks. On the House side, Florida Republican Rep. Carlos Curbelo and Massachusetts Democratic Rep. Seth Moulton have co-sponsored a similar bill. But congressional Republicans seem uninterested in moving a ban forward, preferring to let the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives handle it.
Without public attention or pressure, it's uniquely possible, of course, that nothing at all happens. And this after the largest mass shooting in modern history.

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Church gunman had note about Dylann Roof in his car: cops (2.07/17)

The deranged man who opened fire in a Tennessee church last month, had a note in his car calling white supremacist Dylann Roof “less than nothing,” according to a new report.
Police say Emanuel Kidega Samson, 25, killed a woman while she was running away and injured seven others in the shooting at Burnette Chapel Church of Christ on Sept. 24., though the investigation into his motive in ongoing, Nashville Detective Steve Jolley testified Monday, according to the Tennessean.
Jolley said a note reading, “Dylann Roof was less than nothing,” was found in the alleged shooter’s car, referencing the 2015 Charleston shooting where Roof killed nine black parishioners at the historic Emanuel AME Church.
The note didn’t make it clear whether Samson, who is black, intended to retaliate against the Charleston attack, Jolley said.
The Sudanese immigrant also, “made some comments about visions and voices,” including a vision of the very church he allegedly shot up, Jolley testified.
Samson is being charged with criminal homicide and the feds have an open civil rights investigation into the case that will seek to determine the motive.

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Global stock markets rise on strong earnings, economic data (2.07/17)

By JOE McDONALD AP Business Writer
BEIJING (AP) - Global stock markets rose Tuesday on upbeat corporate earnings and economic data globally. Tokyo's benchmark Nikkei 225 extended a post-World War II record by logging its 16th straight trading session of gains.
KEEPING SCORE: Germany's DAX rose 0.3 percent to 13,044 and France's CAC-40 gained 0.4 percent to 5,409. The FTSE 100 in London gained 0.1 percent to 7,531. On Wall Street, the future for the Dow Jones industrial average rose 0.6 percent while the Standard & Poor's 500 futures were up 0.2 percent.
GROWTH DATA: A survey in the eurozone showed its economy continued to grow at a fast pace in October and that companies were hiring at their fastest pace in a decade. The manufacturing sector in particular saw good growth in France and Germany. In Japan, a survey of manufacturers showed activity weakened but still grew relatively strongly and exports rising.
EARNINGS: Corporate reports were positive from McDonald's as well as from automakers General Motors and Fiat Chrysler. McDonald's made third-quarter earnings of $1.88 billion, which beat expectations. Though GM posted a huge paper loss last quarter, that was due to charges from the sale of its European unit. Without that, it made an above-expectation $2.5 billion before taxes. Fiat Chrysler saw net profit rise 50 percent and maintained its outlook.
ASIA'S DAY: Tokyo's Nikkei 225 index climbed 0.5 percent to 21,805.17 and the Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.2 percent to 3,388.25. Hong Kong's Hang Seng lost 0.5 percent to 28,154.97 while Sydney's S&P-ASX 200 was little-changed at 5,897.60. Seoul's Kospi was unchanged at 2,490.49 and India's Sensex advanced 0.3 percent to 32,594.62. Benchmarks in Taiwan, Bangkok and Jakarta rose while New Zealand and Singapore retreated.
CHINA POLITICS: China's ruling Communist Party is preparing to appoint President Xi Jinping this week to a second five-year term as leader and unveil a new ruling inner circle around him. After spending his first term cementing his status as China's most powerful leader since Deng Xiaoping in the 1980s, Xi is widely expected to shift focus to economic policy. In a speech last week, Xi promised to promote entrepreneurial activity but also affirmed party ambitions to build up state-owned companies that dominate banking, energy and other industries. Five of the seven members of the party's Standing Committee are due to retire under informal age limits, clearing the way for Xi to promote allies.
ENERGY: Benchmark U. S. crude gained 25 cents to $52.15 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose 6 cents on Monday. Brent crude, used to price international oils, gained 18 cents to $57.55 in London. It fell 38 cents the previous session.
CURRENCY: The dollar rose to 113.90 yen from Monday's 113.43 yen. The euro gained to $1.1760 from $1.1749.
Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Detroit Pistons must halt trend of double-digit deficits after loss to Philadelphia (2.07/17)

As Detroit Pistons forward Tobias Harris spoke with reporters, teammate Avery Bradley listened from across the home locker room at Little Caesars Arena.
And when Bradley’s turn came moments later, he made a point to slightly contradict Harris’ assessment of the 97-86 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers on Monday night before a crowd generously counted at 13,709.
Harris spoke of missed shots.
Bradley spoke of getting stops.
“It’s a maturity thing, when you miss a shot, you have to go down and get three stops in a row,” Bradley said. “That has to be your mindset as a team. We’ll get there. We understand that and this was a great test for us tonight. We understand we’re not going to make shots every single night.
“I think I heard Tobias say it would have been a different game if we made some shots, but it would have been a different game if we got some stops as well.”
More Pistons:
For the second-straight game, the Pistons (2-2) fell behind by 20-plus in the first half - proving that even a sparse crowd can be heard when producing boos.
The deficit was 21 points against the 76ers (1-3), who picked up their first win of the young season.
The Pistons pulled to within four points at 90-86 on Reggie Jackson’s floater with 3:12 remaining.
But with too much Joel Embiid (30 points, nine rebounds) and Ben Simmons (21 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists), they were unable to overcome the lead.
It’s only four games into the season, so it’s definitely not panic time.
But there was a sense urgency in the locker room to nip the slow-start trend in the bud.
“Soon as we started the game, we didn’t bring enough energy that we needed to,” Tobias Harris said. “I think a lot of that had to deal with the ball not going in the basket for us in the first quarter and things of that nature. It’s something as a team that we have to build on and be able to be a defense-first team.”
Point guard Reggie Jackson (16 points, seven assists and five rebounds) said it all starts with him.
“Being the leader of this team, I got to lead us and I got to be better to get us off to a better start,” Jackson said. “Whatever it takes. If it takes getting us more riled up, we’re going to go back to the drawing board and try to get off to a better offensive start, as well as defensive.”
Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy said he needed to do a better job.
He couldn’t find any answers for Simmons or a struggling offense that shot 38.8% from the field and 20% from the line.
“Simmons, I’m going to take the blame on that one,” Van Gundy said. “I am, because I just didn’t find an answer with him at all, I did not.
“I’m not trying to protect anybody. There are things that guys could have done better game plan wise, but I did a really, really poor job in terms of Simmons.
“It’s frustrating and I didn’t do a very good job offensively, either.”
Van Gundy is also still scrambling when it comes to the rotation.
Langston Galloway (nine points on three triples) shot the ball well, but Van Gundy never went back to him when he left the game in the second half because of bleeding.
Van Gundy admitted that was a mistake. But he would only go so far in taking the blame.
The slow starts had him mention tweaking the starting rotation – even as he struggles with the playing rotation.
“It’s a little bit mind-boggling, two games in a row where we really weren’t ready,” Van Gundy said. “I didn’t think we played as hard we were capable of at the start of the game, so we have to figure that out – whether it’s those five guys, changing their mindset or whether we have to change the lineup to get some guys in there who can be ready to go at the beginning of the game.”
Quotable: “When we started the game, he was being aggressive and he was talking, too. So what I like (in my mind) you want to do that? I'm going to kick your ass then. So that's what I did.” Embiid on Pistons center Andre Drummond.
Contact Vince Ellis: vellis@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @vincent_ellis56.

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After a best-seller, novelist John Green lays bare his mind (2.07/17)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — In the years since John Green's tear-jerker love story about two teen cancer patients became a best-seller in 2012, the young adult novelist and video blogger wondered if he would ever be able to write another book. After "The Fault in Our Stars" sold over 45 million copies and was adapted into a popular film, the pressure was immense.
"I definitely felt like people were looking over my shoulder while I was trying to write," Green said during a recent book tour stop in Nashville, Tennessee. "I think that was the biggest reason why it took me so many years between books was because I definitely felt overwhelmed by the scale of things."
But to the relief of his many passionate fans, Green is back with his new novel, "Turtles All the Way Down," released this month. Green found inspiration in a mental disorder he lives with but has long struggled to describe in his writing.
His female protagonist in "Turtles" is obsessive-compulsive, like Green himself. She's thrust into the role of a teen detective trying to locate a missing billionaire while falling for his son. But unlike Sherlock Homes, 16-year-old Aza Holmes can barely see the world outside her own head as her illness takes her on ever-deepening spirals of repeated thoughts about anxieties and identity.
"That is my experience of OCD," Green said. "It does not come with secret detective powers despite the convention of the Sherlock Holmes stories. My experience with OCD is that it makes me incredibly unobservant."
Aza's disorder manifests itself as a fear of bacterial infection. When she pushes back against these intrusive thoughts, the anxiety increases until she feels no longer in control of her own body or actions. She constantly opens a wound on her finger to disinfect herself, which escalates even further in the climax of the novel.
Although Green has been dealing with OCD since childhood, he avoided writing it into his stories because he was afraid of how it would affect him.
"I think partly because I felt like writing about it would give it power somehow, when in fact it didn't," Green said.
But he also struggled with how to describe the psychological torment of not feeling in control of yourself and losing your own identity in a mental illness.
"It's really difficult to give it form or find language for it," Green said. "That was one of the things I wanted to write about was how much language struggles in the face of pain."
The characters in his new book find different ways and technologies to communicate with each other — through blogs, poems, texting, or "Star Wars" fan fiction — to make up for their fears of interaction in real life.
For a decade, Green and his brother, Hank, a musician and author, have been interacting with their fans via their YouTube collaboration called the Vlogbrothers. Along the way, they've built a loyal online community of fans who identify as "nerdfighters" and follow the motto of "Don't Forget To Be Awesome." Green joked that he could connect with fans "while never leaving my basement, which is very appealing."
"I love being a part of that community and it's tremendously invigorating to me to see their fan art, to read their comments and read fan fiction about my books," Green said.
By now his audience has grown far outside young adult readers, but he said that hasn't really changed his approach to writing about teens.
"I think the emotional experiences of being a teenager are pretty universal," Green said. "And I think the questions that they are asking — about identity and how you acknowledge personhood in other people and whether meaning in life is constructed by us or derived by something else — those are questions that are still fairly important to me."
__
Online:
www.johngreenbooks.com
__
Follow Kristin M. Hall at Twitter.com/kmhall

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Officials to meet on Grosvenor-Strathmore Metro plan (2.07/17)

ROCKVILLE, MD. (AP) - The Montgomery County Council is holding a hearing on the Grosvenor-Strathmore Metro Area Minor Master Plan.
The hearing is scheduled for Tuesday evening in Rockville.
The 117-acre plan advances Montgomery County's goal of transit-oriented development at Metro stations to keep up with the county's housing demands.
The Council's Planning, Housing and Economic Development Committee will review the plan in November.
© 2017 Associated Press

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Ex-Platinum executive, NYC union chief face trial for bribe charges (2.07/17)

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A New York federal jury is scheduled to hear opening statements on Tuesday in a bribery trial of the former head of New York City’s correction officers’ union and a former executive at the now-defunct hedge fund firm Platinum Partners.
Norman Seabrook, who once led the Correction Officers’ Benevolent Association, and former Platinum executive Murray Huberfeld are facing charges of honest services wire fraud and conspiracy before U. S. District Judge Andrew Carter in federal court in Manhattan.
In June 2016, U. S. prosecutors charged that Seabrook, 57, invested $20 million of union funds with Platinum in exchange for a bribe arranged by Huberfeld, 57. Both men have pleaded not guilty.
Last December, seven people affiliated with Platinum were charged with running a $1 billion fraud that prosecutors said was “like a Ponzi scheme.” They have pleaded not guilty.
Platinum has been placed under the control of a court-appointed receiver.
Real estate developer Jona Rechnitz, who has pleaded guilty to federal charges and agreed to cooperate with authorities, will likely play a key role in the case. Rechnitz is expected to testify that he helped arrange the bribery scheme.
Rechnitz, a donor to New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, is linked to a wide-ranging corruption probe that has led to charges against police officers and others.
No charges were brought against de Blasio, and a related probe into his fundraising was closed in March.
Seabrook’s lawyer, Paul Shechtman, and Huberfeld’s lawyer, Henry Mazurek, have said in court hearings that they plan to challenge Rechnitz’s credibility.
At one hearing in August, the judge summarized their planned defense as an attempt to cast Rechnitz as “the financial equivalent of Keyser Soze,” Kevin Spacey’s character in the 1995 film “The Usual Suspects.”
In the film, Spacey’s character is a crime lord posing as a petty criminal cooperating with authorities who is able to escape prosecution by fabricating stories about other crimes.

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Lilly tops Street 3Q forecasts, considers business sale (2.06/17)

Eli Lilly is weighing the sale of an animal health business that the drugmaker once touted as key in helping it overcome the loss of patent protection for some top-selling drugs.
Lilly said Tuesday that alternatives for its Elanco Animal Health business also include an initial public offering or a merger. The drugmaker also might still keep the business, which brought in nearly $741 million in revenue during the third quarter.
Chairman and CEO David Ricks said that Elanco, which the company has bulked up with acquisitions in recent years, has been an important growth driver, and it is now large enough for Lilly "to consider a variety of options to maximize future value."
The drugmaker expects to provide an update by the middle of next year.
Eli Lilly and Co. lost patent protection for top selling drugs like the antipsychotics Zyprexa and the antidepressant Cymbalta a few years ago, which exposed those drugs to competition from cheaper generic versions. Lilly officials had touted the company's animal health business, as well as sales from new drugs and overseas revenue, among the factors that would help the company overcome the revenue drop.
The Indianapolis company reported Tuesday that third-quarter net income sank 29 percent to $555.6 million, due in part to restructuring costs and other one-time charges.
Last month, Lilly said it would cut about 3,500 positions as part of a plan to close some research sites and trim fixed costs.
Adjusted earnings totaled $1.05 per share in the third quarter. Worldwide revenue grew 9 percent to $5.66 billion, helped by established products like the insulin Humalog as well as newer drugs.
Analysts expected earnings of $1.03 per share on $5.52 billion in revenue, according to Zacks Investment Research.
Lilly also raised its forecast for 2017. The drugmaker now expects adjusted earnings to range from $4.15 to $4.25 per share, up from a forecast of $4.10 to $4.20 that it made in July.
Analysts expect $4.16 per share, according to FactSet.
Lilly shares jumped more than 2 percent, or $2.07, to $89.25 in early morning trading Tuesday.
Company shares have climbed 19 percent since the beginning of the year, while the Standard & Poor's 500 index has increased 15 percent.
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U. S. mulls sanctions against Myanmar for ongoing Rohingya crisis (2.06/17)

Oct. 24 (UPI) -- The Trump administration is considering sanctions against Myanmar as a response to the continuing Rohingya crisis, the U. S. State Department said.
The department said it was considering "economic options" to target those responsible for the atrocities against the Muslim Rohingya. Just last year, the United States government lifted unrelated decades-long sanctions against Myanmar.
State Department officials also said they are exploring "accountability mechanisms available under U. S. law" related to human rights penalties -- including those available under the Global Magnitsky Act, which allows the United States to freeze assets and impose visa bans on Myanmar authorities or security officials.
The department's statement said it has already "rescinded invitations for senior Burmese security forces to attend U. S.-sponsored events."
"We express our gravest concern with recent events in Rakhine State and the violent, traumatic abuses Rohingya and other communities have endured," the statement said.
"It is imperative that any individuals or entities responsible for atrocities, including non-state actors and vigilantes, be held accountable."
Rohingya Muslims, based in Myanmar's Rakhine province, have suffered widespread violence in recent months, prompting nearly 500,000 to flee into neighboring Bangladesh. The United Nations has said the atrocities amounts to ethnic cleansing.
Myanmar, a former-pariah state that only recently has been reintegrated into the global economy, could suffer enormously under new U. S. sanctions.
"We will continue to support Burma's transition to democracy, as well as efforts to resolve the current crisis in Rakhine State," the State Department said, "We are ready to support these efforts."

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Watch: Police Apologize After Terror Training Video ‘Hurts Palestinian Feelings’ (2.06/17)

New South Wales Police apologised for their effort on Monday, according to ABC News. The backdown came in response to Izzat Abdulhadi, the head of the general delegation of Palestine to Australia, claiming many people had been left “really upset” by the video designed to train frontline police to respond to a so-called “active armed offender” incident.
Speaking on SBS Arabic24, NSW police’s multicultural media liaison officer Tarek Al-Issawi apologized for any offence caused.
“There surely was no intention in any way to defame or insult any part of the community, and if some people felt insulted it was unintentional,” he said. “NSW Police, of course apologize, as it apologised to many who called and objected to this and we admitted we are wrong and we apologized for it.”
Mr Abdulhadi said the headdress worn by the main protagonists in the video— known as a keffiyeh — was a symbol of Palestinian heritage and culture.
“It touches their own value system and their feelings and emotions so they were really upset by using this to stimulate or give an image about Palestinians as if they are terrorists,” he said.
Mr Abdulhadi was also not convinced about the nature of the apology.
“I’m not sure if it is 100 per cent an apology or whatever but we appreciate the clarification from the New South Wales police. I think it is a good step in the right track and I hope in the future it will not be repeated. This is the most important thing,” he said.
One person who commented on SBS Arabic 24’s Facebook page was Abu Sanad Munier, Head of the Palestinian Federation of Workers, who wrote: “We are for making Australia a safe country, but we reject the distortion of the Palestinian Keffiyeh, that is symbolic of the Palestinian struggle.”
“We wonder if this step constitutes a prelude to the banning of the Keffiyeh, and what will the Australian society perception be if I wear it on the street?”
Facebook follower Walid Alsaadi commented: “This is a distortion of the Arab and Islamic community.”
“When wearing the Keffiyeh for a re-enactment scene this means that the government is against the Arabic community and are accusing us of terrorism. This is ultimate racism towards our community.”

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Global stock markets mostly higher after Wall Street loss (2.05/17)

Global stock markets rose Tuesday after Wall Street slid as investors looked for new drivers for trading activity. Tokyo's benchmark Nikkei 225 extended a post-World War II record by logging its 16th straight trading session of gains.
KEEPING SCORE: Germany's DAX rose 0.2 percent to 13,025.30 and France's CAC-40 gained 0.2 percent to 5,398.16. The FTSE 100 in London gained 1 point to 7,523.23. On Monday, the CAC-40 rose 0.3 percent and the DAX gained 0.1 percent while the FTSE 100 was little changed. On Wall Street, the future for the Dow Jones industrial average rose 0.2 percent while that for the Standard & Poor's 500 index was unchanged.
ASIA'S DAY: Tokyo's Nikkei 225 index rose 0.5 percent to 21,805.17 and the Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.2 percent to 3,388.25. Hong Kong's Hang Seng lost 0.5 percent to 28,154.97 while Sydney's S&P-ASX 200 was little-changed at 5,897.60. Seoul's Kospi was unchanged at 2,490.49 and India's Sensex advanced 0.3 percent to 32,594.62. Benchmarks in Taiwan, Bangkok and Jakarta rose while New Zealand and Singapore retreated.
ANALYST'S QUOTE: "It's was all quiet on the Western Front in European and U. S. trade and a pause after what has been such a strong run for global equity and credit markets," said Chris Weston of IG in a report. "Whether the gains can continue this week is obviously yet to be seen, but I remain a bull, but of the view that these markets are tired, fatigued and need new information to fuel the beast."
CHINA POLITICS: China's ruling Communist Party is preparing to appoint President Xi Jinping this week to a second five-year term as leader and unveil a new ruling inner circle around him. After spending his first term cementing his status as China's most powerful leader since Deng Xiaoping in the 1980s, Xi is widely expected to shift focus to economic policy. In a speech last week, Xi promised to promote entrepreneurial activity but also affirmed party ambitions to build up state-owned companies that dominate banking, energy and other industries. Five of the seven members of the party's Standing Committee are due to retire under informal age limits, clearing the way for Xi to promote allies.
JAPAN MANUFACTURING: A survey of manufacturers showed activity weakened this month but still grew relatively strongly. The preliminary version of the purchasing managers' index declined to 52.5 from 52.9 on a 100-point scale on which numbers above 50 show activity accelerating. The output component of the survey declined to 52.6 from 53.2 but still showed activity growing. Other components showed export volume rising.
ENERGY: Benchmark U. S. crude gained 7 cents to $51.97 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose 6 cents on Monday to close at $51.90. Brent crude, used to price international oils, gained 23 cents to $57.60 in London. It fell 38 cents the previous session to $57.37.
CURRENCY: The dollar rose to 113.65 yen from Monday's 113.43 yen. The euro gained to $1.1762 from $1.1749.
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General Motors Company 3Q17 Earnings Boost Shares (2.05/17)

GM 3Q17 earnings were released before opening bell this morning. The automaker reported adjusted earnings of $1.32 per share on $33.6 billion in sales, while analysts had been expecting earnings of $1.12 per share on $33.72 billion in revenue. In last year’s third quarter, General Motors reported earnings of $1.72 per share on $42.8 billion in sales.
On a GAAP basis, GM 3Q17 earnings were actually a loss of $2.03 per share or $2.98 billion, compared to the year-ago net profit of $1.17 per share or $2.77 billion. The non-GAAP adjusted EBIT margin contracted 1.9 points to 7.5%. The automaker said it was the first time it posted an adjusted profit in all business segments since the fourth quarter of 2014.
Wholesale volumes declined to 268,000 due to planned downtime in the automaker’s North American operations. U. S. dealer inventories declined by 160,000 units to 821,000 vehicles as of the end of September versus the end of June.
General Motors delivered 781,056 vehicles in the U. S. during the third quarter on the back of a 25% increase in retail crossover sales. It was the best third-quarter performance for crossovers in the automaker’s history. The automaker also delivered a record number of vehicles in China during the quarter at 982,311, a 12.3% year-over-year increase. In South America, the automaker delivered 179,421 vehicles, a 17.6% increase.
“We delivered solid results even with planned, lower third-quarter production in North America, GM Chairman and Chief Executive Mary Barra said in a statement. “We are managing the business with discipline to drive strong performance today, while investing in higher-return opportunities, including those that will shape the future of transportation.”
Following the GM 3Q17 earnings release, the automaker’s stock surged in premarket trades, climbing by as much as 4.25% to $47.07.

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Tampa mayor vows to catch "SOB" amid serial killer fears (2.05/17)

Police in Tampa, Florida, are intensifying their hunt for a possible serial killer. Dozens of officers are patrolling around the clock, looking for anything suspicious. They are also warning residents not to travel by themselves. Three people were shot and killed in the past two weeks while walking alone in the same neighborhood.
Not only have police increased patrols in this neighborhood, they've handed out lightbulbs to homeowners to keep their front porch lights on, reports CBS News correspondent Omar Villafranca. City crews are even replacing street lamps. The goal is to get rid of dark spots where someone could hide. People aren't relaxing until a suspect is caught. "Can you tell maybe the audience some tips for those people who may have to go to work at night, who may have to walk at night – what they can do to be safe," one man asked at a Monday night community meeting about the shootings. Anxious for answers about a possible serial killer still on the loose.
"We keep saying one person or we think one person, but isn't this kind of what we would see with a gang?" another said. Roughly 400 people packed into an elementary school auditorium to hear any updates from city officials. "We filmed him. We saw him walking, you notice that person. So, why was he not walking – was he walking to a home?" one woman asked.
There are also questions concerning this surveillance video showing a man police say they want to talk to. He was walking in the area when one of the three victims – Benjamin Mitchell – was murdered.
"There's a very good likelihood that someone in this room knows who's doing it," said Tampa Police Chief Brian Dugan.
Dugan wasn't ready to dismiss anyone in the community as a potential suspect or even a person of interest.
"This pains me to tell you that if you're out there walking alone, that you're either a suspect or a potential victim," Dugan said. Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn didn't hold back in pleading for the public's help. "We need you to call us and let us know what's going on. That's how we're gonna catch this guy. And we will hunt this son of a b**** down until we find him!" Buckhorn said.
Police are urging homeowners who have security cameras to turn over any video of suspicious activity. With Halloween just a week away, many parents are worried. Tampa's police chief says the area will be flooded with officers and that even he will be on patrol.

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Crabtree Valley Mall: Man charged with shooting in Raleigh, NC (2.05/17)

A 24-year-old man was arrested on charges of shooting into an occupied vehicle and going armed to the terror of the people after police had rushed to the parking lot of Crabtree Valley Mall on Monday night.
Mall police arrested Damien Dayquann Lyons at the scene.
Lyons was held overnight in lieu of $200,000 bail for a court appearance. He was charged with damaging personal property in addition to the other two charges.
Raleigh police also had responded to the parking lot of the mall near Best Buy and Old Navy after a report that a shot had been fired.
The incident was reported a bit before 5 p.m., and police charged Lyons about 7 p.m., according to county arrest records. Lyons was listed as living on Magnolia Court.
The mall remained open, but part of the parking lot near Barnes & Noble and Best Buy was been roped off for a time.
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Farewell to the king: Thailand prepares for Thursday funeral of beloved monarch (2.04/17)

Flipping through a binder of images of Thailand’s late King Bhumibol Adulyadej, Somsree pauses and pulls out her favourite: a shot from the 80s of the casually-dressed monarch sitting on a wooden bridge, his back against a truck and chatting with a villager.
Given his lofty role he did not have to travel the country, Somsree Trupsangsree said from the shop in Bangkok’s old quarter where she sells portraits of the revered monarch.
“But he went there to work,” the 59-year-old said, misty-eyed at the memory of Bhumibol, or Rama IX, whose funeral on Thursday will bring Thailand to a standstill.
“His hands still held a map. He sat next to the people, so down-to-earth,” she added.
Like many Thais, Somsree’s bond with King Bhumibol, who died a year ago aged 88 after a seven decade reign, is instinctive and intimate.
It is also grounded in a narrative tirelessly reinforced by the palace’s propaganda machine.
Pictures of him, like the ones she sells, plaster homes, storefronts and billboards while memories of his good works roll nightly across palace TV broadcasts.
From formal portraits in opulent robes to snaps of a sweat-streaked sovereign trudging through jungles to document his country’s needs, the late king is remembered as regal but accessible, rich but unflashy and always dedicated to the Thai people.
Bhumibol’s image has never been more prominent than in the run-up to his cremation – an elaborate affair expected to draw 250,000 mourners to Bangkok’s old quarter.
Thais are still adjusting to life under an heir who now presides over the crown’s immense wealth and prestige but is yet to foster the same bond with his people.
King Maha Vajiralongkorn, 65, is a more remote figure to his subjects and has spent much of his first year in power abroad, although he will be centre-stage throughout the funeral.
But unvarnished discussion on either monarch is impossible inside Thailand which jails critics of the institution under one of the world’s harshest royal defamation laws.
Raised in Switzerland, Bhumibol ascended the throne aged 18 in 1946 after his elder brother Ananda Mahidol was shot dead in mysterious circumstances at the Grand Palace in Bangkok.
He was crowned four years later, inheriting a monarchy whose power was in steady decline.
By time of his death, all of that had changed.
Bhumibol left behind one of the world’s richest monarchies, with the palace the pivot point of Thailand’s power networks including the influential military.
“Thailand needed a king as rallying and unifying symbol and a young king found a people to rebuild a kingdom around,” explained Thitinan Pongsudhirak, a politics professor at Chulalongkorn University.
A revival of antiquated palace rituals – including prostration in his presence – and spiritual duties gilded the throne, elevating Bhumibol to a semi-divine status.
That deification made scenes of his engagement with ordinary Thais even more remarkable to a nation awed by his work ethic.
Over years spent criss-crossing Thailand, Bhumibol seeded thousands of well-publicised royal projects in a poor, agrarian country that won him the moniker the “Development King”.
The trips produced a portfolio of pictures that cast Bhumibol as a compassionate king who shrugged off the riches of his position to put his people first.
Palace PR spread the message.
“There is a lot of hagiography and officially enforced views about Thailand’s traditional institutions, but it all would not have worked without King Bhumibol the way that he was,” Thitinan said.
“The king was so devoted, dedicated and diligent that people saw it and over time this became their bond.”
His long reign saw the flickers of Communist rebellion extinguished with US help and repeated rounds of electoral politics unpicked by violent protest and military coups.
Yet King Bhumibol was perceived as above the fray despite his ties with the military whose repeated power grabs from fragile civilian governments he formally endorsed.
Bhumibol’s saintly reputation has left his heir with big shoes to fill.
The new king’s colourful personal life and finances, including the recent transfer of US$500 million worth of shares from a palace trust, are the subject of endless rumour.
Some analysts fear for the stability of the kingdom, with a junta at the helm of a country simmering with political divisions and the new reign in its infancy.
But criticism of the new monarch must stay behind closed doors due to the lèse-majesté law.
Publicly, Thais have taken the royal succession in their stride, erecting portraits of the new king around the country since he ascended the throne last year.
“This king will become our new father,” Prapai Saebae, who at 90 is among the few Thais to have known life under another monarch.
“We have to respect him.”

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Tiger Woods set to enter plea bargain for DUI arrest (2.04/17)

The diversion program for intoxicated drivers that Tiger Woods is expected to enter Friday is one of several across the country aimed at reducing the number of repeat offenders and backlogs of court cases.
The 41-year-old superstar golfer is scheduled to plead guilty at a court hearing to reckless driving, a less severe charge than driving under the influence, as part of a Palm Beach County, Florida, program that has graduated almost 2,500 first-time offenders since it began four years ago.
Deputy State Attorney Richard Clausi, who oversees the county's misdemeanor prosecutions, said that less than 1 percent of the program's participants have reoffended. He said the key has been getting offenders to take responsibility for their actions without requiring a trial and making sure they complete the program.
"It's still early, but we think it has been a success," he said.
In the diversion program, Woods will spend a year on probation and pay a $250 fine and court costs. He also must attend DUI school, perform 20 hours of community service and attend a workshop where victims of impaired drivers detail how their lives were damaged. Since he was intoxicated with prescription drugs and marijuana, according to court records, he will also be required to undergo regular drug tests.
To qualify, offenders must show a judge that they have already begun complying with these requirements. If Woods completes the program, he can ask a judge to expunge the reckless driving conviction, but if he is charged again, he could be treated like a second-time DUI offender. He would not be again eligible for diversion and he could face possible jail time, a mandatory license suspension and stiffer fines.
Similar DUI diversion programs are offered in several other states, including Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Oregon, Pennsylvania and Texas. Details vary and some, like Florida, let local officials decide whether to offer it.
Neither the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration nor Mothers Against Drunk Driving knew of any recent outside studies examining whether diversion programs are effective.
J. T. Griffin, MADD's chief government affairs officer, said the organization supports diversion programs like Palm Beach County's because for drunken drivers, it requires the installation of an interlock device, which checks the driver's blood-alcohol content before the car can be started. He said studies show interlocks decrease recidivism among first-time offenders by 65 percent.
"It is good for the public because 50 to 75 percent of drunk drivers are going to continue to drive, even on a suspended driver's license," Griffin said. "With an ignition interlock, they can keep driving but in a safe way and the hope is that they will learn their lesson."
Woods was arrested about 2 a.m. May 29 when officers found him unconscious in his Mercedes-Benz, which was parked awkwardly on the roadside and had damage to the driver's side. It's not clear how he damaged the car. Officers checked the area but didn't find that he had hit anything. He was about 15 miles from his home.
Woods had the active ingredient for marijuana, two painkillers — Vicodin and Dilaudid — the sleep drug Ambien and the anti-anxiety drug Xanax in his system but no alcohol, according to a toxicology report released in August.
Woods issued a statement in August saying he had been self-medicating for pain caused by his fourth back surgery and insomnia. He did not specifically address the marijuana issue. None was found in his possession.
"I realize now it was a mistake to do this without medical assistance," Woods said then. He completed a drug treatment program in July.
Woods' attorney, Douglas Duncan, did not respond to phone calls and emails seeking comment about Wednesday's hearing.
The DUI arrest was the first time Woods had been in trouble since Thanksgiving weekend 2009, when he plowed his SUV into a tree and a fire hydrant outside his then-Windermere, Florida, home. That led to revelations that he had multiple extramarital affairs, and a divorce from his wife Elin Nordegren, the mother of his two children. He spent 45 days in a Mississippi clinic where he was treated for sex addiction.
Woods' 79 PGA Tour victories and 14 major titles both rank No. 2 all-time. He has not competed since February because of his back injury and is not expected to return this year. His last win was in August 2013.
Woods has said his back is improving. Even though he has been a non-factor on the PGA Tour, Forbes Magazine lists Woods as the 17th best-paid athlete in the world in 2017, making $37 million, almost exclusively from endorsements.

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Global wine production down in 2017 due to severe weather conditions (2.04/17)

Oct. 24 (UPI) -- An international winery organization said Tuesday that global wine production is expected to fall this year -- due largely to severe weather conditions that have hamstrung key regions of the industry.
The Paris-based International Organization of Vine and Vineyards, a 46-nation advocacy group, said drought conditions across Western Europe during the summer are responsible for a decline of more than 8 percent.
The group estimates show that Italian wine production is projected to fall nearly 25 percent by the end of the year.
Production in France will decline almost 20 percent and Spanish production will be 15 percent lower --
and Germany will see a drop of 8 percent from last year's production, the group reported.
Total global wine production is expected to be about 6.25 billion gallons for 2017 -- or nearly 33 million 750 milliliter bottles.
Figures from Portugal, Romania, Hungary and Austria will hold steady, the group said, as will South Africa and Australia.
Production for 2017 increased in Argentina and Brazil after lower-than-average levels last year. Chile's figures were low in 2016 and stayed that way this year.
The world's top producers of wine are, in order, Italy, France, Spain and the United States.
Although U. S. wine production was predicted to fall this year by only 1 percent, the group reported the forecast was based on data {link:collected prior to the large-scale wildfires that destroyed some wine-making infrastructure in Northern California's Napa and Sonoma Counties, the state's largest wine-producing regions.

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British government decides doping should not be criminalized (2.04/17)

The British government has decided doping cheats should not face criminal prosecutions.
Sports minister Tracey Crouch says sanctions for drug offenses should be left to sports governing bodies to enforce. It follows a government review examining the merits of criminalizing doping.
Crouch says "it was right that we looked into the case for criminalizing doping," adding that "the strong consensus is that it would not necessarily aid the fight against drug cheats."
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Alien Ranch in Phoenix home on sale for $5 million (2.04/17)

Are you in the market for a ranch home? Would you enjoy being an easy drive from Phoenix? Do you want to slay malevolent aliens with a samurai sword?
If you answered yes to any of those questions, the Stardust Ranch, on sale now for $5 million in Buckeye, Ariz., may be just for you.
According to the listing from WestUSA Realty, the home includes 3,500 square feet of living space, RV hookups, gated entry, stables, air conditioning and the possibility of persistent visits from extraterrestrials.
The home, which has earned itself the nickname “Alien Ranch,” is known for its reputation as a hotspot of alien activity. Its owner, John Edmonds, told the Travel Channel he has killed 18 extraterrestrials with a samurai sword while living in the home. He calls the aliens “greys” -- meaning they fit the archetype of an alien with grey skin, a bald head, short stature and big, dark eyes.
Ever since they moved into the house 20 years ago, the owners “have experienced a series of strange events that continue to this day,” the listing says. According to Edmonds, that doesn’t just mean seeing some weird lights in the sky. It means engaging in armed combat.
On his Facebook page, Edmonds even posted a photo showing injuries he received while fighting a “malevolent ET.”
“When we moved in, the people we bought the house from hadn’t moved out. They had just disappeared, and all their stuff was still in the house,” Edmonds said on the Travel Channel show “Ghost Adventures” in 2016. “So that was the very first thing.”
Edmonds then described a time when he walked in on three aliens levitating his wife off her bed. He grabbed a samurai sword and killed the aliens, he told the interviewer, something he says he’s been forced to do again and again. “If you don’t take the heads, they disappear,” he explained, when asked where the bodies were.
Another time, he told interviewers his wife’s body was levitated down the hall, out into the yard and then up into a ship. “There was a cone of light, it came down, and she started to rise into that cone of light. I grabbed an AK-47 with a double banana clip in it, and I went outside and I opened up.”
All that aside, the home does include a swimming pool. “This is truly a one of a kind property with unlimited potential,” says the home listing.
As for Edmonds, who runs a horse rescue on the ranch called Hopeful Hooves, he told USA Today he plans to sell the property and move to Maine to start another rescue -- this time without any alien interference.
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Public defenders raise concerns after recent court rulings (2.04/17)

Public defenders are raising concerns after the Missouri Supreme Court disciplined an attorney with a large caseload of indigent clients and then told another public defender that she must ask permission before denying additional cases.
Missouri State Public Defender Director Michael Barrett said the two decisions have created a conflict. The first ruling was issued last month and led to a Columbia-based public defender being placed on probation for a year for neglecting clients. Barett blamed the issue on the attorney having too many cases.
Public defenders had sought to limit their caseloads after the ruling. But last week, the Missouri Supreme Court ruled against a southeastern Missouri public defender. She wanted the high court to block a lower court judge from forcing her to take on more clients.
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Bond hearing expected for top GOP consultant, lawmakers (2.04/17)

A top Republican political consultant and several current and former state representatives are expected in court on charges related to a corruption scheme in South Carolina's Legislature.
Prosecutor David Pascoe says a bond hearing is scheduled Tuesday afternoon for Richard Quinn on charges of criminal conspiracy and failure to register as a lobbyist. Former Reps. Tracy Edge of North Myrtle Beach and Jim Harrison of Columbia face several charges, including criminal conspiracy and misconduct.
Rep. Rick Quinn, the elder Quinn's son, was charged with criminal conspiracy. Sen. John Courson of Columbia was charged with statutory misconduct in office. Both men already faced other misconduct charges.
Richard Quinn is a longtime political consultant who has advised some of South Carolina's top Republicans. State police agents raided his Columbia office in March.
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The Latest: Turkey says Idlib operation near complete (2.04/17)

The Latest on developments in Syria (all times local):
12:45 p.m.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says an operation to implement a "de-escalation" zone in Syria's northern Idlib province is "to a great extent complete."
Addressing legislators from his ruling party in parliament on Tuesday, Erdogan suggested that Turkish troops could now target Syria's border region of Afrin, which is controlled by Syrian Kurdish groups. Turkey considers the Syrian militia to be terrorists because of their links to Kurdish rebels fighting Turkey.
"We have the issue of Afrin ahead of us," Erdogan said. "We cannot make any concessions. As we have said before, we may arrive suddenly one night; we may hit (them) suddenly one night."
Turkey sent troops into Syria earlier this month to set up "observation posts" in the border province that is dominated by al-Qaida linked militants as part of a deal reached with Russia and Iran.
___
11:40 p.m.
Syria's state TV says warplanes from the U. S.-led coalition fighting the Islamic State group have bombed a government-controlled neighborhood in the eastern city of Deir el-Zour killing 14 civilians.
U. S. military spokesman Col. Ryan Dillon denied the report in a tweet saying that the coalition has not bombed the city, of which IS currently controls a small part, since September.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said a Monday night airstrike killed 22, adding that the identity of the warplanes was not immediately clear.
Syrian troops have been marching against IS in eastern Syria under the cover of Russian airstrikes.
Last year, the U. S.-led coalition bombed Syrian army positions near the city of Deir el-Zour killing at least 62 Syrian soldiers and leaving more than a 100 wounded.
___
10:45 a.m.
Russia's defense minister says less than five percent of Syria remains under control of the Islamic State group.
At the height of the rise of the IS the militants controlled about half of the territory of Syria before their downfall began.
Speaking at a conference in the Philippines, Sergei Shoigu said on Monday that "terrorists" controlled more than 70 percent of the country before Russia launched its air operation at the end of 2015 to support President Bashar Assad's offensive against IS militants and opposition forces.
Russian airstrikes destroyed more than 900 training camps and a multitude of heavy weaponry.
In recent weeks Russia focused efforts on the east of the country where a race is underway between U. S.-backed Syrian forces and government troops in the oil-rich Deir el-Zour province.
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Turkey's Erdogan says operation in Syria's Idlib largely completed
reuters.com
The Latest: Turkey says Idlib operation near complete
miamiherald.com

 

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E-cigarettes banned in New York everywhere tobacco is (2.03/17)

Oct. 24 (UPI) -- New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a new law Monday adding electronic cigarettes to the Clean Indoor Air Act -- making them illegal anywhere tobacco cigarettes are already barred.
The law is the latest step in a push by many state and local governments to put e-cigarettes on the same level as tobacco products.
"These products are marketed as a healthier alternative to cigarettes, but the reality is they also carry long-term risks to the health of users and those around them," Cuomo said in a statement .
Although many New York counties had already banned e-cigarettes, the new law reduces public exposure to e-cigarette chemical fumes statewide.
"This measure closes another dangerous loophole in the law, creating a stronger, healthier New York for all," Cuomo said.
In July, Cuomo banned the use of e-cigarettes on the grounds of all state schools.
Many e-cigarettes, like tobacco, contain nicotine -- and because there's no limit on nicotine levels or a full understanding of other chemicals emitted in "vaping" devices, health experts have said long-term adverse health effects can occur.
"E-cigarettes often contain toxic chemicals in addition to nicotine, something bystanders should not be forced to breathe," state Sen. Kemp Hannon said.
Another pending bill seeks to require e-cigarette sellers to register with the state as tobacco retailers do -- a tactic to mitigate sales to youths.
"Closing the e-cigarette loophole by including it in the Clean Indoor Air Act is a long-overdue step that will help protect every New Yorker's right to enjoy indoor public spaces, free from the intrusion of e-cigarette vapor," Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal said.

Gov. Cuomo signs bill banning e-cigarettes in NY workplaces
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Cuomo calls for investigation on de Blasio’s playground plan
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Alan Dershowitz: Obama would have opposed NFL players’ protest too (2.03/17)

A retired Harvard law professor has suggested that former President Obama would have opposed NFL players protesting during the national anthem if he were still in office.
According to The Hill, Alan Dershowitz said on John Catsimatidis’s AM 970 radio show, “I don’t know that the Obama administration would’ve handled this any differently. I think President Obama would have said he disapproves of kneeling during the national anthem.”
However, soon after then San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick first protested the anthem last year, Obama reportedly had a more measured reaction at an event.
“I want Mr. Kaepernick and others who are on a knee, I want them to listen to the pain that may cause somebody who, for example, had a spouse or a child who was killed in combat and why it hurts them to see somebody not standing," Obama said. "I also want people to think about the pain he may be expressing about somebody who’s lost a loved one that they think was unfairly shot.”
RELATED: NFL players, owners protest after Trump's harsh criticism
During the recent interview, Dershowitz largely seemed to side with President Trump on the controversy, saying, “If you want to protest racism, then protest racism. But don’t protest the American flag, the national anthem, and the United States of America.”
He also argued, “The players are entitled to kneel if the owners allow them to. But the owners could say no.”
The law expert explained that while free speech under the First Amendment was a right provided by the federal government, the same protection did not necessarily apply to a private group like a professional football franchise.
President Trump has continued to pressure the NFL to force players to stand during the national anthem—including launching a petition against the protest—but league commissioner Roger Goodell has thus far resisted imposing any punishment on those who still want to protest social injustices.
Not surprisingly, Trump has frequently turned to Twitter over the past several weeks to express his position on the issue.
“Two dozen NFL players continue to kneel during the National Anthem, showing total disrespect to our Flag & Country,” the president tweeted on Monday. “No leadership in NFL!”

Many African Americans Want Colin Kaepernick to Lead Black Lives Matter
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5 Ways To Know If We've Won The American Culture War
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CPS 'do-not-hire' workers rehired at charter, contract schools (2.02/17)

An investigation of Chicago Public Schools found that 163 workers who were banned from working in the district wound up working at CPS charter and contract schools. The Office of Inspector General for the Chicago Board of Education did not name any schools where the employees were working or are currently employed. Within that pool of 163 educators, the level of misconduct ranges from theft to offenses as bad as physical abuse, drugs and alcohol and sexual abuse. Three employees found working at charter or contract schools during the 2016-17 school year were designated do not hire by CPS for sexual abuse. They are no longer employed. Twenty-two of the former CPS employees working in that same year were designated "do-not-hire" due to corporal punishment. The report even found two of those former employees were given increased disciplinary responsibilities. In June, the inspector general's office recommended the board put a policy in place to let other schools know if they are hiring someone from their "do-not-hire" list and why. But officials from the CPS charter and contract schools said there is no system in place to let them know about the "do-not-hire" status. The board said it is working on creating a notification system. CPS issued this statement Tuesday:"While charter and contract schools have autonomy under state law to hire and manage their own staff, CPS will do everything in its power to ensure all Chicago students attend a school staffed with the highest quality personnel. To improve coordination between the district and outside operators, we have encouraged all outside school operators to utilize the district's rigorous background check process, which requires prospective employees to allow CPS to disclose their DNH status to the school operator. Improving information sharing with our partners is a priority for the district, and we are committed to making significant improvements in this area."The Illinois Network of Charter Schools issued this statement Tuesday:"Safety and high-quality staff at charter schools are top priorities for our students - just like they are for CPS. Charter schools have not had access to the Do Not Hire list, but are required to run independent background checks for all staff, which they have done. We will work with our member schools to make certain that they take all appropriate actions to ensure high-quality staff. We also look forward to working with the district to ensure charter public schools have timely access to the Do Not Hire list in the future."

Barred From Working At CPS, 163 Former Staffers Find Jobs At Charter, Contract Schools
chicago.cbslocal.com
Parents ask Ypsilanti Schools to rescind decision to 'give away' middle school
mlive.com

 

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What we learned, didn't learn in Week 7 of 2017 NFL season (2.02/17)

The New Orleans Saints are going streaking with a bunch of guys who weren't around the last time it was OK to get fired up about the Saints.
There are 17 players on the Saints' defense who weren't in the league the last time New Orleans had a winning streak as long as its current four-gamer. But since 12 of them are either rookies or second-year guys, they might not have been around long enough to get bogged down in all of the losing.
Editor's Picks Week 8 NFL Power Rankings: Who's alive (or barely holding on) in every division
The Patriots finished atop our board for the first time in 2017. The Cowboys are on the rise in the NFC East. And the Rams look dominant in the NFC West. Here's how all 32 teams are stacking up. Sando: Revisiting my game-by-game predictions for all 32 teams
This preseason, we locked in picks on all 256 regular-season NFL games. How's it going so far? There's been good (Redskins), bad (Giants) and wildly unpredictable (Ravens). Best and worst QBs of Week 7: Bortles is No. 1 ... for a day
The Jags quarterback had his day in the sun, while C. J. Beathard struggled against America's team.
2 Related
The Patriots finished atop our board for the first time in 2017. The Cowboys are on the rise in the NFC East. And the Rams look dominant in the NFC West. Here's how all 32 teams are stacking up.
This preseason, we locked in picks on all 256 regular-season NFL games. How's it going so far? There's been good (Redskins), bad (Giants) and wildly unpredictable (Ravens).
The Jags quarterback had his day in the sun, while C. J. Beathard struggled against America's team.
"I can't say enough about how young our defense is but how much they love playing," seventh-year defensive end Cameron Jordan said last week. "And maybe it does help that they're new enough here that they're not caught up in what's happened the last couple of years."
We like writing about streaks here, mainly because it always reminds us of Will Ferrell in "Old School," but also partly because winning and losing streaks this time of year offer some level of evidence we haven't had yet. If you read this column regularly, you know we preach the value of sample size. The more NFL season we see, the more we know. At this point, every team has played at least six games, many have played seven, and the teams that are winning and losing games in big chunks might be showing us a little bit about who they are.
Which brings us to the Saints, who have won four in a row -- their longest winning streak since they started the 2013 season 5-0 -- in an NFC South in which every other team has lost at least two in a row. The Falcons and Bucs are reeling (more on them in a minute), and the Panthers are in a mini-slump. The Saints, who have finished 7-9 three seasons in a row and seemed as if they were done being a factor in playoff races for the remainder of Drew Brees ' and Sean Payton's time there, are flexing a kind of defensive muscle we don't usually associate with them.
"We're finally playing the way we should be," Jordan said.
My colleague Mike Sando has a stat he likes to trot out about the Saints and defense. In their first 11 seasons with Drew Brees as their quarterback (2006-16), the Saints have had five seasons in which they allowed fewer than 24 points per game. They were 58-22 with a Super Bowl victory in those seasons. In the other six -- seasons in which they allowed at least 24 points per game -- they went 43-53. Sando's lesson is that the Saints have to be only average on defense to be a winning team with Brees at quarterback.
So far this season, New Orleans is allowing 22.2 points per game, good for just 16th in the league but historically good enough to make it a contender. And during the Saints' winning streak (which followed an 0-2 start in which they allowed 29 and 36), they're allowing only 17 points per game.
What's going on? Well, the Saints believe they have more depth up front than they've had in years around Jordan, but the vital improvement has been in the secondary. First-round pick Marshon Lattimore has been a revelation at cornerback, and safety Marcus Williams, a second-round pick, is a big part of the success as well. Add in third-rounder Trey Hendrickson, who has been a factor in the defensive line rotation, and it's possible the Saints clobbered this year's draft in a way that overhauled their defense and returned it to contender status. The season started sloppily, but Saints players and coaches say that was because of communication problems in the secondary that aren't happening now that the young guys back there have gotten their feet wet.
Can it continue? Hard to say. Young players do wear down as rookie seasons go on, and they are inconsistent by nature. But right now, the Saints are rolling. They have a head-to-head victory over Carolina in their pockets. Three of their next four games are at home, giving them a chance to keep things rolling while their division rivals work their way out of their struggles. You can be forgiven if you didn't see the Saints coming (as I didn't) after three straight losing seasons. But they're here now, and it seems they'll be a factor in an NFC South race that hasn't really started yet.
A look at the other current streaks of three or more games and what we learned about them this week:
Streak: Won five
The only team with a longer winning streak than the Saints is the one that beat division rival Washington on Monday Night Football. The Eagles lead the NFC East by 2.5 games over Dallas and a Washington team they've now beaten twice. They can't even see wreckage of the Giants' season from where they are. Their remaining road games are at Dallas, Seattle, the Los Angeles Rams and New York Giants, and there are some tough ones in there. But Washington's remaining road games are at Seattle, New Orleans, Dallas, the Los Angeles Chargers and New York Giants, while Dallas' remaining road games are at Washington, Atlanta, the New York Giants, Oakland and Philadelphia. The fact that the Eagles and Cowboys haven't played yet keeps Dallas in the picture, since the Cowboys could make up ground in the head-to-head series. But there's no doubt who's in control in the NFC East right now, and the Eagles are set up to stay there.
Streak: Won three
The most significant thing about Seattle's streak is that the middle win was a 16-10 victory over the Rams, who lead them by a half-game in the NFC West. That's a tiebreaker helper in a close race, and in spite of the streak we've seen little to convince us Seattle can or will run away with anything this season. The other three of their wins are against the 49ers, Colts and Giants, who are a combined 3-18. The Seahawks are 13th in yards per game, 14th in points per game, and while you trust them to get it together because they've posted double-digit win totals and made the playoffs five years in a row, they've beaten only one non-terrible team so far and still don't seem to have any kind of offensive rhythm.
Streak: Won three
Three in a row to improve to 5-2, and now they go to London to play the Browns before heading into their bye. The Vikings are down to their third-string quarterback, but they're winning with Case Keenum and could get Teddy Bridgewater and/or Sam Bradford back in the next couple of weeks. This is a team that knows how to win with defense and a slow-down, don't-mess-it-up offensive game plan. They beat out the Packers for the division title two years ago when Aaron Rodgers was healthy, and he's out for at least the next six weeks. Make this team the clear favorite in the NFC North from here on out.
Streak: Won three
Sure, they started 0-4. But do you know who's the only team since the start of the current playoff format to start 0-4 and make the playoffs? Yeah, that's right. The 1992 Chargers. Their streak began against the hapless Giants, but the past two wins were division wins at Oakland and at home against Denver. If Kansas City, which beat the Chargers 24-10 in Week 3, comes back to earth and the division tightens all the way up, why not Philip Rivers and that monster defensive front for the upset?
Streak: Won three
Guess what? The defense looks fixed. Raise your hand if you didn't think Bill Belichick would figure something out. It's interesting that the AFC East doesn't look ready to roll over for the Pats, as Buffalo and Miami each sit a half-game behind at 4-2. But if you're betting on one of those three to keep it rolling? Yeah.
Streak: Won three
That said, you have to respect the way the Dolphins respond to coach Adam Gase. When Miami got outscored 40-6 in back-to-back losses to the Jets and Saints in Weeks 3 and 4, Gase said, "We've been through worse," likely referring to last season's 1-4 start. Gase brought them back from 1-4 to 10-6 and the playoffs last season, and since the Week 4 loss the Dolphins have won three in a row, including comebacks from down 17 and 14 points in the past two. Miami has both head-to-head Patriots games and both head-to-head Bills games left on the schedule, and some people close to the team think the offense could be better off with backup Matt Moore taking over for an injured Jay Cutler. Moore filled in fine for Ryan Tannehill at the end of last season. If they can get Jay Ajayi and the running game going, the Dolphins aren't going away. The 2016 season should have taught us that.
Streak: Lost three
Time for the flip side. The defending NFC champs have played basically one good game this season and could be 1-5 if not for a bad Bears drop in Week 1 and a brutal call against the Lions in Week 3. It always felt as if Atlanta might struggle with the transition from well-regarded game-day playcaller Kyle Shanahan to the NFL-untested Steve Sarkisian, and that seems to be happening. What works in the Falcons' favor is that they have yet to play a division game. They still get the Saints, Panthers and Bucs twice each -- all after Halloween -- so they have time to get their act together. And they were 6-2 in the second half in 2016.
Streak: Lost three
This is a tough three-game streak, right here. It started with a five-point Thursday night loss to the Patriots in which they had a chance to win at the end. Then the Bucs lost by five in Arizona and three in Buffalo. Close losses can help convince a team it's about to turn around, and like Atlanta the Bucs have their entire division schedule still ahead of them. But they've also had their bye week already -- in Week 1, thanks to a hurricane -- and have a rough-looking stretch of three straight road games in Miami, Atlanta and Green Bay looming in Weeks 11-13. Miami might look back and wish it had manage to flip one of these close ones in October.
Streak: Lost seven
Prior to Sunday, the 49ers' previous five games (all losses) had been decided by a combined total of 13 points. So they had reason to feel they were close to breaking through. Dallas thrashed them with Ezekiel Elliott, but they were at least a little encouraged by the fact that quarterback C. J. Beathard didn't look overwhelmed in his first career start. Even if the 49ers don't win a game all season, the Niners believe Beathard has progressed to the point in which they can get a good look at him to help them decide whether and where he fits into their quarterback picture in 2018 and beyond. That's something the final team on our list can't say.
Streak: Lost seven
It's worse than this. The Browns have lost 32 of their past 34 games dating back into 2015. Hue Jackson is 1-22 as their coach, and he seems to have no idea how to handle his (admittedly brutal) quarterback situation. If you're Cleveland, all you want to see is progress. But you're not. Only three of their remaining nine games are at home.

NFL Week Seven Observations
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2017 NFL Week 7 Wrap: Ravens offense is totally offensive
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Most Offensive Halloween Costumes (2.02/17)

It’s almost Halloween, which is undoubtedly the spookiest time of the year.
It’s also 2017, which is the scariest time in human history. Grim reapers run rampant in DC. Slave owners run the NFL. And it seems like there’s a Russian spy or a Macedonian content farmer lurking in every dark alley.
So here we are, lucky enough to witness a spookiness equinox. Halloween fright is almost perfectly equal to that of political fear levels.
What a tremendous time to be alive.
Part of what makes America so uniquely great is that our Halloween costumes double as cultural commentary. What better way to examine the general American attitude than to take a completely random, totally unbiased sample of our costumes?
First, there’s the Caitlyn Jenner costume. It took a lot of heat in 2015 after the Olympic athlete came out as transgender, but is still holding strong as a popular costume this year.
Personally, I don’t see anything wrong with dressing like Cait. This getup looks like a pretty accurate representation of her. She’s even been quoted saying she doesn’t care if you dress like her for Halloween.
And in a similar vein, there’s sexy Donald Trump. No word on if POTUS cares that people are dressing up like him, but I say go for it.
And there have been tons of schools handing out pamphlets with guidelines on how to dress inoffensively. St. Thomas University in Minnesota posted an informative brochure of prohibited costumes.
The brochure suggests that cultural appropriation is one of the worst crimes that happens on Halloween. It’s problematic because it “turns an important and/or sacred element into fashion.”
Somebody tell that to Dolce and Gabbana .
And for the record, dressing up as a Native American is totally off the table now, too. What could be more insensitive than dressing up in something that looks historically pretty accurate?
A costume retailer recently had to yank their Anne Frank costume off the shelves because apparently dressing like prominent historical figures has become a thing of the past.
UMass Amherst went even farther, restricting any references to Harambe. I didn’t know gorillas could be offended. Especially beautiful souls like Harambe.
And forget about jokes. Jokes are completely off limits. Actress Lili Reinhart learned that the hard way this week when she said she’d be dressing up as the color of her soul.
The internet dragged Reinhart through the mud for even joking about “blackface.”
And to fortify the dozens of colleges warning about sensitivity, The Tab came out with a list of offensive costumes that should be off limits this year.
Costumes include:
This just goes to show that sanitizing Halloween of all potentially offensive costumes is an underhanded way to being censoring history. First you get rid of Geishas, Mexicans, Native Americans. Then you ban Anne Frank. Then you shame anybody who wants to dress up like a late rocker.
This may indeed be the scariest Halloween yet.

Universities issue guides, threats and counseling for 'offensive' Halloween costumes
foxnews.com
Halloween costume for the office shouldn’t offend coworkers
rssfeeds.freep.com

 

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Michigan receivers focused on being difference-makers, no matter who starts at QB (2.02/17)

ANN ARBOR - Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh spoke on Monday as if John O'Korn was still the team's starting quarterback.
Harbaugh also said during his weekly news conference that sophomore Brandon Peters is "readying himself to play."
We won't know until noon Saturday who the starter will be against Rutgers, but whoever it is, Michigan's receivers know they need to help make the quarterback's job easier.
"We just try and be there for the quarterbacks and team in general," junior wideout Grant Perry told reporters Monday. "Try and make the plays, try and make a difference in the game. Our goal as playmakers is to make blocks on the edges and catch the ball. That is our goal week in and week out."
Jim Harbaugh mum on playing time for Michigan QB Brandon Peters
The receivers were better against Penn State than they were in the previous two weeks, but the young group still is a work in progress.
Perry led the way Saturday with three catches for 46 yards - all which came in the fourth quarter - but he also couldn't haul in a couple of passes that he got both hands on earlier in the game.
"He has been a guy who has gotten open," Harbaugh said of Perry. "We were close on a couple of balls to him in this game, just out of his reach. Not sure if he could he have gotten it or not, but he has been a consistently good performer."
Penn State fan wishes PSU would have broken Wilton Speight's neck
Overall, Perry, Eddie McDoom, Kekoa Crawford and Donovan Peoples-Jones combined for 10 catches for 141 yards on Saturday. In the two previous games against Michigan State and Indiana, receivers totaled 13 catches for 105 yards.
One bright spot has been the development of Peoples-Jones, a true freshman who has been elevated into a bigger role since Tarik Black broke his foot in the third game of the season.
The five-star recruit out of Detroit Cass Tech has seven receptions for 77 yards the past two games after catching just three passes for 60 yards in the first five games.
"Donovan is definitely maturing a lot," Perry said. "He is doing really well in practice. He is picking up things I wasn't even picking up my freshman year. He is understanding the game like a veteran, and that is going to come a long way throughout his career."
First look: Rutgers, Michigan's Week 9 opponent
The Wolverines (5-2,2-2 Big Ten) have more issues on offense than just their receivers, but a few big plays from the wideouts could be the jumpstart the team needs.
"Every game you can evaluate a lot of things, whether it is drops or wrong routes or route running in general," Perry said. "We will evaluate that (Monday) with the coaches and get some feedback."

Jim Harbaugh's right, we're going to find out what Michigan football's made of
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Green Bay Packers: It’s Time To Consider Trading Ty Montgomery [Opinion]
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Kremlin blames ‘madman’ for stabbing journalist and denies any role in inciting hatred against critics (2.02/17)

The Kremlin dismissed on Tuesday any criticism over the knife attack on a liberal radio journalist as work of a “madman” amid accusations the state fomented an atmosphere of hatred towards dissenters.
Tatyana Felgenhauer, a 32-year-old presenter, was attacked on Monday at the offices of the Echo of Moscow radio station by a man who claimed to have a “telepathic” connection with her. She underwent surgery and was on a ventilator on Monday but showed signs of improvements and was awake on Tuesday.
“The actions of a madman are the actions of a madman,” President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.
“Trying to link them to anything is absolutely illogical and wrong,” he said, expressing sympathy to the journalist and the radio station.
The suspect, identified as Boris Grits, a 48-year-old seemingly mentally unstable man, broke into the radio station’s offices in central Moscow and lunged at the journalist with a knife after blinding a security guard with a spray.
Russian media, citing a relative of the suspect, said Grits appeared to suffer from delusions of persecution.
The assault followed a string of attacks against journalists and other prominent figures, the highest-profile of which was Boris Nemtsov, the opposition leader gunned down on a bridge near the Kremlin in 2015.
An attack on top opposition politician Alexei Navalny this year left him nearly blind in one eye. Prominent outspoken journalist and another Echo of Moscow presenter Yulia Latynina left Russia this year after attacks on her car and home.
Many commentators blamed the authorities for the attack, saying they had created an atmosphere in which such an assault became possible.
“Insanity does not appear out of thin air,” Echo of Moscow editor Alexei Venediktov said, blaming the attack on the “atmosphere of hatred, [and] instigation” against journalists.
Kirill Martynov, the political editor of top opposition newspaper Novaya Gazeta, said state propaganda effectively sanctioned a witch hunt against dissenters.
“Calls to annihilate political opponents are becoming the norm,” he said.
Felgenhauer featured in a smear documentary by the Rossiya 24 rolling news channel that claimed this month that the Echo of Moscow was in cahoots with foreign non-governmental organisations to undermine Russia.
“Tatyana has her own world view, her opinion. Someone does not agree with her and criticises her in return too. In this case, we treat both points of view with respect,” Peskov said. “We are not part of this discussion.”
Another top channel this month broadcast a TV series about US secret agents in which an opposition female journalist has her throat slit.
“Grits’s mental disorder amazingly dovetails with the party line,” Latynina wrote. “Today the most important question is: was Grits simply a psycho or a psycho who has been used?”
Felgenhauer’s doctors on Tuesday described her condition as grave but stable.
“The patient is awake,” said Sergei Petrikov, director of the Sklifosovsky Institute, Moscow’s main emergency hospital.
The Echo of Moscow, citing doctors, reported that Felgenhauer’s vocal cords had not been damaged and the prognosis was “favourable”.
A Russian court on Tuesday ruled Grits should be placed under arrest until December 23, the Interfax news agency reported. He was also set to undergo a psychiatric examination.
The suspect’s relative told mass-circulation newspaper Moskovsky Komsomolets that Grits, who is a resident of Israel, arrived in Russia more than a month ago and complained that the Echo of Moscow journalist had been stalking him.
The man said Grits looked jittery three days before the attack, adding he was surprised he had hurt the journalist.
“He never fought, he always ran away from problems,” the unidentified man told the newspaper. “There is only one explanation: Boris has lost his mind.”
Police on Monday released a video clip in which the suspect says he had known the journalist “telepathically” for years.
“Using this telepathic contact she stole in every night and tormented me,” he said. “She had been [sexually] harassing me for two months.”

Kremlin dismisses accusations over journalist knife attack
digitaljournal.com
Moscow journalist in intensive care after stabbing as suspect due in court
independent.ie

 

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Lexington man accused of raping girl ‘regularly’ (1.28/17)

Jimmy Dale Blackwell Jr.
LEXINGTON, N. C. — A Lexington man is charged with statutory rape after two women said he assaulted them when they were teenagers, according to a press release.
Jimmy Dale Blackwell Jr. was arrested after a woman told deputies she was raped by him on Aug. 25. She said Blackwell had also raped her when she was 13 years old and knew of additional incidents with another woman when a teenager.
The woman told deputies she was raped “regularly” by Blackwell when she was 13 and 14 years old.
Black is charged with multiple counts of statutory rape, statutory sex offense, indecent liberties, second-degree rape and second-degree sex offense.
He was taken to jail on a $400,000 bond.
Filed in: News
Topics: statutory rape

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George Strait to headline Bayou Country Superfest in New Orleans (1.21/17)

George Strait will make "a very rare concert appearance" on Sunday, May 27 at Bayou Country Superfest in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, fest organizers announced Tuesday (Oct. 24). Joining Strait will be Chris Stapleton, Little Big Town, Kacey Musgraves, and Midland.
Strait has 60 No. 1 singles, the most of any country artist in history, fest organizers remind us. Bayou Country Superfest is Strait's only scheduled festival appearance of the year.
Tickets go on sale Thursday, Nov. 2 at 10 a.m. CST on BayouCountrySuperfest.com, Ticketmaster.com, all Ticketmaster outlets, the Smoothie King Center Box Office or by calling 800.745.3000. Reserved-seat tickets for May 27 start at $50. Exclusive travel packages are available at many price levels.
The 8-year-old country music concert series moved from Baton Rouge to New Orleans in 2017, owing to a renovation of its regular home, Tiger Stadium. In its first year in the big city, the fest drew 60,000 fans between May 26 and May 28, according the festival's organizers.
The Memorial Day Weekend of music begins with Louisiana Seafood presents Bayou Saturday Night, a free concert outside the Superdome at Champions Square featuring Randy Houser, Michael Ray and Runaway June on Saturday, May 26.
A new feature of this year's Bayou Country Superfest will be "A Salute to America," a fireworks display over the Mississippi River on Friday night, May 25, sponsored by the New Orleans Tourism & Marketing Corporation.

What will $860k buy you around New Orleans? Here are two houses in Kenner and Bywater
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Do you remember Acy's Pool Hall? A lost New Orleans restaurant
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Cold front on the way: Temperatures could dip into 40s this weekend in New Orleans
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Lake Charles-based play 'Caroline or Change' gets New Orleans premiere
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Fargo man gets deferred sentence for terrorizing (1.15/17)

BISMARCK, N. D. (AP) - A Fargo man who pleaded guilty to felony terrorizing will have a chance to keep his clean record.
A district judge has given 54-year-old James Motl to a 3-year deferred sentence for pointing a pistol at his former son-in-law and threatening to kill him. Defense attorney Lloyd Suhr argued Motl’s actions were impulsive, but he had not been in trouble before.
Police say Motl threatened his former son-in-law following a burglary at his daughter’s house.
The Bismarck Tribune says Judge Bruce Haskell told Motl he should have called police about the burglary instead of grabbing his gun.
___
Information from: Bismarck Tribune, http://www.bismarcktribune.com

Man sentenced for killing bald eagle in Virginia
foxnews.com
Man sentenced for killing bald eagle in Virginia
washingtontimes.com

 

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Recent Missouri Editorials (1.11/17)

Kansas City Star, Oct. 22
Innocent Kansas City man spent a year in jail because of the public defender's crushing caseload
Public defenders representing some 100 clients at a time say a 22-year-old Kansas City man arrested for a robbery he didn't commit spent 13 months in the Jackson County jail as a direct result of their understaffing and impossible workload.
It was a year before they even had a chance to investigate his case, said Ruth Petsch, head of the Kansas City public defender's office. Then they quickly realized he couldn't have committed the crime. Assault charges were dropped, and he was finally released last month.
"I wouldn't say his situation was unique," either, said Petsch, whose 34 attorneys are so swamped that the Missouri Supreme Court warned last month that they could lose their law licenses if they don't provide the legally required level of representation. But now courts also say they have no right to refuse to take on still more cases and must get a judge's permission each time.
As a result, a number of public defenders in Missouri have resigned in recent weeks. ("I have long wanted to practice indigent defense," reads one anguished resignation letter, but as "my law license is my livelihood.how I feed my family and put a roof over our heads, I will not risk it.") Kansas City public defenders have said they have to stop taking on new cases for now. And presiding Jackson County Circuit Court Judge John Torrence said that's not what's going to happen. In his view, the real problem is that Petsch's office is not being realistic.
Five years ago, Petsch started assigning attorneys to handle cases from start to finish instead of assigning them to courtrooms where most cases were cleared quickly in what she called "plea factories." Since that changed, said Torrence, the system's slowed to a creep. "In a perfect world, it would be lovely if everybody could handle a charge like wealthy people do," he said. But they can't because the Missouri legislature is "never going to say, 'Let's do this the way O. J. Simpson was represented.' "
That's for sure. But there's a lot of daylight between Simpson's "dream team" and Missouri public defenders in the second-worst funded system in the country. Even with $4.5 million in new funding this year, none went into easing the caseloads, but had to be spent to pay outside lawyers in cases with multiple indigent defendants who couldn't be represented by the same office, said Michael Barrett, director of Missouri's public defender system. Defendants in low-level cases often plead guilty when they're not, because they'd lose leases and jobs if they waited for their cases to go to trial.
Of the 22-year-old finally released from the Jackson County jail last month, Torrence said, "I know about that case. That case is an atrocity; it should never have been filed." Still, the idea that his lawyers didn't have time to investigate until recently "is horseshit. Sadly, with the Missouri legislature, there's a triage aspect to it, and if you're putting that case at the back of the line, something's wrong."
The case fell apart because only 23 seconds after the robbery victim called 911, right after being accosted in front of the Embassy Suites, the man later charged with the crime was clocked on a camera inside a QuikTrip on Main Street, a six-minute walk away, or a three-minute drive. Even someone sprinting at the speed of the world record holder would have taken a minute and change. As cops moved in, the young man did run because he'd just stolen a fountain soda from the convenience store. So for what Petsch called "a 4-cent loss to QuikTrip," he lost a year of his life, and Jackson County taxpayers paid about $95 a day for 13 months.
He'd be in jail still except that for the fact that without super powers, his involvement in the robbery was a physical impossibility. And so is the expectation that public defenders can represent their clients ethically without more help.
___
St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Oct. 21
A hateful new discrimination law with a deliberate $500,000 mistake
The Missouri Legislature has a reputation for passing bills that are later discovered to have mistakes in them. This year, lawmakers were warned in advance that a bill contained a costly mistake, but they passed it anyway. What's more, Gov. Eric Greitens ignored the warnings and signed it.
As a result, Missouri stands to lose at least $500,000 a year in federal housing funds. That possibility was raised when the Legislature was considering Senate Bill 43 last spring. The bill's fiscal note — which estimates budgetary impact — said the state could lose up to $1.2 million a year in federal money. Lawmakers paid no heed.
The money is not the worst thing about Senate Bill 43, which amended the state's human rights laws to make it almost impossible to win employment, public accommodation and housing discrimination cases. People claiming discrimination on the basis of ethnicity, sex, national origin, religion, age or disability now have to prove such bias was the motivating factor, not merely a contributing factor. The bill also weakens protections for whistleblowers who call attention to employers' unlawful actions.
Greitens signed it on June 30, claiming it brought Missouri laws into compliance with federal law and matched most other states' laws. It turns out that's not quite true.
On July 14, an official of the U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development sent a letter to the Missouri Commission on Human Rights officially notifying the state it was out of compliance with four provisions of the federal Fair Housing Assistance Act. The act requires states to have laws "substantially equivalent" to federal standards. Missouri has until March 2018 to get back into compliance.
From its inception, SB 43 was an embarrassment to the state. It was sponsored by Sen. Gary Romine, R-Farmington, whose rent-to-own business was involved in a racial discrimination case. Romine denied the case was his motivation, pointing out that SB 43 wouldn't retroactively affect its outcome.
After the bill's passage, the Missouri chapter of the NAACP issued a "travel warning" for people passing through Missouri. Social activists warned of possible business boycotts of Missouri similar to those threatened in Indiana and North Carolina after discriminatory laws were passed.
No such boycotts have materialized, but it's not hard to imagine companies with socially diverse workforces — say, for instance, Amazon — being put off by Missouri's choice to all but enshrine workforce discrimination.
Sen. Ryan Silvey, a maverick Kansas City Republican, reacted to the HUD action by tweeting, "This is terrible. We were told SB 43 mirrored Fed rules, not violated them. We need to fix this ASAP!"
Yes, they do. They should throw out this entire regressive law. It's not as expensive as the $100 million-a-year tax-break mistake lawmakers made in 2015, but it's every bit as shameful.
___
St. Joseph News-Press, Oct. 17
Tax breaks must be tracked
Missouri lawmakers have a choice: accept the state auditor's recommendations on tracking the impact of tax breaks, or accept excuses.
We're disappointed this even is a question. And maybe it's not. But the first response from the state Department of Revenue was not encouraging.
State Auditor Nicole Galloway recently identified an array of problems with the state's extensive program of awarding incentives to businesses to spur economic activity, and has proposed a reasonable solution.
Galloway said estimates of the costs and benefits of tax breaks and incentives awarded sometimes are inaccurate. Further, the state rarely follows up to gauge the accuracy of the projections and calculate the true impact after it passes new tax exemptions.
The most glaring finding in her report last week: Of the 209 sales and use tax exemptions on the books as of June 2016, state revenue agents track the specific impact of only three.
"I'm not saying that exemptions are bad. I'm not saying that incentives are bad. They can be useful tools," Galloway said. ". But as a taxpayer, we want to know that each one works as it should and as taxpayers we're getting a return on investment."
We couldn't say this any better. That's why it is dispiriting to hear the revenue agency respond to the report by agreeing it is a good goal to track and report exemptions, then make these arguments for why that may not happen:
Doing so would put a burden on businesses (which, we will add, are benefiting at the expense of taxpayers).
Reporting errors likely would mean flawed data (unless, we might add, the state takes steps over time to improve the process for collecting and verifying the data).
The department would require a substantial increase in staffing that's currently not affordable (or, in the view of many taxpayers, it could look at its priorities and workload, and perhaps give this important function a higher priority).
Lawmakers should not take "no" for an answer. The tax credits and incentives could well yield justifiable returns, including through job creation and economic expansion. But we don't know.
This situation will not get better until lawmakers struggling with tight budgets in Jefferson City recognize part of the problem could be overly generous tax credits that fail to do what they were intended to do.
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Recent Missouri Editorials
charlotteobserver.com
Recent Kansas Editorials
thenewstribune.com
Recent Kansas Editorials
charlotteobserver.com

 

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0.6

Good Times Come to Trump-Leaning States (1.11/17)

One of the biggest visible impacts after last November's presidential election was a surge in economic confidence among Republicans, and somewhat less of a drop among Democrats. Perhaps not surprising given how much we all view the world through partisan-tinted glasses. But it raised a larger question: In the months following the election, would the "hard" economic data confirm what these "soft" measures of sentiment and confidence were showing? Nearly a year after the election, the answer appears to be yes.
The really interesting numbers come from state employment data. The two states with the biggest drops in their unemployment rates since November are Alabama, whose unemployment rate has fallen to 3.8 percent from 6.2 percent, and Tennessee, whose rate has fallen to 3.0 percent from 5.1 percent. Trump won those states by 27.7 percent and 26.0 percent, respectively. Other Trump-leaning states like Tennessee and Idaho are now at record-low levels of unemployment.
By comparison, places with a strong Clinton lean have not seen a similar improvement. The unemployment rate in Washington, DC, has increased to 6.5 percent from 5.8 percent. Massachusetts's has increased to 3.9 percent from 3.1 percent, New York's rate is unchanged from 4.9 percent, and California's has fallen just 0.2 percentage points, to 5.1 percent from 5.3 percent.
Seven of the 10 most Trump-leaning states have seen their unemployment rates fall by more than the national average. Only three of the 10 most Clinton-leaning states can report the same, including none of the top seven. Outside of New Mexico, Trump-friendly Ohio now has the highest unemployment rate in the continental U. S.
1
The hard part is figuring out what to attribute this to. We've seen no major movement on the national policy front -- there's yet to be any movement from Congress on health care, taxes or fiscal policy. What we're left with is evidence that the psychological impact of the election has shifted labor markets at the state level. Perhaps some employers in Republican-leaning parts of the country were holding back on hiring during the Obama years in large part due to their political leanings, in the same way that perhaps some employers in Democratic-leaning parts have grown cautious in the new political environment.
The nature of the fall in the unemployment rate in Alabama and Tennessee raises particular questions. In a strong labor market driven by rising confidence, one might expect to see a combination of more hiring on the part of employers and rising labor-force participation. But what we've seen in both states is that the pace of hiring since the election has been somewhat steady, while the size of the labor force has fallen. Alabama's labor force has fallen by 32,000 people since November, and Tennessee's labor force growth rate has fallen sharply since the election. But those two states appear to be aberrations.
The next big question is whether policy makers in Washington can come up with positive-sum ideas that everyone can buy into, or if we're destined to endure an economic confidence swap every time there's a partisan change in the White House.
This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.
To contact the author of this story: Conor Sen at csen9@bloomberg.net
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Philip Gray at philipgray@bloomberg.net

Iraqi Kurd parliament delays elections for 8 months
digitaljournal.com

 

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1.4

Alec Baldwin a hit for Democrats seeking buzz (1.11/17)

"It was his idea to start doing more work at the state party level. He wants to start doing more to take an active role and help state parties grow," said Troy Price, the Iowa Democratic Party chairman. "I think this is just going to be the beginning."
Baldwin is leaning into his popular image and focusing his political moves on skewering Trump.
On Saturday, Baldwin signed a fundraising email for Ralph Northam, the Democratic candidate for governor in Virginia -- a contest seen as potentially the most important race of 2017.
"Take it from the guy who plays him on TV, Donald Trump is no Ralph Northam," the email said -- going on to contrast the two and concluding: "Ralph's opponent, Ed Gillespie, is more like Trump than I ever thought possible."
Earlier this year, Baldwin attended a fundraiser in New Jersey for a super PAC supporting Phil Murphy -- the Democratic nominee in the nation's other big governor's race this year -- that raised $5.1 million, believed to be the largest single fundraising event in the state's political history.
Baldwin was connected with Northam's campaign by officials at the People for the American Way, where he is on the board of directors. Last week, Baldwin also urged his Twitter followers to contribute to state legislative candidates in Virginia endorsed as part of the group's "Next Up Victory Fund" promoting younger Democrats, calling donating to them the "#1 way to resist Trump in 2017."
Baldwin also plans several more so-far-undisclosed speaking engagements around the November 7 release of his parody book about Trump -- which features Baldwin in "SNL" character on the cover -- his publicist Jillian Taratunio said.
At an event the progressive group held just before the 2016 election, its president, Michael Keegan, said Baldwin joked about his "SNL" role.
"He said, 'I really want Donald Trump to lose so that I don't have to do this damn imitation anymore,'" Keegan said.
Baldwin doesn't have political handlers, Keegan said. "For 30 years, I've known him to be a thoughtful political analyst and very committed person through the movement, and (he) could not be more helpful now in electing great progressives in the states to start building a bench," he added.
Baldwin forecast his increased involvement in local Democratic politics in a statement in early October announcing his appearance in Iowa.
"Heading into the 2018 midterm elections and beyond, I have decided to rededicate my efforts to helping the Democratic party win across the country. That effort begins in earnest in Iowa on Monday, November 27," Baldwin said in that statement. "There will be many more opportunities both before and after, and you can plan on seeing me out there with folks on the ground fighting this most important battle for our future."
Baldwin -- like most Democrats -- has cast the party as badly missing the mark in the 2016 election.
In early October, Baldwin interviewed Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders on WNYC. During the interview, Baldwin said voters had rejected a "flabby, tired, unimaginative, out of touch" Democratic Party.
"I'll get in trouble if I say that. You said it, right?" Sanders responded.
Baldwin also retweeted a Twitter user who predicted that Iowa Democrats can expect "tough talk."
Republicans are needling Democrats over their reliance on Baldwin's Hollywood firepower as the party seeks new leaders to replace former President Barack Obama after Hillary Clinton's loss.
"Democrats should spend more time finding a legitimate candidate with a positive message, instead of hanging out with a New York City liberal who just plays one on TV," said Michael Ahrens, a Republican National Committee spokesman.
Another avenue for Baldwin's political involvement is the Brennan Center for Justice at the New York University School of Law -- where he's been involved through the organization's entire two decades.
"In the entertainment world he's unusual in the length and consistency of his commitment on a lot of these things," said Michael Waldman, the Brennan Center president.
Baldwin worked with the center's legal staff on campaign finance reform. He also more than held his own on substance, providing a "leading and thoughtful voice" among top lawyers and scholars in one meeting that still stands out to staffers on a program advisory board at the Brennan Center when that board existed, Waldman said.
"He's passionate, funny and very knowledgeable about public issues, from our experience," Waldman said. "He looks at the Trump phenomenon not just from the perspective of a skilled performer, but also, based on the things he's said publicly, from the perspective of an appalled citizen."

President Trump Heads To Capitol Hill With Clear Message
npr.org

 

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0.6

Jose Altuve, all 5 feet 6 inches of him, stands tall for the Astros (1.08/17)

As long and pronounced as the path has been, the Houston Astros ’ ascent to the World Series has been expected. Three years ago, Sports Illustrated proclaimed them the 2017 World Series champions. Before the NBA ’s Philadelphia 76ers co-opted it, the organization popularized the phrase “trust the process” — after their attendance halved, players griped and embarrassments abounded.
Still, their strategy was clear: They’d collect first-round talents, play them together, and win with a payroll less than that of their big-market competition. After three pitiful years, they have been good since 2015, and now they are on the cusp of a championship.
But the chief reason the Astros are where they are today is not because of a product of that rebuilding process. It is because of a slight, 5-foot-6 second baseman who signed for $15,000 four general managers ago and was a long shot to make the major leagues.
Jeff Luhnow, the Astros’ current general manager, remembers the first time he saw Jose Altuve play. It was the summer of 2008, in the Appalachian League, when Altuve was 18 and Luhnow was the St. Louis Cardinals ’ vice president of scouting and player development.
Altuve was small, sure, but he also repeatedly put bat to ball, and he was a fiery competitor. Luhnow liked him.
“But I had no idea he would become this,” Luhnow said Saturday night on the Minute Maid Park infield as he celebrated his club’s first American League pennant.
By the time Luhnow took over the Astros in December 2011, Altuve had already made his major-league debut. He was the travel-size flashlight shining through the dark years, and he continued to improve, developing power at 25. This season, at 27, he hit.346 with 24 home runs, for which he is likely to win the American League Most Valuable Player Award.
In the postseason, Altuve is hitting .400. He has walked more than he has struck out, and he hit more homers than anyone else. When he went 0-for-10 in three Houston losses to the Yankees in New York, he still contributed three walks and a run.
“His slumps aren't even really slumps,” Astros manager A. J. Hinch said. “They're like bad days at work, you know? We expect so much out of him. To get the number of hits he gets, he's not really allowed to have a 10- or 12-at-bat stretch where he doesn't get hits.”
Altuve had only three hitless streaks that lasted more than one game this season, the longest of three games. He hit.378 in the Astros’ victories.
“For those that have followed the Astros, we've seen this: We go as Altuve goes,” Hinch said. “We've been able to build a team around him that had multiple options that maybe somebody else could pick up the slack if he decides not to get a hit for some reason.
“But there's no doubt that when he has good games, it's hard to beat the Astros.”
For months, Altuve has had the fans chanting “M-V-P!” at Astros home games.
“There’s a lot of expectations on him to provide that spark,” Hinch said.
One hour after the team’s American League Championship Series -clinching win, as his teammates poured alcohol into each other’s mouths and onto each other’s backs, Altuve sat in an otherwise vacant room adjacent to the clubhouse, using his phone. After a while, he emerged — totally dry — and jogged back to the field, where he celebrated with his wife and young daughter. He is the team’s star, but he does not operate at its center.
Carlos Correa, the 23-year-old shortstop, appears much more comfortable conducting news conferences and addressing the media. Likely honors notwithstanding, Altuve seems more comfortable standing alongside his teammates, not in front of them.
Luhnow said his roster was built for a seven-game series because of its offensive variety. Ideally, Altuve does not need to carry them. Veteran catcher Brian McCann supplied the most impactful hit in the Astros’ Game 7 ALCS victory over the Yankees.
“We don’t have to rely on one or two guys,” Luhnow said.
Altuve said last week that he "literally" loves Justin Verlander, the Astros' newly acquired ace. He has highly praised Carlos Beltran, the club's 40-year-old clubhouse leader who isn't quite the productive hitter he used to be. He seems happy that this is not all about him.
"This is awesome,” Altuve said. “We’ve been putting a lot of effort into this for a long time.”
pedro.moura@latimes.com
Follow Pedro Moura on Twitter @pedromoura

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0.9

NATO Plans to Create Two New Commands Amid Russia Tensions (1.08/17)

BRUSSELS—NATO is poised to approve the creation of two new commands to improve allied logistics and protect supply lines, aiming to shore up weaknesses in any potential conflict with Russia, allied officials said.
North Atlantic Treaty Organization defense ministers will review a new command structure at their quarterly meeting next month, the officials said.
The...

Serbian defense minister denounces US official for remarks
heraldonline.com

 

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0.6

A record number of women… but it’s still a man’s world at the top of the Chinese government (1.07/17)

Despite official boasts about the record number of women taking part in the Communist Party’s congress over the last week, Chinese women are still being excluded from the country’s top-level politics.
Of the 204 people on the party’s Central Committee, just 10 of them are women, a total unchanged from the 18th congress of 2012.
Women’s rights activists and female civil servants have painted a gloomy picture about their chances of influencing the decision-making process even as state media highlighted the rising proportion of female delegates at the 19th congress.
Women now make up 24.1 per cent of the 2,287 delegates, according to People’s Daily, the party’s official mouthpiece.
At the 18th party congress five years ago, 23 per cent of the delegates were women while the figure was 20 per cent at the 17th congress in 2007 and 18 per cent in 2002.
State-run media said the increase reflected the great efforts made by the party to give women members a bigger say and improve gender equality and social stability.
China’s new leadership line-up revealed in full for first time with seasoned duo tipped to take key jobs
However, this does not necessarily mean that women are becoming more influential at the top level of the country’s politics.
It appears highly unlikely there will be any women among the seven members of the Politburo Standing Committee, the most senior figures in the country.
There will only be two women in the wider, 25-member Politburo: Sun Chunlan, 67, head of the party’s United Front Work Department, and Li Bin, 50, from the National Health and Family Planning Commission.
Out of the country’s 22 provinces, five autonomous regions and four centrally controlled municipalities, there are no women party secretaries at the provincial level and only three female governors: Bu Xiaolin, governor of Inner Mongolia, Shen Yiqin, acting governor of Guizhou province and Xianhui, governor of the Ningxia Hui autonomous region.
A glass ceiling remains in place with many of the most senior roles in government only being open to men, according to Li Jun, a women’s rights activist.
“Female leadership reflects the openness of the system of government. I’m not positive in this field because we can estimate that national political democratisation will not make any progress in the coming years on the mainland,” Li said.
“We all tacitly assume that deputy department director level is usually the highest position for most female civil servants.”
One Guangzhou-based women civil servant said female civil servants at various levels usually worked in the fields of culture, education, and health.
“Only a few run the economy. Most of us lack of the political influence to become rising stars – unless we benefit from nepotism or trade sex for power,” she said.
The younger retirement age for women civil servants was also blamed for shortening their political careers. In China, women must retire up to 10 years earlier than men, she said.
Guangzhou-based lawyer Angela Luo said involvement in politics was an important way for women to realise their own interests by making use of their political rights.
“That’s why I want to be involved in politics,” Luo said.
“But I fear professional women lack the chance to take part in the management of state and social affairs.
“We can neither be independent candidates to be selected as a deputy to the people’s congress nor influence local officials.
“While the world welcomes more new top female leaders, it’s sad to see Chinese women are still trapped in a male-dominated government.”
But ethnic minorities have made slightly bigger gains on the Central Committee, with 16 members from ethnic groups on the body, compared with 10 five years ago.

China promotes 3 potential central bank leaders
miamiherald.com
Indonesia passes law to ban organisations deemed hostile to state ideology and which ‘create social conflict’
scmp.com

 

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2.9

Authorities: Children found woman's body in park in Florida (1.07/17)

Authorities say children found a woman's body in a Florida park.
The Orlando Sentinel reports the children found the 31-year-old woman in Derbyshire Park near some football fields Sunday around 2 p.m.
Daytona Beach police Sgt. Kelsey Harris says the woman appeared to have experienced trauma. The woman's identity has not been released, pending notification of her family.
Further details have not been released.
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Woman’s body found in trash bag in Philadelphia
washingtontimes.com
Authorities: Children found woman’s body in park in Florida
washingtontimes.com

 

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2.6

McDonald’s Corporation 3Q17 Earnings In Line With Estimates (1.06/17)

McDonald’s Corporation (NYSE:MCD) 3Q17 earnings were released before opening bell this morning. The fast food restaurant operator reported adjusted earnings of $1.76 per share on $5.76 billion in revenue, versus the consensus estimates suggesting earnings of $1.76 per share on $5.75 billion in sales. In last year’s third quarter, McDonald’s reported earnings of $1.62 per share on $6.4 billion in sales.
The company blamed its refranchising initiative for the 10% year-over-year decline in consolidated revenues.
On a GAAP basis, McDonald’s 3Q17 earnings rose 55% to $2.32 per share from $1.50 per share in last year’s third quarter. The fast food chain’s global comparable sales rose 6% on the back of guest count growth in all segments. Consensus had only been looking for a 4.6% increase in global comparable store sales. Systemwide sales grew 7% in constant currencies as comparable sales and restaurant expansion drove the growth.
U. S. comparable sales grew 4.1%, which the company attributed to its national beverage and McPick 2 promotions. The company’s Signature Crafted premium sandwiches also continued to be successful. International Lead comparable sales grew 5.7% year over year as the U. K. and Canada showed continued momentum and all other markets returned positive results.
Comparable sales in the High Growth segment grew 6.2% as China returned strong results and most of the rest of the segment also saw growth. Foundational market comparable sales grew 10.2% as all geographic regions returned positive sales performances.
The fast food restaurant operator also refranchised its China and Hong Kong businesses during the third quarter, hitting its target of refranchising 4,000 restaurants over a year earlier than management had expected.
“Completing this transaction brings us closer to the customers and communities we serve in these markets and creates a better opportunity to unlock their full growth potential,” Chief Financial Officer Kevin Ozan said in a statement. “Our more heavily franchised structure will continue to drive shareholder value by providing a more stable revenue and income stream with higher returns on invested capital.”
McDonald’s returned $2.9 billion to shareholders through dividends and share buybacks. The company also increased its quarterly dividend to $1.01 starting in the fourth quarter.
Following the McDonald’s 3Q17 earnings release, the company’s stock ticked higher by as much as 0.4% to $164 in premarket trading.

McDonald's earnings; Stock streak ends; Trump and the Fed
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0.3

The 24 best Stephen Covey quotes for Oct. 24, his 85th birthday (1.06/17)

SALT LAKE CITY — Stephen R. Covey, who taught the world to be highly effective at home and at work, would have turned 85 on Oct. 24.
The beloved Utah businessman and author died three months after a cycling accident in 2012, but his legacy endures, not only through his best-selling books but through his social media channels that remain active .
In honor of Covey's birthday, here are 24 of the best things the author of "The 7 Habits of High Effective People" ever said or wrote.
“Between what happens to us — that is the stimulus — and our response is a space. In that space lies our power and our freedom to choose our response. And in those choices lie our growth and our happiness.” ("Make Your Own Weather" video, Franklincovey.com)
**
"Setbacks are inevitable. Misery is a choice." (The 8th Habit)
**
"Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” (The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People)
**
“Most of us spend too much time on what is urgent and not enough time on what is important.” (The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People)
**
“I am not a product of my circumstances. I am a product of my decisions.” (The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People)
**
"My friend, love is a verb. Love — the feeling — is a fruit of love, the verb." (The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People)
**
"You have to decide what your highest priorities are and have the courage — pleasantly, smilingly, nonapologetically, to say 'no' to other things. And the way you do that is by having a bigger 'yes' burning inside." (The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People)
**
"We are not human beings on a spiritual journey. We are spiritual beings on a human journey.” (The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People)
**
"I think the most significant work we'll do in our whole life, in our whole world is done within the four walls of our home.” (The Wisdom and Teachings of Stephen R. Covey)
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"To retain the trust of those who are present, be loyal to those who are absent.” (The Wisdom and Teachings of Stephen R. Covey)
**
"Principles are not values. A gang of thieves can share values, but they are in violation of the fundamental principles we're talking about. Principles are the territory. Values are maps." (The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People)
**
"If you organize your family life to spend even 10 or 15 minutes a morning reading something that connects you with these timeless principles, it's almost guaranteed that you will make better choices during the day — in the family, on the job, in every dimension of life." (The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families)
**
“Nothing energizes, unites and satisfies the family like working together to make a significant contribution.” (The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families)
**
“The interesting thing is that, like it or not, you are a model. And if you’re a parent, you are your children’s first and foremost model.” (The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families)
**
“The key to your family culture is how you treat the child that tests you the most.” (The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families)
**
"If you adopt a pattern of life that focuses on golden eggs and neglects the goose, you will soon be without the asset that produces golden eggs." (The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People)
**
"The root cause of almost all people problems is the basic communication problem — people do not listen with empathy." (Principle-Centered Leadership)
**
"Be patient with yourself. Self-growth is tender; it’s holy ground. There’s no greater investment.” (The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People)
**
"I strongly believe that we should turn the TV way down in our lives and get back to reading – reading broadly, deeply, outside our comfort zones and outside our professional fields." (The Eighth Habit. To see the books Covey recommends, see his list at Stephencovey.com.)
**
"Private victories precede public victories." (The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People)
**
"The core of any family is what is changeless, what is always going to be there — shared vision and values. By writing a family mission statement, you give expression to its true foundation." (The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families)
**
"Look at the weaknesses of others with compassion, not accusation. It’s not what they’re doing or should be doing that’s the issue. The issue is your own chosen response to the situation and what you should be doing." (The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.)
**
"To knowingly take things into the body that are harmful or addicting is foolishness. More people in America die of overeating than of hunger." (Principle-Centered Leadership)
**
"Good families, even great families, are off track 90 percent of the time. The key is that they have a sense of destination. They know what the 'track' looks like. And they keep coming back to it time and time again." (The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families)

'If I Stay' author Gayle Forman has new novel out in March
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How Did Kate Middleton And Prince William First Meet? Why Was Kate’s School Nickname ‘Princess In Waiting’? (1.06/17)

The romantic love story between Kate Middleton and Prince William was always that the couple met at university in 2001, dated two years later, and the rest is royal family history. Yet, the author of a new book, Kate: The Future Queen, contends that Kate Middleton knew William way before their university days, and shares why her friends nicknamed Duchess Catherine the “Princess in Waiting.”
OK! reports that author Katie Nicholl thoroughly researched Kate Middleton’s life for her biography, Kate: The Future Queen, and was quite shocked to discover that William met Catherine before their years at St. Andrews. For Nicholl, this changes “everything” about the couple’s romantic story.
Speaking to Katie Couric, the author explained how she obtained this information.
Nicholl did not indicate if anyone had implied that Kate changed schools in order to attend the same university as Prince William, although Nine reports that Kate’s pals at the Marlborough School, not St. Andrews, had nicknamed her the “Princess in Waiting.”
The reason that Katie Nicholl believes when Kate and William met is an important tidbit is because Kate Middleton was originally going to attend the University of Edinburgh, not St. Andrews, where Prince William attended. Yet, Catherine made the school change at the “last minute.”
The story that William and Kate have always told the public is that both hung out with the same group of friends, and soon, the two became great pals because they were both Art History majors at St. Andrews.
What changed was at a student fashion show where Kate modeled a sheer Charlotte Todd skirt that Kate decided to wear as a dress over a bikini, which apparently made Prince William look at Kate as more than just a pal. And now, they are expecting baby number three!
Yet, things could certainly have gone differently if one Harry Blakelock had decided to not break up with Kate during his gap year between high school and university.
According to Katie Nicholl, the guy before Prince William is the one that really broke Kate Middleton’s heart. Harry Blakelock was a cricket player and a grade older than Kate Middleton.
Considered the “best looking boy in school,” the couple had met at the “posh” Marlborough College. Nicholl explains that the Wiltshire boarding school is where the couple were seriously dating for close to a year, which was part of the information that Nicholl gathered after interviewing over 100 of Kate Middleton’s “close” and not so close personal friends.
Allegedly, the couple made a pact that they would continue dating, although she had one more year of school, but then Harry broke Kate’s heart by suddenly breaking up with her. Harry “decided he’d take a gap year,” and chose not to stay attached to Kate.
This left Kate quite heartbroken. She didn’t date again for a few years, and of course, that was with Prince William.
Although Harry broke her heart, he was still invited to William and Kate’s wedding. Celebs Now explains that Harry wound up marrying one of Kate’s close friends, Sarah Follett.
Rumor has it that Kate was not terribly pleased with the new couple, yet eventually let bygones be bygones. They all stayed friends, and the couple went to the wedding and “they remain good friends to this day.”
Does this new information from Kate: The Future Queen change how you view Kate Middleton and Prince William’s love story? Do you think Duchess Kate purposely put herself into the path of Prince William? What do you think of her nickname “Princess in Waiting”?
[Featured Image by Heathcliff O’Malley/WPA Pool/Getty Images]

'If I Stay' author Gayle Forman has new novel out in March
cbs46.com

 

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Detroit is the No. 2 city in the world to visit, Lonely Planet says (1.05/17)

Lonely Planet, one of the largest travel book publishers in the world, is set to name Detroit the second best city in the world to visit in 2018, the latest national distinction in a growing list of them that officials say adds up to a lot of buzz.
Even celebrities, such as actor and former rapper Mark Wahlberg, are singing the city's praises.
But, even if Detroit wasn't No. 1 in the Lonely Planet ranking, folks who closely follow these lists said they will gladly take No. 2 — for now.
"It's damn good!" said Larry Alexander, head of the Detroit Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau, given Lonely Planet's reputation, reach and influence. "This is gigantic for Detroit to be included. I'll take No. 2 and be very happy."
The travel publication's announcement, set for Tuesday morning, follows a bid by Detroit to become the second headquarters of Seattle-based Amazon.com, and recognition earlier this year by the New York Times that it is a top travel destination.
Consider that just four years ago, Detroit was No. 1 for something far less distinguished, the largest municipality in America to file for bankruptcy.
Detroit, Alexander said, has about 19 million visitors annually who spend more than $6 billion.
Lonely Planet's announcement, he added, is expected to give that a big boost.
“This year, Detroit emerged as one of the top 10 cities to visit in 2018, sitting alongside cities including Oslo and Matera,” said Lonely Planet Managing Editor Alex Howard. "While it’s been on our travel experts' radar for years now, all the momentum we've seen has really put Detroit firmly on the map as a travel destination for both domestic and international travelers."
The top spot on the Lonely Planet list went to Seville, Spain. But, Detroit beat out Canberra, Australia; Hamburg, Germany; Kaohsiung, Taiwan; Antwerp, Belgium; Matera, Italy; Guanajuato, Mexico; and Oslo, Norway.
San Juan, Puerto Rico, the only other American city in the top 10, was No. 8.
What made the travel publisher take notice of Detroit?
Howard, who is expected to be in Detroit on Wednesday to help the city celebrate its honor, praised Detroit for its new hotels, stadiums, parks, improved public transportation, and, what, he called the city's "ever-present creative energy and innovation."
It's not the first time Detroit has gotten recognition for its comeback story.
In January, the New York Times travel section put Detroit on its annual list of 52 Places to Go, showing off the Rivera Court at the Detroit Institute of Arts. That list put the Motor City in the company of Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming, the Great Barrier Reef, and Laikipia, Kenya.
Last week, Inc. magazine now has Detroit in the running — in the top five — for Amazon’s second headquarters, HQ2.
Over the weekend, Wahlberg — a former hip-hop group frontman who was born outside Boston and now speaks glowingly about Michigan — said he thinks Amazon should pick Michigan as its home for its HQ2. He has made "Transformers" movies in Detroit and has a restaurant in Greektown.
"There's so many talented people here," he said, promising to lobby on the state's behalf.
The analysis in Inc. by Marty Pupil, president of U. S. Brokerage at Colliers International, a commercial real estate services firm, concluded Detroit was a contender because it would be “a triumph for Amazon from a public relations standpoint.”
Pupil's take on Detroit: "There aren't many cities that could offer Amazon a truly urban environment with an incredibly business-friendly local government and affordable housing," and "in one fell swoop, Amazon could be the catalyst for the rebuilding of one of America's great cities."
Amazon said Monday were 238 proposals from communities across North America.
A selection is expected in 2018.
Sandy Baruah, CEO of the Detroit Regional Chamber, said that while being included on among top contenders are nice accolades, the work and end goal of the chamber and other groups is far more important.
"Make no mistake, we're in this to win it," Baruah said Monday the team seeking to land the Amazon headquarters. "No one in this group is vying for second place. Having said that, there is tremendous value in this exercise even if we don't win it."
The process, he said, is uniting the city and suburbs, government and private sectors and various groups throughout the for a common purpose.
"At the end of the day, there is a national narrative about Detroit which is based on the reality of what's happening on the ground," he added. "The fact is not just the nation — but the world — is rooting for the city."
Contact Frank Witsil: 313-222-5022 or fwitsil@freepress.com.
1. Seville, Spain
2. Detroit, USA
3. Canberra, Australia
4. Hamburg, Germany
5. Kaohsiung, Taiwan
6. Antwerp, Belgium
7. Matera, Italy
8. San Juan, Puerto Rico
9. Guanajuato, Mexico
10. Oslo, Norway

Detroit gets global respect, big buzz as a No. 2 Lonely Planet city in world
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Lonely Planet's top 10 cities to visit in 2018
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Watch MSNBC’s Animated Re-Creation of Deadly Niger Attack (Video) (1.05/17)

While military investigators continue to try and piece together what exactly happened in Niger that led to the death of four U. S. servicemen, computer wizards at NBC wasted no time putting together their own interpretation — in the form of some animated B-roll.
While bits and pieces of the animation have percolated throughout MSNBC and NBC coverage of the tragedy, viewers on “Morning Joe” were treated to a lengthy bit of it on Tuesday morning.
The footage includes a rendering of a dramatic live firefight, missile-toting planes flying to their destination and grainy footage of real people in between.
Media outlets have been focused on the October 4 attack since President Donald Trump’s condolence call to the widow of one of the fallen soldiers, Sgt. La David Johnson, which has dominated much of the national conversation over the last week.
Earlier this month, MSNBC host Ari Melber was critical of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg for conducting a “virtual” tour of hurricane ravaged Puerto Rico.
“There is no substitute for really talking with someone, and really going somewhere, and really doing something,” said Melber in a clip — which executives apparently liked so much they spun the moment into a promotional ad for the channel.
Read original story Watch MSNBC’s Animated Re-Creation of Deadly Niger Attack (Video) At TheWrap

Niger attack leaves 4 US soldiers dead: What to know
foxnews.com

 

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Sans paper loss, GM makes $2.5B, stock jumps in premarket (1.05/17)

By TOM KRISHER AP Auto Writer
DETROIT (AP) - Shares of General Motors jumped nearly 4 percent in premarket trading as investors focused on a $2.5 billion third-quarter pretax profit and ignored a big accounting loss.
The Detroit automaker's stock gained $1.88 to hit $47.04 shortly after the company announced its earnings Tuesday before the opening bell. If the gain holds, GM shares will pass their record high since the company went public in 2010 after a trip through bankruptcy protection.
GM's $3 billion net loss came from a $5.4 billion charge for selling Opel and Vauxhall to France's PSA Group, which closed in August. But with that backed out and before taxes, the company made $1.32 per share, trouncing Wall Street estimates. Analysts polled by FactSet expected $1.11 per share.
Much of the accounting charge came from previous losses that GM can't use to offset future tax obligations.
Revenue without Europe fell 14 percent to $33.6 billion, but that also beat expectations of $32.2 billion.
GM says its strong pretax performance came despite a 26 percent production cut in North America to close out the 2017 model year and adjust to slowing demand, mainly for passenger cars. The company made just over $2 billion pretax in North America, as well as just under $500 million from its joint venture in China.
Chief Financial Officer Chuck Stevens said the company overcame the production cuts because it sold more high-profit trucks and SUVs and fewer lower-margin sedans, but it also cut costs at an annual running rate of $5 billion since 2014. The company also has cut low-profit sales to rental car companies and focused more on sales to individual buyers. Stevens attributed the performance to "overall resilience of a better business model that we built in North America."
With Europe no longer included, GM reported profits for all of its business units for the first time since 2014. Even South America, which has been a money loser in recent quarters, posted a $52 million pretax profit.
With European operations backed out, GM posted a net profit from continuing operations of $100 million.
Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Sans paper loss, GM makes $2.5B, topping expectations
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Sans paper loss, GM makes $2.5B, topping expectations
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MLB's Bruce Maxwell: Pro-Trump Waiter Wouldn't Serve Me Over Kneeling Protest (1.05/17)

Oakland A's catcher Bruce Maxwell -- the only MLB player who took a knee this season -- tells TMZ Sports he was confronted by a pro-Trump waiter at an Alabama restaurant who refused to serve him.
"He was like, 'You're the guy who took the knee? I voted for Trump and I stand for everything he stands for.'"
Maxwell says it all went down at a lunch with a local politician -- and after they complained to management, they got a new server.
But Maxwell says there's been a lot of POSITIVES that have come from his demonstration -- including a new friendship with Colin Kaepernick who's sort of mentoring him now.
"The dude's so positive," Maxwell says ... "He's such a strong, level-headed individual."
"His friendship definitely helps. His guidance comes through that. And just being able to use him as a sounding board some days does me some good."
Maxwell also says some very big names from both the NFL and MLB have reached out to lend their support ... guys like Dusty Baker, Coco Crisp, Torii Hunter, Adam Jones and more.
He hopes to unite everyone to help spread Colin's message. We know where they WON'T be having the next lunch meeting.

Dodgers Will Stand During National Anthem
dailycaller.com

 

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Shania Twain’s ‘Different’ Appearance On ‘DWTS’ Sparks Plastic Surgery Speculation (1.04/17)

Shania Twain both performed and guest judged on last night’s (October 23) episode of Dancing with the Stars, but it was more than just her appearance on the judging panel and her singing skills that got fans of the ABC show talking.
A number of fans claimed online the country superstar looked “different” on the dancing series, which sparked speculation that the “Life’s About to Get Good” singer might have gone under the knife.
There’s no doubting Shania looked stunning during her DWTS appearance while promoting her new album, Now, though some viewers claimed on social media that she just didn’t look like the star they’d come to know and love after she burst onto the scene in the 1990s.
“How is this Shania Twain on #dwts right now!? She is so different,” @deannaaElena tweeted after seeing the singer on the DWTS judging panel, while another wrote, “I would never have guessed it was Shania until they said it. [She] looks completely different.”
“ #DWTS It is clearly obvious that Shania has had work done on her face because she is NOW totally unrecognizable… So Sad,” another viewer then wrote of the star on the social media site.
Others also began to speculate that Twain may potentially have gone under the knife and gotten some kind of plastic surgery, though there’s no proof that the singer has had any kind of cosmetic procedure.
“Is there a @ShaniaTwain under all that plastic surgery? #DWTS,” Twitter user @klaw1988 wrote of the multiple Grammy winner’s changing looks.
“Is that reeeeally @ShaniaTwain?” @stwrs1974 then added during the live broadcast. “Omg. Plastic surgery, anyone? Wow. #sad #dwts.”
“Whatever Shania has done to her face, I am not a fan,” @stalkstephanie added on the social media site, speculating Twain may have “cheek implants and Botox” on her face. “Ugh. She was so pretty. Just age naturally #DWTS.”
Earn The Necklace also speculated after Shania’s DWTS appearance this week that she could have gotten botox injections in her face.
While Shania has never confirmed she’s ever had any kind of plastic surgery; this isn’t the first time it’s been suggested that the country singer may have gone under the knife.
Life & Style alleged in June that Twain may potentially have altered her appearance with a little help from a plastic surgeon.
The gossip magazine claimed earlier this year that it’s possible the star may have had botox, fillers, and laser treatments on her skin, as well as a number of other procedures.
But despite all the rampant speculation surrounding her “different” look, there’s no denying that Twain is back at the top of her game following her big return to the music scene.
Shania dropped Now, her first album in 15 years, last month, and the big release saw a huge amount of success across the globe.
Now debuted at number one in a number of countries across the globe, including hitting the top spot on the Billboard Top 200 chart, as well as reaching the top of the charts in Canada, Australia, and the U. K.
[Featured Image by Mike Coppola/Getty Images]

Shania Twain Accused Of Lip-Synching On ‘Dancing With The Stars’
inquisitr.com
Shania Twain, 52, Looks Sexier Than Ever Showing Off Cleavage On ‘DWTS’ – Hollywood Life
hollywoodlife.com

 

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Kim Cattrall: 19-hour 'Sex and the City' days prevented kids (1.04/17)

By The Associated Press
"Sex and the City" star Kim Cattrall says she didn't have kids in-part because of the demanding production schedule of the long-running HBO series.
The 61-year-old actress told Piers Morgan for an interview on Britain's ITV that she decided against undergoing fertility treatments when she was starring on the show in her early 40s because she questioned how she could keep up with 19-hour days while raising a child.
Cattrall also opened up about her relationship with her co-stars on the franchise, telling Morgan she has "never been friends" with Sarah Jessica Parker, Kristin Davis or Cynthia Nixon.
Cattrall says she turned down the chance to appear in a third "Sex and the City" film and will never play her character Samantha Jones again.
Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Her Plans For Kim Cattrall’s Character – Hollywood Life
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Legislative Mastermind Donald Trump Now Feuding With Entire Senate Margin for Error (1.04/17)

The Republican Party is trying to pass a big tax cut on an expedited basis, even though the full plan does not yet exist, and every time Republicans have come up with a specific policy to offset the $5 trillion revenue hole they need to fill, it gets shot down. (The most recent being a proposal to cap 401(k) contributions, which President Trump vowed yesterday to keep in place.)
In the midst of this highly ambitious agenda, which even the most skilled and focused administration would be hard-pressed to carry out on time, Trump is… raising beefs with two Republican senators whose votes he badly needs. John McCain and Bob Corker are both the kinds of wavering Republicans that the party ought to be able to corral. They have made noises about fiscal responsibility in the past, but both are also generally reliable votes in party-line scenarios, with McCain’s defection on health care being an obvious exception.
After McCain gave a speech denouncing “half-baked, spurious nationalism,” a conservative talk-show host goaded the president to respond yesterday. Trump naturally obliged. “Yeah, well I hear it. And people have to be careful because at some point I fight back,” he said. “I’m being very nice. I’m being very, very nice. But at some point I fight back, and it won’t be pretty.” So the strategy is to turn this into a test of manhood with a war hero who’s dying of cancer and clearly seeking a glorious end to his political career? Good plan!
Meanwhile, Trump has decided simultaneously to revive his vendetta with Corker, who has made cutting remarks about Trump’s capacity to handle foreign policy. Corker has said he won’t vote for any legislation that increases the deficit. On the other hand, he approved a budget deal that would allow a $1.5 trillion increase in the deficit, and it’s entirely plausible he could be mollified with vague promises that tax cuts will produce more growth (and, hence, revenue) than mainstream economic models predict.
Corker has always played nice with his party. Does he really want to end his career by supplying a decisive vote to kill their main legislative priority, and in so doing, precipitate a failure they claim will bring on a midterm election rout? Trump is trying to find out!
Corker is naturally indicating a lack of interest in backing down:
You gonna take that, Donald? Huh?
Republicans have 52 votes in the Senate. Minus McCain and Corker, they have zero margin for error. They would need every other vote, including Susan Collins’s. Trump may believe that his social-media bullying campaign is an effective way to prod recalcitrant members of his party into line. It has certainly worked many times before — his crude insults of people like Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio resulted in their eventually submitting. But Trump may not be distinguishing between young pols on the make and retiring senators who have nothing to lose.

First major abortion battle of Trump era could be headed for Supreme Court
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Assessing Betsy DeVos' Rollback on Disability Rights (1.04/17)

Last January, Betsy DeVos went before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee and delivered what may have been the worst performance of a potential cabinet secretary in modern history. She didn't seem to know anything about federal education policy, which wasn't surprising on its own: Her track record as a school-choice advocate in Michigan had emphasized privatization and theocracy, rather than pursuit of high-quality public education. Worse, from my perspective as the parent of a disabled child, she was specifically ignorant about special education, an arena where her prospective office has outsized influence. She got confirmed anyway, if narrowly.
Ten months into the Trump administration, the damage that DeVos and her appointees are doing to America's most vulnerable is beginning to show. A few weeks ago, she announced significant changes to the department's guidance on Title IX as it pertains to sexual assault in schools. Then, last week, the department rolled back 72 policy documents that specifically detailed the rights of disabled children in schools.
It's a little unclear whether now is the time to panic. Generally speaking, the documents— listed here —clarify how existing federal disability rights law applies to school districts around the country. In no cases did the Department of Education make clear what guidance they were overturning or where they simply feel there's a more recent document that should take precedence. The many disability-rights and education experts with whom I spoke over the past few days were divided, and wanted more time to go through the documents line by line. The Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates, an organization focused on protecting the legal education rights of people with disabilities, issued an early statement insisting that the Department of Education justify each revocation.
Disability rights law is complicated. Understanding the details can mean the difference between access to services, or dangerous exclusion. Students and their caregivers often don't know their rights. Some school districts seem to like it that way in order to cut costs; recently, the Chicago Public Schools hired outside consultants to construct elaborate bureaucratic obstacles for students and their families, as explosively reported by Chicago Public Radio's WBEZ last week. In more benign cases, administrators and teachers may be as ignorant as students and caregivers. The Department of Education can help by explaining—in clear, non-legal language—precisely what rights students have and what procedures should be followed. When language is out of date, these guiding documents should be updated.
That doesn't seem to be what's happening here. Rebecca Cokley, senior fellow for disability policy at the Center for American Progress, tells me via direct message: "The DeVos administrations rescinding of SEVENTY-TWO [emphasis hers] guidance documents will impact people with disabilities from womb to the tomb. We want safer schools for our children, better and more effective programming to help them transition to employment to have better lives than our own." Cokley is not convinced that the Department of Education is on track to help with these goals.
Without guidance, as observed on Twitter by Donald Moynihan, professor of public affairs at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, states and schools have "de-facto-discretion ... to deny access to services." Moreover, Moynihan added, given Attorney General Jeff Sessions' long-stated hostility to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act as " the single most irritating problem for teachers," we can't look to the Department of Justice for help when the Department of Education fails to guide local districts.
What's more, the rollback of guidance on disability compounds DeVos' previous actions to make schools less safe. Soraya Chemaly, a feminist writer and activist, sees a grim convergence between the document revocations and DeVos' new directions on Title IX. Together, the two moves combine to significantly heighten the risk of disabled students experiencing sexual assault. As Chemaly told me over direct message, "Protections for students with disabilities and for victims of sexual assault were developed over years and by experts, for a reason," and that recent policy "will almost inevitably hurt the people most targeted and least likely to be able to advocate for themselves." Chemaly noted further that disabled students are significantly more likely to be assaulted than non-disabled students. Despite this vulnerability, the "Guidance on Procedural Safeguards and Due Process Procedures for Parents and Children with Disabilities," along with other key documents that make the remediation processes more transparent, are no longer available online. The whole mess, Chemaly adds, makes "the vulnerable more vulnerable and abusers more powerful in their ability to manipulate the system."
It's possible that, once experts have slogged through each of the documents and double-checked all standards, we will discover that these specific revocations aren't a crisis. The fear, however, will continue, because the disability-rights community is feeling the strain of being targeted by the Trump administration and the GOP in so many different ways. Over the summer, the slew of attacks on Medicaid left many disabled people and their caregivers terrified about losing health care, and about whether they'd be able to live in communities rather than institutions. Now, the Department of Education is issuing this mass revocation of guidelines. There's no reason to believe things won't get worse. Nish Weiseth, a writer and parent of a disabled child, characterized the recent move as an instance of this administration "keeping disabled people and their families in a perpetual state of trauma."
We're just beginning to scratch the surface of the damage that the Trump administration's particular combination of incompetency and vandalism can do. The Republicans have empowered a class of people who either don't understand federal policy or actively resist enforcing federal protections for the people and places in need. The first victims have been those multiply marginalized by factors such as race, class, gender identity, religion, nationality, sexual orientation, and, of course, disability. We've seen this manifest in the actions of Immigration and Customs Enforcement as the agency raids hospitals and prevents teenagers from accessing reproductive rights. But there's no shortage of damage to come, and so many of the targets involve disability.
Someday soon there will be elections for local, state, and federal officials in your communities. Progressives need to explain that policy is a matter of life or death, so voters can see the consequences of these disastrous appointments in their lives. Because when a theocratic vandal takes control of the education system in America, no one's access to a safe, high-quality public education is secure.

4 Questions About The Alexander-Murray Health Insurers Subsidies Bill
thefederalist.com

 

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New Jersey all-male women's empowerment panel canceled (1.04/17)

A New Jersey-based magazine owned by women has canceled a women's empowerment panel following criticism because the participants were all men.
In a statement released Monday, SJ Magazine says it believes it is "helpful when everyone is part of the conversation on women's empowerment and feminism." But the magazine says it was never its intention to offend anyone with the Nov. 6 event.
The criticism began after the magazine announced the panel. The magazine explained three other panels were composed of all women and said it wanted to start a discussion with men.
One of the participants, New Jersey Democratic Assemblyman Lou Greenwald, had decided to withdraw because of the panel's composition.
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Magazine cancels all-male women’s empowerment panel
washingtontimes.com
Gusty winds whipping around New Jersey
washingtontimes.com

 

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Fusion GPS: Subpoena Will 'Ruin' Bu (1.04/17)

The opposition research firm behind the Trump dossier says that a House Intelligence Committee subpoena seeking its bank records has a good chance of “ruining” its business, as well as of putting its clients’ safety at risk.
The firm, Fusion GPS, also argued in a late-night court filing that the subpoena, issued earlier this month for TD Bank, will have a “chilling” effect on the First Amendment and privacy rights of it and its clients.
“In short, compliance with this subpoena will not only harm Plaintiff’s business, it has a high likelihood of ruining it,” reads one of the arguments presented by Fusion GPS in court papers filed in federal court in Washington, D. C.
Fusion’s argument is part of a mad dash effort to prevent the House committee from finding out who hired the firm to investigate Trump. That question has remained a closely-held secret ever since the dossier, written by former British spy Christopher Steele, was published by BuzzFeed in January.
Fusion has refused to identify its clients in response to numerous lawsuits filed against the firm as well as against BuzzFeed and Steele. Fusion founder Glenn Simpson also refused to identify clients during an Aug. 22 interview with the Senate Judiciary Committee.
According to various news reports, Fusion was first hired in September 2015 by a Republican “Never Trumper” to investigate the real estate mogul. By the following June, a Hillary Clinton ally had hired Fusion to continue the Trump project. That’s when Steele, a former MI6 agent, was hired to investigate Trump’s activities in Russia.
Fusion’s fight to stave off the release of bank records began last week, after two of Fusion’s partners, Thomas Catan and Peter Fritsch, invoked their Fifth Amendment privileges during depositions with the House committee.
On Friday, lawyers for Fusion and the House committee held a phone conference with U. S. District Court Judge Tanya Chutkan in which the opposition research firm argued that TD Bank should be blocked from complying from the subpoena, which was issued on Oct. 4.
Fusion said last week that it was not aware of the subpoena until Oct. 13.
TD Bank informed Fusion that it had compiled the firm’s bank records and was ready to comply with the subpoena by the Oct. 23 deadline. But Fusion was able to convince Chutkan to delay the subpoena by two days in order to hear arguments in favor of blocking the subpoena. Chutkan, an Obama appointee, is expected to make a decision in the case by Wednesday.
In its request for an injunction, Fusion says that if the subpoena is approved, its bank records will reveal thousands of transactions as well as the identities of 25 of its clients and 30 of its contractors. Doing so will not only hurt Fusion’s business but it will put its clients not related to the dossier project at risk of hacking attempts and physical threats, the firm says.
“The breadth of the subpoena will cause harm to the businesses of Fusion’s clients and contractors and also subject those clients and contractors to harassment, fear of cyberattacks and hacking attempts, and, in some instances, danger to their physical safety,” Fusion’s argument reads.
To support its claim, Fusion included anonymous declarations from nine of its clients, none of who were involved in the dossier, asserting that they did not want their identities revealed by the release of the bank records.
“It is possible that revelation of my association with Fusion GPS could lead to my safety being placed in jeopardy,” declared one Fusion client, who also expressed concern that their company “will become the subject of media attention and politicized scrutiny.”
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Trangias say return tickets to PH show they didn’t plan escape (1.04/17)

Ralph Trangia, one of the principal suspects in the fatal hazing University of Santo Tomas law student Horacio Tomas Castillo III, denied that he had plans of escaping criminal liability through his departure to the United States two days after the victim’s death.
In their joint counter-affidavit filed before the Department of Justice (DOJ) investigating panel on Tuesday, Ralph and his parents, Rosemarie and Antonio, said they never intended to evade arrest as they simultaneously purchased return tickets to the Philippines upon leaving for Chicago on September 19.
“When the tickets for departure to the U. S. were purchased for Rosemarie and Ralph, tickets for their return to the Philippines on October 10,2017 were simultaneously purchased as well. Rosemarie and Ralph never intended to evade legal processes before this Honorable Office,” the counter-affidavit stated.
“The concurrent purchase of return tickets to the Philippines, with arrival date of 10 October 2017, already negates presumption and theory that they intended to evade the legal processes,” it added.
They also argued that they should not be charged with obstruction of justice because by the time the mother and son left for the U. S., there was no case filed yet against Ralph.
“Rosemarie and Ralph actually returned to the Philippines on 10 October 2017, and are actively participating in this instant proceeding,” the counter-affidavit read.
In the resumption of the DOJ preliminary investigation on the death of Castillo, the Trangias, accompanied by their legal counsel Roel Ilagan, filed and subscribed to their counter-affidavits against the obstruction of justice complaint filed against them by Castillo’s parents, Horacio Jr. and Carminia in violation of Presidential Decree No. 1829.
Ralph was also accused with murder and violation of Section 4 of the Anti-Hazing Law.
The following also filed their counter-affidavits: John Paul Solano; Min Wei Chan; Axel Hipe; Oliver Onofre; Joshua Macabali; Jason Rubinos; Jose Miguel Salamat; Ranie Santiago; Carl Villanueva; Marcelino Bagtang; Daniel Hans Rodrigo; Aeron Salientes; Simon Padro; Cesar Tirol; Oscar Co; Alvin Dysangco; Gabriel Robinol; and Michael Joseph Fernandez.
Only Alex Bose, who was represented by his legal counsel Paris Real and Arvin Balag, were unable to file their counter-affidavits.
UST Faculty Civil Law Dean Nilo Divina, on the other, hand was again absent in the preliminary investigation. Only Atty. Estrella Elamparo appeared on his behalf.
The DOJ investigating panel led by Assistant State Prosecutor Susan Villanueva has set the filing of counter-affidavits for the supplemental complaint filed by Castillo’s parents October 30.
The Castillos accused Antonio of obstructing justice as the red Toyota Strada used to transport the victim’s body to the Chinese General Hospital was registered under Antonio’s name.
However, the Trangias argued that the mere ownership of the vehicle “is by no stretch of the imagination” a violation of P. D. 1829 and the complainants “jumped into conclusion” that Antonio or Ralph was the one who drove the vehicle to the hospital.
“It bears to stress that Antonio, or even Ralph for that matter, was never mentioned or identified as the person driving the vehicle or present within the vicinity of the frat library, or the Chinese General Hospital, during the time and date of the said incident,” the document stated.

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Apple will reportedly produce only 20 million iPhone Xs this year, half the expected number (1.04/17)

Apple will drastically miss its iPhone X production goals this year, according to a Nikkei report Tuesday. "Initial shipments of Apple's highly anticipated iPhone X are expected to total around 20 million units, only half the planned amount for this year," the Japanese financial news agency said.
Nikkei blamed production issues for the new phone's face-scanner sensor components. The report said Apple is now able to make 10 million iPhone X units per month after manufacturing yields improved at the end of September.
The iPhone X will be available on Nov. 3 at a base model price of $999.
Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Its shares are down 0.1 percent in Tuesday's premarket session.
In similar fashion, KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said Friday Apple will have no more than 3 million iPhone X units available for purchase when preorders open due to production problems. Read the full report on Nikkei

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1.5

RWC 2023 bid: What happens next? (1.04/17)

Cape Town - South Africa has played all its cards in an attempt to host the 2023 Rugby World Cup and we will know soon enough whether or not we have been successful.
On Tuesday, October 31,2017 at 13:00 (SA time) World Rugby will announce its board recommendation for the host candidate.
South Africa's competitors for hosting rights are France and Ireland.
However, this will not be the final outcome.
That will come on Wednesday, November 15,2017 a secret ballot will see 39 votes cast.
Where are we now?
- Fifteen months of a 16-month, two-phase process have now been completed for the three bidding rugby unions: South Africa, France and Ireland.
- We have reached the critical stage with two formal steps remaining.
- At 13:00 (SA time) on October 31, World Rugby will announce the Rugby World Cup (Ltd) Board’s recommendation for the host candidate, depending on which has achieved the highest score in an evaluation process. Please note: This is not the final outcome; that will be determined on November 15 (see below).
- The assessment has been performed by a team of 10 World Rugby, RWCL relevant-area managers and independent area experts, working since June 1,2017. They have assessed all three bids with input from functional experts. The London-based Sports Consultancy has scrutinised each managers’ evaluation to ensure all candidates have been treated fairly and the criteria have been consistently applied.
- The evaluation report will be sent to host candidates and World Rugby Council members. At the same time World Rugby will announce the Evaluation Commission’s findings.
Voting process:
- On November 15, World Rugby Council votes to select the Rugby World Cup 2023 host. The voting is by secret ballot and there are strict guidelines on lobbying. Voting should “take the Evaluation Commission’s recommendation into consideration.”
- None of the three bidding nations are permitted to vote.
- The bid which receives a simple majority of the 39 available votes will be named as the host for Rugby World Cup 2023.
- Those eligible to vote in the secret ballot will be Australia (3 votes), England (3), New Zealand (3), Scotland (3), Wales (3), Italy (3), Argentina (3), Canada (1), Japan (2), Georgia (1), Romania (1), USA (1), Asia Rugby (2), Oceania Rugby (2), Rugby Africa (2), Rugby Americas North (2), Rugby Europe (2), Sudamerica Rugby (2).
- In the event that none of the host candidates receives a simple majority in the first round, the candidate with the least number of votes will drop out before a second ballot.
- The host country will be announced at a media conference immediately after the vote at any time from 15:30 (SA time), depending on how long the vote takes.
How did we get here?
Applicant phase: June 1 – September 2016
- Designed to ensure that only qualified Unions and countries continue to the second phase.
- Italy withdrew at this stage, leaving only France, Ireland and South Africa.
Candidate phase: November 2016 – September 25,2017
- Country visit: March 13-15,2017
A senior Rugby World Cup Limited (RWCL) delegation, including the World Rugby CEO, CFO and RWCL lead visited South Africa. The visit included a day-and-a-half of presentations in Cape Town and a tour of the National Stadium in Johannesburg.
- Bid submission: June 1,2017
SA Rugby submitted South Africa’s bid to World Rugby in Dublin. The bid, which ran to more than 800 pages and 16 chapters addressed 300 questions. It included a comprehensive budget and a detailed match-venue file providing exhaustive information on each proposed venue.
- Signed government and match-venue guarantees and hosting agreement: July 31,2017
Legal guarantees from National Government, all proposed match venues and the hosting agreement between SA Rugby and RWCL were submitted by the deadline.
- Bid presentation: September 25,2017
The final stage of the candidate phase was a 30-minute presentation to World Rugby Council members, followed by a 20-minute Q&A.
France, Ireland and South Africa each presented their vision for the 2023 tournament and key aspects of the bid.
The Minister of Sport and Recreation, Thulas Nxesi, and SA Rugby President, Mark Alexander, introduced the South African bid. SA Rugby CEO, Jurie Roux, presented the technical detail and South Africa’s 10 differentiators. The Deputy President, Mr Cyril Ramaphosa, closed the presentation.
South Africa’s 10-point undertaking to World Rugby can be accessed by clicking here .
The 12-member presentation party included South Africa’s two Rugby World Cup winning captains, Francois Pienaar and John Smit as well as the Director General of Sports and Recreation South Africa, Alec Moemi.

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8.1

1 Killed, 6 Wounded In Monday Gun Violence Across Chicago (1.04/17)

CHICAGO (CBS) — A rash of shootings Monday afternoon continued into the evening, leaving one person dead and six others wounded across Chicago.
The shootings, all falling within a span of six hours, included a homicide about 2:35 p.m. in the South Chicago neighborhood. The victim, a male between 16 and 18 years old, was in the 3000 block of East 80th Street when two people walked past and he heard shots and felt pain. He was shot in the head and chest and taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 3:15 p.m., according to Chicago Police and the Cook County medical examiner’s office said. His identity wasn’t released Monday evening.
The attacks were capped by a North Side shooting at 8:15 p.m. that left a 22-year-old man wounded in the Rogers Park neighborhood. He was in a vehicle in the 1700 block of West Estes when someone on foot opened fire, police said. The man was shot in the right forearm, shoulder and back. His condition was stabilized at St. Francis Hospital in Evanston.
About 7:15 p.m., an 18-year-old man was shot in the Lawndale neighborhood on the Southwest Side. He was struck in the right thigh in the 3800 block of South Roosevelt, police said. His condition was stabilized at Mount Sinai Hospital.
About 15 minutes earlier, a 69-year-old man was wounded in a West Garfield Park neighborhood shooting of which he wasn’t the intended target. The man was walking at 7:02 p.m. in the 4100 block of West Madison when someone ran past him firing shots, police said. The man was shot in the left ankle and taken to Stroger Hospital, where he was listed in good condition.
Earlier in the afternoon, two men were wounded in a drive-by shooting in the North Lawndale neighborhood on the West Side. At 3:05 p.m., a white-colored vehicle passed by in the 3600 block of West Douglas and someone inside the car fired shots, according to police. A 33-year-old man was shot multiple times and was transported to Mount Sinai Hospital, where he was listed in critical condition. A 31-year-old man was shot in the left leg, and was taken to Stroger Hospital, where his condition was stabilized.
The day’s first shooting happened at 12:19 p.m. in the Humboldt Park neighborhood on the West Side. A 23-year-old man was shot in the leg and arm in the 900 block of North Hamlin, police said. He was taken to Stroger Hospital in fair condition.
Before the string of attacks Monday, there hadn’t been a shooting in the city in more than 14 hours. Over the weekend, two men were killed and at least 26 other people were wounded in Chicago gun violence between Friday afternoon and Monday morning.
(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2017. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

Maine departments battle woods fire near Grafton Notch
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Fire Crews Battled MWC Commercial Fire (1.04/17)

Fire crews battled a commercial fire early Tuesday in Midwest City.
The fire happened about 4:40 a.m. in the 1100 block of S Air Depot Boulevard.
When firefighters arrived, they noticed light smoke and a few flames. The damage to the business was minor, and so far, no cause has been determined, firefighters said.
Stay with News 9 and News9.com for more information as it becomes available.

Maine departments battle woods fire near Grafton Notch
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0.3

Momentum Investing Has a Place in Portfolios (1.04/17)

The S&P 500 has reached almost 50 all-time highs in 2017. Since the start of September alone there have been almost 20 such peaks, which is more than the total number in the entire decade of the 2000s.
The data in the table show that new highs tend to cluster and that there were decades that had very few of them. There are many potential reasons for these numbers but the simplest answer is the concept of momentum. Sir Isaac Newton’s
1
first law of motion stated that an object at rest stays at rest while an object in motion stays in motion unless acted upon. The corollary to the markets is that rising prices tend to attract buyers while falling prices tend to attract sellers.
There are a number of behavioral biases that could explain the momentum phenomenon. The recency bias holds that people extrapolate the recent past into the future indefinitely. Anchoring to past price points causes investors to initially underreact to new data, events or company information. That turns into an overreaction once it becomes apparent in the price as the herd mentality kicks in. Overconfidence and the confirmation bias can also cause investors to pile into winning investments after they’ve risen and sell out of stocks after they’ve fallen. Price momentum is the simplest idea as to why both bull and bear markets can go further than fundamentals would dictate.
Momentum can also be used to explain the performance of individual investments or securities. As a quantitative risk factor, momentum is the idea that stocks that have performed well (or poorly) recently will continue to perform well (or poorly). The momentum factor utilized by academics and quants typically looks at the previous three, six or 12-month performance and buys the securities that have performed the best, based on different thresholds and rules.
Eugene Fama, the father of the efficient-market hypothesis, said: “The premier market anomaly is momentum. Stocks with low returns over the past year tend to have low returns for the next few months, and stocks with high past returns tend to have high future returns.”
A recent paper from Research Affiliates, " Can Momentum be Saved?," calls into question how well this historical outperformance translates into real world fund performance. Research Affiliates looked at every U. S. mutual fund with “momentum” in its name and discovered that none has outperformed its benchmark since inception after accounting for fees and expenses. Their findings are fairly damning to the translation of momentum in actual mutual funds:
To be fair, the study relied on relatively small sample size and many of these funds haven’t been around very long. With the rise of smart beta funds and low-cost quantitative investment strategies I expect investors will have better options than they’ve had in the past. Momentum still has a long way to go to catch on with investors like other factor strategies have.
2
Hedge funds have also had a difficult time with momentum investing in this cycle. Commodity trading advisers use a trend-following approach by going long or short up- or down-trending securities in stocks, bonds, commodities and currencies to take advantage of momentum in several different assets. According to data from BarclayHedge, as a group these funds now have negative returns in seven out of the past nine years after showing some of the best performance of any asset class during the 2008 market crash.
One of the biggest issues with momentum investing is that it requires a high amount of turnover as the best-performing assets tend to change rapidly over any of the standard lookback periods. It’s also true that for any investment strategy to “work”
3
it must go through extended periods of time when it doesn’t. If these premiums always outperformed there would be so much capital invested in them that they would become so crowded that they would lose their advantages.
This is why most investors will have a much smoother ride by incorporating a momentum strategy as a piece of a broader diversified portfolio. In "Your Complete Guide to Factor-Based Investing," Larry Swedroe and Andrew Berkin show that a diversified portfolio of different risk factors -- including value stocks, small caps, momentum stocks and high-quality stocks -- had a higher probability of outperforming over 10- and 20-year periods when combined as an equal-weight portfolio than each factor had individually.
Bloomberg Prophets Professionals offering actionable insights on markets, the economy and monetary policy. Contributors may have a stake in the areas they write about.
To contact the author of this story: Ben Carlson at ben@ritholtzwealth.com
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Max Berley at mberley@bloomberg.net

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1.2

Hill fire rages on Lamma Island, with Hong Kong’s Government Flying Service called in to dump water on flames (1.04/17)

A Government Flying Service helicopter was called in to water-bomb a raging hill fire on Lamma Island on Tuesday, as firefighters continued battling a blaze that had started after noon.
The fire broke out on a hillside near Hung Shing Yeh Beach at around 12.15pm, and seven fire engines were dispatched to the scene. By 4pm, firefighters were still working to put out the flames, the Fire Services Department said.
A popular family walk between Yung Shue Wan and Sok Kwu Wan on the island has been closed following the incident.
A police spokeswoman said the fire began in an area measuring 100 metres by 200 metres but soon engulfed a stretch of land 1km wide.
Watch: Firefighters tackle blaze on Lamma Island hillside
“It is not close to [any] residential area and no evacuation was needed,” she added.
No injuries have been reported.

Maine departments battle woods fire near Grafton Notch
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1.1

Trump's Antics and the Problematic History of US Legislation on Israel and Palestine (1.03/17)

A picture taken on October 12,2017 shows the flags flying in front of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) headquarters in Paris. The United States said on October 12,2017 that it was pulling out of the UN's culture and education body, accusing it of 'anti-Israel bias' in a move that underlines Washington's drift away from international institutions. (Photo: Jacques Demarthon / AFP / Getty Images)
The October 12 announcement that the US will withdraw from UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) is a shortsighted, damaging and hyperbolic move from the Trump administration, but just the latest in a series of harmful policies, isolationist on the surface but driven by a dangerous nationalist and militarist approach. When compared to other recent Trump edicts -- such as the January executive order restricting citizens of seven countries from entering the US (the "Muslim Ban"), the June announcement that the US will withdraw from the Paris climate agreement or most recently, the destructive decision to " decertify " the Iran Nuclear Deal -- US withdrawal from UNESCO (quickly followed by Israeli withdrawal) initially appears to less urgently threaten US stability, particularly since the US will retain UNESCO membership through December 2018. When the context of the withdrawal and the history of US-UNESCO relations are analyzed, however, this action's symbolic impact and repercussions are alarming -- and reveal a problem with roots deeper than the Trump administration's latest antics.
US Congress, Israel and Palestinian Statehood
Heather Nauert, US State Department spokesperson, cited "concerns with mounting arrears at UNESCO, the need for fundamental reform in the organization, and continuing anti-Israel bias at UNESCO" to justify the withdrawal. The move was lauded by many right-wing members of Congress, consistent with UN-phobic policies. The first point, "mounting arrears," refers to the US decision to stop funding UNESCO in 2011 under the Obama administration (eliminating approximately one-fifth of UNESCO's budget), which led to loss of the US vote at the organization and UNESCO budget cuts.
Discontinued payment is inextricably linked with the State Department's third point, alleged "anti-Israel bias at UNESCO." The 2011 decision to halt UNESCO funding arose when the organization granted membership to the state of Palestine. UNESCO was the first UN agency in which the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) sought full member status, following the state of Palestine's September 2011 application for full UN membership.
US legislation from 1990, enacted under the George H. W. Bush administration, established that any UN agency that recognizes Palestinian statehood becomes ineligible to receive US funding. Public Law 101-246 states: "No funds authorized to be appropriated by this Act or any other Act shall be available for the United Nations or any specialized agency thereof which accords the Palestine Liberation Organization the same standing as member states."
Meanwhile, Public Law 103-236, enacted in 1994 under the Clinton administration, forbids "voluntary or assessed contribution to any affiliated organization of the United Nations which grants full membership as a state to any organization or group that does not have the internationally recognized attributes of statehood."
What is the history behind this US legislation, which appears to blatantly and unabashedly oppose possible recognition of Palestinian statehood?
The US as an "Indispensable Middleman"?
Proponents of Public Laws 101-246 and 103-236 argue that the laws prevent Palestinian attempts to "circumvent the Middle East peace process ... to gain unilateral recognition of statehood." Closer analysis of the laws and the political climate in which they arose suggests, however, that the laws -- and failure to amend them to reflect the changed political climate in the over 20 years that have passed -- impede rather than facilitate resolution. Possible recognition of Palestinian statehood is now considered essential to peace, not a threat to peace.
Public law 101-246 arose in the lead-up to the 1991 Madrid peace conference, convened by the US and Soviet Union (already near complete dissolution). Despite public perception of an unprecedented degree of Palestinian success at Madrid, as political economist Sara Roy argues, the Palestinians found themselves in a "weak position" after the conference. Then Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir believed, as Israeli historian Ilan Pappe puts it, that "the status quo was Israel's best strategy," and was utterly reluctant to participate.
"Plans for a new wave" of Israeli settlements, designed to "double the Jewish population in the occupied territories in four years," violating previous promises, were introduced in the lead-up to Madrid, and as Israeli historian Avi Shlaim notes, were "not just incompatible with the peace process," but were "designed to wreck it." An emerging internal divide between Fatah and Hamas -- which presented itself as a " counterhegemonic force " to Fatah as the Palestinian economy suffered under Israeli control -- contributed to peace process stagnation following Madrid.
In the context of the US-Soviet Cold War struggle for global dominance, the US succeeded in assuming "the role of the sole and indispensable middleman and broker" in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, as historian James Gelvin writes, and the Madrid conference was one of several key opportunities to solidify this role.
George H. W. Bush did attempt to leverage US funding to pressure Israel to meet international demands to restrict its settlement expansion in 1992. Shlaim describes an unprecedented "American-Palestinian axis" achieved at Madrid, due largely to the Palestinians' strong performance and moderate approach, an approach the US arguably found closer to its own position than Israel's intransigent stance spearheaded by Shamir.
However, as Lara Friedman, president of the Foundation for Middle East Peace, wrote in 2011, "Congress was not entirely behind White House efforts related to Madrid." Hence Public Law 101-246 came about during the Madrid era, and Public Law 103-326 during the Oslo peace process era -- ensuring that whatever progress was made in the US-Palestinian relationship, this progress would be legally impeded from culminating in recognition of a Palestinian state by UN bodies. Or, at least UN bodies would only be able to do so while losing sizable US contributions to their budgets.
2011 was not the US's first rift with UNESCO. In 1984, the Reagan administration withdrew, also on the grounds that the organization was too critical of Israel, compounded by fears in the midst of the Cold War that UNESCO was " corrupt and too susceptible to Moscow's influence." The US rejoined UNESCO in 2002, under George W. Bush's administration.
In 2011, even after halting funding for UNESCO in retaliation for recognition of Palestinian statehood was legalized, Friedman notes, Congress was not "simply the helpless victim of a law passed 21 years ago during a much different era. If members of [the] 112th Congress wanted to, they could pass new legislation... to avoid a cut-off in funds." The realistic chances of a congressional amendment were for the 112th congress, and remain for the 115th congress, extremely slim. The Obama administration, in favor of UN involvement, reportedly sought loopholes to continue US funding for UNESCO, but was unsuccessful.
The 2011 decision to stop funding UNESCO paved the way for the Trump administration to enact a full withdrawal. And the 2011 cessation of funding was facilitated and mandated by 1990s peace-process-era legislation seeking to stymie international recognition of Palestinian statehood. In spite of US opposition, the Palestinians have made strides toward international recognition: gaining non-member observer state status at the UN in 2012 and joining the International Criminal Court in 2015.
Though the Trump administration's action is characteristically provocative, when the US's historical relationships with both UNESCO and Israel are considered, withdrawal under Trump appears to be more an inevitability than a shock.
UNESCO as a Microcosm of International Politics?
The perspective that the US's UNESCO withdrawal is the culmination of a long-term problem is supported when UNESCO's internal politics are taken into account. Just a day after the US and Israeli withdrawals, Audrey Azoulay, the French candidate for UNESCO director-general, defeated the Qatari candidate Hamad bin Abdulaziz al-Kawari. Given the ongoing Saudi Arabia-Qatar conflict, which escalated into a full-scale Gulf diplomatic crisis in June 2017, is it possible that the timing of the US withdrawal from UNESCO had something to do with desire to ensure the failure of the Qatari candidate?
Qatar and the US have long cooperated militarily, even as Qatar is a primary benefactor for Hamas, the ruling faction of the Gaza Strip designated by the US as a terrorist organization. Qatar-US relations have suffered, however, since Trump lashed out at Qatar for allegedly funding terrorism, a hypocritical accusation amidst US ally Saudi Arabia's history of funding terrorists.
Given this context, it is significant that the US and Israeli withdrawals from UNESCO come directly on the heels of the Palestinian Hamas-Fatah unity agreement, signed the same day as the UNESCO withdrawals, and giving rise to the Palestinian " prospect of negotiating with Israel with a single voice." The history of US legislation on Palestine demonstrates a fundamental US discomfort with a strong, unified Palestinian front -- unity that makes the possibility of an internationally recognized Palestinian state more within reach.
Irina Bokova, UNESCO's current director-general, questioned the timing of the withdrawals, remarking, "Why now, I don't know, in the midst of elections."
The point of this article is not to suggest that Qatari leadership of UNESCO would have been superior or inferior to French leadership. (Qatar has its own problematic history of involvement in international institutions.) It is noteworthy, however, that as of October 10, Qatar's al-Kawari was the leading contender, with France's Azoulay in second place, a development that elicited a statement the following day from the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, deeming al-Kawari "unqualified" and anti-Semitic. Carmel Shama-Hacohen, Israel's UNESCO envoy, called al-Kawari's initial lead "bad news for the organization," but on October 9 noted "anything can happen" as the election progresses.
We are in Trump's era of unprecedented support for Israel, including UN ambassador Nikki Haley's dogged championing of Israel without any apparent effort to appear balanced. It is significant, therefore, that the US withdrawal from UNESCO -- on the grounds that UNESCO has demonstrated an intolerable anti-Israel bias -- came about at precisely the same time as the director-general elections, and immediately following the Hamas-Fatah unity deal, which marks the first significant development toward a unified Palestinian negotiating entity in years.
In the Israeli-Palestinian context, the US has a history dating back to the Cold War of prioritizing its own involvement in a leadership capacity over sustainable resolution and peace, at times appearing to perpetuate conflict -- and thereby extending its own need for involvement and opportunity for dominance -- under the guise of "conflict resolution."
Trump has proven himself willing and able to do Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's bidding -- as long as this bidding also serves Trump's agenda -- and more than willing to trample on US interests to promote grandiose policy moves that he perceives as opportunities to flex his muscles, whatever the cost. US withdrawal from UNESCO also reflects a history of US bias against the Palestinians and an unwavering commitment to Israel, regardless of cost, that predates Trump, and that has its claws firmly entrenched in US politics.
Short-Term Antics, Long-Term Damage
As the president and CEO of The Met in New York, Daniel H. Weiss stated, although UNESCO "may be an imperfect organization, it has been an important leader and steadfast partner" in worldwide cultural preservation.
UNESCO has been the subject of other controversies, such as the decision to deem sites representative of Japan's Meji industrial revolution World Heritage Sites, amidst criticism from China and South Korea over the sites' historical associations with forced labor and oppression. But no UNESCO decision has provoked the same level of ire as its actions regarding Israel and Palestine.
In May 2017 a UNESCO resolution criticized Israeli activity in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and defined Israel as an "occupying power," a fact that has already been established according to international law, but was nevertheless met with outrage from Israel.
Most recently, in July 2017, UNESCO voted to recognize the old city of Hebron in the West Bank and Hebron's Tomb of the Patriarchs as Palestinian Heritage Sites. The resolution did not declare Hebron exclusively Muslim, Palestinian or Arab, but rather recognized its geographic location in Palestine, and significance for Judaism, Christianity and Islam. As Odeh Bisharat argued in Haaretz, the resolution declared Hebron "holy to three faiths and located in Palestine. Period." Israel has several UNESCO World Heritage Sites of its own.
Clearly there is more than initially meets the eye when it comes to the US withdrawal from UNESCO. The meaning behind this decision extends further back than 2011's cessation of US funding for UNESCO following Palestinian accession to the organization as a full member.
Now that the Qatari candidate for director-general has been defeated and the US and Israel have put on a dramatic show, will the US rejoin UNESCO before its withdrawal becomes official in December 2018? Or will Trump follow in Reagan's footsteps and opt for an extended absence from the organization? This, of course, depends largely on UNESCO's actions under new leadership in the months ahead, whether Trump and Netanyahu feel the organization sufficiently acquiesces to pressure to shift towards a pro-Israel stance, and whether the organization is willing to prioritize such a stance over its mission in the realms of education, science, culture and communication.
Is the US withdrawal from UNESCO another example of a Trump regime shock tactic, or a long time coming? The answer is twofold. Yes, the withdrawal is reflective of more destructive and shortsighted Trump antics. And -- also yes -- the policy is indicative of a long, problematic history of US-Palestinian relations, one that appears to have the ability to negatively impact US stability now, in "Trump's America" more than ever.
A picture taken on October 12,2017 shows the flags flying in front of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) headquarters in Paris. The United States said on October 12,2017 that it was pulling out of the UN's culture and education body, accusing it of 'anti-Israel bias' in a move that underlines Washington's drift away from international institutions. (Photo: Jacques Demarthon / AFP / Getty Images)
The October 12 announcement that the US will withdraw from UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) is a shortsighted, damaging and hyperbolic move from the Trump administration, but just the latest in a series of harmful policies, isolationist on the surface but driven by a dangerous nationalist and militarist approach. When compared to other recent Trump edicts -- such as the January executive order restricting citizens of seven countries from entering the US (the "Muslim Ban"), the June announcement that the US will withdraw from the Paris climate agreement or most recently, the destructive decision to " decertify " the Iran Nuclear Deal -- US withdrawal from UNESCO (quickly followed by Israeli withdrawal) initially appears to less urgently threaten US stability, particularly since the US will retain UNESCO membership through December 2018. When the context of the withdrawal and the history of US-UNESCO relations are analyzed, however, this action's symbolic impact and repercussions are alarming -- and reveal a problem with roots deeper than the Trump administration's latest antics.
US Congress, Israel and Palestinian Statehood
Heather Nauert, US State Department spokesperson, cited "concerns with mounting arrears at UNESCO, the need for fundamental reform in the organization, and continuing anti-Israel bias at UNESCO" to justify the withdrawal. The move was lauded by many right-wing members of Congress, consistent with UN-phobic policies. The first point, "mounting arrears," refers to the US decision to stop funding UNESCO in 2011 under the Obama administration (eliminating approximately one-fifth of UNESCO's budget), which led to loss of the US vote at the organization and UNESCO budget cuts.
Discontinued payment is inextricably linked with the State Department's third point, alleged "anti-Israel bias at UNESCO." The 2011 decision to halt UNESCO funding arose when the organization granted membership to the state of Palestine. UNESCO was the first UN agency in which the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) sought full member status, following the state of Palestine's September 2011 application for full UN membership.
US legislation from 1990, enacted under the George H. W. Bush administration, established that any UN agency that recognizes Palestinian statehood becomes ineligible to receive US funding. Public Law 101-246 states: "No funds authorized to be appropriated by this Act or any other Act shall be available for the United Nations or any specialized agency thereof which accords the Palestine Liberation Organization the same standing as member states."
Meanwhile, Public Law 103-236, enacted in 1994 under the Clinton administration, forbids "voluntary or assessed contribution to any affiliated organization of the United Nations which grants full membership as a state to any organization or group that does not have the internationally recognized attributes of statehood."
What is the history behind this US legislation, which appears to blatantly and unabashedly oppose possible recognition of Palestinian statehood?
The US as an "Indispensable Middleman"?
Proponents of Public Laws 101-246 and 103-236 argue that the laws prevent Palestinian attempts to "circumvent the Middle East peace process ... to gain unilateral recognition of statehood." Closer analysis of the laws and the political climate in which they arose suggests, however, that the laws -- and failure to amend them to reflect the changed political climate in the over 20 years that have passed -- impede rather than facilitate resolution. Possible recognition of Palestinian statehood is now considered essential to peace, not a threat to peace.
Public law 101-246 arose in the lead-up to the 1991 Madrid peace conference, convened by the US and Soviet Union (already near complete dissolution). Despite public perception of an unprecedented degree of Palestinian success at Madrid, as political economist Sara Roy argues, the Palestinians found themselves in a "weak position" after the conference. Then Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir believed, as Israeli historian Ilan Pappe puts it, that "the status quo was Israel's best strategy," and was utterly reluctant to participate.
"Plans for a new wave" of Israeli settlements, designed to "double the Jewish population in the occupied territories in four years," violating previous promises, were introduced in the lead-up to Madrid, and as Israeli historian Avi Shlaim notes, were "not just incompatible with the peace process," but were "designed to wreck it." An emerging internal divide between Fatah and Hamas -- which presented itself as a " counterhegemonic force " to Fatah as the Palestinian economy suffered under Israeli control -- contributed to peace process stagnation following Madrid.
In the context of the US-Soviet Cold War struggle for global dominance, the US succeeded in assuming "the role of the sole and indispensable middleman and broker" in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, as historian James Gelvin writes, and the Madrid conference was one of several key opportunities to solidify this role.
George H. W. Bush did attempt to leverage US funding to pressure Israel to meet international demands to restrict its settlement expansion in 1992. Shlaim describes an unprecedented "American-Palestinian axis" achieved at Madrid, due largely to the Palestinians' strong performance and moderate approach, an approach the US arguably found closer to its own position than Israel's intransigent stance spearheaded by Shamir.
However, as Lara Friedman, president of the Foundation for Middle East Peace, wrote in 2011, "Congress was not entirely behind White House efforts related to Madrid." Hence Public Law 101-246 came about during the Madrid era, and Public Law 103-326 during the Oslo peace process era -- ensuring that whatever progress was made in the US-Palestinian relationship, this progress would be legally impeded from culminating in recognition of a Palestinian state by UN bodies. Or, at least UN bodies would only be able to do so while losing sizable US contributions to their budgets.
2011 was not the US's first rift with UNESCO. In 1984, the Reagan administration withdrew, also on the grounds that the organization was too critical of Israel, compounded by fears in the midst of the Cold War that UNESCO was " corrupt and too susceptible to Moscow's influence." The US rejoined UNESCO in 2002, under George W. Bush's administration.
In 2011, even after halting funding for UNESCO in retaliation for recognition of Palestinian statehood was legalized, Friedman notes, Congress was not "simply the helpless victim of a law passed 21 years ago during a much different era. If members of [the] 112th Congress wanted to, they could pass new legislation... to avoid a cut-off in funds." The realistic chances of a congressional amendment were for the 112th congress, and remain for the 115th congress, extremely slim. The Obama administration, in favor of UN involvement, reportedly sought loopholes to continue US funding for UNESCO, but was unsuccessful.
The 2011 decision to stop funding UNESCO paved the way for the Trump administration to enact a full withdrawal. And the 2011 cessation of funding was facilitated and mandated by 1990s peace-process-era legislation seeking to stymie international recognition of Palestinian statehood. In spite of US opposition, the Palestinians have made strides toward international recognition: gaining non-member observer state status at the UN in 2012 and joining the International Criminal Court in 2015.
Though the Trump administration's action is characteristically provocative, when the US's historical relationships with both UNESCO and Israel are considered, withdrawal under Trump appears to be more an inevitability than a shock.
UNESCO as a Microcosm of International Politics?
The perspective that the US's UNESCO withdrawal is the culmination of a long-term problem is supported when UNESCO's internal politics are taken into account. Just a day after the US and Israeli withdrawals, Audrey Azoulay, the French candidate for UNESCO director-general, defeated the Qatari candidate Hamad bin Abdulaziz al-Kawari. Given the ongoing Saudi Arabia-Qatar conflict, which escalated into a full-scale Gulf diplomatic crisis in June 2017, is it possible that the timing of the US withdrawal from UNESCO had something to do with desire to ensure the failure of the Qatari candidate?
Qatar and the US have long cooperated militarily, even as Qatar is a primary benefactor for Hamas, the ruling faction of the Gaza Strip designated by the US as a terrorist organization. Qatar-US relations have suffered, however, since Trump lashed out at Qatar for allegedly funding terrorism, a hypocritical accusation amidst US ally Saudi Arabia's history of funding terrorists.
Given this context, it is significant that the US and Israeli withdrawals from UNESCO come directly on the heels of the Palestinian Hamas-Fatah unity agreement, signed the same day as the UNESCO withdrawals, and giving rise to the Palestinian " prospect of negotiating with Israel with a single voice." The history of US legislation on Palestine demonstrates a fundamental US discomfort with a strong, unified Palestinian front -- unity that makes the possibility of an internationally recognized Palestinian state more within reach.
Irina Bokova, UNESCO's current director-general, questioned the timing of the withdrawals, remarking, "Why now, I don't know, in the midst of elections."
The point of this article is not to suggest that Qatari leadership of UNESCO would have been superior or inferior to French leadership. (Qatar has its own problematic history of involvement in international institutions.) It is noteworthy, however, that as of October 10, Qatar's al-Kawari was the leading contender, with France's Azoulay in second place, a development that elicited a statement the following day from the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, deeming al-Kawari "unqualified" and anti-Semitic. Carmel Shama-Hacohen, Israel's UNESCO envoy, called al-Kawari's initial lead "bad news for the organization," but on October 9 noted "anything can happen" as the election progresses.
We are in Trump's era of unprecedented support for Israel, including UN ambassador Nikki Haley's dogged championing of Israel without any apparent effort to appear balanced. It is significant, therefore, that the US withdrawal from UNESCO -- on the grounds that UNESCO has demonstrated an intolerable anti-Israel bias -- came about at precisely the same time as the director-general elections, and immediately following the Hamas-Fatah unity deal, which marks the first significant development toward a unified Palestinian negotiating entity in years.
In the Israeli-Palestinian context, the US has a history dating back to the Cold War of prioritizing its own involvement in a leadership capacity over sustainable resolution and peace, at times appearing to perpetuate conflict -- and thereby extending its own need for involvement and opportunity for dominance -- under the guise of "conflict resolution."
Trump has proven himself willing and able to do Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's bidding -- as long as this bidding also serves Trump's agenda -- and more than willing to trample on US interests to promote grandiose policy moves that he perceives as opportunities to flex his muscles, whatever the cost. US withdrawal from UNESCO also reflects a history of US bias against the Palestinians and an unwavering commitment to Israel, regardless of cost, that predates Trump, and that has its claws firmly entrenched in US politics.
Short-Term Antics, Long-Term Damage
As the president and CEO of The Met in New York, Daniel H. Weiss stated, although UNESCO "may be an imperfect organization, it has been an important leader and steadfast partner" in worldwide cultural preservation.
UNESCO has been the subject of other controversies, such as the decision to deem sites representative of Japan's Meji industrial revolution World Heritage Sites, amidst criticism from China and South Korea over the sites' historical associations with forced labor and oppression. But no UNESCO decision has provoked the same level of ire as its actions regarding Israel and Palestine.
In May 2017 a UNESCO resolution criticized Israeli activity in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and defined Israel as an "occupying power," a fact that has already been established according to international law, but was nevertheless met with outrage from Israel.
Most recently, in July 2017, UNESCO voted to recognize the old city of Hebron in the West Bank and Hebron's Tomb of the Patriarchs as Palestinian Heritage Sites. The resolution did not declare Hebron exclusively Muslim, Palestinian or Arab, but rather recognized its geographic location in Palestine, and significance for Judaism, Christianity and Islam. As Odeh Bisharat argued in Haaretz, the resolution declared Hebron "holy to three faiths and located in Palestine. Period." Israel has several UNESCO World Heritage Sites of its own.
Clearly there is more than initially meets the eye when it comes to the US withdrawal from UNESCO. The meaning behind this decision extends further back than 2011's cessation of US funding for UNESCO following Palestinian accession to the organization as a full member.
Now that the Qatari candidate for director-general has been defeated and the US and Israel have put on a dramatic show, will the US rejoin UNESCO before its withdrawal becomes official in December 2018? Or will Trump follow in Reagan's footsteps and opt for an extended absence from the organization? This, of course, depends largely on UNESCO's actions under new leadership in the months ahead, whether Trump and Netanyahu feel the organization sufficiently acquiesces to pressure to shift towards a pro-Israel stance, and whether the organization is willing to prioritize such a stance over its mission in the realms of education, science, culture and communication.
Is the US withdrawal from UNESCO another example of a Trump regime shock tactic, or a long time coming? The answer is twofold. Yes, the withdrawal is reflective of more destructive and shortsighted Trump antics. And -- also yes -- the policy is indicative of a long, problematic history of US-Palestinian relations, one that appears to have the ability to negatively impact US stability now, in "Trump's America" more than ever.

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Saudi foreign minister says backs Trump's stance on Iran (1.03/17)

LONDON (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia supports U. S. President Donald Trump’s concerns about Iran, following his decision not to certify that Tehran is complying with a nuclear accord, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said on Tuesday.
Al-Jubeir was speaking at a conference in London.

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Crime stats in SA: 14.5% increase in carjackings since 2016 (1.03/17)

Cape Town - Vehicle crime statistics released by Police Minister Fikile Mbalula as part of the annual national crime statistics shows an increase of 14.5% in carjacking.
A total of 16 717 cars were stolen between April 2016 and March 2017 up from 14 602 reported in the previous 12 months.
READ: SA crime stats: Rise in carjackings 'alarming'
A closer look at carjacking in each province reveals that only three (Northern Cape, Free State and the Eastern Cape) out of nine provinces saw a decrease in carjackings compared to April 2015- March 2016.
Limpopo (+2%), North West (+5.4%), Western Cape (+8.3%), Gauteng (+16.9&), Kwa-Zulu Natal (+21.5^%) and Mpumalaga (+28.8%) reported an increase in carjackings in the past year.
Theft of motor vehicle and motorcycle and was down by 0.9% according to Mbalula.
What do you think can be done about vehicle crime in SA? How do you keep yourself and your family safe from becoming vehicle crime victims? Email us
Dembovsky goes on to say: "On the score of criminal offences committed by motorists, the number of cases of driving under the influence of intoxicating liquor or a drug having a narcotic effect (drunken driving) detected decreased marginally from 76 159 in 2015/16 to 75 034 in 2016/17, a decrease of 1.5%. "It is difficult to say whether this decrease is attributable to a lower number of drivers driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or to a lower volume of them being caught doing so. The conviction rate for DUI offences is and remains very low and this is a worrying factor in road traffic crashes and the injuries and fatalities which accompany them.
Vehicle security and tracking company Pro-Active SA 's Ryno Schutte says: "As expected the crime statistics on vehicle crime has increased significantly over the past year, the increase in Carjacking has been indicated as the worst over the past 12 years with the lowest being 9417 in 2011/2012.
"There has been a steady increase of 14% year on year to date since 2012/2013. The total increase since 2011/2012 is a staggering 77.5%. "We once again saw a 14.48% increase in Carjacking over the past financial year. This was expected after the release of the crime statistics in March. When you look at the crime statistics over the nine months released it indicated that there will be around 17 000 carjacking during the 2016/2017 period which was confirmed today. Though there has been a decrease in theft of motor vehicle / motorcycle, vehicle crime in general has increased drastically and vehicle owners are at a greater risk."
Schutte goes on to say that the decrease of a mere 0.93% (502) incidents in theft of motor vehicle and motorcycle does not justify the increase of 14.48% (2 115) in carjacking which places the community at greater risk due to firearms being used in these forms of crime.
"Greater vigilance and risk awareness pertaining to vehicle crime is required and extra communication through the local Community Police Forums, Neighbourhood Watches and Security Service Providers to the community and clients.
"The increase in Residential Robberies of 7.32% (1532) also needs to be taken into consideration, as this indicated that there are more firearms involved in Robberies in general."

WATCH: Crime stats in a nutshell — 2.1m serious crimes recorded in 2016/2017
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Italy ready to discuss calls for great autonomy: Gentiloni (1.03/17)

VENICE (Reuters) - The Italian government is ready to open negotiations with Lombardy and Veneto after the two wealthy regions voted overwhelmingly for greater autonomy, Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni said on Tuesday.
Unlike a recent referendum on independence in Catalonia, which sparked a political crisis in Spain, the Italian votes this weekend were legal, but not binding on Rome.
Making clear he had no intention of making a drama out of the twin ballots, Gentiloni said he was ready to discuss how Lombardy and Veneto wanted to proceed.
“Here we are talking about how to make Italy work better. We are not calling into question Italy and its unity,” Gentiloni said during a visit to an oil refinery close to Venice, the capital of the northeastern Veneto region.
“The government is ready to look into the merits of this ... it will be a complex discussion that can’t be done in five minutes,” he added.
Regional governments have the right to ask for greater oversight in 23 policy areas, including the environment, infrastructure, health and education.
The most delicate negotiations are likely to be over tax returns, with Veneto demanding that it be allowed to spend 90 percent of all the taxes raised on its own territory.
Among Italy’s 20 regions, Lombardy and Veneto account for just under a third of its economic output and are home to around 25 percent of its population.
Italy’s poorer, less developed southern regions are worried that they will receive less funding in future if Lombardy and Veneto get to keep more of their own tax take.
Five regions in Italy -- the islands of Sicily and Sardinia and three relatively small border areas with linguistic minorities -- already have special autonomous status under the constitution. Veneto wants to join them.
However, this would need a change to the constitution, which the government seems unwilling to accept.
“We are ready (to grant greater powers) within the limits fixed by our laws and by our constitution,” Gentiloni said.
Negotiations are likely to take many months and look certain to be interrupted by national elections due by next May. Any deal between the government and the regions will have to be approved by parliament.
The latest opinion polls suggest a hung parliament will emerge from the forthcoming election, making it impossible to predict the government formation that will carry on the negotiations.

Italian premier open to talks with regions eyeing autonomy
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UPDATE: Missing teen back home (1.03/17)

A 16-year-old Minden City girl has returned home after being reported missing.
It was determined Aurora Mierop was a voluntary runaway and no foul play was involved, according to the Sanilac County Sheriff Department.
"It is a relief she is home safe and teens need to realize how serious their decision to runaway is," the sheriff department said in a statement. "These cases tie up hours of investigative time; worry parents, family and community involved, and can lead to dangerous situations such as kidnapping and human trafficking."
Mierop was last seen Friday when she was going to a friend's house in Gagetown. She returned home Monday night.
The sheriff department thanks the community for coming forward with tips.

UPDATE: Missing teen contacts her mother
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Previously conjoined NC twins to return home
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‘Morning Joe’ Mocks Melania Trump Bullying Initiative: She Sleeps With ‘Worst Bully in America’ (1.03/17)

The set of “Morning Joe” woke up in a feisty mood Tuesday morning, ripping into First Lady Melania Trump’s campaign to curb bullying.
“If you are going to pick anything, that’s an interesting thing for Melania to pick considering, well, I mean, all the insults,” Scarborough said dryly, alluding to her husband, the President of the United States.
“Maybe she should start with Patient X, or Patient Zero, (who) she sleeps actually with, the worst bully in America,” said Scarborough.
Yesterday, Melania Trump made a surprise trip to Michigan to visit schoolchildren and preach the doctrine of inclusion.
“I encourage you to find a new friend and eat lunch with the new friends and know a friend,” she told middle schoolers in Bloomfield Hills. “Ask them what they like, what their hobbies are, so nobody becomes sad or stressed, and everybody feels included.”
That all left the set at MSNBC baffled.
“[Trump’s] constantly cyber bullying, that’s fascinating, you have, remember the beauty queen he said was fat, and ‘Liddle’ Bob Corker, ‘Little Marco,'” said Scarborough, who also reminded viewers that some of Trump’s nastiest barbs have been directed to show co-host Mika Brzezinski.
I heard poorly rated @Morning_Joe speaks badly of me (don’t watch anymore). Then how come low I. Q. Crazy Mika, along with Psycho Joe, came..
– Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 29,2017
…to Mar-a-Lago 3 nights in a row around New Year’s Eve, and insisted on joining me. She was bleeding badly from a face-lift. I said no!
– Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 29,2017
“At least Melania stepped out and condemned him… oh, wait,” said Scarborough.
“Oh, wait. She attacked me,” said Brzezinski.
The segment concluded with show mainstay Mark Halperin washing his hands of it.
“I think a lot these days about how historians are going to write about the Trump administration,” he said. “This is not a huge thing, in the scheme of things, but it’s going to be hard for historians to explain this.”
Read original story ‘Morning Joe’ Mocks Melania Trump Bullying Initiative: She Sleeps With ‘Worst Bully in America’ At TheWrap

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Snap election not enough to solve crisis, Spain tells Catalan leader (1.03/17)

MADRID (Reuters) - Catalonia’s leader cannot solve its political crisis with Madrid just by calling regional elections, Spain’s justice minister said on Tuesday, dampening hopes of a quick fix for a dispute that has rattled investors and fractured the country.
The Spanish government says it will impose direct rule on Catalonia from Friday to counter an illegal independence push, invoking never-before-used powers to fire the government of the northeastern region that is critical to the country’s economy.
The Catalan parliament will meet on Thursday to agree on a response to Madrid, something many analysts said could pave the way for a formal declaration of independence.
Secessionists in Catalonia say that an independence referendum held on Oct. 1 - which drew only a 43 percent turnout and was mostly shunned by Catalans who wish to remain in Spain - has accorded them a mandate to claim statehood.
Catalonia said on Monday it was confident all officials including police would defy attempts by Madrid to enforce direct rule, raising fears among Spain’s European allies of separatist contagion affecting other parts of the continent.
Spanish political leaders, influential business lobbies and most Catalonia newspapers have urged Puigdemont to call a regional election before he is stripped out of his authority.
They say direct rule from Madrid, which was the norm during the dictatorship of Francisco Franco, would be a humiliation for Catalonia and pose a serious risk of social and economic unrest.
Puigdemont has remained silent on the matter of elections. Some of his senior advisers have said holding a vote is a possibility while others have ruled it out. His pro-secession allies are also divided.
The Spanish government said a snap election would be a first step but Puigdemont would also have to withdraw an ambiguous declaration of independence he made earlier this month.
“When the government proposes an option so extreme as Article 155 (powers to cancel Catalonia’s autonomous status), it’s because we believe that there has been a serious failure by Puigdemont to meet his obligations,” Justice Minister Rafael Catala said during a radio interview.
“Everything is not fixed just by calling an election.”
Catala said that if Puigdemont appeared before the Spanish Senate, which plans to authorize direct rule on Friday, it would be a positive step in finding a solution to the conflict.
The Madrid government has refused to meet with the Catalan leader until he drops the call for independence, however, and Catala said any appearance by Puigdemont had to be within a legal and constitutional framework.
“If his appearance is within the constitution and the law we’ll be delighted... But if it’s just to ratify his position on Catalonia’s independence, sadly we will not be able to do anything else than continuing with the measures already set by the government,” said Catala.

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Father of Tampa murder victim says someone knows his daughter's killer (1.03/17)

The father of 32-year-old Monica Hoffa, who was gunned down in one of three unsolved murders in Tampa in just the past two weeks, is asking his community to speak out and give up anyone who is responsible or has information on her death.
“I know they are afraid. I know people are probably worried that they are going to be next,” Kenny Hoffa said in an interview with ABC affiliate WFTS on Monday. “But, people need to step out and they to identify this guy so we can get him off the street.”
Monica Hoffa’s body was found on Oct. 13 in a vacant lot in the quiet Seminole Heights neighborhood of Tampa, authorities said. She was found about a half-mile from where two men -- Benjamin Mitchell, 22, and Anthony Naiboa, 20 -- were killed that same week, according to the Tampa Police Department. Police say they believe the murders are connected.
Police say the shootings are linked by proximity and time frame, but they haven't found a motive or a suspect. It said the victims did not appear to know each other and they were not robbed.
Kenny Hoffa said he is both heartbroken and outraged over the murders.
"I am angrier than I’ve ever been in my life there is just no words can tell you how upset I am,” he said. “There’s two other families that are suffering just like our family is suffering and those two families need vengeance just like we do.”
“I need that Seminole Heights community to stand up and I need them to point out who that man is,” he added.
Monica Hoffa, who spent a lot of her time interpreting for her deaf mother, her dad said, was walking to meet a friend when she was shot and killed by an unknown suspect at around 8:45 p.m on October 11, according to police.
“Because my daughter made a difference in this world I just hate it that someone took that from the world and me,” Kenny Hoffa said. “She had a great sense of humor ... she was a good person.”
The murders have put the Seminole Heights community on edge.
"I'm afraid," Maria Maldonado, who lives near the scene of two of the shootings, told the Associated Press on Monday. She said she won't let her 7-year-old son play in the yard.
"We don't open the door or nothing. A lot of people are scared. I'm scared for my son, for the neighborhood," Maldonado said.
Tampa Police Chief Brian Dugan told ABC News that he has advised officers to be extremely vigilant.
"When I spoke to the guys at the briefing, I told them that, 'Everybody out there is a potential suspect or a potential victim and [you] need to think like that,'" he said. "We have someone terrorizing the neighborhood."
Dugan said residents should not live in fear, but suggested that they put their porch lights on, go out in groups and "do cookouts."
A reward of up to $25,000 is being offered by Crime Stoppers of Tampa and the The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives for any information that leads to the arrest of a suspect in the case.

Serial killer fears: Tampa on edge after 3 killings
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AA calls for former chairman to repay bonuses (1.03/17)

The former chairman of the AA is facing pressure from the company to pay back more than £1.2 million in bonuses following an allegation that he was involved in a public altercation not disclosed to the board.
The breakdown recovery and car insurance firm is said to have written to Bob Mackenzie demanding he repay annual bonuses stretching from 2016 to 2017.
Mr Mackenzie was sacked by the AA in August for gross misconduct.
Reports had linked his dismissal to an attempted spin-off of the AA’s insurance arm, which led to a physical altercation between Mr Mackenzie and insurance chief Michael Lloyd.
However, the letter from the AA to Mr Mackenzie refers to an earlier altercation in a public place with someone not thought to be an employee of the company, a source told Sky News.
According to the company’s annual report, the ousted chairman was paid an annual bonus of £707,000 in 2016 and £514,000 in 2017.
Mr Mackenzie’s lawyers are reportedly expected to contest the AA’s push for him to repay the bonuses.
It comes after the AA announced last month that it had appointed Simon Breakwell as permanent chief executive as part of a top-level shake-up.
John Leach will become chairman, Andrew Blowers is appointed senior independent director and Suzi Williams has taken over from Mr Breakwell as chair of the remuneration committee.
The company made the announcement alongside its half-year results, which saw pre-tax profits rise 67% to £80 million in the six months to July 31.
Operating profit rose 35% to £178 million as the firm was helped by a 13% increase in new members, with its total membership now standing at 3.32 million.

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Trump blames her death on an immigrant. But why did her killer have a gun in the first place? (1.03/17)

For more than two years, I have puzzled over the tragic death of Kathryn Steinle at the hands of an illegal immigrant named Jose Ines Garcia Zarate.
You may not remember Garcia Zarate’s name, but you surely remember Steinle, a joyful and well-traveled 32-year-old California native who became the unwitting face of the border security hysteria that drove so much of the last Republican presidential campaign.
On a soft summer evening in 2015, Garcia Zarate found a stolen gun on San Francisco’s Pier 14. It went off. Steinle, who was strolling nearby, died.
Garcia Zarate, 45, who is also known as Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, was arrested and charged with second-degree murder, among other crimes. His immigration status and history — deported five times to Mexico, imprisoned by the feds for nearly four years for crossing back into the U. S., various drug convictions — made him the perfect foil for a country debating immigration law.
That allowed folks like Donald Trump to portray him as a depraved killer whose crimes were enabled by San Francisco’s “sanctuary city” policy, and whose misdeeds underscored the need for a massive border wall.
But I have always been stuck on the gun. Of course, the man who pulled the trigger that cut short the promising life of an innocent young woman must be held to account. But I wonder if we are overlooking another person whose actions set the horrible chain of events in motion: the owner of the gun.
::
Garcia Zarate’s murder trial began Monday morning in a stuffy Hall of Justice courtroom. The judge apologized for the broken air conditioning.
“This is the gun that this man fired at Kate Steinle,” prosecutor Diana Garcia said as the defendant looked on, listening to a translation through headphones. “She is dead because this man… pointed this gun in her direction and pulled the trigger.”
I flinched for her mother, Elizabeth Sullivan, and her older brother, Brad, who were sitting in the first row of spectators.
On July 1,2015, while strolling along the Embarcadero with her father, Garcia said, Steinle was hit by a bullet that pierced her back and ripped through her abdominal aorta. She clutched her father and both fell to the ground.
“Help me, Daddy,” she said. Those would be her last words.
Steinle, who had a job selling medical devices, was pronounced dead two hours later at San Francisco General Hospital.
Prosecutor Garcia told jurors that Garcia Zarate was sitting in a swiveling metal chair on Pier 14 when he fired the gun, a semiautomatic pistol.
Investigators have said that the bullet first hit the pavement 12 feet from Garcia Zarate, then ricocheted 78 feet into Steinle. No one saw the gun go off, the prosecutor said, but many people heard it.
There is grainy video, she said, that shows the moment Garcia Zarate tossed the gun into the water and walked away. When he was arrested a mile or so from Pier 14, he had gunshot residue on his hand.
Then-candidate Trump seized upon the case, calling Garcia Zarate an “animal,” the embodiment of the “bad hombres” against whom he’d railed.
“This senseless and totally preventable act of violence committed by an illegal immigrant is yet another example of why we must secure our border immediately,” Trump said in a statement two days after Steinle died. “This is an absolutely disgraceful situation, and I am the only one that can fix it.”
Later, in a news release announcing a proposed “Kate’s Law,” which would stiffen penalties for immigrants crossing into the U. S. illegally, House Speaker Paul Ryan wrongly claimed that Garcia Zarate had stolen the gun used in Steinle’s death. As prosecutor Garcia told jurors Monday, that case has never been solved, and there is no evidence linking Garcia Zarate to the theft.
::
No one knows how Garcia Zarate got the gun.
He told police that he had found it on the pier, wrapped in a T-shirt.
His public defender, Matt Gonzalez, plans to tell jurors it went off when he began to unwrap it. Gonzalez, a former San Francisco supervisor and Ralph Nader’s 2008 Green Party vice-presidential running mate, will also argue the gun, a.40 caliber Sig Sauer P226, is known for its hair trigger.
I do not hold with those who claim that San Francisco’s refusal to cooperate with immigration authorities is to blame for Steinle’s death.
As KQED reported Sunday, federal authorities could have deported Garcia Zarate after he finished his prison term in 2015, but instead turned him over to San Francisco authorities to face a 20-year-old marijuana charge that was subsequently tossed. Surely the feds were aware of San Francisco’s highly publicized refusal to cooperate with U. S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Despite the political noise around this case, the jury will be asked to decide only one crucial issue: Did Garcia Zarate pull the trigger on purpose?
I find myself returning again and again to the role that Bureau of Land Management ranger John Woychowski played in this case. His irresponsibility led to a terrible chain of events.
Steinle’s parents have filed a federal wrongful death lawsuit, alleging that former San Francisco Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi, ICE and the BLM had a hand in their daughter’s death.
A federal judge threw out the case against Mirkarimi and ICE but allowed the lawsuit against the BLM to proceed.
According to the prosecutor, Woychowski was on his way from Southern California to a new assignment in Montana when he stopped for dinner in San Francisco. While he was away from the car, it was broken into and burgled.
A BLM review absolved Woychowski of violating its policies, according to KQED. Five months after Steinle died, he was promoted to a supervisory position.
In one of the most touristy areas of a city where drivers are constantly warned not to leave valuables in their vehicles, a federal law enforcement official left a loaded service weapon in a backpack stuffed under the front seat of his car.
This invitation to disaster was answered with an unspeakable tragedy. I would not suggest Woychowski be charged in Steinle’s death. But I cannot shed the feeling that he shares some moral culpability.
robin.abcarian@latimes.com
Twitter: @ AbcarianLAT
Regardless of what President Trump does on DACA, these Dreamers are defiant, optimistic and aren't going anywhere
Some good news for a family whose jailed father is facing deportation to Guatemala

Murder trial set for man who stoked immigration debate
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Educator of the Week: Lashana Richards (1.03/17)

HIGH POINT, N. C. -- FOX8 honors Southwest Guilford High School's Lashana Richards. Thank you, Lashana!
If you know of an educator who is worthy of this nomination please fill out the nomination form here.
Educator of the Week is sponsored by the North Carolina Education Lottery.
Filed in: Educator of the Week
Topics: Educator of the Week, Lashana Richards

School administrators placed on leave amid sex assault investigation in Denver
cbsnews.com

 

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2.6

The National-Security-Law Expert Who Blocked Trump's Travel Ban (1.03/17)

The late Justice Antonin Scalia once compared a constitutional doctrine he disliked to “some ghoul in a late night horror movie that repeatedly sits up in its grave and shuffles abroad, after being repeatedly killed and buried.” Donald Trump’s travel ban—and the court challenges to it—also refuse to die.
The first travel ban was an Executive Order (known as “EO-1”) issued on January 27,2017. It died ignominiously—enjoined by the Ninth Circuit and withdrawn by the White House. Its successor, a second Executive Order (“EO-2”) issued on March 6, was enjoined by both the Fourth and Ninth Circuits. Those two injunctions were narrowed slightly by the Supreme Court—but EO-2 will soon expire completely without receiving full Supreme Court review.
The Atlantic Politics & Policy Daily: War of the Words
The ban, however, sat up in its coffin again on September 24,2017, reborn as a proclamation. Last week courts in Hawaii and Maryland both blocked the new version from going into effect.
The Hawaii order—a temporary restraining order issued by District Judge Derrick Watson— may prove evanescent, for complex appellate procedure reasons, the Ninth Circuit case it relies on will probably soon be vacated and the Hawaii case will have to start over. The district court order in the Maryland case, International Refugee Assistance Project v. Trump, may be around a bit longer. Indeed, it is likely the template for Supreme Court review of ban 3.0, so it is worth spending a little time to understand it.
The judge who wrote it, Theodore Chuang, is less than 50 years old, but has an astonishing resume. Born in the U. S. to immigrant parents, he has been a Justice Department lawyer, a federal prosecutor, a Capitol Hill staffer, a big-firm lawyer—and, most significantly, deputy general counsel of the Department of Homeland Security. He is, shall we say, well-schooled in immigration and national-security law.
There are two avenues of attack on the proclamation. One argues that it is illegal under immigration statutes; the other claims it violates the Constitution. The Ninth Circuit read a statute empowering the president as actually limiting him. That section 8 § 1182(f), says that “[w]henever the President finds that the entry of... any class of aliens into the United States would be detrimental to the interests of the United States,” he can suspend admission of that class for as long as he “shall deem necessary.” The Ninth Circuit held that a president can’t use 8 U. S. C. 1182(f) unless he makes formal “findings” that would satisfy a court. Chuang rejects that argument: “Plaintiffs have not identified, nor has the Court found, any clear limit on the President’s authority under 1182(f) that this proclamation has crossed.”
However, he writes, EO-2 does violate a separate statute regarding admissions of immigrants. That provision, 8 U. S. C. 1152(a), provides that “no person shall ... be discriminated against in the issuance of an immigrant visa because of ... nationality.” Chuang reasoned that the anti-discrimination provision, adopted well after the presidential-exclusion one, should be read as limiting the president’s power over immigrant visas. He can suspend entry of aliens for many reasons, thus, but not on the basis of nationality.
That statutory ruling covers only the admission of immigrants, while the proclamation bars many kinds of visitors. To rule on the rest of the challenge, Chuang had to decide the heart of the case—whether the travel ban, as applied to non-immigrant visas, violates the Constitution’s ban on “an establishment of religion.”
Chuang concluded it does, by sending a message to American Muslims that they and their religion are not full members of the national community. That’s a standard establishment clause test. Chuang based his decision on a 2005 case, McCreary County v. American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky. In that case, the Supreme Court, 5-4, struck down a Ten Commandments display in a Kentucky courthouse. The county government had altered its display twice after court setbacks, seeking a “secular” context that would be approved. Defending the third try, they argued to the high court that judges should ignore the history of the first two. Justice David Souter, writing for the court, dispatched that claim: “the world is not made brand new every morning, and the Counties are simply asking us to ignore perfectly probative evidence” of the display’s religious purpose.
“Perfectly probative evidence” of improper purpose is hardly lacking in the President’s remarks and tweets—including many recent ones made after the earlier bans were announced. Among others, Chuang noted that in August 2017—eight months after taking the oath of office and five months after EO-2—“Trump tweeted a statement that... shooting Muslims with bullets dipped in pig’s blood should be used to deter future terrorism.” Meanwhile, he wrote, “there is no record of public statements showing any change in the President’s intentions relating to a Muslim ban.”
Justice Souter’s McCreary opinion tells courts to “take account of genuine changes in constitutionally significant conditions.” But Chuang found that the purported changes in the proclamation from EO-1 and EO-2 are not “genuinely persuasive.”
After EO-2 was blocked, the administration undertook a security review, supposedly to determine what countries provided adequate supervision of their nationals who were seeking entry into the U. S. But, Chuang concluded, that review was phony. Trump had already announced what it would find, he noted. And the review concluded that what was needed was a ban almost identical to the one in EO-2. Of course, some non-Muslim countries—North Korea and Venezuela—were added, and the new order makes country-by-country exceptions. But the non-Muslim bans have “little practical consequence,” and the country-by-country exceptions don’t make any sense: the review found that Venezuela does not adequately share information with U. S. authorities—but most of its nationals can still enter; Somalia, according to the review, does share adequate information—but its nationals are entirely barred as immigrants, and sharply limited as visitors.
These flaws, Chuang reasoned, call into question whether “national security” was the reason for the ban at all. Chuang wrote that he was not examining whether “national security” would justify a ban. He said he noted the skimpy justification only to “assess whether the Proclamation persuasively establishes that the primary purpose of the travel ban is no longer religious animus.”
Mulling all the circumstantial evidence, Chuang answered that question by finding what Henry David Thoreau once called a trout in the milk:
Based on the facts that the Proclamation’s ban generally resembles President Trump’s earlier description of the Muslim ban, EO-2 dictated the Proclamation’s outcome of a recommended list of nations to be subjected to a travel ban, the criteria used to select countries were highly correlated with those used to select the countries for EO-2, the terms of the Proclamation’s travel ban skew against Muslim nations as compared to the objective measures applied in the DHS Review, and the proposed response has not been adequately explained as a necessary one to the identified problem, the Court cannot conclude that the Proclamation sufficiently offers a “purposeful” curative action that establishes that the taint of EO-2 no longer underlies the travel ban.
Thus, as it heads to the Fourth Circuit, Chuang’s opinion starkly presents the issue: does the establishment clause apply to decisions to admit or exclude aliens? The caselaw on that is confusing. If the clause does apply, when can a court consider what the president has said—and what the government has previously done—to find a violation of the clause in a neutral-sounding order?
Supreme Court tea leaves are notoriously hard to read; but there is a palpable yearning on the part of some of the justices to defer to anything immigration and national-security figures say. Pig’s blood and “Islam hates us” may strain justices’ will to believe, but not necessarily break it.
Whatever the outcome on appeal, however, the opponents of the ban have convinced at least one hard-headed judge that they have a case. His opinion may not survive; but it will not be easy to refute.

Trump Resumes Refugee Admissions
dailycaller.com

 

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Big Money Pours Into Virginia's Close Governor's Race (1.02/17)

Voters in two states will elect new governors next month. Given that the outcome of New Jersey's race appears to be a foregone conclusion with self-funding billionaire Democrat Phil Murphy holding a double-digit lead over Republican Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno, the Virginia race between Democratic Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam and Republican lobbyist and party activist Ed Gillespie is shaping up to be the year's closest gubernatorial election.
Large sums of money are pouring into the race in Virginia, one of only six states that do not limit campaign contributions in any way. (The others are Alabama, Missouri, Nebraska, Oregon and Utah.) This means that individuals, corporations, and PACs can directly contribute as much money as they want to campaigns in those states -- and they are taking full advantage of the law in Virginia.
Thus far Northam leads the fundraising overall, with $7.1 million raised in September alone and just under $22.8 million total as of Sept. 30. Gillespie, a former Republican National Committee chair, raised nearly $4.4 million in September and $14.8 million through the cycle. As of the latest filing, Northam has $5.6 million on hand compared to a little under $2.5 million for Gillespie.
Northam's single biggest contributor so far is the DGA (Democratic Governors Association) Action Fund, which has given him over $3 million in the cycle. The DGA is a 527 organization that can raise unlimited funds from individuals, corporations or labor unions but must register with the IRS and disclose contributions and expenditures.
Through the first half of 2017 alone, the DGA raised over $18.9 million, according to finance reports filed with the IRS.
Some of its biggest donors this year have been the pharmaceutical company Pfizer ($425,000), the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 825 of New Jersey ($300,000), and health insurers Anthem ($300,000), Aetna ($250,000) and the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association ($250,000). According to the Center for Responsive Politics' OpenSecrets.org database, Blue Cross was the DGA's top donor in the 2016 cycle, giving nearly $1.9 million. The group's biggest Virginia-based donor so far this year is Maximus Inc., a for-profit, privatizing company that provides business services to government agencies in the US and other countries; it has given $100,000.
Northam has also gotten significant help from liberal interest groups. Since July 1, he has received $755,000 in direct contributions from the Virginia League of Conservation Voters and was also the beneficiary of a $582,500 canvassing effort by the group. In addition, he got over $500,000 from Planned Parenthood, $320,000 from the National Education Association, and $300,000 from the Laborers' International Union.
Northam and Gillespie are both receiving support from energy companies with business interests in the state. Since March, Pittsburgh-based natural gas pipeline company EQT -- the lead developer behind the proposed Mountain Valley Pipeline that would carry fracked gas from West Virginia to Virginia's Pittsylvania County -- has contributed $20,000 to Northam's campaign. And in July, US Marcellus Gas Infrastructure contributed $10,000 to both candidates. The company is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Florida-based NextEra Energy, which is also one of the Mountain Valley Pipeline developers and a big contributor to both Republicans and Democrats.
In addition, Dominion Energy has contributed $25,000 to Gillespie's campaign. Besides being a major electricity provider in Virginia, Dominion is the lead developer of the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline, which would carry fracked gas from Harrison County, West Virginia, through Virginia to Robeson County, North Carolina, and possibly into South Carolina. The controversy over the pipelines was a major theme in the primary.
To date, Gillespie's top donor has been the Republican Governors Association (RGA), the GOP counterpart to the DGA. In September, the RGA contributed $1 million directly to Gillespie's campaign, while A Stronger Virginia -- a PAC set up by the RGA for the purpose of pumping money into the Virginia governor's race -- has contributed $4 million to Gillespie since June. Over a third of all the money Gillespie has received so far in this election cycle has come from the RGA.
The RGA vastly out-raised the DGA in the first half of this year, taking in over $30.7 million in contributions. According to OpenSecrets.org, the RGA's top donor in 2016 was energy conglomerate Koch Industries, which contributed over $2 million; right behind them was Blue Cross Blue Shield, which donated just under $2 million. Koch Industries has given another $250,000 to the RGA this year. The RGA's top Virginia-based donor so far this year has been tobacco giant Altria, which gave over $300,000.
According to its mid-year report filed with the IRS, the RGA spent a total nationwide of almost $11.4 million through the first six months of 2016. Of that, $5 million went to the A Stronger Virginia PAC in January before the Republican primary, where Gillespie's leading opponent was Corey Stewart, a far-right member of the Prince William County Board of Supervisors; two days after Gillespie's primary win, his campaign received another $1 million from the PAC. The only other contribution the RGA reported in that period was a $25,000 donation to the "American Comeback Committee," a group that ran ads in the last gubernatorial election in Hawaii, which has another election coming up next year.
A significant portion of Gillespie's top contributors are familiar Republican donors including Nevada casino mogul and current Republican National Committee (RNC) finance chair Steve Wynn, Wisconsin shipping supply magnate Dick Uihlein, and homebuilder Dwight Schar, who has residences in Virginia and Florida. Gillespie's top donor aside from the RGA and his own PAC has been Jay Faison of Charlotte, North Carolina, who in 2013 sold most of his shares in the audiovisual company he founded and invested $175 million to start the ClearPath Foundation to promote conservative clean energy solutions; he wrote Gillespie a $133,000 check in July. Last year Faison's PAC, ClearPath Action, spent over $3 million to help elect House and Senate Republicans.
Among the big-name donors who gave to Gillespie in September were Altria, which contributed $100,000 (and $110,000 overall); energy technology billionaire and Houston Texans owner Robert McNair, who contributed $100,000; and former President George W. Bush, who contributed $50,000. That's in addition to a $25,000 donation Bush made in March and another $25,000 he made last year to Let's Grow, Virginia!, a PAC Gillespie formed in 2015 for his gubernatorial run. Gillespie chaired the RNC during Bush's presidential re-election campaign.
Despite Northam's significant fundraising advantage, the race is still close, according to three recent polls. While two showed Northam with leads of four and six points, another conducted by Monmouth University showed Gillespie with a slim 48 to 47 percent advantage.
Meanwhile, the high-profile race has caught has caught the attention of some very big names: This week, former President Barack Obama is campaigning for Northam in Richmond, while Vice President Mike Pence stumped for Gillespie in southwest Virginia last weekend.
Voters in two states will elect new governors next month. Given that the outcome of New Jersey's race appears to be a foregone conclusion with self-funding billionaire Democrat Phil Murphy holding a double-digit lead over Republican Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno, the Virginia race between Democratic Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam and Republican lobbyist and party activist Ed Gillespie is shaping up to be the year's closest gubernatorial election.
Large sums of money are pouring into the race in Virginia, one of only six states that do not limit campaign contributions in any way. (The others are Alabama, Missouri, Nebraska, Oregon and Utah.) This means that individuals, corporations, and PACs can directly contribute as much money as they want to campaigns in those states -- and they are taking full advantage of the law in Virginia.
Thus far Northam leads the fundraising overall, with $7.1 million raised in September alone and just under $22.8 million total as of Sept. 30. Gillespie, a former Republican National Committee chair, raised nearly $4.4 million in September and $14.8 million through the cycle. As of the latest filing, Northam has $5.6 million on hand compared to a little under $2.5 million for Gillespie.
Northam's single biggest contributor so far is the DGA (Democratic Governors Association) Action Fund, which has given him over $3 million in the cycle. The DGA is a 527 organization that can raise unlimited funds from individuals, corporations or labor unions but must register with the IRS and disclose contributions and expenditures.
Through the first half of 2017 alone, the DGA raised over $18.9 million, according to finance reports filed with the IRS.
Some of its biggest donors this year have been the pharmaceutical company Pfizer ($425,000), the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 825 of New Jersey ($300,000), and health insurers Anthem ($300,000), Aetna ($250,000) and the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association ($250,000). According to the Center for Responsive Politics' OpenSecrets.org database, Blue Cross was the DGA's top donor in the 2016 cycle, giving nearly $1.9 million. The group's biggest Virginia-based donor so far this year is Maximus Inc., a for-profit, privatizing company that provides business services to government agencies in the US and other countries; it has given $100,000.
Northam has also gotten significant help from liberal interest groups. Since July 1, he has received $755,000 in direct contributions from the Virginia League of Conservation Voters and was also the beneficiary of a $582,500 canvassing effort by the group. In addition, he got over $500,000 from Planned Parenthood, $320,000 from the National Education Association, and $300,000 from the Laborers' International Union.
Northam and Gillespie are both receiving support from energy companies with business interests in the state. Since March, Pittsburgh-based natural gas pipeline company EQT -- the lead developer behind the proposed Mountain Valley Pipeline that would carry fracked gas from West Virginia to Virginia's Pittsylvania County -- has contributed $20,000 to Northam's campaign. And in July, US Marcellus Gas Infrastructure contributed $10,000 to both candidates. The company is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Florida-based NextEra Energy, which is also one of the Mountain Valley Pipeline developers and a big contributor to both Republicans and Democrats.
In addition, Dominion Energy has contributed $25,000 to Gillespie's campaign. Besides being a major electricity provider in Virginia, Dominion is the lead developer of the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline, which would carry fracked gas from Harrison County, West Virginia, through Virginia to Robeson County, North Carolina, and possibly into South Carolina. The controversy over the pipelines was a major theme in the primary.
To date, Gillespie's top donor has been the Republican Governors Association (RGA), the GOP counterpart to the DGA. In September, the RGA contributed $1 million directly to Gillespie's campaign, while A Stronger Virginia -- a PAC set up by the RGA for the purpose of pumping money into the Virginia governor's race -- has contributed $4 million to Gillespie since June. Over a third of all the money Gillespie has received so far in this election cycle has come from the RGA.
The RGA vastly out-raised the DGA in the first half of this year, taking in over $30.7 million in contributions. According to OpenSecrets.org, the RGA's top donor in 2016 was energy conglomerate Koch Industries, which contributed over $2 million; right behind them was Blue Cross Blue Shield, which donated just under $2 million. Koch Industries has given another $250,000 to the RGA this year. The RGA's top Virginia-based donor so far this year has been tobacco giant Altria, which gave over $300,000.
According to its mid-year report filed with the IRS, the RGA spent a total nationwide of almost $11.4 million through the first six months of 2016. Of that, $5 million went to the A Stronger Virginia PAC in January before the Republican primary, where Gillespie's leading opponent was Corey Stewart, a far-right member of the Prince William County Board of Supervisors; two days after Gillespie's primary win, his campaign received another $1 million from the PAC. The only other contribution the RGA reported in that period was a $25,000 donation to the "American Comeback Committee," a group that ran ads in the last gubernatorial election in Hawaii, which has another election coming up next year.
A significant portion of Gillespie's top contributors are familiar Republican donors including Nevada casino mogul and current Republican National Committee (RNC) finance chair Steve Wynn, Wisconsin shipping supply magnate Dick Uihlein, and homebuilder Dwight Schar, who has residences in Virginia and Florida. Gillespie's top donor aside from the RGA and his own PAC has been Jay Faison of Charlotte, North Carolina, who in 2013 sold most of his shares in the audiovisual company he founded and invested $175 million to start the ClearPath Foundation to promote conservative clean energy solutions; he wrote Gillespie a $133,000 check in July. Last year Faison's PAC, ClearPath Action, spent over $3 million to help elect House and Senate Republicans.
Among the big-name donors who gave to Gillespie in September were Altria, which contributed $100,000 (and $110,000 overall); energy technology billionaire and Houston Texans owner Robert McNair, who contributed $100,000; and former President George W. Bush, who contributed $50,000. That's in addition to a $25,000 donation Bush made in March and another $25,000 he made last year to Let's Grow, Virginia!, a PAC Gillespie formed in 2015 for his gubernatorial run. Gillespie chaired the RNC during Bush's presidential re-election campaign.
Despite Northam's significant fundraising advantage, the race is still close, according to three recent polls. While two showed Northam with leads of four and six points, another conducted by Monmouth University showed Gillespie with a slim 48 to 47 percent advantage.
Meanwhile, the high-profile race has caught has caught the attention of some very big names: This week, former President Barack Obama is campaigning for Northam in Richmond, while Vice President Mike Pence stumped for Gillespie in southwest Virginia last weekend.

Close Virginia governor’s race means more attack ads to come
wtop.com

 

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Steve Bannon: Mark Cuban Should Run for President as a Democrat (1.02/17)

Steve Bannon 's calling out the elephant in the room where Mark Cuban 's considering a run for the presidency as a Republican... by labeling him a donkey.
We got the Breitbart exec Monday in D. C. and asked if Mark would be taken seriously as a Republican if he were to run against Trump in 2020 ... his answer's brief, but telling.
As we reported ... the Dallas Mavericks owner told Harvey Levin on "OBJECTified" Sunday night that he'd run against 45 under the umbrella of the GOP ... if he decides to.
Doesn't look like Bannon would be in his corner on that front ... cross the aisle, maybe?

Donald Trump’s no Islamophobe or isolationist, Steve Bannon says
aol.com

 

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'Dancing with the Stars': Nick Lachey exits, Shania Twain guest judges (1.02/17)

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When the couples dwindle, it’s hard to keep the best out of harm’s way. Fortunately, Shania Twain is here to ease the burn of failure. But when Nick Lachey, Terrell Owens and Victoria Arlen (what is wrong with you guys?!) end up in jeopardy, you know it’s going to be a tough week. But in the end, it's slow and steady Nick Lachey who has been hovering near the bottom for weeks leaves the competition, leaving wife Vanessa dancing forward as Lindsey Sterling captures the second perfect score. Let’s discuss.
FRANKIE MUNIZ MUST BE PROTECTED AT ALL COSTS #DWTS
So, here’s the deal. Jordan did a beautiful rumba. But Lindsey got a perfect score tonight because she’s impeccable. And when Bruno calls it the best dance of the season so far, it’s an understatement. It’s one of the best dances of the entire series.
THAT. WAS. INCREDIBLE! @LindseyStirling & @MarkBallas ! @DancingABC #DWTS #ANightAtTheMovies pic.twitter.com/OiirzosrVm
Oh my goodness, who’d have thought that Terrell would have come alive late in the season? So, it may not be the straight 10s he was looking for, but it was fun. Like, really fun. And it’s been a long time since Cheryl has looked so happy with a partner. The footwork is incredible, even if the content isn’t packed in there.
10! So proud of you @terrellowens! It's been amazing to witness you blossom into a dancer & improve every single week. Congrats! pic.twitter.com/A3bHv3e0vc
Here we are on Shania Twain Night, which is actually movie night, and... I think I’m rooting for Nikki Bella to win? What a wonderful Foreign Film Argentine Tango! Yes, there was a devastating wobble that threw them off balance, but hey, it’s not enough to keep them from landing a 36 out of 40.
Vanessa Lachey and Maksim Chmerkovskiy: 36/40
Victoria Arlen and Val Chmerkovskiy: 31/30
Frankie Muniz and Witney Carson: 31/40
Drew Scott and Emma Slater: 30/40
Nick Lachey and Peta Murgatroyd: 25/40
So, best dance of the night and best costume? Even better than Shania Twain? Only happens once in a season. But here she is in a patent leather body suit with metallic beading on her face, like that’s a normal thing. It’s insane. It’s preposterous. It’s the best damn get up we’ve seen all season.
Shania Twain, queen of country, hand gestures, and reinvention, gets a spot on the podium for wearing an all black ensemble and still stopping the entire room in its tracks.
Shania Twain is the only #DWTS judge who has taught me how to samba and also milk a cow. Legend. pic.twitter.com/dvirsMs4oc
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Shania Twain Accused Of Lip-Synching On ‘Dancing With The Stars’
inquisitr.com

 

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1.2

Hillary Clinton visiting Ann Arbor in book tour stop (1.02/17)

Clinton’s memoir, published Sept. 12, gives her account of her campaign to become America’s first woman president, which ended in her stunning loss to President Donald Trump last November. It is the seventh book authored by Clinton, who spent nearly 40 years in public service as an activist, lawyer, first lady, U. S. senator and Secretary of State.
Among those who plan to attend Clinton’s appearance is Zack Herman, a White Lake Township resident who is going with a group of friends who met while campaigning for the Democrat.
“It is going to be like group therapy for us after reading the book and dealing with the past 10 months of Trump,” said Herman, 31. “We’re taking a lot of Kleenex and will continue to mourn after. We’ve been living 10 months under Trump and it feels like we’ve all aged 10-plus years.”
A teacher in St. Clair Shores, Herman said he is concerned by what he sees as the dismantling of public education under the Trump administration, along with other issues.
Clinton ran twice for the White House, first losing the Democratic nomination to Barack Obama in 2008. Though she lost to Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders in Michigan’s Democratic primary in 2016, she went on to become the first woman to be nominated for president by a major political party.
In an upset, she lost the general election to Trump, even though she won the popular vote.
In the November election, Clinton narrowly lost Michigan after Trump energized white voters without a college education and flipped 12 counties in the state that had voted for Obama in 2012.
In the aftermath of her defeat, Clinton tweeted in support of the Women’s March, the largest protest in history, held the day after Trump’s inauguration in Washington, D. C., and cities around the world.
That march lead to the first Women’s Convention, a weekend gathering to galvanize women leaders that is running Friday through Sunday at Cobo Center.
Clinton was invited to speak at the convention, but was unavailable, said Phoebe Hopps, a convention organizer and president and founder of Women’s March Michigan.
Still, Hopps has a feeling Clinton might show up. Even if she doesn’t, Hopps said Clinton will be there in spirit, and her visit in Ann Arbor kicks off a powerful week for women in southeast Michigan.
“The convention is now about the work we have to do,” Hopps said, “to unite and bring women to power everywhere.”
KKozlowski@detroitnews.com

Border wall prototypes a first small step on Trump campaign promise
infowars.com

 

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WWE Raw: Smackdown Live invades Raw, decimates locker room (1.02/17)

Oct. 24 (UPI) -- A war between WWE's two flagship shows, Raw and Smackdown Live, was started Monday as the blue-brand delivered the opening shot on the road to Survivor Series.
Now a Survivor Series tradition, Raw general manager Kurt Angle announced at the top of the show that Raw would be taking on Smackdown head-on at the upcoming November event in a series of matches to determine which brand reigns supreme.
Among the Survivor Series matches will be contests pitting champion vs. champion and two, 5-on-5 Traditional Survivor Series matches between the men's and women's divisions.
Following the announcement, Smackdown Live commissioner Shane McMahon greeted Angle backstage and joked how his show would be taking Raw "under siege." Staying true to his word, McMahon would interrupt Angle during the final segment of the show while bringing in a number of Tuesday night Superstars including The New Day, Becky Lynch, United States Champion Baron Corbin, Rusev, AJ Styles, Shinsuke Nakamura, Bobby Roode, Smackdown Women's Champion Natalya, Carmella and many more.
McMahon then commanded his Superstars to invade the Raw locker room and chaos ensued. The backstage area was decimated by Smackdown as they ganged up on any red-brand competitors who crossed their paths.
Raw Superstars such as Shield members Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose, along with Sasha Banks and Bayley, all fell one by one as Smackdown sent a message. Angle was eventually dragged out back to the ring to confront McMahon who once again proclaimed that Raw was under siege.
Smackdown and Raw will collide at Survivor Series on Nov. 19.
Following the announcement that champions from Raw and Smackdown will be competing against each other, Universal Champion Brock Lesnar, alongside his advocate Paul Heyman, responded to Smackdown's WWE Champion Jinder Mahal and formally accepted his challenge .
Heyman laughed off Mahal however calling Lesnar's fellow world champion the "Make-Believe Maharaja" who is flanked by the "Singh-Along Brothers."
As The Beast smiled, Heyman continued to attack Mahal stating that he wasn't in the same league as Lesnar and that the Universal Championship is the true mark of the greatest competitor in the WWE. Heyman also detailed how the last time Lesnar battled someone from Smackdown Live, he left Randy Orton a bloody mess causing their match to be ended early.
Other moments from Raw included Rollins and Ambrose teaming up with Styles at the top of the show to take on Intercontinental Champion The Miz, Cesaro and Sheamus; Kane defeating Finn Balor; Asuka making her Raw debut and defeating Emma; Mickie James confronting Raw Women's Champion Alexa Bliss following her defeat at TLC; Jason Jordan defeating Elias via disqualification; Alicia Fox defeating Banks and Bayley to become the captain of Raw's Women's Survivor Series team and Team Lucha consisting of Kalisto, Cedric Alexander, Rich Swann, Mustafa Ali and Gran Metalik defeating The Zo Train consisting of Cruiserweight Champion Enzo Amore, Tony Nese, Drew Gulak, Noam Dar and Ariya Daivari.

WWE News: Watch Out For ‘Raw’ Revenge On Tonight’s ‘SmackDown Live’
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Ghosts of Vietnam stirring as Trump preps for Asia trip (1.02/17)

New York — For more than 50 years, every American president has been forced to grapple, in one way or another, with the quagmire of the Vietnam War. Now it’s Donald Trump’s turn.
The ghosts of Vietnam are stirring anew, just as Trump prepares to visit the nation on his first presidential tour of Asia. Vietnam war hero Sen. John McCain, who spent more than five years in a prisoner of war camp after his plane was shot down, this week put an unwelcome spotlight on Trump’s five draft deferments to avoid military service. And Trump’s prolonged political tussle over the proper way for presidents to honor and grieve with the families of fallen soldiers has focused attention on his lack of military service as well.
Trump tried to set all that aside Monday as he presented the Medal of Honor to retired Capt. Gary Rose, a Vietnam era medic who repeatedly ran into the line of enemy fire and ignored his own wounds to save his colleagues during a fierce firefight in enemy-controlled territory in September 1970.
“Mike, this is serious stuff,” Trump said. “Your love for your fellow soldier, your devotion to your country inspires us all.”
But the matter of Trump’s lack of service wasn’t far off stage.
McCain, the Arizona Republican who has frequently clashed with the president, made clear he had Trump in mind Monday as he criticized the Vietnam draft system that forced low-income Americans to serve while the wealthy could avoid war with a doctor’s note. Trump, the son of a millionaire developer, received draft deferments, one attained with a physician’s letter stating that he suffered from bone spurs in his feet.
“I don’t consider him so much a draft dodger as I feel that the system was so wrong that certain Americans could evade their responsibilities to serve the country,” McCain said on ABC’s “The View.” McCain was being pressed about earlier comments on C-SPAN in which he lamented that the military “drafted the lowest income level of America and the highest income level found a doctor that would say they had a bone spur.”
When a host on the ABC show remarked that people thought McCain had been talking about Trump on C-SPAN because the president had sought a medical deferment, McCain interjected, “More than once, yes.”
Over the decades, Vietnam has become shorthand for a bogged-down military conflict, a comparison invoked during more recent struggles in Afghanistan and Iraq. It has served as a cautionary lesson about the political peril for presidents ensnared in prolonged overseas military operations.
President Lyndon Johnson abandoned his re-election quest after an escalation in the war led to more American deaths, while President Richard Nixon took fierce criticism for expanding the conflict. President Bill Clinton’s wartime deferment before he entered the Vietnam draft generated considerable heat during the 1992 presidential campaign.
More recently, questions about the service of George W. Bush and John Kerry were prominent in the 2000 and 2004 presidential campaigns. Bush served in the Texas Air National Guard but faced scrutiny over his status and why he was never deployed overseas. Kerry was a decorated veteran who threw away his medals and testified against the war before Congress. His service record was questioned in campaign ads.
Obama, the first post-Vietnam president, positioned himself as the one who might heal the rift between those who served and those who didn’t. Although he, too, was burdened with lessons of the war.
“Let us resolve that when America sends our sons and daughters into harm’s way, we will always give them a clear mission; we will always give them a sound strategy; we will give them the equipment they need to get the job done,” Obama said at a visit to the Vietnam Memorial in 2012. “We will have their backs.”
Trump is slated to make his first presidential trip to Vietnam early next month as part of his 12-day, five-nation Asia tour. He will participate in an international summit in Da Nang before meeting the Vietnamese president in Hanoi. The White House said Monday it had not been decided if Trump would visit any war sites, like the prison where McCain was held.
Trump ignited a feud with McCain in July 2015 when he belittled the senator’s time in captivity.
“He’s not a war hero,” said Trump. “He was a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured.”
Trump once compared his ability to avoid sexually transmitted diseases in the Manhattan dating scene of the 1980s and 1990s to the perils of wartime that claimed the lives of more than 58,000 Americans in Vietnam.
“It is a dangerous world out there,” Trump said in a 1997 interview with shock jock Howard Stern. “It’s like Vietnam, sort of. It is my personal Vietnam. I feel like a great and very brave soldier.”
The renewed focus on Trump’s lack of service in Vietnam comes as he faces scrutiny over his treatment of the families of America’s war dead.
Trump has been pushing back against criticism from the family of slain Army Sgt. La David Johnson, killed this month in Niger, that he was disrespectful in his condolence call to the new widow.
Trump has steadfastly denied the claim. But the Johnsons are not the only family of a slain solider to be angry at Trump.
The family of Capt. Ben Cross of Bethel, Maine, who was one of three Marines killed in an MV-22 Osprey crash in August off the coast of Australia, received a condolence letter from Trump on Friday.
The family questioned the timing of the letter, which arrived via overnight mail after the controversy over Gold Star families had erupted.
“I think that anyone who received five deferrals in order to avoid military service is unfit to be commander in chief and even less qualified to console a grieving family who has lost a loved one defending our country,” Cross’ brother Ryan said Monday. “He doesn’t know the first thing about service or sacrifice.”
———
Associated Press writer David Sharp contributed reporting from Portland, Maine.
———
Follow Lemire on Twitter at http://twitter.com/@JonLemire

5 Ways To Know If We've Won The American Culture War
thefederalist.com

 

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Bannon makes 'inexplicable' claims about Trump (1.02/17)

Steve Bannon took a break from battling the GOP establishment Monday to tackle U. S. foreign policy. Speaking at a think tank, Bannon said Trump doesn't make the U. S. look isolationist.

Donald Trump’s no Islamophobe or isolationist, Steve Bannon says
aol.com

 

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1.6

Second Suspect Charged In Deadly Brooklyn Home Invasion Set To Face Judge (1.02/17)

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A second suspect arrested in connection with a deadly home invasion in Brooklyn is set to face a judge.
Her hands cuffed behind her back and her feet chained by cuffs as well, Suzette Troutman shuffled slowly out of the 81st precinct station house, escorted by detectives ahead of her arraignment later Tuesday.
Investigators say it was Troutman, a person 91-year-old Waldiman Thompson and his 100-year-old wife Ethlin Thompson trusted and regularly had in their home, who may have been the alleged mastermind behind the home invasion that killed Waldiman.
Investigators say 45-year-old Troutman worked as a home health attendant for the couple at their Bed-Stuy rowhouse.
It was there that earlier this month, the elderly couple was tied up and a lock box containing $5,000 was stolen. Waldiman Thompson died from a heart attack. His wife survived, managing to escape and go for help.
Last Friday as Ethlin Thompson buried her husband, Troutman’s nephew, 27-year-old Dwayne Blackwood, was arrested and charged with the 91-year-old’s murder.
Police are still searching for a man seen on surveillance video with the lock box that was stolen from the Thompson’s home.
Troutman, sources believe, not only allegedly orchestrated the attack, but may have been the alleged getaway driver as well.
She has been charged with second-degree murder and assault and two counts of burglary.

Canarsie Woman Arrested for Role in Deadly Bed-Stuy Home Invasion: NYPD
dnainfo.com

 

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Microsoft drops lawsuit against US government after DOJ reins in use of gagging orders (1.02/17)

Microsoft has announced that it will drop its lawsuit against the US government after the Department of Justice said that it will use fewer secrecy orders when making requests for user information.
Microsoft's battle has been running since April last year, and it gained support from the likes of Mozilla, the EFF, Google and Apple. The company was not happy that gagging orders prevented it from telling customers when investigators requested access to their data. The move by the DOJ is described by Microsoft president and chief legal officer Brad Smith as an "important step for both privacy and free expression," and a step to "protect the constitutional rights of all Americans."
The DOJ's actions should see not only a reduction in the number of gagging orders that are issued, but the introduction of time limits on their lifespan. Microsoft had argued that the government's use of indefinite gagging orders was a violation of the Fourth Amendment, as well as its own First Amendment right to free speech.
Announcing Microsoft's plans to drop its lawsuit, Smith says:
He explains that the mere fact that customers are storing data in the cloud should not mean that they waive the rights and protections afforded to them under the Constitution:
But while Smith welcomes the move by the government, he says there is still more to do and calls upon Congress to make further amendments to the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA):
Image credit: Vladimir Arndt / Shutterstock

Microsoft drops lawsuit after U. S. government revises data request transparency rules
venturebeat.com

 

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2018 Health Insurance Sign Up Time Is Shorter, But Premiums Could Be Cheaper: Shots (1.02/17)

For people who buy health insurance through the marketplace created by the Affordable Care Act, the 2018 open enrollment period begins in one week. But many consumers are confused about what to expect. No wonder.
The Trump administration has slashed advertising and outreach about open enrollment, so concrete consumer information is sparse. But there's more than enough political rhetoric to make up for it, with regular partisan pronouncements that the marketplaces have collapsed and Obamacare is dead.
Though details may change if Congress makes a move, here is key information that consumers can probably bank on. ("Probably," because in this shifting environment, nothing is certain.)
Shopping for health insurance is about as entertaining as picking dryer lint off your clothes, but this year it's essential to sit down at your computer or work in person with a navigator (if you can find one; federal funding for these health insurance helpers has been trimmed, too,) and review the plans offered in your area.
All That Glitters May Be Gold
It's always important to check your plan details to see if the costs, benefits, or providers have changed, and compare them to other plans. This year, failing to do so could mean you'll miss out on significant opportunities to get more bang for your premium buck.
Marketplace plans are grouped into four levels of coverage. Bronze plans pay 60 percent of covered medical expenses on average, silver plans pay 70 percent, gold picks up 80 percent, and platinum plans pay 90 percent.
Because of a wrinkle in premium pricing this year, some consumers may be able to buy gold plans for a lower premium cost than that of a silver plan. For the same reason, consumers who buy a bronze plan may owe no premium at all.
For lower-income consumers buying coverage on the marketplace, the health law provides two types of financial help. The federal government pays cost-sharing reduction (CSR) subsidies to insurers to shrink deductibles and copayments for people with incomes up to 250 percent of the federal poverty level (about $30,000 for one person), but only if they buy a silver plan.
Also, people with incomes up to 400 percent of poverty (about $48,000 for an individual) can qualify for tax credits to help pay for premiums. The amount of the premium subsidy is based on both income and the cost of a low-priced silver plan.
Earlier this month, President Trump cut off the federal cost-sharing reduction subsidies. While some members of Congress are proposing to restore them, the outlook is unclear.
Recognizing that they might be on the hook financially if the administration cuts off payments, many insurers already incorporated the cost of those subsidies into their premiums for 2018 marketplace plans. Further, on their own or at the direction of state insurance regulators, many insurers limited those CSR price increases to the silver plans to which the premium subsidies are tied.
But boosting silver premiums may also mean that consumers get larger premium tax credits .
Even though premium tax credits are set according to a silver plan, they can be used for any plan. So shoppers who qualify for those subsidies may find that while silver plan premiums are relatively expensive this year, bronze and gold plans may be more affordable, thanks to consumers' larger premium tax credits.
"Premiums for silver plans are higher, but not for gold or bronze," says Caroline Pearson, a senior vice president at Avalere Health, a consulting firm. "Premiums for gold and bronze plans are unusually cheap, so they might be a better value."
In addition, people who don't qualify for subsidies may find better deals off the marketplace this year, depending on the state they live in.
Use Caution With Auto-Enrollment
If you don't review your plan and update your income and other personal information, your insurer or the marketplace may automatically re-enroll you in your 2017 plan or another one that is similar in price and coverage. About two-thirds of people surveyed by the Kaiser Family Foundation earlier this fall said they would like to stick with the same plan if it's available.
That may seem like a simple solution, but if premiums have changed, it could affect how much you owe, and a new plan may have different benefits or a different network of providers. You need to check out your options.
Expect A Shorter Enrollment Window
If you live in a state that uses the federal marketplace, open enrollment ends Dec. 15, about six weeks earlier than last year. That reality, coupled with the fact that in-person help will be tougher to find, means that people should start looking into plans sooner rather than later.
States that run their own marketplaces may allow consumers to enroll through the end of January.
"Don't wait," says Sarah Lueck, a senior policy analyst at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Her advice for consumers: "Go and look as soon as you can."
However, some consumers who miss the Dec. 15 enrollment deadline may have another shot at signing up. If your current plan is being discontinued, you may qualify for a special enrollment period (SEP) because it's considered a loss of coverage, says Sandy Ahn, an associate research professor at Georgetown University's Center on Health Insurance Reforms. Consumers in that situation have 60 days after their coverage ends on Dec. 31 to enroll in a new plan.
"If you didn't know that open enrollment was cut short this year, you might need that SEP," Ahn says. Consumers should hang on to their insurer letter that tells them they're losing their coverage under their current plan to document their eligibility.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services didn't respond for a request for comment about the eligibility for a special enrollment period in these circumstances.
Kaiser Health News is an editorially independent news service that is part of the nonpartisan Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Follow Michelle Andrews on Twitter: @mandrews110.

Will Obamacare Marketplaces Suffer as Open Enrollment Begins?
truth-out.org

 

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Pebble Beach to host first Women's US Open in 2023 (1.01/17)

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. (AP) - Prestigious Pebble Beach will host its first U. S. Women's Open in 2023 and the U. S. Open in 2027.
The USGA announced the two tournaments slated for Pebble Beach on Tuesday. The premier events will be USGA championships Nos. 14 and 15 at the picturesque course along the Monterey Peninsula.
Pebble last hosted the U. S. Open in 2010. The course has hosted five U. S. Opens in all, four U. S. Amateurs, two U. S. Women's Amateurs and one PGA Championship during its 98-year history.
Pebble already is set to host the 2018 U. S. Amateur and 2019 U. S. Open Championships.
Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Pebble Beach to host first Women's US Open in 2023
rssfeeds.usatoday.com

 

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2.4

Dogs ride on Magic School Bus, tiny motorcycle at the Tompkins Square Halloween Dog Parade (1.01/17)

This Halloween costume contest has gone to the dogs in the best way possible. Hundreds of pooches turned out for the 27th annual Tompkins Square Halloween Dog Parade in Manhattan's East Village on Oct. 21. Organizers estimated that 10,000 dog lovers came to celebrate. Though some come to the event just to dog-watch, costumed animals have a chance to compete in the contest, and everyone has the opportunity to donate to Tompkins Square Park. This year attendees also had the option to donate hurricane relief supplies The 2017 event saw plenty of elaborate wheeled costumes, some of which took weeks to create. From a Magic School Bus to "Mario" and "Luigi" riding in a race car. Other costumes went for humor, such as the poop emoji or the house from Disney-Pixar's, complete with balloons. Still others went for simple but cute, such as a taco and the UPS delivery dog. Though some contestants traveled hundreds of miles to compete, the grand prize went to a costume that played up the New York factor. Best in Show was the "Paw-line" group, a double-decker bus modeled after the red "Gray Line" tour buses. It featured multiple pooch occupants such as a Yankees fan and Lady Liberty. The humans in that group were awarded two tickets to see

Is Your Kid A Cowboy For Halloween? Social Justice Warriors Hate Him
thefederalist.com

 

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How much will you pay for self-driving technology? Survey from Edmunds says a lot (1.01/17)

Some consumers say they are wary of a driverless car future, but a new survey says the beginnings of the technology that will power that future are already available on most new vehicle models and many consumers are willing to pay thousands of dollars for them.
That self-driving technology has come in the form of active safety features, such as adaptive cruise control, blind-spot detection and automatic parking, which can help a vehicle avoid a collision. The survey found that such features, which were available on fewer than a quarter of new vehicles in 2012, are now available on more than 60% of new models.
"While most may be skeptical when asked if they want a car that drives itself, many consumers might not know that if they’ve bought a car recently, they could already be experiencing the early stages of automotive autonomy," according to the survey.
The national survey, which was conducted Sept. 19-24, took responses from 1,500 U. S. residents ages 18-74 who bought or leased a vehicle in the last three years. The survey follows the J. D. Power 2017 U. S. Tech Choice Study released in April, which showed an increased wariness of fully self-driving technology even as consumers continue to want driver-assistance technology.
The Edmunds survey found that 61% of those who responded would pay extra for blind-spot detection -- the most -in-demand active safety feature -- while 24% said they would not pay extra for any of the features.
The survey said 42% would be willing to pay $1,000-$2,000 for such features and 16% would be willing to pay $3,000 or more.
"While there are a number of ways one can define who’s 'leading' in the race to autonomy, analyzing the prevalence of active safety features demonstrates just how ready (automakers) are to bring this technology to mass production, and how willing consumers are to adopt it," Jessica Caldwell, executive director of industry analysis at Edmunds, said in a news release. “While some car buyers may view a fully autonomous vehicle as a novelty, a vehicle that has the ability to prevent an accident before it occurs is seen as a safety breakthrough.”
GM to pay $120M in multistate defective ignition switch settlement
Bleeding-edge vehicle tech holds pitfalls for new-car buyers, reliability survey shows
Among automakers' 2017 models, Tesla leads the pack for offering active safety features with 57, followed by Volvo with 47 and Honda at 37. At the bottom, Mitsubishi (3) offers the fewest, behind Fiat Chrysler (7). Nissan and General Motors were tied with 13 and Ford offers 14.
The survey noted, however, that Tesla's place might be precarious.
"While Tesla holds the top spot among 2017 models, the speed with which autonomous development is moving could produce a much different ranking in subsequent model years," the survey said.
Contact Eric D. Lawrence: elawrence@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter: @_ericdlawrence.

Elon Musk slaps down talk of A. I. ‘gods’: Some people ‘should absolutely not’ make superintelligence
cnbc.com

 

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Kid Rock: Of course I'm not running for Senate (1.01/17)

Mocking people who took the idea seriously, Kid Rock said this morning he's not running for U. S. Senate.
"F--- no, I’m not running for Senate. Are you kidding me?" Rock said on Howard Stern's SiriusXM show. "Who couldn’t figure that out? I’m releasing a new album. I’m going on tour too. Are you f------ s------- me?"
Rock's new album, "Sweet Southern Sugar," will be released Nov. 3, Stern said at the start of a wide-ranging interview that tackled Rock's wealth, his distaste for the music business and his 2018 tour plans.
Rock said the Senate idea — which he publicly toyed with for months — was a mixed blessing.
"It’s the worst advice I ever gave myself, but it's been the most creative thing I’ve ever done," he said. "And I’ve gotten to see everyone’s true colors."
Rock said he talked with Eminem's manager, Paul Rosenberg, at last week's Detroit Pistons opener at Little Caesars Arena. Right-leaning Rock and left-leaning Eminem have been become high-profile political lightning rods.
"Let’s not let this divide us," Rock said he told Rosenberg. Eminem, on the heels of a viral rap blasting President Donald Trump, was loudly cheered at the start of the game. Rock, shown onscreen in the arena, drew boos from some in the crowd.
Rock said as public hype grew around the Senate talk this year, even people in his circle who were "in on the joke" started to take it seriously.
"No, we’re not doing it," he said he'd tell them, "but let’s roll with it for a while."
Rock's tour will start Jan. 19 in Nashville, with dates scheduled through March 24 in Las Vegas. No Michigan shows are on the schedule at the moment, following his six-show run at Little Caesars Arena last month.
More on Freep.com:
Kid Rock blasts Harvey Weinstein and Hollywood 'scumbag' culture
Kid Rock, again, keeps fans in suspense about political aspirations
20 years in, Kid Rock, Eminem and ICP are politically relevant — and culturally divided

Kid Rock not running for US Senate
foxnews.com

 

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On climate, the United States and Syria now stand alone (1.01/17)

It was just two years ago when representatives of 195 countries met in Paris and reached a historic international agreement to combat the climate crisis. Only two countries – Syria and Nicaragua – rejected the accord.
Yesterday, one of them changed their minds. Reuters reported:
It’s worth noting for context that when representatives from the Nicaraguan delegation balked at the Paris accords in 2015, it wasn’t because they were fringe climate deniers embracing oddball conspiracy theories. It was actually the opposite: Nicaragua opposed the agreement because officials believed it didn’t go far enough.
Now, however, as Rosario Murillo explained yesterday, Nicaragua sees the agreement as “the only instrument we have in the world that allows the unity of intentions and efforts to face up to climate change and natural disasters.”
And as a result, there are now only two countries on the planet that are operating outside the Paris accord: Syria, which is home to a brutal civil war, and the United States, which is home to Donald Trump, who announced an end to the country’s commitment to the agreement in June.
A Washington Post report added, “Syria is also not set to join the next round of U. N. talks on climate change that are scheduled for mid-November in Germany. Environmental ministers of all nations that are part of the agreement will set out their visions for international guidelines to implement the accord – without Syria and the U. S.”
Americans may remember a time in which we helped lead the world, rather than sit on the sidelines. One wonders if and when that time will return.
At least in theory, according to Trump, the White House wants to begin a new round of negotiations on a climate agreement, but in the nearly five months since the president’s withdrawal announcement, there’s no evidence that any such efforts have been made.
On the contrary, Trump’s EPA chief, Scott Pruitt, argued over the summer that our allies in Europe only want the United States to participate in the Paris accord “because they know it will continue to shackle our economy.”
The president himself made a related point: “Foreign lobbyists wished to keep our magnificent country tied up and bound down by this agreement.”
In other words, the Trump administration is operating from the assumption that our allies are trying to hurt us, deliberately, though an international agreement to combat the climate crisis.
We’ve isolated ourselves internationally in a way that hardly seemed possible a year ago, and Nicaragua’s announcement yesterday made this dynamic slightly more embarrassing for the United States.

An Evening with The Israeli Ambassador to the United States — Jewish Journal
jewishjournal.com

 

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Top DCCC aide bullish on 2018 prospects (1.01/17)

The executive director of the House Democrats’ campaign arm is making a bullish prediction about the party’s prospects to retake the lower chamber next year.
After a painful rout at the hands of President Trump and the GOP, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) is trying new strategies — and reviving some old ones — in a bid to deny Republicans four straight years of unified government.
DCCC Executive Director Dan Sena told The Hill in an interview that the sheer number of competitive districts puts them in the running to pick up dozens of seats in 2018.
“[In 2018] we will be 65 to 80 races deep in terms of viability and folks who are able to fight,” he said.
Democrats need to pick up 24 seats to win back the House.
Sena said the party is at a crossroads in how it fights elections.
“When you look at the history, and this is candidate and electoral agnostic, there have been periods of time throughout history where the Democratic apparatus — and the way we win elections — advances and it changes,” said Sena.
Democratic campaigns have gone through several such eras in modern politics, he said.
These include the time before former President Clinton and the time between Clinton and former President Obama. He called 2016 “the closing of a way in which we viewed how to run elections on the Democratic side.”
Sena credits Trump with one important epochal change: the resurgence of the candidate-centric campaign.
“Trump was obviously able to personify how important candidates are, how important the narrative they bring is, how important their ability to [appear] authentic and honest is, it was a clear contrast between Trump and Clinton. Clear as day,” said Sena.
A Politico analysis of the 2018 battlefield shows 162 Democrats in 82 Republican-held districts have raised at least $100,000 for this cycle.
“We are now given a battlefield [where] the DCCC is in a place where we are the leader right now in a new way of winning elections and a new way of looking at the battlefield. All you have to do is look at the diversity, the field, the veterans.”
According to Sena, the number of veterans signing up to run as Democrats is increasing, allowing the party to appeal more directly to moderate voters.
“Veterans are very simply a proof point of what the larger issue is. And the larger issue is that we have a very moderate battlefield, and we have candidates that fit that battlefield. We have young energetic candidates who fit that battlefield and fit those districts just in a way this building hasn’t had in the past,” he said.
But Sena said 2018 is going to be as much about what Democrats do on the campaign trail as what Republicans do in power.
“The narrative against a House Republican ... this cycle is different than it’s been in the past. They own everything. They own the swamp, they own [the Affordable Care Act], they own [the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program], they own everything,” he said.
And the numbers are starting to show encouraging inroads for Democrats.
According to the DCCC’s numbers, they are ahead by 9 points in generic House polls.
“We never had a generic like that in 2016, ever. We never had a plus-nine generic in a year where we started off the year believing we were going to win the presidency,” said Sena.
Among minority voters, the numbers are more quickly moving in the Democrats’ favor.
When Trump took office, Democrats led Republicans among Hispanics by 16 points on the question of who could bring change to Washington. Democrats now lead by 55 points on that question.
Still, Republicans regularly outraise Democrats — although Democrats are having a record fundraising year — and races are more often won from incumbency.
But Sena says Republicans will have their hands full fighting several opponents at once.
Democrats have an axe to grind after 2016 and have every reason to believe 2018 will be as close as a midterm can ever come to an existential race.
Meanwhile, Republicans are fighting a civil war between their governing wing and the conservative base that put Trump in power.
“The fight ... on the Republican side is not going to help these folks, regardless of the type of district you’re in,” said Sena.
Some high-profile moderate Republicans, like Reps. Charlie Dent Charles(Charlie) Wieder DentChamber targets Pennsylvania Republicans in tax-reform ads Republican rep: GOP has to ‘stand up and oppose this type of racism’ GOP rep: Let Mueller do his job MORE (Pa.) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (Fla.), have announced their retirement rather than face a potential primary challenge from the right.
Still, Sena said the Democrats are staying away from the Republican primary process.
“We are not encouraging any Republican primary piece of this war. What we are encouraging... is holding House Republicans accountable for current folks,” said Sena.
And Sena argues that the Republicans’ worst enemy — if current patterns continue into 2018 — will be their inability to pass laws while in control of the White House and both chambers of Congress.
“The real question is why can’t they figure out how to put an agenda together and do something. They are in power. I don’t understand that, I truly don’t understand that.”
“There is a problem with the swamp that [Speaker] Paul Ryan Paul RyanThe Hill Interview: Budget Chair Black sticks around for now Gun proposal picks up GOP support GOP lawmaker Tim Murphy to retire at end of term MORE and his colleagues are just really stuck in,” he said.
To be sure, Democrats have divisions of their own.
The protracted 2016 presidential primary between Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders Bernard (Bernie) SandersChris Murphy’s profile rises with gun tragedies Clip shows Larry David and Bernie Sanders reacting after discovering they're related For now, Trump dossier creates more questions than answers MORE (I-Vt.) left deep scars. Those were highlighted by controversy at last week’s Democratic National Committee (DNC) meeting, when progressive-leaning Democrats criticized DNC Chairman Tom Perez Thomas Edward PerezClinton’s top five vice presidential picks Government social programs: Triumph of hope over evidence Labor’s 'wasteful spending and mismanagement” at Workers’ Comp MORE for a slate of at-large delegates they said demoted some key progressives.
Still, alienated from the levers of power, Democrats are taking the “swamp” page from Trump’s playbook.
Despite his cautious optimism, Sena says Democrats could lose the election “if we choose to not tell the story about the swamp, if we choose not to hold House Republicans accountable.”
“If we do not take that opportunity to tell those stories and make it clear where House Republicans are on the values side of this argument, then that will be a mistake,” he said.
Still, the party is preparing for both individual races and the House fight writ large to be very close calls.
That’s where diversity — from Latino-heavy districts in California to white working-class districts in the Midwest — comes in.
“Our path to the majority runs as much through Costa Mesa, Calif., as it does through the entire state of Illinois. It runs through both Miami and rural America,” said Sena.
Sena says the DCCC has shuffled its staff and hired and trained local staff in key districts to better reflect each region’s voters. But while making diverse hires can portray the right image, it won’t lead to better results unless those hires get decision-making abilities.
“It is one thing to say you have a diverse staff, it is another to give them the tools and the ability to spend money,” said Sena.
“Spending money is what matters in this business — 48 percent of people who spend money on my staff are people of color and are diverse,” he added.

Rubio eyes Minnesota governor's race, endorses GOP's Johnson
thenewstribune.com

 

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EPA 'Sue And Settle' Cost $70 Billi (1.01/17)

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt’s decision to curb a common Obama-era legal practice could keep billions of dollars worth of regulations off the books, according to a new report.
The right-leaning American Action Forum found 23 regulations stemming from “sure and settle” lawsuits “resulted in a total cost burden of $67.9 billion, with $26.5 billion in annual costs.”
AAF looked at 23 major regulations imposed by EPA from 2005 to 2016, and found they resulted in hefty economic price tags. Settlements reached during the Bush and Obama administrations resulted in some of the costliest rules on the books.
“With billions of dollars in economic costs at stake, it makes sense to more thoroughly scrutinize sue and settle rules to ensure they meet the basic rigors of the Administrative Procedure Act and sound cost-benefit principles,” AAF’s Dan Bosch wrote in a new report.
“Administrator Pruitt’s directive offers the opportunity to see if the regulatory outcomes of such rulemakings can be improved,” Bosch wrote.
AAF’s estimate may be the low end of the price tag. A 2013 study by the U. S. Chamber of Commerce found 71 “sue and settle” lawsuits between 2009 and 2012 that resulted in more than 100 new regulations — many of which cost more than $100 million a year.
Pruitt issued a directive in mid-October to curb the number of consent decrees it enters into with outside groups, mostly environmental groups. In past administrations, EPA would often settled with activists suing the agency for missing a statutory deadline.
Conservatives have long charged the resulting settlements force EPA to write new regulations without any input from states or regulated industries. The backroom settlements essentially give environmentalists control of EPA’s agenda.
“The days of regulation through litigation are over,” Pruitt said.
“We will no longer go behind closed doors and use consent decrees and settlement agreements to resolve lawsuits filed against the Agency by special interest groups where doing so would circumvent the regulatory process set forth by Congress,” Pruitt said.
Pruitt will require EPA to publish all citizen suits and settlements online for the public to see. EPA will also be limited in what kinds of settlements it can make with activists, and officials must reach out to states and other third parties.
Environmentalists weren’t very happy with Pruitt’s directive. Activists argued they sue the EPA for not updating public health regulations that result in billions of dollars in benefits.
Activists also argue EPA is saving taxpayers money by settling in court, thereby avoiding a drawn out and costly litigation process on cases they are bound to lose anyways.
“Pruitt’s doing nothing more than posturing about a non-existent problem and political fiction,” John Walke, an attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council, said of the directive.
“His targeting of legal settlements, especially where EPA has no defense to breaking the law, will just allow violations to persist, along with harms to Americans,” Walke said.
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Taxpayers billed $68 billion before EPA scheme killed Contact WND
wnd.com

 

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NYC Rents Are Still High, But Price Growth Slows to a Crawl, Report Finds (1.01/17)

MANHATTAN —There’s some good and bad news for renters.
Bad news: Rents reached all-time highs in the third quarter of 2017, according to a report released Tuesday from StreetEasy focusing on Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens.
Good news: Price growth is finally slowing down to a crawl, researchers at the real estate search engine found.
Prices have fallen in a couple of areas and soon they might dip across the city, said the report's author and StreetEasy senior economist Grant Long.
“If current patterns continue, rents across the board will likely fall as new units coming onto the market are forced to compete with leftover summer inventory during one of the slowest times of the year,” Long said.
Brooklyn rents barely budged from the same time a year ago, edging up a mere 0.6 percent to $2,460 a month for the borough’s median. Last year, for instance, rents were up 1.6 percent from the year before, which was three times faster than this year’s anemic pace, StreetEasy found.
Queens and Manhattan hardly saw any growth either, each inching up 0.7 percent. The median rent was $1,991 a month in Queens and $2,989 a month in Manhattan.
“While rents remain high, they’re growing at a snail’s pace. Part of this can be attributed to the onslaught of new construction driving up competition among landlords, but ultimately there is a limit to what renters are willing to pay,” Long said.
“After years of growth, rents in the city may have reached the peak of what New Yorkers can afford," Long added.
High-end rentals in Brooklyn and Queens in particular were seeing prices stagnating or even dropping, Long said.
North Brooklyn — which includes the neighborhoods of Williamsburg and Greenpoint — was the borough’s only area to see rents decline, dropping 0.5 percent since last year to $3,067 a month.
This area was also No. 1 when it came to price cuts: nearly a third of rental listings saw discounts from the original asking price.
More than a quarter of all rentals in the Queens neighborhoods of Ridgewood, Corona and Clearview offered discounts, StreetEasy found.
In Manhattan, rents grew slowest in its least expensive market of Upper Manhattan, rising just 0.6 percent since a year ago to $2,202 a month, marking the first time in six years that the area did not outpace the rest of the borough in rent growth.
There were a handful of areas that bucked the slow-down trend.
Rents grew fastest on the Upper East Side, rising 1.6 percent from a year ago to $2,644, the report noted.
In Kings County, rents grew fastest in South Brooklyn — which includes areas from Bay Ridge, Sunset Park and Kensington to Brighton Beach and Sheepshead Bay. The median was 2.9 percent higher compared to the same time a year ago, reaching $1,794 a month.
Rents were up 3 percent in the northeast section of Queens, which includes areas such as Flushing, Kew Gardens and Bayside. The median rent in this area hit $1,910 a month.

High gas prices may crimp holiday spending, AAA finds
upi.com

 

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Bush cracks up Obama at hurricane relief concert (1.01/17)

Former President George W. Bush made his successor, Barack Obama, noticeably snicker at a joke delivered during Bill Clinton’s speech at a hurricane relief benefit concert in Texas.
Mischievous George W Bush cracks a joke behind Bill Clinton's back and makes Barack Obama giggle https://t.co/MIzJqAVei1 pic.twitter.com/guzehQIj0o
— Daily Mail US (@DailyMail) October 23,2017
As Clinton discussed the importance of offering ongoing support to the communities affected by hurricanes Harvey and Maria, Bush leaned over and quipped something to his successor, immediately eliciting a laugh from Obama, whose reaction garnered much positive attention on social media.
All five former living US Presidents attended “Deep from the Heart: The One America Appeal” at Reed Arena at Texas A&M University in College Station.
Musician Lady Gaga made an unbilled appearance and tweeted, “Nothing more beautiful than everyone putting their differences aside to help humanity in the face of catastrophe. #OneAmericaAppeal.”
The singer made a “generous” donation, said Jim McGrath, a spokesman for George H. W. Bush.
The elder Bush followed up the concert Monday morning with a joke of his own, saying he would have sung a duet with the pop star — “if asked.”
Not sure abt 39, @BillClinton, 43 and @BarackObama, but I would have sung w @ladygaga if asked. Thanks to all for supporting @AmericaAppeal.
— George Bush (@GeorgeHWBush) October 23,2017
Trademark and Copyright 2017 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.
Filed in: News
Topics: Barack Obama, George W. Bush

Bush and Obama get the giggles behind Clinton’s back
rssfeeds.usatoday.com

 

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Ivanka Trump Reveals Hidden Family Talent — Boasts Track Record Of 7 Marriages – 0 Divorces (1.01/17)

Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner have something in common besides being a husband and wife team working in the White House. When Ivanka sat down for a chat with Sean Hannity on Monday, she shared with the Fox News personality that her hidden talent is that of a matchmaker. Along with Jared, as her partner in these love hookups, the two have a track record of matching people that have led to seven marriages and zero divorces, so far.
Fox & Friends on Tuesday morning showed a clip of Ivanka giggling and boasting about her 7-0 record for marriages vs. divorce from Hannity’s show, and the first daughter was very animated when explaining this hidden talent that she’s very proud of. The topic came up when Sean Hannity told Ivanka that he tried to set up one of Ivanka’s assistants on a date.
The Fox New viewers then learned that Hannity once ran a dating service, which is something Ivanka brought up while doing this one-on-one interview with Hannity on his show. The revelation that Hannity was once head honcho of a dating service paved the way for the Fox News journalist to boast about the many successful matches that he too has under his belt.
Hannity also told Ivanka that his matchmaking success stories led to a number of his namesakes running around today as some folks not only named their kids after him but the happy couples also gave their pets his name as well, according to the Daily Mail.
Ivanka might have missed her calling as a reporter as well because she pulled info out of Hannity that was interesting for the viewers to hear. After it was learned that Hannity attempted his matchmaking skills on Ivanka’s assistant, Ivanka mentioned Hannity’s website.
Hannity created an online matchmaking website called Hannidate back about nine years ago. The website didn’t last long, but he was proud of the successful matches he had a hand in while it was up and running. He also told Ivanka that when couples would show up at one of his book signings and tell Hannity they’ve been dating for a few years, he would recommend they’d get married.
He finished off his matchmaking chat with saying, “A lot of people appreciated it and they did get married. I even have a child named after me and dogs.” So if you hear someone at a dog park calling “come here Sean Hannity,” there’s a chance that person got a little push into marriage via the Fox News journalist.
[Featured Image by Jacquelyn Martin/AP Images]

'Dancing with the Stars'' Nikki Bella reveals John Cena wedding details
foxnews.com

 

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Facebook video shows NC nurse climbing cliff into work during storm to delivery baby (1.01/17)

An Ashe County nurse is winning praise on social media for not letting Monday’s torrential rain and winds stop her from delivering two babies.
A video posted on Facebook Monday around 8 p.m. shows Maggie McNeill hiking up a rock ledge to the highway in the dark, after rains flooded out the bridge to her home in Grassy Creek. The only way out was to hike.
The video was posted by her husband, Todd McNeill, who proclaimed on social media: “My wife is awesome...seriously awesome!”
In the video, Maggie McNeill is shown with a backpack, climbing through trees and over rocks in the dark. The video had been viewed more than 7,000 times in 12 hours.
“There goes my wife, into work at night, because two women are in labor in our small town hospital,” Todd McNeill narrates on the video. “The water is over the bridge on our road and has washed logs up on top of it. She’s climbing a rock cliff to get up there to the highway where she’s going to catch a ride to town and deliver Ashe County’s two newest citizens. Isn’t she awesome?”
The storm that blew through the western North Carolina Monday afternoon caused flash flooding, heavy wind damage and was believed to have caused tornadoes in two counties. On Tuesday morning, 30,000 people in western North Carolina were without power and several school districts had canceled or delayed classes due to damage to roads. No fatalities had been reported.
Maggie McNeill is a nurse at Ashe County Memorial Hospital. She is also a mother of four herself.
“We are a small hospital and my coworkers are my family,” Maggie McNeill told the Observer’s news partner WBTV. “I can’t stand the thought of leaving them in a bad spot! I think they’d all do the same if the roles were reversed.”
Video of her late night hike drew praise on social media from both strangers and friends. Some suggested the babies be named Maggie, if they were girls.
“Seriously, there ought to be a superhero named Maggie!” posted Lisa Michelle of Randleman.
“That’s just how wonderful she is!” posted Charlotte Caddell Thompson of Beaver Creek. “And that momma will tell the story to her child one day: “On the night you were born, it stormed and flooded and your nurse climbed a rock mountain to get to your delivery.”
Some Facebook comments also lauded Todd McNeill for sharing the video.
“Yes, she is awesome. But so are you for sharing this and bragging on her. I can hear in your voice how proud you are. It made me smile,” posted Daphne Trees on Facebook.
A neighbor of the McNeills, Randy Jones, noted how dangerous the climbing could be around Helton Creek. “I have done it several times you really need climbing gear, but you do what’s you gotta do,” he posted on Facebook.
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Facebook video shows Ashe County nurse hiking to work in storm to delivery baby
charlotteobserver.com

 

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WATCH: Nintendo Switch OJO Projector In Action + Pricing (1.01/17)

A dozen years ago my best friend purchased a Nintendo Gamecube screen add-on that would allow him to plug in the device and play pretty much wherever he was. The device, with a screen no bigger than an iPad Mini, was pretty neat.
The problem was this device only worked for the Gamecube, was expensive, and resulted in 2-4 players huddling around a tiny little screen. It was not ideal.
Flash forward to 2017. Technology has improved to the point where portable screens are common-place. In our phones, in our iPads, in our Nintendo Switches, but the problem remains: if you’re on the go and want to play a Mario Kart or similarly multiplayer game, a whole bunch of people are going to be crowding around a relatively small screen.
Unless, of course, you’re aware of the forthcoming OJO Projector.
OJO Being on the go no longer means you need to squint.
That little guy there looks to solve the small-screen problem. It features 854*480 Pixel Display at 16:9 Ratio, USB inputs for charging your Switch (and phone), and 5 watt bass-effect dual speaker, which provides “a rich quality sound, both louder and fuller than the Switch’s internal speakers.” The unit can also be connected to an external speaker system via an auxiliary port and cable. And the biggie: offers 4 hour battery life.
Seeking to raise $30,000 via their IndieGoGo campaign, backers can purchase the device for $269, and it will even come with a nifty carrying case and AC Adapter. OJO Projectors will ship in December and backers will receive their device in time for Christmas. The device will retail for $369 once the funding campaign is complete.
But thats not all, Bob. The OJO can also charge your Nintendo Switch or your cellphone via the internal battery as well via USB. Meaning if your OJO is fully charged on a train or plane ride, but your other devices are not, it can act as a power-brick for your phone and Switch.
While primarily positioned as a Switch-focused device – docking with the Switch while in use, the OJO also comes with HDMI inputs, meaning you can connect your laptop, Xbox One, or PS4 to the device and project as well.
A docked view of the OJO Projector and The Nintendo Switch
Thus, it seems the folks at YesOJO – the company behind the device, have conjured up something resembling the swiss-army knife of gaming accessories. It charges your console and mobile devices, it displays a bright 200 Lumen image up to 150″ in size (allowing it to function in low / high light), and it’s tiny enough where carrying it around isn’t as burdensome as full-size projectors.
And again, it’s the first and so far only projector that will work with The Switch, which is the primary selling point and intoxicatingly appealing when you think about it. Promotional materials feature the projector in the woods and at parties, operating in different kinds of lighting pretty well.
You can buy the device here, and be sure to stay tuned for a review and impressions of OJO Projector.
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Janel Parrish Wiki: Fiancé, Net Worth, Instagram & 5 Facts to Know
earnthenecklace.com

 

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Government report calls on Trump to act on climate change (1.01/17)

The US has seen billions of dollars in damage from hurricanes and wildfires this year, which experts say climate change exacerbated. Congress is due this week to consider another multi-billion dollar aid package to help Puerto Rico after it was hit by back-to-back hurricanes.
The GAO provides nonpartisan information to members of Congress, including audits of government activities and reports about public policy. Its latest report was requested by Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine and Democratic Sen. Maria Cantwell of Washington.
The New York Times first reported the existence of the GAO climate change report.
The Obama administration took several steps to combat the severity of climate change over the next century. Among them was the Environmental Protection Agency's clean power plan, which sought to lower carbon emissions on a state-by-state basis, and the Paris climate agreement, which saw almost every country agree to voluntary limits on future carbon emissions.
The Trump administration has in many respects changed course, with Trump announcing in June his intention for the US to exit the Paris agreement and EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt announcing the end to the clean power plan this month.
The report outlined years' worth of shortcomings from the government with respect to addressing the climate change threat. By February 17, the report found that federal agencies were working on some strategic planning efforts, but the nature of those was unclear.
Some of those efforts, the report said, were rescinded when Trump issued an executive order in March.

Kathy Griffin calls Donald Trump a 'moron' and 'Nazi': 'Everybody should get rid of him soon'
foxnews.com

 

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3.6

BUCHANAN: Are Our Mideast Wars Forever? (1.01/17)

“The Kurds have no friends but the mountains,” is an old lament.
Last week, it must have been very much on Kurdish minds.
As their U. S. allies watched, the Kurdish peshmerga fighters were run out of Kirkuk and all the territory they had captured fighting ISIS alongside the Americans. The Iraqi army that ran them out was trained and armed by the United States.
The U. S. had warned the Kurds against holding the referendum on independence on Sept. 25, which carried with 92 percent. Iran and Turkey had warned against an independent Kurdistan that could be a magnet for Kurdish minorities in their own countries.
Read more

NYT Laments ‘Forever Wars’ Its Editorials Helped Create
commondreams.org

 

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McDonald's US sales boosted by $1 soda and 2 for $5 deals (1.01/17)

Cheap soda and burgers helped bring more people into McDonald's.
The fast food company said Tuesday that sales in the U. S. rose 4.1 percent at existing locations during the third quarter, thanks to $1 drinks and its two for $5 promotion called McPick 2. McDonald's also said pricier burgers, which are stuffed with crispy onions, kale or guacamole, helped boost sales, too.
Overall the Oak Brook, Illinois-based company reported net income of $1.88 billion, or $2.32 per share, in the three months ended Sept. 30. That's up from $1.28 billion, or $1.50 per share, in the same period a year ago. Adjusted earnings came to $1.76 per share, a penny above what analysts expected, according to Zacks Investment Research.
Revenue fell 10 percent to $5.75 billion, missing analyst expectations of $5.8 billion. The company said it brought in less revenue as it switches more stores from company-owned restaurants to ones owned by franchisors, especially in China and Hong Kong.
Shares of McDonald's Corp., which are up 34 percent since the beginning of the year, rose $1.08 to $164.40 in premarket trading Tuesday.
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McDonald’s US sales boosted by $1 soda and 2 for $5 deals
wtop.com

 

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Taylor Swift teases 'Ghost in the Shell' inspired music video for '... Ready for It?' (1.01/17)

Oct. 24 (UPI) -- Taylor Swift teased her upcoming music video for her single "... Ready for It?" on Instagram Monday announcing that the video will release on Thursday.
"... Ready For It? Official Music Video out Thursday night. #ReadyForItMusicVideo," the pop star wrote alongside a short trailer for the music video that features Swift exploring a futuristic world.
Swift is seen in the clip wearing a hi-tech body suit similar to the one worn by actress Scarlett Johansson in Ghost in the Shell .
The singer is also seen shattering a wall of glass that calls back to the anime adaptation.
The music video for "... Ready for It?" follows the release of the video for her single "Look What You Made Me Do." Both songs will be featured on Swift's upcoming album Reputation which is set to hit stores on Nov. 10.

Exclusive: Michael W. Smith is lost in space in uplifting 'A Million Lights' video
rssfeeds.usatoday.com

 

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1.9

Key West marker restored after Hurricane Irma (1.01/17)

Artists have restored one of the most photographed tourism icons in the Florida Keys after it was damaged by Hurricane Irma.
The last brush strokes were placed on the "Southernmost Point in the Continental U. S. A." marker Monday.
The red, yellow, black and white marker, a massive 4-ton (3.6-metric ton) cement monument that resembles a giant marine navigational buoy, is located beside the Atlantic Ocean. It proclaims that Key West is 90 miles (145 kilometers) from Havana.
Irma pummeled the marker Sept. 10, knocking out a large piece of stucco and stripping much of its paint.
Despite damage to the marker, Key West was not seriously impacted by Hurricane Irma's passage through the Keys. The region reopened to visitors Oct. 1, although some harder-hit areas of the 125-mile (201-kilometer)island chain continue to recover.
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Key West marker restored after Hurricane Irma
miamiherald.com

 

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2.2

Crash on SR 429 southbound slows traffic (1.01/17)

A crash on State Road 429 southbound has backed up traffic for miles.
Traffic is backed up until SR 414, officials say.
Motorists are asked to seek alternate routes.

1 dead in SR 99 crash in Lynnwood
mynorthwest.com

 

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0.4

Washington Supreme Court to hear education funding case (1.01/17)

The Washington state Supreme Court is set to hear argument on whether the state has met its constitutional requirement to fully fund K-12 education.
Tuesday morning's hearing is on whether the state should still be held in contempt for lack of progress on satisfying a 2012 ruling that found that school funding was not adequate. Lawmakers needed a funded plan in place this year ahead of a Sept. 1,2018 deadline the court had set.
The plan approved and signed by Gov. Jay Inslee earlier this year relies largely on an increase to the statewide property tax that starts next year. The tax increases from $1.89 to $2.70 per $1,000 of assessed value, with the increase earmarked for education. The plan — which keeps in place local property tax levies but caps them beginning in 2019 at a lower level— will ultimately raise property taxes for some districts and lower them in others.
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Washington Supreme Court to hear education funding case
thenewstribune.com

 

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2.5

Caterpillar profit surges on equipment demand (1.01/17)

NEW YORK (AP) — Caterpillar Inc.’s third-quarter profit surged on demand for construction equipment, topping Wall Street expectations.
The Peoria, Illinois-based company boosted its guidance, citing strong oil and gas markets in North America along with construction in China. Shares surged in premarket trading, jumping $8.79, or 6.6 percent, to $140.32.
Profit nearly quadrupled to $1.06 billion, or $1.77 per share. Earnings, adjusted for restructuring costs, came to $1.95 per share. The average estimate of eight analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research was for earnings of $1.22 per share.
Revenue surged 25 percent to $11.41 billion while six analysts surveyed by Zacks expected $10.61 billion.
Construction equipment revenue rose 37 percent to $4.85 billion, followed by energy and transportation equipment rising 12 percent to $3.96 billion. Those segments were the key revenue drivers during the quarter.
Caterpillar now expects full-year adjusted earnings to be $6.25 per share, up from a previous estimate of $5 per share. It expects revenue of $44 billion.
Caterpillar shares have risen 42 percent since the beginning of the year, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 index has risen 15 percent. The stock has climbed 53 percent in the last 12 months.
_____
Elements of this story were generated by Automated Insights (http://automatedinsights.com/ap) using data from Zacks Investment Research. Access a Zacks stock report on CAT at https://www.zacks.com/ap/CAT
Copyright © 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.
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Caterpillar shares soar more than 7% on strong earnings beat and yet another raised forecast
cnbc.com

 

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Bicycle Ireland's wild side and the backdrop for 'Star Wars: The Last Jedi' (1.01/17)

Pedal through remote County Donegal on a new six-night bicycle tour offered by Wilderness Ireland.
Highlights include the sea cliffs at Slieve League, among the highest in the area; beautiful Glenveagh National Park and its castle, and Lough Swilly, famous for wildlife watching.
Cyclists also will visit Malin Head, Ireland’s most northern point and the backdrop for the upcoming “Star Wars: Episode VIII The Last Jedi.”
The excursion begins and ends at the train station in Sligo; participants will cycle 20 to 40 miles a day.
Dates: May 12-18, May 26-June 1, June 16-22, Aug. 18-24, Sept. 1-7
Price: About $2,125 per person. Includes six nights accommodations, most meals per the itinerary, ride support, luggage transfers and entrance fees. International airfare not included.
Info: Wilderness Ireland, (844) 235-6240
travel@latimes.com
@latimestravel

‘Never underestimate the power of the dark side’: Orban goes Star Wars on EU ‘migrant invasion’
infowars.com

 

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1.3

Corporate harassment trainings don’t stop harassment (1.01/17)

In the early part of 2016, the leadership at Fox News decided it had to clean up the company’s image and culture, as stories about Roger Ailes and Bill O’Reilly’s multimillion-dollar sexual harassment settlements piled up.
Fox did what many big companies do: It doubled down on anti-harassment seminars, mandating them for all Fox workers, including freelancers. The Hollywood Reporter discovered that these trainings included the infamous Donald Trump Access Hollywood tape as an example of bad behavior.
“There was an audible gasp in the room, like, ’Can you believe this is happening?’” one attendee told the entertainment news outlet.
Not only is the use of the tape bizarre, but there’s another problem with the billion-dollar anti-harassment training industry: The research from sociology and organizational psychology suggests these programs aren’t actually stopping or preventing harassment.
“Over 90 percent of large US employers have harassment trainings in place, but it’s having very little effect, if no discernible effect, on the overall number of harassment complaints that are reported,” said Harvard sociologist Frank Dobbin. “I don’t think we can sit around and wait for training to solve the problem.”
Experts who study workplace harassment view trainings as more of a strategic defense against future lawsuits than a solution to a pervasive problem. But as reports of sexual misconduct continue to pop up at an array of companies — Miramax and Weinstein, Uber, even Vox’s parent company, Vox Media — the call for solutions will continue to grow. And the go-to solution, harassment training, might not be a fix at all.
When a new employee joins an organization, he or she is often asked to watch a series of videos or sit through a talk on what the law says about harassment, how to protect yourself or your employees from harassment, and how to report incidents. These programs range from movie vignettes to in-person discussions to online quizzes, and they’re often sprinkled with cringeworthy moments like one from this 1993 video. “Customer service is part of your job description,” a male boss tells his female worker, after one of the company’s clients asks her out on a date.
Now a mainstay of the American work culture, these programs didn’t come out of nowhere. In her study of harassment trainings, Elizabeth Tippett, an associate professor at the University of Oregon School of Law, traces the legal history of trainings in part to the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s 1980 guidelines, which said employers could be held liable for harassment and suggested companies take steps to prevent the problem, including educating employees about harassment.
Workplace harassment cases also started to pop up in the Supreme Court around the mid-1980s. The 1986 Meritor Saving Bank v. Vinson case, for example, featured a bank VP who sexually harassed a bank manager.
The Vinson decision didn’t mention employee harassment training, as Thomas Jefferson School of Law professor Susan Bisom-Rapp pointed out in her article “Fixing Watches With Sledgehammers: The Questionable Embrace of Employee Sexual Harassment Training by the Legal Profession.” Rather, litigation prevention was already seen as the main goal of harassment training, and the Vinson case helped “fuel the training trend.”
So over time, as trainings were increasingly viewed as a way to prevent lawsuits, courts increasingly saw them as a key part of legal compliance, Tippett said.
Today, the vast majority of large American companies have some kind of harassment training in place, which generally costs $100,000 or more, according to Marketplace . California and Connecticut also require harassment trainings for all employees at organizations with 50 or more supervisors, and Maine has a similar requirement for companies with 15 or more supervisors. The biggest players in the anti-harassment training space include Emtrain, Kantola, and Traliant, and the industry’s annual revenue may reach into the billions.
But do these trainings actually stop harassment from occurring?
A wonk-ish must-read for every company or employee interested in this question is the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s task force study on harassment in the workplace. Published in 2016, the report painstakingly reviewed the data and research evidence on workplace harassment and came to some very striking conclusions.
Over the past three decades, the authors reported, workplace harassment training and prevention programs have blossomed into a “cottage industry.” And while trainings appear to help participants understand what constitutes workplace harassment, there’s no good evidence that trainings change attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors.
“Almost fully one third of the approximately 90,000 charges received by the EEOC in fiscal year 2015 included an allegation of workplace harassment,” the report reads. “Much of the training done over the last 30 years has not worked as a prevention tool — it’s been too focused on simply avoiding legal liability.”
Consider the EEOC’s data here. You can see that the numbers of harassment complaints at the federal level have stagnated or even increased since 2010. Harvard's Dobbin has analyzed data going back even further, and he says the trend lines look much the same over the longer term.
“[Harassment training] is often a veneer, or what I call symbolic compliance,” said Lauren Edelman, a professor of law and sociology at Berkeley Law. The problem, she continued, is that courts don’t distinguish between legal procedures that are a veneer and those that are actually effective.
Harassment is also vastly underreported. According to the EEOC, some three in four people who experience workplace harassment never tell their employers it occurred. “This [data] is the tip of the iceberg,” Dobbin said.
But the few cases of harassment that are reported are already costing a lot of companies dearly: The EEOC recovered $164.5 million for victims alleging harassment in 2015 alone. It also estimated that turnover costs — employees who simply leave companies after being bothered in the workplace — are an even bigger financial burden than any legal fee.
While the EEOC’s review of training programs is overall pretty damning, it does recommend that employers regularly brief their workers on anti-harassment policies and procedures — again, because they can be effective at educating employees about what harassment is. But the EEOC notes that these trainings need to be part of a “holistic effort” to address harassment.
That seems to be the major point about anti-harassment trainings: In isolation, they are nothing more than a Band-Aid solution. Companies have to reckon with their cultures and address systemic inequalities within their organizations that may be enabling harassment if they truly want to prevent this type of discrimination from occurring.
“There are two things that are really problematic,” said Dobbin. “One is when there are huge power differentials between men and women, and the other problem is when you have huge differentials in the gender composition of a job.”
The EEOC identified workplaces with significant power disparities and workplaces that lacked diversity among the top risk factors for harassment. The Harvey Weinstein example is the perfect case in point. Female actresses are notoriously underpaid relative to men, while male actors can have careers that are more lucrative and run longer.
“A situation like Weinstein is symptomatic of an underlying inequality in the workplace,” Tippett said. “That doesn’t mean training is the best way to address that, but it’s what’s happened.”
Companies that truly want to stop harassment have to work on closing gaps in gender equality, such increasing the number of women in leadership roles, while conveying that harassment won’t be tolerated.
“If women were more represented at higher levels of organizations, including the very top, and represented in significant numbers, that might help,” said Berkeley’s Edelman.
Workplaces that encourage alcohol consumption are also at a higher risk of having their workers embroiled in harassment situations, and reducing the opportunities for drinking might help mitigate the risk. Finally, workplaces need to have systems in place that hold people who engage in harassment accountable so that would-be harassers know the behavior won’t be tolerated.
Making these changes is a lot more difficult than just adding a video module that new employees need to click through when joining an organization. But they could be profound, especially at a time when problems with harassment extend all the way up to the highest levels of government.
The president of the United States has been the subject of numerous sexual harassment allegations, and many of the women who have come forward about harassment recently said they did so after Trump was elected to the White House. For now, though, Trump’s infamous Access Hollywood conversation continues to serve as fodder for corporate anti-harassment trainers.

O’Reilly says he regrets settling sex harassment case
aol.com

 

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Army Medic Gary Rose awarded Medal of Honor for his bravery during the Vietnam War (1.01/17)

A Mississippi school district removed "To Kill a Mockingbird" from the 8th grade curriculum. The novel is included on the Library of Congress "Books that Shaped America" list along with other controversial titles. This is why so many of America's greatest novels have been banned.
President Donald Trump and U. S. Rep. Frederica Wilson from Miami Gardens have been feuding over a call he made to a fallen soldier's widow. Sgt. La David T. Johnson was killed in an ambush during a joint-military mission in Niger on Oct. 4,2017.
President Trump announced that the United States would not recertify Iran’s compliance with the nuclear deal. Here's how Iran’s news media reacted.
Senator John McCain jabbed Monday night at unnamed pushers of isolationist politics, saying at his National Constitution Center Liberty Medal ceremony in Philadelphia that abandoning America's role as an international leader is "unpatriotic". The six-term Republican senator from Arizona made the remarks after receiving the award for a lifetime of service and sacrifice to the country.
White House Chief of Staff John Kelly made his first public appearance in front of the press during Thursday’s briefing. Kelly emphasized that he’s not frustrated with this job and that he not planning on quitting. “I was brought to this job to control anything but the flow of information to our president,” he said.
President Donald Trump signed an executive order Thursday to provide what he calls "Obamacare relief" for millions of Americans. He says the action people more competition, more choices and lower premiums. Trump said he still wants Congress repeal and replace the Affordable Health Care Act.
In audio excerpts from an interview with Jonathan Martin, a New York Times reporter, Senator Bob Corker, Republican of Tennessee, spoke about President Trump's tweets and what Mr. Trump’s twitter feed means for diplomacy.
Annette Taddeo, of Miami, was sworn in to the Florida Senate on Oct. 10,2017, becoming the first Hispanic Democratic woman elected to the chamber.
President Trump met survivors and first responders of the Las Vegas mass shooting on Wednesday. He gave remarks praising the bravery of law enforcement and honoring survivors and those who lost their lives on that tragic day.
A protester posing as Rich Uncle Pennybags from the Monopoly board game photobombed the Equifax hearing Wednesday on Capitol Hill. His appearance went viral on social media.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein on Wednesday introduced legislation to close what she calls an automatic weapons loophole that allows gun owners to convert semi-automatic rifles into rapid-fire automatic machines. The gunman who killed 59 people and injured more than 500 others in Las Vegas, Nevada had a dozen guns that were outfitted with a “bump stock” device.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson held a press conference on October 4 addressing a story that said he called President Donald Trump a moron and that he was considering resigning. He called the report "petty."
During a hurricane briefing in Puerto Rico on Tuesday, President Donald Trump decided to make a joke about the cost of hurricane recovery and it didn't go over well: "I hate to tell you Puerto Rico, but you have thrown our budget a little out of whack."
Former Equifax CEO Richard Smith appeared before a House committee on Tuesday to testify about the data breach that has now impacted Americans. He apologized for the company's mistakes and talked about how its taking steps to prevent the same issue from happening again.
President Donald Trump addressed the nation on Monday, a day after 50 people were killed and 400 were injured when a gunman opened fire on a Las Vegas concert. He praised the speed of Las Vegas police and other first responders who responded to the scene and assured those who were now mourning friends and family "we are here for you."

White House Watch: Trump Awards the Medal of Honor to Captain Gary Michael Rose
weeklystandard.com

 

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Oscar-Winning Director Paul Haggis Suggests Hollywood Pedophilia Cover-Up (1.01/17)

Oscar-winning writer-director Paul Haggis suggested Hollywood may be covering up serious allegations of child sexual abuse amid the continued industry fallout from the scandal surrounding decades of allegations of sexual misconduct and abuse against disgraced super-producer Harvey Weinstein.
In an interview with The Guardian Sunday, the two-time Oscar-winning writer and director of Crash said that while much of Hollywood’s self-examination in the wake of the Weinstein scandal has been about the entertainment industry’s treatment of women, he would not discount the numerous allegations made by former child stars of sexual abuse, including those previously made by Corey Feldman and the late Corey Haim.
“It is not an innocent place and never has been,” Haggis told the paper of Hollywood. “Most of this behaviour has been aimed at women, but I am sure that former child stars such as Corey Feldman and Corey Haim, who have both made allegations in the past that no one took seriously, are worth considering, too.”
Read more

Sorry, alleged sexual predators, your apologies are meaningless
nydailynews.com

 

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Khalid Says Crotch-Grabs Aren't Cool at Concerts (1.01/17)

Warning to Khalid fans: don't go grabbin' the R&B star's junk if you're ever in the front row at one of his concerts, because he thinks it's hella disrespectful.
We got Khalid at LAX Monday and asked him what he thought about a fan copping a feel of Harry Styles ' privates mid-performance over the weekend.
Khalid thinks the fan crossed the line since being a pop star and getting felt up onstage don't go hand in hand ... at least not anymore.
Khalid says he doesn't mind getting touchy-feely with fans but dude's got his boundaries.

Harry Styles allegedly groped during concert; fans call to #RespectHarry
entertainment.inquirer.net

 

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German parliament makes Schaeuble speaker, AfD takes seats (1.01/17)

Germany's new parliament elected Wolfgang Schaeuble, the country's longtime finance minister, as its speaker Tuesday while the nationalist Alternative for Germany party declared that a "new era" had begun as its lawmakers took their seats for the first time.
The opening session provided a taste of a more raucous atmosphere under the dome of Berlin's Reichstag building, even though a new government won't be in place for weeks or even months.
Schaeuble, a member of Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative bloc, told lawmakers that a respectful style would be important in the new parliament.
"Democratic argument is necessary, but it is argument according to rules," he said. "It comes with a readiness to respect democratic procedures, and not to denounce the majority decisions that are made as illegitimate, or a betrayal, or whatever."
The new lower house has 709 lawmakers, a record size. It has six caucuses, up from four in the previous parliament.
It includes 92 lawmakers from Alternative for Germany, or AfD, the first party to the right of Merkel's conservatives to enter parliament in 60 years.
AfD won 12.6 percent of the vote last month after a campaign that centered on loud criticism of Merkel and her 2015 decision to allow large numbers of migrants into Germany, but also harnessed wider discontent with established politicians.
"The old parliament, in which you were able to sort out everything among yourselves and push away competition ... has been voted out," AfD chief whip Bernd Baumann told lawmakers.
"The people have decided and now a new era is beginning," he said.
Baumann complained that parliament's rules were changed earlier this year to have the longest-serving lawmaker, rather than the oldest as was previously the case, open the first session. Under the old rules, an AfD lawmaker would have had the opening speech.
Schaeuble, who has been in parliament for 45 years and had been finance minister since 2009, was elected as the new speaker by 510 votes to 173, with 30 abstentions.
Schaeuble ran unopposed, though AfD objected to him on the grounds that he had previously described the party as a "disgrace for Germany."
Lawmakers also were due to elect six deputy speakers from the various parties, who are traditionally approved with cross-party support.
A clash between AfD and others was expected over its nominee, Albrecht Glaser. Lawmakers from mainstream parties object to comments in which Glaser indicated that freedom of religion shouldn't apply to Islam, which they say put him at odds with Germany's constitution.
Merkel's conservatives, the pro-business Free Democrats and the traditionally left-leaning Greens are in the early stages of trying to form a governing coalition.
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Former Finance Minister Schaeuble elected to head German parliament
reuters.com

 

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Three videos prove Carson Wentz deserves MVP hype (1.01/17)

Carson Wentz has the Philadelphia Eagles at 6-1. His 1,852 passing yards are fourth in the league. His 17 touchdowns through the air lead the NFL. He's throw just four interceptions all year.
You're telling me he isn't an MVP candidate?
If you're a non-believer, check out three moments from Monday night's win over the Washington Redskins:
Running out of words for these @cj_wentz touchdowns... Just incredible from the @Eagles quarterback 🔥 #FlyEaglesFly | #OnlyInTheNFL pic.twitter.com/D15371vps7
Wentz threw this third-quarter touchdown pass while the pocket around him collapsed, as Redskins defenders got their hands on him. And just as one would-be tackler reached him, he completed a pass to Corey Clement. Sick.
How did @cj_wentz escape that? 👀 Yet another Houdini act from the @Eagles quarterback! #FlyEaglesFly pic.twitter.com/AYTOcEBByS
How did he get out of that one!? Your guess is as good as mine.
Watching these @cj_wentz highlights on loop all week. #FlyEaglesFly pic.twitter.com/wCYIM6jLqT
The view from the back of Wentz's head show what makes him so special - he's constantly moving in the pocket and making amazing throws over defenders with near-perfect touch.

WFAN Morning Show: Hello, Mickey Callaway — And Carson Wentz Is A Star
newyork.cbslocal.com

 

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Marawi residents return to ruined homes, greeted by gunfire as soldiers search for remaining militants (1.01/17)

Residents of a southern Philippine city where Islamic State (IS) supporters waged a brutal five-month battle began returning home on Tuesday, but gunfire greeted them as soldiers scoured devastated neighbourhoods for remaining militants.
Defence chiefs announced on Monday that the fighting, which claimed more than 1,100 lives and left the eastern half of Marawi in ruins, had ended following a final clash in a mosque in which dozens of gunmen were killed.
The militants had occupied Marawi, the Islamic capital of the mainly Catholic Philippines, on May 23 in what President Rodrigo Duterte and security analysts said was a bid to establish a Southeast Asian base for IS.
The campaign to oust them turned into the Philippines’ longest urban war, forcing about 400,000 people to flee their homes as the militants defied near daily bombing raids by hiding in basements, tunnels and mosques.
“We are afraid but we want to check on our houses,” said Jamaliah Lomontong, a village official in her 40s, as she and some relatives walked into their neighbourhood near where the main fighting occurred.
Lomontong said her house had survived, although it had been looted.
“Anything easy to take away has gone – televisions, laptops,” she said.
Only a few dozen civilians could be seen on Tuesday morning on the outskirts of the mostly destroyed eastern half of Marawi, where regular bursts of gunfire and occasional explosions could still be heard.
However the sounds of war did not mean there was renewed fighting, according to Colonel Romeo Brawner, deputy commander of Marawi forces.
He said they were due to soldiers going through buildings looking for militants who may still be hiding, while troops were also detonating bombs that the gunmen had planted.
“It’s possible that there were some [militants] left behind. In every war, that is the SOP [standard operating procedure],” Brawner said. “So the firing is part of the mopping operations, because if there are holes, tunnels [in buildings], then the troops fire first into the hole before they check with their flashlights.”
In the western half of the city, which largely escaped the fighting, hundreds of residents had begun returning.
“I feel a mixture of joy and sadness,” businessman Gonaranko Mapandi Jnr, 46, said as he stood close to a military checkpoint. “I’m happy because we are able to return. But I’m very sad at what happened to my city.”
Some small shops selling daily household items and food, known locally as sari-sari stores, had reopened.
However, the authorities said the military had yet to give the all-clear for residents to return because of safety concerns. And even when they do, large parts of the city would be uninhabitable with a multibillion-dollar rehabilitation programme expected to take years to complete, according to local government officials and aid workers.
Duterte has warned in recent days that, even with the defeat of the militants in Marawi, others may be hiding in nearby cities or elsewhere in the southern Philippines and planning further attacks.
Eric Alarcon, head of the Philippine Red Cross’s operations for Marawi, said many residents may never return to the city because of security fears or because they would not be able to live in destroyed neighbourhoods.
Duterte changes his tune on US, paying tribute to ‘allies’ who aided fight against insurgents in Marawi
“There are a lot of factors. Some are just afraid that this is just a brief peace. Afterwards, there will be fighting again. They don’t want their children to be affected,” Alarcon said. “Others are looking for a new livelihood, a new business. Maybe they want a place where they can sustain their business.”
Duterte declared martial law across the southern third of the Philippines, home to about 20 million and many of the nation’s Muslim minority, immediately after the Marawi conflict erupted.
He said military rule was needed to contain the spread of a violent and extreme brand of Islamic militancy that was inspired or led by IS. Martial law has not been lifted despite the end of the conflict.

Families returning to ruined Philippine city taught to identify bombs
reuters.com

 

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Best Apple Dishes In NY: Sweet And Savory (1.01/17)

By Jessica Allen
New York boasts some 10 million apple trees, making it the most apple-growing state in the whole US! Sample everything these trees have to offer at the spots listed below, from ice cream to drinks to tarts. The state’s apples are great year-round, no doubt, but they really shine in the fall.
Autumn in New York
Ample Hills
623 Vanderbilt Ave.
Brooklyn, NY 11238
(347) 240-3926 www.amplehills.com
Just the name is enough to make us swoon: Autumn in New York. It conjures golden light, colored leaves that crinkle when you walk through them, the start of sweater weather. At Ample Hills, it’s also an apple cider sorbet, loaded with ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and amaretto liqueur. Truly embrace the season by purchasing the Fall 4-Pack, which includes Nonna D’s Oatmeal Lace, No Sleep Till Pumpkin, and Vanilla Bean, along with Autumn in New York. Everything from mix-ins to the ice cream base is made on site at the Gowanus emporium. Feelin’ Myself
Butter & Scotch
818 Franklin Ave.
Brooklyn, NY 11225
(347) 350-8899 www.butterandscotch.com
Are we cheating a little on this one? Maybe . .. Feelin’ Myself is a sophisticated take on an appletini. In this case, the drink includes ginger liqueur, scotch, vermouth, and whiskeyjack (itself a delicious blend of bourbon whiskey, apple cider, apple brandy, and caramelized sugar). Butter & Scotch is a bakery and bar in Crown Heights, one of those “why didn’t I think of it” spots, where you can order things like birthday cake and milkshakes and booze. Note that a dollar from every drink sold gets donated to Planned Parenthood, automatically, every day.
Fresh Apples Tart
Once Upon A Tart
135 Sullivan St.
New York, NY 10012
(212) 387-8869 onceuponatart.com
Oh, the tart. From this small pastry shell comes a huge range of possibilities and flavors, and Soho’s Once Upon a Tart seeks to showcase them all. The Fresh Apples Tart starts with fresh apples (no surprises there), which get encased in Gruyère, thyme, and honey. The result is like taking a warm, homey bite of October. Complete the apple effect by ordering the Apple Almond Tart for dessert, or you can switch things up with a Pumpkin Crumble or Gingered Plum Tart. Either way, you should definitely spring for a scoop of ice cream too.
Rooster Chopped Salad
Red Rooster Harlem
310 Lenox Ave.
New York, NY 10027
(212) 792-9001 www.redroosterharlem.com
Adding apples to salads is, in our humble view, an invention on par with mixing peanut butter and jelly. The crunch of the apples balances the slipperiness of the lettuce, the sweetness of the fruit tempered by the salt and oil of the vinaigrette. We could go on, but we’ll let the Rooster Chopped Salad at Red Rooster speak for itself. At Marcus Samuelsson’s temple to Southern comfort food in Harlem, apples get friendly with Swiss chard, ricotta salata, spiced walnuts, frisee, and roasted pears. Make it a meal by adding fried or grilled chicken or shrimp.
Salted Caramel Apple Pie
Four and Twenty Blackbirds
439 Third Ave.
Brooklyn, NY 11215
(718) 499-2917 www.birdsblack.com
The sisters behind Four and Twenty Blackbirds, a pie shop in Brooklyn, grew up on a farm in Hecla, South Dakota, watching their grandma bake for the family restaurant nearby. These days Melissa and Emily Elsen bake every pie from scratch, including a scrumptious salted caramel apple. Two types of apples get sliced, diced and tossed in a combination of Angostura bitters, pepper, nutmeg, sugar and other good things. This heavenly mixture then gets lusciously topped with the aforementioned salted caramel and baked in an all-butter crust.

Can Science Change The Mildewed Fortunes Of New York Heritage Hops?
npr.org

 

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How the new 3rd grade reading law impacts Ann Arbor Schools (1.01/17)

ANN ARBOR, MI - Ann Arbor Public Schools is taking a more individualized approach to teaching young students how to read, in compliance with a new state law that says every child must be reading at grade level by third grade.
The law, enacted in October 2016, calls for children who are at least one grade level behind in reading ability by the end of third grade to be held back, starting with the 2019-20 school year.
What parents need to know as Michigan's 3rd grade reading law takes effect
Ann Arbor Public Schools has said it will not hold back retain students based on reading ability, instead opting to grant exemptions that can be issued by the superintendent under the law.
Superintendents can grant exemptions from the third-grade retention policy if students meet certain criteria related to special education services, learning English as a second language or other conditions deemed "good cause."
Ann Arbor Schools won't hold back struggling 3rd grade readers
Results from 2017 M-STEP exams show 18 percent of Ann Arbor Public Schools third graders - 207 students - did not meet the proficiency benchmark in reading.
Statewide, 30 percent of third graders did not test as proficient in reading on the 2017 M-STEP.
"Our third grade reading plan is about providing more support. It will not now, nor ever, be about retaining students," said Superintendent Jeanice Swift at a board of education meeting on Wednesday, Oct. 18.
At that meeting, Swift outlined the district's new early literacy efforts. The plan includes hiring three more reading intervention teachers, which brings that team to 14 people who split their time between different schools based on need.
Reading intervention teachers will work with small groups of students who need extra support to develop specific literacy skills.
AAPS also looking to hire a dyslexia specialist. District administrators are working with Eaton Academy and Literacy Language and Learning Institute, of Ann Arbor, to establish a process for connecting students who demonstrate dyslexic tendencies with the services they need.
"What I am excited about is that the classroom teachers have support," Swift said. "It is really a flaw in a third grade reading plan to expect a classroom teacher with 24 to 28 students to be able to attend to all of those specific needs."
What parents need to know as Michigan's 3rd grade reading law takes effect
AAPS is focusing on teaching young students five fundamental components of literacy: vocabulary, phonics, phonemic awareness, fluency and comprehension. Rather than separate students into groups based on the grade level of text they can competently read, reading intervention teachers will gather students who need more help with the same literacy skill.
"I would say that having (certified) experts and putting them directly on the specific issue is really the 'secret sauce,' if you will, of this entire plan," Swift told the trustees. "In the past, we wanted to do that sort of treatment, but we often didn't have the team in place to do so, the structures in place, and we often didn't have the correct materials to really get to that level of need."
Starting this school year, the new state law requires schools to complete reading screens three times a year for K-3 students, with the first screen taking place within the first 30 days of the school year.
The law also requires communication with parents of students who are struggling with reading and the development of an Individualized Reading Plan within 30 days of a deficiency being identified.
For AAPS, reading screens include the NWEA, teacher observations and other assessments.
"I would submit that we've always known there was reading issue. We just didn't always know which of the 5 fundamental components of reading were involved in the issues," Swift said. "Now we'll be digging down deep to see ... what is the issue. The difference in this process is we'll be treating explicitly those issues that come up with each individual student."
As early literacy law takes effect, see 3rd grade reading scores at your school
To support these revamped early literacy efforts, the school board approved spending $184,684 to purchase new intervention materials. The money will come from state funding designated to benefit at-risk students as well as the general fund.
Board President Christine Stead requested school staff track how much it costs AAPS to comply with the new third-grade reading law, noting that the state did not provide schools with additional funding to support their reading improvement efforts.
"I'd like to use this as a case study to our legislators about what it really takes to do this well, assuming we can figure that out," Stead said. "I don't expect that we're going to get that 100 percent right year one. My sense is we'll learn what's working, we'll learn what else we need, and in year two, we may make some more adjustment based on what we learned."
In 2015, Gov. Rick Snyder created a workgroup to develop strategies to improve the reading levels of Michigan's youngest learners. Lawmakers have included between $21 million and $30 million in the current and past two state budgets to fund those strategies, which include additional time for struggling students and literacy coaches.
Trustee Jessica Kelly, who is a special education advocate, commended school staff for developing what she called a "thoughtful" and "robust" early literacy plan.
She said this type of approach will be helpful to parents who initially feel "deep hopelessness" when realizing their child has difficulty learning to read. That hopelessness was coupled with panic when the new third-grade reading law passed, Kelly said.

'Property Brothers' star Jonathan Scott talks about divorce: 'I failed'
foxnews.com

 

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When hate goes viral: A pre-Twitter cautionary tale of murderous anti­-Semitism (1.01/17)

In 1506, mobs in Lisbon slaughtered 2,000 Jews during Easter celebrations. By surviving accounts, the precipitating cause was a single remark overheard in church: A Jew who had recently converted to Christianity remarked that the supposedly miraculous illumination of the face of Jesus on the cross seemed to be a mere trick of candlelight.
“I try to make serious scholarship and combine it with storytelling, with analysis,” he tells me — which means filling the plot with sympathetic protagonists, villains, and sensuous scenes, just like in good historical fiction. “The key is not to condescend to the viewer, but still bring real tension and drama to your narrative.”
The nature of tourism and architecture play a role, too. “Tourists visit the old Jewish ghettos, and they don’t seem like such bad places. Especially compared to the concentration camps and the Holocaust— which has become the dominant model in our mind of what anti­-Semitism looks like.”
The expulsion of Jews from far western Europe in the late 15th century and the decades that followed comprised a sort of Jewish Big Bang, with the thriving, cosmopolitan communities of Iberia flung abruptly across northern Europe, the Mediterranean, and eastward into the Muslim world. This cataclysm featured many scenes of wretched anti­-Semitic sadism and slaughter. Yet the itinerant survivors of these purges, in Antwerp, Venice, Ancona, Mantua, Salonika, and a multitude of other communities, created the seeds of a new and vibrant kind of entropic Jewish life.
The 16th century was an age of printing, new sciences, maritime empires, and what we would now call globalization. Jewish exiles, bound up by their own traditions, blood ties and languages (most notably Ladino) became shock troops of Europe’s mercantile class.
Which led to a paradox. The same kings, queens and popes who tormented the Marranos also depended on them for loans to keep their navies afloat and their armies fed. In Portugal, a quarter of the Crown’s revenue depended on the spice trade. Jewish financiers underwrote the long, risky journeys eastward, and created the distribution networks through which the imported goods were sold.
The nature of his cycle, Schama explains to me, has deeply affected the character of the Jewish people. “With very few exceptions, Jews weren’t allowed to carry weapons. They are largely helpless — subject to the trauma of arbitrary expulsion. So the Jews had motivation to create assets that had liquidity.
“Unlike other societies, they did not base their power and wealth on statues or monuments. Instead, it was about taking your parchment and papyrus and turning it into something portable — cultural and economic assets. But the Jews paid a price for this (portability), because the nature of it meant the Jews always were suspected of placing their true allegiance somewhere else.”
A one-­man microcosm for all this was Diogo Mendes, a Portuguese banker and spice trader whose membership among the ranks of the crypto-Jews was unmasked when Hebrew literature, disguised as a Book of Psalms, was discovered in his home. A lesser Jew might have been burned alive. But Diogo was able to buy his freedom for 50,000 gold ducats. The family then decamped to Antwerp, where they helped organize a sort of 16th-­century underground railroad, bringing Jews from Iberia to northern Europe on spice ships, then through the Alps to Venice, over the Adriatic and on to the welcoming Muslim realm of Suleyman the Magnificent, where Jews were free to practice their faith.
Meanwhile, Jewish exiles became renowned not just as traders, but as metallurgists, magicians, inventors, doctors, chefs, cryptologists. Even in the universities, where Christian theology stood at the centre of intellectual life, Jews left their mark in ways that would, in time, hasten the Enlightenment.
“A momentous two­-way transaction was happening,” Schama writes. “As Christian scholars and theologians were learning Hebrew, Jews were mastering Latin and Italian. Once they had done so, the hard­-edged realism of Renaissance inquiry made Jewish questioning at once more omnivorous in its scope and more bravely skeptical.”

Astronaut Tim Peake reveals how they use bathroom in space
technology.inquirer.net

 

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Legend 3D in Major Asia Expansion, Opens Studio in India (EXCLUSIVE) – Variety (1.01/17)

Legend 3D, the U. S.-based 3D conversion and visual effects company, is to make a major leap into Asia with the opening of a studio in Pune, India. The company expects to employ 500 staff at the India plant by the end of this year, representing 25% of its projected global workforce. They will be working […]

The beginning of the end of big, climate-changing power plants in California
latimes.com

 

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'Revive Us 2': Kirk Cameron, Ravi Zacharias, Ben Carson Lead Nationwide Night of Prayer & Worship (1.01/17)

WASHINGTON – Actor and producer Kirk Cameron is once again shining a light on faith with a national night of prayer and worship.
"Revive Us 2" will air LIVE at more than 800 movie theaters across the country Tuesday night.
"One year ago at 'Revive Us,' over 150,000 believers gathered in theaters across America for a national family meeting," Cameron said in a promotional video. "We prayed. We worshiped. We put our faith into action and something remarkable happened."
And now he's ready to do it again, this time in the nation's capital.
"Here we are a year later, it's 'Revive Us 2' and we're meeting because it seems that our nation is very divided," Cameron told CBN's Jenna Browder in a sit-down interview.
"We hear it all the time. We're being divided about race, about religion, about politics, about gender, about choice. We have so many things causing anxiety like hurricanes and wildfires and tragedies in Las Vegas. We need a path to unity."
"Revive Us 2" will be broadcast from the Museum of the Bible.
"Think of it as a giant revival meeting," Cameron said. "They used to have revival meetings in a big white tent somewhere and the community would come. Well think of this as 800 tents but they're movie theaters all connected through satellite."
Just like last year, Cameron is teaming up with big names like Ben Carson, Ravi Zacharias, and the filmmakers behind "Fireproof" and "War Room."
Cameron said the whole idea for this came to him in the form of an open door.
"In my walk with God, I've found that whenever I seek to honor God and be a blessing to other people, if that intersects with my acting career or my ability to make a live event or a movie like 'Revive Us,' I want to be all in and I do it with all my heart," he said.
And it's that passion he hopes will spread to audience across the country.
For "Revive Us 2" tickets and show times visit reviveus.com .
Stay informed with the latest from CBN News delivered to your inbox.

Justice seen to be done as court proceedings broadcast in Ireland for first time
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Heart disease, stroke cutting black lives short (1.01/17)

TUESDAY, Oct. 24,2017 -- Black Americans have a shorter life expectancy than whites, and higher rates of heart disease and stroke may be a major reason why, a new American Heart Association statement suggests.
In recent years, life expectancy for blacks was over three years less than for whites -- 75.5 years vs. almost 79 years, according to the statement, which was based on a review of more than 300 studies.
Black people have a higher rate of heart attacks, sudden cardiac arrest, heart failure and strokes. Between 1999 and 2010, heart disease and stroke contributed to more than 2 million years of life lost among black people, the researchers said.
Heart disease and stroke risk factors such as high blood pressure, obesity and diabetes also start at an earlier age among black people than white people, the review found.
For example, 14 percent of black children have high blood pressure, compared to 8 percent of white children. Twenty percent of black children aged 2 to 19 are obese, compared to 15 percent of white children. Among adults, 58 percent of black women and 38 percent of black men are obese, compared to 33 percent of white women and 34 percent of white men, the review found.
"It is vital that we start preventing disparities by reaching children and young adults with education about the importance of a healthy lifestyle for maintaining health," said statement group chair Mercedes Carnethon, an associate professor of preventive medicine -- epidemiology -- at Northwestern University.
"Young adulthood is a time when a lot of people drop out of the health care system. If there's no safety net of health care available that emphasizes preventive care, then these disparities in the onset of the risk factors are likely to persist," she added in a heart association news release.
Poverty is a major factor in the higher rates of heart disease and stroke among black people, but even middle- and upper-class black people are at higher risk than middle- and upper-class white people, the release said.
"Although most people experience stress from jobs and major life events, African-Americans are more likely to have persistent economic stress and to face concerns about maintaining their health, including preventing weight gain and managing chronic conditions such as high blood pressure or diabetes," Carnethon said.
The new statement was published Oct. 23 in Circulation, a heart association publication.
The U. S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute has more on heart disease risk factors.
Copyright © 2017 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Brunei has lowest number of pollution-linked deaths
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These 30 Michigan colleges have the highest-paid graduates (1.01/17)

How much is a college degree worth?
Earnings data from the U. S. Department of Education help shed light on the question. The data shows how much – in 2016 dollars – the average student earned 10-years after enrolling in an institution. It includes former students who are currently in the workforce, and captures the earnings of graduates and students who dropped out.
Here’s a look at the 30 colleges and universities in Michigan with the highest average earnings for former students. Also included is the percent of former students who are earning more than $25,000 a year, as well as each school’s annual tuition and fees.
The annual tuition and fees are for the 2016-17 school year.

Airbnb users up 110% in Africa
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Week 7 NFL Power Rankings: Boy genius McVay guides Rams to Top 5 (1.01/17)

The Carson Show edition of the rankings features an all-knowing Hoodie, a revival for America's Team and a feel-good story in La Land.
Week 7 Power Rankings:
League-high five-game winning streak? Check.
Big lead in the division? Check.
Superstar young franchise quarterback? Check.
Philly's primetime win over Washington has the City of Brotherly Love thinking Super Bowl. And for good reason. Carson Wentz is the leader in the clubhouse for NFL MVP.
Losing left tackle Jason Peters and linebacker Jordan Hicks will sting though.
Now that Le'Veon Bell has once again returned to "Unstoppable Force" status, it's up to Big Ben to ensure that Steelers keep things rolling. Any interception-free day is a good day. A primetime road challenge against the Lions awaits.
Do you have that same sickening feeling that I do? It sure seems like the Hoodie has solved some of defensive issues that plagued his team in the first month. The Patriots white-washing of the Falcons in the Super Bowl LI rematch revealed this unyielding truth: Bill Belichick is smarter than all of us. The San Diego Chargers (yes, I'm always going to call them that) come into town on a three-game winning streak. Spoiler: They won't win their fourth in a row.
Andy Reid & Co. probably still can't believe how they coughed up a double-digit lead to the Raiders, but it doesn't much matter right now. The slumping Broncos come to Arrowhead for an AFC West Monday night showdown.
Is this a misprint? The Rams are in the Top 5. Oh, you beat your sweet derriere they're in the Top 5. And for good reason. Sean McVay may or may not be old enough to vote, but the guy can flat-out scheme up a terrific offensive game plan. Sprinkle in Yoda (aka - Wade Phillips) on the other side of the ball and - voila! - instant success. Los Angeles headed into their bye all alone atop the NFC West with a shutout over the Cardinals.
Yes, I'm fully aware that Dallas' 40-point eruption came at the hands of the lowly 49ers. And yes, I'm fully aware that I don't understand one iota of the legal mumbo jumbo surrounding Zeke Elliott's availability for the rest of the season. But I do know this: America's Team is going to be a problem for the rest of the league if their star running back stays on the field.
Full disclosure: I don't know how Pete Carroll's team has won three in a row with that awful offensive line. Seattle's rushing attack is practically invisible. Thank goodness for Russell Wilson, whose three touchdowns put the nail in the Giants' coffin last week. A juicy matchup against the Texans is on the horizon.
Sean Payton's team toppled the Aaron Rodgers-less Packers in the land of cheese to grab sole possession of first place in the NFC South. Maybe New Orleans might actually win more than eight games this year.
How long can Minnesota ride the Case Keenum train? Three wins and counting with the Browns (in London) on deck. Teddy Bridgewater is getting healthier by the day too.
How do you manage to lose a game by two touchdowns when allowing the opposing quarterback to complete four passes and pick up five first downs? It boggles the mind. Cam Newton getting sacked five times didn't help matters in their inexcusable loss to the Bears.
Sit at home during the bye. Move up one spot in our treasuring rankings. What a life! They'll need that extra time to prepare for the offensive juggernaut that is the Steelers on Sunday night.
I keep waiting for Buffalo to go away. They don't seem to understand my request. Sean McDermott's squad out-lasted the Bucs for a quality home win. The Bills have won all three at home this season.
Guess the whole Embrace the Suck thing hasn't quite panned out. Matt Ryan looks like his shell of his MVP self. The offense looks nothing like the juggernaut it was last season. Guess they do miss Kyle Shanahan.
The offense stinks. The defense isn't impenetrable. Getting shut out by the Chargers sent Vance Joseph's club tumbling. Good luck against the Chiefs on Monday night, boys!
Real talk: Matt Moore is better for this team than Smokin' Jay. Miami will try to win their fourth straight game at Baltimore on Thursday night.
NOTES: The Packers and Washington dropped out of the Top 15.

Big Ten power rankings, Week 9: Penn State, Ohio State set for big-time clash
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Rohde trial postponed over sick pathologist (1.01/17)

Cape Town - Property mogul Jason Rohde's trial for the alleged murder of his wife Susan was postponed to next Monday in the Western Cape High Court because the State pathologist is unwell.
Prosecutor Louis van Niekerk said on Tuesday the State and the defence would use the time for other work on the case, and would also obtain a medical certificate from Dr Akmal Coetzee-Khan.
Judge Gayaat Salie-Hlophe granted the postponement, and authorised a warrant for the pathologist's attendance in court on October 30. The warrant will be held back until Monday's proceedings.
"Mr Rohde you are done here for today, you can go and have a rest," she said, extending his bail conditions.
Susan was found dead in a bathroom at Spier Wine Estate in Stellenbosch on July 24 last year.
The initial thought was that she had hanged herself on the bathroom door after a row with her husband, but police eventually decided to institute a murder investigation.
Coetzee-Khan had a gruelling week last week when another defence lawyer, Advocate Graham van der Spuy, tore into his method of calculating death, calling into question his earlier work before the Rohde case.
Van der Spuy had also presented two affidavits to apparently show that Susan had not been a suspected Battered Wife Syndrome victim, as Coetzee-Khan had suggested.
This was after the old bruise he found on her inner thigh was explained as an injury she sustained while doing a handstand and falling on a dumbbell.

Principal’s trial on child porn charges postponed
washingtontimes.com

 

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The Deadly Panic-Neglect Cycle in Pandemic Funding (1.01/17)

It was the nightmare that wasn’t.
On July 20,2014, as West Africa struggled to quash a historically large outbreak of Ebola, an infected man carried the virus to Lagos, Nigeria— Africa’s largest city. In that dense throng of 21 million people, many of whom travel extensively, it seemed that Ebola would be impossible to track and contain.
But Nigeria was ready. In the previous years, it has been using investments and support from the U. S. and other countries to boost its efforts to eradicate polio. When Ebola came, it swiftly redirected all of that infrastructure at the problem, including an emergency operations center, a crack team of epidemiologists trained by the U. S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and GPS systems that could be used to track potential cases. In the end, Nigeria brought Ebola to heel in just three months, with only 19 cases and 8 deaths.
The country’s spectacular success is a testament to the decisive actions of its government and health workers. But it also shows how important it is for rich countries to bolster the capacities of poorer ones, where outbreaks are most likely to begin due to weaker health systems and dense populations. No nation can tackle the problem of epidemics alone. In a world in which someone with a deadly virus can fly to any other continent in less than a day, the U. S. is connected to the entire planet’s diseases. And so, to protect itself, it must protect everyone else. As