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  • Shifting explanations for withholding aid draw GOP alarm

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    The shifting White House explanation for President Donald Trump's decision to withhold military aid from Ukraine drew alarm Friday from Republicans as the impeachment inquiry brought a new test of their alliance. Trump, in remarks at the White House, stood by his acting chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, whose earlier comments undermined the administration's defense in the impeachment probe. Speaking Thursday at a news conference, Mulvaney essentially acknowledged a quid pro quo with Ukraine that Trump has long denied, saying U.S. aid was withheld from Kyiv to push for an investigation of the Democratic National Committee and the 2016 election.

    Fri, 18 Oct 2019 21:00:42 -0400
  • Former concentration camp guard, 93, goes on trial in Germany

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

    Thu, 17 Oct 2019 14:50:54 -0400
  • Macron Says U.K. Shouldn’t Get New Delay If Johnson Loses Vote

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    (Bloomberg) -- French President Emmanuel Macron heaped pressure on the British Parliament to back Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal, saying the U.K.’s departure from the European Union shouldn’t be delayed a moment longer.With Parliament due to vote on the revised agreement on Saturday, Macron’s remarks echoed the message Johnson himself has been sending to reticent MPs: it’s now or never. "I don’t think a new extension should be granted," Macron told reporters after a summit of EU leaders in Brussels, where the deal had been rubber stamped. "The Oct. 31 deadline must be met."Macron’s stance increases the risk that the U.K. will crash out of the EU without a deal on Oct. 31. But the reality is more nuanced, according to EU diplomats who doubt the bloc will ever throw the U.K. off a cliff without a safety net. The pound dipped on the comments, and then recovered.Selling the DealAfter sealing a revised deal with the EU on Thursday, Johnson is spending Friday frantically talking to politicians from his own and other parties as he tries to rustle up a majority. The prime minister needs to add 61 votes to the tally his predecessor Theresa May managed when her version of the Brexit deal was defeated for a third and final time in March.The new agreement differs from May’s agreement because only Northern Ireland rather than the whole U.K. will continue to apply the EU’s customs rules. That’s upset the province’s Democratic Unionist Party whose MPs say they won’t back Johnson’s deal on Saturday.If Johnson loses the vote, he’s obliged by law to request from the EU another extension by the end of the day. But any postponement must be approved unanimously by the EU’s 27 leaders so Macron would have a veto.EU officials were expecting such an intervention by Macron, who made similar noises before approving a Brexit delay in April, but they said that it’s very unlikely that he or any other leader would prevent another one, particularly if the U.K. was headed for a general election. While the bloc is just as keen to get Britain’s departure over the line as Johnson, it considers a no-deal exit in two weeks a far worse prospect than another postponement.Envoys from the 27 remaining countries and the European Commission are due to meet on Sunday to discuss next steps should Johnson’s deal fall.The French have consistently taken a hard line in Brexit negotiations and Macron argues that the tight deadline he insisted on the last time the process was extended helped force Johnson into concessions. Several EU governments privately now regret delaying Brexit from April until October, acknowledging that it took the pressure of the U.K. to pass a deal."I was alone and I don’t think I was wrong," Macron said, referring to the decision six months ago.Other leaders were more circumspect on the issue, with Leo Varadkar, the prime minister of Ireland, which stands to be affected most by a no-deal Brexit, saying a delay isn’t guaranteed and Luxembourg premier Xavier Bettel insisting the ball was now in the U.K. Parliament’s court.“We have done our job,” he said. “There’s a plan A, but there’s no plan B."(Updates with context throughout.)\--With assistance from Stephanie Bodoni.To contact the reporters on this story: Helene Fouquet in Paris at hfouquet1@bloomberg.net;Ian Wishart in Brussels at iwishart@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Ben Sills at bsills@bloomberg.netFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

    Fri, 18 Oct 2019 10:59:33 -0400
  • New ICE Program Exposes Hundreds of Fraudulent ‘Family Units’ Trying to Cross The Border

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

    Fri, 18 Oct 2019 08:41:26 -0400
  • Rep. Nunes tries to use Steele dossier to defend Trump during closed-door hearing

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

    Fri, 18 Oct 2019 15:18:50 -0400
  • Clever-Approved Travel Gear That Looks Good and Works Even Better

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

    Fri, 18 Oct 2019 15:34:55 -0400
  • Erdogan threatens to restart Syria operation Tuesday if deal not respected

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    Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan Friday warned that Ankara would restart its operation against Kurdish forces in Syria on Tuesday evening if they did not withdraw from a "safe zone". Turkey has agreed to suspend its offensive for five days in northern Syria while Kurdish fighters withdraw from the area, after high stake talks with US Vice President Mike Pence in Ankara.

    Fri, 18 Oct 2019 11:51:30 -0400
  • Moms Demand Action founder says advocacy group is not anti-gun

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

    Thu, 17 Oct 2019 22:08:49 -0400
  • Washington Group Fighting Affirmative Action Used Proud Boys As Guards

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

    Thu, 17 Oct 2019 18:16:34 -0400
  • Mystery traders 'made $1.8bn from stock bet' placed hours before Trump tweeted talks with China were ‘back on track’

    Golocal247.com news

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

    Fri, 18 Oct 2019 16:16:20 -0400
  • UPDATE 2-Global watchdog keeps Pakistan on terrorism financing "grey list"

    A global finance watchdog kept Pakistan off its terrorism financing blacklist on Friday but warned Islamabad it only had until February to improve or face international action. The Paris-based Financial Action Task Force, which tackles money laundering, said it was concerned that Pakistan had failed to complete the action plan first by a January deadline, then a May deadline and now October. "The FATF strongly urges Pakistan to swiftly complete its full action plan by February 2020," it said in a statement.

    Fri, 18 Oct 2019 07:07:07 -0400
  • House GOP Leader Praises Mark Zuckerberg for Political Ads Policy

    Golocal247.com news

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

    Fri, 18 Oct 2019 12:26:56 -0400
  • Why Mexico Is Cooperating with Us on Immigration

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

    Thu, 17 Oct 2019 16:09:22 -0400
  • Atatiana Jefferson's death highlights a long history of police violence in Fort Worth, and the community says it's time for a 'reckoning'

    Golocal247.com news

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

    Fri, 18 Oct 2019 11:07:22 -0400
  • Asylum-seeking Mexicans are more prominent at US border

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

    Fri, 18 Oct 2019 20:46:20 -0400
  • Why Canada has cooled on Justin Trudeau

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    Just a few years ago, Justin Trudeau was a political rock star in Canada. Now he's struggling to ensure that his party wins Monday's elections.

    Fri, 18 Oct 2019 10:06:01 -0400
  • Murderer who triggered Hong Kong protests will go to Taiwan: pastor

    Golocal247.com news

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

    Fri, 18 Oct 2019 15:05:47 -0400
  • Anti-Trump businesswomen are nervous about Warren, and the Democratic debate didn't help

    Golocal247.com news

    In her fight against corporate America, Warren is turning off a key group of voters who want to oust Donald Trump: the liberal women who work there.

    Thu, 17 Oct 2019 11:00:27 -0400
  • Trump Flack Hogan Gidley Stops Just Short of Bashing the Grieving Dunn Family: ‘Entitled to Their Own Opinion’

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    White House spokesperson Hogan Gidley chided grieving parents in defense of President Donald Trump, suggesting on Thursday morning that the family of Harry Dunn was lying when they said the president “ambushed” them and tried to pressure them into meeting the woman who killed their son.In an interview Thursday morning on CNN, the Dunn family said they felt Trump was trying to “intimidate” them into meeting the wife of a U.S. diplomat who killed Dunn in an auto accident in the United Kingdom. A family spokesman further stated that during the Dunns’ White House visit, the president’s aides acted as “henchmen” and were “snarling” at the family.Appearing on Fox News’ America’s Newsroom, Gidley was asked about the parents’ description of Trump’s visit with the parents and whether he could explain why they felt the president ambushed them.“I have spoken with the president directly about this,” the White House spokesman replied. “It is a horrific situation. He offered his condolences to the family and understands the gravity of this moment and the situation. He did this simply on the behest of [British Prime Minister] Boris Johnson to meet with that family. He wasn’t trying to ambush anybody.”Fox News anchor Sandra Smith then wondered aloud if the president exerted pressure on the family to meet with the diplomat’s wife at the White House.“Absolutely not,” Gildey declared. “He was wonderful in that setting.”Co-anchor Bill Hemmer and Smith, meanwhile, noted that the Dunn family called the president’s advisors “henchmen” and said the scene was terrifying.“Again, that’s their description,” the White House flack responded. “I didn’t get any of that when I talked to the president about the situation. He was the one calming everybody down.”After saying that the president was just offering condolences, Gidley appeared to be ready to bash the family, adding that it is “sad that people come out” to say these things before stopping himself short.“Look, they are entitled to their own opinion about the matter,” he concluded. “But the president didn’t pressure anybody. He doesn’t do that in those situations. He is a father. He is a grandfather. He understands this type of sadness.”Read more at The Daily Beast.Got a tip? Send it to The Daily Beast hereGet our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.

    Thu, 17 Oct 2019 11:26:09 -0400
  • Explainer: Democrats Warren and Sanders want wealth tax; economists explain how it works

    Golocal247.com news

    According to Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman, the University of California at Berkeley economists who developed that estimate, that is in part because the wealthiest American families declare only a small portion of their actual economic gains in any given year as income, while leaving the rest invested in stocks and other assets, to grow in value. Saez has been involved in a series of what are considered groundbreaking studies of U.S. income, inequality and economic mobility that involved both developing techniques to impute income based on holdings of wealth, and extensive access to U.S. Internal Revenue Service records. "The greatest injustice of the U.S. tax system today is its regressivity at the very top: billionaires in the top 400 pay less (relative to their true economic incomes) than the middle class," the economists wrote in a September paper https://brook.gs/2OWp9wx.

    Thu, 17 Oct 2019 14:28:57 -0400
  • Meet the Nanchang Q-5: China's Nuclear Bomber

    Golocal247.com news

    Beijing's got deterrence.

    Fri, 18 Oct 2019 10:36:00 -0400
  • Plane collides with pickup truck while landing, pilot killed

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    Witnesses reported the airplane was at an altitude of just 5 feet as it crossed a county road near the airstrip and struck a pickup truck.

    Fri, 18 Oct 2019 19:07:52 -0400
  • Atatiana Jefferson's neighbor thought he asked police to do a wellness check, but the police didn’t investigate it that way

    Golocal247.com news

    Atatiana Jefferson, 28, was killed in her home on Saturday by Aaron Dean, a Fort Worth police officer who has resigned and been charged with murder.

    Thu, 17 Oct 2019 11:01:11 -0400
  • Kim Kardashian urges clemency for Oklahoma death row inmate

    Golocal247.com news

    Kim Kardashian West has joined a chorus of voices calling for clemency for a black man on Oklahoma's death row who has exhausted his appeals, arguing that a racist juror tainted the outcome of his 2002 trial. Julius Jones was convicted of murder for the 1999 slaying of 45-year-old Paul Howell, who was fatally shot in the driveway of his parents' home in Edmond, Oklahoma. Jones filed a clemency petition with the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board on Tuesday, asking that his death sentence to be commuted to time served.

    Thu, 17 Oct 2019 18:20:20 -0400
  • Kurdish General Said to Reject Turkish Occupation: Syria Update

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    (Bloomberg) -- President Recep Tayyip Erdogan outlined his understanding of the Turkish-patrolled “safe zone” in northern Syria, saying the U.S. and Russia should also play a role in maintaining a corridor that he wants to stretch along a vast section of Turkey’s border.A deal reached with a top U.S. delegation on Thursday -- which secured a 120-hour cease-fire -- required Kurdish fighters to withdraw from an area 444 km long and 32 km deep, the president told foreign reporters in Istanbul on Friday. “This is what we call the safe zone. The safe zone is not just the area between Ras al-Ayn and Tal Abyad which is yet to be cleared.”But Erdogan’s view clashes with that of the Kurdish YPG, a U.S. ally in the fight against Islamic State. It’s unclear how American officials interpret Thursday’s pact when it comes to defining the area from which the militia must withdraw.Erdogan denied that fighting took place between Turkish troops and Kurdish forces on Friday. However, Syrian state-run Sana news agency said five people were killed in a Turkish airstrike in the Ras Al-Ayn area.Here is a rundown of major events in Turkish local time:Key DevelopmentsTurkish markets rally a day after the U.S.-Turkey deal. Borsa Istanbul-100 index is up 3.7%, most since June 7, as of 5:31 p.m. Two-year government bond yields fell 137 basis points, most since August 2018, to 14.29%. The lira appreciated 1.6% against the dollar in the past two daysU.S. Vice President Mike Pence, Erdogan announced cease-fire deal in Ankara after marathon talks on ThursdayTrump faces Congressional rebuke for Syria pulloutKurdish General Said to Reject Turkish Occupation (11:27 p.m.)In a phone call with U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham, Syrian Democratic Forces commander General Mazloum Abdi said Kurdish fighters are concerned about the cease-fire holding and will not stand by if “hundreds of thousands” of Kurds are pushed out of the so-called safe zone in northern Syria, according to a statement by Graham after the call. “I hope we can find a win-win situation, but I share General Mazloum’s concerns,” Graham, a key Republican foreign policy hawk who strongly criticized Trump’s decision to begin withdrawing troops, said. “I also told him that Congress will stay very involved and is extremely sympathetic to the plight of the Kurds.”Earlier, Secretary of State Michael Pompeo secured the blessing of NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg for the cease-fire deal, amid criticism by France about the U.S. decision to withdraw forces from the region.“I welcome that two NATO allies, the United States and Turkey, have agreed on a way forward,” Stoltenberg, the NATO secretary-general, said at a briefing with Pompeo as the top U.S. diplomat made a brief stop in Brussels. “We all know and understand that the situation in northeast Syria is fragile, difficult, but I believe this statement can help to deescalate the situation.”Trump Says Cease-Fire is ‘Working Out’ So Far (9:22 p.m.)President Donald Trump defended the agreement reached with Turkey for a 120-hour pause in hostilities in northern Syria, saying the “Kurds are very happy about it” then adding, cryptically, “we’ve taken control of the oil that everybody was worried about.” It wasn’t clear what the president meant with that statement.Defense Secretary Mark Esper issued a statement emphasizing that no U.S. ground troops will take part in enforcing the so-called safe zone in northern Syria. Esper added that he’ll be traveling to the Middle East on Saturday to visit troops and international partners before heading to a NATO meeting in Brussels.U.S. Official Says Most Fighting Has Stopped (6:35 p.m.)Most of the fighting in northeast Syria has stopped, a U.S. official said, asking not to be identified. It will take time for things to completely quiet down, which is usually the case in situations like this, the official said.Death Toll in Syria Rises, SOHR Says (6:16 p.m.)The number of people killed in northeast Syria in a day of sporadic clashes, strikes by airplanes and Turkish shelling increased to 14, according to SOHR, a monitoring groupErdogan Speaks on Trump, Graham and Syria (5:26 p.m. Friday)Erdogan said he understands Donald Trump is “under pressure,” but added that he won’t forget the Oct. 9 letter in which the U.S. president warned him not to be a “fool.” Erdogan also accused Senator Lindsey Graham of flip-flopping on whether the Kurdish militants are “terrorists.”The president said the YPG had freed 750 Islamic State detainees, including 150 Turks, during the Turkish offensive. A total of 195 militants have been recaptured, and they should be tried in their respective countries, he said.EU Leaders Stop Short of Punishing Turkey (5:10 p.m.)Erdogan’s actions were discussed at a meeting of European Union leaders in Brussels. The EU has called for Turkey to show restraint against the Kurds, but stopped short of threatening major punitive action against a NATO ally.German Chancellor Angela Merkel downplayed any link between Erdogan’s Syria operation and the threat of fresh migrants coming to Europe. French President Emmanuel Macron said he saw recent events as “a heavy mistake” by the West and NATO. “I found out via a tweet that the U.S. decided to withdraw their troops and free the zone,” he said.Turkey Halts Offensive But Skirmishes Underway (9:30 a.m. Friday)Turkey has halted its offensive but occasional skirmishes took place overnight, prompting Turkish artillery units to open fire on targets in the west of the town of Ras al-Ayn, Turkey’s IHA news agency reported Friday. The Rojava Information Center, which is aligned with the Kurdish-led forces, said fighting was continuing in the area and there was no sign yet of Kurdish fighters withdrawing.Safe Zone Definition Contradicts Turkey Aspiration (11:59 p.m. Thursday)Jim Jeffrey, the U.S. special envoy for the Syria conflict who was with Pence in Ankara, said: “We talk about the safe zone here, and the Turks talk about an aspirational safe zone based upon what we had done with them back in August, where the safe zone was from the Euphrates to the Iraqi border and we had various levels of Turkish observation or movement or whatever down to 30 kilometers, with the withdrawal of the YPG from some of them.”“What we have now is a different situation where the Turks have pushed down to that 30-kilometer level in a central part of the northeast and they’re still fighting in there, and that’s the focus of our attention now because that’s the area that we define as the Turkish-controlled safe zone.”Turkey Says ‘It’s a Temporary Pause’ Not Cease-Fire (9:02 p.m.)Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said the one-page accord wasn’t a cease-fire, but a pause, and boasted that Turkey had gotten what it wanted from the U.S. Top of their demands was that Turkish armed forces will be oversee a 20-mile “safe zone” inside Syria. Cavusoglu said Turkey was aiming to create a safe zone that would stretch for 444 kilometers along the frontier and 30 kilometers deep in Syria.Turkey Agrees to Cease-Fire in Syria, Pence Says (8:40 p.m.)Pence said the U.S. and Turkey have agreed to end hostilities in Syria. Turkey would cease operations permanently once the Kurdish forces withdraw and work on detention centers in the affected areas would be coordinated with Turkey, Pence said. Once a permanent cessation of hostilities is in place, the U.S. will lift all sanctions slapped on Turkey earlier, he said.\--With assistance from Nick Wadhams, Saleha Mohsin, Rosalind Mathieson, Selcan Hacaoglu, David Wainer, Taylan Bilgic, Justin Sink, Tony Capaccio and Steven T. Dennis.To contact the reporter on this story: Onur Ant in Istanbul at oant@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Lin Noueihed at lnoueihed@bloomberg.net, Bill Faries, Larry LiebertFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

    Fri, 18 Oct 2019 16:28:30 -0400
  • One year on, migrant caravan leaves unexpected legacy

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

    Fri, 18 Oct 2019 21:25:40 -0400
  • Points of Progress: Costa Rica’s electricity was 99% renewable in 2019

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    In good news this week: New York City's poverty levels are at their lowest since the 1970s, harbor seals are returning to the Thames River, and more.

    Fri, 18 Oct 2019 02:00:04 -0400
  • Pressure Builds on President Trump As New Revelations Emerge About His Dealings with Ukraine

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    It’s not yet clear how Trump’s mounting troubles will affect the impeachment proceedings in Congress.

    Thu, 17 Oct 2019 20:35:40 -0400
  • UPDATE 2-Prince William and wife Kate leave Pakistan, day after aborted flight

    Britain's Prince William and his wife Kate left Pakistan on Friday after visiting an army dog training school, a day after a severe thunderstorm forced them to change their schedule and stay the night in Lahore. "What happens here in Pakistan directly correlates to what happens on the streets of the UK," William told British media after he and Kate saw dogs that are trained to sniff out explosives.

    Fri, 18 Oct 2019 03:50:55 -0400
  • U.S. Air Force F-35s Are Knocking on Russia’s Back Door

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

    Fri, 18 Oct 2019 01:30:00 -0400
  • Long-extinct Tasmanian tigers spotted at least eight times, officials say

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

    Fri, 18 Oct 2019 13:23:03 -0400
  • Convicted Killer Now Charged in Estranged Wife’s Cold-Case Murder: Prosecutors

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    Virginia State Police/HandoutA Virginia man who is behind bars for killing his girlfriend has now been charged with the murder of his wife three decades ago, prosecutors announced Friday.Jose Rodriguez-Cruz, 53, was indicted by a Stafford County grand jury for the May 1989 murder of 28-year-old Marta Haydee Rodriguez. Rodriguez-Cruz is currently serving a 12-year prison sentence for the 2009 murder of his girlfriend, Pamela Butler, who was a federal worker in Washington, D.C.During a Friday press conference, Stafford County Commonwealth’s Attorney Eric Olsen announced that the former military police officer, who was discharged after threatening to harm his female superior twice, has been charged with first-degree murder and the unlawful concealment of his wife’s body, finally bringing a 30-year investigation to a close. Cops: NYPD Officer Ordered Hit on Estranged Husband, Boyfriend’s Kid“This is the ultimate act of domestic violence and it’s noteworthy that in the month of October justice is going to be delivered for Marta Rodriguez,” Olson said, pointing out that October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Rodriguez was last seen on May 1, 1989, as she walked to a bus stop after leaving her job as a nurse’s aide. Prosecutors allege Rodriguez-Cruz murdered his first wife shortly after she told police he had assaulted and kidnapped her—but before she could testify against him in court.“If I can’t have her, no one will,” Rodriguez-Cruz once said, according to 2017 court documents.The 28-year-old’s body was found in 1991 on an Interstate 95 median but was not positively identified until last year.Twenty years after his wife’s 1989 disappearance, Rodriguez-Cruz fatally strangled Butler, an Environmental Protection Agency analyst and his girlfriend of seven months, during a heated argument before hiding her body. He pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in 2017, at which point he confessed to killing the 47-year-old in her basement in 2009 before slipping her body out of a first-floor window.Air Force Major Charged With Murder After Missing Wife’s Remains FoundOne of Rodriguez-Cruz’s friends told authorities that he once said it was “easy” to get rid of a body because “if you dig a hole deep enough, no one will find it,” according to testimony at his plea hearing. As part of his plea deal, Rodriguez-Cruz told police he buried Butler in 2009 along Interstate 95—where Rodriguez was found—but her remains were never discovered. Derrick Butler, Pamela’s brother, also attended Friday’s news conference and told reporters he was relieved to hear news of Rodriguez-Cruz’s latest charge.Authorities believe his pattern of abuse stretches beyond the death of his two former lovers. In 2017, investigators testified that the 53-year-old told his second wife he knew how to make sure a body was never found. Another woman, a security guard at a federal office, also told detectives that Rodriguez-Cruz allegedly duct-taped her wrists, held a gun to her head, and sexually assaulted her in 2004. “This man doesn’t impulsively kill. He abducts women, duct-tapes them, sexually assaults them, and then holds them captive,” said Assistant U.S. Attorney Glenn Kirschner said at the 2017 hearing. “Duct tape and a gun are his weapon of choice.”Read more at The Daily Beast.Got a tip? Send it to The Daily Beast hereGet our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.

    Fri, 18 Oct 2019 13:18:31 -0400
  • Peek Inside Eero Saarinen’s Iconic General Motors Technical Center

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

    Thu, 17 Oct 2019 11:22:04 -0400
  • A woman sues San Antonio after a police officer pulled out her tampon in public

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    The city of San Antonio will vote this week on a proposed settlement that would award a woman $205,000, after she accused a police officer of inappropriately searching her and pulling out her tampon in public.

    Thu, 17 Oct 2019 19:52:33 -0400
  • Chicago principal who watched boy's forced ejection retires

    A Chicago elementary school principal who looked on as a security guard physically forced a fourth-grader out of the building on a cold day has retired. Cynthia Miller retired from her job at Fiske Elementary School on Friday. In a letter to parents, she wrote that leaving wasn't easy but was the right thing to do, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

    Thu, 17 Oct 2019 19:20:00 -0400
  • Return of Argentine Peronism throws shadow over Falklands

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    Argentina is going to the polls on October 27 with a Peronist politician backed by former president Cristina Kirchner expected to win an outright majority, something that has got Falkland Islanders worried. The Falklands have been in British hands since 1833 but Argentina has waged a diplomatic battle -- that spilled into economic and then actual warfare -- since the 1960s to try to gain control of the archipelago. Argentine troops invaded the windswept islands for 74 days in 1982, before Britain swiftly defeated them.

    Fri, 18 Oct 2019 03:15:58 -0400
  • Watergate prosecutor says the evidence against Trump is even clearer than the evidence against Nixon

    Even former President Richard Nixon may have been better off than President Trump is now.As evidence of Watergate wrongdoing started to catch up with Nixon, he still had one important asset: a loyal inner circle. But Trump is losing his aides left and right, leaving Trump in a situation that's "just cascading at this point," Nixon prosecutor Nick Akerman tells The Washington Post.Like Trump, Nixon initially claimed he had no role in his Watergate scandal. But in Nixon's case, prosecutors had a hard time figuring out just how closely the president was tied to criminal activity because his devoted aides wouldn't give up the gun. In Trump's case, though, "you'll have that in spades," Akerman tells the Post. "All these individuals, all testifying that this is what happened. ... It's just cascading at this point," he continued.There's a reason Trump's officials are so willing to spill the beans. Since Trump couldn't speak Ukrainian and Russian and isn't too politically experienced, he had to use a lot of foreign service officials to accomplish his goals that allegedly involved wrongdoing. They're largely "career people, extremely smart people who certainly don't want their reputations smeared," so they're loyal "to the U.S. government and Constitution and not to [Trump]," Akerman said. And each time another one testifies, Akerman says it reveals "you've got Trump clearly involved."Read more at The Washington Post.

    Fri, 18 Oct 2019 11:16:00 -0400
  • View 2020 Chevrolet Corvette vs. Porsche 718 Cayman Cargo Comparison Photos

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    Thu, 17 Oct 2019 10:26:00 -0400
  • Archaeologists discover hidden city in the jungle

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    For centuries, the ancient city of Mahendraparvata has been buried under a dense canopy in the Cambodian jungle. It was one of the first capitals of the Khmer Empire, which controlled large swaths of Southeast Asia from the 9th to 15th centuries. Over the last 150 years, archaeologists have uncovered artifacts that they suspected came from Mahendraparvata, but they didn’t have enough evidence to support the link — until now.

    Fri, 18 Oct 2019 15:08:58 -0400
  • Clinton email probe finds no deliberate mishandling of classified information

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

    Fri, 18 Oct 2019 20:09:56 -0400
  • Serial Bank Robber Who Wrote Book About Prison Time With Bernie Madoff Faces Fifth Robbery Charge

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    Multnomah County Detention CenterRalph Griffith, a serial bank robber who penned a self-published book about his time in prison with Bernie Madoff, appeared in federal court Wednesday to face his fifth bank robbery charge.Griffith spent his 68th birthday at the Mark O. Hatfield United States Courthouse, where he was ordered to remain in jail pending his trial for an alleged armed robbery of a Milwaukie Wells Fargo Bank in July, The Oregonian first reported.The career criminal, who describes himself as the founder and executive producer of XAK Media Group, was released from California prison in August 2017 after spending time behind bars for three San Francisco bank robberies in 2003. He was also previously convicted of a bank robbery in 1985.Billionaire David Koch, Who Reshaped American Politics and Paved the Way for Trump, Has DiedShortly after his 2017 prison release, Griffith wrote a self-published book, The Real Bernie Madoff: Our 7 Years Together in Prison, about his time behind bars at a North Carolina federal prison with the former financier, who was convicted of running one of the biggest Ponzi schemes in history.“I lived with the man,” Griffith said in a YouTube video about the book. “After about seven years I got a pretty good understanding about what Bernie Maddoff was up to.”The 68-year-old has also written fictional accounts of his life of crime, including a four-paragraph story called “The Proper Way to Rob a Bank” and another involving a character “who inadvertently robs a bank and a star is born.”On Wednesday, prosecutors argued that his stories about his misdeeds prove he is still a danger to the community. Griffith’s defense lawyer, Mark Ahlemeyer, insisted his client’s books are protected under the First Amendment. Ahlemeyer declined to comment about the allegations to The Daily Beast on Wednesday, citing the “active criminal case.” On July 26, authorities allege Griffith walked up to a Wells Fargo teller at around 10:30 a.m. wearing sunglasses, a black wig, a white surgical mask under his chin, and clear gloves. Court records show Griffith rested what authorities believed to be a black handgun on the counter before pointing it at the teller and saying, “Give me the money and no one will get hurt.”Stephanie Madoff Mack Talks Mark Madoff’s Suicide, Bernie Madoff & MoreAfter the teller handed him a stack of cash with a GPS tracker hidden inside, a second bank employee walked over—and Griffith allegedly demanded money from her as well.“You too, sweetie,” he said, according to a federal affidavit obtained by The Oregonian, before stuffing the cash into a grocery bag. Griffith allegedly threw away the two GPS devices and left. One tracker was later located in some bushes with a ripped $20 bill attached, and the second was found in the middle of the street. Surveillance video caught Griffith fleeing the scene in a blue Nissan Sentra.On Tuesday, Griffith was allegedly on his way to rob another bank when he got into a minor accident, prosecutors allege. While searching the car, authorities found multiple medical masks, wigs, and black sunglasses in the front passenger seat.“It is my belief that Griffith was on his way to conduct another bank robbery at the time of his traffic accident and arrest,’’ FBI agent Zachary Clark reportedly wrote in the affidavit. Griffith is currently being held at the Multnomah County Detention Center. He is expected to be back in court on Oct. 24. Read more at The Daily Beast.Got a tip? Send it to The Daily Beast hereGet our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.

    Thu, 17 Oct 2019 17:15:27 -0400
  • See This Plane? It Was Suppose to Turn Aircraft Carriers into Scrap Metal

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    As in make them obsolete--but the carrier remains. Here is what happened.

    Fri, 18 Oct 2019 04:23:00 -0400
  • Income Inequality Has Soared While Taxes Have Become Dramatically Less Progressive . . . or Not

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

    Fri, 18 Oct 2019 14:00:58 -0400
  • Mexico breaks ground on new airport project outside capital

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

    Thu, 17 Oct 2019 21:40:07 -0400
  • Cathay woes pile up as passenger figures dip again in September

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    Cathay Pacific cut its economic outlook on Friday following a second successive drop in monthly passenger traffic after the airline faced a backlash from Beijing over Hong Kong's heated pro-democracy protests. The marquee brand has had a torrid few months, coming under fire from Chinese state media and authorities because some of its 27,000 employees took part in -- or were sympathetic to -- the anti-government demonstrations. Overall passenger traffic fell 7.1 percent in September, the airline said, with inbound traffic into its Hong Kong hub plunging 38 percent for the second month running.

    Fri, 18 Oct 2019 02:44:41 -0400
  • Trump says Kurds are 'very happy' with U.S.-brokered deal and U.S. has 'taken control' of oil

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    Fighting is continuing near the Syria-Turkey border despite a Trump administration boast it had helped broker a 'cease-fire,' Kurdish authorities say.

    Fri, 18 Oct 2019 17:11:17 -0400
  • Fears of military build-up as China secretly leases entire island in Solomons

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    The government of the Solomon Islands has reached a secretive deal with a Chinese company with close ties to the Communist party that grants it exclusive rights to develop Tulagi, once the seat of British colonial rule in the Pacific archipelago.  The confidential arrangement has alarmed residents and raised fears that Beijing could be planning to use the tiny territory for future military rather than just commercial purposes.  Tulagi, which has a protected deepwater harbour, has long been viewed as a strategic outpost. Japan occupied the island during the Second World War in 1942 before it was seized by the US marines in a fierce battle.  China extended its reach last month after it persuaded the Solomon Islands and the Pacific nation of Kiribati to switch formal diplomatic ties from Taipei to Beijing, as it seeks to expand its influence in the Indo-Pacific region while undermining the US and its allies’ strategy there. A copy of the “strategic cooperation agreement” which sets out a renewable 75-year lease was granted to the China Sam Enterprise Group, a conglomerate founded in 1985 as a state-owned enterprise, according to the New York Times, which obtained a copy.  The vague wording of the document has sparked suspicion that it could be used for infrastructure that shares both civilian and military uses, causing concern among US officials who see the island chains of the South Pacific as crucial to protecting important sea routes, said the Times.  Dated September 22, the deal mentions provisions for a fishery base, an operations centre, and the “building or enhancement of the airport,” noting also that the company has ambitions to build an oil or gas terminal even though there are no confirmed natural reserves.  The Solomons’ authorities have not commented on the reports, but Stanley Maniteva, the provincial governor, told the local media earlier this week that the agreement had not been completed and formalised.  But the news follows reports earlier this year that Pacific nations would seek new, stronger ties with China as they pivot away from traditional allies towards Beijing.    In a speech in February in Port Vila, Vanuatu, Dame Meg Taylor, the secretary general of the Pacific Islands Forum, an intergovernmental body, said it was time to debate how to “collectively engage” with Beijing to gain access to its markets, technology, financing and infrastructure.

    Thu, 17 Oct 2019 08:33:12 -0400
  • Cop gets 8-hour suspension for pushing suspect off roof

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    After another officer told him to push a suspect off of a roof, Officer Plenio Massiah did – and it was caught on a body camera

    Thu, 17 Oct 2019 03:53:10 -0400
  • Amazon fish wears nature's 'bullet-proof vest' to thwart piranhas

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    One of the world's largest freshwater fish is protected by the natural equivalent of a "bullet-proof vest," helping it thrive in the dangerous waters of the Amazon River basin with flexible armor-like scales able to withstand ferocious piranha attacks. Researchers from the University of California, San Diego and University of California, Berkeley on Wednesday described the unique structure and impressive properties of the dermal armor of the fish, called Arapaima gigas.

    Thu, 17 Oct 2019 11:08:35 -0400
  • Mayor Pete Buttigieg Drops Fundraiser Tied to Laquan McDonald Coverup

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

    Fri, 18 Oct 2019 12:10:30 -0400
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