stephen jay gould

(september 10, 1941-may 20,2002)
  • Top House Armed Services Republican: Trump's Ukraine call was 'inappropriate' but not impeachable

    Top House Armed Services Republican: Trump's Ukraine call was 'inappropriate' but not impeachableRep. Mac Thornberry, R-Texas, said President Trump's call with Ukraine's president was "inappropriate" — but it did not warrant his impeachment.


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  • Swedish police set up task force to combat gang violence

    Swedish police set up task force to combat gang violenceSwedish police said on Monday they would set up a special task force to deal with a wave of shootings and bombings linked to criminal gangs following the fatal shooting of a 15-year old in the city of Malmo at the weekend. Sweden has long held a reputation as being one of the safest countries in the world and while overall crime and murder rates remain low, gang wars in major cities have claimed an increasing number of victims in recent years. On Saturday, two 15-year-olds were shot outside a pizza restaurant in Malmo in what police said appeared to be a gang conflict over control of the drug trade in the area.


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  • Members of community attacked in Mexico doubt they'll return

    Members of community attacked in Mexico doubt they'll returnA Utah man who helped get his mother and other family members safely out of northern Mexico after nine people were killed in an apparent ambush said Sunday that most fled to Arizona with whatever they could fit in their cars and trucks and they'll likely never return. More than 100 people left their rural community in northern Mexico on Saturday in an 18-vehicle caravan after the attack Monday in which nine women and children were killed by what authorities say were hit men from drug cartels. "I went down there to get my mother and get my family out, my brothers and sisters and lots of kids," Mike Hafen said Sunday in telephone interview from his sister's home in Phoenix.


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  • Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez hasn't stopped blocking critics on Twitter despite settling a lawsuit charging she violated the First Amendment

    Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez hasn't stopped blocking critics on Twitter despite settling a lawsuit charging she violated the First AmendmentOcasio-Cortez recently apologized for blocking a critic on Twitter and settled a lawsuit he filed alleging she violated the First Amendment.


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  • Nikki Haley Is the Latest ‘Adult in the Room’ to Exit With Pie on Her Face

    Nikki Haley Is the Latest ‘Adult in the Room’ to Exit With Pie on Her FaceREUTERSIn her new book, Nikki Haley writes that members of Trump’ senior staff tried to recruit her to "save the country.”Unfortunately, she decided against it.“Kelly and Tillerson confided in me that when they resisted the president, they weren’t being insubordinate, they were trying to save the country,” Haley writes in With All Due Respect, according to the Washington Post, which obtained an early copy.“It was their decisions, not the president’s, that were in the best interests of America, they said. The president didn’t know what he was doing,” Haley continued.It’s unfortunate that Haley chose to put her personal political ambitions ahead of trying to save the country. What is more, her unfortunate choice to pander to this audience of one (Trump) is unlikely to even help her politically. It’s unclear from the Post’s account of Haley’s book exactly what Kelly and Tillerson were hoping to slow down or mitigate, but since their departure, Trump has ordered a precipitous withdrawal from Syria (abandoning the Kurds and risking the escape of ISIS militants), and tried to coerce the president of Ukraine to announce an investigation of Hunter Biden.Nikki Haley: Top Trump Aides Tried to Recruit Me to Help Subvert the PresidentHaley addressed the Ukraine quid pro quo in an interview with the Post: “Do I think the president did something that warrants impeachment? No, because the aid flowed,” Haley said. “And, in turn, the Ukrainians didn’t follow up with the investigation.”With all due respect, that’s BS. After holding nearly $400 million all summer, the “aid flowed” on September 11, just after the inspector general informed the House Intel Committee about the whistleblower complaint. What is more, Ukrainian president Zelensky planned to announce his investigation into Hunter Biden on September 13—an announcement that was scuttled when Trump released the funds two days earlier. In making this bogus argument, Haley is parroting the talking points employed by Kellyanne Conway last week. I’d thought Haley was better than that. I was wrong. She was one of the heroes in my 2016 book, Too Dumb to Fail: How the GOP Went from the Party of Reagan to the Party of Trump. Even after accepting a job in the Trump administration as ambassador to the United Nations, I hoped Haley could walk the tightrope of maintaining her dignity and reputation as a serious conservative while remaining relevant in a party that has become dramatically more populist and nationalistic in the Trump era. Although she pulled it off longer than almost anyone else, she’s fallen off. Since going to work for Trump, she has gushed about Turning Point USA's Charlie Kirk, said she is "proud" of Diamond and Silk, and called Jared Kushner a "hidden genius." Weak!It’s really hard to take Haley seriously now, as she praises Trump in her book while taking a few cautious shots at specific actions. You can’t cut her much slack, because—unlike some Trump sycophants—it’s clear that Haley knows better, yet is bowing to Trumpism to advance her political career. Maybe it’ll work, but I doubt it. Erstwhile “thoughtful” conservatives like Haley (and Marco Rubio and Ben Sasse) have learned the wrong lessons from Trump. The lesson they learned is that there is not a large constituency for Buckelyite conservatism. But while there’s sadly some truth to that, they ignored the bigger lesson of Trump, which is that unabashed authenticity covers a multitude of sins, while voters can spot phoniness and weakness a mile away. In caving to Trump, Haley has sacrificed the one thing she will need more than anything: Authenticity. That’s too bad. If and when the GOP ever discovers that it has to win over suburban soccer moms to be politically viable, they will wish they had someone like the 2016 version of Nikki Haley to turn to. Maybe she could even help save the country. Unfortunately, that person no longer exists. What we're left with is a woman who has alienated those of us who used to respect her, yet will never be crazy enough for those Trump supporters who will never forget (or forgive) who she used to be. It’s a shame. She could have been a hero. Or, at least, a contender.Nikki Haley’s Dark-Money Group Looks to Raise Over $9MRead 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.


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  • A black man was put in handcuffs after a police officer stopped him on a train platform because he was eating

    A black man was put in handcuffs after a police officer stopped him on a train platform because he was eatingBay Area Rapid Transit police said Steve Foster, of Concord, California, violated state law by eating a sandwich on a BART station's platform.


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  • China accuses US of using UN to 'meddle' in Tibet

    China accuses US of using UN to 'meddle' in TibetChina accused the US on Monday of using the United Nations to "meddle" in Tibet, as Washington intensifies its bid to prevent Beijing from handpicking the Dalai Lama's successor. Last week, Sam Brownback, the United States' ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom, said the US wanted the UN to take up the succession issue of the Tibetan spiritual leader. The choice of the Dalai Lama's successor "belongs to the Tibetan Buddhists and not the Chinese government", Brownback told AFP.


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  • South Korea President’s Biggest Headache Is Prosecutor He Picked

    South Korea President’s Biggest Headache Is Prosecutor He Picked(Bloomberg) -- South Korean President Moon Jae-in -- swept into office on a vow to clean up government after his predecessor was ousted for graft -- wanted a prosecutor who wouldn’t hesitate to go after the most powerful.Problem is, Moon may have gotten what he wished for in Yoon Seok-youl.Almost immediately after being appointed as the nation’s chief prosecutor in July, Yoon launched a series of probes that have rocked Moon’s two-year-old administration. The scandal has forced one justice minister to resign and helped push Moon’s approval rating to a record low -- just as he girds for an April parliamentary election that will shape the second half of his term.The investigations are only the latest in string of high-profile cases brought by Yoon, 58, over the years, including probes of two former presidents, a chief justice and the heads of Samsung Electronics Co. and Hyundai Motor Co. After then-President Park Geun-hye demoted Yoon, he joined the special prosecutor’s team whose findings laid the groundwork for her impeachment and removal.“I’m not loyal to anyone,” he famously told lawmakers when asked about one such probe in 2013.Adding to the intrigue is the fact that Yoon’s latest case involves a man whom Moon once predicted would make a “fantastic duo” with the chief prosecutor: Former Justice Minster Cho Kuk. Last month, Cho was forced to resign after just five weeks on the job amid investigations into whether members of his family inflated college admission applications and improperly benefited from investments in a private equity fund.While Cho has denied wrongdoing and hasn’t been accused of any crimes, his wife and nephew have been indicted on various charges while his brother has been detained for questioning. Any expansion of Yoon’s probe to implicate him personally would pose problems for Moon, who decided to force through Cho’s appointment even after the investigations began. “I don’t know what allegations I’ll be charged with but it seems like the indictment against me has already been planned,” Cho wrote on his Facebook page late Monday.“Moon’s presidency was empowered by high public expectations for clean government,” said Park Sung-min, head of MIN Consulting, a political consulting firm in Seoul. If Cho “faces additional allegations related to his duty as part of the prosecutor’s probe into his family, Moon and the ruling party will receive a megablow,” he said.The investigations add a new worry for Moon on top of a slowing economy and a North Korean regime that has mocked his efforts to play a mediating role in nuclear talks with the U.S. The opposition Liberty Korea Party has drawn almost even with the ruling Democratic Party in some polls, raising the prospect that it could gain control of the National Assembly in April and stymie Moon’s agenda.Moon’s office declined to comment Monday, referring to remarks he made in Yoon’s presence Friday praising the prosecutor’s progress toward “political neutrality.” Moon said it was important to establish a fair anti-corruption system that could endure after “Yoon leaves office and regardless of who replaces him.”When announcing Yoon’s appointment, Moon praised him as “a man of integrity who’s not swayed by pressure from power.” Still, the Yonhap News Agency quoted a Moon administration official in September as saying that the investigation was on a scale that would only be necessary for “probing a conspiracy of a rebellion or completely mopping up the mafia.”The Supreme Prosecutors’ Office declined a request for comment. When asked about the investigation during a parliamentary hearing last month, Yoon vowed to follow the facts: “We prosecutors are not swayed by circumstances. We process the case only in accordance with principles and that’s what we’ll continue to do.”Yoon’s reputation for challenging authority goes back at least to his time in law school when he was forced to flee Seoul after participating in a mock trial in which he sought the death penalty against former coup-leader-turned-president Chun Doo-hwan. Back then, Yoon was known for belting out “Ave Maria” and “American Pie” in karaoke sessions, according to a person who has known him for more than 40 years.Yoon became a prosecutor at the relatively late age of 33 after failing the now-defunct annual bar exam eight times. His age and penchant for making bold speeches against powerful elites earned him the nickname “Big Brother” among his fellow prosecutors.In 2006, Yoon displayed characteristic bravado in seeking the arrest of Hyundai Motor Chairman Chung Mong-koo -- one of the country’s most powerful corporate titans, who was later convicted and pardoned. Yoon is someone who wouldn’t let a friend get away with wrongdoing, according to the person who has known him for more than 40 years.The investigations into Cho’s family have dealt a blow to Moon’s plans to overhaul a prosecutorial system that long been seen in South Korea as a tool for the country’s political elite to suppress dissent. While Moon had hoped Yoon would help push through legislation to weaken his own office, the chief prosecutor has publicly disagreed with a key part of the plan: delegating more investigative decisions to the police.Shortly after Yoon took office, the welcome note on the Supreme Prosecutors’ website was revised to include a pledge to “always serve the public by sternly holding those who wield power accountable for their abuses and violence.”In remarks that take on new significance in light of Yoon’s subsequent investigations, Moon urged the incoming chief prosecutor in July not to shy away from inquiries involving his own administration.“I want you to be really strict, even should there be influence-peddling and corruption within my office, government or the ruling party,” he told Yoon. “Thankfully, unlike the past, there hasn’t been a big, contemptible corruption case within my office, government or the ruling party yet.”(Adds comment from Cho in seventh paragraph.)\--With assistance from Jihye Lee.To contact the reporter on this story: Kanga Kong in Seoul at kkong50@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Peter Pae at ppae1@bloomberg.net;Brendan Scott at bscott66@bloomberg.netFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


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  • Now's Your Chance To Own A 2019 Petty’s Garage Warrior Mustang

    Now's Your Chance To Own A 2019 Petty’s Garage Warrior MustangJust in time for Veteran's Day, Non-Military personnel have the opportunity to own one of these Special Edition Mustangs for the first time!Two years ago, Military Auto Source (MAS) teamed up with Petty’s Garage to offer performance enthusiasts an exclusive opportunity – a new custom-built Warrior Edition Ford Mustang. The highly successful collaboration continued on for the 2018 model year, with a 2018 Petty’s Garage Warrior Mustang and F-150.These limited-edition Warrior vehicles were exclusively available only to troops deployed overseas, but due to enthusiasm from collectors, the Warrior Program has now been expanded with the unveiling of the 2019 Petty’s Garage Warrior Mustang. For the first time, you can purchase one of these incredible high-performance machines developed in recognition of our brave troops. With Veterans getting a discount of $1000 off their purchase if they buy one now. Features:*Edelbrock 2650TVS Supercharger/Whipple 3.0L Supercharger *Petty's Garage Aluminum Race Inspired Spoiler *Petty's Garage 3-Way Adjustable Coilovers*Petty's Garage Upper & Lower Mesh Grille with Billet Aluminum Badge *Petty's Garage Tail Panel Badge *Petty's Garage Windshield Banner *Petty's Garage Warrior Badging *Petty's Garage Warrior Leather Seats by Katzkin *Petty's Garage Window Etching *Petty's Garage Autographed Dash Badge *Petty's Garage Warrior Floor Mats *Petty's Garage Blue Shifter Knob *Petty's Garage I.D. Plate Petty's Garage Painted Stripe Package with Painted Lower Cladding *Petty's Garage Certificate of Authenticity *Available with Manual Transmission or Automatic*Exterior Colors Include Shadow Black, Oxford White, Ingot Silver MetallicThis is a breathtaking new opportunity! Reach the team using the contact forms here. The team will go through your options in our inventory. Veteran's get an extra $1000 discount. Go pick it up from Petty's Garage - actually meet the legend himself, Richard Petty, and have your car signed!With pre-negotiated military pricing on top of a guaranteed lowest price and warranty coverage that extends worldwide, the service MAS offers to our great warriors is already incredible, but if that’s not enough, they also offer a way to purchase a custom built and military exclusive vehicles.Don't miss out on your chance to bring one home to your garage! Start the buying process now.  Read More... * This Petty’s Garage Ford Mustang Is The Perfect Summer Muscle Car * Ultimate Road Going Richard Petty Dodge Challenger Up For Sale!


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  • Feud Between Trump Advisers Underscores a White House Torn by Rivalries

    Feud Between Trump Advisers Underscores a White House Torn by RivalriesWASHINGTON -- President Donald Trump's chief of staff and former national security adviser clashed in court Monday. Two new books describe how top aides to the president secretly plotted to circumvent him. And nearly every day brings more testimony about the deep internal schism over the president's effort to pressure Ukraine for domestic political help.In the three years since his election, Trump has never been accused of running a cohesive, unified team. But the revelations of recent days have put on display perhaps more starkly than ever the fissures tearing at his administration. In the emerging picture, the Trump White House is a toxic stew of personality disputes, policy differences, political rivalries, ethical debates and a fundamental rift over the president himself.The fault lines were most clearly evident Monday when Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff, abruptly withdrew his effort to join a lawsuit over impeachment testimony after a sharp collision with his onetime colleague John Bolton, the former national security adviser. Mulvaney retreated only hours after a lawyer for Bolton and his former deputy, Charles Kupperman, went to court arguing that his clients wanted nothing to do with the staff chief because they had vastly different interests.In withdrawing his motion, Mulvaney indicated that he would now press his own lawsuit to determine whether to comply with a subpoena to testify in the House impeachment inquiry. But it left him at odds with the president, who has ordered his team not to cooperate with the House, an order Mulvaney essentially has refused to accept as other administration officials have until he receives separate guidance from a judge.Mulvaney's lawyers emphasized that he was not trying to oppose Trump, maintaining that he was actually trying to sue House Democrats, and an administration official who insisted on anonymity said there was "no distance" between the president and his chief of staff. Still, Mulvaney hired his own lawyer instead of relying on the White House counsel, and he consciously made clear that he was open to testifying if left to his own devices.The situation underscored long-standing enmity between Mulvaney and the counsel, Pat Cipollone, who have repeatedly been at odds throughout the impeachment inquiry, according to four administration officials briefed on the events.Mulvaney, who has been left with an "acting" title for more than 10 months and therefore insecure in his position, is said to see Cipollone as angling for his job as chief of staff. People close to Cipollone deny that and say he is not interested, although they acknowledged that there were previous discussions with Trump about such a shift.Hoping to bolster his own place in the White House, Mulvaney has recommended to Trump that he hire Mark Paoletta, the general counsel at the Office of Management and Budget, where Mulvaney is still technically the director, according to people familiar with the maneuvering. Paoletta would not displace Cipollone but would give Mulvaney an ally on the legal team as the impeachment battle plays out.Another person familiar with the latest moves said that Paoletta was considered but that West Wing officials decided they were pleased with the hiring of Pam Bondi, a former attorney general of Florida, and Tony Sayegh, a Republican strategist, both of whom began full time this week.The latest personnel struggle echoed an attempt by Mulvaney several weeks ago to hire former Rep. Trey Gowdy, a fellow South Carolina Republican, to join the president's legal team. Cipollone and others were said to take issue with the idea, concerned it was an effort by Mulvaney to run his own legal team. Cipollone told allies he had no such concerns, but eventually, Gowdy bowed out, facing an issue with a ban on former House members lobbying Congress.Despite his own tenuous job status, Mulvaney has privately told associates in recent days that there is no easy way for Trump to fire him in the midst of the impeachment fight, the implication being that he knows too much about the president's pressure campaign to force Ukraine to provide incriminating information about Democrats.The court fight between Mulvaney and Bolton on Monday brought their long-running feud into the open. Mulvaney was among those facilitating the Ukraine effort while Bolton was among those objecting to it. At one point, according to testimony in the impeachment inquiry, Bolton declared that he wanted no part of the "drug deal" Mulvaney was cooking up, as the then national security adviser characterized the pressure campaign.Their clash was just one of many inside Trump's circle spilling out into public in recent days. The legal conflict Monday came just a day before Nikki Haley, the president's former ambassador to the United Nations, plans to publish a memoir accusing Trump's former secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, and former chief of staff, John Kelly, of conspiring behind his back while in office. Her account in effect is a mirror image of another book coming out this month by an anonymous senior administration official describing how concerned aides mounted their own internal resistance to Trump.Kelly disputed Haley in a statement Sunday and Tillerson added his own refutation Monday. "During my service to our country as the secretary of state, at no time did I, nor to my direct knowledge did anyone else serving along with me, take any actions to undermine the president," Tillerson said in a statement.While he offered Trump frank advice, he said, once the president made a decision, he did his best to carry it out. "Ambassador Haley was rarely a participant in my many meetings and is not in a position to know what I may or may not have said to the president," Tillerson added.Tillerson was never enamored of Haley when they were both in office, seeing her as a rival trying to upstage him and run foreign policy from her perch at the United Nations. Haley's portrayal of herself fighting off Trump's internal enemies was met Monday with scoffs from several administration officials, who said they were aware of little evidence to back up her self-description. But a former senior administration official who witnessed some of the interactions Haley had with the president described her as heavily involved with policy.The books are being published at the same time new transcripts are released by the House documenting how Trump's personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, and a coterie of allies, including Mulvaney, sought to sideline career diplomats and other foreign policy officials who warned against enlisting Ukraine to help the president's personal political interests.The dispute pitted one part of Trump's administration against another in a struggle over foreign policy that now has the president on the precipice of being impeached for high crimes and misdemeanors.The lawsuit that Mulvaney sought to join was filed by Kupperman, a longtime associate of Bolton, and asked a court to decide whether Kupperman should obey the president's dictate to stay silent or a House subpoena to testify.While not technically a party to the lawsuit, Bolton, who left his post in September after clashing with Trump, is represented by the same lawyer, Charles Cooper, and is taking the same position as Kupperman in waiting for the court to decide whether he should testify or not.Mulvaney's effort to join the lawsuit late Friday night stunned many involved in the impeachment debate because he still works for the president. Mulvaney did not ask Bolton or Kupperman for permission to join the lawsuit nor did he give them a heads up. Bolton and his team considered it an outrageous move since they were on opposite sides of the Ukraine fight and did not want their lawsuit polluted with Mulvaney.Not only did the motion filed Monday by Bolton's camp seek to keep Mulvaney out of the lawsuit, it even advanced an argument that the acting chief of staff may have to testify before House impeachment investigators. The motion noted that in a briefing with reporters last month, Mulvaney appeared "to admit that there was a quid pro quo" before later trying to take back the admission, meaning that he might not have the right to defy a House subpoena since he had already discussed the matter in public."Accordingly, there is a serious question as to whether Mulvaney waived the absolute testimonial immunity claimed by the president," the motion said.Mulvaney's lawyers rejected that. "The idea that Mr. Mulvaney has somehow waived broad immunity by speaking about this" at a briefing "doesn't have any legs," Christopher Muha, one of the lawyers, told the judge in the case Monday afternoon, according to a transcript of a conference call released by the court.Nonetheless, Judge Richard Leon, of the U.S. District for the District of Columbia, indicated at the end of the call that he was inclined to reject Mulvaney's request to join the suit. Mulvaney then withdrew it and said he would file his own separate action.The motion filed by Bolton's camp noted that Kupperman does not take a position on who is right, the president or Congress, and "will remain neutral on the merits of the constitutional issue," while Mulvaney "has made it clear that he supports the executive" branch interpretation.This article originally appeared in The New York Times.(C) 2019 The New York Times Company


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  • Jordan foils plot against U.S., Israeli diplomats and American soldiers: newspaper

    Jordan foils plot against U.S., Israeli diplomats and American soldiers: newspaperJordanian intelligence recently foiled a plot by two suspected militants to mount terror attacks against U.S. and Israeli diplomats alongside U.S. troops deployed at a military base in the south of the country, state-owned al-Rai newspaper reported on Tuesday. Militants from Islamic State and other radical jihadist groups have long targeted the U.S.-allied kingdom and dozens of militants are currently serving lengthy prison terms. King Abdullah, a Middle East ally of Western powers against Islamist militancy, has been among the most vocal leaders in the region in warning of threats posed by radical groups.


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  • EU unveils sanctions plan to hit Turkey over Cyprus drilling

    EU unveils sanctions plan to hit Turkey over Cyprus drillingThe European Union on Monday unveiled a system for imposing sanctions on Turkey over its unauthorized gas drilling in Mediterranean waters off Cyprus but no Turkish companies or officials have yet been targeted. EU member countries can now come forward with names of those they think should be listed. Turkish warship-escorted drillships began exploratory drilling this summer in waters where EU-member Cyprus has exclusive economic rights, including areas where European energy companies are licensed to conduct a hydrocarbons search.


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  • A Closer Look at the Beautified Architectural Revolution Within China

    A Closer Look at the Beautified Architectural Revolution Within China


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  • Ten Reasons Why Impeachment Is Illegitimate

    Ten Reasons Why Impeachment Is Illegitimate“coup has started. First of many steps. rebellion. impeachment will follow ultimately. lawyers https://twitter.com/jaketapper/status/826255624610729985 …”“coup has started. As one falls, two more will take their place. rebellion impeachment”2017 Tweets from Mark Zaid, current attorney for the “whistleblower”There are at least ten reasons why the Democratic impeachment “inquiry” is a euphemism for an ongoing coup attempt.1) Impeachment 24/7. The impeachment “inquiry,” supposedly prompted by the president’s Ukrainian call, is simply the most recent in a long series of “coups” that sought to overturn the 2016 election and thus preclude a 2020 reelection bid. The pattern gives away the game.Usually the serial futile attempts to abort the Trump presidency — with the exception of the Mueller Dream-Team debacle — were each characterized by about a month of media-driven hysteria. We remember the voting machines fraud hoax, the initial 2017 impeachment effort, the attempt to warp the Electoral College voting, the Logan Act, the Emoluments Clause, the 25th Amendment, the McCabe-Rosenstein faux coup, and various Michael Avenatti-Stormy Daniels-Michael Cohen psychodramas.Ukraine then is not unique, but simply another mini-coup attempt that follows the last failed coup and will presage another coup to take its place when it too fails to remove Trump.All of these efforts reflect a desperate effort both to reverse the 2016 election and to preclude a 2020 reelection effort, and, barring that, to drive down the Trump polls to the point of making him delegitimized. A week after Trump was elected, the Wall Street Journal reported that intelligence agencies were withholding information from their president. “Anonymous,” in a Sept. 5, 2018, New York Times op-ed, bragged of an ongoing “resistance” of high-ranking government officials seeking to stonewall Trump. As soon as Trump was inaugurated, Washington lawyer and former Obama official Rosa Brooks was publicly raising the possibility of a military coup to remove him. Retired admiral William McRaven recently called for Trump to be gone — “the sooner, the better.”Mark Zaid, the lawyer for the whistleblower, in his arrogance, long ago at least told the truth when he chose the words “coup” and “rebellion” to characterize left-wing efforts to remove Trump. He admitted that the coups would fail (given their lack of legality), but that they would still be followed by successive efforts. In a sane world, with this “bombshell” disclosure, the entire whistleblower caper would now simply vanish.2) Whistleblowers Who Are Not Whistleblowers. The “whistleblower” who prompted this most recent iteration of attempted Trump removal is no whistleblower by any common definition of the noun (i.e., “an individual who, without authorization, reveals private or classified information about an organization usually related to wrongdoing or misconduct. Whistleblowers generally state that such actions are motivated by a commitment to the public interest.”). He has no incriminating documents, no information at all. He does not even have firsthand evidence of wrongdoing, much less proof of suspect conduct within intelligence agencies that alone would prompt a legitimate appeal to the Office of the Inspector General of the Intelligence Community.Instead, the whistleblower relied on secondhand, water-cooler gossip about an (illegally) leaked presidential call. Even his mangled version of the call did not match that of official transcribers. He was not disinterested but had a long history of partisanship in general, and concerning Ukraine in particular. He was a protégé of many of Trump’s most adamant opponents including Susan Rice, John Brennan, and Joe Biden. He did not follow protocol by going first to the inspector general but instead caucused with the staff of Adam Schiff’s impeachment inquiry. Neither the whistleblower nor his doppelganger Lieutenant Colonel Vindman, who both professed strong pro-Ukrainian sympathies during their past tenures associated with the Obama administration, were bothered by the activities of the Bidens or by the Obama decision to stop arms deliveries to Ukraine. Their outrage, in other words, was not about Ukraine but over Trump.It is highly unlikely that there are any future plans to call the whistleblower or recall Vindman in person before any committee, because their usefulness as instigators of “impeachment” has already passed, and they are now both rank liabilities. Their inconsistencies and past partisan affiliations only offer vulnerabilities.3) First-term impeachment. The Clinton and Nixon inquiries were directed at second-term presidencies in which there were no more electoral remedies for alleged wrongdoing. In contrast, Trump is up for election in less than a year. Impeachment then seems a partisan exercise in either circumventing a referendum election or in damaging a president seeking reelection.4) No Special Counsel Finding. In the past, special counsels have found felonious presidential behavior, such as cited in Leon Jaworski’s and Ken Starr’s investigations.In contrast, special counsel Robert Mueller spent 22 months and $35 million, and yet his largely partisan law and investigative team found no collusion and no actionable presidential obstruction of that non-crime. We are not just proceeding with impeachment without a special counsel’s finding of wrongdoing, but after a special counsel’s finding of no actionable wrongdoing.5) No Bipartisanship. There was broad bipartisan support for the Nixon impeachment inquiry and even some for the Clinton impeachment. There is none at all for the Schiff impeachment effort, given its overtly partisan nature.6) Impeachment without High Crimes or Misdemeanors. There is no proof of any actual Trump crime.No longer is Nancy Pelosi describing the whistleblower as central to the impeachment inquiry. Asking a corrupt foreign head of state to look into past corruption is pro forma. That Joe Biden is now a candidate for president and Trump’s potential rival does not ensure him exemption from his possible wrongdoing in the past as vice president when his son used the Biden name for lucrative advantage in leveraging Ukrainian money for assumed preferential Obama administration treatment.In other words, it is certainly not a crime for a president to adopt his own foreign policy to fit particular countries nor to request of a foreign government seeking U.S. aid, with a long history of corruption, to ensure that it has not in the past colluded with prior U.S. officials in suspicious activity. A president can appoint or fire any ambassador he chooses, all the more so when one has a known record of partisanship. It is not a crime to disagree with House Intelligence chairman Adam Schiff that White House officials must testify when he so summons them.The irony is that while the House politicizes impeachment, the IG of the Justice Department, Michael Horowitz, and lifelong civil servant and federal attorney John Durham are likely to show concrete evidence that the now-exempt Obama administration used the powers of the FBI, CIA, and DOJ, unethically if not illegally, to attempt to destroy the candidacy, transition, and presidency of Donald Trump — still the current object of yet another political coup.7) Thought Crimes? Even if there were ever a quid, there is no quo: Unlike the case of the Obama administration, the Trump administration did supply arms to Ukraine, and the Ukrainians apparently did not reinvestigate the Bidens. As a matter of general policy, Trump has been far harder on Russia and far more concretely supportive of Ukraine than was the Obama administration. That stubborn fact is ipso facto evidence that if there was any quid pro quo, it was more likely a matter of Biden rather than Trump pressuring the Ukrainians, given the actual quite different results: Again, the Trump administration armed the Ukrainians; Obama and his administration did not. Thought crimes are still not impeachable offenses.8) Different Standards of Justice. There is now no standard of equality under the law. Instead, we are entering the jurisprudence of junta politics. If an alleged quid pro quo is an impeachable offense, should Vice President Joe Biden have been impeached or indicted for clearly leveraging the firing of a Ukrainian prosecutor for dubious reasons by threats of withholding U.S. aid?Should Barack Obama have been investigated for getting caught on a hot mic offering to be flexible after his reelection on missile defense if Vladimir Putin would give him some space? In fact, Russia did not embarrass Obama during the subsequent 2012 successful Obama reelection effort, and Obama did shelve joint Eastern European missile-defense plans.So there is no consistency in presidential audits. Would the Obama administration have welcomed or even tolerated congressional requests to turn over all its emails, private phone conversations, and memos concerning covert meetings of U.S. and Iranian officials that surrounded the nocturnal transfer of $400 million in cash for the release of American hostages — much of such money ending up in the hands of Hezbollah terrorists? Would the Obama administration have complied with requests for texts and transcripts surrounding its decisions to halt Eastern European missile defense?9) The Schiff Factor. Representative Adam Schiff is now de facto chief impeachment prosecutor. He has repeatedly lied about the certainty of impending Mueller indictments or bombshells. He flat-out lied that he and his staff had no prior contact with the whistleblower. He made up a version of the Trump call that did not represent the actual transcript and when called out, he begged off by claiming he was offering a “parody.” He has an unsavory reputation as a chronic selective leaker of classified information in the House Intelligence Committee. For weeks he has not allowed Republican members of his House Intelligence Committee to have the same freedom to call and cross-examine witnesses as was extended to the then-minority Democrats during the committee’s 2016-7 investigation of FISA, unmasking, and surveillance abuses.Tradition and protocol argue that the proper place for impeachment inquiries and investigations is the House Judiciary Committee. Schiff successfully hijacked that committee’s historic role for two reasons: 1) His reputation as a brawling hyperpartisan meant that he would turn the investigation into a proverbial witch hunt and wet the lunatic beak of the progressive base; 2) He has the ability so far as intelligence chair selectively to block rapid dissemination of transcripts of cross-examinations of witnesses and to use secrecy to massage the conduct of the committee and to selectively release information to the media.10) Precedent. The indiscriminate efforts to remove Trump over the past three years, when coupled with the latest impeachment gambit, have now set a precedent in which the out party can use impeachment as a tool to embarrass, threaten, leverage, or seek to remove a sitting president for political purposes to reverse an election.At best, we have turned a uniquely constitutional republic into a European parliamentary system in which heads of states can be removed from power without national elections. At worst, we are now a rank banana republic in which coups are an accepted model of political opposition.The next Democratic president should be prepared, in his first term, for the real chance of facing the same, and apparently now institutionalized, tactics used against Trump.We are witnessing constitutional government dissipating before our very eyes.


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  • San Diego State University suspends 14 campus fraternities after 'devastating' death of freshman student

    San Diego State University suspends 14 campus fraternities after 'devastating' death of freshman studentSan Diego State freshman Dylan Hernandez died after attending a fraternity event, the school announced Monday.


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  • With Rising Violence, China Pushes Hong Kong Toward Civil War

    With Rising Violence, China Pushes Hong Kong Toward Civil WarA traffic police officer in Hong Kong shot an unarmed 21-year-old pro-democracy protester at point-blank range on Monday. on Monday. Hours later, a man was set on fire after defending Beijing in an argument. Both individuals were listed in critical condition.Over the weekend, wide-scale disturbances scarred the territory, a semi-autonomous region of the People’s Republic of China. There is essentially a rebellion in Hong Kong. Riot police in green uniforms are doing battle with youthful demonstrators dressed in black. How Hong Kong Protesters Show Which Businesses Are Friend or FoeProtests began in April after Chief Executive Carrie Lam, Hong Kong’s top official, proposed legislation authorizing the extradition of fugitives to various jurisdictions, including Mainland China. Starting June 9, when an estimated one million Hong Kongers marched in the streets, demonstrations have been almost continuous. Lam has since permanently withdrawn the extradition bill from consideration, but the protests have not abated. Especially this week. Hong Kong braced for a weekend of disturbances after Chow Tsz-lok, a 22-year-old student at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, died on Friday after falling from a car park the preceding Sunday while running away from police tear gas. Many have accused the police of delaying medical assistance to the mortally injured Chow.Chow has been called “the first fatality linked to police action during a protest,” but many believe the police have killed others. Demonstrators believe three of their number were beaten to death on August 31 in the Prince Edward Mass Transit Railway station in Mong Kok. Since then, the above-ground entrance to the station has become a shrine, protestors have repeatedly rallied in front of the adjacent Mong Kok police station, and youth have continually trashed MTR trains and stations because they believe management of the rail system has withheld surveillance-camera footage.Even a single death creates a cycle of revenge and retaliation that is almost impossible to control. Chow’s passing sparked a weekend of rage.Moreover, Chief Executive Lam added to the tensions. In her most recent press conference, held Monday after the shooting and burning incidents, she called protesters the “enemy of the people.” Her provocative Cultural Revolution-speak comment came on the heels of her November 4 meeting with Chinese ruler Xi Jinping. China is apparently controlling events, and either out of obliviousness or maliciousness it is making the situation worse. Beijing has been doing that by forcing Lam to take a hard line. Apart from the withdrawal of the extradition bill—doomed because the normally pro-Beijing business community came out against it early on—she has been intransigent. That intransigence was evident from her Monday remarks. She said she would not yield to violence, but she had previously left Hong Kong people no choice. She had, with her stubbornness, earlier foreclosed the possibility of peaceful change.Hong Kong people may not be able to change her mind, but she cannot change theirs either. The army in black—as well as many other people in the territory—have continued to protest.Analysts say Beijing will eventually lose patience and use force. “This kind of extreme, violent, and destructive activity would not be tolerated or accepted in any country or society in the world nowadays,” said Chinese Vice-Premier Han Zheng as he met with Lam early this month in Beijing.Han’s words were taken as a threat to formally deploy units of the People’s Liberation Army or the People’s Armed Police to the streets of Hong Kong to “crush” the protests and reestablish order. Beijing could move in troops, but the move is unlikely to work. Hong Kong, after all, is ideal territory for defenders, like guerilla fighters supported by an overwhelming portion of the public. Every apartment building there is a fort where hostiles can rain down explosives or petrol bombs on Chinese troops and then disappear into their homes or back alleys. Xi Jinping surely does not want his first war to take tens of thousands of soldiers, last years if not decades, and end in a loss for China.In the meantime, there is credible evidence suggesting Mainland Chinese personnel—troops or police—are now operating on Hong Kong streets in police uniforms. This sly tactic is not working, however. Why not? The Hong Kong police department, once considered the most professional force of its kind in Asia, has lost discipline, something evident from the shooting of the protester Monday and countless other incidents. The breakdown in discipline roughly coincides with early evidence that Chinese forces were mixed in with the Hong Kong police, and the resulting rough tactics have resulted in a loss of support of ordinary residents tired of being tear gassed, clubbed, and manhandled. All this raises the question whether Beijing has given the green light to police officers to act as brutally as they want. Yet whether China did so or not, harsh action by the police is sustaining support for the protesters. Demonstrators this past weekend were chanting “Revenge.” Hong Kong is now at war with itself. There is no end in sight to the fighting.LeBron James Bends the Knee to China, Fails His First Big Test as the NBA’s ConscienceRead 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.


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  • Conn. man charged in hotel worker's death skips hearing

    Conn. man charged in hotel worker's death skips hearingA Connecticut man charged in the death of a hotel worker he says attacked his family in Anguilla has declined to return to the British Caribbean territory for the most recent pretrial hearing, a spokesman said Monday.


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  • Thousands join French march against Islamophobia

    Thousands join French march against IslamophobiaOver 10,000 people turned out north of Paris on Sunday for a march against Islamophobia that drew criticism from both the government and the far right. The march was called by a number of individuals and organisations, including the Collective against Islamophobia in France (CCIF). It also came as the debate over the veil has been revived in France and against a background of several jihadist attacks in France in recent years.


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  • For Bill Taylor, first impeachment witness, 'everything's easy after Vietnam'

    For Bill Taylor, first impeachment witness, 'everything's easy after Vietnam'Most Americans came to know Taylor on Oct. 3, when Democrats released text messages that showed him calling it “crazy to withhold security assistance [to Ukraine] for help with a political campaign.”


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  • Poland Rebukes Netflix After ‘Terrible Mistake’ on Holocaust

    Poland Rebukes Netflix After ‘Terrible Mistake’ on Holocaust(Bloomberg) -- Poland’s prime minister wrote an official letter to Netflix Chief Executive Officer Reed Hastings requesting that the media streaming company correct facts about the Holocaust in its “The Devil Next Door” documentary series.The European Union member lurched into the international spotlight last year after its nationalist ruling Law & Justice party outlawed the phrase “Polish death camps.” It also criminalized suggesting that the nation was complicit in the mass murder of Jews and other people by the Nazis during their occupation of the country in World War II.A Netflix spokesperson said the company is “aware of the concerns” about the show and is “urgently looking into the matter” after Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki wrote to Hastings.Morawiecki called out Netflix for what he called “a terrible mistake” in the five-part series. The show focuses on John Demjanjuk, a retired Ford Motor Co. auto mechanic who was stripped of his U.S. citizenship and convicted by a German criminal court for aiding in the murder of Jews during the Holocaust.The series showed a map of death camps that said they were located in Poland, using the country’s current borders.The Polish government has repeatedly pushed for commentary on the death camps to label them as being operated by the Nazis in “German-occupied Poland,” because the eastern European nation had no government of its own on its home soil after the invasion of Adolf Hitler’s forces.“Not only is the map incorrect, but it deceives viewers into believing that Poland was responsible for establishing and maintaining these camps,” Morawiecki wrote, saying he believed it was an “unintentional” mistake. “Today, we still owe this truth to the victims of World War II.”Morawiecki enclosed a 1942 map in the letter, which was backed by a comment from the Auschwitz Memorial saying that “more accuracy” should have been expected from the production.(Updates with details of complaint in sixth paragraph.)To contact the reporter on this story: Maciej Martewicz in Warsaw at mmartewicz@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Wojciech Moskwa at wmoskwa@bloomberg.net, Michael WinfreyFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


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  • Jordan retakes lands leased by Israel in 1994 peace accord

    Jordan retakes lands leased by Israel in 1994 peace accordJordan's king announced Sunday that his country is retaking "full sovereignty" over two pieces of land leased by Israel, reflecting the cool relations between the neighboring countries as they mark the 25th anniversary of their landmark peace deal. King Abdullah II had said last year that he wouldn't renew the parts of the 1994 treaty that gave Israel a 25-year lease of the two small areas, Baqura and Ghamr. "Today, I announce the expiration of the Peace Treaty annexes on Ghamr and al-Baqura and the imposition of our full sovereignty over every inch of those lands," he said.


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  • The North Korean Threat Is Evolving: Here Come Pyongyang's Nuclear-Armed Submarines

    The North Korean Threat Is Evolving: Here Come Pyongyang's Nuclear-Armed SubmarinesAmerica is vulnerable.


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  • Amazon's $1.5 million political gambit backfires in Seattle City Council election

    Amazon's $1.5 million political gambit backfires in Seattle City Council electionSeattle voters, in a rebuke to heavy corporate campaign spending by Amazon.com, have kept progressives firmly in control of their city council, reviving chances for a tax on big businesses that the tech giant helped fend off last year. Amazon poured a record $1.5 million into a Super PAC run by the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce to back a slate of candidates in the Nov. 5 council elections viewed as pro-business, or at least more corporate friendly than the incumbent council majority. Amazon, the world's leading online retailer whose chief executive is billionaire entrepreneur Jeff Bezos, accounted for more than half of nearly $2.7 million raised by the Super PAC, a group allowed to accept unlimited sums from wealthy donors in support of their favorite candidates.


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  • SpaceX launches another 60 solar-powered internet satellites

    SpaceX launches another 60 solar-powered internet satellitesInitial service is expected to begin next year with global connectivity expected in 2021


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  • Shootings, blasts prompt Denmark to tighten border controls

    Shootings, blasts prompt Denmark to tighten border controlsDenmark will temporarily reinstate border controls with Sweden and step up police work along the border after a series of violent crimes and explosions around Copenhagen that Danish authorities say were carried out by perpetrators from Sweden. The checks, which start Tuesday for six months, will take place at the Oresund Bridge between Copenhagen and the Swedish city of Malmo, and at ferry ports.


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  • Police Employees Charged in 911 Medical Fraud Ring

    Police Employees Charged in 911 Medical Fraud RingNEW YORK -- For years, Angela Meyers, a 911 operator with the New York Police Department, fielded emergency calls, then filed reports about the calls within the department.But according to court documents, when someone called 911 after a car accident, Meyers did something else: She also passed victims' information to an insurance fraud ring in Queens.Meyers was one of six current and former New York Police Department employees charged in federal court Thursday with conspiracy and bribery. They are accused of being part of a citywide medical insurance fraud ring that sent thousands of car accident victims to specific health clinics, doctors and lawyers in exchange for kickbacks.Law enforcement officials arrested 27 people in connection with the scheme -- 23 of those were expected to appear in Manhattan federal court Thursday.A key component to the scheme were the five 911 operators and an active police officer, Yanaris Deleon, who provided victims' confidential contact information to the scheme's ringleaders, prosecutors said. Four of the five 911 operators were active employees; one had previously resigned, police said."There is no place for corruption within the NYPD," James P. O'Neill, the police commissioner, said in a statement. "By tarnishing the shield, as well as their sacred oaths, these employees will be held to the highest account the law provides."According to court documents, the 911 operators and Deleon provided victims' contact information to the scheme's fraudulent "call center."The call center would then contact those victims and coax them to visit prearranged medical clinics and lawyers, court documents say. Those call center offices would then pay the ringleader of the scheme, Anthony Rose, 51, in exchange for that information, according to authorities.Prosecutors said the department employees received thousands of dollars for their part in the scheme."These actions have undermined the integrity of our emergency and medical first responders," said Geoffrey S. Berman, the U.S. attorney in Manhattan. "This office is committed to rooting out corruption wherever it is found and will not rest until those who seek to profit by corrupting our public institutions are brought to justice."The fraud ring employed a network of people within hospitals, medical service providers and law enforcement. Rose, who is from Queens, ran the scheme from at least 2014 to November 2019, prosecutors said.As recently as June, Deleon texted Rose on encrypted messaging app WhatsApp and provided a list of "nearly two dozen names and telephone numbers" of accident victims, court documents said.Prosecutors estimate that as many as 60,000 car accident victims may have had their confidential information improperly disclosed.Rose ordered his co-conspirators to target car accident victims from low-income neighborhoods because they were more vulnerable, according to court documents. He told his fraudulent call center not to target victims in Manhattan, court documents said, because "those people got attorneys.""We need all the 'hood cases," Rose told the call center people, according to the documents. "We want all the bad neighborhoods."In addition to the Police Department sources, Rose also bribed employees at hospitals and medical centers to violate the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, known as HIPAA, and disclose confidential patient information for car accident victims, the documents say.The investigation is continuing, prosecutors said.This article originally appeared in The New York Times.(C) 2019 The New York Times Company


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  • These Are the Shortest-Stopping Cars We've Ever Tested

    These Are the Shortest-Stopping Cars We've Ever Tested


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  • Douglas MacArthur Is One of America's Most Famous Generals. He's Also the Most Overrated

    Douglas MacArthur Is One of America's Most Famous Generals. He's Also the Most OverratedHe might be one of President Trump's favorite generals, but as Hampton Sides writes, Douglas MacArthur was far from a military genius.


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  • What slowdown? Chinese shoppers set new 'Singles' Day' spending record

    What slowdown? Chinese shoppers set new 'Singles' Day' spending recordChinese consumers spent a record amount on Alibaba platforms Monday during the annual "Singles' Day" buying spree, the world's biggest 24-hour shopping event, which kicked off this year with a glitzy show by US singer Taylor Swift. China's economy is in an extended slowdown exacerbated by the US trade war, and the Singles' Day fire sale is viewed as a snapshot of consumer sentiment in the world's second-biggest economy. US President Donald Trump has repeatedly said his tariffs on Chinese goods have put the country's economy on the ropes, but the state-run tabloid Global Times said the shopping figures proved otherwise.


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  • Gabbard Lawyers Demand Clinton Retract ‘Defamatory’ Russian Asset Comments

    Gabbard Lawyers Demand Clinton Retract ‘Defamatory’ Russian Asset CommentsAttorneys for Representative Tulsi Gabbard (D., Hawaii) on Monday demanded Hillary Clinton retract "defamatory" comments she made linking Gabbard to Russia."Your statement is defamatory, and we demand that you retract it immediately," the 2020 presidential candidate's lawyer wrote in in a letter obtained by The Hill, adding that Clinton should "immediately" renounce her remark.“I think they’ve got their eye on someone who’s currently in the Democratic primary and are grooming her to be the third-party candidate,” Clinton said last month on the Campaign HQ podcast without referring to Gabbard directly. “She’s the favorite of the Russians. They have a bunch of sites and bots and other ways of supporting her so far.”Clinton spokesman Nick Merrill afterwards appeared to confirm she was referring to Gabbard, responding, "If the nesting doll fits," when asked whether Clinton had Gabbard in mind. After backlash, Merrill claimed that Clinton was referring to Republicans, not Russians, with the “grooming” comment."It appears you may now be claiming that this statement is about Republicans (not Russians) grooming Gabbard," wrote Gabbard's lawyer. "But this makes no sense in light of what you actually said. After you made the statement linking Congresswoman Gabbard to the Russians, you (through your spokesman) doubled down on it with the Russian nesting dolls remark."Gabbard scorched the 2016 Democratic presidential nominee in her response to the remarks, calling Clinton on Twitter, "the queen of warmongers, embodiment of corruption, and personification of the rot that sickened the Democratic Party for so long.""From the day I announced my candidacy, there has been a concerted campaign to destroy my reputation. We wondered who was behind it and why. Now we know — it was always you," Gabbard continued before challenging Clinton to "join the race directly."Gabbard has received bipartisan criticism over her anti-interventionist foreign policy, especially her view that Syrian dictator Bashar al Assad is "not an enemy" of the U.S.


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  • The China-Russia Relationship Is More About Survival Than Friendship

    The China-Russia Relationship Is More About Survival Than FriendshipFears are overblown. Mistrust remains.


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  • UPDATE 4-Evo Morales leaves Bolivia to take asylum in Mexico

    UPDATE 4-Evo Morales leaves Bolivia to take asylum in MexicoBolivia's former president, Evo Morales, is flying to Mexico, where he has been granted asylum, Mexico's top diplomat said on Monday night, as unrest shook the South American nation. The Mexican government's support has helped cement its emerging role as a bastion of diplomatic support for left-wing leaders in Latin America. "Evo Morales is now on the Mexican government's plane, sent to ensure his safe journey to our country," Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard wrote on Twitter.


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  • South African Airways May Fire a Fifth of Its Workforce as Part of Restructuring

    South African Airways May Fire a Fifth of Its Workforce as Part of Restructuring(Bloomberg) -- Sign up to our Next Africa newsletter and follow Bloomberg Africa on TwitterSouth African Airways has set itself up for a confrontation with labor unions after the cash-strapped carrier initiated talks that could see its workforce reduced by almost a fifth.The reorganization of all the airline’s units, excluding low-cost carrier Mango, Air Chefs and the SAA Technical unit, could result in 944 of its 5,149 employees being fired, SAA said in an emailed statement late Monday. The Congress of South African Trade Unions, the country’s biggest labor group, denounced the decision and accused the airline of failing to consult adequately.“It’s a reckless announcement. You cannot just throw people on the unemployment line,” Sizwe Pamla, the federation’s spokesman, said by phone on Tuesday. “There is no talk to unions. They already know the specific number of people who are going to be retrenched. There are options that have to be explored.”SAA, power utility Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd., the South African Broadcasting Corp. and state arms manufacturer Denel SOC Ltd. are among state-owned companies whose finances are in dire straits after years of mismanagement and alleged corruption. Finance Minister Tito Mboweni last month said the government is talking to potential investors about taking a stake in the airline to ease the burden on the national budget.Identifying an equity partner has been proposed before, though no buyer has officially come forward. Ethiopian Airlines Group Chief Executive Officer Tewolde Gebre Mariam last month said his airline would consider investing if a request was made. Richard Branson, the founder of Virgin Atlantic Airways Ltd., has said his company would also consider taking a stake.SAA has incurred more than 28 billion rand ($1.9 billion) of cumulative losses over the past 13 years and missed the deadline to submit its earnings for the financial year through March. While it recently received a 5.5 billion-rand government lifeline to extend maturities on outstanding debt, it hasn’t been able to reach an affordable repayment plan with creditors.“We urgently need to address the ongoing loss-making position that has subsisted over the past years,” acting Chief Executive Officer Zuks Ramasia said in Monday’s statement. “That is why we are undergoing a restructuring process that seeks to ensure effective implementation of the accelerated long-term turnaround strategy amid the present prevailing operational challenges.”In his medium-term budget policy statement last month, Mboweni said the government will repay SAA’s outstanding government-guaranteed debt of 9.2 billion rand over the next three years.To contact the reporters on this story: Hilton Shone in Johannesburg at hshone@bloomberg.net;Mike Cohen in Cape Town at mcohen21@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: John Bowker at jbowker2@bloomberg.net, Paul Richardson, Rene VollgraaffFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


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  • Scott Walker objects to 'holiday tree' and Twitter critics let him have it

    Scott Walker objects to 'holiday tree' and Twitter critics let him have itDemocratic Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers unveiled a holiday tree in the state Capitol last week, and his predecessor did not respond well. Scott Walker and other Republicans in the state used the “holiday tree” to revive the old "War on Christmas" talking points common in right-wing circles.


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  • Hong Kong police shoot protester, man set on fire

    Hong Kong police shoot protester, man set on fireFollowing a day of violence in which one person was shot by police and another set on fire, Hong Kong's leader pledged Monday to "spare no effort" to halt anti-government protests that have wracked the city for more than five months. "I do not want to go into details, but I just want to make it very clear that we will spare no effort in finding ways and means that could end the violence in Hong Kong as soon as possible," Lam told reporters. Lam also refused to accept the protesters' demands for political concessions.


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  • Airlines are flying tons of unneeded fuel around the world to save as little as $52 by not filling up in countries with higher prices

    Airlines are flying tons of unneeded fuel around the world to save as little as $52 by not filling up in countries with higher pricesThe practice, called fuel tankering, gives airlines an often tiny saving at the cost of much-larger carbon emissions, BBC's 'Panorama' said.


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  • Imelda Marcos Is Here to Teach Us How Wannabe Autocrats Like Trump Really Think

    Imelda Marcos Is Here to Teach Us How Wannabe Autocrats Like Trump Really ThinkArtur Widak/NurPhoto via GettyLONDON—At the 80th birthday party of comedian Joey Adams in the ballroom of an upmarket hotel overlooking Central Park in 1991, Donald Trump and Imelda Marcos sat side by side; two vulgar icons of ’80s greed and ambition.Imelda and her husband Ferdinand Marcos had been ousted from power five years earlier by a popular uprising in the Philippines where people had grown sick of their corruption and brutality. Trump was a loud-mouthed but ultimately powerless New York real estate mogul.Fifteen years later, in 2016, Trump was elected President of the United States and Marcos’ political clout was restored after a Filipino presidential election in which her son stood to be vice president and Rodrigo Duterte became the hardline president.The Marcos family are believed to have stolen more than $10 billion from the Filipino people during their 21-year reign. Ferdinand died in 1989, but in recent years, the family secretly helped to fund the rise of Duterte, a notorious homophobe and rape apologist who has bragged of executing drug-dealers in thousands of extrajudicial street killings.Trump is one of the few world leaders to have spoken warmly of Duterte and reportedly congratulated him on his approach to the drug trade.The great claim to fame of vaudevillian Joey Adams’ may be his invention of the one-liner: “With friends like these, who needs enemies?”With friends like his, that’s no wonder.Imelda Marcos, who is now 90, is currently trying to help her son, Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., overturn defeat in the 2016 vice-presidential election (after three years, Duterte’s judges are still refusing to reject his appeal). He is likely to run to succeed Duterte when his one-term limit comes to an end in 2022.If Imelda lives to see her son’s election as president, it would be an extraordinary return to power for a woman who was forced into exile as one of the world’s most mocked and disdained leaders, famous for collecting more than a thousand pairs of designer shoes while the angry populace was restrained under martial law.Her second rise has been expertly charted in Kingmaker by documentarian Lauren Greenfield, whose previous work includes the Sundance-feted The Queen of Versailles. Her new film offers a glimpse of the distorted inner monologue of a politician driven by autocratic tendencies.‘The Kingmaker’: A Scathing Portrait of the Female Donald TrumpImelda describes herself as a “mother” to the Philippines and its clear that she genuinely believes her kleptocratic rule blessed the nation. On screen we see her tutting over buildings that have been left to decay in the subsequent decades, while she passes out cash to needy citizens who squabble over the handouts. “I do think she believes her story,” Greenfield told the Daily Beast in London. “And the people around her don’t disabuse her of that. In a way she’s got her own delusions.”Greenfield spent five years filming the documentary, a period that spanned Imelda’s rise from a period as a lowly congresswoman to the rebirth of her power. “As we worked over the five years it became clear that they were coming back to power. And that this wasn’t a story about the past; it was a story about the present,” she said.That transformation was made possible by a change in the perception of the Marcos family, who were chased out of the country in disgrace 30 years ago. An aggressive use of social media as well as campaigning to have schools change the way the history of their reign was taught have helped to reinvent their reputation.“Perceptions are real, the truth is not,” says Imelda in the film.“She’s aware of the power of the media,” explained Greenfield. “She says ‘The gun can kill you only till the grave, and the media can kill you to infinity and beyond.’ And they've been very adept at using social media to communicate their talking points about martial law and the Marcos era. That was a really big part of how they seeded a lot of the ideas. Bongbong really went after the younger generation which didn't really remember martial law.”Thus the Marcos family have succeeded in ingratiating themselves back into polite society and into the hearts of millions of voters.As the film begins, we are swept into Imelda’s attractive and rarefied world. “At first I found her kind and generous, and captivating and funny, and able to laugh at herself in a way that was kind of endearing. And then as I learned of the terrible and tragic consequences of the regime that she was complicit in, my view of her and also her version of history really changed,” Greenfield said.Kingmaker shows us both sides. The film’s brilliance lies in allowing us to see the autocrat’s delusion in still believing they speak for the common man. It’s a familiar theme.“Imelda talks about her friends who other people thought were monsters, but she thought were kind and generous like Saddam Hussein and Chairman Mao. It makes you think of Trump's bedfellows and who he's attracted to, like Putin and even Duterte,” said Greenfield.Imelda says Mao kissed her hand and congratulated her personally for ending the Cold War. She also claims to have given him the idea for the Cultural Revolution.By joining forces with Duterte, the Marcos family is emphasizing the continuity with a new generation of strongmen. “Duterte was really the expression of the terror of dictatorship coming back, they were leaning in to what happened and trying to get back there again,” said Greenfield.“It's a cautionary tale for us about what happens when you don't remember history; about the fragility of democracy and the return to authoritarian regimes,” the director said. “I didn't start the movie as just being about the Philippines and I am pleased that people are seeing it as a reflection also of what's going on in the U.S. and the rise of nationalism in Europe.”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.


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  • Taiwan seeks return of 'criminal income' from frigate scandal

    Taiwan seeks return of 'criminal income' from frigate scandalTaiwan is seeking the return of hundreds of millions of dollars in ill-gotten funds linked to a controversial deal to buy French frigates over two decades ago, prosecutors said Tuesday. Taiwanese arms dealer Andrew Wang was indicted for corruption in 2006 for reaping hundreds of millions of dollars from the deal, and his family were also found guilty as his accomplices. Wang and his family were put on Taiwan's most wanted list after they fled the island shortly before the scandal broke in 1993.


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  • 2020: Joe Biden edges ahead of opponents in New Hampshire poll

    2020: Joe Biden edges ahead of opponents in New Hampshire pollThe poll shows the crowded Democratic field is still fluid in the early voting state but displays a consistent top tier of candidates.


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  • Is the Littoral Combat Ship One of the Worst Warships Ever?

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  • These are the New Cars That Depreciate Least

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  • Resignation of Morales, last of 'pink tide,' polarizes Latin America

    Resignation of Morales, last of 'pink tide,' polarizes Latin AmericaThe resignation of Bolivian President Evo Morales, the last serving member of the 'pink tide' of leftist leaders that swept Latin America two decades ago, polarized governments across the region on Sunday, with presidents from Venezuela to Argentina denouncing a "coup" and others cheering his exit. Morales, Bolivia's first indigenous leader, ended his 14-year rule after allies deserted him following weeks of protests over a disputed Oct. 20 election that has roiled the Andean nation. Right-leaning governments in Latin America, among them Colombia and Peru, called on the Bolivian state to ensure new elections would be lawful.


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  • Google Gathering Health Care Data on Millions of Americans with Secret ‘Project Nightingale’

    Google Gathering Health Care Data on Millions of Americans with Secret ‘Project Nightingale’Google has teamed up with one of the largest health care systems in the U.S. to gather the personal health care information of millions of people in 21 states, the Wall Street Journal reported Monday.Named "Project Nightingale," the initiative is one of the largest efforts by Silicon Valley tech companies to enter the lucrative health care industry. Google partnered last year with Ascension, the St. Louis-based health care system that is the second largest in the U.S., to collect and crunch health care data on a massive scale.Patients and doctors have not been notified that their data is being shared.The data involved includes lab results, doctor diagnoses and hospitalization records, as well as patient names and dates of birth. Google and Ascension are essentially collecting patients' complete personal health records. Patients and doctors have not been notified that their data is being shared.Google aims to design new software with the data that will suggest improvements in patient care directly to individual patients. Ascension, a Catholic hospital network, wants to use the data to improve patient care, mining the data to suggest additional tests for patients.According to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, hospitals may share patient data with business partners without notifying patients as long as that information is "used only to help the covered entity carry out its health-care functions.”Nevertheless, several Ascension employees voiced concerns regarding the ways Google and Ascension are gathering the data, according to internal documents reviewed by the Journal. While Ascension did not immediately comment on the report, a spokesman for Google said the project is completely in line with federal law.About 150 employees across Google's platform currently have access to specific personal data collected as part of Project Nightingale.The news comes as calls to rein in big tech companies grow more popular on both sides of the political aisle, albeit for somewhat different reasons.Senator Josh Hawley (R., Mo.) has come out strongly against the involvement of big tech companies in the Chinese market and has campaigned against perceived bias against conservatives from these companies.Meanwhile, Senator Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) has threatened to break up Facebook and other social media giants if she is elected president in 2020. She has suggested Facebook might help President Trump win reelection if that would profit the company.


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  • Father who lost wife, sons says life 'turned upside down'

    Father who lost wife, sons says life 'turned upside down'A U.S. citizen who lost his wife and two of his sons when they were ambushed by gunmen in Mexico said his life has been upended and he's leaving the country with the rest of his family, ABC News reported. David Langford told ABC's "World News Tonight" Sunday that "my whole life has turned upside down. Langford's wife, Dawna, and two of his sons, Trevor Langford, 11, and Rogan Langford, 2, were among the nine women and children killed in the ambush Monday in the Mexican state of Sonora.


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  • Small plane crashes in Texas during 'gender reveal' stunt

    Small plane crashes in Texas during 'gender reveal' stuntPassenger injured as pilot slowed plane at low altitude to ‘dump 350 gallons of pink water’ in stunt gone badly wrongGender reveal parties let expecting parents reveal whether they are going to have a boy or a girl. Stunts gone wrong have become a staple of online reporting. Photograph: Beautyinoddplaces/Getty Images/iStockphotoIn another instance of a “gender reveal” stunt gone badly wrong, a small plane crashed in Texas after “dump[ing] about 350 gallons of pink water” to indicate that a friend of the pilot was going to have a daughter.According to a National Transportation Safety Board report into the crash, which happened near the town of Turkey on 7 September, “the pilot reported, that while maneuvering at a low altitude in an aerial applicator airplane, he dumped about 350 gallons of pink water for a gender reveal.“The airplane ‘got too slow’, aerodynamically stalled, impacted terrain and came to rest inverted.”The pilot reported no mechanical failures or malfunctions before the plane crashed.The NTSB report added: “The Federal Aviation Administration inspector … [said] there were two persons on board the single-seat airplane.”The pilot was not injured. The passenger suffered minor injuries.Gender reveal parties let expecting parents reveal whether they are going to have a boy or a girl. Stunts gone wrong have become a staple of online reporting.In Iowa in October, a 56-year-old grandmother was killed when a device meant to shoot out coloured powder exploded instead.In Arizona in 2017, a man fired a rifle at a target that exploded, releasing blue powder. It also started a wildfire that burned 73 sq miles of mostly Forest Service land. The man was ordered to pay nearly $8m in restitution.Earlier this year, Jenna Karvunidis, a mother of three who in 2008 was one of the first people to hold a gender reveal, told the Guardian she “had released something bad into the world”.Aside from accidents, Karvunidis said she regretted the focus of such events on traditional notions of gender.“I started to realize that nonbinary people and trans people were feeling affected by this,” she said, “and I started to feel bad.”


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  • Mexico makes arrests in last week's massacre of 3 women, 6 children

    Mexico makes arrests in last week's massacre of 3 women, 6 childrenMexico has made an unspecified number of arrests in last week's massacre of three women and six children of dual U.S-Mexican nationality in the north of the country, Security Minister Alfonso Durazo said on Monday. "There have been arrests, but it's not up to us to give information," Durazo told reporters in Mexico City.


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  • Kavanaugh Makes Rare Public Foray for Group Vetting Trump Judges

    Kavanaugh Makes Rare Public Foray for Group Vetting Trump Judges(Bloomberg) -- Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh has done his best to keep a low profile in the 13 months since one of the most polarizing Senate confirmation fights in U.S. history.From the bench, his questions have been evenhanded and his opinions have been measured. His public appearances have been rare.But Kavanaugh will be back in the spotlight when he gives the featured dinner speech on Thursday at the annual Washington convention of the Federalist Society, the powerful conservative legal group that helped put him on the court.The appearance, in front of an organization Kavanaugh joined in 1988 as a law student, will offer a reminder of his professional roots and help showcase the group’s success in helping load the federal courts with conservative judges -- one of President Donald Trump’s signature achievements.It will also provide a fresh indication of how the Supreme Court’s most controversial justice will navigate the raw feelings that remain after his nomination by Trump and narrow Senate confirmation in the face of sexual assault allegations.About 2,300 people are expected to attend the Antonin Scalia Memorial Dinner, a black-tie-optional event that brings legal luminaries to the cavernous Main Hall of Washington’s Union Station every year. The event will be open to the media, though broadcast coverage will be prohibited.When many Americans last saw Kavanaugh, he was at his Senate confirmation hearing angrily and tearfully denying that he had assaulted Christine Blasey Ford decades ago when both were teenagers.“This whole two-week effort has been a calculated and orchestrated political hit, fueled with apparent pent-up anger about President Trump and the 2016 election,” Kavanaugh said, with rage that would later be lampooned by actor Matt Damon on “Saturday Night Live.”He was confirmed on a 50-48 vote.‘Gracious’ JusticeThat Brett Kavanaugh bears little resemblance to the one who now sits at one end of the Supreme Court bench, seen only by the few hundred people who typically attend its camera-free argument sessions.Kavanaugh tends to politely challenge both sides during arguments, almost always without tipping his hand on his own views. He often chats amicably with Justice Elena Kagan, who sits to his right and seems to have far more to discuss with him than with Justice Samuel Alito on her other side.“He seems quite comfortable,” said Carter Phillips, a veteran Supreme Court lawyer at Sidley Austin. “He’s very gracious, extremely well-prepared. His questions are good.”Kavanaugh’s written opinions have generally been measured. Though he has almost always voted with his conservative colleagues when the court splits along ideological lines, he has eschewed the sweeping rhetoric of Trump’s other Supreme Court appointee, Neil Gorsuch. On occasion, Kavanaugh has written separate opinions to describe his position as a limited one.“He appears more cautious and pragmatic than Gorsuch, but it’s too early to tell too much,” said Jonathan Adler, a professor at Case Western Reserve University School of Law.Kavanaugh’s colleagues have publicly welcomed him and said they don’t harbor any ill feelings.“We are all human beings, we all have pasts,” Justice Sonia Sotomayor told a judicial conference in September, according to the Wall Street Journal. “Now whether things occurred or didn’t occur, all of that is irrelevant.”Female ClerksJustice Ruth Bader Ginsburg praised Kavanaugh for hiring four women to serve as his law clerks for his first term, something no justice had done in any term.That decision is as close as Kavanaugh has come to publicly addressing the confirmation controversy since he joined the court.“It was all women, and I think that was not coincidental,” said Melissa Murray, a New York University law professor who testified during the confirmation hearing that she was concerned Kavanaugh would vote to overturn abortion rights. “I think it was intended to be a rebuttal to those who believe those allegations, took those allegations seriously. I think he wanted to sort of counteract the perception that might have been left after the confirmation hearing.”For the public at large, Kavanaugh remains a polarizing figure -- far more so than his longer-serving colleagues. A Marquette Law School poll conducted in September found that 32% of respondents had an unfavorable view of Kavanaugh, with 26% holding a favorable view. No other justice had an unfavorable rating higher than 23%.Though he has met privately with smaller groups, the Federalist Society speech will mark only the second time Kavanaugh has spoken publicly outside the court since the White House ceremony that followed his October 2018 confirmation. Kavanaugh appeared in May with the man he succeeded, Justice Anthony Kennedy, before a conference of judges and lawyers.Standing OvationKavanaugh’s reception at the Federalist Society event is all but certain to be positive, probably overwhelmingly so, though it’s possible he’ll face protests.“I expect he’ll get a very warm reception,” said Adler, a Federalist Society member who plans to attend.Kavanaugh got a lengthy standing ovation when he arrived for last year’s dinner, which took place less than six weeks after the Senate vote. He opted not to give a talk at that event, instead agreeing to speak this year, according to two people familiar with the planning.The Federalist Society’s executive vice president, Leonard Leo, has served as a key adviser to Trump on judicial nominations. Leo declined to be interviewed about Kavanaugh’s work on the court, saying he generally doesn’t comment on individual justices.The dinner is part of a three-day program that features speeches by Gorsuch and Attorney General Bill Barr as well as panel discussions on a plethora of legal topics.“I think it is meaningful that he’s choosing to make a debut of sorts at this particular venue,” Murray said.Chances are Kavanaugh’s speech will steer clear of any discussion of the confirmation controversy. He probably will at least touch on the judicial philosophy that made him a Federalist Society favorite in the first place. He might show the side of himself that promised at his confirmation hearing to be part of a “team of nine” on the court.“I think it will be different than it was in his last public appearance,” said Phillips with a laugh. “He is by nature a gracious and even-tempered person. I expect that that’s the way he will come across.”To contact the reporter on this story: Greg Stohr in Washington at gstohr@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Joe Sobczyk at jsobczyk@bloomberg.net, John Harney, Laurie AsséoFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


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  • Thousands of Twitter 'bots' targeted Kentucky with fake news on election night

    Thousands of Twitter 'bots' targeted Kentucky with fake news on election nightThousands of accounts with "bot-like" automated behavior spreading misinformation about the race.


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  • Taiwan Wants American F-16V Fighters but Will Washington Sell Them?

    Taiwan Wants American F-16V Fighters but Will Washington Sell Them?Taipei is worried about China.


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  • World Bank scales back Uighur school project in China

    World Bank scales back Uighur school project in ChinaThe World Bank announced Monday it was cutting back a vocational education project in China's Xinjiang province, even though an internal investigation did not back up claims the scheme was linked to the mistreatment of minority Muslim Uighurs. "In light of the risks associated with the partner schools, which are widely dispersed and difficult to monitor, the scope and footprint of the project is being reduced," the World Bank said in a statement.


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