Pakistan arrests US-wanted terror suspect in Mumbai attacks
Pakistan on Wednesday arrested a radical cleric and U.S.-wanted terror suspect implicated in the 2008 Mumbai attacks, officials said, just days ahead of Prime Minister Imran Khan's trip to Washington. Hafiz Saeed was taken into custody in Punjab province while traveling from the eastern city of Lahore to the city of Gujranwala, according to counterterrorism official Mohammad Shafiq. Saeed founded the Lashkar-e-Taiba group, which was blamed for the Mumbai attacks that killed 166 people.
07/17/2019 - 11:12 AM
Italian, U.S. police make arrests as Mafia clan looks to regroup
Italian and U.S. police have launched a coordinated crackdown on a Sicilian Mafia family that was seeking to rebuild its power base after years of exile in the United States, Italian investigators said on Wednesday. More than 200 police, including officers from the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), arrested 18 people in Sicily as part of their investigation into the Inzerillo clan in the island's capital Palermo and the allied New York-based Gambino family. A 19th suspect is being sought in the United States.
07/17/2019 - 05:08 AM
Australia calls on China to let Uighur mother and son leave
Australia's government on Wednesday called on China to allow an Australian child and his Uighur mother to leave the country, days after co-signing a letter denouncing Beijing's treatment of the Muslim minority. China has rounded up an estimated one million Uighurs and other mostly Muslim Turkic-speaking minorities into re-education camps in tightly controlled Xinjiang region, in the country's northwest. Sadam Abdusalam has campaigned for months for his Uighur wife, Nadila Wumaier, and their son Lutifeier, whom he has never met, to be allowed to come to Australia.
07/17/2019 - 05:31 AM
What If America Lost a Carrier in a War with Iran?
The Navy simply lacks enough ships and aircraft to meet the increasing demands of its global mission. The recent oil tanker attacks in the Gulf of Oman reinforce the need to reestablish a highly visible U.S. naval deterrent in the Middle East. For eight months last year, no aircraft carrier strike group plied the region, the longest such interruption this millennium. With the United States needing a more robust posture against Iran and confronting renewed challenges in Asia and Europe, several immediate measures and concerted longer-term efforts are critical to ensure America has the carriers it needs.The requirement to maintain carrier presence in the Middle East is a critical part of a broader national security strategy, in which U.S. global security interests necessitate a worldwide force presence. Indeed, the Navy's mission demands remain as high as those of the Cold War, calling on ships to be everywhere seemingly at once, but today's fleet is less than half the size it was 30 years ago.During the Obama administration, a “rebalance” supposedly allowed the Pentagon to focus on Asia and Europe while washing its hands of the Middle East. In reality, we never effectively rebalanced forces in the Indo-Pacific, and the situation on the ground forced us to remain deeply involved in the Middle East. Now with a growing Iranian threat, it would be imprudent to suddenly abandon the region, even as we face renewed challenges in the Pacific, Atlantic and Mediterranean.(This first appeared in June 2019.)
07/16/2019 - 05:41 PM
Chilling first-hand reports of migrant detention centers highlight smell of 'urine, feces,' overcrowded conditions
Government officials and pediatricians who have toured border facilities give first-hand accounts of conditions. USA TODAY compiled their words.
07/17/2019 - 09:49 AM
Investigators 'discover mysterious 200lb load' on board MH370 after take-off
Investigators looking into the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 have discovered a “mysterious 200lb load” added to the flight list after take-off, according to an engineer whose wife and two children were on board. Ghyslain Wattrelos said the cargo was revealed in a report on the passengers and baggage by French investigators. Mr Wattrelos, who believes the flight was deliberately downed, told Le Parisien newspaper: “It was also learned that a mysterious load of 89 kilos was added to the flight list after take-off. A container was also overloaded, without anyone knowing why. It may be incompetence or manipulation. Everything is possible. This will be part of the questions for the Malaysians.” MH370 became one of the world’s greatest aviation mysteries when it vanished with 239 people on board en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on March 8, 2014. French investigators who examined flight data at Boeing’s headquarters in Seattle believe that the pilot was in control of the airliner “right up to the end”. A modern mystery | Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 Mr Wattrelos said the investigators told him the data “lends weight” to the theory that the pilot crashed into the sea in a murder-suicide, although they stressed that there was no proof. The investigators expect it to take up to a year to examine the data fully. However, some experts believe a hijack by a stowaway is a possibility and the mysterious load could lend credence to the theory. Tim Termini, an aviation security specialist, told Channel 5 earlier this month: “It’s highly likely that a hijack took place and again, there’s four options for the hijack. "One is the hijack of the aircraft through a crew member. The second is a hijack coming from a passenger. A third option, which is a fairly unusual one, would be a stowaway. And then of course the fourth option is an electrical takeover of the aircraft from a ground-based station.” Mr Wattrelos, 54, who has led a campaign to find out what happened to the flight, acknowledged that “there is a risk that I may never learn the full truth.” Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings.
07/16/2019 - 12:55 PM
Jon Stewart Eviscerates Rand Paul for Blocking 9/11 Victim Funding: ‘It’s an Abomination’
One month ago, former Daily Show host Jon Stewart went on Fox News to shame Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for failing to protect 9/11 first responders. Wednesday afternoon, he was back on that network to give the other Republican senator from Kentucky a piece of his mind. In an interview with Bret Baier, Stewart immediately took aim at Rand Paul who, along with Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), blocked a Senate bill that would extend the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund, making the case that it should be offset by other spending cuts. Responding directly to Paul, Stewart called his objection “absolutely outrageous,” adding, “Pardon me if I’m not impressed in any way by Rand Paul’s fiscal responsibility virtue signaling.” Jon Stewart Fires Back at Mitch McConnell on ‘Colbert’: Stop ‘Jacking Around’ 9/11 First RespondersStewart went on to condemn Paul for supporting President Trump’s $1.5 trillion tax cut that “added hundreds of billions of dollars to our deficit” and now trying to “balance the budget on the backs of the 9/11 first responder community.” “Bret, this is about what kind of society we have,” a clearly furious Stewart continued. “At some point, we have to stand up for the people who have always stood up for us, and at this moment in time maybe cannot stand up for themselves due to their illnesses and their injuries. And what Rand Paul did today on the floor of the Senate was outrageous.” “He is a guy who put us in hundreds of billions of dollars in debt,” he said of Paul. “And now he’s going to tell us that a billion dollars a year over 10 years is just too much for us to handle? You know, there are some things that they have no trouble putting on the credit card, but somehow when it comes to the 9/11 first responder community—the cops, the firefighters, the construction workers, the volunteers, the survivors—all of a sudden we’ve got to go through this.” Appearing next to Stewart was 9/11 first responder and activist John Feal, who thanked the host and Fox News as a whole for being so “generous” with their time on this issue before calling Senators Paul and Lee “bottom-feeders” who “lack humanity” and “lack leadership.”Stewart said survivors like Feal and others shouldn’t have to “drag themselves back to Washington, put their hats in their hands and beg for something that this country should have done 14 years ago,” adding, “It’s an abomination.” 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.
07/17/2019 - 07:00 PM
Drug makers flooded US with billions of opioid pills as epidemic surged, data shows
Statistics are a blow to country’s biggest pharmaceuticals that paid millions of dollars in out of court settlementsPurdue sold $3bn of its high-strength branded drug, OxyContin, which in 2010, was about one-third of the opioid market by value at its peak. Photograph: Toby Talbot/APDrug makers and distributors flooded the US with more than 75bn opioid pills in the crucial years when the country’s epidemic of painkiller addiction and deaths surged to record levels, according to previously secret data released by an American court.The publication of the Drug Enforcement Administration statistics is a blow to some of the country’s biggest pharmaceutical firms that have paid hundreds of millions of dollars in out of court settlements in part to keep sealed evidence that they profiteered from escalating demand for opioids even as public health officials were declaring an epidemic.The database covers 2006 to 2012 when opioid prescriptions reached a peak of 282m a year, enough to supply every American adult with a month’s worth of pills. By then, annual sales of narcotic painkillers had surged past $8bn.US district judge Dan Polster, in federal court in Cleveland, Ohio, is hearing about 2,000 civil cases brought by cities and counties coast-to-coast against opioid makers and distributors, wrapped into a giant case known as a multi-district litigation.He ordered the release of the data following a year-long legal battle by newspaper companies the Charleston Gazette-Mail in West Virginia, the state worst hit by the opioid epidemic, and the Washington Post.Deliveries of the two most common opioids, hydrocodone and oxycodone, escalated by more than 50% in the years covered by the database, to 12.6bn pills in 2012 alone, an analysis of the DEA numbers by the Washington Post found.By then the federal agency the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) had declared a public health crisis because of the surging death toll from overdoses. Some of the largest increases in sales were to parts of the country already devastated by opioids.Nearly nine out of 10 of the pills were manufactured by subsidiaries of three pharmaceutical multinationals – Mallinckrodt, Endo and Actavis, since renamed Allergan.These companies may not be household names but the pills they sold ardently, often allegedly inappropriately for treatment of chronic pain and while downplaying the risks of addiction, infiltrated communities all across the US in the last two decades.Mallinckrodt sold nearly 29bn opioids in the six years to 2012, taking 38% of the US market. Actavis was not far behind while Endo sold 11bn opioid tablets. Among Endo’s drugs was a high-strength opioid, Opana, that it was forced to pull from the market because it was killing so many people.Meanwhile Purdue Pharma is alleged to have played a leading role in driving the mass prescribing that unleashed the epidemic by changing the practice and culture of pain treatment. It was the fourth-largest manufacturer but with a much smaller proportion of the market at about 3%t.However, the volume of sales does not necessarily reflect the impact of individual drugs on the epidemic. Many of the more common painkillers were lower-strength opioids which helped create dependency and addiction but did not pose the same risk of overdose as stronger but less widely prescribed narcotics.Purdue sold $3bn of its high-strength branded drug, OxyContin, in 2010, about one-third of the opioid market by value at its peak.The pill consists of oxycodone, a powerful opioid derived from the opium poppy and which is stronger than morphine. The drug has been widely blamed for a surge in overdose deaths through the 2000s.All of the companies are targets of multiple lawsuits accusing them of driving up opioid sales with false claims about the safety and effectiveness of their drugs as are the members of the Sackler family who own Purdue Pharma.The newly released DEA data will bolster the plaintiffs’ claim that responsibility for the epidemic runs wide across the drug industry with manufacturers intent on grabbing as large a part of the opioid market as possible with little regard for the unfolding human tragedy.The opioid makers have denied wrongdoing and, among other things, sought to place blame for the epidemic on doctors overprescribing drugs. But Purdue has previously been hit with a $600m fine for a criminal conviction over its marketing of opioids, and in March the company agreed to pay $270m to settle a civil suit by the state of Oklahoma. Two years ago, Mallinckrodt paid a $35m settlement with the justice department over its opioid deliveries.County-by-county data shows that sales of opioids were often focused on areas most blighted by the epidemic, including some of the poorest parts of Appalachia. At one point, the highest per capita deliveries were to rural Mingo county, West Virginia, where “pill mills” and pharmacies were raking in money by churning out prescriptions without question to anyone who paid cash. The practice drew caravans of drug users from hundreds of miles away.Large numbers of the opioids delivered to Mingo county were by the country’s biggest drug distributor, McKesson Corporation. The Washington Post said the DEA data showed that McKesson and five other companies, including the pharmaceutical chains Walgreens, CVS and Walmart, were responsible for the bulk of painkiller deliveries across the US.McKesson, which is listed seventh in the Fortune 500 paid a record $150m fine two years ago to settle federal accusations that it was making suspiciously large deliveries of opioids to places where there could not be a legitimate demand for so many pills.It was also among companies that paid millions of dollars to settle lawsuits by West Virginia’s attorney general that they flooded his state with opioids.A former head of the DEA division responsible for monitoring prescription drug distribution, Joe Rannazzisi, has previously told the Guardian that he attempted to launch criminal prosecutions against McKesson and other distributors but he ran into the power of the industry’s political lobbying and was blocked by justice department officials.
07/17/2019 - 03:27 PM
How Kim Jong Un Got Mercedes-Benz Pullman Limos Home to North Korea
Researchers tracked the luxury cars all the way from the Netherlands, in apparent defiance of sanctions.
07/16/2019 - 06:30 PM
US sets tight travel limitations for Iran's UN diplomats
The U.S. is tightly limiting travel by Iranian officials visiting or assigned to the United Nations, sparking concern from the world body. Representatives to the U.N. from Iran and some other countries have long had some limitations on their movements. Visiting officials, Iranian diplomats posted at the country's U.N. mission and their families now can travel only among Kennedy airport and three places in Manhattan: the mission, the Iranian ambassador's residence and a six-block radius that includes the U.N. headquarters, according to a diplomatic note sent Saturday to Iranian officials and seen by The Associated Press.
07/17/2019 - 08:41 PM
Over-the-Top Ice Cream Sandwich Recipes That Are Worth Every Calorie
07/16/2019 - 06:07 PM
U.S. judge blasts drug lord El Chapo's 'overwhelming evil,' imposes life sentence
Guzman, 62, berated the U.S. justice system, and a former associate described how he had paid a gang $1 million to try to kill her before U.S. District Judge Brian Cogan imposed the mandatory sentence of life plus 30 years. Cogan also ordered Guzman to forfeit $12.6 billion in a hearing in federal court in Brooklyn. A jury in February convicted Guzman of trafficking tons of cocaine, heroin and marijuana and engaging in multiple murder conspiracies as a top leader of the Sinaloa Cartel, long known as one of Mexico's largest, most violent drug trafficking organizations.
07/17/2019 - 06:03 AM
'I miss their laughter': Grieving crash dad slams 'shameful' Boeing
Paul Njoroge, whose wife, three children and mother-in-law died in the March 10 Ethiopian Airlines disaster, testified before the US House Transportation and Infrastructure Aviation Subcommittee during a hearing on the state of aviation safety. "I miss their laughter, their playfulness, their touch," Njoroge said in his written testimony. The congressional hearings follow the global grounding of US manufacturer Boeing's MAX fleet after the Ethiopian crash and an earlier Lion Air MAX disaster in Indonesia.
07/18/2019 - 01:40 AM
2-year-old girl who disappeared from Michigan campsite found alive
Police have found the 2-year-old who went missing from a campsite in Comins Township, Michigan, on Monday. The search lasted more than 24 hours.
07/16/2019 - 02:49 PM
Rev. Jesse Jackson asks President Trump to pardon former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich
The Reverend Jesse Jackson and his son, Jesse Jackson Jr., are asking President Donald Trump to release former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich from prison.
07/16/2019 - 08:39 AM
North Carolina father of 7 dies trying to save his drowning children at beach
A North Carolina father drowned Sunday while rescuing two of his youngchildren who were swept away by a wave while walking on a submerged jetty atWrightsville Beach
07/17/2019 - 03:36 PM
Asylum seekers waiting in Nuevo Laredo fear lurking dangers
The round-faced woman from La Ceiba, Honduras, and her 5- and 12-year-old sons arrived in this city across the border from Laredo, Texas, where she had been promised a job and hoped to build a new life. As the United States tries to slow the flow of mostly Central American migrants and asylum seekers to its southern border and pressures Mexico to assist, months-long stays on the Mexican side of the frontier have become the rule for many. The U.S. government tells its own employees not to set foot in nearly all parts of the state.
07/18/2019 - 12:06 AM
Landlords Sue NYC Over New Rent Caps on a Million Apartments
(Bloomberg) -- New York City’s rent-stabilization law is under attack after a group of real-estate trade groups and landlords sued to overturn regulations that cover more than 1 million apartments.The decades-old law that limits rent increases violates the U.S. Constitution by placing an unfair burden on property owners, particularly those who own pre-1974 buildings with six or more units, according to the suit, filed Monday in federal court in Brooklyn.The state legislature, now under full Democratic control, adopted sweeping tenant protections in June that further cap rent increases and restrict landlords’ ability to evict residents. The massive rewrite of the rent rules, which cover about 2.4 million residents, aimed to preserve affordable housing by eliminating tools landlords used to remove units from regulation. The package also abolished a “vacancy bonus” that allowed property owners to raise rents 20% when a tenant left.The plaintiffs say the update further eroded their rights and that the law’s “irrationality and arbitrariness” and “web of restrictions override core rights of property owners.”Read More: NYC Tenants Get a Rent-Law Blessing That Landlords See as CurseThe landlords claim the rules have morphed over the years so that they benefit too many higher earners, while renters who make less than $35,000 a year account for just 38% of rent-stabilized renters. The breakdown is about the same for unregulated apartments, the groups claim, suggesting the law isn’t much different from the unregulated market.The trade groups claim that 22% of rent-stabilized tenants make more than $100,000 a year and that married couples without children are over-represented in rent-stabilized apartments despite being less likely to suffer rental hardship than couples with children.The city said the suit threatens ordinary New Yorkers.“Dismantling rent stabilization would be a devastating blow to everyday New Yorkers who are working hard to call this great city home,” Jane Meyer, the mayor’s deputy press secretary, said in a statement. She said the city would review the suit and continue to “fight to protect affordability, prevent harassment and keep this a city for everyone.”Supreme Court SnubTenants-rights groups argued the changes were needed to counter decades of abuse by some landlords and a shrinking supply of affordable housing. Tens of thousands of apartments have been removed from rent-stabilized status, sending rents higher as neighborhoods are gentrified. The effort won support from Governor Andrew Cuomo, a third-term Democrat, as well as New York City mayor and 2020 presidential candidate Bill de Blasio.The U.S. Supreme Court rejected a challenge to the city’s rent-stabilization system in 2012, turning away an appeal from landlords who said the city had violated their constitutional rights by limiting rents on three one-bedroom apartments in their Upper West Side brownstone. The state of New York defended the statute, citing previous Supreme Court decisions that judges “should not sit as super-legislatures reviewing matters of economic policy, but should ask only whether a legislature’s policy judgments are rational.”Among the plaintiffs is the Rent Stabilization Association, which represents 25,000 landlords. When the law was amended, the landlords said it would cause buildings to fall into disrepair because owners wouldn’t be able to afford to maintain them.The case is Community Housing Improvement Program v. City of New York, 19-cv-4087, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York (Brooklyn).(Updates with second paragraph under Supreme Court Snub)\--With assistance from Gerald Porter Jr..To contact the reporters on this story: Erik Larson in New York at firstname.lastname@example.org;Henry Goldman in New York at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: David Glovin at firstname.lastname@example.org, Peter JeffreyFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
07/16/2019 - 05:13 PM
Iran Loves This: The Royal Navy Doesn’t Have Enough Ships to Patrol Persian Gulf
The Royal Navy plans briefly to double its number of warships in the Persian Gulf following an attempted attack by Iranian forces on a British oil tanker on June 20, 2019.But the temporary increase in British warships in the region, from one to two, underscores just how few ships the Royal Navy can deploy even in an emergency.Iranian boats tried to “impede” the British oil tanker near the Strait of Hormuz, the BBC reported. HMS Montrose, a Type 23 frigate, “was forced to move between the three boats and the tanker,” according to the BBC.The British government claimed the attacking boats belonged to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps militia. The IRGC also allegedly was behind several recent bomb attacks targeting oil tankers in the Gulf and surrounding waters.Tensions have escalated in the Middle East following U.S. president Donald Trump decision unilaterally to withdraw the United States from the 2015 deal limiting Iran’s nuclear program. After Trump restored economic sanctions, Tehran resumed stockpiling uranium.The July 2019 tanker incident compelled the Royal Navy to accelerate by several weeks a planned deployment to the Gulf by the Type 45 destroyer HMS Duncan. Montrose and Duncan together will patrol the Persian Gulf before Montrose returns to U.K. waters for maintenance.Duncan sailed south through the Bosphorus on July 13, 2019. The destroyer had been in the Black Sea region for NATO exercises.
07/16/2019 - 08:22 AM
Man arrested in slaying of 75-year-old community activist
The suspect in the slaying of a community leader who founded Baton Rouge's African American history museum was a tenant who owed her back rent, authorities said Tuesday. Ronn Jermaine Bell, 38, was arrested Tuesday on a charge of first-degree murder, city Police Chief Murphy J. Paul told news reporters. Bell is being held in the East Baton Rouge Parish jail.
07/16/2019 - 06:22 PM
'You must be stupid': Duterte says he won't be tried by international court
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has declared he will never be tried by an international court for mass killings in his war on drugs, and vowed no let up in a crackdown that he said he was winning and would see through "to the very end". In a television interview with a celebrity pastor, the firebrand leader said the Philippine justice system was working fine, so it would be "stupid" to imagine he would let an international court put him on trial.
07/17/2019 - 04:34 AM
UK raises alarm after mother held by Iran is taken to mental ward
London demanded the immediate release Wednesday of a jailed British-Iranian aid worker whose husband said she has been transferred to the mental ward of a public hospital in Tehran. Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe's case has roiled Britain's relations with the Islamic republic since her 2016 arrest and conviction on sedition charges over which she has held a series of hunger strikes. "We are extremely concrned about Nazanin's welfare and call for her immediate release," Prime Minister Theresa May's spokesman said.
07/17/2019 - 11:38 AM
Teachers union has become an arm of the abortion-rights left. Conservatives should quit.
Why would the NEA go out of its way to take extreme stands on hot-button issues so far removed from the real problems facing our nation’s schools?
07/17/2019 - 07:00 AM
National $15 minimum wage expected to pass in House of Representatives this week
The "Raise the Wage Act" would make 15-dollars an hour a reality for all American workers by 2024.
07/16/2019 - 03:24 PM
At least 1 dead, 15 injured — including 3 firefighters — in California house explosion
A California gas company reports one of its employees died in an explosion Monday afternoon in Murietta, California.
07/16/2019 - 12:05 PM
Trump’s Cabinet has become severe headache for his White House
The president who promised an all-star cast instead faces the highest Cabinet turnover in recent history.
07/16/2019 - 05:04 AM
Turkey calls on US to reverse decision on F-35 exclusion
Washington's decision to exclude Turkey from an American-led fighter jet program goes against the "spirit of alliance," the Turkish government said Thursday, and called on its NATO ally to reverse the decision. In a major break with a longtime ally, U.S. President Donald Trump's administration on Wednesday said Turkey is being kicked out of the F-35 program because it is buying the Russian S-400 air defense system.
07/18/2019 - 03:21 AM
Big Guns: Army Prototypes Range-Doubling New Artillery Weapon to Outgun Russia
The Army is building prototypes of a new artillery cannon that can more than double the range of existing weapons and vastly alter the strategic and tactical landscape shaping land war into the future.The Army program, called Extended Range Cannon Artillery, has been developing for several years; it is now entering a new phase through an Army deal with BAE Systems to build “Increment 1” prototypes.“This prototype phase will address capability gaps in the Army’s indirect fire systems and improve the rate and range of fire with the development of power distribution software and hardware integration solutions,” a BAE Systems statement said.During testing thus far, the Army has successfully fired a 155mm artillery round 62 kilometers - marking a technical breakthrough in the realm of land-based weapons and progressing toward its stated goal of being able to outrange and outgun Russian and Chinese weapons.Currently, most land-fired artillery shot from an M777 Towed Howitzer or Self-Propelled Howitzer are able to pinpoint targets out to 30km - so hitting 62km dramatically changes Army offensive attack capability. As part of an effort to ensure the heavy M777 is sufficiently mobile, the Army completed a “mobility” demonstration of ERCA prototypes last year.
07/17/2019 - 03:02 AM
House Vote to Repeal Obamacare Tax Shows Health Care Tension
(Bloomberg) -- The House voted overwhelmingly to repeal a tax Wednesday intended to fund the Affordable Care Act, preserving tax breaks for employer-sponsored insurance plans favored by large corporations.In a reversal of the usual partisan roles, Democrats rather than Republicans led the charge to kill a key part of Obamacare.The bill to repeal the levy commonly known as the “Cadillac tax” passed 419-6 with bipartisan support. The 40% excise tax on the most generous and expensive employer health-insurance plans was included in Obamacare as a measure that economists said would help curb health costs.Congress kept delaying its implementation so the tax has never actually been collected. Had it gone into effect, it would have hit about one in five employers that offer health benefits to their workers, according to estimates from the Kaiser Family Foundation.The vote to repeal the tax highlights the conflicting forces pulling at Democrats when campaigning versus legislating.Several of the party’s presidential candidates led by Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren support replacing nearly all private insurance with a government-run system financed by tax increases. Former Vice President Joe Biden, the front-runner in the race, has a less sweeping plan to bolster Obamacare, but it still would offer a public health insurance option funded by tax hikes on the wealthy.But in Congress, Democrats and Republicans are facing pressure from labor unions and large companies to move in the opposite direction by keeping tax advantages for employer-sponsored plans. Supporters of repealing the tax say keeping it in place would force employers to offer less generous health insurance to their workers.Employers can reap large tax savings by compensating their employees in the form of more extensive health insurance, rather than wages, which are subject to payroll taxes. Employer-paid premiums are exempt from federal income and payroll taxes, and the premiums employees pay are also often excluded from taxable income.Changing Minds“I’ve been a supporter of the Cadillac tax because I thought it would” lower health care costs, said Representative Steny Hoyer of Maryland, the No. 2 Democrat in the House. “But I’ve read some additional material on it and it’s obviously overwhelmingly thought this will not have the effect in terms of raising money or controlling cost that I thought it would have.”The dissonance among Democrats about whether to expand or shrink employer-sponsored health coverage makes them look like “gymnasts,” said Representative Mike Kelly, a Pennsylvania Republican.“Where are you on this stuff?” he said. “Wait a minute, you’re all advocating that there be no such thing as employer-sponsored coverage.”The repeated delays in imposing the Cadillac tax delays mean that Congress was never able to test whether it would curb the explosion of health care spending, which has risen an average 4.2% every quarter between 2010 and 2018, according to data from the Kaiser Family Foundation.The repeal also would mean that the Treasury Department won’t collect the $201 billion the Joint Committee on Taxation estimated it would raise over a decade.Obamacare TaxesObamacare included several other tax increases, including a 3.8% tax on investment income and a 0.9% levy on wages for top-earners. The portion of the law that was supposed to be financed through the Cadillac tax instead would be paid for through deficit spending, unless lawmakers propose a last-minute tax increase to offset the cost.Democrats have generally opposed measures to chip away at President Barack Obama’s signature legislative achievement, but the Cadillac tax has been unpopular since it became part of the code.The measure to repeal it, H.R. 748, was passed under a fast-track procedure requiring two-thirds support among House members.Yet popularity doesn’t necessarily mean good policy, said Marc Goldwein, senior vice president at the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget. Politicians don’t like the tax on health benefits, but nearly every economist thinks the Cadillac tax or a similar measure is necessary to help slow the rise in health-care costs and curb overuse of health services, he added.“Just because it’s bipartisan doesn’t mean it’s good,” he said.Not all Democrats are on board with eliminating the tax. Representative Ron Kind, a Wisconsin Democrat, said he opposes the repeal because the cost isn’t offset and there wasn’t any discussion about how scuttling the tax would affect the Affordable Care Act overall.“I think we are lapsing into some very bad habits in the majority,” he said. “We need to start instilling some fiscal discipline in this place and making some tough decisions.”Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, hasn’t committed to addressing the issue in his chamber. Because the repeal effort is led by Democrats, it sets up a path for McConnell to use it as a vehicle to attach Republican tax priorities, such as correcting errors in the 2017 tax law or extending several expired tax breaks that benefit the biodiesel and energy industries.“We’ve kicked the can down the road for so long on this one that the assumption is that it’s never going to go into effect,” said Representative Dan Kildee, a Michigan Democrat. “There’s a certain inevitability to this one getting repealed.”\--With assistance from Emily Wilkins.To contact the reporter on this story: Laura Davison in Washington at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Joe Sobczyk at firstname.lastname@example.org, Laurie AsséoFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
07/17/2019 - 06:58 PM
Your Kids Won't Have Any Room For Candy After These Halloween Dinner Ideas
07/17/2019 - 03:46 PM
Ukraine says transport organizer of missile that shot down MH-17 plane in jail
Ukraine said on Wednesday a rebel who organized the trailer carrying the missile that shot down a Malaysian airliner in 2014 had been captured two years ago and was now serving a sentence in Ukraine. Malaysia Airlines Flight MH-17 from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur was shot out of the sky over eastern Ukraine during a rebellion by Russian-backed separatists, killing all 298 people on board. A Dutch-led team of investigators has blamed Russia for supplying the surface-to-air missile that shot it down.
07/17/2019 - 10:25 AM
First US murder conviction overturned using DNA, family tree evidence
An American man was exonerated Wednesday for a decades-old murder he did not commit, using evidence based on DNA and a genetic family tree, the first such result using a revolutionary investigative technique. Christopher Tapp, 43, had served 20 of his 30-year sentence for the 1996 rape and murder of Angie Dodge. On Wednesday, a court in the state of Idaho completely overturned his conviction based on evidence found with "genetic genealogy" -- the technique used to identify the suspected "Golden State Killer" by making DNA matches with his distant relatives.
07/17/2019 - 08:46 PM
June was the warmest June ever recorded, but there's a bigger problem
In 139 years of record-keeping, this June was the warmest June ever recorded. But June 2019 also revealed a deeper warming reality. The first half of 2019, January through June, finished up as the second warmest half-year on record, newly released NASA data shows. On top of that, each of the last five January through Junes are now the five warmest such spans on record. Only 2016 started off hotter than 2019. "At this point, the inexorable increase in global temperatures is entirely predictable," said Sarah Green, an environmental chemist at Michigan Technological University. She noted that NASA's updated data is added proof that climate models have accurately predicted Earth's continued warming as heat-trapping gasses amass in the atmosphere."As we have shown in recent work, the record warm streaks we've seen in recent years simply cannot be explained without accounting for the profound impact we are having on the planet through the burning of fossil fuels and the resulting increase in atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations," added climate scientist Michael Mann, the director of the Earth System Science Center at Penn State University.Indeed, atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations, already at their highest levels in at least 800,000 years, are now accelerating at rates that are unprecedented in both the historic and geologic record."The latest numbers are just another reminder that the impacts of human-caused warming are no longer subtle," said Mann. "We're seeing them play out in terms of both unprecedented extreme weather events and the sorts of planetary-scale temperature extremes betrayed by these latest numbers."The warmest January through Junes on record.Image: nasa gissThe well-predicted consequences of this heating are now unfolding. Here are some, of many, examples: * Warming climes have doubled the amount of land burned by wildfires in the U.S. over the last 30 years, as plants and trees, notably in California, get baked dry. * Greenland -- home to the second largest ice sheet on Earth -- is melting at unprecedented rates. * The last 12 months have been the wettest 12 months in U.S. history, leading to widespread flooding around the nation (For every 1 degree Celsius, or 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit, of warming, the air can hold 7 percent more water.) * The Arctic is on fire. * Ocean temperatures are going up, and up, and up. * Since 1961, Earth's glaciers lost 9 trillion tons of ice. That's the weight of 27 billion 747s. * Heat waves are increasing in duration and frequency, while smashing records. * Daily high record temperatures are dominating daily low records. Overall, the atmosphere is experiencing an accelerated upward temperature climb, though there are some ups and downs within the greater warming trend. This is due to natural climatic influences, particularly from events like El Niño, which can give global temperatures an added kick. > NASA global mean June temperature is out! Guess what - it's been the hottest June on record. Definitely felt like that in Germany... climatecrisis FridaysForFuture pic.twitter.com/vkOFP22NNM> > -- Stefan Rahmstorf (@rahmstorf) July 15, 2019"The year-to-year variations of the global temperature may be affected by El Niño, etc., but in the long-term [global temperature] keeps increasing steadily," said NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies scientist Makiko Sato, who helped prepare the June climate observations. SEE ALSO: This scientist keeps winning money from people who bet against climate changeThis June was "easily" the warmest June on record, NASA noted, and overall, this year's January through June temperatures were 1.4 degrees Celsius (or 2.5 degrees Fahrenheit) above average temperatures in the late 1800s. Seasonal temperature trends.Image: nasa Giss2019 will almost certainly end up being one of the hottest years on record. This is in line with another stark trend. Eighteen of the 19 warmest years on record have occurred since 2001 -- and the five hottest years have occurred in each of the last five years. (It's not just the first half of each year setting records.)"This is further evidence that temperatures will keep rising until government policies that decrease greenhouse gas emissions are actually implemented," emphasized Green. WATCH: Ever wonder how the universe might end?
07/16/2019 - 06:00 AM
'Dangerous': Air Force responds to plans to 'storm Area 51' and 'see them aliens'
As more than a million people on Facebook say they're "going" to a joke event to "storm Area 51," the U.S. military has responded to the plans.
07/16/2019 - 02:39 PM
Trump’s better deal with Iran looks a lot like Obama’s
Trump has repeatedly urged Iran to negotiate, saying that Tehran’s nuclear ambitions are his chief concern, talking points that experts say echo the 2015 deal.
07/17/2019 - 05:05 AM
'Justice wasn't served': 50 years since Chappaquiddick
The crash ended a young woman's life, and with it, a man's White House dreams. U.S. Sen. Edward M. Kennedy's Oldsmobile sedan veered off a narrow bridge on Chappaquiddick Island, an extension of the resort island of Martha's Vineyard off the Massachusetts coast, and plunged into a moonlit pond 50 years ago Thursday. Kennedy, 37, survived, but his presidential ambitions did not.
07/16/2019 - 11:13 AM
What Rare Earths Tell Us about China's Competitive Strategy
The recent debate over whether or not China will carry through on its threats to stop exporting rare earth minerals to the United States is an important one. It raises deeply unsettling questions about the strength of America's defense industrial supply chain. But Beijing’s monopolization of the global rare earths industry gives it far more than a card to play in an escalating trade war. The game is far bigger and the stakes higher than even many national-security experts seem to realize.In the minds of Chinese strategists, this issue is ultimately about which nation, China or America, wins the central struggle of the twenty-first century, the race for world leadership. Obviously, they intend to win and to win big.The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) considers rare earths to be essential for growing China’s power and eclipsing the United States. Official Chinese propaganda outlets recently called rare earths “strategic resources” for the “six new technology groups” that Beijing sees as engines of China’s future strength. These include information technology, medical technology, new materials, new energy sources, space technology, and advanced shipbuilding. According to the report, a major breakthrough in the application of rare earths is being made every five years, and one out of every six new inventions involves these minerals.
07/17/2019 - 12:27 PM
Planned Parenthood president forced out after only 8 months
The president of Planned Parenthood, Dr. Leana Wen, was ousted Tuesday after just eight months on the job as the organization faced unprecedented challenges related to its role as the leading abortion provider in the U.S. Wen, in a Twitter post, said she learned that Planned Parenthood's board "ended my employment at a secret meeting." She indicated the board wanted more emphasis on political advocacy, while she sought to prioritize Planned Parenthood's role as a provider of health care services ranging from birth control to cancer screenings. "We were engaged in good faith negotiations about my departure based on philosophical differences over the direction and future of Planned Parenthood," Wen said.
07/16/2019 - 05:57 PM
US military chiefs ordered to reveal if Pentagon used diseased insects as biological weapon
US lawmakers have voted to demand the Pentagon discloses whether it conducted experiments to “weaponise” disease-carrying ticks – and whether any such insects were let loose outside the lab.A bill passed in the House of Representatives requires the Defence Department’s inspector general to investigate whether biological warfare tests involving the tiny arachnids took place over a 25-year period.It follows claims that Pentagon researchers implanted diseases into inspects to study the potential of biological weapons in the decades after the Second World War.A tick-related amendment, first reported by Roll Call, was added to the fiscal 2020 defence authorisation bill by Republican congressman Chris Smith prior to its passing in the House.The New Jersey politician said the inspector general’s office should “conduct a review of whether the Department of Defence experimented with ticks and other insects regarding use as a biological weapon between the years of 1950 and 1975.”If the experiments did take place, the office must provide a report explaining “whether any ticks or insects used in such experiments were released outside of any laboratory by accident or experiment design”, the amendment also stated.A book released earlier this year, entitled Bitten: The Secret History of Lyme Disease and Biological Weapons, sets out the case that the Defence Department did conduct research on biological warfare.Author Kris Newby also suggests a possible relationship between the experiments and the spread of Lyme disease – an infectious disease spread by ticks causing fever, headaches and fatigue.“We need answers and we need them now,” said Mr Smith, a founding co-chairman of the Congressional Lyme Disease Caucus, which advocates for greater understanding of the disease.Pat Smith, president of the Lyme Disease Association, said uncovering past experiments might help with current work trying to tackle the illness.“We need to find out: is there anything in this research that was supposedly done that can help us to find information that is germane to patient health and combating the spread of the disease,” she said.The defence authorisation bill still needs to pass in the Senate before heading to Donald Trump’s desk at the White House.
07/16/2019 - 07:04 AM
Ex-chairman of Vietnam's BIDV bank dies in detention
A former head of Vietnam's second largest listed bank, the Joint Stock Commercial Bank for Investment and Development of Vietnam (BIDV), died in detention on Thursday, state media and three sources with direct knowledge of the situation said. Tran Bac Ha was arrested in November last year in a widening crackdown on corruption in the Southeast Asian country, which has seen its Communist-ruled government launch investigations into hundreds of public officials and several executives at state-owned enterprises jailed. Ha had not stood trial and was being held at a military detention center near Hanoi, the Vietnamese capital, the Tuoi Tre newspaper reported.
07/18/2019 - 03:22 AM
Hong Kong's expat police become focus of protester rage
A peculiar legacy of Hong Kong's colonial past has emerged as a focal point of rage for anti-government protesters: a dwindling band of expat police officers now vilified for doing the bidding of the city's pro-Beijing leaders. Hong Kong's 32,000-strong police force have found themselves fighting unprecedented running battles with protesters for the past five weeks following a huge backlash to a now-suspended plan to allow extraditions to the Chinese mainland. The crisis -- which has since morphed into a wider anti-government movement -- has placed officers in the firing line of public anger as the city's leaders appear unable, or unwilling, to offer any political solution.
07/17/2019 - 02:46 AM
'What am I supposed to do with you?' Judge bars Roger Stone from social media for breaking gag order
A federal judge ordered former Trump adviser Roger Stone to stop using social media after saying he had violated a gag order in his criminal case.
07/16/2019 - 05:40 PM
View Photos of the Lotus Evija
07/16/2019 - 02:06 PM
Kellyanne Conway challenges reporter who questioned Trump's tweet: 'What's your ethnicity?'
The counselor to the president lashed out at a White House reporter who pressed her on President Trump’s tweets saying four Democratic congresswomen of color should “go back” to their home countries.
07/16/2019 - 01:28 PM
America and Iran: On a Path Towards War?
Iran’s leader has taken a defiant stance against the United States and its allies, signalling a potential “fraying” of the 2015 deal limiting Iran’s nuclear program, The New York Times reported.Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on July 16, 2019 denounced “the vicious British” after U.K. forces earlier in the month seized an Iranian oil tanker off Gibraltar.In a speech to clerics, Khamenei “appeared to signal his intention to ignore diplomacy for the moment and stoke tensions with the West over the embattled nuclear accord,” the Times’ Rick Gladstone wrote.“Khamenei spoke as unconfirmed news reports suggested Iran’s Revolutionary Guards may have seized a United Arab Emirates tanker in the Persian Gulf, possibly in retaliation for Britain’s impounding of an Iranian tanker near Gibraltar this month.”Iranian militia troops had attempted to retaliate on July 10, 2019 by seizing a British tanker in the Strait of Hormuz. A Royal Navy frigate intervened and stopped the assault.Khamenei’s tone has sharpened of late. “The defiance expressed by the top leader ... contrasted with what seemed like a less confrontational stance taken at the White House,” Gladstone added.U.S. president Donald Trump told reporters his administration is “not looking for regime change” in Iran. “They’d like to talk, and we’ll see what happens,” Trump said.Mike Pompeo, the U.S. secretary of state, claimed Iran was willing to negotiate over its missile program, which Gladstone pointed out is “an area of Western concern that was not covered in the 2015 nuclear agreement.”
07/16/2019 - 05:46 PM
Arrested reporter slams conditions at US detention centers
A Spanish-language reporter who was recently released from immigration custody said Wednesday he was held for 15 months in detention centers that were plagued by insects and he had to bathe with cold water from water hoses. During a news conference, Manuel Duran discussed what he called inhumane conditions at immigration detention facilities in Louisiana and Alabama. Duran was released from an Alabama facility on bail last week as immigration courts consider his request for asylum.
07/17/2019 - 05:24 PM
A Military Flyboard Doesn’t Make Any Sense
They’re not useful on the battlefield—even if France might think otherwise.
07/17/2019 - 11:05 AM
Vietnam, China embroiled in South China Sea standoff
Vietnamese and Chinese ships have been embroiled in a weeks-long standoff near an offshore oil block in disputed waters of the South China Sea, which fall within Vietnam's exclusive economic zone, two Washington-based think-tanks said on Wednesday. China's U-shaped "nine-dash line" marks a vast expanse of the South China Sea that it claims, including large swathes of Vietnam's continental shelf where it has awarded oil concessions. One of the oil blocks it surveyed is licensed by Vietnam to Spanish energy firm Repsol, which was forced last year and in 2017 to cease operations in Vietnamese waters because of pressure from China.
07/17/2019 - 02:44 AM
Teenage girl making sexual abuse claim sexually assaulted by detective dealing with case
A Los Angeles County sex crimes investigator accused of raping a teenager after having been assigned to investigate her previous sexual assault allegations has pleaded guilty to lesser charges, and is expected to be sentenced to three years in prison.It was at least the third time the detective, Neil David Kimball of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, was accused of misconduct while on duty, though he was not charged as a result of the first two allegations.District Attorney Gregory Totten of Ventura County, whose office prosecuted the case, said in a statement that Kimball, 46, met the then-15-year-old victim in 2017 when she reported a sexual assault.He befriended her and then sexually assaulted her, according to the statement.Kimball was originally charged with raping the victim while she was tied or bound. Kimball was also accused of “witness intimidation by threat of force”.But Patrice Koenig, a spokesperson for the district attorney’s office, said that prosecutors later determined they could not prove that Kimball had used force during the encounter, which she said took place in his trailer in Camarillo, in southern Ventura County.The girl did not report the encounter. Rather, when a different officer took over her case about a year later, her father told the new investigator about the assault, Ms Koenig said.Kimball pleaded guilty last week to a lewd act with a child and unlawful sexual intercourse, and is expected to be sentenced to three years in prison at his next appearance, on 8 August. He must also register as a sex offender.In a statement, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said that Kimball’s pay was suspended in March and that it was seeking to terminate him immediately. A lawyer for Kimball declined to comment.Kimball’s plea comes just more than a month after Sara Abusheikh, a Los Angeles fashion designer, wrote in a post on Medium about her experience with the detective after she was sexually assaulted by an acquaintance in 2014, and reported it to the authorities.Kimball was assigned to her case, but she wrote that he never investigated, and instead said wildly inappropriate things to her.Ms Abusheikh wrote that Kimball teased her about going back to her assailant and suggested she “let him make love to you gently”.“His only interest in the details of my rape came in the form of perverse, sick questions, and he – most tellingly – suggested he come inside to get high,” she wrote.She later filed a restraining order against her assailant, which led Kimball to joke that she was paranoid, she wrote. When she reported his inappropriate behaviour to his supervisor, word got back to Kimball immediately, she added.The next summer, after getting help from a rape treatment centre, she met with the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office, which declined to prosecute the case, she wrote.A deputy district attorney told her Kimball was “a fine detective” and insisted there was no evidence to back up her claim, she wrote.“And the Special Victims Bureau? It only functioned to protect not one, but two, alleged rapists,” Ms Abusheikh concluded in her essay.The Los Angeles County district attorney’s office declined to comment on Ms Abusheikh’s post.Last year, Ms Abusheikh shared screenshots of text messages she said were from Kimball with The Daily Beast, as well as records of email exchanges with lawyers and patient advocates from the rape treatment centre. She did not return calls or respond to messages seeking further comment.Kimball, a 20-year veteran of the sheriff’s department, was assigned to the Special Victims Bureau in 2013, The Los Angeles Times reported.The bureau has been involved in high-profile cases, including accusations by a young actor that he was sexually abused by Asia Argento, a leading figure in the MeToo movement, who had herself accused the producer Harvey Weinstein of sexual assault. She denied the allegations.In 2009, Kimball was investigated for sexual battery but not charged after an episode at a hotel the previous year, The Los Angeles Times reported.According to the report, which was based on a prosecutor’s memo, the detective had questioned a group of friends in a parking lot.Afterward, women in the group and Kimball went to a hotel room, where some of the women stripped down to their underwear and got into a hot tub as he encouraged them, the memo stated.It also said that one woman accused the detective of grabbing her hand and trying to place it on his genitals.But no charges were filed. Witnesses gave contradictory statements, there was a lack of evidence and the complainant failed to cooperate with investigators, the memo said.Greg Risling, a spokesperson for the Los Angeles County district attorney, confirmed that the office had declined to prosecute Kimball over the hotel incident. In an email, he said that no other cases involving the detective were under review.The Ventura County District Attorney’s Office had also urged any additional victims to come forward, Ms Koenig said, but none did so.Asked last year why Kimball was selected to serve in the Special Victims Bureau even after the 2008 hotel allegations, the sheriff’s department told The Los Angeles Times it would “conduct a review of the internal process” related to the assignment.The department did not respond to a question about the outcome of that review.Grier Weeks, senior executive at the National Association to Protect Children, a non-profit in Knoxville, Tennessee, that pushes for child protection laws, said that the sentence was too light considering the severity of the crime.“There should be more severe penalties for people in positions of authority or trust who assault a child,” he said. “It’s something that has to be treated as the most serious type of assault.”New York Times
07/17/2019 - 03:29 AM
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