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  • Homicides Spike in 50 Largest Cities across Nation news

    Homicides and gun violence have spiked in major cities around the country since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, spurred by an economic recession and unrest that arose from protests against police brutality.Across the nation’s 50 largest cities, homicides are up 24 percent this year, totaling 3,612 so far, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis of police department data. In 36 of those cities, the homicide rate increased by double digits.Shootings have also surged, but other kinds of violent crime have declined, including robberies, which sank 11 percent across the 41 cities that provided such data.Chicago saw the largest jump in homicides, reporting more than 400 more homicides than last year, an increase of more than 50 percent. Philadelphia and New York City came in just behind the country's third-largest city, both tallying more than 200 more homicides this year. Along with Chicago, Austin and Fort Worth, Tx. saw the largest increase in murders.The staggering increase in violence comes after months of protests against police departments that have included calls to defund and dismantle departments in Minneapolis, where the police custody death of George Floyd sparked national outrage. Homicides in Minneapolis have nearly doubled, with 41 homicides compared to 21 by this time last year.Police and crime experts have attributed the spike in violence to a variety of factors, including a rise in gang violence, an economic recession caused by the shutdown of businesses, and the lack of activity during the pandemic by social institutions that historically help tamp down crime, such as churches and schools.Meanwhile, lockdown orders that have kept residents in their homes may help explain the decline in robberies and rapes, since burglars are less likely to target a home with residents inside, and fewer potential victims were on the streets, experts said. The rise in shootings and murders was particularly stark in disadvantaged neighborhoods rather than the sites of protests against racism and police brutality in many cities.The homicide rate in the nation's major cities is still a far cry from the crime levels of previous decades, such as in 1990, when New York City recorded a total of 2,262 murders.

    Mon, 03 Aug 2020 12:04:05 -0400
  • Portland police declare unlawful assembly during protest news

    The Portland Police Bureau declared an unlawful assembly Saturday night when people gathered outside a police precinct in Oregon's largest city and threw bottles toward officers, police said. Until that point, federal, state and local law enforcement had been seemingly absent from the protests Thursday, Friday and Saturday. The demonstrations — that for weeks ended with tear gas, fireworks shot towards buildings, federal agents on the street and injuries to protesters and officers — have recently ended with chanting and conversations. Activists and Oregon officials urged people at Saturday night’s protest in Portland to re-center the focus on Black Lives Matter, three days after the Trump administration agreed to reduce the presence of federal agents.

    Sun, 02 Aug 2020 00:57:46 -0400
  • An Arizona congressman who tested positive for the coronavirus criticized Republican lawmakers for refusing to wear masks in the Capitol news

    Arizona Democrat Rep. Raúl Grijalva tested positive for the coronavirus on Saturday but is currently asymptomatic.

    Sun, 02 Aug 2020 06:35:00 -0400
  • Transcript: Mark Meadows on "Face the Nation" news

    The following is a transcript of an interview with White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows that aired Sunday, August 2, 2020, on "Face the Nation."

    Sun, 02 Aug 2020 11:21:11 -0400
  • Birx: U.S. in 'new phase' of pandemic, with coronavirus 'extraordinarily widespread' news

    Dr. Deborah Birx, coordinator of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, said on Sunday the United States is in a "new phase" of the coronavirus pandemic, and people in every corner of the country must take precautions, from wearing masks to practicing social distancing."What we are seeing today is different from March and April," she told CNN's Dana Bash on State of the Union. "It is extraordinarily widespread. It's into the rural as equal urban areas." For those who live in regions that are less populated, "you are not immune or protected from this virus," Birx continued. "If you're in multi-generational households, and there's an outbreak in your rural area or in your city, you need to really consider wearing a mask at home, assuming that you're positive, if you have individuals in your households with comorbidities."While Birx would not project how many Americans she believes will die of the virus this year, she said it is up to southern and western states where there are several hot spots to ramp up their mitigation efforts. "It's not super spreading individuals," she said. "It's super spreading events and we need to stop those. We definitely need to take more precautions."Every state has to have its own "dramatically tailored" approach to fighting the coronavirus, Birx added, with a "set of recommendations based on what we are seeing at the community level, what we are seeing relevant to hospitals." As of Sunday, there are more than 4.6 million reported cases of COVID-19 in the United States, and at least 154,449 Americans have died of the virus, according to the Johns Hopkins University coronavirus database.More stories from The most damning inside portrait of the Trump administration yet 5 brutally funny cartoons about Bill Barr’s brand of justice Why Democratic voters might stay home on Election Day

    Sun, 02 Aug 2020 23:17:46 -0400
  • Emeritus Pope Benedict, 93, 'extremely frail' after visiting dying brother news

    Former Pope Benedict XVI became seriously ill after visiting his sick brother in Germany in June and is "extremely frail", according to a report in the German Passauer Neue Presse newspaper on Monday. Benedict, 93, is suffering from erysipelas of the face, a virus that causes a rash and episodes of severe pain, the newspaper reported, citing the former pontiff's biographer, Peter Seewald. "According to Seewald, the Pope emeritus is now extremely frail," the report said. "His thinking and his memory are quick, but his voice is hardly audible at the moment." Mr Seewald reportedly visited Benedict in Rome on Saturday to present him with his biography. "At the meeting the emeritus Pope, despite his illness, was optimistic and declared that if his strength increased again he would possibly take up his pen again," the paper said. Benedict visited his sick brother, Georg, in Germany in June, marking his first trip out of Italy since his shock resignation in 2013. Georg Ratzinger died two weeks later, aged 96.

    Mon, 03 Aug 2020 00:25:50 -0400
  • Mexico crime: Mexican police seize alleged oil theft crime boss The Sledgehammer news

    "The Sledgehammer" is caught after releasing a bizarre, tearful video declaring war on security forces.

    Sun, 02 Aug 2020 21:54:11 -0400
  • Jeffrey Epstein's homes in New York and Florida on market for £84m news

    Two homes owned by disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein before his suicide in prison have gone on the market for a combined $110m (£84m).The billionaire child sex offender’s sprawling Manhattan townhouse is listed for $88m (£67m), while his waterfront estate in Palm Beach, Florida, has an asking price of $22m (£17m.)

    Sun, 02 Aug 2020 16:53:10 -0400
  • 'Rest in paradise': Georgia teen loses his mom and dad to COVID-19 in same week news

    Justin Hunter,17, lost his father on July 26 and his mother on July 30. He said they "were a regular family just trying to stay safe."

    Mon, 03 Aug 2020 15:08:35 -0400
  • Russia says suspected mercenaries detained by Belarus were going to Latin America news

    A Russian diplomat said on Monday a group of more than 30 suspected Russian mercenaries detained in Belarus last week were only passing through Minsk and were on their way to an unnamed Latin American state. Belarusian authorities have said they suspect the men entered their country to plot "acts of terrorism" and destabilise it before an Aug. 9 presidential election. The Russian state says it does not use mercenaries.

    Mon, 03 Aug 2020 10:02:17 -0400
  • House committees subpoena top Pompeo aides over IG firing

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    Mon, 03 Aug 2020 13:12:40 -0400
  • Iran has been covering up its coronavirus death toll, according to BBC investigation which says the true figure is almost 3 times higher news

    Both coronavirus deaths and cases are significantly higher than Iran is publicly reporting, according to government figures seen by the BBC.

    Mon, 03 Aug 2020 06:34:08 -0400
  • She got the virus. Then she was fired. Some sick workers left in cold by employers. news

    McDonald's and Marriott franchises are among hundreds of businesses that have illegally denied paid sick leave during the pandemic, records show.

    Mon, 03 Aug 2020 10:45:33 -0400
  • Obama targets Texas in first round of 2020 endorsements news

    Former President Barack Obama unveiled his first round of 2020 endorsements on Monday, and he's got his eyes on Texas, at least at the local level.Obama is endorsing 27 Democratic candidates in Texas, including 19 for the state House, where Democrats need to win nine seats to grab the majority. The focus seems to make sense for Obama, The New York Times notes, because Texas districts will be redrawn after the 2020 census, and Democrats want to gain a foothold before that happens. The former president has made it a priority to back candidates whom the National Democratic Redistricting Committee has labeled key to the redistricting process.He decided to stay out of Texas' Senate race between incumbent Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) and his Democratic challenger MJ Hegar, however. Obama similarly avoided other key Senate races in Republican states, including Montana, Kentucky, and Georgia, where his public support may not provide a boost, or could even prove harmful.> What's missing? Some key red state Senate races, including MT, KY, GA and TX where it is less clear that Obama's public backing would be a benefit.> > — Shane Goldmacher (@ShaneGoldmacher) August 3, 2020In races at the national level, Obama endorsed 52 Democratic House candidates and five for the Senate in battleground states, and he's set to announce a second wave of endorsements for states who have yet to hold their primaries. Read more at The New York Times.More stories from The most damning inside portrait of the Trump administration yet 5 brutally funny cartoons about Bill Barr’s brand of justice Why Democratic voters might stay home on Election Day

    Mon, 03 Aug 2020 13:11:00 -0400
  • Editorial: California faces an eviction catastrophe. Newsom, lawmakers need to act now news

    As the downturn continues and tenant protections expire, we could see a tidal wave of evictions and a surge in homelessness even as the pandemic rages on.

    Sun, 02 Aug 2020 06:00:28 -0400
  • Verdict looms in killing of Lebanon ex-PM Hariri news

    A UN-backed tribunal will give its verdict Friday on the 2005 murder of former Lebanese premier Rafic Hariri, but questions will remain over a long and costly trial whose suspects remain at large. Four alleged members of the Shiite Muslim fundamentalist group Hezbollah are on trial in absentia at the court in the Netherlands over the huge Beirut suicide bombing that killed Sunni billionaire Hariri and 21 other people. The judgment harks back to an event that changed the face of the Middle East, with Hariri's assassination triggering a wave of demonstrations that pushed Syrian forces out of Lebanon after 30 years.

    Mon, 03 Aug 2020 05:58:07 -0400
  • Who is Karen Bass? news

    Rep. Karen Bass, D-Calif., has been mentioned as a potential running mate for former VP Joe Biden, who has vowed to pick a woman as his vice president.

    Sun, 02 Aug 2020 16:48:18 -0400
  • Bower Studios and West Elm Reprise a Partnership With This New Collection

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    Mon, 03 Aug 2020 12:30:13 -0400
  • New York City has already had more shootings in 2020 than in the whole of 2019 news

    New York City has recorded more shootings so far in 2020 than the whole of last year, authorities have confirmed.There were 777 shootings between January and 2 August 2020, compared with 776 in 2019, according to figures compiled by the New York Post, and later confirmed by New York Police department (NYPD).

    Mon, 03 Aug 2020 07:33:51 -0400
  • Coronavirus: Nancy Pelosi criticises Deborah Birx news

    Nancy Pelosi links the White House task force co-ordinator to "disinformation" spread by Donald Trump.

    Sun, 02 Aug 2020 13:44:50 -0400
  • Biden urged not to debate Trump so president doesn't have another platform to 'lie' news

    Republican strategist Joseph Pinion and Democratic political analyst Kelly Hyman react.

    Mon, 03 Aug 2020 05:43:55 -0400
  • Hertz must offload almost 200,000 cars by the end of 2020 as part of its bankruptcy deal news

    After filing for bankruptcy in May, Hertz has until the end of this year to get rid of at least 182,521 leased cars.

    Mon, 03 Aug 2020 13:31:56 -0400
  • Hong Kong’s Delayed Elections Are a Warning to America news

    HONG KONG—July has been a month of constant struggle for this city in recent years, but especially since the protests last summer, which raised the stakes in the quest for universal suffrage. This year is even more chaotic: A third wave of COVID-19 infections has revived worries that Hong Kong, one of the densest cities in the world, may soon see an overwhelmed hospital system. Meanwhile, some of the pro-democracy movement’s organizers, still in their teens, have been targeted by the newly formed secret police, taken away in the night. And now, in truly Trumpian fashion, September’s election for legislators’ seats has been called off, wiping away what was expected to be a landslide win for the opposition—and keeping some of Beijing’s puppets in their seats for at least another year.Twitter Accounts Deleted. Social Media Scrubbed. Spooked Hong Kong Braces for New Security LawOn Friday local time, Hong Kong chief executive Carrie Lam said she had made the decision to delay the September vote, citing the COVID-19 pandemic as a risk for the three million or more people who may come out to cast their ballots. Lam also mentioned that candidates have been unable to organize campaign events due to social distancing rules, and that international travel restrictions prevent eligible voters who are overseas from returning to the city.But few in the city are buying into her talking points. Just one day before Lam’s announcement, which she said is backed by higher authorities in the Chinese Communist Party, 12 pro-democracy candidates were disqualified from running. These include 23-year-old Joshua Wong—one of the activists who gave a face to the Umbrella Movement of 2014 and is the subject of a Netflix documentary—as well as four current legislators.The COVID-19 pandemic has given cover to Hong Kong’s government to limit opposition action. Public gatherings of more than two people have been banned. Now, an anti-mask law, which was meant to counter protesters’ concealment of their identities, coexists alongside a mandate to wear face masks for public health and safety reasons, giving the police force an extra opening to harass and arrest anyone in the city.Beijing’s national security law that applies to Hong Kong came into effect on July 1. It indicates that any individual involved in sedition, subversion, treason, or collusion with foreign forces may face up to 10 years in prison. The vaguely defined law has sparked alarm in the city, and the Hong Kong Bar Association said it is designed to “erode the high degree of autonomy” that the city’s population once had access to.News that the September election may be called off has been circulating in Hong Kong for days. People in the city are not surprised by Lam’s move, because the democratic camp’s primaries held three weeks ago, with more than 600,000 people participating in a straw poll, pointed to crushing defeat for establishment figures, repeating a landslide win achieved by the pro-democracy opposition camp in the voting booth last November.Sensing that the system isn’t rigged enough in favor of its proxies in Hong Kong, Beijing called the primaries a “serious provocation” that ran counter to the national security law, and claimed that “foreign forces” may have facilitated or even orchestrated the process.There are recent examples that tell us a voting day can be organized safely during the pandemic. South Korea held its legislative election in April this year, then Singapore had its general election in July. By following a few simple rules that we are all familiar with now—maintaining distance from one another, masks on always, keeping hands and shared surfaces clean—a vote can take place.And Hong Kongers have been highly disciplined for months, managing to flatten and squash the curve without an official lockdown. Businesses formulated work-from-home arrangements for their staff. The population stocked up on food and limited social gatherings. Public areas are cleaned regularly, often hourly.The recent surge in infections—the city’s third wave—was brought on largely by people who had waivers for the mandatory 14-day quarantine, granted by Lam’s administration to airline crews, sailors, commercial truck drivers, executives of listed companies, and other individuals who were given special permission. In all, more than 250,000 people skipped quarantine in Hong Kong after traveling internationally between February and June.Now, the city is adding about 100 newly confirmed cases of COVID-19 infections each day.The Hong Kong Police Force is using this lull on the streets to catch up with visible, high-profile organizers of the anti-government or pro-democracy movement. Police officers have been visiting shopping malls and universities to gather security camera feeds, and they have arrested the administrators of some Telegram groups that disseminate various kinds of information, like street protest tactics. And the newly formed secret police unit launched its first operation this week, taking into custody four individuals aged 16 to 21 for “inciting secession.” The three men and one woman include the former leader of a pro-independence group, Studentlocalism, which disbanded on June 30, one day before the dreaded security law came into effect.These arrests, along with the suspension of September’s election, have angered a city of people who are seeking a small say in how they are governed. Think of it as the death of democracy cut by cut, where the Chinese Communist Party and its proxies in Hong Kong slowly slice away at the structures through which the city seeks self-determination. There is never a killing blow, just a new wound every day.And what about the massive marches and rallies of last summer that had seven-figure attendance, or the street-level, black bloc resistance that drew inspiration from Bruce Lee’s “be water” philosophy? They are unlikely to return any time soon. Fear and fury permeates the city—fear not so much of persecution, but of the uncertainty that has come to define life in Hong Kong more than the pandemic; and fury fueled by the indignation that seethes through an understanding that the CCP and its puppets do not recognize Hong Kong as a place for people who were born and bred here.Donald Trump, who once said “it’s great” that CCP leader Xi Jinping ripped up term limits to become president for life in China, has flirted with postponing elections in the United States. That vision came true one day after he said it, on the other side of the world, where an authoritarian government is rolling back one freedom after another.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.

    Sun, 02 Aug 2020 05:08:11 -0400
  • Two sisters who hadn't seen each other in more than 50 years were reunited by coronavirus news

    One long-lost sister was being treated for her COVID-19 infection at a rehab center while the other worked as a medical aide.

    Sun, 02 Aug 2020 15:58:53 -0400
  • Journalist and police guard killed in southern Mexico

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    Mon, 03 Aug 2020 15:23:18 -0400
  • Dunkin' employee in Illinois arrested after state trooper finds mucus in coffee news

    A Dunkin' employee was arrested and fired after a state trooper in Chicago found what police said was mucus in his coffee.

    Sun, 02 Aug 2020 23:07:07 -0400
  • The housing crisis is here news

    The smartest insight and analysis, from all perspectives, rounded up from around the web:This summer's housing market is split into two alternate realities, said Heather Long at The Washington Post. Realtors' cellphones have been "ringing with eager buyers" looking to flee urban areas for the suburbs while mortgage interest rates are at record lows. One house on the market outside Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, "received 26 offers the initial weekend it was for sale." For renters, on the other hand, the outlook is grim. A federal eviction moratorium expired last week, meaning that many tenants could have only 30 days to pony up what they owe landlords or get kicked to the curb. This week, Congress signaled it would extend the moratorium to give renters more breathing room while debating whether to extend other aid, such as unemployment benefits and stimulus checks — some of "the few lifelines renters had during the pandemic."The eviction wave has already started, said Will Parker at The Wall Street Journal. The national moratorium only covered tenants in buildings with federally backed mortgages. States passed their own eviction limits, but some, such as Texas, have already let them expire. In a sign of things to come, attorneys in Houston are seeing "long lines at courthouses, sometimes people standing shoulder to shoulder" awaiting eviction hearings. "Stuck between tenants who can't, or simply won't, pay up and banks that still expect mortgage payments every month," landlords are also feeling the squeeze, said Tim Logan at The Boston Globe. In Massachusetts, a fifth of the landlords say "they don't know how they will pay their bills this year." That will only get worse if the state extends its eviction ban without help for property owners.There's a simple reason for this recession's "uneven" effect on the housing market, said Joy Wiltermuth at MarketWatch​. The median income for homebuyers today is $93,000, while renters are substantially poorer and "householders earning less than $35,000 a year have been hit hardest by lost wages since early May." Just don't assume wealthier homeowners are bulletproof, said Keith Jurow, also at MarketWatch. Since 2016, "mortgages offered to high-income borrowers who could afford the monthly payments seemed the least risky of all." Origination of jumbo loans — mortgages that are too big to be backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac — skyrocketed. But now many high-income borrowers are in trouble, too. As of mid-June, "11.8 percent of all jumbo loans were in forbearance" — twice as many as in April, and a higher share than for standard mortgages."Perhaps this is all starting to sound like a redux of the mid-2000s housing crisis," said Derek Thompson at The Atlantic. "It's not." In many ways, it is the opposite. Back then, "foreclosures soared" and single-family homes stood empty in the suburbs. Now there is an undersupply of suburban housing and a hot market in new construction. The problem today is in the cities, where the pandemic has accelerated a crisis of affordability. "Without income, renters can't pay rent and utilities. Without monthly payments, landlords and other companies can't make mortgages and bond payments." Housing costs in cities have been approaching a crisis for years; thanks to the pandemic, that crisis is here, and "dangerously close to spiraling out of control."This article was first published in the latest issue of The Week magazine. If you want to read more like it, you can try six risk-free issues of the magazine here.More stories from The most damning inside portrait of the Trump administration yet 5 brutally funny cartoons about Bill Barr’s brand of justice Why Democratic voters might stay home on Election Day

    Sun, 02 Aug 2020 05:55:02 -0400
  • Mysterious seeds sent from China to the US identified by the USDA news

    The mysterious seed packs from China that hundreds of Americans received in the mail have been identified, according to the US Department of Agriculture.Federal officials warned those who received the seeds not to plant them over fears that some may be invasive species and could destroy native plants and insects.

    Mon, 03 Aug 2020 11:11:05 -0400
  • The Maryland county where Barron Trump attends school ordered private schools to stay closed until October, but the governor overrode the decision news

    In rejecting the Montgomery County order, Gov. Larry Hogan said it was "overly broad and inconsistent with the powers" of the county health officer.

    Mon, 03 Aug 2020 13:44:47 -0400
  • Shoprite: Africa's biggest supermarket considers pulling out of Nigeria news

    Shoprite is the latest high-profile South African retailer to struggle in the Nigerian market.

    Mon, 03 Aug 2020 09:45:52 -0400
  • Boeing wins $265 million to build more special ops Chinook helos news

    The Army has minted another deal with Boeing for more special ops Chinooks.

    Mon, 03 Aug 2020 09:15:39 -0400
  • This teen avenged her parents' murder. Or did she? The story that has electrified Afghans news

    “When I heard about her bravery, I just felt proud of her, that we have powerful women like her,” one Kabul resident said.

    Sun, 02 Aug 2020 04:30:00 -0400
  • Texas will now allow people taking the bar exam to bring their own menstrual products news

    The Texas Board of Law Examiners will allow test-takers to bring their own menstrual products after previously forbiding them over security concerns.

    Sun, 02 Aug 2020 10:19:09 -0400
  • Iran's stock market hits record high amid battered economy

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    Sun, 02 Aug 2020 10:37:52 -0400
  • A cartel war has transformed once-tranquil Guanajuato into one of Mexico's deadliest states news

    Homicides soar as two gangs battle it out in the Mexican state of Guanajuato.

    Sun, 02 Aug 2020 07:00:02 -0400
  • Under ICE rules and visa complications, a semester with no new international students awaits news

    As the resurgence of coronavirus pushes some schools to go fully online, the latest ruling leaves new international students with hard choices.

    Mon, 03 Aug 2020 13:47:46 -0400
  • Homeland Security official reassigned after intelligence reports on journalists covering protests news

    A US intelligence official with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has been reassigned following revelations that his office compiled "intelligence reports" on journalists and analysed communications between protesters amid ongoing demonstrations in Portland, Oregon.Brian Murphy was removed from his post following a report in The Washington Post revealing that the DHS Office of Intelligence and Analysis sent open source intelligence reports to federal law enforcement agencies containing information from two reporters who had published leaked unclassified government documents while covering Black Lives Matter protests.

    Sun, 02 Aug 2020 10:34:14 -0400
  • Dr. Birx: Before schools can reopen, coronavirus outbreaks must get under control news

    Birx endorsed a recommendation from CDC Director Robert Redfield that schools in areas with a 5% positivity rate or higher stick to distance learning.

    Sun, 02 Aug 2020 12:57:48 -0400
  • Coronavirus: Melbourne lockdown to keep a million workers at home news

    The Australian city announces further business closures as it struggles to contain the coronavirus.

    Mon, 03 Aug 2020 06:26:17 -0400
  • Ed Rendell says he thinks it's time for Joe Biden to finalize his VP decision news

    Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden can't go wrong with the candidates that are reportedly on his shortlist to be his running mate, says Ed Rendell, former Pennsylvania governor and former DNC chairman.

    Mon, 03 Aug 2020 15:07:22 -0400
  • Sen. Murkowski Says Confirming Supreme Court Nominee in 2020 Would Be ‘Double Standard’ news

    Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s recent health problems have revealed a rift among Senate Republicans over what to do if a Supreme Court seat becomes vacant before the end of President Trump’s first term.While Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) has indicated his intent to fill any Supreme Court vacancies in 2020, other Republicans are more hesitant.Senator Lisa Murkowski (R., Alaska), expressed concern that confirming a Trump nominee before the end of the president’s term would create a “double standard” after Republicans in 2016 declined to appoint then-president Obama’s nominee, Merrick Garland, to fill the seat vacated by conservative justice Antonin Scalia’s death.“When Republicans held off Merrick Garland it was because nine months prior to the election was too close, we needed to let people decide. And I agreed to do that. If we now say that months prior to the election is OK when nine months was not, that is a double standard and I don’t believe we should do it,” Murkowski told The Hill. “So I would not support it.”Republicans, who control 53 Senate seats, wouldn’t be able to confirm a justice with more than three defections of a confirmation vote if all 47 Democratic senators stay unified.When Scalia died in mid-February of 2016 and Obama nominated Garland one month later, McConnell and then-Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Chuck Grassley (R., Iowa) blocked Garland from even getting a hearing.McConnell has said confirming another Trump nominee would be different because Republicans control both the White House and the Senate, while in 2016 Democrats controlled only the White House. For his part, Grassley, who now serves as the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, said he would likely maintain Republicans' 2016 position if the situation arises, though he stressed that the decision is ultimately up to Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.).Graham told The Hill that while he’d be willing to fill a vacancy, his decision would depend upon what his Republican colleagues think. Senate Republican whip John Thune (S.D.) said he would support filling a vacancy before the election but was less certain about a course of action should Trump lose the election. Senator Josh Hawley (R., Mo.) expressed support for confirming a Trump nominee in 2020.Graham expects Trump to release a list of conservative nominees in the coming weeks, which he would pick from should a Court vacancy occur this year or in Trump’s second term, if he wins reelection. “I don’t know. We’ll see,” he said. “I hope everybody stays healthy on the Supreme Court and we don’t have to worry about it.”

    Mon, 03 Aug 2020 11:30:53 -0400
  • China seeks to increase influence in South China Sea by reclassifying international shipping lanes news

    China has quietly changed how it identifies a vast stretch of international waters in a shipping regulation, indicating it as a “coastal” region, rather than “offshore,” as authorities seek to exert even greater control over the South China Sea. The amended regulation, first drafted in the 1970s, went into effect on Saturday, and establishes a “navigation area” from China’s Hainan island in the south, all the way down to the disputed Paracel Islands, which sit east of Vietnam’s coastline. The revision, however small, allows Beijing yet another avenue to justify its claims in the region. “The move is pretty consistent with the broader, general patterns of China seeking ‘creeping jurisdiction’ using domestic laws to assert its claims and extend control in the South China Sea,” said Collin Koh,a research fellow at the S Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore. “With those domestic laws and regulations being implemented quietly without fanfare, the less likely it’ll attract undue external attention, so that over time a fair accompli is created - in other words, for Beijing to change facts on the ground.” The risk, in the long run, is that this area of ocean already flanked by Chinese military interests and installations, could turn a navigational zone to a “future security alert zone,” he said. The change comes as China has displayed increasing swagger in the South China Sea, where Beijing and a number of Southeast Asian countries all lay claim to the rocks, reefs and waters.

    Mon, 03 Aug 2020 06:31:08 -0400
  • John Hume, who worked to end N. Ireland violence, dies at 83 news

    John Hume, the visionary politician who won a Nobel Peace Prize for fashioning the agreement that ended violence in his native Northern Ireland, has died at 83, his family said Monday. The Catholic leader of the moderate Social Democratic and Labour Party, Hume was seen as the principal architect of Northern Ireland's 1998 peace agreement. “I want to see Ireland as an example to men and women everywhere of what can be achieved by living for ideals, rather than fighting for them, and by viewing each and every person as worthy of respect and honor,” he said in 1998.

    Mon, 03 Aug 2020 04:46:21 -0400
  • A pastor who told congregants not to be afraid of the coronavirus was hospitalized with COVID-19 news

    Charles Pope, a pastor in Washington, D.C., tested positive for COVID-19 after advising worshippers not to fear the virus.

    Mon, 03 Aug 2020 09:39:33 -0400
  • Scientists and environmental groups 'alarmed' by huge rise in Amazon wildfires news

    “It’s a terrible sign,” said Ane Alencar, science director at Brazil’s Amazon Environmental Research Institute (IPAM).

    Sun, 02 Aug 2020 10:43:00 -0400
  • Gov. Cuomo sounds off on school reopening plans news

    NEW YORK - Gov. Andrew Cuomo voiced caution Sunday over plans to reopen schools in the Big Apple and beyond. "It's about the parents being comfortable," he said during a press call. "Just because a school district says 'we're open' does not mean students are going to go." The comments came after the de Blasio administration on Friday said New York City is on track to reopen schools as long as ...

    Sun, 02 Aug 2020 19:38:00 -0400
  • Trump administration includes nearly $400m to remodel West Wing in coronavirus relief bill news

    The Trump Administration wants to include $337m in its next coronavirus relief bill to pay for a renovation of the White Houses’ West Wing.The administration says the work would “increase the White House campus’s ability to detect, mitigate and alleviate external security and pandemic threats.”

    Mon, 03 Aug 2020 13:26:05 -0400
  • Coronavirus: How the travel downturn is sending jet planes to 'boneyards' news

    Amid the pandemic, commercial air fleets are grounded in some of the world's most remote locations.

    Mon, 03 Aug 2020 06:05:53 -0400
  • Joe Biden's plan for universal preschool forgets key to children's success: Parents. news

    Preschool attendance is voluntary. That means only children with motivated, engaged parents attend preschool to begin with.

    Mon, 03 Aug 2020 05:01:18 -0400
  • Florida man once bitten by alligator is chomped by 8-foot shark while on vacation news

    Justin Stuller is now sporting two dozen stitches and a small limp after tangling with an eight-foot lemon shark in the Florida Keys.

    Sun, 02 Aug 2020 21:41:44 -0400
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