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  • Suspect in California campus killing was co-worker

    Golocal247.com news

    A man arrested in the stabbing death of a retired administrator at the California State University, Fullerton campus was a co-worker, police said Thursday. Chuyen Vo, 51, was arrested Wednesday night at his home in Huntington Beach, officials announced at a news conference near the killing scene in a campus parking lot. Lt. Jon Radus, however, declined to elaborate on Vo's work relationship with the victim and whether it was current or in the past.

    Thu, 22 Aug 2019 20:23:55 -0400
  • Russia launches floating nuclear reactor in Arctic despite warnings

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    Russia will launch the world's first floating nuclear reactor and send it on an epic journey across the Arctic on Friday, despite environmentalists warning of serious risks to the region. Loaded with nuclear fuel, the Akademik Lomonosov will leave the Arctic port of Murmansk to begin its 5,000 kilometre (3,000-mile) voyage to northeastern Siberia. Nuclear agency Rosatom says the reactor is a simpler alternative to building a conventional plant on ground that is frozen all year round, and it intends to sell such reactors abroad.

    Fri, 23 Aug 2019 03:01:09 -0400
  • 2020 Vision: Democratic field continues to shrink as Inslee and Moulton drop out

    Golocal247.com news

    The presidential primary field further winnowed this week, with Washington Gov. Jay Inslee and Massachusetts Rep. Seth Moulton announcing their withdrawals.

    Fri, 23 Aug 2019 13:27:20 -0400
  • Catholic priest Joseph McLoone stole church money and spent it on himself, Grindr men, authorities say

    Golocal247.com news

    A Catholic priest in Pennsylvania was charged with theft after he stole nearly $100,000 from his parish over several years.

    Fri, 23 Aug 2019 06:23:34 -0400
  • UK Hong Kong consulate worker Simon Cheng freed after detention in mainland China

    Golocal247.com news

    A British consulate employee in Hong Kong has been freed by China after being detained for 15 days on the mainland amid rising tensions between the former British colony and Beijing. Simon Cheng, 28, a trade and investment officer at the Hong Kong consulate’s Scottish Development International section, went missing on August 8 on his way back from a work trip in Shenzhen, a neighbouring Chinese city.  It was not until after the UK expressed “extreme concern” about his disappearance that China’s foreign ministry broke its silence, confirming Mr Cheng had been detained without releasing further details.  On Saturday, his family announced that he had come back. "Simon has returned to Hong Kong; thanks you everyone for your support! Simon and his family wish to have some time to rest and recover, and will not take any interview,” they said in a statement.   An activist holds an illustration of Simon Cheng during a gathering outside the British Consulate-General building in Hong Kong  Credit: AFP Chinese police in Shenzhen confirmed that Mr Cheng had been detained for violating public security management regulations, and was released after that period on Saturday.  Police also said he had “confessed to the facts of his illegal activity,” without saying what those activities were. Mr Cheng was not formally charged or tried in court, and his family rejected allegations in Chinese state media that he had been detained for visiting prostitutes.  On Friday the UK issued a warning to all travellers to Hong Kong about increased scrutiny from mainland authorities at border crossings. The warning added that mobile phones and electronic devices were being checked by border patrol. Mr Cheng’s mysterious disappearance highlights China’s murky legal and judicial system – something that help kicked off mass protests early June in Hong Kong. Many fear freedoms enjoyed in Hong Kong, guaranteed for at least 50 years under an agreement that became effective when the former British colony was returned to Beijing, are fast-disappearing under China’s ruling Communist Party.  Hong Kong crisis | Comment and analysis Millions first took to the streets against a now-suspended extradition proposal that would have sent people to face trial in mainland China, where Communist Party control of the courts contributes to a 99.9 per cent conviction rate. Forced confessions are also common with suspects paraded on state television. “What happened to Simong Cheng – this is a common tactic used by the central government to put pressure on people,” said Kammy Yang, 50, an office clerk at a protest on Saturday. “Many Chinese activists were accused of prostitution or tax scams; this is their strategy in China, trying to suppress freedom.” Thousands of protesters on Saturday engaged in a series of skirmishes, throwing projectiles from bricks to petrol bombs at police who responded with sprays of tear gas and rubber bullets. It was the first time tear gas had been deployed in 10 days, a period of relative calm as protesters recalibrated their approach in an otherwise tumultuous, violent summer.  Demonstrators join hands to form a human chain during the Hong Kong Way event in the Central district of Hong Kong, China, on Friday Credit: Bloomberg “The reasons why protesters are building roadblocks, surrounding police stations, and throwing bricks – it’s because the government doesn’t respond to us,” said Vaso Chan, 28, an office clerk. “It’s not fun for any of us to come out during summer break.” Protesters spray painted slogans like “Give me liberty or death,” Chinazi,” and “HK popo Gestapo,” on sidewalks and highways. As the political movement has grown, so have protesters’ demands, who are now calling for an independent inquiry into police handling of the protests, the resignation of Hong Kong chief executive Carrie Lam, and direct leadership elections.  City leaders however have made no concessions, instead thrusting the police to the front lines to handle the situation, further angering protesters.  Demonstrations are occurring nearly every day now in the financial hub, disrupting traffic and public transportation. On Saturday, several stations closed along a planned march route. But despite growing unrest, public support for the protesters has stayed strong, with marches and strikes planned through September. “No matter whether those protesters are peaceful protesters or protesters that are standing in the ‘front lines’, no matter what they do, we will support them,” said Mr Chan.

    Sat, 24 Aug 2019 10:15:04 -0400
  • 2020 Toyota GR Supra vs. 2019 Ford Mustang Shelby GT350: Which Is the Better Driver's Machine?

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    Vastly different yet similarly capable, one of these rear-drive sports coupes begs to be driven harder than the other.

    Fri, 23 Aug 2019 08:00:00 -0400
  • Radical gun reform may finally have a voice in Washington

    Golocal247.com news

    An ambitious agenda by the March for Our Lives activists may be the first time the majority of Americans get real representationA young girl looks on as she attends a vigil for the victims of the recent mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio. Photograph: Drew Angerer/Getty ImagesMarch for Our Lives, the national youth gun violence prevention movement founded by survivors of last year’s school shooting in Parkland, Florida, released a sweeping gun reform agenda this week.The agenda calls for significantly raising the standards for gun ownership in America, and reducing by about 100m the total number of guns in circulation.It’s a dramatic, ambitious plan. And it may represent the first time in decades that the majority of Americans will get any real representation in the gun control debate in Washington.March for Our Lives’ young activists endorsed an Australia-style mandatory government buyback and destruction of “assault weapons”. They want to decrease the number of guns in circulation by 30% – which would mean roughly 100m fewer firearms in American hands. They proposed regulations that would dramatically raise the bar for who is allowed to purchase a gun, putting US law much more in line with European countries. And they want to revisit the 2009 supreme court decision, District of Columbia v Heller, which enshrined a pro-gun interpretation of Americans’ second amendment right to bear arms.These proposals are substantially more aggressive, and more ambitious, than anything the Democrats in Washington have fought for in years. In fact, for decades, gun control groups and progressive politicians have done a poor job at representing the majority of Americans in Congress when it comes to gun control. A surprising voidDemocrats have fought for minor new restrictions on gun buying – and been defeated by the Republican party’s gun absolutists – but, fundamentally, the Democratic party has remained supportive of gun ownership.Democratic lawmakers’ efforts to “ban assault weapons”, for example, have not meant an actual ban on these guns, but only a ban on future sales, meaning that Americans could keep the millions of military-style rifles they already own. President Obama’s signature gun control legislation after the 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School was a compromise bill that would have closed just a few of the gaping loopholes in the nation’s background check system – a measure so weak it’s doubtful whether it would have had any effect on gun violence at all.The country’s largest gun control groups, too, have made great efforts to portray themselves as pro-“gun safety”, not anti-gun. They routinely advertise themselves as supporters of Americans’ second amendment right to bear arms. And they have focused on “commonsense reforms”, such as getting what activists see as particularly extreme weapons off the streets, or requiring a criminal background check before every gun sale.This lack of any explicit anti-gun side in the American gun debate is strange.Although many Americans may not realize it, gun owners are a minority in the United States. American civilians overall own an estimated 300m to 400m firearms, more than one gun per person. But this frequently cited statistic obscures how concentrated American gun ownership is.In recent surveys, roughly 70% to 80% of Americans said they do not personally own a gun, and a majority said that nobody in their household owns a gun. Just 3% of American adults own half the country’s guns, according to a definitive 2015 survey. This small group of gun super-owners have an average of 17 guns each.Gun absolutists – the activists who oppose any gun control measures, who want Americans to be able to own any kind of gun, and carry them everywhere – are a minority within that minority. According to the best available estimates, fewer than 10% of American gun owners overall are members of the National Rifle Association.There appear to be at least as many Americans who are vehemently anti-gun as there are NRA members.Recent Gallup polls have found that 28% of American adults say they would support a law banning handgun ownership, except by the police and other “authorized persons”. A 2017 Pew Research Center survey found that 9% of American adults believed that “almost no one” should be legally allowed to own guns – about the same proportion as the number of adults who believed that “almost everyone” should be able to own them.A coalition of 9% of American adults would translate into more than 20 million people. That’s a group four times larger than the NRA, which claims between 5 million and 6 million members.Only a minority of Americans oppose most private gun ownership. But there’s strong majority support for much tougher gun control laws than the ones currently on the books.A 2017 Pew survey found 68% supported banning assault-style weapons. Seventy-one percent supported having a federal database to track all gun sales. A 2018 Gallup survey found 68% of respondents supported raising the legal age to buy certain guns. A Quinnipiac poll in May found 77% of respondents were in favor of requiring people to obtain a license before being able to purchase a gun.It’s not hard to find Americans who oppose the country’s current gun culture. They show up at gun control rallies, holding signs that say things like “Repeal the Second Amendment”. They live in neighborhoods burdened by decades of daily gun violence. They’ve lost family members or friends to shootings. They keep asking: why can’t we just get rid of the guns?But for years, these Americans’ views have not been well represented by America’s “gun safety” groups, and they have had virtually no representation in Congress.This may finally be starting to change. Moving the gun debateIn 2016, a progressive activist launched Guns Down America, a small organization that advocates not simply for “gun sense laws”, but for “a future with fewer guns”. Following the Parkland shooting, the young March for Our Lives activists have advocated unapologetically for bold reform, though they, like other American gun control activists, say they’re not anti-gun and their proposals for stricter regulation represent the interests of “responsible gun owners”.It’s not yet clear how much the 2020 Democratic presidential candidates will move towards embracing these majority opinions on gun control policy. But there’s already been movement towards the actual middle of the debate.In 2016, Obama argued in a CNN Town Hall that “issues like licensing, registration, that’s an area where there’s just not enough national consensus at this stage to even consider it”. This year, the New Jersey senator Cory Booker made gun licensing the center of his 2020 gun control platform.After the mass shooting targeting Latino families in El Paso, the former Texas congressman Beto O’Rourke said he endorsed not just an assault weapon ban, but a mandatory federal buyback of assault weapons. On Wednesday, he became the first Democratic 2020 candidate to tweet that he supported March for Our Lives’ new policy agenda.O’Rourke’s campaign did not back away from the most controversial elements of the youth activists’ plan, including their desire to revisit the supreme court’s current interpretation of the second amendment, enshrined in the Heller decision.“While Beto agrees with the court’s holding that the second amendment allows for regulation, he does not agree with the entirety of the Heller decision,” said Aleigha Cavalier, O’Rourke’s national press secretary. “One piece of the Heller case Beto believes should be revisited is the court’s decision to strike down DC’s safe storage requirements.”America’s gun debate may soon actually have two sides.

    Fri, 23 Aug 2019 01:00:08 -0400
  • Iranian oil tanker pursued by US says it is going to Turkey

    Golocal247.com news

    An Iranian-flagged oil tanker pursued by the U.S. amid heightened tensions between Tehran and Washington changed its listed destination to a port in Turkey early Saturday after Greece said it wouldn't risk its relations with America by aiding it. The crew of the Adrian Darya 1, formerly known as the Grace 1, updated its listed destination in its Automatic Identification System to Mersin, Turkey, a port city in the country's south and home to an oil terminal.

    Sat, 24 Aug 2019 03:33:40 -0400
  • Gary Ray Bowles: Death row serial killer executed by lethal injection despite last-minute plea

    Golocal247.com news

    A serial killer who admitted killing six gay men in just eight-months in the US east coast has been executed.Gary Ray Bowles was given a lethal injection in Florida late Thursday after more than 20 years on death row.

    Fri, 23 Aug 2019 03:46:50 -0400
  • L.L. Bean's Huge End-of-Summer Sale Is Taking Up to 70% Off

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

    Thu, 22 Aug 2019 14:17:00 -0400
  • Iceland Held Talks With U.S. Ambassador Over Pence Visit

    Golocal247.com news

    (Bloomberg) -- Iceland’ prime minister is open to a meeting with Vice President Mike Pence during his trip to the Nordic island, should the visit be extended.The option was discussed during a pre-scheduled meeting on Friday between Katrin Jakobsdottir and ambassador Jeffrey Gunter, a government spokesman told Bloomberg.Jakobsdottir, a left-of-center feminist and LGBT advocate, is due to attend a conference by Nordic trade union leaders in Sweden on Sept. 4. That’s the same day in which Pence is due to arrive.Jakobsdottir’s decision to not change her schedule to accommodate the vice president’s visit has been criticized at home.Olaf­ur Hardar­son, a professor of political science at the University of Iceland, told local media Morgunbladid it would be “unusual” for the prime minister not to greet the American vice president.According to her spokeswoman, a final decision on whether the meeting can take place has not yet been made.The White House said Pence planned to discuss trade opportunities, the Arctic and NATO efforts to counter Russian aggression in the region.The scheduling snafu is the latest episode in a series of exchanges involving Donald Trump and the Nordics.Pence’s visit would take place in the wake of a very public spat between the U.S. president and Denmark over its refusal to sell Greenland.Trump said Saturday he had held a “nice” conversation with Mette Frederiksen, with the exchange coming just days after labeling the Danish prime minister as “nasty.”In 2017, Sweden reacted forcibly to Trump’s portrayal of the Nordic nation as being in a state of chaos and overrun by crime after an influx of refugees.(Adds quote in fifth paragraph.)To contact the reporter on this story: Ragnhildur Sigurdardottir in Reykjavik at rsigurdardot@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Jonas Bergman at jbergman@bloomberg.net, Nick Rigillo, Andrew DavisFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

    Sat, 24 Aug 2019 10:27:24 -0400
  • Trump heads to G7 with potshot at French hosts over taxes

    Golocal247.com news

    US President Donald Trump threatened his French hosts with taxes on their wines Friday as he headed to a G7 summit in France with a series of parting shots, including another broadside at the Federal Reserve's chairman. After a day that saw big falls on Wall Street after he announced new tariffs against China, Trump was in no doubt that he would emerge victorious from his trade war and appeared in a combative mood all round ahead of the diplomatic gathering. Trump blew up last year's G7 summit in Quebec, plunging into a bitter row with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and refusing to sign the group's traditional joint declaration.

    Sat, 24 Aug 2019 02:46:46 -0400
  • Federal appeals court rules Colorado was 'wrong' to force electors to vote for Hillary Clinton in 2016

    Golocal247.com news

    Bradley Moss and John Yoo weigh in on a federal court ruling in Colorado on the Electoral College that could make its way to the Supreme Court.

    Thu, 22 Aug 2019 23:32:18 -0400
  • An innocent man spent months in jail after customs officials thought honey he brought back from Jamaica was liquid meth

    Golocal247.com news

    Leon Haughton told The Washington Post he was jailed for 82 days after customs officials in Baltimore alleged that the three jars of honey were meth.

    Fri, 23 Aug 2019 16:42:21 -0400
  • Sanders campaign boss concedes he may not win New Hampshire

    Golocal247.com news

    The campaign manager for Bernie Sanders emphasized Thursday that New Hampshire is a critical presidential primary state he expects Sanders to win, but he's leaving room for a scenario in which Sanders falls short. Faiz Shakir said he doesn't "like the language of must-win," though he does believe it is an important early voting state.

    Thu, 22 Aug 2019 20:44:00 -0400
  • Beto O’Rourke: As president, I’d institute a mandatory buyback of assault weapons

    Golocal247.com news

    Only America has more guns than people. Follow the lead of moms demanding action and students marching for their lives, writes candidate Beto O’Rourke

    Thu, 22 Aug 2019 19:17:44 -0400
  • Oil dragged into U.S.-China trade war, prices slump

    China threatened to impose tariffs on U.S. crude oil for the first time in the escalating bilateral trade war, sending prices to two-week lows on Friday as that compounded worries about a slowdown in global oil demand. China said crude would be among the U.S. products hit by tariffs of 5% as of Sept. 1. U.S. President Donald Trump said he would offer a response later on Friday.

    Fri, 23 Aug 2019 12:19:46 -0400
  • Nasa investigating first ever ‘space crime’ as astronaut accused of committing theft from ISS

    Golocal247.com news

    Summer Worden, a former US Air Force intelligence officer living in Kansas, has been in the midst of a bitter separation and parenting dispute for much of the past year.So she was surprised when she noticed that her estranged spouse still seemed to know things about her spending. Had she bought a car? How could she afford that?

    Sat, 24 Aug 2019 07:15:34 -0400
  • Cathay Pacific cabin crew union leader fired as Hong Kongers warn of spread of 'white terror'

    Golocal247.com news

    Cathay Pacific fired a cabin crew union leader on Friday, the latest casualty in a fast-spreading “white terror” as mass protests in Hong Kong continue into their third month.  Rebecca Sy, head of the Cathay Dragon flight attendant’s association, said she lost her job of 17 years, without explanation,  after managers saw and confirmed her Facebook account,  which included messages in favour of the protests. “All the employees are being frightened, not just cabin crews, but even the management,” Ms Sy told reporters. “My colleagues are all terrified because of its white terror.” “White terror” is a term used to describe a slew of events that create a climate of fear particularly as companies and employees worry of serious repercussions for voicing their views. Her departure follows a surprise resignation last week by CEO Rupert Hogg, reported first by Chinese state media, underlining the political nature of the decision. Cathay has borne the brunt of Beijing’s anger as authorities look to punish companies with any link to the Hong Kong protests - a direct challenge to the power of the Communist Party. Rebecca Sy was dismissed from her position as flight attendant for Cathay Pacific's subsidiary Cathay Dragon Credit: ANTHONY WALLACE/AFP/Getty Images In the crackdown, companies and employees could face serious repercussions for voicing their views. Hong Kong subway operator MTR has also come under fire for arranging additional trains to allow protesters to travel home, accused of “colluding with rioters” in Chinese state media.  Beijing authorities have long put the squeeze on companies over political issues by encouraging its 1.4 billion citizens to snub various brands or by throwing up a number of regulatory roadblocks – a move that can have devastating consequences for even the biggest firms. Simon Cheng, 28, a British consular official in Hong Kong and permanent resident of the city has been detained for two weeks in mainland China for allegedly visiting prostitutes.  Under Chinese law, Mr Cheng should have been released today after a 15-day administrative period but at time of publication he was still in detention. Hong Kong police said on Friday that they did not know Mr Cheng's whereabouts.  Protests in Hong Kong first kicked off over an extradition proposal that would have exposed people to China’s murky legal and judicial system, where authorities have also in the past detained foreigners to express political displeasure. Two Canadians - Michael Kovrig, a former diplomat, and Michael Spavor, an entrepreneur - were detained in China last year during Beijing’s diplomatic dispute with Ottawa over its arrest of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou. It is widely viewed that both men - who are still being held and have been charged with spying – are being used as political pawns. Hong Kong protests | Read more A number of multinationals operating in Hong Kong have sought to stress their political neutrality to avoid their businesses being targeted and to protect staff from arbitrary detention.  Earlier this week, the world’s “big four” accounting firms came under attack after an anonymous group claiming to be made up of their employees took out a full-page newspaper advertisement to express support for protests in Hong Kong and condemn the firms for remaining silent on the issue. Deloitte, Ernst & Young, KPMG and Pricewaterhouse Coopers all sought to distance themselves from the advertisement, saying it didn’t represent the companies’ views. But Chinese state media had already seized on the situation, calling for the firms to identify and sack the employees behind the ad. FinnAir has also issued a warning to staff to remember to “keep work and politics separate,” reported the South China Morning Post, over concerns that any link to the protests might lead to a customer backlash or flight cancellations in China, its second-largest market for long-haul travel.   “China is obviously putting pressure on companies to ensure that they all hold the same political views,” said Keenan Chuk, 30, a finance manager who attended a lunchtime rally or accountants in Hong Kong’s central business district Friday.  “I am concerned that I will be fired,” he said, adding that “we still have to fight for our rights.” Even universities have warned students against discussing politics and participating in rallies.  “In a modern society, education should be free from politics so as to alleviate the escalation of anxiety and avoid the divisive society caused by chaos,” according to a statement from the City University of Hong Kong issued earlier this month. A woman said she experienced at a police station during her detention in Hong Kong Credit: REUTERS/Thomas Peter Some banks are also now taking precautionary measures, purchasing full page ads in newspapers to affirm their support for the government. Edwin, 26, an accountant who declined to give his last name, said senior partners in his firm had invited junior employees to lunch that day in an attempt to dissuade people from attending Friday’s protest.  But he participated in the demonstration anyway, turning up again in the evening to join a human chain meant to evoke the Baltic Way, when two million lined up across three countries to protest Soviet rule in 1989.  “In the industry, we switch firms quite often,” he shrugged. Hong Kong police came under renewed pressure on Friday when officers were accused of conducting an unnecessary strip search on a female protester. The alleged victim appeared at a press conference dressed in all black with a black face mask, cap and sunglasses. Facing the cameras in front of a "MeToo" sign, she claimed she was arrested weeks ago at a protest against the now-abandoned extradition bill and was admitted to hospital for injuries she suffered that night. By her account, one officer patted her thighs with a pen, instructing her to open her legs wider after ordering her to take off all her clothes in a police cell. The police said their body search procedures had not changed during the recent outbreak of citywide protests.

    Fri, 23 Aug 2019 12:36:29 -0400
  • Modi Ally Calls for Boycott of China Companies on Kashmir, Trade

    Golocal247.com news

    (Bloomberg) -- Terms of Trade is a daily newsletter that untangles a world embroiled in trade wars. Sign up here. Indians should stop buying from Chinese companies and the government should reconsider trade concessions to its biggest neighbor after China allied with Pakistan on Kashmir, according to an economic policy group linked with the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party.Companies like technology giant Huawei Technologies Co. should be barred from accessing the Indian market in the future and Chinese companies should be banned from state tenders, Ashwani Mahajan, co-convenor of the Swadeshi Jagran Manch, affiliated to the ruling party’s ideological parent, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh said in an interview Thursday.“Not just in Kashmir, we believe that Chinese companies are a security threat to India especially in telecom,” Mahajan said by phone. “Not just in consumer goods, they’re a threat in telecom because their companies have massive support from the state, are allowed to vastly underbid Indian companies and win tenders for critical infrastructure.”The group met Indian telecom companies on Aug. 17 to discuss strategies to be used to curb Chinese industry. The organization had also written a letter to Prime Narendra Modi seeking action against China, Mahajan said. Calls made to the Prime Minister’s Office seeking comment went unanswered.This isn’t the first time that the Swadesh Jagran Manch has called for a ban on Chinese goods and companies. The group, along with the Confederation of All India Traders had called for a similar ban in March this year after China blocked the blacklisting of Pakistan-based Maulana Masood Azhar, founder of the militant group Jaish-e-Mohammed, at the U.N. Security Council.A ban called by both organizations during the festival of Diwali in 2016 wasn’t successful, although traders anticipated the sale of Chinese products would fall by 30%, the Press Trust of India reported. India has a trade deficit of over $53 billion with China.To contact the reporter on this story: Archana Chaudhary in New Delhi at achaudhary2@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Ruth Pollard at rpollard2@bloomberg.net, Abhay SinghFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

    Thu, 22 Aug 2019 17:00:00 -0400
  • Trump fumes over emissions deal between automakers and California

    Golocal247.com news

    The president decried a deal between the most populous U.S. state and four major automakers.

    Thu, 22 Aug 2019 13:22:13 -0400
  • Bangladesh police shoot dead two Rohingya in refugee camp

    Golocal247.com news

    Bangladesh police said they had shot dead two Rohingya refugees during a gunfight in a refugee camp on Saturday after the pair were accused of killing a ruling party official. Nearly a million Rohingya live in squalid camps in southeast Bangladesh, 740,000 of whom fled a 2017 military offensive against the Muslim minority in Myanmar. The incident comes two days after a second failed attempt to repatriate the refugees, which saw not a single Rohingya turn up to return across the border to conflict-scarred Rakhine state.

    Sat, 24 Aug 2019 07:56:21 -0400
  • Judge grants mistrial in case of Indiana man Joseph Oberhansley, accused of cannibalism

    Golocal247.com news

    The judge in the Indiana trial of a man accused of raping, murdering and eating parts of his ex-girlfriend's body granted a motion for a mistrial.

    Thu, 22 Aug 2019 23:05:36 -0400
  • Rep. Steve King wants to make abortion point in 'softer way'

    Golocal247.com news

    Backed by supporters at a news conference in Des Moines, the Iowa Republican affirmed his belief that abortion should be outlawed with no exceptions for rape or incest. King faced criticism for his comment Aug. 14 that questioned whether there would be "any population of the world left" if not for births due to rape or incest. The remarks were condemned by numerous groups and individuals, including Republican and Democratic candidates seeking to oust King, Democratic presidential candidates as well as the Iowa Republican Party and Rep. Liz Cheney, the No. 3 Republican in House leadership.

    Fri, 23 Aug 2019 18:31:07 -0400
  • The Hyde Amendment Denies Women Health Care. Yes, Abortion Is Health Care

    Golocal247.com news

    The Hyde Amendment keeps women of color, young people, the LGBTQ community, immigrants and lower-income people from accessing abortion care, writes Congresswoman Barbara Lee. She says it's time for Congress to repeal it.

    Fri, 23 Aug 2019 14:26:57 -0400
  • Chinese ship inches closer to Vietnam coastline amid South China Sea tensions

    A Chinese survey vessel on Saturday extended its activities to an area closer to Vietnam's coastline, ship tracking data showed, after the United States and Australia expressed concern about China's actions in the disputed waterways. The Haiyang Dizhi 8 vessel first entered Vietnam's exclusive economic zone (EEZ) early last month where it began a weeks-long seismic survey, triggering a tense standoff between military and coastguard vessels from Vietnam and China. The Chinese vessel continued to survey Vietnam's EEZ on Saturday under escort from at least four ships and was around 102 kilometres (63 miles) southeast of Vietnam's Phu Quy island and 185 kilometres (115 miles) from the beaches of the southern city of Phan Thiet, according to data from Marine Traffic, a website that tracks vessel movements.

    Sat, 24 Aug 2019 01:35:00 -0400
  • A floating nuclear plant in Russia features a gym, bar, and pool. An expert calls it 'Chernobyl on ice.'

    Golocal247.com news

    Environmental activists worry about the perils of placing nuclear reactors at sea, where they could be vulnerable to climate-related disasters.

    Fri, 23 Aug 2019 13:49:00 -0400
  • Brexit Held at the Border

    Golocal247.com news

    In the last two days Prime Minister Boris Johnson has proposed that Ireland temporarily leave the European Union to align with the economic rules of a post-Brexit U.K. German chancellor Angela Merkel has suggested, somewhat flippantly, that the U.K. could figure out a special trading arrangement for itself and Ireland in the next 30 days. And French president Emmanuel Macron has said that there’s still room for negotiation between the U.K. and the EU, but he’s willing to be “the hard boy.” Maybe Macron is taking the EU marriage metaphor a little too personally . . .What on earth is going on?It’s been three years since a majority of the U.K.’s electorate voted to leave the European Union. And so far, all that Brexit has generated is a great deal of nearly incomprehensibly vocabulary. First we got Theresa May’s red lines, her attempt to define how it was exactly that Brexit means Brexit, and what the future relationship, if any, the United Kingdom would have with the EU. These red lines, an end to freedom of movement from EU member states into the U.K., and an exit from the EU’s customs union ruled out the Norway option but not Canada Plus Plus. Or Canada Plus Plus Plus. Yes, I’m serious.According to the withdrawal agreement negotiated between Theresa May and the rest of the EU, that future relationship has to be figured out in the transition period. That’s a two-year window after the U.K. leaves the EU in which it would continue to follow EU rules until they came to a trade agreement. That is, unless there is a no-deal Brexit and the U.K. simply exits the European Union on October 31 and conducts business with the world based on World Trade Organization rules. Got it? Well, sort of.The focus is now on the Irish-border backstop. Basically, the backstop is a promise that there will be no hard border — a customs border across the island of Ireland, between the Republic of Ireland and the six counties of Northern Ireland. Irish public officials have argued (with the support of the EU) that a frictionless border is necessary for economic and political reasons. The frictionless border is understood there as part of the the peace settlement in Northern Ireland, following the 1998 Good Friday Agreement. So too the “all-island economy” that it creates. The backstop is a promise by the U.K. to keep Northern Ireland following a number of regulations and customs rules that match it to the Republic of Ireland.This promise became the focus of Tory and Brexiteer anger at Theresa May’s withdrawal agreement. First, because it created what seemed like a negotiating trap for the U.K. during the transition period. Having already agreed to keep Northern Ireland (and the rest of the U.K. with it) aligned with the EU’s rules as part of a backstop, the EU would have less incentive to come to another, different trade relationship to supersede that agreement. The price to be paid for testing and pushing the EU might carve up the United Kingdom itself. If Great Britain diverged from the EU at the end of the transition period, Northern Ireland would be partially politically detached from the Union, and perhaps its citizens would have to go through customs to travel within their own country, from Belfast to Birmingham.Recently Johnson has begun calling the backstop “undemocratic” and hinting that it violates the Good Friday Agreement. He has a point. The backstop would keep Northern Ireland subject to EU rules and regs in which they have no say. It would deprive Northern Ireland’s elected ministers to Parliament of any voice on matters that would be routine for MPs in any other constituent nation of the United Kingdom. That seems quite a lot like a partial form of Irish unification. But the Good Friday Agreement ensures that Irish unity can be achieved only by a majority vote for it in the six counties and another one in the Republic of Ireland.Proponents of the backstop hold that this measure would merely be the decision of a sovereign Parliament over a part of its territory. It is an agreement between Parliament and the EU and doesn’t legally touch Ireland. That’s true. But, the reality is that it would create checks between constituent parts of the U.K. that normally exist between two different countries. It does so in order to prevent those checks on the island of Ireland. And it does so to meet the expectations of the Irish government based in Dublin. To whom would Northern Irish people turn when trade policy affects them? Nobody they directly elect would have a constitutional say.Effectively these economic rules would be imposed on Northern Ireland as if it were a kind of EU colony, and done in the interests of the Republic of Ireland. This may satisfy the historical imagination of Irish nationalists. (Believe me, there is a delicious irony to be savored here.) But it is hard to argue that such a result is consonant with the Good Friday Agreement. Or a wise way to endear Northern Irish unionists to the Irish government.All of this confusion is the result of a kind of gamesmanship. The EU and U.K. each want to use the Irish border as a reason to crack the other’s negotiating position. The EU would like to see the U.K. bounced into a permanent customs union in which it has no say, effectively maintaining the economic size and power of the EU while reducing the political influence of Eurosceptical Britannia. On the other side, the U.K. would like to see the Irish-border issue work in the opposite way, forcing the EU to strike an especially good and liberal trade deal with the U.K. that comes with fewer strings attached than those on Norway or other states that have non-standard arrangements.The lesson is rather obvious. You cannot predetermine what kind of infrastructure will be at a border and what laws will be enforced at it, in the absence of a durable agreement on trade in goods and materials. The EU and the U.K. have been trying to resolve questions in the wrong order. Both have done so out of a reasonable fear of loss.But the hour is late, and the real work must be done.

    Thu, 22 Aug 2019 17:22:09 -0400
  • Huawei Puts a Price on Trump’s Aggression

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    (Bloomberg) -- Huawei Technologies Co. expects U.S. export restrictions to reduce annual revenue at its consumer devices business by about $10 billion, as the company is banned from buying American components like semiconductors and software.China’s largest technology company is seeking ways to replace key U.S. suppliers such as Cadence Design Systems Inc. and Synopsys Inc., Deputy Chairman Eric Xu said Friday. The overall damage to the company will be a “little less” than billionaire founder Ren Zhengfei’s initial estimate, Xu added.Huawei is seeking to develop alternatives after coming under intense pressure from the Trump Administration, which has argued its technology represents a security threat. On Friday, it introduced its most powerful artificial intelligence chipset, the Ascend 910, which is poised to rival some of the best offerings from Qualcomm Inc. and Nvidia Corp. Earlier this month, it offered the first glimpse of an in-house software -- HarmonyOS -- that may someday replace Google’s Android.The company is also researching ways to replace chip-design software tools offered by Cadence and Synopsys, Xu told a news briefing in Shenzhen without elaborating. “There were no chip design tools 10 years ago, but the industry still developed chips,” said Xu, who argued that Cadence and Synopsys were not must-haves for design. “Intel started to develop chips in the 1970s, when those companies didn’t exist.”Since May, Huawei has occupied the uncomfortable position of being both an established global brand and a member of the U.S. Entity List, which bars it from trading freely with American suppliers. Despite a series of 90-day reprieves, the latest of which came this week, the uncertainty caused by American sanctions has already cost the company a great deal.Even if Huawei is eventually brought in from the cold, the impact of this summer’s upheaval will be widespread and painful. Already, it reported slower sales growth in the second quarter compared to the first as the ban started to bite, especially into a consumer business encompassing smartphones and laptops. That in turn is accelerating Huawei’s effort to become self-reliant.One area in which the Chinese company is rapidly developing in-house expertise is semiconductors, propelling Beijing’s ambitions of weaning itself off foreign chips. HiSilicon -- Huawei’s chip design subsidiary -- has been developing its capabilities for a long time, and it’s recently grown into the second largest customer (after Apple Inc.) for the world’s biggest chip manufacturing contractor Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. Huawei has also elevated the presence of home-grown technologies throughout its product line -- from base stations to smartphones and servers -- as a key step to limiting the damage of the U.S. ban.The Ascend 910 processor unveiled Friday is a show of technological prowess. It will be used for AI model training, and Huawei says it outperforms all existing competition. Xu proclaimed that “without a doubt, it has more computing power than any other AI processor in the world.” The company also unveiled MindSpore, an AI computing framework that -- along with the 910 -- is supposedly twice as fast as Google’s TensorFlow.”The May 16 sanctions incident had no impact on the execution of Huawei’s AI strategy nor commercialization of AI products,” said Xu. “Our R&D project related to AI is building up steadily.”(Updates with Ascend’s specs from the third paragraph)To contact Bloomberg News staff for this story: Gao Yuan in Beijing at ygao199@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Peter Elstrom at pelstrom@bloomberg.net, Edwin Chan, Vlad SavovFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

    Fri, 23 Aug 2019 06:19:54 -0400
  • As a Jew, I’m offended but not surprised: Readers sound off

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    From Jay-Z and the NFL, to assault rifles, to the 2020 Democratic primaries, readers sound off on recent headlines.

    Sat, 24 Aug 2019 07:00:12 -0400
  • Tear gas fired as Hong Kong police, protesters clash

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    Hong Kong riot cops fired tear gas and baton-charged protesters who retaliated with a barrage of stones, bottles and bamboo poles on Saturday, as a standoff in a working-class neighbourhood descended into violence, breaking an uneasy peace that had lasted several days. Earlier thousands of demonstrators, many wearing hard hats and gas masks, marched through the industrial Kwun Tong area, where they were blocked by dozens of riot police with shields and batons outside a police station. Frontline protesters -- known as "braves" -- pulled together a barricade of traffic barriers and bamboo construction poles.

    Sat, 24 Aug 2019 05:03:09 -0400
  • Rep. Jerry Nadler slams 'growing anti-Semitism,' condemns cartoon shared by Omar and Tlaib

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    Zach Friend and David Bahnsen weigh in on controversial comments made by Rep. Rashida Tlaib, Rep. Ilhan Omar and President Trump.

    Fri, 23 Aug 2019 14:55:22 -0400
  • Russian doctor has trace of radiation after explosion

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    More than 100 Russian medical workers who helped treat victims of a recent mysterious explosion at a military testing range have undergone checks and one man has been found with a trace of radiation, officials said Friday. It was followed by a brief rise in radiation levels in nearby Severodvinsk, but the authorities insisted it didn't pose any danger. The Arkhangelsk regional administration said Friday that 110 medical workers have undergone checks that one man was found with a low amount of radioactive cesium-137 in his muscle tissue.

    Fri, 23 Aug 2019 11:12:24 -0400
  • 20 of the Craziest Pickup Trucks Ever

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    Fri, 23 Aug 2019 11:55:00 -0400
  • Russia's Chechnya inaugurates what it says is Europe's largest mosque

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    Authorities in the Russian region of Chechnya on Friday inaugurated what they said was the largest mosque in Europe in a pomp-filled ceremony attended by local and foreign officials. Named after the Prophet Mohammed, the marble-decorated mosque has capacity for more than 30,000 people and has been described by the Chechen authorities as the "largest and most beautiful" mosque in Europe. Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov, an ally of President Vladimir Putin, said the mosque -- located in Shali, a town of 54,000 just outside the regional capital Grozny -- was "unique in its design, and majestic in its size and beauty".

    Fri, 23 Aug 2019 09:33:45 -0400
  • Fast-moving wildfire erupts in California, forcing thousands to evacuate

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    Mountain fire races across hundreds of acres in just hours as wildfire season looms large over the stateThis photo provided by Cal Fire shows an aerial view of the Mountain Fire on 22 August. Photograph: APA fast-moving wildfire that broke out on Thursday in northern California has forced the evacuation of nearly 4,000 residents, racing across at least 600 acres within just a few hours, officials say. The Mountain fire, which erupted on the outskirts of a national forest in northern California, has threatened 1,110 homes and structures. As of Friday morning the fire was 40% contained , according to Cal Fire.The cause of the fire is under investigation.Photos of the blaze posted on Twitter by the Shasta county sheriff’s office showed thick black and gray smoke billowing into the area over a highway near the Shasta-Trinity national forest.“Jones Valley and Bella Vista area residents! This situation is very fluid and rapidly changing, if you do not see your road listed but feel you are in danger YOU MAY EVACUATE to Shasta College Gymnasium,” the sheriff’s department said in a separate tweet.The Mountain fire is threatening thousands of homes and forcing evacuations. Photograph: APThe Shasta College campus was closed along with Highway 299 and about a dozen smaller roads. Residents of small communities in the path of the flames were told to evacuate or be prepared to flee on short notice.California was hit by some of the deadliest and most destructive wildfires in a century last year and state officials have warned this year’s fire season could be similarly intense.The Camp fire, which broke out in Butte county in November and overran the town of Paradise, killed 86 people and left thousands of others homeless. State fire investigators determined that the Camp fire was sparked by Pacific Gas & Electric Co transmission lines.The Mountain fire broke out on the same day that Bernie Sanders, the senator and Democratic presidential candidate, unveiled his $16.3tn climate change plan and toured Paradise, which he called a “wake-up call for our entire nation”.“Climate change is a major, major crisis for our country, and the entire world, and one of the manifestations of that crisis is what happened here,” Sanders said as he walked through a burned-out mobile home park in Paradise alongside people who lost their homes in last November’s deadly blaze.

    Fri, 23 Aug 2019 12:23:16 -0400
  • Man arrested for holding woman as sex slave and keeping her eight-month-old baby captive

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    A North Carolina man has been arrested after holding a woman and her 8-month-old baby captive for over a month, authorities said.The Pender County Sheriff’s department said in a press release they received an emergency call on 9 August from a woman who said she was being held against her will at a home in Willard, North Carolina.

    Thu, 22 Aug 2019 16:37:10 -0400
  • All the Best Le Creuset Deals During Williams Sonoma Warehouse Sale

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    Fri, 23 Aug 2019 14:54:00 -0400
  • Trump dismisses recession warnings: 'I always find a way to win'

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    The president has crowed about the state of the economy despite words of caution from within his administration.

    Fri, 23 Aug 2019 08:19:22 -0400
  • China to impose new tariffs on $75 bn of US imports

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    China announced Friday it will hit US soybeans, lobsters, peanut butter and other imports worth $75 billion with new tariffs in retaliation for Washington's planned duty hikes, further intensifying the bruising trade war between the world's top two economies. The punitive tariffs of 5 to 10 percent will apply to 5,078 items from the US, starting September 1 and December 15, China's state council tariff office said. Beijing also announced it will reimpose a 25 percent tariff on US autos and a 5 percent tariff on auto parts, also starting December 15.

    Fri, 23 Aug 2019 11:10:02 -0400
  • Half of Venezuela's Oil Rigs May Disappear If U.S. Waivers Lapse

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    (Bloomberg) -- A looming U.S. sanctions deadline is threatening to clobber Venezuela’s dwindling oil-rig fleet and hamper energy production in the nation with the world’s largest crude reserves.Almost half the rigs operating in Venezuela will shut down by Oct. 25 if the Trump administration doesn’t extend a 90-day waiver from its sanctions, according to data compiled from consultancy Caracas Capital Markets. That could further cripple the OPEC member’s production because the structures are needed to drill new wells crucial for even maintaining output, which is already near the lowest level since the 1940s.A shutdown in the rigs will also put pressure on Nicolas Maduro’s administration, which counts oil revenues as its main lifeline. The U.S. is betting on increased economic pressure to oust the regime and bring fresh elections to the crisis-torn nation, a founding member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and Latin America’s biggest crude exporter until recent years.Venezuela had 23 oil rigs drilling in July, down from 49 just two years ago, data compiled by Baker Hughes show. Ten of those are exposed to U.S. sanctions, according to calculations by Caracas Capital Markets. The Treasury Department extended waivers in July for service providers to continue for three more months, less than the six months the companies had sought.Most other government agencies involved in the deliberations opposed any extension, a senior administration official said last month, adding that another reprieve will be harder to come by.“Almost half the rigs are being run by the Yanks, and if the window shuts down on this in two months, then that’s really going to hurt Venezuela unless the Russians and the Chinese come in,” said Russ Dallen, a Miami-based managing partner at Caracas Capital Markets.Output RiskA U.S. Treasury official said the department doesn’t generally comment on possible sanctions actions.More than 200,000 barrels a day of output at four projects Chevron Corp. is keeping afloat could shut if the waivers aren’t renewed. That would be debilitating to Maduro because the U.S. company, as a minority partner, only gets about 40,000 barrels a day of that production.The departure of the American oil service providers would hurt other projects in the Orinoco region, where operators need to constantly drill wells just to keep output from declining. The U.S.-based companies are also involved in state-controlled Petroleos de Venezuela SA’s joint ventures in other regions such as Lake Maracaibo.Limiting ExposureHalliburton Co., Schlumberger Ltd. and Weatherford International Ltd. have reduced staff and are limiting their exposure to the risk of non-payment in the country, according to people familiar with the situation. The three companies have written down a total of at least $1.4 billion since 2018 in charges related to operations in Venezuela, according to financial filings. Baker Hughes had also scaled back before additional sanctions were announced earlier this year, the people said.Schlumberger, Baker Hughes, Weatherford, PDVSA and Venezuela’s oil ministry all declined to comment.Halliburton has adjusted its Venezuela operations to customer activity, and continues operating all of its product service lines at its operational bases, including in the Orinoco Belt, it said in an emailed response to questions. It works directly with several of PDVSA’s joint ventures, and timely payments from customers are in accordance with U.S. regulations, it said.Hamilton, Bermuda-based Nabors Industries Ltd. has three drilling rigs in Venezuela that can operate for a client until the sanctions expire in October, Chief Executive Officer Anthony Petrello said in a July 30 conference call, without naming the client.The sanctions carry geopolitical risks for the U.S. If Maduro manages to hang on, American companies would lose a foothold in Venezuela, giving Russian competitors such as Rosneft Oil Co. a chance to fill the void. Chinese companies could also benefit. Even if the waivers get extended, the uncertainty hinders any long-term planning or investments in the nation by the exposed companies.Rosneft’s press office didn’t respond to phone calls and emails seeking comment on operations in Venezuela.\--With assistance from David Wethe, Debjit Chakraborty and Dina Khrennikova.To contact the reporters on this story: Peter Millard in Rio de Janeiro at pmillard1@bloomberg.net;Fabiola Zerpa in Caracas Office at fzerpa@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Tina Davis at tinadavis@bloomberg.net, Pratish Narayanan, Joe RyanFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

    Fri, 23 Aug 2019 00:00:01 -0400
  • The Latest: Baltic protest inspires Hong Kong human chain

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    Supporters of Hong Kong's pro-democracy movement are linking hands across the semi-autonomous Chinese territory, inspired by a historic protest 30 years ago in the Baltic states when nearly 2 million people formed a human chain to protest Soviet control. It was the latest protest in a nearly 11-week-old movement that began with calls for the government to scrap an extradition bill and has widened to include demands for full democracy and an independent inquiry into alleged police brutality at protests. China has derided Canada by saying that only those with "ulterior motives" should fear for their safety when traveling in the country.

    Fri, 23 Aug 2019 08:30:53 -0400
  • Want an assault weapons ban? Don't couple it with a mandatory gun buyback.

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    Beto O'Rourke and other Democratic candidates are playing right into the NRA's 'from my cold, dead hands,' endangering commonsense gun laws: Our view

    Thu, 22 Aug 2019 19:21:29 -0400
  • Turkey says Syria safe zone center with U.S. fully operational: Anadolu

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    A joint Turkish-U.S. operation center to establish and manage a safe zone in northeast Syria is fully operational, Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar was quoted as saying on Saturday by the state-owned Anadolu news agency. Turkey and the United States agreed to set up the joint operations center for the proposed zone along Syria's northeastern border but gave few details, such as the size of the zone or the command structure of the forces that would operate there.

    Sat, 24 Aug 2019 09:57:19 -0400
  • Chinese buyers pull back from U.S. housing market, hurting home sales

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    Chinese investors are buying fewer U.S. homes because of money controls in China. That's lowering prices and giving U.S. buyers a better chance to buy

    Fri, 23 Aug 2019 15:13:52 -0400
  • A Federal Court Strikes a Powerful Blow for Free Speech and Religious Freedom

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    Earlier today, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the constitutional order, limited the reach of expansive nondiscrimination laws, and protected a Christian couple from having to choose between their business and their conscience.The facts of the case are simple. The plaintiffs, Carl and Angel Larsen, are videographers who create “commercials, short films, and live-event productions.” While they work with anyone of any race, sex, sexual orientation, or religion, they will not produce videos that advance viewpoints that violate their Christian beliefs. That includes videos that “contradict biblical truth; promote sexual immorality; support the destruction of unborn children; promote racism or racial division; incite violence; degrade women; or promote any conception of marriage other than as a lifelong institution between one man and one woman.”The Larsens hoped to begin producing wedding videos, but Minnesota interpreted its human-rights act to require them to “produce both opposite-sex- and same-sex-wedding videos, or none at all.” Minnesota would also require them to produce videos that depicted “same- and opposite-sex weddings in an equally ‘positive’ light.” This raised the possibility that a gay couple who didn’t like the subjective quality of a video the Larsens produced for them could seek state sanctions based on alleged sexual-orientation discrimination.With the assistance of my friends and former colleagues at the Alliance Defending Freedom, the Larsens filed suit, claiming that Minnesota’s rule would compel them to speak in support of messages they oppose. The trial court ruled in favor of the state, and the Larsens appealed.One of the key constitutional questions of our time is whether the First Amendment will retain its supremacy and potency even as nondiscrimination rules and regulations expand in scope and reach. In this case, the Eight Circuit answered answered with an emphatic “Yes,” and it did so through a majority opinion that provided a clear roadmap for future courts and future controversies.Judge David Stras’s majority opinion begins with a simple, obvious, but crucial conclusion. The Larsens’s wedding videos are a “form of speech that is entitled to First Amendment protection.” Though they don’t make feature films, their wedding videos would still clearly communicate a message in the same way that films do. As the court explained, their wedding videos would be designed to tell “healthy stories of sacrificial love and commitment between a man and a woman” and celebrate the “divinely ordained” marriage covenant.Moreover, the fact that the Larsens were producing videos for profit did not diminish their constitutional protection. Documentaries make money. Feature films make money. Are they not clearly protected speech? To put it plainly, Minnesota was attempting to engage in one of the most intrusive state actions on the First Amendment. It was attempting to compel the Larsens to deliver a message they opposed.Yet that finding did not end the inquiry. State agencies have long argued that the governmental interests supporting public-accommodation laws and other nondiscrimination statutes are so compelling that they can and should override the speech protections of the First Amendment. In constitutional legalese, they claim that nondiscrimination laws are so vital they should be able to survive “strict scrutiny.”If the court did find that nondiscrimination laws can even compel speech, it would invert the constitutional order. It would relegate the First Amendment to second-class status — less potent than a mere state regulation. Indeed, this is the argument that much of the legal Left has been making for years. They view First Amendment–based arguments against public-accommodation laws or other nondiscrimination statutes as a form of special pleading by religious Americans, a request to be exempt from the fair and just rules that govern the rest of us.But this is exactly backwards. The First Amendment is part of our nation’s governing document, and it recognizes the unalienable rights possessed by all Americans — not just people of faith.  State and local regulators are engaged in special pleading. They’re seeking carve-outs from the supreme law of the land.Judge Stras understands this reality quite clearly. “Even antidiscrimination laws, as critically important as they are,” he writes “must yield to the Constitution. And as compelling as the interest in preventing discriminatory conduct may be, speech is treated differently under the First Amendment.”Yes. Exactly. He continues:> Regulating speech because it is discriminatory or offensive is not a compelling state interest, however hurtful the speech may be. It is a “bedrock principle . . . that the government may not prohibit the expression of an idea simply because society finds the idea itself offensive or disagreeable.”There are those who will claim that this decision will clear the way for wholesale discrimination in the name of “free speech.” It will do no such thing. Instead it will protect a small minority of creative professionals who do not discriminate against any member of any protected class from being conscripted into saying things they do not believe.We can expect that Minnesota will appeal to the Supreme Court, and if the Court accepts review it will be difficult to see SCOTUS reversing the court of appeals. The case that wedding videos represent protected speech is very strong, and once it’s deemed to be protected speech, the Court would have to contradict key prior precedents to overcome the Larsons' rights of conscience and compel their speech as a condition of doing business.One should always be cautious when projecting case outcomes, but the Eighth Circuit has laid the judicial foundation for a ruling that should, ultimately, reaffirm the primacy of the Constitution in American law.

    Fri, 23 Aug 2019 18:32:29 -0400
  • Man Who Stopped to 'Assist' Woman Having Car Trouble Accused of Sexually Assaulting Her

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    Police in Monroe County, Indiana are working to identify a suspect in a rape case.

    Fri, 23 Aug 2019 17:51:19 -0400
  • Trump claim doctors treating mass shooting victims 'were coming out of operating rooms' to meet him dismissed by hospitals

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    Two hospitals have denied Donald Trump’s claim doctors “were coming out of operating rooms” to meet him when he travelled to Texas and Ohio to console victims of two mass shootings."At no time did, or would, physicians or staff leave active operating rooms during the presidential visit,” University Medical Center (UMC) spokesperson Ryan Mielke told local TV station KVIA. “Our priority is always patient care."

    Fri, 23 Aug 2019 09:35:14 -0400
  • Israel warns Hamas further attacks risk more Gaza suffering

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    The Israeli army on Thursday warned the Gaza Strip's residents and its Hamas rulers that further attacks on Israel could incur tougher conditions for the coastal territory. The warning came in a tweet from the army's chief Arabic-language spokesman Avichay Adraee, hours after Israeli aircraft hit Hamas targets in retaliation for overnight Palestinian rocket attacks. Hamas launched two rockets at Israel late Wednesday -- bringing to six the number of strikes from Gaza in less than a week -- the army said, adding that they caused no casualties or damage.

    Thu, 22 Aug 2019 14:11:13 -0400
  • Putin Needs to Bury This Relic of Stalin

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- As Europe marks 80 years of the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact, which carved up eastern Europe between the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany, Russia is trying to defend the agreement again. There is no political benefit to doing this. President Vladimir Putin needs to abandon his Stalinist inheritance of a foreign policy based solely on national interest.If Moscow needed any reminder that many in eastern Europe still hold the treaty against it and still consider it a threat, plenty came on the anniversary. The governments of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Romania – the countries directly affected by the pact’s secret protocol – issued a joint statement saying the document “sparked World War II and doomed half of Europe to decades of misery.”More than a million people gathered to celebrate the Baltic Chain, the 419-mile (675 kilometer) long line of people who protested Soviet rule on Aug. 23, 1989. The demonstrators didn’t pick that day at random – they, too, were making the point that the subjugation of their countries by the Soviet Union began with the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact.Russia is fighting back. In Moscow, the original of the treaty is now exhibited alongside documents relating to both the 1938 Munich Agreement, where British and French leaders sanctioned the Nazi annexation of the Sudetenland, and Poland’s subsequent invasion of part of Czechoslovakia.At the opening of the exhibition earlier this week, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov spoke of Britain and France’s treachery: By cosying up to Hitler, they forced the Soviet Union to sign a deal with the Nazis to ensure its own security, he said. Had the Western Europeans listened to the Soviets and set up a collective security system, the bloodshed of World War II could have been averted. Lavrov was making a clear analogy with Russia’s efforts to build an alternative security architecture in today’s Europe – an idea the Kremlin hasn’t abandoned despite the rest of Europe’s lack of interest.For its part, the Russian mission to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the group the Kremlin sees as the foundation for its alternative security architecture, tweeted on Aug. 20 that lots of other countries had signed pacts with the Nazis before the Soviet Union did.Kremlin officials can say all this until they go hoarse, but that can’t erase the undeniable fact that the Soviet Union’s security didn’t require it to grab the Baltics and parts of Poland and Romania. Poland, which tried to benefit from the Nazis’ aggression, has admitted it was in the wrong when it invaded part of Czechoslovakia. President Lech Kaczynski apologized for it in 2009.In 1989, the Soviet Union, too, officially condemned the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact – but subsequent Russian communications about it, including an entire article signed by Putin himself in the Polish daily Gazeta Wyborcza, have come with the caveat that lots of others were at it, too.These excuses are a major reason other European countries don’t trust Russia: To them, Putin and his subordinates are saying that Moscow would do something like this all over again if its interests dictated it, small countries be damned.Concern this might happen was what drove eastern Europeans into the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. The reality of the annexation of Crimea – another opportunistic move dictated ostensibly by Russian security considerations – is pushing Ukraine in the same direction.If Putin’s goal was to inspire trust and start a meaningful conversation about collective European security in an age of increasing global competition, an unconditionally apologetic stance would work much better. Refraining from invading neighboring countries would be an even more meaningful step.I suspect, however, that Putin doesn’t really believe in such goals, because, like Stalin, he thinks a deal with the devil, based on common interest rather than trust, is the best.My epiphany about the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact came when I read the long-lost diary of Alfred Rosenberg, Nazi ideologue and Hitler’s one-time minister for the Occupied Eastern Territories. Rosenberg was skeptical about the deal and recoiled in horror when fellow Nazi Richard Darre told him of Joachim von Ribbentrop’s comment that he had “felt as though among old party comrades” when meeting the Soviet leadership.Incredulously, Rosenberg recounted that during Ribbentrop’s visit, Stalin raised his glass not just to Hitler but also to Heinrich Himmler, the Nazi security chief, calling him “the guarantor of order in Germany.”“Himmler has eradicated communism, i.e. those who believed in Stalin, and this one – without any need for it – raises a toast to the exterminator of his faithful,” Rosenberg noted.For Stalin, any kind of ideology took a back seat to expediency. He was a man of interests, not values. In that sense, Putin, an avowed anti-communist who has condemned Stalin on many occasions, is following the dictator’s realpolitik. His adherence to his current Orthodox Christian brand of social conservatism is as flimsy as Stalin’s link to leftist idealism was. If Putin can do a deal that will promote what he sees as Russia’s interests, he will do it with anyone. He will wear any hat required of him while doing so, and raise any toast. He is oblivious to Molotov-Ribbentrop’s biggest lesson of all: That such agreements don’t hold.That’s why eastern Europeans, and especially Ukrainians, are so worried about the possibility of a grand bargain between Putin and a U.S. president, most recently Donald Trump. The consequences for them could be comparable to those of the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact.What’s needed from Russia isn’t an apology for carving up Europe with Hitler, but a different foreign policy is – one in which principles trump interests. Only such a change can bring closer the idealistic vision of a Europe that stretches from Lisbon to Vladivostok, a goal to which both Russian and European leaders still like to refer. And that shift shouldn’t come at a moment of weakness, as it did in the waning years of the Soviet Union. Restoring trust should be a conscious process. It will take some time.To contact the author of this story: Leonid Bershidsky at lbershidsky@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Edward Evans at eevans3@bloomberg.netThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Leonid Bershidsky is Bloomberg Opinion's Europe columnist. He was the founding editor of the Russian business daily Vedomosti and founded the opinion website Slon.ru.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

    Fri, 23 Aug 2019 07:52:10 -0400
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