Tuesday, 31 December 2019

Thousands flee to beaches amid devastating Australian wildfires

Thousands flee to beaches amid devastating Australian wildfiresThousands of Australians were forced to flee to beaches on Tuesday as wildfires continued to blaze in New South Wales and Victoria.About 4,000 people sought refuge on nearby beaches in the town of Mallacoota in Victoria, with thousands along the New South Wales coast needing to evacuate their homes, CNN reports. Fires have been raging in Australia for the past several months, and 70 new fires reportedly started in Victoria on Monday, while more than 60 fires haven't yet been contained in New South Wales."It was like we were in hell," a vacationer in New South Wales told CNN. "We were all covered in ash.""It should have been daylight but it was black like midnight and we could hear the fire roaring," a local business owner in Mallacoota told BBC News. "We were all terrified for our lives."After the death of a father and son in Cobargo, at least 11 people have died amid Australia's devastating fire season, during which more than 900 homes have been destroyed in New South Wales, The New York Times reports. Victoria Emergency Services Commissioner Andrew Crisp said there have been "significant" property losses, The Associated Press reports.Australian military aircraft and vessels will assist in the emergency services, BBC News reports, and the United States and Canada have also been asked to help in the effort. CNN reports that weather conditions are expected to improve in the next 24 hours before worsening by the end of the week, again "bringing dangerous fire conditions."More stories from theweek.com The Obama legacy is not what many liberals think Trump's scandals will haunt America for years The first decade in history




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World welcomes 2020, but celebrations shadowed by wildfires, protests, Korea tensions

World welcomes 2020, but celebrations shadowed by wildfires, protests, Korea tensionsSYDNEY/HONG KONG/LONDON (Reuters) - The world celebrated the New Year on Wednesday with fireworks displays from Sydney to London, although celebrations were clouded by deadly wildfires in Australia, protests in Hong Kong and India and new nuclear tensions with North Korea. Large crowds gathered in European capitals for spectacular fireworks displays that lit up the skies over landmarks like Big Ben in London, the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, the Parthenon in Athens and the Kremlin in Moscow.




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MSC Cruises' new and largest ship, MSC Grandiosa, crashes in the port of Palermo, Sicily

MSC Cruises' new and largest ship, MSC Grandiosa, crashes in the port of Palermo, SicilyMSC Cruises' new ship experienced a collision on Monday morning. MSC Grandiosa collided with the dock in Palermo, Sicily, a spokesperson confirmed.




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PHOTOS: #MenToo: The hidden tragedy of male sexual abuse in the military

PHOTOS: #MenToo: The hidden tragedy of male sexual abuse in the militaryAward-winning photojournalist Mary F. Calvert has spent six years documenting the prevalence of rape in the military and the effects on victims. She began with a focus on female victims but more recently has examined the underreported incidence of sexual assaults on men and the lifelong trauma it can inflict.




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U.S. Taking Democracy for Granted, Chief Justice Roberts Says

U.S. Taking Democracy for Granted, Chief Justice Roberts Says(Bloomberg) -- The U.S. has “come to take democracy for granted,” Chief Justice John Roberts said, urging his fellow judges to keep educating the public about the workings of the federal government and the Constitution.Roberts, who is slated to oversee the Senate‘s impeachment trial of President Donald Trump in the coming weeks, used his year-end report Tuesday to laud the federal judiciary’s work on civic education, while issuing a thinly veiled warning about the fragility of American democracy in a fractious time.“We have come to take democracy for granted, and civic education has fallen by the wayside,” Roberts wrote. “In our age, when social media can instantly spread rumor and false information on a grand scale, the public’s need to understand our government, and the protections it provides, is ever more vital.”Roberts described a 1788 riot that incapacitated John Jay while he was working with Alexander Hamilton and James Madison on the Federalist Papers, a series of articles published to promote the ratification of the Constitution. Jay was hit in the head with a rock while trying to quell the riot, which was sparked by a rumor that medical students were dissecting the body of a recently deceased woman. Jay later became the first U.S. chief justice.“It is sadly ironic that John Jay’s efforts to educate his fellow citizens about the framers’ plan of government fell victim to a rock thrown by a rioter motivated by a rumor,” Roberts wrote.Roberts has become the nation’s leading champion of judicial independence since being appointed to the Supreme Court by President George W. Bush in 2005. In his new report, the chief justice called the judiciary “a source of national unity and stability” but added a cautionary note.“We should also remember that justice is not inevitable,” Roberts wrote in a passage directed at his judicial colleagues. “We should reflect on our duty to judge without fear or favor, deciding each matter with humility, integrity, and dispatch.”Roberts, 64, is in the middle of a challenging Supreme Court term that includes cases on LGBTQ discrimination, abortion and gun rights. In late March or early April the court will hear arguments on Trump’s effort to prevent his financial information from being turned over to Congress and a New York grand jury.Roberts released the report three days after his mother, Rosemary A. Roberts, died at age 90. Her obituary said she was surrounded by her family when she passed away.To contact the reporter on this story: Greg Stohr in Washington at gstohr@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Joe Sobczyk at jsobczyk@bloomberg.net, Laurie Asséo, Anna EdgertonFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2020 Bloomberg L.P.




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Former Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn fled prosecution in Japan in a private jet, under a fake name, hiding in a musical instrument box, reports suggest

Former Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn fled prosecution in Japan in a private jet, under a fake name, hiding in a musical instrument box, reports suggestJapanese authorities are trying to find out how Ghosn, one of its highest-profile defendants, managed to evade surveillance and leave the country.




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DNC rejects Andrew Yang's request to commission polls to increase diversity at January debate

DNC rejects Andrew Yang's request to commission polls to increase diversity at January debateThe DNC said that commissioning primary polls would break with its tradition of independent polling.




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FBI Agents: McCabe Apologized for Changing His Story on Leak

FBI Agents: McCabe Apologized for Changing His Story on LeakFormer FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe faced scorching criticism and potential criminal prosecution for changing his story about a conversation he had with a Wall Street Journal reporter. Now newly released interview transcripts show McCabe expressed remorse to internal FBI investigators when they pressed him on the about-face. The FBI released the documents in response to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit by the government watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW). They provide fresh details about the investigation into a leak to the Journal, McCabe's role in it, and the reaction of agents who investigated it.In the final weeks of the 2016 presidential campaign, the Journal broke news about an FBI investigation involving then-candidate Hillary Clinton, describing internal discussions among senior FBI officials.Emails Show McCabe Scrambling to Handle Stories About Hillary ProbeThe apparent leak drew scrutiny from the bureau’s internal investigation team, which interviewed McCabe on May 9, 2017, the day President Donald Trump fired James Comey from his post as FBI director. The agents interviewed him as part of an investigation regarding a different media leak to the online publication Circa, and also asked him about the Journal story. In that interview, McCabe said he did not know how the Journal story came to be. But a few months later, his story changed after he reviewed his answer. On Aug. 18, FBI officials met with McCabe in an attempt to work through what they said was “conflicting information” they had gathered about the possible leak to the Journal.“I need to know from you,” an agent said he told McCabe in a sit-down meeting, “did you authorize this article? Were you aware of it? Did you authorize it?” McCabe then looked at the story he had reviewed months earlier. The FBI investigator described his response this way: “And as nice as could be, he said, yep. Yep I did.”Ex-FBI Head Andrew McCabe Sues, Says Trump Ordered His FiringThe investigator then said that “things had suddenly changed 180 degrees with this.” The interviewers stopped taking notes on what McCabe was saying, and the agent indicated their view of McCabe had changed: He was no longer a witness or victim. “In our business, we stop and say, look, now we’re getting into an area for due process,” the agent said.But the agent said that the team did not raise that line of thought with McCabe. “I was very careful to say… with all due respect, this is what you told us. This has caused us some kind of, you know, sidetracking here now with some information other people have told us.”The agent’s next comments to McCabe took on a frustrated tone.“I remember saying to him, at, I said, sir, you understand that we’ve put a lot of work into this based on what you told us,” the agent said. “I mean, and I even said, long nights and weekends working on this, trying to find out who amongst your ranks of trusted people would, would do something like that. And he kind of just looked down, kind of nodded, and said yeah I’m sorry.”McCabe’s lawyer has said his story changed because in the initial interview he wasn’t prepared for the question. The question surprised him, and he didn’t give his answer a second thought because Comey was fired shortly after the interview concluded and his world turned upside down. McCabe, who became acting director of the FBI after Trump fired Comey, was fired in March 2018, two days before he was expected to retire. Then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions said he was axing McCabe because of the leak investigation’s findings. McCabe, who had been assailed by Trump over and over again on Twitter over the Russia investigation, denied wrongdoing and alleged his firing was politically motivated. In August, he sued DOJ for wrongful termination and has since accused the Trump administration of withholding evidence that would help his case.The DOJ Inspector General, meanwhile, later accused McCabe of lying to investigators multiple times. After that report came out, McCabe’s lawyer said it was “far less fair than he deserved,” and “utterly failed to support the decision to terminate Mr. McCabe.” Lying to federal investigators is a crime, and the Inspector General referred its investigation of McCabe to the U.S. Attorney’s office for Washington D.C. McCabe has not been charged with any crime––despite numerous Trump tweets calling him a criminal. Read more at The Daily Beast.Got a tip? Send it to The Daily Beast hereGet our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.




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Hanukkah candles burn in Iraqi Kurdistan

Hanukkah candles burn in Iraqi KurdistanAl-Qosh (Irak) (AFP) - In the glow of the nine-candled menorah, with kippa skullcaps on their heads and tallit prayer shawls around their shoulders, a small association is working to revive Hanukkah in Iraq. The country has been nearly emptied of its Jewish community amid regional conflict and violence within its borders, but this year, the town of Al-Qosh hosted its first Hanukkah celebrations. Al-Qosh is a majority Christian town around 50 kilometres (30 miles) north of Mosul, the former self-proclaimed "capital" of the Islamic State group (IS) in Iraq.




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Thousands of Google cafeteria staff have unionized, and it's the latest group of Google's 'shadow workforce' to join a union

Thousands of Google cafeteria staff have unionized, and it's the latest group of Google's 'shadow workforce' to join a unionThe union organizing comes as Google is facing a wave of internal activism from its own employees protesting the company's treatment of workers.




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A Plan for World War III: How the Warsaw Pact Planned to Defeat NATO

A Plan for World War III: How the Warsaw Pact Planned to Defeat NATOHistory had other ideas.




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Policy expediting migrant deportations at the border expands

Policy expediting migrant deportations at the border expandsAdvocates say the policy denies asylum-seekers due process, restricts access to lawyers and effectively ensures their prompt deportation.




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Judge orders Alex Jones to pay $100,000 in Sandy Hook case

Judge orders Alex Jones to pay $100,000 in Sandy Hook caseA Texas judge ordered conspiracy theorist Alex Jones to pay $100,000 in another court setback over the Infowars host using his show to promote falsehoods that the 2012 Sandy Hook school massacre was a hoax. Jones is being sued for defamation in Austin, Texas, by the parents of a 6-year-old who was among the 26 people killed in the Newtown, Connecticut, attack. State District Judge Scott Jenkins ruled on Dec. 20 that Jones and his defense team “intentionally disregarded” an earlier order to provide witnesses to attorneys representing a Sandy Hook father who brought the lawsuit, Neil Heslin.




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Iraqi protesters breach U.S. Embassy complex in Baghdad amid anger over airstrikes

Iraqi protesters breach U.S. Embassy complex in Baghdad amid anger over airstrikesAnger over U.S. airstrikes Sunday against Iran-backed militia Kataib Hezbollah boiled over in Baghdad on Tuesday as militia supporters broke into the U.S. Embassy complex and set fire to a reception area, The Associated Press reports. Iraqi officials say the U.S. ambassador and other staff evacuated the embassy as militia supporters started gathering outside, but the security forces who remained fired tear gas at the dozens of protesters who breached a side gate. AP reporters at the scene also heard sounds of gunfire and saw U.S. troops on the embassy roof with guns pointed at the attackers.Leaders of several Iran-backed militias were in the crowd at the embassy shouting "Down, Down U.S.A." and "Death to America." Sunday's airstrikes killed 25 Kataib Hezbollah militants, a response, U.S. officials said, to an attack Friday that left one U.S. contractor dead. The attack on the U.S. Embassy followed funerals for the militants in a Baghdad neighborhood. Before breaking down the side gate, protesters smashed security cameras, torched three empty trailers used by security guards, and spray-painted "Closed in the name of the people" on the embassy gates.More stories from theweek.com The Obama legacy is not what many liberals think Trump's scandals will haunt America for years The first decade in history




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Bailed tycoon Ghosn flees to Lebanon from 'rigged' Japan

Bailed tycoon Ghosn flees to Lebanon from 'rigged' JapanFormer Nissan chief Carlos Ghosn said Tuesday he had fled to Lebanon to escape injustice in Japan, where he was on bail awaiting trial on financial misconduct charges. The auto tycoon's abrupt departure was the latest twist in a rollercoaster journey that saw him fall from boardroom to detention centre and sparked questions over an embarrassing security lapse in Japan. It was not clear how he managed to leave Japan, as his bail conditions barred him from exiting the country he had been held in since his sudden arrest in November 2018 sent shockwaves through the business world.




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North Korean leader calls for ‘military countermeasures’

North Korean leader calls for ‘military countermeasures’Kim spoke for seven hours during the ruling Workers’ Party meeting.




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Swiss Embassy worker detained in Sri Lanka gets bail

Swiss Embassy worker detained in Sri Lanka gets bailA Sri Lankan Court on Monday granted bail to a Swiss Embassy employee who was detained pending charges that she made statements to create disaffection toward the government and fabricated evidence. Before her arrest, the employee, a Sri Lankan national, had reportedly said she was abducted, held for hours, sexually assaulted and threatened by captors who demanded that she disclose embassy-related information. Sri Lankan authorities have said they investigated her complaint but found no evidence to file charges against anyone.




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Immigration in 2019: Trump restricts asylum and overhauls legal immigration

Immigration in 2019: Trump restricts asylum and overhauls legal immigration2019 was arguably the Trump administration's most successful one in its quest to severely restrict asylum and overhaul the legal immigration system.




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Iraq militia chief warns U.S. airstrikes could bring tough response

Iraq militia chief warns U.S. airstrikes could bring tough responseA top Iraqi militia leader warned of a strong response against U.S. forces in Iraq following airstrikes in Iraq and Syria overnight that hit several bases of his Iranian-backed group and killed at least 25 people.




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Here's who will be onstage for the January Democratic presidential debate in Iowa and how to watch it

Here's who will be onstage for the January Democratic presidential debate in Iowa and how to watch itCNN and the Des Moines Register will co-host the seventh Democratic presidential debate in Des Moines three weeks before the Iowa caucuses.




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Bosnia indicts Serb army general over Srebrenica genocide

Bosnia indicts Serb army general over Srebrenica genocideA Bosnian war crimes prosecutor on Tuesday indicted a Bosnian Serb former army general for taking part in the 1995 massacre of about 8,000 Muslim men and boys in Srebrenica, an atrocity described as genocide by two international courts. Milomir Savcic, 60, is accused of commanding the Bosnian Serb Army headquarters 65 Protection Motorised Regiment, which included a military police battalion, to capture, kill and bury adult Muslim Bosniaks from the U.N.-protected eastern enclave of Srebrenica in July 1995. Bosnian Serb forces led by General Ratko Mladic attacked Srebrenica on July 11, 1995, separated men from women and children, and killed about 8,000 Muslims, who were then buried in mass graves.




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GOP Senator: President Trump 'Not a Role Model For Young People'

GOP Senator: President Trump 'Not a Role Model For Young People'In an interview with Face The Nation, Republican Senator James Lankford of Oklahoma said Trump isn't a good role model for young people




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USA TODAY's guide to cruise ship gratuity fees and service charges

USA TODAY's guide to cruise ship gratuity fees and service chargesIn the world of cruising, gratuities and service charges are the apex controversy. Check out these fee listings on major cruise lines.




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Monday, 30 December 2019

U.S. airstrikes in Iraq and Syria hit sites linked to Iran

U.S. airstrikes in Iraq and Syria hit sites linked to IranThe United States carried out airstrikes in Iraq and Syria on Sunday, targeting weapons and munitions depots used by Kataib Hezbollah, an Iranian-backed militia.Over the last two months, there have been 11 rocket attacks against bases used by the U.S.-led coalition fighting the Islamic State. U.S. officials said Sunday's airstrikes were in response to an attack that took place in Kirkuk, Iraq, on Friday, which left one U.S. contractor dead and four U.S. troops injured.Kataib Hezbollah is connected to Iran's paramilitary Quds Forces, U.S. officials told The Wall Street Journal, and the Pentagon said the airstrikes are meant to serve as a warning to stop attacking the coalition's bases. A Kataib Hezbollah official said 25 members of the militia were killed in the airstrikes.More stories from theweek.com The best headlines of 2019 Giants, Browns fire head coaches on otherwise quiet 'Black Monday' Republicans are still trying to steal your health insurance




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Trump to counter Iowa Democratic debate with Wisconsin rally

Trump to counter Iowa Democratic debate with Wisconsin rallyPresident Donald Trump will hold a campaign rally in Wisconsin next month, countering a Democratic presidential debate set for the same night in Iowa. Trump's campaign says the rally is set for Jan. 14 at the UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena. It's the same night that CNN and The Des Moines Register are sponsoring the first Democratic presidential debate of 2020 at Drake University in Des Moines.




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Ousted Renault-Nissan boss Ghosn leaves Japan for Lebanon

The 40 Best Movies of 2019

The 40 Best Movies of 2019




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Andrew Yang has a simple idea for how the DNC can increase diversity at the next debate

Andrew Yang has a simple idea for how the DNC can increase diversity at the next debateDemocratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang has a suggestion for the Democratic National Committee.There's been a lot of wariness as the field whittles down about the lack of diversity among the party's top presidential candidates. So far, the only five candidates to have qualified for January's debate in Iowa — Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), former Vice President Joe Biden, and South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg — are all white. And Yang, who has yet to qualify for the January event, was the only minority at the last debate in December.In a letter sent to DNC Chair Tom Perez obtained by The Daily Beast, Yang provided a pretty simple idea for how to increase diversity at the January debate. He just thinks the DNC should commission more qualifying polls.Of course, that would go a long way toward helping Yang, who has met the individual donor requirement, but is three qualifying polls short of reaching the threshold. Still, in the letter he tried to appeal to the party at large, saying that the an all-white debate stage was a "troubling prospect" for the DNC, and could even lead to "unfounded claims of bias and prejudice." More polls, he told Perez, "would provide an accurate snapshot of the current state of the race and where voters' hearts and minds are." Read more at The Daily Beast.More stories from theweek.com The best headlines of 2019 Giants, Browns fire head coaches on otherwise quiet 'Black Monday' Republicans are still trying to steal your health insurance




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US carries out first strikes in a decade against Iran-backed Kataib Hizbollah in Iraq and Syria

US carries out first strikes in a decade against Iran-backed Kataib Hizbollah in Iraq and SyriaThe United States has launched its first airstrikes in nearly a decade against the Iran-backed militia forces in Iraq and Syria. The Pentagon said it hit five bases used by the Iraqi Hizbollah militant group following a rocket attack in Iraq that killed a US civilian contractor. Three of the bases were in Iraq, and two in Syria, where the militia has been trying to bolster the regime of President Assad. “US forces have conducted precision defensive strikes against five KH facilities in Iraq and Syria that will degrade KH’s ability to conduct future attacks against OIR coalition forces,” the Pentagon said. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the strikes send the message that the US will not tolerate actions by Iran that jeopardise American lives. The strike is the first direct confrontation between US and Iranian-backed forces in Iraq since 2011, when President Obama withdrew some of his forces. "I would note also that we will take additional actions as necessary to ensure that we act in our own self-defence and we deter further bad behavior from militia groups or from Iran," said Defence Secretary Mark Esper, who was accompanied by Mr Pompeo and Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. A combination of images depicts what the U.S. military says are bases of the Kataib Hezbollah militia group that were struck by U.S. forces, in the city of Al-Qa'im Credit: Reuters The delivered the brief statement to reporters in a ballroom at Trump's Mar-a-Lago club, where the president is on a more than two-week winter break. According to the Al Arabiya news network, the US evacuated dozens of staff from its embassy in Baghdad on Sunday night amid concerns of retaliation. The targets of the US bombs included weapons storage facilities and command locations used to plan and execute attacks, the statement added. On Friday, terrorists fired a barrage of 30 rockets at an Iraqi military base in Kirkuk, an oil-rich region north of Baghdad. A US civilian contractor died in the strike. Iraq's Joint Operations Command said in a statement that three U.S. airstrikes on Sunday evening Iraq time hit the headquarters of the Hezbollah Brigades at the Iraq-Syria border, killing four fighters. Iraq's Hezbollah Brigades, a separate force from the Lebanese group Hezbollah, operate under the umbrella of the state-sanctioned militias known collectively as the Popular Mobilization Forces. Many of them are supported by Iran. The Popular Mobilization Forces said Sunday that the U.S. strikes killed at least 19 of Kataeb Hezbollah's members. Kataeb Hezbollah is led by Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, one of Iraq's most powerful men. He once battled US troops and is now the deputy head of the Popular Mobilization Forces. Washington had recently promised “a decisive US response” to a growing number of unclaimed attacks on its interests in Iraq, which it blames on pro-Iran factions. US-Iran tension levels have soared since Washington pulled out of a landmark nuclear agreement with Tehran last year and imposed crippling sanctions.




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Greta Thunberg said it would be a waste of time for her to talk to Trump about climate change

Greta Thunberg said it would be a waste of time for her to talk to Trump about climate changePresident Donald Trump, who is withdrawing the US from the Paris climate accord, has a long record of expressing skepticism on climate science.




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Australian Jews decry Israeli health minister's appointment

Australian Jews decry Israeli health minister's appointmentAustralia's Jewish community has slammed an Israeli government decision to promote to the post of health minister a legislator who is suspected of aiding an alleged sexual abuser wanted in Australia. The Israeli government on Sunday appointed Yaacov Litzman as health minister, sparking a litany of condemnations from Australia's staunchly pro-Israel Jewish community. In an open letter to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Jeremy Leibler, the president of the Zionist Federation of Australia, called the decision "a slap in the face to the Australian Jewish community, the Australian people," as well as to the survivors of the alleged abuse.




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Here's who becomes president if Trump is removed from office in an impeachment trial

Here's who becomes president if Trump is removed from office in an impeachment trialThe vice president is the first in the line of succession to the presidency, followed by the speaker of the House of Representatives.




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GOP Senator: ‘There Are No Rules’ for Senate Impeachment Trial

GOP Senator: ‘There Are No Rules’ for Senate Impeachment TrialSen. John Kennedy (R-LA) claimed on Sunday’s broadcast of State of the Union that there are no “substantive rules” when it comes to holding an impeachment trial and that the Constitution doesn’t provide much guidance to the Senate.CNN anchor Jake Tapper noted that Kennedy had previously said his objective in President Donald Trump’s impeachment is to be fair to both sides. He asked the lawmaker about Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) saying she was “disturbed” that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he would coordinate with the White House on impeachment.“Were you also bothered when Majority Leader McConnell said there would be no daylight between him and the White House?” Tapper asked.“I think Senator McConnell is entitled to his opinion and his approach. So is Senator Murkowski,” Kennedy stated, adding that if you look at specific case law on impeachment, “the rule is there is no substantive rules.”“It is not a criminal trial,” he continued. “The Senate is not really a jury. It is both jury and judge. The chief justice is not the judge, he’s the presiding officer. There are no standards of proof. There are no rules of evidence.”The guidelines provided by Article 1, Section 3 of the Constitution say that the Senate has the “sole Power to try all Impeachments,” the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court will preside over the trial, and a president will only be removed from office if two-thirds of the Senate convicts.Kennedy went on to say that every member of the Senate is entitled to approach impeachment any way they want until a majority of the chamber votes on passing new rules, reiterating that he wants it “to be fair to both sides.”“I thought that the House proceedings were unnecessarily unfair and when the American people walk away from the Senate trial, if we ever have one, I don’t want them saying: ‘Well, we were just run over by the same truck twice. It was unfair in the house and it was unfair in the Senate,’” the Louisiana senator said. “I want people to think that it was a level playing field.”Asked whether his idea of fairness would be for both House impeachment managers and the president’s team to call the witnesses they deem worthy, Kennedy said they first need to decide whether Senate will hear evidence during the trial.“But, look, there are no rules here,” he asserted. “For example, what is an impeachable offense? I think the precedent shows that not all impeachable offenses are crimes. But it also shows that not all crimes are impeachable offenses.”Kennedy, meanwhile, concluded by saying it would be proper for Trump to continue blocking key White House witnesses from testifying if called by Congress.“I fully expect the president to do two things,” he said. “Claim executive privilege, which is his right. And number two, demand his own list of witnesses.”Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.




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Saudi Arabia Sentences Man to Death for Theater Stabbings: TV

Saudi Arabia Sentences Man to Death for Theater Stabbings: TV(Bloomberg) -- A Saudi Arabian court sentenced a Yemeni man to death for stabbing three performers at a theater show in the capital last month in an attack ordered by al-Qaeda, state-run TV reported.Another defendant was jailed for 12 1/2 years, Al Ekhbariya channel reported, citing the criminal court. The attack, in which three people were injured, was ordered by al-Qaeda in neighboring Yemen, the broadcaster said. It didn’t specify where it got the information.The mid-November attack in Riyadh came as the conservative kingdom undergoes a drastic overhaul of its social norms spearheaded by its young crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman. Saudis have been granted freedoms that include the loosening of rules on women’s attire and travel as well as the mixing of genders in conjunction with a plan to wean the economy off oil.The court rulings were preliminary and both defendants can file appeals.\--With assistance from Sarah Algethami.To contact the reporter on this story: Reema Alothman in Riyadh at ralothman1@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Donna Abu-Nasr at dabunasr@bloomberg.net, Michael Gunn, Bruce StanleyFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.




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California's groundbreaking privacy law takes effect in January. What does it do?

California's groundbreaking privacy law takes effect in January. What does it do?Landmark law, the ‘most comprehensive’ in the US, gives Californians an arsenal of tools to protect their data online Last year, California passed a landmark privacy law that gives consumers more control over their data. The legislation gives residents unprecedented rights to control what information companies collect on them and how it is used.The California Consumer Privacy Act will go into action 1 January 2020, giving residents of the state a whole new arsenal of tools to protect their data and personal information online – and saddling businesses with a lot more responsibility.Here is everything you need to know about California’s “groundbreaking” new privacy law. What is the law?The California Consumer Privacy Act, passed in 2018, is the “most comprehensive” privacy legislation to be enacted in the United States to date, according to the American Bar Association.Under the new regulations, California residents will be able to demand companies to disclose what information is collected on them and request a copy of that information.Companies will be forced to delete consumers’ data upon request and they’ll be prohibited from selling information if the customer instructs them to via a mandatory “do not sell” link on the company’s website.Consumers will also have the right to “receive equal service and price whether or not they exercise their privacy rights” or in other words, companies won’t be able to treat a user differently because they have requested their data. When does it go into effect?The law is effective on 1 January – meaning consumers can submit requests for their data starting on that date. The California attorney general’s office will not take any enforcement action against companies that do not comply until 1 July 2020. What businesses does it affect?Businesses will be required to comply with the new regulations if they have an annual gross revenue in excess of $25m, derive 50% or more of their annual revenue from selling consumers’ personal information, or annually buy, receive, sell, or share the personal information of more than 50,000 consumers, households, or devices for commercial purposes.That means at least 500,000 businesses will be required to comply with the new law, according to the not-for-profit the International Association of Privacy. Who else does it affect?Consumers in California will be most directly affected by the new law. However, even people who not live in California may see ripple effects, said Peter Yared, the founder and chief executive officer of data management company InCountry.“There are similar laws manifesting all over the world so increasingly companies are set up to receive and process these kinds of requests for data,” he said. I live in California – how can I get my own data?Consumers can receive a copy of their data by sending “a verifiable consumer request” to a business. The company is then required to comply with the request within 45 days of receipt. In some cases, companies can extend this time period for a maximum of 90 days total.Consumers may only make a request for information twice a year, and only for a 12-month look-back period. What happens if a company doesn’t give me my data?Companies may face fines of $2,500 to $7,500 per violation of the new law, if the violation is deemed intentional. However, the CCPA also grants businesses a 30-day period to address a violation after receipt of a consumer’s request. The law is enforced by the California attorney general. How does the CCPA compare to other privacy laws?The California Consumer Privacy Act has often been called “GDPR-lite”, bearing resemblance to the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation, which went into effect in May 2018.GDPR’s scope is broader, affecting all businesses that handle user data, whereas the CCPA applies only to businesses with a gross revenue over $25m, more than 50,000 customers, or whose revenue is 50% or more based on user data.The CCPA provides more explicit “opt out” options for users who do not want their personal data sold. Under the CCPA, companies must include a “Do Not Sell My Personal Information” link in a clear and conspicuous location on their websites. Under GDPR, by comparison, businesses do not necessarily need the individual’s consent to collect and use data.The rules also differ in their approaches to the collection of children’s data. Under GDPR, parents must provide consent for the processing of data of children under the age of 16. The CCPA requires businesses obtain consent from parents of children ages 13 and under, while kids older than 13 can provide their own consent. What’s next?Although the CCPA is the most extensive privacy law yet to be passed in the US, some advocates say it does not go far enough. Before the comment period on the law closed on 6 December, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a not-for-profit organization, and other privacy advocates filed a request to strengthen the regulation.The law as it is written does not do enough to address data collection, said Hayley Tsukayama, an EFF legal advocate, and California has few resources to enforce the law in 2020.“You have the right to go to companies that have your data and ask to have it back, but they don’t have to come to you to ask to have it in the first place”, she said. “This is what we call opt in versus opt out.”Companies that violate the law will also have the “right to cure”, meaning they can change their violating policies after they have been apprehended.“We see this as a get out of jail free card,” Tsukayama said.




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Judge dismisses lawsuit from Bolton deputy regarding Ukraine testimony

Judge dismisses lawsuit from Bolton deputy regarding Ukraine testimonyCharles Kupperman filed suit in October after he was subpoenaed by the House Intelligence Committee.




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Hasan Minhaj’s 2020 Advice: Be Like Mitch McConnell

Hasan Minhaj’s 2020 Advice: Be Like Mitch McConnellBefore signing off for 2019, Hasan Minhaj has turned his eye towards 2020. The host of Netflix’s Patriot Act ended his final episode of the year by sharing some updates from stories he covered earlier in the year, including an interview during which he tried to get Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to accept Islam as his “one true faith.” Two weeks later, his brownface scandal erupted. “Little did I know he had actually converted decades ago,” Minhaj joked.  The biggest problem of 2019, he went on to argue, is that “we’re exposed to all the news, all the time, which makes us feel like we have to care about everything all the time.” It’s called “compassion fatigue” and Minhaj compared it to feeling like you have “50 tabs open in our mental browsers and we’re about to crash.” “You know who really figured out 2019?” he asked, before adding, “You’re not going to like this.” He was talking about Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. “We’ve shat on Mitch McConnell all year. ‘He’s a goblin, he’s a skin tag with glasses, he looks like something from a wax museum dumpster.’ He doesn’t give a fuck.” To extend Minhaj’s analogy, McConnell “closed all tabs, except for the Republican Party and locking down the courts.” And he thinks those on the other side of the political divide should do the same.Hasan Minhaj Fires Back at Saudi Arabia for Censoring His Netflix Show ‘Patriot Act’“So here’s what I’m pitching,” he continued. “For 2020, give yourself a break. Just pick a couple things to not care about, for your sanity. I’m not saying shut down your browser. Just close a couple tabs.” For himself, Minhaj has decided to let other people worry about plastic straws, North Korea and brownface. “I know, that’s supposed to be my issue,” he said. “But I’ve got other tabs to focus on. So if someone comes up to me and is like, ‘Did you hear? Joe Biden dressed up as Apu for Halloween!’ I’d be like, ‘Yo, I bet the accent was funny.’” Minhaj acknowledged that it was “weird” to hear this advice from a host—much like his fellow Daily Show alum John Oliver—who “tells you to care about something new every week.” And he promised to keep doing so in 2020, something that was an open question before Patriot Act aired the 32nd episode of its initial 32-episode order this past week. “I’ll see you guys in 2020,” he concluded. “We’ve got a few more tabs to open.” For more, listen to the most recent episodes of The Last Laugh podcast. Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.




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19-year-old found guilty of lying about being gang-raped

19-year-old found guilty of lying about being gang-rapedA British teenager has been found guilty of lying about being gang-raped in Cyprus. The woman, 19, was convicted of a single count of public mischief at Famagusta District Court in Paralimni, Cyprus, on Monday.




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Machete Attacker Stabs 5 at NY Rabbi’s Hanukkah Celebration

Machete Attacker Stabs 5 at NY Rabbi’s Hanukkah CelebrationA masked, machete-wielding man barged into a Hanukkah celebration and stabbed five people at a rabbi’s home in Monsey, New York, on Saturday evening, intensifying fears anti-Semitic violence after a spate of incidents last week. The assailant escaped but the NYPD quickly picked up a suspect. Law-enforcement sources identified him as Grafton Thomas, 37, who has several previous arrests on his record, including one for punching a police horse. He was turned over to the state police, and will face five counts of attempted murder.The terrifying ambush—which took place in Rockland County, a northern suburb that has the highest per capita Jewish population in the U.S.—drew swift condemnation from public officials from Israel to Washington. Gov. Andrew Cuomo called it an “act of domestic terrorism.”According to Ramapo Police Chief Brad Weidel, a man covering his face with a scarf knocked on the door at Rabbi Rottenburg’s shul during the seventh night of Hanukkah just as the rabbi was lighting the candle. The assailant rushed past the man who answered the door, who said he pulled out a machete and began stabbing people, according to several witnesses.He is said to have gone after terrified victims as they ran away and tried to access the adjacent synagogue before fleeing the scene after some of the guests hit him with chairs and a small table.Ramapo Town Police said the suspect was in custody. He reportedly escaped the scene but was arrested in Harlem after being tracked down through the license plate number of his vehicle.Of the five victims rushed to local hospitals, two of them were in critical condition as of late Saturday, according to the Orthodox Jewish Public Affairs Council for the Hudson Valley region. The organization said one of the victims had been stabbed six times. Governor Andrew Cuomo called the stabbings a “cowardly act” and directed the State Police Hate Crimes Task Force to investigate the incident.“Let me be clear: anti-Semitism and bigotry of any kind are repugnant to our values of inclusion and diversity and we have absolutely zero tolerance for such acts of hate,” Cuomo said in a statement. “In New York we will always stand up and say with one voice to anyone who wishes to divide and spread fear: you do not represent New York and your actions will not go unpunished.”President Trump addressed the “horrific” bloodshed on Sunday afternoon, in a tweet: “We must all come together to fight, confront, and eradicate the evil scourge of anti-Semitism. Melania and I wish the victims a quick and full recovery.”Yossi Gestetner, a co-founder of the OJPAC for the Hudson Valley region, told The New York Times there were “many dozens of people” celebrating in the home at the time of the attack. “It was a Hanukkah celebration,” he was quoted saying. Videos said to have been taken by witnesses showed paramedics rushing to treat the victims in a chaotic scene. The office of New York Attorney General Letitia James released a statement saying she was left “deeply disturbed” by the incident.“There is zero tolerance for acts of hate of any kind and we will continue to monitor this horrific situation,” James said. “I stand with the Jewish community tonight and every night.”New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio called the attack “horrific.” “So many Jewish families in our city have close ties to Monsey. We cannot overstate the fear people are feeling right now,” he wrote on Twitter. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also expressed solidarity with the victims during the opening remarks at his weekly cabinet meeting on Sunday. “Israel condemns in every sense the latest anti-Semitic incidents and the brutal attack in the middle of Hanukkah at the rabbi’s house in Monsey, New York,” he said. “We will work together in every way with the local authorities in order to help eliminate this phenomena. We offer our help to all countries.”The attack comes after at least seven other anti-Semitic incidents were reported in New York City this week, prompting the New York City Police Department to increase the number of officers in predominantly Jewish areas. The stabbings also come less than a month after four people were killed in a “targeted” shooting at a Jersey City kosher supermarket that investigators believe was fueled by a “hatred of the Jewish people.” Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.




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NTSB: Poor condition of wreckage will slow plane crash probe

NTSB: Poor condition of wreckage will slow plane crash probeThe lack of a distress call and flight data recorder coupled with mangled and charred wreckage will make finding the cause of a fiery airplane crash in Louisiana extremely challenging, federal officials said Sunday. National Transportation Safety Board Vice Chairman Bruce Landsberg said at a press conference that it could take 12 to 18 months to figure out why the two-engine Piper Cheyenne fell from the sky about a minute after taking off from the Lafayette Regional Airport on Saturday.




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Trump to Counter-Program Next Democratic Debate: Campaign Update

Trump to Counter-Program Next Democratic Debate: Campaign Update(Bloomberg) -- Democrats seeking to replace Donald Trump in the White House will have some competition for television viewers during their next debate: The incumbent president himself.Trump’s campaign announced Monday that his next rally would be in Milwaukee on Jan. 14. That’s the same day as the Democratic candidates’ seventh debate, in Des Moines, Iowa.Trump’s impeachment could complicate matters. It’s unclear whether the Democratic debate will proceed if the Senate is holding a trial on articles of impeachment the U.S. House passed earlier this month. Three senators -- Bernie Sanders of Vermont, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota -- have qualified for the debate so far.The Milwaukee rally would be the second of the new year for the president. He is to hold a rally Jan. 9 in Toledo, Ohio. Trump won both of the Midwestern states in 2016 and his campaign regards them as critical for his re-election next year.A Trump campaign spokesman, Tim Murtaugh, said the timing wasn’t an accident. “What better counter-programming could there be?” he said.Sanders in ‘Good Health’ Despite Heart AttackDemocratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is in good health and fit to lead the U.S. despite suffering a heart attack in October, according to letters from his doctors that his campaign released on Monday.Sanders, 78, suffered “modest heart muscle damage” after the Oct. 1 heart attack, one of his doctors said, but “has been doing very well since.” Congress’s attending physician Brian Monahan pronounced Sanders “in good health currently,” and his campaign said in a statement that he is “fit and ready to serve as president of the United States.”The Vermont senator’s heart attack was caused by a blockage in the midportion of his left anterior descending coronary artery, Monahan’s letter said. But since then, his “heart muscle strength has improved” and the senator doesn’t have symptoms of congestive heart failure, a life-threatening condition, Monahan wrote.Sanders’s campaign didn’t immediately disclose that he had suffered a heart attack, at first describing the episode as a fleeting episode of chest pain. The more serious diagnosis was revealed three days afterward, though even then the campaign did not describe the severity of the heart attack.Monday’s brief report, consisting of three letters from his physicians, didn’t divulge Sanders’s ejection fraction, a measure of how much damage was done by the heart attack. His ability to exercise was 50% higher than other men his age with a “similar diagnosis” and comparable to men his age without heart disease, according to a letter by a doctor at the University of Vermont Medical Center’s cardiac rehabilitation department. -- Mario ParkerBloomberg Touts Plan to Improve Maternal HealthDemocratic presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg is calling for measures including a free health insurance plan for low-income women and standardizing data collection to improve maternal health and reduce deaths, especially among women of color.The former New York mayor released his plan Monday during a campaign stop in Alabama, which he said has one of the highest maternal- and infant-mortality rates in the U.S.Bloomberg would require training for doctors to address any racial bias in maternal care and centralize collection of maternal mortality data at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to facilitate treatment programs. He said he would also provide a free public-option insurance plan for low-income women, especially in Alabama and other states that did not expand Medicaid under Obamacare. The campaign said it can’t yet provide a formal cost estimate.Bloomberg said he also would seek to encourage better care options in rural areas, repeal the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits federal funding for abortions, and support other abortion-rights measures opposed by President Donald Trump.Bloomberg is the founder and majority owner of Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News. -- Mark NiquetteCOMING UP:Joe Biden is campaigning in New Hampshire on Monday. He will attend community events in Exeter and Derry.Pete Buttigieg is in Iowa through Monday.Cory Booker will return to northern Nevada Monday for an event at the California Building in Reno and then for a roundtable with Latino community leaders in Sparks.On Tuesday, Elizabeth Warren will deliver a New Year’s Eve address from Boston’s historic Old South Meeting House about fighting corruption.Five Democratic candidates -- Warren, Bernie Sanders, Biden, Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar have qualified for the next debate, on Jan. 14, in Iowa.(Michael Bloomberg is also seeking the Democratic presidential nomination. Bloomberg is the founder and majority owner of Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News.)To contact the reporter on this story: Mario Parker in Washington at mparker22@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Wendy Benjaminson at wbenjaminson@bloomberg.net, Alex Wayne, John HarneyFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.




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A sports reporter who died in a Louisiana plane crash tried to contact her husband before the aircraft went down. He didn't see her text.

A sports reporter who died in a Louisiana plane crash tried to contact her husband before the aircraft went down. He didn't see her text.A sports journalist named Carley McCord was one of five people who died in a plane crash near Louisiana's Lafayette Regional Airport on Saturday.




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Trump Boss Twists Hanukkah Attack to Push Anti-Immigrant Agenda

Trump Boss Twists Hanukkah Attack to Push Anti-Immigrant AgendaThe Trump administration appeared on Monday to be trying to turn the latest violent anti-Semitic attack in New York into an anti-immigrant parable. Ken Cuccinelli, the Trump administration’s acting director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, claimed in a morning tweet that 38-year-old Grafton Thomas, a U.S. citizen who allegedly stabbed five people at a Hanukkah party over the weekend, was the “son of an illegal alien who got amnesty under the 1986 amnesty law for illegal immigrants.” It’s not clear where Cuccinelli got that information or if it was correct.“Apparently, American values did not take hold among this entire family, at least this one violent, and apparently bigoted, son,” Cuccinelli wrote.Cuccinelli has pushed for aggressive anti-immigrant policies since his time as a state lawmaker in Virginia. For the Trump White House, he has argued against birthright U.S. citizenship for children of undocumented parents and suggested the words on the Statue of Liberty were only aimed at European immigrants.After several people called out Cuccinelli’s tweet and its apparent condemnation of a Reagan-era bipartisan immigration law, the post was either deleted or otherwise removed from his Twitter page.Further on the right, white supremacists celebrated Thomas’ race on 4chan and Telegram, where they discussed pushing anti-Semitic conspiracy theories that they hoped would inspire violence against Jews by black Americans, whom they described with racist slurs.Thomas, who is black, allegedly burst into the home of Rabbi Chaim Rottenberg in the New York suburb of Monsey on Saturday night around 10 p.m., as dozens of guests were celebrating Hanukkah.He allegedly stabbed and wounded five people with a machete, and he was charged with five counts of attempted murder and one count of first-degree burglary. All of the victims survived, but one is said to remain in critical condition with a skull fracture.Federal prosecutors on Monday also filed federal hate crime charges against Thomas and said in court documents that he had expressed anti-Semitic sentiments in hand-written journals.The patrol officers who arrested Thomas discovered him “covered with blood,” The New York Times reported. Thomas pleaded not guilty to all charges on Sunday morning at his arraignment in Ramapo, New Jersey.Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has called the attack a “blatant act of domestic terrorism that sought to inflict violence, incite hate and generate fear” and ordered the State Police hate-crimes task force to investigate.Hanukkah Stabbing Suspect Caught With Bloody Machete in His CarThomas’ family told CNN he had no history of anti-Semitism, violent behavior, or prior convictions. They said he is “not a member of any hate groups” and have reportedly asked his attorney, Michael Sussman, to request a mental-health evaluation for Thomas, who has “a long history of mental illness and hospitalizations” and “was raised in a home which embraced and respected all religions and races.”Sussman did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Daily Beast on Monday.United Methodist Church Pastor Wendy Paige said that she has known Thomas for 10 years and that he is “not a violent person.”“Grafton is not a terrorist, he is a man who has mental illness in America, and the systems that be have not served him well,” Paige told the New York Post. “I have been his pastor for a long time and I have seen him, he is not a violent person, he is a confused person.”“We apologize to the families for him,” said Paige. “We apologize because we know this was not him, this was an action out of mental illness, please understand… Please let’s work on our systems for mental illness.”After a deadly anti-Semitic shooting at a kosher market in Jersey City this month and an “alarming” surge in anti-Semitic violence in the New York area, police have said they stepped up patrols in at least three Brooklyn neighborhoods.—Staff writer Kelly Weill contributed to this report.Read more at The Daily Beast.Got a tip? Send it to The Daily Beast hereGet our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.




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US strikes Iran-backed militia strongholds in Iraq and Syria

US strikes Iran-backed militia strongholds in Iraq and SyriaThe U.S. launched strike against Iranian military targets in Syria following a Friday attach in Iraq that killed one American.




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Ex-Nissan boss Ghosn, facing Japan trial, arrives in Beirut

Ex-Nissan boss Ghosn, facing Japan trial, arrives in BeirutFormer Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosn, who is awaiting trial in Japan on charges of financial misconduct, has arrived in Beirut, a close friend said Monday. It was not clear how Ghosn, who is of Lebanese origins and holds French and Lebanese passports, left Japan where he was under surveillance and is expected to face trial in April 2020. Ricardo Karam, a television host and friend of Ghosn who interviewed him several times, told The Associated Press Ghosn arrived in Lebanon Monday morning..




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Twitter system 'outage' briefly blocked Trump whistleblower tweet

Twitter system 'outage' briefly blocked Trump whistleblower tweetA tweet from U.S. President Donald Trump that identified an intelligence analyst as the alleged whistleblower who helped spark his impeachment was temporarily blocked at the weekend, with Twitter blaming an outage that affected a number of user accounts. In recent days, Trump shared an unsubstantiated media report and a second post that appeared to name the intelligence community member. It was visible again on Sunday afternoon, although the original account that shared the alleged whistleblower's name had been deleted.




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Sunday, 29 December 2019

5 wounded in stabbing at rabbi's home outside New York City

5 wounded in stabbing at rabbi's home outside New York CityPolice said a man stabbed and wounded five people with a large knife at a Rabbi's home in Monsey, New York, on Saturday night.People were gathered at the house to celebrate the seventh night of Hanukkah when the attacker burst in and created what has been described as a terrifying scene at the home of Rabbi Chaim Rottenberg, which is about 35 miles north of New York City. "[The suspect] started attacking people right away as soon as he came in the door," said Aron Kohn, who said he was in the home at the time of the attack. "We didn't have time to react at all."The suspect then reportedly tried to enter a synagogue next door, but people inside reportedly heard screams from the neighboring house and locked the door.The suspect was reportedly apprehended in Harlem by the New York Police Department. Police have not indicated whether they were investigating the violence as an anti-Semitic hate crime, but the New York area has recently seen a series of high profile attacks against its Jewish community, including a shooting rampage in Jersey City, New Jersey, earlier this month. Monsey is an area with a large population of ultra-Orthodox Jews, per The New York Times.Several New York state leaders, including Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) and Attorney General Letitia James, condemned the violent act. Read more at The New York Times and The Washington Post.More stories from theweek.com The best health advice from 2019 The 2010s were an economic disaster The secret to perfect pancakes




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NYT Cuts Controversial Study From Bret Stephens’ ‘Jewish Genius’ Column

NYT Cuts Controversial Study From Bret Stephens’ ‘Jewish Genius’ ColumnAfter a public uproar, The New York Times has revised a column by Bret Stephens that cited an academic paper co-authored by an anthropologist who has been branded a white nationalist.An editor’s note, appended to the column headlined “The Secrets of Jewish Genius,” says a reference to the 2005 study was removed and that Stephens did not know the author “promoted racist views.”“Mr. Stephens was not endorsing the study or its authors’ views, but it was a mistake to cite it uncritically,” the note said. “The effect was to leave an impression with many readers that Mr. Stephens was arguing that Jews are genetically superior. That was not his intent.” It noted that he “went on instead to argue that culture and history are crucial factors in Jewish achievements.”In the column, Stephens posed a question about Jews: “How is it that a people who never amounted even to one-third of 1 percent of the world’s population contributed so seminally to so many of its most pathbreaking ideas and innovations?”New York Times Columnist Bret Stephens Cites White Nationalist in ‘Jewish Genius’ ColumnHe said that Jews “are, or tend to be, smart” and then cited the 2005 paper “Natural History of Ashkenazi Intelligence” by Gregory Cochran, Jason Hardy, and Henry Harpending, which declares that Ashkenazi Jews have the highest average I.Q. of any ethnic group.It was quickly pointed out on social media that Harpending, who died in 2016, was listed as an extremist by the Southern Poverty Law Center, which listed his ideology as “white nationalist.” “Harpending has given talks on these ideas at white supremacist conferences, and is widely celebrated among white supremacists on forums like Stormfront and the Vanguard News Network, who see a champion for their cause behind his academic rhetoric,” the center said.Nieman Lab scholar Joshua Benton also pointed out in a Twitter thread that Cochran has a history of homophobia.In the paper “An Evolutionary Look at Human Homosexuality,” Cochran wrote that homosexuality, from a biological perspective, is “surely a disease.” “So it’s a bug,” Cochran wrote. “Somehow, the brain has been damaged, but in a limited and focused way.”Stephens—who previously stirred outrage by calling a professor’s boss to complain he compared him to a bedbug on Twitter—has not commented directly on the last controversy.Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.




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Thai SEAL dies of blood infection a year after cave rescue

Thai SEAL dies of blood infection a year after cave rescueA Thai navy SEAL who was part of the dramatic rescue of 12 boys and their soccer coach from a flooded cave has died of a blood infection contracted during the risky operation, the Royal Thai Navy said. Petty Officer 1st Class Bayroot Pakbara was receiving treatment but his condition worsened after the infection spread into his blood, according to an announcement on the Thai navy SEAL’s Facebook page. Lt. Cmdr. Saman Gunan died while resupplying oxygen tanks on July 6, 2018.




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US strikes Iran-backed militia strongholds in Iraq and Syria

US strikes Iran-backed militia strongholds in Iraq and SyriaThe U.S. launched strike against Iranian military targets in Syria following a Friday attach in Iraq that killed one American.




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U.S. Denies Seeking 20% Troop Funding Boost From South Korea

U.S. Denies Seeking 20% Troop Funding Boost From South Korea(Bloomberg) -- The U.S. denied a report that it’s demanding South Korea pay as much as 20% more to host American troops, as funding talks between the two nations continue.The 10%-20% figure referred to in Korean media is “ungrounded speculation,” a Trump administration official said by email. U.S. negotiators will seek a “fair and equitable” outcome at the next round of talks in early January, the official said.Last month, U.S. negotiators walked out of a meeting on troop funding in Seoul after South Korea balked at a $5 billion price tag for hosting U.S. troops -- a fivefold increase. Citing a diplomatic source it didn’t identify, South Korea’s Chosun Ilbo newspaper reported earlier this week that the White House had dropped that demand after receiving assurances Seoul would purchase more American weapons. The increase may now be about 10%-20% above the current level of nearly $1 billion, the newspaper said.The deal, known as the Special Measures Agreement, technically expires at the end of this year. But both sides are likely to agree to some sort of temporary extension as they negotiate, allowing for the continued operations of about 28,500 U.S. military personnel on the peninsula.The talks with South Korea could affect other countries that host U.S. troops, as the Trump administration is seeking funding increases from other American allies.To contact the reporter on this story: Kanga Kong in Seoul at kkong50@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Shamim Adam at sadam2@bloomberg.net, Edward Johnson, Tom RedmondFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.




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