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- Pelosi describes Trump's 'very serious meltdown' during White House meeting on Syria
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi walked out of a meeting with Donald Trump about the crisis in Syria Wednesday after she said the president had had a “very serious meltdown” and insulted her in front of other congressional leaders.
- Buttigieg, O'Rourke clash over assault-rifle buyback plan
- China detains 2 US citizens who ran teaching program
China said Thursday it detained two U.S. citizens on suspicion of organizing others to illegally cross the border, amid sharpening tensions between the sides over trade, technology and other sensitive issues. Police in the eastern province of Jiangsu arrested Alyssa Petersen and Jacob Harlan on Sept. 27 and Sept. 29, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said. "The department handling the case has informed the U.S. Consulate General in Shanghai in a timely manner, arranged U.S. diplomats to conduct consular visits and protected the legitimate rights and interests of the two," Geng said at a regular press briefing.
- Joe Biden digs at Elizabeth Warren after debate: Polls don't show 'anybody else as a frontrunner'
- UPDATE 1-Hungary would have to "use force" to fend off new wave of migrants -PM
Hungary would have to "use force" at its southern border with Serbia to protect the European Union's frontier if Turkey delivers on a threat to open the gates for refugees through the Balkans towards Europe, Hungary's prime minister said. Prime Minister Viktor Orban built a steel fence on Hungary's border with Serbia to seal off the Balkans route of migration, where hundreds of thousands of people marched through from the Middle East to Western Europe at the peak of the crisis in 2015.
- Hong Kong Activist Renews Call for March After Hammer Attack
(Bloomberg) -- One of Hong Kong’s most prominent protest organizers -- including a march planned for Sunday -- was recovering after being attacked on the street by men wielding hammers.Jimmy Sham -- convenor of the Civil Human Rights Front, which has organized many of the city’s largest peaceful protests -- issued a plea from his hospital bed Thursday for police to allow the march go ahead in the Tsim Tsa Tsui area as planned. Sham was assaulted by four to five men Wednesday while on his way to a meeting in nearby Mong Kok -- the second time he’s been attacked since August.“When Jimmy was at his street counter, many of the citizens expressed that they really hope there will be a safe march on Sunday,” the Civil Human Rights Front said in a statement Thursday. “Jimmy therefore urges the Police to issue Letter of No Objection, so that Hongkongers can express their views.”The Civil Human Rights Front has helped organize several of the largest protests ever held in the former British colony, including two largely peaceful marches in June that drew more than a million people. The demonstrations have since mushroomed into a broader push for greater democracy, leading to regular clashes between protesters and police and occasional incidents of mob violence.On Thursday, Hong Kong’s embattled leader, Carrie Lam, was forced to repeatedly halt a question session in the city’s legislature as opposition lawmakers demanded her to step down and address other protester demands. The coming weekend will be the Asian financial center’s 20th-straight weekend of unrest.See also: Hong Kong Police Targeted With Remote-Controlled ExplosiveNg Tak-nam, chief police inspector for the Mong Kok area, condemned the attack on Sham, which he said appeared to have been premeditated. “The police will investigate impartially and seriously, regardless of the person’s background and identity,” Ng told reporters.Sham, who is planning to join the district council elections next month, was attacked in August by two masked men with a baseball bat and knife. Police have arrested three men in connection with that earlier case, charging two of them with conspiracy to assault causing bodily harm. The third is on bail pending further investigation.The Civil Human Rights Front said that the assailants in the latest attack appeared to be aiming for Sham’s head, elbows and knees. The group said he suffered several wounds, but had no broken bones.“The Civil Human Rights Front strongly condemns the acts of the perpetrators,” the group said. “It is not hard to link this incident to a spreading political terror in order to threaten and inhibit the legitimate exercise of natural and legal rights.”(Updates with recovery in headline and first paragraph)\--With assistance from Justin Chin.To contact the reporter on this story: Shelly Banjo in Hong Kong at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Brendan Scott at firstname.lastname@example.org, Ben SharplesFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
- Mystery as plane carrying Russian arms smugglers crashes in Congo
The Democratic Republic of Congo has one of the world’s worst aviation safety records, so reports that an aircraft had tumbled into a remote forest last week caused few international ripples. Since then, however, a deepening mystery over the nature of the cargo and the identity of those on board has left the Congolese government facing awkward questions. The fate of the stricken plane, a mysterious Antonov-72 so far only identified by its former registration number, EK-72903, may also provide a glimpse into the murkier side of Russia’s attempts to reassert its influence in Africa. The details remain scant. Last Thursday, the plane crashed 59 minutes after taking off from the eastern city of Goma bound for the capital Kinshasa. None of the eight people on board survived, officials said. The passengers were identified as the personal chauffeur of Felix Tshisekedi, Congo’s president, and three of his bodyguards. An armoured vehicle used by the president was also on board. A more troubling disclosure followed when two of the four-strong crew were identified. Vitaly Shumkov and Vladimir Sadovnichy, the plane’s pilots, were not only Russian nationals, they both appeared to have a background in gun running. The plane, too, has a murky past. EK-72903 was once owned by an Armenian company whose proprietor has been linked to arms smuggling elsewhere in Africa. Whether the crew were somehow furthering Kremlin interests remains unknown. However, there is no secret that Russia hopes to regain the influence the Soviet Union once wielded in Africa by wooing its leaders with arms sales, private security and “political technologists” adept at winning elections. Such attempts have often been linked to Yevgeny Prigozhin, a close associate of Vladimir Putin who has been accused of masterminding attempts to interfere in the 2016 US presidential election. Mr Prigozhin allegedly had Congo in his sights after Russia announced in May that it was sending a team of army specialists to the country. Some Russia media outlets speculated that Mr Prigozhin, was on board the plane ahead of a meeting with President Tshisekedi. That is almost certainly untrue. Slumming it on an Antonov is generally not Mr Progozhin’s style. “He wouldn’t get into a plane like that,” a Congolese government official said. “This gentleman is an oligarch and if he travels then he travels on his own plane.” The official said that while Mr Prigozhin had not been scheduled to meet President Tshisekedi, other Russian government representatives had requested a meeting to discuss the upcoming summit. It is unclear if any were on board. At least two people described as being “of eastern European origin” were also on the plane. They have not yet been identified, adding to the intrigue surrounding the flight. For the moment, whoever else was on board the plane remains unknown. With some sources saying there may have been 11 people rather than eight on board, UN officials were attempting to identify the remains of the dead — some of whom had been hastily buried — last night. Even that might not put an end to the intrigue of what happened aboard EK-72903. Congo rarely gives up its mysteries. In 1961, a plane departing the country with then UN secretary general Dag Hammarskjöld on board crashed. Three inquiries failed to determined the cause of the crash and Hammarskjöld’s death remains a mystery to this day.
- Putin signals Russia's return to Africa with summit
President Vladimir Putin hosts dozens of African leaders next week as Russia seeks to reassert its influence on the continent and beyond. The heads of some 35 African countries are expected for the first Africa-Russia Summit in the Black Sea resort of Sochi next Wednesday and Thursday. For Putin, the summit is a chance to revive Soviet-era relationships and build new alliances, bolstering Moscow's global clout in the face of confrontation with the West.
- A Dutch family was discovered waiting for the world to end after one of the siblings snuck off to a bar and spilled the story to a bartender
- Rudy Giuliani’s Twitter Feed Is a Boomer Conspiracy-Theory Sh*tshow
Photo Illustration by Kristen Hazzard/The Daily Beast/GettyWhen Rudy Giuliani logs into Twitter, he’s presented with a world where the recent California power outages were staged by military operatives rooting out cannibal-pedophiles deep in their underground bunkers. It’s a place where President Donald Trump only betrayed the Kurds because they were running black sites for a global deep-state cabal; where former Trump Russia adviser Fiona Hill ran an anti-Trump spy ring out of the White House; where former Hillary Clinton campaign chair John Podesta eats children; and where the pope is about to seize world power, and maybe already has. It is the worst that the right-wing internet fever swamp has to offer, and it is all right there, waiting for Giuliani to consume. With the president’s personal lawyer now in hot water for helping to orchestrate an apparent pressure campaign to get the Ukrainian leadership to launch investigations beneficial to Trump’s domestic political needs, the question being routinely asked is what compelled him to act in these ways. To answer that question, it’s worth examining the dozen of hardcore conspiracy theory accounts that populate Giuliani’s Twitter timeline. Giuliani, after all, has become a fairly regular user of the platform, having posted to it more than 1,000 times and routinely favoriting content during the course of any given day. But he only follows 224 people (as of Wednesday). A good chunk of those follows are conventional Trumpworld figures, including the president himself (Trump was Giuliani’s earliest follow), Judicial Watch chief Tom Fitton, opinion writer John Solomon, and former Trump adviser Sebastian Gorka.But many of those 224 dabble in far darker realms of the far-right conspiracy theory internet than the usual rantings of a Fox News primetime broadcast. For instance, Giuliani follows writer Ella Cruz—the author of an Amazon self-published book called Ring of the Cabal: The Secret Government of The Royal Papal Banking Cabal, which alleges that the New World Order will soon impose the “mark of the beast” on all humanity. In August, Cruz tweeted at Giuliani, warning him that Hillary Clinton murdered pedophile financier Jeffrey Epstein. Though Giuliani doesn’t often RT or even like the content produced by the people he follows his taste for conspiracy theories does occasionally shine through, such as in August, when he quote-tweeted conspiracy theorist Matt Couch, a prolific promoter of the baseless idea that former Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich was murdered by Hillary Clinton. Couch has become so vocal in his attacks on the Rich family that Rich’s brother filed a defamation suit against him. Giuliani promoted a tweet from Couch questioning the police narrative about Rich’s 2016 murder, and later told The Daily Beast there are “legitimate questions” about the investigation. Giuliani follows a number of accounts that promote the QAnon conspiracy, which alleges that Trump is engaged in a secret war against cannibal-pedophiles in the Democratic Party, Hollywood, and Wall Street. Nearly 5 percent of the accounts that Giuliani follows have explicit QAnon references permanently on their Twitter pages, either in the form of pinned tweets, Twitter names, bios, or header images. Many more of them frequently tweet and retweet QAnon messages from popular promoters of the conspiracy theory. Several accounts Giuliani follows recently retweeted a video, shot in a dimly lit, anonymous living room, starring a man claiming that Navy SEALs and Marines had recently rescued “2,100 children from California Underground bases.” There is no evidence that this is actually true. Other accounts that Giuliani follows are prone to promoting a wild potpourri of various conspiracy theory claims. Among them are that Barack Obama is engineering the Trump impeachment process to install Michelle Obama in the White House, or that Hillary Clinton plans to kill off each Democratic presidential candidate so she can become president herself. Others allege that Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg secretly died months ago, but that her death is being covered up. Taken together, the accounts circle around a few popular right-wing targets: the Clintons, the Obamas, Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN). Several accounts Giuliani follows recently claimed, without any proof, that Omar had donned a disguise to take part in a gathering of left-wing antifascist activists. Another promoted a long-discredited idea that a photograph proves Omar attended a terrorist training camp (in fact, the picture was taken years before Omar was even born).Many of the accounts Giuliani follows have just a few hundred or thousand followers, raising questions about how he became aware of them in the first place. But Giuliani also follows some of Twitter’s leading right-wing conspiracy theorists. Giuliani follows SGT Report, a sort of clearing house for anti-vaccine activists and other conspiracy theorists that has more than 500,000 subscribers on YouTube.The degree to which Rudy’s Twitter consumption informs his world view is inherently unknowable. Giuliani hasn’t favorited any of tweets from the conspiracy theory accounts. Reached for comment, he declined to say why so many obscure conspiracy theory Twitter accounts make up the relatively small number of total accounts that he follows on Twitter.“Never saw any of that,” Giuliani wrote in a text message.But there is some anecdotal evidence that Giuliani has embraced or, at a minimum, begun to echo the world that he has built for himself on that platform and it is not just because of his penchant for promoting conspiracy theories about billionaire George Soros and former Vice President Joe Biden. Earlier this month, Giuliani appeared on an internet TV radio show hosted by Bill Mitchell, a diehard Trump fan who has frequently promoted QAnon online. Asked ahead of the interview why he was going on the show, given Mitchell’s QAnon connection, Giuliani asked for proof that Mitchell supports QAnon. After The Daily Beast sent Giuliani one article proving Mitchell’s support for QAnon, the former prosecutor stopped responding to text messages.Giuliani’s own Twitter use has accelerated since he took on a starring role in Trump’s Ukraine scandal, according to social media analytics site SocialBlade. In October 2018, Giuliani had 29 average monthly tweets. A year later, he averages 132 tweets a month, according to SocialBlade.Many of the fringe accounts Giuliani follows have rallied to his defense as the Ukraine investigation heats up and echo his most conspiratorial insinuations about the Biden family. One account Giuliani follows, for example, regularly urges him and Trump to sue Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) over impeachment. Several of the conspiracy theorist Twitter users that Giuliani follows have, in turn, cited their social media connection to the former New York City mayor as a way of burnishing their credibility. “It’s an honor that he follows me,” Couch, the Seth Rich conspiracy theorist, told The Daily Beast.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.
- Revealed: rightwing push to ban criticism of Israel on US campuses
Documents seen by Guardian show fresh attack on university debate under the guise of prohibiting antisemitism Donald Trump and Benjamin Netanyahu in 2017. First amendment advocates see the potential spread of such laws as a major threat to free speech on campuses. Photograph: Ronen Zvulun/ReutersRightwing activists are attempting to spread new laws across Republican-controlled states that would ban criticism on public university campuses of Israel and its occupation of Palestinian territory.Pro-Israel and conservative lobbyists are encouraging state lawmakers to outlaw antisemitism in public education, from kindergarten through to graduate universities. But the proposed definition of antisemitism is so wide that, in addition to standard protections against hate speech towards Jews, it would also prohibit debate about the human rights violations of the Israeli government.First amendment advocates see the potential spread of such laws as a major threat to free speech on campuses.Among the activities that would be prohibited by the new laws are human rights investigations focusing specifically on Israel. Also banned would be any speech “demonizing Israel by … blaming Israel for all inter-religious or political tensions” or “delegitimizing Israel by … questioning Israel’s right to exist”.The push began at a conference in August held by the American Legislative Exchange Council, Alec, a conservative network which has a long history of propagating rightwing policies at state level through model bills. The group, dubbed a “bill mill”, has spearheaded attacks on trade unions, opposition to Obamacare, voter suppression measures and legislation blocking efforts to address the climate crisis.The meeting at Alec is disclosed in emails obtained under a freedom of information request by David Armiak, research director for the watchdog Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) and shared with the Guardian. They show that several Republican state lawmakers joined pro-Israeli lobbyists in Austin, Texas, to discuss disseminating new restrictions on speech relating to Israel on campuses across the heartlands.The private meeting was led by Randy Fine, a Republican from Florida who was instrumental in passing in May the first state law outlawing antisemitism in public education. A week later he emailed fellow participants under the subject line: Anti-Semitism Bill Discussed at Alec.Fine has faced controversy in the past over his aggressive opposition to public debate about Israel. Earlier this year he called a local Jewish constituent a “Judenrat” because the man had attended a forum titled: Palestine/Israel, Opening the Dialogue.The term “Judenrat” was the name for Nazi-mandated councils in Jewish ghettos during the second world war and has been used to refer to Jews who collaborated with the Nazis.Also attending the meeting at Alec were lawmakers from South Carolina, North Carolina, Arkansas, Kansas and Oklahoma, as well as representatives of two pro-Israel lobbying groups. “It was great to see you at the Alec conference last week in Austin and to briefly share the work we did in passing HB 741, the strongest antisemitism bill ever passed in the United States,” Fine wrote to them.The former governor of Florida Jeb Bush speaks at the American Legislative Exchange Council in 2013. Photograph: M. Spencer Green/Associated PressThe Florida Republican encouraged peers in other state assemblies to work with one of the lobbying groups, the Israeli-American Coalition for Action, which he said had been “instrumental in providing outside support as I pushed the bill”. In a separate email to the group, IAC for Action’s Joseph Sabag said that he and his legal team had taken Fine’s Florida bill and “refined it into a model that can be brought elsewhere. I urge you to contact me or Rep Alan Clemmons and take advantage of our policy support if you are considering filing a bill.”Clemmons is Alec’s national chairman. A Republican representative from South Carolina, he introduced a similar antisemitism definition into a budget bill in his state in 2018.Sabag told the Guardian that it would be incorrect to suggest that IAC for Action was encouraging state lawmakers to adopt the definition. He said his organization “provides legal analysis and policy resources in response to requests from legislators who wish to draw upon our subject matter expertise. Antisemitism is a hot issue right now, so of course there are many who are naturally interested.”He also denied that Alec was involved in the legislative push. “No such bills have been presented to them for model consideration, and they’ve held no policy discussions on the matter or taken any position.”The emails seen by the Guardian, he said, “emerged out of an after-hours private gathering of friends and colleagues, not an Alec function and Alec held no such forum or discussion at its conference”.The Guardian asked Alec to comment, but received no reply.The emails give a clear indication of the motive behind the push for antisemitism bills – countering criticism of Israel on campuses.Fine writes that under the new laws “antisemitism (whether acts by students, administrators or faculty, policies and procedures, club organizations etc) [will] be treated identically as how racism is treated. Students for Justice in Palestine is now treated the same way as the Ku Klux Klan – as they should be.”Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) is a leading pro-Palestinian student activist group that campaigns in at least 80 campuses for an international boycott of Israel in protest at its occupation of the West Bank and Gaza. It has been at the forefront of the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement in the US that has already prompted a number of states to pass new laws penalizing such boycotts of Israel to the dismay of free speech advocates.Sabag was asked by the Guardian about the comparison drawn by Fine between SJP and the violent white supremacist group the KKK. He said: “SJP is one of America’s most prominent anti-Israel propaganda groups and has material connections to organizations designated by the US justice department as terrorism co-conspirators. In the course of promoting BDS, or national-origin based discrimination against Israel, SJP members typically employ classic antisemitic themes and blood libels.”He added: “They also employ gross misrepresentations of Zionism, Israel’s Jewish national character and government policies. This messaging strategy aims to facilitate the development of anti-Israel and anti-Jewish perspectives among unsuspecting and unknowledgable audiences.”Raphael Eissa, a National SJP Steering Committee member, dismissed Sabag’s depiction. He said that SJP was a “an independent grassroots network of everyday students and recent alum” that regularly endures “coordinated fear mongering campaigns and racist PR tactics”.The Guardian spoke to a student member of SJP at University of California, Berkeley who insisted on anonymity because of the harassment she had experienced on campus. Last November she was one of the SJP organizers of a vigil to mourn jointly the 11 Jewish victims of the mass shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue in – the deadliest attack against Jews in America – and three Palestinian children who were killed that same October weekend from an Israeli airstrike.A man pauses at the memorials set up for each of the 11 people killed at the mass shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Photograph: Jared Wickerham/EPA“We wanted to make a statement about solidarity between our two communities, that we were all in mourning,” said the student, describing herself as an anti-Zionist Jew from a strongly Zionist family background.After SJP advertised the vigil on its Facebook page, the student said she came under a barrage of attacks on social media accusing her of being antisemitic. She said she found the charge upsetting and ironic.“As a Jewish student, I deeply care about antisemitism because it affects me and my family personally, and because it informs my concern about oppression of Jews and Palestinians and all people – it’s why I do what I do.”In the face of such opprobrium, the Berkeley branch of SJP cancelled the public vigil and held it privately off-campus.The push for new state laws comes at a time of increasing antisemitic attacks in the US and around the world. The latest FBI figures for 2017 recorded a 37% increase on the previous year in antisemitic hate crimes in the US, up to 938 incidents. Other databases put the figure substantially higher.In the context of this rising violence, much of the text of the Florida antisemitism bill is non-contentious. It outlaws a number of anti-Jewish tropes such as “accusing Jews as a people of inventing or exaggerating the Holocaust”.But critics say such uncontroversial material sits alongside clauses in the bill that would censor debate on Israeli government action.Liz Jackson, a staff attorney with Palestine Legal that represents campaigners for Palestinian rights in the US who is herself Jewish, said: “It’s riding off the universally agreed idea that antisemitism is bad and must be stopped at a time of a frightening resurgence in white supremacist violence. It’s extremely cynical to masquerade as fighting antisemitism when you are, in fact, shutting down criticism of Israel.”The clauses relating to Israel in the definition of antisemitism now being disseminated to several states emanates from a 2005 text from the European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia (EUMC). Ken Stern, director of the Bard Center for the Study of Hate who was a lead drafter of the EUMC text, said it was intended to facilitate reporting of antisemitic attacks across Europe.“It was never intended to suppress discussion of ideas on campuses.”Stern said that attempts to silence opposition was happening on both sides of the Israel-Palestinian divide on US campuses. “It’s a battlefield right now.”But, he added, he was concerned “about the attempt to curtail free speech among students – the whole idea is to encourage them to wrestle with new ideas, particularly those they find disturbing”.Sabag dismissed first amendment fears about the new antisemitism bills. “To suggest that such laws violate first amendment rights is an outright falsehood that serves the purposes of anti-Israel and antisemitic forces. The Florida law addresses criminal and discriminatory conduct that is not protected by the first amendment, and it includes explicit provisions that the law is not to be construed in any way that would violate free speech.”
- The Latest: Probe after Chicago chief found lying in car
Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson has asked the department to investigate his actions after he was found lying down in a car near his home. Police department spokesman Anthony Guglielmi says Johnson indicated he parked his car after feeling lightheaded. The 59-year-old Johnson underwent kidney transplant surgery in August 2017.
- Hundreds of police officers have been labeled liars. Some still help send people to prison.
- CORRECTED-EXPLAINER-Democrats Warren and Sanders want wealth tax; economists explain how it works
From 1982 to 2018 the share of U.S. wealth held by the 400 richest Americans is estimated to have grown from 1% to around 3.5%, or probably around $3 trillion. According to Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman, the University of California at Berkeley economists who developed that estimate, that's in part because the wealthiest American families declare only a small portion of their actual economic gains in any given year as income, while leaving the rest invested in stocks and other assets, to grow in value. Saez, 48, has been involved in a series of what are considered groundbreaking studies of U.S. income, inequality and economic mobility that involved both developing techniques to impute income based on holdings of wealth, and extensive access to U.S. Internal Revenue records.
- View Photos of the 2020 Subaru Crosstrek
- Assad: Syria to Resist Turkish Invasion by ‘All Legitimate Means’
After agreeing to an alliance with Kurdish forces on Sunday, Syrian president Bashar al-Assad said Thursday that Syrian forces will help the Kurds repel Turkey’s invasion by “all legitimate means.” Assad’s comments come a day after Turkey accused Syria of a “dirty deal” with Kurdish forces.Syria “will respond to [Turkey] and confront it, in all its forms, anywhere in Syria, using all legitimate means at our disposal,” Assad said during a press conference with Iraqi national-security adviser Faleh al-Fayad.Although the Kurds and Assad’s regime have long been rivals, SDF commander Mazloum Abdi explained in an article published Sunday that — in the absence of American forces — the Kurds needed support in order to repel the Turks, which necessitated making “painful compromises” with the Syrian government.“If we have to choose between compromises and the genocide of our people, we will surely choose life for our people,” Abdi wrote.Thursday marks the ninth day of Turkey’s incursion into Northern Syria, which has resulted in the deaths of dozens of civilians and over 300,000 new refugees.Turkey began negotiations with the United States over a prospective ceasefire Thursday, as Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan met with Vice President Mike Pence for over two and half hours behind closed doors before delegation talks began. White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow told CNBC in an interview Thursday that the U.S. may levy additional sanctions on Turkey to keep the Erdogan regime “in line.”
- A N.J. school district wants to ban students from attending prom if they have more than $75 in school lunch debt
- How a British family got entangled in a US immigration nightmare after a wrong turn led to nearly 2 weeks in ICE detention
- Trevor Noah Exposes Eric and Don Jr.’s Hunter Biden Nepotism Hypocrisy
Comedy CentralWith Hunter Biden’s foreign business dealings in the news, Trevor Noah turned his attention to the issue of nepotism Wednesday night. “The truth is, your name could be a big reason that you get a leg up in life,” The Daily Show host began. “With that said,” he added, “you can’t deny, it’s not a good look that a Ukrainian company hired Hunter Biden just months after Joe Biden became the Obama administration’s point man on Ukraine. Because it looks very much like he got this business because of his father’s position.” “And I understand why a lot of people would complain about that,” he continued. “What I don’t understand is why these people are complaining about that.” With that, he cut to a clip of Donald Trump Jr. accusing Hunter Biden of trading on his name and Eric Trump arguing that he and his brother are exempt from criticism because they do not sit on any corporate boards. “First of all, I’m not surprised nobody has put Beavis and Forehead on any corporate boards,” Noah said. “I don’t even think they’re allowed on diving boards.” But more importantly, the host said, “If there was ever an example of people who got opportunities because of their names, it’s these two.” For instance, if Donald Trump Jr. was not Donald Trump’s son, Noah asked why anyone would be paying him $50,000 to make a speech. “To share his expertise on bad beards?” Jimmy Kimmel Goes Off on Lara Trump: A ‘Heartless Imbecile With Lip Injections’“Also, if Trump’s sons are actually concerned, like truly concerned, about children of politicians doing business overseas,” Noah added, “then can someone please explain to me why they have been doing this?” He then allowed various news reports to lay out the details of continued foreign projects currently being carried out by Eric and Don Jr. on behalf of the Trump Organization. “Yeah, that’s right, even with their dad in office, the Trumps are still growing their business in places like India, Philippines, Indonesia, Uruguay,” Noah said. “They’re all over the world. It’s like The Amazing Race with no running and no chins.” But “at least Donald and Eric are one step removed from the Trump presidency,” Noah said before turning his attention to Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, who have official roles in the White House and yet still have entanglements with businesses that benefit from foreign money. “Now let’s be clear,” Noah concluded. “I’m not defending Hunter Biden. I don’t know him. I don’t know about his business. I’m just saying that the last people who should be talking about the blurred lines of family names and political influence are the people currently running their home office from the White House.” Trevor Noah Roasts Joe Biden Over Bad Debate Answer on Son HunterRead 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.
- The most shocking part of the 'meltdown' photo Trump tweeted isn't who's in it — it's who isn't
- Mexico Throws $900 Million at Labor to Entice Democrats on USMCA
(Bloomberg) -- Mexico’s President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador is pledging close to $1 billion to implement a law to improve labor conditions that U.S. Democrats say is key to passing a stalled North American trade accord.Mexico’s Finance Ministry will ask lawmakers to boost the budget that was already presented to congress by $69 million for next year, Lopez Obrador stated in a letter he sent to U.S. Representative Richard Neal, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee. He promised another $830 million over the following three years to fund the labor overhaul.The expensive pledges seem to be working, as both the White House and House Democrats are becoming increasingly upbeat about the stalled U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement, known as USMCA. But AMLO’s steep austerity measures for most of his other ministries amid a stagnant economy present a challenge to his carrying out those promises.Neal said he was very pleased with Mexico’s demonstration of good faith, and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer separately told a Bloomberg Government audience on Thursday that Democrats are “working hard to get to yes.” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Thursday she’s “optimistic” about finishing work on the accord, although “we are not there yet.”AMLO, as Lopez Obrador is known, also said he’d tell the relevant authorities to carry out a “frontal attack” against labor impunity.To contact the reporter on this story: Nacha Cattan in Mexico City at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Juan Pablo Spinetto at firstname.lastname@example.org, Robert JamesonFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
- Doing it for the 'gram? Royal Caribbean says no to that, bans guest from ever sailing again
- Senate Republicans are preparing for a speedy impeachment trial
Senate Republicans are preparing for a speedy impeachment trial that concludes before the end of the year. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell surmised that the Senate could deal with the trial by Christmas, concluding the impeachment proceedings before the Democratic presidential primaries begin.
- U.S. Supreme Court wrestles over 'D.C. Sniper' life sentence appeal
U.S. Supreme Court justices on Wednesday questioned whether a lower court sufficiently considered that a man convicted in the deadly 2002 "D.C. Sniper" shooting spree in the Washington area was a minor at the time of the crimes when he was sentenced to life in prison. The nine justices heard arguments in an appeal by the state of Virginia objecting to the lower court's decision ordering that Lee Boyd Malvo's sentence of life in prison without parole be thrown out. The most likely contender based on questions he asked during the argument would be Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
- Romney Blames Trump Admin. for Syria Chaos: ‘This Is Not a Surprise’
Senator Mitt Romney (R., Utah) was sharply critical of the Trump administration’s handling Turkey's invasion of Northern Syria during a press conference with reporters Wednesday afternoon, questioning why the president did not make “a clear agreement with Turkey as to what they would do, and what they would not do” before ordering a withdrawal of American troops from the region.> Sen. Romney on US troop withdrawal from northern Syria: > > "Turkey let us know what they were going to do. This is not a surprise. Everybody told the administration what would happen … The reality is what's happening in Syria is a result of our decision." pic.twitter.com/8sy3yhFeDq> > -- NBC News (@NBCNews) October 16, 2019“This is not a surprise. Everybody told the administration what would happen if we pulled our troops out precipitously,” Romney said. “Instead, there should have been a negotiation beforehand, we should’ve sat down with Turkey and said, ‘Alright, look: We’re willing to talk to you about your concerns, let’s see if we can negotiate a program here where we protect the Kurds, where we can make sure the ISIS prisoners are kept in place, and where we honor our commitments to our friends the Kurds, as well as our alliance with you, Turkey.’”“At this stage, it’s trying to cover ourselves as well as we can and look like we’re being tough and we’re putting sanctions on Turkey and so forth, but the reality is the decision was made by this administration which has led to the Turks going into Syria and wiping out our friends, the Kurds. That’s what’s unacceptable,” Romney added.The chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on the Near East, South Asia, Central Asia, and Counterterrorism went on to say that neither he nor the subcommittee's ranking member, Senator Chris Murphy (D., Conn.) were briefed on the decision to withdraw troops ahead of time, and to voice hope that the White House would provide the subcommittee a transparent explanation of the process that led to the move.Romney and Murphy released a statement October 7 that called the Syria withdrawal “a betrayal that will have grave humanitarian and national security consequences.”Turkey’s invasion of Northern Syria entered its eighth day Wednesday, amid heavy fighting that has displaced over 130,000 people and attracted Russian and Syrian troops to the region.Romney’s comments marked the latest twist in an often-testy relationship with Trump that has publicly soured amid disagreements over the House's impeachment inquiry and the Syria withdrawal. On Wednesday, the Club for Growth, a conservative advocacy group, released a 30-second ad which paints Romney as a “Democrat secret asset” who is “plotting to take down President Trump with impeachment.”
- Peek Inside Eero Saarinen’s Iconic General Motors Technical Center
- The Latest: GM workers to begin contract voting on Saturday
The 49,000 General Motors workers who have been on the picket line since Sept. 16 will begin voting on a tentative four-year contract on Saturday. Factory-level officials from the United Auto Workers union voted to recommend the agreement to members at a daylong meeting in Detroit Thursday. On Wednesday, the company and the UAW reached a deal that would give workers a mix of pay raises, lump sum payments and an $11,000 signing bonus.
- Washington Group Fighting Affirmative Action Used Proud Boys As Guards
John Rudoff/GettyAn anti-affirmative action campaign used members of the Proud Boys for security—and is now claiming it didn’t realize its protection team was an organization labeled a hate group.On Nov. 5, voters in Washington state are set to decide on the future of Referendum 88, a measure that would allow affirmative action hiring in public jobs. The measure has support from civil rights groups like the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), but faces opposition from a state veterans group and the organization Washington Asians for Equality, which claims the measure would lead to preferential treatment for some groups. This summer, some of those opponents partnered with a more notorious organization: the Proud Boys, who featured the signature drive in a recently surfaced propaganda video.The Proud Boys—designated a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center—prioritizes street fights and has extensive connections to more explicit white supremacist organizations. But unlike many other extremist groups, the Proud Boys frequently cozy up to the more mainstream right. Their current leader, Enrique Tarrio, is a Florida director of Latinos for Trump, despite marching in 2017’s deadly white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.Republicans Are Adopting the Proud BoysIn the August video, a Washington Proud Boy claims Referendum 88 backers solicited the Proud Boys’ help in delivering signatures to the secretary of state’s office.The group “gave us a call asking for security to help take the signatures for Referendum 88 down to the capitol building,” he says in the video, which referendum supporters like the group Washington Fairness surfaced this week.The video goes on to show the group riding in a truck with the signatures and speaking into walkie-talkies for reasons that are not immediately apparent. The clip concludes with an advertisement for gas masks, which the Proud Boy says he used during a summer brawl with anti-fascists in Portland, Oregon.Reject Ref. 88, the organization that allegedly hired the Proud Boys, disavowed knowledge of them.“The Referendum 88 petition drive worked with many volunteers during the signature gathering phase,” organizer Linda Yang said in an email. “We didn’t know the association of these individuals you refer to, nor did they tell us. The Reject Ref.88/I-1000 campaign welcomes people from all walks of life who believe in equality for all, regardless of race. Those who don’t believe in that principle—be they on the far left or the far right—are not welcome in this campaign.”But as the Seattle Stranger noted, Yang even appeared in the Proud Boys’ video, explaining her opposition to Referendum 88. In the video, she gives different account of her group coming to work with the Proud Boys. After trying and failing to hire a security company to help deliver referendum signatures, “I got a call saying ‘hey there’s a group, they’re willing to help,’” she said in the video. “I said ‘we’ll take it.’”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.
- Gordon Sondland, a central figure in the Ukraine scandal, threw Trump and Giuliani under the bus in his opening statement to Congress
- This Is What Happens When a U.S. Navy Attack Submarine Crashes Into a 'Mountain'
- Record-smashing bomb cyclone or 'explosive cyclogenesis' wreaks havoc in the Northeast
- Demise of Tasmanian Tiger may be greatly exaggerated after reported sightings of extinct marsupial
More than 80 years since the last thylacine in captivity died and almost 40 years since it was declared extinct, rumours of the Tasmanian Tiger’s survival have been reignited by a newly published document. The thylacine, or Tasmanian Tiger, was once Australia's top predator but the last one in captivity died in 1936. Tasmanian officials say “there is no evidence to confirm the thylacine still exists” but a document published this week by the Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment (DPIPWE) features numerous accounts from farmers, bushwalkers, tourists and others claiming to have seen the striped carnivore over the past three years. The Department received eight reports in that period of thylacine sightings, sometimes of an adult with cubs, and usually at dusk or dawn in the northern and western parts of the island state. Two Western Australian tourists recorded in the document said they saw a striped animal the size of a “large kelpie” in February last year and were “100 per cent certain” it was a Tasmanian Tiger. In April 2017 a motorist included in the document said he saw a thylacine run across the Murchison Highway. “If it was a cat, it was a bloody big one,” he said. Engravings and rock art by Aboriginal people depicting the thylacine have been found dating back to before 1000 BC, and it is believed some depictions of the animal are much older, including in the north of Western Australia - as far away from Tasmania as possible in Australia. The thylacine has been declared extinct Credit: TORSTEN BLACKWOOD/AFP/Getty Images It is believed some of the art depicts efforts by the Aboriginal people to save the species on the mainland. However, the Tiger was already extinct on the mainland by the time Europeans first arrived. Abel Tasman’s party recorded seeing footprints of “wild beasts having claws like a tiger” in Tasmania in 1642. The mature thylacine ranged from 100 to 130 cm long, with a tail of around 50 to 65cm, and about 60cm tall, and weighing up to 30kg. After claims the animal was attacking sheep, the Van Diemen's Land Company introduced bounties on the thylacine in 1830. From 1888 and 1909 the Tasmanian Government paid £1 per head for dead adult thylacines and ten shillings for pups. Farmers, bounty hunters, wild dogs introduced by Europeans, destruction of habitat, disease, and the extinction of animals on which the tiger fed all contributed to the dramatic fall in the animal’s population. Thylacine expert Col Bailey told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation that he saw a Tasmanian Tiger 50 years ago on a river bank while canoeing. “I'm sure they're not extinct… this (document) has shed a bit of light," he said. Mr Bailey said the fascination with the Tasmanian Tiger was partly motivated by a sense of guilt that previous generations had driven the species to the brink of extinction, if not beyond. The thycaline was officially declared extinct in 1982, and the DPIPWE issued a statement that for more than 50 years there have been no officially confirmed sightings of the animal. "The Department will continue to record information on reported sightings,” it added.
- Israel envoy demands probe after effigy of Jewish tycoon left at Ukraine synagogue
The Israeli ambassador to Ukraine asked police on Thursday to find and punish people who left a red paint-spattered effigy of tycoon Ihor Kolomoisky, who holds a Ukrainian Jewish community leadership post, on the steps of the main synagogue in Kiev. Kolomoisky, one of Ukraine's richest men, is in the public eye over his business ties to President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, who came to fame as the star of TV show on a channel Kolomoisky owns. Kolomoisky is president of the United Jewish Community of Ukraine, one of several Jewish community bodies in the country.
- 35 foreigners dead in Saudi bus crash
Thirty-five foreigners were killed and four others injured when a bus collided with another heavy vehicle near the Islamic holy city of Medina, Saudi state media said on Thursday. The accident on Wednesday evening involved the collision of "a private chartered bus... with a heavy vehicle" near the western city, a spokesman for Medina police said, according to the official Saudi Press Agency. This year, some 2.5 million faithful travelled to Saudi Arabia from across the world in August to take part in the annual hajj pilgrimage -- one of the five pillars of Islam.
- Pence Says US Will Withdraw New Turkey Sanctions Despite Bipartisan Opposition
Vice President Mike Pence said Thursday that the U.S. will withdraw existing Turkish sanctions and will not impose any additional ones after Turkey agreed to a five-day ceasefire with Kurdish forces in Syria.Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met with Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan for several hours on Thursday and agreed on the brief ceasefire agreement, which gives Kurdish fighters 120 hours to leave the 20-mile-wide occupied zone along the Turkey-Syria border.“Once that is completed, Turkey has agreed to a permanent cease-fire,” Pence said.Earlier Thursday, a pair of bipartisan senators introduced legislation to slap additional sanctions on Ankara as Turkey continues its offensive into northern Syria following the withdrawal of U.S. troops from the region.Senator Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.) and Senator Chris Van Hollen (D., Md.) introduced a bill that would saddle Turkey with sanctions on its energy sector, defense department, as well as several of its top government officials.Graham, a frequent Trump ally but recently a fierce critic of the president's foreign policy in Syria, promised the new sanctions would be "wide-ranging and hard-hitting" and would "supplement" existing sanctions on Turkey."If you continue on the course you're on, you will have brought a lot of damage to the nation, you'll abandon a valuable ally, set in motion the re-emergence of ISIS, and Mr. President, as much as I like you and want to work with you, I am going to be consistent," Graham said from the Senate floor as he introduced the measure. "I will hold you accountable."Trump has called the Kurds "no angels" and said he does not want the U.S. to “police” the area any longer. However, he vowed to punish Turkey if the country takes any action the U.S. considers “off limits.”"There's a lot of sand that they can play with," Trump said Wednesday. "Let them fight their own wars."Senators Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), and Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) also voiced support for the new sanctions.
- Wisconsin school guard fired for repeating racial slur
A black security guard at a Wisconsin high school who was fired after he says he repeated a racial slur while telling a student who had called him that word not to use it has filed a grievance seeking his job back. The Madison School District has a policy forbidding employees from saying racial slurs. West High Principal Karen Boran sent an email to families on Wednesday asaying that racial slurs are not acceptable in schools, regardless of context or circumstance, the Wisconsin State Journal reported.
- ‘Barbaric’: DLA Piper Partner Who Said Boss Assaulted Her Four Times Has Been Put on Leave
Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast / Photos HandoutThe junior partner at top-grossing law firm DLA Piper who claimed she was sexually assaulted four times by her boss in 2018 has been placed on paid administrative leave.Vanina Guerrero, who works out of the multinational firm’s Silicon Valley corporate practice, filed a complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission earlier this month, claiming that the $2.84-billion firm discriminated against her and retaliated when she complained of the alleged assaults. The complaint identified her boss, DLA Piper partner Louis Lehot, as the man who allegedly assaulted her in Shanghai, Brazil, Palo Alto, and Chicago.“During my entire career I was known for my intellect, tenacity and confidence,” Guerrero, who is married with children, wrote in an open letter to the firm earlier this month. “In less than nine months at DLA Piper... I became a shell of my former self.” In her letter, Guerrero asked the firm to allow her to litigate the matter in court instead of through forced arbitration. A spokesman for the law firm has said the company took appropriate steps to investigate the allegations against Lehot as soon as they were reported and that the company “takes them seriously.”Lehot has since left the firm, the company said last week.“Despite the fact that the allegations have not been substantiated by the investigation to date, the firm has concluded for various reasons that it is in the best interest of the firm that we part ways with Louis Lehot,” three executives wrote in a memo, Bloomberg Business reported.But on Tuesday, the firm sent a letter to Guerrero claiming that “during the course of our investigation of your allegations against Louis Lehot, another individual at the firm alleged that you engaged in inappropriate behavior toward, and harassed, that individual.”“DLA Piper takes allegations of harassment seriously, regardless of the position or gender of the individual making those allegations or against whom they are made,” said the letter, which was provided to The Daily Beast by Guerrero’s attorney. “Unfortunately, you continue to refuse to cooperate with that investigation, including refusing to discuss the allegations that have been made against you. Indeed, you refused to do so despite our stated willingness to allow your counsel to be present during the interview.”The memo states that Guerrero is barred from going to the Silicon Valley office or engaging in any of the firm’s business until the investigation has concluded—and that DLA Piper has retained an outside firm to probe the matter.Guerrero’s attorney, Jeanne Christensen, said in a statement on Wednesday that the letter was sent overnight to media outlets “across the country” in an attempt “to publicly smear” Guerrero “for daring to complain about being sexually assaulted.”Christensen called the move “barbaric” and unprecedented.“To be clear, as of the writing of this email, our firm and Ms. Guerrero have no knowledge or information about the purported ‘harassment,’” she added. “The message is loud and clear: MeToo movement or not—speaking out about gender motivated violence will result in untold harm, damage and pain to you personally and professionally.”Junior Partner at Silicon Valley Law Firm DLA Piper: Boss Sexually Assaulted Me 4 Times, Company Ignored ItRead 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.
- Former Vice President Al Gore Says President Trump’s Conviction After Impeachment Is Unlikely — But Not Impossible
"Listening to what president Trump has said out of his own mouth, when he publicly asks foreign governments to dig up dirt on one of his principal political opponents, that is an impeachable offense," Gore said
- Of All Ulysses S. Grant's Battles, This Was The One He Never Wanted To Relive
- This sick 5-year-old boy got a wish trip to Disney World — and another wish on the flight there
- A woman sues San Antonio after a police officer pulled out her tampon in public
The city of San Antonio will vote this week on a proposed settlement that would award a woman $205,000, after she accused a police officer of inappropriately searching her and pulling out her tampon in public.
- Amazon fish wears nature's 'bullet-proof vest' to thwart piranhas
One of the world's largest freshwater fish is protected by the natural equivalent of a "bullet-proof vest," helping it thrive in the dangerous waters of the Amazon River basin with flexible armor-like scales able to withstand ferocious piranha attacks. Researchers from the University of California, San Diego and University of California, Berkeley on Wednesday described the unique structure and impressive properties of the dermal armor of the fish, called Arapaima gigas.
- A homeless man was sentenced to 15 years after pleading guilty to cocaine possession — but it turned out to just be powdered milk
- See Photos of the Volvo XC40 Recharge Electric SUV
- U.S. Indicts Turkish Bank With Ties to Giuliani Client For Evading Iran Sanctions
The U.S. Justice Department on Tuesday indicted Turkey's second-largest bank on charges of fraud and money laundering, accusing it of helping Iran evade sanctions implemented to curb its nuclear program.Halbank was reportedly involved in the largest Iran sanctions violation to date, sending billions of dollars in gold and cash to Iran in exchange for oil and gas."This is one of the most serious Iran sanctions violations we have seen, and no business should profit from evading our laws or risking our national security," Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers said in a statement released by the Justice Department. The statement further alleged that senior Turkish government officials received tens of millions of dollars in bribes to hide the violations from U.S. regulators.Earlier this month it was reported that Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani in 2017 pushed then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to ask the Justice Department to drop a case against his client Reza Zarrab. An Iranian-Turkish gold trader who himself evaded Iran sanctions, Zarrab went on to testify against Halbank head of international banking Mehmet Hakan Atilla, who was convicted of helping Iran evade sanctions through money laundering and served 28 months in U.S. prison.Zarrab had also alleged that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan knew of Atilla's laundering operation, which Erdogan has denied.The charges against Halbank came as the Trump administration is trying to negotiate its relationship with Turkey, which recently launched an invasion of northeastern Syria after Trump announced the withdrawal of U.S. troops from the region. The invasion is in part intended to combat Kurdish groups that Turkey considers terrorist organizations, some of which were instrumental in the U.S.-led fight against ISIS in Syria.Trump authorized sanctions on the Turkish economy on Monday, however the impact of the sanctions was less damaging than initially assumed.
- Thirty years after devastating quake, is San Francisco ready for the next?
The 6.9-magnitude Loma Prieta quake killed 63 in 1989. Decades later, the Bay Area is still plagued by structural threats and flammable fuelsIn a 17 October 1989 photo, a California highway patrol officer checks the damage to cars that fell when the upper deck of the Bay Bridge collapsed onto the lower deck after the Loma Prieta earthquake in San Francisco. Photograph: George Nikitin/APOn the afternoon of 17 October 1989, a 6.9-magnitude earthquake rocked the San Francisco Bay Area, killing 63 people and causing $13bn in damages as it toppled a chunk of the Bay Bridge, colapsed a section of freeway in Oakland, and crumbled thousands of buildings from San Francisco to Santa Cruz.Thirty years later, California will launch an earthquake early warning app, the first to cover the whole state, developed by UC Berkeley and the California Office of Emergency Services. The decades since the Loma Prieta quake have been remarkably quiet – yet it’s not a matter of if, but when, the next large earthquake will rattle the Bay Area, and the consequences will undoubtedly be severe.There are multiple faults to worry about in the Bay: the infamous San Andreas is a system, with branches that run up the San Francisco peninsula, along the East Bay foothills through Oakland and Berkeley and further inland through Dublin and Walnut Creek.Just this week, a 4.5-magnitude quake with an epicenter in the Pleasant Hill area shook the region.An antenna to send data stands on a rise above an earthquake monitoring well, right, powered by a solar electric panel, lower left, as scientists from the US Geological Survey set up an earthquake monitoring station on the San Andreas fault. Photograph: Reed Saxon/APIn the case of a major earthquake, experts are particularly worried that “ground failures” will cause widespread structural damage in many parts of the region built on landfill and sand. The California Geological Survey’s most recent map of earthquake hazards shows huge swaths of the inner Bay Area are in “liquefaction zones”, meaning that during a major earthquake, the ground could be shaken so violently that it would very temporarily soften into jelly. “People love to ask the question: is X place prepared for X disaster? Is California prepared for the next earthquake? The answer to that question, 99.99% of the time, is no,” said Dr Samantha Montano, assistant professor of emergency management and disaster science at the University of Nebraska Omaha. “The way we think about preparedness is really kind of weird. When we talk about it day to day: do you have an emergency kit, yes or no? Just because you have that doesn’t mean you’re prepared for an earthquake – there’s a lot more going into that.”For any community facing a potential wide-scale disaster, the preparation is twofold: mitigating risk and preparing for the inevitable management of the emergency.While newer, stricter building codes put in place after Loma Prieta have required more quake-resilient construction, thousands of buildings in the Bay Area were built using old, shaky standards. Oakland passed an ordinance in 2019 requiring owners of vulnerable apartments to retrofit their structures. In San Francisco, where retrofits were due to be completed in 2018, about three-quarters of susceptible units have been quake-prepped.Politicians in Berkeley cited earthquake risk as one motivator for moving to ban natural gas hook-ups in new buildings earlier this year.Officials and others evacuate a man, Erick Carlson, from the Cypress section of Highway 17, now called Interstate 880, in Oakland, California, following the Loma Prieta earthquake. Photograph: Michael Macor/The Oakland Tribune/AP“We have basically allowed ourselves to pump a toxic flammable greenhouse gas producing an expensive liquid into our homes across earthquake fault lines,” the Berkeley city councilmember Kate Harrison said at the time. “It will seem crazy in 100 years. We can see that this is a dangerous situation.”The East Bay had perhaps a little taste of that danger earlier this week: following the mid-sized East Bay quake, two of the area’s five refineries shut down due to the “upset” and their built-up gasses flared.Later, on Tuesday, a NuStar energy fuel storage facility suffered an explosion and large fire, leading many to speculate the earthquake had triggered the accident. A spokesperson could not confirm the cause of the explosion, which some in the area said felt like yet another earthquake.“We want local governments to really be taking the lead and making sure not only that there’s a plan for the city’s government but also that they’re integrating the plans with communities and businesses – particularly businesses like refineries, where there could be an added hazards,” said Montano.> BREAKING : WOW! You can see the tank's top being blown off during this giant explosion at a NuStar refinery in Contra Costa County. According to fire officials, 3 large tanks of ethanol are burning. @kron4news https://t.co/b1zIju9159 pic.twitter.com/IYy6NNcRhP> > — Amy Larson (@AmyLarson25) October 15, 2019Environmental justice activists in the East Bay city of Richmond cite this kind of risk in the bigger quakes to come.“When the Hayward fault shifts, and we have that earthquake, the reality is, large portions of the Chevron refinery are built on landfill,” said Andrés Soto, an organizer with Communities for a Better Environment in Richmond. “And despite the best assurances from Chevron about how they’ve secured their refinery in the event of an earthquake, nature seems to have a way of conquering man-made structures.”A transition away from the fossil fuels that in turn contribute to several other impending California environmental disasters could help make the Bay Area more resilient when the big one inevitably hits.
- Tulsi Gabbard Calls Syria ‘Regime Change War,’ Mayor Pete Buttigieg Says She’s ‘Dead Wrong’
Shannon Stapleton/ReutersIn a tense exchange, the two military veterans in the Democratic primary sparred over President Trump’s decision to pull back U.S. troops in Syria. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), who has long opposed any U.S. efforts to undermine Bashar al-Assad’s brutal regime, sparred with Mayor Pete Buttigieg over how the U.S. should extract itself from the long-running conflict.“Donald Trump has the blood of the Kurds on his hand, but so do many of the politicians in our country from both parties who have supported this ongoing regime change war in Syria that started in 2011, along with many in the mainstream media, who have been championing and cheerleading this regime change war,” she said. Last week, Trump announced that 50 U.S. troops stationed on Syria’s northern border with Turkey would be pulled deeper south into the country. After the announcement, Turkey immediately invaded, slaughtering Kurdish fighters and civilians, and horrifying the international community. The Kurds fought ISIS alongside U.S. troops, and Trump’s decision to withdraw U.S. protection for them was widely viewed as a betrayal that seriously harms America’s international credibility. “We need to get out, but we need to do this through a negotiated solution,” Gabbard said. Buttigieg lit into Gabbard.“Respectfully, Congresswoman, I think that is dead wrong,” he said. “The slaughter going on in Syria is not a consequence of American presence, it is a consequence of a withdrawal and a betrayal by this president of American allies and American values. Look, I didn’t think we should have gone to Iraq in the first place. I think we need to get out of Afghanistan, but it’s also the case that a small number of specialized, special operations forces and intelligence capabilities were the only thing that stood between that part of Syria and what we’re seeing now, which is the beginning of a genocide and the resurgence of ISIS.” Gabbard pressed him on his answer, asking if he would keep the U.S. in Syria indefinitely. “You can put an end to endless war without embracing Donald Trump’s policy, as you’re doing,” he retorted.“What is an endless war if it’s not a regime change war?” she replied. “What we were doing in Syria was keeping our word,” he replied. The skirmish encapsulated the tension within the Democratic Party on foreign policy. But neither is wooing voters in an outsize way: Buttigieg polls at just over 5 percent of the Democratic primary vote in the RealClearPolitics polling average, while Gabbard is just under 1 percent. 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.
- Turkey's Air Force Has Stealth Fighter Dreams
- Barneys New York to close all of its stores, plus other brands closing locations in 2019
- Nigeria town celebrates claim as 'twins capital' of world
To celebrate its self-proclaimed title the town hosts an annual festival, now in its second year, that draws hundreds of sets of twins from around the country. Donning different traditional clothes and costumes, the twins -- male and female, old, young and even newborns -- sang and danced at the latest edition this weekend to the appreciation of an admiring audience.