|Trump slammed for tweet about hunting down Mumbai attack mastermind|
U.S. President Donald Trump faced criticism for saying Pakistan's arrest of the alleged mastermind of the 2008 attacks on Mumbai had come after a 10-year search, as the suspected militant had been living in plain view. Pakistani authorities on Wednesday arrested Hafiz Saeed, the founder of the Lashkar-e-Taiba militant group that is accused by India and the United States of carrying out the Mumbai attacks, on terrorism financing charges. Saeed is designated a terrorist by the United States and the United Nations.
|Australia calls on China to let Uighur mother and son leave|
Australia's government on Wednesday called on China to allow an Australian child and his Uighur mother to leave the country, days after co-signing a letter denouncing Beijing's treatment of the Muslim minority. China has rounded up an estimated one million Uighurs and other mostly Muslim Turkic-speaking minorities into re-education camps in tightly controlled Xinjiang region, in the country's northwest. Sadam Abdusalam has campaigned for months for his Uighur wife, Nadila Wumaier, and their son Lutifeier, whom he has never met, to be allowed to come to Australia.
|Teenage girl making sexual abuse claim sexually assaulted by detective dealing with case|
A Los Angeles County sex crimes investigator accused of raping a teenager after having been assigned to investigate her previous sexual assault allegations has pleaded guilty to lesser charges, and is expected to be sentenced to three years in prison.It was at least the third time the detective, Neil David Kimball of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, was accused of misconduct while on duty, though he was not charged as a result of the first two allegations.District Attorney Gregory Totten of Ventura County, whose office prosecuted the case, said in a statement that Kimball, 46, met the then-15-year-old victim in 2017 when she reported a sexual assault.He befriended her and then sexually assaulted her, according to the statement.Kimball was originally charged with raping the victim while she was tied or bound. Kimball was also accused of “witness intimidation by threat of force”.But Patrice Koenig, a spokesperson for the district attorney’s office, said that prosecutors later determined they could not prove that Kimball had used force during the encounter, which she said took place in his trailer in Camarillo, in southern Ventura County.The girl did not report the encounter. Rather, when a different officer took over her case about a year later, her father told the new investigator about the assault, Ms Koenig said.Kimball pleaded guilty last week to a lewd act with a child and unlawful sexual intercourse, and is expected to be sentenced to three years in prison at his next appearance, on 8 August. He must also register as a sex offender.In a statement, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said that Kimball’s pay was suspended in March and that it was seeking to terminate him immediately. A lawyer for Kimball declined to comment.Kimball’s plea comes just more than a month after Sara Abusheikh, a Los Angeles fashion designer, wrote in a post on Medium about her experience with the detective after she was sexually assaulted by an acquaintance in 2014, and reported it to the authorities.Kimball was assigned to her case, but she wrote that he never investigated, and instead said wildly inappropriate things to her.Ms Abusheikh wrote that Kimball teased her about going back to her assailant and suggested she “let him make love to you gently”.“His only interest in the details of my rape came in the form of perverse, sick questions, and he – most tellingly – suggested he come inside to get high,” she wrote.She later filed a restraining order against her assailant, which led Kimball to joke that she was paranoid, she wrote. When she reported his inappropriate behaviour to his supervisor, word got back to Kimball immediately, she added.The next summer, after getting help from a rape treatment centre, she met with the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office, which declined to prosecute the case, she wrote.A deputy district attorney told her Kimball was “a fine detective” and insisted there was no evidence to back up her claim, she wrote.“And the Special Victims Bureau? It only functioned to protect not one, but two, alleged rapists,” Ms Abusheikh concluded in her essay.The Los Angeles County district attorney’s office declined to comment on Ms Abusheikh’s post.Last year, Ms Abusheikh shared screenshots of text messages she said were from Kimball with The Daily Beast, as well as records of email exchanges with lawyers and patient advocates from the rape treatment centre. She did not return calls or respond to messages seeking further comment.Kimball, a 20-year veteran of the sheriff’s department, was assigned to the Special Victims Bureau in 2013, The Los Angeles Times reported.The bureau has been involved in high-profile cases, including accusations by a young actor that he was sexually abused by Asia Argento, a leading figure in the MeToo movement, who had herself accused the producer Harvey Weinstein of sexual assault. She denied the allegations.In 2009, Kimball was investigated for sexual battery but not charged after an episode at a hotel the previous year, The Los Angeles Times reported.According to the report, which was based on a prosecutor’s memo, the detective had questioned a group of friends in a parking lot.Afterward, women in the group and Kimball went to a hotel room, where some of the women stripped down to their underwear and got into a hot tub as he encouraged them, the memo stated.It also said that one woman accused the detective of grabbing her hand and trying to place it on his genitals.But no charges were filed. Witnesses gave contradictory statements, there was a lack of evidence and the complainant failed to cooperate with investigators, the memo said.Greg Risling, a spokesperson for the Los Angeles County district attorney, confirmed that the office had declined to prosecute Kimball over the hotel incident. In an email, he said that no other cases involving the detective were under review.The Ventura County District Attorney’s Office had also urged any additional victims to come forward, Ms Koenig said, but none did so.Asked last year why Kimball was selected to serve in the Special Victims Bureau even after the 2008 hotel allegations, the sheriff’s department told The Los Angeles Times it would “conduct a review of the internal process” related to the assignment.The department did not respond to a question about the outcome of that review.Grier Weeks, senior executive at the National Association to Protect Children, a non-profit in Knoxville, Tennessee, that pushes for child protection laws, said that the sentence was too light considering the severity of the crime.“There should be more severe penalties for people in positions of authority or trust who assault a child,” he said. “It’s something that has to be treated as the most serious type of assault.”New York Times
|Samantha Bee Shocked Kellyanne Conway Somehow Even ‘More Racist’ Than Trump|
TBSSamantha Bee didn’t have time to cover all of President Trump’s recent “racisms,” instead choosing to zero in on his demand that four freshmen Congresswomen of color go back to the countries “from which they came.” “Sadly, the only thing that should surprise anyone is that he wrote ‘from which they came’ to avoid ending a sentence with a preposition,” the Full Frontal host joked. “Way to go, Shakespeare, now return your head to the orifice from which it came.” “Of course, it wasn't long before spokes-golem Kellyanne Conway leapt to his defense by somehow sounding more racist than her boss,” Bee continued before playing the clip of the White House counselor literally responding to a reporter’s question with, “What’s your ethnicity?” “Fun fact,” Bee said, “that's also how she answers the phone.” Seth Meyers Tears Into Cowardly Republicans Hiding from Racist Trump TweetsFrom there, she moved onto the resolution condemning Trump’s remarks that passed the House with the support of only four Republican members. “So most House Republicans are A-OK with racism,” Bee said, “which is great news if Biden is elected because at least he has a history of working with segregationists.” The host spent the rest of her opening segment breaking down just how racist Trump’s policies are, including his efforts to stop even legal immigration to the United States. “It’s almost as if he doesn’t like people from certain parts of the world or something,” Bee said. “God, if only there were a word for that.” For more, listen to Samantha Bee on The Last Laugh podcast below.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.
|Investigators 'discover mysterious 200lb load' on board MH370 after take-off|
Investigators looking into the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 have discovered a “mysterious 200lb load” added to the flight list after take-off, according to an engineer whose wife and two children were on board. Ghyslain Wattrelos said the cargo was revealed in a report on the passengers and baggage by French investigators. Mr Wattrelos, who believes the flight was deliberately downed, told Le Parisien newspaper: “It was also learned that a mysterious load of 89 kilos was added to the flight list after take-off. A container was also overloaded, without anyone knowing why. It may be incompetence or manipulation. Everything is possible. This will be part of the questions for the Malaysians.” MH370 became one of the world’s greatest aviation mysteries when it vanished with 239 people on board en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on March 8, 2014. French investigators who examined flight data at Boeing’s headquarters in Seattle believe that the pilot was in control of the airliner “right up to the end”. A modern mystery | Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 Mr Wattrelos said the investigators told him the data “lends weight” to the theory that the pilot crashed into the sea in a murder-suicide, although they stressed that there was no proof. The investigators expect it to take up to a year to examine the data fully. However, some experts believe a hijack by a stowaway is a possibility and the mysterious load could lend credence to the theory. Tim Termini, an aviation security specialist, told Channel 5 earlier this month: “It’s highly likely that a hijack took place and again, there’s four options for the hijack. "One is the hijack of the aircraft through a crew member. The second is a hijack coming from a passenger. A third option, which is a fairly unusual one, would be a stowaway. And then of course the fourth option is an electrical takeover of the aircraft from a ground-based station.” Mr Wattrelos, 54, who has led a campaign to find out what happened to the flight, acknowledged that “there is a risk that I may never learn the full truth.” Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings.
|Man arrested in slaying of 75-year-old community activist|
The suspect in the slaying of a community leader who founded Baton Rouge's African American history museum was a tenant who owed her back rent, authorities said Tuesday. Ronn Jermaine Bell, 38, was arrested Tuesday on a charge of first-degree murder, city Police Chief Murphy J. Paul told news reporters. Bell is being held in the East Baton Rouge Parish jail.
|2-year-old girl who disappeared from Michigan campsite found alive|
Police have found the 2-year-old who went missing from a campsite in Comins Township, Michigan, on Monday. The search lasted more than 24 hours.
|How Kim Jong Un Got Mercedes-Benz Pullman Limos Home to North Korea|
Researchers tracked the luxury cars all the way from the Netherlands, in apparent defiance of sanctions.
|North Carolina father of 7 dies trying to save his drowning children at beach|
A North Carolina father drowned Sunday while rescuing two of his youngchildren who were swept away by a wave while walking on a submerged jetty atWrightsville Beach
|Unbowed, Trump intensifies attacks on four Democratic congresswomen|
GREENVILLE, N.C./WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Donald Trump stepped up his vilification of four liberal lawmakers as un-American at a raucous rally on Wednesday, underscoring that the attacks will form a key part of his strategy for winning re-election in 2020. Despite criticism from Democrats that his comments about the four minority congresswomen are racist, Trump went on an extended diatribe about the lawmakers, saying they were welcome to leave the country if they did not like his policies on issues such as immigration and defending Israel. "So these Congresswomen, their comments are helping to fuel the rise of a dangerous, militant hard left," the Republican president said to roars from the crowd in North Carolina, a state seen as key to his re-election.
|Your Kids Won't Have Any Room For Candy After These Halloween Dinner Ideas|
|China Is Drafting Urgent Plan to Resolve Hong Kong Chaos, SCMP Says|
(Bloomberg) -- Chinese officials in charge of Hong Kong affairs are working on an urgent strategy to solve the city’s political chaos and have ruled out the use of military force, the South China Morning Post reported, citing unidentified people familiar with the discussions.They will soon present top leaders in Beijing with both an immediate plan to handle the mass protests and a longer-term strategy that could result in China overhauling its management of the former British colony, the newspaper said, without elaborating on a date.Beijing maintains that the crisis is best left for Hong Kong authorities to resolve and doesn’t want to get directly involved, according to the report. Beijing has expressed public support for Chief Executive Carrie Lam throughout weeks of unrest and political gridlock, saying this week that it “firmly supports” her leadership.On Thursday, China condemned a joint motion for a resolution in the European Parliament that called on EU member states and other nations to investigate export controls “to deny China, and in particular Hong Kong, access to technologies” that could be used to violate human rights.“China strongly opposes this,” spokesman Lu Kang said. “China does value its relations with Europe, but maintaining a healthy relationship requires joint efforts.“Lam on Monday vowed she would remain in office, after a Financial Times report said she had offered to resign but that Beijing insisted she stay and clean up “the mess she created.”The Chinese officials also see Hong Kong’s police force as key to maintaining stability, the newspaper said. Officers’ tactics have come under fire after they used rounds of tear gas, rubber bullets, batons and pepper spray in dispersing the protests. Demonstrators have demanded an independent investigation into what they deem a use of excessive force, while opposition lawmakers have called for the resignation of security chief John Lee.Earlier: Hong Kong Police Tactics Under Fire as Legislature ResumesMainland officials want to avoid bloodshed and ensure the financial hub remains largely stable, the newspaper reported, citing the people familiar. China’s approach will be to “lure the snake from its hole,” according to one adviser cited by the SCMP, taking a defensive position until the opposition reveals its strategy.They’re also considering whether the current environment makes it too risky for President Xi Jinping to visit another former European colony, Macau, later this year for 20th anniversary celebrations of its return to Chinese rule, the paper reported.Crowds of Hong Kong protesters have turned out in unprecedented sizes every week since mid-June. In recent gatherings, their anger has focused on China. More protests are being planned in neighborhoods across the city by demonstrators vowing to spread the word until Lam responds to their demands, including the official withdrawal of legislation that would allow extraditions to the mainland and first sparked the rallies.There are indications that Xi and his top officials are preparing for their annual summer conclave in the seaside city of Beidaihe, which this year will bear even closer watching than usual as China faces growing risks at home and abroad, including Hong Kong’s unrest and an ongoing trade war with the U.S.(Updates in fourth paragraph with China foreign ministry comments)\--With assistance from Dandan Li.To contact the reporters on this story: Karen Leigh in Hong Kong at email@example.com;Dominic Lau in Hong Kong at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Brendan Scott at email@example.com, James Mayger, Iain MarlowFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
|'I miss their laughter': Grieving crash dad slams 'shameful' Boeing|
Paul Njoroge, whose wife, three children and mother-in-law died in the March 10 Ethiopian Airlines disaster, testified before the US House Transportation and Infrastructure Aviation Subcommittee during a hearing on the state of aviation safety. "I miss their laughter, their playfulness, their touch," Njoroge said in his written testimony. The congressional hearings follow the global grounding of US manufacturer Boeing's MAX fleet after the Ethiopian crash and an earlier Lion Air MAX disaster in Indonesia.
|The California hiker who was found after spending 4 days alone in the wilderness says she got lost after fleeing a man with a knife|
Sheryl Powell, 60, disappeared on Friday while on a camping trip with her husband. Search teams found her alive and well on Monday.
|Chappaquiddick 50 years on: The car crash that forever tarnished Ted Kennedy|
He was the handsome young senator from an American political dynasty, widely tipped to win the White House. Heavily favoured to win the Democratic nomination for the presidency, Ted Kennedy looked set to square-off against Republican incumbent Richard Nixon at the 1972 election.But his hopes of emulating his older brother John F Kennedy were irreparably damaged 50 years ago.A car crash in Chappaquiddick would claim the life of a young female political campaigner and forever tarnish his reputation. Here The Independent examines the incident. What happened?On 18 July, 1969, Kennedy, aged 37 at the time, had been attending a party on Chappaquiddick Island, part of the affluent Massachusetts resort Martha’s Vineyard.The Massachusetts senator had left the party with Mary Jo Kopechne, a 28-year-old political campaign specialist. He later testified at inquest that she had asked him to drop her back at a hotel.At around midnight, Kennedy’s car swerved off a narrow, unlit bridge with no guardrails and plummeted into the Poucha Pond.He escaped the sinking saloon. Kopechne did not. Kennedy claimed he made several attempts to save her before giving up and returning to the party on foot.Later, he said he returned with two friends for another rescue attempt but that was foiled by the strong tide.Ten hours passed before the senator reported the incident to the police, minutes before Kopechne’s body was recovered from the vehicle. John Farrar, the diver who recovered the corpse, said he believed she died from suffocation rather than drowning, trapped potentially for hours in a small air pocket inside the car. What action was taken?Just a week after the crash on 25 July, Kennedy pleaded guilty to a charge of leaving the scene of an accident and received a suspended two-month prison sentence, the statutory minimum for the offence.His attorneys had argued he should be granted a lenient sentence by the judge, due to his age, character and prior reputation. That night the senator made a speech in which he insisted he had not been driving under the influence of alcohol at the time of the crash, as well as denying “widely circulated suspicions of immoral conduct” surrounding his relationship with Kopechne.He described his decision not to immediately report the incident to the police as “indefensible”, stating that he was overcome by a “jumble of emotions—grief, fear, doubt, exhaustion, panic, confusion, and shock.”An inquest would later conclude there was “probable cause to believe” Kennedy had been operating the vehicle negligently. A tarnished figureKennedy’s inaction caused significant damage to his reputation.Prior to the incident, he was popular throughout the country and was seen by many to follow in the footsteps of his brothers, John and Robert, by running for the presidency. Five years before the crash, Kennedy had been re-elected to the senate with 75 per cent of the vote. In an election 15 months after the crash, his margin of victory was reduced to 64 per cent. He did not run in the 1972 or 1976 presidential race, a decision likely taken as a result of Kopechne’s death. When Kennedy decided to run in 1980, renewed interest in the Chappaquiddick incident hindered his campaign.His Democratic primary opponent, then-president Jimmy Carter, frequently called into question Kennedy’s character by alluding to the events on the resort island. After a failed campaign, Kennedy abandoned his White House dreams. He went on to serve in the Senate for another four decades until his death.In Kennedy’s posthumous memoir, True Compass, he called the incident a “horrible tragedy that haunts me every day of life.” The Edward M Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate, a body created in honour of his 47 years of service in the Senate, has no plans to commemorate the incident and the death of Kopechne.
|Woman killed while riding in SUV with husband was just minutes from home before shooting|
'You have taken an angel from us' Saron James and her husband Cleveland had been married for 40 years before someone opened fire on their SUV and killed her.
|New York City removed 110 trash cans. Now garbage is overflowing and the rats are 'running wild'|
Rats are populating the Upper West Side thanks to the removal of trash cans by the New York City Department of Sanitation.
|Arrested reporter slams conditions at US detention centers|
A Spanish-language reporter who was recently released from immigration custody said Wednesday he was held for 15 months in detention centers that were plagued by insects and he had to bathe with cold water from water hoses. During a news conference, Manuel Duran discussed what he called inhumane conditions at immigration detention facilities in Louisiana and Alabama. Duran was released from an Alabama facility on bail last week as immigration courts consider his request for asylum.
|Ukraine's Russian-speaking president gives glimmer of hope to war-torn east|
DONETSK/SLOVYANSK, Ukraine, July 17 (Reuters) - In one of his first acts as Ukrainian president, comedian-turned-politician Volodymyr Zelenskiy held out a symbolic olive branch to people in Ukraine's mostly Russian-speaking Donbass region, by switching from Ukrainian to Russian. Language was a factor in the outbreak of the conflict in 2014, with Russian speakers in Donbass saying they feared Kiev would impose the Ukrainian language on them.
|New Jersey brother charged in family's murder accused of insurance fraud|
Paul Caneiro is now charged with insurance fraud on top of the murder, aggravated arson and other charges he previously faced in connection with the death of his brother Keith, his sister in law Jennifer, and their two kids, 11-year-old Jesse and 8-year-old Sophia.
|Big Guns: Army Prototypes Range-Doubling New Artillery Weapon to Outgun Russia|
The Army is building prototypes of a new artillery cannon that can more than double the range of existing weapons and vastly alter the strategic and tactical landscape shaping land war into the future.The Army program, called Extended Range Cannon Artillery, has been developing for several years; it is now entering a new phase through an Army deal with BAE Systems to build “Increment 1” prototypes.“This prototype phase will address capability gaps in the Army’s indirect fire systems and improve the rate and range of fire with the development of power distribution software and hardware integration solutions,” a BAE Systems statement said.During testing thus far, the Army has successfully fired a 155mm artillery round 62 kilometers - marking a technical breakthrough in the realm of land-based weapons and progressing toward its stated goal of being able to outrange and outgun Russian and Chinese weapons.Currently, most land-fired artillery shot from an M777 Towed Howitzer or Self-Propelled Howitzer are able to pinpoint targets out to 30km - so hitting 62km dramatically changes Army offensive attack capability. As part of an effort to ensure the heavy M777 is sufficiently mobile, the Army completed a “mobility” demonstration of ERCA prototypes last year.
|Argentina still waiting for 1994 Jewish center bombing justice|
Argentina marks the 25th anniversary of the bomb attack on a Jewish center that left 85 people dead with a day of mourning on Thursday, but the relatives of victims are still waiting for justice. "This attack, even if there was a large anti-Jewish, anti-Semitic component -- of course -- was an attack on Argentina and Argentine society," said Weinstein, who worked at the Argentine Israelite Mutual Association (AMIA), where the attack was carried out. A truck loaded with explosives was driven into the AMIA center in a densely populated central area of Buenos Aires, also leaving 300 people wounded.
|Teachers union has become an arm of the abortion-rights left. Conservatives should quit.|
Why would the NEA go out of its way to take extreme stands on hot-button issues so far removed from the real problems facing our nation’s schools?
|Meghan McCain Blasts George Conway, Claims She Wouldn’t Let Her Husband Say Racist Comments|
The View’s Meghan McCain made it clear on Wednesday that she is not a fan of George Conway, the husband of White House counselor Kellyanne Conway. And she brought up her own marriage to The Federalist’s publisher Ben Domenech as a comparison point.With the panel discussing Kellyanne Conway bizarrely asking a White House reporter what his ethnicity is after he asked a question about President Donald Trump’s racist attacks on congresswomen of color, McCain immediately targeted the top Trump aide’s husband, who has been an outspoken critic of the president on Twitter and op-ed pages.Calling Kellyanne’s comments “tone-deaf,” the conservative View host said her message to George was to start his Trump criticism at home, prompting the audience to applaud. McCain then contrasted her marriage to that of the Conways.“If me and my husband were together—no, I’m sick of this,” she exclaimed. “He gets on his high horse on Twitter all day long. If I felt like my husband were getting on TV and saying racist comments and things like this, and I was so outraged, we would be having a conversation.”After liberal co-host Joy Behar noted that they don’t know what goes on in the Conways’ home, McCain replied that we actually do because they’ve given joint interviews to major newspapers in the past.“I do think what she’s doing is abhorrent right there and I don’t understand why asking anyone their ethnicity in any situation, let alone in front of the White House,” she continued. “But her husband is—but I have stopped taking him seriously because I think if it was someone I was super close that was out doing this, I would take it further than just Twitter.”Moments later, following co-host Sunny Hostin’s observation that George Conway is half-Filipino and thus his wife should be willing to condemn Trump’s racism, McCain once again laid into Mr. Conway.“For me, it’s a paper tiger on George Conway’s part because as you said, they have children at home that are being influenced by this,” McCain said. “And if you feel this deeply, which I do believe that he does, I can’t reconcile it, and I think it’s bizarre that it’s a hot topic on The View.”McCain and her husband, meanwhile, have had their own personal experiences with public and offensive meltdowns. Earlier this year, following McCain’s contentious and uncomfortable appearance on NBC’s Late Night, Domenech unleashed an unhinged late-night Twitter rant against host Seth Meyers that featured homophobic insults. Domenech would eventually delete the tweets.Domenech also oversees the Federalist, a pro-Trump website that repeatedly categorized stories under a “black crime” tag before quietly removing the racist classification from its pages.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.
|Storm Area 51: US Air Force warns alien-hunters against breaking into top-secret base|
The US Air Force has urged people not to invade Area 51 in search of aliens.Anyone attempting to do so will have to deal with highly developed defence measures, the military has said.A widespread internet joke – joined by more than a million people – suggests that people attempt to run into the Area 51 base on 20 September. If enough people do so, then at least some will be able to get through and storm the base, the Facebook group suggests.“They can’t stop all of us” it says. ”Let’s see them aliens.”Officials say they will not discuss the details of the security measures that are built to keep people out of the base. But they stressed that they are powerful and suggested soldiers are trained for this kind of situation.The range provides “flexible, realistic and multidimensional battlespace” for testing and “advanced training in support of US national interests”, it said.Nellis Air Force Base said in a statement that officials are aware of the Facebook posting and “any attempt to illegally access the area is highly discouraged”.After decades of government officials refusing to acknowledge Area 51, the CIA released declassified documents in 2013 referring to the 8,000-square mile installation by name and locating it on a map near the dry Groom Lake bed.The base has been a testing ground for a host of top-secret aircraft, including the U-2 in the 1950s and later the B-2 stealth bomber.Secrecy surrounding the site has fuelled conspiracy theories among UFO enthusiasts and sprouted a small, alien-themed tourist industry in surrounding desert communities, including cafes, a motel and even a brothel.Additional reporting by agencies
|'What am I supposed to do with you?' Judge bars Roger Stone from social media for breaking gag order|
A federal judge ordered former Trump adviser Roger Stone to stop using social media after saying he had violated a gag order in his criminal case.
|US fears Iran seized UAE-based tanker in Strait of Hormuz|
A small oil tanker from the United Arab Emirates traveling through the Strait of Hormuz entered Iranian waters and turned off its tracker three days ago, leading the U.S. to suspect Iran seized the vessel amid heightened tensions in the region. Iranian state media quoted its Foreign Ministry spokesman early Wednesday as saying the Islamic Republic had aided a foreign oil tanker with a malfunction, but the report didn't explain further. Oil tankers previously have been targeted in the wider region amid tensions between the U.S. and Iran over its unraveling nuclear deal with world powers.
|Landlords Sue NYC Over New Rent Caps on a Million Apartments|
(Bloomberg) -- New York City’s rent-stabilization law is under attack after a group of real-estate trade groups and landlords sued to overturn regulations that cover more than 1 million apartments.The decades-old law that limits rent increases violates the U.S. Constitution by placing an unfair burden on property owners, particularly those who own pre-1974 buildings with six or more units, according to the suit, filed Monday in federal court in Brooklyn.The state legislature, now under full Democratic control, adopted sweeping tenant protections in June that further cap rent increases and restrict landlords’ ability to evict residents. The massive rewrite of the rent rules, which cover about 2.4 million residents, aimed to preserve affordable housing by eliminating tools landlords used to remove units from regulation. The package also abolished a “vacancy bonus” that allowed property owners to raise rents 20% when a tenant left.The plaintiffs say the update further eroded their rights and that the law’s “irrationality and arbitrariness” and “web of restrictions override core rights of property owners.”Read More: NYC Tenants Get a Rent-Law Blessing That Landlords See as CurseThe landlords claim the rules have morphed over the years so that they benefit too many higher earners, while renters who make less than $35,000 a year account for just 38% of rent-stabilized renters. The breakdown is about the same for unregulated apartments, the groups claim, suggesting the law isn’t much different from the unregulated market.The trade groups claim that 22% of rent-stabilized tenants make more than $100,000 a year and that married couples without children are over-represented in rent-stabilized apartments despite being less likely to suffer rental hardship than couples with children.The city said the suit threatens ordinary New Yorkers.“Dismantling rent stabilization would be a devastating blow to everyday New Yorkers who are working hard to call this great city home,” Jane Meyer, the mayor’s deputy press secretary, said in a statement. She said the city would review the suit and continue to “fight to protect affordability, prevent harassment and keep this a city for everyone.”Supreme Court SnubTenants-rights groups argued the changes were needed to counter decades of abuse by some landlords and a shrinking supply of affordable housing. Tens of thousands of apartments have been removed from rent-stabilized status, sending rents higher as neighborhoods are gentrified. The effort won support from Governor Andrew Cuomo, a third-term Democrat, as well as New York City mayor and 2020 presidential candidate Bill de Blasio.The U.S. Supreme Court rejected a challenge to the city’s rent-stabilization system in 2012, turning away an appeal from landlords who said the city had violated their constitutional rights by limiting rents on three one-bedroom apartments in their Upper West Side brownstone. The state of New York defended the statute, citing previous Supreme Court decisions that judges “should not sit as super-legislatures reviewing matters of economic policy, but should ask only whether a legislature’s policy judgments are rational.”Among the plaintiffs is the Rent Stabilization Association, which represents 25,000 landlords. When the law was amended, the landlords said it would cause buildings to fall into disrepair because owners wouldn’t be able to afford to maintain them.The case is Community Housing Improvement Program v. City of New York, 19-cv-4087, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York (Brooklyn).(Updates with second paragraph under Supreme Court Snub)\--With assistance from Gerald Porter Jr..To contact the reporters on this story: Erik Larson in New York at firstname.lastname@example.org;Henry Goldman in New York at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: David Glovin at firstname.lastname@example.org, Peter JeffreyFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
|Ex-chairman of Vietnam's BIDV bank dies in detention|
A former head of Vietnam's second largest listed bank, the Joint Stock Commercial Bank for Investment and Development of Vietnam (BIDV), died in detention on Thursday, state media and three sources with direct knowledge of the situation said. Tran Bac Ha was arrested in November last year in a widening crackdown on corruption in the Southeast Asian country, which has seen its Communist-ruled government launch investigations into hundreds of public officials and several executives at state-owned enterprises jailed. Ha had not stood trial and was being held at a military detention center near Hanoi, the Vietnamese capital, the Tuoi Tre newspaper reported.
|View Photos of the 2020 Nissan GT-R NISMO|
|India demands Pakistan release accused 'spy' after world court ruling|
India on Thursday demanded that Pakistan release an alleged spy after the International Court of Justice called for a review of a death sentence against him. The arch-rivals each declared victory after the world court ruling made late Wednesday. India's Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar said Jadhav, a former navy officer, "is in the illegal custody of Pakistan under fabricated charges" as he welcomed the court ruling.
|The U.S. Marine Corps Has Lost More Than 25,000 Marines to Misconduct|
The Marine Corps has lost more than 25,000 Marines to misconduct over the past decade, according to Commandant Gen. David Berger.In his 2019 Commandant's Planning Guidance, Berger said that the Corps "continued loss of 8,000 Marines per year to non-EAS attrition is unacceptable," using an acronym to describe the end of active service in an enlistment.A total of 25,336 Marines were booted from the Corps between 2009 and 2019; 11,765 were for drug and alcohol offenses, while 13,571 were over unspecified misconduct."This must change," Berger wrote, noting that the cost to replace that many Marines was in excess of $1 billion.Interestingly, that number should be even higher, as its section on drug use reveals. Since Oct. 2017, 2,410 Marines tested positive for illegal drug use, but only 1,175, or 48.8%, had been separated. "I am deeply troubled by the continued retention of Marines failing to adhere to our standards related to drug use.""We are an elite institution of warriors, and will remain so on my watch," Berger wrote. "It is our shared responsibility to ensure the continued health of our collective soul and identity."Toward the end of the 26-page document, which largely focused on changes Berger intended to implement as the top Marine officer, the new commandant talked about misconduct in the force and what he called "destructive" behavior.Of sexual assault, for example, Berger said that despite the Corps' efforts, "the continued rise in reporting leads me to conclude that we still do not fully understand the scope and scale of this issue, or that we can say with any confident that the measures we have taken to date are preventing sexual assaults."
|New Jersey judge who cited alleged rapist's 'good family' in court ruling steps down|
Superior Court Judge James G. Troiano has drawn an intense backlash over his decision to bar prosecutors from bringing adult charges against the teen.
|Apollo 11: The strange things that happened in the hours as astronauts headed for Moon landing|
On this day 50 years ago, the Apollo astronauts who were being hailed as heroes didn't have all that much to do. They were a central part of a mission watched around the world, one which would define the century that followed, and which required intensive intelligence and ingenuity beyond our imagining – but at the moment they were engaged in housekeeping and sleeping.Now is the anniversary of perhaps the most unusual part of the Moon mission: that intermediate period after astronauts had completed the all-important liftoff, and as they waited, quietly drifting through space, on their way to the Moon.The launch happened on 16 July, 1969. The landing happened four days later, on 20 July.Between those days were a strange and eerie silence, filled with activities that would be humdrum were they not happening inside of the most ambitious activity ever launched by humankind.As the three astronauts – Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins – floated serenely through space, they began to think about what would happen at Earth. They were travelling at immense speed which meant that they had left the Earth quicker than many of those who had come along to watch would be able to get out of the parking lots they'd viewed it from."As we proceed outbound, this number will get smaller and smaller until the tug of the Moon's gravity exceeds that of the Earth's and then we will start speeding up again," Collins later said. "It's hard to believe that we are on our way to the Moon, at 1200 miles altitude now, less than three hours after liftoff, and I'll bet the launch-day crowd down at the Cape is still bumper to bumper, straggling back to the motels and bars."Soon after that, they would get to the main work they had to do during the journey, which began early. Collins was assisted by his two colleagues to separate the command module from the third stage of the Saturn rocket, and then spin it around and connect with the lunar module known as Eagle that would be used to descend to the service."This of course was a critical maneuver in the flight plan," Aldrin later said. "If the separation and docking did not work, we would return to Earth."There was also the possibility of an in-space collision and the subsequent decompression of our cabin, so we were still in our spacesuits as Mike separated us from the Saturn third stage. Critical as the maneuver is, I felt no apprehension about it, and if there was the slightest inkling of concern it disappeared quickly as the entire separation and docking proceeded perfectly to completion."The nose of Columbia was now connected to the top of the Eagle and heading for the Moon as we watched the Saturn third stage venting, a propulsive maneuver causing it to move slowly away from us."After that was completed, the really stressful work was over. The astronauts could get to sitting out the journey, waiting until they reached their distant target.By the next day, the astronauts were able to darken the windows with covers that served as curtains, and try and get some sleep as the command module slowly rotated them through space. They'd spend the following days doing chores and talking with Earth.During those intermediate days, there was considerably less activity on board the craft. Nasa's official timeline – which gives detailed information on absolutely everything the crew did – lists only a few activities over the course of the 17th and 18th, as the three astronauts floated through space.On 17 July, for instance, the crew simply conducted three TV transmissions and did one small burn of their engines to correct their course. The day after, there was another TV transmission and a quick journey into the lunar module and back so that it could be inspected ahead of the landing.But the day later, as they approached the Moon and, the atmosphere would change."Day four has a decidedly different feel to it," Collins later said. "Instead of nine hours' sleep, I get seven – and fitful ones at that."Despite our concentrated effort to conserve our energy on the way to the Moon, the pressure is overtaking us (or me at least), and I feel that all of us are aware that the honeymoon is over and we are about to lay our little pink bodies on the line."At this point, everything became much more real: for one, the astronauts could once again see the Moon properly for the first time in nearly a day. They were now in orbit around the Moon, and it was vividly clear."The Moon I have known all my life, that two-dimensional small yellow disk in the sky, has gone away somewhere, to be replaced by the most awesome sphere I have ever seen," said Collins later."To begin with it is huge, completely filling our window. Second, it is three-dimensional. The belly of it bulges out toward us in such a pronounced fashion that I almost feel I can reach out and touch it. To add to the dramatic effect, we can see the stars again. We are in the shadow of the Moon now, and the elusive stars have reappeared."At this point, the work to get ready to touch the lunar surface begins. The astronauts each carry out the checks that would try and ensure that the descent was as safe as possible, and that the lander that would carry them down was as secure as it could possibly be.Collins would spent yet more time on his own, waiting, as Aldrin and Armstrong jumped around the lunar surface. As they did, he waited, floating above the Moon – occasionally disappearing behind it and being plunged into the all-consuming quiet of the far side of the Moon – and waiting for his two colleagues to make their return, before heading back to Earth.
|Ilhan Omar Is Completely Assimilated|
Beto O’Rourke, the losing Texas Senate candidate who bootstrapped his way into becoming a losing presidential candidate, had a message for refugees who had come to America: Your new country is a hellhole.The former congressman told a roundtable of refugees and immigrants in Nashville, Tenn., last week: “This country was founded on white supremacy. And every single institution and structure that we have in this country still reflects the legacy of slavery and segregation and Jim Crow and suppression.”Just in case the newcomers were inclined to believe that they had escaped to the greatest country on Earth, an open, dynamic, generous society that, whatever their struggles now, will afford them opportunities unimaginable back home -- Beto was there to tell them of all its sins.He had made himself into an instrument of woke assimilation.This is the backdrop of the controversy over Ilhan Omar, the Somali-born left-wing member of Congress whom Donald Trump urged, in particularly noxious tweets, to return to her native country and fix it before presuming to tell us what to do.It’s a mistake, though, to think that Omar is anything other than on her way to total assimilation, only on the terms set out by Beto O’Rourke.American has two assimilation problems. One is immigrants feeling only a tenuous connection to America, and getting isolated in ethnic enclaves. The other is immigrants like Omar -- and some of her second-generation colleagues -- assimilating into the America of identity politics and grievance.They have learned to speak not just English, but the language of oppression. They understand our system (at least no less than the average officeholder) but hold it in low regard. They know our history, as taught by an instructor cribbing from Howard Zinn.They may be citizens, but they are certainly outraged victims.According to a profile in the Washington Post, Omar felt betrayal immediately upon getting to America.“I arrived at the age of 12 and learned that I was the extreme other,” she explained to the Post, noting bullying when she was in school in Arlington, Va., an affluent Washington, D.C., suburb. “I was black. I was Muslim. I also learned I was extremely poor and that the classless America that my father talked about didn’t exist.”Somehow, despite all the depredations, she gained a seat in Congress. It wasn’t paeans to her new home that paved her way, but the tropes and priorities of a progressive Left, as you’d expect from a former director of the Women Organizing Women Network.Omar doesn’t represent a majority-minority district. She started her elected career, as the Post puts it, by getting to know “older peace-and-justice hippies.” She attended Black Lives Matter protests and established relationships with all the left-wing groups in Minneapolis.Most of these people wouldn’t object to, indeed would welcome and expect, her adversarial posture toward the country where she gained more notoriety and power than the vast majority of the native-born.Her narrative is the narrative of American malignancy. The Post wrote of her ambush of Trump official Elliott Abrams at a hearing: “For decades people like her had been on the receiving end of U.S. foreign policy. Such people typically get ‘beaten into submission,’ she said. Now, Omar was the one delivering the beating.”Her default is to blame America first. She explained that local Somali-Americans attempted to join the Islamic State as a function of “systemic alienation.” She contends that she has met American veterans “who say the most horrendous things, who have complete disregard for life.” And she accuses her congressional colleagues of singling her out for demonization.Anyone who thinks these attitudes are alien to America has never been to a college campus or watched MSNBC. In short, whatever foolhardy things Trump may tweet, Ilhan Omar is not suited to return and fix Somalia, rather to join a segment of the American elite.© 2019 King Features Syndicate
|Over-the-Top Ice Cream Sandwich Recipes That Are Worth Every Calorie|
|Gardner had good news for Colorado. But Trump had tweets.|
Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner had reeled in a big political fish. A major government agency, the Bureau of Land Management, was moving to his state and marking a victory years in the making for one of the Senate's most vulnerable Republicans. Republicans, perhaps Gardner most of all, struggled to respond.
|Citing Brexit, Ireland to oppose EU move to scrap spring/autumn time change|
Ireland will oppose an EU proposal to stop moving the bloc's clocks forward by an hour in spring and back again in the autumn, as it fears Brexit could otherwise leave the island split into two time zones. The European Union has observed the practice of daylight saving time since 2001.
|UK raises alarm after mother held by Iran is taken to mental ward|
London demanded the immediate release Wednesday of a jailed British-Iranian aid worker whose husband said she has been transferred to the mental ward of a public hospital in Tehran. Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe's case has roiled Britain's relations with the Islamic republic since her 2016 arrest and conviction on sedition charges over which she has held a series of hunger strikes. "We are extremely concrned about Nazanin's welfare and call for her immediate release," Prime Minister Theresa May's spokesman said.
|House Vote to Repeal Obamacare Tax Shows Health Care Tension|
(Bloomberg) -- The House voted overwhelmingly to repeal a tax Wednesday intended to fund the Affordable Care Act, preserving tax breaks for employer-sponsored insurance plans favored by large corporations.In a reversal of the usual partisan roles, Democrats rather than Republicans led the charge to kill a key part of Obamacare.The bill to repeal the levy commonly known as the “Cadillac tax” passed 419-6 with bipartisan support. The 40% excise tax on the most generous and expensive employer health-insurance plans was included in Obamacare as a measure that economists said would help curb health costs.Congress kept delaying its implementation so the tax has never actually been collected. Had it gone into effect, it would have hit about one in five employers that offer health benefits to their workers, according to estimates from the Kaiser Family Foundation.The vote to repeal the tax highlights the conflicting forces pulling at Democrats when campaigning versus legislating.Several of the party’s presidential candidates led by Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren support replacing nearly all private insurance with a government-run system financed by tax increases. Former Vice President Joe Biden, the front-runner in the race, has a less sweeping plan to bolster Obamacare, but it still would offer a public health insurance option funded by tax hikes on the wealthy.But in Congress, Democrats and Republicans are facing pressure from labor unions and large companies to move in the opposite direction by keeping tax advantages for employer-sponsored plans. Supporters of repealing the tax say keeping it in place would force employers to offer less generous health insurance to their workers.Employers can reap large tax savings by compensating their employees in the form of more extensive health insurance, rather than wages, which are subject to payroll taxes. Employer-paid premiums are exempt from federal income and payroll taxes, and the premiums employees pay are also often excluded from taxable income.Changing Minds“I’ve been a supporter of the Cadillac tax because I thought it would” lower health care costs, said Representative Steny Hoyer of Maryland, the No. 2 Democrat in the House. “But I’ve read some additional material on it and it’s obviously overwhelmingly thought this will not have the effect in terms of raising money or controlling cost that I thought it would have.”The dissonance among Democrats about whether to expand or shrink employer-sponsored health coverage makes them look like “gymnasts,” said Representative Mike Kelly, a Pennsylvania Republican.“Where are you on this stuff?” he said. “Wait a minute, you’re all advocating that there be no such thing as employer-sponsored coverage.”The repeated delays in imposing the Cadillac tax delays mean that Congress was never able to test whether it would curb the explosion of health care spending, which has risen an average 4.2% every quarter between 2010 and 2018, according to data from the Kaiser Family Foundation.The repeal also would mean that the Treasury Department won’t collect the $201 billion the Joint Committee on Taxation estimated it would raise over a decade.Obamacare TaxesObamacare included several other tax increases, including a 3.8% tax on investment income and a 0.9% levy on wages for top-earners. The portion of the law that was supposed to be financed through the Cadillac tax instead would be paid for through deficit spending, unless lawmakers propose a last-minute tax increase to offset the cost.Democrats have generally opposed measures to chip away at President Barack Obama’s signature legislative achievement, but the Cadillac tax has been unpopular since it became part of the code.The measure to repeal it, H.R. 748, was passed under a fast-track procedure requiring two-thirds support among House members.Yet popularity doesn’t necessarily mean good policy, said Marc Goldwein, senior vice president at the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget. Politicians don’t like the tax on health benefits, but nearly every economist thinks the Cadillac tax or a similar measure is necessary to help slow the rise in health-care costs and curb overuse of health services, he added.“Just because it’s bipartisan doesn’t mean it’s good,” he said.Not all Democrats are on board with eliminating the tax. Representative Ron Kind, a Wisconsin Democrat, said he opposes the repeal because the cost isn’t offset and there wasn’t any discussion about how scuttling the tax would affect the Affordable Care Act overall.“I think we are lapsing into some very bad habits in the majority,” he said. “We need to start instilling some fiscal discipline in this place and making some tough decisions.”Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, hasn’t committed to addressing the issue in his chamber. Because the repeal effort is led by Democrats, it sets up a path for McConnell to use it as a vehicle to attach Republican tax priorities, such as correcting errors in the 2017 tax law or extending several expired tax breaks that benefit the biodiesel and energy industries.“We’ve kicked the can down the road for so long on this one that the assumption is that it’s never going to go into effect,” said Representative Dan Kildee, a Michigan Democrat. “There’s a certain inevitability to this one getting repealed.”\--With assistance from Emily Wilkins.To contact the reporter on this story: Laura Davison in Washington at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Joe Sobczyk at firstname.lastname@example.org, Laurie AsséoFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
|Brazil Police Shut Down a Factory Making Fake Ferraris and 'Shamborghinis'|
Brazilian police say they’ve shut down a clandestine factory that was producing fake Ferraris and sham Lamborghinis
|MS-13 gang members indicted after 'medieval-style' killing spree in Los Angeles|
Federal racketeering, murder and other charges were filed against 22 alleged MS-13 gang members linked to a series of grisly killings in Los Angeles.
|What Rare Earths Tell Us about China's Competitive Strategy|
The recent debate over whether or not China will carry through on its threats to stop exporting rare earth minerals to the United States is an important one. It raises deeply unsettling questions about the strength of America's defense industrial supply chain. But Beijing’s monopolization of the global rare earths industry gives it far more than a card to play in an escalating trade war. The game is far bigger and the stakes higher than even many national-security experts seem to realize.In the minds of Chinese strategists, this issue is ultimately about which nation, China or America, wins the central struggle of the twenty-first century, the race for world leadership. Obviously, they intend to win and to win big.The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) considers rare earths to be essential for growing China’s power and eclipsing the United States. Official Chinese propaganda outlets recently called rare earths “strategic resources” for the “six new technology groups” that Beijing sees as engines of China’s future strength. These include information technology, medical technology, new materials, new energy sources, space technology, and advanced shipbuilding. According to the report, a major breakthrough in the application of rare earths is being made every five years, and one out of every six new inventions involves these minerals.
|‘Quite phenomenal’: Arctic heatwave hits most northerly settlement in world|
The planet's most northerly human settlement is in the midst of an "unprecedented" heatwave as parts of the Arctic endure one of their hottest summers on record.Canada's weather agency confirmed on Tuesday that temperatures in Alert, Nunavut, peaked at 21C at the weekend – far exceeding the July average for the area of around 5C.Overnight temperatures on Sunday remained above 15C; again, well in excess of nighttime lows that usually hover around freezing in a settlement that lies less than 900km from the North Pole.The previous temperature record for the town, of 20C, was set in 1956.In a further alarm bell for the region, the mercury climbed above 20C for a second day on Monday – the first time Alert's climate station has recorded two consecutive days of 20C-plus temperatures in its history.Alert is the northernmost permanently inhabited place in the world – with a population numbering less than 100 – and is far to the north of the Arctic Circle.David Phillips, Environment Canada's chief climatologist, said the weather in the far north of Canada was "quite spectacular" and "unprecedented".He told the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation: "It's nothing that you would have ever seen." Armel Castellan, a meteorologist at the Canadian environment ministry, told AFP the extreme weather was "quite phenomenal"."It's an absolute record, we've never seen that before," he said.Unusually, Victoria, 4,000km south of Alert, enjoyed cooler temperatures of 20.6C while the Arctic settlement baked.Tyler Hamilton, a meteorologist at The Weather Network, said: "These two communities have a staggering amount of lines of latitude in between them, with the City of Victoria situated at 48°N, while Alert is plopped north of 82°N."This is in fact the first time a temperature warmer than 20C has been measured north of 80° on the planet."Alert's heatwave comes as nearby Alaska saw its own record temperatures earlier this month.Anchorage, the state's largest city, sweltered in 32C on 4 July – shattering the seasonal high of around 24C.Other local records were set across southern Alaska and came after five weeks of above average temperatures in the outlying US state.Rick Thoman, a climate specialist at the University of Alaska, said at the time that exceptionally warm weather events would only become more frequent because of the loss of sea ice and warming in the Arctic Ocean."These kinds of extreme weather events become much more likely in a warming world," he said."Surface temperatures are above normal everywhere around Alaska. The entire Gulf of Alaska, in the Bering Sea, in the Chukchi Sea south of the ice edge, exceptionally warm waters, warmest on record, and of course record-low sea ice extent for this time of year off the north and northwest coasts of the state."Research published at the start of the year found Arctic summers may be hotter than they have been for 115,000 years.Evidence that this century is the warmest the region has faced for millennia came from plants collected in the remote wilderness of Baffin Island.As glaciers melt in the Canadian Arctic, landscapes are emerging that have not been ice-free for more than 40,000 years.“The Arctic is currently warming two to three times faster than the rest of the globe,” said Simon Pendleton, a PhD student at the University of Colorado at Boulder who led the research.
|Drug makers flooded US with billions of opioid pills as epidemic surged, data shows|
Statistics are a blow to country’s biggest pharmaceuticals that paid millions of dollars in out of court settlementsPurdue sold $3bn of its high-strength branded drug, OxyContin, which in 2010, was about one-third of the opioid market by value at its peak. Photograph: Toby Talbot/APDrug makers and distributors flooded the US with more than 75bn opioid pills in the crucial years when the country’s epidemic of painkiller addiction and deaths surged to record levels, according to previously secret data released by an American court.The publication of the Drug Enforcement Administration statistics is a blow to some of the country’s biggest pharmaceutical firms that have paid hundreds of millions of dollars in out of court settlements in part to keep sealed evidence that they profiteered from escalating demand for opioids even as public health officials were declaring an epidemic.The database covers 2006 to 2012 when opioid prescriptions reached a peak of 282m a year, enough to supply every American adult with a month’s worth of pills. By then, annual sales of narcotic painkillers had surged past $8bn.US district judge Dan Polster, in federal court in Cleveland, Ohio, is hearing about 2,000 civil cases brought by cities and counties coast-to-coast against opioid makers and distributors, wrapped into a giant case known as a multi-district litigation.He ordered the release of the data following a year-long legal battle by newspaper companies the Charleston Gazette-Mail in West Virginia, the state worst hit by the opioid epidemic, and the Washington Post.Deliveries of the two most common opioids, hydrocodone and oxycodone, escalated by more than 50% in the years covered by the database, to 12.6bn pills in 2012 alone, an analysis of the DEA numbers by the Washington Post found.By then the federal agency the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) had declared a public health crisis because of the surging death toll from overdoses. Some of the largest increases in sales were to parts of the country already devastated by opioids.Nearly nine out of 10 of the pills were manufactured by subsidiaries of three pharmaceutical multinationals – Mallinckrodt, Endo and Actavis, since renamed Allergan.These companies may not be household names but the pills they sold ardently, often allegedly inappropriately for treatment of chronic pain and while downplaying the risks of addiction, infiltrated communities all across the US in the last two decades.Mallinckrodt sold nearly 29bn opioids in the six years to 2012, taking 38% of the US market. Actavis was not far behind while Endo sold 11bn opioid tablets. Among Endo’s drugs was a high-strength opioid, Opana, that it was forced to pull from the market because it was killing so many people.Meanwhile Purdue Pharma is alleged to have played a leading role in driving the mass prescribing that unleashed the epidemic by changing the practice and culture of pain treatment. It was the fourth-largest manufacturer but with a much smaller proportion of the market at about 3%t.However, the volume of sales does not necessarily reflect the impact of individual drugs on the epidemic. Many of the more common painkillers were lower-strength opioids which helped create dependency and addiction but did not pose the same risk of overdose as stronger but less widely prescribed narcotics.Purdue sold $3bn of its high-strength branded drug, OxyContin, in 2010, about one-third of the opioid market by value at its peak.The pill consists of oxycodone, a powerful opioid derived from the opium poppy and which is stronger than morphine. The drug has been widely blamed for a surge in overdose deaths through the 2000s.All of the companies are targets of multiple lawsuits accusing them of driving up opioid sales with false claims about the safety and effectiveness of their drugs as are the members of the Sackler family who own Purdue Pharma.The newly released DEA data will bolster the plaintiffs’ claim that responsibility for the epidemic runs wide across the drug industry with manufacturers intent on grabbing as large a part of the opioid market as possible with little regard for the unfolding human tragedy.The opioid makers have denied wrongdoing and, among other things, sought to place blame for the epidemic on doctors overprescribing drugs. But Purdue has previously been hit with a $600m fine for a criminal conviction over its marketing of opioids, and in March the company agreed to pay $270m to settle a civil suit by the state of Oklahoma. Two years ago, Mallinckrodt paid a $35m settlement with the justice department over its opioid deliveries.County-by-county data shows that sales of opioids were often focused on areas most blighted by the epidemic, including some of the poorest parts of Appalachia. At one point, the highest per capita deliveries were to rural Mingo county, West Virginia, where “pill mills” and pharmacies were raking in money by churning out prescriptions without question to anyone who paid cash. The practice drew caravans of drug users from hundreds of miles away.Large numbers of the opioids delivered to Mingo county were by the country’s biggest drug distributor, McKesson Corporation. The Washington Post said the DEA data showed that McKesson and five other companies, including the pharmaceutical chains Walgreens, CVS and Walmart, were responsible for the bulk of painkiller deliveries across the US.McKesson, which is listed seventh in the Fortune 500 paid a record $150m fine two years ago to settle federal accusations that it was making suspiciously large deliveries of opioids to places where there could not be a legitimate demand for so many pills.It was also among companies that paid millions of dollars to settle lawsuits by West Virginia’s attorney general that they flooded his state with opioids.A former head of the DEA division responsible for monitoring prescription drug distribution, Joe Rannazzisi, has previously told the Guardian that he attempted to launch criminal prosecutions against McKesson and other distributors but he ran into the power of the industry’s political lobbying and was blocked by justice department officials.
|Senate Republicans pray Trump will take budget deal|
Trump has balked at previous bipartisan agreements, and hard-line conservatives are sure to pressure the president.
|Parkland suspect allowed to skip hearings ahead of trial|
Parkland school shooting defendant Nikolas Cruz will be allowed to skip many future court hearings as his planned trial draws closer in the 2018 massacre that left 17 people dead, a judge ruled Wednesday. Broward Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scherer granted the hearing waiver request by lawyers for Cruz, who faces the death penalty if convicted. In his most lengthy comments in court to date, Cruz told the judge he agrees with the decision.
|Ghosn sues Nissan and Mitsubishi for breach of contract: report|
Former auto titan Carlos Ghosn, currently under house arrest in Tokyo, is suing Nissan and Mitsubishi in a Dutch court for "improper termination" of his contract, French newspaper Le Figaro reported Wednesday. Ghosn is accusing the Japanese manufacturers of breaching his contract as an employee of NMBV, their joint subsidiary based in the Netherlands, and seeking up to 15 million euros ($16.8 million) in damages, it said. The big-spending former chief of both Renault and its Japanese partner Nissan is awaiting trial in Japan on charges of financial misconduct.
|From Iraq to Yemen, drones raise U.S. alarm over Iranian plans|
GENEVA/WASHINGTON, July 17 (Reuters) - The increased use of drones by Iran and its allies for surveillance and attacks across the Middle East is raising alarms in Washington. The United States believes that Iran-linked militia in Iraq have recently increased their surveillance of American troops and bases in the country by using off-the-shelf, commercially available drones, U.S. officials say.
|Cop helps save 12-day-old baby during traffic stop|
Deputy William Kimbro administered CPR and was awarded the Life-Saving Medal from the Berkeley County Sheriff's Department