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Australia calls on China to let Uighur mother and son leave

Australia calls on China to let Uighur mother and son leaveAustralia'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.


Biden says if Trump mocks his age or mental state in a debate he'd challenge him to a push-up contest

Biden says if Trump mocks his age or mental state in a debate he'd challenge him to a push-up contest"I know it will be an ugly campaign. I know it will be not an honorable campaign that he'll run, but I'm not backing down at all from him," Biden said.


2 women who say they were abused by Jeffery Epstein have asked a judge not to release him from jail

2 women who say they were abused by Jeffery Epstein have asked a judge not to release him from jailCourtney Wild and Annie Farmer attended Jeffrey Epstein’s bail hearing on Monday, and asked a federal judge not to release him as he awaits trial.


Samantha Bee Shocked Kellyanne Conway Somehow Even ‘More Racist’ Than Trump

Samantha Bee Shocked Kellyanne Conway Somehow Even ‘More Racist’ Than TrumpTBSSamantha 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 'discover mysterious 200lb load' on board MH370 after take-offInvestigators 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.


House votes to hold Attorney General William Barr, Secretary Wilbur Ross in contempt of Congress

House votes to hold Attorney General William Barr, Secretary Wilbur Ross in contempt of CongressHouse lawmakers accused Attorney General Barr and Commerce Secretary Ross of failing to provide Congress with information about the citizenship question for the census; reaction and analysis from the 'Special Report' All-Stars.


UPDATE 1-U.S. removing Turkey from F-35 program after its Russian missile defense purchase

UPDATE 1-U.S. removing Turkey from F-35 program after its Russian missile defense purchaseThe United States said on Wednesday that it was removing Turkey from the F-35 fighter jet program, a move that had been long threatened and expected after Ankara began accepting delivery of an advanced Russian missile defense system last week. The first parts of the S-400 air defense system were flown to the Murted military air base northwest of Ankara on Friday, sealing Turkey's deal with Russia, which Washington had struggled for months to prevent. "The U.S. and other F-35 partners are aligned in this decision to suspend Turkey from the program and initiate the process to formally remove Turkey from the program," said Ellen Lord, the under secretary of defense for acquisition and sustainment.


View Photos of the 2020 Nissan GT-R NISMO

View Photos of the 2020 Nissan GT-R NISMO


North Carolina father of 7 dies trying to save his drowning children at beach

North Carolina father of 7 dies trying to save his drowning children at beachA 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


China Is Drafting Urgent Plan to Resolve Hong Kong Chaos, SCMP Says

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 kleigh4@bloomberg.net;Dominic Lau in Hong Kong at dlau92@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Brendan Scott at bscott66@bloomberg.net, James Mayger, Iain MarlowFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


'Dangerous': Air Force responds to plans to 'storm Area 51' and 'see them aliens'

'Dangerous': Air Force responds to plans to 'storm Area 51' and 'see them aliens'As more than a million people on Facebook say they're "going" to a joke event to "storm Area 51," the U.S. military has responded to the plans.


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

The California hiker who was found after spending 4 days alone in the wilderness says she got lost after fleeing a man with a knifeSheryl Powell, 60, disappeared on Friday while on a camping trip with her husband. Search teams found her alive and well on Monday.


German Sea-Watch captain to face Italy prosecutor over migrants

German Sea-Watch captain to face Italy prosecutor over migrantsGerman captain Carola Rackete, who sparked international headlines by forcibly docking in an Italian port with rescued migrants, faces questioning by an Italian prosecutor on Thursday over allegedly aiding illegal immigration. The captain of the Sea-Watch 3 is expected to be questioned in the southern Sicilian town of Agrigento from 10 am (0800 GMT). Rackete was arrested on June 29 for entering Italy's Lampedusa port despite a veto imposed by far-right Interior Minister Matteo Salvini, and knocking a coast guard boat out of the way to land 40 migrants after over two weeks blocked at sea.


Pakistan arrests US-wanted terror suspect in Mumbai attacks

Pakistan arrests US-wanted terror suspect in Mumbai attacksPakistan on Wednesday arrested a radical cleric and U.S.-wanted terror suspect implicated in the 2008 Mumbai attacks, officials said, just days ahead of Prime Minister Imran Khan's trip to Washington. Hafiz Saeed was taken into custody in Punjab province while traveling from the eastern city of Lahore to the city of Gujranwala, according to counterterrorism official Mohammad Shafiq. Saeed founded the Lashkar-e-Taiba group, which was blamed for the Mumbai attacks that killed 166 people.


Chappaquiddick 50 years on: The car crash that forever tarnished Ted Kennedy

Chappaquiddick 50 years on: The car crash that forever tarnished Ted KennedyHe 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.


Ocasio-Cortez on Trump's attack: 'There is no bottom to the barrel of vitriol'

Ocasio-Cortez on Trump's attack: 'There is no bottom to the barrel of vitriol'As the president continued his attack against four Democratic congresswomen of color, the self-proclaimed “Squad” say that they will not be distracted by him.


How Kim Jong Un Got Mercedes-Benz Pullman Limos Home to North Korea

How Kim Jong Un Got Mercedes-Benz Pullman Limos Home to North KoreaResearchers tracked the luxury cars all the way from the Netherlands, in apparent defiance of sanctions.


A Military Flyboard Doesn’t Make Any Sense

A Military Flyboard Doesn’t Make Any SenseThey’re not useful on the battlefield—even if France might think otherwise.


Humane Society SOS: Dogs swim for their lives as Ark. shelter floods. Community comes to the rescue.

Humane Society SOS: Dogs swim for their lives as Ark. shelter floods. Community comes to the rescue.An Arkansas animal shelter issued an SOS as flash flooding poured in and a puppy drowned. Then the community came to the rescue.


Ex-chairman of Vietnam's BIDV bank dies in detention

Ex-chairman of Vietnam's BIDV bank dies in detentionA 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.


Joaquin 'El Chapo' Guzman accuses US government of 'torture' as he is sentenced to life in prison

Joaquin 'El Chapo' Guzman accuses US government of 'torture' as he is sentenced to life in prisonJoaquin 'El Chapo' Guzman has been sentenced to life in prison plus 30 years by a judge in New York. Guzman pleaded with Judge Brian Cogan to be lenient, telling the court - in his first public remarks - that he had been subject to "torture" while in US custody. “I’ve been forced to drink unsanitary water. I’ve been denied access to fresh air and sunlight. The only sunlight I have in my cell comes through in the air vent,” he said. Guzman, who used a translator, continued reading from a piece of paper. “In order to sleep, I have to clog my ears with toilet paper because of the air from the air duct. Joaquinn "El Chapo" Guzman, which his translator and lawyer, Eduardo Balarezo “My wife has not been allowed to this day to visit me, I have not been allowed to hug my daughters. “It has been physical, emotional and mental torture.” The 62-year-old was found guilty in February of drug trafficking, after an 11-week trial that gripped the US and Mexico. A stream of infamous traffickers, cartel hitmen and mistresses were brought before the jury to testify that Guzman was one of the most powerful drug kingpins the world has ever known. Jurors heard evidence from 56 government witnesses, who described the cartel boss beating, shooting and even burying alive those who got in his way, including informants and rival gang members. His defence team insisted that he had been framed, and the real cartel leader was his colleague Ismael Zambada Garcia, known as El Mayo. Guzman's lawyer, Jeffrey Lichtman, described Guzman as no more than “a scapegoat”, and that El Mayo wielded the real power, repeatedly paying off a “completely corrupt” Mexican government, including top officials like former presidents Enrique Peña Nieto and Felipe Calderon. Emma Coronel, Guzman's wife, arriving at court during his trial Guzman also told the judge he was denied a fair trial, saying that Judge Cogan failed to thoroughly investigate claims of juror misconduct.  "My case was stained and you denied me a fair trial when the whole world was watching," Guzman said. "When I was extradited to the United States, I expected to have a fair trial, but what happened was exactly the opposite." Judge Cogan ignored the cartel leader's plea, however, and prosecutors won their request to tack on a symbolic extra 30 years in prison for the use of firearms in his business, portraying Guzman as "ruthless and bloodthirsty." Judge Cogan said he imposed the additional sentence because the "overwhelming evil is so severe." He is expected to now be moved from Manhattan to the Supermax prison in Colorado - a facility known as the toughest in the US. Guzman famously escaped from high-security Mexican prisons twice - once hiding in a laundry cart, and once digging a mile-long tunnel under his cell. Guzman has been largely cut off from the outside world since his extradition in 2017, on the last day of Barack Obama's presidency. Wary of his history of escaping from Mexican prisons, US authorities have kept him in solitary confinement at a Manhattan jail and under close guard at his appearances at the Brooklyn courthouse where his case unfolded. Prosecutors will now begin hunting for the $12.7 billion they have ordered Guzman to forfeit.


Argentina still waiting for 1994 Jewish center bombing justice

Argentina still waiting for 1994 Jewish center bombing justiceArgentina 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.


Asylum seekers waiting in Nuevo Laredo fear lurking dangers

Asylum seekers waiting in Nuevo Laredo fear lurking dangersThe round-faced woman from La Ceiba, Honduras, and her 5- and 12-year-old sons arrived in this city across the border from Laredo, Texas, where she had been promised a job and hoped to build a new life. As the United States tries to slow the flow of mostly Central American migrants and asylum seekers to its southern border and pressures Mexico to assist, months-long stays on the Mexican side of the frontier have become the rule for many. The U.S. government tells its own employees not to set foot in nearly all parts of the state.


Woman shot to death while riding in SUV with husband

Woman shot to death while riding in SUV with husbandDeputies say Saron James and her husband were leaving a doctor's appointment. They were just five minutes away from their home when she was shot.


Your Kids Won't Have Any Room For Candy After These Halloween Dinner Ideas

Your Kids Won't Have Any Room For Candy After These Halloween Dinner Ideas


Senate Republicans pray Trump will take budget deal

Senate Republicans pray Trump will take budget dealTrump has balked at previous bipartisan agreements, and hard-line conservatives are sure to pressure the president.


Landlords Sue NYC Over New Rent Caps on a Million Apartments

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 elarson4@bloomberg.net;Henry Goldman in New York at hgoldman@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: David Glovin at dglovin@bloomberg.net, Peter JeffreyFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


2-year-old girl who disappeared from Michigan campsite found alive

2-year-old girl who disappeared from Michigan campsite found alivePolice 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.


Big Guns: Army Prototypes Range-Doubling New Artillery Weapon to Outgun Russia

Big Guns: Army Prototypes Range-Doubling New Artillery Weapon to Outgun RussiaThe 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.


Teachers union has become an arm of the abortion-rights left. Conservatives should quit.

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?


Australian detained in China expected to be charged: lawyer

Australian detained in China expected to be charged: lawyerAn Australian national who was detained in China on national security grounds is expected to be formally charged, his lawyer said Thursday, amid tensions between Canberra and Beijing. Chinese-Australian author and democracy advocate Yang Jun, whose pen name is Yang Hengjun, was detained in January shortly after making a rare return to China from the United States. The foreign ministry in Beijing said then he was suspected of endangering "China's national security" -- which often implies espionage allegations.


Asylum seekers anxiously cross into U.S. as new policy kicks in

Asylum seekers anxiously cross into U.S. as new policy kicks inFear over new U.S. curbs on almost all asylum seekers spread this week among migrants at its southern border, but some on waiting lists in Mexican cities found the gates to the United States stayed open, despite a much higher bar to stay. Migrants in Ciudad Juarez and other Mexican border towns were cautiously optimistic as the policy took effect on Tuesday, with U.S. officials still calling those on lists of asylum seekers to cross the bridge into the United States and apply.


Arrested reporter slams conditions at US detention centers

Arrested reporter slams conditions at US detention centersA 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.


'What am I supposed to do with you?' Judge bars Roger Stone from social media for breaking gag order

'What am I supposed to do with you?' Judge bars Roger Stone from social media for breaking gag orderA 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.


White-collar prosecutions and corporate fines drop under Trump

White-collar prosecutions and corporate fines drop under TrumpA drop in white-collar crime prosecutions and corporate fines during the Trump administration has prompted a warning from a leading law firm.New York-based Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz issued a memo to its clients noting the “significant” decrease in both the number of cases and the scale of penalties over the last two years.The lawyers advised businesses not to relax their approach to laws and regulations, adding: “Our experience suggests that succumbing to such temptation would be a mistake.”It comes after data from the US Department of Justice revealed white-collar prosecutions – including offences of fraud, antitrust violations and identity theft – hit a 20-year low earlier this year.Prosecutions peaked in 2011, during Barack Obama’s first term in office, and have steadily declined since, according to Syracuse University’s TRAC reports.“White-collar prosecutions since President Trump assumed office generally have been lower than in previous administrations,” researchers said. Corporate fines from criminal prosecutions also plunged by more than 90 per cent, according to a study comparing the last year of the Obama administration and the first year under President Trump.The “lighter touch” approach towards the banking industry is further demonstrated by a large drop in the number of cases pursued by the Securities and Exchange Commission, according to analysis by The New York Times.“In such an environment, companies might be tempted to think that having an effective compliance programme is less urgent and less important than the past,” Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz told its clients on Wednesday.“In fact, now is arguably the best time for corporations to continue investing in their compliance programmes to ensure they have in place an effective and comprehensive set of compliance policies, procedures and internal controls.”> Extraordinary memo from Wachtell tonight conceding that white collar enforcement in Trump era is way down pic.twitter.com/2ljocRQOlr> > — Sujeet Indap (@sindap) > > July 18, 2019The Department of Justice has previously tried to deny suggestions that white-collar prosecutions are decreasing, claiming a three per cent rise during the year to September 2018, with more than 6,500 suspects charged nationwide.“President Donald Trump is a law-and-order president—and this is a law-and-order administration,” said attorney general Jeff Sessions, less than three weeks before he resigned at Mr Trump’s request.


House Vote to Repeal Obamacare Tax Shows Health Care Tension

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 ldavison4@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Joe Sobczyk at jsobczyk@bloomberg.net, Laurie AsséoFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


New York City removed 110 trash cans. Now garbage is overflowing and the rats are 'running wild'

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.


The U.S. Marine Corps Has Lost More Than 25,000 Marines to Misconduct

The U.S. Marine Corps Has Lost More Than 25,000 Marines to MisconductThe 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."


7,800 police in Philippines punished for deadly drug raids

7,800 police in Philippines punished for deadly drug raidsThousands of Philippine police officers have received administrative punishments with more than 2,000 dismissed for wrongdoings during raids where drug suspects were killed under the president's crackdown, officials said Thursday. Communications Assistant Secretary Marie Rafael Banaag told a news conference that 14,724 police were investigated for their involvement in police drug operations that led to deaths from July 2016 until last April. A tally presented by Banaag showed that 2,367 police officers have been fired, 4,100 suspended while the rest were reprimanded, demoted, had their salaries forfeited or deprived of certain privileges.


'I miss their laughter': Grieving crash dad slams 'shameful' Boeing

'I miss their laughter': Grieving crash dad slams 'shameful' BoeingPaul 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.


Woman killed while riding in SUV with husband was just minutes from home before shooting

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.


Over-the-Top Ice Cream Sandwich Recipes That Are Worth Every Calorie

Over-the-Top Ice Cream Sandwich Recipes That Are Worth Every Calorie


From Iraq to Yemen, drones raise U.S. alarm over Iranian plans

From Iraq to Yemen, drones raise U.S. alarm over Iranian plansGENEVA/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.


‘Quite phenomenal’: Arctic heatwave hits most northerly settlement in world

‘Quite phenomenal’: Arctic heatwave hits most northerly settlement in worldThe 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.


Iran Knows It Can't Bet on Trump 2020 Defeat as Sanctions Bite

Iran Knows It Can't Bet on Trump 2020 Defeat as Sanctions Bite(Bloomberg) -- As Iran weighs the merits of talks with the U.S. and tensions remain high in the Persian Gulf, the Islamic Republic’s leadership is preparing for a second Donald Trump term and mindful of how two key countries fared in high-stakes negotiations with him: Mexico and North Korea.“There is a better than 50 percent chance that he might still be in office, so we will need to deal with him for another six years,” Iran’s foreign minister Javad Zarif said Wednesday in a television interview with Bloomberg Editor-in-Chief John Micklethwait.Tehran and Washington remain at an impasse. While Trump administration officials say they’re open to talks without preconditions, Iran’s government wants some easing of sanctions that have crippled oil sales and undermined its economy. One example looming over Tehran’s thinking, Zarif said, is America’s neighbor, ally and key trading partner, Mexico.“After renegotiating NAFTA, he raised a new demand and he tried to push Mexicans into giving in a bit more,” Zarif said of Trump’s recent threats to impose new trade penalties over undocumented border crossings. “So he always believes, it seems, that ‘What’s mine is mine and what’s yours is negotiable.”’Iran’s economy has been crippled by the ratcheting up of U.S. sanctions that have restricted the OPEC member’s oil sales, fueled inflation and undermined domestic support for President Hassan Rouhani’s government. Fears of a new Middle East war have climbed after a spate of attacks on oil tankers in the Gulf, the downing of an American drone and the British seizure of a tanker carrying Iranian oil.As the standoff following Trump’s withdrawal from the landmark 2015 nuclear accord continues, Iran is pressing European parties to the deal to live up to promises that Tehran would continue to get economic benefits from sticking to its side of the agreement. But he also signaled that Iran will continue to enrich uranium beyond levels agreed to in the deal, saying it’s entitled to do so until Europe delivers on its commitments.“We will continue with the steps, and these steps are legal, in line with the agreement,” Zarif said, when asked about the likelihood of continuing uranium enrichment. He said the U.S. “shot itself in the foot” by abandoning the accord, which Trump has frequently called the “worst deal ever.”And while maintaining that Iran has no plans to build nuclear weapons, Zarif said Iran already had engaged far more seriously with the U.S. than North Korean leader Kim Jong Un ever has, only to get burned.“We worked out not a two-page document but a 150-page document,” he said, comparing the 2015 accord with last year’s vague declaration between Trump and Kim in Singapore, which analysts say hasn’t stopped North Korea’s nuclear program.Zarif, who has been Iran’s foreign minister since 2013, was the lead negotiator in the multi-party nuclear deal known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. It was supposed to yield economic advantages for Iran but instead renewed U.S. sanctions have shattered that expectation. Iran is producing oil at the slowest clip since 1986, making U.S. sanctions one of the most brutal episodes confronting Iran’s economy since the 1979 revolution.No ‘Photo Opportunity’Zarif said Iran has no interest in a high-profile summit for the sake of show -- such as a hypothetical meeting with Trump at the president’s Mar-a-Lago resort -- and is waiting to see what the U.S. is prepared to do to restart discussions.“The Supreme Leader doesn’t leave the country,” Zarif said, referring to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the country’s head of state and commander-in-chief of its armed forces.Pressed on whether he, as foreign minister, would accept such an invitation, Zarif said, “It’s not the question of a photo opportunity, it’s the question of moving forward.”Comparing trying to broker a new nuclear or missile deal with the U.S. to buying “a horse twice,” Zarif effectively dismissed what has been a core demand from U.S. officials such as Secretary of State Michael Pompeo: that Iran include its missile program and its funding of proxy groups in the region as part of a new agreement.“We did not leave the negotiating table,” Zarif said. “It was the United States which abruptly decided to leave the negotiating table. They can come back.”To contact the reporters on this story: Margaret Talev in Washington at mtalev@bloomberg.net;David Wainer in New York at dwainer3@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Bill Faries at wfaries@bloomberg.net, Michael ShepardFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


At least 1 dead, 15 injured — including 3 firefighters — in California house explosion

At least 1 dead, 15 injured — including 3 firefighters — in California house explosionA California gas company reports one of its employees died in an explosion Monday afternoon in Murietta, California.


What Rare Earths Tell Us about China's Competitive Strategy

What Rare Earths Tell Us about China's Competitive StrategyThe 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.


Woman pleads not guilty in Las Vegas manicurist murder case

Woman pleads not guilty in Las Vegas manicurist murder caseA woman who authorities say ran down a salon worker trying to stop her from skipping out on a $35 manicure pleaded not guilty Tuesday to murder and other charges and lost a bid to be freed from jail pending trial. A judge in Las Vegas told Krystal Whipple, standing in shackles, that "proof is evident and the presumption is great" that she was involved in a homicide. Police said Whipple tried to pay for her Dec. 29, 2018, manicure with a fraudulent credit card before telling Ngoc Quynh Nhu Nguyen that she was going to her car to get cash.


Ghosn sues Nissan and Mitsubishi for breach of contract: report

Ghosn sues Nissan and Mitsubishi for breach of contract: reportFormer 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.


Puerto Rico: thousands protest governor's sexist and homophobic texts

Puerto Rico: thousands protest governor's sexist and homophobic texts* Ricardo Rosselló resisting calls to resign over leaked messages * Ricky Martin and other performers join crowds on streets of San JuanThousands marched in Puerto Rico to demand the resignation of Rossello. Photograph: Eric Rojas/AFP/Getty ImagesAccompanied by some of Puerto Rico’s most famous performers, thousands of people marched to the governor’s residence in San Juan on Wednesday chanting demands for the embattled governor, Ricardo Rosselló, to resign after the leak of online chats that show him making misogynistic slurs and mocking his constituents.The crowd ranged from teenagers to retirees, with some waving the island’s flag printed in black and gray rather than red, white and blue to symbolize their discontent with a government they call corrupt and unresponsive to its people. Musicians Ricky Martin, Residente and Bad Bunny marched and addressed the crowd.Police erected concrete barricades and shop owners covered store windows with metal sheeting or plywood as if a hurricane were coming. The multicolored umbrellas that form a photogenic awning over the street in front of the governor’s mansion were taken down.The turnout filled several city blocks in colonial Old San Juan but appeared to fall short of the many tens of thousands that some Rosselló opponents had predicted. Many older protesters went home before nightfall as chanting young people filled Old San Juan’s Totem Plaza and the first few blocks leading up to the 16th century fortress where the governor resides.Karla Villalon has three elementary-age children and an 81-year-old grandmother. Her kids have been uprooted twice in two years when first one school, then another, was closed by budget cuts under Rosselló. Her grandmother, a retired teacher, is anguished over the possibility of losing her pension in future rounds of cutbacks.Villalon was outraged when Rosselló’s former education secretary was arrested and accused of steering millions in improper contracts to politically connected contractors. Then hundreds of pages of online chats between Rosselló and members of his administration leaked, revealing the men mocking women, the disabled and victims of Hurricane Maria. Villalon has had enough.“It’s the final straw,” the homemaker said before the march. “My kids’ classrooms have mold in them ... There’s just so much outrage that’s been building over time.”Demonstrators chant and wave Puerto Rican flags in San Juan. Photograph: Gabriella N Baez/ReutersThe Rosselló administration has remained under siege since the weekend after leaked text messages between the governor and a number of his inner circle revealed a slew of misogynist and homophobic comments shared between the group.A number of senior members of the administration have already resigned in the wake of the scandal, but on Monday Rosselló refused to tender his resignation, claiming that while the messages were inappropriate they were not illegal.“I’m not proud of what I did,” Rosselló told reporters on Tuesday. “Those were merely comments – but they were hurtful comments. So, I apologize for what I’ve done but again, I need to move forward and continue on the work we’re doing for Puerto Rico.”The affair only only adds to sustained criticism of Rosselló’s leadership as sweeping austerity and privatization measures imposed after Hurricane Maria decimated the island almost two years ago drew public backlash.Puerto Rico, an unincorporated US territory, is in the midst of a multibillion-dollar debt crisis now managed by an unelected oversight board appointed in Washington that oversees much of the island’s economic affairs.Shortly before the text message scandal, referred to as “RickyLeaks”, a number of administration officials and contractors, including the former education secretary Julia Keleher, were arrested by the FBI over allegations of corruption and misappropriation of $15.5m in federal funds apportioned to Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria.Workers cover shop windows with wood in preparation for protests against Governor Ricardo Rosselló near La Fortaleza in San Juan, Puerto Rico, on Wednesday. Photograph: Carlos Giusti/APKey figures in the movement to oust Rosselló remained hopeful that the protests on Wednesday would remain peaceful.A number of high-profile Puerto Ricans, including the actor and playwright Lin-Manuel Miranda, singer Ricky Martin and trap artist Benito Martínez Ocasio, known by his stage name Bad Bunny, have also lent vocal support to the protests. Martin and Ocasio are expected to appear at the protests.San Juan’s firebrand mayor, Carmen Yulín Cruz, an outspoken critic of Rosselló, told the Guardian by text message the demonstrations would mark “a historic day in Puerto Rico”.Cruz, who announced she would challenge Rosselló in elections next year, became the face of resistance to the Trump administration’s faltering efforts to assist during the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Maria.Both Mayor Cruz and Ricky Martin also appeared as targets of abuse in the leaked text messages.According to the messages, Rosselló referred to Cruz as “off her meds” while other administration officials mocked Martin’s sexuality.