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Mueller witness bragged about access to Clintons secured with illegal campaign cash, says Justice Department

Mueller witness bragged about access to Clintons secured with illegal campaign cash, says Justice DepartmentAn emissary for two Arab princes boasted to unnamed officials of a Middle Eastern government about his direct access to Hillary and Bill Clinton while funneling more than $3.5 million in illegal campaign contributions to the 2016 Clinton campaign and Democratic fundraising committees, according to a federal indictment.


Germany: 'No understanding' for Russia outrage on expulsions

Germany: 'No understanding' for Russia outrage on expulsionsGerman Chancellor Angela Merkel's chief of staff is urging Russia to support the investigation of a killing prosecutors say appears to have ordered by Russian or Chechen authorities, and says he has “no understanding" for outraged reactions from Moscow. Germany expelled two Russian diplomats on Wednesday over the brazen killing of a Georgian man on the streets of Berlin in August. German federal prosecutors said evidence suggested the slaying was ordered either by Moscow or authorities in Russia’s republic of Chechnya.


California congressman Duncan Hunter announces resignation after corruption plea

California congressman Duncan Hunter announces resignation after corruption pleaHunter's announcement that he would step down came days after the leading California lawmaker, a former U.S. Marine Corps combat veteran, entered his guilty plea in federal court in San Diego. "Shortly after the Holidays I will resign from Congress," Hunter, 42, said in a written statement released by his communications director.


Employee shot at a Virginia post office

Employee shot at a Virginia post officeAuthorities say a postal worker has been shot at a northern Virginia post office by an agent for the Postal Service's Inspector General's office. News outlets report that it happened Wednesday morning at the parking lot of the Lovettsville post office in Loudoun County.


Weather whiplash to bring warmup, heavy rain and flood threat followed by Arctic blast to Northeast

Weather whiplash to bring warmup, heavy rain and flood threat followed by Arctic blast to NortheastAs the holidays approach and many may find themselves dreaming of a white Christmas, Mother Nature has a different idea up her sleeves. The weather pattern will soon be reversed in the northeastern United States, allowing wintry landscapes to transform into a sloppy, muddy mess instead.Forecasters are closely watching a storm system that is expected to take shape and track toward the Great Lakes early next week -- and it will be the player that will help to flip the weather conditions in the East. As wintry weather and yet another snowstorm are predicted for portions of the Midwest, surging warm and moist air will race out ahead of the system.Temperatures are expected to rebound to the 30s over the northern tier to near 50 F in parts of Virginia as a southerly breeze develops on Sunday.On Monday, temperatures are forecast to surge into the 40s across the northern tier and the 50s and 60s across part of the mid-Atlantic region. The warm air combined with rain will dissolve the deep snow over part of the Northeast, potentially leading to flooding issues for some communities. Recent storms have buried parts of New York state and central and northern New England under as much as 1-3 feet of snow in the last couple of weeks. A car makes its way through a snowy landscape in Highland Falls, N.J., Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2019. The last of the snow is falling over parts of New Jersey after leaving behind power outages in the northwest part of the state. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig) That snowcover contains a significant amount of locked-up moisture, called the snow-water equivalent.Within the existing snow on the ground, there is between 1 and 5 inches of water as of Thursday, Dec. 5.Many areas, including those places where deep snow is on the ground, may stay well above freezing Sunday night, which can allow the snow to soften up. This image was taken from the National Operational Hydrologic Remote Sensing Center on Thursday, Dec. 5, 2019. (NOAA) Some of the deep snow may harmlessly melt from Sunday to early Monday before the storm and its soaking rain arrives, but there is a risk that surging temperatures, moist air and drenching rain may cause a rapid meltdown of the existing snowcover from later Monday into Tuesday.Instead of releasing the 1-5 inches of water by itself, another 1-2 inches of water may be added in depending on the intensity of the rainfall that occurs. "Since the ground is not frozen, some of the melting snow and rain will be absorbed by the soil and should avoid disastrous stream and river flooding," Dale Mohler, AccuWeather senior meteorologist, said.However, some quick rises on small streams are likely with minor flooding possible in low-lying areas that are prone to flooding during heavy rain or spring thaw events. Some of the rivers may surge to bank full as well."Even if only part of the snow melts and only a light amount of rain falls, piles of snow along streets and highways that are blocking storm drains can lead to urban flooding," Brett Anderson, AccuWeather senior meteorologist, said.Anderson said that property owners should make sure that runoff has easy access to storm drains ahead of the system's arrival to reduce the risk of flooding as a precaution."Even in some of the major cities along the Interstate 95 corridor from Washington, D.C., to Philadelphia and New York City where there is no appreciable snow on the ground, enough rain can fall to cause travel delays and ponding on roads that drain poorly," Dave Bowers, AccuWeather forecaster, said.Ski resorts in the region that have gotten off to their earliest start in recent years will take a hit from the storm. Those seeking ideal ski conditions are encouraged to hit the slopes into Sunday, before the rainstorm arrives.Along with bringing a swath of heavy snow to part of the Upper Midwest, next week's storm is predicted to unleash Arctic air in its wake later Tuesday and Wednesday. Remaining areas of slush and standing water can freeze as temperatures plummet across the northeastern U.S. There is a chance that the cold air may catch up with the back end of the rain and cause a period of snow at the tail end of the storm at midweek.Since the storm will be weak rather than strong, it's possible that a secondary storm may develop along the push of frigid air, according to AccuWeather Chief Broadcast Meteorologist Bernie Rayno."I am pretty convinced that a storm is going to form along this boundary [between warmer air in place and colder air surging] into the Carolinas Tuesday night. Then, the question becomes does the storm goes out to sea and the cold front blasts out to sea? Or, does the storm have enough energy because of all of the energy associated with the jet stream that the storm strengthens? And, if it does, it won't go out to sea. It will come up the coast. If the storm does strengthen, you've got to worry about a snowstorm," Rayno said.The I-95 corridor of the mid-Atlantic and eastern New England could face snow if the latter and stronger scenario unfolds. If a weaker secondary storm develops, then it will likely push out to sea. If a secondary storm forms and it strengthens enough, it may bring snow to the Northeast. No indications are currently pointing to a big snowstorm developing and rather it could be more of a nuisance snowfall, according to Rayno.However, this type of weather pattern has yielded major snowstorms in the past, and meteorologists will have to keep a watchful eye on how all of the weather players come together, Rayno added.AccuWeather meteorologists are also tracking the potential for yet another significant storm toward the middle of the month, warning that it could be disruptive to the eastern U.S. Download the free AccuWeather app to check the forecast in your area. Keep checking back on AccuWeather.com and stay tuned to the AccuWeather Network on DirecTV, Frontier and Verizon Fios.


Blind man executed in US for killing ex-girlfriend

Blind man executed in US for killing ex-girlfriendA blind man was executed by the US state of Tennessee on Thursday for burning his ex-girlfriend to death. Lee Hall, who was previously known as Leroy Hall, chose to be executed by electrocution rather than lethal injection, a choice that Tennessee has offered to those condemned to death before 1999. Hall, 52, was sentenced to death after he was convicted of setting a car on fire with his former girlfriend inside in 1991.


Tesla changed the release dates for the most and least expensive versions of the Cybertruck by a year

Tesla changed the release dates for the most and least expensive versions of the Cybertruck by a yearTesla said the three-motor Cybertruck would enter production in late 2021, while production for the single-motor Cybertruck would begin in late 2022.


Two school shootings a day apart: Wisconsin reckons with impact of armed guards

Two school shootings a day apart: Wisconsin reckons with impact of armed guardsShootings involving resource officers renew debate over the role of armed teachers or police in schools Shootings a day apart at two high schools in Wisconsin have shaken the state and sparked a renewed debate over how to combat violence in American schools.An Oshkosh police department resource officer shot a 16-year-old student Tuesday after the boy stabbed him in the officer’s office at Oshkosh West high school. A day earlier, a resource officer at Waukesha South high school helped clear students out of a classroom after a 17-year-old student pointed a pellet gun at another student’s head. Another police officer entered the room and shot the student.Neither of the students who were shot suffered life-threatening injuries. The Democratic governor of Wisconsin, Tony Evers, called the shootings “breathtaking and tragic”.“The trauma that happens because of this just ripples through the community,” Evers added. “It will take time for people to recover from this. Trauma is a significant issue. We have to be patient.”The debate about the role of armed teachers or police in schools has been a constant in the wake of school shootings across the country. But rarely have armed resource officers been able to prevent a shooting.An estimated 43% of public schools have armed officers on campus, according to a survey by the National Center for Education Statistics. The survey covered the 2015-2016 school year, the most recent year surveyed. That figure doesn’t include schools with armed private security guards or teachers and administrators who carry guns.The US Department of Justice has adopted best practices for resource officers from the National Association of School Resources. Those guidelines call for resource officers to serve as police officers as well as teachers and mentors.Nasro recommends such officers have three years of experience and says they should be willing to engage with students and have excellent communication skills. They should complete a school-based policing course before being assigned to the beat and complete an advanced school policing course Nasro provides within a year of completing the basic course. They also should complete biannual training on how lone officers should handle threats and assailants.No Wisconsin laws spell out any special requirements for resource officers or restrictions on their weapons. But the state department of justice has adopted best practices similar to Nasro’s recommendations, calling for officers to work with schools on the extent of their duties, the skills they need, and where school discipline ends and illegal conduct begins. The state guidelines also suggest officers receive training in child development, restraint policies and de-escalation strategies.It’s not clear what led to Tuesday’s stabbing at Oshkosh West high school, which has 1,700 students. The police chief, Dean Smith, said that the officer and the student got into an “altercation” in the officer’s office, the student stabbed the officer with an edged weapon – Smith declined to elaborate – and the officer opened fire with his 9mm pistol, hitting the student once. It’s unclear how many times the officer may have fired. Officials said the officer has 21 years of experience with the Oshkosh police department and has served as a school resource officer since 2017.At Waukesha South high school, 80 miles (130km) south of Oshkosh in suburban Milwaukee, a 17-year-old student apparently grew angry with another student and pointed a pellet gun at the other student. The school’s resource officer helped clear students from the classroom.Linda Ager told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that the Waukesha shooting happened in the classroom of her husband, Brett Hart, a special education teacher at Waukesha South. Ager said her husband restrained the student until the resource officer arrived.At some point, another officer entered the room and shot the student who refused to drop the weapon. Police said the boy pointed the gun at officers as they confronted him.Police said the student with the pellet gun underwent surgery and was in stable condition.“Today’s tragic event shows that trained school resource officers can save lives,” Vickie Cartwright, the Oshkosh superintendent, said at a news conference on Tuesday.As school shootings have become more frequent, gun rights advocates and gun control advocates have sparred over how best to respond to them. Supporters of gun restrictions have argued that putting more guns in schools does little to prevent shootings and just puts students at greater risk.Last year armed guards at three high-profile school shootings – Marshall county high school in Benton, Kentucky; Majory Stoneman Douglas high school in Parkland, Florida; and Santa Fe high school in Texas – were unable to stop those shootings. In Parkland, the school’s resource officer remained outside rather than enter the building to engage the shooter and try to stop it.But gun-rights advocates believe having more armed educators and law enforcement in schools will help stop a shooter from going on a rampage.“This confirms that action can, and should, be taken to mitigate harm and limit casualties when weapons are brought into school,” Senator Ron Johnson, a Republican, said on Tuesday.Evers, the Wisconsin governor, said he is committed to working with Republicans who control the legislature on increasing mental health funding for schools.Evers said on WTMJ-Radio that he thinks Republicans will work with him on that, even though they did not provide as much funding for mental health programs as Evers requested in the state budget approved this summer. Republicans also refused to take up a pair of gun safety bills earlier this year that Evers said were part of the solution to combating violence in schools.Evers, a former state superintendent of schools who worked as a principal, school superintendent and administrator before he was elected governor, said the issue is particularly striking for him, given his background and the fact that has three grown children and nine grandchildren. Two of his children attended the high school in Oshkosh where the shooting occurred.“Our kids need help,” he said. “I’ve been around long enough to see how this has amplified over time. The time is now to take it on.”


History Book Nightmare: Russia Could Have Nuked Away America's Submarine Fleet

History Book Nightmare: Russia Could Have Nuked Away America's Submarine FleetBy cutting off communications.


Rep. Devin Nunes files $435 million defamation lawsuit against CNN

Rep. Devin Nunes files $435 million defamation lawsuit against CNNRep. Devin Nunes, a California Republican, alleges that CNN published a "demonstrably false hit piece" on him.


'Dark money' ties raise questions for GOP Sen. Ernst of Iowa

'Dark money' ties raise questions for GOP Sen. Ernst of IowaAn outside group founded by top political aides to Sen. Joni Ernst has worked closely with the Iowa Republican to raise money and boost her reelection prospects, a degree of overlap that potentially violates the law, documents obtained by The Associated Press show. Iowa Values, a political nonprofit that is supposed to be run independently, was co-founded in 2017 by Ernst's longtime consultant, Jon Kohan. It shares a fundraiser, Claire Holloway Avella, with the Ernst campaign.


Russian spies used French Alps as 'base camp' for hits on Britain and other countries

Russian spies used French Alps as 'base camp' for hits on Britain and other countriesFifteen Russian spies, including those accused of the Salisbury nerve agent attack, used the French Alps as a “base camp” to conduct covert operations around Europe over a five-year period, according to reports. The revelations came as Germany expelled two Russian diplomats after prosecutors said there was “sufficient factual evidence” linking Moscow to the killing of a former Chechen rebel commander in central Berlin. According to Le Monde, British, Swiss, French, and US intelligence have drawn up a list of 15 members of the 29155 unit of Russia's GRU military spy agency who all passed through France’s Haute-Savoie mountains close to the Swiss and Italian borders. They stayed between 2015 and late 2018, notably in the towns of Evian, Annemasse and Chamonix - the scene of a ski chase in the 1999 James Bond film, The World Is Not Enough. They arrived from London, Moscow, Spain and often Geneva. The Le Monde report added five new names to those already published by online investigative outlets such as Bellingcat and The Insider. Their identities and movements were uncovered during a joint probe by allied counterespionage services in the wake of the attempted poisoning of defector Sergei Skripal in Salisbury in March 2018, said the paper. Britain and its allies accuse the Kremlin of seeking to assassinate Mr Skripal, a charge Russia vehemently denies. Those who stayed in the Haute-Savoie included Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov - the cover names of the two GRU agents accused of carrying out the attack on Mr Skripal, along with Serguei Fedotov, the suspected mastermind. According to Le Monde, a fourth agent believed to be linked to the Skripal assassination attempt and who stayed in the Alps, Serguei Pavlov, was located in the UK by MI6 in 2017. Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, the Russian suspects in the Skripal poisoning, are among those alleged to have used the French Alps as a base Credit: Getty Images Europe Le Mondesaid the five new names cited, all aliases, are Alxandre Koulaguiine, Evgueni Larine, Tour Nouzirov, Naman Youssoupov and Guennadi Chvets. The unit was also active in areas such as Bulgaria, Moldova, Montenegro and Ukraine. Western intelligence services involved found no material or arms left behind by the agents during their stays in France, Le Monde said, but their presence was confirmed by where they ate, stayed and shopped. "The most likely hypothesis is to consider it (Haute-Savoie) as a rear base for all the clandestine operations carried out by unit 29155 in Europe," said a senior French intelligence official, quoted by Le Monde. The paper said that one theory is that by staying in the Alps, the agents hoped to shake off any suspicion before they carried out their missions, which could explain why they conducted no covert missions on French soil. On Wednesday, Angela Merkel’s government summoned the Russian ambassador and ordered two of the embassy staff to leave the country within seven days. The two diplomats concerned are believed to be Russian intelligence officers, according to local media reports. The German foreign ministry said they had been declared persona non grata in protest at Russia’s failure to cooperate with investigations into the killing of Zelimkhan Khangoshvili, a Georgian national shot dead in a Berlin park in August. The suspected killer was captured by police attempting to dispose of a gun believed to be the murder weapon in the nearby river Spree. He was carrying a Russian passport which identified him as Vadim Sokolov, but German prosecutors on Wednesday confirmed that they now believe that is a false identity. Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were both poisoned with Novichok, a banned chemical weapon, in Salisbury Credit: Social media/EAST2WEST NEWS Police findings indicate that it is “highly likely” the arrested man is Vadim Krasikov, a Russian national previously wanted for the murder of a businessman in Moscow in 2013, prosecutors said. A senior MP in Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrat party (CDU) on Thursday described the case as a “return to the days of the Cold War”. “Counterintelligence and foreign reconnaissance against Russia must be significantly expanded,” Armin Schuster told Bild newspaper. “Germany must get its act together if a foreign state can order murder on German soil.”. France denies any “laxism” by its embassy in Moscow for handing him a 90-day emergency visa on July 29 on a fictitious address. He passed through Paris before travelling on to Berlin. British and French intelligence sources told Le Monde the assassination was “ordered by the pro-Kremlin Chechen regime of Ramzan Kadyrov with logistical help of the Russian state”. According to Le Monde, French intelligence suspects the Berlin assassination was leaked to the public for “political reasons” linked to President Emmanuel Macron's apparent rapprochement with Moscow. Last week, Mr Macron said: “Has the absence of dialogue with Russia made the European continent any safer? ... I don’t think so.” “France's desire to rebuild strategic ties with Moscow has clearly prompted reactions from states who prefer direct confrontation with Russia,” said one French intelligence source, who denied any French “complacency or naivity” towards Moscow. French surveillance of foreign Russian espionage was, the source told Le Monde, “no doubt higher than any other service in Europe”.


The 25 Best Sci-Fi Movies on Netflix Right Now

The 25 Best Sci-Fi Movies on Netflix Right Now


Police Officer Under Investigation After Footage Said to Show Him Groping Dead Woman

Police Officer Under Investigation After Footage Said to Show Him Groping Dead WomanA Los Angeles police officer has been placed under investigation, a police spokesman said Wednesday.Body camera footage was said to show him groping a deceased woman's breasts, according to a person familiar with the case.The unidentified male officer was not working while the case was under investigation, Josh Rubenstein, the department spokesman, said.The officer had been assigned to the Central Division and was responding to an overdose call, he said. Rubenstein declined to provide specific information about the incident, including when it occurred, because it is part of a personnel investigation.Supervisors throughout the jurisdiction conduct random reviews of video on a monthly basis, Rubenstein said.All uniformed officers assigned to patrol the Los Angeles area have cameras, he said, and roughly 7,000 cameras are issued."If this allegation is true, then the behavior exhibited by this officer is not only wrong, but extremely disturbing, and does not align with the values we, as police officers, hold dear and these values include respect and reverence for the deceased," the board of directors for the Los Angeles Police Protective League, the police officers' union, said in a statement on Wednesday. "This behavior has no place in law enforcement."Police departments around the country have increasingly used body cameras after several high-profile shootings. In 2015, about 95% of large police departments started using body cameras or said they would use them in the future, a national survey said.A 2017 study of more than 2,000 Washington, D.C. officers conducted over 18 months showed officers with body cameras used force and prompted civilian complaints at nearly the same rate as officers without the equipment.A Baltimore police officer was suspended and charges against a man were dropped after a body-camera recording appeared to show an officer planting a bag of drugs at the scene of an arrest in January 2017. In that case, the camera retained recordings beginning 30 seconds before it was activated.In November 2018, The New York Times published body-camera recordings of an arrest in Staten Island that raised questions regarding police behavior. In this case, lawyers for the defendant claimed the footage contained possible proof that an officer planted a marijuana cigarette. The officer and the Police Department denied any wrongdoing.This article originally appeared in The New York Times.(C) 2019 The New York Times Company


Six months of sacrifice: Hong Kong's protesters take stock

Six months of sacrifice: Hong Kong's protesters take stockWith Beijing taking a hard line, it has since broadened into a call to halt authoritarian China's attempts to erode freedoms in the city. Raymond Yeung, a liberal studies teacher at the elite Diocesan Girls' School, joined the movement early and was there on June 12 when a massive protest descended into violence. Protesters broke into the forecourt of the city's legislative building, throwing objects including metal bars at police.


19 unforgettable images from the Pearl Harbor attack 78 years ago

19 unforgettable images from the Pearl Harbor attack 78 years agoDecember 7, 1941 began as a perfect Sunday morning. These photos show the attack by Imperial Japan that changed history.


Official documents shed light on Tokyo's role in 'comfort women': Kyodo

Official documents shed light on Tokyo's role in 'comfort women': KyodoThe Imperial Japanese Army asked the government to provide one "comfort woman" for every 70 soldiers, Japan's Kyodo news agency said, citing wartime government documents it had reviewed, shedding a fresh light on Tokyo's involvement in the practice. "Comfort women" is a euphemism for the girls and women - many of them Korean - forced into prostitution at Japanese military brothels. The issue has plagued Japan's ties with South Korea for decades.


Bombs Away! The Powerful B-52 Bomber Is Getting Even More Deadly

Bombs Away! The Powerful B-52 Bomber Is Getting Even More DeadlyTime for an upgrade.


Rudy’s New Ukraine Jaunt Is Freaking Out Trump’s Lieutenants—and He Doesn’t Care

Rudy’s New Ukraine Jaunt Is Freaking Out Trump’s Lieutenants—and He Doesn’t CareRudy Giuliani’s decision to travel to multiple European countries this week, during the height of an impeachment probe involving his client President Trump, was so startling to senior administration officials and national security brass that they began tracking his movements in an effort to get a read on his objectives abroad.Other officials in the West Wing and numerous Trump associates learned about his latest foreign adventure, which included a stop in Ukraine, by reading the news. Many of them expressed exasperation at the thought of Giuliani—himself reportedly in the crosshairs of federal investigators—continuing to cause headaches for the White House. Others feared he would cause tangible damage to U.S. foreign policy.“I do not see why [any] lawyer would see this as serving the best interests of their client,” said a senior White House official. “Especially now.”Ukraine’s Interior Minister, Arsen Avakov, Begs Rebels to Help Defend UkraineSenior U.S. officials in the State Department and in the national security apparatus were concerned that Giuliani was speaking with politicians in both Budapest and Kiev who have interests in domestic American politics. According to five sources with knowledge of the situation, there is renewed fear that the president’s lawyer is still shopping for dirt about former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter as well as speaking with foreign officials who, against all evidence, have promoted the idea that Ukraine, not Russia, interfered in the 2016 presidential election.The concerns about Giuliani’s trip to Kiev were so pronounced that they reached officials close to President Volodymyr Zelensky, who were advised by Americans and politicians in Ukraine not to meet with Giuliani when he was in town, according to an individual familiar with those conversations.The president’s attorney, who has been defiant in the face of criticism for his prior efforts to target the Bidens, was similarly unmoved by the idea that his current expedition was both unseemly and unwise.“I would hope they have more important things to do than intrude on the work being done by a lawyer defending his client against another set of false and contrived charges,” Giuliani told The Daily Beast on Wednesday, while still overseas. Giuliani’s trip comes at a time when many in Trump’s circle put blame squarely at his feet for the president’s impending impeachment. But some have not bothered intervening or even reaching out directly to Giuliani about his current travel plans, in part out of concern that he would complain about them to Trump, thus prompting the president’s ire, according to a senior administration official.Giuliani Cronies Planned ‘Fraud Guarantee’ Infomercials Starring RudyThis official also noted that it could be “unwise” to contact the president’s lawyer at this time, given how Giuliani’s text messages and phone records have become a topic of congressional investigation and public scandal.In addition to meeting with foreign officials, Giuliani also appears to be conducting a public relations venture on behalf of the president.  As The New York Times first reported, he flew to Europe, in part, to participate in a pro-Trump documentary series produced by One America News Network.“Mr. Giuliani has occasionally appeared on OAN programs, thus we have had a relationship with America’s Mayor,” One America News president Charles Herring said in an email on Wednesday. “Mr. Giuliani, along with other individuals, have been helpful to OAN’s investigative efforts.”When asked for more details on the trip and who he was meeting with, Giuliani demurred. When asked by The Daily Beast if he had gotten President Trump’s blessing for this excursion or had given his client a heads-up before he flew out, he replied: “I don’t tell you or [the White House] what I tell my client or he tells me.”While it’s unclear if the president has been made aware of Giuliani’s ventures, sources did say that other top administration officials were not in the loop right up until the moment The New York Times story broke.According to the Times, Giuliani did meet with former Ukrainian prosecutor Yuriy Lutsenko, who pushed Giuliani and his associates Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman to push for the ouster of former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch. Giuliani also reportedly spoke with Andriy Derkach, a Ukrainian member of parliament who has publicly pushed for a probe into meddling by former President Petro Poroshenko in the U.S. 2016 elections. Derkach is also known for peddling allegations that Ukrainian government bodies misused U.S. taxpayer money, according to a former U.S. official. On Thursday evening, Andrii Telizhenko, a former Ukrainian diplomat, posted on his Twitter account that he too had met with Giuliani to prepare for “another hard working day in meetings with Mr. Shokin and Mr. Lutcenko.” “To all conspiracy theorist there is no secret on what we are doing. The truth will come out,” he posted on Twitter alongside a photo of him with Giuliani. Telizhenko sits at the center of allegations that Kiev meddled in the 2016 presidential election. The Daily Beast previously reported that Telizhenko met with Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA).When asked by The Daily Beast about who else he met with in Europe this week and what they discussed, Giuliani responded, “I will have plenty to say soon.”On Thursday, he gave some hints of what he has in store. “The American people will learn that Biden & other Obama administration officials, contributed to the increased level of corruption in Ukraine between 2014 to 2016,” Giuliani posted to Twitter. “This evidence will all be released very soon.”—With additional reporting by Will SommerRead 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.


Germany's Merkel voices 'shame' during 1st Auschwitz visit

Germany's Merkel voices 'shame' during 1st Auschwitz visitGerman Chancellor Angela Merkel voiced a feeling of "deep shame” during her first-ever visit on Friday to the hallowed grounds of the former Nazi German death camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau, where Adolf Hitler's regime murdered more than a million people. Merkel noted that her visit comes amid rising anti-Semitism and historical revisionism and vowed that Germany would not tolerate anti-Semitism.


Judge Allows Criminal Trial to Proceed against Pro-Life Investigators

Judge Allows Criminal Trial to Proceed against Pro-Life InvestigatorsA San Francisco judge ruled Friday that the criminal trial may move forward against the pro-life investigators who went undercover to record abortion industry executives talking about procuring fetal body parts.Judge Christopher Hite deemed the evidence sufficient to send to trial the case against David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt of the Center for Medical Progress, who are charged with nine felony counts, one count of conspiracy and eight counts of illegal taping. Six additional counts were dropped.Daleiden, 30, and Merritt, 64, several years ago surreptitiously recorded executives from Planned Parenthood and other organizations haggling about compensation for the procurement of fetal parts for researchers who request them.The Thomas More Society, representing the two pro-life investigators, announced the decision on Friday in a tweet.> BREAKING NEWS: 6 counts in David Daleiden's criminal case have been thrown out of court and 9 remain. Judge Hite deems the evidence enough to go to trial on 9 counts. More to follow!> > -- Thomas More Society (@ThomasMoreSoc) December 6, 2019Lila Rose, president of the pro-life group Live Action, called the charges against the investigators "unfounded and outrageous" in a statement on Friday's decision, saying they "have nothing to do with violating privacy or video recording laws but everything to do with protecting the powerful and wealthy abortion industry.""The same year David and Sandra published their recordings of Planned Parenthood employees haggling over the price of aborted baby body parts, videos taken by undercover animal rights activists were praised and led to investigations of abuse in the poultry industry," Rose said.Last month, the jury in the separate civil case against Daleiden and Merritt handed Planned Parenthood a win under federal racketeering statutes, awarding the abortion giant over $2.2 million.


A day in the life of a Peloton instructor who wakes up at 4:30 a.m., takes his mini poodle to dog parks, and loves cookies

A day in the life of a Peloton instructor who wakes up at 4:30 a.m., takes his mini poodle to dog parks, and loves cookiesPeloton, a fast-growing fitness brand, has developed a cult following in part because of energetic instructors like Oliver Lee.


Indian rape victim set ablaze by gang of men on her way to court as outrage grows over violence against women

Indian rape victim set ablaze by gang of men on her way to court as outrage grows over violence against womenA 23-year-old rape victim is in critical condition after being set on fire by a group of men, including two of her alleged rapists, as she made her way to court in northern India on Thursday. It came after thousands took to the streets of several cities on Monday to protest the brutal rape and murder of a 27-year-old vet in Hyderabad and called for the rape cases to be fast-tracked and for rapists to be given tougher punishments. A June 2018 survey of 550 experts on women’s issues by the Thomson Reuters Foundation found India was the worst country in the world for sexual violence against women. 32,000 rapes were recorded by the National Crime Records Bureau in 2017 although 99 per cent of attacks are thought to go unreported. India also ranked top for human trafficking for domestic work, forced labour, forced marriage and sexual slavery. The 23-year-old victim was on her way to catch a train to a court hearing in the Unnao district of Uttar Pradesh when the mob doused her in kerosene and set her alight. Activists burn effigies of rapists in Amritsar Credit: NARINDER NANU/AFP via Getty Images Doctors treating the victim at the Civil Hospital in the regional capital of Lucknow said she had suffered 90 per cent burns and would be flown in an air ambulance for further treatment in Delhi. Police documents show the woman had filed a case with police in Unnao, alleging she was raped at gun-point in December, 2018. Her alleged rapist was released suddenly last week after securing bail, a police spokesperson said. It is not the first time that even the Unnao district has made headlines over a rape case. Women have taken to the streets to protest India's appalling record on women's rights Credit: SAJJAD HUSSAIN/AFP via Getty Images Police opened a murder investigation in July against a lawmaker from the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) after he allegedly orchestrated a fatal car crash against a minor who had accused him of rape. During Monday’s outpouring of anger, one member of parliament suggested that India’s rape problem could only be solved by publicly lynching attackers. On Thursday, police in the state of Madhya Pradesh confirmed they had arrested a man on suspicion of raping and murdering a 4-year-old girl on December 1. Local media also reported a teenager was allegedly gang-raped and killed in the state of Bihar on Tuesday.


Thunberg urges climate action because 'people are dying'

Thunberg urges climate action because 'people are dying'Teen activist Greta Thunberg on Friday urged world leaders gathered in Madrid for a UN climate conference to take urgent action to fight climate change, warning "we can't afford" more delays because "people are dying".


Joe Biden slams the media for saying Democrats have moved 'extremely to the left' since 2016 and says the party's not with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

Joe Biden slams the media for saying Democrats have moved 'extremely to the left' since 2016 and says the party's not with Alexandria Ocasio-CortezBiden said the media falsely reported that the Democratic Party "moved extremely to the left" following Hillary Clinton's 2016 loss.


Chaos Ensues as Nigerian Secret Police Rearrest Buhari Critic

Chaos Ensues as Nigerian Secret Police Rearrest Buhari Critic(Bloomberg) -- Sign up to our Next Africa newsletter and follow Bloomberg Africa on TwitterNigeria’s secret police rearrested publisher Omoyele Sowore, a prominent critic of President Muhammadu Buhari, in chaotic scenes at the country’s Federal High Court.Scuffles broke out in the court room as armed Department of State Services operatives detained Sowore and co-defendant Olawale Bakare, his lawyer Femi Falana said. His arrest came less than a day after he was freed from state custody following a court ruling demanding his release.“The charges against him have not been disclosed,” Falana said by phone from the capital, Abuja, where Sowore’s trial was adjourned until Feb. 11.Sowore was first detained in August, after he called for a protest seeking a revolution in Africa’s top oil-producing nation. He’s facing charges including terrorism.Sowore is the founder of popular Nigerian news site Sahara Reporters. He ran against Buhari in presidential elections earlier this year and finished 10th out of about 70 candidates who competed in the vote.To contact the reporter on this story: Ruth Olurounbi in Abuja at rolurounbi4@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Anthony Osae-Brown at aosaebrown2@bloomberg.net, Paul Richardson, Helen NyamburaFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


Should America Fear the Chinese H-20 Stealth Bomber?

Should America Fear the Chinese H-20 Stealth Bomber?Or is it even real?


UPDATE 2-Trump calls for World Bank to stop loaning to China

UPDATE 2-Trump calls for World Bank to stop loaning to ChinaU.S. President Donald Trump on Friday called for the World Bank to stop loaning money to China, one day after the institution adopted a lending plan to Beijing over Washington's objections. The World Bank on Thursday adopted a plan to aid China with $1 billion to $1.5 billion in low-interest loans annually through June 2025. China has plenty of money, and if they don't, they create it.


Hong Kong police sound alarm over homemade explosives

Hong Kong police sound alarm over homemade explosivesHong Kong's much-maligned police force provided a rare behind-the-scenes look Friday at its bomb disposal squad to show the potentially deadly destructive force of homemade explosives seized during months of protests that have shaken the semi-autonomous Chinese territory. In July, police announced the seizure of about 2 kilograms (4.4 pounds) of TATP, which has been used in militant attacks worldwide. Other recent seizures in Hong Kong involved far smaller amounts, just 1 gram, of TATP, or tri-acetone tri-peroxide.


Bloomberg says he shouldn't have called Booker 'well-spoken'

Bloomberg says he shouldn't have called Booker 'well-spoken'The New Jersey senator said he was "taken aback" by the former New York mayor's language.


In warning to Netanyahu, House endorses 2-state solution

In warning to Netanyahu, House endorses 2-state solutionThe House on Friday threw its weight behind a two-state solution between Israelis and Palestinians, in a warning to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as he mulls annexing the West Bank.


US and UK bust one of the worst cyber banking hacks in a decade, charging Russians in multi-million dollar scheme

US and UK bust one of the worst cyber banking hacks in a decade, charging Russians in multi-million dollar schemeThe group of Russian hackers allegedly behind one of the worst cyber bank frauds of the last decade was unmasked on Thursday, with its leader indicted in America and the full scale of purported crimes revealed in remarkable detail. The Moscow-based unit was identified as Evil Corp and dubbed “the world’s most harmful cyber crime group” as British and American officials revealed the results of an investigation into the group and its activities that has lasted a decade. Maksim Yakubets, 32, was accused of being the group’s leader and was indicted over two separate hacking schemes. A $5 million reward was announced by the US State Department for any information that leads to his arrest. Customers of nearly 300 organisations in 43 different countries have been targeted by the group, with financial losses in UK alone assessed to be worth hundreds of millions of pounds. Evil Corp was accused of ruthlessly exploiting online vulnerabilities, tricking people into clicking on internet links that would install viruses, scanning for bank account details and then creating wires transfers to “money mules” working with the hackers.   Masim Yakubets, who led the cyber crime group and now has a $5m bounty on his head   Victims ranged from small businesses and schools to individuals saving for retirement and even religious groups, including some Franciscan sisters in America who lost tens of thousands of dollars.  The US Treasury announced sanctions against 17 individuals linked to Evil Corps, including Yakubets, the baby-faced Russian alleged to have hidden behind the moniker ‘Aqua’ online whose image is now on “wanted by the FBI” posters. Seven entities were also sanctioned.  Yakubets was accused by the US Treasury of working with the Russian spying agency FSB in 2017, including "acquiring confidential documents through cyber-enabled means" for the Russian state. He was also said to have been trying to get a license to work on classified material with the FSB last year. The claim raises questions about whether the Kremlin is turning a blind eye to notorious computers hackers in its capital, or even leaning on their expertise to support Russia’s nefarious online activities.   The hackers stole millions of dollars, officials say Credit: Samuel Corum /Getty   The group’s willingness to boast about the proceeds of their alleged criminality online, acting like “extravagant millionaires” according to one senior UK investigator, was said to have helped result in their unmasking. Videos released by the UK’s National Crime Agency [NCA] featured alleged members of Evil Corp showing off their sports cars and holding up traffic in Moscow as pulled doughnuts in the middle of the street. Other videos purported to show the hackers petting the group’s lion cub and mucking about on segways.  According to UK officials, Yakubets has a customized Lamborghini supercar with a personalised number plate that translates to ‘Thief’ and spent a quarter of a million pounds on his wedding. The announcements were the work of a pain-staking investigation from officials at America’s Justice Department, FBI, State Department and Treasury  as well as Britons at the NCA and Metropolitan Police. Evil Corp group member Dmitriy Smirnov standing on his Nissan GTR and a Camera Chevrolet, according to the UK's National Crime Agency Credit: SOURCE: NCA As well as Yakubets a second alleged Russian hacker, the 38-year-old Igor Turashev, was indicted for his role in one of the computer hacking schemes. Both men are believed to be residing in Russia, meaning they could escape arrest and a trial should they never leave the country. However US officials insisted it was still worth pursuing them, with one senior FBI official saying: “We have a very long memory and we will never give up.” The two US indictments involved two different types of malware, with the alleged crimes likened to “a cyber-enabled bank robbery” by one US official. A photograph from the wedding of Maksim Yakubets in 2017, according to the UK's National Crime Agency Credit: Source: NCA The US administration announcement accused Yakubets of being behind “two of the worst computer hacking and bank fraud schemes of the past decade”. Lynne Owens, the NCA director general, said of Evil Corp: “We are unlikely to ever know the full cost, but the impact on the UK alone is assessed to run into the hundreds of millions.” The response of Yakubets and Turashev to the charges is not known, nor is the response of the other individuals sanctioned by the US Treasury for their links to Evil Corp. One US official said the Russian government had responded to a request for mutual legal assistance which was “helpful” in the investigation, but only “to a point”. The Victims The list of victims from Evil Crop’s alleged criminality is exhaustive, with scores of different businesses and groups losing out thanks to its cyber-hacking schemes. Everything from a genetics lab in California and a public high school in Pennsylvania to a bank in Nebraska and a dairy company in Ohio were targeted according to court documents. There was even a group of Franciscan sisters near the outskirts of Chicago who were left $24,141 out of pocket after one member opened an email which appeared to be from her bank. Audi R8 belonging to an Evil Corp group member, according to the UK's National Crime Agency Credit:  SOURCE: NCA And that is America alone. Some 300 companies in 43 different countries were said to have been targeted by the Russian hackers, with thousands of victims. Even that, one senior UK official said, was a “low estimate”. Victims in Britain were not been named on Thursday, but it is understood almost every significant UK financial institution has been targeted at one stage. Some may be reluctant to report hacks for fear of what would happen to their stock value.  One US official said that ever dollar stolen amounted to a dollar less for retirement, or a dollar less for the high school sports team, or for business innovation. "This is why we go to the ends of the world to investigate and prosecute cyber criminals," the official added.  How they did it Evil Corps hackers would relentlessly pray on online vulnerabilities through sophisticated schemes that would morph once detected, according to UK and US officials.  ‘Phishing’ emails were sent to thousands of people, sometimes pretending to be genuine messages from banks, in the hope someone would accidentally click the website link included. Once that happened, malware would be installed which would then search the compromised computer systems for bank account details and passwords that could be exploited.  Wire transfers would then be setup from the victim's bank account to people dubbed “money mules” who were working with the hackers and would distribute the stolen funds. Evil Corp group member Andrey Plotnitskiy standing in front of a Porsche, according to the UK's National Crime Agency Credit: SOURCE: NCA The Evil Corps hackers allegedly made little attempt to hide their ill-gotten gains, spending it on luxury sports cars which they would screech round Moscow. Asked how people could protect themselves from the group’s members – who remain at large – one US official gave some advice.  He suggested changing passwords to make them hard to predict and using two-factor authentication for logging into electronic devises. The official also warned people against clicking on links which they are not certain are authenticate, saying: “Before you click, think hard.”


Trump Administration Authorizes 'Cyanide Bombs' to Kill Predators Again, Months After Backlash

Trump Administration Authorizes 'Cyanide Bombs' to Kill Predators Again, Months After BacklashThe devices have been used to poison thousands of coyotes, foxes and feral dogs to protect wildlife


Another 1,000 truck drivers lost their jobs in November, and it's a chilling sign for the economy

Another 1,000 truck drivers lost their jobs in November, and it's a chilling sign for the economyAfter an uptick of 700 trucking payrolls in October, the industry slashed another 1,000 jobs in November.


Thousands of Las Vegas shooting victims will have to split an $800 million settlement. Now, 2 retired judges have to decide which victims deserve the most.

Thousands of Las Vegas shooting victims will have to split an $800 million settlement. Now, 2 retired judges have to decide which victims deserve the most.Though $800 million seems like an enormous settlement, some 4,500 people joined the lawsuit against MGM Resorts. Some will need more than others.


This Is How the U.S. Marine Corps Wants to Deter Russia and China

This Is How the U.S. Marine Corps Wants to Deter Russia and ChinaBig changes are coming.


Authorities Identify Pensacola Naval Base Shooter as Saudi National

Authorities Identify Pensacola Naval Base Shooter as Saudi NationalAuthorities are investigating Friday morning's deadly shooting at Naval Air Station Pensacola in Florida as a possible act of terrorism perpetrated by a Saudi national who was in the U.S. for aviation training.The deceased suspect in the shooting was a member of the Saudi military training at the station, according to U.S. defense officials. The FBI said it has taken over the investigation.The still unidentified gunman opened fire at the station just before 7a.m. on Friday, killing three people and injuring seven more before two deputies engaged him. The deputies were injured during the exchange with the suspect but are expected to survive.It is the second fatal shooting at a U.S. naval base this week. On Wednesday, a U.S. sailor killed two civilians and himself at Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard in Hawaii.President Trump said in a tweet that he has been briefed on the shooting and the White House is continuing to monitor the situation as the investigation progresses.


GOP Rep. pitches LGBTQ rights bill with religious exemptions

GOP Rep. pitches LGBTQ rights bill with religious exemptionsAs Democrats champion anti-discrimination protections for the LGBTQ community and Republicans counter with worries about safeguarding religious freedom, one congressional Republican is offering a proposal on Friday that aims to achieve both goals. The bill that Utah GOP Rep. Chris Stewart plans to unveil would shield LGBTQ individuals from discrimination in employment, housing, education, and other public services — while also carving out exemptions for religious organizations to act based on beliefs that may exclude those of different sexual orientations or gender identities. Stewart’s bill counts support from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the Seventh-day Adventist Church, but it has yet to win a backer among House Democrats who unanimously supported a more expansive LGBTQ rights measure in May.


China imposes 'reciprocal' restrictions on US diplomats

China imposes 'reciprocal' restrictions on US diplomatsChina on Friday said it had taken "reciprocal" measures against US diplomats in the country, ordering them to notify the foreign ministry before meeting with local officials. Foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said China had notified the US embassy of the new measures on Wednesday, which she said were a "countermeasure" to Washington's decision in October to restrict Chinese diplomats. In October, the US ordered Chinese diplomats to notify the State Department in advance of any official meetings with US diplomats, local or municipal officials, and before any visits to colleges or research institutions.


Bankrupt PG&E reaches $13.5 billion settlement with California wildfire victims

Bankrupt PG&E reaches $13.5 billion settlement with California wildfire victimsIt filed for Chapter 11 protection in January, citing potential liabilities in excess of $30 billion from wildfires in 2017 and 2018 linked to its equipment. "With this important milestone now accomplished, we are focused on emerging from Chapter 11 as the utility of the future that our customers and communities expect and deserve," Chief Executive Officer Bill Johnson said in a statement. State fire investigators in May determined that PG&E transmission lines caused the deadliest and most destructive wildfire on record in California, the wind-driven Camp Fire that killed 85 people in and around the town of Paradise last year.


Purdue president apologizes for calling black scholar ‘rarest creature in America’

Purdue president apologizes for calling black scholar ‘rarest creature in America’Two weeks after he told students an African American scholar was the ‘rarest phenomenon,’ Purdue President Mitch Daniels retracted his statement.


Developing weather pattern has forecasters on early alert for potentially significant storm

Developing weather pattern has forecasters on early alert for potentially significant stormAs a stormy pattern resumes in the eastern United States during the second week of December, meteorologists are pondering the path and impact of a storm around the middle of the month. Forecasters are considering a range of scenarios that include a major disruptive storm with high winds, heavy rain and back-breaking snow to less severe impacts ranging from beneficial rain and nuisance snow to cold and mainly dry conditions.Americans with travel plans for Saturday, Dec. 14, to Sunday, Dec. 15, should keep tabs on the latest forecasts as this storm could potentially have crippling effects on travel and daily activities.At this point, there is a wide range of possibilities."In the more extreme scenario, a storm will strengthen rapidly while moving northward from the Gulf of Mexico and take a path inland of the Atlantic coast or perhaps over the spine of the Appalachians," Randy Adkins, AccuWeather senior meteorologist, said.Such a dynamic storm may bring coastal flooding and flash flooding along the Eastern Seaboard as strong winds would pump moisture from the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico inland. The weather system could be volatile enough to spawn some severe thunderstorms along its eastern side.In this extreme scenario, the storm may unleash very heavy snow from parts of the Tennessee Valley to a portion of the Ohio Valley and central Great Lakes. Under a scenario like this, weather would cause significant impacts to travel and shipping at a busy time of the year and could cause delays or full cancellations of schools for students in these regions."On a more toned-down scenario, a much weaker storm would travel from the northeastern Gulf of Mexico then off the Carolina coast before heading out to sea," Adkins said. If the storm takes a track along the Southeast coast, it might cause minor disruptions and delays, but conditions would be manageable.A narrow swath of accumulating snow and/or a wintry mix would occur from the southern Appalachians to the mid-Atlantic coast and eastern New England in this scenario.On the southern side of a weaker storm, drenching rain would arrive in areas of the Southeast, which could use some precipitation."The realm of scenarios are in the dozens this far out, including an even more eastward track out to sea or even farther to the west," Adkins said.Should the storm track out to sea, it would spare much of the Northeast any precipitation whatsoever, Adkins observed.But if the storm takes a track toward the Mississippi Valley, it might allow a cold wedge of air to set up an ice storm for the Carolinas and the Virginia Piedmont region, as well as the central Appalachians and interior Northeast. No matter what the outcome ends up being for the eastern U.S. next weekend, it does appear that part of the Southeast in need of rain will get some precipitation."Areas from South Florida to northern Georgia and upstate South Carolina are experiencing abnormally dry to moderate drought conditions," AccuWeather forecaster Dave Bowers pointed out."Most scenarios with the storm next weekend should offer some rainfall in the Southeast," he added. AccuWeather's global headquarters in State College, Pa., where forecasters will be keeping a watchful eye on storm potential for the East Coast next weekend. AccuWeather meteorologists are confident there will be a storm that travels northeastward from the Gulf of Mexico next weekend and they will be monitoring this developing weather pattern nonstop in the coming days.There are storms and weather whiplash ahead of this emerging weather system prior to next weekend for the Central and Eastern states. If one storm does not have a significant impact for your area, another one just might. Download the free AccuWeather app to check the forecast in your area. Keep checking back on AccuWeather.com and stay tuned to the AccuWeather Network on DirecTV, Frontier and Verizon Fios.


Treasury Sec. Steven Mnuchin is working with the Federal Reserve to curtail another repo rate crisis, report says

Treasury Sec. Steven Mnuchin is working with the Federal Reserve to curtail another repo rate crisis, report saysMnuchin told the House that he and Fed Chair Jerome Powell met multiple times to discuss liquidity concerns ahead of year-end reserve obligations.


A bride was angry her African American friend didn't want to attend her wedding at a plantation, and people think she's in the wrong

A bride was angry her African American friend didn't want to attend her wedding at a plantation, and people think she's in the wrongA woman was criticized for how she reacted to her bridesmaid's decision to drop out of her plantation wedding, as she wrote in a since-deleted Reddit post.


India Is About to Start Targeting Citizens Without Proof of Ancestry

India Is About to Start Targeting Citizens Without Proof of AncestryAll voting-age Indians may soon be asked to submit government-issued ID to prove citizenship. That may be a challenge for women, religious minorities and members of oppressed castes.


Bloomberg says ending 'nationwide madness' of gun violence drives his presidential bid

Bloomberg says ending 'nationwide madness' of gun violence drives his presidential bidDemocratic presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg said on Thursday he wants to become president to end "the nationwide madness" of U.S. gun violence, calling it evil and saying he would allow its victims to file lawsuits against gun manufacturers.


Kansas judge accused of bigotry, profanities in courthouse

Kansas judge accused of bigotry, profanities in courthouseA foul-mouthed Kansas judge accused of bigotry and racism who cursed at courthouse employees so often that a trial clerk kept a “swear journal” documenting his obscene outbursts is facing complaints that his conduct violates the central judicial canons of independence, integrity and impartiality. The Kansas Commission on Judicial Qualifications will next week consider whether Montgomery County Judge F. William Cullins performs his duties with sufficient competence and diligence that he can continue on the bench. According to a filing, Cullins is accused of mistreating employees; fostering a hostile relationship with the county attorney's office; lacking patience and decorum; exhibiting disdain toward attorneys; and treating some bondsmen with hostility.


Impeachment hearing joke draws angry response from Melania Trump – and lays bare America's divide

Impeachment hearing joke draws angry response from Melania Trump – and lays bare America's dividePamela Karlan’s reference to Trump’s son Barron offered Republicans a chance to claim righteous outrageFinally, a smoking pun. A simple play on words told us everything about the impeachment inquiry, the current mindset in Congress and the state of the nation.The witness Pamela Karlan cracked a joke that delighted liberals and infuriated conservatives. Or rather, it delighted conservatives because it gave them a talking point to whip up outrage.The afternoon session of the House judiciary committee hearing on the constitutional framework for impeachment had just begun when the Democratic congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee posed the question: “What comparisons can we make between kings that the framers were afraid of and the president’s conduct today?”Karlan, a Stanford Law School professor, replied: “Kings could do no wrong because the king’s word was law. Contrary to what President Trump has said, article two [of the constitution] does not give him the power to do anything he wants.“I will give you one example that shows the difference between him and a king, which is: the constitution says there can be no titles of nobility. While the president can name his son Barron, he can’t make him a baron.”Jackson Lee smiled and there was laughter in the big and ornate committee room, where two carved eagles look down under the words “E pluribus unum” (out of many, one) and a dozen uniformed Capitol police lent an air of a courtroom drama. Karlan’s point echoed Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s recent opinion, cited at Wednesday’s hearing, that “the primary takeaway from the past 250 years of recorded American history is that presidents are not kings”.But could we forgive the pun? Not when the president’s son, tall but only 13 years of age, was involved. Republicans’s well-oiled fury machine clicked straight into gear. Stephanie Grisham, the White House press secretary, tweeted: “Classless move by a Democratic ‘witness’. Prof Karlan uses a teenage boy who has nothing to do with this joke of a hearing (and deserves privacy) as a punchline.”The Trump 2020 election campaign demanded Karlan personally apologise to the president and first lady. Back in the room, the Trump loyalist Matt Gaetz expressed righteous indignation. “When you invoke the president’s son’s name here, when you try to make a little joke out of referencing Barron Trump, that does not lend credibility to your argument,” he told Karlan. Like Jim Jordan and Elise Stefanik in the intelligence committee hearings, Gaetz would have known that clip has plenty of potential for replays on Fox News and rightwing social media, bashing the left as vengeful and in the throes of “Trump derangement syndrome”.As the clock ticked past half-five, the hearing learned, with an audible gasp, that Melania Trump herself had weighed in, tweeting: “A minor child deserves privacy and should be kept out of politics. Pamela Karlan, you should be ashamed of your very angry and obviously biased public pandering, and using a child to do it.”Karlan apologised. “It was wrong of me to do that,” she told the hearing. “I regret having said that.”The division over this pun – a laugh line to some, evidence of liberal sneering to others – cut to the chase of yet another hopelessly polarised hearing. Facts mattered less than being on the winning team. It made one wonder whether Americans don’t even laugh at the same jokes any more.Three of the witnesses, including Karlan, had been called by Democrats to testify that the evidence gathered regarding Trump’s dealings with Ukraine meets the historical definition of impeachment. The other witness had been called by Republicans. Few Democratic or Republican politicians put a question to a witness from the other side.Democrats got plenty of ammunition. Representative Steve Cohen laid out an ABC – Abuse of power, Betrayal of the national interest and Corruption of elections – and asked if Trump had achieved the trifecta. “Yes,” replied all three Democratic witnesses. Michael Gerhardt, a University of North Carolina law professor, said: “I just want to stress that if what we’re talking about is not impeachable, then nothing is impeachable.”But their opponents worked tirelessly to argue that their witnesses were partisan ivory tower-dwellers and therefore ignorable in this “sham” and “farce”. The Republican witness was Jonathan Turley, who was somewhat measured, opining that Trump’s phone call with the Ukrainian president “was anything but perfect”. But the George Washington University law professor said: “One can oppose President Trump’s policies or actions but still conclude that the current legal case for impeachment is not just woefully inadequate, but in some respects dangerous.”There were also some structural problems for Democrats in the all-important court of public opinion. At hearings like Wednesday’s, they have to take turns with Republicans, which creates an impression of equivalence: first let’s put the case for the world being round, now let’s hear the case that it’s flat.So before some empty seats in the press and public galleries, members continued to talk past each other. For those still watching at home, the alternatives were sleep or, after the TV newsman Howard Beale in the film Network, to cry out: “I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this any more!”Turley had an answer for that too. “I get it. You’re mad,” he said. “The president’s mad. My Republican friends are mad. My Democratic friends are mad. My wife is mad. My kids are mad. Even my dog seems mad. And Luna’s a goldendoodle, and they don’t get mad. So we’re all mad.”


Bolivian minister seeks Israel help in fighting alleged leftist 'terrorism'

Bolivian minister seeks Israel help in fighting alleged leftist 'terrorism'Bolivia's interim government wants Israel to help local authorities fight "terrorism" in the South American country, the interior minister told Reuters on Friday, alleging plots by Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and other leftists to destabilize regional governments. Without providing details, Arturo Murillo said Bolivian police were investigating radical leftists allegedly linked to Maduro and drug-traffickers whom the government say had instigated deadly unrest in the country after former President Evo Morales resigned last month.


Banks gave $745 billion to groups planning new coal power plants: NGOs

Banks gave $745 billion to groups planning new coal power plants: NGOsFinancial institutions have channeled $745 billion over the past three years into companies planning new coal-fired power plants, according to a report by environmental groups, who are urging global banks to stop financing the sector. The report's release comes as world leaders met this week in Madrid for a 12-day UN climate summit, where they are expected to hammer out some of the details of the 2015 Paris agreement.