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|'Go back'? Omar and the squad are building strength at home
President Donald Trump can tell Rep. Ilhan Omar to "go back" to Somalia all he wants. Safely entrenched in liberal, urban districts, Omar and most of her fellow "squad" mates of progressive Democrats have been posting impressive fundraising numbers, so far scaring away serious primary challenges and quieting some critics on their home turf. While their leftist policies and uncompromising tactics may roil Democratic leaders and draw Trump's fire, they've only bolstered their standing at home.
POSTED JULY 19, 2019 6:10 PM
|Iran's Foreign Minister Zarif: We Can't "Discount" Possibility of War
On Thursday, National Interest Editor Jacob Heilbrunn interviewed Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif in New York at the Ambassador’s residence on the current state of U.S.-Iran relations. The transcript has been lightly edited for readability.Jacob Heilbrunn: With the American shooting down of an Iranian drone in the Strait of Hormuz today, are we on a path of escalation?Mohammed Javad Zarif: I checked with Tehran, and we do not have any information about having lost a drone today. So, we don’t know, as of now what has happened. We have the president saying that they shot a drone. We don’t know whose drone it is, but we don’t have that information. But we are certainly moving in the wrong direction. The fact that the United States has an increased presence in the Persian Gulf doesn’t help security or stability in the area—it’s a tiny body of water and you cannot have such congested traffic there without something happening.Heilbrunn: A lot of the tension is also focused on the tanker that went missing. Is Iran responsible for that?Zarif: All the information we have is that we confiscated a small tanker that was only carrying a million liters of smuggled oil products—not oil—and that happens quite often in the Persian Gulf because of heavily subsidized prices in Iran of oil products. There is a lot of smuggling from both sea and land borders and we interdict them on a regular basis. So if that is the tanker they’re talking about, that is a smuggling tanker, not a shipping tanker.Heilbrunn: Another move that the Trump administration has announced is sending about five hundred more soldiers to Saudi Arabia. What is your response to that?
POSTED JULY 18, 2019 4:01 PM
|Private Investigator Says He Shared Two Epstein Female Fixer Names with Feds
Private investigator Michael Fisten first started digging into financier Jeffrey Epstein’s alleged sex trafficking crimes more than a decade ago when attorney Brad Edwards hired him. After Epstein signed a non-prosecution deal with federal prosecutors in 2008, Edwards had sued Epstein in civil court on behalf of a number of alleged victims who had been blindsided by the plea deal (which a judge later ruled to have violated the Crime Victims' Rights Act). Fisten was tasked with finding as much incriminating information on the financier as he could.Fisten, a 30-year law enforcement veteran, said he was shocked and disgusted by what he uncovered. In a wide-ranging interview with CNN, the P.I. said that he was able to identify two young women who have arranged access to girls for Epstein in recent years. He and Edwards have handed over the names and “associated information” over to federal authorities, he said, though he did not name the alleged fixers to CNN.Judge Who Denied Bail to Jeffrey Epstein Calls Him ‘Uncontrollable’ and a ‘Danger’Fisten also said that his investigations led to the discovery of countless lapses in security during the time Epstein was on work release from the Palm Beach county jail—in a cushy deal that allowed the convicted sex offender out of confinement 12 hours a day, six days a week. On Friday, the Palm Beach sheriff’s office announced that it had opened its own internal investigation into whether deputies, who often referred to Epstein as a “client” instead of an inmate in logs kept at the sheriff’s office, had broken with procedure. Fisten told CNN that he was angered that Epstein was allowed to go to a luxury office instead of remaining behind bars. Fisten said he was disgusted when he saw “lavish lunches being brought into the office and a parade of young females going in and out of the place.”The Palm Beach sheriff’s office now admits that Epstein was also allowed to go to his luxury mansion and spend time there unsupervised. Fisten tried to obtain the sheriff’s office logs that should have documented the names and ages of everyone who came into contact with Epstein during work release, but the logs “have inexplicably vanished,” he said to CNN. “We wanted to get those logs so we could see who the girls were,” Fisten said. “They’re missing. No one knows where they are.”Fisten also repeated previous claims that Epstein wielded his power to silence his accusers during and after his incarceration, even hiring his own private investigators who were paid to harass his victims. “They were former Miami cops,” Fisten told CNN. “He paid an extremely large retainer to them and all their job to do was to follow the girls around and intimidate them.”Fisten even ran into Epstein’s private investigators first hand. Once, when driving one of Epstein’s accusers home, he told CNN he saw one of Epstein’s detectives parked across from her house filming her comings and goings. Fisten said the father of another of Epstein’s accusers was “run off the road” by one of the former cops in Epstein’s employ.Of Epstein's alleged victims, Fisten noted, “Once these girls lost their braces and their pubescent look and started becoming 16-years old or 17-years old, they were too old for him.”“So then he started using them as recruiters to bring the younger girls.” Epstein was denied bail on Thursday as he faces federal sex trafficking charges in New York. Fisten says the victims finally feel that justice could be served. “They couldn’t be happier,” he told CNN. “It’s all they ever wanted.”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.
POSTED JULY 20, 2019 10:26 AM
|Gibraltar extends detention of Iranian tanker for a month
Gibraltar was granted the power on Friday to detain Iran's Grace 1 oil tanker for another month, keeping the vessel at the center of a big-power quarrel between Iran and the United States and its allies. Gibraltar said the Iranian vessel, seized by marines in a daring landing in darkness off the coast of the British territory on July 4, was suspected of smuggling oil to Syria in breach of European Union sanctions. Iran has repeatedly called for the ship's release, denies the allegation that the tanker was taking oil to Syria in violation of sanctions and says Gibraltar and Britain seized the vessel on the orders of Washington.
POSTED JULY 19, 2019 6:23 AM
|Ramush Haradinaj, Kosovo's 'Rambo' ex-PM and Serbian antagonist
Ramush Haradinaj, who resigned as Kosovo's prime minister on Friday, is hailed as a hero at home -- where he is nicknamed "Rambo" -- but considered a war criminal by Belgrade, which has long sought to see him behind bars. The controversial 51-year-old, who was a wartime commander of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), stepped down after being summoned as a suspect by a war crimes court in the Hague. It is the second time he has resigned after being called before a war crimes court over crimes allegedly committed by the ethnic Albanian KLA separatists during the 1998-99 war.
POSTED JULY 19, 2019 12:50 PM
|California city set to ban gendered words like 'manhole' and 'manpower'
The City Council in Berkeley, Calif., votes to remove gender-specific words from its municipal code.
POSTED JULY 18, 2019 3:54 PM
|US weather: Potentially deadly heat wave set to break records
The hottest weather in years is stifling two-thirds of the United States, stretching from Texas and Oklahoma northeastward to Maine. The National Weather Service is using strong language to describe the hazards posed by this event.The Weather Service forecast office in Chicago, for example, is calling this “one of the hotter and more humid air masses since 2012.”By the time this event ends by Tuesday, 86 per cent of the Lower 48 states will have experienced high temperatures of at least 90 degrees (32C), and close to 50 per cent will have seen temperatures reach or exceed 95 degrees (35C).On Friday morning, forecasters at the Weather Service forecast office in Philadelphia wrote that this heat wave would be “prolonged, dangerous, and potentially deadly.” Warning of a heat index as high as 115 degrees (46C) on Saturday, forecasters noted: “Heat related illnesses and death can occur in minutes on days such as these in cases of over- exertion or entrapments in hot vehicles. Because of this, extreme caution should be exercised over the weekend with regards to the heat.”Expansive areas of high pressure, with one located over the central states and another out in the western Atlantic will yield near record warmth for multiple days.The heat wave, which comes in the midst of what may turn out to be the hottest month Earth has recorded since instrument records began in the late 19th century, poses a public health threat to tens of millions. In a typical year, heat is the top weather-related killer in the US, beating out tornadoes, hurricanes, floods and other weather hazards.Because this event is occurring at the height of summer, it’s difficult to set temperature many all-time hot temperature records. However, the Weather Service still anticipates many records to fall, especially for warm overnight temperatures.This heat wave stands out for the high humidity that is accompanying it, as a vast heat dome helps drive Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean moisture northward.Dew point temperatures, which are a measure of the amount of water vapor in the air, have climbed well into the oppressive humidity category. The high dew points will also prevent overnight low temperatures from falling significantly overnight.Already, in Chicago on Friday morning, the temperature had not fallen below 81 degrees (27C) for the low, which – if it holds through midnight – would break the daily record warm overnight minimum temperature, which was 79 degrees (24C), set in 2011.Such high overnight lows will increase the risk to public health from this hot weather. Heat-related illnesses increase when the human body is not given time to cool off overnight. Heat stress and poor air quality can exacerbate other illnesses and even lead to heat stroke, which can be deadly.The groups most vulnerable to heat-related illnesses include the elderly, chronically ill, children and outdoor workers. Pets are also vulnerable, particularly if they are left in areas without air conditioning and proper hydration.During the day, the humidity levels will combine with air temperatures near the century mark to drive heat index values – which is how hot it feels to the human body – as high as 110 to 115 degrees (43C to 46C), particularly along the East Coast, according to Weather Service forecasts.Along the northern periphery of the heat dome will be what meteorologists refer to as the “Ring of Fire.” This is the battle zone between the heat wave air mass and cooler air to the north. In this area, strong winds in the upper atmosphere can spark severe thunderstorms, including complexes of storms that cause wind damage for hundreds of miles, known as a derecho.The Weather Service is forecasting such an event today across the Great Lakes, for example, with more storms along the heat dome’s periphery throughout the weekend.As the climate warms because of human activities, numerous studies have shown that heat waves such as this one are becoming more common and intense, as well as longer-lasting. It’s one of the most robust conclusions of climate science, since as you increase the global average temperature, the odds of hot extremes increase even faster.According to NOAA data, summer nights have warmed at nearly twice the rate as summer days in the United States, making heat waves a more formidable threat to public health.Climate change attribution studies have shown that global warming has dramatically increased the likelihood of extreme heat events. In fact, one study published in 2019 found the record-breaking summer heat wave in Japan during 2018 “could not have happened without human-induced global warming.”In addition, the National Climate Assessment, published by the Donald Trump administration last year found heat waves are on the increase in the United States and have been since the 1960, though the 1930s still stand out as having the most extreme heat events on record in the US, due to weather variability and land use practices at the time.Washington Post
POSTED JULY 19, 2019 12:32 PM
|Ingraham: The root of their rage
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Democratic congresswomen that make up the 'Squad' paint an oppressive picture of America.
POSTED JULY 18, 2019 10:40 PM
|Hong Kong Protesters Who Stormed Legco Seek Asylum in Taiwan: Report
(Bloomberg) -- Dozens of Hong Kong protesters involved in the ransacking of the city’s Legislative Council this month have arrived in Taiwan to seek asylum, the Apple Daily newspaper reported.About 30 protesters have already landed in Taiwan, while as many as 30 others -- and possibly more -- are planning to try soon, the Hong Kong newspaper said, citing unidentified people who assisted them.The fleeing activists were part of the group that smashed into the legislature on July 1, the paper said. The people who assisted the protesters told the paper they had been in contact with Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council, which handles the island’s relations with Beijing, to seek help.The council hasn’t received any formal asylum applications from Taiwan’s National Immigration Agency, its deputy minister Chiu Chui-cheng said in a text message. If Taiwan receives any applications, authorities will handle them appropriately based on existing regulations and the principle of protecting human rights, Chiu added.Read more: Pain From Hong Kong Protests Spreads as Luxury Names Get HitA flight to Taiwan by Hong Kong asylum seekers would be fraught with geopolitical risk. It threatens to raise tensions between the administration of Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-Wen, a China critic who’s up for re-election in January, and Chinese President Xi Jinping, who has already faced embarrassment over the global attention paid to Hong Kong’s anti-government protests.Hong Kong’s historic demonstrations over legislation that would allow extraditions to the mainland for the first time have resonated widely in democratically run Taiwan, which China considers a wayward province.Seeking RefugeThe Taiwan Association for Human Rights, a top local non-governmental organization, wouldn’t comment on the case. “We cannot divulge any information regarding any individual case,” said Secretary-General, Chiu E-ling. “If there are individuals who approach us for help, we’ll interview these people and help them get in touch with government officials if that is what they wish.”Earlier: China Drafting Urgent Plan to Resolve Hong Kong Chaos, SCMP SaysProtesters used a metal cart as a battering ram to break their way into the legislative building on the anniversary of Hong Kong’s return from British rule, spray-painting slogans on its chamber’s walls and draping a Union Jack-emblazoned colonial flag across the dais.At the time, Hong Kong’s leader Carrie Lam condemned the “extreme use of violence and vandalism” and supported the police’s decision to leave it undefended in the face of a small group of protesters.Emily Leung, a spokeswoman for Lam, referred queries on the report to the Hong Kong police, who declined to comment on Friday.who didn’t immediately respond to a call and an email Friday for comment.(Updates with police comment in final paragraph.)\--With assistance from Ina Zhou, Kari Lindberg and Debby Wu.To contact the reporters on this story: Iain Marlow in Hong Kong at email@example.com;Adela Lin in Taipei at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Brendan Scott at email@example.com, Karen LeighFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
POSTED JULY 19, 2019 6:27 AM
|Drone targets base for Iran-backed militia in northern Iraq
An unmanned drone dropped explosives on a base belonging to Iran-backed paramilitary forces in northern Iraq early Friday, wounding two people, Iraqi security officials and a military statement said, amid regional tensions between the United States and Iran. The statement said the drone dropped two grenades half an hour apart on the base in Amirli, in Iraq's northern Salaheddin province. A senior official with the militias known collectively as the Popular Mobilization Forces told The Associated Press that the attack resulted in the wounding of two Iranians and that the base hit housed advisers from Iran and Lebanon.
POSTED JULY 19, 2019 1:31 PM