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A view of the skyline of Ulan Bator
FILE PHOTO: A view of the skyline of Ulan Bator, October 27, 2011. REUTERS/Kieran Doherty

February 19, 2019

ULAANBAATAR (Reuters) – Mongolia has temporarily suspended operations of all KFC restaurants in the country to conduct an inquiry, as 42 people were hospitalized and hundreds showed food poisoning symptoms after eating at one of the outlets of the fast-food chain.

The incident occurred in Ulaanbaatar last week and was caused by poor internal hygiene checks, the city’s Metropolitan Professional Inspection Agency said, adding that 247 people had reported food poisoning symptoms such as diarrhea and vomiting.

Preliminary checks show it was caused by the restaurant’s water supply where bacteria had bred, the agency said on Monday.

KFC, which is part of Yum Brands Inc <YUM.N>, opened its first restaurant in Mongolia in 2013 and currently has 11 restaurants there, all in the capital. They are operated by its franchise partner, Mongolian conglomerate Tavan Bogd Group.

“We deeply regret the negative impact that many people have suffered, especially to our guests of the Zaisan restaurant, and we are working to support our team members and customers during this difficult time,” a spokeswoman for KFC Global told Reuters in an e-mail on Tuesday.

“KFC Mongolia is cooperating fully with the government’s investigation and recommendations around addressing the source of the incident. This includes a thorough investigation of all KFC Mongolia restaurants, and specifically into determining the exact cause of the reported incident.”

Tavan Bogd apologized in a separate statement, saying the incident had happened due to weak internal quality checks and that daily standards and rules were poorly implemented.

(Reporting by Suvdantsetseg Tsagaanbaatar in Ulaanbaatar; Writing by Brenda Goh in Shanghai; Editing by Himani Sarkar)

Source: OANN

A man who died last month at the West Hollywood home of prominent Democratic Party fundraiser Ed Buck warned his friends to steer clear of the well-connected donor and referred to him as a "f—ing devil" and "a horrible, horrible man," according to a report Monday night.

Timothy Dean, 55, was found dead in Buck’s apartment early on Jan. 7, 17 months after 26-year-old male escort Gemmel Moore was found dead of a methamphetamine overdose. The Daily Beast reported that Dean and Buck had a relationship years before Moore’s death, but Dean’s friends claimed the relationship turned into a one-sided after — with Buck sending multiple text messages to Dean and Dean declining to respond.

One friend of Dean, DeMarco Majors, told the website that Moore told him during a November 2018 conversation: "Ed Buck hits me up all the time, and I don’t answer none of his text messages. Don’t you take your a– over there." Majors said he told Dean that he didn’t know who Buck was, but that did not deter Dean.

Timothy Dean died at the residence of Democratic donor Ed Buck earlier this year

Timothy Dean died at the residence of Democratic donor Ed Buck earlier this year

GEMMEL MOORE INVESTIGATION: PROSECUTORS DECLINE TO FILE CHARGES AGAINST DEM DONOR IN FATAL OVERDOSE

"Don’t you go over there,” Dean reportedly told Majors again. "I’m not going over there either. S—, I’m not trying to end up dead."

Buck’s attorney, Seymour Amster, described Dean at the time of his death as a "longtime friend" of Buck who had "reached out for his help" and had begun "acting in a bizarre way" after he arrived at Buck’s apartment the night he died. When contacted by Fox News about the Daily Beast report, Amster wrote in an email: "We are in possession of text messages from Mr. Dean to Mr. Buck that refute the picture the Daily Beast is trying to paint of the relationship between Mr. Dean and Mr. Buck. The text messages do not put Mr. Dean in a good light. We are sure that law enforcement are in possession of these texts as well.

"It seems that Mr. Dean had a secret life he was keeping from a lot of his friends," Amster added. "That is as far as we will go with what we and law enforcement possess … If this matter ends up in a courtroom, and that is a big ‘IF’ we will then decide if it is necessary to disclose Mr. Dean’s secret life."

Walter Harris, another friend of Dean’s, texted him an article about Moore’s July 2017 death. In response, Dean said: "This might be it for Ed Buck" and called him, "f—ing devil." In July 2018, prosecutors declined to file charges against Buck in Moore’s death.

Still another friend, Jermaine Johnson, said Dean told him after Moore died that Buck was “a horrible, horrible man.”

FAMILY WANTS ANSWERS IN ESCORT’S DEATH AT DEM DONOR’S HOME

The cause of Dean’s death has not been made public. Amster told Fox News that Buck was interviewed by police on the night of Dean’s death and "disclosed all of the information law enforcement needed.

"There is no reason to have him re-interviewed," Amster added, "there is nothing new they can obtain."

Click for more from the Daily Beast.

Source: Fox News Politics

FILE PHOTO: U.S. Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein attends the Los Angeles Crimefighters Leadership Conference
FILE PHOTO: U.S. Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein attends the Los Angeles Crimefighters Leadership Conference in Los Angeles, California, U.S., February 7, 2019. REUTERS/Mike Blake/File Photo

February 19, 2019

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Rod Rosenstein, the U.S. deputy attorney general who appointed special counsel Robert Mueller to investigate possible ties between Russia and President Donald Trump’s campaign, is expected to step down by mid March, a Justice Department official said on Monday.

Rosenstein had been expected to depart shortly after new Attorney General William Barr took over. Barr was confirmed by the U.S. Senate last week.

(Reporting by Sarah N. Lynch; Editing by Dan Grebler)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: U.S. Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein attends the Los Angeles Crimefighters Leadership Conference
FILE PHOTO: U.S. Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein attends the Los Angeles Crimefighters Leadership Conference in Los Angeles, California, U.S., February 7, 2019. REUTERS/Mike Blake/File Photo

February 19, 2019

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Rod Rosenstein, the U.S. deputy attorney general who appointed special counsel Robert Mueller to investigate possible ties between Russia and President Donald Trump’s campaign, is expected to step down by mid March, a Justice Department official said on Monday.

Rosenstein had been expected to depart shortly after new Attorney General William Barr took over. Barr was confirmed by the U.S. Senate last week.

(Reporting by Sarah N. Lynch; Editing by Dan Grebler)

Source: OANN

Tucker Carlson slammed Al Sharpton on Monday night for his role in the Tawana Brawley hate crime hoax, one day after Sharpton demanded that Jussie Smollet face consequences if he indeed staged the alleged hate crime against himself.

WATCH:

“In 1987, Al Sharpton introduced the media to a young woman called Tawana Brawley. Brawley had an awful to story to tell. He said she had been viciously attacked by a group of racist white men and left in a garbage bag. She was covered in feces with racial slurs scrawled on her body,” Carlson began. “The Brawley case dominated headlines across the country for more than a year, and it bitterly divided New York City along ethnic lines. People hated each other because of what Tawana Brawley said happened to her.”

“But it was all a lie,” he continued. “After conducting hundreds of interviews, a grand jury declared the entire story fraudulent, none of it actually happened. Brawley fled the state, a judge ordered Al Sharpton to pay for damages for accusing innocent men of rape. That should’ve been the end of Al Sharpton’s career, yet just the opposite happened.” (RELATED: Here Are All The Politicians Who Rushed To Judgement On The Smollett ‘Hate Crime’)

“After he perpetuated the single most destructive racial hoax in memory, Al Sharpton got a promotion. He became a world-famous civil rights leader. He ran for president. He became a policy adviser to Barack Obama,” Carlson added. “According to visitor logs, Al Sharpton was invited to the Obama White House more than 80 times. He got his own show on MSNBC, which he still has. Sharpton has never apologized or even acknowledge the harm he did to this country by lying about Tawana Brawley.”

Sharpton was one of the first to come out in support for the “Empire” actor, following the alleged attack last month, in which Smollett alleged two white men attacked him. He told police that the men poured a bleach-like substance on him, tied a rope around his neck similar to a noose and shouted racist, homophobic slurs.

Sharpton demanded the attackers be held accountable and face the maximum penalty.

Now that Chicago PD appears to believe the attack was staged, Sharpton is calling for Smollett to be punished if this theory proves true.

Follow Mike on Twitter

Source: The Daily Caller

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein is expected to leave his role at the Justice Department by mid-March, a senior DOJ official told Fox News on Monday.

An announcement of who has been selected to replace Rosenstein could come as early as this week. A Trump administration official added that Attorney General William Barr has picked Jeffrey Rosen to serve as his deputy attorney general.

Fox News reported in January that Rosenstein was expected to step down in the coming weeks to ensure a smooth transition for Barr, who was sworn in on Thursday.

This is a developing story; please check back for updates.

Source: Fox News Politics

Scott Morefield | Reporter

Fox News host Greg Gutfeld ripped the liberal media for having their “faces covered in egg” after “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett’s story about having been the victim of a hate crime fell apart.

WATCH:

“Shall we call it on Smollett?” Gutfeld asked. “The police no longer consider Jussie Smollett a victim. Queue faces covered in egg.”

The network then played a media montage on Smollett’s original claims from major networks like CNN and MSNBC, which later even included actress Ellen Page blaming the attack on Vice President Mike Pence.

“Meanwhile, we kept quiet,” said Gutfeld. “Sure the idea of Trumpers wandering in subzero Chicago at 2:00 a.m. carrying bleach and a noose, attacking some actor from a show they don’t even watch without taking his phone, wallet or sandwich seemed about as real as me joining “The View,” but Smollett was the perfect victim for a media that deems any skepticism heresy.” (RELATED: Donald Trump Jr., Others Slam Jussie Smollett, Media Coverage Surrounding Alleged Trump Supporter Perpetrated Hate Crime)

The Fox News host argued that the “press orgy that attracts” the hoaxes keep them from being rare.

“Now the media circles its wagons,” he said, naming several major media outlets that fell for the hoax, despite CNN’s claim that “only the celebrity press fell for this.”

“CNN says Smollett’s actions set back the movement,” Gutfeld said. “No, it didn’t. Maybe it set back the hoax crime movement and that’s good. Perhaps the media might think first so it will have fewer hoaxes, but don’t count on it. The media says no one should be pleased by the events that fake hoaxes hurt real victims but they never mention the groups who are falsely accused. Seriously, this could have led to real violence against them.”

Gutfeld expressed his satisfaction that what people at first thought was a hate crime “fell apart,” because it “once again proves we are less racist than the media wants us to be.”

Follow Scott on Twitter

Source: The Daily Caller

MLB: World Series-Boston Red Sox at Los Angeles Dodgers
Oct 28, 2018; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers shortstop Manny Machado (8) reacts after striking out against the Boston Red Sox in the first inning in game five of the 2018 World Series at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

February 19, 2019

The San Diego Padres are willing to sign free agent infielder Manny Machado to an eight-year contract worth between $240 million and $280 million, USA Today reported on Monday.

The contract offer includes “heavily deferred” compensation, the newspaper said, citing two people familiar with the negotiations.

Machado also has received an offer from the Chicago White Sox. While the exact offer isn’t known, and various reports have been disputed, it is believed to be in the seven-year, $175 million ballpark.

Machado, 26, also has been in discussions with Philadelphia. Multiple reports over the weekend indicated that this season’s other marquee free agent, outfielder Bryce Harper, is close to signing with Philadelphia.

–Having already picked up Chris Sale’s contract option for 2019, Boston Red Sox chairman Tom Werner said the team has opened discussions on signing the left-hander to a long-term deal.

Sale was typically dominating in the first half of the 2018 season, going 10-4 with a 2.23 ERA, but he had two stints on the disabled list in the second half and pitched just five innings between July 28 and Sept. 10.

Sale made three starts and two relief appearances in the postseason as the Red Sox went on to win the World Series, posting a 4.11 ERA in 15 1/3 innings, while striking out the side and recording the final out in the deciding Game 5 of the World Series against the Dodgers.

–Werner also told reporters it is “extremely unlikely” the team will bring back closer Craig Kimbrel.

Kimbrel saved 108 games and was an All-Star in each of the past three seasons in Boston. Overall, he is a seven-time All-Star but the free-agent market hasn’t been booming for his services.

Early in the offseason, there were reports Kimbrel was seeking a deal worth more than $100 million.

–Los Angeles Angels owner Arte Moreno said the club has had internal discussions about making a new contract offer for superstar outfielder Mike Trout.

The two-time American League MVP has two seasons remaining on a six-year, $144.5 million deal but has not given an indication whether he intends to remain with the team after 2020.

“I’m not going to talk about that,” Trout told reporters. Moreno also met with reporters, and he declined to go into detail when asked if there had been negotiations with Trout and his agent, Craig Landis.

–San Francisco Giants manager Bruce Bochy announced that he will retire after the 2019 season. The announcement was made on the club’s Twitter feed.

Bochy, who turns 64 in April and has undergone multiple heart procedures, has guided the Giants to three World Series titles (2010, 2012, 2014) during his tenure. He also managed the San Diego Padres to the 1998 World Series when that club lost to the New York Yankees.

Bochy enters the 2019 season with the 11th-most wins in major league history. He is 1,926-1,944 in 24 seasons — 12 with the Padres and 12 with the Giants.

–Cleveland Indians All-Star shortstop Francisco Lindor isn’t too worried about landing a big-money contract extension, not when he is under club control for three more years and he has an injured right calf muscle to rehab.

The initial time frame two weeks ago targeted Lindor to miss seven to nine weeks, meaning possibly being sidelined at the outset of the 2019 season, although he said, “It’s funny with time frames — you never know.”

Lindor, 25, recently avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year, $10.55 million contract after established career highs of 38 homers and 92 RBIs last season while batting .277. The three-time All-Star said he was happy to reach a settlement.

–Major League Baseball Players Association executive director Tony Clark took a mighty swing at Rob Manfred one day after the commissioner said free-agent players were still unsigned because they failed to adjust their financial demands to fit with the market.

Clark questioned the commitment of clubs when it comes to putting together a winning team and said a number of clubs don’t “justify the price of a ticket,” a day after Manfred said the sport’s reliance on analytics is changing the view on how players should be paid.

Clark countered that baseball is “operating in an environment in which an increasing number of clubs appear to be making little effort to improve their rosters, compete for a championship or justify the price of a ticket.”

–Detroit Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera faced live pitching for the first time since an arm injury in June and reiterated after his team’s first full-squad workout at spring training that he would prefer not to be a full-time designated hitter.

–Shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria and the New York Mets agreed on a minor-league contract with an invitation to spring training.

–Field Level Media

Source: OANN

David Hookstead | Reporter

Voters in a recent poll of mine think the NFL made a mistake settling Colin Kaepernick’s lawsuit.

The NFL and Kaepernick reached a settlement with undisclosed terms Friday after the former 49ers quarterback had been out of the league for two years. (RELATED: Should Colin Kaepernick Play In The Alliance Of American Football?)

That led me to ask people on Twitter, “Was it smart for the NFL to settle with Colin Kaepernick over his collusion case?”

Nearly 2,000 people voted, and 80 percent voted that it wasn’t smart.

Obviously, the terms of the settlement would have a huge impact on whether or not it was smart, but I tend to agree with the voters.

Settling with Kaepernick, who infamously refused to stand for the national anthem, makes it seem like the league was really worried about discovery.

That might have been the case. I have no idea, but I do know that’s the impression they are giving.

Plus, I would have loved to see what kind of half-cocked arguments Kaepernick and his people made in court. The NFL should have just played a highlight reel of his pathetic play toward the end of his career, and then just walked out of the courtroom.

The tape speaks for itself, and I’m guessing a lot of the voters in my poll feel the exact same way.

The only reason to settle in my mind instead of just trying to crush Kaepernick is if the league did collude, which I highly doubt to be the case.

My guess is the real reason for the settlement is that the owners just grew tired of the circus. It’s not like they don’t have the necessary money to get Kaepernick to go away. It’s the NFL. They’re loaded.

On top of that, the disgraced former NFL quarterback taking a deal kind of proves that he was never willing to go the distance for his cause. If he were, he never would have dreamed of taking the settlement.

Sound off in the comments with your thoughts. I have a feeling that many of you will agree with me.

Source: The Daily Caller

The attorneys general of California, New York, and 14 other states on Monday filed a lawsuit in the Ninth Circuit against the White House’s recent national emergency declaration over border security, claiming President Trump has "veered the country toward a constitutional crisis of his own making."

President Trump sarcastically had predicted the lawsuit last week. He’s slammed the Ninth Circuit multiple times as "disgraceful" and politically biased.

The litigation, brought before a federal trial court in the Northern District of California, seeks an injunction to prevent Trump from shifting billions of dollars from military construction to the border without explicit congressional approval. The suit also asks a court to declare Trump’s actions illegal, arguing that Trump showed a "flagrant disregard of fundamental separation of powers principles engrained in the United States Constitution" by violating the Constitution’s Presentment and Appropriations Clauses, which govern federal spending.

The litigation additionally includes allegations that Trump is violating the National Environmental Policy Act, by planning to build a wall that could impact the environment without first completing the necessary environmental impact reports.

The states argue they have standing to sue the administration largely because, they allege, the federal funds could have been spent on their defense. "Maine is aggrieved by the actions of Defendants and has standing to bring this action because of the injury to the State and its residents caused by Defendants’ reduction of federal defense spending in Maine due to diversion of funding to the border wall," one section of the suit reads.

"California is aggrieved by the actions of Defendants and has standing to bring this action because of the injury due to the loss of federal drug interdiction, counter-narcotic, and lawenforcement funding to the State caused by Defendants’ diversion of funding," reads another paragraph.

A person dressed to look like President Donald Trump in a prison uniform, and others gather Monday, Feb. 18, 2019, in front of the White House in Washington, to protest that President Donald Trump declared a national emergence along the southern boarder. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

A person dressed to look like President Donald Trump in a prison uniform, and others gather Monday, Feb. 18, 2019, in front of the White House in Washington, to protest that President Donald Trump declared a national emergence along the southern boarder. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

“Declaring a National Emergency when one does not exist is immoral and illegal,” New York Attorney General Letitia James, who previously vowed to use "every area of the law" to investigate Trump and his family, said in a statement. “Diverting necessary funds from real emergencies, crime-fighting activities, and military construction projects usurps Congressional power and will hurt Americans across the country. We will not stand for this abuse of power and will fight using every tool at our disposal.”

In a separate statement, California Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, remarked, "President Trump is manufacturing a crisis and declaring a made-up ‘national emergency’ in order to seize power and undermine the Constitution."

The litigation came amid scattered anti-Trump Presidents Day protests across the country, including a group of more than a hundred demonstrators who waved signs at the White House while the president was speaking in Florida.

At a news conference outside the White House on Friday, Trump mockingly predicted legal challenges against his emergency declaration would follow a tried-and-true path.

WHITE HOUSE SAYS SUBSTANTIAL BORDER WALL CONSTRUCTION SHOULD BE COMPLETED BY SEPT. 2020

"So the order is signed and I’ll sign the final papers as soon as I get into the Oval Office," Trump told reporters. "And we will have a national emergency and we will then be sued, and they will sue us in the Ninth Circuit even though it shouldn’t be there, and we will possibly get a bad ruling, and then we’ll get another bad ruling, and then we’ll end up in the Supreme Court and hopefully we’ll get a fair shake and we’ll win in the Supreme Court just like the ban. They sued us in the Ninth Circuit and we lost, and then we lost in the Appellate Division, and then we went to the Supreme Court and we won."

President Donald Trump speaks during an event in the Rose Garden at the White House to declare a national emergency in order to build a wall along the southern border, Friday, Feb. 15, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)

President Donald Trump speaks during an event in the Rose Garden at the White House to declare a national emergency in order to build a wall along the southern border, Friday, Feb. 15, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has jurisdiction over all appeals coming out of the Northern District of California, where Monday’s lawsuit was filed. The San Francisco-based Ninth Circuit has long been a legal stumbling block for conservative policies, and the White House has sought to appoint conservative justices to thin out the liberal ranks on the court. Last year, Trump bypassed traditional protocols and ignored the concerns of the state’s Democratic politicians to nominate prominent conservatives to the Ninth Circuit.

Late last year, Trump engaged in a public spat with Chief Justice John Roberts on the issue, after Roberts took the unusual step of disputing Trump’s comments that the nation has biased judges on some courts. Roberts has sought to portray himself as a nonpartisan justice.

But, Democrats have said it’s the president who defies basic legal norms.

"President Trump treats the rule of law with utter contempt," California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said Monday. "He knows there is no border crisis, he knows his emergency declaration is unwarranted, and he admits that he will likely lose this case in court."

Protesters of President Donald Trump's national emergency declaration block traffic near Trump International Hotel & Tower on Friday, Feb. 15, 2019, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

Protesters of President Donald Trump’s national emergency declaration block traffic near Trump International Hotel &amp; Tower on Friday, Feb. 15, 2019, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

James, the New York attorney general, argued that the emergency declaration was not only legally unconstitutional, but also unnecessary as a practical matter, asserting that "unlawful southern border entries are at their lowest point in twenty-years, immigrants are less likely than native-born citizens to commit crimes, and illegal drugs are more likely to come through official ports of entry."

Senior White House adviser Stephen Miller, speaking exclusively to "Fox News Sunday" anchor Chris Wallace, disputed those arguments over the weekend.

"The problem with the statement that you’re ‘apprehending 80 or 90 percent of drugs at ports of entry’ — that’s like saying you apprehend most contraband at (Transportation Security Administration) checkpoints at airports," Miller said. "You apprehend the contraband there because that’s where you have the people, the screeners. I assure you if we had screeners of that same density across every single inch and mile of the southern border, you’d have more drugs interdicted in those areas."

TRUMP CONDEMNS ‘DISGRACEFUL’ NINTH CIRCUIT, DEEMING IT RUBBER STAMP FOR HIS FOES

In response to claims that the president was unconstitutionally taking power from Congress, Miller noted that the National Emergencies Act includes an express grant of power from the legislature to the executive branch — and also includes dispute mechanisms in case Congress disagrees with the president’s use of his authority.

"The statute, Chris, is clear on its own terms," Miller said. "Congress has appropriated money for construction of border barriers consistently.  This is part of the national security."

Still, even a single federal judge could issue an order blocking the national emergency declaration, which has occurred nearly three dozen times so far under Trump’s watch.

Central American immigrants lining up for breakfast at a shelter in Piedras Negras, Mexico, earlier this month. (Jerry Lara/The San Antonio Express-News via AP)

Central American immigrants lining up for breakfast at a shelter in Piedras Negras, Mexico, earlier this month. (Jerry Lara/The San Antonio Express-News via AP)

The Trump administration repeatedly has condemned the increasingly common practice of one judge issuing such a sweeping order, and Associate Justice Clarence Thomas, who concurred in the high court’s decision last year to reinstate Trump’s travel ban, wrote that such injunctions “take a toll on the federal court system—preventing legal questions from percolating through the federal courts, encouraging forum shopping, and making every case a national emergency for the courts and for the executive branch.”

TRUMP ANNOUNCES NEW CONSERVATIVE PICKS FOR NINTH CIRCUIT

The stakes are high for the White House, which has struggled to see new wall funding win approval in Congress. On Friday, Trump signed a compromise spending bill that included just $1.4 billion for border security — far short of the $5.7 billion he’d requested for the wall.

The compromise legislation, which overwhelmingly passed in the House and Senate last week, contained enough funding for building just 55 miles of barricades, not the 200-plus miles the White House has sought.

NEW YORK AG PROMISES TO PROBE TRUMP USING ‘EVERY’ RESOURCE POSSIBLE

Still, neither party seemed enthused about the legislation, save for its provisions averting another partial federal government shutdown. Conservative talk radio host Rush Limbaugh, speaking to "Fox News Sunday," called the bill "outrageous," pointing to is provisions for what he called "welcoming centers for newly arriving illegal aliens, and all kinds of medical care" — a reference to the allocation of $192,700,000 in the bill’s conference agreement to enhance medical care and transportation for illegal immigrants in U.S. custody, including to shelters run by nonprofits.

The bill provided additional funding for 5,000 more beds that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) could use to house illegal immigrants. But, in an attempt to pressure the agency to detain fewer illegal immigrants, Democrats ensured that the bill did not include funding for the 2,000 additional ICE agents requested by the Trump administration, or the 750 Border Patrol agents who also were sought.

Cathy Clark holding a sign during a protest in downtown Fort Worth, Texas, on Monday. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

Cathy Clark holding a sign during a protest in downtown Fort Worth, Texas, on Monday. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

Several Republicans, including Texas Reps. Dan Crenshaw and Chip Roy, voted against the bill, saying it didn’t properly address the flow of illegal immigrants and drugs across the border. Roy called the bill a "sham" and said it "undermines the whole point of an emergency declaration."

Prominent Democrats, including New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar, rejected the spending bill as well, saying it did not do enough to curb ICE.

A senior administration official told Fox News the White House planned to move $8 billion in currently appropriated or available funds toward construction of the wall. Of that, $3 billion could be diverted with help from the emergency declaration.

CLICK TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

That money would include about $600 million from the Treasury Department’s forfeiture fund. That money has been described as “easy money” that the White House can use however it wants. The White House also is expected to use drug interdiction money from the Defense Department.

But, by declaring an emergency, Trump is potentially able to unlock money from the Pentagon’s military construction budget, to the tune of $3.5 billion.

Fox News’ Brooke Singman, Kelly Phares, Kathleen Foster and Chris Wallace contributed to this report.

Source: Fox News Politics

NFL: Philadelphia Eagles at Dallas Cowboys
Dec 9, 2018; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys defensive end Demarcus Lawrence (90) rushes the passer in the third quarter against the Philadelphia Eagles at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

February 19, 2019

The Dallas Cowboys could put the franchise tag on defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence beginning Tuesday, but they apparently do not want to be forced into using that option.

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported Monday that the Cowboys hope to reach agreement with Lawrence on a long-term contract extension before the March 5 deadline for franchise tags.

The Cowboys tagged Lawrence last season, and he made $17.1 million. This year, under the franchise tag, he would earn $20.5 million. But Lawrence, 26, has been clear in his desire not play under the tag for a second straight year.

The Star-Telegram reported he is seeking a multiyear deal worth upward of that $20.5 million tag amount. The report added that if he does not receive an extension, Lawrence likely will skip the offseason program, minicamps and perhaps training camp and some regular-season games. He also could delay the shoulder surgery he needs.

–The Cowboys have elected to decline wide receiver Terrance Williams’ option for 2019, which will make Williams a free agent in March, multiple outlets reported.

The Dallas Morning News also reported that the Cowboys are not expected to try to retain defensive tackle David Irving, who is a free agent after playing in just two games for Dallas last season.

Irving has been suspended at the start of each of the last two seasons for violation of the NFL’s substance-abuse and performance-enhancing-drug policies.

–The Jacksonville Jaguars exercised contract options on defensive end Calais Campbell, linebacker Lerentee McCray and defensive back Cody Davis, keeping the trio in the fold through 2019.

The Jaguars also declined their option on tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins, who indicated in a Twitter post last month that he appreciated his time in Jacksonville and was moving on to the “next chapter.”

Campbell, 32, has 25 sacks over the past two seasons with the Jaguars, including 10.5 this past season when he started in all 16 games. He joined Jacksonville on a four-year, $60 million contract in March 2017 and will make $12 million in 2019.

–Quarterback Joe Flacco has passed his physical with the Denver Broncos, Sports Illustrated reported.

That means Denver’s trade for Flacco, who has spent his entire 11-year career with Baltimore, can be completed when the new league year starts on March 13.

Denver is set to send a fourth-round draft pick to the Ravens.

–Oklahoma wide receiver Marquise Brown underwent surgery for a Lisfranc injury in January and will be sidelined for the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis later this month, according to a report by ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Brown, who is projected by most analysts as a first-round pick, also will be sidelined for his Pro Day but is expected to be ready for training camp, according to the report.

The 5-foot-10, 168-pound Brown — whom many believe is the fastest player in the 2019 class — caught 132 passes for 2,413 yards and 17 touchdowns in 25 games over two seasons for the Sooners, averaging 18.3 yards per reception.

–Arizona Cardinals quarterback Josh Rosen was not injured in a car crash in Los Angeles last weekend, even showing that he had a good sense of humor about the entire incident.

The accident happened Saturday, according to a post on the Cardinals team website. Rosen posted two photos of his damaged Tesla to his Instagram account, writing “I’m okay” in one post.

–Field Level Media

Source: OANN

Evie Fordham | Politics and Health Care Reporter

  • Author Clint Johnson published “Tin Cans and Greyhounds: The Destroyers that Won Two World Wars,” which traces the history of those versatile ships and the heroic men who crewed them, on Feb. 12.
  • The book tells the story of Lieutenant Commander Robert Copeland, cook Billy Conatser and more.
  • Johnson has authored numerous books on U.S. war history.

Ships nicknamed “tin cans” may not inspire awe at first, but author Clint Johnson makes the argument that America perfected the destroyer class of ships to help them win World Wars I and II.

Johnson tells the story of the brave Destroyer Men who fought in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans and went up against submarines and battleships against the odds in “Tin Cans and Greyhounds: The Destroyers that Won Two World Wars,” published Feb. 12.

“It’s for everybody to read to learn more about how these ships really were the backbones of the navies, all four of the navies, particularly the United States Navy,” Johnson told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “It’s accessible history to everyone, particularly those who like to read stories of the heroism of the men who crewed these ships during the war. I tell the major battles of the Pacific and how they were used to escort convoys in the Atlantic.”

Destroyers were versatile, smaller ships invented by the British in the late 1800s. American destroyers in World War II were equipped with antiaircraft guns, torpedoes and mortar-like devices called hedgehogs that could take out submarines. (RELATED: Lee Radziwill, Style Icon And Sister Of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Dead At 85)

The ships were also nicknamed “greyhounds” for their speed, a moniker that actor Tom Hanks is using for the upcoming World War II action movie that he is both writing and starring in, according to The Hollywood Reporter. “Greyhound” is based on “The Good Shepherd,” a 1955 novel by C.S. Forester that tells the story of Cmdr. Ernest Krause as he fights to escort a convoy safely across the Atlantic.

Johnson told TheDCNF he hopes “Greyhound” and “Destroyer,” another upcoming World War II film that is set to be directed by Mel Gibson, bring attention to the incredible stories of the men on those ships. Clashes between battleships and destroyers had David and Goliath like proportions.

Clint Johnson is the author of "Tin Cans and Greyhounds: The Destroyers that Won Two World Wars." Images courtesy of Clint Johnson/Regnery Publishing

Clint Johnson is the author of “Tin Cans and Greyhounds: The Destroyers that Won Two World Wars.” Images courtesy of Clint Johnson/Regnery Publishing

“In some cases in the Pacific, [destroyers] went against battleships which were three times their weight and had 13 inches of armor on their hulls. A destroyer only has a half-inch thick hull,” Johnson told TheDCNF.

Johnson also tells the stories of American destroyers’ encounters with notorious German U-boats, including the story of the USS Buckley in World War II. It encountered a German submarine on May 5, 1944, and became the first American ship to be boarded by the enemy since the War of 1812, Johnson told TheDCNF.

But the men of the Buckley were not going to go down without a fight. They fought off the Germans, even using a 40-mm shell that “disintegrated” one of the Germans, and suffered only one injury: A U.S. crewman who bruised his hand when punching a German coming over the destroyer’s railing. The U-boat ended up going down after an American threw a grenade down its open hatch.

Johnson also emphasized the impact fighting in the war had on the Greatest Generation.

The gun crew of the starboard midship’s 4-inch gun of the USS Ward (DD-139), which sank a Japanese midget submarine outside of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, before the Japanese started their air attack. NHHC photo.

The gun crew of the starboard midship’s 4-inch gun of the USS Ward (DD-139), which sank a Japanese midget submarine outside of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, before the Japanese started their air attack. NHHC photo/Courtesy of Regnery Publishing

The sailors were 18, 17 years old — in some cases 16 … They pretty much joined up to fight this worldwide enemy that was out there,” Johnson told TheDCNF. “World war II focused everyone back in those days. You were a kid, but you became an adult pretty quickly. The Navy forced you to adapt pretty quickly.”

Johnson is a prolific author known for his knowledge of Civil War history. He has written numerous books on the topic, including “The Politically Incorrect Guide to the South (and Why It Will Rise Again)” and “Touring Virginia’s and West Virginia’s Civil War Sites.”

Writing about the world wars was a welcome shift for him, especially because he got to interview World War II veterans who served on destroyers for “Tin Cans and Greyhounds.” One interviewee is Billy Conatser, 95, a cook and anti-aircraft gun operator who now lives in Kansas.

“He says we never knew from one day to the next if we might be sunk by weather, or if the Japanese might attack us, but we were all out there to do a job. We said, well, as soon as the war is over then our job’s going to be over,” Johnson recounted of Conatser.

Follow Evie on Twitter @eviefordham.

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Celine Ryan | Contributor

YouTuber Matt Watson exposed what he called a “wormhole into a soft-core pedophilia ring” on the video streaming platform, in a video uploaded Sunday.

Watson’s video claimed to reveal a not-so-underground YouTube community of adults who encourage very young children to upload videos of themselves in compromising situations and positions, often in the form of “yoga challenges,” trampoline sessions, gymnastics moves or eating Popsicles.

These users, some of whom have usernames that blatantly reference pedophilia, leave both veiled and explicit sexual comments on the children’s videos, as well as linked timestamps meant to direct other viewers to particularly revealing moments within the video.

Watson claims he has also found links to actual child pornography being shared via the comments of the videos.

The exposure video demonstrates that YouTube’s algorithm directs users to these videos with just a few clicks from unrelated, normal videos. Many of the videos in question were monetized, displaying multiple ads from multiple companies, including McDonald’s, Disney, Grammarly, Chromebook, Purina, Ikea, Glad, GNC and Lysol.

YouTube logo (NiP Studio/Shutterstock)

YouTube logo (NiP Studio/Shutterstock)

Watson’s video sparked the Twitter hashtag campaign #youtubewakeup, which gained the attention of advertisers in less than 24 hours.

During a follow-up Monday live stream, where Watson recreated his algorithm demonstration, he discovered that one of the videos featured in his original report had been deleted. (RELATED: Pedophiles Believe They Should Be A Part Of The LGBT Community)

The same stream showcased a since-deleted tweet from YouTube’s Twitter account, acknowledging the issue and promising that the company was taking action.

Watson’s reaction to YouTube’s response and visible evidence of action was hopeful, calling the acknowledgment a “small victory.”

“The battle is still ongoing. But what we have shown is that YouTube does have the power to remove these videos,” Watson said. “This won’t necessarily go away, but we have shown that YouTube can and will do something about this when they have to,” he added.

The public has long known about child exploitation on YouTube, but so far the company has failed to adequately address the issue.

Watson’s video came just days after multiple innocent YouTube channels were wrongly deleted after being flagged for tagging their videos with the abbreviation “CP,” a phrase that sometimes stands for “child porn.”

While the videos exposed by Watson slipped under the radar during this weekend’s cleanup, many argue they wouldn’t have even been there in the first place if YouTube simply enforced its rule forbidding uploads from users under the age of 13.

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An elderly woman was rescued from her frigid home in California after sheriff’s deputies found her alone, without power and surrounded by snow.

Joan Almstrom was at her home in Pioneer, roughly 61 miles east of Sacramento, on Saturday when a neighbor couldn’t get in contact with her and called authorities to check on her.

RETIRED POLICE OFFICER IS PERFECT KIDNEY DONOR MATCH FOR FORMER BEAT PARTNER

Deputy Casey Wilson, of the Amador County Sheriff’s Office, responded, and found Almstrom "inside, freezing cold and without power, heat or phone service," according to a Facebook post from the department.

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The sheriff’s deputy shoveled snow from Almstrom’s home to the road. He then transported her to his patrol vehicle and brought her to the Jackson Rancheria Casino Resort in Jackson.

The hotel, according to the sheriff’s office, provided them with a discounted rate for a hotel room — for which Wilson paid.

Source: Fox News National

Aides set up platforms before a group photo with members of U.S. and Chinese trade negotiation delegations at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing
Aides set up platforms before a group photo with members of U.S. and Chinese trade negotiation delegations at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing, China February 15, 2019. Mark Schiefelbein/Pool via REUTERS

February 19, 2019

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A new round of talks between the United States and China to resolve their trade war will take place in Washington on Tuesday, with follow-up sessions at a higher level later in the week, the White House said on Monday.

The talks follow a round of negotiations that ended last week in Beijing without a deal but which officials said had generated progress on contentious issues between the two trading partners.

The talks are aimed at “achieving needed structural changes in China that affect trade between the United States and China.  The two sides will also discuss China’s pledge to purchase a substantial amount of goods and services from the United States,” the White House said in a statement.

(Reporting by Jeff Mason; Editing by Dan Grebler)

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FILE PHOTO: Longtime Trump ally Roger Stone gives an interview to Reuters in Washington, U.S., January 31, 2019. REUTERS/Leah Millis
FILE PHOTO: Longtime Trump ally Roger Stone gives an interview to Reuters in Washington, U.S., January 31, 2019. REUTERS/Leah Millis/File Photo

February 19, 2019

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump’s former adviser Roger Stone apologized on Monday after posting on Instagram a photo of the judge overseeing his trial for allegedly making false statements to Congress, obstruction and witness tampering.

The photo of U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson, which included a symbol that appeared to represent crosshairs, was later taken down.

An attorney for Stone said in a filing in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia that Stone “apologizes to the Court for the improper photograph and comment” and said “Mr. Stone recognizes the impropriety and had it removed.”

The judge issued a gag order on Friday that prohibits lawyers involved in the case from speaking with the news media and prohibits other participants, such as Stone himself, from making statements that may affect the case when they are near the courthouse.

“A photo of Judge Jackson posted on my Instagram has been misinterpreted. This was a random photo taken from the Internet,” Stone said in a statement posted to Instagram. “Any inference that this was meant to somehow threaten the Judge or disrespect court is categorically false.”

Stone has pleaded not guilty to charges of making false statements to Congress, obstruction and witness tampering in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe of Russia’s role in the 2016 U.S. election and whether President Trump’s Republican campaign conspired with Moscow.

(Reporting by Jeff Mason and Andy Sullivan; Editing by Dan Grebler)

Source: OANN

The two Nigerian brothers who were arrested last Wednesday for allegedly attacking “Empire” star Jussie Smollett before being released Friday without charges, released a joint statement Monday.

Olabinjo Osundairo and Abimbola Osundairo said to WBBM – TV, “We are not racist. We are not homophobic, and we are not anti-Trump. We were born and raised in Chicago and are American citizens.”

Smollett alleged that two white men attacked him in the middle of the night as he was walking home from a Chicago-area “Subway” restaurant last month. He told police that the men poured a bleach-like substance on him and tied a noose-like rope around his neck while shouting racist and homophobic slurs.  (RELATED: Jussie Smollett On MAGA Hats: ‘I Never Said That!’)

There have been reports suggesting that the attack was actually staged by Smollett and the two brothers were paid for their participation, according to CNN.

Smollett’s attorneys Todd Pugh and Victor Henderson released a statement Sunday, saying such claims were “nothing further from the truth.”

It also appears that the case could be headed to a grand jury.

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Source: The Daily Caller

Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian has revealed new details of his horrifying ordeal in an Iranian prison, telling The Guardian newspaper that while he was never physically abused, "I was certainly tortured, and they have to pay for that."

Rezaian, who was held in Tehran’s notorious Evin prison for 18 months on accusations of espionage and related charges before his release in January 2016, has sued Iran in U.S. federal court, alleging he received such "physical mistreatment and severe psychological abuse … that he will never be the same." He also has written a memoir about his experience, "Prisoner," which was published last month.

A native of California, Rezaian held both U.S. and Iranian citizenship at the time of his arrest in July 2014. He was working as the Post’s Tehran correspondent and was living in the capital with his wife, Bloomberg News reporter Yeganeh Salehi, when both were arrested by members of the theocracy’s secret police.

HELL ON EARTH: INSIDE IRAN’S BRUTAL EVIN PRISON

"For the first six or seven months, [the threat of execution] was pretty regular," said Rezaian, who recalled seeing condemned prisoners when he was taken to and from court for his secret trial. "It was the constant anxiety of: ‘Are they going to kill me, are they going to keep me forever or am I going to be released tomorrow?’ You don’t know what to believe. That’s the method. That’s the torture."

Rezaian told The Guardian he had nightmares of being kept in prison after he was supposed to be released. He also said he’s become more nervous about taking on overseas assignments.

"Like many foreign correspondents, I used to be pretty intrepid in where I was willing to go," he said. "Now I’m not. I have to have very concrete plans. I get anxious and paranoid if I don’t know how I’m going to get back to my hotel. All these things are so counter to the way that I lived for so many years."

WIFE OF U.S. SCHOLAR IMPRISONED IN IRAN SPEAKS OUT: ‘HIS ONLY CRIME IS HE’S AMERICAN’

Rezaian also said the murder of Saudi activist Jamal Khashoggi, who contributed columns to the Post’s global opinions section, had a psychological effect on his wife and him. Khashoggi was murdered this past October in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey.

"We were kindred spirits, in the sense that we both felt forced out of place," Rezaian told the Guardian of Khashoggi and himself. "[We felt] that these governments didn’t want to see us in their midst any longer."

In one of Rezaian’s final conversations with his interrogators before returning to the U.S., he said, they predicted that Donald Trump would win the U.S. presidential election.

"It’s very simple," one of them reportedly told Rezaian. "Trump is the candidate that hates Muslims most."

Click for more from The Guardian.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Source: Fox News World

A heckler at a rally for Democratic Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren yelled on Saturday “Why’d you lie?” when Warren started talking about her background and who she was.

The heckler wanted to know why Warren identified as a Native American. It was revealed in February by The Washington Post that Warren wrote “Native American” on her Texas bar exam.

Warren admitted, following a DNA test, that she’s not an actual tribal citizen, saying “tribes and only tribes determine citizenship.”

Check out this mash-up of Warren’s latest awkward moments. (RELATED: Bar Hopping With Liberals On Election Night)

Watch some of The Daily Caller News Foundation’s other videos and subscribe to our YouTube channel to make sure you never miss out.

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San Francisco Giants Manager Bochy stands next to the World Series trophy before their MLB National League baseball game against St. Louis Cardinals in San Francisco
FILE PHOTO: San Francisco Giants Manager Bruce Bochy stands next to the World Series trophy before the team’s MLB National League baseball game against the St. Louis Cardinals in San Francisco, California April 7, 2013. REUTERS/Stephen Lam

February 19, 2019

San Francisco Giants manager Bruce Bochy announced Monday that he will retire after the 2019 season.

The announcement was made on the club’s Twitter feed.

“I will be retiring after the season.” –@BruceBochy

Bochy, who turns 64 in April, has guided the Giants to three World Series titles (2010, 2012, 2014) during his tenure. He also managed the San Diego Padres to the 1998 World Series when that club lost to the New York Yankees.

Bochy enters the 2019 season with the 11th-most wins in major league history. He is 1,926-1,944 in 24 seasons — 12 with the Padres and 12 with the Giants.

“Words cannot adequately express the amount of admiration, gratitude and respect the Giants family has for Bruce Bochy,” team president and CEO Laurence M. Baer said in a prepared statement. “His honesty, integrity, passion and brilliance led to the most successful period of Giants baseball in the history of our franchise. He will always be a Giant and we look forward to honoring him and all of his achievements throughout his final season in San Francisco and inevitably in Cooperstown.”

He stands 74 ways away from reaching 2,000 career wins. Every manager who has reached that mark is enshrined in the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown.

“It’s been an unbelievable ride,” Bochy said. “There’s so much I’m grateful for.”

Bochy’s teams went 951-975 in his tenure with San Diego from 1995-2006. He was National League Manager of the Year in 1996 and led the Padres to four postseason berths.

Bochy won division titles in each of his final two seasons in San Diego but was told after the 2006 campaign he could explore his options. He eventually accepted the Giants’ job.

World Series title No. 1 came after the 2010 season when San Francisco defeated the Texas Rangers in five games.

Two years later, the Giants won their second title under Bochy with a four-game sweep of the Detroit Tigers.

In 2014, San Francisco won a memorable seven-game series against the Kansas City Royals. Bochy made the call to install ace left-hander Madison Bumgarner in relief on two days rest and received five shutout innings to win his third title.

The Giants also made the playoffs in 2016 and were eliminated by the Chicago Cubs in the National League Division Series.

His record with San Francisco heading into 2019 stands at 975-969.

“Ever since I moved to San Francisco in 2007, the city and our awesome fans have embraced me,” Bochy said on Twitter. “I’m going to miss it, but I’m so grateful for the last 12 years and am looking forward to finishing strong this season.”

Bochy’s health has been a concern in recent seasons and he has undergone multiple heart procedures.

Bochy was a catcher for the Houston Astros (1978-80), New York Mets (1982) and Padres (1983-87) and batted .239 with 26 homers and 93 RBIs over nine major league seasons.

(Field Level Media)

Source: OANN

A Honduran lawmaker has been stripped of her seat in Congress after being convicted last month of defaming and slandering a local banker.

The court on Monday also sentenced Maria Luisa Borjas of the opposition Libre party to serve two years and eight months, but she can avoid jail by paying a fine of $1 for each day.

Her congressional seat will pass to an alternate from her party.

Borjas was running for election in 2017 when she read a list of suspected "intellectual authors" from security ministry report about the 2016 killing of environmental activist Berta Caceres.

The list included Camilo Atala, president of Ficohsa bank.

Atala sued her for defamation, saying the comments caused "irreparable damage" to his reputation. He has denied any connection to the slaying.

Source: Fox News World

A man operates a drone over olive trees in Nabatieh
FILE PHOTO: A man operates a drone over olive trees in Nabatieh area, Lebanon October 25, 2018. REUTERS/ Jamal Saidi

February 19, 2019

By Joshua Franklin

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Macquarie Group, the world’s largest manager of infrastructure assets, has seeded money in a map system for drones and an electric-vehicle sharing business, it said on Monday.

The investments highlight how money managers are looking beyond traditional infrastructure projects, such as toll roads and airports, to burgeoning technologies.

“The overarching theme is that technology is revolutionizing the infrastructure world,” Stephan Feilhauer, senior vice president at Macquarie Capital, said in an interview.

Macquarie said in a statement it had backed AirMap, a provider of airspace information for drone operators, and Envoy Technologies, which offers on-demand electric vehicles in urban areas. It also put money into soil analytics company Teralytic.

The investments are part of Macquarie Capital Venture Studio (MCVS), which was set up with R/GA Ventures about a year ago to back and support emerging tech companies relating to infrastructure.

The companies will receive about $1 million of cash and support services with the possibility of a further $10-$20 million of follow-on investment, Feilhauer said.

Earlier investments out of MCVS include Zero Mass Water, which aims to produce water from sunlight and air, and cyber security start-up Mission Secure, Inc.

“Infrastructure technology, or ‘InfraTech’ is a crucial theme for Macquarie and we absolutely look to continue making further investments in that space,” said Feilhauer.

(Reporting by Joshua Franklin in New York; Editing by Susan Thomas)

Source: OANN

Nicaraguan President Ortega and Vice-President Murillo greet supporters during a march in Managua
FILE PHOTO: Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega and Vice-President Rosario Murillo greet supporters during a march called “We walk for peace, with faith and hope,” in honour of Mons. Oscar Arnulfo Romero, in Managua, Nicaragua October 13, 2018. REUTERS/Oswaldo Rivas

February 19, 2019

By Ismael Lopez

MANAGUA (Reuters) – A farm leader who helped lead protests last year against President Daniel Ortega was sentenced on Monday to 216 years in prison, days after business leaders asked the government to release inmates considered political prisoners.

A judge sentenced Medardo Mairena after he was convicted last December of terrorism, murder and organized crime, charges he denied. Before he was arrested last July, he was among the opposition members who participated in the failed dialogue with the government.

More than 320 people died in the protests last year against Ortega, after government supporters and police opened fire on crowds. Street rallies have since tapered off, and the government has clamped down on opposition media and organizations seen as supporting the protests.

Over the weekend, the government and business groups met in an attempt to restart talks to end the crisis that has severely damaged the poor Central American country’s economy. The business groups demanded the release of more than 600 people they consider to be political prisoners.

Mairena is a leader of a movement opposed to a stalled Chinese-backed project to build a waterway connecting the Pacific and Atlantic oceans, rivaling the Panama Canal.

Despite the sentence, the country’s constitution establishes that no Nicaraguan can spend more than 30 years in prison.

“It is an exaggerated, ridiculous and political sentence,”

Mairena’s lawyer, Julio Montenegro, told a news conference. “We are going to appeal … and go to international courts.”

Judge Edgard Altamirano ruled that Mairena was the mastermind of the murders of five policemen who died during a protest in a municipality in the south of the country and the kidnapping of two other officers.

Several organizations, including the United Nations, have criticized the “excessive use” of force to control the protests and blame the Ortega government for most of the reported deaths. The leftist ex-guerrilla says he is the victim of an attempted coup.

(Reporting by Ismael Lopez; Editing by Frank Jack Daniel; Editing by Peter Cooney)

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A runner in California slipped on a patch of ice on a mountain trail Sunday morning — and fell roughly 180 feet to his death from a mountain peak, officials said.

Ernesto Alonzo Rodriguez, 38, died at Mount Wilson, a peak in the San Gabriel Mountains, located northeast of Los Angeles, KTLA reported.

Rodriguez went on the workout with three other runners, and two of joggers tried to climb down the ravine to help him, the Pasadena Star-News added.

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Fox 11 reported that officials were in the process of notifying his relatives.

Click for more from Fox 11.

Frank Miles is a reporter and editor covering geopolitics, military, crime, technology and sports for FoxNews.com. His email is [email protected]

Source: Fox News National

A man cycles outside the construction sites in Beijing's central business area
FILE PHOTO: A man cycles outside the construction sites in Beijing’s central business area, China January 18, 2019. REUTERS/Jason Lee

February 19, 2019

SHANGHAI (Reuters) – China’s decision to cut company taxes and fees is an important part of fiscal policy and is a hard-hitting measure needed to cope with pressure on the economy, state media reported Vice Premier Han Zheng as saying.

He made the comments on Tuesday during a visit to the State Administration of Taxation, the official People’s Daily newspaper reported.

Officials have pledged more aggressive reductions in 2019, after cutting about 1.3 trillion yuan ($192.82 billion) in taxes and fees last year.

Some analysts expect the changes will be announced during the annual session of parliament in early March, along with other measures to boost economic growth and ease financial strains on struggling companies.

“It is necessary to implement the tax and fee reduction policies so that companies and the people can have a real sense of gain,” Han said.

Chinese authorities plan to set a lower economic growth target of 6 to 6.5 percent in 2019, sources have told Reuters, as weakening domestic demand and a damaging trade war with the United States drag on business activity and consumer confidence.

China’s economy grew by 6.6. percent in 2018, the slowest annual pace since 1990.

(Reporting by Brenda Goh; Editing by Kim Coghill)

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U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer listens as Chinese Vice Premier Liu He talks while they line up for a group photo at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing
FILE PHOTO: U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, left, listens as Chinese Vice Premier Liu He talks while they line up for a group photo at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing, China February 15, 2019. Mark Schiefelbein/Pool via REUTERS

February 19, 2019

BEIJING (Reuters) – Chinese Vice Premier Liu He will visit Washington on Thursday and Friday to continue trade negotiations with the United States, the Commerce Ministry in Beijing said.

Liu will meet U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, the ministry said in a short statement on Tuesday. It gave no other details.

(Reporting by Ben Blanchard and Lusha Zhang; Editing by Paul Tait)

Source: OANN

Tim Pearce | Energy Reporter

The Catholic Church officially recognized that it has internal guidelines in place governing procedures when clerics father children, The New York Times reports.

The admission may be the first of its kind and comes days before the Vatican hosts a meeting with bishops from around the world on child sexual abuse within the church.

“I can confirm that these guidelines exist,” Vatican spokesman Alessandro Gisotti told TheNYT in a statement. “It is an internal document.” (RELATED: Vatican Defrocks Ex-Cardinal McCarrick After Decades-Old Sexual Abuse Allegations)

The guidelines’ “fundamental principle” is the “protection of the child.” It “requests” that the cleric who fathers a child leave the priesthood to “assume his responsibilities as a parent by devoting himself exclusively to the child,” Gisotti said.

The “request” is a formality, Monsignor Andrea Ripa, the under-secretary in the Congregation for the Clergy, told TheNYT. Mandating the cleric leave the priesthood is impossible, but “if you don’t ask, you will be dismissed.”

The Catholic Church has dealt with fallout over sexual abuse within the church for months. In August 2018, a Pennsylvania grand jury released a report detailing rampant child sexual abuse by “predator priests” across six dioceses. Several other states launched their own investigations in the aftermath.

The report caused ripple effects that reached into the highest levels of the Catholic Church and into the Vatican. Vatican officials voted to defrock former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick after an internal investigation into sexual abuse allegations made against him, the church announced Saturday.

Retired Cardinal Theodore McCarrick walks in a procession of bishops as it makes its way through the Bayridge neighborhood of the Brooklyn Borough of New York for the ordination of three auxiliary bishops to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn August 22, 2006. REUTERS/Keith Bedford

Retired Cardinal Theodore McCarrick walks in a procession of bishops as it makes its way through the Bayridge neighborhood of the Brooklyn Borough of New York for the ordination of three auxiliary bishops to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn August 22, 2006. REUTERS/Keith Bedford

Prominent Washington, D.C., Catholics say Cardinal Donald Wuerl, former archbishop of D.C., should be held to account for knowing about McCarrick’s abuse but did nothing to stop it. Wuerl took over the position of archbishop from McCarrick.

Wuerl resigned as archbishop in wake of the criticism, and he was praised by Pope Francis as a model bishop.

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Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact [email protected].

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State police armoured vehicles patrol at an industrial park where employees from some plants are on strike in Matamoros
FILE PHOTO: State police armoured vehicles patrol at an industrial park where employees from some plants are on strike in Matamoros, state of Tamaulipas, Mexico Janaury 29, 2019. REUTERS/Stringer

February 19, 2019

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – A group representing some of Mexico’s biggest companies told left-wing President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador on Monday that politicians should resist “extortion” by labor unions after strikes and blockades in recent weeks.

Alejandro Ramirez, president of the Mexican Business Council, said strikes at factories in the northern state of Tamaulipas and blockades of railways by a teachers union had caused more than a billion dollars in losses and could cause businesses to close.

Members of the group, including Mexico’s second-richest man, German Larrea, who controls mining and transport conglomerate Grupo Mexico, were critics of Lopez Obrador before his July 1 election, warning voters should be wary of populism.

“In labor matters, we look favorably on Mexicans starting a new era of union freedom that will allow the end of old protectionist practices for a few unions and companies,” said Ramirez, chief executive of cinema chain Cineopolis.

“Freedom of association and respect of the rule of law should be the axis of this new labor reform. For that reason, we make a respectful call to lawmakers of all parties that it doesn’t just guarantee union freedom but also avoids union extortion.”

Since taking office, Lopez Obrador and members of the ruling party have sought regulation in areas ranging from banking and pensions to mining to make services cheaper for consumers.

The former Mexico City mayor wants to encourage investment to drive growth, but some worry regulation will be heavy handed and unpredictable.

MORENA, the party created by Lopez Obrador, is planning a reform to make it easier for workers to form independent unions. Traditionally, unions have allied with the former party of power, the Institutional Revolutionary Party.

Lopez Obrador brought veteran union leader Napoleon Gomez into his party as a senator. Gomez has a history of conflict with Grupo Mexico, including strikes.

Gomez last week founded a federation called the International Workers Confederation.

Monday’s event was the first time the group met with Lopez Obrador since he took office in December. Earlier in the day, he met the Council for Investment Promotion, Job Creation and Growth, a body he created to advise on economic policy.

Labor strikes in January at manufacturers in the Mexican city of Matamoros on the U.S. border cost about $50 million a day in unfulfilled international contracts.

Teachers from the National Committee of Education Workers blocked railroad tracks for weeks in January to protest labor demands.

(Reporting by Sharay Angulo; Writing by Frank Jack Daniel; Editing by Peter Cooney)

Source: OANN

The Swedish student who live-streamed her efforts to stop an Afghan asylum-seeker from being deported has reportedly been fined.

Elin Ersson, 21, was indicted in October by Swedish prosecutors for breaking aviation laws but was fined 3,000 Swedish krona, which translates to roughly $324 in U.S. currency, for her efforts, the BBC reported on Monday.

FLASHBACK: WOMAN REFUSES TO SIT DOWN ON FLIGHT IN EFFORT TO STOP MAN’S DEPORTATION TO AFGHANISTAN, DRAMATIC VIDEO SHOWS

In July, Ersson, a college student and volunteer with refugee groups, bought a ticket for a flight from Gothenburg to Turkey after finding out an Afghan man on the flight was being deported to Afghanistan.

While aboard the plane, she live-streamed herself refusing to take her seat until the Afghan man was removed from the flight, saying the man would most likely be killed in Afghanistan.

“I am doing what I can to save a person’s life. As long as a person is standing up the pilot cannot take off," she said. "All I want to do is stop the deportation and then I will comply with the rules here. This is all perfectly legal and I have not committed a crime."

An annoyed passenger tried to grab the phone from Ersson, saying she was upsetting others — to which the student replied: “It’s not my fault that he’s getting deported. I’m trying to stop this.”

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“I’m trying to change my country’s rules. I don’t like them. It’s not right to send people to hell,” she added.

The Afghan man who was being deported, however, had received a prison sentence in Sweden for assault, and his asylum application was rejected. The man was eventually deported to Afghanistan.

Fox News’ Lukas Mikelionis and Kathleen Joyce contributed to this report.

Source: Fox News World

FILE PHOTO: A maze of crude oil pipes and valves is pictured during a tour by the Department of Energy at the Strategic Petroleum Reserve in Freeport
FILE PHOTO: A maze of crude oil pipes and valves is pictured during a tour by the Department of Energy at the Strategic Petroleum Reserve in Freeport, Texas, U.S. June 9, 2016. REUTERS/Richard Carson/File Photo

February 19, 2019

SYDNEY (Reuters) – U.S. oil prices hit a three-month high on Tuesday, buoyed by production cuts led by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were at $55.95 per barrel at 0034 GMT, up 36 cents, or 0.7 percent, from their last settlement. Earlier in the session, they marked their strongest since Nov. 20 at $56.33 a barrel.

Prices had risen 2.2 percent on Friday, the last trading session due to a U.S. public holiday on Monday.

International Brent crude oil futures had yet to trade. They closed Monday up 0.4 percent, after touching their highest since Nov. 20 at $66.83 a barrel.

“OPEC and other major producers have done their part to stabilize prices by limiting output,” said Alfonso Esparza, senior market analyst, OANDA.

“Disruptions in crude supply have also taken prices higher despite the United States ramping up production levels and softer global demand.”

Saudi Arabia’s crude oil exports in Dec fell to 7.690 million barrels per day (bpd) from 8.235 million bpd in Nov, official data showed on Monday.

U.S. energy companies last week increased the number of oil rigs looking for new supply by three to a total of 857, energy services firm Baker Hughes said in a report on Friday.

(Reporting by Colin Packham; Editing by Joseph Radford)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: A maze of crude oil pipes and valves is pictured during a tour by the Department of Energy at the Strategic Petroleum Reserve in Freeport
FILE PHOTO: A maze of crude oil pipes and valves is pictured during a tour by the Department of Energy at the Strategic Petroleum Reserve in Freeport, Texas, U.S. June 9, 2016. REUTERS/Richard Carson/File Photo

February 19, 2019

SYDNEY (Reuters) – U.S. oil prices hit a three-month high on Tuesday, buoyed by production cuts led by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were at $55.95 per barrel at 0034 GMT, up 36 cents, or 0.7 percent, from their last settlement. Earlier in the session, they marked their strongest since Nov. 20 at $56.33 a barrel.

Prices had risen 2.2 percent on Friday, the last trading session due to a U.S. public holiday on Monday.

International Brent crude oil futures had yet to trade. They closed Monday up 0.4 percent, after touching their highest since Nov. 20 at $66.83 a barrel.

“OPEC and other major producers have done their part to stabilize prices by limiting output,” said Alfonso Esparza, senior market analyst, OANDA.

“Disruptions in crude supply have also taken prices higher despite the United States ramping up production levels and softer global demand.”

Saudi Arabia’s crude oil exports in Dec fell to 7.690 million barrels per day (bpd) from 8.235 million bpd in Nov, official data showed on Monday.

U.S. energy companies last week increased the number of oil rigs looking for new supply by three to a total of 857, energy services firm Baker Hughes said in a report on Friday.

(Reporting by Colin Packham; Editing by Joseph Radford)

Source: OANN

Neetu Chandak | Education and Politics Reporter

West Virginia teachers are planning to go on a statewide strike Tuesday over an education bill they feel does not include input from educators.

Three unions — West Virginia Education Association, the state’s American Federation of Teachers (AFT) and West Virginia School Service Personnel Association — made the announcement at a Monday press conference, according to WTRF.

Bills approved by the state’s Senate and House of Delegates both help establish West Virginia’s first charter schools, The Associated Press reported. The Senate version of the bill would allow up to seven charter schools and give as much as 1,000 education savings accounts for parents to pay for private school.

Supporters of the provision believe parents will have more school choice, while the unions believe the bill will hurt traditional public schools.

It is unclear how long the strike will last or how many teachers will be striking. (RELATED: West Virginia Sees Biggest Drop In Public School Enrollment In Nearly Two Decades)

“We are watching this hour by hour,” West Virginia AFT President Fred Albert said, The AP reported.

Some of the more than 30,000 striking teachers in the Los Angeles public school system march after holding a rally at the City Hall in Los Angeles, California, U.S., January 14, 2019. REUTERS/Mike Blake

Some of the more than 30,000 striking teachers in the Los Angeles public school system march after holding a rally at the City Hall in Los Angeles, California, U.S., January 14, 2019. REUTERS/Mike Blake

Around 20,000 teachers in all 55 West Virginia counties walked out for nine days between February and March of 2018, according to Rethinking Schools.

Nearly 277,000 students across the state were left without teachers and schools were shutdown.

The teachers won 5 percent pay raise as a result of the 2018 strike, The AP reported.

West Virginia’s strike comes as Oakland, California, teachers prepare to strike on Feb. 21. The California teachers want a 12 percent raise along with smaller class sizes.

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FILE PHOTO: Handout of Meng Wanzhou, Huawei Technologies Co Ltd's chief financial officer (CFO)
FILE PHOTO: Meng Wanzhou, Huawei Technologies Co Ltd’s chief financial officer (CFO), is seen in this undated handout photo obtained by Reuters December 6, 2018. Huawei/Handout via REUTERS

February 19, 2019

(Reuters) – Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei said on Monday that the arrest of his daughter, Huawei Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou, was politically motivated.

“Firstly, I object to what the U.S. has done. This kind of politically motivated act is not acceptable,” Ren told the BBC in an interview.

Canada arrested Meng on Dec. 1 at the request of the United States. Meng was charged with bank and wire fraud to violate American sanctions against Iran.

The U.S. Justice Department denied the charges were politically motivated. “The Justice Department’s criminal case against Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou is based solely on the evidence and the law. The Department pursues cases free of any political interference and follows the evidence and rule of law in pursuing criminal charges,” spokeswoman Nicole Navas said in an email to Reuters.

Huawei, along with another Chinese network equipment company, ZTE Corp, has been accused by the United States of working at the behest of the Chinese government. The United States has said their equipment could be used to spy on Americans. Huawei has repeatedly denied the claims.

Commenting on the spying concerns, the Huawei founder reiterated that the company will “never undertake” any spying activities.

Huawei, the world’s biggest producer of telecoms equipment, faces intense scrutiny in the West over its relationship with the Chinese government and allegations of enabling state espionage, with the United States calling for its allies not to use its technology.

Ren said the company could downsize to weather such attempts by the United States.

“The world cannot leave us because we are more advanced. Even if they (U.S.) persuade more countries not to use us temporarily, we can always scale things down a bit”, he added.

In comments on a potential ban in the UK, Ren said it would not make the company withdraw its UK investments, adding that it will shift its investments to the UK from the United States if U.S. actions against Huawei continue.

“We will invest even more in the UK. Because if the U.S. doesn’t trust us, then we will shift our investment from the U.S. to the UK on an even bigger scale,” Ken told the BBC.

Reuters reported earlier on Monday that British security officials do not support a full ban of Huawei from national telecoms networks despite U.S. allegations against the Chinese firm.

(Reporting by Kanishka Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Dan Grebler)

Source: OANN

Yaya Niass, a hairdresser who works out of a road-side shack, is pictured inside his shop in Pikine, on the outskirts of Dakar
FILE PHOTO: Yaya Niass, a hairdresser who works out of a road-side shack, is pictured inside his shop in Pikine, on the outskirts of Dakar, Senegal February 1, 2019. REUTERS/ Zohra Bensemra

February 19, 2019

DAKAR (Reuters) – For Yaya Niass, who cuts hair in a roadside shack on the outskirts of Dakar, the time for political change in Senegal – and in Africa as a whole – is well overdue.

“We are late in terms of development compared to other continents …so I expect from the next president, from the next African presidents that they work to …be in power for the people,” he said as the country prepares to elect a new leader on Sunday.

Niass, 48, who grew up in France and lived there until 1985, did not say who he will vote for, but was sure he wanted to see fundamental changes in the country.

“The African people are really tired, we make do…but I think states really have the power to change things.”

Senegal was on a good path, he said. “(But) just one group of Senegalese that live really well in comfort while all the rest suffer, that needs to stop.”

(Reporting by Christophe van der Perre; Editing by John Stonestreet)

Source: OANN

Authorities say three children and a woman were found dead of apparent gunshot wounds at a home in western Michigan.

Kent County Sheriff Michelle LaJoye-Young says authorities responded Monday to a property near Cedar Springs, a community about 30 miles (48 kilometers) north of Grand Rapids. She says someone discovered the bodies and called 911.

LaJoye-Young said the three children were elementary school-aged and younger but declined to provide further information about the victims’ relationships to one another. She said authorities were still confirming the victims’ identities.

LaJoye-Young called the scene "a horrific thing to be called to" and said "my heart goes out to the families involved here and the community."

Authorities don’t believe there is a shooter at large. An investigation is ongoing.

___

Information from: WOOD-TV, http://www.woodtv.com

Source: Fox News National

Pedestrians are reflected on an electronic board showing stock prices outside a brokerage in Tokyo
FILE PHOTO: Pedestrians are reflected on an electronic board showing stock prices outside a brokerage in Tokyo, Japan December 27, 2018. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

February 19, 2019

By Hideyuki Sano

TOKYO (Reuters) – Asian shares hovered near a four-month peak on Tuesday, supported by hopes that Sino-U.S. trade talks were making positive progress and expectations of policy stimulus from central banks.

While investors were without any firm directional cues with U.S. markets shut on Monday for public holiday, sentiment remains broadly buoyant with the STOXX 600 index of European shares hitting four-month highs.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was little changed in early trade, staying near Wednesday’s four-month peak while Japan’s Nikkei was almost flat.

Reports of progress in trade talks between the United States and China have prompted investors to be mildly optimistic that the two countries could reach a compromise to avoid tariff hikes on March 1, although few details from the talks have emerged.

U.S. President Donald Trump said last week he might extend his March 1 deadline, which would stop an immediate increase in tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports to 25 percent from 10 percent.

Reflecting changing sentiment, Chinese shares have risen rapidly so far this month, with MSCI’s China A shares index up 6.5 percent, by far the best performance among major markets.

Additionally, investors are now seen returning to riskier asset markets after the U.S. Federal Reserve signaled earlier this year it could halt rate hikes in light of U.S. economic softness.

“Starting with the Fed, the world’s central banks are no longer leaning towards tightening. The Fed’s turnaround stemmed the dollar’s strength, allowing central banks in emerging markets to seek easy monetary policy too,” said Shuji Shirota, head of macroeconomic strategy at HSBC Securities.

“The global economy is not necessarily in strong shape now but we are in a ‘mini-goldilocks’ environment,” he said.

In currency markets, the euro and other risk-sensitive currencies remained underpinned by hopes on U.S.-China trade talks though most currencies were stuck in familiar ranges.

The euro changed hands at $1.1311, off Friday’s three-month low of $1.1234.

A run of soft European economic data, including Germany’s GDP figures, has weighed on the common currency.

Comments from European Central Bank’s Olli Rehn on Sunday have fanned speculation the European Central Bank would launch another round of Targeted Long-Term Refinancing Operations (TLTRO) to support bank lending.

The dollar stood at 110.59 yen, stepping back from Thursday’s seven-week peak of 111.13.

Sterling traded at $1.2919, with an eye on Brexit talks between Britain and the European Union.

The precious metals market was slightly more lively, with palladium surging to a record high of $1,458.5 per ounce as stricter emissions standards are seen increasing demand for the autocatalyst metal.

Gold rose to a near 10-month high of $1,327.40 per ounce.

Oil prices held firm at three-month highs owing to a growing belief among investors that OPEC’s supply cuts will prevent a build-up in unused fuel.

Brent futures rose to as high as $66.83 on Monday, hitting their highest levels since mid-November.

U.S. crude futures rose 0.5 percent in early Tuesday trade to $55.86.

(Editing by Sam Holmes)

Source: OANN

Harrison Smith takes over the War Room where he is joined by a plethora of guests. First, William Gheen comes on to discuss the Jussie Smollett case. Adrienna DiCioccio and Brad Chadford later join to discuss #48Dark on Twitter and Wednesday’s Twitter HQ protest. Then Peter Boykin comes on to talk about his MAGA hat assault and finally, Owen and Roger join the show to comment on Trump’s speech about Venezuela and the outrageous coup attempt by the Deep State via the 25th Amendment.

GUEST // See More (OTP/Skype) // TOPICS:
William Gheen//Skype
Adrienna DiCioccio//Skype
Brad Chadford//Skype
Peter Boykin//Skype
Owen Shroyer//Skype
Roger Stone//Skype

Source: The War Room

Roger Stone issued a formal apology Monday to the federal judge handling his case in the special counsel’s investigation.

“Please inform the Court that the photograph and comment today was improper and should not have been posted,” Stone wrote in a statement submitted by his attorneys. “I had no intention of disrespecting the Court and humbly apologize to the Court for the transgression.”

Stone posted a graphic to his Instagram account earlier Monday that showed U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson placed in front of a set of crosshairs.

“Through legal trickery Deep State hitman Robert Mueller has guaranteed that my upcoming show trial is before Judge Amy Berman Jackson, an Obama appointed Judge who dismissed the Benghazi charges again Hillary Clinton and incarcerated Paul Manafort prior to his conviction for any crime. #fixisin Help me fight for my life at @StoneDefenseFund.com,” Stone wrote in the post, which has since been deleted. Stone claimed he did not realize that the crosshairs were in the graphic. (RELATED: Roger Stone Indicted In Special Counsel’s Investigation)

Stone was indicted on Jan. 25 on five counts of making false statements to Congress, one count of witness tampering and one count of obstructing an official government proceeding. Mueller’s team has investigated whether Stone had any contact with WikiLeaks or Russian operatives involved in stealing Democrats’ emails during the 2016 campaign.

WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 21: Special counsel Robert Mueller (L) arrives at the U.S. Capitol for closed meeting with members of the Senate Judiciary Committee June 21, 2017 in Washington, DC. The committee meets with Mueller to discuss the firing of former FBI Director James Comey. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Special counsel Robert Mueller (L) arrives at the U.S. Capitol for closed meeting with members of the Senate Judiciary Committee on June 21, 2017 in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Stone has denied having any contact with WikiLeaks or Russians, and he had not been charged with any conspiracy to steal or release stolen emails.

Jackson ruled Friday against a motion filed by Stone’s attorneys to have her replaced as judge on the case. The special counsel’s office tapped Jackson to oversee the case because she is handling a related case that falls under the Russia probe.

Jackson is also handling the case against former Trump campaign chairman Manafort.

It remains to be seen whether Stone’s post will lead to a gag order against the longtime GOP operative. Jackson last week declined to impose a full gag order on Stone, though she did prohibit him from speaking publicly about his case at the federal courthouse where he will eventually go to trial. However, Jackson did leave open the possibility of expanding the gag order if Stone makes comments that could influence the case.

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The State Department responded to reports that five Americans in Haiti were arrested and held on conspiracy charges after more than a week of anti-government protests.

“We understand that the Haitian National Police detained a group of individuals, including some U.S. citizens. When U.S. citizens are arrested overseas we seek Consular Access as soon as possible and provide appropriate Consular assistance as provided by the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations,” a State Department spokesperson told Fox News. It did not comment further.

Reuters reported that a group of foreign nationals including armed Americans were arrested. Haitian newspaper Le Nouvelliste reported that police found rifles, pistols, drones and satellite phones in the group’s vehicle, according to Reuters.

The arrests come after more than a week of violent demonstrations by tens of thousands of protesters demanding the resignation of President Jovenel Moise over skyrocketing prices that have more than doubled for basic goods amid allegations of government corruption.

TRUMP DECLARES ‘SOCIALISM IS DYING’ AMID VENEZUELA ‘CATASTROPHE,’ PROMISES ‘THIS WILL NEVER HAPPEN TO US’

Last week, the State Department issued its highest-possible travel advisory for Haiti, the Western Hemisphere’s poorest nation.

“Do not travel to Haiti due to crime and civil unrest,” the department advised Americans in its Level 4 warning. “There are currently widespread, violent, and unpredictable demonstrations in Port-au-Prince and elsewhere in Haiti. … Protests, tire burning, and road blockages are frequent and unpredictable. Violent crime, such as armed robbery, is common. Local police may lack the resources to respond effectively to serious criminal incidents, and emergency response, including ambulance service, is limited or non-existent.”

Goods in Haiti have doubled in price in recent weeks: A sack of rice now costs $18 in U.S. dollars and a can of dry beans around $7. In addition, a gallon of cooking oil has gone up to nearly $11 from $7. Inflation has been in the double digits since 2014, and the price hikes are angering many people in Haiti, where about 60 percent of its nearly 10.5 million people struggle to get by on about $2 a day. A recent report by the U.S. Agency for International Development said about half the country is undernourished.

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The U.S. government urged Moise’s administration to implement economic reforms and redouble efforts to fight corruption and hold accountable those implicated in the scandal over the Venezuelan subsidized oil program, known as Petrocaribe.

Moise has refused to step down, though his prime minister, Jean-Henry Ceant, said over the weekend that he has agreed to reduce certain government budgets by 30 percent, limit travel of government officials and remove all non-essential privileges they enjoy, including phone cards. Ceant also vowed to investigate alleged misspending tied to Petrocaribe, and said he has requested that a court audit all state-owned enterprises. He also said he would increase the minimum wage and lower the prices of basic goods, although he did not provide specifics.

Fox News’ Nicholas Kalman and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Source: Fox News World

The second woman who accused Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax of sexual assault wrote an op-ed Monday in the Washington Post, in which she renewed her offer to testify publicly in front of the state legislature.

Last month, Meredith Watson alleged that Fairfax raped her while they were students at Duke in 2000, but he has denied the allegations(RELATED: Second Woman Accuses Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax Of Sexual Assault)

Watson wrote in her op-ed, “Despite the professed belief of numerous elected officials in Virginia and elsewhere that Vanessa Tyson, who says that Fairfax sexually assaulted her in 2004, and I have brought forward credible allegations, the Virginia General Assembly has not taken the simple and responsible step of arranging the thorough public hearing that we have sought.”

She continued:

I am frustrated by calls for an investigation rather than a public hearing into these matters. Such “investigations” are secret proceedings, out of the public eye, leaving victims vulnerable to selective leaks and smears. And we all know how such investigations end: with “inconclusive results.” My privacy has already been violated, yet I am still willing to testify publicly under oath. Tyson has made the same offer. Our plea to the Virginia General Assembly to require the same of Fairfax has been met with inaction.

In a more detailed statement, Watson alleged that she told Fairfax and other friends about getting raped by a player on Duke’s basketball team. According to her story, Fairfax then raped her. Later on, Watson says she confronted him about the assault and asked why he did it. He allegedly answered, “I knew that because of what happened to you last year, you’d be too afraid to say anything.’”

Fairfax was also accused of sexually assaulting a woman days before Watson came forward. Dr. Vanessa Tyson accused Fairfax of forcing her to perform oral sex on him in 2004 at the Democratic National Convention in Boston. (RELATED: Several 2020 Dems Are Calling For Lt. Gov. Fairfax To Resign)

Despite both allegations, Fairfax remains in his position.

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Source: The Daily Caller

An anti-Brexit demonstrator protests outside the Houses of Parliament, in Westminster, London
FILE PHOTO: An anti-Brexit demonstrator protests outside the Houses of Parliament, in Westminster, London, Britain, February 13, 2019. REUTERS/Hannah McKay

February 19, 2019

By David Milliken

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain faces the “catastrophic prospect” of a no-deal Brexit next month due to the selfishness of some politicians and chaotic parliamentary proceedings, the head of the country’s main manufacturing association said on Tuesday.

The strong warning from Make UK, previously known as the EEF, comes as Japanese carmaker Honda is expected to say it is preparing to shut its main UK plant with a loss of 3,500 jobs.

Nissan earlier this month canceled plans to build its X-Trail sport utility vehicle in Britain, mostly blaming “business reasons” but also citing Brexit uncertainty.

“Let me be clear … for those hard Brexiteers who accuse us of scaremongering. This is very real and very serious,” Make UK’s chair, Judith Hackitt, said in remarks ahead of the group’s annual conference.

Finance minister Philip Hammond and business minister Greg Clark – who are on the pro-European wing of Prime Minister Theresa May’s Conservative Party – as well as opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, are due to address the conference.

Corbyn intends to call again for May to back his proposal for a permanent customs union with the European Union and full guarantees for existing worker and consumer rights. He plans to meet chief EU negotiator Michel Barnier this week.

Britain’s parliament overwhelmingly rejected the transition deal that May negotiated with the EU and time is running out to avoid a disruptive no-deal Brexit on March 29 which would lead to the re-imposition of customs checks on British exports.

“Some of our politicians have put selfish political ideology ahead of the national interest and people’s livelihoods and left us facing the catastrophic prospect of leaving the EU next month with no deal,” Hackitt said.

British manufacturers are facing a global slowdown as well as Brexit uncertainty. Official data last week showed their output fell by the most in over five years in the final quarter of 2018.

Some 49 percent of 429 manufacturers surveyed for Make UK said a no-deal Brexit would make Britain unattractive, compared with 28 percent who said Britain would still be an attractive location, with bigger companies more likely to express concerns.

Twenty-three percent of manufacturers said they had started stockpiling raw materials ahead of Brexit, when they were surveyed by polling firm YouGov between Jan. 28 and Feb. 5, and another 24 percent said they were considering doing so.

More than half of manufacturers who had started stockpiling said it was proving a financial strain.

(Reporting by David Milliken; Editing by William Schomberg)

Source: OANN

Wads of euro banknotes are stacked in a pile at the Money Service Austria company's headquarters in Vienna
FILE PHOTO: Wads of euro banknotes are stacked in a pile at the Money Service Austria company’s headquarters in Vienna, Austria, March 3, 2016. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger

February 19, 2019

By Shinichi Saoshiro

TOKYO (Reuters) – The dollar held steady against its peers on Tuesday, lacking strong direction as U.S. markets were shut for a holiday the previous day, while the euro’s latest bounce slowed as the focus drifted back to the economy and European Central Bank policy.

The dollar index versus a basket of six major currencies was little changed at 96.784 after ending the previous session flat. The U.S. financial markets were closed on Monday for Presidents’ Day.

The euro was little changed at $1.1312 after edging up 0.16 percent overnight, when it pulled away from a three-month low of $1.1234.

The single currency was buoyed by improved investor sentiment as expectations increased for an easing of the U.S.-China trade conflict after both sides reported progress in talks.

The dollar, the world’s most liquid currency, has tended to perform well during bouts of investor nervousness.

“The euro’s latest bounce was not based a positive incentive specific to the currency and the market will likely return to pricing in the potential negatives. The euro will remain on a shaky footing,” said Masafumi Yamamoto, chief forex strategist at Mizuho Securities.

“There is still some way to go before potential negatives are factored into the euro ahead of the March 7 ECB meeting.”

ECB policymakers will next meet on March 7, when the bank’s staff are expected to slash growth and inflation projections as the euro zone suffers its biggest slowdown in half a decade.

The dollar was a shade lower at 110.59 yen after gaining a modest 0.15 percent overnight.

The Australian dollar was flat at $0.7129 after dipping 0.15 percent the previous day.

The immediate focus was on the minutes from the Reserve Bank of Australia’s (RBA) monetary policy meeting held at the start of the month.

Governor Philip Lowe on Feb. 6 opened the door to a possible rate cut by acknowledging growing economic risks, in a remarkable shift from its long-standing tightening bias that sent the Aussie tumbling.

Source: OANN

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On the roster: When every day is Presidents’ Day – Would Biden be the real frontrunner? – List of litigants against Trump emergency growing – Audible: Like freedom fries? – Tudder for an udder

WHEN EVERY DAY IS PRESIDENTS’ DAY
We are in the midst of a needful and long-overdue discussion about executive authority.

But don’t expect it to last.

In the past seven decades, Americans have substantially learned to live without the small-r republicanism that was so much a part of our founding and first century and a half of our history.

Consider the long, slouchy slide into the abomination that we call “Presidents’ Day.” The holiday is still “George Washington’s Birthday” by law, having survived an effort in 1968 to standardize the observance as a generic honor for all presidents.

Abraham Lincoln, born on Feb. 12, never had a federal observance of his own, but most states had holidays for the Great Emancipator. Washington was born on Feb. 22, so this created something of a holiday logjam in February, which was unhelpful for schools and employers.

Over time, confusion between state and federal observances and the pressure from advertisers who wanted a standard way to hawk mattresses and minivans, dumbed down the holiday.

While it’s true that it doesn’t really matter what we call the day for the sake of celebrations. Americans ought not need to be told how and when exactly to venerate our two greatest leaders. Plus, ski weekends…

What does matter, though, is that the generic holiday is an unfortunate reflection of the royalist strain that has so much taken hold of American political thinking.

There’s no doubt that in our republic, the president is afforded many of the powers of a term-limited king. The power of the commander in chief to defend against an attack or of whether to pardon a criminal are magisterial indeed.

The fear among the Federalists in support of the Constitution was, in fact, that the legislative branch would be too powerful and that the executive would be too puny to get the job done. Sapped of the capacity for decisive action, the executive branch would become a kind of ceremonial head of state – a hood ornament for the country. Meanwhile, Congress would be unable to provide decisive responses to *ahem* national emergencies.

It’s turned out to be exactly the opposite. Congress can seldom act, it’s true. But the response from what is supposed to be the preeminent branch has been to cede its own authority. For decades now and under the control of both parties, Congress has taken itself from the lion of our government into a pipsqueak.

The idea behind venerating Washington and Lincoln is that they were special men who, at crucial moments, led the country out of dangerous straits and into greater glories. And in both cases, that given the opportunity to be demagogues or to hoard power for themselves, they instead placed those authorities back in the hands of the representatives of the people.

But the reason their self-sacrifice is so remarkable is that it is so rare. And it is so rare because, as the verdict of 10,000 years of history clearly shows, the people generally don’t want the power. Autocracy and highly centralized power haven’t been the norm in human history just because of the efforts autocrats, but also the will of the people.

Being a citizen in a republic is harder duty than being the subject of a king or queen. You have to make decisions. You have to know the facts. You have to participate.

The imperial American presidency has been growing and growing to the point now where we are even having a discussion about whether the current occupant of the Oval Office can even disregard the domestic spending direction of the Congress. That we are even in debate on the subject tells us how far we have fallen.

And in this case, like every executive usurpation that has come before, the executive points to the abuses that came before and were allowed to stand by a craven Congress. We won’t here delve into the cause of congressional cravenness, except to say that the individual ambitions of careerist lawmakers has made lawmaking seem rather too icky.

Where we’ve landed, and this has been very much for the current presidency and the one before it, is where everything seems focused on the man in the White House. Day after day after day of focus on one single human. As if a president could be so powerful… 

Whatever sign they hung in the window at the mattress store today doesn’t matter, but we would submit that when we divorced the observance from the individual men, it was another step toward a monarchical America.    

The truth that most of us would probably not like to confront is that America likes it better that way.

THE RULEBOOK: FANCY THAT
“The representatives of the people, in a popular assembly, seem sometimes to fancy that they are the people themselves, and betray strong symptoms of impatience and disgust at the least sign of opposition from any other quarter…” Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 71

TIME OUT: UNDER THE INFLUENCE
Fashion critic Vanessa Friedman shares some thoughts on the passing of the original “influencer.” NYT: “What does it mean to have your greatest legacy be one of ‘taste?’ I have been thinking about this since the news of Lee Radziwill’s death arrived, along with the flood of photographs from all corners of social media featuring Ms. Radziwill throughout her life — in white corduroys and a blue boat-neck T-shirt, in bouffant chignon and tunics; in a pink shift with her sister, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, atop an elephant during a tour of India; in a white-and-silver beaded gown dancing with Truman Capote at his Black and White Ball; in a black patent python jacket — all of them used to pay homage to her extraordinary ‘taste.’ Been thinking about it since some of the obituaries and reminiscences almost seem to use the word as a backhanded compliment; a reference to a life that had more impact in style than substance… But are the two really so unrelated?”

Flag on the play? – Email us at [email protected] with your tips, comments or questions.

SCOREBOARD
Trump job performance 
Average approval: 41.8 percent
Average disapproval: 54.4 percent
Net Score: -12.6 points
Change from one week ago: up 3.6 points 
[Average includes: Fox News: 46% approve – 52% disapprove; Gallup: 44% approve – 52% unapproved; CNN: 42% approve – 54% disapproval; IBD: 39% approve – 57% disapprove; Quinnipiac University: 38% approve – 57% disapprove.]

WOULD BIDEN BE THE REAL FRONTRUNNER?

Politico:Joe Biden’s big lead in early Democratic 2020 polling might be a bunch of malarkey. While most polls show the former vice president hovering around 30 percent of the Democratic primary vote, well ahead of second-place Sen. Bernie Sanders, two recent surveys paint a starkly different picture — raising the question of whether Biden is a real front-runner or just has big name-recognition. Those polls show far more Democratic voters undecided about which candidate to support, and they pegged Biden’s backing at a much less intimidating 9 to 12 percent. The results are so varied partly thanks to different methodological choices by the pollsters. But parsing the results is more than an academic exercise: While Biden weighs a third campaign for the presidency, he and his allies must consider whether polls a year before primary season really reflect Biden’s true strength — and his potential rivals have to calculate whether the former vice president could overwhelm lesser-known challengers in 2020.”

The mom lane – The Boston Globe: “As the 2020 Democratic primary shapes up, its leading women candidates – accomplished stateswomen, all – are drawing attention to another role they play: Mom. Senators Kirsten Gillibrand and Amy Klobuchar both talked about being mothers in the opening statements of their presidential bids. Senator Kamala Harris speaks often of her husband’s two children and the nickname they have given her: Momala. There are already indications that the women of 2020 plan to draw on their own experiences to embrace policies that affect mothers and working parents more broadly, bringing such issues as child care and family leave firmly into the political mainstream. This week, for example, Warren plans to introduce a universal child care and early learning plan, which she has said would be paid for by taxing the wealth of the richest Americans.”

Busy weekend on the trail – AP: “Five Democratic senators vying for their party’s nomination to challenge President Donald Trump in 2020 fanned out across the country Saturday to campaign and meet voters. Kamala Harris of California spent her second straight day in the pivotal early-voting state of South Carolina, holding a town hall meeting in Columbia, the capital. Also visiting the state was Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, who met with an estimated 800 voters in Greenville before heading to Georgia… Cory Booker of New Jersey and Kirsten Gillibrand of New York both focused on New Hampshire. Booker made his first visit to there since joining the race earlier this month, holding a question-and-answer session with more than 400 voters in Portsmouth. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, meanwhile, made her own uncommon choice for early campaigning by visiting Wisconsin before heading to Iowa, home to the nation’s first caucus. And a Democratic heavyweight who’s yet to address his 2020 plans, former Vice President Joe Biden, made his own high-profile appearance at the Munich Security Conference.”

Bernie’s team talked of grim standing with non-white voters –  NYT: “Shortly after Senator Bernie Sanders suffered a crushing loss in South Carolina’s Democratic primary in 2016, his campaign’s African-American outreach team sent a memo to top campaign leaders with an urgent warning. ‘The margin by which we lost the African-American vote has got to be — at the very least — cut in half or there simply is no path to victory,’ the team wrote in the memo, which was reviewed by The New York Times. Mr. Sanders had won 14 percent of the black vote there compared with 86 percent for Hillary Clinton, according to exit polls. Over seven pages, the team outlined a strategy for winning black voters that included using social media influencers and having Mr. Sanders give a major speech on discrimination in a city like St. Louis or Cincinnati. Mr. Sanders’s inner circle did not respond.”

LIST OF LITIGANTS AGAINST TRUMP EMERGENCY GROWING
NBC News: “California and a dozen other states are filing a lawsuit challenging Donald Trump’s national emergency declaration, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said Monday. ‘The president admitted that there’s not a basis for the declaration. He admitted there’s no crisis at the border. He’s now trying to rob funds that were allocated by Congress legally to the various states and people of our states,’ Becerra told Andrea Mitchell on MSNBC Monday afternoon. ‘The separation of powers is being violated, we’re going to go out there and make sure that Donald Trump cannot steal money from the states and people who need them, since we paid the taxpayer dollars to Washington, D.C., to get those services,’ he said. … New Jersey, Colorado, and Connecticut all confirmed to NBC News they are a part of the lawsuit. ‘The only national emergency is the president’s trafficking in lies and deceit,’ Connecticut Attorney General William Tong said in a statement.”

Stephen Miller on the hot seat – USA Today: “During an interview on ‘Fox News Sunday,’ host Chris Wallace pressed [senior Trump adviser Stephen Miller] on the need for a national emergency, citing U.S. Customs and Border Patrol data showing between 80 to 90 percent of drugs seized in attempted smugglings happened at ports of entry. … Wallace pressed Miller to cite another example from the 59 times presidents used the National Emergency Act where it was invoked to obtain money that Congress had refused to appropriate. Miller did not cite such a precedent and took issue with the premise of the question. ‘They didn’t refuse to appropriate it,’ Miller said. ‘They passed a law specifically saying the president could have this authority. It’s in the plain statute. That’s the decision that Congress made, and if people don’t like that, they can address it.’”

PLAY-BY-PLAY
Senate Judiciary Committee will investigate McCabe’s claimsWaPo

North Carolina election officials make their case against GOP ‘ballot harvesting’ in unresolved House raceRaleigh News & Observer

AUDIBLE: LIKE FREEDOM FRIES?
“I think that whatever you eat is a very personal decision and everybody should eat what they want to eat. That’s America- that’s what we believe in freedom.” – Presidential Candidate Cory Booker (D-NJ) explained his vegan diet to his voters via twitter over the weekend.

FROM THE BLEACHERS
“Chris, be serious, neither [Former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld] nor [Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan] can be classified as ‘notable’. I’d put [Former Ohio Gov. John Kasich] in that category, but I don’t think he’ll get into a race that he knows for sure that he can’t win.” Lou Banas, Brea,Calif

[Ed. Note: I can’t be sure of your definition of notability, Mr. Banas. But the second-term governor of a state of 6 million or so souls strikes me as within any reasonable definition. The ting about primary challenges is that they don’t have to be successful to do their damage. In 1980, Ted Kennedy didn’t beat Jimmy Carter, nor did Pat Buchanan unhorse George H.W. Bush in 1992, but both campaigns were certainly consequential. That’s why the Trump campaign is rightly worried about just such a run.]

“One of the greatest walls between us, the people, and an overzealous government is the separation of powers. The Founding Fathers, in perhaps one of their greatest acts of genius, divided the power of government into three separate branches so as to insure there was no party with absolute power. Declaring an ‘emergency’, after the president has already given the congress the opportunity to act and has acted, creates a huge breach in this wall of protection. Gaining short-term funds for building a border wall in exchange for the Constitutional wall of protection created by the separation of powers is neither conservative nor is it wise. Liberals often believe the end justifies the means, I hope conservatives do not stray down this dangerous road.” Steve Bartlett, Greenville, S.C.

[Ed. Note: The Constitution is always getting strange new respect from the party out of power. We could call it hypocrisy, but that would be too narrow of a view. In fact, our charter has very much in mind keeping majorities from turning into steamrollers. So then maybe it makes a certain sense that the party out of power holds the Constitution in greater reverence.]

Share your color commentary: Email us at [email protected] and please make sure to include your name and hometown.

TUDDER FOR AN UDDER

Reuters: “A Tinder-inspired app is helping farmers match up potential partners for their cattle. Called ‘Tudder’ ― a mix of dating app Tinder and udder – it lets farmers swipe right on cattle they like the look of. They are then directed to a page on the SellMyLivestock website where they can browse more pictures and data about the animals before deciding whether to buy. Valuable information is available on matters like milk yield and protein content, or calving potential, explained Doug Bairner, CEO of Hectare Agritech which runs SellMyLivestock (SML) and Graindex, a UK-based online agritech trading platform. ‘Matching livestock online is even easier than it is to match humans because there’s a huge amount of data that sits behind these wonderful animals that predicts what their offspring will be,’ he said.”

AND NOW, A WORD FROM CHARLES…
“Nixon might indeed have committed crimes. But the spectacle of an ex-president on trial and perhaps even in jail was something Ford would not allow the country to go through.”  – Charles Krauthammer (1950-2018) writing in the Washington Post on July 27, 2017.

Chris Stirewalt is the politics editor for Fox News. Liz Friden contributed to this report. Want FOX News Halftime Report in your inbox every day? Sign up here.

Source: Fox News Politics

Amber Athey and Katie Jerkovich | Reporters

Donald Trump, Jr. slammed Instagram on Monday after he said the social media platform forced him to delete a post he made about reports that Jussie Smollett’s alleged attack might have been staged.

“Are you kidding me @Instagram? You took down this post??? I mean I got a message you took one down but you wouldn’t even let me see it or give me a real reason so I assume it’s this one or one like it,” Trump Jr. captioned his post, along with a screenshot of a tweet he made referencing CBS News’ post alleging Smollett had paid two men to fake a hate crime against him. (RELATED: Chicago Police Say ‘Empire’ Actor Refuses To Turn Over Phone Records)

A spokesperson for Trump Jr. told The Daily Caller that Instagram forced the president’s son to delete his post about Smollett, otherwise he would be unable to access his account.

Trump Jr.’s deleted post sarcastically joked that the alleged attack against Smollett “seemed so real.” (RELATED: Authorities Seeking ‘Persons Of Interest’ In ‘Empire’ Star Jussie Smollett’s Alleged Attack)

“Shocked, I really thought MAGA folks (who are all over downtown Chicago) were waiting with a rope/bottle of bleach to ambush a [rich] guy at 2am in minus 4 degrees because those are conditions where all people go out for Subway rather than order Seamless,” he wrote, adding three eye-roll emojis at the end.

A short time later, Trump Jr. made another post about Hollywood actors reportedly deleting their posts calling for justice for the “Empire” actor following his alleged assault, in light of news reports that Smollett might have staged the attack.

“Speaks for itself. I hope @Instagram wont arbitrarily choose to censor this one,” Trump Jr. wrote.

A spokesperson for Instagram apologized for removing the post Monday and told The Daily Caller that it was removed “in error.”

“This image was removed in error and has now been restored, we apologize for the mistake,” the spokesperson said, declining to indicate why the post was flagged in the first place.

The post was restored to Trump Jr.’s account as of approximately 5:30 p.m. EST.

GOP spokeswoman Kayleigh McEnany faced similar censorship issues with Instagram recently, as she was asked to delete a post about Democratic Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s claims to Native American heritage.

McEnany’s post contained a copy of Warren’s Texas Bar registration in which she identified herself as an American Indian. The registration form also listed Warren’s old office address, which Instagram claimed to have incorrectly flagged as a home address.

“We incorrectly removed this image for including personal information, in this case the home address of someone else, which is not allowed on Instagram,” an Instagram spokesperson told the Caller. “On secondary review, we confirmed that the image included an office address and not a personal home address. The content has now been restored and we apologize for the mistake.”

Source: The Daily Caller

Liberal actor Jussie Smollett is accused of staging a racist and anti-gay attack on himself, which Smollett blamed on supporters of President Donald Trump.

Smollett’s alleged fake “hate crime” appears to be the latest instance of liberals manufacturing hate crimes for attention in the Trump era.

The Daily Caller News Foundation compiled below some of the most outrageous fake hate crimes since Trump was elected, in rough chronological order:

Anti-Muslim Hate Crime In Michigan Turns Out To Be A Hoax (Nov. 2016)

A Muslim woman at the University of Michigan received national attention from national outlets like The Washington Post in November 2016 after she claimed a drunk 20-something man threatened to light her on fire if she didn’t remove her hijab. The university condemned the “hateful attack,” which turned out to be a hoax.

Bisexual Student Fakes Trump-Inspired Hate Crime (Nov. 2016)

Taylor Volk, an openly bisexual senior at North Park University claimed to be the target of hateful notes and emails following Trump’s election in November 2016. Volk told NBC News that “I just want them to stop.” But the “them” referenced by Volk turned out to be herself, as the whole thing was fabricated.

Gas Station Racism Goes Viral — Then Police Debunk It (Nov. 2016)

Philadelphia woman Ashley Boyer claimed in November 2016 that she was harassed at a gas station by white, Trump-supporting males, one of whom pulled a weapon on her. Boyer claimed that the men “proceeded to talk about the election and how they’re glad they won’t have to deal with n—–s much longer.” Boyer deleted her post after it went viral and claimed the men had been caught and were facing criminal charges. Local police debunked her account.

White Men Rob Muslim Woman Of Her Hijab And Wallet — Except It Never Happened (Nov. 2016)

An 18-year-old Muslim woman in Louisiana claimed in November 2016 that two white men, one of whom was wearing a Trump hat, attacked and robbed her, taking her wallet and hijab while yelling racial slurs. She later admitted to the Lafayette Police Department that she made the whole thing up.

Church Organist Vandalizes Own Church (Nov. 2016) 

A church organist was arrested in May 2017 after he was found responsible for spray-painting a swastika, an anti-gay slur and the words “Heil Trump” on his own church in November 2016. When the story first broke, media outlets tied the hoax to Trump’s election. “The offensive graffiti at St. David’s is among numerous incidents that have occurred in the wake of Trump’s Election Day win,” The Washington Post reported at the time.

“Drunk White Men” Attack Muslim Woman In Story That Also Never Happened (Dec. 2016)

Another 18-year-old Muslim woman, this time in New York, was the subject of breathless headlines in December 2016 after she claimed to have been attacked by a group of Donald Trump supporters on a New York subway while onlookers did nothing. The woman, Yasmin Seweid, would go on to confess that she made the whole thing up.

White Guy Sets His Own Car On Fire, Paints Racial Slur On His Own Garage (Dec. 2016)

Denton, Texas, resident David Williams set his own car on fire and painted “n***** lovers” on his home’s garage, in an apparent attempt to stage a hate crime. Local police investigated the arson as a hate crime. Williams and his wife, Jenny, collected more than $5,000 from Good Samaritans via a GoFundMe page before the hoax was exposed.

Prankster Tricks Liberal Journalist Into Spreading Anti-Trump Hoax (Dec. 2016) 

As tales of Trump-inspired “hate crimes” were spread far and wide by liberal journalists after Trump’s election, one online prankster decided to test just easy it was to fool journalists. The prankster sent Mic.com writer Sarah Harvard a fictitious story in which a Native American claimed to have been harassed by an alleged Trump supporter who thought she was Mexican. Despite no evidence backing up the claim, Harvard spread the fake story, emails the prankster shared with The Daily Caller showed.

Student Writes Anti-Muslim Graffiti On His Own Door (Feb. 2017)

A Muslim student at Beloit College wrote anti-Muslim graffiti on his own dorm room door. The student was reportedly motivated by a desire to seek attention after a Jewish student was targeted with an anti-Semitic note.

Israeli Man Behind Anti-Semitic Bomb Threats in the U.S. (April 2017) 

Media outlets didn’t wait to find out who was behind a string of bomb threats targeting synagogues and Jewish schools before linking the threats to Trump. A U.S.-Israeli man was charged in April 2017 and indicted in February 2018 for the threats. A former reporter for The Intercept was also charged in March 2017 with making several copycat threats.

Hoax at St. Olaf (May 2017)

Students at St. Olaf college in Minnesota staged protests and boycotted classes in May 2017 after racist notes targeting black students were found around campus, earning coverage in national media outlets like The Washington Post. It later came out that a black student was responsible for the racist notes. The student carried out the hoax in order to “draw attention to concerns about the campus climate,” the university announced.

Fake Hate At Air Force Academy Goes Viral (Sept. 2017) 

The Air Force Academy was thrown into turmoil in September 2017 when horrific racist notes were found at the academy’s preparatory school. “Go home n***er,” read one of the notes. The superintendent, Lt. Gen. Jay B. Silveria, went viral with an impassioned speech addressing the racist notes.

Two months later, authorities determined that one of the students targeted by the notes was also the person responsible for writing them.

K-State Fake Hate Crime (Nov. 2017)

A student at Kansas State University filed a police report in November 2017 over racist graffiti left on his car. “Go Home N***** Boy” and “Whites Only,” read the racist graffiti, which the the student later admitted to writing himself.

Racist Graffiti Carried Out By Non-White Student (Nov. 2017) 

Another instance of racist graffiti that same month also turned out to be a hoax. A Missouri high school investigated after racial slurs were left on a bathroom mirror in November 2017, only to find that the student responsible was “non-white.”

Waiter Fakes Note Calling Himself A Terrorist (July 2018)

Texas waiter Khalil Cavil went viral after posting a Facebook picture of a racist note that he claimed a customer had left on the receipt, in lieu of a tip. The note described Cavil as a “terrorist.” Saltgrass Steak House, where Cavil worked, initially banned the customers for life, before their investigation revealed that the waiter had faked the racist note. “I did write it,” Cavil later admitted. “I don’t have an explanation. I made a mistake. There is no excuse for what I did.”

Waitress Fakes Racist Note, Blames Law Enforcement (July 2018)

A Texas waitress apologized in July 2018 after blaming local law enforcement for an offensive note targeting Mexicans. She later admitted to writing the note herself.

New York Woman’s Hate Crime That Wasn’t (Sept. 2018)

A New York woman was charged in September 2018 after police determined she fabricated a story about white teens yelling racial slurs at her and leaving a racist note on her car.

Student Faked Racist Notes (Dec. 2018)

Several racist notes at Drake University were actually the work of one of the students who had been targeted by them. “The fact that the actions of the student who has admitted guilt were propelled by motives other than hate does not minimize the worry and emotional harm they caused, but should temper fears,” university president Marty Martin said afterwards.

The Covington Catastrophe (Jan. 2019)

National media outlets pounced on a selectively edited video from the March for Life that showed Native American activist Nathan Phillips beating a drum in front of a boisterous group of boys from Covington Catholic High School.

REUTERS/Madalyn McGarvey

The exterior of Covington Catholic High School Dennis Griffin stadium is pictured in Park Hills, Kentucky, U.S., January 23, 2019. REUTERS/Madalyn McGarvey

Phillips originally told The Washington Post the students swarmed him while he was preparing to leave the Indigenous People’s March scheduled for the same day. Phillips originally said one student, who later identified himself as high school junior Nick Sandmann, blocked his path from leaving as he tried to do so. The extended video shows that wasn’t the case: Phillips approached the high school boys during their cheers, not the other way around. Some of the people with Phillips were directing racially charged language at the students, not the other way around.

Phillips told a second variation of his story to the Detroit Free Press. Phillips claimed he was playing the role of peacemaker by getting between the students and four “old black individuals,” whom he claimed the students were attacking. “They were in the process of attacking these four black individuals,” Phillip tolds the Michigan paper. “I was there and I was witnessing all of this … As this kept on going on and escalating, it just got to a point where you do something or you walk away, you know? You see something that is wrong and you’re faced with that choice of right or wrong.”

“These young men were beastly and these old black individuals was their prey, and I stood in between them and so they needed their pounds of flesh and they were looking at me for that,” he added. Extended video shows that account also isn’t accurate. The four individuals Phillips referenced were members of the Black Hebrew Israelites and they launched racist and anti-gay slurs at the high school students, not the other way around. (RELATED: Nathan Phillips Keeps Changing His Story, Keeps Getting It Wrong)

WATCH: 

Bonus: Anti-Semitic Vandal Exposed As Democratic Activist (Nov. 2018)

Anti-Semitic vandalism in New York City turned out to be the work of a Democratic activist, according to police. It wasn’t a hoax — the anti-Semitic vandalism was real — but the suspect wasn’t the right-winger some had assumed him to be. The man police arrested, based on surveillance footage, was 26-year-old James Polite, who had actually interned for City Hall on anti-hate issues.

Bonus IITrump-Inspired Racist Blaze At Black Church Was Carried Out By Black Church-goer (Nov. 2016)

This hoax occurred one week before Trump was elected, but TheDCNF is including it as a bonus because it was so egregious. Leftist media outlets ran headlines like “A Black Church Burned in the Name of Trump” after a black church in Greenville, Mississippi, was set on fire and spray painted with the words “Vote Trump.” The Washington Post’s original coverage of the incident read in part,” Greenville Mayor Errick Simmons called the fire a ‘hateful and cowardly act,’ sparked by the incendiary rhetoric of GOP nominee Donald Trump during his presidential campaign.” But the church was set on fire by one of the church’s own congregants, who is black.

Did we miss any hoaxes? Shoot me an email

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Source: The Daily Caller

CONCORD, N.H. – The Granite State may have been Bernie Sanders country in the 2016 Democratic primary, but Sen. Kamala Harris says she won’t follow in the independent senator from Vermont’s footsteps.

Asked by Fox News correspondent Peter Doocy if she would have to run as a democratic socialist – which is how Sanders often describes himself, the Democrat from California quickly and bluntly answered that “I am not a democratic socialist.”

Harris spoke on Monday as she took questions from reporters during her in the first-in-the-nation primary state of New Hampshire for the first time since launching her presidential campaign four weeks ago.

SANDERS POISED TO ANNOUNCE 2020 DECISION BY END OF FEBRUARY, SOURCES SAY

Sanders, a progressive populist who put up a serious fight against eventual nominee Hillary Clinton in the 2016 primary, is likely to launch before the end of the month a second straight bid for the Democratic presidential nomination.

In recent weeks some Democrats have questioned whether Harris was a “progressive prosecutor” during her years as San Francisco district attorney and later as California attorney general.

Harris also vowed to spend “a lot of time” in New Hampshire.

“I’m here because I believe that this is a very important state and intend to spend a lot of time here, and I intend to compete for the votes here and I’m going to put a lot of effort into doing that,” Harris highlighted after being asked by Fox News if the state was a lower priority than the other early-voting states in the primary and caucus calendar.

“It’s an important state. It is a state of people who have a lot of needs and need to be seen and heard,” she spotlighted.

HARRIS GIVES AWKWARD RESPONSE WHEN ASKED ABOUT JUSSIE SMOLLETT CLAIMS

Harris is the daughter of parents from Jamaica and India and would be the first woman and second African-American to win the White House if she ultimately succeeds.

Even before her formal launch, the candidate headed to South Carolina, the first southern state to hold a primary. And she headed to Iowa – which votes first – a few days later.

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Iowa and South Carolina — a state where black voters make up a majority of the Democratic primary electorate — are likely to figure heavily into Harris’ prospects. Harris campaigned in support of fellow Democrats in South Carolina in last year’s midterm elections.

Harris vowed at the beginning of an event at Gibson’s Bookstore in Concord to spend lots of time campaigning in the Granite State. She repeated that pledge at a large event later Monday in Portsmouth.

Fox News’ Peter Doocy contributed to this report.

Source: Fox News Politics

Britain's Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Michael Gove leaves Downing Street
FILE PHOTO: Britain’s Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Michael Gove leaves Downing Street, London, Britain, January 18, 2019. REUTERS/Hannah McKay

February 19, 2019

LONDON (Reuters) – The British government will use tools including tariffs and quotas to make sure its farmers are not left at a competitive disadvantage by Brexit, environment minister Michael Gove will say on Tuesday.

With just six weeks to go until Britain is due to leave the EU, the government is yet to win parliament’s backing for an exit agreement. It is due to set out later this month the tariffs it plans to levy if Britain leaves without a deal on March 29.

Trade minister Liam Fox has denied media reports that he supports slashing tariffs on all imports to zero in order to keep prices low for consumers.

Farmers say this could price them out of the market.

Gove will seek to reassure them that the government has no such policy.

“We will use the tools we have at our disposal – tariffs, quotas and legislation – to make sure standards are protected and you are not left at a competitive disadvantage,” Gove will say in a speech to the National Farmers’ Union, according to advance extracts.

He will also promise that Britain will not lower its food standards in the pursuit of trade deals, and set out what the government is doing to mitigate the impact, particularly on small businesses, of a no-deal exit, his office said.

(Reporting by Kylie MacLellan; Editing by Hugh Lawson)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon listens to Plaid Cymru's leader Adam Price speak at the Scottish National Party's party's conference in Glasgow, Scotland
FILE PHOTO: Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon listens to Plaid Cymru’s leader Adam Price speak at the Scottish National Party’s party’s conference in Glasgow, Scotland, Britain October 8, 2018. REUTERS/Russell Cheyne/File Photo

February 19, 2019

By Elisabeth O’Leary

EDINBURGH (Reuters) – Scotland will step up efforts to persuade EU citizens to stay after Brexit, its First Minister will tell French lawmakers on Tuesday, amid concerns about potential workforce shortages in the largest of the United Kingdom’s three smaller nations.

Nicola Sturgeon, who supports Scottish independence from the United Kingdom, will tell French lawmakers that Britain’s proposals for its exit from the European Union and limitations on freedom of movement will damage Scotland’s economy more than Britain as a whole.

Small business and tourism associations have warned of labor shortages already occurring for remote, low-paid work such as food processing and hospitality which are key to Scottish economic success and depend heavily on EU workers.

Political tension has increased between Sturgeon’s devolved government, which opposes Brexit, and Britain’s divided Conservative government struggling to deliver Brexit by March 29.

Unhappiness over Brexit within Sturgeon’s Scottish National Party is also pressurizing her to reignite a push for independence as the impending break with the EU pushes British politics to its limits.

“Without freedom of movement there is a danger that our population will start to decline. We could face workforce shortages in rural areas, in our universities, in our care and health services,” Sturgeon will tell the French National Assembly’s Foreign Affairs Committee, which she has been invited to address.

“The UK government is proclaiming the end of free movement as a victory – instead, it is a self-defeating measure,” she will say.

Differences over Brexit have strained relations between the United Kingdom’s four nations. Scotland and Northern Ireland voted to stay in the EU in a 2016 referendum, while Wales and England vote to leave.

The desire to limit the number of EU citizens coming to Britain was a major reason Britons voted for Brexit in 2016. Immigration is one of the most heated political issues in the Brexit debate even though there are some parts of Britain with labor shortages.

Net migration of EU citizens to Britain fell to its lowest level in nearly six years during the year to June, extending a decline seen since the 2016 Brexit vote.

Scotland’s population is aging more quickly than the United Kingdom as a whole and its economy has been shored up by EU migrants in recent years, studies show.

A Scottish government official declined to detail what the intensified effort to keep EU citizens would entail. London has argued that Scotland does not need a differentiated migration system.

Scotland last year announced measures to support EU citizens, such as waiving a registration fee for a post-Brexit immigration system, funding a citizens’ rights service to provide information and raise awareness of the issue and paying tuition fees for EU students at Scottish universities.

(Reporting by Elisabeth O’Leary, Editing by William Maclean)

Source: OANN

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Monday said she’s "just fine" after she underwent lung surgery in December.

The 85-year-old associate justice confirmed to TMZ that she’s doing well as she walked through Reagan National Airport in Virginia, surrounded by security.

RUTH BADER GINSBURG MAKES PUBLIC APPEARANCE, FIRST SINCE SURGERY

Ginsburg made her return to the nation’s highest court on Friday, working from her chambers and participating in a private conference with other justices. She had been working from her Washington, D.C. home and participating in the Court’s caseload while recovering from surgery.

The court revealed in December that Ginsburg underwent a pulmonary lobectomy at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York after two nodules were discovered in the lower lobe of her left lung.

The discovery was made as she underwent testing after she fell and fractured several ribs in November. Ginsburg initially missed a non-argument session when justices took the bench for routine business.

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She’s missed several oral arguments due to her health setback. Prior to her last few absences, Ginsburg had never missed an oral argument since being confirmed to the high court in 1993.

The Supreme Court returns from a four-week recess on Tuesday. It’s unclear whether Ginsburg will be on the bench.

Fox News’ Brooke Singman contributed to this report.

Source: Fox News Politics

A 7-year-old boy was allegedly called “little Hitler” while selling hot chocolate to raise money for President Trump’s border wall.

The child, Benton Stevens, asked his parents about the wall while watching the State of the Union Address earlier this month and announced, “I want to raise money for the wall.”

Benton’s parents, Shane and Jennifer, live in Austin, Texas and are Republican National Convention members who support Trump.

The family says Benton begged them to set up a booth and was helped by his older brother and mother.

Speaking with Austin’s KXAN, Jennifer said, “People think he’s brainwashed. Well, of course, he supports Trump because we do, and he hears how we talk and this and that. Call that brainwashing, but I call it parenting because we instill our values in him.”

Benton’s stand allegedly raised $231 in sales on Saturday, proving that even in liberal Austin, Texas Americans back President Trump’s proposal.

Similarly to the left’s reaction to the Covington High School controversy, liberals once again attacked a pro-Trump child, calling Benton “little Hitler” and complaining to the owner of the store closest to the hot chocolate stand.

“I guess some liberals – or whatever you want to call them – they were griping at the owner (of the store) and going in and yelling at him and slamming him on Facebook,” Jennifer Stevens said.

She also claims somebody took pictures of Benton behind the booth and posted them to multiple Facebook groups, causing quite the uproar.

“It seems like there are more people supporting it than against it but the people that are against it keep going and going and going.”

Despite the negative feedback of some, Stevens says Benton was “fired up” and decided to go back on Sunday.

Upon returning, Benton was met with more #Resistance with one man reportedly pointing at him from his car and saying “he doesn’t like brown people.”

The fundraiser has been a success as Benton has raised around $1,400 between sales and Venmo donations.

Jennifer and Shane promise the money will be spent appropriately, saying, “We’re also part of the RNC and we’re pretty connected there so we will 100 percent make sure it goes towards the wall.”

Source: InfoWars


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