Trump complains his impeachment defense has a lousy time slot

Trump complains his impeachment defense has a lousy time slotSince being elected president, Donald Trump has tweeted about “ratings” exactly 100 times, according to the Trump Twitter Archive.


Muslim, Jewish leaders pay 'historic' joint visit to Auschwitz

Muslim, Jewish leaders pay 'historic' joint visit to AuschwitzMuslim and Jewish leaders on Thursday honoured Holocaust victims during what they termed an "historic" joint visit to the former Nazi German death camp Auschwitz, days ahead of the 75th anniversary of its liberation. MWL secretary general Mohammad bin Abdulkarim Al-Issa knelt and bowed to the ground as he lead Islamic prayers next to the memorial monument honouring the more than one million people -- mostly European Jews -- that Nazi Germany killed at Auschwitz.


A University of Minnesota student was arrested in China and sentenced to 6 months in prison for tweeting cartoons making fun of President Xi Jingping

A University of Minnesota student was arrested in China and sentenced to 6 months in prison for tweeting cartoons making fun of President Xi JingpingAccording to Chinese court documents obtained by Axios, 20-year-old Luo Daiqing was arrested after returning to Wuhan for summer break.


Firefighting plane crashes in Australia, killing 3 Americans

Firefighting plane crashes in Australia, killing 3 AmericansThree American firefighting airplane crew members were killed Thursday when the C-130 Hercules aerial water tanker they were in crashed while battling wildfires in southeastern Australia, officials said. New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian confirmed the deaths in the state's Snowy Monaro region, which came as Australia grapples with an unprecedented fire season that has left a large swath of destruction. Canada-based Coulson Aviation said in a statement that one of its Lockheed large air tankers was lost after it left Richmond in New South Wales with retardant for a firebombing mission.


Brexit Bulletin: Law of the Land

Brexit Bulletin: Law of the LandDays to Brexit: 8(Bloomberg) -- Sign up here to get the Brexit Bulletin in your inbox every weekday.What’s Happening? The Withdrawal Agreement Bill received royal assent, making Brexit on Jan. 31 a matter of U.K. law.Seventeen words brought an end to the British side of this phase of the Brexit saga. In a statement to the House of Commons, Deputy Speaker Nigel Evans delivered the news to listening lawmakers: “Her Majesty has signified her royal assent to the following act: European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Act 2020.”Royal assent brings to a close the crisis that paralyzed U.K. politics after the country voted to leave the European Union in June 2016. Former Prime Minister Theresa May failed to get her version of the deal through the House of Commons after reaching an agreement with the EU in November 2018. Her successor, Boris Johnson, succeeded only after winning a large majority in last month’s general election.With the U.K. due to slip out of the EU at 11 p.m. London time next Friday, all that remains is for the European Parliament to rubber-stamp the deal. That was due to move a step closer on Thursday afternoon via a vote of the assembly’s constitutional affairs committee, a group of the parliament’s most influential members. The panel was expected to nod the deal through.The full EU parliament, which officially has a veto over the deal, will vote on Jan. 29. It will almost certainly follow the committee’s lead. The U.K. is scheduled to leave the EU two days later.Beyond BrexitClimate activist Greta Thunberg should go back to school and study economics, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said at the World Economic Forum in Davos. These billionaires made their fortunes by trying to stop climate change. The £200 million ($262 million) London mansion bought by Cheung Cheung Kie earlier this month isn’t even his most valuable property.Brexit in BriefRule Makers | U.K. financiers are asking the government to revamp regulations to attract global business after Brexit. Watchdogs should have the power “to make the U.K. a better place to do business” through a new mandate to support London’s financial hub against rivals, according to the International Regulatory Strategy Group, a panel backed by the City of London.Diverging Views | Speaking at Davos on Thursday morning, U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer Sajid Javid tried to reassure business over Britain’s post-Brexit ties with the EU. “We won’t diverge just for the sake of it,” he said. That’s despite telling the Financial Times last week that “there will not be alignment” with EU rules after Brexit.Off-Piste? | Did Javid speak out of turn at Davos when he said that talks for a U.K.-EU trade deal will take priority over any agreement with the U.S.? Today’s Bloomberg Westminster podcast discusses his motivations.Time Is Tight | The clock is ticking for the EU and the U.K. to hammer out a trade deal by the end of the year, according to Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte. “It’s an awfully short amount of time so I hope that coming next summer, June, July, that Boris Johnson will at least contemplate extending, if necessary, this transition phase,” Rutte said in a Bloomberg TV interview in Davos. “I’m Still Here” | Steve Bray, otherwise known as the “Stop Brexit Guy” was a fixture outside Westminster during the height of the U.K.’s Brexit tension, often disrupting live TV interviews. On Thursday he took his protest to Brussels, joining a small rally outside the European Parliament, the Brussels Times reports. “I came to Brussels just to visit this parliament,” the Times reported him as saying. “I’m still here because I still care.”Want to keep up with Brexit?You can follow us @Brexit on Twitter, and listen to Bloomberg Westminster every weekday. It’s live at midday on Bloomberg Radio and is available as a podcast too. Share the Brexit Bulletin: Colleagues, friends and family can sign up here. For full EU coverage, try the Brussels Edition.For even more: Subscribe to Bloomberg All Access for our unmatched global news coverage and two in-depth daily newsletters, The Bloomberg Open and The Bloomberg Close.To contact the authors of this story: Thomas Penny in London at tpenny@bloomberg.netIan Wishart in Brussels at iwishart@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Adam Blenford at ablenford@bloomberg.net, Chris KayFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.


Warren responds after angry dad confronts her on student loans

Warren responds after angry dad confronts her on student loansIn the exchange, a father asked Warren if he is getting "screwed" because he saved money for his daughter's education.


Damaged By Drone Strike: Suleimani's Sainthood Is Now Being Questioned

Damaged By Drone Strike: Suleimani's Sainthood Is Now Being QuestionedIran’s brand is thinning among the Shi’a and Suleimani’s departure creates breathing room for the Shi’a in the region.


Smugglers tried to bring 3,700 invasive crabs through the Port of Cincinnati

Smugglers tried to bring 3,700 invasive crabs through the Port of CincinnatiMitten crabs are a delicacy in Asia and sell for about $50 each in the United States, officials say. They are considered an invasive species.


Ted Cruz is officially the 1st senator spotted drinking milk during impeachment trial

Ted Cruz is officially the 1st senator spotted drinking milk during impeachment trialThe Senate floor is a tight ship, with lawmakers blocked from bringing food, electronics, and just about every drink with them when they enter it. Yet one 60-year-old precedent provides a loophole to those strict rules — and a senator has finally used it to liven up President Trump's impeachment trial.Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) was the first senator spotted asking for and receiving a glass of milk during the trial, in accordance with a longstanding allowance of dairy in the Senate, CBS News' Grace Segers noted Wednesday. He then got a second glass of milk, CBS News' Julia Boccagno noted, and paired it with a piece of Hershey's chocolate from the Senate's candy desk — seemingly a violation of floor rules.Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C. ) also reportedly acquired a glass of milk, Segers noted later. And in a twist, Segers tweeted that she'd heard Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) actually had some milk the night before.> More milk-related news: I've been informed that Ted Cruz drank milk at around midnight last night. Apparently, senators have to provide their own milk to the cloakroom, although they do keep it cold for senators.> > — Grace Segers (@Grace_Segers) January 22, 2020It's surprising that Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) hasn't engaged in the trend yet, seeing as he was the one who reminded us of the dairy procedure on Tuesday.More stories from theweek.com Democrats walked right into Mitch McConnell's trap Watch highlights from Day 3 of Trump's impeachment trial, in which Democrats argue abuse of power GOP Sen. Marsha Blackburn questions patriotism of Purple Heart recipient Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman


U.S. charges former Mexican police commander in El Chapo-linked cocaine investigation

U.S. charges former Mexican police commander in El Chapo-linked cocaine investigationU.S. prosecutors on Friday charged a former Mexican federal police commander with accepting hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes from Mexican drug cartels to help them send cocaine into the United States, in a case linked to imprisoned drug lord Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán.


These 9 Dining Chairs Are Sculptural, Surprising, and Downright Sleek

These 9 Dining Chairs Are Sculptural, Surprising, and Downright Sleek


In Trump impeachment trial, Nadler presses case by quoting Lindsey Graham — from 1999

In Trump impeachment trial, Nadler presses case by quoting Lindsey Graham — from 1999Rep. Jerry Nadler employed a video clip of Sen. Lindsey Graham during Thursday’s testimony of Donald Trump’s impeachment trial to make the case that a president need not have committed a crime in order to be removed from office.


Only one quarter of Americans trust the US Senate to hold a fair impeachment trial

Only one quarter of Americans trust the US Senate to hold a fair impeachment trialRepublicans are more split than one might imagine: While 42% trust the Senate to do a fair trial, 33% do not.


Canada ‘Will Not Stop’ Until It Has Answers on Iran Crash

Canada ‘Will Not Stop’ Until It Has Answers on Iran Crash(Bloomberg) -- Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland said her government will be relentless in seeking answers from Iran on the jet crash that killed 57 Canadians this month near Tehran.Justin Trudeau’s second in command, speaking in an interview with Bloomberg TV in Davos, Switzerland, said Canada wants a “real, independent” analysis of the airplane’s black box, along with transparency on what exactly happened. She also said Canada is receiving support from allies in pressing on the issue, particularly from the Netherlands and Ukraine.“I am confident we will get those answers because Canada is relentlessly focused on getting them and we will not stop until we get them,” Freeland said.Iran is under intense international pressure to provide full accountability over the circumstances that caused the crash of the Ukrainian International Airlines plane on Jan. 8. The three-year-old Boeing Co. 737-800 was shot down about two minutes after takeoff from Tehran. While nearly half the victims were Iranians, the crash was also one of the worst air tragedies ever involving Canadians. Many of the victims were doctors, engineers and Ph.D. students who represented a microcosm of the northern nation’s immigration policies.Nafta RatificationSeparately in the interview, Freeland also commented on plans to get the new North American free trade agreement ratified in Canada’s parliament, calling it the top priority for the government.The deal, a result of a year of rough negotiations with Donald Trump’s administration, has been passed in the U.S. Senate and is awaiting the president’s signature. It has also been approved in Mexico.Ratification won’t be a straightforward process in Canada, however. Trudeau’s team will need to get the support of at least one opposition party to pass legislation, and expedite debate, after losing its parliamentary majority in October’s divisive election.With all of Canada’s provincial premiers calling for a speedy ratification, Freeland said she’s confident the governing Liberals will be able to win support for the deal.To contact the reporter on this story: Theophilos Argitis in Ottawa at targitis@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Theophilos Argitis at targitis@bloomberg.net, Stephen WicaryFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.


4 killed in plane crash at Southern California airport

4 killed in plane crash at Southern California airportThere was no immediate word on a cause or the model of the plane that crashed at Corona Municipal Airport in California.


'This time I'm scared': experts fear too late for China virus lockdown

'This time I'm scared': experts fear too late for China virus lockdownChina's bid to contain a deadly new virus by placing cities of millions under quarantine is an unprecedented undertaking but it is unlikely to stop the disease spreading, experts warn. The contagious virus has already reached elsewhere in China and abroad, and even an authoritarian government has only a small timeframe in which trapped residents will submit to such a lockdown, they say. "I think we have passed the golden period of control and prevention," said Guan Yi, an expert on viruses at Hong Kong University.


Family attorneys say cruise line's story of toddler's death is 'physically impossible'

Family attorneys say cruise line's story of toddler's death is 'physically impossible'Attorneys representing Chloe Wiegand's family say a ship visit proves it's "physically impossible" for her grandfather to hold her out of the window.


Russia, China, and Iran Would Love to Take Out a Nuclear Aircraft Carrier. Here's Why They Can't.

Russia, China, and Iran Would Love to Take Out a Nuclear Aircraft Carrier. Here's Why They Can't.The beasts are more survivable than they seem.


Australia's Kangaroo Island is looking for volunteers to feed animals injured in bushfires

Australia's Kangaroo Island is looking for volunteers to feed animals injured in bushfiresNearly half of Kangaroo Island was burned by the bushfires this month alone. The RSPCA has posted an application form.


In southern Poland, archaeologists discover WW2 plane wreck

In southern Poland, archaeologists discover WW2 plane wreckArchaeologists have discovered the wreck of a U.S.-made bomber flown by the Soviet Red Army in World War Two, along with the remains of four crewmen killed when it crashed in southern Poland, private broadcaster TVN reported. Marta Wrobel in the town of Bierun during the war and told TVN that the blast from the crash had been powerful enough to blow out windows and doors. The remains of the four Soviet crewmen who perished in the crash will be laid to rest at a nearby Red Army cemetery.


Samantha Bee Dunks on Trump’s Defense Team: ‘A Virtual Dream Team of Rape Culture’

Samantha Bee Dunks on Trump’s Defense Team: ‘A Virtual Dream Team of Rape Culture’Early in her weekly show Wednesday night, Samantha Bee played a clip of Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) telling Fox News that he thinks not calling witnesses in the Senate impeachment trial is the “right thing to do.” “And if anyone’s an expert on witnesses not talking about the crimes they saw, it’s Jim Jordan,” the Full Frontal host said, putting up a headline about how the congressman allegedly knew about sexual abuse at Ohio State and said nothing. That was a preview of what was to come later in the opening segment when Bee took a closer look at President Trump’s defense team “Continuing his tradition of appointing only the best, Trump’s defenders include Ken Starr, Alan Dershowitz and Jim Jordan,” she said. “It’s a virtual dream team of rape culture.” Trevor Noah Destroys Alan Dershowitz’s Impeachment HypocrisyBee ran through their troubling resumes, including Starr’s tenure as president of the Christian Baylor University. “Just to be clear, when Jesus said to ‘turn the other cheek,’ he didn’t mean away from people getting assaulted,” she said. And there’s Dershowitz who once called statutory rape an “outdated concept.” Bee added, “In Dershowitz’s defense, it’s not like he was close friends with notorious pedophile and didn’t-kill-himself-er Jeffrey Epstein. Oh no, I’m sorry, he totally was.” “It is infuriating that these three men are allowed to show their faces in polite society, much less defend the captain of the rape culture all-star team,” she said. “Look, the impeachment case isn’t about sexual assault. But for women and survivors it is horrifying to see these men congeal together to protect each other.” The host ended the segment by predicting that when this is all over, Jordan, Starr and Deshowitz might just start their own rapist-defending law firm: “The only law firm whose phone number is 911.” For more, listen to Samantha Bee on The Last Laugh podcast below: Read more at The Daily Beast.Got a tip? Send it to The Daily Beast hereGet our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.


New Moon Photos! Get Your New Moon Photos Here!

New Moon Photos! Get Your New Moon Photos Here!


Targeted killings up as 8 wounded in Iraq protest violence

Targeted killings up as 8 wounded in Iraq protest violenceGovernment inaction over the rising number of assassinations targeting anti-government demonstrators and supporters is stirring fear and resentment, activists said Thursday. Iraqi security forces, meanwhile, fired tear gas to disperse protesters on a vital Baghdad highway, injuring eight. The latest episode of unrest comes one day ahead of a planned “million-man" march called for by influential Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr to push for the removal of foreign troops from Iraq.


These gun enthusiasts at the Virginia rally carried more firepower than many US troops

These gun enthusiasts at the Virginia rally carried more firepower than many US troops"This sends a strong visual message," a man holding a .50 caliber rifle said. Attendees also came with an armored vehicle and a grenade launcher.


China Puts 13 Cities on Lockdown as Coronavirus Death Toll Climbs

China Puts 13 Cities on Lockdown as Coronavirus Death Toll ClimbsChina is striving to contain a deadly virus outbreak the World Health Organization has termed a domestic health emergency


'Serious safety risk': Man arrested after pointing laser at planes, temporarily blinding one pilot

'Serious safety risk': Man arrested after pointing laser at planes, temporarily blinding one pilotTwo planes were struck by a laser, temporarily blinding one pilot, as they flew into Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport on Wednesday night.


Italy's Crazy World War II Strategy of "Human Torpedoes"

Italy's Crazy World War II Strategy of "Human Torpedoes"Was it successful?


A black man received a settlement in a race discrimination lawsuit. When he tried to cash the check, the bank called the cops, prompting a second racial discrimination case.

A black man received a settlement in a race discrimination lawsuit. When he tried to cash the check, the bank called the cops, prompting a second racial discrimination case.Sauntore Thomas, of Detroit, Michigan, sued TCF Bank after it refused to accept checks he received from a racial discrimination lawsuit.


North Korea confirms former commander is new foreign minister

North Korea confirms former commander is new foreign ministerSEOUL/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - North Korea on Friday confirmed that Ri Son Gwon, a former defense commander with limited diplomatic experience, has been appointed the country's new foreign affairs minister, while the United States repeated calls for Pyongyang to give up its nuclear weapons. North Korea's official KCNA news agency reported that Ri, the latest military official to be promoted under North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, gave a speech as minister at a New Year dinner reception hosted by the ministry on Thursday for embassies and international organizations.


Yahoo News/YouGov poll shows two-thirds of voters want the Senate to call new impeachment witnesses

Yahoo News/YouGov poll shows two-thirds of voters want the Senate to call new impeachment witnessesIn a new poll, 63 percent of registered voters agree that the Senate should call new witnesses to testify during President Trump’s impeachment trial.


Angela Merkel Says Fight Against Climate Change ‘Matter of Survival’

Angela Merkel Says Fight Against Climate Change ‘Matter of Survival’(Bloomberg) -- German Chancellor Angela Merkel says she’s worried about the growing conflict between young campaigners for a cleaner planet and those who reject global warming.Their stances have become “irreconcilable” and led to a gap in dialog just when nations need collective actionon climate change, Merkel said Thursday in a speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos.“The question of achieving the Paris Agreement goals could be a matter of survival for the whole continent and that is why there is pressure to act,” said Merkel. Scientific evidence is clear and emotions should not be confused with facts, she said.Merkel’s comments follow remarks By Greta Thunberg, the teenage activist behind an international wave of student climate strikes. She told leaders that the rate of global warming should make them start to panic. President Donald Trump blasted the “prophets of doom” on the same day in the Swiss resort village in a speech which focused squarely on the U.S. economy.In an oblique reference to young environment activists, Merkel said those who are campaigning for a more trenchant policy to counteract global warming deserve a hearing. The “impatience of young people” must be addressed, she said.Europe and beyond faces a “decade of action,” said Merkel, citing words said previously by Secretary-General Antonio Guterres of the United Nations.Merkel is making climate policy a focus of her last full year as chancellor of Europe’s biggest economy. In the wake of mass protests, her administration sought to kick start a stalled climate agenda with a series of measures to help get Germany achieve steep cuts in carbon emissions.Germany, which is also Europe’s biggest emitter of greenhouse gases, has lagged meeting its climate targets. It aims to cut emissions 40% by this year compared with 1990 levels, yet needs to close a big gap to get there.The moves include placing levies on transportation, investing heavily in railways and applying a timetable for power companies to exit coal. Yet critics say the measures are too little and too late, and that tax payers ought not to be paying billion-dollar compensations to utilities.(Updates and rewrites from first paragraph.)To contact the reporters on this story: Raymond Colitt in Berlin at rcolitt@bloomberg.net;Brian Parkin in Berlin at bparkin@bloomberg.net;Arne Delfs in Berlin at adelfs@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Ben Sills at bsills@bloomberg.net, Jonathan TironeFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.


Belarus' leader blasts Russia for pushing merger of 2 states

Belarus' leader blasts Russia for pushing merger of 2 statesThe president of Belarus on Friday accused Moscow of pressuring his country to merge with Russia and vowed not to let it happen. The statement comes amid stalled talks on further strengthening economic ties between two countries, seen in Belarus as Moscow's plot to swallow its post-Soviet neighbor.


Philippine President Duterte threatens to end military deal with U.S.

Philippine President Duterte threatens to end military deal with U.S.Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte warned the United States on Thursday he would repeal an agreement on deployment of troops and equipment for exercises if Washington did not reinstate the visa of a political ally.


The FBI reportedly stopped a Saudi plot to kidnap a YouTuber on US soil after he criticized Mohammed bin Salman for Jamal Khashoggi's killing

The FBI reportedly stopped a Saudi plot to kidnap a YouTuber on US soil after he criticized Mohammed bin Salman for Jamal Khashoggi's killingAbdulrahman Almutairi used social media to criticize the Saudi government. It appears to have almost cost him his life.


Virologist who helped identify SARS on coronavirus outbreak: 'This time I'm scared'

Virologist who helped identify SARS on coronavirus outbreak: 'This time I'm scared'Experts are seeing shocking similarities between the coronavirus that has now spread beyond China and the SARS outbreak of 2003.Like the infectious pneumonia that has killed at least 17 people, SARS was caused by a coronavirus that originated in China. But when one of the virologists who helped identify the SARS virus visited Wuhan, where this virus originated, he didn't see nearly enough being done to fight it. People were out at markets without masks, "preparing to ring in the New Year in peace and had no sense about the epidemic," Guan Yi of the University of Hong Kong's State Key Laboratory of Emerging Infectious Diseases told Caixin. Airports were hardly being disinfected, Guan continued, saying the local government hasn't "even been handing out quarantine guides to people who were leaving the city."The city did disinfect the market where the virus has been traced to, but Guan criticized Wuhan for that, saying it hurts researchers' abilities to track down the virus's source. "I've never felt scared," Guan told Caixin. "This time I'm scared."A case involving the coronavirus was identified in Washington state on Wednesday, and cases have also been identified in Thailand, Japan, South Korea, and Singapore. A total of 639 cases were confirmed in China.More stories from theweek.com Trump is reportedly threatening Republicans to keep them in line on impeachment 34 service members suffered traumatic brain injuries in the Iranian strikes. Trump called them 'headaches.' Eli Manning talks Derek Jeter's Hall of Fame vote, Tom Brady's jealousy in retirement conference


Parishioner Who Stopped Texas Church Shooter Criticizes Bloomberg on Gun-Control Efforts

Parishioner Who Stopped Texas Church Shooter Criticizes Bloomberg on Gun-Control EffortsThe armed parishioner who took down a shooter at a Texas church in December criticized former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg's gun control efforts on Wednesday."Mr. Bloomberg, had we operated by his standards or his wishes, the carnage would have been significantly greater because the individual still, after the shooting, still had seven live rounds in his gun and three more in his pocket," Jack Wilson said in an interview on Fox News. Wilson, a member of West Freeway Church of Christ in White Settlement, Texas, fired a single round at an armed intruder on December 29, killing the assailant.Bloomberg campaign manager Kevin Sheekey hit back at Wilson in a Thursday appearance on Fox."Mr. Bloomberg supports his right to carry a gun," Sheekey said. "We salute him. But the question is, should anyone who is criminally insane be able to get a gun? I would say no."Earlier in January, while speaking about the Texas incident, Bloomberg appeared to criticize policies that loosen restrictions on gun control."Somebody in the congregation had their own gun and killed the person who murdered two other people, but it is the job of law enforcement to have guns and to decide when to shoot," Bloomberg said. "You just do not want the average citizen carrying a gun in a crowded place."Bloomberg has been heavily involved in gun-control efforts over the years. His proposals for the 2020 presidential election include universal background checks and "red flag screening" measures. In 2013, Bloomberg founded Everytown for Gun Safety, a non-profit that advocates for stricter gun control measures.


Robert Koehler: Serial ‘pillowcase rapist’ suspect was building a ‘dungeon’ before arrest

Robert Koehler: Serial ‘pillowcase rapist’ suspect was building a ‘dungeon’ before arrestProsecutors in Florida believe a 60-year-old man building a “dungeon” under his home is the so-called pillowcase rapist, who authorities say broke into women’s houses and concealed his face with pillows and towels in as many as 40 assaults in the state since the 1980s.Robert Koehler was arrested on 18 January after authorities say they tied his DNA to samples collected from a 1983 case. The sample also matched DNA collected from several other cases between 1981 and 1986, according to the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office.


No qualms for India's hangman before first job of executing rapists

No qualms for India's hangman before first job of executing rapistsPawan Kumar feels zero sympathy for the four men he is due to hang next month for a 2012 gang rape and murder that appalled India. The group set to meet their demise before dawn on February 1 -- although it may be delayed -- were convicted for a brutal crime against Jyoti Singh, a 23-year-old student. Angry demonstrations by tens of thousands of people broke out across the vast South Asian nation, sparking soul-searching about the plight of Indian women and leading to heavier sentences for sex crimes.


Dems: Convict Trump or ‘Write the History of Our Decline with Our Own Hand’

Dems: Convict Trump or ‘Write the History of Our Decline with Our Own Hand’House Democrats opened their case to remove President Trump from office by imploring the same Senate Republicans who have stood in lockstep with the White House that they're the only ones who can save American democracy.Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), the House intelligence committee chairman turned lead impeachment manager, began his side’s arguments with an appeal to history. He bookended his recitation of Trump’s pressure campaign to suborn Ukraine into aiding his reelection with references to Alexander Hamilton, George Washington, Tom Paine, Benjamin Franklin and name checked any other member of the Founding Generation—his colleague Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) later added James Madison—who could help contextualize the constitutional obligation Schiff said senators have when faced with “a man who would be a king.”It’s likely the only play Schiff, Jeffries and their fellow Democratic impeachment managers have. The unyielding political reality they confront is that only with the assent of 20 Republican senators, more than a third of the entire GOP Senate conference, will Trump be removed from office. Even convincing enough of those Republican senators to vote for hearing new evidence in the trial—just four are needed—is viewed as a tall order for Democrats. Standing on the Senate floor before the body of 100 jurors for more than two and a half hours, Schiff rarely raised his voice, laying the groundwork for a day meant to methodically recap the effort from Trumpworld to pressure Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky into probing his political rivals while withholding U.S. security aid to Ukraine as leverage. A lawyer and prosecutor before he was a congressman, Schiff’s remarks reflected his understanding that his partisan opponents are also his jury. Instead of accusing Senate Republicans of a “cover-up,” as Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) did during a late-night rules debate on Tuesday, he opted to treat them as accountable to history. “If we don’t stand up to this peril today,” Schiff intoned, “we will write the history of our decline with our own hand.”Democrats recounted the most dramatic testimony from their November public impeachment hearings while framing it as a matter of life or death for the Republic. Showing a video of acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney’s now-infamous “get over it” remarks in October admitting that Trump conditioned $400 million in military aid on Ukranian election interference, Schiff challenged his jury: “Should the Congress just get over it?” He portrayed impeachment not only as a test for American democracy, but for resistance to the democratic retrenchment underway from autocratic nationalist forces worldwide. Doing so relied on something Schiff and other Democrats consider self-evident.  “There is no serious dispute about the facts,” Schiff said.  But the challenge impeachment has always faced is that the Senate Republicans who will determine Trump’s fate don’t concede that. Right before the hearings began, Sen. Mike Braun, a Republican from Indiana, was asked if he believed it was OK to compel a foreign power to help in an election, including by withholding aid to that end. "I'm not saying it's OK. I’m not saying it's appropriate,” Braun said. “I'm saying it didn't happen."Still, over seven hours on Wednesday, Schiff and the impeachment managers methodically placed the facts they consider as plain as daylight into the Senate’s trial record—their first day, out of three total, reserved for them to use up to 24 hours on the Senate floor to make their case. One by one, the Democratic impeachment managers broke down the case. Nadler detailed the efforts of Rudy Giuliani, the president’s personal lawyer and Ukraine right-hand, to push out Marie Yovanovitch, the former U.S. ambassador in Kyiv. Reps. Sylvia Garcia (D-TX) and Val Demings (D-FL) went through Giuliani’s long-standing interest and central role in the Ukraine scheme. Rep. Jason Crow (D-CO), an Army Ranger and veteran of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, explored the hold-up in U.S. military aid to Ukraine at stake, and Jeffries dove into why it mattered. Few in the room had not heard the facts outlined Wednesday, but that wasn’t really the point. Democrats availed themselves of something new—an extended, virtually uninterrupted block of time with wall-to-wall media coverage—to argue that Trump is guilty of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, the two charges outlined in the articles of impeachment passed by the House. If the Democrats’ appeals to the public, and the jury, were clear, the actual jurors’ reactions were not. The members of the Senate largely sat—stone-faced or restless, scribbling the occasional note or staring off into space—as they heard Democrats’ arguments. Many of them were visibly exhausted, having already sat through 12 hours of debating and voting that kept them in the chamber until two o’clock on Wednesday morning. At times they nodded off, only to moments later let their feelings show—particularly when the impeachment managers ran video clips to support their case. When Schiff played Trump’s infamous “Russia, if you’re listening” comments encouraging Russia to hack former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in 2016, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) let out a disbelieving chuckle and shook his head, exchanging a brief glance with Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) in the row ahead.While Democrats played another video clip showing a blustery Trump, several GOP senators smirked and chuckled. Another moment underscored the unusual situation of one Republican juror who is also something of a witness: when Garcia referenced impeachment witness testimony that called the U.S. delegation to Zelensky’s inaugural “less senior,” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), with a laugh, turned in his seat toward a senator who was part of that delegation: Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI). The scene revealed a bit of the bind Schiff and the other Democrats are in—almost certainly a terminal one for impeachment. Appeals to history will be less compelling to legislators than their immediate political interests. And for three years, the interests of Republican legislators include not angering a president who is regularly more popular with their constituents than they are. At a press conference moments before Schiff spoke, Graham—one of Trump’s staunchest defenders—reprised his fury at Democrats from the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation hearings. “If I were the president, I wouldn't cooperate with these guys at all,” Graham fumed. “You can say what you want about me. But I’m covering up nothing. I’m exposing your hatred of this president to the point that you would destroy the institution.” The bitter debate over cover-ups, and who is responsible for them, is set to intensify as senators draw closer to a vote on whether or not to subpoena additional witnesses and evidence for the trial. The rules for the trial, passed early Wednesday, provide for that vote after each side makes their case, and many senators who could offer a decisive vote for new evidence are staying quiet on the subject until arguments conclude. On Wednesday, top Democrats threw cold water on chatter that they might agree with Republicans on the idea of a witness swap—allowing former National Security Adviser John Bolton to testify, for example, in exchange for former Vice President Joe Biden’s son Hunter, a figure Trump’s defenders proclaim as justification for Trump’s insistence that Zelensky investigate “corruption.” “I think that’s off the table,” said Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY). “That trade is not on the table.”For now, most senators seemed to settle into a wait-and-see posture as arguments began. Republicans seemed eager to move past the three days of Democratic arguments and hear from a group that has been far less visible during the months-long impeachment process: Trump’s defense team.“I think this whole thing pivots on the defense, what President Trump’s team is going to do,” Braun told reporters. “I think that’s all in a void really until you hear what we haven’t heard in general through the whole process… the defense.”Meanwhile, the Democratic impeachment managers and aides settled into the crucial three days that will define their case. Spread out over their table set up on the floor of the Senate were binders and notepads, Kleenex and water, a tin of Altoids and a plastic bag filled with Ricola throat lozenges. As a long and fateful day unfolded, in which Democrats hoped that contextualizing Trump’s offenses within constitutional history and geopolitics will be enough to move 20 Republicans, they would need the strongest voices they could summon. Read more at The Daily Beast.Got a tip? Send it to The Daily Beast hereGet our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.


Nigeria Surprised by News of Possible U.S. Travel Restrictions

Nigeria Surprised by News of Possible U.S. Travel Restrictions(Bloomberg) -- Nigeria’s government was surprised by the news that the U.S. is considering travel restrictions on its citizens and the ban would mean officials will have to find new ways to meet with investors, Finance Minister Zainab Ahmed said.Nigeria is one of seven countries, more than half of which are in Africa, included in a list that may be affected if the Homeland Security Department’s recommendation to expand restrictions is approved, according to a person familiar with the matter. President Donald Trump is reviewing it. The other African states targeted because of security concerns are Eritrea, Sudan and Tanzania.“It will mean restrictions in being able to meet with investors in the U.S. and to be able to meet with Bretton Woods institutions that are in the U.S.,” Ahmed said Thursday in an interview with Bloomberg TV at the World Economic Forum in Davos. “It means we will have to make meeting arrangements alternative to the U.S. because there are options that are open to us,” such as the U.K., she said.Nigeria, which vies with South Africa to be the continent’s biggest economy, is struggling to boost economic growth after a 2016 contraction. The International Monetary Fund projects gross domestic product will expand 2.5% this year. The possible travel restrictions won’t hurt growth, Ahmed said.“We have some very active investors in the Nigerian bond market that are in the U.S. and also some that have taken up our Eurobonds,” Ahmed said. “We connect with them directly and through our advisers such as Standard Chartered and Citibank, who have offices in the U.S.”While Nigeria is Africa’s largest oil producer, it imports fuel and relies on foreign investment inflows to help prop up the naira.Zainab said she’s met with investors in London to discuss the possibility of issuing naira-denominated bonds on the London Stock Exchange.“We are very positive that we will be able to refinance our debt obligations as well as acquire new financing to fund our major infrastructure projects,” she said.Tanzania’s government hasn’t received confirmation that the country is being considered for a travel ban.“We are also reading these reports from the media,” Emmanuel Buhohela, director of communications at the foreign-affairs ministry, said by phone. “So for now we are still waiting for official communication before we can react.”\--With assistance from Ken Karuri.To contact the reporters on this story: Haslinda Amin in Singapore at hamin1@bloomberg.net;Ruth Olurounbi in Abuja at rolurounbi4@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Anthony Osae-Brown at aosaebrown2@bloomberg.net, Rene Vollgraaff, Gordon BellFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.


Mexico's tough response to migrants doesn't stir outcry

Mexico's tough response to migrants doesn't stir outcryThe hundreds of Central American migrants walking north in southern Mexico have received steady media coverage in Mexico, but with sky-high murders, a stagnant economy and corruption topping the national agenda, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s aggressive efforts to stop them hasn't stirred a widespread reaction. López Obrador, a leftist who throughout his campaign talked about protecting human rights and more respectful treatment of migrants, has taken some criticism from the left, even from within his own party, for Mexico’s more militarized reception of migrants who arrived at the Guatemala-Mexico border last weekend.


Family of Kristin Smart, who went missing in 1996, now says there's no news coming soon

Family of Kristin Smart, who went missing in 1996, now says there's no news coming soonKristin Smart's mother said she was contacted by a former FBI agent, but there is no timeline for an announcement in her case, the family later said.


White House breaks silence on Jeff Bezos phone-hacking scandal, calls Saudi Arabia an 'important ally'

White House breaks silence on Jeff Bezos phone-hacking scandal, calls Saudi Arabia an 'important ally'The White House weighed in on reports that Saudi Arabia hacked Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos' phone, saying it takes the situation seriously.


Thunberg fires back at Mnunchin after college degree jab

Thunberg fires back at Mnunchin after college degree jabTreasury Secretary Steven Mnunchin said Greta Thunberg can discuss fossil fuel divestment "after she goes and studies economics in college."


Wax On, Wane Off: A Guide to All the Lunar Phases

Wax On, Wane Off: A Guide to All the Lunar Phases


Rep. Ilhan Omar launches 'Send her back to Congress!' reelection bid with big advantages

Rep. Ilhan Omar launches 'Send her back to Congress!' reelection bid with big advantagesRep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., is kicking off her reelection campaign Thursday night with a massive bank account and no challengers who pose a serious threat from either party. Her campaign slogan — “Send her back to Congress!” — gleefully evokes President Trump’s personal attacks on her.


'The new evidence raises deeply troubling questions': did Arkansas kill an innocent man?

'The new evidence raises deeply troubling questions': did Arkansas kill an innocent man?Revealed: two years after Ledell Lee was executed, damning evidence emerges that experts say could prove his innocenceThe day before Ledell Lee was executed on 20 April 2017, he talked to the BBC from death row. He said that while he could not prevent the state of Arkansas from killing him, he had a message for his executioners: “My dying words will always be, as it has been: ‘I am an innocent man’.”Almost two years after Lee was strapped to a gurney and injected with a lethal cocktail of drugs, it looks increasingly likely he was telling the truth: he went to his death an innocent man. New evidence has emerged that suggests Lee was not guilty of the brutal murder of a woman in 1993 for which his life was taken.The deceased inmate’s sister Patricia Young lodged a lawsuit on Thursday with the circuit court of Pulaski county, Arkansas, petitioning city authorities and the local police department in Jacksonville to release crime scene materials to her family.The ACLU and the Innocence Project, who are investigating the case on the family’s behalf, believe state-of-the-art forensic examination of the materials, including DNA testing and fingerprint analysis, could definitively prove Arkansas did indeed execute an innocent man.An 81-page filing in the lawsuit provides damning new evidence that key aspects of the prosecution case against Lee were deeply flawed. The complaint includes expert opinion from a number of world-leading specialists who find glaring errors in the way forensic science and other evidence was interpreted.The lawsuit also includes a bombshell affidavit from Lee’s post-conviction attorney who admits to having struggled with substance abuse and addiction throughout the years in which he represented him.Lawyers who prepared the filing, led by Cassandra Stubbs of the ACLU and the Innocence Project’s Nina Morrison, conclude: “It is now clear that the state’s forensic experts from trial misinterpreted the evidence in plain sight, and their flawed opinions were further distorted by the state in its zeal to convict [Lee] of the crime. The new evidence raises deeply troubling questions about the shaky evidentiary pillars on which the state executed Ledell Lee.”Innocence has always been the achilles heel of America’s death penalty: how to justify judicially killing prisoners who may have been wrongfully convicted. The question is far from academic: since 1973 no fewer than 167 death row inmates have been exonerated.The most harrowing question is whether innocent prisoners have been executed before the flawed nature of their convictions emerged. In recent years, there have been several cases that, with near certainty, suggest that innocent men have been put to death.They include Cameron Todd Willingham executed in Texas in 2004 for allegedly having caused a fire that killed his three young daughters. After the execution, further evidence emerged that conclusively showed that he could not have set the fire.The Columbia Human Rights Law Review carried out a groundbreaking investigation in which it concluded Carlos DeLuna was innocent when he was executed – also by Texas – in 1989. The six-year study discovered that the convicted prisoner had almost certainly been confused with another man, a violent criminal who shared the name Carlos.Now Ledell Lee looks as though he may be added to the grim rollcall of the wrongly executed. He relentlessly insisted he was not guilty from the moment he was arrested less than two hours after the brutally beaten body of Debra Reese was discovered in her home in Jacksonville on 9 February 1993.The difficulties with the case against Lee began almost immediately. He was picked up nowhere near the crime scene and was not in possession of any possessions that could be linked to the break-in at Reese’s home.The only evidence against him was inconclusive at best. There were two eyewitnesses, but they gave conflicting reports of the suspect’s identification.> In recent years, there have been several cases that, with near certainty, suggest innocent men have been put to deathThe crime scene was shocking, with blood splattered over the walls and floor. Yet when Lee was arrested on the same day detectives could find no blood on his clothes or body including under his fingernails and nothing was found in a forensic search of his house.Given the paucity of evidence, it is not surprising that it took two trials to find Lee guilty and sentence him to death. The first trial collapsed after the jury was unable to reach a verdict.The ACLU and Innocence Project took up Lee’s case very late in the day having been asked to get involved shortly before his scheduled execution date. What they discovered when they opened the case records astounded even these experienced death penalty lawyers.Very quickly they established there were major problems with the prosecution case against Lee. One area that especially concerned them was the inadequacy of Lee’s legal representation, both during the second trial in which defense attorneys inexplicably failed to call alibi witnesses that could have placed Lee elsewhere at the time of the murder, and in terms of the help he received at the appeal stage of his case.At one post-conviction hearing, a lawyer working for the state of Arkansas approached the judge and raised concerns about Lee’s attorney, Craig Lambert. “Your honor, I don’t do this lightly, but I’m going to ask that the court require him to submit to a drug test,” the counsel said. “He’s just not with us … His speech is slurred.”In an affidavit obtained since Lee’s execution, signed by Lambert in October, the lawyer admits: “I was struggling with substance abuse and addiction in those years. I attended inpatient rehab. Ledell’s case was massive and I wasn’t in the best place personally to do what was necessary.”Partly as a result of poor legal representation, terrible errors were made in Lee’s defense – both at trial and for years afterwards during the appeals process. The complaint goes into detail about these “deeply troubling” shortcomings.One of the key examples relates to the marks found on the victim’s cheek. The state’s experts mistakenly interpreted the marks as having come from a pattern on a rug in Reese’s bedroom where she had been beaten to death with a wooden tire club.In fact, the filing says, the pattern on the body’s cheek did not match that on the rug. Instead it was consistent with the murderer stomping on Reese’s face directly with his shoe.That is critically significant because the shoes that Lee was wearing that day, which the state used during the trial as evidence against him, were incompatible in the composition of their soles with the injury pattern on Reese’s face.To establish this point, an affidavit is provided by Michael Baden, former chief pathologist for New York who is recognized internationally as a leading forensic pathologist. He concludes: “The soles of Mr Lee’s sneakers have a much more closely spaced pattern than was transferred in the cheek imprint.”That inconsistency is just one of many that were uncovered when Baden and four other specialists were invited to review the case.Lee was executed in a flurry. When the state of Arkansas realized its supply of one of its three lethal drugs, the sedative midazolam, was about to expire at the end of 2017 with no hope of replacing it due to a global ban on medicines being sent to the US for use in executions, it went into overdrive.It announced plans to kill eight prisoners in 11 days.The declaration prompted revulsion from around the US and the world and accusations that the state was engaging in conveyor-belt executions. It was in that climate that attempts by the ACLU and the Innocence Project to have materials gathered at the crime scene of Reese’s murder released for DNA testing fell on deaf ears.Though the lawyers presented a strong argument that DNA testing could be crucial in casting doubt on Lee’s conviction and pointing towards the real killer, a federal district court denied the request on grounds that Lee had “simply delayed too long” in asking for the materials.It is too late now for Lee. But his lawyers hope that it is not too late to get to the bottom of the case posthumously.The city of Jacksonville is in possession of a rich array of crime scene materials including “Negroid” hairs collected from Reese’s bedroom and fingernail scrapings likely to contain DNA from the actual killer – Lee or otherwise.“This evidence can now be tested with state-of-the-art methods unavailable at trial, and compared to Mr Lee’s unique DNA profile,” the filing says.After a welter of legal challenges, Arkansas succeeded in killing four prisoners in one week, including the first double execution held in the US in a single day since 2001. The first of the four to die was Ledell Lee.Should Arkansas now agree belatedly to hand over the crime scene materials for testing, he may yet be proven to have been, just as he always said he was, an innocent man.


Donald Trump and the moral decline of the pro-life movement

Donald Trump and the moral decline of the pro-life movementDonald Trump's decision to become the first president ever to attend the annual March for Life in Washington on Friday is a very big deal for both the Republican Party and the pro-life movement — though not in the way that either of them fully realizes.Trump's embrace of the anti-abortion movement has been driven from the beginning by political expediency. With various factions of the Republican Party establishment opposing him in the 2016 primaries, the Trump campaign made the decision to champion the religious right, including its pro-life activist base, which then reciprocated by turning out to vote. As president, Trump has rewarded this support with White House access and respect for the movement's leadership, as well as record numbers of staunchly conservative judicial appointments that just might lead to decisions upholding restrictions on abortion that render the key abortion rights decisions, Roe v. Wade (1973) and Casey v. Planned Parenthood (1992), effectively null and void.Still, at the symbolic level nothing has come close to matching Trump's announcement on Wednesday that this year he would be attending (and presumably speaking at) the March for Life, the demonstration in the nation's capital that is held annually on or close to the anniversary of the Roe decision and regularly draws tens of thousands of pro-lifers.The significance for the GOP of Trump's scheduled appearance at the rally is a function of what it demonstrates retrospectively about the place of the pro-life movement in the party. Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush may have been personally committed to the anti-abortion cause, and Trump may be entirely driven by concern over his prospects for re-election and his need to keep Republican office-holders firmly in his camp through the Senate impeachment trial. Yet the former presidents kept the movement at arm's length and the latter has unapologetically embraced it. Donald Trump is now poised to be the greatest presidential champion of the pro-life cause in American history.That's a big change for the GOP, which has long tried to have it both ways — doing just enough to win loyal support from grassroots pro-life activists but not so much that it antagonizes pro-choice voters who have been willing to cast ballots for the party despite its nominal support for the anti-abortion cause. Such balancing will now be much more difficult if not impossible with the head of the party so forthrightly embracing the pro-life position.But Trump's unmodulated support of the pro-life cause is a much bigger and more portentous change for the movement itself.Nationwide opposition to abortion began with outspoken Catholic bishops immediately after Roe was handed down and was at first joined by greater numbers of Democrats than Republicans. These activists originally saw themselves as leading a civil rights crusade in favor of defending the most vulnerable members of society (the unborn) against lethal violence. This construal of the cause has animated and sustained it for nearly 50 years, long past the realignment that saw it become a foundational issue for a religious right dominated by evangelical Protestants.All along, critics of the anti-abortion movement have dismissed its moral appeals and deployment of the language of civil rights, calling it window dressing on a cause that is really motivated by hostility to feminism — and above all, by the drive to limit women's autonomy, stymie their career ambitions, and reaffirm the primacy of their social role as mothers.For decades the pro-life movement has fought this characterization. In doing so, it has drawn on the rhetoric of such anti-abortion crusaders as Richard John Neuhaus, who adapted language from his days marching for civil rights with Martin Luther King, and the rationalist and universalistic moral arguments of legal philosopher Robert P. George, who has appealed to the tradition of natural law theorizing in forging his arguments against abortion.The moral message of these men is simple and powerful: The fetus is a member of the human species from the time of conception; all members of the human species, no matter how small, weak, or dependent, possess innate dignity and hence a right to life; all abortion is therefore the taking of an innocent human life and so must be outlawed along with other forms of murder. This was a line of argument about the rights and legal status of the fetus, not one about the proper place of women in American society.But a pro-life movement whose greatest political champion is Donald Trump has no hope for maintaining such a high-minded construal of its motives and priorities. When Trump speaks at the March for Life, the country will see the pro-life cause forthrightly advocated by a serial adulterer who's repeatedly been accused of rape, who cheated on his wife with a porn star shortly after the birth of their son, and who has been caught on tape bragging about his facility at sexual assault. Trump has spent a lifetime using women for his own gratification and then tossing them away like garbage — and he will now be the most powerful and prominent promoter of a movement that would prevent the victims of such treatment from asserting some modicum of control over its consequences on their bodies and future lives.That's a pro-life movement that actively aims not to protect the vulnerable from lethal violence but to severely constrain and restrict women's freedom.The practical consequences for the movement are likely to be bad. While some recent polling indicates a modest rise in the popularity of the pro-life label — showing perhaps that continuing advances in ultrasound technology are increasing moral unease about opting for abortion — other polls show a more dramatic spike in support for upholding Roe and the constitutional right to choose. This is a powerful sign that, as we've also seen with shifts in public opinion in favor of immigration over the past few years of nativist cruelty and xenophobia from the administration, Trump tends to turn people against the very causes he champions.By locking arms with a polarizing, deeply unpopular, and morally repulsive president, the pro-life movement is likely to end up losing at the very moment it feels closest to winning.More stories from theweek.com Trump is reportedly threatening Republicans to keep them in line on impeachment 34 service members suffered traumatic brain injuries in the Iranian strikes. Trump called them 'headaches.' Eli Manning talks Derek Jeter's Hall of Fame vote, Tom Brady's jealousy in retirement conference


Greek Prime Minister Says Turkey-Libya Deal Is Unacceptable and Illegal

Greek Prime Minister Says Turkey-Libya Deal Is Unacceptable and Illegal(Bloomberg) -- Turkey’s maritime border agreement with Libya is unacceptable and illegal, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said, amid growing tension in the eastern Mediterranean.“Turkey has been difficult to deal with,” Mitsotakis said in an interview with Bloomberg in Davos Thursday. “There’s a constant state of provocation, which leads Turkey nowhere.”The premier, who’s focused on bringing the country back from a crippling economic crisis since he took office in July, has been waylaid by smoldering geopolitical tensions in the east Mediterranean.Long-contentious relations with neighboring Turkey soured further in November when Ankara signed a maritime agreement with Libya in a bid to solidify claims to waters off the coast of Greece and Cyprus.“We don’t need Turkey’s permission,” to be able to supply Europe with Cypriot, Israeli or potential Greek gas, Mitsotakis said earlier in Davos. The pact signed by Libya and Turkey has an impact for the planned EastMed pipeline project, he said.Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is now threatening to start drilling for natural gas in the maritime area Greece claims as its own under international law.Libyan Commander Khalifa Haftar’s visit to Athens last week ahead of a summit in Berlin only raised the stakes, with Turkey accusing Greece of sabotaging the Libya peace process.\--With assistance from Sotiris Nikas.To contact the reporter on this story: Eleni Chrepa in Athens at echrepa@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Sotiris Nikas at snikas@bloomberg.net, Jerrold Colten, Paul TugwellFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.


Lebanon at a crossroads after 100 days of protests

Lebanon at a crossroads after 100 days of protestsWhen Nazih Khalaf heard that protests were taking place Oct. 17 in Lebanon’s capital over government plans to impose new taxes, he was just returning from south of Beirut where he’d been working to put out deadly wildfires that had been raging for days. Khalaf hasn't left downtown Beirut since. Now, 100 days after the nationwide uprising against the country's hated political class erupted, Lebanon is at a crossroads, and Lebanese are more divided than ever.


Trump complains his impeachment defense has a lousy time slot

Trump complains his impeachment defense has a lousy time slotSince being elected president, Donald Trump has tweeted about “ratings” exactly 100 times, according to the Trump Twitter Archive.


Muslim, Jewish leaders pay 'historic' joint visit to Auschwitz

Muslim, Jewish leaders pay 'historic' joint visit to AuschwitzMuslim and Jewish leaders on Thursday honoured Holocaust victims during what they termed an "historic" joint visit to the former Nazi German death camp Auschwitz, days ahead of the 75th anniversary of its liberation. MWL secretary general Mohammad bin Abdulkarim Al-Issa knelt and bowed to the ground as he lead Islamic prayers next to the memorial monument honouring the more than one million people -- mostly European Jews -- that Nazi Germany killed at Auschwitz.


A University of Minnesota student was arrested in China and sentenced to 6 months in prison for tweeting cartoons making fun of President Xi Jingping

A University of Minnesota student was arrested in China and sentenced to 6 months in prison for tweeting cartoons making fun of President Xi JingpingAccording to Chinese court documents obtained by Axios, 20-year-old Luo Daiqing was arrested after returning to Wuhan for summer break.


Firefighting plane crashes in Australia, killing 3 Americans

Firefighting plane crashes in Australia, killing 3 AmericansThree American firefighting airplane crew members were killed Thursday when the C-130 Hercules aerial water tanker they were in crashed while battling wildfires in southeastern Australia, officials said. New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian confirmed the deaths in the state's Snowy Monaro region, which came as Australia grapples with an unprecedented fire season that has left a large swath of destruction. Canada-based Coulson Aviation said in a statement that one of its Lockheed large air tankers was lost after it left Richmond in New South Wales with retardant for a firebombing mission.


Brexit Bulletin: Law of the Land

Brexit Bulletin: Law of the LandDays to Brexit: 8(Bloomberg) -- Sign up here to get the Brexit Bulletin in your inbox every weekday.What’s Happening? The Withdrawal Agreement Bill received royal assent, making Brexit on Jan. 31 a matter of U.K. law.Seventeen words brought an end to the British side of this phase of the Brexit saga. In a statement to the House of Commons, Deputy Speaker Nigel Evans delivered the news to listening lawmakers: “Her Majesty has signified her royal assent to the following act: European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Act 2020.”Royal assent brings to a close the crisis that paralyzed U.K. politics after the country voted to leave the European Union in June 2016. Former Prime Minister Theresa May failed to get her version of the deal through the House of Commons after reaching an agreement with the EU in November 2018. Her successor, Boris Johnson, succeeded only after winning a large majority in last month’s general election.With the U.K. due to slip out of the EU at 11 p.m. London time next Friday, all that remains is for the European Parliament to rubber-stamp the deal. That was due to move a step closer on Thursday afternoon via a vote of the assembly’s constitutional affairs committee, a group of the parliament’s most influential members. The panel was expected to nod the deal through.The full EU parliament, which officially has a veto over the deal, will vote on Jan. 29. It will almost certainly follow the committee’s lead. The U.K. is scheduled to leave the EU two days later.Beyond BrexitClimate activist Greta Thunberg should go back to school and study economics, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said at the World Economic Forum in Davos. These billionaires made their fortunes by trying to stop climate change. The £200 million ($262 million) London mansion bought by Cheung Cheung Kie earlier this month isn’t even his most valuable property.Brexit in BriefRule Makers | U.K. financiers are asking the government to revamp regulations to attract global business after Brexit. Watchdogs should have the power “to make the U.K. a better place to do business” through a new mandate to support London’s financial hub against rivals, according to the International Regulatory Strategy Group, a panel backed by the City of London.Diverging Views | Speaking at Davos on Thursday morning, U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer Sajid Javid tried to reassure business over Britain’s post-Brexit ties with the EU. “We won’t diverge just for the sake of it,” he said. That’s despite telling the Financial Times last week that “there will not be alignment” with EU rules after Brexit.Off-Piste? | Did Javid speak out of turn at Davos when he said that talks for a U.K.-EU trade deal will take priority over any agreement with the U.S.? Today’s Bloomberg Westminster podcast discusses his motivations.Time Is Tight | The clock is ticking for the EU and the U.K. to hammer out a trade deal by the end of the year, according to Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte. “It’s an awfully short amount of time so I hope that coming next summer, June, July, that Boris Johnson will at least contemplate extending, if necessary, this transition phase,” Rutte said in a Bloomberg TV interview in Davos. “I’m Still Here” | Steve Bray, otherwise known as the “Stop Brexit Guy” was a fixture outside Westminster during the height of the U.K.’s Brexit tension, often disrupting live TV interviews. On Thursday he took his protest to Brussels, joining a small rally outside the European Parliament, the Brussels Times reports. “I came to Brussels just to visit this parliament,” the Times reported him as saying. “I’m still here because I still care.”Want to keep up with Brexit?You can follow us @Brexit on Twitter, and listen to Bloomberg Westminster every weekday. It’s live at midday on Bloomberg Radio and is available as a podcast too. Share the Brexit Bulletin: Colleagues, friends and family can sign up here. For full EU coverage, try the Brussels Edition.For even more: Subscribe to Bloomberg All Access for our unmatched global news coverage and two in-depth daily newsletters, The Bloomberg Open and The Bloomberg Close.To contact the authors of this story: Thomas Penny in London at tpenny@bloomberg.netIan Wishart in Brussels at iwishart@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Adam Blenford at ablenford@bloomberg.net, Chris KayFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.


Warren responds after angry dad confronts her on student loans

Warren responds after angry dad confronts her on student loansIn the exchange, a father asked Warren if he is getting "screwed" because he saved money for his daughter's education.


Damaged By Drone Strike: Suleimani's Sainthood Is Now Being Questioned

Damaged By Drone Strike: Suleimani's Sainthood Is Now Being QuestionedIran’s brand is thinning among the Shi’a and Suleimani’s departure creates breathing room for the Shi’a in the region.


Smugglers tried to bring 3,700 invasive crabs through the Port of Cincinnati

Smugglers tried to bring 3,700 invasive crabs through the Port of CincinnatiMitten crabs are a delicacy in Asia and sell for about $50 each in the United States, officials say. They are considered an invasive species.


Ted Cruz is officially the 1st senator spotted drinking milk during impeachment trial

Ted Cruz is officially the 1st senator spotted drinking milk during impeachment trialThe Senate floor is a tight ship, with lawmakers blocked from bringing food, electronics, and just about every drink with them when they enter it. Yet one 60-year-old precedent provides a loophole to those strict rules — and a senator has finally used it to liven up President Trump's impeachment trial.Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) was the first senator spotted asking for and receiving a glass of milk during the trial, in accordance with a longstanding allowance of dairy in the Senate, CBS News' Grace Segers noted Wednesday. He then got a second glass of milk, CBS News' Julia Boccagno noted, and paired it with a piece of Hershey's chocolate from the Senate's candy desk — seemingly a violation of floor rules.Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C. ) also reportedly acquired a glass of milk, Segers noted later. And in a twist, Segers tweeted that she'd heard Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) actually had some milk the night before.> More milk-related news: I've been informed that Ted Cruz drank milk at around midnight last night. Apparently, senators have to provide their own milk to the cloakroom, although they do keep it cold for senators.> > — Grace Segers (@Grace_Segers) January 22, 2020It's surprising that Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) hasn't engaged in the trend yet, seeing as he was the one who reminded us of the dairy procedure on Tuesday.More stories from theweek.com Democrats walked right into Mitch McConnell's trap Watch highlights from Day 3 of Trump's impeachment trial, in which Democrats argue abuse of power GOP Sen. Marsha Blackburn questions patriotism of Purple Heart recipient Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman


U.S. charges former Mexican police commander in El Chapo-linked cocaine investigation

U.S. charges former Mexican police commander in El Chapo-linked cocaine investigationU.S. prosecutors on Friday charged a former Mexican federal police commander with accepting hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes from Mexican drug cartels to help them send cocaine into the United States, in a case linked to imprisoned drug lord Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán.


These 9 Dining Chairs Are Sculptural, Surprising, and Downright Sleek

These 9 Dining Chairs Are Sculptural, Surprising, and Downright Sleek


In Trump impeachment trial, Nadler presses case by quoting Lindsey Graham — from 1999

In Trump impeachment trial, Nadler presses case by quoting Lindsey Graham — from 1999Rep. Jerry Nadler employed a video clip of Sen. Lindsey Graham during Thursday’s testimony of Donald Trump’s impeachment trial to make the case that a president need not have committed a crime in order to be removed from office.


Only one quarter of Americans trust the US Senate to hold a fair impeachment trial

Only one quarter of Americans trust the US Senate to hold a fair impeachment trialRepublicans are more split than one might imagine: While 42% trust the Senate to do a fair trial, 33% do not.


Canada ‘Will Not Stop’ Until It Has Answers on Iran Crash

Canada ‘Will Not Stop’ Until It Has Answers on Iran Crash(Bloomberg) -- Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland said her government will be relentless in seeking answers from Iran on the jet crash that killed 57 Canadians this month near Tehran.Justin Trudeau’s second in command, speaking in an interview with Bloomberg TV in Davos, Switzerland, said Canada wants a “real, independent” analysis of the airplane’s black box, along with transparency on what exactly happened. She also said Canada is receiving support from allies in pressing on the issue, particularly from the Netherlands and Ukraine.“I am confident we will get those answers because Canada is relentlessly focused on getting them and we will not stop until we get them,” Freeland said.Iran is under intense international pressure to provide full accountability over the circumstances that caused the crash of the Ukrainian International Airlines plane on Jan. 8. The three-year-old Boeing Co. 737-800 was shot down about two minutes after takeoff from Tehran. While nearly half the victims were Iranians, the crash was also one of the worst air tragedies ever involving Canadians. Many of the victims were doctors, engineers and Ph.D. students who represented a microcosm of the northern nation’s immigration policies.Nafta RatificationSeparately in the interview, Freeland also commented on plans to get the new North American free trade agreement ratified in Canada’s parliament, calling it the top priority for the government.The deal, a result of a year of rough negotiations with Donald Trump’s administration, has been passed in the U.S. Senate and is awaiting the president’s signature. It has also been approved in Mexico.Ratification won’t be a straightforward process in Canada, however. Trudeau’s team will need to get the support of at least one opposition party to pass legislation, and expedite debate, after losing its parliamentary majority in October’s divisive election.With all of Canada’s provincial premiers calling for a speedy ratification, Freeland said she’s confident the governing Liberals will be able to win support for the deal.To contact the reporter on this story: Theophilos Argitis in Ottawa at targitis@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Theophilos Argitis at targitis@bloomberg.net, Stephen WicaryFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.


4 killed in plane crash at Southern California airport

4 killed in plane crash at Southern California airportThere was no immediate word on a cause or the model of the plane that crashed at Corona Municipal Airport in California.


'This time I'm scared': experts fear too late for China virus lockdown

'This time I'm scared': experts fear too late for China virus lockdownChina's bid to contain a deadly new virus by placing cities of millions under quarantine is an unprecedented undertaking but it is unlikely to stop the disease spreading, experts warn. The contagious virus has already reached elsewhere in China and abroad, and even an authoritarian government has only a small timeframe in which trapped residents will submit to such a lockdown, they say. "I think we have passed the golden period of control and prevention," said Guan Yi, an expert on viruses at Hong Kong University.


Family attorneys say cruise line's story of toddler's death is 'physically impossible'

Family attorneys say cruise line's story of toddler's death is 'physically impossible'Attorneys representing Chloe Wiegand's family say a ship visit proves it's "physically impossible" for her grandfather to hold her out of the window.


Russia, China, and Iran Would Love to Take Out a Nuclear Aircraft Carrier. Here's Why They Can't.

Russia, China, and Iran Would Love to Take Out a Nuclear Aircraft Carrier. Here's Why They Can't.The beasts are more survivable than they seem.


Australia's Kangaroo Island is looking for volunteers to feed animals injured in bushfires

Australia's Kangaroo Island is looking for volunteers to feed animals injured in bushfiresNearly half of Kangaroo Island was burned by the bushfires this month alone. The RSPCA has posted an application form.


In southern Poland, archaeologists discover WW2 plane wreck

In southern Poland, archaeologists discover WW2 plane wreckArchaeologists have discovered the wreck of a U.S.-made bomber flown by the Soviet Red Army in World War Two, along with the remains of four crewmen killed when it crashed in southern Poland, private broadcaster TVN reported. Marta Wrobel in the town of Bierun during the war and told TVN that the blast from the crash had been powerful enough to blow out windows and doors. The remains of the four Soviet crewmen who perished in the crash will be laid to rest at a nearby Red Army cemetery.


Samantha Bee Dunks on Trump’s Defense Team: ‘A Virtual Dream Team of Rape Culture’

Samantha Bee Dunks on Trump’s Defense Team: ‘A Virtual Dream Team of Rape Culture’Early in her weekly show Wednesday night, Samantha Bee played a clip of Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) telling Fox News that he thinks not calling witnesses in the Senate impeachment trial is the “right thing to do.” “And if anyone’s an expert on witnesses not talking about the crimes they saw, it’s Jim Jordan,” the Full Frontal host said, putting up a headline about how the congressman allegedly knew about sexual abuse at Ohio State and said nothing. That was a preview of what was to come later in the opening segment when Bee took a closer look at President Trump’s defense team “Continuing his tradition of appointing only the best, Trump’s defenders include Ken Starr, Alan Dershowitz and Jim Jordan,” she said. “It’s a virtual dream team of rape culture.” Trevor Noah Destroys Alan Dershowitz’s Impeachment HypocrisyBee ran through their troubling resumes, including Starr’s tenure as president of the Christian Baylor University. “Just to be clear, when Jesus said to ‘turn the other cheek,’ he didn’t mean away from people getting assaulted,” she said. And there’s Dershowitz who once called statutory rape an “outdated concept.” Bee added, “In Dershowitz’s defense, it’s not like he was close friends with notorious pedophile and didn’t-kill-himself-er Jeffrey Epstein. Oh no, I’m sorry, he totally was.” “It is infuriating that these three men are allowed to show their faces in polite society, much less defend the captain of the rape culture all-star team,” she said. “Look, the impeachment case isn’t about sexual assault. But for women and survivors it is horrifying to see these men congeal together to protect each other.” The host ended the segment by predicting that when this is all over, Jordan, Starr and Deshowitz might just start their own rapist-defending law firm: “The only law firm whose phone number is 911.” For more, listen to Samantha Bee on The Last Laugh podcast below: Read more at The Daily Beast.Got a tip? Send it to The Daily Beast hereGet our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.


New Moon Photos! Get Your New Moon Photos Here!

New Moon Photos! Get Your New Moon Photos Here!


Targeted killings up as 8 wounded in Iraq protest violence

Targeted killings up as 8 wounded in Iraq protest violenceGovernment inaction over the rising number of assassinations targeting anti-government demonstrators and supporters is stirring fear and resentment, activists said Thursday. Iraqi security forces, meanwhile, fired tear gas to disperse protesters on a vital Baghdad highway, injuring eight. The latest episode of unrest comes one day ahead of a planned “million-man" march called for by influential Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr to push for the removal of foreign troops from Iraq.


These gun enthusiasts at the Virginia rally carried more firepower than many US troops

These gun enthusiasts at the Virginia rally carried more firepower than many US troops"This sends a strong visual message," a man holding a .50 caliber rifle said. Attendees also came with an armored vehicle and a grenade launcher.


China Puts 13 Cities on Lockdown as Coronavirus Death Toll Climbs

China Puts 13 Cities on Lockdown as Coronavirus Death Toll ClimbsChina is striving to contain a deadly virus outbreak the World Health Organization has termed a domestic health emergency


'Serious safety risk': Man arrested after pointing laser at planes, temporarily blinding one pilot

'Serious safety risk': Man arrested after pointing laser at planes, temporarily blinding one pilotTwo planes were struck by a laser, temporarily blinding one pilot, as they flew into Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport on Wednesday night.


Italy's Crazy World War II Strategy of "Human Torpedoes"

Italy's Crazy World War II Strategy of "Human Torpedoes"Was it successful?


A black man received a settlement in a race discrimination lawsuit. When he tried to cash the check, the bank called the cops, prompting a second racial discrimination case.

A black man received a settlement in a race discrimination lawsuit. When he tried to cash the check, the bank called the cops, prompting a second racial discrimination case.Sauntore Thomas, of Detroit, Michigan, sued TCF Bank after it refused to accept checks he received from a racial discrimination lawsuit.


North Korea confirms former commander is new foreign minister

North Korea confirms former commander is new foreign ministerSEOUL/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - North Korea on Friday confirmed that Ri Son Gwon, a former defense commander with limited diplomatic experience, has been appointed the country's new foreign affairs minister, while the United States repeated calls for Pyongyang to give up its nuclear weapons. North Korea's official KCNA news agency reported that Ri, the latest military official to be promoted under North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, gave a speech as minister at a New Year dinner reception hosted by the ministry on Thursday for embassies and international organizations.


Yahoo News/YouGov poll shows two-thirds of voters want the Senate to call new impeachment witnesses

Yahoo News/YouGov poll shows two-thirds of voters want the Senate to call new impeachment witnessesIn a new poll, 63 percent of registered voters agree that the Senate should call new witnesses to testify during President Trump’s impeachment trial.


Angela Merkel Says Fight Against Climate Change ‘Matter of Survival’

Angela Merkel Says Fight Against Climate Change ‘Matter of Survival’(Bloomberg) -- German Chancellor Angela Merkel says she’s worried about the growing conflict between young campaigners for a cleaner planet and those who reject global warming.Their stances have become “irreconcilable” and led to a gap in dialog just when nations need collective actionon climate change, Merkel said Thursday in a speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos.“The question of achieving the Paris Agreement goals could be a matter of survival for the whole continent and that is why there is pressure to act,” said Merkel. Scientific evidence is clear and emotions should not be confused with facts, she said.Merkel’s comments follow remarks By Greta Thunberg, the teenage activist behind an international wave of student climate strikes. She told leaders that the rate of global warming should make them start to panic. President Donald Trump blasted the “prophets of doom” on the same day in the Swiss resort village in a speech which focused squarely on the U.S. economy.In an oblique reference to young environment activists, Merkel said those who are campaigning for a more trenchant policy to counteract global warming deserve a hearing. The “impatience of young people” must be addressed, she said.Europe and beyond faces a “decade of action,” said Merkel, citing words said previously by Secretary-General Antonio Guterres of the United Nations.Merkel is making climate policy a focus of her last full year as chancellor of Europe’s biggest economy. In the wake of mass protests, her administration sought to kick start a stalled climate agenda with a series of measures to help get Germany achieve steep cuts in carbon emissions.Germany, which is also Europe’s biggest emitter of greenhouse gases, has lagged meeting its climate targets. It aims to cut emissions 40% by this year compared with 1990 levels, yet needs to close a big gap to get there.The moves include placing levies on transportation, investing heavily in railways and applying a timetable for power companies to exit coal. Yet critics say the measures are too little and too late, and that tax payers ought not to be paying billion-dollar compensations to utilities.(Updates and rewrites from first paragraph.)To contact the reporters on this story: Raymond Colitt in Berlin at rcolitt@bloomberg.net;Brian Parkin in Berlin at bparkin@bloomberg.net;Arne Delfs in Berlin at adelfs@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Ben Sills at bsills@bloomberg.net, Jonathan TironeFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.


Belarus' leader blasts Russia for pushing merger of 2 states

Belarus' leader blasts Russia for pushing merger of 2 statesThe president of Belarus on Friday accused Moscow of pressuring his country to merge with Russia and vowed not to let it happen. The statement comes amid stalled talks on further strengthening economic ties between two countries, seen in Belarus as Moscow's plot to swallow its post-Soviet neighbor.


Philippine President Duterte threatens to end military deal with U.S.

Philippine President Duterte threatens to end military deal with U.S.Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte warned the United States on Thursday he would repeal an agreement on deployment of troops and equipment for exercises if Washington did not reinstate the visa of a political ally.


The FBI reportedly stopped a Saudi plot to kidnap a YouTuber on US soil after he criticized Mohammed bin Salman for Jamal Khashoggi's killing

The FBI reportedly stopped a Saudi plot to kidnap a YouTuber on US soil after he criticized Mohammed bin Salman for Jamal Khashoggi's killingAbdulrahman Almutairi used social media to criticize the Saudi government. It appears to have almost cost him his life.


Virologist who helped identify SARS on coronavirus outbreak: 'This time I'm scared'

Virologist who helped identify SARS on coronavirus outbreak: 'This time I'm scared'Experts are seeing shocking similarities between the coronavirus that has now spread beyond China and the SARS outbreak of 2003.Like the infectious pneumonia that has killed at least 17 people, SARS was caused by a coronavirus that originated in China. But when one of the virologists who helped identify the SARS virus visited Wuhan, where this virus originated, he didn't see nearly enough being done to fight it. People were out at markets without masks, "preparing to ring in the New Year in peace and had no sense about the epidemic," Guan Yi of the University of Hong Kong's State Key Laboratory of Emerging Infectious Diseases told Caixin. Airports were hardly being disinfected, Guan continued, saying the local government hasn't "even been handing out quarantine guides to people who were leaving the city."The city did disinfect the market where the virus has been traced to, but Guan criticized Wuhan for that, saying it hurts researchers' abilities to track down the virus's source. "I've never felt scared," Guan told Caixin. "This time I'm scared."A case involving the coronavirus was identified in Washington state on Wednesday, and cases have also been identified in Thailand, Japan, South Korea, and Singapore. A total of 639 cases were confirmed in China.More stories from theweek.com Trump is reportedly threatening Republicans to keep them in line on impeachment 34 service members suffered traumatic brain injuries in the Iranian strikes. Trump called them 'headaches.' Eli Manning talks Derek Jeter's Hall of Fame vote, Tom Brady's jealousy in retirement conference


Parishioner Who Stopped Texas Church Shooter Criticizes Bloomberg on Gun-Control Efforts

Parishioner Who Stopped Texas Church Shooter Criticizes Bloomberg on Gun-Control EffortsThe armed parishioner who took down a shooter at a Texas church in December criticized former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg's gun control efforts on Wednesday."Mr. Bloomberg, had we operated by his standards or his wishes, the carnage would have been significantly greater because the individual still, after the shooting, still had seven live rounds in his gun and three more in his pocket," Jack Wilson said in an interview on Fox News. Wilson, a member of West Freeway Church of Christ in White Settlement, Texas, fired a single round at an armed intruder on December 29, killing the assailant.Bloomberg campaign manager Kevin Sheekey hit back at Wilson in a Thursday appearance on Fox."Mr. Bloomberg supports his right to carry a gun," Sheekey said. "We salute him. But the question is, should anyone who is criminally insane be able to get a gun? I would say no."Earlier in January, while speaking about the Texas incident, Bloomberg appeared to criticize policies that loosen restrictions on gun control."Somebody in the congregation had their own gun and killed the person who murdered two other people, but it is the job of law enforcement to have guns and to decide when to shoot," Bloomberg said. "You just do not want the average citizen carrying a gun in a crowded place."Bloomberg has been heavily involved in gun-control efforts over the years. His proposals for the 2020 presidential election include universal background checks and "red flag screening" measures. In 2013, Bloomberg founded Everytown for Gun Safety, a non-profit that advocates for stricter gun control measures.


Robert Koehler: Serial ‘pillowcase rapist’ suspect was building a ‘dungeon’ before arrest

Robert Koehler: Serial ‘pillowcase rapist’ suspect was building a ‘dungeon’ before arrestProsecutors in Florida believe a 60-year-old man building a “dungeon” under his home is the so-called pillowcase rapist, who authorities say broke into women’s houses and concealed his face with pillows and towels in as many as 40 assaults in the state since the 1980s.Robert Koehler was arrested on 18 January after authorities say they tied his DNA to samples collected from a 1983 case. The sample also matched DNA collected from several other cases between 1981 and 1986, according to the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office.


No qualms for India's hangman before first job of executing rapists

No qualms for India's hangman before first job of executing rapistsPawan Kumar feels zero sympathy for the four men he is due to hang next month for a 2012 gang rape and murder that appalled India. The group set to meet their demise before dawn on February 1 -- although it may be delayed -- were convicted for a brutal crime against Jyoti Singh, a 23-year-old student. Angry demonstrations by tens of thousands of people broke out across the vast South Asian nation, sparking soul-searching about the plight of Indian women and leading to heavier sentences for sex crimes.


Dems: Convict Trump or ‘Write the History of Our Decline with Our Own Hand’

Dems: Convict Trump or ‘Write the History of Our Decline with Our Own Hand’House Democrats opened their case to remove President Trump from office by imploring the same Senate Republicans who have stood in lockstep with the White House that they're the only ones who can save American democracy.Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), the House intelligence committee chairman turned lead impeachment manager, began his side’s arguments with an appeal to history. He bookended his recitation of Trump’s pressure campaign to suborn Ukraine into aiding his reelection with references to Alexander Hamilton, George Washington, Tom Paine, Benjamin Franklin and name checked any other member of the Founding Generation—his colleague Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) later added James Madison—who could help contextualize the constitutional obligation Schiff said senators have when faced with “a man who would be a king.”It’s likely the only play Schiff, Jeffries and their fellow Democratic impeachment managers have. The unyielding political reality they confront is that only with the assent of 20 Republican senators, more than a third of the entire GOP Senate conference, will Trump be removed from office. Even convincing enough of those Republican senators to vote for hearing new evidence in the trial—just four are needed—is viewed as a tall order for Democrats. Standing on the Senate floor before the body of 100 jurors for more than two and a half hours, Schiff rarely raised his voice, laying the groundwork for a day meant to methodically recap the effort from Trumpworld to pressure Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky into probing his political rivals while withholding U.S. security aid to Ukraine as leverage. A lawyer and prosecutor before he was a congressman, Schiff’s remarks reflected his understanding that his partisan opponents are also his jury. Instead of accusing Senate Republicans of a “cover-up,” as Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) did during a late-night rules debate on Tuesday, he opted to treat them as accountable to history. “If we don’t stand up to this peril today,” Schiff intoned, “we will write the history of our decline with our own hand.”Democrats recounted the most dramatic testimony from their November public impeachment hearings while framing it as a matter of life or death for the Republic. Showing a video of acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney’s now-infamous “get over it” remarks in October admitting that Trump conditioned $400 million in military aid on Ukranian election interference, Schiff challenged his jury: “Should the Congress just get over it?” He portrayed impeachment not only as a test for American democracy, but for resistance to the democratic retrenchment underway from autocratic nationalist forces worldwide. Doing so relied on something Schiff and other Democrats consider self-evident.  “There is no serious dispute about the facts,” Schiff said.  But the challenge impeachment has always faced is that the Senate Republicans who will determine Trump’s fate don’t concede that. Right before the hearings began, Sen. Mike Braun, a Republican from Indiana, was asked if he believed it was OK to compel a foreign power to help in an election, including by withholding aid to that end. "I'm not saying it's OK. I’m not saying it's appropriate,” Braun said. “I'm saying it didn't happen."Still, over seven hours on Wednesday, Schiff and the impeachment managers methodically placed the facts they consider as plain as daylight into the Senate’s trial record—their first day, out of three total, reserved for them to use up to 24 hours on the Senate floor to make their case. One by one, the Democratic impeachment managers broke down the case. Nadler detailed the efforts of Rudy Giuliani, the president’s personal lawyer and Ukraine right-hand, to push out Marie Yovanovitch, the former U.S. ambassador in Kyiv. Reps. Sylvia Garcia (D-TX) and Val Demings (D-FL) went through Giuliani’s long-standing interest and central role in the Ukraine scheme. Rep. Jason Crow (D-CO), an Army Ranger and veteran of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, explored the hold-up in U.S. military aid to Ukraine at stake, and Jeffries dove into why it mattered. Few in the room had not heard the facts outlined Wednesday, but that wasn’t really the point. Democrats availed themselves of something new—an extended, virtually uninterrupted block of time with wall-to-wall media coverage—to argue that Trump is guilty of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, the two charges outlined in the articles of impeachment passed by the House. If the Democrats’ appeals to the public, and the jury, were clear, the actual jurors’ reactions were not. The members of the Senate largely sat—stone-faced or restless, scribbling the occasional note or staring off into space—as they heard Democrats’ arguments. Many of them were visibly exhausted, having already sat through 12 hours of debating and voting that kept them in the chamber until two o’clock on Wednesday morning. At times they nodded off, only to moments later let their feelings show—particularly when the impeachment managers ran video clips to support their case. When Schiff played Trump’s infamous “Russia, if you’re listening” comments encouraging Russia to hack former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in 2016, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) let out a disbelieving chuckle and shook his head, exchanging a brief glance with Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) in the row ahead.While Democrats played another video clip showing a blustery Trump, several GOP senators smirked and chuckled. Another moment underscored the unusual situation of one Republican juror who is also something of a witness: when Garcia referenced impeachment witness testimony that called the U.S. delegation to Zelensky’s inaugural “less senior,” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), with a laugh, turned in his seat toward a senator who was part of that delegation: Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI). The scene revealed a bit of the bind Schiff and the other Democrats are in—almost certainly a terminal one for impeachment. Appeals to history will be less compelling to legislators than their immediate political interests. And for three years, the interests of Republican legislators include not angering a president who is regularly more popular with their constituents than they are. At a press conference moments before Schiff spoke, Graham—one of Trump’s staunchest defenders—reprised his fury at Democrats from the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation hearings. “If I were the president, I wouldn't cooperate with these guys at all,” Graham fumed. “You can say what you want about me. But I’m covering up nothing. I’m exposing your hatred of this president to the point that you would destroy the institution.” The bitter debate over cover-ups, and who is responsible for them, is set to intensify as senators draw closer to a vote on whether or not to subpoena additional witnesses and evidence for the trial. The rules for the trial, passed early Wednesday, provide for that vote after each side makes their case, and many senators who could offer a decisive vote for new evidence are staying quiet on the subject until arguments conclude. On Wednesday, top Democrats threw cold water on chatter that they might agree with Republicans on the idea of a witness swap—allowing former National Security Adviser John Bolton to testify, for example, in exchange for former Vice President Joe Biden’s son Hunter, a figure Trump’s defenders proclaim as justification for Trump’s insistence that Zelensky investigate “corruption.” “I think that’s off the table,” said Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY). “That trade is not on the table.”For now, most senators seemed to settle into a wait-and-see posture as arguments began. Republicans seemed eager to move past the three days of Democratic arguments and hear from a group that has been far less visible during the months-long impeachment process: Trump’s defense team.“I think this whole thing pivots on the defense, what President Trump’s team is going to do,” Braun told reporters. “I think that’s all in a void really until you hear what we haven’t heard in general through the whole process… the defense.”Meanwhile, the Democratic impeachment managers and aides settled into the crucial three days that will define their case. Spread out over their table set up on the floor of the Senate were binders and notepads, Kleenex and water, a tin of Altoids and a plastic bag filled with Ricola throat lozenges. As a long and fateful day unfolded, in which Democrats hoped that contextualizing Trump’s offenses within constitutional history and geopolitics will be enough to move 20 Republicans, they would need the strongest voices they could summon. Read more at The Daily Beast.Got a tip? Send it to The Daily Beast hereGet our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.


Nigeria Surprised by News of Possible U.S. Travel Restrictions

Nigeria Surprised by News of Possible U.S. Travel Restrictions(Bloomberg) -- Nigeria’s government was surprised by the news that the U.S. is considering travel restrictions on its citizens and the ban would mean officials will have to find new ways to meet with investors, Finance Minister Zainab Ahmed said.Nigeria is one of seven countries, more than half of which are in Africa, included in a list that may be affected if the Homeland Security Department’s recommendation to expand restrictions is approved, according to a person familiar with the matter. President Donald Trump is reviewing it. The other African states targeted because of security concerns are Eritrea, Sudan and Tanzania.“It will mean restrictions in being able to meet with investors in the U.S. and to be able to meet with Bretton Woods institutions that are in the U.S.,” Ahmed said Thursday in an interview with Bloomberg TV at the World Economic Forum in Davos. “It means we will have to make meeting arrangements alternative to the U.S. because there are options that are open to us,” such as the U.K., she said.Nigeria, which vies with South Africa to be the continent’s biggest economy, is struggling to boost economic growth after a 2016 contraction. The International Monetary Fund projects gross domestic product will expand 2.5% this year. The possible travel restrictions won’t hurt growth, Ahmed said.“We have some very active investors in the Nigerian bond market that are in the U.S. and also some that have taken up our Eurobonds,” Ahmed said. “We connect with them directly and through our advisers such as Standard Chartered and Citibank, who have offices in the U.S.”While Nigeria is Africa’s largest oil producer, it imports fuel and relies on foreign investment inflows to help prop up the naira.Zainab said she’s met with investors in London to discuss the possibility of issuing naira-denominated bonds on the London Stock Exchange.“We are very positive that we will be able to refinance our debt obligations as well as acquire new financing to fund our major infrastructure projects,” she said.Tanzania’s government hasn’t received confirmation that the country is being considered for a travel ban.“We are also reading these reports from the media,” Emmanuel Buhohela, director of communications at the foreign-affairs ministry, said by phone. “So for now we are still waiting for official communication before we can react.”\--With assistance from Ken Karuri.To contact the reporters on this story: Haslinda Amin in Singapore at hamin1@bloomberg.net;Ruth Olurounbi in Abuja at rolurounbi4@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Anthony Osae-Brown at aosaebrown2@bloomberg.net, Rene Vollgraaff, Gordon BellFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.


Mexico's tough response to migrants doesn't stir outcry

Mexico's tough response to migrants doesn't stir outcryThe hundreds of Central American migrants walking north in southern Mexico have received steady media coverage in Mexico, but with sky-high murders, a stagnant economy and corruption topping the national agenda, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s aggressive efforts to stop them hasn't stirred a widespread reaction. López Obrador, a leftist who throughout his campaign talked about protecting human rights and more respectful treatment of migrants, has taken some criticism from the left, even from within his own party, for Mexico’s more militarized reception of migrants who arrived at the Guatemala-Mexico border last weekend.


Family of Kristin Smart, who went missing in 1996, now says there's no news coming soon

Family of Kristin Smart, who went missing in 1996, now says there's no news coming soonKristin Smart's mother said she was contacted by a former FBI agent, but there is no timeline for an announcement in her case, the family later said.


White House breaks silence on Jeff Bezos phone-hacking scandal, calls Saudi Arabia an 'important ally'

White House breaks silence on Jeff Bezos phone-hacking scandal, calls Saudi Arabia an 'important ally'The White House weighed in on reports that Saudi Arabia hacked Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos' phone, saying it takes the situation seriously.


Thunberg fires back at Mnunchin after college degree jab

Thunberg fires back at Mnunchin after college degree jabTreasury Secretary Steven Mnunchin said Greta Thunberg can discuss fossil fuel divestment "after she goes and studies economics in college."


Wax On, Wane Off: A Guide to All the Lunar Phases

Wax On, Wane Off: A Guide to All the Lunar Phases


Rep. Ilhan Omar launches 'Send her back to Congress!' reelection bid with big advantages

Rep. Ilhan Omar launches 'Send her back to Congress!' reelection bid with big advantagesRep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., is kicking off her reelection campaign Thursday night with a massive bank account and no challengers who pose a serious threat from either party. Her campaign slogan — “Send her back to Congress!” — gleefully evokes President Trump’s personal attacks on her.


'The new evidence raises deeply troubling questions': did Arkansas kill an innocent man?

'The new evidence raises deeply troubling questions': did Arkansas kill an innocent man?Revealed: two years after Ledell Lee was executed, damning evidence emerges that experts say could prove his innocenceThe day before Ledell Lee was executed on 20 April 2017, he talked to the BBC from death row. He said that while he could not prevent the state of Arkansas from killing him, he had a message for his executioners: “My dying words will always be, as it has been: ‘I am an innocent man’.”Almost two years after Lee was strapped to a gurney and injected with a lethal cocktail of drugs, it looks increasingly likely he was telling the truth: he went to his death an innocent man. New evidence has emerged that suggests Lee was not guilty of the brutal murder of a woman in 1993 for which his life was taken.The deceased inmate’s sister Patricia Young lodged a lawsuit on Thursday with the circuit court of Pulaski county, Arkansas, petitioning city authorities and the local police department in Jacksonville to release crime scene materials to her family.The ACLU and the Innocence Project, who are investigating the case on the family’s behalf, believe state-of-the-art forensic examination of the materials, including DNA testing and fingerprint analysis, could definitively prove Arkansas did indeed execute an innocent man.An 81-page filing in the lawsuit provides damning new evidence that key aspects of the prosecution case against Lee were deeply flawed. The complaint includes expert opinion from a number of world-leading specialists who find glaring errors in the way forensic science and other evidence was interpreted.The lawsuit also includes a bombshell affidavit from Lee’s post-conviction attorney who admits to having struggled with substance abuse and addiction throughout the years in which he represented him.Lawyers who prepared the filing, led by Cassandra Stubbs of the ACLU and the Innocence Project’s Nina Morrison, conclude: “It is now clear that the state’s forensic experts from trial misinterpreted the evidence in plain sight, and their flawed opinions were further distorted by the state in its zeal to convict [Lee] of the crime. The new evidence raises deeply troubling questions about the shaky evidentiary pillars on which the state executed Ledell Lee.”Innocence has always been the achilles heel of America’s death penalty: how to justify judicially killing prisoners who may have been wrongfully convicted. The question is far from academic: since 1973 no fewer than 167 death row inmates have been exonerated.The most harrowing question is whether innocent prisoners have been executed before the flawed nature of their convictions emerged. In recent years, there have been several cases that, with near certainty, suggest that innocent men have been put to death.They include Cameron Todd Willingham executed in Texas in 2004 for allegedly having caused a fire that killed his three young daughters. After the execution, further evidence emerged that conclusively showed that he could not have set the fire.The Columbia Human Rights Law Review carried out a groundbreaking investigation in which it concluded Carlos DeLuna was innocent when he was executed – also by Texas – in 1989. The six-year study discovered that the convicted prisoner had almost certainly been confused with another man, a violent criminal who shared the name Carlos.Now Ledell Lee looks as though he may be added to the grim rollcall of the wrongly executed. He relentlessly insisted he was not guilty from the moment he was arrested less than two hours after the brutally beaten body of Debra Reese was discovered in her home in Jacksonville on 9 February 1993.The difficulties with the case against Lee began almost immediately. He was picked up nowhere near the crime scene and was not in possession of any possessions that could be linked to the break-in at Reese’s home.The only evidence against him was inconclusive at best. There were two eyewitnesses, but they gave conflicting reports of the suspect’s identification.> In recent years, there have been several cases that, with near certainty, suggest innocent men have been put to deathThe crime scene was shocking, with blood splattered over the walls and floor. Yet when Lee was arrested on the same day detectives could find no blood on his clothes or body including under his fingernails and nothing was found in a forensic search of his house.Given the paucity of evidence, it is not surprising that it took two trials to find Lee guilty and sentence him to death. The first trial collapsed after the jury was unable to reach a verdict.The ACLU and Innocence Project took up Lee’s case very late in the day having been asked to get involved shortly before his scheduled execution date. What they discovered when they opened the case records astounded even these experienced death penalty lawyers.Very quickly they established there were major problems with the prosecution case against Lee. One area that especially concerned them was the inadequacy of Lee’s legal representation, both during the second trial in which defense attorneys inexplicably failed to call alibi witnesses that could have placed Lee elsewhere at the time of the murder, and in terms of the help he received at the appeal stage of his case.At one post-conviction hearing, a lawyer working for the state of Arkansas approached the judge and raised concerns about Lee’s attorney, Craig Lambert. “Your honor, I don’t do this lightly, but I’m going to ask that the court require him to submit to a drug test,” the counsel said. “He’s just not with us … His speech is slurred.”In an affidavit obtained since Lee’s execution, signed by Lambert in October, the lawyer admits: “I was struggling with substance abuse and addiction in those years. I attended inpatient rehab. Ledell’s case was massive and I wasn’t in the best place personally to do what was necessary.”Partly as a result of poor legal representation, terrible errors were made in Lee’s defense – both at trial and for years afterwards during the appeals process. The complaint goes into detail about these “deeply troubling” shortcomings.One of the key examples relates to the marks found on the victim’s cheek. The state’s experts mistakenly interpreted the marks as having come from a pattern on a rug in Reese’s bedroom where she had been beaten to death with a wooden tire club.In fact, the filing says, the pattern on the body’s cheek did not match that on the rug. Instead it was consistent with the murderer stomping on Reese’s face directly with his shoe.That is critically significant because the shoes that Lee was wearing that day, which the state used during the trial as evidence against him, were incompatible in the composition of their soles with the injury pattern on Reese’s face.To establish this point, an affidavit is provided by Michael Baden, former chief pathologist for New York who is recognized internationally as a leading forensic pathologist. He concludes: “The soles of Mr Lee’s sneakers have a much more closely spaced pattern than was transferred in the cheek imprint.”That inconsistency is just one of many that were uncovered when Baden and four other specialists were invited to review the case.Lee was executed in a flurry. When the state of Arkansas realized its supply of one of its three lethal drugs, the sedative midazolam, was about to expire at the end of 2017 with no hope of replacing it due to a global ban on medicines being sent to the US for use in executions, it went into overdrive.It announced plans to kill eight prisoners in 11 days.The declaration prompted revulsion from around the US and the world and accusations that the state was engaging in conveyor-belt executions. It was in that climate that attempts by the ACLU and the Innocence Project to have materials gathered at the crime scene of Reese’s murder released for DNA testing fell on deaf ears.Though the lawyers presented a strong argument that DNA testing could be crucial in casting doubt on Lee’s conviction and pointing towards the real killer, a federal district court denied the request on grounds that Lee had “simply delayed too long” in asking for the materials.It is too late now for Lee. But his lawyers hope that it is not too late to get to the bottom of the case posthumously.The city of Jacksonville is in possession of a rich array of crime scene materials including “Negroid” hairs collected from Reese’s bedroom and fingernail scrapings likely to contain DNA from the actual killer – Lee or otherwise.“This evidence can now be tested with state-of-the-art methods unavailable at trial, and compared to Mr Lee’s unique DNA profile,” the filing says.After a welter of legal challenges, Arkansas succeeded in killing four prisoners in one week, including the first double execution held in the US in a single day since 2001. The first of the four to die was Ledell Lee.Should Arkansas now agree belatedly to hand over the crime scene materials for testing, he may yet be proven to have been, just as he always said he was, an innocent man.


Donald Trump and the moral decline of the pro-life movement

Donald Trump and the moral decline of the pro-life movementDonald Trump's decision to become the first president ever to attend the annual March for Life in Washington on Friday is a very big deal for both the Republican Party and the pro-life movement — though not in the way that either of them fully realizes.Trump's embrace of the anti-abortion movement has been driven from the beginning by political expediency. With various factions of the Republican Party establishment opposing him in the 2016 primaries, the Trump campaign made the decision to champion the religious right, including its pro-life activist base, which then reciprocated by turning out to vote. As president, Trump has rewarded this support with White House access and respect for the movement's leadership, as well as record numbers of staunchly conservative judicial appointments that just might lead to decisions upholding restrictions on abortion that render the key abortion rights decisions, Roe v. Wade (1973) and Casey v. Planned Parenthood (1992), effectively null and void.Still, at the symbolic level nothing has come close to matching Trump's announcement on Wednesday that this year he would be attending (and presumably speaking at) the March for Life, the demonstration in the nation's capital that is held annually on or close to the anniversary of the Roe decision and regularly draws tens of thousands of pro-lifers.The significance for the GOP of Trump's scheduled appearance at the rally is a function of what it demonstrates retrospectively about the place of the pro-life movement in the party. Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush may have been personally committed to the anti-abortion cause, and Trump may be entirely driven by concern over his prospects for re-election and his need to keep Republican office-holders firmly in his camp through the Senate impeachment trial. Yet the former presidents kept the movement at arm's length and the latter has unapologetically embraced it. Donald Trump is now poised to be the greatest presidential champion of the pro-life cause in American history.That's a big change for the GOP, which has long tried to have it both ways — doing just enough to win loyal support from grassroots pro-life activists but not so much that it antagonizes pro-choice voters who have been willing to cast ballots for the party despite its nominal support for the anti-abortion cause. Such balancing will now be much more difficult if not impossible with the head of the party so forthrightly embracing the pro-life position.But Trump's unmodulated support of the pro-life cause is a much bigger and more portentous change for the movement itself.Nationwide opposition to abortion began with outspoken Catholic bishops immediately after Roe was handed down and was at first joined by greater numbers of Democrats than Republicans. These activists originally saw themselves as leading a civil rights crusade in favor of defending the most vulnerable members of society (the unborn) against lethal violence. This construal of the cause has animated and sustained it for nearly 50 years, long past the realignment that saw it become a foundational issue for a religious right dominated by evangelical Protestants.All along, critics of the anti-abortion movement have dismissed its moral appeals and deployment of the language of civil rights, calling it window dressing on a cause that is really motivated by hostility to feminism — and above all, by the drive to limit women's autonomy, stymie their career ambitions, and reaffirm the primacy of their social role as mothers.For decades the pro-life movement has fought this characterization. In doing so, it has drawn on the rhetoric of such anti-abortion crusaders as Richard John Neuhaus, who adapted language from his days marching for civil rights with Martin Luther King, and the rationalist and universalistic moral arguments of legal philosopher Robert P. George, who has appealed to the tradition of natural law theorizing in forging his arguments against abortion.The moral message of these men is simple and powerful: The fetus is a member of the human species from the time of conception; all members of the human species, no matter how small, weak, or dependent, possess innate dignity and hence a right to life; all abortion is therefore the taking of an innocent human life and so must be outlawed along with other forms of murder. This was a line of argument about the rights and legal status of the fetus, not one about the proper place of women in American society.But a pro-life movement whose greatest political champion is Donald Trump has no hope for maintaining such a high-minded construal of its motives and priorities. When Trump speaks at the March for Life, the country will see the pro-life cause forthrightly advocated by a serial adulterer who's repeatedly been accused of rape, who cheated on his wife with a porn star shortly after the birth of their son, and who has been caught on tape bragging about his facility at sexual assault. Trump has spent a lifetime using women for his own gratification and then tossing them away like garbage — and he will now be the most powerful and prominent promoter of a movement that would prevent the victims of such treatment from asserting some modicum of control over its consequences on their bodies and future lives.That's a pro-life movement that actively aims not to protect the vulnerable from lethal violence but to severely constrain and restrict women's freedom.The practical consequences for the movement are likely to be bad. While some recent polling indicates a modest rise in the popularity of the pro-life label — showing perhaps that continuing advances in ultrasound technology are increasing moral unease about opting for abortion — other polls show a more dramatic spike in support for upholding Roe and the constitutional right to choose. This is a powerful sign that, as we've also seen with shifts in public opinion in favor of immigration over the past few years of nativist cruelty and xenophobia from the administration, Trump tends to turn people against the very causes he champions.By locking arms with a polarizing, deeply unpopular, and morally repulsive president, the pro-life movement is likely to end up losing at the very moment it feels closest to winning.More stories from theweek.com Trump is reportedly threatening Republicans to keep them in line on impeachment 34 service members suffered traumatic brain injuries in the Iranian strikes. Trump called them 'headaches.' Eli Manning talks Derek Jeter's Hall of Fame vote, Tom Brady's jealousy in retirement conference


Greek Prime Minister Says Turkey-Libya Deal Is Unacceptable and Illegal

Greek Prime Minister Says Turkey-Libya Deal Is Unacceptable and Illegal(Bloomberg) -- Turkey’s maritime border agreement with Libya is unacceptable and illegal, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said, amid growing tension in the eastern Mediterranean.“Turkey has been difficult to deal with,” Mitsotakis said in an interview with Bloomberg in Davos Thursday. “There’s a constant state of provocation, which leads Turkey nowhere.”The premier, who’s focused on bringing the country back from a crippling economic crisis since he took office in July, has been waylaid by smoldering geopolitical tensions in the east Mediterranean.Long-contentious relations with neighboring Turkey soured further in November when Ankara signed a maritime agreement with Libya in a bid to solidify claims to waters off the coast of Greece and Cyprus.“We don’t need Turkey’s permission,” to be able to supply Europe with Cypriot, Israeli or potential Greek gas, Mitsotakis said earlier in Davos. The pact signed by Libya and Turkey has an impact for the planned EastMed pipeline project, he said.Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is now threatening to start drilling for natural gas in the maritime area Greece claims as its own under international law.Libyan Commander Khalifa Haftar’s visit to Athens last week ahead of a summit in Berlin only raised the stakes, with Turkey accusing Greece of sabotaging the Libya peace process.\--With assistance from Sotiris Nikas.To contact the reporter on this story: Eleni Chrepa in Athens at echrepa@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Sotiris Nikas at snikas@bloomberg.net, Jerrold Colten, Paul TugwellFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.


Lebanon at a crossroads after 100 days of protests

Lebanon at a crossroads after 100 days of protestsWhen Nazih Khalaf heard that protests were taking place Oct. 17 in Lebanon’s capital over government plans to impose new taxes, he was just returning from south of Beirut where he’d been working to put out deadly wildfires that had been raging for days. Khalaf hasn't left downtown Beirut since. Now, 100 days after the nationwide uprising against the country's hated political class erupted, Lebanon is at a crossroads, and Lebanese are more divided than ever.


Trump complains his impeachment defense has a lousy time slot

Trump complains his impeachment defense has a lousy time slotSince being elected president, Donald Trump has tweeted about “ratings” exactly 100 times, according to the Trump Twitter Archive.


Muslim, Jewish leaders pay 'historic' joint visit to Auschwitz

Muslim, Jewish leaders pay 'historic' joint visit to AuschwitzMuslim and Jewish leaders on Thursday honoured Holocaust victims during what they termed an "historic" joint visit to the former Nazi German death camp Auschwitz, days ahead of the 75th anniversary of its liberation. MWL secretary general Mohammad bin Abdulkarim Al-Issa knelt and bowed to the ground as he lead Islamic prayers next to the memorial monument honouring the more than one million people -- mostly European Jews -- that Nazi Germany killed at Auschwitz.


A University of Minnesota student was arrested in China and sentenced to 6 months in prison for tweeting cartoons making fun of President Xi Jingping

A University of Minnesota student was arrested in China and sentenced to 6 months in prison for tweeting cartoons making fun of President Xi JingpingAccording to Chinese court documents obtained by Axios, 20-year-old Luo Daiqing was arrested after returning to Wuhan for summer break.


Firefighting plane crashes in Australia, killing 3 Americans

Firefighting plane crashes in Australia, killing 3 AmericansThree American firefighting airplane crew members were killed Thursday when the C-130 Hercules aerial water tanker they were in crashed while battling wildfires in southeastern Australia, officials said. New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian confirmed the deaths in the state's Snowy Monaro region, which came as Australia grapples with an unprecedented fire season that has left a large swath of destruction. Canada-based Coulson Aviation said in a statement that one of its Lockheed large air tankers was lost after it left Richmond in New South Wales with retardant for a firebombing mission.


Brexit Bulletin: Law of the Land

Brexit Bulletin: Law of the LandDays to Brexit: 8(Bloomberg) -- Sign up here to get the Brexit Bulletin in your inbox every weekday.What’s Happening? The Withdrawal Agreement Bill received royal assent, making Brexit on Jan. 31 a matter of U.K. law.Seventeen words brought an end to the British side of this phase of the Brexit saga. In a statement to the House of Commons, Deputy Speaker Nigel Evans delivered the news to listening lawmakers: “Her Majesty has signified her royal assent to the following act: European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Act 2020.”Royal assent brings to a close the crisis that paralyzed U.K. politics after the country voted to leave the European Union in June 2016. Former Prime Minister Theresa May failed to get her version of the deal through the House of Commons after reaching an agreement with the EU in November 2018. Her successor, Boris Johnson, succeeded only after winning a large majority in last month’s general election.With the U.K. due to slip out of the EU at 11 p.m. London time next Friday, all that remains is for the European Parliament to rubber-stamp the deal. That was due to move a step closer on Thursday afternoon via a vote of the assembly’s constitutional affairs committee, a group of the parliament’s most influential members. The panel was expected to nod the deal through.The full EU parliament, which officially has a veto over the deal, will vote on Jan. 29. It will almost certainly follow the committee’s lead. The U.K. is scheduled to leave the EU two days later.Beyond BrexitClimate activist Greta Thunberg should go back to school and study economics, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said at the World Economic Forum in Davos. These billionaires made their fortunes by trying to stop climate change. The £200 million ($262 million) London mansion bought by Cheung Cheung Kie earlier this month isn’t even his most valuable property.Brexit in BriefRule Makers | U.K. financiers are asking the government to revamp regulations to attract global business after Brexit. Watchdogs should have the power “to make the U.K. a better place to do business” through a new mandate to support London’s financial hub against rivals, according to the International Regulatory Strategy Group, a panel backed by the City of London.Diverging Views | Speaking at Davos on Thursday morning, U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer Sajid Javid tried to reassure business over Britain’s post-Brexit ties with the EU. “We won’t diverge just for the sake of it,” he said. That’s despite telling the Financial Times last week that “there will not be alignment” with EU rules after Brexit.Off-Piste? | Did Javid speak out of turn at Davos when he said that talks for a U.K.-EU trade deal will take priority over any agreement with the U.S.? Today’s Bloomberg Westminster podcast discusses his motivations.Time Is Tight | The clock is ticking for the EU and the U.K. to hammer out a trade deal by the end of the year, according to Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte. “It’s an awfully short amount of time so I hope that coming next summer, June, July, that Boris Johnson will at least contemplate extending, if necessary, this transition phase,” Rutte said in a Bloomberg TV interview in Davos. “I’m Still Here” | Steve Bray, otherwise known as the “Stop Brexit Guy” was a fixture outside Westminster during the height of the U.K.’s Brexit tension, often disrupting live TV interviews. On Thursday he took his protest to Brussels, joining a small rally outside the European Parliament, the Brussels Times reports. “I came to Brussels just to visit this parliament,” the Times reported him as saying. “I’m still here because I still care.”Want to keep up with Brexit?You can follow us @Brexit on Twitter, and listen to Bloomberg Westminster every weekday. It’s live at midday on Bloomberg Radio and is available as a podcast too. Share the Brexit Bulletin: Colleagues, friends and family can sign up here. For full EU coverage, try the Brussels Edition.For even more: Subscribe to Bloomberg All Access for our unmatched global news coverage and two in-depth daily newsletters, The Bloomberg Open and The Bloomberg Close.To contact the authors of this story: Thomas Penny in London at tpenny@bloomberg.netIan Wishart in Brussels at iwishart@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Adam Blenford at ablenford@bloomberg.net, Chris KayFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.


Warren responds after angry dad confronts her on student loans

Warren responds after angry dad confronts her on student loansIn the exchange, a father asked Warren if he is getting "screwed" because he saved money for his daughter's education.


Damaged By Drone Strike: Suleimani's Sainthood Is Now Being Questioned

Damaged By Drone Strike: Suleimani's Sainthood Is Now Being QuestionedIran’s brand is thinning among the Shi’a and Suleimani’s departure creates breathing room for the Shi’a in the region.


Smugglers tried to bring 3,700 invasive crabs through the Port of Cincinnati

Smugglers tried to bring 3,700 invasive crabs through the Port of CincinnatiMitten crabs are a delicacy in Asia and sell for about $50 each in the United States, officials say. They are considered an invasive species.


Ted Cruz is officially the 1st senator spotted drinking milk during impeachment trial

Ted Cruz is officially the 1st senator spotted drinking milk during impeachment trialThe Senate floor is a tight ship, with lawmakers blocked from bringing food, electronics, and just about every drink with them when they enter it. Yet one 60-year-old precedent provides a loophole to those strict rules — and a senator has finally used it to liven up President Trump's impeachment trial.Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) was the first senator spotted asking for and receiving a glass of milk during the trial, in accordance with a longstanding allowance of dairy in the Senate, CBS News' Grace Segers noted Wednesday. He then got a second glass of milk, CBS News' Julia Boccagno noted, and paired it with a piece of Hershey's chocolate from the Senate's candy desk — seemingly a violation of floor rules.Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C. ) also reportedly acquired a glass of milk, Segers noted later. And in a twist, Segers tweeted that she'd heard Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) actually had some milk the night before.> More milk-related news: I've been informed that Ted Cruz drank milk at around midnight last night. Apparently, senators have to provide their own milk to the cloakroom, although they do keep it cold for senators.> > — Grace Segers (@Grace_Segers) January 22, 2020It's surprising that Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) hasn't engaged in the trend yet, seeing as he was the one who reminded us of the dairy procedure on Tuesday.More stories from theweek.com Democrats walked right into Mitch McConnell's trap Watch highlights from Day 3 of Trump's impeachment trial, in which Democrats argue abuse of power GOP Sen. Marsha Blackburn questions patriotism of Purple Heart recipient Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman


U.S. charges former Mexican police commander in El Chapo-linked cocaine investigation

U.S. charges former Mexican police commander in El Chapo-linked cocaine investigationU.S. prosecutors on Friday charged a former Mexican federal police commander with accepting hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes from Mexican drug cartels to help them send cocaine into the United States, in a case linked to imprisoned drug lord Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán.


These 9 Dining Chairs Are Sculptural, Surprising, and Downright Sleek

These 9 Dining Chairs Are Sculptural, Surprising, and Downright Sleek


In Trump impeachment trial, Nadler presses case by quoting Lindsey Graham — from 1999

In Trump impeachment trial, Nadler presses case by quoting Lindsey Graham — from 1999Rep. Jerry Nadler employed a video clip of Sen. Lindsey Graham during Thursday’s testimony of Donald Trump’s impeachment trial to make the case that a president need not have committed a crime in order to be removed from office.


Only one quarter of Americans trust the US Senate to hold a fair impeachment trial

Only one quarter of Americans trust the US Senate to hold a fair impeachment trialRepublicans are more split than one might imagine: While 42% trust the Senate to do a fair trial, 33% do not.


Canada ‘Will Not Stop’ Until It Has Answers on Iran Crash

Canada ‘Will Not Stop’ Until It Has Answers on Iran Crash(Bloomberg) -- Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland said her government will be relentless in seeking answers from Iran on the jet crash that killed 57 Canadians this month near Tehran.Justin Trudeau’s second in command, speaking in an interview with Bloomberg TV in Davos, Switzerland, said Canada wants a “real, independent” analysis of the airplane’s black box, along with transparency on what exactly happened. She also said Canada is receiving support from allies in pressing on the issue, particularly from the Netherlands and Ukraine.“I am confident we will get those answers because Canada is relentlessly focused on getting them and we will not stop until we get them,” Freeland said.Iran is under intense international pressure to provide full accountability over the circumstances that caused the crash of the Ukrainian International Airlines plane on Jan. 8. The three-year-old Boeing Co. 737-800 was shot down about two minutes after takeoff from Tehran. While nearly half the victims were Iranians, the crash was also one of the worst air tragedies ever involving Canadians. Many of the victims were doctors, engineers and Ph.D. students who represented a microcosm of the northern nation’s immigration policies.Nafta RatificationSeparately in the interview, Freeland also commented on plans to get the new North American free trade agreement ratified in Canada’s parliament, calling it the top priority for the government.The deal, a result of a year of rough negotiations with Donald Trump’s administration, has been passed in the U.S. Senate and is awaiting the president’s signature. It has also been approved in Mexico.Ratification won’t be a straightforward process in Canada, however. Trudeau’s team will need to get the support of at least one opposition party to pass legislation, and expedite debate, after losing its parliamentary majority in October’s divisive election.With all of Canada’s provincial premiers calling for a speedy ratification, Freeland said she’s confident the governing Liberals will be able to win support for the deal.To contact the reporter on this story: Theophilos Argitis in Ottawa at targitis@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Theophilos Argitis at targitis@bloomberg.net, Stephen WicaryFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.


4 killed in plane crash at Southern California airport

4 killed in plane crash at Southern California airportThere was no immediate word on a cause or the model of the plane that crashed at Corona Municipal Airport in California.


'This time I'm scared': experts fear too late for China virus lockdown

'This time I'm scared': experts fear too late for China virus lockdownChina's bid to contain a deadly new virus by placing cities of millions under quarantine is an unprecedented undertaking but it is unlikely to stop the disease spreading, experts warn. The contagious virus has already reached elsewhere in China and abroad, and even an authoritarian government has only a small timeframe in which trapped residents will submit to such a lockdown, they say. "I think we have passed the golden period of control and prevention," said Guan Yi, an expert on viruses at Hong Kong University.


Family attorneys say cruise line's story of toddler's death is 'physically impossible'

Family attorneys say cruise line's story of toddler's death is 'physically impossible'Attorneys representing Chloe Wiegand's family say a ship visit proves it's "physically impossible" for her grandfather to hold her out of the window.


Russia, China, and Iran Would Love to Take Out a Nuclear Aircraft Carrier. Here's Why They Can't.

Russia, China, and Iran Would Love to Take Out a Nuclear Aircraft Carrier. Here's Why They Can't.The beasts are more survivable than they seem.


Australia's Kangaroo Island is looking for volunteers to feed animals injured in bushfires

Australia's Kangaroo Island is looking for volunteers to feed animals injured in bushfiresNearly half of Kangaroo Island was burned by the bushfires this month alone. The RSPCA has posted an application form.


In southern Poland, archaeologists discover WW2 plane wreck

In southern Poland, archaeologists discover WW2 plane wreckArchaeologists have discovered the wreck of a U.S.-made bomber flown by the Soviet Red Army in World War Two, along with the remains of four crewmen killed when it crashed in southern Poland, private broadcaster TVN reported. Marta Wrobel in the town of Bierun during the war and told TVN that the blast from the crash had been powerful enough to blow out windows and doors. The remains of the four Soviet crewmen who perished in the crash will be laid to rest at a nearby Red Army cemetery.


Samantha Bee Dunks on Trump’s Defense Team: ‘A Virtual Dream Team of Rape Culture’

Samantha Bee Dunks on Trump’s Defense Team: ‘A Virtual Dream Team of Rape Culture’Early in her weekly show Wednesday night, Samantha Bee played a clip of Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) telling Fox News that he thinks not calling witnesses in the Senate impeachment trial is the “right thing to do.” “And if anyone’s an expert on witnesses not talking about the crimes they saw, it’s Jim Jordan,” the Full Frontal host said, putting up a headline about how the congressman allegedly knew about sexual abuse at Ohio State and said nothing. That was a preview of what was to come later in the opening segment when Bee took a closer look at President Trump’s defense team “Continuing his tradition of appointing only the best, Trump’s defenders include Ken Starr, Alan Dershowitz and Jim Jordan,” she said. “It’s a virtual dream team of rape culture.” Trevor Noah Destroys Alan Dershowitz’s Impeachment HypocrisyBee ran through their troubling resumes, including Starr’s tenure as president of the Christian Baylor University. “Just to be clear, when Jesus said to ‘turn the other cheek,’ he didn’t mean away from people getting assaulted,” she said. And there’s Dershowitz who once called statutory rape an “outdated concept.” Bee added, “In Dershowitz’s defense, it’s not like he was close friends with notorious pedophile and didn’t-kill-himself-er Jeffrey Epstein. Oh no, I’m sorry, he totally was.” “It is infuriating that these three men are allowed to show their faces in polite society, much less defend the captain of the rape culture all-star team,” she said. “Look, the impeachment case isn’t about sexual assault. But for women and survivors it is horrifying to see these men congeal together to protect each other.” The host ended the segment by predicting that when this is all over, Jordan, Starr and Deshowitz might just start their own rapist-defending law firm: “The only law firm whose phone number is 911.” For more, listen to Samantha Bee on The Last Laugh podcast below: Read more at The Daily Beast.Got a tip? Send it to The Daily Beast hereGet our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.


New Moon Photos! Get Your New Moon Photos Here!

New Moon Photos! Get Your New Moon Photos Here!


Targeted killings up as 8 wounded in Iraq protest violence

Targeted killings up as 8 wounded in Iraq protest violenceGovernment inaction over the rising number of assassinations targeting anti-government demonstrators and supporters is stirring fear and resentment, activists said Thursday. Iraqi security forces, meanwhile, fired tear gas to disperse protesters on a vital Baghdad highway, injuring eight. The latest episode of unrest comes one day ahead of a planned “million-man" march called for by influential Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr to push for the removal of foreign troops from Iraq.


These gun enthusiasts at the Virginia rally carried more firepower than many US troops

These gun enthusiasts at the Virginia rally carried more firepower than many US troops"This sends a strong visual message," a man holding a .50 caliber rifle said. Attendees also came with an armored vehicle and a grenade launcher.


China Puts 13 Cities on Lockdown as Coronavirus Death Toll Climbs

China Puts 13 Cities on Lockdown as Coronavirus Death Toll ClimbsChina is striving to contain a deadly virus outbreak the World Health Organization has termed a domestic health emergency


'Serious safety risk': Man arrested after pointing laser at planes, temporarily blinding one pilot

'Serious safety risk': Man arrested after pointing laser at planes, temporarily blinding one pilotTwo planes were struck by a laser, temporarily blinding one pilot, as they flew into Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport on Wednesday night.


Italy's Crazy World War II Strategy of "Human Torpedoes"

Italy's Crazy World War II Strategy of "Human Torpedoes"Was it successful?


A black man received a settlement in a race discrimination lawsuit. When he tried to cash the check, the bank called the cops, prompting a second racial discrimination case.

A black man received a settlement in a race discrimination lawsuit. When he tried to cash the check, the bank called the cops, prompting a second racial discrimination case.Sauntore Thomas, of Detroit, Michigan, sued TCF Bank after it refused to accept checks he received from a racial discrimination lawsuit.


North Korea confirms former commander is new foreign minister

North Korea confirms former commander is new foreign ministerSEOUL/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - North Korea on Friday confirmed that Ri Son Gwon, a former defense commander with limited diplomatic experience, has been appointed the country's new foreign affairs minister, while the United States repeated calls for Pyongyang to give up its nuclear weapons. North Korea's official KCNA news agency reported that Ri, the latest military official to be promoted under North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, gave a speech as minister at a New Year dinner reception hosted by the ministry on Thursday for embassies and international organizations.


Yahoo News/YouGov poll shows two-thirds of voters want the Senate to call new impeachment witnesses

Yahoo News/YouGov poll shows two-thirds of voters want the Senate to call new impeachment witnessesIn a new poll, 63 percent of registered voters agree that the Senate should call new witnesses to testify during President Trump’s impeachment trial.


Angela Merkel Says Fight Against Climate Change ‘Matter of Survival’

Angela Merkel Says Fight Against Climate Change ‘Matter of Survival’(Bloomberg) -- German Chancellor Angela Merkel says she’s worried about the growing conflict between young campaigners for a cleaner planet and those who reject global warming.Their stances have become “irreconcilable” and led to a gap in dialog just when nations need collective actionon climate change, Merkel said Thursday in a speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos.“The question of achieving the Paris Agreement goals could be a matter of survival for the whole continent and that is why there is pressure to act,” said Merkel. Scientific evidence is clear and emotions should not be confused with facts, she said.Merkel’s comments follow remarks By Greta Thunberg, the teenage activist behind an international wave of student climate strikes. She told leaders that the rate of global warming should make them start to panic. President Donald Trump blasted the “prophets of doom” on the same day in the Swiss resort village in a speech which focused squarely on the U.S. economy.In an oblique reference to young environment activists, Merkel said those who are campaigning for a more trenchant policy to counteract global warming deserve a hearing. The “impatience of young people” must be addressed, she said.Europe and beyond faces a “decade of action,” said Merkel, citing words said previously by Secretary-General Antonio Guterres of the United Nations.Merkel is making climate policy a focus of her last full year as chancellor of Europe’s biggest economy. In the wake of mass protests, her administration sought to kick start a stalled climate agenda with a series of measures to help get Germany achieve steep cuts in carbon emissions.Germany, which is also Europe’s biggest emitter of greenhouse gases, has lagged meeting its climate targets. It aims to cut emissions 40% by this year compared with 1990 levels, yet needs to close a big gap to get there.The moves include placing levies on transportation, investing heavily in railways and applying a timetable for power companies to exit coal. Yet critics say the measures are too little and too late, and that tax payers ought not to be paying billion-dollar compensations to utilities.(Updates and rewrites from first paragraph.)To contact the reporters on this story: Raymond Colitt in Berlin at rcolitt@bloomberg.net;Brian Parkin in Berlin at bparkin@bloomberg.net;Arne Delfs in Berlin at adelfs@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Ben Sills at bsills@bloomberg.net, Jonathan TironeFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.


Belarus' leader blasts Russia for pushing merger of 2 states

Belarus' leader blasts Russia for pushing merger of 2 statesThe president of Belarus on Friday accused Moscow of pressuring his country to merge with Russia and vowed not to let it happen. The statement comes amid stalled talks on further strengthening economic ties between two countries, seen in Belarus as Moscow's plot to swallow its post-Soviet neighbor.


Philippine President Duterte threatens to end military deal with U.S.

Philippine President Duterte threatens to end military deal with U.S.Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte warned the United States on Thursday he would repeal an agreement on deployment of troops and equipment for exercises if Washington did not reinstate the visa of a political ally.


The FBI reportedly stopped a Saudi plot to kidnap a YouTuber on US soil after he criticized Mohammed bin Salman for Jamal Khashoggi's killing

The FBI reportedly stopped a Saudi plot to kidnap a YouTuber on US soil after he criticized Mohammed bin Salman for Jamal Khashoggi's killingAbdulrahman Almutairi used social media to criticize the Saudi government. It appears to have almost cost him his life.


Virologist who helped identify SARS on coronavirus outbreak: 'This time I'm scared'

Virologist who helped identify SARS on coronavirus outbreak: 'This time I'm scared'Experts are seeing shocking similarities between the coronavirus that has now spread beyond China and the SARS outbreak of 2003.Like the infectious pneumonia that has killed at least 17 people, SARS was caused by a coronavirus that originated in China. But when one of the virologists who helped identify the SARS virus visited Wuhan, where this virus originated, he didn't see nearly enough being done to fight it. People were out at markets without masks, "preparing to ring in the New Year in peace and had no sense about the epidemic," Guan Yi of the University of Hong Kong's State Key Laboratory of Emerging Infectious Diseases told Caixin. Airports were hardly being disinfected, Guan continued, saying the local government hasn't "even been handing out quarantine guides to people who were leaving the city."The city did disinfect the market where the virus has been traced to, but Guan criticized Wuhan for that, saying it hurts researchers' abilities to track down the virus's source. "I've never felt scared," Guan told Caixin. "This time I'm scared."A case involving the coronavirus was identified in Washington state on Wednesday, and cases have also been identified in Thailand, Japan, South Korea, and Singapore. A total of 639 cases were confirmed in China.More stories from theweek.com Trump is reportedly threatening Republicans to keep them in line on impeachment 34 service members suffered traumatic brain injuries in the Iranian strikes. Trump called them 'headaches.' Eli Manning talks Derek Jeter's Hall of Fame vote, Tom Brady's jealousy in retirement conference


Parishioner Who Stopped Texas Church Shooter Criticizes Bloomberg on Gun-Control Efforts

Parishioner Who Stopped Texas Church Shooter Criticizes Bloomberg on Gun-Control EffortsThe armed parishioner who took down a shooter at a Texas church in December criticized former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg's gun control efforts on Wednesday."Mr. Bloomberg, had we operated by his standards or his wishes, the carnage would have been significantly greater because the individual still, after the shooting, still had seven live rounds in his gun and three more in his pocket," Jack Wilson said in an interview on Fox News. Wilson, a member of West Freeway Church of Christ in White Settlement, Texas, fired a single round at an armed intruder on December 29, killing the assailant.Bloomberg campaign manager Kevin Sheekey hit back at Wilson in a Thursday appearance on Fox."Mr. Bloomberg supports his right to carry a gun," Sheekey said. "We salute him. But the question is, should anyone who is criminally insane be able to get a gun? I would say no."Earlier in January, while speaking about the Texas incident, Bloomberg appeared to criticize policies that loosen restrictions on gun control."Somebody in the congregation had their own gun and killed the person who murdered two other people, but it is the job of law enforcement to have guns and to decide when to shoot," Bloomberg said. "You just do not want the average citizen carrying a gun in a crowded place."Bloomberg has been heavily involved in gun-control efforts over the years. His proposals for the 2020 presidential election include universal background checks and "red flag screening" measures. In 2013, Bloomberg founded Everytown for Gun Safety, a non-profit that advocates for stricter gun control measures.


Robert Koehler: Serial ‘pillowcase rapist’ suspect was building a ‘dungeon’ before arrest

Robert Koehler: Serial ‘pillowcase rapist’ suspect was building a ‘dungeon’ before arrestProsecutors in Florida believe a 60-year-old man building a “dungeon” under his home is the so-called pillowcase rapist, who authorities say broke into women’s houses and concealed his face with pillows and towels in as many as 40 assaults in the state since the 1980s.Robert Koehler was arrested on 18 January after authorities say they tied his DNA to samples collected from a 1983 case. The sample also matched DNA collected from several other cases between 1981 and 1986, according to the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office.


No qualms for India's hangman before first job of executing rapists

No qualms for India's hangman before first job of executing rapistsPawan Kumar feels zero sympathy for the four men he is due to hang next month for a 2012 gang rape and murder that appalled India. The group set to meet their demise before dawn on February 1 -- although it may be delayed -- were convicted for a brutal crime against Jyoti Singh, a 23-year-old student. Angry demonstrations by tens of thousands of people broke out across the vast South Asian nation, sparking soul-searching about the plight of Indian women and leading to heavier sentences for sex crimes.


Dems: Convict Trump or ‘Write the History of Our Decline with Our Own Hand’

Dems: Convict Trump or ‘Write the History of Our Decline with Our Own Hand’House Democrats opened their case to remove President Trump from office by imploring the same Senate Republicans who have stood in lockstep with the White House that they're the only ones who can save American democracy.Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), the House intelligence committee chairman turned lead impeachment manager, began his side’s arguments with an appeal to history. He bookended his recitation of Trump’s pressure campaign to suborn Ukraine into aiding his reelection with references to Alexander Hamilton, George Washington, Tom Paine, Benjamin Franklin and name checked any other member of the Founding Generation—his colleague Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) later added James Madison—who could help contextualize the constitutional obligation Schiff said senators have when faced with “a man who would be a king.”It’s likely the only play Schiff, Jeffries and their fellow Democratic impeachment managers have. The unyielding political reality they confront is that only with the assent of 20 Republican senators, more than a third of the entire GOP Senate conference, will Trump be removed from office. Even convincing enough of those Republican senators to vote for hearing new evidence in the trial—just four are needed—is viewed as a tall order for Democrats. Standing on the Senate floor before the body of 100 jurors for more than two and a half hours, Schiff rarely raised his voice, laying the groundwork for a day meant to methodically recap the effort from Trumpworld to pressure Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky into probing his political rivals while withholding U.S. security aid to Ukraine as leverage. A lawyer and prosecutor before he was a congressman, Schiff’s remarks reflected his understanding that his partisan opponents are also his jury. Instead of accusing Senate Republicans of a “cover-up,” as Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) did during a late-night rules debate on Tuesday, he opted to treat them as accountable to history. “If we don’t stand up to this peril today,” Schiff intoned, “we will write the history of our decline with our own hand.”Democrats recounted the most dramatic testimony from their November public impeachment hearings while framing it as a matter of life or death for the Republic. Showing a video of acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney’s now-infamous “get over it” remarks in October admitting that Trump conditioned $400 million in military aid on Ukranian election interference, Schiff challenged his jury: “Should the Congress just get over it?” He portrayed impeachment not only as a test for American democracy, but for resistance to the democratic retrenchment underway from autocratic nationalist forces worldwide. Doing so relied on something Schiff and other Democrats consider self-evident.  “There is no serious dispute about the facts,” Schiff said.  But the challenge impeachment has always faced is that the Senate Republicans who will determine Trump’s fate don’t concede that. Right before the hearings began, Sen. Mike Braun, a Republican from Indiana, was asked if he believed it was OK to compel a foreign power to help in an election, including by withholding aid to that end. "I'm not saying it's OK. I’m not saying it's appropriate,” Braun said. “I'm saying it didn't happen."Still, over seven hours on Wednesday, Schiff and the impeachment managers methodically placed the facts they consider as plain as daylight into the Senate’s trial record—their first day, out of three total, reserved for them to use up to 24 hours on the Senate floor to make their case. One by one, the Democratic impeachment managers broke down the case. Nadler detailed the efforts of Rudy Giuliani, the president’s personal lawyer and Ukraine right-hand, to push out Marie Yovanovitch, the former U.S. ambassador in Kyiv. Reps. Sylvia Garcia (D-TX) and Val Demings (D-FL) went through Giuliani’s long-standing interest and central role in the Ukraine scheme. Rep. Jason Crow (D-CO), an Army Ranger and veteran of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, explored the hold-up in U.S. military aid to Ukraine at stake, and Jeffries dove into why it mattered. Few in the room had not heard the facts outlined Wednesday, but that wasn’t really the point. Democrats availed themselves of something new—an extended, virtually uninterrupted block of time with wall-to-wall media coverage—to argue that Trump is guilty of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, the two charges outlined in the articles of impeachment passed by the House. If the Democrats’ appeals to the public, and the jury, were clear, the actual jurors’ reactions were not. The members of the Senate largely sat—stone-faced or restless, scribbling the occasional note or staring off into space—as they heard Democrats’ arguments. Many of them were visibly exhausted, having already sat through 12 hours of debating and voting that kept them in the chamber until two o’clock on Wednesday morning. At times they nodded off, only to moments later let their feelings show—particularly when the impeachment managers ran video clips to support their case. When Schiff played Trump’s infamous “Russia, if you’re listening” comments encouraging Russia to hack former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in 2016, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) let out a disbelieving chuckle and shook his head, exchanging a brief glance with Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) in the row ahead.While Democrats played another video clip showing a blustery Trump, several GOP senators smirked and chuckled. Another moment underscored the unusual situation of one Republican juror who is also something of a witness: when Garcia referenced impeachment witness testimony that called the U.S. delegation to Zelensky’s inaugural “less senior,” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), with a laugh, turned in his seat toward a senator who was part of that delegation: Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI). The scene revealed a bit of the bind Schiff and the other Democrats are in—almost certainly a terminal one for impeachment. Appeals to history will be less compelling to legislators than their immediate political interests. And for three years, the interests of Republican legislators include not angering a president who is regularly more popular with their constituents than they are. At a press conference moments before Schiff spoke, Graham—one of Trump’s staunchest defenders—reprised his fury at Democrats from the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation hearings. “If I were the president, I wouldn't cooperate with these guys at all,” Graham fumed. “You can say what you want about me. But I’m covering up nothing. I’m exposing your hatred of this president to the point that you would destroy the institution.” The bitter debate over cover-ups, and who is responsible for them, is set to intensify as senators draw closer to a vote on whether or not to subpoena additional witnesses and evidence for the trial. The rules for the trial, passed early Wednesday, provide for that vote after each side makes their case, and many senators who could offer a decisive vote for new evidence are staying quiet on the subject until arguments conclude. On Wednesday, top Democrats threw cold water on chatter that they might agree with Republicans on the idea of a witness swap—allowing former National Security Adviser John Bolton to testify, for example, in exchange for former Vice President Joe Biden’s son Hunter, a figure Trump’s defenders proclaim as justification for Trump’s insistence that Zelensky investigate “corruption.” “I think that’s off the table,” said Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY). “That trade is not on the table.”For now, most senators seemed to settle into a wait-and-see posture as arguments began. Republicans seemed eager to move past the three days of Democratic arguments and hear from a group that has been far less visible during the months-long impeachment process: Trump’s defense team.“I think this whole thing pivots on the defense, what President Trump’s team is going to do,” Braun told reporters. “I think that’s all in a void really until you hear what we haven’t heard in general through the whole process… the defense.”Meanwhile, the Democratic impeachment managers and aides settled into the crucial three days that will define their case. Spread out over their table set up on the floor of the Senate were binders and notepads, Kleenex and water, a tin of Altoids and a plastic bag filled with Ricola throat lozenges. As a long and fateful day unfolded, in which Democrats hoped that contextualizing Trump’s offenses within constitutional history and geopolitics will be enough to move 20 Republicans, they would need the strongest voices they could summon. Read more at The Daily Beast.Got a tip? Send it to The Daily Beast hereGet our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.


Nigeria Surprised by News of Possible U.S. Travel Restrictions

Nigeria Surprised by News of Possible U.S. Travel Restrictions(Bloomberg) -- Nigeria’s government was surprised by the news that the U.S. is considering travel restrictions on its citizens and the ban would mean officials will have to find new ways to meet with investors, Finance Minister Zainab Ahmed said.Nigeria is one of seven countries, more than half of which are in Africa, included in a list that may be affected if the Homeland Security Department’s recommendation to expand restrictions is approved, according to a person familiar with the matter. President Donald Trump is reviewing it. The other African states targeted because of security concerns are Eritrea, Sudan and Tanzania.“It will mean restrictions in being able to meet with investors in the U.S. and to be able to meet with Bretton Woods institutions that are in the U.S.,” Ahmed said Thursday in an interview with Bloomberg TV at the World Economic Forum in Davos. “It means we will have to make meeting arrangements alternative to the U.S. because there are options that are open to us,” such as the U.K., she said.Nigeria, which vies with South Africa to be the continent’s biggest economy, is struggling to boost economic growth after a 2016 contraction. The International Monetary Fund projects gross domestic product will expand 2.5% this year. The possible travel restrictions won’t hurt growth, Ahmed said.“We have some very active investors in the Nigerian bond market that are in the U.S. and also some that have taken up our Eurobonds,” Ahmed said. “We connect with them directly and through our advisers such as Standard Chartered and Citibank, who have offices in the U.S.”While Nigeria is Africa’s largest oil producer, it imports fuel and relies on foreign investment inflows to help prop up the naira.Zainab said she’s met with investors in London to discuss the possibility of issuing naira-denominated bonds on the London Stock Exchange.“We are very positive that we will be able to refinance our debt obligations as well as acquire new financing to fund our major infrastructure projects,” she said.Tanzania’s government hasn’t received confirmation that the country is being considered for a travel ban.“We are also reading these reports from the media,” Emmanuel Buhohela, director of communications at the foreign-affairs ministry, said by phone. “So for now we are still waiting for official communication before we can react.”\--With assistance from Ken Karuri.To contact the reporters on this story: Haslinda Amin in Singapore at hamin1@bloomberg.net;Ruth Olurounbi in Abuja at rolurounbi4@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Anthony Osae-Brown at aosaebrown2@bloomberg.net, Rene Vollgraaff, Gordon BellFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.


Mexico's tough response to migrants doesn't stir outcry

Mexico's tough response to migrants doesn't stir outcryThe hundreds of Central American migrants walking north in southern Mexico have received steady media coverage in Mexico, but with sky-high murders, a stagnant economy and corruption topping the national agenda, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s aggressive efforts to stop them hasn't stirred a widespread reaction. López Obrador, a leftist who throughout his campaign talked about protecting human rights and more respectful treatment of migrants, has taken some criticism from the left, even from within his own party, for Mexico’s more militarized reception of migrants who arrived at the Guatemala-Mexico border last weekend.


Family of Kristin Smart, who went missing in 1996, now says there's no news coming soon

Family of Kristin Smart, who went missing in 1996, now says there's no news coming soonKristin Smart's mother said she was contacted by a former FBI agent, but there is no timeline for an announcement in her case, the family later said.


White House breaks silence on Jeff Bezos phone-hacking scandal, calls Saudi Arabia an 'important ally'

White House breaks silence on Jeff Bezos phone-hacking scandal, calls Saudi Arabia an 'important ally'The White House weighed in on reports that Saudi Arabia hacked Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos' phone, saying it takes the situation seriously.


Thunberg fires back at Mnunchin after college degree jab

Thunberg fires back at Mnunchin after college degree jabTreasury Secretary Steven Mnunchin said Greta Thunberg can discuss fossil fuel divestment "after she goes and studies economics in college."


Wax On, Wane Off: A Guide to All the Lunar Phases

Wax On, Wane Off: A Guide to All the Lunar Phases


Rep. Ilhan Omar launches 'Send her back to Congress!' reelection bid with big advantages

Rep. Ilhan Omar launches 'Send her back to Congress!' reelection bid with big advantagesRep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., is kicking off her reelection campaign Thursday night with a massive bank account and no challengers who pose a serious threat from either party. Her campaign slogan — “Send her back to Congress!” — gleefully evokes President Trump’s personal attacks on her.


'The new evidence raises deeply troubling questions': did Arkansas kill an innocent man?

'The new evidence raises deeply troubling questions': did Arkansas kill an innocent man?Revealed: two years after Ledell Lee was executed, damning evidence emerges that experts say could prove his innocenceThe day before Ledell Lee was executed on 20 April 2017, he talked to the BBC from death row. He said that while he could not prevent the state of Arkansas from killing him, he had a message for his executioners: “My dying words will always be, as it has been: ‘I am an innocent man’.”Almost two years after Lee was strapped to a gurney and injected with a lethal cocktail of drugs, it looks increasingly likely he was telling the truth: he went to his death an innocent man. New evidence has emerged that suggests Lee was not guilty of the brutal murder of a woman in 1993 for which his life was taken.The deceased inmate’s sister Patricia Young lodged a lawsuit on Thursday with the circuit court of Pulaski county, Arkansas, petitioning city authorities and the local police department in Jacksonville to release crime scene materials to her family.The ACLU and the Innocence Project, who are investigating the case on the family’s behalf, believe state-of-the-art forensic examination of the materials, including DNA testing and fingerprint analysis, could definitively prove Arkansas did indeed execute an innocent man.An 81-page filing in the lawsuit provides damning new evidence that key aspects of the prosecution case against Lee were deeply flawed. The complaint includes expert opinion from a number of world-leading specialists who find glaring errors in the way forensic science and other evidence was interpreted.The lawsuit also includes a bombshell affidavit from Lee’s post-conviction attorney who admits to having struggled with substance abuse and addiction throughout the years in which he represented him.Lawyers who prepared the filing, led by Cassandra Stubbs of the ACLU and the Innocence Project’s Nina Morrison, conclude: “It is now clear that the state’s forensic experts from trial misinterpreted the evidence in plain sight, and their flawed opinions were further distorted by the state in its zeal to convict [Lee] of the crime. The new evidence raises deeply troubling questions about the shaky evidentiary pillars on which the state executed Ledell Lee.”Innocence has always been the achilles heel of America’s death penalty: how to justify judicially killing prisoners who may have been wrongfully convicted. The question is far from academic: since 1973 no fewer than 167 death row inmates have been exonerated.The most harrowing question is whether innocent prisoners have been executed before the flawed nature of their convictions emerged. In recent years, there have been several cases that, with near certainty, suggest that innocent men have been put to death.They include Cameron Todd Willingham executed in Texas in 2004 for allegedly having caused a fire that killed his three young daughters. After the execution, further evidence emerged that conclusively showed that he could not have set the fire.The Columbia Human Rights Law Review carried out a groundbreaking investigation in which it concluded Carlos DeLuna was innocent when he was executed – also by Texas – in 1989. The six-year study discovered that the convicted prisoner had almost certainly been confused with another man, a violent criminal who shared the name Carlos.Now Ledell Lee looks as though he may be added to the grim rollcall of the wrongly executed. He relentlessly insisted he was not guilty from the moment he was arrested less than two hours after the brutally beaten body of Debra Reese was discovered in her home in Jacksonville on 9 February 1993.The difficulties with the case against Lee began almost immediately. He was picked up nowhere near the crime scene and was not in possession of any possessions that could be linked to the break-in at Reese’s home.The only evidence against him was inconclusive at best. There were two eyewitnesses, but they gave conflicting reports of the suspect’s identification.> In recent years, there have been several cases that, with near certainty, suggest innocent men have been put to deathThe crime scene was shocking, with blood splattered over the walls and floor. Yet when Lee was arrested on the same day detectives could find no blood on his clothes or body including under his fingernails and nothing was found in a forensic search of his house.Given the paucity of evidence, it is not surprising that it took two trials to find Lee guilty and sentence him to death. The first trial collapsed after the jury was unable to reach a verdict.The ACLU and Innocence Project took up Lee’s case very late in the day having been asked to get involved shortly before his scheduled execution date. What they discovered when they opened the case records astounded even these experienced death penalty lawyers.Very quickly they established there were major problems with the prosecution case against Lee. One area that especially concerned them was the inadequacy of Lee’s legal representation, both during the second trial in which defense attorneys inexplicably failed to call alibi witnesses that could have placed Lee elsewhere at the time of the murder, and in terms of the help he received at the appeal stage of his case.At one post-conviction hearing, a lawyer working for the state of Arkansas approached the judge and raised concerns about Lee’s attorney, Craig Lambert. “Your honor, I don’t do this lightly, but I’m going to ask that the court require him to submit to a drug test,” the counsel said. “He’s just not with us … His speech is slurred.”In an affidavit obtained since Lee’s execution, signed by Lambert in October, the lawyer admits: “I was struggling with substance abuse and addiction in those years. I attended inpatient rehab. Ledell’s case was massive and I wasn’t in the best place personally to do what was necessary.”Partly as a result of poor legal representation, terrible errors were made in Lee’s defense – both at trial and for years afterwards during the appeals process. The complaint goes into detail about these “deeply troubling” shortcomings.One of the key examples relates to the marks found on the victim’s cheek. The state’s experts mistakenly interpreted the marks as having come from a pattern on a rug in Reese’s bedroom where she had been beaten to death with a wooden tire club.In fact, the filing says, the pattern on the body’s cheek did not match that on the rug. Instead it was consistent with the murderer stomping on Reese’s face directly with his shoe.That is critically significant because the shoes that Lee was wearing that day, which the state used during the trial as evidence against him, were incompatible in the composition of their soles with the injury pattern on Reese’s face.To establish this point, an affidavit is provided by Michael Baden, former chief pathologist for New York who is recognized internationally as a leading forensic pathologist. He concludes: “The soles of Mr Lee’s sneakers have a much more closely spaced pattern than was transferred in the cheek imprint.”That inconsistency is just one of many that were uncovered when Baden and four other specialists were invited to review the case.Lee was executed in a flurry. When the state of Arkansas realized its supply of one of its three lethal drugs, the sedative midazolam, was about to expire at the end of 2017 with no hope of replacing it due to a global ban on medicines being sent to the US for use in executions, it went into overdrive.It announced plans to kill eight prisoners in 11 days.The declaration prompted revulsion from around the US and the world and accusations that the state was engaging in conveyor-belt executions. It was in that climate that attempts by the ACLU and the Innocence Project to have materials gathered at the crime scene of Reese’s murder released for DNA testing fell on deaf ears.Though the lawyers presented a strong argument that DNA testing could be crucial in casting doubt on Lee’s conviction and pointing towards the real killer, a federal district court denied the request on grounds that Lee had “simply delayed too long” in asking for the materials.It is too late now for Lee. But his lawyers hope that it is not too late to get to the bottom of the case posthumously.The city of Jacksonville is in possession of a rich array of crime scene materials including “Negroid” hairs collected from Reese’s bedroom and fingernail scrapings likely to contain DNA from the actual killer – Lee or otherwise.“This evidence can now be tested with state-of-the-art methods unavailable at trial, and compared to Mr Lee’s unique DNA profile,” the filing says.After a welter of legal challenges, Arkansas succeeded in killing four prisoners in one week, including the first double execution held in the US in a single day since 2001. The first of the four to die was Ledell Lee.Should Arkansas now agree belatedly to hand over the crime scene materials for testing, he may yet be proven to have been, just as he always said he was, an innocent man.


Donald Trump and the moral decline of the pro-life movement

Donald Trump and the moral decline of the pro-life movementDonald Trump's decision to become the first president ever to attend the annual March for Life in Washington on Friday is a very big deal for both the Republican Party and the pro-life movement — though not in the way that either of them fully realizes.Trump's embrace of the anti-abortion movement has been driven from the beginning by political expediency. With various factions of the Republican Party establishment opposing him in the 2016 primaries, the Trump campaign made the decision to champion the religious right, including its pro-life activist base, which then reciprocated by turning out to vote. As president, Trump has rewarded this support with White House access and respect for the movement's leadership, as well as record numbers of staunchly conservative judicial appointments that just might lead to decisions upholding restrictions on abortion that render the key abortion rights decisions, Roe v. Wade (1973) and Casey v. Planned Parenthood (1992), effectively null and void.Still, at the symbolic level nothing has come close to matching Trump's announcement on Wednesday that this year he would be attending (and presumably speaking at) the March for Life, the demonstration in the nation's capital that is held annually on or close to the anniversary of the Roe decision and regularly draws tens of thousands of pro-lifers.The significance for the GOP of Trump's scheduled appearance at the rally is a function of what it demonstrates retrospectively about the place of the pro-life movement in the party. Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush may have been personally committed to the anti-abortion cause, and Trump may be entirely driven by concern over his prospects for re-election and his need to keep Republican office-holders firmly in his camp through the Senate impeachment trial. Yet the former presidents kept the movement at arm's length and the latter has unapologetically embraced it. Donald Trump is now poised to be the greatest presidential champion of the pro-life cause in American history.That's a big change for the GOP, which has long tried to have it both ways — doing just enough to win loyal support from grassroots pro-life activists but not so much that it antagonizes pro-choice voters who have been willing to cast ballots for the party despite its nominal support for the anti-abortion cause. Such balancing will now be much more difficult if not impossible with the head of the party so forthrightly embracing the pro-life position.But Trump's unmodulated support of the pro-life cause is a much bigger and more portentous change for the movement itself.Nationwide opposition to abortion began with outspoken Catholic bishops immediately after Roe was handed down and was at first joined by greater numbers of Democrats than Republicans. These activists originally saw themselves as leading a civil rights crusade in favor of defending the most vulnerable members of society (the unborn) against lethal violence. This construal of the cause has animated and sustained it for nearly 50 years, long past the realignment that saw it become a foundational issue for a religious right dominated by evangelical Protestants.All along, critics of the anti-abortion movement have dismissed its moral appeals and deployment of the language of civil rights, calling it window dressing on a cause that is really motivated by hostility to feminism — and above all, by the drive to limit women's autonomy, stymie their career ambitions, and reaffirm the primacy of their social role as mothers.For decades the pro-life movement has fought this characterization. In doing so, it has drawn on the rhetoric of such anti-abortion crusaders as Richard John Neuhaus, who adapted language from his days marching for civil rights with Martin Luther King, and the rationalist and universalistic moral arguments of legal philosopher Robert P. George, who has appealed to the tradition of natural law theorizing in forging his arguments against abortion.The moral message of these men is simple and powerful: The fetus is a member of the human species from the time of conception; all members of the human species, no matter how small, weak, or dependent, possess innate dignity and hence a right to life; all abortion is therefore the taking of an innocent human life and so must be outlawed along with other forms of murder. This was a line of argument about the rights and legal status of the fetus, not one about the proper place of women in American society.But a pro-life movement whose greatest political champion is Donald Trump has no hope for maintaining such a high-minded construal of its motives and priorities. When Trump speaks at the March for Life, the country will see the pro-life cause forthrightly advocated by a serial adulterer who's repeatedly been accused of rape, who cheated on his wife with a porn star shortly after the birth of their son, and who has been caught on tape bragging about his facility at sexual assault. Trump has spent a lifetime using women for his own gratification and then tossing them away like garbage — and he will now be the most powerful and prominent promoter of a movement that would prevent the victims of such treatment from asserting some modicum of control over its consequences on their bodies and future lives.That's a pro-life movement that actively aims not to protect the vulnerable from lethal violence but to severely constrain and restrict women's freedom.The practical consequences for the movement are likely to be bad. While some recent polling indicates a modest rise in the popularity of the pro-life label — showing perhaps that continuing advances in ultrasound technology are increasing moral unease about opting for abortion — other polls show a more dramatic spike in support for upholding Roe and the constitutional right to choose. This is a powerful sign that, as we've also seen with shifts in public opinion in favor of immigration over the past few years of nativist cruelty and xenophobia from the administration, Trump tends to turn people against the very causes he champions.By locking arms with a polarizing, deeply unpopular, and morally repulsive president, the pro-life movement is likely to end up losing at the very moment it feels closest to winning.More stories from theweek.com Trump is reportedly threatening Republicans to keep them in line on impeachment 34 service members suffered traumatic brain injuries in the Iranian strikes. Trump called them 'headaches.' Eli Manning talks Derek Jeter's Hall of Fame vote, Tom Brady's jealousy in retirement conference


Greek Prime Minister Says Turkey-Libya Deal Is Unacceptable and Illegal

Greek Prime Minister Says Turkey-Libya Deal Is Unacceptable and Illegal(Bloomberg) -- Turkey’s maritime border agreement with Libya is unacceptable and illegal, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said, amid growing tension in the eastern Mediterranean.“Turkey has been difficult to deal with,” Mitsotakis said in an interview with Bloomberg in Davos Thursday. “There’s a constant state of provocation, which leads Turkey nowhere.”The premier, who’s focused on bringing the country back from a crippling economic crisis since he took office in July, has been waylaid by smoldering geopolitical tensions in the east Mediterranean.Long-contentious relations with neighboring Turkey soured further in November when Ankara signed a maritime agreement with Libya in a bid to solidify claims to waters off the coast of Greece and Cyprus.“We don’t need Turkey’s permission,” to be able to supply Europe with Cypriot, Israeli or potential Greek gas, Mitsotakis said earlier in Davos. The pact signed by Libya and Turkey has an impact for the planned EastMed pipeline project, he said.Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is now threatening to start drilling for natural gas in the maritime area Greece claims as its own under international law.Libyan Commander Khalifa Haftar’s visit to Athens last week ahead of a summit in Berlin only raised the stakes, with Turkey accusing Greece of sabotaging the Libya peace process.\--With assistance from Sotiris Nikas.To contact the reporter on this story: Eleni Chrepa in Athens at echrepa@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Sotiris Nikas at snikas@bloomberg.net, Jerrold Colten, Paul TugwellFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.


Lebanon at a crossroads after 100 days of protests

Lebanon at a crossroads after 100 days of protestsWhen Nazih Khalaf heard that protests were taking place Oct. 17 in Lebanon’s capital over government plans to impose new taxes, he was just returning from south of Beirut where he’d been working to put out deadly wildfires that had been raging for days. Khalaf hasn't left downtown Beirut since. Now, 100 days after the nationwide uprising against the country's hated political class erupted, Lebanon is at a crossroads, and Lebanese are more divided than ever.


Trump complains his impeachment defense has a lousy time slot

Trump complains his impeachment defense has a lousy time slotSince being elected president, Donald Trump has tweeted about “ratings” exactly 100 times, according to the Trump Twitter Archive.


Muslim, Jewish leaders pay 'historic' joint visit to Auschwitz

Muslim, Jewish leaders pay 'historic' joint visit to AuschwitzMuslim and Jewish leaders on Thursday honoured Holocaust victims during what they termed an "historic" joint visit to the former Nazi German death camp Auschwitz, days ahead of the 75th anniversary of its liberation. MWL secretary general Mohammad bin Abdulkarim Al-Issa knelt and bowed to the ground as he lead Islamic prayers next to the memorial monument honouring the more than one million people -- mostly European Jews -- that Nazi Germany killed at Auschwitz.


A University of Minnesota student was arrested in China and sentenced to 6 months in prison for tweeting cartoons making fun of President Xi Jingping

A University of Minnesota student was arrested in China and sentenced to 6 months in prison for tweeting cartoons making fun of President Xi JingpingAccording to Chinese court documents obtained by Axios, 20-year-old Luo Daiqing was arrested after returning to Wuhan for summer break.


Firefighting plane crashes in Australia, killing 3 Americans

Firefighting plane crashes in Australia, killing 3 AmericansThree American firefighting airplane crew members were killed Thursday when the C-130 Hercules aerial water tanker they were in crashed while battling wildfires in southeastern Australia, officials said. New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian confirmed the deaths in the state's Snowy Monaro region, which came as Australia grapples with an unprecedented fire season that has left a large swath of destruction. Canada-based Coulson Aviation said in a statement that one of its Lockheed large air tankers was lost after it left Richmond in New South Wales with retardant for a firebombing mission.


Brexit Bulletin: Law of the Land

Brexit Bulletin: Law of the LandDays to Brexit: 8(Bloomberg) -- Sign up here to get the Brexit Bulletin in your inbox every weekday.What’s Happening? The Withdrawal Agreement Bill received royal assent, making Brexit on Jan. 31 a matter of U.K. law.Seventeen words brought an end to the British side of this phase of the Brexit saga. In a statement to the House of Commons, Deputy Speaker Nigel Evans delivered the news to listening lawmakers: “Her Majesty has signified her royal assent to the following act: European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Act 2020.”Royal assent brings to a close the crisis that paralyzed U.K. politics after the country voted to leave the European Union in June 2016. Former Prime Minister Theresa May failed to get her version of the deal through the House of Commons after reaching an agreement with the EU in November 2018. Her successor, Boris Johnson, succeeded only after winning a large majority in last month’s general election.With the U.K. due to slip out of the EU at 11 p.m. London time next Friday, all that remains is for the European Parliament to rubber-stamp the deal. That was due to move a step closer on Thursday afternoon via a vote of the assembly’s constitutional affairs committee, a group of the parliament’s most influential members. The panel was expected to nod the deal through.The full EU parliament, which officially has a veto over the deal, will vote on Jan. 29. It will almost certainly follow the committee’s lead. The U.K. is scheduled to leave the EU two days later.Beyond BrexitClimate activist Greta Thunberg should go back to school and study economics, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said at the World Economic Forum in Davos. These billionaires made their fortunes by trying to stop climate change. The £200 million ($262 million) London mansion bought by Cheung Cheung Kie earlier this month isn’t even his most valuable property.Brexit in BriefRule Makers | U.K. financiers are asking the government to revamp regulations to attract global business after Brexit. Watchdogs should have the power “to make the U.K. a better place to do business” through a new mandate to support London’s financial hub against rivals, according to the International Regulatory Strategy Group, a panel backed by the City of London.Diverging Views | Speaking at Davos on Thursday morning, U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer Sajid Javid tried to reassure business over Britain’s post-Brexit ties with the EU. “We won’t diverge just for the sake of it,” he said. That’s despite telling the Financial Times last week that “there will not be alignment” with EU rules after Brexit.Off-Piste? | Did Javid speak out of turn at Davos when he said that talks for a U.K.-EU trade deal will take priority over any agreement with the U.S.? Today’s Bloomberg Westminster podcast discusses his motivations.Time Is Tight | The clock is ticking for the EU and the U.K. to hammer out a trade deal by the end of the year, according to Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte. “It’s an awfully short amount of time so I hope that coming next summer, June, July, that Boris Johnson will at least contemplate extending, if necessary, this transition phase,” Rutte said in a Bloomberg TV interview in Davos. “I’m Still Here” | Steve Bray, otherwise known as the “Stop Brexit Guy” was a fixture outside Westminster during the height of the U.K.’s Brexit tension, often disrupting live TV interviews. On Thursday he took his protest to Brussels, joining a small rally outside the European Parliament, the Brussels Times reports. “I came to Brussels just to visit this parliament,” the Times reported him as saying. “I’m still here because I still care.”Want to keep up with Brexit?You can follow us @Brexit on Twitter, and listen to Bloomberg Westminster every weekday. It’s live at midday on Bloomberg Radio and is available as a podcast too. Share the Brexit Bulletin: Colleagues, friends and family can sign up here. For full EU coverage, try the Brussels Edition.For even more: Subscribe to Bloomberg All Access for our unmatched global news coverage and two in-depth daily newsletters, The Bloomberg Open and The Bloomberg Close.To contact the authors of this story: Thomas Penny in London at tpenny@bloomberg.netIan Wishart in Brussels at iwishart@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Adam Blenford at ablenford@bloomberg.net, Chris KayFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.


Warren responds after angry dad confronts her on student loans

Warren responds after angry dad confronts her on student loansIn the exchange, a father asked Warren if he is getting "screwed" because he saved money for his daughter's education.


Damaged By Drone Strike: Suleimani's Sainthood Is Now Being Questioned

Damaged By Drone Strike: Suleimani's Sainthood Is Now Being QuestionedIran’s brand is thinning among the Shi’a and Suleimani’s departure creates breathing room for the Shi’a in the region.


Smugglers tried to bring 3,700 invasive crabs through the Port of Cincinnati

Smugglers tried to bring 3,700 invasive crabs through the Port of CincinnatiMitten crabs are a delicacy in Asia and sell for about $50 each in the United States, officials say. They are considered an invasive species.


Ted Cruz is officially the 1st senator spotted drinking milk during impeachment trial

Ted Cruz is officially the 1st senator spotted drinking milk during impeachment trialThe Senate floor is a tight ship, with lawmakers blocked from bringing food, electronics, and just about every drink with them when they enter it. Yet one 60-year-old precedent provides a loophole to those strict rules — and a senator has finally used it to liven up President Trump's impeachment trial.Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) was the first senator spotted asking for and receiving a glass of milk during the trial, in accordance with a longstanding allowance of dairy in the Senate, CBS News' Grace Segers noted Wednesday. He then got a second glass of milk, CBS News' Julia Boccagno noted, and paired it with a piece of Hershey's chocolate from the Senate's candy desk — seemingly a violation of floor rules.Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C. ) also reportedly acquired a glass of milk, Segers noted later. And in a twist, Segers tweeted that she'd heard Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) actually had some milk the night before.> More milk-related news: I've been informed that Ted Cruz drank milk at around midnight last night. Apparently, senators have to provide their own milk to the cloakroom, although they do keep it cold for senators.> > — Grace Segers (@Grace_Segers) January 22, 2020It's surprising that Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) hasn't engaged in the trend yet, seeing as he was the one who reminded us of the dairy procedure on Tuesday.More stories from theweek.com Democrats walked right into Mitch McConnell's trap Watch highlights from Day 3 of Trump's impeachment trial, in which Democrats argue abuse of power GOP Sen. Marsha Blackburn questions patriotism of Purple Heart recipient Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman


U.S. charges former Mexican police commander in El Chapo-linked cocaine investigation

U.S. charges former Mexican police commander in El Chapo-linked cocaine investigationU.S. prosecutors on Friday charged a former Mexican federal police commander with accepting hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes from Mexican drug cartels to help them send cocaine into the United States, in a case linked to imprisoned drug lord Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán.


These 9 Dining Chairs Are Sculptural, Surprising, and Downright Sleek

These 9 Dining Chairs Are Sculptural, Surprising, and Downright Sleek


In Trump impeachment trial, Nadler presses case by quoting Lindsey Graham — from 1999

In Trump impeachment trial, Nadler presses case by quoting Lindsey Graham — from 1999Rep. Jerry Nadler employed a video clip of Sen. Lindsey Graham during Thursday’s testimony of Donald Trump’s impeachment trial to make the case that a president need not have committed a crime in order to be removed from office.


Only one quarter of Americans trust the US Senate to hold a fair impeachment trial

Only one quarter of Americans trust the US Senate to hold a fair impeachment trialRepublicans are more split than one might imagine: While 42% trust the Senate to do a fair trial, 33% do not.


Canada ‘Will Not Stop’ Until It Has Answers on Iran Crash

Canada ‘Will Not Stop’ Until It Has Answers on Iran Crash(Bloomberg) -- Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland said her government will be relentless in seeking answers from Iran on the jet crash that killed 57 Canadians this month near Tehran.Justin Trudeau’s second in command, speaking in an interview with Bloomberg TV in Davos, Switzerland, said Canada wants a “real, independent” analysis of the airplane’s black box, along with transparency on what exactly happened. She also said Canada is receiving support from allies in pressing on the issue, particularly from the Netherlands and Ukraine.“I am confident we will get those answers because Canada is relentlessly focused on getting them and we will not stop until we get them,” Freeland said.Iran is under intense international pressure to provide full accountability over the circumstances that caused the crash of the Ukrainian International Airlines plane on Jan. 8. The three-year-old Boeing Co. 737-800 was shot down about two minutes after takeoff from Tehran. While nearly half the victims were Iranians, the crash was also one of the worst air tragedies ever involving Canadians. Many of the victims were doctors, engineers and Ph.D. students who represented a microcosm of the northern nation’s immigration policies.Nafta RatificationSeparately in the interview, Freeland also commented on plans to get the new North American free trade agreement ratified in Canada’s parliament, calling it the top priority for the government.The deal, a result of a year of rough negotiations with Donald Trump’s administration, has been passed in the U.S. Senate and is awaiting the president’s signature. It has also been approved in Mexico.Ratification won’t be a straightforward process in Canada, however. Trudeau’s team will need to get the support of at least one opposition party to pass legislation, and expedite debate, after losing its parliamentary majority in October’s divisive election.With all of Canada’s provincial premiers calling for a speedy ratification, Freeland said she’s confident the governing Liberals will be able to win support for the deal.To contact the reporter on this story: Theophilos Argitis in Ottawa at targitis@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Theophilos Argitis at targitis@bloomberg.net, Stephen WicaryFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.


4 killed in plane crash at Southern California airport

4 killed in plane crash at Southern California airportThere was no immediate word on a cause or the model of the plane that crashed at Corona Municipal Airport in California.


'This time I'm scared': experts fear too late for China virus lockdown

'This time I'm scared': experts fear too late for China virus lockdownChina's bid to contain a deadly new virus by placing cities of millions under quarantine is an unprecedented undertaking but it is unlikely to stop the disease spreading, experts warn. The contagious virus has already reached elsewhere in China and abroad, and even an authoritarian government has only a small timeframe in which trapped residents will submit to such a lockdown, they say. "I think we have passed the golden period of control and prevention," said Guan Yi, an expert on viruses at Hong Kong University.


Family attorneys say cruise line's story of toddler's death is 'physically impossible'

Family attorneys say cruise line's story of toddler's death is 'physically impossible'Attorneys representing Chloe Wiegand's family say a ship visit proves it's "physically impossible" for her grandfather to hold her out of the window.


Russia, China, and Iran Would Love to Take Out a Nuclear Aircraft Carrier. Here's Why They Can't.

Russia, China, and Iran Would Love to Take Out a Nuclear Aircraft Carrier. Here's Why They Can't.The beasts are more survivable than they seem.


Australia's Kangaroo Island is looking for volunteers to feed animals injured in bushfires

Australia's Kangaroo Island is looking for volunteers to feed animals injured in bushfiresNearly half of Kangaroo Island was burned by the bushfires this month alone. The RSPCA has posted an application form.


In southern Poland, archaeologists discover WW2 plane wreck

In southern Poland, archaeologists discover WW2 plane wreckArchaeologists have discovered the wreck of a U.S.-made bomber flown by the Soviet Red Army in World War Two, along with the remains of four crewmen killed when it crashed in southern Poland, private broadcaster TVN reported. Marta Wrobel in the town of Bierun during the war and told TVN that the blast from the crash had been powerful enough to blow out windows and doors. The remains of the four Soviet crewmen who perished in the crash will be laid to rest at a nearby Red Army cemetery.


Samantha Bee Dunks on Trump’s Defense Team: ‘A Virtual Dream Team of Rape Culture’

Samantha Bee Dunks on Trump’s Defense Team: ‘A Virtual Dream Team of Rape Culture’Early in her weekly show Wednesday night, Samantha Bee played a clip of Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) telling Fox News that he thinks not calling witnesses in the Senate impeachment trial is the “right thing to do.” “And if anyone’s an expert on witnesses not talking about the crimes they saw, it’s Jim Jordan,” the Full Frontal host said, putting up a headline about how the congressman allegedly knew about sexual abuse at Ohio State and said nothing. That was a preview of what was to come later in the opening segment when Bee took a closer look at President Trump’s defense team “Continuing his tradition of appointing only the best, Trump’s defenders include Ken Starr, Alan Dershowitz and Jim Jordan,” she said. “It’s a virtual dream team of rape culture.” Trevor Noah Destroys Alan Dershowitz’s Impeachment HypocrisyBee ran through their troubling resumes, including Starr’s tenure as president of the Christian Baylor University. “Just to be clear, when Jesus said to ‘turn the other cheek,’ he didn’t mean away from people getting assaulted,” she said. And there’s Dershowitz who once called statutory rape an “outdated concept.” Bee added, “In Dershowitz’s defense, it’s not like he was close friends with notorious pedophile and didn’t-kill-himself-er Jeffrey Epstein. Oh no, I’m sorry, he totally was.” “It is infuriating that these three men are allowed to show their faces in polite society, much less defend the captain of the rape culture all-star team,” she said. “Look, the impeachment case isn’t about sexual assault. But for women and survivors it is horrifying to see these men congeal together to protect each other.” The host ended the segment by predicting that when this is all over, Jordan, Starr and Deshowitz might just start their own rapist-defending law firm: “The only law firm whose phone number is 911.” For more, listen to Samantha Bee on The Last Laugh podcast below: Read more at The Daily Beast.Got a tip? Send it to The Daily Beast hereGet our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.


New Moon Photos! Get Your New Moon Photos Here!

New Moon Photos! Get Your New Moon Photos Here!


Targeted killings up as 8 wounded in Iraq protest violence

Targeted killings up as 8 wounded in Iraq protest violenceGovernment inaction over the rising number of assassinations targeting anti-government demonstrators and supporters is stirring fear and resentment, activists said Thursday. Iraqi security forces, meanwhile, fired tear gas to disperse protesters on a vital Baghdad highway, injuring eight. The latest episode of unrest comes one day ahead of a planned “million-man" march called for by influential Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr to push for the removal of foreign troops from Iraq.


These gun enthusiasts at the Virginia rally carried more firepower than many US troops

These gun enthusiasts at the Virginia rally carried more firepower than many US troops"This sends a strong visual message," a man holding a .50 caliber rifle said. Attendees also came with an armored vehicle and a grenade launcher.


China Puts 13 Cities on Lockdown as Coronavirus Death Toll Climbs

China Puts 13 Cities on Lockdown as Coronavirus Death Toll ClimbsChina is striving to contain a deadly virus outbreak the World Health Organization has termed a domestic health emergency


'Serious safety risk': Man arrested after pointing laser at planes, temporarily blinding one pilot

'Serious safety risk': Man arrested after pointing laser at planes, temporarily blinding one pilotTwo planes were struck by a laser, temporarily blinding one pilot, as they flew into Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport on Wednesday night.


Italy's Crazy World War II Strategy of "Human Torpedoes"

Italy's Crazy World War II Strategy of "Human Torpedoes"Was it successful?


A black man received a settlement in a race discrimination lawsuit. When he tried to cash the check, the bank called the cops, prompting a second racial discrimination case.

A black man received a settlement in a race discrimination lawsuit. When he tried to cash the check, the bank called the cops, prompting a second racial discrimination case.Sauntore Thomas, of Detroit, Michigan, sued TCF Bank after it refused to accept checks he received from a racial discrimination lawsuit.


North Korea confirms former commander is new foreign minister

North Korea confirms former commander is new foreign ministerSEOUL/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - North Korea on Friday confirmed that Ri Son Gwon, a former defense commander with limited diplomatic experience, has been appointed the country's new foreign affairs minister, while the United States repeated calls for Pyongyang to give up its nuclear weapons. North Korea's official KCNA news agency reported that Ri, the latest military official to be promoted under North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, gave a speech as minister at a New Year dinner reception hosted by the ministry on Thursday for embassies and international organizations.


Yahoo News/YouGov poll shows two-thirds of voters want the Senate to call new impeachment witnesses

Yahoo News/YouGov poll shows two-thirds of voters want the Senate to call new impeachment witnessesIn a new poll, 63 percent of registered voters agree that the Senate should call new witnesses to testify during President Trump’s impeachment trial.


Angela Merkel Says Fight Against Climate Change ‘Matter of Survival’

Angela Merkel Says Fight Against Climate Change ‘Matter of Survival’(Bloomberg) -- German Chancellor Angela Merkel says she’s worried about the growing conflict between young campaigners for a cleaner planet and those who reject global warming.Their stances have become “irreconcilable” and led to a gap in dialog just when nations need collective actionon climate change, Merkel said Thursday in a speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos.“The question of achieving the Paris Agreement goals could be a matter of survival for the whole continent and that is why there is pressure to act,” said Merkel. Scientific evidence is clear and emotions should not be confused with facts, she said.Merkel’s comments follow remarks By Greta Thunberg, the teenage activist behind an international wave of student climate strikes. She told leaders that the rate of global warming should make them start to panic. President Donald Trump blasted the “prophets of doom” on the same day in the Swiss resort village in a speech which focused squarely on the U.S. economy.In an oblique reference to young environment activists, Merkel said those who are campaigning for a more trenchant policy to counteract global warming deserve a hearing. The “impatience of young people” must be addressed, she said.Europe and beyond faces a “decade of action,” said Merkel, citing words said previously by Secretary-General Antonio Guterres of the United Nations.Merkel is making climate policy a focus of her last full year as chancellor of Europe’s biggest economy. In the wake of mass protests, her administration sought to kick start a stalled climate agenda with a series of measures to help get Germany achieve steep cuts in carbon emissions.Germany, which is also Europe’s biggest emitter of greenhouse gases, has lagged meeting its climate targets. It aims to cut emissions 40% by this year compared with 1990 levels, yet needs to close a big gap to get there.The moves include placing levies on transportation, investing heavily in railways and applying a timetable for power companies to exit coal. Yet critics say the measures are too little and too late, and that tax payers ought not to be paying billion-dollar compensations to utilities.(Updates and rewrites from first paragraph.)To contact the reporters on this story: Raymond Colitt in Berlin at rcolitt@bloomberg.net;Brian Parkin in Berlin at bparkin@bloomberg.net;Arne Delfs in Berlin at adelfs@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Ben Sills at bsills@bloomberg.net, Jonathan TironeFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.


Belarus' leader blasts Russia for pushing merger of 2 states

Belarus' leader blasts Russia for pushing merger of 2 statesThe president of Belarus on Friday accused Moscow of pressuring his country to merge with Russia and vowed not to let it happen. The statement comes amid stalled talks on further strengthening economic ties between two countries, seen in Belarus as Moscow's plot to swallow its post-Soviet neighbor.


Philippine President Duterte threatens to end military deal with U.S.

Philippine President Duterte threatens to end military deal with U.S.Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte warned the United States on Thursday he would repeal an agreement on deployment of troops and equipment for exercises if Washington did not reinstate the visa of a political ally.


The FBI reportedly stopped a Saudi plot to kidnap a YouTuber on US soil after he criticized Mohammed bin Salman for Jamal Khashoggi's killing

The FBI reportedly stopped a Saudi plot to kidnap a YouTuber on US soil after he criticized Mohammed bin Salman for Jamal Khashoggi's killingAbdulrahman Almutairi used social media to criticize the Saudi government. It appears to have almost cost him his life.


Virologist who helped identify SARS on coronavirus outbreak: 'This time I'm scared'

Virologist who helped identify SARS on coronavirus outbreak: 'This time I'm scared'Experts are seeing shocking similarities between the coronavirus that has now spread beyond China and the SARS outbreak of 2003.Like the infectious pneumonia that has killed at least 17 people, SARS was caused by a coronavirus that originated in China. But when one of the virologists who helped identify the SARS virus visited Wuhan, where this virus originated, he didn't see nearly enough being done to fight it. People were out at markets without masks, "preparing to ring in the New Year in peace and had no sense about the epidemic," Guan Yi of the University of Hong Kong's State Key Laboratory of Emerging Infectious Diseases told Caixin. Airports were hardly being disinfected, Guan continued, saying the local government hasn't "even been handing out quarantine guides to people who were leaving the city."The city did disinfect the market where the virus has been traced to, but Guan criticized Wuhan for that, saying it hurts researchers' abilities to track down the virus's source. "I've never felt scared," Guan told Caixin. "This time I'm scared."A case involving the coronavirus was identified in Washington state on Wednesday, and cases have also been identified in Thailand, Japan, South Korea, and Singapore. A total of 639 cases were confirmed in China.More stories from theweek.com Trump is reportedly threatening Republicans to keep them in line on impeachment 34 service members suffered traumatic brain injuries in the Iranian strikes. Trump called them 'headaches.' Eli Manning talks Derek Jeter's Hall of Fame vote, Tom Brady's jealousy in retirement conference


Parishioner Who Stopped Texas Church Shooter Criticizes Bloomberg on Gun-Control Efforts

Parishioner Who Stopped Texas Church Shooter Criticizes Bloomberg on Gun-Control EffortsThe armed parishioner who took down a shooter at a Texas church in December criticized former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg's gun control efforts on Wednesday."Mr. Bloomberg, had we operated by his standards or his wishes, the carnage would have been significantly greater because the individual still, after the shooting, still had seven live rounds in his gun and three more in his pocket," Jack Wilson said in an interview on Fox News. Wilson, a member of West Freeway Church of Christ in White Settlement, Texas, fired a single round at an armed intruder on December 29, killing the assailant.Bloomberg campaign manager Kevin Sheekey hit back at Wilson in a Thursday appearance on Fox."Mr. Bloomberg supports his right to carry a gun," Sheekey said. "We salute him. But the question is, should anyone who is criminally insane be able to get a gun? I would say no."Earlier in January, while speaking about the Texas incident, Bloomberg appeared to criticize policies that loosen restrictions on gun control."Somebody in the congregation had their own gun and killed the person who murdered two other people, but it is the job of law enforcement to have guns and to decide when to shoot," Bloomberg said. "You just do not want the average citizen carrying a gun in a crowded place."Bloomberg has been heavily involved in gun-control efforts over the years. His proposals for the 2020 presidential election include universal background checks and "red flag screening" measures. In 2013, Bloomberg founded Everytown for Gun Safety, a non-profit that advocates for stricter gun control measures.


Robert Koehler: Serial ‘pillowcase rapist’ suspect was building a ‘dungeon’ before arrest

Robert Koehler: Serial ‘pillowcase rapist’ suspect was building a ‘dungeon’ before arrestProsecutors in Florida believe a 60-year-old man building a “dungeon” under his home is the so-called pillowcase rapist, who authorities say broke into women’s houses and concealed his face with pillows and towels in as many as 40 assaults in the state since the 1980s.Robert Koehler was arrested on 18 January after authorities say they tied his DNA to samples collected from a 1983 case. The sample also matched DNA collected from several other cases between 1981 and 1986, according to the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office.


No qualms for India's hangman before first job of executing rapists

No qualms for India's hangman before first job of executing rapistsPawan Kumar feels zero sympathy for the four men he is due to hang next month for a 2012 gang rape and murder that appalled India. The group set to meet their demise before dawn on February 1 -- although it may be delayed -- were convicted for a brutal crime against Jyoti Singh, a 23-year-old student. Angry demonstrations by tens of thousands of people broke out across the vast South Asian nation, sparking soul-searching about the plight of Indian women and leading to heavier sentences for sex crimes.


Dems: Convict Trump or ‘Write the History of Our Decline with Our Own Hand’

Dems: Convict Trump or ‘Write the History of Our Decline with Our Own Hand’House Democrats opened their case to remove President Trump from office by imploring the same Senate Republicans who have stood in lockstep with the White House that they're the only ones who can save American democracy.Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), the House intelligence committee chairman turned lead impeachment manager, began his side’s arguments with an appeal to history. He bookended his recitation of Trump’s pressure campaign to suborn Ukraine into aiding his reelection with references to Alexander Hamilton, George Washington, Tom Paine, Benjamin Franklin and name checked any other member of the Founding Generation—his colleague Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) later added James Madison—who could help contextualize the constitutional obligation Schiff said senators have when faced with “a man who would be a king.”It’s likely the only play Schiff, Jeffries and their fellow Democratic impeachment managers have. The unyielding political reality they confront is that only with the assent of 20 Republican senators, more than a third of the entire GOP Senate conference, will Trump be removed from office. Even convincing enough of those Republican senators to vote for hearing new evidence in the trial—just four are needed—is viewed as a tall order for Democrats. Standing on the Senate floor before the body of 100 jurors for more than two and a half hours, Schiff rarely raised his voice, laying the groundwork for a day meant to methodically recap the effort from Trumpworld to pressure Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky into probing his political rivals while withholding U.S. security aid to Ukraine as leverage. A lawyer and prosecutor before he was a congressman, Schiff’s remarks reflected his understanding that his partisan opponents are also his jury. Instead of accusing Senate Republicans of a “cover-up,” as Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) did during a late-night rules debate on Tuesday, he opted to treat them as accountable to history. “If we don’t stand up to this peril today,” Schiff intoned, “we will write the history of our decline with our own hand.”Democrats recounted the most dramatic testimony from their November public impeachment hearings while framing it as a matter of life or death for the Republic. Showing a video of acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney’s now-infamous “get over it” remarks in October admitting that Trump conditioned $400 million in military aid on Ukranian election interference, Schiff challenged his jury: “Should the Congress just get over it?” He portrayed impeachment not only as a test for American democracy, but for resistance to the democratic retrenchment underway from autocratic nationalist forces worldwide. Doing so relied on something Schiff and other Democrats consider self-evident.  “There is no serious dispute about the facts,” Schiff said.  But the challenge impeachment has always faced is that the Senate Republicans who will determine Trump’s fate don’t concede that. Right before the hearings began, Sen. Mike Braun, a Republican from Indiana, was asked if he believed it was OK to compel a foreign power to help in an election, including by withholding aid to that end. "I'm not saying it's OK. I’m not saying it's appropriate,” Braun said. “I'm saying it didn't happen."Still, over seven hours on Wednesday, Schiff and the impeachment managers methodically placed the facts they consider as plain as daylight into the Senate’s trial record—their first day, out of three total, reserved for them to use up to 24 hours on the Senate floor to make their case. One by one, the Democratic impeachment managers broke down the case. Nadler detailed the efforts of Rudy Giuliani, the president’s personal lawyer and Ukraine right-hand, to push out Marie Yovanovitch, the former U.S. ambassador in Kyiv. Reps. Sylvia Garcia (D-TX) and Val Demings (D-FL) went through Giuliani’s long-standing interest and central role in the Ukraine scheme. Rep. Jason Crow (D-CO), an Army Ranger and veteran of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, explored the hold-up in U.S. military aid to Ukraine at stake, and Jeffries dove into why it mattered. Few in the room had not heard the facts outlined Wednesday, but that wasn’t really the point. Democrats availed themselves of something new—an extended, virtually uninterrupted block of time with wall-to-wall media coverage—to argue that Trump is guilty of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, the two charges outlined in the articles of impeachment passed by the House. If the Democrats’ appeals to the public, and the jury, were clear, the actual jurors’ reactions were not. The members of the Senate largely sat—stone-faced or restless, scribbling the occasional note or staring off into space—as they heard Democrats’ arguments. Many of them were visibly exhausted, having already sat through 12 hours of debating and voting that kept them in the chamber until two o’clock on Wednesday morning. At times they nodded off, only to moments later let their feelings show—particularly when the impeachment managers ran video clips to support their case. When Schiff played Trump’s infamous “Russia, if you’re listening” comments encouraging Russia to hack former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in 2016, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) let out a disbelieving chuckle and shook his head, exchanging a brief glance with Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) in the row ahead.While Democrats played another video clip showing a blustery Trump, several GOP senators smirked and chuckled. Another moment underscored the unusual situation of one Republican juror who is also something of a witness: when Garcia referenced impeachment witness testimony that called the U.S. delegation to Zelensky’s inaugural “less senior,” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), with a laugh, turned in his seat toward a senator who was part of that delegation: Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI). The scene revealed a bit of the bind Schiff and the other Democrats are in—almost certainly a terminal one for impeachment. Appeals to history will be less compelling to legislators than their immediate political interests. And for three years, the interests of Republican legislators include not angering a president who is regularly more popular with their constituents than they are. At a press conference moments before Schiff spoke, Graham—one of Trump’s staunchest defenders—reprised his fury at Democrats from the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation hearings. “If I were the president, I wouldn't cooperate with these guys at all,” Graham fumed. “You can say what you want about me. But I’m covering up nothing. I’m exposing your hatred of this president to the point that you would destroy the institution.” The bitter debate over cover-ups, and who is responsible for them, is set to intensify as senators draw closer to a vote on whether or not to subpoena additional witnesses and evidence for the trial. The rules for the trial, passed early Wednesday, provide for that vote after each side makes their case, and many senators who could offer a decisive vote for new evidence are staying quiet on the subject until arguments conclude. On Wednesday, top Democrats threw cold water on chatter that they might agree with Republicans on the idea of a witness swap—allowing former National Security Adviser John Bolton to testify, for example, in exchange for former Vice President Joe Biden’s son Hunter, a figure Trump’s defenders proclaim as justification for Trump’s insistence that Zelensky investigate “corruption.” “I think that’s off the table,” said Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY). “That trade is not on the table.”For now, most senators seemed to settle into a wait-and-see posture as arguments began. Republicans seemed eager to move past the three days of Democratic arguments and hear from a group that has been far less visible during the months-long impeachment process: Trump’s defense team.“I think this whole thing pivots on the defense, what President Trump’s team is going to do,” Braun told reporters. “I think that’s all in a void really until you hear what we haven’t heard in general through the whole process… the defense.”Meanwhile, the Democratic impeachment managers and aides settled into the crucial three days that will define their case. Spread out over their table set up on the floor of the Senate were binders and notepads, Kleenex and water, a tin of Altoids and a plastic bag filled with Ricola throat lozenges. As a long and fateful day unfolded, in which Democrats hoped that contextualizing Trump’s offenses within constitutional history and geopolitics will be enough to move 20 Republicans, they would need the strongest voices they could summon. Read more at The Daily Beast.Got a tip? Send it to The Daily Beast hereGet our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.


Nigeria Surprised by News of Possible U.S. Travel Restrictions

Nigeria Surprised by News of Possible U.S. Travel Restrictions(Bloomberg) -- Nigeria’s government was surprised by the news that the U.S. is considering travel restrictions on its citizens and the ban would mean officials will have to find new ways to meet with investors, Finance Minister Zainab Ahmed said.Nigeria is one of seven countries, more than half of which are in Africa, included in a list that may be affected if the Homeland Security Department’s recommendation to expand restrictions is approved, according to a person familiar with the matter. President Donald Trump is reviewing it. The other African states targeted because of security concerns are Eritrea, Sudan and Tanzania.“It will mean restrictions in being able to meet with investors in the U.S. and to be able to meet with Bretton Woods institutions that are in the U.S.,” Ahmed said Thursday in an interview with Bloomberg TV at the World Economic Forum in Davos. “It means we will have to make meeting arrangements alternative to the U.S. because there are options that are open to us,” such as the U.K., she said.Nigeria, which vies with South Africa to be the continent’s biggest economy, is struggling to boost economic growth after a 2016 contraction. The International Monetary Fund projects gross domestic product will expand 2.5% this year. The possible travel restrictions won’t hurt growth, Ahmed said.“We have some very active investors in the Nigerian bond market that are in the U.S. and also some that have taken up our Eurobonds,” Ahmed said. “We connect with them directly and through our advisers such as Standard Chartered and Citibank, who have offices in the U.S.”While Nigeria is Africa’s largest oil producer, it imports fuel and relies on foreign investment inflows to help prop up the naira.Zainab said she’s met with investors in London to discuss the possibility of issuing naira-denominated bonds on the London Stock Exchange.“We are very positive that we will be able to refinance our debt obligations as well as acquire new financing to fund our major infrastructure projects,” she said.Tanzania’s government hasn’t received confirmation that the country is being considered for a travel ban.“We are also reading these reports from the media,” Emmanuel Buhohela, director of communications at the foreign-affairs ministry, said by phone. “So for now we are still waiting for official communication before we can react.”\--With assistance from Ken Karuri.To contact the reporters on this story: Haslinda Amin in Singapore at hamin1@bloomberg.net;Ruth Olurounbi in Abuja at rolurounbi4@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Anthony Osae-Brown at aosaebrown2@bloomberg.net, Rene Vollgraaff, Gordon BellFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.


Mexico's tough response to migrants doesn't stir outcry

Mexico's tough response to migrants doesn't stir outcryThe hundreds of Central American migrants walking north in southern Mexico have received steady media coverage in Mexico, but with sky-high murders, a stagnant economy and corruption topping the national agenda, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s aggressive efforts to stop them hasn't stirred a widespread reaction. López Obrador, a leftist who throughout his campaign talked about protecting human rights and more respectful treatment of migrants, has taken some criticism from the left, even from within his own party, for Mexico’s more militarized reception of migrants who arrived at the Guatemala-Mexico border last weekend.


Family of Kristin Smart, who went missing in 1996, now says there's no news coming soon

Family of Kristin Smart, who went missing in 1996, now says there's no news coming soonKristin Smart's mother said she was contacted by a former FBI agent, but there is no timeline for an announcement in her case, the family later said.


White House breaks silence on Jeff Bezos phone-hacking scandal, calls Saudi Arabia an 'important ally'

White House breaks silence on Jeff Bezos phone-hacking scandal, calls Saudi Arabia an 'important ally'The White House weighed in on reports that Saudi Arabia hacked Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos' phone, saying it takes the situation seriously.


Thunberg fires back at Mnunchin after college degree jab

Thunberg fires back at Mnunchin after college degree jabTreasury Secretary Steven Mnunchin said Greta Thunberg can discuss fossil fuel divestment "after she goes and studies economics in college."


Wax On, Wane Off: A Guide to All the Lunar Phases

Wax On, Wane Off: A Guide to All the Lunar Phases


Rep. Ilhan Omar launches 'Send her back to Congress!' reelection bid with big advantages

Rep. Ilhan Omar launches 'Send her back to Congress!' reelection bid with big advantagesRep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., is kicking off her reelection campaign Thursday night with a massive bank account and no challengers who pose a serious threat from either party. Her campaign slogan — “Send her back to Congress!” — gleefully evokes President Trump’s personal attacks on her.


'The new evidence raises deeply troubling questions': did Arkansas kill an innocent man?

'The new evidence raises deeply troubling questions': did Arkansas kill an innocent man?Revealed: two years after Ledell Lee was executed, damning evidence emerges that experts say could prove his innocenceThe day before Ledell Lee was executed on 20 April 2017, he talked to the BBC from death row. He said that while he could not prevent the state of Arkansas from killing him, he had a message for his executioners: “My dying words will always be, as it has been: ‘I am an innocent man’.”Almost two years after Lee was strapped to a gurney and injected with a lethal cocktail of drugs, it looks increasingly likely he was telling the truth: he went to his death an innocent man. New evidence has emerged that suggests Lee was not guilty of the brutal murder of a woman in 1993 for which his life was taken.The deceased inmate’s sister Patricia Young lodged a lawsuit on Thursday with the circuit court of Pulaski county, Arkansas, petitioning city authorities and the local police department in Jacksonville to release crime scene materials to her family.The ACLU and the Innocence Project, who are investigating the case on the family’s behalf, believe state-of-the-art forensic examination of the materials, including DNA testing and fingerprint analysis, could definitively prove Arkansas did indeed execute an innocent man.An 81-page filing in the lawsuit provides damning new evidence that key aspects of the prosecution case against Lee were deeply flawed. The complaint includes expert opinion from a number of world-leading specialists who find glaring errors in the way forensic science and other evidence was interpreted.The lawsuit also includes a bombshell affidavit from Lee’s post-conviction attorney who admits to having struggled with substance abuse and addiction throughout the years in which he represented him.Lawyers who prepared the filing, led by Cassandra Stubbs of the ACLU and the Innocence Project’s Nina Morrison, conclude: “It is now clear that the state’s forensic experts from trial misinterpreted the evidence in plain sight, and their flawed opinions were further distorted by the state in its zeal to convict [Lee] of the crime. The new evidence raises deeply troubling questions about the shaky evidentiary pillars on which the state executed Ledell Lee.”Innocence has always been the achilles heel of America’s death penalty: how to justify judicially killing prisoners who may have been wrongfully convicted. The question is far from academic: since 1973 no fewer than 167 death row inmates have been exonerated.The most harrowing question is whether innocent prisoners have been executed before the flawed nature of their convictions emerged. In recent years, there have been several cases that, with near certainty, suggest that innocent men have been put to death.They include Cameron Todd Willingham executed in Texas in 2004 for allegedly having caused a fire that killed his three young daughters. After the execution, further evidence emerged that conclusively showed that he could not have set the fire.The Columbia Human Rights Law Review carried out a groundbreaking investigation in which it concluded Carlos DeLuna was innocent when he was executed – also by Texas – in 1989. The six-year study discovered that the convicted prisoner had almost certainly been confused with another man, a violent criminal who shared the name Carlos.Now Ledell Lee looks as though he may be added to the grim rollcall of the wrongly executed. He relentlessly insisted he was not guilty from the moment he was arrested less than two hours after the brutally beaten body of Debra Reese was discovered in her home in Jacksonville on 9 February 1993.The difficulties with the case against Lee began almost immediately. He was picked up nowhere near the crime scene and was not in possession of any possessions that could be linked to the break-in at Reese’s home.The only evidence against him was inconclusive at best. There were two eyewitnesses, but they gave conflicting reports of the suspect’s identification.> In recent years, there have been several cases that, with near certainty, suggest innocent men have been put to deathThe crime scene was shocking, with blood splattered over the walls and floor. Yet when Lee was arrested on the same day detectives could find no blood on his clothes or body including under his fingernails and nothing was found in a forensic search of his house.Given the paucity of evidence, it is not surprising that it took two trials to find Lee guilty and sentence him to death. The first trial collapsed after the jury was unable to reach a verdict.The ACLU and Innocence Project took up Lee’s case very late in the day having been asked to get involved shortly before his scheduled execution date. What they discovered when they opened the case records astounded even these experienced death penalty lawyers.Very quickly they established there were major problems with the prosecution case against Lee. One area that especially concerned them was the inadequacy of Lee’s legal representation, both during the second trial in which defense attorneys inexplicably failed to call alibi witnesses that could have placed Lee elsewhere at the time of the murder, and in terms of the help he received at the appeal stage of his case.At one post-conviction hearing, a lawyer working for the state of Arkansas approached the judge and raised concerns about Lee’s attorney, Craig Lambert. “Your honor, I don’t do this lightly, but I’m going to ask that the court require him to submit to a drug test,” the counsel said. “He’s just not with us … His speech is slurred.”In an affidavit obtained since Lee’s execution, signed by Lambert in October, the lawyer admits: “I was struggling with substance abuse and addiction in those years. I attended inpatient rehab. Ledell’s case was massive and I wasn’t in the best place personally to do what was necessary.”Partly as a result of poor legal representation, terrible errors were made in Lee’s defense – both at trial and for years afterwards during the appeals process. The complaint goes into detail about these “deeply troubling” shortcomings.One of the key examples relates to the marks found on the victim’s cheek. The state’s experts mistakenly interpreted the marks as having come from a pattern on a rug in Reese’s bedroom where she had been beaten to death with a wooden tire club.In fact, the filing says, the pattern on the body’s cheek did not match that on the rug. Instead it was consistent with the murderer stomping on Reese’s face directly with his shoe.That is critically significant because the shoes that Lee was wearing that day, which the state used during the trial as evidence against him, were incompatible in the composition of their soles with the injury pattern on Reese’s face.To establish this point, an affidavit is provided by Michael Baden, former chief pathologist for New York who is recognized internationally as a leading forensic pathologist. He concludes: “The soles of Mr Lee’s sneakers have a much more closely spaced pattern than was transferred in the cheek imprint.”That inconsistency is just one of many that were uncovered when Baden and four other specialists were invited to review the case.Lee was executed in a flurry. When the state of Arkansas realized its supply of one of its three lethal drugs, the sedative midazolam, was about to expire at the end of 2017 with no hope of replacing it due to a global ban on medicines being sent to the US for use in executions, it went into overdrive.It announced plans to kill eight prisoners in 11 days.The declaration prompted revulsion from around the US and the world and accusations that the state was engaging in conveyor-belt executions. It was in that climate that attempts by the ACLU and the Innocence Project to have materials gathered at the crime scene of Reese’s murder released for DNA testing fell on deaf ears.Though the lawyers presented a strong argument that DNA testing could be crucial in casting doubt on Lee’s conviction and pointing towards the real killer, a federal district court denied the request on grounds that Lee had “simply delayed too long” in asking for the materials.It is too late now for Lee. But his lawyers hope that it is not too late to get to the bottom of the case posthumously.The city of Jacksonville is in possession of a rich array of crime scene materials including “Negroid” hairs collected from Reese’s bedroom and fingernail scrapings likely to contain DNA from the actual killer – Lee or otherwise.“This evidence can now be tested with state-of-the-art methods unavailable at trial, and compared to Mr Lee’s unique DNA profile,” the filing says.After a welter of legal challenges, Arkansas succeeded in killing four prisoners in one week, including the first double execution held in the US in a single day since 2001. The first of the four to die was Ledell Lee.Should Arkansas now agree belatedly to hand over the crime scene materials for testing, he may yet be proven to have been, just as he always said he was, an innocent man.


Donald Trump and the moral decline of the pro-life movement

Donald Trump and the moral decline of the pro-life movementDonald Trump's decision to become the first president ever to attend the annual March for Life in Washington on Friday is a very big deal for both the Republican Party and the pro-life movement — though not in the way that either of them fully realizes.Trump's embrace of the anti-abortion movement has been driven from the beginning by political expediency. With various factions of the Republican Party establishment opposing him in the 2016 primaries, the Trump campaign made the decision to champion the religious right, including its pro-life activist base, which then reciprocated by turning out to vote. As president, Trump has rewarded this support with White House access and respect for the movement's leadership, as well as record numbers of staunchly conservative judicial appointments that just might lead to decisions upholding restrictions on abortion that render the key abortion rights decisions, Roe v. Wade (1973) and Casey v. Planned Parenthood (1992), effectively null and void.Still, at the symbolic level nothing has come close to matching Trump's announcement on Wednesday that this year he would be attending (and presumably speaking at) the March for Life, the demonstration in the nation's capital that is held annually on or close to the anniversary of the Roe decision and regularly draws tens of thousands of pro-lifers.The significance for the GOP of Trump's scheduled appearance at the rally is a function of what it demonstrates retrospectively about the place of the pro-life movement in the party. Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush may have been personally committed to the anti-abortion cause, and Trump may be entirely driven by concern over his prospects for re-election and his need to keep Republican office-holders firmly in his camp through the Senate impeachment trial. Yet the former presidents kept the movement at arm's length and the latter has unapologetically embraced it. Donald Trump is now poised to be the greatest presidential champion of the pro-life cause in American history.That's a big change for the GOP, which has long tried to have it both ways — doing just enough to win loyal support from grassroots pro-life activists but not so much that it antagonizes pro-choice voters who have been willing to cast ballots for the party despite its nominal support for the anti-abortion cause. Such balancing will now be much more difficult if not impossible with the head of the party so forthrightly embracing the pro-life position.But Trump's unmodulated support of the pro-life cause is a much bigger and more portentous change for the movement itself.Nationwide opposition to abortion began with outspoken Catholic bishops immediately after Roe was handed down and was at first joined by greater numbers of Democrats than Republicans. These activists originally saw themselves as leading a civil rights crusade in favor of defending the most vulnerable members of society (the unborn) against lethal violence. This construal of the cause has animated and sustained it for nearly 50 years, long past the realignment that saw it become a foundational issue for a religious right dominated by evangelical Protestants.All along, critics of the anti-abortion movement have dismissed its moral appeals and deployment of the language of civil rights, calling it window dressing on a cause that is really motivated by hostility to feminism — and above all, by the drive to limit women's autonomy, stymie their career ambitions, and reaffirm the primacy of their social role as mothers.For decades the pro-life movement has fought this characterization. In doing so, it has drawn on the rhetoric of such anti-abortion crusaders as Richard John Neuhaus, who adapted language from his days marching for civil rights with Martin Luther King, and the rationalist and universalistic moral arguments of legal philosopher Robert P. George, who has appealed to the tradition of natural law theorizing in forging his arguments against abortion.The moral message of these men is simple and powerful: The fetus is a member of the human species from the time of conception; all members of the human species, no matter how small, weak, or dependent, possess innate dignity and hence a right to life; all abortion is therefore the taking of an innocent human life and so must be outlawed along with other forms of murder. This was a line of argument about the rights and legal status of the fetus, not one about the proper place of women in American society.But a pro-life movement whose greatest political champion is Donald Trump has no hope for maintaining such a high-minded construal of its motives and priorities. When Trump speaks at the March for Life, the country will see the pro-life cause forthrightly advocated by a serial adulterer who's repeatedly been accused of rape, who cheated on his wife with a porn star shortly after the birth of their son, and who has been caught on tape bragging about his facility at sexual assault. Trump has spent a lifetime using women for his own gratification and then tossing them away like garbage — and he will now be the most powerful and prominent promoter of a movement that would prevent the victims of such treatment from asserting some modicum of control over its consequences on their bodies and future lives.That's a pro-life movement that actively aims not to protect the vulnerable from lethal violence but to severely constrain and restrict women's freedom.The practical consequences for the movement are likely to be bad. While some recent polling indicates a modest rise in the popularity of the pro-life label — showing perhaps that continuing advances in ultrasound technology are increasing moral unease about opting for abortion — other polls show a more dramatic spike in support for upholding Roe and the constitutional right to choose. This is a powerful sign that, as we've also seen with shifts in public opinion in favor of immigration over the past few years of nativist cruelty and xenophobia from the administration, Trump tends to turn people against the very causes he champions.By locking arms with a polarizing, deeply unpopular, and morally repulsive president, the pro-life movement is likely to end up losing at the very moment it feels closest to winning.More stories from theweek.com Trump is reportedly threatening Republicans to keep them in line on impeachment 34 service members suffered traumatic brain injuries in the Iranian strikes. Trump called them 'headaches.' Eli Manning talks Derek Jeter's Hall of Fame vote, Tom Brady's jealousy in retirement conference


Greek Prime Minister Says Turkey-Libya Deal Is Unacceptable and Illegal

Greek Prime Minister Says Turkey-Libya Deal Is Unacceptable and Illegal(Bloomberg) -- Turkey’s maritime border agreement with Libya is unacceptable and illegal, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said, amid growing tension in the eastern Mediterranean.“Turkey has been difficult to deal with,” Mitsotakis said in an interview with Bloomberg in Davos Thursday. “There’s a constant state of provocation, which leads Turkey nowhere.”The premier, who’s focused on bringing the country back from a crippling economic crisis since he took office in July, has been waylaid by smoldering geopolitical tensions in the east Mediterranean.Long-contentious relations with neighboring Turkey soured further in November when Ankara signed a maritime agreement with Libya in a bid to solidify claims to waters off the coast of Greece and Cyprus.“We don’t need Turkey’s permission,” to be able to supply Europe with Cypriot, Israeli or potential Greek gas, Mitsotakis said earlier in Davos. The pact signed by Libya and Turkey has an impact for the planned EastMed pipeline project, he said.Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is now threatening to start drilling for natural gas in the maritime area Greece claims as its own under international law.Libyan Commander Khalifa Haftar’s visit to Athens last week ahead of a summit in Berlin only raised the stakes, with Turkey accusing Greece of sabotaging the Libya peace process.\--With assistance from Sotiris Nikas.To contact the reporter on this story: Eleni Chrepa in Athens at echrepa@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Sotiris Nikas at snikas@bloomberg.net, Jerrold Colten, Paul TugwellFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.


Lebanon at a crossroads after 100 days of protests

Lebanon at a crossroads after 100 days of protestsWhen Nazih Khalaf heard that protests were taking place Oct. 17 in Lebanon’s capital over government plans to impose new taxes, he was just returning from south of Beirut where he’d been working to put out deadly wildfires that had been raging for days. Khalaf hasn't left downtown Beirut since. Now, 100 days after the nationwide uprising against the country's hated political class erupted, Lebanon is at a crossroads, and Lebanese are more divided than ever.


Trump complains his impeachment defense has a lousy time slot

Trump complains his impeachment defense has a lousy time slotSince being elected president, Donald Trump has tweeted about “ratings” exactly 100 times, according to the Trump Twitter Archive.


Muslim, Jewish leaders pay 'historic' joint visit to Auschwitz

Muslim, Jewish leaders pay 'historic' joint visit to AuschwitzMuslim and Jewish leaders on Thursday honoured Holocaust victims during what they termed an "historic" joint visit to the former Nazi German death camp Auschwitz, days ahead of the 75th anniversary of its liberation. MWL secretary general Mohammad bin Abdulkarim Al-Issa knelt and bowed to the ground as he lead Islamic prayers next to the memorial monument honouring the more than one million people -- mostly European Jews -- that Nazi Germany killed at Auschwitz.


A University of Minnesota student was arrested in China and sentenced to 6 months in prison for tweeting cartoons making fun of President Xi Jingping

A University of Minnesota student was arrested in China and sentenced to 6 months in prison for tweeting cartoons making fun of President Xi JingpingAccording to Chinese court documents obtained by Axios, 20-year-old Luo Daiqing was arrested after returning to Wuhan for summer break.


Firefighting plane crashes in Australia, killing 3 Americans

Firefighting plane crashes in Australia, killing 3 AmericansThree American firefighting airplane crew members were killed Thursday when the C-130 Hercules aerial water tanker they were in crashed while battling wildfires in southeastern Australia, officials said. New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian confirmed the deaths in the state's Snowy Monaro region, which came as Australia grapples with an unprecedented fire season that has left a large swath of destruction. Canada-based Coulson Aviation said in a statement that one of its Lockheed large air tankers was lost after it left Richmond in New South Wales with retardant for a firebombing mission.


Brexit Bulletin: Law of the Land

Brexit Bulletin: Law of the LandDays to Brexit: 8(Bloomberg) -- Sign up here to get the Brexit Bulletin in your inbox every weekday.What’s Happening? The Withdrawal Agreement Bill received royal assent, making Brexit on Jan. 31 a matter of U.K. law.Seventeen words brought an end to the British side of this phase of the Brexit saga. In a statement to the House of Commons, Deputy Speaker Nigel Evans delivered the news to listening lawmakers: “Her Majesty has signified her royal assent to the following act: European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Act 2020.”Royal assent brings to a close the crisis that paralyzed U.K. politics after the country voted to leave the European Union in June 2016. Former Prime Minister Theresa May failed to get her version of the deal through the House of Commons after reaching an agreement with the EU in November 2018. Her successor, Boris Johnson, succeeded only after winning a large majority in last month’s general election.With the U.K. due to slip out of the EU at 11 p.m. London time next Friday, all that remains is for the European Parliament to rubber-stamp the deal. That was due to move a step closer on Thursday afternoon via a vote of the assembly’s constitutional affairs committee, a group of the parliament’s most influential members. The panel was expected to nod the deal through.The full EU parliament, which officially has a veto over the deal, will vote on Jan. 29. It will almost certainly follow the committee’s lead. The U.K. is scheduled to leave the EU two days later.Beyond BrexitClimate activist Greta Thunberg should go back to school and study economics, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said at the World Economic Forum in Davos. These billionaires made their fortunes by trying to stop climate change. The £200 million ($262 million) London mansion bought by Cheung Cheung Kie earlier this month isn’t even his most valuable property.Brexit in BriefRule Makers | U.K. financiers are asking the government to revamp regulations to attract global business after Brexit. Watchdogs should have the power “to make the U.K. a better place to do business” through a new mandate to support London’s financial hub against rivals, according to the International Regulatory Strategy Group, a panel backed by the City of London.Diverging Views | Speaking at Davos on Thursday morning, U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer Sajid Javid tried to reassure business over Britain’s post-Brexit ties with the EU. “We won’t diverge just for the sake of it,” he said. That’s despite telling the Financial Times last week that “there will not be alignment” with EU rules after Brexit.Off-Piste? | Did Javid speak out of turn at Davos when he said that talks for a U.K.-EU trade deal will take priority over any agreement with the U.S.? Today’s Bloomberg Westminster podcast discusses his motivations.Time Is Tight | The clock is ticking for the EU and the U.K. to hammer out a trade deal by the end of the year, according to Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte. “It’s an awfully short amount of time so I hope that coming next summer, June, July, that Boris Johnson will at least contemplate extending, if necessary, this transition phase,” Rutte said in a Bloomberg TV interview in Davos. “I’m Still Here” | Steve Bray, otherwise known as the “Stop Brexit Guy” was a fixture outside Westminster during the height of the U.K.’s Brexit tension, often disrupting live TV interviews. On Thursday he took his protest to Brussels, joining a small rally outside the European Parliament, the Brussels Times reports. “I came to Brussels just to visit this parliament,” the Times reported him as saying. “I’m still here because I still care.”Want to keep up with Brexit?You can follow us @Brexit on Twitter, and listen to Bloomberg Westminster every weekday. It’s live at midday on Bloomberg Radio and is available as a podcast too. Share the Brexit Bulletin: Colleagues, friends and family can sign up here. For full EU coverage, try the Brussels Edition.For even more: Subscribe to Bloomberg All Access for our unmatched global news coverage and two in-depth daily newsletters, The Bloomberg Open and The Bloomberg Close.To contact the authors of this story: Thomas Penny in London at tpenny@bloomberg.netIan Wishart in Brussels at iwishart@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Adam Blenford at ablenford@bloomberg.net, Chris KayFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.


Warren responds after angry dad confronts her on student loans

Warren responds after angry dad confronts her on student loansIn the exchange, a father asked Warren if he is getting "screwed" because he saved money for his daughter's education.


Damaged By Drone Strike: Suleimani's Sainthood Is Now Being Questioned

Damaged By Drone Strike: Suleimani's Sainthood Is Now Being QuestionedIran’s brand is thinning among the Shi’a and Suleimani’s departure creates breathing room for the Shi’a in the region.


Smugglers tried to bring 3,700 invasive crabs through the Port of Cincinnati

Smugglers tried to bring 3,700 invasive crabs through the Port of CincinnatiMitten crabs are a delicacy in Asia and sell for about $50 each in the United States, officials say. They are considered an invasive species.


Ted Cruz is officially the 1st senator spotted drinking milk during impeachment trial

Ted Cruz is officially the 1st senator spotted drinking milk during impeachment trialThe Senate floor is a tight ship, with lawmakers blocked from bringing food, electronics, and just about every drink with them when they enter it. Yet one 60-year-old precedent provides a loophole to those strict rules — and a senator has finally used it to liven up President Trump's impeachment trial.Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) was the first senator spotted asking for and receiving a glass of milk during the trial, in accordance with a longstanding allowance of dairy in the Senate, CBS News' Grace Segers noted Wednesday. He then got a second glass of milk, CBS News' Julia Boccagno noted, and paired it with a piece of Hershey's chocolate from the Senate's candy desk — seemingly a violation of floor rules.Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C. ) also reportedly acquired a glass of milk, Segers noted later. And in a twist, Segers tweeted that she'd heard Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) actually had some milk the night before.> More milk-related news: I've been informed that Ted Cruz drank milk at around midnight last night. Apparently, senators have to provide their own milk to the cloakroom, although they do keep it cold for senators.> > — Grace Segers (@Grace_Segers) January 22, 2020It's surprising that Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) hasn't engaged in the trend yet, seeing as he was the one who reminded us of the dairy procedure on Tuesday.More stories from theweek.com Democrats walked right into Mitch McConnell's trap Watch highlights from Day 3 of Trump's impeachment trial, in which Democrats argue abuse of power GOP Sen. Marsha Blackburn questions patriotism of Purple Heart recipient Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman


U.S. charges former Mexican police commander in El Chapo-linked cocaine investigation

U.S. charges former Mexican police commander in El Chapo-linked cocaine investigationU.S. prosecutors on Friday charged a former Mexican federal police commander with accepting hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes from Mexican drug cartels to help them send cocaine into the United States, in a case linked to imprisoned drug lord Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán.


These 9 Dining Chairs Are Sculptural, Surprising, and Downright Sleek

These 9 Dining Chairs Are Sculptural, Surprising, and Downright Sleek


In Trump impeachment trial, Nadler presses case by quoting Lindsey Graham — from 1999

In Trump impeachment trial, Nadler presses case by quoting Lindsey Graham — from 1999Rep. Jerry Nadler employed a video clip of Sen. Lindsey Graham during Thursday’s testimony of Donald Trump’s impeachment trial to make the case that a president need not have committed a crime in order to be removed from office.


Only one quarter of Americans trust the US Senate to hold a fair impeachment trial

Only one quarter of Americans trust the US Senate to hold a fair impeachment trialRepublicans are more split than one might imagine: While 42% trust the Senate to do a fair trial, 33% do not.


Canada ‘Will Not Stop’ Until It Has Answers on Iran Crash

Canada ‘Will Not Stop’ Until It Has Answers on Iran Crash(Bloomberg) -- Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland said her government will be relentless in seeking answers from Iran on the jet crash that killed 57 Canadians this month near Tehran.Justin Trudeau’s second in command, speaking in an interview with Bloomberg TV in Davos, Switzerland, said Canada wants a “real, independent” analysis of the airplane’s black box, along with transparency on what exactly happened. She also said Canada is receiving support from allies in pressing on the issue, particularly from the Netherlands and Ukraine.“I am confident we will get those answers because Canada is relentlessly focused on getting them and we will not stop until we get them,” Freeland said.Iran is under intense international pressure to provide full accountability over the circumstances that caused the crash of the Ukrainian International Airlines plane on Jan. 8. The three-year-old Boeing Co. 737-800 was shot down about two minutes after takeoff from Tehran. While nearly half the victims were Iranians, the crash was also one of the worst air tragedies ever involving Canadians. Many of the victims were doctors, engineers and Ph.D. students who represented a microcosm of the northern nation’s immigration policies.Nafta RatificationSeparately in the interview, Freeland also commented on plans to get the new North American free trade agreement ratified in Canada’s parliament, calling it the top priority for the government.The deal, a result of a year of rough negotiations with Donald Trump’s administration, has been passed in the U.S. Senate and is awaiting the president’s signature. It has also been approved in Mexico.Ratification won’t be a straightforward process in Canada, however. Trudeau’s team will need to get the support of at least one opposition party to pass legislation, and expedite debate, after losing its parliamentary majority in October’s divisive election.With all of Canada’s provincial premiers calling for a speedy ratification, Freeland said she’s confident the governing Liberals will be able to win support for the deal.To contact the reporter on this story: Theophilos Argitis in Ottawa at targitis@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Theophilos Argitis at targitis@bloomberg.net, Stephen WicaryFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.


4 killed in plane crash at Southern California airport

4 killed in plane crash at Southern California airportThere was no immediate word on a cause or the model of the plane that crashed at Corona Municipal Airport in California.


'This time I'm scared': experts fear too late for China virus lockdown

'This time I'm scared': experts fear too late for China virus lockdownChina's bid to contain a deadly new virus by placing cities of millions under quarantine is an unprecedented undertaking but it is unlikely to stop the disease spreading, experts warn. The contagious virus has already reached elsewhere in China and abroad, and even an authoritarian government has only a small timeframe in which trapped residents will submit to such a lockdown, they say. "I think we have passed the golden period of control and prevention," said Guan Yi, an expert on viruses at Hong Kong University.


Family attorneys say cruise line's story of toddler's death is 'physically impossible'

Family attorneys say cruise line's story of toddler's death is 'physically impossible'Attorneys representing Chloe Wiegand's family say a ship visit proves it's "physically impossible" for her grandfather to hold her out of the window.


Russia, China, and Iran Would Love to Take Out a Nuclear Aircraft Carrier. Here's Why They Can't.

Russia, China, and Iran Would Love to Take Out a Nuclear Aircraft Carrier. Here's Why They Can't.The beasts are more survivable than they seem.


Australia's Kangaroo Island is looking for volunteers to feed animals injured in bushfires

Australia's Kangaroo Island is looking for volunteers to feed animals injured in bushfiresNearly half of Kangaroo Island was burned by the bushfires this month alone. The RSPCA has posted an application form.


In southern Poland, archaeologists discover WW2 plane wreck

In southern Poland, archaeologists discover WW2 plane wreckArchaeologists have discovered the wreck of a U.S.-made bomber flown by the Soviet Red Army in World War Two, along with the remains of four crewmen killed when it crashed in southern Poland, private broadcaster TVN reported. Marta Wrobel in the town of Bierun during the war and told TVN that the blast from the crash had been powerful enough to blow out windows and doors. The remains of the four Soviet crewmen who perished in the crash will be laid to rest at a nearby Red Army cemetery.


Samantha Bee Dunks on Trump’s Defense Team: ‘A Virtual Dream Team of Rape Culture’

Samantha Bee Dunks on Trump’s Defense Team: ‘A Virtual Dream Team of Rape Culture’Early in her weekly show Wednesday night, Samantha Bee played a clip of Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) telling Fox News that he thinks not calling witnesses in the Senate impeachment trial is the “right thing to do.” “And if anyone’s an expert on witnesses not talking about the crimes they saw, it’s Jim Jordan,” the Full Frontal host said, putting up a headline about how the congressman allegedly knew about sexual abuse at Ohio State and said nothing. That was a preview of what was to come later in the opening segment when Bee took a closer look at President Trump’s defense team “Continuing his tradition of appointing only the best, Trump’s defenders include Ken Starr, Alan Dershowitz and Jim Jordan,” she said. “It’s a virtual dream team of rape culture.” Trevor Noah Destroys Alan Dershowitz’s Impeachment HypocrisyBee ran through their troubling resumes, including Starr’s tenure as president of the Christian Baylor University. “Just to be clear, when Jesus said to ‘turn the other cheek,’ he didn’t mean away from people getting assaulted,” she said. And there’s Dershowitz who once called statutory rape an “outdated concept.” Bee added, “In Dershowitz’s defense, it’s not like he was close friends with notorious pedophile and didn’t-kill-himself-er Jeffrey Epstein. Oh no, I’m sorry, he totally was.” “It is infuriating that these three men are allowed to show their faces in polite society, much less defend the captain of the rape culture all-star team,” she said. “Look, the impeachment case isn’t about sexual assault. But for women and survivors it is horrifying to see these men congeal together to protect each other.” The host ended the segment by predicting that when this is all over, Jordan, Starr and Deshowitz might just start their own rapist-defending law firm: “The only law firm whose phone number is 911.” For more, listen to Samantha Bee on The Last Laugh podcast below: Read more at The Daily Beast.Got a tip? Send it to The Daily Beast hereGet our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.


New Moon Photos! Get Your New Moon Photos Here!

New Moon Photos! Get Your New Moon Photos Here!


Targeted killings up as 8 wounded in Iraq protest violence

Targeted killings up as 8 wounded in Iraq protest violenceGovernment inaction over the rising number of assassinations targeting anti-government demonstrators and supporters is stirring fear and resentment, activists said Thursday. Iraqi security forces, meanwhile, fired tear gas to disperse protesters on a vital Baghdad highway, injuring eight. The latest episode of unrest comes one day ahead of a planned “million-man" march called for by influential Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr to push for the removal of foreign troops from Iraq.


These gun enthusiasts at the Virginia rally carried more firepower than many US troops

These gun enthusiasts at the Virginia rally carried more firepower than many US troops"This sends a strong visual message," a man holding a .50 caliber rifle said. Attendees also came with an armored vehicle and a grenade launcher.


China Puts 13 Cities on Lockdown as Coronavirus Death Toll Climbs

China Puts 13 Cities on Lockdown as Coronavirus Death Toll ClimbsChina is striving to contain a deadly virus outbreak the World Health Organization has termed a domestic health emergency


'Serious safety risk': Man arrested after pointing laser at planes, temporarily blinding one pilot

'Serious safety risk': Man arrested after pointing laser at planes, temporarily blinding one pilotTwo planes were struck by a laser, temporarily blinding one pilot, as they flew into Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport on Wednesday night.


Italy's Crazy World War II Strategy of "Human Torpedoes"

Italy's Crazy World War II Strategy of "Human Torpedoes"Was it successful?


A black man received a settlement in a race discrimination lawsuit. When he tried to cash the check, the bank called the cops, prompting a second racial discrimination case.

A black man received a settlement in a race discrimination lawsuit. When he tried to cash the check, the bank called the cops, prompting a second racial discrimination case.Sauntore Thomas, of Detroit, Michigan, sued TCF Bank after it refused to accept checks he received from a racial discrimination lawsuit.


North Korea confirms former commander is new foreign minister

North Korea confirms former commander is new foreign ministerSEOUL/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - North Korea on Friday confirmed that Ri Son Gwon, a former defense commander with limited diplomatic experience, has been appointed the country's new foreign affairs minister, while the United States repeated calls for Pyongyang to give up its nuclear weapons. North Korea's official KCNA news agency reported that Ri, the latest military official to be promoted under North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, gave a speech as minister at a New Year dinner reception hosted by the ministry on Thursday for embassies and international organizations.


Yahoo News/YouGov poll shows two-thirds of voters want the Senate to call new impeachment witnesses

Yahoo News/YouGov poll shows two-thirds of voters want the Senate to call new impeachment witnessesIn a new poll, 63 percent of registered voters agree that the Senate should call new witnesses to testify during President Trump’s impeachment trial.


Angela Merkel Says Fight Against Climate Change ‘Matter of Survival’

Angela Merkel Says Fight Against Climate Change ‘Matter of Survival’(Bloomberg) -- German Chancellor Angela Merkel says she’s worried about the growing conflict between young campaigners for a cleaner planet and those who reject global warming.Their stances have become “irreconcilable” and led to a gap in dialog just when nations need collective actionon climate change, Merkel said Thursday in a speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos.“The question of achieving the Paris Agreement goals could be a matter of survival for the whole continent and that is why there is pressure to act,” said Merkel. Scientific evidence is clear and emotions should not be confused with facts, she said.Merkel’s comments follow remarks By Greta Thunberg, the teenage activist behind an international wave of student climate strikes. She told leaders that the rate of global warming should make them start to panic. President Donald Trump blasted the “prophets of doom” on the same day in the Swiss resort village in a speech which focused squarely on the U.S. economy.In an oblique reference to young environment activists, Merkel said those who are campaigning for a more trenchant policy to counteract global warming deserve a hearing. The “impatience of young people” must be addressed, she said.Europe and beyond faces a “decade of action,” said Merkel, citing words said previously by Secretary-General Antonio Guterres of the United Nations.Merkel is making climate policy a focus of her last full year as chancellor of Europe’s biggest economy. In the wake of mass protests, her administration sought to kick start a stalled climate agenda with a series of measures to help get Germany achieve steep cuts in carbon emissions.Germany, which is also Europe’s biggest emitter of greenhouse gases, has lagged meeting its climate targets. It aims to cut emissions 40% by this year compared with 1990 levels, yet needs to close a big gap to get there.The moves include placing levies on transportation, investing heavily in railways and applying a timetable for power companies to exit coal. Yet critics say the measures are too little and too late, and that tax payers ought not to be paying billion-dollar compensations to utilities.(Updates and rewrites from first paragraph.)To contact the reporters on this story: Raymond Colitt in Berlin at rcolitt@bloomberg.net;Brian Parkin in Berlin at bparkin@bloomberg.net;Arne Delfs in Berlin at adelfs@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Ben Sills at bsills@bloomberg.net, Jonathan TironeFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.


Belarus' leader blasts Russia for pushing merger of 2 states

Belarus' leader blasts Russia for pushing merger of 2 statesThe president of Belarus on Friday accused Moscow of pressuring his country to merge with Russia and vowed not to let it happen. The statement comes amid stalled talks on further strengthening economic ties between two countries, seen in Belarus as Moscow's plot to swallow its post-Soviet neighbor.


Philippine President Duterte threatens to end military deal with U.S.

Philippine President Duterte threatens to end military deal with U.S.Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte warned the United States on Thursday he would repeal an agreement on deployment of troops and equipment for exercises if Washington did not reinstate the visa of a political ally.


The FBI reportedly stopped a Saudi plot to kidnap a YouTuber on US soil after he criticized Mohammed bin Salman for Jamal Khashoggi's killing

The FBI reportedly stopped a Saudi plot to kidnap a YouTuber on US soil after he criticized Mohammed bin Salman for Jamal Khashoggi's killingAbdulrahman Almutairi used social media to criticize the Saudi government. It appears to have almost cost him his life.


Virologist who helped identify SARS on coronavirus outbreak: 'This time I'm scared'

Virologist who helped identify SARS on coronavirus outbreak: 'This time I'm scared'Experts are seeing shocking similarities between the coronavirus that has now spread beyond China and the SARS outbreak of 2003.Like the infectious pneumonia that has killed at least 17 people, SARS was caused by a coronavirus that originated in China. But when one of the virologists who helped identify the SARS virus visited Wuhan, where this virus originated, he didn't see nearly enough being done to fight it. People were out at markets without masks, "preparing to ring in the New Year in peace and had no sense about the epidemic," Guan Yi of the University of Hong Kong's State Key Laboratory of Emerging Infectious Diseases told Caixin. Airports were hardly being disinfected, Guan continued, saying the local government hasn't "even been handing out quarantine guides to people who were leaving the city."The city did disinfect the market where the virus has been traced to, but Guan criticized Wuhan for that, saying it hurts researchers' abilities to track down the virus's source. "I've never felt scared," Guan told Caixin. "This time I'm scared."A case involving the coronavirus was identified in Washington state on Wednesday, and cases have also been identified in Thailand, Japan, South Korea, and Singapore. A total of 639 cases were confirmed in China.More stories from theweek.com Trump is reportedly threatening Republicans to keep them in line on impeachment 34 service members suffered traumatic brain injuries in the Iranian strikes. Trump called them 'headaches.' Eli Manning talks Derek Jeter's Hall of Fame vote, Tom Brady's jealousy in retirement conference


Parishioner Who Stopped Texas Church Shooter Criticizes Bloomberg on Gun-Control Efforts

Parishioner Who Stopped Texas Church Shooter Criticizes Bloomberg on Gun-Control EffortsThe armed parishioner who took down a shooter at a Texas church in December criticized former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg's gun control efforts on Wednesday."Mr. Bloomberg, had we operated by his standards or his wishes, the carnage would have been significantly greater because the individual still, after the shooting, still had seven live rounds in his gun and three more in his pocket," Jack Wilson said in an interview on Fox News. Wilson, a member of West Freeway Church of Christ in White Settlement, Texas, fired a single round at an armed intruder on December 29, killing the assailant.Bloomberg campaign manager Kevin Sheekey hit back at Wilson in a Thursday appearance on Fox."Mr. Bloomberg supports his right to carry a gun," Sheekey said. "We salute him. But the question is, should anyone who is criminally insane be able to get a gun? I would say no."Earlier in January, while speaking about the Texas incident, Bloomberg appeared to criticize policies that loosen restrictions on gun control."Somebody in the congregation had their own gun and killed the person who murdered two other people, but it is the job of law enforcement to have guns and to decide when to shoot," Bloomberg said. "You just do not want the average citizen carrying a gun in a crowded place."Bloomberg has been heavily involved in gun-control efforts over the years. His proposals for the 2020 presidential election include universal background checks and "red flag screening" measures. In 2013, Bloomberg founded Everytown for Gun Safety, a non-profit that advocates for stricter gun control measures.


Robert Koehler: Serial ‘pillowcase rapist’ suspect was building a ‘dungeon’ before arrest

Robert Koehler: Serial ‘pillowcase rapist’ suspect was building a ‘dungeon’ before arrestProsecutors in Florida believe a 60-year-old man building a “dungeon” under his home is the so-called pillowcase rapist, who authorities say broke into women’s houses and concealed his face with pillows and towels in as many as 40 assaults in the state since the 1980s.Robert Koehler was arrested on 18 January after authorities say they tied his DNA to samples collected from a 1983 case. The sample also matched DNA collected from several other cases between 1981 and 1986, according to the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office.


No qualms for India's hangman before first job of executing rapists

No qualms for India's hangman before first job of executing rapistsPawan Kumar feels zero sympathy for the four men he is due to hang next month for a 2012 gang rape and murder that appalled India. The group set to meet their demise before dawn on February 1 -- although it may be delayed -- were convicted for a brutal crime against Jyoti Singh, a 23-year-old student. Angry demonstrations by tens of thousands of people broke out across the vast South Asian nation, sparking soul-searching about the plight of Indian women and leading to heavier sentences for sex crimes.


Dems: Convict Trump or ‘Write the History of Our Decline with Our Own Hand’

Dems: Convict Trump or ‘Write the History of Our Decline with Our Own Hand’House Democrats opened their case to remove President Trump from office by imploring the same Senate Republicans who have stood in lockstep with the White House that they're the only ones who can save American democracy.Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), the House intelligence committee chairman turned lead impeachment manager, began his side’s arguments with an appeal to history. He bookended his recitation of Trump’s pressure campaign to suborn Ukraine into aiding his reelection with references to Alexander Hamilton, George Washington, Tom Paine, Benjamin Franklin and name checked any other member of the Founding Generation—his colleague Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) later added James Madison—who could help contextualize the constitutional obligation Schiff said senators have when faced with “a man who would be a king.”It’s likely the only play Schiff, Jeffries and their fellow Democratic impeachment managers have. The unyielding political reality they confront is that only with the assent of 20 Republican senators, more than a third of the entire GOP Senate conference, will Trump be removed from office. Even convincing enough of those Republican senators to vote for hearing new evidence in the trial—just four are needed—is viewed as a tall order for Democrats. Standing on the Senate floor before the body of 100 jurors for more than two and a half hours, Schiff rarely raised his voice, laying the groundwork for a day meant to methodically recap the effort from Trumpworld to pressure Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky into probing his political rivals while withholding U.S. security aid to Ukraine as leverage. A lawyer and prosecutor before he was a congressman, Schiff’s remarks reflected his understanding that his partisan opponents are also his jury. Instead of accusing Senate Republicans of a “cover-up,” as Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) did during a late-night rules debate on Tuesday, he opted to treat them as accountable to history. “If we don’t stand up to this peril today,” Schiff intoned, “we will write the history of our decline with our own hand.”Democrats recounted the most dramatic testimony from their November public impeachment hearings while framing it as a matter of life or death for the Republic. Showing a video of acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney’s now-infamous “get over it” remarks in October admitting that Trump conditioned $400 million in military aid on Ukranian election interference, Schiff challenged his jury: “Should the Congress just get over it?” He portrayed impeachment not only as a test for American democracy, but for resistance to the democratic retrenchment underway from autocratic nationalist forces worldwide. Doing so relied on something Schiff and other Democrats consider self-evident.  “There is no serious dispute about the facts,” Schiff said.  But the challenge impeachment has always faced is that the Senate Republicans who will determine Trump’s fate don’t concede that. Right before the hearings began, Sen. Mike Braun, a Republican from Indiana, was asked if he believed it was OK to compel a foreign power to help in an election, including by withholding aid to that end. "I'm not saying it's OK. I’m not saying it's appropriate,” Braun said. “I'm saying it didn't happen."Still, over seven hours on Wednesday, Schiff and the impeachment managers methodically placed the facts they consider as plain as daylight into the Senate’s trial record—their first day, out of three total, reserved for them to use up to 24 hours on the Senate floor to make their case. One by one, the Democratic impeachment managers broke down the case. Nadler detailed the efforts of Rudy Giuliani, the president’s personal lawyer and Ukraine right-hand, to push out Marie Yovanovitch, the former U.S. ambassador in Kyiv. Reps. Sylvia Garcia (D-TX) and Val Demings (D-FL) went through Giuliani’s long-standing interest and central role in the Ukraine scheme. Rep. Jason Crow (D-CO), an Army Ranger and veteran of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, explored the hold-up in U.S. military aid to Ukraine at stake, and Jeffries dove into why it mattered. Few in the room had not heard the facts outlined Wednesday, but that wasn’t really the point. Democrats availed themselves of something new—an extended, virtually uninterrupted block of time with wall-to-wall media coverage—to argue that Trump is guilty of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, the two charges outlined in the articles of impeachment passed by the House. If the Democrats’ appeals to the public, and the jury, were clear, the actual jurors’ reactions were not. The members of the Senate largely sat—stone-faced or restless, scribbling the occasional note or staring off into space—as they heard Democrats’ arguments. Many of them were visibly exhausted, having already sat through 12 hours of debating and voting that kept them in the chamber until two o’clock on Wednesday morning. At times they nodded off, only to moments later let their feelings show—particularly when the impeachment managers ran video clips to support their case. When Schiff played Trump’s infamous “Russia, if you’re listening” comments encouraging Russia to hack former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in 2016, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) let out a disbelieving chuckle and shook his head, exchanging a brief glance with Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) in the row ahead.While Democrats played another video clip showing a blustery Trump, several GOP senators smirked and chuckled. Another moment underscored the unusual situation of one Republican juror who is also something of a witness: when Garcia referenced impeachment witness testimony that called the U.S. delegation to Zelensky’s inaugural “less senior,” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), with a laugh, turned in his seat toward a senator who was part of that delegation: Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI). The scene revealed a bit of the bind Schiff and the other Democrats are in—almost certainly a terminal one for impeachment. Appeals to history will be less compelling to legislators than their immediate political interests. And for three years, the interests of Republican legislators include not angering a president who is regularly more popular with their constituents than they are. At a press conference moments before Schiff spoke, Graham—one of Trump’s staunchest defenders—reprised his fury at Democrats from the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation hearings. “If I were the president, I wouldn't cooperate with these guys at all,” Graham fumed. “You can say what you want about me. But I’m covering up nothing. I’m exposing your hatred of this president to the point that you would destroy the institution.” The bitter debate over cover-ups, and who is responsible for them, is set to intensify as senators draw closer to a vote on whether or not to subpoena additional witnesses and evidence for the trial. The rules for the trial, passed early Wednesday, provide for that vote after each side makes their case, and many senators who could offer a decisive vote for new evidence are staying quiet on the subject until arguments conclude. On Wednesday, top Democrats threw cold water on chatter that they might agree with Republicans on the idea of a witness swap—allowing former National Security Adviser John Bolton to testify, for example, in exchange for former Vice President Joe Biden’s son Hunter, a figure Trump’s defenders proclaim as justification for Trump’s insistence that Zelensky investigate “corruption.” “I think that’s off the table,” said Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY). “That trade is not on the table.”For now, most senators seemed to settle into a wait-and-see posture as arguments began. Republicans seemed eager to move past the three days of Democratic arguments and hear from a group that has been far less visible during the months-long impeachment process: Trump’s defense team.“I think this whole thing pivots on the defense, what President Trump’s team is going to do,” Braun told reporters. “I think that’s all in a void really until you hear what we haven’t heard in general through the whole process… the defense.”Meanwhile, the Democratic impeachment managers and aides settled into the crucial three days that will define their case. Spread out over their table set up on the floor of the Senate were binders and notepads, Kleenex and water, a tin of Altoids and a plastic bag filled with Ricola throat lozenges. As a long and fateful day unfolded, in which Democrats hoped that contextualizing Trump’s offenses within constitutional history and geopolitics will be enough to move 20 Republicans, they would need the strongest voices they could summon. Read more at The Daily Beast.Got a tip? Send it to The Daily Beast hereGet our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.


Nigeria Surprised by News of Possible U.S. Travel Restrictions

Nigeria Surprised by News of Possible U.S. Travel Restrictions(Bloomberg) -- Nigeria’s government was surprised by the news that the U.S. is considering travel restrictions on its citizens and the ban would mean officials will have to find new ways to meet with investors, Finance Minister Zainab Ahmed said.Nigeria is one of seven countries, more than half of which are in Africa, included in a list that may be affected if the Homeland Security Department’s recommendation to expand restrictions is approved, according to a person familiar with the matter. President Donald Trump is reviewing it. The other African states targeted because of security concerns are Eritrea, Sudan and Tanzania.“It will mean restrictions in being able to meet with investors in the U.S. and to be able to meet with Bretton Woods institutions that are in the U.S.,” Ahmed said Thursday in an interview with Bloomberg TV at the World Economic Forum in Davos. “It means we will have to make meeting arrangements alternative to the U.S. because there are options that are open to us,” such as the U.K., she said.Nigeria, which vies with South Africa to be the continent’s biggest economy, is struggling to boost economic growth after a 2016 contraction. The International Monetary Fund projects gross domestic product will expand 2.5% this year. The possible travel restrictions won’t hurt growth, Ahmed said.“We have some very active investors in the Nigerian bond market that are in the U.S. and also some that have taken up our Eurobonds,” Ahmed said. “We connect with them directly and through our advisers such as Standard Chartered and Citibank, who have offices in the U.S.”While Nigeria is Africa’s largest oil producer, it imports fuel and relies on foreign investment inflows to help prop up the naira.Zainab said she’s met with investors in London to discuss the possibility of issuing naira-denominated bonds on the London Stock Exchange.“We are very positive that we will be able to refinance our debt obligations as well as acquire new financing to fund our major infrastructure projects,” she said.Tanzania’s government hasn’t received confirmation that the country is being considered for a travel ban.“We are also reading these reports from the media,” Emmanuel Buhohela, director of communications at the foreign-affairs ministry, said by phone. “So for now we are still waiting for official communication before we can react.”\--With assistance from Ken Karuri.To contact the reporters on this story: Haslinda Amin in Singapore at hamin1@bloomberg.net;Ruth Olurounbi in Abuja at rolurounbi4@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Anthony Osae-Brown at aosaebrown2@bloomberg.net, Rene Vollgraaff, Gordon BellFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.


Mexico's tough response to migrants doesn't stir outcry

Mexico's tough response to migrants doesn't stir outcryThe hundreds of Central American migrants walking north in southern Mexico have received steady media coverage in Mexico, but with sky-high murders, a stagnant economy and corruption topping the national agenda, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s aggressive efforts to stop them hasn't stirred a widespread reaction. López Obrador, a leftist who throughout his campaign talked about protecting human rights and more respectful treatment of migrants, has taken some criticism from the left, even from within his own party, for Mexico’s more militarized reception of migrants who arrived at the Guatemala-Mexico border last weekend.


Family of Kristin Smart, who went missing in 1996, now says there's no news coming soon

Family of Kristin Smart, who went missing in 1996, now says there's no news coming soonKristin Smart's mother said she was contacted by a former FBI agent, but there is no timeline for an announcement in her case, the family later said.


White House breaks silence on Jeff Bezos phone-hacking scandal, calls Saudi Arabia an 'important ally'

White House breaks silence on Jeff Bezos phone-hacking scandal, calls Saudi Arabia an 'important ally'The White House weighed in on reports that Saudi Arabia hacked Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos' phone, saying it takes the situation seriously.


Thunberg fires back at Mnunchin after college degree jab

Thunberg fires back at Mnunchin after college degree jabTreasury Secretary Steven Mnunchin said Greta Thunberg can discuss fossil fuel divestment "after she goes and studies economics in college."


Wax On, Wane Off: A Guide to All the Lunar Phases

Wax On, Wane Off: A Guide to All the Lunar Phases


Rep. Ilhan Omar launches 'Send her back to Congress!' reelection bid with big advantages

Rep. Ilhan Omar launches 'Send her back to Congress!' reelection bid with big advantagesRep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., is kicking off her reelection campaign Thursday night with a massive bank account and no challengers who pose a serious threat from either party. Her campaign slogan — “Send her back to Congress!” — gleefully evokes President Trump’s personal attacks on her.


'The new evidence raises deeply troubling questions': did Arkansas kill an innocent man?

'The new evidence raises deeply troubling questions': did Arkansas kill an innocent man?Revealed: two years after Ledell Lee was executed, damning evidence emerges that experts say could prove his innocenceThe day before Ledell Lee was executed on 20 April 2017, he talked to the BBC from death row. He said that while he could not prevent the state of Arkansas from killing him, he had a message for his executioners: “My dying words will always be, as it has been: ‘I am an innocent man’.”Almost two years after Lee was strapped to a gurney and injected with a lethal cocktail of drugs, it looks increasingly likely he was telling the truth: he went to his death an innocent man. New evidence has emerged that suggests Lee was not guilty of the brutal murder of a woman in 1993 for which his life was taken.The deceased inmate’s sister Patricia Young lodged a lawsuit on Thursday with the circuit court of Pulaski county, Arkansas, petitioning city authorities and the local police department in Jacksonville to release crime scene materials to her family.The ACLU and the Innocence Project, who are investigating the case on the family’s behalf, believe state-of-the-art forensic examination of the materials, including DNA testing and fingerprint analysis, could definitively prove Arkansas did indeed execute an innocent man.An 81-page filing in the lawsuit provides damning new evidence that key aspects of the prosecution case against Lee were deeply flawed. The complaint includes expert opinion from a number of world-leading specialists who find glaring errors in the way forensic science and other evidence was interpreted.The lawsuit also includes a bombshell affidavit from Lee’s post-conviction attorney who admits to having struggled with substance abuse and addiction throughout the years in which he represented him.Lawyers who prepared the filing, led by Cassandra Stubbs of the ACLU and the Innocence Project’s Nina Morrison, conclude: “It is now clear that the state’s forensic experts from trial misinterpreted the evidence in plain sight, and their flawed opinions were further distorted by the state in its zeal to convict [Lee] of the crime. The new evidence raises deeply troubling questions about the shaky evidentiary pillars on which the state executed Ledell Lee.”Innocence has always been the achilles heel of America’s death penalty: how to justify judicially killing prisoners who may have been wrongfully convicted. The question is far from academic: since 1973 no fewer than 167 death row inmates have been exonerated.The most harrowing question is whether innocent prisoners have been executed before the flawed nature of their convictions emerged. In recent years, there have been several cases that, with near certainty, suggest that innocent men have been put to death.They include Cameron Todd Willingham executed in Texas in 2004 for allegedly having caused a fire that killed his three young daughters. After the execution, further evidence emerged that conclusively showed that he could not have set the fire.The Columbia Human Rights Law Review carried out a groundbreaking investigation in which it concluded Carlos DeLuna was innocent when he was executed – also by Texas – in 1989. The six-year study discovered that the convicted prisoner had almost certainly been confused with another man, a violent criminal who shared the name Carlos.Now Ledell Lee looks as though he may be added to the grim rollcall of the wrongly executed. He relentlessly insisted he was not guilty from the moment he was arrested less than two hours after the brutally beaten body of Debra Reese was discovered in her home in Jacksonville on 9 February 1993.The difficulties with the case against Lee began almost immediately. He was picked up nowhere near the crime scene and was not in possession of any possessions that could be linked to the break-in at Reese’s home.The only evidence against him was inconclusive at best. There were two eyewitnesses, but they gave conflicting reports of the suspect’s identification.> In recent years, there have been several cases that, with near certainty, suggest innocent men have been put to deathThe crime scene was shocking, with blood splattered over the walls and floor. Yet when Lee was arrested on the same day detectives could find no blood on his clothes or body including under his fingernails and nothing was found in a forensic search of his house.Given the paucity of evidence, it is not surprising that it took two trials to find Lee guilty and sentence him to death. The first trial collapsed after the jury was unable to reach a verdict.The ACLU and Innocence Project took up Lee’s case very late in the day having been asked to get involved shortly before his scheduled execution date. What they discovered when they opened the case records astounded even these experienced death penalty lawyers.Very quickly they established there were major problems with the prosecution case against Lee. One area that especially concerned them was the inadequacy of Lee’s legal representation, both during the second trial in which defense attorneys inexplicably failed to call alibi witnesses that could have placed Lee elsewhere at the time of the murder, and in terms of the help he received at the appeal stage of his case.At one post-conviction hearing, a lawyer working for the state of Arkansas approached the judge and raised concerns about Lee’s attorney, Craig Lambert. “Your honor, I don’t do this lightly, but I’m going to ask that the court require him to submit to a drug test,” the counsel said. “He’s just not with us … His speech is slurred.”In an affidavit obtained since Lee’s execution, signed by Lambert in October, the lawyer admits: “I was struggling with substance abuse and addiction in those years. I attended inpatient rehab. Ledell’s case was massive and I wasn’t in the best place personally to do what was necessary.”Partly as a result of poor legal representation, terrible errors were made in Lee’s defense – both at trial and for years afterwards during the appeals process. The complaint goes into detail about these “deeply troubling” shortcomings.One of the key examples relates to the marks found on the victim’s cheek. The state’s experts mistakenly interpreted the marks as having come from a pattern on a rug in Reese’s bedroom where she had been beaten to death with a wooden tire club.In fact, the filing says, the pattern on the body’s cheek did not match that on the rug. Instead it was consistent with the murderer stomping on Reese’s face directly with his shoe.That is critically significant because the shoes that Lee was wearing that day, which the state used during the trial as evidence against him, were incompatible in the composition of their soles with the injury pattern on Reese’s face.To establish this point, an affidavit is provided by Michael Baden, former chief pathologist for New York who is recognized internationally as a leading forensic pathologist. He concludes: “The soles of Mr Lee’s sneakers have a much more closely spaced pattern than was transferred in the cheek imprint.”That inconsistency is just one of many that were uncovered when Baden and four other specialists were invited to review the case.Lee was executed in a flurry. When the state of Arkansas realized its supply of one of its three lethal drugs, the sedative midazolam, was about to expire at the end of 2017 with no hope of replacing it due to a global ban on medicines being sent to the US for use in executions, it went into overdrive.It announced plans to kill eight prisoners in 11 days.The declaration prompted revulsion from around the US and the world and accusations that the state was engaging in conveyor-belt executions. It was in that climate that attempts by the ACLU and the Innocence Project to have materials gathered at the crime scene of Reese’s murder released for DNA testing fell on deaf ears.Though the lawyers presented a strong argument that DNA testing could be crucial in casting doubt on Lee’s conviction and pointing towards the real killer, a federal district court denied the request on grounds that Lee had “simply delayed too long” in asking for the materials.It is too late now for Lee. But his lawyers hope that it is not too late to get to the bottom of the case posthumously.The city of Jacksonville is in possession of a rich array of crime scene materials including “Negroid” hairs collected from Reese’s bedroom and fingernail scrapings likely to contain DNA from the actual killer – Lee or otherwise.“This evidence can now be tested with state-of-the-art methods unavailable at trial, and compared to Mr Lee’s unique DNA profile,” the filing says.After a welter of legal challenges, Arkansas succeeded in killing four prisoners in one week, including the first double execution held in the US in a single day since 2001. The first of the four to die was Ledell Lee.Should Arkansas now agree belatedly to hand over the crime scene materials for testing, he may yet be proven to have been, just as he always said he was, an innocent man.


Donald Trump and the moral decline of the pro-life movement

Donald Trump and the moral decline of the pro-life movementDonald Trump's decision to become the first president ever to attend the annual March for Life in Washington on Friday is a very big deal for both the Republican Party and the pro-life movement — though not in the way that either of them fully realizes.Trump's embrace of the anti-abortion movement has been driven from the beginning by political expediency. With various factions of the Republican Party establishment opposing him in the 2016 primaries, the Trump campaign made the decision to champion the religious right, including its pro-life activist base, which then reciprocated by turning out to vote. As president, Trump has rewarded this support with White House access and respect for the movement's leadership, as well as record numbers of staunchly conservative judicial appointments that just might lead to decisions upholding restrictions on abortion that render the key abortion rights decisions, Roe v. Wade (1973) and Casey v. Planned Parenthood (1992), effectively null and void.Still, at the symbolic level nothing has come close to matching Trump's announcement on Wednesday that this year he would be attending (and presumably speaking at) the March for Life, the demonstration in the nation's capital that is held annually on or close to the anniversary of the Roe decision and regularly draws tens of thousands of pro-lifers.The significance for the GOP of Trump's scheduled appearance at the rally is a function of what it demonstrates retrospectively about the place of the pro-life movement in the party. Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush may have been personally committed to the anti-abortion cause, and Trump may be entirely driven by concern over his prospects for re-election and his need to keep Republican office-holders firmly in his camp through the Senate impeachment trial. Yet the former presidents kept the movement at arm's length and the latter has unapologetically embraced it. Donald Trump is now poised to be the greatest presidential champion of the pro-life cause in American history.That's a big change for the GOP, which has long tried to have it both ways — doing just enough to win loyal support from grassroots pro-life activists but not so much that it antagonizes pro-choice voters who have been willing to cast ballots for the party despite its nominal support for the anti-abortion cause. Such balancing will now be much more difficult if not impossible with the head of the party so forthrightly embracing the pro-life position.But Trump's unmodulated support of the pro-life cause is a much bigger and more portentous change for the movement itself.Nationwide opposition to abortion began with outspoken Catholic bishops immediately after Roe was handed down and was at first joined by greater numbers of Democrats than Republicans. These activists originally saw themselves as leading a civil rights crusade in favor of defending the most vulnerable members of society (the unborn) against lethal violence. This construal of the cause has animated and sustained it for nearly 50 years, long past the realignment that saw it become a foundational issue for a religious right dominated by evangelical Protestants.All along, critics of the anti-abortion movement have dismissed its moral appeals and deployment of the language of civil rights, calling it window dressing on a cause that is really motivated by hostility to feminism — and above all, by the drive to limit women's autonomy, stymie their career ambitions, and reaffirm the primacy of their social role as mothers.For decades the pro-life movement has fought this characterization. In doing so, it has drawn on the rhetoric of such anti-abortion crusaders as Richard John Neuhaus, who adapted language from his days marching for civil rights with Martin Luther King, and the rationalist and universalistic moral arguments of legal philosopher Robert P. George, who has appealed to the tradition of natural law theorizing in forging his arguments against abortion.The moral message of these men is simple and powerful: The fetus is a member of the human species from the time of conception; all members of the human species, no matter how small, weak, or dependent, possess innate dignity and hence a right to life; all abortion is therefore the taking of an innocent human life and so must be outlawed along with other forms of murder. This was a line of argument about the rights and legal status of the fetus, not one about the proper place of women in American society.But a pro-life movement whose greatest political champion is Donald Trump has no hope for maintaining such a high-minded construal of its motives and priorities. When Trump speaks at the March for Life, the country will see the pro-life cause forthrightly advocated by a serial adulterer who's repeatedly been accused of rape, who cheated on his wife with a porn star shortly after the birth of their son, and who has been caught on tape bragging about his facility at sexual assault. Trump has spent a lifetime using women for his own gratification and then tossing them away like garbage — and he will now be the most powerful and prominent promoter of a movement that would prevent the victims of such treatment from asserting some modicum of control over its consequences on their bodies and future lives.That's a pro-life movement that actively aims not to protect the vulnerable from lethal violence but to severely constrain and restrict women's freedom.The practical consequences for the movement are likely to be bad. While some recent polling indicates a modest rise in the popularity of the pro-life label — showing perhaps that continuing advances in ultrasound technology are increasing moral unease about opting for abortion — other polls show a more dramatic spike in support for upholding Roe and the constitutional right to choose. This is a powerful sign that, as we've also seen with shifts in public opinion in favor of immigration over the past few years of nativist cruelty and xenophobia from the administration, Trump tends to turn people against the very causes he champions.By locking arms with a polarizing, deeply unpopular, and morally repulsive president, the pro-life movement is likely to end up losing at the very moment it feels closest to winning.More stories from theweek.com Trump is reportedly threatening Republicans to keep them in line on impeachment 34 service members suffered traumatic brain injuries in the Iranian strikes. Trump called them 'headaches.' Eli Manning talks Derek Jeter's Hall of Fame vote, Tom Brady's jealousy in retirement conference


Greek Prime Minister Says Turkey-Libya Deal Is Unacceptable and Illegal

Greek Prime Minister Says Turkey-Libya Deal Is Unacceptable and Illegal(Bloomberg) -- Turkey’s maritime border agreement with Libya is unacceptable and illegal, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said, amid growing tension in the eastern Mediterranean.“Turkey has been difficult to deal with,” Mitsotakis said in an interview with Bloomberg in Davos Thursday. “There’s a constant state of provocation, which leads Turkey nowhere.”The premier, who’s focused on bringing the country back from a crippling economic crisis since he took office in July, has been waylaid by smoldering geopolitical tensions in the east Mediterranean.Long-contentious relations with neighboring Turkey soured further in November when Ankara signed a maritime agreement with Libya in a bid to solidify claims to waters off the coast of Greece and Cyprus.“We don’t need Turkey’s permission,” to be able to supply Europe with Cypriot, Israeli or potential Greek gas, Mitsotakis said earlier in Davos. The pact signed by Libya and Turkey has an impact for the planned EastMed pipeline project, he said.Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is now threatening to start drilling for natural gas in the maritime area Greece claims as its own under international law.Libyan Commander Khalifa Haftar’s visit to Athens last week ahead of a summit in Berlin only raised the stakes, with Turkey accusing Greece of sabotaging the Libya peace process.\--With assistance from Sotiris Nikas.To contact the reporter on this story: Eleni Chrepa in Athens at echrepa@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Sotiris Nikas at snikas@bloomberg.net, Jerrold Colten, Paul TugwellFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.


Lebanon at a crossroads after 100 days of protests

Lebanon at a crossroads after 100 days of protestsWhen Nazih Khalaf heard that protests were taking place Oct. 17 in Lebanon’s capital over government plans to impose new taxes, he was just returning from south of Beirut where he’d been working to put out deadly wildfires that had been raging for days. Khalaf hasn't left downtown Beirut since. Now, 100 days after the nationwide uprising against the country's hated political class erupted, Lebanon is at a crossroads, and Lebanese are more divided than ever.