(Bloomberg) - Ask Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg how he’ll pay for his plans to create jobs, provide health insurance and repair roads and bridges, and you get the same answer: Wait until you see my tax plan.Bloomberg has released almost 20 proposals since joining the race on Nov. 24: $1.2 trillion for infrastructure. $70 billion of federal spending in low-income neighborhoods to aid black homeownership. Another trillion and a half for health care. He hasn’t detailed where the money for the ambitious proposals will come from.If Bloomberg comes out of Super Tuesday among the Democratic race’s top tier, there will be increasing pressure on him to explain how he’s going to pay for his policies, said Don Fowler, a former Democratic National Committee chairman who hasn’t endorsed a 2020 candidate.“There will be a great hue and cry for him to add substance to his proposals and do it very quickly,” Fowler said.Bloomberg’s campaign says that it plans to release further details about the tax proposal as soon as next week and that it will show how he plans to pay for his proposals.That would mean details come out before 14 U.S. states vote March 3 on Super Tuesday, the contests on which Bloomberg is staking his campaign. But until then, voters have only heard him say he supports “taxing wealthy people like me” to pay for a growing list of policy proposals.The approach is at odds with Bloomberg’s pitch - that his three terms as New York mayor and in building the company that bears his name show he’s a practical problem solver, someone who takes a data-driven approach to running government efficiently.It’s also at odds with his Democratic rivals who often explain revenue streams when they propose big programs. No one does that more thoroughly than Elizabeth Warren, whose plan to pay for her $20.5 trillion health care plan ran 19 pages.Not that their estimates have always had pinpoint accuracy. Warren’s and Sanders’s Medicare For All cost estimates differ by $10 trillion. And academics have found Warren’s, Biden’s and Sanders’s revenue estimates from their tax plans overly rosy.The lack of details hasn’t stopped the Bloomberg campaign from rolling out the proposals in his campaign’s earliest days, sometimes at a clip of two or three a week. The media has started to notice, as one recent Associated Press article led off by noting the lack of details about paying for a promise to create millions of new jobs.Bloomberg’s plans on health care, the economy, climate change and other issues where he specifies costs total more than $3 trillion over 10 years. Many more don’t list a cost.Bloomberg is the founder and majority owner of Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News.His campaign has said it’s hard to determine cost estimates because plans are related, and the cost or savings in one proposal can affect another. But the campaign has consistently said that Bloomberg’s tax plan will pay for the policies he is releasing.Bloomberg himself has said little about his tax plan other than he supports increasing taxes on the rich but not with a wealth tax. He opposes the wealth taxes proposed by Warren and Bernie Sanders, which would place a tax on the fortunes of millionaires and billionaires.In a Jan. 11 interview, Bloomberg said the corporate tax rate cut in the Republicans’ 2017 tax overhaul was necessary for competitive reasons but was too deep, and he opposed the measure’s cuts in income-tax rates.“I’ve said I didn’t need the cut, and that was the money that we needed for infrastructure,” Bloomberg said. “You can expect me to try to rectify that in our proposals.”As New York’s mayor, Bloomberg increased property taxes by 18.5% in 2003 – the largest in the city’s history - to generate $837 million to plug budget deficits. His poll numbers suffered but he was re-elected in 2005.Other Democratic presidential candidates have released cost estimates and funding sources for their plans in varying levels of detail. Joe Biden has said he would pay for $3.2 trillion in proposals with new and higher taxes on the wealthy and corporations, including a minimum federal levy targeting companies that have reported paying no federal income taxes in recent years.Sanders has said his Medicare-for-All plan alone would cost more than $30 trillion over a decade but hasn’t fully detailed how he’d pay for it except to say taxes would go up while out-of-pocket health costs would go down.Leonard Burman, a fellow at the Urban Institute, a nonpartisan policy research group in Washington, said he would expect Bloomberg “to put out a package where the revenues could cover the costs, but it’s just really hard to tell what it would look like without knowing the exact price tag and the details.” Burman co-founded the Tax Policy Center, which analyzes candidate tax plans.To contact the reporter on this story: Mark Niquette in Columbus at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Wendy Benjaminson at email@example.com, Craig GordonFor 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.
When Myanmar's Aung San Suu Kyi walked into the International Court of Justice last month, she gambled the remaining shreds of her hard-won international reputation on a rebuttal of accusations that her country's military committed genocide against minority Rohingya Muslims. This past week, it ordered Myanmar to take all possible measures to prevent genocide against the Rohingya. Suu Kyi's willingness to defend human rights abuses on the global stage was a move more likely aimed at burnishing her nationalist credential at home rather than swaying the court.
The virus-hit Chinese city of Wuhan, already on lockdown, banned most vehicle use downtown and Hong Kong said it would close schools for two weeks as authorities scrambled Saturday to stop the spread of an illness that has infected more than 1,200 people and killed 41. Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said her government has declared the outbreak an emergency and will close primary and secondary schools for two more weeks on top of next week's Lunar New Year holiday. The outbreak began in the city in central China and has spread nationwide and overseas, fueled by millions of people traveling during the country's biggest holiday.
The death toll from China's coronavirus outbreak jumped on Saturday to 41 as the Lunar New Year got off to a gloomy start, with Hong Kong declaring a virus emergency, scrapping celebrations, and restricting links to mainland China. Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam on Saturday declared a virus emergency in the Asian financial hub, with five confirmed cases, immediately halting official visits to mainland China and scrapping official Lunar New Year celebrations. Inbound and outbound flights and high speed rail trips between Hong Kong and Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak, would be halted, and schools, now on Lunar New Year holidays, would remain shut until Feb. 17.
The Navy is reportedly investigating videos found on the website Pornhub that they believe show unsuspecting service members through a peephole in a bathroom.The videos were discovered earlier this month by an agent from the Naval Criminal Investigative Series, according to a report by NBC News.
President Trump's impeachment trial may not last much longer.As Democrats' opening impeachment argument continues into its final day Friday, The New York Times reports the "increasing expectation in the Senate" is that a vote next week to call new witnesses like Democrats have advocated for will "fall short, moving the trial into its end game."Axios is out with a similar report, writing that although Democrats need to sway four Republicans to vote for calling new witnesses assuming every Democrat votes in favor, "the prevailing view emerging among Republican Senate aides was that Democrats ... will struggle to get more than three." The Senate previously delayed a decision on whether to call witnesses until after the opening arguments, The Washington Post reports.Breaking the votes down further, Axios notes that Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), who Democrats hoped to convince, is a no, and aides expect Sens. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) and Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) will be as well. Republican aides reportedly also believe that House Judiciary Chair Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) controversially suggesting that Republicans were complicit in a "cover up" and engaging in "treacherous" behavior may have backfired.Another senator who Democrats have been targeting is Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), but after he said Friday that the House managers "presented us with a mountain of overwhelming evidence," the Post noted this "could indicate that he is not inclined to hear more." Should no witnesses be called, Trump's impeachment trial could end next week, Axios notes.During their argument Friday, Democrats argued Trump "tried to cheat, he got caught, and then worked hard to cover it up." These final hours of arguments are key, as Axios notes if Democrats hope to sway Republican senators in the vote on witnesses, this is their "last chance."More stories from theweek.com Trump debuts official Space Force logo — and it's literally a ripoff of Star Trek 14 dead, hundreds injured after 6.7 earthquake in eastern Turkey Donald Trump and the moral decline of the pro-life movement
U.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.
A slow-moving storm already responsible for dumping more than half a foot of snow on parts of Missouri and Iowa will continue to produce fresh powder over a portion of the Midwest as it sluggishly drifts eastward through Saturday.As snow returns to Chicago and Milwaukee and reaches Detroit, air and ground travel disruptions are likely to mount. This satellite loop from Friday, Jan. 24, 2020, shows the organized storm swirling over the middle of the nation. (NOAA / GOES-East) The storm became better organized late this past week as it managed to attach to the upper part of the atmosphere. Rather than remaining weak and taking a swift eastward track, spreading snow over huge swath from the Plains to the Northeast, the storm matured and stalled over the Mississippi Valley for a time.The result was a swath of light to moderate snowfall from part of northern Arkansas to northern Michigan. The swirl of snow near and north and west of the center of the storm has held together and will drift eastward through Saturday. "Up to a few additional inches of snow is forecast to fall on portions of northern and western Illinois, central and southeastern Wisconsin and northern Michigan," AccuWeather Meteorologist Courtney Travis said.This is on top of what has already fallen, bringing the storm total to 6-10 inches with an AccuWeather Local StormMax™ of 12 inches in portions of the area.CLICK HERE FOR THE FREE ACCUWEATHER APP"An advancing cold pocket of air with moisture is forecast to produce snowfall in the 1- to 3-inch range from central Illinois to northern and central Indiana and the northwestern and central parts of the Lower Peninsula of Michigan on Saturday," Travis added.Americans who live in this zone, including in Indianapolis and South Bend, Indiana; Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo and Flint, Michigan; and Champaign, Illinois; may yet have enough snow to sweep off of their cars and shovel.Up to a few more inches of snow is likely to fall on Chicago.Meteorologists urge motorists to use caution on Saturday morning across the region, as untreated roadways are likely to be slippery.Even though blustery conditions will develop as the storm moves along this weekend, the air is of Pacific origin and not from the Arctic. Aside from snow showers near the old center of the storm, lake-effect snowfall is likely to be minimal in the storm's wake.Saturday night, slightly colder air with snow showers will continue to advance eastward along with the old storm center. Motorists around Detroit and Toledo, Cleveland, Columbus and Youngstown, Ohio, could encounter slippery conditions with a coating of snow possible. By Sunday, the main focus of snow showers will retreat to the central Appalachians and around the eastern Great Lakes.Temperatures are likely to be above average during the last few days of January and the first few days of February for the North Central states. Highs will generally average within a few degrees of freezing in the northern tier to the lower 40s over portions of the central Plains and the Ohio Valley.Keep checking back on AccuWeather.com and stay tuned to the AccuWeather Network on DirecTV, Frontier and Verizon Fios.
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.
China'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 time frame in which trapped residents will submit to such a lockdown, they say.
(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 firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Theophilos Argitis at email@example.com, 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.
Archaeologists 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.
The 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.
The Taliban, in a rambling commentary published on their website, expressed frustration with what they describe as additional U.S. demands in peace talks — even after they had offered a “reduction of violence.” They have not publicly outlined what that would entail and did not explain the new Washington demands. The insurgents' gesture of reduced violence, though never quantified, was meant to open a window for the signing of a peace agreement that could see the withdrawal of U.S. troops and the end to the 18-year war in Afghanistan, America's longest conflict. “The United States and the Afghan Taliban must commit to abide by the laws of war and end all attacks on Afghan civilians,” he added.
(Bloomberg) - As world politics overshadows the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, arguably the most remarkable visitor to Poland isn’t part of any official state delegation.Mohammad Al-Issa, secretary general of the Mecca-based Muslim World League, visited the Nazi death camp on Thursday and was headed to the Museum of Polish Jews in Warsaw before breaking bread with local Jewish leaders for Shabbat on Friday. The four-day trip is unprecedented for such a powerful Muslim cleric.The commemorations marking the anniversary of the Soviet army’s liberation of Auschwitz on Jan. 27, 1945, have been fraught with background tension as world leaders converged in Israel rather than at the German-built camp in southern Poland.Al-Issa, who led the biggest-ever delegation of Muslim clerics to Auschwitz, has been an advocate for more moderate Islam and has visited synagogues in Europe and the U.S. A former justice minister, he’s a supporter of the social changes in Saudi Arabia under Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who attracted further scrutiny this week after a United Nations report alleged the Saudis had hacked the phone of Amazon.com Inc. founder Jeff Bezos. Poland’s chief rabbi, Michael Schudrich, said Al-Issa’s visit was a “moral act” by religious leaders at a time when elected officials were making politics around Auschwitz. The visit can “show the world that we can sit down normally around a table, be together, share a meal and discuss,” Schudrich said.Speaking before his trip, Al-Issa said the visit had nothing to do with politics or normalizing relations with Israel, but was rather a message of “religions standing together.”“We as Muslims strongly condemn and feel strong pain over the crimes committed against humanity in general and against religions in particular and especially against ethnicities,” he said in an interview in Riyadh.Asked about parts of the Arab community who dispute the Holocaust, he said it was a crime to “falsify history,” especially “the most atrocious crime in the history of mankind.”There was the predictable backlash on social media. Some people called the visit a humiliation that diminishes Muslims. Another wondered why the cleric’s focus was on Auschwitz and not the Palestinians under attack by Israelis in Gaza. Others said the Muslim delegation doesn’t represent Muslims, calling the holocaust a lie.Al Mayadeen TV, which is based in Beirut and close to Shiite Iran, used the headline “Israeli media celebrates a former Saudi justice minister’s visit to Auschwitz.”The main commemorations marking the liberation of Auschwitz took place in Israel instead of the museum in southern Poland, where the remains of the camp still stand.Polish President Andrzej Duda boycotted the Jerusalem event because he was not allowed to join Russia’s Vladimir Putin in addressing it, amid a diplomatic row between the countries over their roles in World War II. A separate gathering of representatives of more than 50 nations will take place on Monday at Auschwitz.“We’re already seeing people starting to do politics around Auschwitz—this is totally unacceptable,” Schudrich said. The Muslim scholars’ visit, on the other hand, may have more significance, he said.“In the Arab world, the Holocaust is rarely mentioned and this visit will raise awareness, which is extremely important,” he said. “Regardless of whether religious leaders want to be involved in politics or not, sometimes when they do something that’s moral it also has a political impact.”To contact the authors of this story: Wojciech Moskwa in Warsaw at firstname.lastname@example.orgDonna Abu-Nasr in Riyadh at email@example.comTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Paul Sillitoe at firstname.lastname@example.org, Rodney JeffersonFor 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.
Culiacán (Mexico) (AFP) - Mexico is seeking the extradition from the United States of the son of a Sinaloa cartel drug lord over the 2017 murder of acclaimed journalist Javier Valdez, the attorney general's office said Thursday. Damaso Lopez Serrano, the son of former top "El Chapo" lieutenant Damaso Lopez Nunez "El Licenciado", is accused of being the mastermind behind the killing of Valdez. An arrest warrant for Lopez Serrano was approved Thursday afternoon after prosecutors interviewed members of the Sinaloa cartel who testified against him, the attorney general's office said in a statement.
Tens of thousands of Iraqis rallied in central Baghdad on Friday calling for the expulsion of U.S. troops, but the protest mostly dissipated after a few hours despite a cleric's call for a "million strong" turnout. Populist cleric Moqtada al-Sadr convened the march after the U.S. killing of an Iranian general and an Iraqi paramilitary chief in Baghdad this month. Three French nationals and one Iraqi, working for charity SOS Chretiens d'Orient, also went missing in Baghdad, the NGO said.
Pawan 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.
Taiwan's exclusion from World Health Organization meetings on the coronavirus outbreak has united the island's political parties, who normally agree on little, especially to do with China. Taiwan is not a member of the WHO due to the objection of China, which considers it a Chinese province with no right to participate in international organizations as a separate entity. Taiwan was not allowed to participate in an emergency WHO meeting on Wednesday about the new virus, which has killed at least 25 people since originating in the Chinese city of Wuhan last month.
Don't call into question the patriotism of a Purple Heart recipient and expect to walk away unscathed.On Thursday, Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) tweeted several inflammatory things about Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, the director of European Affairs for the White House National Security Council. Vindman was on President Trump's July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, and while testifying before House impeachment investigators, Vindman said he was troubled by Trump's request that Ukraine open an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden, and knew he had to inform superiors.During the afternoon's impeachment proceedings, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) called Vindman an "American patriot," which led to Blackburn tweeting, "How patriotic is it to badmouth and ridicule our great nation in front of Russia, America's greatest enemy?"Vindman's lawyer David Pressman reacted swiftly, saying in a statement, "This difficult moment in our country calls for seriousness and seriousness of purpose. Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman has sacrificed enormously for our country. He believes in our country. And he believes in our country's great institutions, including the United States Senate." Vindman served in the Iraq War, and received a Purple Heart for injuries he sustained in an IED attack."That a member of the Senate — at a moment when the Senate is undertaking its most solemn responsibility — would choose to take to Twitter to spread slander about a member of the military is testament to cowardice," Pressman continued. "While Sen. Blackburn fires off defamatory tweets, Lt. Col. Vindman will continue to do what he has always done: serve our country dutifully and with honor."More stories from theweek.com Trump debuts official Space Force logo — and it's literally a ripoff of Star Trek 14 dead, hundreds injured after 6.7 earthquake in eastern Turkey Donald Trump and the moral decline of the pro-life movement
SEOUL/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.
Elizabeth Warren was confronted by an angry father at a campaign event in Iowa by an angry father who took issue with her plan to forgive student loan debts.Arguing that those who paid for college tuition themselves would be “screwed” by her proposal, he confronted the Democratic senator on Monday at a presidential campaign town hall in Grimes, Iowa.
About four hours into Thursday’s session of the Senate impeachment trial, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), the House’s lead impeachment manager, had yet another video clip queued up to show senators in order to help make Democrats’ case for President Trump’s removal.Taking full advantage of their video privileges, the impeachment managers had played dozens of such clips since opening their arguments in the trial on Wednesday. But when Schiff tried to show a segment of White House aide Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman’s testimony, it didn’t work. Sensing technical difficulties, Schiff offered a joke. “We’ve heard enough of Col. Vindman,” he quipped, before pressing on. For some of the Republicans sitting in the chamber, however, the joke couldn’t have been truer: Sen. Joni Ernst of Iowa nodded at Schiff’s crack, glancing conspiratorially at her neighbor, Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas. The moment underscored the sheer amount of evidence Schiff and his fellow managers have thrown at the 100 jurors deciding the fate of Trump’s presidency over the course of nearly 12 hours of argument. But if the Democratic impeachment managers’ presentations on Wednesday were meant to appeal to the Senate’s sense of constitutional responsibility, Thursday’s were designed as an evidence-packed pre-rebuttal to what senators may hear from the White House when Trump’s defense team outlines their case in the coming days. Central to that case was a detailed outline of Trump’s willingness to divert from long-standing U.S. policy, based on Russian disinformation and plotting Ukrainian former officials, to pressure Kyiv on investigations that benefited him politically. Beginning this effort was Rep. Sylvia Garcia (D-TX) who walked through a lengthy discussion of the conspiracy theory that former Vice President Joe Biden’s involvement in Ukraine during the Obama administration had something to do with Hunter Biden’s appointment to board of the Ukrainian gas company Burisma in 2014. “As the theory goes, Vice President Biden tried to remove Ukraine's prosecutor all to make sure the prosecutor wouldn't investigate that specific company Burisma because, again, his son was on the board,” Garcia said. “Then senators, if that doesn’t sound far-fetched and complicated to you, it should.” Biden, along with the support of the Obama White House, Congress, and a coalition of international organizations and allied countries, called for the firing of then-Ukrainian prosecutor general Viktor Shokin in 2016 as a result of Shokin’s failure to address corruption in Ukraine. That failure also included allowing an investigation into Burisma to go dormant. Democrats labored to dispel the idea the president was led astray by his personal lawyer Rudy Giuiliani, who along with associates Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman schemed with embattled Ukrainian officials to get rid of former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch. Or that Trump was unaware of the effort by U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland and others to get Ukraine to agree to investigate the Bidens in exchange for a meeting between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and the release of congressionally approved aid to Ukraine. Trump Wanted Zelensky to Publicly Announce He Was Investigating BidenThe impeachment managers also sought to make clear that Trump and his pursuit of a political edge was behind it all. Indeed, the meat of their presentation on Thursday was a 10-point list of reasons why Trump was acting in his personal interest on Ukraine, not the national interest. As Garcia spoke, senators, including Republicans, appeared glued to their reading materials and to the videos displayed on the screen—including a clip from Dr. Fiona Hill, former top Russia adviser to Trump, in which she lays out how Russia spread the conspiracy theory that Ukraine interfered in the 2016 election. Fiona Hill Blasts GOP ‘Alternate Narrative’ on UkraineSchiff specifically pointed to the fact that Trump chose to use Guiliani to work on the Ukraine investigations pressure campaign and that Trump’s advisers on Ukraine were deliberately left out of the loop on what would be discussed on the president’s July 25 call with Zelensky. Garcia focused on that call, too, pointing to how Trump mentioned the 2016 election, the DNC server, and Crowdstrike, and pushed the Ukrainians to investigate. (The idea that Crowdstrike is or was somehow holding that server or participated in the interference in the 2016 election is a well-known conspiracy theory that former and current U.S. officials have outlined as one propagated by Russia.) According to a previous report in The Daily Beast, Ukrainian officials listening on the July 25 call did not know what Crowdstrike was and were caught off guard by Trump urging Zelensky to look into it. The topic’s re-emergence made for some awkward moments. Several Republican senators who have insisted the president had every reason to investigate the debunked conspiracy theory that Ukraine also meddled in the 2016 election sat silently as Garcia played a clip of FBI Director Christopher Wray dismissing the theory out of hand. Asked about the presentation, Sen. Todd Young (R-IN) said he would wait for the White House’s presentation before passing judgment on whether Ukraine meddled in the election. “I don’t think we know that until we get to Saturday,” he said. “So I’ve heard that that will be woven into what we hear on the defense and maybe we’ll learn more there. I just don’t think you can do it all in a vacuum, you know, to where you’re not getting both sides of the story. And remember that hasn’t occurred yet.”Another Republican, Sen. Mike Braun of Indiana, said he was “anxious to hear” how the president’s defense team was going to respond to the Russian disinformation evidence. Braun said he’d reserve judgment until then because Democrats’ statements rested on “friendly witnesses and people that, you know, are there to build their case.”The White House is expected to begin laying out that case during a rare Saturday session of the Senate on Jan. 25. On Thursday night, White House counsel Jay Sekulow teased that Democrats’ Biden pre-rebuttal amounted to a free pass for them to dive into the topic.“It’s been a lot about Joe Biden and Burisma,” Sekulow told reporters. “It kind of opened the door for that response, so we'll determine as a defense team the appropriate way to do it”But speaking to reporters during a break Thursday, Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader, argued that the defense had been dealt a devastating blow before even laying out its case, calling the managers’ presentation a “knife in the heart” to the “false arguments” Team Trump would make.Intent on packing as much evidence as possible into the 24 hours of floor time, spread over three days, that they have been allotted to make their case, Democrats leveraged their video privileges for a novel purpose: turning senators’ own words from the last impeachment against them. The instigator was none other than House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY), who followed his acerbic debut as an impeachment manager on Tuesday with another move that instantly caused a stir on the staid Senate floor. After playing a series of video clips of constitutional scholars from his committee, he chose to call out Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) for comments he made during the impeachment of President Bill Clinton in 1999. Graham was a GOP impeachment manager in Clinton’s trial, and his task was to convince senators and the public that the president’s conduct met the lofty bar of “high crimes and misdemeanors.” In order to do so, he offered a simple but expansive definition.“What’s a high crime?” a long-haired, younger Graham asked. “How about if an important person hurts somebody of low means? It’s not very scholarly, but I think it’s the truth. I think that’s what they meant by high crimes. Doesn’t have to be a crime. It’s just when you start using your office and you’re acting in a way that hurts people, you’ve committed a high crime.”Although Graham had left the chamber just before Nadler played the clip, his colleagues on both sides of the aisle exchanged surprised looks with their neighbors. Sen. Brain Schatz (D-HI) shook his head, while Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY), Graham’s seatmate, patted his empty chair—because the South Carolina senator had left the chamber.During a break afterward, however, GOP senators mostly shrugged at the import of what Graham had said 20 years ago. “That’s the irony of being here for a long time,” said Braun. 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.
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 debuts official Space Force logo — and it's literally a ripoff of Star Trek 14 dead, hundreds injured after 6.7 earthquake in eastern Turkey Donald Trump and the moral decline of the pro-life movement
Mike Bloomberg probably isn’t going to win the Democratic nomination for president. But he might beat Donald Trump anyway. The reason? Well, there are a couple billion of them — namely, the $2 billion Bloomberg plans to spend on Democrats' behalf.
Canada's Transportation Safety Board said Thursday it has been invited by Iran to participate in the download and analysis of the flight recorders from the downing of a Ukraine International Airlines jet “whenever and wherever” that takes place. Iran has acknowledged that its armed forces fired two Russian anti-aircraft missiles at the jetliner that crashed after taking off from Tehran's main airport earlier this month, killing all 176 people on board. Fifty-seven Canadians died and 138 of the passengers were headed to Canada.
(Bloomberg) - Self-help author and former presidential candidate Marianne Williamson says she will be supporting a fellow unconventional contender, entrepreneur Andrew Yang, in the early Democratic primaries.In announcements on Instagram and Twitter, Williamson said she wasn’t endorsing Yang, but wants to help him continue in the race. She is expected to appear with him at a town hall event in Fairfield, Iowa, on Friday.View this post on Instagram A post shared by Marianne Williamson (@mariannewilliamson) on Jan 22, 2020 at 9:01pm PST“I am not endorsing any presidential candidate at this time; I support all the progressive candidates,” she tweeted. “I’m appearing with Andrew Yang in Fairfield because I know the institutional obstructions to his candidacy and I want to see him continue in the race past Iowa.”Williamson dropped out of the presidential race Jan. 10 after months of polling at less than 1% and flagging fundraising.Disclaimer: Michael Bloomberg is also seeking the Democratic presidential nomination. He is the founder and majority owner of Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News.This post is part of Campaign Update, our live coverage from the 2020 campaign trail.To contact the author of this story: Ryan Beckwith in Washington at email@example.comTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Wendy Benjaminson at firstname.lastname@example.org, Max BerleyFor 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.
Lawyers for the woman accused of procuring underage girls to have sex with Jeffrey Epstein told a judge that hackers “breached” her computer after a court failed to redact her email address in filings it released last year.Ghislaine Maxwell’s lawyer Ty Gee said in a December letter to Judge Loretta A Preska that, “despite the Second Circuit’s best efforts, it made serious mistakes” when redacting thousands of pages of records associated with a defamation lawsuit filed by one of Epstein’s accusers, Virginia Giuffre.
A young mother in Arizona has reportedly told police that she killed her three children before placing them in the living room as if they were sleeping.Other family members were in the home at the time.
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.
(Bloomberg) - Sign up here to receive the Davos Diary, a special daily newsletter that will run from Jan. 20-24.Both the U.S. and China must make adjustments if they are going to reach a lasting phase-two trade deal that benefits the rest of the world, Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said.Speaking in an interview with Bloomberg’s Editor-in-Chief John Micklethwait, Lee said “both sides have to make quite basic adjustments.” The U.S., he said, must decide whether to create rules that allow “the best man” to win or only let America come out on top.“America First means you do the best for the United States,” Lee said in Davos, Switzerland, while attending the World Economic Forum. “So do you do the best by prospering in the world and there are other countries who are doing well, or do your best by being a big country in a troubled world? And I’m not sure that the second is a very good answer.”The U.S.-China War Over Trade and Tariffs, Explained: QuickTakeChina, on the other hand, must decide whether they are going to be “constructive players” in world affairs and accept that “rules which were acceptable to other countries when they were smaller and less dominant now have to be revised and renegotiated,” Lee said.“It’s not so easy for them to concede and voluntarily step back from what they feel they can hold on to for a while longer,” he said. But if they make that adjustment, “there’s some possibility of working out a modus vivendi which will be stable and constructive for the world,” he said.Huawei ConcernsSingapore, a city-state heavily dependent on trade, had been one of the most outspoken countries in Asia calling for the U.S. and China to reach a trade deal. Lee has warned that Southeast Asian nations might one day be forced to choose if the world economy gets pulled apart into different blocs.The Trump administration has sought to convince countries around the world to avoid using equipment from Huawei Technologies Co., China’s biggest tech firm, for 5G networks, arguing it poses a national security threat. Singapore’s government so far has left the decision up to its telecommunications operators.How Huawei Landed at the Center of Global Tech Tussle: QuickTakeLee reiterated that Singapore hasn’t “banned Huawei” but will evaluate it based on operational requirements. Any system will have weaknesses, he said, and governments must try to keep them secure.“We have to make our own assessments, and the assessments have to be based on facts and risks,” Lee said. “And having made those assessments, well we may come to a conclusion which is different from what the Americans have come to, but it doesn’t mean that we’re not concerned about similar issues.”Lee added that differences of opinion on Huawei don’t necessarily signal a loss of U.S. influence. “If you ask us on security cooperations, certainly we are closer to the U.S. than to China,” Lee said. “But in terms of our trade, the Chinese are our biggest trading partner. In terms of our overall relationship, we have deep relationships with both.”March SummitPresident Donald Trump last November invited countries in the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations, or Asean, to a special summit in the U.S. after he skipped the bloc’s meeting in Bangkok. At the time, most leaders in the region snubbed the group’s meeting with Trump’s representative, National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien.Lee said he would join other Asean leaders for a meeting with Trump in Las Vegas on March 14.“I’m sure we’ll be discussing areas where we can cooperate and do more together,” Lee said. “I hope that Mr. Trump, amidst his many domestic preoccupations, will send a message that Asia is important to him and Southeast Asia has its part in the Americanscheme of things.”China has recently stepped up efforts to assert its territorial claims in the South China Sea, prompting fellow claimants like Vietnam, Malaysia and Indonesia to resist those advances in the energy-rich waters. The Asean bloc has been negotiating a legally binding code of conduct in the waters for more than two decades, and aim to complete it in the next few years.“It’s not an easy thing to do,” Lee said of the code of conduct. “We’re working at it and we’ve made some progress in the negotiating process, but I think it’s better to be talking and working toward this rather than abandoning this and actually coming to blows on the ground.”\--With assistance from Joyce Koh, Faris Mokhtar, Michelle Jamrisko and Ruth Pollard.To contact the reporters on this story: Iain Marlow in Hong Kong at email@example.com;Philip J. Heijmans in Singapore at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Daniel Ten Kate at email@example.com, Nasreen SeriaFor 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.