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  • Biden blasts Trump for saying he 'deserted' Pennsylvania: 'I was 10'

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    The former vice president blasted President Trump for telling the crowd at a rally in Pennsylvania earlier this week that he “deserted” them.

    Wed, 22 May 2019 09:49:46 -0400
  • Iran's reach puts U.S. forces, allies in striking range

    BAGHDAD/DUBAI/KABUL (Reuters) - Threats of conflict between the United States and Iran have highlighted the places and ways their forces, proxies or allies could clash. Iran backs militias in Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan, where U.S. troops are also based, and in Lebanon and Yemen, located next to Washington's closest regional allies Israel and Saudi Arabia. It is situated opposite Saudi Arabia on the Gulf, and along the Strait of Hormuz, passageway for almost a fifth of the world's daily crude oil consumption.

    Tue, 21 May 2019 07:58:01 -0400
  • Mississippi judge who blocked 15-week abortion ban hears arguments on fetal heartbeat law

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    Mississippi's fetal heartbeat law which bans abortions after approximately six weeks could be blocked or upheld by Judge Carlton Reeves.

    Tue, 21 May 2019 16:49:43 -0400
  • China Surveillance Giant Hikvision Slumps on U.S. Ban Report

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    The White House will make a final decision in coming weeks on whether to limit exports of U.S. components to Hikvision, as it’s done with Huawei Technologies Co., the Times reported, citing unidentified people familiar with the matter. Such a move would escalate tensions with China and raise questions about whether the U.S. is going after more of the country’s technology champions. Hikvision has grown into a surveillance giant, selling its cameras around the world after cashing in on China’s obsession with monitoring its citizens.

    Tue, 21 May 2019 22:00:51 -0400
  • The Latest: Iran supreme leader critical of FM in nuke deal

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    TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — The Latest on increased tensions between the U.S. and Iran (all times local):

    Wed, 22 May 2019 18:21:53 -0400
  • HUD Secretary Ben Carson stumped during congressional hearing

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    The HUD secretary faced a tough hearing before the House Financial Services Committee on Tuesday.

    Tue, 21 May 2019 15:22:53 -0400
  • Marlen Ochoa-Lopez murder: Baby boy cut from mother's womb opens eyes for the first time

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    A baby boy, cut from his mother's womb after her murder last month, opened his eyes for the first time on Tuesday as he fights for his life in a Chicago hospital.The mother, 19-year-old Marlen Ochoa-Lopez, was nine months pregnant when she was killed last month. Clarisa Figueroa and her daughter Desiree Figueroa have been arrested as suspects.According to police, the pair had lured Ochoa-Lopez to their home under the pretext of offering her baby clothes.After strangling Ochoa-Lopez, the two allegedly cut the unborn baby out of her womb. Police said that they believe the elder Figuaroa had hoped to raise the child as her own after the recent death of her own son. Both Figueroas have been arrested and charged with first-degree murder. Clarissa's boyfriend, Piotr Bobak, has also been arrested and charged with concealing a homicide.The baby, who was removed from the womb almost two months premature, has been fighting for his life ever since.Sunday however, a picture emerged of the little boy in the arms of his father, Yovany Lopez, apparently taken shortly after he had opened his eyes for the first time, CNN reported."We were just praying and praying and he opened his eyes, and his dad said, 'Oh my God, he opened his eyes!'" Cecilia Garcia, a student pastor who is assisting the family and is the one who took the photo, told CNN.Garcia, said she was horrified when she first heard about the killing, but believes that the country has united in support of the family."She's evoked the whole nation of people, pouring their love out for this family," Garcia said in reference to Marlen. "He's a single dad now, and we're praying this baby makes it."

    Tue, 21 May 2019 10:21:41 -0400
  • US stocks rally on Huawei reprieve as pound gyrates on Brexit news

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    Global stocks rallied Tuesday as the United States took a step away from imposing crushing restrictions on Chinese telecom company Huawei, while the pound gyrated on fresh Brexit drama.

    Tue, 21 May 2019 20:37:34 -0400
  • Will FAA's plan for 737 MAX fly outside US?

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    Getting Boeing's top-selling 737 MAX back in the skies faces a critical test this week as the company and US regulators each seek to restore their reputations after two deadly crashes. The US Federal Aviation Administration convened a summit of global aviation regulators on Thursday to walk through the steps taken to address concerns with the MAX following criticism the agency dragged its feet on the decision to ground the jets. Most agencies around the world have said little or nothing about the situation since the 737 MAX was grounded following the March 10 Ethiopian Airlines crash, which together with a Lion Air crash in October, claimed 346 lives.

    Wed, 22 May 2019 05:29:33 -0400
  • I'm the same age as Elizabeth Warren. We 70-somethings have no business being president.

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    I have nothing against old people — I'm one of them. But maybe it's time to add a maximum age limit to our minimum age requirement for our presidents.

    Tue, 21 May 2019 14:57:12 -0400
  • Oklahoma reels, Missouri declares state of emergency from storm, floods

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    Rescue crews using boats pulled at least 50 people from rising water as heavy downpours inundated roads and homes, Oklahoma Emergency Management Agency spokeswoman Keli Cain said, although there were no reports of deaths or serious injuries. Only the tops of cars engulfed by water were could be seen in video footage of roadways near Oklahoma City, and some houses were entirely surrounded by floods. "It's real dangerous," said Ross Reuter, a spokesman for Canadian County, where 10 people were rescued.

    Tue, 21 May 2019 16:46:29 -0400
  • Freshman congresswoman tells Trump's Homeland Security chief that deaths of migrants were 'intentional'

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    The acting Homeland Security secretary was grilled over his department's treatment of migrant children, five of whom have died since December.

    Wed, 22 May 2019 13:59:20 -0400
  • Apple promises to warn users if it plans slows down their iPhones to save battery life

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    Apple has made a binding agreement with Britain's consumer watchdog to warn users if it plans to reduce the speed of older iPhones following a scandal that saw software updates deliberately slowing the performance of users' phones. The Competition and Markets Authority said it had raised consumer law concerns with Apple last year after iPhones were found to be slowed down by software updates in an effort to manage battery life without a user knowing. The watchdog said Apple had “committed to be clearer and more upfront with iPhone users about battery health and performance” - which will include notifying users during iOS updates if the software will cause their phone to slow down. Two years ago, Apple admitted that it had been limiting the processing power of its iPhone 6, 6S and 7 smartphones to prevent damage to older batteries. The revelations prompted a backlash from iPhone users, an apology from Apple chief executive Tim Cook and legal claims that the so-called “throttling” of phone speed was “deceptive”. Technology intelligence - newsletter promo - EOA The CMA said that at the time there was not adequate information on this performance limiting update, meaning consumers may have tried to repair or replace their phone.  Following uproar from users, Apple later offered discounted battery upgrades to users and added additional features to its iOS smartphone software that showed how strong a phone's battery was relative to its original peak performance. The CMA said Apple had now agreed to make binding commitments to clearly notify users in future if an iOS update would slow the phone's performance. If Apple is found to breach these terms, the CMA can make court action against the company. The agreement said: “If a future iOS update materially changes the impact of Performance Management when downloaded and installed on an iPhone, Apple will notify consumers in a clear manner of those changes in the installation notes.” The CMA agreement said it “does not amount to an admission” that the law had been broken. FAQ | Apple’s iPhone slowdown Similar investigations by regulators have led to fines. In Italy, Apple was hit with a €10m over claims customers were “induced consumers to install software updates that are not adequately supported by their devices". An Apple spokesman directed The Telegraph to a Apple website page on iPhone battery life and declined to comment further.

    Wed, 22 May 2019 11:15:38 -0400
  • AP Explains: How Yemen's rebels increasingly deploy drones

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    DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — In Yemen, the high-pitched whine of drones has been a part of life for over 15 years, ever since the first U.S. drone strike here targeting al-Qaida in 2002. But now, Iran-backed Houthi rebels increasingly deploy drones in Yemen's brutal civil war.

    Tue, 21 May 2019 09:36:27 -0400
  • Fears rise China could weaponise rare earths in US tech war

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    The US has hit China where it hurts by going after its telecom champion Huawei, but Beijing's control of the global supply of rare earths used in smartphones and electric cars gives it a powerful weapon in their escalating tech war. A seemingly routine visit by President Xi Jinping to a Chinese rare earths company this week is being widely read as an obvious threat that Beijing is standing ready for action. Xi's inspection tour "is no accident, this didn't happen by chance," said Li Mingjiang, China programme coordinator at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS) in Singapore.

    Wed, 22 May 2019 06:53:05 -0400
  • Man who threatened to kill ‘as many girls as I see’ because he was repeatedly rejected set to be spared jail

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    A man who threatened to murder “as many girls” as he could see may escape a jail sentence, despite pleading guilty to a charge of attempted threat of terrorism.Christopher Cleary wrote a detailed Facebook post about how he planned to become “the next mass shooter” in January 2019.The 27-year-old described himself as a virgin who had never had a girlfriend.He also said he wanted to make the fact that so many women had turned him down “right” by going on a shooting spree, according to documents filed by Provo Police.Cleary was arrested on 19 January after publishing the Facebook post.Cleary then struck a deal with Utah prosecutors, pleading guilty to a reduced criminal charge.Attempted threat of terrorism is a third-degree felony, punishable by up to five years in prison.But Utah prosecutors agreed to recommend him for probation, despite his extensive criminal record.A judge will decide whether or not to accept the deal at a hearing on Thursday.The 27-year-old has been accused of stalking multiple times, with at least eight alleged victims contacting the authorities about his behaviour since 2012, according to police and court records.He was on probation following a marijuana conviction in 2016 when he was charged with stalking two teenagers he had met online.Cleary was put on probation for the stalking cases but in 2017 was charged with stalking and harassing his case worker.In 2018 judges in Jefferson County, Colorado sentenced him, once again, to probation for all three stalking cases.In one of the cases a 19-year-old woman said she lived with Cleary for a fortnight in a hotel room. She said that he strangled and urinated on her during that time, court records show.Cleary was out on probation for the three cases when he was arrested in a McDonald's in January, after publishing his Facebook post.Pam Russell, a spokeswoman for the Utah’s county prosecutor’s office, said once the case was concluded Cleary would be returned to Colorado.Prosecutors in Denver will seek to revoke his probation and send him to prison in relation for the stalking and harassment cases, she added.“All I wanted to be was loved,” Cleary wrote in his Facebook post.“Yet no one cares about me, I’m 27 years old and I’ve never had a girlfriend before and I’m still a virgin, this is why I’m planning on shooting up a public place soon and being the next mass shooter cause I’m ready to die.”It is unclear how truthful the Facebook post was, as at least two of Cleary’s accusers have said they had a sexual relationship with him.Some news reports have speculated that Cleary could be part of the “incel movement”, which promotes the misogynistic idea that men are entitled to have sex with women.But a Colorado police detective, who investigated two accusations against the 27-year-old, said there as no evidence he was part of the movement.“I truly think he’s just wired differently,” he said. Additional reporting by agencies

    Wed, 22 May 2019 10:11:38 -0400
  • Elon Musk hires man behind 'absolute unit' sheep meme to run Tesla's social media

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    * Adam Koszary’s tweet of giant sheep went viral last year * Musk adopted image and description for his Twitter profileElon Musk is legally obliged to have his tweets checked by lawyers. ‘My Twitter is pretty much complete nonsense at this point,’ he observed last month. Photograph: Mike Blake/ReutersElon Musk has reportedly hired the man responsible for a viral tweet about a giant sheep to be Tesla’s social media manager.Adam Koszary, programme manager for the UK’s Reading Museum and Museum of English Rural Life (@TheMERL), run by the University of Reading, will join Tesla in July, according to his Twitter account.The @TheMerl account went viral in April last year when it tweeted an old picture of a large ram with the caption: “Look at this absolute unit.” The tweet has now been retweeted more than 31,000 times and has over 111,000 likes.> look at this absolute unit. pic.twitter.com/LzcQ4x0q38> > — The Museum of English Rural Life (@TheMERL) April 9, 2018Last month Musk changed his Twitter bio to “absolute unit” and his picture to the image of the sheep. @TheMerl returned the compliment by changing its bio photo to one of Musk.The tweet led to a series of messages from Musk ending with one reading: “My Twitter is pretty much complete nonsense at this point.”> My Twitter is pretty much complete nonsense at this point> > — Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 19, 2019Tesla was not immediately available for comment. It is not yet clear whether the sheep tweet was instrumental in Koszary’s hiring.Musk has a troubled history with Twitter. The Tesla founder now has to have his tweets checked by lawyers after incorrectly claiming on social media that his company was close to a large investment from Saudi Arabia’s largest investment fund.Tesla’s share price has slid in recent weeks as investors worry the company is running out of cash.

    Tue, 21 May 2019 13:38:06 -0400
  • Murrieta, California residents concerned as illegal immigrants are flown into town

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    Murrieta resident Bob Kowell speaks out about migrants being relocated to his city on 'Tucker Carlson Tonight.'

    Tue, 21 May 2019 21:17:14 -0400
  • Don't Just Vacation in Any Old Airbnb When You Can Choose One on Wheels

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    Tue, 21 May 2019 12:25:00 -0400
  • Brexit crisis: Minister quits, piling pressure on Britain's May

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    Almost three years since Britain voted to leave the European Union, it is not clear when, how or even if Brexit will happen. Leadsom, Leader of the House of Commons, said she could not announce the new Withdrawal Agreement Bill, which will implement Britain's departure, in parliament on Thursday as she did not believe in it. "It is therefore with great regret and with a heavy heart that I resign from the government." A Downing Street spokesman praised Leadsom and expressed disappointment at her decision, but added: "The prime minister remains focused on delivering the Brexit people voted for." May might still try to press on with her new Brexit plan, which includes a vote on whether to hold a second Brexit referendum -- once her legislation passes the first stage -- as well as closer trading arrangements with the EU.

    Wed, 22 May 2019 16:10:07 -0400
  • More House Dems come out for impeachment as McGahn defies subpoena

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    The drumbeat among Democrats to begin impeachment proceedings against President Trump got a little louder Tuesday, when former White House counsel Don McGahn failed to appear before the House Judiciary Committee after Trump instructed him to defy a subpoena.

    Tue, 21 May 2019 11:28:16 -0400
  • Flash floods prompt rescues in Oklahoma

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    Flooding is an issue in parts of Oklahoma raked by severe storms on Monday. In El Reno and Stillwater, emergency responders were rescuing people from their homes because of high water. (May 21)

    Tue, 21 May 2019 13:41:02 -0400
  • Ukraine's parliament snubs new president on election law

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    KIEV, Ukraine (AP) — Ukrainian lawmakers on Wednesday turned down the new president's proposal to amend the election law in a blow to his hopes to get more of his supporters into parliament.

    Wed, 22 May 2019 13:38:03 -0400
  • Eiffel Tower climber 'admitted to psychiatric unit'

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    A man, believed to be Russian, who sparked a mass evacuation of the Eiffel Tower by scaling the iconic Paris landmark has been admitted to a psychiatric unit, legal sources said Tuesday. The man caused chaos Monday and the closure of the monument to tourists by spending six hours clinging to the outer metal framework of the Eiffel Tower. An investigation has been opened for unauthorised entry into a cultural monument, a judicial source said.

    Tue, 21 May 2019 12:38:43 -0400
  • Google unveils a fresh new look for Search on mobile devices

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    Google unveiled a new look and feel today for the way it presents Google Search results on mobile, and the update has been regarded in a few corners now as somewhat News Feed-like.It's easy to see why that's the case, as the search giant's changes include putting emphasis on a website name and favicon above the search results. Whereas the source of results had previously not been so clearly emphasized, which makes the new design for showing results feel a little like scrolling through a feed of posts from publishers and the like."With this new design, a website's branding can be front and center, helping you better understand where the information is coming from and what pages have what you're looking for," explains Google Senior Interaction Designer for Search Jamie Leach in a company blog post today. "The name of the website and its icon appear at the top of the results card to help anchor each result, so you can more easily scan the page of results and decide what to explore next."The post notes that the refreshed look for what's arguably Google's most important product will start showing up to users over the coming days. As part of the changes, Leach continues, when you search for a product or service and Google feels like it's got a relevant, "useful" ad that would be worth including in the results, you'll now see an ad label in bold at the top of a search results card. The web address will also be included, so you can quickly determine where the information you're seeing is coming from.The other important thing to note about the Google Search refresh on mobile is that this also lays the foundation for Google to add more action buttons and information previews to search results cards, with Google wanting you to be able to now do everything from buying movie tickets to playing podcasts right there from within the results. "Our goal with Search always has been to help people quickly and easily find the information that they're looking for," Leach says. "Over the years, the amount and format of information available on the web has changed drastically -- from the proliferation of images and video to the availability of 3D objects you can now view in AR." Which is why the company thought a "visual refresh" of Search on mobile would do a better job of helping people find the information they need and quickly determine where it came from.

    Wed, 22 May 2019 20:03:01 -0400
  • Trump antagonist Avenatti indicted for ripping off Stormy Daniels, extorting Nike

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    The Nike indictment concerns charges announced in March that Avenatti tried to extort more than $20 million from the athletic wear company by threatening to expose what he called its improper payments to recruits for college basketball teams it sponsored. Avenatti also faces dozens of charges in southern California, where prosecutors on April 11 accused him of stealing millions of dollars from clients to pay for personal and business expenses, and lying to the Internal Revenue Service and a Mississippi bank about his finances. If convicted on all charges, Avenatti could face more than 400 years in prison, but would likely face a lesser punishment.

    Wed, 22 May 2019 22:03:45 -0400
  • Elizabeth Warren calls comedian to give love life advice: 'We have a plan to get my mom grandkids'

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    Elizabeth Warren is the only presidential candidate with a plan for comedian Ashley Nicole Black's love life.That's at least according to Black, who wrote on Twitter that she had a chat with the Democratic presidential candidate had called her up — making good on a weekend tweet from Ms Warren offering to help."Guess who's crying and shaking and just talked to Elizabeth Warren on the phone?!?!? We have a plan to get my mom grand kids, it's very comprehensive, and it does involve raising taxes on billionaires," Black wrote on Twitter, referencing Ms Warren's campaign mantra that she has a "plan for that".The phone call — which the Warren campaign confirmed took place to The Independent — follows after Black jokingly tweeted on Sunday about the dozens of policy proposals Ms Warren has released, and that have come to largely define her campaign."Do you think Elizabeth Warren has a plan to fix my love life," Black tweeted then.Ms Warren's account replied: "DM me and let's figure this out."Ms Warrens' campaign provided no details of what the phone call included. But Black, a comedian who has worked on Samantha Bee's "Full Frontal" television show, provided some context piecemeal in her replies."I'm literally shaking," she wrote in response to one user.It's "like you're talking to someone super smart, who actually cares," she wrote in response to another user, who asked how it feels to speak with Ms Warren. "It was amazing."Finally, a hint at the advice: She said I've [got to] focus on what I've got going for me... that's when I started crying LOL".

    Tue, 21 May 2019 16:16:41 -0400
  • Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez says she'd be 'hard pressed' to back Biden in primary

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    Bernie Sanders appears to be the favorite to secure Ocasio-Cortez’s prized endorsement in the Democratic presidential primaryCongresswoman Alexandria Ocasio Cortez told the Guardian: ‘I’m not close to an endorsement announcement any time soon.’ Photograph: Joshua Roberts/ReutersAlexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the progressive US congresswoman and social media sensation, has said she would be “hard pressed” to endorse the frontrunner, Joe Biden, in the Democratic presidential primary.The statement is the latest sign of the left’s apathy towards the former vice-president, who has surged ahead of the Senator Bernie Sanders and other rivals in recent polls.Sanders, a self-declared democratic socialist, appears to be the favourite to secure 29-year-old Ocasio-Cortez’s prized endorsement but she said she was still some way off making a decision.“I’m not close to an endorsement announcement any time soon,” she told the Guardian on Tuesday. “I’m still trying to get a handle on my job. It seems like ages but I’m just five months in and we have quite some time. The debates are in the summer and our first primary election for the entire country isn’t until next year.” Asked if she would consider endorsing Biden, widely seen as a centrist, Ocasio-Cortez replied: “I’d be hard pressed to see that happen, to be honest, in a primary.”Biden, comfortably leading every opinion poll, came under fire last week when Reuters reported he was pursuing a “middle ground” approach to the climate crisis. He later distanced himself from the implication.Ocasio-Cortez criticised politicians seeking “a middle-of-the-road approach to save our lives”. Sanders, running second in most polls, tweeted that there was “no ‘middle ground’ when it comes to climate policy”.If and when Ocasio-Cortez does endorse a candidate, Sanders probably remains the favourite to secure her support. She was an organiser for his 2016 primary campaign against Hillary Clinton. The pair appeared at a rally in Washington last week to support the Green New Deal climate plan.In a short interview on Tuesday the congresswoman, who has more than 4 million Twitter followers, also reiterated her demand for Donald Trump’s impeachment. “I think that the grounds have been there for quite some time but the case is really getting to a larger point that we haven’t seen before,” she said.Democratic leaders are putting the House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, under pressure to move ahead with the process. Ocasio-Cortez added: “I know that the conversation is really changing this week in the caucus and so we’ll see where the speaker lands.”

    Tue, 21 May 2019 20:35:11 -0400
  • Minister Quits as May Resists Pressure to Go: Brexit Update

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    Graham Brady, chairman of the 1922 committee of rank-and-file Conservative MPs, confirmed he will meet with Prime Minister Theresa May on Friday, adding that he will follow that with a meeting of his committee’s executive. Speaking to reporters in Parliament, Brady declined to comment on the question of changing party rules to allow an earlier leadership challenge against May.

    Wed, 22 May 2019 14:45:39 -0400
  • View Photos of the 2020 Land Rover Discovery Sport

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    Tue, 21 May 2019 18:30:00 -0400
  • Backlash as Trump set to shun tradition with his own ringside seat at sumo tournament in Japan

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    Sumo fans and traditionalists have reacted with disappointment to reports that Donald Trump will have a ringside seat at a sumo tournament in Japan - eschewing hundreds of years of tradition of sitting cross-legged on a cushion. Mr Trump is set to step centre stage into Japan’s sumo world this weekend as he presents a trophy dubbed the “Trump Cup” to the winner of a major tournament during his visit to Japan. But the planned visit is already sending ripples through the deeply traditional sumo community. In a sport steeped in rituals dating back 1,500 years, reports of Trump's seat has prompted controversy at the special treatment, with one fan, Masaru Tomamoto, 73, telling Reuters: “I also want to sit on a chair as we watch sumo wrestling. “But if (Trump) watches a Japanese traditional sport, sumo, I think that it would be much better for him to sit cross-legged with the cushion on the floor, rather than on chair.” Trump has developed a close relationship with Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe Credit:  Susan Walsh/AP Another sumo fan Izumi Chiba, from Sapporo in northern Japan, added: “As we say, when you are in Rome, do as the Romans do.” Mr Trump is expected to watch the final three bouts of the last day of the Summer Grand Sumo Tournament – a highly awaited climax of the sumo calendar – alongside Mr Abe and their respective wives at the Ryogoku Kokugikan hall in Tokyo on Sunday. The US president, who said last month that he had always found sumo “fascinating”, will then present a special trophy custom-made in the US to the champion wrestler – triggering fevered media speculation as to whether he will wear slippers in the sumo ring as he hands it over, as shoes are not typically permitted. Mr Trump is expected to sit in a chair among the most prized seats that immediately encircle the ring known as masu seki, which sell for around £71 (10,000 yen) each and normally involve sitting on flat cushions known as zabuton on the floor. Security is another key issue flagged up by Japanese media, with almost an eighth of the 11,000 seats reserved for the president, Mr Abe and their security teams. There are concerns that around 1,000 people who have already bought coveted ringside seats face being security vetted. There were also reports that organisers were considering the ban of canned beer sales in the same seating area, apparently in a bid to minimise potential security dangers to Mr Trump. Mr Abe, who famously shares a love of golf with his “friend” Mr Trump, has apparently pulled out all the stops for the president’s state visit, having also arranged for him to become the first foreign leader to meet the new Emperor Naruhito.

    Wed, 22 May 2019 05:02:22 -0400
  • Trump says he doesn't want war with Iran. Is John Bolton driving the US into a conflict anyway?

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    The view that John Bolton is driving Trump into military confrontation with America's principal foe in the Middle East is spreading across the globe.

    Tue, 21 May 2019 14:52:57 -0400
  • British Steel collapses; thousands of jobs could go

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    British Steel collapsed on Wednesday after the government said last-ditch talks with its owners failed to secure a full financial rescue. The High Court in London ordered British Steel Limited into compulsory liquidation, a statement said. "British Steel Limited was wound-up in the High Court" on Wednesday, meaning its assets would be sold to help pay debts.

    Wed, 22 May 2019 09:56:32 -0400
  • Apple offered to buy Tesla back in 2013 for more than it’s worth today

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    For years, analysts have maintained that Apple needs to move past the iPhone and look for additional revenue streams. Consequently, many analysts over the years have proposed that Apple would be well advised to make a blockbuster acquisition and snatch up a company like Netflix or Tesla.Interestingly enough, it turns out that Apple actually did make an effort to acquire Tesla six years ago at a valuation of $240 a share. Incidentally, Tesla's share price has been reeling lately and is currently hovering in the $200 range. Word of Apple's efforts to acquire Tesla was brought to light by analyst Craig Irwin of Roth Capital Partners who revealed the interesting tidbit on CNBC (via Electrek) earlier today."Around 2013, there was a serious bid from Apple at around $240 a share," Irwin said."This is something we did multiple checks on," Irwin added. "I have complete confidence that this is accurate. Apple bid for Tesla. I don't know if it got to a formal paperwork stage, but I know from multiple different sources that this was very credible."Notably, there have been rumblings over the years regarding Apple's interest in Tesla, but this is the first time we've seen a report that Apple was legitimately trying to make a serious play for the electric automaker.You might also recall reports from a few years back which revealed that Elon Musk, sometime in mid-2013 -- sat down for a meeting with Apple's mergers and acquisitions chief Adrian Perica and, rumor has it, Tim Cook himself.Apple, of course, has been busy working on its own car initiative -- known as Project Titan -- for the past few years, though it remains to be seen if anything concrete ever manifests from its efforts. Early reports hinted that Apple was set on designing and building its own car, though a plethora of technical challenges ultimately resulted in a few rounds of layoffs and employees being shifted over to other projects. Last we heard, Apple's Project Titan is still ongoing but is now focused on autonomous systems as opposed to designing a car from the ground up.Interestingly, and somewhat uncharacteristically, Tim Cook confirmed this during an interview a few years ago. "We're focusing on autonomous systems," Cook said in 2017. "It's a core technology that we view as very important."Lastly, with Morgan Stanley recently noting that Tesla shares may sink to $10/share in a worst-case scenario, it will be interesting to see if Apple might swoop in and pick up the company at a huge discount.

    Tue, 21 May 2019 12:30:29 -0400
  • Airbus seeks resolution to German arms export row: CEO

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    Airbus is in discussions to try to find solutions to a row with the German government over a ban on arms exports to Saudi Arabia that threatens a border security contract, Chief Executive Guillaume Faury said on Tuesday. The planemaker has warned of legal action against Germany after taking financial charges over the long-delayed border contract between Airbus's defense unit and the Gulf kingdom. "We are not yet there," Faury told reporters when asked about possible legal action.

    Tue, 21 May 2019 16:43:47 -0400
  • Abducted Idaho girl found safe in Arizona, suspect jailed

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    SURPRISE, Ariz. (AP) — A 17-year-old girl abducted from an Idaho fast-food restaurant where she worked was found safe in Arizona on Tuesday and the man accused of taking her was jailed on a $1 million bond, authorities said.

    Tue, 21 May 2019 19:35:50 -0400
  • Mid-Engined Corvette Spied without Rear Wing

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    Tue, 21 May 2019 12:48:00 -0400
  • Louisiana senate passes anti-abortion bill in latest attack on women's rights

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    Amendment, which would change state constitution to say Louisianans have no right to abortions, set to go before votersPro-choice campaigners in Texas on Tuesday. Critics called the bill’s passage ‘shameful’ and noted it did not make exceptions for victims of race or incest. Photograph: Eric Gay/APThe Louisiana senate approved a state constitutional amendment on Tuesday declaring that citizens have no constitutional right to abortions. The move is the latest salvo in a broader assault against reproductive rights in the state, and it comes on the heels of extreme legislation in Georgia, Missouri and Alabama all aimed at near-total bans of the procedure.The measure now heads back to the house, which has already passed a version, for final approval. The amendment still, however, needs to be ratified by Louisiana voters in a referendum this fall.Critics called the senate’s move “shameful”, noting that it did not make exceptions for victims of rape or incest.“Constitutions are meant to protect rights, not deny them. But that’s exactly what the state senate did today when it passed an amendment that will directly hurt some of our most vulnerable citizens: poor women,” said Michelle Erenberg, the executive director of Lift Louisiana, an advocacy group that defends women’s access to healthcare.While the legislation is similar to extreme anti-choice bills that have popped up in statehouses throughout the US in recent months, the party politics present a wrinkle fairly unique to Louisiana. The bill, like several others currently up for consideration, was introduced by a Democrat – the state representative Katrina Jackson. “I’m pro-woman and I’m pro-life because abortions hurt more women than anything else,” she said in front of the state capitol before the proposal passed.That’s also true of a “fetal heartbeat” bill, in the model of those passed in Georgia and Missouri, which was introduced by the Democratic senator John Milkovich. The bill would ban abortions after cardiac activity is detected in the fetus, which is about six weeks into a pregnancy – before many women are even aware they are pregnant. Milkovich’s bill has already passed in the senate and is likely to receive a vote in the House early next week. Governor John Bel Edwards, a self-described “pro-life” Democrat, has said he intends to sign it when it reaches his desk.That both bills originate with Democrats is hard to square with national party politics. In 2016, the party approved a platform plank stating: “Every woman should have access to quality reproductive health care services, including safe and legal abortion.”But that’s not the common wisdom in Louisiana, according to Bel Edwards, who addressed the dissonance on his monthly radio show earlier this month. “I know that for many in the national party, on the national scene, that’s not a good fit. But I will tell you, here in Louisiana, I speak and meet with Democrats who are pro-life every single day,” Edwards said.Statewide polling suggests a majority of Louisiana residents oppose abortion in “all or most cases”, but only a quarter say the procedure should never be permitted.Elisabeth Smith, an attorney with the Center for Reproductive Rights, said that, in part because of the cross-party unity on anti-abortion measures, Louisiana is already one of the most restrictive states on abortion. “There are lots of abortion restrictions that are passing in other states that Louisiana has already legislated. In some ways, there are not many more places where the state can go,” Smith said.This includes a 2006 “trigger law” that would make abortion illegal in the state if Roe v Wade were overturned; five other states have passed similar laws. Jackson’s constitutional amendment is, in a sense, an effort to one-up that measure and provide an additional layer of protection from future legal challenges.“By enshrining this in the constitution, it makes it just that much more difficult for a future legislature to change the law,” said Ellie Schilling, an attorney who has represented all three of Louisiana’s remaining abortion providers in various legal challenges.Like the trigger law, Tuesday’s constitutional amendment would require the overturning of Roe v Wade to have any real impact in Louisiana. The state’s fetal “heartbeat” bill, too, conflicts with the landmark 1973 supreme court ruling, and would be immediately subject to extensive legal challenges if and when it passed. For that reason, lawmakers tethered the bill to similar legislation that passed in neighboring state of Mississippi in March. With this strategy, Louisiana can save the cost of fighting off a challenge – estimated to cost upwards of $1m in Mississippi – and simply piggyback off the ruling there.That law went before the US district judge Carlton Reeves on Tuesday, but even if he strikes the law down, the state of Mississippi will appeal to the very conservative fifth circuit court of appeals, which Erenberg said is “not one that has been willing to really scrutinize abortion restrictions” in recent memory.Ultimately, the case, or one like it from another state, is probably bound for the supreme court. At least that’s largely what the architects of these plainly unconstitutional bills are hoping for with a firm five-to-four conservative majority now in place on the court. In the meantime, anti-choice lawmakers in Louisiana are still chipping away at reproductive rights through more immediate means, pushing a number of restrictive laws intended to make abortion services more difficult to provide and receive. This includes bills: * requiring medication abortions (those induced by taking a pill, rather than a surgical procedure) to be completed only at abortion clinics * requiring clinics to keep seven years of medical records (and 10 years for minors) * requiring anyone working at an abortion clinic who has contact with patients (including receptionists) to be a mandatory reporter of human trafficking * requiring providers to tell patients, in writing, their physicians’ names, where they completed their residencies, whether they have malpractice insurance, and whether they have been placed on probation in the last decade.“It’s all just aimed at the strategy of just making it more and more onerous and difficult for abortion providers to provide abortion,” Erenberg said.She added that even before any of these laws fully take effect, they have a profound impact on women’s access because of the misunderstandings they can create.The average Louisianan not keeping tabs on the finer points of the legislative process might see the governor signing a bill like the one passed today and reasonably believe that abortions are now illegal.“There is absolutely a chilling impact on women’s basic understanding about whether or not they still have these rights and still have the ability to access these services,” Erenberg said.

    Tue, 21 May 2019 20:16:20 -0400
  • Rex Tillerson Secretly Meets With House Foreign Affairs Committee to Talk Trump

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    Jonathan Ernst/ReutersFormer secretary of state Rex Tillerson spoke with the leaders of the House Foreign Affairs committee on Tuesday in a lengthy session that, an aide said, touched on his time working in the Trump administration, the frictions he had with the president’s son-in-law, and efforts to tackle issues like Russian interference in the 2016 election.Tillerson’s appearance, first reported by The Daily Beast, took place as virtually every other Trumpworld luminary has been stonewalling congressional oversight efforts. At the same time the former secretary of state was speaking before lawmakers, former White House counsel Don McGahn was ignoring a subpoena to testify in front of the House Judiciary Committee. Tillerson’s arrival at the Capitol was handled with extreme secrecy. No media advisories or press releases were sent out announcing his appearance. And he took a little-noticed route into the building in order to avoid being seen by members of the media. Tillerson reached out to the committee and expressed a willingness to meet, a committee aide said. In a more than six-hour meeting, he told members and staffers that the Trump administration actively avoided confronting Russia about allegations of interference in the election in an effort to develop a solid relationship with the Kremlin, a committee aide told The Daily Beast. Tillerson also told members and aides that he had tried to establish a formal and disciplined interagency process at the State Department whereby the president could receive informed briefings on sensitive foreign policy matters, the aide said. That effort never manifested, Tillerson told the committee, in part because of the president’s management style, but also because of interference from other aides.Tillerson told the committee that the president’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, at times impeded his ability to communicate effectively and introduce to President Trump policy proposals developed by State Department experts on major foreign affairs matters across the globe, not just in the Middle East. Kushner, a White House adviser, has publicly focused much of his international efforts on the Middle East and is set to unveil a Middle East peace plan in the coming weeks.Tillerson had a notoriously prickly relationship with the president, reportedly calling him a “moron” in private. But he was present during critical moments of the administration, including Trump’s private 2017 meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Hamburg, Germany. Since leaving his post, Tillerson has rarely made public appearances, save for speaking at a panel in Houston in December. During that appearance, he said there was “no question” Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election. “So often, the president would say, ‘Here’s what I want to do and here’s how I want to do it,’ and I would have to say to him, ‘Mr. President I understand what you want to do but you can’t do it that way. It violates the law,’” Tillerson said.Tillerson’s interview by House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel (D-NY) and ranking member Michael McCaul (R-TX)  comes a month after special counsel Robert Mueller published his report on Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. Since then, top Democrats on the Hill have demanded that Attorney General Bill Barr and Mueller answer questions related to the report and its publication. Barr has declined to testify before the House, citing the insistence of the committee that staff lawyers be allowed to conduct some of the questioning. Mueller is reportedly in negotiations to testify, though the Department of Justice had previously not agreed on a date for him to do so. On Tuesday, CNN reported that Mueller’s team had expressed reluctance about the possibility of a testimony taking place in public for fear that it would appear political. This story has been updated with additional reporting.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.

    Tue, 21 May 2019 15:34:57 -0400
  • House Freedom Caucus Condemns Amash for Accusing Trump of ‘Impeachable Conduct’

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    Members of the House Freedom Caucus voted Monday evening to condemn one of the group's co-founders, Representative Justin Amash (R., Mich.) in response to his impeachment stand against President Trump.Representative Jim Jordan, the ranking Republican on the Oversight Committee and former chairman of the Freedom Caucus, told Politico that the group easily passed the 80 percent threshold for the adoption of a formal position.“It was every single person who totally disagrees with what he says,” Jordan said after the meeting, which Amash did not attend.Amash broke ranks Saturday, becoming the first Republican to say publicly that the obstructive behavior attributed to Trump by special counsel Robert Mueller was impeachable.> Here are my principal conclusions: > 1\. Attorney General Barr has deliberately misrepresented Mueller’s report. > 2\. President Trump has engaged in impeachable conduct. > 3\. Partisanship has eroded our system of checks and balances. > 4\. Few members of Congress have read the report.> > -- Justin Amash (@justinamash) May 18, 2019In addition to the backlash he received from the Freedom Caucus, Amash's impeachment stand prompted an immediate primary challenge from Michigan state representative Jim Lower, who told the Detroit Free Press on Monday that he planned to announce his bid in July, but felt compelled to speed up his timeline in the wake of Amash's statements.A number of top Republicans, including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, have also condemned Amash's lack of party loyalty. McCarthy noted Amash's penchant for voting against the Republican party line and suggested he may no longer belong in the GOP caucus during a Sunday Fox News appearance. He did tell Politico, however, that Amash could retain his committee assignments.President Trump similarly accused Amash of seeking to exploit the controversy surrounding the Mueller report for his own political gain.> ….he would see that it was nevertheless strong on NO COLLUSION and, ultimately, NO OBSTRUCTION…Anyway, how do you Obstruct when there is no crime and, in fact, the crimes were committed by the other side? Justin is a loser who sadly plays right into our opponents hands!> > -- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 19, 2019Amash, a libertarian-leaning conservative who has proven willing to split with his party on issue like Trump's national emergency declaration, remains steadfast in his position despite the criticism.“People who say there were no underlying crimes and therefore the president could not have intended to illegally obstruct the investigation—and therefore cannot be impeached—are resting their argument on several falsehoods,” he told Politico.

    Tue, 21 May 2019 08:54:21 -0400
  • Target and tariffs: The retailer has plans to limit higher prices

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    Target plans to lessen the impact tariffs will have on the retailer’s prices, the company said on Wednesday. Details were not disclosed.

    Wed, 22 May 2019 20:42:56 -0400
  • Dog sitter caught walking around naked in customer's home

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    A dog sitter has been caught on camera walking around her client’s house naked. Rosie Brown hired Casey Brengle to look after her two dogs, Penny and Daisy, while she went to a wedding for four days.

    Tue, 21 May 2019 13:50:54 -0400
  • China's big three airlines seek 737 MAX payouts from Boeing: reports

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    China's three biggest airlines have filed claims seeking compensation from Boeing over the grounding and delayed delivery of 737 MAX 8 aircraft following two deadly crashes, Chinese state media reported on Wednesday. The reports in various state-run media that China Southern Airlines, China Eastern Airlines, and Air China would seek payouts from the American aerospace giant come against the backdrop of an escalating US-China trade war. China Southern is Asia's largest carrier by fleet size, China Eastern is the country's number two, while Air China is the state flag carrier.

    Wed, 22 May 2019 01:43:31 -0400
  • U.S. judge approves PG&E $105 million wildfire assistance fund

    PG&E Corp may set up a $105 million housing fund for victims of 2017 and 2018 wildfires in California, which set records for devastation and were blamed on the utility's equipment, the judge overseeing the investor-owned power producer's bankruptcy ruled on Wednesday. Creditors, which include wildfire victims, are fighting for funds as PG&E navigates bankruptcy stemming from the blazes and as the state plans for increasingly long and dangerous fire seasons its officials attribute to climate change. U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Dennis Montali at a hearing approved a motion by PG&E seeking permission to establish the fund for people who lost homes in the fires and were uninsured or have used up or will exhaust their insurance.

    Wed, 22 May 2019 14:23:21 -0400
  • Ford’s demo of a robot working in unison with a self-driving car is a wild glimpse into the future

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    If you're skeptical of or put off by the idea of self-driving cars, then there's a good chance you won't be a fan of Ford's intriguing research project designed to have robots get out of self-driving cars and deliver packages right to your door.Over the past few months, Ford and Agility Robotics have been working on a new initiative designed to assess how intelligent robots and self-driving cars can work in unison to more efficiently deliver items like groceries, packages, and even pizza, straight to your door. The impetus behind the idea certainly makes sense insofar that a self-driving can only bring an ordered item to a nearby curb. And sure, a human could come out and pick up a given package, but why expend any energy at all when an advanced robot can literally do all the heavy lifting for you?The idea seems to straddle the line between futuristic and creepy, but that's just par for the course whenever we're talking about advanced robotics.As envisioned by Ford, a self-driving car would pull up to a specified house whereupon a robot would climb out of the back, pick up the package in question, and then bring it right to the front door.Designed by Agility Robotics, the robot is called Digit and can eerily mimic the gait of a human and can even go up and down stairs. What's more, Ford CTO Ken Washington notes on Medium that Digit can "walk naturally through uneven terrain, and even react to things like being bumped without losing its balance and falling over." As far as getting around is concerned, Digit is outfitted with LiDAR and a suite of other sensors. Strength wise, Digit can lift packages that weigh as much as 40 pounds.What's particularly interesting about the venture is that self-driving cars of the future may serve dual purposes simultaneously, with Washington noting the following:> Since self-driving vehicles can potentially move people and goods simultaneously, they hold great potential to make deliveries even more convenient and efficient. A ride-hailing trip could double as a delivery service, dropping off packages in between transporting passengers.A video demo of Digit in action can be seen below. It's interesting to note that the video illustrates how Digit manages to identify an obstacle -- in this case a scooter -- and come up with a new path in real-time.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WHWciIxNK2c

    Wed, 22 May 2019 21:05:25 -0400
  • New Feature on 2020 Chevrolet and GMC Models Won't Let Car Move Till Driver Fastens Seatbelt

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    The new tech is called Buckle to Drive, and it rolls out on several Chevrolet and GMC models for 2020 as part of the Teen Driver package.

    Tue, 21 May 2019 15:03:00 -0400
  • Russian bombers, fighters intercepted off Alaska: US military

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    US fighters intercepted six Russian military aircraft in international airspace west of Alaska, and shadowed them until they exited the area, the North American Air Defense Command said Tuesday. The Russian aircraft included two Tu-95 strategic bombers, which were intercepted Monday by two F-22 fighters, the command said. A second group of two Tu-95 bombers and two Su-35 fighters were also intercepted by a pair of F-22 fighters, it said.

    Tue, 21 May 2019 14:37:16 -0400
  • Trump administration considers blacklisting another major Chinese technology firm, further inflaming trade conflict

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    The Trump administration is considering blacklisting another major Chinese technology company in a move that would broaden a US campaign to sever China’s access to American know-how and inflame a deepening trade conflict, according to an individual familiar with the debate.Although no final decision has yet been reached, the administration is preparing to move against Hikvision, the world’s largest maker of video surveillance technology, the person said, speaking on the condition of anonymity.The deliberations were first reported by The New York Times.The disclosure comes less than a week after the administration barred US companies from supplying Huawei, perhaps China’s most prominent manufacturer, without first obtaining a US government license.The administration earlier this week relaxed the ban, saying it would grant temporary 90-day waivers for US companies to help Huawei maintain its existing networks.US officials are said to be eyeing the same penalty for Hikvision, using a Commerce Department mechanism known as the “entity list”.Citing national security considerations, the US congress last year banned federal agencies from purchasing equipment made by Hikvision and four other Chinese technology companies: Huawei, ZTE, Hytera and Dahua.The measure was triggered by “classified information the committee reviewed in the course of our regular oversight activities”, according to Claude Chafin, a spokesman for the House Armed Services Committee.Hikvision supplies surveillance cameras that the Chinese government has deployed throughout the Muslim-majority Xinjiang region to combat what it describes as separatist terrorism.Randall Shriver, US assistant secretary of defence for Asia, said earlier this month that the Chinese government is detaining 3 million Uighur Muslims in re-education camps. The authorities in Beijing describe the facilities as vocational training centres.In an interview with Fox News on Tuesday, Cui Tiankai, China’s ambassador to the United States, denied reports of human rights abuses.“They are real training centres,” he said. “They are not camps. They have open gates. There’s no armed guards. People could go home over weekend.”Hikvision last month reported earning about $1.65bn (£1.3bn) on revenue of roughly $7.2bn (£5.7bn) in 2018.In its annual shareholder letter, the company said it had faced numerous challenges last year but remained “upbeat about growth in the domestic and overseas markets in the years ahead”.The administration’s intensifying campaign to limit China’s access to advanced US technologies comes as a year-long trade conflict defies hopes of an early settlement.Despite the president’s continued pursuit of a trade deal, the administration has been cracking down on China in other realms.The Justice Department in December indicted two hackers who allegedly worked with the Chinese Ministry of State Security, targeting companies holding advanced technologies with military applications.The Commerce Department is drawing up new regulations to restrict US exports of 14 advanced technologies including robotics and quantum computing, in a move motivated by concern over China’s access to American innovations.Some Trump administration officials want to disconnect American investors and companies from Chinese companies that help beef up the Chinese military, “Big Brother” surveillance networks or those that benefit from China’s alleged theft of US trade secrets.Last year, the Commerce Department banned state-backed ZTE from doing business with American suppliers after the company violated the terms of an earlier enforcement action.But the president reversed the ban, which would have crippled ZTE, after a personal plea from Chinese President Xi Jinping.The episode illustrates that any move to sever Chinese companies’ links to the United States might cause collateral damage to the US economy.ZTE spends about $2.6bn (£2.05bn) annually buying products from US companies such as Qualcomm and Intel. Huawei also relies heavily on American suppliers.Administration officials recognise that the greater the number and significance of Chinese companies sanctioned, the greater the pain for US companies and their workers.The Washington Post

    Wed, 22 May 2019 06:16:29 -0400
  • AG Barr says nationwide rulings are hampering Trump's agenda

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    WASHINGTON (AP) — Attorney General William Barr is taking on another item from President Donald Trump's agenda, railing against judges who issue rulings blocking nationwide policies.

    Tue, 21 May 2019 21:07:01 -0400
  • Accused Thief Taunted Disney World With Photo of Stolen Robot’s Mutilated Head

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    Photo Illustration by Sarah Rogers/The Daily Beast/Photos GettyIf you’re accused of stealing an animatronic child from Disney World, maybe don’t make a wildly popular Disney-related Twitter account and post a picture of the stolen robot child with its eyes gouged out.“Buzzy,” an animatronic boy from an abandoned Disney World attraction, has been missing for months. Online, Disney superfans treated the disappearance like a kidnapping. But the investigation into the theft led police to someone in the online Disney fandom: a Disney blogger who taunted Disney about their security, posted conspiracy theories about Buzzy’s disappearance and, in the final days before his arrest, uploaded a picture of the robot’s decapitated and eyeball-less head.Patrick Spikes, 24, was arrested last week. He worked at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, until last year. But Spikes didn’t completely part ways with the theme park after he stopped working there. Instead, he started churning out videos, podcasts, and tweets under the username “BackDoorDisney.” His Twitter account, which amassed more than 17,000 followers before going dark last week, promised to give fans an inside view of Disney World. In its seven months of operation, the account uploaded pictures of Disney control rooms, secret maps, and Disney cast members pretending to have sex while dressed as characters from Toy Story.Soon, Spikes was posting about an even more salacious Disney World story. In August, Disney told police that someone had stolen clothes off Buzzy. The 300-pound animatronic child used to sit inside the “Cranium Command” exhibit, in Epcot’s Wonders of Life Pavilion. But the building, which hosted somewhat dated attractions, had been closed for years. The stolen clothes (including a miniature bomber jacket) were worth nearly $7,000, Disney claimed, according to an affidavit from Florida’s Orange County Sheriff’s Department. Later, the entire robot was stolen, an operation that required the thief to cut through electric cables.Spikes and other Disney bloggers posted about Buzzy’s rumored disappearance. But Spikes and a crowd of Disney fans who broke into the park soon came under suspicion. Spikes routinely boasted of secret trips through Disney World, including with a friend who climbed the park’s Thunder Mountain roller coaster.“Good job filling the holes under the Mk back fence this morning,” Spikes wrote in a January tweet directed at Disney. “I told you guys about this issue 2 months ago but it took somebody going in and climbing one of your coasters for you to care.”On his personal Twitter account, Spikes taunted Disney, advising them to buy a bulk box of security cameras from Best Buy. As the search for Buzzy continued, Disney fans speculated that an urban explorer might have snatched the robot.Eventually, police began narrowing in on Spikes and his scene. Investigators found an October picture of Buzzy on Spikes’ @BackDoorDisney account. The picture does not appear to have been taken inside the Cranium Command exhibit. In texts with investigators, Spikes allegedly let slip that Buzzy’s clothes were sold on the black market for $8,000.Police got a warrant for Spikes’ cellphone and called him in for questioning in December. The meeting went poorly when Spikes tried to cut it short.“The defendant stated he felt sick and felt that he was going to vomit,” police alleged in an affidavit. “A short time later, he began to make strained breathing noises, and stated he couldn’t breath. He requested water, which was given to him, and also was allowed to lay on the floor. The fire department responded and all vitals were normal.” Spikes was taken to a hospital. Police charged him with non-violently resisting arrest. He has pleaded not guilty.Spikes later made a video about a police search on his house, and professed his innocence.“I said ‘really? The entire thing got stolen?’ I didn’t really believe it,” he said in the March video. “It blew my mind. I was like, you can’t be serious right now.”Later in the video, Spikes suggested that Disney had staged Buzzy’s disappearance in order to shut down his BackDoorDisney account.“There’s a theory someone talked about that Imagineering [a Disney team] removed Buzzy and didn’t tell anyone else. So when Operations, the part of the company that runs the Pavillion noticed he was missing, they filed him as ‘stolen,’” he said. “Did Disney willingly file a report, knowing the thing wasn’t stolen, just to run me down? Because obviously I had been posting a lot of backstage photos and stuff, and information … It almost seems like they wanted my phones because they knew I had a lot of backstage photos on them.”But BackDoorDisney kept implying inside knowledge of Buzzy’s disappearance.In a May 12 tweet, he tweeted a picture of Buzzy’s fate. The tweet showed a picture of Buzzy’s decapitated head, with its eyeballs scratched off. The image was included in a screenshot of a text Spikes received, which meant someone else might have stolen the robot.TwitterFive days later, police arrested Spikes. Although Buzzy’s disappearance featured prominently in an arrest affidavit (police appear to have started investigating him over Buzzy’s theft), Spikes was actually charged for a different series of alleged thefts from Disney World. His lawyer did not return The Daily Beast’s request for comment.In July, police alleged, Spikes printed a fake Disney employee card for his cousin and snuck him into the park. The pair allegedly snuck into the Haunted Mansion, a popular ride, and stole a collection of wigs and outfits from backstage. The clothes, which were designed for the ride’s animatronic ghosts, cost between $40 (a tiara) and $1,746 (a robot’s jacket), adding up to more than $7,000.Spikes and his cousin allegedly took pictures throughout the heist, and posed in the wigs at a nearby 7-Eleven. A video from shortly after the theft allegedly shows Spikes’ cousin’s girlfriend wearing a robot’s stolen dress.Disney may have priced the clothes at just over $7,000, but they allegedly went for four times that price on the black market. Days after the alleged burglary, Spikes allegedly received a combined $29,451 payment from two people over Paypal. One of the people, whose name is redacted in the affidavit, told police he paid Spikes $8,890 for 18 items from various Disney heists, including $1,000 for a Haunted Mansion dress.Shortly before his arrest, Spikes teased a forthcoming video about the black market for stolen Disney gear.Police haven’t charged Spikes with Buzzy’s disappearance. But they say his video about the raid on his house raised questions about his involvement. In the video, he showed part of a search warrant for his house. Police say he edited the document to remove references to two pieces of evidence police sought.“The fact that Spikes altered the warrant for his video and only removed these two items indicate that he was aware these items were used in a crime,” the affidavit reads.In that same video, Spikes tells viewers he’ll keep his lips tight about Buzzy’s disappearance until the investigation is over.“If things are still under investigation, I’m not going to get on YouTube and run my mouth about it,” he said. “That would be dumb.”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.

    Wed, 22 May 2019 05:31:58 -0400
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