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From today, January 23, 2020
- Exclusive: The inside story of how the U.S. gave up a chance to kill Soleimani in 2007
In the first years of the occupation, Qassem Soleimani had moved back and forth between Iran and Iraq ?constantly,? but had always taken the precautions to be expected from a seasoned intelligence officer, said John Maguire, a former senior CIA official stationed in Baghdad in the mid-2000s. Soleimani disguised his rank and identity, used only ground transportation and avoided speaking on the phone or the radio, preferring to give orders to proxies and subordinates in Iraq in person.
- Yahoo News/YouGov poll shows two-thirds of voters want the Senate to call new impeachment witnesses
- The American Airlines flight attendant union is calling on US airlines to step up precautions for the deadly Wuhan coronavirus
- Putin to meet mother of Israeli backpacker jailed over hash
Russian President Vladimir Putin plans to meet with the mother of an Israeli tourist who was jailed in Russia for carrying a few grams of hashish, the Kremlin said Wednesday. The Russian leader is set to meet with Naama Issachar's mother while he is visiting Israel on Thursday, Putin adviser Yuri Ushakov said. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Theophilos III, the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of the Holy Land, are also taking part in the meeting that will focus on ?the humanitarian aspect? of the case, Ushakov told reporters Wednesday.
- Insys founder Kapoor sentenced to 66 months in prison for opioid scheme
John Kapoor, the founder of Insys Therapeutics Inc, on Thursday was sentenced to 66 months in prison for his role in a bribery and fraud scheme that contributed to the U.S. opioid crisis. Kapoor, 76, is now the highest-ranking pharmaceutical executive to be sentenced in a case linked to the opioid crisis. Forfeiture and restitution in Kapoor's case still needs to be determined.
- Family attorneys say cruise line's story of toddler's death is 'physically impossible'
- Ghislaine Maxwell: Hackers 'breached' computer belonging to Jeffrey Epstein associate, attorney says
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.
- Virologist who helped identify SARS on coronavirus outbreak: 'This time I'm scared'
Experts are seeing shocking similarities between the coronavirus that has now spread beyond China and the SARS outbreak of 2003.Like the infectious pneumonia that has killed at least 17 people, SARS was caused by a coronavirus that originated in China. But when one of the virologists who helped identify the SARS virus visited Wuhan, where this virus originated, he didn't see nearly enough being done to fight it. People were out at markets without masks, "preparing to ring in the New Year in peace and had no sense about the epidemic," Guan Yi of the University of Hong Kong's State Key Laboratory of Emerging Infectious Diseases told Caixin. Airports were hardly being disinfected, Guan continued, saying the local government hasn't "even been handing out quarantine guides to people who were leaving the city."The city did disinfect the market where the virus has been traced to, but Guan criticized Wuhan for that, saying it hurts researchers' abilities to track down the virus's source. "I've never felt scared," Guan told Caixin. "This time I'm scared."A case involving the coronavirus was identified in Washington state on Wednesday, and cases have also been identified in Thailand, Japan, South Korea, and Singapore. A total of 639 cases were confirmed in China.More stories from theweek.com Democrats walked right into Mitch McConnell's trap 5 brutally funny cartoons about Mitch McConnell's impeachment rules Wanting to stop 'birth tourism,' Trump administration will restrict visas for pregnant women
- REI?s January Sale Offers 50% off Cold-Weather Outdoor Gear
- U.S. deports Honduran family with sick kids to Guatemala
- NYT Ed Board Member Wrote Out ?Full Draft? of Biden Endorsement, but Scrapped It over His ?Normal? Message and Lack of ?Urgency?
Kathleen Kingsbury, a deputy editorial page editor and member of The New York Times?s editorial board, revealed Thursday that she wrote a full 2,000-word endorsement of Joe Biden, only for the board to reject it because ?it didn?t match the moment.?The Times broke new ground this cycle by conducting on-the-record interviews with nine of the top candidates and airing the interviews, which have historically been off-the-record, on their documentary show The Weekly on FX.Kingsbury explained to Times columnists on the The Argument podcast how the Times editorial board arrived at its first-ever dual endorsement of Senators Amy Klobuchar (D., Minn.) and Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.), saying that ?policy prescriptions? and the ?messages? drove much of the thought-process. She also dismissed concerns about electability, calling the effort to predict which candidate would be most successful in the general election a ?fool?s errand.??What we realized is that the party needs to have that conversation amongst itself. It?s really not the role of the editorial board to determine the future of the Democratic Party,? Kingsbury said.But she revealed that, following heightened tensions with Iran after President Trump?s decision to kill Qasem Soleimani, she went ahead and drafted an endorsement of Biden, citing his opposition to the war in Afghanistan.?Right after we had the outbreak of conflict with Iran, I sat down and I wrote an entire endorsement of Joe Biden,? Klingsbury said. ?I think that came from a desire on my part for the comfort of having someone who during his interviews, spoke so fluently about foreign policy, who?s been in the room in some of those more difficult decision-making [moments].?In August, Biden fabricated an Afghanistan-war story about how he resisted safety concerns to travel to ?godforsaken country? and honor a war hero.?We can lose a vice president,? he recounted at a campaign event. ?We can?t lose many more of these kids. Not a joke.?Klingsbury then explained why the Times ultimately did not pursue Biden?s endorsement, implying that Biden?s campaign hasn't meaningfully grappled with the conditions that gave rise to Trump's election.?Joe Biden?s message simply is ?let?s go back to normal, whatever normal is, right?? For a lot of Americans, ?normal? wasn?t working and I think that there needs to be some recognition that at least for some portion of the American public, the government and the economic systems were failing them,? she said.In an emailed statement to National Review, Kingsbury said she did not ?have much to say beyond what I said on The Argument.? She declined to comment on whether the board wrote any other endorsement drafts, or when it decided to scrap Biden?s.?Once I had a draft in hand, I realized I should return to the wisdom of my board,? she explained ". . . [Biden?s] message and his proposed plans don?t feel like they match the urgency of the moment.?
- A University of Minnesota student was arrested in China and sentenced to 6 months in prison for tweeting cartoons making fun of President Xi Jingping
- Presidential candidate Tom Steyer: ?I?m for reparations?
On Yahoo News? ?Hot Mic with Brittany Shepherd,? Democratic presidential candidate Tom Steyer spoke about race and reparations, saying that if he were elected to office, ?I would start a commission on race on day one.?
- First stage of extradition hearing for top Huawei exec ends
A Canadian judge said Thursday she will announce her decision at a later date after ending the first phase of an extradition hearing that will decide whether a top executive of Chinese tech giant Huawei is sent to the United States. This week's hearings dealt with the question of whether the U.S. charges against Meng Wanzhou, the daughter of Huawei's founder, are crimes in Canada as well. Canada arrested Huawei's chief financial officer in December 2018 at Vancouver's airport at the request of the U.S. as she was changing flights.
- Ukraine in talks with Russia about release of detained Ukrainians
Ukraine started talks with Russia on a new swap of Ukrainians detained in Russia and in eastern Ukraine, which is under separatist control, Ukraine's presidential office said on Thursday. "We have already started a conversation with the Russian Federation about the exchange of Ukrainians - all, including the Crimean Tatars, other Ukrainians who are in the territory of Russia," the office of President Volodymyr Zelenskiy quoted him as saying.
- 'His intention was to kill everyone in the home except himself': Utah boy, 16, charged with killing mother, 3 siblings
- The brazen (and careless) Russian assassination team behind the Salisbury poisonings has been spotted in Europe, again
- See This Nuke? Meet the Most Destructive Nuclear Bomb Ever Made By Man
- Religious-School Aid Divides U.S. Supreme Court Justices
(Bloomberg) -- U.S. Supreme Court justices signaled a sharp divide in a Montana case that could make it easier to funnel public money to religious schools and other faith-based organizations.With Chief Justice John Roberts in his customary center seat, the court heard arguments a mere eight hours after he finished presiding over the first day of President Donald Trump?s Senate impeachment trial. The trial resumes Wednesday at 1 p.m.The Montana Supreme Court struck down a taxpayer-funded scholarship program that was used primarily to help send children to religious schools, ruling that it violated a state constitutional provision. The ruling is being challenged by three mothers seeking to use money from the program to send their children to a Christian school.Roberts is likely to cast the pivotal vote. His questions suggested he might back the parents and revive the scholarship program, though he directed queries at lawyers on both sides.The chief justice made no mention of his new second job, conducting the hour-long session much as he usually does. He interrupted Justice Sonia Sotomayor during an especially long question to give a lawyer a chance to answer. Roberts later drew a laugh when he recommended that another lawyer answer Justice Stephen Breyer?s question despite Breyer?s suggestion that the attorney could ignore it.Sotomayor and other liberal justices questioned whether the mothers had any grounds to complain given that the entire program has been thrown out. Justice Elena Kagan said they were ?in the same boat? as the parents of children in non-religious private schools.?There is no discrimination at this point going on, is there?? she asked.Anti-Catholic BiasThe 2015 scholarship program gave individuals and corporations a tax credit for contributing up to $150 a year to an organization that funds scholarships to help needy students attend private schools.The parents sued after the Department of Revenue issued a rule that barred use of scholarship money at religious schools. A trial judge blocked that rule, before the Montana Supreme Court went further and threw out the entire program.The Supreme Court?s conservatives questioned the legality of the Montana constitutional provision that formed the basis of the state court ruling. The provision, which bars aid to churches and religious schools, was originally adopted in 1888.Justice Brett Kavanaugh pointed to the anti-Catholic bias that proliferated at the time, saying that sentiment drove many states to adopt similar provisions.?They?re certainly rooted in grotesque religious bigotry against Catholics,? Kavanaugh said. Montana officials say the provision was re-adopted in 1972 for legitimate reasons.Swimming PoolsRoberts suggested the Montana court ruling was akin to a governmental decision to close its swimming pools because too many black people were using them.?How is that different from religion?? he asked the state?s lawyer.Montana officials say the state court was right to invalidate the entire program if any of the money would go to religious schools. The state Department of Revenue says more than 90% of the scholarships went to students attending religious schools.The only organization formed under the law, Blue Sky Scholarships, supports just one non-religious school along with 12 religious schools, the state says. Big Sky awarded 54 scholarships during the most recent school year, totaling $27,000.Almost 20 states have similar scholarship programs, according to a filing in the case by school-choice advocates.The court will rule by June in the case, Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue, 18-1195.(Updates with excerpts from argument starting in sixth paragraph)To contact the reporter on this story: Greg Stohr in Washington at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Joe Sobczyk at email@example.com, Laurie AsséoFor 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.
- Yahoo News/YouGov poll: Two-thirds of voters want Senate to call new impeachment witnesses
Nearly two-thirds of registered voters (63%) agree with Democrats that the Senate should call new witnesses to testify during President Trump?s impeachment trial, according to a new Yahoo News/YouGov poll. Only 26% of voters disagree.
- Greta Thunberg fires back after Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin says she isn't qualified to lecture the US on climate change
- China virus toll jumps to 25 dead with 830 confirmed cases: govt
The death toll in China's viral outbreak has risen to 25, with the number of confirmed cases also leaping to 830, the government said on Friday. The National Health Commission said authorities were also examining 1,072 suspected cases of the virus that first emerged in central city of Wuhan. The markedly higher numbers were released just hours after the World Health Organization stopped short of declaring the situation to be a global health emergency.
- Canada's TSB says Iran has invited it to examine black boxes
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.
- Zimbabwe billionaire to pay doctors about $300 a month to end strike
Striking junior doctors at Zimbabwe's state hospitals will end a four-month strike after accepting an offer from a telecoms billionaire to pay them a monthly allowance of about $300 for six months, their union said on Thursday. The doctors went on strike on Sept. 3 to protest against poor wages and a lack of adequate equipment and medicines, leaving many poor people unable to get treatment. Junior doctors in Zimbabwe earn an average of just over $200 a month, including allowances.
- White Nationalists Arrested ahead of Richmond Rally Planned to Kill Gun-Rights Demonstrators to Spark Civil War
Three alleged members of a white supremacist group were plotting to murder demonstrators at Monday's gun rights rally at the Virginia Capitol before they were arrested by the FBI last week, according to court documents.The men were caught discussing their plans on a hidden camera set up in their Delaware apartment by FBI agents.?We can?t let Virginia go to waste, we just can?t,? said Patrik J. Mathews, one member of the hate group "the Base" that promotes violence against African-Americans and Jews.According to authorities, the 27-year-old former Canadian Armed Forces reservist also discussed creating "instability" in Virginia by killing people, derailing trains, poisoning water, and shutting down highways in order to "kick off the economic collapse" and possibly start a "full blown civil war."Mathews also discussed the possibility of "executing" police officers and stealing their belongings and remarked that, ?We could essentially be like literally hunting people.??Virginia will be our day,? said 33-year-old Brian M. Lemley Jr., adding, ?I need to claim my first victim.??Lemley discussed using a thermal imaging scope affixed to his rifle to conduct ambush attacks,? the court filings read.The two were arrested along with a third man, 19, last Thursday. They are charged with federal firearms violations and ?transporting and harboring an alien,? referring to Mathews, who is a Canadian national. Four more members of The Base have also been arrested and charged in Georgia and Wisconsin.In a search of the apartment, prosecutors said that FBI agents found propaganda fliers for The Base, communications devices, empty rifle cases, "go bags" with "numerous Meals-Ready-to-Eat," knives, and materials for building an assault rifle.Tens of thousands of gun rights advocates rallied in Richmond on Monday to protest the state?s Democratic legislature's gun-control agenda. Critics raised fears beforehand that militant white supremacists could disrupt the rally, but the day ended peacefully with no violence.
- Menendez and Graham Partner Up to Craft a New Iran Deal
Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) have teamed up to work on drafting potential contours for negotiations with Tehran over the country?s nuclear programming and a roadmap for a new deal, according to Graham and two other congressional aides familiar with the matter.?I?ve been working with Senator Menendez on this for some time,? Graham told The Daily Beast in an interview last week. ?We need a new way forward. And I?ve been trying to think of alternatives.?Graham told The Daily Beast in an interview in August that he was working with senior Trump administration officials on an alternative to the Obama-era Iran nuclear deal. Part of that effort included fielding ideas from outside actors, including foreign officials. Since then, Graham has met with Menendez?although only a few times?on how to kickstart a bipartisan congressional effort to reform the administration?s Iran policy.According to sources individuals familiar with the Graham-Menendez partnership, the two senators have largely talked about constructing an actionable plan to present to other lawmakers and to the White House. But the two sides have yet to agree on exactly how to get the ball rolling, according to those sources. One individual said Menendez wanted to work with Graham because the South Carolina lawmaker had gained the president?s ear on Iran over the last year.Although the duo has spoken about teaming up for some time, sources say the lawmakers are focused now more than ever on crafting a new deal following the killing of Iran?s top military leader, Qassem Soleimani. Following the strike, Democrats in the Senate, including Menendez, called out senior officials in the Trump administration for not offering proper intelligence briefings to Congress on what led to the strike. Menendez told MSNBC earlier this month that the administration suggested in briefings there was an imminent threat to American interests but that there was ?no clear definition of what they consider imminent.?The senator also called on the administration to declassify the official notification provided to Congress about the Soleimani strike.Graham, on the other hand, applauded President Trump and told The Daily Beast that the administration should continue to keep the military option on the table if Iran were to continue to threaten American interests in the Middle East. Graham suggested the U.S. strike Iranian oil assets in the country, pointing to refineries in particular. Menendez, on the other hand, has urged the administration to up its diplomatic outreach following the strike rather than continue to rely on its military might.Despite their division on Trump?s decision to strike Soleimani, both lawmakers opposed the Obama administration?s 2015 nuclear deal with Tehran.?I have looked into my own soul, and my devotion to principle may once again lead me to an unpopular course, but if Iran is to acquire a nuclear bomb, it will not have my name on it,? Menendez said in a 2015 speech. ?It is for these reasons that I will vote to disapprove the agreement and, if called upon, would vote to override a veto.?At the time of the deal?s proposal in 2015, Menendez advocated that the Obama administration continue to levy sanctions on Iran in order to change Tehran?s behavior and keep it from eventually obtaining a nuclear weapon. Although Graham?s and Menendez?s public statements on Iran have varied, both lawmakers seem to agree on one point: The Trump administration?s strategy isn?t working.Since Trump took office, Menendez has criticized the Trump administration?s Iran strategy as only emboldening Tehran. And while Graham tends to support Trump publicly, the South Carolina lawmaker has been openly critical of how the White House responds to Iran?s malign activities in the region.In a recent interview with The Daily Beast, Graham said the Trump administration?s maximum pressure campaign?meant to cripple Iran?s economy with sanctions?was working but needed to be harsher and combined with military deterrence. Team Trump Thought It Could Contain Iran With ?Maximum Pressure.? The Attacks Got Worse.Before the Soleimani strike, Iran policy experts, some of whom worked with the Obama administration, said Tehran would not engage in talks about a revised nuclear deal unless the U.S. rolled back at least some of its sanctions on the country. Now those experts say Tehran, having rolled back its commitments under the former deal, is not likely to engage in any meaningful conversation with the U.S. on nuclear power, at least in the short term.Meanwhile, two officials in the Treasury Department say their unit is continuously drawing up additional sanctions for Iran on the chance Trump wants to hit the country with additional punishments in the near future.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.
- Russia, China, and Iran Would Love to Take Out a Nuclear Aircraft Carrier. Here's Why They Can't.
- Rudy Giuliani Sidekick Lev Parnas Traces Part of Money Trail to Ukraine
(Bloomberg) -- From fine whiskey to European flights to cigar bars, the tab for the Ukraine mission was starting to add up.Even one of President Donald Trump?s wealthiest contributors sounded peeved. ?Just becoming expensive flying u guys everywhere LEV,? wrote Harry Sargeant III, a Florida energy tycoon, in a pointed text to Lev Parnas, Rudy Giuliani?s advance man on the Ukraine operation.A trove of documents recently released by Parnas, including that text from April, provides some new details about the money web that helped support Giuliani?s work in Ukraine as President Trump?s personal lawyer.The group?s apparent wish list included discrediting a Trump rival, tying Ukraine to 2016 election meddling and pushing for the ouster of a U.S. ambassador -- the propriety of which is now at the heart of impeachment proceedings in Washington.Money flowed to Giuliani and his cohorts from home loans, friends, relative strangers and wealthy businessmen, some with interests in the gas and energy sector. It even came from a lawyer for an embattled Ukrainian energy tycoon fighting extradition to the U.S. on a conspiracy charge.Giuliani was working for the president without pay, and under financial strain from his public divorce proceeding. While most pro bono clients cover their lawyers? out-of-pocket expenses, the famously tight-fisted Trump doesn?t appear to have been shelling out for the travel racked up by Giuliani, Parnas and his Florida business partner, Igor Fruman.The travel arrangements could brush up against campaign finance laws. While Giuliani, Parnas and Fruman can volunteer as much of their time as they want for a campaign, any subsidy for such work by third parties would generally need to be reported as a contribution, and money from foreign individuals would be illegal. Trump kicked off his re-election campaign last June at a rally in Florida.Chris Kise, a lawyer for Sargeant, characterized the money shelled out for flights as loans to a colorful and funny acquaintance who claimed to be broke. ?Mr. Sargeant was not part of any plan to remove the U.S. ambassador and has no business interests in Ukraine,? Kise said.Giuliani didn?t respond to a request for comment, nor did attorneys for Parnas and Fruman.Ukraine Mission CostThe Ukraine mission looks to have run up hundreds of thousands of dollars in travel and hotel costs, including private jets and the Ritz-Carlton in Vienna, where a night costs upwards of 380 euros ($420). Another glimpse comes from New York prosecutors. Parnas spent more than $70,000 on private jet travel in September alone, according to a filing last month seeking to revoke his bail.Over the course of eight months last year, Parnas jetted to Kyiv on multiple occasions and made trips to Warsaw, Vienna, Madrid, Paris and Israel, according to his messages, many of them touching on his Ukraine work. Giuliani and Fruman accompanied him frequently.Giuliani, Parnas and Fruman also accumulated tens of thousands of dollars in travel expenses. Sargeant picked up the tab on at least a handful of trips by Parnas and Fruman, according to people familiar with the situation. Parnas ran up tens of thousands of dollars in debt to a private jet broker close to Sargeant, who covered the cost so his friend wasn?t stiffed, according to a person familiar with the situation and text messages to Parnas.Sargeant and Giuliani have known each other for years. Since 2018, Sargeant and Parnas regularly crossed paths. The three took in a Dallas Cowboys game and shuttled between New York, Washington and Florida together. Sargeant, a shipping magnate, controls potentially lucrative oil concessions in Venezuela that are currently hamstrung by U.S. sanctions. When the men?s travel coincided, Parnas and Fruman sometimes flew on Sargeant?s own plane, but that was to fill empty seats at no additional cost, according to someone familiar with the matter.Sargeant?s lawyer said he ?never chartered or paid for any private aircraft for Lev (or Igor Fruman, or Giuliani) in or to Europe.?Trump?s CircleParnas began working his way into Trump?s orbit with campaign donations in 2016, but it was two years later when he and Fruman upped the ante by giving $325,000 to America First Action, a pro-Trump political action committee. That vaulted them into Trump?s inner circle, including dinner with Donald Trump Jr.The big donation prompted prosecutors in New York to charge Parnas and Fruman with conspiracy to violate campaign finance laws and with filing false records to disguise the source of their contributions. The two have pleaded not guilty.The men reported to the Federal Election Commission that the money came from their company, but prosecutors say it came from a private loan. Fruman borrowed $3 million against a Miami condo in a private mortgage just two days before he made the $325,000 contribution. The lenders were a retired American couple who immigrated from the Soviet Union decades ago and their son-in-law, according to real estate records filed in Florida.The couple, Gregory and Lilian Abrovsky, also bought a condo in the same Miami building. They have a son who is an executive at a Russian internet company, but he was unaware of the transaction, according to a spokesman for the family.The loan, extended to a Fruman company called Seafront LLC for one year at 9%, was arranged by a mortgage broker who says his lenders and borrowers often don?t meet each other.?In the spring of 2018, we made a secured interest-bearing loan,? said the son-in-law, Daniel Chernin. ?We never met with or spoke with the borrowers.? The loan was repaid in full in August 2019.Parnas?s family got its own personal loan last year. The lawyer representing Dmitry Firtash, the gas tycoon fighting U.S. extradition from Vienna, says he extended $1 million to buy a Boca Raton, Florida, property. In addition, Parnas received $200,000 from a law firm representing Firtash, according to U.S. prosecutors.The man at the center of the mission had his own money woes. Giuliani?s income had plunged as he left a law firm job that paid him as much as $6 million a year, took the president as his primary client and headed for divorce court. He picked up cash along the way to replenish his finances.A Long Island businessman paid $500,000 to Giuliani as part of his investment into Fraud Guarantee, a company co-founded by Parnas. Marc Mukasey, a former legal partner of Giuliani, loaned his friend $100,000 last year when divorce proceedings tied up his bank accounts. One America News Network paid about $100,000 for travel and other costs for a three-part television report that Giuliani worked on in Ukraine, Charles Herring, the network?s president, told Bloomberg in an interview last month. The documentary series was intended to further Trump?s cause against Democratic political rival Joe Biden.Top-Shelf StyleWherever they went, Giuliani and his team kept a top-shelf lifestyle. That would be consistent with the spending habits chronicled in Giuliani?s divorce. His monthly expenses were about $230,000, according to his ex-wife?s lawyer.Big bills at cigar bars surfaced. Other luxuries were enticements for the Ukraine crew. Giuliani became godfather to Parnas?s son, and Parnas at one point described receiving a loan of about $100,000 for his son?s bris without saying who extended it, according to a person familiar with the matter.Parnas sent photos of bottles to Yuriy Lutsenko, then Ukraine?s prosecutor general, while in Kyiv last June. ?Igor wants to know which one?s best,? Parnas texted in Russian.?Hibiki,? Lutsenko responded, citing a Japanese whiskey that can easily run hundreds of dollars a bottle. ?Really great. In the top three worldwide.??Come join us,? Parnas urged the prosecutor.Later that summer -- after the July phone call when Trump pressed Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy for a Biden-linked investigation -- Giuliani flew to Madrid. He was there for a client who had nothing to do with the Ukraine matter, according to his lawyer, Robert Costello. While in Spain, Giuliani also met Zelenskiy?s top adviser.For that trip, Parnas smoothed the way. ?I also arranged VIP service at Madrid,? he wrote to Giuliani ahead of time. ?When you arrive in Madrid their (sic) will be someone waiting for you with a sign that says ?NUBA? at the door of the plane. They will take you through costumes (sic).?Last April, Parnas showed some sensitivity to Sargeant?s complaint and suggested that he would be reimbursed.?We are paying you back for this we are never expecting you to pay for it my brother that?s why we wanted to do the loan so we don?t have to bother you,? he texted at one point.By August, Sargeant was pestering Parnas to repay him as well as a jet charter company operated by a family friend. Despite repeated requests, Parnas never did, according to Sargeant?s lawyer.Potential JobOne source of potential revenue for Giuliani failed to materialize. He pursued contracts last spring for what appeared to be work for Ukraine?s Prosecutor General and Justice Ministry, according to the Parnas messages. Bloomberg previously reported that Giuliani talked about representing Ukraine to help recover billions in looted assets.According to the Parnas texts, Giuliani was seeking retainers, and pro-Trump lawyers Victoria Toensing and Joe diGenova were working with him to finalize them. Giuliani was negotiating with Lutsenko in February 2019, at the same time they were discussing a possible Ukrainian investigation of Biden and his son, Hunter, who sat on the board of a Ukrainian company.Giuliani never signed a retainer contract and there?s no indication he was paid. The legal duo of Toensing and diGenova went on to represent Firtash, for which they billed $1 million and for whom Parnas provided translation services.Ultimately, Ukraine did open an investigation, though not into Biden. Authorities are now examining something else mentioned in the text trove, the possibility of improper surveillance of the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, who was abruptly recalled to Washington last spring.To contact the reporters on this story: Greg Farrell in New York at firstname.lastname@example.org;Stephanie Baker in London at email@example.com;Ben Bartenstein in New York at firstname.lastname@example.org;David Kocieniewski in New York at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Winnie O'Kelley at firstname.lastname@example.org, Jeffrey D GrocottFor 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.
- Spirit Airlines passenger: Cabin crew didn't take my groping allegation seriously
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- Saudi crown prince's WhatsApp linked to Bezos phone hack
The cellphone of Amazon founder and Washington Post owner Jeff Bezos was hacked in what appeared to be an attempt by Saudi Arabia's crown prince to "influence, if not silence" the newspaper's reporting on the kingdom, two U.N. human rights experts said Wednesday. The U.N. experts called for an ?immediate investigation? by the United States into a report commissioned by Bezos that showed the billionaire technology mogul's phone was likely hacked after he received an MP4 video file sent from Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's WhatsApp account after the two men exchanged phone numbers during a dinner in Los Angeles in 2018.
- WHO says not declaring virus a global emergency but taking it seriously
The World Health Organisation (WHO) said on Thursday that the new coronavirus that has emerged in China and spread to several other countries does not yet constitute an international emergency but it was tracking its evolution "every minute". WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus made the announcement after its Emergency Committee of 16 independent experts reviewed the latest evidence and made its recommendations, which he accepted. "Make no mistake, though, this is an emergency in China," Tedros told a news conference at WHO headquarters in Geneva.
- 1 Killed, 7 Wounded, Including 9-Year-Old, in Shooting in Downtown Seattle. Here's What to Know
- Iraqis apprehensive ahead of cleric's anti-US rally
Supporters of volatile Iraqi cleric Moqtada Sadr prepared on Friday for a "million-strong" march in Baghdad to demand the ouster of US troops, putting the protest-hit capital on edge. The march has rattled the separate, months-old protest movement that has rocked the capital and Shiite-majority south, where young Iraqis have demanded a government overhaul, early parliamentary elections and more accountability. After defying violence that has left 470 people dead as well as a spree of kidnappings and intimidations, those protesters fear their cause could be eclipsed by Sadr's powerplay.
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- Schiff Draws Dark Portrait of Trump in Impeachment Trial Opening
(Bloomberg) -- House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff presented the U.S. Senate with a dark portrait of a deeply flawed, even dangerous president as he argued that Donald Trump should be removed from office.Leading off the House prosecution of Trump on Wednesday, Schiff cited evidence at the heart of accusations in the articles of impeachment to describe a president who is vindictive, untruthful, unbound by the law and above all, out for himself even at the expense of the national security of the U.S. and its allies.The opening argument Wednesday over the course of eight hours suggests a prosecution with two juries in mind: The senators in the chamber who will vote on the articles of impeachment and the American public, which will decide in less than 10 months on whether to return Trump to office.?He has shown no willingness to be constrained by the rule of law, and has demonstrated that he will continue to abuse his power and obstruct investigations into himself, causing further damage to the pillars of our democracy if he is not held accountable,? Schiff said.While it will be all but impossible to convince enough Republicans to remove Trump from office, the House prosecutors made repeated appeals for senators to subpoena additional documents and witnesses.They used quotes and video clips from testimony in the House inquiry to build the case against the president and ask senators if they would like to know more.?There are documents that prove this,? Schiff said about various witness statements. ?They?re yours for the asking.?Pattern of CorruptionWhether the Senate will seek additional evidence will be the most important question after House managers and Trump?s team have presented their arguments and taken senators? questions. Democrats need to convince at least four Republicans to join them in a vote for more evidence, and that plea will continue to surface in their remaining 16 hours of allotted time over the next two days.?I would urge you even if you are prepared to convict and remove this president to find out how far this corruption goes,? Schiff said. ?You and the American people should want to know who else was involved in this scheme.?As the impeachment managers tried to establish an illicit pattern in Trump?s actions, there is some evidence that the American public has reservations about the president?s behavior. Almost two-thirds of Americans believe Trump has definitely or probably done things that are illegal, either while in office or when he was running for president, according to a Pew Research Center poll released Wednesday. Slightly more say he has probably or definitely done things that are unethical.Still, Americans are closely divided on whether Trump should be removed from office, with 51% saying the Senate should remove him and 46% say he should remain in the presidency, according to the poll.The judgment of Americans -- particularly affluent and educated suburban voters who may back Republican policies but have reservations about the president?s conduct -- is likely to be more important than any influence the arguments may have on the senators.A verdict of acquittal is almost universally expected in Washington, with the GOP in control of the Senate 53-47 and a two-thirds majority needed to convict. But the historic proceedings -- only the third presidential impeachment trial in history -- may shape the views of voters in November?s election, particularly those not closely aligned with either party.President?s DefenseMembers of Trump?s defense team will likely begin their arguments on Saturday, and attorney Jay Sekulow said they will combine a rebuttal of the Democratic case with a positive defense of the president?s actions.?We will challenge aggressively the case that they?re putting forward based on what we?re hearing and we also have an affirmative case that we?re going to make as well,? he told reporters at the Capitol.It?s not yet clear whether Trump?s defense will take the full amount of time alloted to them. Trump joked to reporters in Davos, Switzerland, on Wednesday that he?d like to attend the trial himself but that his lawyers would probably object.?I?d love to go,? he said. ?I?d sit in the front row and stare in their corrupt faces. I?d love to do it. Don?t keep talking, because you may convince me to do it.?As Schiff was presenting his case, Trump was retweeting commentary from supporters from Air Force One on his way back the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. He added his own response as well, saying that he didn?t pressure Ukraine to conduct politically motivated investigations.Schiff set the impeachment trial in the arc of American history, invoking the words of Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Paine, Ben Franklin and the nation?s founders about foreign influence over the U.S. government, corrupt bargains and uncontrolled populist demagoguery.He tied that to the impeachment charges that Trump withheld military aid to pressure the new government in Ukraine to announce an investigation related to Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden, who had served on the board of a Ukrainian energy company, to help his re-election campaign.?In other words, to cheat,? the California Democrat said of the president?s demands to Ukraine. ?The effect of his scheme was to undermine our free and fair elections.??No Question?Schiff argued that Trump views his powers as president as ?political tools to be wielded against his opponents, including asking a foreign government to investigate a United States citizen.??There is no question? that Trump intended to press Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to look into Biden, Trump?s political rival, Schiff said. ?These facts are not in dispute.?Schiff noted that Trump?s July 25 call to Zelenskiy came one day after Special Counsel Robert Mueller?s testimony to Congress about his investigation that found that Russia interfered in the 2016 election to help elect Trump, and his campaign willingly made use of that aid.Trump ?did not feel shamed by what the special counsel found, he did not feel deterred by what the special counsel found, he felt emboldened by escaping accountability,? Schiff said. ?For the very, very next day he is on the phone soliciting foreign interference? from Ukraine.Senators were not always the most diligent audience. Some members left their seats to take extended breaks in the cloakrooms beside the chamber and others whispered to their colleagues at nearby desks.Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell stared at the presenters for nearly the whole day, expresionless, with nothing on this desk. Senators Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins, two of the moderate Republicans who could join Democrats on procedural votes, took frequent notes and occasionally reacted to the presentation.Pressure BuildingSenate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer said Wednesday that Republicans? rejection of his party?s initial requests to call witnesses reveal the trial as a ?charade? and that Democrats will continue to press for testimony and documents.?The pressure will continue to build on Senate Republicans,? Schumer said.Some Republicans have suggested that they could be open to calling witnesses like acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney and former National Security Adviser John Bolton if Republicans are allowed to to call Joe and Hunter Biden as well as the intelligence community whistle-blower who triggered the House inquiry.?The idea of witnesses will not get anywhere if it?s not reciprocal,? Indiana Senator Mike Braun said.Braun said that Biden should be made to answer before the Senate whether he orchestrated the firing of a Ukraine prosecutor to benefit Hunter, who served on the board of the Ukrainian natural gas company Burisma.Biden has denied the charge and the allegation has been widely debunked, but Hunter Biden?s former position at Burisma has raised questions about whether he profited off of his father?s position as vice president.?That trade is not on the table,? Schumer told reporters. He said that the Senate should only call witnesses who can testify to whether or not Trump committed the offense for which he was impeached.\--With assistance from Josh Wingrove, Jordan Fabian, Erik Wasson, Daniel Flatley and Steven T. Dennis.To contact the reporters on this story: Mike Dorning in Washington at email@example.com;Billy House in Washington at firstname.lastname@example.org;Laura Litvan in Washington at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Joe Sobczyk at firstname.lastname@example.org, John Harney, Anna EdgertonFor 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.
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- Fifth condemned Tennessee inmate opts for the electric chair
A Tennessee inmate has chosen the electric chair for his scheduled execution next month, opting like four other inmates in little more than a year for electrocution over the state's preferred execution method of lethal injection. Nicholas Sutton, 58, is scheduled to be put to death Feb. 20 for the stabbing death of a fellow inmate decades ago while serving a life sentence for his grandmother's slaying. An affidavit signed on Tuesday said he waives the right to be executed by lethal injection and chooses electrocution.
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The patient, a 30-year-old man, is doing well and may be released from Providence Regional Medical Center in Everett, Washington in the near future, the hospital's chief medical officer Jay Cook told a press conference. None of the people who were in close contact with the patient have displayed symptoms of the flu-like illness, said John Wiesman, secretary of health for Washington State.
- Kristin Smart: FBI tells mother of woman missing since 1996 to 'be ready' for developments
The mother of a California teenager who has been missing for more than 20 years says the FBI told her to "be ready" for imminent news about her disappearance.Hoping that police would finally be able to bring some closure to a seemingly endless investigation, Kristin Smart's mother Denise told the Stockton Record that the FBI warned that the family "might want to get away for a while" and obtain a spokesperson
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- Tennessee inmate chooses the electric chair for his scheduled execution
A Tennessee inmate has chosen the electric chair for his scheduled execution next month, opting like four other inmates in little more than a year for electrocution over the state's preferred execution method of lethal injection.
- Chief Justice Roberts admonishes impeachment managers and Trump team, reminds them to 'remember where they are'
Things got testy in the Senate chamber early Wednesday morning, with Chief Justice John Roberts admonishing both the impeachment managers and President Trump's legal team for their sharp words.It started when Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) argued in support of an amendment seeking to subpoena former National Security Adviser John Bolton. During the House impeachment investigation, Bolton said he would fight a subpoena, but then changed his tune, saying he would testify in the Senate trial if ordered to do so. Nadler said Trump and his allies "are afraid to hear" from Bolton "because they know he knows too much," and "only guilty people try to hide the evidence."Trump lawyer Jay Sekulow loudly responded, banging the podium and accusing Nadler of attempting to "shred the Constitution on the floor of the Senate." White House Counsel Pat Cipollone told Nadler he owed Trump, his family, the Senate, and every American "an apology." When it was once again his turn to speak, Nadler scoffed at the Trump team saying he wasn't being truthful. "President's counsel has no standing to talk about lying," he said.After they were finished, Roberts said he felt it was "appropriate for me to admonish both the house managers and the president's counsel in equal terms to remember that they are addressing the world's greatest deliberative body. One reason it has earned that title is because its members avoid speaking in a manner and using language that is not conducive to civil discourse." He then brought up a 1905 impeachment trial of a judge, where a manager objected to the term "pettifogging." Roberts said while he doesn't "think we need to aspire to that high a standard ... I think those addressing the Senate should remember where they are." The amendment to subpoena Bolton, like all others before it, was voted down along party lines, 53-47. Pettifogging, by the way, means "placing undue emphasis on petty details."More stories from theweek.com With her proud students watching, Florida teacher becomes a U.S. citizen Several senators left the chamber in the middle of Adam Schiff's impeachment remarks Watch highlights from Day 2 of Trump's impeachment trial, in which Democrats begin their prosecution
- U.S., China Must Adjust for Stable World, Singapore Leader Says
(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.
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- 4 killed in plane crash at Southern California airfield
Four people were killed Wednesday in the crash of a small airplane at a Southern California airfield, authorities said. The plane went down at Corona Municipal Airport, about 40 miles (64 kilometers) east of Los Angeles, police said. Four fatalities were confirmed, the Corona Fire Department said on Twitter.