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The Latest: German FM skeptical about security zone planGermany's foreign minister has expressed reservations about a proposal by the country's defense minister to establish an internationally controlled security zone in Syria with the inclusion of Turkey and Syria. Heiko Maas told reporters in Berlin on Tuesday that "one thing is clear above all else: a protection zone that permanently consolidates Turkey's military successes would not deserve this name. Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer's proposal follows the invasion of northern Syria by Turkish troops and allied Syrian fighters, launched after President Donald Trump pulled back American troops who had partnered with Syrian Kurdish forces in the years-long war against the Islamic State group.


10/22/2019 7:43:01 AM

Three people hospitalised by chemical leak on board American Airlines planeThree people have been hospitalised after a cleaning product leaked on an American Airlines flight forcing it to make an emergency landing in Dublin. The plane was less than an hour into its flight from London Heathrow to Philadelphia when two crew members fell unconscious due to the powerful smell. Several passengers complained of burning eyes and skin irritation and one traveller was also taken to hospital in Ireland. 287 passengers and 12 Philadelphia-based crew members were on board flight AA729, which had been cleared for take off despite concerns over the leaked liquid. Reports suggest the product was left behind in one of the bathrooms. In audio from the cockpit, the pilot explained that although the product is believed to be non-toxic, the crew required immediate assistance.  He said: "We’ve actually covered the container of the substance. It was a cleaning product that was used at London Heathrow, if you wait a moment I actually have a picture of the container that I have in a plastic bag.  "It was spilled and for some reason the container itself was left behind in the aircraft in one of the lavatories and continued to seep into the carpeting and produce what I’m told is not, it is not a toxic substance. "We require paramedics to come on board the airplane and render immediate assistance. We’ve had two of our flight crew staff made, excuse me, the cabin staff have actually lost consciousness, but I think they’re back to a state of consciousness just now and there are general complaints about burning eyes and skin problems." The pilot added that the leaking product was an aircraft interior cleaner made by Callington, a leading specialty chemicals manufacturer.  One passenger told The Telegraph the plane had been delayed at Heathrow whilst reports of an "unusual smell" were investigated.  He said: "Before take off the captain came on the loudspeaker saying the flight attendants had reported an unusual smell, and the flight was delayed while they investigated. They must've judged it safe because we flew out after, only to be rerouted to Dublin a short time later." @AmericanAir There aren't even chairs, we're not allowed to leave this area where we're penned in like cattle, and we've not been fed by the likes of you since boarding four plus hours ago. You're the worst. pic.twitter.com/PqnelJ2P2u— Philip Ott (@Blasphevism) October 21, 2019 He added that the flight's 287 passengers were "penned in like cattle" at Dublin airport before been taken by bus to stay overnight in a hotel. They have not been told when they can expect onward travel.  Another passenger expressed concern for others onboard, calling the incident a "sickness outbreak".  Ok, so this hasn’t quite gone to plan. Chemical spillage has led to sickness outbreak and an emergency landing in Dublin. firecrewparamedicspolice— Katie Phillips (@KatieHJP) October 21, 2019 A statement released by American Airlines said: "American Airlines flight 729 from London Heathrow to Philadelphia diverted to Dublin due to an odor caused by a spilled cleaning solution in the galley." "The flight landed safely in Dublin at 1:15 p.m. local time, and taxied to the gate." "Medical personnel have met the aircraft to evaluate any crew members or passengers who may need additional assistance." The Telegraph has contacted Callington for comment.  Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings.


10/21/2019 10:24:00 AM

A West Point cadet and his M4 rifle have been missing for three daysOfficials said that the cadet, member of the class of 2021, is not believed to be a threat to the public, but could be a threat to himself.


10/21/2019 2:49:47 PM

Justice Department Distances Itself From GiulianiThe Justice Department distanced itself Sunday from Rudy Giuliani, President Donald Trump's personal lawyer, declaring that department officials would not have met with Giuliani to discuss one of his clients had they known that federal prosecutors in New York were investigating two of his associates.Several weeks ago, Brian A. Benczkowski, the head of the Justice Department's Criminal Division, and lawyers from the division's Fraud Section met with Giuliani to discuss a bribery case in which he and other attorneys were representing the defendants.That meeting took place before the U.S. attorney's office in Manhattan publicly charged the two Giuliani associates, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, with breaking campaign finance laws and trying to unlawfully influence politicians, including former Rep. Pete Sessions, R-Texas. Parnas and Fruman were part of Giuliani's effort to push Ukraine for an inquiry into Democrats."When Mr. Benczkowski and fraud section lawyers met with Mr. Giuliani, they were not aware of any investigation of Mr. Giuliani's associates in the Southern District of New York and would not have met with him had they known," said Peter Carr, a department spokesman.The Justice Department's public statement Sunday illustrates the unusual and broad set of roles that the president's personal lawyer has played in the scandal that has engulfed the White House and imperiled Trump's presidency.Even as Giuliani ran a shadow foreign policy campaign to pressure Ukraine to investigate the president's political enemies -- which is now at the heart of an impeachment inquiry against Trump -- he and his business associates were under criminal investigation for unlawfully wielding political influence. And while all of this was happening, Giuliani still served as a lawyer to clients with cases to plead before the Justice Department.In distancing itself from Giuliani and trying to draw bright lines around how the Justice Department will and will not engage with him, the department has also undercut the perception that Giuliani can influence some of Washington's most important lawyers and decision-makers. That could make it harder for Giuliani to represent clients who are under Justice Department scrutiny in the future."This is an incredibly unusual statement from the Justice Department, which does not comment on ongoing investigations or even acknowledge them, and it's the kind of statement that would give clients pause about who is representing them," said Joyce Vance, a former federal prosecutor.Giuliani did not respond to a request for comment.While the Southern District of New York has been investigating Giuliani's associates -- an inquiry that may be tied to a broader investigation of Giuliani himself -- prosecutors there had not told Benczkowski of the Criminal Division of the case, as he does not oversee or supervise their work. The U.S. attorney's offices report to the deputy attorney general, Jeffrey A. Rosen.Prosecutors in Manhattan informed Attorney General William Barr about the investigation of Parnas and Fruman soon after he was confirmed in February, according to a Justice Department official. They were required to do so under the department's rule that requires prosecutors to notify the attorney general of any cases that could generate national news media or congressional attention.When Giuliani and other lawyers requested the meeting with the Justice Department to discuss a foreign bribery case, Benczkowski and the lawyers in the Fraud Section had not been informed of the Manhattan case and agreed to meet.Last week, Giuliani told The New York Times that he was being unfairly attacked by reporters and lawmakers and that questions about his behavior would "destroy" his business."I can't publicly defend everything I do because I'm presumed guilty," Giuliani said in a text message. "If I did, my business and firm would be unable to have any clients."Foreign business leaders and politicians have long hired those with ties to the White House as consultants, paid back channels to the administration who could plead their cases and present their interests to U.S. decision-makers.Trump, however, was not connected to the usual array of Washington power brokers who had built lucrative businesses off their ties to U.S. leaders, and Giuliani was perceived as the rare figure who could provide a direct line to the president.Now that tie to the Justice Department seems to be gone, and Giuliani himself is a person of interest in at least two federal investigations.While The Times and other publications have reported that Giuliani is being investigated by prosecutors in Manhattan, the Justice Department and the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York have declined to confirm or deny an investigation into him. But any such inquiry would make it difficult for the department to work with him on any of his clients' cases."Giuliani can continue to represent clients before the department because people are innocent until proven guilty, but it's unclear whether a client would want to have a lawyer who is being scrutinized in so many investigations," Vance said.This article originally appeared in The New York Times.(C) 2019 The New York Times Company


10/21/2019 6:05:06 AM

Thousands protest against Bangladesh police after deadly shootingsThousands protested against police across Bangladesh on Monday, a day after at least four people died when officers fired on a crowd in one of the country's deadliest religious riots to date. Some 20,000 Muslims called for the execution of a young Hindu man on Bhola island Sunday for writing Facebook messages that allegedly defamed the Prophet Mohammed, with police saying they opened fire after rocks were thrown at officers. Mob attacks over online posts perceived to be blasphemous have emerged as a major headache for security forces in Bangladesh, where Muslims make up some 90 percent of the country's 168 million people.


10/21/2019 3:52:22 AM

China Is Building 'The Mother of All Bombs': ReportAmerica already has one.


10/21/2019 8:44:00 AM

Seth Meyers Blasts Mulvaney and Pompeo’s Disastrous Sunday Show SpinNBCSeth Meyers had a lot of news to catch up on when he returned from vacation on Monday. And much of it had to do with the Trump administration’s failed attempts to clean up its multiple calamities on the Sunday shows over the weekend. The Late Night host began with Trump’s “acting” Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, who went on Fox News Sunday to explain why the president announced that he would be holding the G7 conference at his Miami Doral resort in Florida and then reversed his decision after loud protests from both sides of the political aisle. It’s Not Just Ronan Farrow: NBC News Killed My Rape-Allegation Story TooStephen Colbert Mocks Mitt Romney’s ‘Embarrassing’ Secret Twitter Account“He was honestly surprised at the level of pushback,” Mulvaney said, adding, “At the end of the day, you know, he still considers himself to be in the hospitality business.” “OK, first of all, he’s not in the hospitality business, he’s the president,” Meyers said. “And second, Trump was never in the hospitality business. Hospitality is when you show warmth and compassion to guests and strangers. Trump was in the ruthless-real-estate-asshole-who-stands-like-a-baboon-on-his-hind-legs business.” Later, Meyers turned to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who appeared on ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos and repeatedly refused to acknowledge Mulvaney’s confession that there had, in fact, been a “quid pro quo” with Ukraine. “You could see his brain short-circuit in real time,” Meyers said before playing the now infamous of clip of Pompeo trying to dodge the host’s questions until George Stephanopoulos stopped him in his tracks by reminding him of Mulvaney’s admission. “Wow, normally when someone takes that long to answer a question on TV a red ‘X’ pops up on screen,” Meyers joked, taking on the persona of a game show host. “Top five answers on the board, name a country that the president has colluded with.” As Pompeo sat there silently, he finally said, “Sorry, the answer we were looking for was Ukraine.”  Sean Hannity Goes Off on Mick Mulvaney: ‘I Just Think He’s 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.


10/21/2019 10:07:36 PM

'Lost' Road Built by Christ's Executioner UnearthedPontius Pilate likely commissioned the street during or after 31 AD.


10/21/2019 11:52:00 AM

U.S. Supreme Court tosses challenge to Republican-drawn Michigan electoral mapsThe U.S. Supreme Court on Monday threw out a challenge to Republican-drawn electoral districts in Michigan that Democrats said were illegally configured to dilute their voting power, an action taken in the aftermath of major rulings by the justices in June prohibiting federal courts from hearing such claims. The Supreme Court's action voided an order in April by a three-judge panel to rework 34 districts in the state legislature and U.S. House of Representatives whose boundaries were crafted purely to advantage Republicans, a practice known as partisan gerrymandering. In a blow to election reformers, the justices found that federal courts have no role to play in reining in electoral map manipulation by politicians aimed at entrenching one party in power.


10/21/2019 7:54:05 AM

Judge asked to stop student suspension over note about rapeA high school activist's comment about rape posted on a bathroom mirror represents constitutionally protected free speech — and punishing her would discourage young victims from coming forward, an attorney said Monday. The sticky note that proclaimed "There's a rapist in our school and you know who it is" aimed to call attention to the unaddressed problem of sexual assaults, said Emma Bond from the American Civil Liberties of Maine. U.S. District Judge Lance Walker, who listened to the arguments on Monday, said he'll rule soon on Aela Mansmann's request to intervene to stop a three-day suspension imposed by school administrators.


10/21/2019 12:47:24 PM

Trump 'like a squirrel caught in traffic' during Pentagon meeting: AideIn President Trump's first full briefing at the Defense Department, he requested a grand "Victory Day" parade with "vehicles and tanks on Main Street" and down Pennsylvania Avenue, like the "amazing" parade he'd just witnessed in France, Guy Snodgrass, a top aide to then-Defense Secretary James Mattis, recounts in his new book, "Holding the Line." "The Fourth of July is too hot," Trump added.


10/21/2019 11:41:23 AM

There's a reasonable explanation why this mom saw a 'ghost baby' in her sleeping son's cribThis mom's 'ghost baby' baby monitor mix-up has us all laughing. Maritza Elizabeth's post on Facebook has gone viral.


10/22/2019 6:08:17 AM

Silicon Valley CEOs Appear to Have Chosen Their 2020 Candidate(Bloomberg) -- The technology industry is looking for something different in a president in 2020. And it appears Pete Buttigieg is their candidate.While Joe Biden and Senator Elizabeth Warren are topping national polls in the contest for the Democratic Party’s nomination, California’s deep-pocketed Silicon Valley is donating to the 37-year-old mayor of South Bend, Indiana over the former vice president by a 5-to-1 margin.“Pete is a clean slate for the party in ways Biden can’t be,” said Cyrus Radfar, a 35-year-old technology entrepreneur and Democratic donor. “There’s new life and new energy that Pete brings, especially as the base of the Democratic Party is getting younger. I think he’s going to be on the national stage for a long time.”Buttigieg has staged a fundraising blitz in posh Northern California communities, holding events hosted by technology executives such as Netflix Inc. Chief Executive Officer Reed Hastings, Nest Labs home-automation company co-founder Matt Rogers, and Chelsea Kohler, director of product communications at Uber Technologies Inc., among others.Were he to win, Buttigieg would not only be the youngest president, but also the first openly gay one. While he is successfully raising money, Buttigieg has struggled until recently to enter the top tier of candidates nationally.But there are signs that he could be a moderate voter’s alternative to Biden. While raising money in California, Buttigieg is campaigning heavily in Iowa, and it appears both efforts are paying off. A USA Today/Suffolk University poll of likely Iowa caucus goers put Buttigieg just behind Biden and Warren for the first time. Biden had 18% support, Warren 17% and Buttigieg 13%.Millennial voters in the tech industry say they appreciate that Buttigieg’s liberal policies seem grounded in reality and recognize “a cutthroat world,” as Elizabeth Moran, 28, put it at a debate watch party in Silicon Valley’s Sunnyvale. Moran, who works at Poshmark, a social commerce platform, said she likes Buttigieg’s grasp of economics.“Well-educated recognizes well-educated,” Moran said, adding that Buttigieg could have come to Silicon Valley after graduating from Harvard as many Ivy League graduates do.In other words, in their eyes, Buttigieg is like them.“There’s a big move on the Democratic side to more heavily regulate tech, and that hasn’t been part of Buttigieg’s message,” said Raphael Sonenshein, executive director of the Pat Brown Institute for Public Affairs at California State University, Los Angeles. “His message is consistent with innovation and forward-looking technology. He has not given the impression that he would threaten their interests.”While he hasn’t said much about competition and antitrust, Buttigieg has focused on improving regulations as opposed to breaking up big tech.“We’re going to need to empower the FTC to be able to intervene, including blocking or reversing mergers, in cases where there’s anti-competitive behavior by tech companies,” he said in a CNN town hall in April, referring to the Federal Trade Commission.Buttigieg was his high school’s valedictorian and went on to Harvard, where he befriended two roommates of future Facebook Inc. CEO Mark Zuckerberg, and was one of the first 300 users on the social media platform. He was a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford, joined McKinsey & Co. as a consultant, and volunteered for Barack Obama’s tech-savvy 2008 presidential campaign before joining the U.S. Navy Reserve and serving in Afghanistan.His relationship with Zuckerberg persisted. Zuckerberg, 35, visited South Bend in 2017 while doing research for his philanthropic organization, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, and got a personal tour from Buttigieg. That relationship lasted into this year, when Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, recommended two people that Buttigieg ultimately hired for his campaign. Ben LaBolt, a spokesman for Zuckerberg and Chan, said the couple hasn’t yet decided whom to support for president.The Golden StateCalifornia voters have an unusually large influence in choosing the party’s nominee this cycle. The state primary next year is in March instead of its previous June slot and its donors contributed 1 of every 5 dollars raised by the party’s presidential candidates in the first six months of this year, data from the Center for Responsive Politics show.Buttigieg is second only to home-state senator Kamala Harris in the percentage of his campaign money that comes from California. Harris got 45% of her donations from Californians, Buttigieg got 22%.Harris, who was the state’s attorney general, raised $1 million from California lawyers, more than twice as much as any other candidate. She was also the top recipient of donations from employees of the entertainment industry. But California employees of tech companies, including giants like Facebook, Amazon.com Inc. and Microsoft Corp., backed Buttigieg more than any other candidate.Silicon Valley bundlers -- fundraisers who gather money from numerous employees of a firm -- have raised concerns about both Warren and Senator Bernie Sanders, who are relying primarily on small-dollar contributions from online donors.Warren is particularly thorny for the tech industry. She has vowed that she will not meet with big donors who want to “buy access” -- and perhaps more troubling for them, has promised to break up big technology companies. Some technology workers are contributing to Warren and Sanders, but few are writing the $2,800 checks that Buttigieg and Biden are relying on, likely because they’ve been quieter on the question of how to handle big tech.Buttigieg is positioning himself as a younger alternative to 76-year-old Biden. Like Biden, he has not embraced the progressive wing’s Medicare for All, instead proposing government-run health care “to those who want it,” without eliminating private insurance.In other areas, he hasn’t taken many unique stances, but his Midwestern and military background seeps into some plans. An issue page on his campaign website is simply called “Unleash rural opportunity,” and he has proposed eliminating some student debt in exchange for national service.Paul Holland, a California venture capitalist and fundraiser for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign, said he believes a moderate has the best chance of winning. In his circles, Biden hasn’t attracted the same kind of enthusiastic support that other candidates have.“It’s Mayor Pete and Cory Booker who are getting most of the attention,” he said.Buttigieg himself drew the contrast between his candidacy and Biden’s during a Marin County event.“Every time we’ve won in our party it’s been with a candidate with new ideas, who hasn’t been on the scene for too long,” Buttigieg said. “That’s what works. Also, Americans are most likely to support the opposite of what’s in the Oval Office.”Among Buttigieg’s donors are Ron Conway, an investor who has guided San Francisco mayors to back tech-friendly policies; Scott Belsky, the chief product officer and executive vice president at Adobe Inc.; Tony Xu, CEO of Doordash Inc.; David Marcus, the head of Facebook’s Libra cryptocurrency project and Wendy Schmidt, wife of former Google CEO Eric Schmidt.Buttigieg’s fundraising has been prodigious, but he’s still behind in national polls. He stands at just 5% in the RealClearPolitics national average, compared with 26% for Biden. And that raises pragmatic questions about who can win the Democratic nomination.“Even with his flaws, Biden is the guy who’s probably going to satisfy the moderates,” Holland said.To contact the reporters on this story: Bill Allison in Washington DC at ballison14@bloomberg.net;Jeffrey Taylor in San Francisco at jtaylor184@bloomberg.net;Sophie Alexander in San Francisco at salexander82@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Wendy Benjaminson at wbenjaminson@bloomberg.net, Peter EichenbaumFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


10/22/2019 2:00:00 AM

Lebanon's Hezbollah under rare street pressureWhen mass anti-government protests engulfed Lebanon, a taboo was broken as strongholds of the Shiite Hezbollah movement saw rare demonstrations criticising the party and revered leader Hassan Nasrallah. This shattered the myth of absolute acquiesence among Hezbollah's popular base, baffling even those who hail from the movement's strongholds. "No one ever expected that in any of these areas in south Lebanon we would hear a single word against Nasrallah," or Amal Movement leader Nabih Berri, said Sara, a 32-year-old activist who participated in protests in the southern city of Nabatiyeh.


10/21/2019 6:53:10 PM

Petrol bombs thrown in Hong Kong as anger flares over 'triad' attack on protest leaderPolice and protesters exchanged tear gas and petrol bombs in Hong Kong on Sunday amid anger over an attack on a leading activist by men allegedly linked to triad gangsters.   Clashes broke out as tens of thousands took to the streets for an unsanctioned anti-government march, many also defying a face mask ban introduced in a bid to curb the protests.  Tensions ran high after Jimmy Sham, the leader the Civil Human Rights Front which called the march, was attacked earlier in the week by a group of men wielding metal poles and hammers. Witnesses said that those responsible for the assault were associated with pro-Beijing triads that have been blamed for previous violence against protesters.   On Saturday afternoon, a 19-year-old man was also hospitalised after being stabbed in the abdomen while handing out pro-democracy flyers in Tai Po, a district in northern Hong Kong.  Politically motivated attacks and vandalism have been on the rise as the situation continues to escalate in what is now the twentieth consecutive week of protests.  Protesters are now vandalising and destroying shops, banks, and businesses associated with mainland China. As moderate, peaceful marchers branched off from the more radical, black-clad frontline protesters near Tsim Sha Tsui police station, violence flared. Riot police fired tear gas and water cannon, drenching Hong Kong's biggest mosque with blue dye in what they said was an accident Credit: Kyle Lam/Bloomberg Protesters threw molotov cocktails and set fire to makeshift barricades, while riot police charged with batons and fired volleys of tear gas and rubber bullets.  Throughout the afternoon a water cannon truck chased protesters down Nathan Road, one of the city's busiest shopping thoroughfares, leaving it streaked with blue dye from the vehicle's turrets. The dye, used to identify protesters, also contains a painful pepper solution. The entrance to the city's biggest mosque was painted blue when the truck fired at a handful of people outside. Police said hitting the building was an accident. Vivek Mahbubani, a Hong Kong-born comedian, stood with a group of friends on Nathan Road, handing out water and egg tarts to marchers. “People passing by today shared our smiles and instead of feeling worried when passing. They all agreed that we are all Hongkongers," he told The Telegraph.  “When I heard about the attack on Jimmy Sham, I was horrified. To think that Hong Kong has become a place where something like this can happen was shocking.”


10/20/2019 9:34:32 AM

The U.S. Army Has Big Plans to Smash Enemy Drones in a WarThe U.S. Army is fast-tracking what could be called an entire sphere of counter-drone weapons


10/21/2019 4:56:00 AM

WikiLeaks founder Assange appears confused at extradition hearingWikiLeaks founder Julian Assange appeared confused at a London court hearing on Monday, struggling to recall his name and age in his first public appearance in months as he sought to fight extradition to the United States. Assange, 48, who spent seven years holed up in Ecuador's embassy before he was dragged out in April, faces 18 counts in the United States including conspiring to hack government computers and violating an espionage law.


10/21/2019 3:48:25 AM

Frustrated US diplomats fight back in impeachment probeThree years of simmering frustration inside the State Department is boiling over on Capitol Hill as a parade of current and former diplomats testify to their concerns about the Trump administration's unorthodox policy toward Ukraine. Over White House objections, the diplomats are appearing before impeachment investigators looking into President Donald Trump's dealings with Ukraine and they're recounting stories of possible impropriety, misconduct and mistreatment by their superiors. To Trump and his allies, the diplomats are evidence of a "deep state" within the government that has been out to get him from the start.


10/20/2019 10:30:35 PM

Trump Cheated (Shocker!) on Property Tax; But Will Anyone Go to Jail?Chip SomodevillaProPublica published a piece Wednesday that put the spotlight once again on some questionable financial practices of the Trump Organization, which showed one set of books to banks (inflating value) and another to New York City tax authorities (deflating value).Is this just the usual Trump mendacity, or can prosecutors see this as part of a pattern? And if so, could it be prosecuted? Who would be tagged as the defendant(s)? If not, what more is needed to bring the guilty parties to justice?Before we explore these questions, let’s look at the facts. Both versions of them.ProPublica obtained property tax docs for four Trump properties. These docs became public when Trump appealed the tax bills, and the loan records became public when Trump’s lenders sold the debt on the properties. Significant discrepancies were unearthed between the tax records and loan records for two of the properties: Trump International Hotel & Tower, on Central Park West, and 40 Wall St.Tax and loan documents for 40 Wall St. showed significant discrepancies in how certain costs such as insurance were reported. Further, Trump representatives reported different occupancy rates to lenders and tax officials: 81 percent to lenders (rising later to 95 percent), and just 59 percent to tax authorities. Rising occupancy rates are valued by lenders because they are indicative of rising income level which is material to securing refinancing, while lower rates, of course, mean lower taxes.Meanwhile, documents for the Trump International Hotel & Tower showed that city tax officials were advised that this property made about $822,000 in 2017 from renting space in the building to other businesses, while loan officials were told that the building made about $1.67 million. ProPublica further notes that Trump appeared not to report income from leasing space for television antennas on tax documents but did report the income on loan docs.Each of the above-noted discrepancies is indicative of potential fraud. But do they represent instances of a prosecutable case?The short answer is: not yet. The discrepancies do reflect a situational ethics approach toward financial obligations and responsibilities. But more evidence will be needed to prosecute anyone should criminal prosecution be considered by the authorities.Who might be prosecuted here? It is unclear just who is responsible for submitting the doctored financial statements to the lending authorities and tax officials. Were the folks who submitted the documents the same folks who prepared them? If so, what were their marching orders? Who directed the Trump Organization officials to tailor the financial statements to minimize property taxes or maximize occupancy rates to obtain loans?Investigators need to home in on the work papers prepared to support the finagled financial statements in order to determine “willful intent,” or “mens rea” that James Comey so infamously referenced. Such evidence may well be found at Mazars USA—the Trump Organization accounting firm that is the subject of intensive litigation with regard to subpoenas served by both the U.S. Congress and the Manhattan DA’s office.Accountant work papers have been found to be beneficial when uncovering evidence of intent to defraud in case after case of white-collar fraud, specifically tax fraud. In fact, accountant work files and testimony provided critical evidence leading to the conviction of Paul Manafort in the Mueller investigations and prosecutions. It should be noted that tax fraud, bank fraud, and the falsification of business records may result in felony charges that could be contemplated by the Manhattan DA and provide for prison sentences that could lead the convicted defendants to land in Rikers Island for a stretch with the aforementioned Manafort. Evidence of corrupt intent to defraud either a financial institution or a public tax authority is critical to a successful criminal prosecution. The use of a double or triple set of books and records by company officials for fraudulent purposes is a terrific example of overt acts of corrupt intent. But further evidence will be needed here to link all those involved in each of the instances denoted above. Email, texts, voice mail, notes to the file and other evidence of directions to finagle the financial docs are needed. Further forensic analysis of the documents, for example fingerprint analysis, ink chemistry analysis and handwriting analysis are investigative tools available to the prosecutors to tighten the vise and provide the links in the chain of potential targets.Cohen was reportedly debriefed in detail recently by the Manhattan DA’s office. His testimony will be needed to outline just who in the Trump Organization was responsible for the preparation of the questionable documents referenced above. Cohen’s credibility will clearly be attacked in court by the defendant(s) and will become a question for the jury to grapple with. Cohen provided the Southern District of New York with a prosecutive path for those responsible for cooking the books at the Trump Organization with regard to the reimbursement of “hush money” payments to Cohen. That path is now available to the Manhattan DA. Add Cohen’s now corroborated congressional testimony outlining the transactional financial ethics referenced above, used by the Trump team in their shady business dealings and the jury will likely be sitting on the edge of their seats. All the DA needs to do now is fill in some blanks in combination with demonstrating a pattern of fraud over time—the closing argument is shaping up to be very persuasive.The allegation that the Trump Organization appeared not to report income from leasing space for television antennas to tax authorities but did report the income on loan docs revives memories of the landmark New York Times tax fraud series on Fred Trump and Donald Trump’s financial shenanigans in the ’90s wherein the Times detailed multiple instances of unreported income streams tailored by Fred Trump for the Donald. While the statute of limitations has long expired with regard to the multi-million dollar gift tax evasion schemes entered into by Donald Trump, prosecutors can use evidence of historical frauds to depict a pattern of fraudulent conduct on the part of a defendant no matter how long ago the fraud occurred. It goes to willfulness or corrupt intent exhibited by Individual-1.The Manhattan DA’s case against the Trump Organization may appear to be on its surface just a mundane business fraud type of case. But fraudulent documents don’t change stories, particularly when there are witnesses available to tie the documents and the corrupt intent together. Add the historical pattern of fraud engaged in by Individual-1 and the Manhattan DA’s case appears to be silently moving along like a stealth nuclear submarine under the radar and there are no available defenses available like an Office of Legal Counsel opinion to protect the prospective defendants from a potentially lethal prosecutorial attack.Read more at The Daily Beast.Get 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.


10/21/2019 5:00:33 AM

Gun control advocate: Pushing mandatory buybacks will hand victory to the NRA, againWe can pass significant gun safety laws but not if the 2020 campaign is about confiscating assault weapons. This is not timidity, it's reality.


10/21/2019 3:00:16 AM

Billionaire Isabel dos Santos Denies Wrongdoing at Sonangol(Bloomberg) -- Isabel dos Santos, Africa’s richest woman and the daughter of former Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos, said she did nothing wrong when she was chairwoman of state-owned oil company Sonangol and called a probe into the transfer of millions of dollars from the Luanda-based firm “political vengeance.”Angolan newspaper Novo Jornal reported on Oct. 18 that Angola’s prosecuting authority started a criminal investigation into the transfer of $38 million from Sonangol authorized by dos Santos. Her successor at Sonangol, Carlos Saturnino, accused dos Santos last year of authorizing the transfer to a company in Dubai days after she was dismissed as chairwoman. Saturnino was sacked in May.“To say there was a transfer order after my dismissal is simply false,” dos Santos said in statement emailed on Monday. “The fight against corruption can’t be used to feed an agenda of persecution or a witch hunt.”Dos Santos said the fund-transfer was legal and was made while she was still in her position at Sonangol on Nov. 15, 2017, the day she was dismissed and before a new board was appointed the next day. She said payment instructions were given one or two days before her dismissal.If Angolan authorities are serious about fighting corruption they should investigate why Sonangol had about $20 billion in debt at the end of 2015, before her appointment, and how this money was “used and lost,” said the 46-year-old dos Santos.Dos Santos was dismissed as head of Sonangol amid a crackdown on corruption by Joao Lourenco, who replaced her father as president in 2017. Sonangol, long the main engine of Angola’s oil-focused economy, has been at the center of Lourenco’s anti-graft campaign.(Adds dos Santos’s comment about timing of payment instructions in fourth paragraph.)To contact the reporter on this story: Henrique Almeida in Lisbon at halmeida5@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Joao Lima at jlima1@bloomberg.net, Rene Vollgraaff, Alastair ReedFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


10/21/2019 2:58:43 PM

US awarded ownership of seized North Korean vesselA New York court has formally handed the US ownership of a North Korean cargo ship seized for violating international sanctions, the Justice Department said. The 17,061 ton bulk carrier Wise Honest -- the first North Korean vessel seized by Washington for sanctions violations -- was caught carrying a $3 million shipment of coal in Indonesian waters last year and later handed over to US authorities. The court in the Southern District of New York ordered the vessel to be forfeited to Washington and for the Treasury Department to "dispose of" it, an order released by the Justice Department showed.


10/22/2019 2:04:23 AM

Lonely Planet releases their picks for top destinations to visit in 2020A kingdom that has pledged to become completely organic by next year and the city that will toast the centenary anniversary of the world's most important classical music festival are among the top destinations to visit in 2020, as chosen by the tastemakers of travel guide Lonely Planet. 


10/21/2019 12:06:37 PM

Shark tears Frenchwoman's hands off in attack off Polynesian paradise islandAFrench tourist has lost both her hands in a rare shark attack in the Pacific islands of Polynesia, say emergency services. The 35-year-old woman was swimming during a whale-watching trip on Monday off the island of Mo’orea - a honeymoon destination in the French overseas territory - when the oceanic whitetip shark bit into her chest and arms. "Luckily for her, there were two nurses on the scene who could deliver first aid," firefighter Jean-Jacques Riveta told AFP. “When we got to the hotel jetty, she was conscious but in a critical condition. She had lost a lot of blood and both her hands had been cut off at the forearm," along with part of her chest, he said. She was airlifted to the nearby island of Tahiti, some 11 miles northeast. Her condition is reportedly stable. The conservationist and oceanographic researcher Jacques Cousteau described the oceanic whitetip as "the most dangerous of all sharks”, notorious for picking off survivors of shipwrecks or downed aircraft. However, attacks near land are uncommon as it prefers off-shore, deep-ocean areas and rarely approaches the coast. The French tourist was attacked by an oceanic whitetip Credit: Jacek Dybowski/Mercury Press Experts said the sharks, dubbed locally “parata”, are known to follow dolphin pods. Pierrick Seybald, president of the Ma’O shark protection foundation and local whale-watching guide, said they can be approached as long as “you always keep eye contact with the shark and adopt appropriate body language with guides who know how to redirect them”. Their numbers have declined steeply in recent years as they are prized as the chief ingredient of shark-fin soup. Attacks are rare in French Polynesia but the French Indian Ocean island of La Réunion has suffered a string of them in recent years - 31 since 2011, including 11 fatalities, two in 2019 - prompting it to shut certain beaches and surf spots. Earlier this month, local fisherman reeled in a 4.6m (13ft) tiger shark off the tourist resort of Boucan-Canot. Local authorities issued warnings not to bathe or use motorised craft outside of the lagoon and to respect warning flags signalling recent shark sightings.  The International Shark Attack File, the longest maintained database on worldwide shark attacks, this year stated that shark populations are dwindling, mainly due to over-fishing and habitat loss. "On average there are only six fatalities that are attributable to unprovoked shark attacks worldwide, each year. By contrast about 100 million sharks and rays are killed each year by fisheries." However, it added: “As world population continues its upsurge and interest in aquatic recreation concurrently rises, we realistically should expect increases in the number of shark attacks and other aquatic recreation-related injuries."


10/22/2019 6:14:15 AM

Yahoo News - Latest News & Headlines

The Latest: German FM skeptical about security zone planGermany's foreign minister has expressed reservations about a proposal by the country's defense minister to establish an internationally controlled security zone in Syria with the inclusion of Turkey and Syria. Heiko Maas told reporters in Berlin on Tuesday that "one thing is clear above all else: a protection zone that permanently consolidates Turkey's military successes would not deserve this name. Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer's proposal follows the invasion of northern Syria by Turkish troops and allied Syrian fighters, launched after President Donald Trump pulled back American troops who had partnered with Syrian Kurdish forces in the years-long war against the Islamic State group.


10/22/2019 7:43:01 AM

Three people hospitalised by chemical leak on board American Airlines planeThree people have been hospitalised after a cleaning product leaked on an American Airlines flight forcing it to make an emergency landing in Dublin. The plane was less than an hour into its flight from London Heathrow to Philadelphia when two crew members fell unconscious due to the powerful smell. Several passengers complained of burning eyes and skin irritation and one traveller was also taken to hospital in Ireland. 287 passengers and 12 Philadelphia-based crew members were on board flight AA729, which had been cleared for take off despite concerns over the leaked liquid. Reports suggest the product was left behind in one of the bathrooms. In audio from the cockpit, the pilot explained that although the product is believed to be non-toxic, the crew required immediate assistance.  He said: "We’ve actually covered the container of the substance. It was a cleaning product that was used at London Heathrow, if you wait a moment I actually have a picture of the container that I have in a plastic bag.  "It was spilled and for some reason the container itself was left behind in the aircraft in one of the lavatories and continued to seep into the carpeting and produce what I’m told is not, it is not a toxic substance. "We require paramedics to come on board the airplane and render immediate assistance. We’ve had two of our flight crew staff made, excuse me, the cabin staff have actually lost consciousness, but I think they’re back to a state of consciousness just now and there are general complaints about burning eyes and skin problems." The pilot added that the leaking product was an aircraft interior cleaner made by Callington, a leading specialty chemicals manufacturer.  One passenger told The Telegraph the plane had been delayed at Heathrow whilst reports of an "unusual smell" were investigated.  He said: "Before take off the captain came on the loudspeaker saying the flight attendants had reported an unusual smell, and the flight was delayed while they investigated. They must've judged it safe because we flew out after, only to be rerouted to Dublin a short time later." @AmericanAir There aren't even chairs, we're not allowed to leave this area where we're penned in like cattle, and we've not been fed by the likes of you since boarding four plus hours ago. You're the worst. pic.twitter.com/PqnelJ2P2u— Philip Ott (@Blasphevism) October 21, 2019 He added that the flight's 287 passengers were "penned in like cattle" at Dublin airport before been taken by bus to stay overnight in a hotel. They have not been told when they can expect onward travel.  Another passenger expressed concern for others onboard, calling the incident a "sickness outbreak".  Ok, so this hasn’t quite gone to plan. Chemical spillage has led to sickness outbreak and an emergency landing in Dublin. firecrewparamedicspolice— Katie Phillips (@KatieHJP) October 21, 2019 A statement released by American Airlines said: "American Airlines flight 729 from London Heathrow to Philadelphia diverted to Dublin due to an odor caused by a spilled cleaning solution in the galley." "The flight landed safely in Dublin at 1:15 p.m. local time, and taxied to the gate." "Medical personnel have met the aircraft to evaluate any crew members or passengers who may need additional assistance." The Telegraph has contacted Callington for comment.  Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings.


10/21/2019 10:24:00 AM

A West Point cadet and his M4 rifle have been missing for three daysOfficials said that the cadet, member of the class of 2021, is not believed to be a threat to the public, but could be a threat to himself.


10/21/2019 2:49:47 PM

Justice Department Distances Itself From GiulianiThe Justice Department distanced itself Sunday from Rudy Giuliani, President Donald Trump's personal lawyer, declaring that department officials would not have met with Giuliani to discuss one of his clients had they known that federal prosecutors in New York were investigating two of his associates.Several weeks ago, Brian A. Benczkowski, the head of the Justice Department's Criminal Division, and lawyers from the division's Fraud Section met with Giuliani to discuss a bribery case in which he and other attorneys were representing the defendants.That meeting took place before the U.S. attorney's office in Manhattan publicly charged the two Giuliani associates, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, with breaking campaign finance laws and trying to unlawfully influence politicians, including former Rep. Pete Sessions, R-Texas. Parnas and Fruman were part of Giuliani's effort to push Ukraine for an inquiry into Democrats."When Mr. Benczkowski and fraud section lawyers met with Mr. Giuliani, they were not aware of any investigation of Mr. Giuliani's associates in the Southern District of New York and would not have met with him had they known," said Peter Carr, a department spokesman.The Justice Department's public statement Sunday illustrates the unusual and broad set of roles that the president's personal lawyer has played in the scandal that has engulfed the White House and imperiled Trump's presidency.Even as Giuliani ran a shadow foreign policy campaign to pressure Ukraine to investigate the president's political enemies -- which is now at the heart of an impeachment inquiry against Trump -- he and his business associates were under criminal investigation for unlawfully wielding political influence. And while all of this was happening, Giuliani still served as a lawyer to clients with cases to plead before the Justice Department.In distancing itself from Giuliani and trying to draw bright lines around how the Justice Department will and will not engage with him, the department has also undercut the perception that Giuliani can influence some of Washington's most important lawyers and decision-makers. That could make it harder for Giuliani to represent clients who are under Justice Department scrutiny in the future."This is an incredibly unusual statement from the Justice Department, which does not comment on ongoing investigations or even acknowledge them, and it's the kind of statement that would give clients pause about who is representing them," said Joyce Vance, a former federal prosecutor.Giuliani did not respond to a request for comment.While the Southern District of New York has been investigating Giuliani's associates -- an inquiry that may be tied to a broader investigation of Giuliani himself -- prosecutors there had not told Benczkowski of the Criminal Division of the case, as he does not oversee or supervise their work. The U.S. attorney's offices report to the deputy attorney general, Jeffrey A. Rosen.Prosecutors in Manhattan informed Attorney General William Barr about the investigation of Parnas and Fruman soon after he was confirmed in February, according to a Justice Department official. They were required to do so under the department's rule that requires prosecutors to notify the attorney general of any cases that could generate national news media or congressional attention.When Giuliani and other lawyers requested the meeting with the Justice Department to discuss a foreign bribery case, Benczkowski and the lawyers in the Fraud Section had not been informed of the Manhattan case and agreed to meet.Last week, Giuliani told The New York Times that he was being unfairly attacked by reporters and lawmakers and that questions about his behavior would "destroy" his business."I can't publicly defend everything I do because I'm presumed guilty," Giuliani said in a text message. "If I did, my business and firm would be unable to have any clients."Foreign business leaders and politicians have long hired those with ties to the White House as consultants, paid back channels to the administration who could plead their cases and present their interests to U.S. decision-makers.Trump, however, was not connected to the usual array of Washington power brokers who had built lucrative businesses off their ties to U.S. leaders, and Giuliani was perceived as the rare figure who could provide a direct line to the president.Now that tie to the Justice Department seems to be gone, and Giuliani himself is a person of interest in at least two federal investigations.While The Times and other publications have reported that Giuliani is being investigated by prosecutors in Manhattan, the Justice Department and the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York have declined to confirm or deny an investigation into him. But any such inquiry would make it difficult for the department to work with him on any of his clients' cases."Giuliani can continue to represent clients before the department because people are innocent until proven guilty, but it's unclear whether a client would want to have a lawyer who is being scrutinized in so many investigations," Vance said.This article originally appeared in The New York Times.(C) 2019 The New York Times Company


10/21/2019 6:05:06 AM

Thousands protest against Bangladesh police after deadly shootingsThousands protested against police across Bangladesh on Monday, a day after at least four people died when officers fired on a crowd in one of the country's deadliest religious riots to date. Some 20,000 Muslims called for the execution of a young Hindu man on Bhola island Sunday for writing Facebook messages that allegedly defamed the Prophet Mohammed, with police saying they opened fire after rocks were thrown at officers. Mob attacks over online posts perceived to be blasphemous have emerged as a major headache for security forces in Bangladesh, where Muslims make up some 90 percent of the country's 168 million people.


10/21/2019 3:52:22 AM

China Is Building 'The Mother of All Bombs': ReportAmerica already has one.


10/21/2019 8:44:00 AM

Seth Meyers Blasts Mulvaney and Pompeo’s Disastrous Sunday Show SpinNBCSeth Meyers had a lot of news to catch up on when he returned from vacation on Monday. And much of it had to do with the Trump administration’s failed attempts to clean up its multiple calamities on the Sunday shows over the weekend. The Late Night host began with Trump’s “acting” Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, who went on Fox News Sunday to explain why the president announced that he would be holding the G7 conference at his Miami Doral resort in Florida and then reversed his decision after loud protests from both sides of the political aisle. It’s Not Just Ronan Farrow: NBC News Killed My Rape-Allegation Story TooStephen Colbert Mocks Mitt Romney’s ‘Embarrassing’ Secret Twitter Account“He was honestly surprised at the level of pushback,” Mulvaney said, adding, “At the end of the day, you know, he still considers himself to be in the hospitality business.” “OK, first of all, he’s not in the hospitality business, he’s the president,” Meyers said. “And second, Trump was never in the hospitality business. Hospitality is when you show warmth and compassion to guests and strangers. Trump was in the ruthless-real-estate-asshole-who-stands-like-a-baboon-on-his-hind-legs business.” Later, Meyers turned to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who appeared on ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos and repeatedly refused to acknowledge Mulvaney’s confession that there had, in fact, been a “quid pro quo” with Ukraine. “You could see his brain short-circuit in real time,” Meyers said before playing the now infamous of clip of Pompeo trying to dodge the host’s questions until George Stephanopoulos stopped him in his tracks by reminding him of Mulvaney’s admission. “Wow, normally when someone takes that long to answer a question on TV a red ‘X’ pops up on screen,” Meyers joked, taking on the persona of a game show host. “Top five answers on the board, name a country that the president has colluded with.” As Pompeo sat there silently, he finally said, “Sorry, the answer we were looking for was Ukraine.”  Sean Hannity Goes Off on Mick Mulvaney: ‘I Just Think He’s 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.


10/21/2019 10:07:36 PM

'Lost' Road Built by Christ's Executioner UnearthedPontius Pilate likely commissioned the street during or after 31 AD.


10/21/2019 11:52:00 AM

U.S. Supreme Court tosses challenge to Republican-drawn Michigan electoral mapsThe U.S. Supreme Court on Monday threw out a challenge to Republican-drawn electoral districts in Michigan that Democrats said were illegally configured to dilute their voting power, an action taken in the aftermath of major rulings by the justices in June prohibiting federal courts from hearing such claims. The Supreme Court's action voided an order in April by a three-judge panel to rework 34 districts in the state legislature and U.S. House of Representatives whose boundaries were crafted purely to advantage Republicans, a practice known as partisan gerrymandering. In a blow to election reformers, the justices found that federal courts have no role to play in reining in electoral map manipulation by politicians aimed at entrenching one party in power.


10/21/2019 7:54:05 AM

Judge asked to stop student suspension over note about rapeA high school activist's comment about rape posted on a bathroom mirror represents constitutionally protected free speech — and punishing her would discourage young victims from coming forward, an attorney said Monday. The sticky note that proclaimed "There's a rapist in our school and you know who it is" aimed to call attention to the unaddressed problem of sexual assaults, said Emma Bond from the American Civil Liberties of Maine. U.S. District Judge Lance Walker, who listened to the arguments on Monday, said he'll rule soon on Aela Mansmann's request to intervene to stop a three-day suspension imposed by school administrators.


10/21/2019 12:47:24 PM