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GOP group removes post calling congresswomen "Jihad Squad"

GOP group removes post calling congresswomen "Jihad Squad"The Chicago Tribune reported that it showed images of Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley and Rashida Tlaib on a poster. Trump harshly criticized progressive members of Congress without identifying them by name, tweeting that they should go back to where they came from.




POSTED JULY 21, 2019 10:16 PM

Lawmaker describes 'unacceptable' border detention conditions, meets with US citizen in Border Patrol custody

Lawmaker describes 'unacceptable' border detention conditions, meets with US citizen in Border Patrol custodyA U.S. lawmaker described 'unacceptable' border detention facilities while meeting with a U.S. citizen in Border Patrol custody.




POSTED JULY 20, 2019 3:46 PM

90% of Border Crossers Aren’t Referred for Asylum Interviews

90% of Border Crossers Aren’t Referred for Asylum InterviewsThe government is implementing a new proposal that would ban asylum for immigrants coming to the United States through Mexico. It pins the uptick in border crossers on the asylum process, but the government’s statistics reveal that 90 percent of crossers in 2019 were not referred for an asylum interview at the border, and the highest share ever referred was just 19 percent in 2018.In fact, the rate of referral was just 7 percent in March 2019. This strongly indicates that the asylum ban will not have its intended effects. Figure 1 compares the rate at which undocumented immigrants at the southwest border were referred for asylum interviews at the border—called credible fear interviews—for each year from 2010 and 2019 as well as March 2019—the most recent month available. In no year has more than one in five immigrants stopped either at or between ports of entry entered the asylum process from the border.The pattern is not significantly different for immigrants from Central America’s Northern Triangle—Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador. The highest percentage of credible fear claims was just 30 percent in 2016, and the rate for 2019 is 9 percent. March 2019 was actually just 6 percent. In other words, at the border at least, the asylum ban will have very little effect on most Central American crossers.




POSTED JULY 21, 2019 1:22 PM

Iran pays tribute to late UN atomic agency chief

Iran pays tribute to late UN atomic agency chiefIran's deputy foreign minister Abbas Araghchi paid tribute to the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Yukiya Amano, after his death was announced on Monday. "My deep condolences... We worked very closely," tweeted Araghchi, who took part in the negotiations for a hard-won nuclear deal agreed between Iran and world powers in 2015. "I commend his skillful and professional performance... (that) resulted in complete closure" of the file on the "possible military dimension" of Iran's nuclear programme.




POSTED JULY 22, 2019 7:42 AM

Kenyan finance minister arrested on graft charges

Kenyan finance minister arrested on graft chargesKenyan Finance Minister Henry Rotich was arrested on Monday on suspicion of financial misconduct related to the construction of two dams, an unprecedented detention of a sitting minister for corruption in a country notorious for graft. Rotich denied any wrongdoing in a large newspaper advertisement in March. Rotich and his co-accused face eight charges, ranging from conspiring to defraud and financial misconduct, Noordin Haji, the director of public prosecutions, said.




POSTED JULY 22, 2019 4:08 AM

Crew capsule designed to take US astronauts back to moon completed

Crew capsule designed to take US astronauts back to moon completedA space capsule designed to carry US astronauts back to the moon in five years’ time is ready, vice-president Mike Pence has revealed on the 50th anniversary of the historic Apollo 11 landing.NASA’s new Artemis lunar operation is aimed at returning humans to Earth's satellite, following in the footsteps of Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin in 1969 – but this time to set up camp, rather than just pay a flying visit.The new mission, scheduled for 2024, is itself designed as a springboard for a subsequent crewed spaceship to be sent to Mars for the first time.NASA said in a statement that Artemis 1 would launch its Orion spacecraft and Space Launch System (SLS) rocket around the moon in an initial test phase, after which a crew containing at least one female astronaut would touch down on the surface to establish a lunar base.“Thanks to the hard work of the men and women of NASA, and of American industry, the Orion crew vehicle for the Artemis 1 mission is complete and ready to begin preparations for its historic first flight,” Vice-President Pence told the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine, standing alongside Mr Pence with Aldrin and Armstrong’s son Rick, said: “Similar to the 1960s, we too have an opportunity to take a giant leap forward for all of humanity.“NASA is calling this the Artemis program in honour of Apollo’s twin sister in Greek mythology, the goddess of the moon. And we are well on our way to getting this done.”A module manufactured by Airbus in Bremen, Germany, that will power Orion during the mission, is in the process of being attached ready for a September flight to test its spaceworthiness.Mr Pence announced in March that NASA should return astronauts to the moon by 2024, halving the agency’s previous deadline to get there by 2028, and requested an extra $1.6bn funding from Congress.However, President Donald Trump on Friday indicated he was not interested in a mission going back to the moon.Mr Trump instead repeated his interest in a NASA mission that would take astronauts directly to Mars, a vastly more challenging and costly endeavour.“To get to Mars, you have to land on the moon, they say. Any way of going directly without landing on the moon? Is that a possibility?” the president asked Mr Bridenstine during an event in the Oval Office.Mr Bridenstine responded: ”Well, we need to use the moon as a proving ground, because when we go to Mars, we’re going to have to be there for a long period of time, so we need to learn how to live and work on another world.”The Artemis program’s objective is to conduct a series of manned and unmanned missions to the moon, using its surface as a proving ground for technologies that could lay the groundwork for the longer and more complex missions to Mars as soon as 2033, Mr Bridenstine has said.Agencies contributed to this report




POSTED JULY 20, 2019 6:28 PM

2020 Candidates Delayed Paying Staff to Look Richer on Paper

2020 Candidates Delayed Paying Staff to Look Richer on PaperDrew Angerer/GettyFor months, Sen. Amy Klobuchar’s (D-MN) presidential campaign made regular payments to its staff and vendors, with varying daily expenditures that never exceeded $335,000. But on April 1, 2019, the campaign’s spending exploded.Whereas Klobuchar’s campaign spent an average of about $55,000 per day through the end of June, according to FEC filings, it dropped a whopping $624,000 on the first day of April, including a $300,000 payment to the campaign’s digital vendor.  That massive uptick in expenses was likely due to the fact that April 1 marked the beginning of the new fundraising quarter. By putting off the payments until then, Klobuchar was able to put the best possible spin on her presidential campaign’s financial position during the previous three months. If those expenses had come a day earlier, Klobuchar’s cash on hand figure would have been roughly $6.35 million. Instead, the campaign was able to claim roughly $7 million in reserves—a sum that placed her among the better-positioned Democrats in the presidential race. A Daily Beast review of campaign finance records indicates that the delayed-expenses strategy has continued through the just completed cycle, and has involved payments to campaign staffers as well.Klobuchar Gets Barr to Defend Trump Over and Over AgainKlobuchar, whose campaign did not respond to multiple requests for comment, is one of at least four Democratic presidential candidates who appear to have skipped a staff payday at the end of June, putting off that pay period until the beginning of the following month and hence transferring the expense to the next quarter’s balance sheets.Virtually every campaign engages in forms of accounting gimmicks in order to enhance their financial standings. Veterans of past and current races say that it is common to try and delay spending to future quarters in order to bolster cash reserves that have to reported at filing deadlines. That pressure is particularly acute in elections with crowded fields (such as the 2020 Democratic primary) when reporters, donors, and voters are ever attuned to any signs of momentum or lack thereof.For some campaigns, the ability to put off a payroll payment—whether by design or coincidence—made a substantial difference. That’s most true for the Klobuchar campaign, which reported $186,000 in salary expenditures on its last reported pay day, June 15.Federal Election Commission records indicate that the campaign was otherwise paying staffers on the 15th and last day of each month. But no paychecks went out at the end of June, according to its second quarter financial filing. Klobuchar didn’t simply eliminate those expenses by postponing the last payroll payment of the second quarter. That’s because her campaign appears to have put off its last pay period of the first quarter as well after writing salary checks on February 20, February 28, and March 15, the next payments went out on April 1. But her staff, and accompanying payroll expenses, were larger in June than in March. And at some point, she will either have to make all wage payments or simply not pay her staff. And by kicking the can down the road, she has been able to avoid taking the hit on a campaign finance filing for the time being. Three other campaigns also departed from previous payroll schedules by skipping end-of-month paychecks last month, according to a review of campaign finance records. Rep. John Delaney’s (D-MD) campaign said the change in schedule was simply a product of switching to a new payroll management service that restructured that schedule.Sen. Michael Bennett (D-CO) and Gov. Jay Inslee (D-WA) both attributed it to the fact that June 30 was a Sunday, so checks went out the following day. But it’s common practice for employers to send out paychecks on the preceding Friday when paydays fall on a weekend. The decision to do so the following Monday served, intentionally or not, to boost apparent cash-on-hand figures at the end of the quarter in a way that shrouded the campaigns’ actual liabilities.There’s nothing improper or problematic with structuring campaign payments in order to present the best possible picture of its financial situation. But an understanding that campaigns do so, and how they do so, can give the public a better grasp of the financial standing of the various political camps vying for the 2020 Democratic nomination.Delayed payroll payments can be relatively small fractions of total cash on hand figures. But campaign staffers are not heavily compensated employees to begin with. And the absence of a regular paycheck—even by just a matter of days—can cause life complications. “I haven’t heard of this practice before but I am not surprised,” said Kim McMurray, an executive council member of the Campaign Workers Guild and a former organizer for 2020 contender Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT). “FEC timing deadlines are such an important moment for campaigns to show enthusiasm, support, etc. so campaigns want to show the largest number possible.”“It is very disappointing if this came at the expense of the workers,” McMurray added.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.




POSTED JULY 22, 2019 4:54 AM

Thousands in Brooklyn still in dark as New York City deals with another power outage

Thousands in Brooklyn still in dark as New York City deals with another power outageCon Edison tweeted at 4 a.m. Monday that about half of the 33,000 customers in Brooklyn had power restored after a blackout Sunday.




POSTED JULY 22, 2019 10:34 AM

Biden Leads in CBS Democratic Poll but Faces Enthusiasm Gap

Biden Leads in CBS Democratic Poll but Faces Enthusiasm Gap(Bloomberg) -- Joe Biden remains the top choice among Democratic voters in states that will hold early presidential primary and caucus contests in 2020, as four main contenders emerged as the top tier of the large field, a new CBS News poll showed on Sunday.Biden had 25% support as voters’ first choice for the Democratic nominee, with Senators Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts at 20% and Kamala Harris of California at 16% gaining ground on the former vice president. Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont was fourth in the survey with 15% support. No other candidate reached double-digit support in the poll.Biden continued to benefit from his perceived electability against President Donald Trump in the general election, with 75% of likely voters considering voting for him because they think he could beat Trump. Meanwhile, 85% of those considering Biden cited his time as former President Barack Obama’s vice president as a reason for choosing him.Still, there’s an enthusiasm gap for Biden among some primary voters, the poll found. A majority of those surveyed, 56%, said Warren would fight “a great deal” for people like them, and 54% said the same of Sanders. Only 38% described Biden that way.When asked who has been the most “passionate” so far, Warren and Sanders each had 28%, while Biden had just 14%. Warren, who has touted her policy proposals, was seen as the most specific candidate, with 42%, while Harris was seen as the strongest with 32%.Despite recent criticism of Biden by other candidates, 68% of respondents in the poll said they considered his record on race relations good or excellent, with 76% of black voters rating his career positively in that regard. Biden and Harris clashed in the first presidential debates over the former Delaware senator’s opposition to busing in the 1970s.Debate BoostThat debate appeared to have boosted Harris, with 63% of those considering her in the poll saying her performance was a reason they were taking a look at her, while 49% said the same for Warren. Harris and Biden will next face off with eight other candidates on the second night of the presidential primary debates in Detroit on July 31, while Sanders and Warren will be among those appearing on the first night July 30.Harris and Biden are also neck-and-neck in the former’s home state of California, which will award a hefty delegate total. Biden is the first choice of 24% in the most-populous state, with 23% favoring Harris. Biden had a much more comfortable lead in South Carolina, where he has courted the state’s heavily black Democratic voters and focused on his relationship to Obama, the first black president. Biden is the first choice of 39% of respondents in South Carolina, followed by Sanders at 17% and Harris at 12%, the poll showed.Biden also led Sanders as voters’ first choice in both Iowa and New Hampshire, the first two voting states, according to the CBS poll.The survey also showed ideological splits within the party, even as 61% of respondents described themselves as somewhat or very liberal. Warren is winning among liberal voters, taking 26%, while Biden is carrying moderates and conservatives, according to the poll.According to the survey, 59% would prefer someone who agrees with them on policy, even if that person must forgo civility. Biden does best with those who prefer civility, CBS said.The CBS poll was conducted July 9-18 by YouGov. A sample of 18,550 registered voters were polled in 18 states that will hold Democratic primaries or caucuses before and on March 3, known as Super Tuesday. The sample included 8,760 self-identified Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents, and the margin of error was about plus or minus 1.5 percentage points.(Adds additional details from third paragraph.)To contact the reporters on this story: Ros Krasny in Washington at rkrasny1@bloomberg.net;Ben Brody in Washington at btenerellabr@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Craig Gordon at cgordon39@bloomberg.net, Mark Niquette, Kevin MillerFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.




POSTED JULY 21, 2019 5:08 PM

Aide: Trump criticism of US not same as 4 Democrats' words

Aide: Trump criticism of US not same as 4 Democrats' wordsA top White House adviser on Sunday claimed there was a "huge difference" between Donald Trump's criticisms of America during the 2016 presidential campaign and the critiques by four Democratic congresswomen of color with whom Trump is feuding over the direction of the country. Trying to explain why the lawmakers' complaints should be seen as worse than Trump's, Miller said there is no comparison between agitating for stricter enforcement of immigration laws and better trade deals, as he said Trump was doing, and threatening to undermine the American way of life, as he asserted the lawmakers want to do.




POSTED JULY 21, 2019 3:25 PM

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