Tag Archives: Political issues

5 things to know today


Here are a few things to know about the day’s news from The Associated Press

Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today:

1. FEDERAL MONEY FOR PANDEMIC TRICKLING DOWN Congress has allocated trillions to ease the coronavirus crisis. A joint Kaiser Health News and AP investigation finds many communities with big outbreaks have spent little of that money on local public health departments.

2. GOLDEN STATE KILLER’S VICTIMS TO SPEAK Nearly three-dozen victims or survivors plan to tell their stories before Joseph James DeAngelo is formally sentenced to life in prison.

3. TRUMP RALLIES DEMOCRATS As the party gathers virtually this week to nominate Joe Biden for the presidency, party leaders and activists across the political spectrum agree on one unifying force: their desire to defeat the president.

4. VERDICTS UPCOMING IN ASSASSINATION OF FORMER LEBANESE PM A U.N.-backed tribunal in the Netherlands is announcing verdicts this week in the trial of four members of the militant group Hezbollah who were allegedly involved in the killing of Rafik Hariri.

5. CORONAVIRUS GROUNDS AIR TRAVEL Airlines are trying to convince a frightened public that measures like mandatory face masks and hospital-grade air filters make sitting in a plane safer than other indoor settings, but it isn’t working.


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Students push universities to stop investing in fossil fuels


NEW HAVEN, Conn. —
Students alarmed by climate change are stepping up pressure on universities to pull investments from fossil fuel industries, an effort that is gaining traction at prestigious schools like Georgetown, Harvard and Yale.

The push that is underway at hundreds of schools began nearly a decade ago, and student activists increasingly have learned from one another’s tactics and moved to act amid worsening predictions about the effects of climate change on the planet.

Georgetown University’s board of directors announced this month that it will end private investments in coal, oil and gas companies within the next decade, and some faculty at Harvard have called for a similar shift. There were sit-ins and demonstrations last week at dozens of schools, including Gonzaga University, the University of Wisconsin, University of Pittsburgh and Cornell University.

Several dozen schools have stopped investing at least partially in fossil fuels, but there is debate over how much the move slows the effects of climate change or affects the bottom line of companies like Chevron and Exxon Mobil.

Many schools have defended their investments, citing a duty to preserve and grow the income they receive from donations, while touting efforts to use investments as leverage to engage energy companies, find solutions for climate change through research and make campuses carbon neutral by not causing any net increases in heat-trapping carbon dioxide.

For student activists, it’s about taking a moral and political stand.

At Yale University, which has a $30.3 billion endowment, the Faculty of Arts and Sciences Senate on Thursday will discuss the university’s ethical obligations regarding fossil fuel investments. It became a big issue partly due to a widely covered student protest that disrupted a November football game between Harvard and Yale.

“Yale has to take it seriously. We forced them to take it seriously. The faculty discussions are evidence of that,” said Ben Levin, a student leader with the Yale Endowment Justice Coalition. “They’re also evidence of the fact that the faculty are incredibly concerned because they don’t want to be working for a university that’s on the wrong side of the most pressing issue of our time.”

Yale says it has supported shareholder resolutions calling for companies to reveal what they’re doing to address climate change and asked endowment managers not to invest in companies that fail to take steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but student activists want a clean break.

The campus actions are part of a broader push for insurers, pension funds and governments worldwide to end fossil fuel investments.

Environmentalist and author Bill McKibben, a leader of the movement to stop such investments, said students have played a huge role.

“They’ve kept it up through two generations of undergraduates. Administrators hoped they’d graduate and that would be the end of the pressure, but instead it keeps building,” said McKibben, a scholar in residence at Middlebury College, which announced last year it would divest its $1.1 billion endowment from fossil fuels.

Student government leaders from the Big Ten Conference called last month for their 14 schools to begin divesting from fossil fuels, passing a resolution that cited the conclusion of the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that greenhouse gas emissions are driving climate change.

A challenge for institutions is the prevalence of investments in index funds, which makes it difficult to separate out the roughly 4 percent of energy stocks in such funds, said John Jurewitz, a lecturer in economics at Pomona College. Colleges pulling their investments also wouldn’t likely hurt oil companies, which have their own internal cash flows, he said.

“It’s mainly a political statement about what the university is willing to invest in,” Jurewitz said. “It may be a worthwhile statement if you believe it will help get the ball rolling toward getting some realistic, meaningful policy like a carbon tax or cap and trade, something that will put a price on the carbon in some practical way.”

The Independent Petroleum Association of America has pushed back with its own campaign, arguing divestment would cost university endowments millions a year with little impact on carbon emissions.

At Harvard, which has a $40.9 billion endowment, President Lawrence Bacow said he would take a faculty motion to the Harvard Corporation, the university’s executive board. In the past, administrators have outlined steps Harvard is taking to address climate change while arguing that ending fossil fuel investments wouldn’t have a big effect and that it makes little sense to sever ties with energy companies that heat and light the campus.

Connor Chung, a first-year student and organizer for Fossil Fuel Divest Harvard, said the group hopes the university will reconsider.

“At the end of the day, our goal is environmental justice,” he said. “Divestment is our tactic for getting there, but it’s not going to work unless we have a broader movement around the country and around the world of students demanding that their institutions end their complicity in the climate crisis.”

A group of Harvard students also want to stop investments in prisons and companies that contract with them. They sued Wednesday, arguing the school is violating state law by investing in an industry they describe as “present-day slavery.” Harvard officials didn’t immediately respond to an email seeking comment on the lawsuit.

At George Washington University, sophomore Izy Carney said a student campaign has taken inspiration from the activism of students elsewhere, including in the University of California system, which announced a plan to end fossil fuel investments in 2019.

After hearing from student activists, George Washington’s board of trustees announced a task force this month on managing environmental responsibility. But it did not mention divestment as a possibility.

Carney, a member of Sunrise GW, a student group dedicated to fighting climate change, said they would keep up the pressure.

“Right now, it sounds like profits is what our university is after,” Carney said. “We just want to make sure our school is doing everything it can to make sure it is not contributing to the climate crisis.”


Associated Press writer Alanna Durkin Richer in Boston contributed to this report.


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Pompeo in UK to talk Huawei, post-Brexit trade deal


U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says the United States and Britain will retain and enhance their special relationship after the U.K.’s departure from the European Union this week

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Thursday that the U.S. and Britain would retain and enhance their special relationship once the U.K. leaves the European Union this week. He also said that American unhappiness with the British decision to allow the Chinese tech company Huawei to play a role in the country’s high-speed wireless network would not affect broader ties.

As President Donald Trump’s Senate impeachment trial neared a close in Washington, Pompeo met with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson to re-register American concerns about Huawei. But he stressed that he expected they could be addressed as more details emerge on what limits will be placed on the company and with advances in communications technology.

Pompeo played down concerns that Huawei’s presence in Britain’s 5G network would severely disrupt intelligence sharing within the so-called “Five Eyes” partnership of English-speaking nations that includes the U.S., Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

“That relationship is deep. It is strong, it will remain,” Pompeo said at an event with British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab before meeting Johnson. “I am confident that as we work together to figure out how to implement this decision that we’ll work to get this right.”

“We were trying to make the case, as we made the case with every country in the world, that we think putting Huawei technology anywhere in your system is very, very difficult to mitigate and therefore not worth the gamble,” he said.

“But as we move forward together to make sure that next generation of technology is right, is secure and operates a under a Western set of values and system, we’ll get to the right place,” Pompeo said.

The U.S. has been lobbying European allies to ban Huawei over concerns it could be compelled to help with electronic eavesdropping after Beijing enacted a 2017 national intelligence law. U.S. officials also worry that 5G networks would rely heavily on software, leaving them open to vulnerabilities, and have repeatedly warned they would have to reconsider intelligence sharing with allies that use Huawei. The company has denied the allegations.

On Tuesday, Britain decided to let Huawei have a limited role supplying new high-speed network equipment to wireless carriers, ignoring Washington’s warnings that it would sever intelligence sharing if the company wasn’t banned.

Britain’s decision was the first by a major U.S. ally in Europe, and follows intense lobbying from the Trump administration as the U.S. vies with China for technological dominance.

Huawei is not expected to greatly affect negotiations on a post-Brexit free trade deal that Britain is counting on after its divorce from the EU on Friday. Trump has pledged that the U.S. and Britain will negotiate a major free-trade deal as soon as Brexit is complete and officials have already begun discussions on the plan.

Pompeo said that the U.S. would put Britain “at the front of the line” in its trade relationships and that the Trump administration had great confidence in the British people as they move ahead outside of the EU framework. He said he expected U.S.-British trade ties to exponentially increase once Britain is freed from EU commercial restrictions.

Pompeo is in London on the first leg of a trip to Europe and Central Asia that will also take him to Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan.

The centerpiece of the trip will be a two-day stop in Ukraine that begins later Thursday when Pompeo will become the most senior U.S. official to visit Kyiv and meet with President Volodymyr Zelenskiy since the impeachment process began last year.

Ukraine is at the center of the impeachment charges against Trump who is accused of obstructing Congress and abuse of office for withholding critical military aid to the country in exchange for an investigation into alleged corruption by the son of former Vice President Joe Biden, a political rival. Those allegations got a boost earlier this week when a manuscript of former national security adviser John Bolton’s upcoming book was revealed to echo the claim.

The Senate is expected to vote on hearing impeachment witnesses, including possibly Bolton, on Friday. Bolton maintains that Trump was in fact withholding the aid in exchange for a public pledge of a probe into Biden as witnesses testified before the House impeachment inquiry.

Ukraine has been delicate subject for Pompeo, who over the weekend lashed out at a National Public Radio reporter for asking questions about why he has not publicly defended the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, who was removed from her post early after unsubstantiated allegations were made against her by Trump’s personal attorney Rudolph Giuliani.

Pompeo has twice postponed earlier planned trips to Ukraine, most recently in early January when developments with Iran forced him to cancel. In Kyiv, Pompeo said he plans to discuss the issue of corruption but demurred when asked if he would specifically raise the Bidens or the energy company Burisma for which Hunter Biden worked.

“I don’t want to talk about particular individuals. It’s not worth it,” he told reporters aboard his plane to London. “It’s a long list in Ukraine of corrupt individuals and a long history there. And President Zelenskiy has told us he’s committed to it. The actions he’s taken so far demonstrate that, and I look forward to having a conversation about that with him as well.”


Follow AP’s full coverage of Brexit and British politics at: https://www.apnews.com/Brexit


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AP sources: Trump allies sought adjustments at Ukraine utility


As Rudy Giuliani was pushing Ukrainian officers final spring to research one in all Donald Trump’s major political rivals, a gaggle of people with ties to the president and his private lawyer had been additionally energetic within the former Soviet republic.

Their goals had been revenue, not politics. This circle of businessmen and Republican donors touted connections to Giuliani and Trump whereas attempting to put in new administration on the high of Ukraine’s huge state fuel firm. Their plan was to then steer profitable contracts to firms managed by Trump allies, in response to two individuals with data of their plans.

Their plan hit a snag after Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko misplaced his reelection bid to Volodymyr Zelenskiy, whose dialog with Trump about former Vice President Joe Biden is now on the heart of the Home impeachment inquiry of Trump.

However the effort to put in a friendlier administration crew on the helm of the fuel firm, Naftogaz, would quickly be taken up with Ukraine’s new president by U.S. Vitality Secretary Rick Perry, whose slate of candidates included a fellow Texan who’s one in all Perry’s previous political donors.

It is unclear if Perry’s makes an attempt to switch board members at Naftogaz had been coordinated with the Giuliani allies pushing for the same final result, and nobody has alleged that there’s legal exercise in any of those efforts. And it is unclear what function, if any, Giuliani had in serving to his purchasers push to get fuel gross sales agreements with the state-owned firm.

However the affair exhibits how these with ties to Trump and his administration had been pursuing enterprise offers in Ukraine that went far past advancing the president’s private political pursuits. It additionally raises questions on whether or not Trump allies had been mixing enterprise and politics simply as Republicans had been calling for a probe of Biden and his son Hunter, who served 5 years on the board of one other Ukrainian power firm, Burisma.

On Friday, in response to the information web site Axios, Trump informed a gaggle of Republican lawmakers that it had been Perry who had prompted the telephone name by which Trump requested Zelenskiy for a “favor” concerning Biden. Axios cited a supply saying Trump stated Perry had requested Trump to make the decision to debate “one thing about an LNG (liquefied pure fuel) plant.”

Whereas it is unclear whether or not Trump’s comment Friday referred particularly to the behind-the-scenes maneuvers this spring involving the multibillion-dollar state fuel firm, The Related Press has interviewed 4 individuals with direct data of the makes an attempt to affect Naftogaz, and their accounts present Perry taking part in a key function within the effort. Three of the 4 spoke on situation of anonymity for concern of retaliation. The fourth is an American businessman with shut ties to the Ukrainian power sector.

A spokeswoman for the U.S. Vitality Division stated Perry, a former Texas governor and Republican presidential candidate, was not advancing anybody’s private pursuits. She stated his conversations with Ukrainian officers about Naftogaz had been a part of his efforts to reform the nation’s power sector and create an surroundings the place Western firms can do enterprise.

The Trump and Giuliani allies driving the try to alter the senior administration at Naftogazt, nevertheless, seem to have had inside data of the U.S. authorities’s plans in Ukraine. For instance, they informed folks that Trump would substitute the U.S. ambassador there months earlier than she was truly recalled to Washington, in response to three of the people interviewed by the AP. One of many people stated he was so involved by the entire affair that he reported it to a U.S. Embassy official in Ukraine months in the past.


Ukraine, a resource-rich nation that sits on the geographic and symbolic border between Russia and the West, has lengthy been suffering from corruption and authorities dysfunction, making it a magnet for international profiteers.

On the heart of the Naftogaz plan, in response to three people accustomed to the main points, had been three such businessmen: two Soviet-born Florida actual property entrepreneurs, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, and an oil magnate from Boca Raton, Florida, named Harry Sargeant III.

Parnas and Fruman have made tons of of hundreds of {dollars} in political donations to Republicans, together with $325,000 to a Trump-allied political motion committee in 2018. This helped the comparatively unknown entrepreneurs acquire entry to high ranges of the Republican Celebration — together with conferences with Trump on the White Home and Mar-a-Lago.

The 2 have additionally confronted lawsuits from disgruntled traders over unpaid money owed. Throughout the identical interval they had been pursuing the Naftogaz deal, the 2 had been coordinating with Giuliani to arrange conferences with Ukrainian authorities officers and push for an investigation of the Bidens.

Sargeant, his spouse and company entities tied to the household have donated a minimum of $1.2 million to Republican campaigns and PACs over the past 20 years, together with $100,000 in June to the Trump Victory Fund, in response to federal and state marketing campaign finance data. He has additionally served as finance chair of the Florida state GOP, and gave almost $14,000 to Giuliani’s failed 2008 presidential marketing campaign.

In early March, Fruman, Parnas and Sargeant had been touting a plan to switch Naftogaz CEO Andriy Kobolyev with one other senior government on the firm, Andrew Favorov, in response to two people who spoke to the AP in addition to a memorandum concerning the assembly that was later submitted to the U.S. Embassy in Kiev.

Going again to the Obama administration, the U.S. Vitality Division and the State Division have lengthy supported efforts to import American pure fuel into Ukraine to scale back the nation’s dependence on Russia.

The three approached Favorov with the thought whereas the Ukrainian government was attending an power trade convention in Texas. Parnas and Fruman informed him that they had flown in from Florida on a non-public jet to recruit him to be their associate in a brand new enterprise to export as much as 100 tanker shipments a 12 months of U.S. liquefied fuel into Ukraine, the place Naftogaz is the most important distributor, in response to two individuals briefed on the main points.

Sargeant informed Favorov that he frequently meets with Trump at Mar-a-Lago and that the gas-sales plan had the president’s full assist, in response to the 2 individuals who stated Favorov recounted the dialogue to them.

These conversations had been recounted to AP by Dale W. Perry, an American who’s a former enterprise associate of Favorov. He informed AP in an interview that Favorov described the assembly to him quickly after it occurred and that Favorov perceived it to be a shakedown. Perry, who isn’t any relation to the power secretary, is the managing associate of Vitality Sources of Ukraine, which at present has enterprise agreements to import pure fuel and electrical energy to Ukraine.

A second one who spoke on situation of anonymity additionally confirmed to the AP that Favorov had recounted particulars of the Houston assembly to him.

In accordance with Dale Perry and the opposite particular person, Favorov stated Parnas informed him Trump deliberate to take away U.S. Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch and substitute her with somebody extra open to aiding their enterprise pursuits.

Dale Perry informed the AP he was so involved concerning the efforts to alter the administration at Naftogaz and to eliminate Yovanovitch that he reported what he had heard to Suriya Jayanti, a State Division international service officer stationed on the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv who focuses on the power trade.

He additionally wrote an in depth memo about Favorov’s account, dated April 12, which was shared with one other present State Division official. Perry just lately supplied a duplicate of the April memo to AP.

Jayanti declined to supply remark. Favorov additionally declined to remark.

On March 24, Giuliani and Parnas gathered on the Trump Worldwide Resort in Washington with Healy E. Baumgardner, a former Trump marketing campaign adviser who as soon as served as deputy communications director for Giuliani’s presidential marketing campaign and as a communications official in the course of the George W. Bush administration.

She is now listed because the CEO of 45 Vitality Group, a Houston-based power firm whose web site describes it as a “authorities relations, public affairs and enterprise growth follow group.”

This was a few weeks after the Houston assembly with Favorov, the Naftogaz government. Giuliani, Parnas and Baumgardner had been there to make a enterprise pitch involving fuel offers within the former Soviet bloc to a possible investor.

This time, in response to Giuliani, the offers that had been mentioned concerned Uzbekistan, not Ukraine.

“I’ve not pursued a deal within the Ukraine. I do not learn about a deal within the Ukraine. I’d not do a deal within the Ukraine now, clearly,” stated Giuliani, reached whereas attending a playoff baseball recreation between the New York Yankees and Minnesota Twins. “There may be completely no proof that I did it, as a result of I did not do it.”

Throughout this assembly, Parnas once more repeated that Yovanovitch, the U.S. ambassador in Kyiv, would quickly get replaced, in response to an individual with direct data of the gathering. She was eliminated two months later.

Giuliani, who serves as Trump’s private lawyer and has no official function in authorities, acknowledged Friday that he was amongst these pushing the president to switch the ambassador, a profession diplomat with a historical past of combating corruption.

“The ambassador to Ukraine was changed,” he stated. “I did play a job in that.”

However Giuliani refused to debate the main points of his enterprise dealings, or whether or not he helped his associates of their push to forge fuel gross sales contracts with the Ukrainian firm. He did describe Sergeant as a pal and referred to Parnas and Fruman as his purchasers in a tweet in Could.

As a part of their impeachment inquiry, Home Democrats have subpoenaed Giuliani for paperwork and communications associated to dozens of individuals, together with Favorov, Parnas, Fruman and Baumgardner’s 45 Vitality Group.

Baumgardner issued a written assertion, saying: “Whereas I will not touch upon enterprise discussions, I’ll say this: this political assault on non-public enterprise by the Democrats in Congress is full harassment and an invasion of privateness that ought to scare the hell out of each American enterprise proprietor.”

Baumgardner later denied that she had any enterprise dealings in Ukraine however refused to say whether or not the substitute of Ambassador Yovanovitch was mentioned.

Sargeant didn’t reply to a voice message left at a quantity listed for him at an handle in Boca Raton.

John Dowd, a former Trump lawyer who now represents Parnas and Fruman, stated it was truly the Naftogaz executives who approached his purchasers about making a deal. He says they then met with Rick Perry to get the Vitality Division on board.

“The individuals from the corporate solicited my purchasers as a result of Igor is within the fuel enterprise, and so they requested them, and so they flew to Washington and so they solicited,” Dowd stated. “They sat down and talked about it. After which it was introduced to Secretary Perry to see if they may get it collectively.

“It wasn’t a shakedown; it was an try to do legit enterprise that did not work out.”


In Could, Rick Perry traveled to Kyiv to function the senior U.S. authorities consultant on the inauguration of the county’s new president.

In a non-public assembly with Zelenskiy, Perry pressed the Ukrainian president to fireplace members of the Naftogaz advisory board. Attendees left the assembly with the impression that Perry wished to switch the American consultant, Amos Hochstein, a former diplomat and power consultant who served within the Obama administration, with somebody “respected in Republican circles,” in response to somebody who was within the room.

Perry’s push for Ukraine’s state-owned pure fuel firm Naftogaz to alter its supervisory board was first reported by Politico.

A second assembly in the course of the journey, at a Kyiv lodge, included Ukrainian officers and power sector individuals. There, Perry made clear that the Trump administration wished to see your complete Naftogaz supervisory board changed, in response to an individual who attended each conferences. Perry once more referenced the listing of advisers that he had given Zelenskiy, and it was broadly interpreted that he wished Michael Bleyzer, a Ukrainian-American businessman from Texas, to affix the newly shaped board, the particular person stated. Additionally on the listing was Robert Bensh, one other Texan who often works in Ukraine, the Vitality Division confirmed.

Gordon D. Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, and Kurt D. Volker, then the State Division’s particular envoy to Ukraine, had been additionally within the room, in response to images reviewed by AP. The particular person, who spoke on situation of anonymity as a consequence of concern of retaliation, stated he was floored by the American requests as a result of the particular person had all the time seen the U.S. authorities “as having a better moral commonplace.”

The Naftogaz supervisory board is meant to be chosen by the Ukrainian president’s Cupboard in session with worldwide establishments, together with the Worldwide Financial Fund, the USA and the European Union. It should be accepted by the Ukrainian Cupboard. Ukrainian officers perceived Perry’s push to swap out the board as circumventing that established course of, in response to the particular person within the room.

U.S. Vitality Division spokeswoman Shaylyn Hynes stated Perry had persistently referred to as for the modernization of Ukraine’s enterprise and power sector in an effort to create an surroundings that can incentivize Western firms to do enterprise there. She stated Perry delivered that very same message within the Could assembly with Zelenskiy.

“What he didn’t do is advocate for the enterprise pursuits of anyone particular person or firm,” Hynes stated Saturday. “That’s fiction being pushed by those that are disingenuously searching for to advance a nefarious narrative that doesn’t exist.”

Hynes stated the Ukrainian authorities had requested U.S. suggestions to advise the nation on power issues, and Perry supplied these suggestions. She confirmed Bleyzer was on the listing.

Bleyzer, whose firm relies in Houston, didn’t reply on Saturday to a voicemail searching for remark. Bensh additionally didn’t reply to a telephone message.

As a former Texas governor, Perry has all the time had shut ties to the oil and fuel trade. He appointed Bleyzer to a two-year time period on a state applied sciences fund board in 2009. The next 12 months, data present Bleyzer donated $20,000 to Perry’s reelection marketing campaign.

Zelenskiy’s workplace declined to touch upon Saturday.

In an interview Friday with the Christian Broadcasting Community, Perry stated that “as God as my witness” he by no means mentioned Biden or his son in conferences with Ukrainian or U.S. officers, together with Trump or Giuliani.

“This has been a really intense, a really targeted push to get Ukraine to wash up the corruption,” Perry stated within the interview. “I am unable to go in good religion and inform a U.S. firm, go and make investments right here, go and be concerned if the corruption is ongoing.”

He did affirm he had had a dialog with Giuliani by telephone, however a spokeswoman for the power secretary declined to say when that decision was or whether or not the 2 had mentioned Naftogaz.


Biesecker and Lardner reported from Washington.


Observe Related Press investigative reporters Desmond Butler at http://twitter.com/desmondbutler, Michael Biesecker at http://twitter.com/mbieseck, and Richard Lardner at http://twitter.com/rplardner


Contact AP’s international investigative crew at Investigative@ap.org.


This story has been corrected to indicate the particular person’s identify is Michael Bleyzer, not Robert.


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Trump cites his help for Medicare, slams Medicare for All


President Donald Trump on Thursday accused Democrats of an all-out try and “completely obliterate Medicare” and portrayed himself as this system’s defender as he signed a directive to develop this system’s personal insurance coverage choices.

Trump skipped previous his personal proposals for Medicare price range cuts, and he ignored the truth that no Democrat is proposing to take protection or advantages away from seniors.

Throughout a go to to The Villages, a bustling neighborhood for adults in Central Florida, Trump was attempting to show consideration away from Home Democrats’ impeachment inquiry and concentrate on pocket-book points as an alternative.

“That’s why they do the impeachment crap, as a result of they know they will’t beat us pretty,” he advised the pleasant viewers, which included many seniors. That a part of Florida voted overwhelmingly for Trump in 2016.

Well being care has emerged as a central difficulty for Democrats competing for his or her celebration’s 2020 presidential nomination. A lot of the talk has centered on Sen. Bernie Sanders’ “Medicare for All” plan, which might cowl everybody beneath a government-run plan and remove most personal insurance coverage. Trump stated electing a Democrat would jeopardize seniors’ entry to well being care.

“Medicare is beneath risk like by no means earlier than,” Trump stated. “Virtually each main Democrat in Washington has backed a large authorities well being care takeover that may completely obliterate Medicare.”

Removed from “obliterating’’ Medicare, Sanders says his plan would decrease prices and supply new advantages, together with protection for long-term care. Medicare, which covers about 60 million seniors and disabled individuals, is the federal government’s flagship well being care program.

Trump additionally signed an government order directing his administration to pursue modifications to Medicare. A lot of what he needs to do is geared towards enhancing Medicare Benefit, the personal insurance coverage choice picked by about one-third of seniors.

Medicare Benefit plans provide financial savings on premiums and an annual restrict on out-of-pocket prices. These plans present one-stop purchasing, eliminating the necessity for separate supplemental insurance coverage. Provided by main insurers, the plans additionally cowl prescribed drugs typically.

However there are trade-offs. Folks becoming a member of a Medicare Benefit plan typically should settle for limits on their alternative of hospitals and medical doctors in addition to prior insurer approval for sure procedures. If they modify their minds and determine to return to conventional Medicare, they’re not all the time assured supplemental “Medigap” protection, which can be personal.

The president’s order is mainly a to-do listing for the Division of Well being and Human Providers that can require months of follow-up. Among the many different priorities are an growth of telemedicine and modifications to keep away from overpaying for procedures simply because they get accomplished in a hospital as an alternative of a physician’s workplace.

Well being and Human Providers Secretary Alex Azar stated Trump’s order directs his division to look at whether or not its present insurance policies and practices put conventional Medicare forward of the personal Medicare Benefit choice. Some advocates for older individuals say that it’s the opposite means round and that the administration is attempting to place personal plans forward.

The manager order doesn’t contain a significant overhaul of Medicare, which might require congressional approval.

Thus far the talk about Medicare for All has primarily been about its projected prices to the federal government, estimated at $30 trillion to $40 trillion over 10 years.

The Sanders plan would remove most personal medical health insurance, together with the Medicare Benefit choice. Sanders, who unexpectedly underwent a coronary heart process this week, says Medicare for All would nonetheless provide seniors broader advantages and decrease prices.

Sanders’ type of single-payer well being care has lengthy been common amongst liberals. However current polling has proven {that a} majority of Democrats and independents who lean Democratic choose increasing protection by constructing on the Inexpensive Care Act, or the Obama-era well being regulation. Trump is asking federal courts to overturn that regulation as unconstitutional.

As a presidential candidate, Trump promised to not minimize Medicare. As president, he has prevented calling for privatization of this system, elevating the eligibility age past 65 or rolling again advantages.

However Trump’s newest price range proposed steep cuts in Medicare funds to hospitals and different service suppliers, prompting protests from the business and accusations by Democrats that he was going again on his guarantees to seniors. The Medicare cuts went nowhere in Congress.


Alonso-Zaldivar reported from Washington. Related Press author Deb Riechmann in Washington contributed to this report.


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Digital actuality used to focus on uranium contamination


Activists are utilizing digital actuality expertise to give attention to areas of the Navajo Nation affected by uranium contamination.

The humanities collective Bombshelltoe has collected 360-degree footage of land close to Churchrock, New Mexico, to indicate how folks and the land have modified since a 1979 uranium mill spill, the Gallup Unbiased stories .

The movie, titled “Methods of Figuring out,” was directed by artist Kayla Briet.

The undertaking began 4 years in the past after Washington, D.C.-based nuclear coverage program supervisor Pretty Umayam met Navajo activist Sunny Dooley at an occasion in Santa Fe. Filmmaker Adriel Luis can also be a co-producer of the film.

“Sunny requested us throughout this assembly, ‘The place is your coronary heart?’ And it caught my – together with everybody else’s – consideration,” Umayam mentioned.

In 1979, a dam on the Navajo Nation close to Church Rock broke at a uranium mill’s evaporation pond, releasing 94 million gallons (356 million liters) of radioactive waste into the Puerco River.

It was the biggest unintended launch of radioactive materials in United States historical past and thrice the radiation launched on the Three Mile Island accident.

The radiation contaminated not solely water however the meals chain. Cattle in western New Mexico later confirmed greater ranges of radiation.

Dooley, who lives in Chi Chil Tah, New Mexico, mentioned she has felt the direct results of the massive spill that went down the Rio Puerco and contaminated the water and soil in her group.

Throughout a latest presentation of the digital actuality footage, Dooley talked about her day by day lifetime of not having the ability to have working water in her dwelling as a result of it’s contaminated. “I’ve to come back to Gallup to get my water and take it again dwelling,” she mentioned.

Umayam mentioned the group wished to make use of the brand new expertise of digital actuality with the tales to deliver a real expertise and present the affect of uranium mining.

She mentioned the undertaking is near being completed, however with each presentation they get extra info and make tweaks to the system.


This story has been up to date to say that the movie is titled “Methods of Figuring out” and was made by artist Kayla Briet. The story additionally has been revised to say that the footage is of land close to Churchrock, New Mexico.


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MLS groups navigate new ‘no political show’ coverage


Main League Soccer’s new coverage that bans political shows at matches is stirring controversy within the Pacific Northwest, the place supporters’ tradition is usually intertwined with politics and social points.

The Seattle Sounders and the Portland Timbers have banned indicators and flags with the “Iron Entrance” image, which they are saying has turn out to be appropriated by some within the loosely structured antifa motion, at occasions within the context of violence.

The image of three arrows pointing downward and to the left dates again to an anti-Nazi paramilitary group fashioned in Germany within the 1930s. Supporters’ teams preserve the image represents opposition to fascism and persecution — a human rights problem, not a political stance.

“With the current rise in focused assaults in opposition to so many teams — LBTGQ+, immigrants, ladies, non secular teams, and extra — and the presence of fascists in our stadiums, this image represents our agency stance of combating hatred in soccer, our communities, and our world,” the board of administrators for Portland’s 107 Impartial Supporters Belief stated in an announcement. The group represents followers of each the Timbers and the NWSL’s Thorns.

The league’s new fan code of conduct, applied this season, prohibits “utilizing (together with on any signal or different seen illustration) political, threatening, abusive, insulting, offensive language and/or gestures, which incorporates racist, homophobic, xenophobic, sexist or in any other case inappropriate language or conduct.”

MLS president and deputy commissioner Mark Abbott stated the league labored with all its groups to plan the coverage.

“I believe it was the assumption of the league and the golf equipment that followers are at our video games to benefit from the sport and that there’s a place for third-party political organizations or teams to specific their views, however that place is not inside our stadiums,” Abbott instructed The Related Press.

Main League Soccer is the one skilled league among the many high 5 in america with a code of conduct that expressly bans political signage. Insurance policies for the NFL, NHL, NBA and MLB principally take care of fan conduct, like abusive conduct or language, and intoxication. The NBA prohibits “obscene or indecent messages” on indicators.

MLS can be the one league to particularly goal racist, homophobic, xenophobic and sexist language or conduct, which was lauded by supporters’ teams.

Nevertheless, quite a lot of particular person groups throughout sports activities, as effectively arenas and stadiums, do regulate signage and prohibit messages which can be political in nature. The Moda Middle, house of the Portland Path Blazers, doesn’t permit indicators which can be business, political or obscene.

Some questioned the Main League Soccer’s inclusion of political shows as too obscure.

“We, as a company, really feel strongly on making certain that shows of human rights will not be mistaken for political statements. Political engagement is typically essential in securing human rights for all, however that doesn’t make the message of human rights inherently political,” the Impartial Supporters Council of North America stated in an announcement following the discharge of the coverage.

Earlier this season, a fan waving a Trump 2020 flag was faraway from Windfall Park.

Sounders supporters took problem when the Iron Entrance image was included with mentions of far-right teams Patriot Prayer and the Proud Boys in a letter from group administration that defined the ban.

“Messages, banners, flags or some other symbols that characterize an affiliation to a political group won’t be allowed in CenturyLink Area. This contains, however will not be restricted to, Antifa, Iron Entrance, Proud Boys and Patriot Prayer,” the letter from group administration stated.

The Sounders later apologized for equating the teams. Taylor Graham, Sounders vice chairman of enterprise operations and advertising and marketing, spoke to reporters following apply final week, saying: “We at the start need to put our hand up and say, ‘That is not honest, and we apologize for these phrases,’ placing them in that context.”

However the hyperlink to antifa has spurred some to take motion. Final weekend a small group confronted followers participating within the conventional March to the Match. The group additionally tried to get right into a pregame occasion at a close-by bar however was turned away by bouncers.

There was one scuffle however no arrests have been made.

The incident got here on the identical weekend because the mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio. In Philadelphia, Union captain Alejandro Bedoya rushed to the sideline after a objective and shouted into an on-field microphone: “Hey, Congress, do one thing now! Finish gun violence! Let’s go!”

Whereas Bedoya’s assertion was clearly political, MLS didn’t take any disciplinary motion. Bedoya was voted the league’s Participant of the Week although he was not included on the poll.

“The Main League Soccer household joins everybody in grieving for the lack of lives in Texas and Ohio, and we perceive that our gamers and employees have sturdy and passionate views on this problem,” the league stated in an announcement.

Abbott stated he believes the brand new coverage makes clear that the MLS doesn’t equate totally different political or ideological teams. He additionally pointed to the league’s Soccer for All initiative.

“We unequivocally condemn teams that have interaction in hateful actions and speech. By our dedication to Soccer for All, it is vitally clear the place the league stands on supporting variety and inclusion,” he stated. “We additionally acknowledge the significance of those values to our followers, however we do not imagine our venues are the suitable place for signage that promotes any form of third-party political group or group, no matter whether or not we agree with the tenets of that group.”


Extra AP soccer: https://apnews.com/apf-Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP—Sports activities


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Local weather of fir: German forests wrestle with warmth


Germany’s forests — lengthy a supply of satisfaction and nationwide id — are feeling the warmth.

A second consecutive 12 months of unusually dry and heat climate has left swaths of forest useless or dying, fueling fears that the woods that impressed many a Grimms’ fairytale could possibly be heading for an sad finish. Officers say droughts, wildfires and hungry beetles destroyed 110,000 hectares (270,000 acres) of forest in Germany in 2018 and the harm this 12 months could possibly be even worse.

The sight of naked timber has stoked debate in Germany in regards to the affect of local weather change and what measures this closely industrialized nation needs to be taking to adapt to and forestall international warming.

A ballot launched Friday by public broadcaster ZDF discovered 62% of German voters say it is essentially the most urgent drawback, increased than every other difficulty.

And whereas tackling local weather change has broad public help throughout the political spectrum, the environmentalist Inexperienced get together seems to be benefiting most, with the ZDF survey displaying it could take 25% of the vote if there have been a basic election, greater than doubling its consequence from 2017. The consultant phone ballot of 1,307 voters performed Aug. 6-Eight had a margin of error of as much as three share factors.

The Inexperienced get together, which was based 40 years in the past at a time when Germans had been witnessing the consequences of acid rain on their forests, has demanded drastic steps to curb greenhouse fuel emissions, placing stress on Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Union bloc and the center-left Social Democrats, which at present kind a coalition authorities. The Cupboard has responded by pledging to agree a bundle of measures subsequent month that would embody some type of carbon cost and tax breaks for rail tickets to chop home air journey — although proposals to boost the worth of bratwurst and different meat had been swiftly dismissed.

The conservative governor of Bavaria not too long ago proposed bringing ahead the deadline for shutting down Germany’s coal-fired energy crops and instructed local weather safety needs to be included within the nation’s structure.

Final week, state forestry ministers from the Union bloc known as for 1 billion euros ($1.1 billion) to be spent over the approaching years to revive ailing forests and make them match for a hotter future.

In the meantime, hard-line environmentalists have pointed to the continued dispute over an historical forest in western Germany that is prone to being destroyed for a close-by mine.

Hambach Forest sits subsequent to an enormous open-cast lignite pit operated by utility large RWE. An professional proposal to finish using coal in Germany by 2038, accepted by the federal government, was meant to save lots of the forest, however activists say RWE is endangering what’s left of the woods by pumping out valuable groundwater.

Swedish local weather activist Greta Thunberg on Saturday visited the forest, the place she met with environmentalist protesters and demanded that “our warfare in opposition to nature should finish at present,” the activist group Finish of Story stated in a press release.

The 16-year-old, whose protest motion has mobilized tens of hundreds of scholars throughout Europe every week calling on leaders to do extra in opposition to international warming, stated seeing the mine disturbed her deeply and that the time had come to cease speaking and take motion.

Thunberg, who’s planning to set sail subsequent week for a U.N. local weather summit in New York, in March devoted an award she obtained from German media to “these defending the Hambach Forest and the local weather activists who struggle to maintain the fossil fuels within the floor all over the place.”

Merkel has acknowledged feeling the stress coming from Thunberg and her largely younger supporters, however cautioned that “we’re additionally taking new instructions, and these new instructions should after all be thought by.”

Specialists say whichever course the federal government takes, Germany’s forests are in for a change.

Spruce timber, as soon as well-liked for his or her timber, have been affected by rising temperatures for a number of years now, stated Andreas Bolte, head of Germany’s Thuenen Institute of Forest Ecosystems.

“What’s new this 12 months is that we had actual issues with beech in some areas,” he stated, noting that pines and oaks are additionally starting to harm.

Scientists are hoping that timber extra immune to warmth, comparable to Douglas firs, can change native varieties, which is able to proceed to thrive at increased altitudes.


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2007 mass capturing survivor copes with 300 pellets of lead


A lady who survived a 2007 mass capturing in Utah stated Thursday she has lead poisoning from 300 shotgun pellets nonetheless in her physique, leaving her with debilitating complications, nausea and different critical well being issues.

Carolyn Tuft, whose 15-year-old daughter died within the Trolley Sq. mall capturing in Salt Lake Metropolis, has been unable to work, ensuing within the lack of her dwelling and enterprise, she instructed The Related Press.

She’s stricken when she thinks about different survivors coping with comparable issues after mass shootings, together with current slayings in Texas, Ohio and California.

“It makes me terribly unhappy and sick to my abdomen and offended, and I simply really feel very unhappy for these individuals,” stated Tuft.

Mary Anne Thompson, native chapter chief of Mothers Demand Motion, a corporation pushing for stronger gun legal guidelines, has seen the results on her buddy. Tuft was a bicycle owner, hiker and runner.

“Carolyn has hassle getting up within the morning and getting dressed,” she instructed Salt Lake Metropolis tv station KUTV, which first reported the story. “For a lot of like my buddy Carolyn, it is a life sentence of ache.”

Little analysis has been accomplished on the results of lead poisoning from ammunition, stated Gabriel Filippelli, a science professor at Indiana College. Medical doctors have not instructed Tuft how for much longer she could survive, however she says she is struggling.

As soon as lead enters the physique, it could journey by way of the bloodstream and have an effect on very important organs just like the kidneys, mind and coronary heart, inflicting a litany of great well being points. It might probably embody kidney illness, melancholy, coronary heart illness and suicidal ideas, Filippelli stated.

“There are actually now 1000’s of people who find themselves victims of mass shootings or survivors of gunshot wounds … we have to work more durable to check these impacts,” he stated.

Retained lead bullets or fragments could cause elevated lead ranges within the blood and make individuals with increased quantities of lead really feel sick, stated Michael J. Kosnett, a medical toxicologist on the College of Colorado Faculty of Drugs. However even those that do not feel signs as a result of ranges are decrease may very well be prone to long-term well being results, he stated.

Tuft was shot a number of instances when a gunman opened hearth at Trolley Sq. mall, the place she and her daughter Kirsten Hinckley have been looking for Valentine’s Day playing cards in February 2007.

Each have been shot a number of instances. Hinckley didn’t survive.

The shooter killed 5 individuals together with Hinckley and injured 4 others earlier than he was gunned down by police.

Tuft doesn’t favor complete gun bans, she stated. However she does assist a ban on assault weapons, stronger background checks and proposed “pink flag” legal guidelines.

“It isn’t OK for somebody to return in and take your life away like that. Not simply your precise life, however your entire livelihood and all the things you hoped and dreamed for,” she stated.


Related Press author Morgan Smith contributed to this story.


Data from: KUTV-TV, http://www.kutv.com/


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$5 billion superb would not mark the tip of Fb’s troubles


Fb pays a $5 billion superb for privateness violations and will probably be topic to broader oversight, however ongoing probes in Europe and the U.S. might current even larger complications for the corporate.

The FTC superb is by far the most important the company has levied on a expertise firm. The settlement additionally comes with restrictions and authorities oversight.

Fb for a decade had largely been trusted to manage itself and hold its 2.four billion customers’ pursuits at coronary heart. Then got here Russian meddling within the 2016 elections, faux information and the Cambridge Analytica scandal, through which a political information mining agency affiliated with the 2016 presidential marketing campaign of Donald Trump improperly accessed the private information of as many as 87 million customers. 

Regulators in Europe and the U.S. took discover. Fb now faces the prospect of not solely billions of {dollars} in further fines, but additionally new restrictions.

Following are a number of the ongoing investigations and potential authorized threats involving Fb.

— U.S. Securities and Change Fee

Fb disclosed Wednesday that it’ll pay a separate $100 million superb to the SEC to settle expenses it made deceptive disclosures in regards to the threat of misuse of Fb consumer information.

— U.S. Justice Division

The U.S. Division of Justice on Tuesday mentioned it opened a sweeping antitrust investigation of main expertise corporations and whether or not their on-line platforms have harm competitors, suppressed innovation or in any other case harmed customers.

— U.S. Federal Commerce Fee

Although the privateness matter is settled, Fb disclosed Wednesday that the FTC is investigating the corporate individually for antitrust points. Fb mentioned it was knowledgeable of the investigation in June.

— Irish Knowledge Safety Fee

 Eire’s information regulator has launched an investigation of Fb over the Cambridge Analytica information leak final 12 months. At problem is whether or not the corporate complied with strict European rules that went into impact in Might 2018 protecting information safety. Underneath the brand new guidelines, corporations could possibly be hit with fines equal to four p.c of annual world turnover for probably the most critical violations. 

The probe might doubtlessly price Fb greater than $2.three billion in fines based mostly on its 2018 income, or extra if it makes more cash this 12 months, which is like. The fee, which handles on-line information regulation for the European Union, has almost a dozen open investigations on Fb that embody its subsidiaries WhatsApp and Instagram. Fb says it’s cooperating.

— U.S. Housing and City Growth

The U.S. authorities charged Fb with high-tech housing discrimination in March for allegedly permitting landlords and actual property brokers to systematically exclude teams similar to non-Christians, immigrants and minorities from seeing adverts for homes and flats.

The civil expenses filed by the Division of Housing and City Growth might price the social community hundreds of thousands of {dollars} in penalties. Extra necessary, they’re already affecting the corporate’s enterprise mannequin — its capacity to focus on adverts with near-surgical precision. By its nature, this form of focusing on excludes some folks and consists of others. And that is not all the time authorized. 

The fees got here regardless of adjustments Fb introduced only a week earlier to its advert focusing on system. The corporate had agreed to overtake its focusing on system and abandon a number of the practices singled out by HUD to forestall discrimination, not simply in housing listings however in credit score and employment adverts as properly. The transfer was a part of a settlement with the American Civil Liberties Union and different activists. However HUD did not be part of the settlement. Fb says it continues to work with civil rights specialists on the problems. 


— Canada’s privateness czar

In additional fallout from Cambridge Analytica, Canada’s privateness head introduced in April that he’s taking Fb to court docket after discovering that lax privateness practices allowed private data for use for political functions.

A joint report from privateness commissioner Daniel Therrien and his British Columbia counterpart mentioned main shortcomings had been uncovered in Fb’s procedures. It referred to as for stronger legal guidelines to guard Canadians. Fb says it’s taking the investigation significantly. 


— U.Okay., Belgium, Germany

In October, British regulators slapped Fb with a superb of 500,000 kilos ($644,000) — the utmost attainable — for failing to guard the privateness of its customers within the Cambridge Analytica scandal. The corporate mentioned it’s interesting the superb, so the matter remains to be, technically, unresolved. 

The Belgian Knowledge Safety Authority and Germany’s Federal Cartel workplace are additionally wanting into Fb’s information assortment practices. 


— Washington D.C., state attorneys common

If the federal investigations weren’t sufficient, Fb has been sued by Washington, D.C. ‘s lawyer common for unfair and misleading commerce practices whereas states together with California and New York are investigating it. The corporate’s unauthorized assortment of 1.5 million customers’ contact lists is underneath scrutiny by New York’s lawyer common. Fb mentioned the gathering was unintentional and it’s is cooperating with the opposite attorneys common of their probes. 


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