• Rain, flooding expected in U.S. Southern Plains after deadly storms
    News
    Reuters

    Rain, flooding expected in U.S. Southern Plains after deadly storms

    Weather forecasters on Wednesday expected drenching rains to roll into the storm-ravaged U.S. southern and central states, where thunderstorms and tornadoes killed at least three people and triggered widespread flooding. More than 30 tornadoes struck a swath from Texas to Iowa since Monday, according to the National Weather Service, and residents in at least three Oklahoma riverfront communities were urged to evacuate due to flooding. One person was killed and another was injured when a tornado struck the rural town of Adair, Iowa, about 50 miles (80 km)west of Des Moines, at about 1:30 a.m. local time, the weather service said.

  • Marlen Ochoa-Lopez murder: Baby boy cut from mother's womb opens eyes for the first time
    News
    The Independent

    Marlen Ochoa-Lopez murder: Baby boy cut from mother's womb opens eyes for the first time

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

  • Russian bombers, fighters intercepted off Alaska: US military
    World
    AFP

    Russian bombers, fighters intercepted off Alaska: US military

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

  • Ukraine's New Leader Sets Snap Parliamentary Election for July
    World
    Bloomberg

    Ukraine's New Leader Sets Snap Parliamentary Election for July

    (Bloomberg) -- Ukraine’s new leader started a two-month countdown to snap parliamentary elections as the TV comedian-turned-politician tries to consolidate power after his rapid rise to power.

  • Mississippi judge who blocked 15-week abortion ban hears arguments on fetal heartbeat law
    News
    USA TODAY

    Mississippi judge who blocked 15-week abortion ban hears arguments on fetal heartbeat law

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

  • After Huawei, U.S. could blacklist Chinese surveillance tech firm - media
    Business
    Reuters

    After Huawei, U.S. could blacklist Chinese surveillance tech firm - media

    The U.S. administration is considering Huawei-like sanctions on Chinese video surveillance firm Hikvision, media reports show, deepening worries that trade friction between the world's top two economies could be further inflamed. The restrictions would limit Hikvision's ability to buy U.S. technology and American companies may have to obtain government approval to supply components to the Chinese firm, the New York Times reported https://nyti.ms/2MfgBS3 on Tuesday. The United States stuck Huawei Technologies on a trade blacklist last week, effectively banning U.S. firms from doing business with the world's largest telecom network gear maker, in a major escalation in the trade war.

  • Trump officials to Congress: Goal is deterring Iran, not war
    Politics
    Associated Press

    Trump officials to Congress: Goal is deterring Iran, not war

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Tamping down talk of war, top Trump administration officials told Congress on Tuesday that recent actions by the U.S. deterred attacks on American forces. But some lawmakers remained deeply skeptical of the White House approach in the Middle East.

  • Comrade Sanders Targets Charter Schools
    News
    National Review

    Comrade Sanders Targets Charter Schools

    Few things offend Bernie Sanders as much as people escaping from command-and-control government systems, even minority students whose parents are desperate to get their kids a decent education.The socialist wants to turn George Wallace on his head and not block black children from attending traditional public schools, but block them from exiting those schools for something better.  The New York Times wrote a long, devastating report the other day on the then-Burlington, Vt., mayor’s love affair with the Sandinistas in the 1980s. So many decades later, his reflex is the same: If the Sandinistas wouldn’t favor it, he’s not inclined to like it much either. That goes for charter schools that, yes, are publicly funded, but still too flexible and unregulated for refined socialist tastes. Over the weekend, Sanders unveiled his education plan. He wants to end for-profit charter schools (about 15 percent of all charters) and impose a moratorium on new public funding of charters, while taking steps to impose a one-size-fits-all regulatory regime on existing charters.Sanders thus seeks to kneecap what has been an astonishingly successful experiment in urban education because it doesn’t fit nicely within his ideological preconceptions.That Sanders says he wants to do this to advance the principle that “every human being has the fundamental right to a good education” is hilariously perverse. The comrades will have a good chuckle over that one.Charter schools aren’t the product of a libertarian conspiracy. They fall short of the vouchers favored by conservatives to allow parents to get access to private schools. Charters receive public money but have more leeway to develop policies outside the regulatory and union straitjacket of traditional public schools. Charters had bipartisan support before a Vermont socialist became one of the party’s thought leaders. Bill Clinton won the first-ever lifetime achievement award from the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools. Promoting charters was a hallmark of Barack Obama’s education agenda and a signature of Cory Booker’s mayoralty in Newark, N.J.Not all charters are created equal. Some don’t serve their students well, especially online charter schools, and the performance of suburban and rural charter schools hasn’t been very impressive. It’s the charter schools in urban areas with the worst traditional public schools that have excelled. According to a well-regarded 2015 study by Stanford’s Center for Research on Education Outcomes, students in urban charter schools got the equivalent of 40 additional days of math instruction and 28 additional days of reading annually. The numbers for African-American students in poverty were even better. Charters in Newark and Boston have seen enormous academic gains.In New York City, the Success Academy founded by Eva Moskowitz — one of the foremost education reformers of our time — has eliminated racial and economic achievement gaps.It’s amazing what schools can do when they impose discipline, have the highest expectations, and focus with a laser intensity on instruction. Anyone interested in the education of minority students should seek to build on these oases of excellence, rather than cut them off. But the teachers unions hate charters, and they are a much more powerful potential cadre in the Sanders “revolution” than poor black kids. Sanders suggests that charter schools somehow increase segregation. This is nonsense, as Jonathan Chait of New York Magazine points out. Urban charter schools reflect the segregation of their neighborhoods where they are located — just like traditional public schools do.The polling shows that minority parents get what Sanders (and white progressives) refuses to understand. A solid majority of black and Hispanic Democrats have a favorable view of charters, while white Democrats have an unfavorable view by a 2-1 margin. It is doubtful how much of his anti-charter agenda Sanders would be able to enact if elected, since much of the action is at the state and local level. That he’s hostile to these schools should, regardless, redound to his shame. © 2019 by King Features Syndicate

  • Abducted Idaho girl found safe in Arizona, suspect jailed
    News
    Associated Press

    Abducted Idaho girl found safe in Arizona, suspect jailed

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

  • N. Korea state media hits out at 'imbecile' Biden
    Politics
    AFP

    N. Korea state media hits out at 'imbecile' Biden

    North Korean state media on Wednesday slammed former US vice president Joe Biden as an "imbecile" and a "fool of low IQ" after he criticised leader Kim Jong Un. Biden, who served two terms as President Barack Obama's deputy, has been on the campaign trail since announcing last month his candidacy for the Democratic Party nomination in the 2020 presidential election. It accused Biden of "slandering the supreme leadership" of North Korea -- a term usually referring to leader Kim -- and said the former senator had become "reckless and senseless, seized by ambition for power".

  • Farage's Brexit Party to Trounce May, Sporting Index Says
    World
    Bloomberg

    Farage's Brexit Party to Trounce May, Sporting Index Says

    Prime Minister Theresa May’s Conservatives will win seven, while Labour will take 13 and the Liberal Democrats 12, Sporting Index predicted in an email in London on Tuesday. Sporting Index has had a consistently strong record in predicting some of the key twists and turns of the Brexit saga. Last month, about two hours before the latest vote on May’s Brexit deal, the spread betting firm forecast she’d lose by 60 votes.

  • Business
    Reuters

    U.S. judge approves PG&E $105 million wildfire assistance fund

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

  • Abortion ban: Georgia prosecutors refuse to enforce 'heartbeat' law
    News
    The Independent

    Abortion ban: Georgia prosecutors refuse to enforce 'heartbeat' law

    District lawyers in Georgia have announced they will not prosecute women for getting an abortion after the US state effectively banned the procedure.Georgia governor Brian Kemp signed the controversial “heartbeat” abortion ban into law earlier in the month – giving the southern state one of the most restrictive laws in the US.The legislation, which has provoked outrage among women’s rights groups, bans abortion once cardiac activity can be detected in an embryo. This can be as early as six weeks – at which point most women do not yet know they are pregnant. The bill imposes jail sentences for women found guilty of aborting or attempting to abort their pregnancies, with the potential for life imprisonment and the death penalty. It is not scheduled to come into effect until 1 January and is expected to face challenges in the courts – with it potentially being postponed. But anti-abortion activists hope challenges will lead to the US Supreme Court reversing Roe vs Wade – the landmark Supreme Court decision which legalised abortion nationwide in 1973 – especially with new conservative justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh sitting on the court.The Supreme Court has previously ruled that states cannot ban abortion before a foetus is viable – about 23 to 25 weeks.District prosecutors for Georgia’s four most populous counties – Fulton, Gwinnett, Cobb and DeKalb – have said they would not, or could not, prosecute women under the controversial new law.“As District Attorney with charging discretion, I will not prosecute individuals pursuant to HB 481 [the heartbeat bill] given its ambiguity and constitutional concerns,” DeKalb County district attorney Sherry Boston told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.“As a woman and mother, I am concerned about the passage and attempted passage of laws such as this one in Georgia, Alabama, and other states.”She added: “There is no language outlined in HB 481 explicitly prohibiting a district attorney from bringing criminal charges against anyone and everyone involved in obtaining and performing what is otherwise currently a legal medical procedure”.According to the publication, the technical language of the bill means that district attorneys could potentially seek a murder charge against someone who breaches the heartbeat law.“As a matter of law (as opposed to politics) this office will not be prosecuting any women under the new law as long as I’m district attorney,” Gwinnett County DA Danny Porter said. He said he did not think it would be possible to prosecute a woman for either murder or unlawful abortion if she got an abortion after six weeks.John Melvin, acting District Attorney of Cobb County, echoed this position, saying women could “absolutely not” be prosecuted under the unlawful abortion statute.Fulton County district attorney Paul Howard “has no intention of ever prosecuting a woman under this new law", a spokesperson said, adding that he also would not prosecute abortion providers.Georgia’s new bill does include exceptions for cases involving rape, incest, or in situations where the health of a mother is in danger.“Planned Parenthood will be suing the State of Georgia. We will fight this terrible bill because this is about our patients’ lives,” Dr Leana Wen, president of Planned Parenthood Action Fund, said.Georgia’s bill comes after Alabama Governor Kay Ivey signed a controversial abortion bill into law last week that is the most restrictive abortion bill in the US.Under the law, doctors would face 10 years in prison for attempting to terminate a pregnancy and 99 years for carrying out the procedure. The abortion ban, which has been branded a “death sentence for women”, would even criminalise performing abortions in cases of rape and incest. Ms Ivey said the new law might be “unenforceable” due to Roe v Wade but said the new law was passed with the aim of challenging that decision.Alabama state lawmakers compare abortions in America to the Holocaust and other modern genocides in the legislation – spurring Jewish activists and abortion rights groups to rebuke the bill as “deeply offensive.”Alabama’s new bill comes as politicians in several other states propose legislation to restrict abortion – with some 16 other states looking at new measures.More than a dozen other states have passed or are considering versions of Georgia’s law. Kentucky, Mississippi and Ohio have also approved bans on abortion once a foetal heartbeat is detected. On Friday, Missouri lawmakers passed a bill banning abortions after eight weeks.Groups such as the American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia vowed to sue on the day the governor signed Georgia’s heartbeat bill. It has also fuelled many in the entertainment industry to threaten to boycott Georgia.“We’re putting lawmakers on notice: Your votes are far outside the mainstream, and we will now spend our time and energy launching a campaign to replace you,” Staci Fox, the president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Southeast, said at the time.A federal judge blocked a heartbeat bill in Kentucky which was scheduled to come into effect instantly as it could be unconstitutional, while Mississippi passed a six-week abortion law in March that is not due to come into force until July and is also facing challenges.Ohio passed a similarly restrictive law in 2016 which was vetoed by the governor.

  • Could One of America's Allies Take Down the F-35 Program?
    Business
    The National Interest

    Could One of America's Allies Take Down the F-35 Program?

    What does America need to save its troubled F-35 stealth fighter?Turkey, that’s what.Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan recently warned that the multinational F-35 program, of which Turkey is a member, would fail if Turkey were excluded. Turkey is facing sanctions, including being dropped from the F-35 program if it goes ahead with purchasing Russia’s S-400 anti-aircraft missile system, which has raised Washington’s fears that F-35 secrets might be leaked to Russia. The U.S. has stopped shipping equipment to Turkey for that nation’s planned purchase of 100 F-35s, while the first two aircraft officially delivered to Turkey are still in the United States.For its part, Ankara is adamant that it has a right to purchase both American stealth fighters and Russian anti-aircraft missiles, despite the fact that the S-400 is one of the most likely Russian weapons to be used against the F-35. “We were surely not going to remain silent against our right to self-defense being disregarded and attempts to hit us where it hurts,” Erdogan said at a Turkish defense trade show. “This is the kind of process that is behind the S-400 agreement we reached with Russia.”“Nowadays, we are being subject to a similar injustice - or rather an imposition - on the F-35s ... Let me be frank: An F-35 project from which Turkey is excluded is bound to collapse completely.”

  • Bigger cuts expected: 23,000 more Ford layoffs needed, analysts say
    Business
    USA TODAY

    Bigger cuts expected: 23,000 more Ford layoffs needed, analysts say

    Ford CEO Jim Hackett plans for layoffs won't deliver savings the company has said it wants. An analyst says another 23,000 layoffs are needed.

  • Democratic Rep. Tells Acting DHS Chief: Migrant Kid Deaths Under Your Watch Are ‘Intentional’
    News
    The Daily Beast

    Democratic Rep. Tells Acting DHS Chief: Migrant Kid Deaths Under Your Watch Are ‘Intentional’

    Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast/CSPANThe acting head of the Department of Homeland Security on Wednesday was accused of overseeing the “intentional” deaths of five migrant children, in an aggressive line of questioning by a Democratic member of the House Committee on Homeland Security. Rep. Lauren Underwood, an Illinois Democrat serving her first term, called the deaths the logical result of “a policy choice being made on purpose by this administration,” an assertion that Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan disputed as “an appalling accusation.”McAleenan, who was first tapped to replace outgoing secretary Kirstjen Nielsen in April, previously served as commissioner of Customs and Border Protection, where he was an architect of the administration’s policy of separating migrant children from their families. That policy, Underwood said, as well as a spate of recent deaths of children in DHS custody, amounts to more than simple administrative negligence.“People keep dying, sir. People keep dying,” Underwood said at the conclusion of five minutes of aggressive questioning, disputing that overcrowding and lack of access to medical treatment at migrant detention facilities is the result of a lack of appropriations. “Congress has been more than willing to provide the resources and work with you to address the security and humanitarian concerns, but at this point, with five kids that have died, 5,000 separated from their families, I feel like—and the evidence is really clear—that this is intentional. It’s intentional.”DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen Blames Migrant Girl’s Death in Border Patrol Custody on Her FamilyAs colleagues protested her characterization, Underwood continued, calling the deaths “a policy choice being made on purpose by this administration, and it’s cruel and inhumane.”McAleenan, who co-authored a memo to then-Secretary Nielsen asserting that Homeland Security could “direct the separation of parents or legal guardians and minors held in immigration detention so that the parent or legal guardian can be prosecuted,” protested Underwood’s remarks.“That’s an appalling accusation, and our men and women fight hard to protect people in our custody every single day,” said McAleenan, adding that Congress providing adequate resources “would have prevented this from happening.”Republican committee members—as well as one Democrat, Rep. Elissa Slotkin of Michigan—voted to strike Underwood’s remarks from the congressional record.On Monday, a 16-year-old Guatemalan boy became the fifth minor to die in U.S. government custody since December after being kept in a U.S. Customs and Border Protection detention facility for more than a week. Federal law requires minors to be held in Border Patrol stations, which are not equipped to house children or the infirm, for no longer than 72 hours.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.

  • The Latest: St. Louis airport reopens after storm shutdown
    News
    Associated Press

    The Latest: St. Louis airport reopens after storm shutdown

    ST. LOUIS (AP) — The Latest on severe weather in the central United States (all times local):

  • U.S. judge says Qualcomm violated antitrust law; appeal planned, shares plunge
    Business
    Reuters

    U.S. judge says Qualcomm violated antitrust law; appeal planned, shares plunge

    The decision issued late Tuesday night by U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh in San Jose, California, caused Qualcomm shares to plunge 11 percent on Wednesday. "Qualcomm's licensing practices have strangled competition" in parts of the chip market for years, harming rivals, smartphone makers, and consumers, Koh wrote in a 233-page decision. Qualcomm said it will immediately ask Koh to put her decision on hold, and also seek a quick appeal to the federal appeals court in California.

  • US fingers Iran on Gulf attacks but eases tone
    World
    AFP

    US fingers Iran on Gulf attacks but eases tone

    President Donald Trump's administration charged Tuesday it was "quite possible" Iran was responsible for the sabotage of Gulf oil interests but said its own robust response had prevented potential attacks on Americans. Top Trump officials appeared to be toning down weeks of fiery warnings to Iran before delivering a classified briefing to the full Congress, where opposition Democrats have accused the administration of hyping intelligence and pushing the United States dangerously close to war. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the United States has not made "a definitive conclusion" that can be presented publicly over the sabotage of oil tankers off the United Arab Emirates or drone strikes on a crude pipeline in Saudi Arabia.

  • Fears rise China could weaponise rare earths in US tech war
    World
    AFP

    Fears rise China could weaponise rare earths in US tech war

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