• 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.

  • How real is Iran threat? Democrats fear Trump administration using intel to justify conflict
    Politics
    USA TODAY

    How real is Iran threat? Democrats fear Trump administration using intel to justify conflict

    Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan on Tuesday briefed members of the House and Senate behind closed doors.

  • 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.

  • Powerful storms spawn tornadoes, flash flooding in the heartland
    U.S.
    FOX News Videos

    Powerful storms spawn tornadoes, flash flooding in the heartland

    Forecasters had warned of an unusually high risk for parts of Oklahoma and Texas; Steve Harrigan reports from Stillwater, Oklahoma.

  • Researchers say a tiny planet slammed into the Moon a long time ago
    Science
    BGR News

    Researchers say a tiny planet slammed into the Moon a long time ago

    Earth's Moon only ever shows us one face. It's locked into its current orientation, with a permanent nearside and farside, but it wasn't until the Apollo missions that scientists were able to see just how different the two sides really are. The nearside, with its sea of dark gray basins standing in contrast to the brilliant white powder that covers the rest of its face, varies dramatically from the farside, which is marked with countless smaller craters in a more uniform distribution.The debate over how the Moon's split personalities developed has raged for decades, but new research seems to indicate that one of the possible explanations does indeed hold water. The theory, that Earth's Moon was struck by a tiny dwarf planet long ago, is the subject of a new research paper published in Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets.Using computer models to simulate what may have happened to the Moon's surface long ago, researchers suggest the most likely scenario seems to be the collision between the Moon and a very large body. The impact of a dwarf planet as large as 480 miles across would have struck what we see today as the Moon's nearside at a speed of 14,000 miles per hour.This theory stands in contrast to other proposed explanations, including the theory that Earth may have once had not one Moon, but two. The two-moon theory suggests that Earth's moon duo may have at one point collided and merged, leaving the Moon as we see it today looking oddly unsymmetrical.The dwarf planet collision scenario assumes that whatever the body that struck the Moon was, it was in its own path around the Sun and just happened to be in the right place at the right time to strike Earth's natural satellite. This, the researchers say, would also explain why the crust on the farside of the Moon is different than that of its nearside."We demonstrate that a large body slowly impacting the nearside of the Moon can reproduce the observed crustal thickness asymmetry and form both the farside highlands and the nearside lowlands," the paper explains. "Additionally, the model shows that the resulting impact ejecta would cover the primordial anorthositic crust to form a two‐layer crust on the farside, as observed."

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • McGahn Defies House Subpoena After White House Claims Immunity
    Politics
    Bloomberg

    McGahn Defies House Subpoena After White House Claims Immunity

    The hearing room chair reserved for McGahn sat empty behind microphones, as committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler of New York opened the scheduled hearing. “This conduct is not remotely acceptable,” Nadler said, referring to the White House’s instruction to McGahn not to appear.

  • 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.

  • Iran Has Amassed the Largest Ballistic Missile Force in the Middle East
    World
    The National Interest

    Iran Has Amassed the Largest Ballistic Missile Force in the Middle East

    Deterring regional adversaries from threatening Iran is the primary reason Tehran has amassed the largest ballistic missile force in the Middle East.The missile program actually began under the Shah, but it was accelerated during the Iran-Iraq War in order to threaten Saddam Hussein with strikes deep in Iraqi territory. Since then, Iran has worked with countries like Libya, North Korea and China in order to develop a large and diverse arsenal of ballistic and cruise missiles that form one part of its three-leg deterrent strategy. With Iran now using missiles in conflict, it’s worth taking a closer look at the weapons in its arsenal.(This first appeared back in 2017.)Shahab-SeriesThe backbone of Iran's missile forces are the Shahab-series of liquid-fueled (mostly) short-range ballistic missiles (SRBM). There are three variants of the missile: The Shahab-1, Shahab-2 and Shahab-3. The Shahab-1 was the first missile Iran acquired and is based on the Soviet Scud-B missile. Iran reportedly purchased these initially from Libya and possibly Syria, but North Korea has been its main supplier. The Shab-1 has a reported range between 285–330 kilometers, and can carry a warhead of around one thousand kilograms. Iran is believed to have three hundred Shahab-1 rockets.

  • Elizabeth Warren calls comedian to give love life advice: 'We have a plan to get my mom grandkids'
    Politics
    The Independent

    Elizabeth Warren calls comedian to give love life advice: 'We have a plan to get my mom grandkids'

    Elizabeth Warren is the only presidential candidate with a plan for comedian Ashley Nicole Black's love life.That's at least according to Black, who wrote on Twitter that she had a chat with the Democratic presidential candidate had called her up — making good on a weekend tweet from Ms Warren offering to help."Guess who's crying and shaking and just talked to Elizabeth Warren on the phone?!?!? We have a plan to get my mom grand kids, it's very comprehensive, and it does involve raising taxes on billionaires," Black wrote on Twitter, referencing Ms Warren's campaign mantra that she has a "plan for that".The phone call — which the Warren campaign confirmed took place to The Independent — follows after Black jokingly tweeted on Sunday about the dozens of policy proposals Ms Warren has released, and that have come to largely define her campaign."Do you think Elizabeth Warren has a plan to fix my love life," Black tweeted then.Ms Warren's account replied: "DM me and let's figure this out."Ms Warrens' campaign provided no details of what the phone call included. But Black, a comedian who has worked on Samantha Bee's "Full Frontal" television show, provided some context piecemeal in her replies."I'm literally shaking," she wrote in response to one user.It's "like you're talking to someone super smart, who actually cares," she wrote in response to another user, who asked how it feels to speak with Ms Warren. "It was amazing."Finally, a hint at the advice: She said I've [got to] focus on what I've got going for me... that's when I started crying LOL".

  • Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez says she'd be 'hard pressed' to back Biden in primary
    News
    The Guardian

    Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez says she'd be 'hard pressed' to back Biden in primary

    Bernie Sanders appears to be the favorite to secure Ocasio-Cortez’s prized endorsement in the Democratic presidential primaryCongresswoman Alexandria Ocasio Cortez told the Guardian: ‘I’m not close to an endorsement announcement any time soon.’ Photograph: Joshua Roberts/ReutersAlexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the progressive US congresswoman and social media sensation, has said she would be “hard pressed” to endorse the frontrunner, Joe Biden, in the Democratic presidential primary.The statement is the latest sign of the left’s apathy towards the former vice-president, who has surged ahead of the Senator Bernie Sanders and other rivals in recent polls.Sanders, a self-declared democratic socialist, appears to be the favourite to secure 29-year-old Ocasio-Cortez’s prized endorsement but she said she was still some way off making a decision.“I’m not close to an endorsement announcement any time soon,” she told the Guardian on Tuesday. “I’m still trying to get a handle on my job. It seems like ages but I’m just five months in and we have quite some time. The debates are in the summer and our first primary election for the entire country isn’t until next year.” Asked if she would consider endorsing Biden, widely seen as a centrist, Ocasio-Cortez replied: “I’d be hard pressed to see that happen, to be honest, in a primary.”Biden, comfortably leading every opinion poll, came under fire last week when Reuters reported he was pursuing a “middle ground” approach to the climate crisis. He later distanced himself from the implication.Ocasio-Cortez criticised politicians seeking “a middle-of-the-road approach to save our lives”. Sanders, running second in most polls, tweeted that there was “no ‘middle ground’ when it comes to climate policy”.If and when Ocasio-Cortez does endorse a candidate, Sanders probably remains the favourite to secure her support. She was an organiser for his 2016 primary campaign against Hillary Clinton. The pair appeared at a rally in Washington last week to support the Green New Deal climate plan.In a short interview on Tuesday the congresswoman, who has more than 4 million Twitter followers, also reiterated her demand for Donald Trump’s impeachment. “I think that the grounds have been there for quite some time but the case is really getting to a larger point that we haven’t seen before,” she said.Democratic leaders are putting the House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, under pressure to move ahead with the process. Ocasio-Cortez added: “I know that the conversation is really changing this week in the caucus and so we’ll see where the speaker lands.”

  • Hospital that treated baby cut from womb investigated
    News
    Associated Press

    Hospital that treated baby cut from womb investigated

    CHICAGO (AP) — The agency that licenses and inspects health care facilities in Illinois has started an investigation of a suburban Chicago hospital where doctors treated a baby brought in by a woman claiming to be his mother, a spokeswoman for the agency said Tuesday. The woman was charged weeks later with killing the actual mother and cutting the child from her womb.

  • Business
    USA TODAY

    American Airlines blames mechanics for 2,200 flight delays, cancellations, warns of summer travel trouble

    American Airlines says a slowdown by mechanics led to nearly 2,200 flight cancellations, delays since February and has intensified.

  • Eiffel Tower climber 'admitted to psychiatric unit'
    World
    AFP

    Eiffel Tower climber 'admitted to psychiatric unit'

    A man, believed to be Russian, who sparked a mass evacuation of the Eiffel Tower by scaling the iconic Paris landmark has been admitted to a psychiatric unit, legal sources said Tuesday. The man caused chaos Monday and the closure of the monument to tourists by spending six hours clinging to the outer metal framework of the Eiffel Tower. An investigation has been opened for unauthorised entry into a cultural monument, a judicial source said.

  • 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.

  • Mid-Engined Corvette Spied without Rear Wing
    Lifestyle
    Car and Driver

    Mid-Engined Corvette Spied without Rear Wing

    Caught high-speed testing at GM's proving grounds, this car looks like it could be a base model due to its lack of a rear wing.From Car and Driver

  • 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.

  • Pompeo says 'quite possible' Iran behind Gulf incidents
    World
    AFP

    Pompeo says 'quite possible' Iran behind Gulf incidents

    US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Tuesday it was "quite possible" Iran was responsible for sabotage of Gulf oil interests as he prepared to brief lawmakers on rising tensions. Pompeo cautioned that the United States has not made "a definitive conclusion" that can be presented publicly over mysterious sabotage incidents of oil tankers off the United Arab Emirates or drone strikes on a crude pipeline in Saudi Arabia. "But given all the regional conflicts that we have seen over the past decade and the shape of these attacks, it seems like it's quite possible that Iran was behind these," Pompeo told conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt.

  • 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.”

  • Biden blasts Trump for saying he 'deserted' Pennsylvania: 'I was 10'
    Politics
    Yahoo News

    Biden blasts Trump for saying he 'deserted' Pennsylvania: 'I was 10'

    The former vice president blasted President Trump for telling the crowd at a rally in Pennsylvania earlier this week that he “deserted” them.

  • Contempt or impeachment? Trump and Democrats locked in ultimate congressional battle
    Politics
    The Guardian

    Contempt or impeachment? Trump and Democrats locked in ultimate congressional battle

    The White House strategy appears to be designed to force the Democrats’ hand, but lawmakers are treading cautiouslyThe Trump administration has attempted to block any and all requests from Democrats in Congress. Photograph: Carlos Barría/ReutersDemocrats grabbed control of the House of Representatives in January of this year determined to restore congressional oversight. But with the Trump administration now at a moment of reckoning, a battle royal has unfolded. What exactly is the White House doing?The Trump administration’s strategy is simple: block any and all requests from Democrats in Congress, even if it means defying a subpoena, such as blocking compliance by former White House counsel Don McGahn, a key witness in the Mueller inquiry, to testify on Capitol Hill this week.Also this month, the attorney general, William Barr, has ignored a subpoena for the full report by Robert Mueller on his Trump-Russia investigation and treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin rebuffed a House request to hand over six years’ of Trump’s tax returns. Trump, who has dismissed the congressional inquiries as “presidential harassment”, suggested the Democratic chairs of House committees instead turn their powers to investigating his former political opponent Hillary Clinton. Why are the Democrats not looking into all of the crimes committed by Crooked Hillary and the phony Russia Investigation? They would get back their credibility. Jerry Nadler, Schiff, would have a whole new future open to them. Perhaps they could even run for President! — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 20, 2019The White House strategy appears designed either to force Democrats to take the administration to court – which could take years – or pull the trigger on impeachment. What can Democrats actually do?Democrats on the House judiciary committee have voted to hold Barr in contempt and have threatened to hold McGahn in contempt, too.The House majority leader, Steny Hoyer, said the chamber may consolidate multiple contempt citations against officials. Some Democrats cite the House’s “inherent contempt” powers, which grant them the right to jail individuals in the Capitol – an action that hasn’t been taken since the 1930s – or issue fines.Adam Schiff, the House intelligence committee chairman, suggested US officials held in contempt of Congress be fined $25,000 a day.“We’re looking through the history and studying the law to make sure we’re on solid ground,” Schiff told Axios in a recent interview.Others see the third branch of US government, the judicial branch, as the answer.“The only recourse is litigation, which the president will likely lose, but it will cause delay,” said Greg Brower, a former assistant director in the FBI’s office of congressional affairs.The White House could drag court action out beyond the 2020 election. Is impeachment really in the cards?The heart of the debate among Democrats is whether or not to begin impeachment proceedings.Some rank-and-file lawmakers have already embraced the idea, stating the 11 instances outlined in Mueller’s report in which Trump or his campaign sought to obstruct justice are reason enough alone.But Democratic leaders are treading cautiously, because they would never win a conviction in the Republican-led Senate.The American public is split on the issue , with polls showing a majority against it and support for the idea falling even among Democrats.Justin Amash, a representative from Michigan, just became the first Republican to call for impeaching Trump, an important bipartisan point that drew widespread backlash for him.And Jerry Nadler, Democratic chair of the powerful House judiciary committee, signaled impatience on Tuesday, after McGahn was a no-show to testify.“We will not allow the president to stop this investigation, and nothing in these unjustified and unjustifiable legal attacks will stop us from pressing forward with our work on behalf of the American people,” Nadler said.“We will hold this president accountable, one way or the other.”