• U.S. Supreme Court takes no action in Indiana abortion cases
    Politics
    Reuters

    U.S. Supreme Court takes no action in Indiana abortion cases

    The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday took no action on appeals seeking to revive two restrictive Republican-backed abortion laws from Indiana, even as debate rages over a new measure in Alabama that would prohibit the procedure almost entirely. Neither Indiana case was on the list of appeals on which the court acted on Monday morning. If the nine-justice court takes up either case, it would give the conservative majority an opportunity to chip away at the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling that legalized abortion nationwide and recognized a right under the U.S. Constitution for women to terminate pregnancies.

  • Is It Cheaper To Buy A 1967 Ford Mustang Fastback From Britain?
    Lifestyle
    motorious

    Is It Cheaper To Buy A 1967 Ford Mustang Fastback From Britain?

    This immaculate 1967 Ford Mustang Fastback is estimated to sell at British auction for $95K. It’s hard not to whisper Steve McQueen’s name when presented with a Ford Mustang 390 GT Fastback, even if it isn't a 1968 model. The American classifieds may provide evidence of eye-watering sums being traded for healthy Fastback specimens, but it’s not always the case in Great Britain.

  • Accused Thief Taunted Disney World With Photo of Stolen Robot’s Mutilated Head
    News
    The Daily Beast

    Accused Thief Taunted Disney World With Photo of Stolen Robot’s Mutilated Head

    Photo Illustration by Sarah Rogers/The Daily Beast/Photos GettyIf you’re accused of stealing an animatronic child from Disney World, maybe don’t make a wildly popular Disney-related Twitter account and post a picture of the stolen robot child with its eyes gouged out.“Buzzy,” an animatronic boy from an abandoned Disney World attraction, has been missing for months. Online, Disney superfans treated the disappearance like a kidnapping. But the investigation into the theft led police to someone in the online Disney fandom: a Disney blogger who taunted Disney about their security, posted conspiracy theories about Buzzy’s disappearance and, in the final days before his arrest, uploaded a picture of the robot’s decapitated and eyeball-less head.Patrick Spikes, 24, was arrested last week. He worked at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, until last year. But Spikes didn’t completely part ways with the theme park after he stopped working there. Instead, he started churning out videos, podcasts, and tweets under the username “BackDoorDisney.” His Twitter account, which amassed more than 17,000 followers before going dark last week, promised to give fans an inside view of Disney World. In its seven months of operation, the account uploaded pictures of Disney control rooms, secret maps, and Disney cast members pretending to have sex while dressed as characters from Toy Story.Soon, Spikes was posting about an even more salacious Disney World story. In August, Disney told police that someone had stolen clothes off Buzzy. The 300-pound animatronic child used to sit inside the “Cranium Command” exhibit, in Epcot’s Wonders of Life Pavilion. But the building, which hosted somewhat dated attractions, had been closed for years. The stolen clothes (including a miniature bomber jacket) were worth nearly $7,000, Disney claimed, according to an affidavit from Florida’s Orange County Sheriff’s Department. Later, the entire robot was stolen, an operation that required the thief to cut through electric cables.Spikes and other Disney bloggers posted about Buzzy’s rumored disappearance. But Spikes and a crowd of Disney fans who broke into the park soon came under suspicion. Spikes routinely boasted of secret trips through Disney World, including with a friend who climbed the park’s Thunder Mountain roller coaster.“Good job filling the holes under the Mk back fence this morning,” Spikes wrote in a January tweet directed at Disney. “I told you guys about this issue 2 months ago but it took somebody going in and climbing one of your coasters for you to care.”On his personal Twitter account, Spikes taunted Disney, advising them to buy a bulk box of security cameras from Best Buy. As the search for Buzzy continued, Disney fans speculated that an urban explorer might have snatched the robot.Eventually, police began narrowing in on Spikes and his scene. Investigators found an October picture of Buzzy on Spikes’ @BackDoorDisney account. The picture does not appear to have been taken inside the Cranium Command exhibit. In texts with investigators, Spikes allegedly let slip that Buzzy’s clothes were sold on the black market for $8,000.Police got a warrant for Spikes’ cellphone and called him in for questioning in December. The meeting went poorly when Spikes tried to cut it short.“The defendant stated he felt sick and felt that he was going to vomit,” police alleged in an affidavit. “A short time later, he began to make strained breathing noises, and stated he couldn’t breath. He requested water, which was given to him, and also was allowed to lay on the floor. The fire department responded and all vitals were normal.” Spikes was taken to a hospital. Police charged him with non-violently resisting arrest. He has pleaded not guilty.Spikes later made a video about a police search on his house, and professed his innocence.“I said ‘really? The entire thing got stolen?’ I didn’t really believe it,” he said in the March video. “It blew my mind. I was like, you can’t be serious right now.”Later in the video, Spikes suggested that Disney had staged Buzzy’s disappearance in order to shut down his BackDoorDisney account.“There’s a theory someone talked about that Imagineering [a Disney team] removed Buzzy and didn’t tell anyone else. So when Operations, the part of the company that runs the Pavillion noticed he was missing, they filed him as ‘stolen,’” he said. “Did Disney willingly file a report, knowing the thing wasn’t stolen, just to run me down? Because obviously I had been posting a lot of backstage photos and stuff, and information … It almost seems like they wanted my phones because they knew I had a lot of backstage photos on them.”But BackDoorDisney kept implying inside knowledge of Buzzy’s disappearance.In a May 12 tweet, he tweeted a picture of Buzzy’s fate. The tweet showed a picture of Buzzy’s decapitated head, with its eyeballs scratched off. The image was included in a screenshot of a text Spikes received, which meant someone else might have stolen the robot.TwitterFive days later, police arrested Spikes. Although Buzzy’s disappearance featured prominently in an arrest affidavit (police appear to have started investigating him over Buzzy’s theft), Spikes was actually charged for a different series of alleged thefts from Disney World. His lawyer did not return The Daily Beast’s request for comment.In July, police alleged, Spikes printed a fake Disney employee card for his cousin and snuck him into the park. The pair allegedly snuck into the Haunted Mansion, a popular ride, and stole a collection of wigs and outfits from backstage. The clothes, which were designed for the ride’s animatronic ghosts, cost between $40 (a tiara) and $1,746 (a robot’s jacket), adding up to more than $7,000.Spikes and his cousin allegedly took pictures throughout the heist, and posed in the wigs at a nearby 7-Eleven. A video from shortly after the theft allegedly shows Spikes’ cousin’s girlfriend wearing a robot’s stolen dress.Disney may have priced the clothes at just over $7,000, but they allegedly went for four times that price on the black market. Days after the alleged burglary, Spikes allegedly received a combined $29,451 payment from two people over Paypal. One of the people, whose name is redacted in the affidavit, told police he paid Spikes $8,890 for 18 items from various Disney heists, including $1,000 for a Haunted Mansion dress.Shortly before his arrest, Spikes teased a forthcoming video about the black market for stolen Disney gear.Police haven’t charged Spikes with Buzzy’s disappearance. But they say his video about the raid on his house raised questions about his involvement. In the video, he showed part of a search warrant for his house. Police say he edited the document to remove references to two pieces of evidence police sought.“The fact that Spikes altered the warrant for his video and only removed these two items indicate that he was aware these items were used in a crime,” the affidavit reads.In that same video, Spikes tells viewers he’ll keep his lips tight about Buzzy’s disappearance until the investigation is over.“If things are still under investigation, I’m not going to get on YouTube and run my mouth about it,” he said. “That would be dumb.”Read more at The Daily Beast.Got a tip? Send it to The Daily Beast hereGet our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.

  • China Surveillance Giant Hikvision Slumps on U.S. Ban Report
    Business
    Bloomberg

    China Surveillance Giant Hikvision Slumps on U.S. Ban Report

    The White House will make a final decision in coming weeks on whether to limit exports of U.S. components to Hikvision, as it’s done with Huawei Technologies Co., the Times reported, citing unidentified people familiar with the matter. Such a move would escalate tensions with China and raise questions about whether the U.S. is going after more of the country’s technology champions. Hikvision has grown into a surveillance giant, selling its cameras around the world after cashing in on China’s obsession with monitoring its citizens.

  • This walking robot could soon be delivering your packages
    Business
    CNBC

    This walking robot could soon be delivering your packages

    It may be years from visiting your neighborhood, but a walking robot is part of Ford's vision for how its autonomous vehicles will deliver packages.

  • 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.

  • Alabama rape victim speaks out against anti-abortion bill
    News
    AFP

    Alabama rape victim speaks out against anti-abortion bill

    After being raped by a co-worker two years ago, Samantha Blakely had an abortion. The 25-year-old Blakely is among women speaking out after the conservative southern US state adopted the toughest anti-abortion legislation in the country. The Alabama bill, which takes effect in November unless it is blocked in the courts, places a near-total ban on ending a pregnancy, even in cases of rape and incest.

  • Iran 'threat' has diminished, says US defense secretary
    Politics
    The Guardian

    Iran 'threat' has diminished, says US defense secretary

    Patrick Shanahan credits US show of forceRemarks appear to be a sign tension is easing This handout picture released by the US navy shows an F/A-18E Super Hornet landing on the flight deck of the carrier USS Abraham Lincoln in the Gulf. Photograph: MC3 Jeff Sherman/AFP/Getty Images The acting US defence secretary has claimed that the alleged threat from Iran has receded as the result of an American show of force in the Middle East. “We’ve put on hold the potential for attacks on Americans,” Patrick Shanahan told reporters before briefing Congress on the situation in the Persian Gulf and the military deployments that the US said were a response to a danger of imminent attack. The arrival of an aircraft carrier and its accompanying ships was recently accelerated, and B-52 bombers were sent to Qatar. Tensions increased with mysterious sabotage attacks on oil tankers in the Gulf, and drone strikes on Saudi oil installations, claimed by Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen. Nerves in the region were put even more on edge on Sunday by Donald Trump’s tweeted threat that any conflict with the US would mean “the official end of Iran”. The remarks from Shanahan appeared to be a sign that tensions were easing. Asked what he meant by saying that the threat was “on hold”, the acting defence secretary said: “There haven’t been any attacks on Americans. I would consider that a hold. “That doesn’t mean that the threats that we’ve previously identified have gone away,” Shanahan added. “Our prudent response, I think, has given the Iranians time to recalculate. I think our response was a measure of our will and our resolve that we will protect our people and our interests in the region.” The Trump administration did not make public the intelligence it claimed showed an imminent Iranian threat to the US in the Middle East. An investigation is under way into the sabotage attacks on four oil tankers off the coast of the United Arab Emirates last week. The UK and Norway are helping the US with the inquiry, which was expected to report on Monday, but has been delayed for reasons that have not made clear. One of the tankers attacked was Norwegian-flagged. The secretary of state, spoke on Tuesday with the country’s foreign minister, Ine Søreide, about the incident. A European diplomat said: “We are very careful not to make attribution for recent attacks unless we are certain.” Officials briefing the media have also claimed that overhead photography showed missiles being loaded on to dhows on the Iranian coast, and chatter about potential attacks on US facilities and personnel in Iraq. The state department withdrew non-essential staff from its embassy in Baghdad and consulate in Erbil. It was unclear what Iran’s aim was supposed to be in loading missiles on to dhows. Experts said that it would be very difficult to fire a missile from a small boat and if the intelligence reports were true, it was more likely they were being shipped to the Houthi movement in Yemen, or moved for safekeeping. Later reports suggested that the Iranian military deployments and discussion of targets could have been contingency measures for a possible response in the event of a US attack on Iran, seen as increasingly likely in recent months with the apparent ascendancy of John Bolton, the ultra-hawk national security adviser, in foreign policymaking. The secretary of state, Mike Pompeo and the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, General Joseph Dunford, were expected to brief the House and Senate on Iran on Tuesday afternoon. Bolton was not on the list of speakers. “My take is that the Iranians saw an attack coming and they prepared to strike back and that caused alarm in the White House and particularly with the president,” said Trita Parsi, founder of the National Iranian American Council, who now teaches at Georgetown University. “The line sold to Trump by Bolton and Bibi Netanyahu and Mohammed bin Salman is he could strike Iran, show US dominance, and not risk anything. Iran showed it was preparing to strike back. Trump is smart enough to know that a war would be devastating, and not just for his political interests.” Behnam Ben Taleblu, a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, argued that the current defusing of tensions showed that the US response had worked. “The entire point behind America’s military repositioning in the region was to dampen the prospects of escalation,” Taleblu said. “And while it may have worked for now, Washington will need to make sure its message of resolve is similarly interpreted in the future. The Iranians have a habit of continually testing for weaknesses and deficiencies.”

  • Huawei to the Danger Zone: Chinese Telecommunications Company Threatens Britain's National Security
    Business
    The National Interest

    Huawei to the Danger Zone: Chinese Telecommunications Company Threatens Britain's National Security

    The news that the United States has put Huawei on the Entities List comes as the Henry Jackson Society publishes a report on the prospect of including Huawei into the United Kingdom’s build of 5G. I coauthored this report alongside Member of Parliament Bob Seely and Professor Peter Varnish. My job was to look into claims around Huawei’s place within China’s foreign-policy strategy. We have all seen claims around it being too close to the PLA or China’s security services, but were they actually true? Were these claims just an overly-protectionist America seeking to discredit a successful Chinese tech competitor to Apple and Silicon Valley? This whole discussion took place in the wake of a UK National Security Council meeting in late April, during which time—if the Telegraph newspaper is to believed—the council decided that Huawei could take part in a limited part of the UK’s 5G network.Our findings were absolutely clear: Huawei was constrained, influenced and directed by the Chinese Communist Party and Chinese state in a multiplicity of ways.Economic Direction

  • News
    Associated Press

    The Latest: Capital murder charge filed in police shooting

    AUBURN, Ala. (AP) — The Latest on shootings of police officers in Auburn, Alabama (all times local):

  • Secret Service Officers Are Being Sent to the Border
    News
    The Daily Beast

    Secret Service Officers Are Being Sent to the Border

    Jose Luiz Gonzalez/ReutersThe U.S. Secret Service is now participating in a not-so-secret undertaking: dealing with the influx of migrants at America’s southern border. According to a communication from the Department of Homeland Security’s headquarters reviewed by The Daily Beast, the small law enforcement agency has sent personnel to the border already and is looking to send more in the coming weeks. The move came in response to a directive then-DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen sent out earlier this spring asking each component of the department to find volunteers and dispatch them to the border. Even though it’s most closely associated with the White House, the Secret Service—along with a host of other entities and agencies—is a component of DHS. And as a result, it’s shipping people south. A DHS spokesperson did not dispute this reporting. “As we have consistently said, the Department is considering all options to address the humanitarian and security crisis at our southern border,” said the spokesperson. “We will continue to work with our workforce to find dynamic solutions and funding to address this very serious problem. As part of this effort, it is our responsibility to explore fiscal mechanisms that will ensure the safety and welfare of both our workforce and the migrant population, which is also reflected in the supplemental request submitted to Congress.”The Daily Beast reported last week that the arm of DHS that handles threats to America’s cybersecurity and critical infrastructure, called the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, has struggled to find enough volunteers to head to the border and fulfill DHS headquarters’ request. The agency works to secure election systems, schools, and places of worship—all of which face acute threats. Besides protecting the president, the first family, and other prominent government figures, the Secret Service also conducts criminal investigations. Its focuses include financial crimes and cybersecurity threats. The diversion of law enforcement and national security personnel to the border has concerned some congressional Democrats, who say it may be a misuse of limited government resources. But pushing back against the dramatic increase in people trying to enter the U.S. through the southern border has become has become a singular priority of President Trump. In both March and April, law enforcement officials apprehended more than 100,000 people trying to enter the U.S., according to DHS statistics. During the Obama administration, the agency was beset by scandal: Washington socialites slipped past agents and crashed the president’s first state dinner; a Secret Service agent told his counterparts to stand down after a man fired a gun at the White House, thinking the sound came from a car backfiring; an agent who traveled to Amsterdam with the president to protect him got drunk and passed out in a hallway; and more, as NBC News has detailed. 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.

  • Apple offered to buy Tesla back in 2013 for more than it’s worth today
    Business
    BGR News

    Apple offered to buy Tesla back in 2013 for more than it’s worth today

    For years, analysts have maintained that Apple needs to move past the iPhone and look for additional revenue streams. Consequently, many analysts over the years have proposed that Apple would be well advised to make a blockbuster acquisition and snatch up a company like Netflix or Tesla.Interestingly enough, it turns out that Apple actually did make an effort to acquire Tesla six years ago at a valuation of $240 a share. Incidentally, Tesla's share price has been reeling lately and is currently hovering in the $200 range. Word of Apple's efforts to acquire Tesla was brought to light by analyst Craig Irwin of Roth Capital Partners who revealed the interesting tidbit on CNBC (via Electrek) earlier today."Around 2013, there was a serious bid from Apple at around $240 a share," Irwin said."This is something we did multiple checks on," Irwin added. "I have complete confidence that this is accurate. Apple bid for Tesla. I don't know if it got to a formal paperwork stage, but I know from multiple different sources that this was very credible."Notably, there have been rumblings over the years regarding Apple's interest in Tesla, but this is the first time we've seen a report that Apple was legitimately trying to make a serious play for the electric automaker.You might also recall reports from a few years back which revealed that Elon Musk, sometime in mid-2013 -- sat down for a meeting with Apple's mergers and acquisitions chief Adrian Perica and, rumor has it, Tim Cook himself.Apple, of course, has been busy working on its own car initiative -- known as Project Titan -- for the past few years, though it remains to be seen if anything concrete ever manifests from its efforts. Early reports hinted that Apple was set on designing and building its own car, though a plethora of technical challenges ultimately resulted in a few rounds of layoffs and employees being shifted over to other projects. Last we heard, Apple's Project Titan is still ongoing but is now focused on autonomous systems as opposed to designing a car from the ground up.Interestingly, and somewhat uncharacteristically, Tim Cook confirmed this during an interview a few years ago. "We're focusing on autonomous systems," Cook said in 2017. "It's a core technology that we view as very important."Lastly, with Morgan Stanley recently noting that Tesla shares may sink to $10/share in a worst-case scenario, it will be interesting to see if Apple might swoop in and pick up the company at a huge discount.

  • InterDigital expects to be able to license 5G tech to Huawei, despite U.S. ban
    Business
    Reuters

    InterDigital expects to be able to license 5G tech to Huawei, despite U.S. ban

    InterDigital and Qualcomm are the two major American holders of patents for wireless networking technology, including the 5G networks rolling out this year in China. Last week, President Donald Trump issued an executive order restricting the ability of U.S. firms to sell technology to Huawei, though officials on Monday eased some of those restrictions for 90 days. InterDigital, which generates revenue by developing wireless technologies and then licensing out the patents, said it believes it can continue its efforts to strike a 5G deal with Huawei because export control laws do not cover patents, which are public records and therefore not confidential technology.

  • Fears rise China could weaponise rare earths in US tech war
    Business
    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.

  • 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.”

  • Trump stops ex-White House counsel Don McGahn testifying to Congress
    Politics
    The Guardian

    Trump stops ex-White House counsel Don McGahn testifying to Congress

    * Justice department says McGahn cannot be compelled to talk * House panel chair Jerry Nadler condemns interventionDon McGahn has been subpoenaed to appear before the House judiciary committee on Tuesday. Photograph: Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty ImagesDonald Trump has blocked the former White House counsel Don McGahn from testifying before Congress about the special counsel report on Russian election interference, prompting sharp criticism and even threats of impeachment.In a legal opinion released on Monday, the justice department said lawmakers on Capitol Hill cannot compel McGahn, who was subpoenaed by the House judiciary committee, to answer their questions under oath.“The Department of Justice has provided a legal opinion stating that, based on long-standing, bipartisan, and constitutional precedent, the former counsel to the president cannot be forced to give such testimony, and Mr McGahn has been directed to act accordingly,” the White House press secretary, Sarah Sanders, said in a statement.“This action has been taken in order to ensure that future presidents can effectively execute the responsibilities of the office of the presidency.”McGahn is a central figure in special counsel Robert Mueller’s report, often standing in the way of Trump’s efforts to obstruct justice. According to investigators, McGahn threatened to resign when the president ordered him to have Mueller fired.McGahn was also dispatched by Trump to convince the former attorney general Jeff Sessions not to recuse himself from overseeing the Russia investigation. (Sessions did not heed the president’s demands.)Travelling to a rally in Pennsylvania, Trump was asked why he was asking McGahn to defy a congressional subpoena. “Well, as I understand it, they’re doing that for the office of the presidency, for future presidents,” he replied, according to a pool report. “I think it’s a very important precedent. And the attorneys say that they’re not doing that for me. They’re doing it for the office of the president. So we’re talking about the future.”The White House’s intervention was condemned by Jerry Nadler, the Democratic chairman of the judiciary committee. “The Mueller report documents a shocking pattern of obstruction of justice,” he said in a statement. “The president acted again and again – perhaps criminally – to protect himself from federal law enforcement.“Don McGahn personally witnessed the most egregious of these acts. President Trump knows this. He clearly does not want the American people to hear firsthand about his alleged misconduct, and so he has attempted to block Mr McGahn from speaking in public tomorrow.”The move is the latest example of the Trump administration’s “disdain for the law”, added Nadler, who said the committee will meet as planned on Tuesday morning and still expects McGahn to appear.Another Democratic member of the committee, David Cicilline, went further in his criticism, suggesting that impeachment of Trump would be warranted if McGahn did not respond to the subpoena.“Let me be clear: if Don McGahn doesn’t testify, it is time to open an impeachment inquiry,” he told the MSNBC network. “The president has engaged in an ongoing effort to impede our ability find the truth, to collect evidence, to do our work … No one is above the law, including the president of the United States.”Cicilline admitted he did not know if his view was shared by other members of Democratic leadership but added: “We may well be forced into a position to have to open a formal inquiry in order to facilitate the collection of the evidence that we need to see.”The justice department’s legal opinion does not prevent McGahn testifying if he so chooses, although it would be potentially at risk to his own career. Trump has mused about instructing Republicans to cease dealing with his law firm, Jones Day, the Associated Press reported.Matthew Miller, former director of the office of public affairs for the justice department, tweeted: “Just show up and testify, McGahn. This isn’t about some garden-variety Congressional-executive branch dispute, but as one of your predecessors described it, a cancer on the presidency. Think about your place in history.”McGahn was subpoenaed by Nadler last month and, under instruction by the White House, failed to meet an initial deadline to appear before the committee. Nadler threatened to hold McGahn in contempt of Congress if he did not meet a second deadline of 21 May.McGahn, who left the White House last year, has increasingly become the subject of Trump’s ire following the release of the redacted Mueller report. Last week, the president tweeted he was “never a big fan” of McGahn and suggested it was the former White House counsel, and not Mueller, who was on his chopping block at the time of the investigation.The Trump administration has repeatedly blocked attempts at oversight by the Democratic-controlled House. Last month it instructed the former personnel security director Carl Kline not to testify at a hearing into alleged lapses in White House security clearance procedures. Last week the treasury secretary, Steven Mnuchin, refused to comply with a congressional subpoena to hand over Trump’s tax returns.Nadler’s committee has previously voted to hold the attorney general, William Barr, in contempt for refusing to provide the unredacted Mueller report and underlying evidence to Congress.

  • Comrade Sanders Targets Charter Schools
    Business
    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

  • AP Explains: How Yemen's rebels increasingly deploy drones
    World
    Associated Press

    AP Explains: How Yemen's rebels increasingly deploy drones

    DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — In Yemen, the high-pitched whine of drones has been a part of life for over 15 years, ever since the first U.S. drone strike here targeting al-Qaida in 2002. But now, Iran-backed Houthi rebels increasingly deploy drones in Yemen's brutal civil war.

  • Mountain region of Slovakia named best destination in Europe 2019: Lonely Planet
    Lifestyle
    AFP Relax News

    Mountain region of Slovakia named best destination in Europe 2019: Lonely Planet

    A wild, rugged, mountainous region of Slovakia dotted with plunging waterfalls and lakes and hiking trails has been named the top European destination of 2019 by the travel experts at Lonely Planet.