(washington post) – Taliban attack on Pakistan base kills 20; 16 die in mosque

September 18 at 8:07 AM
PESHAWAR, Pakistan — A brazen Taliban attack on a Pakistani military base on the outskirts of the northwestern city of Peshawar killed 20 people on Friday, including 16 worshippers who were gunned down when the militants stormed a mosque inside the compound during prayers.

The attack triggered an hours-long firefight at the base and the Pakistani forces said they killed 13 of the attackers, though it was unclear how many were involved in the assault. Apart from 16 slain inside the mosque, three guards employed with the air force and an army captain were also killed, officials said.

The attack was a major blow for Pakistan’s military, which stepped up operations against the militants following a horrific Taliban attack last December at a Peshawar school that killed 150 people, mostly children. It also underscored the ability of the militants to stage spectacular attacks on targets linked to the country’s military and government.

In Friday’s assault, the attackers first stormed the guard room of the Badaber base, according to air force officials. The base was established in 1960s as an air force facility but has mostly been used as a residential place for air force employees and officers from Peshawar.

Army spokesman Maj. Gen. Asim Saleem Bajwa said 13 attackers were killed by the security forces. He said the attack was quickly repulsed and that the bodies of the slain “terrorist” were lying on the ground in the base compound.

However, details about how the Taliban managed to make their way into the mosque, which is inside the compound walls, and gun down 16 people during prayers were sketchy.

Bajwa said the militants entered the base from different directions in a two-pronged assault — apparently one push targeted the mosque — but that security forces quickly responded.

It was also unclear if any of the attackers got away.

According to Bajwa and a statement released by the air force, along with those killed, 10 soldiers were wounded in the firefight with militants, along with an unspecified number of civilians. The dead and most the wounded were taken to a military hospital in the area, where access was barred to reporters.

(daily caller) – Anthony Weiner Gets Canned… Again

After just two months, sexting aficionado Anthony Weiner has been pushed out of his consulting position at public relations group MWW over the negative attention the disgraced congressman brought to the firm.

MWW chief Michael Kempner announced the former politician’s departure from the firm, which mainly focuses on crisis management, in an internal memo obtained by the New York Post.

“Over the past few months, it has become clear that a handful of people and a few media outlets continue to be fixated on Anthony, attempting to cause harm to him and by extension to our agency,” Kempner wrote. “The continuous noise from these parties has caused both Anthony and the MWW team to have to deal with many inflammatory, insulting and false stories. To Anthony’s credit, he understands that his presence here has created noise and distraction that just isn’t helpful, and at the same time, he has other interests that he wishes to pursue.”

Weiner, who was forced to resign his congressional post after it was revealed he was sending women lewd pictures over Twitter, said he didn’t express the same sentiments as his former boss.


(live science) – 16 Pyramids Discovered in Ancient Cemetery

Editor’s Recommendations

Read More

(USA Today) – GM agrees to $900M criminal settlement over ignition-switch defect

General Motors CEO Mary Barra testifies on Capitol Hill. (Photo: Pablo Martinez Monsivais, AP)


General Motors agreed to pay $900 million as part of a Justice Department investigation into its failure to fix a deadly ignition-switch defect blamed for more than 120 deaths.

Federal prosecutors hit GM with a wire-fraud charge and a charge for “engaging in a scheme to conceal a deadly safety defect” from regulators. But those counts would be dismissed in three years if GM fixes its recall processes. GM’s official plea is not guilty.

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara left the door open to prosecuting specific GM employees. But he said it’s difficult to pin blame on an individual who may have had only partial knowledge of a backward bureaucratic process that led to tragedy.

“We’re not done, and it remains possible we will charge an individual,” Bharara said at a news conference in New York. “If there is a way to bring a case like that, we will bring it.”

GM engineers, attorneys and midlevel executives failed to fix the defect for more than a decade.

“To sum it up, they didn’t tell the truth in the best way that they should have, to their regulators, to the public, about the serious safety defects that risked life and limb,” Bharara said.

As part of the settlement, GM admitted to having defrauded customers by marketing its vehicles as safe during that period.

Separately, GM reached a deal to extend settlement offers to up to 1,385 additional victims of the defect. GM also confirmed that it has settled a shareholder lawsuit over its handling of the matter — with the two civil settlements collectively accounting for a $575 million charge on its third-quarter earnings.

That means the defect has now cost GM more than $2 billion in fines and settlements, a figure that does not include the cost of actually fixing 2.6 million recalled vehicles.

GM CEO Mary Barra on Thursday apologized again for the company’s behavior and said she’s overhauled internal procedures to encourage efficient communication and transparency.

“We promised to take responsibility for our actions,” she told employees in a town hall meeting. “So we accept the penalties being announced today because that’s what it means to be held accountable. But apologies and accountability won’t count for much if we don’t change our behavior. We can be proud that we have.”

The Justice Department will appoint a monitor to oversee the automaker’s recall processes for three years. No individual GM employees have been prosecuted, though prosecutors noted in the settlement documents that GM had fired “wrongdoers.”

That has been met with scorn from victims of the defect.

“There are people at GM who made decisions that caused these deaths. Yet, they will not suffer any consequences,” said Laura Christian, whose 16-year-old birth daughter Amber Marie Rose was killed in a July 2005 crash in a car affected by the defect, in a statement.

Bharara said the case posed a challenge because there are no federal laws that specifically cover failure to disclose motor vehicle safety defects.

“In the end, we can only do what the law permits,” Bharara said. “This is not only about justice for certain families, but for the safety of the car-driving public going forward.”

In a 52-page document chronicling their findings, federal investigators recited many of the same details regarding GM’s failure to fix the defect that were disclosed in various investigations in 2014, including the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and congressional committees.

That included a statement to the press in 2005 acknowledging the issue but claiming that it did not pose a safety matter.

By no later than 2012, GM realized that the faulty ignition switches could cut off power to air bags, thus endangering front-seat passengers in a bad accident.

But instead of disclosing the issue, GM “concealed the defect from NHTSA and the public, taking the matter ‘offline,’ outside the normal recall process, so that the company could buy time to package, present, explain and manage the issue,” according to the settlement documents to which GM stipulated.

Barra, who did not know about the defect until days before it was publicly disclosed in February 2014, dismissed about 15 employees after an internal investigation blamed those workers for failing to disclose or fix the deadly flaw.

On Thursday, she called the settlement a “tough agreement” but appropriate. She told GM employees it’s imperative to never forget the company’s failures on this issue.

Before Thursday’s deal with additional victims, the automaker had already agreed to offer settlements for families of 124 people who were killed and 275 who were injured.

People who opted to sue GM instead of taking the original settlements may get compensated as part of the settlement negotiated by Texas attorney Bob Hilliard.

Lauren Gomez, a spokeswoman for Hilliard, said in an email that another 370 potential injury victims and families of another 84 potential victims who were killed are not part of the deal. Hilliard will continue to pursue lawsuits in those cases.

It was not immediately clear how many of the 1,385 additional plaintiffs who may qualify for settlements are tied to fatal cases or injury crashes. GM spokesman Pat Morrissey said he could not disclose that information.

GM said the plaintiffs, which it said numbered 1,380, represent about 60% of the personal-injury lawsuits it faces.

The shareholder lawsuit, which was filed in a federal court in Michigan, posed a threat to GM because it called into question the automaker’s failure to adequately disclose substantive financial risks to its investors.

The settlement of the criminal investigation into GM’s handling of the defective ignition switches comes after the matter triggered recalls of small cars, mostly from the 2003 through 2007 model years, such as the Chevrolet Cobalt and Saturn Ion.

“Lives were taken and families were devastated, and there is no way to ever change that sad fact,” Hilliard said. “Still, this agreement will allow some healing, as GM recognizes, through its payment of financial compensation.”

GM last year created a settlement fund administered by lawyer Ken Feinberg, who also ran the 9/11 victims compensation fund. Feinberg has approved settlement offers of more than $1 million per victim of fatal accidents — and often much more.

In the federal settlement, GM is paying a penalty of less than the $1.2 billion Toyota paid in connection with its handling of an unintended acceleration case.

Prosecutors credited GM with providing “unvarnished” facts and what Bharara described as “fairly extraordinary” cooperation with their investigation. The company also faces probes by state attorneys general and other lawsuits.

Lance Cooper — a Georgia attorney who discovered the hidden defect during a lawsuit, triggering the chain of events that led to its public disclosure — blasted the settlement.

“We had hoped that justice would be served in the criminal investigation of GM,” he said in a statement. “Unfortunately, it’s the same old story — if you have enough power and money you can always buy your way out of truly being held accountable for your misdeeds.”

The ignition-switch defect caused small cars, mostly from GM’s pre-bankruptcy era, to turn off suddenly when jostled, cutting off engine power and disabling airbags.

Follow USA TODAY reporter Nathan Bomey on Twitter @NathanBomey.

Source: GM agrees to $900M criminal settlement over ignition-switch defect

(sky news) – Revealed: How Lee Harvey Oswald Planned Escape

Sky News – Revealed: How Lee Harvey Oswald Planned Escape


Lee Harvey Oswald visited embassies in Mexico apparently planning his escape before he assassinated President John F Kennedy, according to newly declassified CIA documents.

Three days after the shooting in Dallas, Texas, on 22 November 1963, Lyndon B Johnson was informed that Oswald had visited the Cuban and former Soviet Union embassies in Mexico City on 28 September that year to arrange visas.

Oswald, a former US Marine who defected to the Soviet Union in 1959, used a sniper rifle to shoot President Kennedy in the head as he was driven through Dealey Plaza, Dallas, in an open motorcade.

He was arrested 45 minutes later on suspicion of shooting a police officer before being charged with killing Mr Kennedy. Oswald was shot dead by night club owner Jack Ruby two days later.

The report is among nearly 19,000 pages of newly declassified documents from the Cold War released by the CIA.

Many of the documents are stamped “For the President’s Eyes Only” and were delivered to the White House.

Known as the President’s Daily Brief, they are tightly guarded rundowns of CIA intelligence from around the globe.

Among the other documents was top-secret intelligence that a new warhead had been spotted in Cuba in 1962 as the US and Russia were on the brink of nuclear war.

But conspiracy theorists looking for CIA plots are likely to be disappointed as many of the intelligence briefs remain partially blacked out.

William Inboden, who worked under President George W Bush and leads the Clements Center for National Security at the University of Texas, said the memos reveal real-time intelligence which shaped decisions from the Bay of Pigs to Vietnam.

He said: “These are an incomparable window into how a president thinks.

“When we’re reading these, it’s a mirror image of what the president’s concerns were.”

The documents also reveal that the CIA published a second brief after Mr Kennedy’s assassination.

It had no intelligence in it, only a poem the late president was fond of which read: “Bullfight critics ranked in rows/Crowd the enormous plaza full/But only one is there who knows/And he’s the man who fights the bull.”

They also contain intelligence briefings from Vietnam.

The release of the documents, posted on the CIA website, comes from a 2009 executive order by President Barack Obama that all classified material is automatically declassified and released after 25 years.

Source: Revealed: How Lee Harvey Oswald Planned Escape – Yahoo News UK

(The Denver Post) – American Airlines stops flights to 3 airports amid computer woes – 

DALLAS — American Airlines stopped flights heading to Dallas, Chicago and Miami on Thursday because of a computer-systems problem.

American spokesman Casey Norton said the airline did not immediately know the cause of the outage, which began around 11 a.m. CDT. He said crews were working to fix it.

The Federal Aviation Administration said that American Airlines planes destined for Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, O’Hare Airport in Chicago and Miami International Airport were being held on the ground until midafternoon.

American did not immediately say how many flights were affected.

Four flights from Denver International Airport were held to help ease American’s internal congestion, airport spokesman Heath Montgombery said.

“No other AA flights are showing delays the rest of the day. We are told that the issue is in the process of being resolved and the airline should be recovering soon,” he said in an e-mail. “If passengers have an American Airlines flight today, it’s a good idea to check your flights status with American directly.”

The outage comes at an awkward time for American Airline Group Inc., the world’s biggest airline. In less than a month, the company plans to complete combining the reservations systems of American and its US Airways subsidiary and retiring the US Airways brand.

Combining technology systems is a difficult feat that has tripped up other airlines, notably leading to several outages at United Airlines after it merged with Continental Airlines in 2010. United suffered two major outages this summer.

American has made meticulous plans to avoid a similar fate. Among other moves, it will reduce flights to lighten the load on its network while it combines the two reservations systems.

Source: American Airlines stops flights to 3 airports amid computer woes – The Denver Post

(fox news) – Whataburger fires employee for refusing to serve police officers

A Texas Whataburger employee was fired Wednesday for refusing to serve two police officers in what the company is describing as an appalling incident.

Officers Michael Magovern and Cameron Beckham were working off-duty security at a construction site on I-35 early Wednesday morning when they decided to stop at the restaurant in Lewisville, FOX 26 reports.

Magovern said before he could even place his order, the man behind the counter told him “We don’t serve police officers.”

The two officers decided to leave and went and got food at Dairy Queen instead.

“We were appalled to hear of an employee refusing service to two officers, as we have proudly served first responders across our system for decades,” Whataburger said in a statement Wednesday. “As soon as we heard of this isolated incident, we began our own internal investigation overnight. The employee that refused service is no longer employed with Whataburger. We’ve also invited the officers back today so we can apologize in person and make this right.”

Magovern told Fox 26 that in “17 years as a firefighter and now 13 years as a police officer this is the first time this has ever happened to me.”

Click for more from Fox 26.

Source: Whataburger fires employee for refusing to serve police officers | Fox News

(eonline) – North West Doesn’t Cry at Kanye West’s Fashion Show This Year, But She Did Manage to Interrupt It Again—Get the Details! 

Anna Wintour, Kim Kardashian West, North West, Yeezy, NYFW
Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Kanye West Yeezy
North West‘s infamous tantrum during Kanye West‘s debut fashion show earlier this year will go down in history as one of the funniest moments at New York Fashion Week…ever! But luckily for dad and mom Kim Kardashian (and a bit unfortunate for the rest of us), the 2-year-old kept from shedding tears during ‘Ye’s showcase on Wednesday.

The rapper put on a surprise presentation of his new collection with Adidas, Yeezy Season 2, during which Kim sat front row with their daughter alongside Kourtney Kardashian, Khloé Kardashian and Kendall Jenner (Kylie Jenner actually walked the runway for it).

Nori—who looked beyond cute in an over-sized beige sweater with her hair pulled to the top of her head—was much happier to see her papa’s show this time around, but that didn’t stop her from making at least a little bit of a commotion. An onlooker at the show tells E! News Kim’s mini-me kept shouting “Mommy!” throughout the entire presentation.

PHOTOS: Kanye West’s Yeezy Season 2 fashion show

Sean Combs, Jay-Z, Beyonce, Kim Kardashian, North West, Anna Wintour REUTERS/Lucas

Nevertheless, we’re sure the parents will take this reaction over her behavior at Kanye’s first show any day!

In case you missed it, poor little Nori went into a bit of a fit during the opening of the Yeezy x Adidas debut collection in February, crying uncontrollably as Anna Wintour and Beyoncé couldn’t help but react with some hilarious facial expressions while trying to remain unfazed by the tantrum.

The cutie was eventually taken backstage to calm down, and Kim was later photographed back at her seat to support her hubby sans their teary-eyed daughter.

PHOTOS: North West’s cutest baby pics

Kanye West, Yeezy, NYFWRandy Brooke/Getty Images for Kanye West Yeezy

We’re glad that the second show went a bit more smoothly for Nori…but how will the fashion critics react to it?

Despite positive feedback about the theatrics of the presentation itself, Yeezy’s first collection received some dismal feedback. Refinery29 said it wasn’t “as revolutionary—or ‘pavement-cracking’—as promised,” while many others were less than impressed by the neutral-colored, oversized sweaters and distressed leggings.

For better or for worse, his second collection seems to be a true continuation of that, incorporating more of the same military-inspired ease with a largely nude palette and minimalist aesthetic.

Source: North West Doesn’t Cry at Kanye West’s Fashion Show This Year, But She Did Manage to Interrupt It Again—Get the Details! | E! Online

Cops Find 3,500 Knives, Swords And Blades In Florida Woman’s Home

Police say she attacked an officer with a machete.

Hernando County Sheriff’s deputies paid a visit to the Brooksville, Florida, home of Nickole Dykema after her neighbor, Dorothy Clagg, complained that Dykema slashed her window screens and air conditioner with a large knife.

“She never wanted anyone to go in her house, and now I know why,” Clagg told WFTS.

Investigators told WTSP that Dykema refused to let the deputies into her home, so they forced entry. There, they found more than 3,500 machetes, swords and knives hanging on her walls, along with Halloween props like rubber masks and fake body parts.

Photos show some of the weapons arranged around a shrine.

(10news cbs)

Police said Dykema took a machete and slashed at a deputy with it, narrowly missing his head. She then ran and hid under a blanket in another room, waving a long sword in front of her, according to WFLA.

Dykema, who is on probation after being caught shoplifting knives from a Dollar Tree store in December, isn’t allowed to own weapons, WTSP reports. Police used a bean bag gun and a stun gun to subdue Dykema, then took her into custody.

“The person was obviously dangerous to the community,” Hernando County Sheriff Al Nienhuis said in a statement. “It amazes me that these deputies were able to take her into custody without anyone being injured.”

Her neighbor, Dorothy Clagg, says she’s glad Dykema is in jail.

“She had a habit of banging on the inside of her house all the time on the walls, and screaming and hollering,” Clagg told WTSP. “I was just petrified all the time.”

Dykema was held without bond on charges including probation violation, property damage, criminal mischief, and assault on an officer.

Source: Cops Find 3,500 Knives, Swords And Blades In Florida Woman’s Home

(US News) – Chelsea Clinton promoting debut book, has no immediate plans to campaign for mother

The Associated Press

Chelsea Clinton, right, speaks with teen actress, author and magazine publisher Tavi Gevinson on Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2015, in New York. Clinton was beginning a tour for her new book “It’s Your World: Get Informed, Get Inspired & Get Going!” (AP Photo/Hillel Italie)

By HILLEL ITALIE, AP National Writer

NEW YORK (AP) — Campaigning will have to wait for Chelsea Clinton.

For now, Hillary Rodham Clinton’s daughter is absorbed in the promotion for her debut book “It’s Your World: Get Informed, Get Inspired & Get Going!,” a detailed primer for young people seeking to become more politically and socially engaged.

“This is what I’m focused on,” she told The Associated Press on Wednesday during a brief telephone interview from Chicago, the second stop on a planned 20-city tour at schools nationwide.

Clinton’s book was published Tuesday and has been in Amazon’s top 100 since. Most authors, especially first-time ones, would be looking constantly at their Amazon page. But Clinton, still animated from meeting with students at a Chicago elementary school where the principal is an old friend, said that’s not so with her.

“I’m very much engaged in the substance of the book,” she said. “I haven’t had any time to track it on Amazon.”

Clinton, 35, told a gathering Tuesday night at a Barnes & Noble in New York that her immediate priorities were the book, the Clinton Foundation and her family, including husband Marc Mezvinsky (who attended the Tuesday event) and daughter Charlotte.

Asked when she might campaign for her mother, something she did often in 2008, Clinton said that while “it’s no secret” she strongly supported her mother’s Democratic presidential candidacy, she wasn’t ready to discuss any long-term plans.

“I have a lot of work in front of me,” she said.

Clinton does have at least one commitment after the tour ends: a second book. In June, Oxford University Press plans to release a revised edition of Clinton’s dissertation on global health and how it is “governed/managed between the public and private sectors,” the publisher’s director of publicity, Christian Purdy, told the AP on Wednesday.

Bill and Hillary Clinton each have written books and Chelsea said she greatly enjoyed working on “It’s Your World.” She liked the writing and editing and how the process helped her “crystallize” her thoughts about education, homelessness and other issues. She also appreciated her conversations with young people who helped her decide what should be included and what should be cut.

“It’s Your World” was written for ages 10-14.

The next book, currently untitled, is “for a different audience,” she said.

Read more

(smh.com) – Burkina Faso coup: Military arrests leaders, dissolves parliament and takes power

People demonstrate near the presidential palace after soldiers arrested Burkina Faso's leaders.People demonstrate near the presidential palace after soldiers arrested Burkina Faso’s leaders. Photo: AP

Ouagadougou: Military officers have overthrown the government of Burkina Faso, plunging the West African country into chaos. The coup was apparently led by allies of the country’s longtime ruler, who was toppled in October.

Throughout Thursday morning (local time), supporters of the ousted interim president, Michel Kafando, and prime minister, Isaac Zida, assembled in protest in various neighbourhoods in the capital, yelling, “Free the hostages!” They were dispersed by warning shots from military patrols that crisscrossed the capital. The authorities ordered the country’s borders sealed, cancelled flights and imposed a curfew.

The crisis began on Wednesday evening when the two officials, as well as two ministers, were seized during a cabinet meeting.

Military guards locked Burkina Faso president Michel Kafando, pictured, the prime minister and two ministers in a room at the presidential palace.Military guards locked Burkina Faso president Michel Kafando, pictured, the prime minister and two ministers in a room at the presidential palace. Photo: Ian Langsdon

The newsroom of Radio Omega, a station that was central in reporting news of the 2014 uprising, was stormed. The journalists were forced to cut off the signal, and the offices were set on fire.

On Thursday morning, a military spokesman, Lieutenant-Colonel Mamadou Bamba, appeared on television — which had been running reruns of old shows — to make a statement on behalf of what he called the National Council for Democracy. The council, he said, is led by General Gilbert Diendéré, a close ally of the former president, Blaise Compaoré, who was in power for 27 years until last fall.

Colonel Bamba said it was necessary to “put an end” to the temporary government, which he said had deviated from the goals of the October 2014 revolt.

Burkina Faso Prime Minister Isaac Zida (centre) in 2014.Burkina Faso Prime Minister Isaac Zida (centre) in 2014. Photo: AP

The interim president had been removed, Colonel Bamba said, and the National Transition Council, the equivalent of parliament, dissolved.

The office of French President François Hollande said that he “strongly condemns the coup d’état that has taken place” and “calls for the immediate liberation of all those arrested, for the interim authorities to be put back in place and for the continuation of the electoral process”. Burkina Faso, then known as Upper Volta, was a French colony until 1960.

The guards leading the coup were members of the Presidential Security Regiment, known by its French initials, R.S.P., a powerful group that Compaoré formed. A political overhaul commission recently published a report urging the dissolution of the R.S.P.

An old military truck parked in an empty street in the capital Ouagadougou.An old military truck parked in an empty street in the capital Ouagadougou. Photo: AP

Colonel Bamba accused the previous government of manipulating the military “for personal ends”, and of trying to muzzle the news media. He said the security forces had been unfairly “politicised and manipulated” in a security environment that is “characterised by terrorism and organised crime”.

Western governments have warned that Burkina Faso and other countries in the Sahel face threats from Islamist groups, including al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb.

Officials in the capital said that R.S.P. guards had locked Kafando, Zida and the two ministers — Augustin Loada, the work and pensions minister, and René Bagoro, the housing and urban affairs minister — in a room at the presidential palace. Their whereabouts were unknown as of Thursday morning.

Protesters after the coup.Protesters after the coup. Photo: Theo Renaut

Chérif Sy, the leader of Parliament, issued a statement on Wednesday evening calling the events a “serious attack on the republic and its institutions.” He exhorted “all patriots to defend the motherland”.

Zida, a former R.S.P. member, was among those who had pushed out Compaoré last year. Kafando is a former foreign minister and United Nations ambassador. They were part of a transitional administration that was to be replaced after elections scheduled to start on October 11.

The New York Times, Reuters

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/world/burkina-faso-coup-military-arrests-leaders-dissolves-parliament-and-takes-power-20150917-gjpd2o.html#ixzz3lzzvjLac
Follow us: @smh on Twitter | sydneymorningherald on Facebook

(huffington post) – Tom Brady Declares His Support For Presidential Candidate Donald Trump

“That would be great.”

<span class='image-component__caption' itemprop="caption">On Wednesday, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady publicly endorsed GOP candidate Donald Trump.</span>DONNA CONNOR VIA GETTY IMAGES
On Wednesday, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady publicly endorsed GOP candidate Donald Trump.

Well, at least Tom Brady had made it a few consecutive days without being at the crux of a controversy. But that’s over now.

On Wednesday, Brady entered the political ring again when he threw his support behind his “good friend” Donald Trump.

The New England Patriots quarterback — who spent much of the summer both in the headlines and in the courtrooms — raised the blood pressure of his PR team last week when a hat featuring  Trump’s campaign slogan was seen in his locker.

At the time, Brady dodged giving a direct answer as to whether he would vote for the controversial candidate. But today, the equivocation was axed — Brady wants Trump in 2016.

In a way, it makes sense. Both figures are charismatic but oft-caricatured, and popular within their respective bases while being polarizing to the rest of the nation.

Brady, however, should be a better friend to his 69-year-old golf buddy, and should perhaps reconsider his public vote of confidence in Trump. Why?

Friends don’t let friends make an ass of themselves by running for president.

Read more


(CNN) – Second Republican Debate Tonight

You can also read coverage of the debate for the lower-tier candidates.

11:10 p.m. Another lighthearted question for the candidates: What would your Secret Service code name be?

  • Christie: “I’ve been called a lot of names by a lot of different people…I would just say true heart.”
  • Kasich: “My detail, they called me Unit One.”
  • Fiorina: “Secretariat”
  • Walker: “Harley”
  • Bush: “High energy, Donald” (a nod to Trump’s insult that he’s low energy)
  • Trump: “Humble”
  • Carson: “One nation”
  • Cruz: “Cohiba” (a Cuban cigar brand)
  • Rubio: “Gator”
  • Huckabee: “Duck hunter”
  • Paul: “Justice never sleeps”

11:04 p.m. A lighthearted question for the candidates: In light of the fact that the Treasury Department plans to put a woman on the $10 bill, who would the candidates put there?

  • Paul: “I think Susan B. Anthony might be a good choice.”
  • Huckabee: “That’s an easy one I’d put my wife on there.”
  • Rubio: “Rosa Parks.”
  • Cruz; “I wouldn’t change the $10 bill, I’d change the $20…I’d leave Alexander Hamilton right where he is…I very much agree with Marco that it should be Rosa Parks.”
  • Carson: “I’d put my mother on there.”
  • Trump: “I think my daughter Ivanka…other than that we’ll go with Rosa Parks.”
  • Bush: “I would go with Ronald Reagan’s partner, Margaret Thatcher.”
  • Walker: “I’d put Clara Barton. I once worked for the American Red Cross.”

Fiorina: “I wouldn’t change the $10 bill or the $20 bill, I think honestly it’s a gesture, I don’t think it helps to change our history. What I would think is that we ought to recognize that women are not a special interest group, women are the majority of this nation, we are half the potential of this nation and this nation will be better off when every woman has the opportunity to live the life she choses.”

Kasich: “It’s probably not maybe legal but I would pick Mother Theresa.”

Christie: “I think the Adams family has been shorted in the currency business, our country wouldn’t be here without John Adams and he wouldn’t be able to do it without Abigail Adams.”

10:50 p.m. Tapper brings up the fact that Trump has linked vaccines to autism and asks Carson, a pediatric neurosurgeon, to weigh in on whether he should stop saying that.

“There have been numerous studies and they have not demonstrated that there’s any correlation between vaccinations and autism. This is something that was spread widely 15 or 20 years ago and it has not been adequately revealed to the public what’s actually going on,” he said. But, he said, there are some vaccinations which don’t prevent diseases that would kill people and said there should probably be some discretion. He blamed the concerns about vaccines on the fact that they are supported by “big government.”

As to whether Trump should stop making the link, he said he can read more and will make an intelligent decision.

Trump said, “I am totally in favor of vaccines” but said they should be spaced farther apart and given in smaller doses. He cited the case of an employee whose child got vaccines and then two weeks later got a fever and then autism.

Asked to respond, Carson said, “He’s an okay doctor,” — a riff on the criticism that Trump fired his way.

“The fact of thematter is we have extremely well-documented proof that there’s no autism associated with vaccinations but it is true that we are probably giving way too many in way too short period of time,” he said, saying he would support cutting down on the number and frequency of vaccinations.

Paul, the other doctor on stage, was also asked to respond.

“I’m all for vaccines but I’m also for freedom. I’m also a little concerned about how they’re all bunched up,” he said.

10:35 p.m. The candidates spent several minutes discussing the issue of marijuana legalization by states, and Paul repeated his position that enforcement of drug laws has produced uneven outcomes among white and black Americans.

Christie said that New Jersey has medical marijuana laws, but “I am against the recreational use of marijuana.” He spoke about another policy in New Jersey, which is that nonviolent, non-dealing drug users go to mandatory treatment rather than jail for the first offense.

“I’m pro life, and I think you ned to be pro life for more than just the womb,” he said. But he said that victims of recreational marijuana include employers (who suffer from lost productivity) and people’s families.

Fiorina weighed in with an emotional story about her daughter’s death from drug addiction.

“We are misleading young people when we tell them that marijuana is just like having a beer. Its not,” she said. She added, “The marijuana kids are smoking today is not like the marijuana that Jeb Bush smoked 40 years ago.”

She called for criminal justice reform as well.


10:30 p.m. A confession from Bush as the discussion turns to marijuana legalization: “Forty years ago I smoked marijuana and I admit it, I’m sure other people might have done it and don’t want to admit it…my mom’s not happy that I just did.”

10:18 p.m. Though Bush has defended his brother through much of the debate, he sought some daylight on the issue of 43’s nomination of John Roberts to the Supreme Court.

“John Roberts has made some really good decisions for sure but he did not have a proven extensive record that would have made clarity the important thing. And that’s what we need to do,” he said. Later, he added, “I think he is doing a good job, but the simple fact is going forward what we need to do is to have someone that has a longstanding set of rulings that consistently makes it clear that he is focused exclusively on upholding the constitution of the United States, that they won’t try to use the bench as a means by which to legislate.”

Cruz said Roberts’ nomination was a “mistake” and that he changed the law to uphold Obamacare. Bush pointed out that he had supported Roberts’ nomination.

“That was a mistake and I regret that,” he said. He said Bush nominated Roberts because it was politically expedient.

10:10 p.m. After Jake Tapper brings up Carson’s statement that the U.S. would not have gone to war in Afghanistan if he had been president, Christie said that’s not what he would have done and told the story of worrying about his wife on 9/11 because she worked two blocks from the World Trade Center.

“We lost friends htat day, we went to the funerals, and I will tell you that what those people wanted and what they deserved was for America to answer back against what had been done to them and I support what President Bush did at the time.”

Carson said that instead of war, Bush could have used the bully pulpit to “galvanize everybody behind a national goal” the way former President John F. Kennedy did during the space race.

“While that might have been a fine idea that Dr. Carson had, these people were about to kill us,” he said.

Rubio chimed in as well.

“Radical terrorism cannot be solved by intellect,” he said.


10:04 p.m. Defending former President George W. Bush was a popular position for the audience in the Reagan Library Wednesday night. Trump went after the 43rd president when arguing with Bush over foreign policy, saying, “Your brother and your brother’s administration gave us Barack Obama. It was such a disaster those last few months Abraham Lincoln couldn’t’ have been elected,” he said.

Bush retorted, “When it comes to my brother…he kept us safe,” getting applause.

Walker chimed in with another defense after Trump said he didn’t feel safe.

“It’s not because of George W. Bush, it’s because of Barack Obama,” he said, also to applause.

9:58 p.m. CBS News Political Reporter Stephanie Condon fact checks Bush and Trump’s tiff over whether Trump sought casino gambling in Florida.

9:51 p.m. Clinton becomes the main target for a few minutes as the candidates discuss the merits of attacking her:

Kasich usually avoids it. “People still have to get to know me so I want to spend my time talking about my experience,” he said.

Fiorina, who frequently attacks Clinton without being prompted, said, “Mrs. Clinton is going to have to defend her track record…lying about Benghazi..lying about her emails…she does not have a track record of accomplishment.

“If you want to stump a Democrat, ask them to name an accomplishment of Mrs. Clinton’s,” she said.

And Christie said he would be best poised to “prosecute” Clinton because of his role as as former federal prosecutor.

9:35 p.m. Fiorina and Trump get in an extended back and forth about their business successes after Fiorina is asked to respond to attacks by Trump about her tenure at Hewlett Packard.

“I led Hewlett-Packard through a very difficult time. The worst technology recession in 25 years. The NASDAQ stock index fell 80 percent. It took 15 years for the stock index to recover. We had very strong competitors who literally went out of business and lost all of their jobs in the process. Despite those difficult times, we doubled the size of the company, we quadrupled its topline growth weight, we quadrupled its cash flow, we tripled its rate of innovation,” she said.

“Some tough calls are going to be required,” she said of massive layoffs. “But as for the firing” — her firing, which Trump has criticized — “I have been very honest with this from the day it happened. when you challenge the status quo, you make enemies. I made a few. Steve Jobs told me that when he called me the day I was fired to say ‘hey, been there, done that, twice.'”

Then she hit Trump for his multiple bankruptcies in Atlantic City.

“You filed for bankruptcy four times, a record four times, why should we trust you to manage the finances of this nation any differently than you managed the finances of your casinos?” she said.

“Atlantic City is a disaster and I did great in Atlantic City. I knew when to get out, my timing was great and a got a lot of credit for it,” he said. He said he, like other businessman, have just “used the laws of the land” to help his companies.

Then Christie laid into both of them for arguing about their careers, saying Americans who are struggling or out of work “could care less about your careers. They care about theirs.”

When Fiorina started to interrupt him, he said, “You interrupt everybody else on this stage; you’re not going to interrupt me.”

“Stop this childish back and forth,” Christie said.

9:23 p.m. Carson expands a bit on his immigration plan, which he discussed on CBS’ “Face the Nation” this weekend.

“After we seal the borders, after we turn off the spigot that dispenses all the goodies…people who had a pristine record we should consider allowing them to become guest workers primarily in the agricultural sphere.”

“If they don’t do it within that time period then they become illegal and as illegals they will be treated as such,” he said.

He said his plan is not amnesty because farmers cannot find American workers to do the labor they need, and he would not allow guest workers to become American citizens or enjoy the rights of citizens.

9:16 p.m. Trump and Bush spar again over whether Trump went too far by saying that Bush has a soft spot for Mexicans because his wife, Columba Bush, was born in Mexico.

Bush said he went too far, the comment was “completely inappropriate” and he should apologize.

“I hear phenomenal things,” Trump said of Bush’s wife.

“Why don’t you apologize to her?” Bush asked.

“No I won’t do that because I’ve done nothing wrong,” Trump said.

9:10 p.m. Will Trump put a number on how much his immigration plan will cost? No, but he did reiterate his plan to build a wall and deport immigrants like gang members from all over the country on his first day in office.

9:08 p.m. Fiorina was given the opportunity to respond to comments Trump had made insulting her appearance. He later said he was talking about her persona.

“Mr. Trump said to me that he heard Mr. Bush very clearly and what Mr. Bush said. I think women all over this country heard very clearly what Mr. Trump said,” she said, getting applause from the crowd.

“I think she’s got a beautiful face and I think she’s a beautiful woman,” Trump responded.

9:02 p.m. The candidates get into the issue of whether the Congress should shut down the federal government in order to defund Planned Parenthood.

Kasich said, “The president of the United States is not going to sign this and all we’re going to do is shut the government down…the American people are going to shake their heads and say what’s the story with these Republicans?”

Cruz, on the other hand, said his fellow Republicans were “preemptively surrendering” to Obama. “You know, Obama’s committed to his principles,” he said. “Republicans surrender, we need to stop surrendering and start standing for our principles.”

Christie avoided a direct question about whether he would shut down the government, urging his fellow Republicans to stop fighting with each other and put the question to Clinton instead. Finally, after repeated questioning, he said, “We should be doing these things and forcing the president to take action,” referring to cutting Planned Parenthood funding out of the budget.

Fiorina delivered an impassioned speech and said “I dare” Clinton and Mr. Obama to watch the videos of officials discussing the transfer of fetal body parts.

“This is about the character of our nation, and if we will not stand up and force Barack Obama to veto this bill, shame on us,” she said.

8:50 p.m. The candidates debate the merits of whether the U.S. should have intervened in Syria militarily after dictator Bashar Assad used chemical weapons.

Rubio said the Congress didn’t want to authorize use of force because the military was not in a position where they could win. Cruz said President Obama hadn’t answered the question of what if chemical weapons had ended up in the hands of radical Islamic groups.

Paul had a different reason for believing there shouldn’t have been any U.S. intervention.

“Had we bombed Assad at the time…I think ISIS would be in Damascus today, I think ISIS would be in charge of Syria,” he said. “Sometimes intervention makes us less safe.”

8:45 p.m. Walker finds no support for his call to cancel an upcoming state visitby Chinese President Xi Jinping. Paul said the U.S. should always talk to people it considers enemies, pointing to the Cold War. Bush also passes on the idea of canceling, but said the U.S. should be tough on China.

8:43 p.m. Cruz doubles down on his promise to rip up the Iran nuclear deal after being asked to respond to criticism from Kasich that it shows his inexperience and that he’s just playing to a crowd.

“No president of the United States…has the authority to give away our sovereignty,” he said, referring to President Obama working with the United Nations to implement the deal.

8:41 p.m. Candidates weigh in on how they’d deal with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Trump said, “I will get along I think with Putin, and I will get along with others and we will have a much more stable, stable world.” Fiorina said the U.S. shouldn’t be talking to Putin at all and instead should be building up its military presence in the region.

8:33 p.m. Bush and Trump tangle after Bush was asked about whether special interests controlled his campaign. As an example, Bush said that he turned down Trump when the businessman sought casino gambling in Florida. Bush said he turned Trump down.

“I promise if I would have wanted it, I would have gotten it,” Trump said.

Later, as Bush continued to press Trump over his past donations to Democrats, Trump showed some appreciation for his feistiness.

“More energy tonight, I like that,” he said, prompting laughter from the audience.

8:31 p.m. One person who’s not that interested in beating up on their fellow candidates by name: Carson. Asked who he was referring to when talking about politicians who do things that are politically expedient, he said, “I don’t want to really get into describing who’s a politician and who’s not a politician but I think the people have kind of made that decision for themselves already.”

Fiorina jumped into the discussion of outsiders.

“If someone’s beein in the system their whole life, they don’t know how broken the system is…its not that politicians are bad people, its that they’ve been in that system forever,” she said.

8:27 p.m. Kasich scolds his fellow candidates for the infighting.

“If I were sitting at home watching this back and forth, I’d be inclined to turn it off. People at home…want to know what we’re going to do to fix this place,” he said.

8:24 p.m. Walker joins in the fray hitting Trump.

“Mr. Trump, we don’t need an apprentice in the White House, we have one right now…we don’t know who you are or where you’re going.”

“In Wisconsin you’re losing $2.2 billion dollars right now,” Trump retorted.

8:21 p.m. As with the lower tier debate, the first question has to do with Trump. It went to Carly Fiorina, who was asked if she trusted Trump to be in control of the nuclear launch codes.

“I think Mr. Trump is wonderful entertainer, he’s been terrific at that business,” she said. She added that she believed a long campaign process would be beneficial in revealing character.

Pressed for an answer to the nuclear code question, Fiorina said, “That’s not for me to answer, it’s for the voters of this country to answer.”

In Trump’s response, he took aim at Paul, who hadn’t even spoken yet.

“Rand Paul shouldn’t even be on this stage,” he said referring to Paul’s polling.

After Paul criticized Trump for attacking people’s looks in the manner of a junior high debate, Trump said, “I never attacked him on his look, and believe me there’s plenty of subject matter right there.”

8:10 p.m. The 11 Republican candidates doing best in the polls have begun the main debate at the Reagan Library in Simi Valley, California. On stage: businessman Donald Trump, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, neurosurgeon Ben Carson, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, businesswoman Carly Fiorina, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, Ohio Gov. John Kasich and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.





(post gazette) – Pittsburgh postmaster facing charges released on bond; employment status unclear

Jeremy Wadsworth/Block News Alliance Daniel Davis, shown here in 2011, joined the US Postal Service in 1997 and worked as postmaster in Toledo before being transferred to Pittsburgh and appointed acting postmaster in February 2014

Pittsburgh’s postmaster this morning declined to address charges filed against him by the Allegheny County district attorney’s office that he intimidated and threatened four subordinates in an effort to cover up his alleged illegal opening of packages containing drugs and money.

“I’m confident we’ll have a conversation down the road,” Daniel P. Davis said in a brief phone interview before hanging up on a reporter.

In an earlier interview this morning, Mr. Davis referred questions to his attorney, Joseph J. Chester, who declined comment.

Mr. Davis joined the US Postal Service in 1997 and worked as postmaster in Toledo before being transferred to Pittsburgh and appointed acting postmaster in February 2014. His position was made permanent in August 2014, but whether he remains employed was unclear today.

Mr. Davis would not clarify whether he was still working. And Tad Kelley, a postal service spokesman, refused to divulge Mr. Davis’s employment status or salary.

“I have presented our statement to you,” Mr. Kelley said. “It is the Postal Service does not comment on personnel matters, including criminal investigations of employees or former employees.”

Mr. Kelley referred further questions to the DA’s office. Spokesman Mike Manko said he did not know whether Mr. Davis was working, fired, suspended or otherwise.

Mr. Davis was arraigned at 10:10 p.m. Tuesday by District Judge Elissa M. Lang on obstructing administration of law or other government function and four counts each of intimidation of witnesses or victims, criminal coercion and official oppression.

He was released on $10,000 unsecured bond on each of five cases filed against him. Judge Lang ordered Mr. Davis to have no contact with any witnesses or victims. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Sept. 30.

Mr. Davis, 50, of Canonsburg, has been in trouble with the law once before in Pennsylvania, according to court records.

In May, Pennsylvania State Police charged Mr. Davis with knowingly by trick/fraud win or reduce a loss and disorderly conduct. While gambling on mini-baccarat at The Meadows Racetrack and Casino in Washington County, Mr. Davis “did, by sleight of hand or scheme, illegally win…” a criminal complaint said.

The first charge was withdrawn. Mr. Davis pleaded guilty to a summary count of disorderly conduct.

While District Attorney Stephen A. Zappala Jr.’s office filed charges Tuesday against Mr. Davis and outlined in a detailed affidavit an alleged pattern of the postmaster terrorizing employees over the past year by threatening to kill or ruin them, it is unknown whether any federal charges will flow from an investigation that began with the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General.

Federal authorities provided no clues Tuesday about whether they planned to pursue charges. An affidavit prepared by detectives with the district attorney’s office alleged that Mr. Davis broke federal law and violated US Postal Service regulations by opening same-day delivery mail packages at various post offices, most prominently the one in East Liberty.

As postmaster, the affidavit said, Mr. Davis did not have any job duties that involved opening other people’s mail.

The pertinent portion of the U.S. Code states:

“Whoever, being a Postal Service officer or employee, unlawfully secretes, destroys, detains, delays, or opens any letter, postal card, package, bag, or mail entrusted to him or which shall come into his possession, and which was intended to be conveyed by mail, or carried or delivered by any carrier or other employee of the Postal Service, or forwarded through or delivered from any post office or station thereof established by authority of the Postmaster General or the Postal Service, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than five years, or both.”

It remained murky whether Mr. Davis was expecting packages containing drugs or whether he took drugs and money.

Mr. Zappala said Tuesday that the types of packages that Mr. Davis opened were not typically run through an X-ray machine. The DA also said that sometimes Mr. Davis had routing numbers for packages and called employees at post office branches to tell them to look out for them.

Four postal service employees served as witnesses for the DA’s detectives. They described situations in which Mr. Davis opened packages in front of them; some said they watched Mr. Davis open packages containing drugs, the affidavit said.

One, according to Josh Francis, who was working in the East Liberty station and is now a manager in Coraopolis, contained marijuana, cocaine and heroin, the affidavit said. That was in November 2014, and Mr. Francis told investigators that the drugs were hidden in bags of coffee, something that was witnessed on other occasions.

Mr. Davis described it as the “mother load [sic],” according to the affidavit.

On occasion, Mr. Davis told his employees to contact postal inspectors. But Mr. Zappala dismissed the actions as a possible ruse by Mr. Davis to lend him credibility as someone trying to stem the tide of drugs being sent through the mail.

Mr. Zappala said Mr. Davis would tell his employees that he was looking for drugs.

“Where I came from,” Mr. Zappala said Mr. Davis told his charges, “we took drugs off the street.”

Mr. Davis was aware that investigators were looking at him — or going to start.

In September 2014, the affidavit said, Mr. Davis called Donna Clay, now a customer service supervisor in Hazelwood, on her personal cell phone to tell her he was going to take another employee, Mavin Parker, “down.”

Mr. Davis warned Ms. Clay that when that happened, Ms. Parker would tell authorities about him opening packages and that someone from the inspector’s office might talk to her, “and that she better not say anything about him opening packages,” according to the affidavit.

Three months later, the inspector general’s investigation began.

Mr. Davis told Mr. Francis to lie about him opening packages, the affidavit said.

And he warned Dwayne Mayo, a transportation supervisor, that he was “ruthless” and not to cross him, the affidavit said.

At some point, Mr. Davis was interviewed by a postal inspector who asked how the package containing marijuana, heroin and cocaine had been opened. Mr. Francis had told investigators that Mr. Davis opened it. But Mr. Davis said “the self-seal adhesive had opened in transit,” according to the affidavit.

Based on that information, the inspector drafted an affidavit of probable cause for a federal search and seizure warrant. It is unclear what evidence, if any, that warrant produced or even whether it was executed.


(smh.com) – Tsunami warning after powerful earthquake hits Chile


A powerful 8.3-magnitude earthquake has struck off the central coast of Chile, causing buildings to sway in the capital Santiago and triggering a tsunami warning.

Tsunami alarms sounded in the port of Valparaiso and authorities issued a tsunami alert for Chile’s entire coast.

Hazardous tsunami waves from the quake were possible along the coasts of Chile and also Peru within the next several hours, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre said.

The Joint Australian Tsunami Warning Centre said there was no tsunami threat to the Australian mainland, islands or territories.

US officials said the quake struck just offshore in the Pacific Ocean at 7.54pm, local time,and was centred about 228 kilometres north north-west of Santiago.

The US Geological Survey reported the quake had a preliminary magnitude of 7.9, however this was later upgraded to 8.3.

It said the quake was five kilometres below the surface.

Chile’s emergency office warned that big waves caused by the quake could hit the coast by 11pm.

Australian rapper Urthboy is in Chile and tweeted that he felt the earthquake strike.
Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/world/tsunami-warning-after-powerful-earthquake-hits-chile-20150916-gjojfd.html#ixzz3lws5cZiC
Follow us: @smh on Twitter | sydneymorningherald on Facebook

Source: Tsunami warning after powerful earthquake hits Chile


Hazardous tsunami waves were possible along the coasts of Chile and also Peru within the next several hours, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre said, while a tsunami watch was also issued for Hawaii.

The Joint Australian Tsunami Warning Centre said there was no tsunami threat to the Australian mainland, islands or territories.

US officials said the quake struck just offshore in the Pacific Ocean at 7.54pm, local time, and was centred about 228 kilometres north north-west of Santiago.

The US Geological Survey reported the quake had a preliminary magnitude of 7.9, however this was later upgraded to 8.3.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre said the quake struck 10 kilometres below the surface.

“Based on all available data, hazardous tsunami waves are forecast for some coasts,” the centre said.

Officials ordered people to evacuate low-lying areas along Chile’s Pacific shore, from Puerto Aysen in the south to Arica in the north. Cars streamed inland carrying people to higher ground.

Chile’s emergency office warned that big waves caused by the quake could hit the coast by 11pm.

If tsunami waves impact Hawaii, the estimated earliest arrival time would be 3.06am, local time.

Witnesses said the powerful quake was felt as far away as the Argentine capital, Buenos Aires, on the eastern seaboard of South America.

Interior Minister Jorge Burgos told reporters there were reports of damages to homes in Illapel, about 280 kilometres north of Santiago. There were no immediate reports of injuries or deaths.

Chile’s state copper miner Codelco said workers at its Ventanas division have been evacuated.

Newsweek published pictures showing people gathering at a tsunami-safe zone.

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/world/tsunami-warning-after-powerful-earthquake-hits-chile-20150916-gjojfd.html#ixzz3lx6T2LyH
Follow us: @smh on Twitter | sydneymorningherald on Facebook

David Cameron’s limp action on refugees puts Britain outside the EU

David Cameron’s limited promise of only 4,000 places a year for Syrian refugees provides a glimpse of the impotence of Britain’s future role in world affairs outside the EU.

His Commons promise to take 20,000 Syrian refugees over the next five years is at the bottom end of expectations. It stands in sharp contrast to the French pledge of 24,000 places over the next two years. As the Labour MP and father of the house, Gerald Kaufman, angrily pointed out: “The Germans took in 10,000 refugees in one day.”

Cameron has deliberately spurned taking part in a much bigger EU scheme to resettle those in the camps in countries neighbouring Syria. He has also rejected playing any part in the expected EU request this week to relocate the estimated 160,000 refugees who have made it across the Mediterranean to Italy and Greece or through the Balkans to Hungary.

With more than 4 million Syrians already living in UN camps in Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey it is hard to see how Britain’s own-brand resettlement scheme can make any significant difference to the situation.

It will undoubtedly make a world of difference to the few thousand who are lucky enough to be named each year by a British official as among the most deserving of sanctuary in the UK. But all the signs are that Cameron is set to repeat the same mistakes made when the UK’s vulnerable persons relocation scheme, as it is officially known, was set up in January last year.

Source: David Cameron’s limp action on refugees puts Britain outside the EU

(times of india) – Charlie Hebdo criticized for dead Syrian toddler’s cartoon

PARIS: French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo has been criticized for publishing a cartoon depicting the death of three-year-old Syrian toddler Aylan Kurdi as its own controversial take on the refugee and migration crisis, the media reported on Tuesday.

The cartoon attributed to the publication and circulating on social media features Aylan lying face down on a beach with the words “So close to his goal…” written above him, The Huffington Post reported.

In the background a McDonald’s-style Happy Meal Board states, “Two children’s menus for the price of one.”

Aylan drowned along with his brother and mother on September 2 when the boat they were travelling from the Greek island of Kos to the Turkish town of Bodrum capsized.

READ ALSO: How a small Syrian child came to be washed up on a beach in Turkey

Aylan Kurdi’s last words were ‘Daddy, please don’t die’ as father battled to save him
The family fled after Islamic State militants advanced upon their home town of Kobane.

Another cartoon said to be from the same edition of the magazine is entitled The Proof that Europe is Christian and features a man believed to be Jesus standing on the surface of the ocean while a child’s legs’s (presumably meant to be Aylan’s) protrude from the water.

It says: “Christians walk on water… Muslim kids sink.”

The cartoons have been met with a mixed response.

Turkish newspaper The Daily Sabah claimed the images mock the drowned toddler.

Morocco World News concurred, accusing the publication of “hiding behind the freedom of speech.”

READ ALSO: Photographer of drowned Syrian toddler was ‘petrified’

“Charlie Hebdo is a purely racist, xenophobic and ideologically bankrupt publication that represents the moral decay of France,” Barrister Peter Herbert, who is Chair of the Society of Black Lawyers and former vice chair of the Metropolitan Police Authority, tweeted.

“The Society of Black Lawyers will consider reporting this as incitement to hate crime and persecution before the International Criminal Court.”

Complaints are being left on the magazine’s Facebook page and Twitter users have criticised the images, describing them as “tasteless” and “disgusting.”

But some commenters have said the cartoons are not mocking the dead child and are instead using the tragedy to ridicule Europe for not doing enough to prevent it.

Stay updated on the go with Times of India News App. Click here to download it for your device.


(Pittsburgh Post-Gazette) – Pennsylvania sees rise in homeless students

And while that one-year increase seems dramatic, even more troubling is the 94 percent increase in homeless students in the state since the start of the economic recession in the 2007-08 school year.

Translated into numbers, there were 11,756 homeless students identified in Pennsylvania in 2007-08, an amount that nearly doubled, to 22,765, by 2013-14.

Nationally, nearly 1.4 million homeless children attended the nation’s public schools in 2013-14, up from 795,054 in 2007-08.

Those numbers were the focus of a report released Monday by First Focus Campaign for Children, whose organizers are pushing for federal legislation that would broaden the number of homeless families who qualify for federal services.

(Click image for larger version)

Local experts say two factors contribute to the increase in the number of homeless students reported by the state: A more focused and specific accounting of homeless students enacted by the state Department of Education four years ago and an economy that has made it difficult for families to climb out of homelessness since the economic crisis of 2008.

“You have school districts that are doing a much better job at identifying students. But we also have families who become homeless over and over again and are taking a really long time to get out,” said Nicole Anderson, coordinator for the Allegheny Intermediate Unit’s homeless education initiative, which covers a nine-county region.

The region encompasses Allegheny, Beaver, Bedford, Fayette, Fulton, Greene, Somerset, Washington and Westmoreland counties.

In the 2012-13 school year, 2,264 children, ages birth through 12th grade, were identified as homeless in Allegheny County. That total rose to 2,958 in the 2013-14 school year.

Of the 694-child increase, 550 were children ages birth to 5 years old, AIU records show. That rise may be attributed to increased outreach in early childhood and housing programs, Ms. Anderson said.

The U.S. Department of Education numbers do not include young children who are not enrolled in public school.

Currently, fewer than 20 percent of students identified as homeless by schools qualify for services provided by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, said Ed Walz, vice president of First Focus.

The federal McKinney-Vento Act, which oversees education and related services for homeless children, considers homeless any children who “lack a fixed, regular and adequate nighttime residence.”

That definition includes those living in homeless shelters, doubled up with others, in hotels, motels, trailer parks or campgrounds, in public spaces, cars or abandoned buildings or those awaiting foster care placement.

However, HUD’s definition of homelessness differs from that of the McKinney-Vento Act, said Bill Wolfe, executive director of the Homeless Children’s Education Fund in Pittsburgh.

“Families who are living in doubled-up situations, and that’s the majority of homeless families, are not considered homeless under HUD’s definition. So they have trouble getting the housing services.”

Mr. Walz’s group supports the proposed Homeless Children and Youth Act, which would amend the HUD definition of homelessness to include all children identified as homeless by public schools. The U.S. Senate version of the bill was introduced in January, the House bill in April. Both sit in committees.

There is some good news, of sorts, about the higher numbers reported in Pennsylvania. Because the funding formula for homeless services is based on the number of students identified, more funding has become available.

“There hasn’t been a huge funding increase at the federal level, so we are not seeing great increases. But the money we do get allows us to do more direct support for families,” Ms. Anderson said.

“So we have purchased hundreds of uniforms and backpacks and school supplies and, for high school kids, those very expensive graphing calculators.”

Mary Niederberger: mniederberger@post-gazette.com, 412-263-1590 or on Twitter @MaryNied.

Source: Pennsylvania sees rise in homeless students | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette


Flash floods kill 12 people in Utah – BBC News

Hildale is home to many members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

Flash floods in the US state of Utah have killed at least 12 people with one person still missing.

The dead include women and children whose vehicles were swept away by a rush of water near the town of Hildale.

Three people were rescued. The floods followed heavy rains in the canyons just north of the town.

Hildale once served as a home base for polygamous sect leader Warren Jeffs, and there are concerns flood warnings may not reach members of the sect.

Three more bodies were found on Tuesday, bringing the death toll up from nine to 12.

The National Weather Service had issued a flash flood warning earlier, leading nearby Zion National Park to close canyons as a precaution.

But members of Jeffs’ sect, the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS), are discouraged from having contact with the outside world and may have not received the warnings.

The FLDS broke off from the official Mormon church when the main church denounced polygamy in the late 19th century .

In 2011, Jeffs was sentenced to life in prison for sexually assaulting underage girls whom he considered brides.

He is believed to have up to 70 wives,according to ABC News, which interviewed former members of FLDS in May.

However, the community is split between loyalists who still believe Jeffs is a victim of religious persecution and defectors who are embracing government efforts to pull the town into modern society.

Map showing the town of Hildale, about 315 miles (507 km) south of Salt Lake City

Source: Flash floods kill 12 people in Utah – BBC News

Skip to toolbar