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  • Strikes on Iran-backed militias threaten to destabilize Iraq

    Golocal247.com news

    An Israeli airstrike on an Iranian weapons depot in Iraq, confirmed by U.S. officials, is threatening to destabilize security in the volatile country that has struggled to remain neutral in the conflict between Washington and Tehran. It would be the first known Israeli airstrike in Iraq since 1981, when Israeli warplanes destroyed a nuclear reactor being built by Saddam Hussein, and significantly expands Israel's campaign against Iranian military involvement in the region. The July 19 attack targeted a base belonging to Iranian-backed paramilitary forces in Amirli in the northern Salaheddin province, and killed two Iranians.

    Fri, 23 Aug 2019 12:01:02 -0400
  • A floating nuclear plant in Russia features a gym, bar, and pool. An expert calls it 'Chernobyl on ice.'

    Golocal247.com news

    Environmental activists worry about the perils of placing nuclear reactors at sea, where they could be vulnerable to climate-related disasters.

    Fri, 23 Aug 2019 13:49:00 -0400
  • Gary Ray Bowles: Death row serial killer executed by lethal injection despite last-minute plea

    Golocal247.com news

    A serial killer who admitted killing six gay men in just eight-months in the US east coast has been executed.Gary Ray Bowles was given a lethal injection in Florida late Thursday after more than 20 years on death row.

    Fri, 23 Aug 2019 03:46:50 -0400
  • Newt Gingrich says slavery needs to be put 'in context,' calls 1619 project a 'lie'

    Golocal247.com news

    "There were several hundred thousand white Americans who died in the Civil War in order to free the slaves," Gingrich argued.

    Thu, 22 Aug 2019 11:53:09 -0400
  • Pompeo meets Trudeau, says China detention of two Canadians 'wrong'

    Golocal247.com news

    American officials are working to secure the release of two Canadians held by China, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Thursday as he sat down with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. The two Canadians -- former diplomat Michael Kovrig and businessman Michael Spavor -- were detained in December and accused of espionage. The detention came nine days after Canada had arrested Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou on a US warrant.

    Thu, 22 Aug 2019 12:08:13 -0400
  • Radical gun reform may finally have a voice in Washington

    Golocal247.com news

    An ambitious agenda by the March for Our Lives activists may be the first time the majority of Americans get real representationA young girl looks on as she attends a vigil for the victims of the recent mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio. Photograph: Drew Angerer/Getty ImagesMarch for Our Lives, the national youth gun violence prevention movement founded by survivors of last year’s school shooting in Parkland, Florida, released a sweeping gun reform agenda this week.The agenda calls for significantly raising the standards for gun ownership in America, and reducing by about 100m the total number of guns in circulation.It’s a dramatic, ambitious plan. And it may represent the first time in decades that the majority of Americans will get any real representation in the gun control debate in Washington.March for Our Lives’ young activists endorsed an Australia-style mandatory government buyback and destruction of “assault weapons”. They want to decrease the number of guns in circulation by 30% – which would mean roughly 100m fewer firearms in American hands. They proposed regulations that would dramatically raise the bar for who is allowed to purchase a gun, putting US law much more in line with European countries. And they want to revisit the 2009 supreme court decision, District of Columbia v Heller, which enshrined a pro-gun interpretation of Americans’ second amendment right to bear arms.These proposals are substantially more aggressive, and more ambitious, than anything the Democrats in Washington have fought for in years. In fact, for decades, gun control groups and progressive politicians have done a poor job at representing the majority of Americans in Congress when it comes to gun control. A surprising voidDemocrats have fought for minor new restrictions on gun buying – and been defeated by the Republican party’s gun absolutists – but, fundamentally, the Democratic party has remained supportive of gun ownership.Democratic lawmakers’ efforts to “ban assault weapons”, for example, have not meant an actual ban on these guns, but only a ban on future sales, meaning that Americans could keep the millions of military-style rifles they already own. President Obama’s signature gun control legislation after the 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School was a compromise bill that would have closed just a few of the gaping loopholes in the nation’s background check system – a measure so weak it’s doubtful whether it would have had any effect on gun violence at all.The country’s largest gun control groups, too, have made great efforts to portray themselves as pro-“gun safety”, not anti-gun. They routinely advertise themselves as supporters of Americans’ second amendment right to bear arms. And they have focused on “commonsense reforms”, such as getting what activists see as particularly extreme weapons off the streets, or requiring a criminal background check before every gun sale.This lack of any explicit anti-gun side in the American gun debate is strange.Although many Americans may not realize it, gun owners are a minority in the United States. American civilians overall own an estimated 300m to 400m firearms, more than one gun per person. But this frequently cited statistic obscures how concentrated American gun ownership is.In recent surveys, roughly 70% to 80% of Americans said they do not personally own a gun, and a majority said that nobody in their household owns a gun. Just 3% of American adults own half the country’s guns, according to a definitive 2015 survey. This small group of gun super-owners have an average of 17 guns each.Gun absolutists – the activists who oppose any gun control measures, who want Americans to be able to own any kind of gun, and carry them everywhere – are a minority within that minority. According to the best available estimates, fewer than 10% of American gun owners overall are members of the National Rifle Association.There appear to be at least as many Americans who are vehemently anti-gun as there are NRA members.Recent Gallup polls have found that 28% of American adults say they would support a law banning handgun ownership, except by the police and other “authorized persons”. A 2017 Pew Research Center survey found that 9% of American adults believed that “almost no one” should be legally allowed to own guns – about the same proportion as the number of adults who believed that “almost everyone” should be able to own them.A coalition of 9% of American adults would translate into more than 20 million people. That’s a group four times larger than the NRA, which claims between 5 million and 6 million members.Only a minority of Americans oppose most private gun ownership. But there’s strong majority support for much tougher gun control laws than the ones currently on the books.A 2017 Pew survey found 68% supported banning assault-style weapons. Seventy-one percent supported having a federal database to track all gun sales. A 2018 Gallup survey found 68% of respondents supported raising the legal age to buy certain guns. A Quinnipiac poll in May found 77% of respondents were in favor of requiring people to obtain a license before being able to purchase a gun.It’s not hard to find Americans who oppose the country’s current gun culture. They show up at gun control rallies, holding signs that say things like “Repeal the Second Amendment”. They live in neighborhoods burdened by decades of daily gun violence. They’ve lost family members or friends to shootings. They keep asking: why can’t we just get rid of the guns?But for years, these Americans’ views have not been well represented by America’s “gun safety” groups, and they have had virtually no representation in Congress.This may finally be starting to change. Moving the gun debateIn 2016, a progressive activist launched Guns Down America, a small organization that advocates not simply for “gun sense laws”, but for “a future with fewer guns”. Following the Parkland shooting, the young March for Our Lives activists have advocated unapologetically for bold reform, though they, like other American gun control activists, say they’re not anti-gun and their proposals for stricter regulation represent the interests of “responsible gun owners”.It’s not yet clear how much the 2020 Democratic presidential candidates will move towards embracing these majority opinions on gun control policy. But there’s already been movement towards the actual middle of the debate.In 2016, Obama argued in a CNN Town Hall that “issues like licensing, registration, that’s an area where there’s just not enough national consensus at this stage to even consider it”. This year, the New Jersey senator Cory Booker made gun licensing the center of his 2020 gun control platform.After the mass shooting targeting Latino families in El Paso, the former Texas congressman Beto O’Rourke said he endorsed not just an assault weapon ban, but a mandatory federal buyback of assault weapons. On Wednesday, he became the first Democratic 2020 candidate to tweet that he supported March for Our Lives’ new policy agenda.O’Rourke’s campaign did not back away from the most controversial elements of the youth activists’ plan, including their desire to revisit the supreme court’s current interpretation of the second amendment, enshrined in the Heller decision.“While Beto agrees with the court’s holding that the second amendment allows for regulation, he does not agree with the entirety of the Heller decision,” said Aleigha Cavalier, O’Rourke’s national press secretary. “One piece of the Heller case Beto believes should be revisited is the court’s decision to strike down DC’s safe storage requirements.”America’s gun debate may soon actually have two sides.

    Fri, 23 Aug 2019 01:00:08 -0400
  • Federal appeals court rules Colorado was 'wrong' to force electors to vote for Hillary Clinton in 2016

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    Bradley Moss and John Yoo weigh in on a federal court ruling in Colorado on the Electoral College that could make its way to the Supreme Court.

    Thu, 22 Aug 2019 23:32:18 -0400
  • An innocent man spent months in jail after customs officials thought honey he brought back from Jamaica was liquid meth

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    Leon Haughton told The Washington Post he was jailed for 82 days after customs officials in Baltimore alleged that the three jars of honey were meth.

    Fri, 23 Aug 2019 16:42:21 -0400
  • Iran ready to work on French nuclear deal proposals, does not want war: foreign minister

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    Iran is prepared to work on French proposals to salvage the international nuclear deal that Tehran signed with world powers in 2015 but it will not tolerate U.S. interference in the Gulf, its foreign minister said on Thursday. At a time of heightened friction between Tehran and Washington, Iran also on Thursday displayed what it described as a domestically built long-range, surface-to-air missile air defense system.

    Thu, 22 Aug 2019 08:09:30 -0400
  • Sanders campaign boss concedes he may not win New Hampshire

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    The campaign manager for Bernie Sanders emphasized Thursday that New Hampshire is a critical presidential primary state he expects Sanders to win, but he's leaving room for a scenario in which Sanders falls short. Faiz Shakir said he doesn't "like the language of must-win," though he does believe it is an important early voting state.

    Thu, 22 Aug 2019 20:44:00 -0400
  • Putin Needs to Bury This Relic of Stalin

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- As Europe marks 80 years of the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact, which carved up eastern Europe between the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany, Russia is trying to defend the agreement again. There is no political benefit to doing this. President Vladimir Putin needs to abandon his Stalinist inheritance of a foreign policy based solely on national interest.If Moscow needed any reminder that many in eastern Europe still hold the treaty against it and still consider it a threat, plenty came on the anniversary. The governments of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Romania – the countries directly affected by the pact’s secret protocol – issued a joint statement saying the document “sparked World War II and doomed half of Europe to decades of misery.”More than a million people gathered to celebrate the Baltic Chain, the 419-mile (675 kilometer) long line of people who protested Soviet rule on Aug. 23, 1989. The demonstrators didn’t pick that day at random – they, too, were making the point that the subjugation of their countries by the Soviet Union began with the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact.Russia is fighting back. In Moscow, the original of the treaty is now exhibited alongside documents relating to both the 1938 Munich Agreement, where British and French leaders sanctioned the Nazi annexation of the Sudetenland, and Poland’s subsequent invasion of part of Czechoslovakia.At the opening of the exhibition earlier this week, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov spoke of Britain and France’s treachery: By cosying up to Hitler, they forced the Soviet Union to sign a deal with the Nazis to ensure its own security, he said. Had the Western Europeans listened to the Soviets and set up a collective security system, the bloodshed of World War II could have been averted. Lavrov was making a clear analogy with Russia’s efforts to build an alternative security architecture in today’s Europe – an idea the Kremlin hasn’t abandoned despite the rest of Europe’s lack of interest.For its part, the Russian mission to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the group the Kremlin sees as the foundation for its alternative security architecture, tweeted on Aug. 20 that lots of other countries had signed pacts with the Nazis before the Soviet Union did.Kremlin officials can say all this until they go hoarse, but that can’t erase the undeniable fact that the Soviet Union’s security didn’t require it to grab the Baltics and parts of Poland and Romania. Poland, which tried to benefit from the Nazis’ aggression, has admitted it was in the wrong when it invaded part of Czechoslovakia. President Lech Kaczynski apologized for it in 2009.In 1989, the Soviet Union, too, officially condemned the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact – but subsequent Russian communications about it, including an entire article signed by Putin himself in the Polish daily Gazeta Wyborcza, have come with the caveat that lots of others were at it, too.These excuses are a major reason other European countries don’t trust Russia: To them, Putin and his subordinates are saying that Moscow would do something like this all over again if its interests dictated it, small countries be damned.Concern this might happen was what drove eastern Europeans into the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. The reality of the annexation of Crimea – another opportunistic move dictated ostensibly by Russian security considerations – is pushing Ukraine in the same direction.If Putin’s goal was to inspire trust and start a meaningful conversation about collective European security in an age of increasing global competition, an unconditionally apologetic stance would work much better. Refraining from invading neighboring countries would be an even more meaningful step.I suspect, however, that Putin doesn’t really believe in such goals, because, like Stalin, he thinks a deal with the devil, based on common interest rather than trust, is the best.My epiphany about the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact came when I read the long-lost diary of Alfred Rosenberg, Nazi ideologue and Hitler’s one-time minister for the Occupied Eastern Territories. Rosenberg was skeptical about the deal and recoiled in horror when fellow Nazi Richard Darre told him of Joachim von Ribbentrop’s comment that he had “felt as though among old party comrades” when meeting the Soviet leadership.Incredulously, Rosenberg recounted that during Ribbentrop’s visit, Stalin raised his glass not just to Hitler but also to Heinrich Himmler, the Nazi security chief, calling him “the guarantor of order in Germany.”“Himmler has eradicated communism, i.e. those who believed in Stalin, and this one – without any need for it – raises a toast to the exterminator of his faithful,” Rosenberg noted.For Stalin, any kind of ideology took a back seat to expediency. He was a man of interests, not values. In that sense, Putin, an avowed anti-communist who has condemned Stalin on many occasions, is following the dictator’s realpolitik. His adherence to his current Orthodox Christian brand of social conservatism is as flimsy as Stalin’s link to leftist idealism was. If Putin can do a deal that will promote what he sees as Russia’s interests, he will do it with anyone. He will wear any hat required of him while doing so, and raise any toast. He is oblivious to Molotov-Ribbentrop’s biggest lesson of all: That such agreements don’t hold.That’s why eastern Europeans, and especially Ukrainians, are so worried about the possibility of a grand bargain between Putin and a U.S. president, most recently Donald Trump. The consequences for them could be comparable to those of the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact.What’s needed from Russia isn’t an apology for carving up Europe with Hitler, but a different foreign policy is – one in which principles trump interests. Only such a change can bring closer the idealistic vision of a Europe that stretches from Lisbon to Vladivostok, a goal to which both Russian and European leaders still like to refer. And that shift shouldn’t come at a moment of weakness, as it did in the waning years of the Soviet Union. Restoring trust should be a conscious process. It will take some time.To contact the author of this story: Leonid Bershidsky at lbershidsky@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Edward Evans at eevans3@bloomberg.netThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Leonid Bershidsky is Bloomberg Opinion's Europe columnist. He was the founding editor of the Russian business daily Vedomosti and founded the opinion website Slon.ru.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

    Fri, 23 Aug 2019 07:52:10 -0400
  • Antisemitic beliefs spreading among evangelical Christians in America

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    As she cleans up the counter where the teenagers at her church’s Vacation Bible School ate their cookies and yoghurt, Luba Yanko complains about the state of the country. President Donald Trump is trying to act on Christian values, she believes. But from what she reads online, it seems that a certain group keeps getting in the way.Trump, she says, “is surrounded by a Zionist environment with completely different values from Christians. It’s kabbalist. It’s Talmudic values. Not the word of God.”

    Fri, 23 Aug 2019 15:21:00 -0400
  • 2020 Toyota GR Supra vs. 2019 Ford Mustang Shelby GT350: Which Is the Better Driver's Machine?

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    Vastly different yet similarly capable, one of these rear-drive sports coupes begs to be driven harder than the other.

    Fri, 23 Aug 2019 08:00:00 -0400
  • Overstock CEO resigns over relationship with Russian 'spy'

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    The chief executive of the e-commerce firm Overstock.com stepped down Thursday over his relationship with an alleged Russian intelligence operative jailed for meddling in US politics. Patrick Byrne only recently admitted that he had a close relationship with Maria Butina for three years, during the period when she beguiled top Republican and National Rifle Association officials with talk of strengthening Moscow-Washington relations and her flair with guns.

    Thu, 22 Aug 2019 18:56:32 -0400
  • China Buys American Soybeans after Vowing to Boycott U.S. Farm Products

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    China purchased a comparatively small amount of U.S. soybeans several days ago after promising to boycott U.S. farm products amid deteriorating trade negotiations with the Trump administration.Beijing reached agreements last week to buy 9,589 metric tons of American soybeans for the current marketing year and 66,000 metric tons for the following year, which starts September 1, according to data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture released Thursday.An August 5 statement from China's Ministry of Commerce said Chinese companies would boycott American farm products in response to the Trump administration's heavy tariffs on Chinese products. In May, the White House upped tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports from 10 percent to 25 percent, claiming Beijing had reneged on the previously agreed terms of a trade deal. The U.S. also currently has a 25 percent tariff on $50 billion worth of Chinese high-tech products.In response, China has slapped 25 percent tariffs on tens of billions in U.S. goods, including cars, planes, propane, soybeans, beef, and whiskey. The duties caused a steep drop in American farm exports, and the Trump administration has since compensated farmers up to $28 billions for their losses.Despite apparently breaking its boycott, China, which is the world's largest soybean importer, is still not purchasing anywhere near as many American soybeans as it has in the past. Last year, American sales of soybeans to China dropped 74 percent as Beijing gave its business to South America.President Trump has long complained about China's trade practices, accusing the country of contributing heavily to the U.S. trade deficit as well as stealing intellectual property from American companies.“Now we have a Trade Deficit of $500 Billion a year, with Intellectual Property Theft of another $300 Billion. We cannot let this continue!” the president wrote in a tweet around the time of China's retaliatory tariffs.The administration had said it planned to impose tariffs on another $300 billion in Chinese goods by September 1, but later said it would delay imposing them until December."Despite the U.S. decision to delay tariffs on some Chinese goods . . . if the United States rides roughshod over China’s opposition and imposes any new tariffs, China will be forced to adopt retaliatory actions," Chinese Ministry of Commerce spokesman Gao Feng said Thursday.

    Thu, 22 Aug 2019 13:05:27 -0400
  • Hotline for detained migrants featured on Orange is the New Black shut down

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    Hotline shut down by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement connected detained migrants to an advocacy groupFounded in 2013, the hotline connected migrants with advocates at Freedom for Immigrants, which also consulted for the Netflix production and was named in the show. Photograph: Handout/Getty ImagesUS Immigration and Customs Enforcement (Ice) has shut down a national hotline that connected detained migrants to an advocacy group, a month after the hotline was featured in a storyline in the hit TV series Orange is the New Black.Founded in 2013, the hotline connected migrants in the world’s largest immigration detention system with advocates at Freedom for Immigrants, which also consulted for the award-winning Netflix production and was named in the show.Freedom for Immigrants runs and supports visitation programs in detention centers. It sent a cease-and-desist letter to Ice, alleging the government agency was retaliating and violating its right to exercise free speech after its profile grew.“Ice is attempting to silence its critics and block people in immigration detention from connecting with communities on the outside,” said Christina Fialho, the group’s co-executive director. “It’s disappointing, but not unexpected, that Trump’s Ice would engage in such cruel and undemocratic behavior.”Shawn Neudauer, an Ice spokesman, said all Ice facilities provide detainees with reasonable access to phones and that detainees are allowed to make free calls to an Ice-approved list of free legal service providers.“Pro bono organizations found to be violating [Ice] rules may be removed from the platform,” Neudauer said. “However, removal from this platform in no way limits the ability of an Ice detainee to phone such an organization directly should the detainee wish to do so.”The Ice phone system is operated by Talton Communications, which is mandated to provide free extensions to groups such as the UN refugee agency, consulates and Freedom for Immigrants.Freedom for Immigrants had three pro-bono extensions operating in detention centers when Donald Trump took office. Ice shut down two of the extensions before the final one was closed on 7 August.Fialho said the cease-and-desist letter was the first step in potential litigation, though the group was hoping to avoid court.“We very much hope we can resolve this amicably, but our team is also ready to enforce our rights under the constitution,” she said.Before Ice shut down the hotline it closed more than a dozen of Freedom for Immigrants detention center visitation programs. They were ultimately reinstated.The final season of Orange is the New Black focuses on the immigration detention system, which is run by Ice, and highlights how difficult it is for people in prison to contact family or friends because of the high cost of making phone calls in detention.In one scene, Gloria (Selenis Leyva) tells Maritza (Diane Guerrero) about the hotline and warns: “You gotta be careful, though. Apparently as soon as Big Brother figures out you’re using the hotline, they shut it down.”Fialho said the hotline was important for helping migrants connect with the outside world.“We would get calls from people who hadn’t been able to communicate with family members to tell them they’ve been taken by Ice, that they are in this particular immigration detention facility,” she said.While the extension number was supposed to be written on a sheet available to migrants in every detention center, Fialho said Ice had never made it easily available and people learned about the hotline through word of mouth instead.Now that the extension is gone, detained migrants can still use the Freedom for Immigrants hotline, but the group will have to shoulder the cost. The extension was also supposed to be unmonitored. Ice can listen in on a normal call.Orange is the New Black actors including Guerrero, Emily Tarver and Laura Gómez signed a letter to Ice demanding the hotline be restored.

    Fri, 23 Aug 2019 17:10:37 -0400
  • L.L. Bean's Huge End-of-Summer Sale Is Taking Up to 70% Off

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    Thu, 22 Aug 2019 14:17:00 -0400
  • Key hospitals in Indian Kashmir treat more than 150 tear gas, pellet injuries

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    At least 152 people have suffered injuries from tear gas and pellets in disputed Kashmir since Indian security forces this month launched a sweeping crackdown, data from the Himalayan region's two main hospitals shows. Indian authorities have deployed additional paramilitary police, banned public gatherings and cut cellular and internet links to prevent large scale protests after withdrawing the revolt-torn territory's special status on Aug 5. Data obtained by Reuters showed 152 people reported to Srinagar's Sher-i-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences and Shri Maharaj Hari Singh with injuries from pellet shots and tear gas fire between Aug 5 and Aug 21.

    Fri, 23 Aug 2019 01:24:43 -0400
  • The Latest: Israeli teen dies of wounds in West Bank attack

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    Israel's national rescue agency says a 17-year-old Israeli girl died of wounds from an explosion in the West Bank earlier in the day that the Israeli military has described as a Palestinian attack. Initially, three Israelis were said to have been wounded in the blast on Friday near the Dolev settlement, northwest of Jerusalem. The Israeli rescue agency, known as Magen David Adom, says the girl's 21-year-old brother was in a serious condition.

    Fri, 23 Aug 2019 07:28:14 -0400
  • A woman caught a fish with two mouths and the photo is just as shocking as you would expect

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    A woman in upstate New York surely found the "catch-of-the-day" when she reeled in a fish with two mouths. A photo of the fish has since gone viral.

    Thu, 22 Aug 2019 14:04:42 -0400
  • Amazon fires: Bolsonaro actively trying to devastate rainforest, leaked documents show

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    Jair Bolsonaro hopes to sabotage conservation efforts in the Amazon, leaked documents show.A series of powerpoint slides reveal that Brazilian government officials intend to build a bridge, motorway and hydroelectric plant through the rainforest.

    Thu, 22 Aug 2019 11:26:45 -0400
  • Trump fumes over emissions deal between automakers and California

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    The president decried a deal between the most populous U.S. state and four major automakers.

    Thu, 22 Aug 2019 13:22:13 -0400
  • 20 of the Craziest Pickup Trucks Ever

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    Fri, 23 Aug 2019 11:55:00 -0400
  • Beijing hits back after Trudeau vows to stand up to China

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    Beijing on Thursday accused Ottawa of worsening bilateral relations after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau vowed to stand up to China amid deepening diplomatic and trade disputes. The two countries have been locked in a feud since last December, when Canada detained top Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou and -- in apparent retaliation -- China detained two Canadian nationals over espionage-linked accusations. On Wednesday, Trudeau pushed back against Beijing in a speech that promised to "always defend Canadians and Canadian interests" and to not "back down".

    Thu, 22 Aug 2019 05:38:34 -0400
  • Modi Ally Calls for Boycott of China Companies on Kashmir, Trade

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    (Bloomberg) -- Terms of Trade is a daily newsletter that untangles a world embroiled in trade wars. Sign up here. Indians should stop buying from Chinese companies and the government should reconsider trade concessions to its biggest neighbor after China allied with Pakistan on Kashmir, according to an economic policy group linked with the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party.Companies like technology giant Huawei Technologies Co. should be barred from accessing the Indian market in the future and Chinese companies should be banned from state tenders, Ashwani Mahajan, co-convenor of the Swadeshi Jagran Manch, affiliated to the ruling party’s ideological parent, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh said in an interview Thursday.“Not just in Kashmir, we believe that Chinese companies are a security threat to India especially in telecom,” Mahajan said by phone. “Not just in consumer goods, they’re a threat in telecom because their companies have massive support from the state, are allowed to vastly underbid Indian companies and win tenders for critical infrastructure.”The group met Indian telecom companies on Aug. 17 to discuss strategies to be used to curb Chinese industry. The organization had also written a letter to Prime Narendra Modi seeking action against China, Mahajan said. Calls made to the Prime Minister’s Office seeking comment went unanswered.This isn’t the first time that the Swadesh Jagran Manch has called for a ban on Chinese goods and companies. The group, along with the Confederation of All India Traders had called for a similar ban in March this year after China blocked the blacklisting of Pakistan-based Maulana Masood Azhar, founder of the militant group Jaish-e-Mohammed, at the U.N. Security Council.A ban called by both organizations during the festival of Diwali in 2016 wasn’t successful, although traders anticipated the sale of Chinese products would fall by 30%, the Press Trust of India reported. India has a trade deficit of over $53 billion with China.To contact the reporter on this story: Archana Chaudhary in New Delhi at achaudhary2@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Ruth Pollard at rpollard2@bloomberg.net, Abhay SinghFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

    Thu, 22 Aug 2019 17:00:00 -0400
  • Released from death row, then returned — forced to prove race discrimination a second time

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    Cases before N.C. Supreme Court show link between slavery, Jim Crow and modern death penalty is as connected as 'ropes of the lynch-man's noose'

    Fri, 23 Aug 2019 20:01:55 -0400
  • Le Brexit breakthrough? Europe says "Nein", "non", "no"

    LONDON/PARIS/BERLIN, Aug 23 (Reuters) - After sterling soared and some British newspapers roared at a supposed Brexit victory for Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Europe's power brokers had a more sobering message: the basic divorce deal is not changing. Enter PM Johnson, an avowed Brexiteer whose bet is that the threat of a disorderly 'no-deal' exit will convince German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron that the EU must grant him the divorce deal he wants.

    Fri, 23 Aug 2019 07:28:31 -0400
  • Man Throws Brick at Woman's Head in One of Several Random NYC Attacks

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    A man has attacked at least four people in random Manhattan attacks this August, police said.

    Fri, 23 Aug 2019 13:38:39 -0400
  • Rep. Steve King wants to make abortion point in 'softer way'

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    Backed by supporters at a news conference in Des Moines, the Iowa Republican affirmed his belief that abortion should be outlawed with no exceptions for rape or incest. King faced criticism for his comment Aug. 14 that questioned whether there would be "any population of the world left" if not for births due to rape or incest. The remarks were condemned by numerous groups and individuals, including Republican and Democratic candidates seeking to oust King, Democratic presidential candidates as well as the Iowa Republican Party and Rep. Liz Cheney, the No. 3 Republican in House leadership.

    Fri, 23 Aug 2019 18:31:07 -0400
  • Paul Whelan: US marine held on spying charges claims he was injured in Russian jail

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    A former US marine who was arrested on charges of spying in Russia claims to have been “injured” in prison by the guards detaining him while he awaits trial.Speaking to journalists during a court appearance in Moscow, Paul Whelan said: "I was injured in the prison... the prison doesn't want to tell you."

    Fri, 23 Aug 2019 16:38:00 -0400
  • CNN Hires Fired FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe as Contributor

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    Former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe is joining CNN as an on-air contributor, the network's media reporter Oliver Darcy announced Friday.McCabe was fired from the FBI in March 2018 after the Department of Justice's inspector general revealed that he'd repeatedly lied under oath to investigators about his role in leaking information on the bureau's Clinton Foundation investigation to the Wall Street Journal. The Inspector General referred the matter to the U.S. attorney's office for investigation and McCabe may still face criminal charges.The 21-year FBI veteran maintains his innocence, arguing that he was misunderstood and tried to correct the record. He filed suit against the Trump administration in U.S. District Court in Washington earlier this month, alleging that his dismissal was “politically motivated and retaliatory.”President Trump routinely disparaged McCabe as a political partisan during his time in the administration, often invoking his wife, Jill McCabe, who ran unsuccessfully for state senate in Virginia as a Democrat in 2015.Senator Josh Hawley (R., Mo.) mocked CNN's commitment to honest journalism in response to McCabe's hiring.> The guy who DOJ inspector general found committed federal crimes & is a serial liar? Good work, CNN. Love to see that commitment to serious journalism https://t.co/rHfBB9aLVW> > -- Josh Hawley (@HawleyMO) August 23, 2019The news of McCabe's hiring comes just one day after CNN chief media correspondent Brian Stelter chastised Fox News for hiring former White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders.“The Trump White House has a record of misleading the public. All administrations spin. This administration lies consistently, whether it's Sanders, or Spicer, or other White House aides. And it’s all led from the top by a president who lies even about the weather and the time of day. That, I think, is why this deserves outrage and backlash,” Stelter said.

    Fri, 23 Aug 2019 12:57:43 -0400
  • Fast-moving wildfire erupts in California, forcing thousands to evacuate

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    Mountain fire races across hundreds of acres in just hours as wildfire season looms large over the stateThis photo provided by Cal Fire shows an aerial view of the Mountain Fire on 22 August. Photograph: APA fast-moving wildfire that broke out on Thursday in northern California has forced the evacuation of nearly 4,000 residents, racing across at least 600 acres within just a few hours, officials say. The Mountain fire, which erupted on the outskirts of a national forest in northern California, has threatened 1,110 homes and structures. As of Friday morning the fire was 40% contained , according to Cal Fire.The cause of the fire is under investigation.Photos of the blaze posted on Twitter by the Shasta county sheriff’s office showed thick black and gray smoke billowing into the area over a highway near the Shasta-Trinity national forest.“Jones Valley and Bella Vista area residents! This situation is very fluid and rapidly changing, if you do not see your road listed but feel you are in danger YOU MAY EVACUATE to Shasta College Gymnasium,” the sheriff’s department said in a separate tweet.The Mountain fire is threatening thousands of homes and forcing evacuations. Photograph: APThe Shasta College campus was closed along with Highway 299 and about a dozen smaller roads. Residents of small communities in the path of the flames were told to evacuate or be prepared to flee on short notice.California was hit by some of the deadliest and most destructive wildfires in a century last year and state officials have warned this year’s fire season could be similarly intense.The Camp fire, which broke out in Butte county in November and overran the town of Paradise, killed 86 people and left thousands of others homeless. State fire investigators determined that the Camp fire was sparked by Pacific Gas & Electric Co transmission lines.The Mountain fire broke out on the same day that Bernie Sanders, the senator and Democratic presidential candidate, unveiled his $16.3tn climate change plan and toured Paradise, which he called a “wake-up call for our entire nation”.“Climate change is a major, major crisis for our country, and the entire world, and one of the manifestations of that crisis is what happened here,” Sanders said as he walked through a burned-out mobile home park in Paradise alongside people who lost their homes in last November’s deadly blaze.

    Fri, 23 Aug 2019 12:23:16 -0400
  • Hong Kong protesters form human chain 30 years after 'Baltic Way'

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    Thousands of people held hands across Hong Kong late Friday in a dazzling, neon-framed recreation of a pro-democracy "Baltic Way" protest against Soviet rule three decades ago. The city's skyscraper-studded harbourfront as well as several busy shopping districts were lined with peaceful protesters, many wearing surgical masks to hide their identity and holding Hong Kong flags or mobile phones with lights shining. The human chain is the latest creative demonstration in nearly three months of rolling protests which have tipped Hong Kong into an unprecedented political crisis.

    Fri, 23 Aug 2019 20:23:56 -0400
  • GOP candidate for Louisiana governor says there are only 2 genders and 'that’s the truth’

    Rep. Ralph Abraham, a Republican candidate for governor of Louisiana, took aim at the LGBT community in a campaign video: "there are only two genders."

    Thu, 22 Aug 2019 11:25:26 -0400
  • 3 Russian teen sisters on trial for killing their father, citing years of horrific abuse, put a spotlight on domestic violence in the country

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    Krestina, Angelina, and Maria, Khachaturyan stabbed their father 36 times. Their lawyer says they suffered years of abuse, and acted in self-defense.

    Thu, 22 Aug 2019 06:38:30 -0400
  • Russia's Chechnya inaugurates what it says is Europe's largest mosque

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    Authorities in the Russian region of Chechnya on Friday inaugurated what they said was the largest mosque in Europe in a pomp-filled ceremony attended by local and foreign officials. Named after the Prophet Mohammed, the marble-decorated mosque has capacity for more than 30,000 people and has been described by the Chechen authorities as the "largest and most beautiful" mosque in Europe. Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov, an ally of President Vladimir Putin, said the mosque -- located in Shali, a town of 54,000 just outside the regional capital Grozny -- was "unique in its design, and majestic in its size and beauty".

    Fri, 23 Aug 2019 09:33:45 -0400
  • Chaotic scene as DNC votes down climate change debate at San Francisco meeting

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    The move sparked loud and angry backlash from climate change activists who believe the Democratic Party should change the rules to allow for a debate focused solely on climate issues.

    Thu, 22 Aug 2019 21:03:43 -0400
  • Russian doctor has trace of radiation after explosion

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    More than 100 Russian medical workers who helped treat victims of a recent mysterious explosion at a military testing range have undergone checks and one man has been found with a trace of radiation, officials said Friday. It was followed by a brief rise in radiation levels in nearby Severodvinsk, but the authorities insisted it didn't pose any danger. The Arkhangelsk regional administration said Friday that 110 medical workers have undergone checks that one man was found with a low amount of radioactive cesium-137 in his muscle tissue.

    Fri, 23 Aug 2019 11:12:24 -0400
  • 'An impossible choice': Why a Maine family planning clinic gave up $2 million of federal funding for reproductive health care

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    Under a Trump administration rule, US family planning clinics will not qualify for federal funding under Title X if they provide abortion services.

    Fri, 23 Aug 2019 11:32:56 -0400
  • Brexit Held at the Border

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    In the last two days Prime Minister Boris Johnson has proposed that Ireland temporarily leave the European Union to align with the economic rules of a post-Brexit U.K. German chancellor Angela Merkel has suggested, somewhat flippantly, that the U.K. could figure out a special trading arrangement for itself and Ireland in the next 30 days. And French president Emmanuel Macron has said that there’s still room for negotiation between the U.K. and the EU, but he’s willing to be “the hard boy.” Maybe Macron is taking the EU marriage metaphor a little too personally . . .What on earth is going on?It’s been three years since a majority of the U.K.’s electorate voted to leave the European Union. And so far, all that Brexit has generated is a great deal of nearly incomprehensibly vocabulary. First we got Theresa May’s red lines, her attempt to define how it was exactly that Brexit means Brexit, and what the future relationship, if any, the United Kingdom would have with the EU. These red lines, an end to freedom of movement from EU member states into the U.K., and an exit from the EU’s customs union ruled out the Norway option but not Canada Plus Plus. Or Canada Plus Plus Plus. Yes, I’m serious.According to the withdrawal agreement negotiated between Theresa May and the rest of the EU, that future relationship has to be figured out in the transition period. That’s a two-year window after the U.K. leaves the EU in which it would continue to follow EU rules until they came to a trade agreement. That is, unless there is a no-deal Brexit and the U.K. simply exits the European Union on October 31 and conducts business with the world based on World Trade Organization rules. Got it? Well, sort of.The focus is now on the Irish-border backstop. Basically, the backstop is a promise that there will be no hard border — a customs border across the island of Ireland, between the Republic of Ireland and the six counties of Northern Ireland. Irish public officials have argued (with the support of the EU) that a frictionless border is necessary for economic and political reasons. The frictionless border is understood there as part of the the peace settlement in Northern Ireland, following the 1998 Good Friday Agreement. So too the “all-island economy” that it creates. The backstop is a promise by the U.K. to keep Northern Ireland following a number of regulations and customs rules that match it to the Republic of Ireland.This promise became the focus of Tory and Brexiteer anger at Theresa May’s withdrawal agreement. First, because it created what seemed like a negotiating trap for the U.K. during the transition period. Having already agreed to keep Northern Ireland (and the rest of the U.K. with it) aligned with the EU’s rules as part of a backstop, the EU would have less incentive to come to another, different trade relationship to supersede that agreement. The price to be paid for testing and pushing the EU might carve up the United Kingdom itself. If Great Britain diverged from the EU at the end of the transition period, Northern Ireland would be partially politically detached from the Union, and perhaps its citizens would have to go through customs to travel within their own country, from Belfast to Birmingham.Recently Johnson has begun calling the backstop “undemocratic” and hinting that it violates the Good Friday Agreement. He has a point. The backstop would keep Northern Ireland subject to EU rules and regs in which they have no say. It would deprive Northern Ireland’s elected ministers to Parliament of any voice on matters that would be routine for MPs in any other constituent nation of the United Kingdom. That seems quite a lot like a partial form of Irish unification. But the Good Friday Agreement ensures that Irish unity can be achieved only by a majority vote for it in the six counties and another one in the Republic of Ireland.Proponents of the backstop hold that this measure would merely be the decision of a sovereign Parliament over a part of its territory. It is an agreement between Parliament and the EU and doesn’t legally touch Ireland. That’s true. But, the reality is that it would create checks between constituent parts of the U.K. that normally exist between two different countries. It does so in order to prevent those checks on the island of Ireland. And it does so to meet the expectations of the Irish government based in Dublin. To whom would Northern Irish people turn when trade policy affects them? Nobody they directly elect would have a constitutional say.Effectively these economic rules would be imposed on Northern Ireland as if it were a kind of EU colony, and done in the interests of the Republic of Ireland. This may satisfy the historical imagination of Irish nationalists. (Believe me, there is a delicious irony to be savored here.) But it is hard to argue that such a result is consonant with the Good Friday Agreement. Or a wise way to endear Northern Irish unionists to the Irish government.All of this confusion is the result of a kind of gamesmanship. The EU and U.K. each want to use the Irish border as a reason to crack the other’s negotiating position. The EU would like to see the U.K. bounced into a permanent customs union in which it has no say, effectively maintaining the economic size and power of the EU while reducing the political influence of Eurosceptical Britannia. On the other side, the U.K. would like to see the Irish-border issue work in the opposite way, forcing the EU to strike an especially good and liberal trade deal with the U.K. that comes with fewer strings attached than those on Norway or other states that have non-standard arrangements.The lesson is rather obvious. You cannot predetermine what kind of infrastructure will be at a border and what laws will be enforced at it, in the absence of a durable agreement on trade in goods and materials. The EU and the U.K. have been trying to resolve questions in the wrong order. Both have done so out of a reasonable fear of loss.But the hour is late, and the real work must be done.

    Thu, 22 Aug 2019 17:22:09 -0400
  • Huawei Puts a Price on Trump’s Aggression

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    (Bloomberg) -- Huawei Technologies Co. expects U.S. export restrictions to reduce annual revenue at its consumer devices business by about $10 billion, as the company is banned from buying American components like semiconductors and software.China’s largest technology company is seeking ways to replace key U.S. suppliers such as Cadence Design Systems Inc. and Synopsys Inc., Deputy Chairman Eric Xu said Friday. The overall damage to the company will be a “little less” than billionaire founder Ren Zhengfei’s initial estimate, Xu added.Huawei is seeking to develop alternatives after coming under intense pressure from the Trump Administration, which has argued its technology represents a security threat. On Friday, it introduced its most powerful artificial intelligence chipset, the Ascend 910, which is poised to rival some of the best offerings from Qualcomm Inc. and Nvidia Corp. Earlier this month, it offered the first glimpse of an in-house software -- HarmonyOS -- that may someday replace Google’s Android.The company is also researching ways to replace chip-design software tools offered by Cadence and Synopsys, Xu told a news briefing in Shenzhen without elaborating. “There were no chip design tools 10 years ago, but the industry still developed chips,” said Xu, who argued that Cadence and Synopsys were not must-haves for design. “Intel started to develop chips in the 1970s, when those companies didn’t exist.”Since May, Huawei has occupied the uncomfortable position of being both an established global brand and a member of the U.S. Entity List, which bars it from trading freely with American suppliers. Despite a series of 90-day reprieves, the latest of which came this week, the uncertainty caused by American sanctions has already cost the company a great deal.Even if Huawei is eventually brought in from the cold, the impact of this summer’s upheaval will be widespread and painful. Already, it reported slower sales growth in the second quarter compared to the first as the ban started to bite, especially into a consumer business encompassing smartphones and laptops. That in turn is accelerating Huawei’s effort to become self-reliant.One area in which the Chinese company is rapidly developing in-house expertise is semiconductors, propelling Beijing’s ambitions of weaning itself off foreign chips. HiSilicon -- Huawei’s chip design subsidiary -- has been developing its capabilities for a long time, and it’s recently grown into the second largest customer (after Apple Inc.) for the world’s biggest chip manufacturing contractor Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. Huawei has also elevated the presence of home-grown technologies throughout its product line -- from base stations to smartphones and servers -- as a key step to limiting the damage of the U.S. ban.The Ascend 910 processor unveiled Friday is a show of technological prowess. It will be used for AI model training, and Huawei says it outperforms all existing competition. Xu proclaimed that “without a doubt, it has more computing power than any other AI processor in the world.” The company also unveiled MindSpore, an AI computing framework that -- along with the 910 -- is supposedly twice as fast as Google’s TensorFlow.”The May 16 sanctions incident had no impact on the execution of Huawei’s AI strategy nor commercialization of AI products,” said Xu. “Our R&D project related to AI is building up steadily.”(Updates with Ascend’s specs from the third paragraph)To contact Bloomberg News staff for this story: Gao Yuan in Beijing at ygao199@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Peter Elstrom at pelstrom@bloomberg.net, Edwin Chan, Vlad SavovFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

    Fri, 23 Aug 2019 06:19:54 -0400
  • Turkey vows not to quit army post surrounded in Syria

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    Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Friday that Turkish troops will not quit a military observation post in northwestern Syria where they are surrounded by government forces. "We are there, not because we can't leave but because we don't want to leave," he told a news conference in Lebanon, denying that Turkish troops had been "cut off" by a government advance into the jihadist-ruled Idlib region. Earlier, Syrian regime forces overran a string of towns and villages in the north of Hama province, including the town of Morek, where the Turkish observation post is located, Syria's state news agency SANA said.

    Thu, 22 Aug 2019 20:42:58 -0400
  • Trump orders US companies to leave China ‘immediately’ in extraordinary attack on Fed chief

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    Donald Trump has issued an “order” to US companies to withdraw from China, as he suggested his own appointment as Federal Reserve chairman was a greater threat to the economy than Chinese leader Xi Jinping.The president told firms “to immediately start looking for an alternative” or make their products in America instead as he lashed out at the central bank’s chair Jerome Powell.

    Fri, 23 Aug 2019 10:00:00 -0400
  • It Takes Black Women in the U.S. 20 Months to Earn What White Men Make in a Year. Here's the History Behind That Wage Gap

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    Equal Pay Day begs us to understand how such inequities came to be, and why they have been so difficult to move beyond

    Thu, 22 Aug 2019 10:30:50 -0400
  • Every Angle of the 2020 BMW 745e xDrive Plug-In Hybrid

    No description related. Click here to go to original article.

    Thu, 22 Aug 2019 12:59:00 -0400
  • Japan, U.S. reach framework trade pact, no tariff cuts on Japan cars - Nikkei

    The United States and Japan have reached the broad framework of a trade agreement, with Washington maintaining tariffs on Japanese autos but Tokyo cutting tariffs on U.S. beef and pork, Japan's Nikkei business daily said on Saturday. U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Economy Minister Toshimitsu Motegi reached the deal on Friday in Washington, and it will be announced at a meeting of President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe expected on Sunday on the sidelines of the Group of Seven summit in Biarritz, France, the newspaper said. The report comes shortly after Motegi told reporters in Washington that he and Lighthizer had made "big progress" in their talks.

    Fri, 23 Aug 2019 20:26:04 -0400
  • US homeland security chief tours Panama jungle migrant camp

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    The acting U.S. homeland security secretary visited a camp in the Panamanian jungle Friday housing hundreds of migrants who survived the perilous border crossing from Colombia, usually heading for the United States. Kevin McAleenan arrived by SUV in Penitas shortly before midday and was briefed on the camp's operations and the physical conditions of those who crossed the region known as the Darien Gap.

    Fri, 23 Aug 2019 18:43:48 -0400
  • Chinese buyers pull back from U.S. housing market, hurting home sales

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    Chinese investors are buying fewer U.S. homes because of money controls in China. That's lowering prices and giving U.S. buyers a better chance to buy

    Fri, 23 Aug 2019 15:13:52 -0400
  • Cathay Pacific cabin crew union leader fired as Hong Kongers warn of spread of 'white terror'

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    Cathay Pacific fired a cabin crew union leader on Friday, the latest casualty in a fast-spreading “white terror” as mass protests in Hong Kong continue into their third month.  Rebecca Sy, head of the Cathay Dragon flight attendant’s association, said she lost her job of 17 years, without explanation,  after managers saw and confirmed her Facebook account,  which included messages in favour of the protests. “All the employees are being frightened, not just cabin crews, but even the management,” Ms Sy told reporters. “My colleagues are all terrified because of its white terror.” “White terror” is a term used to describe a slew of events that create a climate of fear particularly as companies and employees worry of serious repercussions for voicing their views. Her departure follows a surprise resignation last week by CEO Rupert Hogg, reported first by Chinese state media, underlining the political nature of the decision. Cathay has borne the brunt of Beijing’s anger as authorities look to punish companies with any link to the Hong Kong protests - a direct challenge to the power of the Communist Party. Rebecca Sy was dismissed from her position as flight attendant for Cathay Pacific's subsidiary Cathay Dragon Credit: ANTHONY WALLACE/AFP/Getty Images In the crackdown, companies and employees could face serious repercussions for voicing their views. Hong Kong subway operator MTR has also come under fire for arranging additional trains to allow protesters to travel home, accused of “colluding with rioters” in Chinese state media.  Beijing authorities have long put the squeeze on companies over political issues by encouraging its 1.4 billion citizens to snub various brands or by throwing up a number of regulatory roadblocks – a move that can have devastating consequences for even the biggest firms. Simon Cheng, 28, a British consular official in Hong Kong and permanent resident of the city has been detained for two weeks in mainland China for allegedly visiting prostitutes.  Under Chinese law, Mr Cheng should have been released today after a 15-day administrative period but at time of publication he was still in detention. Hong Kong police said on Friday that they did not know Mr Cheng's whereabouts.  Protests in Hong Kong first kicked off over an extradition proposal that would have exposed people to China’s murky legal and judicial system, where authorities have also in the past detained foreigners to express political displeasure. Two Canadians - Michael Kovrig, a former diplomat, and Michael Spavor, an entrepreneur - were detained in China last year during Beijing’s diplomatic dispute with Ottawa over its arrest of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou. It is widely viewed that both men - who are still being held and have been charged with spying – are being used as political pawns. Hong Kong protests | Read more A number of multinationals operating in Hong Kong have sought to stress their political neutrality to avoid their businesses being targeted and to protect staff from arbitrary detention.  Earlier this week, the world’s “big four” accounting firms came under attack after an anonymous group claiming to be made up of their employees took out a full-page newspaper advertisement to express support for protests in Hong Kong and condemn the firms for remaining silent on the issue. Deloitte, Ernst & Young, KPMG and Pricewaterhouse Coopers all sought to distance themselves from the advertisement, saying it didn’t represent the companies’ views. But Chinese state media had already seized on the situation, calling for the firms to identify and sack the employees behind the ad. FinnAir has also issued a warning to staff to remember to “keep work and politics separate,” reported the South China Morning Post, over concerns that any link to the protests might lead to a customer backlash or flight cancellations in China, its second-largest market for long-haul travel.   “China is obviously putting pressure on companies to ensure that they all hold the same political views,” said Keenan Chuk, 30, a finance manager who attended a lunchtime rally or accountants in Hong Kong’s central business district Friday.  “I am concerned that I will be fired,” he said, adding that “we still have to fight for our rights.” Even universities have warned students against discussing politics and participating in rallies.  “In a modern society, education should be free from politics so as to alleviate the escalation of anxiety and avoid the divisive society caused by chaos,” according to a statement from the City University of Hong Kong issued earlier this month. A woman said she experienced at a police station during her detention in Hong Kong Credit: REUTERS/Thomas Peter Some banks are also now taking precautionary measures, purchasing full page ads in newspapers to affirm their support for the government. Edwin, 26, an accountant who declined to give his last name, said senior partners in his firm had invited junior employees to lunch that day in an attempt to dissuade people from attending Friday’s protest.  But he participated in the demonstration anyway, turning up again in the evening to join a human chain meant to evoke the Baltic Way, when two million lined up across three countries to protest Soviet rule in 1989.  “In the industry, we switch firms quite often,” he shrugged. Hong Kong police came under renewed pressure on Friday when officers were accused of conducting an unnecessary strip search on a female protester. The alleged victim appeared at a press conference dressed in all black with a black face mask, cap and sunglasses. Facing the cameras in front of a "MeToo" sign, she claimed she was arrested weeks ago at a protest against the now-abandoned extradition bill and was admitted to hospital for injuries she suffered that night. By her account, one officer patted her thighs with a pen, instructing her to open her legs wider after ordering her to take off all her clothes in a police cell. The police said their body search procedures had not changed during the recent outbreak of citywide protests.

    Fri, 23 Aug 2019 12:36:29 -0400
  • Google the latest company to face worker revolt over immigration policy

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    Employees urged the tech giant not to work with US agencies involved with the separation and detention of immigrantsHundreds of Google employees on 14 August called on the firm to avoid working for US immigration officials until they stop ‘engaging in human rights abuses’. Photograph: Amy Osborne/AFP/Getty ImagesLast week, Google became the latest company to be publicly lobbied by its own employees specifically because of US immigration policy.More than 1,300 Google workers have signed a petition demanding the company publicly commit to not support government agencies involved with the separation and detention of immigrants until those agencies “stop engaging in human rights abuses”.Google employees timed the petition to coincide with US Customs and Border Protection’s bidding period for a cloud computing contract, which Google could provide. The petition was also signed by 79 people outside the company, including several former Google employees and current Amazon employees.While these efforts – taking place at tech giants as well as furniture retailers – have yet to make a significant change, analysts expect employees will continue to speak out at companies that help prop up the US immigration system.“The workplace is radically changing,” said Leslie Gaines-Ross, chief reputation strategist at public relations firm Weber Shandwick, which found that four in 10 employees said they had spoken up to support or criticize their employers’ actions over controversial issues.The Google petition comes after a summer in which the US government was found by its own auditors to have kept child migrants in egregious conditions; a senior immigration official blamed a father for drowning with his daughter; and the Trump administration introduced a rule that medical bodies warned jeopardizes the health and safety of legal migrants.The tech industry, from CEOs to staffers, have led a new wave of workplace activism in areas beyond immigration, but employees in more traditional industries are also starting to speak up. Walk outsIn June, employees at online furnishing retailer Wayfair walked out of its Boston headquarters in protest against the sale of furniture to migrant child detention facilities at the southern border. The company donated $100,000 to the Red Cross after the backlash, though protesters argued it should have been donated to a group providing care to migrants at the border.There is no indication, however, that Wayfair has declined orders from US immigration agencies.Whether or not employee activism moves companies to shift their business practices, it shows no signs of slowing down.Millennials are most likely to raise concerns about their employers, with 82% of them saying they have a right to speak out against their employer, according to the May study by Weber Shandwick. In the survey, 76% of Gen X workers and 65% of Boomers said they felt they had that right.“Society is so polarized that I think it has heightened many employees’ attitudes towards what’s going on and made them question what is right and wrong – and how far they are willing to go in terms of what they are willing to say,” said Gaines-Ross.This increase is led by the tech industry, but Gaines-Ross said the Wayfair protest in July showed employee activism is moving into mainstream industries. “It’s definitely on the move and heading towards other sectors,” she said.As employee activism moves to other industries, it is also revealing how the US detention system – which detains more migrants than any other country – is entrenched with US businesses.After Donald Trump took the unusual step in July of announcing planned immigration raids which would use hotels to house people arrested in the round-up, major hotel chains released statements saying they didn’t want to detain migrants, according to the AP.Hotels faced pressure from the main hotel workers union, Unite Here, as well as customers.Major banks have said they would no longer lend money to private companies which run immigrant detention centers and American Airlines and United Airlines said last year that they didn’t want to fly children separated from their parents.The global public relations firm, Ogilvy, said it would continue to work with US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) after facing criticism from employees over a multi-million dollar contract with the agency.“Some of you feel strongly that we should stop working for CBP,” Ogilvy chief executive John Seifert said to employees in a July memo, obtained by the Wall Street Journal. “While I do understand and appreciate this point of view, I have concluded that our work for CBP is genuinely intended to improve the quality of this government agency’s public services.”Pressure from workers on political issues comes as the bosses of major US companies have signaled a shift in their guiding principles.Earlier this month, the bosses of 181 US companies changed the definition of the purpose of a corporation to “improving our society” instead of making the most money possible.

    Fri, 23 Aug 2019 02:30:03 -0400
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