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China virus deaths rise to 80 as Hong Kong bans visitors from worst-hit province

Sun, 01/26/2020 - 20:14

The death toll from China's new coronavirus grew to 80 on Monday as residents of Hubei province, where the disease originated, were banned from entering Hong Kong amid global efforts to halt the rapid spread of the outbreak. The number of deaths from the flu-like virus in Hubei province climbed from 56 to 76 overnight, health commission officials said, with four deaths elsewhere. The total number of confirmed cases in China had risen about 30% to 2,744.


Biden Leads USA Today/Suffolk Iowa Poll; Sanders, Buttigieg Next

Sun, 01/26/2020 - 17:35

(Bloomberg) -- Joe Biden leads the Democratic field in Iowa, according to a USA Today/Suffolk poll, with 25% support. Bernie Sanders was second at 19%, followed by Pete Buttigieg in third at 18%.It’s a better result for the former vice president than an NYT/Siena survey out Saturday, which showed Sanders in first and Biden trailing Buttigieg in third place. Elizabeth Warren was fourth and Amy Klobuchar fifth in both polls.Yet taken together, both surveys show a fluid Democratic field a week before Iowa caucuses. RealClearPolitics, aggregating recent surveys in Iowa, showed Biden and Sanders essentially tied ahead of the USA Today survey’s release.Under Iowa’s unique caucus system, voters’ backup plans could be decisive. If a candidate doesn’t reach 15% support in a local area, they aren’t considered viable, their votes won’t tally and supporters are encouraged to pick someone else.Yet there’s no clear indication where the supporters of lesser-polling candidates might wind up. Three quarters of those supporting a candidate outside the top five were undecided about their next choice.The USA Today/Suffolk poll surveyed 500 likely Democratic caucusgoers from Jan. 23-26, with an error margin plus or minus 4.4 percentage points.To contact the reporter on this story: Derek Wallbank in Singapore at dwallbank@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Chua Baizhen at bchua14@bloomberg.net, Steve GeimannFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.


Inmate found dead at Mississippi prison

Sun, 01/26/2020 - 17:30

A Mississippi inmate was found dead in his one-man cell, the corrections department said Sunday, the latest fatality in the state's troubled prison system. Joshua Norman, 26, was found hanging in his cell at the Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman, according to a news release from the Mississippi Department of Corrections. Sunflower County Coroner Heather Burton said foul play is not suspected in the death.


Kobe Bryant was famous for using his Sikorsky S-76 private helicopter, a type that has a strong safety record

Sun, 01/26/2020 - 17:06

The S-76 was first developed in the 1970s and has developed a reputation for a strong safety record and reliability.


3 dead in protest against Gambian head Barrow: hospital

Sun, 01/26/2020 - 14:58

Three people died Sunday as hundreds of people took to the streets demanding the resignation of Gambian President Adama Barrow who wants to extend his term. Police fired tear gas to disperse protesters who responded by throwing stones and setting tyres on fire, an AFP correspondent at the scene saw. "I can confirm that there have been three dead," said Kebba Manneh, director of the Serrekunda hospital where victims were taken.


In divided America, some voters tuning out impeachment trial

Sun, 01/26/2020 - 14:46

For all the gravity of a presidential impeachment trial, Americans don’t seem to be giving it much weight. As House impeachment managers make their case to remove President Donald Trump from office, voters in several states said in interviews with The Associated Press that they’re only casually following the Senate trial, or avoiding it altogether — too busy to pay close attention, bored of the legal arguments, convinced the outcome is preordained or just plain tired of the whole partisan saga. Web traffic and TV ratings tell a similar story, with public interest seeming to flag after the House voted last month to impeach a president for only the third time in U.S. history.


Russia Is Determined to Buy Stealth Fighters, Bombers, Drones and Even a New Aircraft Carrier

Sun, 01/26/2020 - 14:35

The Russian armed forces have committed to a wide range of expensive acquisitions programs, in particular new ships and planes. The likely cost strains credulity.


Indiana 4-year-old dies after being accidentally shot while wrestling with his father

Sun, 01/26/2020 - 13:13

A 4-year-old boy in Indiana died after he was shot accidentally by a handgun that discharged while he was wrestling around with his father.


3rd woman accuses Michigan lawmaker of sexual harassment

Sun, 01/26/2020 - 12:31

A third woman in two weeks has publicly come forward with sexual harassment allegations against a Michigan state legislator, according to a published report Sunday. Melissa Osborn, who works as a regulatory affairs specialist for a trade group, told Crain's Detroit Business that Republican state Sen. Peter Lucido commented on her appearance and clothes while visually scanning her body and touching the region she described as “my lower back/upper butt.” Osborn, 40, said it happened at the Michigan Credit Union League's annual government affairs conference in May. Lucido declined to comment to Crain's.


Andrew Yang Will be Back on Democratic Debate Stage in February

Sun, 01/26/2020 - 12:06

(Bloomberg) -- Businessman and outsider Democratic candidate for president, Andrew Yang, has earned a spot in the upcoming eighth democratic debate in New Hampshire.   In order to make the stage for the debate on Feb. 7, candidates have to receive at least 5% in four Democratic National Committee--approved polls or 7% in two early-state polls. Candidates also have to receive at least 225,000 individual contributions. Yang had already met the donor threshold. He earned 7% in a national poll from a Washington Post and ABC News poll and 5% in a Fox News poll, both released Sunday.   He had received 5% in a December NPR/PBS/Marist national poll and 5% in an early January Quinnipiac University national poll.  Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar, Bernie Sanders, Tom Steyer and Elizabeth Warren have already qualified. Candidates who come out of the Iowa caucus with at least one pledged delegate to the Democratic convention also automatically qualify for the debate.   The entrepreneur did not qualify for the last debate in Des Moines. He’s currently on a 17-day bus tour of Iowa ahead of the Feb. 3 caucus in that state. (Disclaimer: Michael Bloomberg is also seeking the Democratic presidential nomination. He is the founder and majority owner of Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News.)This post is part of Campaign Update, our live coverage from the 2020 campaign trail.To contact the author of this story: Emma Kinery in Washington at ekinery@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Ros Krasny at rkrasny1@bloomberg.net, Magan SherzaiFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.


Chris Wallace Grills Dershowitz Over Shifting Stance on Whether Crime Is Necessary for Impeachment

Sun, 01/26/2020 - 11:54

Fox News anchor Chris Wallace took Alan Dershowitz, a member of President Donald Trump’s impeachment defense team, to task over his shifting positions on impeachment over the years, noting on Sunday that the famed attorney previously claimed a president didn’t have to commit a crime to be impeached.During an interview on Fox News Sunday, Wallace played a clip of Dershowitz discussing President Bill Clinton’s impeachment in 1998 in which Dershowitz argued that “if you have somebody who completely corrupts the office of president and who abuses trust and who poses great danger to our liberty, you don’t need technical crime.”Considering Dershowitz will now be arguing before the Senate that Trump can’t be impeached because the House’s articles don’t detail a “technical crime,” Wallace confronted the retired Harvard law professor on his apparent flip-flop.“Let me ask about this, because when you argue that case, that what didn’t have to be a crime in the Clinton impeachment, I find it very hard to believe that you had not studied the only other presidential impeachment in history, which was the [Andrew] Johnson impeachment,” Wallace said. “So suddenly discovering that the key issue is what Justice Curtis argued in 1860, you’re too good a lawyer not to have studied that back in 1998.”Dershowitz attempted to argue that crime wasn’t an issue in the Clinton impeachment because the then-president was charged with a crime, prompting the Fox host to point out that “we just put the sound bite up where you said it doesn’t have to be a crime.”“I’ve been immersing myself in dusty old books and I’ve concluded that no, it has to be a crime, it doesn’t have to be a technical crime,” Dershowitz countered. “That’s what scholars do—that’s what academics do.”The lawyer also highlighted that Democrats and liberals have also changed their stances on impeachment, noting that fellow Harvard alum Laurence Tribe once said a sitting president couldn’t be prosecuted but has since argued the opposite.“It’s also what lawyers do, which is depending on the facts of the case and the side they’re arguing, they find an argument to make,” Wallace shot back.Dershowitz, meanwhile, asserted that he had been making his argument “way, way, way before I was given the role to argue the constitutional case” for the Trump team.Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.


Why Do We Have an Electoral College Again?

Sun, 01/26/2020 - 11:44

Who elects the president of the United States?In a democracy, that shouldn't be a trick question. Thanks to the Electoral College, it seems like one. The American people cast their ballots on a Tuesday in early November, but on a national level that vote is legally meaningless. The real election happens about six weeks later, when 538 presidential electors -- most of them average citizens chosen by local party leaders -- meet in their respective state capitals and cast their ballots.Nearly always, the electors vote for the candidate who won the most popular votes in their state. But do they have to? That's the question that the Supreme Court has agreed to answer in two related cases it will hear this spring. The cases -- one from Colorado and one from Washington -- raise an alarming prospect: Can presidential electors vote for whomever they please, disregarding what the voters of their state said?More than 160 "faithless electors" have chosen to go this route since the nation's founding, a tiny fraction of all electoral votes in history. But the issue has become freshly relevant because of a concerted effort to persuade dozens of Republican electors in 2016 to switch their votes to prevent Donald Trump from taking the White House. In the end, 10 electors voted or tried to vote for someone other than their state's popular-vote winner -- the most in a single election in more than a century. (In 1872, 63 electors went against their pledge to vote for Horace Greeley, the Liberal Republican candidate, but that was because Greeley died shortly after Election Day.)Even though faithless electors have never come close to changing the outcome of an election, more than two dozen states have passed laws requiring their electors to vote for the state's popular-vote winner. Some punish those who don't, while others replace faithless electors with ones who will do the job they pledged to do.Last May, Washington state's Supreme Court ruled that the state had the power to impose a $1,000 fine on its four faithless electors, on the ground that the Constitution gives the states total authority to decide how to appoint their electors.Three months later, a federal appeals court in Denver went the opposite way, ruling that the founders clearly intended for electors to act independently and vote according to their consciences, not to the dictates of any political party. Once a state appoints an elector, the court said, its power over that elector ends. They cannot punish someone, or replace him or her, for voting a certain way.The Constitution doesn't include any explicit guidance on the matter. So who's right? In a way, they both are.The framers of the Constitution, and the states that ratified it, clearly expected electors to vote as they pleased. In Federalist No. 68, Alexander Hamilton wrote that electors would be men "selected by their fellow-citizens from the general mass" and "most likely to possess the information and discernment requisite to such complicated investigations."And yet, the Electoral College has almost never worked that way in practice. Less than a decade after the Constitution was drafted, the framers' idea of an independent elector was effectively kaput. As soon as national political parties took shape, elections became a partisan competition, and it was only logical that electors would start to take sides. In the election of 1796, electors were already pledging themselves either to John Adams, the sitting vice president and Federalist, or to Thomas Jefferson, the former secretary of state and Democratic-Republican. When one elector pledged to Adams changed his mind and voted for Jefferson, Federalists were outraged. One wrote, "Do I choose Samuel Miles to determine for me whether John Adams or Thomas Jefferson shall be President? No, I choose him to act, not to think."That's been the operating assumption ever since, and it is almost never questioned. Even the term "faithless" is revealing: What faith is an elector who votes his or her conscience breaking? Didn't the founders intend electors to be faithful above all to the country?Yes -- and yet they are not now and essentially never have been. For this reason, however the Supreme Court resolves the issue, which it will do by early summer, little will change in practice. Political parties and their candidates, who currently choose their own slate of electors in each state, are already careful about selecting people for their partisan loyalty. That selection process will only become stricter if the court rules that states may not interfere in any way with electors' votes.And faithless electors are unlikely to affect the outcome even if the Electoral College tally is very close, as it was in 2000, when as few as three Republican electors could have broken their pledges and handed the presidency to the Democratic nominee, Al Gore, who won the most votes nationwide. None did.That makes sense. Americans would rightly revolt if a handful of people they'd never heard of ignored their votes and decided the election for themselves. It's almost as if we believe that we, the people, should be voting directly for the president -- the only official whose job it is to represent all of us equally, wherever we live. Which raises the question of why we still have an Electoral College at all.This article originally appeared in The New York Times.(C) 2020 The New York Times Company


Adam Schiff: Trump Saying I Should Pay a Price Is ‘Intended to Be’ a Threat

Sun, 01/26/2020 - 10:22

Moments after President Donald Trump tweeted on Sunday morning that lead House impeachment manager Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) hadn’t “paid the price yet” for his role in impeachment, Schiff said that the president’s post was “intended to be” a threat.Towards the end of his appearance on NBC’s Meet the Press on Sunday, Schiff was asked by host Chuck Todd about the pushback he’s received from GOP senators for closing out his arguments on Friday by referencing a CBS News report that the White House had warned Republicans their heads would be on “pikes” if they crossed him and voted for additional witnesses.“What do you make of the criticism that some Republican senators who you might want to see vote for witnesses didn’t like your ‘head on a pike’ comment,” Todd wondered. “[Lisa] Murkowski, [Susan] Collins and [Joni] Ernst, all three Republican senators who might be open to witnesses thought you got too personal.”“I don’t think it was personal to refer to the CBS story,” the House Intelligence Committee chairman replied. “What may be personal, though, and I think I have to be very candid about this, is I made the argument that it’s going to require moral courage to stand up to this president. And this is a wrathful and vindictive president. Look at the president’s tweets about me today saying that I should pay a price.”The Meet the Press host then inquired whether or not Schiff felt that the president’s tweet represented a threat against him.“I think it’s intended to be,” Schiff stated. “But look, it is going to be very difficult for some of these senators to stand up to this president. It really is. There’s just no question about it.”“And I want to acknowledge that,” he continued. “And I don’t want to acknowledge it in a way that is offensive to them. But I do want to speak candidly about it. And if this weren’t an issue, there wouldn’t be an issue about calling witnesses. If we can’t even get the senators to agree to call witnesses in a trial, it shows you just how difficult that moral courage is.”Senate Republicans, meanwhile, were confronted on the Sunday news shows over whether or not they felt the president’s tweet could be construed as a threat. On CNN’s State of the Union, for instance, anchor Jake Tapper told Sen. James Lankford (R-OK) that they’ve learned that Schiff is now getting death threats while referencing Trump’s tweet.“Is that a price?” Tapper asked.“No, that is not what the president is trying to do,” Lankford insisted, “and the people will hold him accountable for that, and Nancy Pelosi the same way, and both are saying that the American people will speak on this.”Tapper, for his part, would go on to press Lankford on why he and his colleagues were acting deeply offended by Schiff quoting a CBS report but not offended by the president saying Schiff needs to “pay a price.”“I don’t think it’s a death threat,” Lankford answered. “I don’t think he’s encouraging death threats.”Shortly after Schiff’s interview aired, Trump took to Twitter to blast Todd while continuing to insult the House Intel chair.Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.


Fifth U.S. Case of Coronavirus Confirmed in Patient Who Traveled From Wuhan, China

Sun, 01/26/2020 - 09:54

Several new cases of the deadly coronavirus have been confirmed in the U.S., bringing the total infections to five as the situation in China, where the bug originated, grows increasingly dire.Health officials revealed Sunday morning that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed that a person in Orange, County California, who had traveled from Wuhan, China, has the virus. They are listed in “good condition.” Within hours, authorities revealed two more cases: a student at Arizona State University who is “not severely ill” and a patient who reported he was not feeling well when he got off a plane at Los Angeles International Airport. “Everything worked as it should,” Dr. Sharon Balter of the L.A. County Department of Public Health. “The patient presented for care, the patient was immediately transported to a hospital, the patient has remained in the hospital.”Grim Scenes at Chinese Hospitals as Doctors Rush to Treat Deadly CoronavirusTwo previous U.S.-based cases—a woman in her 60s from Chicago and a man in his 30s from Washington state—have also been confirmed, but the CDC says the risk to Americans is low. “There is no evidence that person-to-person transmission has occurred in Orange County,” the CDC said in a statement Sunday. “The current risk of local transmission remains low.”All of the U.S. patients had traveled from Wuhan, the epicenter of the health crisis. That’s important to note because it means there have been no confirmed person-to-person transmissions inside the U.S.In each case, health officials will now need to trace the patient’s steps and identify anyone who had close contact with them so they can be monitored—and then isolated, as well, if they develop symptoms.The new virus—which originated in a market that traded live wild animals and likely passed in snake-to-human contact—has infected more than 2,000 people globally, according to Reuters.Health officials in Canada were tracking down passengers who flew with a man from Wuhan to Toronto via Guangzhou on a China Southern Airlines flight last Thursday after confirming his diagnosis—the first in Canada. China is struggling to contain its outbreak and warned Sunday that doctors there have determined the virus can be passed before the carrier shows symptoms. Ma Ziaowei, head of China’s National Health Commission, announced Sunday that the new virus’ incubation period is 10 to 14 days, and it is contagious during that time.That finding has not been publicly confirmed by U.S. or global health officials. If true, it would present a major complication for containment. For instance, in the U.S., those who had close contact with confirmed patients are not quarantined unless they have symptoms, under the belief that they are not contagious until then.China’s Coronavirus Keeps Spreading but the WHO Still Won’t Declare a Global EmergencyChinese authorities have locked down Wuhan and several other cities to stop the virus from galloping across the country, but the U.S. and other countries been given special dispensation to evacuate their citizens. A charter flight from Wuhan to San Francisco with diplomats and private citizens is scheduled for Tuesday, according to CNN. France and Russia have also made similar arrangements. Two new hospitals being built near Wuhan specifically to house those infected with the virus are expected to be completed in the coming week. The Chinese government has also dispatched hundreds of medical officials and military troops to help manage the crisis in the hardest hit areas of the country.As The Daily Beast reported, doctors and nurses are so overwhelmed by the explosion of patients, they are wearing diapers so they don’t have to take bathroom breaks. With supplies running low, they are fashioning anti-infection goggles out of spare materials.In a sign of the virus’ strength, the the death toll in China has climbed from 41 to 56 in just 24 hours. But no deaths have been yet reported in any of the 40 other countries where the virus has been confirmed. Still, Chinese communities across the world have taken precautions ahead of the Lunar New Year celebrations this weekend, including the cancellation of the annual parade in Paris on Sunday. Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo said Sunday that she had no choice but to cancel the celebrations. “I have met with the Chinese community in Paris. They are very emotional and concerned, and they have decided to cancel the parade that was scheduled for this afternoon at Place de la Republique,” Hidalgo said Sunday. “They are really not in a mood to party now.” Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.


France withdraws controversial grenade from police use

Sun, 01/26/2020 - 09:16

France will withdraw from use an explosive tear gas grenade used by riot police and blamed for injuring numerous protesters, the interior minister said Sunday, amid growing anger at perceived police brutality. Sanctioned for use by French law enforcement since 2011, the GLI-F4 grenade explodes with a loud, powerful blast to release a cloud of tear gas. The grenade is designed to help law enforcers under attack escape from a dangerous situation, but is blamed for maiming protesters in sometimes hairy confrontations with police in more than a year of anti-government "yellow vest" protests.


Photos show the horrors of Auschwitz, 75 years after its liberation

Sun, 01/26/2020 - 09:15

Over 1.1 million people were murdered at Auschwitz, including nearly a million Jews. On the day of liberation 75 years ago, only 7,000 were saved.


Hong Kong Protest Against Quarantine Facilities Turns Violent

Sun, 01/26/2020 - 08:47

(Bloomberg) -- A protest against a Hong Kong government plan to use a new and unoccupied public housing estate as a possible coronavirus quarantine facility turned violent as demonstrators set fires and destroyed some property.A group of masked protesters initially barricaded a road in the Fanling district to object to a proposal to use a nearby estate as an emergency medical facility. Some said the building was too close to their homes, while others complained that approved applicants risked losing their flats in the estate should it be implemented.Demonstrators blocked roads, built barricades with trash and paralyzed traffic in Fanling, police said. Later, they damaged traffic lights and set fire to the lobby of buildings by throwing petrol bombs, it said. Riot police were seen walking around the estate asking people to show their identities and inspecting their bags.Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam on Saturday upgraded the government’s response against the coronavirus to the highest level and said the outbreak could extend the city’s recession into 2020. Hong Kong has six confirmed infections as of Sunday.Disease Scare Gives Hong Kong Leader Lam a Diversion From UnrestHong Kong has been on high alert regarding communicable diseases since the 2003 outbreak of SARS, which originated in China’s Guangdong province in 2002 and ripped through the financial hub the following year. The virus infected about 2,000 people and killed nearly 300 in Hong Kong, crippling tourism and real estate industries and dealing a major blow to the economy.The government said it readied at least three quarantine facilities and is preparing a fourth for the new coronaviris. It will halt plans to use the Fai Ming Estate in Fanling as a possible site, it said.“The government acknowledges and understands that there is concern among some residents in the North District of the requisition of Fai Ming Estate,” it said in a statement late Sunday. “Representatives of relevant government departments will attend North District Council meeting this Wednesday to explain and discuss on the issue. Meanwhile, the government will cease the related preparation work in Fai Ming Estate.”On Saturday, police fired tear gas to disperse a crowd of protesters who gathered in the crowded shopping hub of Mong Kok at the site of a 2016 protest that marked a violent turn by the city’s pro-democracy movement. A rally initially planned for Sunday to mark the so-called Fishball Revolution was canceled.More than seven months of pro-democracy protests have battered the former British colony’s economy, undermined its reputation for political stability and increased geopolitical tensions between the U.S. and China. Beijing has governed Hong Kong since 1997 under a “one country, two systems” framework that preserves its freedom of expression, independent courts and capitalist financial system.The demonstrations since June were ignited by a proposed law to allow extraditions to jurisdictions including mainland China. After a couple of months of demonstrations, the government withdrew the bill but the protesters’ demands had broadened to include greater democracy and an independent inquiry into police conduct during the unrest.To contact the reporters on this story: Julia Fioretti in Hong Kong at jfioretti4@bloomberg.net;Fion Li in Hong Kong at fli59@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Shamim Adam at sadam2@bloomberg.net, Andrew DavisFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.


California patient is 3rd US case of new virus from China

Sun, 01/26/2020 - 08:24

A patient in Southern California is the third person in the U.S. to be diagnosed with the new pneumonia-like virus from China, health officials said. The Centers for Disease Control confirmed a traveler from the Chinese city of Wuhan — the epicenter of the outbreak — tested positive for the virus, the Orange County Health Care Agency announced just before midnight Saturday. The first known case in California comes on the heels of diagnoses in Washington state, on Jan. 21, and Chicago, on Jan. 24.


Hong Kong bars Hubei residents from entering city as coronavirus fears intensify

Sun, 01/26/2020 - 08:00

Hong Kong authorities on Sunday barred residents of China's Hubei province, the center of the coronavirus outbreak, from entering the city, in response to mounting pressure to enact preventative measures to contain the spreading epidemic. The ban includes those who have been in the province in the past 14 days but excludes Hong Kong citizens. Earlier a group of protesters set alight the lobby of a newly built residential building in Hong Kong that authorities planned to use as a quarantine facility for the coronavirus outbreak.


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