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Piero Terracina, Rome Jew who survived Nazi death camp, dies

Sun, 12/08/2019 - 10:08

Piero Terracina, described as the last survivor among the Roman Jews who were deported from the Italian capital to Nazi death camps during World War II, has died at 91. Terracina died on Sunday, Rome's Jewish Community said. As a 15-year-old, he escaped the roundup by German occupying troops of Rome's Jews in 1943 and went into hiding with his family.

Hong Kong protests mark 6-month mark with massive rally

Sun, 12/08/2019 - 09:56

Almost hidden among the throngs of demonstrators who marched in Hong Kong on Sunday was one woman who crawled, literally on hands and knees on the rough road surface — an apt metaphor for the arduous path traveled by Hong Kong's protest movement in the past six months. Dragging bricks and empty soda cans on pieces of string behind her, the young woman elicited shouts of encouragement from fellow protesters. Chanting “Fight for freedom” and “Stand with Hong Kong,” the sea of protesters formed a huge human snake winding for blocks on Hong Kong Island, from the Causeway Bay shopping district to the Central business zone, a distance of more than 2 kilometers (1 1/4 miles).

The 25 Best Tower Defense Games

Sun, 12/08/2019 - 09:00

One of the world's largest basic-income trials, a 2-year program in Finland, was a major flop. But experts say the test was flawed.

Sun, 12/08/2019 - 08:51

Two years after Finland launched a basic-income trial for unemployed residents, many of the recipients remained jobless.

Plot Emerged to Fix Venezuela Without Maduro or Guaido

Sun, 12/08/2019 - 07:47

(Bloomberg) -- The standoff in Venezuela briefly took a new twist, according to a report from the Spanish newspaper ABC.People close to both President Nicolas Maduro and his rival Juan Guaido plotted to push both men aside and end the nation’s crisis with the rule of a temporary junta, the newspaper reported without citing where it got the information.The article didn’t cite sources by name, nor was it completely clear how deeply embedded the plan was before it was discovered and fell apart. But the story suggests a strong desire within the camps of both men to end the standoff between Maduro and Guaido almost a year old. Guaido, the National Assembly president, has been recognized by more than 50 countries, including the U.S., as Venezuela’s leader.Third WayThe ABC story suggested a third way, which the paper reported was born out of talks between emissaries of high-ranking Venezuelan officials with opposition leaders, in four countries between April and October this year, after huge rallies demanding Maduro’s exit.The key figure appears to be Humberto Calderon Berti, then the designated ambassador to Colombia who Guaido dismissed last month. He was the main Guaido negotiator in the talks with the emissaries for Venezuelan officials who defied Maduro.At some point in the talks, the paper said, Calderon Berti was approached to head a “transitional junta” -- a small group of powerful men who would lead the nation for 18 months. The paper said that an agreement was drafted by August, with the document outlining the political changes to oust Maduro, sideline Guaido and install the junta sent around to the key players.The Venezuelan officials who sent emissaries for the secret talks included president of the National Constituent Assembly Diosdado Cabello, one of Venezuela’s most powerful men with strong ties to the military, Supreme Court President Maikel Moreno and Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino.The negotiations were complex, involving the reconciliation of various factions within the army and voiding the May 2018 presidential elections Maduro is widely seen as winning only by fraud.Temporary JuntaThe paper cites discussions in which a Cabello emissary, army captain Carlos Aguilera Borjas, suggests that Calderon Berti head the temporary junta. The paper says that Maduro’s regime discovered the talks, which then came to an end.Calderon Berti told ABC newspaper that he met with Aguilera Borjas and others. But these meetings were part of his diplomatic duties and had nothing to do with a plot to form a junta, Calderon Berti said.Guaido’s representatives declined to comment on the ABC report, while the Maduro government didn’t respond to requests to do so.To contact the reporter on this story: Jose Orozco in Mexico City at jorozco8@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Ney Hayashi at, Ian Fisher, Matthew G. MillerFor more articles like this, please visit us at©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

How the Cool Kids of the Left Turned on Elizabeth Warren

Sun, 12/08/2019 - 07:04

The socialists of Jacobin magazine used to treat her like a promising alternative to Bernie Sanders. Now they write as if she’s almost as bad as Joe Biden. What gives?

Trump says pro-Israel group will vote for him to protect their money: ‘You’re not nice people at all. You’re not going to vote for the wealth tax’

Sun, 12/08/2019 - 06:42

Donald Trump has been accused of antisemitism after he told a pro-Israel Jewish group they will vote for him to protect their wealth.Mr Trump referred to members of the Israeli American Council as “brutal killers” and “not nice people” but claimed they would vote for him to avoid a wealth tax, as proposed by Democratic challengers Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.

Russia not an enemy? Macron's Moscow strategy faces first test

Sun, 12/08/2019 - 05:16

French President Emmanuel Macron this week faces the first major test of his policy of directly engaging with Russia that has disturbed some European allies, as he hosts a summit seeking progress in ending the Ukraine conflict. Joined by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Macron will bring together Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky for their first face-to-face meeting at an afternoon summit at the Elysee Palace in Paris on Monday. The stakes are high: this will be the first such summit in three years and while diplomats caution against expecting a major breakthrough, a failure to agree concrete confidence-building steps would be seen as a major blow to hopes for peace and also Macron's personal prestige.

Mayor Pete Turns to God to Win Over Black Supporters

Sun, 12/08/2019 - 05:05

As Mayor Pete Buttigieg kickstarts his campaign to win over African-American voters who are skeptical of his spotty track record on issues of concern to black communities—or who are entirely unfamiliar with him at all—the millennial mayor is returning to one of the touchstones of his early campaign: his faith.“It's not for nothing that a lot of my experiences even back home addressing black voters, specifically, is in church,” Buttigieg recently told reporters aboard his campaign bus in New Hampshire, in response to a question about what “clicks” with African-American audiences. “Knowing how important an organizing principle faith is in so many black families, in so many parts of the black community.”Buttigieg, more than any other candidate seeking the Democratic nomination, has emphasized his identity as a Christian as part of his appeal to voters who, at first glance, might not feel like they have a lot in common with the white millennial mayor from the Midwest. In a series of appearances in front of predominantly black audiences across the American South this week, Buttigieg frequently leaned into his Episcopalian faith as a way to connect with black voters who have been, until recently, an afterthought for his campaign.“I believe that I am here to make myself useful—that I am part of this political process to make myself useful, but also that I was put on this Earth in order to make myself useful to others,” Buttigieg told a largely black congregation during Sunday services at Greenleaf Christian Church in Goldsboro, North Carolina. “These are the values that I was taught by my parents. These are the values that I’m taught by my faith.”The appearance at Greenleaf, which was founded by formerly enslaved people and has served as a hub for civil rights activism under the Rev. William J. Barber II, kicked off a week of events, policy launches and advertising spots intended to boost his support among non-white voters. The next day, Buttigieg held a meet-and-greet in Allendale, South Carolina, a town where three-quarters of residents are black and which hasn’t seen a Democratic candidate for president since John Edwards campaigned there in 2008. Allendale Democratic Party Chair Willa Jennings began the event with a question about his lack of support among black voters.“I hear a lot about how you don’t have support from African-Americans… I just want to know why they’re saying that about you,” Jennings asked in front of the 50-person audience, much smaller in size than Buttigieg’s recent rallies in Iowa and New Hampshire. Buttigieg responded that while it’s important for him to earn the support of black voters, he’s “new on the scene,” and doesn’t expect communities that have been “taken for granted” by other Democratic candidates to grant him their trust so easily.“We’ve got to share our own city’s story, where we’ve had the good, the bad, and the in-between,” Buttigieg said.The week-long outreach itinerary also included the release of a “health equity” plan intended to boost health-care access and treatment quality for patients of color and other at-risk communities; a business round-table with community leaders in Birmingham, Alabama; and a tour of South Carolina State University, the only public historically black college and university in the state, to visit the Orangeburg Massacre Monument, which commemorates the shooting of three young black men protesting a segregated bowling alley by South Carolina Highway Patrol officers. Buttigieg also dropped his first statewide television ad in South Carolina. The spot, part of a $2 million ad buy, begins with Buttigieg quoting scripture, and features B-roll of him speaking to largely black voters and supporters.“In our White House, you won’t have to shake your head and ask yourself, whatever happened to ‘I was hungry and you fed me, I was a stranger and you welcomed me’?” Buttigieg says in the ad, quoting Matthew 25:35.Buttigieg has emphasized his Episcopalian faith since the outset of his candidacy, alternately to welcome religious voters who have felt neglected by Democrats or to highlight what he sees as the theological hypocrisy of Christian evangelicals who support President Donald Trump.“I think good faith is so important,” Buttigieg told The Daily Beast in a conversation about his relationship with Vice President Mike Pence in March. “Even when I have a very stark disagreement with somebody, it’s just a lot easier on both sides I think for us to navigate it if we both understand where the other is coming from, and believe that those different opinions are something we came by honestly.”Rep. André Carson, an Indiana Democrat and the sole black member of the state’s congressional delegation, told The Daily Beast that Buttigieg’s approach to black voters is a strong one. “African-Americans form the backbone of the Democratic Party—in Indiana and across America. Our community’s ongoing commitment to social justice and civil rights has and should serve as a moral compass as the party continues to move in a progressive direction,” Carson told The Daily Beast. While noting that he has not yet endorsed any candidate for president, Carson said that he believes Buttigieg “recognizes and appreciates this legacy,” and hopes he continues to “build bridges to heal the divides that exist.”“All candidates should prioritize achieving greater understanding of issues that impact African-Americans and other minority groups,” Carson said.No Democratic candidate has won the party’s nomination without winning a majority of African-Americans in more than three decades, and black voters are a key demographic in several must-win general election states like Michigan, North Carolina and Pennsylvania.Polling indicates that Buttigieg has his work cut out for him. His polling numbers among African-American likely voters in South Carolina are infinitesimal, according to a recent Quinnipiac survey that showed him with the support of zero percent of black respondents. Buttigieg’s campaign has been quick to point out that nearly half of African-Americans told pollsters that they hadn’t heard enough about the mayor of Indiana’s fourth-largest city, and Buttigieg himself has noted that no candidate aside from former Vice President Joe Biden has yet been able to build the kind of diverse coalition Democrats say they need to beat Trump.With these obstacles to support, faith could be a useful method to introduce him as a candidate, particularly as a gay candidate. A Politico/Morning Consult poll published in October found that more voters are wary of supporting a gay candidate than almost any other minority group, with the exception of an atheist, although Buttigieg has aggressively pushed back on the notion that homophobia could be at the root of his lack of support in black communities.“If you look at look at the most anti-LGBT politicians and policies in recent years, [it’s] mostly white voters bringing them to power,” Buttigieg told reporters on his campaign bus last month.Barber, the pastor at Greenleaf Christian Church, similarly urged the white people in attendance at Sunday services to “stop putting that on black folk,” calling the idea that African-Americans are disproportionately homphobic a “false narrative that was created by the National Organization for Marriage to separate people.”“There’s some phobia among all folks,” Barber preached.There’s no guarantee that black voters will flock to Buttigieg once they become more familiar with his much-touted biography—particularly since some aspects of those biography have complicated his outreach to black voters so far. From the long history of tensions between law enforcement and black residents in South Bend to Buttigieg’s past statements about minority public school students lacking academic role models, which prompted a highly read piece in The Root titled “Pete Buttigieg Is a Lying MF.” (Buttigieg later called the author of that piece, who said of that conversation that “Pete Buttigieg listened, which is all you can ask a white man to do.”)To some black lawmakers, however, Buttigieg’s late outreach comes off as borderline desperate.“He is trying to get every single black person he can think of,” said Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-OH), when asked about Buttigieg’s outreach to the Congressional Black Caucus. “He acts as though he’s never interacted with black people. He represents a city that is 26 percent black.”Even Buttigieg’s mostly white supporters have started publicly fretting about his anemic support among black voters. At a barn party in central New Hampshire last month, one white supporter asked Buttigieg how he planned to “get beyond white New Hampshire, white Iowa” and address the concerns of black voters to build the coalition.Those weaknesses have prompted opponents like former HUD Secretary Julián Castro and Sen. Cory Booker to blast Buttigieg’s lack of black support as disqualifying in and of itself—and even some of his most prominent black supporters have found themselves facing accusations that they’re being used as pawns by the candidate. A thread calling Buttigieg’s travelling press secretary Nina Smith “his token black woman” has been retweeted by numerous liberal critics of the mayor, and an event held by black Buttigieg supporters in South Bend on Wednesday descended into chaos when a group of Black Lives Matter activists turned up.“Where are the black leaders who don’t have three-piece suits, leather jackets, and nice clothing?” a white man in a Black Lives Matter T-shirt yelled at the event, interrupting South Bend Common Council member Sharon McBride, who had just returned from joining Buttigieg at campaign events in South Carolina “to be a witness” to his work on behalf of black constituents.“Who chose these people as black leaders?” the man asked, before seizing the microphone from McBride and saying that he wanted to hear “from a real black woman.”The man was later removed from the event, but not until an older woman in attendance threateningly raised her cane to quell his protest.Buttigieg, who was not in attendance, told reporters that the incident “shows kind of where politics has come to.”“This is the climate that we’re in, and we need to continue making sure that everyone is empowered to speak their truth, their experience, and in particular, when it comes to South Bend’s story,” he said.Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. 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The United States' New 'Ninja Missile' Chops Targets to Bits (We Have Questions)

Sun, 12/08/2019 - 05:00

A game-changer or just some really cool marketing?

Obergefell: Supreme Court, lawmakers have more to do to prevent anti-LGBTQ discrimination

Sun, 12/08/2019 - 05:00

Everyone should be treated with dignity and respect — and that means ensuring no one faces unfair treatment because of their LGBTQ+ identity.

Body of slain doctor returns home to Japan from Afghanistan

Sun, 12/08/2019 - 04:26

The body of a Japanese doctor killed in a roadside shooting in Afghanistan arrived back home Sunday, with government officials on hand to lead a brief ceremony of mourning at Tokyo's Narita International Airport. Tetsu Nakamura was killed last week, along with five Afghans who had been traveling with him. Keisuke Suzuki, Japan's state minister of foreign affairs, joined other officials in bowing their heads in prayer after laying flowers by the coffin, draped in white, in a solemn ceremony in honor of Nakamura at the airport.

Hard Rock Hotel collapse reminds New Orleans of undocumented workers' plight

Sun, 12/08/2019 - 04:01

Undocumented workers who rebuilt the city after Hurricane Katrina remain unrecognized and have seen their home become hostileThe sight of the collapsed Hard Rock Hotel is impossible to escape on the busy Canal Street corridor downtown. Slabs of broken gray concrete form a frozen landslide 18 stories above the ground, and the arm of a massive crane stands almost upright after a botched removal effort left it embedded in the sidewalk below.Nearly three months after the deadly collapse, the bodies of two victims – José Ponce Arreola, from Mexico, and Quinnyon Wimberly, from New Orleans – still remain inside the wreckage. After Delmer Joel Ramírez Palma was deported just days after Thanksgiving, the Hard Rock ruins serve as a stunning visual reminder of the precarious situation of undocumented workers who hold a unique place in the history of post-Hurricane Katrina New Orleans. Having helped rebuild New Orleans and much of the surrounding region after the hurricane, they now face being hounded out of the place many of them call home.Ramírez Palma, an undocumented construction worker at the Hard Rock, had tried to warn supervisors of construction safety concerns but was ordered to ignore the issues, according to his lawyers and family. Two days after being seriously injured in the collapse, he was detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (Ice) and subsequently deported to Honduras, against the protests of immigration advocates and the head of a state labor agency. He had lived in New Orleans for 18 years.For many New Orleanians, the treatment of Ramírez Palma was both a stinging rebuff to the contributions of undocumented immigrants in New Orleans over the years, and yet another example in a long history of Latinx worker abuse in the city.“It’s just unconscionable. It’s unreal how evil sometimes their policies are,” Salvador Longoria, executive director of Puentes New Orleans, said of Ice’s decision to deport the Honduran father of three.Longoria co-founded Puentes, a local Latinx advocacy not-for-profit, in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina to help support and assimilate the thousands of workers who came to New Orleans to rebuild the city after it was flooded by a massive levee failure.In the New Orleans area, undocumented families have had to change the way they live in Ice’s shadow, Longoria said.He knows of families that limit their outings to work and the grocery store, and of children who have memorized a plan of action, including who to call to post bail, in case their parents do not return home after work.“They’re dealing with real dystopian scenarios,” said Longoria. “After the raids and after the detention of so many other people, that’s what they’re living with every day and it really is a constant fear and tension about what could happen,” he said.Within the last six months his organization received an uptick in requests for “Know Your Rights” training from undocumented communities in neighborhoods across New Orleans to help protect themselves in case of an encounter with Ice.> Latinx workers, many undocumented, were a pivotal force in the city’s post-Katrina recovery.Latinx workers, many undocumented, were a pivotal force in the city’s post-Katrina recovery. A 2006 academic study found about half of the reconstruction workforce was Latinx, and about half of that group was undocumented. The majority of Latinx workers relocated to New Orleans from other areas of the United States.“So many of the people that were gutting the moldy buildings, and tearing walls down and doing the dirty work that has to be done in mold-infested houses were Latino workers,” said Longoria. “[They] without a doubt, reconstructed and rebuilt New Orleans.”In an effort to speed up construction after the storm, the federal government suspended enforcement of employee eligibility checks by employers and certain workplace protection measures.The result was widespread worker exploitation.“There was wage theft, there was underpayment of wages, there was abuse of the employees,” said Longoria.Reports from 2015 found day laborers were still waiting to get paid for post-Katrina work a decade after the storm.Many leading advocacy groups in the city – like the Congress of Day Laborers, an immigrant-led activism group affiliated with the New Orleans Center for Racial Justice – were created as a response to the rampant abuse of Latinx workers in the wake of the storm.Post-Katrina, the Latinx community developed a strong and growing presence in New Orleans. Since 2010, the Hispanic population has grown by 24%, outpacing 7% total growth in the metro area, according to the latest statistics from the New Orleans Data Center. Most of the area’s 114,000 Latinxs reside in the suburban areas of Jefferson Parish, outside New Orleans, and Hondurans represent about a third of the Latinx population in the area.While Ice maintained a steady rate of deportations under President Obama, the current administration’s increasingly aggressive crackdown on immigration and asylum seekers has cast a new level of fear among Latinxs in New Orleans, like so many other cities and towns across the US.Louisiana has also recently emerged as a new hub of migrant detention. Over the past year, Ice has expanded its network of detention centers across the state with eight new facilities, all former state prisons and local jails.As of today, 7,513 people, or 17% of the 44,538 national detainees, are being held in Ice custody in Louisiana, according to an agency official.While Louisiana’s converted jails are also housing detainees from out of state, the sharp rise in detention capacity and remote locations of the new facilities has alarmed local undocumented workers and immigration advocates.Bruce Hamilton, staff attorney of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Louisiana, said he drives up to five hours to reach clients detained in Ice facilities across the state.Remote detention centers add yet another layer of difficulty to an already complicated immigration system and has a tangible impact on the outcomes of asylum cases, lawyers and advocates say.“[Asylum-seekers] are very much cut off from the resources that could help you with asylum,” said Hamilton. “You don’t have access to your papers, if they’re in the care and custody of your family. You don’t have access necessarily to an attorney. And you may have very limited access to the internet or to a law library.”> Asylum-seekers are very much cut off from the resources that could help you with asylum.> > Bruce HamiltonA spate of controversial cases in Louisiana this year – including the detention and deportation of Yoel Alono Leal, a Cuban man with cancer, and the suicide of another Cuban, Roylan Hernández-Díaz, while in a private Ice detention facility – have prompted popular outcry against Ice policies.The ACLU is pushing Ice to stop the use of solitary confinement in detention centers and grant bonds and parole for asylum seekers on humanitarian grounds. Granting of parole requests has dropped precipitously among certain Ice field offices, from more than 90% in 2011-2013 to 4% in February-September 2017, according to an ACLU lawsuit.Ice officials did not respond to a question on parole denials but said in an email statement: “Bond decisions are based on an alien’s flight risk, and the potential threat to public safety. Each case is reviewed individually, taking into account factors like immigration history, criminal history and community ties.”While New Orleans keeps a sanctuary city policy that prevents local police from aiding Ice, in suburban municipalities – where the Latinx population is concentrated – offer no such protections for the undocumented.Still, New Orleans, which exists in the mainstream imagination along a black/white racial binary, isn’t immune to anti-Latino sentiment, says Longoria.His family emigrated to New Orleans from Cuba when he was four years old, and he noted that even while most New Orleanians are accepting of the Latinx community, he still perceives a gradual shift in racial anxieties.“I grew up here and I never felt a tension about my Latino identity and my assimilation in the city. But, as the years have gone on, when certain people see the number of Latinos increasing … they feel that for some reason or another their way of life is threatened.”Longoria still takes the long view: “I hope that most New Orleanians realize that, you know, Latinos have actually been here since the city was founded,” he said. “And it’s just a new phase of that history that has always existed in New Orleans.”

2020 Democrats hit the campaign trail in Iowa

Sun, 12/08/2019 - 00:40

Pelosi calls for House Democrats to proceed with articles on impeachment; ‘Left Coast News’ radio host Ethan Bearman weighs in.

Preacher Bonnke, popular across Africa, dies at 79

Sat, 12/07/2019 - 23:13

German evangelical preacher Reinhard Bonnke, who claimed to perform miracles on stage and had a huge following in Africa, died on Saturday aged 79, his church said. Bonnke, the founder of the Christ for All Nations church, first visited Africa in the 1960s and preached across the continent for decades, often at open-air events. The obituary on his website claimed Bonnke had drawn 1.6 million people to one gathering in Lagos, Nigeria in 2000, and that he had converted 79 million people during his career.

Namibia vows to change 'status-quo' of white-farm ownership

Sat, 12/07/2019 - 22:44

Vibrant rows of neatly lined plants grow on a patch once trampled by the cattle of a large commercial farm run by a family of German descent in Namibia. From that 2,400 square-metre rectangle of sand in the northern Otjozondjupa region, Kornelius Hamasab, 69, now produces spinach, onions and tomatoes. Hamasab is among the 16 percent of black Namibians owning arable land in the semi-desertic southwest African nation.

Former Rep. Katie Hill says the wave of harassment she faced after alleged revenge porn leak left her contemplating suicide

Sat, 12/07/2019 - 17:30

Former Rep. Katie Hill now says that she has "to keep going forward, and be part of the fight to create the change" to protect young women.

Pearl Harbor veteran to be interred on sunken ship

Sat, 12/07/2019 - 15:47

With speeches and salutes, veterans and officials on Saturday commemorated the 78th anniversary of the 1941 sneak attack by Japan on Pearl Harbor, which brought a previously reluctant United States into World War II. A ceremony honoring survivors attended by US Interior Secretary David Bernhardt and Washington's ambassador to South Korea Harry Harris was held within sight of the sunken USS Arizona, which was bombed in the opening moments of the attack that killed more than 2,400 Americans. Later in the day, the remains of Lauren Bruner, who died in September at age 98 and was among the last sailors rescued from the Arizona after it exploded into flames, will be interred in the wreckage.

Is Russia's New Anti-Tank Weapon Aimed at the Army's M1 Abrams?

Sat, 12/07/2019 - 15:42

Maybe, but Russia has its own problem.

New Jersey journalist re-arrested in Nigeria after brief glimpse of freedom

Sat, 12/07/2019 - 15:13

Omoyele Sowore, imprisoned in his home country of Nigeria since August, has been freed from government custody, but still has to stand trial.