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'I am one of the undecided': With a month to go, many likely Iowa caucusgoers still unsure

Wed, 01/01/2020 - 16:58

With a month to go before the Feb. 3 caucuses, some Iowans are just starting to explore their choices. Others like several; can't make up their minds.

New Year's Eve sees gun violence across nation, concluding record-high year of mass killings

Wed, 01/01/2020 - 15:03

2019 was a deadly year for gun violence, and New Year's Eve was no different. Within hours of the new decade, many people had lost their lives.

Headless torso in Idaho cave identified as Wild West outlaw killed in 1916

Wed, 01/01/2020 - 14:26

A headless torso found in a remote cave in Idaho has been identified as belonging to a Wild West outlaw who died a century ago. Joseph Henry Loveless was last seen in 1916 shortly after escaping from jail, where he was being held for allegedly murdering his second wife with an axe. His remains, wrapped in hessian and buried in a shallow grave, were discovered by a family hunting for arrowheads in Buffalo Cave near Dubois, Idaho, in 1979. Twelve years later a girl exploring the same cave found his mummified hand, and other limbs were subsequently found nearby. But because his head was never located the FBI for years remained baffled as to the identity of the dead man. They could only establish that he was of European descent, had reddish brown hair, and was aged about 40. However, over time forensic genealogists from the DNA Doe Project, a group which uses DNA samples, court records and newspaper reports to identify unknown deceased people, were able to confirm that the man was Loveless. He was born to Mormon pioneers in Utah on Dec 3, 1870 and went on to abandon his first wife, Harriett Jane Savage, according to court records in Salt Lake City. Loveless then headed to Idaho and became a bootlegger, counterfeiter, and outlaw, using a series of aliases and escaping from jail several times. On one occasion he cut through prison bars with a saw he had hidden in his shoe. Another escape involved fleeing from a transport train. The outlaw remarried, to Agnes Octavia Caldwell Loveless, who was then murdered on May 5, 1916. A man named "Walt Cairns" was arrested, but the victim's family told newspapers at the time that was actually Loveless. The family predicted Loveless would escape soon because he "never stayed in jail long". He did then escape, less than two weeks later, on May 18, 1916. Clothing found with the remains in Buffalo Cave decades later was the same as depicted in a final "Wanted" poster, suggesting Loveless himself was killed and dismembered soon after his last jailbreak. Bart May, the current Sheriff of Clark County, Idaho, said a homicide investigation into who killed Loveless would remain open. He said: "We'll probably never solve the homicide, but we still encourage anyone who has heard stories to contact our office. "Back in 1916 it was the Wild West up here and, most likely, the locals took care of the problem."

Secretary of State Pompeo postpones Ukraine trip to focus on Iraq

Wed, 01/01/2020 - 13:34

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday postponed a trip to Ukraine so he could focus on the situation in Iraq after demonstrators attacked the U.S. embassy. Pompeo postponed his trip to Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Cyprus "due to the need for the Secretary to be in Washington, D.C., to continue monitoring the ongoing situation in Iraq and ensure the safety and security of Americans in the Middle East," State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said in a statement. On Tuesday evening Pompeo had told Fox News the Ukraine trip was still on.

Syria regime fire kills nine in school turned shelter

Wed, 01/01/2020 - 13:29

Land-to-land missiles fired by Syrian regime forces killed nine civilians including five children in a school in northwestern Syria on Wednesday, a war monitor said. Part of the building in the town of Sarmeen had been turned into a shelter for the displaced, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. Fifteen people were wounded, Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman said.

Eight people killed in Syria army bombing in rebel-held Idlib: medics

Wed, 01/01/2020 - 13:15

At least eight people were killed on Wednesday when the Syrian army launched missiles that struck a shelter for displaced families in the country's northwest, witnesses and residents said. Five children were among those killed in the strike on a disused school in the town of Sarmin in Idlib province, two medics said, adding over 16 people were injured. The school building was being used by families fleeing a Russian-backed bombing campaign in Idlib, the last opposition bastion in the northwest.

Israel Now Has a Second Squadron of Deadly F-35I Stealth Fighters

Wed, 01/01/2020 - 13:13

The first public photograph has appeared depicting an F-35 stealth fighter in the livery of Israel’s second squadron of the radar-evading jets.

China's Air Force Has A Serious Range Problem

Wed, 01/01/2020 - 13:00

A war game with Thailand revealed shortcomings.

16 inmates killed in bloody two and a half hour prison riot after guns snuck into facility

Wed, 01/01/2020 - 12:05

At least 16 inmates were killed in a central Mexico prison and five others wounded after a bloody two-and-a-half hour riot.Four guns – believed to have been smuggled in during prison visits on Tuesday, where found at the scene of the violent melee at the Cienguillas state prison in the north-central Zacatecas region.

Illinois sees first legal sales of recreational marijuana

Wed, 01/01/2020 - 11:48

The sale of marijuana for recreational purposes became legal Wednesday in Illinois to the delight of pot fans — many who began lining up hours early at dispensaries. About 500 people were outside Dispensary 33 in Chicago. Renzo Mejia made the first legal purchase in the shop shortly after 6 a.m., the earliest that Illinois' new law allowed such sals.

Buttigieg 1st to announce Q4 fundraising haul of $24.7 million

Wed, 01/01/2020 - 11:20

And they're off!South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg was the first 2020 Democrat out of the gate with his fourth quarter fundraising haul announcement after the quarter ended on Tuesday. He raised $24.7 million, beating out nearly every candidates' total from the last quarter, his campaign announced Wednesday.Buttigieg's Q4 announcement homed in on his small-money donations, saying its average contribution this quarter was $33 and that 98 percent of its donations were less than $200. That focus is a clear rebuttal to Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) after she went after Buttigieg's high-dollar fundraisers in December's Democratic debate.Warren raised just a bit less than Buttigieg in the third quarter, with $24.6 million. She hinted at a less prosperous Q4 in an email last week where she told supporters she had only brought in $17 million. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) meanwhile had the best fundraising quarter of any 2020 candidate yet in Q3, but hasn't yet indicated how this quarter is shaping up.More stories from The Obama legacy is not what many liberals think Sorry, the 2010s aren't over yet 1st trailer for A Quiet Place 2 plunges Emily Blunt into the apocalypse

Kim Promises ‘Shocking’ Action and Says He Has New Weapon

Wed, 01/01/2020 - 10:48

(Bloomberg) -- Kim Jong Un declared he was no longer bound by his pledge to halt major missile tests and would soon debut a “new strategic weapon,” adding to President Donald Trump’s foreign policy concerns in a politically charged election year.The North Korean leader told a gathering of party officials in Pyongyang that U.S. actions left him no choice but to reconsider commitments that underpinned three unprecedented meetings with Trump over the past 18 months, the state-run Korean Central News Agency said Wednesday. Kim called for “shocking actual action” to make the U.S. “pay for the pains” suffered by North Korea under the Washington-led sanctions regime, KCNA said.“The world will witness a new strategic weapon to be possessed by the DPRK in the near future,” Kim said, referring to the country’s formal name. The speech came during an unusual four-day party meeting and appeared to replace the televised address Kim has delivered every New Year’s Day since 2013.Trump’s immediate reaction was muted, with the president repeating his past assertion that Kim had agreed to denuclearize. “We’re going to find out, but I think he’s a man of his word,” Trump told reporters in Florida.Former National Security Adviser John Bolton said in a tweet on Wednesday that the U.S. should “fully resume” military exercises with South Korea in response to Kim’s threat. “Hold congressional hearings on whether U.S. troops are truly ready to ‘fight tonight,’” he said.Kim’s threats were broadly in line with expectations that he would attempt to ratchet up pressure on Trump after North Korea’s year-end deadline passed without a breakthrough in nuclear talks. Kim is seeking sanctions relief and security guarantees that the Trump administration has so far refused to provide without a disarmament commitment from Pyongyang.Major weapons tests would renew the threat of war on the Korean Peninsula and undermine Trump’s efforts to tout his diplomatic outreach with Kim as he seeksreelection. While North Korea fired off a record number of ballistic missiles in 2019, it has refrained from testing nuclear bombs and intercontinental ballistic missiles that could deliver them to the U.S. for more than two years.Kim said that recent U.S. actions, including continued military cooperation with South Korea, had forced him to reconsider his pledge. “Under such condition, there is no ground for us to get unilaterally bound to the commitment any longer,” Kim said, according to KCNA.“I’d expect this announcement to be followed by a test rather quickly,” said Ankit Panda, a specialist on North Korea’s weapons and an adjunct senior fellow at the Federation of American Scientists. “They may seek to do something truly dramatic to awaken the United States into appreciating the costs of the failed bout of diplomacy in 2018 and 2019.”Kim left some room for negotiations by avoiding direct criticism of Trump and not explicitly calling off talks or announcing new weapons tests. The threat to revive tensions could put Kim’s own recent diplomatic gains at risk, alienate supporters such as China and Russia and increase international support for more sanctions.“We hope that Chairman Kim will take a different course,” U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo told Fox News after the KCNA report. “We are hopeful that Chairman Kim will make the right decision and he will choose peace and prosperity over conflict and war.”North Korean state television showed clips of missiles rocketing into the sky over a looped hour-long video of Kim’s remarks Wednesday morning. Weapons featured included missiles fired from mobile launchers and a rocket lifting off from what appeared to be an underwater platform. One image showed a view of the Earth from space.Kim didn’t specify what his “new strategic weapon” was, or when it might be deployed. He has made more specific threats in past new year’s addresses, such as when he previewed a run of successful ICBM tests in 2017.“We avoided the worst scenario, which would have involved Kim declaring a resumption of ICBM and nuclear testing and the suspension of talks with the U.S.,” said Rachel Minyoung Lee, a specialist on North Korea at the Seoul-based NK News.Still, Kim had some ominous words for the U.S. North Korea “will never allow the impudent U.S. to abuse the DPRK-U.S. dialogue for meeting its sordid aim but will shift to a shocking actual action to make it pay for the pains sustained by our people so far and for the development so far restrained,” Kim said, according to KCNA.Panda, of the Federation of American Scientists, said the comment suggests that North Korea might seek to go further than 2017, when it lofted three ICBMs into the waters between the Korean Peninsula and Japan.“A fourth one is perhaps not likely to meet the North Korean bar for ‘shocking,’” Panda said. “The possibilities, then, are uncomfortable.”(Updates with Bolton comments in fifth paragraph.)\--With assistance from Shinhye Kang, Josh Wingrove and Glen Carey.To contact the reporters on this story: Jihye Lee in Seoul at;John Harney in Washington at jharney2@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Brendan Scott at, Alex WayneFor more articles like this, please visit us at©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

Hamas allows rival Fatah to mark anniversary in Gaza rally

Wed, 01/01/2020 - 10:47

Tens of thousands of Palestinians took to the streets in Gaza on Wednesday to mark the 55th anniversary of President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah movement. The territory’s Hamas rulers permitted the event for the first time in years. The militant Islamic group Hamas, which seized control of the Gaza Strip by force from the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority in 2007, allowed Fatah supporters to celebrate on a Gaza City street.

Why This Indian State Is Witnessing the Country's Most Violent Anti Citizenship-Law Protests

Wed, 01/01/2020 - 09:02

Hindu monk Yogi Adityanath, who has served as Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh since 2017, has overseen a brutal crackdown on protesters.

Dizzying Day for Trump Caps a Year Full of Them

Wed, 01/01/2020 - 08:57

PALM BEACH, Fla. -- It was perhaps fitting that President Donald Trump ended another dizzying year in office with a crisis-driven day of surreal contrasts, one that began with him tracking a Middle East emergency from his golf club and ended with a tuxedo-clad president holding forth about North Korea, Iran and impeachment and vaping on a red carpet over the thumping din of party music.Trump arrived at the $650-a-person annual New Year's Eve party at his Mar-a-Lago resort shortly after 9 p.m., as a packed ballroom of guests -- including his children; his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, who wore a green and red bow tie; and a procession of local society notables -- awaited him inside.He weighed in on the prowess of the Marines who rushed to the American Embassy in Baghdad on Tuesday to help secure diplomats there under what amounted to a siege by demonstrators whom Trump administration officials said were directed by Iran."We have some of our greatest warriors there," the president said. "They got in very quickly."With his wife, Melania Trump, standing beside him in a sparkling black and gold dress, Trump said that Iran would be foolish to start a war with the United States. "I don't think that would be a good idea for Iran," he said. "It wouldn't last very long.""I want to have peace," Trump added. "I like peace."The president also restated his confidence in the character of the brutal North Korean leader, Kim Jong Un, who warned hours earlier that he had an unspecified "shocking" action planned to repay the United States for sustained economic sanctions on his country.Noting that Kim had previously pledged to begin a process of denuclearization -- although many experts differ with that assertion -- Trump professed little concern that his diplomacy with the North was on the rocks."I think he's a man of his word," the president said, adding that he still had a "very good relationship" with Kim.And of course there was impeachment: "A big, fat hoax," Trump said, something that has been engineered by Speaker Nancy Pelosi, whom he called "a highly overrated person."Over pounding drums and a chorus that made it difficult to hear his words, the president renewed his complaints that European leaders, including Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, had not done more to support Ukraine.By then it had already been a long and action-filled day for Trump after what had been a relatively peaceful holiday escape. For the better part of two weeks, he had been laying low during his vacation, shuttling back and forth between Mar-a-Lago and the Trump International Golf Club only a few miles away.Before he stopped to talk to reporters Tuesday night, Trump had last been seen in public Christmas Eve morning, when he explained that his time at what he called the "Southern White House" was far from leisurely."I really pretty much work -- that's what I like to do, is work," Trump said in a video conference with military members serving overseas.But White House officials have provided scant details about his daily activities, leaving the news media to speculate about what the golf-loving president was doing during the several hours per day he has been spending at his golf club.As ever, the news media loomed particularly large in Trump's mind. He bristled Tuesday at what he called false reports that he had hit the links amid the Iraq crisis."The Fake News said I played golf today, and I did NOT!" he wrote in an afternoon tweet. "I had meeting in various locations, while closely monitoring the U.S. Embassy situation in Iraq, which I am still doing. The Corrupt Lamestream Media knew this but, not surprisingly, failed to report or correct!"And near the end of his red-carpet remarks, Trump offered a message for the news media ahead of the year that will determine if he serves another term."If you're honorable, I'm going to win by a lot," the president told the reporters assembled before him. "If you're not honorable, I'm just going to win the election by a little. So I'd rather have you be honorable, OK?"And with that, he headed into the grand ballroom of Mar-a-Lago, and the dawn of a new year as president of the United States.This article originally appeared in The New York Times.(C) 2020 The New York Times Company

Armed, even in church: Texas shooting is about a lot more than Jack Wilson's heroism

Wed, 01/01/2020 - 08:33

Jack Wilson is a hero. But why were so many other parishioners armed? And how did the shooter get his gun, given his criminal history?

Nine Killed as Jakarta Hit by Worst Flooding Since 2013

Wed, 01/01/2020 - 07:28

(Bloomberg) -- Nine people have died as heavy monsoon rains lashed the Indonesian capital and nearby cities since New Year’s Eve, triggering the worst flooding in almost seven years.The rains submerged homes and cars and shut one of Jakarta’s airports. More than 700 areas in greater Jakarta region suffered from power outages, according to state-run electricity company PT Perusahaan Listrik Negara. Commuter trains suspended some operations, said PT Kereta Commuter Indonesia.The Jakarta provincial government is prioritizing the safety of residents and instructed schools and some offices to be prepared in providing shelter as the country’s weather agency expects rainfall to continue in the next three days. The death toll was provided by the country’s disaster mitigation agency.The Halim Perdanakusuma airport had to shut as the runway was flooded and authorities diverted several flights to Soekarno-Hatta. Many roads in Jakarta were also not passable.President Joko Widodo had instructed government agencies to prioritize rescue and to immediately normalize the operation of strategic public facilities, such as the Halim Perdanakusuma airport, he said on Twitter.In January 2013, more than 30 million residents of the city were affected by flooding that killed dozens of people and inundated areas including the central business district.Indonesia’s weather agency, known as BMKG, urged people to store important documents in a safe place and to prepare for power supply backup.(Updates with latest death toll in first paragraph.)\--With assistance from Tassia Sipahutar, Yoga Rusmana, Fathiya Dahrul, Harry Suhartono and Rieka Rahadiana.To contact the reporters on this story: Arys Aditya in Jakarta at;Eko Listiyorini in Jakarta at elistiyorini@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Thomas Kutty Abraham at, Colum Murphy, Clarissa BatinoFor more articles like this, please visit us at©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

A Condescending Anti-Gun Argument

Wed, 01/01/2020 - 06:30

My friend and former colleague Tom Nichols has been going on one of his regularly scheduled Twitter anti-gun rants over the past few days. In his latest, he slammed the “spread of gun worship” among conservatives. That Nichols’s opinions on the subject, which resemble a progressive 17-year-old’s knowledge of American gun culture, get a lot of attention from anti-gun types tells you something about the anti-gun movement: that it, too, has very limited experience with guns and the people who own them.Among Nichols’s beliefs is that, as he put it this week, conservatives now “measure freedom by how many of us walk around with guns.” He also believes that concealed carry culture is really just “conservative virtue-signaling” as a stand-in for real patriotism, that gun owners “measure [their] sense of worth” by whether or not they are carrying firearms, and that gun “worship” has become a “litmus test” for conservatives, to the detriment of conservatism itself.It is safe to say that none of this is true. What Nichols advances is a grossly distorted view of American gun culture, one that suggests he either has spoken to zero gun owners about guns or didn’t listen to them when they did speak.In fact, the people whom Tom is clumsily describing — those of us who carry guns, who take a keen interest in gun policy, and who believe that it is fine for responsible and well-trained gun owners to carry their firearms in public places — do not actually “worship” guns. Nor do we tie these interests and habits into our sense of self-worth and patriotism. Here is the truth: Guns are many things, and one of the things they are is tools. Like any tool, guns have a good and meaningful application when used properly and correctly, e.g. when they are carried by trained, law-abiding citizens and used for proper defensive and life-saving measures. A good example of that is the recent shooting at the church in White Settlement, Texas, in which an armed parishioner shot and killed a murderous gunman before a rampage could really begin.Tom calls that scenario a “lucky break.” But this is precisely the point. The vast majority of gun carriers will never have the need to draw their weapons. Virtually none of them (a few blustery dimwits aside) wants to draw his weapon. Tom’s claim that the Right has undergone a “pornification of gun ownership” does not comport with the reality of those gun owners who would be happy to live out their lives without getting in a firefight.For these gun owners, carrying guns has nothing to do with some base desire to get in a shootout. They carry because they want to be able to protect themselves and other innocent people if an insane murderer decides to start shooting. It’s not rocket science.Statistics are not on the side of Nichols’s argument. In the past twelve years concealed permits have increased by over 300 percent; homicides, meanwhile, have been dropping since the early 90s, with the murder rate 5.3 percent lower than it was in 2009, at the beginning of the concealed-carry boom. Nichols’s persistent prognostication notwithstanding, the rise of concealed carry has not actually led to more accidental gun deaths, either; such deaths are at historic lows.There are plenty of other reasons besides self-defense that many Americans enjoy guns: They are fascinating machines, they are fun to shoot for sport, they are both a potent symbol and a practical example of the unique American brand of civic and political freedom. Yes, we like guns. Yes, many people carry firearms for self-defense. No, we do not “worship” guns. Nichols and his friends would do well to get off their sneering Twitter feeds and actually talk to gun enthusiasts at length, as we are not the idiotic slack-jawed trigger-happy cowboys he so desperately wants us to be.

Can Iran Hope To Stop U.S. Stealth Drones?

Wed, 01/01/2020 - 06:30

America is increasing its presence in the Middle East.

Sixteen inmates killed in Mexican prison fight, scarring troubled system

Wed, 01/01/2020 - 06:16

Sixteen inmates were killed and five wounded in a prison fight in the northern Mexican state of Zacatecas, authorities said, in one of the worst outbreaks of violence in the country's penal system since President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador took power. The fight broke out Tuesday afternoon at the Regional Center for Social Reintegration in the town of Cieneguillas, located on the western flank of state capital Zacatecas, the state government said. In a press conference Wednesday evening, state Public Security Minister Ismael Camberos said all prison staff working during the fight and on the previous shift would be investigated.