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A Woman Mouthed 'Help Me' in a Calif. McDonald's Drive-Thru Line. Employees Had a Plan

Sat, 12/28/2019 - 14:59

McDonald's employees quickly came up with a plan to make sure a woman who mouthed "help me" in the drive-thru line was safe

Ivory Coast leader says Soro must face full force of the law

Sat, 12/28/2019 - 14:19

Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara on Saturday said former rebel leader and presidential candidate Guillaume Soro was not above the law and would face justice for allegedly seeking to destabilize the country. Soro this week canceled plans to return to Ivory Coast after the authorities issued a warrant for his arrest as part of an investigation into an alleged coup plot that has seen more than 15 people close to him detained. In his first comments on the case, Ouattara said at a news conference in Abidjan that anyone "involved in destabilizing the country, must face the full force of the law".

Islamic State group says it beheaded Christian prisoners in Nigeria

Sat, 12/28/2019 - 13:55

The Islamic State group released a video purporting to show its militants beheading 10 Christian men in Nigeria, saying it was part of a campaign to avenge the deaths of its former leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, and its spokesman.

Trump claims homelessness 'so easy' to handle in attack on Democrats

Sat, 12/28/2019 - 12:45

President says governors of New York and California should ‘politely’ ask him for help in latest broadsideDonald Trump has continued to use America’s homelessness crisis to attack his political opponents in California and New York, tweeting on Saturday that homelessness should be “easy” to handle and that the governors of the two liberal states should ask him for help.Workers and activists on the front lines of the crisis have repeatedly said that Trump’s “tough talk” on homelessness is concerning, and that some of his proposed policies will only make the situation worse.As the number of homeless people has increased sharply in cities across California, some local politicians have already tried to try to penalize people for being homeless, rather than addressing root causes of the crisis, including unaffordable rents and evictions pushing people on to the streets.Meanwhile, Trump has continued to fuel anxiety by repeatedly suggesting he might try to implement some kind of police crackdown in California to clear the streets of encampments.On Christmas Day, Trump attacked California’s governor, Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, for his “bad job” on “taking care of the homeless population in California”.“If he can’t fix the problem, the Federal Govt. will get involved!” the president said.On Thursday, Trump attacked Nancy Pelosi, the California Democrat who has lead the effort to impeach him, and told her to “clean up her filthy dirty District & help the homeless there”.On Saturday, Trump wrote that fixing the homeless crisis “would be so easy with competence!”The governors of California and New York “must do something”, Trump wrote, and if they “can’t handle the situation, which they should be able to do very easily, they must call and ‘politely’ ask for help.”In September, a report from Trump’s Council of Economic Advisers concluded that “policing may be an important tool to help move people off the street and into shelter or housing where they can get the services they need”.Trump told reporters that month he was concerned about homeless people living on “our best streets, our best entrances to buildings”, places “where people in those buildings pay tremendous taxes, where they went to those locations because of the prestige”.“We can’t let Los Angeles, San Francisco, and numerous other cities destroy themselves,” he said, citing his concern that “foreign tenants” who moved to the cities because of the “prestige” now wanted to leave because of the homeless people and tents on the streets.Violent attacks directly targeting homeless people have risen in California in the past year: in Los Angeles alone, there have been at least eight incidents in which people threw makeshift explosives or flammable liquids on homeless people or their tents, according to officials and the Los Angeles Times.Trump’s repeated tweets about homelessness have been labeled “vile and reprehensible” by activists.Diane Yentel, the president and chief executive of the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC), noted on Thursday that Trump had proposed drastically shrinking or eliminating federal programs that keep the lowest-income people affordably housed, an important prevention measure that keeps people from becoming homeless.“In California, over 37,000 of the lowest-income people are at risk of eviction from this Trump proposal alone,” Yentel said.She also noted that Trump’s Department of Housing and Urban Development had “proposed allowing homeless shelters to discriminate and refuse shelter to transgender and other LGBTQ people, subjecting them to high risk of violence”.Homelessness is continuing to rise across California: a year-end Guardian investigation found that homelessness had increased 16% in Los Angeles, 17% in San Francisco, 42% in San Jose, 47% in Oakland, and 52% in Sacramento county, home to the state’s capital. Many people were experiencing homelessness for the first time, and both families and seniors are increasingly struggling with homelessness.Trump’s focus on homelessness in California and elsewhere is not the first time he has suggested that he could “easily” solve complex social problems in cities where Democrats hold political power.During his presidential campaign, Trump claimed that an unnamed Chicago police official had told him that violence in Chicago could be stopped “in one week” if officers were allowed to be “very much tougher than they are right now”.Chicago typically has the highest total number of murders of any American city, though other smaller cities, including St Louis, have higher per capita murder rates.

The Democratic candidates whose supporters are most pro-impeachment are not who you expect

Sat, 12/28/2019 - 12:00

There's some variation in support for impeachment among the Democratic presidential candidates' supporters, according to recent Insider polling.

Biden Says He Would Defy Impeachment Subpoena—Then Tries to ‘Clarify’

Sat, 12/28/2019 - 11:57

Joe Biden told a newspaper that he would not comply with a subpoena to testify in President Trump’s impeachment trial—then sought to clarify his remarks on Saturday.“The reason I wouldn’t is because it’s all designed to deal with Trump doing what he’s done his whole life: trying to take the focus off him,” Biden told the Des Moines Register editorial board. “The issue is not what I did.”This is all about a diversion,” Biden added. “And we play his game all the time. He’s done it his whole career.”Biden’s statement of defiance to the Register drew sharp criticism from some quarters, including a former associate White House counsel under President Barack Obama.“Terrible answer @JoeBiden,” Ian Bassin tweeted. “Subpoenas aren’t optional. You know better. You should correct record and commit to complying with any lawful subpoena, reserving the right to contest it in court if you believe it to be unlawful. Let Trump tarnish the rule of law; you should defend it.”Dems Warn Against Calling Bidens to Testify: It ‘Would Be Literally Rolling a Grenade Down’ the SenateOn Saturday, Biden appeared to back off his original comments to some degree in a Twitter thread that suggested he might fight any subpoena in court.“I want to clarify something I said yesterday,” he wrote. “In my 40 years in public life, I have always complied with a lawful order and in my eight years as VP, my office — unlike Donald Trump and Mike Pence — cooperated with legitimate congressional oversight requests.”Stopping short of denying he would defy a subpoena, he went on to say that he was “just not going to pretend that there is any legal basis for Republican subpoenas for my testimony in the impeachment trial. That is the point I was making yesterday and I reiterate: this impeachment is about Trump’s conduct, not mine.”He then tried to shift focus back to the president. “The subpoenas should go to witnesses with testimony to offer to Trump’s shaking down the Ukraine government — they should go to the White House,” he wrote.Bassin then praised Biden for revising his comments:“This is what responsible leadership looks like. He said something imprecise that mattered and fixed it because, unlike Trump and his lawless crew, Biden cares about the Constitution and the rule of law. Will Trump’s team now comply w the law?”The issue of whether Biden has any role to play in impeachment proceedings in the Senate has become a focal point for many Republicans seeking to protect the president. They said Biden and his son Hunter should be forced to answer questions about their activities in Ukraine.The impeachment process kicked off after Trump spoke to Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelensky about investigating the Bidens and then held back military aid. Biden himself has repeatedly said he and Hunter did nothing wrong and that he did not speak to his son about official business involving Burisma, the Ukrainian natural gas company on whose board the younger Biden served. The House of Representatives voted along party lines on Dec. 18 to impeach Trump. The order is expected to be passed to the Senate for a trial in early 2020.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.

Church fights abuse lawsuit filed after limit was extended

Sat, 12/28/2019 - 11:43

Rhode Island's Roman Catholic diocese is challenging a lawsuit filed after a state law gave sex abuse victims more time to sue their abusers or the institutions they worked for. The challenge by the Diocese of Providence comes in the case of a 53-year-old man who sued the diocese in September, saying he was abused as a child in the 1970s and 1980s by a now-dead North Providence priest, The Providence Journal reported Friday. The plaintiff was the first to file a priest abuse lawsuit after the state, one of the nation's most heavily Catholic, extended the statute of limitations on civil claims for child sexual abuse.

Doomsday Writer’s Friend Says He Prophesied Wife’s Mysterious Death

Sat, 12/28/2019 - 10:56

Idaho author Chad Daybell, who wrote a series of doomsday books for Mormon readers, confided in a friend that he had visions his first wife would die. “Angels had told him that he was going to lose Tammy,” Julie Rowe told a local TV station this week.Tammy did end up dead—and now Daybell is at the center of a tangled mystery that includes the exhumation of her body, an investigation into two missing children, and questions about the deaths of his second wife’s husband and brother.Daybell and wife Lori Vallow have not been seen since October. They reportedly left their Rexberg home before police showed up with a search warrant amid concern that two of Vallow’s children, a 17-year-old girl and an adopted 7-year-old with special needs, were missing. In a Dec. 20 statement, police said the missing children, Tylee Ryan and Joshua Vallow, may be tied to a suspicious death investigation. They say neither was reported as missing to authorities but that their whereabouts are unknown. Lori Vallow married Daybell just weeks after his first wife Tammy Daybell died in the family’s home at the age of 49. After Daybell refused to order an autopsy on his wife, which is his right, the coroner listed her cause of death as “natural.” Vallow’s own husband Charles Vallow was fatally shot by Lori Vallow’s brother Alexander Cox during a domestic disturbance in July that is now also under investigation. Cox died on Dec. 12 of unknown causes. Vallow and Daybell were members of an organization called Preparing a People that says its goal is to “help prepare the people of this earth for the second coming of Jesus Christ.” Vallow’s extended family members told East Idaho News that they felt the group was a cult. “I don’t want to attack anyone’s beliefs,” Brandon Boudreaux, a relative of Vallow’s said. “But when you look at the fruit that’s come from this group and its beliefs … it certainly, from my mind, doesn’t come from God.” Preparing a People founders Michael and Nancy James deny the group is a cult or represents a specific religion. They have removed references to the couple, both contributors, from their website. “We considered Chad Daybell a good friend, but have since learned of things we had no idea about,” they wrote. “We recently learned of Chad's new marriage to Lori Vallow a couple weeks after Tammy Daybell died... We did not know Lori as well as we thought we knew Chad.”Rowe was also a Preparing a People member—and a close friend of Daybell’s since he published her book on a near-death experience at the publishing house he founded with his first wife. She said Daybell told her he wanted to get out of the publishing business but that Tammy did not.“He said I’m ready to get out and Tammy doesn’t want to get out,” Daybell told Rowe, according to local media reports. “When she passes, I’m done, I can’t keep doing this.” Rowe, who said she is using her own visions to try to send messages to Daybell, insists the missing children are safe. “I do know the kids are safe. I can see them,” she said. “I can see their energy and that they’re in a bright house.”Police aren’t so sure. On Dec. 11, Rexberg police exhumed Tammy’s remains to conduct a proper autopsy. Those results have not been released, but Daybell and Vallow denied any wrongdoing through attorney Sean Bartholick—who says he does not know where the couple or Vallow’s children are, says they deny any accusations. “Chad Daybell was a loving husband and has the support of his children in this matter,” Bartholick told the East Idaho News. “We look forward to addressing the allegations once they have moved beyond speculation and rumor.”Read more at The Daily Beast.Got a tip? Send it to The Daily Beast hereGet 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.

Scores in Turkey protest Russia over Idlib assault

Sat, 12/28/2019 - 10:41

Several hundred Turkish and Syrian protesters held an anti-Russia demonstration in Istanbul on Saturday against intensified Russian and regime bombardment in Syria's rebel bastion of Idlib. The protesters -- mostly Syrians living in Turkey -- gathered close to the Russian consulate in Istanbul, shouting "Murderer Putin, get out of Syria!", referring to the Russian President Vladimir Putin. Since mid-December, regime forces and their Russian allies have heightened bombardment on the southern edge of the final major opposition-held pocket of Syria, eight years into the country's devastating war.

Record cocaine haul worth more than $1bn seized in Uruguay after drugs found in flour containers

Sat, 12/28/2019 - 10:29

A record haul of 6 tonnes of cocaine estimated to be worth more than $1bn (£765m) has been seized in Uruguay, according to the country’s navy.Naval and customs officers seized 4.4 tonnes of cocaine which had been hidden in four soy flour containers destined for Lome, Togo, in Montevideo port and another 1.5 tonnes on a ranch, local reports said.

Focus Turns to DNA Evidence in College Student's Death

Sat, 12/28/2019 - 10:00

NEW YORK -- Investigators are focusing on DNA evidence in their efforts to build a case in the killing of Tessa Majors, the Barnard College student who was stabbed during a park mugging in Manhattan early this month, officials said Friday.The push for conclusive evidence comes a day after detectives detained and then released a 14-year-old believed to have wielded the knife that killed Majors.An official with knowledge of the investigation said that police were banking on pending DNA results they hoped would allow prosecutors to charge all three of the minors suspected of attacking Majors on Dec. 11 in Morningside Park, near the Columbia University campus.Investigators have tested Majors' mouth and the clothes she was wearing the night she was killed, as well as pieces of clothing they managed to recover from the suspects, who are ages 13 and 14, said an official who spoke on the condition of anonymity.The New York Police Department's chief of detectives, Rodney Harrison, said Friday that a Manhattan judge had issued an order to obtain forensic evidence from the 14-year-old who was detained Thursday. He would not say whether that evidence would include a DNA sample.Harrison said he expected to get results from the forensic evidence testing in three to seven days. Investigators are monitoring the teenagers, he added.Police charged a 13-year-old with second-degree felony murder the day after the killing and tried to interview one of the two 14-year-olds. But the 14-year-old -- who is not the teenager who police believe stabbed Majors -- requested a lawyer and declined to give a statement, officials said.The 13-year-old, whom The New York Times is not naming because he is not being charged as an adult, will be prosecuted in family court on the felony murder charge, meaning he is accused of taking part in the attack and not of stabbing Majors.On Thursday, police announced a break in the case, saying they had found the second 14-year-old at a family member's home in the Bronx. But a few hours later, he was released. He had been questioned in the presence of a lawyer, police said.Authorities believed that the teenager's family was shielding him until a mark on his hand fully healed. An official described the mark as consistent with a bite.Majors, who had moved to New York from Virginia to attend Barnard months earlier, was walking in Morningside Park the night of Dec. 11 when at least three teenagers tried to rob her, police said. She stumbled out of the park and, investigators said, collapsed on a sidewalk. Sometime later, a campus security guard found her bleeding to death.The next day, police arrested the 13-year-old. In an interview with detectives, the teenager implicated himself and two 14-year-old middle school classmates in the attack, police said.The 13-year-old told police that his classmates grabbed Majors from behind, according to two detectives who have testified during court hearings. During a struggle, the 13-year-old said, the 14-year-old wielding a knife stabbed her so forcibly that feathers from her winter coat flew into the air.Majors' killing struck a chord in a city experiencing record-low violent crime rates and evoked an era when many people avoided going into parks after sunset.The shadow of the April 1989 attack on a jogger in Central Park has also loomed over the murder investigation. Thirty years ago, police and prosecutors relied on tough interrogation techniques to obtain confessions from five teenagers accused of the attack. The confessions were later proven to be false.From the beginning, police officials have said they have taken extra steps to safeguard the teenagers' legal rights in Majors's case. All three teenagers, police officials said, have answered questions in the presence of a guardian or lawyer.This article originally appeared in The New York Times.(C) 2019 The New York Times Company

Municipal police chief arrested over Mexican Mormon massacre

Sat, 12/28/2019 - 09:22

Mexican authorities have arrested a municipal police chief for his suspected links to the killing of three women and six children of U.S.-Mexican origin in northern Mexico last month, local media and an official said on Friday. Suspected drug cartel hitmen shot dead the nine women and children from families of Mormon origin in Sonora state on Nov. 4, sparking outrage in Mexico and the United States. Several Mexican media outlets reported that law enforcement agents arrested Fidel Alejandro Villegas, police chief of the municipality of Janos, which lies in the neighboring state of Chihuahua, on suspicion of involvement in the crime.

Man, 60, dies after beating in $1 Christmas Eve mugging

Sat, 12/28/2019 - 09:12

A 60-year-old man who was kicked and punched while defending his partner during a $1 mugging on Christmas Eve has died. Juan Fresnada died Friday afternoon at the Bronx hospital where he was taken in critical condition after the mugging early Tuesday, the New York Police Department said Saturday.

Iraq Shuts Southern Oil Field on Concern Over Protesters’ Safety

Sat, 12/28/2019 - 08:14

(Bloomberg) -- Iraq, OPEC’s second-biggest producer, halted output from a southern oil field as protesters walked close to installations, according to person with knowledge of the situation who asked not to be identified because of the sensitivity of the matter.Other southern fields will make up the amount from the shutdown, which won’t affect the country’s output. The halt is temporary until the Nasiriya field, which produces 80,000 to 85,000 barrels a day, is clear of protesters.The closure was a precautionary measure for the safety of the field as well as the nearby protesters, the person said.Protesters have rallied more than once over the past two months near the southern oil fields in Basra and other cities and near refineries, but output hasn’t previously been shut down.Around 500 people have died and more than 22,000 others wounded in clashes between security forces and protesters since Oct. 1. Iraqis, mostly from the Shiite majority population, are protesting against government corruption, poor services, and wide-ranging Iranian political influence, calling for an overhaul of the ruling class.To contact the reporter on this story: Khalid Al-Ansary in Baghdad at kalansary@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Andrew Davis at, Sara Marley, James AmottFor more articles like this, please visit us at©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

Biden says he would not comply with a Senate subpoena in the impeachment trial of President Trump

Sat, 12/28/2019 - 07:28

Joe Biden said any attempt to force his testimony on impeachment would be 'specious' and an attempt to take focus away from President Donald Trump.

Hawaii helicopter crash: Six bodies found on island with other passenger presumed dead

Sat, 12/28/2019 - 07:28

Six bodies have been found after a tourist helicopter crashed in Hawaii.A pilot and two families – including two children – are believed to have been onboard the aircraft, which was reported missing on Thursday evening by the tour operator.

China's South China Sea Bases May Be More Trouble Than They Are Worth

Sat, 12/28/2019 - 07:00

More territory to defend.

In 2010, The Navy Surfaced 3 Nuclear Submarines To Scare China

Sat, 12/28/2019 - 06:30

Submarines are good for more than defense.

French Unions Keep Pressure on Macron With New Round of Protests

Sat, 12/28/2019 - 06:28

(Bloomberg) -- Labor unions have called for marches and protests across France on Saturday as they seek to maintain momentum in their month-long opposition to President Emmanuel Macron’s reform of the pension system.Protesters planned to gather at the Gare du Nord station in Paris to start one of the marches, while the CGT union’s railroad branch said they will block a train station in the ski resort of Chambery. In Nantes, unions said the strike in public transportation would be open-ended.Protesters plan to take action including blocking fuel depots and refineries or cutting power locally. Almost half of France’s high-speed trains will be canceled as will several routes to the U.K., Belgium, Switzerland and Germany.The strikes and demonstrations have entered a 24th day, longer than the 1995 opposition to the government’s pension and health care reform. The record is the 28-day protest at the national railway SNCF in December 1986, according to RTL radio.Unions oppose a pension-system overhaul that aims to merge 42 separate regimes into a single universal points-based system. It also offers incentives to raise the age for full retirement benefits to 64 from 62.A nationwide day of demonstrations is planned for Jan. 9 and other forms of opposition are being sought to expand the movement.The unions pledged to keep the strike going through the New Year celebrations just like they did on Christmas. The action has created havoc in public transportation, hitting commuters in Paris and its suburbs the hardest. Traffic in the capital city has been chaotic, complicating access to airports during the holiday season.For Macron, there remains a risk that the labor unions succeed in rallying the “Yellow Vests,” the grass-roots movement that turned violent a year ago and required about 17 billion euros ($19 billion) in public spending to calm. The government has already pledged to sweeten pension reform for the police, army and firefighters and has indicated willingness to negotiate with other sectors.The latest standoff threatens the French leader’s ability to continue his work of “modernization,” the cornerstone of the 42-year-old former investment banker’s presidential platform.To contact the reporter on this story: Helene Fouquet in Paris at hfouquet1@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Ben Sills at, Andrew Reierson, James AmottFor more articles like this, please visit us at©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

Aladdin proposes to Jasmine during curtain call

Sat, 12/28/2019 - 06:10

A shining, shimmering, splendid ring was placed on Jasmine's finger.