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Rick Gates Seeks to Avoid Jail at Sentencing for Conspiracy

Top Stories - Mon, 12/09/2019 - 21:21

(Bloomberg) -- Former Trump campaign official Rick Gates asked a judge to spare him from prison, put him on probation and order him to do community service for his crimes of conspiracy and lying to federal investigators.In a court filing Monday, Gates said he has accepted responsibility “in every way possible.” He’s scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson in Washington on Dec. 17.Gates was a critical witness in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election. He was the star prosecution witness in the trial of his former boss Paul Manafort, who was convicted of bank and tax fraud in August.Gates was Manafort’s right-hand man in his political consulting firm and worked with him for a decade, lobbying on behalf of Ukraine before joining him on Trump’s presidential campaign. Gates remained on the Trump campaign after Manafort resigned in August 2016.He also testified in the trials of one-time White House counsel to Barack Obama, Gregory Craig, and Republican operative Roger Stone.Gates said his “cooperation likely represents the most extensive undertaking by any cooperating defendant in the work of the OSC or any matters arising out of, or related, to the activity of that office.”Additional and specific details of Gates’s cooperation are under seal, according to the filing.Nine letters of support from family and friends, urging Berman to show leniency, were included with the filing. Many described him as a religious man, committed to his family. One letter was filed under seal.Gates also asked that the judge doesn’t impose a fine.“Mr. Gates has remained unemployed since his indictment, and in lieu of any income with which to support his family and maintain their home, he has had to deplete savings and investment accounts, including college savings plans for his children,” according to the filing.The case is U.S. v. Richard W. Gates III, 17-cr-201, U.S. District Court, District of Columbia (Washington).(Updates with letters of support)To contact the reporter on this story: Joe Schneider in Los Angeles at jschneider5@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: David Glovin at dglovin@bloomberg.net, Joe Schneider, Peter BlumbergFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


Trump reacts to DOJ watchdog report during school choice roundtable

Top Stories - Mon, 12/09/2019 - 20:58

The president's roundtable is taking place during an impeachment hearing on the hill and as the Justice Department watchdog report on the origins of the Russia investigation is released.


India's lower house passes contentious nationality bill

Top Stories - Mon, 12/09/2019 - 20:41

India's lower house passed controversial legislation early Tuesday that will grant citizenship to religious minorities from neighbouring countries, but not Muslims, amid raucous scenes in parliament and protests in the country's northeast. "This bill is in line with India's centuries old ethos of assimilation and belief in humanitarian values," Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted, adding that he was "delighted" about its passage. "This is not a bill that is discriminatory," Home Minister Amit Shah said.


Baltimore County Police Officer Charged With Sexually Assaulting Three Women

Top Stories - Mon, 12/09/2019 - 17:09

A Baltimore County cop has been charged with sexually assaulting at least three women, including one he allegedly tricked into going to his house after claiming he was ordering her a car to her friend’s home, court documents state. Baltimore County Police Officer Michael Westerman, 25, was charged Sunday with two counts of second-degree rape and three counts of second-degree assault. He is currently being held at the Baltimore County Detention Center after he was denied bail on Monday.According to charging documents obtained by The Daily Beast, Westerman is accused of sexually assaulted three women using a series of predatory tactics to isolate them. One woman said she was scared to report the alleged serial rapist because he was a police officer. Dallas Police Up Charges Against White Bartender Who Brutally Beat Black Woman“The allegations made in this case are reprehensible and are not representative of the values and ethics of the Baltimore County Police Department," Baltimore County Police Chief Melissa Hyatt said in a Sunday statement, adding Westerman “has been suspended without pay.”Authorities said an investigation into Westerman, who joined the force in 2013, began on Oct. 16 after the special victims unit received “information concerning the allegations.” One 22-year-old woman, according to the charging documents, said she met Westerman on Oct. 4, 2017, outside a bar called White Marsh, according to the charging documents.The woman, who was not identified, said she left the bar to pass out in her car after Westerman bought shots for a crowd. She told police that she planned to stay in her car until she was sober enough to drive home. Instead, the woman said she woke up to the police officer and one of her female friends knocking on her car window.Westerman allegedly stated he was going to order her an Uber to take her to her friend’s house, the women said.“You are going to Uber us back to my house, right?” the woman asked Westerman, who allegedly responded, “Yes.”  Illinois Police Chief Shared Photos From Secret Recordings of Sexual Encounters: ProsecutorsInstead, Westerman drove the trio back to his house, where he allegedly raped one of the women, the charging documents state. The woman stated she tried to stop Westerman when he got on top of her, but he “told her that he liked it when she pushed at him and when she told him to stop.”After the assault, the 22-year-old said she woke up to find “her pants were on the floor,” according to the document. She then told her friend what had happened and the two left immediately, according to police. Another 20-year-old woman told authorities she was drinking at the officer’s home on June 8, 2019 when she fell asleep in his guest bedroom. She alleged the cop woke her up and forced her to have sex with him—but she didn’t initially report the incident because “she knew Defendent Westerman was a Baltimore County Police Officer.”Two weeks later, authorities allege Westerman sexually assaulted another 22-year-old woman at a birthday party. That woman, who described herself as the officer’s friend, said he took her to a “secluded area” in Middle River, where “he wanted to show or tell her something.” Instead, the cop allegedly grabbed and tried to kiss her twice before she left with a relative, charging documents state.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.


Photo shows Jeffrey Epstein went to royal party dressed as a Navy SEAL

Top Stories - Mon, 12/09/2019 - 16:45

Jeffrey Epstein attended Prince Andrew's costume party in a US Navy SEAL officer's uniform. Some of the medals appear to be fictional.


Apple’s event calendar: When is the next Apple event?

Macworld - Mon, 12/09/2019 - 16:00

Updated 12/09/19: Apple’s done with events for 2019, and we probably won’t see another major event until the spring of 2020. We’ve updated this article with a speculative look at the events for next year.

Apple doesn’t often participate in big industry-wide events like CES or E3. The most valuable company in the world holds its own events, thank you very much. Several times a year, Apple invites the press and industry professionals out to a theater to hear all about its latest products and services. Apple calls these “Special Events,” and streams them online to its millions of fans.

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Syria's Assad: OPCW faked a report on attack near Damascus

Top Stories - Mon, 12/09/2019 - 15:47

Assad's comments to Italy's Rai News 24 came after the director-general of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons expressed confidence in the report into the deadly attack in Syria. OPCW's chief Fernando Arias supported the report issued in March by a fact-finding mission from the watchdog that found "reasonable grounds" that chlorine was used in a deadly attack on the eastern Damascus suburb of Douma.


'Old man' Trump is 'bluffing,' says North Korea: KCNA news agency

Top Stories - Mon, 12/09/2019 - 15:18

North Korea on Monday accused President Trump of “bluffing” and called him “an old man bereft of patience” as Pyongyang ramps up pressure on Washington over stalled nuclear talks.


Erdogan says Turkey aims to settle 1 million refugees in Syria offensive area

Top Stories - Mon, 12/09/2019 - 15:08

Turkey aims to settle one million Syrian war refugees in the area of northern Syria where it carried out a military incursion in October, President Tayyip Erdogan said on Monday. Turkey and its Syrian rebel allies launched the offensive against the Kurdish YPG militia, which Ankara views as a terrorist group. After seizing a strip of land inside Syria 120 km (75 miles) long and around 30 km (18 miles) wide running from the town of Ras al Ain to Tel Abyad, Turkey signed separate deals with the United States and Russia to halt its assault.


US Army preparing biggest European deployment in years

Top Stories - Mon, 12/09/2019 - 14:52

The US Army is planning its biggest deployment of troops to Europe in 25 years, with 20,000 troops slated to take part in a massive force projection exercise at a time of increasingly adversarial relations with Russia. General Christopher Cavoli, the commander of US ground forces in Europe, said 20,000 US-based troops will deploy next year to Europe where they will join some 9,000 other US soldiers already stationed there. Some 37,000 troops will then take part in exercises across 10 European countries from May to June, he told reporters at the Pentagon.


Elizabeth Smart's dad, Ed, in first interview since coming out as gay: 'There is no cure'

Top Stories - Mon, 12/09/2019 - 14:25

Ed Smart told Gayle King he wanted to speak out publicly because he wanted to reach out to other gay men "who are struggling in the same spot."


Best power banks 2019: The top portable chargers for your phone

Macworld - Mon, 12/09/2019 - 14:25
These USB portable chargers from Anker, Mophie, Xiaomi, and others will keep your Android or Apple phone charged while you're on the go.

Twin girls, 4, free themselves from car crash that killed their father in 'heroic' act

Top Stories - Mon, 12/09/2019 - 14:14

The twins unbuckled their booster seats, extricated themselves from the wreckage and climbed 200 feet up an embankment back to the main road.


Saudi Arabia Tightens Purse Strings But Aramco Cash Beckons

Top Stories - Mon, 12/09/2019 - 14:13

(Bloomberg) -- Saudi Arabia will earmark less money for subsidies, social benefits and the military, embarking on three years of spending cuts as the government looks to private businesses to pull a greater load in channeling investment.A fiscal program unveiled on Monday marks a shift away from stimulus that helped power non-oil economic growth this year to the fastest since 2015. With output curbs negotiated by OPEC still a drag on the world’s biggest crude exporter, Saudi Arabia is expecting its sixth consecutive deficit to widen next year.Finance Minister Mohammed Al-Jadaan said in an interview that Saudi Arabia would tap both the international and local bond markets in 2020 to help finance a budget shortfall that is expected to reach 6.4% of gross domestic product from 4.7% this year.“We have seen the effort of enabling the private sector to do some of the projects that we would have otherwise done which yielded a reduction of about 50 billion Saudi riyals from our expenditure envelope this year. That is going to continue next year,” Jadaan said.How Aramco’s record initial public offering will affect the biggest Arab economy in 2020 remains among the biggest questions hanging over its annual budget. The windfall of almost $26 billion could be used to soften the blow of spending cuts, with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman saying in 2017 that at least half of the cash will be deployed at home by the Public Investment Fund.Jadaan said the PIF, which has its own board, was likely to allocate “a lot” of the Aramco proceeds to local investments, with the government projecting economic growth will accelerate to 2.3% next year from near zero despite the stimulus cut and an expected decline in oil revenues.The budget is based on an average Brent crude oil price of $65 per barrel in 2020, close to current levels, according to Bloomberg Economics.Read: The $26 Billion Question and What Else to Expect in Saudi BudgetFollowing are other highlights in the budget announcement:RevenueNext year’s revenue is expected at 833 billion riyals versus 917 billion riyals in 2019Oil revenue is seen at 513 billion riyals in 2020 compared with 602 billion this yearNon-oil revenue is expected to rise to 320 billion riyals next year versus an estimated 315 billion riyals in 2019SpendingSpending is expected to fall from about 1.05 trillion riyals this year to 1.02 trillion riyals in 2020, then to 955 billion riyals by 2022.Capital spending next year will rise slightly to 173 billion riyals, while the wage bill will stay unchanged at 504 billion riyals. Military spending is set to drop to 182 billion riyals in 2020 from 198 billion riyals this yearEconomic GrowthGDP is expected to grow 2.3% in the coming year, after being revised down to 0.4% this yearPrivate sector non-oil GDP grew 2.9% in the first half of 2019, while oil GDP shrank 1% in the period(Updates with finance minister’s comments in interview, details)\--With assistance from Reema Alothman, Sarah Algethami, Nour Al Ali and Lin Noueihed.To contact the reporters on this story: Abeer Abu Omar in Dubai at aabuomar@bloomberg.net;Vivian Nereim in Riyadh at vnereim@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Lin Noueihed at lnoueihed@bloomberg.net, Paul AbelskyFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


Walmart apologizes for selling a Christmas sweater that showed Santa at a table with lines of white powder and the words 'let it snow'

Top Stories - Mon, 12/09/2019 - 13:47

Walmart Canada also pulled a sweater showing Santa, naked from the waist, by a fireplace with the words "Chestnuts roasting on an open fire."


Inspector General Finds FBI Probe into Trump Campaign Was Justified, But Not Perfect

Top Stories - Mon, 12/09/2019 - 13:42

Inspector General Michael Horowitz found the FBI had adequate cause to open its probe into links between the Trump campaign and Russia


‘Fox & Friends’ Host Presses Kellyanne Conway: Is Rudy Giuliani Working for Trump or Himself?

Top Stories - Mon, 12/09/2019 - 12:29

Kellyanne Conway spent nearly 10 minutes ranting and raving Monday morning on Fox & Friends, receiving mostly agreeable nods and words of encouragement from the three hosts. When the White House counselor called out Democrats for preparing their impeachment strategy over the weekend, Steve Doocy replied, “Well, they were rehearsing because it’s a TV show and ultimately what they want to do is impeach the president.” “They want to impeach from day one,” Ainsley Earhardt said later. “And they say ‘collusion,’ ‘racism,’ now they’re saying this phone call with the Ukrainian president.” Conway couldn’t help but thank her for “making my point.” Kellyanne Conway Thinks Justin Trudeau Is Just ‘Jealous’ of TrumpThe only question that could be even be considered tough came near the end of the segment when Brian Kilmeade asked her, “Is Rudy Giuliani representing the president in the Ukraine? And is the president going to use that material to bolster his case? Or is he acting on his own?” Kilmeade pointed out that even conservative Congressman Matt Gaetz called the president’s personal lawyer’s trip this past week to Ukraine “weird.” President Donald Trump later indicated that Giuliani would be reporting his findings to Congress, adding, “I hear he found plenty.” “Well, Rudy is one of the president’s personal attorneys,” Conway answered. “And I think that was particularly true during the Mueller investigation, since that was an executive branch, Department of Justice investigation.” After giving Giuliani credit for “getting the upper hand” on Special Counsel Robert Mueller, she admitted, “I don’t know what Rudy’s doing in Ukraine, I know what I read, but I also know that I have no idea what he’s going to produce. So that’s a hypothetical I cannot address at this moment.” In other words, Conway would not confirm that Giuliani is in Ukraine on behalf of the president, but suggested that if he “produces” information that could help Trump then maybe he was after all. As Doocy tried to move her onto the next topic, Conway added, “If he’s rooting out corruption, great, because this was always about corruption.” There were no follow-up questions. Stephen Colbert Busts Rudy Giuliani’s Big Ukraine AdmissionRead 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.


Isil 'matchmaker' who lured British teen bride to Syria is deported to France

Top Stories - Mon, 12/09/2019 - 11:51

Turkey has deported to France the “Islamic State matchmaker” who lured a British teen bride to Syria as part of a drive to send foreign fighters back to their countries of origin. Tooba Gondal, 25, is among 11 French nationals that Turkey repatriated early on Monday, according to France's Centre for Analysis of Terrorism, CAT, citing official sources. A French judicial source confirmed that four women and their seven children had arrived in France. Two of the women returned were already targeted by arrest warrants and will soon face a judge, while the other two were sought by police and have been placed in custody, the French source said.  The children have been taken into care. Ms Gondal, from Walthamstow, east London, has been "detained for questioning" and faces terror charges, said CAT. She will then likely be detained while awaiting trial. She was born in France but moved to UK capital as a child and had British residency. A source close to the family told The Telegraph they were upset by the UK's decision to refuse her return. "Her kids most certainly will go into foster care away from her and any of her family in Britain,” said the source. Tooba Gondal, known as the 'Islamic State matchmaker' pictured before leaving for Syria in 2015 Ms Gondal has been accused of acting as an online recruiter and “matchmaker” for the terrorist group by luring women to Syria to marry Isil fighters. Among them was reportedly Bethnal Green schoolgirl Shamima Begum. She used social media to post images of herself wearing a burqa and holding an assault rifle. In October, Ms Gondal told the Telegraph how she managed to escape from Ain Issa camp with her two infant children, along with hundreds of other foreign suspected Isil women in a mass prison break after Turkey launched its offensive. She expressed a desire to be sent to the UK or Turkey. “I want to go home, see my family,” the former Goldsmiths, University of London, student said via WhatsApp messages. “But if I am not able, I want to seek refuge in Turkey." Married and widowed three times while living in Isil’s “caliphate”, she was banned from re-entering the UK last November by a Home Office exclusion order, but her three-year-old son is entitled to citizenship because of his British father. However, her 18-month-old daughter's late father was Russian. Last month, Turkey stepped up the return of suspected foreign Isil members - either held in Turkish prisons or in Syria - back to their countries of origin, saying Turkey was "not a hotel" for foreign fighters. The Turkish interior ministry on Monday confirmed it had sent 11 French relatives of suspected "terrorist fighters" back home. According to CAT, one of the deported women was Amandine Le Coz, who had been married to a Moroccan militant killed in Syria. She joined Isil with her husband in 2014. The French foreign ministry and interior ministry declined to comment. The mother-of-two, seen here with a Kalashnikov, was denied return to the United Kingdom with her children Credit: Telegraph Turkey stepped up its deportation of foreign fighters after criticism from Western countries, in particular, France, over its military offensive against Kurdish forces in Syria. The move has created a conundrum for European governments over how to manage the return of radicalised militants, some of them battle-hardened. Britain, which has taken one of the strongest stances against the return of its nationals, has deprived many of them of their citizenship. Under a 2014 accord between France and Turkey, Paris agreed to take back jihadists trying to return home from Syria via Turkey and incarcerate them at home. Some 300 French nationals have been thus returned in the past five years. However, France is keen on foreign suspects being sent for trial near to their place of arrest - notably Iraq, where several of its nationals have recently been handed death sentences. America last month clashed with Europe over the issue, with Mike Pompeo, US secretary of state, insisting they needed to “hold them to account”. "Coalition members must take back the thousands of foreign terrorist fighters in custody and impose accountability for the atrocities they have perpetrated," he said in a meeting of the international coalition against Isil in Washington DC. Ankara says it has around 1,200 foreign Isil members in custody. There are understood to be around 10 British men, 20 women and 30 children, currently detained in Kurdish-run camps and prisons around north-east Syria.


A truckload giant just filed for bankruptcy, and it leaves nearly 3,000 truck drivers jobless

Top Stories - Mon, 12/09/2019 - 11:35

Celadon declared bankruptcy on Dec. 9, and that collapse is worrying truck drivers that they may be stranded.


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