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FBI seeks interview with CIA whistleblowerThe FBI recently sought to question the CIA whistleblower who filed a complaint over President Trump’s July 25 Ukraine call — a move that came after a vigorous internal debate within the bureau over how to respond to some of the issues raised by the complaint’s allegations and whether they needed to be more thoroughly investigated, according to sources familiar with the matter.


11/20/2019 6:16:37 AM

Son of former German president stabbed to death in BerlinThe son of former German president Richard von Weizsaecker was stabbed to death while he was giving a lecture at a hospital in Berlin where he worked as a head physician, police said Wednesday. A 57-year-old German man is in custody after he jumped up from the audience at the Schlosspark-Klinik and attacked Fritz von Weizsaecker with a knife on Tuesday evening. Von Weizsaecker died at the scene from a knife wound to the neck despite immediate attention from colleagues, said Martin Steltner, a spokesman for Berlin prosecutors.


11/20/2019 1:28:28 AM

Seller of bullets to Las Vegas gunman pleads guilty to ammo licensing offenseDouglas Haig, 57, of Mesa, Arizona, became the first and only person arrested and charged in connection with the Oct. 1, 2017, massacre, which ended when the gunman, Stephen Paddock, killed himself. Haig told reporters following his arrest early last year that none of the surplus military ammunition he sold to Paddock in September 2017 was ever fired during the killing spree, which ranks as the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.


11/19/2019 9:33:18 PM

Lawyer for NSC Adviser Vindman Sends Letter to Fox Demanding Retraction of ‘Espionage’ AllegationA lawyer for Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman sent a letter to Fox News on Wednesday demanding the network either retract or issue a correction for a segment of the The Ingraham Angle, in which guest John Yoo, a former top lawyer in the Bush administration, seemed to suggest that Vindman might be guilty of espionage.Vindman, who listened to the July 25 phone call between President Trump and Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky that forms part of the impeachment probe, testified in House hearings on Tuesday regarding the matter. Vindman is a long-serving military officer whose family fled Soviet Ukraine when he was three years old.During the October 28 airing of "The Ingraham Angle," host Laura Ingraham speculated on Vindman's motives for testifying."Here we have a U.S. national security official who is advising Ukraine, while working inside the White House, apparently against the president’s interest," Ingraham said. "Isn’t that kind of an interesting angle on this story?""I found that astounding,” Yoo responded. "Some people might call that espionage.""LTC Vindman and his family have been forced to examine options, including potentially moving onto a military base, in order to ensure their physical security in the face of threats rooted in the falsehood that Fox News originated," Vindman's lawyer David Pressman wrote.Pressman noted that espionage is a crime punishable by death, and that Vindman "had never in his decorated 20-year career of service to his country been accused of having dual loyalties or committing espionage."A spokeswoman for Fox News said she had no immediate comment when asked by the New York Times.Yoo wrote an op-ed in USA Today after the segment aired in which he clarified that he meant Ukraine may have committed an espionage operation, but that he didn't accuse Vindman specifically of espionage.Pressman wrote in his letter that "Mr. Yoo’s argument that he did not intend to accuse LTC of Vindman of ‘espionage’ — that he was accusing the nation of Ukraine instead — is as legally irrelevant as it is factually incredible."


11/20/2019 2:50:26 PM

Cuomo Blasts Syracuse U Leadership After White-Supremacist Manifesto Allegedly AirDropped to StudentsPhoto by Brett Carlsen/Getty ImagesNew York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday blasted leadership at Syracuse University for its handling of ongoing hate speech and racist harassment on campus, which escalated overnight when a white-supremacist manifesto was allegedly AirDropped to some students’ cell phones.The university’s Department of Public Safety announced in a campus-wide email early Tuesday morning that it was investigating reports that the hate manifesto, which students told The Daily Beast was the same one used by the Christchurch mosque shooter, was sent to student phones at Bird Library at around 1 a.m. It was also posted in an online discussion forum about Greek life just after 10 p.m., The Daily Orange, the student newspaper, reported.“The hateful activities at Syracuse University are most disturbing, not only to the Syracuse University community, but to the greater community of New York,” Cuomo said in a press release on Tuesday afternoon. “They have not been handled in a manner that reflects this state's aggressive opposition to such odious, reckless, reprehensible behavior. That these actions should happen on the campus of a leading New York university makes this situation even worse.”Earlier this month, Cuomo ordered state agencies to investigate hate speech on the upstate school’s campus.The university’s DPS is working with the Syracuse Police Department, New York State Police, and the FBI to investigate the quickly escalating situation on campus, but the university’s DPS said there was no “specific” threat to the school Tuesday, The Daily Orange reported.In response to the events overnight, protesters have asked that the administration cancel classes and campus events.“Students are scared for their own safety,” tweeted Josh Meyers, a Syracuse student journalist, on Tuesday morning. “Campus is looking extra empty this morning.”“Students are truly terrified here,” he told The Daily Beast.The screed shared on Tuesday marks the 11th racist incident reported on campus since Nov. 6, including the Saturday night harassment of a black student by members of a fraternity who allegedly yelled the n-word at her as she waited for a bus. Others have included anti-Semitic and anti-Asian graffiti in the form of a swastika and slurs. The n-word was also reportedly found scribbled in residence halls and a physics building. In another incident, a student loudly yelled a racial slur against black Americans. Separately, a Chinese freshman reported a racial epithet being used against him.University Chancellor Kent Syverud said in a letter to students and staff Sunday that he was “deeply angered by these events” and hours later announced a $50,000 reward for any evidence that leads to “the apprehension of the individual or individuals responsible for these heinous acts.” The money came from a “generous” donor, he said. Otherwise, anyone with relevant information about the spate of incidents is encouraged to contact the Department of Public Safety directly.But Cuomo said Tuesday, after hours of silence from the university administration in the wake of the manifesto’s alleged release: “Despite his efforts, I do not believe Chancellor Syverud has handled this matter in a way that instills confidence.”“As we have learned repeatedly, these increasing exhibitions of hate and bigotry must be handled strongly, swiftly and justly,” said Cuomo, who also called for the school’s board of trustees to install a monitor. “That must be both the reality and the perception. Syracuse University and its leadership have failed to do that. It is your obligation to remedy the situation immediately.”The monitor, Cuomo said, must “effectively investigate these incidents, clearly communicate the facts with the board and to the State Police Hate Crimes Task Force and recommend a decisive strategy to address both the specific incidents and behavior.”Syracuse University Offers $50,000 Reward for Information About Racist Incidents on CampusEarlier this week, after it became clear that one of the hate incidents originated from a fraternity on campus, Syverud suspended Alpha Chi Rho and—in one fell swoop—directed the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs to suspend all social activities of fraternities for the remainder of the semester.“While only one fraternity may have been involved in this particular incident, given recent history, all fraternities must come together with the university community to reflect upon how to prevent recurrence of such seriously troubling behavior,” Syverud said.An ongoing campus sit-in has been staged by black students leading a movement called NotAgainSU, which also organized a boycott of Syracuse basketball games. The sit-in began last Wednesday at 10:30 a.m., and dozens of students have joined the effort inside the school’s Barnes Center at The Arch—a brand-new $50 million recreational complex. Participants have been holding signs that read “Black Safety Matters” and sharing their frustration on social media.Early Tuesday morning, demonstrators asked the administration to cancel all classes and campus events until further notice. “These active threats targeting students should be taken seriously and handled with a sense of urgency,” said a statement from the group on Tuesday. “We believe that students should stay in spaces where they feel the most comfortable, as safety is paramount.”The demonstrators have vowed not to end the protest until all of their demands—including the expulsion of students involved in what they’ve called the “November Hate Crimes”—are met. “The safety of students on this campus—specifically the safety of underrepresented and underserved students—is paramount,” the group said Monday in a press release.“I’ve never felt less safe on campus than I do right now,” said Claire Bauerle, an 18-year-old Syracuse freshman. Bauerle told The Daily Beast on Tuesday that she, a white student, wants students of color to know they are supported.“People aren’t involved just to be involved,” the Chicago native said.“It’s awful,” Bauerle added, emphasizing that students are afraid that it will escalate into a shooting. “It doesn’t feel real. It’s like walking through an awful nightmare.”“Whether or not tonight’s threat is credible, it’s tremendously irresponsible if Syracuse doesn’t cancel classes,” broadcast journalism major Sam Gelfand—a native of Parkland, Fla.— tweeted just after 3 a.m. on Tuesday.“People on this campus, myself included, are shaken, frightened, and fatigued. This is no environment for academics right now. Just let people go home,” he added.Gelfand, a sophomore, told The Daily Beast on Tuesday that he was “down the street from the Stoneman Douglas shooting while it occurred”—when 17 people died in one of the nation’s most harrowing school shootings in February 2018—and that while on campus at Syracuse today he found himself “drawing parallels.”“I was terrified last night,” Gelfand, who is Jewish, said. “These hateful incidents have consumed our lives; it’s all we can talk about.”The “lackluster response” from the administration and the DPS is, Gelfand added, “inexcusable.”Professors, meanwhile, were not immune to the campus tension. Several tweeted that they had either canceled classes or would not penalize students who chose not to attend Tuesday.“I will support and advocate for any students who choose not to go to class today,” Prof. Genevieve García de Müeller tweeted. “I support the students protesting and I urge the chancellor to uptake their demands in a serious and systemic way.”She added: “Most of my students have said they are not going to campus today. As a Mexican and Jewish woman I don’t feel safe going to campus. This is a direct attack. First and foremost I care about the safety of my students.”Late Tuesday afternoon, after days of intense national scrutiny, leaders at the university released a detailed, 11-page list of proposed campus changes, including a $1 million commitment to implement the responses over the next year. After meetings with a group of international students and protesters, Syverud said administrators have promised specific responses to each of the concerns voiced by students, including revisions to the student code of conduct, curriculum changes, increased access to resources, and better security. “As Chancellor, I take very seriously these immediate priorities, and commit to promptly achieving them, as well as to supporting the other important measures in the responses,” said Syverud. Kathy Walters, chair of Syracuse University’s Board of Trustees, later praised the plan’s comprehensiveness. “What he and members of his leadership team put forward is a plan with actionable solutions with real timelines, real deliverables, real resources and real accountability,” she said. “That’s what our students are asking for, that’s what our students deserve.”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.


11/19/2019 8:08:15 AM

General Motors sues Fiat Chrysler over bribes to auto unionGeneral Motors is suing Fiat Chrysler, alleging its rival benefitted from bribes to auto union officials that gave FCA an unfair benefit in labor talks, GM announced Wednesday. The lawsuit references guilty pleas by former FCA officials, who bribed former United Auto Workers officials, in a long-running case involving a UAW employee training program, that has tarnished the union's image. The suit comes only weeks after the UAW ended a lengthy strike at GM.


11/20/2019 12:43:42 PM

Chinese bishop 'on the run' after refusing to join state-sanctioned churchA Catholic bishop in China is believed to be on the run from state security after refusing to bring his church under a government-sanctioned religious association. Guo Xijin, 61, has fled the custody of state agents and has gone into hiding, reported Catholic Asia News, a website, and cannot be immediately reached for comment.  Mr Guo is part of a group of bishops that many religious and human rights experts feared would be persecuted after the Vatican inked a deal with Beijing last year on the ordaining bishops.  China has long insisted that it approve appointments, clashing with absolute papal authority to pick bishops. The agreement broke that standoff, and could help pave the way for formal diplomatic ties, but also stoked worries that the Chinese state would have too much power to regulate religion.  Since Communism took hold in China, there have been in practice two Catholic churches - one sanctioned by the government, and an underground one loyal to the Vatican, and it remains unclear what would happen to bishops who refused to fall in line with the government. China’s officially atheist Communist Party – has engaged in a widespread crackdown on religion in the last few years. Authorities have banned Arab-style onion domes on mosques and other buildings – even if merely decorative. The UN estimates more than a million Muslims have been detained in chilling “re-education” camps, where former detainees have told The Telegraph they were subject to physical torture, psychological intimidation and political indoctrination. The government has shut down churches not sanctioned by the Party, detaining priests and members of various congregations. And houses of worship, including Buddhist temples, are now mandated to have pictures of Xi Jinping, the leader of the Party.  Chinese authorities claim that people have freedom of religion – provided that they worship in state-sanctioned temples, churches, and mosques. The government has said that all religious believers must “be subordinate to and serve the overall interests of the nation and the Chinese people,” making it explicit that they must also “support the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party.”


11/19/2019 5:52:40 AM

Homeless Numbers in San Francisco Much Worse, According to City DataMany cities across California this year announced sharp increases in homelessness. Yet data from San Francisco suggest the real picture might be a lot worse.For years, city governments have measured homelessness by sending out volunteers on a single night to count, as best they could, the number of homeless people they found on the streets or in shelters. By this method San Francisco this year reported 8,011 homeless people, a 17% increase over 2017, the last time a count was conducted.But San Francisco has another, arguably more comprehensive, way of measuring homelessness, and the results are even more alarming.Over the course of a full year, the city counted twice as many homeless people -- 17,595 people, a 30% jump from the previous year.The data, which are rarely cited in debates on homelessness, come from a city database of homeless people who receive health care and other services from the city.The latest data are from the 2019 fiscal year, which ended in June. If people sought services multiple times during the course of the year they are counted only once.The 30% jump was by far the largest increase of the past eight years, according to the city's data. Rachael Kagan, the spokeswoman for the city's Department of Public Health, said this is partly because in the 2019 fiscal year the city conducted an assessment "blitz," proactively seeking out homeless people at shelters and hospitals.For around 1,272 people, it was the first time they were entered into the city's databases.There is no perfect way to measure homelessness, which by nature is transient. Kagan believes the higher numbers are the "most complete picture that we have" of homelessness. But she said it is still likely to be an underestimate."It does not include people who did not seek services, so it is still an incomplete picture," she said.This article originally appeared in The New York Times.(C) 2019 The New York Times Company


11/19/2019 2:08:55 PM

India Army to Cut Sniper Rifle Orders by About 70%(Bloomberg) -- The Indian Army plans to buy just 1,800 state-of-the-art sniper rifles and 2.7 million rounds of ammunition -- less than a third of its total requirement -- driven by budgetary constraints and the need to speed up deliveries, people with knowledge of the matter said.The military pruned its original requirement of 5,720 sniper rifles and 10 million rounds of ammunition, which would have cost $140 million, to prioritize spending and advance the purchase of more modern equipment, they said, asking not to be identified as the information isn’t public.Indian Army spokesman Aman Anand said he had no comment to offer on the change in procurement plans.The Indian armed forces have 450,000 infantry soldiers, of whom only half go into ground battle and an even smaller number of them use sniper rifles to take out specific enemy targets through precision firing.The move is part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s $250-billion modernization plan for the Indian defense forces, as the infantry soldiers continue to face the brunt of deadly attacks in disputed border areas such as Kashmir and the northeast.Plans to buy new equipment from global manufacturers, however, has been hit by bureaucratic delays and the Modi government’s desire to meet the needs of the armed forces through the domestic industry under his ‘Make in India’ initiative, a key plank to boost local defense manufacturing and woo his core supporters.The 1.3 million-strong Indian Army’s previous efforts to buy 5,720 sniper rifles in a process that began in Feb. 2018 was scrapped in July this year after four vendors, including the U.S.-based Barrett, Indonesia’s PT Pindad and Russia’s Rosoboronexport, failed to meet technical requirements, such as technology transfers for manufacturing the ammunition by local industry.Through the new bid to buy a smaller quantity of 8.6 mm sniper rifles and .338 Lapua Magnum ammunition, India wants to overcome the hurdles in first identifying the vendor to buy them in a fast-track mode, before placing future orders for 4,000 more sniper rifles.To contact the reporter on this story: N. C. Bipindra in New Delhi at nbipindra@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Ruth Pollard at rpollard2@bloomberg.net, Muneeza NaqviFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


11/20/2019 3:35:44 AM

Dem lawmaker says it's his 'mission' to have Trump removed from office“It’s about what he’s doing to our country and how he is corrupting our society,” said Rep. Al Green.


11/19/2019 6:12:56 PM

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