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  • Bloomberg pledges $70 billion to bolster black America in new plan

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    Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced his presidential campaign's plan for bolstering economic opportunity for black Americans.

    Sun, 19 Jan 2020 12:00:21 -0500
  • 'I stayed alive to tell' - Auschwitz's dwindling survivors recount horrors of Nazi death camp

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    A strip of skin tattooed with the Auschwitz death camp number 99288 sits in a silver frame on a shelf in Avraham Harshalom's living room. As the 75th anniversary of the camp's liberation on Jan 27, 1945, nears, Harshalom, 95, is very clear about why he kept it. Harshalom is one of some 200,000 Holocaust survivors living in Israel today.

    Mon, 20 Jan 2020 08:14:38 -0500
  • Biden Warns Media against Shopping ‘Conclusively Debunked’ Ukraine Corruption Allegations During Impeachment Trial

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    Ahead of Tuesday’s Senate trial on impeachment, Joe Biden’s campaign is cautioning media outlets against “spreading a malicious and conclusively debunked conspiracy theory” regarding a conflict of interest between the former vice president’s policy work in Ukraine and his son Hunter's role on the board of Burisma.“It is not sufficient to say the allegations are 'unsubstantiated' or that 'no evidence has emerged to support them,’” the memo reads. “Not only is there 'no evidence' for Republicans' main argument against the Vice President — there is a mountain of evidence that actively debunks it. And it is malpractice to ignore that truth."Joe Biden has been insistent that there was no unethical behavior committed by his son while he was serving as point man for Ukraine relations in the Obama White House, despite countering claims of alleged corruption by President Trump and Republican allies.Last month, he told Axios he would not look into the matter further because “I trust my son,” but in an interview with the New York Times editorial board released last week, Biden said he “didn’t realize” Hunter Biden had served on the board of Burisma “until after he had been on the board.”“He has come forward and said it was a mistake on his part to be on the board,” Biden added on his son’s role. An October Reuters report stated that Hunter Biden was hired “as a helpful non-executive director with a powerful name” by Burisma owner and Ukrainian politician Mykola Zlochevsky, who was then being scrutinized over allegations of corruption.In its memo, the Biden campaign states that any reporting suggesting that "Biden engaged in wrongdoing when he executed official United States policy to remove a corrupt prosecutor from office” amounts to "spreading a malicious and conclusively debunked conspiracy theory."“To fail to make clear that the conspiracy theory and false accusations about Joe Biden have been comprehensively disproven, to artificially prop-up these egregious lies based on the ‘principle’ that if partisans make accusations, they have to be treated as legitimate regardless of the facts, is to make you an enabler of misinformation,” the memo threatens.The former vice president and his son could be called by Republicans as witnesses in the upcoming trial. Last week, Senator Rand Paul (R., Ky.) said that the Bidens should be called if the upper chamber votes to hear witnesses.“If the president is being accused of withholding foreign aid, and his argument is, ‘Well, we were studying corruption, and we wanted to know about corruption in Ukraine,’ and I think the Bidens are as corrupt as the day is long,” Paul argued. “No young man who is the son of a politician gets $50,000 a month who has no experience, working for a Ukrainian oligarch. You know, for goodness sakes — it smells to high heaven. It smells like corruption.”

    Mon, 20 Jan 2020 09:02:10 -0500
  • Yemen missile attack kills at least 70 soldiers: sources

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    At least 70 Yemeni soldiers have been killed in a missile attack launched by Huthi rebels on a mosque in the central province of Marib, medical and military sources said Sunday. The Huthis attacked a mosque in a military camp in Marib -- about 170 kilometres (105 miles) east of Sanaa -- during evening prayers on Saturday, military sources told AFP.

    Sun, 19 Jan 2020 02:08:26 -0500
  • Illegal crossings plunge as US extends policy across border

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    Adolfo Cardenas smiles faintly at the memory of traveling with his 14-year-old son from Honduras to the U.S.-Mexico border in only nine days, riding buses and paying a smuggler $6,000 to ensure passage through highway checkpoints. Father and son walked about 10 minutes in Arizona's stifling June heat before surrendering to border agents. Instead of being released with paperwork to appear in immigration court in Dallas, where Cardenas hopes to live with a cousin, they were bused more than an hour to wait in the Mexican border city of Mexicali.

    Sun, 19 Jan 2020 12:24:36 -0500
  • Ex-Carnival and Norwegian Cruise Line workers reveal the things they couldn't live without on board

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    Workers for cruise lines like Carnival and Norwegian might be away from home for over six months, so they need to be thoughtful about what they pack.

    Sun, 19 Jan 2020 09:35:05 -0500
  • How U.S. Navy Aircraft Carriers Are Going All in on Drones

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    The Navy is building a special new command and control mini "drone-headquarters" space on its aircraft carriers to operate deck-launched drones as part of a strategy aimed at massively increasing the scope of carrier-launched drone missions in coming years.

    Sun, 19 Jan 2020 05:20:00 -0500
  • Just as Australia's deadly fires begin to subside, it's being hit with more apocalyptic weather. Videos show enormous dust storms and golf-ball-sized hail battering cars and buildings

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    Rainfall helped to relieve some parts of the country affected by the bushfires, but caused damage in other ways

    Mon, 20 Jan 2020 07:15:01 -0500
  • Africa's richest woman accused of corruption and siphoning off state assets

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    Africa’s richest woman has been accused of corruption and exploiting her own country’s natural resources, after thousands of documents detailing her business interests were leaked to the media. Isabel dos Santos, who resides in the UK and whose father was the president of Angola, faces allegations of exploiting family connections to secure deals on land, oil and diamonds. According to the documents, seen by BBC Panorama and the Guardian, she and her husband were allowed to buy up valuable state assets and siphon hundreds of millions of dollars out of Angola. Ms dos Santos, whose fortune is estimated at £2bn, says these claims are entirely false and that she is the victim of a witch-hunt led by the Angolan government. She also wrote on Twitter that the leaked documents were “fake” and based on “false information.”     Ms dos Santos is already under investigation for corruption by the Angolan government, which has frozen her assets in the country. The documents were obtained by the Platform to Protect Whistle-blowers in Africa and then passed to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. Anti-corruption campaigners responded by claiming that Ms dos Santos has been exploiting her own country for personal gain, with normal Angolan citizens the victims of her lavish lifestyle. "Every time she appears on the cover of some glossy magazine somewhere in the world, every time that she hosts one of her glamorous parties in the south of France, she is doing so by trampling on the aspirations of the citizens of Angola,” Andrew Feinstein, the head of Corruption Watch, told the BBC. In an interview with the BBC following the leak, Ms dos Santos said: “I regret that Angola has chosen this path, I think that we all stand a lot to lose. “Now, when you look at my track record and you see the work I have done and look at all the companies I have built, most certainly my companies are commercial companies.   “If you tell me, is there anything wrong for an Angolan person to have a business venture with a state company, I think there is nothing wrong.” She added that she was facing “prejudice” due to being the daughter of José Eduardo dos Santos, who served as President of Angola from 1979 to 2017. Ms dos Santos was educated in the UK and is married to Sindika Dokolo, a Congolese art collector and businessman.

    Sun, 19 Jan 2020 19:14:59 -0500
  • Five die in Russian hotel after boiling water floods basement

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    Five people, including one child, were killed in the Russian city of Perm on Monday when a hot water pipe exploded in the night and flooded a basement hotel room with boiling water. At least three other people were taken to hospital with burns after the incident in the Mini Hotel Caramel, which is located in the basement of a residential building, the region's investigative committee said. A doctor treating the victims, Andrei Babikov, said a 33-year-old woman had burns covering 35% of her body.

    Mon, 20 Jan 2020 01:33:13 -0500
  • Report Warned of Threat to U.S. Troops in Germany: Newsweek

    (Bloomberg) -- The U.S. received intelligence about a potentially imminent attack being planned against military personnel stationed in Germany, Newsweek reported, citing a memo it saw.The 66th Military Intelligence Brigade received third party information stating that a possible attack could occur against soldiers at either Tower Barracks in Grafenwohr or Tower Barracks, Dulmen; the exact location, date and time of possible attack was unknown Information was marked unclassified and from a senior U.S. intelligence official “The source of information stated the attack would be carried out by an unknown Jordanian extremist currently located in Germany near an unknown military base,” the report saidU.S. Army Europe confirmed to Newsweek that a potential threat was identified and investigated last night “German and US officials were consulted and no imminent threat was found to exit”To view the source of this information click hereTo contact the reporter on this story: Nathan Crooks in Miami at ncrooks@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Sebastian Tong at stong41@bloomberg.netFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

    Sun, 19 Jan 2020 16:00:33 -0500
  • 'I Dare You to Mock Me.' Capt. 'Sully' Sullenberger Defends Joe Biden Against Attacks on His Speech in New York Times Op-Ed

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    Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger opened up about his past struggles with stuttering in defending Biden and his speech.

    Sun, 19 Jan 2020 16:22:32 -0500
  • Graham, Dershowitz say effort to dismiss articles of impeachment 'dead' as they prepare for trial

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    Alan Dershowitz, who joined Trump's defense team, plans to argue that even if Trump did everything he is accused of, his acts aren't impeachable.

    Sun, 19 Jan 2020 19:40:42 -0500
  • Malaysia sends back trash, says won't be world's waste bin

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    Shipments of unwanted rubbish have been rerouted to Southeast Asia since China banned the import of plastic waste in 2018, but Malaysia and other developing countries are fighting back. Environment Minister Yeo Bee Yin said another 110 containers are expected to be sent back by the middle of this year.

    Sun, 19 Jan 2020 22:21:07 -0500
  • Climate crisis could justify asylum claims: UN committee

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    Governments that send refugees back to countries severely affected by climate change could be in breach of their human rights obligations, a UN committee said on Monday. The independent experts on the Human Rights Committee issued a non-binding but closely watched ruling in a case brought by Ioane Teitiota from the Pacific island nation of Kiribati. Several Pacific island nations including Kiribati are seen as among the most vulnerable in the world to climate change as they are just a few metres above sea level.

    Mon, 20 Jan 2020 14:20:36 -0500
  • Trump's Russia adviser 'escorted from White House' amid investigation

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    President Trump's latest Russia expert has reportedly been escorted from the White House amid claims of a security-related investigation.

    Sun, 19 Jan 2020 16:06:55 -0500
  • China's Navy Warships Are Now Armed With Land-Attack Missiles

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    China says its newest destroyer is capable of launching land-attack missiles.

    Mon, 20 Jan 2020 11:20:00 -0500
  • You Should Get an Electric Fireplace

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    Mon, 20 Jan 2020 12:00:00 -0500
  • Police fire tear gas to disperse thousands in central Hong Kong

    Police fired tear gas on Sunday to disperse thousands of anti-government protesters who gathered in a central Hong Kong park but later spilled onto the streets, briefly barricading roads and spray-painting buildings. Out in numbers before the demonstration began, police intervened promptly when the rally turned into an impromptu march. Several units of police in riot gear were seen chasing protesters and several arrests were made.

    Sun, 19 Jan 2020 03:08:35 -0500
  • NYT Splits Presidential Endorsement for First Time in History, Backing Klobuchar and Warren

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    The New York Times editorial board announced Sunday evening that it would endorse two candidates for president for the first time in the newspaper's history: Senators Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota received the paper's support.The Times's editorial board interviewed nine of the top candidates last month for in-depth interviews and documented the process of how they settled on the double endorsement in the paper's documentary show “The Weekly” on FX.The paper's endorsement of Warren, senator from Massachusetts, and Klobuchar, senator from Minnesota, comes just two weeks before the Iowa caucuses on February 3.The Times remarked that the similarities between the platforms of progressive Democrats, embodied by Warren, and more moderate Democrats like Klobuchar became "striking" during the course of their interviews and influenced the paper's decision to embrace candidates who embody both flanks of the party."Some in the party view President Trump as an aberration and believe that a return to a more sensible America is possible," the Times wrote in is announcement. "Then there are those who believe that President Trump was the product of political and economic systems so rotten that they must be replaced."The Times chose not to endorse the current front runner for the Democratic nomination, former vice president Joe Biden, saying that Biden's agenda of "merely restoring the status quo will not get America where it needs to go as a society," and it is time for him to "pass the torch."The paper also declined to endorse progressive Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, now in second place behind Biden, calling him "over-promising" and "divisive."The Times' final four candidates included Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey, who suspended his campaign earlier this month, and former Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind.Warren polls in third place nationally, while Klobuchar, although popular in Minnesota, has struggled to break out and currently polls at 3 percent, according to the Real Clear Politics average of polls.

    Mon, 20 Jan 2020 08:27:40 -0500
  • Leopard runs into house before being captured in south India

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    A leopard that ran into a house and sparked a frantic search and a frenzy of attention in southern India on Monday has been caught and tranquilized. The big cat emerged from the Kamdanam forest and ran into a house in Shadnagar town in Telangana state, said Dr. Mohammad Abdul Hakeem, a wildlife official. Deadly conflict between humans and animals has increased in recent years in India largely due to shrinking forest habitats and urban expansion.

    Mon, 20 Jan 2020 09:15:50 -0500
  • Joe Biden, Nancy Pelosi and other top Democrats declare open season on Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg

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    Former Vice President Joe Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi used to be Facebook's friends. Things have changed.

    Sun, 19 Jan 2020 21:16:59 -0500
  • The US Air Force recently acquired a new $64 million Gulfstream private jet for VIP government officials — see inside

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    The US president isn't the only government official that flies in a VIP plane operated by the US Air Force.

    Mon, 20 Jan 2020 08:53:00 -0500
  • Cult slayed pregnant woman and five of her children in Panama

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    A religious sect whose members believed to be “anointed by God” forced a pregnant woman and five of her children to walk through fire as part of a cult ritual, according to local residents.

    Sun, 19 Jan 2020 14:14:25 -0500
  • Evacuation crackdown ordered as Philippine volcano 'recharges'

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    Philippine authorities ordered a crackdown Monday on evacuees' daily visits to their homes in the danger zone around Taal volcano as scientists warned it could be "recharging" for a more powerful explosion. More than 110,000 people have taken refuge in evacuation centres since Taal burst to life a week ago, but many hard-hit towns have let residents back for hours each day to fetch items, feed livestock and clean up their houses. "We are directing DRRMCs (civil defence officers)... not to allow anyone to enter the danger zone," said Epimaco Densing, undersecretary for the Department of Interior.

    Mon, 20 Jan 2020 04:42:11 -0500
  • Could Taiwan Stop an Invasion By China?

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    Expert: “Over the next four years, it may be more important to acquire less glamorous but nimbler weapons to prevent Beijing from considering an invasion.”

    Mon, 20 Jan 2020 02:25:00 -0500
  • Cut off from family, unable to travel: how US sanctions punish Iranian Americans

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    As penalties create hardship for Iran’s residents, Iranians in US also suffer consequences: ‘The sanctions are still chasing me’Following the US assassination of a top Iranian general earlier this month and Iranian airstrikes against US military bases in Iraq, Donald Trump once again imposed biting sanctions against the regime in Tehran. To Iranian Americans, many of whom have lived under sanctions in Iran or have family members there suffering through economic hardship, the fresh round of penalties is a painful reminder of the collateral consequences of escalating conflict.Iranian Americans across the United States told the Guardian about their worries for their family members and friends affected by US sanctions. And they spoke of the ways the policies affect their own lives, work and communities in the US. “I was raised under sanctions my entire life,” said Nazanin Asadi, 34, who left Iran for California in 2014 and now works as a law clerk in Orange county. “After moving to the US permanently, I can’t believe the sanctions and these laws are still chasing me … I don’t want my community to suffer.”The threats of a full-blown war following Trump’s 3 January order to kill Gen Qassem Suleimani caused anxiety among some Persian communities in the US, especially for Iranian families who have been torn apart by Trump’s travel ban. Trump backed away from additional strikes, but his administration implemented a fresh wave of sanctions, targeting senior Iranian officials and the country’s textile, construction, manufacturing and other sectors.The US has imposed sanctions for decades, targeting Iran’s energy sector and a range of exports of goods and services. Trump had already expanded sanctions against Iran in 2018 with his withdrawal from the nuclear deal signed under Barack Obama.Under sanctions law, people are forced to apply for specific licenses when they seek to be exempted from prohibited transactions, and even for allowed activities, there are complicated reporting requirements. In practice that means hundreds of thousands of Iranian Americans with family and financial ties to Iran can face a complex set of burdens and hurdles in their lives, jobs and education.“These sanctions are supposed to be targeting the government of Iran and certain individuals, but end up targeting the average person and your own citizens,” said Mehrnoush Yazdanyar, a California attorney who helps Iranian Americans navigate sanctions. “You’re sanctioning your own legal permanent residents, and in doing so, you’re alienating them.” ‘It is a daily stress’Yazdanyar’s law offices in southern California, a region home to the largest Iranian population outside of Iran, have assisted thousands of clients in sanctions-related matters over the years. Families often can’t send money back and forth, creating significant hurdles for Iranian Americans who want to support their parents or families in Iran who want to help their loved ones pursue their education or other dreams in America.While the regulations are supposed to allow some financial transactions through third parties, many attempting to navigate the process can end up in legal trouble or with closed or frozen bank accounts, she said.Asadi, who grew up in Iran, was accepted to the University of Southern California law school and moved here with dreams of becoming a judge. But with the sanctions blocking her parents from offering her financial support, she had to pay her own way through her education, working multiple jobs while studying.“I couldn’t afford my life, I couldn’t pay my expenses,” she said. “It was too much pressure emotionally and financially.”She scraped by and managed to graduate, and she now works with Yazdanyar helping people dealing with sanctions. But when Asadi wants to help her own parents in Iran, who are disabled, she has no way to offer them funds, pay for their medications or even buy them gifts: “We cannot support each other.”That feeling of guilt is even worse when there’s a threat of war, Asadi added: “I’m paying taxes to the government who purchases military equipment to bomb my parents in Iran … If war happens, what should I do?”Pirouz Kavehpour, a University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), engineering professor, who is also Iranian American, said he had repeatedly seen his Iranian students lose access to their bank accounts due to sanctions, derailing their research and education.“It’s a daily stress … We’re international. We’re already on thin ice. If you don’t perform well, you will be sent back,” he said. “You’re a kid here and you need to live off fast food … and then you’re told by a random guy in a bank field office: ‘Don’t even think about getting the money.’”With a large wave of Iranian Americans arriving in the US after the 1979 revolution, some are also now inheriting family businesses or properties back in Iran from relatives who have died, but it is often a nightmare process to attempt and recoup the assets, said Erich Ferrari, a Washington DC-based attorney who handles sanctions cases.Even those who try to do everything right, reporting the transactions and getting proper licenses, can end up facing investigations by the US government, he said. Law enforcement monitors money transfers, and in some cases Iranian Americans have found the FBI at their doors asking questions: “There’s always a threat looming.”Ferrari said he had seen family relationships fall apart in the process, adding: “They are trying to do something that is beneficial to the US, and divest themselves from Iran and bring their money here.” Research and charity work thwarted: ‘How does the US benefit?’In addition to the recent wave of Iranian students who have been denied visas at the last minute, under sanctions law, faculty members are also barred from traveling to Iran for research or other work without approval from the US treasury department.“I’ve been invited many times to give a talk in Iran … but we are not allowed,” said Kavehpour, the UCLA professor. He noted that Iran could benefit from working with UCLA experts on autism research, but that it would be impossible to set up any collaboration.Aysan Rangchian, a 28-year-old Iranian PhD student at UCLA, said Iranian students often don’t even apply for conferences anywhere outside of the US for fear of consequences. Iranian students can also struggle to get grants and funding: “This is making the US less appealing for international students.”Last year, Iranian researchers faced criminal prosecution when they attempted to do stem-cell research in the US. As a result of that process, potentially groundbreaking science will not go forward here, said Yazdanyar: “How did the United States benefit from this?”Yazdanyar has also represented a not-for-profit organization that helps orphaned children across the world, including in Iran. Even when the group received a specific license to send aid to Iran, financial institutions in third countries have declined to assist with the transfer due to concerns about sanctions. That means humanitarian aid has been delayed and blocked, she said.During floods in Iran last year, it was painful that the sanctions blocked Iranian Americans from being able to offer basic donations, said Assal Rad, a research fellow with the National Iranian American Council, who lives in Orange county. She said that while the impact of sanctions on Iranian Americans paled in comparison with what Iranian citizens suffer, the rules added to this “constant feeling that your identity is under attack”.“Whether sanctions, the travel ban, or your loyalty being questioned … it’s really isolating,” she said, adding of sanctions: “It’s an ineffective policy that is also harming Americans themselves.”

    Sun, 19 Jan 2020 06:00:00 -0500
  • China repeats call on Canada to release Huawei CFO Meng

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    China repeated its call on Monday for Canada to release detained Huawei Technologies [HWT.UL] Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou as soon as possible, ahead of the executive's first extradition hearing later in the day. "The resolve of the Chinese government to protect Chinese citizens' proper legal rights is firm and unwavering," foreign ministry spokesman, Geng Shuang, told reporters during a daily briefing. Meng, daughter of Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei, was arrested at Vancouver International Airport on Dec. 1, 2018, at the request of the United States, where she is charged with bank fraud and accused of misleading the bank HSBC about Huawei Technologies' business in Iran.

    Mon, 20 Jan 2020 03:12:45 -0500
  • U.S. checks travelers as China confirms virus spreads between people

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    Passengers arriving in the U.S. from the city at the center of the coronavirus outbreak are now being screened, as officials confirm "limited" human-to-human transmission.

    Sun, 19 Jan 2020 23:01:44 -0500
  • 2 more Puerto Rico officials fired after warehouse break-in

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    Gov. Wanda Vázquez fired the heads of Puerto Rico’s housing and family departments Sunday in the latest fallout over the discovery of a warehouse filled with emergency supplies dating from Hurricane Maria. The removal of Housing Secretary Fernando Gil and Department of Family Secretary Glorimar Andújar came a day after the governor fired the director of Puerto Rico’s emergency management agency. Vázquez fired him hours after a Facebook video showed angry people breaking into the warehouse in an area where thousands have been in shelters since a recent earthquake.

    Sun, 19 Jan 2020 16:57:22 -0500
  • Body of woman who was missing for almost 6 years found in car submerged in NJ river

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    Vanessa Smallwood of Maple Shade, N.J., was 46 at the time of her disappearance. She was identified in a statement from New Jersey State Police.

    Sun, 19 Jan 2020 14:10:56 -0500
  • The 25 Best PSP Games

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    Sun, 19 Jan 2020 09:00:00 -0500
  • Pair of storms to unleash rain, snow across Middle East this week

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    More unsettled weather is set to grip the Middle East this week after several storms have battered the region in recent weeks.The first of two storms to impact the area this week has dampened locations from the Mediterranean coast to Iraq on Monday. This slow-moving system will continue to bring wet weather to the region on Tuesday and Wednesday.The steadiest rainfall is expected from northern Israel and Lebanon into southern Syria and central Iraq. Downpours are possible in Beirut, Damascus, Homs and Baghdad. Rain will also spread into the lower elevations of western Iran with snow falling in the mountains. In the higher terrain of Lebanon and Syria, snow accumulation can be expected.On the southern side of this storm, showers may briefly dampen southern Jordan, far northern Saudi Arabia and Kuwait from Tuesday into Wednesday. This storm will then push into eastern Iran with rain and high-elevation snowfall on Thursday.CLICK HERE FOR THE FREE ACCUWEATHER APPA second storm will race southward from Turkey into the Middle East late Thursday into Friday, bringing soaking rain and mountain snow to Syria, Lebanon and Israel on Thursday night through Friday morning.The storm will then lash Jordan, Iraq and northwest Iran on Friday with impacts continuing into Friday night in Iraq and Iran.Local downpours and high-elevation snowfall may result in travel impacts across the region, before drier weather builds across the Middle East this weekend.Keep checking back on AccuWeather.com and stay tuned to the AccuWeather Network on DirecTV, Frontier and Verizon Fios.

    Mon, 20 Jan 2020 11:10:00 -0500
  • Ten killed in seating collapse at Ethiopian festival

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    At least ten people were killed Monday and scores injured when a seating area collapsed during a major Orthodox Christian celebration in Ethiopia, with fears the death toll could rise. The accident occurred just before 8am (0500 GMT) Monday in Gondar, a historic city in the country's north, where every year more than a million people gather for the epiphany festivities known as Timkat. Two doctors at the University of Gondar Hospital told AFP that 10 people died when the spectator stands gave way suddenly at Fasilides' Bath, where thousands typically gather to watch worshippers plunge into the holy waters.

    Mon, 20 Jan 2020 09:58:12 -0500
  • Russia Is Worried About Britain's Astute-Class Submarines

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    The class seems to have overcome its technical and financial problems, although the lingering impact of those issues could affect not only future classes of SSNs, but also the UK’s commitment to building a new class of SSBNs.

    Sun, 19 Jan 2020 01:30:00 -0500
  • ‘OK, Now What?’: Inside Team Trump’s Scramble to Sell the Soleimani Hit to America

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    In the hours after the killing of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani on Jan. 3, U.S. officials in the White House, Pentagon, and State Department worked overtime on assembling a plan to handle the fallout, only to watch senior administration officials and the president himself scuttle their effort in real time on national television. The ensuing days became a mad dash to reconcile the intense intra-administration tensions over what the intelligence actually said about Iranian plots, and how best to sell their case to the American public. At the very top was a president who stewed and complained to staff about how the killing he’d just ordered might negatively affect his re-election prospects and ensnare him in a quagmire in the Middle East of his own creation.The plan to take out Soleimani had been approved months earlier by President Donald Trump after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and then-National Security Adviser John Bolton pushed for more to be done to manage Iran’s aggression in the Middle East. But the president for years tried to avoid a direct military confrontation with Tehran, and hitting Soleimani was a move that could edge the two countries closer to war.When an American contractor was killed in Iraq in late December, President Trump’s national security team presented him with a slew of options on how to respond, and killing Soleimani was on the list. National security advisers reminded the president that he had publicly drawn a line in the sand, saying that if the regime killed Americans there would be severe consequences. Still, the strike was a departure from the regular Trump playbook and officials knew it would take a robust effort to explain not only the reasoning behind the attack but also the administration’s goal on Iran.“There was this sudden nature about it all. Yeah, it had been in the works for some time. But it didn’t feel like we were all thinking the same on how to move forward,” said one U.S. official, referring to the strike on Soleimani. “It was like, ‘OK, now what?’” For more than a week, Trump, Pompeo, Vice President Mike Pence and officials from the national security community, including at the Pentagon, held twice-daily meetings and conference calls to make sure all government agencies were on the same page regarding messaging, according to two individuals familiar with those conversations.Despite that effort, what resulted appeared to be an uncoordinated effort to justify an action by national security officials who were varied in their answers about the pre-strike intelligence and who struggled to define the administration’s strategy on Iran post strike.That internal confusion on how to re-frame the administration’s approach to dealing with Iran led to weeks of what appeared to be frequent mixed messaging, critiques about the administration's apparent lack of strategy, calls from Congress for more robust intelligence briefings—and allegations that Trump and his lieutenants were actively misleading a nation into a sharp military escalation.This article is based on interviews with 10 U.S. government officials and several former administration officials. The State Department and White House House did not comment on the record for this story.Worry over the “counterpunch”For several days following Soleimani’s assassination, Pentagon officials warned Trump and his national security advisers that Iran had a variety of responses it could carry out to make the Americans pay. Among them, sources said, were Iranian attacks on senior U.S. military officers overseas, or violence targeting American outposts in countries like Iraq. Their bottom line was that Iran would hit back, and hit back hard. The president worried aloud to his team about how the strike could impact the way voters viewed him in the upcoming election. After all, avoiding costly foreign wars in the Middle East had been one of the key promises— and points of contrast—he made as a candidate in 2016. One official told The Daily Beast that in meetings at the White House Trump was “preoccupied” with ensuring that his public statements on Iran—notably that he would not drag the U.S. into a war with the country—would hold following the assassination. Once Soleimani was gone, Trump was adamant that the administration “get things back to normal” with Iran, one official told The Daily Beast. According to another U.S. official, senior administration officials, including President Trump, were framing the strike as a de-escalatory measure even before the attack was ordered. The idea was that if the U.S. didn’t hit Soleimani, more people would die because Iran would continue to carry out attacks in the region.Trump’s insistence on returning to “normal” with Iran directly after he ordered the death of the Islamic republic’s top military leader underscores this president’s wild vacillations between diplomatic overtures and teasing violent retribution, where a call for peace one moment could be followed by a threat to destroy Iranian cultural sites—a tactic that is considered a war crime under international law.The president inquired about this not long before greenlighting, then abruptly calling off, military strikes on Iran that he approved knowing the body count was estimated to be high.And even as he publicly celebrated this massive escalation with Iran and aggressively campaigned on, and fundraised off of, his decision, Trump continued to lament privately to close allies that it would be “crazy” to plunge America into another invasion or full-blown war in the Middle East, according to two people who spoke to Trump in the days following the Soleimani hit.He then pledged he would not “let it happen” on his “watch.” Of course, none of the president’s stated reservations about starting a new war, or his stated desire to bring soldiers home, kept him and his administration from deploying thousands more American troops to the region as the U.S. and Iran walked up to the brink of all-out warfare early this month.The Soleimani strike, though, forced the president to pause, even just briefly, to consider whether what he had ordered would have lasting, irreversible consequences—repercussions he’d never meant to bump up against.“You know, he's sincerely grappling with this, which is good. I mean, war should be hard and we should grapple with it. I just don't want any one person to say, okay, I've grappled with it we should do it,” Sen. Tim Kaine told The Daily Beast in an interview about the escalating tension in Iran. Since the Soleimani strike, the Virginia Democrat has led a bipartisan push in the Senate to rein in Trump’s authority to wage war in Iran without congressional approval. “If I were president I shouldn't have the ability to just on my own say, let’s do this,” Kaine added. “It should be deliberative, because that's what the troops and their families deserve.”President Trump’s concerns were fed, in part, by comments from lawmakers and other analysts that the strike on Soleimani could lead quickly to a major, sustained conflict.“We need to get ready for a major pushback. Our people in Iraq and the Middle East are going to be targeted. We need to be ready to defend our people in the Middle East,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) in an interview with The Daily Beast the night of the strike. “I think we need to be ready for a big counterpunch.”“Overselling the intel”In the first week after the Jan. 3 strike, officials appeared on television and radio shows in an attempt to frame the Soleimani strike as an act of de-escalation. Just hours after the strike, Brian Hook, the special representative for Iran, went on BBC World Service radio saying that killing Soleimani was designed to “advance the cause of peace.”Officials at the State Department, in coordination with the White House, drafted talking points advising those who would appear in the media to underscore Soleimani’s “malign activities” and his role in killing American troops over the years, according to two U.S. officials. But the White House wanted to advance a different argument—one that wasn’t about what Iran had already done, but what U.S. officials claimed Iran was about to do. They said the U.S. killed Soleimani because he was planning “imminent” attacks that would harm American interests. That talking point in particular was emailed out to officials across the Pentagon, White House, and State Department, and even to several GOP lawmakers’ offices repeatedly the week of the strike, according to several officials who spoke to The Daily Beast. It became, for a time, the central rationale the administration offered for the assassination. On the night of the hit, the Pentagon said only that Soleimani was “actively developing plans” for an unspecified attack. By Sunday Jan. 5, Pompeo said on several morning talk shows that there were actually “constant threats” from Iran, rather than a specific one the strike preempted. And officials told a varying story about how many Americans could be killed. That next week, in briefings to Congress, the administration struggled to explain what exactly the alleged “imminent” attack was. Senators left a closed-door briefing Wednesday, Jan. 8, unconvinced, angry, and warning that the intelligence put forward did not match how senior officials described it. And when the dissatisfied lawmakers pressed for a clearer picture, Graham ended the briefing even though several members had yet to ask their questions.“It was right when things were really starting to get heated and Graham just said something like, ‘Hey don’t you all have to get back to the White House?’,” the source said.For Kaine, the problem wasn’t the intel, it was some of the messengers. “I think the intel has been strong. But I think some of the political people have been overselling the intel,” said Kaine. “What I heard of the political folks doing seems to me to be significantly beyond what the intel says.”Rep. Mike Quigley (D-IL), a member of the House intelligence committee who received a separate classified briefing on the Soleimani strike, said he “saw nothing related to imminence.”“To exaggerate your view of what intelligence means is dangerous,” he told The Daily Beast. “This was either a misrepresentation or a degree of incompetence in analyzing the intelligence.”Senators were also displeased with how the administration’s briefers, including Pompeo, answered questions about Iraq and its parliament vote to oust American troops from the country after the Soleimani assassination. According to two people in the room, the briefers dismissed questions about the Baghdad vote, telling lawmakers “don’t worry about it,” according to an individual who was in the room. “One of them said ‘that’s just how the Iraqis talk. We will take care of it.’”“When you take strikes… in Iraq over their objections, there’s going to be consequences to that. And that’s the kind of thing where you got to be thinking down the board. If they object to us using Iraq as a field of battle… but we’re saying yeah, we’re doing it anyway. Well, what do you think is going to happen?” Kaine told The Daily Beast in reference to the briefing. “I certainly didn't get much sense that they had thought through, like, oh, they are probably going to kick us out of the country.”Trump on Jan. 9 told reporters that the intelligence actually showed that Iran was “looking to blow up our embassy.” The next day, he went bigger in a Fox News interview, saying that there “probably would’ve been four embassies.” But two days after that, on Jan. 12, Trump’s claim was put into question by his own defense secretary. In an interview on CNN’s State of the Union, Mark Esper conceded that he had not in fact seen a piece of intelligence “with regard to four embassies.” But, in an apparent attempt to cover for Trump, Esper said the president “believed that it probably and could have been attacks against additional embassies.”According to two officials who spoke to The Daily Beast, Trump was outwardly frustrated by critiques of his embassy claim, telling his close confidants that he was furious with Esper’s performance on CNN.Lawmakers on Capitol Hill called on the Trump administration to explain the president’s remarks, demanding briefings with Pompeo and other administration officials—which were scheduled this week and then canceled without explanation. According to two senior U.S. officials, Trump and Pompeo spoke about the need to avoid answering more questions about the embassy threats.“This whole episode has been one of mixed messages. Mixed messages is a function of no real strategy,” said Rep. Jim Himes (D-CT), a member of the House Intelligence Committee. “When you don’t have a strategy, you get all sorts of confusing events on top of each other.”“Aggressive opinions”Officials who spoke to The Daily Beast said part of that confusion on messaging came as a result of abundant input by GOP lawmakers with “aggressive opinions on how to handle Iran,” as one official put it. In the days after the assassination, Trump spoke with Republican leaders in the Senate and the House, picking their brains on how to redefine the administration’s years-long policy of maximum pressure—a campaign to wage economic warfare on Tehran. Some of those same senators had publicly and behind closed doors denounced the administration’s maximum pressure campaign. They argued that the campaign wasn’t doing enough to change Iran’s behavior. In the days leading up to the strike, Graham spoke with President Trump. “I won’t get into the details,” Graham told The Daily Beast. “But he told me Soleimani was a target and that they had caught him red-handed.” Graham said he had advocated for the president to take a tougher military stance against Iran following the attacks on the Saudi oil refineries in September.“I didn’t have any specific targets in mind,” Graham said. “I just thought we needed to be doing more.”Several national security officials who spoke to The Daily Beast said there was a push by GOP lawmakers, including Graham, in the days after the strike to fundamentally re-vamp the administration’s maximum pressure campaign by adding a military component.“If there are any more threats against Americans or our interests then we should hit refineries and oil infrastructure inside Iran,” Graham said. “The military option should be on the table.” The campaign was not initially designed to include military power as a form of maximum pressure, according to two former Obama administration officials. Instead, its architects envisioned it as a means of economic strangulation, whereby Iran would be put under such crippling sanctions that it would opt to transform its foreign policy and take an unspecified grand bargain that the administration began offering after abandoning the nuclear deal in 2018. Graham told The Daily Beast that he is working on an alternative to the Obama administration's 2015 nuclear deal with Iran. “I'm not surprised the President has close relationships with these folks,” Kaine told The Daily Beast, referring to GOP lawmakers. “But it makes me nervous. Rather than senators pressuring the president, hey, go after Iran, let them make the case on the floor of the Senate.”After two weeks of shifting talking points on Iran, re-defining the administration’s policy, Pompeo seemed to edge the closest to articulating a clear response on the administration’s policy when he appeared for a speech at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University on Jan. 13.“President Trump and those of us on his national security team are re-establishing deterrence… against Iran. The goal is twofold. First we want to deprive the regime of resources. And second we just want Iran to act like a normal nation,” he said, sighing. “Just be like Norway.”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.

    Sun, 19 Jan 2020 05:04:26 -0500
  • Philippine military says 5 Indonesians kidnapped by Abu Sayyaf militants

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    Eight Indonesians were abducted in Sabah on Thursday. Three were released, while the remaining five were probably brought by their captors to the southern Philippine province of Sulu, said Lieutenant General Cirilito Sobejana, chief of the military's Western Mindanao Command.

    Sun, 19 Jan 2020 06:16:47 -0500
  • S. Korea confirms first case of SARS-like virus from China

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    South Korea on Monday confirmed its first case of the SARS-like virus that is spreading in China, as concerns mount about a wider outbreak. A 35-year-old Chinese woman who flew in from Wuhan, the apparent epicentre of the outbreak, was confirmed to have the new coronavirus strain, the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) said. "She was visiting Seoul on a tour for the Lunar New Year holidays," said KCDC director Jung Eun-kyeong, adding Korean authorities were investigating her movement on the plane and those who might have come in contact with her, including flight attendants.

    Mon, 20 Jan 2020 01:15:44 -0500
  • US seeks to deport Honduran mom, sick children to Guatemala

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    The U.S. government says it will deport a Honduran mother and her two sick children, both of whom are currently hospitalized, to Guatemala as soon as it can get them medically cleared to travel, according to court documents and the family’s advocates. The family’s advocates accuse the U.S. of disregarding the health of the children, ages 1 and 6, to push forward a plan currently being challenged in court to send planeloads of families to different countries so that they can seek asylum elsewhere. Both children have been hospitalized in recent days in South Texas’ Rio Grande Valley.

    Sat, 18 Jan 2020 20:20:21 -0500
  • House of Lords Could Move to North of England Under Proposal

    (Bloomberg) -- Sign up to our Brexit Bulletin, follow us @Brexit and subscribe to our podcast.Moving the House of Lords out of London is one of a number of ideas under consideration to make sure every part of the U.K. “feels properly connected to politics,” Conservative Party Chairman James Cleverly said.The Sunday Times reported that Prime Minister Boris Johnson is planning to locate Parliament’s upper chamber permanently in York in northern England and has ordered work to begin on the practicalities of a move. Birmingham in the Midlands is also in the running, it said.When asked about the report on Sky TV’s “Sophy Ridge on Sunday” show, Cleverly said: “We might. It’s one of range of things we are looking into. It’s about demonstrating to people we are going to do things differently. The Labour Party lost millions of voters because they failed to listen.”Johnson has spoken repeatedly of “leveling up” across the U.K. after traditional Labour strongholds in the north backed the Conservatives for the first time in the Dec. 12 general election.The Palace of Westminster, home of the House of Lords and the House of Commons, is due to be vacated for several years from the mid-2020s to allow billions of pounds of restoration work to the Victorian-era buildings to take place.Speaking on BBC TV’s Andrew Marr Show, International Development Secretary Alok Sharma backed moving the 795-member Lords, saying the Conservatives should use their strong parliamentary majority to bring the government “closer to the country as a whole.”But Labour lawmaker Nadia Whittome dismissed the idea. “Working-class people don’t care about the unelected House of Lords,” she told Marr. “We want jobs, proper investment and meaningful decentralization of power. This is superficial. It’s tinkering around the edges.”(Adds comment from government minister in sixth paragraph.)To contact the reporter on this story: Andrew Atkinson in London at a.atkinson@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Fergal O'Brien at fobrien@bloomberg.net, Sara Marley, James AmottFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

    Sun, 19 Jan 2020 05:32:34 -0500
  • The 11 most expensive cities to live in around the world in 2020

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    The 16th Annual Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey reveals cities bordering the Pacific Ocean are the most expensive.

    Mon, 20 Jan 2020 08:27:00 -0500
  • Police robots keep malfunctioning, with mishaps ranging from running over a toddler's foot to ignoring people in distress

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    As companies have begun to experiment with security robots, the robots have repeatedly hit obstacles — or, in some cases, fallen into them.

    Sun, 19 Jan 2020 09:07:00 -0500
  • Deadly NJ police chases kill innocent victims, catch few crooks

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    Many police pursuits across the nation end tragically and disproportionately affect black people. Chases often start with a traffic violation.

    Mon, 20 Jan 2020 14:11:50 -0500
  • China Has Been Watching America, And Now Has Special Forces Of Its Own

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    America heavily relies on its elite special forces.

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  • Troops fire gas as migrants try to storm into Mexico

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    Hundreds of Central Americans from a new migrant caravan tried to storm into Mexico Monday by fording the river that divides the country from Guatemala, but National Guardsmen fired tear gas trying to force them back. The Central Americans, from the so-called "2020 Caravan" of around 3,500 undocumented migrants, gathered on the Guatemalan side of the Suchiate River at dawn, demanding migration authorities let them continue their journey to the United States. Scores of migrants, many with cloths tied around their faces to protect them from the gas, pelted the military police guarding the river with large stones, as the latter sheltered behind riot shields.

    Mon, 20 Jan 2020 14:49:37 -0500
  • Dan Bongino responds to video of mob attacking Baltimore officer: I blame the political leaders

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    A video posted on social media shows a Baltimore police sergeant repeatedly kicked by bystanders while trying to make an arrest; reaction from Fox News contributor Dan Bongino, former NYPD officer.

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  • Gulf carriers fly over Iraq, Iran after military action deters others

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    Qatar Airways, Emirates and several other Gulf airlines still fly in Iraqi and Iranian airspace and to cities in both countries, even as other international carriers have rerouted planes since the United States and Iran traded military strikes. Executives and analysts said carriers in the Gulf, a major transit stop between European and Asian destinations, have few alternative routes to choose from in an area where much of the airspace is kept clear of civilian aircraft for military use. In the latest flare up, a U.S. drone strike killed a top general in Iraq on Jan. 3 and Iran fired missiles at U.S. targets in Iraq on Jan. 8.

    Sun, 19 Jan 2020 02:54:42 -0500
  • US envoy say it's his mustache; South Koreans say otherwise

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    The U.S. ambassador to South Korea has some unusual explanations for the harsh criticism he's faced in his host country. Or a Japanese ancestry that raises unpleasant reminders of Japan's former colonial domination of Korea? Many South Koreans, however, have a more straight-forward explanation for Harry Harris' struggle to win hearts and minds in Seoul, and it's got more to do with an outspoken manner that they see as undiplomatic and rude.

    Mon, 20 Jan 2020 04:24:21 -0500
  • Erdogan says Somalia has invited Turkey to explore for oil in its seas: NTV

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    Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Monday that Somalia had invited Turkey to explore for oil in its seas, after Ankara signed a maritime agreement with Libya last year, broadcaster NTV reported. Turkey has been a major source of aid to Somalia following a famine in 2011 as Ankara seeks to increase its influence in the Horn of Africa to counter Gulf rivals like Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

    Mon, 20 Jan 2020 07:54:31 -0500
  • ‘A Defining Moment.’ An Indian State’s Decision to Challenge the Country's Controversial Citizenship Law Signals a Growing Divide

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    Kerala's lawsuit argues that the Citizenship Amendment Act is "discriminatory" and runs counter to the Indian constitution's secular principles.

    Mon, 20 Jan 2020 14:47:51 -0500
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