After cleaning up after Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday, millions of people across America will turn their attention to Black Friday shopping.
Over 164 million Americans are planning to go shopping over the five-day Thanksgiving weekend, according to the National Retail Federation (NRF). Black Friday is expected to be the busiest day of the holiday weekend, as the NRF survey found that around 116 million will hit the stores or shop online.
In the central United States, anyone planning to take advantage of in-store deals will need to prepare to contend with wet conditions.
"Rain will develop across the south-central Plains on Thursday night and rapidly expand eastward into Black Friday," said AccuWeather Meteorologist Kyle Elliott.
So while those daring to head out on Thursday evening can leave the umbrella at home, "shoppers and motorists heading out early on Friday for doorbuster sales may face wet roadways from southeastern Texas northward into western Missouri and Iowa," he said.
Rain jackets and waterproof shoes will be appreciated as shoppers travel from their vehicles to the stores in damp conditions. Umbrellas may be needed to ensure that gifts and treats make it safely across rainy parking lots.
"The rain will become heavier as Black Friday progresses, reaching western parts of the Tennessee River Valley by sunset," Elliott said. "Most places will only receive one half to one inch of rain, but this will still be enough to lead to standing water on roadways and flooding of low-lying and poor drainage areas."
Farther north, water on the roads will combine with chilly weather to create a completely different hazard to motorists.
"Pockets of freezing drizzle can lead to icy patches on roadways, especially on bridges and overpasses, from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan into northern Minnesota on Friday morning," Elliott warned.
"Shoppers should be alert for slick spots in parking lots and take caution so as to avoid slipping, falling and potential injury," Elliott added.
Additionally, anyone driving to their shopping destinations will need to travel with extreme caution as black ice is nearly impossible to spot on roadways, especially at night.
Download the free AccuWeather app to stay up to date on the latest warnings and advisories in your area.
© Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts is shown at President Donald Trump's State of the Union address on January 30, 2018.WASHINGTON — Chief Justice John Roberts is pushing back against President Donald Trump's description of a judge who ruled against Trump's new migrant asylum policy as an "Obama judge."
It's the first time that the leader of the federal judiciary has offered even a hint of criticism of Trump, who has previously blasted federal judges who ruled against him.
Roberts said Wednesday the U.S. doesn't have "Obama judges or Trump judges, Bush judges or Clinton judges." He commented in a statement released by the Supreme Court after a query by The Associated Press.
Roberts said on the day before Thanksgiving that an "independent judiciary is something we should all be thankful for."
Last year, the president used the term a "so-called judge" after the first federal ruling against his travel ban.
The brother of a New Jersey man found dead with three other family members following a fire at their New Jersey mansion has been arrested, according to a report.
Paul Caneiro, the brother of Keith Caneiro, is being held at the Monmouth County jail, charged with aggravated arson in connection with a fire at his own home in Ocean Township, according to ABC News.
The bodies of Keith Caneiro, 50, Jennifer Caneiro, 45, and two children were found at a Colts Neck home on Tuesday. Keith Caneiro's body was found on the front lawn, and the other bodies were found inside.
Keith Caneiro's body was found with a gunshot wound, that did not appear to be self-inflicted.
“We are investigating this as an arson, an intentional fire,” Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher Gramiccioni said. “But I have nothing further in terms of investigating the fatalities that I can provide at this time.”
Officials said Tuesday they believe all four family members were homicide victims, according to ABC.
The brothers were partners in Square One, a New Jersey consulting firm.
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump publicly thanked Saudi Arabia for plunging oil prices just a day after he was harshly criticized for deciding not to further punish the kingdom for the killing of U.S.-based columnist Jamal Khashoggi.
Trump, who made clear in an exclamation-filled statement on Tuesday that he feels that the benefits of good relations with the kingdom outweigh the possibility its crown prince ordered the killing, tweeted on Wednesday that it's "Great!" that oil prices are falling.
"Thank you to Saudi Arabia, but let's go lower!" he wrote from his Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Florida, where he's spending Thanksgiving.
The international crude benchmark has fallen under $65 per barrel from a four-year high of more than $86 in early October as the U.S., Saudi Arabia and Russia have stepped up output. However, OPEC, the cartel of oil-producing countries, could announce production cuts at its Dec. 6 meeting in Vienna, nudging prices upward.
The president on Tuesday condemned the brutal slaying of Khashoggi, a Saudi columnist for The Washington Post who had criticized the royal family. Trump described the brutal slaying of Khashoggi inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul as a "horrible crime ... that our country does not condone." But he rejected calls by many in Congress, including members of his own party, for a tougher response, and he dismissed reports from U.S. intelligence agencies that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman must have at least known about such an audacious and intricate plot.
"It could very well be that the crown prince had knowledge of this tragic event," the president said. "Maybe he did and maybe he didn't!"
The statement captured Trump's view of the world and foreign policy, grounded in economic necessity. It began with the words "America First!" followed by "The world is a very dangerous place!"
The U.S. earlier sanctioned 17 Saudi officials suspected of being responsible for or complicit in the Oct. 2 killing, but members of Congress have called for harsher actions, including canceling arms sales.
© The Associated Press President Donald Trump speaks to the media before leaving the White House in Washington, Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2018, to travel to Florida, where he will spend Thanksgiving at Mar-a-Lago. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)Trump said "foolishly canceling these contracts" worth billions of dollars would only benefit Russia and China, which would be next in line to supply the weapons. Critics, including high-ranking officials in other countries, denounced Trump's statement, saying he ignored human rights and granted Saudi Arabia a pass for economic reasons.
Asked by a reporter if he was saying that human rights are too expensive to fight for, Trump responded, "No, I'm not saying that at all." But he preferred to focus on Iran rather than any actions by Saudi Arabia. The U.S. needs a "counterbalance" to Iran, "and Israel needs help, too," he said. "If we abandon Saudi Arabia, it would be a terrible mistake."
Trump was roundly criticized by Democrats, but some Republicans weighed in against him, too.
Sen. Rand Paul. R-Ky., said the Trump administration has "blinders on" in comparing Iran and Saudi Arabia and said Trump showed weakness in not standing up to Saudi Arabia.
Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, tweeted: "I never thought I'd see the day a White House would moonlight as a public relations firm for the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia."
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., who is close to Trump, also disagreed with the president's decision, saying America must not lose its "moral voice" on the international stage.
"It is not in our national security interests to look the other way when it comes to the brutal murder of Mr. Jamal Khashoggi," Graham said.
Iran's foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, mocked Trump's announcement, tweeting that Trump "bizarrely devotes the FIRST paragraph of his shameful statement on Saudi atrocities to accuse IRAN of every sort of malfeasance he can think of."
Zarif went on to joke that "perhaps we're also responsible for the California fires, because we didn't help rake the forests— just like the Finns do?" He appeared to be referring to recent remarks in which Trump suggested raking the forest floor prevented fires in Finland and would have helped to prevent California's devastating wildfires.
Mevlut Cavusoglu, the foreign minister of Turkey, where the killing occurred, said Khashoggi's death should not be covered up for the sake of maintaining trade ties with Saudi Arabia.
"It concerns a murder," Cavusoglu said. "It is not possible to say, 'Our trade will increase. Let's cover this up. Let's ignore it.'"
Saudi prosecutors have said a 15-man team sent to Istanbul killed Khashoggi with tranquilizers and then dismembered his body, which has not been found. Those findings came after Saudi authorities spent weeks denying Khashoggi had been killed in the consulate.
Trump said King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed "vigorously deny" any knowledge of the planning or execution of the killing. He also said the CIA has not made a conclusive determination about whether the crown prince ordered it.
A U.S. official familiar with the case told The Associated Press last week that intelligence officials had concluded that the crown prince, the kingdom's de facto leader, did order the killing. Others familiar with the case, however, have cautioned that while it's likely the crown prince had a role, there continue to be questions about the degree.
"We may never know all of the facts surrounding the murder of Mr. Jamal Khashoggi," Trump said. "In any case, our relationship is with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. They have been a great ally in our very important fight against Iran."
Trump said he knew some members of Congress would disagree with his decision. He said he would listen to their ideas, but only if they were focused on U.S. national security.
Late last week, a bipartisan group of senators introduced legislation that calls for the suspension of weapons sales to Saudi Arabia, for sanctions on people who block humanitarian access in Yemen or support the Houthi rebels and for mandatory sanctions on those responsible for Khashoggi's death.
Democrats harshly criticized Trump's decision Tuesday and called on Congress to cut off arms sales to Saudi Arabia and end support for Saudi Arabia's war against the Iran-backed Houthi rebels in neighboring Yemen, which is facing a humanitarian crisis.
"Standing with Saudi Arabia is not 'America First!'" said Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia, where Khashoggi lived. "President Trump has sided with a murderous regime over patriotic American intelligence officials."
Democrat Dianne Feinstein of California, a member of the Senate intelligence committee, said Khashoggi was killed by agents of the Saudi government in a "premeditated murder, plain and simple," and she said she would introduce legislation requiring intelligence agencies to release an unclassified public assessment.
WASHINGTON - The Trump administration plans to grant U.S. troops on the Mexican border the authority to use force to help protect Border Patrol officers, defense officials said Tuesday, a significant widening of a mission already criticized as politically motivated rather than a national security priority.
President Trump is expected a sign an executive order giving armed troops the authority to intervene if U.S. personnel are endangered by migrants trying to cross the border, the officials said. The order doesn't rule out use of deadly force.
The order could face legal challenges to determine if it violates a U.S. law that bars active duty military from conducting domestic law enforcement functions. The Posse Comitatus Act, first passed in 1878 and amended several times, is intended to limit the government's ability to use military personnel within the United States except in natural disasters, terrorist attacks and other national emergencies.
Roughly 5,900 active duty soldiers and Marines were sent to border posts in California, Texas and Arizona shortly before the Nov. 6 election in one of the largest such deployments in decades. Most of the troops are unarmed and restricted from interacting with migrants, and critics - including some former senior military officers - condemned the operation as using active duty troops for partisan gain.
Trump's expected expansion of their role is likely to deepen questions into whether he is trampling longstanding practices on the legal use of the military on U.S. soil, and raises the risk that a confrontation with unarmed migrants could escalate into deadly violence.
It also could lengthen the time at least some of those troops must spend away from home. Commanders previously have said they plan to withdraw all troops by Dec. 15 unless an extension is ordered. After news reports suggested that some troops could be withdrawn this week, the Pentagon pushed back and said some may be transferred to other border posts.
"We are continually assessing our resources and refining requirements," the Army command based in San Antonio, Texas, that is overseeing the operation said in a statement Tuesday. "We may shift some forces ... to engineering support missions in California and other areas. No specific timeline for redeployment has been determined."
The deployment will cost about $72 million through Dec. 15, but the final cost "has yet to be determined and will depend on the total size, duration and scope" of the operation, according to Col. Rob Manning, a Pentagon spokesman.
So far, the troops on the border have been authorized only to protect other military personnel. Expanding that authority to help protect Border Patrol agents, who are also armed, would likely involve military police units, officials said.
Trump suggested last month that the military might open fire on anyone who threw rocks at them on the border, a statement he later amended, saying migrants who threw rocks would be arrested and prosecuted, not shot. The Border Patrol has long faced criticism that officers have used excessive force, including killing unarmed individuals.
Democrats stepped up their criticism of the deployment Tuesday, accusing Trump of deploying the military unnecessarily for partisan gain before the election by exaggerating the threat from caravans of Central American migrants. Several thousand people have arrived in Tijuana, near the the San Ysidro border crossing, but more are en route and are expected to seek asylum.
"It was not a respectful use of our military to take service members away from their duties and send them to the border as politicized props, and President Trump should not have done it," said Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.), who is likely to take over as chairman of the House Armed Services Committee in January. "They should all be returned to their regular duties."
Trump ordered the deployment - at one point he said it could grow to 15,000 troops - to block what he repeatedly warned was a looming "invasion" of criminals, gang members and terrorists moving north through Mexico. By all accounts, the bulk of those on the move are families fleeing violence in Central America.
The president has barely mentioned the supposed threat since the election, but the White House scrambled after it took flak on Monday when news reports suggested the Pentagon might withdraw some troops this week that have largely finished installing razor wire and building obstacles at border crossing points. The expected executive order was first reported by CNN.
Under longstanding Pentagon rules, any military response to possible violence by migrants must be proportional to the perceived threat. Officials refused to disclose specific guidelines being considered for changing those rules, and declined to speak on the record, citing Pentagon regulations.
"We would not treat a mob of unarmed migrants in the same way as we would treat armed combatants," the official said. "I would expect them to follow the standard rules."
Border Patrol agents are armed and have authority to protect themselves. But the Department of Homeland Security, which includes Customs and Border Protection, the parent agency of the Border Patrol, asked the Pentagon for help protecting its personnel before Trump sent troops to the border in late October.
The Pentagon rejected the request over concerns that Trump's initial deployment order did not give troops the legal power to use force in assisting law enforcement within the United States, officials said. Trump signed that order in April when he dispatched 2,100 National Guard troops to the border.
Homeland Security officials, however, continued to press for the military to be authorized to use force. As long as Trump signs the executive order, the Pentagon no longer objects to protecting Border Patrol personnel and believes it would not be violating the Posse Comitatus Act, one official said.
"As far as we're concerned, if our forces are simply protecting others who happen to be law enforcement, it still isn't a law enforcement role" for the military, one of the officials said.
According to a 2018 Congressional Research Service report on the statute, the Posse Comitatus Act allows use of military force to prevent loss of life and to protect federal government functions, exceptions that Pentagon lawyers may invoke to justify use of troops to protect Border Patrol agents.
But confrontations involving armed troops sent to the border to assist law enforcement have led to deaths in the past. In 1997, an 18-year-old American was killed by a Marine near the U.S. border, an incident that led to a temporary suspension of troop patrols there.
Pentagon officials previously have said the current deployment is only authorized until Dec. 15 unless the Department of Homeland Security requests an extension. A drawdown in the next few weeks could mean they would leave the border before some of the migrant caravans have arrived.
The first troops to be withdrawn are likely to be engineering units that have largely finished beefing up defenses at border crossing points. The Pentagon also sent military logistics, helicopter units and a small number of infantry, public affairs and other types of military specialists.
Three Democratic lawmakers wrote Tuesday to Defense Secretary James N. Mattis criticizing the border deployment and signaling that they intend to investigate the White House move when Democrats take control of the House in January.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Hillsborough) and Beto O'Rourke (D-Texas), said they were "increasingly concerned about the lack of planning for and continued lack of clarity surrounding this operation, the lack of a clear mission for the deployed troops, the cost of this operation, and the appearance that the president is using the military for partisan political purposes."
Among other questions, they asked Mattis to provide details about troops' use of force rules on the border, alluding to Trump's comment about shooting rock-throwing protestors.
Reports of a possible attempt by some to rush illegally through the San Ysidro Port of Entry prompted the temporary suspension of operations there early Monday, but officials said later it was a false alarm.
President Trump's lawyer Rudy Giuliani said special counsel Robert Mueller did not ask about possible obstruction of justice in his questions to Trump.
Giuliani told Axios that none of the written answers Trump gave Mueller on Tuesday addressed his actions while in office. Giuliani added that Trump will not answer any questions about obstruction of justice moving forward and warned against the possibility that Mueller will subpoena the president.
"I think that he would not win a legal battle if he did that, and I think it would consume months," Giuliani said. "I don't think he has any way to compel testimony on obstruction because the argument of executive privilege would be very, very strong. It all relates to a period of time after he was president."
Giuliani added that he believes Trump has answered "any" question Mueller has about obstruction "in interviews, tweets."
"Other witnesses have given it to him," he added. "And the law definitely requires that if you're going to subpoena a president, you have to show that you can't get the information any place else."
Another member of Trump's legal team, Jay Sekulow, on Tuesday said Trump submitted cover "issues regarding the Russia-related topics of the inquiry."
The submission came after months of high-stakes negotiations between Mueller's team and the president's lawyers about what answers Trump would provide for investigators.
The president has so far declined to sit down for an interview with Mueller or answer questions about whether he obstructed the federal investigation into possible ties between the Trump campaign and Russia.
Giuliani said the special counsel's written questions "looked like a law school exam ... one big long group of questions, that were multi-part questions."
He said some of the questions addressed whether Trump knew about Donald Trump Jr.'s meeting with a Russian lawyer in Trump Tower. Others asked about a 2016 press conference during which Trump said, "Russia, if you're listening, I hope you're able to find the 30,000 (Hillary Clinton) emails that are missing."
The lawyer added that his continual attacks on the Mueller investigation haven't "come up."
Mueller's team is reportedly working on its final report.
COLLEGE PARK, Md. — A University of Maryland student has died from an adenovirus-related illness. CBS station WJZ-TV reports the student, identified as 18-year-old UMD freshman Olivia Paregol, was in her first semester of college.
The University of Maryland issued a letter acknowledging the death, though never naming anyone officially.
The letter acknowledged in part that on November 19, the university learned that "the testing of one specimen sent to the CDC revealed Adenovirus 7, a strain that may cause more severe illness."
Adenovirus has been in the news in recent weeks after at least 11 children died from the disease at a rehab facility in New Jersey.
Paregol's father spoke to WJZ the same day he had to make funeral arrangements for his daughter.
"Just the sweetest girl that you would ever possibly meet," said Ian Paregol, her father.
© CBS Baltimore adenovirus-1120umdstudent.jpgParegol said he wants the world to know just what his 18-year-old daughter means to him and the family, now mourning her death.
"She was just a real beautiful soul and a wonderful person," Paregol said.
The University of Maryland's Health Center said it learned of the student's illness on November 1.
Since then, there have been reports of five additional cases of students with an adenovirus-associated illness.
Adenoviruses are common causes of colds, but there are strains that can cause more serious illnesses.
Paregol calls the timing of the information from the University following his daughter's death troubling.
"We didn't know that there were other cases of adenovirus," Paregol said.
Olivia's father said she had been sick since September with a cough and made frequent stops to the University's Health Center.
It's also where she would get medication for her Crohn's Disease, which her dad says weakened her immune system.
Doctors said it would have definitely put her at risk for complications.
"When the virus gets into the lungs it can cause damage to the lungs and often you'll get what's called a superinfection or a bacterial infection on top of it, which can also be very serious," said Dr. Scott Krugman, Vice Chair Pediatrics Sinai Hospital.
Paregol also said he now wonders if an outbreak of mold on campus back in the fall made things worse.
Olivia lived in one of the dorms where students were evacuated so cleaning could be done.
The University has said online it appears there is no connection between the two. But Olivia's father is not ready to jump to any conclusions.
"It didn't help the illness, I think that's a really fair statement we don't know there's causation yet, but it didn't help things," Paregol said.
The University warned students in its letter that there is no specific medication to treat the infection in a non-hospitalized individual.
They told students that vigilance is extremely important, particularly for those with chronic medical problems like asthma, diabetes, or illnesses that lower your immune system, or if you take medicine that lowers your immune system.
Students have also been advised to take this strain of the virus seriously, including taking preventive measures on this and other viruses, and that departments across campus began increased cleaning of surfaces around the University early in November in response to the situation.
NEW DELHI — John Allen Chau had to know that what he was about to do was extremely dangerous.
Mr. Chau, thought to be in his 20s, was floating in a kayak off a remote island in the Andaman Sea. He was about to set foot on one of the most sealed-off parts of India, an island inhabited by a small, highly enigmatic tribe whose members have killed outsiders for simply stepping on their shore.
Fishermen warned him not to go. Few outsiders had ever been there. And Indian government regulations clearly prohibited any interaction with people on the island, called North Sentinel.
But Mr. Chau pushed ahead in his kayak, which he had packed with a Bible. After that, it is a bit of a mystery what happened.
But the police say one thing is clear: Mr. Chau did not survive.
On Wednesday, the Indian authorities said that Mr. Chau had been shot with bows and arrows by tribesmen when he got on shore and that his body was still on the island. Fishermen who helped take Mr. Chau to North Sentinel told the police that they had seen tribesmen dragging his body on the beach.
It was a “misplaced adventure,’’ said Dependra Pathak, the police chief in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. “He certainly knew it was off limits.’’
Mr. Pathak said Mr. Chau, believed to be 26 or 27 and from Washington State, may have been trying to convert the islanders to Christianity. Right before he left in his kayak, Mr. Chau gave the fishermen a long note. In it, police officials said, he had written that Jesus had bestowed him with the strength to go to the most forbidden places on Earth.
The Andaman and nearby Nicobar Islands are beautiful, palm-fringed specks ringed by coral in the Indian Ocean. The government controls access very carefully; of the more than 500 islands, many areas are off limits.
On Nov. 14, Mr. Chau hired a fishing boat in Port Blair, the main city in the Andamans, to take him to North Sentinel. He waited until darkness to set off, police officials said, so he would not be detected by the authorities.
T. N. Pandit, an anthropologist who visited North Sentinel several times between 1967 and 1991, said the Sentinelese people — who officially number around 50 and who hunt with spears and arrows fashioned from scraps of metal that wash up on their shores — were more hostile to outsiders than other indigenous communities living in the Andamans.
Once, when Mr. Pandit’s expedition offered a pig to the Sentinelese, two members of the tribe walked to the edge of the beach, “speared it” and buried it in the sand.
During another encounter, Mr. Pandit was separated from his colleagues and left alone in the water. A young tribesman on the beach pulled out a knife and “made a sign as if he was carving out my body.”
“He threatened; I understood,” Mr. Pandit said. “Contact was different with the Sentinelese,” he added, noting that the Jarawa, another tribe, “invited us to come ashore and sang songs.”
Being left alone was very important for the Sentinelese, said Stephen Corry, the director of Survival International, a group that protects the rights of indigenous tribal peoples around the world.
“This tragedy should never have been allowed to happen,” Mr. Corry said in a statement, adding that the Indian government must protect the tribe from “further invaders.”
Gift-giving expeditions to the Sentinelese stopped in 1996. The Indian Navy now enforces a buffer zone to keep people away. In 2006, the Sentinelese killed two fisherman who had accidentally drifted on shore.
According to the fishermen who helped Mr. Chau, they motored for several hours from Port Blair to North Sentinel. Mr. Chau waited until the next morning, at daybreak, to try to get ashore.
He put his kayak in the water less than half a mile out and paddled toward the island.
The fishermen said that tribesmen had shot arrows at him and that he had retreated. He apparently tried several more times to reach the island over the next two days, the police say, offering gifts such as a small soccer ball, fishing line and scissors. But on the morning of Nov. 17, the fishermen said they saw the islanders with his body.
The seven people who helped Mr. Chau reach the island have been arrested and charged with culpable homicide not amounting to murder and with violating rules protecting aboriginal tribes.
Another case has been registered against “unknown persons” for killing Mr. Chau. But in the past, the authorities have said that it is virtually impossible to prosecute members of the protected tribes because of the area’s inaccessibility and the Indian government’s decision not to interfere in their lives.
In a blog post from several years ago, Mr. Chau said he had coached soccer, worked for AmeriCorps and that he was “an explorer at heart.” The Indian police said he had visited the Andamans at least three times.
When asked what was the top of his must-do list, Mr. Chau had written on the blog: “Going back to the Andaman and Nicobar Islands in India is on the top — there’s so much to see and do there!”
© Franco Origlia/Getty Images North America/Getty Images PISA, ITALY - AUGUST 24: Tourists visit the Leaning Tower of Pisa and the Cathedral in the "Square of Miracle" August 24, 2002 in Pisa, Italy. The tower reopened in December 2001 after 10 years of stabilization work. Visitors can, through the end of August, go to the top of the tower during the night. (Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images)
The Leaning Tower of Pisa has slowly started defying its name, losing four centimeters of its tilt over the past 17 years.
The movement, roughly 1.5 inches, comes after extensive consolidation work done between 1993 and 2001, which was required to reverse its slump and keep the tower upright.
It means the building in Tuscany, which attracts thousands of tourists every day, is back to the tilt it had at the beginning of the 19th century, according to professor Salvatore Settis, who leads the surveillance group of the monument.
"The reduction of the tilt will not last forever -- but it's very significant and now we have good reasons to hope that the tower can last for at least another 200 years," Settis told CNN.
When corrective work began on the tower it was leaning six degrees, or 13 feet, off the perpendicular on its south side. Soil was removed on the opposite side in order to reverse its trajectory.
"Technically it has been an incredibly complex work -- but the concept of the project is easy to understand," Settis said. "The tower is leaning towards the South, so part of the soil under the northern side, basically sand and clay, was eliminated, creating cavities that the weight of the tower is now closing".
In good health
The operation forced the closure of the Tower to visitors for nearly a decade. It was reopened in late 2001.
Pisa's most famous landmark began sinking into its surroundings almost immediately after being erected.
Construction of the tower started in 1173 in the then-seafaring republic of Pisa, but the sandy soil meant it quickly began its tilt.
This latest measurement shows the good health of the monument, according to Gianluca De Felice, director of the Opera della Primaziale Pisana, the institution in charge of the complex of monuments on the Square of Miracles.
"We can express cautious optimism," De Felice said.
The tower is constantly monitored, and the data are examined by a surveillance committee which meets every three months.
© Yuri Gripas/Reuters Acting attorney general Matthew G. Whitaker worked for a charity called the Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust for three years, starting in 2014.In the three years after he arrived in Washington in 2014, Matthew G. Whitaker received more than $1.2 million as the leader of a charity that reported having no other employees, some of the best pay of his career.
The Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust described itself as a new watchdog nonprofit dedicated to exposing unethical conduct by public officials. For Whitaker, it became a lucrative steppingstone in a swift rise from a modest law practice in Iowa to the nation’s top law enforcement job. As FACT’s president, he regularly appeared on radio and television, often to skewer liberals.
But FACT’s origins and the source of funding used to pay Whitaker — now the acting attorney general — remain obscured. An examination of state and federal records, and interviews with those involved, show that the group is part of a national network of nonprofits that often work in concert to amplify conservative messages.
Contrary to its claims in news releases and a tax filing, the group was created under a different name two years before Whitaker’s arrival, according to incorporation and IRS records. At least two of the organizers were involved in another conservative charity using the same address.
In its application to the IRS for status as a tax-exempt organization, the organizers reported that the group would study the impact of environmental regulations on businesses, records show. In that incarnation, the group took no action and “only existed on paper,” one man named in IRS filings as a board member told The Washington Post. Another named in a state filing as a board member said he never agreed to be on the board.
Whitaker’s 2017 pay from the charity — more than $500,000 for the first nine months, or half the charity’s receipts for the year, according to tax filings — and the group’s earlier, dormant incarnation have not been previously reported by media.
Whitaker did not respond to requests for interviews. Justice Department spokeswoman Kerri Kupec declined to answer detailed questions about his involvement in FACT, referring a reporter to the charity.
A FACT spokesman who provided a statement on the condition that his name not be used declined to disclose the source of its funding.
“Like nearly all non-profit organizations — including those with similarly stated missions — FACT does not and is not required to release its donor information,” the statement said. “This protects free speech rights of all of these groups’ supporters as outlined in the First Amendment.”
The statement said that FACT “properly notified the IRS of its name change.”
“It is not unusual for a corporation, not for profit or profit, to refine its name and purpose, and since its inception FACT’s purpose has always been consistent with non-profit law and all appropriate notifications were made,” the statement said.
The spokesman did not respond to questions about whether the group told the IRS about its change in mission, as is required by IRS rules.
When the nonprofit was launched in 2012, Whitaker was a former U.S. attorney with a modest legal practice in Iowa that paid him $79,000 that year, according to a later disclosure he filed for a failed Senate bid. He also had several local side businesses, including a day-care center and a trailer manufacturer.
A Virginia resident named Raymond Wotring and two others filed papers to create the Free Market American Educational Foundation, state and federal records show. Its stated mission was to “conduct research and provide informational studies on free market concepts in relation to government regulations and policy.”
Wotring and one of the other founding members had also served on another conservative nonprofit, Americans for Limited Government, which shared the same mailing address, records show.
Wotring did not respond to multiple phone calls or to a note left at his home.
James Crumley, who provides marketing services to conservative nonprofits and campaigns, was listed in an IRS filing as one of the directors. In a phone call, he initially said he did not remember anything about the group, including why it was formed.
“I can only speculate since I didn’t even remember this group existed,” he wrote in an email later.
Crumley said he’d learned that the group held no meetings and apparently had no bank account in its first two years. “The organization only existed on paper and didn’t do anything at all,” he wrote.
Noah Wall, now a vice president of advocacy for a conservative nonprofit called FreedomWorks, was listed in Virginia state filings as a director of the group in 2014. Wall said he was surprised to learn of his role. He said he was approached by Wotring but never agreed to join.
“I never signed anything,” he said. “I’m not entirely sure what any of this is.”
On July 21, 2014, the IRS approved the group’s application for tax-exempt charity status, which was also signed by Wotring, the group’s secretary. In its application, the group said it would be nonpartisan and aim “to develop unbiased research on how government regulations on environmental policy can impact business.” The group by then had changed its address to a UPS Store in Fairfax, which was also used by Americans for Limited Government.
But just six weeks later, the newly approved charity changed its name, according to corporate records in Virginia. It was briefly called Working for Rights to Express & Communication.
The name was changed again in October of that year, to the Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust, according to records in Virginia. That same month, Whitaker, who had lost a primary bid for a U.S. Senate seat, became the group’s leader, according to Kupec, the Justice spokeswoman.
The charity’s mailing address was moved from Virginia to an office suite at a prestigious spot on K Street in the nation’s capital — a virtual office and mailing address shared by 200 organizations.
Kupec did not respond to questions about how Whitaker connected with the nonprofit.
Marcus Owens, a lawyer and nonprofit specialist who oversaw the IRS’s exempt-organizations division for a decade, said that in its first years the nonprofit appears to have been a “shell charity” that “was not utilized and remained on the shelf” until Whitaker’s arrival.
Taking over an existing charity makes it easier for groups to quickly stand up the operation and accept tax-deductible donations, he said. But charities that change their names and missions are required to alert the IRS, he said, to ensure they are still operating within guidelines for charities.
“It’s very possible that this organization is misusing its status as a charity,” said David Nelson, a specialist on nonprofit organizations and a former tax partner at the Ernst & Young accounting firm, who reviewed the group’s tax filings at The Post’s request. “It appears the IRS never gave approval to FACT.”
In its federal tax filing for 2014, FACT declared that it had not changed its name or its mission that year, records show, and there was no mention of the prior names. The spokesman for FACT declined to provide documents that he said showed it had notified the IRS of the name change.
In the 2014 filing, FACT reported that it had no employees and that it paid Whitaker $63,000 for three months of work, 30 hours a week, as president and director. It received $600,000 in donations, the document shows.
The Post determined from other tax filings that the money came from DonorsTrust, a large nonprofit organization that wealthy contributors have used to anonymously give millions to conservative nonprofits in recent years.
The president of DonorsTrust, Lawson Bader, declined to identify the source of the funding contributed to FACT through his organization.
FACT launched its advocacy efforts shortly after Whitaker took over, describing itself in a news release as a “new watchdog group.”
On its website and in tax filings in 2014, FACT said that its mission was “to educate the public about unethical conduct on the part of public officials by publicizing these actions through media outlets throughout the country” and through its own website.
The new three-member board now comprised Whitaker, Whitaker’s former law partner and a conservative activist, Neil Corkery, who is involved in operating or funding multiple conservative charities.
Whitaker’s former partner, William Gustoff, did not return calls for comment. Corkery did not respond to phone messages seeking comment.
The IRS prohibits charities from directly or indirectly participating in political campaigns, for or against candidates. The prohibition is rarely enforced.
The FACT spokesman said the group is nonpartisan and focuses on Democrats and Republicans alike.
A Post analysis of more than 200 television and radio appearances by Whitaker from 2014 to September 2017, when he was named chief of staff to then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions, shows that Whitaker was overwhelmingly focused on Democrats.
Whitaker or the often-conservative television hosts interviewing him uttered the name of one of the five Republican lawmakers that the group has targeted in elections complaints a combined 37 times, compared with more than 750 mentions of Hillary Clinton.
Most of those Clinton references — more than 600 — came in the run-up to the 2016 election, and nearly all were comments critical of Clinton’s tenure, including her email scandal or possible ethical conflicts surrounding the Clinton Foundation.
After the election, Whitaker’s focus in those interviews turned to another target, special counsel Robert S. Mueller III. Whitaker or hosts named Mueller 185 times.
Tax filings show that one of FACT’s biggest contractors was America Rising, a research and communications firm in Arlington, Va., “whose mission is to help its clients defeat Democrats,” according to its website. FACT paid America Rising at least $500,000 for research from 2015 to 2017, tax filings show.
FACT paid another half-million dollars to CRC Public Relations in Alexandria, Va. The FACT representative who declined to be named in this report is a CRC executive.
In December 2014, FACT began posting news items and commentary on its new website, including the prediction that a super PAC formed to promote Clinton’s presidential aspirations might someday illegally coordinate with her future campaign.
“These moves will likely draw [Federal Election Commission] complaints due to possible federal election law violations,” the post says.
Whitaker, the face of the organization, was often in Iowa in those early months, according to a review of interviews he conducted at the time. But being the president of a nonprofit conferred legitimacy on him, helping to raise his profile in Washington even as it allowed the group’s backers to claim tax deductions.
He was increasingly appearing as a commentator on conservative media outlets — including Newsmax TV and Fox TV — and last year became a paid legal analyst on CNN.
In addition to targeting Clinton, Whitaker took aim at Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) while filing election law complaints against Democrats and some Republicans. When asked by a radio host about the group’s pursuit of Democrats, Whitaker said, “It is a target-rich environment.”
In the three years he worked at the charity, Whitaker’s pay rose sharply each year, tax filings show. Last year, he was paid $55,000 a month. In all, he earned $1,219,000 — more than a third of the donations the group received from 2014 to 2017.
An IRS spokesman declined to comment, citing federal privacy law.
Alice Crites and Andrew Ba Tran contributed to this report.
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Ohio State Highway Patrol troopers have arrested a California man, charging him with a felony, after a traffic stop in Madison County.
The incident took place around 12 p.m. on I-70.
During the traffic stop, troopers seized 250 pounds of marijuana, valued at around $1.2 million.
Troopers stopped a 2017 Penske truck with Indiana registration for a speeding when a patrol drug-sniffing K-9 alerted to the truck.
A probable cause search revealed the drugs.
The driver, Benjamin Malugani, 23, was arrested and taken to the Tri-County Jail and charged with possession of marijuana, a second-degree felony.
If convicted, he could face up to eight years in prison and up to a $15,000 fine.