IT40 News for 01/23/2019

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IT40

#1 What’s in the Republican immigration bill, and why Democrats oppose it

© Jim Young/ REUTERS
U.S. President Donald Trump departs with U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Vice President Mike Pence after addressing a closed Senate Republican policy lunch as a partial government shutdown enters its 19th day on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., January 9, 2019. REUTERS/Jim Young

Senate Republicans are pushing ahead with a 1,300-page funding bill that would give President Donald Trump the $5.7 billion he wants for an expansion of the southern border wall, grant temporary protections for "Dreamers" and finally end the longest government shutdown in history.

Democrats have called the bill dead on arrival, but only partly because it includes Trump's full request for wall funding. They say the protections for Dreamers are not nearly enough, and complain that the bill was stuffed with unrelated, anti-immigration measures that would dramatically expand immigration enforcement in the U.S. and cut back the ability of foreigners to request asylum.

Republicans call the bill a reasonable compromise to end the partial government shutdown that makes a sound investment toward border security. Democrats call it a "Trojan horse" that provides only short-term help for Dreamers in exchange for long-term threats against them.

A senior Department of Homeland Security official said on Tuesday that the bill, which was crafted by Senate Republicans with help from the Trump administration, was a "starting point" that is open for negotiation.

"We have no illusions that we have drafted the world’s first perfect piece of legislation, and we would be happy to have conversations with Democrats and anybody who would like to come to the table and talk about ways to improve this legislation and find a consensus to pass it," said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to brief reporters on the details of the bill.

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#2 U.S. Intelligence Warns That Russia and China Are Seizing on Global Turmoil

© Getty
BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA - NOVEMBER 30, 2018: China's President Xi Jinping (L) shakes hands with Russia's President Vladimir Putin during a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the 2018 G20 Leaders' Summit. Mikhail Metzel/TASS (Photo by Mikhail Metzel\TASS via Getty Images)

(Bloomberg) -- Russia and China are taking advantage of changes in the “strategic environment” that has prevailed for almost a century to gain influence and undermine American objectives, according to a new strategy issued by U.S. intelligence agencies.

The document released Tuesday says global trends such as the weakening of international institutions, attacks on Western democracy and isolationist tendencies within governments have emerged as major challenges.

Dan Coats

“Russian efforts to increase its influence and authority are likely to continue and may conflict with U.S. goals and priorities in multiple regions,” according to the strategy released by Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats. “Chinese military modernization and continued pursuit of economic and territorial predominance in the Pacific region and beyond remain a concern, though opportunities exist to work with Beijing on issues of mutual concern” including North Korea’s nuclear arsenal.

Read more: A QuickTake on how China’s spies became key players in the trade war

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#3 Mexico screening for criminals in latest migrant caravan; Salvadoran gang member wanted in murder is nabbed

A caravan of several thousand Central American migrants has traveled to the U.S.-Mexico border.

(Pictured) Maria Lila Meza, 39, and two children run with other migrants away from tear gas in front of the border wall between the U.S. and Mexico on Nov. 25.

Slideshow by photo services

Mexican officials say they're actively screening for criminals and gang members in the latest migrant caravan to head north toward America —  and apprehended an 18th Street gang member from El Salvador in Tapachula, who was traveling with the caravan.

The gang member was identified as Amílcar Orlando “N,” and was caught by the Chiapas prosecutor’s office with the aid of El Salvador’s government, officials confirmed to Fox News. Tapachula is a city in the far southwest of the state of Chiapas in Mexico near the Guatemalan border.

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#4 Venezuela accuses US of trying to engineer coup

Video by Bloomberg

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Venezuela's vice president on Tuesday accused her US counterpart of "openly calling for a coup d'etat" ahead of a mass street protest announced by the opposition for Wednesday.

"Yankee go home! We won't let them interfere in the affairs of the homeland," Delcy Rodriguez said in televised remarks.

Her comments came in reaction to American Vice President Mike Pence, who had earlier posted a video on Twitter in which he branded Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro "a dictator with no legitimate claim to power."

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#5 Giuliani’s Media Blitz Draws Ire Of Trump And Some Allies

NEW YORK (AP) — Rudy Giuliani’s latest media blitz, which was filled with a dizzying array of misstatements and hurried clarifications, agitated President Donald Trump and some of his allies, who have raised the possibility that the outspoken presidential lawyer be at least temporarily sidelined from televised interviews.

Trump was frustrated with Giuliani, according to three White House officials and Republicans close to the White House who were not authorized to speak publicly about private conversations. The president told advisers that he felt his lawyer had obscured what he believed was a public relations victory: the special counsel’s rare public statement disputing portions of a BuzzFeed News story that Trump instructed his former attorney, Michael Cohen, to lie before Congress.

The president told confidants that Giuliani had “changed the headlines” for the worse and raised the possibility that Giuliani do fewer cable hits, at least for a while, according to the officials and Republicans.

Several of Trump’s influential outside allies also have begun expressing reservations about Giuliani. Some members of this informal network of advisers, whom the president frequently calls from the White House residence, urged Trump in recent days to bench Giuliani — but most stopped short of suggesting he be fired, according to four White House officials and Republicans close to the White House.

Trump has not expressed an inclination to dismiss Giuliani.

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#6 Teen In MAGA Hat: ‘I Had Every Right’ To Stand There

Nick Sandmann, the MAGA hat-wearing teen at the center of Friday’s highly publicized stand-off with Native American activist Nathan Phillips in Washington, D.C., believes his actions were “not disrespectful.”

Footage of the Covington Catholic High School student ― and his peers ― went viral following the incident, showing the group surrounding Phillips on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial as he performed an American Indian Movement song.

Sandmann, who is seen in the video smiling just inches away from the Native American elder’s face, told NBC’s Savannah Guthrie he “had every right” to stand before Phillips.

“My position is that I was not disrespectful to Mr. Phillips. I respect him, I would like to talk to him,” he said. “In hindsight, I wish we could have walked away and avoided the whole thing.”

Sandmann’s sit-down interview comes after an earlier statement was released on his behalf by a public relations firm in which he claimed to have been singled out by Phillips.

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#7 ‘The Devil Is Coming!!!’: Twitter Freaks Out Over Sinkhole Near White House

A sinkhole opened up near the White House on Tuesday and Twitter wags immediately brought the gags.

D.C. Police shared a photo of the depression in the ground just one block away from President Donald Trump’s official residence:

In response, Tweeters cracked jokes about the significance of the sinkhole appearing during the longest government shutdown in U.S. history and noted the many others that had formed during Trump’s time in office:

Check out this explainer about sinkholes below:

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#8 Gun foe Bloomberg accused of hypocrisy after calling for armed private force at Johns Hopkins U.

Liberal billionaire Michael Bloomberg bemoaned the lack of a private armed security force at Johns Hopkins University, his alma mater, due to the murder rate in Baltimore.

The former mayor of New York City, who’s likely to run for president in 2020, has long been an advocate for gun control, but his comments on Tuesday raised eyebrows and accusations that his support of an armed private force on campus were at odds with his views on gun control.

BATTLE OF THE BILLIONAIRES BREWING? TRUMP COULD MEET HIS MATCH IN 2020

“When you have a city that has the murder rate that Baltimore has, I think it’s ridiculous to think that they shouldn’t be armed,” Bloomberg told reporters after a meeting at Maryland's Statehouse in Annapolis with Democratic lawmakers and state Attorney General Brian Frosh, according to the Baltimore Sun.

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#9 Senate Leaders Push Votes on Dueling Bills to End Shutdown

WASHINGTON—The Senate will vote this week on efforts to reopen the federal government for the first time since the partial government shutdown began, taking up dueling measures after more than a month of gridlock.

The chamber will vote Thursday on rival proposals by President Trump and congressional Democrats to end the shutdown. The votes will come one day before hundreds of thousands of federal employees will miss their second paycheck Friday.

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#10 Operation Cobra: The untold story of how a CIA officer trained a network of agents who found the Soviet missiles in Cuba

A strong southeasterly wind was whipping the surface of the Caribbean on the night of March 11, 1962, as the sport fishing boat approached the Cuban shoreline. The 30-foot Forest Johnson Prowler was one of the strongest, fastest wooden boats available, but its engine was quiet enough to allow its three crew members to bring it to within a mile of the shore. Those sailors were some of the most experienced mariners in the CIA’s small naval force of Cuban expatriates, but even they were not allowed to see the faces of the two hooded agents who clambered over the boat’s side into a 16-foot fiberglass canoe packed with supplies.

The rough sea almost ended the agents’ mission before it began, when their canoe capsized as soon as they got in, spilling its precious cargo of men and gear into the swelling ocean. The crew scrambled to retrieve the packages, which were waterproofed cans wrapped in plastic. With the canoe righted and the gear stowed again, the two agents climbed back in and managed to stay upright. Pointing the canoe toward the coast, they paddled off into the gaping mouth of the San Diego River.

The canoe had been the idea of Tom Hewitt, the agents’ case officer in the CIA’s huge Miami station, where he waited for word of the mission. Agency rules forbade him to take part in the team’s infiltration, but he felt a deep responsibility for the pair, a principal agent whom he had trained to manage a network of subagents, and his radio operator. It would be Hewitt’s job to guide their actions from afar, now that they were back in their homeland. A 10-year veteran of the CIA, Hewitt had spent the previous six months teaching the principal agent everything he knew about how to run an effective espionage network, doing all he could to mitigate the substantial risks that the agent would have to take in Fidel Castro’s Cuba. The team’s mission was to establish a network that could be used to gather intelligence and, if necessary, to foment counterrevolution against the Castro regime. Getting rid of Castro was a high priority for the administration of President John F. Kennedy and for the CIA. Hewitt knew this was an important mission, but he could not have imagined that his team would soon play a vital role in preventing nuclear Armageddon.

*****

When the Soviets secretly deployed medium and intermediate-range ballistic missiles to Cuba in the summer of 1962, it set off a chain of events that almost led to nuclear war. Scores of books and thousands of articles have been written about the Cuban missile crisis, yet Tom Hewitt’s name is absent from all of them. Photos of the missile sites taken by U-2 spy aircraft in October of that year are almost always cited as the key intelligence breakthrough that gave the United States a priceless advantage during the nuclear standoff. A Google search for “Tom Hewitt and Cuban missile crisis and CIA” turns up a single reference in a book by one of his old CIA bosses that refers to his role running “road-watch” teams during the United States’ secret war in Laos later in the decade.

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#11 U.S.Kamala Harris presidential campaign attracts more donors in day one than Bernie Sanders’ first 24 hours in 2016Saudi Sisters Who Drowned in the Hudson Committed Suicide, Medical Examiner SaysAfter a month of shutdown, US federal workers turn to food banksLos Angeles teachers end week-long strike after reaching ‘historic agreement’Trump Says He Told Sarah Huckabee Sanders ‘Not to Bother’ With Press BriefingsNew tell-all book depicts ‘out of control’ Trump White House staff

California Senator Kamala Harris has raised over $1.5m with an average donation of $37 per donation during the first 24 hours of her presidential campaign, aides to her campaign say.

Ms Harris received the support from over 38,000 donors, topping the 35,000 people who pitched in to prop up Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders when he began is presidential bid in 2016 against Hillary Clinton — but still roughly matching his first day total of $1.5m.

“These numbers reveal a campaign powered by the people — an energetic, nationwide movement eager to elect Senator Harris and support her vision of an America that actually works for the people”, Mike Nellis, the campaign’s digital aide, said.

Of those funds, around $1m was raised in the first 12 hours, according to the campaign. The official time the campaign reached that threshold was 7.27pm ET.

The campaign also received donations fro all 50 states within the first 30 minutes of the campaign’s announcement on Monday morning, and received $110,000 in revenue from the senator’s online store. The email list of the campaign grew by 20 per cent during that time, they said.

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#12 BusinessGoogle spends big on U.S. lobbying amid antitrust, bias battlesWATCH LIVE: Kamala Harris speaks after announcing presidential runChris Cuomo Blames Kamala Harris For Not Addressing Racist ‘Birther’ Hoax

By Paresh Dave

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Alphabet Inc's Google disclosed on Tuesday that it spent a company-record $21.2 million on lobbying the United States government in 2018, topping its previous high of $18.22 million in 2012, as the search engine operator fights wide-ranging scrutiny into its practices.

Google said in a quarterly disclosure to Congress that it spent $4.9 million on lobbying activities during the fourth quarter, slightly above $4.4 million in the same period a year ago. The 2018 total also surpassed $18.04 million spent on lobbying in 2017, according to tracking of the filings by the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics.

Google declined to comment beyond its filing.

Facebook Inc disclosed that it also spent its most ever on U.S. government lobbying in 2018, $12.62 million. That was up from $11.51 million a year ago, according to the Center for Responsive Politics data.

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#13 Politics’World will end in 12 years if we don’t address climate change,’ Ocasio-Cortez saysGoogle, Facebook Set 2018 Lobbying Records as Tech Scrutiny IntensifiesBig Pharma Lobby Group Spent Record Amount as Reform Push Grows

The youngest woman ever elected to Congress again made headlines and sparked conservative criticism when she said Monday that she and other young Americans fear "the world is going to end in 12 years if we don't address climate change."

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., made the remark during an interview with writer Ta-Nehisi Coates at the MLK Now event in New York City celebrating the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr.

Ocasio-Cortez called the fight to mitigate the effects of climate change her generation's "World War II." 

"Millennials, and Gen Z, and all these folks that come after us, are looking up and we're like, 'The world will end in 12 years if we don't address climate change, and your biggest issue is how are we gonna pay for it?'" she said.

Climate change has been a driving issue for the freshman Democrat since arriving on Capitol Hill. Back in November, she joined a group of about 200 climate change protesters outside the office of then-Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., when she arrived for her orientation. Since taking office, she has called for a "Green New Deal."

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#14 U.S.Florida police run over couple lying in the road to watch lunar eclipseThe Ocasio-Cortez EffectOcasio-Cortez challenges GOP, members of Democratic Party — and she’s just getting started

A police officer in Florida ran over two people lying on a dark road to watch the lunar eclipse, leaving them requring hospital treatment.

The West Palm Beach Police Department has confirmed the officer ran over the two people, who were taken to hospital and treated for non-life-threatening injuries after the incident on Sunday night.

Police said that the individuals, who have not been identified, were hit around 11.30pm, just at the height of the eclipse.

The officer was patrolling a park at the time, and driving at about 5mph when he struck the two.

One of the individuals was a man, and the other a woman. Both were 24-years-old and lived nearby, according to police.

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#16 Indiana man accused of letting 11-year-old drive stolen rental car to school

A warrant has been issued for the arrest of Khafilu Oshodi, 31, who has been accused of letting his 11-year-old relative drive herself to school in a stolen rental car
(Round Lake Park Police )

Police are searching for an Indiana man who allegedly let an 11-year-old family member drive herself and a 9-year-old girl to their elementary school in a stolen rental car earlier this month.

Khafilu Oshodi, 31, was reportedly in the passenger's seat when the girl pulled in to the drop-off area at John J. Murphy Elementary School in Round Lake Park, Indiana on January 9. Employees said the two girls then got out of the car, and Oshodi got in the driver's seat and drove away, the Chicago Tribune reports.

A warrant has now been issued for his arrest for two counts of child endangerment and driving with a suspended license. The car was reported stolen earlier this month, police said.

HORSES HELP FLORIDA COPS TAKE DOWN FUGITIVES RUNNING FROM DEPUTIES

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#17 Iowa’s ‘Fetal Heartbeat’ Abortion Ban Ruled Unconstitutional

Iowa’s “fetal heartbeat” law, the most restrictive abortion ban in the United States, was declared unconstitutional Tuesday, as it violates the Iowa state constitution, a state judge ruled.

Iowa’s Republican-controlled legislature passed the restriction in May 2018, outlawing the procedure after a fetal heartbeat is detected, often at six weeks and before a woman realizes she is pregnant.

In the ruling, posted online, District Court Judge Michael Huppert wrote, “It is undisputed that such cardiac activity is detectable well in advance of the fetus becoming viable.”

A fetus that is viable outside the womb, usually at 24 weeks, is widely considered the threshold in the United States to prohibit an abortion.

The district court decision is a victory for supporters of abortion rights, but abortion opponents have vowed to take the fight to Iowa’s appellate courts, the Des Moines Register and other media reported.

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#18 Judge strikes down Iowa ‘fetal heartbeat’ abortion law

An Iowa judge struck down a state law Tuesday banning a woman from obtaining an abortion once a fetus' heartbeat is detected, saying it violated the state's constitution.

Judge Michael Huppert wrote that the measure was counter to "both the due process and equal protection provisions of the Iowa Constitution as not being narrowly tailored to serve the compelling state interest of promoting potential life." Huppert also cited several cases in federal court, including decisions in 2015 and 2016 in the St. Louis-based 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, indicating that such laws were unconstitutional.

The legal challenge by abortion providers Planned Parenthood of the Heartland and the Emma Goldman Clinic kept the law from taking effect last July.

WOMEN'S MARCH RECEIVES SIGNIFICANTLY MORE BROADCAST TV COVERAGE THAN MARCH FOR LIFE, STUDY SHOWS

Fetal heartbeats can be detected as early as six weeks into a pregnancy, making the Iowa law the most restrictive anti-abortion measure in the U.S.

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#22 Indiana mayor Pete Buttigieg jumps into 2020 race

By Dan Merica, CNN

Updated 11:57 AM ET, Wed January 23, 2019

(CNN)Pete Buttigieg, the 37-year-old openly gay mayor of South Bend, Indiana, who served in the Navy during the war in Afghanistan, announced on Wednesday that he is launching an exploratory committee for a 2020 presidential bid.

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IT40 Music Videos Scheduled Lineup for CRUSH ARIZONA 2019 February 15-16, 2019 Chandler, AZ (Open list) (1 submission)

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IT40 Places & Things in the Media for 01/23/2019