IT40 News for 01/24/2019

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IT40

#1 President Donald Trump Postpones State Of The Union Until Shutdown Ends

President Donald Trump said late Wednesday that he would postpone his State of the Union address until the partial government shutdown ends and that he was not looking for an alternative venue amid an ongoing stalemate with Democratic leaders.

“I will do the Address when the Shutdown is over,” the president said on Twitter, noting that he was “not looking for an alternative venue for the SOTU Address because there is no venue that can compete with the history, tradition and importance of the House Chamber.”

Trump quickly moved to shift blame for the delayed event to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). She replied to the president’s missives with a tweet of her own shortly before midnight, saying she hoped “by saying ‘near future’ you mean you will support the House-passed package to #EndTheShutdown that the Senate will vote on tomorrow.”

“Please accept this proposal so we can re-open government, repay our federal workers and then negotiate our differences,” she concluded.

Pelosi had initially requested the president delay the address amid the ongoing shutdown, which has stretched into its second month. About 800,000 federal workers have been affected and are set to miss their second paychecks of the year on Friday.

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#2 Senators hope defeat of dueling plans produces a solution to shutdown

© J. Scott Applewhite/AP
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), with Secretary for the Majority Laura Dove, right, walks to the chamber at the Capitol in Washington on Wednesday.

The Senate plans to hold dueling votes Thursday to end the longest government shutdown in history. Like many, Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) thinks both proposals will fail.

That, in the eyes of Rounds and others, is the point.

“I think this is basically a public statement of what all of us know to already be the case,” Rounds said in an interview. “But it provides an avenue.”

Subscribe to the Post Most newsletter: Today’s most popular stories on The Washington Post

Where that road will lead is an open question. Still, for the first time this year, the Senate is taking concrete steps to try to resolve the partial shutdown — offering a glimmer of hope for a deal to reopen shuttered agencies.

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#3 Tech’AI’ to hit hardest in U.S. heartland and among less-skilled: study

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Midwestern states hit hardest by job automation in recent decades, places that were pivotal to U.S. President Donald Trump's election, will be under the most pressure again as advances in artificial intelligence reshape the workplace, according to a new study by Brookings Institution researchers.

The spread of computer-driven technology into middle-wage jobs like trucking, construction, and office work, and some lower-skilled occupations like food preparation and service, will also further divide the fast-growing cities where skilled workers are moving and other areas, and separate the high- skilled workers whose jobs are less prone to automation from everyone else regardless of location, the study found.

(Jobs most at risk of automation by state: https://tmsnrt.rs/2HpTe5H)

But the pain may be most intense in a familiar group of manufacturing-heavy states like Wisconsin, Ohio and Iowa, whose support swung the U.S. electoral college for Trump, a Republican, and which have among the largest share of jobs, around 27 percent, at "high risk" of further automation in coming years.

At the other end, solidly Democratic coastal states like New York and Maryland had only about a fifth of jobs in the high-risk category.

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#4 Ocasio-Cortez sides with GOP in opposing Dem bill to end shutdown, citing ICE funding

U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez votes against a bill to end the partial government shutdown on the grounds that the proposal would fund Immigration and Customs Enforcement and border security.

U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez defied her party Wednesday, voting against a bill to end the partial government shutdown -- on the grounds that the proposal would fund Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and border security.

Nevertheless, the bill, backed by the Democratic Party’s leadership, passed 234-180. Every House Democrat  – except Ocasio-Cortez – fell in line to vote for it, and the measure even attracted the support of 10 House Republicans.

OCASIO-CORTEZ, OTHER PROGRESSIVE DEMS LAND SPOT ON HOUSE OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE

Most Republicans opposed the measure because it came up short on President Trump's demands regarding the border wall by providing only $1.6 billion for border security-related initiatives -- far short of the more than $5 billion Trump was seeking.

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#6 ‘Guys with guns’ will determine what happens next in Venezuela, former minister says

Venezuela is on the brink of a lasting change, according to Latin American leaders gathered at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos.

The South American country is embroiled in fast-moving political crisis, after an opposition leader stood in the streets of Caracas on Wednesday and declared himself as the rightful interim president.

A flurry of world powers, including the United States, immediately backed Juan Guaido, prompting a furious response from President Nicolás Maduro.

The socialist leader broke diplomatic ties with President Donald Trump's administration on Wednesday, ordering all U.S. diplomatic personnel to leave the country within 72 hours.

Maduro also dismissed Guaido's claim to the presidency, saying it was part of an American-led conspiracy to orchestrate a coup from afar.

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#7 A Chinese photographer disappeared months ago. Where is he?

Chinese photographer Lu Guang spent nearly 40 years documenting the effects of environmental destruction in rural and industrial regions of China. Then, in November, he disappeared.

Lu, who lives with his family in New York, returned to China to lead a photography workshop in late October. The region he was visiting, Xinjiang, is the location of detention sites holding hundreds of thousands of Muslim prisoners. About a month and a half after his disappearance the Chinese police informed Lu’s family that he had been arrested, his wife told the New York Times.

Forty-seven journalists are known to be imprisoned in China as of the end of 2018, says Steven Butler, the Asia program coordinator for the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ). Theories about his arrest range from fears that Lu may try to document the “re-education camps” in the region to an authority figure who still held a grudge against Lu for publicizing the AIDS epidemic in 2001. (Read about an innovative solution to China's air pollution.)

Wuhai Chemical Plant produces PVC, one of the world's most used plastic polymers. The poisonous waste created in the process gets dumped along the coast of the Yellow River, Asia's second-largest river.

“We don't know the precise reason why Lu Guang was arrested,” says Butler. "However, he was an independent-minded journalist who had, among things, documented environmental degradation that authorities might have found offensive.

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#8 Russian official warns Trump administration against military intervention in Venezuela

WASHINGTON – A senior Russian official on Thursday warned the Trump administration against military intervention in Venezuela, saying it would create a "catastrophic scenario" in the region. 

"We warn against this," Russia's deputy foreign minister, Sergei Ryabkov, said in an interview with International Affairs magazine, a Russian media outlet. "We believe that this would be a catastrophic scenario that would shake the foundations of the development model we see in the Latin American region."

On Wednesday, President Donald Trump recognized Juan Guaido, head of Venezuela’s opposition-led National Assembly, as the country’s interim president Wednesday – saying Nicolas Maduro is not the country's legitimate leader.

The Trump administration has said it will use "all options" to pressure Maduro to relinquish power. But their comments have emphasized economic sanctions, not military force.  

Maduro was sworn in on Jan. 11 to a second term amid allegations of electoral fraud. With the country in upheaval, Guaido declared himself interim president on Wednesday, saying he was “formally assuming the responsibility of the national executive.”

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#9 Venezuelan president Maduro to speak at Supreme Court after US backs his opponent

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro is expected to speak at Venezuela's Supreme Court Thursday, a day after he gave US diplomats 72 hours to leave the country in response to US support of opposition leader Juan Guaido.

The head of the National Assembly declared himself acting president Wednesday as anti-government protests rocked Venezuela and just weeks after the start of Maduro's second term in power.

On Wednesday, hours after President Donald Trump officially recognized Guaido as the country's legitimate president, a defiant Maduro appeared before supporters to accuse the United States of backing an attempted coup. The US is one of several countries recognizing Guaido as Venezuela's leader.

Maduro announced that he was cutting remaining political and diplomatic ties with Washington.

"We cannot accept the invasive policies of the empire, the United States, the policies of Donald Trump," he said to cheers from the crowd. "Venezuela is a land of liberators."

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#10 NewsMeanwhile in … low earth orbit, on the International Space Station, an astronaut accidentally dialed 911

In low earth orbit, on the International Space Station, an astronaut accidentally dialed 911. André Kuipers (pictured, l.), a Dutch astronaut, was trying to dial an international number, but missed a digit. The ISS can make “calls” through a series of satellites and an internet-based phone – it even has a Houston area code. Mr. Kuipers is not the first astronaut to dial 911 from the ISS: Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti has also confessed to the gaffe.

In London, a feminist library was saved by crowdfunding. The appropriately named Feminist Library is a volunteer-run organization that was founded in 1975 to collect women’s liberation-movement literature. It was housed for more than 30 years in a building in the borough of Southwark, which is now being redeveloped; the library must vacate the premises by the spring. Thanks to extensive community support, nearly $46,500 has been raised at press time – more than what is needed to cover the move, and even enough to begin contributing to archival projects.

In New York City, men’s bathrooms will be required to have baby changing tables. All new or renovated buildings with public bathrooms are now subject to regulations that ensure that men’s restrooms as well as women’s have the tables. The law will also help women, too: Generally, while women’s restrooms are more likely to have changing stations, not all do, and the law will require 100 percent coverage in eligible buildings. The lack of facilities has long been a viral online complaint, with parents posting pictures of the lengths they go to while changing their children’s diapers.

Recommended: Meanwhile in … Japan, an enormous rare-earth mineral deposit has been found

Related stories

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#11 NewsFor many, a shutdown revelation: federal workers are people, tooNewsAt Born Dancing, different abilities – but all in harmonyNewsFor many, a shutdown revelation: federal workers are people, too

The Tybee Marine Rescue Squadron is a citizens’ response unit that uses private boats to mostly help wayward “klackers” – a local nickname for novice kayakers who get lost in the Southern salt marshes.

But the volunteers also search for drowning victims and shipwrecked sailors. And on those bigger jobs, inevitably over their shoulders is the Coast Guard chopper – “the Coasties” – bearing down to help the civilians “any time, anywhere, in any weather,” as MRS member Barry Brown says.

More than a month into the longest government shutdown in United States history – and days away from when some 500 Coasties on the Georgia coast are about to miss a second paycheck – the symbiosis between islanders and federal eyes-in-the-sky has taken on a new meaning.

Recommended: Employees ‘taken hostage’: the ethics of the US government shutdown

Last Wednesday, Mr. Brown and others at the MRS squad led a fundraising effort that encouraged the island’s roughly 3,000 residents to give $20 gift cards to help Coast Guard members bridge the lapse in income. A few days later, town clerk Jan LeViner had collected $24,000. A dealership pitched in another $5,000. Cards poured in from Oklahoma and other places. On Saturday, a benefit barbecue at Hunter Air Field in nearby Savannah, Ga., raised another $8,000.

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#12 NewsCan Democrats prevent shutdowns by refusing to ‘reward’ the tactic?NewsCan Democrats prevent shutdowns by refusing to ‘reward’ the tactic?NewsProspect of change lifts Venezuela bonds to 2017 highs

From Day One of the longest government shutdown in history, Democrats have stuck to their guns: First, open the government. Then negotiate over border security. Their unwavering message has been that the president must not be allowed to hold federal workers “hostage” to get what he wants. Shutdowns must not be rewarded as a political tool.

On Thursday, Democrats will have an opportunity to put this reasoning to a test in the Senate, where lawmakers will vote for the first time on reopening the government since the partial shutdown began more than a month ago. Senators will vote on dueling measures: President Trump’s plan, which would fund the government through September and includes $5.7 billion for a wall; and the Democrats’ plan, which would fund the government through Feb. 8, allowing time to negotiate border security. It has no wall money.

Both measures seem destined to fail in the polarized Senate. But even if Democrats prevail in their demand, it’s far from clear that this stand would deter future shutdowns. Government closures have become weaponized, observers say, and that’s not likely to change. Indeed, just one year ago, Democrats themselves forced a shutdown, though brief, over immigration.

Recommended: Art of the deal: In politics, Trump finds negotiations a different ballgame

The Democrats’ demand to open the government first is “just part of the game,” says Patrick Griffin, who was legislative director for President Bill Clinton during the previous record-holding shutdown of 21 days. “It works until it doesn’t work,” he says. “You use it when it serves your purpose.”

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#13 Alaska dad, son sentenced for killing mother bear, ‘shrieking’ newborn cubs

A mother black bear sleeps with her cubs. Andrew Renner and son Owen Renner have been sentenced to jail for the illegal slaughter of the sleeping mother bear and fatal point-blank shooting of her two cubs.
(Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife)

An Alaska man and his son were sentenced Tuesday over the poaching of a black bear mother and her two cubs in their den after they were caught by a nearby research camera.

Andrew Renner, 41, was sentenced to three months in jail and his son Owen Renner, 18, received 30 days of suspended time in the April 2018 killings. Each was ordered to pay $1,800 in restitution, with the elder Renner owing an additional $9,000 fine, the Anchorage Daily News reported. 

The father and son skied to the site on Esther Island in Prince William Sound, where the son killed the mother bear in front of her two cubs. The father turned his rifle point-blank on the newborns "shrieking in the den," prosecutors said. The son shot the sow bear twice as she slept, they said, according to the paper.

BEAR IN WASHINGTON THAT SURVIVED BURNS FROM WILDFIRE WAS SHOT, KILLED BY HUNTER, OFFICIALS SAY

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#14 Woman dubbed Germany’s ‘hottest cop’ breaks up with longtime boyfriend

Adrienne Koleszar, who’s been dubbed Germany’s “hottest cop,” recently revealed on social media that she split up with her boyfriend of 10 years.
(Instagram/Adrienne_Koleszar)

She has the right to remain single.

Adrienne Koleszar, who’s been dubbed Germany’s “hottest cop,” recently revealed on social media that she split up with her boyfriend of 10 years.

EXPERTS WEIGH IN ON CELERY JUICE DIET CRAZE

The 34-year-old Instagram model who’s also a police commissioner uploaded a photo of her and her ex along with an emotional caption.

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#15 Republican Sen. Cory Gardner plans to break with Trump on vote to reopen government: report

Democrats, Republicans, President Trump play the blame game over shutdown; reaction and analysis from the power panel on 'Fox News @ Night.'

Republican Sen. Cory Gardner plans to vote for a spending bill that would reopen the government – even without funding for President Trump’s border wall.

The Colorado lawmaker will vote for a measure that doesn’t include additional border security funding, a spokesperson told the Denver Post, noting Gardner’s opposition to government shutdowns.

The Senate is expected to vote on competing bills Thursday to end the partial government shutdown, which has been ongoing since before Christmas with Trump and Democrats at an impasse over funding for the border wall.

Either measure would reopen federal agencies and pay 800,000 federal workers who are days from missing yet another paycheck. Republicans would couple ending the 34-day shutdown with $5.7 billion for Trump's border wall and revamping immigration laws. Democrats would reopen agency doors for three weeks while bargainers seek a budget accord.

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#16 Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’ girlfriend Lauren Sanchez tries to make a grand entrance into NYC

Lauren Sanchez, who’s reportedly dating Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, took flight after her stint on 'Extra' and became a helicopter pilot, according to an interview she previously did with her former employer.

Lauren Sanchez — the woman who’s dating Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos — made quite an entrance at upscale eatery Sette Mezzo on Tuesday night.

"I wouldn't have noticed her," said a diner at the Upper East Side restaurant. "Except she walked in and waited for everyone to acknowledge her, like an actress, [as if to say] 'I've arrived!'"

It's the first time LA-based Sanchez has been spotted in New York since the scandal broke.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

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#17 Ben Stein: Ocasio-Cortez Is Promising ‘The Same Kinds Of Things’ As Hitler

Ben Stein on Tuesday claimed policies advocated by freshman lawmaker Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) “invariably lead to bad things,” including genocide.

The actor, former speechwriter to President Richard M. Nixon, and political commentator even made comparisons to Adolf Hitler. 

Ocasio-Cortez has made headlines for advocating higher marginal tax rates of up to 70 percent on earnings past $10 million in income as well as a “Green New Deal” to tackle the climate crisis. 

But in a Fox Business clip posted online by Media Matters, Stein claimed her democratic socialist politics will lead to dictatorship and genocide:

“We have a society in which there are an awful lot of people who have no idea that Stalin, Hitler, Mao Tse-Tung all came to power promising the same kinds of things that Ms. Ocasio-Cortez is promising. And it led to mass murder, it led to dictatorship, it led to genocide. These promises are old promises and they invariably lead to bad things.”

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