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Texas governor expresses concern about private gun sales

Thu, 22 Aug 2019 19:32 | Associated Press

Texas governor expresses concern about private gun salesRepublican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Thursday raised concern about private firearm sales but didn't commit to crack down on them or act on gun control issues following a meeting on ways to prevent mass shootings such as the El Paso attack that killed 22 people. While lawmakers are feeling pressure to respond quickly to the Aug. 3 shooting at a Walmart, Abbott signaled that Texas would take a long and careful look at gun laws and other safety measures before its Legislature next meets in 2021. Scrutinizing private guns sales was among a list of ideas Abbott rattled off after emerging from a four-hour, closed-door meeting about the El Paso shooting with lawmakers, police and representatives from Google, Facebook and Twitter.



China announces fresh tariffs on $75 billion of U.S. products

Fri, 23 Aug 2019 08:53 | Politico

China announces fresh tariffs on $75 billion of U.S. productsChina said it would raise tariffs on items originating in the US from 5 per cent to 10 per cent, and the new tariffs will be implemented in two batches.



Newt Gingrich says slavery needs to be put 'in context,' calls 1619 project a 'lie'

Thu, 22 Aug 2019 11:53 | USA TODAY

Newt Gingrich says slavery needs to be put 'in context,' calls 1619 project a 'lie'"There were several hundred thousand white Americans who died in the Civil War in order to free the slaves," Gingrich argued.



Immigration lawyers: We saw what's happening at the US-Mexico border. It's a tragic farce.

Wed, 21 Aug 2019 20:29 | USA TODAY Opinion

Immigration lawyers: We saw what's happening at the US-Mexico border. It's a tragic farce.There is no due process in Mexico for asylum seekers, just endless obstacles to staying alive, finding an attorney and communicating with authorities.



Radical gun reform may finally have a voice in Washington

Fri, 23 Aug 2019 01:00 | The Guardian

Radical gun reform may finally have a voice in WashingtonAn ambitious agenda by the March for Our Lives activists may be the first time the majority of Americans get real representationA young girl looks on as she attends a vigil for the victims of the recent mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio. Photograph: Drew Angerer/Getty ImagesMarch for Our Lives, the national youth gun violence prevention movement founded by survivors of last year’s school shooting in Parkland, Florida, released a sweeping gun reform agenda this week.The agenda calls for significantly raising the standards for gun ownership in America, and reducing by about 100m the total number of guns in circulation.It’s a dramatic, ambitious plan. And it may represent the first time in decades that the majority of Americans will get any real representation in the gun control debate in Washington.March for Our Lives’ young activists endorsed an Australia-style mandatory government buyback and destruction of “assault weapons”. They want to decrease the number of guns in circulation by 30% – which would mean roughly 100m fewer firearms in American hands. They proposed regulations that would dramatically raise the bar for who is allowed to purchase a gun, putting US law much more in line with European countries. And they want to revisit the 2009 supreme court decision, District of Columbia v Heller, which enshrined a pro-gun interpretation of Americans’ second amendment right to bear arms.These proposals are substantially more aggressive, and more ambitious, than anything the Democrats in Washington have fought for in years. In fact, for decades, gun control groups and progressive politicians have done a poor job at representing the majority of Americans in Congress when it comes to gun control. A surprising voidDemocrats have fought for minor new restrictions on gun buying – and been defeated by the Republican party’s gun absolutists – but, fundamentally, the Democratic party has remained supportive of gun ownership.Democratic lawmakers’ efforts to “ban assault weapons”, for example, have not meant an actual ban on these guns, but only a ban on future sales, meaning that Americans could keep the millions of military-style rifles they already own. President Obama’s signature gun control legislation after the 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School was a compromise bill that would have closed just a few of the gaping loopholes in the nation’s background check system – a measure so weak it’s doubtful whether it would have had any effect on gun violence at all.The country’s largest gun control groups, too, have made great efforts to portray themselves as pro-“gun safety”, not anti-gun. They routinely advertise themselves as supporters of Americans’ second amendment right to bear arms. And they have focused on “commonsense reforms”, such as getting what activists see as particularly extreme weapons off the streets, or requiring a criminal background check before every gun sale.This lack of any explicit anti-gun side in the American gun debate is strange.Although many Americans may not realize it, gun owners are a minority in the United States. American civilians overall own an estimated 300m to 400m firearms, more than one gun per person. But this frequently cited statistic obscures how concentrated American gun ownership is.In recent surveys, roughly 70% to 80% of Americans said they do not personally own a gun, and a majority said that nobody in their household owns a gun. Just 3% of American adults own half the country’s guns, according to a definitive 2015 survey. This small group of gun super-owners have an average of 17 guns each.Gun absolutists – the activists who oppose any gun control measures, who want Americans to be able to own any kind of gun, and carry them everywhere – are a minority within that minority. According to the best available estimates, fewer than 10% of American gun owners overall are members of the National Rifle Association.There appear to be at least as many Americans who are vehemently anti-gun as there are NRA members.Recent Gallup polls have found that 28% of American adults say they would support a law banning handgun ownership, except by the police and other “authorized persons”. A 2017 Pew Research Center survey found that 9% of American adults believed that “almost no one” should be legally allowed to own guns – about the same proportion as the number of adults who believed that “almost everyone” should be able to own them.A coalition of 9% of American adults would translate into more than 20 million people. That’s a group four times larger than the NRA, which claims between 5 million and 6 million members.Only a minority of Americans oppose most private gun ownership. But there’s strong majority support for much tougher gun control laws than the ones currently on the books.A 2017 Pew survey found 68% supported banning assault-style weapons. Seventy-one percent supported having a federal database to track all gun sales. A 2018 Gallup survey found 68% of respondents supported raising the legal age to buy certain guns. A Quinnipiac poll in May found 77% of respondents were in favor of requiring people to obtain a license before being able to purchase a gun.It’s not hard to find Americans who oppose the country’s current gun culture. They show up at gun control rallies, holding signs that say things like “Repeal the Second Amendment”. They live in neighborhoods burdened by decades of daily gun violence. They’ve lost family members or friends to shootings. They keep asking: why can’t we just get rid of the guns?But for years, these Americans’ views have not been well represented by America’s “gun safety” groups, and they have had virtually no representation in Congress.This may finally be starting to change. Moving the gun debateIn 2016, a progressive activist launched Guns Down America, a small organization that advocates not simply for “gun sense laws”, but for “a future with fewer guns”. Following the Parkland shooting, the young March for Our Lives activists have advocated unapologetically for bold reform, though they, like other American gun control activists, say they’re not anti-gun and their proposals for stricter regulation represent the interests of “responsible gun owners”.It’s not yet clear how much the 2020 Democratic presidential candidates will move towards embracing these majority opinions on gun control policy. But there’s already been movement towards the actual middle of the debate.In 2016, Obama argued in a CNN Town Hall that “issues like licensing, registration, that’s an area where there’s just not enough national consensus at this stage to even consider it”. This year, the New Jersey senator Cory Booker made gun licensing the center of his 2020 gun control platform.After the mass shooting targeting Latino families in El Paso, the former Texas congressman Beto O’Rourke said he endorsed not just an assault weapon ban, but a mandatory federal buyback of assault weapons. On Wednesday, he became the first Democratic 2020 candidate to tweet that he supported March for Our Lives’ new policy agenda.O’Rourke’s campaign did not back away from the most controversial elements of the youth activists’ plan, including their desire to revisit the supreme court’s current interpretation of the second amendment, enshrined in the Heller decision.“While Beto agrees with the court’s holding that the second amendment allows for regulation, he does not agree with the entirety of the Heller decision,” said Aleigha Cavalier, O’Rourke’s national press secretary. “One piece of the Heller case Beto believes should be revisited is the court’s decision to strike down DC’s safe storage requirements.”America’s gun debate may soon actually have two sides.



An innocent man spent months in jail after customs officials thought honey he brought back from Jamaica was liquid meth

Fri, 23 Aug 2019 16:34 | INSIDER

An innocent man spent months in jail after customs officials thought honey he brought back from Jamaica was liquid methLeon Haughton told The Washington Post he was jailed for 82 days after customs officials in Baltimore alleged that the three jars of honey were meth.



Family of detained UK consulate worker rejects 'made-up' report

Fri, 23 Aug 2019 05:27 | AFP

Family of detained UK consulate worker rejects 'made-up' reportThe family of a staffer at the UK consulate in Hong Kong have rejected a "made-up" report by Chinese state media that he was detained in the mainland for visiting prostitutes. Simon Cheng disappeared after visiting the city of Shenzhen from the semi-autonomous city on August 8, and the Foreign Office in London said both British officials and relatives have been unable to speak to him since. The Global Times, a tabloid state-run newspaper, said he had been detained for "soliciting prostitutes", citing police in Shenzhen, which lies on the China-Hong Kong border.



Brexit Held at the Border

Thu, 22 Aug 2019 17:22 | National Review

Brexit Held at the BorderIn the last two days Prime Minister Boris Johnson has proposed that Ireland temporarily leave the European Union to align with the economic rules of a post-Brexit U.K. German chancellor Angela Merkel has suggested, somewhat flippantly, that the U.K. could figure out a special trading arrangement for itself and Ireland in the next 30 days. And French president Emmanuel Macron has said that there’s still room for negotiation between the U.K. and the EU, but he’s willing to be “the hard boy.” Maybe Macron is taking the EU marriage metaphor a little too personally . . .What on earth is going on?It’s been three years since a majority of the U.K.’s electorate voted to leave the European Union. And so far, all that Brexit has generated is a great deal of nearly incomprehensibly vocabulary. First we got Theresa May’s red lines, her attempt to define how it was exactly that Brexit means Brexit, and what the future relationship, if any, the United Kingdom would have with the EU. These red lines, an end to freedom of movement from EU member states into the U.K., and an exit from the EU’s customs union ruled out the Norway option but not Canada Plus Plus. Or Canada Plus Plus Plus. Yes, I’m serious.According to the withdrawal agreement negotiated between Theresa May and the rest of the EU, that future relationship has to be figured out in the transition period. That’s a two-year window after the U.K. leaves the EU in which it would continue to follow EU rules until they came to a trade agreement. That is, unless there is a no-deal Brexit and the U.K. simply exits the European Union on October 31 and conducts business with the world based on World Trade Organization rules. Got it? Well, sort of.The focus is now on the Irish-border backstop. Basically, the backstop is a promise that there will be no hard border — a customs border across the island of Ireland, between the Republic of Ireland and the six counties of Northern Ireland. Irish public officials have argued (with the support of the EU) that a frictionless border is necessary for economic and political reasons. The frictionless border is understood there as part of the the peace settlement in Northern Ireland, following the 1998 Good Friday Agreement. So too the “all-island economy” that it creates. The backstop is a promise by the U.K. to keep Northern Ireland following a number of regulations and customs rules that match it to the Republic of Ireland.This promise became the focus of Tory and Brexiteer anger at Theresa May’s withdrawal agreement. First, because it created what seemed like a negotiating trap for the U.K. during the transition period. Having already agreed to keep Northern Ireland (and the rest of the U.K. with it) aligned with the EU’s rules as part of a backstop, the EU would have less incentive to come to another, different trade relationship to supersede that agreement. The price to be paid for testing and pushing the EU might carve up the United Kingdom itself. If Great Britain diverged from the EU at the end of the transition period, Northern Ireland would be partially politically detached from the Union, and perhaps its citizens would have to go through customs to travel within their own country, from Belfast to Birmingham.Recently Johnson has begun calling the backstop “undemocratic” and hinting that it violates the Good Friday Agreement. He has a point. The backstop would keep Northern Ireland subject to EU rules and regs in which they have no say. It would deprive Northern Ireland’s elected ministers to Parliament of any voice on matters that would be routine for MPs in any other constituent nation of the United Kingdom. That seems quite a lot like a partial form of Irish unification. But the Good Friday Agreement ensures that Irish unity can be achieved only by a majority vote for it in the six counties and another one in the Republic of Ireland.Proponents of the backstop hold that this measure would merely be the decision of a sovereign Parliament over a part of its territory. It is an agreement between Parliament and the EU and doesn’t legally touch Ireland. That’s true. But, the reality is that it would create checks between constituent parts of the U.K. that normally exist between two different countries. It does so in order to prevent those checks on the island of Ireland. And it does so to meet the expectations of the Irish government based in Dublin. To whom would Northern Irish people turn when trade policy affects them? Nobody they directly elect would have a constitutional say.Effectively these economic rules would be imposed on Northern Ireland as if it were a kind of EU colony, and done in the interests of the Republic of Ireland. This may satisfy the historical imagination of Irish nationalists. (Believe me, there is a delicious irony to be savored here.) But it is hard to argue that such a result is consonant with the Good Friday Agreement. Or a wise way to endear Northern Irish unionists to the Irish government.All of this confusion is the result of a kind of gamesmanship. The EU and U.K. each want to use the Irish border as a reason to crack the other’s negotiating position. The EU would like to see the U.K. bounced into a permanent customs union in which it has no say, effectively maintaining the economic size and power of the EU while reducing the political influence of Eurosceptical Britannia. On the other side, the U.K. would like to see the Irish-border issue work in the opposite way, forcing the EU to strike an especially good and liberal trade deal with the U.K. that comes with fewer strings attached than those on Norway or other states that have non-standard arrangements.The lesson is rather obvious. You cannot predetermine what kind of infrastructure will be at a border and what laws will be enforced at it, in the absence of a durable agreement on trade in goods and materials. The EU and the U.K. have been trying to resolve questions in the wrong order. Both have done so out of a reasonable fear of loss.But the hour is late, and the real work must be done.



L.L. Bean's Huge End-of-Summer Sale Is Taking Up to 70% Off

Thu, 22 Aug 2019 14:17 | Popular Mechanics

L.L. Bean's Huge End-of-Summer Sale Is Taking Up to 70% Off



Chinese embassy says the US is trying to suppress Huawei

Fri, 23 Aug 2019 17:48 | Associated Press

Chinese embassy says the US is trying to suppress HuaweiAn embassy statement to The Associated Press said the arrest of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou in Canada at the request of U.S. authorities is "of course different" from China's detentions of Canadians Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor. "The Meng Wanzhou incident is not just a judicial case, but the U.S. using state power to work with its certain ally to suppress a private high-tech Chinese enterprise on unwarranted charges.



Trump orders US companies to leave China ‘immediately’ in extraordinary attack on Fed chief

Fri, 23 Aug 2019 10:00 | The Independent

Trump orders US companies to leave China ‘immediately’ in extraordinary attack on Fed chiefDonald Trump has issued an “order” to US companies to withdraw from China, as he suggested his own appointment as Federal Reserve chairman was a greater threat to the economy than Chinese leader Xi Jinping.The president told firms “to immediately start looking for an alternative” or make their products in America instead as he lashed out at the central bank’s chair Jerome Powell.



2020 Toyota GR Supra vs. 2019 Ford Mustang Shelby GT350: Which Is the Better Driver's Machine?

Fri, 23 Aug 2019 08:00 | Car and Driver

2020 Toyota GR Supra vs. 2019 Ford Mustang Shelby GT350: Which Is the Better Driver's Machine?Vastly different yet similarly capable, one of these rear-drive sports coupes begs to be driven harder than the other.



Modi Ally Calls for Boycott of China Companies on Kashmir, Trade

Thu, 22 Aug 2019 17:00 | Bloomberg

Modi Ally Calls for Boycott of China Companies on Kashmir, Trade(Bloomberg) -- Terms of Trade is a daily newsletter that untangles a world embroiled in trade wars. Sign up here. Indians should stop buying from Chinese companies and the government should reconsider trade concessions to its biggest neighbor after China allied with Pakistan on Kashmir, according to an economic policy group linked with the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party.Companies like technology giant Huawei Technologies Co. should be barred from accessing the Indian market in the future and Chinese companies should be banned from state tenders, Ashwani Mahajan, co-convenor of the Swadeshi Jagran Manch, affiliated to the ruling party’s ideological parent, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh said in an interview Thursday.“Not just in Kashmir, we believe that Chinese companies are a security threat to India especially in telecom,” Mahajan said by phone. “Not just in consumer goods, they’re a threat in telecom because their companies have massive support from the state, are allowed to vastly underbid Indian companies and win tenders for critical infrastructure.”The group met Indian telecom companies on Aug. 17 to discuss strategies to be used to curb Chinese industry. The organization had also written a letter to Prime Narendra Modi seeking action against China, Mahajan said. Calls made to the Prime Minister’s Office seeking comment went unanswered.This isn’t the first time that the Swadesh Jagran Manch has called for a ban on Chinese goods and companies. The group, along with the Confederation of All India Traders had called for a similar ban in March this year after China blocked the blacklisting of Pakistan-based Maulana Masood Azhar, founder of the militant group Jaish-e-Mohammed, at the U.N. Security Council.A ban called by both organizations during the festival of Diwali in 2016 wasn’t successful, although traders anticipated the sale of Chinese products would fall by 30%, the Press Trust of India reported. India has a trade deficit of over $53 billion with China.To contact the reporter on this story: Archana Chaudhary in New Delhi at achaudhary2@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Ruth Pollard at rpollard2@bloomberg.net, Abhay SinghFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.



Farmer's threat prompts U.S. Agriculture Department to pull staff from crop tour

Wed, 21 Aug 2019 22:09 | Reuters

Farmer's threat prompts U.S. Agriculture Department to pull staff from crop tourCORALVILLE, Iowa/CHICAGO (Reuters) - The U.S. Agriculture Department said on Wednesday it had pulled all staff from an annual crop tour after an employee was threatened, and three sources said the threat of violence was made during a phone call from an angry farmer. U.S. farmers have complained this month that a government crop report did not reflect damage from historic flooding this spring. Lance Honig, crops chief at the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service, was among the USDA staffers who had to leave the privately-run Pro Farmer tour, three sources with knowledge of the situation said.







Today's Horoscope

Aries Horoscope for Friday, August 23, 2019

Coming across as honest, outgoing, confident, and good with words you will be a an especially popular companion at work and in your leisure activities for a few weeks to come. Just don`t be too forceful in putting across your pet beliefs. Lighten up and be more persuasive. The Moon today just briefly may make getting out of bed more difficult than usual since you will want pamper yourself.
Taurus
If life feels a minor hassle for a few weeks just remember that persistence will pay off. You will be looking for deeper answers than usual, maybe more passionate connections. You will need intense intimate connections in your life with partners who are able to match your emotional depth and yearnings. Today with the Moon at its present position you may find there is a strange atmosphere at home or in close relationships. You will not be clear what is real and what is fantasy.
Gemini

More sensitive to the needs of those close, you will be able to help. At work just now you much prefer to work in a one-to-one partnership than on your own or with a team. So go seek. Just remember to stand firm for your rights as well. Later today your mind will wander quite a bit . Try to think before you speak, write down bullet points before leaping into discussions.
Cancer
You will be practical, keen to get details in the right place in the weeks ahead. And you will be less worried about getting praise, than in being helpful. OK so you will also tend to over eat. Perhaps you feel that loved ones are being unappreciative, so you have to spoil yourself. But don`t over do it. You will today especially avoid arguments since you really cannot be bothered with hassle. But you could end up not standing up for yourself enough with the family or loved ones.
Leo

A small part of you at the moment wants to be in love with life. You feel like a child at heart, spontaneous and unselfconscious when it comes to enjoying yourself. You will be wearing your heart on your sleeve, and be upfront about what or whom you fancy. Even at work, because you are so relaxed in yourself, you will be able to put companions at their ease. You could work well as a go-between with others.
Virgo
Talking to loved ones will help you sort out any family muddles or tensions which have been swept under the carpet recently because there was no time to address them. Feeling more sensitive and private than usual, you will tend to retreat into your shell and put up barriers against the outside world. Try to give yourself space today just to chill out, listen to good music or daydream happily in a quiet corner. Your energy may not be high so try to step back when you can.
Libra

Restless and versatile, you seem to know a little about a good many subjects at the moment. Maybe you are scattering your attention in too many directions at once, or across too wide a field. But aim for variety and choice, breadth not depth, quantity not quality, over the next few weeks. For all that, today is definitely is a passive not an active time. You may overspend on luxury items for home but they will make you feel good.
Scorpio
You will be drawn more than usual to the good life in the weeks ahead, and all it brings with it, which never comes cheap. But you know you will not be happy unless you can boost your security and savings as well. Today your emotions may be getting in the way of reason. Because you are over heated, you cannot think as clearly as usual. You may be talking incessantly about trivia, so mates may not always follow your drift.
Sagittarius

Where others are concerned at the moment what they get with you is what they see. You will not hide much away, indeed you are priding yourself on being as upfront as possible. Not that you put on any effort or a performance, it is just happening instinctively with your natural exuberance spills over. Later your mood will be sentimental, rather sloppy, and you will want more cuddling and probably tempting food than usual.
Capricorn
Not at your most outgoing, you will be happiest in the quiet backwaters for a few weeks. Even your own company will not be a hardship for short periods though obviously not all the time. Just don`t disappear totally. The Sun today is in a flowing aspect to the Moon for a brief spell so you will be charming everyone in sight. Able to communicate happily with almost everyone at a social level, you will be even more popular than usual and welcome wherever you go. Enjoy.
Aquarius

At the moment for you there is safety and security in numbers. You want to be one of a gang, surrounded by good friends, not to fly solo or be part of a possessive twosome. The more the merrier as far as you are concerned. Later today the Moon will hardly cause a flicker of bother. You will just be keen to keep the peace, and want all your encounters to be blissful. You won`t want anything gritty, unpleasant or strenuous.
Pisces
You should be gaining prominence at work or in your community activities now. Though oddly enough you may think you are not doing well. Somehow you think that others claiming credit for your achievements or perhaps you reckon you are heading in the wrong direction. Just be pleased with what you have achieved and don`t be too discouraged. Later today the Moon will help you emotional situations around you. Just watch but you are not getting too close to things.