News and Headlines. 9/19/2019

Three former executives from Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco), former chairman Tsunehisa Katsumata (R), former vice presidents Ichiro Takekuro (C) and Sakae Muto (L), arriving at the Tokyo District Court, where they were acquitted on Sept. 19, 2019.

News and Headlines: In The News, Immigration, Politics, World News, Commentary/Opinion.

In The News:

‘Pastafarian’ pastor leads opening prayer before Alaska government meeting

Fritz Creek area resident Barrett Fletcher gives the invocation before a Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly meeting as a representative of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster at Homer City Hall in Homer, Alaska
Fritz Creek area resident Barrett Fletcher gives the invocation before a Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly meeting as a representative of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster at Homer City Hall in Homer, Alaska. (AP

“So, I’m called to invoke the power of the true inebriated creator of the universe, the drunken tolerator (sic) of the all lesser and more recent gods, and maintainer of gravity here on earth. May the great Flying Spaghetti Monster rouse himself from his stupor and let his noodly appendages ground each assembly member in their seats,” Fletcher reportedly said.

The Pastafarian invocation is the latest episode in a bizarre saga that stems from a state supreme court ruling allowing fringe religions to participate.

In 2016, the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly limited the invocations to “official organizations” with an “established presence on the Kenai Peninsula.”

But in October, the Alaska Supreme Court ruled that policy unconstitutional.

The borough changed its policy to allow anyone to offer invocations regardless of
religion.

New Jersey Man Indicted for Terrorist Activities on Behalf of Hizballah’s Islamic Jihad Organization

“According to the allegations, while living in the United States, Saab served as an operative of Hizballah and conducted surveillance of possible target locations in order to help the foreign terrorist organization prepare for potential future attacks against the United States,” said Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers.

“Such covert activities conducted on U.S. soil are a clear threat to our national security and I applaud the agents, analysts, and prosecutors who are responsible for this investigation and prosecution.”

“As a member of the Hizballah component that coordinates external terrorist attack planning, Alexei Saab allegedly used his training to scout possible targets throughout the U.S,” said U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman.

“Even though Saab was a naturalized American citizen, his true allegiance was to Hizballah, the terrorist organization responsible for decades of terrorist attacks that have killed hundreds, including U.S. citizens and military personnel.

Thankfully, Saab is now in federal custody, and faces significant prison time for his alleged crimes.”

Woman, 89, beaten, robbed of $5G in Manhattan apartment: police

Surveillance footage of the alleged suspect who forced his way inside an elderly woman’s apartment on Saturday and stole $5,000.
Surveillance footage of the alleged suspect who forced his way inside an elderly woman’s apartment on Saturday and stole $5,000. (NYPD)

The victim, Maximina Osorio, was returning home from a shopping trip around noon Saturday when a male suspect – who had been waiting for her to come home – grabbed her and forced his way inside, police said.

Osorio told police she tried screaming for help, but the robber punched her and shoved her to the ground. He allegedly demanded where she kept her money and left with $5,000.

Osorio later told police that money had been set aside to buy a headstone for her husband of 50 years who had died two years prior, the New York Daily News reported.

Colt Ending Production of AR-15s for Civilian Market

This February 4, 2013 photo illustration in Manassas, Virginia, shows a man holding a Colt AR-15 semi-automatic rifle.
This February 4, 2013 photo illustration in Manassas, Virginia, shows a man holding a Colt AR-15 semi-automatic rifle. (Karen Bleier/AFP/Getty Images)

“There have been numerous articles recently published about Colt’s participation in the commercial rifle market.

Some of these articles have incorrectly stated or implied that Colt is not committed to the consumer market.

We want to assure you that Colt is committed to the Second Amendment, highly values its customers and continues to manufacture the world’s finest quality firearms for the consumer market,” he said.

“At the end of the day, we believe it is good sense to follow consumer demand and to adjust as market dynamics change.

Colt has been a stout supporter of the Second Amendment for over 180 years, remains so, and will continue to provide its customers with the finest quality firearms in the world.”

A leaked email from RSR Group, a firearm distributor, showed Colt telling the company it was ending production of all Colt long guns earlier this month.

New Women’s March board member Zahra Billoo dropped, accused of anti-Semitism

The Women’s March board cut ties with Zahra Billoo, seen here in 2017. (REUTERS/Rebecca Cook, File)

Just days after booting Linda Sarsour, Tamika Mallory and Bob Bland off its national board following accusations of anti-Semitic rhetoric, the anti-Trump organization dropped a new board member, Zahra Billoo, after past online posts deemed anti-Semitic surfaced.

The Anti-Defamation League called for the Women’s March to “condemn the statements and sentiments” of Billoo, a lawyer and executive director of CAIR (the Council on American-Islamic Relations) in San Francisco, describing her “long history of deeply offensive and antisemitic statements.”

Billoo has described Zionism as “racism” and voiced seemingly hateful views toward Israel and those supporting it, going as far as to say in 2014, “I don’t think we can work on civil rights together in the US” if someone supports Israel, which she compared to “baby killers.”

Facebook Admits It’s a Publisher in Court Filings

The distinction between publisher and platform is central to the legal protections enjoyed by big tech companies, and is frequently cited by Republican lawmakers in their criticism of Silicon Valley’s political bias.

Under section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, tech platforms have immunity from lawsuits arising out of their decisions to host (or not to to host) user-generated content.

Unlike publishers, which are liable if their writers defame someone, a tech platform is not held liable for content created by its users.

Yet Facebook appears to be jettisoning this categorization in its court filings, saying it has a First Amendment right as a publisher not to carry Loomer’s content.

Loomer’s case, which Facebook is attempting to have dismissed, claims that the company defamed her when it labeled her a “dangerous individual” to justify its ban of her account.

Experts say the flu could kill millions in just 36 hours

Experts say the flu could kill millions in just 36 hours.
Fox News medical contributor Dr. Marc Siegel on the possibility of a pandemic.

Texas hit by Imelda deluge, flash floods, ‘life-threatening’ rainfall: ‘It’s as bad as I’ve ever seen’

Sargent, Texas, pictured here from above, received 22 inches of rain since Imelda started impacted the area on Tuesday, officials said.
(Mark Mulligan/Houston Chronicle via AP)

Up to 5 inches of rain per hour could fall in Harris County, where Houston is located, throughout the day Thursday, forecasters said.

The National Weather Service issued a flash flood emergency warning for several counties, saying “life-threatening amounts of rainfall” have already dropped.

In Chambers County, at least 200 people have had to be rescued in the town of Winnie, located roughly 60 miles east of Houston, according to Sheriff Brian Hawthorne.

In addition to a flash flood warning, the NWS has also issued a tornado warning for the county.

Former Naval Base San Diego sailor receives 20-year sentence for sex crimes against a minor

Prosecutors say Smallwood-Jackson began chatting with a then-14-year-old on Spotafriend, a teens-only mobile app whose terms of service do not allow users over the age of 19.

To get around this, Smallwood-Jackson listed his age as 17, prosecutors said in a statement.

Prosecutors said the case is a lesson for parents about the dangers online and the need to communicate with children about what they’re doing.

“Defendant’s abuse of a seemingly safe chat application for teens allowed (Smallwood-Jackson) access to this 14-year-old victim that he would not otherwise have had,” prosecutors said in a statement.

“Parents are urged to educate themselves and discuss these dangers with their children.”

2 Chicago gangbangers executed 9-year-old in revenge killing against his father’s rival gang: prosecutors

From left to right: Dwright Doty and Corey Morgan appear during opening statements in each of their separate trials
From left to right: Dwright Doty and Corey Morgan appear during opening statements in each of their separate trials for the murder of 9-year-old Tyshawn Lee at the Leighton Criminal Court building in Chicago on Tuesday, Sept. 17, 2019.
(E. Jason Wambsgans/Chicago Tribune via AP, Pool)

Prosecutors said Corey Morgan and Kevin Edwards kept watch while Dwight Doty lured the fourth-grader into an alleyway. They said he promised him a juice box.

The two gangs have been locked in an escalating gang war that could be responsible for up to 15 shootings dating back to 2011, authorities said.

Months after the child’s execution, his father allegedly sought revenge by shooting three people, including Morgan’s girlfriend, outside a gas station.

He is being held without bail.

Latest parent charged in college admissions scandal arrested in Spain, to be extradited to US

Xiaoning Sui, 48, a Chinese national who resides in Surrey, British Columbia, was charged with a single count of conspiracy and fraud in the indictment unsealed in Boston’s federal court.

Authorities say she was arrested in Spain on Monday night and was being held there while authorities seek to extradite her to the United States.

Prosecutors say Sui paid $400,000 to a sham charity operated by the mastermind behind the college admissions scandal, William “Rick” Singer, as part of a scheme to have her son admitted to UCLA as a soccer recruit despite him never having played the sport competitively before.

Immigration:

President Trump Visits the Border Wall

Otay Mesa, CA

Immigrant convicted of killing NFL player sentenced, had reentered the country illegally

U.S. Attorney Josh Minkler says his office is firmly committed to enforcing the laws of this country.

Trump Administration Planning to ‘End Catch and Release at the Southwest Border’

Mark Morgan, commissioner of Customs and Border Protection, told reporters late on Sept. 18 that the administration is “confident that in a couple of weeks we’re going to be able to end catch and release at the southwest border.”

He said it will be possible through a “network of initiatives and policies by this administration that’s really been supported by several different entities within” the Department of Homeland Security, including his agency, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

“There will be no more catch and release. Nobody coming into the country… And that’s without the Democrats,” Trump told reporters.

‘DREAMER’ LEAVES WOMAN IN CRITICAL CONDITION AFTER ALCOHOL/DRUG FUELED CRASH

Pedro Puga, 17, is charged with intoxication assault, evading arrest and accident involving serious bodily injury.
Pedro Puga, 17, is charged with intoxication assault, evading arrest and accident involving serious bodily injury.

It happened just after 2 a.m. Saturday at the intersection of University Drive and South Texas Avenue.

Puga was driving northbound when he hit the woman and continued driving, according to court documents. A witness at the scene told police Puga later pulled into the parking lot of Cafe Eccell on South Texas Avenue and begin to inspect his vehicle for damage.

Puga then got back in his vehicle and continued to drive away on South Texas Avenue, the witness said.

The vehicle was later found in the parking lot near Golds Gym, police said, and when officers got to the scene, Puga began running away from them. He was arrested a short distance later and when asked why he ran, police said Puga told them he doesn’t deal with “the laws.”

Puga told police he would have outran them if he had not taken Xanax and cocaine earlier in the evening, they said.

FOUR-TIME DEPORTED CHILD ABUSER RE-ARRESTED IN TENNESSEE

Jose Fernando Andrade-Sanchez, 39,
Jose Fernando Andrade-Sanchez, 39,

According to documents filed with the court, Andrade-Sanchez was found and removed from the United States on four prior occasions, most recently on October 13, 2013.

While in the U.S. illegally and living in Nashville, Andrade-Sanchez was charged under the alias of Eduardo Negrete, with domestic assault and aggravated child abuse after striking a three-year old child in the face, while assaulting his then girlfriend and the child’s mother.

Both required transport to a local hospital where the girlfriend was treated for facial injuries and the child was evaluated for a possible broken nose.

Andrade-Sanchez later pleaded guilty to domestic assault and the child abuse charge was retired.

Politics:

California, Trump Campaign Head To Court Over Tax Returns

Trump counsel Jay Sekulow called the law “flagrantly illegal,” and said voters already spoke in 2016 on whether Trump should release his tax returns.

“The effort to deny California voters the opportunity to cast a ballot for President Trump in 2020 will clearly fail,” said Sekulow.

At least two other lawsuits have already been filed, including a suit by conservative group Judicial Watch on behalf of four California voters.

California’s primary is scheduled for March 2020, and candidates will have to turn over five years of tax returns to the state by November to be on the ballot.

Sharpton/Gaetz Exchange (Rough Edit)

Washington, D.C. — Today, U.S. Congressman Matt Gaetz (FL-01) exposed Reverend Al Sharpton’s history of racist remarks and inflammatory actions by quoting a concurrent resolution by former U.S. Congressman Joe Scarborough, which detailed a pattern of questionable conduct by Reverend Al Sharpton.

The resolution, named Condemning the Racist and Anti-Semitic Views of Reverend Al Sharpton, recounted instances where Reverend Sharpton uttered repeated animosities toward the Jewish people, toward people of white descent, and toward people of color.

Congressman Gaetz entered Mr. Scarborough’s resolution into the Congressional Record via unanimous consent.

Bill Would Bar Use of US Aid to Pay Families of Palestinian Terrorists Attacking Israel; Redirects Funds to ‘Iron Dome’

An Israeli soldier lies on the ground as missiles are fired from an Iron Dome anti-missile station near the city of Beer Sheva, Israel on Nov. 15, 2012.
An Israeli soldier lies on the ground as missiles are fired from an Iron Dome anti-missile station near the city of Beer Sheva, Israel on Nov. 15, 2012.
(Ilia Yefimovich/Getty Images)

The Iron Dome Reinforcement Act of 2019 was introduced in the House of Representatives by Rep. Ted Budd (R-N.C.).

“The U.S. gives millions of dollars to the Palestinian Authority (PA) every year, and it’s estimated that they spend at least 7 to 10 percent of their yearly budget as payouts and bonuses to the families of dead terrorists,” Budd said in a statement explaining his proposal.

Budd said the PA has received more than $5 billion in bilateral economic and nonlethal foreign assistance from the United States since the mid-1990s under President Bill Clinton, including $65 million in 2018 alone.

“It’s amazing that we even need a bill like this. Taxpayers deserve more oversight on where these funds go,” Budd said.

Censure Vote Against Kyrsten Sinema Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things

Commentary/Opinion: The censure vote against Sinema reveals the malady that plagues contemporary politics. In an age of hyperpartisanship, where party lines have taken on frustratingly tribal qualities, Sinema’s more moderate approach should be lauded, not censured.

The backlash against Sinema provides a window into the state of leftist orthodoxy and why it’s important to acknowledge those who forge their own political paths.

When criticizing Sinema, O’Neal explained that the purpose of the censure was to alter her voting patterns.

“The way she is voting is really disappointing. We want Democrats to vote like Democrats and not Republicans.”

O’Neal’s criticism reveals an ironic tone deafness about fulfilling the actual definition of democratic.

Polling data from Arizona company OH Predictive revealed just last month that Sinema had a favorability rating of more than 60 percent.

Among likely 2020 Democratic voters, her favorability topped 80 percent, and even among likely 2020 Republican voters, Sinema’s favorability rating was over 40 percent.

California homeless crisis Michael Shellenberger makes case

Commentary/Opinion: California homeless crisis: Michael Shellenberger makes case for declaring state of emergency.

Forbes Magazine writer Michael Shellenberger calls out a ‘vacuum of leadership’ in the state.

Pete Buttigieg ‘drops’ $1.5 trillion health care plan

Calling the plan “Medicare-for-all who want it,” Buttigieg said he’d balance the hefty price tag with “cost savings and corporate tax reform to ensure big corporations pay their fair share” in an op-ed in The Washington Post.

He contrasted his plan with Medicare-for-all as supported by Democratic Sens. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts.

Their plans would all but spell the end of private health insurance and cost the federal government an extra $32 trillion over a decade by some estimates.

It’s not the only trillion-dollar plan Buttigieg has dropped. He released climate proposal earlier in September that could cost between $1.5 trillion and $2 trillion over 10 years.

President Trump’s Approval Rating Is Higher Than Obama’s At Same Time In Presidency

Left: Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images Right: Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Trump’s approval rating has bounced around over his presidency, with some polls placing his lows in the high 30 percent range, and others placing his high marks as high as the 50 percent range.

Since Trump took office, Obama has bucked the tradition of former presidents keeping quiet about the next administration.

Indeed, Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama criticized Trump repeatedly throughout 2017 and 2018.

JUDICIAL WATCH: DOCUMENTS REVEAL EXTENSIVE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN DOSSIER AUTHOR STEELE AND TOP OBAMA STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIALS

(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch and The Daily Caller News Foundation today released 146 pages of State Department documents revealing that former British spy and dossier author Christopher Steele had an extensive and close working relationship dating back to May of 2014 with high-ranking Obama State Department officials.

“These new documents show that Clinton spy Christopher Steele had an outsized influence at the Obama State Department that proved useful when the Clinton campaign needed help smearing Trump in 2016 and beyond,” stated Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton.

The new documents show that:

Senate panel approves three spending bills

The committee approved a $74.3 billion bill covering the Departments of Transportation and Housing and Urban Development; a $151.7 billion bill covering agriculture spending; and a $24.2 billion measure for financial services and general government.

The committee passed an amendment to the financial services bill that would allocate $250 million in election security funding for states.

The committee previously advanced an energy and water appropriations bill unanimously, but ran into road blocks on other bills.

Dems launch longshot bid for DC statehood at rare hearing, as Republicans hammer local corruption

Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan, left, the top Republican on the House Oversight and Reform Committee, aired concerns about recent scandals involving D.C. city officials. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton has sponsored a D.C. statehood bill.

The D.C. statehood bill has more than 200 co-sponsors and the support of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, both Democrats.

No Republicans in Congress have signed on to the legislation.

If D.C. were to become a state, Democrats would likely gain two new senators and one House representative — a reality which has played into the political motivations behind supporting or opposing it.

Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, of Kentucky, has vowed to oppose the statehood bill.

Even if that bill passed through Congress, it would almost certainly be challenged in court, with some legal scholars saying it would require a constitutional amendment to be implemented.

Mark Zuckerberg is privately schmoozing with some of Facebook’s biggest critics in Washington this week

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg smiles while testifying before a House Energy and Commerce hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, April 11, 2018,
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg smiles while testifying before a House Energy and Commerce hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, April 11, 2018, about the use of Facebook data to target American voters in the 2016 election and data privacy. AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

The Facebook CEO is visiting US lawmakers in a series of meetings and dinners this week, as the company faces intense political and regulatory scrutiny on issues ranging from antitrust to data privacy, content moderation, and Libra, its controversial digital currency plan.

Unlike last time, however, Zuckerberg is not slated to appear publicly, instead schmoozing privately in an attempt to bolster his company’s standing politically.

The full schedule of Zuckerberg’s visit isn’t publicly available, but at least some of his visits have been disclosed.

On Wednesday evening, he attended a dinner hosted by Democratic senator Mark Warner, who has been vocally critical of Facebook.

“At Facebook’s request, Senator Warner helped organize a dinner meeting in Washington for Mr. Zuckerberg and a group of Senators,” Warner’s spokesperson told reporters in a statement.

Tucker: What do you know about Kamala Harris?

Commentary/Opinion: Kamala Harris’ popularity after attack on Biden was brief, struggles to keep campaign alive.

World News:

Netanyahu’s Offer for Unity Government Rebuffed by Rival Gantz

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin and Benny Gantz, leader of Blue and White party, attend a memorial ceremony for late Israeli President Shimon Peres, at Mount Herzl in Jerusalem, Israel, on Sept. 19, 2019.
(Ronen Zvulun/Reuters)

Netanyahu said he was “surprised and disappointed” and reiterated his call to Gantz to join him.

“It’s what the public expects of us,” Netanyahu said about a broad government.

The campaigns run by Netanyahu, 69, and Gantz, 60, pointed to only narrow differences on many important issues, and an end to the Netanyahu era would be unlikely to bring about significant changes in policy on relations with the United States, the regional struggle against Iran, or the Palestinian conflict.

With Israeli media reporting more than 95 percent of votes counted in Tuesday’s election, a Likud-led right-wing, religious bloc looked poised to control 55 of parliament’s 120 seats, with 56 going to a center-left alliance.

Once all the votes are counted, President Reuven Rivlin, who welcomed Netanyahu’s unity call, will hold consultations with parties that won representation in parliament and give one of its leaders up to 42 days to form a government.

Islamist Mob Burns Christian Church to the Ground in Cameroon

Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty

Though aware of the attack, the local Cameroon military did not attempt to engage the terrorists since they found themselves severely outnumbered.

There has been an upsurge of jihadist activity in this border region whose local security forces are understaffed due to a reduction in personnel.

The national government has been asked to take steps to remedy this deficit but so far no action has been taken.

The kidnapping of Catholic priests has also become widespread in Cameroon’s two western regions since the outbreak of an armed conflict in 2017 that has resulted in hundreds of deaths.

In late 2017, Amnesty International reported that Boko Haram had shifted its base of operations from Nigeria into Cameroon, which accounted for an upsurge of Islamist terror attacks in Cameroon.

U.S., Chinese trade deputies face off in Washington amid deep differences

A delegation of about 30 Chinese officials, led by Vice Finance Minister Liao Min, arrived at the U.S. Trade Representative’s (USTR) office near the White House for the talks scheduled to start at 9 a.m. (1300 GMT). Deputy U.S. Trade Representative Jeffrey Gerrish also arrived to represent the United States.

The discussions are likely to focus heavily on agriculture, including U.S. demands that China substantially increase purchases of American soybeans and other farm commodities, a person with knowledge of the planned discussions told Reuters.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, in an interview on Fox Business Network on Thursday, said it remained unclear what China wanted and that “we will find out very, very shortly in the next couple of weeks.”

“What we need is to correct the big imbalances, not just the current trade deficit,” Ross said. “It’s more complicated than just buying a few more soybeans.”

Turkey chemical factory explosion launches metal tank into sky above fleeing onlookers, video shows

The falling debris appeared to land on a car parked across the street as panicked onlookers dashed from the scene.

Two firefighters were injured in the blast, according to Turkish pro-government outlet the Daily Sabah. One was taken to a hospital while the other was treated at the scene.

Firefighters struggled to control the blaze for nearly two hours, the paper reported. The fire was finally extinguished with the help of 48 fire engines and 138 firefighters, said Ali Karahan, the head of the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality Firefighting Division.

‘I couldn’t breathe’: Hong Kong protesters allege beatings and torture by city’s police

Police officers arrest a protester at Hong Kong’s airport on Aug. 13. Demonstrators detained during months of unrest in the city have alleged unlawful treatment in police custody. (Vincent Yu/AP)

A report from Amnesty International, released Friday local time, suggests that the woman’s experience is part of an “alarming pattern” of “reckless and indiscriminate” tactics employed by Hong Kong’s police, who have stepped up their use of force since June as unrest in the semiautonomous Chinese territory has snowballed.

Amnesty’s report, based on interviews with nearly two dozen arrested people, offers evidence of torture and other mistreatment of protesters in police detention.

One man detained at a police station after a protest told Amnesty that officers took him to a separate room when he refused to answer a question, beat him severely and threatened to break his hands.

Hong Kong police have arrested almost 1,500 people over the course of the demonstrations. Yet the huge number of arrests, and bans on large assemblies, has not stopped people from taking to the streets.

Fukushima Executives Acquitted of Negligence Over Deaths in Nuclear Disaster

Three former executives from Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco), former chairman Tsunehisa Katsumata (R), former vice presidents Ichiro Takekuro (C) and Sakae Muto (L), arriving at the Tokyo District Court, where they were acquitted on Sept. 19, 2019. (Kazuhiro Nogi/AFP/Getty Images)

The Tokyo District Court on Sept. 19 acquitted the former executives of Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. (Tepco) of the charges of professional negligence leading to death and injury, according to The Japan Times.

The judge rejected the prosecution’s pivotal claim that the executives should have heeded a government-commissioned report that warned in the event of an offshore earthquake a wave of over 50 feet could swamp the plant.

“It would be impossible to operate a nuclear plant if operators were obliged to predict every possibility related to tsunami and take necessary measures,” said Kenichi Nagafuchi, presiding judge of the Tokyo District Court, reported Kyodo News.

Several civil lawsuits have found in favor of plaintiffs, accepting the argument that Tepco could have predicted the nuclear scenario and shored up sea defenses against it.

Humpback whale breaches in front of stunned submarine crew off of South Africa

The submarine had been sailing out of South Africa’s naval base at Simon’s Town near Cape Town and had to navigate through a pod of the humpbacks when one leaped into view.

The majestic image of the 30-tonne fully grown 16m whale was caught on film by keen photographer Tracy-Lee Wise.

Her resulting three shots show the mammal in full breach alongside the 62m Heroine Class attack submarine SAS Manthatisi of the South African Navy.

‘Fort Trump’? US boosting military ties with Poland in bid to deter Russia

U.S. President Trump speaks while meeting with Poland's President Andrzej Duda in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, U.S., June 12, 2019.
U.S. President Trump speaks while meeting with Poland’s President Andrzej Duda in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, U.S., June 12, 2019.
REUTERS/Leah Millis

Poland, which borders Russia, already has been surging its defense spending.

And President Trump has committed to stationing 2,000 troops in Poland, adding to the 4,000 already there, in what has been unofficially nicknamed “Fort Trump.”

The Polish government has offered to spend $2 billion toward a base or several bases for locating the additional soldiers.

Poland is also buying 32 F-35A fighter jets from the United States.

F-16 fighter jet crashes in French town, hitting a house and leaving one pilot caught on high-voltage electricity line by his parachute

Local newspaper Le Telegramme showed images of the pilot hanging from the line, black smoke and flames rising from the area and a damaged house.

A national police spokeswoman said no injuries have been reported among residents in the area.

She said about 100 police surrounded the crash site and were investigating what happened.

A spokesman for the local administration said two people were in the plane at the time of the crash.

Both managed to jump from it, but only one of the two was caught on a high-voltage electricity line near the suburb of Kerdutel near Pluvigner.

Iran threatens ‘all-out war’ if action taken over Saudi oil strike

Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, says the country ‘won’t blink to defend our territory’.
Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, says the country ‘won’t blink to defend our territory’. Photograph: Valery Sharifulin/TASS

Mohammad Javad Zarif’s comments are the starkest warning yet by Iran after a summer of oil tanker seizures and attacks following the collapse of Iran’s nuclear deal with world powers, over a year after Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew the US from the accord.

Zarif’s comments appeared to be in response to a reference by the US secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, to the Saudi oil attack as an “act of war” while travelling to Saudi Arabia a day earlier.

Pompeo tweeted early on Thursday after his meeting with the kingdom’s de facto ruler and crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, about Saturday’s drone and cruise missile attack on a crucial oil processing facility and oil field on Saturday.

Yemen’s Iranian-backed Houthi rebels have claimed responsibility for the attack, but the US has said Iran was behind it.

Pompeo called the attacks “unprecedented.”.

Escalating violence leaves dozens dead as Afghanistan prepares to vote

Damaged vehicles are seen at the site of a car bomb attack in Qalat, capital of Zabul province, Afghanistan September 19, 2019.
Damaged vehicles are seen at the site of a car bomb attack in Qalat, capital of Zabul province, Afghanistan September 19, 2019. (Stringer/Reuters)

The Ministry of Interior said the car bomb in the southern Zabul province also wounded 66 people. The Taliban said in a statement it was targeting an intelligence headquarters near the hospital.

The blast follows a Taliban attack Wednesday that hit an office issuing voter identification cards and a bombing the day before at a campaign rally held by Afghan President Ashraf Ghani.

Many in Afghanistan feared new waves of violence after the collapse in peace talks earlier this month coupled with preparations for presidential elections on Sept. 28.

Both U.S. and Taliban forces pledged to step up attacks after President Trump abruptly declared “dead” more than a year of negotiations.

The Taliban have also repeatedly pledged to derail a vote they described as a “fake presidential election,” warning civilians to stay away from election-related offices and events.

Commentary/Opinion:

The 1917 Project: ‘Founded On Slavery’ Looks Like Communist Russia

The New York Times’ 1619 Project is an ambitious attempt to rewrite American history as defined by slavery and racism.

Yet it cherry-picks historic events and offers questionable interpretations. It also offers a deeply parochial view that holds American history as the measure of all things.

Yes, slavery is a dark stain on American history, but our ideals always stood in direct contradiction to it.

Slavery existed everywhere in the world at the time of our country’s founding, and once the institution was grandfathered into the American South, getting rid of it was not an easy undertaking.

Socialism is defined by state ownership of the means of production. Lenin’s plan to liquidate the kulaks as a class to prevent development of capitalism was fully realized by Joseph Stalin.

In November 1929, in conjunction with his first five-year plan, Stalin published “The Year of Great Break,” an article signaling the turn towards consolidation of property into government possession.

Small, private farms had to be turned into government-run collective farms, work equipment and livestock surrendered.

Ingraham: The war against men

Ingraham: Toxic masculinity mindset is infecting our lives.

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