In the News

News and Headlines. 2/12/2019

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

IN The News:

Mexico’s ‘El Chapo,’ notorious cartel boss, convicted in U.S. trial

Jurors in federal court in Brooklyn found Guzman, 61, guilty on all 10 counts. He faces a possible sentence of life in prison.

Guzman sat and showed no emotion while the verdict was read. Once the jury left the room, he and his wife put their hands to their hearts and gave each other the thumbs up sign.

Though other high-ranking cartel figures had been extradited previously, Guzman was the first to go to trial instead of pleading guilty.

3,000 Sheriffs Oppose Limits on ICE Detention Beds

President Donald Trump (C) speaks during a meeting with sheriff’s from around the country as US Vice President Mike Pence (R) looks on in the Diplomatic reception room at the White House in Washington, on Feb. 11, 2019. (Mandel Ngan/ AFP)

Artificially capping detention beds was a last minute curveball introduced over the weekend by congressional Democrats during funding negotiations for President Trump’s long-sought southern border wall.

“Capping the number of detention beds utilized by ICE not only jeopardizes the integrity of the immigration system, but would cripple ICE’s ability to detain criminal aliens and other aliens who pose a risk to public safety or are a flight risk,” states a joint letter by the National Sheriff’s Association and the Major County Sheriffs of America.

Job Openings Hit Record High, Economy Running Out of Workers

Job openings, a measure of labor demand, increased by 169,000 to a seasonally adjusted 7.3 million in December, the highest reading since the series started in 2000. That lifted the job openings rate to 4.7 percent from 4.6 percent in November.

Construction vacancies increased by 88,000 jobs in December. There were an additional 84,000 jobs in the accommodation and food services sector. Job openings in the health care and social assistance sector rose by 79,000 in December.

Federal government vacancies, however, fell by 32,000 jobs and job openings in real estate, rental and leasing dropped 31,000 in December.

Trump signs ‘American AI Initiative’ in executive order

“Americans have profited tremendously from being the early developers and international leaders in AI,” the White House said in a press release.

“However, as the pace of AI innovation increases around the world, we cannot sit idly by and presume that our leadership is guaranteed. We must ensure that advances in AI remain fueled by American ingenuity, reflect American values, and are applied for the benefit of the American people.”

The initiative will feature a “multi-pronged approach” that emphasizes “research and development, AI infrastructure, AI governance, workforce and international engagement,”

The five primary areas of emphasis include:

First female Viper demo team pilot removed from position after 2 weeks

Capt. Zoe Kotnik
Capt. Zoe Kotnik was removed from her position after two weeks, said Col. Derek O’Malley, the 20th Fighter Wing commander. (Air Force)

Capt. Zoe Kotnik was removed from her position after two weeks, Col. Derek O’Malley, the 20th Fighter Wing commander, said in a statement.

“I removed Capt. Kotnik from her position as the commander of the Viper Demo team [Monday], because I lost confidence in her ability to lead the team.” O’Malley said.

“I know that loss of confidence is a common response from the Air Force, whenever someone is removed from a command position, and I think it’s important to understand why we take this approach.”

Trump Makes Sure Reporters Are Unharmed After Man Shoves Press at Rally

A man is escorted off the media riser after knocking down some cameras and chanting “media sucks,” during a rally held by President Donald Trump at the El Paso County Coliseum in El Paso, Texas, on Feb. 11, 2019. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

The unidentified man shoved members of the press and verbally abused the media before he was escorted out of the El Paso County Coliseum. The man reportedly ran down a flight of stairs and onto the press riser to get to cameras that were recording Trump’s speech. Some equipment was knocked over during the scuffle.

Bergquam, who also runs a website called Frontline America, told The Epoch Times that the man was yelling about “fake news” and seemed “off.”

“There was something that didn’t seem quite right. There was something off in his eyes,” he said. “As soon as I grabbed him, there was no fight.”

Bergquam also lamented on the media’s coverage of the scuffle, BBC’s in particular.

30 acres once owned by Abraham Lincoln in Illinois sold for $300,000

Retired farmer Ron Best sold the plot as part of his family’s 590-acre farm in the city of Charleston, which includes the plot owned by the nation’s 16th president.

The (Charleston) Times-Courier and Mattoon Journal-Gazette reported Tuesday – Lincoln’s 210th birthday – that the remaining 560 acres sold for $3.9 million, or about $7,000 an acre.

The land once owned by Lincoln went for $10,000 an acre. A representative told the newspaper the buyer wishes to remain anonymous. Plans for the land were not revealed.

Utah boy, 5, calls 911 after discovering neighbor was stabbed to death, police say

Darren Byrd, 50,
Darren Byrd, 50, was arrested for allegedly stabbing Belinda Thomas to death. (Salt Lake County Jail)

The boy was with Thomas’ 5-year-old son, who said his mother was injured.

“That child and Thomas’ five-year-old son were together as that 911 call was made,” police said. “The child who called 911 then notified his own parent who went to Thomas’ home, verified that an incident had occurred and then also called 911.”

Darren Byrd, 50 was arrested and charged with domestic violence in the presence of a child, aggravated murder, child abuse, obstruction of justice and possession of a weapon by a restricted person after police located him in his vehicle.

Tara Grinstead murder case: New details emerge as judge denies bond for suspected killer

Ryan Duke, shown in February 2017, is one of the suspects in the disappearance and murder of Tara Grinstead.

Duke — a former student at Grinstead’s school — told investigators he broke into her house to steal money for drugs, and when she confronted him he struck her with a fatal blow, GBI agent Jason Shoudel testified on Monday, according to the Associated Press.

The agent added that a latex glove with Duke and Grinstead’s DNA was found at her home and that Duke admitted to enlisting a friend to help him burn her body in a pecan orchard.

Shoudel’s comments were made as prosecutors sought to persuade a judge to deny Duke’s request for bond.

Saudi Arabia has long history of helping nationals flee justice in US, report says

Some of the faces of Saudi nationals who have escaped justice in the U.S.
Some of the faces of Saudi nationals who have escaped justice in the U.S.

The cases were discovered in Montana, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Utah, Washington and Wisconsin and two cases in Canada, the Oregonian reported Friday.

In Oregon alone, five Saudi nationals – all of them attending college in the state – reportedly had help getting out of legal binds from high-powered sources within Saudi Arabia.

The five cases were similar – all men who disappeared while facing jail time and all of their current whereabouts unknown.

New Jersey woman accused of burglary flips bird in mugshot

Shana Hilsman,
Shana Hilsman, of Old Bridge, N.J., was arrested for alleged burglary, police said. (Spotswood Police Department)

On Feb. 1, an officer “observed [Hilsman] with the same distinguishable clothing” walking toward a driveway in the area.

She “was found to be in possession of numerous burglary tools, including a screw driver, hammer and the same flashlight seen on the surveillance videos.”

Hilsman was taken into custody for burglary, criminal trespass and possession of burglary tools, according to police. She was transported to a correctional facility and a court date is pending.

Students Love Green New Deal… Until Hearing What’s In It

Students at The University of Miami loved the idea of the Green New Deal… But they seemed to change their mind after hearing what was actually in it.

Lead Stories Joins Facebook’s Third Party Fact Checking Partnership

Lead Stories will continue using its Trendolizer engine to detect viral content from known fake news, satire and prank websites but will now also get access to lists of possibly false content flagged by Facebook’s systems. Lead Stories will continue independently checking if these stories are true or false as before using the same methodology and will keep publishing its findings on

What changes is that Lead Stories’ findings about false and misleading content will now also be used by Facebook to bring more information to the attention of people who engaged with such content and that our findings will also be used to reduce its further distribution. 


Devin Nunes: Task force combing through transcripts for criminal referrals in FBI bias investigation

Furthering the work begun by a joint GOP task force comprised of the Judiciary Committee and the Oversight Committee, which last year was headed by now-retired Chairmen Bob Goodlatte, R-Va.; and Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., Nunes said the effort is getting a second wind.

“We will be continuing that task force, except that the House Intelligence Committee Republicans will be involved,” Nunes, who is the ranking member of the panel, said in an interview with the Hill.TV that aired Monday.

“We’re now combing through the transcripts that came last year from the roughly 15 interviews or so,” Nunes said. “We’ll comb through those and we will be sending those recommendations on to the Department of Justice when the timing is appropriate.” He didn’t specify which interviews were being examined.

FBI Testimonies on Carter Page FISA Reveal Broken Oversight Process

FISA warrants on American citizens require formal approval from the FISC and specifically require that there be probable cause to believe the proposed target is a foreign power or an agent of a foreign power.

A FISA warrant is among the most invasive ways an American citizen can be spied on.

When asked by Congress in an Oct. 3, 2018, testimony about the FISA process, James Baker, the highest ranking lawyer at the FBI at the time of the Carter Page application, described a FISA warrant as “a set of highly intrusive surveillance techniques” that are used “to provide the FBI with foreign intelligence information.”



“I think she should either resign from Congress or she should certainly resign from the House Foreign Affairs Committee,” Trump told reporters in the Cabinet Room. “Anti-Semitism has no place in the United States Congress.”

He also called her apology for her remarks “lame,” adding that her views on Jewish people and Israel are “deep-seated in her heart” and that she “didn’t mean” her apology.

The president also criticized Omar on Monday night while flying to a rally in El Paso, Texas. Trump said she should be “ashamed of herself” and urged her to produce a better apology than the one she gave.

Senate has uncovered no direct evidence of conspiracy between Trump campaign and Russia

WASHINGTON — After two years and 200 interviews, the Senate Intelligence Committee is approaching the end of its investigation into the 2016 election, having uncovered no direct evidence of a conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia, according to both Democrats and Republicans on the committee.

“If we write a report based upon the facts that we have, then we don’t have anything that would suggest there was collusion by the Trump campaign and Russia,” said Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, in an interview with CBS News last week.

“We know we’re getting to the bottom of the barrel because there’re not new questions that we’re searching for answers to,” Burr said.

Trump ‘not happy’ with deal, weighing options for building wall

“Am I happy? The answer is no, I’m not. I’m not happy,” Trump said when questioned about the agreement during a meeting of his Cabinet at the White House. He said he was still studying the details of the agreement.

But he stopped short of saying he would reject the accord, which Democrats and Republicans announced late Monday. Instead, he suggested he had other mechanisms ready to deploy to satisfy his need for border wall funding.

“I’m adding things to it,” Trump said. “It’s all going to happen, where we’re going to build a beautiful, big, strong wall.”

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez joins protest outside White House, calls for TPS amnesty

U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY)
U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) addresses immigration rights activists during a rally calling for “permanent protections for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) holders” in front of the White House in Washington, U.S., February 12, 2019. REUTERS/Jim Bourg

The freshman Democrat addressed the crowd, saying: “We are here to make sure that all TPS recipients become permanent members of the United States of America.

“We are fighting for the longstanding principle and the longstanding that the people who built this country, stay in this country.

“And we are part of the long, long fight for the people whose hands built this country be honored and respected in the United States of America.”


“I believe in second chances and making our Commonwealth more open and accessible to all,” Northam said in a release.

Virginia is not the first state to grant voting rights to convicted felons. Florida voters elected to give back the right to 1.5 million convicted felons in November 2018.

House Democrats also introduced a nearly 600-page “For The People Act,” which includes a proposal to restore voting rights for convicted felons who completed their prison sentences.

Facebook messages show 2nd Fairfax accuser detailed rape allegations during 2017 race

Facebook messages dating as far back as March 2017, and obtained by Fox News on Tuesday, show Meredith Watson commenting on Fairfax’s candidacy and telling contacts about the alleged rape.

Fairfax has adamantly denied Watson’s claims, but the firm representing Watson had said over the weekend she has “documentary evidence” showing she discussed the alleged attack with others.

A message from March 19, 2017 read: “This is absolutely disgusting! This dude raped me,” with a link to an article about Fairfax in the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

The unknown contact responded: “Was it reported?” and “Is there something that could be said,” followed by a message asking if she would “even want to say something.”

Gov. Newsom Abandons Plan for High-Speed Train From L.A. to San Francisco, Cites Cost

Newsom said Tuesday in his State of the State address it “would cost too much and take too long” to build the line long championed by his predecessor, Jerry Brown. Latest estimates pin the cost at $77 billion and completion in 2033.

Newsom says he wants to continue construction of the high-speed link from Merced to Bakersfield in California’s Central Valley. He says building the line could bring economic transformation to the agricultural region.

And he says abandoning that portion of the project would require the state to return $3.5 billion in federal dollars.

World News:

Spate of Anti-Semitic Acts Sparks Outrage in France

In two separate incidents in the past two days, swastikas were drawn on Paris postboxes containing portraits of late Holocaust survivor Simone Veil and the word Juden (German for Jews) was sprayed on the window of a bagel bakery in the capital.

Ilan Halimi was kidnapped by a gang that demanded huge sums of money from his family, believing them to be rich because he was Jewish.

After being tortured for three weeks, the 23-year-old cellphone salesman was found dumped next to a railway in the southern suburb of Sainte-Genevieve-des-Bois. He died while being brought to hospital.

It is the latest in a series of anti-Semitic acts and attacks that have raised fears of a new wave of anti-Jewish violence in a country that is home to Europe’s biggest Jewish population.

Russia’s plan to disconnect from Internet raises Great Firewall fears

Russian President Vladimir Putin
Russian President Vladimir Putin chairs a Security Council meeting in Moscow, Friday, Feb. 1, 2019. (Alexei Nikolsky, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)

According to a report from Russian news site RBC, the planned disconnection is intended to examine whether the country run by Vladimir Putin is prepared for a draft law that mandates a “sovereign” internet.

ZDNet reports that a draft of the law required that Russian internet service providers must ensure the independence of the Russian internet space (Runet) in the case of foreign aggression to disconnect the country from the rest of the internet.

The legislation’s goal is to prevent any aggression from the U.S., which has listed Russia as a major source of cybersecurity attacks, according to the Guardian.

Russia says ready to help Venezuela dialogue, warns U.S. against meddling

Russia has sided with President Nicolas Maduro in his stand-off with opposition leader Juan Guaido. Maduro retains control of state institutions including the military, but most Western countries, including the United States, have recognized Guaido as Venezuela’s president.

Moscow has invested billions of dollars into Venezuela’s economy and oil production.

On Tuesday opposition supporters returned to the streets nationwide to keep the heat on Maduro and demand that he allow humanitarian aid into Venezuela, where food and medicine shortages are rife.

Newborn baby rescued after passerby hears her crying in a storm drain

Rescue services used a chisel and hammer to break into the drain, Jamieson said. The whole operation lasted nearly four hours.

After being located and extricated, the baby was flown to Inkosi Albert Luthuli Hospital for urgent care.

Dramatic video from the scene showed the moment the baby was lifted to safety.


Socialism Ruins the Traditional Family Structure, Warns Expert

Socialism and the family are incompatible, according to Feser. Socialism has a tendency to undermine the traditional family, and this breakdown has, in turn, led to a greater need for state assistance—hence leading society further in a socialist direction in recent decades, he said.

“People long to be part of something bigger than themselves. When the family is not there to fulfill this need, they will look for a substitute,” he said. “This can make the idea of a socialist society attractive, especially to young people.”

Socialists push for plans such as a universal basic income, single-payer health care, state-backed education for all, and heavy taxes on inheritance.

So the idea is that “all basic material needs will thereby be provided by the state rather than by the father or even the father and mother together,” he said. “The state becomes the de facto breadwinner for all.”