In the News

News and Headlines. 12/26/2019

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

In The News:

Report: Medicaid expansion has produced ‘disastrous results’

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam, center, reacts after signing the state budget bills that include Medicaid expansion during a ceremony Thursday, June 7, 2018, at the State Capitol in Richmond.
Virginia Governor Ralph Northam, center, reacts after signing the state budget bills that include Medicaid expansion during a ceremony Thursday, June 7, 2018, at the State Capitol in Richmond. Bob Brown | Richmond Times-Dispatch

A new report by the nonpartisan think tank The Foundation for Government Accountability (FGA) says that Medicaid expansion through the Affordable Care Act is like “Medicare for All Lite,” which has created nothing but “disastrous results.”

If the remaining non-expansion states were to expand Medicaid under Obamacare, FGA argues, about 2 million able-bodied adults risk losing their private insurance.

They would then be shifted onto Medicaid and receive less quality care, placing a larger financial burden onto taxpayers.

FGA vice president of policy and research and co-author of the FGA report, Jonathan Ingram, argues, “If additional states expand Medicaid, taxpayers will be forced to spend billions of dollars to provide Medicaid to able-bodied adults who already have private insurance, robbing resources from the truly needy and other core budget priorities.”

Medicaid expansion has ultimately resulted in taking resources away from the truly needy, the FGA argues, diverting funds into a welfare system for those already enrolled in private coverage.

The losses associated with Medicaid expansion, FGA argues, is nothing compared to what would happen if Medicare for All became federal policy, as a number of Democratic presidential candidates support.

Embattled union honchos’ lavish spending exposed: Villas, four-figure dinners, $60,000 cigar bill

Gary Jones
Gary Jones (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File)

It’s a case that threatens to cause serious problems for top auto union bosses, including Gary Jones, who resigned as president last month under pressure.

A complaint filed in September in Michigan federal court against union leader Vance Pearson refers to several unnamed individuals, but union officials have told the New York Times that one of them, UAW “Official A,” is, in fact, Jones, whose home was raided by federal agents.

And Official A’s wild expenses are all over the court documents, allegedly including $13,000 at a cigar store.

Body of 5-year-old Michigan boy who went missing on Christmas found floating in pond, police say

Police say they have found the body of 5-year-old Beau Brennen Belson floating in a pond near his family's house.
Police say they have found the body of 5-year-old Beau Brennen Belson floating in a pond near his family’s house. (Michigan State Police)

Beau Brennan Belson was last seen playing outside with his family in Six Lakes around 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Grand Rapid’s Fox 17 reported.

Michigan State Police, troopers, three K-9 units, and multiple fire departments, searched for the boy into the night, according to the station.

The search also involved an MSP helicopter and hundreds of volunteers from the local community, officials say.

Mother killed herself after her two children fell to their deaths at Renaissance Park garage, DA Rollins says

Police officers were positioned outside the Renaissance Park garage near the Ruggles MBTA station on Christmas Day after the bodies of a mother and her two children were found.NIC ANTAYA FOR THE BOSTON GLOBE

Rollins said the woman was 40 years old and that the children were 4 years old and 15 months old.

She did not provide the gender of the children, but said her office will release a more detailed statement later Thursday.

She said the father of the children was notified of their deaths on Wednesday.

Rollins responded to the scene Wednesday afternoon and described what she saw during the interview. “It was awful.

There were children’s shoes and the mother’s shoe. There were belongings from the children and the mother strewn upon the street,” she said.

“The impact of the fall was visible from the street.”

3 Jersey City officers hospitalized after shots fired

Three Jersey City police officers were hospitalized Thursday with minor injuries when a man allegedly pulled a gun on them and fired in their direction.

Police were responding to reports of drug activity in the area when the suspect, identified as Jamel Bolden, 32, pulled out a weapon.

The incident comes weeks after two attackers killed four people, including a police officer, in Jersey City

Baltimore Nears Record per-Capita Homicide Rate After a Week of Relentless Violence

(BALTIMORE) — Baltimore could wrap up 2019 with its highest per-capita homicide rate on record as killings of adults and minors alike for drugs, retribution, money or no clear reason continue to add up and city officials appear unable to stop the violence.

Police recorded 338 homicides as of Tuesday, following a week of relentless gunfire that saw eight people shot — three of them fatally — in one day and nine others — one fatally — another day.

That total is up from 309 in 2018 and four shy of the 342 killings tallied in 2017 and 2015, the year when the city’s homicide rate suddenly spiked.

A Woman’s Skin Whitening Cream Gave Her Mercury Poisoning

Photo: Marco Verch (Flickr (CC BY 2.0))

The 47-year woman’s ordeal was detailed in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, a clearing house for public health information collected by the CDC from state health departments and local doctors.

According to the report, the Sacramento, California resident sought medical care earlier this July when her arms developed involuntary muscle spasms and became extremely weak.

Over the next two weeks, she deteriorated further and was unable to walk, speak and see normally, which led to her hospitalization.

In the hospital, she experienced delirium, a state of serious mental confusion.

Two weeks into her hospitalization, blood test results showed that she had incredibly high mercury levels. Her blood contained more than 1,000 times the level of mercury compared to the average person.

Interviews with her family soon after revealed that the Mexican American woman had been using skin whitening creams brought back from Mexico for at least seven years.

Police arrest man suspected of killing NFL player’s brother

Michael Mosley, 23, was arrested Wednesday, bring to end a multiday manhunt following the stabbing deaths of two people and the stabbing of a third on the weekend.
Michael Mosley, 23, was arrested Wednesday, bring to end a multiday manhunt following the stabbing deaths of two people and the stabbing of a third on the weekend. Photo courtesy of the Metro Nashville Police Department/Twitter

The Metro Nashville Police Department said Michael Mosley, 23, was arrested Wednesday at a vacant home in Cheatham County, some 30 miles west of Nashville.

“Michael Mosley surrendered from a vacant home … after it was surrounded by law enforcement,” the Metro Nashville Police Department said on Twitter. “He was there alone.”

The arrest brings to an end a days-long manhunt for Mosley after Clayton Beathard, 22, and Paul Trapeni III, 21, were stabbed to death and a third person sustained stab wounds outside of a bar in Nashville on Saturday.

CBC removes Donald Trump’s scene from ‘Home Alone 2’ broadcast: report

(Screenshot via YouTube)

Viewers took to social media with mixed criticism days ahead of Christmas as they recognized the American president’s noticeable absence from the 1992 film, Comicbook.com reported.

“You guys are the biggest bush league ‘journalists’ of all time. Editing out Trump’s cameo in Home Alone 2. What kind of state-sponsored bulls–t is that? #Defund,” one Twitter user wrote to the network.

“Welcome to the liberal government-controlled media,” another tweeted to the network.

World’s First Hydrogen-Powered Superyacht is Here and It Is a Beauty

World's First Hydrogen-Powered Superyacht
World’s First Hydrogen-Powered Superyacht

The world’s first hydrogen-powered superyacht was unveiled last week at the Monaco Yacht Show and it made quite an impression.

The model of the 367-foot yacht was the pinnacle of luxury and sophistication.

The ship called Aqua would run on liquid hydrogen and fuel-cell technology with water being its only emission.

The yacht would function using two 28-ton vacuum-sealed tanks of liquid hydrogen stored at -423 degrees Fahrenheit.

The tanks would be visible through a glass panel at the center of the vessel.

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Israeli national, 26, arrested after trying to cash $1M check from husband, 77, of just four months: report

Lin Helena Halfon, 26, was arrested at Tampa International Airport on Dec. 16 for allegedly stealing $666,666 from her husband Richard Rappaport.
Lin Helena Halfon, 26, was arrested at Tampa International Airport on Dec. 16 for allegedly stealing $666,666 from her husband Richard Rappaport.
(Harris County Sheriff’s Office )

Halfon walked into a Tampa Amscot Branch with the check Nov. 7, telling employees that she intended to use the money to buy a yacht in Miami but, because Rappaport’s name was also on the check, the bank refused, court records showed.

A short time later, Halfon reappeared — with the same request — only this time she had three separate checks each for $333,333. Amscot employees refused but made copies of her Israeli passport, her U.S. visa and the questionable checks.

They contacted law enforcement immediately.

Strange but true: The biggest medical shockers of 2019

The man had reportedly not seen a doctor in 30 years. (Urology Case Reports)
Rare condition causes man’s testicles to swell to 7 pounds: case report The man had reportedly not seen a doctor in 30 years. (Urology Case Reports)

From a case of so-called “feather duvet lung” to a woman who found parasitic worms in her eye following a trail run, these medical moments are as bizarre as they are true.

Here’s a look at some of Fox News Health’s most head-scratching moments of 2019.

  1. Man with ‘penile gangrene’ has part of genitals removed:

Man chased from Florida home after grabbing girl, 11, in Christmas Eve break-in attempt

Hasugulgum lives in Daytona Beach, but is a citizen of the Federated States of Micronesia, a country comprising more than 600 islands in the western Pacific Ocean, the sheriff’s office said.
Hasugulgum lives in Daytona Beach, but is a citizen of the Federated States of Micronesia, a country comprising more than 600 islands in the western Pacific Ocean, the sheriff’s office said. (Volusia Sheriff’s Office)

Steven M. Hasugulgum, 21, was standing outside an Ormond Beach-area home around 6 p.m. Tuesday when the girl opened a sliding door and walked outside, the Volusia Sheriff’s Office said.

Hasugulgum advanced, putting his fingers to his lips and telling her to “shh” as he forced her back inside.

Hasugulgum followed her and grabbed her hand, trying to pull her toward him, but the girl’s father, Derek Kloepfer, was able to chase the intruder away, deputies said.

“If I would have grabbed him, I’m sure there would have been some consequences,” Kloepfer told FOX35 Orlando.

Kevin Spacey accuser Ari Behn, ex of Norwegian princess, died by suicide, manager says

Princess Martha Louise of Norway and her husband Ari Behn attend the royal wedding of Prince Carl Philip of Sweden and Sofia Hellqvist at The Royal Palace on June 13, 2015
Princess Martha Louise of Norway and her husband Ari Behn attend the royal wedding of Prince Carl Philip of Sweden and Sofia Hellqvist at The Royal Palace on June 13, 2015 in Stockholm, Sweden. (Ian Gavan/Getty Images)

Ari Behn, a former member of Norway’s royal family who was one of Kevin Spacey’s sexual assault accusers, died by suicide on Wednesday, his manager said. He was 47.

“It is with great sadness in our hearts that I on behalf of the very closest relatives of Ari Behn must announce that he took his own life today,” his manager, Geir Hakonsund, said in an email to AFP.

The successful Danish author was married to Norway’s Princess Martha Louise between 2002 and 2017. They have three daughters, the youngest of whom is 11.

Politics:

IG Report Reveals Steele Funneled Claims Through John McCain After FBI Dropped Him

AP Photo/Matt York

There have long been questions about why it was necessary for McCain to pass Steele’s anti-Trump dossier to Comey on December 9, 2016, several weeks after the November 2016 presidential election.

By then, Steele had already met numerous times with FBI agents to provide them with his controversial reports.

Steele, however, was terminated as an FBI source in the fall of 2016 because he spoke to the news media.

The IG report discloses that McCain gave five new Steele reports to Comey that the FBI did not previously possess, showing that McCain served as a conduit for Steele’s information to reach the FBI even after the British ex-spy was formally cut off as an FBI source.

The IG report also verifies that a McCain aid obtained the Steele reports directly from Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson, meaning that when McCain transferred the anti-Trump charges to Comey he had to have known that the material originated with a firm that specializes in controversial opposition tactics.

From Ukraine to Virginia: The top 7 political scandals of 2019

As 2019 comes to a close, so does another year of jaw-dropping, and in some cases historic, political scandals.

While the biggest was undoubtedly the chain of events leading to President Trump’s impeachment, the commander-in-chief was hardly the only political figure at the center of a firestorm this year.

Here are the top political scandals of 2019:

Democratic insiders: Bernie could win the nomination

For months, the Vermont senator was written off by Democratic Party insiders as a candidate with a committed but narrow base who was too far left to win the primary.

Elizabeth Warren had skyrocketed in the polls and seemed to be leaving him behind in the race to be progressive voters’ standard-bearer in 2020.

But in the past few weeks, something has changed.

In private conversations and on social media, Democratic officials, political operatives and pundits are reconsidering Sanders’ chances.

Democratic insiders said they are rethinking Sanders’ bid for a few reasons:

Concha breaks down the media’s portrayal of billionaires Trump, Bloomberg

Commentary/Opinion: Media reporter for The Hill Joe Concha breaks down the difference in campaign coverage.

Trump calls Dems ‘Liars!’ for deeming him security threat – and then pausing impeachment

The president went so far Thursday morning as to suggest Pelosi should face a primary challenge, as he called her San Francisco district “filthy” and “dirty” and said she should focus on cleaning it up.

This, after the president tore into House Democrats overnight and into the morning over their handling of the impeachment process, calling them “hypocrites” and “liars” for allegedly seeking concessions in the Senate that Republicans were not afforded in the House — and for hitting pause on impeachment after stressing the national security urgency of it all.

World News:

Boko Haram Jihadis Kill Seven in Nigeria on Christmas Eve

UTOMI EKPEI/AFP/Getty JOHN HAYWARD 26 Dec 2019

AFP quoted locals who said the jihadis emerged from Sambisa Forest, an area covering over 20,000 square miles where Boko Haram hides most of its forces.

The attackers arrived in trucks and riding motorcycles.

Bloodshed was minimized by a timely warning to villagers from people new Sambisa who saw the attack force closing in.

The jihadis are said to have stolen food from the village and burned a number of homes before returning to the forest with their captive.

The governor of Nigeria’s Borno state, Babagana Zulum, confirmed the attack on Thursday and said there may have been two kidnapping victims.

Zulum put the casualty count at six dead plus three injured.

Russia launches newest, most advanced nuclear-powered sub

FILE PHOTO. A Yasen-M submarine. © Global Look Press / Russia's Defense Ministry
FILE PHOTO. A Yasen-M submarine. © Global Look Press / Russia’s Defense Ministry

Capable of carrying 32 cruise missiles in addition to a full range of 533mm homing torpedoes, the Yasen-M-class Novosibirsk was officially launched Wednesday at the Sevmash shipyard in Severodvinsk, home of the navy’s Northern Fleet.

The Novosibirsk is Russia’s second mass-produced Yasen-M class sub, joining the Kazan, which is currently undergoing sea trials.

The original prototype of the class was the Severodvinsk, which was launched in 2010 after 20 years of design, testing and construction.

Construction work on the Novosibirsk began in 2013 and it is expected to enter service by the end of 2020.

USS Ross arrives in Ukraine after simulated Russian attack at sea

Sailors assigned to the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Ross heave in line during a sea and anchor evolution on Dec. 24.
Sailors assigned to the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Ross heave in line during a sea and anchor evolution on Dec. 24. Ross, forward-deployed to Rota, Spain, is currently on its ninth patrol in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations in support of U.S. national security interests in Europe and Africa. Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Andrea Rumple/U.S. Navy

Dec. 26 (UPI) — The USS Ross this week arrived in Odessa, Ukraine, for a scheduled port visit, a day after being targeted by Russian aircraft — and weeks after being trailed by a Russian warship — according to reports.

The Navy announced Thursday the guided-missile destroyer USS Ross made a port visit in Odessa on Christmas Eve, part of its mission in the Black Sea. The Ross is the first U.S. vessel to stop in Odessa since the USS Porter made a port call there in October.

Ahead of arriving in Odessa, two Russian Su-24 bombers, with Su-27 fighter jets, simulated a missile attack on the Ross while it transited the Black Sea on Dec. 23, according to a Ukraine military statement.

Australia wildfires expected to worsen as another ‘extreme heat wave’ looms

This image made from video taken on Dec. 22, 2019, and provided Dec. 25, 2019, by Ingleside Rural Fire Brigade, shows the wildfire behind an emergency vehicle near property on Hat Hill Road in Blackheath, New South Wales.
This image made from video taken on Dec. 22, 2019, and provided Dec. 25, 2019, by Ingleside Rural Fire Brigade, shows the wildfire behind an emergency vehicle near property on Hat Hill Road in Blackheath, New South Wales. Australian authorities have warned that the fires in New South Wales could fester for months, causing more angst for exhausted firefighters.(Ingleside Rural Fire Brigade via AP)

More than 12.35 million acres have burned nationwide over the past few months, killing nine people and destroying more than 950 homes.

Around 850 of those homes were razed in New South Wales.

Authorities are bracing for the start of the summer season. About 2,000 firefighters and 400 firetrucks battled the blazes in more favorable conditions Thursday.

Bureau of Meteorology forecaster Rose Barr told reporters that the heatwave is currently building in the southern parts of New South Wales and will worsen over the weekend.

The devastation put pressure on Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who was criticized for going on a family vacation to Hawaii during the wildfire crisis.

Trump warns Syria, Russia and Iran against killing ‘innocent civilians’ in Idlib province

Truckloads of civilians flee a Syrian military offensive in Idlib province on the main road near Hazano, Syria on Tuesday.
Truckloads of civilians flee a Syrian military offensive in Idlib province on the main road near Hazano, Syria on Tuesday. | Ghaith al-Sayed/AP Photo

“Russia, Syria, and Iran are killing, or on their way to killing, thousands of innocent civilians in Idlib Province,” he tweeted.

“Don’t do it! Turkey is working hard to stop this carnage.”

According to The Associated Press, Syrian government forces allied with Russia and Iran have been shelling parts of Syria’s Idlib province since late last month in an attempt to retake one of the last strongholds of the U.S.-allied rebels.

The unrest has sent more than 216,000 civilians fleeing from their homes, relief group Syrian Response Coordination Group told the AP.

Japan hangs Chinese man in rare execution of foreigner

Justice Minister Masako Mori: "It is an extremely cruel and brutal case"
Justice Minister Masako Mori: “It is an extremely cruel and brutal case”AFP

Japan has more than 100 prisoners on death row. Fifteen were executed last year, including 13 members of the Aum Shinrikyo doomsday cult.

Japan only started to disclose the names of executed inmates in 2007. Since then only one foreigner has been named – a Chinese man hanged in 2009.

Justice Minister Masako Mori said she had signed off on the execution of Wei Wei “after careful consideration”.

“It is an extremely cruel and brutal case in which the happily living family members, including an eight-year-old and 11-year-old, were all murdered because of truly selfish reasons,” she said.

Commentary/Opinion:

How To Raise Kids To Be Open Minded (Pt. 2) | Dave Rubin & John Lennox | SPIRITUALITY | Rubin Report

Dave Rubin of The Rubin Report participates in a conversation with Christian thinker Prof John Lennox and Justin Brierley, for Unbelievable’s The Big Conversation interview series.

The interview series is designed to bring Christians and skeptics together for dialogue and debate.

Dave Rubin and John Lennox discuss the big questions involving spirituality and religion, like is God dead?

John shares personal stories that will help anyone who wants to raise their kid to be an open minded child who is welcoming of different views and perspectives.

John also discusses how his father raised him with a form of Christianity that was mind opening and not mind closing.

Dave and John also give their opinions on if it’s possible for people to find meaning in the modern world without a faith.