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News and Headlines. 1/31/2019

Toxic smog

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

In The News:


Stocks post best January since 1987, as S&P 500 climbs 7.9%

Stocks finished broadly higher on Thursday, steering the benchmark S&P 500 toward its best one-month gain since 2015 and its best January since 1987.

That “put the S&P 500 on track to post its 9th best January on record since 1928,” according to Jodie Gunzberg, head of U.S. equities at S&P Dow Jones Indices. Thursday’s increase sealed that historic move.


Recall: More Infant Ibuprofen Sold at CVS, Walmart

Tris Pharma has expanded its recall of liquid ibuprofen sold by CVS, Walmart and Family Dollar.

The pharmaceutical company first pulled lots of its Infants’ Ibuprofen Concentrated Oral Suspension from shelves last year after batches of the product were found to potentially contain higher concentrations of the drug than what was listed on the label.

Higher concentrations could harm infants, causing nausea, vomiting, epigastric pain or, more rarely, diarrhea.

Tris Pharma voluntarily recalled three more batches of the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug, which is used as a pain reliever and fever reducer and is sold under brands from CVS Health, Walmart and Family Dollar, according to a statement from the company. The latest announcement brings the total number of recalled batches to six.


Ex-Walgreen’s employee accused of posing as pharmacist, authorizing prescriptions

Investigators claim that Le was employed by Walgreens from 2006 through 2017 at three different locations and that she provided pharmacist license numbers for two different people with similar names.

They allege that over 100,000 of the prescriptions she filled involved controlled substances. A spokesman for the company said that Le was fired in 2017.

Investigators reportedly grew suspicious after visiting a pharmacy that had distributed medication with inadequate labeling.


Polar vortex victims include University of Iowa student, ex-city councilman, police officer and wife

A deadly arctic deep freeze enveloped the Midwest with record-breaking temperatures on Wednesday, triggering widespread closures of schools and businesses, and prompting the U.S. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

Though the National Weather Service said temperatures will “slowly begin to moderate,” the bone-chilling cold on Thursday still shuttered schools and caused the U.S. Postal Service to suspend mail delivery in several states.

Wind chills of negative 45 degrees Fahrenheit were reported Thursday morning in International Falls, Minnesota and minus 23 degrees in Minneapolis. Des Moines, Iowa reported a bitterly cold wind chill of minus 25 degrees and Chicago had a wind chill of negative 41 degrees just before sunrise.


Michigan pileup amid polar vortex caught on terrifying dashcam video

The pileup of about 30 vehicles happened at about 2 p.m. near Marne, located just outside of Grand Rapids, and involved several semi-trucks and other vehicles.

“The snow was coming down, the visibility was starting to get bad all at one time,” Dora Jenkins, who was in the car with her children when the accident happened, told FOX17. “I was just praying at that point because everybody was nervous. I asked God to cover us.”


Chicago Good Samaritan picks up hotel tab for 70 homeless, as officials warn against propane tank donations

City officials in Chicago have been scrambling to get the homeless population off the streets as the polar vortex has blanked the region with arctic air. (FOX32)

The group had set up tents and spent the night near the Dan Ryan Expressway on the city’s South Side as temperatures sank to negative 22 degrees amid the polar vortex when one of about 100 donated propane tanks the group was using exploded.

The blast drew the response of the Chicago Fire Department, which confiscated the remainder of the tanks.

Salvation Army spokeswoman Jacqueline Rachev told the Chicago Tribune that city officials contacted the organization about their actions at the camp. The Salvation Army was about to move the people to a warming center when the city called again and informed them of the gesture by the anonymous donor.


McDonald’s employees praised for reopening restaurant for little girls after father’s DUI arrest

Police officers in Sarasota responded to a call Monday after midnight and found a man asleep behind the wheel of his car, KGNC reports. In the backseat were his two young daughters, who reported being hungry and in need of the bathroom.

“The two employees stopped what they were doing, started up all the machines and gave the two young girls anything they wanted to eat, allowed them to use the restroom and stuffed their Happy Meals with toys.

Additionally, the employees would not allow Officers to foot the bill,” reps for the department wrote online, in a post that has since been liked over 1,700 times on Facebook.


Super Bowl security: 33 arrested on sex-trafficking charges

Kirstjen Nielsen, Secretary of Homeland Security,
Kirstjen Nielsen, Secretary of Homeland Security, speaks during the overview of public safety press conference for Super Bowl 53 at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta on Wednesday. Photo: Alyssa Pointer/The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

The 33 arrests came during the past four days, according to Nick Annan, Homeland Security Investigations special agent in charge.

More than 40 local and state law enforcement agencies, along with 25 federal agencies, are assisting with security for the Super Bowl.

On Jan. 23 and 24, Homeland Security assisted in a joint operation in Douglas County using undercover officers, social media sites and local hotel rooms, the Douglasville Police Department said


Opera star David Daniels, husband arrested on sexual assault charge

David Daniels [left] and Scott Walters [right]
David Daniels [left] and Scott Walters [right] were arrested on Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2019. (Washtenaw County Jail)

Countertenor David Daniels and his husband, William A. Scott Walters, were arrested Tuesday in Ann Arbor, Mich., on warrants from the Lone Star state charging each of them with sexual assault of an adult.

Samuel Schultz told the Associated Press the couple assaulted him when he was 23 years old, living in Houston and attending Rice University. Schultz said he met Daniels and Walters at a Houston Grand Opera reception in 2010 when he was invited back to their apartment


Family of Navy officer killed in Syria says regulation forced her deployment

Navy Chief Petty Officer Shannon M. Kent, 35,
Navy Chief Petty Officer Shannon M. Kent, 35, was killed in a suicide bomb attack claimed by the Islamic State group in Syria, Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2019. (U.S. Navy via AP)

Shannon Mary Kent, 35, an intelligence officer and mother, was planning on attending a clinical doctoral program near Walter Reed National Military Medical Center last year but was disqualified because of a previous bout with thyroid cancer.

Despite having the thyroid removed and receiving scans that showed she was cured, the 15-year veteran was deployed to Syria where she and three other Americans were killed two months later in a suicide bomb attack that was claimed by ISIS.

Her husband, Joe Kent, a retired Green Beret warrant officer, expressed disbelief at the regulation, saying: “It is pretty unbelievable she was considered physically fit to be deployable and … for a special operation in Syria, but not for a classroom to be a psychologist.”


‘A badass pilot’: Capt. Rosemary Mariner, first woman to fly a tactical fighter jet, dies

Rosemary Mariner, who became the Navy's first woman to fly a tactical fighter jet in 1974,
Rosemary Mariner, who became the Navy’s first woman to fly a tactical fighter jet in 1974, died last week at age 65 of ovarian cancer.Courtesy of Mariner family

Capt. Mariner died at 65 last Thursday, Jan. 24, of ovarian cancer, nearly five years after she had been diagnosed.

At her funeral service on Saturday, the Navy plans to honor her with a “missing man flyover” — a tribute honoring aviators who have died — that will consist of all women. It will be the first all-female flyover ever, the Navy said.

Her husband of nearly 39 years, ret. Navy Cmdr. Tommy Mariner, said the fact that it will be all-female would flatter Mariner, but she “certainly would not say that that component is necessary.”


Man who repeatedly scammed veterans out of retirement, disability pay fined $1: report

Mark Corbett, while serving as a financial agent for several lending companies between 2011 and 2018, would reportedly offer to send cash-advance loans with “excessively high-interest rates” in exchange for receiving all or part of the veterans’ monthly pension or disability payments for a period of five to 10 years, Stars and Stripes reported.

According to a consent order by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau from Jan. 23, Corbett brokered contacts for the so-called Doe Companies, marketed to veterans who sought loans or pension sales.

The bureau found that Corbett’s acts were deceptive, unfair and likely caused “substantial injury;” however, it only handed him a monetary penalty of just $1.


DC school won’t play sports at Christian school where Karen Pence teaches: ‘They feel unsafe’

Jessica Donovan, headmaster of Sheridan School, a K-8 institution located in northwest D.C. that has a tuition of more than $36,000 a year, sent a letter to parents saying Immanuel Christian School’s policies were an “obvious challenge” given the school’s “fundamental belief in diversity and inclusion.”

The initial plan was to make the kids go to the school during away games wearing rainbow socks or warm-up jerseys as a show of LGBTQ support.

But instead, Donovan banned the students from playing sports at the Virginia elementary school because some expressed “they feel unsafe” in such an environment.


DOWN SYNDROME MAN’S SPEECH ABOUT THE VALUE OF LIFE GOES VIRAL AFTER HOLLYWOOD ACTOR SHARED IT

“Fox & Friends” highlighted actor Ashton Kutcher on Thursday amid pro-choice controversy after he shared a video of a man with Down syndrome advocating how his life is worth living.

Kutcher shared the video of former special olympian and Down syndrome advocate Frank Stephens to his Facebook page Friday, with a caption that read: “Everyone’s life is valuable.”


Planned Parenthood Donated Millions to Virginia Governor Who Made Abortion Comments

The Virginia affiliate of Planned Parenthood threw its support behind Ralph Northam, a Democrat, in August 2017, dropping $3 million and providing close support, deploying canvassers to knock on 300,000 doors and sending mailers to another 400,000 homes.

Planned Parenthood Advocates of Virginia confirmed the donation and support to the Washington Post.

While Republican gubernatorial candidate Ed Gillespie voiced opposition to abortion unless it was in the case of rape, incest, or when a mother’s life was at stake, Northam voiced support for abortion even in the second and third trimesters, despite the majority of Americans being against late abortions.


CHICAGO POLICE SAY ‘EMPIRE’ ACTOR REFUSES TO TURN OVER PHONE RECORDS DURING ALLEGED ‘MAGA’ ATTACK

“Update on the ‘Empire’ Smollett case: The victim and his manager reported that they were talking on their cell phones to each other but CPD has been unable to independently verify this because they refused to turn over their cell phones,” CPD spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said in a Thursday statement obtained by The Daily Caller News Foundation.

Smollett claimed two men beat him up, tied a noose around his neck, said racial and homophobic slurs and threw an unknown chemical substance on him Tuesday, The Associated Press reported.

Tech Watch:


Why is Google Tracking Students’ Location, Voice Activity, Web & App Activity, Device Info, YouTubes Searched and Watched?

As this Google Transparency Project explains, Google is promoting itself via GSuite products and Apps into many classrooms across America (and the globe).

What is Google doing with student data? Why is Google allowed to track Location, Voice Activity, Web & App Activity, Device Information, YouTube videos Searched and Watched of K-12 school children? How are these data being used and shared?

In August of 2018 Missouri Education Watchdog wrote this article detailing how one Springfield, Missouri family discovered that their school district’s Google’s GSuite platform was collecting and storing surprising amounts of personal data about students and, apparently even storing information from parents’ and family members’ personal accounts (family members’ passwords to banking, work, shopping, bills).


Facebook plans ‘major improvements’ as platforms grow to 2.7 billion users

 During the fourth quarter and 2018 end-of-year results conference call, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg outlined the company’s plans for 2019 as the company hits an estimated 2.7 billion users across Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, and Messenger.

While Facebook’s cleanup goal prompted by privacy scandals and election meddling isn’t going anywhere, the changes implemented last year make enough progress for the company to make new features a focus for the new year.

Download your archive and get ready to bid farewell to Google+ on April 2

Though the date is still a couple months away, Google is warning that starting April 2, all Google+ pages will be removed.

Content from personal Google+ accounts will also be deleted on the date, including photos and videos from Google+ in Album Archives.

In the meantime, an archive of all your important information and specific data from the social network can still be downloaded easily According to Google, the full deletion process will take a few months, and some Google+ content might remain visible to G Suite users.

Politics:


FULL TRANSCRIPT OF TRUMP’S OVAL OFFICE INTERVIEW WITH THE DAILY CALLER

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump sat for an exclusive Oval Office interview Wednesday with The Daily Caller’s Saagar Enjeti and Vince Coglianese for approximately 37 minutes.

The transcript is as follows:


Rep. Ilhan Omar slammed for saying she ‘chuckles’ when Israel is called a democracy, compares it to Iran

The Democrat, who’s already been criticized both for her loose language and support of American adversaries such as Venezuela, made her controversial remarks during a Yahoo! News interview published on Tuesday.

Her comments sparked condemnation on social media, with former New York state Assemblyman Dov Hikind, a Democrat, criticizing her comparing Israel with Iran.

“Who objects to Saudi Arabia being Islamic? Or any of the other 48 Muslim states? The issue with Iran isn’t their state religion; it’s their terror-loving leaders that are condemned. @IlhanMN needs to learn about the world before she’s out of excuses for her antisemitism,” he wrote.


KAMALA HARRIS DESCRIBES THREATENING PARENTS OF TRUANT CHILDREN WITH JAIL IN 2010 VIDEO

In a 2010 video first posted on Twitter on Monday, Harris — who was California’s attorney general at the time — discusses her time as San Francisco’s DA and how she had a plan to deal with kids who missed school: charge the parents.

Harris describes how she instructed her prosecutors to intimidate parents and “really look mean” when they dropped by their homes and threatened to lock them up if their children continued to play hooky.

To illustrate how effective it is to scare parents, she related how her people confronted a single mom with two jobs and three truant children. DA Harris insists nothing gets kids back in school faster than threatening to send their parents to jail.


Harris, Feinstein fume after White House re-nominates two conservative California judges

Last week, the White House had announced the re-nomination of 51 federal judicial nominees left over from the previous Congress, kickstarting the administration’s effort to install more conservative judges after GOP activists worried that such appointments had stalled.

Collins and Lee, however, were not initially nominated again, because of negotiations between the White House and Harris and Feinstein. They were first nominated in October.

Conservative activists protested those negotiations, though, as the Wall Street Journal editorial board drew attention to the situation and argued that both Feinstein and Harris “were two of the worst mudslingers on the Judiciary Committee that smeared Brett Kavanaugh.”


Connecticut governor weighs new tax on groceries, prescription drugs

Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont
Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont smiles during his inauguration, Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2019, inside the William A. O’Neill Armory in Hartford Conn. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill, Pool)

Even the consideration of such a tax, though, is sparking a backlash in the state with a history of high taxes.

“People throughout Connecticut are bracing themselves and their financial plans so they can manage the brunt of Governor Lamont and Connecticut Democrat lawmakers and their new taxes and proposals,” House Republican Leader Themis Klarides told Fox News.

“Targeting groceries and medication to generate revenue is a terrible strategy.”


Pelosi: No Wall Money in New Border Deal Talks

“There’s not going to be any wall money in the legislation,” Pelosi said, adding that more ports of entry or additional border technology was on the table for negotiation.

Asked by reporters about Pelosi’s comment on wall funding, Trump said: “Without a wall, it doesn’t work.”

Pelosi rejected as a “nonstarter” Trump’s offer of three-year protection for illegal immigrants under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program in exchange for a permanent wall. The DACA program, created by President Barack Obama through executive action, grants temporary status to aliens who were brought to the United States illegally as children.

Immigration:


Senior DOD Official: Three Migrant Caravans Headed to U.S., One with 12,000

Rood testified to the House Armed Services Committee on Tuesday that one of the caravans contains over 12,000 migrants.

“Current information shows that a caravan of over 12,000 people — there’s three that we are tracking, that the DHS is tracking en route, one that is over 12,000 by the latest estimate,” said Rood, who is the under secretary of Defense for policy.

Border Patrol Makes Huge Fentanyl Bust: Enough To Kill More Than Fifty Million People

A Mexican national was arrested by U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents on Saturday with enough fentanyl to kill 57 million Americans, according to an internal memo first reported on Wednesday on “Tucker Carlson Tonight.”


Fake university in Michigan set up by ICE to nab foreign students: report

Eight people were arrested and charged with conspiracy to commit visa fraud and harboring undocumented immigrants for profit, Matthew Schneider, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan, told the Detroit Free Press. Six were arrested in Detroit, one in Florida and other in Virginia.

The students enrolled to obtain jobs under a student visa program called Curricular Practical Training, according to the paper.

An indictment unsealed Wednesday said the defendants helped 600 undocumented immigrants to enroll in the fake university in exchange for cash, kickbacks and tuition credits.


Asylum crisis in Maine: Dems shift taxpayer money from needy citizens to pay for needs of migrants

Former Gov. Paul LePage, who left office earlier this month, addressed details in a Wall Street Journal report on Sunday headlined, “Maine’s Largest City Strains Under Asylum-Seeker Influx.”

The WSJ report noted that migrants, mostly from African nations, now make up some 90 percent of Portland’s family and overflow shelters.

In all, about 65 to 70 percent of people with government assistance in Maine are asylum seekers. And now, the city’s funds are also “dwindling fast” and lawyers “are overwhelmed with cases,” according to the report.

Former Maine governor on what liberalism does to our country

Wall Street Journal reports Portland, Maine is overrun with asylum seekers; former Maine Gov. Paul LePage weighs in.


US Starts Returning Asylum-Seekers to Mexico Under New Policy

The new migrant camp, 10 miles from the U.S. border, in the Mariano Matamoros neighborhood of Tijuana, Mexico,
The new migrant camp, 10 miles from the U.S. border, in the Mariano Matamoros neighborhood of Tijuana, Mexico, on Dec. 2, 2018. (Charlotte Cuthbertson/The Epoch Times)

TIJUANA, Mexico—The Trump administration launched an effort to discourage thousands of migrants from seeking asylum and subsequently disappearing into the United States—by sending them to Mexico to wait out their cases. On Jan. 28, the first one was returned to Tijuana.

The migrant-heavy border city was not happy about it.

The Mexican federal government, however, has reluctantly agreed to the policy.


US charges 20 people over Chinese birth tourism schemes

FILE – In this March 3, 2015 file photo, federal agents enter an upscale apartment complex where authorities say a birth tourism business charged pregnant women $50,000 for lodging, food and transportation, in Irvine, Calif. On Thursday, Jan. 31, 2019

Three people were arrested in Southern California on charges including conspiracy, visa fraud and money laundering. More than a dozen others have also been charged in cases stemming from three so-called birth tourism businesses, with many believed to be in China, the U.S. Attorney’s office said.

It is the first time the United States has criminally prosecuted birth tourism operators, said Thom Mrozek, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s office.

U.S. authorities said the businesses not only engaged in fraud but have created a national security risk. Their customers – some who work for the Chinese government – have secured American citizenship for children who can later move back to the United States, and once they’re 21 years old, sponsor their parents for green cards.

World News:


Toxic smog forces hundreds of school closures in Bangkok

Toxic smog has forced Bangkok officials to close more than 400 schools this week to protect children from its effects (AP Photo/Wally Santana)

Bangkok’s levels of air pollution are currently at some of its worst ever, as a result of dust, car exhaust, construction, burning of crops and emission from factories, according to the BBC. Weather patterns have also swept the spring fog in early to Bangkok, and its residents are protecting themselves by wearing face masks any time they go outside.

Government officials say they handed out more than 10,000 masks protect residents from inhaling the particles, which, apart from irritating the eyes and throat, can have long term effects on lung health, especially for children.

As more than 400 schools shut their doors in the capital city this week, the governor is calling on critics to brainstorm new ideas to improve the air quality.


TORTUROUS Man is ‘turning into stone’ as parasitic worms cause his legs to swell to twice the size

Shahid Hussain, 38, suffers from elephantiasis – a painful parasitic infection that’s made his limbs grow abnormally large.

Shahid has elephantiasis – a tropical disease caused by parasitic worms.
He contracted it five years ago after being bitten by a mosquito.

“Initially, I thought everything will be fine but now the disease has left me virtually bedridden and I can hardly walk.

“I never imagined that my condition will be like this – I will be literally paralysed.”


UK, France and Germany create payments system to trade with Iran

Some of the US sanctions make it difficult for European banks to make direct payments to Iran.

The US said sanctionable activity with Iran risked “severe consequences”.

By creating a new payment channel, based in Paris, and managed by a German banker, the UK, France and Germany hope to enable companies to continue to trade with Iran.


French police officers jailed for raping Canadian tourist

The officers took Emily Spanton back to their headquarters at 36 Quai des Orfèvres after an alcohol-fuelled evening in an Irish bar in April 2014.

Once in their fifth floor office, Spanton, 39, said their attitude completely changed. She said she was made to drink a glass of whisky before being forced to perform oral sex. She said she was raped several times afterwards.

Spanton, who admitted she was very drunk, left the building about 80 minutes later. She was in tears, had lost her tights and was carrying her shoes. She said she told an officer at the entrance to the police headquarters “they raped me” in French and in English.

Commentary/Opinion:


Noncitizens registered to vote in Pennsylvania and Texas show vote fraud is real

The Pennsylvania investigation was catalyzed by a voter-integrity group called the Public Interest Legal Foundation, which filed suit in both state and federal courts to try to force these problems to be addressed.

“State officials have been hiding how they blew it and allowed aliens onto voter rolls in Pennsylvania,” said J. Christian Adams, president and general counsel of PILF, an interview with the Washington Examiner. “It’s been going on for 20 years, and they need to release all of the records.”

This is serious stuff. Every vote cast illegally effectively negates a ballot cast for a different candidate by a legal voter. For those worried about “voter suppression,” this is the real suppression, and it ought to be countered by every legal means.


THE PROGRESSIVE RACE TO THE BOTTOM

In other words, we are in a revolutionary cycle in which the old idea of Democrat or liberal is being superseded by progressivism — and then going well beyond even that.

What explains this accelerating transformation of so many liberals into progressives, and so many progressives into hard-core leftists, socialists, and who knows what next? The reasons predated Trump Derangement Syndrome.

Money, lots of it, matters.

The new mega-wealthy envision an America in a way that satisfies identity politics while exempting their own monopolies, trusts, and billion-dollar fortunes from the ramifications of their own ideology. Unencumbered by personal consequences, they pursue boutique agendas.

We are also reaping the fruits of the new university run by hard-core leftists who have indoctrinated a generation with progressive envy and anger, while offering them little education.

The resulting ignorance and arrogance make a lethal combination. Professors now in their late sixties can remember old-fashioned liberals of the 1970s and 1980s whose politics were incidental to their professional expertise, but there is now almost no one left in the academy who recalls such dinosaurs.

Walls Across America: Celebrity Edition

LA is home to some of President Trump’s biggest critics. Hollywood’s elites have gone so far as to say a wall would be ‘ineffective,’ ‘unjust,’ and even ‘racist.’ Well, The DC’s Benny Johnson paid a visit to some of their West Coast mansions, which tell a completely different story!

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