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Friday, July 20, 2018

A government lawyer acknowledged Monday that the Trump administration will miss its first court-imposed deadline to reunite about 100 immigrant children under age 5 with their parents. Department of Justice attorney Sarah Fabian said during a court hearing that federal authorities reunited two families and expect to reunite an additional 59 by Tuesday’s deadline. She said the other cases are more complicated, including parents who have been deported or are in prison facing criminal charges, and would require more time to complete reunions. U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw, who ordered the administration to reunite families separated as part of President Donald Trump’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy, said he will hold another hearing Tuesday morning to get an update on the remaining cases. He said he was encouraged to see “real progress” in the complicated reunification process after a busy weekend when officials from multiple federal agencies tried to sync up parents and children who are spread across the country. STORY FROM LENDINGTREE Crush your mortgage interest with a 15 yr fixed “Tomorrow is the deadline. I do recognize that there are some groups of parents who are going to fall into a category where it’s impossible to reunite by tomorrow,” he said. “I am very encouraged by the progress. I’m optimistic.” Lee Gelernt, an American Civil Liberties Union attorney who leads a lawsuit against the federal government, sounded more skeptical. When asked by the judge if he believed the government was in full compliance of the court order, Gelernt said there was much more work to be done. “Let me put it this way: I think the government in the last 48 hours has taken significant steps,” he said. “We just don’t know how much effort the government has made to find released parents. I don’t think there’s been full compliance.” U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw, based in San Diego. U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw, based in San Diego. (Photo: U.S. District Court) The difficulty in reuniting the first 100 children shows the challenge that lies ahead as the Trump administration braces for another deadline in two weeks to reunite nearly 3,000 older children – up to age 17 – with their parents. The process is complicated because of all the different situations that emerged over the weekend. The government initially identified 102 children under age 5 who needed to be reunited but removed three children from that list because investigations into their cases revealed that those children came with adults who were not their parents, Fabian said. Twelve parents were found to be in federal and state custody on criminal charges, making a reunification impossible since the government can’t transfer minors to state and local prisons to protect the well-being of the child. Nine parents were deported, and the government established contact with only four of them, Fabian said. Four children had been scheduled to be released from government custody to relatives who weren’t their parents, leading the government to question whether to allow that process to be completed or to redirect the child back to a parent. Gelernt said he understood many of the hurdles but urged the judge to force the government to scrap its time-consuming investigation into every single case and start a 48-hour clock to reunify families that remain separated by Tuesday. Sabraw said he would decide that during Tuesday’s hearing. Fabian said one of the silver linings of the busy weekend is that her office worked closely with its challengers at the ACLU to share information on each child’s case, to ensure that representatives from immigration advocacy groups and volunteer organizations could be present during each reunification. Gelernt said they’re doing that to help the parents, who are often released from custody with no money and nowhere to go. Fabian said that coordination has led to a more formalized process between government agencies and with the immigrants’ lawyers that should make reunifications go more smoothly in the coming weeks. “I think this process over the weekend helped us see what information, and in what form, is the most useful to share,” she said. “I’d like to make that as efficient a process as possible.” -

Monday, July 9, 2018

Trump denies US opposition to WHO breastfeeding resolution -

Monday, July 9, 2018

Havana plane crash leaves more than 100 dead -

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Shia cleric Moqtada Sadr bloc wins Iraq elections -

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott: ‘We need to do more than just pray for the victims and their families’ -

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Donald Trump says he will meet North Korea’s Kim Jong Un on June 12 in Singapore -

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Trump tells FBI: ‘I have your back 100%’ -

Friday, December 15, 2017

Mueller requests emails from Trump campaign data firm: report -

Friday, December 15, 2017

GOP changes child tax credit in bid to win Rubio’s vote -

Friday, December 15, 2017

Trump Jr. is berated for tweet about ‘Obama’s FCC’ chair, net ‘neutality’ -

Friday, December 15, 2017

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle to marry on 19 May 2018 -

Friday, December 15, 2017

Walt Disney buys Murdoch’s Fox for $52.4bn -

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Roy Moore says Alabama election ‘tainted’ by outside groups -

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Eric Holder warns GOP: ‘Any attempt to remove Bob Mueller will not be tolerated’ -

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Former British prime minister: Trump attacks on press are ‘dangerous’ -

Thursday, December 14, 2017

China says war must not be allowed on Korean peninsula -

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Megyn Kelly left Fox News in part due to O’Reilly: report -

Saturday, April 15, 2017

North Korea warns against U.S. ‘hysteria’ as it marks founder’s birth -

Friday, April 14, 2017

British spies were first to spot Trump team’s links with Russia -

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Lula’s friend mulls plea bargain deal in Brazil probe: media

Brazilian businessman and rancher Jose Carlos Bumlai reacts during your testimony a parliamentary investigative committee, in Brasilia
Brazilian businessman and rancher Jose Carlos Bumlai reacts during your testimony a parliamentary investigative committee, in Brasilia, Brazil December 1, 2015.
REUTERS/UESLEI MARCELINO

A friend of Brazil’s former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva arrested in November for allegedly taking out a fraudulent loan to the Workers’ Party is negotiating a plea bargain deal with prosecutors, newspaper Valor Economico reported on Monday.

Jose Carlos Bumlai, a powerful rancher who also controlled a sugar mill, has discussed a potential collaboration with Brazilian investigators over the past two weeks, Valor said. He has remained in custody since Nov. 25.

Under Brazilian law, plea bargain deals are strictly confidential until the testimonies are collected by prosecutors and accepted by a judge.

Bumlai’s lawyer and a spokesperson for the prosecutors’ office did not immediately respond to request for comments.

The strategy has been widely used in the corruption investigation at state-run oil producer Petroleo Brasileiro SA that threatens to topple President Dilma Rousseff and has deepened a historic recession.

Prosecutors expect Bumlai to give details about the loan under investigation. They suspect the engineering branch of the Grupo Schahin, Schahin Engenharia, was awarded a contract to operate a drillship for Petrobras in exchange for the bank canceling Bumlai’s loan repayments.

Valor said prosecutors are looking for evidence linking two country estates in Atibaia worth 1.5 million reais to Bumlai and the former president. Lula was briefly detained for questioning on Friday, in the highest profile development in the two-year-old graft probe.

Source: Reuters

Obama unveils $4.1T election-year budget proposal

Getty Images

By Sarah Ferris and Jordan Fabian – 02/09/16 11:00 AM EST

President Obama on Tuesday unveiled the last budget of his presidency, a $4.1 trillion plan that reflects his desire to set the agenda for his final months in office and beyond.

The proposal, Obama’s costliest to date, includes a litany of long-shot progressive ideas that have little chance of becoming law in the Republican-controlled Congress. Leaders of the House and Senate budget panels have already said they will not even give the document a hearing.

Obama’s final budget is also a political document unveiled on the same day as the New Hampshire primary. The White House hopes it will fire up Democrats ahead of this fall’s pivotal elections.But timing of the budget’s release means the it could receive little attention, highlighting the difficulty of breaking through in an election year.

“It’s easy to adopt the conventional wisdom that a president’s final budget will be ignored. I think the conventional wisdom is wrong,” a senior administration official told reporters on Tuesday.

The 182-page wish list includes longtime goals such as cutting carbon pollution, universal preschool and criminal justice reform as well as billions of dollars in new investments in cybersecurity and clean energy.

It would also step up the policing of Wall Street, with $1.8 billion to double the budgets of market watchdogs in the Securities and Exchange Commission, and create new grants to entice the 19 states that haven’t to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.

“The budget is a roadmap to a future that embodies America’s values and aspirations: a future of opportunity and security for all of our families; a rising standard of living; and a sustainable, peaceful planet for our kids,” Obama wrote in his budget message to Congress.

Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), however, dismissed the budget request as a nonstarter on Capitol Hill.

“This isn’t even a budget so much as it is a progressive manual for growing the federal government at the expense of hardworking Americans,” he said in a statement. “We need to tackle our fiscal problems before they tackle us.”

It’s the first budget blueprint from Obama after a deal with former Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) last fall that set him free of the painful caps on discretionary spending. Obama’s budget calls for an end the mandatory spending limits starting in 2018 while sticking to the discretionary caps for 2017.

Vowing to focus on “the decades to come,” Obama laid out a $150 billion boost in national “research and development” in areas from biomedical research to space exploration. The funding would be a 6 percent increase from 2016.

This year’s budget calls for the biggest commitments yet to strengthen cybersecurity and fight climate change, which Obama said would reflect “the kind of country we want to pass on to our children and grandchildren.”

Obama’s plans for “clean transportation infrastructure” alone would cost $320 billion, with another $11 billion in clean energy — an increase of more than 25 percent over last year’s proposal. The $19 billion requested for cybersecurity is a 35 percent jump from 2016.

The ambitious budget for the fiscal year starting Oct. 1 would be paid for by about $550 billion worth of tax increases, as well as a tax of $10 per barrel of oil that is one of the proposal’s most controversial pieces. The oil tax is projected to bring in about $320 billion.

At the heart of Obama’s national security funding request is “destroying” the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. The administration proposes $11 billion to support both the Department of State and Department of Defense in countering the terrorist group while supporting “a political solution” to ending the Syrian civil war.

The budget would supply $59 billion for the overseas contingency operations war fund, a number virtually unchanged from last year that is certain to draw criticism from Republican lawmakers who have called for more funding. Over 10 years, that fund would be reduced by more than $600 billion.

Administration officials say the plan would cut the deficit by $2.9 trillion over the next decade, with $955 billion in savings coming from new taxes increases on the nation’s highest-earning individuals and closing loopholes. Other savings come from the president’s healthcare law — nearly all from changes to Medicare — and sweeping reform of the immigration system, which failed in Congress.

The administration would also save about $50 billion through massive cuts to the nation’s crop insurance program and the elimination of a half-dozen oil, coal and gas tax credits.

Obama is also looking to boost his commitment abroad, with new spending to support the massive Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, Afghanistan’s military transition, Europe’s efforts to hold back Russian aggression, Central America’s migrant crisis and democracy in Africa.

A senior administration official said Tuesday the blueprint shows that Obama “isn’t going to shy away” from pushing bold proposals in his final 11 months in office.

While the official conceded many of the ideas will not be enacted this year, he said the budget is “laying the groundwork and putting out solutions for the long term.”

Obama will huddle with Democratic leaders in Congress Tuesday afternoon to rally support for his budget request and figure out how to present it to the public.

Major pillars of the administration’s budget, like the oil tax and a $1 billion initiative to accelerate cancer research, had already been announced.

Although Republicans have essentially declared the plan dead on arrival, Congress can still advance certain parts it supports, including funding for cancer research, fighting opioid addiction and expanding the earned income tax credit to childless adults.

“This budget offers a range of proposals where there is bipartisan support for taking action,” the official said.

Several Republicans have pledged to support increases in biomedical research spending, and Ryan has said he would support an expansion of the earned income tax credit to encourage low-income Americans to seek jobs.

Obama and Boehner already agreed to a total of $1.1 trillion in discretionary spending as part of last fall’s deal, which also eliminated the across-the-board spending cuts, known as sequestration, created by the Budget Control Act of 2011.

That two-year deal includes about $50 billion equally split between defense and domestic programs and $16 billion in an emergency war fund.

Source: The Hill

Leonardo DiCaprio wants to play Putin and Lenin

Pravda

A spokesman for Russia’s film company “Lenfilm,” Valery Karpov, said in a recent interview with “Radio Baltic” that the company would be interested in having US actor Leonardo DiCaprio for a film project.

“It is always interesting to create films. Leonardo DiCaprio is often compared to Lenin in his youth. We have plenty of scenery and props to recreate the era of the revolution,” he said.

Earlier, DiCaprio told Welt am Sonntag that would be interested in playing Russian President Vladimir Putin, Grigory Rasputin or Vladimir Lenin.

Film director Vladimir Bortko also expressed his desire to work with the US-based actor.

“DiCaprio is a good actor. He can play whomever he wants. I would love to shoot him if he invited me as a director,” said Vladimir Bortko.

DiCaprio said in one of his interviews that he was very much fascinated by the history of Russia. In December, he exposed his Russian accent that many found “very sexy.”

“I think there should be more films about Russian history because it has many stories worthy of Shakespeare. That is fascinating for an actor. Lenin also would be an interesting role. I would like also to star as Rasputin,” DiCaprio told Welt am Sonntag.

Source:Pravda

India, Pakistan to join China, Russia in security group

India's Prime Minister Modi and his Pakistani counterpart Sharif smile before the start of their bilateral meeting in New Delhi
REUTERS/ADNAN ABIDI/FILES

(Reuters)…India and Pakistan began accession to a regional security group led by China and Russia on Friday after two days of summits which President Vladimir Putin held up as evidence Moscow is not isolated in the world.

The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, meeting in the Russian city of Ufa a day after the BRICS emerging economies held a summit there, said the invitation to the two Asian nations showed a “multi-polar” world was now emerging.

Those words will have pleased Putin, who says the United States has an outdated vision of a “uni-polar” world dominated by Washington and wants to show Russia has not been weakened by Western sanctions over its role in the Ukraine crisis.

“The evolution of the SCO is taking place at a complicated stage in the development of international relations and amidst the emergence of a multi-polar world,” the group said in a declaration after the meeting.

“These processes are accompanied by increasing security challenges and threats, increasing uncertainty and instability in various regions of the world.”

The SCO, which also includes the Central Asian former Soviet republics of Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, is widely seen as a platform for Moscow and Beijing to project influence in the region.

Until now it has not been a big force and relations between China and Russia have not developed as quickly as Moscow would like, despite agreement on a major gas supply deal last year.

But Putin saw the signs of unity in the SCO and the BRICS – Brazil, India, South Africa, China and Russia – which agreed to coordinate efforts to keep their economies stable, launched a development bank and agreed on a currency pool.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the expansion of the SCO should serve a “springboard” for the organization to become one of the most dynamic in the world.

“The time has come to reach out across the region,” Modi said. “We have everything we need to succeed.”

Pakistani Prime Minister Nawab Sharif said: “President Putin’s efforts will enhance the political and economic scope of the Eurasian belt.”

 

ENERGY PRODUCERS

The addition of Pakistan and India, two nuclear-armed neighbors who have years of tensions between them, could also lead to easing the conflicts between New Delhi and Islamabad.

The two leaders agreed in a separate meeting in Ufa that Modi would visit Pakistan next year.

Joining a group that includes energy producers such as Kazakhstan and Russia may have been a strong incentive for the two countries to join.

“India is particularly interested because it lacks direct access to Central Asia, and it sees SCO membership as a way to get a better foothold on the region. SCO membership could better position India to benefit from Central Asia’s gas riches,” said Michael Fugleman, senior program associate for South and Southeast Asia at the Wilson Centre in Washington.

But he added: “In (the) SCO, India and Pakistan wouldn’t be dominant powers – China and Russia would retain that title.”

The SCO did not invite Iran to join, although it has long sought membership. The group says Iran can join only after reaching a deal with big powers on its nuclear program.

With the addition of Iran, the group would control around a fifth of the world’s oil and represent nearly a half of the global population. The BRICS account for a fifth of the world’s economic output and 40 percent of its population.

Euro zone sets emergency summit on Greece as money flees

(Reuters)…Euro zone leaders will hold an emergency summit on Monday to try to avert a Greek default after bank withdrawals accelerated and government revenue slumped as Athens and its international creditors remain deadlocked over a debt deal.

Finance ministers of the 19-nation currency bloc failed to make any breakthrough on a cash-for-reforms agreement at talks in Luxembourg on Thursday, just 12 days beforeGreece must make a crucial debt repayment to the International Monetary Fund.

“Regrettably … too little progress has been made. No agreement is in sight,” Jeroen Dijsselbloem, chairman of the Eurogroup, told a news conference. Ministers sent a strong signal that it is up to Greece to make new proposals, he said.

The European Central Bank told the meeting it was not clear whether Greek banks would be open on Monday, officials said.

The ECB’s governing council will hold a special conference call on Friday – the second in three days – to consider adding more emergency liquidity for Greek banks facing a quickening drain on their cash, two persons close to the situation said.

European Council President Donald Tusk said in a statement he had summoned heads of state and government of the euro area to meet in Brussels at 1700 GMT on Monday to discuss Greece “at the highest political level”.

IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde said further dialogue was needed “with adults in the room”.

Greece said it had put a “radical proposal” for budget monitoring on the table to show its willingness to reach a deal, Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis said.

He accused his European peers of being dangerously close to accepting “an accident”, saying they had refused to discuss his idea for braking public spending.

Dijsselbloem said if there was a last-minute deal next week, there would have to be some extension of the current bailout to allow time for disbursement.

Greek savers pulled out some 2 billion euros between Monday and Wednesday after weekend negotiations collapsed in Brussels, senior banking sources told Reuters. That is double the amount that the ECB granted Greek banks in extra emergency liquidity assistance (ELA) only on Wednesday.

Asked at the Eurogroup meeting whether Greek banks would be open on Friday, ECB Executive Board member Benoit Coeure said: “Tomorrow, yes. Monday, I don’t know,” according to officials with knowledge of the talks.

The IMF dashed any hope that Athens could avert default if it fails to repay a 1.6 billion euro ($1.8 billion) loan by the end of June, piling pressure on Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, who shows no sign of yielding to the lenders.

If deposit flight continues to outpace ELA, it could force Greece to impose capital controls, as Cyprus did in 2013, to ration cash withdrawals and stop money fleeing the country.

The 2 billion euros taken out in just three days represents about 1.5 percent of total household and corporate deposits of 133.6 billion euros held by Greek banks as of end-April.

A finance ministry spokesman declined comment on the latest capital outflows. A government spokesman said on television late on Wednesday there was no plan to introduce controls.

Tsipras, elected on a promise to end austerity, is demanding a “political level” bargain in which European creditors promise Greece debt relief before he will make any more concessions.

But the deposit flight and revenue slump may force him to climb down, with the Greek central bank warning of economic catastrophe if Greece defaults and leaves the euro zone.

Athens reported a steep 24.6 percent fall in its revenues in May, including a 50 percent fall in tax returns, even though the central government posted a primary surplus before debt service in the first five months of this year.

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