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Israeli teen dies of wounds in West Bank attack, 2 woundedAn explosion Friday near a West Bank settlement that Israel said was a Palestinian attack killed a 17-year-old Israeli girl and wounded her brother and father, Israeli authorities said. Initially, three Israelis were reported wounded in the blast on Friday near the Dolev settlement, northwest of Jerusalem. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu offered condolences to the family and vowed to pursue the perpetrators and "strengthen" Israeli settlement in the occupied West Bank.


8/23/2019 11:44:09 AM

Cathay flight attendant says fired over Facebook posts on HK protestsA flight attendant on Friday accused Cathay Pacific of summarily firing her over Facebook posts linked to Hong Kong's political crisis, adding to concerns about a China-driven witch-hunt to root out pro-democracy supporters at major firms. The Hong Kong-based airline has been accused of bowing to political and commercial pressure from Beijing by sacking employees in recent weeks for their public support for the massive anti-government movement roiling Hong Kong. Earlier this month, China's aviation authority ordered Cathay Pacific to stop pro-democracy supporters among its 27,000 staff from working on flights to -- or over -- China, after a general strike drew out some of its staff.


8/23/2019 2:35:23 AM

Democratic presidential candidates have a new approach for tackling gun violence: Treat it as a public-health crisisCandidates like Elizabeth Warren and Cory Booker want to draw on tactics used by community-based organizations to fight gun violence.


8/23/2019 11:23:00 AM

Two NYC women plead guilty to plan to build bomb for attack on U.S.Two women inspired by radical Islam pleaded guilty in New York City on Friday to teaching and distributing information about the manufacture and use of an explosive, destructive device and weapon of mass destruction, federal prosecutors said. Asia Siddiqui and Noelle Velentzas, both U.S. citizens in their 30s from the borough of Queens, face up to 20 years in prison when they are sentenced. U.S. Attorney Richard Donoghue said in a statement the defendants studied some of the most deadly attacks in U.S. history as a blueprint for their plans to kill American law enforcement and military personnel.


8/23/2019 11:59:35 AM

Radical gun reform may finally have a voice in WashingtonAn ambitious agenda by the March for Our Lives activists may be the first time the majority of Americans get real representationA young girl looks on as she attends a vigil for the victims of the recent mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio. Photograph: Drew Angerer/Getty ImagesMarch for Our Lives, the national youth gun violence prevention movement founded by survivors of last year’s school shooting in Parkland, Florida, released a sweeping gun reform agenda this week.The agenda calls for significantly raising the standards for gun ownership in America, and reducing by about 100m the total number of guns in circulation.It’s a dramatic, ambitious plan. And it may represent the first time in decades that the majority of Americans will get any real representation in the gun control debate in Washington.March for Our Lives’ young activists endorsed an Australia-style mandatory government buyback and destruction of “assault weapons”. They want to decrease the number of guns in circulation by 30% – which would mean roughly 100m fewer firearms in American hands. They proposed regulations that would dramatically raise the bar for who is allowed to purchase a gun, putting US law much more in line with European countries. And they want to revisit the 2009 supreme court decision, District of Columbia v Heller, which enshrined a pro-gun interpretation of Americans’ second amendment right to bear arms.These proposals are substantially more aggressive, and more ambitious, than anything the Democrats in Washington have fought for in years. In fact, for decades, gun control groups and progressive politicians have done a poor job at representing the majority of Americans in Congress when it comes to gun control. A surprising voidDemocrats have fought for minor new restrictions on gun buying – and been defeated by the Republican party’s gun absolutists – but, fundamentally, the Democratic party has remained supportive of gun ownership.Democratic lawmakers’ efforts to “ban assault weapons”, for example, have not meant an actual ban on these guns, but only a ban on future sales, meaning that Americans could keep the millions of military-style rifles they already own. President Obama’s signature gun control legislation after the 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School was a compromise bill that would have closed just a few of the gaping loopholes in the nation’s background check system – a measure so weak it’s doubtful whether it would have had any effect on gun violence at all.The country’s largest gun control groups, too, have made great efforts to portray themselves as pro-“gun safety”, not anti-gun. They routinely advertise themselves as supporters of Americans’ second amendment right to bear arms. And they have focused on “commonsense reforms”, such as getting what activists see as particularly extreme weapons off the streets, or requiring a criminal background check before every gun sale.This lack of any explicit anti-gun side in the American gun debate is strange.Although many Americans may not realize it, gun owners are a minority in the United States. American civilians overall own an estimated 300m to 400m firearms, more than one gun per person. But this frequently cited statistic obscures how concentrated American gun ownership is.In recent surveys, roughly 70% to 80% of Americans said they do not personally own a gun, and a majority said that nobody in their household owns a gun. Just 3% of American adults own half the country’s guns, according to a definitive 2015 survey. This small group of gun super-owners have an average of 17 guns each.Gun absolutists – the activists who oppose any gun control measures, who want Americans to be able to own any kind of gun, and carry them everywhere – are a minority within that minority. According to the best available estimates, fewer than 10% of American gun owners overall are members of the National Rifle Association.There appear to be at least as many Americans who are vehemently anti-gun as there are NRA members.Recent Gallup polls have found that 28% of American adults say they would support a law banning handgun ownership, except by the police and other “authorized persons”. A 2017 Pew Research Center survey found that 9% of American adults believed that “almost no one” should be legally allowed to own guns – about the same proportion as the number of adults who believed that “almost everyone” should be able to own them.A coalition of 9% of American adults would translate into more than 20 million people. That’s a group four times larger than the NRA, which claims between 5 million and 6 million members.Only a minority of Americans oppose most private gun ownership. But there’s strong majority support for much tougher gun control laws than the ones currently on the books.A 2017 Pew survey found 68% supported banning assault-style weapons. Seventy-one percent supported having a federal database to track all gun sales. A 2018 Gallup survey found 68% of respondents supported raising the legal age to buy certain guns. A Quinnipiac poll in May found 77% of respondents were in favor of requiring people to obtain a license before being able to purchase a gun.It’s not hard to find Americans who oppose the country’s current gun culture. They show up at gun control rallies, holding signs that say things like “Repeal the Second Amendment”. They live in neighborhoods burdened by decades of daily gun violence. They’ve lost family members or friends to shootings. They keep asking: why can’t we just get rid of the guns?But for years, these Americans’ views have not been well represented by America’s “gun safety” groups, and they have had virtually no representation in Congress.This may finally be starting to change. Moving the gun debateIn 2016, a progressive activist launched Guns Down America, a small organization that advocates not simply for “gun sense laws”, but for “a future with fewer guns”. Following the Parkland shooting, the young March for Our Lives activists have advocated unapologetically for bold reform, though they, like other American gun control activists, say they’re not anti-gun and their proposals for stricter regulation represent the interests of “responsible gun owners”.It’s not yet clear how much the 2020 Democratic presidential candidates will move towards embracing these majority opinions on gun control policy. But there’s already been movement towards the actual middle of the debate.In 2016, Obama argued in a CNN Town Hall that “issues like licensing, registration, that’s an area where there’s just not enough national consensus at this stage to even consider it”. This year, the New Jersey senator Cory Booker made gun licensing the center of his 2020 gun control platform.After the mass shooting targeting Latino families in El Paso, the former Texas congressman Beto O’Rourke said he endorsed not just an assault weapon ban, but a mandatory federal buyback of assault weapons. On Wednesday, he became the first Democratic 2020 candidate to tweet that he supported March for Our Lives’ new policy agenda.O’Rourke’s campaign did not back away from the most controversial elements of the youth activists’ plan, including their desire to revisit the supreme court’s current interpretation of the second amendment, enshrined in the Heller decision.“While Beto agrees with the court’s holding that the second amendment allows for regulation, he does not agree with the entirety of the Heller decision,” said Aleigha Cavalier, O’Rourke’s national press secretary. “One piece of the Heller case Beto believes should be revisited is the court’s decision to strike down DC’s safe storage requirements.”America’s gun debate may soon actually have two sides.


8/22/2019 11:00:08 PM

Pompeo says Huawei CEO is not a bargaining chip in Trump-China trade warMike Pompeo has rejected claims that detained Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou is being used for leverage in the US-China trade war. Speaking with his Canadian counterpart, Chrystia Freeland, in Ottawa on Thursday, the US secretary of state appeared to rule out dropping the extradition request for Ms Meng to ease tensions with Beijing, insisting it is a legal matter. In December, US president Donald Trump implied he might intervene in the case to help secure a trade deal with China. “Whatever’s good for this country, I would do,” he said at the time. The US alleges Ms Meng – the Chinese technology company’s chief financial officer and the daughter of its chief executive – helped  Huawei circumvent sanctions on Iran. According to Vancouver court documents released this week, she told a Canadian border official that the company has an office in Iran. The US has charged Ms Meng, 47, with bank fraud, wire fraud and conspiracy to commit both. She is currently on bail living under house arrest in one of her Vancouver mansions while her lawyers fight her extradition to the US. Asked on Thursday if she is a “bargaining chip” in US-China trade talks, Mr Pompeo replied simply: “No.” Since Ms Meng’s arrest in Vancouver airport on a US arrest warrant in December, ties between Ottawa and Beijing have fallen to a historically low ebb. Two Canadians, businessman Michael Svapor and former diplomat Michael Kovrig, were arrested and charged with espionage shortly afterwards in what is widely viewed as a reprisal by Beijing. “Our team is focussed on helping those two Canadians be released,” Mr Pompeo said later ahead of a meeting with Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau. Mr Trump spoke directly to Chinese president Xi Jinping about their “arbitrary detention” in June, he told journalists. Mr Pompeo, 55, also slapped down a question comparing their confinement with that of Ms Meng, accusing the journalist of taking “the Chinese line”. Mr Pompeo was visiting Canada ahead of the G7 meeting in France, where relations with China will be discussed. On Friday, Beijing escalated the trade dispute, announcing fresh tariffs on US imports worth $75 billion (£61 billion).


8/23/2019 10:45:02 AM

Twenty-six pound cat named Mr. B takes the internet by stormMorris Animal Refuge in Center City is now home to a celebrity. His name is Mr. B and he's a 26 pound cat who needs a home.


8/23/2019 4:57:46 PM

Iceland Held Talks With U.S. Ambassador Over Pence Visit(Bloomberg) -- Iceland’ prime minister is open to a meeting with Vice President Mike Pence during his trip to the Nordic island, should the visit be extended.The option was discussed during a pre-scheduled meeting on Friday between Katrin Jakobsdottir and ambassador Jeffrey Gunter, a government spokesman told Bloomberg.Jakobsdottir, a left-of-center feminist and LGBT advocate, is due to attend a conference by Nordic trade union leaders in Sweden on Sept. 4. That’s the same day in which Pence is due to arrive.Jakobsdottir’s decision to not change her schedule to accommodate the vice president’s visit has been criticized at home.Olaf­ur Hardar­son, a professor of political science at the University of Iceland, told local media Morgunbladid it would be “unusual” for the prime minister not to greet the American vice president.According to her spokeswoman, a final decision on whether the meeting can take place has not yet been made.The White House said Pence planned to discuss trade opportunities, the Arctic and NATO efforts to counter Russian aggression in the region.The scheduling snafu is the latest episode in a series of exchanges involving Donald Trump and the Nordics.Pence’s visit would take place in the wake of a very public spat between the U.S. president and Denmark over its refusal to sell Greenland.Trump said Saturday he had held a “nice” conversation with Mette Frederiksen, with the exchange coming just days after labeling the Danish prime minister as “nasty.”In 2017, Sweden reacted forcibly to Trump’s portrayal of the Nordic nation as being in a state of chaos and overrun by crime after an influx of refugees.(Adds quote in fifth paragraph.)To contact the reporter on this story: Ragnhildur Sigurdardottir in Reykjavik at rsigurdardot@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Jonas Bergman at jbergman@bloomberg.net, Nick Rigillo, Andrew DavisFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


8/24/2019 8:27:24 AM

Rep. Steve King wants to make abortion point in 'softer way'Backed by supporters at a news conference in Des Moines, the Iowa Republican affirmed his belief that abortion should be outlawed with no exceptions for rape or incest. King faced criticism for his comment Aug. 14 that questioned whether there would be "any population of the world left" if not for births due to rape or incest. The remarks were condemned by numerous groups and individuals, including Republican and Democratic candidates seeking to oust King, Democratic presidential candidates as well as the Iowa Republican Party and Rep. Liz Cheney, the No. 3 Republican in House leadership.


8/23/2019 4:31:07 PM

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