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New York Times columnist David Brooks must have really pitied the political process when all on his own he came up with what is, according to him, “a practical response” to the crisis at the southern border.

It just so happens, however, that Brooks’ recommendations are either already in place or they’re points of dispute between the White House, which wants to end the hundreds of thousands of illegal border crossings, and Democrats, who simply want to accommodate them all. This is otherwise known as “American democracy.”

“Over the short term do the things any practical mayor would do,” Brooks wrote Tuesday with Olympian confidence. “Build new detention centers at the border; expand the capacities at the ports of entry; expand the number of judge teams, to speed through the backlog; create an orderly release procedure coordinated with humanitarian agencies; increase the number of counselors so refugees can navigate the system; vet children in their home countries for refugee status so they don’t have to make a fruitless trip.”

Problem solved!

Building new detention centers would not deter the unabated flow of migrants coming to the U.S. and taking advantage of the gaping asylum loophole. It would do the opposite. When cities erect more Section 8 housing, the buildings don’t sit there empty. Building more detention centers simply means filling them up with ever more migrants. It would function as an incentive, not a solution.

Expanding ports of entry would have the same effect. To reiterate for Brooks what is well known, the migrants coming to the U.S. are abusing our own law that was intended to save people of other nations who fear persecution based on their race, religion, or political opinions. The asylum law was never supposed to function as a welcome mat for the world’s destitute.

Adding more immigration judges to the system could help, but not if nothing is done to discourage migrants from exploiting the asylum scheme. The backlog for immigration hearings is at nearly 1 million cases. We won’t put a dent in that number with more judges if the stream of asylum claims continues at its current pace.

By establishing an “orderly release procedure,” Brooks presumably means the process by which migrants who have their claims denied are sent back to their country of origin. Why hadn’t anyone thought of creating an “orderly release procedure?”

They have, and there is one. But, contrary to Brooks’ very well-informed declarations, it’s not as easy as buying a plane ticket from Washington to New York. Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador, where the vast majority of these people are coming from, are thousands of miles away. When 200,000 people are showing up at the border in the span of three months, how many planes, buses, and agents do you think it takes to get these people home? It’s almost as if there’s a reason the current situation is called a “crisis” and not “orderly.”

Brooks wants to “increase the number of counselors so refugees can navigate the system,” which is another way of saying, “aid the migrants in their exploitation of the system.” You know, just like any practical mayor would do!

Finally, he suggests that the U.S. “vet children in their home countries for refugee status so they don’t have to make a fruitless trip.” The process for this already exists. It’s called claiming asylum or refugee status at the American embassy. Central Americans make the “fruitless trip” to the U.S. precisely because it’s not fruitless. When children are involved, they are largely allowed to stay, at least until their court hearing arrives some two years later. That’s only if they show up for it at all.

If only Brooks were in Congress to solve all of the nation’s most pressing issues. Unfortunately, kids, he has a column to write.

U.S. President Trump departs for Alabama from the White House in Washington
FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump talks to reporters as he departs to visit storm-hit areas of Alabama from the White House in Washington, U.S., March 8, 2019. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

March 19, 2019

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump said on Tuesday that the big tech platforms, Facebook, YouTube owner Google and Twitter, were on the side of the left, along with the “corrupt media.”

“But fear not, we will win anyway, just like we did before! #MAGA,” he said in a tweet. MAGA refers to his 2016 campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again.”

Facebook, Alphabet’s Google and Twitter did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

(Reporting by Diane Bartz and David Shepardson)

Source: OANN

Turkish President Erdogan greets the audience during a meeting in Ankara
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan greets the audience during a meeting in Ankara, Turkey, April 30, 2019. Murat Murat Cetinmuhurdar/Presidential Press Office/Handout via REUTERS

May 1, 2019

By Orhan Coskun

ANKARA (Reuters) – A month after local elections which saw it lose control of Turkey’s two largest cities, officials in President Tayyip Erdogan’s AK Party are questioning an alliance with nationalists which some blame for one of its biggest electoral setbacks.

Under a deal between Erdogan’s Islamist-rooted party and the smaller Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), the nationalists fielded no mayoral candidate in the capital Ankara or Istanbul in the March 31 vote, and the AKP stood aside in other regions.

But the deal failed to prevent the secularist Republican People’s Party (CHP), which had a similar pact with other smaller opposition parties, winning the mayoralty in both cities, ending a quarter century of control by the AKP and its Islamist predecessors.

The AKP is still challenging its narrow loss in Istanbul, Turkey’s largest city and business hub where Erdogan himself served as mayor before the party swept to power nationally in 2002. It has dominated Turkish politics ever since.

While the Istanbul appeal drags on, the rare defeat has prompted questions within the party over campaign strategy. Although the alliance helped them win a majority of votes nationwide, AKP officials say it has delivered limited benefits.

“The MHP gained a lot from this alliance, more than us,” a senior official at the AKP headquarters in Ankara told Reuters.

Another AKP official said the MHP’s 71-year-old leader Devlet Bahceli, once a staunch critic of Erdogan, was an unpredictable ally.

The AKP relies on the MHP for its parliamentary majority, meaning any break in the pact would leave it looking for new partners – a significant challenge after Erdogan’s blistering criticism of his opponents during the campaign.

FRACTURE

But that has not stopped talk of a split. The senior official said that if Turkey’s electoral board rules against a re-run of the Istanbul vote requested by the AKP, there was little incentive to maintain the alliance.

“Depending on the decision, the fate of the alliance will be determined. It is not possible to say where the alliance will go in the short-term, but the fracture has become noticeable now,” he said.

An MHP official said that while differences with the AKP were emerging in public, the nationalists would not be the side to end what the parties have called their “People’s Alliance”.

Bahceli said he remained committed to the pact. “This is our basic choice, our national and strategic goal,” he said in a statement on Wednesday. “There is undoubtedly no need to search for other alliances.”

The stunning setbacks for the AKP in Ankara and Istanbul prompted sharp public criticism last week from a politician once at the heart of Erdogan’s administration.

Former AKP prime minister Ahmet Davutoglu condemned his party’s alliance with the nationalists, saying it was damaging “both in terms of voter levels and the party’s identity”.

Davutoglu, who served as premier between 2014 and 2016, also slammed the AKP’s economic policies, media restrictions and the damage he said it had done to the separation of powers and Turkey’s institutions.

Since the election, Erdogan has appeared to downplay the significance of the MHP, pointing to its 7 percent share of the vote. Bahceli said the remarks were “unfair and unjust”, given that his party had chosen not to stand in Turkey’s three largest cities.

After CHP leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu was physically attacked at a soldier’s funeral last month, Erdogan struck a more conciliatory tone with a call for unity.

“On matters that concern the survival of our country, we must move all together with 82 million as the TURKEY ALLIANCE, putting aside our political differences,” he tweeted.

Analysts say his reference to national unity may be largely rhetorical, and the opposition says it rings hollow after he repeatedly accused the CHP and its Iyi (Good) Party allies during the election campaign of supporting terrorism.

“Some people within the AKP are doing self-critism. This bothers Erdogan. How could a person who can’t even tolerate self-criticism within his own party preach democracy?” CHP Deputy Chairman Muharrem Erkek said. “His own words show he is not sincere in the ‘Turkey Alliance’ rhetoric.”

(Writing by Tuvan Gumrukcu and Ece Toksabay; Additional reporting by Ali Kucukgocmen; Editing by Dominic Evans and Gareth Jones)

Source: OANN

Second round play of the Masters at Augusta National
Golf – Masters – Augusta National Golf Club – Augusta, Georgia, U.S. – April 12, 2019 – During second round play. Dustin Johnson of the U.S. hits off the 18th tee. REUTERS/Brian Snyder

April 12, 2019

AUGUSTA, Ga. (Reuters) – Second-round play at the Masters was suspended on Friday due to dangerous weather in the area of Augusta National.

The horn sounded to clear spectators from the course with major winners Francesco Molinari, Jason Day and Brooks Koepka all sharing the clubhouse lead at seven-under.

Players were greeted by steady rain as play began on Friday but the skies cleared allowing over half of the 87-player field to complete their rounds before action was halted.

Several prominent players were still on the course when the horn blasted, including Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods, who had just hit his tee shot on the par-three 12th.

(Reporting by Steve Keating. Editing by Toby Davis)

Source: OANN

The British-led Nekton scientific mission on Thursday completed a seven-week expedition in the Indian Ocean aimed at documenting changes beneath the waves that could affect billions of people in the surrounding region over the coming decades.

Little is known about the watery world below depths of 30 meters (yards), the limit to which a normal scuba diver can go. Operating down to 450 meters with manned submersibles and underwater drones off the island nation of the Seychelles, the scientists were the first to explore areas of great diversity where sunlight weakens and the deep ocean begins.

The oceans’ role in regulating climate and the threats they face from global warming are underestimated by many. Scientific missions are crucial in taking stock of underwater ecosystems’ health.

Principal scientist Lucy Woodall called the mission “massively successful,” saying that members believe they have found evidence near several coral islands of a so-called rariphotic zone, or “twilight zone,” located between 130 and 300 meters deep.

“The rariphotic zone has been shown in a number of papers in the Atlantic and Caribbean but has never previously been shown in the Indian Ocean,” Woodall said, adding that months of analysis will be needed to confirm the discovery.

In this twilight zone that sunlight barely reaches, photosynthesis is no longer possible and species that cannot move toward the ocean’s surface rely on particles falling from above for sustenance.

Woodall also said she was excited to see “vibrant” communities of fish during the mission.

“We’re seeing schools of small fish — that middle of the food chain — but we’re also seeing a large number of big predators — the sharks and all the other fish predators as well that are there. So this shows that protection works,” she said.

With the expedition over, the long work of analysis begins. Researchers conducted over 300 deployments, collected around 1,300 samples and 20 terabytes of data and surveyed about 30 square kilometers (11.5 sq. miles) of seabed using high-resolution multi-beam sonar equipment.

Woodall estimated her team will need up to 18 months of lab work to process and make sense of the data gathered during the expedition.

The data will be used to help the Seychelles expand its policy of protecting almost a third of its national waters by 2020. The initiative is important for the country’s “blue economy,” an attempt to balance development needs with those of the environment.

On Sunday, President Danny Faure visited the Nekton team and delivered a striking speech broadcast live from deep below the ocean’s surface, making a global plea for stronger protection of the “beating blue heart of our planet.”

For Nekton mission director Oliver Steeds, Faure’s visit was a win for the ocean.

“I hope our ability to broadcast live from the ocean has helped put the oceans back on the map in the boardrooms, the corridors of power and in the classrooms,” Steeds said. “That’s where the decisions need to be made to fundamentally secure our future and the improved management and conservation of our ocean.”

He said mission members hope that nations across the Indian Ocean will have the political will to improve the management and conservation of their waters.

“It’s been an extraordinary aquatic adventure,” Steeds said. “We’re delighted that so many people around the world have been following our progress but it only really matters if the Seychelles can continue to take a lead on the world stage as a beacon of hope for ocean conservation.”

This is the first of a half-dozen regions the mission plans to explore before the end of 2022, when scientists will present their research at a summit on the state of the Indian Ocean.

___

More on the mission at https://apnews.com/SeychellesOceanMission

Source: Fox News World



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Bank staff flagged Trump, Kushner transactions for watchdog: NYTimes

FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Trump arrives aboard Air Force One at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland
FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump walks down the steps of Air Force One as he returns to Washington from a trip to New York City at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, U.S., May 17, 2019. REUTERS/Leah Millis

May 19, 2019

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Anti-money laundering specialists at Deutsche Bank AG recommended in 2016 and 2017 that multiple transactions involving entities controlled by President Donald Trump and his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, be reported to a federal financial-crimes watchdog, the New York Times reported on Sunday.

The newspaper, citing five current and former Deutsche Bank employees, said executives at the German-based bank, which has lent billions of dollars to the Trump and Kushner companies, rejected their employees’ advice. The reports were never filed with the government.

The Times said the transactions, some of which involved Trump’s now-defunct foundation, set off alerts in a computer system designed to detect illicit activity, according to the former bank employees.

Compliance staff members who then reviewed the transactions prepared so-called suspicious activity reports that they believed should be sent to a unit of the Treasury Department that polices financial crimes, according to the newspaper.

The Times reported the bank employees viewed the decision not to report the transactions as a result of a lax approach to money laundering laws. They said there was a pattern of bank executives rejecting reports to protect relationships with lucrative clients, according to the newspaper.

One employee who reviewed some of the transactions said she was terminated last year after raising concerns about the bank’s practices, the Times reported.

The Times quoted a Deutsche Bank spokeswoman as saying investigators were not prevented from escalating activity identified as potentially suspicious. The spokeswoman described as “categorically false” any suggestion that bank staff were reassigned or fired in an effort to quash concerns related to any client. She also said Deutsche Bank has intensified efforts to combat financial crime.

A spokeswoman for the Trump Organization, which oversees many of Trump’s business interests, said the company was not aware of any flagged transactions and currently has no operating accounts with Deutsche Bank, according to the Times.

“The New York Times tries to create scandalous stories which are totally false when they run out of things to write about,” a spokeswoman for Kushner Companies said in a statement to Reuters.

Officials at Deutsche Bank and the Trump Organization were not immediately available to Reuters for independent comment.

The Times said the nature of the transactions was not clear. At least some of them involved money flowing back and forth with overseas entities or individuals, which bank employees considered suspicious.

The report surfaces at a time when congressional and New York state authorities are investigating the relationship between Trump, his family and Deutsche Bank, and demanding documents related to any suspicious activity.

Trump has sued in court in an attempt to block U.S. House of Representatives subpoenas for his financial records that were sent to Deutsche Bank, Capital One Financial Corp and the accounting firm Mazars LLP.

(Reporting by David Morgan; Editing by Kevin Drawbaugh and Chris Reese)

Source: OANN

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Italian police seize migrant boat, risking stand-off with deputy PM

FILE PHOTO: Rally of European nationalist and far-right parties ahead of EU parliamentary elections in Milan
FILE PHOTO: Italy's Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini addresses a major rally of European nationalist and far-right parties ahead of EU parliamentary elections in Milan, Italy May 18, 2019. REUTERS/Alessandro Garofalo

May 19, 2019

MILAN (Reuters) – Italian prosecutors have ordered the seizure of a rescue boat anchored outside the port of Lampedusa in Sicily, triggering a potential tug-of-war with Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini who has pledged to stop the migrants from disembarking.

Tax police officers have boarded Sea Watch 3 to seize the vessel, the websites of several Italian dailies reported, adding the move would eventually open the way for the 47 immigrants on board to disembark.

Sources at the interior ministry, which is headed by Salvini, criticized the prosecutors’ move, adding the minister was still opposed to the migrants disembarking from what he considers an “illegal ship”.

(Reporting by Francesca Landini; Editing by Mark Potter)

Source: OANN

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Oprah gives $500,000 to high school after-school program

Oprah Winfrey announced she's giving $500,000 to an initiative at a New Jersey high school that's aimed at keeping kids off the streets.

Principal Akbar Cook's "Lights On" program keeps West Side High School in Newark open on Friday nights from 6 p.m. to midnight. WPVI-TV reports kids can play basketball, shoot pool, play video games or even use a recording studio.

Winfrey's gift will help the program operate three nights a week over the summer. She told hundreds of cheering students Friday during a surprise visit that she was inspired by "all of the great things that are happening here."

Cook garnered headlines last fall for installing washing machines so students who couldn't afford to wash their clothes wouldn't miss school because they were being bullied for wearing dirty clothes.

Source: Fox News National

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4 Americans, 1 Canadian die in small plane crash in Honduras

Four Americans and a Canadian pilot were killed when a small plane went down off the coast of Roatan island in Honduras, officials said Sunday.

Armed Forces spokesman Jose Domingo Meza confirmed the nationalities of those who died in Saturday's crash.

The Piper Cherokee Six plummeted into the Atlantic shortly after takeoff from the popular tourist destination of Roatan en route to the port of Trujillo. The military said in a statement that rescue boats with police divers and firemen recovered four bodies within minutes of the crash, and transported another to a hospital, where he died shortly after of internal injuries.

The U.S. State Department also confirmed the deaths of four U.S. citizens and Global Affairs Canada confirmed that a Canadian also had died.

Source: Fox News World

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Rocket attack hits near US Embassy in Baghdad’s Green Zone

A rocket crashed Sunday night in the Iraqi capital's heavily fortified Green Zone, landing less than a mile from the sprawling U.S. Embassy, an Iraqi military spokesman said.

The apparent attack, which Iraq's state-run news agency said did not cause any casualties, came amid heightened tensions across the Persian Gulf, after the White House ordered warships and bombers to the region earlier this month to counter an alleged, unexplained threat from Iran. The U.S. also has ordered nonessential staff out of its diplomatic posts in Iraq.

Associated Press reporters on the east side of the Tigris River, opposite the Green Zone, heard an explosion, after which alert sirens sounded briefly in Baghdad.

Iraqi military spokesman Brig. Gen. Yahya Rasoul told The Associated Press that a Katyusha rocket fell near the statue of the Unknown Soldier, less than a mile from the U.S. Embassy. He said the military is investigating the cause but that the rocket was believed to have been fired from east Baghdad. The area is home to Iran-backed Shiite militias.

Iraq's state-run news agency said a Katyusha rocket crashed inside the Green Zone without causing any casualties.

As tensions escalate between the U.S. and Iran, there have been concerns that Baghdad could once again get caught in the middle , just as it is on the path to recovery. The country hosts more than 5,000 U.S. troops, and is home to powerful Iranian-backed militias, some of whom want those U.S. forces to leave.

American forces withdrew from Iraq in 2011 but returned in 2014 at the invitation of Iraq to help battle the Islamic State group after it seized vast areas in the north and west of the country, including Iraq's second-largest city, Mosul. A U.S.-led coalition provided crucial air support as Iraqi forces regrouped and drove IS out in a costly three-year campaign. Iranian-backed militias fought alongside U.S.-backed Iraqi troops against IS, gaining outsized influence and power.

Now, amid an escalating conflict between the U.S. and Iran, Iraq is once again vulnerable to becoming caught up in the power play. An attack targeting U.S. interests in Iraq would be detrimental to the country's recent efforts at recovering and reclaiming its status in the Arab world.

On May 8, Pompeo made a previously unannounced trip to the Iraqi capital following the abrupt cancellation of a visit to Germany, and told Iraqi intelligence that the United States had been picking up intelligence that Iran is threatening American interests in the Middle East, although he offered no details according to two Iraqi officials.

A few days later, as U.S.-Iranian tensions continued to rise, the State Department ordered all non-essential, non-emergency government staff to leave the country.

Employees of energy giant ExxonMobil have also begun evacuating from an oil field in the southern Iraqi province of Basra.

Source: Fox News World

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Baghdad’s Green Zone targeted in rocket attack, no casualties reported, military says

A large explosion was heard in central Baghdad on Sunday night after an apparent rocket attack on the Iraqi capital's heavily fortified Green Zone but no casualties were reported, according to officials.

The Iraqi Military said in a statement that a Katyusha rocket "fell in the middle of the Green Zone without causing any losses."

The Green Zone is where Iraqi government headquarters and the U.S. Embassy are located in the capital city. Iraq's state-run news agency said the rocket crashed inside the area without causing any casualties.

TOURIST BUS HIT BY ROADSIDE BOMB NEAR EGYPT'S GIZA PYRAMIDS; INJURIES REPORTED

Alert sirens sounded briefly in Baghdad after the explosion was heard, according to Associated Press reporters on the east side of the Tigris River.

The Katyusha multiple rocket launcher is an inexpensive type of rocket artillery that can deliver explosives to a target quicker than conventional artillery, but is less accurate, according to Reuters.

The apparent attack comes amid heightened tensions across the Persian Gulf, after the White House ordered warships and bombers to the region earlier this month to counter an alleged, unexplained threat from Iran. The U.S. embassy in Baghdad and its consulate in the northern city of Erbil evacuated non-essential staff this week, following the escalating tensions with Iran.

Recent tensions in the Persian Gulf between the U.S. and Iran have caused several companies and countries to pull out people.

LARGE US WARSHIPS TRAIN TOGETHER IN ARABIAN SEA WITH EYE ON IRAN THREATS, NAVY SAYS

An Iraqi oil official told the Associated Press on Saturday that employees of energy giant Exxon Mobil have started evacuating an oil field in the southern province of Basra. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media, said all those who are being evacuated are foreigners or Iraqis who hold other nationalities.

The official did not give numbers but said the first group left two days ago and another batch left early Saturday.

On Saturday afternoon, Bahrain ordered all of its citizens to immediately leave Iraq and Iran, amid rising tensions. Bahrain's Foreign Ministry cited the "unstable situation in the region and the grave developments and threats that threaten security and stability."

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Baharin is a small, Sunni-ruled island nation off the coast of Saudi Arabia. It regularly accuses Iran of stirring dissent in its Shiite-majority population.

Iraq hosts more than 5,000 U.S. troops and is home to powerful Iranian-backed militias, some of whom want those U.S. forces to leave.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Source: Fox News World

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Biden Caught with Crack Pipe

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Breitbart News has exclusively obtained a heretofore unreported-on police report from days before the 2016 presidential election that describes how a cocaine pipe that authorities determined was used to smoke cocaine was found in a rental car returned to an Arizona Hertz location in the middle of the night. Also found in the vehicle were several personal effects of Hunter Biden, then-Vice President Joe Biden’s son, like two of his DC driver’s licenses, multiple credit cards, and personally identifying information like a Delaware Attorney General badge and a U.S. Secret Service business card that police said bore his name. Hunter Biden, according to the police report, had rented the vehicle from a location in California with the intent to return it to the Prescott, Arizona, location, where it was discovered the morning after it was dropped off with the drug paraphernalia and Hunter Biden’s personal effects inside.

Instead of returning the car keys to the drop box where after-hours returns are supposed to go, the car was returned—according to the police report—with the keys left in the gas tank compartment of the vehicle. Also found inside the vehicle, per the police report, were two drivers’ licenses both bearing Hunter Biden’s legal name Robert Biden, as well as “some credit cards with the same name,” “a secret service business card,” and an “Attorney General’s badge” all contained inside a wallet that Hertz rental employees discovered—along with a pipe that Hertz employees thought and police later confirmed was used to smoke illicit drugs, as well as “a white powdery substance in the arm rest of the vehicle.”

Read More:
https://www.breitbart.com/politics/2019/05/17/exclusive-2016-arizona-police-report-cocaine-pipe-found-in-car-rented-by-joe-bidens-son-hunter-biden-authorities-declined-to-prosecute/

Source: The Washington Pundit


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