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Updated: 2 hours 24 min ago

Bigger cuts expected: 23,000 more Ford layoffs needed, analysts say

3 hours 51 min ago

 23,000 more Ford layoffs needed, analysts sayFord CEO Jim Hackett plans for layoffs won't deliver savings the company has said it wants. An analyst says another 23,000 layoffs are needed.


Man who threatened to kill ‘as many girls as I see’ because he was repeatedly rejected set to be spared jail

4 hours 53 min ago

Man who threatened to kill ‘as many girls as I see’ because he was repeatedly rejected set to be spared jailA man who threatened to murder “as many girls” as he could see may escape a jail sentence, despite pleading guilty to a charge of attempted threat of terrorism.Christopher Cleary wrote a detailed Facebook post about how he planned to become “the next mass shooter” in January 2019.The 27-year-old described himself as a virgin who had never had a girlfriend.He also said he wanted to make the fact that so many women had turned him down “right” by going on a shooting spree, according to documents filed by Provo Police.Cleary was arrested on 19 January after publishing the Facebook post.Cleary then struck a deal with Utah prosecutors, pleading guilty to a reduced criminal charge.Attempted threat of terrorism is a third-degree felony, punishable by up to five years in prison.But Utah prosecutors agreed to recommend him for probation, despite his extensive criminal record.A judge will decide whether or not to accept the deal at a hearing on Thursday.The 27-year-old has been accused of stalking multiple times, with at least eight alleged victims contacting the authorities about his behaviour since 2012, according to police and court records.He was on probation following a marijuana conviction in 2016 when he was charged with stalking two teenagers he had met online.Cleary was put on probation for the stalking cases but in 2017 was charged with stalking and harassing his case worker.In 2018 judges in Jefferson County, Colorado sentenced him, once again, to probation for all three stalking cases.In one of the cases a 19-year-old woman said she lived with Cleary for a fortnight in a hotel room. She said that he strangled and urinated on her during that time, court records show.Cleary was out on probation for the three cases when he was arrested in a McDonald's in January, after publishing his Facebook post.Pam Russell, a spokeswoman for the Utah’s county prosecutor’s office, said once the case was concluded Cleary would be returned to Colorado.Prosecutors in Denver will seek to revoke his probation and send him to prison in relation for the stalking and harassment cases, she added.“All I wanted to be was loved,” Cleary wrote in his Facebook post.“Yet no one cares about me, I’m 27 years old and I’ve never had a girlfriend before and I’m still a virgin, this is why I’m planning on shooting up a public place soon and being the next mass shooter cause I’m ready to die.”It is unclear how truthful the Facebook post was, as at least two of Cleary’s accusers have said they had a sexual relationship with him.Some news reports have speculated that Cleary could be part of the “incel movement”, which promotes the misogynistic idea that men are entitled to have sex with women.But a Colorado police detective, who investigated two accusations against the 27-year-old, said there as no evidence he was part of the movement.“I truly think he’s just wired differently,” he said. Additional reporting by agencies


Trump attacks Democrat probes amid impeachment talk

5 hours 48 min ago

Trump attacks Democrat probes amid impeachment talkWashington (AFP) - US President Donald Trump on Wednesday attacked continuing probes of his presidency by Democratic lawmakers amid an intensifying debate within the opposition party over impeachment.


May implores parliament in final bid to save Brexit deal

5 hours 54 min ago

May implores parliament in final bid to save Brexit dealPrime Minister Theresa May on Wednesday implored British MPs to back her reworked EU divorce deal but saw pro-Brexit Conservatives and opposition parties savage her bid for a compromise to end months of political crisis. On the eve of European elections Britain had not expected to hold three years after the Brexit referendum, May urged lawmakers who have repeatedly rejected her plan to vote for it in early June so that the country can finally leave the bloc later in the summer. "The opportunity of Brexit is too large and the consequences of failure too grave to risk further delay," the prime minister, who has vowed to stand down following the crunch parliamentary vote, told the House of Commons.


Fears rise China could weaponise rare earths in US tech war

8 hours 12 min ago

Fears rise China could weaponise rare earths in US tech warThe US has hit China where it hurts by going after its telecom champion Huawei, but Beijing's control of the global supply of rare earths used in smartphones and electric cars gives it a powerful weapon in their escalating tech war. A seemingly routine visit by President Xi Jinping to a Chinese rare earths company this week is being widely read as an obvious threat that Beijing is standing ready for action. Xi's inspection tour "is no accident, this didn't happen by chance," said Li Mingjiang, China programme coordinator at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS) in Singapore.


UPDATE 2-U.S. judge hammers Qualcomm in antitrust case, shares sink 13%

8 hours 25 min ago

UPDATE 2-U.S. judge hammers Qualcomm in antitrust case, shares sink 13%Qualcomm Inc used unlawful, anticompetitive practices to license patents for modems used in mobile phones, a judge has ruled in a case brought by the U.S. trade regulator, ordering it to renegotiate major deals and change how it does business. Shares of the company, which have soared since it settled a major and long-running licensing dispute with Apple Inc earlier this year, sank 13% to $67.50 in trading before the bell. In a detailed, 230-page ruling on the case brought by the Federal Trade Commission, U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh laid out a list of practices that she said used Qualcomm's dominant position in the market to squeeze rivals out of contracts and force mobile phone makers to pay more for its patents.


Accused Thief Taunted Disney World With Photo of Stolen Robot’s Mutilated Head

9 hours 33 min ago

Accused Thief Taunted Disney World With Photo of Stolen Robot’s Mutilated HeadPhoto Illustration by Sarah Rogers/The Daily Beast/Photos GettyIf you’re accused of stealing an animatronic child from Disney World, maybe don’t make a wildly popular Disney-related Twitter account and post a picture of the stolen robot child with its eyes gouged out.“Buzzy,” an animatronic boy from an abandoned Disney World attraction, has been missing for months. Online, Disney superfans treated the disappearance like a kidnapping. But the investigation into the theft led police to someone in the online Disney fandom: a Disney blogger who taunted Disney about their security, posted conspiracy theories about Buzzy’s disappearance and, in the final days before his arrest, uploaded a picture of the robot’s decapitated and eyeball-less head.Patrick Spikes, 24, was arrested last week. He worked at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, until last year. But Spikes didn’t completely part ways with the theme park after he stopped working there. Instead, he started churning out videos, podcasts, and tweets under the username “BackDoorDisney.” His Twitter account, which amassed more than 17,000 followers before going dark last week, promised to give fans an inside view of Disney World. In its seven months of operation, the account uploaded pictures of Disney control rooms, secret maps, and Disney cast members pretending to have sex while dressed as characters from Toy Story.Soon, Spikes was posting about an even more salacious Disney World story. In August, Disney told police that someone had stolen clothes off Buzzy. The 300-pound animatronic child used to sit inside the “Cranium Command” exhibit, in Epcot’s Wonders of Life Pavilion. But the building, which hosted somewhat dated attractions, had been closed for years. The stolen clothes (including a miniature bomber jacket) were worth nearly $7,000, Disney claimed, according to an affidavit from Florida’s Orange County Sheriff’s Department. Later, the entire robot was stolen, an operation that required the thief to cut through electric cables.Spikes and other Disney bloggers posted about Buzzy’s rumored disappearance. But Spikes and a crowd of Disney fans who broke into the park soon came under suspicion. Spikes routinely boasted of secret trips through Disney World, including with a friend who climbed the park’s Thunder Mountain roller coaster.“Good job filling the holes under the Mk back fence this morning,” Spikes wrote in a January tweet directed at Disney. “I told you guys about this issue 2 months ago but it took somebody going in and climbing one of your coasters for you to care.”On his personal Twitter account, Spikes taunted Disney, advising them to buy a bulk box of security cameras from Best Buy. As the search for Buzzy continued, Disney fans speculated that an urban explorer might have snatched the robot.Eventually, police began narrowing in on Spikes and his scene. Investigators found an October picture of Buzzy on Spikes’ @BackDoorDisney account. The picture does not appear to have been taken inside the Cranium Command exhibit. In texts with investigators, Spikes allegedly let slip that Buzzy’s clothes were sold on the black market for $8,000.Police got a warrant for Spikes’ cellphone and called him in for questioning in December. The meeting went poorly when Spikes tried to cut it short.“The defendant stated he felt sick and felt that he was going to vomit,” police alleged in an affidavit. “A short time later, he began to make strained breathing noises, and stated he couldn’t breath. He requested water, which was given to him, and also was allowed to lay on the floor. The fire department responded and all vitals were normal.” Spikes was taken to a hospital. Police charged him with non-violently resisting arrest. He has pleaded not guilty.Spikes later made a video about a police search on his house, and professed his innocence.“I said ‘really? The entire thing got stolen?’ I didn’t really believe it,” he said in the March video. “It blew my mind. I was like, you can’t be serious right now.”Later in the video, Spikes suggested that Disney had staged Buzzy’s disappearance in order to shut down his BackDoorDisney account.“There’s a theory someone talked about that Imagineering [a Disney team] removed Buzzy and didn’t tell anyone else. So when Operations, the part of the company that runs the Pavillion noticed he was missing, they filed him as ‘stolen,’” he said. “Did Disney willingly file a report, knowing the thing wasn’t stolen, just to run me down? Because obviously I had been posting a lot of backstage photos and stuff, and information … It almost seems like they wanted my phones because they knew I had a lot of backstage photos on them.”But BackDoorDisney kept implying inside knowledge of Buzzy’s disappearance.In a May 12 tweet, he tweeted a picture of Buzzy’s fate. The tweet showed a picture of Buzzy’s decapitated head, with its eyeballs scratched off. The image was included in a screenshot of a text Spikes received, which meant someone else might have stolen the robot.TwitterFive days later, police arrested Spikes. Although Buzzy’s disappearance featured prominently in an arrest affidavit (police appear to have started investigating him over Buzzy’s theft), Spikes was actually charged for a different series of alleged thefts from Disney World. His lawyer did not return The Daily Beast’s request for comment.In July, police alleged, Spikes printed a fake Disney employee card for his cousin and snuck him into the park. The pair allegedly snuck into the Haunted Mansion, a popular ride, and stole a collection of wigs and outfits from backstage. The clothes, which were designed for the ride’s animatronic ghosts, cost between $40 (a tiara) and $1,746 (a robot’s jacket), adding up to more than $7,000.Spikes and his cousin allegedly took pictures throughout the heist, and posed in the wigs at a nearby 7-Eleven. A video from shortly after the theft allegedly shows Spikes’ cousin’s girlfriend wearing a robot’s stolen dress.Disney may have priced the clothes at just over $7,000, but they allegedly went for four times that price on the black market. Days after the alleged burglary, Spikes allegedly received a combined $29,451 payment from two people over Paypal. One of the people, whose name is redacted in the affidavit, told police he paid Spikes $8,890 for 18 items from various Disney heists, including $1,000 for a Haunted Mansion dress.Shortly before his arrest, Spikes teased a forthcoming video about the black market for stolen Disney gear.Police haven’t charged Spikes with Buzzy’s disappearance. But they say his video about the raid on his house raised questions about his involvement. In the video, he showed part of a search warrant for his house. Police say he edited the document to remove references to two pieces of evidence police sought.“The fact that Spikes altered the warrant for his video and only removed these two items indicate that he was aware these items were used in a crime,” the affidavit reads.In that same video, Spikes tells viewers he’ll keep his lips tight about Buzzy’s disappearance until the investigation is over.“If things are still under investigation, I’m not going to get on YouTube and run my mouth about it,” he said. “That would be dumb.”Read more at The Daily Beast.Got a tip? Send it to The Daily Beast hereGet our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.


This walking robot could soon be delivering your packages

10 hours 4 min ago

This walking robot could soon be delivering your packagesIt may be years from visiting your neighborhood, but a walking robot is part of Ford's vision for how its autonomous vehicles will deliver packages.


AOC says 'it's time' to open Trump impeachment inquiry

12 hours 49 min ago

AOC says 'it's time' to open Trump impeachment inquiryAlexandria Ocasio-Cortez has called on Democrats to begin impeachment proceedings against Donald Trump. Citing the White House's continued obstruction of oversight efforts by Congress, Ms Ocasio-Cortez said the US president's actions made such a move "entirely appropriate". The influential Democratic congresswoman's intervention piles pressure on House speaker Nancy Pelosi, who has so far resisted calls for Democrats to launch impeachment proceedings.Ms Pelosi instead backs continued investigations of Mr Trump and his administration by numerous congressional panels.But more Democrats are openly discussing impeachment, and liberals like Ms Ocasio-Cortez, a leader of the progressive left since she beat an established Democrat in a surprise primary upset last year, are stepping up the pressure."I think it's time for us to, at the very least, open an impeachment inquiry ... we've been given no choice I think, in this scenario," Ms Ocasio-Cortez said outside the House of Representatives.She said the Mueller report on Russian meddling in the 2016 campaign had described evidence of obstruction of the investigation by the executive branch, adding that the report had pointed directly to Congress as the body to take action.The report by special counsel Robert Mueller stopped short of declaring the president obstructed justice, but it also refused to exonerate him."We now have the president actively discouraging witnesses from coming in to answer a legally binding subpoena from Congress," Ms Ocasio-Cortez added.Former White House counsel Don McGahn on Tuesday defied a subpoena from the House judiciary committee, at the White House's request."It's getting to the point where we can't even do our own jobs. And I think it is entirely appropriate, given this overwhelming amount of evidence and the continued actions from the executive branch, that we exert our power as a co-equal branch of government," Ms Ocasio-Cortez said.She said she was not sure whether impeachment advocates were a majority of the Democrats in the House, but "I personally have not felt a very strong opposition to impeachment".Another Democratic lawmaker, representative John Yarmuth, said on Tuesday he believed Ms Pelosi realises events were trending in the direction of impeachment, even as the Democratic leader argues for continued focus on House investigations of the Trump administration.Ms Pelosi listened as advocates of impeachment spoke at a Monday night meeting with senior Democrats, Mr Yarmuth said."I think she realises that the path is leading more and more inevitably toward an impeachment process. But she wants to let all these committees do their thing," Mr Yarmuth said outside the House.Additional reporting by Reuters


Chinese ambassador blames US for sinking trade deal

Tue, 05/21/2019 - 21:55

Chinese ambassador blames US for sinking trade dealChina's ambassador to the United States said in a Tuesday interview with Fox News that Washington repeatedly "changed its mind overnight" and sunk deals that could have ended the two countries' trade war. Ambassador Cui Tiankai also slammed as "politically motivated" the White House's move to ban the transfer or sale of US technology to Chinese telcom giant Huawei. Such actions will really undermine people's confidence in the normal function of the market," Tiankai told Fox.


China Surveillance Giant Hikvision Slumps on U.S. Ban Report

Tue, 05/21/2019 - 20:00

China Surveillance Giant Hikvision Slumps on U.S. Ban ReportThe White House will make a final decision in coming weeks on whether to limit exports of U.S. components to Hikvision, as it’s done with Huawei Technologies Co., the Times reported, citing unidentified people familiar with the matter. Such a move would escalate tensions with China and raise questions about whether the U.S. is going after more of the country’s technology champions. Hikvision has grown into a surveillance giant, selling its cameras around the world after cashing in on China’s obsession with monitoring its citizens.


The Latest: Top officials say US doesn't want war with Iran

Tue, 05/21/2019 - 19:47

 Top officials say US doesn't want war with IranWASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on the Trump administration's Iran policy (all times local):


US stocks rally on Huawei reprieve as pound gyrates on Brexit news

Tue, 05/21/2019 - 18:37

US stocks rally on Huawei reprieve as pound gyrates on Brexit newsGlobal stocks rallied Tuesday as the United States took a step away from imposing crushing restrictions on Chinese telecom company Huawei, while the pound gyrated on fresh Brexit drama.


Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez says she'd be 'hard pressed' to back Biden in primary

Tue, 05/21/2019 - 18:35

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez says she'd be 'hard pressed' to back Biden in primaryBernie Sanders appears to be the favorite to secure Ocasio-Cortez’s prized endorsement in the Democratic presidential primaryCongresswoman Alexandria Ocasio Cortez told the Guardian: ‘I’m not close to an endorsement announcement any time soon.’ Photograph: Joshua Roberts/ReutersAlexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the progressive US congresswoman and social media sensation, has said she would be “hard pressed” to endorse the frontrunner, Joe Biden, in the Democratic presidential primary.The statement is the latest sign of the left’s apathy towards the former vice-president, who has surged ahead of the Senator Bernie Sanders and other rivals in recent polls.Sanders, a self-declared democratic socialist, appears to be the favourite to secure 29-year-old Ocasio-Cortez’s prized endorsement but she said she was still some way off making a decision.“I’m not close to an endorsement announcement any time soon,” she told the Guardian on Tuesday. “I’m still trying to get a handle on my job. It seems like ages but I’m just five months in and we have quite some time. The debates are in the summer and our first primary election for the entire country isn’t until next year.” Asked if she would consider endorsing Biden, widely seen as a centrist, Ocasio-Cortez replied: “I’d be hard pressed to see that happen, to be honest, in a primary.”Biden, comfortably leading every opinion poll, came under fire last week when Reuters reported he was pursuing a “middle ground” approach to the climate crisis. He later distanced himself from the implication.Ocasio-Cortez criticised politicians seeking “a middle-of-the-road approach to save our lives”. Sanders, running second in most polls, tweeted that there was “no ‘middle ground’ when it comes to climate policy”.If and when Ocasio-Cortez does endorse a candidate, Sanders probably remains the favourite to secure her support. She was an organiser for his 2016 primary campaign against Hillary Clinton. The pair appeared at a rally in Washington last week to support the Green New Deal climate plan.In a short interview on Tuesday the congresswoman, who has more than 4 million Twitter followers, also reiterated her demand for Donald Trump’s impeachment. “I think that the grounds have been there for quite some time but the case is really getting to a larger point that we haven’t seen before,” she said.Democratic leaders are putting the House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, under pressure to move ahead with the process. Ocasio-Cortez added: “I know that the conversation is really changing this week in the caucus and so we’ll see where the speaker lands.”


Louisiana senate passes anti-abortion bill in latest attack on women's rights

Tue, 05/21/2019 - 18:16

Louisiana senate passes anti-abortion bill in latest attack on women's rightsAmendment, which would change state constitution to say Louisianans have no right to abortions, set to go before votersPro-choice campaigners in Texas on Tuesday. Critics called the bill’s passage ‘shameful’ and noted it did not make exceptions for victims of race or incest. Photograph: Eric Gay/APThe Louisiana senate approved a state constitutional amendment on Tuesday declaring that citizens have no constitutional right to abortions. The move is the latest salvo in a broader assault against reproductive rights in the state, and it comes on the heels of extreme legislation in Georgia, Missouri and Alabama all aimed at near-total bans of the procedure.The measure now heads back to the house, which has already passed a version, for final approval. The amendment still, however, needs to be ratified by Louisiana voters in a referendum this fall.Critics called the senate’s move “shameful”, noting that it did not make exceptions for victims of rape or incest.“Constitutions are meant to protect rights, not deny them. But that’s exactly what the state senate did today when it passed an amendment that will directly hurt some of our most vulnerable citizens: poor women,” said Michelle Erenberg, the executive director of Lift Louisiana, an advocacy group that defends women’s access to healthcare.While the legislation is similar to extreme anti-choice bills that have popped up in statehouses throughout the US in recent months, the party politics present a wrinkle fairly unique to Louisiana. The bill, like several others currently up for consideration, was introduced by a Democrat – the state representative Katrina Jackson. “I’m pro-woman and I’m pro-life because abortions hurt more women than anything else,” she said in front of the state capitol before the proposal passed.That’s also true of a “fetal heartbeat” bill, in the model of those passed in Georgia and Missouri, which was introduced by the Democratic senator John Milkovich. The bill would ban abortions after cardiac activity is detected in the fetus, which is about six weeks into a pregnancy – before many women are even aware they are pregnant. Milkovich’s bill has already passed in the senate and is likely to receive a vote in the House early next week. Governor John Bel Edwards, a self-described “pro-life” Democrat, has said he intends to sign it when it reaches his desk.That both bills originate with Democrats is hard to square with national party politics. In 2016, the party approved a platform plank stating: “Every woman should have access to quality reproductive health care services, including safe and legal abortion.”But that’s not the common wisdom in Louisiana, according to Bel Edwards, who addressed the dissonance on his monthly radio show earlier this month. “I know that for many in the national party, on the national scene, that’s not a good fit. But I will tell you, here in Louisiana, I speak and meet with Democrats who are pro-life every single day,” Edwards said.Statewide polling suggests a majority of Louisiana residents oppose abortion in “all or most cases”, but only a quarter say the procedure should never be permitted.Elisabeth Smith, an attorney with the Center for Reproductive Rights, said that, in part because of the cross-party unity on anti-abortion measures, Louisiana is already one of the most restrictive states on abortion. “There are lots of abortion restrictions that are passing in other states that Louisiana has already legislated. In some ways, there are not many more places where the state can go,” Smith said.This includes a 2006 “trigger law” that would make abortion illegal in the state if Roe v Wade were overturned; five other states have passed similar laws. Jackson’s constitutional amendment is, in a sense, an effort to one-up that measure and provide an additional layer of protection from future legal challenges.“By enshrining this in the constitution, it makes it just that much more difficult for a future legislature to change the law,” said Ellie Schilling, an attorney who has represented all three of Louisiana’s remaining abortion providers in various legal challenges.Like the trigger law, Tuesday’s constitutional amendment would require the overturning of Roe v Wade to have any real impact in Louisiana. The state’s fetal “heartbeat” bill, too, conflicts with the landmark 1973 supreme court ruling, and would be immediately subject to extensive legal challenges if and when it passed. For that reason, lawmakers tethered the bill to similar legislation that passed in neighboring state of Mississippi in March. With this strategy, Louisiana can save the cost of fighting off a challenge – estimated to cost upwards of $1m in Mississippi – and simply piggyback off the ruling there.That law went before the US district judge Carlton Reeves on Tuesday, but even if he strikes the law down, the state of Mississippi will appeal to the very conservative fifth circuit court of appeals, which Erenberg said is “not one that has been willing to really scrutinize abortion restrictions” in recent memory.Ultimately, the case, or one like it from another state, is probably bound for the supreme court. At least that’s largely what the architects of these plainly unconstitutional bills are hoping for with a firm five-to-four conservative majority now in place on the court. In the meantime, anti-choice lawmakers in Louisiana are still chipping away at reproductive rights through more immediate means, pushing a number of restrictive laws intended to make abortion services more difficult to provide and receive. This includes bills: * requiring medication abortions (those induced by taking a pill, rather than a surgical procedure) to be completed only at abortion clinics * requiring clinics to keep seven years of medical records (and 10 years for minors) * requiring anyone working at an abortion clinic who has contact with patients (including receptionists) to be a mandatory reporter of human trafficking * requiring providers to tell patients, in writing, their physicians’ names, where they completed their residencies, whether they have malpractice insurance, and whether they have been placed on probation in the last decade.“It’s all just aimed at the strategy of just making it more and more onerous and difficult for abortion providers to provide abortion,” Erenberg said.She added that even before any of these laws fully take effect, they have a profound impact on women’s access because of the misunderstandings they can create.The average Louisianan not keeping tabs on the finer points of the legislative process might see the governor signing a bill like the one passed today and reasonably believe that abortions are now illegal.“There is absolutely a chilling impact on women’s basic understanding about whether or not they still have these rights and still have the ability to access these services,” Erenberg said.


Abducted Idaho girl found safe in Arizona, suspect jailed

Tue, 05/21/2019 - 17:35

Abducted Idaho girl found safe in Arizona, suspect jailedSURPRISE, Ariz. (AP) — A 17-year-old girl abducted from an Idaho fast-food restaurant where she worked was found safe in Arizona on Tuesday and the man accused of taking her was jailed on a $1 million bond, authorities said.


Ocasio-Cortez says it is time to open impeachment inquiry against Trump

Tue, 05/21/2019 - 16:07

Ocasio-Cortez says it is time to open impeachment inquiry against TrumpHouse Speaker Nancy Pelosi has so far resisted calls for Democrats to launch impeachment proceedings, instead backing continued investigations of Trump and his administration by numerous congressional panels instead. "I think it’s time for us to, at the very least, open an impeachment inquiry ... we’ve been given no choice I think, in this scenario," Ocasio-Cortez said outside the House of Representatives. The report by Special Counsel Robert Mueller stopped short of declaring that the president obstructed justice, but it also did not exonerate him.


Hospital that treated baby cut from womb investigated

Tue, 05/21/2019 - 16:02

Hospital that treated baby cut from womb investigatedCHICAGO (AP) — The agency that licenses and inspects health care facilities in Illinois has started an investigation of a suburban Chicago hospital where doctors treated a baby brought in by a woman claiming to be his mother, a spokeswoman for the agency said Tuesday. The woman was charged weeks later with killing the actual mother and cutting the child from her womb.


U.S. Intel to Congress: No Evidence al Qaeda Is Helping Iran

Tue, 05/21/2019 - 14:52

 No Evidence al Qaeda Is Helping IranKena Betancur/AFP/GettyThe American intelligence community has no evidence that al Qaeda has cooperated with the Iranian government in its recent aggressive moves in the Persian Gulf region, a senior U.S. government official told members of Congress on Tuesday. That finding, which was relayed to The Daily Beast by three sources familiar with the matter, could undercut a potential legal case for going to war with Iran if tensions between Washington and Tehran keep escalating. The assessment was delivered in a classified briefing with dozens of House members on Capitol Hill. According to the three sources, one of the officials who briefed the members said the U.S. government does not have evidence of operational coordination between the Iranian government and the terrorist group responsible for 9/11 with respect to the current threat stream. The significance of the admission is likely to divide lawmakers. Democrats who worry about the prospect of war between the U.S. and Iran will likely say that the lack of intelligence means the Trump administration cannot use Congress’s 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) to fight al Qaeda as a legal basis to start a war with the regional power. Republicans, in contrast, are likely to view it as a non sequitur, arguing that the administration isn’t trying to start a war but rather to act in defense of U.S. interests and forces in the Gulf region. Over the last decade, presidents from both parties have circumvented Congress when it comes to waging military campaigns. Presidents George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and Donald Trump have all used the 2001 AUMF to justify a wide range of military activity—drawing pointed but largely toothless criticism from Capitol Hill. Obama, for instance, used the 2001 AUMF to justify the American fight against the Islamic State, which did not exist in 2001. Trump Admin Moves Fueled Iran’s Aggression, U.S. Intel SaysLast month, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo publicly connected Iran and al Qaeda, calling the ties “very real.” “They have hosted al Qaeda, they have permitted al Qaeda to transit their country,” said Pompeo, “There is no doubt there is a connection between the Islamic Republic of Iran and al Qaeda. Period, full stop.”When Pompeo testified to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee last October, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) pressed him on whether the 2001 AUMF would permit a war on Iran. “I would prefer just to leave that to the lawyers,” he said, as France24 reported.Pompeo is not the only government official to see a connection between Iran and al Qaeda. In 2011, the Obama administration’s Treasury Department accused the two of forming an alliance to move arms and fighters. In February of this year, The Washington Times, a conservative paper, ran a story citing anonymous Trump administration officials saying that Iran is “providing high-level al Qaeda operatives with a clandestine sanctuary to funnel fighters, money and weapons across the Middle East”—a claim the newspaper noted could be used to justify war. Increased tensions between the U.S. and Iran have generated concern on the Hill about an escalatory spiral. Earlier this month, the U.S. moved an aircraft carrier strike group to the Persian Gulf, with administration officials saying Iranian proxies were threatening U.S. forces in the region. That came after the administration eliminated sanctions waivers for countries looking to buy Iranian oil and after the administration designated the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist group. The Daily Beast reported last week that officials in multiple U.S. government agencies have assessed that Iran’s increasingly hostile behavior came in response to those moves. A year ago, the Trump administration withdrew the United States from an international deal with the Iranian government intended to keep it from developing nuclear weapons by trading caps and insight on their program for targeted sanctions relief. Read more at The Daily Beast.Got a tip? Send it to The Daily Beast hereGet our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.


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