Basketball great Kobe Bryant dies in helicopter crash

Basketball legend and Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant died in a California helicopter crash on Sunday along with at least one of his daughters and seven others, reports and officials said.

LIVE: Coverage from CBS News

A fire broke out sending his Sikorsky S-76 helicopter spiralling out of an overcast sky above Calabasas and killing all five on board. It has been widely reported that Bryant’s 13-year-old daughter Gianna Maria Onore is among the dead.

During a brief initial press conference on Sunday evening, authorities said that there were nine killed in the crash. Police received a call at 9:47 a.m. that a helicopter may have crashed, officials said.

The Bryants were on their way to Mamba Academy for basketball practice, reports say.

Allen Kenitzer, an FAA spokesman, said his agency and the National Transportation Safety Board were investigating. Sikorsky says it is cooperating with authorities to find out the cause of the crash.

Photo of the crash scene via Twitter.

Bryant is survived by Vanessa, 37, and their daughters Natalia, 17, Bianka, 17, Bianka, three, and Capri, sevens months.

The L.A. Lakers star is considered one of greatest basketball players of all time. He spent his entire 20-year National Basketball Association career with the California team.

Bryant, 41, won five championships and was an 18-time all-star. He is known for scoring 81 points in a single game.

The basketball great’s final tweet was sent out on Saturday evening, congratulating LeBron James for taking his position as third on the ladder in overall career points.

Bryant retired from the NBA in 2016 but began a new career in Hollywood. In 2018, he won an Oscar along with director Glen Keane for the animated short film “Dear Basketball”, the L.A. Times reports.

IGNITE Vice President Ryan Stafford, who represents Lakeshore Campus, posted a tribute to the basketball legend on his Instagram Story.

Obituary

The following obituary was posted by Reuters news agency:

“A transcendent star who went straight from high school to the game’s biggest stage, Bryant won five NBA championship rings with the Los Angeles Lakers and was the face of the franchise during his 20-year career.”

“Bryant, a small forward and shooting guard, averaged 25 points during his career and twice led the NBA in scoring.”

“He was an 18-times NBA All-Star who wore the jersey numbers 24 and 8 – both of which were retired by the Lakers – and continued the ‘Showtime’ tradition of the storied franchise that has been home to the likes of Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Shaquille O’Neal.”

U.S. President Donald Trump called the development “terrible news”. L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti said Bryant “will live forever in the heart of Los Angeles, and will be remembered through the ages as one of our greatest heroes.”

An NBA game taking place at the time the news broke took a moment of silence and soccer superstar Neymar da Silva Santos Jr. made a “24” symbol with his fingers after scoring a goal on Sunday.

Trudeau outlines plan to pass trade deal

After the new North American free trade deal approved by U.S. Senate, the Canadian government plans to ratify the deal next week.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spoke Tuesday in a news conference after a three-day cabinet retreat in Winnipeg, saying that it’s the government’s utmost priority to push forward with the Canadian-U.S.-Mexico agreement, known domestically as CUSMA, as millions of jobs depend on the new trade pact.

“On Monday, we will present a ways and means motion, and on Wednesday we will table legislations to ratify the deal,” said Trudeau, describing what will take place next week.

In order for the Liberals to pass this legislation in a minority government, they will neeed the support of another party in the House of Commons. Trudeau had expressed is hopes that all parties will negotiate and cone on ratification together.

“What we are doing is reminding everyone in the House and across the country of how important it is to secure the most important trading relationship for future generations.”

CUSMA has been on the top of the list of government priorities that were discussed during the cabinet meetings in Winnipeg.

The cabinet ministers also listened to expert guest speakers, who discussed other important matters including the fight against climate change, the current state of the country’s economy and pressing global affairs, among other critical matters facing the new minority government.

The trade deal, a result of a year of sometimes rocky negotiations with with the Trump administration, has been passed in the U.S. Senate and is awaiting the president’s signature. It has also been approved in Mexico.

Justin Trudeau said in Winnipeg “we are going to make sure we move forward in the right way and that means ratifying this new NAFTA as quickly as possible.”

Conservatives who are the main opposition, are generally supportive of the deal, but have vowed to grill the Liberals over its specifics when the House of Commons resumes sitting on Monday.

Weinstein charged with rape, sexual assault

A Los Angeles district attorney on Monday charged disgraced media mogul Harvey Weinstein with raping a woman and sexually assaulting another in separate incidents over a two-day period in 2013.

If Weinstein is convicted, he could be sentenced to up to 28 years in prison.

“We believe the evidence will show that the defendant used his power and influence to gain access to his victims and then commit violent crimes against them,” District Attorney Jackie Lacey said in a statement, reported Reuters.

It comes the same day that Weinstein is on trial for a separate but similar case in New York.

Trump impeached by U.S. House

The U.S. House of Representatives late on Wednesday impeached Republican President Donald Trump with a vote largely along party lines, passing at two articles of impeachment put forward by the majority Democrats claiming abuse of power and obstruction of justice, handing the fate of the president over to a trial in the GOP-held Senate.

The ballots marked by lawmakers in the House came after a day of debate that saw Democrats calling Trump a threat to democracy as Republicans fought back, claiming the proceedings were a partisan coup with Rep. Kevin McCarthy calling it the “least credible impeachment in American history.”

Democrats in the House, led by Nancy Pelosi, accuse the 73-year-old president of abusing his power by asking Ukraine to investigate former Vice President and current presidential hopeful Joe Biden in return for military aid. Trump is also charged with obstructing congressional probes by directing officials and departments to ignore legal summons.

Impeachment is an extraordinary check on presidential power written into the United States Constitution by the founders that allows for the removal of presidents by Congress over the vague “high crimes and misdemeanours” — and Trump is the third president to be impeached after Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton.

As the House made history, Trump, who denies any wrongdoing, rallied supporters from Battle Creek, Michigan. 

Article One was supported by 230 Democrats while two Democrats voted against the article, which accuses Trump of abuse of power over his dealings with Ukraine. Democrats lost one ballot when voting in favour of Article Two, which alleges abuse of power.

Sole Independent Justin Amash, who left the Republican Party earlier this year, voted with Democrats on both articles. None of the 195 Republicans in the House supported the articles, as expected by political analysts, while Democratic presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard voted only “present”.

Democrats unveil articles of impeachment against Trump

U.S. Democrats unveiled two articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump on Tuesday, charging him with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress as part of a major step forward in a process that is likely to end in a dramatic trial in the Republican-run Senate.

The House of Representatives is expected to vote on the impeachment charges next week, according to congressional reporters. With a Democrat majority, the House is nearly certain to impeach Trump, which acts as an indictment for the crimes outlined in the articles.

The process will then move to a trial in the Senate where Trump will either be acquitted or removed from office in a two-thirds majority. GOP senators have shown little appetite to remove Trump from office but with public support for such a move growing, there could be surprises ahead.

Trump is the third president in U.S. history to face impeachment.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Chairmen Jerrold Nadler and Adam Schiff gave a brief press conference announcing the two articles of impeachment that, though expected was historic, as charges of “high crimes and misdemeanours” were laid against the U.S. president.

The impeachment charges stem from an investigation launched on Sept. 24 that probed allegations that Trump carried out a so-called “quid pro quo” arrangement with Ukraine during which he withheld military aid until Kiev would investigate political rival and Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden.

Republicans insist that the Democrat-led effort is an attempt to undo the results of the 2016 federal election as part of a so-called “witch hunt” against Trump. The president denies any wrongdoing in the Ukraine case as well as in the special counsel probe that dominated the beginning of his presidency.

An hour later, Pelosi stood before reporters for a second time to announce that Democrats had reached a revised North American free trade agreement deal in what allies of the president view as a victory, fulfilling a policy goal of the Trump administration.


‘Endangered the U.S. Constituition’

In a statement to reporters, House Judiciary Committee Chairman and point man for the impeachment inquiry Jerrold Nadler said that the Democrats were forced to take action due to Trump endangering the U.S. Constitution, undermining the next election and putting national security at jeopardy.

“No one, not even the president, is above the law,” Nadler said, flanked by Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other chairpersons involved in the impeachment probe, adding that “our elections are a cornerstone of democracy”.

4 dead, 6 injured in Fresno

UPDATED

Four men have dead and six others are injured after gunmen snuck into a backyard gathering of friends and family on Sunday night in Fresno, a city in central California, and opened fire.

About 35 people were at the home, and many were watching a football game when one or more people snuck in and opened fire, said Police Deputy Chief Michael Reid, local reports said.

Reid added that “no kids were hurt”. The victims were described by police as “Asian males between the ages of 25 and 35 years old. Three were dead at the scene and another died at in hospital.

Authorities have yet to release further details about the incident and so it is unknown at the time what weapon was used. Police were going door-to-door in search of surveillance video, reported the Fresno Bee.

Police Lt. Bill Dooley told NBC affiliate KSEE that no arrests had been made in the aftermath of the shooting.

ISIS leader believed killed in raid, say reports

The leader of so-called Islamic State Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi was killed in a military operation carried out by the United States, several international and U.S.-based news organizations reported early on Sunday.

LIVE: Trump expected to confirm al-Baghdadi’s death

Reuters reported that a raid had occurred targeting the reclusive figure, who has rarely been caught on camera. Newsweek cited sources saying he was killed. The U.S. military is working to confirm the death with DNA tests.

An announcement from U.S. President Donald Trump related to foreign policy is expected to come at 9 a.m. on Sunday morning. He tweeted earlier that “something very big has just happened”.

The operation took place in northwest Syria, CNN reported, citing dual sources, adding that he reportedly triggered a so-called “suicide vest” and killed himself.

Al-Baghdadi declared an Islamic caliphate in 2014 as Islamic State militants took large swathes of land in Iraq and Syria.

It comes as the Trump administration conducts a significant withdraw from Syria, a move that preceded a Turkish military operation into the northeast, a region dominated by Kurdish political and military control.

Kurdish forces were instrumental to a U.S.-backed international effort to drive the so-called Islamic State caliphate out of area. Some 10,000 Kurdish fighters were killed during a three year offensive.

Current maps of Syria show only slivers of ISIS territory remaining, but up to 18,000 fighters have remained persistent in Syria and Iraq while the group grows in other areas of the world.


An unexpected raid

It was United States Special Operations commandos that carried out what The New York Times reported was a “risky raid” in northwestern Syria on Saturday against what their sources described as a “senior terrorist leader”.

Another source said it was so-called Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi who was believed to be the target for the mission, an operation approved by President Donald Trump, U.S. commander-in-chief.

Commandos and analysts were working to confirm the identity of the terrorist who Times sources said triggered his explosive vest, committing suicide. Al-Baghdadi has been reported killed in the past but then appeared to be alive after the claimed incidents.

Several reports said the raid took place in Syria’s northwestern Idlib Province, located many hundreds of kilometres from the north Syria-Iraq border where he was believed to be hiding out.

Climate strikes with Greta Thunberg: What you need to know

(CUP) — Global protests for the climate crisis are taking place on Sept. 20 and 27 with organizations around the world, including Fridays For Future, a movement started by teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg.

Youth and adults around the world will be spending the two Fridays out of school.

“What this moment can do is demonstrate that people are no longer willing to continue with business as usual,” reads the global climate strike website.

“Our house is on fire. The climate crisis is an emergency but we’re not acting like it.”

Here’s what you need to know to get informed and get involved.


The teenager who started it all

In August 2018, then-15-year-old Swedish teen Greta Thunberg began sitting outside the Swedish parliament every weekday for three weeks to protest a lack of action on the climate crisis. Thunberg’s actions went viral after she posted what she was doing on social media.

On Sept. 8, 2018, Thunberg decided to strike every Friday until Swedish policies responded to the threat of climate change with a plan to keep the global temperature rise below two degrees Celsius, in accordance with the Paris climate agreement.

Now 16, Thunberg is in New York to participate in a strike on Sept. 20 before the United Nations Climate Action Summit on Sept. 23. She spent 15-days sailing across the Atlantic to reach New York in a mode of transportation that emitted no carbon emissions. On Sept. 27, Thunberg will protest in Montreal for the global climate strike.


What are Fridays for Future?

Unlike their parents and grandparents, millennials have to think about their future while keeping in mind that they might not have a future.

FFF connects youth around the world who are striking on Fridays in solidarity with Thunberg, with the goal of influencing their own governments to take urgent action on climate change and encourage people to become more informed about the climate crisis.

The organization is driven by the strikes and efforts of youth of various ages, calling for change at the frontlines of protests. Parents, teachers, and other adults who want to support and facilitate are encouraged to join as well.

Canada became the third country and the first in the Americas to have a rally in solidarity with Thunberg on Nov. 2, 2018.

During the 2018 United Nations climate change conference in Katowice, Poland, nine Canadian cities participated in a FFF Canada strike on Dec. 7, 2018. Across, Canada, 85 strikes took place for the first global FFF strike of the year in March 2019. In May, during Canada’s official day to strike, there were 98 strikes, according to the FFF website.

In Toronto, #WeekforFuture begins on Sept. 20 with a climate strike rally and mass teach-in to empower youth on how to talk to adults about climate change, taking place at Hart House from 12 to 3 p.m.

On Friday, Sept. 27, FFF Toronto is hosting a strike at Queen’s Park, in solidarity with strikes happening all around the world, beginning at noon. “There is no more business as usual because this is a climate crisis,” reads the event Facebook page.


Youth in revolt

According to the United Nations panel on climate change science, human-induced warming already reached one degree Celsius above pre-industrial levels in 2017.

Students are striking to call on governments to keep global temperatures warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius.

A report from October 2018 suggests that if greenhouse gas emissions continue at the current rate, the atmosphere will warm up by as much as 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit (1.5 degrees Celsius) above pre-industrial levels by 2040. This could result in more disasters like food shortages, floods, fires and the rising temperature of the ocean.


How to get involved

In a movement that started with the actions of one teenager, the actions of an individual should not be underestimated. Joining a local strike on Sept. 20 or 27 can add volume to the initiative and cause the government to react.

Those who want to join in on the strikes can search the FFF map to find a strike happening near them.

With its directory, you can find events occurring past Sept. 27 to get involved in and continue to take action in response to the climate crisis.

According to 350, another organization participating in the global climate strike, 117 countries are expected to engage with over 2,500 registered strikes and events. On the global climate strike map of events, 54 are registered in Canada, scheduled to take place in Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary, Winnipeg, Saskatoon, Montreal, Halifax, St. John’s, Nfld. and more.

Protesters joining the strikes are encouraged to register for their event on the FFF Canada map and use #FridaysForFuture and #ClimateStrike to find updates on each other’s events.

Subway introducing meatless meatball sub next month

Subway is joining in on the meatless craze that has swept through the fast food industry starting with a new product coming out next month in Canada and the United States: the meatless meatball sub.

The product is made with the ever-popular Beyond Meat’s plant-based protein and will be available at 685 restaurants across North America, available for a “limited time”.

Subway said in a press release the Beyond Meatball Marinara packs 24 grams of protein per six-inch sub, is “drenched” in “irresistible” marina said and is perfectly toasted with a sprinkling of parmesan cheese on top.

The fast food chain cites a study by the researchers at the NPD Group that found 70 per cent of meat-eaters substitute a non-meat protein in a meal at least once a week.

“Subway appeals to so many fans because we truly offer something for everyone. Our guests want to feel good about what they eat and they also want to indulge in new flavours,” a branding official for Subway said.

The meatless trend has grown significantly as substitutes like Beyond Meat become more popular for those that seek an option to cut down on their meat-eating for ethical, health or environmental reasons.

A report released by the United Nations on Aug. 8 warned that global meat consumption must fall to curb climate change, though it stopped ahead of explicitly telling consumers to go entirely meat-free.

Plant-based food and sustainable animal meat could set free several million square kilometres of land by 2050 and cut 0.7 to 8.0 gigatonnes a year of carbon dioxide equivalent, a U.N. panel said last week, reported Reuters.

It has not been made clear what Subway restaurants will be receiving the meatless option but The Avro Post has reached out to the company with a request regarding the Humber College North Campus cafeteria.

Jeffery Epstein commits ‘apparent suicide’

Accused sex trafficker and multimillionaire Jeffery Epstein carried out an “apparent suicide” overnight, according to officials on Saturday morning, following his failed attempt to kill himself in July.

His death was discovered at 7:30 a.m. but the exact circumstances are unclear at this point. However, several news outlets reported that it was a suicide by hanging.

Last month, the financier was found half-conscious in his prison cell with injuries to his neck and was treated at a nearby hospital, reports say, before returning to his cell at New York State’s Metropolitan Correctional Center.

Epstein, 66, had previously pleaded not guilty to sex trafficking and conspiracy charges and was being held without bail.

Accused of paying girls under the age of 18 to perform sexual acts at his Manhattan and Florida residences between 2002 and 2005, he was arrested on July 6 after landing in New Jersey on his private jet.

Lisa Bloom, a lawyer representing several of Epstein’s accusers, said in response to the death that “we would have preferred he lived to face justice”.

She added that civil cases will proceed against the financier’s estate, adding that “we’re just getting started.”

Epstein’s death comes less than 24 hours after the court unsealed a large pile of documents that laid out the disturbing details about what the accused did to underage girls and those that may have been bystanders.


Conspiracy?

Conspiracies and rumours are awash on social media and across the news sphere as details are revealed. The Federal Bureau of Investigation is looking into the death, according to a statement from the prison.

A unverified and anonymous source told NBC News that Jeffery Epstein was not on a constant suicide watch. He was housed in his own cell and was alone, according to the reporting.

Epstein had connections with the rich and powerful across the United States, including current President Donald Trump, who has denied knowing about the sex trafficking, and former President Bill Clinton, among others.

Trump and Epstein are connected in a lawsuit that was put forward by Katie Johnson accusing the president of raping her when she was 13 years old, a move that was met with skepticism on the part of journalists.

The woman withdrew the lawsuit shortly before the election in 2016, and there has been no further legal accusations of Trump wrongdoing connected to Epstein.

Trump in recent years, as Epstein has gotten into trouble, has tried through his lawyers to downplay the connections between himself and the financier.

Mueller report: The big findings

Eli Ridder | Special Report

The final but redacted report by U.S. special counsel Robert Mueller was released on Thursday morning, outlining what will soon be a divisive fight between the president and his Republicans and the Democratic Party.

Read the Full Mueller Report

Mueller did not find enough evidence to force a criminal prosecution. Attorney General William Barr did not find that U.S. President Donald Trump committed obstruction, but concluded earlier that the president did not collude with Russia during the 2016 election.

So, essentially, the Mueller report has turned from being a legal document and, as Mueller leaves it to the U.S. Congress to interpret it in terms of obstruction of justice, and will now be a political document.

Impeachment hopefuls may wish it be used as a weapon, but Democratic leadership have made it clear previous to Thursday that they essentially are focusing on the 2020 election.

The Democrats planning to bring Mueller to Congress for questioning.

These are the big findings so far from Reuters and The New York Times:


Reuters list

Here are what Reuters journalists have found in the Mueller report so far:

  • Lawyers were ‘unable to reach’ a decision on obstruction and that they did not ‘make a traditional prosecution decision.’
  • Prosecutors did not subpoena Trump because it would create a ‘substantial delay’ at a ‘late stage’ in the investigation; Mueller believes he had authority to subpoena Trump despite not doing so.
  • The report accepted the longstanding Justice Department view that a sitting president may not be indicted as part of legal analysis for obstruction.
  • Trump asked Deputy National Security Adviser K.T. McFarland to draft internal letter saying he had not asked Michael Flynn to discuss sanctions with Russian ambassador.
  • Trump repeatedly asked White House counsel Don McGahn to intervene with the  Justice Department after former FBI Director Comey disclosed the investigation of the Trump campaign to Congress.
  • Mueller report says White House counsel McGahn refused to carry out Trump’s order to fire Mueller ‘for fear of being seen as triggering another Saturday night massacre.’
  • There is ‘substantial evidence’ that Trump fired FBI Director Comey due to his ‘unwillingness to publicly state that the president was not personally under investigation.’
  • Trump directed ex-campaign manager Corey Lewandowski to ask former Attorney General Sessions to say the Russia investigation was ‘very unfair.’
  • When then-attorney general Sessions told Trump a special counsel was being appointed, Trump said ‘this is the end of my presidency.’
  • While under investigation, Manafort told deputy Rick Gates in January 2018 that president’s personal counsel had told him they were ‘going to take care of us.’
  • Wikileaks sent Donald Trump Jr. a password to access the website putintrump.org, which he told the campaign he successfully used. WikiLeaks also asked Don Jr. to tweet the link to the Podesta emails, which he did.
  • The special counsel determined there was a ‘reasonable argument’ that Donald Trump Jr. violated campaign finance laws, but did not believe they could obtain a conviction.
  • Mueller says CEO of Russian sovereign wealth fund, Kirill Dmitriev, and friend of Jared Kushner collaborated on written reconciliation plan for U.S. and Russia.
  • Mueller report says former national security adviser Michael told investigators that Trump made repeated requests to find deleted Clinton emails.
  • Trump directed aides numerous times not to disclose emails about June 2016 Trump Tower meeting between campaign officials and Russians offering derogatory information on Hillary Clinton.

On June 17, 2017 the president called McGahn at home and directed him to call the acting attorney general and say that the special counsel had conflicts of interest and must be removed. McGahn did not carry out the direction, however, deciding that he would resign rather than trigger what he regarded as a potential Saturday Night Massacre.

We knew that Mr. Trump had ordered his White House counsel, Donald F. McGahn II, in June 2017 to have the deputy attorney general, Rod J. Rosenstein, fire Mr. Mueller, and that Mr. McGahn had refused to do so.

We did not know that the president called him at home to pressure him. The “Saturday Night Massacre” refers to the Watergate episode in which the Nixon administration’s attorney general and deputy attorney general both resigned rather than carry out President Nixon’s order to fire the prosecutor investigating that scandal, leading to a severe political backlash.

  • NY Times

Trump-Russia: They would’ve had to agree

An agreement “requires more than the two parties taking actions that were informed by or responsive to other’s actions or interests.

It was not enough for investigators simply to show the Trump campaign knew what the Russians were up to, and responded. Trump associates had to specifically agree with the Russians to violate the law.


Substantial evidence indicates that the catalyst for the president’s decision to fire Comey was Comey’s unwillingness to publicly state that the president was not personally under investigation, despite the president’s repeated requests that Comey make such an announcement.

Mr. Mueller effectively finds that the White House’s initial explanation for the firing was untrue. White House officials said that Mr. Comey was dismissed over his handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation.

The administration’s ever-changing justification for that firing led to speculation that Mr. Trump had fired him to sabotage the Russia investigation.

  • The NY Times


Image of Robert Mueller from previous files.


No Trump crimes in Mueller report: Justice Dept.

U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report on Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election did not find that President Donald Trump committed a crime but is also not exonerated, according a summary of the investigation released by the United States’ attorney general on Sunday.

Attorney General William Barr sent his briefing of the report to congressional leaders on Capitol Hill after Mueller handed in his findings to the Justice Department on Friday.

Trump responded on Twitter, posting: “No Collusion, No Obstruction, Complete and Total EXONERATION. KEEP AMERICA GREAT!”

He then talked to the press in a short statement saying that the investigation was an “illegal takedown that failed” and called for a counter-probe into the “other side”.

It has been welcomed as a win from Republican leadership and they say it serves as vindication of Trump, who has denied collusion since the probe started in 2017.

Press secretary Sarah Sanders noted that there was no collusion and no obstruction, saying that the findings are “a total and complete exoneration” of Trump.

Trump lawyer Rudy Guiliani repeated what Sanders’ said.

The attorney general said that the evidence developed during the probe was not sufficient to establish the president committed an obstruction of justice offense.

Mueller wrote in his report that his investigation “does not conclude Trump committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him” and Barr wrote that the document identifies no actions that constitute obstructive conduct.

Mueller said that he would leave it to the attorney general to make a decision on whether a crime was committed by the president.

Evidence does not establish that the president was involved in an underlying crime related to Russian election interference, Barr says.

President Trump is headed to Air Force One from the Mar-A-Lago resort where he spent the weekend. He has not said a word on the report since Mueller submitted it on Friday, but reporters say he will speak to the press before he departs Florida for Washington.

The investigation took 22 months to complete and cost $25 million, resulting in charges against 34 individuals varying from Russian agents and allies of the president, including ex-campaign  chair Paul Manafort and former personal lawyer Michael Cohen.

None of the charges were directly related to any cooperation between the 2016 Trump campaign and the Russian Federation.


Image of Donald Trump from files.

U.S. special counsel probe report submitted

Eli Ridder | Report

U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller on Friday handed in a highly-awaited report on his investigation into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 United States presidential election and potential wrongdoing by President Donald Trump, the Justice Department said.

Mueller handed over the completed report to the top U.S. law enforcement official, Attorney General William Barr, the agency said. The report was not immediately made public and no details are known from document, including whether any criminal conduct was found beyond the charges already laid against campaign aides.

Mueller did not recommend any further indictments, a Justice Department official said. Any further prosecution would come from the Southern District of New York as the special counsel’s office winds down.

Read Barr’s Letter to Lawmakers

Barr said that he may send Congress a summary of the findings by “the weekend”. White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said soon after the story broke that the next steps are up to the attorney general, and that she looks forward to “the process taking its course”.

“The White House has not received or been briefed on the Special Counsel’s report,” Sanders added in her statement.

Democrats have already started to call for the probe to be made public in full.

Russia has denied election interference and Trump has denied collusion and obstruction.

The Russia probe has severally impacted the Trump presidency, making headlines often as actors close to the president were ensnared in charges that stemmed from Mueller’s work, though the charges were not necessarily collusion-related.

Ex-campaign chairman Paul Manafort, former personal lawyer Michael Cohen and national security Michael Flynn have all either been convicted or pleaded guilty to charges that have been brought against them by Mueller. More than 30 others have been charged as part of the probe.

These cases will likely be taken over by the Justice Department and continued by prosecutors from the agency.

At-large is the answer to the question of whether the report contains allegations of criminal wrongdoing by the president himself, currently unknown.

It was opened in 2017 by ex-Deputy Attorney Rod Rosenstein General after the recusal of the then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

Earlier on Friday, Trump continued his efforts to undermine the Mueller report on Fox Business, saying that “people will not stand for it”. The president has not made any statement since the report was delivered around 5 p.m. on Friday.

The White House was reportedly made aware about 20 minutes before the report was delivered.

As of Friday evening, there are 10 remaining prosecutors in the special counsel’s office in Washington, D.C. — six from the Justice Department and four from private practice, spokesman Peter Carr said.

Trump himself is in Palm Beach, Florida where a Republican Party dinner was scheduled take place at the Mar-a-Lago Resort, where the president is a frequent visitor. Several reports indicate that the usually more relaxed presence of staffers around Trump in Florida has been increasing as advisors flock to his side.


Image from previous files.

Trump signs executive order on post-secondary free speech

Eli Ridder | Report

U.S. President Donald Trump signed an executive order on Thursday protecting free of speech on post-secondary campuses across the United States, flanked by conservative activists who say their views are suppressed at colleges and universities.

Over 100 students, several legislators and two cabinet secretaries joined Trump in the East Room for the signing of the order, which directs 12 agencies that make fedearl grants to ensure college are complying with the law and their polices to protect free speech and open debate.

The U.S. president told students that people can have their different views but “they have to let you speak”.

In a White House statement, Trump said his government rejects “oppressive speech codes, censorship, political correctness, and every other attempt by the hard left to stop people from challenging ridiculous and dangerous ideas.”

“The Trump Administration will ensure students have access to information they need to make the higher education decisions that work best for them,” the White House said, highlighting that Trump has also ordered “improvements to its mobile application so borrowers are better informed about loan balances, payments, and repayment options.”

The Oval Office said that students take on so much debt from education that it “inhibit[s] them from prospering in today’s booming economy”, saying that students need “better information about prices and outcomes of postsecondary options so they can make better and well-informed choices.”

It comes after Trump announced at a conservative conference that he would make federal funding for universities contingent on the upholding of free speech on campuses, however, the legislation does not tie student aid money to campus compliance to the order.

The move is similar to the initiative introduced by Premier Doug Ford and his Progressive Conservative provincial government last year that mandated post-secondary institutions create a free speech policy and follow it.


Image of Donald Trump from files.

Fake news? TMZ reports Paris Jackson in hospital, she denies

Eli Ridder | Report

TMZ reported on Saturday that Paris Jackson, Michael Jackson’s daughter, was been hospitalized following a suicide attempt at her home on Saturday morning but she later tweeted that its was false.

The police and EMS reportedly responded to her house in Los Angeles at around 7:30 a.m. and she was found to have only slit her wrists. She was transported to a hospital and was placed on 5150 hold, TMZ reported in the exclusive story.

Jackson is currently in stable condition and is being monitored by a team of doctors, reports said.

Her family told TMZ sources that Jackson did this in large part due to the backlash from the Leaving Neverland documentary and the allegations that have came out about her father.


Image of Paris Jackson from social media.

Hasan Minhaj addresses student loan debt

Eli Ridder | Life

Hasan Minhaj, a comedian who came to Humber College last April, addressed student loans in the United States within a new episode of his Netflix show Patriot Act on Sunday — detailing a situation desperate for many through humour.


 


“It affects pretty much everyone I know. And if you’re one of the 10 people it doesn’t affect, congratulations on being a Kennedy,” he said, to laughter from the audience that he had surveyed, finding they had over $6 million in combined student debt.

“Imagine starting a race, and then the guy with the starter pistol uses the gun to shoot you in the leg,” Minhaj said, using an analogy to describe the pains of a for-profit education system.

“We all know that student debt is a national crisis,” the 33-year-old said. Recently, the Ontario government made a 10 per cent tuition cut but at the same time took away a grant system that allowed low-income students to attend post-secondary for near free.


Image of Hasan Minhaj from Study Breaks Magazine.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bernie Sanders announces run for president

Eli Ridder | Report

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont has for a second time declared a campaign to win the Democratic Party nomination and the presidency of the United States.

Sanders, who lost to the establishment favourite Hillary Clinton last election cycle, joins a crowded Democrat field all aiming to beat President Donald Trump in 2020.

The 77-year-old announced his candidacy in an early morning email to supporters, vowing to establish a large grassroots movement to tackle the special interests he said infiltrates and dominates politics and government.

Support for Sanders during the last nomination process saw the growth of a divide between a more centrist establishment and liberal left, but now many of his platform planks have been adopted by other candidates.

Most notably in the U.S. midterm congressional elections, several Democrats ran openly as democratic socialists, an ideology Sanders has largely pioneered into the political left’s mainstream.


Image of Bernie Sanders from Study Breaks Magazine.

Trump declares national emergency over border wall

Eli Ridder | Report

U.S. President Donald Trump made the move on Friday to declare a national emergency in a last-ditch effort to fund the southern border wall central to his 2016 presidential campaign.

The opposing Democratic Party said they would challenge the declaration, which circumvented Congress, as a violation of the United States Constitution.

The White House refuses to accept a stopgap funding bill to keep the government open unless it includes some $5.7 billion for a border wall and Democrats have remained defiant against what would be more walls on the U.S.-Mexico border.

The lack of movement from both sides caused a 35-day partial government shutdown that started last year and lasted into January. According to various polls, it hurt the Republican president more than Democrats.

Trump also signed off on a bipartisan spending bill on Friday to fund several agencies that would have otherwise closed on Saturday, marked as a legislative defeat to Congressional Democrats.


Image of Donald Trump from Twitter.

‘Choose Greatness’: Trump delivers State of the Union

Staff | Report

U.S. President Donald Trump delivered the second State of the Union address since being elected Tuesday evening on the theme of “choose greatness” — focusing on immigration, the economy and attacking investigations into his presidency.

Trump also confirmed that he will hold a second summit around nuclear proliferation with North Korean leader Kim Jung Un from Feb. 27 to 28 at the end of the month.

In contrast to his rhetoric in person and on Twitter, Trump urged unity between his Republican Party and the Democrats, saying that the U.S. “must reject the politics of revenge, resistance and retribution”, to the applause of top Democrat Nancy Pelosi.

The Democrats in a rebuttal given by former state politician and governor candidate Stacey Abrams accused the president of abandoning U.S. values.

The address was initially delayed by the longest United States government shutdown in history, which occurred after Trump refused to fund affected agencies with a stopgap bill that Democrats refused to include funding for his signature border wall in.

A full transcript was posted by several news agencies, and shows that Trump did not veer too often from his script.

“An economic miracle is taking place in the United States — and the only thing that can stop it are foolish wars, politics or ridiculous investigations. If there is going to be peace and legislation, there cannot be war and investigation,” he said later on, to the applause of Republicans and groans of Democrats, who are looking to carry out probes into alleged Russian collusion, retrieving his tax returns and more.


Image from the State of the Union from The New York Times.

U.S. suspending arms control treaty with Russia

Eli Ridder | Report

The United States is suspending a crucial Cold War-era arms control treaty with Russia that bans certain ground-launched cruise missiles, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Friday morning.

The move has been expected for several months, as Washington blamed Moscow for not following the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces agreement — with the official suspension set for Saturday.

Pompeo’s announcement starts a 180-day clock to complete the withdrawal unless Russia returns to compliance to the pact beforehand.

U.S. President Donald Trump has been considering suspending the INF treaty as Washington and European powers have accused Moscow of noncompliance since 2014.

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization released a statement saying its members “fully support” the U.S. suspension of their participation in the treaty.

However, some conflict analysts and military observers fear the U.S. leaving the treaty could trigger another Cold War arms race.

“Make no mistake. The dissolution of the #INFTreaty will result in a nuclear arms race unlike anything we’ve seen since the late cold war era,” one analyst for the non-partisan Strategic Sentinel said on Twitter, adding that “every step backwards is a step closer.”

Canada is one of the founders of the post-World War 2 NATO alliance, which we founded to counter Russian aggression and to solidify the allies in 1949.


Pompeo’s announcement

“For years, Russia has violated the terms of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty without remorse,” Secretary Pompeo said.

Speaking from the State Department briefing room, the secretary of state said the United States had provided “ample time” for Russia to return to compliance with the pact.

“Russia’s violations put millions of Europeans and Americans at greater risk,” he said.

“It is our duty to respond appropriately.”


More details to follow.

WordPress.com.

Up ↑