Monday, Feb 17th

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Yovanovitch says Trump administration ‘undermined our democratic institutions’

Yovanovitch: Trump undermined democracy

Marie Yovanovitch, the ousted U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, said Thursday she has “no regrets” about her decision to testify in the House impeachment inquiry and accused President Donald Trump and his administration of having “undermined our democratic institutions.”

“When civil servants in the current administration saw senior officials taking actions they considered deeply wrong in regard to the nation of Ukraine, they refused to take part,” Yovanovitch wrote in an op-ed in The Washington Post. “When Congress asked us to testify about those activities, my colleagues and I did not hesitate, even in the face of administration efforts to silence us.”


Trump administration blocks New York drivers from Global Entry, traveler programs over immigration law

Global entry denied to New York driversThe Trump Administration will prohibit New York residents from enrolling in programs that expedite border crossings, such as Global Entry, after the state blocked federal immigration authorities from accessing driving records and vehicle registration data.

The Department of Homeland Security's decision late Wednesday will keep New Yorkers from signing up for four federal programs that allow vetted, low-risk travelers to more easily cross foreign borders, including the various Canadian border points in New York.

The new federal policy is in direct response to New York's Green Light Law, which took effect in December and allows immigrants to seek driver's licenses regardless of whether they entered the country legally.


Macy's to close 125 stores and axe 2,000 jobs as retail landscape shifts

Macy's to close 125 stores

Macy’s announced on Tuesday that it will close 125 stores and axe 2,000 jobs, becoming the latest shopping giant to shutter shops amid a radical reordering of the retail landscape.

The department store chain plans to exit weaker shopping malls and focus on opening smaller-format stores in strip malls.

“We are taking the organization through significant structural change to lower costs, bring teams closer together and reduce duplicative work,” Jeff Gennette, Macy’s chief executive, said. “The changes we are making are deep and impact every area of the business, but they are necessary. I know we will come out of this transition stronger, more agile and better fit to compete in today’s retail environment.”


Kirk Douglas, Hollywood's tough guy on screen and off, dead at 103

Kirk Douglas dies at 103Kirk Douglas, the cleft-chinned movie star who fought gladiators, cowboys and boxers on the screen and the Hollywood establishment, died on Wednesday at the age of 103, his son Michael Douglas said.

“It is with tremendous sadness that my brothers and I announce that Kirk Douglas left us today at the age of 103,” Michael Douglas said in a statement to People magazine and on his Facebook page.

“To the world, he was a legend, an actor from the golden age of movies who lived well into his golden years, a humanitarian whose commitment to justice and the causes he believed in set a standard for all of us to aspire to,” Douglas added.



Hundreds of Salvadorans deported by US were killed or abused, report reveals

Hundreds of Salvatorians deported by US were killed or abusedAt least 200 Salvadoran migrants and asylum seekers have been killed, raped or tortured after being deported back to El Salvador by the United States government which is turning a blind eye to widely known dangers, a new investigation reveals.

Human Rights Watch has documented 138 deported Salvadorans murdered by gang members, police, soldiers, death squads and ex-partners between 2013 and 2019. The majority were killed within two years of deportation by the same perpetrators they had tried to escape by seeking safety in the US.

The report, Deported to Danger: United States deportation policies expose Salvadorans to death and abuse, also identifies more than 70 others who were subjected to beatings, sexual assault and extortion – usually at the hand of gangs – or who went missing after being returned.


Lawyers for Trump and Stormy Daniels face off in court over libel suit

Stormy Daniel libel case against Trump in court

Lawyers for the adult-film actress Stormy Daniels and President Donald Trump squared off before a federal appeals court on Tuesday over Daniels’ effort to revive a libel lawsuit she filed over a hard-hitting Trump tweet that appeared to call her a liar.

In the Twitter message, Trump accused Daniels of “a total con job” for claiming that she was threatened by an unknown man in a casino parking lot in 2011— an episode she has suggested was an act of intimidation aimed at hushing up her contention that she and Trump had a sexual encounter several years earlier.


Mitt Romney’s stunning vote to convict Trump puts the GOP to shame

Romney's speech before Senate

Sen. Mitt Romney (Utah) shocked the political world on Wednesday by becoming the first Republican senator to announce that he would vote to convict and remove President Trump.

The Senate just voted to acquit Trump of the two articles of impeachment against him, for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. On the Senate floor shortly before the vote, Romney explained his decision to vote to convict Trump of abuse of power this way

The grave question the Constitution tasks senators to answer is whether the president committed an act so extreme and egregious that it rises to the level of a high crime and misdemeanor.
Yes, he did.
The president asked a foreign government to investigate his political rival. The president withheld vital military funds from that government to press it to do so. The president delayed funds for an American ally at war with Russian invaders. The president’s purpose was personal and political. Accordingly, the president is guilty of an appalling abuse of public trust.
What he did was not “perfect.” No, it was a flagrant assault on our electoral rights, our national security, and our fundamental values.
Corrupting an election to keep oneself in office is perhaps the most abusive and destructive violation of one’s oath of office that I can imagine.

There’s a 70% chance of recession in the next six months, new study from MIT and State Street finds

Stock market recession predictedThere’s a 70% chance that a recession will hit in the next six months, according to new research from the MIT Sloan School of Management and State Street Associates.

The researchers created an index comprised of four factors and then used the Mahalanobis distance — a measure initially used to analyze human skulls — to determine how current market conditions compare to prior recessions.

“The Mahalanobis distance was originally conceived to measure the statistical similarity of the values of a set of dimensions for a given skull to the average values of those dimensions for a chosen group of skulls,” the researchers explained.

It measures the distance between a point and a certain distribution.



Princess Cruises quarantines 3,700 for two weeks on ship after 10 aboard test positive for coronavirus

Americans and others quarantined on cruise shipCarnival’s Princess Cruises said it has placed 3,700 passengers and crew under mandatory quarantine for two weeks after 10 people aboard a cruise ship in Yokohama, Japan, tested positive for the new coronavirus.

The company said a previous guest, who didn’t have any symptoms while aboard the ship, tested positive for the coronavirus on Saturday — six days after leaving the Diamond Princess. The ship was being held in Japan for 24 hours while Japanese health authorities assessed the 3,700 passengers and crew on board.

“These 10 persons, who have been notified, will be taken ashore by Japanese Coast Guard watercraft and transported to local hospitals for care by shoreside Japanese medical professionals,” the company said.


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