Texas Men Die After Trying to ‘Jump’ Drawbridge, Officials Say

Two Texas men died on May 23 after they attempted to jump over an open drawbridge with their vehicle, said officials.

According to the Louisiana State Police, state police responded to a car crash after 2 a.m. at the Black Bayou Bridge in Louisiana.

The bridge was closed to traffic to allow a boat to pass, officials said.

But a witness said a passenger got out of the vehicle and pushed the arm gate up, said a press release from the state police department.

The passenger then returned to the vehicle as the driver drove toward the ramp at the end of the bridge, said officials.

The driver stopped for a moment, reversed, then “accelerated forward in an attempt to ‘jump’ the ramp of the bridge,” the office wrote.

After the vehicle became airborne, it landed in the waterway before sinking to the bottom, said police.

The driver was not able to escape the sinking vehicle. The passenger was found outside of the submerged car, officials said.

“Both were pronounced dead at the scene by the Calcasieu Parish Coroner’s Office,” police wrote.

A toxicology report is pending, and the identity of the two men will be released after officials notify their next of kin.

The cause of the crash is under investigation.

The Black Bayou Bridge in Lake Charles, Louisiana (Google Street View)
The Black Bayou Bridge in Louisiana (Google Maps)

Photos of the crash show what appear to be a Chevrolet Cruze submerged in the water.

Traffic Deaths Down

U.S. traffic deaths fell 3.1 percent in the first six months of 2018, according to preliminary figures released in October 2018, Reuters reported.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said that 2017 traffic deaths fell by 1.8 percent to 37,133 after traffic deaths rose sharply in the previous two years, according to final figures. The U.S. traffic fatality rate fell to 1.08 deaths per 100 million miles traveled for the first half of 2018.

A stock photo of (The Canadian Press/Lars Hagberg)

The fatality rate in 2017 was 1.16 million deaths per 100 million miles traveled—the second highest rate since 2008. “This is good news and bad news,” said Deborah Hersman, CEO of the National Safety Council, CNBC reported. “The total number of fatalities is not getting worse, but the situation is not getting better.”

Hersman cited distracted driving and higher speed limits for the number. “There are a number of states that have raised speed limits, some now have stretches at 80 or 85 miles per hour,” she said in the CNBC report.

In Texas, for example, she estimated that traffic fatalities jumped 7 percent from 2015 to 2017, in part due to higher speed limits in the state.

“We know it’s happening even though distracted driving data is hard to come by,” she said of drivers using smartphones while behind the wheel.

“Police reports on accidents often don’t report if the driver was distracted and in many accidents, people don’t self-report themselves.”

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Author: Jack Phillips

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Boy, 9, Killed by Falling Locker in Essex High School

A 9-year-old boy died in a school in Britain after a locker fell over and pinned him, The Mirror reported.

The child was at an after-school club at a local high school when tragedy struck.

A spokesperson for Essex Police was cited by The Mirror as saying: “We were called by the ambulance service at about 6:15 p.m. on Thursday, May 23, to reports a child had been injured at Great Baddow High School in Duffield Road, Chelmsford.

“The nine-year-old boy was believed to have fallen from a locker and become trapped underneath it.”

The spokesperson said the child was not a student at the school. The Mirror reported the boy was there with his family attending a swimming club.

Witnesses told Essex Live that at around 6:30 p.m., numerous emergency crews responded to the scene and an air ambulance landed on the school’s parking lot.

The Essex Police spokesman told The Mirror: “He was taken to hospital, where he sadly died.”

The police said they would be liaising with health and safety authorities in relation to the tragedy.

Great Baddow High School announced on its website that except for students taking exams, the facility would be closed Friday “due to exceptional circumstances.”

Aerial view of Great Baddow High School in Chelmsford, UK. (Google Maps)

About 1,400 students are on the school roll.

A safety report (pdf) issued by the Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills (Ofsted) for 2017 gave the school a rating of “good.”

“Safeguarding is effective,” wrote Inspector John Daniell.

“Safeguarding children is at the heart of what the school stands for. All staff have received and read the latest guidance, ‘Keeping children safe in education’ (2016), and demonstrated a strong awareness of safeguarding issues. All staff have also undergone training in the government’s ‘Prevent’ duty. Staff, including those who join the school mid-year, receive up-to-date training on safeguarding matters. The school’s record of recruitment checks of the suitability of staff is compliant.

Great Baddow High School Ofsted report, 2017. (Ofsted)

“Pupils feel safe and receive guidance about issues related to safeguarding through regular visitors to the school and also in lessons. The inspectors’ review of a case study relating to a particularly vulnerable child shows that the school’s leaders go above and beyond what is expected of them to ensure each child’s safety.

“A relatively large team of staff have key responsibilities for safeguarding but each knows their precise role and there is no confusion. Pupils who attend alternative provision are monitored rigorously and systems are in place to ensure their safety.”

Mortality Figures in the United States

According to 2017 data from the CDC, the 10 leading causes of death in the United States were: heart disease, cancer, unintentional injuries, chronic lower respiratory diseases, stroke, Alzheimer disease, diabetes, influenza and pneumonia, kidney disease, and suicide.

Age-adjusted death rates for the 10 leading causes of death in the United States for the years 2016 and 2017. (CDC)

These further break down as follows: the most common are unintentional poisoning deaths (58,335), followed by motor vehicle traffic deaths (40,327), and unintentional fall deaths in third place (34,673).

The total number of emergency department visits for unintentional injuries in the United States in 2017 was 29.2 million, according to the CDC.

The 10 leading causes accounted for 74 percent of all deaths in the United States in 2017.

Americans More Likely to Die From Opioid Overdose Than a Car Crash

For the first time in history, accidental opioid overdose has surpassed motor vehicle accidents as the leading cause of unintentional deaths, according to a new report by the National Safety Council (NSC).

Americans have a 1 in 96 chance of dying from an opioid overdose, while the probability of dying in a motor vehicle accident is 1 in 103. The council’s analysis is based on 2017 mortality data by the National Center for Health Statistics, which is part of the CDC.

“The nation’s opioid crisis is fueling the Council’s grim probabilities, and that crisis is worsening with an influx of illicit fentanyl,” the NSC said in a statement on Jan. 14.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, more than 130 people in the United States die of an opioid overdose each day, while the cost of prescription opioid misuse in the country is $78.5 billion a year. This includes the costs of healthcare, lost productivity, addiction treatment, and criminal justice involvement.

“We’ve made significant strides in overall longevity in the United States, but we are dying from things typically called accidents at rates we haven’t seen in half a century,” said Ken Kolosh, manager of statistics at the NSC.

“We cannot be complacent about 466 lives lost every day. This new analysis reinforces that we must consistently prioritize safety at work, at home, and on the road to prevent these dire outcomes,” he said.

Epoch Times reporter Janita Kan contributed to this article.

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Author: Tom Ozimek

Cat Dies After Being Sprayed With Yellow Paint in Switzerland, Reports Say

An elderly cat died after it was sprayed all over with yellow waterproof paint, according to reports this week.

The cat, named Miggeli, was targeted with yellow paint in Biel-Benken, Switzerland, this week, The Metro reported.

The report said that the animal’s assailant allegedly tortured other animals several times in the past week. The person was not named.

The owners said that Miggeli was targeted because its an old cat, owner Sina Kunz said.

Kunz said she saw yellow liquid all over the animal as soon as she came home last weekend.

“Her entire body and especially her face were sprayed with waterproof yellow paint,” Kunz was quoted by the Metro as saying.

Photos show the animal was entirely doused with a yellow substance, including its face and nose.

The cat died about three days after it was sprayed. The Metro reported that cat went into critical condition soon after the incident.

Kunz said she reported the attack to police, adding that she thinks an alleged abuser has been targeting animals in the area.

Another cat, Haxli, was targeted, the paper said. Most of her fur was found shaved off and its claws and whiskers were cut off. A vet said the animal appeared to have been shaved with a razor.

In the area, another cat was also abused. The animal’s legs appeared to have been broken.

“A normal person would not do something like that… I think whoever did this really needs some serious help,” a vet was quoted by The Metro as saying.

A police spokesperson said they’re investigating the incidents.

According to Unilad, the police spokesperson said that the attack on Miggeli took place about 5 miles away from where the other two attacks occurred. They suggested that it might be a different person or persons responsible for the abuse.

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Author: Jack Phillips

Trump Appeals Ruling Which Upheld Subpoenas for His Bank Records

President Donald Trump filed an appeal on May 24 seeking to overturn a federal judge’s ruling which upheld two Democrat-issued subpoenas seeking the president’s financial records from two banks.

The president’s attorneys filed the appeal (pdf) with the Second Circuit Court of Appeals on behalf Trump, his children—Donald Trump Jr., Eric Trump, and Ivanka Trump—and several of their companies.

On May 22, U.S. District Judge Edgardo Ramos, an appointee of former President Barack Obama, said that Trump and his company’s argument that the subpoenas were unconstitutional would unlikely succeed and that the subpoenas have “a legitimate legislative purpose.”

The appeal is the second test of congressional subpoena power sent to the circuit courts this week. On May 20, Trump appealed a federal judge’s ruling which upheld a subpoena seeking the president’s financial records from account firm Mazars LLC. The decision to uphold the subpoena was also issued by an Obama appointee, U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta.

“It’s totally the wrong decision by obviously an Obama-appointed judge,” Trump said after Mehta upheld the Mazars subpoena.

The Democrats on the House Financial Services and Intelligence committees say they need the president’s financial records from Deutsche Bank and Capital One Bank in order to investigate possible “foreign influence in the U.S. political process,” among other matters.

Trump argues that the Democrats are insisting on a “do-over” of the investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller, who concluded that there is not enough evidence to establish that Trump or anyone on his campaign colluded with Russia. In addition to Mueller, three separate investigations in the House and Senate concluded there is no evidence of collusion.

The House lawyers argued in a written submission prior to the hearing on May 22 that the president’s effort to block the subpoenas was “flatly inconsistent with nearly a century of Supreme Court precedent.”

Trump’s attorneys responded that accepting the House committee’s arguments would mean “Congress can issue a subpoena on any matter, at any time, for any reason, to any person, and there is basically nothing a federal court can do about it.”

Late last month, the president pledged to fight all subpoenas from the Democrats. In the month that followed his comments, Treasury Secretary Stephen Mnuchin defied a subpoena for the president’s tax returns and Attorney General William Barr defied a subpoena seeking a fully unredacted version of the Mueller report.

When the Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee moved to start the procedure to hold Barr in contempt for defying the subpoena, the White House, at Barr’s request, asserted executive privilege over the entire Mueller report. The White House also instructed former White House counsel Don McGahn to not testify before the committee.

The Democrats are also attempting to negotiate testimony by Mueller, but talks have stalled because Mueller has demanded to testify only in private.

“I don’t know why the Radical Left Democrats want Bob Mueller to testify when he just issued a 40 Million Dollar Report that states, loud & clear & for all to hear, No Collusion and No Obstruction (how do you Obstruct a NO crime?) Dems are just looking for trouble and a Do-Over!” Trump wrote on Twitter.

Janita Khan contributed to this report.

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Author: Ivan Pentchoukov

Alligator Mauls Service Dog, Distraught Owner Kills Himself Next Day

In a tragic tale, an alligator roaming around a locality in Florida mauled a service dog on May 17 and its distraught owner killed himself the very next day.

The incident occurred Friday evening at Dog Leg Park at Buffalo Creek.

Java, a chocolate colored lab, was a service dog for 36-year-old Andrew Epp, who suffered from mental illness. Java’s tragic death impacted Epp so much that he killed himself on Saturday, according to family and friends.

“It was just such a sad situation, he couldn’t deal with it,” neighbor and family friend Kayla Weston told WFLA.

The Day of the Attack

Java was outside the fenced area of the park with Epp and reportedly got loose from his leash. Sharil Dowling, a witness to the incident told the media that the very next scene she saw was Java covered in blood, slumped over a man’s shoulder.

“I can’t imagine the anguish that guy was in,” she said.

Tim Todd, a frequent visitor to the Dog Leg Park in the last five years, said he knows of at least three dogs eaten by alligators in the area.

Dowling said that such an incident was waiting to happen. “Most people, if they knew they were that close to marsh and gators, they wouldn’t walk back there,” she said.

Request to the County

Triggered by this concern for the dogs, Todd reached out to the county, demanding that it put warning signs around the area.

“It was too late to do anything for that dog, but what could we do to help other people?” said Todd.

Thanks to his demand, snake and alligator warning signs were put around the area earlier this week, according to local reports.

A nuisance gator trapper was also sent to the Dog Leg Park, but so far the alligator that attacked Java has not been captured, News Channel8 quoted a Fish and Wildlife Conservation (FWC) spokesperson saying.

FWC runs a Florida’s Statewide Nuisance Alligator Program (SNAP) that dispatches gator trappers to catch problem alligators. In 2018, SNAP received 14,739 nuisance alligator complaints and caught 8,139 nuisance alligators.

“Persons with concerns about an alligator may call our toll-free Nuisance Alligator Hotline at 866-FWC-GATOR (866-392-4286).

“When someone concerned about an alligator calls the Nuisance Alligator Hotline, we will dispatch one of our contracted nuisance alligator trappers to resolve the situation. Generally, an alligator may be deemed a nuisance if it is at least four feet in length and the caller believes it poses a threat to people, pets or property,” FWC said on its website.

FWC said that those requesting a gator trapper should be able to provide legal access to the area where the alligator is discovered.

Tragedy in Epp’s Family

Friends and family described Epp as a “gentle, beautiful soul” on GoFundMe.

“He loved the outdoors, fishing, camping, horticulture, and animals. Unfortunately, Andrew also struggled with mental health issues and, after a lifelong battle, took his own life in the early morning on May 18, 2019,” they said on the GoFundMe page.

The community is trying to raise funds for his funeral and for Epp’s mother who needs to relocate to live with her other children after his death.

The community said this is not the first tragedy the family faced. Epp’s older sister passed away at five due to a brain tumor in October 1980. His older brother, Paul also committed suicide in March 2005, and in December 2018 his father passed away due to illness.

“We are collecting money to help with the family with final expenses and to assist in moving Andrew’s mother Donna to live with her children, as Andrew’s passing left her alone,” Ash Epp wrote on GoFundMe.

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Author: Venus Upadhayaya

Child Killer Ian Huntley Is ‘Allowed to Mix with Children’ During Jail Visits

Convicted child killer Ian Huntley is reportedly being allowed to mix with children during prison visiting hours.

Huntley is serving a minimum of 40 years behind bars for killing Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman, who were both 10 years old at the time of the incident in 2002. He lured the girls into his house and murdered them, dumped their bodies in a ditch, and set them on fire.

Huntley is serving his sentence at HMP Frankland, in the British town of Durham, The Sun reported.

This undated handout photo shows Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman. Ian Huntley was found guilty of the murder of the two 10-year-old girls. (Cambridgeshire Constabulary via Getty Images)

According to The Sun, out of concern for equality laws, prison officials have adjusted visitation policy, allowing Huntley to mix with children visiting relatives at the maximum security prison.

A Frankland official was cited by The Sun as saying, “We cannot discriminate against any prisoner, as we pride ourselves on treating all prisoners as equals.”

The move, which puts pedophiles in the same room as children, has been described as “ludicrous.”

A man who took his 5-year-old son to see a family member at the prison told The Sun: “As I sat down, there he was, right next to us.”

“I was furious. Who on earth thinks putting a pedophile serving a sentence for killing children into a room with young kids is a good idea?”

The Sun reported that under the new policy, convicted pedophiles are allowed to be in the same room with children for up to two hours at a time.

The decision is said to have been made locally by the jail and is not an official Prison Service policy, according to the report.

A service spokesman told the Sun that murderers and sex offenders being in the vicinity of children who come to visit convicts is “unavoidable” at a high-security jail such as the one housing Huntley and other child killers.

Prison officials stressed that visits are closely monitored.

The ‘Soham Murders’

Dubbed the “Soham Murders” for where the horrid crimes took place, the slaying of the two girls sparked one of Britain’s biggest manhunts, and the findings of the investigation shocked the public.

Investigators discovered Huntley had lured the girls to his house in Soham, Cambridgeshire, and brutally murdered them.

File photo showing two police officers walking past the sign welcoming visitors to the village of Soham, in Soham, England on Nov. 10, 2003. (Graeme Robertson/Getty Images)

The bodies of the girls were found near an air base at Mildenhall in Suffolk, The Times reported.

Huntley’s girlfriend, Maxine Carr, who worked as a teaching assistant at the girls’ school, was also indirectly implicated in the crime. Carr provided Huntley with a false alibi and was convicted of perverting the course of justice. She was handed a sentence of three-and-a-half years behind bars.

The Times reported Carr was released in 2004 and was living under a new identity.

In an in-jail interview leaked to The Sun, Huntley reportedly expressed remorse for his crimes, saying, “I am sorry for what I have done, sorry for the pain I have caused to the families and friends of Holly and Jessica, for the pain I have caused my family and friends, and for the pain I have caused the community of Soham.”

This undated handout photo shows a pair scissors and a petrol container in the trunk of Ian Huntley’s car. (Cambridgeshire Constabulary via Getty Images)

“I am genuinely, genuinely sorry and it breaks my heart when it is reported I have no remorse; that I relish something. I do not.”

Huntley confessed on the tape to deliberately killing Jessica to stop her from raising an alarm after Holly died, The Sun reported.

The convicted killer said: “I maintain that the first one was a genuine accident. OK, the second one I panicked and once she tried leaving the house I realized I could not leave the house.

“And whilst I said in court that I just acted instinctively, I knew I had to stop her leaving the house.”

Huntley said in the 2018 interview he had attempted suicide several times and he has had “a lot of health problems since and they have deteriorated over the years to the point now where I am really struggling.”

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Author: Tom Ozimek

Dog Owner Discovers Great Dane She Adopted Has 28 More Teeth Than Normal

An Oklahoma woman said a Great Dane she had adopted earlier this year had 70 teeth, about 28 more teeth than normal.

Aurora Rutledge, 31, said she rescued the dog, Loki, in March 2019 and took him for a routine checkup, the Daily Mail reported.

When a veterinarian looked inside the animal’s mouth, she discovered the dog had significantly more teeth than normal.

The medic took about 21 of the teeth out, which cost her about $770.

“I had taken him to our local vet as a routine checkup since he was a new rescue and mentioned to the doctor that the people we got him from mentioned that he may have retained baby teeth,” Rutledge said.

“Loki is a giant puppy and is very energetic—so I hadn’t had a chance to look inside his mouth myself beforehand,” she added. “When we did get a chance to have a little look we could see he had more than normal, but we didn’t think he’d have 70 teeth in there!”

The dog now has 49 teeth, which is still seven more than usual.

“It was something that massively shocked us, but we’re just so glad that he is home and recovering now,” the owner said.

Loki is now on a strict, soft-food diet as it recovers, the Mail reported.

Rutledge, who is a parent to three children, said the extra teeth might be “a result of poor breeding.”

“The rescue we got him from is working hard to track down his breeder to hopefully stop something as painful as this happening again,” she said.

She said that rescuing animals can be expensive.

“Rescuing dogs is not always easy—you often run up giant vet bills, but the animals are so worth it,” she said, according to The Lad Bible, adding: “We wish bad breeding practices would be stopped.”

According to the National Library of Medicine, “Developmental tooth abnormalities in dogs are uncommon in general veterinary practice but understanding thereof is important for optimal management in order to maintain masticatory function through preservation of the dentition.”

It adds: “Developmental abnormalities of teeth, albeit uncommon in general veterinary practice, are seen with higher frequency in the dental referral clinic. Understanding these abnormalities is important for optimal management in order to maintain masticatory function through preservation of the dentition, while improvement of the clinical appearance should be of secondary importance.”

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Author: Jack Phillips

US College Admission Scandal: Father Behind $1.2 Million Bribery Case is Wanted in China

The father of the Chinese Yale student, who paid $1.2 million in bribes to get his daughter into the Ivy League school, has been identified. Guo Hulin is a rich businessman from Inner Mongolia. He is wanted by Chinese authorities, along with his brother, on corruption charges. Guo resides in an upscale neighborhood in California, but he could now be living in the United States illegally as his visa recently expired.

A Yale Student

After the U.S. college admissions scandal was revealed to the public, the bribery cases mentioned in the court document of college consultant William “Rick” Singer—the central figure in the scandal—were the main focus.

On April 26, Wall Street Journal first reported that one of the students whom Singer facilitated to enter Yale is Sherry Guo Jiaxin, a Chinese national.

The court document alleged that Singer received $1.2 million from Sherry’s family, and teamed up with the head coach of the Yale women’s soccer team. They then sent Sherry to Yale in January 2018 as a recruit for the soccer team, despite the fact the coach knew that Sherry did not play competitive soccer.

When the scandal broke, Sherry dropped out of Yale.

Sherry and her family moved to southern California from China in 2014, and attended JSerra Catholic High School in San Juan Capistrano.

Wanted by Chinese Authorities

U.S.-Chinese newspaper World Journal first reported that Sherry’s father is Guo Hulin, a rich businessman who is wanted by the Chinese regime, along with his older brother, Wang Huyun.

On March 28, China’s Ministry of Public Security issued a warrant for the arrest of Guo and Wang and offered a reward of 200,000 yuan ($29,000) for the two suspects.

According to the Ministry of Public Security, Guo and Wang are charged with financial corruption related to embezzlement and fraud.

Guo, 47, and Wang, 56, are brothers with two different last names—one brother took their mother’s name, and the other took their father’s, according to World Journal. They lived in the Qingsong community of Baotou City, an industrial area and the largest city of Inner Mongolia, according to records released by the Ministry of Public Security.

According to Qichacha, a Chinese database company, Guo and Wang own about a dozen companies that are located in Shanghai and Inner Mongolia, and their business covers mining, trading, and manufacturing of mechanical tools.

Yale campus in New Haven, Connecticut on April 15, 2008. (Christopher Capozziello/Getty Images)

Luxury Lifestyle in the US

World Journal reported on May 8 that Guo and Wang moved to the United States with their families in 2014 on a L1 visa.

The L1 visa is a non-immigrant visa and is available to employees of an international company with offices in both the United States and abroad. The report said Guo and Wang founded a U.S. branch of their Chinese company Shanghai Shenyin Ruihao Holdings Co Ltd and then applied for the L1 Visa as managers of this company.

Guo and Wang bought two houses in Pavilion Park, Irvine, California. Each home is now valued at about $1.2 million. They also bought two business offices at Jeffrey Road in Irvine, the report said.

World Journal reporters even visited the two houses and confirmed that Guo lived with his wife and daughter Sherry; while Wang lived with his son, daughter-in-law, and grandchildren. Wang’s son and daughter-in-law had legally immigrated to the United States.

World Journal reported on May 11 that Guo and Wang were planning to move to a luxury house in Newport Beach, a coastal city in southern California, with their families, after their Pavilion Park houses were exposed by the media.

The new house—which has ocean views, six bedrooms, eight and a half bathrooms—is worth about $16 million, the report said.

The report quoted insiders who claimed that Guo and Wang lost their legal status in the United States after their L1 visa renewal applications were denied in 2018.

Rich Chinese Hide Overseas

The rich Chinese immigrate to the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and some European countries. Some of them are businessmen and corrupt officials.

Hong Kong political magazine Zhengming quoted an internal report that $1.5 trillion assets were transferred out of China by officials, businessmen, and their families. The report was compiled by the Development Research Center of the State Council of China, National Development and Reform Commission, People’s Bank of China, State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission, and Academy of Social Sciences in April 2017.

In detail, $520 billion are in the United States; $200 billion are in Canada; $180 billion are in the UK; $130 billion are in France; $120 billion are in Australia; $82 billion are in Spain; $60 billion are in Italy; $55 billion are in Germany; $36 billion are in Switzerland; and $30 billion are in the Netherlands.

Since 2018, the Chinese regime has tightened the control on capital outflows by limiting citizens’ bank accounts: They can only withdraw up to 100,000 yuan ($14,800) out of China each year.

In February 2019, it has enacted harsher punishments for those caught exchanging foreign currency outside official channels, in an effort to crack down on underground banking and to stymie capital outflow.

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Author: Nicole Hao

More Troops Will Be Sent to the Middle East, Says Trump

President Donald Trump has approved the U.S. Department of Defense’s plan to send about 1,500 more troops to the Middle East amid escalating tensions with Iran.

“We’re going to be sending a relatively small number of troops,” the president told reporters outside the White House on May 24, Fox News reported. “Mostly protective. Some very talented people are going to the Middle East right now. And we’ll see what happens.”

The plan is designed to bolster the security of American and allied forces in the region. It’s also designed to deter Iran from launching any attacks.

Members of the Iranian revolutionary guard march during a parade to commemorate the anniversary of the Iran-Iraq war (1980-88), in Tehran . (Reuters/Stringer)

Officials told Fox that submarines and destroyers sent to the region will have Tomahawk cruise missiles.

No U.S. Army brigade combat teams are to deploy. However, those officials said they are to deploy more Patriot missile batteries, another warship or submarine, and more surveillance aircraft.

Air Force fighter jets might also be deployed in the area, said officials.

The U.S. Navy guided-missile cruiser USS Monterey fires a Tomahawk land attack missile April 14, 2018. (U.S. Navy/Lt. j.g Matthew Daniels/Handout via REUTERS.)

Some news outlets, including The Associated Press, reported that 1,500 troops would be deployed while Fox reported that 2,000 would be sent.

The forces would number about 1,500 and would deploy in the coming weeks, “with their primary responsibilities and activities being defensive in nature,” AP reported, citing a government notification.

The AP report noted that there are still about 5,200 U.S. troops in Iraq and 2,000 in Syria.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks during a briefing on Iran at the State Department in Washington on April 8, 2019. (Yuri Gripas/Reuters)

Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan on May 23 rejected reports that between 5,000 and 10,000 troops would be sent to the Middle East, saying it was “not accurate,” Fox reported.

“Our biggest focus at this point is to prevent Iranian miscalculation,” Shanahan told reporters earlier in the week about a troop surge. “We do not want the situation to escalate. This is about deterrence, not about war.”

“Our efforts and our ultimate objective over the past days has been to deter Iran,” added Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

An Iranian military speedboat patrols the waters as a tanker prepares to dock at the oil facility in Iran’s Kharg Island, on the shore of the Persian Gulf, on March 12, 2017. (ATTA KENARE/AFP/Getty Images)

Earlier this month, the U.S. sent an aircraft carrier and B-52 bombers to the region to counter Iran.

Meanwhile, the officials stressed that the troop increase was about preventing any attacks.

“Our job is deterrence. This is not about war,” Shanahan told reporters, according to Bloomberg.  “We have a mission there in the Middle East: freedom of navigation, you know, counterterrorism in Syria and Iraq, you know, defeating al-Qaeda in Yemen, and then the security of Israel and Jordan.”

A U.S. Air Force B-52 (R) flies over Osan Air Base in Pyeongtaek, South Korea, January 10, 2016. (Reuters/Kim Hong-Ji/File Photo)

But this week, Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, publicly criticized the country’s foreign minister and president, saying he disagreed with how the country implemented the 2015 nuclear deal with world powers.

“To some extent, I did not believe in the way that the nuclear deal was implemented,” Khamenei said, Al Jazeera reported. “Many times I reminded both the president and the foreign minister.”

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Author: Jack Phillips

Obama-Appointed Judge Who Upheld Committee’s Subpoena of Trump Donated to Democrats on Committee

A federal judge in New York who ruled that banks must comply with subpoenas from House Democrats has a history of donating to Democrats, including Congressmen and women who sit on the House Financial Services and Intelligence Committees.

U.S. District Judge Edgardo Ramos, who was appointed by President Barack Obama, said in his ruling on May 22 that the subpoenas, which seek records about Trump, his three oldest children, and their spouses, have “a legitimate legislative purpose.”

Ramos, who like all judges had an opportunity to recuse himself if there was an appearance of bias, has donated to Democratic officials, including two that sit on the committees seeking information about Trump.

Federal election records show that Ramos donated $350 in 2008 to Jim Himes for Congress. Rep. Himes (D-Ct.) currently sits on the Intelligence and Financial Services Committees.

Judge Edgardo Ramos, U.S. District Judge for the Southern District of New York. (Federal Bar Council)

Ramos donated $500 in 2010 to the re-election campaign for Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D-N.Y.). He had also donated $250 to her 2005 campaign. Velazquez currently sits on the Financial Services Committee.

Ramos also donated $4,025 to Obama’s first campaign for president in addition to donating $1,000 to the 2007 campaign of Hillary Clinton, who was running against Obama at the time. Trump beat Clinton in 2016.

His other donations include $1,000 to the Senate campaign of Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), a $500 donation to Friends of Chris Dodd, a former Democratic Senator, and additional money to Obama’s campaign for re-election.

Ramos halted donations after being appointed by Obama to the federal court in 2011. Federal judges are supposed to be impartial but many have ruled against Trump only to see their rulings overturned by higher courts.

(L-R) President Donald Trump, first lady Melania Trump, former President Barack Obama, Michelle Obama, former President Bill Clinton, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and former President Jimmy Carter listen as former President George W. Bush speaks during a State Funeral at the National Cathedral in Washington for former President George H.W. Bush on Dec. 5, 2018.(Alex Brandon/AP Pool)

The donations came to light after another recent ruling against Trump.

U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta said in a 41-page opinion on May 20 that Mazars USA, Trump’s former accounting firm, must comply with a subpoena from Congress and turn over financial records from as far back as 2011.

The subpoena asked for records relating to Trump and various associated businesses and entities, citing Trump’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen, who claimed that Trump would regularly inflate financial statements submitted to banks while deflating the value of certain assets in other cases.

Congress essentially has free reign to investigate the president, Mehta wrote in his opinion (pdf).

Judge Amit Metha. (U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia)

Mehta was appointed by Obama to the court in 2014.

Federal election records show that Mehta donated to Obama’s first campaign in 2007 and added several thousand dollars in 2012 to Obama’s campaign for re-election.

Mehta also appeared to halt political donations after being appointed as a federal judge.

Trump has noted the background of some judges ruling against him, hitting at Mehta specifically after the ruling.

President Donald Trump talks to reporters before he departs the White House for a campaign rally in Pennsylvania on May 20, 2019. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

“Well, we disagree with that ruling. It’s crazy—because you look at it; this never happened to any other President. They’re trying to get a redo,” he said, referring to special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation, which ultimately found no evidence of collusion between the Trump 2016 presidential campaign and Russia. Throughout the nearly two-year investigation, Democrats leaned heavily on an expectation that Mueller would find collusion.

“They’re trying to get what we used to call in school: a deal—a ‘do-over.’ And if you look, you know, we had no collusion, we had no obstruction. We had no nothing. The Democrats were very upset with the Mueller report, as perhaps they should be,” he said in Washington before departing for a rally Pennsylvania.

“But, I mean, the country is very happy about it because there was never anything like that. And they’re trying to get a redo, or a do-over, and you can’t do that. As far as the financials are concerned, we think it’s totally the wrong decision by, obviously, an Obama-appointed judge. He was a recent Obama-appointed judge.”

Trump’s legal team filed an appeal after Mehta’s ruling.

From NTD News

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Author: Zachary Stieber