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Parnas said he is speaking out because he is afraid of William Barr

Parnas said he is speaking out because he is afraid of William BarrRudy Giuliani associate Lev Parnas said he was giving media interviews about his role in President Trump’s attempts convince Ukrainian officials to announce an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden because he wanted to protect himself from Attorney General William Barr.

POSTED JANUARY 16, 2020 10:08 PM

Brief scuffles at Guatemala-Mexico border as migrants try to cross

Brief scuffles at Guatemala-Mexico border as migrants try to crossScuffles briefly broke out on the Guatemala-Mexico border on Saturday morning as a group of several hundred mostly Honduran migrants pressed forward to cross, only to be pushed back by Mexican security forces. Scores of people who entered Guatemala from Honduras in recent days have been arriving at the Mexican border, with the bulk of them still advancing in a larger caravan, testing the resolve of Mexico to heed U.S. demands to contain migrant flows. President Donald Trump has threatened to hurt Mexico and Central American countries economically if they allow large groups to reach the U.S. border, and the latest exodus from Honduras has been accompanied by U.S. border agents.

POSTED JANUARY 18, 2020 11:50 AM

Huawei exec set to fight Canada court battle against US extradition

Huawei exec set to fight Canada court battle against US extraditionA Canadian court on Monday will consider a US request to hand over Chinese tech executive Meng Wanzhou, whose arrest 13 months ago on fraud charges plunged Canada-China relations into a deep freeze. The extradition hearing comes after Beijing detained two Canadians and blocked billions of dollars worth of Canadian agricultural shipments in apparent retaliation for Meng's arrest. Taking her into custody also stuck Canada in the middle of a row between China and the US, which views Huawei as a security risk.

POSTED JANUARY 16, 2020 9:05 PM

Philippine volcano still 'life threatening' despite lull

Philippine volcano still 'life threatening' despite lullAn erupting Philippine volcano remains life threatening despite weaker emissions and fewer tremors, an official said Friday and advised thousands of displaced villagers not to return to the danger zone. The Taal volcano emitted weaker ash and steam explosions Thursday and Friday, the sixth day of its eruption. “When there is an explosion, that will be life threatening, especially if people get very near, like on Volcano Island,” Renato Solidum, head of the the institute, told The Associated Press.

POSTED JANUARY 16, 2020 9:53 PM

Why Russia Doesn't Like (Or Have) Many Aircraft Carriers

Why Russia Doesn't Like (Or Have) Many Aircraft CarriersNot enough money?

POSTED JANUARY 18, 2020 7:00 AM

Woman pleads guilty to killing husband by putting eye drops in his water

Woman pleads guilty to killing husband by putting eye drops in his waterA South Carolina woman pleaded guilty to fatally poisoning her husband by putting eye drops in his water for days. She was sentenced to 25 years in prison.

POSTED JANUARY 17, 2020 7:23 AM

Meghan Markle's former LA mansion is still looking for a buyer, and the asking price just dropped — here's a look inside

Meghan Markle's former LA mansion is still looking for a buyer, and the asking price just dropped — here's a look insideBefore Kensington Palace, Frogmore Cottage, and declaring a pursuit of financial independence, Meghan Markle already lived like a queen.

POSTED JANUARY 17, 2020 5:34 PM

Princess Cruises responds after 'Marriage Story' actress speaks out, sues alleging bedbugs

Princess Cruises responds after 'Marriage Story' actress speaks out, sues alleging bedbugsA "Marriage Story" actress and her husband are suing Princess Cruises, alleging their room was infested with bedbugs.

POSTED JANUARY 17, 2020 7:57 AM

U.S. to Tighten Control Over Releases of Major Economic Data

U.S. to Tighten Control Over Releases of Major Economic Data(Bloomberg) -- Sign up here to receive the Davos Diary, a special daily newsletter that will run from Jan. 20-24.The U.S. Labor Department said it will ban computers from the room where journalists receive advance access to major economic reports such as employment and inflation figures, in an effort to ensure a level playing field.Currently, the department hosts “lockups” in Washington for major reports lasting 30 to 60 minutes, where journalists receive the data in a secure room, write stories on computers disconnected from the internet, and transmit them when connections are restored at the release time. Other electronic devices such as smartphones were already prohibited.Bureau of Labor Statistics Commissioner William Beach said in a letter Thursday that Labor agencies including BLS have raised concerns about data-security stemming from the lockups, and cited a 2014 report by the department’s inspector general saying several news organizations that participate are able to profit by providing the numbers to algorithmic traders in a format that provides them an advantage.Quicktake What’s a ‘Lockup’ and Why It Matters for MarketsLockups will continue and journalists will be able to ask questions of statistics officials before the release time, Beach wrote. Releases will continue to be posted on Labor websites and on Twitter, and journalists can leave the room to file stories once the embargo lifts, Beach wrote.The change will take effect March 1, Beach said.The Commerce Department, which distributes its major reports such as gross domestic product and retail sales through the Labor Department lockups, said it will follow the new procedures.Reviewing ChangesLeaders at Commerce’s statistical agencies “are reviewing the announced changes and are committed to the secure, timely and equitable release of these important data,” according to a statement from Jeannine Aversa, spokeswoman for Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis.Labor Department officials were asked on a conference call with journalists if the change was specifically aimed at Bloomberg News, which participates in the lockups and whose founder and majority owner, Michael Bloomberg, is running for the Democratic presidential nomination. They denied any political motivation. Bloomberg along with other media outlets get revenue from selling data feeds to customers including algorithmic traders.“In terms of access, posting on the website is about as level-playing-field as I can imagine,” Manoj Narang, chief executive officer of Mana Partners, a quantitative hedge fund. “Any time you embargo stuff, there are people who have an advantage, and the potential for abuses."Officials said they have the capacity to handle large loads of web traffic for major data releases that previously would have been disseminated through multiple news outlets simultaneously.“The whole world and the markets in particular operate on news and information freely coming out as quickly as possible. To the extent that information is withheld or delayed, I think that’s no good,” said Jennifer Ellison, principal at San Francisco-based BOS, a wealth-advisory firm. Even so, “it shouldn’t have a significant impact because information is priced in as soon as it can be.”Lockup DesignLockups, which are permitted but not required by government regulations, have been a mainstay for U.S. media for almost four decades. They have been designed to give reporters time to digest figures on market-moving data and make sure they are accurate before being distributed to the public. Statistics agencies and central banks in the U.K. and Canada use similar lockup procedures.The shift could cause delays in the publication of stories and data by media organizations. It could also spur an arms race among high-speed traders to get the numbers first and profit off the data, raising questions about fairness in multitrillion-dollar financial markets.The change “is a net detriment to aggressive investors looking to profit immediately from the high-speed data feeds,” said Chris Bury, former head of U.S. rates at Jefferies, who began his career in rates trading at Merrill Lynch in 1995. “But it can also potentially benefit those investors if they formulate a view of what the data means and are able to position correctly during that longer period of higher volatility.”In 2012, the Labor Department under the Obama administration sought to alter lockups to require journalists to use government-owned computers to write their stories. Officials at the time framed the change as addressing security risks.After protests from Bloomberg News and other news organizations, and a congressional hearing in which editors testified, the department agreed to allow the media to continue using their own equipment and data lines.(Updates with comment from hedge fund in ninth paragraph.)\--With assistance from Vince Golle, Alex Tanzi, Vildana Hajric, Elizabeth Stanton and Hema Parmar.To contact the reporter on this story: Katia Dmitrieva in Washington at edmitrieva1@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Margaret Collins at;Scott Lanman at slanman@bloomberg.netFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

POSTED JANUARY 16, 2020 5:19 PM

Alan Dershowitz: Trump impeachment acquittal would make me unhappy

Alan Dershowitz: Trump impeachment acquittal would make me unhappyMember of Trump’s legal team says he’s acting ‘for the survival of the constitution’ but will have limited role in president’s defenceImpeachment: is Trump set to survive and win a second term?The Harvard legal scholar Alan Dershowitz, a member of Donald Trump’s team for his impeachment trial, has said he will not vote for the president in November and that Trump’s acquittal by the Senate “would produce results that make me unhappy as an individual”.But Dershowitz said acting “for the survival of the constitution” was more important than “the short-term partisan advantage of getting my person elected to be president”.Dershowitz spoke to the BBC’s Today programme on Saturday, broadcast while the US east coast lay in darkness.His remarks were no surprise: Dershowitz is a familiar voice in the media, to some degree a controversialist or gadfly, willing to go against the grain of public opinion or to represent unpopular clients, among them OJ Simpson and Jeffrey Epstein. He is a regular presence on Fox News.But as Washington, New York and Boston woke, it remained to be seen how a notoriously changeable president might react to his new lawyer’s remarks.In the event Trump woke up to tweet about the strong US economy while seemingly watching Fox. But there was plenty of coverage from less friendly outlets available should he choose to darken his mood.The articles of impeachment charge that the president abused the power of his office by pressuring Ukraine to carry out investigations for his political benefit – including against former vice-president and possible 2020 nominee Joe Biden – and obstructed Congress in its efforts to investigate.On Friday, it was reported that documents released by House Democrats showed that an aide to Devin Nunes, the ranking Republican on the House intelligence committee and a key Trump ally, worked with Lev Parnas on approaches to Ukraine last year.Parnas is a Soviet-born US citizen and associate of Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s personal lawyer who drove the Ukraine effort. Facing charges under federal campaign law, Parnas has turned against the president, discussing the Ukraine affair in wide-ranging interviews with TV, newspapers and websites.As the White House faces into the storm, Dershowitz will join a Trump legal team that also includes Ken Starr, who played a leading role in the impeachment of Bill Clinton. Jay Sekulow, a Trump lawyer and regular media surrogate, and Pat Cipollone, the White House counsel, will also represent the president.Procedural steps continue. House Democrats this week walked the articles of impeachment to the Senate and supreme court chief justice John Roberts arrived on Capitol Hill to preside.House impeachment managers, led by intelligence chair Adam Schiff, had a 5pm deadline on Saturday to submit a trial brief. Trump had a 6pm deadline to respond to the charges against him.A two-thirds majority of senators will be needed to convict Trump and remove him from office. Argument continues over whether witnesses including former national security adviser John Bolton will be allowed to testify. But as the Senate is controlled by a Republican party controlled firmly by Trump, and as majority leader Mitch McConnell has admitted to strategising in lockstep with the White House, a conviction remains extremely unlikely.No president has been convicted and removed: Clinton and Andrew Johnson survived Senate trials and Richard Nixon resigned before he could be formally impeached. On the BBC, Dershowitz was asked if he thought Trump was a good president and how he felt about potentially facilitating his re-election.“It’s a very, very different issue,” he said. “I’m a Democrat. I intend to vote Democrat. I think that Democrats would be disappointed to see the president re-elected and Republicans would be pleased.”Pressed on his personal feelings about Trump’s impeachment, Dershowitz said it “creates ambivalence in me as it does whenever I represent somebody whose acquittal would produce results that make me unhappy as an individual. But I would never, ever allow my own partisan views to impact my views on the constitution.“I’m not going to allow my partisan views to impact my constitutional views and what I think is best for the long term survival of the constitution rather than the short-term partisan advantage of getting my person elected to be president.”Many observers have seen Trump’s selection of Dershowitz and Starr as a partisan move. In the words of the Washington Post: “To form the crack legal team that will defend him in the impeachment trial that begins on Tuesday, President Trump went right to the place where the most accomplished and effective lawyers can be found: Fox News.”On Fox and elsewhere, Dershowitz has argued that abuse of power is not an impeachable offence. On CNN on Saturday morning, he said obstruction of Congress was “made up”. He also said that in the Senate trial he would be “only arguing on behalf of the constitution”. He would answer questions from senators, he said, but would have a “limited role”, as agreed with Trump.In a fiery exchange on the same network on Friday night, the legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin charged his old teacher with “pretending to be some sort of neutral observer, rather than Donald Trump’s lawyer”.“For some reason you don’t want to admit that,” Toobin said, “and that’s up to you. But … I think straightforwardly that abuse of power, the framers recognised it, that’s what’s the issue in this case and the senators are perfectly capable of determining whether what the president did is a violation of his oath.”Dershowitz answered: “Let me perfectly clear, I am an advocate … against impeachment. But I’m politically neutral, that is I would make the same argument whether it was a Democrat or a Republican. I don’t let my political preferences interfere with my constitutional analysis.”“I think the country is helped,” he added, “when they hear from someone like me who is a liberal Democrat, who has always voted Democrat.”But, he said: “I want the impeachment to fail.”

POSTED JANUARY 18, 2020 9:59 AM

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