Five arrested in connection to racially motivated 1983 killing in Georgia

Oct. 14 (UPI) — Police in Georgia arrested five people, including two who work in law enforcement, in connection with a 34-year-old racially motivated murder case.

Frankie Gebhardt, Bill Moore Sr., Lamar Bunn, Sandra Bunn and Gregory Huffman were arrested for their roles in the killing of 23-year-old Timothy Coggins, who was found dead in a grassy area near a power line in Spalding County on Oct. 9 1983.

“This investigation is not over. It has entered a new phase leading up to the prosecution of those people responsible for this heinous crime, and those that obstructed or hindered this investigation,” Sheriff Darrell Dix said in a release Friday.

Gebhardt, 59, and Moore Sr., 58, were charged with murder, aggravated assault, aggravated battery and concealing a body. Lamar Bunn, a Milner Police Department employee, and Sandra Bunn, 58, were charged with obstruction. Huffman, a detention officer with the Spalding County Sheriff’s Office, was charged with obstruction and violation of oath of office.

Coggins was brutally slain and investigators agreed there was “no doubt” race was the motivating factor behind the crime, Dix said.

“Based on the original evidence recovered in 1983 and new evidence and interviews there is no doubt in the minds of all investigators involved that the crime was racially motivated and that if the crime happened today it would be prosecuted as a hate crime,” Dix said.

Dix said the initial investigation of the case was derailed in 1983 when those suspected of being involved in the murder threatened and intimidated potential witnesses, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

The case was reopened in March and officials said many of the witnesses reported living with information since Coggin’s death but “had been afraid to come forward or had not spoken of it until now.”

“We have always wanted justice, held out for justice, and knew that we would have justice,” the victim’s niece Heather Coggins said. “We have endured grief for the past 34 years … our journey is coming to an end; their journey is just beginning.”

Dix offered condolences to Coggins’ family and added the pursuit of the case should act as a warning to criminals in the county.

“We are sending a message that we want to make crystal clear. If you are a criminal, murderer, drug dealer, or gang member you are no longer welcome or tolerated in Spalding County. We will do everything we can to stop you regardless of who you are, where you come from, and as demonstrated today, regardless of time or distance,” he said.

منبع مطلب : https://www.upi.com/Top_News/US/2017/10/14/Five-arrested-in-connection-to-racially-motivated-1983-killing-in-Georgia/5681507988953/

Joshua Boyle: Canadian held in Afghanistan says his child was killed in captivity

A Canadian man who was held hostage with his family for five years has said that the Taliban-linked militants who abducted him and his wife in Afghanistan raped her and killed an infant daughter born in captivity.

Giving new details of the family’s ordeal after arriving at Toronto airport following a rescue operation mounted on Wednesday by the Pakistani military, Joshua Boyle said they had been kidnapped while trying to deliver aid to villagers in a part of a Taliban-controlled region that “no NGO, no aid worker and no government” had been able to reach.

There has, however, been some confusion and questions about events following his release along with Caitlan Coleman and their three children, and Coleman’s father decried Boyle’s decision to visit Afghanistan.

“What I can say is taking your pregnant wife to a very dangerous place is to me and the kind of person I am, is unconscionable,” Jim Coleman told ABC News during an interview in which he also expressed puzzlement at reports that Boyle had refused to board a US military plane after the release.

US authorities have said Boyle was not wanted, but a CNN report quoted a senior US official as saying he had balked at boarding the plane because he feared possible detention on US soil. Reports have also focused on his previous marriage to the sister of Omar Khadr, a Canadian who spent 10 years at Guantánamo Bay after being captured at an al-Qaida compound in Afghanistan.

Boyle denied that he had refused to make the return trip aboard a US military aircraft and had chosen to fly back from Islamabad to Canada on commercial airlines via London. “Obviously, it will be of incredible importance to my family that we are able to build a secure sanctuary for our three surviving children to call a home,” Boyle told reporters after arriving at Toronto’s Pearson international airport, wearing a black sweatshirt and sporting a beard.

Reading out a statement to journalists from a small notebook, he used much of it to hit out at the family’s abductors, the Haqqani network, a group deemed a terrorist organisation by the US.

“The stupidity and the evil of the Haqqani network in the kidnapping of a pilgrim … was eclipsed only by the stupidity and evil of authorising the murder of my infant daughter,” Boyle said, in a calm voice which cracked at the mention of the child.

“And the stupidity and evil of the subsequent rape of my wife, not as a lone action, but by one guard, but assisted by the captain of the guard and supervised by the commandant.”

He did not elaborate on what he meant by “pilgrim”, or on the murder or rape. Coleman, who was not at the news conference, was preparing to travel to Boyle’s family home in Smiths Falls, 50 miles (80km) south-west of Ottawa, with their three children, all of whom were born in captivity.

He said the Taliban, whom he referred to by their official name – the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan – had carried out an investigation last year and conceded that the crimes against his family were perpetrated by the Haqqani network.

He called on the Taliban “to provide my family with the justice we are owed”. “God willing, this litany of stupidity will be the epitaph of the Haqqani network,” said Boyle.

Boyle also revealed that one of their children – called Jonah, Noah and Grace – was in poor health and had to be force-fed by the Pakistani military after their liberation in an operation that was carried out on the back of a tipoff by US intelligence.

“In the last three days I have actually only seen one US soldier and we had to speak very briefly and very cordially about the medical attention that the Pakistani medical team was providing to the injured child,” he said.

Boyle had reportedly told his parents on Thursday that he had been in the boot of the car with his wife and children when shooting began and that he was hit by shrapnel. The last words he said he heard his captors shout were: “Kill the hostages.”


‘There are good Muslims, there are bad Muslims and then there are pagans,’ says Joshua Boyle – video

Fresh footage of the family following their release emerged on Saturday after it was released at a press conference held by the Pakistani military’s media wing.

Speaking to a camera, Boyle praised the role of the Pakistani army in the family’s release, comparing the rescue operation favourably to ones in the US and Canada which he said had not been handled professionally.

“The truth was that the car was riddled with bullets the ISI [Pakistani intelligence] and the army got between the criminals and the car to make sure that the prisoners were safe and that my family was safe,” he said.

Of the kidnappers, he said: “There are good Muslims and there are bad Muslims and there are those who are not Muslim … they are pagan. The criminals who held us, they were not good Muslims. They were not even bad Muslims. They were pagan.”

The Pakistan military’s spokesperson, Major Gen Asif Ghafoor, said that the rescue operation was launched after information provided by US intelligence indicated that the family was being moved to Pakistan from Afghanistan. Three armed men and a driver who were in the vehicle fled to a nearby Afghan refugee camp, he said.

In a separate interview with the Toronto Star on Thursday, Boyle said his family looked forward to rebuilding their lives even though they were “psychologically and physically shattered by the betrayals and the criminality of what has happened over the past five years”.

“But we’re looking forward to a new lease on life, to use an overused idiom, and restarting and being able to build a sanctuary for our children and our family in north America,” he said.

“I have discovered there is little that cannot be overcome by enough Sufi patience, Irish irreverence and Canadian sanctimony.”

Their release took place nearly five years to the day after the couple lost touch with their families while traveling in a mountainous region near the Afghan capital of Kabul after embarking in 2012 on a trip that took them to Russia and the former Soviet states of central Asia.

Separately, in a statement and brief words to the Associated Press news agency, Boyle appeared to express disagreement with US foreign policy.

“God has given me and my family unparalleled resilience and determination, and to allow that to stagnate, to pursue personal pleasure or comfort while there is still deliberate and organised injustice in the world would be a betrayal of all I believe, and tantamount to sacrilege,” he wrote.

Nodding to one of two US state department officials on the flight from London he added. “Their interests are not my interests.”

منبع مطلب : https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/oct/14/canadian-held-in-afghanistan-says-child-was-killed-and-wife-raped-in-captivity

Joshua Boyle: Canadian held in Afghanistan says his child was killed in captivity

A Canadian man who was held hostage with his family for five years has said that the Taliban-linked militants who abducted him and his wife in Afghanistan raped her and killed an infant daughter born in captivity.

Giving new details of the family’s ordeal after arriving at Toronto airport following a rescue operation mounted on Wednesday by the Pakistani military, Joshua Boyle said they had been kidnapped while trying to deliver aid to villagers in a part of a Taliban-controlled region that “no NGO, no aid worker and no government” had been able to reach.

There has, however, been some confusion and questions about events following his release along with Caitlan Coleman and their three children, and Coleman’s father decried Boyle’s decision to visit Afghanistan.

“What I can say is taking your pregnant wife to a very dangerous place is to me and the kind of person I am, is unconscionable,” Jim Coleman told ABC News during an interview in which he also expressed puzzlement at reports that Boyle had refused to board a US military plane after the release.

US authorities have said Boyle was not wanted, but a CNN report quoted a senior US official as saying he had balked at boarding the plane because he feared possible detention on US soil. Reports have also focused on his previous marriage to the sister of Omar Khadr, a Canadian who spent 10 years at Guantánamo Bay after being captured at an al-Qaida compound in Afghanistan.

Boyle denied that he had refused to make the return trip aboard a US military aircraft and had chosen to fly back from Islamabad to Canada on commercial airlines via London. “Obviously, it will be of incredible importance to my family that we are able to build a secure sanctuary for our three surviving children to call a home,” Boyle told reporters after arriving at Toronto’s Pearson international airport, wearing a black sweatshirt and sporting a beard.

Reading out a statement to journalists from a small notebook, he used much of it to hit out at the family’s abductors, the Haqqani network, a group deemed a terrorist organisation by the US.

“The stupidity and the evil of the Haqqani network in the kidnapping of a pilgrim … was eclipsed only by the stupidity and evil of authorising the murder of my infant daughter,” Boyle said, in a calm voice which cracked at the mention of the child.

“And the stupidity and evil of the subsequent rape of my wife, not as a lone action, but by one guard, but assisted by the captain of the guard and supervised by the commandant.”

He did not elaborate on what he meant by “pilgrim”, or on the murder or rape. Coleman, who was not at the news conference, was preparing to travel to Boyle’s family home in Smiths Falls, 50 miles (80km) south-west of Ottawa, with their three children, all of whom were born in captivity.

He said the Taliban, whom he referred to by their official name – the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan – had carried out an investigation last year and conceded that the crimes against his family were perpetrated by the Haqqani network.

He called on the Taliban “to provide my family with the justice we are owed”. “God willing, this litany of stupidity will be the epitaph of the Haqqani network,” said Boyle.

Boyle also revealed that one of their children – called Jonah, Noah and Grace – was in poor health and had to be force-fed by the Pakistani military after their liberation in an operation that was carried out on the back of a tipoff by US intelligence.

“In the last three days I have actually only seen one US soldier and we had to speak very briefly and very cordially about the medical attention that the Pakistani medical team was providing to the injured child,” he said.

Boyle had reportedly told his parents on Thursday that he had been in the boot of the car with his wife and children when shooting began and that he was hit by shrapnel. The last words he said he heard his captors shout were: “Kill the hostages.”


‘There are good Muslims, there are bad Muslims and then there are pagans,’ says Joshua Boyle – video

Fresh footage of the family following their release emerged on Saturday after it was released at a press conference held by the Pakistani military’s media wing.

Speaking to a camera, Boyle praised the role of the Pakistani army in the family’s release, comparing the rescue operation favourably to ones in the US and Canada which he said had not been handled professionally.

“The truth was that the car was riddled with bullets the ISI [Pakistani intelligence] and the army got between the criminals and the car to make sure that the prisoners were safe and that my family was safe,” he said.

Of the kidnappers, he said: “There are good Muslims and there are bad Muslims and there are those who are not Muslim … they are pagan. The criminals who held us, they were not good Muslims. They were not even bad Muslims. They were pagan.”

The Pakistan military’s spokesperson, Major Gen Asif Ghafoor, said that the rescue operation was launched after information provided by US intelligence indicated that the family was being moved to Pakistan from Afghanistan. Three armed men and a driver who were in the vehicle fled to a nearby Afghan refugee camp, he said.

In a separate interview with the Toronto Star on Thursday, Boyle said his family looked forward to rebuilding their lives even though they were “psychologically and physically shattered by the betrayals and the criminality of what has happened over the past five years”.

“But we’re looking forward to a new lease on life, to use an overused idiom, and restarting and being able to build a sanctuary for our children and our family in north America,” he said.

“I have discovered there is little that cannot be overcome by enough Sufi patience, Irish irreverence and Canadian sanctimony.”

Their release took place nearly five years to the day after the couple lost touch with their families while traveling in a mountainous region near the Afghan capital of Kabul after embarking in 2012 on a trip that took them to Russia and the former Soviet states of central Asia.

Separately, in a statement and brief words to the Associated Press news agency, Boyle appeared to express disagreement with US foreign policy.

“God has given me and my family unparalleled resilience and determination, and to allow that to stagnate, to pursue personal pleasure or comfort while there is still deliberate and organised injustice in the world would be a betrayal of all I believe, and tantamount to sacrilege,” he wrote.

Nodding to one of two US state department officials on the flight from London he added. “Their interests are not my interests.”

منبع مطلب : https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/oct/14/canadian-held-in-afghanistan-says-child-was-killed-and-wife-raped-in-captivity

Last Isis fighters in Raqqa seek deal to leave Syrian city

Islamic State fighters remaining in Raqqa, once the group’s de facto capital, are trying to broker a deal that would allow them to leave the city with a number of human shields, according to agencies in Syria.

A local official told Reuters that the fighters, including foreign jihadists, are in negotiations with tribal elders over the terms of their withdrawal from the city in northern Syria, which is under attack from the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces.

Militants left in the city have only pistols, rifles, light machine guns and a dwindling supply of ammunition, and they are cut off from their leadership, according to a statement from the SDF, which despite its name is largely Kurdish-led.

The coalition estimated earlier this week that 300 to 400 militants remained in the city. On Friday, a local official said about 100 militants had surrendered.

Despite that, the coalition told the Associated Press that it expects difficult days ahead until Raqqa is retaken. The battle for the town, backed by US-led airstrikes, intelligence and advisers, has been raging since June and is being fought street to street.

The city, once a symbol of Isis’s power and a backdrop to macabre executions posted on social media, is now in ruins and littered with mines and boobytraps. Senior members of the group have long fled.

Among those who left the city over the summer was Sally Jones, a British member of Isis who is believed to have been killed in a drone strike with her 12-year-old son Jojo as she sought refuge on the Syria-Iraq border. She had become one of the group’s most senior women.

Soldiers loyal to the Syrian government have also seized a town in the east of the country that had become one of the last refuges for the Isis leadership, according to local media. Opposition from militants in Mayadeen collapsed on Saturday after weeks of fighting.

The pro-government al-Ikhbariya TV quoted an unnamed military official as saying that soldiers were chasing the last militants out of Mayadeen while a military corps of engineers were clearing land mines left in the town.

Rami Abdurrahman, the head of the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said government troops backed by Shia militias had taken control of the town but were still combing it for militants.

منبع مطلب : https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/oct/14/last-isis-fighters-in-raqqa-seek-deal-to-leave-former-capital-in-syria

Last Isis fighters in Raqqa seek deal to leave Syrian city

Islamic State fighters remaining in Raqqa, once the group’s de facto capital, are trying to broker a deal that would allow them to leave the city with a number of human shields, according to agencies in Syria.

A local official told Reuters that the fighters, including foreign jihadists, are in negotiations with tribal elders over the terms of their withdrawal from the city in northern Syria, which is under attack from the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces.

Militants left in the city have only pistols, rifles, light machine guns and a dwindling supply of ammunition, and they are cut off from their leadership, according to a statement from the SDF, which despite its name is largely Kurdish-led.

The coalition estimated earlier this week that 300 to 400 militants remained in the city. On Friday, a local official said about 100 militants had surrendered.

Despite that, the coalition told the Associated Press that it expects difficult days ahead until Raqqa is retaken. The battle for the town, backed by US-led airstrikes, intelligence and advisers, has been raging since June and is being fought street to street.

The city, once a symbol of Isis’s power and a backdrop to macabre executions posted on social media, is now in ruins and littered with mines and boobytraps. Senior members of the group have long fled.

Among those who left the city over the summer was Sally Jones, a British member of Isis who is believed to have been killed in a drone strike with her 12-year-old son Jojo as she sought refuge on the Syria-Iraq border. She had become one of the group’s most senior women.

Soldiers loyal to the Syrian government have also seized a town in the east of the country that had become one of the last refuges for the Isis leadership, according to local media. Opposition from militants in Mayadeen collapsed on Saturday after weeks of fighting.

The pro-government al-Ikhbariya TV quoted an unnamed military official as saying that soldiers were chasing the last militants out of Mayadeen while a military corps of engineers were clearing land mines left in the town.

Rami Abdurrahman, the head of the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said government troops backed by Shia militias had taken control of the town but were still combing it for militants.

منبع مطلب : https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/oct/14/last-isis-fighters-in-raqqa-seek-deal-to-leave-former-capital-in-syria

‘He is failing’: Trump strikes out solo as friends worry and enemies circle

Donald Trump’s decision to go it alone with rapid fire announcements on healthcare and Iran reflects his boiling frustration with the limits of presidential power, analysts say.

The US president made a brazen move on Thursday night to halt payments to insurers under Barack Obama’s healthcare law. Democrats accused him of a “temper tantrum” and spiteful attempt to sabotage legislation he promised but failed to replace. Less than 24 hours later, he condemned the “fanatical” government of Iran as he decertified his predecessor’s nuclear deal, defying his own cabinet and disquieting European allies.

The one-two punch showed Trump straining to assail Obama’s legacy but stopping short of terminating either the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare, or the Iran nuclear accord. Both are back in the hands of Congress, a source of constant exasperation for the property tycoon turned novice politician, who finds himself isolated and lashing out.

“The Congress has been frustrating to him,” John Kelly, the White House chief of staff, told reporters on Thursday. “Of course, our government is designed to be slow, and it is. His sense, I think, as a man who is outside the Washington arena, a businessman, much more of a man of action, I would say his great frustration is the process that he now finds himself [in].

“Because, in his view, the solutions are obvious, whether it’s tax cuts and tax reform, healthcare, infrastructure programmes, strengthening our military. To him, these all seem like obvious things that need to be done to protect the American people, bring jobs back.”

Since taking office 10 months ago as the first US president with no previous political or military experience, Trump has been given a crash course in the workings of government and the delicate balance of power between the White House, Capitol Hill and the courts. That his writ only runs so far has come as a rude awakening. His executive orders can only achieve so much, and frustrations have sometimes spilled out in impetuous speeches and tweets.

Rick Tyler, a political analyst and partner at Foundry Strategies, said: “He is acutely aware of the limits of presidential power. It’s not like being the CEO of a company where you just do what you want to do.

“By using executive orders, Trump is making something happen on healthcare. He’s prevented from changing it himself, but will force another branch of power to react. It’s the same on Iran.”

Having repeatedly vented his anger at the Republican-controlled Senate for failing to repeal and replace Obamacare, despite seven years of promises, Trump has now thrown a spanner in the works by ending the so-called cost-sharing subsidies that help people on low incomes. The White House claims the government cannot legally continue to pay the subsidies because it lacks formal authorisation by Congress.

Donald Trump



Donald Trump has responded by his inability to govern as he likes by throwing red meat to his base. Photograph: Yuri Gripas/Reuters

The president explained on Friday: “It’s step by step by step and that was a very big step yesterday … We’re going to have great healthcare in our country. We’re taking a little different route than we had hoped, because Congress forgot what their pledges were. So we’re going a little different route. But you know what? In the end, it’s going to be just as effective, and maybe it will even be better.”

The intervention, however, could backfire. It was condemned by Democrats including the House minority leader, Nancy Pelosi, who told reporters: “The president single-handedly decided to raise America’s health premiums for no reason other than spite and cruelty.” Senator Chris Murphy tweeted: “Trump’s decision to stop ACA payments is nuclear grade bananas, a temper tantrum that sets the entire health system on fire. My god.”

Doctors’ groups also warned of “dramatic, if not catastrophic, increases in premiums across the country” and millions of Americans losing coverage. Nineteen states plan to sue.

Trump has previously blamed the lack of healthcare fixes on Obama or Congress, but he now he risks being held personally responsible for cutting the system off at the knees. Robert Shrum, a Democratic consultant, said: “The healthcare thing is madness in both policy and politics. He’s wilful, he’s angry, he’s clearly lashing out. He was better off leaving healthcare to Lamar Alexander and Patty Murray”, the senators working on a bipartisan deal.

Trump’s claim that Iran has not lived up to the spirit of the nuclear deal and his threat to terminate it also put him at odds with his secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, and his defence secretary, Jim Mattis. The Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, said he welcomed what he called a courageous decision, but the leaders of Britain, France and Germany said they stood committed to the agreement.

Evan McMullin, a former CIA operative and independent presidential candidate, wrote via email: “I think the president’s actions on healthcare and Iran are the latest examples of his standing political strategy, which is to throw red meat to his base in order to maintain his base, as evidence of his unfitness and inability to govern mounts.

“If anything, his use of this tactic seems to be accelerating as it becomes increasingly clear, even to some of his closest friends and political allies, that he is failing.”

This acceleration coincides with reports of a darkening in Trump’s mood. A report in Vanity Fair magazine, citing two sources, claimed he had vented to his longtime security chief, Keith Schiller: “I hate everyone in the White House! There are a few exceptions, but I hate them!”

The journalist Gabriel Sherman also wrote that several people close to the president told him that Trump was unstable, “losing a step” and unraveling. Such concerns appear to be reaching a critical mass. NBC News reported that Tillerson had referred to Trump as a moron. The president insisted the story was false, but challenged Tillerson to an IQ contest.

Senator Bob Corker set off a political firestorm when he responded to tweeted attacks by Trump.



Senator Bob Corker set off a political firestorm when he responded to tweeted attacks by Trump. Photograph: Shawn Thew/EPA

Then Senator Bob Corker became one of the few Republicans on Capitol Hill to openly denounce Trump, though it is widely suspected that he speaks for many colleagues. During a Twitter clash last Sunday, Corker wrote: “It’s a shame the White House has become an adult day care center. Someone obviously missed their shift this morning.”

In an interview with the New York Times, the senator from Tennessee said: “I know for a fact that every single day at the White House, it’s a situation of trying to contain him … He doesn’t realise that we could be heading towards world war three with the kind of comments that he’s making.”

He also told the Washington Post on Friday that Trump had “castrated” Tillerson with remarks about his attempts to talk to North Korea.

Thomas Barrack Jr, a billionaire who was the top fundraiser for Trump’s election campaign, said he has been shocked and stunned by some of the president’s incendiary rhetoric and tweets.

“He thinks he has to be loyal to his base,” Barrack told the Washington Post. “I keep on saying, ‘But who is your base? You don’t have a natural base. Your base now is the world and America, so you have all these constituencies; show them who you really are.’ In my opinion, he’s better than this.”

If anyone can get through to Trump, it may be Barrack, one of his oldest friends. Rich Galen, a Republican strategist, said: “That got everybody’s attention because he’s buddy and spoke at the Republican convention. So there seems to be some change. That’s part of what’s feeding it.”

McMullin agreed that Trump seemed rattled by the recent criticisms from Tillerson, Corker and Barrack. “He probably understands their remarks represent a new stage of acceptance setting in across the country, even among his supporters, that he is unfit and incapable.

“That, I think, is inspiring his accelerated efforts to throw red meat to his base to shore up their support. I expect that to continue, if not intensify, and to result in increasing political challenges for the GOP as 2017 and 2018 elections approach and in years to come.”

منبع مطلب : https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/oct/14/donald-trump-iran-healthcare-white-house-corker

‘He is failing’: Trump strikes out solo as friends worry and enemies circle

Donald Trump’s decision to go it alone with rapid fire announcements on healthcare and Iran reflects his boiling frustration with the limits of presidential power, analysts say.

The US president made a brazen move on Thursday night to halt payments to insurers under Barack Obama’s healthcare law. Democrats accused him of a “temper tantrum” and spiteful attempt to sabotage legislation he promised but failed to replace. Less than 24 hours later, he condemned the “fanatical” government of Iran as he decertified his predecessor’s nuclear deal, defying his own cabinet and disquieting European allies.

The one-two punch showed Trump straining to assail Obama’s legacy but stopping short of terminating either the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare, or the Iran nuclear accord. Both are back in the hands of Congress, a source of constant exasperation for the property tycoon turned novice politician, who finds himself isolated and lashing out.

“The Congress has been frustrating to him,” John Kelly, the White House chief of staff, told reporters on Thursday. “Of course, our government is designed to be slow, and it is. His sense, I think, as a man who is outside the Washington arena, a businessman, much more of a man of action, I would say his great frustration is the process that he now finds himself [in].

“Because, in his view, the solutions are obvious, whether it’s tax cuts and tax reform, healthcare, infrastructure programmes, strengthening our military. To him, these all seem like obvious things that need to be done to protect the American people, bring jobs back.”

Since taking office 10 months ago as the first US president with no previous political or military experience, Trump has been given a crash course in the workings of government and the delicate balance of power between the White House, Capitol Hill and the courts. That his writ only runs so far has come as a rude awakening. His executive orders can only achieve so much, and frustrations have sometimes spilled out in impetuous speeches and tweets.

Rick Tyler, a political analyst and partner at Foundry Strategies, said: “He is acutely aware of the limits of presidential power. It’s not like being the CEO of a company where you just do what you want to do.

“By using executive orders, Trump is making something happen on healthcare. He’s prevented from changing it himself, but will force another branch of power to react. It’s the same on Iran.”

Having repeatedly vented his anger at the Republican-controlled Senate for failing to repeal and replace Obamacare, despite seven years of promises, Trump has now thrown a spanner in the works by ending the so-called cost-sharing subsidies that help people on low incomes. The White House claims the government cannot legally continue to pay the subsidies because it lacks formal authorisation by Congress.

Donald Trump



Donald Trump has responded by his inability to govern as he likes by throwing red meat to his base. Photograph: Yuri Gripas/Reuters

The president explained on Friday: “It’s step by step by step and that was a very big step yesterday … We’re going to have great healthcare in our country. We’re taking a little different route than we had hoped, because Congress forgot what their pledges were. So we’re going a little different route. But you know what? In the end, it’s going to be just as effective, and maybe it will even be better.”

The intervention, however, could backfire. It was condemned by Democrats including the House minority leader, Nancy Pelosi, who told reporters: “The president single-handedly decided to raise America’s health premiums for no reason other than spite and cruelty.” Senator Chris Murphy tweeted: “Trump’s decision to stop ACA payments is nuclear grade bananas, a temper tantrum that sets the entire health system on fire. My god.”

Doctors’ groups also warned of “dramatic, if not catastrophic, increases in premiums across the country” and millions of Americans losing coverage. Nineteen states plan to sue.

Trump has previously blamed the lack of healthcare fixes on Obama or Congress, but he now he risks being held personally responsible for cutting the system off at the knees. Robert Shrum, a Democratic consultant, said: “The healthcare thing is madness in both policy and politics. He’s wilful, he’s angry, he’s clearly lashing out. He was better off leaving healthcare to Lamar Alexander and Patty Murray”, the senators working on a bipartisan deal.

Trump’s claim that Iran has not lived up to the spirit of the nuclear deal and his threat to terminate it also put him at odds with his secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, and his defence secretary, Jim Mattis. The Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, said he welcomed what he called a courageous decision, but the leaders of Britain, France and Germany said they stood committed to the agreement.

Evan McMullin, a former CIA operative and independent presidential candidate, wrote via email: “I think the president’s actions on healthcare and Iran are the latest examples of his standing political strategy, which is to throw red meat to his base in order to maintain his base, as evidence of his unfitness and inability to govern mounts.

“If anything, his use of this tactic seems to be accelerating as it becomes increasingly clear, even to some of his closest friends and political allies, that he is failing.”

This acceleration coincides with reports of a darkening in Trump’s mood. A report in Vanity Fair magazine, citing two sources, claimed he had vented to his longtime security chief, Keith Schiller: “I hate everyone in the White House! There are a few exceptions, but I hate them!”

The journalist Gabriel Sherman also wrote that several people close to the president told him that Trump was unstable, “losing a step” and unraveling. Such concerns appear to be reaching a critical mass. NBC News reported that Tillerson had referred to Trump as a moron. The president insisted the story was false, but challenged Tillerson to an IQ contest.

Senator Bob Corker set off a political firestorm when he responded to tweeted attacks by Trump.



Senator Bob Corker set off a political firestorm when he responded to tweeted attacks by Trump. Photograph: Shawn Thew/EPA

Then Senator Bob Corker became one of the few Republicans on Capitol Hill to openly denounce Trump, though it is widely suspected that he speaks for many colleagues. During a Twitter clash last Sunday, Corker wrote: “It’s a shame the White House has become an adult day care center. Someone obviously missed their shift this morning.”

In an interview with the New York Times, the senator from Tennessee said: “I know for a fact that every single day at the White House, it’s a situation of trying to contain him … He doesn’t realise that we could be heading towards world war three with the kind of comments that he’s making.”

He also told the Washington Post on Friday that Trump had “castrated” Tillerson with remarks about his attempts to talk to North Korea.

Thomas Barrack Jr, a billionaire who was the top fundraiser for Trump’s election campaign, said he has been shocked and stunned by some of the president’s incendiary rhetoric and tweets.

“He thinks he has to be loyal to his base,” Barrack told the Washington Post. “I keep on saying, ‘But who is your base? You don’t have a natural base. Your base now is the world and America, so you have all these constituencies; show them who you really are.’ In my opinion, he’s better than this.”

If anyone can get through to Trump, it may be Barrack, one of his oldest friends. Rich Galen, a Republican strategist, said: “That got everybody’s attention because he’s buddy and spoke at the Republican convention. So there seems to be some change. That’s part of what’s feeding it.”

McMullin agreed that Trump seemed rattled by the recent criticisms from Tillerson, Corker and Barrack. “He probably understands their remarks represent a new stage of acceptance setting in across the country, even among his supporters, that he is unfit and incapable.

“That, I think, is inspiring his accelerated efforts to throw red meat to his base to shore up their support. I expect that to continue, if not intensify, and to result in increasing political challenges for the GOP as 2017 and 2018 elections approach and in years to come.”

منبع مطلب : https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/oct/14/donald-trump-iran-healthcare-white-house-corker

The Weinstein Company faces fight for survival with or without a new name

The Weinstein Company, the production outfit behind films including The Kings Speech, Carol and The Butler, has little chance of surviving allegations of sexual assault and rape that have engulfed co-founder Harvey Weinstein even if it gets a new name, entertainment industry lawyers have warned.

The company, they say, is vulnerable to potential investor and victim lawsuits despite claims by the board – which includes Harvey’s brother, Bob Weinstein – that it had no knowledge of any misconduct.

In a statement, the company said the allegations had “come as an utter surprise to the board. Any suggestion that the board had knowledge of this conduct is false.”

In a further statement issued after the New Yorker detailed allegations of rape, the TWC board said it was “shocked and dismayed” and “committed to assisting with our full energies in all criminal or other investigations of these alleged acts”.

Weinstein has now been accused by more than a dozen women of making unwanted sexual advances or of touching them sexually without their consent. He has said many of the details of those public accounts are inaccurate and he has denied accusations of criminal sexual harassment, rape and sexual assault.

Sallie Hofmeister, a spokesperson for Weinstein, said: “Any allegations of non-consensual sex are unequivocally denied by Mr Weinstein. With respect to any women who have made allegations on the record, Mr Weinstein believes that all of these relationships were consensual.”

Claims by TWC directors that they knew nothing of Weinstein’s activities have been severely undermined by David Boies, who represented Weinstein in his 2015 contract negotiation. Boies has said the board was aware at the time of three or four settlements with women.

“I would be surprised if the board isn’t talking seriously about, ‘What are our options for liquidation,’” said Eric Talley, professor of corporate law and finance at Columbia University. “Investors in the company may already be consulting their legal advisers what their claims might be, so of course it makes sense for the board to say, ‘This is the first we’ve heard of it.’”

Under US law, shareholders could argue that keeping a known serial harasser on the board was a breach of their fiduciary obligations to the company. They could, Talley said, argue: “‘Listen, you were the ones supposed to be look out for the assets of this company and in the end you were reckless and negligent in doing so and in fact actively helped to cover it up and that imperilled the welfare of this company,’.”

Aside from questions of liability in connection to what the board did or did not know, the larger issue for the board is whether the scandal has permanently besmirched TWC’s potential to be profitable.

“Given how central Harvey Weinstein was to the company, and how much its fortunes were tied up with him personally, to what extent can it go forward?” Talley asked. “These are real issues not easy to content with.”

On Friday, the Wall Street Journal reported that the company was exploring a sale or shutdown. Interested buyers have approached board members, the report said.

In a statement reported by the Journal, Bob Weinstein said: “Our banks, partners and shareholders are fully supportive of the company and it is untrue that the company or board is exploring a sale or shutdown.”

Mounting costs

The cost of the scandal has begun to emerge. Hours after defending Weinstein at film festival in South Korea, director Oliver Stone pasted a message on Facebook saying he would “recuse” himself from Showtime’s Guantánamo series “as long as the Weinstein Company is involved”.

Amazon Studios – now under its own sexual harassment storm with studio head Roy Price placed on leave of absence – is trying to buy out TWC’s interest in two drama series – The Romanoffs and an untitled David O Russell project starring Julianne Moore and Robert De Niro. But the actor Rose McGowan, who has said Weinstein raped her in 1997, has criticized Amazon for being in business with TWC and called on chief executive Jeff Bezos to cut ties with the company.

Rival production houses are circling a TWC musical, In The Heights. On Wednesday, writer Quiara Alegria Hudes tweeted her desire to remove the project from TWC, a message composer Lin-Manuel Miranda then retweeted.

Promotional plans tare also being affected. Michael Mitnick, writer of The Current War, a Weinstein-distributed picture, pulled out of a New York film festival panel to avoid questions about the scandal, according to Variety.

The company, which is around 45% owned by the Weinstein brothers, has valuable assets including a film library of around 525 titles and a TV division that includes Project Runway and its spinoffs, and which Harvey Weinstein estimated was worth “anywhere between $500m and $900m” in an interview with Deadline.

In 2015, though, a $950m deal to sell TWC’s TV assets to the British network ITV came unstuck after Manhattan district attorney Cyrus Vance announced his office was looking into a claim by an Italian model, Ambra Battilana Guttierez, that Weinstein sexually assaulted her. Vance dropped the case, a controversial decision that is now coming under renewed scrutiny.

A house divided

According to Variety, TWC co-chair Bob Weinstein and chief operating officer David Glasser think the firm should try to ride out the storm while its own lawyers investigate the allegations. The other board members, Lance Maerov, Ben Ammar and Richard Koenigsberg, are believed to be pushing for a sale.

According to Jonathan Hyman of law firm Meyers, Roman, Freidberg & Lewis, the best recent example of a board of directors sued for failing to remedy sexual harassment by its chief executive involved American Apparel and Dov Charney.

Charney has consistently denied sexual harassment allegations made against him by his own employees. Several claims were settled by American Apparel’s insurers; others were settled only on allegations that did not relate to sexual harassment. Claims against American Apparel’s board were dismissed because the plaintiffs failed to make a settlement demand.

Charney challenged his dismissal, but the case was thrown out of court.

According to TMZ, Weinstein’s contract included a clause preventing his dismissal on harassment grounds so long as he paid the settlements and fines. The website also reported that he is planning to challenge his firing at a board meeting on Tuesday.

A criminal case against Weinstein may be difficult to build but TWC could still be liable for civil lawsuits. That path, though, would also be far from straightforward. Under California law, the company could be liable. But in California the statute of limitations for civil sexual assault is two years. In New York, where the Battilana Guttierez assault is alleged to have taken place, it is three.

“If the claims come from Weinstein employees, some of the more recent could flow through Harvey Weinstein to the company for the harassment,” said Hyman. “If they were independent contractors like the actors who are coming forward, that’s more tricky. A company is only to be liable for acts by an employee to a third party done with the scope of employment.

“Most employers would tell you that because they don’t condone harassment, it’s outside the scope of employment so [they] should not be liable for his intentional harassing acts.”

But, said Hyman, if there are things the company knew, or should have known but ignored, or if it saw payments going out but did not ask what they were for, there will be liability issues.

TWC’s board could have reason to be anxious, especially given the the high public profile of the situation, Hyman said.

“If I was a director, I would be concerned about what I knew, or what should I have known, and [if I] did nothing but sign off on payments to various people, sure.”

منبع مطلب : https://www.theguardian.com/film/2017/oct/14/the-weinstein-company-harvey-weinstein-allegations

The Weinstein Company faces fight for survival with or without a new name

The Weinstein Company, the production outfit behind films including The Kings Speech, Carol and The Butler, has little chance of surviving allegations of sexual assault and rape that have engulfed co-founder Harvey Weinstein even if it gets a new name, entertainment industry lawyers have warned.

The company, they say, is vulnerable to potential investor and victim lawsuits despite claims by the board – which includes Harvey’s brother, Bob Weinstein – that it had no knowledge of any misconduct.

In a statement, the company said the allegations had “come as an utter surprise to the board. Any suggestion that the board had knowledge of this conduct is false.”

In a further statement issued after the New Yorker detailed allegations of rape, the TWC board said it was “shocked and dismayed” and “committed to assisting with our full energies in all criminal or other investigations of these alleged acts”.

Weinstein has now been accused by more than a dozen women of making unwanted sexual advances or of touching them sexually without their consent. He has said many of the details of those public accounts are inaccurate and he has denied accusations of criminal sexual harassment, rape and sexual assault.

Sallie Hofmeister, a spokesperson for Weinstein, said: “Any allegations of non-consensual sex are unequivocally denied by Mr Weinstein. With respect to any women who have made allegations on the record, Mr Weinstein believes that all of these relationships were consensual.”

Claims by TWC directors that they knew nothing of Weinstein’s activities have been severely undermined by David Boies, who represented Weinstein in his 2015 contract negotiation. Boies has said the board was aware at the time of three or four settlements with women.

“I would be surprised if the board isn’t talking seriously about, ‘What are our options for liquidation,’” said Eric Talley, professor of corporate law and finance at Columbia University. “Investors in the company may already be consulting their legal advisers what their claims might be, so of course it makes sense for the board to say, ‘This is the first we’ve heard of it.’”

Under US law, shareholders could argue that keeping a known serial harasser on the board was a breach of their fiduciary obligations to the company. They could, Talley said, argue: “‘Listen, you were the ones supposed to be look out for the assets of this company and in the end you were reckless and negligent in doing so and in fact actively helped to cover it up and that imperilled the welfare of this company,’.”

Aside from questions of liability in connection to what the board did or did not know, the larger issue for the board is whether the scandal has permanently besmirched TWC’s potential to be profitable.

“Given how central Harvey Weinstein was to the company, and how much its fortunes were tied up with him personally, to what extent can it go forward?” Talley asked. “These are real issues not easy to content with.”

On Friday, the Wall Street Journal reported that the company was exploring a sale or shutdown. Interested buyers have approached board members, the report said.

In a statement reported by the Journal, Bob Weinstein said: “Our banks, partners and shareholders are fully supportive of the company and it is untrue that the company or board is exploring a sale or shutdown.”

Mounting costs

The cost of the scandal has begun to emerge. Hours after defending Weinstein at film festival in South Korea, director Oliver Stone pasted a message on Facebook saying he would “recuse” himself from Showtime’s Guantánamo series “as long as the Weinstein Company is involved”.

Amazon Studios – now under its own sexual harassment storm with studio head Roy Price placed on leave of absence – is trying to buy out TWC’s interest in two drama series – The Romanoffs and an untitled David O Russell project starring Julianne Moore and Robert De Niro. But the actor Rose McGowan, who has said Weinstein raped her in 1997, has criticized Amazon for being in business with TWC and called on chief executive Jeff Bezos to cut ties with the company.

Rival production houses are circling a TWC musical, In The Heights. On Wednesday, writer Quiara Alegria Hudes tweeted her desire to remove the project from TWC, a message composer Lin-Manuel Miranda then retweeted.

Promotional plans tare also being affected. Michael Mitnick, writer of The Current War, a Weinstein-distributed picture, pulled out of a New York film festival panel to avoid questions about the scandal, according to Variety.

The company, which is around 45% owned by the Weinstein brothers, has valuable assets including a film library of around 525 titles and a TV division that includes Project Runway and its spinoffs, and which Harvey Weinstein estimated was worth “anywhere between $500m and $900m” in an interview with Deadline.

In 2015, though, a $950m deal to sell TWC’s TV assets to the British network ITV came unstuck after Manhattan district attorney Cyrus Vance announced his office was looking into a claim by an Italian model, Ambra Battilana Guttierez, that Weinstein sexually assaulted her. Vance dropped the case, a controversial decision that is now coming under renewed scrutiny.

A house divided

According to Variety, TWC co-chair Bob Weinstein and chief operating officer David Glasser think the firm should try to ride out the storm while its own lawyers investigate the allegations. The other board members, Lance Maerov, Ben Ammar and Richard Koenigsberg, are believed to be pushing for a sale.

According to Jonathan Hyman of law firm Meyers, Roman, Freidberg & Lewis, the best recent example of a board of directors sued for failing to remedy sexual harassment by its chief executive involved American Apparel and Dov Charney.

Charney has consistently denied sexual harassment allegations made against him by his own employees. Several claims were settled by American Apparel’s insurers; others were settled only on allegations that did not relate to sexual harassment. Claims against American Apparel’s board were dismissed because the plaintiffs failed to make a settlement demand.

Charney challenged his dismissal, but the case was thrown out of court.

According to TMZ, Weinstein’s contract included a clause preventing his dismissal on harassment grounds so long as he paid the settlements and fines. The website also reported that he is planning to challenge his firing at a board meeting on Tuesday.

A criminal case against Weinstein may be difficult to build but TWC could still be liable for civil lawsuits. That path, though, would also be far from straightforward. Under California law, the company could be liable. But in California the statute of limitations for civil sexual assault is two years. In New York, where the Battilana Guttierez assault is alleged to have taken place, it is three.

“If the claims come from Weinstein employees, some of the more recent could flow through Harvey Weinstein to the company for the harassment,” said Hyman. “If they were independent contractors like the actors who are coming forward, that’s more tricky. A company is only to be liable for acts by an employee to a third party done with the scope of employment.

“Most employers would tell you that because they don’t condone harassment, it’s outside the scope of employment so [they] should not be liable for his intentional harassing acts.”

But, said Hyman, if there are things the company knew, or should have known but ignored, or if it saw payments going out but did not ask what they were for, there will be liability issues.

TWC’s board could have reason to be anxious, especially given the the high public profile of the situation, Hyman said.

“If I was a director, I would be concerned about what I knew, or what should I have known, and [if I] did nothing but sign off on payments to various people, sure.”

منبع مطلب : https://www.theguardian.com/film/2017/oct/14/the-weinstein-company-harvey-weinstein-allegations

Somalia: deadly truck bombing in Mogadishu

At least 20 people have died in Mogadishu after a truck bomb detonated in a busy district of the Somali capital that is home to hotels, shops, restaurants and government offices.

Security forces were trailing the truck on KM4 street in Hodan district when it exploded on Saturday, police captain Mohamed Hussein told the Associated Press. It is believed the target was a hotel. At least 15 people were injured.

The explosion left a trail of destruction across a busy intersection, and the windows of nearby buildings were shattered.

“There was a traffic jam and the road was packed with bystanders and cars,” said Abdinur Abdulle, a waiter at a nearby restaurant. “It’s a disaster.”

Another witness, Ismail Yusuf, told Agence France-Presse: “This was very horrible, the bomb went off alongside the busy road and left many people dead. I saw several dead bodies strewn about but could not count them. It was horrible.”

There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but the Islamist al-Shabaab group has carried out regular attacks. The organisation, which is allied to al-Qaida, is waging an insurgency to topple the weak UN-backed government and its African Union allies.

The attack comes two days after the head of the US Africa command was in Mogadishu to meet Somalia’s president.

Al-Shabaab has lost most of the territory it controlled to African Union peacekeepers and government troops in recent years, backed by US drone attacks.

The militants still launch frequent deadly gun, grenade and bomb attacks in high-profile areas of Mogadishu and other regions controlled by the federal government. Many attacks are aimed at military bases, but some have targeted civilians.

منبع مطلب : https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/oct/14/somalia-several-killed-in-mogadishu-truck-bomb