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Updated: 2 weeks 22 hours ago

Jeffrey Epstein Found Dead Of Apparent Suicide In His Jail Cell

Sat, 08/10/2019 - 16:03

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Jeffrey Epstein killed himself in a Manhattan jail, law enforcement sources told several news outlets.

According to ABC, emergency responders received a cardiac arrest call around 6:40 a.m. on Saturday. Epstein reportedly hanged himself. This comes two weeks after a different incident where Epstein was found unconscious in his cell and was placed on suicide watch. He reportedly wasn't on suicide watch at the time of his death, despite previous reports that he may have been. 

On Friday, a federal appeals court in New York unsealed hundreds of pages of documents related to Epstein's decade-old case in Florida. In 2008, Epstein pleaded guilty to prostitution charges. The documents mention many high-profile associates of Epstein.

Epstein was arrested again in July for allegedly sexually abusing dozens of underage girls. He was being held without bail for conspiracy and sex trafficking charges. He pleaded not guilty.

Last month, Epstein's lawyer said his client was willing to pay up to $100 million in bail to live under house arrest in his multi-million dollar townhouse pending trial. He was denied bail and had been in jail since. Epstein faced up to 45 years in prison if he was found guilty.

If you need to talk to someone, you can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text "HOME" to the Crisis Text Line at 741741.

Twitter Unlocks McConnell's Campaign Account After Blocking Video

Sat, 08/10/2019 - 15:26

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Twitter reversed course on Friday, unlocking Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's campaign account just days after it was frozen for posting a video of protesters yelling violent threats outside McConnell's home.

The account was locked earlier this week after the video was posted. Twitter explained at the time that the tweet violated its violent threats policy, "specifically threats involving physical safety."

In a statement from the company's communications account, Twitter wrote, "After multiple appeals from affected users and Leader McConnell’s team confirming their intent to highlight the threats for public discussion, we have reviewed this case more closely. ... Going forward, the video will be visible on the service with a sensitive media interstitial and only in cases where the Tweet content does not otherwise violate the Twitter Rules."

McConnell's campaign account posted a tweet quickly after the account was unlocked that proclaimed "victory." 

Twitter maintained in its statement Friday that the tweet in question was a clear violation of its rules.

Judge Rules In Favor Of Gavin Grimm In Transgender Bathroom Case

Sat, 08/10/2019 - 01:52

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A federal judge in Virginia ruled Friday that a school board’s transgender bathroom policy did discriminate against a former student.

Gavin Grimm sued the Gloucester County School Board over its bathroom policy in 2015 while he was still a high school student. The policy banned Grimm from using the boys' restroom, mandating that all students use the bathrooms associated with their "biological genders." Grimm's lawyers argued the rule violated his rights under Title IX as well as the equal protection clause of the Constitution.

In her ruling, the judge wrote "there is no question" that the policy discriminated against transgender students, given that "under the policy, all students except for transgender students may use restrooms corresponding with their gender identity." As such, she said, under the policy "transgender students are singled out, subjected to discriminatory treatment, and excluded from spaces where similarly situated students are permitted to go." 

The judge also ordered the school board to update Grimm's high school transcripts to reflect his gender identity.

In response to the ruling, Grimm tweeted: "It is such a relief to achieve this closure and vindication from the court after four years of fighting not just for myself, but for trans youth across America. I promise to continue to advocate for as long as it takes for everyone to be able to live their authentic lives freely, in public, and without harassment and discrimination."

North Korea Sends President Trump Letter, Continues To Fire Missiles

Sat, 08/10/2019 - 01:43

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North Korea reportedly fired two more missiles into the Sea of Japan on Saturday local time, according to South Korea's military.

North Korea has launched several short-range missile tests within the last three weeks, which some say violates a United Nations treaty. North Korea has said the tests were warnings against the U.S. and South Korea for conducting joint military exercises. The U.S. and South Korea are planning to continue their annual joint military exercises despite North Korea's protest. Earlier in the day, President Donald Trump  repeated to play down the missile tests. 

"There have been no nuclear tests," President Trump said. "The missile tests have all been short-ranged — no ballistic missile test. No long-range missiles."

President Trump also said he received a "beautiful" letter from North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. He described the three-page letter as "very positive." The president said he thinks they'll have another meeting in the future to discuss denuclearization. The leaders have met three times face-to-face, but none of those meetings have lead to plans to denuclearize the country. Nuclear negotiations have been stalled since the Hanoi summit in February. 

U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper and South Korea's defense minister have agreed to work together to support diplomatic efforts to denuclearize North Korea, according to Yonhap.  

Senators Urge Tech Execs To Crack Down On Gun Accessory Sales

Sat, 08/10/2019 - 01:31

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Nine U.S. senators sent letters to Google, eBay and Amazon imploring the e-commerce giants to end "loopholes" on their sites that "reportedly allowed listings for the purchase of shotgun rounds, ammunition clips, and assault weapon components."

The lawmakers, led by Sen. Robert Menendez, asked the companies' CEOs for oversight details, such as how the companies police their online marketplaces. 

The senators wrote: "We write to urge you to immediately implement stronger measures to keep gun accessory sales off your platform. America is in the throes of a gun violence epidemic and it is incumbent upon corporate America to do its part to help end the carnage."

They sent the letters in the wake of a series of mass shootings that have occurred over the last month, taking the lives of dozens and injuring many others.

The letters' signees included multiple Democratic presidential hopefuls, including Sens. Cory Booker, Kamala Harris and Amy Klobuchar.

WaPo: Trump Org. Construction Companies Hire Undocumented Workers

Fri, 08/09/2019 - 23:27

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The Latino construction workers who tended to Trump Organization properties, building rock walls and other regal features at resorts such as these, were known as "Los Picapiedras" — Spanish for "the Flintstones."

That's according to a Washington Post report out Friday. Two former employees of a construction company used by the Trump Organization told the Post they were hired to work at President Trump's properties despite having entered the U.S. illegally and lacking proper papers.

One told the newspaper that a supervisor instructed him and other workers to buy fake Social Security numbers and green cards in New York. A current employee of Mobile Payroll Construction said the crews that worked on President Trump's winery and golf resorts also included unauthorized workers.

The Post report comes two days after sweeping raids targeting undocumented workers at agricultural plants in Mississippi. And those raids followed the El Paso mass shooting, which ramped up criticism of the president's immigration rhetoric; among other statements, he has repeatedly said the U.S. is facing a migrant "invasion."

On Friday, a Trump Organization spokeswoman told Newsy in a statement: "Where an employee is found to have provided fake or fraudulent documentation to unlawfully gain employment, that individual will be terminated. Fortunately, among the thousands of individuals employed by our organization, we have encountered very few instances where this has occurred."

The Post interviewed Jorge Castro, a 55-year-old undocumented immigrant from Ecuador who worked for the same construction firm and at seven resort properties over nine years. He told the newspaper President Trump "doesn't want undocumented people in the country," but added, "At his properties, he still has them." 

Edmundo Morocho, another unauthorized immigrant who worked for the construction crew, told the Post a supervisor directed him to a New York street corner to buy fake documents.

And last year, Victorina Morales, an undocumented worker from Guatemala, shared her story with The New York Times about working as the president's housekeeper at the Trump National Golf Club in New Jersey. She stopped working at the club after that story was published.

On Friday, the president offered this determined statement on the ICE raids in Mississippi. 

"I want people to know that if the come into the United States illegally, they're getting out. They're going to be brought out. And this serves as a very good deterrent."

But Castro told the Post he doesn't believe that applies to Trump Organization properties. "If you're a good worker," he said, "papers don't matter."

El Paso Suspect Reportedly Told Police He Was Targeting 'Mexicans'

Fri, 08/09/2019 - 22:26

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The suspected gunman in the shooting at an El Paso Walmart reportedly told police he was targeting "Mexicans." The attack left 22 people dead and two dozen more wounded.

According to an arrest warrant affidavit obtained by The Washington Post, the suspect confessed to the shooting when he surrendered to police. Given the growing body of research indicating that many mass shooters are motivated by the assurance of gaining notoriety, Newsy does not name suspected shooters or show images of them. 

The affidavit says once the suspect was in police custody, he told officials he'd traveled from Allen, Texas, to the Walmart in El Paso "and entered the store with an assault rifle and multiple magazines." The suspect reportedly "stated his target were 'Mexicans.'"

The suspect also reportedly posted a racist and anti-immigrant manifesto on the website 8chan just prior to the shooting. He's been charged with capital murder and is being held without bond.

Additional reporting from Newsy affiliate CNN

U.K. Power Outage Affects About 500,000 People

Fri, 08/09/2019 - 21:58

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Large areas of the U.K., including parts of London, were hit with major power failures on Friday, resulting in transportation delays and other issues.

The power outage was a result of problems with two power generators, according to the National Grid. Officials say the issue has now been resolved.

According to BBC News, the peak of rush hour in London saw all departing trains suspended at King's Cross station.

British Transport Police sent officers to multiple train stations to assist with disruptions stemming from the outage.

Roughly 500,000 people were reportedly affected by the outage in Western Power Distribution's area.

Fukushima Plant Is Running Out Of Space To Put Radioactive Water

Fri, 08/09/2019 - 21:39

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Tokyo Electric Power Company, which operates Fukushima's nuclear power plant, says it will run out of space to store radioactive water within the next three years. That's according to the Associated Press.  

A magnitude 9.0 earthquake and tsunami devastated northeastern Japan in 2011. The event caused meltdowns at three reactors at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant. The meltdowns caused radioactive water to leak from the reactors. 

The water is being stored in 1,000 large tanks, holding more than 1 million tons of water. The company said it will build more tanks to hold an additional 1.37 million tons, but it will reach capacity by the summer of 2022. 

Officials don't know what they're going to do with the radioactive water. A government-commissioned panel has picked five possible options. One of them includes releasing the water into the Pacific Ocean, but critics say this would ruin Fukushima's fishing and agriculture. Other options include underground injection and vaporization. They also have a sixth option: long-term storage. 

It's unclear when they'll make there decision by. 

How Do Companies Lose Billions And Still Stay Afloat?

Fri, 08/09/2019 - 19:50

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Uber announced it lost $5.2 billion in just one quarter — its biggest loss ever. So how do companies lose so much money and still stay afloat?

Think of a company like a family. Every month, families try to balance their income with expenses, and many try to have some money set aside for emergencies. Let's say an unexpected car repair causes costs to go up one month. With money that's set aside, this hypothetical family is able to get the car fixed and still be OK financially.

So right now, you could think of Uber's $5.2 billion loss as a temporary hiccup. But if it keeps happening, the company could land in some serious financial trouble. 

And with Uber specifically, there's another variable to consider: future value.

Investors who pour money into startups like Uber often do so because they see the potential for success, and experiencing losses in the beginning is normal. When profits are down, Uber can look to other metrics to demonstrate success — like increases in the number of active monthly users.

So short-term losses aren't always terrible. Companies can plan ahead for that, and investors can look past it — as long as things turn around eventually.

China Braces For Typhoon Lekima

Fri, 08/09/2019 - 19:49

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China has issued its highest warning as Typhoon Lekima moves toward the coast.

The National Meteorological Center put parts of Eastern China on red alert, forcing thousands of fishing boats to return to shore. The storm is expected to make landfall early Saturday local time, bringing heavy rains. 

Authorities closed schools and businesses in Taipei, Taiwan's capital, on Friday ahead of the storm.

The storm system has already left over 14,000 homes without power on Japan's Okinawa Islands.

Additional reporting from Newsy affiliate CNN.

Walmart Removes Displays For Violent Video Games After Store Shootings

Fri, 08/09/2019 - 17:15

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Walmart has told its employees to remove signs and displays for violent video games after recent shootings at its stores. 

Video game journalist Kenneth Shepard posted the company memo on Twitter. It instructs employees to turn off or unplug video game consoles that display violent content, and cancel any promotional events that feature combat style or third-person shooter games. 

A Walmart spokesperson confirmed the memo to Newsy. In a statement, the company said, "We've taken this action out of respect for the incidents of the past week, and this action does not reflect a long-term change in our video game assortment."

The directive comes after multiple incidents at Walmart stores. A gunman at an El Paso store last weekend killed 22 people and injured dozens of others. Days before that mass shooting, two Walmart managers were shot and killed in Mississippi. And just Thursday, police arrested a man in Missouri after he entered a store wearing tactical armor and carrying two firearms. 

Days after the El Paso shooting, a Walmart spokesperson said the company will continue to sell firearms. The company told Newsy it was reviewing its policies while supporting the communities affected by these shootings. 

President Trump and other lawmakers have linked violent video games to mass shootings. But multiple studies show there is no direct connection between video games and violent acts. 

Bayer Might Pay $8 Billion To Settle All The Roundup Lawsuits

Fri, 08/09/2019 - 17:14

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After a few big losses in court, Bayer might be considering a big settlement to put an end to the plethora of weed killer lawsuits. 

The pharmaceutical giant is reportedly offering to pay up to $8 billion to settle all current and future lawsuits related to Roundup. 

The company inherited the suits when it bought Monsanto in 2018. Roundup's main herbicide is glyphosate, and some studies have shown that that can cause cancer in humans. 

There are reportedly over 18,000 Roundup lawsuits pending. Three cases have already gone to trial, and Bayer was initially ordered to pay over $2.4 billion to the four people involved. But all three of those awards were later reduced, bringing the total for those cases down to $190 million. 

Uber Shows Record Loss In Q2 Earnings Report

Fri, 08/09/2019 - 17:10

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Uber reported the biggest loss in its history Thursday.

The ride-hailing company reported a $5.2 billion loss in its second quarter. 

Part of that loss comes from $3.9 billion in compensation costs connected to Uber going public in May.

But Uber did report some positive milestones. The company's revenue rose 14% over the same quarter last year to $3.17 billion.  

And Uber's CEO said gross bookings were up 37% over the second quarter of last year, and the platform reached over 100 million monthly active consumers in July.

House Judiciary Committee Conducting 'Formal Impeachment Proceedings'

Fri, 08/09/2019 - 16:03

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House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler publicly confirmed Thursday that his panel is conducting "formal impeachment proceedings" against President Donald Trump.

He told CNN: "We are investigating all the evidence, we're gathering the evidence, and we will at the conclusion of this, hopefully by the end of the year, vote articles of impeachment to the House floor or we won't. That's a decision that we'll have to make."

Here's what that process looks like: Nadler says articles of impeachment have already been referred to the Judiciary Committee, but the committee may draft its own to "more closely fit the evidence." 

Then, as Nadler mentioned, the committee will decide whether to bring those articles of impeachment to the House floor. The Constitution specifies that the House of Representatives has the "sole power" to impeach an official.  

It's important to note: Impeachment is the process, not the outcome. If it goes to the House floor and a simple majority of representatives vote yes, then the president is impeached and the process would move on to the Senate. 

The Senate would hold a trial and essentially act as the jury, while some House members act as prosecutors. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts would be the judge. A two-thirds majority is required for the Senate to convict. 

To put it simply: If the articles of impeachment make it to the House floor, they have a good shot of being voted through. But, the president is unlikely to be convicted in the Republican-majority Senate.

That's why House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has been resistant to moving forward with the process without bipartisan support. Nadler said the committee isn't waiting for Pelosi's go-ahead, but that she's been cooperative with the process.

Additional reporting from Newsy affiliate CNN.

Malaysia Files Charges Against 17 Goldman Sachs Executives

Fri, 08/09/2019 - 15:41

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Malaysian authorities filed criminal charges against 17 current and former Goldman Sachs executives in connection with a financial scandal involving state-run investment fund 1MDB. 

Friday's charges were brought under a section of Malaysia's Capital Markets and Services Act. It holds certain senior officers responsible for any offenses that may have been committed during the time they worked for the employer. 

Goldman Sachs helped raise $6.5 billion through three bond offerings for 1MDB in 2012 and 2013. Authorities have accused the bank of fraudulently diverting $2.7 billion of that money and misleading investors about it.

The U.S. Department of Justice has said a total of $4.5 billion was stolen from 1MDB by high-level officials. At least six countries have been investigating the fund.

All 17 who were charged Friday helped head up three of the bank's subsidiaries between that 2012 and 2013 period. That includes Richard Gnodde, who is the chief executive of Goldman Sachs International.

A spokesman for the bank said the company believes the charges, which each carry a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison, are "misdirected."

Friday's charges are on top of criminal charges Malaysian authorities filed in late 2018 against the three Goldman Sachs subsidiaries and two of the bank's former employees in connection with the scandal. 

Three-Day Protest Starts At Hong Kong Airport

Fri, 08/09/2019 - 13:12

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Demonstrators kicked off what's scheduled to be three days of protests at Hong Kong's international airport on Friday. 

Videos of the rally show hundreds of protesters dressed in black sitting in the airport's large arrivals hall. They're waving banners and signs and handing out leaflets to travelers. 

The travel hub, which handled almost 75 million passengers in 2018, is the world's eighth busiest airport. In preparation for the protests, the city's airport authority implemented additional security measures, such as only allowing those with boarding passes to enter the check-in area. 

The airport demonstration marks the start of the 10th consecutive weekend of protests across Hong Kong, which have been turning increasingly violent. But several activists told news outlets the airport sit-in should remain peaceful. And there were reportedly not many police officers in the arrivals hall hours after the protest started. 

Protests began over a now-suspended extradition bill, which would have allowed China to extradite suspects from Hong Kong. But they've grown to include issues like police brutality and calls for Hong Kong's leader Carrie Lam to step down.

Lam, who's refused to step aside, urged people on Friday to stop participating in the protests. 

Additional reporting from Newsy affiliate CNN.

ICE Releases Around 300 Undocumented Workers After Massive Raid

Fri, 08/09/2019 - 12:02

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U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said by Thursday morning, it released hundreds of people detained in a massive operation on Wednesday.

ICE officers detained around 680 undocumented workers in the raid in Mississippi. A federal prosecutor said the raid on multiple food processing plants was the "largest single-state immigration enforcement operation" in U.S. history. 

"While we are a nation of immigrants, more than that we are first and foremost a nation of laws," said Mike Hurst, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Mississippi.  

Authorities released around 300 people. Many of them received notices to appear before an immigration judge. Even though those people aren't being detained, they're unlikely to keep their old jobs because of their immigration status.

In a statement on Thursday, the Department of Justice said some of the releases were for humanitarian reasons. The department said officers asked each person whether they had children at home. Then, any child that was left without a parent after the raid had one parent released.

According to the Associated Press, ICE also said it released more than a dozen detained workers because they themselves were children — one as young as 14.

Additional reporting from Newsy affiliate CNN

White House Holding Online Extremism Summit Friday

Fri, 08/09/2019 - 11:05

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After last weekend's deadly shootings, the White House is holding a roundtable discussion Friday on violent online extremism with various tech and internet companies.

A White House spokesman did not specifically name who or which companies would take part in the meeting, but did say senior Trump administration officials and company representatives would be in attendance. 

The two shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, left at least 31 people dead and dozens more injured. 

The suspected gunman in the El Paso shooting reportedly posted a racist and anti-immigrant manifesto on the messaging website 8chan minutes before opening fire. It's at least the third time the site has been linked to shootings this year, including the livestreamed mosque shootings in Christchurch, New Zealand in March. 

On Monday, President Donald Trump ordered the Justice Department to work with social media companies to develop ways to identify potential mass shooters. 

"We must recognize that the internet has provided a dangerous avenue to radicalize disturbed minds and perform demented acts. We must shine light on the dark recesses of the internet and stop mass murders before they start," President Trump said. 

It's unclear if the president will be at Friday's summit.

Additional reporting from Newsy affiliate CNN.

Government Issues Updated Guidelines For Animals On Planes

Fri, 08/09/2019 - 02:54

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The Department of Transportation has announced how it will enforce rules governing animals on planes.

On Thursday, the Transportation Department issued a Final Statement of Enforcement Priorities Regarding Service Animals to provide "greater clarity to passengers, airlines, and other stakeholders" about existing rules. In its statement, the department says airlines can no longer ban specific breeds of cats or dogs, but can still decide on a case-by-case basis if an animal is safe to travel. It also says airlines can still require advance notice if passengers plan to bring an emotional support animal, but cannot do the same for passengers with traditional service animals, such as guide dogs for the blind.

The Transportation Department plans to publish its guidelines next week, and airlines will have 30 days after that to comply.

Last year, Delta Air Lines announced it would no longer accept "pit bull type dogs" as service or support animals due to "recent incidents in which several employees were bitten." A Delta spokesperson said the airline is reviewing the Transportation Department's changes.