Day: January 19, 2020

AP News in Brief at 12:04 a.m. EST

Trump team, House managers trade sharp views on impeachment

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump’s legal team issued a fiery response Saturday ahead of opening arguments in his impeachment trial, while House Democrats laid out their case in forceful fashion, saying the president betrayed public trust with behaviour that was the “worst nightmare” of the founding fathers.

The dueling filings previewed arguments both sides intend to make once Trump’s impeachment trial begins in earnest Tuesday in the Senate. Their challenge will be to make a case that appeals to the 100 senators who will render the verdict and for an American public bracing for a presidential election in 10 months.

“President Donald J. Trump used his official powers to pressure a foreign government to interfere in a United States election for his personal political gain,” the House prosecutors wrote, “and then attempted to cover up his scheme by obstructing Congress’s investigation into his misconduct.”

Trump’s legal team, responding to the Senate’s official summons for the trial, said the president “categorically and unequivocally” denies the charges of abuse and obstruction against him.

“This is a brazen and unlawful attempt to overturn the results of the 2016 election and interfere with the 2020 election, now just months away,” the president’s filing states.

___

Harry, Meghan to quit royal jobs, give up ‘highness’ titles

LONDON (AP) — Goodbye, your royal highnesses. Hello, life as — almost — ordinary civilians.

Prince Harry and wife Meghan will no longer use the titles “royal highness” or receive public funds for their work under a deal that lets the couple step aside as working royals, Buckingham Palace announced Saturday.

Releasing details of the dramatic split triggered by the couple’s unhappiness with life under media scrutiny, the palace said Harry and Meghan will cease to be working members of the royal family when the new arrangements take effect in the “spring of 2020.”

The radical break is more complete than the type of arrangement anticipated 10 days ago when the royal couple stunned Britain with an abrupt announcement that they wanted to step down. They said they planed to combine some royal duties with private work in a “progressive” plan, but that is no longer on the table.

Harry and Meghan will no longer use the titles His Royal Highness and Her Royal Highness but will retain them, leaving the possibility that the couple might change their minds and return sometime in the future.

___

National Archives: ‘We made a mistake’ altering Trump photos

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) — The National Archives said Saturday it made a mistake when it blurred images of anti-Trump signs used in an exhibit on women’s suffrage.

The independent agency is charged with preserving government and historical records and said it has always been committed to preserving its holdings “without alteration.”

But the archives said in a statement Saturday “we made a mistake.” The archives’ statement came one day after The Washington Post published an online report about the altered images.

The archives said the photo in question is not one of its archival records, but rather was licensed for use as a promotional graphic in the exhibit.

“Nonetheless, we were wrong to alter the image,” the agency said.

___

Newly released texts tie Nunes aide closer to Ukraine plot

WASHINGTON (AP) — New documents released by House Democrats suggest that Rep. Devin Nunes, the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, was more deeply involved than was previously known in efforts by allies of President Donald Trump to dig up dirt in Ukraine on former Vice-President Joe Biden.

Democrats on the Intelligence Committee released a trove of text messages, photos and other documents Friday night as part of the impeachment inquiry. The materials were provided to the House by Lev Parnas, a Florida businessman who worked with Trump personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani to try to persuade the Ukrainian government to launch an investigation into Biden.

Nunes initially denied knowing Parnas but has since been forced to admit the two had spoken. The messages released Friday show about 100 text messages traded over months between Parnas and the California Republican’s staffer, Derek Harvey, a retired U.S. Army colonel. Harvey previously served at the White House on Trump’s National Security Council.

The months-long effort directed by Trump and Giuliani to prod Ukrainian officials to launch an investigation into Biden and his son Hunter’s business dealings in Ukraine is at the core of the two impeachment articles against Trump passed last month in a largely party-line vote. The non-partisan Government Accountability Office ruled Thursday that the White House broke the law last summer when it withheld congressionally authorized security assistance to Ukraine, essential aid that Democrats allege was being held hostage pending the announcement of the investigations Trump sought.

Parnas and his business partner, Igor Fruman, both U.S. citizens who emigrated from the former Soviet Union, were indicted last year on charges of conspiracy, making false statements and falsification of records. Prosecutors allege they made outsize campaign donations to Republican causes after receiving millions of dollars originating from Russia. The men have pleaded not guilty.

___

Fires set stage for irreversible forest losses in Australia

Australia’s forests are burning at a rate unmatched in modern times and scientists say the landscape is being permanently altered as a warming climate brings profound changes to the island continent.

Heat waves and drought have fueled bigger and more frequent fires in parts of Australia, so far this season torching some 40,000 square miles (104,000 square kilometres), an area about as big as Ohio.

With blazes still raging in the country’s southeast, government officials are drawing up plans to reseed burned areas to speed up forest recovery that could otherwise take decades or even centuries.

But some scientists and forestry experts doubt that reseeding and other intervention efforts can match the scope of the destruction. The fires since September have killed 28 people and burned more than 2,600 houses.

Before the recent wildfires, ecologists divided up Australia’s native vegetation into two categories: fire-adapted landscapes that burn periodically, and those that don’t burn. In the recent fires, that distinction lost meaning — even rainforests and peat swamps caught fire, likely changing them forever.

___

Discovery of unused disaster supplies angers Puerto Rico

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — People in a southern Puerto Rico city discovered a warehouse filled with water, cots and other unused emergency supplies, then set off a social media uproar Saturday when they broke in to retrieve goods as the area struggles to recover from a strong earthquake.

With anger spreading in the U.S. territory after video of the event in Ponce appeared on Facebook, Gov. Wanda Vázquez quickly fired the director of the island’s emergency management agency.

The governor said she had ordered an investigation after learning the emergency supplies had been piled in the warehouse since Hurricane Maria battered Puerto Rico in September 2017.

Vázquez said inaction by the fired official, Carlos Acevedo, was unacceptable.

“There are thousands of people who have made sacrifices to help those in the south, and it is unforgivable that resources were kept in the warehouse,” the governor said.

___

AP visits immigration courts across US, finds nonstop chaos

LUMPKIN, Ga. (AP) — In a locked, guarded courtroom in a compound surrounded by razor wire, Immigration Judge Jerome Rothschild waits — and stalls.

A Spanish interpreter is running late because of a flat tire. Rothschild tells the five immigrants before him that he’ll take a break before the proceedings even start. His hope: to delay just long enough so these immigrants won’t have to sit by, uncomprehendingly, as their futures are decided.

“We are, untypically, without an interpreter,” Rothschild tells a lawyer who enters the courtroom at the Stewart Detention Center after driving down from Atlanta, about 140 miles away.

In its disorder, this is, in fact, a typical day in the chaotic, crowded and confusing U.S. immigration court system of which Rothschild’s courtroom is just one small outpost.

Shrouded in secrecy, the immigration courts run by the U.S. Department of Justice have been dysfunctional for years and have only gotten worse. A surge in the arrival of asylum seekers and the Trump administration’s crackdown on the Southwest border and illegal immigration have pushed more people into deportation proceedings, swelling the court’s docket to 1 million cases.

___

ICE ups ante in standoff with NYC: ‘This is not a request’

NEW YORK (AP) — Federal authorities are turning to a new tactic in the escalating conflict over New York City’s so-called sanctuary policies, issuing four “immigration subpoenas” to the city for information about inmates wanted for deportation.

“This is not a request — it’s a demand,” Henry Lucero, a senior U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement official, told The Associated Press. “This is a last resort for us. Dangerous criminals are being released every single day in New York.”

Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration said Saturday the city would review the subpoenas.

“New York City will not change the policies that have made us the safest big city in America,” spokeswoman Freddi Goldstein said in an email.

The development comes days after ICE sent similar subpoenas to the city of Denver, a move that reflected the agency’s mounting frustration with jurisdictions that do not honour deportation “detainers” or provide any details about defendants going in and out of local custody.

___

Biden rips Sanders campaign for Social Security attacks

INDIANOLA, Iowa (AP) — Joe Biden has called for Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign to “disown” what he calls “doctored video” that some Sanders supporters say shows the former vice-president endorsing Republican calls to cut Social Security and Medicare.

“There’s a little doctored video going around … put out by one of Bernie’s people,” Biden told supporters Saturday in Indianola, Iowa, referring to a 2018 speech in which Biden discussed then-House Speaker Paul Ryan saying rising deficit demanded action on the popular entitlement programs.

“I’m looking for his campaign to come forward and disown it,” Biden continued, pointing to his 2020 campaign proposals designed to shore up Social Security. “But they haven’t done it yet.”

The video in question, circulated on Twitter by a top Sanders adviser, does not appear to be altered. But the short clip omits Biden’s larger argument over how Ryan handled the 2017 tax cuts and subsequent budget debates. A separate Sanders’ adviser included a transcript of Biden’s remarks in the video clip in a separate campaign newsletter. He added other, more extended video, of Biden as a U.S. senator in 1995 and presidential candidate in 2007 explaining his support for a more austere federal budget, including putting Social Security and Medicare “on the table.”

The 2020 campaign flap highlights long-standing philosophical fissures between the progressive Sanders, who has spent decades arguing for a massive expansion of the federal government, and the more centrist Biden. Those differences have come to the forefront as Biden and Sanders are bunched with Pete Buttigieg and Elizabeth Warren atop early state polls weeks before the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary.

___

Boy arrested after shooting that killed 4 in small Utah town

A boy armed with a gun killed three children and a woman inside a Utah home, then accompanied a fifth victim to a hospital, where he was arrested, police said Saturday.

Police were still trying to piece together who’s who and what happened leading up to Friday night’s shooting in Grantsville. Investigators believe the victims are all related to one another, and officials declined to release information about the shooter other than he is a juvenile male.

“We’re trying to make certain that we verify people’s relationships among the deceased and the survivor,” Grantsville Police Cpl. Rhonda Fields told The Associated Press Saturday. “As for motive, we don’t have any of that.”

It appears to be the largest mass shooting in Utah since 2007, when a shotgun-wielding gunman killed five people and himself at Trolley Square mall in Salt Lake City. It’s also the first homicide in nearly 20 years in Grantsville, a town of 11,000 about 35 miles (56 kilometres) west of Salt Lake City.

“It’s been a very long time,” Fields said.

The Associated Press

@repost Family Court Attorney

Via Division of Assets

source https://toronto.citynews.ca/2020/01/19/ap-news-in-brief-at-1204-a-m-est-151/

By The Wall of Law January 19, 2020 Off

AP News in Brief at 12:04 a.m. EST

Trump team, House managers trade sharp views on impeachment

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump’s legal team issued a fiery response Saturday ahead of opening arguments in his impeachment trial, while House Democrats laid out their case in forceful fashion, saying the president betrayed public trust with behaviour that was the “worst nightmare” of the founding fathers.

The dueling filings previewed arguments both sides intend to make once Trump’s impeachment trial begins in earnest Tuesday in the Senate. Their challenge will be to make a case that appeals to the 100 senators who will render the verdict and for an American public bracing for a presidential election in 10 months.

“President Donald J. Trump used his official powers to pressure a foreign government to interfere in a United States election for his personal political gain,” the House prosecutors wrote, “and then attempted to cover up his scheme by obstructing Congress’s investigation into his misconduct.”

Trump’s legal team, responding to the Senate’s official summons for the trial, said the president “categorically and unequivocally” denies the charges of abuse and obstruction against him.

“This is a brazen and unlawful attempt to overturn the results of the 2016 election and interfere with the 2020 election, now just months away,” the president’s filing states.

___

Harry, Meghan to quit royal jobs, give up ‘highness’ titles

LONDON (AP) — Goodbye, your royal highnesses. Hello, life as — almost — ordinary civilians.

Prince Harry and wife Meghan will no longer use the titles “royal highness” or receive public funds for their work under a deal that lets the couple step aside as working royals, Buckingham Palace announced Saturday.

Releasing details of the dramatic split triggered by the couple’s unhappiness with life under media scrutiny, the palace said Harry and Meghan will cease to be working members of the royal family when the new arrangements take effect in the “spring of 2020.”

The radical break is more complete than the type of arrangement anticipated 10 days ago when the royal couple stunned Britain with an abrupt announcement that they wanted to step down. They said they planed to combine some royal duties with private work in a “progressive” plan, but that is no longer on the table.

Harry and Meghan will no longer use the titles His Royal Highness and Her Royal Highness but will retain them, leaving the possibility that the couple might change their minds and return sometime in the future.

___

National Archives: ‘We made a mistake’ altering Trump photos

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) — The National Archives said Saturday it made a mistake when it blurred images of anti-Trump signs used in an exhibit on women’s suffrage.

The independent agency is charged with preserving government and historical records and said it has always been committed to preserving its holdings “without alteration.”

But the archives said in a statement Saturday “we made a mistake.” The archives’ statement came one day after The Washington Post published an online report about the altered images.

The archives said the photo in question is not one of its archival records, but rather was licensed for use as a promotional graphic in the exhibit.

“Nonetheless, we were wrong to alter the image,” the agency said.

___

Newly released texts tie Nunes aide closer to Ukraine plot

WASHINGTON (AP) — New documents released by House Democrats suggest that Rep. Devin Nunes, the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, was more deeply involved than was previously known in efforts by allies of President Donald Trump to dig up dirt in Ukraine on former Vice-President Joe Biden.

Democrats on the Intelligence Committee released a trove of text messages, photos and other documents Friday night as part of the impeachment inquiry. The materials were provided to the House by Lev Parnas, a Florida businessman who worked with Trump personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani to try to persuade the Ukrainian government to launch an investigation into Biden.

Nunes initially denied knowing Parnas but has since been forced to admit the two had spoken. The messages released Friday show about 100 text messages traded over months between Parnas and the California Republican’s staffer, Derek Harvey, a retired U.S. Army colonel. Harvey previously served at the White House on Trump’s National Security Council.

The months-long effort directed by Trump and Giuliani to prod Ukrainian officials to launch an investigation into Biden and his son Hunter’s business dealings in Ukraine is at the core of the two impeachment articles against Trump passed last month in a largely party-line vote. The non-partisan Government Accountability Office ruled Thursday that the White House broke the law last summer when it withheld congressionally authorized security assistance to Ukraine, essential aid that Democrats allege was being held hostage pending the announcement of the investigations Trump sought.

Parnas and his business partner, Igor Fruman, both U.S. citizens who emigrated from the former Soviet Union, were indicted last year on charges of conspiracy, making false statements and falsification of records. Prosecutors allege they made outsize campaign donations to Republican causes after receiving millions of dollars originating from Russia. The men have pleaded not guilty.

___

Fires set stage for irreversible forest losses in Australia

Australia’s forests are burning at a rate unmatched in modern times and scientists say the landscape is being permanently altered as a warming climate brings profound changes to the island continent.

Heat waves and drought have fueled bigger and more frequent fires in parts of Australia, so far this season torching some 40,000 square miles (104,000 square kilometres), an area about as big as Ohio.

With blazes still raging in the country’s southeast, government officials are drawing up plans to reseed burned areas to speed up forest recovery that could otherwise take decades or even centuries.

But some scientists and forestry experts doubt that reseeding and other intervention efforts can match the scope of the destruction. The fires since September have killed 28 people and burned more than 2,600 houses.

Before the recent wildfires, ecologists divided up Australia’s native vegetation into two categories: fire-adapted landscapes that burn periodically, and those that don’t burn. In the recent fires, that distinction lost meaning — even rainforests and peat swamps caught fire, likely changing them forever.

___

Discovery of unused disaster supplies angers Puerto Rico

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — People in a southern Puerto Rico city discovered a warehouse filled with water, cots and other unused emergency supplies, then set off a social media uproar Saturday when they broke in to retrieve goods as the area struggles to recover from a strong earthquake.

With anger spreading in the U.S. territory after video of the event in Ponce appeared on Facebook, Gov. Wanda Vázquez quickly fired the director of the island’s emergency management agency.

The governor said she had ordered an investigation after learning the emergency supplies had been piled in the warehouse since Hurricane Maria battered Puerto Rico in September 2017.

Vázquez said inaction by the fired official, Carlos Acevedo, was unacceptable.

“There are thousands of people who have made sacrifices to help those in the south, and it is unforgivable that resources were kept in the warehouse,” the governor said.

___

AP visits immigration courts across US, finds nonstop chaos

LUMPKIN, Ga. (AP) — In a locked, guarded courtroom in a compound surrounded by razor wire, Immigration Judge Jerome Rothschild waits — and stalls.

A Spanish interpreter is running late because of a flat tire. Rothschild tells the five immigrants before him that he’ll take a break before the proceedings even start. His hope: to delay just long enough so these immigrants won’t have to sit by, uncomprehendingly, as their futures are decided.

“We are, untypically, without an interpreter,” Rothschild tells a lawyer who enters the courtroom at the Stewart Detention Center after driving down from Atlanta, about 140 miles away.

In its disorder, this is, in fact, a typical day in the chaotic, crowded and confusing U.S. immigration court system of which Rothschild’s courtroom is just one small outpost.

Shrouded in secrecy, the immigration courts run by the U.S. Department of Justice have been dysfunctional for years and have only gotten worse. A surge in the arrival of asylum seekers and the Trump administration’s crackdown on the Southwest border and illegal immigration have pushed more people into deportation proceedings, swelling the court’s docket to 1 million cases.

___

ICE ups ante in standoff with NYC: ‘This is not a request’

NEW YORK (AP) — Federal authorities are turning to a new tactic in the escalating conflict over New York City’s so-called sanctuary policies, issuing four “immigration subpoenas” to the city for information about inmates wanted for deportation.

“This is not a request — it’s a demand,” Henry Lucero, a senior U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement official, told The Associated Press. “This is a last resort for us. Dangerous criminals are being released every single day in New York.”

Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration said Saturday the city would review the subpoenas.

“New York City will not change the policies that have made us the safest big city in America,” spokeswoman Freddi Goldstein said in an email.

The development comes days after ICE sent similar subpoenas to the city of Denver, a move that reflected the agency’s mounting frustration with jurisdictions that do not honour deportation “detainers” or provide any details about defendants going in and out of local custody.

___

Biden rips Sanders campaign for Social Security attacks

INDIANOLA, Iowa (AP) — Joe Biden has called for Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign to “disown” what he calls “doctored video” that some Sanders supporters say shows the former vice-president endorsing Republican calls to cut Social Security and Medicare.

“There’s a little doctored video going around … put out by one of Bernie’s people,” Biden told supporters Saturday in Indianola, Iowa, referring to a 2018 speech in which Biden discussed then-House Speaker Paul Ryan saying rising deficit demanded action on the popular entitlement programs.

“I’m looking for his campaign to come forward and disown it,” Biden continued, pointing to his 2020 campaign proposals designed to shore up Social Security. “But they haven’t done it yet.”

The video in question, circulated on Twitter by a top Sanders adviser, does not appear to be altered. But the short clip omits Biden’s larger argument over how Ryan handled the 2017 tax cuts and subsequent budget debates. A separate Sanders’ adviser included a transcript of Biden’s remarks in the video clip in a separate campaign newsletter. He added other, more extended video, of Biden as a U.S. senator in 1995 and presidential candidate in 2007 explaining his support for a more austere federal budget, including putting Social Security and Medicare “on the table.”

The 2020 campaign flap highlights long-standing philosophical fissures between the progressive Sanders, who has spent decades arguing for a massive expansion of the federal government, and the more centrist Biden. Those differences have come to the forefront as Biden and Sanders are bunched with Pete Buttigieg and Elizabeth Warren atop early state polls weeks before the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary.

___

Boy arrested after shooting that killed 4 in small Utah town

A boy armed with a gun killed three children and a woman inside a Utah home, then accompanied a fifth victim to a hospital, where he was arrested, police said Saturday.

Police were still trying to piece together who’s who and what happened leading up to Friday night’s shooting in Grantsville. Investigators believe the victims are all related to one another, and officials declined to release information about the shooter other than he is a juvenile male.

“We’re trying to make certain that we verify people’s relationships among the deceased and the survivor,” Grantsville Police Cpl. Rhonda Fields told The Associated Press Saturday. “As for motive, we don’t have any of that.”

It appears to be the largest mass shooting in Utah since 2007, when a shotgun-wielding gunman killed five people and himself at Trolley Square mall in Salt Lake City. It’s also the first homicide in nearly 20 years in Grantsville, a town of 11,000 about 35 miles (56 kilometres) west of Salt Lake City.

“It’s been a very long time,” Fields said.

The Associated Press

@repost How Does a Legal Separation Work

Via Family Custody Lawyers

source https://toronto.citynews.ca/2020/01/19/ap-news-in-brief-at-1204-a-m-est-151/

By The Wall of Law January 19, 2020 Off

Colombian senators seek protection after surveillance report

BOGOTA — Colombian Sen. Antonio Sanguino moves around town in a bullet-proof vehicle, with three pistol-packing bodyguards watching over him as he attends meetings and political rallies.

But the leftist senator says that while the bodyguards protect him from assassination attempts, they have been unable to neutralize another type of threat: Sanguino believes Colombia’s intelligence services have been intercepting his phone calls, looking at his emails and tracking his WhatsApp chats since early last year, and sending that information to the nation’s governing party.

On Friday, he joined two other opposition senators who are presenting evidence of alleged illegal espionage to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and seeking protective measures from the Washington-based organization.

The senators claim rogue officers in the military worked with conservative President Ivan Duque’s party to spy on numerous civilian targets in the largest espionage scandal in a decade.

“We want (the commission) to pressure the Colombian government into carrying out a rigorous investigation, that also reveals who has ordered our communications to be intercepted,” Sanguino said in his Bogota office.

“I have always had security problems,” said the senator, who in his youth was an urban militant for a left-wing guerrilla group. “But this is the first time that I realize my communications are being reviewed by someone else.”

The legal steps taken by Sanguino and senators Ivan Cepeda and Roy Barreras follow a report by a Colombian news magazine saying that several members of the opposition, high court judges and journalists were spied on by the military last year.

In an article published last Sunday, Semana magazine reported on interviews with members of an elite military intelligence unit who say their superiors ordered them to use software and equipment purchased for spying on terrorist groups to eavesdrop on high-ranking members of the opposition and on a judge who was overseeing a witness-tampering case involving former President Álvaro Uribe.

The magazine claims that knowledge of the espionage scandal within some sectors of the government forced the commander of Colombia’s army to resign in late December. Gen. Nicacio Martinez said he was stepping down to spend more time with his family, and his lawyer told news outlets this past week that the general had no knowledge of the purported illegal espionage operation.

Defence Minister Carlos Trujillo said he had no knowledge of phone tapping and email interceptions prior to the Semana report and promised an internal investigation. Trujillo also said that in early December when he became defence minister, he ordered subordinates to carry out an “inventory” of the nation’s intelligence activities over the past decade.

Colombia’s attorney general also launched an investigation into the espionage scandal after the report.

Incidents of phone tapping and illegal spying have plagued Colombia over the past decade.

In 2011, the country’s largest intelligence agency was disbanded after an investigation found that its agents for years had been tapping the phones of journalists and opposition leaders with the approval of the agency’s director. The phone tapping occurred under the presidency of Uribe, who is now a senator and an influential member of the current president’s Democratic Center party.

In 2014, computer technicians working for the Democratic Center’s presidential candidate were arrested for spying on government negotiators and members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia as they undertook peace negotiations. Senior party members claimed the technicians acted without their consent.

“These denunciations of illegal interceptions happen year after year in Colombia,” said Jose Miguel Vivanco, the Americas director at Human Rights Watch. “There is a serious risk that these practices, which violate privacy and democracy, will become normal in the country.”

Sen. Ivan Cepeda, who went to Washington to discuss the surveillance uncovered by Semana, said he will meet with members of the U.S. Congress and ask them to closely monitor U.S. funding for Colombian intelligence agencies.

Cepeda believes officials in the military and the governing party are targeting politicians and journalists who support the 2016 peace deal with the FARC rebels and are critical of how Duque has handled its implementation.

Another politician who was spied on, according to Semana, is the governor of a rural province who has criticized the national government’s plans to fight cocaine production with a herbicide that can cause cancer.

Sanguino, who was elected to the Senate on behalf of the Green party, has been an outspoken critic of the military and early last year opposed the naming of Martinez as army chief, citing his poor human rights record.

He said he worries that information taken from his communications could be used to launch “libelous” campaigns against him or even to stage physical attacks.

“The consequences of being spied on are unpredictable” he said. “We are in a country were members of the opposition have long been persecuted.”

Manuel Rueda And Christine Armario, The Associated Press

@repost Attorney at Law Child Custody

Via Child Custody Lawyers

source https://toronto.citynews.ca/2020/01/19/colombian-senators-seek-protection-after-surveillance-report/

By The Wall of Law January 19, 2020 Off

Kim Kardashian pursues criminal justice reform in TV special

PASADENA, Calif. — Kim Kardashian West is a step closer to becoming a lawyer, having finished her first year of study as an apprentice.

She told The Associated Press on Saturday that her next step is taking the “baby bar,” so-called because it’s a one-day exam. If she passes, she plans to study for another three years and then take the California bar exam.

“I’m super-motivated, and I really want to see it through,” she said in an interview after promoting a television documentary on criminal justice reform. “There’s obviously times where I’m overwhelmed and stressed and feel like I have a lot on my plate. My kids know that I’m in school just like they are. It’s 20 hours a week, so it is a lot of my time.”

“Kim Kardashian West: The Justice Project” airs April 5 on Oxygen. The two-hour documentary shows her being visibly moved by prison inmates recounting their stories of landing behind bars. She talks to their families and friends, lobbies public officials and consults with their attorneys as well as her own.

It features four cases, including a sex trafficking victim and a woman who murdered the family member who molested her. Each of them believe they received unfair sentences; two of them end up being released.

“Once you hear the circumstances that led them to make those decisions, your heart would completely open up,” Kardashian West told the AP. “I hope that this is a step to opening up people’s hearts and minds. And then hopefully they can help with changing some actual laws that really do have to be changed.”

Vince DiPersio, an executive producer of “The Justice Project,” said Kardashian West was taking on a “fair amount of risk” by advocating for the release of prisoners.

“She is a nationally known figure, and she has a big brand. God forbid someone gets out and does something terrible, but Kim is willing to take that risk,” he said.

Kardashian West said that no one she’s helped has tried to exploit her entertainment industry ties for additional assistance. At the same time, the 39-year-old reality star and beauty and fashion mogul refers them to organizations that help them find jobs.

“I love seeing the choices that they make in the exciting projects that they’re working on outside,” she said.

Kardashian West began advocating for criminal justice reform after helping Alice Marie Johnson, a great-grandmother serving a life plus 25-year sentence as a first-time non-violent drug offender. Kardashian West took Johnson’s case all the way to a White House meeting with President Donald Trump, who granted Johnson clemency in 2018.

“I’m raising four black children that could face a situation like any of the people that I help,” Kardashian West said. “So just to know that I could make a difference in my children’s lives and their friends’ lives and their children’s lives by helping to fix such a broken system, that is just so motivating for me. I’m not doing it for publicity. I really do care.”

Beth Harris, The Associated Press




@repost I Want a Divorce

Via Divorce Alimony Child Support

source https://toronto.citynews.ca/2020/01/18/kim-kardashian-pursues-criminal-justice-reform-in-tv-special/

By The Wall of Law January 19, 2020 Off

US seeks to deport Honduran mom, sick children to Guatemala

HOUSTON — The U.S. government says it will deport a Honduran mother and her two sick children, both of whom are currently hospitalized, to Guatemala as soon as it can get them medically cleared to travel, according to court documents and the family’s advocates.

The family’s advocates accuse the U.S. of disregarding the health of the children, ages 1 and 6, to push forward a plan currently being challenged in court to send planeloads of families to different countries so that they can seek asylum elsewhere.

Both children have been hospitalized in recent days in South Texas’ Rio Grande Valley. In court papers, the U.S. government has said it intends to deport the family to Guatemala on Tuesday, pending clearance “from a medical professional.”

“The mother is desperate. She thought her baby was going to die,” said Dr. Amy Cohen, a doctor who monitors the government’s compliance with a landmark court settlement governing how migrant children are treated known as the Flores agreement.

“Whenever the baby coughs, her whole body shakes,” Cohen said. “The 6-year-old looked exhausted. Everyone looked malnourished.”

According to Cohen, the family says both children were healthy when they crossed the U.S.-Mexico border without authorization in late December.

A lawsuit filed by the family says they were taken first to the U.S. Border Patrol’s processing centre in McAllen, Texas, a former warehouse where migrants are held in large fenced-in pens, then to a complex of tents built at the port city of Donna, where they were held for several days longer than the Border Patrol’s own 72-hour limit to detain people.

The lawsuit blames the children’s illnesses on inadequate medical care and the food served at the Donna tents, which they describe as burritos twice a day and a sandwich at night. The 1-year-old has diarrhea and a fever, while the 6-year-old was diagnosed with the flu, an illness that caused the death of a 16-year-old teen held in Border Patrol custody last year.

President Donald Trump’s administration struck a deal last year with the Guatemalan government to take in asylum-seekers from Honduras and El Salvador, and has since said it will send Mexicans to Guatemala as well. The U.S. has also announced similar deals with Honduras and El Salvador. As of earlier this month, about 100 Hondurans and Salvadorans had been sent to Guatemala.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security says the deals, known as asylum co-operative agreements, “will allow migrants to seek protection within the region.” The agreements are a key part of Trump’s larger immigration crackdown, including programs forcing migrants to wait weeks or months to request asylum or to remain in Mexico to wait for immigration court dates. As a result, thousands of migrants are living in squalid tent cities just across the U.S.-Mexico border.

Tens of thousands of people annually flee El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras — collectively forming Central America’s “Northern Triangle — due to endemic violence, poverty, and political and religious persecution. Experts on the Northern Triangle say those countries can’t be expected to take in asylum seekers when many of their own citizens are fleeing. The American Civil Liberties Union and other legal groups sued Wednesday to try to prevent the agreements from being enforced.

Lawyers for the mother and her two children have asked a federal judge in South Texas to order the government not to deport them.

Their lawsuit alleges that after the mother said she feared returning to Honduras — where she says gangs demanded monthly payments or they would kill her and her children — she “was instructed that she could either return to Honduras or be sent to Guatemala and had to decide immediately.”

“She was not given an opportunity to explain why she feared being sent to Guatemala, where she has no family or contacts and would have difficulty providing for herself and her children,” the lawsuit says.

In its response, the government said the infant would be monitored by the hospital for a few more days to ensure she can be deported. It also argued that the judge had no authority to prevent the family’s deportation because higher courts have recognized that the Attorney General’s office can decide on its own if and when to deport someone.

It was unclear when the judge would rule. U.S. Customs and Border Protection did not immediately respond to a request for comment Saturday.

Nomaan Merchant, The Associated Press

@repost Child Custody and Child Support

Via Property Settlement after Divorce

source https://toronto.citynews.ca/2020/01/18/us-seeks-to-deport-honduran-mom-sick-children-to-guatemala/

By The Wall of Law January 19, 2020 Off