Monday, January 23, 2017

Harlem Council Contender Seeks to Clear the Field With Wide-Ranging Ballot Challenges

The legal team of Marvin Holland, a candidate in the special election for a vacant Harlem City Council seat, is attempting to boot almost all his rivals from the ballot in the special election scheduled for February 14—including the presumptive frontrunner, current State Senator Bill Perkins.

The seat formerly belonged to Councilwoman Inez Dickens, who won election to the Assembly last fall and assumed her new state role on January 1. City law obligated Mayor Bill de Blasio to call a special election within three days of the post opening up.

Special elections for the Council are non-partisan, obligating each candidate to collect petition signatures from registered voters in the district in order to create their own original ballot line. The names of these new, unique lines cannot resemble the names of any existing party.

Holland, a Democrat who serves as legislative and political director of the Transit Workers Union Local 100, filed petitions to run on a row called Holland4Harlem—and has filed objections challenging the validity of the signatures of seven of his opponents.

Holland’s attorney, Sarah Steiner, called most of these claims “a routine filing.” 

Click here for the full article. 

Source: Observer (via The Empire Report)

Foreign Payments to Trump Firms Violate Constitution, Suit Will Claim

WASHINGTON — A team of prominent constitutional scholars, Supreme Court litigators and former White House ethics lawyers intends to file a lawsuit Monday morning alleging that President Trump is violating the Constitution by allowing his hotels and other business operations to accept payments from foreign governments.

The lawsuit is among a barrage of legal actions against the Trump administration that have been initiated or are being planned by major liberal advocacy organizations. Such suits are among the few outlets they have to challenge the administration now that Republicans are in control of the government.

In the new case, the lawyers argue that a provision in the Constitution known as the Emoluments Clause bans payments from foreign powers like the ones to Mr. Trump’s companies. They cite fears among the framers of the Constitution that United States officials could be corrupted by gifts or payments.

The suit, which will not seek any monetary damages, will ask a federal court in New York to order Mr. Trump to stop taking payments from foreign government entities. Such payments, it says, include those from patrons at Trump hotels and golf courses; loans for his office buildings from certain banks controlled by foreign governments; and leases with tenants like the Abu Dhabi tourism office, a government enterprise. 

Click here for the full article. 

Source: The New York Times (via The Empire Report) 

Trump Doling Out Plum Adviser Jobs to Rich Friends

The arrangement has worried ethics experts, especially because the advisers may sidestep conflict-of-interest rules. 

Rudy Giuliani, one of Donald Trump's top political surrogates and a millionaire, is running point on the president-elect's cybersecurity policies. Carl Icahn, a billionaire friend in New York, is charged with cutting regulations. And, now, Richard LeFrak and Steven Roth, two of his top real-estate friends, are special advisers to build a $1 trillion infrastructure plan.

Trump has amassed a Cabinet of unheard-of wealth, filled with business executives and CEOs. But he has also quietly appointed a number of his richest friends and allies to unpaid jobs of importance, where their responsibilities are blurry but their power could prove immense. They will help set the administration's policies while also remaining in the private sector, where they could financially benefit from such policies through their own personal business interests.

LeFrak, however, said Trump is simply driven by a desire to tap people with proven track records.

"Without calling into question everyone's qualifications, he knows Mr. Roth and I know how to get things done," LeFrak said in an interview. "Maybe not in Washington. But in general. I think he just wants people who know how to get things done."

The arrangement has worried his critics, ethics experts and, privately, some Republicans. It remains unclear how these advisers will interact with his Cabinet members in charge of these areas, and whether they will listen to anyone except for Trump or communicate with Cabinet members traditionally in charge of such topics. They are not subject to the federal conflict-of-interest rules and other stringent ethics regulations that apply to members of the administration. 

Click here for the full article. 

Source: Politico (via The Empire Report) 

Schumer Ready to Leave Supreme Court Seat Open

Sen. Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said on Sunday that he is prepared to leave open the ninth seat on the Supreme Court.

“If the nominee is not bipartisan and mainstream, we absolutely will keep the seat open,” Schumer told CNN’s “State of the Union.” 

Click here for the full article.

Source: The Hill (via The Empire Report)

Race Against Time: Rescuers Work to Save Those Trapped After Italian Avalanche

 CNSAS photo

Rescue workers in Italy are in a race against the clock to find 23 people still missing following a deadly avalanche five days ago (January 18).

A 120,000-tonne wall of snow and debris hit the Rigopiano Hotel hours after the Abruzzo region was rocked by multiple strong earthquakes.

Six people have been confirmed dead. Eleven are known to have survived the ordeal, four of them children.

All are said to be in a good condition.

Director of Pescara Hospital Paediatric Departmen, Giuliano Lombardi said a close eye would be kept on the children in particular. 

Click here for the full article/video.

Source: euronews.

Syria Peace Talks Start in Kazakhstan

Far from war-shattered Syria, talks began in Kazakhstan’s capital Astana on Monday between the opposition and representatives of President Bashar al-Assad.

Russia, Turkey and Iran are sponsoring this latest attempt at ending the six-year-old conflict but organizers are playing down hopes of a breakthrough, with the meeting expected to last only until Tuesday.

What is more, the two sides won’t reportedly be talking face to face.

And, adding to the difficulties, Russia and Turkey remain at odds over fundamental issues such as whether Assad should stay in power or step down for the sake of reconciliation. 

Click here for the full article/video. 

Source: euronews.

Israel Views Trump as "Supportive of Settlement Building"

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has told senior ministers he is lifting restrictions on settlement building in East Jerusalem. It comes as approval was given for the building of 566 new settler homes in the city.

The announcement has been made only days after the self-proclaimed pro-Israel Donald Trump took office.

Jerusalem’s Deputy Mayor Meir Turjeman said he had been asked to delay the issuing of the building permits until after Trump’s inauguration.

“I was asked by everyone to wait until the 20th of the month when the Donald Trump era as President of the United States will begin. Trump gives us hope. Trump said clearly that he will allow construction in Jerusalem and not the nonsense there was beforehand.” 

Click here for the full article/video.

Source: euronews.

White House Looks at Moving US Embassy to Jerusalem

The White House says it is in the early stages of talks to carry out President Donald Trump’s pledge to move the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

It is an action likely to prompt protests from US allies in the Middle East such as Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Egypt.

Israel views the whole of Jerusalem as its capital, but Palestinians also lay claim to the city as part of an eventual Palestinian state. Most of the world considered its final status a matter for peace negotiations.

President Mahmoud Abbas has already voiced his criticism of the idea. 

Click here for the full article/video.

Source: euronews.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Governor Cuomo Urges New Yorkers to Prepare for Coastal Storm

Governor Andrew Cuomo today urged New Yorkers to prepare for a coastal storm which will impact most of New York State, especially New York City and Long Island. Heavy rain, snow, sleet and freezing rain along with strong gusting winds are forecast with the biggest impacts forecast for downstate with high winds and the potential for coastal shoreline flooding. ‎

“As this storm could cause power outages across downstate and flooding for communities near the coastline, I am directing all relevant state agencies to be on alert and ready to respond to whatever Mother Nature throws our way,” said Governor Cuomo. “We will be closely monitoring storm conditions and deploying resources and equipment as necessary. I encourage all New Yorkers in these areas to plan ahead, avoid unnecessary travel, and above all else – stay safe.”
Lower Hudson Valley, NYC & Long Island Area

Heavy rain should move into the area Monday morning with the heaviest rain falling Monday evening. One to three inches of rain is likely, but three to four inches is possible. Minor urban flooding should be expected with the likely rainfall totals, but more serious urban and small stream flooding is possible with rainfall amounts over four inches. Coastal flooding will likely be minor for multiple high tide cycles Monday into Tuesday morning. If the surges coincide with the heaviest rain and strongest wind, moderate coastal flooding could occur. Widespread dune erosion and localized wash overs are possible along the Atlantic Ocean coast. Sea levels may be between 16 and 22 feet on the ocean and 6 to 12 feet on the sound. Strong winds are expected throughout Monday with winds between 30 and 40 mph with gusts as high at 60 mph and 70 mph on the Island. There is a high wind warning in effect for New York City and Long Island. A coastal flood watch/advisory is in effect for the western Long Island, Long Island coastline, and portions of NY Harbor.
Central and Northern New York

A major winter storm could affect a large part of central and northern New York. The potential exists for heavy wet snow which could accumulate enough to produce power outages and very difficult travel conditions Monday afternoon and night. Accumulations of 3 to 7 inches are possible depending on location, mainly in higher elevations. High winds could also exacerbate power outages as the storm moves through the region.
State Agency Preparations

The Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services Office of Emergency Management is coordinating preparations and resource allocations with state agencies and local governments in anticipation of the storm. The State Emergency Operations and Watch Centers will be staffed for enhanced monitoring through the day tomorrow. The stockpile in Guilderland, Albany County is prepared with two High Axle Vehicles, each equipped with an inflatable raft, adult and child Personal Flotation Devices (PFDs), blankets, hand tools and foldable ladders, four zodiac style boats with outboards on 2 trailers, spare PFDs, spare outboards on two trailers; several PWC on trailers; three enclosed and tracked Utility Tracked Vehicles, and one tracked Sport Utility Vehicle. The Brentwood stockpile in Nassau County has staged two High Axle Vehicles each equipped with an inflatable raft, adult and child Personal Flotation Devices, blankets, hand tools and foldable ladders and the Brentwood & JFK Stockpiles each have one Sandbagger and there are 195,000 sandbags; various generators, light towers and pumps ready to deploy if necessary. 

Click here for the full advisory. 

Source: Press Office, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Taking the Pulse of Black America at Inauguration

For the past eight years, Americans have had a president that millions supported and revered, but perhaps none more so than African Americans.

Today, as the baton passed from Barack Obama to Donald Trump during an inauguration marked by pride and protests, a variety of perspectives and views emerged about the 45th Commander in Chief and what his presidency could mean to communities of color.

Jo Baylor, 65, is a black Republican who traveled to the inauguration from Austin, Texas. The Trump supporter previously worked as a HUD appointee under the George W. Bush administration.

"My Congressman gave me tickets to the inauguration, and everything has been exciting," she said. During the week, she has attended inaugural balls, the inaugural ceremony and the parade. She even made her way to some protests.

"I hope people will stop listening to the rhetoric and see what he will do. Give this man a chance."  

Click here for the full article.

White House Blasts Media Over Inauguration Coverage

Women Around the Globe March for Recognition and Equality

Women's March on Washington 2017 (FULL EVENT)

Women's March on Washington 2017 | The National Mall is seeing a hundreds of thousands of visitors for the second day in a row as people are starting to gather in the capital for the Women's March. A number of high-profile speakers are expected to address those at the rally, including Gloria Steinem, Planned Parenthood's president Cecile Roberts, and director Michael Moore. 

Source: ABC News

America Ferrera Speaks at Women's March on Washington

Thousands descended on Washington Saturday, one day after Trump was sworn in as the nation's 45th President. Actress America Ferrera took to the stage -- she spoke about what a Trump presidency means for her.

Madonna's Fiery Speech At The Women's March On Washington

Source: Reflect

President Donald Trump Talks With Soldiers Stationed In Afghanistan At The Armed Services Ball

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump addressed attendees at the Salute to Our Armed Services Ball, which included first responders. During his remarks, the president spoke via video link with members of the military stationed in Afghanistan. The president and first lady also participated in a dance. During the dance, they were joined on stage by Vice President Mike Pence and Mrs. Pence as well as members of their families.

Source: wwwMOXNEWScom