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Trump orders voter fraud commission dissolved


President Donald Trump has signed an order to collapse his Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity.

The Trump administration had faced opposition or limited cooperation from most states, when the commission controversially requested voter information, such as Social Security numbers and addresses.

In a statement, the White House said, “Despite substantial evidence of voter fraud, many states have refused to provide the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity with basic information relevant to its inquiry. Rather than engage in endless legal battles at taxpayer expense, today I signed an executive order to dissolve the Commission, and have asked the Department of Homeland Security to review these issues and determine next courses of action.”

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Only Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Ohio and Washington State had complied with all of the commission's requests. California, Kentucky, Maine, Minnesota, New Mexico and South Carolina had all signaled their unwillingness to cooperate.

EPIC, the Electronic Privacy Information Center, has declared victory in the commission's demise. The non-profit, which was the first to sue the Trump administration over the issue, noted that it has a pending Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to the US Department of Homeland Security “for records concerning the federal government's collection of personal data on voters.”

Late last month, a US appeals court gave the Trump voter fraud commission a minor victory, dismissing EPIC's lawsuit claiming the commission violated federal privacy protection requirements of the 2002 E-Government Act.

In January 2017, one week into Trump's presidency, Trump tweeted that at least 3 million illegal votes had been cast in the 2016 election, citing an unverified claim by the app VoteStand.

Man Arrested After Writing Hateful Messages at NYC Synagogue


What to Know

  • Anti-Semitic messages were found written in black marker inside Union Temple in Prospect Heights on Thursday, police said[hhmc]

  • The hate-filled message read 'Die Jew Rats We Are Here,' 'Jews Better Be Ready' 'Hitler' and 'Rose,' according to the NYPD [hhmc]

  • A man has been arrested in the case; charges against him were pending Friday night[hhmc]

A man who law enforcement sources called "emotionally disturbed" has been arrested after anti-Semitic graffiti was scrawled inside a Brooklyn synagogue on Thursday.

Police say James Polite, 26, was taken into custody Friday afternoon, less than a day after the hateful messages were discovered by a congregant at the Union Temple in Prospect Heights around on the second and fourth floors of the house of worship.

Law enforcement sources said the Brooklynite also allegedly lit several fires in the area — including at another synagogue — early on Friday.

He's charged with hate crime criminal mischief and making graffiti.

Thursdays messages prompted the synagogue to cancel a political event hosted by “Broad City” star Ilana Glazer. A video posted to Instagram shows Glazer addressing a crowd. Glazer was scheduled to moderate a talk with a journalist and New York state senate candidates.

Hate-filled messages were scrawled inside the Brooklyn synagogue, the latest incident in a string of alarming attacks on New York City's Jewish population in the borough, police say.

Neighborhoods in the borough have been the targets of anti-Semitic acts in recent weeks. Several days ago, swastikas were found in Brooklyn Heights and last month a man was charged with assault as a hate crime in a beating of a Jewish man in the middle of a Borough Park street.

In response to Thursday's grafitti, Mayor de Blasio said that the NYPD would be stepping up patrols in the area for the next several days.

Acts of hate against Jews have also been on the rise across the country. In February, the Anti-Defamation League reported that the number of anti-Semitic incidents against Jewish institutions rose nearly 60 percent last year over 2016, the largest single-year increase on record.

Race to succeed May begins with ten candidates nominated


The door of 10 Downing Street is seen as uncertainty over Brexit continues, in London, Britain, May 24, 2019. REUTERS/Toby Melville – RC154CE77CE0

LONDON (Reuters) – Ten candidates were nominated in the contest to succeed Theresa May as Conservative Party leader and prime minister, the partys 1922 Committee said on Monday.

The candidates include frontrunner former foreign minister Boris Johnson, his successor Jeremy Hunt, environment minister Michael Gove, former Brexit minister Dominic Raab, health minister Matt Hancock and interior minister Sajid Javid.

The other candidates are international development minister Rory Stewart, former minister Esther McVey, former leader of the House of Commons Andrea Leadsom and Conservative lawmaker Mark Harper.

The first round of voting among Conservative lawmakers to begin whittling down the field to two candidates, who will then be put to a vote of party members, will take place onRead More

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Johnson says not true intelligence withheld from him as foreign minister


FILE PHOTO: Boris Johnson, a leadership candidate for Britain's Conservative Party, attends a hustings event in Darlington, Britain, July 5, 2019. REUTERS/Scott Heppell

DARLINGTON, England (Reuters) – Boris Johnson, the frontrunner to replace Theresa May as Britains prime minister, said on Friday it was not true that secret intelligence was withheld from him when he was foreign minister.

The BBC had earlier reported that Mays office had attempted to stop him seeing some intelligence, partly because of concerns over his lack of discipline, prompting a spat with Johnson who had responsibility for the foreign spy agency MI6 and the GCHQ eavesdropping agency in his role.

“Its not true and I dont comment on intelligence matters,” Johnson told an event in Darlington, northern England. “The story … is not true.”

Reporting by ElRead More

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Niagara Falls ‘freezes’ as big chill grips Eastern US (PHOTOS, VIDEO)


North America is currently experiencing a particularly severe and protracted cold snap resulting in major car accidents, a state of emergency, sharks freezing to death and even now Niagara Falls is experiencing the Arctic blast.

The waters of the majestic falls themselves has yet to succumb to the polar winds, but the surrounding area has been transformed into a winter wonderland as temperatures plummet across Canada and the US, dropping to -34 degrees Fahrenheit in parts and dropping further to -89 degrees (-67 Celsius) when windchill is factored in.

The weather has wreaked havoc on US roads, with Michigan alone reporting up to 30 crashes due to the recent icy conditions, including a major pile-up involving at least 40 vehicles reports WGN.

An 83-year old woman died of exposure in South Dakota after her car broke down and she went to search for help. Three people also died in Lake Eerie after their car slid off an icy road into a canal reports the LA Times.

Polar winds from the Arctic are being blamed for the precipitous drop in temperatures over the past week.

Residents from as far south as Tennessee and South Carolina all the way to Maine in the northeastern US have been warned to exercise extreme caution during the big freeze. Maine Governor Paul LePage declared a state of emergency to allow heating oil providers to work beyond federal limits to ensure residents stay warm.

During this cold snap with record-low temperatures, our oil delivery drivers need to be on the roads so Mainers can heat their homes. I've issued the necessary emergency declaration to keep Maine residents warm this holiday weekend. Take care in the cold.

— Paul R. LePage (@Governor_LePage) December 29, 2017

In North Dakota, typically among the coldest states in the US each year, temperatures are expected to plunge to -30 F (-34.4 C) Saturday with a wind chill of about -50 F (-45.5 C) according to meteorologist Ken Simosko, as cited by The Mirror.

Vermont to become 1st state to legalize marijuana via legislature


Vermont is about to become the first state to legalize recreational marijuana without a voter ballot initiative. The bill comes as a US senator takes on US Attorney General Jeff Sessions for reversing federal enforcement policy.

On Wednesday, the Democratic-controlled Vermont Senate passed a bill to legalize recreational marijuana use, making it the first state in the nation to do so strictly through the legislative process, rather than via direct democracy in the form of a ballot initiative.

The bill, which is expected to be signed into law by Governor Phil Scott, a Republican, would permit those aged 21 and over to possess up to one ounce of marijuana, two adult plants and four immature plants beginning July 1. Retail sales of the drug will have to be approved by a commission that was created in 2017 to study how to tax and regulate cannabis.

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The new law would put Vermont at odds with US Attorney General Sessions, who last week rescinded the Cole Memorandum rule set forth by President Barack Obama, which eased enforcement of federal marijuana laws in states that opted to regulate marijuana outside the confines of federal prohibition.

In retaliation for Sessions’ decision, US Senator Cory Gardner (R-Colorado) said he would hold up US Department of Justice nominations until Sessions reverts back to the Obama-era policy. Gardner met with Sessions on Wednesday to further discuss the controversial move.

“There was no breakthrough yet,” Gardner said of his meeting with Sessions, according to NPR. “But I hope there will be.”

“I have not changed my decision to hold these nominations until we have a commitment that lives up to what I believe was given to me prior to the confirmation.”

Britain’s ‘furnace Friday’ tests temperature records


LONDON (Reuters) – Britons sweltered on what was dubbed “furnace Friday”, though temperatures appeared not to have set new records after overnight storms, according to figures from government weather forecasters at the Met Office.

A helicopter flies behind the Stonehenge stone circle during sunset in southwest Britain. REUTERS/Hannah McKay

On Thursday, temperatures reached 35.3 degrees Celsius at Faversham in Kent, southeast England, officially making it the hottest day of the year so far.

“Todays provisional top temperature looks set to be 34.7C, recorded at Tibenham Airfield in Norfolk,” the Met Office said late on Friday, as rain started to fall in London.

The all-time British record is 38.5C set in August 2003 near Faversham, while the highest July temperature was 36.7C in 2015 at Londons Heathrow airport.

Britains prolonged heatwave has turned green grass brown, triggered an impending hose pipe ban in the northwest of England, and prompted a warning from the government for people to keep out of the sun.

Farmers have also warned of possible food shortages and hospitals have been stretched by an increase in patients with heat-related ailments.

The National Farmers Union said it would hold a summit with government officials and other farming bodies on Aug. 1 to discuss how to mitigate the effect of the unusually hot, dry weather, which is forecast to continue.

People ride a pedalo in Regent's Park in London, Britain, July 27, 2018. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls

“Some areas are expected to see thunderstorms and rain over the next couple of days but that wont mitigate the many issues farmers are experiencing,” NFU President Minette Batters said.

On Friday, the heat was seriously disrupting travel across Britain.

Uruguay votes for president with eyes on likely runoff


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Fifteen years of leftist rule hangs in the balance as Uruguay faces a tight presidential election that is likely to head to a runoff vote.


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The left-leaning Broad Front coalition has governed the small South American nation since 2005 and its achievements include laws to approve gay marriage and the creation of the world's first national marketplace for legal marijuana.

But opponents have capitalized on growing disenchantment with the government over slowing economic growth and rising insecurity.

Polls give the Broad Front's Daniel Martínez, the socialist former mayor of Montevideo, an edge over his strongest rival, Luis Lacalle Pou, a centrist former lawmaker from the National Party. But neither is expected to get the 50% plus one vote needed to win outright and avoid a runoff in November.

With the Broad Front at the helm, Uruguay has seen significant economic growth. Poverty has dropped dramatically, to 8.1%, while the legalization of gay marriage, abortion, and the sale of marijuana in pharmacies has strengthened the country's reputation as a trailblazer in the region.

"Even though I'm a Christian and I'm not in favor of things like legalizing abortion, I'm voting for the Broad Front because the country has progressed, people are better off," said Nicolás Robledo, 24, who works at car wash. "Who could buy themselves a car before?"

But the current administration of Tabaré Vázquez has been hampered by scandals that have taken a bite out of its approval ratings. Vice President Raúl Sendic had to resign in 2017 over corruption allegations, the government has failed to address a dismal high school graduation rate, and a record 414 homicides last year have made public safety an urgent issue.

Stefan & Lester Holt on Family and a Passion for Journalism


This is an excerpt from the January issue of New York Family magazine.

No news is too small for the Holt family. When they get a whiff of activity, Lester Holt and his son Stefan Holt leap into action.

Both currently anchors for NBC—Lester for “Dateline” and “Nightly News,” and Stefan for WNBC—they recounted rushing from a family gathering toward sirens in the Flatiron District two years ago (Lester says that just by listening to the number of sirens, he could tell something big was happening). That night, the Serbian Orthodox Cathedral of St. Sava was on fire; on the spot, Lester and Stefan started taking video and reporting. It wasnt the sort of story national news was going to cover, but the self-proclaimed “news nerds” didnt mind: They saw a story and felt the urge to share. Though this specific event was recent, Stefan has long loved the journalism world his father inhabits.

“When I was a kid, I had the news bug too,” Stefan, 31, says. “[When] Dad was running out on a story or we heard sirens, I wanted to tag along.”

Though Stefan pursued a political science degree at Pepperdine University before beginning his reporting career, Lester notes that he always showed an interest in current events (Lester explained the Gulf War to him in kid-friendly terms when he was roughly 3 years old).

“So many mornings he would get up at 4:30am with me and come down to Studio 1A on a Saturday—what teenager does that, I dont know, but he did,” Lester recalls. “He got to know the crews, he hung out, got to understand a little bit about how we put a broadcast on the air.”

For the full interview with Lester and Stefan Holt from New York Family magazine, click here.

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NY Man in Pediatrician’s Shower Stabbing Death Learns Fate


What to Know

  • Former tax attorney Julius Reich has been sentenced to 20 years in prison for stabbing his wife to death while she was in the shower[hhmc]

  • The Scarsdale man faced up to 25 years in state prison after pleading guilty to manslaughter charges in his wife's death[hhmc]

  • He and his wife were going through a divorce when he went into the bathroom of their home and stabbed his wife 22 times[hhmc]

A Scarsdale man has been sentenced to 20 years in prison for stabbing his prominent pediatrician wife 22 times while she was in the shower, killing her.

Former tax attorney Julius Reich faced up to 25 years in state prison after pleading guilty to manslaughter charges in the death of his 58-year-old wife Robin Goldman, a pediatrician who worked for a childrens hospital in New York City.

Reich initially pleaded not guilty two months after the January 2016 murder, but ultimately took a plea deal. His three adult children wanted to “avoid the trauma of a trial,” the Westchester County District Attorneys office said.

“The children are in complete agreement with the plea of manslaughter in the first degree, as such a disposition would make their 64-year-old father accountable for his actions,” the DAs office said.

Scarsdale Police Investigating First Murder in More Than 30 Years

[NY] Scarsdale Police Investigating First Murder in More Than 30 Years

“They are relieved their father finally accepted responsibility for his actions and his plea will help them move forward and bring finality to a horrific situation,” it added.

Reich and Goldman were going through a divorce when Reich, who had been living part-time at an apartment in Manhattan, went into the upstairs bathroom at their Scarsdale home and stabbed Goldman 22 times while she was showering, the DAs office said.

After the attack, Reich left the bathroom and called 911 “sometime later,” according to the DAs office. Police found Goldmans body in the bathroom and arrested Reich at the scene.

Goldmans death marked the first murder in Scarsdale in almost 40 years.

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