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After the debate, who's up, who's down in the Democratic primary?

After the debate, who's up, who's down in the Democratic primary?At the end of the night, it would be hard to say if many minds were changed by the Democratic primary debate Tuesday at Ohio’s Otterbein University. But it did bring some differences among them into sharper focus, setting the stage for the next phase of the primary process.



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Giuliani refuses to comply with impeachment subpoena as attorney steps down: ‘I don’t need a lawyer’

Giuliani refuses to comply with impeachment subpoena as attorney steps down: ‘I don’t need a lawyer’Rudy Giuliani has said he will not co-operate with an impeachment inquiry against Donald Trump and insisted he did not need a lawyer following the arrest of two business associates accused of campaign finance violations.The president’s personal attorney posted a letter on Twitter to the House permanent select committee on intelligence in which his lawyer wrote: “Please accept this response as formal notice that Mr Giuliani will not participate because this appears to be an unconstitutional, baseless and illegitimate ‘impeachment inquiry.’”



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Pete Buttigieg Swats Down Beto O’Rourke on Guns: ‘I Don’t Need Lessons From You on Courage’

Pete Buttigieg Swats Down Beto O’Rourke on Guns: ‘I Don’t Need Lessons From You on Courage’Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke said on the debate stage Tuesday night that Americans who refuse to turn over banned semi automatic rifles under his mandatory gun buyback program would be met with unspecified “consequences,” a stance which drew major pushback from his fellow Democratic contenders.The Texas Democrat didn’t get into much more detail, but made clear that police will exercise force to confiscate weapons banned under his plan, the most sweeping gun control proposal offered by any Democratic presidential candidate.“If someone does not turn in an AR-15 or an AK-47…then that weapon will be taken from them,” O’Rourke said. “If they persist, there will be other consequences."Every candidate who addressed the issue on Tuesday evening supported additional restrictions on the sale of so-called assault weapons, but none went as far as O’Rourke. And his proposal prompted a harsh rebuke from others, especially South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg.“Congressman, you just made it clear you don’t know how this is actually going to take weapons off the streets,” he told O’Rourke. “I don’t need lessons from you on courage, political or personal. The problem is not other Democrats who don’t agree with your particular idea of how to handle this. The problem is the National Rifle Association and their enablers in Congress, and we should be united in taking the fight to them.”That drew a heated response from O’Rourke, who accused Buttigieg of minimizing the problem of gun violence and the toll it’s taken on victims of mass-casualty shootings.“When you, mayor, describe this policy as a shiny object, I don’t care what that meant to me or my candidacy,” O’Rourke shot back. “But to those who have survived gun violence, those who have lost a loved one to an AR-15 or an AK-47, marched for our lives, formed in the courage of students willing to stand up to the NRA and conventional politicians and poll-tested politicians, that was a slap in the fact to every one of those groups and every survivor of a mass casualty assault.”O’Rourke’s proposal would likely require a massive police mobilization to enforce the confiscation of millions of firearms targeted by the plan. And that raised concerns for other candidates on the stage.“In the place I grew up in, we weren't exactly looking for more reasons for cops to come show up at the door,” said Julian Castro, the former secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development. “I am not going to give these police officers another reason to go door to door in these communities.”Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.



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Mobile phones back in Indian Kashmir, but internet still down

Mobile phones back in Indian Kashmir, but internet still downMobile phone networks were restored in Indian Kashmir on Monday after a 72-day blackout, authorities said, but the internet remains off-limits to the region’s seven million-plus people. India cut access to mobile networks in the restive Kashmir Valley in early August citing security concerns as it scrapped the region’s semi-autonomous status and imposed a lockdown. The easing on Monday covers around four million post-paid mobile phone contracts, but only for calls and text messages.



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2020 Vision Monday: Polls show a 17-point swing toward impeaching Trump, which could drag down his reelection bid

2020 Vision Monday: Polls show a 17-point swing toward impeaching Trump, which could drag down his reelection bidThat rapid 17-point shift means a majority of Americans may soon support impeachment, or, taking margin-of-error into account, might already do. And that’s terrible news for Trump. Trump is.



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Hunter Biden is stepping down from the board of a Chinese private equity firm as Trump alleges corruption

Hunter Biden is stepping down from the board of a Chinese private equity firm as Trump alleges corruptionIn a statement posted online, Biden's lawyer said he would also avoid all foreign business dealings.



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Ohio ban on Down syndrome abortion blocked by U.S. appeals court

Ohio ban on Down syndrome abortion blocked by U.S. appeals courtUpholding a preliminary injunction, the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati said the law was invalid under Supreme Court precedents because it had the purpose and effect of preventing some women from obtaining pre-viability abortions. The law known as House Bill 214 subjected doctors to as much as 18 months in prison for performing abortions when they knew a pregnant woman based her decision to abort at least in part on a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome in the fetus, or other reason to believe that condition was present. John Kasich, then Ohio’s Republican governor, signed the law in December 2017, following passage by the Republican-controlled legislature.



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As Trump clamps down on refugees, one group benefits: Religious exiles fleeing Ukraine

As Trump clamps down on refugees, one group benefits: Religious exiles fleeing UkraineSince President Trump took office in 2017, worldwide refugee admissions to the United States have plummeted. The only country from which the number of refugees admitted into the U.S. has increased significantly: Ukraine.



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Trump is dragging down Biden with him as the Ukraine scandal threatens to upend his presidency

Trump is dragging down Biden with him as the Ukraine scandal threatens to upend his presidencyTrump is seeking to sow doubts about Biden as the impeachment inquiry escalates and ahead of 2020, and there are growing signs it's working.



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Police Crack Down on Vaping, Surfacing Stockpiles of Illicit Cartridges

Police Crack Down on Vaping, Surfacing Stockpiles of Illicit CartridgesThe tip came to Minnesota police officers in July via a confidential informant: In a suburb in Anoka County, the informant said, a man had been quietly selling thousands of vaping cartridges laced with marijuana from his home.When authorities entered the man's condominium last week, they found a staggeringly large stash of vaping cartridges, believed to be one of the biggest busts in the country. Close to 29,000 cartridges were tucked away inside a Cadillac Escalade. Another 30,000 were stacked in a garage. Some were packaged in black boxes with colorful lettering, cheerful images of Fred Flintstone and names of candylike flavors like mai tai, strawberry shortcake and Fruity Pebbles.They were the sorts of vaping products that have been identified as possible culprits in a perplexing lung illness that has sickened at least 800 people across the country and killed at least 16.As health officials grapple with a public health crisis they are struggling to understand, police departments are in the midst of a swift crackdown on vaping products containing THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. In the Phoenix area, authorities recently raided three homes over eight days, seizing hundreds of THC cartridges at each. In Wisconsin, detectives arrested two young brothers accused of running a large-scale THC cartridge assembly operation inside a condo. And in Nebraska, sheriff's deputies found a stash of cartridges in a car parked at a truck stop.Until recently, some police departments busy fighting a national opioid epidemic had considered illegal vaping products a nuisance, but not a lethal threat. Police departments had taken small steps to root out illegal cartridges, but as more teenagers and young adults have begun vaping THC, sometimes with deadly consequences, authorities say they are now paying close attention."It's become an absolute priority," said Sheriff Paul Penzone of Maricopa County, Arizona, where deputies have made undercover purchases from vaping cartridge dealers and tried to disrupt a sprawling supply chain.The effort to crack down on illicit vaping products has been laden with complications. Police say they have been stunned by the growth in popularity and variety of vaping devices. Enforcement can be difficult because vaping THC is not accompanied by the distinctive — and often incriminating — smell of marijuana. And police officers have had to learn the difference between vaping cartridges for THC, which are illegal for recreational use in most states, and devices for vaping nicotine, which are legally sold at many drugstores and gas stations.Authorities are also still tracing a vast and shadowy distribution network in which empty cartridges are filled with THC-laced liquid in "pen factories," packaged with boxes available online and often shipped across state lines in trucks or rental cars."It is something we're trying to get our hands around," said L.J. Fusaro, the chief of police in Groton, Connecticut, where officers confiscated 435 THC cartridges in a bust this year. "As of late, it's really become of interest to law enforcement because of the harm that's come to folks, particularly our youth."In August, Illinois health officials announced the first vaping-related death in the nation. In the weeks after, more deaths in Kansas, California and Indiana were tied to the ailment, and that number has continued to grow. Illicit THC-filled vaping cartridges with labels like "Dank Vapes" could be culprits, according to health officials, but it is still unknown what is making people ill.In police circles, efforts have turned to trying to get a handle on the universe of vaping products — a wide, disparate array of sources of cartridges and a murky and fragmented distribution network for them.Law enforcement officials have found a flourishing black market of vaping cartridges that are made in small operations, often in a house or apartment. The cartridges are filled with THC oil and often diluted with substances that are dangerous to inhale, like vitamin E acetate, one of the products that health officials suspect has caused lung damage. Then they are sold on the street or online for roughly $ 20 each.In recent years, police have sometimes struggled to classify vaping materials in official reports and to decide which criminal charges should apply to them."We started recognizing it as commanders from across the state were calling us, trying to figure out how to report them to us, because they didn't fit into a category," said Brian Marquart, the statewide gang and drug coordinator at the Minnesota Department of Public Safety.Authorities have tracked down illegal vaping operations through elaborate police investigation — but also fortuitous traffic stops.In Indiana, 50,000 cartridges worth $ 1 million were found on a box truck traveling from California to Indianapolis after the driver was pulled over in March for following another vehicle too closely. In Nebraska, the State Patrol has netted three seizures of illegal vaping products in recent weeks, including the discovery of thousands of THC cartridges in the bed of a white pickup truck that made an improper lane change west of Lincoln.Some boxes of cartridges have been found in plain sight — a reflection, perhaps, of the relative newness of efforts to crack down on THC cartridges and of states' differing laws on marijuana."It's not like it's unmarked and heat-sealed and hidden in a false compartment," Capt. Jason Scott of the Nebraska State Patrol said. "It's usually just right out in the open."Other cases have involved lengthy and intense investigations. In the Minnesota case, an undercover officer from a drug task force bought vaping products from Valentin V. Andonii, 22, then followed him to his home, leading to the discovery of nearly 77,000 cartridges.Alyssa Jones, a lawyer for Andonii, declined to comment on two felony drug charges her client faces, each of which could carry a 30-year prison term if he is convicted.Federal officials have also targeted illegal vaping, though local and state law enforcement agencies said they have mostly been operating on their own. In Ohio, three people were indicted in May after Drug Enforcement Administration agents found thousands of THC vaping cartridges. And last year in North Carolina, federal agents arrested a man accused of selling a synthetic marijuana vaping product.The threat of THC-laced vaping cartridges still pales in comparison to the pervasive presence of opioids, which killed more than 47,000 people in overdoses in 2017. Some police departments may have been so busy battling heroin, fentanyl and other drugs that they did not view THC vaping as a threat until very recently."Honestly, I think we kind of missed the boat a little bit because we've been dealing with opioids," said Fusaro of the Groton, Connecticut, police. "In some respects, we didn't see this coming."In places like Phoenix, where Penzone's deputies recently confiscated 1,100 cartridges, there is a growing sense of just how pervasive illegal vaping has become and just how hard it will be to choke off the supply."Through e-cartridges, we now have a pathway where our children can ingest literally any drug," Penzone said. "That creates a whole new challenge for us that we've never seen in the past."This article originally appeared in The New York Times.(C) 2019 The New York Times Company



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