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Even C-SPAN Is Piqued: Senate Puts Limits on Trial Coverage

Even C-SPAN Is Piqued: Senate Puts Limits on Trial CoverageNews coverage of President Donald Trump's impeachment trial in the Senate began last week with a Republican senator calling a CNN reporter "a liberal hack" in the halls of Congress and laughing about it later that night during a Fox News interview.Things haven't improved much since.Journalists are up in arms about new restrictions on their movement inside the Capitol, which they said will prevent them from easily interviewing lawmakers about the proceedings. The rules, negotiated by Republican Senate leadership, have yet to be written down, causing confusion among reporters and the Capitol Police expected to enforce them.Even sedate C-SPAN is aggrieved, calling on the Senate to allow its television crews to document the trial instead of the government-controlled cameras that — as was the case during Bill Clinton's trial 21 years ago — will limit what viewers see and hear inside the Senate chamber.Hurling insults at journalists is standard fare for officials at the White House. But Congress, with its protocols and rituals, was considered a relatively safe space for reporters, where cordiality was prized.The pretrial tensions suggest that the bash-the-press mentality that led the White House to kill off the daily briefing and strip reporters of their credentials has now crept into what senators like to call "the world's greatest deliberative body.""There's long been this understanding that we both serve the same people at the end of the day and that it's a mutually beneficial relationship," said Sarah Wire, a Los Angeles Times reporter who leads a committee of congressional correspondents. "Senators want to talk to us because they know we're communicating their message to their voters back home."All this," she added in an interview, "was kind of a shock.""This" is a series of restrictions abruptly imposed on reporters shortly before the start of the trial, where opening arguments are set to begin Tuesday.Instead of unfettered access to the hallways and corridors surrounding the Senate chamber — a tradition for decades — journalists will be confined to roped-off pens as senators come and go from the trial. Walk-and-talk interviews with senators, a staple of congressional reporting made famous by TV shows like "The West Wing," will be curtailed."This is how ludicrous these restrictions are," a McClatchy reporter, Emma Dumain, wrote on Twitter last week, describing how a Capitol Police officer interrupted her interview with a senator and insisted that she "step behind a rope in order to continue the conversation."Journalists have long been barred from entering the Senate chamber, relegated to an overhead view from the press gallery above. Now, to enter the upstairs gallery, they will need to queue up for a magnetometer meant to sniff out illicit electronics, raising concerns about their ability to quickly relay to the public what is happening inside.The effect, reporters said, is to make it harder to chronicle the you-are-there details expected of a historic political moment — including which senators are doodling or snoozing during testimony. In stark contrast with the coverage of State of the Union addresses, a few stationary cameras controlled by a Senate office, rather than an independent news organization, will provide the only viewpoint of the trial floor."Those cameras operate under very strict guidelines: They show the person who is speaking and maybe some wide shots," Terry Murphy, vice president for programming at C-SPAN, said in an interview. "They can't show others reacting or listening. Having our own cameras in there would allow us to cover the trial with a much more full picture of what's going on."C-SPAN wrote to the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, in December, formally requesting access. As of Saturday, the network had heard nothing back.The U.S. news media has come a long way since the country's first impeachment trial, of President Andrew Johnson in 1868, when House impeachment managers sat for a still portrait by famed Civil War photographer Mathew Brady.The Clinton impeachment trial was the first to take place in the age of 24-hour cable news. But journalists in 1999 did not have to contend with the minute-by-minute demands of digital media. Trump's impeachment trial will be the first to be dissected in real-time — and possibly by the Twitter-happy president himself.On Capitol Hill, parties on both sides of the lawmaker-journalist divide said discussions about access are active. First Amendment groups like the American Civil Liberties Union have weighed in to decry the new limits. The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press gathered signatures from 57 news organizations objecting to the rules.Elisabeth Bumiller, an assistant managing editor and the Washington bureau chief of The New York Times, said in a statement that the restrictions "will severely limit the ability of reporters to gather news during one of the most historic events in the nation's history.""These limits are far more burdensome than the rules that govern press access in the Capitol, even those in effect during the last impeachment trial, and will prevent journalists from freely documenting a public debate in Congress," Bumiller said.McConnell's office, which controls the business of the Senate, declined to comment.On Capitol Hill, there is speculation that the restrictions were put in place because Chief Justice John Roberts, who is presiding over the trial, will be present in the chamber each day. Typically, reporters' movements in the Capitol are limited when high-profile people visit, like Vice President Mike Pence.But congressional correspondents said that, even after several meetings with Senate officials, they did not know why the restrictions had been put in place. Some suspected that Senate leaders believe the less the public knows about the trial, the better."Journalists are the public's eyes and ears in the Capitol," said Leo Shane, a correspondent for Military Times. "We're asking lawmakers to make sure they're not using the excuse of security concerns as a reason to exclude the public from this trial."This article originally appeared in The New York Times.(C) 2020 The New York Times Company



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Ukraine Urges Five-Nation Probe Into Downed Jet, Even Without Iran

Ukraine Urges Five-Nation Probe Into Downed Jet, Even Without Iran(Bloomberg) — Ukraine called for an investigation by five countries that lost citizens in last week’s downing of a passenger jet leaving Tehran — but said Iran isn’t likely to participate in the probe.Foreign Minister Vadym Prystaiko will head to London to meet Thursday with his counterparts from the U.K., Canada, Sweden and Afghanistan after Iran belatedly admitted shooting down Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 by mistake, killing all 176 people aboard.“We’ll elaborate on what we’re going to do internationally and collectively against Iran,” Prystaiko said Tuesday in an interview in Singapore. “We want to go deep down to the very bottom of it and have the people responsible brought to justice.”Top prosecutors from the nations will create a criminal-investigation team and will pursue compensation, according to the minister, who said “so far we don’t have Iran at the table.” German officials could join the process, though, as some victims had dual German-Afghan citizenship, he said.The three-year-old Boeing Co. 737-800 abruptly stopped transmitting its position and plunged to the ground about two minutes after takeoff from Tehran on Jan. 8. The crash occurred hours after the Islamic Republic started launching rockets against Iraqi bases where U.S. forces are stationed, in retaliation for the killing of Iran’s top general, Qassem Soleimani.On the day of the tragedy, Prystaiko said his opposite number in Iran didn’t give away what really happened, with initial reports suggesting engine failure as the reason for the crash.“In this conversation he never hinted to me that they actually shot down our plane,” Prystaiko said. “It was a very formal conversation that something had happened: ‘We send our condolences; we ask your team to help us with the investigation.”’Iran said Tuesday that it’s arrested a number of people linked to the downing of the plane.“I promise that the government, with all its ability and using everything at its disposal, will investigate this matter,” President Hassan Rouhani told officials in remarks broadcast live on state TV. “This is not an ordinary case. The entire world will be watching.”Prystaiko welcomed the development but remains cautious, saying he wants to see “the real people, those responsible” brought to justice — echoing calls for accountability from Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.There’s also tension over the fate of the flight’s black boxes, which the government in Tehran indicated have been taken to France with investigators from Iran and Ukraine.Despite Iran accepting responsibility for the disaster, Ukraine wants a thorough investigation using data gleaned from the flight recorder that should be “in our possession on Ukrainian soil,” according to PrystaikoIran’s admission of culpability has prompted outrage and protests. Prystaiko said the demonstrations shouldn’t impinge on the investigation.“I expect full cooperation with us regardless of the political pressure,” he said. “There are moments when the government has to explain to their own people that ‘we’re responsible for the deaths of these people and the crash of this plane shot down from our own skies.”’\–With assistance from Daryna Krasnolutska.To contact the reporter on this story: Philip J. Heijmans in Singapore at pheijmans1@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Andrea Dudik at adudik@bloomberg.net, Andrew LangleyFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.



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Boeing removed a feature that protects its 787 planes during lightning strikes as a cost-cutting measure, even after FAA experts objected

Boeing removed a feature that protects its 787 planes during lightning strikes as a cost-cutting measure, even after FAA experts objectedThe FAA administrator will be questioned by Congress today over its certification of the change to the 787 Dreamliner as well as the 737 Max.



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Mysterious automated calls, vanished relatives, and sinister Facebook comments: How China intimidates Uighurs who don't even live in the country

Mysterious automated calls, vanished relatives, and sinister Facebook comments: How China intimidates Uighurs who don't even live in the countryThough China's brutal campaign is most active in Xinjiang, many Uighurs living abroad say they've been targeted by Chinese agents.



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Supreme Court in Major Gun Case: What Are We Even Doing Here?

Supreme Court in Major Gun Case: What Are We Even Doing Here?The Supreme Court heard the most important gun-rights case in 10 years today—one with the potential to be doomsday for gun-control supporters, and a huge win for the National Rifle Association—but may not decide it.That’s because the case, New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. City of New York, is probably moot, since New York City (and state) withdrew the challenged regulation after the Supreme Court took the case.The reason was obvious: With Justice Brett Kavanaugh having replaced Justice Anthony Kennedy on the court, there are probably five votes for overturning the law and, more importantly, expanding the court’s jurisprudence on what the Second Amendment does and does not cover.New York has three types of firearms licenses, in order of strictness: concealed carry, a “premises license,” and a license to carry during employment. The middle form of license is the subject of today’s case.The now-repealed version of New York City’s premises license only allowed the licensee to possess the firearm at home and at one of seven shooting ranges in the city—not to carry the gun around, or transport it out of the city for any reason.Several gun owners sued. One complained he couldn’t take it to his country house upstate. Another wanted to shoot at target ranges outside the city. And so on.After the Supreme Court took the case, those restrictions were loosened. Under the current law, premises licensees can take their guns to second homes, to places of business, and to shooting ranges outside of the city.Case closed?Not when it’s this important an issue. The court has only ruled twice in the last century on how the Second Amendment affects individual gun owners, and since its landmark decision in 2008’s District of Columbia v. Heller, it has repeatedly declined to take gun cases in recent years.As a result, neither gun-rights activists nor gun-control activists really know what the U.S. Constitution allows as far as gun regulations, and lower courts have begun to diverge from one another. The stakes are high, especially since a decision would probably be rendered just in time for the 2020 election.So, the challengers maintained, there are still live issues here. What if a gun owner wants to stop for coffee on the way to their country house? (Yes, this was an actual question raised in challengers’ briefs.) And what about the period during which the broader regulations were in place? Couldn’t New York City penalize someone now for breaking the rules then?But these are thin reeds on which to hang a major constitutional ruling, and in fact, most of the oral argument on Monday was devoted not to the merits of the law, but to the questions of whether there’s even a live case here. That’s a bad sign for the NRA. While the justices did spend some time talking about the Second Amendment, they spent much more time talking about when cases become moot. Most importantly, Chief Justice John Roberts seemed inclined toward New York City’s position that the case should be dismissed. He seemed most concerned about the claim that someone who violated the old law could still be prosecuted, but Richard Dearing, the lawyer for New York, said that they could not be and that the state and city had stipulated that they could not be.As for the other justices, Justices Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch seemed convinced that the case was live—and, not coincidentally, that the regulations raised serious Second Amendment issues. Justice Clarence Thomas was silent, as usual, but has recently issued opinions complaining that the Second Amendment has become a “disfavored right” and a “constitutional orphan,” which strongly suggests he would take this case.Uncharacteristically, Justice Kavanaugh was also silent. He has made many statements supporting an expansive view of the Second Amendment in the past, and court-watchers have generally counted him in the pro-gun camp, but he asked no questions today.All of the court’s more liberal members seemed convinced that the case was moot, with Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg parsing the rules of procedure like an expert law professor.As in many other cases, then, it appears that Roberts will be the swing vote in this one. And if his concern is that gun owners could still be prosecuted for violations under the old law, it appears that concern has been answered.If the court does come down that way, though, it would be foolish for gun-control activists to declare victory.First, as we’ve seen in other high-profile cases, Roberts is difficult to predict. He’s a judicial conservative, an institutionalist, a pragmatist, and someone focused on restoring the legitimacy of the Supreme Court. In this case, both conservative and liberal senators filed amicus briefs urging the court not to let politics dictate their decision—meaning, of course, that whichever way the court rules, the other side will say it is playing politics. For an institutionalist like Roberts, the case is a minefield.Second, even if New York wins this case, there will be another one soon. At most, a dismissal on mootness grounds is a reprieve for gun-control supporters—not a victory.Eventually, the court will take a Second Amendment case—possibly one with a more important set of regulations than these somewhat quixotic ones, and with more opportunity to expand the meaning of the Second Amendment. And when that happens, it’s quite likely that Americans’ gun rights will grow, just like the number of mass shootings at concerts, malls, and schools.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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Mexico massacre unites Mormon sects, even their exiles

Mexico massacre unites Mormon sects, even their exilesThe 35-year-old Seattle homemaker had spent much of her life trying to keep away from her parents’ self-described fundamentalist branch of the Mormon faith and Colonia LeBaron – her polygamist father’s Mexico community where some of the massacre victims were from. “The massacre has simply allowed me to support and love family,” said Bostwick, a convert to Christianity, whose mother was 15 when she gave birth to her, and who was later adopted by her U.S. grandparents. The Nov. 4 killings have traumatized northern Mexico’s breakaway Mormon communities.



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2020 Honda Civic Si, Updated, Is Even More Fun for the Money

2020 Honda Civic Si, Updated, Is Even More Fun for the Money



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How Trump's Visit to an Alabama Football Game Caused Controversy Before He Even Arrived

How Trump's Visit to an Alabama Football Game Caused Controversy Before He Even ArrivedStudents at the University of Alabama were warned not to be "disruptive" while Trump attends the Alabama-LSU game.



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Sea levels set to keep rising for centuries even if emissions targets met

Sea levels set to keep rising for centuries even if emissions targets metGenerations yet unborn will face rising oceans and coastal inundations into the 2300s even if governments meet climate commitments, researchers findA potential scenario of future sea level rise in South Beach, Miami, Florida, with a global temperature rise of 2C. Photograph: Nickolay Lamm/Courtesy Climate CentralSea level rise is set to challenge human civilization for centuries to come, even if internationally agreed climate goals are met and planet-warming emissions are then immediately eliminated, researchers have found.The lag time between rising global temperatures and the knock-on impact of coastal inundation means that the world will be dealing with ever-rising sea levels into the 2300s, regardless of prompt action to address the climate crisis, according to the new study.Even if governments meet their commitments from the landmark 2015 Paris climate agreement, the first 15-year period of the deal will still result in enough emissions that would cause sea levels to increase by around 20cm by the year 2300.This scenario, modeled by researchers, assumes that all countries make their promised emissions reductions by 2030 and then abruptly eliminate all planet-warming gases from that point onwards. In reality, only a small number of countries are on track to meet the Paris target of limiting global heating to 2C above the pre-industrial era.“Even with the Paris pledges there will be a large amount of sea level rise,” said Peter Clark, an Oregon State University climate scientist and co-author of the study, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.“Sea level rise is going to be an ongoing problem for centuries to come, we will have to keep on adapting over and over again. It’s going to be a whole new expensive lifestyle, costing trillions of dollars.“Sea level has a very long memory, so even if we start cooling temperatures the seas will continue to rise. It’s a bit like trying to turn the Titanic around, rather than a speedboat.”Researchers used a computer model that simulates sea level rise in response to various emissions levels, looking both at historical emissions since 1750 and also what the emissions scenario would be from 2015 to 2030 if countries met their Paris agreement obligations.About half of the 20cm sea level rise can be attributed to the world’s top five greenhouse gas polluters – the US, China, India, Russia and the European Union – according to the researchers. The US was a key architect of the Paris deal but this week Donald Trump formally triggered its exit from the agreement.“Our results show that what we do today will have a huge effect in 2300. Twenty centimetres is very significant; it is basically as much sea-level rise as we’ve observed over the entire 20th century,” said Climate Analytics’ Alexander Nauels, lead author of the study. “To cause that with only 15 years of emissions is quite staggering.”The results reveal the daunting prospect of a near-endless advance of the seas, forcing countries to invest huge resources in defending key infrastructure or ceding certain areas to the tides. Many coastal cities around the world are already facing this challenge, with recent research finding that land currently home to 300 million people will flood at least once a year by 2050 unless carbon emissions are drastically slashed.As the world heats up, ocean water is expanding while land-based glaciers and the two great polar ice caps are melting away, causing the oceans to swell.According to the UN’s climate science panel, the global sea level rise could reach as much as 1.1 metres by the end of the century if emissions aren’t curbed. Clark pointed out the real situation could be even worse if the melting of the Antarctic turns out to be on the dire end of the spectrum of uncertainty.“People are going to become less inclined to live by the coast and there are going to be sea level rise refugees,” Clark said. “More severe cuts in emissions are certainly going to be required but the current Paris pledges aren’t enough to prevent the seas from rising for a long, long time.”



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The U.S. Military is Sending Thousands of Troops and Even B-1 Bombers into Saudi Arabia (To Counter Iran)

The U.S. Military is Sending Thousands of Troops and Even B-1 Bombers into Saudi Arabia (To Counter Iran)And that is just for starters.



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