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Progressive Group That Backed AOC Takes Aim at Incumbents Across U.S.

Progressive Group That Backed AOC Takes Aim at Incumbents Across U.S.(Bloomberg) — The atmosphere at Buunni Coffee in the Bronx is thick with the aroma of roasted Ethiopian beans and anti-establishment fervor.The shop is in the Riverdale neighborhood represented for more than 30 years in the House by Democrat Eliot Engel, a close ally of Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Wielding their personal laptops and cell phones, a crew of volunteers mostly in their 20s and 30s is trying to change that.“Hello, I’m calling on behalf of Jamaal Bowman,” begin most calls from a make-shift phone bank upstairs, introducing a progressive candidate few people in the district have ever heard of. A lot of the connections end abruptly. But occasionally, interest is piqued, and another potential voter’s name is logged for the middle school principal endorsed by Justice Democrats, the progressive activist group that backed Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in a neighboring district.The group is hoping to repeat Ocasio-Cortez’s stunning 2018 Democratic primary victory over Joe Crowley, who was a member of House leadership and a 20-year incumbent. Energized by that upset, the Justice Democrats who has endorsed candidates in Massachusetts, Texas and Ohio to challenge Democratic incumbents they deem as too moderate to reflect the progressive energy animating voters in solidly blue districts.It’s a major 2020 headache for Pelosi. She often reminds her caucus that their House majority depends on defending and flipping swing districts where middle-of-the-road voters are turned off by progressive causes like Medicare for All and the Green New Deal.Losing her incumbents to upstart challengers risks ceding crucial seats to Republicans and playing into President Donald Trump’s attempt to present Ocasio-Cortez and her closest allies — Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ilhan Omar of Minnesota — as the face of a Democratic Party trending towards socialism.EndorsementBowman, 43, an education-reform activist from Yonkers, is one of Engel’s two leading primary challengers. Another is educator Andom Ghebreghiorgis, 33, of Mount Vernon. But it was Bowman who won the endorsement of Justice Democrats, a progressive badge of honor also sought by Ghebreghiorgis and about 10 others vying for the Democratic nomination in New York’s 16th Congressional District.The district is heavily Democratic and Engel, 72, has been entrenched. He handily defeated three Democratic primary challengers in 2018 with 74 percent of the vote — and didn’t even have a Republican opponent in the general election.But for Bowman and other progressives, too many Democrats in such safe districts haven’t changed with the times and don’t reflect the more leftward tilt of their constituents.“A corporate Democrat and a paper progressive,” is how Bowman dismissively described Engel.The fight for Engel’s seat is but one of the tests for whether Ocasio-Cortez’s surprise 2018 victory was a template for efforts to yank the party further left, which aren’t limited to Justice Democrats.Engel’s fellow New Yorkers such as House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler, Carolyn Maloney, Nita Lowey, Kathleen Rice, and Yvette Clark, are among those facing primary challenges, as are Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal of Massachusetts, Henry Cuellar in Texas and Minority Leader Steny Hoyer of Maryland.Engel’s ConfidenceEngel said he wouldn’t know Bowman “if I fell into him” and expressed confidence he won’t lose the primary — to anyone.He concedes that Justice Democrats “did catch lightning in a bottle” by backing the rise of Ocasio-Cortez in 2018. But he suggests the group is seriously miscalculating by “going around the country thinking they can catch lighting in a bottle again in many other places.”Justice Democrats, which was founded by former staff members of the Bernie Sanders 2016 presidential campaign, is trying to do just that.Along with Bowman, the organization so far this year has endorsed Jessica Cisneros to challenge Cuellar in Texas; Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse in his Massachusetts primary bid against Neal; and Morgan Harper in an Ohio challenge to Representative Joyce Beatty. The group also endorsed candidates who lost their 2018 challenges to Representatives Dan Lipinski in Illinois, and William Lacy Clay in Missouri. Progressive Betsy Sweet has the group’s backing in the primary vying to defeat Republican Senator Susan Collins, as well as Kara Eastman in her bid to unseat Nebraska Representative Don Bacon.‘AOC’ TiesThe Justice Democrats’ website plays up its ties with Ocasio-Cortez and the rest of the squad, but the four freshmen aren’t now openly or actively campaigning against their House colleagues. One page sells t-shirts, hoodies and tank tops touting “Ayanna & Ilhan & Rashida & Alexandria” and “Green New Deal.”“We thought Jamaal had the best shot to take on someone who is difficult to beat,” said Justice Democrat spokesman Waleed Shahid. He pointed to Bowman’s background founding the Cornerstone Academy for Social Action, and his advocacy for equitable school funding and opposition to standardized school testing.Shahid said the group’s assistance for Bowman is similar to how it is operating for other insurgent House campaigns — aiding in his launch, helping find staff and making voter contacts. Justice Democrats will use its “pretty wide net” of small-donation contributors to provide support, he said.Bowman and Ghebreghiorgis acknowledge they have a steep, uphill battle to unseat Engel. Ghebreghiorgis said eventually one of them should drop out to prevent a split of the progressive vote.Both seize on election data reflecting that only about 7% of the district’s registered voters showed up to cast ballots in the 2018 Democratic primary, and the Bronx portion of district — which stretches to southern Westchester County — is under-represented in the turnout.Untapped VotersThey say that suggests voters aren’t engaged by Engel and that there’s a lot untapped votes that could be won by a challenger.“It tends to make you think there’s actually a capacity to mobilize and bring people into the fold in the Bronx, who have historically not been voting,” Ghebreghiorgis said.Out on the stump, Bowman touts what is becoming a familiar progressive agenda. He is for Medicare for All, free public college tuition, overhauling the criminal justice system and the Green New Deal.“My opponent voted for an unjust war in Iraq, deregulating Wall Street, school privatization and building more prisons,” Bowman said in his launch video. “While the very few at the top continue to build their wealth and power, the majority of us continue to struggle.”At a picnic by the grassroots “Indivisible” group that began in opposition to Trump’s 2016 election, Engel made a point to highlight that he has joined the call for an impeachment inquiry, which now roughly half of the 235 House Democrats want to pursue.The incumbent congressman does have some progressive bona fides and a record of liberal achievements. Kenneth Jenkins, the Westchester deputy county executive, and former president of the Yonkers branch of the NAACP, said he’s been an Engel supporter for years, dating from their work together on desegregation and housing issues.“People forget that Eliot was the rabble-rouser of his time,” Jenkins said. “He was the renegade and the liberal.”When Engel first ran for the state Assembly in a 1977 special election, he was the insurgent liberal nominee who defeated both the Democratic and Republican candidates. And in his first race for a U.S. House seat, in 1988, he beat a 10-term congressman, Mario Biaggi, who had already resigned his seat after being convicted on racketeering charges, but remained on the primary ballot.At Buunni Coffee, some of the volunteers said they hadn’t met Bowman yet. But nearly all were aware he’d gotten the backing of Justice Democrats, the group famous for backing Ocasio-Cortez’s 2018 candidacy.Jatnna De La Cruz, 20, a City College of New York political science student, said that “overlap with the Justice Democrats and AOC” played some role in her wanting to canvass for Bowman, but it was not the only reason.Asked what she knew about Engel, she said, “I know is he has been in Congress for 30 years.”When Bowman himself arrived, he was clearly happy to find such a crew of canvassers. He said he’s proud of his endorsement from the Justice Democrats: “It comes up and I bring it up, I mention it because I want people to know our ideology and where we are coming up.”He also recognizes a campaign to topple an incumbent won’t be built overnight.“It’s still early,” Bowman said. “We’re just working. We have our heads down. We’re grinding.”To contact the reporter on this story: Billy House in Washington at bhouse5@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Joe Sobczyk at jsobczyk@bloomberg.net, Anna EdgertonFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.



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Catholic Priest Abuse Survivors' Group Says It's 'Cowardly' That Convicted Cardinal Has Not Been Defrocked

Catholic Priest Abuse Survivors' Group Says It's 'Cowardly' That Convicted Cardinal Has Not Been Defrocked'I don't know what other proof any organization needs other than a conviction'



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LGBT Republican group that declined to back Trump in 2016 endorses him for 2020

LGBT Republican group that declined to back Trump in 2016 endorses him for 2020The Log Cabin Republicans declined to endorse Donald Trump in 2016 but said he had taken "bold actions that benefit the LGBTQ community" as president.



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Pakistan observes 'Black Day' over Kashmir with march by militant group

Pakistan observes 'Black Day' over Kashmir with march by militant groupMUZAFFARABAD/ISLAMABAD (Reuters) – Pakistan observed a ‘Black Day’ on Thursday to coincide with India’s Independence Day celebrations, as one of the main militant groups fighting Indian rule in Kashmir led a protest through Pakistan’s part of the disputed region. India’s decision this month to revoke special status for its portion of Kashmir, along with a communications blackout and curbs on movement, caused fury in Pakistan, which cut trade and transport links and expelled India’s envoy in retaliation.



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Airline leaves group of children as young as eight ‘unaccompanied overnight after flight delayed’

Airline leaves group of children as young as eight ‘unaccompanied overnight after flight delayed’Hudson Hoyt was ecstatic for his first time at Camp New Friends.The 8-year-old, who lives in Beaverton, Oregon, flew east in early August for the camp's week-long summer program outside of Charlottesville, Virginia, specifically for children with neurofibromatosis, a genetic disorder that causes tumours to grow on nerve tissue.It was a dream experience for Hudson – at least, until the return flight home via American Airlines, for which point Hudson's mother says he and eight other unaccompanied minors from the camp were temporarily stranded, deprived of food and met with conditions so poor it's made her son reluctant to fly again."I felt scared," Hudson, who suffers from anxiety, said in an interview with The Washington Post. "When the plane stopped moving, I was afraid I was never going to see my mum again."The first plane arrived late for a layover in Charlotte, North Carolina, according to Hudson's mother, Kristie Hoyt, and the children were rushed to their Portland, Oregon, flight without stopping for food. But then the second plane was stalled by delays that were not communicated to the parents. First, fuel spilled on the tarmac. Then, she learned that the airline needed to find replacements for the pilot and co-pilot, who had worked too many hours.When Ms Hoyt asked for a direct phone number for someone with American Airlines who could keep her updated on the children's situation, the mother says she was denied. Updates came after a 12-year-old in the group called her and gave the phone to a flight attendant. The airline never reached out to her directly, she says, even though she was listed as the contact for two children on the trip.With their flight delayed until the next morning, the children's' problems worsened at the Charlotte airport. They stayed overnight in an unaccompanied-minor room, where some of the kids had to sleep on the floor because there were not enough beds and furniture, Ms Hoyt said. Hudson and his friends still hadn't eaten a full meal since breakfast at camp that morning, and the vending machines inside didn't work.Some of the children on the flight required medication with a full meal to prevent seizures and migraines, she says.Ms Hoyt detailed the saga in Facebook posts."American Airlines, how are you okay with leaving 9 unaccompanied children all with medical needs on a plane for over 5 hours and not giving their parents updates?" she wrote Friday night. "Or allowing the kids access to electricity to charge their phones to talk to their parents? You are disgraceful! And harming these children!"After their overnight stay at the airport, Hoyt says the children were rushed onto a plane at about 6am. The children did not receive breakfast aboard the plane as promised, she said, even when the takeoff time was delayed again because "the catering service wasn't delivered."The confusion came to a head when the kids arrived in Portland and the mother was asked to sign for a child who was not hers.In all, Ms Hoyt said the children went more than 24 hours without a full meal. In a 5am text from her son, which she later posted to Facebook, Hudson wrote: "[Our] plane has not take off yet I [have] not had lunch dinner or breakfast."After his adoption, Hudson has struggled with anxiety and abandonment issues, something his mother says they are working to overcome. She and other parents say they were never contacted by the airline, even though American Airlines' policy requires staffers to "call the contacts on the unaccompanied minor form" in the event of a delay or cancelled flight.Kelley Phillips, identified by KATU as another child on the plane, told the network she and her friends had "limited" access to the bathroom and were only provided with snacks."The only thing we had were crackers and soda, which isn't good because we need real food to be able to take our medication," she said.American Airlines issued a public statement of apology and attributed the overnight delay to a mechanical problem. It said the children were kept "safe and comfortable" in the care of airline personnel."Our team is in the process of reaching out to the families involved and sincerely apologises for this travel experience. We will be reviewing with our teams internally to understand how we can do better next time," the airline wrote.Hudson, she said, wants to go back to camp but now has trepidation about flying. After meeting with a counsellor Monday, however, they've narrowed that scope to American Airlines flights, specifically."We're just trying to work through the trauma of it," she said.The Washington Post



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Kamala Harris hits back at NRA after group criticizes her gun control proposals

Kamala Harris hits back at NRA after group criticizes her gun control proposalsSen. Kamala Harris earlier this year said if elected president, she would take executive actions to ban the importation of AR-15-style weapons into the U.S. and expand background check requirements.



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Philippines is world's deadliest nation for land rights: campaign group

Philippines is world's deadliest nation for land rights: campaign groupMore than three people were murdered each week last year while protecting their land from encroaching industries, a human rights group said on Tuesday, with a four-fold increase in killings related to conflicts over water. At least 164 farmers and land rights activists were killed worldwide last year, with the Philippines accounting for the most casualties for the first time since Britain-based Global Witness began reporting such deaths in 2012. In 19 countries surveyed, mining was linked to 43 deaths, with fatal attacks also recorded at hydropower projects and in disputes involving agribusiness and logging companies.



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Lawmaker, conservative group seek ethics probes of Rep. Omar

Lawmaker, conservative group seek ethics probes of Rep. OmarA Minnesota state legislator and a conservative group announced Tuesday that they are seeking ethics investigations into U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar for a range of alleged offenses. Steve Drazkowski, a Republican, and Judicial Watch both say Omar may have committed immigration fraud by marrying someone they say is her brother. Omar, a Minnesota Democrat who came to the U.S. as a refugee from Somalia, previously denied the allegation and called such claims “disgusting lies.” A spokesman didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday.



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Iran Says It Will Execute Group of Alleged CIA-Trained Spies

Iran Says It Will Execute Group of Alleged CIA-Trained Spies(Bloomberg) — Iran, locked in a worsening political standoff with Western powers, has handed down death sentences to several nationals accused of being part of a CIA-trained spy network uncovered earlier this year, an official said on Monday.U.S. President Donald Trump denounced the Iranian report as “totally false” on Twitter Monday. “Just more lies and propaganda (like their shot down drone) put out by a Religious Regime that is Badly Failing and has no idea what to do,” Trump said. Beyond that, an administration official said the White House doesn’t comment on intelligence activities.In Tehran, a senior intelligence official told foreign media that 17 people had been arrested. None of the suspects are dual nationals, according to the official, who declined to be identified and didn’t say how many were sentenced to death.The announcement marks a show of force by Iran at a time of turbulent ties with the U.S. after the Trump administration withdrew from the 2015 nuclear accord with the Islamic Republic and reimposed crippling sanctions on its economy.The friction was made worse by a diplomatic crisis between Iran and the U.K., which seized an Iranian oil tanker in Gibraltar earlier this month, saying it carried oil bound for Syria in violation of United Nations sanctions. Iran responded by holding a British tanker on Friday near the Strait of Hormuz, a shipping chokepoint through which about 40% of the world’s seaborne oil travels.Asked about Iran’s arrest of spies Monday on Fox News, U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo said that Iran “has a long history of lying.” Iran’s announcement about the arrests is “further evidence of the outlaw nature of the Iranian regime,” he added.Iran has also accused Trump and his administration of lying about its operations related to Iran, including U.S. statements that it brought down an Iranian drone last week.The Iranian Intelligence Ministry has detected an uptick in U.S. efforts to recruit spies in Iran since Trump’s election in 2016 and the appointment of Gina Haspel as director of the CIA last year, the Iranian official said. He said the CIA had worked with a number of countries in Europe and in Asia in establishing the spy network inside Iran.Videos released to Iranian media showed hidden camera footage purportedly of Persian-speaking CIA officers in Dubai speaking with would-be recruits. According to the official, who said his title was director-general of the anti-espionage department of the Ministry of Intelligence, the alleged spies used fake rocks hidden in mountainous areas of Iran in order to receive information. Iranian officials have identified some of the alleged officers who had recruited the suspects as diplomats based in Turkey, Zimbabwe and Finland.A program aired by state television on Monday showed clips of Trump and National Security Adviser John Bolton with Hormuz as the backdrop. The show identified the alleged members of the cell and contained what the network said were confessions by the accused, whose faces were blurred and voices distorted.The alleged spies were trained by the CIA to gather classified information from sensitive locations in Iran including military bases, nuclear facilities and economic centers, the official said. The American spy agency lured recruits by promising residency and jobs in the U.S. and safe passage out of Iran, setting up shell companies as a cover to approach and hire Iranians, he added.(Updates with details from Iranian official from eighth paragraph. A previous version of this story corrected the number of people arrested to 17.)\–With assistance from Ladane Nasseri, Arsalan Shahla and Caitlin Webber.To contact the reporters on this story: Golnar Motevalli in Tehran at gmotevalli@bloomberg.net;Josh Wingrove in Washington at jwingrove4@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Alaa Shahine at asalha@bloomberg.net, Amy TeibelFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.



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A Group of German Leaders Tried to Kill Hitler in 1944. Here’s Why They Failed

A Group of German Leaders Tried to Kill Hitler in 1944. Here’s Why They FailedThe Führer was dead, and Europe was potentially freed from the Nazi scourge. Or so it initially seemed



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