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Westlake Legal Group > News Corporation

A Plan to Mine the Minnesota Wilderness Hit a Dead End. Then Trump Became President.

ELY, Minn. — In the waning months of the Obama administration, a Chilean conglomerate was losing a fight with the United States government over a copper mine that it wanted to build near a pristine wilderness area in Minnesota.

The election of President Trump, with his business-friendly bent, turned out to be a game-changer for the project.

Beginning in the early weeks of Mr. Trump’s presidency, the administration worked at a high level to remove roadblocks to the proposed mine, government emails and calendars show, overruling concerns that it could harm the Boundary Waters, a vast landscape of federally protected lakes and forests along the border with Canada.

Executives with the mining company, Antofagasta, discussed the project with senior administration officials, including the White House’s top energy adviser, the emails show. Even before an interior secretary was appointed to the new administration, the department moved to re-examine leases critical to the mine, eventually restoring those that the Obama administration had declined to renew. And the Forest Service called off an environmental review that could have restricted mining, even though the agriculture secretary had told Congress that the review would proceed.

An Interior Department spokesman said it simply worked to rectify “a flawed decision rushed out the door” before Mr. Trump took office. Several senior department officials with previous administrations, however, said they were surprised by the swift change of course for the little-known Minnesota project, which was not a focal point of Mr. Trump’s presidential campaign.

For the family of the billionaire Andrónico Luksic, which controls the Chilean conglomerate, the policy reversals could provide a big boost to its mining business. Since the change in administration, the Antofagasta subsidiary Twin Metals Minnesota has significantly ramped up its lobbying in Washington, according to federal disclosures, spending $900,000.

ImageWestlake Legal Group 00CLI-HOUSE-luksic-articleLarge A Plan to Mine the Minnesota Wilderness Hit a Dead End. Then Trump Became President. Zinke, Ryan (1961- ) Wilderness Areas Wetlands washington dc United States Politics and Government Trump, Ivanka Trump, Donald J Tidwell, Thomas L Renting and Leasing (Real Estate) Minnesota Mines and Mining Lobbying and Lobbyists Kushner, Jared Kushner, Charles Interior Department Greenhouse Gas Emissions Global Warming Forests and Forestry Forest Service environment Chile Carbon Dioxide Banco de Chile Bachelet, Michelle Appointments and Executive Changes

Andrónico Luksic’s plan for a copper mine in Minnesota was blocked by President Barack Obama. His fortunes have since shifted.CreditMartin Bernetti/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Ivanka Trump, left, and Jared Kushner, second from left, two of the president’s closest advisers.CreditAlex Wong/Getty Images

But the mining project’s breakthrough, already unpopular with environmentalists, has drawn additional scrutiny and criticism because of an unusual connection between Mr. Luksic and two of Mr. Trump’s family members.

Just before Mr. Trump took office, Mr. Luksic added a personal investment to his portfolio: a $5.5 million house in Washington. Mr. Luksic bought the house with the intention of renting it to a wealthy new arrival to Mr. Trump’s Washington, according to Rodrigo Terré, chairman of Mr. Luksic’s family investment office, which handled the purchase.

The idea worked. Even before the purchase was final, real estate agents had lined up renters: Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump.

The rental arrangement has been a point of concern for ethics experts and groups opposed to mining near the Boundary Waters, and has focused national attention, particularly among some Democrats in Congress, on an otherwise local debate.

The Wall Street Journal first reported about the house in March 2017. At that time, Twin Metals was suing the federal government over the mining leases, but the Trump administration’s direction on the mine since then had only begun to take shape.

In recent months, the scrutiny has grown. In March, Representative Raúl M. Grijalva, the Arizona Democrat who is chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, wrote a letter with other lawmakers to the interior and agriculture secretaries raising significant concerns about the proposed mine.

The letter said the two departments’ actions “blatantly ignored scientific and economic evidence.” It also mentioned the “interesting coincidence” surrounding the rental of the Luksic house to Mr. Trump’s relatives. Separately, a group in Minnesota opposed to the mining, Save the Boundary Waters, has called the rental arrangement “deeply troubling” and has seized on it to cast doubt on the administration’s actions.

The White House and representatives for the couple declined to answer questions about whether the rental deal had been reviewed by ethics officials. “Both Mr. Kushner and Ms. Trump follow the ethics advice they received when they entered government service,” said Peter Mirijanian, a spokesman for Mr. Kushner’s lawyer, Abbe Lowell.

Mr. Terré called the lease a simple real estate transaction that happened to involve the incoming president’s family. “I do not believe there was anything unethical or inappropriate about this business transaction,” he said.

Both Mr. Mirijanian and Mr. Terré said the rental was not related to the Minnesota mine. “There is no correlation in any way,” Mr. Mirijanian said. They were “two entirely unrelated matters” and tying them together was “based on unfounded rumors and speculation,” Mr. Terré said.

An Interior Department spokeswoman said that neither Mr. Kushner nor Ms. Trump been involved in discussions about the mine.

Nonetheless, several ethics experts said they would have cautioned Mr. Kushner and Ms. Trump against renting the home, given the Luksic family’s business before the administration.

“There may be nothing wrong,” said Arthur Andrew Lopez, a federal government ethics official for two decades who is now a professor at Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business. “But it doesn’t look good.”

Antofagasta hopes to mine on the edge of the Boundary Waters, which encompasses more than a million acres of lakes and forest.CreditTim Gruber for The New York Times

The Boundary Waters hold a special place in American geography: More than a million acres of lakes and forests provide a rich habitat for thousands of species, including the gray wolf and Canada lynx. But below the surface and beyond lies richness of another sort, an estimated four billion tons of copper and nickel ore — believed to be one of the world’s largest undeveloped mineral deposits.

The mining giant controlled by the Luksic family, Antofagasta, took full control of the project in 2015, and its executives have called it the company’s “most advanced international opportunity.” Antofagasta, which is publicly traded in London, is poised to benefit from the growing use of copper in renewable-energy technologies like wind and solar. It lists Mr. Luksic as a board member, and his younger brother, Jean-Paul Luksic, as chairman.

The company has spent more than $450 million so far on the project, run by the subsidiary, Twin Metals Minnesota. It says the project will generate hundreds of mining jobs.

The promise of employment resonates in Minnesota’s Iron Range, which has lost a quarter of its mining jobs since 2000. “The mining industry brings a tsunami effect for the community with regard to jobs, schools, everything,” said Andrea Zupancich, the mayor of Babbitt, a town of 1,500 near the proposed mine.

Antofagasta’s environmental record, however, has raised concerns. In Chile, the company’s Los Pelambres copper mine has suffered toxic spills, according to environmental groups. The company said the mine had experienced only “minor incidents involving limited spills” which were not toxic, and said it was proud of its environmental record.

In a 2016 analysis, Thomas Tidwell, who was then chief of the United States Forest Service, warned of risks to the Boundary Waters from the proposed Twin Metals mine, including the leaching of harmful metals. Mining, he concluded, risked “serious and irreplaceable harm to this unique, iconic, and irreplaceable wilderness.”

Twin Metals called the analysis “riddled with errors” and said “environmental risks will be properly managed.”

Still, the fears have divided nearby residents. “In the summer, we drink out of this water,” said Susan Schurke, who runs Wintergreen Northern Wear, an outdoor clothing company. “Once that’s tainted, it’s over. How can we risk that?”

When the Obama administration moved to block the project in 2016, Twin Metals sued. The company said in a statement then that the administration’s move threatened jobs and would “hinder access to one of the world’s largest sources of copper, nickel and platinum — resources of strategic importance to the U.S. economy and national defense.”

Just as the mining company’s hopes appeared to be on the ropes, it got a welcome surprise: Mr. Trump’s election, and the promise of a pro-industry agenda.

“In 100 years, this water is going to be far more valuable a resource here than copper,” Sullen Sack, a wilderness educator, said.CreditTim Gruber for The New York Times
A map of the Boundary Waters at Ely Outfitting Company in Ely, Minn.CreditTim Gruber for The New York Times The region has lost a quarter of its mining jobs since 2000.CreditTim Gruber for The New York Times

With a new administration on its way to Washington, Mr. Luksic contacted a real estate broker he knew for help with an investment idea: buying residential properties in Washington, including a luxury home, to rent out.

With the help of the broker, Rodrigo Valderrama, Mr. Luksic’s family investment office, which through corporate entities owns a portfolio of real estate in the United States, bought two condominiums in the capital. One was never rented and the other was later sold at a loss.

As for the luxury home, Mr. Valderrama spent weeks touring homes and alerting brokers that he had an interested client. One house he saw was on Tracy Place, in the Kalorama neighborhood, being handled by the real estate firm Washington Fine Properties.

Ms. Trump and Mr. Kushner were using the same firm for their hunt for a house to rent. With Mr. Kushner’s parents tagging along, they saw the six-bedroom, 7,000-square-foot Kalorama home as well.

In the space of a week, Mr. Luksic’s representatives agreed to buy the house and closed on the all-cash transaction, while their would-be tenants waited for the purchase to be complete.

The two sides, working through brokers, agreed on rent of $15,000 per month. Mr. Terré described it as being in the “high range” for the area, which some real estate agents confirmed. Still, that rent was significantly lower than what the couple had discussed paying for another more expensive house, according to interviews.

The home rented by Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump in the Kalorama neighborhood of Washington.CreditTom Brenner for The New York Times

Mr. Terré said both sides were aware of each others’ identities before the rental deal was finalized. “We disclosed our name and the name of my boss,” he said in a telephone interview. Mr. Mirijanian said the couple had decided to lease the home before knowing the landlord’s identity. He did not directly respond to questions about whether they learned of that identity before signing the lease.

Mr. Luksic has written on Twitter that he does not know Mr. Trump or any member of his family, and only met Mr. Trump briefly at a New England Patriots football game years ago. Mr. Terré said Mr. Luksic “has not had any interactions with the Trump White House.”

Critics of the Luksic family say they were suspicious of the Washington investments because of Mr. Luksic’s past in Chile, where he has faced claims of attempts to win favor with the family of a former Chilean president. The Luksic family, one of the world’s wealthiest, has interests spanning banking, manufacturing, energy, shipping and beer.

Mr. Luksic came under fire for meeting with the son and daughter-in-law of Michelle Bachelet, who was running to be president of Chile at the time, as they sought a $10 million loan for their company from Banco de Chile, which is controlled by the Luksic family conglomerate. After Ms. Bachelet’s 2013 election, the bank approved the loan.

A spokesman for Ms. Bachelet said an investigation into the meeting didn’t lead to any charges. Representatives for Mr. Luksic said that he never discussed the loan with Ms. Bachelet, and that regulators found “there was absolutely nothing irregular about the bank’s approval of the loan.”

The Trump administration’s efforts to smooth the way for Antofagasta’s mining ambitions began less than two weeks after the inauguration, when Interior Department officials began re-examining the leases, the government emails show.

The message from an early meeting, according to an attendee who spoke on condition of anonymity, was that officials should prepare for a change in direction.

Officials also made sure the incoming interior secretary, Ryan Zinke, not yet in the job, was briefed. In an email, one Interior Department official described that effort as a “fire drill.”

The administration’s efforts are documented in part in thousands of pages of government emails and calendars, many obtained through records requests by Louis V. Galdieri, a documentary filmmaker, and the Sierra Club, an environmental organization.

A key meeting occurred in early May, when Antofagasta’s chief executive, along with other executives and lobbyists, discussed the issue with the White House’s top adviser on domestic energy and the environment, Michael Catanzaro. The company said it wanted to reverse the Obama-era decisions, which it said were illegal and inflicted “undue damage.”

Rock core samples taken by Twin Metals as part of preparations for mining.CreditTim Gruber for The New York Times
Near the Wintergreen Dogsled Lodge outside Ely. Dogsledding in the Boundary Waters wilderness is popular in winter.CreditTim Gruber for The New York Times A slab of taconite iron ore, a major local industry in decades past, on display in Babbitt, Minn.CreditTim Gruber for The New York Times

The next month, Interior Department officials learned that the White House had “expressed interest in the Twin Metals matter,” according to an email sent by a department lawyer marked “TIME SENSITIVE.” Soon after, top interior appointees traveled to the Minnesota site.

That December, the department reversed course on denying the company’s leases, and Twin Metals withdrew its lawsuit. The Interior Department formally renewed the leases last month, with some restrictions.

Twin Metals scored another victory in September when the Forest Service cut short its mining-ban review. An agency spokesman said it had determined that neither the study nor a ban was needed.

A Twin Metals spokesman, David Ulrich, said the company’s outreach was part of a long-running effort to share its views with the federal government. Obama administration officials had also visited the mining site, he said.

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“We are confident that this world-class mineral resource can be developed safely and with a minimal impact to the environment,” he said in a statement.

The mine still faces a yearslong permitting and approval process. Engineers have been drilling boreholes and wells to study the region’s geology and water, and the company is preparing an operating plan.

“The last administration created some challenges,” Mr. Ulrich said during a tour of the site on the Boundary Waters’ edge. “But it was never not moving forward.”

On a trip to Minnesota in April, Mr. Trump was jubilant about the restoration of mining.

“Under the previous administration,” he said at a truck factory, “America’s rich natural resources were put under lock and key.” The changes since then, he said, were “really pretty amazing.”

Moonrise over Garden Lake, on the edge of the Boundary Waters in Minnesota.CreditTim Gruber for The New York Times

Reporting was contributed by Lisa Friedman in Washington, Jesse Drucker and Kate Kelly in New York, and Pascale Bonnefoy in Santiago, Chile. Kitty Bennett and Alain Delaquérière contributed research.

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Triple-threat ‘comet interceptor’ could explore an undiscovered space object

A new mission will intercept an undiscovered comet en route to Earth’s orbit, the first of its kind to observe a pristine interstellar object as it enters the inner solar system.

Three spacecraft will capture snapshots of the comet from different angles, creating a 3D profile of the object and characterizing its surface, composition, shape and structure.

The “Comet Interceptor” was selected by the European Space Agency (ESA) on June 19 as the latest “fast” or F-class mission — in reference to its quick implementation. The mission’s proposal was submitted to ESA in March, and it is scheduled to launch in 2028.

Related: Best Close Encounters of the Comet Kind

“Pristine or dynamically new comets are entirely uncharted,” Günther Hasinger, ESA’s director of science, said in a statement. “[They] make compelling targets for close-range spacecraft exploration to better understand the diversity and evolution of comets.”

Previous ESA missions to study comets, such as Giotto and Rosetta, have observed short-period comets that have approached the sun several times in recent history and therefore have undergone significant observable changes, according to the statement. Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, which the Rosetta spacecraft orbited from 2014 to 2016, swings by the sun every 6.5 years. And in 1986, the Giotto spacecraft flew by Halley’s Comet, which has an orbital period of 76 years.

This mission is unique in that it will observe a comet that has not yet interacted with the solar wind environment — and it will launch before its target has been discovered. By observing a pristine comet as it enters the solar system, it can provide information on the evolution of comets as the undiscovered comet will likely contain material that has not yet been altered since the birth of the solar system, the statement added.

Related: Living on a Comet: ‘Dirty Snowball’ Facts Explained (Infographic)

In the past, it was difficult to implement this sort of mission. The time frame between discovering a pristine comet and being able to launch a spacecraft to intercept its journey was typically less than a year — too short to prepare and launch a mission. However, recent advances in observational surveys have allowed the discovery of comets while they are much farther away, according to the mission’s website.

Comet Interceptor will hitch a ride to space on ESA’s Ariel exoplanet-hunting mission, which is expected to launch in 2028. Both missions will go to the sun-Earth L2 Lagrange point, which is located about 1 million miles (1.5 million kilometers) away from Earth on the opposite side as the sun. From there, the parked Comet Interceptor will use its own propulsion system to chase down its target after the comet has been selected.

Original article on Space.com.

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Mitch McConnell Will Be The Boogeyman Of The 2020 Elections

Westlake Legal Group 5d1179e62400001120933a58 Mitch McConnell Will Be The Boogeyman Of The 2020 Elections

Democrats are preparing to make Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell a central villain of their push to win total control of Congress in 2020, an effort top advisers to the Kentucky Republican say will only further his efforts to become a conservative hero. 

“Mitch McConnell is a transcendent figure in American politics; he is a unifier. He unites everyone in hatred and animosity toward him, including Republicans,” said Matt Canter, a Democratic pollster at Global Strategy Group who recently conducted a survey that could guide Democrats’ anti-McConnell efforts. “He’s a walking, talking definition of what people hate about Washington and the corrupt political system today.”

The focus on painting McConnell as corrupt and obstructionist, on display in early Democratic messaging, coincides with efforts by McConnell’s own advisers to portray him as a Grim Reaper slashing down progressive dreams as he runs for reelection in Kentucky. The dual pushes seem likely to ensure that McConnell’s record as the leader of the Senate is at the center of the 2020 elections, especially in the states that will ultimately determine who wins a majority of seats in the upper chamber. Republicans hold a 53-47 majority in the Senate, meaning Democrats need to win a net of at least three seats in 2020.

The poll, paid for by the Democratic campaign finance reform group End Citizens United, surveyed 1,200 voters across 10 presidential battleground states. The initial result found Democrats with a 3 percentage point advantage on a generic ballot for Congress. After being exposed to messaging about McConnell, the Democratic advantage grew to 12 percentage points. That was more effective than messages about President Donald Trump (6 percentage points) or congressional Republicans overall (9 percentage points).

McConnell’s approval rating among swing-state voters in the survey is just 26%, with 50% viewing him unfavorably. Among independents, just 18% view him favorably, and 58% have a negative opinion. In counties that swung from former President Barack Obama to President Trump, his approval rating is 25%, while 53% have a negative opinion. 

End Citizens United is presenting the findings to Democratic congressional leaders, as well as the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. But the anti-McConnell focus is already clear in early messaging from Democratic Senate candidates. 

Three highly touted Democratic Senate candidates ― Iowa’s Theresa Greenfield, Texas’ M.J. Hegar and Maine House Speaker Sara Gideon ― all focus on McConnell’s influence in their campaign launch videos. Hegar refers to her potential opponent, Sen. John Cornyn, as “that tall guy lurking behind Mitch McConnell in basically every single video.”

“He calls himself ‘Big John,’ but he shrinks out of the way while Mitch McConnell gets in the way of anything actually getting done in our government,” Hegar says in the video.

Gideon highlighted McConnell’s promise of financial support for GOP Sen. Susan Collins, while Greenfield claimed her opponent, Sen. Joni Ernst, voted with McConnell 99% of the time. 

While McConnell has been a prominent Democratic boogeyman since at least the start of Obama’s administration, the Democratic base is increasingly aware of McConnell after his starring roles in the blockade of Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland and the successful nomination of Justice Brett Kavanaugh. The DSCC’s fundraising messages now focus heavily on McConnell. 

“When President Obama nominated Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court, Mitch McConnell didn’t even let him have a hearing,” reads one of the dozens of McConnell-centric Facebook ads the DSCC is running. “Now that Donald Trump is in power, Mitch McConnell is going NUCLEAR by changing the rules to pack our courts with extreme right-wing judges like Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh on the bench instead.”

Equally noteworthy is who Ernst and Hegar don’t mention in their videos: Trump. The use of McConnell but not the president (Trump won both Iowa and Texas by fairly substantial margins in 2016) shows how Democrats believe McConnell has become a fairly nonpartisan villain, a symbol of corruption and, as one strategist put it, “the least sympathetic man in Washington.” Democrats hope they can use McConnell’s reputation to turn even swing voters who still like and trust the president against the GOP.

(The End Citizens United poll found swing voters were more likely to agree with Democratic arguments when they mentioned McConnell and the corrupting influence of money on politics.)

Republicans, including close McConnell allies, say the veteran senator will be able to turn the Democratic attacks to his advantage as he runs for reelection in Kentucky, potentially against Democratic Air Force veteran Amy McGrath. 

“I think the left has turned him into a deity on the right. The more they highlight what he’s doing in the Senate, the more popular he becomes,” said Josh Holmes, a former McConnell chief of staff who remains one of the senator’s top political lieutenants. “Every time Donald Trump attacks Nancy Pelosi, it makes her stronger. When Democrats attack Mitch McConnell, it makes him stronger.”

McConnell’s team has been playing up his status as a bête noire of the left. The senator himself told voters in Kentucky to “think of me as the Grim Reaper,” and his reelection campaign has been using “Cocaine Mitch,” the infamous nickname bestowed upon him by disgraced coal baron Don Blankenship, as a way to sell merchandise. He also eagerly announced his willingness to fill a Supreme Court seat in 2020 after using the election-year status of Garland’s nomination as a fig leaf for blocking it. 

“Oh, we’d fill it,” McConnell told a Kentucky questioner who asked about the plan for a possible Supreme Court vacancy. (CNN noted the senator “took a long sip of what appeared to be iced tea” before answering the question “with a smile.”)

McConnell’s allies believe he’s been at his weakest when Trump and rank-and-file Republicans have questioned his effectiveness, such as when Obamacare repeal failed in the Senate in the summer of 2017. But they argue his work to push through Kavanaugh’s nomination has restored his approval rating among Republicans, making his reelection in Kentucky safer (no GOP primary challenger has emerged yet) and strengthening his hand when dealing with donors and candidates across the country. 

But Democrats and Republicans are now both emphasizing his skill and importance. (The portrait of McConnell as master manipulator and strategist ignores the aforementioned failure to repeal Obamacare, as well as his occasional electoral missteps.) 

Beyond the question of McConnell’s strength, Holmes also said he thinks it’s impossible for Democrats in states like Iowa and Texas to shift the conversation from the all-encompassing Trump to the relatively low-key McConnell.

“When you can go after party leaders, you’re making a straight partisan play to solidify your base. But it doesn’t go further than that,” Holmes said. “With Donald Trump running for reelection, the idea that voters are going to ignore that and then pick and choose based on party leaders, that’s absurd to me.”

The End Citizens United poll, conducted by Global Strategy Group, was an online survey of more than 1,200 voters in Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Michigan, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. 

The survey, part of a broader effort by End Citizens United to develop the best Democratic message on corruption and money in politics, also found that voters are even split between Trump and Democrats on who they can trust to crack down on corruption and the influence of money in politics.

“This dynamic provides a clear opportunity for Democratic candidates to shape and win the debate, while also demonstrating the danger of ceding the issue to Republicans,” Global Strategy Group’s pollsters wrote in a memo. “Committing to enacting these policies and making these issues a focus of their campaigns will be critical for Democrats to win over persuadable voters in 2020.”

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Police, citizens buy up the beer in German town before neo-Nazi music festival

Law enforcement officials and citizens united to empty a German town’s supply of beer ahead of a neo-Nazi music festival planned for this weekend, over concerns that alcohol could increase the risk of violence. With the support of a court-imposed alcohol ban, police successfully confiscated over 1,162 gallons of beer.

Around 600 people flocked to the Schild und Schwert (Shield and Sword) Festival in the town of Ostritz, Saxony, for the event that began on Friday, Newsweek reports. Locals, however, were prepared with a plan of their own.

Before the event, a Dresden court banned the sale and possession of alcohol for the festivalgoers over safety concerns. Police swiftly seized approximately 1,162 gallons of beer between Friday and Saturday, with locals pitching in to purchase over 200 crates of beer from Ostritz grocery stores.

TEXANS WILL BE ABLE TO GET BEER, WINE DELIVERED DIRECTLY TO THEIR HOMES

“The plan was devised a week in advance. We wanted to dry the Nazis out,” local activist Georg Salditt said of the news, the BBC reports. “We thought, if an alcohol ban is coming, we’ll empty the shelves at the [supermarket].”

According to the outlet, Ostritz “already has a reputation for far-right activism” — a position some residents are eager to separate themselves. One local woman stressed that neo-Nazis are unwelcome in their community.

Westlake Legal Group GettyImages-1151405182 Police, citizens buy up the beer in German town before neo-Nazi music festival Janine Puhak fox-news/lifestyle fox-news/food-drink/drinks/beer fox news fnc/food-drink fnc article 2e91087a-b3e0-503b-a08c-7931eaf2fc42

A woman and a man push a shopping cart with beer crates along the street near a local supermarket to protest the Shield and Sword Festival.  (Photo by Daniel Schäfer/picture alliance via Getty Images)

“For us it’s important to send the message from Ostritz that there are people here who won’t tolerate this, who say ‘We have different values here, we’re setting an example, which is not the image of a far-right concert, which dominates the media coverage,’” the resident told local media.

Westlake Legal Group GettyImages-1151405215 Police, citizens buy up the beer in German town before neo-Nazi music festival Janine Puhak fox-news/lifestyle fox-news/food-drink/drinks/beer fox news fnc/food-drink fnc article 2e91087a-b3e0-503b-a08c-7931eaf2fc42

 A woman and two men load beer crates near a local supermarket onto a trailer.  (Photo by Daniel Schäfer/picture alliance via Getty Images)

Roughly 1,400 police officers from various parts of Germany were sent to patrol the festival, BBC reports.

This year the Shield and Sword Festival drew a smaller crowd this year, compared to last year’s attendance of 1,200, according to the BBC.

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Westlake Legal Group GettyImages-1151295159 Police, citizens buy up the beer in German town before neo-Nazi music festival Janine Puhak fox-news/lifestyle fox-news/food-drink/drinks/beer fox news fnc/food-drink fnc article 2e91087a-b3e0-503b-a08c-7931eaf2fc42

Three men and a woman watch a stage at the Shield and Sword Festival. (Photo by Daniel Schäfer/picture alliance via Getty Images)

Reps for the Saxony regional police reported that aside from a few minor incidents, the event went smoothly.

Saxony’s state Premier Michael Kretschmer applauded the pluck of the locals to protest the neo-Nazis with the beer buyout.

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“I am very impressed with how in such a small town … the citizens stand up to make it clear that right-wing extremists are not wanted here,” Kretschmer, said, as per Newsweek.

Westlake Legal Group GettyImages-1151405215 Police, citizens buy up the beer in German town before neo-Nazi music festival Janine Puhak fox-news/lifestyle fox-news/food-drink/drinks/beer fox news fnc/food-drink fnc article 2e91087a-b3e0-503b-a08c-7931eaf2fc42   Westlake Legal Group GettyImages-1151405215 Police, citizens buy up the beer in German town before neo-Nazi music festival Janine Puhak fox-news/lifestyle fox-news/food-drink/drinks/beer fox news fnc/food-drink fnc article 2e91087a-b3e0-503b-a08c-7931eaf2fc42

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Attorney General Herring Files Suit Against Roanoke Robocallers

Westlake Legal Group 14362742_G Attorney General Herring Files Suit Against Roanoke Robocallers

RICHMOND (June 25, 2019) – Attorney General Mark R. Herring announced today he has filed suit against two Roanoke-based telemarketing companies, and Roanoke resident Bryant Cass, for illegal robocalling and deceptive sales practices. The complaint, filed in the United States District Court for the Western District of Virginia in Roanoke, alleges Cass, and his companies, Adventis, Inc. and Skyline Metrics, LLC, made hundreds of thousands of unsolicited robocalls nationwide pitching car selling services to people who listed cars for sale on Craigslist, Autotrader.com, or similar sites.

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Florida Panthers draft pick had driver’s test same day he was selected

The Florida Panthers selected forward Henrik Rybinski in the fifth round of the NHL Draft on Saturday and before the 17-year-old could address the media, he had to pass a big test first.

Rybinski told reporters at the Rogers Arena in Vancouver, where the draft was being held, he had just finished taking his driver’s test when he received a call from his agent.

DEVIL OF A DEAL: NEW JERSEY LANDS PK SUBBAN FROM NASHVILLE

“Yeah, so I had my driving test,” Rybinski said, according to the Daily Hive. “I took it and then my agent told me to come to the rink. So I came and now I’m here. I was a little overwhelmed but it’s just good to be here.”

Rybinski played for three teams last season before he was drafted by the Panthers. He recorded 40 points in 47 between the Western Hockey League’s Seattle Thunderbirds and Medicine Hat Tigers. He then recorded 12 points in nine games for the Coquitlam Express of the British Columbia Hockey League.

Westlake Legal Group Henrik-Rybinski-GettyImages-1157627951 Florida Panthers draft pick had driver's test same day he was selected Ryan Gaydos fox-news/sports/nhl/florida-panthers fox-news/sports/nhl fox news fnc/sports fnc article a93b1210-0a9e-5f13-9121-97e39be993d3

The Panthers selected Henrik Rybinski in the fifth round. (Photo by Andre Ringuette/NHLI via Getty Images)

The teen said it was a bit nerve-wracking to possibly realize your dream while, at the same time, try to get your driver’s license – a big moment for anyone.

“It was pretty difficult, I ain’t gonna lie,” he said. “I was kind of shaking in the car. My hands were trembling. I was like ‘oh, I’m not gonna pass.’ But then, getting drafted, it’s a sigh of relief. I’m kind of still shaken, but I’m not nervous, I’m just excited, looking forward to the future.”

DEVILS SELECT US CENTER HUGHES WITH 1ST PICK IN NHL DRAFT

Rybinski ended up passing the test.

Westlake Legal Group Henrik-Rybinski-GettyImages-1157627951 Florida Panthers draft pick had driver's test same day he was selected Ryan Gaydos fox-news/sports/nhl/florida-panthers fox-news/sports/nhl fox news fnc/sports fnc article a93b1210-0a9e-5f13-9121-97e39be993d3   Westlake Legal Group Henrik-Rybinski-GettyImages-1157627951 Florida Panthers draft pick had driver's test same day he was selected Ryan Gaydos fox-news/sports/nhl/florida-panthers fox-news/sports/nhl fox news fnc/sports fnc article a93b1210-0a9e-5f13-9121-97e39be993d3

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Attorney General Herring Files Suit Against Roanoke Robocallers

Westlake Legal Group 14362742_G Attorney General Herring Files Suit Against Roanoke Robocallers

RICHMOND (June 25, 2019) – Attorney General Mark R. Herring announced today he has filed suit against two Roanoke-based telemarketing companies, and Roanoke resident Bryant Cass, for illegal robocalling and deceptive sales practices. The complaint, filed in the United States District Court for the Western District of Virginia in Roanoke, alleges Cass, and his companies, Adventis, Inc. and Skyline Metrics, LLC, made hundreds of thousands of unsolicited robocalls nationwide pitching car selling services to people who listed cars for sale on Craigslist, Autotrader.com, or similar sites.

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Rep. Andy Biggs: Border crisis — Congress must provide funds to respond to the emergency, not perpetuate it

Westlake Legal Group 12_AP19163131135830 Rep. Andy Biggs: Border crisis -- Congress must provide funds to respond to the emergency, not perpetuate it Rep. Andy Biggs fox-news/us/immigration/illegal-immigrants fox-news/us/immigration/border-security fox-news/us/immigration fox-news/topic/border-wall fox-news/politics/senate/republicans fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives/democrats fox-news/politics/executive/white-house fox-news/opinion fox news fnc/opinion fnc e83797ad-7a4f-5423-9205-f462a064a23f article

The Senate Appropriations Committee approved legislation last week that would exacerbate the border crisis. House Democrats have somehow managed to produce a legislative proposal that is even worse than the Senate effort.

We still have thousands of illegal immigrants pouring across our border every day. Our Border Patrol and ICE agents are short staffed, under-equipped, and if either the Senate or House Democrat bills become law, they will further have their hands tied in trying to bring our southern border under control.

Human traffickers, controlled by criminal cartels, will have more opportunities to exploit our laws and our border insecurity. Both bills actually stimulate, expand, and enshrine catch-and-release policies.

WHITE HOUSE THREATENS VETO ON HOUSE BORDER BILL

House Republicans, led by Congressman Mike Rogers, R-Ala., have introduced a bill (H.R. 3056) that will actually provide ICE with additional funding for detention beds – one of the most critical needs for both humanitarian and security purposes.

Border Patrol’s detention facilities designed to hold about 4,000 are holding more than 19,000. ICE’s facilities are also spilling over, having a deficit of nearly 10,000 beds at the present time.

The Senate bill reduces the president’s request for ICE funding for beds for both families and adults by more than half, and actually prevents beds that are needed for mothers and children from being purchased.

The Senate provides about $239 million for medical expenses and transportation for the detained illegal aliens, but not nearly enough for ICE personnel and detention resources. The Senate also focuses on monitoring ankle bracelets instead of detention, which has been shown to be an utter failure for tracking the hundreds of thousands of illegal border-crossers we are releasing into the American interior.

The Senate gives money for new facilities but makes use of that money so restrictive that no facilities will be built for almost a year – too late to address the immediate crisis. The result will be that an additional half a million illegal aliens will be released into the country.

The House Democrats provide money for tents and trailers while illegal migrants are processed, but there will be no place for them to go afterward because there is no room in the ICE facilities. The result will be that virtually everyone illegally crossing our border will continue to be released.

This fact is not lost on the human trafficking cartels that currently control our southern border. As we have seen, women and children will be exploited, and illegal migrants will continue to flood into the U.S. – even from places as far away as Africa and Asia.

Both bills perpetuate sanctuary city policies by reimbursing state and local governments for costs incurred in dealing with homeless illegal aliens.

Here’s another whacky idea promulgated by these proposals: taxpayer funding for lawyers for illegal aliens. We give illegal aliens the same due process citizens and legal residents of the U.S. receive before we can remove them from the country. We already have nearly 1 million people with active removal orders; these people have received their day in court. About a million more are wandering around waiting for their turn to go to court – most won’t show up.

No other country in the world would stand for this type of invasion of migrants from every corner of the world. We are funding their legal bills instead of the men and women who are trying to enforce our laws and secure our border.

The Senate and House Democrat proposals are both disasters. They are irresponsibly bad. As one Border Patrol agent told me, both bills complete the human smuggling cycle.

The cartels bring illegal aliens to the U.S. border. Without adequate facilities to detain the incoming illegal aliens, Border Patrol agents transport them to churches and NGO’s, who assist the illegal aliens in finding and communicating with family members in the U.S. Those family members are often illegally in the country themselves.

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The families then finish paying the smuggling fees charged by the cartels. The U.S. government, with taxpayer money, then reimburses the NGO’s for assisting illegal aliens who become ensconced in the country. Most illegal aliens will abscond from future court hearings meant to determine whether they are legally present in the country.

These bad pieces of legislation must be defeated and replaced with H.R. 3056, sponsored by Mike Rogers, which will provide the funding needed to continue responding to the border emergency without perpetuating it.

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE BY REP. ANDY BIGGS

Westlake Legal Group 12_AP19163131135830 Rep. Andy Biggs: Border crisis -- Congress must provide funds to respond to the emergency, not perpetuate it Rep. Andy Biggs fox-news/us/immigration/illegal-immigrants fox-news/us/immigration/border-security fox-news/us/immigration fox-news/topic/border-wall fox-news/politics/senate/republicans fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives/democrats fox-news/politics/executive/white-house fox-news/opinion fox news fnc/opinion fnc e83797ad-7a4f-5423-9205-f462a064a23f article   Westlake Legal Group 12_AP19163131135830 Rep. Andy Biggs: Border crisis -- Congress must provide funds to respond to the emergency, not perpetuate it Rep. Andy Biggs fox-news/us/immigration/illegal-immigrants fox-news/us/immigration/border-security fox-news/us/immigration fox-news/topic/border-wall fox-news/politics/senate/republicans fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives/democrats fox-news/politics/executive/white-house fox-news/opinion fox news fnc/opinion fnc e83797ad-7a4f-5423-9205-f462a064a23f article

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John Stamos breaks silence on Lori Loughlin being written out of ‘Fuller House’ Season 5

John Stamos broke his silence on his “Fuller House” co-star Lori Loughlin’s exit from the show after being implicated in the ongoing college admissions scandal.

Loughlin and her fashion designer husband, Mossimo Giannulli, pleaded not guilty to money laundering and mail fraud charges after being accused of allegedly bribing their daughters’ way into USC. The star was fired from her Hallmark series “When Calls the Heart” and will not return for the fifth and final season of Netflix’s “Fuller House” either.

‘FULLER HOUSE’ SEASON 5 STARS BEGIN PRODUCTION WITHOUT EMBATTLED LORI LOUGHLIN

Stamos has been tight-lipped about his on-screen wife’s struggles over the past months but finally addressed her firing from the “Full House” spinoff series while discussing its return.

“I haven’t been on the show yet and it hasn’t come up, so I’m going to talk to some people about it this week and see what’s going on,” he told Entertainment Tonight. “I’m just going to wait a little longer before I talk about it. It’s a difficult situation for everyone involved. I don’t mean just on our side.”

Westlake Legal Group Mossimo-Giannulli-Loughlin-Getty John Stamos breaks silence on Lori Loughlin being written out of 'Fuller House' Season 5 Tyler McCarthy fox-news/person/olivia-jade fox-news/person/mossimo-giannulli fox-news/person/lori-loughlin fox-news/person/john-stamos fox-news/entertainment/tv fox news fnc/entertainment fnc article 3c6e79a1-3430-5519-81ae-c0ca8b78008e

Designer Mossimo Giannulli and actress Lori Loughlin attend LACMA’s 50th Anniversary Gala sponsored by Christie’s at LACMA on April 18, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Getty)

The 55-year-old actor, who plays Uncle Jesse Katsopolis on the show and produces, revealed that Season 5 will be split into two parts. However, Netflix has yet to give a release date for the final episodes.

JOHN STAMOS JOKES THAT WIFE WAS ‘HAMMERED’ BEFORE SHE GAVE BIRTH

Loughlin and husband Mossimo Giannulli are accused of paying $500,000 to admissions scam mastermind William “Rick” Singer to get their daughters Olivia Jade and Isabella recruited onto the USC crew team despite neither girl ever being a rower.

The couple pleaded not guilty and were hit with additional charges of conspiracy and money laundering; if convicted, they each face up to 40 years behind bars.

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So far, there’s no word from either the cast nor Netflix about how the show will address the absence of Loughlin’s Aunt Becky. 

Westlake Legal Group StamosLoughlin1 John Stamos breaks silence on Lori Loughlin being written out of 'Fuller House' Season 5 Tyler McCarthy fox-news/person/olivia-jade fox-news/person/mossimo-giannulli fox-news/person/lori-loughlin fox-news/person/john-stamos fox-news/entertainment/tv fox news fnc/entertainment fnc article 3c6e79a1-3430-5519-81ae-c0ca8b78008e   Westlake Legal Group StamosLoughlin1 John Stamos breaks silence on Lori Loughlin being written out of 'Fuller House' Season 5 Tyler McCarthy fox-news/person/olivia-jade fox-news/person/mossimo-giannulli fox-news/person/lori-loughlin fox-news/person/john-stamos fox-news/entertainment/tv fox news fnc/entertainment fnc article 3c6e79a1-3430-5519-81ae-c0ca8b78008e

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AbbVie to Acquire Allergan, Botox’s Maker, for $63 Billion

Westlake Legal Group 25abbvie-facebookJumbo AbbVie to Acquire Allergan, Botox’s Maker, for $63 Billion Mergers, Acquisitions and Divestitures Drugs (Pharmaceuticals) Botox (Drug) Allergan Inc AbbVie Inc

The drugmaker AbbVie said on Tuesday that it planned to buy Allergan, the maker of Botox, for about $63 billion, in one of the biggest mergers in the health care industry this year.

If completed, the deal would give AbbVie a potent source of popular treatments as it faces the loss of patent protection for its best-selling drug, Humira, a treatment for rheumatoid arthritis.

It is the second-biggest takeover in the pharmaceutical industry announced this year, after Bristol-Myers Squibb agreed to buy Celgene, a maker of anticancer drugs, for $74 billion.

Under the terms of the deal, AbbVie will pay 0.866 of its shares and $120.30 in cash for each share of Allergan. That is worth about $188.24 a share as of Monday’s closing prices, a nearly 45 percent premium on Allergan’s share price.

“This is a transformational transaction for both companies and achieves unique and complementary strategic objectives,” Richard A. Gonzalez, AbbVie’s chairman and chief executive, said in a statement.

Allergan’s chairman and chief executive, Brent Saunders, said that the proposed deal “creates compelling value” for his company’s shareholders and customers.

Shares in AbbVie were down 5 percent in premarket trading on Tuesday, while Allergan shares were up 31 percent. AbbVie is based in Chicago; Allergan has its headquarters in Dublin, although it has many facilities in the United States.

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