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Westlake Legal Group > News Corporation (Page 114)

Buttigieg reportedly helped create a phone tree to alert families about ICE raids

Westlake Legal Group Pete-Buttigieg-AP Buttigieg reportedly helped create a phone tree to alert families about ICE raids Sam Dorman fox-news/us/us-regions/midwest/indiana fox-news/us/immigration fox-news/person/pete-buttigieg fox news fnc/politics fnc article 9d697289-6bc7-5ad8-bc0b-ea774604363b

South Bend, Indiana mayor Pete Buttigieg reportedly helped create an alert system that would notify families if Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raided his residents’ homes or businesses.

The “phone tree,” according to The Daily Beast on Wednesday, was one of several actions Buttigieg took to protect illegal immigrants in his town. Phone trees consist of an automated calling system that helps spread messages quickly and efficiently.

Those would presumably help alert immigrants to the type of surprise raids that resulted in nearly 700 arrests in Mississippi.

His approach to immigration came under legal scrutiny when Judicial Watch, a right-leaning organization, sued the city over a “Community Resident Card” program that Buttigieg reportedly developed with the help of La Casa, a left-wing, pro-immigration group.

SEN. COTTON ON DEMS BLASTING TRUMP OVER GREEN CARD RULE: ‘THEY’RE DERANGED BY THE PRESDIENT’

The program allowed residents to open bank accounts, fill prescriptions, and use public services without fear that authorities would find out their immigration status. Buttigieg specifically partnered with local businesses on the program and directed utilities and other services to accept the cards as a valid form of identification.

Buttigieg was just one of many 2020 Democratic presidential candidates who sought to help immigrants avoid interactions with federal immigration enforcement.

A long list of Democrats has criticized the Trump administration’s immigration policy as racist, xenophobic, and even as a way of terrorizing families.

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On Monday, the administration prompted criticism by releasing a controversial rule that would limit green card recipients depending on whether they met a certain income threshold or relied on public assistance.

Trump has also leveled fierce criticism at “sanctuary cities” that refuse to cooperate with federal law enforcement on requests to continue detaining illegal immigrants. Buttigieg has blasted that type of cooperation as “conscription,” although Indiana has banned “sanctuary cities” in the state.

Westlake Legal Group Pete-Buttigieg-AP Buttigieg reportedly helped create a phone tree to alert families about ICE raids Sam Dorman fox-news/us/us-regions/midwest/indiana fox-news/us/immigration fox-news/person/pete-buttigieg fox news fnc/politics fnc article 9d697289-6bc7-5ad8-bc0b-ea774604363b   Westlake Legal Group Pete-Buttigieg-AP Buttigieg reportedly helped create a phone tree to alert families about ICE raids Sam Dorman fox-news/us/us-regions/midwest/indiana fox-news/us/immigration fox-news/person/pete-buttigieg fox news fnc/politics fnc article 9d697289-6bc7-5ad8-bc0b-ea774604363b

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Steve King, Opposing All Abortions, Asks if There Would Be ‘Any Population’ Without Rape and Incest

Westlake Legal Group 14king-facebookJumbo Steve King, Opposing All Abortions, Asks if There Would Be ‘Any Population’ Without Rape and Incest Scholten, J D King, Steven A Iowa Elections, House of Representatives

Representative Steve King of Iowa, a Republican whose history of making racist and divisive remarks led him to be stripped of his committee assignments earlier this year, questioned Wednesday if there would “be any population of the world left” if it were not for rape and incest.

Mr. King, who represents a deeply conservative district in northwest Iowa, made the remarks to the Westside Conservative Club in Urbandale, Iowa, as he explained his opposition to exceptions for rape and incest in anti-abortion legislation.

“It’s not the baby’s fault,” Mr. King said in video of the comments published by The Des Moines Register, which first reported the story.

“What if we went back through all the family trees and just pulled those people out that were products of rape or incest? Would there be any population of the world left if we did that? Considering all the wars and all the rapes and pillages that’s taken place, and whatever happened to culture after society, I know that I can’t certify that I’m not a product of that. And I’d like to think every one of the lives of us are as precious as any other life.”

A spokesman for Mr. King did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Mr. King’s latest remarks come just over a week after J. D. Scholten, a Democrat who nearly defeated him in 2018, announced that he would run again for Mr. King’s congressional seat in 2020. Mr. King defeated Mr. Scholten by just 10,000 votes last November.

“Yet again, Steve King puts his selfish, hateful ideology above the needs of the people of Iowa’s 4th district,” Mr. Scholten said in a statement on Wednesday. “Excusing violence — in any way — is entirely unacceptable.”

“His comments are disrespectful to survivors and don’t reflect Iowan values,” Mr. Scholten added.

Representative Liz Cheney of Wyoming, the third-ranking House Republican, called Mr. King’s comments “appalling and bizarre.”

“As I’ve said before, it’s time for him to go,” she said. “The people of Iowa’s 4th congressional district deserve better.”

Numerous Democratic presidential candidates called on Mr. King to resign as well.

“Steve King is a racist, a misogynist and a disgrace to the country,” said Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont. “He should not be a member of the United States Congress.”

“You are a disgrace. Resign,” said Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York.

Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota was one of several candidates who urged donations to Mr. Scholten.

During his nine terms in Congress, Mr. King has publicly promoted white nationalists and neo-Nazis on Twitter and frequently insulted immigrants. He once famously said that for every child of an undocumented immigrant who becomes a valedictorian, “there’s another 100 out there who weigh 130 pounds and they’ve got calves the size of cantaloupes because they’re hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert.”

[Here is a timeline of Steve King’s racist remarks and divisive actions.]

He was stripped of his congressional committee assignments earlier this year by House Republicans after he questioned why white supremacism was offensive. A number of powerful party leaders, including Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader, suggested he should resign, and the House overwhelmingly passed a resolution disapproving of Mr. King’s statements.

Mr. King has insisted that his comments were misunderstood.

Two months later, in March, Mr. King came under scrutiny again when he said he did not “have an answer” when asked directly whether he believed a white society to be superior to a nonwhite society.

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Steve King: 2020 presidential candidates, GOP challenger, condemn 'rape and incest' remarks

CLOSEWestlake Legal Group icon_close Steve King: 2020 presidential candidates, GOP challenger, condemn 'rape and incest' remarks

While speaking in Urbandale, U.S. Rep. Steve King, R-Kiron, wonders ‘would there be any population of the world left’ without rape or incest. He made the remarks at the Westside Conservative Club on on Aug. 14, 2019. Kelsey Kremer, kkremer@dmreg.com

U.S. Rep. Steve King is under fire by both Republicans and Democrats for comments he made defending no abortion exemption for rape or incest, during a meeting with a conservative group on Wednesday.

While speaking with the Westside Conservative Club, King said people may not currently exist if not for rape and incest throughout history.

“What if we went back through all the family trees and just pulled those people out that were products of rape or incest? Would there be any population of the world left if we did that?” he said in Urbandale, Iowa.

More: U.S. Rep. Steve King: If not for rape and incest, ‘would there be any population left?’

King, who is Catholic, said that just because conception happened through rape or incest, it does not mean the result isn’t a person.

“It’s not the baby’s fault for the sin of the father, or of the mother,” he said.

Iowa Republican challengers condemns King’s comments

State Sen. Randy Feenstra, a Republican challenger for King’s seat in the 4th District, spoke out against his remarks, even though he is anti-abortion.

“I am 100% pro-life but Congressman King’s bizarre comments and behavior diminish our message and damage our cause. We can’t afford to hand the 4th District to Nancy Pelosi and her allies in Congress,” Feenstra said in a statement. “President Trump needs defenders in Congress, not distractions. In the State Senate, I’ve been an effective conservative who has fought for our values and delivered conservative results. I’ll do the same in Congress.””

More: Iowa’s Steve King has a history of controversial remarks. Here are some that riled people up.

Jeremy Taylor, a Sioux City Republican also challenging King in the primary, said King’s statements jeopardize his party’s chance of holding onto the seat. He said he would be “a champion for the unborn.”

“As a US Army chaplain, my passion for this issue is at the core of who I am,” Taylor said in a statement. “Unfortunately, Congressman Steve King continues to be in the press for all of the wrong reasons. His comments feed the left, the mainstream media, and puts Republican control of this seat and our ability to take back Congress in jeopardy. We must nominate a conservative who can win.”

Iowa Democratic challenger calls King’s remarks ‘hateful ideology’

Democrat J.D. Scholten, who’s making a second bid to win King’s seat, said in a statement that King is again putting “his selfish, hateful ideology above” the Iowans in the district.

“Excusing violence — in any way — is entirely unacceptable,” Scholten said in the statement. “Here in Iowa, we stand strong together in the face of violence, and strive to create a welcoming and safe community for all people. His comments are disrespectful to survivors and don’t reflect Iowan values.

Iowa Democratic Rep. Abby Finkenauer, King’s colleague, calls comments ‘cruel’

Finkenauer, who said King was an “embarrassment” shortly before she was elected, said on Twitter King’s comments were “incredibly cruel & disrespectful to survivors. Steve King & his values, his rhetoric, & his disdain for decency is a far cry from the Iowa I know. He doesn’t represent who we are & he continues to be an embarrassment to our state & federal delegation.

She further said: “In this discussion about ‘Who we are as Iowans’ & the narrative that King represents our values as a state because he was re-elected, please #ia01 . We are better than his rhetoric & I’m offended by his association to our state. This isn’t about D or R, it’s about decency.”

2020 Democratic presidential candidates rally behind Scholten, call on King to resign

A number of Democratic presidents are linking to donations for Scholten’s campaign or calling on King to resign from his position in Congress.

The Iowa director for U.S. Sen. Cory Booker’s presidential campaign called for King to resign for the “vile” statements.

Booker, a Democrat representing New Jersey, endorsed Scholten.

Montana Governor Steve Bullock tweeted that women have autonomy over their bodies and included a link for donations to Scholten’s campaign.

“Every woman has the right over her own body — and voters have the right to reject this man for good,” Bullock tweeted.

During his campaign event in Tipton, South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg told the press gaggle that it shouldn’t be difficult for King to “come out against rape and incest,” he said on Wednesday.

“You would think it would be pretty easy to come out against rape and incest. Then again, you’d think it’d be pretty easy to come out against white nationalism. So this is just one more example why there needs to be a sane representative in that district, and that’s why I think J.D. Scholten will be an excellent public servant for people of that district,” Buttigieg said. 

Presidential candidate Julián Castro tweeted that King “has no place in Congress,” and that King denigrates the office.

He also offered his support to Scholten in the form of a road trip “to unseat this bigot.”

Castro is the former Secretary of Human and Urban Development in the Obama administration.

Former U.S. Rep. John Delaney of Maryland’s national press secretary called the comments “vile, repulsive and unsurprising,” and noted that Delaney called for King’s resignation in January. 

“Iowans deserve a member of Congress whose vision and moral compass is based in the 21st century, not the 1850’s,” Delaney’s press secretary, Michael Starr Hopkins, said in the statement before voicing support for Scholten’s campaign.

U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand bluntly said on Twitter, “You are a disgrace. Resign,” and tagged King in the post.

In a following tweet, she posted a donation link for Scholten’s campaign, saying all Iowa 4th District constituents and women deserve a better leader.

U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota tweeted support for Scholten and said it’s time for King to go. She also called his comments “reprehensible.”

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee tweeted that “Right now is a really good time to help make sure this election is (Steve King’s) last,” and posted a link to donate to Scholten.

Former U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke of Texas urged support for Scholten in light of King’s comments.

“No matter where you live, you know there’s no place for Steve King’s racism, bigotry, and hatred in Congress,” O’Rourke tweeted. He added a link to Scholten’s online fundraising page.

U.S. Bernie Sanders called King “a racist, a misogynist and a disgrace to the country,” and that he should not be in Congress.

Read or Share this story: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2019/08/14/steve-king-iowa-offensive-rape-incest-comment/2012363001/

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Videos show unsuspecting tourists slammed by wave at popular Instagram spot

These tourists really got swept away by their Australian vacation.

A group of visitors at Figure 8 Pools in Sydney’s Royal National Park were recorded getting wiped out by a giant wave while they stood on the edge of the popular beach rock pool.

BOOKING.COM CREATES AVO-CONDO WITH ‘WORLD-CLASS VIEW’ FOR NATIONAL AVOCADO DAY

In footage shared on social media, dozens of visitors are knocked off their feet by a wave that rises more than 16 feet and crashes over the rocks.

Some try to outrun the water, but also get swept in toward the shore.

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Mad scramble aside, no serious injuries were reported.

The spot, an Instagram-influencer fave, has a “Risk Forecast” online, warning people whether or not it is the right time to visit the pools.

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The warning system runs from extreme to very low risk – seeming to taper into a low risk toward the afternoon, after peaking at high risk around 7-10 a.m.

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Such wave-inspired mayhem has happened before. In May, two women trying to get the “perfect shot” were knocked over by one in Hawaii. The unidentified women wound up with scrapes and a broken camera but were not seriously injured.

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6073019217001_6073018656001-vs Videos show unsuspecting tourists slammed by wave at popular Instagram spot fox-news/travel/regions/australia fox news fnc/travel fnc c99ddf65-7213-58cd-a738-860e2b04e8cd article Alexandra Deabler   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6073019217001_6073018656001-vs Videos show unsuspecting tourists slammed by wave at popular Instagram spot fox-news/travel/regions/australia fox news fnc/travel fnc c99ddf65-7213-58cd-a738-860e2b04e8cd article Alexandra Deabler

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Ilhan Omar accuses GOP critics of ‘projecting their filth’ in allusion to allegations against her

Westlake Legal Group ContentBroker_contentid-fa811dc2324f45f9a110bc46cbf35d1e Ilhan Omar accuses GOP critics of 'projecting their filth' in allusion to allegations against her Sam Dorman fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives/republicans fox-news/politics fox-news/person/ilhan-omar fox news fnc/media fnc article a757abae-b9aa-5f7b-8aa3-ba1d81166fd9

Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., implied on Wednesday that her critics were “projecting” their affinity for incest when they accused her of marrying her brother.

She was responding to comments Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, made, apparently defending the practice. “Gross! This would explain why these weirdos are fixed on smearing me with claims of incest. Projecting their filth, unreal,” she tweeted, alongside a link to his remarks.

“What if we went back through all the family trees and just pulled out anyone who was a product of rape or incest?” King reportedly asked. According to The Des Moines Register, the Iowa congressman was discussing his opposition to incest exceptions for abortion restrictions.

ONETIME MISS IRAQ CLASHES WITH REP. OMAR AFTER SAYING LAWMAKER DOESN’T REPRESENT HER AS A MUSLIM

Omar has denied allegations that she married her brother in an act of apparent immigration fraud. She married Ahmed Nur Said Elmi, whom she said is a British citizen, on Feb. 12, 2009, according to a marriage certificate issued in Hennepin County. Omar said that the relationship ended in 2011 and the two divorced in their faith tradition, but she didn’t take legal action to divorce him until 2017.

The Minnesota congresswoman has become a lightning rod for criticism since her election in 2018.

The president, among others, addressed the accusation in July. “There’s a lot of talk about the fact that she was married to her brother. I know nothing about it. I hear she was married to her brother. You’re asking me a question about it. I don’t know, but I’m sure that somebody will be looking at that,” he said while answering a question.

That marriage was one of the issues Minnesota’s Star Tribune raised when it questioned her credibility in a June editorial.

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As the Star Tribune noted, the state’s Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board reported that Omar and her husband filed joint tax returns while she was married to another man. Minnesota law only allows spouses to file jointly in civil marriages, whereas Omar filed with a man with whom she was only married in “faith tradition.”

“It is even more disturbing, therefore, to learn that among the board’s latest findings … Omar, for two years running, filed joint tax returns with a man she was living with but not legally married to. Complicating matters further, she was legally married to another man at the time,” the editorial read.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group ContentBroker_contentid-fa811dc2324f45f9a110bc46cbf35d1e Ilhan Omar accuses GOP critics of 'projecting their filth' in allusion to allegations against her Sam Dorman fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives/republicans fox-news/politics fox-news/person/ilhan-omar fox news fnc/media fnc article a757abae-b9aa-5f7b-8aa3-ba1d81166fd9   Westlake Legal Group ContentBroker_contentid-fa811dc2324f45f9a110bc46cbf35d1e Ilhan Omar accuses GOP critics of 'projecting their filth' in allusion to allegations against her Sam Dorman fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives/republicans fox-news/politics fox-news/person/ilhan-omar fox news fnc/media fnc article a757abae-b9aa-5f7b-8aa3-ba1d81166fd9

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Former acting ICE director Tom Homan: Attack on immigration offices was an act of ‘domestic terrorism’

Westlake Legal Group Homan-ICE Former acting ICE director Tom Homan: Attack on immigration offices was an act of 'domestic terrorism' Nick Givas fox-news/us/immigration fox-news/shows/outnumbered-overtime fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox-news/media fox news fnc/media fnc article 7bde7940-b536-579a-90fa-8455ace08231

The former acting director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Tom Homan, said the attack on federal immigration offices in San Antonio, Texas, should be considered an act of “domestic terrorism,” and he warned against the effects of extreme political rhetoric.

The FBI is calling the early-Tuesday event a “targeted attack” after shots were fired at an ICE building where two floors of administrative and executive offices were housed, according to the San Antonio Express-News. The outlet also reported there was also gunfire at another facility where an ICE contractor was located.

“I think this was an act of terrorism. I mean, look at the definition of terrorism, this is exactly what they’re doing,” Homan said during an interview on “Outnumbered Overtime” on Wednesday. “This is domestic terrorism.”

Homan, who also wrote an op-ed for Fox News on Wednesday about the dangers of left-wing immigration rhetoric, took issue with House Democrats for radicalizing their talking points, and said hate should have no place in policymaking.

ICE OFFICES, WORKERS HIT BY WAVE OF VIOLENCE AND THREATS: ‘WE KNOW WHERE ALL YOUR CHILDREN LIVE’

“We’ve got to stop the hate,” he said. “They say the Trump administration — all hate rhetoric is coming out of there. No, there’s just as much hate rhetoric, if not more, on the left. So when you sit there and vilify the men and women of ICE and the Border Patrol every day — the media outlets, and the people running for president, and the Democratic leadership, that catches on.”

More from Media

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Homan said the escalation has risen to such a high level that most policymakers and government workers need some form of personal security, to protect against physical attacks.

Fox News’ Louis Casiano contributed to this report

Westlake Legal Group Homan-ICE Former acting ICE director Tom Homan: Attack on immigration offices was an act of 'domestic terrorism' Nick Givas fox-news/us/immigration fox-news/shows/outnumbered-overtime fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox-news/media fox news fnc/media fnc article 7bde7940-b536-579a-90fa-8455ace08231   Westlake Legal Group Homan-ICE Former acting ICE director Tom Homan: Attack on immigration offices was an act of 'domestic terrorism' Nick Givas fox-news/us/immigration fox-news/shows/outnumbered-overtime fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox-news/media fox news fnc/media fnc article 7bde7940-b536-579a-90fa-8455ace08231

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Banana-targeting fungus may cause ‘apocalyptic scenario’ for the fruit

Westlake Legal Group bananas-istock-medium Banana-targeting fungus may cause 'apocalyptic scenario' for the fruit Michael Hollan fox-news/world/world-regions/latin-america fox-news/food-drink/food/snack-foods fox news fnc/food-drink fnc article ad0f6fb3-f07f-530e-bc27-ad7df3b2799b

It might be time to say goodbye to bananas. It might also be time to panic.

An “apocalyptic” scenario for the most popular type of banana may be unfolding in Latin America. A strong and incredibly hard to stop fungus has been spotted in the area.

The fungus, a strain of Fusarium oxysporum, is known as Tropical Race 4, the New York Post reports. The Colombian Agricultural Institute has confirmed that a strain of TP4 was found. This caused the government to declare a national state of emergency.

Farmers were ordered to destroy crops in the area where the fungus was discovered and to quarantine plantations. While these extreme measures have been taken, it unfortunately may not be enough to stop the spread of the banana-killing fungus.

BANANAS ON THE BRINK? FRUIT FACES EXTINCTION RISK

Sarah Gurr, Exeter University’s chair in food security, told Wired, “What we’re having is an almost apocalyptic scenario where we’ll probably lose Cavendish as well.”

Cavendish bananas are the most widely grown and consumed type of banana across the globe. A large portion of the world’s bananas is grown in Latin America, where the fruit-killing fungus has been spotted.

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Part of the reason why TP4 is so dangerous is that it can lay dormant for years. By the time the infection is spotted, it can be difficult to tell how widespread it is. The fungus is spread through the soil, meaning the tires and work boats can help it spread.

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Bananas vulnerable to the strain can no longer be grown in an infected plot, Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. The strain of fungus is not vulnerable to fungicides or fumigants, making it almost impossible to eradicate once it appears.

Westlake Legal Group bananas-istock-medium Banana-targeting fungus may cause 'apocalyptic scenario' for the fruit Michael Hollan fox-news/world/world-regions/latin-america fox-news/food-drink/food/snack-foods fox news fnc/food-drink fnc article ad0f6fb3-f07f-530e-bc27-ad7df3b2799b   Westlake Legal Group bananas-istock-medium Banana-targeting fungus may cause 'apocalyptic scenario' for the fruit Michael Hollan fox-news/world/world-regions/latin-america fox-news/food-drink/food/snack-foods fox news fnc/food-drink fnc article ad0f6fb3-f07f-530e-bc27-ad7df3b2799b

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Stock Markets, Jolted by Economic Worry, Suffer 2nd Worst Drop of 2019

Westlake Legal Group defaultPromoCrop Stock Markets, Jolted by Economic Worry, Suffer 2nd Worst Drop of 2019 United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Standard&Poor's 500-Stock Index Politics and Government International Trade and World Market Dow Jones Stock Average Customs (Tariff) Banking and Financial Institutions

Trade-war worries hammered financial markets again on Wednesday as data from Germany and China showed trouble for manufacturing-reliant economies, while the bond market renewed fears of an American recession.

Stocks and commodities tumbled in Europe and the United States as risk-averse investors raced to the safety of government bonds, pushing bond prices sharply higher and yields — which move in the opposite direction — to low levels not seen in years.

On Wall Street, the S&P 500 fell 2.93 percent, led by a steep drop in the energy sector. Retail shares also fell sharply after Macy’s posted lower quarterly results. Shares of large technology companies, sensitive to the outlook for the trade war, also fell. Stock benchmarks in Europe also dropped.

The drop reflected a rapid shift in sentiment just a day after a 1.5 percent gain, which had been driven by the White House decision to narrow the scope of the next round of tariffs on China to spare American consumers during the holiday shopping season.

But there is increasing evidence that the fight between the two largest economies over trade, technology and economic dominance has already done significant damage to the world economy.

Earlier Wednesday, the German government reported that the country’s economy shrank in the quarter that ended in June. The German economy, the eurozone’s largest, has been particularly vulnerable to the trade war between the United States and China because of Germany’s dependence on manufacturing and exports. A second consecutive quarter of decline would mean Germany was in a recession.

[Read more about Germany’s economy.]

In China, a variety of macroeconomic indicators published overnight showed that its economy continues to lose steam as the trade war drags on. Chinese industrial production slowed more than expected, falling to 4.8 percent in July, the lowest level since 2002. Investment growth and retail sales also slowed.

The economic updates added to the increasingly ugly conditions in the global industrial economy. Closely watched surveys of activity among industrial purchasing managers now suggest that manufacturing economies in China, Japan, Germany and Britain — the second-, third-, fourth- and fifth-largest economies in the world — are all contracting.

And prices for important industrial raw materials such as aluminum, copper and steel have fallen, confirming deep weakness in the industrial sector and crimping the profits of the companies that produce them.

Major industrial firms around the world have likewise reported a consistent story of softening demand, stressed that they are taking a cautious approach to the rest of the year.

In recent weeks, signs of the global industrial slowdown have also arrived in corporate earnings reports in the United States. Second-quarter profits for companies in the S&P 500 are set to contract 0.7 percent from a year earlier, according to the data provider FactSet. If that figure holds — and more than 90 percent of the companies in the index have reported — it will mark the second straight quarter that earnings have declined.

The industrial sector of the S&P fared poorly, with earnings falling 10 percent from last year. The slide in profits was also most pronounced among those companies with the greatest exposure to the global economy and trade.

Investors were intensely attuned Wednesday to downbeat economic signals from the bond market. Yields on long-term United States Treasury securities continue to plumb lows not seen in recent years. The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note fell to 1.58 percent, a level it last reached in late 2016. The yield on the 30-year bond fell to 2.03 percent, the lowest level on record.

[Read more about the intensifying recession warning in the bond market.]

Bond yields are typically determined by investors’ expectations for economic growth and inflation, making their recent precipitous drop worrisome in themselves. But the drop in long-term yields also briefly pushed the yield on the 10-year note below that of the two-year Treasury note, an unusual situation known as an inversion of the yield curve. Yield-curve inversions are considered one of the most reliable leading indicators of recession in the United States, having preceded every economic decline in the past 60 years.

That phenomenon, when yields on long-term bonds fall below those on short-term bonds, had already occurred with some Treasury securities this year. But the inversion between two-year and 10-year notes, which last occurred in 2007 as the American economy began to sputter into a severe recession, seemed to worry investors anew.

Signs of economic weakness hit commodities markets as well. Prices for copper, often tightly tied to the outlook for Chinese economic growth, fell more than 1 percent in New York trading. Futures prices for American crude oil fell more than 3 percent.

The tumble in crude oil prices weighed heavily on share prices of American energy companies, pushing the energy sector down more than 4 percent. Exxon Mobil, Chevron and ConocoPhillips all fell more than 3.5 percent.

Stocks of large tech firms also weighed on the markets, with Amazon dropping more than 3 percent and Apple and Microsoft more than 2.5 percent.

The recent return of market volatility has cut the gains enjoyed by investors this year. But those gains are still significant. The S&P 500 remains up more than 13 percent in 2019.

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'China is not our problem.' Trump defends trade battle as stock market tumbles, blames 'clueless' Fed

CLOSEWestlake Legal Group icon_close 'China is not our problem.' Trump defends trade battle as stock market tumbles, blames 'clueless' Fed

Will Congress act? President Trump claims he can coalesce reluctant Republicans around passing gun control measures. Nathan Rousseau Smith has the story. Buzz60

WASHINGTON – As financial markets tumbled again Wednesday in part over concerns about international trade, President Donald Trump took to Twitter to defend his administration’s tariff war with China and swipe at the nation’s central bank.

“We are winning, big time, against China,” Trump wrote on Twitter, despite few signs of progress in negotiating a new trade agreement with Beijing. “Prices to us have not gone up, and in some cases, have come down.”

The president’s remarks, which he made during his August break in Bedminster, N.J., came as markets plunged for the second time this week. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 800 points, or 3.05%, in midday trading Wednesday. The numbers represented the worst percentage drop for the Dow of the year.

Trump has staked much of his re-election campaign on the strength of the U.S. economy. Analysts say increasing fears of a global slowdown contributed to Wednesday’s downturn. 

A day earlier, Trump announced he would delay until Dec. 15  tariffs on Chinese goods that were supposed to go into effect in September. Trump said he made the move to prevent his tit-for-tat tariff war from having an impact on the holiday shopping period in the U.S., a tacit recognition that the trade battle could affect U.S. consumers.

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Administration officials took to cable news and Twitter throughout the day Wednesday to defend the administration’s stance on China, which has won some bipartisan support on Capitol Hill. Even some critics of the president’s trade policies have complained about China’s trade barriers, particularly in the technology sector.

Trump “pays attention to growing this economy by building things… China should pay attention to that,” White House director of trade policy Peter Navarro told Fox Business on Wednesday. “The president grows this economy, that’s what he focuses on.”

 Instead of blaming China, Trump turned to a familiar target: The Federal Reserve. The president has complained the Fed has not lowered interest rates quickly enough.   

“China is not our problem, though Hong Kong is not helping,” Trump said. “Our problem is with the Fed.” Trump specifically criticized Jay Powell, describing the Fed’s chairman as “clueless.” Trump has repeatedly blasted Powell, whom he named to the job in 2018. 

Analysts said the main factors driving the markets Wednesday were reports that Germany, Europe’s largest economy, contracted 0.1% in the second quarter of the year in part because of global trade disputes and trouble with the auto industry.

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Weekend of action planned to pressure Walmart to stop selling guns

CLOSEWestlake Legal Group icon_close Weekend of action planned to pressure Walmart to stop selling guns

Calls for Walmart to stop selling firearms grew louder as a coalition of unions and organizations said they would stage rallies nationwide this weekend to pressure the country’s largest retailer to use its influence to push gun reform.

Guns Down America says that Color of Change, MoveOn, and the American Federation of Teachers are among the organizations joining it at Walmart stores across the U.S. to not only call on the company to stop selling guns, but demand that it support gun buybacks and use its clout to push for a ban on military style weapons.   

The coalition also wants its campaign to go viral, launching the #Walmartmustact challenge. Visitors to Walmartmustact.org can print out a letter asking the retailer to stop supporting NRA backed politicians along with the other demands. Then they’re being asked to take a picture, tag their friends, and deliver the letters to a Walmart store manager.

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“We really believe that given its enormous size, Walmart will be able to shake up this conversation … both in Congress, but also with the gun industry and gun manufacturers,” says Igor Volsky, founder and executive director of the group Guns Down America.  “They need to begin using those relationships, using their leverage, using their clout, to do everything they can to keep their customers safe. To keep their employees safe … I think that’s their responsibility.” 

A Walmart store in El Paso, Tx was the site of one of two mass shootings the weekend of Aug. 3 that together left 31 people dead, dozens more injured, and the nation tense and shaken. Days earlier, two Walmart managers were killed by a gunman described as a disgruntled employee in a store in Southaven, Mississippi.

In the wake of those shootings, Walmart removed violent video game displays and signs from stores. And last Wednesday, Walmart CEO Doug McMillon said in a note to store employees that “we will work to understand the many important issues that arise from El Paso and Southaven, as well as those that have been raised in the broader national discussion around gun violence.” 

“We will be thoughtful and deliberate in our responses,” he continued, “and we will act in a way that reflects the best values and ideals of our company, with a focus on serving the needs of our customers, associates and communities.”

For now Walmart continues to sell guns. But the pressure to get the retailer to stop is building.

As of Wednesday afternoon, more than 76,000 people had signed a petition on Change.org calling on Walmart to halt firearm sales.  Several democratic presidential candidates,  including Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, have echoed that demand. And last weekend, Guns Down America says 150 people gathered at a Walmart near Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla where 17 people were killed in a mass shooting last year, to deliver a letter asking the location end gun sales.  

With legislation that would expand and enhance background checks law languishing in the Senate, advocates say that Walmart can also play a pivotal role in getting conservative lawmakers in particular to take action. 

“There is no bigger traditional retailer than Walmart,” says Fred Guttenberg, whose 14-year-old daughter Jaime was among those killed in Parkland, and whose group Orange Ribbons for Gun Safety is part of the coalition demanding Walmart do more. Walmart “gives the politicians the cover to say ‘If Walmart can take such a stand, we need to do so as well.’ ’’ 

The American Federation of Teachers has also joined the effort. In a letter to McMillon dated Aug. 7, Randi Weingarten, the union’s president, warned Walmart that if it doesn’t take action, its 1.7 million members might take their business elsewhere.   

“If you choose to act, it could change our national conversation in an instant,’’ Weingarten wrote. “And if Walmart continues to provide funding to lawmakers who are standing in the way of gun reform, teachers and students should reconsider doing their back-to-school shopping at your stores.’’

Walmart has taken action around the sale of weapons and ammunition in the past that have drawn praise from some gun control advocates, including stopping the sale of handguns everywhere but Alaska , , ending sales of modern sporting rifles , and,  starting last year, prohibiting sales of firearms to anyone under 21.

But Guttenberg says that’s not enough. 

“We can’t continue going forward the way things are,” he says. “We’ve got to make a change and that involves government and legislation and changes of law. But it also involves business. .. It is time for them to demonstrate that they’re ready to be a part of this cultural change.”

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