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Westlake Legal Group > News Corporation (Page 153)

Liz Cheney cautions any US-Taliban deal should be public, must include denouncement of Al Qaeda

As representatives of the Taliban and the United States meet in Doha, Qatar, and edge closer to a deal to end the 18-year stalemated conflict in Afghanistan, Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney on Monday became the latest lawmaker to express misgivings about a potential agreement, highlighting the deadly “daily attacks” carried out by the terror group even as its officials ostensibly seek peace.

Cheney, R-Wyo., told Fox News in a statement on Monday morning that the American public should have full transparency regarding the details of any accord and the potential pact must include a definitive rejection of Al Qaeda. The House Republican Conference Chair warned of the consequences for U.S. national security if such conditions aren’t met.

“Throughout ongoing talks between the U.S. and the Taliban, the Taliban has waged daily attacks that resulted in the deaths of American soldiers and their allies, as well as innocent civilians,” Cheney, who serves on the House Armed Services Committee, said in the statement. “The Taliban deliberately terrorizes schools, profits from drug trafficking and dispatches its suicide bombers throughout the country. The Taliban continues to fight alongside Al Qaeda — an alliance the two groups have maintained for over two decades. Just recently, the Taliban released a video justifying Al Qaeda’s attacks on the U.S. on 9/11.”

HOW THE TALIBAN REMAINED DOMINANT IN AFGHANISTAN: TERRIFYING TACTICS AND AN ADVANCING WEAPONS ARSENAL

Cheney underscored that, given the Taliban’s “sordid history and ongoing violence, it is vital that the full text of any agreement between the U.S. and the Taliban, including supposed counterterrorism assurances, be released to the public.”

Westlake Legal Group 173767025 Liz Cheney cautions any US-Taliban deal should be public, must include denouncement of Al Qaeda Hollie McKay fox-news/world/terrorism/al-qaeda fox-news/world/conflicts/afghanistan fox-news/us/terror fox-news/politics fox news fnc/world fnc article 06d65af1-88ea-5f15-b9fc-0ad9947ea20c

Liz Cheney at the Little America Hotel and Resort in Cheyenne, Wyoming  (2013 Getty Images)

“Any legitimate agreement will include a public, explicit renunciation of Al Qaeda from top Taliban leaders, as well as commitments from the Taliban to protect the hard-won rights of women and girls, support the legitimacy of the Afghan Constitution, stop receiving funds or military support from malign sources, and actively participate in future counter-terror operations,” she said. “Without these elements and corresponding verification mechanisms, we will not be ending the war — we will be retreating and ceding the battlefield to our enemies, including the organization that harbored the terrorists responsible for killing nearly 3,000 Americans on 9/11.”

Cheney, the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, warned that, without these elements, “Al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations will have the ability to once again establish safe havens from which they can plot, plan, train for and launch attacks against the United States and our allies.”

Westlake Legal Group ContentBroker_contentid-6a8bf5df9d164633b3f05b14c0b10c2e Liz Cheney cautions any US-Taliban deal should be public, must include denouncement of Al Qaeda Hollie McKay fox-news/world/terrorism/al-qaeda fox-news/world/conflicts/afghanistan fox-news/us/terror fox-news/politics fox news fnc/world fnc article 06d65af1-88ea-5f15-b9fc-0ad9947ea20c

Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the Taliban group’s top political leader, third from left, arrives with other members of the Taliban delegation for talks in Moscow, Russia, in May 2019. (AP/Alexander Zemlianichenko, File)

The Qatar peace talks are now in their eighth round, led on the U.S. side by special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad. A settlement is expected to be reached by Sept. 1, and Khalilzad tweeted last week that “excellent progress” had been made.

“The focus should be on immediately reducing violence as we move closer to intra-Afghan negotiations that will produce a political road map and a permanent ceasefire,” he wrote Thursday.

HAMZA BIN LADEN ‘AL QAEDA’S MOST CHARISMATIC FIGURE’, DEATH WOULD BE ‘BIG BRAND HIT FOR EXTREMISTS’

The U.S. is seeking guarantees that Afghanistan will not once again become a sanctuary for terrorists – which is what precipitated the U.S. invasion following the 9/11 attacks and led to the U.S. and its allies forcing the Taliban from power. On the other hand, Taliban leaders want to make certain U.S. forces withdraw from the embattled country.

It remains unclear what the timeline for such a departure would be, and how many – if any – U.S. forces would remain on the ground.

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To date, the official Afghan government, helmed by President Ashraf Ghani, has been excluded from the ongoing negotiations, with the Taliban refusing to acknowledge Ghani as the country’s legitimate leader. Presidential elections are slated for Sept. 28. The Taliban has already declared its intention to attack during the vote.

“President Trump has led the way in freeing America from one-sided agreements that undermine our national security. He has demonstrated his refusal to accept bad deals that put America and our interests at risk,” Cheney added. “The same crystal clear judgment must apply with the Al Qaeda-allied Taliban.”

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6067389465001_6067385874001-vs Liz Cheney cautions any US-Taliban deal should be public, must include denouncement of Al Qaeda Hollie McKay fox-news/world/terrorism/al-qaeda fox-news/world/conflicts/afghanistan fox-news/us/terror fox-news/politics fox news fnc/world fnc article 06d65af1-88ea-5f15-b9fc-0ad9947ea20c   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6067389465001_6067385874001-vs Liz Cheney cautions any US-Taliban deal should be public, must include denouncement of Al Qaeda Hollie McKay fox-news/world/terrorism/al-qaeda fox-news/world/conflicts/afghanistan fox-news/us/terror fox-news/politics fox news fnc/world fnc article 06d65af1-88ea-5f15-b9fc-0ad9947ea20c

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Taylor Swift Urges Equal Pay For Women’s Soccer At Teen Choice Awards

Taylor Swift isn’t going to shake off the equal-pay cause of the U.S. women’s soccer team.

In accepting the Icon Award at the Teen Choice Awards on Sunday, Swift said it was an honor to receive the honor from co-captain Alex Morgan, who helped guide the squad to a World Cup title this summer. But Swift had a bigger message to deliver about the team’s fight against salary discrimination. (See the clip below.)

“While they were winning the World Cup, they were also taking a historic stand in terms of gender equality, gender pay gap,” she told the audience in Hermosa Beach, California.

“Please, please support her and her teammates because this isn’t over yet. It’s not resolved.”

Swift continued to reinforce her plea to young fans. “What happened to them is unfair,” she continued. “It’s happening everywhere and they are heroes and icons for standing up.”

Team members, including Morgan, sued the U.S. Soccer Federation for alleged gender discrimination in March, asserting they are underpaid for their considerable accomplishments compared with the men. The women’s squad has won two straight World Cups and four overall, while the U.S. men have struggled internationally.

U.S. Soccer recently said the women were actually paid more than the men ― a claim the women’s team quickly dismissed as “utterly false.”

Westlake Legal Group 5d5137ef2200005500f4ee62 Taylor Swift Urges Equal Pay For Women’s Soccer At Teen Choice Awards

Kevin Mazur/Fox via Getty Images World Cup champ Alex Morgan and Taylor Swift at the Teen Choice Awards.

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Texas Is Bracing for a Blue Wave in 2020. Yes, Texas.

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Storm’s Alysha Clark raises money for dialysis unit

Storm guard Alysha Clark makes her biggest assists off the basketball court, at Seattle’s Children’s Hospital.

Through an annual drive, she has donated over 10,000 toys to the hospital, including over 2,000 this year.

This year she wanted to do more. Clark remembered a conversation she had with a young boy named Daniel she met there. He wanted to help other kids at the hospital. At his behest, she decided to try and raise $5,000 for the dialysis unit. At first, she was worried that maybe she had set the goal too high. Her worries soon faded as it took only four days for the goal to be surpassed .

“To me, its mind blowing and so amazing. All because of Daniel. He’s been such an inspiration to me,” Clark said. “Getting involved, giving back and doing more for others. The way he thinks about things inspired me to do more.”

Clark said that she’s already discussed with the director of the dialysis unit what they can do with the money.

“They can use it for however they need,” she said. “Now they are talking about some other things. Whether it’s educational videos or blankets or whatever makes these kids feel more comfortable, they’ll get.”

Clark also spends a lot of time on the cancer floor of the hospital when she visits. When she first started doing it, she admitted it was tough.

“In the beginning, it was really hard. You don’t want to see anyone sick in the hospital, let alone a child. They are still finding their way in the world, and now they have to deal with real adult life issues. In the beginning, it was taxing on me. As I got to know the different families and children. The more I went, their resiliency and attitude was incredible. That to me was an inspiration. All you’re going through and you’re still finding a way to think of someone else.”

The 32-year-old Clark, who was drafted in 2010, said that she’s developed relationships with the families and kids that she’s seen there. She said there’s no better feeling when she gets a message on social media from a family saying they were going to be at an upcoming Storm game because the child had been released from the hospital. Unfortunately, Clark has seen the other side in which kids she had become close to or had met had passed away.

“It’s tough. Just because you don’t want to hear that,” she said. “They are just getting life started and for it to end. You look at it from the flipside though, that they aren’t suffering anymore.”

Clark has brought along some of her Storm teammates, including Jewell Loyd. The pair delivered the toys this year a few weeks ago, pulling up to the hospital with a truckload of goodies for the kids.

“You see things in a different light and perspective and have more of an appreciation for what your life is,” Loyd said. “Knowing we go and visit them and color or playing UNO and it makes them laugh and smile. What Alysha has done has been incredible.”

Westlake Legal Group WNBA-Alysha-Clark Storm's Alysha Clark raises money for dialysis unit fox-news/sports/wnba fnc/sports fnc Associated Press article 9233ce2d-17b7-5547-aec6-c22d8d149642   Westlake Legal Group WNBA-Alysha-Clark Storm's Alysha Clark raises money for dialysis unit fox-news/sports/wnba fnc/sports fnc Associated Press article 9233ce2d-17b7-5547-aec6-c22d8d149642

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

In Virginia, 2 Churches Feel The Aftermath Of Trump’s Racist Rhetoric

Westlake Legal Group friendship-appomattox_wide-d2a7dbab04f8f03de91f8348bbb348edb8f21755-s1100-c15 In Virginia, 2 Churches Feel The Aftermath Of Trump's Racist Rhetoric

Pastor Earnie Lucas of Friendship Baptist Church in Appomattox, Va., posted this message on his church sign around the same time that President Trump tweeted that four Democratic members of Congress — all women of color — should “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.” Sarah McCammon/NPR hide caption

toggle caption

Sarah McCammon/NPR

Westlake Legal Group  In Virginia, 2 Churches Feel The Aftermath Of Trump's Racist Rhetoric

Pastor Earnie Lucas of Friendship Baptist Church in Appomattox, Va., posted this message on his church sign around the same time that President Trump tweeted that four Democratic members of Congress — all women of color — should “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.”

Sarah McCammon/NPR

This is a story about two small-town Virginia churches with the same name, but two very different congregations. They’ve each found themselves caught up in controversy tied to President Trump’s racist rhetoric. NPR’s Sarah McCammon recently visited both congregations.

Westlake Legal Group earnie-lucas-1c213f850451fb68ed354898e079906bf265c894-s800-c15 In Virginia, 2 Churches Feel The Aftermath Of Trump's Racist Rhetoric

Pastor Earnie Lucas said he has gotten threats of violence, even death, since putting up the sign. He also got letters of support, including some donations, from around the country. Sarah McCammon/NPR hide caption

toggle caption

Sarah McCammon/NPR

Westlake Legal Group  In Virginia, 2 Churches Feel The Aftermath Of Trump's Racist Rhetoric

Pastor Earnie Lucas said he has gotten threats of violence, even death, since putting up the sign. He also got letters of support, including some donations, from around the country.

Sarah McCammon/NPR

A welcome sign on the way into town reads “Historic Appomattox: Where Our Nation Reunited.” But here in Appomattox, where the Civil War ended more than 150 years ago, there are still reminders of division.

Not far away, a sign posted in front of Friendship Baptist Church reads “AMERICA: LOVE IT OR LEAVE IT.”

Pastor Earnie Lucas said he posted that message on his church sign several weeks ago. It was around the same time that President Trump tweeted an attack on four Democratic members of Congress — all women of color — saying they should “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.”

Lucas, 85, is white and has been a pastor in this community for decades. He defends his sign and expresses anger about the response it has received online and in news reports.

“Don’t talk to me about that flag out yonder, or that sign out yonder!” he thundered from the pulpit. “This is America! And I love America!”

Lucas asks if anyone in the small, all-white congregation is “from Yankee land.” No one raises their hand.

“The letters that came from north of the Mason-Dixon Line, I am sorry to say, those folk don’t know how to talk,” Lucas said. “You’re talking about some vile, wretched language. And where they told me to go, and how long to stay — they were filthy in their conversation.”

Lucas said he has gotten threats of violence, even death, since putting up the sign. He also got letters of support, including some donations, from around the country.

Local media initially reported that several members of the congregation had staged a walkout in protest — or out of fear of the backlash. But last weekend, Lucas said most of the regulars had returned.

“I had no ill intent against anyone — around here or in the state of Virginia,” Lucas said. “I was talking about people who have come over here illegally and want to tear the place up.”

During the service, he mentioned the recent mass shooting in El Paso, Texas, that left 22 people dead. But afterward, he said he doesn’t believe news reports that the white shooter was targeting Latinos. Lucas also said he does not believe analyses suggesting that undocumented immigrants are less likely to commit violent crimes than others living in the United States.

Lucas doesn’t see his words, or the president’s, as racist.

“I think this idea of racism has been blown out of proportion,” Lucas said. “I really do. We’ve got some sorry people, black and white … but I don’t pay any attention to that. If a man comes to me and behaves himself, we get along good together, I’ll go to bat for him, any way I can.”

“I don’t want any Muslims in America”

Westlake Legal Group dianne-cook-57dd3d93b29f6ce13c044eb97ecdeecd94079027-s800-c15 In Virginia, 2 Churches Feel The Aftermath Of Trump's Racist Rhetoric

Dianne Cook, a member of Lucas’ church, says she agrees with the sign’s message. Sarah McCammon/NPR hide caption

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Sarah McCammon/NPR

Westlake Legal Group  In Virginia, 2 Churches Feel The Aftermath Of Trump's Racist Rhetoric

Dianne Cook, a member of Lucas’ church, says she agrees with the sign’s message.

Sarah McCammon/NPR

One of Lucas’ church members, Dianne Cook, 69, said she agrees with the message on her church sign, and with her pastor. She said Trump was right to criticize the four Democratic congresswomen, who include the first two Muslim women elected to Congress.

“Where’d their parents come from? Are they Americans?” Cook asked. “Just because she was born in America does not make her American.”

“Doesn’t it?” I asked. “Doesn’t it legally, though, under the Constitution?”

“Under the Constitution, yes,” Cook acknowledged, then paused. “But I don’t know how to express that, to make you understand that I wish she, I wish they, well — I don’t want any Muslims in America.”

“We are not that church”

Westlake Legal Group norwood-carson-9c4ab2ead3d504da5e93577b4e8f402b72a507a8-s800-c15 In Virginia, 2 Churches Feel The Aftermath Of Trump's Racist Rhetoric

Norwood Carson, pastor of Friendship Baptist Church of Hopewell, Va., and his staff have fielded calls from people angry about the sign. They tell callers, “We are not that church that says, ‘America Love it or Leave it.'” Sarah McCammon/NPR hide caption

toggle caption

Sarah McCammon/NPR

Westlake Legal Group  In Virginia, 2 Churches Feel The Aftermath Of Trump's Racist Rhetoric

Norwood Carson, pastor of Friendship Baptist Church of Hopewell, Va., and his staff have fielded calls from people angry about the sign. They tell callers, “We are not that church that says, ‘America Love it or Leave it.'”

Sarah McCammon/NPR

Two hours away in Hopewell, Va., is another Friendship Baptist Church. The congregation is predominantly black, and the members are experiencing this moment very differently from the Friendship Baptist congregants in Appomattox.

Sitting in his church office, Pastor Norwood Carson said his secretary has received angry calls from people confused about their name.

“We gave a standard response to all of them,” Carson said. “‘You are calling the Friendship Baptist Church of Hopewell. The church that loves God, loves others, and serves the community. We are not that church that says, ‘America Love it or Leave it.’ “

Carson, 59, said the meaning of that sign is clear. “Obviously, it’s a racist statement,” he said. “But to find out it came from a church just really took me for a loop.”

Carson said he’d like to talk to Pastor Lucas at Friendship Baptist in Appomattox, and try to understand more about what motivated that sign. Lucas said he’s open to the conversation.

Westlake Legal Group elaine-thomas-54b4f123eedf13508a1895c0e44be42d828978d3-s800-c15 In Virginia, 2 Churches Feel The Aftermath Of Trump's Racist Rhetoric

Elaine Thomas is a longtime member at Friendship Baptist Church in Hopewell, Va. She says she and her husband had no idea they would have to worry about their family being exposed to the kinds of things they saw and heard during the civil rights era. Sarah McCammon/NPR hide caption

toggle caption

Sarah McCammon/NPR

Westlake Legal Group  In Virginia, 2 Churches Feel The Aftermath Of Trump's Racist Rhetoric

Elaine Thomas is a longtime member at Friendship Baptist Church in Hopewell, Va. She says she and her husband had no idea they would have to worry about their family being exposed to the kinds of things they saw and heard during the civil rights era.

Sarah McCammon/NPR

“This is not who we are”

Elaine Thomas, 70, is a longtime church member at Hopewell’s Friendship Baptist Church. She was a teenager growing up outside Richmond, Va., at the height of the civil rights movement.

“My husband and I were looking forward to [having] peace, security, watching our grandchildren grow — now our great-grandchildren,” Thomas said. “And we had no idea that we would have to start to worry about them being exposed to the types of things that we saw and that we heard when we were young.”

Thomas said President Trump is responsible for stoking renewed racism in America.

“This is not who we are,” Thomas said. “This may have been how we were at some point. … But this is not who we are right now. We’ve come too far to turn around and go back, and we’re not going back.”

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A Giant Factory Rises to Make a Product Filling Up the World: Plastic

MONACA, Pa. — The 386-acre property looks like a giant Lego set rising from the banks of the Ohio River. It is one of the largest active construction projects in the United States, employing more than 5,000 people.

When completed, the facility will be fed by pipelines stretching hundreds of miles across Appalachia. It will have its own rail system with 3,300 freight cars. And it will produce more than a million tons each year of something that many people argue the world needs less of: plastic.

As concern grows about plastic debris in the oceans and recycling continues to falter in the United States, the production of new plastic is booming. The plant that Royal Dutch Shell is building about 25 miles northwest of Pittsburgh will create tiny pellets that can be turned into items like phone cases, auto parts and food packaging, all of which will be around long after they have served their purpose.

The plant is one of more than a dozen that are being built or have been proposed around the world by petrochemical companies like Exxon Mobil and Dow, including several in nearby Ohio and West Virginia and on the Gulf Coast. And after decades of seeing American industrial jobs head overseas, the rise of the petrochemical sector is creating excitement. On Tuesday, President Trump is scheduled to tour the Shell plant.

“Where we are coming from is that plastic, in most of its forms, is good and it serves to be good for humanity,” said Hilary Mercer, who is overseeing the construction project for Shell.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_156580065_26a5e2f2-64d1-4dbf-a819-0a7e6efc3cb1-articleLarge A Giant Factory Rises to Make a Product Filling Up the World: Plastic Royal Dutch Shell Plc Plastics Pittsburgh (Pa) Marcellus Shale Hydrocarbons Hydraulic Fracturing Corbett, Thomas W

The construction project employs more than 5,000 people.CreditRoss Mantle for The New York Times

The boom is driven partly by plastic’s popularity as a versatile and inexpensive material that keeps potato chips fresh and makes cars lighter. But in parts of the Appalachian region, the increase is also being fueled by an overabundance of natural gas.

It has been about 15 years since hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, took hold in Pennsylvania, which sits atop the huge gas reserve of the Marcellus Shale. But natural gas prices have collapsed and profit must be found elsewhere, namely the natural gas byproduct ethane, which is unleashed during fracking and can be made into polyethylene, a common form of plastic.

This is a place where, right now, plastic makes sense to many people. To the labor union gaining new members. To the world’s third-largest company struggling with low oil prices. And to the former government officials who, in seeking to create jobs, offered Shell one of the largest tax breaks in state history.

But any short-term good could have long-term costs.

Shell says much of the plastic from the plant can be used to create fuel-efficient cars and medical devices. But the industry acknowledges that some of the world’s waste management systems are unable to keep up with other forms of plastic like water bottles, grocery bags and food containers being discarded by consumers on the move.

Studies have detected plastic fibers everywhere — in the stomachs of sperm whales, in tap water and in table salt. A researcher in Britain says plastic may help define the most recent layer of the earth’s crust because it takes so long to break down and there is so much of it.

“Plastic really doesn’t go away,” said Roland Geyer, a professor of industrial ecology at the University of California, Santa Barbara. “It just accumulates and ends up in the wrong places. And we just don’t know the long-term implications of having all this plastic everywhere in the natural environment. It is like this giant global experiment and we can’t just pull the plug if it goes wrong.”

The roots of Shell’s sleek, ultramodern plant date back hundreds of millions of years, when the area was occupied by a wide inland sea.

Over time, the earth shifted and the sea was covered by rock, which compressed all of the dead organisms and sediment that had settled on its watery bottom into rich layers of hydrocarbons, including those that make up natural gas.

Ms. Mercer has spent 32 years traveling the world for Shell — in southern Iraq and in eastern Russia — helping turn those hydrocarbons deep within the earth into energy. These days, Ms. Mercer, an English-born, Oxford-educated engineer, works out of a red brick building in Beaver, Pa.

The plant Ms. Mercer has come here to build is “as big as you get,” she said. When finished, Shell’s cracker plant — named for the chemical reaction of “cracking” gas molecules into the building blocks of plastic — will consume vast quantities of ethane pumped from wells across Pennsylvania into an enormous furnace. The superheated gas is then cooled, forming solid pellets about the size of arborio rice. The process takes about 20 hours.

“Where we are coming from is that plastic, in most of its forms, is good for humanity,” said Hilary Mercer, who is overseeing the construction project for Shell.CreditRoss Mantle for The New York Times

In Ms. Mercer’s view, this is a positive development for the environment. Creating more plastic, she says, helps to reduce carbon emissions by creating lighter and more efficient cars and airplanes. “You have plastic in wind turbines. You have plastic in solar panels.”

She added, “the ability to do those renewable things relies to some extent on the plastics we produce and the chemicals that we produce. I don’t see a contradiction. I see it as part of a journey.”

Shell’s journey into plastics was driven by a need to generate profits at a time its primary business — oil and gas production — struggles with persistently low prices. It is also a way for the energy industry to hedge against declining gasoline consumption as cars become more efficient or powered by electricity.

[Read about how towns and cities across the United States have stopped recycling programs.]

A big demand for plastic comes from auto manufacturers and for consumer packaging like the ones displayed in a mock grocery store in the lobby of Shell’s Pennsylvania offices: plastic cups, diapers and paper towel rolls wrapped in plastic.

There’s also a stack of brochures in the lobby titled the Shell Polymers “Constitution” that reads: “We are called to Beaver Valley by the desire to be part of something larger than ourselves — to leave a legacy of care, innovation and success for future generations.”

Ms. Mercer said the problem with plastic is not its production, but when it is improperly disposed. “We passionately believe in recycling.” she said.

Shell is involved in a broad industry effort to clean up the world’s largest sources of plastic waste. And in Beaver County, Shell recently donated money to extend the hours of the local recycling center and it supports other initiatives that the company believes will contribute to a “circular economy.”

But a circular economy has not yet taken hold in Beaver. Like many areas around the country, the county has had to limit the type of plastic packaging it can accept for recycling because there are relatively few buyers who want to repurpose it.

“We are looking for long-term solutions right now,” a spokeswoman for the recycling center said.

It was a golden autumn afternoon in Pittsburgh, sunny and mild. The Steelers were in town playing at Heinz Field and Governor Tom Corbett got two box-seat tickets to the game.

The governor’s guest at the game in October 2012 was a Shell executive, who was helping to decide where the company would locate its giant cracker plant. Mr. Corbett took the executive down to the field to meet some of the players. Then the governor walked him out to midfield to stand on the Steelers’ yellow and black logo.

“I told him, ‘This is where you want to be,’” Mr. Corbett recalled.

Shell agreed, and was offered a tax break that was projected to save the company an estimated $1.6 billion.

Mr. Corbett, a Republican, said the plastics plant would bolster communities in an area devastated by the collapse of the steel industry in the 1980s, when the unemployment rate hit 28 percent.

“Did you know there is a Steelers bar in Rome?” Mr. Corbett asked in a phone interview. “The reason the Steelers travel so well is because when steel died many people moved away.”

Mr. Corbett said he believed the Shell plant was only the beginning of the state’s plastics boom. He envisions manufacturers coming to Beaver County to be closer to the source of the raw plastic. His successor, Tom Wolf, a Democrat, has been courting more petrochemical development.

“We are rebuilding the economy,” said Mr. Corbett, who left office in 2015 after one term.

Plastics is also solving a challenge for the state’s fracking industry. The western part of the Marcellus Shale produces not just methane gas that is used for heating homes and cooking, but also so-called wet gases like ethane.

Ethane has a higher energy level, measured in British thermal units, or BTUs, than methane. There are regulatory limits on how many BTUs can be safely used in homes and businesses. So, much of the ethane is stripped out of the gas before the methane is shipped. Plastic production is one of the few viable uses for the ethane, and without it some fracking executives say they would not be able to operate many of their wells.

“What became apparent to me and the governor is that there needed to be an outlet for the ethane,” said Patrick Henderson, Mr. Corbett’s top energy adviser. He helped persuade the legislature to approve the tax credit, which will benefit Shell and any other petrochemical company that agrees to buy locally produced ethane and create a certain number of jobs.

Mr. Henderson now works on the government affairs team at the Marcellus Shale Coalition, which represents the state’s fracking industry.

[Read about how beverage companies have fought for decades against “bottle bills” aimed at increasing recycling.]

When burned, natural gas emits less carbon than oil and coal, but some people worry it is preventing the widespread adoption of renewable energy sources and that gas production will only be increased.

The cracker plant itself is allowed by the state to emit 2.2 million tons of carbon dioxide each year, which is the equivalent of about 480,000 cars. Shell says the plant is likely to emit less than that.

“Will you eventually see everything renewable? Probably in 100 years,” Mr. Corbett said. “But right now natural gas is giving a future to your grandchildren.”

Around Beaver County, the cracker plant is creating opportunities for some and deep concerns for others.

Kristin Stanzak is the owner of Don’s Deli in downtown Beaver, which she opened with her husband in 2016, just before construction of the Shell plant took off. On many afternoons, Ms. Stanzak runs out of sub rolls largely because of the orders from Shell — as many as 100 orders a day.

When that happens, she posts a picture of herself on Instagram dressed as Little Orphan Annie that reassures: “The subs will be back tomorrow! Betchyer bottom dollar that tomorrow … we’ll have suuuubsss.”

At the local union hall of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Larry Nelson oversees about 380 electricians working on the plant, including many who have relocated from 28 states. After decades of decline, union membership is growing again.

“The guys are tickled pink to be working on this thing,” Mr. Nelson said.

But there will only be about 600 permanent jobs at the plant, about 12 percent of the construction workers at the site now. A company spokesman said the plant was expected to open “in the early 2020s.”

Some residents say their worries about the cracker plant and fracking over the long term are already coming to bear. The impact of climate change, for example, can be seen around Beaver County, and at the plastics plant in particular.

This spring, the huge furnace that will heat the ethane was being shipped on the Mississippi River, but had difficulty fitting under some bridges because the water was so high from flooding. At the construction site, Shell has installed giant tarps to keep the workers dry in the frequent rain, which hit a record last year in Pittsburgh.

Some residents see other signs of trouble. At a community meeting Shell held in late June, Barbara Goblick quizzed a company representative about the safety of its pipelines that will feed ethane to the plant.

Barbara Goblick lives in a neighborhood, about three miles from the plant, where a landslide after heavy rains set off a pipeline explosion.CreditRoss Mantle for The New York Times The site of the explosion. The blast cracked walls and ceilings in Ms. Goblick’s house.CreditRoss Mantle for The New York Times

Ms. Goblick explained that she lives in a neighborhood, about two miles from the plant, where a pipeline exploded in September. The fire incinerated a nearby house and the blast cracked walls and ceilings in Ms. Goblick’s home. A landslide, partly caused by heavy rains, is believed to have set off the explosion.

The damaged pipeline was not operated by Shell, but a new ethane pipeline is being installed about 800 feet from her house.

“I worry it could happen again,” she said.

Amanda Miller never paid much attention to the cracker plant rising 16 miles from her home in Franklin Park, an affluent suburb.

Amanda Miller lives near the plant. She is a committed recycler whose family brings their own silverware on trips to avoid using disposable utensils.CreditRoss Mantle for The New York Times

What made her speak out at a municipal meeting in January was a proposal by a fracking company to drill under a local park with hiking trails and playing fields.

“That was going too far,” said Ms. Miller, an occupational therapist at a children’s hospital in Pittsburgh.

The company’s proposal was rebuffed. But it has leases on private land in the area that is rich in ethane.

The morning after the meeting, Ms. Miller woke up early to feed her 14-month-old daughter. Her other three children were still asleep. They had just celebrated her husband’s grandmother’s 99th birthday. In that quiet moment, alone with her daughter, Ms. Miller thought of the plastics plant and the fracking that was increasing around her.

“That’s when it hit me,” she said. “I looked at her and wondered what is life going to be like when she is 99. And for the first time I wasn’t hopeful. I actually started to cry.”

A fracking company proposed drilling under a local park with hiking trails and playing fields.CreditRoss Mantle for The New York Times

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QBs not the only transfers expected to make impact

Most of the attention surrounding transfers this offseason justifiably has focused on the high-profile quarterbacks who have switched schools.

Two former College Football Playoff starting quarterbacks are at new places. Jalen Hurts, the 2016 Southeastern Conference offensive player of the year, has moved from Alabama to Oklahoma. Kelly Bryant has left Clemson for Missouri.

And the last two Heisman Trophy winners were quarterback transfers, with Oklahoma landing 2017 winner Baker Mayfield from Texas Tech and 2018 recipient Kyler Murray from Texas A&M.

But the first college football season since the arrival of the transfer portal also will feature plenty of impact performers at other positions — even though players and coaches are still adapting to the new system.

Athletes no longer have to seek permission from their current school to be contacted by other programs when they decide to transfer. They only have to notify their schools of intent to transfer and have their names placed in an NCAA portal.

Players in the portal can be recruited by any school. Entering the portal doesn’t force a player to transfer, as he simply can remove his name from it and stay at his current school. Even under the new system, transfers who haven’t graduated still must sit out a season unless the NCAA grants them a waiver allowing them to play for their new teams immediately.

“I think there’s a lot of a learning curve that goes on and will continue to be a lot of learning curve for both players, coaches and administrations within the transfer portal for the next couple of years until everybody adapts to it,” Florida coach Dan Mullen said. “There’s going to be a new norm in college football. It’s going to be very different than it’s been.”

Mullen’s team added a potential impact performer to its defense by landing pass rusher Jonathan Greenard from Louisville. Here’s a look at Greenard and some of the non-quarterback transfers who bear watching this season. Their former schools are included in parentheses.

TEXAS OG PARKER BRAUN (Georgia Tech)

Notes: Braun is from Hallsville, Texas, but he began his college career at Georgia Tech and made 32 starts for the Yellow Jackets over the last three seasons. Braun earned first-team all-Atlantic Coast Conference honors last year after being a second-team all-ACC selection in 2017. Braun’s a graduate transfer who should step immediately into a starting role at Texas.

GEORGIA WR LAWRENCE CAGER (Miami) and MIAMI WR K.J. OSBORN (Buffalo)

Notes: We’re including these two graduate transfers as a package item because one could be filling a void created by the other’s departure. Cager left Miami after catching 21 passes for 374 yards and six touchdowns. Georgia has lost its top five receivers from last year, so Cager will have plenty of opportunity to make an impact. Osborn caught 53 passes for 892 yards and seven touchdowns for Buffalo last season and may be the best of Miami’s numerous transfers. Other transfers on the Hurricanes‘ roster include quarterback Tate Martell (Ohio State), safety Bubba Bolden (Southern California) and defensive end Trevon Hill (Virginia Tech).

KANSAS STATE RBs JAMES GILBERT (Ball State) and HARRY TROTTER (Louisville)

Notes: One of the major offseason tasks facing new Kansas State coach Chris Klieman was finding a running back to replace Alex Barnes, who rushed for 1,355 yards and 12 touchdowns as a senior. Klieman found a solid candidate in Gilbert, a graduate transfer who ran for 2,806 yards and 30 touchdowns in 38 games at Ball State. Gilbert ran for 1,332 yards to earn first-team all-Mid American Conference honors in 2016, but played just three games due to injury in 2017 before running for a team-high 659 yards last season. Another possibility is Trotter, who had just four carries for Louisville in 2017 before sitting out last season due to NCAA transfer rules.

FLORIDA LB JONATHAN GREENARD (Louisville)

Notes: Greenard collected 15 ½ tackles for loss and seven sacks for Louisville in 2017 before breaking his wrist in the 2018 season opener and sitting out the rest of the year. Greenard headed to Florida as a graduate transfer and should step right into a pass-rushing role for a defense that must replace New York Jets third-round draft pick Jachai Polite, who led the Gators in tackles for loss (17 ½) and sacks (11) last season.

OHIO STATE OG JONAH JACKSON (Rutgers)

Notes: Jackson’s a versatile and experienced lineman who started five games at center in 2017 and made 11 starts at right guard for Rutgers last season. Big Ten coaches and media made him an honorable mention all-conference pick last year. The graduate transfer should step right into a featured role on an Ohio State offensive line that lists left tackle Thayer Munford as its only returning starter.

OREGON WR JUWAN JOHNSON (Penn State)

Notes: Johnson caught 25 passes for 352 yards and one touchdown last season but was more productive in 2017, when he had 54 receptions for 701 yards. He graduated in December and now heads to Oregon, where he could have a big season catching passes from potential first-round draft pick Justin Herbert. Johnson participated in Oregon’s spring practice and caught three passes for 32 yards and a touchdown in the spring game.

Westlake Legal Group CFB-Juwan-Johnson QBs not the only transfers expected to make impact fox-news/sports/ncaa/oregon-ducks fox-news/sports/ncaa/ohio-state-buckeyes fox-news/sports/ncaa/miami-hurricanes fox-news/sports/ncaa/georgia-bulldogs fox-news/sports/ncaa-fb fox-news/sports/ncaa fnc/sports fnc Associated Press article 9f840ed2-6bca-5538-adcb-ad73d7458904   Westlake Legal Group CFB-Juwan-Johnson QBs not the only transfers expected to make impact fox-news/sports/ncaa/oregon-ducks fox-news/sports/ncaa/ohio-state-buckeyes fox-news/sports/ncaa/miami-hurricanes fox-news/sports/ncaa/georgia-bulldogs fox-news/sports/ncaa-fb fox-news/sports/ncaa fnc/sports fnc Associated Press article 9f840ed2-6bca-5538-adcb-ad73d7458904

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Storm’s Alysha Clark raises money for dialysis unit

Storm guard Alysha Clark makes her biggest assists off the basketball court, at Seattle’s Children’s Hospital.

Through an annual drive, she has donated over 10,000 toys to the hospital, including over 2,000 this year.

This year she wanted to do more. Clark remembered a conversation she had with a young boy named Daniel she met there. He wanted to help other kids at the hospital. At his behest, she decided to try and raise $5,000 for the dialysis unit. At first, she was worried that maybe she had set the goal too high. Her worries soon faded as it took only four days for the goal to be surpassed .

“To me, its mind blowing and so amazing. All because of Daniel. He’s been such an inspiration to me,” Clark said. “Getting involved, giving back and doing more for others. The way he thinks about things inspired me to do more.”

Clark said that she’s already discussed with the director of the dialysis unit what they can do with the money.

“They can use it for however they need,” she said. “Now they are talking about some other things. Whether it’s educational videos or blankets or whatever makes these kids feel more comfortable, they’ll get.”

Clark also spends a lot of time on the cancer floor of the hospital when she visits. When she first started doing it, she admitted it was tough.

“In the beginning, it was really hard. You don’t want to see anyone sick in the hospital, let alone a child. They are still finding their way in the world, and now they have to deal with real adult life issues. In the beginning, it was taxing on me. As I got to know the different families and children. The more I went, their resiliency and attitude was incredible. That to me was an inspiration. All you’re going through and you’re still finding a way to think of someone else.”

The 32-year-old Clark, who was drafted in 2010, said that she’s developed relationships with the families and kids that she’s seen there. She said there’s no better feeling when she gets a message on social media from a family saying they were going to be at an upcoming Storm game because the child had been released from the hospital. Unfortunately, Clark has seen the other side in which kids she had become close to or had met had passed away.

“It’s tough. Just because you don’t want to hear that,” she said. “They are just getting life started and for it to end. You look at it from the flipside though, that they aren’t suffering anymore.”

Clark has brought along some of her Storm teammates, including Jewell Loyd. The pair delivered the toys this year a few weeks ago, pulling up to the hospital with a truckload of goodies for the kids.

“You see things in a different light and perspective and have more of an appreciation for what your life is,” Loyd said. “Knowing we go and visit them and color or playing UNO and it makes them laugh and smile. What Alysha has done has been incredible.”

Westlake Legal Group WNBA-Alysha-Clark Storm's Alysha Clark raises money for dialysis unit fox-news/sports/wnba fnc/sports fnc Associated Press article 9233ce2d-17b7-5547-aec6-c22d8d149642   Westlake Legal Group WNBA-Alysha-Clark Storm's Alysha Clark raises money for dialysis unit fox-news/sports/wnba fnc/sports fnc Associated Press article 9233ce2d-17b7-5547-aec6-c22d8d149642

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Saudi Aramco Reports $47 Billion in Earnings, a Drop From a Year Earlier

Westlake Legal Group 12saudiaramco-1sub-facebookJumbo Saudi Aramco Reports $47 Billion in Earnings, a Drop From a Year Earlier Saudi Aramco Saudi Arabia Oil (Petroleum) and Gasoline Initial Public Offerings

Saudi Aramco reported net income of $46.9 billion in the first half of 2019 in its first-ever disclosure that reflected a challenging market: The company said the profits had fallen from $53 billion in the period a year earlier, when oil prices were higher.

The results indicate that the company, the world’s largest oil producer, is enormously profitable compared with its peers. By comparison, Exxon Mobil, the largest American oil company, earned $5.5 billion for the first half of 2019, while Royal Dutch Shell, the largest European player in the industry, reported a net income of $9 billion so far this year.

The earning statement, the first in the secretive state-owned company’s long history, came the same day that Reliance Industries in India announced that Saudi Aramco would buy a 20 percent stake in its refining and petrochemical business. Saudi Aramco has been expanding into Asia’s refineries industry as part of an effort to diversify and to attract global investors.

“Despite lower oil prices during the first half of 2019, we continued to deliver solid earnings,” the company chief executive, Amin H. Nasser, said in a statement. Mr. Nasser said that disclosing the financial results was “a significant milestone in Saudi Aramco’s history.”

The company has scheduled an earnings call for 9 a.m. Eastern on Monday to discuss the half-year results with analysts and potential investors. The efforts at transparency by Saudi Aramco in recent months are seen as part of wider plan to revive a long-delayed initial public offering.

The company had long declined to disclose key metrics, including how much oil it is producing and how much cash those millions of barrels are bringing in. In April, though, it broke precedent and accompanied a well-received bond offering with a detailed prospectus that provided investors with a wide range of financial and oil statistics.

Because the bonds are publicly traded, Aramco is now required to publish financial results.

Aramco also said Monday that it had paid dividends of $46.4 billion, almost as much as net income, to the government during the first half of the year. Analysts had told investors that the state-owned oil company did not have a clear policy on dividends.

“So far there is little clarity on how dividends are determined,” wrote analysts at Energy Intelligence, a market research firm, in a note to clients last week.

Analysts at Bernstein, a market research firm, questioned Monday whether the company could continue to pay such large dividends. Noting that Aramco had reported a measure called “free cash flow” of $38 billion for the half, they wrote, “This implies that Aramco is borrowing to pay the dividend, which is unlikely sustainable over the long run.”

Aramco’s move toward disclosing more information comes at a time when the company is becoming increasingly acquisitive, especially outside Saudi Arabia, potentially adding to its need for financing. The company issued the bonds in April to help finance its $69 billion purchase of a government-held stake in Sabic, a Saudi petrochemical company.

The stake in Reliance’s refining, petrochemical and fuel business helps meet Aramco’s goal of locking up markets for its crude oil. With the United States having sharply reduced its imports from the Persian Gulf region thanks to growing domestic production, suppliers like Kuwait, Iraq, and the Saudis are all battling for fast-growing Asian markets like India.

Aramco would be supplying 500,000 barrels a day in crude to Reliance’s Jamnagar refinery on a long-term basis. Reliance termed the deal a “non-binding letter of intent” and said it valued the overall business at $75 billion, apparently putting the Aramco stake at $15 billion.

Aramco appears to be filling holes in its portfolio in an effort to more closely resemble companies like Exxon Mobil and Royal Dutch Shell, which have large natural gas and refining businesses along with the production of crude oil.

Aramco recently reached an understanding with Sempra Energy, a major American natural gas distributor, to buy liquefied natural gas for 20 years and to take up to a 25 percent stake in an gas export facility that Sempra plans to build at Port Arthur, Tex.

While rich in crude oil, Saudi Arabia has struggled to produce sufficient natural gas to fuel electric power and other industrial businesses. The Saudis wind up burning large volumes of valuable crude oil during the peak summer season, when demand for electricity for cooling is running at full tilt.

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Jeffrey Epstein wasn’t checked on for hours before apparent suicide: report

Westlake Legal Group Jeffrey-Epstein-2017 Jeffrey Epstein wasn't checked on for hours before apparent suicide: report Nicole Darrah fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/new-york fox-news/us/crime fox-news/travel/vacation-destinations/new-york-city fox-news/person/jeffrey-epstein fox news fnc/us fnc article 6c5eefef-19af-5ea3-9be8-68e8e28954a4

Correctional officers at the New York City prison housing Jeffrey Epstein didn’t check in on him for hours leading up to his apparent suicide on Saturday after his cellmate was transferred for reasons that were not immediately clear, according to a report.

Epstein, 66, was found unconscious in his cell at the Metropolitan Correctional Center, and later pronounced dead — raising questions about how the wealthy financier, imprisoned on sex trafficking charges, could have been able to kill himself while in a high-security facility just over two weeks after being placed on suicide watch.

FORMER NYC JAIL INMATE: THERE’S ‘NO WAY’ JEFFREY EPSTEIN KILLED HIMSELF

For “several” hours leading up to his death, correctional officers hadn’t checked in with Epstein — despite being required to visit him every 20 minutes, The Washington Post reported.

Additionally, Epstein was supposed to have a cellmate. But the person who was assigned to share a cell with Epstein was transferred on Friday before the 66-year-old’s death, according to the Post. It was not immediately clear why the cellmate was transferred or why no one else was assigned to room with Epstein.

Epstein was placed on suicide watch in July and had been given psychiatric evaluations after he was discovered with bruising on his neck, but was taken off suicide watch at the end of July.

Barbara Sampson, New York City’s chief medical examiner, said Sunday that an autopsy was performed on Epstein, but more information was needed before a cause of death was determined.

JEFFREY EPSTEIN DEAD: TIMELINE OF SEXUAL ABUSE ALLEGATIONS AND RELATED LEGAL CASES

The financier was housed in the facility’s Special Housing Unit, a heavily secured part of the Manhattan facility that separates high-profile inmates from the general population. Correctional officers at the jail had reportedly worked extreme overtime shifts for days on end to compensate staffing shortages.

Attorney General William Barr said he was “appalled” to learn of Epstein’s death, and announced the FBI and the Justice Department’s inspector general’s office will investigate his apparent suicide.

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Epstein was being held on child sex trafficking and conspiracy charges after he was denied bail. Prosecutors said he sexually abused dozens of young girls in his New York and Florida residences between 2002 and 2005, to which Epstein pleaded not guilty.

He faced up to 45 years in prison.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6071762170001_6071754024001-vs Jeffrey Epstein wasn't checked on for hours before apparent suicide: report Nicole Darrah fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/new-york fox-news/us/crime fox-news/travel/vacation-destinations/new-york-city fox-news/person/jeffrey-epstein fox news fnc/us fnc article 6c5eefef-19af-5ea3-9be8-68e8e28954a4   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6071762170001_6071754024001-vs Jeffrey Epstein wasn't checked on for hours before apparent suicide: report Nicole Darrah fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/new-york fox-news/us/crime fox-news/travel/vacation-destinations/new-york-city fox-news/person/jeffrey-epstein fox news fnc/us fnc article 6c5eefef-19af-5ea3-9be8-68e8e28954a4

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