Democratic presidential hopeful Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, said Tuesday that the United States must be cautious in its response to Iran’s attack on Saudi Arabian oil facilities, warning of a “cycle of mutual retaliation.”
“The danger of continuing this tit for tat, this cycle of mutual retaliation, where does it end?” Gabbard asked on “Fox & Friends,” suggesting that there would be no benefit in going to war with Iran.
Gabbard went on to say, “It ends in an all-out inferno across Iran and the Middle East, costing us American lives, costing American taxpayer dollars, increasing the refugee crisis in the region. That’s not something that serves our interests or anyone else’s.”
World leaders gathered Tuesday at the U.N. General Assembly and Britain, France and Germany joined the United States on Monday in blaming Iran for the Sept. 14 attacks on the key Saudi oil facilities.
The leaders of those nations — which unlike the U.S. remain parties to the 2015 Iran nuclear deal — said in a statement that “there is no other plausible explanation” than that “Iran bears responsibility for this attack.”
Gabbard said that there was no prior treaty alliance or security agreement with Saudi Arabia, so the United States responding on behalf of Saudi Arabia would be “unprecedented.”
“This situation didn’t just come out of nowhere,” Gabbard said. She also said that Iran is retaliating due to sanctions “crippling” their economy and that they are not able to sell their oil on the market.
“Our interest needs to be what is in the best interest of the American people and our national security and I think it’s important that we keep it at the forefront,” Gabbard said.
FRANKFURT — German prosecutors on Tuesday charged Volkswagen’s two highest-ranking executives and a former chief executive with stock market manipulation for not alerting shareholders when they learned authorities were investigating the company’s diesel emissions.
Separately, Daimler said it agreed to pay a fine of 870 million euros, or $957 million, in Germany for selling Mercedes-Benz diesel cars that polluted more than allowed.
The legal actions were a further blow to the image of the German carmakers when the industry is struggling with declining sales and a costly transition to electric vehicles. In Volkswagen’s case, the charges filed by prosecutors in Braunschweig, Germany, are a serious distraction as the company tries to refashion itself as a climate-friendly manufacturer of affordable electric cars.
Hans Dieter Pötsch, the chairman of Volkswagen’s supervisory board; Herbert Diess, the chief executive; and Martin Winterkorn, a former chief executive, are accused of failing to inform stockholders of an investigation in the United States that led to charges of emissions cheating. If convicted, they could be sentenced to up to five years in prison.
All three of the accused men issued statements denying accusations that they violated their duty under German law to warn shareholders of events that could affect the stock price.
The allegations are a particular blow to Mr. Diess, a former BMW executive who arrived only months before the E.P.A. publicly accused Volkswagen of cheating. Mr. Diess has been trying to restore Volkswagen’s image by changing the authoritarian, win-at-all costs company culture that helped foster the scandal.
“Neither the facts nor the law justify the charges,” lawyers for Mr. Diess said in a statement. “Newly arrived in July 2015, Dr. Diess was not in any position to foresee the magnitude of the economic consequences actually resulting from the diesel emissions fraud.”
Mr. Diess “will continue to carry out his duties in the company with absolute commitment,” the statement said.
The charges also put pressure on Mr. Pötsch, who was chief financial officer at the time that the scandal came to light in 2015 and was responsible for communicating with shareholders. As supervisory board chairman, Mr. Pötsch oversees senior management and presides over the annual shareholders meeting.
“The indictment against Mr. Pötsch is unfounded,” lawyers for Mr. Pötsch said in a statement. “In the summer of 2015, no obligation to inform the capital market arose at any time even from a purely capital market law perspective.”
Mr. Winterkorn’s lawyers said in a statement that he had trusted assurances from Volkswagen employees that excess emissions in diesel cars were the result of a technical problem, which could be worked out with regulators in the United States.
Volkswagen later admitted it had programmed the vehicles to recognize when an emissions test was underway and to crank up pollution controls so the cars were deemed compliant. During on-the road driving the cars polluted far more than allowed.
Mr. Winterkorn “had no prior knowledge of the intentional use of forbidden motor management software in diesel passengers cars in the U.S.,” the statement said. Mr. Winterkorn, who resigned days after the emissions scandal burst into public view, already faces fraud charges in connection with the emissions cheating, which he has denied.
The charges come only weeks after Volkswagen unveiled a four-door hatchback, the ID.3, that the company said would be the first of a line of moderately priced electric vehicles, making emission-free transportation accessible to middle-class buyers.
Hiltrud Dorothea Werner, a member of Volkswagen’s management board responsible for instilling a stronger sense of ethics, said on Tuesday that the charges were unfounded. The case could also have financial consequences for Volkswagen. Shareholders have sued, seeking damages the could reach $10 billion.
“The company has meticulously investigated this matter with the help of internal and external legal experts for almost four years,” Ms. Werner said in a statement. “The result is clear: The allegations are groundless.”
Prosecutors had previously disclosed that they were investigating the three executives, as well as dozens of other suspects. Volkswagen has pleaded guilty to charges in the United States stemming from the emissions deception. The cases in Germany are likely to take years to resolve and will continue to corrode the company’s reputation.
The Volkswagen case has focused attention on the degree to which nearly all carmakers in Europe built diesel cars that flouted emissions rules in one way or another.
European laws do not generally provide for fines as hefty as those that Volkswagen paid in the United States, and it is difficult for car owners in Europe to sue for damages. But sales of diesel cars, once the most popular engine option in Europe, have plunged.
Daimler said it would not contest the fine imposed by prosecutors in Stuttgart. The company, which is based in Stuttgart, was accused of failing to adequately supervise employees who, in 2008, secured regulatory approval for 684,000 vehicles that did not meet emissions standards.
In a statement Tuesday, the Stuttgart state’s attorneys office said it continues to investigate unnamed Daimler employees who are suspected of illegally manipulating engine-control software in diesel vehicles. Daimler has disclosed that it is also under investigation by United States authorities.
A rare painting from the Italian master Cimabue was found hanging in the kitchen of a woman outside Paris, local media reported.
“Christ Mocked,” a work by the 13th century pre-Renaissance painter, was part of a larger display and could be valued between $4.4 to 6.6 million, art expert Éric Turquin told French newspaper Le Figaro.
The painting was found in the town of Compiègne after an auctioneer saw the work, which the woman had hung directly above a hotplate, and told her to have it appraised, said Stephane Pinta, a painting specialist with the Turquin gallery in Paris. The woman had thought the work was just an old religious work, the French news agency AFP reported.
The painting, about 8 inches by 11 inches, was part of a diptych that was broken up and included eight scenes from the Passsion of the Christ, Le Figaro reported. Two other sections, painted around 1280, are displayed at the Frick Collection in New York and the National Gallery in London.
According to Le Figaro, none of Cimabue’s paintings have ever been auctioned.
The Florentine painter, also known as Cenni di Pepo, was hugely influential just before the Italian Renaissance began, and art journal The Art Newspaper described him as “the father of Western painting.”
Contributing: The Associated Press. Follow USA TODAY’s Ryan Miller on Twitter @RyanW_Miller
Climate activist Greta Thunberg eyed down President Trump as he arrived at the UN in a viral video. USA TODAY
NEW YORK – As he prepared to address world leaders at the United Nations, President Donald Trump denied Tuesday that he withheld aid money from Ukraine until it decided to investigate Democratic opponent Joe Biden.
“Those funds were paid,” Trump told reporters some 30 minutes before his U.N. speech.
House Democrats, meanwhile, stepped up calls for an impeachment investigation of claims that Trump basically tried to extort Ukraine into a political probe of a political rival and his son.
“If these allegations are true, we believe these actions represent an impeachable offense,” seven freshmen House Democrats wrote in an op-ed in the Washington Post, signaling a possible shift among potentially vulnerable Democrats.
Speaking briefly with reporters at the U.N., Trump said he held up aid money to Ukraine because the U.S. was paying too much while other countries were not paying enough. He again denied tying aid to an investigation of Biden, saying there was “no pressure put on them whatsoever.”
As he did throughout the day Monday, as he met with a succession on foreign leaders at this third United Nations meeting, Trump defended his actions, blasted Biden and denounced growing Democratic impeachment threats as a new kind of “witch hunt.”
But Trump also acknowledged talking to the Ukraine leader about Biden, claiming his actions and the Ukraine business interests of his son warrant investigation.
Trump has also said he had concerns about providing aid to Ukraine because of “corruption” in the country. Noting that his administration did release money to Ukraine earlier this month, Trump denied tying aid to an investigation of Biden.
“I didn’t do it,” Trump said. “I did not do that at all.”
White House aides were also working to push back on the story.
“The media pushed the Russia lie for almost 3 years with no evidence, and now they are doing it all over again,” White House spokesman Hogan Gidley said. “These allegations are completely false, but because the media wants this story to be true so badly, they’ll once again manufacture a frenzy and drive ignorant, fake stories to attack this president.”
An increasing number of House Democrats are calling for an impeachment inquiry, citing reports that Trump may have talked about withholding aid from Ukraine if it did not investigate his political rival.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., has a series of meetings Tuesday afternoon in which impeachment will be a topic, members said.
Seven House Democrats who had held off on calls for impeachment during the investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election said the Ukraine allegations take things to a new level.
“The president of the United States may have used his position to pressure a foreign country into investigating a political opponent, and he sought to use U.S. taxpayer dollars as leverage to do it,” the Democrats wrote in The Washington Post.
One of those Democrats, Rep. Elissa Slotkin, D-Mich., tweeted: “I swore an oath to protect and defend the Constitution. If true, these new allegations against the President are a threat to our national security, and constitute an impeachable offense.”
The allegations against Trump are in a whistleblower complaint that remains secret. Trump has said he may release a transcript of his July phone call with Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelensky, but has also signaled he may not do so.
Trump has argued that the contents of that call were appropriate.
“It is possible to do something that is wrong and not be an impeachable offense,” said Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla. “It is possible to do something that is wrong and not be an impeachable offense. and people around here are throwing that term around so loosely, it’s lost all meaning.”
It is no secret that Biden, while vice president in the Barack Obama administration, pressured Ukraine’s government to dismiss a chief prosecutor. He did so with the support of the Obama administration and other western governments who regarded the chief prosecutor as corrupt.
Trump and allies maintain that the prosecutor was an investigating a gas company in which Biden’s son Hunter was a board member. There is no evidence that any kind of investigation touched directly on Hunter Biden, though he was criticized for work in a developing country in which his father had influence.
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Sen. Bernie Sanders on Tuesday unveiled a massive tax on the wealthiest Americans that aims to diminish income inequality — a central theme of his campaign — and at least begin to finance the steep price tags for the numerous government programs the Democratic presidential candidate is proposing.
In his decades in Congress and during both of his runs for the White House, Sanders has railed against an American economic system that he says favors corporations and the rich, at the expense of the working class.
Sanders plan, if enacted into law, would place a 1 percent tax on net worth over $32 million, a 2 percent tax on net worth between $50 million and $250 million, and a 3 percent tax on net worth between $250 million and $500 million. The proposed Sanders tax would increase to 4 percent net worth from $500 million to $1 billion, 5 percent for net worth from $1 billion to $2.5 billion, and ultimately reach 8 percent for wealth over $10 billion.
The Sanders campaign says their plan would impact approximately 180,000 households nationwide, and would raise about $4.35 trillion in government revenue by the 2028 budget year.
“Our tax on extreme wealth would only apply to the wealthiest households in America and would cut the wealth of billionaires in half over 15 years, which would substantially break up the concentration of wealth and power of this small, privileged class,” Sanders said in an email to supporters announcing his plan.
And he said that he would “use the revenue to fund our affordable housing plan, universal childcare, and help fund our work to guarantee health care as a right for every man, woman, and child in this country.”
Warren’s plan – which she unveiled at the beginning of the year– by comparison would place a 2 percent annual tax on net worth above $50 million and would slap a 3 percent tax on net worth above $1 billion.
Her campaign says it would affect the top 70,000 households in the county and would bring in an estimated $2.6 trillion over 10 years.
Sanders, in order “ensure that the wealthy are not able to evade the tax,” is calling for creating a national registry and beefing up third-party reporting requirements, increasing funding for the Internal Revenue Service and requiring the IRS to perform audits of 30 percent of those in the 1 percent bracket and audits of all billionaires.
He’s also calling for a 40 percent exit tax on the net value of all assets under $1 billion and a steeper 60 percent on assets over $1 billion “for all wealthy individuals seeking to expatriate to avoid the tax.”
A model staged a protest at Gucci’s Milan Fashion Week show, after models were dressed in straitjacket-like outfits and sent down a conveyor belt runway.
Ayesha Tan Jones appeared in the show on Sunday night, but wrote the words “mental health is not fashion” on the palms of their hands – which they held up while on the runway.
Jones later posted a video of the protest on Instagram, along with a statement saying: “As an artist and model who has experienced my own struggles with mental health, as well as family members and loved ones who have been affected by depression, anxiety, bipolar and schizophrenia, is hurtful and insensitive for a major fashion house such as Gucci to use this imagery as a concept for a fleeting fashion moment.”
Jones added: “It is in bad taste for Gucci to use the imagery of straight jackets [sic] and outfits alluding to mental patients, while being rolled out on a conveyor belt as if a piece of factory meat.
“Presenting these struggles as props for selling clothes in today’s capitalist climate is vulgar, unimaginative and offensive to the millions of people around the world affected by these issues.”
Jones’ protest comes after Burberry faced similar criticism from a model for creating a hoodie with a noose hanging from its neck as part of its Autumn/Winter 2019 London Fashion Week show.
Liz Kennedy, who appeared in the Burberry show, said her family has been impacted by suicide and seeing the jumper during her fitting left her feeling “extremely triggered.” “Suicide is not fashion,” she wrote on Instagram at the time, next to a photo of the jumper. Burberry has since apologized.
Following Jones’s protest, Gucci shared a photo from the show on Instagram, explaining why designers chose to run the straitjacket-inspired section.
In a statement given to HuffPost UK, a spokesperson from Gucci added: “The show presented how society today can have the ability to confine individuality and how Gucci can be the antidote. It was a journey from conformity to freedom and creativity.
“Uniforms, utilitarian clothes, such as straitjackets, were included on the catwalk as the most extreme version of restriction imposed by society and those who control it. The white outfits were a statement for the fashion show and part of a performance, in the sense of setting the context for what followed.”
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The general public seems largely tolerant of zucchini “noodles,” cauliflower “rice” and plant-based “meats,” but lettuce strips masquerading as “spaghetti”? Not so much.
Ullenka Kash, an Instagram influencer who promotes her raw vegan diet and recipes online, is generating a fair bit of controversy over her idea for “lettucetti,” which she uses as a replacement for traditional pasta in dishes such as her signature lettucetti “Bolognezze.”
Kash had originally shared an earlier video of the raw vegan “Bolognezze” recipe back in July — seemingly before coming up with the term “lettucetti” — but the idea didn’t sit well with all of her 127,000 followers.
“Imagine if I told you I was making pasta and I give you this,” one Instagram user joked.
“Like… she could have at the VERY LEAST made zoodles and not used f—ing shredded lettuce,” another wrote.
“You just shredded lettuce. KFC do the same,” someone pointed out.
“I’m into the vegan lifestyle, but that’s just a f—ing salad,” another observed. “It looks good, but that’s a salad ma’am.”
One other user, meanwhile, was fired up for perhaps the most hilarious reason of all.
“I’m mad that she twirled it like pasta,” commented an Instagram user who identifies as vegan.
Kash, however, said she never intends to mislead people, but rather to get them comfortable with the idea of swapping out higher-calorie, higher-fat ingredients for healthier ones.
“I am making a lot of raw vegan versions of popular foods, to make familiar what’s unfamiliar,” Ullenka told Metro U.K., adding that she developed the idea of “Bolognezze” after growing tired of traditional salads, and only named it after Bolognese because it reminded her of the dish.
“To follow high raw vegan lifestyle successfully, you’ve got to get a bit creative, with your dinners especially,” she added.
But Kash — who also claims that a raw vegan diet helped to “heal” her daughters’ eczema, and, more controversially, her son’s autism, according to Vice — says she has no intentions of walking back her lettucetti and spaghetti comparisons, or responding to any lettucetti controversy, which she admits has gotten “pretty hot.”
“I accept that some people will not agree with me and may continue to be upset,” she told Metro. “We are often afraid of something we don’t know or don’t understand.”
Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith revealed on the Season 2 premiere of “Red Table Talk” Monday that they staged an intervention for their son, Jaden Smith, over his eating habits and lifestyle when they started to take a toll on him.
Pinkett Smith, who admitted that she and her son would rather not eat than graze the way Will Smith does, said that she and her husband intervened because Jaden “is a vegan now, but we realized he wasn’t getting enough protein.”
“He was wasting away. He just looked drained; he was just depleted. He wasn’t getting the nutrients,” Pinkett Smith added.
“There was even a little grayness to his skin,” Smith said, adding that his son also had dark circles under his eyes. “We got really nervous. But you’re definitely looking better now.”
Jaden Smith, who says he alternates between a vegan and vegetarian diet, shared that he was skipping meals at the time.
“I was just eating like two meals a day, you know ― and maybe one,” the 21-year-old said. “Maybe just that one big meal and then I’m like, ‘Oh, you know I didn’t get around to it.’”
Over the course of the episode, all of the family members revealed that they had some problem or another with their diets.
Will Smith said that he “eats food like an addict” and “eats for fun,” while Willow Smith confessed that at a certain point, she was “eating just for my physical appearance but I was feeling terrible.”
“We all have issues with food in this family,” Pinkett Smith said. But now, they’re finally dealing with it. During the episode, the Smith crew welcomed a wellness expert to the table who will help them address their individual issues with eating.
Nearly three years after President Donald Trump unilaterally blockedtens of thousandsof people, many of them Muslims, from entering the United States, the House of Representatives will finally hold a hearing Tuesday focused on how to reverse it.
Congress has been slow to direct its attention to the rights of Muslim Americans. The Senate didn’t hold itsfirst hearingon Muslim American issues until 2011, when Democrats convened a meeting focused on the rise of anti-Muslim bigotry. Now, in the age of Trump, the House is holding its own hearing on Muslim civil rights, which national civil rights groupMuslim Advocatessays is the first of its kind in that chamber.
Tuesday’s hearing will highlight the National Origin-Based Antidiscrimination for Nonimmigrants Act ― also known as theNo Ban Act ― a bill introduced by Rep. Judy Chu (D-Calif.) and Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.)earlier this yearthat wouldend the Muslim banand restrict future presidents from enacting similar bans. The hearing is jointly hosted by the Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration and Citizenship and the Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations.
Over 160 Democrats have already co-sponsored the bill, including all three Muslim members of Congress: Reps. André Carson (D-Ind.), Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) and Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.). Advocacy groups have called on the remaining60-plus House Democraticmembers, including top leadership, to also co-sponsor what they say should be simple, noncontroversial civil rights legislation.
“We are pleased with the support we already have ― over 150 Democrats on the House side. But we do believe that there’s really no reason why all Democrats should not be on this bill,” Farhana Khera, the president and director of Muslim Advocates, told HuffPost ahead of the hearing. Khera is one of the witnesses who will testify during Tuesday’s hearing.
“Frankly, every member of Congress should be supporting this bill, but especially the Democrats, who are the champions today, more than ever, of freedom, justice and equality in our country,” Khera added.
After vowing to ban Muslims from entering the U.S. during his presidential campaign, Trump followed through in early 2017 with Executive Order 13769, which barred citizens from several Muslim-majority nations from entering the country. He and his administration have insisted it isn’t a “Muslim ban,” though he had promised to enact one and the effect has been felt most by Muslim people and those in Muslim-majority nations.
The ban has been revisedmultiple times and challenged repeatedly in federal courts. It wasupheldby the Supreme Court last year.
Since the ban was first enacted, travelers have beenstranded at airports, newlyweds have been torn apartand civilians seeking medical attention have been denied visas to enter the country for treatment. Some Americans were forced to make the difficult decision to leave the U.S. and move to war-torn countriesjust to be with their families.
For years, families ― even those with members working in the highest levels of government ― weretorn apartwith no solution in sight. Researchers found that, of 549 collected cases, 26% were children who were separated from their parents due to the travel ban. An additional 37% were partners who were split apart. In 2018 alone, more than 37,000 visa applications wererejectedby the U.S. State Department due to the travel ban.
Individuals whose families have been directly affected by the ban will speak at Tuesday’s hearing, as well as administration officials from the State Department, the Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
Earlier this week, more than adozen companies, including Uber, Airbnb, Slack, Spotify and Twitter, announced their support for the No Ban Act in a joint letter.
“Nearly half of the top 100 companies on the Fortune 500 list were started by an immigrant or their children. The travel ban sets an unnecessary limit on the number of ambitious people from around the globe who can bring their great ideas to the United States,” reads the public letter.
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