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Westlake Legal Group > News Corporation (Page 390)

2 Giuliani Associates Tied to Ukraine Scandal Arrested on Campaign Finance Charges

Westlake Legal Group 10dc-giuliani-facebookJumbo-v2 2 Giuliani Associates Tied to Ukraine Scandal Arrested on Campaign Finance Charges Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Parnas, Lev Giuliani, Rudolph W Fruman, Igor

WASHINGTON — Two associates of the president’s private lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani, who helped fund efforts to investigate one of President Trump’s political rivals, were charged in a separate case with violating campaign finance laws, according to court documents.

The two men, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, believed to be important witnesses in the House’s impeachment inquiry of Mr. Trump, were arrested on campaign finance charges. The arrests and charges were first reported by The Wall Street Journal. Two other men, David Correia and Andrey Kukushkin, were also indicted.

Mr. Parnas and Mr. Fruman aided Mr. Giuliani’s efforts to gin up investigations in Ukraine into former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and his son Hunter Biden, among other potentially politically beneficial investigations for Mr. Trump. Mr. Parnas had been scheduled to participate in a deposition with House impeachment investigators on Capitol Hill on Thursday, and Mr. Fruman on Friday. Neither had been expected to show up voluntarily. House Democrats were preparing to issue subpoenas to force them to do so.

Mr. Parnas and Mr. Fruman were arrested and were expected to appear in court in Northern Virginia on Thursday, according to a spokesman in the United States attorney’s office in Manhattan.

The indictment said Mr. Parnas and Mr. Kukushkin are Ukrainian-born Americans, while Mr. Fruman was born in Belarus and became an American citizen. Mr. Correia is American-born. Mr. Correia was arrested Thursday in California and Mr. Kukushkin is still at large, according to a law enforcement official who was not authorized to discuss the matter and spoke on condition of anonymity.

Mr. Parnas and Mr. Fruman have acted as emissaries in Ukraine for Mr. Giuliani as he has sought to uncover information about, and encourage investigations into, Mr. Trump’s rivals, including Mr. Biden.

Mr. Parnas, who has known Mr. Giuliani for years, worked with Mr. Fruman to connect Mr. Giuliani to Ukrainian prosecutors who provided information to Mr. Giuliani, as The Times revealed in May.

Mr. Parnas and Mr. Fruman are based in South Florida, and are executives of an energy company that donated $325,000 to a pro-Trump super PAC last year, prompting a Federal Election Commission complaint by a nonpartisan campaign finance watchdog accusing the men and the company of violating campaign finance laws.

Last month, Mr. Giuliani sought to minimize the significance of the campaign finance inquiry into the two men.

“They had a campaign finance issue,” he said in an interview late last month. “I referred them to a campaign finance expert who pretty much resolved it.”

Their lawyer, John M. Dowd, who previously represented Mr. Trump against the special counsel’s inquiry, did not immediately respond to a request for comment about the arrest.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

Nicholas Fandos and Kenneth P. Vogel contributed reporting.

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Warner & Kaine Announce Federal Funding to Expand Food Access and Equity in Charlottesville

Westlake Legal Group 12669114_G Warner & Kaine Announce Federal Funding to Expand Food Access and Equity in Charlottesville

Led by Charlottesville Food Justice Network, the Just Food for US (United Society) initiative aims to create an equitable food system through citizen-led urban agriculture, market development, youth leadership, and cross-sectorial action for local food policy. This grant will support a multifaceted effort to employ food insecure adults and youth as food justice leaders, increase racial equity practices in 30+ local food system organizations, and expand resident-led urban food production, distribution, and market participation at 16 urban sites for 50,000 lbs. of produce. The initiative will also develop food policy recommendations and help enact these changes.

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Police: Misinterpreted video game reference cleared theater

Westlake Legal Group 18021767_G Police: Misinterpreted video game reference cleared theater

Police interviewed witnesses and reviewed surveillance footage that showed a juvenile shouting, “Pennywise has sharpshooter activated!” during the movie “IT: Chapter Two.” The juvenile was referencing the clown antagonist of the “IT” franchise. It’s based on a 1986 novel by Stephen King. “Sharpshooter mode,” is a feature in some video games.

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McGrath raises nearly $11 million in third quarter for bid to unseat McConnell

Westlake Legal Group lFPB-H9t3XeutMhL67sy3Auab3hbI77MnfxdUA2-xS8 McGrath raises nearly $11 million in third quarter for bid to unseat McConnell r/politics

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Why is Turkey attacking the Kurds?  Expert breaks it down

Westlake Legal Group Mideast-The-Kurds-QA-3 Why is Turkey attacking the Kurds?  Expert breaks it down Matt London fox-news/opinion fox-news/fox-nation fox news fnc/media fnc article 02028376-460f-5b58-bfd6-affb18877b87

On Fox Nation’s “Reality Check with David Webb,” the president and CEO of a non-partisan international conflict resolution think tank explained why the Turkish government is attacking the Kurds, who are living in northern Syria.

LINDSAY GRAHAM WARNS TRUMP ON SYRIA TROOP WITHDRAWAL: ‘IT’D BE THE BIGGEST MISTAKE OF HIS PRESIDENCY’

On Thursday morning, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan claimed that his military has killed more than 100 Kurdish fighters as his troops launched airstrikes and artillery shelling on towns and villages along the Syrian-Turkey border.  The Turkish military campaign was set in motion almost immediately after President Donald Trump ordered U.S. troops to leave the area.

Fox Nation host David Webb asked Dr. William Parker, president and CEO of EastWest Institute, for a “dispassionate analysis” of the situation on the ground in Turkey and Syria.  This interview was conducted before the Turkish military action in northern Syria.

CLICK HERE FOR THE ALL-NEW FOXBUSINESS.COM

Parker acknowledged that the reality is complicated, explaining that while the Kurds have been steadfast allies of the United States, their history with the Turks is more complicated.

“The Kurds have been our very good friends [of the United States] for a long time, back to the 1800s… and very close recently. [The Kurds] did a great job — continue to do a great job — fighting [the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria],” he said. “The reality though is we also have a very close NATO ally – Turkey.  It was the 14th country to join NATO in 1952 and is the second-largest army in NATO.”

Parker continued, “When you talk about Turkey you’re talking about a country that’s the size of Texas and Virginia together as far as square miles go.  Population [is] twice that of California… about 80 million people. They have about 79 percent are Turkish, about 11-12 percent are Kurdish and the rest are a mix of others… You have about 40 million Kurds in the area, not just in Turkey, but throughout that region.”

Turkey’s perception of the Kurds is colored by its place in the region, according to Parker. 

“When you look at where you are sitting, it makes a difference in how you look at others around you.  Realize that if you’re sitting in Ankara you have sitting around you Iran, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Russia — the list goes on. It’s not exactly the friendliest environment in the world.”

Drilling down on the Kurds, Webb asked Parker to describe who makes up this group.

“Certainly not monolithic, and in the media… they say ‘the Kurds.’  Who are the Kurds?” Webb asked.

“All of the countries basically surrounding Turkey have Kurds of some sort in them and of course a lot in Turkey itself… You have the PKK, which most would agree is a terrorist organization and then you have the YPG…” explained Parker, breaking down some of the major political groups among the Kurdish people.

In 1978, the PKK called for an independent Kurdish state within Turkey.  Since the late 1970s, the PKK has waged an intermittent campaign to achieve that goal.

Writing in the Washington Post, Amanda Sloat–who is a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, a former deputy assistant Secretary of State and is currently advising the campaign of Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg–echoed Parker’s observation and pointed out that the U.S.-Kurdish alliance against ISIS was long a sore point for Turkey.

MEMBER OF US SPECIAL FORCES IN SYRIA TELLS FOX NEWS ‘I AM ASHAMED FOR THE FIRST TIME IN MY CAREER’

“Erdoğan opposed this partnership because of the YPG’s links to Turkey’s Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which is designated as a terrorist organization by both Ankara and Washington,” Sloat wrote. “The PKK’s armed struggle against the Turkish state for Kurdish rights has resulted in more than 40,000 deaths, including several bombings in Istanbul and Ankara that killed dozens of civilians in 2016 alone.”

Parker said that Turkey’s president sees his actions as one of self-defense against ongoing violence.

“When we really look at this and really take it seriously, we have to look at what is happening inside Turkey… multiple bombings going on, three very recently.  They kill 10, 15, 20 people at a shot… President Erdoğan has made it clear that he wants that to stop and he believes that most of those are coming from his southern border and he wants to secure his southern border,” concluded Parker.

To watch all of “Deep Dive” go to Fox Nation and join today.

CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP FOR A FOX NATION FREE TRIAL

Fox Nation programs are viewable on-demand and from your mobile device app, but only for Fox Nation subscribers. Go to Fox Nation to start a free trial and watch the extensive library from Tomi Lahren, Pete Hegseth, Abby Hornacek, Laura Ingraham, Ainsley Earhardt, Greg Gutfeld, Judge Andrew Napolitano and many more of your favorite Fox News personalities.

Greg Norman contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group Mideast-The-Kurds-QA-3 Why is Turkey attacking the Kurds?  Expert breaks it down Matt London fox-news/opinion fox-news/fox-nation fox news fnc/media fnc article 02028376-460f-5b58-bfd6-affb18877b87   Westlake Legal Group Mideast-The-Kurds-QA-3 Why is Turkey attacking the Kurds?  Expert breaks it down Matt London fox-news/opinion fox-news/fox-nation fox news fnc/media fnc article 02028376-460f-5b58-bfd6-affb18877b87

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China Trade Talks Restart and White House Weighs Escalation Options

Westlake Legal Group merlin_159733326_365ee0f3-4455-4e35-ac0d-5d771ddbe5bc-facebookJumbo China Trade Talks Restart and White House Weighs Escalation Options United States Politics and Government United States International Relations United States Economy Trump, Donald J Securities and Exchange Commission Regulation and Deregulation of Industry Pillsbury, Michael (1945- ) Kudlow, Lawrence A International Trade and World Market Embargoes and Sanctions Economic Conditions and Trends Customs (Tariff) China

WASHINGTON — Trump administration officials are weighing a range of options that could inflict additional economic pain on China as the United States continues looking for ways to force Beijing to change longstanding practices that have put American companies at a disadvantage.

The ideas under consideration would move the White House’s negotiating tool of choice beyond tariffs toward limiting China’s access to American capital markets and imposing greater scrutiny on its companies, according to people familiar with the discussions.

Administration officials, including members of the National Security Council, have begun pressing the Securities and Exchange Commission to tighten its checks on Chinese firms. They are also looking for ways to reduce the exposure of American retirement funds to certain Chinese companies.

Many of those efforts have been proceeding independently from the trade talks — which resumed again on Thursday — and are fueled by longer-term considerations of China’s economic and security threats. Some White House advisers now view those options as an additional lever to force China to make the kinds of deep economic concessions that have so far proved elusive in the talks, which have dragged on for more than a year.

Top-level officials from both countries began their 13th round of trade negotiations on Thursday. They are expected to discuss proposals for a somewhat limited trade deal that would address some of President Trump’s criticisms of China’s economic practices but still be acceptable to Beijing.

“Big day of negotiations with China,” Mr. Trump tweeted Thursday morning. “They want to make a deal, but do I? I meet with the Vice Premier tomorrow at The White House.”

Some administration officials have been hopeful that a deal will lock in more intellectual property protections for American companies and provide those firms with greater access to Chinese markets. They also want to avoid further tariffs on Chinese goods that have begun to weigh on American consumers.

If China makes sufficient concessions, some in the administration are willing to roll back a portion of the tariffs that Mr. Trump has placed on more than $360 billion of Chinese goods, people familiar with the discussions said. In what is likely to be viewed as a gesture of good will by the Chinese, the Trump administration plans to go ahead with approving licenses soon that will allow some companies to sell nonsensitive goods to the Chinese telecom provider Huawei, which has been blacklisted from buying American products.

But China has resisted many of the administration’s demands to make more transformative changes to the way it runs its economy. Chinese officials have come to Washington this week eager to settle on a narrow deal that would involve tariff reductions in exchange for a resumption of Chinese purchases of American food. They appear unlikely to agree to the administration’s longstanding demands that Beijing limit its subsidies to Chinese firms, change its policies surrounding the treatment of data or make other structural changes, people familiar with the negotiations said.

The potential for such a limited agreement has fueled private deliberations within the White House on options for escalating economic pressure on China.

Officials have held meetings in recent weeks to consider escalation options if the current round of negotiations fails to address the administration’s primary concerns. Mr. Trump’s top economic advisers have publicly played down the discussions, which have centered on tightening scrutiny of Chinese companies listed on American stock exchanges and limiting the direct exposure of government-run retirement funds to China.

Larry Kudlow, the director of the National Economic Council, acknowledged on Tuesday that the administration was looking for ways to protect Americans who were investing in Chinese companies.

“We’ve opened up a study group to take a look at it,” Mr. Kudlow said on the Fox Business Network.

But the options under consideration go further than that. According to a memo circulated within the White House and reviewed by The New York Times, the administration is studying a menu of actions that, if carried out, would most likely rattle the Chinese government.

The memo was drafted by Michael Pillsbury, a China scholar at the Hudson Institute and an outside adviser to the White House. It proposes holding Chinese companies and their employees criminally liable for financial disclosure violations, broadening the criteria that could get prominent Chinese companies blacklisted in the United States and blocking public and private pension funds and university endowments from certain Chinese investments.

Other options go beyond financial scrutiny of Chinese companies. The memo describes the possibility of fostering deeper ties between the United States and Taiwan and disrupting the flow of capital between Hong Kong and mainland China if it is determined that Hong Kong’s autonomy is not being respected.

It also lays out legislation in Congress, which Mr. Trump has yet to endorse, that would impose sanctions on China for activity in contested areas of the South China Sea and crack down on Chinese-funded Confucius Institutes at American universities.

Mr. Pillsbury declined to comment on his conversations with the White House but acknowledged that he had been analyzing such possibilities for a coming study on China strategy for the Hudson Institute.

“It appears that tariffs alone are not enough, but we also need to meet some of the Chinese demands to get the kind of deal the president wants,” Mr. Pillsbury said.

A White House spokesman declined to comment.

Mr. Trump’s tariffs have already pushed some companies to move their operations out of China. But the raft of new investment restrictions and export controls that the administration is mulling would further sever supply chains and discourage financial integration between the countries, potentially to the detriment of financial markets.

On Monday, the White House clamped down on Chinese firms it accused of human rights violations by adding eight companies and 20 government organizations to an entity list that will prevent them from buying American products. On Tuesday, the State Department announced visa restrictions for Chinese officials allegedly involved in the detention and abuse of Muslim minorities.

An array of initiatives related to American capital markets and investments made by retirement funds in Chinese entities are also under consideration.

The most advanced discussions have centered on the Thrift Savings Plan, the retirement plan for federal employees and the military. As of next year, that plan, which holds nearly $50 billion in assets, is expected to begin investing in an index fund that includes more Chinese and Russian companies, as part of an effort to diversify its exposure.

The index fund includes companies that the United States government has imposed sanctions on — including Hangzhou Hikvision Digital Technology, which was among the companies blacklisted on Monday. It also includes AviChina Industry & Technology, an affiliate of China’s major military aircraft and weapons manufacturer; ZTE, which was hit with sanctions for providing technology to North Korea and Iran; and several Russian companies that the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control has put under sanctions.

Officials have also been discussing efforts to close loopholes that give Chinese companies access to American capital markets with less stringent disclosure requirements than American firms or those from other countries.

Chinese law requires the records of companies based in China to be kept there, and restricts the kind of documentation that auditors can transfer out of the country. The rules mean that hundreds of Chinese firms, with a collective market capitalization of more than $1 trillion, have received looser oversight than companies in other jurisdictions, according to the Securities and Exchange Commission.

A bipartisan group of senators has introduced legislation that would force Chinese companies to comply with S.E.C. disclosure regulations or be delisted from American exchanges in three years. White House officials have debated throwing their support behind the bill, but several officials, including Mr. Kudlow and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, have opposed delisting as a draconian option that could throw American stock markets into turmoil.

“Delisting is not on the table,” Mr. Kudlow told reporters on Monday. He said the administration was responding to complaints to the commission about a lack of transparency and compliance, “but we’re very early in our deliberations.”

Elizabeth Economy, the director for Asia studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, said that addressing the lack of compliance among Chinese companies was “overdue” but that a solution would ideally be negotiated between Chinese companies and the S.E.C.

“Nobody benefits from a mass delisting of Chinese companies on U.S. stock exchanges,” Ms. Economy said.

Henrietta Treyz, the director of economic policy at Veda Partners, outlined the extensive array of economic weapons at Mr. Trump’s disposal for investors this year. She said she would not be surprised if the S.E.C. stepped up scrutiny of Chinese firms or if the United States imposed penalties on China’s electronic payments systems, such as Alipay, on national security grounds.

Such moves could be far more severe than the tariffs on $550 billion of Chinese imports that the United States will have imposed by the end of the year, leading to a decoupling not just of the American and Chinese economies but of the financial sector as well.

“Tariffs are just a tax, a cost of doing business, but those costs can be digested by passing costs on to consumers or squeezing margins or diversifying your end consumer,” Ms. Treyz said. “If you’re no longer allowed to ship or buy products from Huawei or other entity list companies, you’ve shut out an entire pipeline of access, not to mention lost 1.3 billion potential customers in China.”

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Alaska murder mystery twist: Memory card found along road shows man assaulting and killing woman, cops say

Alaska cops charged an Anchorage man with murder Tuesday after shocking videos found on a mysterious memory card allegedly captured the suspect assaulting and killing a woman whose remains were recently discovered near a highway.

Brian Steven Smith, a 48-year-old reportedly from South Africa, was arrested at Ted Stevens International Airport after investigators linked him to the crime.

CALIFORNIA MAN SENTENCED AFTER FORMER ROOMMATE FOUND DEAD, BLUDGEONED INSIDE WALL

Nearly a week prior, on Sept. 30, someone called Anchorage Police claiming to have “an SD card containing a video of a homicide,” according to a press release from authorities. The caller told police the memory card was found laying in the middle of the street in the Fairview neighborhood of Anchorage.

Upon examining the card, police said it “contained several videos which appeared to show the assault and subsequent homicide of an adult female” and an investigation was opened. Days later, on Oct. 2, police officers found human remains on the side of a highway.

Investigators believe the remains along the highway belonged to the woman killed in the videos — and they believe Smith killed her in early September and recorded the photos and videos himself. It’s unclear who the woman is, but authorities are working to identify her and determine how she died.

CALIFORNIA MAN KIDNAPPED GIRL, 17, WHO WORKED WITH PALS TO NAB HIM IN THEIR OWN UNOFFICIAL OPERATION: COPS

There are 39 images and 12 videos on the card, according to a charging document filed by the Alaska Department of Law. The videos show the woman being strangled and in one video, a man is heard saying, “just … die.”

Photos apparently show the woman underneath a blanket on a hotel luggage cart near a truck and in the truck bed, per the document.

Westlake Legal Group Milepost-108-Seward-Highway Alaska murder mystery twist: Memory card found along road shows man assaulting and killing woman, cops say Nicole Darrah fox-news/us/us-regions/west/alaska fox-news/us/crime/homicide fox-news/us/crime fox news fnc/us fnc article 501aa9c4-52e4-5b5e-810f-10a42b676626

Police said the body was found near milepost 108 of Seward Highway on Oct. 2.  (Google)

Authorities who have reviewed the videos and photos said they remembered Smith from another investigation and found he was registered in early September to a room at a local hotel that has carpet that matches the one seen in the footage. There were no immediate details about the earlier investigation involving Smith.

CLICK TO VISIT THE ALL-NEW FOXBUSINESS.COM

Smith appeared in court Wednesday, where a judge said he’d be appointed a public defender. Deputy District Attorney Brittany Dunlop said the process calls for the case to be brought before a grand jury.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group Milepost-108-Seward-Highway Alaska murder mystery twist: Memory card found along road shows man assaulting and killing woman, cops say Nicole Darrah fox-news/us/us-regions/west/alaska fox-news/us/crime/homicide fox-news/us/crime fox news fnc/us fnc article 501aa9c4-52e4-5b5e-810f-10a42b676626   Westlake Legal Group Milepost-108-Seward-Highway Alaska murder mystery twist: Memory card found along road shows man assaulting and killing woman, cops say Nicole Darrah fox-news/us/us-regions/west/alaska fox-news/us/crime/homicide fox-news/us/crime fox news fnc/us fnc article 501aa9c4-52e4-5b5e-810f-10a42b676626

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Report: Giuliani Associates Arrested On Campaign Finance Charges

Two associates of President Donald Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani are in law enforcement custody and have been indicted on federal campaign finance charges for allegedly making fraudulent straw donations and funneling foreign money to support Trump and Republican Party candidates.

Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, who helped Giuliani investigate allegations against Joe Biden and his son Hunter, are accused of illegally funding American political campaigns. The Wall Street Journal, which first reported the arrests, said that Parnas and Fruman had donated to Trump’s campaign as well as a pro-Trump super PAC.

The charges emerged from the Southern District of New York, but a Justice Department spokesman said the duo would appear at the federal courthouse in Alexandria, Virginia, at 2 p.m., before U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael S. Nachmanoff.

Westlake Legal Group 5d9f3605200000d4064ff3be Report: Giuliani Associates Arrested On Campaign Finance Charges

Reuters Staff / Reuters Rudy Giuliani has coffee with Ukrainian-American businessman Lev Parnas at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 20, 2019.

The indictment alleges that Parnas and Fruman committed to raising more than $20,000 for a sitting U.S. congressman, and that Parnas “met with Congressman-1 and sought Congressman-1′s assistance in causing the U.S. Government to remove or recall the then-U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine.”

“Congressman-1” is former Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Texas), who sent a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo asking for Marie Yovanovitch to be removed as U.S. ambassador to Ukraine after his meeting with Parnas, according to the Texas Observer.

Westlake Legal Group 5d9f423f20000058074ff419 Report: Giuliani Associates Arrested On Campaign Finance Charges

Parnas and Fruman are alleged to have concocted a straw donation scheme to hide their political contributions and give in excess of the campaign contribution limits.

A $325,000 donation to the pro-Trump super PAC America First Action was made in the name of Global Energy Producers LLC, a shell corporation purporting to be engaged in the liquified natural gas business, according to the indictment.

Donations made to Republican Party candidates under Parnas’ name were actually funded by Fruman, prosecutors allege. It is illegal to make a campaign contribution in someone else’s name. These donations included maximum $2,700 contributions to Sessions and House Republican Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.).

Prosecutors say the illegal foreign donations made through Parnas and Fruman went to two Nevada state Republican Party politicians. State campaign finance records show the only two Nevada candidates to receive such contributions were gubernatorial candidate Adam Laxalt and attorney general candidate Wes Duncan. The Nevada contributions were allegedly made as part of a failed attempt to secure licenses for a legal cannabis business venture.

The foreign donor ― who is only identified as Foreign National-1 and described as a “Russian citizen and businessman” ― allegedly wanted to remain anonymous due to “his Russian roots and current political paranoia about it.”

The indictment also names businessmen David Correia and Andrey Kukushkin as defendants.

All four defendants are U.S. citizens. Parnas and Kukushkin were born in Ukraine, while Fruman was born in Belarus.

Read the indictment below.

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Prince Harry And Ed Sheeran’s Spoof Video Is Royally Hilarious

Westlake Legal Group 5d9f184220000058074ff372 Prince Harry And Ed Sheeran’s Spoof Video Is Royally Hilarious

Ed Sheeran and Prince Harry raised awareness about World Mental Health Day on Thursday with the release of this spoof video that ended with a royally funny twist:

In the clip, above, it was a comical case of misunderstanding as the “Perfect” singer visited the Duke of Sussex to film a charity video.

“This, for me, is a subject of conversation that is just not talked about enough. I think people all over the world are really suffering,” Harry said.

Sheeran agreed, saying he had been working on a song to tackle the issue and “get it out to more people.”

“People just don’t understand what it’s like for people like us,” he added. “Well, you know with, like, the jokes and the snide comments. I just feel like it’s time we stood up and said: ‘We’re not going to take this anymore.’ We are ginger, and we’re gonna fight.”

Harry quickly responded: “Um, ok, um. Slightly awkward. This might have been a miscommunication, but this is about World Mental Health Day.”

“Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah, of course. Of course. I definitely knew that,” Sheeran said, hastily deleting the content of a computer document titled, “GINGERS UNITE.”

Harry ended the video with a serious message:

“Guys, this World Mental Health Day. Reach out. Make sure that your friends, strangers — look out for anybody that might be suffering in silence. We’re all in this together.”

Harry revealed in 2017 that he had sought mental health support from a counselor after years of not thinking about the 1997 death of his mother, Princess Diana.

“You need to know that part of being strong and tough is having the courage to seek help when you need it,” he said during a royal tour of Australia last year. “You must not silently suffer. You are all in this together.”

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Social Security cost-of-living increase to raise benefits 1.6% in 2020

CLOSEWestlake Legal Group icon_close Social Security cost-of-living increase to raise benefits 1.6% in 2020

With a rapidly growing aging population, securing Social Security funds is now more crucial than ever. But how did we get here in the first place? Just the FAQs, USA TODAY

Modest cost-of-living increases for Social Security recipients are back.

The 68 million Americans who rely on Social Security will receive a 1.6% bump in their benefits next year, the Social Security Administration announced Thursday. For an average retiree who gets a monthly check of $1,460, that adds up to an additional $23.40 a month, according to the Senior Citizens League, an advocacy group.

“People are going to be dipping into savings,” says Mary Johnson, a policy consultant for the Senior Citizens League, arguing that the measure of inflation used to calculate benefits doesn’t accurately reflect the spending patterns of seniors. “And when they don’t have the savings, they might have to borrow the money.”

About half of seniors rely on Social Security for at least half their income, and about a quarter depend on it for at least 90% of their income, AARP says.

This year, recipients – which include retirees, the disabled and young survivors of deceased retirees – received a 2.8% cost-of-living adjustment (COLA), or an average $40.90 extra each month, the most since 2012. But inflation has moderated over the past year, tempering the rise in Social Security benefits.

Over the past decade, COLAs have averaged 1.4%, less than half the 3% average the previous decade, according to the Senior Citizens League. Since low COLAs have a cumulative effect over time, Social Security benefits are about 17.5% lower today than if inflation had averaged a more typical 3% over the same period, Johnson says.

“The Social Security recipients tell us their standard of living has declined,” Johnson says, noting big-ticket costs for retirees, such as health care and homeowners insurance have risen sharply.

In fact, premiums for Medicare Part B, which are automatically deducted from many Social Security checks, are forecast to rise $8.80 month, erasing a chunk of the $23.40 cost-of-living increase. As a result, recipients with monthly benefits of about $550 will see their entire cost-of-living increase wiped out. However, under a “hold harmless” provision, Medicare premium increases generally are adjusted so they don’t reduce Social Security benefits.

Somebody may be watching you: Don’t look now, but your boss is probably spying on your work phone or computer

Johnson and other retiree advocates have criticized the index that SSA uses to calculate benefits. That measure, the consumer price index for urban wage earners and clerical workers, or CPI-W, has largely reflected price increases for gasoline, electronics and other products that make up a large portion younger workers’ spending.

Instead, they have called for SSA to base the COLA on a proposed index for the elderly, called CPI-E, that would put more weight on items such as health care costs, which have increased more sharply than inflation overall.

Cracking down on gun sales: Dick’s Sporting Goods sawed $5M worth of guns into scrap. It’s not the only company limiting sales

CLOSEWestlake Legal Group icon_close Social Security cost-of-living increase to raise benefits 1.6% in 2020

President Donald Trump signed an executive order Monday that calls for upfront disclosure by hospitals of actual prices for common tests and procedures to keep costs down. (June 24) AP, AP

Read or Share this story: https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2019/10/10/social-security-cola-2020-benefits-rise-1-6-2020/3926804002/

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