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Westlake Legal Group > News Corporation (Page 481)

Democrats now have a real chance at winning the Senate in 2020

Westlake Legal Group sqA5o0944aPSQmA7p4mIMiH9Ud-q9F73pu09szju_wA Democrats now have a real chance at winning the Senate in 2020 r/politics

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Expansive Durham probe could give Trump ammo amid impeachment fight

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6093455460001_6093453799001-vs Expansive Durham probe could give Trump ammo amid impeachment fight fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox-news/news-events/russia-investigation fox news fnc/politics fnc Brooke Singman article 6791df37-608f-53b4-9793-bb656caaa8ce

U.S. Attorney John Durham’s investigation into the intelligence and law enforcement communities’ handling of the Russia probe is quietly but steadily expanding under the shadow of the high-profile House impeachment inquiry against President Trump—and could represent something of a wild card in the president’s attempts to fight back.

Attorney General Bill Barr appointed Durham, the U.S. attorney from Connecticut, to ensure intelligence collection activities by the U.S. government related to the Trump 2016 presidential campaign were “lawful and appropriate.”

WHERE IS THE FISA REPORT? ANTICIPATION BUILDS AS DOJ WATCHDOG STILL HASN’T RELEASED REVIEW

His probe reportedly will soon focus on the roles of key Obama administration intelligence officials like John Brennan and James Clapper. And it converges with other simultaneous investigations, including Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s probe of alleged Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) abuses, which, coupled together, could give the president ammunition to attack his critics, even if the material does not directly relate to the Ukraine controversy fueling the impeachment push.

“If the rumors are true that IG Horowitz’s report and findings in Durham’s review will blast the conduct of the FBI’s Russia investigation, it will give Trump a lot of ammo to support his argument that he was unjustly targeted then and is being unjustly targeted now,” a House GOP source told Fox News on Tuesday. “It will justify Trump’s warnings about the Deep State acting to hobble his presidency.”

Trump claimed Tuesday that the impeachment push amounted to a “lynching” — which touched off a round of fiery condemnation from Democratic critics.

“The president should not compare a constitutionally mandated impeachment inquiry to such a dangerous and dark chapter in American history,” House Democratic Caucus Chairman Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., told reporters.

But as Trump and Democrats loudly clash over the probe, Durham has pressed forward quietly with an investigation that could ding the reputations of some of Trump’s biggest critics.

Durham was appointed to review the events leading up to the 2016 presidential election and through Trump’s January 20, 2017 inauguration. But Fox News has learned that he’s since expanded his investigation to cover a post-election timeline spanning the spring of 2017—when Robert Mueller was appointed as special counsel.

Durham is “gathering information from numerous sources, including a number of foreign countries,” according to Justice Department spokeswoman Kerri Kupec, who also acknowledged that Trump has helped to facilitate communications for Barr and Durham with foreign powers.

“At Attorney General Barr’s request, the president has contacted other countries to ask them to introduce the attorney general and Mr. Durham to appropriate officials,” Kupec said last month.

Barr and Durham have already traveled to Italy to speak with law enforcement officials, and have also had conversations with officials in the U.K. and Australia about the probe, according to multiple sources familiar with the meetings.

TRUMP CALLS IMPEACHMENT INQUIRY ‘LYNCHING,’ CLAIMS PROCESS PUTS FUTURE PRESIDENTS AT RISK

Durham also has reportedly expressed interest in interviewing several current and former intelligence officials. Former CIA Director John Brennan told NBC News that Durham plans to interview him and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper.

A spokesman for Clapper did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment.

Meanwhile, Horowitz is expected to release his long-awaited review of alleged FISA abuses by the Department of Justice and the FBI during the Russia investigation—there has been speculation that his report could drop any day.

Horowitz, for more than a year and a half, has been investigating alleged misconduct related to the FISA warrants delivered by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. The Justice Department and FBI obtained warrants in 2016 to surveil Trump adviser Carter Page. It is unclear, at this point, if Page was the only Trump campaign official that the DOJ obtained a FISA warrant against.

Horowitz’s highly anticipated findings could spark new congressional investigations and deliver critical information to Durham’s probe.

Horowitz has been probing how the salacious anti-Trump dossier compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele was used to secure the original FISA warrant for Page in October 2016, as well as three renewals. Horowitz also has looked into why the FBI may have regarded Steele – funded by the Hillary Clinton campaign through law firm Perkins Coie – a credible source, and why the bureau used news reports to bolster Steele’s credibility before the FISA court.

“As soon as Horowitz is done with his review of the FISA warrant application, the counterintelligence investigation, the Trump campaign, we’ll have a hearing in public with Horowitz and we’ll call a bunch of witnesses,” Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said on Fox Business Network’s “Sunday Morning Futures.”

Graham has vowed to probe alleged FISA abuses at the start of the Russia investigation, saying earlier this year that his Senate committee would look for answers on how much money the Democrats paid research firm Fusion GPS to commission the dossier compiled by Steele, or if the contents of the dossier have been verified.

It is unclear if Graham, amid the House impeachment inquiry, has begun this investigation. But Graham has said that he could call on Justice Department official Bruce Ohr and former FBI Director James Comey to appear before his panel.

The president and his allies are already touting the progress being made by Durham, and are hoping Horowitz’s report will provide new fodder to counter impeachment talk.

“Democrats are afraid that the reports will validate what the president has been saying for years—his enemies in Congress are so desperate to undo the results of the 2016 election that they will manufacture conspiracies and sell them to the American people,” a senior Republican aide told Fox News on Tuesday.

Trump has the authority to declassify and release as much of the report as he wants, and has been hyping its forthcoming release.

“I predict you will see things that you don’t even believe, the level of corruption—whether it’s [James] Comey; whether it’s [Peter] Strzok and his lover, [Lisa] Page; whether it’s so many other people—[Andrew] McCabe; whether it’s President Obama himself,” Trump told reporters last week.

“Let’s see whether or not it’s President Obama. Let’s see whether or not they put that in,” he added.

The president has sought to shift focus on the current impeachment inquiry in the House to potential misconduct that could be found in these ongoing investigations.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., announced the formal process last month, following revelations surrounding the president’s summer phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in which he pressed for politically charged investigations.

As detailed in a whistleblower complaint and transcript of the call, Trump pushed the Ukrainian president to launch an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden, over their dealings in Ukraine—specifically, why the elder Biden pressured the former Ukrainian president to fire a top prosecutor who was investigating a natural gas firm where Hunter sat on the board.

The president’s request also came after millions in U.S. military aid to Ukraine had been frozen, something critics have cited as evidence of a quid pro quo arrangement. The White House and the president’s allies have denied a quid pro quo — though Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney seemed to say otherwise, before walking it back — and the Bidens have maintained that they did “nothing wrong.”

Fox News’ Jake Gibson, Bret Baier, and Gregg Re contributed to this report. 

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6093455460001_6093453799001-vs Expansive Durham probe could give Trump ammo amid impeachment fight fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox-news/news-events/russia-investigation fox news fnc/politics fnc Brooke Singman article 6791df37-608f-53b4-9793-bb656caaa8ce   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6093455460001_6093453799001-vs Expansive Durham probe could give Trump ammo amid impeachment fight fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox-news/news-events/russia-investigation fox news fnc/politics fnc Brooke Singman article 6791df37-608f-53b4-9793-bb656caaa8ce

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Woman contracts flesh-eating bacteria after insect bite, nearly loses foot: ‘I felt like I had been stabbed’

WARNING: GRAPHIC IMAGES BELOW 

A British woman claims she developed a rare bacterial infection after she was bitten by an insect while on vacation.

Faye Wilkes, 41, was vacationing in Spain when she says she was bitten by an insect while sun tanning by the pool. At first, she didn’t think much of the bite — until she woke up that night with what she described as “shooting pain” in her left leg. A few days later, she had trouble walking, she claims.

“I felt like I had been stabbed in my left leg. It instantly began burning up, and I thought it was probably just a silly mosquito bite, so I went into the pool to cool it off,” she told South West News Service (SWNS), a British news agency.

DAD’S SKIN CANCER BATTLE LEAVES HIM WITH MASSIVE CHUNK MISSING FROM NECK, BACK

Westlake Legal Group bite-mare-a-wom-426801 Woman contracts flesh-eating bacteria after insect bite, nearly loses foot: 'I felt like I had been stabbed' Madeline Farber fox-news/health/infectious-disease/flesh-eating-bacteria fox news fnc/health fnc article 8f23b332-9c6d-581c-99db-e5e73e91ed68

Faye Wilkes while she was in the Royal Surrey Hospital. (SWNS)

“From the moment my leg began hurting, I knew something was wrong, but I didn’t want to waste anybody’s time,” she continued. “After it started scabbing and I had difficulty walking, I knew I needed to get help.”

Wilkes sought medical attention at a local hospital in Benidorm, but claims doctors there did little to help her. With no relief, Wilkes said she trusted her “gut instinct” and decided to cut her trip short and fly home.

Westlake Legal Group bite-mare-a-wom-426799 Woman contracts flesh-eating bacteria after insect bite, nearly loses foot: 'I felt like I had been stabbed' Madeline Farber fox-news/health/infectious-disease/flesh-eating-bacteria fox news fnc/health fnc article 8f23b332-9c6d-581c-99db-e5e73e91ed68

Faye Wilkes before the bite. (SWNS)

“I was too weak to walk on my own and I began being sick every five minutes as I boarded the flight,” she told SWNS, adding flight staff called an ambulance for her when they arrived at London’s Gatwick Airport. She was then transported to Royal Surrey Hospital where she was diagnosed with sepsis as a result of a rare bacterial infection called necrotizing fasciitis, colloquially referred to as “flesh-eating bacteria.”

Necrotizing fasciitis is a rare bacterial infection that spreads quickly throughout the body and can lead to death, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Accurate diagnosis, rapid antibiotic treatment and prompt surgery are vital to stopping the infection from spreading. The bacteria most commonly enter the body through a break in the skin such as cuts and scrapes, burns, insect bites, puncture wounds or surgical wounds.

Westlake Legal Group bite-mare-a-wom-426798 Woman contracts flesh-eating bacteria after insect bite, nearly loses foot: 'I felt like I had been stabbed' Madeline Farber fox-news/health/infectious-disease/flesh-eating-bacteria fox news fnc/health fnc article 8f23b332-9c6d-581c-99db-e5e73e91ed68

Faye Wilkes developed sepsis as a result of the infection, she said. (SWNS)

In addition to a red swollen area of the skin, severe pain beyond the area of infected skin as well as fever may be signs of necrotizing fasciitis. The CDC advises getting to the doctor right away if any of these symptoms develop after an injury or surgery.

Later symptoms of the infection may include ulcers, blisters or black spots on the skin, changes in the color of the skin, pus or oozing, dizziness, fatigue, diarrhea or nausea.

Necrotizing fasciitis can lead to shock, sepsis and organ failure, or life-long complications from severe scarring and loss of limb. Even with rapid treatment, up to one in three patients diagnosed dies from the infection, according to the CDC.

Westlake Legal Group bite-mare-a-wom-426792 Woman contracts flesh-eating bacteria after insect bite, nearly loses foot: 'I felt like I had been stabbed' Madeline Farber fox-news/health/infectious-disease/flesh-eating-bacteria fox news fnc/health fnc article 8f23b332-9c6d-581c-99db-e5e73e91ed68

A more recent photo of her affected foot. (SWNS)

“I was absolutely horrified, as I didn’t think a measly bite from a bug in Benidorm would result in sepsis, let alone the [near] loss of my leg,” Wilkes said, noting doctors reportedly told her she was “close to death” when she first arrived.

NEWS ANCHOR DIAGNOSED WITH MOLAR PREGNANCY, UNDERGOING CHEMOTHERAPY

“Luckily, they were able to flush out the infection without having to do any invasive surgery, but I still feel incredibly weak,” she added. “The main thing is that I’m alive and I still have my left leg and foot — but I know I still have a long way to go until I’m out of the woods. I had to learn to walk again and build up my strength.”

The news comes after a Utah mom opened up about her terrifying experience with necrotizing fasciitis, which nearly killed her and led to the loss of her right arm.

Fox News’ Alexandria Hein contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group bite-mare-a-wom-426801 Woman contracts flesh-eating bacteria after insect bite, nearly loses foot: 'I felt like I had been stabbed' Madeline Farber fox-news/health/infectious-disease/flesh-eating-bacteria fox news fnc/health fnc article 8f23b332-9c6d-581c-99db-e5e73e91ed68   Westlake Legal Group bite-mare-a-wom-426801 Woman contracts flesh-eating bacteria after insect bite, nearly loses foot: 'I felt like I had been stabbed' Madeline Farber fox-news/health/infectious-disease/flesh-eating-bacteria fox news fnc/health fnc article 8f23b332-9c6d-581c-99db-e5e73e91ed68

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Illegal BASE Jumper Gets Stuck On Cell Tower

Westlake Legal Group 5daf21182000008c1c50672e Illegal BASE Jumper Gets Stuck On Cell Tower

MENOMONIE, Wis. (AP) — A BASE jumper who jumped illegally from a northwestern Wisconsin cellphone tower ended up calling the police on himself after his parachute became caught on a guy wire, leaving him dangling perilously 50 feet (15 meters) from the ground.

Police say the 20-year-old man jumped from the 300-foot (90-meter) Charter Communications tower in Menomonie on Thursday morning.

After his rescue at around 9:30 a.m., the man was treated at Mayo Clinic Health System and arrested for criminal trespass.

BASE jumping stands for building, antenna, span and earth — the four common objects from which BASE jumpers launch their descent.

Menomonie is 70 miles (110 kilometers) east of Minneapolis.

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Oga’s Cantina at Disneyland’s Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge now accepting reservations 60 days in advance

Now you can guarantee your Blue Bantha milk and Happabore Sampler well in advance.

Disneyland visitors are now able to make reservations up to two months in advance for Oga’s Cantina at the new Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. The park announced the new reservation policy Monday, which also extends to Savi’s Workshop and Droid Depot within the Star Wars land.

NEW DETAILS EMERGE FOR STAR WARS: RISE OF THE RESISTANCE AT DISNEY

Westlake Legal Group 7-Cantina Oga's Cantina at Disneyland's Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge now accepting reservations 60 days in advance fox-news/travel/general/theme-parks fox-news/travel/general/family-travel fox-news/travel/general/disney fox news fnc/travel fnc article Alexandra Deabler 352e1063-dc63-5f23-b234-5261b69d97d2

Disneyland visitors are now able to make reservations up to two months in advance for Oga’s Cantina at the new Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, which opened in May. (Dave Parfitt)

The move comes after guests reportedly had to wait up to an hour to get a spot in the coveted cantina, which serves alcohol and other Star Wars-themed provisions.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

The fully immersive dining spot has earned high praise from visitors – including Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello, who shared his experience on Twitter.

To make a reservation, guests can book either through the Disneyland Resort website or the park app, according to a press release.

Disneyland already has several bookable experiences and restaurants offered 60 days in advance around the park.

CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP FOR OUR LIFESTYLE NEWSLETTER

In addition to the expanded reservation options, Disneyland has also announced that a new ride, Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, will be opening Jan. 17, 2020.

“Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance will bring guests face to face with some of their favorite Star Wars characters, including Resistance heroes Rey, Poe and Finn, as well as Kylo Ren and General Hux of the First Order,” reads the official description, per the press release.

Westlake Legal Group 7-Cantina Oga's Cantina at Disneyland's Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge now accepting reservations 60 days in advance fox-news/travel/general/theme-parks fox-news/travel/general/family-travel fox-news/travel/general/disney fox news fnc/travel fnc article Alexandra Deabler 352e1063-dc63-5f23-b234-5261b69d97d2   Westlake Legal Group 7-Cantina Oga's Cantina at Disneyland's Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge now accepting reservations 60 days in advance fox-news/travel/general/theme-parks fox-news/travel/general/family-travel fox-news/travel/general/disney fox news fnc/travel fnc article Alexandra Deabler 352e1063-dc63-5f23-b234-5261b69d97d2

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Scarlett Johansson Will Not Let This Pal Host Colin Jost’s Bachelor Party

Westlake Legal Group 5daf0691210000ab21ad38ac Scarlett Johansson Will Not Let This Pal Host Colin Jost’s Bachelor Party

After late night host Jimmy Fallon mentioned that Jost’s “Weekend Update” co-anchor Michael Che was excited to do the party honors, Johansson replied, “Oh no, I don’t think that’s a good idea.”

“I feel like if he throws it, it’s going to be like by the Port Authority and it’s going to be very local,” the “Black Widow” star said. She didn’t elaborate, but the neighborhood around the Port Authority, a transit hub in midtown Manhattan, has had a reputation for less-savory party activities.

“Michael’s not throwing it,” she told Fallon. “He’s not. Is this a thing now?”

The “Marriage Story” actor added that Che is a “delightful guy” whom she loves. So, maybe there’s room for a change of heart?

Sounds like it could be fun ― for the partygoers anyway.

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Our Reporter Walked Into a Prison Full of ISIS Detainees

By

NORTHEASTERN SYRIA — The prison guards undid a giant padlock, swung open a heavy metal door and gestured for us to enter the cell. Inside were 22 prisoners who had been captured in battles with the Islamic State.

I peeked in, looked at the two unarmed guards, and hesitated.

I’m not going in there, I thought.

“It’s fine,” a guard said. “Go ahead.”

I took a deep breath and went in.

We were in the basement of one of a network of prisons run by Kurdish-led forces holding more than 10,000 men who once belonged to the world’s most fearsome terrorist organization.

A good portion of the detainees are foreigners — from Arab countries, Africa, Europe and the United States — but most of their countries have refused to bring them home, fearing that they could spread extremism or prove hard to keep behind bars.

That has left them stuck here, watched over by a Kurdish-led militia that allied with the United States to fight the Islamic State, and won.

Now, their status has been thrown into further uncertainty by the Turkish invasion of northeastern Syria, which has set off new violence and a scramble for influence.

In the end, will the Kurds maintain control of the prisons? Will determining these men’s fate fall to Turkey or the government of President Bashar al-Assad? Might they escape to fight another day?

No one knows.

At its peak, the Islamic State took pleasure in terrifying the world with acts of gruesome violence. But these prisoners — at least, by their own telling — had nothing to do with all that.

One said he had been a cook at an elementary school.

Another said he was an “administrator.” Of what was unclear.

Another claimed he was an herbalist.

One guy did say he had guarded a military base — but only for a short time.

In the four cells we visited, when I asked if anyone had been a fighter, no hands went up.

The cells were crowded, with triple-decker bunk beds, squat toilets, small windows and ceiling fans. One cell had only 16 beds for 20 men, leaving some to sleep on a black-and-red rug.

On the day we visited, lunch was boiled potatoes with cucumbers and tomatoes. The men get outside to see the sun once or twice a month.

The detention centers run by the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces in Syria’s northeast range from modified schoolhouses to government prisons the Kurds have taken over. We agreed not to divulge the location of this one.

Each cell had a television, but the guards disabled them when the recent fighting began. They did not want the prisoners inspired by the chaos to try to break out.

So the men had no idea that Turkey had invaded Syria, that the United States had broken its partnership with its Kurdish allies, and that the Syrian government and its Russian backers were moving into the void.

Many asked the same question: Is there a solution for us?

I said I didn’t know.

ImageWestlake Legal Group the-daily-album-art-articleInline-v2 Our Reporter Walked Into a Prison Full of ISIS Detainees Syrian Democratic Forces Syria Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) Detainees

Listen to ‘The Daily’: Trapped in Syria, Part I: A Father’s Fight

He says his daughter was tricked by her husband into joining ISIS. We hear about one man’s battle to bring his family home from a war zone.

0:00/30:53

transcript

Listen to ‘The Daily’: Trapped in Syria, Part I: A Father’s Fight

Hosted by Michael Barbaro, produced by Lynsea Garrison, Michael Simon Johnson and Austin Mitchell, and edited by Lisa Tobin

He says his daughter was tricked by her husband into joining ISIS. We hear about one man’s battle to bring his family home from a war zone.

lynsea garrison
Kamalle, have you gotten in touch with Mariam in, like, the last 24 hours or so? Or have you heard from her recently?
kamalle dabboussy
I got a message from her. I got a message from Mariam. I wasn’t able to speak to her.
livia albeck-ripka
Can you read the message to us?
kamalle dabboussy
I’m — it’s actually, it’s two messages. If Australia doesn’t save, I think, the Aussies here right now, we’re slaves, and we’re screwed. And I think I’m going to die. That’s the two messages received overnight from her.
livia albeck-ripka
That can’t be an easy text to receive as a father.
kamalle dabboussy
No, it’s not. Yeah, I — it’s the fear of the unknown, and the fear of not knowing. But they are more petrified of the Syrians taking over than of anything else. And that’s their worst-case scenario. And that’s — ISIS cells and Syrian regime are the two biggest threats. And they seem to be becoming realized as the days progress.
livia albeck-ripka
And do you think that Mariam’s fears are —
kamalle dabboussy
Justified? Yeah, absolutely, I think her fears are justified. Absolutely, they are. If the Syrians come in, absolutely, they are.
[music]
livia albeck-ripka
Over the past few months, I’ve been getting to know a group of families in Australia, who’ve been organizing, providing solace to one another, because they are members of this strange club of people whose daughters and mothers and sisters are the family members of ISIS fighters. The person who I’ve gotten to know the best is Kamalle Dabboussy.
kamalle dabboussy
I wanted to be an engaged father. Wanted her to grow up with people around her that loved her and that she could find solace with, that she could find friendships with. That’s really the expectations that I’d had. I, you know, never had the expectations that Mariam was going to be a future doctor, or chemist, or engineer. That wasn’t in my thoughts. It was really just making her a happy, well-rounded child and hopeful that she can achieve whatever she wanted to achieve. And I tried.
[music]
michael barbaro
In the months since the United States defeated ISIS in Syria, ISIS militants and their family members have been held in prison camps controlled by the U.S.-allied Kurdish forces. And in that time, parents around the world have been trying to get their daughters and grandchildren back to their home countries. But in the two weeks since President Trump abruptly recalled U.S. troops from the Syrian border, the fate of these women and children has become an urgent and unknown question. The Kurdish forces that had been guarding the camps have turned to defending themselves from the Turkish military coming across the border. And their new allies in Syria are now poised to take control of the camps. Today on “The Daily,” my colleague Livia Albeck-Ripka follows one father as he fights to get his daughter home. It’s Monday, October 21. Livia, tell me about Mariam.
livia albeck-ripka
Mariam was Kamalle’s first child. She was born in 1991. He describes her as this really —
kamalle dabboussy
She was a stubborn little thing. [CHUCKLES]
livia albeck-ripka
— stubborn, lively toddler. And she kind of ran rings around her parents.
kamalle dabboussy
She had a great wonder for the world. She always wanted to go about exploring. She always wanted to go out and visit. She always wanted to go out and see. Even just down to the local shop to get something was an adventure for her. And she’d walk out. And she’d be the first — and she’d be dressed right away to go. And she’d love to go out and see whatever she could see with the world. And she was determined. And that was lovely. You didn’t want a child to sit in a corner and just say, yes, sir, no, sir. You want her to go and explore, and test the boundaries, and figure out the world. And she was all that and more. She took up every space in our life, if I could put it that way.
livia albeck-ripka
She’s really boisterous, strong-willed. And from pretty early on, she starts to express to Kamalle that she really wants a little brother or sister. It’s kind of like from the very beginning, she knows that she wants to have a big family. So Kamalle and his wife have a little girl, Mariam’s sister. They kind of adored each other. They just had this wonderful sibling relationship.
michael barbaro
So this very much sounds like the kind of childhood that Kamalle was hoping for Mariam.
livia albeck-ripka
It was, but it didn’t last. Kamalle’s marriage wasn’t working out. Eventually, the two separate, and they split up the girls. Mariam is about 12, 13 at this time. She’s really upset about the split. But a decision is made. She’s going to go and live with Kamalle. And at first, it’s tough.
kamalle dabboussy
Then when she passed a certain age, and she started to understand things a bit better, we became very close. And —
livia albeck-ripka
They have Sunday morning pancakes together. And they become closer and closer. They kind of, they tell each other everything.
kamalle dabboussy
And we became — she became, you know, a very close friend, not only my daughter but a close friend.
livia albeck-ripka
I’ve heard you call her your best friend.
kamalle dabboussy
Yes. She was my best friend growing up. She had — by virtue of the fact that we were in the same house, she had my secrets. And I had her secrets. And she knew that. And —
livia albeck-ripka
One day, Mariam meets a boy. His name is Khaled. And she’s only 16. So it takes a little while for Kamalle to get to know this guy. But he likes him. He says —
kamalle dabboussy
I did. I very much liked him. He was sweet. He was gentle. He was a little bit undisciplined in what he was doing in life. He actually reminded — he reminded me of myself a fair bit.
livia albeck-ripka
Mm.
kamalle dabboussy
I quite liked him. He was very, you know, he was — he seemed to have the temperament for her as well. She was —
livia albeck-ripka
Khaled also has this really big, stable family that it’s clear Mariam is drawn to.
kamalle dabboussy
His family had been a bit more traditional and conservative than I was.
livia albeck-ripka
But they’re a little more strict and conservative than Kamalle’s practice of Islam, which is more philosophical, more based on his interpretation of what he thinks the laws mean, rather than ritualistically practicing them. But he says these people are really good people. He likes them. So eventually, Mariam comes to Kamalle. And she is barely 18. She tells him she wants to marry Khaled.
kamalle dabboussy
I didn’t have an objection to him. I had an objection to their age.
livia albeck-ripka
Kamalle says, no way. She kind of accepts it. And she asks him again and again and again. And finally, Kamalle relinquishes. He says, O.K. Who am I to stand in the way of this?
kamalle dabboussy
She wanted a family. And she wanted children. And that’s really what her want was. So I just made sure that that was her choice, not that she was being bullied into it, basically. That’s what it was, really making sure with her, and that was her choice. And, yeah, that was the next phase of her life. And I was very happy for her. I had hoped that she had remained close to me. But circumstances were that she wasn’t going to stay close to me that long after that.
livia albeck-ripka
After Mariam marries Khaled, she moves in with him to a little granny flat at the back of his parents’ home. They eventually have a baby. And Kamalle starts noticing Mariam changing. It’s nothing extreme at first. It just seems to him that they’re adopting the views of Khaled’s family, becoming a little more conservative, praying more often. But it’s when Mariam puts on the scarf —
kamalle dabboussy
Which, in itself, is not — it’s not a bad thing. It’s just she’d decided to wear the scarf, where up until that stage, no one in our family wears a scarf. So it was a change.
livia albeck-ripka
— that he has questions.
kamalle dabboussy
And I, you know, I didn’t take the first answer she gave to me. I pushed and pushed till a point that I was satisfied.
livia albeck-ripka
What was that first answer?
kamalle dabboussy
She just said, I did it myself. No one’s told me to do this. And I just, again, prodded and prodded, and tried to make her see that sometimes, the — you could be — there could be a suggestion made. And you’ve not realized that you’re pushed into that corner. And she felt, no, that she was quite — she felt that she was making the decision herself.
livia albeck-ripka
And eventually, he accepts it, because he believes it’s her choice. Then they all go on this extended family trip. It’s really fun and exciting. Khaled’s never been overseas before. He and Mariam have this new baby girl. And they go to Malaysia. And then they go to Dubai. And —
kamalle dabboussy
He was fun-loving. He was out and about. We went exploring. We did a safari tour together.
livia albeck-ripka
It’s all really good. But Kamalle does notice Khaled drawing a little bit away from him. And he tries to talk to him. He says that Khaled, who he calls K., was doing all these extra prayers. Kamalle kind of questions it. But K. won’t engage with him. There’s this block.
kamalle dabboussy
And so I thought to myself, O.K., I need to do a bit more work on this one, gently, rather than trying to — you know, two ways to break a stone — you know, get a sledgehammer and break it, or a drop of water slowly to break it open. I wanted to take the drop of water approach, let it break it up, and see if I can get some conversations and start challenging some of those thoughts.
livia albeck-ripka
So Kamalle has to get back to Australia for work. He leaves his daughter and his son-in-law in Dubai. And they go on to Lebanon. And they’re supposed to go on from there to Greece and then come home to Australia. But while they’re in Lebanon, Khaled suggests a trip to Turkey. Kamalle doesn’t really read too much into this. Turkey is a beautiful country, a beautiful place to visit. But then communications started to dissipate. And then it kind of goes quiet for a couple of weeks. And then, there’s a knock on his door. It was the police. They told him, your daughter is in Syria.
kamalle dabboussy
Oh, I was in disbelief. I said, no, that couldn’t be the case. I — it was just disbelief. I just didn’t believe it to be true.
livia albeck-ripka
Kamalle really starts to worry. He starts trying to call his contacts. He starts trying to find Mariam, and he can’t.
[music]
livia albeck-ripka
And a month goes by before he does. Some text messages, some phone calls start to come in from Mariam. She says, I’m safe. She doesn’t tell her father where she is. And she says, don’t do anything stupid.
kamalle dabboussy
I really refused for it to be true until Mariam had said to me, saying that, Dad, I thought you might have realized what had happened to me. And I don’t want you to do anything risky to yourself. Just stay put, basically, is what she said to me. And so that was actually the real moment that I knew that’s where she was.
livia albeck-ripka
She was with ISIS.
[music]
michael barbaro
We’ll be right back. Livia, this would have been 2015, so the year after ISIS declared the caliphate and started to call on Muslims around the world to join them there. In these early days, what’s Kamalle’s understanding of Mariam’s role in ISIS? Did he think that she might be a combatant? Did he think she was kind of a passive supporter, who was suddenly in the midst of these true believers? I mean, what was his sense of this?
livia albeck-ripka
He didn’t know. He was sort of surviving on this drip feed of information that was coming to him via sporadic texts and calls. Sometimes he didn’t even know if the text messages were from Mariam herself. Or she would be on a call. And she’d say, Dad, don’t talk. I’ll talk. And it was clear to him that somebody was watching her and controlling her. And so he really — he doesn’t know. But he does have doubts.
kamalle dabboussy
There was a small period of time, of course, you doubt the situation. You doubt everything that you know. And you re-evaluate everything that you know. And like most people, I suppose you’ve got different options in your head and different scenarios in your head. And you’re trying to figure out what’s right and what’s not right.
livia albeck-ripka
Did it seem like something Mariam would be capable of doing?
kamalle dabboussy
No, it wasn’t something that Mariam was capable of doing. But to say I never thought that could be a possibility? I thought about it. There was a period of time I thought, maybe she chose to go.
livia albeck-ripka
How would that have made you feel as a father?
kamalle dabboussy
Very disappointed. Very, very disappointed. Quite shocked, actually, knowing everything we’ve done together, and everything we’ve grown up together, and everything that she knew that I believed in, and what I thought she believed in, I would’ve been really shocked. I — yeah.
livia albeck-ripka
Once they had made initial contact, Kamalle and Mariam kept talking as much as they could, given the censorship, all of the monitored communication. And it’s some time after this that Kamalle learns that Khaled has been killed. And here and there, Mariam starts to suggest that she no longer wants to be there. Kamalle said she would sneak away without any guards and text Kamalle a few words. During one of these private moments, she told him, I was forced. And finally, she tells Kamalle, she’s going to make a break for it.
[music]
kamalle dabboussy
My mind — because in some of the discussions that we had backwards and forwards by text, which led me to believe that she’d intimated that she needed to move, which was sort of — I got from her an idea that she needed to move out of where she was.
livia albeck-ripka
After that, Kamalle didn’t hear from her for 19 months, not a word.
kamalle dabboussy
And it was absolutely an awful time in my life. I didn’t know whether she was alive or dead. I didn’t know whether she had made it safe. I didn’t know the condition of the kids. I, you know, went into a depression. I sought medical help. I sought professional help as the days and the months passed. And I had started to think towards the end of that period of time that she may have succumbed, that actually she may never be coming home. And then —
livia albeck-ripka
One day he goes into his bedroom. And he looks at his phone.
kamalle dabboussy
And I’m looking at my phone. And there were these several messages. Baba, it’s me. You know, Dad, it’s me. Dad, it’s me. Call me. Call me. And I called the phone, and it was her voice. And literally, I collapsed, just to know that she was alive, and she was O.K. And that she could tell me what had happened to her. She told me that there’s another child.
livia albeck-ripka
And what happened next?
kamalle dabboussy
Well, then she said to me, Dad, if it was difficult before with two kids, it’s now even more difficult with three kids. I’m not going to try and make a break for it until there’s absolute safety, and things are going to happen. So she just —
livia albeck-ripka
He says she tells him it’s too dangerous to try again. But by 2018, ISIS is under siege. And in the months that have passed, they’re down to virtually no territory at all. And the bombing is intensifying. Mariam says her second husband is also killed. And then she’s forced into a third marriage.
kamalle dabboussy
But that third marriage wasn’t as dramatic as the second marriage, if I could put it that way. I think he wasn’t a fighter, by the accounts. He was working in the hospital. I was told that he was actually a bit more supportive with her.
livia albeck-ripka
Some time after her third husband is captured, Kamalle gets advice that Mariam should surrender to Kurdish forces, who have been key allies to the U.S. in this fight against ISIS, and who hold territory in northeastern Syria. And then in early 2019, she contacts her father. And she lets him know she’s ended up in the Al Hol camp, where the families of ISIS fighters are being held, which is where she meets the other Australian women. They begin to forge friendships with one another. They kind of connect their tents up to protect themselves from the more radicalized women, who have been known to beat and even mutilate other women in the camp who they perceive to be nonbelievers. And then Mariam thinks to herself, hey, we should get our parents to talk to one another. And so she texts her dad and says, you and the other family members need to talk to one another. You need to get us out of here.
[music]
livia albeck-ripka
So Kamalle starts making contact with the family members of these women. And this strange club starts to form. For so long — for years, in most cases — these families have been keeping a secret that their sisters, their daughters are in Syria. And suddenly, they have a forum where they can connect with one another, and talk about how hard it’s been, and also begin to organize and discuss how they might get them out. They’re having meetings. They’re writing letters to politicians. They’re stressing to government that if they’re to get these women and children out, now is the time to do it. The Kurds are running the camp. Things are relatively stable. But the families sense that this isn’t going to last for that long. And it’s at this time that Kamalle is also planning a trip to Syria. He thinks, well, even if he can’t get his daughter out, he wants to see her. And it’s also an opportunity to make contact with the Kurds and the Americans to try to figure out the logistics of what it might look like to get her and the other women and children out. So earlier this year, he goes. He visits her in the Al-Hol camp.
kamalle dabboussy
Well, whatever you heard about the camp scene, it was different. This was summer. It was 50-degree heat that we were facing.
livia albeck-ripka
It is 50 degrees Celsius, or more than 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
kamalle dabboussy
And you looked out. And there was not a green thing in sight, not a tree, not grass. All it was was rocks. And there were these tents sitting on top of these rocks. And it really felt like a moonscape, a dusty moonscape. And it was just so hot that just getting some water to the camp was difficult. Going to get water and bringing it back was difficult.
livia albeck-ripka
So describe to me this first moment that you see Mariam. How does she look? How does she react to you?
kamalle dabboussy
So we could see the car pull up. We could see them getting out of the car. We could see them running towards us. And Mariam was carrying the youngest one in her hands. And she just hugged me. And she was excited to — you know, was very excited, breathing very heavy. And I kept telling her, just breathe. Just relax. I’m here. But, you know, she just kept saying, I can’t believe you’re here. I can’t believe that you’re here. I can’t believe you made it. I can’t believe you made it. And she just turned around and said, I’m broken. I need my dad. I need my dad.
livia albeck-ripka
So tell me about the moment that she actually lifted the niqab off her face and you saw her.
kamalle dabboussy
[SNIFFLING] Well, she — she’d lifted — I — I’d said to her, let me see you. Let me see you. And then she’d lift the niqab off her face, just privately. And I was shocked with how much weight she’d lost. I was shocked with how pale her skin was. But, no, I couldn’t show any of that, of course. And I just saw her. And then she’d put her niqaab back down. She wouldn’t leave it up for very long. And then I asked her about the story. And then I, you know, because this had been such a big issue to me for so long. I said, tell me, what happened? How did you get here?
[music]
livia albeck-ripka
Mariam then takes Kamalle to see the camp. But after only a few hours, he has to leave. They hug each other goodbye. Kamalle is trying to stay strong for his daughter and is grappling with the fact that he’s physically there with her, and he can’t take her with him. The Australian government hasn’t made up its mind what to do with Mariam and the other women and children. So he goes home, alone. So after that visit, Kamalle returns to Sydney. He’s driving from Sydney to Melbourne. It’s about a 10-hour drive. And he’s going to Melbourne to meet with some family members of the women and children. He’s on the road, and he gets a call. It’s a journalist who tells him, did you see Trump’s tweet? The U.S. has just given Turkey permission to cross the border. It dawns on Kamalle in this moment that everything they had been pressing the government for for months, their worst fears, could come true, that a Turkish incursion would sow instability in the region, which could ultimately cost the lives of his daughter and his grandchildren. And he knows this window to get them out is suddenly growing very, very short. So he pulls over on the side of the road, and he weeps.
[music]
kamalle dabboussy
It’s shifting hour by hour. The Syrian forces coming into that space, I don’t know what it means for everyone. I really don’t know what it means for everyone. So I’m going to try — sorry, even though it’s 3 o’clock in the morning there, try and ring through —
livia albeck-ripka
To Mariam? Would you mind putting it on speaker?
[phone ringing]
kamalle dabboussy
Hello? Hello? O.K.
[music]
kamalle dabboussy
O.K., sorry. It’s just not letting me get through. Some — yeah.
michael barbaro
Tomorrow, Part 2 of Kamalle’s story. We’ll be right back. Here’s what else you need to know today.
archived recording (john bercow)
Order. Order.
archived recording
The ayes to the right, 322. The nos to the left, 306. [CHEERS]
michael barbaro
Parliament has rejected an agreement between Prime Minister Boris Johnson and the European Union for Britain to leave the E.U. by the end of October, likely requiring yet another delay in the Brexit process, possibly until January. Despite skepticism of the agreement, Johnson had hoped that enough lawmakers fed up with previous delays would approve it over the weekend.
archived recording
[YELLING]
michael barbaro
As Parliament voted, an estimated 1 million people demonstrated against Brexit on the streets of downtown London, arguing for a new referendum to keep Britain in the E.U.
archived recording (crowd)
Brexit!
archived recording (speaker)
When do we want it?
archived recording (crowd)
Never!
archived recording (speaker)
What do we want?
archived recording (crowd)
Brexit!
archived recording (speaker)
When do we want it?
archived recording (crowd)
Never!
michael barbaro
And President Trump has reversed course on his decision to hold the next G7 summit of world leaders at his own resort in Florida, which both Democrats and Republicans had called an illegal act of self-dealing by the president.
archived recording (mick mulvaney)
He was honestly surprised at the level of pushback. At the end of the day, you know, he still considers himself to be in the hospitality business. And he saw an opportunity to take the biggest leaders from around the world. And he wanted to put on the absolute best show, the best visit that he possibly could. And he was very —
michael barbaro
In a tweet over the weekend, Trump cited the criticism, and said he would immediately begin searching for an alternate location.
archived recording (mick mulvaney)
I think it’s the right decision to change. We’ll have to find someplace else. And my guess is we’ll find someplace else that the media won’t like, either, for another reason.
archived recording
I just have to pick up —
michael barbaro
That’s it for “The Daily.” I’m Michael Barbaro. See you tomorrow.

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Gov. Northam Announces Launch of Opportunity Virginia

Westlake Legal Group 18779386_G Gov. Northam Announces Launch of Opportunity Virginia

“As governor, one of my highest priorities is ensuring that every Virginian has access to a good job and the skills to be successful, no matter who you are or where you’re from,” said Governor Northam. “This initiative will help Virginia use the Opportunity Zone tax incentive program created by Congress almost two years ago to bring needed investment to important projects being developed across the commonwealth. We are focused on pursuing economic growth that is inclusive and equitable, not just market-driven, and this partnership will bolster our efforts to improve economic opportunity for people in communities that have traditionally been underserved.”

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

Obamacare Premiums to Fall and Number of Insurers to Rise Next Year

Westlake Legal Group 22dc-obamacare2-facebookJumbo Obamacare Premiums to Fall and Number of Insurers to Rise Next Year United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (2010) Health Insurance and Managed Care

WASHINGTON — Nearly three years into President Trump’s aggressive efforts to undermine the Affordable Care Act, prices for the most popular type of health insurance plan offered through the health law’s federal marketplace will actually drop next year, and the number of insurers offering plans will go up.

Administration officials credited Mr. Trump with the resiliency of the law even as they echoed his contempt for it.

“The A.C.A. simply doesn’t work and is still unaffordable for far too many,” Alex M. Azar II, the secretary of health and human services, said on Monday. “But until Congress gets around to replacing it, President Trump will do what he can to fix the problems created by this system for millions of Americans.”

The 4-percent price decline is only the second time that average monthly premiums have dropped year-to-year since the marketplace opened in 2014, and it is a sign that the health law is stabilizing after several years of turmoil caused in part by Mr. Trump. Open enrollment for Obamacare starts on Nov. 1, but looming over it is an impending court decision on the law’s constitutionality in a case supported by the Trump administration that seeks to overturn the law.

Premiums rose sharply in the final years of the Obama administration, as Trump officials like to point out, largely because of losses insurers suffered as they tried to gauge the health needs of their new customers. But after Mr. Trump and Republicans in Congress tried unsuccessfully to repeal the law in 2017, the president took a number of steps to weaken it, all of which led to uncertainty that resulted in insurers raising prices.

Now, a correction is taking place. Some of the states with the biggest premium increases this year, including Delaware and North Dakota, will see the biggest decreases in 2020. There will be 20 more insurers selling plans next year in the federal marketplace, which is used by people in 38 states, bringing the total to 175. That will be the largest number of issuers since 2016. Only two states, Delaware and Wyoming, will have a single insurer selling plans under the law next year, compared with five states currently.

For a 27-year-old, premiums for a benchmark “silver” plan will cost an average $388 per month next year; for a family of four, they will average $1,520 per month. That is still expensive, but most people will qualify for federal subsidies that cover much or most of the cost.

For many of those who do not qualify for subsidies under the health law — people earning more than 400 percent of the poverty level, which comes to just under $50,000 for a single person — premiums will remain out of reach.

Deductibles, too, will continue to rise, with the median amount rising to $4,604, from $4, 471, for silver plans, which offer midlevel coverage. But people whose income is at or under 200 percent of the poverty level will have much lower deductibles, thanks to a different kind of discount required under the law that helps with out-of-pocket costs.

Prices and other information about next year’s Affordable Care Act plans in the 13 states that have their own marketplaces will be announced by those states. In all, 10.6 million people had health plans through the federal and state marketplace plans as of March, the last time the Trump administration released enrollment data.

As the market stabilizes, the health law is coming to serve almost exclusively the struggling families and individuals who qualify for federally subsidized coverage. In a call with reporters on Monday, Seema Verma, the administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which runs the online marketplace, said that from 2016 to 2018, the number of health-law enrollees who did not qualify for premium subsidies dropped by 2.5 million people, or 40 percent.

“It was inevitable that Obamacare’s affordability crisis would eventually increase the number of uninsured,” Ms. Verma said, pointing to new census data showing a rise in the number of higher-income Americans without insurance.

In 2018, 8.5 percent of the population lacked health insurance, according to the Census Bureau, up from 7.9 percent in 2017. But that was driven in large part by a decline in the number of children insured under government programs like Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program. The administration has taken steps to limit Medicaid eligibility for immigrants, and has supported efforts by some states to impose work requirements on Medicaid recipients.

[Read what is driving the rise in rates of uninsured children.]

The administration has also all but eliminated funding to promote enrollment under the law, through advertising and “navigators,” who once helped people sign up.

Ms. Verma and Mr. Azar praised Congress for zeroing out the tax penalty that the law imposed on people who go without health insurance; it did so as part of the 2017 tax overhaul. They also praised new rules pressed by Mr. Trump that encourage the sale of less expensive coverage that does not provide the comprehensive benefits required by the health law. Both moves, Ms. Verma said, elicited “a kneejerk chorus of dire predictions” that had not come to fruition.

A major reason that premiums have stabilized, she said, is the reinsurance programs that the Trump administration has approved in 12 states. Under these programs, states help insurers pay their largest medical claims, partly using federal funds. Three of the states that will see the biggest drops in premium costs next year — Delaware, Montana and North Dakota — have adopted reinsurance programs, Ms. Verma said.

A bill to spread such programs across the country, drafted by Republican Senators Lamar Alexander of Tennessee and Susan Collins of Maine, has been bottled up by Senator Mitch McConnell, the majority leader, who has opposed legislation to shore up the Affordable Care Act.

As always, how much people pay for a marketplace plan will heavily depend on where they live. Wyoming will have the highest average premiums next year — $723 a month for the benchmark plan for a 27-year-old, an increase of two percent. New Mexico will have the lowest average premiums — $282 a month for the benchmark plan for a 27-year-old, a decrease of six percent.

Asked about the court case seeking to invalidate the health law, Mr. Azar said a ruling in the plaintiffs’ favor would not change anything immediately because the defenders of the law would appeal to the Supreme Court.

“Our message would be, ‘Keep calm and carry on,’ ” Mr. Azar said. “There will be no immediate disruption to anybody. We will run the program the day after such a ruling the same way we ran the program the day before.”

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Gov. Northam Announces Launch of Opportunity Virginia

Westlake Legal Group 18779386_G Gov. Northam Announces Launch of Opportunity Virginia

“As governor, one of my highest priorities is ensuring that every Virginian has access to a good job and the skills to be successful, no matter who you are or where you’re from,” said Governor Northam. “This initiative will help Virginia use the Opportunity Zone tax incentive program created by Congress almost two years ago to bring needed investment to important projects being developed across the commonwealth. We are focused on pursuing economic growth that is inclusive and equitable, not just market-driven, and this partnership will bolster our efforts to improve economic opportunity for people in communities that have traditionally been underserved.”

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