An X-ray revealed the 6-inch spoon in her abdomen to be the cause, AsiaWire reported. Rather than open her stomach, Dr. Fan Guangxue decided on a gastroscopy procedure, which involves inserting a thin tube down a patient’s throat.
This X-ray shows a 6-inch steel spoon resting inside the stomach of a young woman who drunkenly swallowed it the night before and forgot about it until her stomach began hurting the next day. (AsiaWire)
“But removing a spoon through gastroscopy is very tricky,” Fan told AsiaWire. “Firstly the spoon was over 10 centimeters long. It was also very smooth and slippery, and therefore difficult to control or grab hold of.”
He then inserted a snare loop to grab hold of the spoon and maneuver it back out through her mouth.
“Even after snaring the spoon it was difficult to pull it out,” he told AsiaWire. “It would get stuck along the way out.”
WASHINGTON — In the weeks after a pair of massacres in El Paso and Dayton left 31 dead, local police and federal authorities scrambled to contain a succession of chilling new threats.
A Florida man allegedly vows to “break a world record” for mass shooting casualties; a disgruntled hotel cook in California threatens to transform a Marriott lobby into a killing field; a Jewish community center in Ohio is the target in an alleged shooting plot.
Police stopped each one before anyone was harmed. But the arrests, spanning just over a week, highlighted a frequent theme in the government’s efforts to prevent domestic terrorism and other forms of mass violence: law enforcement didn’t see the potentially deadly storms approaching until members of the public stepped forward with crucial information, and authorities had little power to intercede until an attack appeared imminent.
The FBI has warned for months that domestic terrorism, often animated by racial animus and religious discord, represents one of the United States’ most pressing national security threats. Yet time after time the central weapons against such threats for local and federal law enforcement have largely proved to be timely tips, or even a stroke of luck.
In the 18 years since 9/11, the United States has taken aggressive steps to prevent terrorist acts in the name of the Islamic State, Al Qaeda and other international terror groups. The government built a vast security apparatus to target threats to the United States from extremist groups based overseas, including an extensive effort to identify, track and arrest Americans who give them support.
Potential domestic attackers, largely untethered to specific organizations and protected from police scrutiny by free-speech rights, have proven more difficult for the government to investigate. An affiliation with a designated international terrorist group makes someone fair game for U.S. criminal investigators; expressing extreme, or even violent, views without such a connection typically does not.
“I think it is time to re-think our approach,” former Attorney General Michael Mukasey said. “The goal has to be to identify and intervene in advance. But there is no corresponding designation or consequences for domestic actors.”
Congress could be moving in that direction, as recent mass shootings have prompted members of both parties to seriously consider legislation that would expand the government’s authority over domestic terrorist threats. House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., and Sen. Martha McSally, R-Ariz., have proposed bills that would essentially allow federal law enforcement to pursue domestic terror suspects as they would international operatives.
While domestic terrorism is memorialized in federal law as an effort to “intimidate or coerce” a civilian population or government, there are no corresponding criminal penalties to back it. That has law enforcement officials moving to head off potential threats with the tools at their disposal, including leaning on the public to provide tips and charging suspects with violating weapons laws, hate crimes or illegal threats in the absence of a domestic terrorism charge.
Not every mass attack would meet that standard. Local and federal officials investigating the Dayton shooting said they have found evidence of the shooter’s “violent ideology,” though they did not offer specific information on the gunman’s motivations. And some of the plots authorities said they thwarted in recent weeks did not have a clear political motive. But they raise similar issues for authorities seeking to prevent them.
Last month in Connecticut, a 22-year-old Norwalk man was arrested after local police and the FBI were tipped he sought to obtain high-capacity rifle magazines. Police said a Facebook post expressed “interest” in a mass attack while investigators recovered two weapons, multiple rounds of ammunition and body armor.
“We continue to urge the public to please remain alert and to report suspicious activity that is observed in person or online,” New Haven FBI chief Brian Turner said following the arrest, a tacit acknowledgement of the enormous challenge confronting law enforcement.
And so far, there is evidence that the public has been responding. During the first week of August, the period covering the El Paso and Dayton shootings, the FBI reported that 38,000 tips had streamed into its National Threat Operations Center, up from a weekly average of about 22,000.
“Such increases are often observed after major incidents,” the FBI said in a statement. “As always, the FBI encourages the public to remain vigilant and report any and all suspicious activity to law enforcement immediately.”
An online battlefield
In the aftermath of 9/11, the Internet quickly emerged as key battleground in the U.S. war on Al Qaeda and later the Islamic State. Both terror groups used digital tools to spread online hatred and enlist recruits with surprising ease. The United States responded by blocking and infiltrating the corners of the internet where terrorists’ recruiting was most effective.
Undercover agents and informants mined Internet message boards and social media looking for Americans who expressed an interest in Islamic terrorism, and occasionally targeted them in elaborate sting investigations in which agents led them down the path toward radicalization, offered them the chance to carry out imaginary attacks and arrested them.
Among the dozens of sympathizers and suspected operatives identified and charged in the law enforcement sweeps was a 23-year-old Oakland man whose case now exemplifies the power federal law enforcement brought to bear in international terror investigations that is now lacking in domestic inquiries.
Until he surfaced on an encrypted messaging channel known as “Against the War Coalition” three years ago, Amer Sinan Alhaggagi was largely unknown to federal investigators.
But his suspected purpose for entering the chatroom, a meeting place for Islamic State sympathizers, was immediately alarming to an FBI informant who was secretly monitoring the exchanges. Alhaggagi, a 23-year-old Oakland, California man, was looking for weapons, and seized on a post referencing an available supply of Kalashnikov rifles and hand grenades.
What followed, by the FBI’s own account detailed in court documents, was an extraordinary pursuit by teams of agents who for weeks smothered the suspect with round-the-clock surveillance. An undercover investigator, posing as an experienced bomb-maker, met with him extensively to discuss desired body counts. The bureau’s monitoring even included a back-up SWAT unit, in the event Alhaggagi sought to make good on a boast to ”redefine terror” by leaving “the whole Bay Area…in flames.”
In almost every way, the threat posed by the young suspect — whose targets included bars, nightclubs and schools — followed a now all-to-familiar path to mass murder.
Except for one key difference: Alhaggagi’s allegiance to an international terror group, ISIS, set in motion the aggressive federal inquiry whose supporting laws do not apply in rooting out domestic terror suspects.
Although Alhaggagi’s lawyers argued that their client’s threats were the product of immature boasts, he was sentenced earlier this year to more than 15 years in prison on charges of providing material support to a foreign terrorist organization.
“Today is a tragedy for the Alhaggagi family and our community as we have lost yet another young person to the allure of extremist ideology focused on hatred and violence,” San Francisco FBI chief John Bennett said following the February sentencing. “This … serves as a reminder of how persistent and pervasive online radicalization has become and this should be a precautionary example for individuals who may be tempted by terrorist propaganda.”
A call for greater scrutiny
Although investigators are now limited in the battle against homegrown violence unconnected to overseas terror groups, President Donald Trump seemed to call for more aggressive Internet monitoring in the aftermath of shootings in El Paso and Dayton.
But there is widespread disagreement on how much power the government should have to do that, and on how it would work if it did.
Michael German, a former FBI special agent who specialized in domestic terrorism, has opposed an expanded domestic terrorism statute, saying that providing law enforcement unfettered access to investigative and surveillance techniques has led to perverse consequences.
German cites an elaborate sting operation targeting Nicholas Young, a former Washington transit police officer who converted to Islam and whom the FBI monitored for several years. Young was arrested in 2016 after he sent $245 in gift cards to a friend he believed had gone to Syria to join the Islamic State. Unknown to Young, the friend was an informant, and Young was subsequently charged with attempting to provide material support to the Islamic State.
Prosecutors argued that Young’s activity was anything but benign, saying the cards were intended to assist ISIS recruitment efforts. He was sentenced to 15 years in prison earlier this year.
German, now a fellow at the Brennan Center for Justice, said there are other potential dangers in arming investigators with more authority in domestic terror inquiries. Targeting radical right-wing groups, he said, could thrust law enforcement into the realm of policing political speech.
“You can’t imagine how many people entertain conspiracy theories who would never commit an act of violence,” German said. “Clearly a lot of these people are engaged in the political process…”
But civil liberties group, such as the American Civil Liberties Union, oppose expanding domestic terrorism laws, saying doing so would target people of color and other marginalized communities.
Mary McCord, the former acting chief of the Justice Department’s National security Division, said the extreme violence that has marked recent attacks and the stream of continuing threats of mass attacks have all but eliminated the distinction between international and domestic terror.
After the Octobershooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, McCord urged Congress to make domestic terrorism a federal crime, saying doing so would create a moral equivalency between domestic and international actors.
“It’s the same crime,” McCord said, adding that a domestic terrorism statute would give the FBI “the mandate and the impetus and the resources” to conduct undercover and sting operations. Had Patrick Crusius, the alleged shooter in El Paso, pledged allegiance to the Islamic State, “he would be prosecuted right now for terrorism,” McCord said.
In the case of Crusius, who allegedly authored an anti-immigrant screed prior to the attack and confessed to police that he had targeted Mexicans, a federal terrorism prosecution would not likely make a difference in the range of possible punishment.
The 21-year-old suspect has been charged by state prosecutors with capital murder, which carries a potential death sentence.
Thwarting domestic schemes
In some cases, the government has moved to thwart right-wing extremism when it appeared to be on the precipice of violence, though authorities face some significant limits on its ability to do so, because some of what would come up would be protected speech.
Federal prosecutors in Las Vegas announced charges Aug. 9against a 23-year-old man they described asan associate of a white supremacist group. They alleged that he had discussed attacking local synagogues and a gay bar.
Investigators were first alerted to Conor Climo nearly a year earlier, according to court documents, when a local television station showed him patrolling the sidewalk in front of his home armed with a rifle and long-knife, sending ripples of concern through the neighborhood. .
A review of social media, turned up an account on Quora, where Climo allegedly quoted an Adolf Hitler rebuke to multiculturalism, while the account’s profile photo carried the image of AR-15 rifle, similar to the weapon Climo carried during his television appearance.
The FBI did not launch a formal investigation until this spring, according to court documents, when investigators learned of his contacts with Atomwaffen Division, a white supremacist organization that encourages attacks on the government, homosexuals and Jews. Through the summer, an informant allegedly engaged Climo in an encrypted chatroom, as the contacts progressed to discussions about weapons, bomb-making and potential targets, including local synagogues. In a subsequent search of his residence, investigators recovered “several hand-drawn schematics for a potential Las Vegas attack” and other drawings of explosive devices.
Beyond the potential threat, the investigation – featuring months of monitoring and the online engagement with an informant – was striking in its similarity to the FBI’s pursuit of foreign operatives. In announcing the charges, Las Vegas FBI chief Aaron Rouse appeared to acknowledge that, while adding a careful distinction.
“As this complaint illustrates, the FBI will always be proactive to combat threats that cross a line from free speech to potential violence,” Rouse said.
Prosecutors assert that Climo went further than just espousing racial and anti Semitic animus, citing his discussions about constructing improvised explosive devices and conducting “surveillance” on a bar frequented by members of the LGBTQ community on Fremont Street in downtown Las Vegas. But Climo was not charged with making threats; instead, he’s facing one count of possession of an unregistered firearm.
In cases of extreme violence, distinctions between domestic and international terrorist threats should not matter, said Colin Clarke, a senior research fellow at The Soufan Center, a global security research organization.
“I don’t know what has to happen for us to treat perpetrators of violence equally,” Clarke said. “I thought it would’ve been Pittsburgh. That clearly isn’t the case … It’s temporary outrage. Rinse and repeat. Thoughts and prayers. Go back to daily life until the next shooting … We’ve been so focused on Al-Qaeda and ISIS that people have seen white supremacy as more of a nuisance than a significant threat. These aren’t just a bunch of crazy people.”
The nine-minute video capturing Barkan’s discussion with Warren at his home in Santa Barbara, California, released on Tuesday, represents the Massachusetts senator’s frankest discussion to date of a subject matter that she has been more reticent about than other elements of her platform. By contrast, Sen. Bernie Sanders, the Vermont independent who is her closest ideological ally in the crowded Democratic presidential field, has made the policy a central theme of his campaign.
Barkan, a 35-year-old attorney living with ALS who now speaks with the help of a computer that reads his eye movements, specifically asked Warren why she supports a single-payer system that gets rid of private health insurance to attain universal coverage, rather than other policies aimed at achieving the same goal.
“I think of this as about our values. Health care is a basic human right,” Warren replied. “What we’re trying to do is make sure everyone is covered at the lowest possible cost. And that’s Medicare for All.”
Warren went on to reiterate an argument she has made when pressed on the matter in two Democratic debates ― that for-profit health insurance companies whose business depends on charging as much as possible, and paying out as little as they can, are inherently inhumane.
Watch Ady Barkan’s interview with Sen. Elizabeth Warren:
But beyond affirming her support for Medicare for All, Warren addressed criticism from left-wing activists who question her commitment to the policy. Although Warrenco-sponsored Sanders’ single-payer bill beginning in 2017, she has not made it a major theme on the campaign trail, or produced her own Medicare for All plan with a white paper like she has published on everything fromstudent debttocriminal justice.
Barkan asked whether her apparent trepidation about single-payer health care’s most controversial provision ― the elimination of private coverage for any procedure covered by the government ― reflected her affinity for regulation by market forces over “dramatically expand[ing] the size of the public sector.” (Warren has distinguished herself from Sanders, a self-described “democratic socialist,” in part by touting herbelief in marketsand her identity as a“capitalist.”)
“No, I think it was more … focused on transition than on endpoint,” Warren responded. “But there are areas where markets just don’t work and a big part of health care is one of those. So the idea that we could get a couple of regulations in place and it will sort itself out is just not true with health care.”
She added: “I get financial decisions over whether you’re going to be able to get a new car or what it looks like, but not financial decisions at the heart of basic health care. Medicare for All is about a relationship that all of us have to each other.”
Gretchen Ertl / Reuters Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts has endured some criticism from progressive activists skeptical of her commitment to Medicare for All.
Warren has worked with Barkan since he helped launch a movement to make the Federal Reserve more accountable to ordinary workers and communities of color. In the video, she insisted that he call her “Elizabeth,” rather than senator.
Warren invoked Barkan’s predicament during her discussion of Medicare for All in the second Democratic presidential debate on July 30. She noted that though Barkan has excellent private insurance, he and his wife Rachael spend $9,000 a month out of their own pocket for services not covered by their insurance. (Barkan even had to fight his insurer to get it to pay for a breathing assistance machine.)
The video with Warren is part of a series of interviews about health care with Democratic presidential candidates that Barkan is conducting in conjunction with NowThis News and Crooked Media. Barkan, an ardent proponent of single-payer health care, earlier released footage of his conversations with Sens. Sanders, Cory Booker of New Jersey and Kamala Harris of California.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, former Rep. Beto O’Rourke of Texas, South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg and technology entrepreneur Andrew Yang are all in the process of scheduling interviews with Barkan. Former Vice President Joe Biden has not yet responded to an invitation to sit down with Barkan.
Barkan, an innovative organizer at the liberal Center for Popular Democracy, was diagnosed in 2016 with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) ― or Lou Gehrig’s disease ― a terminal illness with no known cure that slowly paralyzes its victims. He has devoted the remaining years of his life to fighting for social and economic justice with a particular focus on health care.
Toward the end of 2017, Barkan threw himself into protests against the Republican tax cuts on the grounds that they would jeopardize key social programs. His tactic of earnestly confronting GOP senators about how their priorities would directly affect him and people with from similar maladies made him an especially effective spokesman for the movement against President Donald Trump’s economic policies. He returned to Congress in April to testify before the House Rules Committee as it held the first-ever congressional hearings on Medicare for All.
In addition to his political duties, Barkan is savoring the remaining days with his wife Rachael and their toddler son Carl. He and Rachael, who is visibly pregnant in the video with Warren, are expecting a daughter.
The newly appointed Saudi energy minister, Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman (left), meets with his father King Salman, in a handout picture provided by the Saudi Press Agency on Monday. Saudi Press Agency via AFP/Getty Imageshide caption
Saudi Press Agency via AFP/Getty Images
The newly appointed Saudi energy minister, Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman (left), meets with his father King Salman, in a handout picture provided by the Saudi Press Agency on Monday.
Saudi Press Agency via AFP/Getty Images
From the moment he was named heir to the throne, Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has focused on weaning the kingdom off what he calls “its dangerous addiction to oil.” The heir to the throne says he wants to diversify the economy and create jobs. The irony is he’s having to rely on oil in order to break the oil habit.
At the moment, oil isn’t cooperating. Crude oil prices hover around $60 per barrel, but analysts say the kingdom — the world’s largest oil exporter — needs it to be at least $80 a barrel in order to balance the national budget and prop up the Crown Prince Mohammed’s vision.
That may have been what’s behind recent shake-ups in the Saudi oil industry. Over the weekend, King Salman replaced the country’s powerful energy minister, Khalid al-Falih, with one of his own sons. The new minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman, an older half brother of the crown prince, has held leading posts in the oil industry for three decades and was recently minister of state for energy affairs.
Oil prices rose slightly on Monday after Prince Abdulaziz was named energy minister.
It will now be up to Prince Abdulaziz to try to raise international oil prices. That could prove difficult. Prices have stayed lower than the kingdom would like amid excess oil stockpiles, analysts say, despite Saudi Arabia and other oil producers limiting their output.
Higher prices would boost the value of the state-owned oil giant, Saudi Aramco. The crown prince is looking to sell off shares in Aramco, the world’s most profitable company, in an initial public offering to help fund his vision for the kingdom and its economy.
The former energy minister, Khalid al-Falif, began to fall from favor more than a week ago when he replaced as chairman of Saudi Aramco with a Yasir al-Rumayyan. Rumayyan is a close ally of the crown prince who for three years has run the country’s Public Investment Fund, a sovereign wealth fund with $320 billion worth of assets.
Ellen Wald, the author of Saudi Inc., a history of the Saudi Energy industry and Aramco, says the move to replace Falih with a close associate of the crown prince was widely viewed as a step toward the IPO.
But Wald has concerns about making Rumayyan chairman of Aramco, which has traditionally been run by professional oil men. Rumayyan’s background is in finance and Ward says he has made some “very, very controversial investment decisions” during his time at the Public Investment Fund.
“For example, they invest in a lot of startups in America, they’re a big investor in the tech scene,” that includes ride-hailing company Uber and electric carmaker Tesla, she says. “Many of their investments seem much more like those of a venture capital firm as opposed to a traditional sovereign wealth fund.”
The crown prince has been pushing for an IPO of as much as 5% of Aramco. He has put the company’s valuation at $2 trillion, although many analysts say the true value is closer to $1.5 trillion, according to The Associated Press. It is expected to be the largest initial public offering in the world.
The IPO is critical to the crown prince’s plans for the kingdom, analysts say. The capital from the sale will go into the sovereign wealth fund, run by Rumayyan, to help boost the economy and create new, non-oil sectors.
“The IPO will, he hopes … raise $100 billion plus for investment in the new Saudi Arabia which the crown prince wants to emerge,” says Simon Henderson, a Saudi specialist at the Washington Institute. “There is a degree of concern that what the crown prince wants to invest in are highly imaginative, or rather overimaginative, projects which won’t actually change Saudi Arabia in the way that he wants it to.”
Henderson says that includes megaprojects such as building a $500 billion futuristic city, called Neom, in a remote northwestern corner of Saudi Arabia.
The crown prince announced in 2016 that the IPO could happen as early as 2017. But Saudi Arabia needed to demonstrate fiscal independence between the company and the government, and Aramco needed to prepare its books before going public, says Emily Hawthorne, a Middle East analyst at the geopolitical intelligence company, Stratfor.
“When it comes to selling the kingdom’s crown jewels, the Aramco IPO, we’ve seen again and again that there has been some concern from across the spectrum in Saudi Arabia, within the royal family, and sort of across the technocratic class that they have to move forward with this carefully,” Hawthorne says.
She doesn’t think there is opposition to the idea, she says, but “it just has to be done incrementally and carefully.”
Now there seems to be some momentum to do the IPO by 2020 or 2021, according to Hawthorne. But that will depend largely on the price of oil.
Robert Frank, one of the most influential photographers of the 20th century, whose visually raw and personally expressive style was pivotal in changing the course of documentary photography, died on Monday in Inverness, Nova Scotia. He was 94.
His death was confirmed by Peter MacGill of Pace-MacGill Gallery in Manhattan.
Mr. Frank, who was born in Switzerland, came to New York at the age of 23 as an artistic refugee from what he considered to be the small-minded values of his own country. He was best known for his groundbreaking book, “The Americans,” a masterwork of black and white photographs drawn from his cross-country road trips in the mid-1950s and published in 1959.
“The Americans” challenged the presiding midcentury formula for photojournalism, defined by sharp, well-lighted, classically composed pictures, whether of the battlefront, the homespun American heartland or movie stars at leisure. Mr. Frank’s photographs — of lone individuals, teenage couples, groups at funerals and odd spoors of cultural life — were cinematic, immediate, off-kilter and grainy, like early television transmissions of the period. They would secure his place in photography’s pantheon. The cultural critic Janet Malcolm called him the “Manet of the new photography.”
But recognition was by no means immediate. The pictures were initially considered warped, smudgy, bitter. Popular Photography magazine complained about their “meaningless blur, grain, muddy exposures, drunken horizons, and general sloppiness.” Mr. Frank, the magazine said, was “a joyless man who hates the country of his adoption.”
Mr. Frank had come to detest the American drive for conformity, and the book was thought to be an indictment of American society, stripping away the picture-perfect vision of the country and its veneer of breezy optimism put forward in magazines and movies and on television. Yet at the core of his social criticism was a romantic idea about finding and honoring what was true and good about the United States.
“Trolley — New Orleans,” 1955.CreditRobert Frank, via Pace/MacGill Gallery, New York
“Patriotism, optimism, and scrubbed suburban living were the rule of the day,” Charlie LeDuff wrote about Mr. Frank in Vanity Fair magazine in 2008. “Myth was important then. And along comes Robert Frank, the hairy homunculus, the European Jew with his 35-mm. Leica, taking snaps of old angry white men, young angry black men, severe disapproving southern ladies, Indians in saloons, he/shes in New York alleyways, alienation on the assembly line, segregation south of the Mason-Dixon line, bitterness, dissipation, discontent.”
“Les Americains,” first published in France by Robert Delpire in 1958, supplicated Mr. Frank’s photographs as illustrations for essays by French writers. In the American edition, published the next year by Grove Press, the pictures were allowed to tell their own story, without text — as Mr. Frank had conceived the book.
It was only after completing the cross-country trips chronicled in “The Americans” that Mr. Frank met Jack Kerouac, who had written about his own American journeys in the 1957 novel “On the Road.” Kerouac wrote the introduction to the American edition of Mr. Frank’s book.
“That crazy feeling in America,” Kerouac wrote, “when the sun is hot and music comes out of the jukebox or from a nearby funeral, that’s what Robert Frank has captured in tremendous photographs taken as he traveled on the road around practically forty-eight states in an old used car (on Guggenheim Fellowship) and with agility, mystery, genius, sadness, and strange secrecy of a shadow photographed scenes that have never been seen before on film.”
Twenty years later, Gene Thornton, writing in The New York Times, said the book ranked “with Alexis de Tocqueville’s ‘Democracy in America’ and Henry James’ ‘The American Scene’ as one of the definitive statements of what this country is about.”
Mr. Frank may well have been the unwitting father of what became known in the late 1960s as “the snapshot aesthetic,” a personal off-hand style that sought to capture the look and feel of spontaneity in an authentic moment. The pictures had a profound influence on the way photographers began to approach not only their subjects but also the picture frame.
“View From Hotel Window – Butte, Montana,” 1956.CreditRobert Frank, via Pace/MacGill Gallery, New York
Mr. Frank’s approach — as much about his personal experience of what he was photographing as about the subject matter — was given further definition and legitimacy in 1967 in the seminal exhibition “New Documents” at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. The show presented the work of Diane Arbus, Lee Friedlander and Garry Winogrand, at the time relatively little known younger-generation beneficiaries of Mr. Frank’s pioneering style. The show established all three as important American artists.
Robert Louis Frank was born in Zurich on Nov. 9, 1924, the younger son of well-to-do Jewish parents. His mother, Regina, was Swiss, but his father, Hermann, a German citizen who became stateless after World War I, had to apply for Swiss citizenship for himself and his two sons.
Safe in neutral Switzerland from the Nazi threat looming across Europe, Robert Frank studied and apprenticed with graphic designers and photographers in Zurich, Basel and Geneva. He became an admirer of Henri Cartier-Bresson, who co-founded the photo-collective Magnum in 1947 and whose photographs set the standard for generations of photojournalists.
“New York City, 7 Bleecker Street,” September, 1993.CreditRobert Frank, via Pace/MacGill Gallery, New York
“City of London,” 1951.CreditRobert Frank, via Pace/MacGill Gallery, New York
Mr. Frank would later reject Cartier-Bresson’s work, saying it represented all that was glib and insubstantial about photojournalism. He believed that photojournalism over-simplified the world, mimicking, as he put it, “those goddamned stories with a beginning and an end.” He was more drawn to the paintings of Edward Hopper, before Hopper was widely recognized.
“So clear and so decisive,” Mr. Frank told Nicholas Dawidoff in 2015 for a profile in The New York Times Magazine. “The human form in it. You look twice — what’s this guy waiting for? What’s he looking at? The simplicity of two facing each other. A man in a chair.”
Early on, Mr. Frank caught the eye of Alexey Brodovitch, the legendary magazine art director, who gave him assignments at Harper’s Bazaar. Over the next 10 years, Mr. Frank worked for Fortune, Life, Look, McCall’s, Vogue and Ladies Home Journal.
Restless, he traveled to London, Wales and Peru from 1949 to 1952. From each trip he assembled spiral-bound books of his pictures and gave copies to, among others, Brodovitch and Edward Steichen, then the director of photography at the Museum of Modern Art.
Walker Evans’s book “American Photographs,” which was not well known in the 1950s, may have been the greatest influence on Mr. Frank’s landmark “Americans” project.
“Charleston, South Carolina,” 1955. (From “The Americans.”)CreditRobert Frank, via Pace/MacGill Gallery, New York
“When I first looked at Walker Evans’ photographs,” he wrote in the U.S. Camera Annual in 1958, “I thought of something Malraux wrote: ‘to transform destiny into awareness.’ One is embarrassed to want so much of oneself.”
Evans, then the picture editor at Fortune, as well as Brodovitch and Steichen, wrote recommendations for Mr. Frank when he applied for a 1955 Guggenheim Fellowship to finance the project. Carrying two cameras and boxes of film in a black Ford Business Coupe, he traveled more than 10,000 miles and wound up taking, by his count, more than 27,000 pictures, from which he culled 83 for “The Americans.”
“The Americans,” published in 1959, was a masterwork of black and white photographs drawn from Mr. Frank’s cross-country road trips in the mid-1950s.CreditAperture
In 1949, he met the artist Mary Lockspeiser, nine years his junior, and gave her, too, a hand-made book of photographs, which he had taken that year in Paris. They married the following year and settled in Manhattan, in the East Village, in the heart of a vibrant Abstract Expressionist art scene. (She is now known as Mary Frank.)
Mr. Frank remembered seeing through a window Willem de Kooning, paint brush in hand, pacing his studio in his underwear. At the Cedar Tavern, a legendary neighborhood bar, he would drink and argue with the artists of the period. Their son, Pablo (named after the cellist Pablo Casals), was born in 1951, and his daughter, Andrea, in 1954.
“Parade – Hoboken, New Jersey,” 1955. (from “The Americans.”)CreditRobert Frank, via Pace/MacGill Gallery, New York
After “The Americans” was published, Mr. Frank’s artistic energies shifted to film, and, although he continued to work in photography and video, he would never again reach the same level of recognition for his work. Mr. MacGill, of Pace-MacGill gallery in Manhattan, which has represented Mr. Frank’s work since 1983, posited that Mr. Frank would eventually be remembered as a filmmaker more than as a photographer.
The Scene: A Bohemian Loft
His first film, “Pull My Daisy” (1959), is a cornerstone of avant-garde cinema. Made in Alfred Leslie’s art studio loft in the East Village, it was co-directed by Leslie, narrated by Kerouac and featured, among others, Ginsberg, Mary Frank, Gregory Corso, David Amram, Larry Rivers and Mr. Frank’s young son, Pablo.
Adapted by Kerouac from his play “The Beat Generation,” the film, 28 minutes long, follows in grainy black and white the antics of a merry band of bohemians who show up unannounced at a Lower East Side loft, where a painter, the wife of a railway brakeman, has invited a respectable bishop over for dinner. The film became a cult favorite as an expression of the Beat philosophy of improvisation and spontaneity even though, as Leslie later revealed, it was planned and rehearsed.
“San Francisco,” 1956. (from “The Americans.”)CreditRobert Frank, via Pace/MacGill Gallery, New York
In 1960, Frank, along with Jonas Mekas (who died in January), Peter Bogdanovich and other independent filmmakers, founded the New American Cinema Group, the same year he began filming “The Sin of Jesus,” based on an Isaac Babel story.
He made his first feature-length film in 1965, “Me and My Brother,” about Julius Orlovsky, brother of Peter, who was Ginsberg’s lover. With this film, Mr. Frank began to blur the line between documentary filmmaking and staged narrative scenes.
The break-up of his marriage to Mary in 1969 coincided with “Conversations in Vermont,” the film he made about his children, Andrea and Pablo. The next year, he bought a house in Mabou, Nova Scotia, with the artist June Leaf, whom he married in 1975 and who survives him. Andrea died in a plane crash in Guatemala in 1974, and Pablo died in 1994.
In the early 1970s, Mr. Frank was commissioned to make photographs for the cover of the Rolling Stones album “Exile on Main Street,” and then asked by the band to shoot a documentary film about its 1972 concert tour. The film chronicled not only the group’s performances but also the violence of the crowds, the drug use and the naked groupies. It was not what the Stones had in mind, and the band obtained a restraining order, which put limits on where and how often the film could be shown.
That same year, Frank published “Lines of My Hand,” a book of photographs he had made before and after “The Americans.” His work was becoming more autobiographical, diaristic.
While the photographs in “The Americans” are the most widely acknowledged achievement of Mr. Frank’s career, they can be seen as a prelude to his subsequent artistic work, in which he explored a variety of mediums, using multiple frames, making large Polaroid prints, video images, experimenting with words and images and shooting and directing films, like “Candy Mountain” (1988), an autobiographical road film directed with Rudy Wurlitzer.
“Movie premiere, Hollywood,” 1955. (from “The Americans.”)CreditRobert Frank, via Pace/MacGill Gallery, New York
Still, it is “The Americans” that will probably endure longer than anything else he did. In 2007 he consented to hang all 83 of the book’s photographs at the Pingyao International Photography Festival in China, in celebration of the book’s 50th anniversary. And in 2009, the National Gallery of Art in Washington mounted “Looking In: Robert Frank’s ‘The Americans,’” an exhaustive and comprehensive retrospective of his masterwork, organized by Sarah Greenough. The show traveled to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.
Mr. Frank acknowledged that in photographing Americans he found the least privileged among them the most compelling.
“My mother asked me, ‘Why do you always take pictures of poor people?’ Mr. Frank told Mr. Dawidoff in The Times Magazine. “It wasn’t true, but my sympathies were with people who struggled. There was also my mistrust of people who made the rules.”
An Iranian female soccer fan who faced a potentially lengthy sentence for trying to enter a soccer stadium dressed as a man has died after setting herself on fire a week ago outside a court, a semi-official news agency reported Tuesday.
The woman, Sahar Khodayari, died at a Tehran hospital on Monday, the Shafaghna news agency reported.
The 30-year-old set herself on fire last week after reportedly learning she may face between six months to two years in prison.
Khodayari was arrested back in March while trying to enter a soccer match for her favorite Iranian soccer team, Esteghlal. She was pretending to be a man and wore a blue hairpiece and a long overcoat when the police stopped her.
Khodayari spent three nights in jail before she was released on bail and waited six months for her court case. When she appeared at court, Khodayari found out her trial had been postponed because the judge had a family emergency, and later overheard someone talking about her possible prison sentence, the BBC reported.
In this Oct. 16, 2018 file photo, Iranian women cheer as they wave their country’s flag after authorities in a rare move allowed a select group of women into Azadi stadium to watch a friendly soccer match between Iran and Bolivia, in Tehran, Iran. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi, File)
She then left the courthouse and set herself ablaze in front of the building, and later died at the hospital.
Sahar Khodayari, an Iranian female soccer fan known as “Blue Girl” for the colors supporting of the Esteghlal team, died after setting herself on fire after learning she may serve a six-month prison sentence for trying to enter a soccer stadium where women are banned, a semi-official news agency reported Tuesday. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi, File)
Khodayari, who had graduated in computer sciences, was known as the “Blue Girl” on social media for the colors of her favorite Iranian soccer team. Esteghlal issued a statement, offering condolences to Khodayari’s family.
The tragic death immediately drew an outcry among some soccer stars and known figures in Iran, where women are banned from soccer stadiums, though they are allowed at some other sports, such as volleyball.
Former Bayern Munich midfielder Ali Karimi — who played 127 matches for Iran and has been a vocal advocate of ending the ban on women — urged Iranians in a tweet to boycott soccer stadiums to protest Khodayari’s death.
Iranian-Armenian soccer player Andranik “Ando” Teymourian, the first Christian to be the captain of Iran’s national squad and also an Esteghlal player, said in a tweet that one of Tehran’s major soccer stadiums will be named after Khodayari, “once, in the future.”
Women in Iran have been banned from going into stadiums to watch men’s sporting events since 1981, according to Human Rights Watch. The stadium ban may is not written into law, but is “ruthlessly enforced”, according to the organization.
Last October, authorities in Iran allowed a select group of women into Azadi stadium to watch a friendly soccer match between Iran and Bolivia, in Tehran, Iran. Iran’s government faced an Aug. 31 dead by Fifa to allow women to attend official football matches in order to “pave the way” for female attendees, the BBC previously reported.
Iran’s minister of information and communications technology, Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi, described the death of the female soccer fan as a “bitter incident.”
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Big tech companies have long rebuffed attempts by the U.S. federal government to scrutinize or scale back their market power. Now they face a scrappy new coalition as well: prosecutors from nearly all 50 states.
In a rare show of bipartisan force, attorneys general from 48 states along with Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia are investigating whether Google’s huge online search and advertising business is engaging in monopolistic behavior. The Texas-led antitrust investigation of Google, announced Monday, follows a separate multistate investigation of Facebook’s market dominance that was revealed Friday.
The state moves follow similar sweeping antitrust tech investigations launched by the Federal Trade Commission and the Trump administration’s Department of Justice; the Democrat-led House Judiciary Committee is conducting a similar probe. But should federal officials tire of their work, the state-led efforts could keep them on their toes.
States have worked closely together on other matters, such as the fight to curb opioid abuse. But the sheer number participating in this kind of antitrust effort is unprecedented and gives it more weight, said Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes, a Republican.
“It’s just an accumulation of public frustration, whether it’s from consumers, other players in the market, regulators, lawmakers,” Reyes said in an interview Monday.
Fiona Scott Morton, a Yale economics professor and former antitrust official at the Justice Department under the Obama administration, said it’s important that states are taking the lead because the Trump administration is “not really enforcing antitrust law except against companies the president is upset with.”
She noted the Trump administration’s unsuccessful push to use antitrust law to block AT&T’s acquisition of Time Warner, which owns CNN, a frequent target of Trump’s criticism; and Friday’s announcement that federal antitrust enforcers would investigate automakers that worked with California on tougher emissions limits.
“That’s not what consumers want,” she said. “Consumers want to be protected from anticompetitive conduct.”
States haven’t seriously taken up antitrust enforcement — using laws originally crafted to combat railroad and oil barons in the 19th century — since a major antitrust case against Microsoft about two decades ago. Then, state leadership helped propel federal action.
Back in 2016, Reyes and a Democratic counterpart, Washington, D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine, tried unsuccessfully to get the Federal Trade Commission to reopen an earlier investigation into Google for allegedly favoring its own products in search results.
The FTC declined, leaving European regulators to take the lead in similar probes overseas, Reyes said.
Google’s parent company, Alphabet, has a market value of more than $820 billion and controls so many facets of the internet that it’s almost impossible to surf the web for long without running into at least one of its services. Google’s dominance in online search and advertising enables it to target millions of consumers for their personal data.
The company — and peers such as Amazon, Facebook and Apple — have long argued that although their businesses are large, they are useful and beneficial to consumers. Influenced by the popularity of the companies’ ubiquitous tech products and their significant lobbying power, most American political leaders didn’t challenge that view.
But the public debate over the tech industry has changed dramatically since Reyes and Racine sent their letter to the FTC at the end of the Obama administration three years ago. Culprits in that shift include Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica privacy scandal, in which a political data mining firm affiliated with Donald Trump’s presidential campaign improperly accessed the personal data of as many as 87 million users.
On Monday, Reyes and Racine joined forces again — this time flanked by nearly a dozen mostly Republican state attorneys general on the steps of the Supreme Court and dozens more from both parties who signed onto the formal investigation.
“Ignoring 50 AGs is a lot more difficult than ignoring two AGs,” Reyes said. “DC and Utah had raised these issues but didn’t feel we had enough firepower or resources on our own.”
Scott Morton, the Yale professor, said most states have laws that mimic federal antitrust laws, but it can be harder for state attorneys general to enforce those laws because they don’t usually have in-house antitrust experts. They can get around that, she added, by working together with other states and hiring shared experts.
Reyes emphasized that the state-led effort is not “anti-tech,” and argued it is “actually for the benefit of the tech ecosystem to help level the playing field.”
He said there’s nothing wrong with Google being the dominant search player if it’s done fairly, but the investigation will look into whether Google crosses the line “between aggressive business practices and illegal ones.”
A tech trade association that has supported some antitrust measures expressed wariness about how states are proceeding.
“We hope the investigations will be law and evidence-based and will restrain from overly politicizing these inquiries, and that both companies and authorities will work together in good faith,” said Ed Black, president and CEO of the Communications Computer and Communications Industry Association.
Associated Press writers Rachel Lerman in San Francisco and Marcy Gordon in Washington contributed to this report.
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Trump wasn’t happy that Legend and Teigen were “talking now about how great” crime reform is but allegedly didn’t act on the reforms when Trump claims that it mattered. Trump signed the First Step Act into law last year, reducing mandatory minimum sentences in certain instances and giving judges more discretion in individual cases. More than 3,100 inmates will be released under the act, which has been praised by both Republicans and Democrats.
Meghan McCain defended Chrissy Teigen after President Trump said the model had a “filthy mouth.” “The View” co-host has had bad blood with Trump for years following his feud with the late Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.). (Getty)
Trump talked about criminal justice reform and how President “Obama couldn’t come close” to passing meaningful law. The president said he is tired of “boring musician John Legend” and his wife for touting the bill, which Legend discussed in a CNN special.
“They only talk about the minor players, or people that had nothing to do with it…And the people that so desperately sought my help when everyone else had failed, all they talk about now is Impeaching President Trump,” Trump lamented.
Legend responded to Trump’s tweet by appealing to first lady Melania Trump.
“Imagine being president of a whole country and spending your Sunday night hate-watching MSNBC hoping somebody—ANYBODY—will praise you. Melania, please praise this man. He needs you,” he tweeted. A minute later he tweeted, “Your country needs you, Melania.”
In an interview with USA Today, Teigen quipped, “I’ve actually been a big Donald Trump hater [for a long time]. I’ve been trolling him for about five to seven years now,” she said. “I’ve been doing this forever, and I take pride in that.”
Fox News’ Edmund DeMarche contributed to this report.