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Westlake Legal Group > News Media (Page 177)

Illinois service member ID’d as one of two killed in Afghanistan by IED

A 21-year-old soldier from Illinois has been identified as one of two U.S. military personnel killed Saturday in Afghanistan.

Miguel Villalon was in a vehicle that was struck by an improvised explosive device (IED) in Kandahar province, according to a Twitter message posted by the City of Aurora.

2 US SERVICE MEMBERS KILLED BY ROADSIDE BOMB IN AFGHANISTAN

The other service member killed in the attack, for which the Taliban took immediate responsibility, has not yet been identified.

“Tonight, the Aurora community mourns the heartbreaking loss of Miguel Vallalon, 21,” the post reads. “He was one of two U.S. service members who passed away today while serving in Afghanistan. A former student at East Aurora High School, Miguel was proud to serve in the United States Army.”

Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin, who is an Army veteran, also commented on Villalon’s passing.

“Our prayers and condolences are with the Villalon family during this tragic time,” Irvin said in a statement, according to WBBM-TV of Chicago. “Miguel was a young soldier with dreams for the future and a desire to make a difference in the world today.

“Miguel was a young soldier with dreams for the future and a desire to make a difference in the world today.”

— Aurora, Ill., Mayor Richard Irvin

“Much like all of us who have left from our hometown of Aurora to serve our country, our goal is to do our job well and return to our family and friends,” Irvin continued. “Sadly, Miguel made the ultimate sacrifice as he protected our freedom from the front lines. The City of Lights shines much dimmer because of this loss. We’ll stand with his family and provide support. Godspeed, young soldier.”

Saturday’s tragedy hit the Chicago area especially hard because just days earlier, Army Specialist Henry Mayfield Jr., 23, of Hazel Crest, Ill., was identified as the service member who was killed Jan. 5 in a terror attack against U.S. and Kenyan forces in Kenya.

Westlake Legal Group mayf55 Illinois service member ID’d as one of two killed in Afghanistan by IED fox-news/world/terrorism fox-news/world/conflicts/afghanistan fox-news/us/us-regions/midwest/illinois fox-news/us/military/army fox-news/us/military fox news fnc/us fnc Dom Calicchio article 882568d8-8aee-50ba-9c8d-ba4ed98622c9

Army Specialist Henry Mayfield Jr., 23, of Hazel Crest, Ill., was identified as the service member who was killed Jan. 5 in a terror attack in Kenya.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

More than 2,400 U.S. service members have been killed in Afghanistan. Last year was one of the deadliest for the United States, with 23 American troops killed, even as Washington engaged in peace talks with the Taliban.

About 2,000 international forces are currently stationed in Afghanistan, focused on training and advising Afghan security forces, with a portion focused on counterterrorism, Stars and Stripes reported.

Fox News’ Louis Casiano and The Associated Press contributed to this story.

Westlake Legal Group villalon Illinois service member ID’d as one of two killed in Afghanistan by IED fox-news/world/terrorism fox-news/world/conflicts/afghanistan fox-news/us/us-regions/midwest/illinois fox-news/us/military/army fox-news/us/military fox news fnc/us fnc Dom Calicchio article 882568d8-8aee-50ba-9c8d-ba4ed98622c9   Westlake Legal Group villalon Illinois service member ID’d as one of two killed in Afghanistan by IED fox-news/world/terrorism fox-news/world/conflicts/afghanistan fox-news/us/us-regions/midwest/illinois fox-news/us/military/army fox-news/us/military fox news fnc/us fnc Dom Calicchio article 882568d8-8aee-50ba-9c8d-ba4ed98622c9

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Iranian female Olympian defects, calls out regime’s ‘hypocrisy’ as she exits country permanently

Iran’s only female Olympic medalist has reportedly defected, posting a goodbye letter to Iran on Saturday, calling out the government’s “hypocrisy” as she announced she had permanently left the country.

“Should I start with hello, goodbye, or condolences?” Taekwondo athlete, Kimia Alizadeh, 21, posted on her Instagram in Farsi, Agence France-Presse reported.

Alizadeh did not disclose where she was going, but Iran’s ISNA news agency reported she had gone to the Netherlands, according to AFP. The Iranian report quoted Alizadeh’s coach as saying the athlete was injured and did not show up for trials ahead of the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.

IRAN ADMITS TO ‘UNINTENTIONALLY’ SHOOTING DOWN UKRAINIAN PLANE, SAYS IT MISTOOK AIRCRAFT FOR HOSTILE TARGET

The Olympian’s announcement came just a day after Iranian officials admitted to downing a Ukrainian passenger plane, killing 176 people minutes after takeoff from Tehran’s international airport early Wednesday due to “human error,” thinking it was a military aircraft.

She accused the Iranian government of “lying” and “injustice” toward Iranian athletes, adding all she wants is “Taekwondo, security and a happy and healthy life,” according to AFP.

Alizadeh won a bronze medal in Taekwondo at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

She said she wore everything the government asked her to wear, referring to the head covering all Iranian female athletes must wear, and wrote she “repeated everything they told me to say…None of us matter to them.”

Westlake Legal Group GettyImages-591909792 Iranian female Olympian defects, calls out regime's 'hypocrisy' as she exits country permanently fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/world fox-news/sports/olympics fox-news/sports fox news fnc/sports fnc dd49698f-479a-51f6-b952-f455b53533cf Brie Stimson article

​​​​​​​Kimia Alizadeh Zenoorin of Iran celebrates after defeating Nikita Glasnovic of Sweden during a women’s Bronze Medal Taekwondo contest at the 2016 Summer Olympics, Aug. 18, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Getty Images)

Iranian parliamentarian Abdolkarim Hosseinzadeh decried “incompetent officials,” saying the country had allowed “human capital to flee,” AFP reported.

He compared Alizadeh to Alireza Firouzja, an Iranian chess prodigy who now lives in France after becoming a grandmaster at age 14.

In a Twitter message, U.S. State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus hailed Alizadeh’s decision.

#KimiaAlizadeh, Iran’s only female Olympic medalist, has rejected the regime’s oppression of women,” Ortagus wrote. “She has defected for a life of security, happiness, and freedom. #Iran will continue to lose more strong women unless it learns to empower and support them.”

ISNA reported Alizadeh plans to try to compete in the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo but wouldn’t represent Iran.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

Alizadeh promised the Iranian people she would always remain a “child of Iran.”

Westlake Legal Group GettyImages-591909792 Iranian female Olympian defects, calls out regime's 'hypocrisy' as she exits country permanently fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/world fox-news/sports/olympics fox-news/sports fox news fnc/sports fnc dd49698f-479a-51f6-b952-f455b53533cf Brie Stimson article   Westlake Legal Group GettyImages-591909792 Iranian female Olympian defects, calls out regime's 'hypocrisy' as she exits country permanently fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/world fox-news/sports/olympics fox-news/sports fox news fnc/sports fnc dd49698f-479a-51f6-b952-f455b53533cf Brie Stimson article

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Iran arrests UK ambassador in what Britain calls ‘flagrant violation of international law’

A top British official condemned Saturday’s arrest of the U.K. ambassador to Iran during anti-government protests in Tehran, calling the detainment “a flagrant violation of international law.”

Rob Macaire, who has been Britain’s envoy to the Islamic republic since March 2018, was arrested as he stopped at a barber shop for a haircut after attending a vigil for the victims of a Ukrainian jetliner that crashed in Tehran last week, the BBC reported.

Macaire left the vigil after it became a demonstration but was later accused by Iranian authorities of helping to incite the anti-government protest, The Independent of Britain reported.

TRUMP TWEETS SUPPORT OF IRANIAN ANTI-GOVERNMENT PROTESTERS AFTER UKRAINIAN PASSENGER PLANE SHOT DOWN

He was released after three hours but the arrest infuriated the British government.

“The arrest of our Ambassador in Tehran without grounds or explanation is a flagrant violation of international law,” British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said in a statement.

“The Iranian government is at a cross-roads moment. It can continue its march towards pariah status with all the political and economic isolation that entails, or take steps to deescalate tensions and engage in a diplomatic path forwards.”

A photo of Macaire was posted on Twitter by the Etemad newspaper of Iran after his arrest was reported by the Tasnim news agency, according to the BBC.

Tasnim tweeted that Macaire was detained “for organizing suspicious movements and protests in front of Amir Kabir University but released after hours.” The tweet added that Macaire would be “summoned by the foreign ministry tomorrow morning.”

Westlake Legal Group 74eadcda-uk-ambassador-iran Iran arrests UK ambassador in what Britain calls ‘flagrant violation of international law’ fox-news/world/world-regions/united-kingdom fox-news/world/world-regions/middle-east fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/state-department fox-news/politics/foreign-policy fox news fnc/world fnc f55e0f35-6483-57cd-b7b5-9f3df12c3aea Dom Calicchio article

Rob Macaire has been Britain’s ambassador to Iran since March 2018. (Twitter)

In a Twitter message, U.S. State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus called Macaire’s arrest a violation of the Vienna Convention, which she said the Iranian regime “has a notorious history of violating.”

“We call on the regime to formally apologize to the UK for violating his rights and to respect the rights of all diplomats,” Ortagus wrote.

Saturday’s anti-government protests in Tehran followed Iran’s admission Friday that its military had “unintentionally” show down a Ukrainian passenger jet last week, killing all 176 people on board.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

Both Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif attributed the downing of the jet to “human error” – but the foreign minister added that the error had been caused by “U.S. adventurism” – a likely reference to the American airstrike that killed Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad on Jan. 3.

On Saturday, both President Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tweeted messages of support for the Iranian citizens who opposed the nation’s government.

“The voice of the Iranian people is clear. They are fed up with the regime’s lies, corruption, ineptitude, and brutality of the IRGC under @khamenei_ir‘s kleptocracy,” Pompeo wrote.

Westlake Legal Group uk-ambassador-iran Iran arrests UK ambassador in what Britain calls ‘flagrant violation of international law’ fox-news/world/world-regions/united-kingdom fox-news/world/world-regions/middle-east fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/state-department fox-news/politics/foreign-policy fox news fnc/world fnc f55e0f35-6483-57cd-b7b5-9f3df12c3aea Dom Calicchio article   Westlake Legal Group uk-ambassador-iran Iran arrests UK ambassador in what Britain calls ‘flagrant violation of international law’ fox-news/world/world-regions/united-kingdom fox-news/world/world-regions/middle-east fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/state-department fox-news/politics/foreign-policy fox news fnc/world fnc f55e0f35-6483-57cd-b7b5-9f3df12c3aea Dom Calicchio article

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

Iran arrests UK ambassador in what Britain calls ‘flagrant violation of international law’

A top British official condemned Saturday’s arrest of the U.K. ambassador to Iran during anti-government protests in Tehran, calling the detainment “a flagrant violation of international law.”

Rob Macaire, who has been Britain’s envoy to the Islamic republic since March 2018, was arrested as he stopped at a barber shop for a haircut after attending a vigil for the victims of a Ukrainian jetliner that crashed in Tehran last week, the BBC reported.

Macaire left the vigil after it became a demonstration but was later accused by Iranian authorities of helping to incite the anti-government protest, The Independent of Britain reported.

TRUMP TWEETS SUPPORT OF IRANIAN ANTI-GOVERNMENT PROTESTERS AFTER UKRAINIAN PASSENGER PLANE SHOT DOWN

He was released after three hours but the arrest infuriated the British government.

“The arrest of our Ambassador in Tehran without grounds or explanation is a flagrant violation of international law,” British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said in a statement.

“The Iranian government is at a cross-roads moment. It can continue its march towards pariah status with all the political and economic isolation that entails, or take steps to deescalate tensions and engage in a diplomatic path forwards.”

A photo of Macaire was posted on Twitter by the Etemad newspaper of Iran after his arrest was reported by the Tasnim news agency, according to the BBC.

Tasnim tweeted that Macaire was detained “for organizing suspicious movements and protests in front of Amir Kabir University but released after hours.” The tweet added that Macaire would be “summoned by the foreign ministry tomorrow morning.”

Westlake Legal Group 74eadcda-uk-ambassador-iran Iran arrests UK ambassador in what Britain calls ‘flagrant violation of international law’ fox-news/world/world-regions/united-kingdom fox-news/world/world-regions/middle-east fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/state-department fox-news/politics/foreign-policy fox news fnc/world fnc f55e0f35-6483-57cd-b7b5-9f3df12c3aea Dom Calicchio article

Rob Macaire has been Britain’s ambassador to Iran since March 2018. (Twitter)

In a Twitter message, U.S. State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus called Macaire’s arrest a violation of the Vienna Convention, which she said the Iranian regime “has a notorious history of violating.”

“We call on the regime to formally apologize to the UK for violating his rights and to respect the rights of all diplomats,” Ortagus wrote.

Saturday’s anti-government protests in Tehran followed Iran’s admission Friday that its military had “unintentionally” show down a Ukrainian passenger jet last week, killing all 176 people on board.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

Both Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif attributed the downing of the jet to “human error” – but the foreign minister added that the error had been caused by “U.S. adventurism” – a likely reference to the American airstrike that killed Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad on Jan. 3.

On Saturday, both President Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tweeted messages of support for the Iranian citizens who opposed the nation’s government.

“The voice of the Iranian people is clear. They are fed up with the regime’s lies, corruption, ineptitude, and brutality of the IRGC under @khamenei_ir‘s kleptocracy,” Pompeo wrote.

Westlake Legal Group uk-ambassador-iran Iran arrests UK ambassador in what Britain calls ‘flagrant violation of international law’ fox-news/world/world-regions/united-kingdom fox-news/world/world-regions/middle-east fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/state-department fox-news/politics/foreign-policy fox news fnc/world fnc f55e0f35-6483-57cd-b7b5-9f3df12c3aea Dom Calicchio article   Westlake Legal Group uk-ambassador-iran Iran arrests UK ambassador in what Britain calls ‘flagrant violation of international law’ fox-news/world/world-regions/united-kingdom fox-news/world/world-regions/middle-east fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/state-department fox-news/politics/foreign-policy fox news fnc/world fnc f55e0f35-6483-57cd-b7b5-9f3df12c3aea Dom Calicchio article

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Titans stun Ravens, head to AFC title game with 28-12 win

BALTIMORE — The Tennessee Titans fear no one. Not even the NFL’s best team.

Why should they with Derrick Henry running — and even throwing — the ball, and a big-play defense making clutch stops and turnovers?

One week after dominating defending Super Bowl champion New England, Henry gained 195 yards rushing and threw a 3-yard touchdown pass in a 28-12 victory over the Ravens. Baltimore (14-3) had won its last 12 games, with quarterback Lamar Jackson setting records and looking unstoppable.

On Saturday night, it was Henry who was unstoppable.

49ERS WIN FIRST PLAYOFF GAME IN 6 YEARS, 27-10 OVER VIKINGS

Plus, Tennessee’s defense had two interceptions of Jackson, who also lost a fumble, and the Titans (11-7) twice stopped Baltimore on fourth-and-1.

Henry’s jump-pass to Corey Davis displayed yet another of his skills. He has completed three throws in four attempts in his career.

But it’s the way he plows over and through opponents that makes Henry — and the Titans — dangerous. Next week, they will go after their second Super Bowl trip and first since the 2000 season, either at Kansas City or Houston. The last sixth seed to get to the big game was Green Bay in the 2010 season; the Packers won it all.

Tennessee scored all of its points off takeaways or fourth-down stops.

Ryan Tannehill’s throws to Jonnu Smith and Kalif Raymond, who missed the last two games in concussion protocol, gave Tennessee a 14-point edge.

Westlake Legal Group AP20012054977998 Titans stun Ravens, head to AFC title game with 28-12 win fox-news/sports/nfl/tennessee-titans fox-news/sports/nfl/baltimore-ravens fox-news/sports/nfl fnc/sports fnc Barry Wilner Associated Press article a2f0f457-23a9-5ed3-beb1-0d5719e608cf

Baltimore Ravens cornerback Marcus Peters (24) hits Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry (22) during an NFL divisional playoff football game, Saturday, Jan. 11, 2020, in Baltimore. (Associated Press)

Tennessee’s first score came after tight end Mark Andrews, the Ravens’ top receiver this season, mistimed his leap and had Jackson’s pass deflect into the air. Safety Kevin Byard was there to pick it off.

Byard scooted 31 yards down the left side, and with a 15-yard personal foul penalty on Jackson added, the Titans were at the Baltimore 35. The hushed crowd then saw five straight Titans runs to the 4 before Earl Thomas came free untouched for an 8-yard sack.

Tennessee simply shrugged and Smith made a juggling catch in the left corner of the end zone. Replay determined he landed barely in bounds for a 7-0 lead.

A fourth-down stop with less than a yard to go — the first time in nine tries all season the Ravens failed on fourth-and-1 — set up Tennessee’s next touchdown. Tannehill made it 14-0 with his gorgeous long pass that floated over Raymond’s shoulder into his arms behind All-Pro defensive back Marcus Peters. The folks in the stands dressed in purple, who hadn’t seen their team in such a deep hole since the end of September, had gone silent.

They did wake up for Baltimore’s 12-play second-quarter drive that included a 30-yard completion to rookie Marquise Brown on third down. But the drive netted only Jason Tucker’s 49-yard field goal.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

Brown again was instrumental on a late 91-yard drive to Tucker’s 22-yarder as he made a spectacular one-handed grab of a 38-yard pass, also on third down. Getting within one score in a half they were generally outplayed gave the Ravens little boost, though.

Henry’s 66-yard romp on third-and-1 led to his passing TD on a direct snap in the third quarter, followed one play later by Jurrell Casey forcing Jackson’s fumble, recovered by rookie Jeffery Simmons. Tannehill’s 1-yard run made it 28-6.

Westlake Legal Group AP20012054977998 Titans stun Ravens, head to AFC title game with 28-12 win fox-news/sports/nfl/tennessee-titans fox-news/sports/nfl/baltimore-ravens fox-news/sports/nfl fnc/sports fnc Barry Wilner Associated Press article a2f0f457-23a9-5ed3-beb1-0d5719e608cf   Westlake Legal Group AP20012054977998 Titans stun Ravens, head to AFC title game with 28-12 win fox-news/sports/nfl/tennessee-titans fox-news/sports/nfl/baltimore-ravens fox-news/sports/nfl fnc/sports fnc Barry Wilner Associated Press article a2f0f457-23a9-5ed3-beb1-0d5719e608cf

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New bill would require personal finance to be taught in school

Westlake Legal Group 0DtJhKhJGF9qX5AI-ZMMluALqPilAn0A2kVViPo18Fo New bill would require personal finance to be taught in school r/politics

Nah, they just make the text books for the classes. Lots of schools already have personal finance classes and most of them are meh in actual usefulness.

It’ll be up to each state as is their interpretation of personal finance so…. Without some kind of standardization and the states just making it up as they go I wouldn’t put too much faith in the idea.

Teaching kids the basics of how to balance a checkbook and do taxes doesn’t really wind up doing much because they’re not actually doing taxes or spending money and the lessons just don’t mean much.

it’s hard to simulate personal finance and responsibility when you stop and think about it because they don’t really have bills or income or concerns.

I think a class on like how to manage a house and how not to waste all your money on food and getting fat would you better classes.

In a lot of ways I don’t think teaching them the mathematics of personal finance isnt going to be very useful because that doesn’t impact the way people impulsively buy things. Like If you’re addicted to snacks and ice cream it doesn’t really help if you financially manage your addiction in a way that allows you to afford it so much as you need to realize that your impulsive buying or eating habit is not sustainable.

in the case of personal finance you need to teach people how not to make stupid decisions that get them in debt but these stupid decisions are often well beyond the scope of any kind of personal finance class…. Like don’t get addicted to nicotine or alcohol or don’t buy a big fancy car you can barely afford as a status symbol.

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Storms Sweep The South And Midwest, Killing At Least 11 People

HOUSTON (AP) — Severe storms sweeping across southern portions of the U.S. and up into the Midwest were blamed Saturday in the deaths of at least 11 people, including two first responders, as high winds, tornadoes and unrelenting rain battered large swaths of the country.

Storm-related fatalities were reported in Texas due to icy weather, in Alabama from a deadly tornado and in Louisiana, where winds were so strong that a trailer home was lifted off its foundation and carried several hundred feet. A man drowned in Oklahoma and the storms even touched the Midwest with at least one death on an icy highway in Iowa. Hundreds of thousands of people were left without power from Texas to Ohio, parts of highways were closed in Oklahoma and Arkansas due to flooding and hundreds of flights were canceled at Chicago’s international airports.

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson declared a state of emergency to assist crews working to restore power around the state.

Two first responders were killed and another was critically injured in Lubbock, Texas, Saturday morning after they were hit by a vehicle while working the scene of a traffic accident in icy conditions, officials said.

Police Officer Nicholas Reyna, 27, who had been with the department for one year, died at the scene. Firefighter Lt. David Hill, 39, was taken to a local hospital where he later died. Firefighter Matthew Dawson, 30, was hospitalized in critical condition.

Lubbock Police Chief Floyd Mitchell called it an “extremely tragic day” for the city.

“If people would respect road conditions, things like this wouldn’t have to happen,” said Lubbock Fire Chief Shaun Fogerson.

Another person had died in Texas Friday night when a car flipped into a creek in Dallas as severe thunderstorms passed through. Lightning from Friday’s stormy weather was suspected of causing fires that burned two houses but caused no injuries in the North Texas cities of Burleson and Mansfield.

A man drowned near Kiowa, Oklahoma, after he was swept away in floodwaters, the Oklahoma Highway Patrol said Saturday. Randall Hyatt, 58, of Wardville, was overwhelmed by rushing water while getting out of his stalled truck.

The Iowa State Patrol said roads were caked with ice early Saturday when a semitrailer on Interstate 80 overturned, killing a passenger in the truck east of Iowa City.

In Alabama, three people were confirmed killed near Carrollton in Pickens County, the National Weather Service in Birmingham tweeted. The Alabama Emergency Management Agency said the deaths were caused by an “embedded tornado within a long line of intense thunderstorms.”

Earlier Saturday, in northwestern Louisiana, firefighters found the bodies of Jerry W. Franks, 79, and Mary Sue Franks, 65, near their demolished trailer in Benton, the Bossier Parish Sheriff’s Office said via Facebook. The winds were so strong the home of the couple, who were the in-laws of a parish deputy, was moved 200 feet (61 meters) from its foundation.

Willie Davis owns a barn near where the Franks lived. He told KTBS-TV that this wasn’t the first time he’d seen storms like this.

“Four or five times that I’ve known that (storms) have been through they hit, tearing down trees and the barn and stuff like that,” Willie Davis said. “But that’s about all it normally does every time, … this is the first time we’ve had any casualties.”

The National Weather Service in Shreveport said a tornado with winds of around 135 mph (217 kph) had touched down in Bossier Parish. Drone footage showed smashed buildings, a large vehicle flipped on its side, toppled trees and debris scattered over a large area.

Also in Louisiana, Raymond Holden, 75, was killed in his bed when a tree fell on his home in Oil City, crushing him, according to the Caddo Parish Coroner’s Office.

About 67,000 customers were without power in Alabama on Saturday night, according to Alabama Power. PowerOutage.us said Georgia had about 98,000 power outages Saturday evening, with tens of thousands of outages also reported in Mississippi and Louisiana. Outages occurred from Texas to Ohio.

In Tennessee, damage was widespread throughout Shelby County, the state’s most populous county, which includes Memphis. There were numerous downed trees and power poles, some of which will need to be replaced, according to the utility.

The Oklahoma Department of Transportation said portions of several highways in the southeastern part of the state were closed due to flooding. The Arkansas Department of Transportation reported that portions of several state highways across the state, particularly in southeastern Arkansas, were closed due to downed trees, power lines and flooding.

Many streams were already at or near flood levels because of earlier storms, and heavy rains could lead to flash flooding across the region, forecasters said. Parts of Arkansas, Tennessee, Mississippi, Missouri, Illinois and Indiana were under flash flood warnings or watches on Saturday.

The storm, bringing the threat of ice and snow to the Chicago area, prompted the cancellation of more than 1,200 flights Saturday at Chicago’s two main airports. Most cancellations occurred at Chicago’s O’Hare International, according to the Chicago Department of Aviation’s online flight-tracking website.

The weather service issued a winter weather advisory, flood watch and lakeshore flood warning for the Chicago metropolitan area for Saturday and a winter storm warning for adjacent areas of northwestern Illinois.

AP writer Rick Callahan contributed from Indianapolis.

Westlake Legal Group 5e1aa2742400003300fd40b7 Storms Sweep The South And Midwest, Killing At Least 11 People

ASSOCIATED PRESS Severe storms sweeping across parts of the U.S. South were blamed for deaths and destruction, such as this unoccupied business on Main Street in downtown Greenville, Miss., Saturday, Jan. 11, 2020. The storms are blamed for the deaths of at least nine people, as high winds, tornadoes and unrelenting rain battered a large area of the South. (Catherine Kirk/The Delta Democrat-Times via AP)

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

New bill would require personal finance to be taught in school

Westlake Legal Group 0DtJhKhJGF9qX5AI-ZMMluALqPilAn0A2kVViPo18Fo New bill would require personal finance to be taught in school r/politics

Nah, they just make the text books for the classes. Lots of schools already have personal finance classes and most of them are meh in actual usefulness.

It’ll be up to each state as is their interpretation of personal finance so…. Without some kind of standardization and the states just making it up as they go I wouldn’t put too much faith in the idea.

Teaching kids the basics of how to balance a checkbook and do taxes doesn’t really wind up doing much because they’re not actually doing taxes or spending money and the lessons just don’t mean much.

it’s hard to simulate personal finance and responsibility when you stop and think about it because they don’t really have bills or income or concerns.

I think a class on like how to manage a house and how not to waste all your money on food and getting fat would you better classes.

In a lot of ways I don’t think teaching them the mathematics of personal finance isnt going to be very useful because that doesn’t impact the way people impulsively buy things. Like If you’re addicted to snacks and ice cream it doesn’t really help if you financially manage your addiction in a way that allows you to afford it so much as you need to realize that your impulsive buying or eating habit is not sustainable.

in the case of personal finance you need to teach people how not to make stupid decisions that get them in debt but these stupid decisions are often well beyond the scope of any kind of personal finance class…. Like don’t get addicted to nicotine or alcohol or don’t buy a big fancy car you can barely afford as a status symbol.

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

Seven Days in January: How Trump Pushed U.S. and Iran to the Brink of War

WASHINGTON — The plane was late and the kill team was worried. International listings showed that Cham Wings Airlines Flight 6Q501, scheduled to take off from Damascus at 7:30 p.m. for Baghdad, had departed, but in fact, an informant at the airport reported, it was still on the ground and the targeted passenger had not yet shown up.

The hours ticked by and some involved in the operation wondered if it should be called off. Then, just before the plane door closed, a convoy of cars pulled up on the tarmac carrying Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, Iran’s security mastermind, who climbed on board along with two escorts. Flight 6Q501 lifted off, three hours late, bound for the Iraqi capital.

The plane landed at Baghdad International Airport just after midnight, at 12:36 a.m., and the first to disembark were General Suleimani and his entourage. Waiting at the bottom of the gangway was Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, an Iraqi official in charge of militias and close to Iran. Two cars carrying the group headed into the night — shadowed by American MQ-9 Reaper drones. At 12:47, the first of several missiles smashed into the vehicles, engulfing them in flames and leaving 10 charred bodies inside.

The operation that took out General Suleimani, the commander of the Quds Force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, propelled the United States to the precipice of war with Iran and plunged the world into seven days of roiling uncertainty. The story of those seven days, and the secret planning in the months preceding them, ranks as the most perilous chapter so far in President Trump’s three years in office after his decision to launch an audacious strike on Iran, and his attempt through allies and a back channel to keep the ensuing crisis from mushrooming out of control.

The president’s decision to ratchet up decades of simmering conflict with Iran set off an extraordinary worldwide drama, much of which played out behind the scenes. In capitals from Europe to the Middle East, leaders and diplomats sought to head off a full-fledged new war while at the White House and Pentagon, the president and his advisers ordered more troops to the region.

Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler was so alarmed he dispatched his brother to Washington for a clandestine meeting with Mr. Trump. European leaders, incensed at being kept in the dark, scrambled to keep Iran from escalating. If it did, Americans developed plans to strike a command-and-control ship and conduct a cyberattack to partly disable Iran’s oil and gas sector.

ImageWestlake Legal Group 11dc-sevendays6-articleLarge Seven Days in January: How Trump Pushed U.S. and Iran to the Brink of War United States International Relations United States Defense and Military Forces Trump, Donald J Targeted Killings Suleimani, Qassim Pompeo, Mike Military Bases and Installations Iran Esper, Mark T Drones (Pilotless Planes) Diplomatic Service, Embassies and Consulates Baghdad International Airport (Iraq)

The aftermath of the airstrike on Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani’s car on Jan. 3 at the Baghdad airport. Altogether, 10 people were killed.Credit…Iraqi Prime Minister Press Office, via Associated Press

But the United States also sent secret messages through Swiss intermediaries urging Iran not to respond so forcefully that Mr. Trump would feel compelled to go even further. After it did respond, firing 16 missiles at bases housing American troops without hurting anyone as a relatively harmless show of force, a message came back through the Swiss saying that would be the end of its reprisal for now. The message, forwarded to Washington within five minutes after it was received, persuaded the president to stand down.

When the week ended without the war many feared, Mr. Trump boasted that he had taken out an American enemy. But the struggle between two nations is not really over. Iran may find other ways to take revenge. Iraqi leaders may expel American forces, accomplishing in death what General Suleimani tried and failed to do in life. And in the confusion, a Ukrainian civilian passenger jet was destroyed by an Iranian missile, killing 176 people.

The episode briefly gave Mr. Trump’s allies something to cheer, distracting from the coming Senate impeachment trial, but now he faces questions even among Republicans about the shifting justifications for the strike that he and his national security team have offered. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo initially cited the need to forestall an “imminent” attack and the president has amplified that to say four American embassies were targeted.

But administration officials said they did not actually know when or where such an attack might occur and one State Department official said it was “a mistake” to use the word “imminent.” And some senior military commanders were stunned that Mr. Trump picked what they considered a radical option with unforeseen consequences.

This account, based on interviews with dozens of Trump administration officials, military officers, diplomats, intelligence analysts and others in the United States, Europe and the Middle East, offers new details about what may be the most consequential seven days of the Trump presidency.

The confrontation may have actually begun by accident. For years, Iran has sponsored proxy forces in Iraq, competing for influence with American troops who first arrived in the invasion of 2003. Starting last fall, Iranian-backed militias launched rockets at Iraqi bases that house American troops, shattering nerves more than doing much damage.

So when rockets smashed into the K1 military base near Kirkuk on Dec. 27, killing an American civilian contractor, Nawres Waleed Hamid, and injuring several others, the only surprise was the casualties. Kataib Hezbollah, the Iranian-backed militia group held responsible, had fired at least five other rocket attacks on bases with Americans in the previous month without deadly results.

American intelligence officials monitoring communications between Kataib Hezbollah and General Suleimani’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps learned that the Iranians wanted to keep the pressure on the Americans but had not intended to escalate the low-level conflict. The rockets landed in a place and at a time when American and Iraqi personnel normally were not there and it was only by unlucky chance that Mr. Hamid was killed, American officials said.

But that did not matter to Mr. Trump and his team. An American was dead and the president who had called off a retaliatory strike with 10 minutes to go in June and otherwise refrained from military action in response to Iranian provocations now faced a choice.

Advisers told him Iran had probably misinterpreted his previous reluctance to use force as a sign of weakness. To reestablish deterrence, he should authorize a tough response. On holiday at Mar-a-Lago, his Florida resort, the president agreed to strikes on five sites in Iraq and Syria two days later, killing at least 25 members of Kataib Hezbollah and injuring at least 50 more.

Two days later, on Dec. 31, pro-Iranian protesters backed by many members of the same militia responded by breaking into the American Embassy compound in Baghdad and setting fires. Worried about repeats of the 1979 embassy takeover in Iran or the 2012 attack on a diplomatic post in Benghazi, Libya, Mr. Trump and his team ordered more than 100 Marines to rush to Baghdad from Kuwait.

The Marines received little information about their mission or what was happening on the ground as they loaded their magazines with ammunition. All they knew was they were being sent to secure the embassy with one clear order: If protesters entered the compound, kill them.

Some of the Marines made dry jokes about the movie, “Rules of Engagement,” starring Samuel L. Jackson as a commander whose unit fires on a crowd of embassy protesters, stirring an international episode and a court-martial. But when the Marines reached Baghdad, none had to open fire. They used nonlethal weapons like tear gas to disperse protesters and the siege ended without bloodshed.

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Maps: How the Confrontation Between the U.S. and Iran Escalated

Here’s how the situation developed over the last two weeks.

Still, watching television in Florida, Mr. Trump grew agitated by the chaos and ready to authorize a more robust response. And on Dec. 31, even as the protests were beginning, a top secret memo started circulating, signed by Robert C. O’Brien, his national security adviser, and listing potential targets, including an Iranian energy facility and a command-and-control ship used by the Revolutionary Guards to direct small boats that harass oil tankers in the waters around Iran. The ship had been an irritant to Americans for months, especially after a series of covert attacks on oil tankers.

The memo also listed a more provocative option — targeting specific Iranian officials for death by military strike. Among the targets mentioned, according to officials who saw it, was Abdul Reza Shahlai, an Iranian commander in Yemen who helped finance armed groups across the region.

Another name on the list: General Suleimani.

General Suleimani was hardly a household name in the United States, but as far as American officials were concerned, he was responsible for more instability and death in the Middle East than almost anyone.

As the head of the elite Quds Force, General Suleimani was effectively the second-most powerful man in Iran and had a hand in managing proxy wars in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen, including a campaign of roadside bombs and other attacks that killed an estimated 600 American troops during the height of the Iraq war.

At 62, with a narrow face, gray hair and a close-cropped beard, General Suleimani was known for traveling without body armor or personal protection, collaborating with some of the most ruthless figures in the region while sharing meals with the fighters and telling them to take care of their mothers, according to a Hezbollah field commander who met him in Syria.

After decades of working in the shadows, General Suleimani had emerged in recent years following the Arab Spring and war with the Islamic State as the public figure most associated with Iran’s goal of achieving regional dominance. Photographs surfaced showing him visiting the front lines in Iraq or Syria, meeting with Iran’s supreme leader in Tehran or sitting down with the Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah in Lebanon. When President Bashar al-Assad of Syria visited Tehran last year, it was General Suleimani who welcomed him.

By the end of 2019, General Suleimani could boast of a number of Iranian accomplishments: Mr. Assad, a longtime Iranian ally, was safely in power in Damascus, Syria’s capital, prevailing in a bloody, multifront, yearslong civil war and the Quds Force had a permanent presence on Israel’s frontier. A number of militias General Suleimani had helped foster were receiving salaries from the Iraqi government and exerting power in Iraq’s political system. And the Islamic State had been defeated in Syria and Iraq thanks, in part, to ground forces he had overseen, one area where he and the United States shared interests.

For the past 18 months, officials said, there had been discussions about whether to target General Suleimani. Figuring that it would be too difficult to hit him in Iran, officials contemplated going after him during one of his frequent visits to Syria or Iraq and focused on developing agents in seven different entities to report on his movements — the Syrian Army, the Quds Force in Damascus, Hezbollah in Damascus, the Damascus and Baghdad airports and the Kataib Hezbollah and Popular Mobilization forces in Iraq.

By the time tensions with Iran spiked in May with attacks on four oil tankers, John R. Bolton, then the president’s national security adviser, asked the military and intelligence agencies to produce new options to deter Iranian aggression. Among those presented to Mr. Bolton was killing General Suleimani and other leaders of the Revolutionary Guards. At that point, work to track General Suleimani’s travels grew more intense.

By September, the United States Central Command and Joint Special Operations Command were brought into the process to plan a possible operation. Various alternatives were discussed, some in Syria, some in Iraq. Syria seemed more complicated, both because the American military had less freedom of movement there and because General Suleimani spent most of his time with Hezbollah officers and officials did not want to bring them into the mix and risk a new war with Israel.

Agents recruited in Syria and Iraq reported from time to time on General Suleimani’s movements, according to an official involved. Surveillance revealed that he flew on a number of airlines and sometimes tickets for a trip were bought on more than one to throw off pursuers. He would be delivered to his plane at the last possible moment, then sit in the front row of business class so he could get off first and depart quickly.

General Suleimani set off on his last trip on New Year’s Day, flying to Damascus and then heading by car to Lebanon to meet with Mr. Nasrallah, the Hezbollah leader, before returning to Damascus that evening. During their meeting, Mr. Nasrallah said in a later speech, he warned General Suleimani that the American news media was focusing on him and publishing his photograph.

“This was media and political preparation for his assassination,” Mr. Nasrallah said.

But as he recalled, General Suleimani laughed, and said that, in fact, he hoped to die a martyr and asked Mr. Nasrallah to pray that he would.

That same day, at C.I.A. headquarters in Langley, Va., Gina Haspel was working to fulfill that prayer.

Ms. Haspel, the director, was shown intelligence indicating that General Suleimani was preparing to move from Syria to Iraq. Officials told her there was additional intelligence that he was working on a large-scale attack intended to drive American forces out of the Middle East.

There was no single definitive piece of intelligence. Instead, officials said, C.I.A. officers spoke of the “mosaic effect,” multiple scraps of information that came together indicating that General Suleimani was organizing proxy forces around the region, including in Lebanon, Yemen and Iraq, to attack American embassies and bases. Several officials said they did not have enough concrete information to describe such a threat as “imminent,” despite Mr. Pompeo’s assertion, but they did see a worrying pattern.

While Mr. Pompeo also claimed later that such an attack could kill “hundreds,” other officials said they had no specific intelligence suggesting that. Most American facilities in the region have been heavily fortified for years and such an immense death toll would be unlikely; at no point in the last two decades, even during the worst of the Iraq war, have any hostile forces been able to pull off such a deadly assault on Americans at once.

Nonetheless, Ms. Haspel was convinced there was evidence of a coming attack and argued the consequences of not striking General Suleimani were more dangerous than waiting, officials said. While others worried about reprisals, she reassured colleagues that Iran’s response would be measured. Indeed, she predicted the most likely response would be an ineffectual missile strike from Iran on Iraqi bases where American troops were stationed.

“If past is prologue, we have learned that when we enforce a red line with Iran, when Iran gets rapped on the knuckles, they tactically retreat,” said Dan Hoffman, a former C.I.A. officer who served in Iraq. “The retreat might be ephemeral before Iran probes its enemies with more gradually escalating attacks, but we’ve seen it repeatedly.”

There was little dissent about killing General Suleimani among Mr. Trump’s senior advisers, but some Pentagon officials were shocked that the president picked what they considered the most extreme option and some intelligence officials worried that the possible long-term ramifications were not adequately considered, particularly if action on Iraqi soil prompted Iraq to expel American forces.

“The whole thing seems haphazard to me,” said Marc Polymeropoulos, a former senior C.I.A. official who retired last year.

The Trump administration has said that General Suleimani was going to Baghdad as part of the attack plot, but there are different theories about the purpose of his visit.

General Suleimani had long played a role as power broker in Iraqi politics, and two Iraqi politicians with links to Iran said he was coming to Baghdad to help break an impasse over replacing the prime minister after the collapse of the government in November in the face of anti-Iran protests.

But Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi, still serving as a caretaker until a new government is formed, told Parliament after the drone strike that General Suleimani had another goal — to bring an Iranian response to a Saudi offer to reduce tensions. The shadow conflict between Iran and Saudi Arabia had been heating up. After Iranian forces were blamed for an attack on two Saudi oil facilities in September and Mr. Trump opted against a military response, Saudi officials worried that they were vulnerable and opened a back channel.

In his speech to Parliament, Mr. Abdul Mahdi said he had planned to meet with General Suleimani a few hours after his arrival in Baghdad. “It was expected that he was carrying a message for me from the Iranian side responding to the Saudi message that we had sent to the Iranian side to reach agreements and breakthroughs,” Mr. Abdul Mahdi said.

A Saudi official said he was unaware of any message carried by General Suleimani and some analysts doubted Mr. Abdul Mahdi’s account. “That is laughable,” said Mohammed Alyahya, the editor in chief of Al Arabiya English, a Saudi news site. “Suddenly, this man is a diplomat extraordinaire one day before he died?”

Another theory, advanced by an intelligence official involved in the operation, held that General Suleimani was visiting Iraq to quash anti-Iranian protests by having his Shia militia break them up by force. He hoped to install a new anti-American government that might even throw out United States forces.

Whatever his goals, they died with him in the mangled wreckage at Baghdad’s airport. Altogether, 10 people were killed — General Suleimani, Mr. al-Muhandis and their aides. Mr. al-Muhandis had helped found Kataib Hezbollah, the militia held responsible for the Dec. 27 rocket attack that killed the American contractor.

The New York Times

But another Iranian commander escaped. The same night General Suleimani died, American forces tried to kill Mr. Shahlai, the Quds Force commander in Yemen mentioned in Mr. O’Brien’s memo. Still, the attack failed because of an undisclosed problem with the intelligence.

Iran braced for more. “There was a state of mobilization to get ready in case that was the first stage in a wider plan,” said Mohammed Obeid, a Lebanese political activist with ties to Iran’s “resistance axis” in the region. “There could have been other steps that the Americans or the Israelis would take, broadening the circle of confrontation.”

Mr. Trump planned to play golf the next morning, Jan. 4, but advisers concluded it would send the wrong message as General Suleimani’s death stirred unrest around the Middle East and raised the prospect of a wider conflict with Iran.

The president was initially upbeat, expecting the operation to be greeted with applause much like the raid in October that killed Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the Islamic State. Indeed, Mr. Trump opened his first statement to reporters on the mission that Friday by describing General Suleimani as the “No. 1 terrorist anywhere in the world,” much as he had opened his statement a couple of months ago calling Mr. al-Baghdadi the “world’s No. 1 terrorist leader.”

But as the president watched television over the weekend, he grew angry that critics were accusing him of reckless escalation. He sought validation from guests at his Florida clubs, recounting details of the Baghdad Embassy protests and drinking in their praise for his decisiveness. He told some associates that he wanted to preserve the support of Republican hawks in the Senate in the coming impeachment trial, naming Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas as an example, even though they had not spoken about Iran since before Christmas.

While Mr. Trump tipped off another hawk, Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, who was visiting in Florida, his administration gave no advance warning to its European allies or Persian Gulf partners in advance of the strike. The only foreign leader who appeared in the know was Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel, who had spoken with Mr. Pompeo before the attack and later offered a cryptic public hint hours before it took place.

“We know that our region is stormy; very, very dramatic things are happening in it,” Mr. Netanyahu told reporters, unprompted, on the tarmac in Tel Aviv before departing for a visit to Athens. He went on to offer support for the United States “and to its full right to defend itself and its citizens.”

Israeli leaders were later pleased by the death of General Suleimani, one of their deadliest enemies, but remained silent lest they provoke retaliation, even as shelter supplies were checked and a ski resort near the Syrian frontier was briefly closed.

Yet some figured that if Hezbollah were to attack Israel on Iran’s behalf, it might be better to have that battle now. “This camp believes that there will be such a clash anyway and the best timing is before the U.S. elections — and that Israel may lose this president in the White House,” said Ofer Zalzberg, an analyst at the International Crisis Group.

In Riyadh, the Saudi crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, was unsettled. Despite his hawkish approach to Iran, he has been recently accepting offers from Pakistanis, Omanis, Iraqis and others to mediate. Now, he immediately dispatched his younger brother, Prince Khalid bin Salman, the deputy defense minister, on an emergency mission to the White House.

The Saudi view was “hitting Suleimani is great, but what is the plan?” said Sir John Jenkins, a former British ambassador to Riyadh. “If there is a plan, we are down with it. If not, we all have to de-escalate.”

Prince Khalid was pleased by whatever Mr. Trump told him, telling diplomats afterward that the royal family was glad the president had dealt Iran a serious blow — and relieved that he did not seem inclined to escalate further.

But many were not sure. Mr. Trump issued bellicose threats to destroy Iran if it retaliated, including cultural treasures in violation of international law, touching off international outrage and forcing his own defense secretary to publicly disavow the threat, saying it would be a war crime.

Mr. Trump was largely alone on the world stage. No major European power, not even Britain, voiced support for the drone strike, even as leaders agreed that General Suleimani had blood on his hands. As Le Monde, the French newspaper, put it, the rift signaled “a new stage in the trans-Atlantic divorce over the Middle East.”

Mr. Trump’s withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear accord with Iran has been a major point of contention. European leaders deeply resented the unilateral pullout, seeing that as a grave error that started a cycle of sanctions and recriminations that led to the seven-day showdown and now the restart of the Iranian nuclear program.

When Mr. Pompeo phoned his European counterparts after the strike, they expressed concern. In a 15-minute call, Foreign Minister Heiko Maas of Germany said the killing had not made it any easier to stabilize the region. Mr. Pompeo responded that the situation was now more stable.

The French and Japanese both offered to serve as mediators, but that only annoyed Mr. Trump, who dislikes middlemen. So the Europeans focused on keeping Tehran from overreacting.

Video

transcript

Video Shows Aftermath of U.S. Strike That Killed Top Iran Commander

President Trump authorized the attack early Friday at Baghdad International Airport that killed Iran’s top security and intelligence commander, Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani.

Suleimani was plotting imminent and sinister attacks on American diplomats and military personnel. But we caught him in the act. We took action last night to stop a war. We did not take action to start a war.

Westlake Legal Group merlin_166605342_bb1d07c1-25be-4a96-8815-857e98b24a47-videoSixteenByNine3000 Seven Days in January: How Trump Pushed U.S. and Iran to the Brink of War United States International Relations United States Defense and Military Forces Trump, Donald J Targeted Killings Suleimani, Qassim Pompeo, Mike Military Bases and Installations Iran Esper, Mark T Drones (Pilotless Planes) Diplomatic Service, Embassies and Consulates Baghdad International Airport (Iraq)

President Trump authorized the attack early Friday at Baghdad International Airport that killed Iran’s top security and intelligence commander, Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani.CreditCredit…Ali Mohammadi/Bloomberg News

A senior German diplomat sent a text message to his Iranian counterpart urging calm. He got back a terse, though polite, message. In a series of phone calls, European officials tried to give the Iranians a sense that it was not them against the rest of the world but that in fact there was a global public beyond the United States, according to one European diplomat.

President Emmanuel Macron of France played an active role, reaching out to both sides. “Macron’s specificity is that he does not approve, but he also does not condemn,” said Michel Duclos, a former French ambassador to Syria.

Mr. Macron reached Mr. Trump on Sunday and emphasized the need for de-escalation. Mr. Trump suggested he was still open to diplomacy. All the Iranians had to do was come to him and they could make a deal, Mr. Trump said, according to a senior French official.

Two days later, Mr. Macron spoke with President Hassan Rouhani of Iran and reminded him that he had “missed a chance in September” to talk directly with Mr. Trump in a phone call Mr. Macron tried to arrange on the sidelines of the annual United Nations session.

Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany spoke with Mr. Trump, too, and expressed concern for Iraq’s stability if allied troops withdrew. If the United States stayed, she said, Germany would also. Mr. Trump joked that Germany was welcome to lead the international force and replace the Americans. Ms. Merkel laughed.

The most important European country in these seven days, it turned out, was Switzerland, which has served as the intermediary between the United States and Iran since they broke off diplomatic relations in 1980.

Hours after the strike, Markus Leitner, the Swiss ambassador in Tehran, headed to the Iranian Foreign Ministry for the first of two visits that day, according to a Swiss analyst. The Americans had sent a letter to the Iranians through the Swiss warning against any retaliation for the drone strike that would incite further military action by Mr. Trump.

The Americans “said that if you want to get revenge, get revenge in proportion to what we did,” Rear Adm. Ali Fadavi, the deputy commander of the Revolutionary Guards, told Iranian state television.

American officials disputed that characterization and analysts doubted it was that explicit, although that could be how Tehran interpreted it. In any case, Mr. Leitner went back to the Foreign Ministry at day’s end for the Iranian response.

Unbeknown to the Iranians, Mr. Trump had agreed to targeting the other sites originally considered — the oil and gas facility and the command-in-control ship — as part of any further retaliation that might be necessary if Iran responded to the drone strike. Despite Mr. Trump’s threat, none of the targets on the list were actually cultural, an official said; that was just presidential bluster, aggravated by an instinct to double down in the face of criticism.

On Tuesday, the Defense Special Missile and Astronautics Center, part of the National Security Agency, pulled together multiple strands of information, including overhead imagery and communication intercepts, to conclude that an Iranian missile strike on Iraqi bases was coming, officials said. The center sent the warning to the White House.

Vice President Mike Pence and Mr. O’Brien immediately headed to the Situation Room in the basement, joined later by the president and Mr. Pompeo. At the Pentagon, Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper and the entire Joint Chiefs of Staff, led by its chairman, Gen. Mark A. Milley, convened in a third-floor conference room and discussed how to move troops and families in the region to safer locations.

Just after 5:30 p.m., an almost robotic voice came over a speakerphone in the Situation Room. “Sir, we have indications of a launch at 22:30 Zulu Time from western Iran in the direction of Iraq, Syria and Jordan.” Reports began coming in faster. The missiles were staggered but most were streaking toward Al Asad Air Base in Iraq, home to 2,000 American troops.

The barrage ended after an hour but base commanders ordered troops to remain in shelter in case more missiles came. Around 7:30, about an hour after the strikes concluded, Mr. Esper and General Milley headed to the White House to meet with Mr. Trump.

The missiles damaged a helicopter, some tents and other structures but, thanks to the advance warning, inflicted no casualties. And through the Swiss came another message: That was it. That was their retribution.

The Americans were struck by the speed of the communication — it was shown to Mr. Trump and Mr. Pompeo within five minutes after the Swiss received it from Tehran. They passed the message by encrypted fax to their embassy in Washington and then to Brian H. Hook, the special representative on Iran, two minutes after the Iranians gave it to them.

Mr. Esper, a veteran of the Persian Gulf war of 1991, counseled caution. “Let’s stay calm,” he said. “The ball is in our court. There’s no rush to do anything. Let’s all sleep on it.”

By the time Mr. Trump retired to the residence for the night, advisers said, he was relieved there had been no casualties and eager for a reset, a path away from a deeper conflict. He posted a reassuring tweet: “All is well!”

The next morning Mr. Trump addressed the nation from the White House, and while he excoriated Iran’s “campaign of terror,” he made clear he would not retaliate further.

“Iran appears to be standing down,” he said, without revealing the secret message sent through the Swiss, adding that he was “ready to embrace peace with all who seek it.”

The immediate crisis over, Mr. Trump sent top officials to brief Congress, but the closed-door sessions in a secure facility where lawmakers had to surrender their telephones did little to quell concerns about the justification for the drone strike.

In the House briefing, Mr. Pompeo offered a brief introduction followed by presentations by Ms. Haspel, Mr. Esper, General Milley and Joseph Maguire, the acting director of national intelligence. All three offered vague but emphatic assertions of intelligence indicating an imminent threat by General Suleimani. General Milley said the evidence could not be clearer and was the “best intelligence” he had seen during his career.

But they refused to describe it in detail. One lawmaker said the information was no more secret than what could be found on Wikipedia. At one point, General Milley said the intelligence showed discussion by General Suleimani of potential terrorist attacks on three specific dates in late December or early January.

“What were the threats?” several lawmakers in the audience shouted, but General Milley declined to say.

Another lawmaker noted that the three dates General Milley cited were all before the strike on General Suleimani and no attacks actually occurred then.

“What really came across was a sense of disdain and contempt for the legislative branch,” said Representative Gerald E. Connolly, Democrat of Virginia. “They didn’t even pretend to be engaged in information sharing and consultation.”

Senator Mike Lee, Republican of Utah, called the session for senators “probably the worst briefing” in his nine years in office. “We never got to the details,” he said. “Every time we got close, they said, ‘Well, we can’t discuss that here because it’s sensitive.’”

If it was too sensitive for Congress, it was not too sensitive for Laura Ingraham, the Fox News host. In an interview broadcast on Friday, Mr. Trump told her that the threat had been to four American embassies, even as other officials said privately that they did not have concrete evidence of General Suleimani’s targets.

After seven days of saber rattling and fresh deployments, the immediate march to war had ended. But inside the security establishment, few consider the crisis to be over. In the months to come, they expect Iran to regroup and find ways to strike back.

“Suleimani as a person inspired the masses, he was a national icon, he symbolized the struggle,” said Ali Alfoneh, a senior fellow at the Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington who studies Iran. “But he was also a very small part of a very large organization.”

“Yes, it is decapitated,” he added, “but the organization is not destroyed.”

Peter Baker and Julian E. Barnes reported from Washington, Ronen Bergman from Tel Aviv, David D. Kirkpatrick from London, and Alissa J. Rubin from Baghdad. Reporting was contributed by Helene Cooper, Thomas Gibbons-Neff, Lara Jakes, Mark Mazzetti, David E. Sanger, Eric Schmitt, Michael D. Shear, Noah Weiland and Edward Wong from Washington; Farnaz Fassihi and Maggie Haberman from New York; Rukmini Callimachi from Balchik, Bulgaria, and Bucharest, Romania; Adam Nossiter and Constant Méheut from Paris; Steven Erlanger from Brussels; Katrin Bennhold from Berlin; Nick Cumming-Bruce from Geneva; David M. Halbfinger and Isabel Kershner from Jerusalem; Ben Hubbard and Hwaida Saad from Beirut; and Falih Hassan from Baghdad.

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

Some Saudi service members in US facing expulsion after NAS Pensacola shooting probe: reports

More than a dozen Saudi service members undergoing training at U.S. military facilities are expected to be expelled from the U.S. following an investigation into last month’s deadly shooting at Naval Air Station Pensacola in Florida, according to reports.

None of the Saudis targeted for expulsion is accused of aiding the Saudi second lieutenant whom authorities say killed three U.S. sailors and injured eight other people in the Dec. 6 rampage, CNN reported. But some of them were found to have ties to extremist groups and others are accused of possessing child pornography, the report said.

NAVY PILOTS DEMAND MORE BE ARMED ON BASES IN LETTER TO LAWMAKERS AND MILITARY BRASS

The Justice Department is also expected to conclude that the Pensacola attack was an act of terrorism, CNN reported. The FBI has been investigating the case as possible terrorism since discovering writings by the gunman, who was killed by reponding sheriff’s deputies, The Washington Post reported.

Following the attack, about a dozen Saudi trainees were confined to their quarters in Pensacola as the FBI investigated the shooting as a possible terror attack and the Pentagon launched a review of some 850 Saudis undergoing training throughout the U.S., the report said.

“In the wake of the Pensacola tragedy, the Department of Defense restricted to classroom training programs foreign military students from Saudi Arabia while we conducted a review and enhancement of our foreign student vetting procedures. That training pause is still in place while we implement new screening and security measures,” Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Robert Carver told the Washington Post.

CNN said its report was based on conversations with “multiple sources.” Officials from the FBI and Justice Department would not comment. CNN said U.S. Navy officials referred questions to the Defense Department, which had not responded to the network.

The gunman, identified as Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani, was believed to have acted alone. He is said to have become angered when an instructor at Pensacola referred to him as “Porn Stash,” comparing his mustache to that of a stereotype of an actor in pornography films, The New York Times reported.

Westlake Legal Group Mohammed-Saeed-Alshamrani-REUTERS Some Saudi service members in US facing expulsion after NAS Pensacola shooting probe: reports fox-news/world/world-regions/saudi-arabia fox-news/world/terrorism fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/florida fox-news/us/military/navy fox-news/us/military fox-news/us/crime/homicide fox-news/tech/topics/security fox-news/tech/topics/fbi fox-news/tech/companies/apple fox-news/politics/defense/pentagon fox news fnc/us fnc Dom Calicchio article 691d7390-9340-5b7e-9c9e-fd66dd4fcd83

Royal Saudi Air Force 2nd Lieutenant Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani, airman accused of killing three people at a U.S. Navy base in Pensacola, Fla., is seen in an undated military identification card photo released by the FBI, Dec. 7, 2019. (FBI via Reuters)

Meanwhile, the FBI has asked Apple for help in accessing data from a pair of iPhones owned by the gunman.

Investigators are hoping that data stored on the phone may help them learn more about a possible motive behind the killings.

Apple has previously resisted efforts by government authorities to access phone customers’ data, citing a company commitment to its customers’ privacy. But Apple told Fox News it is cooperating in the Pensacola investigation.

Westlake Legal Group NAS-Pensacola-2-US-Navy Some Saudi service members in US facing expulsion after NAS Pensacola shooting probe: reports fox-news/world/world-regions/saudi-arabia fox-news/world/terrorism fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/florida fox-news/us/military/navy fox-news/us/military fox-news/us/crime/homicide fox-news/tech/topics/security fox-news/tech/topics/fbi fox-news/tech/companies/apple fox-news/politics/defense/pentagon fox news fnc/us fnc Dom Calicchio article 691d7390-9340-5b7e-9c9e-fd66dd4fcd83

​​​​​​​The main gate at Naval Air Station Pensacola is seen March 16, 2016, in Pensacola, Fla. (U.S. Navy/Patrick Nichols)

“We have the greatest respect for law enforcement and have always worked cooperatively to help in their investigations,” the Apple statement said. “When the FBI requested information from us relating to this case a month ago we gave them all of the data in our possession and we will continue to support them with the data we have available.”

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Following an unrelated attack in San Bernardino, Calif., in 2015 that left 14 people dead, Apple denied an FBI request to access data on the shooter’s phone but was later ordered to comply through a judge’s order. But by that time the FBI had already hired a different company for the job, USA Today reported.

Westlake Legal Group NAS-Pensacola-2-US-Navy Some Saudi service members in US facing expulsion after NAS Pensacola shooting probe: reports fox-news/world/world-regions/saudi-arabia fox-news/world/terrorism fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/florida fox-news/us/military/navy fox-news/us/military fox-news/us/crime/homicide fox-news/tech/topics/security fox-news/tech/topics/fbi fox-news/tech/companies/apple fox-news/politics/defense/pentagon fox news fnc/us fnc Dom Calicchio article 691d7390-9340-5b7e-9c9e-fd66dd4fcd83   Westlake Legal Group NAS-Pensacola-2-US-Navy Some Saudi service members in US facing expulsion after NAS Pensacola shooting probe: reports fox-news/world/world-regions/saudi-arabia fox-news/world/terrorism fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/florida fox-news/us/military/navy fox-news/us/military fox-news/us/crime/homicide fox-news/tech/topics/security fox-news/tech/topics/fbi fox-news/tech/companies/apple fox-news/politics/defense/pentagon fox news fnc/us fnc Dom Calicchio article 691d7390-9340-5b7e-9c9e-fd66dd4fcd83

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