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Westlake Legal Group > News Media (Page 23)

Latest parent charged in college admissions scandal arrested in Spain, to be extradited to US

Westlake Legal Group AP19260658593333 Latest parent charged in college admissions scandal arrested in Spain, to be extradited to US fox-news/topic/college-admissions-scandal fox news fnc/us fnc Danielle Wallace article 350b1b58-28c7-5413-b4ff-6ffbfaffab36

A woman accused of paying $400,000 to get her son into the University of California, Los Angeles, as a fake soccer recruit has become the 52nd person charged in a sweeping college admissions bribery scheme, according to an indictment unsealed Tuesday.

Xiaoning Sui, 48, a Chinese national who resides in Surrey, British Columbia, was charged with a single count of conspiracy and fraud in the indictment unsealed in Boston’s federal court. Authorities say she was arrested in Spain on Monday night and was being held there while authorities seek to extradite her to the United States.

LORI LOUGHLIN COLLEGE ADMISSIONS SCANDAL CASE ‘UPSETTING’ FOR ‘FULLER HOUSE’ CAST, CO-STAR SAYS

Sui is the first person to be charged since June, when parent Jeffrey Bizzack pleaded guilty to paying $250,000 to get his son into the University of Southern California as a fake athlete. Dozens of others were charged in March when authorities announced the investigation.

Prosecutors say Sui paid $400,000 to a sham charity operated by the mastermind behind the college admissions scandal, William “Rick” Singer, as part of a scheme to have her son admitted to UCLA as a soccer recruit despite him never having played the sport competitively before.

Singer worked with Laura Janke, a former assistant soccer coach at USC, to fabricate an athletic profile depicting Sui’s son as a top player on two private soccer clubs in Canada, prosecutors said. Both Singer and Janke have pleaded guilty. Sui’s son was admitted to UCLA as a soccer player in November 2018, authorities say, and was awarded a 25 percent scholarship.

Sui previously sent her son’s transcript and photos of him playing tennis to Singer, but was eventually told over a conference call that there was an opening on UCLA’s soccer team and that money sent to the school’s soccer coach in the form of a $100,000 bribe would guarantee her son’s admission to the university, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The case was outlined in a March indictment against former UCLA soccer coach Jorge Salcedo that didn’t identify Sui by name. The document said only that Salcedo accepted $200,000 to help two of Singer’s clients get their children admitted as soccer recruits, including one in October 2018. Salcedo has pleaded not guilty.

Of the 51 people previously charged, 23 have pleaded guilty, including “Desperate Housewives” star Felicity Huffman, who paid $15,000 to rig her daughter’s SAT score. She was sentenced last week to 14 days in prison, 250 hours of community service and a $30,000 fine.

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Another 28 defendants are contesting the charges against them, including “Full House” actress Lori Loughlin and her fashion designer husband, Mossimo Giannulli, who are accused of paying to get their two daughters into USC as fake athletes on the crew team.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group AP19260658593333 Latest parent charged in college admissions scandal arrested in Spain, to be extradited to US fox-news/topic/college-admissions-scandal fox news fnc/us fnc Danielle Wallace article 350b1b58-28c7-5413-b4ff-6ffbfaffab36   Westlake Legal Group AP19260658593333 Latest parent charged in college admissions scandal arrested in Spain, to be extradited to US fox-news/topic/college-admissions-scandal fox news fnc/us fnc Danielle Wallace article 350b1b58-28c7-5413-b4ff-6ffbfaffab36

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What We Know About The Attack On Saudi Oil Facilities

Westlake Legal Group abqaiq_20190914_1035_rgb_zoom_wide-3de1c240a437b5b24fc3e617b4b7054fd5834cda-s1100-c15 What We Know About The Attack On Saudi Oil Facilities

A photograph taken by the commercial satellite company Planet shows the Abqaiq facility shortly after an attack on Sept. 14. Planet Labs Inc. hide caption

toggle caption

Planet Labs Inc.

Westlake Legal Group  What We Know About The Attack On Saudi Oil Facilities

A photograph taken by the commercial satellite company Planet shows the Abqaiq facility shortly after an attack on Sept. 14.

Planet Labs Inc.

On Sept. 14, a major Saudi oil processing plant was rocked by a series of explosions. The facility, and another oil field to the south, had been attacked from the air. Here’s what we know – at this time – about the attacks based on physical evidence.

The strike was large and sophisticated

Images from commercial satellites released by the U.S. government show at least 17 points of impact at the two sites. The larger facility, known as Abqaiq, is one of the world’s most important oil production facilities and has long been a potential target for attack. Within that vast plant, the perpetrators seemed to have singled out valuable equipment that would be difficult to replace, and storage tanks that might contain flammable materials.

Westlake Legal Group saudi-strike-5-ap_19258693029447-978344464eb4d3b41a44f877e160ca887a4fb8fb-s1100-c15 What We Know About The Attack On Saudi Oil Facilities

This annotated image released Sunday by the U.S. government and DigitalGlobe shows damage to the infrastructure at Saudi Aramco’s Abqaiq oil processing facility. U.S. Government/DigitalGlobe/AP hide caption

toggle caption

U.S. Government/DigitalGlobe/AP

Westlake Legal Group  What We Know About The Attack On Saudi Oil Facilities

This annotated image released Sunday by the U.S. government and DigitalGlobe shows damage to the infrastructure at Saudi Aramco’s Abqaiq oil processing facility.

U.S. Government/DigitalGlobe/AP

The group which has claimed responsibility probably didn’t do it

Shortly after the attack, Houthi rebels in Yemen announced that they had launched drones against the Saudi facilities. The Houthis have conducted numerous drone attacks inside Saudi Arabia in the past, but there are a number of reasons to question their latest claim.

The first reason is simple math: there were 17 impact points, but Houthi spokesman Yahya Saree said that only 10 drones were launched by the rebel group.

Second is the matter of distance. The facilities that were struck lie roughly 500 miles from Yemen’s border with Saudi Arabia. The Houthi weapons that have been used thus far simply don’t have the range.

Third is the attack’s level of sophistication, according to Fabian Hinz, a research associate at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies in Monterey, Calif. “Would the Houthis be capable of flying a single drone or two drones into Abqaiq? I would say yes,” Hinz says. “But would they be able to conduct such a vast coordinated mission to strike the facility with so much success? I would honestly say no.”

Saudi Arabia has shown wreckage of drones and missiles that look Iranian

Even before the Saudi announcement, unverified photos popped up on Twitter which showed the wreckage of a missile in the desert with striking similarities to Iranian technology.

Westlake Legal Group ap_19261560665224_wide-39100174212fe511bf1bc9f0eb40314fcd302944-s1100-c15 What We Know About The Attack On Saudi Oil Facilities

The wreckage of a cruise missile which Saudi officials say failed to reach one of its targets strongly resembles an Iranian design. Amr Nabil/AP hide caption

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Amr Nabil/AP

Westlake Legal Group  What We Know About The Attack On Saudi Oil Facilities

The wreckage of a cruise missile which Saudi officials say failed to reach one of its targets strongly resembles an Iranian design.

Amr Nabil/AP

At a press conference Wednesday, Col. Turki al-Maliki, spokesman for the Saudi-led coalition fighting Houthi rebels in Yemen, displayed the remains of several missiles and drones that he said were recovered from the attacked facilities and the areas surrounding them.

At least one of the delta-wing drones looks like it could be a type that previously appeared at a military exhibition in Iran, according to images displayed by al-Maliki and verified by outside experts.

The missiles al-Maliki described as being similar to Iran’s Ya-Ali cruise missile, a kind of land-attack missile, is capable of traveling hundreds of miles with a small warhead. Hinz believes the missiles more closely resemble another Iranian design, a variant of which is known as the Quds-1.

Regardless of the exact type, the missile is clearly Iranian, says Hinz. “I would say there’s little doubt that the cruise missiles we’ve seen originated in Iran.”

The impacts on the site were made by objects coming from the west or northwest

Satellite images show that storage tanks at Abqaiq were struck from a northwest direction, al-Maliki says. He also claims that debris from three cruise missiles that failed to reach Abqaiq were recovered from north of the site. The trajectories suggest the missiles were launched from Iran or Iraq.

Frank Pabian, a long-time imagery analyst, says the impacts look like they may have struck from the west.

Westlake Legal Group saudi-strike-2-ap_19258692989788-3547bf26244f861121470f85671682b60334e97e-s1100-c15 What We Know About The Attack On Saudi Oil Facilities

Impact sites suggest that the attacking drones or missiles likely came from the northwest, according to Saudi officials. U.S. Government/DigitalGlobe/AP hide caption

toggle caption

U.S. Government/DigitalGlobe/AP

Westlake Legal Group  What We Know About The Attack On Saudi Oil Facilities

Impact sites suggest that the attacking drones or missiles likely came from the northwest, according to Saudi officials.

U.S. Government/DigitalGlobe/AP

Regardless, Hinz says, the direction of the impact doesn’t necessarily indicate the launch point. Both cruise missiles and drones can take circuitous routes to their targets.

Still, says Hinz, “If we talk about the general balance of probability, it’s much more likely they came from the north.”

Other sources of information may soon be available

The United States military monitors the region closely with satellites, drones, radar and other sensors. According to NPR’s Tom Bowman, Pentagon officials say they have imagery of Iranian forces inside Iran preparing for a strike before the attack. So far, the U.S. has not released any evidence it collected of those preparations or of the attack itself.

It may also be possible to glean more details from the wreckage of the drones and missiles. Al-Maliki noted in his press conference that experts continue to analyze the hardware of the GPS-guided drones. It may be possible to extract the route they flew before crashing. A similar analysis of drone boats launched by the Houthis in 2016 revealed 93 sets of coordinates that provided clues about the boats’ mission.

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Lawyer Salaries Are Weird

Lawyers may belong to the only industry in the world where starting salaries cluster at two peaks along the landscape of income a junior lawyer can expect to receive out of law school.

For those that aren’t familiar with the Bimodal Salary Distribution Curve, below is the latest chart from National Association for Law Placement, showing the starting salaries from the Class of 2018.

Class of 2018 – Salary Distribution

Westlake Legal Group SalaryCurve_mean_adjmean_Classof2018_FINAL Lawyer Salaries Are Weird Earnings

Interestingly, the Class of 2018 is starting to see a Trimodal Salary Distribution Curve as not all firms are able to keep up with the most recent increase in the Biglaw associate pay scale. Around 7.7% of reported salaries landed at $180,000, while 13.8% said that they were getting paid the market standard $190,000.

Meanwhile, the other large distribution of starting salaries falls in the $50,000 – $60,000 range, which is what an assistant district attorney in NYC might expect to earn.

The chart is probably the single most important organization of data to consider when discussing lawyers and personal finance since lawyers start at such dramatically different points of income.

But before we talk too much about what you can do with the income you have, I did some digging and thought it would be interesting to write a little about the history of that curve.

Looking Back: Has It Always Been This Way?

Twenty-five years ago the legal industry had a much different distribution of starting salaries. Those salaries followed a typical mountain peak followed by a sloping curve, which is generally what you’d expect to see for starting salaries (i.e. almost everyone is clustered at the lower end of the range with a few all-stars finding a higher salary).

Westlake Legal Group nalp91 Lawyer Salaries Are Weird Earnings

The 1991 chart looks like a normal salary distribution with the median slightly ahead of the largest peak thanks to some lawyers that managed to command salaries in the $70-$90K range upon graduation.

Westlake Legal Group nalp96_2 Lawyer Salaries Are Weird Earnings

By 1996, there really hadn’t been much of a change except to note that a slightly lower percentage is clustered at the beginning (i.e. smaller mountain peak) which suggests that more lawyers were finding higher paying jobs.

Westlake Legal Group nalp2000_3 Lawyer Salaries Are Weird Earnings

But only four years later, we have the fully developed twin mountain system that we live in today.

What caused the shift?

According to William D. Henderson, the shift to a bimodal salary distribution was caused by two factors: (1) the growth of the corporate legal services market and (2) the adherence to the “Cravath” system which aims to hire the top graduates from the top schools to create an elite law firm.

Ironically, Cravath’s “system” for getting the best and brightest has now been adopted by every large law firm that provides full-service highly-specialized legal services, with the result being that nearly all “Biglaw” firms follow Cravath when it comes to salary.

On one hand, you could argue that Cravath gave up on the idea of differentiating itself from its peers or, on the other hand, you could argue that every other major law firm has adopted the model without truly understanding its intent.

Regardless of how we got here, the dual track system for lawyers seems here to stay. Since 2010, we’ve come to expect a bimodal salary distribution as shown in the following charts from 2009 and 2014.

Class of 2009 – Salary Distribution

Westlake Legal Group Bimodal_Classof2009 Lawyer Salaries Are Weird Earnings

Class of 2014 – Salary Distribution

Westlake Legal Group Bimodal_Classof2014 Lawyer Salaries Are Weird Earnings

Law Students – Bimodal Salaries

What does this mean if you’re in law school?

First, you must understand that the bimodal salary distribution curve applies to you. While you might end up with a high paying job, you might end up in the other half of the salary distribution curve.

More importantly, look at how many jobs there are in the middle. Almost none. This is lost on a lot of law students who think they may not end up with a high paying “biglaw salary” but also assume they won’t end up with a low paying salary either. The real glut in legal salaries is everything between $65,000 and Biglaw.

Lawyers have been cramming this information down the throats of law students and pre-law students for the past few years (decade?), so you would think that everyone is aware of the potentially bleak financial outlook for some lawyers but I still run across pre-law students all the time that think all lawyers are rich.

Regardless, if you’re in law school, you need to buckle down on law school expenses in a big way. Forget about taking the bar trip. While law school can be a lot of fun (well – you’re not working), it’s more important than ever to develop a financial plan. Don’t assume that your law school loans will eventually be forgiven either. The government is a step ahead of you on that one and it’s not at all clear that following the IBR/REPAYE path is a great deal.

Practicing Lawyers – Bimodal Salaries

How does the salary distribution curve effect you if you’re a practicing lawyer?

Well, for one, it’s only a representation of starting salaries. Many lawyers that start on the lower end of the cluster end up growing their salaries over time. As a group, lawyers earned a median salary of $115,820 in 2015, which means that your income will likely go up over time if you’re starting at the lower end of the bimodal salary distribution curve.

Planning for a gradual increase in your income is important because it may change your strategy with respect to things like your income-driven repayment plan calculations. Many law students or new lawyers make calculations of their student loan payments thinking they’ll be making $50,000 for the foreseeable future (i.e. throughout their entire repayment plan). When you realize that your salary is likely to rise over time, you will also see that your student loan payments will increase as well. While that might seem fine – more money, bigger payments – it could make you second guess whether forgiveness is the likely outcome for your student loans in the long term.

For Biglaw lawyers, the same is true. The chart is only a representation of starting salaries. Will you still be in Biglaw after three years? five years? 10 years? Most will leave Biglaw. When you leave Biglaw, your salary could very well revert to the mean. That won’t be a problem if you took advantage of your Biglaw years to pay off your debt and build up a war chest.

The takeaway is that neither end of the spectrum lasts forever, so planning your financial future on an income of either $60,000 or $190,000 has some serious flaws.

Let’s talk about it. What are your thoughts on the bimodal salary distribution curve? Let us know in the comments below!

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Trump says border initiatives working, cites drop in illegal crossings

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6087586318001_6087587806001-vs Trump says border initiatives working, cites drop in illegal crossings fox-news/us/immigration/illegal-immigrants fox-news/us/immigration/border-security fox-news/shows/fox-friends fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox-news/media fox news fnc/politics fnc Edmund DeMarche article 36fc27cf-c059-527a-ae2e-462d18494e90

President Trump, in an exclusive interview airing on “Fox & Friends,” on Thursday morning, said maneuvers taken by his administration to secure the U.S.-Mexico border have resulted in a major drop in illegal crossings and a safer working environment for Border Patrol agents.

“We wish we had help from the Democrats in Congress, but they said they want open borders,” the president said during the wide-ranging interview with Fox News’ Ed Henry. “They don’t want this. They want criminals to come in.”

“We wish we had help from the Democrats in Congress, but they said they want open borders. They don’t want this. They want criminals to come in.”

— President Trump

Illegal immigration has been a key topic at recent Democratic debates and the difference between Trump’s vision and the Democratic field could not be clearer. Some Democratic candidates want to eliminate the law that makes it illegal to enter into the U.S. without permission. They include Sen. Elizabeth Warren and South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg.

Trump’s claim that illegal border crossings are down could be based off preliminary government figures obtained by Politico earlier this month that said the numbers are down 60 percent since the peak in May.

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Much of the credit for the drop was given to Trump’s agreement with the Mexican government in June that resulted in the country intercepting migrants from Central America before reaching the border.

“I think that they are getting exactly what they said they would get, by forcing the hand of Mexico,” one immigration expert from a pro-migrant group told Politico. “But the question is, ‘Is it sustainable?’”

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6087586318001_6087587806001-vs Trump says border initiatives working, cites drop in illegal crossings fox-news/us/immigration/illegal-immigrants fox-news/us/immigration/border-security fox-news/shows/fox-friends fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox-news/media fox news fnc/politics fnc Edmund DeMarche article 36fc27cf-c059-527a-ae2e-462d18494e90   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6087586318001_6087587806001-vs Trump says border initiatives working, cites drop in illegal crossings fox-news/us/immigration/illegal-immigrants fox-news/us/immigration/border-security fox-news/shows/fox-friends fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox-news/media fox news fnc/politics fnc Edmund DeMarche article 36fc27cf-c059-527a-ae2e-462d18494e90

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2 Chicago gangbangers executed 9-year-old in revenge killing against his father’s rival gang: prosecutors

Two reputed Chicago gang members allegedly executed a 9-year-old boy in broad daylight because they sought revenge on the child’s father’s rival gang that they blamed for gunning down family members, prosecutors said Tuesday.

Tyshawn Lee, 9, was in his school uniform when three men approached him in the South Side of Chicago in November 2015, prosecutors said during opening statements.

CHICAGO MURDER VICTIM TESTIFIED AGAINST COUSIN’S ACCUSED KILLER IN JUNE

Prosecutors said Corey Morgan and Kevin Edwards kept watch while Dwight Doty lured the fourth-grader into an alleyway. They said he promised him a juice box.

Doty then took out a .40-caliber handgun and shot Lee, Cook County Assistant State’s Attorney Margaret Hillmann said.

Two separate trials began for Morgan and Doty on Tuesday. The two alleged members of the Bang Gang/Terror Dome faction of the Black P Stones gang seek to pin the blame on each other for the child’s slaying, reports said. Edwards, who prosecutors claim was the getaway driver, pleaded guilty earlier this month to first-degree murder in exchange for a 25-year prison sentence, according to the Chicago Tribune. He’s not expected to testify against the other two men.

Westlake Legal Group Tyshawn-Lee-gang-execution 2 Chicago gangbangers executed 9-year-old in revenge killing against his father's rival gang: prosecutors fox-news/us/crime/organized-crime fox-news/us/crime/homicide fox-news/us/crime/chicagos-crime-wave fox-news/us/crime fox news fnc/us fnc Danielle Wallace ba14a0f4-8eb4-5f7b-80e6-a151717175f3 article

From left to right: Dwright Doty and Corey Morgan appear during opening statements in each of their separate trials for the murder of 9-year-old Tyshawn Lee at the Leighton Criminal Court building in Chicago on Tuesday, Sept. 17, 2019. (E. Jason Wambsgans/Chicago Tribune via AP, Pool)

Prosecutors argued that Morgan and Doty targeted the 9-year-old elementary student because his father, Pierre Stokes, belongs to a rival gang—the Killa Ward faction of the Gangster Disciples. They say the two blame that gang for a shooting in October 2015 that killed Morgan’s brother and wounded his mother.

Morgan’s attorney, Thomas Breen, tried to distance his client from the crime.

“That execution of that 9-year-old boy has to come from one singularly evil person,” Breen told jurors without naming Doty. “Not from a plan. His killer did so of his own volition and for his own reason. Not at the behest or help of Corey Morgan.”

Brett Gallagher, an assistant public defender representing Doty, later pointed out to jurors that Morgan had the motive for revenge and the Morgan family had organized the purchase of the firearm used to kill the child.

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The two gangs have been locked in an escalating gang war that could be responsible for up to 15 shootings dating back to 2011, authorities said. Months after the child’s execution, his father allegedly sought revenge by shooting three people, including Morgan’s girlfriend, outside a gas station. He is being held without bail.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group Tyshawn-Lee-gang-execution 2 Chicago gangbangers executed 9-year-old in revenge killing against his father's rival gang: prosecutors fox-news/us/crime/organized-crime fox-news/us/crime/homicide fox-news/us/crime/chicagos-crime-wave fox-news/us/crime fox news fnc/us fnc Danielle Wallace ba14a0f4-8eb4-5f7b-80e6-a151717175f3 article   Westlake Legal Group Tyshawn-Lee-gang-execution 2 Chicago gangbangers executed 9-year-old in revenge killing against his father's rival gang: prosecutors fox-news/us/crime/organized-crime fox-news/us/crime/homicide fox-news/us/crime/chicagos-crime-wave fox-news/us/crime fox news fnc/us fnc Danielle Wallace ba14a0f4-8eb4-5f7b-80e6-a151717175f3 article

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Cole reaches 300 Ks for season, Astros beat Rangers 3-2

Gerrit Cole wanted to get his milestone strikeout at home, and he accomplished the feat in an important win for the Houston Astros.

Cole struck out 10 batters, including his 300th of the season, in eight strong innings, Yuli Gurriel and Jose Altuve homered and the Astros beat the Texas Rangers 3-2 Wednesday night to lock up a postseason berth.

Houston won its fifth straight and 100th game of the season, becoming one of six teams in major league history to win at least 100 games in three straight seasons. The Astros lost at least 100 games in three straight seasons from 2011-13.

The Astros (100-53) have a one-game lead on the New York Yankees, who lost 3-2 to the Los Angeles Angels, for the best record in the majors. Houston can clinch the AL West as early as Friday with a win and loss by Oakland.

“If you like winning, 100 three years in a row is a lot,” Houston manager AJ Hinch said. “I love it for this team and for this organization. It’s a big accomplishment. It’s one step along the way for us and what we’re trying to accomplish this season. I don’t want that to be the high note by any means.”

Cole (18-5) allowed two runs on six hits in earning his 14th straight win. He hasn’t lost since May 22 against the White Sox, a span of 20 starts. Cole struck out 10 or more for the seventh straight start, tying the club record set earlier this season by Justin Verlander.

“He’s incredible,” Hinch said. “He’s a special player; he’s a special person. It was a big night for him. That’s a big accomplishment. He did it in a win. . He’s been a workhorse for us the entire year. These performances that he just rattles off is not easy. He makes it look a lot easier than it is.”

Cole, the major league leader in strikeouts, became the third Astros pitcher to reach 300 strikeouts in a season, joining J.R. Richard, who had 313 in 1979 and 303 in 1978, and Mike Scott, who struck out 306 in 1986.

Cole struck out Shin-Soo Choo to end the sixth for his 300th of the season. After the strikeout, Cole leapt off the mound and was given a standing ovation as he walked to the dugout. Cole waved to the crowd with his glove hand and touched his chest with his throwing hand.

“At first, I didn’t know that was the one,” Cole said. “Then, it became pretty obvious, and I just wanted to spend a minute with the fans and thank them for the ovation and all the support.”

Roberto Osuna pitched the ninth for his 35th save.

Gurriel gave the Astros a 2-0 lead in the fifth with a two-run homer to left. Altuve hit a solo home run to lead off the seventh make the lead 3-1.

Willie Calhoun scored on a throwing error by Martín Maldonado in the seventh to cut the lead to a run. Ronald Guzmán cut the lead to 3-2 with a solo home run in the eighth.

Kolby Allard (4-1) allowed two runs on four hits with four walks and two strikeouts in five innings.

“I think there were a few times when I pitched myself out of jams and made some pitches when I had to,” Allard said. “I thought there were a few times where I was trying to be a little too cute or nibble a little bit, and that’s where I was falling behind.”

The Rangers have lost five straight.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Rangers: OF Joey Gallo (wrist surgery) is uncertain to return to the Rangers by the end of the week and might not return this season, manager Chris Woodward said. Gallo has been working out and playing in games at the Rangers instructional league in Arizona, but has been experiencing soreness.

Astros: RHP Ryan Pressly (knee) could return as soon as this weekend, manager AJ Hinch said.

TUCKER’S GREAT PLAYS

Kyle Tucker robbed Scott Heineman of a home run in the third, reaching over the right field wall and bringing it back to lead off the inning. Tucker made a great throw to get Willie Calhoun out at second in the fourth. Calhoun was initially called safe, but after Houston challenged, the call was overturned.

UP NEXT

Rangers: LHP Mike Minor (13-9, 3.33 ERA) starts a three-game series in Oakland against the Athletics on Friday. Minor was tagged for seven runs in his last start on Saturday against the Athletics.

Astros: After a day off on Thursday, RHP Zack Greinke (16-5, 2.95) starts the opener of a three-game series against the Angels on Friday. Greinke is 6-1 since being traded to Houston at the deadline.

Westlake Legal Group MLB-Gerrit-Cole Cole reaches 300 Ks for season, Astros beat Rangers 3-2 fox-news/sports/mlb/houston-astros fox-news/sports/mlb fnc/sports fnc b07f6339-cacf-5bba-b2ed-bb3c29064171 Associated Press article   Westlake Legal Group MLB-Gerrit-Cole Cole reaches 300 Ks for season, Astros beat Rangers 3-2 fox-news/sports/mlb/houston-astros fox-news/sports/mlb fnc/sports fnc b07f6339-cacf-5bba-b2ed-bb3c29064171 Associated Press article

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Abraham Sofaer: To deter Iran’s aggressive and dangerous actions, US must show strength

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6087543073001_6087540267001-vs Abraham Sofaer: To deter Iran’s aggressive and dangerous actions, US must show strength fox-news/world/world-regions/saudi-arabia fox-news/world/terrorism fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/world fox-news/us/terror/counter-terrorism fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/opinion fox news fnc/opinion fnc article Abraham Sofaer 0a44e9c7-d667-55ff-b588-71f967d410f4

The weekend attack on oil facilities in Saudi Arabia, which Secretary of State Mike Pompeo blamed on Iran Wednesday and called an “act of war,” shows that the Obama administration was delusional to think the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran would curb that nation’s radical and violent policies.

Iran has repeatedly intervened abroad directly and through surrogates and continued its intercontinental ballistic missile program regardless of the nuclear deal, which is officially called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

All indications from U.S. and Saudi officials are that that the sophisticated drones and missiles involved in the attack on Saudi Arabia were launched from Iran.

SAUDI OIL ATTACKS AN ‘ACT OF WAR’ BY IRAN, NOT YEMEN REBELS, POMPEO CLAIMS

An appropriate response should be directed not only at the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen who have claimed responsibility for the attack, but also at Iran if its involvement in the attack is firmly established.

More from Opinion

Iran should not be allowed to continue to exploit an apparent immunity from accountability because it typically uses surrogate forces and territory to attack its enemies.

The 2015 nuclear deal reached with the U.S. and other nations did absolutely nothing to stop the Islamic Republic from using surrogates, and now from more direct involvement in an attack on Saudi Arabia, if Pompeo’s assessment is correct.

Asked if Iran was responsible for the attack on Saudi Arabia, President Trump said that “it’s looking that way.” The president said an investigation was underway and that he wanted to “avoid” war, but was leaving all options open.

President Trump tweeted Wednesday that he “instructed the Secretary of the Treasury to substantially increase Sanctions on the country of Iran!” That’s a good move, but won’t end Iran’s support of terrorist groups and its own aggressive behavior.

The call for increased sanctions makes clear the president is unprepared to renew U.S. participation in the Iran nuclear deal. That is a sound decision, since Iran understands that deal as immunizing it from sanctions brought on by its disregard of international rules, so long as it adheres to its nuclear promises.

Accepting the nuclear deal on that premise would accept the untenable understanding that it limits Iran’s obligations to a temporary, partial suspension of its nuclear program – while implicitly accepting and funding Iran’s other dangerous activities through the release of some $125 billion in frozen Iranian assets and another $1.5 billion in U.S. cash.

No deal that allowed Iran to assume it was free to continue to violate fundamental sovereign obligations could possibly endure.

The U.S. had tried a milder version of wishful thinking in the Algiers Accords in 1981. Iran returned our diplomats held hostage and we unfroze its U.S. assets and lifted all sanctions. Then too, Iran understood the U.S. government to have accepted a new normal in which Iran could pursue its radical agenda with impunity.

Inevitably, Iranian murders abroad and Revolutionary Guard Corps missiles and mines in the Persian Gulf led the U.S. to again impose sanctions. The nuclear deal is far less defensible than the Algiers Accords in that it lacked legitimacy. It was neither a treaty, nor an executive agreement, nor a commitment approved by domestic law. It never gained majority support in Congress.

But sanctions alone will not demonstrate strength adequate to deter Iran. The U.S. must adopt other measures necessary to achieve that objective.

We failed to do so in response to Iran’s role in the bombing of the Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia (killing 19 U.S. airmen and wounding hundreds); or in supplying armor-penetrating weapons to Iran’s Shiite allies in Iraq (enabling them to kill hundreds of Americans); or most recently when Iran shot down a U.S. drone.

Covert measures – such as the Stuxnet computer virus deployed against Iran – can have positive effects; but avowed actions convey clearer messages.

So, what more should the U.S. do now beyond the unspecified sanctions announced by President Trump?

The U.S. knows how to demonstrate proportionate but responsible strength, as it did in negotiating with the Soviets. With Iran, American presidents of both parties have since 1979 negotiated from weakness, relying on empty threats and amateurish initiatives.

Strength need not mean war. But adequate strength to deter a radical agenda is as necessary and potentially effective in dealing with Iran as it was in dealing with the Soviets.

During Operation Praying Mantis in 1988, the U.S. hit several gunboats, warships and planes belonging to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps. The Revolutionary Guards have never again fired missiles at U.S. flagged vessels or laid mines in the Gulf.

Similarly, after President George H.W. Bush pushed Iraq out of Kuwait, Iranian President Hashemi Rafsanjani arranged to release the hostages held in Lebanon. After President George W. Bush attacked Al Qaeda in Afghanistan, Iran cooperated in establishing a new government. And after the U.S. drove President Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq, Iran offered to negotiate with the U.S. on all issues.

As strength, including sanctions, has its impact, the U.S. will have diplomatic options which we should seriously pursue. Negotiating with Iran makes sense, just as negotiating with the Soviet Union did despite its being what President Ronald Reagan called an “Evil Empire.”

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We had opportunities after Praying Mantis and the Afghanistan and Iraqi actions to negotiate, but failed to respond positively. Today direct negotiations with Iran are unlikely. But firmness and creative initiatives could enable the leaders of both nations to engage.

What possible diplomatic steps could be taken?

Once diplomacy becomes feasible, a viable approach could be a process of “conscious parallelism” by which both the U.S. and Iran would take steps towards a better relationship that the other nation would view positively and respond to with comparable steps.

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Working with other nations that were part of the Iran nuclear deal in this process could give the U.S. greater leverage, and an acceptable channel for reciprocal arrangements.

Any such effort would require climbing down from rhetorical confrontation, which may be impossible in today’s political climate. But the pressure for progress grows. And U.S. diplomacy is currently full of surprises. President Trump is wise not to rush into military action. But he cannot succeed if he continues to ignore Iran’s ever-worsening behavior.

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6087543073001_6087540267001-vs Abraham Sofaer: To deter Iran’s aggressive and dangerous actions, US must show strength fox-news/world/world-regions/saudi-arabia fox-news/world/terrorism fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/world fox-news/us/terror/counter-terrorism fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/opinion fox news fnc/opinion fnc article Abraham Sofaer 0a44e9c7-d667-55ff-b588-71f967d410f4   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6087543073001_6087540267001-vs Abraham Sofaer: To deter Iran’s aggressive and dangerous actions, US must show strength fox-news/world/world-regions/saudi-arabia fox-news/world/terrorism fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/world fox-news/us/terror/counter-terrorism fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/opinion fox news fnc/opinion fnc article Abraham Sofaer 0a44e9c7-d667-55ff-b588-71f967d410f4

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Woods part of ‘Japan Skins’ game to be shown live worldwide

Tiger Woods is playing another skins game with two big differences. This one is in Japan and will be broadcast live around the world by Discovery-owned GOLFTV.

The exhibition is called “The Challenge: Japan Skins,” and it will be played Oct. 21 leading into the PGA Tour’s first official event in Japan. It features four of golf’s biggest names from each of their continents — Woods, Rory McIlroy of Europe, Jason Day of Australia and Japanese star Hideki Matsuyama.

“This is our opportunity to think outside the box,” said Alex Kaplan, president and general manager of Discovery Golf. “We’ll put guys in different situations, and it will be a surprise to them what they are. There’s going to be some fun tweaks these guys aren’t used to.”

Woods played four times in the original Skins Game, which had become a Thanksgiving weekend tradition in the California desert until it began losing star power and was held for the last time in 2008, three years after Woods’ final appearance. He never won in four tries.

“After discussing ‘The Challenge’ with Discovery and GOLFTV, I wanted to be a part of it,” Woods said. “I haven’t been back to Japan since 2006 and the golf fans there are some of the best in the world. It’s a unique format and a top field with Rory, Jason and Hideki. I can’t wait to play against them on a global stage.”

Woods signed a deal with Discovery last December in which he gives exclusive content to GOLFTV. Discovery last year agreed to a 12-year, $2 billion deal with the PGA Tour to deliver golf content direct to consumers in 220 markets outside the United States.

Because the PGA Tour is sanctioning the event, it will be shown on Golf Channel in U.S. markets.

The biggest challenge was figuring out when to play.

Because the event will be shown on demand for free around the world — fans in the UK and Ireland will be have to subscribe because of existing rights deals — Discovery Golf determined that a 1 p.m. start at Accordia Golf Narashino Country Club in Chiba would be the best fit.

That means it will start at midnight Sunday in the eastern U.S. after the NFL is over, and 9 p.m. on the West Coast. It will start in the early morning of Europe. Australia is one hour ahead of Japan.

“There’s not a perfect time,” Kaplan said. “You map out where the key markets are and what’s possible on the course and do your best possible. It’s where you drive the most viewership, and then you look at when the sun goes down. We could have started in the morning, but Japan and Asia are important markets for Discovery. We had to make sure we had it at a meaningful time. The lunch hour does that, particularly for streaming.”

Kaplan said some 3,000 fans are expected on the course, many of them as guests, others allowed to buy tickets. Because of limited October daylight, he said lights would be erected on the last few holes if needed.

McIlroy, who has a similar partnership as Woods with NBC Sports Group, was intrigued by the format and the field.

“Playing with Hideki on his home turf, Tiger coming back to Japan with a green jacket, the motivation is certainly there for me,” McIlroy said. “And I’m a huge fan of the skins format. I love the way it rewards attacking play and think it suits my game quite well. The other fun thing about skins is how you find yourself rooting for the other guys if you’re not in a position to win the hole.”

Players need to win a hole outright, or it carries over to the next hole. Total prize money is $350,000 — $10,000 per skin for the opening six holes, $20,000 for the next six holes, $20,000 through the 17th hole, and $100,000 for the 18th. There also will be charitable component.

Still to be revealed are the announcing crews. Kaplan said the Japan Skins will be produced in Japanese and English.

It starts what figures to be a big week in golf-crazed Japan. The Japan Skins is at the front end of the ZoZo Championship, the first official PGA Tour event in Japan, with a field expected to include Woods, McIlroy, Matsuyama, Day, Justin Thomas and possibly Jordan Spieth. Japan is in the middle of a three-week Asia swing, with South Korea at the front end and the HSBC Champions in Shanghai as the anchor.

Kaplan said more specialty events on GOLFTV are likely.

“We want to continue doing things like this, presenting golf in new and interesting ways,” Kaplan said. “I’m super excited about the production. We’re not going to rely on each player to tell their story. We’ll make it fun and interactive, but we’ll help these guys be fun and interactive.”

Westlake Legal Group GOLF-Tiger-Woods15 Woods part of 'Japan Skins' game to be shown live worldwide fox-news/sports/golf fox-news/person/tiger-woods fnc/sports fnc bab54a4e-11cf-5b18-9bd7-d603f266ae44 Associated Press article   Westlake Legal Group GOLF-Tiger-Woods15 Woods part of 'Japan Skins' game to be shown live worldwide fox-news/sports/golf fox-news/person/tiger-woods fnc/sports fnc bab54a4e-11cf-5b18-9bd7-d603f266ae44 Associated Press article

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Can you get cancer from tap water? New study says even ‘safe’ drinking water poses risk

CLOSEWestlake Legal Group icon_close Can you get cancer from tap water? New study says even 'safe' drinking water poses risk

A new report from an environmental advocacy watchdog group cautions that carcinogenic products in tap water may altogether increase cancer risk for thousands of U.S. residents over a lifetime.

In a peer-reviewed study published in the journal Heliyon Thursday, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) found that 22 carcinogens commonly found in tap water — including arsenic, byproducts of water disinfectants and radionuclides such as uranium and radium — could cumulatively result in over 100,000 cancer cases over the span of a lifetime. 

Although most tap water meets legal standards set by the federal government, EWG researchers found that contaminates present in tap water create a measurable risk for cancer.

“The vast majority of community water systems meet legal standards,” said Olga Naidenko, the vice president for science investigations at EWG, in a statement. “Yet the latest research shows that contaminants present in the water at those concentrations — perfectly legal — can still harm human health.”

An earlier study conducted by EWG found that a cumulative analysis of contaminants in California tap water found heightened risk of cancer for 15,000.   

Experts say that the risk of these carcinogens have been under debate for decades. They caution that the standards set for community water systems, which are regulated nationally by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), are complicated and require a balance between cost and safety.

Tap water not as safe as you think 

The study, funded by the Park Foundation, compiled a list of 22 contaminants with carcinogenic risks present in 48,363 community water systems in the United States, which EWG estimates serve about 86% of the U.S. population. Based on a cumulative risk assessment, EWG found that per 10,000 people, four will have cancer over the span of the lifetime due to the contaminants in water.

“Drinking water contains complex mixtures of contaminants, yet government agencies currently assess the health hazards of tap water pollutants one by one,” said Sydney Evans, the lead author of the paper, in a statement. “In the real world, people are exposed to combinations of chemicals, so it is important that we start to assess health impacts by looking at the combined effects of multiple pollutants.”

The majority of water systems, they add, are in compliance with EPA standards. The EPA, in a statement to USA TODAY, said that legal limits are set for over 90 contaminants in drinking water.

EWG said that 87% of the cancer risk present in tap water comes from arsenic and byproducts of common disinfectants.

Long-term exposure to arsenic, per the World Health Organization, can cause skin cancer, as well as cancer of the bladder and the lungs. Meanwhile, byproducts of disinfectants have been classified by the NIH and EPA as known and possible human carcinogens that can cause liver and bladder cancer.

This study does not take into account the possible contaminants present in groundwater from private wells, nor does it take into account the heightened risk of carcinogens in vulnerable populations such as infants and children. 

Clean water is complicated

In recent years, multiple crises, from Newark, New Jersey to Flint, Michigan have revealed the complications and failures in the management of public water systems, from the different water sources used by municipalities to the pipes that deliver water to homes.

The EPA regulates public drinking water under the Safe Drinking Water Act, which was enacted in 1974. It requires the EPA to set standards for contaminants through the National Primary Drinking Water Regulations, which minimizes risk for contaminants.

A spokesperson with the EPA told USA TODAY that water regulations focus primarily on the contaminants that may cause the greatest public health risk.

The standard is splintered into two categories: the maximum contaminant level (MCL), which is enforceable by law and is less stringent, and the maximum contaminant level goal (MCLG), which is only a public health guideline.

For instance, the federally-mandated MCLG for arsenic is 0 micrograms per liter; however, the MCL is 10 micrograms per liter. Meanwhile, the EWG recommends that only four ten-thousandths of a microgram (0.0004 micrograms) of arsenic be allowed in water.

Prof. David Sedlak, a professor of environmental engineering at University of California, Berkeley, and the deputy director of the National Science Foundation-funded urban water research center ReNUWIt, says that regulations for drinking water in the United States are based on a complex balance between health risks from possible carcinogens and the cost of implementing new water cleaning systems.  

Sedlak, who is not affiliated with the EWG study, told USA TODAY that arsenic and carcinogenic radionucleides such as radium are both naturally occurring in water systems. Setting the levels of regulation for these carcinogens especially challenging.

“For disinfectants,” he said, “they’ve been in scrutiny over the decades and it’s part of the reason why many cities have switched from chlorine to ozone.”

The Water Research Center says that using ozone water treatment in lieu of chlorine reduces the risk of chemicals leaching into water supplies.

What can be done?

EWG suggests installing a water filter that can remove contaminants found in an individual water source, but some suggested by the group that specifically remove arsenic can cost hundreds or thousands of dollars to purchase and install.

On a broader scale, experts advise solutions aimed at reducing the level of contaminants that are present in tap water.

“We need to prioritize source water protection, to make sure that these contaminants don’t get into the drinking water supplies to begin with,” Naidenko said in a statement.

Sedlak told USA TODAY that the technologies to remove carcinogenic substances from water do, in fact, exist. The biggest hurdle to implementing them, he said, is that they can be costly.

“Typically,” he said to USA TODAY, “these additional treatment processes are paid for by consumers — and in many cases, members of the public have been unwilling to see large rate increases in their water bills.”

The EPA agrees. In a handout on the EPA website explaining the Safe Drinking Water Act, it explains that water systems in America rely on community members to ensure that local water suppliers keep their water safe.

“The public is responsible for helping local water suppliers to set priorities, make decisions on funding and system improvements, and establish programs to protect drinking water sources,” the EPA writes.

“If people are aware of the health impacts (of tap water), they might be willing to pay more for water treatment,” said Sedlak. “But at this point, the EPA has made their decision.”

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‘It’s our future that’s at stake’: US students plan to skip school Friday to fight climate ’emergency’

CLOSEWestlake Legal Group icon_close 'It's our future that's at stake': US students plan to skip school Friday to fight climate 'emergency'

At only 16-year-old, the Swedish teen is taking a stand and letting Congress and the world know about climate change. Wochit, Wochit

SAN FRANCISCO — Tens of thousands of high school students in cities nationwide plan to skip classes Friday to attend Global Climate Strikemarches calling for immediate action to end climate change. They will be part of a global joint protest aimed directly at the adults who they say are ignoring the destruction of the planet.

“We have to treat climate change as what it is — an emergency,” said Audrey Maurine Xin Lin, an 18-year-old who’s been one of the coordinators of the Boston school strike and march.

The events come out of a groundswell of worry on the part of young people about the future of the planet. Students in more than 800 locations around the United States plan to go on strike from school for the day to attend protests.

“It’s going to be a really, really powerful day, the launch of a new era of climate movement. This is just the beginning for us,” said Katie Eder, 19, who is the executive director of the Future Coalition, a youth-led non-profit helping the groups coordinate.

The protests are timed to begin a week of activism at the United Nations, including a Youth Climate Summit on Saturday and a UN Climate Action Summit on Monday. A second strike is planned for Friday, Sept. 27.

Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg, 16, put a face on the global movement beginning in August 2018 when she began skipping school on Fridays to stand outside the Swedish parliament holding a sign protesting inaction on climate change. She came to New York on a solar-powered sailboat to attend the strike in New York City and then the summit.

The movement is not led by her, but a broad group of young people who say they are frightened for their futures and angry that adults have done so little. Unlike the Vietnam War protests, which were mostly college students, the organizers of these events are mostly high school and even some middle school students.

“I want to emphasize that our entire organizing team is under 20. Young people and students have really been leading this,” said Lin. She and four other teens were on a press call Wednesday describing the work they’re doing and why it’s important.

The young people said they want politicians to act as if the world’s on fire and begin curbing carbon emissions and taking the fight against global warming seriously.

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“We won’t have the chance to make the changes we need to if we don’t have the courage to fight,” said Dulce Belen Ceballos Arias, 18, from Redwood City, California. She is helping plan the San Francisco march.

“I want to have children of my own and I want them to have a life better than me and I don’t want that chance to be taken away from them,” she said.

Young people aren’t the only ones getting involved. Multiple companies, mostly on the smaller side, are shutting down for the day so employees can attend local marches. They include Ben & Jerry’s, Patagonia, Burton and SodaStream.

But while the students say they’re happy to have adults march and get involved, for them this is personal.

“It’s our future that’s at stake,” said Gabriella Marchesani, 17, a Miami Strike youth leader.

For her, Friday’s action isn’t just some small march to give kids a chance to cut class.

“This is a historic commitment that we’re going to look back on and say, ‘That’s the day that youth made a statement that we’re not going to give up,’” she said.

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