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Westlake Legal Group > News Media (Page 286)

Trump’s Betrayal Of The Kurds Will Echo For Generations

Azad Murad is the kind of person who will pay the price for President Donald Trump’s decision to endorse a Turkish offensive against Kurds in Syria.

He is a 40-year-old civilian who lives with his three young daughters, his wife and his parents, 75 and 65, in the city of Qamishli, right on the border with Turkey. Murad has already talked to his family about whether to join the thousands of their neighbors who are fleeing as Turkey continues to bomb their hometown.

“We decided to stay here,” Murad told HuffPost. “We will face our destiny.”

Murad’s daughters ― ages 13, 10 and 7 ― are among the more than 2 million residents of Kurdish-held Syria who are now at the mercy of the mission that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan calls “Operation Peace Spring.”

For many of them, including Arabs, Assyrians, Turkmens and the region’s other minorities, this moment may shape the rest of their lives.

The brutal assault by the second-largest army in NATO and allied militias, and world leaders’ failure to stop Erdogan, is an especially potent lesson for the Kurds in taking little for granted ― and realizing your life can be radically changed by massive forces you neither control nor fully trust.

“These areas were the safest areas for a long period of time,” Murad said.

To the younger generation of Kurds, a worldwide community that numbers more than 30 million, this is a defining period in history.

“It feels like it’s determining our future, about belonging and where we come from and our ability to go and experience our homelands, especially as people who live as part of a diaspora,” said Elif Sarican, a British-born Kurd active in the international Kurdish women’s movement. “We genuinely see this as a turning point of literally either existence or extermination.”

Young Kurds in Syria and in neighboring Iraq have spent more than five years fighting alongside the U.S. and its allies against the Islamic State, seeing peers’ lives cut short and their futures denied. Young Kurds around the world, in Turkey, Europe, the U.S. and elsewhere, have led loud, powerful international movements for solidarity in a way that’s unprecedented, given how borders have separated the stateless Kurds for generations.

The Syrian Kurdish community, known as Rojava, offered to many Kurds an example of a confident, empowering and radically different future. Now it could be crushed over Turkey’s insistence that it is a threat because of its links to a militant group called the PKK.

And whatever Rojava’s fate, America is deeply implicated. That means the consequences of Trump’s action won’t be measured just in the fighting and likely human rights abuses of the days and weeks ahead. Its real resonance will only become clear years from now, in ways that are crucial to the Kurds and quite possibly worrying for the United States.

A community that has experienced crisis after crisis over the past century, Kurds have come to deeply value their collective memory. They honor it not just with commemoration but with respect: Like other groups that have repeatedly faced persecution from larger enemies, they’re especially committed to looking to their past to decide what’s next. Whatever the history books make of Trump and Erdogan, Kurds will remember the bloodshed, fear and desperate strategizing they are now causing.

These people aren’t naive people. … We also know how to make tactical alliances. Elif Sarican, a British-born Kurdish activist

Stress over the situation with Turkey has left Yerevan Saeed, an associate fellow with the Middle East Research Institute in the Kurdish region of Iraq, sleep-deprived and “feeling down” for days. Saeed was a refugee three times before the age of 11 due to fighting in his country, where dictator Saddam Hussein brutally suppressed Iraq’s Kurdish population while being armed by the U.S., and where Kurdish warlords then fought each other for years. That’s why he can empathize deeply with the Kurds in Syria right now, he said.

The trauma crosses generational lines. When Saeed talks about the situation with his father, “he says it’s just the same thing that’s happening in a different version in a different time of history,” he told HuffPost. ”The Kurds are left on their own.”

Where his frame of reference is the 1980s and 1990s, his father’s is the 1970s, when the U.S. and Iran supported the Kurds against Hussein and then abandoned them when the Iranians and Iraqis made a deal. “Fuck the Kurds if they can’t take a joke,” then-Secretary of State Henry Kissinger apocryphally said of their concerns ― which were realized ― that they would be brutally suppressed.

Kurds worldwide have responded to letdowns and ongoing vulnerability by ensuring that, at the very least, they can’t be ignored.

“My sisters were born into the movement,” said Zeynep Kurban, a young British-Kurdish activist, explaining that her family has been demonstrating since moving to the United Kingdom from Turkey back in the 1990s.

“I’m a scientist, but whatever profession we have chosen, on the sidelines we have had to do activism … not being a free youth taking it easy,” she said.

For Kurban and other young Kurds, the Syrian Kurdish enclave is particularly important because the political administration there prioritizes gender equality, direct democracy and the environment. It offers an alternative to the idea that the Kurds’ best bet is to build a nation-state in the image of those that have caused many of the community’s problems.

“This attack is not just a physical attack, but is also an attack on the values of women, the values that women are trying to create not just in Rojava, but in the rest of the world by overcoming the patriarchal mindset,” Kurban said.

Westlake Legal Group 5da24d24210000e7063449ca Trump’s Betrayal Of The Kurds Will Echo For Generations

Christian Mang / Reuters Kurdish protesters in Berlin, Germany, carry a banner during a demonstration on Oct. 12 against Turkey’s military action in northeastern Syria.

The past few years have been filled with important, often worrying episodes for Kurds, said Sarican, the Kurdish women’s movement activist. There was the ISIS onslaught against the associated community of Yazidis and Iraqi Kurdistan in 2014, the stand the Syrian Kurdish town Kobani took against the terror group, and the sweeping crackdown Turkey launched on its own Kurdish citizens in 2015.

Throughout, the Kurds have gotten mixed signals from the U.S. and other world powers. While the Americans and company were happy to work with Kurdish fighters against ISIS, they did little about Turkey’s destruction of Kurdish towns and bloody incursion into the Syrian Kurdish region of Afrin, or about Iraqi Kurds taking the dramatic step of voting for independence in 2017, a move that prompted violent pushback from Iran and Iraq.

“There was never any illusion or delusion for us that the U.S. was strategically and politically on our side,” Sarican said. “These people aren’t naive people.”

While much Western discussion of the Kurds treats them as a helpless people waiting for the U.S., Turkey and others to make their next moves, Kurdish leaders and their allies know they have to craft their own plans ― and they’ve known that long before Trump entered the Oval Office.

“We also know how to make tactical alliances because we know our main aim is to defend our people,” Sarican said. The Kurds have, for example, maintained dialogue with Russia, Iran, Syrian dictator Bashar Assad and other players Washington largely refuses to engage with.

Younger Kurds realizing the importance of their own agency are also interested in thinking across nationalities and differences in philosophy (between, say, leftist Syrian Kurds and more conservative peers in Iraq) as they envision their future.

“The developments in the past few years are really radicalizing the younger generation,” said Giran Ozcan, a British-born Kurd who is the Washington representative for a pro-Kurdish political party in Turkey called the HDP. “They really do see it as a national issue now of targeting Kurds because they are Kurds.”

“This builds a kind of national consciousness that maybe wasn’t there before, so thanks to the hostile states of the region, the Kurds are really unifying in a way they weren’t before,” Ozcan added.

The U.S. could help in their next chapter. American support for a renewed peace process between Turkey and its own Kurdish community could produce a win for all sides, including Kurds in Syria, Ozcan said.

But Kurds are certain they need to be the architects of their own fate, one quite different from the status quo.

“What’s happening today is not in the interests of anybody,” Kurban said.

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

Trump’s Betrayal Of The Kurds Will Echo For Generations

Azad Murad is the kind of person who will pay the price for President Donald Trump’s decision to endorse a Turkish offensive against Kurds in Syria.

He is a 40-year-old civilian who lives with his three young daughters, his wife and his parents, 75 and 65, in the city of Qamishli, right on the border with Turkey. Murad has already talked to his family about whether to join the thousands of their neighbors who are fleeing as Turkey continues to bomb their hometown.

“We decided to stay here,” Murad told HuffPost. “We will face our destiny.”

Murad’s daughters ― ages 13, 10 and 7 ― are among the more than 2 million residents of Kurdish-held Syria who are now at the mercy of the mission that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan calls “Operation Peace Spring.”

For many of them, including Arabs, Assyrians, Turkmens and the region’s other minorities, this moment may shape the rest of their lives.

The brutal assault by the second-largest army in NATO and allied militias, and world leaders’ failure to stop Erdogan, is an especially potent lesson for the Kurds in taking little for granted ― and realizing your life can be radically changed by massive forces you neither control nor fully trust.

“These areas were the safest areas for a long period of time,” Murad said.

To the younger generation of Kurds, a worldwide community that numbers more than 30 million, this is a defining period in history.

“It feels like it’s determining our future, about belonging and where we come from and our ability to go and experience our homelands, especially as people who live as part of a diaspora,” said Elif Sarican, a British-born Kurd active in the international Kurdish women’s movement. “We genuinely see this as a turning point of literally either existence or extermination.”

Young Kurds in Syria and in neighboring Iraq have spent more than five years fighting alongside the U.S. and its allies against the Islamic State, seeing peers’ lives cut short and their futures denied. Young Kurds around the world, in Turkey, Europe, the U.S. and elsewhere, have led loud, powerful international movements for solidarity in a way that’s unprecedented, given how borders have separated the stateless Kurds for generations.

The Syrian Kurdish community, known as Rojava, offered to many Kurds an example of a confident, empowering and radically different future. Now it could be crushed over Turkey’s insistence that it is a threat because of its links to a militant group called the PKK.

And whatever Rojava’s fate, America is deeply implicated. That means the consequences of Trump’s action won’t be measured just in the fighting and likely human rights abuses of the days and weeks ahead. Its real resonance will only become clear years from now, in ways that are crucial to the Kurds and quite possibly worrying for the United States.

A community that has experienced crisis after crisis over the past century, Kurds have come to deeply value their collective memory. They honor it not just with commemoration but with respect: Like other groups that have repeatedly faced persecution from larger enemies, they’re especially committed to looking to their past to decide what’s next. Whatever the history books make of Trump and Erdogan, Kurds will remember the bloodshed, fear and desperate strategizing they are now causing.

These people aren’t naive people. … We also know how to make tactical alliances. Elif Sarican, a British-born Kurdish activist

Stress over the situation with Turkey has left Yerevan Saeed, an associate fellow with the Middle East Research Institute in the Kurdish region of Iraq, sleep-deprived and “feeling down” for days. Saeed was a refugee three times before the age of 11 due to fighting in his country, where dictator Saddam Hussein brutally suppressed Iraq’s Kurdish population while being armed by the U.S., and where Kurdish warlords then fought each other for years. That’s why he can empathize deeply with the Kurds in Syria right now, he said.

The trauma crosses generational lines. When Saeed talks about the situation with his father, “he says it’s just the same thing that’s happening in a different version in a different time of history,” he told HuffPost. ”The Kurds are left on their own.”

Where his frame of reference is the 1980s and 1990s, his father’s is the 1970s, when the U.S. and Iran supported the Kurds against Hussein and then abandoned them when the Iranians and Iraqis made a deal. “Fuck the Kurds if they can’t take a joke,” then-Secretary of State Henry Kissinger apocryphally said of their concerns ― which were realized ― that they would be brutally suppressed.

Kurds worldwide have responded to letdowns and ongoing vulnerability by ensuring that, at the very least, they can’t be ignored.

“My sisters were born into the movement,” said Zeynep Kurban, a young British-Kurdish activist, explaining that her family has been demonstrating since moving to the United Kingdom from Turkey back in the 1990s.

“I’m a scientist, but whatever profession we have chosen, on the sidelines we have had to do activism … not being a free youth taking it easy,” she said.

For Kurban and other young Kurds, the Syrian Kurdish enclave is particularly important because the political administration there prioritizes gender equality, direct democracy and the environment. It offers an alternative to the idea that the Kurds’ best bet is to build a nation-state in the image of those that have caused many of the community’s problems.

“This attack is not just a physical attack, but is also an attack on the values of women, the values that women are trying to create not just in Rojava, but in the rest of the world by overcoming the patriarchal mindset,” Kurban said.

Westlake Legal Group 5da24d24210000e7063449ca Trump’s Betrayal Of The Kurds Will Echo For Generations

Christian Mang / Reuters Kurdish protesters in Berlin, Germany, carry a banner during a demonstration on Oct. 12 against Turkey’s military action in northeastern Syria.

The past few years have been filled with important, often worrying episodes for Kurds, said Sarican, the Kurdish women’s movement activist. There was the ISIS onslaught against the associated community of Yazidis and Iraqi Kurdistan in 2014, the stand the Syrian Kurdish town Kobani took against the terror group, and the sweeping crackdown Turkey launched on its own Kurdish citizens in 2015.

Throughout, the Kurds have gotten mixed signals from the U.S. and other world powers. While the Americans and company were happy to work with Kurdish fighters against ISIS, they did little about Turkey’s destruction of Kurdish towns and bloody incursion into the Syrian Kurdish region of Afrin, or about Iraqi Kurds taking the dramatic step of voting for independence in 2017, a move that prompted violent pushback from Iran and Iraq.

“There was never any illusion or delusion for us that the U.S. was strategically and politically on our side,” Sarican said. “These people aren’t naive people.”

While much Western discussion of the Kurds treats them as a helpless people waiting for the U.S., Turkey and others to make their next moves, Kurdish leaders and their allies know they have to craft their own plans ― and they’ve known that long before Trump entered the Oval Office.

“We also know how to make tactical alliances because we know our main aim is to defend our people,” Sarican said. The Kurds have, for example, maintained dialogue with Russia, Iran, Syrian dictator Bashar Assad and other players Washington largely refuses to engage with.

Younger Kurds realizing the importance of their own agency are also interested in thinking across nationalities and differences in philosophy (between, say, leftist Syrian Kurds and more conservative peers in Iraq) as they envision their future.

“The developments in the past few years are really radicalizing the younger generation,” said Giran Ozcan, a British-born Kurd who is the Washington representative for a pro-Kurdish political party in Turkey called the HDP. “They really do see it as a national issue now of targeting Kurds because they are Kurds.”

“This builds a kind of national consciousness that maybe wasn’t there before, so thanks to the hostile states of the region, the Kurds are really unifying in a way they weren’t before,” Ozcan added.

The U.S. could help in their next chapter. American support for a renewed peace process between Turkey and its own Kurdish community could produce a win for all sides, including Kurds in Syria, Ozcan said.

But Kurds are certain they need to be the architects of their own fate, one quite different from the status quo.

“What’s happening today is not in the interests of anybody,” Kurban said.

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

Couple hoping to build dream home in Florida learn their land used to be a dump

CLOSEWestlake Legal Group icon_close Couple hoping to build dream home in Florida learn their land used to be a dump

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SANTA ROSA COUNTY, Fla. – As Jeff and Abbey Rodamaker began tearing out trees in their newly purchased land near Gulf Breeze to make way for their future dream home, the couple heard an unexpected clinking sound as each tree fell.

The roots had pulled up numerous glass bottles and other trash, such as plastic containers, a propane tank and tires that had been buried a few feet underground. The seemingly endless garbage was hidden by dirt, brush and trees.

As the Rodamakers began digging more around the property, they realized it had once been used as a landfill, with an unknown amount of trash buried across its 6.43 acres. 

“I was never able to really establish a bottom,” Jeff Rodamaker said, even finding a clear glass bottle with the words “dispose properly” scrawled across it. “Basically seeing it as deep as it was, I gave up because it’s past trying to clean up.”

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The couple said they purchased the land in February for $70,000 with a $323,000 mortgage to construct their dream home on a lot next door to close family friends. For a while, they believed they might be able salvage the property, but health concerns and the cost of mitigation proved too much. Their dream had turned into a nightmare.

“(Someone) could give me 6 acres down the street and that wouldn’t matter because we wanted to live next to them,” Jeff Rodamaker said. “Those were our best friends so there is no fixing it.”

The property on Ocean Breeze Lane has been subdivided and exchanged ownership multiple times since the 1970s, when the trash was thought to be placed there. But Abbey Rodamaker said she believed Santa Rosa County had used her property as a landfill while it was still held privately.

Alta Skinner, owner of 13.02 acres in Santa Rosa County until 1978, is linked to the land through a chain of deeds to the Rodamakers. Their parcel appears to have been subdivided into a 6.51-acre parcel in 1978 by Walter and Marie Harris, who purchased Skinner’s property that year.

Skinner appeared in minutes from a May 11, 1971, meeting of Santa Rosa’s Board of County Commissioners in which she requested the board build a road to her property. In exchange, she agreed to donate the right of way for the road and permit the county to use property owned by her as a “sanitary landfill” at no cost to the county.

“The board assured Mrs. Skinner they would start work on the road within the next few weeks,” according to the minutes.

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County staff said records in their Geographic Information System as well as the Planning and Zoning Department don’t indicate the property was once used as a landfill. Ron Hixson, the county’s environmental manager, said that at that time, there were many small landfills around.

“It specifically was a county (landfill)?” he pondered. “It could have been. It could’ve also been a privately owned landfill. I have records on county landfills, but if they were a privately owned landfill, probably not.”

The Rodamakers said they were not informed of the landfill by either the previous owner or the county.

Jack Lynch, president of the Pensacola Association of Realtors, said that when it comes to purchasing a vacant lot or a home, there are disclosure forms the seller must fill out. But if the seller isn’t aware of a previous use such as a landfill, there’s nothing for them to disclose.

“The thing that you have to remember is that you can only disclose what you know,” Lynch said. “If the person that sold them the property didn’t know that it was a landfill, there would be no way to disclose that information.”

Previous owner Andrew McCreary didn’t respond to a call from the News Journal for comment.

What are the environmental impacts?

When the Rodamakers discovered the landfill, they informed the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and had four ground wells installed for water monitoring.

“I have a child. What happens if she goes out and plays in the dirt?” Abbey Rodamaker said. “I feel like we would always be worried. If we get sick five or 10 years from now, I’d be worried that it was because of this.”

Brandy Smith, external affairs manager with the Northwest District of the DEP, said representatives visited the site and said it didn’t look to be a community landfill but rather a “promiscuous dump.” Those are defined as an “unauthorized site where indiscriminate deposits of solid waste are made,” according to department documents.

“We come across this from time to time,” Smith said. “People, they have the right to dispose of waste on their own private property if they have certain setback requirements met. I think we provided them some general guidance at the time.”

Abbey Rodamaker disputes the classification of a promiscuous dump. 

“This was not a promiscuous dump,” Rodamaker said. “This was not a neighborhood dump. This was a county dump. It’s definitely more trash than dirt.”

Smith said leaving the trash in place or excavating it are both possible options for the land. She said it was unclear whether how the waste got there was illegal, but overall the inspectors didn’t believe there was a “huge volume of waste.”

“There’s not necessarily a lot of environmental concerns,” Smith said, adding that her department suggested the owners talk with a structural engineer if they planned to build.

“In a larger waste situation, we would be concerned with groundwater because as waste breaks down and deteriorates, it can generate chemicals or toxins or something that might be of concern,” Smith said. “In this case, we didn’t see that volume of waste that’s an immediate concern.”

What’s next for the property?

The Rodamakers said they are unsure of what happens next to the property.

While the family could technically still build on the land, the price of making a house structurally sound and putting it on pilings to handle any shifting trash underneath would require them to restructure their loan.

The couple said they’ve spent all of their savings to get to this point, including purchasing the property and hiring services. They’ve hired professionals to perform tests to see whether the age of the trees match up with the time Skinner’s landfill might have been covered over.

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Abbey Rodamaker said her family feels like nobody is willing to help them, whether it be attorneys who don’t want to take the case or who are too expensive, or failings of the government or others who could have informed them about the landfill. 

“The people that I thought were supposed to protect us, definitely are not protecting us,” Abbey Rodamaker said. “I guess the case could be made that (the DEP) were trying to help us because they don’t want to do a site investigation. But that leaves us with contaminated land.”

The couple said it has also been suggested that they could walk away from the property, taking measures like declaring bankruptcy to get out of the situation. 

“For me, there’s still the moral question,” Abbey Rodamaker said. “How do you just walk away?”

Follow Madison Arnold on Twitter: @maddymarnold

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Read or Share this story: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2019/10/12/couple-learns-their-santa-rosa-county-florida-land-old-landfill/3961265002/

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KFC employee allegedly used customer’s credit card to buy roller skates

She’s not skating by on this one.

An employee of an Indiana KFC has been accused of buying a pair of $85 roller skates with a customer’s credit card, which was used at the drive-thru.

Alexis Hill was booked into jail Thursday for allegedly using a customer’s credit card to buy skates in the spring. She allegedly rang up the patron’s transaction with the card while working at a St. Joseph’s County KFC on April 24, ABC 57 reports.

Westlake Legal Group Alexis-Hill-St-Joseph-County-PD KFC employee allegedly used customer's credit card to buy roller skates Janine Puhak fox-news/us/crime/robbery-theft fox-news/news-events/drive-thru-america fox-news/lifestyle fox-news/food-drink/food/fast-food fox news fnc/food-drink fnc article 1b0a1d6c-0f5c-5984-836b-a4625973b7bd

Alexis Hill, pictured, was booked into jail on Oct. 10 for allegedly using a KFC customer’s credit card to buy skates in the spring. (St. Joseph County Police Department.)

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According to the outlet, the unnamed fast-food diner noticed an $85.42 purchase on her Discover card for roller skates from Amazon the next day. The customer proceeded to file a report with the St. Joseph County Police Department.

Law enforcement officials interviewed Hill in June, and the woman admitted to writing down the victim’s credit card number to purchase the skates for her niece, according to a probable cause affidavit.

Westlake Legal Group KFC-restaurant KFC employee allegedly used customer's credit card to buy roller skates Janine Puhak fox-news/us/crime/robbery-theft fox-news/news-events/drive-thru-america fox-news/lifestyle fox-news/food-drink/food/fast-food fox news fnc/food-drink fnc article 1b0a1d6c-0f5c-5984-836b-a4625973b7bd

According to the outlet, the unnamed fast-food diner noticed an $85.42 purchase on her Discover card for roller skates from Amazon the day after visiting KFC. The customer proceeded to file a report with the St. Joseph County Police Department. (iStock)

Hill was scheduled to be arraigned on Friday.

A spokesperson for KFC was not immediately available to comment regarding whether or not Hill is still employed by the restaurant.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

Westlake Legal Group Alexis-Hill-St-Joseph-County-PD KFC employee allegedly used customer's credit card to buy roller skates Janine Puhak fox-news/us/crime/robbery-theft fox-news/news-events/drive-thru-america fox-news/lifestyle fox-news/food-drink/food/fast-food fox news fnc/food-drink fnc article 1b0a1d6c-0f5c-5984-836b-a4625973b7bd   Westlake Legal Group Alexis-Hill-St-Joseph-County-PD KFC employee allegedly used customer's credit card to buy roller skates Janine Puhak fox-news/us/crime/robbery-theft fox-news/news-events/drive-thru-america fox-news/lifestyle fox-news/food-drink/food/fast-food fox news fnc/food-drink fnc article 1b0a1d6c-0f5c-5984-836b-a4625973b7bd

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

Erdogan senior adviser denies Turkey fired at American troops in northern Syria

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6094386640001_6094381183001-vs Erdogan senior adviser denies Turkey fired at American troops in northern Syria Melissa Leon fox-news/world/world-regions/middle-east fox-news/world/conflicts/syria fox-news/politics/defense/pentagon fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox news fnc/media fnc article 5bf337cf-322e-5013-a675-de2e9b1ee9ec

A senior adviser to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told Fox News on Saturday that Turkey didn’t fire on American soldiers in northern Syria days after launching an offensive, contrary to what the Pentagon stated Friday.

“That’s another lie,” Gulnur Aybet told Fox News’ Leland Vittert.

“We did not fire on American soldiers. […] That was a lie that was spun by the YPG,” she said, referring to the largely Kurdish militia that forms the bulk of the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic forces.

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The Pentagon said Friday that U.S. troops near the border town of Kobane in northern Syria came under artillery fire from Turkish positions. The area where the explosion occurred is an area known by the Turks to have U.S. forces present there, according to the Pentagon. No American troops were injured.

Aybet firmly denied that Turkey fired on U.S. troops. She claimed Turkey was “returning fire that was fired at our territory by the terrorists of that region. We were very careful not to fire on the American observation post there.”

President Trump announced Sunday that the U.S. would pull all troops from northeast Syria, clearing the way for a Turkish air and ground offensive. Erdogan’s troops launched an assault on Wednesday and ground forces invaded later that day.

Erodgan’s adviser told Vittert that Turkey is “very disappointed [the U.S. is] still working with the YPG.”

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Turkey views the United States’ support of the Kurds and YPG as “an ill-conceived policy to arm one terrorist group to fight another,” Aybet said. Turkey considers the YPG equivalent to the PKK, or Kurdistan Workers’ Party — a Kurdish far-left political group that is listed as a terrorist organization by the U.S.

“I think President Trump is absolutely right in wanting to bring home U.S. troops,” Aybet told Vittert. “I think it’s very unfair they’re hostage to this ill-begotten policy [of] arming one terrorist group to fighter another,” referring to the Islamic State (ISIS) in the region. The Kurds have detained thousands of ISIS prisoners in the area. After Turkey launched its military operation, many analysts questioned what would happen to the terrorist fighters, and whether the Kurds would be able to keep them emprisoned or they would be released.

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According to Aybet, Turkey has two objectives in northeast Syria: clear the YPG from the border region and ensuring the return of between one and two million Syrian refugees.

According to the war-monitoring group the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, 74 Kurdish fighters have been killed since Wednesday, as well as 21 civilians and 49 Turkish-backed Syrian opposition fighters.

Fox News’ Lucas Tomlinson and Robert Gearty contributed to this report.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6094386640001_6094381183001-vs Erdogan senior adviser denies Turkey fired at American troops in northern Syria Melissa Leon fox-news/world/world-regions/middle-east fox-news/world/conflicts/syria fox-news/politics/defense/pentagon fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox news fnc/media fnc article 5bf337cf-322e-5013-a675-de2e9b1ee9ec   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6094386640001_6094381183001-vs Erdogan senior adviser denies Turkey fired at American troops in northern Syria Melissa Leon fox-news/world/world-regions/middle-east fox-news/world/conflicts/syria fox-news/politics/defense/pentagon fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox news fnc/media fnc article 5bf337cf-322e-5013-a675-de2e9b1ee9ec

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Ken Cuccinelli floated as likely next DHS chief with McAleenan to step down

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Acting Director Ken Cuccinelli is being seen as a likely replacement for outgoing Department of Homeland Security Acting Secretary Kevin McAleenan, sources tell Fox News — a move that would be welcomed by immigration hardliners.

President Trump on Friday announced that McAleenan would be leaving the job to spend more time with his family, and added that the new acting secretary would be announced next week.

CUCCINELLI PUTS HARDLINE STAMP ON IMMIGRATION AGENDA, JUST 2 MONTHS INTO USCIS JOB

“Many wonderful candidates,” he said.

The announcement immediately led to speculation as to who would step into the vital cabinet position — one that is a central post for the nation’s immigration policy.

A former senior DHS official with close ties to the administration told Fox News Friday that Cuccinelli is on the top of Trump’s list to be the next acting secretary. The source noted that a Senate confirmation hearing would be bruising for Cuccinelli but “he, [White House adviser] Steve Miller and Trump are all in sync on a number of key policies.

“They have been trying to clear the way for a while,” the source said.

If Trump doesn’t go with Cuccinelli, the source said Trump may go with former Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach — another hardliner who has long been floated for a possible administration position but is currently running for the U.S. Senate.

One administration official told Fox News on Saturday that Cuccinelli was in “good standing” for the position.

“Ken has been very effective on the regulatory side and he has proven to be a team player who will do every media hit no matter how small or how hostile,” the official said. “Ken is someone who hands-down supports and defends the work of the president and the administration.”

Trump may face some resistance from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., who has in the past indicated his “lack of enthusiasm” for Cuccinelli. That could make getting Cuccinelli confirmed difficult. Cuccinelli was previously president of the Senate Conservatives Fund, which seeks to push more conservative Senate candidates and was therefore often critical of McConnell and his allies.

“I’ve not spoken to [Trump] about any of them. I have expressed my, shall I say, lack of enthusiasm for one of them … Ken Cuccinelli,” McConnell told reporters in April when Cuccinelli was floated to replace former DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, according to The Hill.

A Cuccinelli pick would also face significant opposition from Senate Democrats. Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., declared Cuccinelli “unfit” to lead USCIS in August after old remarks emerged of the former Virginia attorney general calling illegal immigrants “foreign invaders.”

However, a Cuccinelli pick would be welcomed by many conservatives, particularly those focused on immigration and who didn’t warm to McAleenan. As head of USCIS since the summer — an often overlooked agency that deals with bureaucratic issues to do with green card applications and citizenship requests — Cuccinneli put a hardline stamp on the agency with policies that picked up national attention.

TRUMP ANNOUNCES ACTING HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY MCALEENAN TO LEAVE POST

Perhaps the most striking of those changes was the “public charge” rule that toughened and clarified guidance for officials as to when they should deny green cards to immigrants deemed likely to rely on government welfare.

The rule defined public charge as an immigrant who receives one or more designated benefits for more than 12 months within a 36-month period. It also expanded the number of benefits that could be considered. On Friday, however, the rule was dealt a setback when a federal judge issued a nationwide injunction blocking it from being implemented.

“An objective judiciary will see that this rule lies squarely within long-held existing law,” Cuccinelli said in response.

In addition to public charge, Cuccinelli has also pushed a number of significant, and often controversial, changes. Buzzfeed News reported last month that he sought the power to publicize information about migrants being prosecuted for certain crimes. His agency has also tightened rules for awarding work permits to immigrants allowed into the U.S. for humanitarian reasons and has also cut the two-day window between detention and interview to one.

He has also not shied away from the media glare and from wading into controversies when defending the administration, something that may endear him to the president.

In August, in defending the public charge rule, he faced questions from reporters that the public charge rule was not in keeping with Emma Lazarus’ “The New Colossus” — a sonnet added to the bottom of the Statue of Liberty that has become known for the line: “give me your tired and poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free…”

Westlake Legal Group IMG_0186 Ken Cuccinelli floated as likely next DHS chief with McAleenan to step down fox-news/us/immigration/border-security fox-news/us/immigration fox news fnc/politics fnc article Adam Shaw 3b96b3e4-0c0b-5ec7-b015-7ff59aea6ee1

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Acting Director Ken Cuccinelli talks to Border Patrol agents in Laredo, Texas. (Adam Shaw/Fox News)

Asked separately about the poem’s reference to “wretched refuse,” Cuccinelli commented that the poem was “referring back to people coming from Europe where they had class-based societies where people were considered wretched if they weren’t in the right class.” That remark sparked controversy from figures from 2020 hopeful Beto O’Rourke to pop singer Rihanna.

Cuccinelli has used his Twitter account (which he operates himself) to challenge the executive of Montgomery County, Md., to a debate over “sanctuary city” policies after a series of sex crimes allegedly perpetrated by illegal immigrants.

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“I’ll defend children and crime victims, Elrich can defend rapists and murders who shouldn’t even be in this country,” he said.

He has also supported the use of “illegal aliens” to refer to illegal immigrants in U.S. law, even as McAleenan shied away from that term. Measures like that have earned him a reputation that has endeared him to groups in favor of tougher restrictions on immigration.

“The choice is clear, he must elevate Ken Cuccinelli,” RJ Hauman, government relations director at the restrictionist Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), told Politico. “The president understands that the opposition seeks to stop his efforts to secure the border and restore control over our nation’s immigration system through court orders and injunctions. What better force to stop this than the former attorney general of Virginia and one of the most skilled appellate lawyers in the country?”

Fox News’ Leland Vittert contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group Ken-Cuccinelli-AP Ken Cuccinelli floated as likely next DHS chief with McAleenan to step down fox-news/us/immigration/border-security fox-news/us/immigration fox news fnc/politics fnc article Adam Shaw 3b96b3e4-0c0b-5ec7-b015-7ff59aea6ee1   Westlake Legal Group Ken-Cuccinelli-AP Ken Cuccinelli floated as likely next DHS chief with McAleenan to step down fox-news/us/immigration/border-security fox-news/us/immigration fox news fnc/politics fnc article Adam Shaw 3b96b3e4-0c0b-5ec7-b015-7ff59aea6ee1

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Epstein Likened Underage Sex Charges To ‘Stealing A Bagel’: Report

Westlake Legal Group 5da22970210000c3073449bd Epstein Likened Underage Sex Charges To ‘Stealing A Bagel’: Report

Jeffrey Epstein said the underage sex charges to which he once pleaded guilty were no worse than “stealing a bagel,” The New York Times reported Saturday in a piece detailing the relationship between the deceased money manager and billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates

The Times cited two unnamed people working on behalf of the Gates Foundation who were present when Epstein made the analogy at his infamous Manhattan townhouse in late 2011. A small group had been sent to discuss a potential philanthropic endeavor that would have involved Gates, but never progressed. 

Epstein told his guests that if they searched his name on the internet they could be led to conclude he was an unsavory character. He then downplayed his crimes. 

Gates has denied knowing that Epstein was a serial sexual abuser accused of frequently soliciting sexual services from young women and underage girls. In 2014, the Microsoft founder donated $2 million to MIT’s Media Lab, reportedly at the behest of Epstein, who himself donated to the Media Lab. Gates disputes that Epstein ever directed him to spend money and says he regrets ever meeting with him. 

But they reportedly met several times in the years after Epstein served an extraordinarily lenient jail sentence for soliciting sex with a minor and became a registered sex offender. In an email about their first meeting, Gates reportedly said he stayed late at Epstein’s mansion because a “very attractive Swedish woman and her daughter dropped by,” and said he thought Epstein’s “lifestyle” was “intriguing.”

The money manager was found dead in his federal prison cell on Aug. 10 while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges. 

Prosecutors in New York say dozens of other women have come forward to tell them how they suffered abuse at Epstein’s various properties including the Manhattan townhouse. He also owned property in Paris; Palm Beach, Florida; New Mexico; and the U.S. Virgin Islands, among other places, along with a private jet.

Epstein is now known to have used his connections to wealthy and influential people to lure other powerful individuals into his orbit, including businesspeople, presidents and royalty. 

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Family of missing Utah tech CEO, police dispute whether disappearance was voluntary

Westlake Legal Group valenti Family of missing Utah tech CEO, police dispute whether disappearance was voluntary Morgan Phillips fox-news/us/us-regions/west/utah fox-news/us/us-regions/west/california fox-news/us/us-regions/west fox-news/topic/missing-persons fox news fnc/us fnc f9697064-3e88-5094-a3f1-5bef614bad1e article

The family of a missing Utah woman who was last seen Monday say that police in California incorrectly described her disappearance as voluntary.

Family members say Erin Valenti, CEO of Salt-Lake City-based app developer Tinker Ventures, was last seen in Palo Alto, Calif. She was supposedly on her way to the San Jose airport to head home to Salt Lake City.

Valenti’s husband Harrison Weinstein wrote on Facebook that phone activity suggested Valenti was driving in San Jose. She never returned her rental car or made it on her flight back to Utah, and she’s had no phone or credit card activity since Monday.

San Jose police spokesman Sgt. Enrique Garcia told Fox 13 Friday that “at this time, we are treating this case as a voluntary missing person.” However, Valenti’s family says she seemed to be distraught on the night she disappeared. Weinstein and Valenti’s parents told the station that they spoke to her on the phone Monday and she seemed manic, though she has no history of mental illness.

“I get that people have the right to disappear, but that’s not this,” Weinstein told KTVU. “Everything she said she was planning on coming home. She was trying to get to the airport. She’s not thinking clearly.”

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“She seemed confused. We said, ‘Did you drink anything?  Did anybody give you anything?’ and she said, ‘No,'” her mother Agnes Valenti said, “But my daughter is so smart and she is such a strong independent lady and this has never happened before.”

Valenti is described as 5-foot-4 with blond hair. She was last seen wearing a white T-shirt and jeans.

Westlake Legal Group valenti Family of missing Utah tech CEO, police dispute whether disappearance was voluntary Morgan Phillips fox-news/us/us-regions/west/utah fox-news/us/us-regions/west/california fox-news/us/us-regions/west fox-news/topic/missing-persons fox news fnc/us fnc f9697064-3e88-5094-a3f1-5bef614bad1e article   Westlake Legal Group valenti Family of missing Utah tech CEO, police dispute whether disappearance was voluntary Morgan Phillips fox-news/us/us-regions/west/utah fox-news/us/us-regions/west/california fox-news/us/us-regions/west fox-news/topic/missing-persons fox news fnc/us fnc f9697064-3e88-5094-a3f1-5bef614bad1e article

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Alec Baldwin, wife Hilaria reveal sex of baby No. 5 six months after announcing miscarriage

Westlake Legal Group alec-hilaria-baldwin-ap Alec Baldwin, wife Hilaria reveal sex of baby No. 5 six months after announcing miscarriage Julius Young fox-news/person/alec-baldwin fox-news/entertainment/events/babies fox news fnc/entertainment fnc article 6f0de084-ff83-51f6-b318-c2b647ae66e9

Alec Baldwin and his wife Hilaria have revealed the sex of their fifth child together.

The expectant mother shared a video of the cheeky announcement, which featured the couple’s four other children – Carmen, 6, Rafael, 4, Leonardo, 3, and Romeo, 1 – on Instagram on Saturday.

In the adorable social media video clip, the miniature Baldwins head into a room where they each receive their own baby doll swaddled in a white blanket – only to unwrap the doll to reveal the sex of their new sibling.

“It’s a girl,” Carmen exclaims after she unwraps her assigned doll and notices it’s wearing pink.

“Our little reveal 💙💖. We are so excited!” Hilaria, 35, captioned her video.

HILARIA BALDWIN CONFIRMS SHE HAS SUFFERED A MISCARRIAGE

The Oscar-nominated actor, 61, and the co-host of the “Mom Brain” podcast revealed last month that they were expecting a fifth child, sharing an ultrasound of their baby’s heartbeat with Hilaria’s followers.

Alec had revealed the couple’s desire to have another baby in an early September appearance on Kevin Nealon’s YouTube series, “Hiking with Kevin,”

“We have four kids. She wants to have another one. We’re having another one,” he said. “We’re gonna have a fifth baby.”

However, when Nealon asked if Hilaria was pregnant, the “30 Rock” alum said: “No. No, no, no — not that I know of,” he clarified.

In April, Hilaria revealed on social media that she had suffered a miscarriage.

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Westlake Legal Group alec-hilaria-baldwin-ap Alec Baldwin, wife Hilaria reveal sex of baby No. 5 six months after announcing miscarriage Julius Young fox-news/person/alec-baldwin fox-news/entertainment/events/babies fox news fnc/entertainment fnc article 6f0de084-ff83-51f6-b318-c2b647ae66e9   Westlake Legal Group alec-hilaria-baldwin-ap Alec Baldwin, wife Hilaria reveal sex of baby No. 5 six months after announcing miscarriage Julius Young fox-news/person/alec-baldwin fox-news/entertainment/events/babies fox news fnc/entertainment fnc article 6f0de084-ff83-51f6-b318-c2b647ae66e9

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Angels employee tells investigators that he provided drugs to pitcher Tyler Skaggs

CLOSEWestlake Legal Group icon_close Angels employee tells investigators that he provided drugs to pitcher Tyler Skaggs

Tyler Skaggs’ toxicology report showed the late Los Angeles Angels pitcher having fentanyl, oxycodone and alcohol in his system at the time of his death. USA TODAY

A longtime public relations employee of the Los Angeles Angels told federal investigators he supplied deceased pitcher Tyler Skaggs with oxycodone and abused it with him over multiple years, according to an ESPN report published Saturday.

Eric Kay, a 45-year-old director of communications who has been with the Angels since 1998, told Drug Enforcement Administration agents he supplied Skaggs with three oxycodone pills in the days before the pitcher died July 1 in his Southlake, Texas, hotel room, but that he likely did not supply the drugs Skaggs ingested in the hours before his death.

Michael Molfetta, who is Kay’s lawyer, confirmed Kay’s statements to investigators to ESPN.

“We have never heard that any employee was providing illegal narcotics to any player, or that any player was seeking illegal narcotics,” said Angels president John Carpino in a statement in response to ESPN’s report. “The Angels maintain a strict, zero tolerance policy regarding the illicit use of drugs for both players and staff. Every one of our players must also abide by the MLB Joint Drug Agreement. We continue to mourn the loss of Tyler and fully cooperate with the authorities as they continue their investigation.”

Kay, who ESPN reported had been in drug rehab treatment twice this year, took a leave of absence from the club prior to the Aug. 30 release of an autopsy report that showed Skaggs had oxycodone, fentanyl and alcohol in his body at the time of his death. According to the report, Kay told agents he saw Skaggs ingest crushed up oxycodone pills and another substance he was not familiar with in his Texas hotel room.

Additionally, according to the report:

-Kay told agents he believes there were five other Angels who abused opiates.

-Two other club officials – former vice president of communications Tim Mead and another unnamed official – were aware Skaggs and Kay abused oxycodone together.

TRAGEDY: A decade after Adenhart, death of Skaggs a tragic reminder

NIGHTENGALE: Skaggs’ death still a tragedy despite drug-induced cause

-Kay’s wife and mother say Kay was recovering from an April overdose when Skaggs texted him seeking drugs, and told Mead the team needed to get Skaggs “off his back.”

Mead, who left the Angels in June to assume a position at baseball’s Hall of Fame, denied knowledge of the texts.

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