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Westlake Legal Group > News Media (Page 38)

Kentucky’s Beshear restores voting rights to over 100,000 convicted felons days after inauguration

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear signed an executive order Thursday to restore voting rights to nearly 140,000 convicted felons, making good on an inaugural promise he made just days ago after being sworn in.

The order applies to Kentuckians who have committed non-violent offenses and have completed their sentences and does not include sex offenders, rapists or murderers, Beshear, a Democrat, said to a group of voting rights supporters.

FLORIDA JUDGE TEMPORARILY BLOCKS LAW LIMITING EX-CONVICTS’ RIGHT TO VOTE IN STATE

Westlake Legal Group AP19346786785149 Kentucky's Beshear restores voting rights to over 100,000 convicted felons days after inauguration Vandana Rambaran fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/kentucky fox-news/politics fox news fnc/politics fnc article 87006a4a-adc7-551a-a1b4-6635bcc14643

Kentucky Democratic Governor Andy Beshear signs an executive order to reinstate the voting rights of over 100,000 non-violent felons who have completed their sentences, at the Capitol in Frankfort, Ky., Thursday, Dec. 12, 2019. (AP Photo/Bryan Woolston)

“My faith teaches me forgiveness,” Beshear said. “We all make mistakes.”

Beshear called it an “injustice” that former felons are unable to “fully rejoin society by casting a vote on election day [and were] automatically denied regardless of the circumstances of their offense or their good work since serving their sentences.”

The move reinstates an executive order implemented by Beshear’s father, former Gov. Steve Beshear, in 2015 that was reversed by Republican successor Matt Bevin, whom Andy Beshear defeated in an upset victory last month. Bevin conceded to Beshear in the most recent election a week after he called for a recanvass in the gubernatorial race that saw him trailing by about 5,000 votes.

Kentucky was just one of two states with lifetime disenfranchisement laws that barred convicted felons from voting, regardless of the crime. Currently, Iowa is the only other state left with such laws.

Westlake Legal Group AP19346786916796-1 Kentucky's Beshear restores voting rights to over 100,000 convicted felons days after inauguration Vandana Rambaran fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/kentucky fox-news/politics fox news fnc/politics fnc article 87006a4a-adc7-551a-a1b4-6635bcc14643

Rynn Young, of Louisville, Kentucky, shakes the hand of Kentucky Democratic Governor Andy Beshear after the signing of an executive order to reinstate the voting rights of over 100,000 non-violent felons who have completed their sentences, at the Capitol in Frankfort, Ky., Thursday, Dec. 12, 2019. Young was convicted of a drug possession when he was 18 and will have his voting rights restored with today’s order. (AP Photo/Bryan Woolston)

Beshear also voiced support for a constitutional amendment that would automatically restore voting rights to nonviolent felons, which has been championed by Iowa’s Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds.

The Democratic governor was joined by two former felons, Rynn Young and Amanda Bourland, who both served time for drug possession charges nearly two decades ago and lost their rights to vote when they were 18 years old.

Westlake Legal Group AP19346786685302 Kentucky's Beshear restores voting rights to over 100,000 convicted felons days after inauguration Vandana Rambaran fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/kentucky fox-news/politics fox news fnc/politics fnc article 87006a4a-adc7-551a-a1b4-6635bcc14643

Amanda Bourland, of Louisville, Kentucky, speaks at a press conference at the Capitol in Frankfort, Ky., Thu, Dec. 12, 2019. Bourland was convicted of a drug offenses when he was 18 and will have her voting rights restored with today’s order. (AP Photo/Bryan Woolston)

Young, who was convicted in 1998 and is now a salesman and father of twin 21-month-old daughters, called the order “an early Christmas gift” from Beshear.

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“Trust me,” Young said, “twenty-one years without a voice is unimaginable, believe me. I just appreciate the opportunity for a second chance.”

Westlake Legal Group AP19346786785149 Kentucky's Beshear restores voting rights to over 100,000 convicted felons days after inauguration Vandana Rambaran fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/kentucky fox-news/politics fox news fnc/politics fnc article 87006a4a-adc7-551a-a1b4-6635bcc14643   Westlake Legal Group AP19346786785149 Kentucky's Beshear restores voting rights to over 100,000 convicted felons days after inauguration Vandana Rambaran fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/kentucky fox-news/politics fox news fnc/politics fnc article 87006a4a-adc7-551a-a1b4-6635bcc14643

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

UK general election: Johnson’s Conservatives to win significant majority, exit poll predicts

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6114703051001_6114702286001-vs UK general election: Johnson's Conservatives to win significant majority, exit poll predicts fox-news/world/world-regions/united-kingdom fox-news/world/world-regions/europe/brexit fox news fnc/world fnc article Adam Shaw 011fe3da-327c-529a-ac31-849582598887

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party was on track to an enormous majority in Parliament in Britain’s general election, according to initial exit polls Thursday — a result that almost certainly would secure Britain’s departure from the E.U. and likely doom opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn.

The broadcaster’s exit poll, released after Brits finished voting, predicted that Johnson’s Conservative Party would win 368 seats in the country’s 650-seat lower chamber, while Labour would pick up just 191 seats. If accurate, it would hand the Tories a majority of 86. Tory activists had hoped, in their most optimistic predictions, for a majority of about 30.

“Thank you to everyone across our great country who voted, who volunteered, who stood as candidates,” Johnson tweeted. “We live in the greatest democracy in the world.”

FOLLOW FOX NEWS’ LIVE BLOG ON THE BRITISH GENERAL ELECTION

Such a defeat would be “extremely disappointing,” Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell, a member of the Labour Party, told Sky News, blaming the result in part on “Brexit fatigue.”

Elsewhere, the Liberal Democrats were expected to get 13 seats and the Scottish National Party was predicted to pick up 55 seats. The poll said the Green Party would win a single seat, while Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party was not predicted to win a seat.

Johnson had called an early election to break the deadlock over Brexit, asking the British public to give him a majority so he could get his deal — negotiated with the E.U. — through the chamber, where it previously had been rejected. His message to voters tired of the drama since the 2016 referendum was simple: “Get Brexit done.”

He faced off against Corbyn’s Labour Party, which had struggled to lay out a clear vision for Brexit, backing a possible second referendum while also promising to get a new deal with the E.U. — but with Corbyn not committing to supporting that eventual deal.

The Tories had gambled that they could make headway in traditional Labour strongholds that had voted overwhelmingly for Brexit in 2016, and would therefore shift to the Conservatives in order to secure that departure from the E.U. If the poll is accurate, it would mean once-safe Labour seats in places such as Wrexham, Bolsover and Hartlepool could turn Conservative blue.

Playing into that as well was the Labour Party’s far-left turn under Corbyn’s leadership. Corbyn, who had been on the fringe of the party for decades, won the leadership in 2015 and had rejected the more centrist shift the party had taken under former Prime Ministers Tony Blair and Gordon Brown.

AOC SLAMMED FOR BACKING UK ‘ANTI-SEMITE’ JEREMY CORBYN’S LABOUR PARTY

He also had raised concerns, from both inside and outside his party, about a rise in anti-Semitism within Labour since he took power. While Corbyn apologized for anti-Semitism and promised to deal with it, it was something that dogged him throughout the election.

But, while commentators had long predicted electoral doom for a Corbyn-run Labour Party since 2015, the party ran a close race when he faced off against then-Prime Minister Theresa May in 2017 — slashing her majority and forcing May to form a coalition with the Democratic Unionist Party. May resigned earlier this year after being unable to get her own Brexit deal through.

That 2017 result led to hopes by Labour that Corbyn could tap into a populist left-wing groundswell in the country, but those hopes appeared to be dashed by Thursday’s exit poll.

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Should the Tories manage to break the “red wall” across the country and secure the seats as predicted, it would lead to Conservative Party dominance in the U.K. not seen since the days of former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher — who won 397 seats in the 1983 general election against radical Labour leader Michael Foot.

It also likely would doom Corbyn’s leadership of the party. While he has relied on a significant left-wing activist base of support that has shielded him from other challengers within the party, a colossal defeat of the kind predicted in the poll would lead to significant pressure on him to step down Friday morning.

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6114703051001_6114702286001-vs UK general election: Johnson's Conservatives to win significant majority, exit poll predicts fox-news/world/world-regions/united-kingdom fox-news/world/world-regions/europe/brexit fox news fnc/world fnc article Adam Shaw 011fe3da-327c-529a-ac31-849582598887   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6114703051001_6114702286001-vs UK general election: Johnson's Conservatives to win significant majority, exit poll predicts fox-news/world/world-regions/united-kingdom fox-news/world/world-regions/europe/brexit fox news fnc/world fnc article Adam Shaw 011fe3da-327c-529a-ac31-849582598887

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

U.K. General Election 2019: Conservatives Headed for a Majority, Exit Poll Shows

Here’s what you need to know:

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_165870423_6d409827-0441-49b9-945b-9b24abf282d1-articleLarge U.K. General Election 2019: Conservatives Headed for a Majority, Exit Poll Shows Politics and Government Labour Party (Great Britain) Great Britain Withdrawal from EU (Brexit) Great Britain European Union Conservative Party (Great Britain)

Early exit polls projected outside the BBC building in London. The Conservatives are expected to win 368 seats.Credit…Tolga Akmen/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his Conservative Party appeared to be on course for a solid majority in the British Parliament in the general election on Thursday, according to an exit poll, a victory that would pave the way for Britain’s exit from the European Union in less than two months.

For the prime minister, whose brief tenure has been marked by legal reversals, scorched-earth politics and unrelenting chaos, it would be an extraordinary vindication. Defying predictions that he would be tossed out of his job, Mr. Johnson now seems likely to lead Britain through its most momentous transition since World War II.

According to the exit poll, the Conservatives are projected to win 368 seats in the House of Commons, versus 191 for the Labour Party. That would give the Conservatives an 86-seat majority, enough to empower Mr. Johnson to pull Britain out of the bloc at the end of January, as he had promised.

The exit poll, conducted by three major British broadcasters, is not a definitive result; the numbers could shift, particularly in closely fought districts. But it has generally proved reliable, predicting, for example, that Mr. Johnson’s predecessor, Theresa May, would fail to win a majority in 2017.

The British pound rose as much as 2 percent against the dollar on the projected news. The currency had made steady gains ahead of Thursday’s election, but the rise on Thursday took the currency to its strongest level since June 2018.

Mr. Johnson appears to have won his bet that by calling another election and throwing the question of Brexit back to the British public, he could break the stalemate in Parliament and win a mandate for his policy of a swift withdrawal from the European Union.

Many in Britain grumbled about having to go to the polls again so soon, especially in the weeks leading up to Christmas, when the weather is cold and the days are short. But the stakes this time could not have been higher. Unlike the 2017 vote, this election is likely to clarify Britain’s immediate future for the first time since a narrow majority voted to leave the European Union in 2016.

Mr. Johnson’s presumed victory would all but extinguish the possibility of Britain’s reversing that decision, a dream that has been nurtured by millions who believe that the 2016 referendum was a catastrophic error and should be rerun. Polls show a slim majority of people would now favor remaining in Europe, though campaigns for a second referendum have consistently fallen short in Parliament.

“Boris Johnson can now start the process of Brexit,” said Tony Travers, a professor of politics at the London School of Economics. “There will be stability of a kind in British politics and in Britain’s approach to Brexit, although not a single aspect of Brexit will have been sorted out.”

For the Labour Party, which had lagged the Conservatives in the polls throughout the campaign but seemed to be narrowing the gap in the past few days, it would be a bitter, if not particularly surprising, failure.

Its leader, Jeremy Corbyn, may face calls in the coming weeks for his resignation.

Even if the exit poll is marginally off, the opposition Labour Party seems headed for a historically bad defeat after the general election on Thursday, an outcome so damaging that its left-wing leader, Jeremy Corbyn, would be under huge pressure to resign.

If the exit poll holds up, the Conservatives’ 86-seat margin over Labour would be a difference the opposition would have to live with for five years, and it could take a decade or more to overcome, analysts said.

John McDonnell, the shadow chancellor and Mr. Corbyn’s close ally, told the BBC on Thursday night that the result, if anywhere near correct, was “extremely disappointing.”

As to Mr. Corbyn’s future, he promised “appropriate decisions,” but blamed the projected outcome on the election’s being dominated by Brexit rather than Mr. Corbyn’s agenda of nationalizations, tax increases and an enormous rise in social spending.

If Labour’s seat tally dips to 191 as projected, that would make it the party’s weakest performance since before World War II — worse than the 1983 result achieved by Michael Foot, who offered the country a left-wing manifesto that was described by one Labour politician at the time as “the longest suicide note in history.”

Though many in Labour were eager to avoid a winter election in the context of Brexit, Mr. Corbyn was confident he could repeat his relative success of 2017, when he deprived the Conservatives of a majority. But he apparently failed to capture the magic he had generated in that campaign.

If it is confirmed that the Labour leader failed to win two consecutive general elections, Mr. Corbyn’s position would look increasingly untenable. The last party leader to fail twice was Neil Kinnock, who resigned after losing general elections in 1987 and 1992.

There are now likely to be intense discussions inside the Labour Party over tactics for the leadership election that everyone expects, with the left of the party eager to retain its grip.

In the cold and the rain, Britons trudged through the doors of community centers, churches, pubs and former miners’ clubs to cast ballots in a pivotal election underlined by the country’s 2016 referendum on leaving the European Union.

It was the third general election since 2015 and the first to be held in December in nearly 100 years. Voters chose representatives for their local districts in Parliament: 650 lawmakers in all for the House of Commons, which decides the country’s laws and chooses the prime minister.

While Brexit has dominated the campaign — Prime Minister Boris Johnson of the Conservative Party put the issue at the center of its campaign and vowed to “get Brexit done” — other major issues may determine the outcome. The opposition Labour Party, led by Jeremy Corbyn, had focused on health care and had framed itself as the defender of the cherished National Health Service.

Polls closed at 10 p.m. British time (5 p.m. Eastern). Official results are expected overnight.

Voters across London described crowded polling stations, posting photographs of the long lines. Few said that their ability to vote was affected, but many noted that such delays were unusual in Britain.

One voter, Ed O’Meara, shared pictures from his polling station, in the Balham and Tooting area of South London, that showed a line stretching out the door and up the road.

Under a cold, steady rain in Bolsover, which has voted for Labour since 1950, people trudged through the doors of community centers, churches, pubs and former miners’ clubs to vote.

Having overwhelmingly backed Brexit in the 2016 referendum, the constituency was a prime target of the Conservative Party, and voters on Thursday said they largely bought Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s message that democracy demanded Brexit be carried out.

That Boris Johnson may not have been their ideal candidate hardly mattered.

“I think he’s a bit of a bumbler,” Catherine Elliott said outside a polling station in Barlborough, a village in the north of the district, after voting for Mr. Johnson.

“I think we just need to get on with Brexit,” Phil Fisher said a short time later. “Maybe we need someone like Boris to succeed.”

A number of lifelong Labour Party voters said they would vote Conservative in the interest of delivering Brexit. Others, though, said attachments to their longtime local Labour lawmaker, Dennis Skinner, ran too deep to change sides.

“He’s a local man; he’s been here for years and years and years, and I don’t think his views change,” Lorraine, who declined to share her last name, said before polls closed. “He’s very solid, forthright and opinionated, and I like what he stands for.”

The University of Essex also shared a video of dozens of students waiting to vote, calling the turnout “fantastic.”

Once polls opened, British broadcasters and news websites had to pivot. It’s illegal for anyone in the country to publish information on how citizens say they have voted — exit polls or forecasts — until after polls close at 10 p.m.

A code of conduct laid out by Britain’s communications regulator, Ofcom, specifies that all discussion and analysis of election issues on television and radio must cease once polls open, that no opinion polls can be published and that no coverage of opinion polls is allowed while people are voting.

“When people are going to the polls on Election Day, it’s important that everyone can vote on the same information,” the regulator said.

#Dogsatpollingstations has become something of an Election Day tradition in Britain, with voters sharing photographs of their pups outside their local polling stations.

Several high-profile voters got in on the action on Thursday, with Sadiq Khan, the mayor of London, accompanied by his dog, Luna, and Prime Minister Boris Johnson arriving with his dog, Dilyn.

In much of Britain, the dogs and their owners had to brave a cold, wet morning at the polls, but few seemed to mind.

When an accurate story about a young boy being forced to lie on the floor in an overcrowded hospital quickly became an election issue, disinformation was at the fore in the form of a social media campaign to discredit the boy’s family.

While questions have been raised about foreign meddling and international disinformation campaigns, a surprising amount of questionable behavior and content has come from the political parties and candidates themselves.

The use of disinformation techniques by political leaders, particularly Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party, points to an evolution in how the internet is being used to grab attention, distract the news media, stoke outrage and rally support.

“This is the election where disinformation was normalized,” said Jacob Davey, a senior researcher at the Institute for Strategic Dialogue, a London-based group that tracks global disinformation campaigns.

“A few years ago people were looking for a massive coordinated campaign from a hostile state actor. Now, many more actors are getting involved.”

The Labour Party was once a natural fit for Jewish voters, but with accusations of anti-Semitism rife, many are left feeling stuck with a choice between lesser evils in the election.

Jewish voters in Britain overwhelmingly opposed Brexit, the issue at the core of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party campaign, dreading a resurgent far right and the splintering of the European Union.

But they are also reluctant to hand power to Jeremy Corbyn and his Labour Party after an avalanche of anti-Semitism accusations against the party.

“I feel quite torn,” said Keith Kahn-Harris, a Jewish sociologist and writer. “The issue in the Jewish community at the moment is anti-Semitism is something you can’t hold your nose for, the one thing you can’t overlook, which I understand. But for me, there are multiple things I can’t overlook, and it’s very difficult to know how to balance them.”

The anti-Semitism scandal is “gravely damaging Labour’s reputation as the nice party,” said Glen O’Hara, a historian at Oxford Brookes University.

As the campaign played out in Britain, a Times reporter, Patrick Kingsley, spent two weeks driving from London to Glasgow, speaking with residents about the state of the nation at this critical moment.

During the 900-mile journey through Britain last month, he tried to make sense of a splintered country in the run-up to the general election.

“Everywhere I went, it felt as if the country were coming unbound,” he wrote. “For all sorts of reasons, all sorts of people — Leavers and Remainers; blue- and white-collar; Jews and Muslims; English, Northern Irish, Scottish and Welsh — felt alienated and unmoored.”

Reporting was contributed by Mark Landler, Stephen Castle, Amie Tsang, Megan Specia, Adam Satariano, Benjamin Mueller and Patrick Kingsley.

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

F.T.C. Is Said to Consider an Injunction Against Facebook

Westlake Legal Group 12facebook-facebookJumbo F.T.C. Is Said to Consider an Injunction Against Facebook Zuckerberg, Mark E WhatsApp Inc Social Media Mobile Applications Instant Messaging Instagram Inc Federal Trade Commission Facebook Inc Computers and the Internet Antitrust Laws and Competition Issues

SAN FRANCISCO — The Federal Trade Commission is considering seeking a preliminary injunction against Facebook to prevent the social network from integrating several of its messaging services, according to three people with knowledge of the matter.

The agency has discussed how the Silicon Valley company is stitching together the technical infrastructure underlying WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook Messenger, said the people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the talks are confidential.

The F.T.C. is weighing whether such an integration would make it harder to potentially break up Facebook, they said, especially if the agency determines that the company’s acquisitions of some of those apps reduced competition in social networking. The agency has not made a final decision about what to do, the people said.

The F.T.C. and Facebook declined to comment. The potential injunction was reported earlier by The Wall Street Journal.

Facebook and other big technology companies — Google, Apple and Amazon — have been under growing scrutiny for how they are wielding their power. Facebook has attracted particular attention for its dominant position in social networking and how it bought smaller rivals such as Instagram and WhatsApp over the years, which buttressed its lead.

In July, Facebook disclosed that the F.T.C. was investigating it over antitrust concerns. The Justice Department, Congress and state attorneys general are also examining whether Facebook has acted anticompetitively.

Leading antitrust academics and others have laid out a case to regulators for breaking up Facebook by unraveling its acquisitions of Instagram and WhatsApp. They have argued that the company made “serial defensive acquisitions” to protect its edge in the market for social networks.

But seeking an injunction of this kind would be an uncommon step for a federal antitrust agency because officials rarely consider unwinding mergers that have already closed. A majority of F.T.C. commissioners would need to approve the move in a formal vote, said an agency official who was not authorized to speak publicly.

The agency would also face a high bar in court to show that Facebook was about to violate antitrust laws or already had, this person said. A court is unlikely to issue an injunction simply to give the commission more time to investigate, the person said.

The F.T.C. discussed seeking an injunction after Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s chief executive, disclosed he was working to unify the technical systems of WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook Messenger. The integration would allow Facebook’s more than 2.7 billion users to communicate across the platforms, so messages sent through WhatsApp could be received by users who have Facebook accounts and forwarded, in turn, to people on Instagram.

In March, Mr. Zuckerberg said he was trying to unify the apps so that people could engage more easily in private and encrypted communications.

“We’re building a foundation for social communication aligned with the direction people increasingly care about: messaging each other privately,” he said in an interview at the time. “I believe a privacy-focused communications platform will become even more important than today’s open platforms.”

But regulators and lawmakers have been concerned that the moves may make it more difficult to disentangle the apps in the future.

In practice, the back-end infrastructure of many Facebook properties has been shared for some time. Facebook and Instagram both use the same architecture to run their advertising businesses, for example.

If the F.T.C. thinks “that there is any plausible case for challenging previous transactions,” said Gene Kimmelman, a former Department of Justice antitrust official, “seeking an injunction to prevent integration is critical because otherwise they mix the assets together.”

“It’s a little bit like scrambling an egg,” added Mr. Kimmelman, now a senior adviser at the consumer group Public Knowledge.

Facebook announced that it was buying Instagram, a photo-sharing app with only a baker’s dozen full-time employees, for $1 billion in 2012. The app quickly swelled to more than one billion users and is now widely seen as the crown jewel of the Facebook empire.

Mr. Zuckerberg made another audacious bet in 2014 with the $22 billion purchase of WhatsApp, an app that sends text, video and photo messages. WhatsApp is especially popular internationally. Wall Street analysts have said the app, which brings in little revenue, could become a big moneymaker.

Both deals were approved by the F.T.C.

Joseph Simons, the agency’s chairman, has recently said it is open to breaking up big tech companies but has also highlighted the challenges of unwinding mergers of the firms. He has publicly said Facebook’s plan to integrate its apps would pose challenges if regulators wanted to split up the social network.

The F.T.C. has previously faced criticism over whether it has acted aggressively enough against big tech companies.

In July, the agency announced a record $5 billion fine against Facebook to settle privacy violations with users’ data. But Democratic lawmakers and consumer groups said the action was inadequate and would not deter the company from harming users because the agreement did not force changes to social network’s core business of collecting data for targeted advertising.

Mike Isaac reported from San Francisco, and Cecilia Kang from Washington. Jack Nicas contributed reporting from San Francisco, and David McCabe from Washington.

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

U.K. General Election 2019: Conservatives Headed for a Majority, Exit Poll Shows

Here’s what you need to know:

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_165870423_6d409827-0441-49b9-945b-9b24abf282d1-articleLarge U.K. General Election 2019: Conservatives Headed for a Majority, Exit Poll Shows Politics and Government Labour Party (Great Britain) Great Britain Withdrawal from EU (Brexit) Great Britain European Union Conservative Party (Great Britain)

Early exit polls projected outside the BBC building in London. The Conservatives are expected to win 368 seats.Credit…Tolga Akmen/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his Conservative Party appeared to be on course for a solid majority in the British Parliament in the general election on Thursday, according to an exit poll, a victory that would pave the way for Britain’s exit from the European Union in less than two months.

For the prime minister, whose brief tenure has been marked by legal reversals, scorched-earth politics and unrelenting chaos, it would be an extraordinary vindication. Defying predictions that he would be tossed out of his job, Mr. Johnson now seems likely to lead Britain through its most momentous transition since World War II.

According to the exit poll, the Conservatives are projected to win 368 seats in the House of Commons, versus 191 for the Labour Party. That would give the Conservatives an 86-seat majority, enough to empower Mr. Johnson to pull Britain out of the bloc at the end of January, as he had promised.

The exit poll, conducted by three major British broadcasters, is not a definitive result; the numbers could shift, particularly in closely fought districts. But it has generally proved reliable, predicting, for example, that Mr. Johnson’s predecessor, Theresa May, would fail to win a majority in 2017.

The British pound rose as much as 2 percent against the dollar on the projected news. The currency had made steady gains ahead of Thursday’s election, but the rise on Thursday took the currency to its strongest level since June 2018.

Mr. Johnson appears to have won his bet that by calling another election and throwing the question of Brexit back to the British public, he could break the stalemate in Parliament and win a mandate for his policy of a swift withdrawal from the European Union.

Many in Britain grumbled about having to go to the polls again so soon, especially in the weeks leading up to Christmas, when the weather is cold and the days are short. But the stakes this time could not have been higher. Unlike the 2017 vote, this election is likely to clarify Britain’s immediate future for the first time since a narrow majority voted to leave the European Union in 2016.

Mr. Johnson’s presumed victory would all but extinguish the possibility of Britain’s reversing that decision, a dream that has been nurtured by millions who believe that the 2016 referendum was a catastrophic error and should be rerun. Polls show a slim majority of people would now favor remaining in Europe, though campaigns for a second referendum have consistently fallen short in Parliament.

“Boris Johnson can now start the process of Brexit,” said Tony Travers, a professor of politics at the London School of Economics. “There will be stability of a kind in British politics and in Britain’s approach to Brexit, although not a single aspect of Brexit will have been sorted out.”

For the Labour Party, which had lagged the Conservatives in the polls throughout the campaign but seemed to be narrowing the gap in the past few days, it would be a bitter, if not particularly surprising, failure.

Its leader, Jeremy Corbyn, may face calls in the coming weeks for his resignation.

Even if the exit poll is marginally off, the opposition Labour Party seems headed for a historically bad defeat after the general election on Thursday, an outcome so damaging that its left-wing leader, Jeremy Corbyn, would be under huge pressure to resign.

If the exit poll holds up, the Conservatives’ 86-seat margin over Labour would be a difference the opposition would have to live with for five years, and it could take a decade or more to overcome, analysts said.

John McDonnell, the shadow chancellor and Mr. Corbyn’s close ally, told the BBC on Thursday night that the result, if anywhere near correct, was “extremely disappointing.”

As to Mr. Corbyn’s future, he promised “appropriate decisions,” but blamed the projected outcome on the election’s being dominated by Brexit rather than Mr. Corbyn’s agenda of nationalizations, tax increases and an enormous rise in social spending.

If Labour’s seat tally dips to 191 as projected, that would make it the party’s weakest performance since before World War II — worse than the 1983 result achieved by Michael Foot, who offered the country a left-wing manifesto that was described by one Labour politician at the time as “the longest suicide note in history.”

Though many in Labour were eager to avoid a winter election in the context of Brexit, Mr. Corbyn was confident he could repeat his relative success of 2017, when he deprived the Conservatives of a majority. But he apparently failed to capture the magic he had generated in that campaign.

If it is confirmed that the Labour leader failed to win two consecutive general elections, Mr. Corbyn’s position would look increasingly untenable. The last party leader to fail twice was Neil Kinnock, who resigned after losing general elections in 1987 and 1992.

There are now likely to be intense discussions inside the Labour Party over tactics for the leadership election that everyone expects, with the left of the party eager to retain its grip.

In the cold and the rain, Britons trudged through the doors of community centers, churches, pubs and former miners’ clubs to cast ballots in a pivotal election underlined by the country’s 2016 referendum on leaving the European Union.

It was the third general election since 2015 and the first to be held in December in nearly 100 years. Voters chose representatives for their local districts in Parliament: 650 lawmakers in all for the House of Commons, which decides the country’s laws and chooses the prime minister.

While Brexit has dominated the campaign — Prime Minister Boris Johnson of the Conservative Party put the issue at the center of its campaign and vowed to “get Brexit done” — other major issues may determine the outcome. The opposition Labour Party, led by Jeremy Corbyn, had focused on health care and had framed itself as the defender of the cherished National Health Service.

Polls closed at 10 p.m. British time (5 p.m. Eastern). Official results are expected overnight.

Voters across London described crowded polling stations, posting photographs of the long lines. Few said that their ability to vote was affected, but many noted that such delays were unusual in Britain.

One voter, Ed O’Meara, shared pictures from his polling station, in the Balham and Tooting area of South London, that showed a line stretching out the door and up the road.

Under a cold, steady rain in Bolsover, which has voted for Labour since 1950, people trudged through the doors of community centers, churches, pubs and former miners’ clubs to vote.

Having overwhelmingly backed Brexit in the 2016 referendum, the constituency was a prime target of the Conservative Party, and voters on Thursday said they largely bought Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s message that democracy demanded Brexit be carried out.

That Boris Johnson may not have been their ideal candidate hardly mattered.

“I think he’s a bit of a bumbler,” Catherine Elliott said outside a polling station in Barlborough, a village in the north of the district, after voting for Mr. Johnson.

“I think we just need to get on with Brexit,” Phil Fisher said a short time later. “Maybe we need someone like Boris to succeed.”

A number of lifelong Labour Party voters said they would vote Conservative in the interest of delivering Brexit. Others, though, said attachments to their longtime local Labour lawmaker, Dennis Skinner, ran too deep to change sides.

“He’s a local man; he’s been here for years and years and years, and I don’t think his views change,” Lorraine, who declined to share her last name, said before polls closed. “He’s very solid, forthright and opinionated, and I like what he stands for.”

The University of Essex also shared a video of dozens of students waiting to vote, calling the turnout “fantastic.”

Once polls opened, British broadcasters and news websites had to pivot. It’s illegal for anyone in the country to publish information on how citizens say they have voted — exit polls or forecasts — until after polls close at 10 p.m.

A code of conduct laid out by Britain’s communications regulator, Ofcom, specifies that all discussion and analysis of election issues on television and radio must cease once polls open, that no opinion polls can be published and that no coverage of opinion polls is allowed while people are voting.

“When people are going to the polls on Election Day, it’s important that everyone can vote on the same information,” the regulator said.

#Dogsatpollingstations has become something of an Election Day tradition in Britain, with voters sharing photographs of their pups outside their local polling stations.

Several high-profile voters got in on the action on Thursday, with Sadiq Khan, the mayor of London, accompanied by his dog, Luna, and Prime Minister Boris Johnson arriving with his dog, Dilyn.

In much of Britain, the dogs and their owners had to brave a cold, wet morning at the polls, but few seemed to mind.

When an accurate story about a young boy being forced to lie on the floor in an overcrowded hospital quickly became an election issue, disinformation was at the fore in the form of a social media campaign to discredit the boy’s family.

While questions have been raised about foreign meddling and international disinformation campaigns, a surprising amount of questionable behavior and content has come from the political parties and candidates themselves.

The use of disinformation techniques by political leaders, particularly Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party, points to an evolution in how the internet is being used to grab attention, distract the news media, stoke outrage and rally support.

“This is the election where disinformation was normalized,” said Jacob Davey, a senior researcher at the Institute for Strategic Dialogue, a London-based group that tracks global disinformation campaigns.

“A few years ago people were looking for a massive coordinated campaign from a hostile state actor. Now, many more actors are getting involved.”

The Labour Party was once a natural fit for Jewish voters, but with accusations of anti-Semitism rife, many are left feeling stuck with a choice between lesser evils in the election.

Jewish voters in Britain overwhelmingly opposed Brexit, the issue at the core of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party campaign, dreading a resurgent far right and the splintering of the European Union.

But they are also reluctant to hand power to Jeremy Corbyn and his Labour Party after an avalanche of anti-Semitism accusations against the party.

“I feel quite torn,” said Keith Kahn-Harris, a Jewish sociologist and writer. “The issue in the Jewish community at the moment is anti-Semitism is something you can’t hold your nose for, the one thing you can’t overlook, which I understand. But for me, there are multiple things I can’t overlook, and it’s very difficult to know how to balance them.”

The anti-Semitism scandal is “gravely damaging Labour’s reputation as the nice party,” said Glen O’Hara, a historian at Oxford Brookes University.

As the campaign played out in Britain, a Times reporter, Patrick Kingsley, spent two weeks driving from London to Glasgow, speaking with residents about the state of the nation at this critical moment.

During the 900-mile journey through Britain last month, he tried to make sense of a splintered country in the run-up to the general election.

“Everywhere I went, it felt as if the country were coming unbound,” he wrote. “For all sorts of reasons, all sorts of people — Leavers and Remainers; blue- and white-collar; Jews and Muslims; English, Northern Irish, Scottish and Welsh — felt alienated and unmoored.”

Reporting was contributed by Mark Landler, Stephen Castle, Amie Tsang, Megan Specia, Adam Satariano, Benjamin Mueller and Patrick Kingsley.

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CNN analyst Jeffrey Toobin says Trump ‘in a way, has already won’ impeachment fight

Westlake Legal Group Jeffrey-Toobin-CNN CNN analyst Jeffrey Toobin says Trump 'in a way, has already won' impeachment fight Sam Dorman fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/media fox news fnc/media fnc c2807e91-f083-5246-840c-9134bae6d0b4 article

CNN’s Chief Legal Analyst Jeffrey Toobin responded to Thursday’s House Judiciary Committee impeachment hearing by claiming that “in some ways” President Trump was already triumphant in his battle with Democrats.

“You know what struck me about this hearing was how Donald Trump, in a way, has already won,” Toobin said while appearing on a CNN panel.

“How much did we hear about Hunter Biden? Over and over again about Hunter Biden?” Toobin added, referring to the son of former Vice President Joe Biden.

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Republicans have continually pointed to the younger Biden in response to the controversy surrounding the president’s relationship with Ukraine. Hunter Biden served on the board of a Ukrainian natural gas firm when his father pressured the Eastern European nation to fire its top prosecutor, who happened to be investigating that firm.

CNN’S CHIEF LEGAL ANALYST: DEMOCRATS’ HEARING ON UKRAINE CALL DIDN’T ‘HAVE THAT MUCH JUICE TO IT’

“And there are questions about Hunter Biden’s behavior,” Toobin said. He added that journalists saw an “incredible shift of emphasis” in the impeachment debate.

“It’s going to be a real challenge for us as journalists to decide how much to follow along with this, but the idea that we are sitting here debating … the impeachment of the President of the United States and over and over again we get all these questions about the behavior of Hunter Biden … and I just don’t know what our responsibility is as journalists because it’s not the point, but this is the news,” he said.

Toobin has been critical of Trump in the past but has also cast doubt on how Democrats handled impeachment.

His comments came as the House panel debated articles of impeachment against the president. House Democrats have led a months-long inquiry in which they have accused the president of withholding military aid from Ukraine until the Kiev government announced investigations into the Bidens. Both Trump and Biden have denied any wrongdoing.

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Political scientist Jeanne Zaino told Fox Nation that Democrats were shooting themselves in the foot with the impeachment push.

“What the Democrats will do is, they will clearly impeach him and he will be acquitted in the Senate,” she said. “And I think they do themselves a disservice then because this will engage his base and energize his base to get out. He will use this, as we’ve seen him use it in the last few days on the campaign trail.”

Westlake Legal Group Jeffrey-Toobin-CNN CNN analyst Jeffrey Toobin says Trump 'in a way, has already won' impeachment fight Sam Dorman fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/media fox news fnc/media fnc c2807e91-f083-5246-840c-9134bae6d0b4 article   Westlake Legal Group Jeffrey-Toobin-CNN CNN analyst Jeffrey Toobin says Trump 'in a way, has already won' impeachment fight Sam Dorman fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/media fox news fnc/media fnc c2807e91-f083-5246-840c-9134bae6d0b4 article

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‘Modern Family’ star Ariel Winter spotted getting cozy with actor Luke Benward

Ariel Winter isn’t curling up with a pint of ice cream after splitting from longtime boyfriend Levi Meaden.

That’s because the “Modern Family” actress has seemingly already moved on from her ex and was spotted getting cozy with fellow actor Luke Benward, 24, as the pair stepped out again for another night in the city.

The 21-year-old television star kept it simple, donning a short black dress and black knee-high boots. To complete the look, Winter draped herself in a black overcoat. For Benward, the “Dumplin’” star wore a beige collared shirt and white jeans paired with black sneakers.

‘ARIEL WINTER’ STAR ARIEL WINTER SAYS SHE GOES TO THERAPY ‘EVERY WEEK’ TO STAY ‘MENTALLY, PHYSICALLY’ HEALTHY

Westlake Legal Group Winter-Benward_getty 'Modern Family' star Ariel Winter spotted getting cozy with actor Luke Benward Julius Young fox-news/person/ariel-winter fox-news/entertainment/tv fox-news/entertainment/events/couples fox-news/entertainment/celebrity-news fox news fnc/entertainment fnc article 5146308b-5e3f-52b7-a961-b30b7f859457

Actress Ariel Winter, left, and actor Luke Benward were spotted packing on PDA on Dec. 11 in West Hollywood, Calif. (Getty)

The pair discernibly looked to be an item in paparazzi photos obtained by the Daily Mail that show Benward and Winter packing on PDA in multiple images, seemingly pointing to the longtime friends possibly sharing a romance.

Benward has vacationed in Bora Bora with Winter and several mutual friends in 2017.

ARIEL WINTER: ‘I’M NOT REALLY A FAME PERSON’

Aside from the spotted twosome being unable to keep their hands off each other, one image shows the two gazing at each other.

Westlake Legal Group Meaden20Winter20AP 'Modern Family' star Ariel Winter spotted getting cozy with actor Luke Benward Julius Young fox-news/person/ariel-winter fox-news/entertainment/tv fox-news/entertainment/events/couples fox-news/entertainment/celebrity-news fox news fnc/entertainment fnc article 5146308b-5e3f-52b7-a961-b30b7f859457

“Modern Family” actress Ariel Winter with her then-boyfriend, actor Levi Meaden. (Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

Winter and Meaden dated for nearly three years. They began dating in November 2016 and despite their age difference, moved in together when she was 19 and he was almost 30.

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Meaden was spotted retrieving items from Winter’s Studio City, Calif., home in a moving truck earlier this month.

Westlake Legal Group Winter-Benward_getty 'Modern Family' star Ariel Winter spotted getting cozy with actor Luke Benward Julius Young fox-news/person/ariel-winter fox-news/entertainment/tv fox-news/entertainment/events/couples fox-news/entertainment/celebrity-news fox news fnc/entertainment fnc article 5146308b-5e3f-52b7-a961-b30b7f859457   Westlake Legal Group Winter-Benward_getty 'Modern Family' star Ariel Winter spotted getting cozy with actor Luke Benward Julius Young fox-news/person/ariel-winter fox-news/entertainment/tv fox-news/entertainment/events/couples fox-news/entertainment/celebrity-news fox news fnc/entertainment fnc article 5146308b-5e3f-52b7-a961-b30b7f859457

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British Election Exit Poll Predicts Win For Conservative Party

Westlake Legal Group 5df2bc022400001b0a5a3220 British Election Exit Poll Predicts Win For Conservative Party

The Conservative Party appeared set to win Britain’s general election late Thursday, according to the results of the country’s main exit poll.

If correct, a newly empowered Prime Minister Boris Johnson will be able to claim a mandate to “get Brexit done” on his terms, likely killing off any chance of a second referendum on Britain’s membership in the European Union.

His Conservatives scored 368 seats, with Labour netting just 191, giving the Conservatives an unexpectedly large majority of 86 seats, if the poll is accurate. It predicted that the Scottish National Party will win 55 seats, the centrist Liberal Democrats will win 13, and smaller parties will pick up a handful of others.

Brexit was central to the campaign run by Johnson, who is pushing to leave the European Union by the end of January and called the election in hopes of shoring up support for his plan. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, meanwhile, favors holding a second referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU.

But with funding for the country’s National Health Service and other essential services at stake, Brexit was not the only issue on voters’ minds as they stood in long queues on a soggy day. 

In the U.K., broadcasters are prohibited by law from analyzing voting results until after the polls close at 10 p.m. local time. The exit poll, which is jointly funded by the largest broadcasters, gives journalists fodder for discussion until the final tally is announced, which will likely be early Friday morning. 

However, the poll is known for its accuracy. The company conducting it, Ipsos Mori, conducted tens of thousands of interviews with people after they had voted at 144 polling stations across the country. 

If confirmed by the final tally, Labour will hold its lowest number of seats since 1935 ― which will likely plunge the party into crisis. By the next election, due in 2024, Labour will have had one election-winning leader in 50 years.

The results would also mark Corbyn’s second loss in a general election campaign as Labour leader.

Although the Conservatives began the campaign with a big poll lead, Labour started to close the gap as the weeks wore on. The exit poll will come as a relief for Conservative strategists, who sent an email to party activists on Thursday afternoon warning that Labour turnout was high.

Many voters observed long lines at the polls in London and beyond. 

Johnson and Corbyn both criss-crossed the U.K. on Wednesday in last-ditch attempts to win over waverers and encourage people to get out to vote.

At his final rally in at the Olympic Park in east London last night, the prime minister told Conservative members they had a duty to find “every vote we can to save our country from disaster.”

Corbyn promised his party would invest in the country, end austerity and redistribute wealth and power as he addressed supporters just a few miles away in another part of the capital on election eve. 

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We should all be appalled by Donald Trump’s tweet about Greta Thunberg

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HGTV’s ‘Flip or Flop’ starring Christina Anstead, Tarek El Moussa renewed for ninth season

Flip or Flop” fans can rejoice: the HGTV series has been renewed for another season.

The network announced on Thursday that the hit show, starring Christina Anstead and Tarek El Moussa, would be back in August 2020 for season nine.

The new set of episodes will mark the third time the former couple has filmed together since their 2016 split, according to People magazine.

Westlake Legal Group ChristinaAnstead_TarekElMoussa_FliporFlop_HGTV HGTV's 'Flip or Flop' starring Christina Anstead, Tarek El Moussa renewed for ninth season Mariah Haas fox-news/person/christina-el-moussa fox-news/entertainment/tv fox-news/entertainment/genres/reality fox news fnc/entertainment fnc article 7712e989-9b13-5d5b-8ced-f26426208291

As seen on ‘Flip or Flop,’ real estate partners, Christina Anstead and Tarek El Moussa, pose as they pick out tiles for the kitchen of this Yorba Linda, Calif. home which they are hoping to flip for a profit. (Courtesy of HGTV)

TAREK EL MOUSSA TALKS HIS TWO NEW HGTV SERIES AND CO-PARENTING

In a statement, Jane Latman, the president of HGTV, said: “Christina and Tarek’s relatable, personal journey attracts millions of viewers who now have a true emotional stake in their story and want to see more. Their story is real, compelling and filled with the hallmarks of HGTV hits — family and unforgettable personalities with home-related expertise who are passionate about the work that turns houses into homes.” 

El Moussa, 38, and Anstead, 36, finalized their divorce in January 2018. They share 9-year-old daughter Taylor and 4-year-old son Brayden.

TAREK EL MOUSSA DIDN’T ‘ANTICIPATE’ DIVORCE FROM CHRISTINA ANSTEAD: ‘I’VE LEARNED A LOT’

Anstead has since married TV presenter Ant Anstead with whom she shares a 3-month-old son, Hudson. Meanwhile, El Moussa has been dating luxury real estate agent Heather Rae Young, who is also featured on the Netflix series “Selling Sunset.”

“Things have changed since season one — we’re different people with different lives,” El Moussa previously told Fox News of the pair going their separate ways.

CHRISTINA ANSTEAD ON FINDING THE ONE AGAIN IN HUSBAND ANT FOLLOWING DIVORCE

Still, the one thing that has remained super important to the former couple and business partners is their two little ones — So much so, that Christina Anstead ultimately sold her Yorba Linda, Calif., home last year and moved to Newport Beach where she lives just “two blocks away” from El Moussa.

“So before that whole transferring the kids back-and-forth and doing the schools and the sports when we weren’t living close together can be a little difficult,” she explained to Fox News in May. “So living closer together is just so much easier for so many reasons. You know if you forget something in a backpack I can easily drop it off. Everything is just so local.

“It’s just easier for everybody. Everybody is happier,” she added.

On Tuesday, the pair reunited to support their daughter at her Christmas performance.

CHRISTINA ANSTEAD OPENS UP ABOUT ‘CHALLENGING’ FEW YEARS, LANDING NEW HGTV SERIES ‘CHRISTINA ON THE COAST’ 

“Tay’s Christmas performance was sooo cute!! glad my dad got to come too ♥️ We all sit together- my family and Tarek’s family,” the HGTV starlet wrote on Instagram.

She continued: “A couple people acknowledged how nice this is- I know there are a lot of divorced couples (including Tarek’s mom and dad) who do this too and it’s honestly easier for everyone. Plus Taylor’s face lights up when she sees us all in the same row supporting her.”

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For fans who can’t wait to see El Moussa and Anstead again on the small screen, their own individual projects are set to launch before next summer, with season two of “Christina on the Coast” premiering on Jan. 2 and El Moussa’s new original series, “Flipping 101 w/ Tarek El Moussa,” set to air in early 2020.

Westlake Legal Group 1280_tarek_el_moussa_christina_el_moussa_getty515361970 HGTV's 'Flip or Flop' starring Christina Anstead, Tarek El Moussa renewed for ninth season Mariah Haas fox-news/person/christina-el-moussa fox-news/entertainment/tv fox-news/entertainment/genres/reality fox news fnc/entertainment fnc article 7712e989-9b13-5d5b-8ced-f26426208291   Westlake Legal Group 1280_tarek_el_moussa_christina_el_moussa_getty515361970 HGTV's 'Flip or Flop' starring Christina Anstead, Tarek El Moussa renewed for ninth season Mariah Haas fox-news/person/christina-el-moussa fox-news/entertainment/tv fox-news/entertainment/genres/reality fox news fnc/entertainment fnc article 7712e989-9b13-5d5b-8ced-f26426208291

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