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Westlake Legal Group > News Media (Page 49)

Andrew Cuomo Uses Racial Slurs In Radio Interview About Racism Against Italians

Westlake Legal Group 5da5f7512100004c0fad001b Andrew Cuomo Uses Racial Slurs In Radio Interview About Racism Against Italians

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) used a racial slur in a radio interview Tuesday while discussing racism against Italian Americans.

“They used an expression that southern Italians were called — quote unquote, pardon my language, but I am just quoting the Times — ‘nigger wops,’ N-word wops, as a derogatory comment,” he said in a conversation with Alan Chartock on WAMC in Albany, referring to a New York Times article about racism against Italian Americans in the 19th century.

Cuomo’s comments were part of a tangent during an unrelated question. Earlier in the interview, he discussed racism and stereotypes against Italian Americans, after being asked about Columbus Day, which many Italian Americans see as a day of pride. There have been growing calls to change the holiday to Indigenous Peoples’ Day to honor Native Americans who were killed and whose lands were pillaged by European colonizers in the Americas.

While acknowledging that Native Americans “have been abused” and affirming his support for commemorating Indigenous Peoples’ Day, he said the holiday and monuments for the explorer contain “a broader symbolism” for Italian Americans.

For example, he said the Christopher Columbus statue in New York City’s Columbus Circle, which many activists have called to remove, “was put up at a time when the Italian Americans were being abused.”

When asked if he believes there is still prejudice against Italian Americans, Cuomo emphatically said “yes” multiple times.

The governor then referred to several examples — including his brother, CNN anchor Chris Cuomo, who recently got into an altercation with a man who mocked him as Fredo, John Cazale’s hapless character from “The Godfather.”

“It’s like the ‘N-word’ for us,” the younger Cuomo told the man.

A spokesperson for the governor declined to comment on or further clarify his direct use of a racial slur, referring back to the Times article.

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Kardashian sisters win trademark dispute at Supreme Court

Westlake Legal Group 031015_otr_kard Kardashian sisters win trademark dispute at Supreme Court fox-news/politics/judiciary/supreme-court fox-news/entertainment/kardashians fox-news/entertainment fox news fnc/politics fnc Bill Mears article 1fcc1b13-24bb-5e28-be62-c91938b73326

The celebrity Kardashian sisters won a legal victory at the Supreme Court on Tuesday, after the justices rejected an appeal from a British company over the name of a now-defunct line of cosmetic products.

The high court without comment refused to intervene in the legal dispute, letting stand a unanimous federal appeals court decision that found the now-discontinued Khroma Beauty brand of makeup from Kimberly, Khloe, and Kourtney Kardashian did not violate the trademark rights of a British cosmetics firm, Kroma Makeup EU LLC.

KAVANAUGH CONTROVERSY: SENATE REPUBLICANS WANT UPDATE ON CRIMINAL REFERRALS OVER DUBIOUS ACCUSATIONS

The Kardashians were sued in 2014 in Florida federal court. Their beauty products line has since been rebranded as Kardashian Beauty.

Lower courts concluded the British company did not have legal grounds to sue, since a company called By Lee Tillett retained “all ownership and enforcement rights” of the name Kroma, and had licensed the brand to Kroma EU to import and sell its products in Europe.

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The Kardashians and Tillett had earlier settled a trademark infringement claim. But the British company’s separate lawsuit continued.

The Supreme Court case is Kroma Makeup EU v. Kardashian (19-310)

Westlake Legal Group 031015_otr_kard Kardashian sisters win trademark dispute at Supreme Court fox-news/politics/judiciary/supreme-court fox-news/entertainment/kardashians fox-news/entertainment fox news fnc/politics fnc Bill Mears article 1fcc1b13-24bb-5e28-be62-c91938b73326   Westlake Legal Group 031015_otr_kard Kardashian sisters win trademark dispute at Supreme Court fox-news/politics/judiciary/supreme-court fox-news/entertainment/kardashians fox-news/entertainment fox news fnc/politics fnc Bill Mears article 1fcc1b13-24bb-5e28-be62-c91938b73326

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Big Banks Were the Loudest Optimists. They’re Getting Quieter.

Westlake Legal Group 15banks2-facebookJumbo Big Banks Were the Loudest Optimists. They’re Getting Quieter. Wells Fargo&Company United States Economy Solomon, David M JPMorgan Chase&Company Goldman Sachs Group Inc Dimon, James Corbat, Michael L Company Reports Citigroup Inc Banking and Financial Institutions

The heads of America’s largest banks have been some of the country’s most prominent optimists over the past two years, shooing away questions about the potential effects of President Trump’s trade policies, cheering his tax cuts and offering periodic reassurances that things would all work out for the American economy.

But manufacturing activity and job growth are slowing, and trade talks with China have so far produced only an interim agreement that still has to be written and signed. And bankers are starting to worry.

“Of course there’s a recession ahead — what we don’t know is if it’s going to happen soon,” Jamie Dimon, the chief executive of JPMorgan Chase, said during a call on Tuesday with journalists to discuss the bank’s third-quarter earnings.

Even as his bank announced record-high revenue, Mr. Dimon warned that the strong position of consumers in the United States had come under pressure from “increasingly complex geopolitical risks, including tensions in global trade.”

The warning was new: Just six months ago, during another discussion of the bank’s earnings, Mr. Dimon had predicted that United States economic growth “could go on for years.”

“We’ll just have to wait and see,” he said on Tuesday.

JPMorgan’s quarterly earnings were no worse for wear. The bank took in a record $29.3 billion during the third quarter and earned $2.68 per share, beating analysts’ expectations by 23 cents. Its deposits grew by 3 percent compared with the same period last year.

The report from Goldman Sachs, which also announced third-quarter results, along with Citigroup and Wells Fargo, was less rosy. The bank’s net earnings of just under $1.9 billion for the quarter were 26 percent lower than the same period last year and 22 percent lower than the second quarter of 2019. Goldman also announced that it had set aside $291 million for credit losses, a 67 percent increase from last year.

The bank’s chief executive, David Solomon, shrugged off some of the recent turmoil on Wall Street, which has included disappointing debuts by tech companies like Uber and botched initial public offerings like WeWork, saying he believed the I.P.O. market was in fact healthy. But, he said, the bank is closely watching “where we are in the economic cycle” as it manages risks across the firm.

Citigroup’s chief financial officer, Mark Mason, said on a call with journalists that the bank had begun making adjustments to its business operations to accommodate changing economic conditions.

“We’ve been very thoughtful about the pacing of our hiring,” he said.

Citigroup’s revenue was $18.6 billion, slightly lower than the previous quarter but a bit higher than its third-quarter revenue a year ago. But its corporate lending revenue decreased by 6 percent from a year earlier.

Citigroup’s business customers have been showing “pause,” Mr. Mason said, “in terms of whether they actually want to invest in building out facilities or operations, pause in terms of whether they want to consider entering into new markets.”

That was a subtle but significant admission that the slowdown was affecting Citigroup’s business.

The bank’s chief executive, Michael Corbat, had been saying for months that its global footprint allowed it to take advantage of shifting trade routes so that the president’s tariffs did not actually hurt the bank. He offered a more troubled view on Tuesday during a call with analysts.

“It has caused a slowdown in terms of trade,” Mr. Corbat said of the trade war. “If we could start to get some clarity on some of these things, where I think businesses can have some more surety on the future, our trade business would definitely benefit from that.”

Wells Fargo reported $22 billion in revenue for the quarter, slightly more than the $21.9 billion it generated in the same three months a year ago, and said it had $50 million left over from what it had set aside for loan losses in the most recent quarter.

And the bank’s chief financial officer, John Shrewsberry, pointed to a different concern that was closer to home for his business clients. “To date, while our customers are cautious, the most common concern they identify is their ability to hire enough qualified workers,” he said on a call with analysts.

Wells Fargo, the country’s fourth-largest bank, is still operating under growth restrictions imposed by its regulators, and its per-share earnings of 92 cents were lower than analysts’ expectations because of expenses from legal woes stemming from a series of scandals that began to come to light in 2016.

The bank has continued to stumble lately. Its chief executive stepped down suddenly in March not long after lawmakers grilled him over lingering problems, and The New York Times reported in August that customers whose accounts had been closed were still being charged fees for activity after the closing date. The bank’s interim chief executive, C. Allen Parker, told analysts that Wells Fargo was still looking into the matter.

The bank’s new chief executive, Charles W. Scharf, starts next week.

Wells Fargo reported a $1.6 billion charge for legal expenses related to “one of the largest lingering issues related to sales practices,” Mr. Shrewsberry said, but he declined to go into details.

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Packers’ David Bakhtiari made umpire aware of potential penalties before they were called

CLOSEWestlake Legal Group icon_close Packers' David Bakhtiari made umpire aware of potential penalties before they were called

SportsPulse: The Dallas Cowboys have taken a huge tumble over the last few weeks in the power rankings while the San Francisco 49ers continue to rise. USA TODAY

GREEN BAY, Wis. – Before the first penalty, David Bakhtiari approached umpire Jeff Rice, frustrated, confused and downright incredulous, and asked a simple but potentially game-altering question.

All night, Detroit Lions defensive end Trey Flowers used the same move against the Green Bay Packers’ All-Pro left tackle. Flowers would jam his hands high and in, near Bakhtiari’s chin strap. Whether Flowers’ hands were at Bakhtiari’s neck and face area or not was perhaps open to perspective.

Bakhtiari, naturally a little biased, thought there was no doubt.

“I went over to the ref,” Bakhtiari recalled in a corner of the Packers locker room, before slipping out into the night after his team’s 23-22 comeback win Monday, “I said, ‘Hey, are we not calling hands to the face again? Because the past three plays, I’ve been staring at the sky.’ And he’s like, you know, he’s not looking at my side, but I at least made him aware.”

Bakhtiari, perhaps, made Rice a little too aware.

More: Ex-Detroit Lions QB Dan Orlovsky rips NFL for its officiating ‘epidemic’

More: Barry Sanders, Clay Matthews, Tony Dungy among those upset over refs in Packers-Lions game

Flowers was called for a pair of illegal-hands-to-the-face penalties that went a long way toward deciding Monday night’s game.

The first came after a third-down sack with 10:16 left in the fourth quarter, a play that would have forced the Packers to punt. Careful review of the replay – something referee Clete Blakeman couldn’t benefit from last night – showed Flowers’ left hand clasp the inside of Bakhtiari’s right shoulder. At the end of the play, Flowers’ hand slips off Bakhtiari’s shoulder and briefly brushes by the left tackle’s facemask. Flowers’ hand didn’t linger at Bakhtiari’s facemask, and he never grabbed the facemask, but there was some contact.

The Packers scored three plays later when quarterback Aaron Rodgers dropped a dime to receiver Allen Lazard for a 35-yard touchdown. A nine-point deficit – with the Lions poised to take possession – was suddenly down to two.

“It was hands to the chest initially,” Flowers said. “I was doing it all game. I didn’t know that was a flag to the chest. I didn’t think hands to the chest was a penalty. I thought hands to the face (was a penalty).

“I had him right here to the chest, and the second time I changed it. I don’t think that was a penalty.”

The second time – and, without question, the more egregious call of the two – came after a third-down incompletion inside the two-minute warning. It appeared the Packers would be forced to attempt their potential go-ahead field goal with 1:36 left. The Lions, who were without timeouts, would have a chance to take the lead back.

Watching the play live, Bakhtiari’s head jars back and upward. On replay, Flowers’ left hand clasps the inside of Bakhtiari’s left shoulder. It never contacts Bakhtiari’s facemask or neck.

Blakeman acknowledged he had spoken with Rice about the second penalty. In Rice’s mind, Blakeman said, Flowers had prolonged contact to Bakhtiari’s neck and face area – something replay shows did not happen.

“I can definitely tell you,” Bakhtiari said, “for a good portion of the game, I was getting my throat punched in, and I was looking up at the sky a fair amount. If you think about it, if your hand is in my throat, you’re probably hitting my facemask, which is pushing my head up in the sky.”

In the past two weeks, Bakhtiari felt he was on the unfortunate end of “pretty egregious” holding penalties. After a questionable penalty one week earlier in Dallas, Bakhtiari was again called for holding in the first quarter Monday night. On the play, Bakhtiari double-team blocked Flowers with left guard Elgton Jenkins.

“I’m sitting there,” Bakhtiari said, “I asked him, ‘So what, how is that holding? What did I do?’ He goes, ‘Your hand was across him.’ I’m like, ‘No, it was not.’ And he goes, ‘Well, I thought your hand was across him.’”

Rice was perhaps left guessing again in the fourth quarter. This time, Bakhtiari and the Packers benefited from the calls.

Asked inside the locker room if he thought the Lions had a legitimate gripe, Bakhtiari didn’t say yes. He also didn’t say no.

“They’re going to go both ways,” Bakhtiari said. “You’re going to get calls for you, and you’re going to get calls against you. Fortunately, those two calls went in our favor, and from my vantage point, I’m just looking up at the sky.

“It can go both ways. That’s the way I’m going to look at it. that’s what I’m going to say.”

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Salvador Dali ‘Burning Giraffe’ etching worth $20G swiped from San Francisco gallery

A rare Salvador Dali etching estimated to be worth about $20,000 was swiped from a San Francisco art gallery Sunday in a brazen, broad daylight heist, officials said.

Surveillance video obtained by KGO shows an unidentified man casually walking away from Dennis Rae Fine Art on Sunday with the famed painter’s “Burning Giraffe” etching in his hands. As of Tuesday morning, police were still searching for the thief.

“They just popped into the gallery, probably distracting one of my co-workers,” gallery director Angela Kellett told the station. “It was our showcase item. We have a special Salvador Dali show right now and, yeah, they just ran off with it, too quick for anyone to do anything about it.”

VAN GOGH PAINTINGS BACK ON DISPLAY 16 YEARS AFTER BEING SWIPED FROM MUSEUM

The 1966 artwork was being displayed on an easel at the front of the gallery, according to CBS SF.

Westlake Legal Group salvador-dali-Getty Salvador Dali 'Burning Giraffe' etching worth $20G swiped from San Francisco gallery Greg Norman fox-news/us/us-regions/west/california fox news fnc/us fnc article 0db4cbb1-9425-5f88-bfe4-9f61d8f24d73

Spanish Catalan surrealist painter Salvador Dali in Barcelona, Spain, in 1966.

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“It’s a very small edition of etchings, so the number, we know exactly what piece it is, so now it’s a very hot item,” Kellett told KGO.

The man in the surveillance footage was last seen wearing black shorts, a blue shirt with a “Nike” logo on it and a black hat.

Westlake Legal Group salvador-dali-Getty Salvador Dali 'Burning Giraffe' etching worth $20G swiped from San Francisco gallery Greg Norman fox-news/us/us-regions/west/california fox news fnc/us fnc article 0db4cbb1-9425-5f88-bfe4-9f61d8f24d73   Westlake Legal Group salvador-dali-Getty Salvador Dali 'Burning Giraffe' etching worth $20G swiped from San Francisco gallery Greg Norman fox-news/us/us-regions/west/california fox news fnc/us fnc article 0db4cbb1-9425-5f88-bfe4-9f61d8f24d73

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GOP Trump challenger Bill Weld on Dems’ impeachment push: ‘I think it’s time’ to go ahead with inquiry

Westlake Legal Group Screen-Shot-2019-10-15-at-12.52.49-PM GOP Trump challenger Bill Weld on Dems' impeachment push: 'I think it's time' to go ahead with inquiry Joshua Nelson fox-news/shows/americas-newsroom fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox news fnc/media fnc article 42e3e52f-0516-53e2-8c6d-e994124cc52b

2020 Republican presidential candidate Bill Weld expressed support Tuesday for the impeachment push by House Democrats, saying “it’s time” to move forward to a vote.

“America’s Newsroom” host Sandra Smith asked Weld if he is calling for an impeachment of Trump and the former Massachusetts governor responded, “I think that’s a yes. I think it’s time for the House to go ahead with their inquiry.”

“I think he’s in a tough spot on the law,” said Weld, who noted that he used to lead the Justice Department’s criminal division and worked on the impeachments of Presidents Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton.

Weld, who is running for the Republican presidential nomination against Trump, stressed that the framers of the Constitution were most concerned with foreign interference and a president using the office for private gain.

BILL WELD SUGGESTS TRUMP COULD FACE EXECUTION OVER UKRAINE PHONE CALL

“Those seem to be implicated by the Ukraine caper,” he said.

Meanwhile, a recent Fox News poll showed that just over half of voters (51 percent) want Trump impeached and removed from office.

Another 4 percent want him impeached but not removed, and 40 percent oppose impeachment altogether. In July, 42 percent favored impeachment and removal, while 5 percent said impeach but don’t remove Trump, and 45 percent opposed impeachment.

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Trump has come under fire from House Democrats over his July 25 call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, in which he urged Zelensky to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden’s son Hunter’s business dealings in the country. Democrats have accused Trump of attempting to set up a quid pro quo using military aid to Ukraine as leverage, though Trump has denied the accusation.

In 2016, Weld ran for vice president on the Libertarian Party ticket with former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson.

Fox News’ Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group Screen-Shot-2019-10-15-at-12.52.49-PM GOP Trump challenger Bill Weld on Dems' impeachment push: 'I think it's time' to go ahead with inquiry Joshua Nelson fox-news/shows/americas-newsroom fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox news fnc/media fnc article 42e3e52f-0516-53e2-8c6d-e994124cc52b   Westlake Legal Group Screen-Shot-2019-10-15-at-12.52.49-PM GOP Trump challenger Bill Weld on Dems' impeachment push: 'I think it's time' to go ahead with inquiry Joshua Nelson fox-news/shows/americas-newsroom fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox news fnc/media fnc article 42e3e52f-0516-53e2-8c6d-e994124cc52b

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Russia Troops Patrol Between Turkish and Syrian Forces, Filling an American Void

CEYLANPINAR, Turkey — Russia said on Tuesday that its military units were patrolling territory in northern Syria vacated by the Americans following the withdrawal ordered by President Trump, underscoring the sudden loss of United States influence in the eight-year-old Syria war.

The Americans had until Monday maintained two military bases in the area, and Russia’s announcement signaled that Moscow, the Syrian government’s most important ally, was moving to fill a security void left by the withdrawal of both the American military and its partners in their effort to destroy the Islamic State and its Syrian base.

Videos circulating on social media appeared to show a Russian-speaking man filming himself walking around a recently evacuated United States military base in northern Syria, punctuating the message that the Russians were now in charge.

President Trump decided last week to abruptly yank American forces from a Kurdish enclave of northern Syria, ending a longstanding alliance with Syrian Kurdish fighters regarded by Turkey as terrorists. Turkey’s military then invaded, driving tens of thousands of civilians from their homes and forcing the Syrian Kurdish fighters to align themselves with the Syrian military in a stunning switch of allegiances for survival.

The Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement that its military police, which had already established a presence in other parts of Syria, were patrolling along a line of contact separating Syrian and Turkish forces, who have been racing to control large parts of northern Syria since the Turkish invasion began last Wednesday.

The Russians were patrolling near the strategically important city of Manbij, vacated by the Americans and Syrian Kurds and now occupied Syrian government troops. The statement also said Russian troops were coordinating “with the Turkish side.”

Where Russian and Syrian Army forces are located in northern Syria

Westlake Legal Group syria-zoom-map-900 Russia Troops Patrol Between Turkish and Syrian Forces, Filling an American Void United States Defense and Military Forces Turkey Syrian Democratic Forces Syria Russia Ras al-Ain (Syria) Manbij (Syria) Kurds Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) International Relations Defense and Military Forces Ceylanpinar (Turkey)

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Westlake Legal Group syria-zoom-map-600 Russia Troops Patrol Between Turkish and Syrian Forces, Filling an American Void United States Defense and Military Forces Turkey Syrian Democratic Forces Syria Russia Ras al-Ain (Syria) Manbij (Syria) Kurds Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) International Relations Defense and Military Forces Ceylanpinar (Turkey)

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Sources: Times reporting; Control areas as of Oct. 14 via Conflict Monitor by IHS Markit | By Allison McCann, Sarah Almukhtar and Anjali Singhvi

The developments came as a spokesman for the United States-led coalition said on Twitter that its forces, which include French and British soldiers, had left Manbij. “Coalition forces are executing a deliberate withdrawal from northeast Syria,” Col. Myles B. Caggins wrote. “We are out of Manbij.”

Russia and Turkey will soon be the only foreign armies in the area.

Syria’s state broadcaster also reported that Syrian government troops had deployed inside Manbij, as Turkish-led forces advanced in the countryside outside the city. Elsewhere, Kurdish-led fighters attempted to retake another important town near the Turkish border, Ras al-Ain, from Turkish-led forces.

Heavy fire from machine guns could be heard to the south and southwest of Ras al-Ain and from the Turkish border town of Ceylanpinar, which is less than a mile from the fighting. Turkish artillery pounded an eastern suburb of the Syrian settlement midmorning, raising clouds of smoke above low farmhouses and pistachio groves.

As of Tuesday, fighting in Ras al-Ain and other areas of northern Syria has forced at least 160,000 people from their homes, according to United Nations estimates. The Kurdish authorities put the figure at 270,000.

Westlake Legal Group syria-turkey-promo-1571094797315-articleLarge-v3 Russia Troops Patrol Between Turkish and Syrian Forces, Filling an American Void United States Defense and Military Forces Turkey Syrian Democratic Forces Syria Russia Ras al-Ain (Syria) Manbij (Syria) Kurds Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) International Relations Defense and Military Forces Ceylanpinar (Turkey)

4 Big Questions About Syria’s Future

The surprise American withdrawal from parts of northern Syria reshuffled old alliances and touched off a new stage of the eight-year war.

Mr. Trump’s decision to withdraw from northern Syria drew global condemnation, left Kurdish fighters feeling betrayed, and raised the possibility that the president had made a strategic blunder that would open a volatile new chapter in the war. Experts on the region warned that the withdrawal of American troops would embolden Russia, Iran and the Islamic State.

Abandoned by the Americans, and quickly losing land to the Turkish force, the Kurdish authorities sought protection from the Syrian government and Russia.

Since the Kurdish authorities asked the government of President Bashar al-Assad for assistance, thousands of Syrian Army troops have flooded into northern Syria for the first time since the government lost control of the region several years ago.

But Syrian government troops have stayed clear of the border region near Ras al-Ain, where Kurdish troops fight on alone. Instead, government forces have deployed to other strategic positions, such as Manbij, to help alleviate pressure on Kurdish fighters on the front line.

The last-minute alliance comes at great cost to the Kurdish authorities, who are effectively giving up self-rule.

Syrian Kurdish militias established a system of self-rule in northern Syria in 2012, when the chaos of the Syrian civil war gave them the chance to create a sliver of autonomous territory free of central government influence.

The fighters greatly expanded their territory after they partnered with an international military coalition, led by the United States, to push the Islamic State from the area.

After the Kurdish-led fighters captured ISIS territory, they assumed responsibility for its governance, eventually controlling roughly a quarter of the Syrian landmass. They have also been guarding thousands of ISIS fighters and their families, hundreds of whom fled a detention camp in Ras al-Ain after Turkish-led forces bombed the surrounding area.

The Kurds’ control of the land in Syria enraged Turkey, since the militia is an offshoot of a guerrilla group that has waged a decades-long insurgency against the Turkish state. Turkey has long pressed the United States to abandon its alliance with Kurdish fighters so Turkish troops could enter Syria and force the Kurds from territory close to the border.

Washington rebuffed Turkey’s requests for several years, maintaining a de facto peacekeeping presence along the border near Ras al-Ain, the town at the center of the fighting on Friday. But that changed last week, when Mr. Trump made a sudden decision to withdraw troops — first from that particular area, and later from all of northern Syria.

In Britain, meanwhile, a day after foreign ministers from all 28 European Union member states agreed unanimously to stop selling arms to Turkey — the first time the bloc has reached such a decision about a NATO ally — Britain announced a pause in such ties with Turkey.

Dominic Raab, Britain’s foreign secretary, told the House of Commons on Tuesday that “no further export licenses to Turkey for items which might be used in military operations in Syria will be granted” until the government had conducted a review.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey has made clear he will not bow to pressure to halt the offensive. “We will soon secure the region from Manbij to the border with Iraq,” he said on Tuesday during a visit to Azerbaijan, referring to the 230-mile expanse of territory.

Carlotta Gall reported from Ceylanpinar, and Patrick Kingsley from Istanbul. Anton Troianovski contributed reporting from Moscow, and Iliana Magra from London.

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Trump Appears To Call For His Own Impeachment In Bizarre Tweet

Westlake Legal Group 5d9e2a4821000029073433b8 Trump Appears To Call For His Own Impeachment In Bizarre Tweet

Until Tuesday morning, that is.

Trump sent out a tweet with a lot of remarks in all caps, where he was pointing out some economic numbers in a tone that suggested he didn’t feel very appreciated.

But it was the last three words — “Impeach the Pres.” — that are getting the most attention, mainly because they seem to contradict the preceding diatribe.

And some Twitter users were confused.

It’s possible the president might have been trying to make a case that the economic numbers make it tough for opponents to impeach him and he simply forgot to connect “Impeach the Pres.” with the previous sentence, “Tough numbers for the Radical Left Democrats to beat!”

However, it appears that Trump’s advocacy of his own impeachment is a winning issue with many voters.

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Impeachment Investigators Question George Kent, State Dept. Ukraine Expert

Westlake Legal Group 15dc-impeach01-facebookJumbo Impeachment Investigators Question George Kent, State Dept. Ukraine Expert United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry State Department Kent, George P Giuliani, Rudolph W

WASHINGTON — The procession of high-ranking witnesses to the House’s impeachment inquiry continued apace on Tuesday, as George P. Kent, the deputy assistant secretary of state in charge of Ukraine policy, arrived on Capitol Hill to face questions from investigators about his knowledge of the widening Ukraine scandal.

Mr. Kent, who appeared behind closed doors despite the State Department directing him not to do so, raised concerns to colleagues early this year about the pressure being directed at Ukraine by Mr. Trump and his private lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani, to pursue investigations into Mr. Trump’s political rivals, according to people familiar with Mr. Kent’s warnings.

As far back as March, they said, Mr. Kent was pointing to Mr. Giuliani’s role in what he called a “disinformation” campaign intended to use a Ukrainian prosecutor to smear targets of the president. Those included former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., Marie L. Yovanovitch, then the United States ambassador to Ukraine, and Ukrainians who disseminated damaging information during the 2016 campaign about Mr. Trump’s campaign chairman, Paul Manafort.

Mr. Kent, wearing a three-piece suit and bow tie, entered the obscured chambers of the House Intelligence Committee on Tuesday morning to kick off another jam-packed day for investigators. Lawmakers are scheduled to return to the Capitol from a two-week recess later Tuesday, and Democrats will huddle to compare notes on the direction of the inquiry. Separately, the committees leading the investigation had set a series of crucial deadlines on Tuesday for key witnesses and executive branch agencies to hand over relevant documents.

Mr. Kent’s appearance followed an emerging pattern. According to officials familiar with the investigation, the State Department directed Mr. Kent not to appear and sought to limit his testimony. The House Intelligence Committee then issued a last-minute subpoena ordering him to appear, and he complied.

He was the second high-ranking State Department official to defy the White House’s wishes and appear for questioning in recent days. The first was Ms. Yovanovitch, who Mr. Trump ordered be removed from her ambassadorial post in May, but is still a State Department employee. She answered questions from investigators on Friday, offering a blistering assessment of the Trump administration’s foreign policy and saying she had been told Mr. Trump himself pressed for her ouster for months based on “false claims” by outsiders working for their own personal and political objectives.

Fiona Hill, a former top White House Europe adviser, appeared on Monday under subpoena as well, and other current and former officials are expected to follow suit, casting doubt on the effectiveness of the White House’s attempts to stonewall the House inquiry. Gordon D. Sondland, the United States ambassador to Europe who appears to be at the center of the pressure campaign, will meet investigators on Thursday.

Mr. Kent’s warnings about the disinformation effort are reflected in internal State Department emails provided by the agency’s inspector general to Congress this month and obtained by The New York Times. In one, he assailed a “fake news smear” being pushed against Ms. Yovanovitch by conservative media personalities allied with Mr. Trump. In another, he criticized the Ukrainian prosecutor who was pushing the claims about Ms. Yovanovitch and called them “complete poppycock.”

A career diplomat, Mr. Kent has served since last fall as the deputy assistant secretary in the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs. He has deep experience in Kiev, and with Ukrainian corruption specifically, having served as an anti-corruption coordinator in the State Department’s European Bureau in 2014 and 2015, and then as deputy chief of mission in the United States embassy in Kiev from 2015 until 2018.

At the White House, Mr. Trump, picking up a talking point from his Republican allies in Congress, accused Democrats of “allowing no transparency at the Witch Hunt hearings,” and said if Republicans tried to do the same thing “they would be excoriated by the Fake News.”

“Let the facts come out from the charade of people, most of whom I do not know, they are interviewing for 9 hours each, not selective leaks,” Mr. Trump wrote on Twitter Tuesday morning.

Impeachment investigators thus far have been conducting their proceedings almost entirely in secret by holding staff-led witness depositions, or interviews, rather than public hearings. Republicans have seized on that approach as evidence that Democrats are trying to impeach the president out of public view.

But the tactic is not uncommon on Capitol Hill, at least in the early stages of an investigation. Senior House Democrats argue that conducting the interviews in private is a more efficient and effective form of fact-finding that avoids some of the spectacle of a public hearing and ensures that potential witnesses are not able to easily adjust their stories in ways that could mislead investigators. House aides during Watergate did something similar before holding public hearings related to whether to impeach Richard M. Nixon. Democrats say they, too, plan to publicly present their findings when they have sorted out what happened.

Investigators were waiting to see if the Trump administration and key witnesses in the case would produce documents related to Mr. Trump’s conversations with Mr. Zelensky, the decision to withhold $391 million in security aid for Ukraine this summer, and other matters. Those already under subpoena to produce the material include the Office of Management and Budget, the Defense Department and Mr. Giuliani. Vice President Mike Pence also faces a deadline to hand over a vast set of records voluntarily, or face a subpoena.

The deadlines force each department or witness to decide between the demands of Congress and White House’s direction not to cooperate with the House’s work. Seeking to tip the scales in favor of cooperation, Democrats have warned that not doing so will be considered obstruction of their impeachment inquiry, behavior worthy of its own impeachment article against Mr. Trump.

New requests for depositions were still stacking up. The committees wrote on Friday to two top officials at the White House budget office, requesting they appear next week to discuss the suspension of the security aid, according to one of the officials. They targeted Russ Vought, the office’s acting director, and Michael Duffey, a senior Trump appointee there who was said to have helped approve orders freezing the funds. The letters to the men said merely that investigators believed they had “information relevant to these matters.”

Mr. Kent was believed to have special insight into Mr. Trump’s pressure campaign on Ukraine, but he was also deeply involved in previous efforts to persuade the country to investigate corruption. In his earlier roles, Mr. Kent had aggressively pushed Ukrainian prosecutors to pursue investigations into Mykola Zlochevsky, an oligarch who owned a gas company that started paying Hunter Biden, the presidential candidate’s son, as a board member in 2014.

When a British case against Mr. Zlochevsky for money laundering was dismissed in January 2015 for lack of evidence, Mr. Kent and others in the State Department blamed Ukrainian prosecutors. The Ukrainian prosecutors had refused to provide evidence to British prosecutors, Mr. Kent told associates, because they and other officials were being paid off by Mr. Zlochevsky or his allies.

Tensions boiled over at a previously unreported meeting in early February 2015 in Kiev, in which Mr. Kent scolded a deputy prosecutor in the office of Vitaly Yarema, who was the general prosecutor of Ukraine — the nation’s top law enforcement post, similar to that of the attorney general of the United States.

According to a Ukrainian and an American with knowledge of the meeting, Mr. Kent, demanded of the deputy prosecutor, “Who took the bribe and how much was it?”

The Ukrainian deputy replied — perhaps jokingly — that a $7 million bribe had been paid just before Mr. Yarema’s taking the office.

The F.B.I. looked into the bribe allegation, according to people familiar with it, but — as is common in the world of Ukrainian corruption investigations — the inquiry stalled amid a tangled web of contradictory and evolving stories.

In the days after the heated meeting with Mr. Kent, Mr. Yarema was fired and eventually replaced by another prosecutor, Viktor Shokin, who American officials came to view as similarly problematic.

The elder Mr. Biden in 2016 successfully pushed for Mr. Shokin’s ouster because the Obama administration and other Western governments and international institutions contended he was turning a blind eye to corruption in his own office and among the country’s elite, including Mr. Zlochevsky.

It was Mr. Biden’s role in the dismissal of Mr. Shokin that has subsequently been held up by Mr. Trump and Mr. Giuliani as evidence that the former vice president intervened in Ukrainian affairs to help his son. There is no evidence of that.

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When You Take a Great Photo, Thank the Algorithm in Your Phone

Westlake Legal Group 15Techfix-print-facebookJumbo When You Take a Great Photo, Thank the Algorithm in Your Phone Smartphones Samsung Group Photography Google Inc cameras Artificial Intelligence Apple Inc

Not too long ago, tech giants like Apple and Samsung raved about the number of megapixels they were cramming into smartphone cameras to make photos look clearer. Nowadays, all the handset makers are shifting focus to the algorithms, artificial intelligence and special sensors that are working together to make our photos look more impressive.

What that means: Our phones are working hard to make photos look good, with minimal effort required from the user.

On Tuesday, Google showed its latest attempt to make cameras smarter. It unveiled the Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL, new versions of its popular smartphone, which comes in two screen sizes. While the devices include new hardware features — like an extra camera lens and an infrared face scanner to unlock the phone — Google emphasized the phones’ use of so-called computational photography, which automatically processes images to look more professional.

Among the Pixel 4’s new features is a mode for shooting the night sky and capturing images of stars. And by adding the extra lens, Google augmented a software feature called Super Res Zoom, which allows users to zoom in more closely on images without losing much detail.

Apple also highlighted computational photography last month when it introduced three new iPhones. One yet-to-be released feature, Deep Fusion, will process images with an extreme amount of detail.

The big picture? When you take a digital photo, you’re not actually shooting a photo anymore.

“Most photos you take these days are not a photo where you click the photo and get one shot,” said Ren Ng, a computer science professor at the University of California, Berkeley. “These days it takes a burst of images and computes all of that data into a final photograph.”

Computational photography has been around for years. One of the earliest forms was HDR, for high dynamic range, which involved taking a burst of photos at different exposures and blending the best parts of them into one optimal image.

Over the last few years, more sophisticated computational photography has rapidly improved the photos taken on our phones.

Google gave me a preview of its Pixel phones last week. Here’s what they tell us about the software that’s making our phone cameras tick, and what to look forward to. (For the most part, the photos will speak for themselves.)

Last year, Google introduced Night Sight, which made photos taken in low light look as though they had been shot in normal conditions, without a flash. The technique took a burst of photos with short exposures and reassembled them into an image.

With the Pixel 4, Google is applying a similar technique for photos of the night sky. For astronomy photos, the camera detects when it is very dark and takes a burst of images at extra-long exposures to capture more light. The result is a task that could previously be done only with full-size cameras with bulky lenses, Google said.

Apple’s new iPhones also introduced a mode for shooting photos in low light, employing a similar method. Once the camera detects that a setting is very dark, it automatically captures multiple pictures and fuses them together while adjusting colors and contrast.

A few years ago, phone makers like Apple, Samsung and Huawei introduced cameras that produced portrait mode, also known as the bokeh effect, which sharpened a subject in the foreground and blurred the background. Most phone makers used two lenses that worked together to create the effect.

Two years ago with the Pixel 2, Google accomplished the same effect with a single lens. Its method largely relied on machine learning — computers analyzing millions of images to recognize what’s important in a photo. The Pixel then made predictions about the parts of the photo that should stay sharp and created a mask around it. A special sensor inside the camera, called dual-pixel autofocus, helped analyze the distance between the objects and the camera to make the blurring look realistic.

With the Pixel 4, Google said, it has improved the camera’s portrait-mode ability. The new second lens will allow the camera to capture more information about depth, which lets the camera shoot objects with portrait mode from greater distances.

In the past, zooming in with digital cameras was practically taboo because the image would inevitably become very pixelated, and the slightest hand movement would create blur. Google used software to address the issue last year in the Pixel 3 with what it calls Super Res Zoom.

The technique takes advantage of natural hand tremors to capture a burst of photos in varying positions. By combining each of the slightly varying photos, the camera software composes a photo that fills in detail that wouldn’t have been there with a normal digital zoom.

The Pixel 4’s new lens expands the ability of Super Res Zoom by adjusting to zoom in, similar to a zoom lens on a film camera. In other words, now the camera will take advantage of both the software feature and the optical lens to zoom in extra close without losing detail.

Computational photography is an entire field of study in computer science. Dr. Ng, the Berkeley professor, teaches courses on the subject. He said he and his students were researching new techniques like the ability to apply portrait-mode effects to videos.

Say, for example, two people in a video are having a conversation, and you want the camera to automatically focus on whoever is speaking. A video camera can’t typically know how to do that because it can’t predict the future. But in computational photography, a camera could record all the footage, use artificial intelligence to determine which person is speaking and apply the auto-focusing effects after the fact. The video you’d see would shift focus between two people as they took turns speaking.

“These are examples of capabilities that are completely new and emerging in research that could completely change what we think of that’s possible,” Dr. Ng said.

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