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Westlake Legal Group > News Media (Page 52)

Holy Cross women’s rowing team member dies, 11 others injured in bus crash: report

Westlake Legal Group Holy-Cross-Logo Holy Cross women's rowing team member dies, 11 others injured in bus crash: report Ryan Gaydos fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/florida fox-news/sports/ncaa fox-news/sports fox news fnc/sports fnc article 3de84030-c782-587a-8bcf-e3978a65daf5

A member of the Holy Cross Crusaders women’s rowing team was killed in a serious crash Wednesday in Florida, police sad.

The crash occurred around 7:30 a.m. in Vero Beach when the team van collided with a pickup truck, according to CBS Boston.  A school spokesman told the station that one rowing team member was killed in the crash and that 11 others were injured.

CONSOLATION PRIZE: CLEMSON KNOCKS OFF NO. 3 DUKE IN HOOPS

The rowing team member was identified as Grace Rett, an English and psychology major. She had set a world record for the Concept 2 longest continual row indoors last month, according to the Worcester Telegram. She had just celebrated her 20th birthday.

“This morning, members of the Holy Cross women’s rowing team were involved in a serious crash while traveling in Florida,” the school said in a statement. “The College is in contact with authorities in Florida and is in the process of gathering more information. Holy Cross has been in touch with the families of those students and coaches and is offering support for all those involved.”

PENN STATE, JAMES FRANKLIN SUED OVER ALLEGED HAZING, JERRY SANDUSKY THREAT

According to police, a preliminary investigation revealed that the van driver may have failed to yield and caused the crash. A second Holy Cross van was traveling behind the crashed vehicle and was not involved. The two vans were taking the team to practice, CBS Boston reported.

CLICK HERE FOR MORE SPORTS COVERAGE ON FOXNEWS.COM

The Holy Cross-Army men’s basketball game was postponed.

Westlake Legal Group Holy-Cross-Logo Holy Cross women's rowing team member dies, 11 others injured in bus crash: report Ryan Gaydos fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/florida fox-news/sports/ncaa fox-news/sports fox news fnc/sports fnc article 3de84030-c782-587a-8bcf-e3978a65daf5   Westlake Legal Group Holy-Cross-Logo Holy Cross women's rowing team member dies, 11 others injured in bus crash: report Ryan Gaydos fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/florida fox-news/sports/ncaa fox-news/sports fox news fnc/sports fnc article 3de84030-c782-587a-8bcf-e3978a65daf5

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

Kiwi pizza declared ‘abomination’ as Twitter melts down over fruity topping

Westlake Legal Group iStock-911459316 Kiwi pizza declared 'abomination' as Twitter melts down over fruity topping fox-news/food-drink/food/snack-foods fox-news/food-drink/food fox news fnc/food-drink fnc article Alexandra Deabler 6fabf3e1-6f35-5542-8b3b-1dc9473c85da

And you thought pineapple was controversial.

NJ DECLARES ITSELF ‘BAGEL CAPITAL OF THE WORLD,’ TWITTER RESPONDS

In yet another “why?” post on Twitter, one user is being bombarded with critical responses after uploading a photo of a cheese pizza covered in Canadian bacon and–wait for it–kiwi.

Unsurprisingly, people on social media have had strong reactions to the unconventional fruit topping.

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Though it’s unclear where the kiwi pizza was ordered — according to Reddit, it came from a Danish pizzeria — it’s not unclear that the majority of commenters hated the idea of it.

In fact, it appears that the concept of kiwi pizza is so grotesque to pizza-eaters that fans and haters of pineapple pizza were able to put their feud aside to focus on a new common enemy, agreeing the green fruit is a “bigger threat.”

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However, as maligned as the pizza appears to be, there are small few who either are genuinely interested – or are just trolling.

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The major takeaway seems to be fruit and pizza don’t mix. But if it has to be fruit, it should be pineapple, but nothing else. And also probably ignore that tomato is technically a fruit.

Westlake Legal Group iStock-911459316 Kiwi pizza declared 'abomination' as Twitter melts down over fruity topping fox-news/food-drink/food/snack-foods fox-news/food-drink/food fox news fnc/food-drink fnc article Alexandra Deabler 6fabf3e1-6f35-5542-8b3b-1dc9473c85da   Westlake Legal Group iStock-911459316 Kiwi pizza declared 'abomination' as Twitter melts down over fruity topping fox-news/food-drink/food/snack-foods fox-news/food-drink/food fox news fnc/food-drink fnc article Alexandra Deabler 6fabf3e1-6f35-5542-8b3b-1dc9473c85da

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

The Senate goes to Gobblers Knob

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6122668496001_6122666223001-vs The Senate goes to Gobblers Knob fox-news/columns/fox-news-halftime-report fox news fnc/politics fnc d8865162-10cf-5bf5-9da9-9a88ae718bf5 Chris Stirewalt article

**Want FOX News Halftime Report in your inbox every day? Sign up here.**

On the roster: The Senate goes to Gobblers Knob – Unfinished business for Bernie, Warren after debate – Trump inks trade truce with China – #Catitude

THE SENATE GOES TO GOBBLERS KNOB
When we say that the impeachment and Senate trial of President Trump is like Groundhog Day we do not mean the wonderful, philosophical film starring Bill Murray, even though days seem to be repeating themselves.

We mean the actual Feb. 2 celebration in which, as Murray’s character, Phil Connors, put it, the residents of Punxsutawney, Pa. experience “the true excitement of a large squirrel predicting the weather.”

Any groundhog true believers should avert their eyes, but it doesn’t really matter what the current incarnation of Punxsutawney Phil “says” next month about the duration of winter. The point of the day, which was given to us by German immigrants looking for a good reason to celebrate in a cold northeastern February, is the event itself.

The point is the big funny hats and the hokey, jokey ceremoniousness. The point is thousands of people who come to party, often in the freezing cold, at Gobblers Knob. The point is the event that grew up around the world’s most famous whistle pig, not the rodent’s forecast (which has about a 25 percent accuracy rate).

As Jack Matson, a county commissioner for Punxsutawney’s Jefferson County, told the Philadelphia Inquirer, “It’s really the coolest event on the planet, because it’s so stupid.” 

Which, of course, brings us back to the trial of Trump.|

Readers of this note are well acquainted with our diatribes against American government’s woeful imbalance. The Framers’ vision was remarkable in its foresight, but even they lacked the imagination to conceive of a time when the first branch of government would intentionally reduce its own power.

Consider the current debate over presidential war powers. There is overwhelming consensus that it is absurd for the American president to be exercising military powers under a shopworn, two-decade-old authorization for the use of force. But that’s not the president’s fault. That’s the fault of a Congress that refuses to legislate, particularly on issues that are controversial.

What members of Congress in both parties prefer to do are things everyone likes – spending more money without raising taxes – and things that half of the people like but which can be used as a political weapon – the dreaded “optics.”

Once upon a time, members of Congress were concerned about accomplishing things so that they could go home to their districts and make persuasive arguments about all that they had done and all the advantages they had brought to the fine citizens of North Raccoon Paw County or wherever.

Now what they want to do is try to inflict political harm on the other side. If you’re not going to do your duty, you might as well try to get on TV and dunk on the other side.

Once, it would have been almost obscene for a lawmaker to talk openly about the intended political consequences of an action. Now, it’s the norm. When Kevin McCarthy once bragged about staging hearings on the deaths of Americans in Libya to bring down Hillary Clinton’s poll numbers it was considered shocking. Now it’s the norm.

Democrats were certainly within their rights and powers to impeach Trump, but at no point has there been any serious chance that Trump would be removed from office. Even the considerable number of Senate Republicans who agree that Trump did what he is accused of doing don’t agree with Democrats that he should be removed from office.

That’s all been obvious since the start. That doesn’t mean that Democrats were wrong to impeach or that the Senate would be wrong to acquit. It just means that this has been a mostly symbolic effort from the start, which is fine… up to a point.

We have now endured many weeks of public argument over the “optics” of the always-inevitable Senate trial. And since the outcome is pre-ordained, the point of the argument is to decide which side will have the chance to inflict the most political damage on the other through the proceedings.

One side wants to dangle the son of the Democratic presidential front-runner like a piñata. The other side wants to use the trial to investigate charges the House was too politically anxious to take time to explore before it voted to impeach.

Given that our Capitol has over the past few decades turned into the world’s most elaborate reality show set, it’s understandable that members would be thinking about how to extract political advantage from the upcoming episodes.

Too bad for them that the old gimmicks don’t work anymore. Voters’ political attitudes have hardened to such a degree that almost nothing seems to change the toplines. In the old days, a major strike against Iran or an impeachment or a big trade deal would have major effects on public opinion. Now, almost nothing seems to break through.

And you can’t blame voters. They’re not here for the groundhog’s forecast anymore, they just want to see the spectacle.

THE RULEBOOK: YUUUUUP
“Ingratitude is a common topic of declamation against human nature; and it must be confessed that instances of it are but too frequent and flagrant, both in public and in private life. But the universal and extreme indignation which it inspires is itself a proof of the energy and prevalence of the contrary sentiment.” – Alexander Hamilton or James MadisonFederalist No. 57

TIME OUT: RUN FOR YOUR LIVES?
Smithsonian: “In Michael Levin’s laboratory at Tufts University, cells can expect to find themselves in unusual company. Here, the precursors of frog skin sidle up to cells that, in another life, might have helped an amphibian’s heartbeat. They’re perfect strangers: biological entities that, up until this point, had no business being together. And yet, Levin and his colleagues have found that skin cells and heart cells can be coaxed into coalescing. Placed side by side, they will self-organize into intricate, three-dimensional mosaics of frog cells that aren’t actually frogs. Designed by a computer algorithm and surgically shaped by human hands, these skin-heart hybrids, each roughly the size of a grain of sand, don’t resemble anything found in nature. But the tasks they accomplish are eerily familiar: Without any external input, they can zoom around Petri dishes, push microscopic objects to and fro, and even stitch themselves back together after being cut.”

Flag on the play? – Email us at HALFTIMEREPORT@FOXNEWS.COM with your tips, comments or questions.

SCOREBOARD
DEMOCRATIC 2020 POWER RANKING
Biden: 25.6 points (↓ 0.6 points from last wk.)
Sanders: 17.8 points (↓ 0.8 points from last wk.)
Warren: 16.6 points (↑ 0.4 points from last wk.)
Buttigieg: 8.4 points (↓ 1 point from last wk.)
Bloomberg: 5.6 points (↑ 0.4 points from last wk.)
[Averages include: Quinnipiac University, IBD, NBC News/WSJ, CNN and USA Today/Suffolk University.]

TRUMP JOB PERFORMANCE 
Average approval: 43.2 percent
Average disapproval: 52.4 percent
Net Score: -9.2 percent
Change from one week ago: ↓ 1.6 points
[Average includes: NPR/PBS/Marist: 42% approve – 53% disapprove; Quinnipiac University: 43% approve – 52% disapprove; IBD: 43% approve – 51% disapprove; NBC/WSJ: 44% approve – 54% disapprove; CNN: 44% approve – 52% disapprove.]

WANT MORE HALFTIME REPORT? 
You can join Chris and Brianna every day on Fox Nation. Go behind-the-scenes of your favorite political note as they go through the must-read headlines of the day right from their office – with plenty of personality. Click here to sign up and watch!

UNFINISHED BUSINESS FOR BERNIE, WARREN AFTER DEBATE
NYT: “After nearly an hour, the question that progressives had been fearing finally arrived. Senator Bernie Sanders laughed. Senator Elizabeth Warren did not. ‘I didn’t say it,’ Mr. Sanders insisted, with Ms. Warren turning his way, as he denied her explosive account that he told her privately in 2018 that a woman could not win the presidency. ‘Bernie is my friend,’ Ms. Warren replied firmly, disputing his memory, ‘and I am not here to try and fight with Bernie. But, look, this question about whether or not a woman can be president has been raised and it’s time for us to attack it head-on.’ All through this Democratic primary, voters have worried aloud about the thorny subject of electability, wondering if a woman — even a woman they might support — would be able to defeat President Trump. In her exchange with Mr. Sanders on Tuesday, Ms. Warren hoped to turn the issue on its head, noting that of all those onstage, only the women, Ms. Warren and Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, had won all of their major elections and later observing that the party’s success in the 2018 midterms was powered largely by female candidates and voters.”

John Harris: Democrats take a walk on the mild side – Politico: “It was not that the CNN/Des Moines Register debate on the campus of Drake University was necessarily bad. But most of the dynamics on display were familiar — as in, very familiar — in ways that evidently suited the candidates’ interests in staying safe but also seemed to challenge the basic theory of the officially sanctioned Democratic National Committee debate schedule. This was the seventh debate since last summer, and the last before the Feb. 3 Iowa caucuses. At least as I understood the hypothesis, the gradually rising thresholds to qualify for the debate stage — six candidates this time compared with 20 over two nights at the first encounter last June — would replace the historic role of early-state voting in winnowing the field and clarifying the race. It is true that the field has been winnowed, but it’s hardly clear that electrifying debate moments along the way have played that big a role.”

Biden holds on in Nevada – Reno Gazette Journal: “Former Vice President Joe Biden‘s long-standing lead in Nevada may be starting to evaporate, with U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders now polling within a point of the frontrunner, according to a recent Suffolk University/Reno Gazette Journal survey. Of 500 likely Democratic caucusgoers surveyed in the poll released Tuesday, 19 percent indicated support for Biden and 18 percent supported Sanders, who overtook U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren for second place. The margin of error is plus or minus 4.4 percent. Warren saw the single greatest decline in support since the last RGJ poll in September, slipping from 19 percent to 11 percent. As Warren’s popularity dropped, South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg and hedge fund billionaire Tom Steyer each saw a surge of support among those polled. Both men jumped from 3 percent in the September poll to 8 percent in the most recent survey.”

Team Trump focused on Bernie, Bloomy – NYT: “President Trump’s advisers see Senator Bernie Sanders as their ideal Democratic opponent in November and have been doing what they can to elevate his profile and bolster his chances of winning the Iowa caucuses, according to Republicans familiar with the plans. But their new focus on Mr. Sanders, independent of Vermont, comes at a time the president himself has been closely watching Michael R. Bloomberg, a late arrival to the Democratic primary race, unnerved by his campaign spending and his suggestion he might spend $1 billion of his own fortune on opposing Mr. Trump, even if he does not emerge as the nominee. … Neither is the national front-runner, but Mr. Sanders is believed to have gained significant ground in Iowa, and both are on the minds of the president and his team.”

DNC reports they outraised RNC, Trump by $100 million in 2019 – ABC News: “The Democratic presidential field and the Democratic National Committee together raked in a total of about $580 million in 2019, surpassing President Donald Trump and the Republican National Committee’s combined total of about $463 million by more than $100 million, according to a DNC spokesperson. The eye-popping fundraising total from the Democratic Party comes out just before six leading Democratic presidential candidates were set to take the stage for another debate in Des Moines, Iowa. The DNC will report bringing in $28 million in the fourth quarter of 2019, closing out the entire year with over $95 million. The total includes money raised through the Democratic Grassroots Victory Fund, a joint fundraising committee between the national and state parties launched in 2018, according to the DNC spokesperson.”

TRUMP INKS TRADE TRUCE WITH CHINA
WaPo: “President Trump on Wednesday signed a partial trade deal with China, securing a promise that Beijing will purchase specific amounts of U.S. goods and services while retaining many of the import penalties he put in place over the past two years. The 86-page agreement, which comes after a tense standoff between both nations, marks a major shift in the ‘free trade’ approach that past presidents have sought. Instead, Trump has attempted to lock in specific commitments from China’s government in a move away from a markets-based approach. ‘Today we take a momentous step, one that has never been taken before with China, towards a future of fair and reciprocal trade,’ Trump said. He called it a ‘sea change in international trade.’ At the signing, Chinese Vice Premier Liu He read a letter from Chinese leader Xi Jinping, who said the deal reflects ‘mutual respect’ between the two countries. The letter said Xi hoped the U.S. would ‘treat fairly’ Chinese companies that attempt to do business with U.S. firms.”

PLAY-BY-PLAY
Pelosi announces house impeachment managers – Fox News

Bloomy shares plan for energy efficient buildings – WaPo

Yang talks race – Politico

AUDIBLE: AWWWW…
“Maybe this is naïve, but I was hoping they would ignore this infighting and focus on policy. Now I’m really worried.” – Nicole Margheim, a senior at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, discussing the Warren, Bernie feud per Politico. Margheim backed Sanders in 2016, but is currently uncommitted for 2020.

FROM THE BLEACHERS
“Chris, It would be extremely helpful to me if you could add an interpretation at the end of your rule book section. The old time language or perhaps my own ignorance prevents me from understanding what is said.” – Roy Meyer, Eagle, Idaho

[Ed. note: This is certainly a question that we give a great deal of thought to on a regular basis, Mr. Meyer. On the one hand, we want to make the Federalists’ words accessible to present-day readers. On the other hand, we don’t want to get in the way by introducing our own interpretations and subjective insights. We’re usually more comfortable engaging in exegesis – reading out of the original text for its relevancy to the world today – than eisegesis – reading modern interpretations into the original text. But we will be careful to read carefully and make sure that whenever we can clarify without harming the authors’ intent we do so.]

Share your color commentary: Email us at HALFTIMEREPORT@FOXNEWS.COM and please make sure to include your name and hometown.

#CATITUDE
Time: “There’s nothing better than when the underdog comes out on top. Or, in this case, undercat. That’s exactly what happened during a recent showdown between a particularly plucky house cat and three coyotes outside a home in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Highland Park. Footage captured by a security camera shows Max the cat fending off the trio of larger attackers as they attempt to gang up on him in the alley behind his house. Max, for one, wasn’t having any of it. ‘He’s always been crazy,’ Max’s owner, Maya Gurrin, told CBS Los Angeles. ‘Like if this were to happen with any cat, it would be him.’ Gurrin added that Max’s time as a freewheeling outdoors cat has now come to an end. But she said that she’s planning on building him an outside enclosure so he can still get some fresh air without being in danger of ambushes by wild animals.”

AND NOW, A WORD FROM CHARLES…
“Dominance is [Trump’s] game. Doesn’t matter if you backed him, as did Chris Christie, cast out months ago. Or if you opposed him, as did Mitt Romney, before whom Trump ostentatiously dangled the State Department, only to snatch it away, leaving Romney looking the foolish supplicant.” – Charles Krauthammer (1950-2018) writing in the Washington Post on July 27, 2017.

Chris Stirewalt is the politics editor for Fox News. Brianna McClelland contributed to this report. Want FOX News Halftime Report in your inbox every day? Sign up here.

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6122668496001_6122666223001-vs The Senate goes to Gobblers Knob fox-news/columns/fox-news-halftime-report fox news fnc/politics fnc d8865162-10cf-5bf5-9da9-9a88ae718bf5 Chris Stirewalt article   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6122668496001_6122666223001-vs The Senate goes to Gobblers Knob fox-news/columns/fox-news-halftime-report fox news fnc/politics fnc d8865162-10cf-5bf5-9da9-9a88ae718bf5 Chris Stirewalt article

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

The Senate goes to Gobblers Knob

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6122668496001_6122666223001-vs The Senate goes to Gobblers Knob fox-news/columns/fox-news-halftime-report fox news fnc/politics fnc d8865162-10cf-5bf5-9da9-9a88ae718bf5 Chris Stirewalt article

**Want FOX News Halftime Report in your inbox every day? Sign up here.**

On the roster: The Senate goes to Gobblers Knob – Unfinished business for Bernie, Warren after debate – Trump inks trade truce with China – #Catitude

THE SENATE GOES TO GOBBLERS KNOB
When we say that the impeachment and Senate trial of President Trump is like Groundhog Day we do not mean the wonderful, philosophical film starring Bill Murray, even though days seem to be repeating themselves.

We mean the actual Feb. 2 celebration in which, as Murray’s character, Phil Connors, put it, the residents of Punxsutawney, Pa. experience “the true excitement of a large squirrel predicting the weather.”

Any groundhog true believers should avert their eyes, but it doesn’t really matter what the current incarnation of Punxsutawney Phil “says” next month about the duration of winter. The point of the day, which was given to us by German immigrants looking for a good reason to celebrate in a cold northeastern February, is the event itself.

The point is the big funny hats and the hokey, jokey ceremoniousness. The point is thousands of people who come to party, often in the freezing cold, at Gobblers Knob. The point is the event that grew up around the world’s most famous whistle pig, not the rodent’s forecast (which has about a 25 percent accuracy rate).

As Jack Matson, a county commissioner for Punxsutawney’s Jefferson County, told the Philadelphia Inquirer, “It’s really the coolest event on the planet, because it’s so stupid.” 

Which, of course, brings us back to the trial of Trump.|

Readers of this note are well acquainted with our diatribes against American government’s woeful imbalance. The Framers’ vision was remarkable in its foresight, but even they lacked the imagination to conceive of a time when the first branch of government would intentionally reduce its own power.

Consider the current debate over presidential war powers. There is overwhelming consensus that it is absurd for the American president to be exercising military powers under a shopworn, two-decade-old authorization for the use of force. But that’s not the president’s fault. That’s the fault of a Congress that refuses to legislate, particularly on issues that are controversial.

What members of Congress in both parties prefer to do are things everyone likes – spending more money without raising taxes – and things that half of the people like but which can be used as a political weapon – the dreaded “optics.”

Once upon a time, members of Congress were concerned about accomplishing things so that they could go home to their districts and make persuasive arguments about all that they had done and all the advantages they had brought to the fine citizens of North Raccoon Paw County or wherever.

Now what they want to do is try to inflict political harm on the other side. If you’re not going to do your duty, you might as well try to get on TV and dunk on the other side.

Once, it would have been almost obscene for a lawmaker to talk openly about the intended political consequences of an action. Now, it’s the norm. When Kevin McCarthy once bragged about staging hearings on the deaths of Americans in Libya to bring down Hillary Clinton’s poll numbers it was considered shocking. Now it’s the norm.

Democrats were certainly within their rights and powers to impeach Trump, but at no point has there been any serious chance that Trump would be removed from office. Even the considerable number of Senate Republicans who agree that Trump did what he is accused of doing don’t agree with Democrats that he should be removed from office.

That’s all been obvious since the start. That doesn’t mean that Democrats were wrong to impeach or that the Senate would be wrong to acquit. It just means that this has been a mostly symbolic effort from the start, which is fine… up to a point.

We have now endured many weeks of public argument over the “optics” of the always-inevitable Senate trial. And since the outcome is pre-ordained, the point of the argument is to decide which side will have the chance to inflict the most political damage on the other through the proceedings.

One side wants to dangle the son of the Democratic presidential front-runner like a piñata. The other side wants to use the trial to investigate charges the House was too politically anxious to take time to explore before it voted to impeach.

Given that our Capitol has over the past few decades turned into the world’s most elaborate reality show set, it’s understandable that members would be thinking about how to extract political advantage from the upcoming episodes.

Too bad for them that the old gimmicks don’t work anymore. Voters’ political attitudes have hardened to such a degree that almost nothing seems to change the toplines. In the old days, a major strike against Iran or an impeachment or a big trade deal would have major effects on public opinion. Now, almost nothing seems to break through.

And you can’t blame voters. They’re not here for the groundhog’s forecast anymore, they just want to see the spectacle.

THE RULEBOOK: YUUUUUP
“Ingratitude is a common topic of declamation against human nature; and it must be confessed that instances of it are but too frequent and flagrant, both in public and in private life. But the universal and extreme indignation which it inspires is itself a proof of the energy and prevalence of the contrary sentiment.” – Alexander Hamilton or James MadisonFederalist No. 57

TIME OUT: RUN FOR YOUR LIVES?
Smithsonian: “In Michael Levin’s laboratory at Tufts University, cells can expect to find themselves in unusual company. Here, the precursors of frog skin sidle up to cells that, in another life, might have helped an amphibian’s heartbeat. They’re perfect strangers: biological entities that, up until this point, had no business being together. And yet, Levin and his colleagues have found that skin cells and heart cells can be coaxed into coalescing. Placed side by side, they will self-organize into intricate, three-dimensional mosaics of frog cells that aren’t actually frogs. Designed by a computer algorithm and surgically shaped by human hands, these skin-heart hybrids, each roughly the size of a grain of sand, don’t resemble anything found in nature. But the tasks they accomplish are eerily familiar: Without any external input, they can zoom around Petri dishes, push microscopic objects to and fro, and even stitch themselves back together after being cut.”

Flag on the play? – Email us at HALFTIMEREPORT@FOXNEWS.COM with your tips, comments or questions.

SCOREBOARD
DEMOCRATIC 2020 POWER RANKING
Biden: 25.6 points (↓ 0.6 points from last wk.)
Sanders: 17.8 points (↓ 0.8 points from last wk.)
Warren: 16.6 points (↑ 0.4 points from last wk.)
Buttigieg: 8.4 points (↓ 1 point from last wk.)
Bloomberg: 5.6 points (↑ 0.4 points from last wk.)
[Averages include: Quinnipiac University, IBD, NBC News/WSJ, CNN and USA Today/Suffolk University.]

TRUMP JOB PERFORMANCE 
Average approval: 43.2 percent
Average disapproval: 52.4 percent
Net Score: -9.2 percent
Change from one week ago: ↓ 1.6 points
[Average includes: NPR/PBS/Marist: 42% approve – 53% disapprove; Quinnipiac University: 43% approve – 52% disapprove; IBD: 43% approve – 51% disapprove; NBC/WSJ: 44% approve – 54% disapprove; CNN: 44% approve – 52% disapprove.]

WANT MORE HALFTIME REPORT? 
You can join Chris and Brianna every day on Fox Nation. Go behind-the-scenes of your favorite political note as they go through the must-read headlines of the day right from their office – with plenty of personality. Click here to sign up and watch!

UNFINISHED BUSINESS FOR BERNIE, WARREN AFTER DEBATE
NYT: “After nearly an hour, the question that progressives had been fearing finally arrived. Senator Bernie Sanders laughed. Senator Elizabeth Warren did not. ‘I didn’t say it,’ Mr. Sanders insisted, with Ms. Warren turning his way, as he denied her explosive account that he told her privately in 2018 that a woman could not win the presidency. ‘Bernie is my friend,’ Ms. Warren replied firmly, disputing his memory, ‘and I am not here to try and fight with Bernie. But, look, this question about whether or not a woman can be president has been raised and it’s time for us to attack it head-on.’ All through this Democratic primary, voters have worried aloud about the thorny subject of electability, wondering if a woman — even a woman they might support — would be able to defeat President Trump. In her exchange with Mr. Sanders on Tuesday, Ms. Warren hoped to turn the issue on its head, noting that of all those onstage, only the women, Ms. Warren and Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, had won all of their major elections and later observing that the party’s success in the 2018 midterms was powered largely by female candidates and voters.”

John Harris: Democrats take a walk on the mild side – Politico: “It was not that the CNN/Des Moines Register debate on the campus of Drake University was necessarily bad. But most of the dynamics on display were familiar — as in, very familiar — in ways that evidently suited the candidates’ interests in staying safe but also seemed to challenge the basic theory of the officially sanctioned Democratic National Committee debate schedule. This was the seventh debate since last summer, and the last before the Feb. 3 Iowa caucuses. At least as I understood the hypothesis, the gradually rising thresholds to qualify for the debate stage — six candidates this time compared with 20 over two nights at the first encounter last June — would replace the historic role of early-state voting in winnowing the field and clarifying the race. It is true that the field has been winnowed, but it’s hardly clear that electrifying debate moments along the way have played that big a role.”

Biden holds on in Nevada – Reno Gazette Journal: “Former Vice President Joe Biden‘s long-standing lead in Nevada may be starting to evaporate, with U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders now polling within a point of the frontrunner, according to a recent Suffolk University/Reno Gazette Journal survey. Of 500 likely Democratic caucusgoers surveyed in the poll released Tuesday, 19 percent indicated support for Biden and 18 percent supported Sanders, who overtook U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren for second place. The margin of error is plus or minus 4.4 percent. Warren saw the single greatest decline in support since the last RGJ poll in September, slipping from 19 percent to 11 percent. As Warren’s popularity dropped, South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg and hedge fund billionaire Tom Steyer each saw a surge of support among those polled. Both men jumped from 3 percent in the September poll to 8 percent in the most recent survey.”

Team Trump focused on Bernie, Bloomy – NYT: “President Trump’s advisers see Senator Bernie Sanders as their ideal Democratic opponent in November and have been doing what they can to elevate his profile and bolster his chances of winning the Iowa caucuses, according to Republicans familiar with the plans. But their new focus on Mr. Sanders, independent of Vermont, comes at a time the president himself has been closely watching Michael R. Bloomberg, a late arrival to the Democratic primary race, unnerved by his campaign spending and his suggestion he might spend $1 billion of his own fortune on opposing Mr. Trump, even if he does not emerge as the nominee. … Neither is the national front-runner, but Mr. Sanders is believed to have gained significant ground in Iowa, and both are on the minds of the president and his team.”

DNC reports they outraised RNC, Trump by $100 million in 2019 – ABC News: “The Democratic presidential field and the Democratic National Committee together raked in a total of about $580 million in 2019, surpassing President Donald Trump and the Republican National Committee’s combined total of about $463 million by more than $100 million, according to a DNC spokesperson. The eye-popping fundraising total from the Democratic Party comes out just before six leading Democratic presidential candidates were set to take the stage for another debate in Des Moines, Iowa. The DNC will report bringing in $28 million in the fourth quarter of 2019, closing out the entire year with over $95 million. The total includes money raised through the Democratic Grassroots Victory Fund, a joint fundraising committee between the national and state parties launched in 2018, according to the DNC spokesperson.”

TRUMP INKS TRADE TRUCE WITH CHINA
WaPo: “President Trump on Wednesday signed a partial trade deal with China, securing a promise that Beijing will purchase specific amounts of U.S. goods and services while retaining many of the import penalties he put in place over the past two years. The 86-page agreement, which comes after a tense standoff between both nations, marks a major shift in the ‘free trade’ approach that past presidents have sought. Instead, Trump has attempted to lock in specific commitments from China’s government in a move away from a markets-based approach. ‘Today we take a momentous step, one that has never been taken before with China, towards a future of fair and reciprocal trade,’ Trump said. He called it a ‘sea change in international trade.’ At the signing, Chinese Vice Premier Liu He read a letter from Chinese leader Xi Jinping, who said the deal reflects ‘mutual respect’ between the two countries. The letter said Xi hoped the U.S. would ‘treat fairly’ Chinese companies that attempt to do business with U.S. firms.”

PLAY-BY-PLAY
Pelosi announces house impeachment managers – Fox News

Bloomy shares plan for energy efficient buildings – WaPo

Yang talks race – Politico

AUDIBLE: AWWWW…
“Maybe this is naïve, but I was hoping they would ignore this infighting and focus on policy. Now I’m really worried.” – Nicole Margheim, a senior at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, discussing the Warren, Bernie feud per Politico. Margheim backed Sanders in 2016, but is currently uncommitted for 2020.

FROM THE BLEACHERS
“Chris, It would be extremely helpful to me if you could add an interpretation at the end of your rule book section. The old time language or perhaps my own ignorance prevents me from understanding what is said.” – Roy Meyer, Eagle, Idaho

[Ed. note: This is certainly a question that we give a great deal of thought to on a regular basis, Mr. Meyer. On the one hand, we want to make the Federalists’ words accessible to present-day readers. On the other hand, we don’t want to get in the way by introducing our own interpretations and subjective insights. We’re usually more comfortable engaging in exegesis – reading out of the original text for its relevancy to the world today – than eisegesis – reading modern interpretations into the original text. But we will be careful to read carefully and make sure that whenever we can clarify without harming the authors’ intent we do so.]

Share your color commentary: Email us at HALFTIMEREPORT@FOXNEWS.COM and please make sure to include your name and hometown.

#CATITUDE
Time: “There’s nothing better than when the underdog comes out on top. Or, in this case, undercat. That’s exactly what happened during a recent showdown between a particularly plucky house cat and three coyotes outside a home in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Highland Park. Footage captured by a security camera shows Max the cat fending off the trio of larger attackers as they attempt to gang up on him in the alley behind his house. Max, for one, wasn’t having any of it. ‘He’s always been crazy,’ Max’s owner, Maya Gurrin, told CBS Los Angeles. ‘Like if this were to happen with any cat, it would be him.’ Gurrin added that Max’s time as a freewheeling outdoors cat has now come to an end. But she said that she’s planning on building him an outside enclosure so he can still get some fresh air without being in danger of ambushes by wild animals.”

AND NOW, A WORD FROM CHARLES…
“Dominance is [Trump’s] game. Doesn’t matter if you backed him, as did Chris Christie, cast out months ago. Or if you opposed him, as did Mitt Romney, before whom Trump ostentatiously dangled the State Department, only to snatch it away, leaving Romney looking the foolish supplicant.” – Charles Krauthammer (1950-2018) writing in the Washington Post on July 27, 2017.

Chris Stirewalt is the politics editor for Fox News. Brianna McClelland contributed to this report. Want FOX News Halftime Report in your inbox every day? Sign up here.

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6122668496001_6122666223001-vs The Senate goes to Gobblers Knob fox-news/columns/fox-news-halftime-report fox news fnc/politics fnc d8865162-10cf-5bf5-9da9-9a88ae718bf5 Chris Stirewalt article   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6122668496001_6122666223001-vs The Senate goes to Gobblers Knob fox-news/columns/fox-news-halftime-report fox news fnc/politics fnc d8865162-10cf-5bf5-9da9-9a88ae718bf5 Chris Stirewalt article

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Never-before-seen images offer chilling glimpse of devastating 1965 landslide

Newly-discovered photos are shedding new light on Canada’s largest known landslide.

The Hope Slide, as it became known, tore through the Nicolum Valley in the Cascade Mountain Range, British Columbia, on Jan. 9, 1965. Four motorists lost their lives in the disaster.

“We recently discovered a series of images documenting the incident itself, as well as search-and-rescue and reconstruction efforts following the slide,” said British Columbia’s Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, on its website. “As far as we know, only one or two of these images have ever been shown to the public before now.”

DECADES-OLD CAMERA REVEALS FORGOTTEN IMAGES OF MOUNT ST. HELENS ERUPTION

Officials explain that, on the day of the landslide, a snow avalanche had blocked the Hope-Princeton Highway in the Nicolum Valley, just outside the town of Hope. A queue of motorists had formed on the Princeton side of the avalanche, according to British Columbia’s Ministry of Transportation.

Westlake Legal Group LandslideCanada Never-before-seen images offer chilling glimpse of devastating 1965 landslide James Rogers fox-news/science/planet-earth/natural-disasters fox-news/science/planet-earth/geology fox-news/science/archaeology/history fox-news/science fox-news/columns/digging-history fox news fnc/science fnc c59a2d67-b264-596a-8d14-a7db01f70db7 article

This image shows the vast Hope Slide debris field. A line of cars parked along BC Highway 3 can be seen on the western side of the slide site. (British Columbia Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure)

“At approximately 7 am, a devastating rock slide occurred at the same location, when half of Johnson Peak collapsed and descended into the valley below,” the Ministry said. “The slide filled the valley bottom with more than 47 million cubic meters of rock, mud, and debris – up to 500 ft deep in some locations.”

Such was the extent of the landslide that a lake at the foot of the slide was completely displaced. “The slide buried a car that had become stuck in the first slide, an oil tanker truck, and a loaded hay truck which had stopped behind the tanker,” officials added.

PHOTOGRAPHER CAPTURES INCREDIBLE IMAGES OF ISOLATED AMAZON TRIBE

Westlake Legal Group LandslideCanada2 Never-before-seen images offer chilling glimpse of devastating 1965 landslide James Rogers fox-news/science/planet-earth/natural-disasters fox-news/science/planet-earth/geology fox-news/science/archaeology/history fox-news/science fox-news/columns/digging-history fox news fnc/science fnc c59a2d67-b264-596a-8d14-a7db01f70db7 article

An aerial view of the landslide looking westward. (British Columbia Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure)

The slide destroyed almost two miles of BC Highway 3 and the road’s alignment was changed in the years following the landslide. In the decades since the disaster, the Hope Slide has also become covered in trees, hiding the “scar” caused by the landslide.

Westlake Legal Group LandslideCanada3 Never-before-seen images offer chilling glimpse of devastating 1965 landslide James Rogers fox-news/science/planet-earth/natural-disasters fox-news/science/planet-earth/geology fox-news/science/archaeology/history fox-news/science fox-news/columns/digging-history fox news fnc/science fnc c59a2d67-b264-596a-8d14-a7db01f70db7 article

Helicopter pilots delivered supplies and materials to the debris field. (British Columbia Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure)

Never-before-seen photos of other devastating events have surfaced in recent years. In 2017, a camera at a Portland, Ore., Goodwill was found to contain film with haunting images of the deadly 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens.

Westlake Legal Group CanadaLandslide4 Never-before-seen images offer chilling glimpse of devastating 1965 landslide James Rogers fox-news/science/planet-earth/natural-disasters fox-news/science/planet-earth/geology fox-news/science/archaeology/history fox-news/science fox-news/columns/digging-history fox news fnc/science fnc c59a2d67-b264-596a-8d14-a7db01f70db7 article

This photo was taken from the Princeton side of the Hope Slide, Canada’s largest known landslide. (British Columbia Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure)

Westlake Legal Group CanadaLandslide5 Never-before-seen images offer chilling glimpse of devastating 1965 landslide James Rogers fox-news/science/planet-earth/natural-disasters fox-news/science/planet-earth/geology fox-news/science/archaeology/history fox-news/science fox-news/columns/digging-history fox news fnc/science fnc c59a2d67-b264-596a-8d14-a7db01f70db7 article

Workers, police, volunteers and Highways Department staff attempted to recover victims of the Hope Slide. (British Columbia Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure)

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The deadly volcanic eruption at Mount St. Helens occurred on May 18, 1980, blasting more than 1,300 feet off the top of the volcano and raining volcanic ash for miles around. Some 57 people lost their lives in the aftermath of the eruption.

Follow James Rogers on Twitter @jamesjrogers

Westlake Legal Group LandslideCanada Never-before-seen images offer chilling glimpse of devastating 1965 landslide James Rogers fox-news/science/planet-earth/natural-disasters fox-news/science/planet-earth/geology fox-news/science/archaeology/history fox-news/science fox-news/columns/digging-history fox news fnc/science fnc c59a2d67-b264-596a-8d14-a7db01f70db7 article   Westlake Legal Group LandslideCanada Never-before-seen images offer chilling glimpse of devastating 1965 landslide James Rogers fox-news/science/planet-earth/natural-disasters fox-news/science/planet-earth/geology fox-news/science/archaeology/history fox-news/science fox-news/columns/digging-history fox news fnc/science fnc c59a2d67-b264-596a-8d14-a7db01f70db7 article

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Possible mystery virus in China could spread between humans, officials say

Westlake Legal Group wuhan-china-iStock Possible mystery virus in China could spread between humans, officials say fox-news/world/world-regions/china fox-news/health/infectious-disease/outbreaks fox-news/health/infectious-disease fox news fnc/health fnc article Alexandria Hein a38767fa-953a-5def-926f-609f1db42d20

Health officials in China racing to determine the source of a viral illness that’s sickened at least 41 people and resulted in one death have now said it’s possible that it may be transmissible between humans. Most patients diagnosed with the illness, which has been identified as a coronavirus, had visited or worked at Seafood Wholesale Market in Wuhan, China.

But now, the Wuhan Municipal Health Commission said that one of the patients did not visit the market, and may have contracted the virus from her husband, who had worked there before he himself fell ill. Hong Kong health official Chuang Shuk-kwan said that it’s also possible that the man brought food home from the market that infected his wife.

Despite the development, officials pointed out that risk of human-to-human transmission remains low, as the dozens of doctors who have examined patients and the hundreds of others who have come into contact with them have not fallen ill. The World Health Organization (WHO) also said in a Jan. 12 news release that there is “no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission.”

MYSTERIOUS VIRAL PNEUMONIA OUTBREAK IN CHINA CLAIMS FIRST VICTIM 

WHO also said no additional cases have been detected since Jan. 3, and that seven patients had been released from the hospital. Sickened patients were mostly reporting fever, with few cases involving trouble breathing and invasive pneumonic infiltrates in both lungs. At this time, the health organization does not recommend any specific health measures for travelers.

The U.S. State Department, however, did warn Americans traveling to Wuhan about the virus, and referred to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations to avoid contact with animals, animal markets, or animal products. It also urged citizens who had traveled to Wuhan and were feeling sick to seek medical care.

THIS YEAR’S FLU SHOT DOESN’T MATCH VIRUS CIRCULATING: REPORT

The rash of illnesses have stoked fears of SARS, another coronavirus that in 2003 infected an estimated 8,000 people and killed at least 770 after it spread to cities throughout China and other countries. However, health officials determined that laboratory tests ruled out the possibility of both SARS and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), as well as influenza, bird flu, adenovirus and other common respiratory illnesses.

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Chinese officials also said several people who had suggested a link to SARS on social media as a means to invoke fear would be punished for spreading false information.

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group wuhan-china-iStock Possible mystery virus in China could spread between humans, officials say fox-news/world/world-regions/china fox-news/health/infectious-disease/outbreaks fox-news/health/infectious-disease fox news fnc/health fnc article Alexandria Hein a38767fa-953a-5def-926f-609f1db42d20   Westlake Legal Group wuhan-china-iStock Possible mystery virus in China could spread between humans, officials say fox-news/world/world-regions/china fox-news/health/infectious-disease/outbreaks fox-news/health/infectious-disease fox news fnc/health fnc article Alexandria Hein a38767fa-953a-5def-926f-609f1db42d20

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Hello, Reddit! My name is Mark Caro, and I am a Chicago-based writer who has just published a readable, comprehensive, factual novelization of the Mueller Report. AMA!

Westlake Legal Group It1cdPCL0A29-X_TH6HNqlrLzT7WIMH1zWPKBvvdcKY Hello, Reddit! My name is Mark Caro, and I am a Chicago-based writer who has just published a readable, comprehensive, factual novelization of the Mueller Report. AMA! r/politics

The Report on the Investigation into Russian Interference in the 2016 Presidential Election”—a.k.a. The Mueller Report—may be the most-cited yet least-read government document ever produced. President Trump and many Republicans claim it proves he was not involved in the Russian government’s efforts to throw the election his way. Many Democrats assert that it doesshow such coordination, as well as presidential efforts to obstruct justice. Yet few people on either side actually have made their way through the 448 pages of legalese, tiny footnotes and onslaught of names presented with little context.

Since the report’s publication in April, there have been attempts to repackage this material in more digestible versions — a graphic novel here, a staged reading there, a CliffsNotes-like summary over there — but we still lacked one that was comprehensive. So I took a crack at it, imagining that Robert Mueller had become so fed up with partisan efforts to undercut his conclusions that he created his own people’s version of his report. His narration is the only fiction in the book The Special Counsel: The Mueller Report Retold. Everything else is absolutely true…and often terrifying.

Pulling also from related indictments and news reports, this brisk retelling conveys the full extent of the Russian military’s massive, deceptive social-media campaign to spark pro-Trump/anti-Hillary Clinton activities, as well as the hacking and coordinated release of sensitive materials from Democratic leadership computers. It also breathes life into White House dramas and betrayals such as the president’s actions against FBI director James Comey, Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Mueller himself. This is history as political thriller, as well as information necessary to process the impeachment proceedings. As Republicans push an unfounded conspiracy theory that pins 2016 election interference on Ukraine instead of Russia, you should know how former Trump campaign chair (and current federal inmate) Paul Manafort passed confidential campaign data to pro-Putin Ukrainian oligarchs, including at least one to whom he was in debt.

I was a longtime Chicago Tribune reporter who wrote the award-winning nonfiction book The Foie Gras Wars and has contributed to Chicago magazine and The New York Times. Considering my journalistic background and how much time I’ve spent digesting the Mueller report, I thought I might be able to help answer any questions about its relevance to either the recent impeachment proceedings or the current news cycle.

Thanks for hearing me out, and please AMA!

Proof: https://i.redd.it/vzc5pjywhs941.jpg

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Australia wildfire areas may see thunderstorms, heavy rain as smoke impacts Australian Open

After weeks of devastating wildfires that have scorched Australia, hard-hit communities are finally about to see some relief.

Forecasters said communities in the New South Wales and Victoria states, where the fires have been particularly devastating, may see heavy rain and thunderstorms from Thursday into the weekend.

“Hopefully some of this heavy rainfall will fall over fire sites and help control or even extinguish fires,” Bureau of Meteorology meteorologist Sarah Scully said Wednesday. “But it’s a bit of a double-edged sword because heavy rainfall and gusty thunderstorms bring the potential for flash flooding, particularly in the burnt-out areas of NSW and Victoria which are now vulnerable to landslips and trees coming down.”

NEWS CORP ANNOUNCES MAJOR DONATION FOR AUSTRALIAN BUSHFIRE RELIEF

Forecasters said thunderstorms may bring between one and three inches of rain to eastern Australia, not enough to end the drought but at least douse some of the flames from blazes still burning.

Heavier amounts may also fall in areas southwest of Sydney, Australia’s 7News reported.

There are concerns the rain will wash harmful ash into waterways that feed into the reservoirs, potentially contaminating the drinking water for millions.

Westlake Legal Group AusSmoke_4 Australia wildfire areas may see thunderstorms, heavy rain as smoke impacts Australian Open Travis Fedschun fox-news/world/world-regions/australia fox-news/world/disasters/fires fox-news/world/disasters/disaster-response fox-news/world/disasters fox-news/weather fox-news/sports/tennis/australian-open fox-news/sports/tennis fox news fnc/world fnc article 3346b288-3998-58c7-85bc-f886822e8362

In this Dec. 30, 2019, photo provided by Siobhan Threlfall, a fire approaches the village of Nerrigundah, Australia. The tiny village has been among the hardest hit by Australia’s devastating wildfires. (AP Photo/Siobhan Threlfall)

NSW said it is preparing to limit potential impacts on the water quality by placing silt curtains and booms to prevent ash and other debris from getting into Sydney’s water system.

Even as officials have said the rain this week won’t be intense enough to wash enough debris into waterways, experts have pointed to the scope of burn areas as to why contamination needs to be a concern in the months going forward.

Westlake Legal Group AusSmoke_3 Australia wildfire areas may see thunderstorms, heavy rain as smoke impacts Australian Open Travis Fedschun fox-news/world/world-regions/australia fox-news/world/disasters/fires fox-news/world/disasters/disaster-response fox-news/world/disasters fox-news/weather fox-news/sports/tennis/australian-open fox-news/sports/tennis fox news fnc/world fnc article 3346b288-3998-58c7-85bc-f886822e8362

Properties at Nerrigundah, Australia, Monday, Jan. 13, 2020, are damaged and destroyed after a wildfire ripped through the town on New Year’s Eve. (AP Photo/Sam McNeil)

“There are tons of ash in that catchment now,” Stuart Khan, a professor at the University of New South Wales who specializes in water quality and treatment, told The Wall Street Journal. “We can’t expect that we can contain all of it.”

AS AUSTRALIA FIRES RAGE, CREWS AIRDROP VEGETABLES TO FEED STARVING ANIMALS

The fires, fueled by drought and the country’s hottest and driest year on record, have been raging since September, months earlier than is typical for Australia’s annual wildfire season. So far, the blazes have killed 28 people, destroyed 2,000 homes and scorched an area of over 25.5 million acres, roughly the size of South Korea.

Recent weather patterns have caused smoke to shroud Melbourne, impacting the Australian Open at Melbourne Park on Wednesday, as smoke and hazy conditions at Melbourne caused the start of play to be delayed by two hours.

Westlake Legal Group AusSmoke_2 Australia wildfire areas may see thunderstorms, heavy rain as smoke impacts Australian Open Travis Fedschun fox-news/world/world-regions/australia fox-news/world/disasters/fires fox-news/world/disasters/disaster-response fox-news/world/disasters fox-news/weather fox-news/sports/tennis/australian-open fox-news/sports/tennis fox news fnc/world fnc article 3346b288-3998-58c7-85bc-f886822e8362

Properties at Nerrigundah, Australia, Monday, Jan. 13, 2020, are damaged and destroyed after a wildfire ripped through the town on New Year’s Eve. (AP Photo/Sam McNeil)

Organizers were criticized for allowing qualifying matches to proceed as players dealt with smoke and hazy conditions.

A number of players complained, including Bernard Tomic, who sought medical treatment during his first-round loss when he struggled to breathe. Dalila Jakupovic feared she would pass out before retiring from her match when she collapsed to her knees with a coughing spell, according to The Associated Press.

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Canadian qualifier Brayden Schnur was particularly critical of officials after his first-round win over Sebastian Ofner, which took more than two hours in the hazy conditions that blanketed Melbourne Park on Wednesday.

Westlake Legal Group AusSmoke_1 Australia wildfire areas may see thunderstorms, heavy rain as smoke impacts Australian Open Travis Fedschun fox-news/world/world-regions/australia fox-news/world/disasters/fires fox-news/world/disasters/disaster-response fox-news/world/disasters fox-news/weather fox-news/sports/tennis/australian-open fox-news/sports/tennis fox news fnc/world fnc article 3346b288-3998-58c7-85bc-f886822e8362

In this Jan. 2, 2020, file photo, pedestrians wear masks as smoke shrouds the Australian capital of Canberra, Australia. (AP Photo/Mark Baker)

“You feel super dryness in your throat,” he said. “That’s 100 percent not normal and players who have asthma are at a huge disadvantage right now.”

Schnur, who described as like smoking a cigarette, said that top players such as Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal should step up and protest against playing in such poor conditions.

Organizers delayed play on Wednesday but the air quality index when the players took to court was still graded as “unhealthy” because of the smoke from the bush fires in Victoria. The Australian Open begins Monday.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group AusSmoke_4 Australia wildfire areas may see thunderstorms, heavy rain as smoke impacts Australian Open Travis Fedschun fox-news/world/world-regions/australia fox-news/world/disasters/fires fox-news/world/disasters/disaster-response fox-news/world/disasters fox-news/weather fox-news/sports/tennis/australian-open fox-news/sports/tennis fox news fnc/world fnc article 3346b288-3998-58c7-85bc-f886822e8362   Westlake Legal Group AusSmoke_4 Australia wildfire areas may see thunderstorms, heavy rain as smoke impacts Australian Open Travis Fedschun fox-news/world/world-regions/australia fox-news/world/disasters/fires fox-news/world/disasters/disaster-response fox-news/world/disasters fox-news/weather fox-news/sports/tennis/australian-open fox-news/sports/tennis fox news fnc/world fnc article 3346b288-3998-58c7-85bc-f886822e8362

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Trump Signs China Trade Deal, Putting Economic Conflict on Pause

WASHINGTON — President Trump signed an initial trade deal with China on Wednesday, bringing the first chapter of a protracted and economically damaging fight with the world’s second-largest economy to a close.

The pact is intended to open Chinese markets to more American companies, increase farm and energy exports, and provide greater protection for American technology and trade secrets. China has committed to purchasing an additional $200 billion worth of American goods and services by 2021 and is expected to ease some of the tariffs it has placed American products.

But the agreement preserves the bulk of tariffs that Mr. Trump has placed on $360 billion worth of Chinese goods, and it maintains the threat of additional punishment if Beijing does not live up to the terms of the deal.

“Today we take a momentous step, one that has never been taken before with China toward a future of fair and reciprocal trade with China,” Mr. Trump said at a ceremony at the White House. “Together we are righting the wrongs of the past.”

U.S.-China Trade Deal: Full Text

Read the text from the Trump administration of the first phase of the deal of the deal struck with China.

Westlake Legal Group thumbnail Trump Signs China Trade Deal, Putting Economic Conflict on Pause United States International Relations United States Economy Trump, Donald J International Trade and World Market Customs (Tariff) China   94 pages, 1.51 MB

The deal caps more than two years of tense negotiations and escalating threats that at times seemed destined to plunge the United States and China into a permanent economic war. Mr. Trump, who campaigned for president in 2016 on a promise to get tough on China, pushed his negotiators to rewrite trade terms that he said had destroyed American industry and jobs, and he imposed record tariffs on Chinese goods in a gamble to get Beijing to accede to his demands.

“As a candidate for president I vowed strong action,” Mr. Trump said. “Unlike those who came before me, I kept my promise.”

At the White House ceremony, Mr. Trump seized on the deal signing as a welcome distraction from impeachment proceedings that were taking place across town at the Capitol, where lawmakers were about to vote to approve House prosecutors for a Senate trial.

Mr. Trump denounced the inquiry as a “hoax,” and encouraged Republican lawmakers in attendance to leave if they needed to go vote against moving forward on the matter.

“I’d rather have you voting than sitting here listening to me introduce you,” Mr. Trump said. “They have a hoax going on over there — let’s take care of it.”

The resulting pact marks a significant turning point in American trade policy and the types of free trade agreements that the United States has typically supported. Rather than lowering tariffs and other economic barriers to allow for the flow of goods and services to meet market demand, this deal leaves a record level of tariffs in place and forces China to buy $200 billion worth of specific products within two years.

To Mr. Trump and other supporters, the approach corrects for past trade deals that enabled corporate outsourcing and led to lost jobs and industries. To critics, it is the type of managed trade approach that the United States has long criticized, especially with regard to China and its control over its economy.

Rather than trying to change China’s approach, it leans into it by requiring Beijing to buy set amounts of certain goods and services.

And it does not resolve more pernicious structural issues surrounding China’s approach, particularly its pattern of subsidizing and supporting key industries that compete with American firms, like solar and steel. American businesses blame those economic practices for allowing cheap Chinese goods to flood the United States market, putting domestic firms out of business.

Instead, like the presidents who preceded him, Mr. Trump plans to rely on allies and the World Trade Organization to try and push China to change its ways.

The president’s approach may pay off politically. He will head into a re-election campaign with a commitment from China to strengthen its intellectual-property protections, make large purchases of American products and pursue other economic changes that will benefit American business. Even before the deal was signed, Mr. Trump’s supporters said the president took China on and won.

But the agreement has plenty of critics in both parties, who say that Mr. Trump’s tactics have been haphazard and economically damaging, and that the agreement leaves many important economic issues unresolved.

That includes cybersecurity and China’s tight controls over how companies handle data and cloud computing. China rejected American demands to include promises to refrain from hacking American firms in the text, insisting it was not a trade issue.

The administration has said it will address some of these changes in Phase 2 of the negotiations and is keeping tariffs in place in part to maintain leverage for the next round of talks. Mr. Trump said if the two sides could reach agreement on the next phase, the tariffs would come off.

“I will agree to take those tariffs off if we’re able to do Phase 2,” he said.

But Mr. Trump has already kicked the deadline for another agreement past the November election, and there is deep skepticism that the two countries will reach another trade deal anytime soon.

In the interim, the remaining tariffs will continue to inflict financial pain on American businesses that rely on Chinese imports and the consumers who buy their products.

As part of the deal, Mr. Trump agreed to reduce the rate on tariffs imposed in September and forgo additional import taxes in the future. But the United States will continue to maintain tariffs covering 65 percent of American imports from China, according to tracking by Chad Bown, a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute of International Economics. That leaves the United States with an overall tariff rate higher than that of any other advanced nation, as well as China, India and Turkey.

China will still tax 57 percent of imports from the United States in retaliation, according to Mr. Bown, though it’s possible some of those levies may be reduced or waived in the weeks to come.

Before the deal was signed on Wednesday it was already under fire from top Democrats. Senator Chuck Schumer, the minority leader from New York, criticized the agreement for failing to address China’s state-owned enterprises and industrial subsidies. He suggested that President Xi Jinping was privately laughing at the United States over the weakness of the deal and that China has “taken President Trump to the cleaners.”

“This Phase 1 deal is an extreme disappointment to me and to millions and millions of Americans who want to see us make China play fair,” Mr. Schumer said on the senate floor. “President Trump’s phase one trade deal with China is a historic blunder.”

The trade deal contains a variety of wins for American industry, including opening up markets for financial services, pharmaceuticals, beef and poultry. China has committed to increasing its purchases of food, energy, manufactured goods and services by $200 billion over two years, though many analysts say that figure appears unrealistic given what the United States currently produces and what China buys.

China has also committed to not forcing American companies to hand over their technology as a condition of doing business there, under penalty of further tariffs. Beijing has also promised to refrain from devaluing its currency, the renminbi, to gain an advantage in export markets, among other pledges.

Those terms appear likely to benefit American companies and increase exports in coming months, potentially narrowing the trade deficit with China, which has become a focal point for Mr. Trump.

The president seized on many of China’s concessions during the signing ceremony, singling out audience members who will benefit from the trade deal. He called out a litany of Wall Street executives, many of whom have been pressing for greater access to China’s financial services market, including Stephen A. Schwarzman, the chief executive of the private equity firm Blackstone Group; Kenneth C. Griffin, the billionaire founder of the hedge fund Citadel; and the heads of Citibank, Visa, Fidelity Investments and American International Group.

Referring to the energy purchases in the agreement, Mr. Trump called on Senator Joni Ernst, the Iowa Republican, saying “you got ethanol so you can’t be complaining.”

But those wins have come at a heavy price. The uncertainty created by Mr. Trump’s tariff threats and approach to trade has weighed on the economy, raising prices for businesses, delaying corporate investments and slowing growth around the globe. Businesses with exposure to China, like Deere & Company and Caterpillar, have cut some workers and lowered revenue expectations, in part citing the trade war.

And although Mr. Trump claims that China is paying for his tariffs, studies show that American companies are bearing much of the cost. Since July 6, 2018, when the first tariffs went into effect, companies have paid more than $42 billion in tariffs related to the trade war with China.

Clete Willems, a partner at Akin Gump who left the White House last year, said the deal was important for proving that the United States and China could solve problems with each other despite disagreements and heightened tensions.

“We didn’t fix every single problem with China in this agreement, there is no question about that,” Mr. Willems said. “But what was done is really significant.”

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

Sanders calls for investigation into possible surveillance of Yovanovitch

Westlake Legal Group v_wHkLhlCaOc21YcFouAH0ca5Bt3jXDFy7MjYzcYZpY Sanders calls for investigation into possible surveillance of Yovanovitch r/politics

[Matt Gaetz Storms into Meeting]

“What TEXTS! I demand access to these texts!”

Sensible citizen: Oh, they’re public, you can just google..

“So why are you doing this in a basement closet behind closed doors then!?”

Sensible citizen: Is this a closet? It’s also got windows so not really a basement. I mean….I just read the news. it’s not hard to find the texts

“Oh so you believe the news then! You know Hunter Biden got paid 40k a month to sit on the board of an energy company! I DEMAND access to these texts!!!!”

[Gym Jordan has entered the conversation]

“I mean (snickers) this is an outrage!”

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