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Westlake Legal Group > News Releases (Page 30)

Kurds Reported to Be Pulling Out of Syria ‘Safe Zone’ as Fighting Eases

ISTANBUL — Kurdish forces began pulling out of a 20-mile buffer zone in northern Syria as fighting eased on Friday, Turkish and American officials said, signaling that a cease-fire announced a day before by Vice President Mike Pence between Turkish and Kurdish forces was going into force.

Early Friday, the Kurdish leadership in northern Syria accused the Turkish military and its proxies of violating the terms of the truce, but President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey denied that any fighting was continuing.

Mr. Erdogan said his military commander had reported everything was going as planned. The onus, he added, remained with the United States to ensure the Kurdish militias withdrew within the agreed five-day period.

“If the United States can keep its promise, in 120 hours the issue of the safe zone will be resolved,” he told Western reporters at a news briefing in Istanbul. “If not the operation will continue where we left off.”

Gunfire and artillery could be heard in the Syrian border town of Ras al-Ain, the scene of the heaviest fighting for the last few days, by journalists just across the border in Turkey Friday morning and afternoon. But the town stood silent by Friday evening.

Mr. Erdogan hailed the withdrawal as a victory over a “terrorist organization,” and said that Turkey would establish 12 observation points in 20-mile deep buffer zone along a 400 kilometer stretch of the border east of the Euphrates River.

American troops would remain in southeastern Syria and would maintain control of the airspace of the entire northeastern zone, said Ibrahim Kalin, national security adviser to Mr. Erdogan.

Mr. Trump posted on Twitter Friday evening that Mr. Erdogan had told him in a phone call that “there was minor sniper and mortar fire that was quickly eliminated.”

“He very much wants the cease-fire, or pause, to work. Likewise, the Kurds want it,’’ Mr. Trump wrote. “Too bad there wasn’t this thinking years ago.”

“There is good will on both sides & a really good chance for success. The U.S. has secured the Oil, & the ISIS Fighters are double secured by Kurds & Turkey.”

He added, “I have just been notified that some European Nations are now willing, for the first time, to take the ISIS Fighters that came from their nations. This is good news, but should have been done after WE captured them. Anyway, big progress being made!!!!”

Responding to the claims that Turkey had violated the truce, Mr. Erdogan told a reporter after leaving Friday prayers at a mosque in Istanbul: “I do not know where you get your information from. Conflict is out of the question.”

In a speech later on Friday, Mr. Erdogan said Turkish forces had stopped fighting and would begin again only if Kurdish troops had not retreated by Tuesday night from Kurdish-run areas in northern Syria that have been occupied by Turkish forces in the past week.

Military positions in northern Syria as of Oct. 18

Turkish Army and Syrian opposition Syrian Army deployed Closing U.S. military bases and outposts Russian bases

Westlake Legal Group map-detailed-900 Kurds Reported to Be Pulling Out of Syria ‘Safe Zone’ as Fighting Eases United States Defense and Military Forces Turkey Trump, Donald J Syria Ras al-Ain (Syria) Pence, Mike Kurds Defense and Military Forces

Fighting continues between

Turkish-backed militias

and Kurdish-led forces.

Turkish proxies

are in the western

countryside.

Turkish army AND

syrian opposition

Ras al-Ain

Russian troops are

positioned outside

the city.

KURDISH

Control

Government

Control

Turkish army AND

syrian opposition

Turkey’s

proposed

buffer zone

Other

opposition

KURDISH

Control

Deir al-Zour

Government

Control

Mediterranean

Sea

Westlake Legal Group map-detailed-600 Kurds Reported to Be Pulling Out of Syria ‘Safe Zone’ as Fighting Eases United States Defense and Military Forces Turkey Trump, Donald J Syria Ras al-Ain (Syria) Pence, Mike Kurds Defense and Military Forces

Fighting continues between

Turkish-backed militias

and Kurdish-led forces.

Turkish proxies

are in the western

countryside.

Turkish army AND

syrian opposition

Ras al-Ain

Russian troops are

positioned outside

the city.

KURDISH

Control

Government

Control

Turkish army AND

syrian opposition

Turkey’s

proposed

buffer zone

Other

opposition

KURDISH

Control

Deir al-Zour

Government

Control

Mediterranean

Sea

Westlake Legal Group map-detailed-335 Kurds Reported to Be Pulling Out of Syria ‘Safe Zone’ as Fighting Eases United States Defense and Military Forces Turkey Trump, Donald J Syria Ras al-Ain (Syria) Pence, Mike Kurds Defense and Military Forces

Fighting continues between

Turkish-backed militias

and Kurdish-led forces.

Turkish army AND

syrian opposition

Ras al-Ain

KURDISH

Control

Gov’t

Control

Turkish army AND

syrian opposition

Turkey’s

proposed

buffer

zone

KURDISH

Control

Other

opposition

Deir al-Zour

Government

Control

Sources: Control areas as of Oct. 16 via Conflict Monitor by IHS Markit; Military positions for Russia are from the Institute for the Study of War. | By Allison McCann, Sarah Almukhtar, Anjali Singhvi and Jin Wu

On Thursday, Mr. Trump described the deal during a speech in Dallas as “an incredible outcome,” and wrote on Twitter that it was “great for everyone!”

But the lapse in the cease-fire represents a further failure for Mr. Trump, who had pressed Mr. Erdogan not to invade Syria in the first place, in a private letter sent to the Turkish president on the day the invasion began.

“Don’t be a tough guy,” Mr. Trump wrote, in a letter characterized by informal language rarely seen in diplomatic communications.

Mr. Erdogan responded publicly to the letter for the first time on Friday, saying that his country “cannot forget” the harshly worded letter since it was “not in harmony with political and diplomatic niceties.”

“We do not consider it as a current issue and a priority,” Mr. Erdogan added, however. “We also want it to be known that, when the time comes, the necessary response will be taken.’’

Responding to the delayed cease-fire, a White House spokeswoman, Stephanie Grisham, told Fox News that such conflicts “take time” to wind down and that the agreement remained a success.

Gunfire continued to be heard in Ras al-Ain midafternoon by members of a civilian convoy attempting to reach the city, according to Robin Fleming, an American researcher traveling with the convoy.

Watching the town from a nearby hilltop shortly before 1 p.m., Ms. Fleming said she could see smoke rising from the town and hear gunshots, but no artillery.

The convoy ultimately turned back before reaching the town because of fears of attack by Turkish-led Arab militias.

Turkish-led forces also prevented a convoy of international aid workers from gaining access to Ras al-Ain to treat people wounded in the fighting, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an independent war monitor based in Britain.

Ras al-Ain has been the site of the fiercest clashes since Turkish troops invaded Kurdish-held areas of northern Syria early last week.

On Friday, Kurdish health officials said they were investigating whether six civilians in the town had been hit by chemical weapons during Turkish airstrikes. Photographs shared by the Kurdish Red Crescent, a medical charity working in the area, showed at least two children with burns on their faces.

Mr. Erdogan denied the claim and said the Turkish Army had no chemical weapons in its inventory. He accused the Kurdish militia, the Y.P.G., of sowing disinformation also about civilian casualties and accusation of war crimes committed by Turkish-backed Syrian forces.

But Amnesty International, a global rights watchdog, accused the Turkish military and Arab militias fighting under its command of carrying out “serious violations and war crimes, including summary killings and unlawful attacks that have killed and injured civilians.”

In a statement, Amnesty’s secretary general, Kumi Naidoo, added: “Turkish military forces and their allies have displayed an utterly callous disregard for civilian lives, launching unlawful deadly attacks in residential areas that have killed and injured civilians.”

At least 218 civilians in northern Syria have died since the invasion began, according to the Kurdish authorities. A further 20 have been killed in Turkey by Kurdish mortar attacks, Mr. Erdogan said.

Turkey wants to force out the Syrian Kurdish militia that has used the chaos of the conflict to establish an autonomous region across roughly a quarter of Syrian territory. The militia is an offshoot of a guerrilla group that has waged a decades-long insurgency in Turkey. The Turks view the group as a terrorist organization.

Since 2014, the group had operated under the protection of the United States military, which partnered with the Kurdish fighters to help sweep the Islamic State from the region and, in the process, allowed the Kurdish militia to control most of the land lining the Turkish-Syrian border.

But after Mr. Trump abruptly ordered the withdrawal of United States troops from the border this month, ending their protection of the Kurdish fighters, Turkish forces invaded with the aim of establishing a Turkish-friendly zone, roughly 20 miles deep, along the border.

By Friday, the Turkish troops had captured around 850 square miles of Syrian territory, Mr. Erdogan said in his speech.

The deal announced on Thursday by Mr. Pence and Mr. Pompeo effectively gave American assent to Turkish territorial ambitions in part of the area, handing Turkey a huge diplomatic victory and completing the sudden reversal of a central plank of American policy in the Middle East.

It was sealed without the involvement of the Syrian or Russian governments, to whom the Kurdish authorities turned for protection after the American evacuation and the onslaught of Turkish-led forces.

On Friday, Mr. Erdogan said he would discuss the future of the rest of northeastern Syria with Vladimir V. Putin of Russia at a meeting in Sochi on Tuesday.

“Our aim is to reach a reconciliation with Russia about those matters that are reasonable and acceptable to everyone,” Mr. Erdogan said.

Hwaida Saad contributed reporting from Beirut, Lebanon and Lara Jakes from Jerusalem.

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

In ‘Cave-In,’ Trump Cease-Fire Cements Turkey’s Gains in Syria

WASHINGTON — The cease-fire agreement reached with Turkey by Vice President Mike Pence amounts to a near-total victory for Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who gains territory, pays little in penalties and appears to have outmaneuvered President Trump.

The best that can be said for the agreement is that it may stop the killing in the Kurdish enclave in northern Syria. But the cost for Kurds, longtime American allies in the fight against the Islamic State, is severe: Even Pentagon officials were mystified about where tens of thousands of displaced Kurds would go, as they moved south from the Turkey-Syria border as required by the deal — if they agree to go at all.

And the cost to American influence, while hard to quantify, could be frightfully high.

Video

Westlake Legal Group Syria-refugee-videoSixteenByNineJumbo1600 In ‘Cave-In,’ Trump Cease-Fire Cements Turkey’s Gains in Syria United States Defense and Military Forces Trump, Donald J Syria State Department Putin, Vladimir V Pompeo, Mike Assad, Bashar al- ANKARA, Turkey

Since Turkish forces attacked Kurdish-controlled territory in northeast Syria, almost two thousand refugees have fled the country. We spoke with some of them in Bardarash refugee camp, across the border in Iraq.CreditCreditYousur Al-Hlou/The New York Times

In the 11 days between Mr. Trump’s fateful phone call with Mr. Erdogan and the trip to Ankara by Mr. Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday, the United States has ceded ground in Syria — including American bases — to the Russian-backed Syrian dictator, Bashar al-Assad. And it has shaken the faith of American allies that, in a time of stress, Washington will have their back.

“This just looks like a complete cave-in by the United States to everything the Turks demanded,” said Eric S. Edelman, a former ambassador to Turkey and a senior Defense Department official in the George W. Bush administration. “I don’t see what the Turks gave up.”

In fact, if the sanctions imposed against Turkey by the Trump administration are lifted, as Mr. Pence said they now would be, the Turkish leader would pay a far lower price than Russia did for its annexation of Crimea in 2014. The sanctions imposed on Moscow then are still in place.

But there are other winners in addition to Mr. Erdogan, who has routed the Kurdish groups he views as terrorists who were living in an American protectorate.

Chief among them is President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, who gains vast influence in a strategic corner of the Middle East where, until 2015, he had almost none. Now, he is a player, and already is filling the territorial and political vacuum that Mr. Trump left after he agreed to get out of the way of the Turkish invasion of Syria, which a small contingent of American Special Operations forces were there to prevent by their very presence.

Iran was also a winner. It has long used Syria as a route to send missiles to Hezbollah and flex its muscles across the region. That, in many ways, is the most perplexing part of the president’s decision to withdraw, because it runs so counter to his “maximum pressure” campaign against Iran’s clerical leaders and the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps.

And Mr. Assad, who was barely clinging to power after the Arab Spring in 2011, and whose military facilities Mr. Trump bombed in the opening months of his presidency in 2017, has a new lease on life. The Americans are gone from the one corner of his country they once occupied.

Mr. Trump has a different view — no surprise, given the bipartisan critique of his failure to stop Mr. Erdogan during their phone conversation, or threaten sanctions before the invasion, rather than after the facts had changed on the ground.

“I’m happy to report tremendous success with respect to Turkey,” Mr. Trump told reporters after his vice president and secretary of state announced the deal. “This is an amazing outcome. This is an outcome, regardless of how the press would like to damp it down, this was something they were trying to get for 10 years.”

Mr. Trump’s joy may reflect a very different worldview than that of his military, his diplomats or the Republican leaders who say he has damaged America’s reputation and influence. While his party, and Democrats, accused him of betraying allies and aiding Russia, Mr. Trump insisted he was simply making good on a campaign promise to bring troops home from “endless wars.”

On Wednesday, as Mr. Pence and Mr. Pompeo were flying to Ankara, Speaker Nancy Pelosi was challenging the president on whether there was any strategic logic to his withdrawal from Syria — especially if it resulted in freeing detained ISIS fighters who might now attack in the region or on the United States.

On Thursday, recounting her heated discussion with the president at the White House the previous day, she said she asked him how his strategy fit with his announcement last Friday that nearly 3,000 more troops were being deployed to Saudi Arabia. The president responded that the Saudis were paying the cost of that deployment — suggesting that Mr. Trump was happy to commit troops to the highest bidder among American allies, rather than make an independent judgment about their strategic importance.

Republicans also challenged the agreement reached in Ankara.

“The announcement today is being portrayed as a victory. It is far from a victory,” Senator Mitt Romney, Republican of Utah, said on the Senate floor Thursday. “Given the initial details of the cease-fire agreement, the administration must also explain what America’s future role will be in the region, what happens now to the Kurds and why Turkey will face no apparent consequences.”

And Mr. Romney noted, “The cease-fire does not change the fact that America has abandoned an ally.”

At the Pentagon on Thursday afternoon, senior officials scrambled to understand how they were supposed to carry out the agreement Mr. Pence and Mr. Erdogan had negotiated.

Several civilian and military officials complained that the broadly worded deal left large policy and logistical gaps to fill, with many questions about how to carry out commitments by the two sides that appeared to contradict the fast-moving situation on the ground.

With the withdrawal of about 1,000 Americans already underway, the officials asked, how would those departing forces conduct counterterrorism operations with the Turkish military, as Mr. Pence insisted they would? Would the Syrian Kurds fully comply with a pullback agreement they had little say in drafting, and in which they were the clear losers?

Their questions did not stop there. How large and how deep is the buffer area inside Syria that was supposed to give Turkey a safe zone between its border and the Kurdish fighters? The original safe zone that the United States and Turkey envisioned was 75 miles long and roughly 20 miles deep. But it was upended by Mr. Trump’s acquiescence to the invasion, and now Turkish forces have pushed beyond that.

And what about Mr. Assad’s forces and their Russian allies — to whom the abandoned Syrian Kurds reached out to after the American abandoned them?

It also remains unknown whether Turkey will be required to withdraw all or some of its forces sent across a sovereign border into Syria. (One official said a reason Turkey agreed to the deal on Thursday is because the Kurds have put up more resistance, and Turkish forces could not advance south any farther as a result.)

Several Pentagon and State Department officials and military officers who have worked on Syria policy or deployed to the country’s northwest expressed shock, outrage and disbelief at the administration’s second major capitulation to Mr. Erdogan in less than two weeks.

These officials said Mr. Erdogan was the big winner, and appeared to have gotten everything he wanted.

Military officials said they were stunned that the agreement essentially allowed Turkey to annex a portion of Syria, displace tens of thousands of Kurdish residents and wipe away years of counterterrorism gains against the Islamic State.

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

Explosions At Mosque Kill At Least 62 People In Afghanistan

Westlake Legal Group gettyimages-1176504679-cc134c212cd9104b3607dbc0b07c518cedab7311-s1100-c15 Explosions At Mosque Kill At Least 62 People In Afghanistan

A volunteer carries an injured youth to a hospital, after an explosion killed at least 62 people in the Haska Mina district of Nangarhar province Friday. Noorullah Shirzada/AFP via Getty Images hide caption

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Noorullah Shirzada/AFP via Getty Images

Westlake Legal Group  Explosions At Mosque Kill At Least 62 People In Afghanistan

A volunteer carries an injured youth to a hospital, after an explosion killed at least 62 people in the Haska Mina district of Nangarhar province Friday.

Noorullah Shirzada/AFP via Getty Images

Two blasts devastated a mosque in eastern Afghanistan during Friday prayers, killing at least 62 people and wounding dozens more, according to the local government in Nangarhar province.

There has been no claim of responsibility so far. Afghan outlet TOLO News reports, “The Taliban has denied responsibility for the blasts.”

“The spokesman for the provincial governor said the blasts caused the roof of the mosque to collapse on top of worshipers who had gathered for Friday prayers in the Haska Mena district,” NPR’s Diaa Hadid reports from Islamabad. “It’s the most serious militant attack against civilians in weeks. ISIS has attacked Shiite places of worship in the past — but it wasn’t immediately clear why this mosque was targeted.”

President Ashraf Ghani condemned the attack through his spokesman, Sediq Sediqqi. Despite reports of the Taliban’s denial of involvement, Sediqqi called out the Taliban, saying via Twitter, “The Taliban and their partners heinous crimes continue to target civilians in time of worship.”

U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres “strongly condemns” the bombing, in a statement issued by a spokesman. That message adds, “Those responsible for this attack must be held accountable.”

The mosque attack comes one day after the United Nations issued an alarming report saying Afghanistan has seen an “unprecedented number of civilian casualties” in the past three months.

July was the country’s bloodiest month of the past decade, as civilian casualties rose to a tragic level that hasn’t been seen since the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan began systematically documenting the toll of violence in 2009.

In the first nine months of 2019, UNAMA said, Afghanistan has sustained more than 8,200 civilian casualties, with 2,563 people killed and 5,676 more injured. In that period, the U.N. agency said, “anti-Government elements were responsible for more than 5,000 civilian casualties, comprising 62 per cent of total civilian casualties for the time period.”

The report also revealed other troubling trends. UNAMA reported, “41 per cent of all civilian casualties in Afghanistan were women and children” from January through September.

And after starting the year with lower levels of civilian casualties compared with 2018, Afghanistan saw deadly violence ramp up as it approached its national election in late September. The results of that vote have not yet been revealed.

As UNAMA released its report, Tadamichi Yamamoto, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan, urged all sides to avoid harming civilians. He also said it’s further proof that the country desperately needs peace talks that can produce a cease-fire.

“Civilian casualties are totally unacceptable,” Yamamoto said, “especially in the context of the widespread recognition that there can be no military solution to the conflict in Afghanistan.”

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Boeing Pilot Warned of ‘Egregious’ Issue With 737 Max in 2016, Messages Show

A Boeing pilot working on the 737 Max said in messages from 2016 that a new automated system was making the plane difficult to control in flight simulators, more than two years before it was grounded following two deadly crashes.

The pilot, Mark Forkner, complained that the system, known as MCAS, was causing him trouble. “It’s running rampant in the sim,” he said in a message to a colleague, referring to the simulator.

“Granted, I suck at flying, but even this was egregious,” he went on to say, according to a transcript of the exchange reviewed by The New York Times.

The 737 Max was grounded earlier this year after crashing twice in five months, killing 346 people. In both cases, MCAS malfunctioned based on erroneous data, sending the planes into unrecoverable nose dives.

Mr. Forkner, the chief technical pilot for the plane, went on to say that he had lied to the Federal Aviation Administration.

Westlake Legal Group merlin_152397885_5588305c-8e58-47f0-9b4a-3ac83d14e790-articleLarge Boeing Pilot Warned of ‘Egregious’ Issue With 737 Max in 2016, Messages Show Boeing Company Boeing 737 Max Groundings and Safety Concerns (2019) Airlines and Airplanes

Boeing 737 Max: The Latest on the Deadly Crashes and the Fallout

Boeing is under intense scrutiny after its best-selling 737 Max jet was involved in two deadly crashes in five months.

“I basically lied to the regulators (unknowingly),” Mr. Forkner says in the messages.

Mr. Forkner did not respond to a request for comment, and a lawyer for Mr. Forkner did not immediately comment.

Reuters was first to report the news.

The messages are from November 2016. Eight months earlier, Mr. Forkner had asked the F.A.A. if it would be O.K. to remove mention of MCAS from the pilot’s manual. The F.A.A., which at the time believed the system would only activate in rare cases and wasn’t particularly dangerous, approved Mr. Forkner’s request.

Boeing provided the transcript to lawmakers in Capitol Hill over the past day, in advance of hearings this month at which Boeing chief executive Dennis A. Muilenburg will testify about the crashes for the first time. Boeing had provided the transcript to the Department of Justice, which is conducting a criminal investigation, earlier this year, according to two people familiar with the communications who spoke on condition of anonymity because the exchange was not yet public.

The F.A.A. administrator, Stephen Dickson, sent Mr. Muilenburg a letter Friday morning demanding that the company account for why it did not provide the messages to the agency earlier.

“I expect your explanation immediately regarding the content of this document and Boeing’s delay in disclosing the document to its safety regulator,” Mr. Dickson wrote.

Boeing did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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

Mark Hurd, Co-Chief Executive of Oracle, Is Dead at 62

Westlake Legal Group 18HURD-01-facebookJumbo Mark Hurd, Co-Chief Executive of Oracle, Is Dead at 62 Oracle Corporation Hurd, Mark V Deaths (Obituaries)

SAN FRANCISCO — Mark Hurd, who was known for both success and scandal at Hewlett-Packard and most recently served as co-chief executive at Oracle, died on Friday. He was 62 years old.

Mr. Hurd had taken a medical leave of absence in September; the medical reason was not disclosed. His death was confirmed in an announcement by Larry Ellison, Oracle’s chairman and chief technology officer.

“Oracle has lost a brilliant and beloved leader who personally touched the lives of so many of us during his decade at Oracle,” Mr. Ellison wrote. “Mark was my close and irreplaceable friend, and trusted colleague.”

Mr. Hurd spent 25 years at the business technology company NCR before moving to Silicon Valley last decade to become chief executive of Hewlett-Packard, the giant computer and technology company. He led Hewlett-Packard for five years before he was ousted in 2010 after a high-profile scandal over his relationship with a consultant to the company.

He was swiftly hired by Oracle, which he helped lead with Mr. Ellison and Safra Catz, who was also given a co-chief executive title that she still holds.

Mr. Ellison wrote that Mr. Hurd is survived by his wife, Paula, and two daughters.

This is a developing story and will be updated.

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Filmmaker Pulls Out Of Women’s Conference Because Kirstjen Nielsen Will Be Speaking

Award-winning filmmaker, author and activist dream hampton is pulling out of an appearance at a high-profile women’s conference because the event will also feature Kirstjen Nielsen, President Donald Trump’s former homeland security secretary who oversaw his migrant family separation policy. 

Hampton, the executive producer of the documentary “Surviving R. Kelly,” was scheduled to appear on an Oct. 22 panel about “justice and power.” The Most Powerful Women Summit, set to be held in Washington, D.C., brings together prominent women across industries. 

But Fortune, the organizer of the summit, has been under pressure to rescind the invitation to Nielsen, who executed and defended Trump’s policy of separating and detaining thousands of migrant families crossing into the United States. Fortune has so far refused to do so, leading hampton to pull out of the conference.

Hampton provided HuffPost with a statement on her decision: 

Fortune should not be giving Kirstjen Nielsen a platform to rehabilitate her image. I’ve worked all my life to tell the stories of women, girls and families. Sharing a stage with Nielsen, who separated immigrant families and put babies in cages, would have put a stamp of approval on her immoral and reprehensible actions and help legitimize the terror that Trump is inflicting on immigrants and communities of color. So I’m cancelling my attendance and encourage other speakers to do the same. I’m thankful for the organizing CREDO Action, Define American and Bend the Arc have done to hold Trump collaborators like Nielsen accountable for their atrocities.

Reputation rinsing ― using visible, celebratory platforms to restore and normalize monstrous abuse ― was actually common practice for predators like R Kelly and Jeffrey Epstein. When every infant, toddler, child and teenager Nielsen is responsible for ripping from their families is released and reunited, when attempts at restitution are made, then perhaps she can face one of them for a public “interview.” Perhaps they’ll begin by asking her a softball, like “Does she now know Norway is a white country?” 

Westlake Legal Group 5da9dc6920000009125061ae Filmmaker Pulls Out Of Women’s Conference Because Kirstjen Nielsen Will Be Speaking

ASSOCIATED PRESS As secretary of homeland security, Kirstjen Nielsen carried out President Donald Trump’s policy of separating migrant families.

Activist groups have been following Nielsen since she resigned from the Trump administration in April, trying to ensure that her actions as homeland security secretary aren’t forgotten. 

Groups like Credo Action spoke out when The Atlantic Festival invited Nielsen as a speaker, and organizers of the September event eventually announced she would no longer be participating. In 2018, Credo held a protest outside her house, playing audio of detained migrant children crying. 

“We are in solidarity with dream hampton, who just showed what moral leadership looks like by refusing to speak on the same stage as child snatcher Kirstjen Nielsen at Fortune’s Most Powerful Women Summit next week. Every other speaker should follow her lead,” said Credo Action campaign manager Jelani Drew-Davi. 

While Nielsen is still listed as a speaker at the summit, Fortune has changed the description of her panel. Right now, her session ― scheduled to take place just 30 minutes before the panel that hampton was supposed to be on ― is called “The Hard Questions.”

Westlake Legal Group 5da9d9de2000001f125061a5 Filmmaker Pulls Out Of Women’s Conference Because Kirstjen Nielsen Will Be Speaking

HuffPost Fortune’s website currently lists Nielsen’s panel as “The Hard Questions.” That’s not what it was originally supposed to be.

But previously, Nielsen was going to be on a panel called “Conversation,” with a discussion about “supply chain risk management” ― as well about her role in other policies, such as family separation. 

Westlake Legal Group 5da9da4420000009125061a6 Filmmaker Pulls Out Of Women’s Conference Because Kirstjen Nielsen Will Be Speaking

HuffPost Fortune’s Most Powerful Women Summit was originally going to have Nielsen speak about “supply chain risk management.”

Fortune defended its invitation of Nielsen, telling HuffPost that organizers wanted to make sure that she had to face “tough questions publicly.” 

“We believe that the most powerful women in business, who also happen to be some of the most powerful women in the world, have strong views about how the U.S. Administration has handled its immigration policy,” said Fortune spokeswoman Alison Klooster. “We sought out an opportunity to bring the woman who was effectively responsible for that policy to ask her tough questions publicly and on stage about that policy. We brought in Amna Nawaz from PBS NewsHour to do the interview with the clear understanding that this would be a no-holds-barred interview, and that there would be an opportunity for our MPW members to ask questions, as well. That’s how we practice live journalism.”

Klooster said the description of the panel changed because Conway was no longer able to attend. 

“The grassroots pressure against Nielsen is working ― Fortune has now tried to reframe Nielsen’s segment into asking ‘the hard questions’ about ‘the horror of family separation,’” Drew-Davi said. “But this still gives Nielsen a platform to attempt to rehabilitate her image and sanitize her cruel attacks on immigrant families and children. The only thing Nielsen should be allowed on a stage for is to condemn her complicity with an admitted racist and her actions traumatizing immigrants and to apologize to the thousands of families she tore apart for the long-lasting damage she inflicted upon them. Fortune should stop trying to redeem their bad decision and cancel the Nielsen session now.”

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

As new tariffs against Europe take effect, get ready to pay more for your cheese and wine

CLOSEWestlake Legal Group icon_close As new tariffs against Europe take effect, get ready to pay more for your cheese and wine

President Trump’s ‘America First’ approach has relied on slapping tariffs on countries, such as China and Mexico, which have led to current trade wars. What is a tariff and how do they work? We explain. Just the FAQs, USA TODAY

Hoping to enjoy some Dutch cheese and French wine this fall?

Gear up to pay more for it. 

A fresh round of U.S. tariffs on $7.5 billion in European goods takes effect Friday in retaliation for what the World Trade Organization deemed were illegal subsidies for airplane maker Airbus.

The case, which wove its way through the system for nearly 15 years, recently culminated in a ruling against the European Union.

The Trump administration celebrated the outcome, which allowed the U.S. tariffs, as justified in the wake of “massive EU corporate welfare.”

The new tariffs apply to a wide range of imports from the EU but are concentrated mostly on the four countries deemed responsible for the subsidies: France, Germany, Spain and the U.K.

More tariffs: Europe’s specialty food makers brace for US tariffs due Friday on cheese, wine and more

Large civil aircraft will be hit with 10% tariffs, while everything else included in this round will be hit with 25% tariffs.

When tariffs are applied to imported goods, prices often rise as sellers seek to make up for the cost of the duties. That means Americans are likely poised to pay more.

Here are some European imports that could face price increases:

Cheese

A wide range of cheese is subject to the tariffs, including certain types of cheddar, Italian, Swiss, Romano and provolone and Colby.

Other dairy products included in the latest tariffs are specific types of yogurt and butter.

Fruit

Several varieties of fruit will be hit, including oranges, mandarins, lemons, pears, peaches and cherries.

Seafood

Steady yourself for the possibility of price increases on clams, cockles and mussels.

Drinks

A wide variety of beverages, including certain types of wine, liquor, whiskey, vegetable juice and prune juice. Even olives to be paired with your wine will be hit. Coffee from Germany is on the list too.

A group of 15 alcoholic beverage associations, including American and foreign groups, released a statement Friday calling on the Trump administration to bring an “immediate end to tariffs and distilled spirits and wines.”

“This new round of tariffs will further damage a transatlantic industry that has already been negatively impacted by the EU’s retaliatory tariff on American Whiskey,” said the group, which included the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States and the Wine and Spirit Trade Association.

Tools

Pliers, metal cutting shears, pipe cutters, bolt cutters, screwdrivers, knives and handtools from Germany will face tariffs.

Treats

Waffles, wafers and sweet biscuits from the United Kingdom are on the list.

Clothing

Sweaters, suits, pajamas and blankets from the U.K. will be hit.

Follow USA TODAY reporter Nathan Bomey on Twitter @NathanBomey.

Read or Share this story: https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2019/10/18/trump-tariffs-on-eu-imports-could-lift-prices-cheese-wine/4020963002/

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In ‘Cave-In,’ Trump Cease-Fire Cements Turkey’s Gains in Syria

WASHINGTON — The cease-fire agreement reached with Turkey by Vice President Mike Pence amounts to a near-total victory for Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who gains territory, pays little in penalties and appears to have outmaneuvered President Trump.

The best that can be said for the agreement is that it may stop the killing in the Kurdish enclave in northern Syria. But the cost for Kurds, longtime American allies in the fight against the Islamic State, is severe: Even Pentagon officials were mystified about where tens of thousands of displaced Kurds would go, as they moved south from the Turkey-Syria border as required by the deal — if they agree to go at all.

And the cost to American influence, while hard to quantify, could be frightfully high.

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Since Turkish forces attacked Kurdish-controlled territory in northeast Syria, almost two thousand refugees have fled the country. We spoke with some of them in Bardarash refugee camp, across the border in Iraq.CreditCreditYousur Al-Hlou/The New York Times

In the 11 days between Mr. Trump’s fateful phone call with Mr. Erdogan and the trip to Ankara by Mr. Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday, the United States has ceded ground in Syria — including American bases — to the Russian-backed Syrian dictator, Bashar al-Assad. And it has shaken the faith of American allies that, in a time of stress, Washington will have their back.

“This just looks like a complete cave-in by the United States to everything the Turks demanded,” said Eric S. Edelman, a former ambassador to Turkey and a senior Defense Department official in the George W. Bush administration. “I don’t see what the Turks gave up.”

In fact, if the sanctions imposed against Turkey by the Trump administration are lifted, as Mr. Pence said they now would be, the Turkish leader would pay a far lower price than Russia did for its annexation of Crimea in 2014. The sanctions imposed on Moscow then are still in place.

But there are other winners in addition to Mr. Erdogan, who has routed the Kurdish groups he views as terrorists who were living in an American protectorate.

Chief among them is President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, who gains vast influence in a strategic corner of the Middle East where, until 2015, he had almost none. Now, he is a player, and already is filling the territorial and political vacuum that Mr. Trump left after he agreed to get out of the way of the Turkish invasion of Syria, which a small contingent of American Special Operations forces were there to prevent by their very presence.

Iran was also a winner. It has long used Syria as a route to send missiles to Hezbollah and flex its muscles across the region. That, in many ways, is the most perplexing part of the president’s decision to withdraw, because it runs so counter to his “maximum pressure” campaign against Iran’s clerical leaders and the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps.

And Mr. Assad, who was barely clinging to power after the Arab Spring in 2011, and whose military facilities Mr. Trump bombed in the opening months of his presidency in 2017, has a new lease on life. The Americans are gone from the one corner of his country they once occupied.

Mr. Trump has a different view — no surprise, given the bipartisan critique of his failure to stop Mr. Erdogan during their phone conversation, or threaten sanctions before the invasion, rather than after the facts had changed on the ground.

“I’m happy to report tremendous success with respect to Turkey,” Mr. Trump told reporters after his vice president and secretary of state announced the deal. “This is an amazing outcome. This is an outcome, regardless of how the press would like to damp it down, this was something they were trying to get for 10 years.”

Mr. Trump’s joy may reflect a very different worldview than that of his military, his diplomats or the Republican leaders who say he has damaged America’s reputation and influence. While his party, and Democrats, accused him of betraying allies and aiding Russia, Mr. Trump insisted he was simply making good on a campaign promise to bring troops home from “endless wars.”

On Wednesday, as Mr. Pence and Mr. Pompeo were flying to Ankara, Speaker Nancy Pelosi was challenging the president on whether there was any strategic logic to his withdrawal from Syria — especially if it resulted in freeing detained ISIS fighters who might now attack in the region or on the United States.

On Thursday, recounting her heated discussion with the president at the White House the previous day, she said she asked him how his strategy fit with his announcement last Friday that nearly 3,000 more troops were being deployed to Saudi Arabia. The president responded that the Saudis were paying the cost of that deployment — suggesting that Mr. Trump was happy to commit troops to the highest bidder among American allies, rather than make an independent judgment about their strategic importance.

Republicans also challenged the agreement reached in Ankara.

“The announcement today is being portrayed as a victory. It is far from a victory,” Senator Mitt Romney, Republican of Utah, said on the Senate floor Thursday. “Given the initial details of the cease-fire agreement, the administration must also explain what America’s future role will be in the region, what happens now to the Kurds and why Turkey will face no apparent consequences.”

And Mr. Romney noted, “The cease-fire does not change the fact that America has abandoned an ally.”

At the Pentagon on Thursday afternoon, senior officials scrambled to understand how they were supposed to carry out the agreement Mr. Pence and Mr. Erdogan had negotiated.

Several civilian and military officials complained that the broadly worded deal left large policy and logistical gaps to fill, with many questions about how to carry out commitments by the two sides that appeared to contradict the fast-moving situation on the ground.

With the withdrawal of about 1,000 Americans already underway, the officials asked, how would those departing forces conduct counterterrorism operations with the Turkish military, as Mr. Pence insisted they would? Would the Syrian Kurds fully comply with a pullback agreement they had little say in drafting, and in which they were the clear losers?

Their questions did not stop there. How large and how deep is the buffer area inside Syria that was supposed to give Turkey a safe zone between its border and the Kurdish fighters? The original safe zone that the United States and Turkey envisioned was 75 miles long and roughly 20 miles deep. But it was upended by Mr. Trump’s acquiescence to the invasion, and now Turkish forces have pushed beyond that.

And what about Mr. Assad’s forces and their Russian allies — to whom the abandoned Syrian Kurds reached out to after the American abandoned them?

It also remains unknown whether Turkey will be required to withdraw all or some of its forces sent across a sovereign border into Syria. (One official said a reason Turkey agreed to the deal on Thursday is because the Kurds have put up more resistance, and Turkish forces could not advance south any farther as a result.)

Several Pentagon and State Department officials and military officers who have worked on Syria policy or deployed to the country’s northwest expressed shock, outrage and disbelief at the administration’s second major capitulation to Mr. Erdogan in less than two weeks.

These officials said Mr. Erdogan was the big winner, and appeared to have gotten everything he wanted.

Military officials said they were stunned that the agreement essentially allowed Turkey to annex a portion of Syria, displace tens of thousands of Kurdish residents and wipe away years of counterterrorism gains against the Islamic State.

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I’m Agatha Bacelar, the millennial challenging Nancy Pelosi. Our system is broken. Let’s fix it. AMA.

Westlake Legal Group jpTmUOShU77gp7kkuVXffrOGnhChnTnXBHoCXJhKsE0 I'm Agatha Bacelar, the millennial challenging Nancy Pelosi. Our system is broken. Let's fix it. AMA. r/politics

Hi! I’m Agatha.

I’m a 27 year-old Brazilian-American immigrant, Stanford engineer, and social justice advocate. I’m running for Congress because our system is broken, and I believe a new generation of bold leadership can fix it.

We have seen the result of trusting the current political establishment to guide us into the future. Since Nancy Pelosi took office in 1989, inequality has risen along with the sea levels. The amount of money spent on political campaigns has skyrocketed. Our schools are more segregated. Incarceration has increased upwards of 500%. An entire generation became the first in history to be poorer than their parents.

We need people in government who embrace new ideas to solve old problems. I’m a champion of the Green New Deal, Medicare-for-All, and Universal Basic Income. I’m also hoping to bring informed, practical, and future-savvy tech regulation to the forefront of politics in Washington. One of my the areas I’m most passionate about is using emerging technology to enable a more participatory political system.

Let’s build the future I know we are capable of. Ask Me Anything!

Links: Website | Twitter | Instagram

Proof: https://twitter.com/AgathaBacelar/status/1185222327023202304

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What Boris Johnson Needs to Do to Win Parliament’s Vote on Brexit

Westlake Legal Group 18brexitvote1-facebookJumbo What Boris Johnson Needs to Do to Win Parliament’s Vote on Brexit Politics and Government Northern Ireland Legislatures and Parliaments Labour Party (Great Britain) Johnson, Boris Great Britain Withdrawal from EU (Brexit) Great Britain European Union Europe Democratic Unionist Party (Northern Ireland) Conservative Party (Great Britain)

BRUSSELS — In his three months in power, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has yet to win a major vote in Parliament. But that will no longer matter to him and his backers if he can pull out a victory in Saturday’s vote on his new Brexit deal with the European Union. He was on the phone Friday lobbying, cajoling and pleading with lawmakers, knowing that the outcome is likely to turn on just a handful of votes.

Although the first rule of politics is supposed to be — in the words of President Lyndon B. Johnson — learning to count, the math this time is hard. Parliament voted three times against a plan brought forth by Mr. Johnson’s predecessor, Theresa May — the last time by 58 votes. So Mr. Johnson in theory needs around 30 lawmakers to change sides in order to give him the magic number of 320 votes for victory.

But this is a different deal and he is likely to lose some who voted for Mrs. May’s last plan, so the numbers are fluid. The decision of 10 lawmakers from the Democratic Unionist Party of Northern Ireland to oppose his blueprint was a blow to Mr. Johnson, though not necessarily a fatal one.

And, as the shape of Mr. Johnson’s deal emerged ahead of Thursday’s agreement, one lawmaker described his dilemma.

“Honestly, I am completely torn. I struggle with it all the time,” said Rory Stewart, one of 21 members of Parliament expelled from the Conservative Party last month for defying Mr. Johnson by trying to prevent Britain from leaving the European Union without an agreement.

“The temptation would be to say I reject it because Theresa May’s deal is better,” Mr. Stewart said. “But at the same time, realistically, Theresa May’s deal is not coming back. So if you reject this, what are you really laying yourself open for? No deal, second referendum or endless delay.”

To add to the sense of confusion, Parliament might be asked on Saturday to consider an amendment put forward by Oliver Letwin, a lawmaker who was expelled from the Conservatives for defying Mr. Johnson over Brexit. It would withhold approval of the Brexit deal until Parliament passed legislation to enact it. That condition would force Mr. Johnson to ask the European Union for a further postponement of the Brexit deadline, to Jan. 31.

Most lawmakers are entrenched on one side or the other of the Brexit debate, so the outcome may be decided by three critical blocs: the “Spartans” and other hard-line, pro-Brexit Tories, and rebels from both major parties, the Conservatives and Labour.

These are the 28 hard-line pro-Brexit Conservative lawmakers who voted against Mrs. May’s last attempt to get her deal through Parliament (and are a subset of the so-called European Research Group, which has around 80 members). If the Spartans can be persuaded to back Mr. Johnson’s deal, they will get him close to the line since the rest of the larger group is expected to largely support the plan.

As a hard-line Brexiteer himself, Mr. Johnson has an edge with the Spartans that Mrs. May did not, and he is working hard to win them over.

Their leader, Steve Baker, made it clear on Friday that no decision would be made until just before the vote on Saturday. Whether they will vote as a bloc is unclear, but many are thought likely to support Mr. Johnson.

In the past, the Spartans have worked closely with the Democratic Unionists, following its lead in judging the acceptability of Mrs. May’s proposed deals, for example.

The D.U.P. is pressuring them not to abandon them this time around, saying that Mr. Johnson’s deal threatens to split the United Kingdom by creating a different trade system for Northern Ireland than for the rest of the country.

But there are signs of widening cracks. In particular, Brexit hard-liners seem to be increasingly susceptible to Mr. Johnson’s argument that if they reject his deal, they could end up risking their whole project, through a second Brexit referendum or an election that empowers the opposition Labour Party.

Mr. Johnson can also argue that, realistically, they have no better prospect of getting such a clean break with the European Union, and that his agreement makes no binding promises to stay close to European Union rules and standards. Rather, it points to a very loose future trading relationship with the bloc.

Last month, Mr. Johnson threw 21 lawmakers out of the Conservative Party after they voted for a measure to stop a no-deal Brexit. But if a week is a long time in politics, a month or so is a lifetime, and Mr. Johnson is likely to hint that they could be welcomed back into the fold if they support him this time.

That should be enough to lure some of them to return.

But many, like the former chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, vastly preferred Mrs. May’s deal, which would have kept Britain far more closely aligned with the European Union. It will be hard for them to accept Mr. Johnson’s deal.

“It is genuinely a huge dilemma for many members of Parliament,” said Maddy Thimont Jack, a senior researcher at the Institute for Government, a think tank in London. “Quite a few would have preferred to vote for Theresa May’s deal, but that is not on the table anymore.”

Throughout the Brexit debate, the Labour Party has had to contend with a significant number of its lawmakers, particularly in the rust belt areas of England’s north and midlands, who represent districts that voted to leave.

A handful of Labour lawmakers voted for Mrs. May’s plan, and others could very well back Mr. Johnson’s, reflecting the country’s exhaustion with Brexit. But they are also defenders of the working class, so they could be put off by concerns that the new deal would weaken worker protections afforded under the European Union’s single market.

Some pro-Brexit Labour lawmakers representing areas that voted to leave the bloc are struggling to keep up the pretense that they want Brexit to happen, but later and on different terms.

“For these conflicted Labour M.P.s, ‘Give me Brexit, but not yet,’ has always been the most appealing way out,” said Rob Ford, a professor of politics at the University of Manchester. “But the psychology feels rather different now. They’re reaching the point where they are fed up beyond breaking point, and their voters are even more fed up, and delay is perhaps looking less attractive.”

Another big unknown is whether Labour will punish lawmakers who vote for Mr. Johnson’s deal.

In the past, Labour has instructed its members in the strongest terms against backing a Tory Brexit deal — usually with the threat of banishment from the party — but then decided not to kick anyone out of the party in the end. Party leaders’ reticence on Friday suggested that could happen again.

Pro-Brexit Labour lawmakers who defy their party leadership are likely to encounter the wrath of their activists, most of whom oppose Brexit and all of whom oppose Mr. Johnson.

Perhaps the greatest nightmare for Labour lawmakers is to risk their careers by supporting Mr. Johnson only to find that he still loses.

Ms. Thimont Jack said that after the many twists and turns of the Brexit saga, she had stopped making predictions about the outcome of votes.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if it goes either way,” she said, “but I would be surprised if it is decided by more than a few votes.”

Matina Stevis-Gridneff contributed reporting from Brussels, and Benjamin Mueller from London.

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