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Westlake Legal Group > News (Page 1980)

Trump’s Middle East Peace Plan Faces a Crossroads After Coalition Talks in Israel Crumble

Westlake Legal Group merlin_155667144_0693792a-ce6f-45df-8805-87c4d71a9b9d-facebookJumbo Trump’s Middle East Peace Plan Faces a Crossroads After Coalition Talks in Israel Crumble United States Politics and Government United States International Relations Trump, Donald J Israel elections

WASHINGTON — President Trump plans to throw his full weight behind Benjamin Netanyahu’s campaign to save his job as prime minister of Israel. But to do that, analysts and former diplomats said, the president will have to sacrifice any last hopes of proposing a peace plan that is acceptable to both Israelis and Palestinians.

Mr. Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, met Mr. Netanyahu in Jerusalem to discuss the status of the plan on Thursday, hours after the prime minister failed to form a governing coalition. Mr. Kushner emerged with a longer timetable and a narrower diplomatic mission, these people said.

Rather than make concessions to the Palestinians, Mr. Kushner will be under pressure to tilt the plan ever further in Israel’s favor. Far from being a bold effort to break decades of enmity between the two sides, it could end up becoming a vehicle to resurrect Mr. Netanyahu’s political fortunes and to protect Mr. Trump’s.

The plan, which Mr. Kushner has drafted under a veil of secrecy for more than two years, was already looking like a doomed effort. Though its details remain unknown, Mr. Kushner has suggested it will not call for the creation of a Palestinian state, jettisoning decades of American policy toward the conflict. The Palestinians have vowed to reject it out of hand, branding it a blueprint for Israeli domination.

Certainly, a wounded Mr. Netanyahu lost no time in exploiting his friendship with Mr. Trump. He brandished a copy of a map of Israel that Mr. Trump had signed and sent to him with Mr. Kushner. In the margins, the president had drawn an arrow pointing to the long-disputed Golan Heights, which he had recognized as Israeli territory, and had scrawled “Nice.”

The White House is expected to hold off on the political component of its plan — which deals with thorny issues like borders, security and the status of Jerusalem — until after the Israeli elections, scheduled for Sept. 17. A senior administration official said only that the plan would be presented when the “timing is right.”

But that timing has grown increasingly problematic. Any new Israeli coalition probably would not be formed until at least October, which would delay the announcement of a Trump plan until November, uncomfortably close to the first primaries of the 2020 election in the United States.

Mr. Trump, eager not to alienate evangelical voters or influential pro-Israel donors like the casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, is unlikely to present a plan that would put Israel or Mr. Netanyahu in an awkward position. For both leaders, therefore, the political calculus will argue for a plan that makes as few demands of Israel as possible.

“To get Netanyahu re-elected, Trump is clearly now willing to take instructions from him,” said Martin S. Indyk, a former American ambassador to Israel. “I believe Netanyahu will return the favor by arguing forcefully to American Jews and evangelical voters that they should vote for Trump because he’s the best friend Israel has ever had.”

Mr. Trump has already gone further in his support of Mr. Netanyahu than any president has for any Israeli leader. Before recognizing Israeli authority over the Golan Heights, he moved the American Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. And in a remarkable intrusion into Israeli electoral politics, Mr. Trump on Monday tweeted his support of Mr. Netanyahu’s efforts to form a coalition.

“Hoping things will work out with Israel’s coalition formation and Bibi and I can continue to make the alliance between America and Israel stronger than ever,” Mr. Trump said, using the prime minister’s nickname. “A lot more to do!”

Two days later, the White House announced an unprecedented three-way meeting in Jerusalem of its national security adviser, John R. Bolton, with his Israeli and Russian counterparts, Meir Ben-Shabbat and Nikolay Patrushev. The meeting, to discuss security issues in the Middle East, is a feather in the cap for Mr. Netanyahu, underlining his ability to convene the world’s major powers.

Mr. Indyk said a staunchly pro-Israel peace plan — one that snuffed out the goal of a two-state solution, for example — would constitute Mr. Trump’s third major gesture to Mr. Netanyahu, after the embassy and the Golan Heights.

This week, after Mr. Netanyahu’s coalition negotiations collapsed, Mr. Trump made no effort to disguise his disappointment.

“It looked like a total win for Netanyahu, who’s a great guy,” the president said. “That is too bad. Because they don’t need this. I mean they’ve got enough turmoil over there. It’s a tough place.”

Mr. Kushner’s visit to Jerusalem coincided with the Israeli Parliament’s vote to dissolve itself and call for new elections — arguably one of the darkest days in Mr. Netanyahu’s career. But rather than wave him off, the prime minister welcomed Mr. Kushner, posing for pictures and showing off the letter from Mr. Trump.

The next gift for Mr. Netanyahu could come on June 25, when Mr. Kushner convenes an economic conference in Bahrain. The Palestinians have announced they will boycott the meeting; the Israelis are going. That will allow Mr. Netanyahu to showcase another of his long-term strategic goals — closer ties between Israel and Sunni Muslim leaders in the Persian Gulf, with whom he shares a deep hostility toward Iran.

By holding the meeting, which he calls a “workshop,” Mr. Kushner split the economic component of his plan from the more fraught political solution. The idea was to give the Palestinians and other Arab leaders an incentive — in the form of billions of dollars of investment — to support a peace accord.

Mr. Kushner made some headway on this front. He won a pledge by Qatar, a major financial supporter of the Palestinian enclave of Gaza, to attend the workshop, even though it was pushed by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, which are engaged in a bitter feud with the Qataris.

During his tour of the region, Mr. Kushner worked to build Arab support for his plan. His meetings with King Mohammed VI of Morocco and King Abdullah II of Jordan were “very positive and productive,” according to an administration official, though King Abdullah pointedly declared that any plan must provide for a Palestinian state.

The refusal of the Palestinians to attend the Bahrain meeting was a reminder of Mr. Kushner’s uphill struggle to engage with them, ever since they broke off communications with the White House after Mr. Trump moved the embassy.

In the wake of Mr. Netanyahu’s setback, the chief Palestinian negotiator, Saeb Erekat, cracked that the “deal of the century,” as people have taken to calling the Trump plan, had become the “deal of the next century.”

Given that the plan was almost certain to be summarily rejected by the Palestinians if Mr. Kushner had presented it in the coming weeks, some former diplomats said the Israeli elections amounted to a reprieve for him and his partner, Jason D. Greenblatt, the president’s special envoy.

“What happened in Israel over the last 48 hours gives them a more public rationale for why they’re delaying, so it’s actually good news for them tactically,” said David Makovsky, who negotiated between the Israelis and Palestinians during the Obama administration. “The Israeli election has given them an out.”

The trouble is, the political atmosphere for a peace initiative is not likely to get any less forbidding in the fall. Mr. Kushner, who helped manage his father-in-law’s campaign in 2016, will be as aware as anyone of the domestic political cost of a plan that puts pressure on Israel.

“You’ll see the political folks in the administration weighing in on how it affects the election dynamics,” said Ghaith al-Omari, a former Palestinian negotiator who is a senior fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. “We’ll get into a totally different set of considerations by November and December.”

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Study finds Russian trolls amplified anti-vaccine debate with misinformation

Westlake Legal Group ncfGWJIRegEJjZRejjkkfJa7hDLZtBDEEHENlYmIAmI Study finds Russian trolls amplified anti-vaccine debate with misinformation r/politics

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Inside law enforcement’s efforts to end human trafficking

Westlake Legal Group pkg3-cover Inside law enforcement's efforts to end human trafficking Perry Chiaramonte fox-news/news-events/fox-news-investigates fox news fnc/us fnc ca49a5ce-da53-5947-a317-87da73b8d634 article Andrew Keiper

The horrors of human trafficking are often hidden in plain sight.

Most of the public sees this horrific crime as one that happens elsewhere—far away from their backyards, but the shocking reality is that human trafficking is pervasive across the United States and the next victim could be right next door.

As part of an ongoing investigation into human trafficking, Fox News interviewed law enforcement officials at the state and federal levels to better understand their efforts to stop the shocking forced sex trade.

UNDERTOW OF EXPLOITATION: HOW TEENS GET TRAPPED IN HUMAN TRAFFICKING

“They’re hiding in plain sight,” Corporal Alan Wilkett, a veteran of the Pasco County Sheriff in Florida, said. “The trafficker is comfortable in that there’s such high transit [on the highways] that it becomes difficult to spot the activity.”

“Those corridors are so hot with human trafficking activity that, at times, we put together a task force just to attack those corridors.”

— Corporal Alan Wilkett

Wilkett, who spearheads a human trafficking task force for Pasco County, says that highways are often used to transport victims from city to city, where their captors force them to work.

“If a trafficker is getting his victim from one place to another, for instance, a high end or high populace activity that’s happening in Tampa,” Wilkett said. “So he’s going to use the I-4 corridor. In fact, those corridors are so hot with human trafficking activity that, at times, we put together a task force just to attack those corridors.”

LAWSUITS UNVEIL ALLEGED CULTURE OF TEEN SEX ABUSE IN LOUISVILLE POLICE MENTORSHIP PROGRAM

Law enforcement task forces, often coordinated between different agencies, are a common tactic to combat a variety of crimes – including human trafficking. Often, the Federal Bureau of Investigation will partner with a local police department to conduct sting operations on traffickers. Such is the case in Toledo, Ohio, where Det. Peter Swartz leads the department’s efforts in the fight.

Swartz, who focuses full time on human trafficking, pulls double duty as a detective for the Toledo Police Department and a field agent for the FBI. He said he sees victims that have been trafficked through Toledo from across the country.

“They were on their way to Florida, Atlanta, Georgia. You know, Orlando, Tampa,” he said. “We know some victims end up there and some of our traffickers end up there.”

Swartz said he gets fulfillment from the work, even though he’s often dealing with minors who have been trafficked against their will. More importantly, he said the people coercing the teens into forced sex work are facing consequences.

CLICK HERE FOR THE FOX NEWS APP

“I think we’ve made a significant difference as far as sex trafficking,” Swartz said. “A lot of the cases that we work with, the predators, the pimps, the traffickers are getting substantial sentences for turning out our kids.”

Westlake Legal Group pkg3-cover Inside law enforcement's efforts to end human trafficking Perry Chiaramonte fox-news/news-events/fox-news-investigates fox news fnc/us fnc ca49a5ce-da53-5947-a317-87da73b8d634 article Andrew Keiper   Westlake Legal Group pkg3-cover Inside law enforcement's efforts to end human trafficking Perry Chiaramonte fox-news/news-events/fox-news-investigates fox news fnc/us fnc ca49a5ce-da53-5947-a317-87da73b8d634 article Andrew Keiper

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Motion of no confidence passed in Phillip Lee

Phillip Lee, the Conservative MP for Bracknell, has lost a vote of no confidence in him by his local Conservative association. The vote was called after 53 members signed a petition. Lee resigned as Justice Minister a year ago in protest against Brexit. His support for a second referendum is clearly the cause of the disquiet in his Association.

The vote leaves Lee’s position unclear. He has not been deselected. Nor has the Conservative whip been withdrawn from him. Yet nor would it be plausible to continue as if nothing had happened. In March a motion of no confidence was passed against Dominic Grieve by the Beaconsfield Conservatives. Grieve’s executive decided against dropping him as their candidate but this has been followed up with a move for deselection by the membership.  So his fate is unresolved. Again with the case of Nick Boles in Grantham and Stamford a deselection did not actually take place. The process was started but then Boles resigned his membership and later crossed the floor.

Gerry Barber, the Bracknell Conservative Association chairman said:

“The result of the vote was that a majority of members present were in agreement with the motion, which was therefore passed, and the result has been communicated to Dr Lee and to the full membership. I will be discussing the meeting with Phillip later this week.”

In a statement, Lee says:

“In the future, I may or may not decide that I can continue serving as a Conservative Member of Parliament and the Bracknell Conservative Association may or may not decide that they wish to readopt me as the Conservative Party’s candidate. But one thing is for sure: we will not be forced into taking a decision one way or the other by this orchestrated, destructive campaign from outside the Party that has done nothing but spread hatred, intimidation and distrust over a single issue. That is not the Conservative way; it is not the Bracknell way. Meanwhile, the people of the Bracknell constituency can rely on my absolute commitment to serving our area’s best interests in Parliament, without fear or favour, and then take into account my full record at the next General Election.”

This is unlikely to be last such saga.

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Who Was DeWayne Craddock, the Gunman in the Virginia Beach Shooting?

Westlake Legal Group 01gunman-facebookJumbo Who Was DeWayne Craddock, the Gunman in the Virginia Beach Shooting? VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. Virginia Beach, Va, Shooting (2019) Murders, Attempted Murders and Homicides Craddock, DeWayne

Virginia Beach officials on Saturday identified DeWayne Craddock, a longtime Virginia Beach city worker who had recently been terminated, as the gunman who stormed the beach community’s municipal complex on Friday afternoon and opened fire, killing at least 12 and injuring several others.

[Officials have identified the victims.]

Mr. Craddock, 40, died in a shootout with the police. Here is what we know about him:

• Mr. Craddock worked as an engineer in the Department of Public Utilities, the city’s water and sanitary sewer services branch, for about 15 years. A recent city news release listed him as a contact person on a roads project.

• There was no immediate indication that Mr. Craddock targeted anyone in particular, officials said.

• He had a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Old Dominion University. Before his job with the city, he worked for private firms specializing in site planning and infrastructure, and for the Army Training and Support Center, employment listings showed. He also served in the Army National Guard, according to news reports.

• Mr. Craddock had no obvious criminal history, according to court records, although he did have several traffic violations over the years.

• Virginia Beach Police Chief James Cervera said Mr. Craddock was armed with at least one weapon, a .45-caliber handgun that had a sound suppressor attached to it. He used extended magazines, which hold more ammunition than standard models. Officials said that additional weapons had been found at the scene and at Mr. Craddock’s home.

• Chief Cervera, speaking at a news conference on Saturday morning, said he did not intend to say the name of the suspect, who was killed on Friday, again in public.

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DOJ Preparing Google Antitrust Probe, Sources Say

Westlake Legal Group 5cf28d552100005400e687fb DOJ Preparing Google Antitrust Probe, Sources Say

May 31 (Reuters) – The U.S. Justice Department is preparing an investigation of Alphabet Inc’s Google to determine whether the tech giant broke antitrust law in operating its sprawling online businesses, two sources familiar with the matter said.

Officials from the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division and Federal Trade Commission, which both enforce antitrust law, met in recent weeks to give Justice jurisdiction over Google, said the sources, who sought anonymity because they were not authorized to speak on the record.

The potential investigation represents the latest attack on a tech company by the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump, who has accused social media companies and Google of suppressing conservative voices on their platforms online.

One source said the potential investigation, first reported by the Wall Street Journal, focused on accusations that Google gave preference to its own businesses in searches.

A spokesman for the Justice Department said he could not confirm or deny that an investigation was being considered. Google declined comment.

Early in 2013, the FTC closed a long-running investigation of Google, giving it a slap on the wrist. Under FTC pressure, Google agreed to end the practice of “scraping” reviews and other data from rivals’ websites for its own products, and to let advertisers export data to independently assess campaigns.

Google’s search, YouTube, reviews, maps and other businesses, which are largely free to consumers but financed through advertising, have catapulted it from a start-up to one of the world’s richest companies in just two decades.

Along the way, it has made enemies in both the tech world, who have complained to law enforcers about its market dominance, and in Washington, where lawmakers have complained about issues from its alleged political bias to its plans for China.

TripAdvisor chief executive and co-founder Stephen Kaufer welcomed news that Google could face Justice Department antitrust scrutiny.

“TripAdvisor remains concerned about Google’s practices in the United States, the EU and throughout the world,” Kaufer said in a statement.

“For the good of consumers and competition on the internet, we welcome any renewed interest by U.S. regulators into Google’s anticompetitive behavior.”

Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren has pushed for action to break up Google, as well as other big tech companies. Senator Kamala Harris, who is also running for president on the Democratic ticket, has agreed.

“This is very big news, and overdue,” Sen. Josh Hawley, a Republican Google critic, said on Twitter, regarding the investigation.

Google has faced a plethora of overseas probes.

Europe’s competition authority, for one, hit Google with a 2.4-billion-euro ($2.7-billion) EU fine two years ago for unfairly promoting its own comparison shopping service.

Google has since offered to allow competitors to bid for advertising space at the top of a search page, giving them the chance to compete on equal terms. (Reporting by Paresh Dave in California, Diane Bartz in Washington and Kanishka Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Chris Sanders and Clarence Fernandez)

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Virginia Beach Officials Identify Municipal Center Shooting Victims

Westlake Legal Group 5cf277cc2500001107dbddf9 Virginia Beach Officials Identify Municipal Center Shooting Victims

In a Saturday morning press conference, Virginia Beach City Manager Dave Hansen read the names of the victims, many of whom were longtime public works and public utilities employees in the area:

Just after 4 p.m. on Friday, police were alerted to shots fired at the city office building, which is part of a large municipal government complex downtown.

According to Police Chief James A. Cervera, an employee had entered the building and began firing indiscriminately at staffers on multiple floors using what is believed to have been .45-caliber handgun with a silencer.

Four officers confronted him at the scene and exchanged fire in what Cervera called a “long-term gun battle,” after which the shooter died.

On Saturday, officials identified the suspect as DeWayne Craddock, a 40-year-old public utilities engineer who had access to the building via a security pass, CNN and The New York Times reported

According to The Associated Press, Craddock was a military veteran described by neighbors as a taciturn man who rarely smiled.

Two months before the shooting on March 30, police had conducted mass shooting training in an effort to prepare for large-scale emergencies, CNN reported.

However, Cervera emphasized that real-life situations are different.

“While we train extensively, while we go over all of our protocols extensively, once you enter an environment such as this, everything changes,” he said. “Things change in a moment’s notice, such as the gun battle with the suspect. So we did train as recent as March 30, but officers had to make instantaneous decisions at that moment in time on how to engage the suspect.”

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Congress Weighs Whether to Allow Guantánamo Prisoners to Travel to the U.S. for Medical Care

Westlake Legal Group merlin_153971274_eff1dc7d-aae0-46ee-a983-4494d193075f-facebookJumbo Congress Weighs Whether to Allow Guantánamo Prisoners to Travel to the U.S. for Medical Care United States Politics and Government United States Defense and Military Forces Trump, Donald J Terrorism Senate Committee on Armed Services Obama, Barack Mohammed, Khalid Shaikh House Committee on Armed Services Guantanamo Bay Naval Base (Cuba) Detainees Al Qaeda

This article was produced in partnership with the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting.

WASHINGTON — With the military putting a new focus on the health care needs of aging detainees at the Guantánamo Bay prison, Congress is considering again whether to allow the Pentagon to move wartime prisoners temporarily to the United States for emergency or complicated medical care not available at the base in Cuba.

The Senate Armed Services Committee has approved a provision in a larger military authorization bill that would allow temporary medical transfers to the United States. The panel in the Republican-controlled Senate has pushed the provision for seven years, only to see it stripped from final legislation over still-strong objections from both parties to bringing foreign terrorist suspects to American territory for treatment.

The political dynamic has shifted since last year, with Democrats having taken control of the House. Representative Adam Smith of Washington, the new chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, has consistently advocated closing of the prison and relocating some detainees to the United States. A committee spokeswoman said Mr. Smith had not decided about the provision, but advocates of the proposal are hopeful that he will include it in the House version of the military authorization bill.

Even if the provision were to be included in the final bill, it is not clear that it would win approval by President Trump. The White House declined to comment. Congress has for a decade prohibited the transfer of Guantánamo detainees to the United States for any reason.

But the military’s effort to highlight the challenges it faces in caring for an aging population of detainees — with no immediate prospect of the prison being closed — has given the issue new urgency.

The politics are playing out as the military seeks Congress’s assistance in planning for the possibility that the last 40 prisoners held at Guantánamo from the war on terror could be there for the rest of their lives. The Pentagon has asked Congress for $88.5 million to build a wheelchair-accessible detention facility with hospice care capacity specifically for the 15 prisoners who were initially held in C.I.A. custody.

The Pentagon’s request for the new prison describes the $88.5 million expenditure as for the benefit of the guards, not the detainees. If no new prison is built, it said, future inmates “bound to wheelchair and/or hospital bed” would “require guards or medical personnel to carry detainees from cell to cell placing the security and safety of U.S. personnel at risk.”

But just like the proposal to allow emergency medical travel to the United States, the idea of a new prison for Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the accused mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks, and other so-called high-value detainees, has struck a partisan divide. In May, the House Appropriations Committee voted along party lines not to fund the new prison. Republicans wanted to fund it, the Democrats did not.

“Our military has a serious backlog on facility needs with at least 30 percent of our military infrastructure rated in fair or poor condition,” said Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Democrat of Florida, the chairwoman of the appropriations subcommittee on military construction. “Prioritizing a costly new facility for terrorists is not more important than our pressing military needs.”

Representative John Carter of Texas was among the Republicans supporting funding for the new prison.

“Like my colleagues, I do not want to provide luxurious accommodations for detainees,” he said. “But it is imperative that we provide our soldiers there the safest possible work environment. At this time we do not have that. The detainees and detention facility are an unfortunate reality. But reality it is and we need to face it.”

The Obama administration had tried and failed to close the Guantánamo Bay prison. After Mr. Trump took office and signed an executive order in January 2018 that kept it open, the Pentagon began planning for 25 more years of detention, including end-of-life care.

Across the years, only two Guantánamo prisoners have been transferred to the United States. One was Yaser Esam Hamdi, who was born in the United States and challenged his military detention to the Supreme Court, and who was sent to Saudi Arabia, where he grew up, in 2004. The other was Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani, 45, of Tanzania, who was sent to New York in 2009, tried and convicted over his role in Al Qaeda’s bombings of two United States Embassies in East Africa in 1998. He is serving a life sentence at a federal prison in eastern Kentucky.

No Guantánamo detainee has been brought to the United States for medical care since the prison opened in January 2002.

But the government has recognized the limitations of Guantánamo — which routinely sends American troops home for complex health care — since the Bush administration. In 2007, the State Department secretly sought to negotiate standby agreements with four Latin American countries — Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Panama and Mexico — to let the Pentagon take sick Guantánamo prisoners to hospitals there. It failed.

Currently, the military takes specialists, including surgical teams with sophisticated equipment, to address urgent and specialized needs at the base’s small community hospital.

The problems with that approach became clear in October 2017 when, according to emails released through the courts, a visiting surgeon tried to fuse the spine at the neck of a detainee, Abd al Hadi al Iraqi. A doctor at the hospital declared the operation a failure and said the best course of action would be to transport Mr. Hadi to a naval hospital in Portsmouth, Va., “or any medical center that has the support systems in place to perform these complex procedures.”

The doctor notified the prison commander at the time, Rear Adm. Edward Cashman, that the prospect of doing such a complicated operation at the Guantánamo base hospital “scares the hell out of me.” Guantánamo medical personnel, at the admiral’s request, then figured out what it would take to medevac Mr. Hadi from the base.

Admiral Cashman never sought permission to move Mr. Hadi, said Col. Amanda Azubuike of the Army, a spokeswoman for the United States Southern Command, which oversees the prison. She called the discussion of airlifting Mr. Hadi “part of medical mission analysis/brainstorming.”

Mr. Hadi ultimately underwent five spine operations at Guantánamo, all by visiting surgical teams. He has experienced chronic pain and back spasms in the aftermath, and prison officials have set up a hospital bed at the court complex where he is to face trial on charges he commanded Al Qaeda and Taliban forces in Afghanistan in 2003 and 2004.

Raha Wala, the senior director of governmental affairs at Human Rights First, an advocacy group, said the health care transfer provision would be consistent with the Defense Department’s “obligations under the Geneva Conventions to provide adequate medical care” to its war prisoners.

So far, he noted, it has never gotten further than conference committees because “Congress has not been particularly interested in having a fight about Gitmo.”

This year should be different, Mr. Wala said, because Mr. Smith, the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, has consistently sponsored amendments to lift transfer restrictions.

“As the detainees are aging, we are going to increasingly see acute medical emergencies that are going to require, frankly, treatment that isn’t available at Guantánamo,” Mr. Wala said. ”Having the ability to be able to transfer someone out for urgent medical treatment is quite important. A detainee’s life could be at risk if the authority isn’t granted.”

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Trump doubles down on backing Boris Johnson as next British prime minister ahead of UK visit

President Trump, in an interview published Saturday, doubled down on his backing of former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson to replace outgoing Prime Minister Theresa May — saying the blustery Brexiteer would do “an excellent job.”

“I actually have studied it very hard. I know the different players,” Trump said in an interview with The Sun about the Conservative Party leadership contest. “But I think Boris would do a very good job. I think he would be excellent.”

TRUMP SAYS HE MAY MEET WITH BORIS JOHNSON, NIGEL FARAGE DURING UK VISIT

Trump will visit the U.K. from Monday to Wednesday to commemorate the 75th anniversary of D-Day. It comes at a tumultuous time in British politics, with May due to step down on Friday. That in turn will trigger a contest for the leadership of the party, and whoever wins that will also succeed her as prime minister.

Johnson, who was one of the key campaigners for Britain to leave the European Union in 2016, resigned his post as foreign minister last year over May’s handling of Brexit. Promising that he would take Britain out of the E.U. in October with or without a formal withdrawal agreement, Johnson is currently the bookmakers’ favorite to win the race.

Westlake Legal Group AP19149408015121 Trump doubles down on backing Boris Johnson as next British prime minister ahead of UK visit fox-news/world/world-regions/united-kingdom fox-news/world/world-regions/europe/brexit fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/person/boris-johnson fox news fnc/politics fnc d9115e56-1a08-56c2-b981-1cc5e0eb9410 article Adam Shaw

Trump said he believes Boris Johnson would do ‘an excellent job’ as prime minister. (AP)

Johnson was initially skeptical of Trump in 2015 – once saying “The only reason I wouldn’t visit some parts of New York is the real risk of meeting Donald Trump”.

But he has since warmed to him, and even suggested last year that Trump would do well handling the Brexit negotiations with Brussels.

Comments like that appear to have won the president’s support.

“I like him. I have always liked him. I don’t know that he is going to be chosen, but I think he is a very good guy, a very talented person,” Trump told The Sun. “He has been very positive about me and our country.”

Trump also brushed off whether Johnson’s reported extra-marital affairs would hurt his chances: “Well, it always matters, but I think that it’s certainly not what it was 20 years ago, and not certainly what it was 50 years ago. I think today it matters much less.”

AS THERESA MAY STEPS DOWN, PRO-TRUMP BREXITEER BORIS JOHNSON IS FAVORITE TO SUCCEED HER

Trump told the British outlet that he also likes current Foreign Secretary and leadership candidate Jeremy Hunt.

He was also critical of May’s handling of Brexit — something he has been outspoken about in the past: “I think that the UK allowed the European Union to have all the cards. And it is very hard to play well when one side has all the advantage.”

“They had nothing to lose. They didn’t give the European Union anything to lose,” he said.

Trump said on Thursday that he may meet with both Johnson and Nigel Farage, whose newly-formed Brexit Party won a significant victory last month when it finished first in the country’s European Parliament elections.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

“Well I may,” he said. “Nigel Farage is a friend of mine, Boris is a friend of mine, they’re two very good guys, very interesting people.”

“Nigel’s had a big victory, he picked up 32 percent of the vote starting from nothing, and I think they’re big powers over there — I think they’ve done a good job,” Trump said.

But Farage told The Daily Mail that he had been told by a contact in Washington that Trump’s team had been told by Downing Street not to meet with him.

A Downing Street spokesman told the outlet: “Who the President meets during his visit is of course a matter for him.”

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6042731855001_6042727377001-vs Trump doubles down on backing Boris Johnson as next British prime minister ahead of UK visit fox-news/world/world-regions/united-kingdom fox-news/world/world-regions/europe/brexit fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/person/boris-johnson fox news fnc/politics fnc d9115e56-1a08-56c2-b981-1cc5e0eb9410 article Adam Shaw   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6042731855001_6042727377001-vs Trump doubles down on backing Boris Johnson as next British prime minister ahead of UK visit fox-news/world/world-regions/united-kingdom fox-news/world/world-regions/europe/brexit fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/person/boris-johnson fox news fnc/politics fnc d9115e56-1a08-56c2-b981-1cc5e0eb9410 article Adam Shaw

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Billionaire’s luxury superyacht slips from cargo ship, goes missing at sea

The billionaire owner of a 130-foot yacht, named MY Song, is singing the blues after his vessel went missing at sea when it fell off a cargo ship.

The superyacht, which was on the last leg of a journey that began in the Caribbean, was not secured correctly by the crew, according to the company that transported her.

The owner is Italian billionaire Pier Luigi Loro Piana, who is heir to a luxury clothing company. Forbes magazine puts his net worth at $1.6 billion.

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Westlake Legal Group my-song-yacht-1-Baltic-Yachts Billionaire's luxury superyacht slips from cargo ship, goes missing at sea fox-news/world/world-regions/italy fox-news/newsedge/sports fox-news/newsedge/business fox-news/auto/attributes/luxury fox news fnc/world fnc Elizabeth Llorente ebe5bade-434f-5e78-8fa0-c719f58d176c article

MY Song, which was built in 2016, was being transported to Ibiza to take part in the Logo Piana Superyacht Regatta, which is running in Porto Cervo from June 3 to June 6, when it broke loose over the weekend. (Baltic Yachts)

MY Song, which was built in 2016, was being transported to Ibiza to take part in the Logo Piana Superyacht Regatta, which is running in Porto Cervo from June 3 to June 6, when it broke loose over the weekend. MY Song won last year.

The head of Peters & May, the company that handles MY Song’s transporting, said in a statement to the press: “Upon receipt of the news Peters & May instructed the captain of the MV Brattinsborg to attempt salvage whilst 3rd party salvors were appointed.”

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“The vessel maintained visual contact with My Song until the air and sea search was initiated. As of 0900hr BST on 28th May 2019 the salvage attempts are still ongoing,” Holley said.

Westlake Legal Group my-song-yacht-2-Baltic-Yachts Billionaire's luxury superyacht slips from cargo ship, goes missing at sea fox-news/world/world-regions/italy fox-news/newsedge/sports fox-news/newsedge/business fox-news/auto/attributes/luxury fox news fnc/world fnc Elizabeth Llorente ebe5bade-434f-5e78-8fa0-c719f58d176c article

On social media, yachting organizations and publications lamented the misfortune that befell MY Song, a star in the regatta and luxury yacht worlds. Its past honors include Best Yacht at the World Superyacht Awards. (Baltic Yachts)

“A full investigation into the cause of the incident has been launched,” he continued. “However the primary assessment is that the yacht’s cradle (owned and provided by the yacht, warrantied by the yacht for sea transport and assembled by the yacht’s crew) collapsed during the voyage from Palma to Genoa and subsequently resulted in the loss of MY Song overboard. I will add that this is the initial assessment and is subject to confirmation in due course.”

On social media, yachting organizations and publications lamented the misfortune that befell MY Song, a star in the regatta and luxury yacht worlds. Its past honors include Best Yacht at the World Superyacht Awards.

Westlake Legal Group Pier-Luigi-Loro-Piana-Getty Billionaire's luxury superyacht slips from cargo ship, goes missing at sea fox-news/world/world-regions/italy fox-news/newsedge/sports fox-news/newsedge/business fox-news/auto/attributes/luxury fox news fnc/world fnc Elizabeth Llorente ebe5bade-434f-5e78-8fa0-c719f58d176c article

CEO and co-chairman of Italian fashion group Loro Piana, Pier Luigi Loro Piana, poses in Quarona on September 8, 2013. AFP PHOTO / GIUSEPPE CACACE (Photo credit should read GIUSEPPE CACACE/AFP/Getty Images)

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GCaptain.com noted that besides being an award-winning performer in competitions, MY Song was a jewel in luxuriating circles: “The interior accommodation is for six to eight guests including the owner, the focal point being a spectacular deck saloon with hull and superstructure ports, plus skylights providing panoramic outboard views.”

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