Month: October 2020

GOP reaction to Moore accusers is appalling, predictable

first_imgThat would require them to not take his word over the accounts of four women who do not know each other and have no motivation to make any of this up.And that was not the worst of it.Alabama Republicans uttered despicable defenses of Moore:“Take Joseph and Mary. Mary was a teenager and Joseph was an adult carpenter. They became parents of Jesus,” Alabama State Auditor Jim Ziegler told The Washington Examiner.“There’s just nothing immoral or illegal here. Maybe just a little bit unusual.”Actually, the conduct described by the 14-year-old is both illegal and immoral.(It’s not clear whether the other accounts describe a crime or “just” deeply inappropriate and immoral conduct.) “If he does not and somehow manages to win we will not permit him to caucus with Republicans. No party advantage or political boost should be derived from the election of someone credibly reported to behave in this manner.“Had we known about this we would never have countenanced his run.”Instead, a slew of U.S. senators said he should leave if the allegations were “true.”This is a shameful dodge.They need to assess whether to believe Moore, who denies the charges (this from someone twice removed from the bench), or the painful, detailed recollections of his accusers. What’s it going to be, fellas? All they could do was manage to blame Stephen K. Bannon, who backed Moore.But of course, they have all endorsed Moore and now have the power to disown him. The Alabama Republican governor intends to vote for Moore but won’t endorse him.A Toronto Star reporter tweeted, “ ‘It was 40 years ago,’ Alabama Marion County GOP chair David Hall tells me. ‘I really don’t see the relevance of it. He was 32. She was supposedly 14. She’s not saying that anything happened other than they kissed.’” Hall wasn’t done, according to the reporter.“’The story said she said he tried to get her to touch his genitals.’ Hall: ‘Well, she said he may have TRIED to. But we’re talking something that somebody SAID happened, 40 years ago. It wouldn’t affect whether or not I’d vote for him.”The same reporter also recounted another response:“After a long pause, Alabama Bibb County Republican chairman Jerry Pow tells me he’d vote for Roy Moore even if Moore did commit a sex crime against a girl. ‘I would vote for Judge Moore because I wouldn’t want to vote for Doug (Jones, Moore’s Democratic opponent),’ he says. ‘I’m not saying I support what he did.’”The reporter, Daniel Dale, also documented responses from other Alabama Republicans, all vowing to back Moore. If you are sickened by this —  both the cowering from national Republicans and the repulsive defense of Moore coming from local Republicans — you must not be a GOP “tribalist.”That’s the new brand of Republican who will justify any conduct, excuse any behavior, rationalize any rhetoric, adopt any conspiracy theory and deny any evidence to protect the “tribe.”It’s nothing short of moral nihilism, not to mention disqualifying from public service.This has been a long time coming.Republicans put up with Trump calling Mexicans rapists, insulting a POW, making racist accusations against a federal judge, attacking Gold Star parents and boasting on tape about sexual abuse of women.They’ve chosen to ignore accounts from more than a dozen women who allege Trump engaged in sexually inappropriate behavior.Republicans have condoned lying, bullying and willful ignorance by a man some of them don’t trust with the authority to launch nuclear war. So would they let a few allegations of sexual exploitation of children get in the way of a Senate seat?You’ve got their answer.Let’s hope national and local Republicans reconsider their immoral and abhorrent behavior.Let’s pray they do some soul-searching about the purpose of public service and their responsibilities as human beings.If they don’t reverse course, they’ve given voters one more reason to get rid of the whole lot of them in 2018.Jennifer Rubin writes the Right Turn blog for The Washington Post, offering reported opinion from a conservative perspective. Categories: Editorial, OpinionElected Republicans generally reacted in one of two ways to The Washington Post’s deeply sourced report of one women who describes being kissed and fondled by now-GOP Senate nominee Roy Moore when she was 14 years old and reports by three other women who tell about inappropriate advances by Moore when they were teens. Tragically, one of the ways was NOT:“This is an abomination. We believe the accounts of four separate women and corroborating evidence. He must immediately withdraw from the race. More from The Daily Gazette:Foss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?EDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsEDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesEDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationEDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censuslast_img read more

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Mr. President, stop your attacks on the free press

first_imgCPJ documented 21 cases in 2017 in which journalists were jailed on “fake news” charges.Trump’s attempts to undermine the free press also make it more difficult to hold repressive governments accountable.For decades, dissidents and human rights advocates have relied on independent investigations into government corruption to further their fight for freedom.But constant cries of “fake news” undercut this type of reporting and strip activists of one of their most powerful tools of dissent.We cannot afford to abdicate America’s long-standing role as the defender of human rights and democratic principles throughout the world.Without strong leadership in the White House, Congress must commit to protecting independent journalism, preserving an open and free media environment, and defending the fundamental right to freedom of opinion and expression.We can do this by encouraging our partners and allies to review their laws and practices, including the abuse of defamation and anti-terrorism laws, to better protect press freedom and ensure that they do not unduly shrink the space for free speech. Last year, the organization documented 262 cases of journalists being imprisoned for their work.Reporters around the world face intimidation, threats of violence, harassment, persecution and sometimes even death as governments resort to brutal censorship to silence the truth.The committee’s report revealed a bleak global climate for press freedom, as more governments seek to control access to information and limit freedom of opinion and expression.They do this not only by arresting journalists but also by fostering distrust of media coverage and accusing reporters of undermining national security and pride.Governments dub the press the “enemy of the people,” weaken or eliminate their independence, and exploit the lack of serious scrutiny to encroach on individual liberties and freedoms.This assault on journalism and free speech proceeds apace in places such as Russia, Turkey,China, Egypt, Venezuela and many others.Yet even more troubling is the growing number of attacks on press freedom in traditionally free and open societies, where censorship in the name of national security is becoming more common. Britain passed a surveillance law that experts warn chills free speech, and countries from France to Germany are looking to do the same.In Malta, a prominent journalist was brutally murdered in October after uncovering systemic government corruption.In Poland, an independent news outlet was fined (later rescinded) nearly half a million dollars for broadcasting images of an anti-government protest. Unfortunately, the Trump administration’s attitude toward such behavior has been inconsistent at best and hypocritical at worst.While administration officials often condemn violence against reporters abroad, Trump continues his unrelenting attacks on the integrity of American journalists and news outlets.This has provided cover for repressive regimes to follow suit.The phrase “fake news” — granted legitimacy by an American president — is being used by autocrats to silence reporters, undermine political opponents, stave off media scrutiny and mislead citizens. Categories: Editorial, OpinionAfter leaving office, President Ronald Reagan created the Ronald Reagan Freedom Award to recognize individuals who have fought to spread liberty worldwide.Nancy Reagan continued the tradition after her husband’s death, and in 2008 she bestowed the honor on human rights icon Natan Sharansky, who credited Reagan’s strong defense of freedom for his own survival in Soviet gulags.Reagan recognized that as leader of the free world, his words carried enormous weight, and he used it to inspire the unprecedented spread of democracy around the world.President Donald Trump does not seem to understand that his rhetoric and actions reverberate in the same way.He has threatened to continue his attempt to discredit the free press by bestowing “fake news awards” upon reporters and news outlets whose coverage he disagrees with.Whether Trump knows it or not, these efforts are being closely watched by foreign leaders who are already using his words as cover as they silence and shutter one of the key pillars of democracy.According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, 2017 was one of the most dangerous years to be a journalist. We can authorize U.S. foreign assistance to support independent media outlets and programs that create greater media pluralism.We can do more to foster conditions in which freedom of expression and information can thrive, including working to change increasingly political attitudes toward journalism.And we can condemn violence against journalists, denounce censorship and support dissidents and activists as they seek to speak the truth.Ultimately, freedom of information is critical for a democracy to succeed.We become better, stronger and more effective societies by having an informed and engaged public that pushes policymakers to best represent not only our interests but also our values. Journalists play a major role in the promotion and protection of democracy and our unalienable rights, and they must be able to do their jobs freely. Only truth and transparency can guarantee freedom.Sen. John McCain, a Republican, represents Arizona in the U.S. Senate. He wrote this as a special to The Washington Post.More from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationEDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesFoss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?EDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusEDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristslast_img read more

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Letters to the Editor for Thursday, Jan. 9

first_imgCategories: Letters to the Editor, OpinionUnwanted gifts can hurt environmentDid you know that many perfectly good returned online products are actually sent directly to landfills instead of being repackaged for sale?Due to the ease of free online returns, we’re tempted to buy more than needed and then return the wrong sizes, etc.The problem is the companies then need to inspect the item for potential damage, and it’s cheaper to just throw the item away than foot the bill for inspecting the product.Did you spill on it? Did you wrinkle it? Is there hidden damage? It’s easier just to trash the item than to actually put it back on shelves.Reports in France and Germany, for example, show new items, including diapers, toys, washing machines, smartphones and furniture, are simply being destroyed.Some of the European countries are now working on banning the destruction of unsold goods.So what can we do? Be a smart consumer. Look at the company you’re supporting. How do they handle returned merchandise? Talk to them. Companies listen to their customers. Encourage them to donate and recycle returns.Some companies such as Best Buy, Dell, and REI actually sell refurbished and returned goods deeply discounted. Rethink how much you purchase. Do we need so much “stuff?” Donate or swap items instead of sending them back to the retailer. Items can find a way to a good home instead of a landfill this way.Caroline BrooksScotiaLove doesn’t justify assisting in murderIn response to Jill McGrath’s Dec. 26 letter (“Don’t discount love in assisted suicides”), my response is that her ex-husband would not qualify under the pending bill because he can no longer freely choose suicide. The legislation would have to be expanded to allow another person to request his suicide.For any person to request death for another is akin to contract murder, and the bill title should first be changed from physician-assisted suicide to physician-assisted murder.As a young child, I lived under a dictator who instigated the killing of millions of people in order to cure what he perceived to be societal ills. This must never, ever happen again. Yet, in New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s lauded abortion expansion act does exactly the same: one person can decide the killing of another innocent human life.Love of a terminally suffering person can never justify the act of killing him. The correct response is to provide care and pain-killing medicines to alleviate the pain.For heaven’s sake, we are talking about a human being here, not an injured horse being put down at the Saratoga Race Course.Wendell NeugebauerBallston SpaHonesty needed in recalling of historyKaren Cookson’s Dec. 29 essay raises the question of what making America great should look like. But I am afraid her praise of a pre-Colombian world doesn’t quite work.She describes a peaceful paradise where natives lived in harmony with nature. Nice, except any Comanche raider or warrior in the Aztec, Mayan or Inca empires would laugh at the idea of a peaceful world.Cookson asserts “once our world was at peace, rich and clean and we could ahead to a good life.” Well, no. Until a century ago, we could look forward to short, impoverished disease-filled lives with high infant mortality, famines and no way to deal with natural disasters. Living “in harmony with nature” largely means being at the mercy of nature.It helps to be honest about the past we want to recapture.David OchsePorter CornersMore from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: No chickens in city without strong regsHIGH NOTES: PPEs, fighting hunger, backpacks and supplies for kidsFoss: Schenectady Clergy Against Hate brings people togetherEDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationEDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristslast_img read more

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City praises Lewis for £173m Delancey sale

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Fidelity buys London data centre

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Playing the guessing game

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Rotch fuels £300m Shell revamp in new partnership

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Iraq confirms first novel coronavirus case

first_imgThe deaths from the COVID-19 virus in Iran were the first in the Middle East and the country’s toll is now the highest outside China, the epicentre of the outbreak.Chinese nationals have been barred from entering Iraq, despite it hosting several Chinese oil companies. Iraq also closed the only border crossing with Kuwait at Safwan, south of Basra, late Sunday evening, after Kuwait confirmed multiple COVID-19 cases.Concern has spread over social media networks in Iraq, with users expressing fears that the country cannot accomodate a coronavirus outbreak.Many hospitals in Iraq are poorly equipped or in disrepair and there are less than 10 doctors for every 10,000 people, the World Health Organization says.The novel coronavirus has spread to more than 25 countries since it emerged in December and is causing mounting alarm due to new outbreaks in Europe, the Middle East and Asia.Topics : Iraq on Monday confirmed its first novel coronavirus infection in an Iranian national studying in the southern shrine city of Najaf, health officials said.The country, whose healthcare system is run down, often hosts pilgrims and religious students from Iran, where 12 people have died since a coronavirus outbreak there was first reported last week.Iraq had blocked travel to and from the Islamic republic days before announcing a seminary student in Najaf was the country’s first confirmed case. Najaf’s provincial health authority said the Iranian national had entered “before the ban was declared”.An AFP correspondent said the man is being quarantined in a hospital in the city.The education directorate in Najaf said official mid-year exams, which had already started, would be cancelled until further notice to protect students.The governor of Salaheddin, north of Baghdad, said that non-Iraqis would not be allowed into the province ahead of a religious pilgrimage to Shiite shrines in the area planned for Tuesday.last_img read more

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Wall Street dazed and confused after worst day since 1987

first_imgDrops of 10 percent in the Dow Jones Industrial Average and 9.5 percent in the S&P 500 were the worst for both since 1987. On Oct. 19, 1987, now known as “Black Monday,” the Dow crashed 22.6 percent in its biggest ever-single day decline.Wall Street’s most recent selloff comes as countries around the world grapple with how to contain the fast-moving coronavirus and its economic effects.Read also: Time-out: IDX halts trading as shares plunge 5% The velocity and depth of the drop has shocked investors accustomed to a decade of gains on Wall Street that were interrupted by only a handful of corrections.“Fear of missing out has turned into fear of the unknown,” lamented John McClain, fixed income portfolio manager at Diamond Hill Capital Management, in Columbus, Ohio. “We haven’t seen a situation like this before.”S&P 500 bear market: Bear or almost bear markets since 1966 on average have declined 31 percent before recovering. (Reuters/Refinitiv Datastream/Yardeni Research/LPL Financial).Usage: 0 (Reuters/Refinitiv Datastream/Yardeni Research/LPL Financial)The S&P 500’s rout has left it trading at under 16 times expected earnings, its lowest level since early 2019, according to Refinitiv Datastream. But that figure offers little confidence because earnings estimates for companies are likely to fall as corporations provide more details about how badly they have been hurt by the virus that broke out in China late last year and has now spread across the globe.“With a recession all but guaranteed at this point and the S&P 500 entering bear market territory today, one question worth asking is, how much is priced in?,” Bespoke Investment Group wrote in a research note.Reflecting that uncertainty, the Cboe Volatility Index , known as Wall Street’s “fear gauge,” jumped on Thursday in its biggest-ever one-day surge.“This is not an economic problem – there are ramifications of it that are economic – but the problem is this virus and the panic it is causing,” said Tim Ghriskey, chief investment strategist at Inverness Counsel in New York. “Is the panic overdone? I would say it is definitely overdone, but that doesn’t stop people from being freaked out.”That panic spread beyond stocks, with demand for dollars via the currency derivative market surging to its highest level for years in a sign that coronavirus-induced economic stress is starting to manifest itself in a broad scramble for greenback funding.Among the victims of Wall Street’s implosion is US President Donald Trump, who touted a stunning run-up in the stock market as evidence of his success in the White House. Most of those gains have now evaporated.The Trump slump: S&P rout puts Trump further behind Obama at the same time into their presidencies. (Reuters/Refinitiv Datastream).Usage: 0 (Reuters/Refinitiv Datastream)Investors are also becoming increasingly concerned that the coronavirus outbreak will hit US corporate cash flow if it keeps workers at home or prevents companies from paying employees. Bond funds have taken a hit and companies including Boeing are drawing on credit lines.Traders expect the Federal Reserve to cut interest rates again aggressively at its policy meeting next week to counter the coronavirus. That followed the Fed’s surprise 50 basis rate cut last week, which failed to stabilize markets.“We have to see coordinated fiscal and monetary policy, as well as government,” said McClain. “People need to know there’s a plan in place. This isn’t Twitter. You have got to have details.” As trading ended on Thursday in Wall Street’s worst day for three decades, shell-shocked investors had no idea how much further the market was likely to fall as the coronavirus pandemic spread fear of a global recession.A 16-day drop of almost 27 percent in the S&P 500 has left portfolios in tatters. The suspension of professional sports games, canceled conventions and half-empty restaurants has raised fears – not about whether the longest US economic expansion on record is ending – but about how deep a now presumed recession will be.“This was worse than any day in 2008. It was worse than Sept. 11. I started in 1993 and this was the most panicked market I’ve ever seen,” said Christopher Stanton, chief investment officer at Sunrise Capital Partners LLC in San Diego. “People are just trading on conjectures stacked on additional conjectures.”center_img Topics :last_img read more

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BTN to pay Rp 20.9 billion in dividends despite profit plunge

first_imgTopics : The bank recorded a jump of bad loans in 2019 as its nonperforming loans ratio skyrocketed to 4.78 percent from 2.78 percent in 2018, nearing the 5 percent level considered healthy. Its loan loss provisions jumped 85.4 percent to Rp 6.16 trillion.Meanwhile, BTN’s costs of funds went up to 6.1 percent last year from 5.77 percent in December 2018. Its lending still grew 7.36 percent to Rp 255.82 trillion in 2019, higher than the broader banking industry’s 6.08 percent growth, the lowest since 2009.BTN’s stocks, traded on the Indonesia Stock Exchange under the code BBTN, closed at Rp 1,335 apiece on Friday, up 2.3 percent from the previous trading day. The stocks have slumped 40.67 percent in the past year, underperforming the broader benchmark Jakarta Composite Index’s 24.51 percent drop.  “Our work foundation in 2020 is to determine the direction of our company’s policy, which is to focus on improving business quality,” he said.This year, the publicly listed bank has aimed for a net profit growth of more than 90 percent year-on-year (yoy) to between Rp 2.5 trillion and Rp 3 trillion. It eyes a 6 to 8 percent growth in assets and an 8 to 10 percent expansion in loan disbursement, which will be bolstered by mortgage loans.Read also: State-owned companies promise higher dividends, stock buyback to help economyLast year, BTN’s profits plummeted by 92.5 percent to around 209.26 billion from Rp 2.8 trillion in 2018 because nonperforming loans and costs of funds rose as weak economic activities took a toll on local banks.center_img State-owned Bank Tabungan Negara (BTN) announced on Thursday a plan to distribute Rp 20.9 billion (US$1.43 million) in dividends to its shareholders despite profits plunging last year.The figure is equal to 10 percent of the bank’s profit of around Rp 209 billion in 2019, lower than last year’s dividends payout ratio of 20 percent. The government, which holds the majority stake in BTN, would receive a total of Rp 12.55 billion in dividends.Meanwhile, 90 percent of last year’s profit will be used to strengthen the bank’s capital, BTN president director Pahala Nugraha Mansury said in a press conference on Thursday.last_img read more

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