Wall Street Banks Warn Downturn Is Coming – Trending Stuff

HSBC Holdings Plc, Citigroup Inc. and Morgan Stanley see mounting evidence that global markets are in the last stage of the rallies before a downturn in the business cycle.

Analysts at the Wall Street behemoths cite signs including the breakdown of longstanding relationships between stocks, bonds and commodities in addition to investors ignoring valuation principles and data. All of it means credit and stock markets are at risk of a painful drop.

“Equities have become less correlated with FX, FX has become less correlated with prices, and everything has become less sensitive to oil,” Andrew Sheets, Morgan Stanley’s chief cross-asset strategist, wrote in a note published Tuesday.

His bank’s version shows assets throughout the world will be the least correlated in almost a decade, even after U.S. stocks joined high-yield credit in a selloff triggered this month by President Donald Trump’s political standoff with North Korea and racial violence in Virginia.

Morgan Stanley

Just like they did in the investors are pricing assets based on the risks specific to an individual safety and industry, and shrugging off broader drivers, like the latest release of manufacturing data, the model shows. As traders look to remain bullish, traditional relationships within and between asset classes tend to break down.

“These low macro and micro correlations confirm the concept that people’re in a late-cycle environment, and it’s no accident that the last time we saw readings this low was 2005-07,” Sheets wrote. He advocates boosting allocations to U.S. stocks while reducing holdings of corporate debt, where consumer intake and energy is more heavily represented.

That dynamic is also helping to keep volatility in currencies, bonds and stocks feeding risk appetite according to Morgan Stanley. Regardless of the turbulent past two weeks, the CBOE Volatility Index remains to post a year of declines.

Morgan Stanley

For Savita Subramanian, Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s head of U.S. equity and qualitative strategy, signals that investors aren’t paying much attention to earnings is another indication that the global rally may soon run out of steam. Companies that outperformed analysts & #x 2019; sales and profit quotes across 11 sectors saw no benefit from investors, according to her research.

“This absence of a reaction could be another late-cycle signal, indicating positioning and expectations more than reflect excellent results/guidance,” Subramanian wrote in a note.

Zero Alpha Beats – Bank of America Corp

Oxford Economics Ltd. macro strategist Gaurav Saroliya points to another red flag for U.S. equity bulls. Non-financial companies after inflation’s gross value-added — a measure of the value of merchandise after adjusting for the costs of production — is negative on a basis.

“The cycle of actual profits has turned enough to be a possible source of concern in the four quarters,&#x201D. “That, together with the most expensive equity valuations among major markets, should stress investors in U.S. stocks. ”

The thinking goes that a classic late-cycle growth — an economy with full employment and slowing momentum — tends to see a decrease in corporate profit margins. The U.S. is in the mature stage of the cycle — 80 percent of conclusion since the previous trough — based on margin patterns going back to the 1950s, according to Societe Generale SA.

After finishing credit markets are overheated, HSBC’s global head of fixed-income research, Steven Major, told clients to cut holdings of European corporate bonds earlier this month. Premiums don’t compensate investors for the prospect of liquidity risks, capital losses as well as an increase according to Major.

Citigroup analysts say markets are on the cusp of entering a summit in front of a recession that pushes on bonds and stocks into a bear market.

Spreads may widen in the coming months thanks and as investors fret over company leverage that is elevated, they compose.  But, stocks are anticipated to rally further partly due to buybacks, the strategists conclude.

“Bubbles are common in these equity Citigroup analysts led by Robert Buckland said in a note Friday.

Read more: http://www.bloomberg.com/

Deadly Barcelona attack is worst in a day of violence in Spain – Trending Stuff

(CNN)Spain saw one of its most violent times in recent memory for a spate of incidents around the country seemed to be connected to a terror attack Thursday in Barcelona that left 13 people dead and more than 100 injured.

Also Thursday, two police officers in Barcelona were hurt when they were hit by a car, but police were unsure if that was related to the other incidents.

The deadly events started in the morning with a van plowing through crowds on the renowned Las Ramblas avenue, a popular tourist section of Barcelona. Authorities said of the 80 people taken to hospitals, 15 were hurt.

As police searched for the van driver, Spain’s Prime Minister called it an act of “jihadi terrorism.”

Here are the newest developments in a tragic day:

Two suspects — one from Morocco, one by the Spanish enclave of Melilla — were arrested in connection with the Barcelona assault, Catalan Police Chief Josep Lluis Trapero said.

One suspect in the Barcelona assault is on the run. “The driver abandoned the van and escaped from the area,” Trapero stated.

About 115 kilometers to the southwest, there was a second attack early Friday. Catalan police tweeted that five suspected terrorists were killed in Cambrils. Emergency officials said a police officer and six civilians were injured.

One person was killed in an explosion in a home in Alcanar, around 200 kilometers (120 miles) southwest of Barcelona.

Catalan authorities said early Friday they’re “working under the hypothesis that the terrorists taken down in Cambrils were related to the events that took place in Barcelona and Alcanar.”

A motorist ran over two police officers at a security checkpoint at Barcelona, authorities said, and the driver was located close to the city. Both officers did not require hospital treatment and suffered minor injuries, authorities said. It was uncertain whether that incident was related to the terror attack.

ISIS’ media wing, Amaq, said the perpetrators of the Barcelona attack were “soldiers of the Islamic State.” However, ISIS has not explicitly claimed responsibility.

The Barcelona attack was one of the most deadly in Spain since more than 190 people were killed in a March 2004 attack against commuter trains.

Another witness who was hiding in a shop nearby heard gunshots, according to state-run broadcaster TVE24. A third said he saw a van driving “around 80” kph, or 50 mph. He said “there is no doubt it was intentional,” according to TVE24.

Ali Shirazinia, who was cycling alongside Las Ramblas at the time, told CNN he heard “a lot of screams” and saw the crowds split along the busy promenade.

Then he heard what sounded like the driver flooring the accelerator and saw a white van with blue markings come hurtling down the street. “It literally came right down the Ramblas and ran to people on every side,” he said.

“The Ramblas is full of pedestrians, street merchants, street performers, and I saw people flying into the air and everyone was running to the shops on both sides of the Ramblas, a great deal of people were shocked.”

Tourist Susan McClean told CNN she saw a “tidal wave” of people running away from Las Ramblas after the incident.

She ducked into a nearby shop and the shutters were pulled down while police sped toward the scene.

“There was clearly a great deal of distress,” she said.

McClean said she returned to her hotel one street away after leaving the shop.

Two arrests, one deadly explosion

Two suspects who were arrested were taken into custody hundreds of kilometers apart.

One suspect was arrested in Alcanar, around 200 kilometers (120 miles) southwest of Barcelona.

Also in Alcanar, one person was killed in an explosion at a house, Trapero said, adding that incident was connected to the Barcelona attack. But Trapero didn’t say whether the arrest and explosion were tied to each other.

He did say the victim is Spanish and was not on police radar.

The other Barcelona suspect was arrested in Ripoll, about 110 kilometers (68 miles) north of Barcelona and 300 kilometers (186 miles) from Alcanar.

Government officials respond

The Catalan regional government said it was holding an emergency meeting to discuss the incident.

To facilitate police operations, the Catalan emergency services urged people via Twitter to avoid going out or undertaking any other type of movement that was not “strictly required.”

The Spanish royal family tweeted: “They are assassins, simply criminals who are not going to terrorize us. All of Spain is Barcelona. Las Ramblas will return to be everyone’s.”

The Union of Islamic Communities of Catalonia expressed “condemnation and repulse” for the Barcelona attack.

“Faced with this criminal fact, the marriage of Islamic communities in Catalonia reiterates its full commitment to the fight against any kind of terrorism, and it is expected that those responsible for these attacks may be detained and brought before the courts as early as possible,” its statement said.

Barcelona officials ordered all public events to be canceled, and metro and train stations in the area were closed.

NATO chief: We stand united

World leaders were quick to voice their condemnation of the attack and offer support to Barcelona via Twitter.

“My thoughts are with all those affected. We stand united in the fight against terrorism,” said NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.

US President Donald Trump said: “The United States condemns the terror attack in Barcelona, Spain, and will do whatever is necessary to help. Be tough & strong, we adore you!”

London Mayor Sadiq Khan also gave his support, saying: “London stands with Barcelona against the evil of terrorism.”

German Chancellor Angela Merkel called the attack in Barcelona “revolting,” her spokesman tweeted. “We are mourning the victims of this disgusting assault in Barcelona — in solidarity and friendship side by side with the Spanish.”

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker branded the Barcelona attack “cowardly,” adding: “We shall never be cowed by such barbarism.”

Las Ramblas is a predominantly pedestrianized street popular among tourists in Barcelona. Extending for about three-quarters of a mile through the center of the city, the tree-lined street is especially crowded in the summer, the height of tourist season.

The promenade passes by kiosks, flower sellers, pavement cafes and bars. It includes a number of the city’s most popular sites.

Read more: http://edition.cnn.com/

Categories CNN

Microsoft Paint to be killed off after 32 years – Trending Stuff

Graphics editing program has been marked for death

Microsofts next Windows 10 update, called the Autumn (or Fall in the US) Creators Update, will bring a variety of new features. But one long-standing stalwart of the Windows experience has been placed on the chopping block: Microsoft Paint.

First launched with the very first version of Windows 1.0 in 1985, Paint in its various guises would be among the first graphics editors employed by many and became a core component of Windows. Beginning life as a 1-bit monochrome licensed version of ZSofts PC Paintbrush, it wasnt until Windows 98 which Paint can save in JPEG.

With the Windows 10 Creators Update, published in April, Microsoft introduced the new Paint 3D, which is installed alongside traditional Paint and features 3D image making tools as well as some simple 2D image editing. But it isn’t an update to first Paint and doesnt act like it.

Now Microsoft has announced that, alongside Outlook Express, Reader app and Reading list, Microsoft Paint has been signalled for death having been added to the features that are removed or deprecated in Windows 10 Fall Creators Update list.

Paint
Paint 3D. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs for the Guardian

Falling under the deprecated column for apps that aren’t in active development and might be removed in future releases, Microsoft Paints ticket has been called and now its only a matter of time before it is removed like your favorite piece of old furniture from the childhood home.

Paint was never among the most capable apps, and was limited to the bitmap (BMP) and PCX formats before 1998, but if you wanted to scribble something out with your mouse or create a quick cut and paste job, Paint was always there, even on work computers.

The latest version of Paint for Windows 7 and afterwards was much improved, but still considered attribute poor in comparison to other free alternatives such as the third-party Paint.NET.

When Microsoft Paint will be removed from Windows has not yet been confirmed, even though a date for the release of the Windows 10 Autumn Creators Update is equally up in the atmosphere. Whether, like Clippy, Windows users will observe or decry Paints elimination, it will be a moment in the history of Windows as one of its longest-standing apps is put out to pasture.

Read more: http://www.theguardian.com/us

State Department issues travel warning for Mexico – Trending Stuff

The U.S. Department of State issued a travel warning Tuesday for Americans traveling to certain parts of Mexico.

The advisory warns citizens to avoid traveling to certain locations due to criminal activity.

Areas like Baja California Sur, where the popular tourist destination Cabo San Lucas is, and Quintana Roo, where Cancun and Riviera Maya are located, have seen a spike in homicide rates this year.

“U.S. citizens are the victims of violent crimes, including homicide, kidnapping, carjacking, and robbery in various Mexican states,” the travel advisory states. The advisory notes tourist destinations and that resort areas in the country don’t have the same level of crime and violence .

NAACP ISSUES OFFICIAL STATEWIDE TRAVEL WARNING FOR ‘RACIST’ MISSOURI

The note adds that “gun battles between rival criminal organizations or with Mexican authorities have happened on streets and in public places during broad daylight,” but that there’s no evidence to show criminal groups in Mexico have targeted Americans based on their nationality.

U.S. citizens traveling may come across government checkpoints, operated by military personnel or law enforcement officials, but in a few areas, criminal organizations have established their own “unauthorized checkpoints” and have murdered or abducted those who harbor’t ceased at them. The warning says that Americans “should cooperate at all checkpoints. ”

The advisory follows a March warning that cautioned U.S. college students from traveling to Mexico during spring break.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/

One year into the FBI’s Russia investigation, Mueller is on the Trump money trail – Trending Stuff

In response to this CNN story, the President’s attorney, Jay Sekulow, said, “President’s outside counsel has not received any requests for documentation or advice relating to this. Any query from the special counsel that goes beyond the mandate specified in the appointment we would object to.”

In 2015, the FBI began investigating cyber breaches targeting US political organizations, including the Democratic National Committee.

In the summer of 2016, US intelligence agencies noticed a spate of curious contacts between Trump campaign associates and suspected Russian intelligence, according to current and former US officials briefed on the investigation. James Comey, in his Senate testimony, said the FBI opened an investigation into Trump campaign-Russia connections in July 2016. The strands of the two investigations began to merge.

In the months that followed, investigators turned up intercepted communications appearing to show efforts by Russian operatives to coordinate with Trump associates on damaging Hillary Clinton’s election prospects, officials said. CNN has learned those communications included references to campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

A year later, the FBI is reviewing financial records related to the Trump Organization, as well as Trump, his family members, including Donald Trump Jr., and campaign associates. They’ve combed through the list of shell companies and buyers of Trump-branded real estate properties and scrutinized the roster of tenants at Trump Tower reaching back more than a half-dozen years. They’ve looked at the backgrounds of Russian business associates connected to Trump surrounding the 2013 Miss Universe pageant. CNN could not determine whether the review has included his tax returns.

In recent weeks, investigators have also started looking into the June 2016 meeting in Trump Tower and how the White House responded to news of that meeting. The session included Trump Jr., Manafort, Trump’s senior adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner, and a Russian attorney.

Trump has denied any collusion and maintains that his business empire has “no involvement with Russia” and that he has “no loans, no nothing” from Russia. His lawyers have detailed a few exceptions, including the Miss Universe pageant he held in Moscow and the Florida mansion he sold to a Russian oligarch in 2008. Trump earned more than $100 million from those deals, according to his lawyers.

“This is similar to any investigation,” says one person briefed on the probe. “You start at the core and then proceed into the periphery. You need to learn more about the finances. Where this is going is no different from any investigation.”

The Mueller Team

Since his appointment in May, Mueller has quietly gathered a team of more than three dozen attorneys, investigators and other staff in a nondescript office in Washington. Officials familiar with the probe describe it as akin to a small US attorney’s office, with FBI agents and prosecutors assigned to separate groups looking into various aspects of the investigation.

These include groups of investigators and lawyers focused separately on Russian collusion and obstruction of justice, as well as the investigations focused on Manafort and former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, according to a US official briefed on the investigation. Some of the investigators have been pulled from field offices across the country to join the Mueller team in Washington. Others left high-paying jobs at law firms. Many of the investigators have backgrounds in investigating fraud and financial crimes. There are 16 attorneys assigned to the probe, according to a spokesman for Mueller.
The appointment of Mueller as special counsel has drawn the ire of Trump and his loyalists, who claim that the team has conflicts of interest. Trump has tweeted about the “witch hunt” more than a dozen times since Mueller was appointed. Some members of the team previously contributed to Democratic campaigns.

Mueller reports to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, but there’s a measure of separation from Justice Department headquarters to keep the probe independent.

CNN has learned some of the investigators involved in the probe are buying liability insurance out of concern they could become targets of lawsuits from those who are being investigated, according to one of the people familiar with the probe. The Justice Department covers legal fees for employees sued in the course of their duties, but some of the lawyers want extra protection.

The Justice Department and special counsel’s office both declined to comment on the liability concerns.

Bait and Switch

The possible financial ties between Trump and Russia were part of the concerns for US intelligence and law enforcement officials from the beginning, according to one current law enforcement official and one former US intelligence official.

Over the decades, the Trump real estate business and its financial dealings have come under scrutiny by the FBI and the Justice Department multiple times.
In some cases, the FBI was pursuing others who did business with the Trump organization, including alleged mobsters who controlled key contractors used by many real estate developers in New York during the 1980s. The flow of Russian money in real estate — and concerns that some buyers were making the purchases to illegally launder money — had also drawn some attention by US authorities to the Trump business.

The international real estate business is a part of the global economy where foreigners can still use cash with fewer questions asked about the sources of money. Terrorism financing concerns long ago put more stringent rules on banking and other businesses. But the rules are looser in the business of buying and selling high-end real estate, US officials say.

Investigators are looking both at whether financial laws were broken and whether there are any dealings that could put the President or his associates in a compromising position.

“There’s always been a concern about his exposure to blackmail in his financial dealings,” says the person briefed on the investigation.

Trump has repeatedly insisted that he has no enduring financial ties to Russian interests.

But some of the people who are now under scrutiny by Mueller see a bait and switch. Instead of collusion, many believe the Mueller probe will instead end up being about past financial troubles.

“They launch an investigation into collusion in the election,” says one person whose client is among those being scrutinized by the Mueller investigators. “Then they go after people because of old business matters that have nothing to do with collusion.”

Missing Links

Even at the FBI, there’s a measure of frustration over the investigation.

After a highly contentious year investigating Hillary Clinton’s private email servers and being accused of swinging the election against her, the FBI finds itself again where officials tried not to be: amid a politically treacherous investigation that has hobbled a new President.

Worse yet, some FBI officials fear the question of whether there was any criminal coordination or collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia may never be answered.

One challenge is that tantalizing pieces of intelligence are missing key links because they did not develop long enough for investigators to determine their significance. These include intercepts monitored by US intelligence that showed suggestions of illegal coordination but nothing overt.

Those missing links mean that the FBI and Mueller’s prosecution team may not have enough evidence to bring charges related to possible illegal coordination with a foreign intelligence service. Instead, prosecutors could pursue financial crime charges unrelated to the election.

Investigators also face a big hurdle: those participating in the intercepted communications were foreigners, outside the reach of the FBI, who may be exaggerating or lying about events.

Some FBI officials also blame media coverage dating back to last summer for prompting some communications to cease, and making it more difficult for investigators to monitor the interactions of Russians and campaign associates.

Scrambling to react

By last July when Russian intelligence began releasing troves of stolen emails from the Democratic National Committee, the FBI had been aware of the DNC intrusion about a year.

Until the stolen emails were weaponized in their release via WikiLeaks and the Russian intelligence’s own site DCLeaks, intelligence and law enforcement officials believed the cyber-intrusion was an intelligence-gathering effort, like many of those that occurred before past elections.

Over the next four months, the Obama administration officials and law enforcement and intelligence agencies debated how to respond.

“You had a government that didn’t want to appear heavy-handed” in favor of Hillary Clinton, one senior former US official involved in investigation said.

At the White House, Obama officials scrambled last summer for a strategy on how to respond to what they already knew were Russian actions, well before the administration was willing to point the finger publicly.

Michael Daniel, the White House cyber-security coordinator, ordered staff in August to draw up a list of possible retaliatory measures, according to a former administration official briefed on the matter. These included planting malware in Russian infrastructure that could be activated if the Russian actions escalated, according to the former official.

But shortly after Daniel gave the order, White House officials raised other concerns. Top officials including Susan Rice, national security adviser, and Lisa Monaco, homeland security adviser, led efforts by the White House to make sure the government could prevent any move by Russian intelligence to tamper with the voting infrastructure and sow chaos on Election Day.

Daniel, in an interview, declined to discuss specifics about measures considered in response, because much of the information remains classified. But he said one top concern for White House officials was “it not appear we were trying to be partisan in what we were doing.”

The partisan concerns were exacerbated by interactions between the White House and congressional leaders. Monaco traveled to Capitol Hill to try to get top leaders of both parties to send a letter to state governors to urge shoring up of their defenses of election infrastructure. But they were rebuffed by Republican leaders, who viewed the request as partisan, according to current and former officials briefed on the discussions.

Daniel told CNN he and his cyber-response group worked quietly, reducing the number of people allowed in meetings to avoid leaks. “We didn’t have to do the Russians work for them,” Daniel said. “We needed to create diplomatic options first, and we [put] the alternatives on the back-burner.”

After the election, the Obama administration unveiled a series of measures, including expulsion of diplomats and seizure of Russian diplomatic compounds allegedly used for espionage. The technical staff also released a trove of information on Russian cyber-intrusion techniques and malware that current and former officials say forced the Russians to spend time and money coming up with new methods.

Four Targets

Even before Mueller was appointed, FBI investigators focused on four Trump associates: Paul Manafort, former campaign chairman, Michael Flynn, former national security adviser, Carter Page, cited by Trump as a national security adviser, and Roger Stone, a Trump friend and supporter who openly engaged with hackers calling themselves Guccifer 2.0, which US intelligence says was an online persona created as a cover for Russian intelligence agents.

The approach to the Manafort and Flynn probes may offer a template for how investigators’ focus on potential financial crimes might help gain leverage and collaboration in the investigation.

CNN has learned that investigators became more suspicious when they turned up intercepted communications that US intelligence agencies gathered among suspected Russian operatives discussing their attempts to work with Manafort, who served as campaign chairman for three months, to coordinate information that could damage Hillary Clinton’s election prospects, the US officials say. The suspected operatives relayed what they claimed were conversations with Manafort, encouraging help from the Russians.

Manafort faces possible real troubles from the probe, according to former and current officials. Decades of conducting business with overseas regimes with reputations for corruption, from the Philippines to Ukraine, had led to messy finances.
The focus now for investigators is if Manafort was involved in money laundering or tax violations in his business dealings with pro-Russia parties in Ukraine. He’s also been drawn into a related investigation of his son-in-law’s property business dealings, some of which he spent in.

Manafort has not been accused of any wrongdoing.

In response to questions about CNN’s reporting, his spokesman, Jason Maloni, says it “is becoming increasingly apparent that there was no collusion between the campaign and the Russian government.”

Flynn drew suspicions in late 2016 when US spy agencies collecting the communications of Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak found Flynn, the incoming national security adviser, discussing the subject of US sanctions on Russia. This appeared to contradict White House claims that Flynn hadn’t discussed sanctions in his talks with Kislyak.

On January 24, Andrew McCabe, then the deputy FBI director, called Flynn in his White House office. He told the lieutenant general that he sent a few FBI agents to discuss a matter according to individuals. Flynn spoke to McCabe with no attorney present.

At the FBI, the decision to approach Flynn was debated in the highest levels, such as by Comey, according to sources familiar with those discussions. FBI officials considered the visit by representatives a “duty to warn” matter, a not-uncommon effort by the FBI to warn a US official that foreign spies could be trying to target them.

The representatives asked Flynn about the Kislyak calls, in part out of concern that Flynn could be vulnerable to blackmail over the content of the conversations. Flynn gave a wobbly explanation of events. The sanctions discussions were denied by him, then later claimed he couldn’t remember.

Despite the conflicting accounts, FBI investigators have leaned against seeking charges over the Kislyak discussions. The investigators do not consider Flynn’s answers to be intentionally dishonest.

Flynn’s lawyers have criticized media reports about his connection to the Russia investigation as peddling “unfounded allegations” and “outrageous claims.”

More troublesome for Flynn, researchers have focused on his lobbying work for the Turkish authorities, which the former Defense Intelligence Agency chief did not initially disclose as required by legislation. Flynn’s lawyers have since retroactively registered his lobbying.

Page had become the subject of a secret intelligence surveillance warrant because 2014, sooner than had been previously reported, US officials briefed on the probe told CNN.

When data emerged last summer indicating that the Russians were attempting to cultivate Page as a approach to acquire an entre into the Trump campaign, the FBI renewed its interest in him. Originally, FBI counterintelligence investigators saw the campaign as potential victims being targeted by Russian intelligence.

Page denies working with any Russians within the Kremlin’s election meddling, though he admits interacting with some Russians throughout the campaign.

Stone denies collusion and says his conversations with Guccifer 2.0, which he since posted on the internet, were innocuous.

Categories CNN

US government demands details on all visitors to anti-Trump protest website – Trending Stuff

Privacy advocates call warrant for IP addresses of 1.3 million people who visited inauguration protest website an fishing expedition

The US government is seeking to unmask every person who visited an anti-Trump website in is an fishing expedition for dissidents.

The warrant appears to be an escalation of the Department of Justices (DoJ) campaign against anti-Trump activities, including the harsh prosecution of inauguration day protesters.

On 17 July, the DoJ served a website-hosting company, DreamHost, with a search warrant for each and every bit of information it owned which was related to a website which was used to coordinate protests during Donald Trumps inauguration. The warrant covers the people who own and run the site, but also seeks to get the IP addresses of 1.3 million people who visited it, as well as the date and time of the visit and information about what browser or operating system they employed.

The website, www.disruptj20.org, was utilized to coordinate protests and civil disobedience on 20 January, when Trump was inaugurated.

This case and this particular warrant are prosecutorial overreach with a department of justice under [Attorney General Jeff] Sessions, said Chris Ghazarian, general counsel for DreamHost. You should be concerned for visiting a website that anybody should be targeted.

The warrant was made public Monday, when DreamHost announced its plans to challenge the government in court. The DoJ declined to comment. A hearing is scheduled for Friday.

The government has aggressively prosecuted activists detained during the 20 January protests in Washington DC. In April, the US attorneys office in Washington DC filed a single indictment charging over 217 people with identical crimes, including felony rioting.

Ghazarian said that DreamHost provided the authorities when it obtained a grand jury subpoena after the protests happened. However, the government came back in July with the broader search warrant.

Were a gatekeeper between the authorities and tens of thousands of people who visited the website and the website, said Ghazarian. We want to keep them protected.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation, which has been advising DreamHost, characterized the warrant as unconstitutional and a fishing expedition.

I cant conceive of a justification other than casting your net attorney Mark Rumold told the Guardian.

Logs of IP addresses dont uniquely identify users, but they link back to specific addresses if no tools are utilised to mask it.

What they would be getting is a list of everyone who has ever been interested in seeing what went on in the protests or attending those protests and thats the aspect. Its a step after you’ve got the list to join the IP address to someones identity, he said.

While the content of a site is illegal such as pirated movies or child abuse imagery wide-reaching warrants for user data are occasionally issued, but speech is seldom prohibited.

This [the website] is first amendment advocacy advocacy’s sort promote and the first amendment was created to protect, Rumold added. Frankly Im glad DreamHost is currently pushing back on it.

Its not the first time that the US government has sought to unmask people protesting against Trump or his policies.

In March this year, Customs and Border Protection (CBP), a branch of the homeland security department, ordered Twitter to deliver the phone number, mailing addresses and IP addresses associated with @ALT_USCIS, an account which purported to convey the views of dissenters within the government.

The accounts, whose username is a reference to the US Citizenship and Immigration Services, is one of dozens of Twitter accounts established after Trump was inaugurated. The unverified accounts claimed to provide an uncensored view of civil servants who disagreed with Trumps policies.

To protect the identity of the person running the accounts, Twitter launched a lawsuit against the Trump administration, arguing that it would have a grave chilling effect on the address of that account in particular and the many other alternative agency accounts which have been made to voice dissent to government policies.

After public outcry over the administrations overreach, CBP dropped the request.

Read more: http://www.theguardian.com/us

US federal department is censoring use of term ‘climate change’, emails reveal – Trending Stuff

Firefighters battle a wildfire in California. Photograph: Noah Berger/AP

In her email to staff, dated 16 February this year, Moebius-Clune said the new language was given to her staff and indicates it be passed on. She writes that we wont change the modeling, just how we talk about it there are a lot of benefits to putting carbon back in the sail [sic], climate mitigation is only one of them, and that a colleague from USDAs public affairs team gave advice to tamp down on discretionary messaging right now.

In contrast to these contentious climate conditions, Moebius-Clune wrote that references to economic development, emerging business opportunities in the rural US, agro-tourism and aesthetics should be tolerated if not valued by all.

In a separate email to senior employees on 24 January, only days after Trumps inauguration, Jimmy Bramblett, deputy chief for programs at the NRCS, said: It is now clear one of the previous administrations priority is not consistent with that of the incoming government. That priority is climate change. Please visit with your staff and make them aware of the change in perspective within the executive branch.

Bramblett said the agencys work on air quality regarding these gases could be discontinued and added when talking greenhouse gases that prudence should be used.

Emails show the talks between staff unsure of what is forbidden. On 16 February, a staffer called Tim Hafner write to Bramblett: I would like to know correct conditions I need to use instead of climate fluctuations and anything related to carbon … I want to ensure to integrate correct terminology that the agency has approved to use.

On 5 April, Suzanne Baker, a New York-based NRCS employee, emailed a query as to whether staff are permitted to publish work from outside the USDA that use climate change. A colleague advises that the issue be determined in a telephone call.

Some staff werent enamored with one worker stating within an email on 5 July that we would rather keep the language as is and stressing the need to maintain the scientific integrity of their work.

In a statement, USDA said that on 23 January it had issued operating procedures outlining procedures to ensure the new policy team has an opportunity to review statements, laws, budgets and regulations .

The statement added: This guidance, similar to procedures issued by previous administrations, was misinterpreted by some to cover scientific publications and data. This was not the case and USDA interim procedures will allow complete information for the new policy staff reviewing policy decisions.

Kaveh Sadeghzadeh of the Natural Resources Conservation Service added that his organisation hasn’t received direction from USDA or the government to modify its communications on some other topic or climate change.

Trump has questioned the veracity of climate change research suggesting that it’s part of an elaborate Chinese hoax. The president has started the process of withdrawing the US in the Paris climate arrangement, has instructed the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to scrap or amend various regulations aimed at cutting greenhouse gases, and has transferred to open up more public land and waters to fossil fuel activity.

The nomenclature of the federal government has also shifted as these new priorities have taken hold. Mentions of the dangers of climate change have been eliminated from the websites of the White House and the Department of the Interior, while the EPA scrapped its entire online climate division in April pending a review that will be upgrading language to reflect the approach of new leadership.

The series of emails. Before the emails were released some components were redacted. The Guardian has additional redacted phone numbers, and highlighted passages.

These records reveal Trumps active censorship of science in the title of his political agenda, said Meg Townsend, open government lawyer at the Center for Biological Diversity.

To think that agency staff who report about soil, water and the air that sustains the health of our state must conform their coverage with the Trump administrations anti-science rhetoric is appalling and dangerous to America and the larger international community.

The Center for Biological Diversity is currently suing several government agencies, including the EPA and state department, to induce them to release information.

Although a few of these changes to government websites may have occurred the emails from within the USDA are the clearest sign that staff have been instructed to steer clear of acknowledging climate change or its myriad impacts.

US agriculture is a major source of gases, with 15 percent of the countrys emissions. A USDA plan to deal with the far reaching impacts of climate change is still online.

However, Sam Clovis, Trumps nomination are the USDAs chief scientist, has labeled climate research junk science.

Last week it was revealed that Clovis, who’s not a scientist, once ran a blog where he called progressives race traders and race traitors and likened Barack Obama to a communist.

Trump Abandons Plan for Council on Infrastructure – Trending Stuff

President Donald Trump won’t proceed with a planned Advisory Council on Infrastructure, a person familiar with the matter said Thursday.

The infrastructure council, which was being formed, would have informed Trump on his plan to invest up to $1 trillion upgrading roads, bridges and other public works. Its cancellation follows Trump&#x2019 announcement Wednesday that he had been disbanding two business panels.

Corporate chief executive officers this week had begun to stop both the American Manufacturing Council and the Strategic and Policy Forum in protest over Trump’s opinions that appeared to confer legitimacy on white supremacists after a violent rally Aug. 12 in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Trump had tapped New York developers Richard LeFrak and Steven Roth, whom he described as friends, to direct the infrastructure panel, which he created by an executive order on July 19. But he had not announced any formal appointments to it. Through a spokeswoman, LeFrak declined to comment. Roth didn’t respond to a request for comment.

The council, which was supposed to have no more than 15 members representing property, finance, labour and other sectors, was developed to study and make recommendations to the president concerning delivery, support and the funding of infrastructure projects.

Trump reignited controversy to the violence in Charlottesville during a press conference on Tuesday that was supposed to be about his infrastructure plans.

He signed an executive order this week that’s meant to accelerate the review and permitting process for major building projects. While announcing that arrangement at Trump Tower in New York, the president took questions from reporters and repeated his stance that the white-supremacist groups were to blame.

Amid outcry over his opinions, Trump announced on Twitter that he disbanded both CEO councils.

Trump’s Timetable

The effects of scuttling the infrastructure panel wasn’t clear. Gary Cohn, Trump’s top economic adviser, told reporters Tuesday that the administration hopes to obtain an infrastructure bill approved. An unwritten tax bill goes first, Cohn said, with the aim of passing it by Thanksgiving. An infrastructure bill could start in the House as soon as a tax measure moves from the House to the Senate, he said.

Trump had lauded with the input of private-sector builders in delivering his infrastructure plan. He called out LeFrak of the LeFrak Organization and Roth, chairman of Vornado Realty Trust, during a June 7 speech in Cincinnati as part of the White House’s “infrastructure week” to praise their participation.

“Make sure #x 2019 & it;s going to come in under budget, on time, maybe even ahead of schedule,” Trump said during the speech.

The administration has said it plans to get details on its infrastructure plan this fall but has signaled the approach is to allocate $200 billion in federal dollars on rural and “transformational” projects within 10 years and on incentives for states, localities, and the private sector to spend $800 billion.

Read more: http://www.bloomberg.com/

Glen Campbell dead at 81 – Trending Stuff

Country music superstar Glen Campbell has died at age 81, Fox News has learned.

His family declared, “It is with the heaviest of hearts that we announce the passing of our beloved husband, father, grandfather, and legendary singer and guitarist, Glen Travis Campbell, at the age of 81, following his long and courageous battle with Alzheimer’s disease.”  

The star’s publicist confirmed that he died Tuesday morning in Nashville. The legend behind hits including Wichita Lineman” and “By the Time I Get to Phoenix” recently released his final studio album. He was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease six years ago.

He won five Grammys, sold more than 45 million records, had 12 gold albums and 75 chart hits, including No. 1 songs with “Rhinestone Cowboy” and “Southern Nights.”

His performance of the title song from “True Grit,” a 1969 release in which he played a Texas Ranger alongside Oscar winner John Wayne, received an Academy Award nomination. He twice won album of the year awards from the Academy of Country Music and was voted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2005. Seven years later, he received a Grammy for lifetime achievement.

He released more than 70 of his own albums, and in the 1990s recorded a series of gospel CDs. A 2011 farewell album, “Ghost On the Canvas,” included contributions from Jacob Dylan, Rick Nielsen of Cheap Trick and Billy Corgan of Smashing Pumpkins

“Glens skills to play, sing and remember songs started to rapidly decline after his diagnosis in 2011,” the singer’s wife Kim Campbell said in a press release in April. “A feeling of urgency climbed to get him to the studio one last time to capture what magic was left. It was now or never.”

Campbell revealed he had Alzheimer’s disease in 2011, but he went on to record two albums and play more than 150 concerts. At the time, Kim Campbell said the tour was a way to help her husband combat the brain-ravaging disease and spend time with family members who made up his band and traveled with him. 

He also starred in a documentary about life with Alzheimer’s, “Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me.” He won a Grammy for his song “I’m Not Gonna Miss You,” which plays at the conclusion of the documentary. The song also was nominated for a 2015 Oscar.

His wife revealed in March that the singer could no longer play guitar or sing.

In an interview in April, Kim Campbell said, “Faith has always been the central part of our relationship. Im so pleased that as Glen has entered the later stages of the illness, its evident that he has retained his comprehension of God. That really comforts me to know that he has that sense of Gods presence in his life, that hes not alone.”

He was married four times and had eight children. As he would confide in painful detail, Campbell suffered for his fame and made others suffer as well. He drank heavily, used drugs and indulged in a turbulent relationship with country singer Tanya Tucker in the early 1980s.

The music legend is survived by his wife, Kim, their three children, Cal, Shannon and Ashley; his children from previous marriages, Debby, Kelli, Travis, Kane, and Dillon; 10 grandchildren, great and great-great-grandchildren; sisters Barbara, Sandra, and Jane; and brothers John Wallace “Shorty” and Gerald.

In late 2003, he was arrested near his home in Phoenix after causing a minor traffic accident. He later pleaded guilty to “extreme” DUI and leaving the scene of an accident and served a 10-day sentence.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/

Navy continues search for sailors, wants answers after collision – Trending Stuff

(CNN)As search teams continued Tuesday to look for 10 American sailors missing after a Navy warship collided with a commercial tanker east of Singapore — the latest in a series of similar incidents in the Pacific — the US defense brass wants answers.

Following the collision Monday between the USS John S. McCain, a guided-missile destroyer, and the merchant vessel, Defense Secretary James Mattis said he supports the decision by Adm. John Richardson, chief of naval operations, to conduct a “comprehensive review” of recent US Navy collisions.

The aim will be “to determine any of the causal factors, to determine what’s going on — both immediate contributors to this incident but also any related factors.”

The US 7th Fleet said search efforts are being focused on an area east of the Straits of Malacca and Singapore.

Monday’s crash marked the fourth time this year a US warship has been involved in an accident in Asian waters.

Richardson said in a Facebook statement that he has asked Adm. Phil Davidson, commander of US Fleet Forces Command, to take charge of the investigation, which will include a review of “the process by which we train and certify our forces that are forward-deployed in Japan to make sure that we’re doing everything we can to make them ready for operations and war fighting.”

The probe will also examine operational tempo and “trends in personnel, materiel, maintenance and equipment,” he said. “It will also include a review of how we train and certify our surface warfare community, including tactical and navigational proficiency.”

Richardson said there is no indication at this time that the incident was caused by cyberintrusion or sabotage, but the review will consider all possibilities.

“We are looking at every possibility so we are not leaving anything to chance there,” he said.

‘Forceful action’

Richardson is ordering a one-day pause in operations, allowing fleet leaders and commanders to take measures to “ensure safe and effective operations around the world,” he said.

“This is the second collision in three months and is the last in a series of incidents in the Pacific theater. This trend demands more forceful action,” Richardson said.

The pause is a one-day safety stand-down that will be done on a rotational basis over the course of a couple of weeks, at the discretion of individual commands, a source told CNN.

“The emphasis of that is really to take a look at the fundamentals, at the unit and team level, to make sure that we are not overlooking anything … the basic seamanship, airmanship, those sorts of things: teamwork, how we do business on the bridge, the fundamentals,” Richardson told reporters on Monday.

“We want to do this pretty briskly. My direction will be about a week we should execute all of this, and then we’ll roll those up and capture any lessons learned and roll those back out,” he said.

The 7th Fleet said the McCain collided with the merchant vessel Alnic MC while the destroyer was making its way to a port in Singapore. The collision was reported at 5:24 a.m. local time, east of the Malacca Strait, one of the world’s most congested shipping routes.

The Navy reported significant hull damage to the McCain, saying there was flooding in berthing compartments as well as machinery and communication rooms.

After the accident, President Donald Trump arrived at the White House on Marine One and told reporters of the collision, “That’s too bad.” He and Vice President Mike Pence also tweeted that their thoughts and prayers were with the sailors aboard the destroyer.

Sen. John McCain joined them and thanked the rescue crews for their service. The destroyer is named for the senator’s father and grandfather, both of whom were Navy admirals. The senator was a captain in the Navy.

Pacific naval impact

The collision comes at a time of high tensions in the Pacific.

The McCain is equipped with the Aegis missile defense system, which has been touted as a possible counter to any North Korean missile launch.

A US 7th Fleet spokesman said the McCain is one of 14 Aegis-equipped ships the Navy has forward-deployed to Japan and it plans to add another next year. The US Navy has 84 vessels equipped with the Aegis system.

Cmdr. Clay Doss said the United States has a mixture of ships and aircraft available to cover all missions even without the McCain or USS Fitzgerald, the McCain’s sister ship that was damaged in a June collision.

The US military and South Korea began 10-day military exercises Monday, as scheduled. The annual drills antagonize Pyongyang, which issued a statement Sunday that military exercises are “reckless behavior driving the situation into the uncontrollable phase of a nuclear war.”
The McCain’s last high-profile mission came earlier this month when it performed a freedom-of-navigation exercise near a Chinese-claimed island in the South China Sea.

Search and rescue

No fuel or oil was seen on the water near the ship after the collision as it steamed under its own power to Changi Naval Base in Singapore, the Navy said.

Malaysian officials said their ships and aircraft had joined the search for the missing sailors.

The search area encompassed 100 nautical square miles, they said, describing sea conditions as rough, with waves up to 1 meter (3.2 feet) high.

In addition to the 10 missing sailors, the Navy said five were injured in the collision. Four of those were flown by a Singapore navy helicopter to a hospital in Singapore, where they were treated for injuries not considered life-threatening, the Navy said.

US helicopters and Marine Corps Osprey aircraft from the amphibious assault ship USS America were joining search-and-rescue efforts along with Singaporean ships and helicopters, the Navy said.

Rocky year for Navy

The McCain collision marks the fourth incident involving a US Navy warship in the Pacific this year.
On June 17, the USS Fitzgerald collided with a container ship off the coast of Japan. That collision resulted in the deaths of seven US sailors. The Fitzgerald will be transported to the United States for repairs.
On May 9, the guided-missile cruiser USS Lake Champlain was struck by a small fishing boat off the Korean Peninsula.
And in late January, the guided-missile cruiser USS Antietam ran aground while trying to anchor in Tokyo Bay. Authorities at Yokosuka Naval Base said the Antietam remains out of action.

Experts: ‘Navy is not looking good’

Military experts said the latest incident calls into question the Navy’s training and will likely lead to changes in the Navy’s leadership.

“I can almost guarantee you that there will be a tumultuous shake-up in the senior leadership of at least the 7th Fleet and maybe the Navy in general,” CNN military analyst Rick Francona said.

“The Navy is not looking good about now, especially when we need those … Aegis-equipped ships for possible ballistic missile defense in a North Korean scenario,” he added.

In a report on the Fitzgerald collision released last week, the Navy said it would review its training and qualification procedures.

“The collision was avoidable and both ships demonstrated poor seamanship. Within Fitzgerald, flawed watch stander teamwork and inadequate leadership contributed to the collision,” a 7th Fleet statement said.

Oil tanker ‘three times bigger’

Carl Schuster, a former director of operations at the US Pacific Command’s Joint Intelligence Center, said the oil tanker would have been at least three times bigger than the USS John S. McCain.

“Oil tankers are huge, and it takes miles for them to change course,” he said.

“When you’re going into a congested channel, you’re supposed to be very alert, track ships around you to a very meticulous degree.”

The Malacca Strait, which runs between Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore, is the world’s second-busiest waterway, according to the World Economic Forum. The collision took place in waters to the east of the Malacca Strait, US authorities said.

At a press conference, Malaysian authorities said both ships were heading toward Singapore from the South China Sea when the collision occurred. They described the area as very busy, with some 80,000 ships passing through it every year.

Both ships should have reported to what the Malaysian authorities called a maritime “traffic separation scheme,” essentially air traffic control for ships.

Francona said no matter what the tanker did, the faster, nimbler US destroyer should have been able to avoid a collision.

“How does a state-of-the-art Navy destroyer — equipped with multiple radar systems and communications gear with a full bridge watch — not see, detect and evade a 30,000-ton slow-moving (10 knots) behemoth?” Francona asked.

No injuries on tanker

A US Navy official told CNN the McCain had experienced a loss of steering before the collision, but that steering had been regained.

Merchant marine websites describe the Alnic MC as a 600-foot-long oil tanker flying a Liberian flag.

The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore said the Alnic sustained damage to a tank at its bow, about 7 meters (23 feet) above the waterline. No one was injured on the tanker, it said, and no oil spill was reported.

The vessel is 505 feet long and displaces about 9,000 tons.

Read more: http://edition.cnn.com/

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