Yeshiva World News

We ❤ To Give

Currently, in its 32nd year, Yad Batya L’Kallah has worked tirelessly to assist brides in need in the most dignified manner.  With your continued support, you allow us to continue this holy work.  We want to be able to keep on giving… giving kallahs, but also giving back to all our supporters and donors. 32= לב ❤  We put our whole heart into this event in order to give all of you the most enjoyable evening!  Join us at our 32nd Annual Benefit Auction… Tonight in the Five Towns Or  Tomorrow in Brooklyn!  Monday, February 10th  Moradi Residence:  72 Muriel Avenue, Lawrence Dessert Buffet Program begins at 7:00pm Speaker: Rabbi Moshe Majeski  Tomorrow, February 11th, 2020 Featuring Shulem Lemmer (live!) and a delectable buffet of soups, salads, sushi, pastas, and desserts catered by BK Events.  Kingsway Jewish Center  2902 Kings Highway, Brooklyn.  Auction viewing begins at 7pm. For more information or to purchase auction tickets for our selection of 57 incredible prizes, please visit www.yadbatya.org

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KIDDUSH HASHEM: $47,000 Check From Jewish Community Given To Family Of Fallen Jersey City Detective

A check of nearly $50,000 organized by YWN using The Chesed Fund was presented on Tuesday to the family of fallen Hero Jersey City Detective Joseph Seals. In just a few hours hours, the Jewish community raised a whopping $47,000 for the family of Detective Joseph Seals, an 18 year law enforcement veteran and married father of five who was tragically murdered in the Jersey City attack on Tuesday December 10. Around 1,400 generous donors opened their pockets and donated – to a fund on The Chesed Fund platform – to show their support to law enforcement – and Detective Seals in particular. This fund was administered by prominent Jewish community activists Mr. Chaskel Bennett, Mr. Leon Goldenberg and Mr. Moshe Wulliger of Flatbush Hatzolah in partnership with Yeshiva World News (YWN). Attending the event was Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop, Jersey City Police Chief Mike Kelly, members of the City Council, representative of NJ Governor Phil Murphy, representatives of the FBI, NJSP, Homeland Security and other law enforcement agencies. (YWN World Headquarters – NYC)

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YESHIVA EDUCATION WINS! Proposed Education Reform Placed On Hold

Thanks to the more than 140,000 letters sent to New York State Education Department expressing opposition to the “Yeshiva reform” regulations, the state has placed the proposed new rules on hold. New York State Education Department officials explained that the staggering number of public comments submitted over last summer convinced her of the need to hit the pause button. At yesterday’s meeting of the Board of Regents, nterim Education Commissioner Shannon Tahoe said that “This is one of the most difficult conversations and hardest things this Board will have to take on. We are balancing a person’s right to religious education, and the right to choose where their child goes, with a right to ensure that their child will receive the education to which they are entitled under the law … We only think it’s prudent at this point (given the number of comments) to go back out to the field for additional feedback.” A spokesman for PEARLS lauded the state’s move. “We are pleased that the Board of Regents heard the 140,000 voices that expressed concern about the proposed regulations,” said Sam Goldstein, a spokesman for Parents for Educational and Religious Liberty in Schools, a coalition that formed in opposition to the proposed reforms. “It is particularly gratifying that SED noted the many private school parents and alumni whose comments touched on how unnecessary these regulations are, and how they would infringe on fundamental parental and religious rights.” The proposed regulations would have required all private schools to teach the same subjects and classes as the local public schools, and would have empowered local school districts to evaluate and approve private schools every few years. An extraordinarily diverse coalition of schools and organizations opposed the proposed regulations, including the Catholic School Superintendents overseeing all 535 Catholic schools in New York, the New York State Association of Independent Schools, the umbrella group speaking for more than 200 Independent schools in New York, the Council for American Private Education and the New York State School Boards Association. The latter’s opposition was particularly significant, because the proposed regulations would require local school boards to implement and enforce them. New York’s Jewish school community also vigorously opposed the regulations. Public comments in opposition to the regulations were submitted by Agudath Israel of America, the Orthodox Union, Torah Umesorah – the National Society for Hebrew Day Schools, the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York, and the United Jewish Organizations of Williamsburg, among others. (YWN World Headquarters – NYC)

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LISTEN TO IT: Trump Calls Bloomberg “A TOTAL RACIST”, Then Deletes The Tweet Minutes Later

A clip of Mike Bloomberg’s 2015 talk at the Aspen Institute in which he defended stop and frisk and putting “all the cops” in minority neighborhoods has resurfaced on social media. The former New York City mayor and billionaire businessman spoke candidly about his self-described “controversial” views and policy to bring down the murder rate. He also claimed that the way to stop young people from bringing guns out onto the street is to “throw them up against a wall and frisk ’em.” And Bloomberg said you could take a description of murderers and their victims “Xerox it and pass it out to all the cops” because they all “fit one M.O.” The apparent audio of the five-year-old event, which Bloomberg blocked from public release at the time, was released by podcaster Benjamin Dixon. President Trump tweeted the audio clip of Bloomberg writing “WOW, BLOOMBERG IS A TOTAL RACIST”. Around 20 minutes later, the tweet was deleted. Audio of @MikeBloomberg’s 2015 @AspenInstitute speech where he explains that “you can just Xerox (copy)” the description of male, minorities 16-25 and hand to cops. Bloomberg had video of speech blocked. Perhaps because of the problematic explanation he gives for #StopAndFrisk pic.twitter.com/Fm0YCi4ZRy — Benjamin Dixon (@BenjaminPDixon) February 10, 2020 (YWN World Headquarters – NYC)

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PRICE-TAG ATTACK: 170 Cars, Mosque Vandalized In Northern Arab Town

Vandals slashed the tires of around 170 vehicles in an Arab town in northern Israel and spray painted slogans on buildings – including a mosque – warning of Jewish-Arab “assimilation,” Israeli police said Tuesday. Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said the suspects fled the area and police units had opened an investigation and collected evidence from the scene. The slogans in the village of Jish read: “Jews wake up, stop the assimilation.” Police said the incident was being treated as a suspected hate crime. PM Netanyahu issued a rare denunciation of the attack, saying he “strongly condemns the graffiti and property damage in the village of Jish. We will find the lawbreakers and bring them to justice. We will not accept any attacks on our citizens.” It appeared to be the latest case of the so-called “price tag” attacks that hard-line nationalist Israelis have been known to carry out against Arabs in recent years. Most have been directed at Palestinians in response to militant attacks or perceived efforts by Israeli authorities to limit settlement expansion, while others have targeted Christian and Muslim sites. (AP)

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Feds Seek 7 To 9 Years In Prison For Roger Stone; Trump Says “Horrible & Very Unfair”

Federal prosecutors are asking a judge to sentence President Donald Trump’s confidant Roger Stone to serve between seven and nine years in prison after his conviction on witness tampering and obstruction charges. Stone, who is scheduled to be sentenced next week, was convicted in November of a seven-count indictment that accused him of lying to Congress, tampering with a witness and obstructing the House investigation into whether the Trump campaign coordinated with Russia to tip the 2016 election. He was the sixth Trump aide or adviser to be convicted of charges brought as part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation. In a sentencing memorandum filed Monday evening, prosecutors asked for Stone to serve between 87 and 108 months in federal prison, in accordance with federal sentencing guidelines. Such a sentence would send a message to deter others who might consider lying or obstructing a congressional probe or tampering with witnesses. They charged in the filing that Stone “decided to double – and triple – down on his criminal conduct by tampering with a witness for months in order to make sure his obstruction would be successful.” “Stone’s actions were not a one-off mistake in judgment. Nor were his false statements made in the heat of the moment. They were nowhere close to that,” prosecutors wrote in the court papers. Trump, in an overnight tweet, called the situation “horrible and very unfair.” He added: “Cannot allow this miscarriage of justice!” This is a horrible and very unfair situation. The real crimes were on the other side, as nothing happens to them. Cannot allow this miscarriage of justice! https://t.co/rHPfYX6Vbv — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 11, 2020 Stone has denied wrongdoing and consistently criticized the case against him as politically motivated. He did not take the stand during his trial and his lawyers did not call any witnesses in his defense. The evidence presented in the trial didn’t directly address Mueller’s conclusion that there was insufficient evidence to prove a criminal conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia to tip the outcome of the 2016 presidential election in Trump’s favor. But it provided new insight into the scramble inside the Trump campaign when it was revealed in July 2016 that the anti-secrecy site WikiLeaks was in possession of more than 19,000 emails hacked from the servers of the Democratic National Committee. Witnesses in the case testified that Trump’s campaign viewed Stone as an “access point” to WikiLeaks and tried to use him to get advance word about hacked emails damaging to Hillary Clinton. Prosecutors alleged Stone lied to Congress about his conversations about WikiLeaks with New York radio host and comedian Randy Credico — who scored an interview with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in 2016, when he was avoiding prosecution by sheltering in the Ecuadoran Embassy in London — and conservative writer and conspiracy theorist Jerome Corsi. During the 2016 campaign, Stone had mentioned in interviews and public appearances that he was in contact with Assange through a trusted intermediary and hinted at inside knowledge of WikiLeaks’ plans. But he started pressing Credico to broker a contact, and Credico testified that he told Stone to work through his own intermediary. Earlier testimony revealed that Stone, while appearing before the House Intelligence Committee, named Credico as his intermediary to Assange and pressured […]

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Watch: An Incredible Ohel Sarala Story

  To be part of the Ohel Sarala story CLICK HERE The Story of Ohel Sarala: It all began when Rabbi Shlomo Bochner, founder of Bonei Olam, visited Hagaon Reb Aron Leib Shteinman, zatzal. Rav Shteinman told Rabbi Bochner that there are two challenges facing Klal Yisroel that allow him no peace of mind – singles seeking shidduchim and couples struggling to have a child. Both have no children. The Torah itself shows that the two are related, said the Rosh Yeshiva. Only after Sarah Imeinu gave Hagar to Avraham Avinu, saying “Ulai ibaneh mimenah, perhaps I will be built from her” (Beraishis 16:2),” did Hashem send the malach to tell her that she would give birth. The Torah is teaching us middah k’neged middah. When a person assists someone else with having a child, there is a havtacha that he will also merit a child. And since a person can only have a child through marriage, said the Rosh Yeshiva, helping someone have a child is a zechus for a single to find a zivug. Rav Shteinman advised Rabbi Bochner to give singles an opportunity to help waiting couples financially. Such an arrangement, he said, would harness the power of middah k’neged midah, and would open a channel of great brachah. A short while afterward, Rabbi Bochner related this conversation to Rabbi Aryeh Ginzberg. Rabbi Ginzberg and his wife had been seeking a project to undertake in memory of their daughter, Sarala, a”h. Taking Harav Shteinman’s words to heart, they founded Ohel Sarala as a zechus for the neshamah of their daughter, a”h, who didn’t merit to get married or have children. Ohel Sarala matches singles with couples waiting for children. The process is simple. The singles sign up through Ohel Sarala; the couples are reached through Bonei Olam. The singles make a donation to designated couple being helped by Bonei Olam. Then, following Chazal’s dictum of hamispallel b’ad chaveiro ne’eneh techilah, the singles and couples daven for each other. People donate anything from small amounts to $10,000.Ohel Sarala has raised significant funds for Bonei Olam, so that collectively, the singles are fulfilling Sarah Imeinu’s words, “ulei ibaneh memenah.” Ohel Sarala has a beautiful website where people can sign up to join, and view powerful speeches and articles. The entire project is completely anonymous. The singles and couples get only a Hebrew name to daven for. Today, Ohel Sarala has been part of over an astonishing 210 babies and 834 shiduchim.

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WATCH: Israeli Passenger On Turkish Plane That Crashed Into 3 Pieces Relives The Terror

When a Pegasus Airlines plane skidded off the runway at Istanbul’s Sabiha Gokcen Airport last Wednesday, killing three and injuring 179 people, two Israeli passengers were among those injured. Kan News spoke with Israeli passenger Ehud Shoval, who spoke about what he experienced after the plane crashed. “I was fully conscious. I was a bleeding a little. I barely managed to get off the plane. Outside the plane, there were a lot people helping the passengers who got off the plane to the ambulances. They actually carried me in their arms. They really took very good care of me.” Turkish media outlets stated on Thursday that the pilots of the Boeing 737 are suspected of causing death and injuries through negligence and will be subject to an investigation. The pilots, who were also injured in the crash, are currently still hospitalized and will be questioned by the police when their medical treatment is completed. U.S. aviation investigators arrived at the site of the crash in Istanbul, Turkey’s state-run Anadolu news agency reported Saturday. A team from aircraft manufacturer Boeing and the U.S. civil aviation authority inspected the wreckage of the Boeing 737 that skidded off the runaway. The aircraft, which split into three pieces in the accident, will later be dismantled and removed by crane, Anadolu said. The crash happened as the 11-year-old aircraft landed in strong winds and heavy rain. The U.S. team is looking to see if there were any technical factors that could have contributed to the accident, Anadolu reported. Investigators are examining many possible causes, including the plane’s speed and the weather at the time of the crash. On Thursday, Pegasus Airlines CEO Mehmet T. Nane said the plane’s black boxes had been recovered and the data from them was being deciphered. A report on the crash, in which 180 passengers and crew members were injured, is expected in a month’s time, Anadolu reported. Prosecutors have taken statements from air traffic control staff, airport employees and the pilots of two other planes that aborted landings shortly before the Pegasus flight landed. Pegasus has had several recent instances of overshooting runways. Another Pegasus Airlines plane skidded off the runway at the same airport on Jan. 7, causing the temporary closure of the airport. There were no injuries. In January 2018, another Boeing 737 in the Pegasus fleet slid off a runway at Trabzon Airport in northeastern Turkey. The plane came to rest in the dirt above the Black Sea with its nose pointed toward the water. No one was injured. (AP & YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)

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Israel’s Supreme Court Overturns Decision to Ban Terror Supporting MK, Yigal Amir Party from Knesset

Israel’s Supreme Court overturned the Central Election Committee’s decision to disqualify Joint Arab List MK Heba Yazbak (Balad) from running in the upcoming elections on March 2. In a narrow 5-4 ruling, the court said that although Yazbak’s public statements supporting terrorism against Israel were inappropriate, they didn’t justify disqualifying her. The Central Elections Committee voted 27-7 last month to disqualify Yazbak for her statements supporting terrorists, including Samir Kuntar who killed a four-year-old girl in Nahariya in 1979 by smashing her head on rocks after shooting her father, Danny Haran, in front of her. Former Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked responded with fury at the overturning of the ban of Yazbak, saying: “The Supreme Court approved a supporter of terrorism.” It should be noted that the two judges appointed by Shaked while she was justice minister, Dovid Mintz and Yosef Elron, voted to uphold the committee’s ban of Yazbak while the two judges appointed by former justice minister Tzipi Livni, Menachem Mazuz and Anat Baron, voted to overturn the decision to ban Yazbak. “The Supreme Court spits in the faces of bereaved families and approves the terror supporter Hiba Yazbak from the terror-supporting party – the Joint Arab List,” Tourism Minister Yariv Levin (Likud) said. “This is the same court that approved Hanin Zoabi and the successors of Azmi Bishara, who is still wanted for questioning for severe security crimes against the state of Israel,” Levin continued. “This is a sign of profound moral failings of the Supreme Court justices.” The Supreme Court also overturned the committee’s decision to ban the Mishpat Tzedek (Fair Trial) party headed by Rabin assassin Yigal Amir’s wife, Larissa Trimbobler-Amir, from running in the upcoming elections. (YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)

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Hitler’s Jewish Neighbor Celebrates 101st Birthday

A Jewish woman who lived in the same apartment block as Hitler celebrated her 101st birthday this week, BristolLive, a news website based in Bristol, UK, reported. Alice Frank-Stock, currently a resident of Bristol, was born in 1918 in the German town of Augsburg but her parents moved to Munich when she was three months old. As a child, one of her neighbors was Adolf Hitler, who lived in Munich until he became chancellor of Germany in 1933 and moved to Berlin. However, even after becoming chancellor he still maintained his apartment in Munich. Mrs. Frank-Stock was Hitler’s neighbor for about a decade and remembers seeing him enter and leave the apartment block on a couple of occasions. She also once saw him being escorted inside his apartment by two SS guards and on another occasion, she spotted him in an opera house in Munich. When the Nazis rose to power, Mrs. Frank-Stock’s father, who served as a judge in the High Court in Munich, was asked to retire. Jews were banned from attending university in Germany so Mrs. Frank-Stock’s parents sent her to Switzerland when she was 17, and in 1937 she moved to London to attend a secretarial college. “My parents stayed in Munich and I got a job in London but then the situation in Germany got much worse,” she said. “The day after the Crystal Night a friend of my parents rang them up saying her husband had been taken to a concentration camp.” Mrs. Frank-Stock’s father narrowly avoided being sent to a concentration camp and he and his wife managed to escape to London in 1939 on one of the last trains out. A permit to enter the UK at the time cost £1,000 which the family didn’t have but Mrs. Frank-Stock’s father owned a valuable violin which they accepted instead. Mrs. Frank Stock-settled in England, working for the BBC and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) over the years. She moved to Bristol after she married her Bristolian husband, whom she met while working for the OECD in Paris. She now resides at Druid Stoke Bupa Care Home in Bristol.

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Two Iranians With Forged Israeli Passports Are Arrested in Ecuador

An Israeli man and woman in their 20s were arrested a few days ago at the airport in Quito, Ecuador as they were about to leave the country to fly to Madrid, Ynet reported on Monday. The security check before their flight revealed that the two were Iranians posing as Israelis and their Israeli passports were forged. Their Iranian passports were found in their possession as well. The Ecuadorian security authorities have not yet ascertained why the two were holding forged Israeli passports and are examining the possibility that they are connected to Iranian intelligence services. The Iranians also used the forged passports to enter Ecuador, one of the countries where Israeli citizens are allowed to enter without a visa. The Israeli embassy in the capital city of Quito reported the incident to the Population and Immigration Authority, who found that one of the forged passports used the details of an 11-year-old girl in the Judean lowlands (Shefela), who has the genuine passport in her possession, and the other passport had the details of an Israeli man who had recently reported that his passport was stolen. The Authority believes that the details from the girl’s passport were copied when it was photocopied abroad at a hotel on travel agency. (YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)  

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UK Man Convicted Of Plot To Attack London Tourist Sites

A former Uber driver was convicted Monday of plotting a vehicle and weapons attack on London tourist sites, just over a year after he was cleared of attacking police with a sword outside Buckingham Palace. Jurors at London’s Woolwich Crown Court found Mohiussunnath Chowdhury guilty of preparing terrorist acts and other terrorism charges. Prosecutors said 28-year-old Chowdhury planned a van, gun or knife attack on targets including Madame Tussauds wax museum, London’s gay pride parade and an open-top sightseeing bus. Prosecutor Duncan Atkinson said during the trial that Chowdhury desired to “unleash death and suffering” on non-Muslims after absorbing sermons from extremist preachers including al-Qaida’s Anwar Al-Awlaki. He confided his plans to undercover police officers posing as fellow extremists. He was arrested in July. Chowdhury, who lived in Luton, north of London, had been on police radar for some time. In 2017, he was charged with preparing an act of terrorism after slashing police officers outside Buckingham Palace with a sword. He was acquitted in December 2018 after claiming at a trial that he was trying to provoke the officers to shoot him dead. Prosecutors said Chowdhury later bragged about deceiving the jury at his first trial. Chowdhury is scheduled to be sentenced on March 13. His sister, Sneha Chowdhury, was convicted of failing to disclose information about acts of terrorism and will also be sentenced later. (AP)

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Lakewood Mother Shares Heartbreaking Account of Daughter’s Struggle with Anorexia

DEFEAT Auction launched to help Magen Avrohom continue with its vital mission of helping those suffering in silence and isolation She was my pride and joy. Sometimes I wish that wasn’t the case, I think maybe it would hurt less. That is, when I have the mental energy and headspace to even stop and think. These days, I’ve given up on trying to get my old daughter back; at this point I will be thrilled if I can just see her live. In my naiveté, I had thought that anorexia was something that happens to ‘some people’, not an affliction which can affect an attractive, popular, vivacious A-student from a wholesome family. Boy, was I wrong… You see, my family was not ‘the type’ to have a child like this. We were the ones talking about other people, not the ones being whispered about. When Ahuva’s camp director called us that we should drop everything and travel to meet them immediately in the Catskills, the worst we could think of was that Ahuva had used her position as the class queen to stir up some trouble. Nothing could have prepared us for the horror unfolding before our eyes. These days, on the few occasions where I am able to get some sleep, I still wake up with nightmares from that fateful day. There she laid, the emaciated, barely identifiable shell of what was our dear Ahuva. The pain on her crestfallen, bony face could make a stone cry – imagine what it did to her mother. It turned out that the loose sweatshirts she had been wearing over the previous months were covering up much more than just her elbows and neckline. She had become trapped in the grip of a dangerous demon who was not about to let go without a fight. And fight we did. Some days Ahuva was on our team but some days she was decidedly not. This tug of war has left many blisters on my mental state, marks which I am not certain will ever heal. If I had a nickel for every time I’ve given up, I would have…. well, nothing because right now nothing else matters to me except my daughter’s wellbeing. Throughout this terrible ordeal we have been run through the gauntlet. Futile hospital stays, organ failure, dangerous lies and near-death episodes. No parent in the world should ever have to experience what we are going through. We have learned a lot over recent years, but the #1 lesson we have learned is that Magen Avrohom is a life-saving organization without equal! The way in which they came to our aid and their determination to do everything in their power to save my daughter, is nothing short of mind blowing. While the cliché is that we don’t know where we’d be without them, the truth is that I know full well where we’d be without them, and that’s a terrifying thought for any parent to entertain. Nobody knows who the next Ahuva will be, but we do know that Magen Avrohom will be right by their side with tireless devotion. Let’s do our part and help this great organization in their lofty mission of Hatzolas Nefashos. Owing to the nature of these eating disorders, Magen Avrohom does not have the luxury of survivors and their […]

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Amazon Wants To Question Trump Over Losing $10B Contract Bid

Amazon wants President Donald Trump to submit to questioning over the tech company’s losing bid for a $10 billion military contract. The Pentagon awarded the cloud computing project to Microsoft in October. Amazon later sued, arguing that Trump’s interference and bias against the company harmed Amazon’s chances. Amazon was considered an early front-runner for a project that Pentagon officials have described as critical to advancing the U.S. military’s technological advantage over adversaries. The project, known as Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure, or JEDI, will store and process vast amounts of classified data, allowing the U.S. military to improve communications with soldiers on the battlefield and use artificial intelligence to speed up its war planning and fighting capabilities. The Pentagon was preparing to announce its decision between finalists Amazon and Microsoft when Trump publicly waded into the fray in July. Trump said then that other companies told him the contract “wasn’t competitively bid,” and he said the administration would “take a very long look.” Oracle had also protested after it and IBM were eliminated from an earlier round of bidding. Amazon is looking for more information about what happened before and after Trump ordered the review. Amazon’s court filing cites an alleged comment that surfaced in a recent book that said Trump in 2018 privately told then-Defense Secretary Jim Mattis to “screw Amazon” out of the contract. George Washington University procurement law expert Steve Schooner said a deposition of Trump would be “clearly relevant to the primary allegations underlying their lawsuit,” but that doesn’t mean it will happen. “I can’t imagine this president sitting for that deposition,” Schooner said in an email Monday. Besides seeking Trump’s deposition, Amazon is also asking to depose Mattis, current Defense Secretary Mark Esper and other government officials. Amazon said it wants more information about the “unusual timing” of Esper recusing himself from the decision-making process because of his son’s work for IBM. That came in October, long after IBM was no longer in the running for the contract. In a filing with the U.S. Court of Federal Claims unsealed Monday, Amazon said Trump has a “well-documented personal animus towards” Amazon, its CEO Jeff Bezos and The Washington Post, which Bezos owns. Amazon said Trump is the only one who can testify about the “totality of his conversations and the overall message he conveyed” about the bidding process. Trump has accused Amazon of not paying its fair share of taxes and of putting brick-and-mortar stores out of business. Trump has also gone after Bezos personally and accused the Post of being Amazon’s “chief lobbyist.” The Justice Department said it does not comment on ongoing litigation. The White House and the Pentagon didn’t immediately return requests for comment Monday. Amazon said in a statement Monday that it’s important to discover what happened to preserve public confidence in the procurement process because Trump has repeatedly demonstrated his willingness to interfere with government processes to advance his personal interests. “The question is whether the President of the United States should be allowed to use the budget of the DoD to pursue his own personal and political ends,” the company said. A judge is expected to decide as early as this week on whether Microsoft can start working with the Pentagon on the cloud computing project. Amazon has asked for work […]

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Police: 9 Homicides In Chicago’s Deadliest Weekend Of Year

Chicago recorded nine homicides between 6 p.m. Friday and midnight Sunday, a weekend police said was the deadliest of the year for a city that has seen the number of fatal shootings surge this year after a previous decline. Twenty-three people were killed or injured in shootings during the period, nearly four times as many as during the same time a year ago, police said. There have been 50 homicides this year compared to 33 for the same period in 2019, and the 225 shooting victims — 58 more than a year ago, authorities said. Thirty-one of this year’s victims have been juveniles, compared to 13 in the same period last year. The early totals have heightened concerns about a new spike in violence. Homicides and shootings have dropped significantly the past three years in Chicago, after a 2016 surge in deaths captured national attention. “We are looking at this very closely and looking to make some deployment adjustments,” said department spokesman Anthony Guglielmi. Mayor Lori Lightfoot also expressed her concern about the weekend totals. “While there is no such thing as a tolerable level of violence, this past weekend was utterly unacceptable,” the mayor said in a statement. The last several weeks has been a time of significant change for the police force in the nation’s third largest city. In early December, Lightfoot fired Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson, saying that Johnson had lied to her about an incident in October in which he was found asleep behind the wheel of his vehicle. She brought in retired Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck as interim superintendent. Within days, Beck announced he was expanding the number of detective divisions. Then in January, he said he was moving more than 1,100 detectives and narcotics and gang officers from the city’s five regional headquarters to its 22 smaller districts to put them closer to the crime scenes they will be investigating and closer to the patrol officers who know those neighborhoods — a move Lightfoot highlighted in her statement on Monday. “In the long run this will help us and this geographical based policing is a model that has proven to be better in other cities but now we are going through some growing pains,” department spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said. Guglielmi said as of Monday morning, police had made arrests in three of the weekend homicides. (AP)

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Gunman Dead, 2 Officers Hurt In Shooting At Arkansas Walmart

Two police officers were wounded and a gunman was killed Monday morning in an exchange of gunfire at a Walmart store in Forrest City in eastern Arkansas, authorities said. Forrest City Police Chief Deon Lee said one of the officers was taken to a hospital about 45 miles (70 kilometers) to the east in Memphis where he was in surgery, and the initial prognosis is “he’s going to be OK.” The officers responded to the Walmart after someone called police to report a man who was making threats and was “kind of talking out of his head” Lee said at a news conference Monday afternoon. Lee identified the injured officers as Lt. Eric Varner and Detective Eugene Watlington. Both are assigned to the criminal investigation department and neither was wearing a bullet-resistant vest, Lee said. The mayor heaped praise on the officers. “Due to their heroism and quick response, no civilians were injured,” Forrest City Mayor Cedric Williams said. Walmart spokesman Scott Pope said the company was helping with the police investigation but declined further comment. Walmart is based in Bentonville, Arkansas. T he Arkansas State Police Criminal Investigation Division was investigating the shooting. Tammy Priddy, 57, works at Simmons Eye Center in the Walmart. She said she was preparing patient records for the day when she heard eight shots. She said she hid under a counter in the lab until the gunshots stopped. “The first two shots kind of startled me, and then a coworker came in and said it was gunfire,” Priddy said. She and a coworker ran from the building and officers outside the Walmart ordered her to get as far away from the building as possible. She was not injured. “I was too afraid to think of anything except to get to safety,” she said. “We kept our minds straight to where we were safe and we were able to get to safety.” Police formed a perimeter with yellow crime scene tape around the Walmart parking lot after the shooting. Police cars with flashing lights blocked roads to the store. The store was closed and employees were sent home. A small strip mall and two gas stations saw no business Monday afternoon, as they were within the police perimeter. Gov. Asa Hutchinson said in a tweet that he’s grateful for the law enforcement officers who put their lives at risk to keep the public safe. It’s not the first time in recent months that a Walmart store has been the scene of a shooting. A man was injured in a shooting at a Walmart in Memphis earlier this month, three people were fatally shot at a Walmart in Duncan, Oklahoma, in November, and a gunman killed 22 people at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, on Aug. 3. The retailer came under criticism for having insufficient security at the El Paso store on that day and has since quietly expanded security at all its stores in the city to include an armed off-duty police officer and a security guard. A spokeswoman for the company said in November that the hiring of off-duty officers in El Paso was not a blanket policy. It’s unclear what security measures were in place at the Forrest City store on Monday. (AP)

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Israel Accused Of Torturing Palestinians After Fatal Bombing

One of the men was hospitalized with kidney failure and 11 broken ribs. Another was nearly unrecognizable to his wife when he was wheeled into a courtroom. A third was stitched up after being attacked by a security dog. Then the three Palestinians were returned to their Israeli interrogators. They had been swept up in a sprawling manhunt launched after a roadside bomb killed a 17-year-old Israeli girl and wounded her father and brother as they hiked down to a spring last August in the occupied West Bank. The attack raised fears of a sophisticated militant cell that might strike again, and Israeli interrogators appear to have treated it as a ticking time-bomb scenario. Israeli and Palestinian rights groups say there is strong evidence that they tortured several detainees in violation of Israeli and international law. The allegations against Israel are the most serious to come to light in years, and the rights groups say they point to a loosening of constraints two decades after the Israeli Supreme Court outlawed most forms of torture. Lawyers and family members of the three main suspects say they were tortured to the point of being hospitalized. Several other Palestinians swept up by Israel’s Shin Bet internal security agency say they were threatened, beaten, forced into painful stress positions and denied sleep. A landmark 1999 Israeli Supreme Court ruling forbids such torture. But the law allows interrogators to defend the use of force when there is fear of an imminent attack. Rights groups say interrogators routinely make use of the loophole, knowing they will face few consequences, if any. The Public Committee Against Torture in Israel says more than 1,200 complaints against the Shin Bet have been filed since 2001, without a single case going to trial. Only one criminal investigation has been launched, over a 2017 case involving alleged rape, and it is still open. The allegations come at a sensitive time following the release of President Donald Trump’s Mideast initiative, which heavily favors Israel and would allow it to annex large parts of the West Bank. The Palestinians have rejected the plan, and sporadic clashes have erupted across the West Bank in recent days. The Western-backed Palestinian Authority, which has also been accused of torturing prisoners, has responded to the plan by threatening to end its longtime security coordination with Israel, which many Palestinians view as an extension of the occupation. The latest torture allegations could add to the mounting pressure on President Mahmoud Abbas to follow through on those threats. ___ A FRENZIED MANHUNT The Shin Bet launched a massive manhunt after the Aug. 23 bombing killed 17-year-old Rina Shnerb and seriously wounded her father and older brother. Such bombings, a hallmark of the 2000-2005 Palestinian uprising, have been rare in recent years. Authorities blamed the attack on the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, or PFLP, a leftist political party that has an armed wing. Israel, the U.S. and the European Union consider it a terrorist group because of high-profile attacks going back decades, including plane hijackings and the assassination of an Israeli Cabinet minister in 2001. In the weeks after the bombing, security forces arrested dozens of its members — suspected militants as well as politicians and student leaders. The 2.5 million Palestinians in the West Bank live […]

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Four Members of China’s Military Indicted Over Massive Equifax Breach

Four members of the Chinese military have been charged with breaking into the networks of the Equifax credit reporting agency and stealing the personal information of tens of millions of Americans, the Justice Department said Monday, blaming Beijing for one of the largest hacks in history to target consumer data. The 2017 breach affected more than 145 million people, with the hackers successfully stealing names, addresses, Social Security and driver’s license numbers and other personal information stored in the company’s databases. The four — members of the People’s Liberation Army, an arm of the Chinese military — are also accused of stealing the company’s trade secrets, including database designs, law enforcement officials said. The accused hackers exploited a software vulnerability to gain access to Equifax’s computers, obtaining log-in credentials that they used to navigate databases and review records. The indictment also details efforts the hackers took to cover their tracks, including wiping log files on a daily basis and routing traffic through dozens of servers in nearly 20 countries. “The scale of the theft was staggering,” Attorney General William Barr said Monday. “This theft not only caused significant financial damage to Equifax, but invaded the privacy of many millions of Americans, and imposed substantial costs and burdens on them as they have had to take measures to protect against identity theft.” Equifax, headquartered in Atlanta, maintains a massive repository of consumer information that it sells to businesses looking to verify identities or assess creditworthiness. All told, the indictment says, the company holds information on hundreds of millions of Americans in the U.S. and abroad, . The case is the latest Justice Department accusation against Chinese hackers suspected of breaching networks of American corporations. It comes as the Trump administration has warned against what it sees as the growing political and economic influence of China, and efforts by Beijing to collect data on Americans and steal scientific research and innovation. The administration has also been pressing allies not to allow Chinese tech giant Huawei to be part of their 5G wireless networks due to concerns that the equipment could be used to collect data and for surveillance. The accused hackers are based in China and none is in custody. But U.S. officials nonetheless view criminal charges like the ones brought in this case as a powerful deterrent to foreign hackers and a warning to other countries that American law enforcement has the capability to pinpoint individual culprits behind hacks. A spokesperson for the Chinese embassy did not immediately return an email seeking comment Monday. The case resembles a 2014 indictment from the Obama administration Justice Department that accused five members of the PLA of hacking into major American corporations to steal their trade secrets. U.S. authorities also suspect China in the massive 2015 breach of the Office of Personnel Management and of intrusions into the Marriott hotel chain and Anthem health insurance company. “This kind of attack on American industry is of a piece with other Chinese illegal acquisitions of sensitive personal data,” Barr said of Monday’s announcement, adding that “for years we have witnessed China’s voracious appetite for the personal data of Americans.” The criminal charges — which include conspiracy to commit computer fraud and conspiracy to commit economic espionage — were filed in federal court in Atlanta. Equifax last […]

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