Published: 10:04 pm, Wed. Aug. 21st, 2019Updated: 9:09 pm
Climate change turns Arctic into strategic, economic hotspot
TASIILAQ, Greenland (AP) — From a helicopter, Greenland’s brilliant white ice and dark mountains make the desolation seem to go on forever. And the few people who live here — its whole population wouldn’t fill a football stadium — are poor, with a high rate of substance abuse and suicide.
One scientist called it the “end of the planet.”
When U.S. President Donald Trump floated the idea of buying Greenland, it was met with derision, seen as an awkward and inappropriate approach of an erstwhile ally.
But it might also be an Aladdin’s Cave of oil, natural gas and rare earth minerals just waiting to be tapped as the ice recedes.
The northern island and the rest of the Arctic aren’t just hotter due to global warming. As melting ice opens shipping lanes and reveals incredible riches, the region is seen as a new geopolitical and economic asset, with the U.S., Russia, China and others wanting in.
As global economic picture dims, solutions seem out of reach
WASHINGTON (AP) — As global leaders gather on two continents to take account of a darkening economic outlook, this is the picture they face:
Factories are slumping, many businesses are paralyzed, global growth is sputtering and the world’s two mightiest economies are in the grip of a dangerous trade war.
Barely a year after most of the world’s major countries were enjoying an unusual moment of shared prosperity, the global economy may be at risk of returning to the rut it tumbled into after the financial crisis of 2007-2009.
Worse, solutions seem far from obvious. Central banks can’t just slash interest rates. Rates are already ultra-low. And even if they did, the central banks would risk robbing themselves of the ammunition they would need later to fight a recession. What’s more, high government debts make it politically problematic to cut taxes or pour money into new bridges, roads and other public works projects.
“Our tools for fighting recession are no doubt more limited (than) in the past,” said Karen Dynan, an economist at Harvard University’s Kennedy School.
Making a case to women: Trump female defenders go on offense
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The Trump campaign has a message for its female supporters: It’s time to come out of hiding.
“There’s a lot of people that are fearful of expressing their support, and I want you ladies to know it’s OK to have felt that way, but we need to move past that or the Democrats win,” said Tana Goertz, a Trump campaign adviser, at an Iowa “Women for Trump” event on Thursday.
The Iowa event, held in the back room of a barbecue joint in a Des Moines suburb, was one of more than a dozen in battleground states nationwide as part of a push to make the president’s case on the economy and train volunteers.
The move is a recognition of the president’s persistent deficit with women — an issue that has the potential to sink his chances for reelection. Over the course of his presidency and across public opinion polls, women have been consistently less supportive of President Donald Trump than men have. Suburban women in particular rejected Republicans in the 2018 midterm by margins that set off alarms for the party and the president.
Trump himself called into a gathering of hundreds in Tampa, Florida, and insisted, to cheers: “We’re doing great with women, despite the fake news.”
Global worry over Amazon fires escalates; Bolsonaro defiant
RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Amid global concern about raging fires in the Amazon, Brazil’s government complained Thursday that it is being targeted in smear campaign by critics who contend President Jair Bolsonaro is not doing enough to curb widespread deforestation.
The threat to what some call “the lungs of the planet” has ignited a bitter dispute about who is to blame during the tenure of a leader who has described Brazil’s rainforest protections as an obstacle to economic development and who traded Twitter jabs on Thursday with France’s president over the fires.
French President Emmanuel Macron called the wildfires an international crisis and said the leaders of the Group of 7 nations should hold urgent discussions about them at their summit in France this weekend.
“Our house is burning. Literally. The Amazon rain forest — the lungs which produces 20% of our planet’s oxygen — is on fire,” Macron tweeted.
Bolsonaro fired back with his own tweet: “I regret that Macron seeks to make personal political gains in an internal matter for Brazil and other Amazonian countries. The sensationalist tone he used does nothing to solve the problem.”
Serial killer in 1994 spree set to be executed in Florida
STARKE, Fla. (AP) — A serial killer who preyed on older gay men during a rampage 25 years ago that left six dead on or near the U.S. East Coast is scheduled to be executed late Thursday.
Gary Ray Bowles, 57, was set to receive a lethal injection at Florida State Prison in Starke. He drew the death sentence for his conviction in the November 1994 murder of Walter Hinton in Jacksonville Beach — one of six killings in an eight-month span in 1994 that terrorized the Interstate 95 corridor and won him the nickname the “I-95 killer.” Many of the victims were found not far from the heavily traveled East Coast interstate.
Hinton was Bowles sixth and final known victim in a series of killings that began in Daytona Beach with John Hardy Roberts. In between, there were victims in Rockville, Maryland; Savannah, Georgia; Atlanta and Nassau County, Florida. In each case, Bowles had a signature: He stuffed the victims’ throats with objects, including rags, toilet paper, dirt, leaves — even a sex toy.
The execution was originally set for 6 p.m. Thursday but was then delayed while the U.S. Supreme Court considered his final appeals, which centered on claims that Bowles was too intellectually disabled to be put to death. The court denied the stay in a decision released after 10 p.m., clearing the way for the execution.
Investigators say that if he hadn’t been caught, Bowles would have kept on killing.
Democrats see opening on economy, resist cheering recession
PROLE, Iowa (AP) — Campaigning under the stifling August sun, Joe Biden assailed President Donald Trump’s trade war with China, accusing him of squandering a strong economy and putting Americans’ financial security at risk.
But he was quick to add that he was not hoping for the worst.
“I never wish for a recession. Period,” the former vice president and current Democratic presidential candidate told reporters in Prole, Iowa.
Biden’s comments highlight the delicate balance for Democrats as the U.S. economy flashes recession warning signs. In town halls and speeches across the country this week, candidates leveled blame on Trump, arguing that his aggressive and unpredictable tariff policies were prompting gloomy economic forecasts. Yet they also strained to avoid the appearance of cheering for a downturn that would inflict financial pain on millions of Americans, but potentially help their party’s political fortunes in 2020.
For more than two years, the combination of solid growth, low unemployment and a rising stock market has been a bulwark for Trump, helping him maintain the support of many independents and moderate Republicans who are turned off by his incendiary statements and pugnacious personality. According to a new Associated Press-NORC poll, a higher percentage of Americans approve of Trump’s handling of the economy than his overall job performance.
Money crunch after Planned Parenthood quits federal program
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Planned Parenthood clinics in several states are charging new fees, tapping financial reserves, intensifying fundraising and warning of more unintended pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases after its decision to quit a $260 million federal family planning program in an abortion dispute with the Trump administration.
The fallout is especially intense in Utah, where Planned Parenthood has been the only provider participating in the nearly 50-year-old Title X family planning program and will now lose about $2 million yearly in federal funds that helped 39,000 mostly low-income, uninsured people. It plans to maintain its services — which include contraception, STD testing and cancer screening — but is considering charging a small copay for patients who used to get care for free.
Planned Parenthood in Minnesota is in a similar situation, serving about 90% of the state’s Title X patients, and plans to start charging fees due to the loss of $2.6 million in annual funding.
The organization is concerned about the spread of unintended pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases.
“We believe there will be a public health crisis created by this denial of care,” said Sarah Stoesz, the Minnesota-based president of Planned Parenthood North Central States. “It’s a very sad day for the country.”
Avenatti seeks trial delay amid effort to prove Nike claims
NEW YORK (AP) — California attorney Michael Avenatti hopes to show that charging Nike $25 million to probe corruption at the sportswear giant was a bargain rather than extortion, his lawyer told a judge Thursday.
Avenatti was seated and quiet as attorney Scott Srebnick asked that a trial for his outspoken client be postponed from November to January to give lawyers time to gather evidence to show he wasn’t doing anything illegal by asking Nike for between $15 million and $25 million.
Srebnick said at a Manhattan hearing he wants to subpoena Nike employees and others to prove Avenatti acted appropriately because Nike was among companies fueling bribes paid to NBA-bound college basketball players and their families to win their allegiance to schools and managers.
The bribe-paying basketball scandal was revealed by federal prosecutors in New York over the last two years at several trials. As a result, four assistant basketball coaches at major schools pleaded guilty to bribery conspiracy charges and were among several men convicted in the case.
U.S. District Judge Paul G. Gardephe told Srebnick to submit written arguments next week before he decides to what extent Avenatti’s lawyers can seek evidence and whether a trial scheduled for Nov. 12 can be postponed. Gardephe warned that the right to gather evidence is less in a criminal case than a civil case.
Fans choose sides in the ‘Chicken Sandwich War’ of our time
NEW YORK (AP) — A nation already polarized finds itself divided once again, but this time politics isn’t at the heart of it: The blame lies squarely on a fried piece of poultry.
People are choosing sides and beefing over chicken, thanks to Popeyes’ release of its crispy chicken sandwich and the social media debate that has followed. With just one addition to a fast-food menu, the hierarchy of chicken sandwiches in America was rattled, and the supremacy of Chick-fil-A and others was threatened.
It’s been a trending topic on social media, fans have weighed in with YouTube commentaries and memes, and some have reported long lines just to get a taste of the new sandwich
“Our grandchildren will ask us where we were when the great Chicken War of 2019 began,” Twitter user @MilesRodrigo1 declared.
While Popeyes has been selling chicken for a long time, the chain was a contender in the bone-in, skin-on, fried-chicken space, not the fried, boneless, skinless cutlet on a bun.
Weinstein to be rearraigned as DA seeks actress’s testimony
NEW YORK (AP) — Prosecutors are bringing a new indictment against Harvey Weinstein in an attempt to bolster their case with testimony from an actress who says he raped her in 1993 .
The disgraced movie mogul is set to be arraigned Monday on the revised charges, which Weinstein’s lawyers called an unfair ploy to smear him during his upcoming trial with allegations too old to be prosecuted under New York law.
Prosecutors have said that the new indictment is meant to fix a technical problem with the existing indictment and won’t result in additional charges. Nor should it delay Weinstein’s trial, which is scheduled to start Sept. 9, they said.
Weinstein, 67, has pleaded not guilty to charges that he raped a woman in 2013 and performed a forcible sex act on a different woman in 2006.
The legal maneuvering has to do with charges accusing Weinstein of predatory sexual assault, which requires prosecutors to show he had a history of past sex crimes against women.