- Donald Trump repeats 'Pocahontas' Elizabeth Warren insult after reporter calls it 'offensive'
(Politics - May 26 2016 - 7:30 PM:)<>
Donald Trump again attacked Elizabeth Warren on Thursday, calling her "Pocahontas" during a press conference in North Dakota and prompting pushback from a person identified as a reporter.
"That's very offensive," the person shouted.
"Oh, I'm sorry about that," Trump said.
"Pocahontas? Is that what you said? Elizabeth Warren?" he said.
He said he hits back at the Massachusetts senator because "she tweets a lot about" him.
"She is a senator that's highly overrated," he said. "She's passed very little legislation. Frankly, many of the Democrats can't stand her. Just ask Hillary Clinton how she likes her."
Trump then rekindled a line of attack aimed at her heritage. Scott Brown, a Trump supporter who was Warren's opponent during her 2012 Senate bid, accused her at the time of using her Native American ancestry to her advantage after reports surfaced that she listed herself as a minority in a years-old directory of law professors.
"'Well, I have high cheek bone. You see I have high cheek bones, so I'm a Native American,'" Trump said mockingly on Thursday. "I don't know if you would call it a fraud or not. but she was able to get into various schools because she applied as a Native American. I think she's as Native American as I am, OK? That I will tell you."
"She's a woman that's been very ineffective, other than that she's got a big mouth," he continued.
Trump and Warren have been engaged in a fierce war of words over the past month, with both steadily increasing the intensity of their attacks on one another.
On Tuesday, Warren slammed Trump for his past expression of openness for a downturn in the real-estate market ahead of the 2008 housing crash.
"To root for people to lose their pensions, to root for two little girls in Clark County, Nevada, to end up living out of a van — what kind of a man does that?" Warren said. "I'll tell you exactly what kind of a man does that. It's a man who cares only about himself. A small, insecure money-grubber who doesn't care who gets hurt as long as he makes a profit."
Watch the Thursday exchange below:
- Hillary Clinton did not hand over key emails cited in scathing State Department report
(Politics - May 26 2016 - 7:26 PM:)<>
A key email from Hillary Clinton to a top State Department aide in 2010 expressing worry that her personal messages could become "accessible" to outsiders is cited in a new inspector general's report on her emails. But Clinton did not turn over that particular email, which was later obtained by the investigators.
The presumptive Democratic presidential nominee was supposed to have turned over all work-related emails to the State Department for public release. That public release was supposedly completed at the end of February.
But the agency's watchdog found three emails never seen before by the public, including Clinton's explanation for why she wanted her emails kept private — "I don't want any risk of the personal being accessible," one of Clinton's emails read in November 2010 — and details of hacking attempts on her personal computer server, written by her former IT director in January 2011.
The existence of these previously unreleased messages — which appear to have been found among electronic files of four former top Clinton State Department aides — renews concerns that Clinton was not completely forthcoming when she turned over a trove of 55,000 pages of work-related emails. And it has drawn fresh criticism from presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.
Clinton's physical server is currently being investigated by the FBI.
Clinton first admitted to exclusively using a private email account to send and receive work-related emails while she served as secretary of state in March 2015. The controversy compelled her to hand over roughly 30,000 work-related emails to the State Department, which have been released in batches since last year.
But she deleted about 30,000 additional emails from her server that she says were "personal" in nature before handing it over to the FBI in August, five months after handing over individual emails to the State Department.
Around the time she handed over the server, a House committee requested access to it to ensure that she had not deleted any work-related emails. But her lawyer, David Kendall, told the committee that Clinton aides had changed the server's settings so that only emails she sent and received in the previous 60 days would be saved.
An inspector general's report released Wednesday on email practices within the State Department faulted Clinton and previous secretaries of state for poorly managing email and other computer information, and for slowly responding to new cybersecurity risks.
The report cites "longstanding, systemic weaknesses" related to communications that precede Clinton's appointment as secretary of state. The State Department singled out Clinton's failures as "more serious," however, according to the Associated Press.
"At a minimum, Secretary Clinton should have surrendered all emails dealing with department business before leaving government service and, because she did not do so, she did not comply with the Department's policies that were implemented in accordance with the Federal Records Act," the report reads.
- TRUMP: If the world is rattled by me, 'that's a good thing'
(Politics - May 26 2016 - 7:13 PM:)<>
Donald Trump shook off President Barack Obama's suggestion that world leaders are "rattled" by the prospect of him winning this year's presidential election.
Trump, who on Thursday clinched the Republican nomination for president, seemed to relish the idea that he might be shaking things up.
During a press conference on Thursday, Obama said that world leaders are watching Trump very closely.
"They are not sure how seriously to take some of his pronouncements, but they're rattled by him — and for good reason, because a lot of the proposals that he's made display either ignorance of world affairs or a cavalier attitude," Obama said.
When a reporter asked Trump about Obama's comments at a press conference in North Dakota, Trump said that "that's good."
"Is that right? That's good," Trump said.
I love that word. He used a bad word because he knows nothing about business. When you rattle someone, that's good. ... Many of the countries in our world, our beautiful world, had been absolutely abusing us and taking advantage of us. So if they're rattled, in a friendly way, we're going to have great relationships with these countries, but if they're rattled in a friendly way, that's a good thing ... not a bad thing.
Trump went on to say that Obama is a "president who's done a horrible job."
Here's video of the moment:
- Bernie Sanders is running neck and neck with Hillary Clinton in the last major primary battle
(Politics - May 26 2016 - 6:07 PM:)<>
Sen. Bernie Sanders appears to be closing in on Hillary Clinton in California, which holds the last major battle of the presidential primaries early next month.
A new Public Policy Institute survey of California released on Thursday found Sanders within two points of the former secretary of state, who garnered 46% support among likely Democratic primary voters.
As in other contests, a Clinton win will likely depend on her strength among older voters and minorities.
Sanders held leads among younger voters and more liberal voters by wide margins. But Clinton had a 10-point lead among Latino voters, who make up a larger share of the electorate in California than in most other states.
Despite losing some of its top staffers in the state, Sanders has attempted to make a final stand in California.
The senator has challenged Clinton and presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump to a debate in the state before the June 7 primary. Both Democratic candidates are pumping more than a million dollars of ads into the state, though experts say that the expensive nature of advertising in California calls into question the effectiveness of ads.
Though observers contend that a Sanders win in the state would further cast doubt on Clinton's strength as a nominee, it would remain virtually impossible for Sanders to clinch the nomination.
The former secretary of state holds large leads in pledged delegates, so-called superdelegates, and popular votes. And, as FiveThirtyEight notes, she could reach the number of delegates needed to secure the nomination before the polls even close in the Golden State.
- Damning report reveals horrifying extent of Baylor sexual-assault scandal that led to football coach's ouster
(Politics - May 26 2016 - 5:52 PM:)<>
Baylor announced on Thursday that it had taken the first steps to fire Art Briles, the head football coach, amid intensifying reports that actions by the football program and university administrators had helped cover up sexual-assault accusations against football players.
On Thursday, the university released the findings of an independent investigation conducted by the law firm Pepper Hamilton, which the school had hired in fall 2015 to investigate its handling of accusations of sexual assault.
The findings, which can be read in full on Baylor's website, paint a damning picture of culture that failed to hold the football team accountable, discouraged victims from filing complaints, and, on numerous occasions, neglected to remove victims from potentially dangerous situations with assailants.
"We were horrified by the extent of these acts of sexual violence on our campus. This investigation revealed the University's mishandling of reports in what should have been a supportive, responsive and caring environment for students," said Richard Willis, chair of Baylor's board of regents.
The depth to which these acts occurred shocked and outraged us. Our students and their families deserve more, and we have committed our full attention to improving our processes, establishing accountability and ensuring appropriate actions are taken to support former, current and future students.
Pepper Hamilton reported several key findings, which we've listed below:
- "The University's student conduct processes were wholly inadequate to consistently provide a prompt and equitable response under Title IX; Baylor failed to consistently support complainants through the provision of interim measures; and in some cases, the University failed to take action to identify and eliminate a potential hostile environment, prevent its recurrence or address its effects."
- "Actions by University administrators directly discouraged some complainants from reporting or participating in student conduct processes and in one instance constituted retaliation against a complainant for reporting sexual assault."
- "In addition to broader University failings, Pepper found specific failings within both the football program and Athletics department leadership, including a failure to identify and respond to a pattern of sexual violence by a football player and to a report of dating violence."
- "There are significant concerns about the tone and culture within Baylor's football program as it relates to accountability for all forms of student athlete misconduct."
- "Over the course of their review, Pepper investigated the University's response to reports of a sexual assault involving multiple football players. The football program and Athletics department leadership failed to take appropriate action in response to these reports."
During Briles' time as the Baylor head coach, several members of the football team were accused, convicted, and charged with sexual-assault-related offenses. Two former Baylor players, Tevin Elliot and Sam Ukwuachu, have been convicted of rape, while several others have been accused.
ESPN's "Outside the Lines" reported in April that the school failed to report these cases until nearly two years after the complaints were filed.
Schools are required by federal law to investigate reports of sexual assault and an Outside the Lines report earlier this spring said the school waited almost two years to look at a claim against two former football players.
Baylor also announced several changes to its leadership structure. Ken Starr, the university president, has been moved to a new role as chancellor, while the school's athletic director, Ian McCaw, has been sanctioned and placed on probation.
- This is Saudi Arabia's 'Achilles' heel'
(Politics - May 26 2016 - 5:39 PM:)<>
In the aftermath of the 2003 terrorist attacks carried out by nationals in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, then-Crown Prince Abdullah argued that youth unemployment was the Kingdom's biggest challenge.
Fast forward thirteen years into the future, and the problem remains a pressing issue for the Arab state to this day.
"Abdullah singled out youth unemployment as Saudi Arabia's number one security challenge — and it is," Helima Croft, the head of commodity strategy at RBC Capital Markets, told Business Insider in an interview on Tuesday.
"That's the 'Achilles' heel' of Saudi Arabia — the question of how to deal with its young population."
Approximately two-thirds of the Saudi population is under the age of 30, but about 30% of the population aged 15-24 is unemployed, according to a 2014 estimate from the International Labor Organization. Plus, about 27% of the population is under the age of 14, which implies that Saudi Arabia's going to need to create a lot more jobs in the near future.
And so, in this labor market, the big question is as follows: how do these large numbers of unemployed young people occupy their time if they don't have jobs?
"It's the problem of young, unemployed men who are idle. They can’t marry; they have no jobs," Croft told Business Insider. "In the Middle East, it takes the form of young, idle men getting swept up in extremist groups."
"It's a small fraction of that unemployed population that joined groups like ISIS, [but] you only have to have a small fraction join these groups for tremendous damage to be caused," she continued.
Notably, Saudis make up the second largest group of foreign fighter nationalities in ISIS, according to a December 2015 report by The Soufan Group.
"I look at Saudi Arabia and think, well, we do have those periodic ISIS attacks in the country ... these low level attacks in the eastern provinces where the Shiites live or on the Yemen border security outposts," Croft continued.
"But what if there is something more serious in Saudi Arabia? That's what worries me the most about Saudi. A real security incident there."
But the youth unemployment issue is not limited to Saudi Arabia. It's actually a big obstacle for various countries in the Middle East and North Africa.
A 2015 report from the ILO estimates that youth unemployment rates in Middle East and North Africa have been trending up since the global financial crisis, and are now around 30% in both regions.
And if 30% does not sound like a very high number to you, the ILO thinks there are up to 75 million young jobless people in the Arab world — a number roughly equal to the total populations of France and Greece combined.Even though education and other labor-assisting programs have been implemented in many North African and Middle Eastern states, and young people in the region are "doing well in terms of near universal education" (even for women), youth unemployment rates in the region have risen since the global financial crisis.
This contrasts with other regions around the world, which have seen youth unemployment rates either decrease or at least remain relatively stable in the same time frame.
"The persistent high unemployment among both youth and adults in the [MENA] regions denotes the deep-rooted structural elements that cannot be resolved by supply-side policies alone," the ILO report said.
Notably, the correlation between unemployment rates/lack of job opportunities and joining militant groups is evident in some of these MENA countries.
The 2016 Asda'a Burson-Marsteller Arab Youth Survey, which surveyed 3,500 Arab men and women aged 18 to 24 in face-to-face interviews, found that young Arabs believe the lack of jobs and opportunities as the primary reason people join ISIS (aka the Islamic State, ISIL, or Daesh).
The poll also found that concern about lack of job opportunities is still a huge issue across all 16 countries surveyed, with less than half of respondents (44%) agreeing with the statement "there are good job opportunities in the area I live in.”
And the most striking thing about the latter finding is that this concern is particularly high in countries where ISIS has actively recruited young people, according to the Arab Youth Survey. Only 2% of young Yemenis, 7% of Libyans, 21% of Lebanese, 28% of Tunisians, and 39% of Iraqis believe they have good job opportunities available in their country.
"It’s one of the central challenges in many countries. It’s the 'lost boys,’” Croft said to Business Insider.
"These young men have nothing to do. The alienated, isolated young men who are open to recruitment — whether it be by militant group in Nigeria or whether it be an online ISIS recruiter. It gives them a sense of belonging, gives them a sense of community."
Another interesting detail from the Arab Youth Survey was that for the fifth year in a row, young Arabs viewed the United Arab Emirates as the top country in which to live and the top country for their home nations to emulate (ahead of the US, Germany, Saudi Arabia, Canada, France, and the UK.)
Plus, respondents noted that the top associations with the UAE were “safe and secure,” “has a growing economy,” and “wide range of work opportunities,” and “generous salary package."
“The UAE’s popularity is likely a reflection of its status as a model country and regional political and economic safe haven,” the Arab Youth Survey noted. “The Gulf state has developed a reputation for its robust and diversified economy, which encourages a ‘can do’ attitude among its residents and is respectful of religious and cultural diversity.”
"The Emirates is what the young people admire because the Emirates have seem to have found a way to diversification — with a hospitality sector, transportation sector, in addition to having the oil produced in Abu Dhabi,” Croft told BI.
“It is the model — it’s what the young people through the Arab world look to and say, God, this is our dream — to have the Emirates model."
- Here are all the big banks that paid Hillary Clinton for speeches in 2013
(Politics - May 26 2016 - 5:26 PM:)<>
When Hillary Clinton resigned as Secretary of State in 2013, she made a series of speeches to many different financial service companies. Here are some of the bigger names on Wall Street that paid Clinton to speak.
Produced by Lamar Salter
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- This one-paragraph letter may have launched the opioid epidemic
(Politics - May 26 2016 - 4:06 PM:)<>
Over the past decade, the US has undergone an opioid epidemic. Prescriptions for opioid painkillers like oxycodone, hydrocodone, fentanyl, and morphine have skyrocketed and, with them, the number of overdoses related to opioids.
In 2014, deaths from opioid-related drug overdoses reached a new high of 28,647, according to a January report from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
But the trend has been decades in the making.
This explosion in opioid prescriptions began in the early 1990s with "a big push" from medical groups that doctors were under-treating pain, according to Dr. Ted Cicero, a professor of psychiatry at Washington University in St. Louis and an opiate-use researcher.
One of the primary justifications for this increase, used by doctors, pharmaceutical companies, and researchers alike, was a single paragraph printed in the January 10, 1980, issue of the New England Journal of Medicine:
ADDICTION RARE IN PATIENTS TREATED WITH NARCOTICS
To the Editor: Recently, we examined our current files to determine the incidence of narcotic addiction in 39,946 hospitalized medical patients' who were monitored consecutively. Although there were 11,882 patients who received at least one narcotic preparation, there were only four cases of reasonably well documented addiction in patients who had a history of addiction. The addiction was considered major in only one instance. The drugs implicated were meperidine in two patients, Percodan in one, and hydromorphone in one. We conclude that despite widespread use of narcotic drugs in hospitals, the development of addiction is rare in medical patients with no history of addiction.
HERSHEL JICK, M.D.
Boston Collaborative Drug
Boston University Medical Center
Waltham, MA 02154
The analysis mentioned in the letter, which was authored by Dr. Hershel Jick, was not included.
In the years that followed, the letter was used by pain specialists, nurses, and pharmaceutical representatives in conventions, seminars, and workshops as evidence that opiate painkillers had the low risk of addiction. Specifically, the letter was used to support the assertion that "less than 1%" of opioid users become addicted to the drugs.
Jick's analysis proved no such thing. The study analyzed a database of hospitalized patients at Boston University Medical Center who were given small doses of opioids in a controlled setting to ease suffering from acute pain. These patients were not given long-term opioid prescriptions, which they'd be free to administer at home.
Nevertheless, medical groups like the American Pain Society and the American Pain Foundation used the letter as a jumping-off point and began calling pain the "fifth vital sign" that doctors should attend to.
Pharmaceutical companies like Purdue Pharma introduced powerful new painkillers such as MS Contin and OxyContin, extended-release pills with a very large dose of morphine or oxycodone, respectively, that is designed to be released slowly into a person's body over a 12- or 24-hour period. Major pain specialists began encouraging doctors to prescribe opioids liberally to their pain patients, despite long-held fears of addiction.
As detailed by investigative journalist Sam Quinones in "Dreamland: The True Tale of America's Opiate Epidemic," his investigation into the causes of the heroin crisis, the Porter and Jick letter was referenced repeatedly to justify the increase in liberal prescriptions of opioid painkillers, including in the following:
- A 1990 article in Scientific American, where it was called "an extensive study"
- A 1995 article in Canadian Family Physician, where it was called "persuasive"
- A 2001 Time magazine feature, which said that it was a "landmark study" demonstrating that the "exaggerated fear that patients would become addicted" to opiates was "basically unwarranted"
- A 2007 textbook, "Complications in Regional Anesthesia and Pain Medicine," which said that it was "a landmark report" that "did much to counteract" fears that pain patients treated with opioids would become addicted.
- A 1989 monograph for the National Institutes of Health, which asked readers to "consider the work" of Porter and Jick.
As of May 24, 2016, the Porter and Jick letter has been cited 901 times in scholarly papers, according to a Google Scholar search.
The most influential citation of the Porter and Jick letter was in a 1986 paper on the "chronic use of opioid analgesics in non-malignant pain" by Dr. Russell Portenoy and Kathy Foley in Pain, the official journal of the American Pain Society. In the paper, Portenoy and Foley reviewed the cases of 38 cancer patients with chronic pain who used opioids. Only two became addicted.
"We conclude that opioid maintenance therapy can be a safe, salutary and more humane alternative to the options of surgery or no treatment in those patients with intractable non-malignant pain and no history of drug abuse," Portenoy and Foley wrote.
Their paper, bolstered by the Porter and Jick letter, became an even broader justification for doctors to prescribe opioids liberally for common injuries such as back pain.
Over time, the Porter and Jick letter, and its claim that "less than 1%" of opioid users became addicted, became "gospel" for medical professionals, Dr. Marsha Stanton told Quinones.
"I used [Porter and Jick] in lectures all the time. Everybody did. It didn't matter whether you were a physician, a pharmacist, or a nurse; you used it. No one disputed it. Should we have? Of course we should have," Stanton said.
In 1996, the American Pain Society and the American Academy of Pain Management issued a "landmark consensus," written in part by Portenoy, saying that there is little risk of addiction or overdose in pain patients. The consensus cited the "less than 1 percent" addiction figure and the Porter and Jick letter.
In an interview released by Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing in 2011, Portenoy admitted that he used the Porter and Jick letter, along with other similar studies on opioid use, to encourage more liberal prescribing of opioids:
None of [the papers] represented real evidence, and yet what I was trying to do was to create a narrative so that the primary care audience would look at this information ... and feel more comfort about opioids in a way they hadn't before. In essence this was education to destigmatize [opioids] and because the primary goal was to destigmatize, we often left evidence behind.
Here's the full video:
When asked by Quinones years later about the letter, Jick called it "an amazing thing":
That particular letter, for me, is very near the bottom of a long list of studies that I've done. It's useful as it stands because there's nothing else like it on hospitalized patients. But if you read it carefully, it does not speak to the level of addiction in outpatients who take these drugs for chronic pain.
- Jimmy Kimmel to Donald Trump: Were you 'full of s---' when you praised Hillary Clinton?
(Politics - May 26 2016 - 3:40 PM:)<>
Jimmy Kimmel questioned Donald Trump over his past praise for Hillary Clinton when interviewing the presumptive Republican nominee on ABC's "Jimmy Kimmel Live" Wednesday night.
He even asked whether the Manhattan billionaire was "full of s---."
"In 2008, I want to get this right, you said Hillary would make an excellent president," Kimmel said. "And as recently as 2012 you said you thought she was terrific. What did she do, what happened?"
Trump didn't deny his past praise, and said that "when I am a businessman ... I speak well of everybody."
"If people ask me about politicians, I speak well," he continued. "So when they ask me about Hillary, she's wonderful. The husband, everybody's wonderful, and that's the way it is. And including contributions. They ask me for contributions, I give contributions."
"So you were full of s--- when you said that," Kimmel shot back.
"A little bit," Trump said. "Maybe, maybe."
Watch Trump's comments on Kimmel's show below:
- Donald Trump is trying to rebrand the Republican Party
(Politics - May 26 2016 - 3:22 PM:)<>
In a new interview with Bloomberg, Donald Trump has defined his vision for the future of the Republican Party.
And it's not what the establishment had in mind when it tried to steer the party on a different path after Mitt Romney's crushing loss in the 2012 election.
Joshua Green wrote for Bloomberg:
By obliterating Jeb [Bush], Trump redefined the Republican Party's identity off the top of his head. And his vision of the GOP's future is in many ways the diametrical opposite of what Priebus and the party Establishment had imagined.
Trump, who on Thursday was projected by the Associated Press to have secured enough delegates to win the GOP presidential nomination, told Bloomberg where he saw the future of the party.
"Five, 10 years from now — different party," Trump said. "You're going to have a worker's party."
"A party of people that haven't had a real wage increase in 18 years, that are angry," he added. "What I want to do, I think cutting Social Security is a big mistake for the Republican Party. And I know it's a big part of the budget. Cutting it the wrong way is a big mistake, and even cutting it" at all.
Trump acknowledged that much of his politics were instinctual. Whereas the Republican National Committee released an in-depth analysis of why Republicans lost the 2012 election and what the party needed to do moving forward, Trump suggested he was able to sense what people wanted and channel their anger to shape his own policy.
"My views are what everybody else's views are," Trump said. "When I give speeches, sometimes I'll sign autographs and I'll get to talk to people and learn a lot about the party."
Trump is playing to the opposite instincts of the party insiders who wrote the so-called autopsy report after the 2012 election.
That report concluded that if "Hispanic Americans perceive that a GOP nominee or candidate does not want them in the United States (i.e., self-deportation), they will not pay attention to our next sentence," and it called for "comprehensive immigration reform."
Reince Priebus, the RNC chairman, told Bloomberg that the party should focus on "tone" and "inclusiveness" to avoid alienating minorities.
Trump, on the other hand, has been a polarizing force. He has said he will deport the approximately 11 million people who are living in the US illegally and build a wall on the southern border of the US.
And Trump's support among minorities is at rarely-before-seen lows, according to a recent poll.
Bloomberg described Trump as "a walking exaggeration of every negative attribute the autopsy had warned against." And yet, he went on to defeat more than a dozen establishment challengers to become the party's next presidential nominee.
"It is an issue Donald Trump's going to have to face in a fascinating way," Ari Fleischer, the White House press secretary under President George W. Bush, told Business Insider in March. "Because if much of the evidence is true that he's bringing in new voters and the Republican turnout is up, the question is can he change the math? But I'm very worried that Trump is going to do dismally with African-Americans and with Hispanics."
- Dramatic video appears to show the moment a boat carrying hundreds of refugees capsized off Libya
(Politics - May 26 2016 - 2:58 PM:)<>
A video released by the Italian navy's official website appears to show the moment a migrant boat carrying hundreds of people capsized off the coast of Libya.
At least 20 people are believed to have died as a result, according to the Associated Press, while 88 others have been rescued. More than 7,000 migrants have been rescued by the Italian coastguard since Monday, Reuters reported, with around 900 rescued in seven different coastguard operations on Thursday alone.
"Capsizing scary & deadly," Christopher Miller, a former Mashable reporter, said on Twitter. "As the [Migrant Offshore Aid Station] put it when I was embedded: 'When those boats flip, you can kiss anyone below deck goodbye.'"
Syria's brutal, five-year civil war has spawned the largest refugee crisis Europe has seen since World War II. This year alone, as many as 37,700 refugees have made the dangerous journey across across the Mediterranean from the Middle East and North Africa to Italy. In 2015, 200,000 refugees landed in Greece and 110,000 more arrived in Italy.
The Mediterranean Sea continues to be the deadliest route for refugees and migrants, according to the UN's refugee agency. As of December 2015, more than 3,770 people had drowned trying to cross.
- A new batch of polls cast doubt on Donald Trump's theoretical path to victory over Hillary Clinton
(Politics - May 26 2016 - 2:44 PM:)<>
Donald Trump has maintained throughout the 2016 campaign that his path to winning the White House cuts through the working-class Rust Belt states that President Barack Obama won in 2008.
But new evidence shows he might have a problem following that path.
A new series of Bloomberg polls released Thursday found that middle-income voters in Michigan, Wisconsin, and Ohio backed Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton over Trump by 7 points.
According to Bloomberg, the group — made up of individuals making $30,000 to $75,000 a year — is a key voting bloc that represents nearly 40% of eligible voters who cast ballots in the three states in recent elections.
Some evidence suggests that Trump may have already scrambled the map — but not in a way that his campaign would prefer. Polls in Arizona and Georgia have displayed a tighter race between Trump and Clinton that many experts attribute to Trump's inflammatory rhetoric.
Despite the public polling, Trump's frequent assertion that he can woo working-class white voters has startled some Democrats. Clinton's campaign is doubling down its efforts to hold states like Michigan and Ohio, which Obama won in 2008 and 2012.
But some experts caution not to overestimate Trump's ability to alter the electoral landscape just yet.
Princeton polling expert Sam Wang told Business Insider earlier this week that the map so far looked similar to recent presidential contests.
"So far things are looking more simple than he is making out," Wang said.
Wang added: "Polls so far show almost every state in the same 'rank order' ... R's stronger in GA than NC, stronger in NC than PA, the same order as in 2000-2012. All will be lifted together by the same tide, or fall together."
- A Mississippi man has been stuck in jail for 11 years because of a legal catch-22 that shouldn't even exist
(Politics - May 26 2016 - 2:38 PM:)<>
Steven Jessie Harris has been incarcerated in the Clay County Jail in West Point, Mississippi, for over a decade without a trial, The Clarion-Ledger reports, and the case appears to be in violation of a major Supreme Court ruling.
In 2005, Harris fatally shot his father before embarking on a violent spree, according to West Point police. He was arrested and faces several charges, including murder, kidnapping, and three counts of aggravated assault on law enforcement.
After two years in jail, Harris was evaluated by state doctors who found him to be exhibiting symptoms of schizophrenia.
A year later, the doctors reported that he was incompetent to stand trial.
Mississippi Circuit Court Judge Lee J. Howard attempted to continue Harris' trial several times over the next two years, despite the doctors' original finding, until the doctors restated their finding of incompetence in a 2010 hearing.
Judge Howard then referred Harris' case to Mississippi's Chancery Court, which handles sanity hearings, among other disputes. But before the Chancery Court could take the case, a Clay County judge ruled that the Chancery Court couldn't hear Harris' case either, since he had pending charges.
The ruling created a legal catch-22: One court could not try his charges because of his incompetence, and the other could not address his mental state because of his charges.
"The typical legal response is to commit a person found incompetent to stand trial" to a mental health facility, Stephen J. Morse, professor of Law and of Psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania, told Business Insider.
The goal of that commitment is to restore patients' competence — their ability to rationally understand the charges and court proceedings and to assist their counsel.
This "typical legal response" appears to have never happened. In the six years since the Clay County judge's ruling, there has been little progress in the case.
Clay County District Attorney Scott Colom is now attempting to have Harris transferred to a psychiatric hospital.
Despite Colom's efforts, Harris' 11-year detainment may have run afoul of a major 1972 Supreme Court ruling, Jackson v. Indiana.
In that case, the court ruled that the government cannot detain a defendant indefinitely simply because of his or her incompetence to stand trial. Instead, the state can hold the person only for as long as it takes to determine if there is a "substantial probability" that he or she will become competent in the "foreseeable future." Otherwise, the state can proceed with civil-commitment procedures — having the defendant committed to a mental-health facility — or else release the defendant.
That is not how it worked before Jackson v. Indiana.
"In the bad old days," professor Morse said, if the state couldn't restore people's competence to stand trial, defendants "languished in these commitments."
Morse noted that Harris' treatment did not appear aimed at restoring his competence and that the "nature and duration" of his commitment — to borrow language from the Supreme Court's ruling — was not reasonably related to the purpose of that commitment, as the ruling said it must be.
While the Supreme Court's ruling in Jackson v. Indiana declined to define time limits for determining competence, it did note that, in the case of the defendant, Theon Jackson, three and half years had been enough time to know he was not likely to become competent.
Harris' detention in a jail, as opposed to Jackson's in a hospital, for 11 years appears not only to run afoul of the Supreme Court's ruling but also of Mississippi's own procedure for dealing with competence.
The state's court rules outline the following.
- After the defendant is evaluated by a psychiatrist, the court makes a determination of the defendant's competence. If the defendant is deemed incompetent to stand trial, the court must commit the defendant to a mental-health facility.
- During the commitment, a report must be provided every four months on whether there is a "substantial probability" that the defendant will become mentally competent within the "foreseeable future" and whether progress is being made toward that goal.
- During this process, mental-health officials may report to the court that the defendant now appears competent and a new hearing will be held.
- But if "within a reasonable amount of time" officials do not find the defendant to be likely to become competent, the judge must begin the procedure for civil commitment (when someone is court-ordered into psychiatric treatment), regardless of pending charges.
Instead, Harris was put in jail, briefly hospitalized for mental evaluation, and then inexplicably returned to jail. It is unclear if he was ever committed with the goal of restoring his competence or why civil commitment procedures were never begun.
Morse noted that civil commitment often does not allow for the detention of a person for nearly as long as a prison sentence might, which can make civil commitment a troublesome alternative for courts in cases where the defendant cannot stand trial.
Mississippi's laws regarding involuntary civil commitment dictate that initial commitments not exceed three months.
Over the course of Harris' 11 years in jail, several public defenders have taken on and then left Harris' case. The fourth and most recent attorney, Pearson Liddell, told The Clarion-Ledger that he had retired two years ago.
Harris appears on the Clay County Sheriff's Office's online inmate roster, where his booking date is listed as September 9, 2008, several months after the hospitalization for his mental evaluation.
The page lists his bond as $0.00 and his charges as "UNKNOWN OFFENSE."
- Washington Post scorches Hillary Clinton in scathing editorial slamming her email setup
(Politics - May 26 2016 - 2:24 PM:)<>
The Washington Post's editorial board has slammed Hillary Clinton in an op-ed article over what it described as her "inexcusable, willful disregard for the rules" when she chose to use a personal email account to conduct government business while at the State Department.
"The department's email technology was archaic," The Post wrote. "Other staffers also used personal email, as did Secretary Colin Powell (2001-2005), without preserving the records. But there is no excuse for the way Ms. Clinton breezed through all the warnings and notifications."
The editors were referring to concerns raised by Clinton staffers and department officials over her use of a personal email account to send and receive work-related emails while she was secretary of state.
"On March 11, 2011, an assistant secretary sent a memorandum on cybersecurity threats directly to Ms. Clinton, noting a 'dramatic increase' in attempts to compromise personal email accounts of senior department officials, possibly for spying or blackmail," The Post wrote. "That didn't stop Ms. Clinton either."
Those warnings were revealed in a 78-page report released by the State Department's inspector general on Wednesday. The report faulted Clinton and previous secretaries of state for poorly managing email and other computer information and responding slowly to new cybersecurity risks.
The State Department investigation found "no evidence that the secretary requested or obtained guidance or approval to conduct official business via a personal email account on her private server."
The report noted that "normal day-to-day operations [at State] should be conducted on an authorized Automated Information System (AIS), which has the proper level of security control to … ensure confidentiality, integrity, and availability of the resident information."
The report also found that Clinton's setup "did not comply with the Department's policies that were implemented in accordance with the Federal Records Act," which requires that anything relating to agency activity be captured on the department's server.
The Post slammed Clinton for that as well.
"There were also numerous notifications that some emails (but not all) are considered federal records under the law and that she should print and file those in her office and, before leaving office, surrender all emails dealing with department business," the editorial said. "She did so only about two years later, in December 2014."
Still, as Clinton campaign spokesman Brian Fallon was quick to point out Wednesday, Clinton's use of a personal email account was neither illegal nor unprecedented at the State Department.
Even so, the federal government has standards for how servers are built, how they are secured, and how their data is stored, and it is still unclear how much classified information was shared on the server or which particular safeguards were taken to protect it.
The Post acknowledged that Clinton's behavior was "not illegal" but said it was "disturbingly unmindful of the rules."
"In the middle of the presidential campaign, we urge the FBI to finish its own investigation soon, so all information about this troubling episode will be before the voters," The Post wrote.
Clinton handed over her personal server to the FBI in August, five months after she first acknowledged that she had exclusively used a private email account to send and receive work-related emails while she served as secretary of state. A separate FBI investigation is ongoing.
- See inside the $5.3 million Washington, DC, home that the Obamas will reportedly move into after they leave the White House
(Politics - May 26 2016 - 2:09 PM:)<>
It's not the White House, but it'll do.
The Obamas have settled on a post-Pennsylvania Avenue house to call home after the president leaves office at the end of this year, according to Politico. They will lease the home until their younger daughter, Sasha, leaves high school.
The home was listed for sale at $5.3 million before going off the market in May.
Though it's smaller than their current, more famous abode, it's still a lavish residence in a desirable area of the nation's capital. It was built in 1928, with 8,200 square feet and nine bedrooms.
It's being leased to the Obamas by Joe Lockhart, President Bill Clinton's former press secretary.
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The Obamas are trading white for brick at their newly leased mansion in the Kalorama section of DC.
It's completely gated and private, though it sits close to the road.
The gated driveway has plenty of space for Secret Service vehicles.
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- Greg Norman reveals the truth behind President Clinton’s late-night 1997 injury
(Politics - May 26 2016 - 2:06 PM:)<>
Golfing legend and entrepreneur Greg Norman recently visited Business Insider to discuss a wide range of topics; from running his multi-national conglomerate Great White Shark Enterprises to his advice for the struggling Jordan Spieth.
We also asked Norman to take us back to March of 1997, when President Clinton severely injured his knee while visiting the golfer's house in Florida. The incident garnered the attention of Kenneth Starr, the prosecutor in charge of the investigation of the Monica Lewinsky scandal.
Produced by Graham Flanagan
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- People are getting worked up over these photos of US soldiers wearing Kurdish patches while they fight ISIS
(Politics - May 26 2016 - 2:05 PM:)<>
Photos of US soldiers wearing patches from the Kurdish People's Protection Unit, or YPG, as they fight the Islamic State alongside Kurds in Syria have reignited the debate over Washington's support for the group, with some calling the patches "politically tone deaf" and others insisting it is "perfectly normal."
The YPG has proved to be the most effective ground force fighting the Islamic State, the militant group also known as ISIS, ISIL, or Daesh, in northern Syria. But the territorial expansion the YPG's victories have afforded it is vehemently opposed by Turkey, an important US ally and NATO member.
Ankara views Kurdish demands for autonomy as a threat to Turkey's sovereignty and backs many of the rebel groups that have clashed with the YPG. Turkey has also linked the YPG to the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, a designated terrorist organization that is waging an insurgency in Turkey's southeast.
As such, some analysts wonder whether the Americans' show of solidarity with the Kurds will further inflame tensions between the US and Turkey.
As one Kurdish activist asked on Twitter, "How will Erdogan react?"
Charles Lister, a Syria expert and senior fellow at the Middle East Institute, said it was "absolutely remarkable seeing US special forces personnel wearing YPG patches in the northern Raqqa operation."
"The US National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) labeled the YPG the Syria wing of the 'designated' PKK in 2014," he added.
Michael Weiss, a Middle East analyst and coauthor of "ISIS: Inside the Army of Terror," noted on Twitter that the image on the YPG patch appeared to derive from the original PKK flag.
Emile Hokayem, a Middle East analyst at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, tweeted that the photos were "politically tone-deaf and counterproductive in this context." He was most likely referring not only to the US-Turkey relationship but also to the tension between Kurdish forces and Syrian Arab rebel groups associated with the Free Syrian Army.
Mutual distrust continues to cast a shadow over the Kurdish-Arab relationship in northern Syria, even as the Obama administration has tried to bring Arab and Kurdish forces together via the Syrian Democratic Forces to fight the Islamic State.
FSA rebels were reportedly enraged, for example, when they learned that the US's top military commander, Gen. Joseph Votel, visited Kurdish commanders in northern Syria last weekend to discuss the Kurdish-dominated SDF's plans to retake territory from ISIS.
Many FSA groups don't trust the Kurds, who wish to carve out an autonomous region in northern Syria known as Rojava, and are wary of US support for them.
“The Arab fighters [in the SDF] are just camouflage," Gen. Salim Idris, the former FSA chief of staff, told Voice of America on Monday. "The SDF is the YPG, which collaborates with anyone — Assad, the Russians, the Americans — when it suits its purposes."
He added: "I really don't think the Obama administration has thought this through. Will the Kurds give up Arab towns they capture?"
Some analysts worry that photos of US soldiers showing solidarity with the Kurds by wearing YPG patches will infuriate FSA rebels — and Turkey — even further.
But Wladimir van Wilgenburg, a field researcher for the Iraqi Institute for Strategic Studies and a journalist based in the region, said the practice was "quite normal."
"They do it out of respect for the local forces they are working with," van Wilgenburg told Business Insider on Thursday. "It's the same with coalition soldiers in Iraqi Kurdistan. I have seen them with Kurdish flags, or patches of different peshmerga forces (like the Zerevani)."
He added: "It has nothing to do with politics. They are fighting together as a 'band of brothers' against the Islamic state, so it's quite normal."
- Trump continues walking back his stance that transgender people can use whichever bathroom they want
(Politics - May 26 2016 - 2:05 PM:)<>
Trump refused to reveal his personal opinion on whether transgender people should be able to use the bathroom of their choice on "Jimmy Kimmel Live". However, on the "Today" show he said that people should use the bathroom "that they feel appropriate."
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- The Weeknd and rapper Belly canceled Jimmy Kimmel appearance in protest of Donald Trump
(Politics - May 26 2016 - 2:03 PM:)<>
Singer The Weeknd and rapper Belly canceled their appearance on Wednesday's "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" in protest over another of the show's guests, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.
Belly, who is Canadian and Muslim, said he disagrees with Trump's views and didn't want to appear on a show that would also have Trump as a guest.
"I feel like the way I was raised was to be able to see through all the titles in this world — from religion to race," Belly told the Associated Press in a statement. "I just didn't want to feel like I was a part of a celebration for somebody who has beliefs that majority of us don't agree with."
Belly, who's promoting his upcoming mixtape, "Another Day in Paradise," was set to perform the single "Might Not" with The Weeknd on Wednesday's show.
"I'm here on a campaign of positivity and love and to contribute what I can to music," he continued in his statement. "I create songs people go to sleep and wake up to, songs that they fall in love to. For me, being Muslim and being somebody that appreciates my access here in America, I love the fact that I'm able to be here. To play my part in this business is a privilege and a beautiful thing. The fact that I could lose that ability through the actions of someone such as Donald Trump isn't right to me. At all."
Representatives for the ABC late-night show had no comment for the AP. Trump and The Weeknd didn't respond to the the wire news service's requests for comment.
Trump has been very vocal about his proposed ban on Muslim immigrants entering the US.
Belly and The Weeknd have collaborated on several songs and shared an Oscar nomination for their song "Earned It," from the "50 Shades of Grey" soundtrack.
- Punters have suddenly started to bet heavily on a Brexit — and bookmakers have no idea why
(Politics - May 26 2016 - 2:01 PM:)<>
British punters have suddenly started to pile money on Britain voting to leave the European Union on June 23, and a betting expert can offer no explanation as to why this is happening.
Matthew Shaddick, head of political betting at Ladbrokes, told an audience at an event attended by Business Insider on Wednesday night that the betting company had seen a huge increase in the amount of money being placed on a Brexit this week.
This odd development in the world of political betting comes with less than four weeks to go until Britons will vote on whether the country should remain an EU member state.
Since Monday, 47.9% of the bets Ladbrokes has received on the EU referendum have backed Britain to leave the EU.
In the five weeks previous, however, the share of bets placed on a Brexit didn't even surpass 16.1%, as shown in the chart below.
This means that the proportion of money staked on a Brexit has nearly tripled.
Speaking at the Institute of Directors in central London, Shaddick said: "There's been no major political events or developments in the campaigns to explain this move. I don't have a clue."
He added in an email to BI on Thursday: "This week has seen a notable increase in the amount of money being bet on Leave. At last, we're beginning to see some more confident punters willing to stake hundreds and, in some cases, thousands of pounds on a Brexit outcome."
One reason why betting behaviour has changed so dramatically this week might be the YouGov and ICM online opinion polls published on Monday that said that the race between the two campaigns was exactly neck-and-neck.
The results of opinion polls conducted online continue to show a really close contest — despite phone polls, analysts, and bookmakers indicating leads for Remain ranging from steady to very commanding.
It's possible that Britain's punters feel that there's a realistic possibility that the phone pollsters and analysts are misreading public opinion and online pollsters are being more accurate.
What is also interesting is the huge difference between the average size of bets placed on Remain and Leave. The average worth of bets placed on Leave so far has been £60, but for Remain the amount has been a much larger £343, according to data Shaddick sent to BI.