Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis claimed Wednesday that the Syrian regime has drawn back from plans to conduct another chemical attack, following a warning by the Trump administration of serious consequences if Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces followed through with their plans.
U.S. intelligence detected “active preparations for chemical weapons use” at the same air base from which the regime allegedly had launched its prior chemical attack last April that caused mass casualties. President Trump had responded to the April chemical attack with a barrage of cruise missiles targeting that air base. The White House issued its public warning to the Assad regime on Monday in unambiguous terms, declaring that Assad and his military would pay a “heavy price” if his regime conducted another chemical attack.
“It appears that they took the warning seriously. They didn’t do it,” Mattis told reporters.
Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, went even further in crediting the Trump administration for stopping Assad at least for now. “I can tell you that due to the President’s actions, we did not see an incident,” Ambassador Haley claimed at a House of Representatives foreign affairs committee hearing. “I would like to think that the President saved many innocent men, women and children.”
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The Friedrichs lawsuit should have done the trick. The case—full name: Friedrichs v. California Teacher’s Association—which would have made belonging to a public-employee union optional as a condition of employment nationwide, was set to pass muster with the Supreme Court last year. But when Justice Antonin Scalia died in February 2016, the almost certain fifth and deciding vote went with him, thus keeping half the country’s government workers forcibly yoked to unions.
But now a case similar to Friedrichs is upon us. On June 6, the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation asked the Supreme Court to hear Janus v. AFSCME, a case involving plaintiff Mark Janus, a child-support specialist who works for the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services and is compelled to send part of his paycheck to the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, even though he says that the union does not “represent his interests.” Right-to-work proponents are optimistic that the Court will hear the case and that Neil Gorsuch, Scalia’s replacement, will come down as the fifth vote on the side of employee freedom and overturn the 40-year-old precedent established in Abood v. Detroit Board of Education, in which the Supreme Court held that states may force public-sector workers to pay union dues, while carving out an exception for the funds that unions spend on political activity. Not surprisingly, the squawking from the union crowd has already begun. At Education Week, Mark Walsh refers to the litigants as “anti-union.”
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The government of Bangladesh, led by historically known secular political party Awami League, has completely surrendered to the country’s radical forces regarding the demands, made by Hefazat-e-Islam and some other Islamic political and religious organizations, including the removal of the sculpture that was designed with the theme of the Greek goddess of justice. The statue was installed in last December following a decision taken by the Chief Justice. On May 26, at night, Bangladeshi authorities, in the name of the “consent of the chief justice”, removed the sculpture from the front side of the Supreme Court. The current chief justice, incidentally, is the ever first non-Muslim to hold the constitutional post.
In reaction, the next day, after Friday prayers, Islamists, led by Hefazat-e-Islam, arranged a rally and expressed joy and satisfaction over removal of the sculpture and demanded further removal of all existing idols/statues/sculptures — whatever one might call them — across the country. “Bangladesh is a Muslim country, no culture of statue establishment would be allowed by the people here… all of them must be removed,” said Nur Hossain Quashemi, the president of Dhaka branch of Hefazat-e-Islam, to the media.
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If you’d spent just $5 on Bitcoin seven years ago, you’d be a multimillionaire today.
This factoid circulated throughout the internet last month, and it left many people kicking themselves for having not invested in the cryptocurrency when it was still a nascent phenomenon. But the truth is, Bitcoin was still considered a passing fad in 2010, and you needed a considerable amount of faith and know-how to invest in it.
Cassidy, a 41-year-old legal professional living on the West Coast with his wife and daughter, was one of those fortunate dreamers. Since being introduced to Bitcoin in 2012, he has obtained more than 2,000 units of the currency, which together are worth more than $5 million.
As the pseudonym implies, Cassidy is a deeply private man who asked to remain anonymous to protect his investment. “Forgive my caution,” he says. “You may not realize, but [Bitcoin holders] are regularly targeted by identity thieves. I’ve had many people try to obtain my phone number in an attempt to socially engineer my phone company into transferring my number to an account of their holding.”
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On the edge of the promised land dust storms rise out of the desert, obscuring everything, even the migrants waiting at the gate in front of a complex surrounded by a chain-linked fence topped by barbed wire. But Father Javier Calvillo Salazar is from Juárez, Mexico and he is used to it all, and to those who arrive after what is sometimes thousands of miles and hundreds of days with a collection of scars, broken bones, and missing limbs to match the inhumanity encountered along the way. They arrive weeping, they arrive stony-faced, they arrive pregnant, they arrive with venereal diseases—sometimes they arrive telling García Márquez-esqe stories of witnessing a crocodile eat a newborn baby in one swift bite.
Nicole was delivered at a hospital into the arms of her mother, Ana Lizbeth Bonía, 28, who arrived at the shelter in Juárez after spending nine months traveling north from Comayagua, Honduras. She showed up at the migrant shelter Casa del Migrante Diócesis de Ciudad Juárez with her husband Luis Orlando Rubí, 23, and her underweight son, José Luis, 2, who had saucer-like eyes that glistened with emotion. Ana, who had grown up selling vegetables in the street since the age of 4, had never finished elementary school.
The migrant shelter in Juárez is so close to El Paso, Texas that migrants feel the bittersweet pull of land they can see but likely never legally inhabit. The shelter has 120 beds for men, 60 for women, 20 for families, and one separate area where transgender migrants can stay if they choose. Most migrants who arrive at the shelter are single men, and in interviews migrants mentioned that President Trump’s threat of separating women from their children had led to a decrease in migration by those groups. Each migrant is initially limited to a three-day stay, but they can extend that time depending on their condition, as in the case of Ana, who needed time to rest and recuperate after giving birth to Nicole.
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