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Chiefs’ Hill releases statement about child abuse probe

NFL: Oakland Raiders at Kansas City Chiefs
FILE PHOTO: Dec 30, 2018; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill (10) warms up before a game against the Oakland Raiders at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

April 25, 2019

Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill released a statement through his lawyers Thursday, a day after the district attorney’s office announced it would not bring charges against him for child abuse and neglect.

“I love and support my family above anything. My son’s health and happiness is my number one priority. I want to thank the Kansas City Chiefs, my attorneys, my agent and my union for supporting me through this. My focus remains on working hard to be the best person for my family and our community I can be, and the best player to help our team win,” Hill said in the statement.

Kansas City District Attorney Stephen Howe on Wednesday said he believes a crime resulting in injury happened to Hill’s son, but that the evidence couldn’t support a charge against Hill or the child’s mother.

Hill’s attorneys Thursday insisted he is “innocent of any crime.”

“Contrary to media reports, Tyreek cooperated with law enforcement, waived his Fifth Amendment rights, and answered questions from both law enforcement and DCF,” Hill’s attorneys said in the release.

Authorities had been investigating incidents — one on March 5 for child abuse and neglect, and one on March 14 for battery — at Hill’s home in Overland Park, Kan. Both police reports indicated a juvenile was involved.

Hill, 25, and his fiancee, Crystal Espinal, were listed on the March 5 police report as “others involved.” On the March 14 report, Espinal was listed as “others involved,” with a juvenile listed as the victim.

The Kansas City Star reported previously that the couple’s son suffered a broken arm in the incident. The Star also reported earlier this week that the boy was recently removed from his parents’ custody, as part of a family court process called a “child in need of care” case.

Despite not being charged with a crime, Hill could be subject to discipline from the NFL.

–Field Level Media

Source: OANN

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Google exempt from back taxes in France, appeals court confirms

FILE PHOTO: Opening of the new Alphabet's Google Berlin office
FILE PHOTO: Journalists follow a news conference during the opening of the new Alphabet's Google Berlin office in Berlin, Germany, January 22, 2019. REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke/File Photo

April 25, 2019

PARIS (Reuters) – Google will not have to pay 1.1 billion euros ($1.22 billion) in back taxes demanded by French authorities, an appeals court in France ruled on Thursday, dashing the government’s bid to overturn a 2017 decision.

The latest ruling comes at a time France is trying to crack down on digital service giants and the tax they pay, with the planned introduction of a French levy and as it pushes for broader international reforms.

The back tax case centers on a claim by the French finance ministry that Google had declared advertising revenue in Ireland which had actually been earned in France, thus avoiding paying corporate tax and value-added tax between 2005 and 2010.

But the appeals court in Paris said it agreed with an earlier ruling that favored the U.S. company and argued that Google Ireland Limited did not have a “permanent establishment” or sufficient taxable presence in France to justify the bill.

(Reporting by Simon Carraud, Writing by Sarah White; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)

Source: OANN

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Judge Nap on impeachment: ‘Congress can impeach anybody for the reasons set forth in the Constitution’

Fox News senior judicial analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano said Thursday Congress can impeach anyone they want “for the reasons set forth in the Constitution and the courts have no say in it," responding to President Trump's pledge that he would go all the way to the Supreme Court if the “partisan” Democrats try to impeach him.

Napolitano made the statement on “Fox & Friends” Thursday, the morning after President Trump vowed to go all the way to the Supreme Court, asserting there are “no crimes by me at all” following the release of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report.

Trump tweeted Wednesday: “The Mueller Report, despite being written by Angry Democrats and Trump Haters, and with unlimited money behind it ($35,000,000), didn’t lay a glove on me. I DID NOTHING WRONG. If the partisan Dems ever tried to Impeach, I would first head to the U.S. Supreme Court.”

Napolitano weighed in on Thursday, saying: “The bottom line is, there’s nothing he can do about it because impeachment is political. There has to be a legal basis for it. Treason, bribery, and then there’s that fudgy phrase, other high crimes, and misdemeanors.”

“When Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton were the subject of articles of impeachment the high crimes and misdemeanors included obstruction of justice. So we know historically obstruction of justice can be a basis for impeachment but the courts won't get involved.”


The president’s tweet came as congressional Democrats debate whether to initiate impeachment proceedings against him. During a conference call on Monday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., along with her leadership team, was clear that there were no immediate plans to move forward with impeachment.

Meanwhile, on Monday, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., subpoenaed former White House counsel Don McGahn to testify publicly next month following last week's release of Mueller's Russia report.


Nadler described McGahn, who stepped down as White House counsel in October 2018, as "a critical witness to many of the alleged instances of obstruction of justice and other misconduct described in the Special Counsel's report."

In response, Napolitano said Thursday: “This will get to the courts because these subpoenas are valid and when they ask you to come and testify, you can ignore them. When they send you a subpoena you can’t ignore them, you have to do something with the supoena. Either comply with it or bring it to your lawyer and have your lawyer challenge it, which is apparently what the president is going to do.”


“Don McGahn doesn't work for the government anymore, so he could walk in to Jerry Nadler's committee hearing room and just take the oath and start testifying, I don't think he’s going to do that, I think he’s going to defer to the White House’s wishes, which is to challenge the subpoena. So ultimately a judge will decide.”

Source: Fox News Politics

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MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough criticizes Franklin Graham’s comments on Pete Buttigieg’s Sexuality: ‘You are a disgrace’

MSNBC's "Morning Joe" host Joe Scarborough took evangelist Rev. Franklin Graham to task Thursday, calling him a "disgrace" for recent statements over 2020 presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg’s sexuality.

Scarborough's comment was made in response to tweets by Graham, the president of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Samaritan’s Purse, an evangelical Christian humanitarian aid organization, where he condemned Buttigieg’s claim of being a “gay Christian,” saying that that Bible “defines homosexuality as sin.”

Scarborough said Thursday: “Oh shut up, just shut up Franklin Graham! You are a disgrace! You are a disgrace for normalizing Donald Trump’s behavior.”

MSNBC's "Morning Joe" host Joe Scarborough took evangelist Rev. Franklin Graham to task Thursday, calling him a "disgrace" for recent statements over 2020 presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg’s sexuality.

MSNBC's "Morning Joe" host Joe Scarborough took evangelist Rev. Franklin Graham to task Thursday, calling him a "disgrace" for recent statements over 2020 presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg’s sexuality. (Getty)

Graham tweeted on Wednesday, “Presidential candidate & South Bend Mayor @PeteButtigieg is right—God doesn’t have a political party. But God does have commandments, laws & standards He gives us to live by. God doesn’t change. His Word is the same yesterday, today & forever.”

Graham posted the tweet in response to a CNN article called “Pete Buttigieg: 'God doesn't have a political party'”

Graham also tweeted, “Mayor Buttigieg says he’s a gay Christian. As a Christian I believe the Bible which defines homosexuality as sin, something to be repentant of, not something to be flaunted, praised or politicized. The Bible says marriage is between a man & a woman—not two men, not two women.”

He concluded: “The core of the Christian faith is believing and following Jesus Christ, who God sent to be the Savior of the world—to save us from sin, to save us from hell, to save us from eternal damnation.”

Scarborough said in response: “Here’s a man, who along with so many people in my community, the evangelical community, attacked Bill Clinton for his personal failings.”


“They are now using their position, these evangelical leaders, like religious leaders of Jesus’ day, they are now using their positions to gain political power and apologize for Donald Trump.”

Buttigieg, the South Bend, Ind., mayor, came out as gay during his mayoral re-election campaign in 2015. Earlier this month he discussed his sexual orientation during an event hosted by the LGBTQ Victory Fund, saying: "If me being gay was a choice, it was made far, far above my pay grade”


He added: “If you got a problem with who I am – your problem is not with me, your quarrel sir, is with my creator."

Scarborough said Thursday: “Now suddenly Franklin Graham’s talking about lifestyles and sinning, and a guy who has gone through a very difficult personal journey to figure out who he really is, he’s criticizing them for that? Cause it’s not a lifestyle choice. And anyone who’s heard Pete Buttigieg talk knows that.”


The Democratic presidential candidate has seen a major surge in the polls in recent weeks, now coming in fourth place in the Real Clear Politics polling average.

Source: Fox News Politics

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White House to Congress: top Trump immigration aide won’t testify

White House adviser Miller departs with U.S. President Trump on travel to Michigan from Joint Base Andrews in Maryland
White House adviser Stephen Miller walks across the tarmac to board Air Force One as he departs Washington with U.S. President Donald Trump for travel to Grand Rapids, Michigan from Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, U.S., March 28, 2019. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

April 25, 2019

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The White House is refusing to allow President Donald Trump’s top immigration aide to testify to Congress about the administration’s immigration policies, its latest salvo against oversight efforts by Democratic lawmakers.

In a letter on Wednesday to the House of Representatives Oversight Committee, the White House declined a request for Stephen Miller to testify about Trump immigration initiatives, including the policy of separating migrant children from their parents and his threat to send illegal immigrants to so-called sanctuary cities.

“In accordance with longstanding precedent, we respectfully decline the invitation to make Mr. Miller available for testimony before the committee,” the White House counsel said in the letter, first posted online by CNN.

The refusal is part of a wider pushback by the Republican president against legal requests from the Democratic-led House, which is conducting multiple investigations of his administration, including his tax returns, White House security clearances and possible obstruction of justice by Trump.

U.S. Representative Elijah Cummings, the Democratic chairman of the Oversight Committee, on Wednesday accused Trump of a “unprecedented, and growing pattern of obstruction” after he ordered federal employees not to comply with congressional investigations.

Cummings on April 17 invited Miller to testify voluntarily about why the administration decided to separate immigrant children from their parents at the border.

Cummings also called for an explanation of “transferring asylum seekers to sanctuary cities as a form of illegal retribution against your political adversaries, and firing top administration officials who refuse orders to violate the law.”

Trump has said he is considering sending immigrants in the country illegally to jurisdictions that have adopted some form of “sanctuary city” policies in which they refuse to use their resources to help federal agents enforce deportations.

Miller, a former Senate aide, has helped shape some of Trump’s most controversial immigration policies, from the first Muslim ban shortly after he took office in 2017 to last year’s child separation policy, both of which were rejected by courts.

The oversight panel could exercise its power to subpoena him, although the White House could invoke executive privilege to protect Miller’s discussions with Trump.

(Reporting by Doina Chiacu and Roberta Rampton; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)

Source: OANN

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Drugmakers Astellas, Amgen to pay $125 million in U.S. charity kickback probe

Headquarters of Astellas Pharma Inc. is seen in Tokyo
FILE PHOTO: The headquarters of Japanese pharmaceutical company Astellas Pharma Inc. is seen in Tokyo July 17, 2009. REUTERS/Stringer

April 25, 2019

By Nate Raymond

BOSTON (Reuters) – Two drugmakers will pay nearly $125 million to resolve claims they used charities that help cover Medicare patients’ out-of-pocket drug costs as a way to pay kickbacks aimed at encouraging the use of their high-priced medications, the U.S. Justice Department said on Thursday.

The department said Japan-based Astellas Pharma and Amgen Inc, the world’s largest biotech company, were the latest to settle claims stemming from an industry-wide probe of drugmakers’ financial support of patient assistance charities.

Astellas will pay $100 million while Amgen will pay $24.75 million, the department said. Neither company admitted wrongdoing.

Amgen in a statement said it “does not agree with the government’s view of the relevant facts or that its conduct was inappropriate” but agreed to the settlement to put the matter behind it. Astellas also said it believed its actions were lawful.

The investigation, led by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Boston, came amid growing attention to soaring U.S. drug prices. Copays are partly meant to serve as a check on healthcare expenses by exposing patients to some of a medicine’s cost.

Drug companies are prohibited from subsidizing copayments for patients enrolled in the government’s Medicare healthcare program for those aged 65 and older. Companies may donate to non-profits providing copay assistance as long as they are independent.

But the government alleged that the drugmakers used such charities as conduits to improperly pay the copay obligations of Medicare patients using their drugs, in violation of the Anti-Kickback Statute.

The government alleged Astellas from 2013 to 2014 while selling the prostate cancer drug Xtandi arranged to have two foundations run funds that would only cover co-pays for patients using androgen receptor inhibitors.

Xtandi at the time was the only major drug used to treat advanced castration resistant prostate cancer from that class of medicines, the government alleged, and Astellas was the only donor to both funds.

The charities were Patient Access Network Foundation (PANF) and Chronic Disease Fund, which is now known as Good Days, according to Astellas’ settlement agreement. Neither immediately responded to requests for comment.

The government alleged Amgen meanwhile from 2011 to 2014 used PANF as a conduit to pay the copay obligations of Medicare patients using its secondary hyperparathyroidism treatment Sensipar.

The department said Onyx Pharmaceuticals, which Amgen acquired in 2013, also used Chronic Disease Fund as a means to improperly pay the out-of-pocket costs of Medicare patients using its multiple myeloma drug Kyprolis.

(Reporting by Nate Raymond in Boston; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli and Bill Berkrot)

Source: OANN

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Biden’s Senate record, advocacy of 1994 crime bill will be used against him, ex-Sanders staffer says

Former Vice President Joe Biden will face scrutiny over his record in the U.S. Congress and particularly his strong advocacy for the 1994 crime bill, says Independent voter and former Bernie Sanders staffer Tezlyn Figaro.

“I grew up in the 1990s. And my entire adult generation, those around me, really suffered a major consequence with that bill,” Figaro said on “Fox and Friends” Thursday, just minutes after Biden announced his candidacy for president.

“First time nonviolent offenders who went to prison for 15, 16, 17 years. People are still in prison right now as a result of that crime bill,” she added, noting that while the former Veep somewhat apologized for his support of the bill, he hasn’t spoken about how that will be fixed.


“I appreciate Joe Biden has atoned and said that he regrets the consequences of that bill. But the issue is we haven't seen anything to talk about how we are going to fix it. I want to talk about the policies. What are you going to do as president to fix what happened in the 1990s with that bill,” she said.

“But the issue is we haven't seen anything to talk about how we are going to fix it. I want to talk about the policies. What are you going to do as president to fix what happened in the 1990s with that bill.”

— Tezlyn Figaro

Figaro also said that Biden’s campaign launch, which featured footage from the deadly 2017 rally in Charlottesville, appeals to the emotions but detracts from the debate about policies.

“A lot of people are upset about Charlottesville, it’s an emotional trigger race right now,” Figaro said. “Certainly emotional trigger that the left is talking about and, again, it's moving us away from actually talking about policy and actually looking at these things a little bit closer.”

“We didn't have a chance to adjudicate these issues when Joe Biden was the vice president. Bottom line they let it slide in 2008 and 2012. It was all about Uncle Joe helping out Barack Obama. No one really looked at his record,” she added.


“The good thing about having so many candidates run, we actually will be forced to adjudicate the issues. Look at it a little bit closer and I think he is going to have a lot of criticism. Nice guy, but a lot of criticism.”

Figaro concluded that Biden’s centrist credentials are likely to make him appear more authentic than many other candidates who are currently following the lead of Sanders and pushing the party further to the left, without taking into account if such policies would be competitive against President Trump in the general election.

“It is important to have somebody who is center. I think everyone can't follow Bernie Sanders' lead, which clearly they are all doing. Some are just pretending to be progressives on TV. I think that's a bad thing. It's not authentic and doesn't match up to the resumes,” she said.


“As far as the energy of the party, yeah, they are moving left. But is that going to be what is going to beat Donald Trump? That's an entirely different question, for right now everybody is left and everybody is Bernie Sanders and I don't know if that will work in a general election.”

Source: Fox News Politics

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A woman selects vegetables at a supermarket in Beijing
A woman selects vegetables at a supermarket in Beijing, China, April 11, 2019. REUTERS/Jason Lee

April 12, 2019

By Lusha Zhang and Kevin Yao

BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s economic growth is expected to slow to a near 30-year low of 6.2 percent this year, a Reuters poll showed on Friday, as sluggish demand at home and abroad weigh on activity despite a flurry of policy support measures.

The median forecast was slightly lower than the 6.3 percent economists had predicted in the last poll in January.

While the world’s second-largest economy has shown some signs of steadying recently, analysts caution it is too early to tell if the newfound momentum can be sustained.

Policy stimulus thus far has also been more restrained by Chinese standards than in past downturns, which could mean a more gradual recovery.

Most of the 88 institutions covered in the survey do not expect growth to bottom out until later in the year as looser monetary condition and fiscal stimulus take time to percolate through the economy and revive domestic demand.

“We expect the economy will slow further in second quarter as exports likely remain under pressure as global demand deteriorates and the property market stays in a downward cycle, while stubbornly weak consumption for durable goods caps demand,” said Ting Lu, chief China economist at Nomura.

The full-year forecast of 6.2 percent would still fall within the government’s target of 6.0-6.5 percent, but it would mark the weakest pace of growth China has seen in 29 years, and spell a further deceleration from 6.6 percent in 2018 and 6.8 percent in 2017.

Growth next year will likely cool further to 6.0 percent, the poll showed.

Multi-year regulatory campaigns to curb debt risks and pollution have deterred fresh investment, while a year-long trade war with the United States has hurt China’s exporters.

First-quarter growth was seen cooling to 6.3 percent from a year earlier, the same as in the previous poll, from 6.4 percent in the fourth-quarter of 2018, the weakest pace since the global financial crisis.

China will post its first-quarter gross domestic product (GDP) and March activity data on April 17.


Beijing has stepped up fiscal stimulus this year, announcing more spending on roads, railways and ports, along with trillions of yuan of tax cuts to ease pressure on corporate balance sheets.

It has also pressed banks to keep lending to struggling smaller, private companies, and on more affordable terms, even though they are considered higher credit risks than state-backed firms.

Investors are hoping for more signs of economic recovery in China to cushion worries about slowing global growth, after the IMF this week downgraded its 2019 world outlook for the third time citing U.S.-China trade tensions.

Optimism has increased that Washington could reach a deal with Beijing soon. The two sides have largely agreed on a mechanism to police any trade agreement they reach, including establishing new “enforcement offices,” U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Wednesday.

President Donald Trump said last week that a deal could be ready around the end of April.

But economists warn that even if a trade deal is reached, and tit-for-tat tariffs are removed, Chinese exporters will still have to contend with weakening demand globally.


Analysts expect the central bank will ease policy further this year to spur lending and reduce the risk off a sharper slowdown. But they do not expect a cut in the benchmark lending rate, which would risk adding to a mountain of debt left over from past stimulus campaigns.

The People’s Bank of China has slashed bank’s reserve requirement ratio (RRR) five times over the past year and analysts forecast three more cuts of 50 basis points each in this quarter and the next two.

The finding was the same as in January.

China will step up its policy of targeted cuts to banks’ reserve ratios to encourage financing for small and medium-sized businesses that play a key role in economic growth, the cabinet said on Sunday.

The economists expect the PBOC to keep its benchmark lending rate unchanged at 4.35 percent through at least the end of 2020, the Reuters poll showed.

The central bank has been guiding money market rates lower in various ways since last year, which is reducing corporate financing costs, while banks have been lowering mortgage rates in some areas.

The poll also predicted annual consumer inflation to be more muted at 2.1 percent in 2019, cooling from the 2.3 percent estimated in the January survey.

Data this week showed China’s producer prices in March picked up for the first time in nine months while consumer inflation also quickened.

“Despite the rise in inflation, we believe it will not change the easing bias of the People’s Bank of China, as the CPI inflation comes mainly from pork prices rather than a general rise in prices,” Lu said.

(Reporting by Lusha Zhang and Kevin Yao; Polling by Khushboo Mittal in Bangalore and Jing Wang in Shanghai; Editing by Kim Coghill)

Source: OANN

A street sign for Wall Street hangs in front of the New York Stock Exchange
FILE PHOTO: A street sign for Wall Street hangs in front of the New York Stock Exchange May 8, 2013. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

April 22, 2019

(Reuters) – U.S. stocks edged lower at the open on Monday, weighed down by technology shares, as investors took a cautious stance at the start of what is expected to be the busiest week of the first-quarter earnings season.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 48.77 points, or 0.18%, at the open to 26,510.77. The S&P 500 opened lower by 6.25 points, or 0.22%, at 2,898.78. The Nasdaq Composite dropped 28.69 points, or 0.36%, to 7,969.37 at the opening bell.

(Reporting by Amy Caren Daniel in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta)

Source: OANN

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s surging national profile has inspired a trio of Republican opponents from her home district — along with a multimillionaire mystery donor who could help close the gap in her foes’ long-shot race against her.

Just three months after taking office, the Democratic socialist congresswoman’s challengers include an Egyptian American journalist, who has already tossed her hat in the ring, and an NYPD cop-turned-high-school-civics teacher and conservative talk-radio producer, both of whom are seriously exploring a run against her.

And the fledgling challengers could get help from a wealthy New Yorker committed to backing an Ocasio-Cortez opponent, a GOP big said.


“There’s definitely national energy and money on this race,” Bronx Republican Chairman Mike Rendino told The Post, adding that he has been in touch with a mega-bucks donor hell-bent on getting AOC tossed.

Rendino wouldn’t divulge the donor’s name but said the individual is “worth over $200 million, plus [has] connections to raise money in Manhattan.”

Tom Doherty, a former Pataki deputy, said a Republican challenger to AOC would be able to “raise real national money.

“We need to put individuals forward and make the incumbent work for re-election,” Doherty said.

Click to read more from the New York Post.

Source: Fox News Politics

Elizabeth Warren’s plan for student loan debt cancellation and free college tuition – costing $1.25 trillion over 10 years – does little to address two major education issues, according to one critic.

Brian Brenberg, associate professor and chair of the program in business and finance at the King’s College in New York, said Warren’s plan contains “big problems” during an appearance on “Fox and Friends” on Tuesday morning.

“One of the big problems is costs here. We are talking about trillions of dollars,” he said. “She wants to forgive loans for people who have loans now. She is not talking about folks who paid their loans off in the past and sitting there and thinking what a chump I am that I paid off my loans. That’s a big problem.”

“She is not talking about folks who paid their loans off in the past and sitting there and thinking what a chump I am that I paid off my loans. That’s a big problem.”

— Brian Brenberg


Under Warren’s plan, unveiled on Monday, each person’s student debt would get a relief of $50,000 if household income is up to $100,000. Higher incomes would also be entitled to massive debt reductions, while only those households with earnings of over $250,000 would get no student debt reduction.

But Brenberg points that while Warren’s proposal attempts to tackle the issue of massive student loan debts, it does little to address the real problem of what causes so many graduates to remain indebted for years, which is the quality of education.

“She is also not talking about the value people get from schools. So, yeah, people have a lot of loans. $1.5 trillion in loans,” Brenberg said.

“But the problem is they are not getting value for their education which is why they can’t pay off those loans. Let’s talk about that. She doesn’t want to hold the universities accountable.”

But the problem is they are not getting value for their education which is why they can’t pay off those loans. Let’s talk about that. She doesn’t want to hold the universities accountable.”

— Brian Brenberg


According to the details provided by Warren, her student debt cancelation plan has a one-off price tag of $640 billion to the government.

But Warren’s proposal also proposes to eliminate tuition and fees for two and four-year public college degree programs, as well as a $100 billion investment in Pell Grants, a federal aid program that requires no payback – bringing the total price tag of about $1.25 trillion over 10 years.


She claims that the cost of the policy, in addition to her proposed universal free college, would be “be “more than covered by my Ultra-Millionaire Tax — a 2% annual tax on the 75,000 families with $50 million or more in wealth.”

Source: Fox News Politics

A man carries a sign during a protest seeking the departure of the ruling elite in Algiers
A man carries a sign reading “System, get out” during a protest seeking the departure of the ruling elite in Algiers, Algeria April 12, 2019. REUTERS/Ramzi Boudina

April 12, 2019

By Hamid Ould Ahmed and Lamine Chikhi

ALGIERS (Reuters) – Hundreds of thousands of protesters rallied in Algiers for an eighth successive Friday to demand the departure of the ruling elite, witnesses said, as Algeria prepares for a presidential election in July.

President Abdelaziz Bouteflika stepped down from 20 years in power 10 days ago, bowing to pressure from the army and weeks of demonstrations mainly by young people seeking change in the North African country.

But protests have continued as many want the removal of an elite that has governed Algeria since independence from France in 1962 and the prosecution of what they see as corrupt figures.

Bouteflika has been replaced by Abdelkader Bensalah, head of the upper house of parliament, as interim president for 90 days until a presidential election on July 4.

“No to Bensalah,” the protesters chanted, marching peacefully in the center of Algiers where mass protests broke out on Feb 22.

Reuters correspondents at the scene estimated the crowd size at hundreds of thousands of people as on previous Fridays, although there was no official count.

“We want the prosecution of all corrupt people” and “no to the gang”, banners held up by people said. Many protesters waved Algeria’s white, green and red crescent moon flag.

One of them, who gave his name as Nawal, told Reuters: “We came out today to say that Bensalah’s position is unconstitutional.”

“We do not deserve military rule. We deserve a democratic and free Algeria.”

52-year-old grocer Ali Badji, holding his son on his shoulders, said: “We are still sticking to our demands. We want a radical change.”

State television said similar marches took places in most cities.

On Wednesday, Algeria’s army chief, Lieutenant-General Ahmed Gaed Salah, said he expected to see members of the ruling elite close to Bouteflika, which he called “gang”, prosecuted for corruption and said he would support a transition toward elections.

More than one in four people under the age of 30, some 70 percent of the population, are unemployed – one of the central grievances of protesters who want the economy liberalized and diversified to reduce its reliance on its oil and gas production.

The army monitored the unrest from the sidelines. Then Salah intervened, declaring Bouteflika – rarely seen in public since suffering a stroke in 2013 – unfit to rule.

(Writing by Ulf Laessing; Editing by Angus MacSwan)

Source: OANN

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