News Round-Up: January 7, 2020

Pete Buttigieg (via Facebook)

Some news items you might have missed:

Deadline: Pete Buttigieg will appear at another Fox News town hall on January 26, a little more than a week before the Iowa caucuses, with Chris Wallace as moderator. This will be Buttigieg’s second Fox News town hall, having headlined a well-received event last May. He’s one of six Democratic candidates to appear at town halls on the network.

Instinct Magazine: A Canadian man has been busted for mailing an envelope filled with white powder – and a note with an indication that the powder was anthrax – to New York City East Village spot Nowhere Bar.

CBS News: A new CBS News poll ties Sen. Bernie Sanders, former Vice President Joe Biden and Mayor Pete Buttigieg for the lead in Iowa. Sanders, Biden and Buttigieg are tied at 23%, while Sen. Elizabeth Warren comes fourth with 16% and Sen. Amy Klobuchar falls in fifth at 7%.

Washington Post: Rep. Duncan D. Hunter will resign from Congress effective January 13, more than one month after the California Republican pleaded guilty in federal court to misusing campaign funds. The six-term congressman is scheduled to be sentenced in March. He faces a maximum of five years in prison, although he is expected to serve less than one year.

Politico: Donald Trump’s reelection campaign will spend $10 million on 60 seconds of television ad time during the Super Bowl next month as the president ramps up his push for a second term.

New York Times: Senator Majority Leader Mitch McConnell informed Republicans on Tuesday that he planned to move forward with President Trump’s impeachment trial without committing to additional witnesses or admitting new evidence, over the objections of Democrats who are insisting on both.

Seven Year Prison Sentence For Indiana Man Heading To LA Pride With Explosives

James Wesley Howell pleaded no contest to charges of unlawful assault weapon activity, possession of a destructive device on a public road or highway and possession of a destructive device. The 22-year-old was sentenced to 7 years in state prison on Thursday.
James Wesley Howell

Just hours after the deadly Pulse Nightclub shooting in Orlando, Florida, two years ago, an Indiana man was arrested and police confiscated weapons, ammunition and bomb-making materials found in his car.

In court this week, James Wesley Howell pleaded no contest to charges of unlawful assault weapon activity, possession of a destructive device on a public road or highway and possession of a destructive device. The 22-year-old was sentenced to 7 years in state prison on Thursday.

Howell was found sitting in his car in Santa Monica in the early morning hours of June 12, 2016, after police responded to a call regarding a man knocking on residents’ windows and doors.

From the LA Times:

Inside his car, police found three rifles — including an Anderson Manufacturing AM-15 .223 caliber rifle that police described as an assault weapon — and two 30-round magazines.

In addition to the guns, Howell was also driving with a full five-gallon container of gasoline and a 25-pound container of “Shoc-shot,” a commercially sold two-component explosive that detonates when hit by a high-velocity rifle round, Santa Monica police said at the time.

Howell also had a black hood, a Taser, handcuffs, a Buck knife, a security badge and additional ammunition for the guns, court records show.

At the time of his arrest, Howell told police he was planning on attending LA Pride, but the Indianapolis Star later reported he had been charged with sexually molesting a 12-year-old girl in Indiana.

As a result of the Pulse shooting and the dangerous materials found in his possession, security measures were heightened at the Pride festival.

(h/t LA Times)

North Korea Calls Trump “Old Lunatic,” “Depraved,” And “Stupid;” Trump Retaliates By Placing NK On List Of State Sponsors Of Terrorism

On Sunday, North Korea’s state-run Minju Joson newspaper issued a scathing commentary on Donald Trump saying, in part, “A load of rubbish spouted by the old lunatic Trump during his recent visit to South Korea was a total of all nonsense and paradox so far.”

The editorial went on to state that the U.S. would regret “letting such a depraved and stupid guy occupy the Oval Office.”

In retaliation, Donald Trump announced today he has placed North Korea back on the list of state sponsors of terrorism.

From CNN:

Trump announced the move Monday during a public meeting with his Cabinet at the White House and said the Treasury Department will announce new sanctions against North Korea on Tuesday.

“Today the United States is designating the North Korea as a state sponsor of terrorism. Should have happened a long time ago. Should have happened years ago,” Trump said.

North Korea was removed from the list by President George W. Bush in 2008.

Trump said that North Korea has “repeatedly” sponsored acts of terrorism, including “assassinations on foreign soil.”

“This designation will impose further sanctions and penalties on North Korea … and supports our maximum pressure campaign to isolate the murderous regime,” Trump said.

Trump Criticizes London Mayor After Terror Attack, Mayor Slaps Back

Last night in London, three knife-wielding assailants unleashed a terror attack, the third major terrorist attack in the UK in three months.

Driving a white van, the three men killed seven and injured dozens driving across the London Bridge. They then left the van and entered the capital’s Borough Market with large hunting knives, slashing at patrons.

Within minutes, the police chased down the men and killed them.

In a statement, London Mayor Sadiq Khan said: “Londoners will see an increased police presence today and over the course of the next few days. There’s no reason to be alarmed. One of the things the police and all of us need to do is ensure that we’re as safe as we possibly can be.”

President Trump’s response to the terror attacks in London last night was to take aim at the city’s mayor and that statement.

As he has done often in the past, Trump took the Mayor’s statement out of context. The mayor wasn’t saying there was no need to be alarmed by the attacks. He was clearly saying to Londoners not to be alarmed by the increased police presence people will be seeing over the next few days.

Because that’s what the mayor needs right now, the president of another country criticizing him in the middle of a terror attack.

Can you imagine Prime Minister Theresa May chiding the mayors of Orlando or Boston after their horrible attacks?

A spokesman for the mayor responded to the tweet saying, “The Mayor is busy working with the police, emergency services and the government to coordinate the response to this horrific and cowardly terrorist attack and provide leadership and reassurance to Londoners and visitors to our city.”

He added that Mayor Khan “has more important things to do than respond to Donald Trump’s ill-informed tweet that deliberately takes out of context his remarks urging Londoners not to be alarmed when they saw more police — including armed officers — on the streets.”

Bolding is mine.

United States Issues International Travel Alert

Current information suggests that ISIL (aka Da’esh), al-Qa’ida, Boko Haram, and other terrorist groups continue to plan terrorist attacks in multiple regions. These attacks may employ a wide variety of tactics, using conventional and non-conventional weapons and targeting both official and private interests. This Travel Alert expires on February 24, 2016.

Authorities believe the likelihood of terror attacks will continue as members of ISIL/Da’esh return from Syria and Iraq. Additionally, there is a continuing threat from unaffiliated persons planning attacks inspired by major terrorist organizations but conducted on an individual basis. Extremists have targeted large sporting events, theatres, open markets, and aviation services. In the past year, there have been multiple attacks in France, Nigeria, Denmark, Turkey, and Mali. ISIL/Da’esh has claimed responsibility for the bombing of a Russian airliner in Egypt.

U.S. citizens should exercise vigilance when in public places or using transportation. Be aware of immediate surroundings and avoid large crowds or crowed places. Exercise particular caution during the holiday season and at holiday festivals or events. U.S. citizens should monitor media and local information sources and factor updated information into personal travel plans and activities. Persons with specific safety concerns should contact local law enforcement authorities who are responsible for the safety and security of all visitors to their host country.

(via State Department press release)

Suspected Ringleader Of Paris Attacks Killed In Police Raid

(image via AP)

The Belgian jihadi suspected of masterminding deadly attacks in Paris died along with his cousin in a police raid on a suburban apartment building, officials said Thursday.

Paris Prosecutor Francois Molins’ office said 27-year-old Abdelhamid Abaaoud was identified based on skin samples, but authorities did not know how he died. His body was found in the apartment building targeted in the chaotic and bloody raid in the Paris suburb of Saint-Denis on Wednesday.

Three police officials say a woman who died in the raid was Abaaoud’s cousin. One said Hasna Aitboulahcen is believed to have detonated a suicide vest after a brief conversation with police officers.

More at Huffington Post.

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BLINDFOLD MUSLIM HUG"Hug me if you trust me, I'm told I'm a terrorist", –Muslim man opens his arms to Parisians#Paris #PlacedelaRepublique #ParisAttacks #Islamophobia #MuslimsAreNotTerroristsPosted by In the NOW on Monday, November 16, 2015