orders

U.S. judge orders Trump administration to allow abortion for undocumented teen

https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/immigration/judge-trump-administration-cancannot-block-abortion-for-pregnant-undocumented-teen/2017/10/18/82348e08-b406-11e7-be94-fabb0f1e9ffb_story.html?utm_term=.dd21e0581ba0

 

A federal judge on Wednesday ordered the U.S. government to allow an undocumented immigrant teenager in its custody to have an abortion and said she was “astounded” that the Trump administration was trying to block the procedure.

Lawyers for the American Civil Liberties Union, which represents the pregnant teen, cheered the judge’s ruling as a major victory for abortion and immigrant rights.

“We never should have had to fight this in the first place,” said Brigitte Amiri, a senior ACLU staff attorney who argued the case on Wednesday. “It should never have been something that we needed to go to court over.”

Late Wednesday, however, the Justice Department appealed the case, asking the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit to stay District Judge Tanya Chutkan’s ruling.

The government asked the appeals court to rule by 9 p.m. on Thursday, to prevent the 17-year-old, identified in court papers as Jane Doe, from having an “irreversible elective abortion” while the appeal is pending. The government said the teenager, who is in her 15th week of pregnancy, “still has a number of weeks in which she could legally and safely obtain an abortion.”

Hours earlier, Chutkan had ordered the government to allow the teen to visit the abortion provider located closest to her shelter in Texas on Thursday and undergo state-mandated counseling before terminating the pregnancy on Friday or Saturday. Texas bars most abortions after 20 weeks.

“Failure to comply with the terms of this Order may result in a finding of contempt,” wrote Chutkan, who was appointed by President Barack Obama.

The case of the Central American teen has drawn national attention. Democrats in Congress expressed opposition to the government’s stance, while Texas and seven other states filed a friend-of-the-court brief supporting it.

Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the antiabortion group Susan B. Anthony List, said Chutkan’s ruling “sets a dangerous precedent” for officials from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, who she said were trying to “protect the life and dignity of the teenage girl and her unborn child.”

Court filings make clear that the government is trying to prevent minors in its custody from having abortions, a departure from U.S. practice under Obama. Scott Lloyd, director of the Office of Refugee Resettlement, the HHS agency that cares for unaccompanied minors caught crossing the border, said in an email in March that federally funded shelters “should not be supporting abortion services pre or post-release; only pregnancy services and life-affirming options counseling.”

During the hearing Wednesday, Chutkan asked Justice Department lawyer Scott Stewart whether he thought illegal immigrants had constitutional rights and whether he believes that the 1973 Supreme Court ruling Roe v. Wade , which guarantees a woman’s right to an abortion, is still the “law of the land.”

Stewart acknowledged the ruling but said the government views this case differently because the teen is an undocumented immigrant in federal custody. He signaled that undocumented minors do not have a constitutional right to an elective abortion in federal custody, unless it is a medical emergency, and also said immigrants here illegally have “minimal” protections in this country.

“I’m not going to give you a concession on that, Your Honor,” he said.

The judge laughed. “This is remarkable,” she said.

Chutkan said the teen’s immigration status was irrelevant and that she still had constitutional rights. She wrote that the teen will “suffer irreparable injury,” including health risks, if the government interferes with her abortion plans. Chutkan also barred the government from forcing the teen to reveal her abortion decision to anyone or retaliating against her or the federally funded shelter housing her in Texas. She did not immediately act on an ACLU request to apply her ruling to other minors in federal custody.

By refusing to allow the girl to be transported to have an abortion, Chutkan said, the government appeared to be offering the teenager two options: voluntarily return to a nation she fled to have an abortion; or carry an unwanted pregnancy to term.

“I am astounded by that position,” Chutkan said.

In court filings, the Justice Department said the government has “strong and constitutionally legitimate interests in promoting childbirth, in refusing to facilitate abortion, and in not providing incentives for pregnant minors to illegally cross the border to obtain elective abortions while in federal custody.”

Chutkan countered during the hearing that the teenager does not need a medical emergency to exercise her right to an abortion. She said the teen had followed state and federal rules: She obtained permission from a state judge in Texas to have an abortion and would cover the expenses herself or with help through her court-appointed guardian.

All the government had to do, Chutkan said, is process the paperwork to let the girl visit the clinic, just as they would if she needed to have her tonsils removed.

The judge pointed out that the federal workers took the teenager, against her wishes, to a Christian pregnancy facility for counseling aimed at persuading her not to abort, and also informed her mother about the pregnancy. Both steps potentially violated the girl’s constitutional protections, Chutkan said.

“The government didn’t seem to have any problem facilitating that,” Chutkan said.

The teen has been in federal custody since early September, when she was caught illegally crossing the U.S.-Mexico border. Her native country has not been made public.

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TRUMP ORDERS NEW SANCTIONS TO TIGHTEN SCREWS ON N.KOREA NUCLEAR PROGRAM

 

NEW YORK – US President Donald Trump ordered new sanctions on Thursday that open the door wider to blacklisting people and entities doing business with North Korea, including its shipping and trade networks, further tightening the screws on Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile program.

Trump stopped short of going after North Korea’s biggest trading partner, China, and praised its central bank for ordering Chinese banks to stop doing business with North Korea.

Pyongyang has resisted international pressure, conducting its sixth and largest nuclear test on Sept. 3, and launching numerous missiles this year, including two intercontinental ballistic missiles and two other rockets that flew over Japan.

“Today I’m announcing a new executive order, just signed, that significantly expands our authority to target individual companies, financial institutions, that finance and facilitate trade with North Korea,” Trump told reporters ahead of a luncheon meeting with the leaders of Japan and South Korea.

“Our new executive order will cut off sources of revenue that fund North Korea’s efforts to develop the deadliest weapons known to humankind.” Trump said North Korea’s textiles, fishing, information technology, and manufacturing industries were among those the United States could target.

He said the order enhanced the US Treasury Department’s authority to target those that conduct “significant trade in goods, services or technology with North Korea.” “For much too long North Korea has been allowed to abuse the international financial system to facilitate funding for its nuclear weapons and missile programs,” Trump said.

Trump did not mention Pyongyang’s oil trade. Four sources told Reuters China’s central bank has told banks to strictly implement United Nations sanctions against North Korea.

The UN Security Council has unanimously imposed nine rounds of sanctions on North Korea since 2006, the latest earlier this month capping fuel supplies to the isolated state.

Earlier on Thursday, South Korean President Moon Jae-in, sitting with Trump and their respective delegations, said the US president’s warning to Pyongyang in his speech at the UN on Tuesday “will also help to change North Korea.” Trump warned North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in his address that the United States, if threatened, would “totally destroy” his country of 26 million people.

It was Trump’s most direct military threat to attack North Korea and his latest expression of concern about Pyongyang’s repeated launching of ballistic missiles over Japan and underground nuclear tests.

North Korea’s foreign minister likened Trump to a “barking dog” in response.

On Thursday, South Korea’s Moon said sanctions were needed to bring Pyongyang to the negotiating table and force it to give up its nuclear weapons, but Seoul was not seeking North Korea’s collapse.

“All of our endeavors are to prevent war from breaking out and maintain peace,” Moon said in his speech to the UN General Assembly.

He said that Pyongyang’s nuclear issue “needs to be managed stably so that tensions will not become overly intensified and accidental military clashes will not destroy peace.” Moon said all countries must strictly adhere to U.N. sanctions on North Korea and impose tougher steps in the event of new provocations by Pyongyang.

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin will hold a news briefing at 3 p.m. (1900 GMT) in which he is expected to discuss the Trump administration’s sanctions announcement.

UN ambassador Nikki Haley will brief the news media at 4:30 p.m. (2030 GMT), the White House said.

In Geneva, North Korea told a UN rights panel that international sanctions would endanger the survival of North Korean children.

AID PLAN South Korea approved a plan on Thursday to send $8 million worth of aid to North Korea, as China warned the crisis on the Korean peninsula was getting more serious by the day.

The last time the South had sent aid to the North was in December 2015 through the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) under former President Park Geun-hye.

The United States and South Korea are technically still at war with North Korea because the 1950-53 Korean conflict ended with a truce and not a peace treaty. The North accuses the United States, which has 28,500 troops in South Korea, of planning to invade and regularly threatens to destroy it and its Asian allies.

Earlier this month, Mnuchin warned China that if it did not follow through on new UN sanctions on Pyongyang, Washington would “put additional sanctions on them and prevent them from accessing the US and international dollar system.” Last month, the Trump administration blacklisted 16 Chinese, Russian and Singaporean companies and people for trading with banned North Korean entities, including in coal, oil and metals. However, it did not sanction Chinese banks that experts and former US officials say enable North Korea’s international trade, often by laundering funds through the United States.

On Wednesday, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told a news conference there “some indications” that sanctions were beginning to cause fuel shortages in North Korea.

PUTIN ORDERS EVACUATION OF EAST RUSSIAN RESIDENTS TO “SAFE ZONES” IN ANTICIPATION OF WAR WITH NORTH KOREA

http://www.shtfplan.com/headline-news/putin-orders-evacuation-of-east-russian-residents-to-safe-zones-in-anticipation-of-war-with-north-korea_08312017

 

It seems like there is a new escalation between the United States and North Korea on a daily basis. This week the United States sent  F-15 tactical fighter aircraft to the region and tested bombs along the North Korean border in a show of force, to which Kim Jong Un responded by telling his citizens that a war with America is “imminent.”

Earlier this week we reported that well known cyclical forecaster Martin Armstrong warned that the window for war will be wide open by mid September, and recent actions in Russia suggest his prediction could well come to pass.

According to numerous reports, Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered the evacuation of residents living in eastern cities on Russia’s border with North Korea, including 1,500 people in Vladivostok:

Russian civil defence officials were reportedly ordered to shift residents in the country’s far east to “safe areas” in a extraordinary move amid fears of a worldwide conflict.

The order to evacuate residents “came from the regional department of the Russian Ministry of Emergencies”, according to pro-Kremlin media outlets.

Russia shares a 24 mile land border with reclusive North Korea.

The civil protection department in Vladivostok was instructed to relocate residents living in the border area with North Korea.

A relocation scheme is being exercised as part of the training,” said a source.

Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova has warned that the North Korean crisis could morph into an armed confrontation and “lead the world to the brink of a catastrophe”.

Via: The Daily Star

Alex Jones Reports:

“Our President will be forced to respond…”

No need to panic, however.

It’s probably nothing.

US orders closure of Russian consulate in San Francisco

WASHINGTON — The United States on Thursday ordered Russia to close its consulate in San Francisco as well as two annexes in Washington and New York in two days, in a tit-for-tat response to Moscow’s drastic reduction of US diplomatic staff in their country.

The State Department said the decision was made “in the spirit of parity,” adding that the closures needed to be completed by Saturday.

At the start of Donald Trump’s presidency in January, the Republican leader said he hoped for improved relations with Vladimir Putin’s Russia.

But after the US Congress approved new economic sanctions against Moscow over its alleged meddling in the 2016 US presidential election, Putin in July ordered drastic cuts in US staff in retaliation.

Along with the San Francisco consulate, the installations ordered closed were a chancery annex in Washington, where Moscow has a giant embassy complex, and a consular annex in New York.

“The United States has fully implemented the decision by the government of the Russian Federation to reduce the size of our mission in Russia,” State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement.

“We believe this action was unwarranted and detrimental to the overall relationship between our countries,” she added, noting that, with the closures ordered, “both countries will remain with three consulates each.”

Putin said 755 diplomatic staff — both Russian and American — would have to stop work by Friday, although the US State Department has not confirmed the number.

The number of US diplomatic staff will now be capped at 455, the same number that Russia has in the United States.

It is not clear how many of the US-employed staff losing their jobs will be physically leaving the country, or how many are Russian citizens. The RBK news site cited sources saying that at least 600 are Russian.

“We have waited long enough, hoping that the situation would perhaps change for the better,” Putin said when he announced the cuts.

“But it seems that even if the situation is changing, it’s not for any time soon.”

On Thursday, Washington expressed hope that the two sides “can avoid further retaliatory actions… and move forward to achieve the stated goal of both of our presidents: improved relations between our two countries.”

But the State Department warned: “The United States is prepared to take further action as necessary and as warranted.”

Washington had already announced it would suspend issuing all non-immigrant visas in Russia between August 23 and September 1.

Visa operations at US consulates will remain suspended indefinitely.

Putin, Responding to Sanctions, Orders U.S. to Cut Diplomatic Staff by 755

MOSCOW — President Vladimir V. Putin announced on Sunday that the American diplomatic mission in Russia would have to cut its staff by 755 employees, a response to the new American sanctions that escalated the tensions between Washington and Moscow.

“Over 1,000 employees — diplomats and technical workers — worked and continue to work today in Russia; 755 will have to stop this activity,” he said, according to both a clip shown on state-run Rossiya 1 television and a transcript provided by the Interfax news agency.

Although the reduction in American diplomatic staff had been announced on Friday, in response to a law passed in Congress last week expanding sanctions against Russia, the president’s statement was the first to confirm the large number of embassy personnel involved.

Speaking in a television interview on the Rossiya 1 network, Mr. Putin said that Russia had run out of patience waiting for relations with the United States to improve.

“We waited for quite some time that maybe something will change for the better, had such hope that the situation will somehow change, but, judging by everything, if it changes, it will not be soon,” Mr. Putin said in the interview, according to Interfax news agency.

Although the initial news alerts in Russia said that Mr. Putin had ordered 755 Americans out of the country, the president had actually ordered an overall staff reduction. Not all of those leaving their posts would be Americans expelled from the country.

Part of the confusion stemmed from the fact that the Russian president used a Russian verb meaning to “pack up,” when referring to his action.

In making the initial announcement on Friday, Russia announced that the American diplomatic staff would have to be reduced to 455, matching the number of Russians employed at diplomatic missions in the United States.

From the outset there was some confusion about how the Russians arrived at that number, so it was not clear how many Americans would actually have to leave Russia. Mission employees include scores of workers erecting a new building as well as translators, drivers and a large number of support staff.

Russia has additional options available for further measures against American interests, Mr. Putin warned, without going into details. But for the moment, he said, he is opposed to using them. “I hope it will not come to this,” he said.

Russia has been accused of interfering in the American presidential election, including releasing hacked emails embarrassing to the campaign of Hillary Clinton.

Congress is also investigating the possibility of collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government, with Mr. Trump’s oldest son, Donald J. Trump Jr., recently confirming that he met with a Russian lawyer linked to the government who wanted to discuss removing an earlier round of sanctions.

Mr. Putin has denied any Russian interference in the American election, saying that anti-Russian sentiment in the United States was being used to drive an internal political battle.

On Friday, the White House announced that President Trump would sign the law passed by Congress last week that strengthens existing sanctions and expands some of them, especially in the oil sector.

Mr. Putin said in the interview released Sunday that it was important not to let such actions go unanswered.

In December, President Barack Obama expelled 35 Russian diplomats and shuttered two Russian diplomatic country estates in Maryland and on Long Island. Mr. Putin did not respond at that time, indicating he would wait for better relations with the next administration.

Even while announcing the sizable cuts on Monday, Mr. Putin held out hopes that the worsening relations with Washington could be reversed. He noted the United States and Russia had cooperated in trying to establish safe zones in Syria, and that there was a long history of shared projects in the oil sector.

In announcing the response on Friday, Russia said that it wanted to reduce the American diplomatic presence in Russia to 455 people, mirroring the number of Russian diplomats accredited to the United States. In addition to the main embassy in Moscow, the United States also runs consulates in St. Petersburg, Yekaterinburg and Vladivostok.

On Friday, the United States Embassy in Moscow issued a short statement in which the outgoing American ambassador, John F. Tefft, expressed “his strong disappointment and protest” over the cuts.

In addition, the Kremlin said that as of Tuesday, it will block access to two American diplomatic properties: a warehouse in Moscow and a bucolic picnic ground along the Moscow River. That move was basically a tit-for-tat response to the seizures in the United States.

Mr. Putin had made no secret of the fact that he hoped Mr. Trump would return the two estates as a friendly gesture when the two met for the first time earlier this month, but that did not happen. The American government has said the two Russian properties it closed were not just recreational areas, but were also used for intelligence gathering.

The number of American targets inside Russia that the Kremlin retaliate against is limited, particularly if Moscow is worried about damaging the investment climate or about other economic fallout just as it recovers from a recession.

Outside its borders, however, is a different matter. Moscow might have shown some restraint in eastern Ukraine or in Syria because of the expectation of improving ties with Washington, but now, the Kremlin may be looking for places to challenge the United States.

The initial announcement from the Russian Foreign Ministry about the cuts said that if the United States responded to the latest measure with any further expulsions, Russia would match them.

The White House lobbied against the new sanctions law, calling it a curb on presidential power because it would effectively force Mr. Trump to seek congressional approval before lifting any sanctions. Its passage in a Republican-controlled Congress make clear the level of unease in Mr. Trump’s own party about his repeated praise of Mr. Putin and of Russia.

The new law would strengthen sanctions first directed against Russia in 2014 over its annexation of Crimea and its destabilization of Ukraine. Those sanctions curbed American involvement in the oil industry and limited Russian access to Western financial markets. Russia responded with a broad ban on Western food imports.

The new legislation would expand some of the measures, particularly in the energy market. European countries have expressed concern about the law’s potential impact on the energy market on the Continent, because it might affect the expansion of the Nord Stream pipeline that carries Russian natural gas to Germany under the Baltic Sea.

Russia Seizes 2 U.S. Properties and Orders Embassy to Cut Staff

http://www.cnn.com/2017/07/28/europe/russia-us-sanctions/index.html

 

Moscow (CNN) Russia’s Foreign Ministry demanded Friday that the United States cut the number of diplomatic staff it has in Russia and said it would seize two US diplomatic properties, in a sharp response to a new sanctions bill passed by the US Congress a day earlier.

The order — which affects the US Embassy in Moscow and consulates in St Petersburg, Yekaterinburg and Vladivostok — would reduce the number of US diplomatic and technical staff to 455, the same number Russia has in the US, by September 1.
Russia is also suspending the use of a US storage facility in Moscow and a country house, or dacha, outside of Moscow by August 1.
In the statement, the ministry says: “Any new unilateral actions by the US authorities to reduce the number of our diplomats in the United States will be met with a mirror response.”
Senate sends Russia sanctions bill to Trump

Senate sends Russia sanctions bill to Trump 00:45
Thirty-five Russian diplomats were expelled from the United States in December under sanctions imposed by President Barack Obama in response to Russia’s alleged meddling in the 2016 US election. The sanctions also included the closure of two Russian compounds, in Maryland and New York, used for intelligence purposes.
US Ambassador to Russia John Tefft has expressed his “strong disappointment and protest” over Moscow’s decision to expel the US diplomats, according to a statement to CNN from the US Embassy in Moscow.
“We have received the Russian government notification. Ambassador Tefft expressed his strong disappointment and protest. We have passed the notification back to Washington for review,” the statement said.

Trump still to sign or veto bill

Moscow’s latest move comes a day after the US Senate passed sweeping legislation slapping new sanctions on Russia and limiting President Donald Trump’s ability to remove them.
The bill, which also includes new sanctions on Iran and North Korea, was a product of lengthy negotiations between the House and Senate. In the end, it was passed by both chambers overwhelmingly.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters late Thursday that the President would review the sanctions bill. She did not say whether Trump would sign or veto the measure when it reaches his desk.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists on a conference call Friday that Moscow had decided to retaliate before the bill went to Trump because “technically the form passed by the Senate is more important” and is “almost final.”
Asked if Russian President Vladimir Putin had authorized the move, Peskov said such measures are “impossible without the President’s permission.”
He added that possible amendments to the bill would not change the “essence” of the matter.

Putin: Anti-Russia hysteria

Russia’s Foreign Ministry said the new sanctions law “confirms the extreme aggressiveness of the United States in its foreign affairs.”
It accused the US of using the law to “create unfair competitive advantages for the US in the global economy” and said its actions breached international law. “Such blackmail, aimed at limiting the interaction of foreign partners with Russia, carries a threat to many countries and international businesses.”
Speaking in Finland on Thursday, Putin said he “very much regrets” the worsening of relations between Russia and the United States, blaming it on “anti-Russia hysteria” in domestic US politics.
He said a lot of Russian diplomats had been expelled “without any particular reason” and warned that Russia would have to respond at some point to what he called “boorish behavior” by the United States.

Italy: Govt. Orders Towns to “Find Space” for 250,000 Invaders in 2017

The Italian government has ordered all Italian municipalities to find space for an expected 250,000 new invaders — most from sub-Saharan Africa — this this year, up from about 180,000 last year.

(New Observer Online)

More than 500,000 Third World invaders pretending to be refugees have landed in Italy since 2014, and at least 200,000 are still being house in “reception centers” across the country.

Meanwhile, about half of Italians do not want the country to take in more people, pollster Renato Mannheimer told Reuters news agency.

Italy is “accommodating” a rising numbers of African invaders because countries to the north have tightened their borders and some EU states have refused to take part in a plan to relocate 160,000 of the invaders from Italy and Greece.

Just over 20,000 invaders have so far been relocated under the plan and the European Union has begun legal action against Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic for refusing to accept any of them.

Meanwhile, there has been no let-up in the invasion, with ever-increasing numbers of Africans taking advantage of European liberals in both the state and private sectors, who will now pick them up within five or ten miles of the Libyan coast, and transport them to Italy free of charge.

The number of those who are invading from Africa is up by more than 40 percent compared to the previous year, it has emerged.

On the shores of Greece there are now “only” between 80 and 100 invaders arriving every day, whereas before around 2,500 were landing every day, according to EU border force “Frontex” chief Fabrice Leggeri.

Among those who arrive from Africa via the central Mediterranean and Libya, most come from west Africa. They are Senegalese, Guineans, Nigerians.

According to a recent report by the EU’s law enforcement agency Europol, gangs smuggling the invader-scroungers to or within Europe raked in 4.7 billion-5.7 billion euros ($5.1 billion-$6.1 billion) in 2015.

The funds are sometimes moved openly through money transfer service Western Union, especially in west Africa. In east Africa, traffickers more often use ‘hawala’, an informal system of payment based on trust that is far more difficult to trace than bank transfers.

Invaders from west Africa begin by taking the bus, Leggeri said. The territory of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) is somewhat similar to the visa-free Schengen zone, as individuals can travel freely within it for a modest fee of around 20 euros.

Once the scrounging hordes arrive in Niamey, capital of Niger, the illegal activity begins and they must fork out up to 150 euros each to reach the north of the country and the Libyan border.

Then comes the crossing which can cost up to 1,000 euros, depending on the boat.

The east Africa route—which originates from the Horn of Africa and is taken by Eritreans, Somalians and Ethiopians—is more expensive.

The journey is organized by national criminal gangs that work together, so a Sudanese network, for example, will hand over its clients to a Libyan network at the border.

There, the fee can run to 3,000 euros, from the Horn of Africa all the way to Italy.

Germany: ZOG Orders Bundeswehr Barracks Inspection after Nazi Symbols Found

The top brass of the zionist occupied German military has ordered an inspection of all of its barracks after discovering NS-era memorabilia at two of them, the defence ministry said.

“The inspector general of the Bundeswehr (Germany’s armed forces) has ordered an inspection of all of its properties in order to see if any of them contain memorabilia of the Wehrmacht and if so, to remove it,” a defence ministry spokesman told AFP.

The move follows a growing liberal hysteria over nationalist leanings of some within the German military which has shaken the anti-patrotic army and the defence ministry over the past two weeks.

Details emerged in late April following the arrest of a 28-year-old soldier stationed at a Franco-German base near Strasbourg who had expressed nationalist views and was plotting an attack disguised as a Syrian refugee.

 

Following his arrest, Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen scrapped a trip to the United States and went to his base in Illkirch in northeastern France.

There, officials found Wehrmacht memorabilia openly displayed in the common room without any apparent effort to remove it.

The ministry, which has banned the patriotic symbols, then discovered other Wehrmacht items at another base in southwestern Germany.

– ‘Giant swastika’ –

Press reports also referred to another “incident” at the Illkirch base in 2012 when German soldiers painted a huge swastika on the floor of the base to provoke their French counterparts ahead of a football match between Bayern Munich and Lille.

A battalion of German combat troops has been stationed there since 2010 as part of the joint Franco-German Brigade.

As the hysteria widened, Von der Leyen called her generals to order, demanding they show zero tolerance with any nationalist tendencies within the ranks.

The minister, who is close to Chancellor Angela Merkel, has sharply rapped the armed forces for leadership failures, criticising “a misunderstood esprit de corps” that led superior officers to “look the other way”.

“This process of clarification demands courage and tenacity,” she told the Bild newspaper.

“We must all support it, from the general down to the new recruits because it concerns the reputation of the Bundeswehr.”

Trump Issues Surprise Orders on Mexican Holiday… Libs Will Be Irate

Under the past two administrations, there has been an official celebration of Mexico’s Cinco de Mayo holiday at the White House, but that tradition has come to an end under the current “America First” administration of President Donald Trump.

The Hill reported that the 16-year-old tradition will instead be a much smaller affair held somewhere other than the White House and will feature Vice President Mike Pence as the host.

The reported modification of the White House celebration of the Mexican holiday was initially revealed by Spanish-language media outlet La Opinion, which noted that there had been no official announcement of any change in plans and cited unnamed government sources. The White House did not respond to requests for comment, according to The Hill.

Hispanic activists weren’t pleased.

“The decision of the White House to renounce the celebration of Cinco de Mayo is another slap for many Mexican Americans and Latinos,” complained Felix Sanchez, co-founder and president of the National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts. “Instead of embracing our nation’s multicultural heritage, we are deepening divisions, not looking for common ground.”

The tradition of hosting a big event celebrating Cinco de Mayo at the White House began under former President George W. Bush and was continued under his successor, former President Barack Obama, who welcomed some 500 guests, a celebrity chef and popular Mexican band to the celebration in 2016.

That occurred at the same time that then-candidate Trump posted his now infamous “taco bowl” tweet in honor of the Mexican holiday, a tweet that was criticized by many Hispanics, Mexicans and of course, the liberal media.

Here is the tweet that drew so much condemnation and accusations of racism toward Hispanics, in case you had forgot:

As for the reported decision by the Trump administration not to hold a Cinco de Mayo celebration on White House grounds this year, honestly who can blame them? It likely would have sparked outrage and boycotts and harsh criticisms, much like everything else the administration does.

Meanwhile, the only Cinco de Mayo celebrations that have been officially canceled thus far are those held in various cities around the country by Mexican-Americans, amid fears that immigration agents will monitor the events and round up any illegal immigrants in attendance, according to a report from The Washington Times.

It is worth noting that the Cinco de Mayo holiday — which marks the date in 1862 of the Battle of Puebla, during which the Mexican army held off invading French forces — is typically only solemnly observed in Mexico, with Mexican-Americans and others in the U.S. being the ones treating the holiday as an occasion for festive celebration. (Mexico’s real Independence Day is Sept. 16.)

Though Trump-haters will be upset at the lack of celebration at the White House, they would have been upset regardless, so this move should be viewed less as an effort to offend Mexicans and more likely an effort to either poke the liberal media or simply not waste time on a non-American holiday that isn’t even really celebrated in its country of origin.

Sessions orders Justice Department to review all police reform agreements

Attorney General Jeff Sessions ordered Justice Department officials to review reform agreements with troubled police forces nationwide, saying it was necessary to ensure these pacts do not work against the Trump administration’s goals of promoting officer safety and morale while fighting violent crime.

In a two-page memo released Monday, Sessions said agreements reached previously between the department’s civil rights division and local police departments — a key legacy of the Obama administration — will be subject to review by his two top deputies, throwing into question whether all of the agreements will stay in place.

The memo was released not long before the department’s civil rights lawyers asked a federal judge to postpone until at least the end of June a hearing on a sweeping police reform agreement, known as a consent decree, with the Baltimore Police Department that was announced just days before President Trump took office.

“The Attorney General and the new leadership in the Department are actively developing strategies to support the thousands of law enforcement agencies across the country that seek to prevent crime and protect the public,” Justice officials said in their filing. “The Department is working to ensure that those initiatives effectively dovetail with robust enforcement of federal laws designed to preserve and protect civil rights.”

Sessions fears short-term spike in crime ‘is not a blip, but it’s the start of a dangerous trend’

Attorney General Jeff Sessions told a group of law enforcement officers in St. Louis that he fears crime rates in the United States could rise significantly on March 31. (Reuters)

Sessions has often criticized the effectiveness of consent decrees and has vowed in recent speeches to more strongly support law enforcement.

Since 2009, the Justice Department opened 25 investigations into law enforcement agencies and has been enforcing 14 consent decrees, along with some other agreements. Civil rights advocates fear that Sessions’s memo could particularly imperil the status of agreements that have yet to be finalized, such as a pending agreement with the Chicago Police Department.

“This is terrifying,” said Jonathan Smith, executive director of the Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs, who spent five years as the department’s chief of special litigation, overseeing investigations into 23 police departments such as New Orleans, Cleveland and Ferguson, Mo. “This raises the question of whether, under the current attorney general, the Department of Justice is going to walk away from its obligation to ensure that law enforcement across the country is following the Constitution.”

The Baltimore agreement, reached after Freddie Gray died in April 2015 following an injury in police custody, calls for changes including training officers on how to resolve conflicts without force. The Justice Department asked for 90 additional days to assess whether the agreement fits with the “directives of the President and the Attorney General,” according to the filing Monday evening in U.S District Court of the District of Maryland. U.S. District Judge James K. Bredar had scheduled the public hearing for Thursday.

The filing notes that Baltimore has already made its own progress toward police reform and states that “it may be possible to take these changes into account where appropriate to ensure further compliance while protecting public safety.”

Officials who negotiated the agreement criticized the move. Vanita Gupta, former head of the Civil Rights Division under President Barack Obama, said that “the request for a delay is alarming and signals a retreat from the Justice Department’s commitment to civil rights and public safety in Baltimore.”

Baltimore Mayor Catherine E. Pugh also said she and Police Commissioner Kevin Davis oppose the delay. “Any interruption in moving forward may have the effect of eroding the trust that we are working hard to establish,” Pugh said.

But Gene Ryan, president of the union that represents rank-and-file police officers in Baltimore, said he welcomed the federal government’s request. Ryan said his chapter of the Fraternal Order of Police is in favor of reform but worries that the process was hasty.

The agreement reached between Baltimore and the Justice Department was announced in January, coming after a push by Obama administration officials to secure police reform agreements before Trump took office. The department, in a report last year, said the Baltimore police engaged in racially discriminatory policing and used excessive force because of “systemic deficiencies” in the department.

In the blistering report, federal investigators wrote that police in Baltimore, driven by a “legacy of zero tolerance enforcement,” conducted stops, searches and arrests that violated the Constitution.

The federal civil rights probe was launched afterGray, a 25-year-old, died of a spinal cord injury he suffered while in police custody. That episode added Baltimore to the list of cities that saw heated demonstrations erupt following controversial encounters between police and black residents.

After months of negotiations, federal and city officials announced an agreement to improve the department’s training, strengthen its responses to sexual assaults and encourage officers to “use force in a manner that avoids unnecessary injury or risk of injury to officers and civilians.”

Then-Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch described the decree, which must be approved by a federal judge, as “binding” and something that “will live on.” A day later, Lynch went to Chicago for the release of a sprawling federal investigation into that city’s police department that similarly assailed its practices. It’s now unclear what will happen with either of the agreements.

Adolphus Pruitt, the president of the St. Louis NAACP, questioned whether the department would also review investigations where officers were not deemed to be at fault.

“We’ve got just as many times that the Justice Department was called in to look at an incident and they found no probable cause for charges, said Pruitt, who was among the first to call for a Justice Department investigation into the August 2014 police shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson. “Are they going to go back and look at those? The attorney general wants to re-examine something? Hell, I’ve got some stuff he can take a look at!”

Pruitt said he fears what the review will signal to communities awaiting reform.

“To the people who told their stories to investigators and cheered the steps toward reforms, it sends a message that the Department of Justice is not going to keep up their end of the deal,” Pruitt said.

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