Trump attacks social media companies after Facebook bans
STERLING, Va. — President Donald Trump criticized social media companies after Facebook banned a number of extremist figures, declaring that he was “monitoring and watching, closely!!”
Trump, who tweeted and re-tweeted complaints Friday and Saturday, said he would “monitor the censorship of AMERICAN CITIZENS on social media platforms.” He has previously asserted that social media companies exhibit bias against conservatives, something the companies have rejected as untrue.
The president’s comments came after Facebook this week banned Louis Farrakhan, Alex Jones and other extremists, saying they violated its ban on “dangerous individuals.” The company also removed right-wing personalities Paul Nehlen, Milo Yiannopoulos, Paul Joseph Watson and Laura Loomer, along with Jones’ site, Infowars, which often posts conspiracy theories. The latest bans apply both to Facebook’s main service and to Instagram and extend to fan pages and other related accounts.
Facebook’s move signaled renewed effort by the social media giant to remove people and groups promoting objectionable material such as hate, racism and anti-Semitism. The company said it has “always banned” people or groups that proclaim a violent or hateful mission or are engaged in acts of hate or violence, regardless of political ideology.
All survive as plane carrying US military crashes into river
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A military-chartered jet carrying 143 people landed hard, then bounced and swerved as the pilot struggled to control it amid thunder and lightning, ultimately skidding off the runway and coming to a crashing halt in a river at Naval Air Station Jacksonville.
It meant chaos and terror for passengers in the Boeing 737 as the plane jolted back and forth and oxygen masks deployed, then overhead bins opened, sending contents spilling out.
But authorities said all the people onboard emerged without critical injuries Friday night, lining up on the wings as they waited to be rescued. Only a 3-month-old baby was hospitalized, and that was done out of an abundance of caution, officials said.
Kim oversees missile firing drills, tells troops to be alert
SEOUL, South Korea — North Korean state media on Sunday showed leader Kim Jong Un observing live-fire drills of long-range multiple rocket launchers and unspecified tactical guided weapons, a day after South Korea’s military detected the North launching several unidentified short-range projectiles into the sea off its eastern coast.
Pyongyang’s official Korean Central News Agency said Kim expressed “great satisfaction” over Saturday’s drills and stressed that his front-line troops should keep a “high alert posture” and enhance combat ability to “defend the political sovereignty and economic self-sustenance of the country.”
The weapons launches were a likely sign of Pyongyang’s growing frustration at stalled diplomatic talks with Washington meant to provide coveted sanctions relief in return for nuclear disarmament.
From wire sources
They also highlighted the fragility of the detente between the Koreas, which in a military agreement reached last September vowed to completely cease “all hostile acts” against each other in land, air and sea.
South Korea said it’s “very concerned” about North Korea’s weapons launches, calling them a violation of the agreements to reduce animosities between the countries. The statement, issued after an emergency meeting Saturday of top officials at the presidential Blue House in Seoul, also urged North Korea to stop committing acts that would raise military tensions and join efforts to resume nuclear diplomacy.
“Praising the People’s Army for its excellent operation of modern large-caliber long-range multiple rocket launchers and tactical guided weapons, he said that all the service members are master gunners and they are capable of carrying out duty to promptly tackle any situation,” the KNCA paraphrased Kim as saying. “He stressed the need for all the service members to keep high alert posture and more dynamically wage the drive to increase the combat ability so as to defend the political sovereignty and economic self-sustenance of the country and … the security of the people from the threats and invasion by any forces.”
Justice Clarence Thomas’ moment may finally have arrived
WASHINGTON — Clarence Thomas has been a Supreme Court justice for nearly three decades. It may finally be his moment.
Many Americans know Thomas largely from his bruising 1991 confirmation hearing, when he was accused of sexual harassment charges by former employee Anita Hill — charges he denied. People may know he’s a conservative and has gone years without speaking during arguments at the court. But scholars say it would be wise to pay closer attention to Thomas.
Thomas is now the longest-serving member of a court that has recently gotten more conservative, putting him in a unique and potentially powerful position, and he’s said he doesn’t plan on retiring anytime soon. With President Donald Trump’s nominees Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh now on the court, conservatives are firmly in control as the justices take on divisive issues such as abortion, gun control and LGBT rights.
Thomas, for the first time, is on a court where there are at least four votes for some “pretty radical” decisions, said political science professor Corey Robin, the author of a Thomas book due out in September. Robin says the question will be whether the court’s more conservative justices — Thomas, Gorsuch, Kavanaugh and Samuel Alito — can get Chief Justice John Roberts, a more moderate conservative, to go along.
Thomas, 70, became the high court’s longest-serving justice, the “senior associate justice,” when Justice Anthony Kennedy retired last summer . But unlike Kennedy, who sat at the court’s ideological center and was most often the deciding vote when the court split 5-4, Thomas is consistently on the court’s far right.
Fines, jail time? Trump team resists oversight, Dems dig in
WASHINGTON — They’re talking at the Capitol about jailing people. Imposing steep fines. All sorts of extraordinary, if long-shot measures to force the White House to comply with Democratic lawmakers’ request for information about President Donald Trump stemming from the special counsel’s Russia investigation.
This is the remarkable state of affairs between the executive and legislative branches, unseen in recent times, as Democrats try to break through Trump’s blockade of investigations and exert congressional oversight of the administration.
“One of the things that everybody in this country needs to think about is when the president denies the Congress documents and access to key witnesses, basically what they’re doing is saying, Congress you don’t count,” said Rep. Elijah Cummings, chairman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee.
“We cannot — we simply cannot — have a presidency that is run as if it were a king or a dictator in charge,” said Cummings, D-Md.
Trump’s blanket refusal to engage in oversight — and Democrats’ unrelenting demand that he do so — is testing the system of checks and balances with a deepening standoff in the aftermath of Robert Mueller’s investigation.
At Venezuelan protest, opposition’s frustration shows
CARACAS, Venezuela — When a protester handed over a written appeal for the military’s support on Saturday, a Venezuelan policeman burned the document and let the ashes fall to the ground.
The armed forces “won’t be blackmailed or bought,” said a second officer standing nearby.
Benito Rodriguez fumed as he watched the events unfold.
“It’s a humiliation,” said Rodriguez, a demonstrator who had joined a crowd of about 150 protesters gathered near La Casona, a residence historically used by Venezuelan presidents.
The scene highlights the uphill battle now facing opponents of President Nicolás Maduro who have failed to persuade the country’s security forces to join efforts to oust the leader.
Illinois governor announces plan to legalize marijuana
CHICAGO — Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker said Saturday he’s reached an agreement with key lawmakers on a plan to legalize recreational marijuana in the state starting next year.
The legislation would allow adults 21 and older to legally buy cannabis for recreational use from licensed dispensaries. Illinois residents could possess up to about an ounce (30 grams) of marijuana, while non-residents could possess about half an ounce (15 grams).
The measure also would automatically expunge some marijuana convictions.
If it passes, Illinois would join 10 other states, including neighboring Michigan, in legalizing recreational marijuana. While the Illinois law would take effect Jan. 1, the first licenses for Illinois growers, processors and dispensaries wouldn’t be issued until May and July 2020, the governor’s office said.
Pritzker was joined by fellow Democratic lawmakers in Chicago to announce the deal, which comes after years of discussion among state legislators. They said the measure will be introduced Monday, kicking off debate at the Legislature, where Democrats hold a majority in both chambers.
Berkshire Hathaway investors worry about life after Buffett
OMAHA, Neb. — Tens of thousands of Berkshire Hathaway shareholders return to Omaha every year to learn from Warren Buffett and celebrate the company he built through acquisitions and investments.
But with the 88-year-old Buffett and 95-year-old Charlie Munger leading the company, it’s hard for shareholders not to wonder how much longer the revered investors will be in place. And the fact that Berkshire is holding more than $114 billion in cash and short-term investments raises questions about what Buffett might buy next.
Shareholder Stephen Teenois, 30, made his first trip to this year’s meeting on Saturday after owning the stock for several years because he wanted to experience the event where Buffett and Munger spend hours answering questions.
“I just want to soak in everything I can and learn from him,” said Teenois, who is from Houston.
Buffett has said that Berkshire has a succession plan in place for whenever it is needed. Neither Buffett nor Munger has any plans to retire. Two longtime executives, Ajit Jain and Greg Abel, have been promoted to vice chairmen to help oversee Berkshire’s businesses. One of them will likely eventually be Berkshire’s next CEO.