TRUMP-ECONOMY Trump says lower interest rates key to economy WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump says his administration is a…
Trump says lower interest rates key to economy
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump says his administration is a looking at tax cut proposals but not as a response to a potential recession. He says, “I’m looking at that all the time anyway.” Trump talked about the economy and trade with China during a meeting Tuesday in the Oval Office with the president of Romania.
Trump says his administration is looking at a cut in the capital gains tax when investors sell assets. It is also exploring lower payroll taxes.
But mostly, Trump is pressuring the Federal Reserve to cut interest rates. He says, “They have to do a rate cut.”
Trump says the word recession is “inappropriate” and if the Fed would do its job, “you would see a burst of growth like you’ve never seen before.”
Trump cancels Denmark meeting over Greenland proposal
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump says an upcoming trip to Denmark is on hold because its prime minister isn’t interested in selling Greenland to the U.S.
Denmark owns Greenland. Trump recently floated the idea of buying the island but said as recently as Sunday it wasn’t a priority.
Denmark had called the idea “absurd.”
Trump tweeted Tuesday that “based on Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen’s comments, that she would have no interest in discussing the purchase of Greenland, I will be postponing our meeting scheduled in two weeks for another time.”
White House spokesman Judd Deere says Trump’s visit to Denmark has been canceled.
Trump was scheduled to depart at the end of August on a trip that included stops in Denmark and Poland.
AUSTRALIA-CARDINAL CHARGED-THE LATEST
The Latest: Pell verdict welcomed, more investigation urged
MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — A non-profit group that seeks accountability for sex abuse in the Catholic church is welcoming an appeals court’s decision upholding convictions against Cardinal George Pell.
U.S.-based BishopAccountability.org says the Australian court ruling Wednesday is a watershed and should give all victims hope.
The group’s statement says, “Catholics everywhere owe thanks to the incredibly brave victim who brought Pell to justice.”
It also expressed hope Australia would continue to investigate Pell, citing the history of church leaders shielding abusive clergy. “An abusive bishop is, inevitably, an enabler of other sexual criminals. His sphere of negative influence extends beyond his own victims, hurting the children (who) are raped or assaulted by the abusive clerics to whom he gives safe harbor.”
Trump: Any Jew voting Democratic is uninformed or disloyal
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump says any Jewish people who vote Democratic show “either a total lack of knowledge or great disloyalty.”
Trump commented Tuesday amid his ongoing feud with Democratic congresswomen Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and Rashida Tlaib (ruh-SHEE’-duh tuh-LEEB’) of Michigan. Trump has taken several steps favored by Israel, while the Muslim lawmakers are outspoken critics of Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians.
Trump calls Omar a “disaster” for Jews and says he didn’t “buy” the tears Tlaib shed Monday as she discussed the situation.
At Trump’s urging, Israel last week blocked the pair from entering the country. Israel later agreed to a humanitarian visit for Tlaib to visit her grandmother who lives in the West Bank. Tlaib declined.
Recent polling shows that a majority of Jews identify as Democrats.
PHILADELPHIA POLICE COMMISSIONER-THE LATEST
The Latest: Philadelphia police commissioner resigning
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A Philadelphia official says the resignation of Police Commissioner Richard Ross is related to allegations made by a corporal and a patrol officer against several department employees.
Deana Gamble is a spokeswoman for Mayor Jim Kenney. She tells The Philadelphia Inquirer that the corporal and officer claimed Ross knew about the alleged harassment.
Ross didn’t immediately return a message seeking comment.
Kenney’s announcement Tuesday referred to a sexual harassment prevention policy and efforts to prevent discrimination and harassment that were implemented a year ago.
It says he doesn’t believe the police department “has taken the necessary actions to address the underlying cultural issues that too often negatively impact women — especially women of color.”
Ross is black and joined the department in 1989. He has served as commissioner since January 2016.
LA Opera names lawyer to lead Placido Domingo investigation
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Los Angeles Opera says it will immediately open a ‘thorough and independent investigation’ into allegations of sexual harassment against the opera star Placido Domingo, the company’s general director.
In a brief statement Tuesday, the opera company said it has hired Debra Wong Yang from the law firm of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher to lead the investigation.
Yang is a former U.S. attorney and Los Angeles County Superior Court judge who is chair of her firm’s Crisis Management Practice Group, according to the firm’s website. She has been involved in several high-profile cases and was hired by USC in 2017 to investigate the conduct of a former medical school dean.
The investigation into Domingo’s behavior follows an Associated Press report last week detailing multiple accusations against the 78-year-old opera star.
Venezuela crisis pushes women into ‘forced motherhood’
CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — Dr. Saturnina Clemente pulls up to the small clinic in the impoverished Caucaguita neighborhood armed with one of Venezuela’s most sought-after commodities: Hormonal implants to prevent pregnancy.
In a country where contraceptives are in short supply, word in the shantytown on the outskirts of Venezuela’s capital spreads quickly. The lucky get on a list run by community leaders. The less fortunate hope there will be extras.
The veteran doctor has 104 implants and there won’t be enough for everyone. As a physician at the nation’s largest pediatric hospital, Clemente knows first hand that the consequences for those who don’t get one are high.
“It’s a sense of impotency, of frustration,” she says. “You see that it’s not enough, that the demand is much higher.”
As Venezuela’s crisis deepens, women are bearing the brunt of the nation’s upheaval. Despite promises by the socialist government to provide every woman access to family planning, recent surveys and interviews with health professionals indicate access to contraceptives remains incomprehensive.
International organizations like the U.N. Population Fund have begun stepping in by importing tens of thousands of contraceptives this year, but their work is still limited. It’s an ordeal with increasingly international ramifications, as a growing number of pregnant women flee to countries like Colombia seeking care they cannot get in Venezuela.
“Women are getting pregnant and don’t have options,” said Luisa Kislinger, a women’s rights activist. “They’re forced into motherhood.”
Nicol Ramírez is 15 and already a mother. Her name is on Clemente’s list, but to get an implant she needs to show a negative pregnancy test. The young mom and her older sister frantically call their mother. They need 40,000 bolivars, the equivalent of about $3, in order to do the simple test at a nearby laboratory.
“The situation in this country isn’t one for having children,” Ramírez says, balancing her baby daughter on one hip. “I’m still a girl myself.”
During the late Hugo Chávez’s presidency, Venezuela’s government expanded services aimed at helping poor mothers by providing monthly cash transfers. Chavez lavished praise on women and hailed the so-called “revolutionary mothers” who would help promote his vision.
The 1999 constitution he advanced guarantees “full family planning services” to women among a host of other benefits.
“The socialist revolution should be feminist,” he declared.
Despite those initiatives, Chávez’s government made only modest advances, at best, in improving contraceptive access. Government data shows that teenage pregnancies continued to steadily increase during his time in power.
“There was a major advance with the constitution, with getting all these new rights and state obligations,” said Rachel Elfenbein, the author of an upcoming book on social programs created under Chávez for women. “But when it came to implementation, if and where it happened, it was patchy.”
President Nicolás Maduro has struggled to advance his predecessor’s agenda amidst a crippling economic contraction worse than the U.S. Great Depression. Few if any women still get cash transfers except for occasional “bonuses” equivalent to a dollar or two. Maternal death rates rose over 65% between 2015 and 2016.
“Under Maduro we’ve seen an unprecedented setback,” Kislinger said.
Health professionals believe Venezuela could cut its high maternal mortality rate by a third doing one thing: Providing contraceptives.
The extent of Venezuela’s birth control shortage and the impact on women is difficult to quantify in part because the government has not released information on key indicators like teenage pregnancy since 2012. According to those now dated figures, just over 23% of all births in Venezuela were to women under the age of 20.
Some independent health organizations and women’s rights groups contend the rate could now be as high as 28%. A study of four hospitals last year found that over a quarter of all births recorded were to teenage mothers.
The most recent U.N. world population report estimates Venezuela’s teen pregnancy rate is about 85.3 per 1,000 adolescents ages 15-19. That figure would mark a slight decline, though is still over double the global rate. By comparison, Colombia’s rate is 66.7 per 1,000 teens ages 15-19.
“We don’t know what the reality is in 2019,” said Nelmary Díaz, a program director the Civil Association for Family Planning, an organization that runs several clinics and has operated since 1986. “That worries us.”
After years of denying the existence of a humanitarian crisis, Maduro has recently begun allowing international aid. While a large part of the emergency assistance has gone toward food and medicine, a small portion is going toward reproductive health.
The U.N. Population Fund has imported 45,000 hormonal implants so far with the government’s authorization. An estimated 17,000 have been distributed thus far at hospitals and clinics like the one in Caucaguita where women line up before dawn.
“I don’t want to have more kids,” said Yailyn Salas, 20, the mother of a 9-month-old son in the line. “I want to close the shop.”
Among the millions of Venezuelans who have chosen to flee are thousands of pregnant women. In Colombia, over 26,000 Venezuelan women have given birth since August 2015. That surge is straining Colombia’s already fragile health care system and testing the nation’s mostly welcoming approach toward Venezuelan migrants.
In recent months, the mayor of one large Colombian city likened Venezuelans to “a poor baby factory” while a popular newspaper columnist implored migrants to “stop giving birth.”
“If you don’t stop reproducing like you are, it’s going to be even harder to see you as an opportunity for growth instead of a problem,” journalist Claudia Palacios wrote.
Ramírez found out she was pregnant at 14 with her boyfriend of one year. Condoms and birth control pills were either impossible to find or too expensive. When she told her boyfriend the news, Ramírez said he responded coldly. He was 23 and already a father. He told her that he couldn’t handle another responsibility.
She hasn’t heard from him since.
Adolescent moms under 15 are twice as likely to die during pregnancy. Though Ramírez had access to prenatal care, doctors nonetheless had to perform an emergency C-section after the baby’s heartbeat became irregular.
“She was born practically dead,” Ramírez said, her soft voice turning somber.
Ramírez’s ordeal to find birth control isn’t unusual. An independent survey of 151 pharmacies consulted over a five-month period last year found some contraceptives like the patch could not be found at all in Venezuela, while others including birth control pills are experiencing near-total shortages.
Even with this year’s increased access to aid, experts say Venezuela will need far more to address the needs of the estimated 9 million women in the country at risk of pregnancy.
“It’s a very small impact,” said Jorge Díaz Polanco, a sociologist with the independent Venezuelan Observatory of Health.
Clemente’s brigade was able to get ahold of a handful of the U.N.-provided implants that prevent ovulation and last four years. On two recent days, her team set up shop at a clinic where posters in support of socialist leaders filled the walls. They quickly got to work, injecting each woman with an anesthetic and then sticking a small metal tube into their upper arm so the implant could be pushed through.
By 11:30 a.m. the contraceptives were gone.
“The implants have run out!” an organizer dressed in a faded Stone Temple Pilots T-shirt shouted.
Nearly 40 women were still in line. Some sighed. Others were visibly angry.
“I feel deceived,” said Salas, who missed the cutoff.
She said a nearby health organization was selling birth control implants at a subsidized cost of around 90,000 bolivars, or $6.50. But that was just slightly less than what her husband makes an in an entire week.
“If I get one, I don’t eat,” she said.
Ramírez and her sister were among the lucky few to get the last of the implants after they showed Clemente’s team their negative test. Their mom had managed to get them the money.
Three other women that day would learn they were pregnant.
Ramírez cringed as a nurse injected her with the anesthetic before placing the implant. Just as the procedure finished, the lights in the building went out — the second blackout in the neighborhood that week.
Ramírez left the darkened clinic with her baby in her arm, relieved to know she wouldn’t become a mom again soon.
“I’m not ready to have a child,” she said as her baby began to cry. “I’m a girl who is 15.”
Follow Christine Armario on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/cearmario
Outside money flows into race for Susan Collins’ Senate seat
PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Republican Sen. Susan Collins hasn’t officially announced whether she’s seeking reelection. But that isn’t stopping campaign dollars from pouring into Maine.
Observers predict the race will set a spending record in the state.
Advertising data shows Democrats plan to spend at least $1.2 million on ads through December. A newly formed GOP group, meanwhile, has $800,000 already in the bank, thanks to a small group of wealthy financiers.
Democrats have vowed to make Collins pay for her vote confirming Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. But it’s unclear how Maine voters will respond to refighting her contentious vote for Kavanaugh — or to the flood of outside money.
Collins has at least two Democratic challengers: House Speaker Sara Gideon and 2018 gubernatorial candidate Betsy Sweet.
Facebook rolls out tool to block off-Facebook data gathering
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Facebook is launching a long-promised tool that lets users block the social network from gathering information about them on outside websites and apps.
Facebook said Tuesday that it is adding a place where users can see the activity that Facebook tracks outside its service. If they want, they can turn it off. The feature will be available in South Korea, Ireland and Spain on Tuesday and in other countries later on. The company did not give a timeline for when it might expand it to other countries, only that it will be in coming months.
Facebook is facing increasing governmental scrutiny over its privacy practices. CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that the company was building the feature more than a year ago.
Larry King seeks divorce from seventh wife after 22 years
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Larry King is seeking a divorce from his seventh wife, Shawn King, after 22 years.
The 85-year-old talk show host filed a petition to end the marriage Tuesday in Los Angeles Superior Court.
Larry King and Shawn King, then a singer and TV host, married in 1997 and have two adult sons, Chance and Cannon.
They both filed for divorce in 2010 but later reconciled.
Larry King has been married eight times to seven different women and has five children. He married and divorced Alene Akins twice.
He has overcome several serious health issues in recent years, including a bout with lung cancer two years ago.
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