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Author accuses Target of caving to 'woke activists' by briefly pulling book deemed 'transphobic' on Twitter

Target reverses decision to pull book called ‘transphobic’ on Twitter

‘Irreversible Damage’ author and Wall Street Journal contributor Abigail Shrier joins ‘Tucker Carlson Tonight’ with reaction

Target caved to "woke activists" last week by briefly pulling a book deemed "transphobic" by one Twitter user from its shelves before reversing its decision amid backlash, the book's author told "Tucker Carlson Tonight" Monday.

Wall Street Journal contributor Abigail Shrier, the author of "Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters” told host Tucker Carlson that "woke activists have taken the position that we're never allowed to question anyone’s transition, no matter their age, circumstance, or the incredible lack of adequate medical oversight.

"I fully support medical transition for mature adults," Shrier added. "My book specifically looked at a sudden and alarming spike among teenage girls and I took a hard look at why."

The book delves into the subject of gender dysphoria and the purported societal pressure to push the diagnosis onto children, particularly young girls.

Shrier's book was pulled after a Twitter user who identifies as a trans woman called out Target for selling the book on its website.

"I think the trans community deserves a response from @AskTarget @Target as to why they are selling this book about the 'transgender epidemic sweeping the country' Trigger Warning: Transphobia," the Twitter user wrote to her roughly 1400 followers last week.

The next day, Target's customer service account AskTarget appeared to meet the Twitter user's demand.

"Thank you so much for bringing this to our attention. We have removed this book from our assortment," AskTarget responded to the tweet. 

Shrier's book focuses on "individuals who claim to be gender dysphoric," a condition in which someone is intensely uncomfortable with their biological gender and strongly identifies with the opposite gender. 

In recent years, teenage girls have been "self-diagnosing" themselves claiming to have "gender dysphoria … and doctors are just told to rubber-stamp this," Shrier claimed "A lot of them really don’t have gender dysphoria, so they’re unlikely to be helped by medical transition." 

CONSERVATIVE PUBLISHER CLAIMS AMAZON BLOCKED PAID ADS FOR BOOK ON 'TRANSGENDER CRAZE'

Shrier attributed the shift to societal pressures that push the diagnosis onto children, particularly young girls. 

"We’re seeing a spike in teenage girls who claim to have this and they have no childhood history at all, so we know that this is very strange," she said.

"And even stranger, it’s clustered in friend groups. teenage girls are coming out with their friends. So we know this is socially driven."

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Shrier's book explores the long-term effects of misdiagnosed gender dysphoria and the purported societal pressure. 

"The age of medical consent varies by state," Shrier told Carlson. " In Oregon, it is 15. So, a 15-year-old without her parents' permission and without so much as a therapist's note can walk into a gender clinic and walk out that day with a course of testosterone."

The retail chain eventually reversed its decision to pull Shrier's book after facing harsh backlash, tweeting Friday that "We want to offer a broad assortment for our guests and are adding this book back to Target.com. We apologize for any confusion."

Fox News’ Joseph A. Wulfsohn contributed to this report.

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Economy

NYC Recovery Index: Week of September 21

Editor's note: Below you'll find the week 9 release of the NYC Recovery Index, originally published Sep 21, 2020. Visit the NYC Recovery index homepage for the latest data.

47.2

The latest reading of the New York City Recovery Index out of a possible score of 100.

New York City’s economic recovery hit another pothole last week as a drop in subway usage and a slight decline in pending home sales offset improvements in other areas of the city’s economy.

New COVID-19 hospitalizations continue to decline, and job losses stabilized after increasing in the prior weeks, but more than six months since the pandemic was officially declared, New York City’s economic activity is still less than half of what it was before the pandemic, according to the metrics tracked by Investopedia and NY1.

COVID-19 Hospitalizations Decrease

As mentioned, new COVID-19 hospitalizations continue to decrease with an average of only 16 daily hospitalizations last week. Public schools have yet to welcome students inside their buildings, and the city announced last week that their return will be further delayed until October 1st. That may have helped keep new hospitalizations down. There were also reports last week that several investment banks had to re-close their offices after reopening them due to some employees subsequently testing positive for the virus. We do not know if those positive tests resulted in new hospitalizations, however.

Unemployment Claims Remain Steady

New unemployment claims are holding steady, as 36,465 New Yorkers filed for first-time unemployment claims last week. It was a decline of just 479 claims from the prior week, and was six times the same period a year ago. New monthly unemployment data for New York City for the month of August is due out this week, but with weekly claims at this elevated level, a steep drop in the July NYC unemployment rate of 18.4% is very unlikely. The job losses continue to be centered around the services industry, which includes hotels, restaurants, bars and other hospitality businesses.

Pending Home Sales Dip, But Remain Higher Than Last Year

Pending home sales, which we began including in the Recovery Index last week in place of new small business applications, have been a bright spot in the city’s economy. After a scorching summer of sales, pending sales—or homes in contract—fell slightly last week to 368, according to data from StreetEasy. That’s still higher than the same period a year ago, although the sales are not happening across all boroughs. 

Brooklyn and Manhattan continue to lead the surge in sales last week, rising 25% and 13% year-over-year, respectively. Queens had been experiencing a recent spike in sales, but that ended last week, as pending sales fell 24% compared to the same period a year ago.

Subway Usage Declined

The delay in the return of public school students to October 1 held back an expected rise in subway usage last week. While public school kids were still officially online for orientation, many school administrators, teachers and staff likely did not go into their schools, given the announcement. This weekend’s A-Train derailment didn’t help matters much either, as subway lines experienced massive delays across NYC. Subway usage fell to just 25% of capacity last week, down from 29% the week prior.

Restaurant Reservations Stay Flat

New York City’s restaurants continue to struggle as dine-in restrictions remain in place until September 30. Indoor dining will be allowed to reopen at 25% capacity as of this weekend, while those restaurants that are able to offer outdoor dining are operating at only 30% of their capacity. Colder weather has rolled into the region, which may keep diners away. While restaurant reservations remained on par with the prior week, according to OpenTable, they are still down 80% from the same period a year ago.

The Labor Day weekend didn’t help New York City restaurants much, either. Major cities like Miami, Chicago and Boston saw big spikes in reservations over the holiday weekend, according to OpenTable, while New York saw a notable decline. 

The lack of indoor dining has also hobbled New York City restaurants compared to other major cities. Miami, which permits 50% capacity indoor dining, has seen a stronger restaurant recovery than every other large city. Boston, which has no capacity restrictions provided that tables are six-feet apart, has also seen a surge in reservations. Chicago, which permits 25% indoor dining, has seen a more robust recovery, and Los Angeles, which does not allow indoor dining at all, has seen a larger increase than New York City. 

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Georgia Secretary of State confident recount of all ballots will produce accurate results

Georgia Secretary of State on manual recount of all presidential ballots in the state

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger tells ‘Fox & Friends’ the goal is to have concluded the state’s manual recount of the 5 million presidential ballots by November 20.

Georgia’s manual recount of all presidential ballots will be a “big lift,” requiring election officials to work overtime, Georgia's GOP Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger told “Fox & Friends” on Thursday, adding that the goal is to conclude the undertaking by next week.

“Certification by the office of secretary of state is November 20. That's our goal,” Raffensperger said. “The big counties told us yesterday that they can hit it.”

“They will be working overtime, they’ll be working hard. It's a big lift,” he stressed.

Host Steve Doocy asked Raffensperger how many errors he expects will be “picked up” during the recount process.

“I believe it will be relatively small amount,” he responded. “I think that you’ll find that the machine count that we did will be fairly accurate.”

On Wednesday, Raffensperger announced that election officials will conduct a manual recount of all presidential ballots as President-elect Joe Biden leads in the state by just over 14,000 votes out of nearly 5 million counted.

"This is a process. It is a process defined by law. These men and women in my office will continue to follow the law and count every legal vote," Raffensperger said during a news conference on Wednesday.

He continued: "With the margin being so close, it will require a full, by-hand recount in each county. This will help build confidence. It will be an audit, a recount and a recanvass all at once.”

On Thursday, Raffensperger referred to the process as “a risk-limiting audit,” which “triggers” a statewide recount.

“We would have had to pull out 1.5 million ballots anyway, it's just easier to pull out all 5 million and just recount every single one,” he explained.

LIVE UPDATES: GEORGIA SENATE RACE ATTRACTS NATIONAL ATTENTION

Trump's camp continues to wage legal battles in some of the battleground states that are still counting votes, filing lawsuits challenging the count in Georgia, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Nevada.

The Georgia suit, which hinged on a poll worker claiming he saw 53 late ballots illegally compiled with a group of eligible ballots, was tossed out by a Chatham County judge last week. 

Doocy asked Raffensperger on Thursday if he is “confident that at the end of the day, after all this stuff that your office is doing, by November 20th the results certified will be accurate?”

“Yes, it will,” he responded. “Every single ballot will be hand counted.”

Doocy also pointed to allegations that signatures “did not match what you had on file” and asked Raffensperger how election officials will determine which envelope corresponds to which ballot during the recount.

Raffensperger acknowledged that in some cases the envelope has been separated from the ballot, adding that in other cases “they are actually still together if there was a ballot that had been adjudicated and there was a concern at the original time.”

“But all the envelopes should be available for inspection regardless so that people can look at those,” he said, stressing that “we are going to have an open and transparent process.” 

Georgia is also facing two Senate runoff elections in January after two candidates fell shy of 50% of the vote, which candidates must receive in order to win under state law. The results of the runoff elections will likely determine whether Democrats or Republicans get control of the Senate.

Republican Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler, who are on the ballot in the runoff elections, called for Raffensperger’s resignation, claiming he ran the election poorly. They did not, however, cite specific incidents of wrongdoing.

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“I'm not going any place,” Raffensperger told Doocy on Thursday. “I was put here by the voters and that's the people that will decide my fate.”

Fox News’ Audrey Conklin and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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New Call of Duty Cold War weapons will finally appear in Warzone on Friday

WITH the latest Call of Duty game on the horizon, the franchise's battle royale mode Warzone is getting a major weapons update this week.

New guns that feature in Call of Duty Black Ops Cold War will be added to Warzone on Friday to mark its release across the globe.

Weapons and other content from the game will continue to be added to Warzone until US game publisher Activision merges the two titles on December 10.

A message of the day sent out to Warzone players last week stated that weapons unlocked in Black Ops Cold War would be available for use starting November 13, when the game launches worldwide.

"Warzone will host host the largest weapons arsenal ever seen in Call of Duty," the message read.

Apparently, the guns newly available to players on Warzone will include any they've unlocked in Black Ops Cold War.

Those include Call of Duty classics like the M16, AK-74u and RPD.

That does mean, however, that in order to use them you'll have to buy a copy of Black Ops Cold War and unlock the weapons in multiplayer.

Warzone players were slightly confused after Activision sent out its message of the day.

Previously, the company had hinted that guns from Black Ops Cold War would only be available in Warzone from December 10.

That's when Warzone merges with Black Ops Cold War, and is also when the new title's first season of multiplayer is due to launch.

Activision now appears to have U-turned on that decision in order to bring the update in line with Black Ops Cold War's release.

The publisher recently announced that the new game, Warzone, and its predecessor, Modern Warfare, will feature a synchronized online system.

The system will track weapon and player progression across all three titles.

Player rank will reset on December 10 in Warzone and Modern Warfare to line up with Black Ops Cold War’s first season.

Black Ops Cold War is the latest game in the hugely popular war sim series.

It hits shelves in November and plays out at the height of nuclear tensions between the US and Soviet Russia.

The storyline follows the real-world events of the Cold War – such as the Vietnam War – but will dramatise some elements.

The Cold War was a period of major tension between the USA and Soviet Union, but wasn't an outright war in the conventional sense.

Instead, both nations supported "proxy wars" – regional conflicts used to gain global influence.

The period is generally said to have run from 1947 through to 1991 – when the Soviet Union was dissolved.

Black Ops Cold War is out on PC, Xbox One, PS4, Xbox Series X and PS5.

In other news, Sony recently confirmed that more PS5 pre-orders are on the way.

The next-gen machine sold out within minutes when pre-orders launched on September 17.

And, a PlayStation fan has created an "all black" PS5 that disappointed gamers think looks much better than the real thing.

Are you excited for Warzone update? Let us know in the comments!

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Business

This Is the Worst Movie of All Time

There are a number of lists of the best movies of all time, as well as some that cover the worst films ever. Since movies made for theaters were introduced over a century ago, it is hard for the lists to be consistent. Most of them rely on information about how critics rate films. Some use audience ratings. 24/7 Tempo used a mix of both to pick the 100 worst movies and, by the same metrics, the worst of that worst list.

Recently, the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) site released its 100 worst movies, rated by its users. IMDb is sometimes used to create other lists. Business Insider released its own worst-movie list. It used information from the review site Metacritic. Yahoo released a list of worst films, based on reviews from film site Rotten Tomatoes.

We all know a bad movie when we see one. Bad movies can have weak storylines, incompetent direction, poor technical quality, amateurish performances or all of the above.

Sometimes, the title is a clue, like “Santa Claus Conquers the Martians.” Really? Another indicator of a stinker is who is in it. Actors such as Carmen Electra or Jean-Claude Van Damme won’t make you forget Meryl Streep or Daniel Day-Lewis. Some movies are so awful they develop a cult following, like 2003 film “The Room.”

How do these clunkers get made? In some cases, filmmakers are working with a limited budget that affects all aspects of production, from the technology used to make the movie to the talent they can afford to hire.

24/7 Tempo has identified the 100 worst movies of all time based on audience and critic ratings from IMDb and Rotten Tomatoes.

Oftentimes, talent alone is not enough to carry a film. Many of the movies on the list are major Hollywood productions that feature top talent. Among the stars who appear in them are Nicolas Cage, Sandra Bullock, Bradley Cooper, Emma Stone, Sylvester Stallone and Matthew McConaughey, all of whom have won or have been nominated for an Oscar. These are the most popular Oscar winners of all time.

Sequels make numerous appearances among the worst films. Movie studios love to churn out additional chapters to popular originals, but filmmakers often botch these follow-ups, much to the displeasure of fans. Here are the 50 best movie sequels of all time.

Also common are both comedies and horror movies. Despite critics frequently skewering genre films of these types, they can be made cheaply and often do well at the box office and are therefore made often. While both genres often resonate with fans despite drawing ire from critics, the movies found here test the sensibilities of even the most tolerant viewers. If there is a silver lining for the pandemic, it prevented another year of cringe-worthy motion pictures being made.

To determine the worst movies of all time, 24/7 Tempo created an index based on each film’s Rotten Tomatoes average critic rating, Rotten Tomatoes average audience rating and IMDb average user rating. To be considered, each film needed to have at least 5,000 Rotten Tomatoes user ratings, 10 approved Tomatometer critic reviews and 10,000 IMDb user ratings.

After running thousands of movies again these tests, “Manos: The Hands of Fate” turned out to be the single worst movie of all time. This horror movie was released in 1966 and directed by Harold P. Warren. It starred Tom Neyman, John Reynolds and Diane Adelson.

This movie about a family that stumbles upon a devil-worshiping, human-hand-sacrificing cult is hated by nearly all, aside from a smattering of die-hard bad movie fans. The lone film by writer-director and Texas fertilizer salesman Harold P. Warren has zero positive reviews from critics on Rotten Tomatoes. Audiences on the site gave it a rating of 20%, while IMDb users rated it 1.9 out of 10. Distributor Synapse Films released a Blu-ray edition of the film in 2015 for the morbidly curious.

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Message of Election 2020: Trump lost, but Trumpism did not

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WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump lost. But Trumpism did not.

It won in the parts of the country and with the voters whom Trump catered to over four years, constantly jabbing the hard edges of almost every contentious cultural issue into Red America, on the bet that fear and anger were a winning hand. It almost was.

“This defied everyone’s expectations. Everyone said if Joe Biden wins, Democrats win the Senate. If Trump wins, Republicans win the Senate," said Rahm Emanuel, the former mayor of Chicago and chief of staff to President Barack Obama. "That’s not what happened. Clearly there was an undertow.

A man waves a flag at a pro-Trump rally at the Pennsylvania state Capitol in Harrisburg, Pa., Friday, Nov. 5, 2020. (Associated Press)

“Life is not binary," Emanuel said. "It’s more complicated. Florida, a state that voted for Trump, voted for the minimum wage. Illinois, a state that voted for Biden, voted down a progressive income tax. California, cobalt blue, voted against affirmative action in the place of employment.”

Emanuel said that Democrats may have erred in not offering clearer plans about how they would rebuild the economy while also gaining control over the virus and in not batting back Republican efforts to label them socialists.

“Trump played to people’s fatigue about COVID," he said. "If we had brought the same sense of urgency to getting the economy moving as we did getting COVID under control, it might have been different.”

Instead, some Democrats were advocating for expanding the Supreme Court and ending the filibuster in the Senate, proposals that might have prompted fear about one-party control.

“It’s clear there was more voter frustration with Trump than with the ideology of the Republican Party,” said Mike Murphy, a strategist to several Republican presidential campaigns who broke with his party over Trump. “Clearly the presidential race was operating in its own world from the congressional race.”

Since Trump campaigned largely on friendly turf, he also helped Republican candidates in those areas.

“Trump lifted Republican candidates by vastly boosting turnout in areas of Republican strength," said David Axelrod, former senior adviser Obama. "In the states and districts that favor Republicans, they ran up the score.”

Hundreds of supporters of President Trump stage a defiant rally outside the New Mexico state Capitol building in Santa Fe, N.M., on Saturday, Nov. 7, 2020. (Associated Press)

Many voters offered a consistent refrain about Trump: They liked his policies but could not abide his anger-fueled personality, his constant use of Twitter as a weapon, and the way he ridiculed anyone who dared disagree with him.

Biden’s call for a return to decency, and his appeal to be a president for all Americans and not just the base of his party, was an important part of his formula.

But the closeness of the race, even with the president’s persistently low approval ratings, was also a testament to the inherent power of an incumbent seeking reelection. There’s a reason only three elected incumbents before Trump had lost in nearly a century.

When an incumbent loses, the challenger’s party often gains. In 1980, when Ronald Reagan defeated President Jimmy Carter, Republicans took 12 Senate seats from Democrats. In 1992, Bill Clinton’s victory over President George H.W. Bush also came with three Democratic Senate victories over incumbent Republicans. When Franklin D. Roosevelt defeated President Herbert Hoover in 1932, Democrats gained nearly 100 House seats and a dozen in the Senate, giving Roosevelt the muscular majorities he needed to pass sweeping New Deal legislation.

But no president in recent memory had maintained such iron-grip allegiance from his own party as Trump, with only a handful of Republicans in Congress ever willing to cross him, fearing that they were always one presidential tweet away from a primary challenge. They stuck with him during his impeachment, when only Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, voted to convict him, and Trump ostracized him. And several were sticking with him even in defeat, offering up unproven allegations of voter fraud.

Some voters liked Trump's tough talk on trade and getting other nations to pay more for common defense. They gave him credit, right or wrong, for an economy that was buoyant before the pandemic struck. And Trump played to Americans’ fatigue from all the restrictions imposed because of the virus by saying the warnings of his own administration’s top public health officials were overblown.

Still, there was a collective limit to how much more of Trump’s always-in-your-face presidency they were willing to take.

Not enough, though, to deliver Biden a majority in the Senate, at least not until the outcome of two runoff elections in Georgia in January.

But some Democrats also noted that they held most seats in swing states, and that Biden won in some competitive districts. “There are also many districts that Biden flipped from 2016, like my district," said Rep. Elaine Luria of Virginia. She said her margin of victory over the same opponent more than doubled from 2018.

“The bottom line on Republicans winning in traditionally Republican-held seats was their unprecedented turnout,” Luria said. “Trump was not able to capitalize on that turnout himself, because his actions and rhetoric over the last four years made him unpalatable to the majority of Americans.”

Biden clearly was seen as both a necessary and acceptable alternative. He had no pithy slogan like “Hope and Change” when he was Obama’s running mate in 2008. Rather, he tapped into a national desire to stop the noise, to turn the page from a period so marked by rage and hate inspired from the White House itself.

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Record number of GOP women ran for Congress and at least 10 won seats in House

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Although Democrats managed to hold on to control of the House– albeit by a smaller margin than they previously had– Republicans are touting a win of their own, adding at least 10 women to the upper chamber of Congress. 

At least four new women– Yvette Herrell in New Mexico, Cynthia Lummis in Wyoming, Nancy Mace in South Carolina, and Maria Elvira Salazar in Florida– all won seats in the House, according to Associated Press projections.

KEVIN MCARTHY SAYS TUESDAY'S ELECTION WAS 'NIGHT OF REPUBLICAN WOMEN'

Formerly, only 13 women held seats in the House, but now that number is expected to climb to 23. Two of the current female representatives are retiring, but the wins help to boost a female presence in the House GOP caucus. 

“The Republican coalition is bigger, more diverse and more energetic than ever before," House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, D-Calif., said Wednesday. 

During the primaries 94 of the 227 Republican women who ran for House seats were victorious, surpassing the previous record of 54 in 2004. 

"We'll likely have an additional 14-19 Republican women," McCarthy said. "This will break the record for the most Republican women coming in at any one time — will double and will set a record for the most women ever in the Republican Party."

The leader also said the party would likely pick up six to nine minority candidates and that there are 11 outstanding races he feels very confident about

In perhaps their highest-profile triumph, Republicans finally defeated 15-term Democratic Rep. Collin Peterson from a rural Minnesota district that backed President Trump in 2016 by 31 percentage points, Trump's biggest margin in any Democratic-held district. Peterson, who chairs the House Agriculture Committee, is one of the House's most conservative Democrats but was defeated by Republican Michelle Fischbach, the former lieutenant governor.

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The latest Democratic incumbent to fall was freshman Rep. Abby Finkenauer of northeastern Iowa, who lost to GOP state Rep. Ashley Hinson.

The other defeated Democrats — all freshmen — included Reps. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell and Donna Shalala, health secretary under President Bill Clinton, in adjacent South Florida districts.

In one of the most expensive races in the country, Yvette Herrell, a former state legislator, defeated Xochitl Torres Small of New Mexico.

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Before votes were counted, both parties’ operatives said the GOP would be fortunate to limit Democratic gains to modest single digits. Democrats control the House 232-197, with five open seats and one independent. It takes 218 seats to control the chamber.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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Business

Army Corps of Engineers considers if potential environmental impacts require it to change, suspend or revoke permit for Louisiana plastics complex: DOJ

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NEW ORLEANS — The Army Corps of Engineers is considering whether potential environmental impacts require it to change, suspend or revoke the permit for a $9.4 billion plastics complex planned in Louisiana by a Taiwan company, U.S. Department of Justice lawyers said Wednesday.

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The Corps plans to explain by Tuesday why “the intended construction activities authorized under the permit … may not proceed,” said a motion filed in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C.

“I’m overjoyed by this news. This hopefully marks the beginning of our victory over Formosa Plastics,” Sharon Lavigne, who formed Rise St. James to fight the company's plans, said in a news release with others who sued to stop the project.

JUDGE REJECTS DAKOTA ACCESS REQUEST FOR EMERGENCY ORDER

Formosa Plastics Group’s Louisiana member, FG LA LLC, plans 10 chemical plants and four other major facilities on 2,500 acres (1,000 hectares) on the Mississippi River in St. James Parish, between New Orleans and Baton Rouge.

“FG has worked cooperatively with the Corps throughout the permit process, and will continue to cooperate with them to provide any additional information they may need from FG,” spokeswoman Janile Parks said in a statement. “The company has been very diligent to make sure it has done everything required to ensure proper issuance of, and compliance with, it’s permits and will continue to do so.”

FILE – In this March 11, 2020, file photo, Myrtle Felton, from left, Sharon Lavigne, Gail LeBoeuf and Rita Cooper, members of RISE St. James, conduct a live stream video on property owned by Formosa in St. James Parish, La. The Army Corps of Engineer

Environmental and community groups sued to overturn the permit, saying the Corps took only a cursory look at probable environmental effects of the complex called The Sunshine Project after the nearby Sunshine Bridge.

Thursday was the deadline for the government's reply to a request for Judge Randolph Moss to decide the case against the Corps without a full trial.COMPANIES CANCEL ATLANTIC COAST PIPELINE AFTER YEARS OF DELAYS

The Justice Department instead asked him to hold off on further proceedings while the Corps reevaluates parts of the environmental review under the Clean Water Act.

“It's kind of a wild turn,” said Julie Teel Simmonds, a senior attorney for the Center for Biological Diversity, which filed the lawsuit for itself, Rise St. James and two other groups.

She said the motion indicated the permit had been suspended, although FG LA spokesman Jim Harris said it was not. The Corps declined to comment on the pending litigation.

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Simmonds said the entire environmental assessment should be thrown out. “We’ll be pushing for more specifics on what exactly this new review is going to entail and what the process will be," she said. “I think the public needs a chance to weigh in."

The plaintiffs, including Healthy Gulf and the Louisiana Bucket Brigade, argued in their request for summary judgment that the Corps simply accepted Formosa’s assessments of its environmental impacts.

“The plant would pollute a predominantly Black community, disturb unmarked burial sites of enslaved people, degrade wetlands and add to the ocean plastic pollution crisis,” the Center's statement Wednesday said.

The state and parish have offered FG LA about $1.5 billion in tax breaks. Construction is expected to take about a decade.

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FG LA has been doing site preparation. Opponents tried to stop it but in July both sides agreed that such work could continue until Feb. 1 as long as wetlands and five known or possible gravesites of enslaved people were excluded.

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Puerto Ricans vote in favor of U.S. statehood: what happens now?

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Against the backdrop of a dire economic crisis and continued damage from 2017's devastating Hurricane Maria, Puerto Ricans took the polls on Tuesday in what has been declared one of the tightest gubernatorial races in the U.S. Caribbean territory.

But what is also "in-the-air" is the paving of the way to becoming a U.S. state.

As of Wednesday morning, gubernatorial candidate Pedro Pierluisi of the New Progressive Party – which supports statehood – held a slight lead of around 12,000 votes over his main opponent, Carlos Delgado of the Popular Democratic Party, which has campaigned on retaining the island's current commonwealth status.

Although the Elections Commission is yet to formally verify a Pierluisi victory, the candidate was quick to declare himself the winner Tuesday night and vowed to quickly begin the dissemination of billions in federal funds issued by Congress to aid in Puerto Rico's rebuilding, more than three years after the deadly natural disaster embattled the enclave and claimed the lives of some 3,000 people.

Pedro Pierluisi, gubernatorial candidate with the New Progressive Party (PNP), arrives at Vivo Beach Club to celebrate a slim lead of the pro-statehood party in the Puerto Rican general elections, in Carolina, Puerto Rico, Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020. Pierluisi briefly served as governor following last year’s massive protests that led to the resignation of former Gov. Ricardo Rosselló. (AP Photo/Carlos Giusti)

PUERTO RICO GOV. WANDA VÁZQUEZ GARCED ENDORSES TRUMP RE-ELECTION BID

Given that Puerto Rico is not a U.S. state, islanders do not have a say in the Presidential election. However, the territory's sitting representative, Jenniffer González – a running partner to Pierluisi – easily cinched a second term.

But equally as pivotal to many Puerto Ricans at the ballot box was the non-biding referendum that asked the question of whether it should "be admitted immediately into the union as a state?"

The Commission reported that 52% of respondents responded "yes," while just under 48% checked "no."

It marked the 6th referendum to have happened in the island's modern history, with the last one in 2017, but drew staunch criticism given that it did not include differing status options beyond just statehood. For years, activists have been pushing for such modifications of the current Commonwealth system and complete independence.

So what happens next?

"This is largely a symbolic vote, but one that has significance," Brett Bruen, a former U.S. diplomat who served as Director of Global Engagement at the White House, told Fox News. "If the island's wish for independence is not honored, that creates a major blemish on America's global image. It (would) look like Washington is standing in the way of Puerto Ricans' democratic aspirations."

PRESIDENTIAL RACE UNDECIDED: WHERE THINGS STAND IN THE UNCALLED BATTLEGROUNDS

But despite the tilt in favor of statehood, Congress would need to approve any reformations of the island's status. To the likes of Pierluisi, officially joining the United States is a step toward "equality" for the Puerto Rican people.

A large tree toppled by tropical storm winds is seen in Alto Trujillo, Puerto Rico, on Thursday. (AP)

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The first election since the Hurricane Maria bombardment, Puerto Rico has around 2.36 million people eligible voters – a drop from the 2.9 million in 2016 as a result of post-hurricane emigration to the mainland – yet just over 51 percent cast their ballots. Observers also underscored that it was the first time both leading contenders each secured less than 40 percent of the vote, attributing to the loosening of the long-held two-party grip on growing resentment over possible corruption and the handling of relief funds.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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Couple discovers walls of whiskey hidden in ‘bootlegger bungalow’ upstate

Nick Drummond and Patrick Bakker knew their home in the upstate village of Ames, NY, had history. It’s part of what drew the couple to purchase the 105-year-old American Foursquare fixer-upper in 2019 for roughly $183,000. It didn’t take long for the 30-year-old architect and the 29-year-old florist to discover just what kind of history they were dealing with: spirits, so to speak.

The home in the small hamlet near Albany was formerly owned by Adolph Humphner, the so-called “Mystery Man of the Mohawk Valley” who many believed was a bootlegger during Prohibition. For almost a century that claim had gone mostly unsubstantiated. But Drummond and Bakker quite literally found the proof.

A few weeks ago, the couple were at work on the house removing some rotten exterior trim when a package, wrapped in old straw, paper, and string, fell out of the wall. “At first I just assumed it was insulation or something,” Drummond said. But on closer inspection, they found the bundle contained six bottles of Old Smuggler whiskey dated to 1923. And that wasn’t the only package — the entire length of the mudroom was lined in them.

“All of a sudden, it’s like, holy crap, he was actually a bootlegger,” Drummond said of Humphner.

The couple turned their sights on the odd crawlspace hatch in the mudroom, and uncovered another stash meticulously hidden beneath the house’s floorboards.

So far they’ve found 66 bottles, and Drummond says about 15 of them are still full. Two auction houses that Drummond approached think each bottle could fetch between $500 and $1,000. Drummond said the bottles under the floorboards are empty, and he and Bakker think they’ll leave them in place and install a glass panel on top to show off the house’s unique history. The duo also plan to donate a few of the empty bottles to the local historical society and may sell a few of the full ones to help fund their home renovation. And, he noted, “we gotta keep one full bottle to try!”

Drummond has been documenting the boozy renovation on his Instagram handle, @bootleggerbungalow.

“We were told the home was rumored to have been built by a childless German baron who turned to bootlegging in the 1920’s,” he wrote in his first post on Oct. 8. “The story is endearing, and most likely completely false, but we’re going along with it.”

As news of the discovery spread, internet sleuths from far and wide have shown up to help the couple hunt down old articles and documents about Humphner, who died the year before Prohibition ended.

“Different people are buying into the story and digging up old details,” Drummond said, and there has proven to be plenty of stories to uncover. “It’s like ‘Days of Our Lives,’ or Sherlock Holmes. It just goes on and it’s crazy.”

Despite all the excitement around their findings, the couple is taking the home renovation slowly. They want to do it right, although they do suspect there may be more hidden in the house. Their next plan is to drill small holes and scope out areas where they suspect other packages are hidden.

“Give me bundles of cash, give me jewels. Give me something, right?” Drummond said. “There’s got to be more in this house.”

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