Category: Opinion

PROTESTS, LOOTING, GOV'T OFFICES BURNED IN VENEZUELA…


CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — A total of 68 stores were looted and several government offices were burned following anti-government protests late Monday and Tuesday in the city of Maracay, west of Venezuela’s capital of Caracas.

Large protests against the government of President Nicolas Maduro have been regularly held in Caracas over the last three months, but significant protests have also occurred in provincial cities.

The pro-Maduro governor of Aragua state, of which Maracay is the capital, said the looting hit supermarkets, drug stores and small bakeries and liquor stores.

Gov. Caryl Bertho said a tax office, a government telephone office and ruling party headquarters were burned late Monday.

Some 216 people were arrested.

Bertho blamed protesters for the looting, but opposition activists say gangs of men on motorcycles looted without interference from authorities. Such groups are often government supporters.

Seventy-five people have been killed nationwide during almost 90 days of protests seeking Maduro’s removal. Federal prosecutors confirmed that the leader of an opposition party, Yofre Rodriguez, 18, had suffered a bullet wound to the head in another city in Aragua state.

And in protests in Caracas Monday night, three members of the National Guard suffered bullet wounds during confrontations with protesters.

The current wave of unrest was triggered in late March when the Supreme Court’s constitutional chamber issued a sentence dissolving the National Assembly, a decision it later reversed amid a torrent of international criticism. More recently, the chamber threw out challenges to Maduro’s much debated bid to rewrite the nation’s constitution.

Hundreds of thousands of demonstrators have taken to the streets demanding new elections as the nation battles triple-digit inflation, crippling food and medical shortages and rising crime.



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Unexplained comet activity spike…


The space agency has been working tirelessly to identify dangers that Earth face from space, and has said that it has found 10 new asteroids of meteors which it believes could harm life on Earth.

The discovery was made by NASA’s asteroid detecting mission – Near-Earth Object Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer or NEOWISE.

Amy Mainzer, NEOWISE principal investigator from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, said: “NEOWISE is not only discovering previously uncharted asteroids and comets, but it is providing excellent data on many of those already in our catalog.

“It is also proving to be an invaluable tool in in the refining and perfecting of techniques for near-Earth object discovery and characterisation by a space-based infrared observatory.”

On top of the 10 “potentially hazardous” objects, Nasa says that they have identified 97 other space rocks and seen an unexplained spike in comet activity.

Emily Kramer, a NASA Postdoctoral Program Fellow at JPL and lead author of paper on the NEOWISE study stated: “Comets that have abrupt outbursts are not commonly found, but this may be due more to the sudden nature of the activity rather than their inherent rarity.

“It is great for astronomers to view and collect cometary data when they find an outburst, but since the activity is so short-lived, we may simply miss them most of the time.”

The findings come shortly after a group of Czech scientists warned fragments of asteroids which could wipe out entire countries are hidden in the Taurids meteor shower.

The startling finding means that experts may not be able to spot the massive space rock hidden in the annual Taurids meteor shower until it is too late.

According to the group of researchers, one of the fragments could hit Earth in 2022, 2025, 2032 or 2039 during the annual meteor shower.

Experts from the Astronomical Institute of the Czech Academy of Science said: “Since asteroids of sizes of tens to hundreds meters pose a treat to the ground even if they are intrinsically weak, impact hazard increases significantly when the Earth encounters the Taurid new branch every few years.

“Further studies leading to better description of this real source of potentially hazardous objects, which can be large enough to cause significant regional or even continental damage on the Earth, are therefore extremely important.”



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VANITY FAIR: HILLARY PLEASE GO AWAY!


With Donald Trump busy spreading havoc around the world—most recently tweeting about James Comey’s testimony, or feeding into the crisis over Qatar—it’s reasonable to ask who can be bothered to gripe about Hillary Clinton. But I can. One makes the time. Or maybe one doesn’t, but in a two-party system there’s only one alternative to the party of Trump, and the role of Clinton in that party is therefore important.

Lately, it has been increasing. Hillary has been making high-profile public appearances and started talking frankly about her distaste for Trump and her dismay over the people and things that cost her the election. She has even founded a PAC called Onward Together, a 501(c)(4) that will “advance progressive values.” Whether we like it or not, the Clintons are back in the game. It’s up to the rest of us to figure out if we approve.

Just about everything we do lends itself to a generous or hostile interpretation. Our friends think we feed the poor because we have genuine compassion, and our enemies think we do so because we want to look good. The benign take on motives isn’t always closest to the truth, but it’s the better bet. (On the occasions that I’ve had an inside view of something in the glare of the press, those with the darkest take on it have usually been wrong.) I’ve been tough on Chelsea Clinton—hard not to be—but Hillary Clinton has a much higher accomplishment-to-self-regard ratio. So why not start generously?

Let’s posit that Hillary Clinton loves America and wants the best for it, whatever the merits of her ideas. That comes out even in small ways. When Sid Blumenthal sent Hillary a strategy e-mail headed “Because I like to waste my time,” she responded, “And because you care about our country.” You may see sanctimony there, but I for one see something heartfelt. When comedian Zach Galifianakis asked her if she would flee to “one of the arctics” if Trump won, she responded, “I would stay in the United States. I would try to prevent him from destroying the United States.” As no one doubted she would. The Clintons may be slippery, but they don’t flee. They’re far likelier to go for a Yeltsin-on-the-tank moment if it’s offered. (Of course, in keeping with the rule of generous and hostile interpretations, some dismiss Boris Yeltsin’s heroism that day as grandstanding.)

Like her husband, Hillary also has a resilience that is superhuman. Most of us would find it impossible to live with special prosecutors and countless enemies plotting our downfall, but Bill and Hillary just keep going. Al Gore never seemed to recover from losing in 2000, and he went dark for a long time. But Hillary Clinton is already back in the arena and swinging fists.

In an ideal world, former candidates and presidents would maintain a dignified silence about their rivals or successors, as most past ones have done, but Donald Trump has changed cultural expectations. He observes few niceties, and he lacks restraint or dignity. Expectations of “worthy” behavior from Clinton under the circumstances amount to expectations of unilateral disarmament. What’s more, Clinton talks to countless people who are looking to her for resolve and encouragement and leadership. How can she let them down and go silent?

Or so one could argue.

But we can’t stay friendly to Hillary forever. There’s a fine line—or maybe not even so fine a line—between boosting morale and monopolizing the spotlight. One reason Bill Clinton was able to make a name for himself decades ago was that previous candidates had the grace to get out of the way. Jimmy Carter and Walter Mondale and Michael Dukakis weren’t trying to place themselves at center stage during the campaign of 1992. The Clintons, by contrast, kept sticking around. When it comes to power, and a few other things, they can’t control their urges. As a friend of mine recently wrote to me in an e-mail, “They both had to be president?”

Even the name of Clinton’s PAC has a presumptuous ring to it. When someone has driven a bus off the road and hurled passengers out of their seats, it’s a bad time for the driver to stagger back to the wheel and call out “Onward together!” Onward, fine. Together, maybe not.

All of this would be easier to take if Hillary were on a crusade for a distinctive cause, in the manner of Bernie Sanders or Pat Buchanan or Jesse Jackson or Ross Perot. But when she offers her take on the world, she speaks in clichés and vague generalities like “progress” versus “turning back the clock.” Such teleological smugness (to which Barack Obama was likewise prone) doesn’t just attract the ire of conservatives; liberals can get miffed, too. Is “progress” on the side of expanding NATO or the opposite? Is it on the side of greater National Security Agency surveillance or of less? Is it in favor of immigration amnesty or high-tech border security? We all want to move forward, but maybe we’re not all facing Hillary’s way.

Even without a clear cause to illuminate them, Hillary’s beliefs could have been sharpened a lot just by explaining what, in hindsight, she felt Bill got right or wrong in his presidency. But she never offered up such a critique, nor, oddly, did anyone really press her to do so. Throwing open our markets to China as much as we did—that looked wiser back then. So did deregulating the financial industry. So did pushing for three-strikes laws. So did the bailout of Mexico. So did focusing on deficit reduction. So did high levels of immigration. So did humanitarian interventions in the former Yugoslavia. So did welfare reform. Bill’s calls, like all big calls, were controversial, but they were far more justifiable in light of the data we had at the time. But what about with the data we have now?

Negotiating a different landscape requires the Democratic Party to return to some basic questions. Times have changed. America is no longer a lone hyperpower triumphing amid squabbles about same-sex marriage. We’re an overstretched empire fighting about fundamental questions of economy and national identity. The Clintons see that, sort of, but they’re stuck in time. Worse, their network, which is vast and powerful and heavily dependent on them, is stuck in time, too. Precisely when those on the left ought to be negotiating today’s fault lines and creating new coalitions, Democrats are getting dragged back into last year’s fights and letting personal loyalties drown out thoughts about core principles. The indefatigability of the Clintons isn’t just a nuisance but a hindrance.

We can’t expect them to accept this, of course. Psychologist Martin Seligman, author of Learned Optimism, has famously observed that optimists tend to do better in life but exhibit more delusion. They tend to attribute failure to changing external factors rather than enduring internal qualities, blaming outside causes, not themselves. Hillary—who has been pinning her defeat on Comey and Vladimir Putin and the Democratic National Committee and Wikileaks and “a thousand Russian agents” and high expectations and the press and sexism and voter suppression and, for all I know, static cling—is a major optimist. That’s great for persistence and mental well-being. She’s ready to keep driving the bus. But it’s not so great for knowing when to quit. That’s where the passengers come in.

Full ScreenPhotos:Hillary Clinton’s Election Viewing Party: Tears, Pantsuits, and So Many Emotions

Photo: Photograph by Justin Bishop.

Photo: Photograph by Justin Bishop.

Photo: Photograph by Justin Bishop.

Photo: Photograph by Justin Bishop.

Photo: Photograph by Justin Bishop.

Photo: Photograph by Justin Bishop.

Photo: Photograph by Justin Bishop.


Photograph by Justin Bishop.


Photograph by Justin Bishop.


Photograph by Justin Bishop.


Photograph by Justin Bishop.


Photograph by Justin Bishop.


Photograph by Justin Bishop.


Photograph by Justin Bishop.


Photograph by Justin Bishop.


Photograph by Justin Bishop.


Photograph by Justin Bishop.


Photograph by Justin Bishop.


Photograph by Justin Bishop.



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75% of black California boys don't meet state reading standards…




Across ethnicities and economic status, girls outperform boys on English in standardized tests

Three of four African-American boys in California classrooms failed to meet reading and writing standards on the most recent round of testing, according to data obtained from the state Department of Education and analyzed by CALmatters.

More than half of black boys scored in the lowest category on the English portion of the test, trailing their female counterparts. The disparity reflects a stubbornly persistent gender gap in reading and writing scores that stretches across ethnic groups.

The data provide a unique glimpse of how gender interacts with race and class in mastery of basic reading, writing and listening skills tested on state exams. While California publishes separate figures on the performance of various ethnic and economic groups, it does not make public a more detailed breakdown of how boys and girls are performing within those groups. State officials say they do not sort the data that way because of complexity, cost and time constraints.

Unlike in math, where girls have caught up to boys in California and elsewhere, female students in general maintain a sizable lead over their male classmates in the language arts. While initiatives to encourage girls to learn math and science have received considerable publicity, the gender reading gap is viewed less as a problem warranting action.

“I wouldn’t put this in the same category of severity or concern as other achievement gaps,” said Tom Loveless, an education researcher for the Brookings Institution, a public policy think tank in Washington, D.C. “But there needs to be greater awareness of this.”

The gap spans all grade levels. Boys in high school score better than those in grade school, but girls outperform them by consistent margins at every age. And a higher family income does not appear to even things out.

The gap is not unique to California. In states that administer the same standardized exam as California, girls outscore boys by similar margins. In international reading comprehension exams, girls best boys in nearly every country and at nearly every age.

The phenomenon is nevertheless worrisome because it may compound other educational disparities California has attempted to close for decades, without success.

“If boys don’t read as well as girls, and if that persists all the way through K-12, it means when you reach certain thresholds like college, it places the males at a disadvantage,” says Loveless. “The ability to read well has a lot to do with the ability to get into college and the ability to do well while you’re in college.”

What explains the poor scores? And why doesn’t the state provide more detailed data?


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Certainly scores aren’t the only educational area in which black boys trail their peers. African-American boys are more likely to be suspended and drop out of school than other demographic groups, in California and elsewhere.

But the reading data is sobering. As early as fourth grade, for example, nearly 80 percent of black boys failed to meet state reading standards. Of all ethnic groups for which the state collects data, black boys trailed black girls by the widest margin.

“Part of this may be structural, in having texts that aren’t relevant to the experiences and legacy of African-American boys,” said Chris Chatmon, founding executive director of the African-American Male Achievement program at the Oakland Unified School District. “When a lot of the curriculum you have access to isn’t familiar, or doesn’t acknowledge your past or your present, you have a tendency not to be engaged with it or want to read it.”

While the state makes it relatively easy for parents to look up the test scores of African-Americans at local schools, the data is not broken down by gender. So it may be difficult to identify schools where black boys are performing well, as well as schools that are struggling.

“The state should report this data,” Ryan Smith, executive director of the education reform advocacy group Ed Trust-West, said via email. “One of the consistent things we find in our research is that schools and districts closing gaps for students of color tend to do more with data, not less.”

The data limitation is not unique to California—detail is lacking in many other states’ public-facing test results. A spokeswoman for the California Department of Education said producing more detailed data is under consideration, but “schools and districts already have the capacity to create student results by all kinds of cross-tabulations.”

Are girls inherently better readers? Isn’t that what they used to say about boys being better at math? What does the research say?

Education researchers have multiple theories about why girls routinely outperform boys on reading and writing tasks.

Loveless explains three main schools of thought. One longstanding explanation—that some hidden biological difference in development makes girls inherently better readers and writers—still has support in some quarters.

“That there is something about the male and female brains–that we’re just hardwired differently—if that’s really true, …at that point it’s doubtful we’re really going to be able to fix it,” he says.

However, the supposition that “hardwiring” made boys superior in math and science has appeared to fade over time, as girls in California and elsewhere have matched boys on standardized tests.

A second explanation holds that cultural norms involving masculinity and reading may be at play—that it’s not considered manly to read and write or even excel academically. Several studies have shown that boys increasingly see school as a female pursuit and that various cultural cues depict reading and writing as feminine activity.

But the consistency of the gender gap internationally and over time casts doubt on that explanation. In cultures as varied as Finland’s and Japan’s, girls still score better on standardized tests.

Finally, many point to how schools are structured—a lack of sufficient recess to allow high-energy boys to blow off steam, reading materials unrelated to male interests and a predominantly female teaching workforce. But Loveless cautions that those arguments stem less from empirical research and more from old-fashioned stereotypes.

And again the gap persists in foreign education systems, many of which are radically different from ours. In addition, international and state reading tests are routinely tested for gender bias.

That leaves researchers like Loveless without a conclusive answer.

For its part, the California Department of Education is noncommittal on whether the gender reading gap is worthy of the administration’s attention. Differences between boys and girls still pale in comparison to differences found by race, ethnicity and class.

“There have often been gender gaps in performance,” a department spokesman said by email. “These gaps show up in different ways depending on what is being measured.…Some gender gaps are more noticeable within certain race/ethnicities.”

CALmatters is a non-profit journalism venture dedicated to exploring state policies and politics. For more stories by Matt Levin, go to calmatters.org.



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Dems Weigh Using Debt Ceiling Debate to Thwart Tax Cuts…


Congressional Democrats might abandon their calls for raising the nation’s debt limit without any conditions, with House and Senate party leaders now discussing whether to use their leverage to try to prevent Republicans from enacting tax cuts for wealthy Americans.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi signaled the shift Friday, telling reporters that “we’re not there to raise the debt ceiling to throw a few crumbs to the middle class” and provide big cuts for the wealthy. 

Photographer: Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg

It’s unclear how this would work in practice, but Democratic aides in both chambers said they are discussing possible strategies to tie the debt ceiling to blocking tax cuts.

Such an approach would be a significant change for Democrats, who have spent the past eight years arguing that debt ceiling increases should be free from conditions, and could further complicate efforts to raise the government’s borrowing authority when the current limit is reached later this year.

Failing to extend the debt ceiling could lead to the U.S. government defaulting on its debt, which may trigger a financial crisis. 

Already, some House Republicans and some key White House officials say they plan to insist on their own menu of spending cuts and other provisions as part of any deal.

‘Clean’ Measure

Democrats have been willing in the past to provide Republicans enough support on “clean” debt-ceiling measures to help make up for the loss of votes among conservatives, mostly in the House, who refuse to support them without deep cuts to domestic programs. Democrats were key to helping resolve the 2011 fight over the debt limit, a protracted standoff that contributed to S&P Global Ratings’ decision to downgrade the U.S. to AA+ to AAA.

Already, members of the House Freedom Caucus have said they will push for spending cuts in this year’s debt-ceiling debate in exchange for their support. On Friday, President Donald Trump’s chief economic adviser, Gary Cohn, said the White House would consider spending cuts or policy changes favored by Republicans in order to avert an unprecedented default. That appears to align him with White House budget director Mick Mulvaney, but against Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, who has called on Congress to pass a “clean” debt-ceiling hike.

“Treasury secretary would love to do a clean debt ceiling — I get that. But if we need to get things attached to get it through, we’ll attach things,” Cohn said on CNBC.

Several conservative groups met at the White House last week to discuss a strategy. Ideas they discussed included caps on mandatory programs such as Social Security and Medicare, extending automatic across-the-board spending cuts and matching any debt-limit increase with spending cuts, according to two participants in the meeting.

Republicans in both chambers are seeking to draft and approve a tax-cut package this year that would lower individual and corporate tax rates, although no proposal has been circulated yet. Several leaders, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, have said they want any tax overhaul to be revenue-neutral. But Trump has repeatedly promised large cuts.

Earlier this week, he tweeted, “The massive TAX CUTS/REFORM that I have submitted is moving along in the process very well, actually ahead of schedule. Big benefits to all!”

Any debate on taxes, a key campaign promise for Trump and congressional Republicans, likely will come sometime after the debt ceiling must be raised.

Democratic leaders in the Senate plan to discuss the possibility of tying support for an increase to concessions on the tax cuts when lawmakers return from a week-long Memorial Day recess next week, said a Democratic aide in the chamber.



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94,983,000 NOT IN LABOR FORCE…


(Photo from Wikimedia Commons)

(CNSNews.com) – A disappointing report from the Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics on Friday: The economy added 138,000 jobs in May, fewer than analysts were expecting; and after setting three straight monthly records, the number of unemployed Americans dropped by 233,000 to 152,923,000.

The unemployment rate ticked down a tenth of a point to 4.3 percent, near historic lows.

But the number of Americans not in the labor force – meaning they are neither working nor looking for work – increased by 608,000 to 94,983,000 in May, close to the record high of 95,102,000 in December 2016.  The not-in-the-labor-force number includes retirees, students, homemakers, the disabled, and others who have stopped looking for work for whatever reason.

The nation’s labor force participation rate – the percentage of the 16-and-older civilian non-institutionalized population that is either employed or actively seeking work – dropped two-tenths of a point to 62.7 percent in May.

The higher the percentage, the better, since people who participate in the labor force contribute the payroll and other taxes that help support many of those who do not work. The participation rate hit a record high of 67.3 percent in early 2000, plunging to a 38-year low of 62.4 percent in September 2015.

“The economy is starting to come back, and very, very rapidly,” President Donald Trump said on Thursday, as he announced that the United States will withdraw from the Paris climate accord because it costs too much money and would kill millions of American jobs.

BLS says in the first five months of 2017, the economy has added a total of 810,000 jobs (fewer than the million Trump mentioned on Monday). Job gains for March and April were revised downward in the May report and are well below the strong gains of January and February.

Job gains for the most recent month occurred in health care and mining. (Employment in mining has risen by 47,000 since reaching a recent low point in October 2016, with most of the gain in support activities for mining.)

In May, the nation’s civilian noninstitutionalized population, consisting of all people age 16 or older who were not in the military or an institution, reached 254,767,000. Of those, 159,784,000 participated in the labor force by either holding a job or actively seeking one.

The 159,784,000 who participated in the labor force equaled 62.7 percent of the 254,767,000 civilian noninstitutionalized population.

In May average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose by 4 cents to $26.22. Over the year, average hourly earnings have risen by 63 cents, or 2.5 percent, BLS reported.

 



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Giant Swarm of Mysterious Bees Shuts Down Fifth Ave…


img 1096 e1496425443744 Giant Swarm of Mysterious Bees Shuts Down Fifth Avenue

Bees swarm a service van outside of 575 Fifth Avenue, New York. Ken Kurson for Observer

Talk about a sting operation! A busy Midtown Manhattan block—47th Street between Madison and Fifth Avenue—was shut down by the NYPD today because of…a gigantic hive of bees breaking loose. All cars were denied access and made to turn north on Madison as some sort of beekeeper, unprotected, tried to wrangle with the pesky pollinators.

At this time, it is unclear where the bees originated and, perhaps most importantly, if they have been contained. While the outbreak may seem unusual, the New York City Beekeepers Association does offer swarm removal—which is to say, such a service could be more common than we’d think. The Association, “an ever-growing group of beekeepers, bee enthusiasts and honey lovers who live, work and pollinate in the greatest city in the world,” also offers a $200 four-session, 12-hour course on Urban Beekeeping 101.

According to The New York Post, a similar swarm of bees landed on London last month. In May, Jessica Chrustic, an independent beekeeper and educator in New York City, told the Post that urban bees are “really unlikely to bother anyone because they’re in quite a vulnerable state.” On the loose like this, she explained, bees aren’t in an offensive mode—as they’re not trying to protect the queen. Instead, they’re focused on finding a new home. Sure enough, nobody was stung in London. Today in New York, the casualties are TBD.



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E.L. Woody, 'King of Paparazzi,' Dies…


The photographer, who passed away May 23 of cancer, mixed it up with Liz, Stallone and Heidi Fleiss.

The East Texas native and Green Beret in the Vietnam War started out on the West Coast as a shutterbug for biker magazines like Easy Rider and Club, then gained notoriety as the doorman and photographer for the Malibu nightclub Trancas. From there, Edward L. Woody transitioned into shooting celebrities — usually without their consent.

The photographer, who died at the age of 70 of cancer on May 23, snapped the 1991 Elizabeth Taylor-Larry Fortensky wedding from a helicopter above Neverland Ranch and had his car rammed by Sylvester Stallone and his bodyguard after they chased him through West Hollywood. (Woody sued and won a settlement.)

He was among the first paparazzi to heavily incorporate video — a medium that allowed him to land scoops like the Heidi Fleiss scandal and Julia Roberts’ surprise wedding to Lyle Lovett.

Woody’s colorful clips were licensed regularly to celebrity tabloid shows Inside Edition and Extra!, and he executive produced the E! series Celebrities Uncensored. Avraham “Vremy” Kahn, Woody’s right-hand man, will carry on the agency he started, Paparazzi TV Inc.



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Senate Intelligence Committee requests Trump campaign documents…


The Senate Intelligence Committee, which is investigating Russian interference in the 2016 presidential race, has asked President Trump’s political organization to gather and produce all Russia-related documents, emails and phone records going back to his campaign’s launch in June 2015, according to two people briefed on the request.

The letter from the Senate arrived at Trump’s campaign committee last week and was addressed to the group’s treasurer. Since then, some former staffers have been notified and asked to cooperate, the people said. They were not authorized to speak publicly.

The demand follows a Senate request months earlier for the campaign committee to preserve documents.

Dozens of former staffers are expected to be contacted in the coming days to make sure they are aware of what they are required to produce and how to submit those documents, the people added.

The letter was signed by Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.), the Senate committee’s chairman, and Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-Va.), the committee’s ranking Democrat. Spokespeople for Burr and Warner declined to comment.

The Washington Post’s Devlin Barrett explains the Justice Department’s decision to appoint Robert Mueller as special counsel to investigate possible connections between the Trump campaign and Russian officials. (Peter Stevenson,Jason Aldag,Whitney Leaming/The Washington Post)

The request to Trump’s political operatives represents the first time that Trump’s official campaign structure has been drawn into the Senate committee’s ongoing bipartisan investigation. That investigation is separate from the federal probe being led by the Justice Department’s special counsel, former FBI director Robert S. Mueller III.

In recent months, several Trump campaign associates, such as Roger Stone and Carter Page, have been contacted by Senate investigators, but the campaign itself had not been asked to preserve and produce materials.

Trump’s campaign committee is now led by former deputy campaign manager Michael Glassner and John Pence, a nephew of Vice President Pence. It is based in New York at Trump Tower. Glassner did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

A White House spokesperson had no immediate comment.

John Wagner and Karoun Demirjian contributed to this report.



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Portland man arrested for throwing semen on women…


Police arrested a man Thursday who’s suspected of throwing semen on women in Portland-area stores.

Manuel Banuelos-Alcala, a 47-year-old Beaverton man, was arrested in the parking lot of a Safeway store on Southwest Barbur Boulevard on suspicion of third-degree sex abuse, Portland police said in a news release. Detectives learned after his arrest that he “likely” threw semen on another woman Thursday inside the Safeway, police said.

A police spokesman previously said a man, since identified as Banuelos-Alcala, is suspected of such activity at Lamb’s Garden Home Marketplace, a Kmart in Beaverton, and Milwaukie and Barbur Boulevard Safeway stores.

Portland police publicized the semen-throwing cases last Friday, and a woman contacted detectives to say she was also a victim of such activity the previous Wednesday at the Barbur Boulevard Safeway, according to police. 

Detectives were doing follow-up work at the store, 8145 S.W. Barbur Blvd., Thursday afternoon when they saw someone matching the suspect’s description in a parked car, police said. They approached and arrested him without incident.

Police said Banuelos-Alcala could face more charges. Detectives think he may also have thrown semen at other people who didn’t realize it, police said. 

Police said Banuelos-Alcala would be jailed in Multnomah County. His booking photo wasn’t available at 11 p.m. Thursday.

They ask anyone who has information about semen-throwing incidents to contact Detective Chris Traynor at 503-823-0889 or christopher.traynor@portlandoregon.gov.

— Jim Ryan
jryan@oregonian.com
503-221-8005; @Jimryan015



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