Sunday, January 28, 2018
Casino mogul Steve Wynn resigns as top GOP finance chairman
Casino mogul Steve Wynn resigned Saturday as finance chairman of the Republican National Committee amid allegations of sexual harassment and assault.
Wynn has been a prolific Republican donor and led the RNC’s fundraising efforts during President Donald Trump’s first year, helping the committee rake in more than $130 million.
“Today I accepted Steve Wynn’s resignation as Republican National Committee finance chair,” said RNC chairwoman Ronna McDaniel.
The Wall Street Journal reported Friday that a number of women said they were harassed or assaulted by Wynn, the chairman and CEO of Wynn Resorts. Wynn has denied the allegations. One case led to a $7.5 million settlement with a manicurist, the newspaper reported.
Wynn confirmed his resignation in a statement released Saturday. “The unbelievable success we have achieved must continue. The work we are doing to make America a better place is too important to be impaired by this distraction,” Wynn said.
Justice Ginsburg, 84, signals intent to work for years more
In different circumstances, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg might be on a valedictory tour in her final months on the Supreme Court. But in the era of Donald Trump, the 84-year-old Ginsburg is packing her schedule and sending signals she intends to keep her seat on the bench for years.
The eldest Supreme Court justice has produced two of the court’s four signed opinions so far this term. Outside court, she’s the subject of a new documentary that includes video of her working out. And she’s hired law clerks to take her through June 2020, just four months before the next presidential election.
Soaking in her late-in-life emergence as a liberal icon, she’s using the court’s monthlong break to embark on a speaking tour that is taking her from the Sundance Film Festival in Utah to law schools and synagogues on the East Coast. One talk will have her in Rhode Island on Tuesday, meaning she won’t attend the president’s State of the Union speech that night in Washington.
She has a standard response for interviewers who ask how long she intends to serve. She will stay as long as she can go “full steam,” she says, and she sees as her model John Paul Stevens, who stepped down as a justice in 2010 at age 90.
“I think that Justice Ginsburg has made clear that she has no intention of retiring. I am sure she wants to stay on the court until the end of the Trump presidency if she can,” said Erwin Chemerinsky, the dean of the law school at the University of California, Berkeley, and a liberal who called on Ginsburg to retire in 2014, when Barack Obama was president and Democrats controlled the Senate.
Holocaust remembered as warning amid far-right resurgence
Holocaust survivors wearing striped scarves that recalled their uniforms as prisoners of Nazi Germany placed candles on the train tracks that carried people to their deaths at Auschwitz on Saturday, exactly 73 years after the Soviet army liberated the death camp in occupied Poland.
On the date now commemorated as International Holocaust Remembrance Day, political leaders and Jewish officials warned that the Nazi genocide must always be a reminder of the evil of which humans are capable.
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson attended a solemn ceremony at a memorial in Poland to the Jews who died fighting the German forces in the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising of 1943.
Tillerson trailed two uniformed Polish military officers and re- adjusted a wreath underneath the monument, a dark, hulking structure located in what was once the Warsaw Ghetto.
The head of Warsaw’s Jewish community read a prayer, and Tillerson made brief remarks about the importance of not forgetting the horrors of the Holocaust.
“On this occasion, it reminds us that we can never, we can never, be indifferent to the face of evil,” Tillerson said.
Turkey advances offensive into Syrian Kurdish enclave
Fighting raged in northwestern Syria on Saturday as Turkish troops and allied militiamen tried to advance their weeklong offensive in a Kurdish-controlled enclave, Syrian opposition activists said.
The bombardment could be heard a few miles away from Afrin in the Turkish-controlled town of Azaz, where Associated Press journalists were on a media trip organized by the Turkish government and escorted by Turkey-backed Syrian opposition fighters taking part in the offensive.
Azaz is one of the fronts from where Turkish troops and allied Syrian fighters of the so-called Free Syrian Army have launched a push into Afrin to clear the area of a Syrian Kurdish militia which Ankara considers to be a national security threat. The militia known as the People’s Protection Units, or YPG, has been a partner of the United States in the fight against the Islamic State group in Syria.
Kurdish and other activists said Saturday’s fighting concentrated around the Rajo area in Afrin, amid heavy shelling and airstrikes by the Turkish forces. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which monitors the Syria war through a network of activists on the ground, said Turkish helicopters were attacking the town of Rajo, struggling to make progress after a week of attacks.
Turkey’s official news agency said rockets fired from the Afrin region in Syria hit a house in the border province of Kilis, injuring two people. Another rocket was fired and struck the town of Reyhanli, in Hatay province, slightly injuring one child, the Anadolu news agency reported.
Tillerson seeks to show ‘America First’ isn’t America alone
As President Donald Trump declared that “America First does not mean America alone” at a global economic forum in Switzerland, his top diplomat was on a European trip of his own, trying to convince skeptical allies that the oft-repeated phrase is more than just lip service.
Yet a year into Trump’s presidency, his administration has demonstrated that “America First” may, indeed, mean “America alone,” though it remains unclear if that has helped Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s bargaining position on crucial national security and foreign policy matters.
Amid crises in multiple hotspots and before joining Trump at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Tillerson visited London and Paris with a full agenda aimed at defusing not only the issues at hand but also tensions with Washington.
His mission was primarily to secure British and French support for tough new measures against Iran that might prevent the U.S. from withdrawing from the 2015 nuclear accord. Along the way, he also accused Russia of responsibility for chemical weapons attacks in Syria and chastised Turkey for attacking U.S.-backed Kurd forces there.
Notorious Russian mobster says he just wants to go home
New York’s most notorious living Russian mobster just wants to go back to the motherland.
Once flush from heroin trafficking, tax-fraud schemes and other criminal enterprises, Boris Nayfeld is now 70, fresh out of prison for the third time, divorced and broke. And he is left with few job prospects in his adopted country, at least those in line with his experiences.
“I can’t do nothing,” Nayfeld griped in a thick Russian accent between shots of vodka at a restaurant a few blocks north of Brooklyn’s Brighton Beach neighborhood, which has been a haven for immigrants from the former Soviet Union since the 1970s. “Give me a chance to start a new life.”
Nayfeld, who still sports the shaved head, piercing eyes and tattooed, bodybuilder’s physique that made him an intimidating figure in the city’s Russian-speaking neighborhoods for decades, told The Associated Press he longs to immigrate back to a homeland where his skill set connecting businesspeople of all stripes will yield better dividends.
But for now he is not allowed to leave, still facing three years’ probation from his latest prison term, which ended in October, a two-year stint for his role in a murder-for-hire plot that morphed into an extortion attempt.
Sean Hannity’s Twitter vanishes, was ‘compromised’
Conspiracy theories flew around Saturday morning after the Twitter account of conservative TV host Sean Hannity was “briefly compromised,” according to a Twitter spokesperson, and unavailable for a few hours.
After the Fox News star’s verified account posted a message that simply and cryptically said “Form Submission 1649,” visitors to Hannity’s page said they were getting a “Sorry, that page doesn’t exist” error message. By the time Hannity’s account was back up later in the morning, speculation was rampant about the mysterious disappearance.
Fox News referred questions to Twitter.
“While we normally do not discuss individual accounts, for privacy and security reasons, we have permission from the account owner to confirm that account was briefly compromised,” a Twitter spokesperson said in an email. They did not realize any further information.
Some blamed shadowy “deep state” government figures looking to take down Hannity, who is a big supporter of President Donald Trump.
“The Deep State is in panic!” tweeted Alex Jones, a far-right radio show host. “Hannity disappears from Twitter after eerie tweet.” WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange took to Twitter to observe how Hannity had his account “mysteriously disappear.”
Ohio extends deadline for Senior Citizens Hall nominations
The state’s Department of Aging has extended the deadline for nominations for the Ohio Senior Citizens Hall of Fame.
The Hall of Fame annually honors residents 60 and older who make a lasting impact on their professions, vocations or communities. Nominees must have been born in Ohio or have been residents of the state for at least 10 years.
State officials say the deadline for nominations to be considered for the 2018 induction in May has been extended from Jan. 31 to Feb. 5. Those selected for induction will join more than 450 older Ohioans inducted since the Hall of Fame’s inception in 1978.
Past inductees have included business leaders, volunteers, educators, health care professionals, athletes and entertainers among others. Posthumous nominations are accepted.