News and Headlines. 12/02/2019

News and Headlines: In The News, Politics, World News, Commentary/Opinion.

In The News:

Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson fired by Mayor Lori Lightfoot

Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson has been fired by the city's mayor.
Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson has been fired by the city’s mayor. (AP)

The ignominious end to Johnson’s tenure comes a few weeks after he announced plans to retire at the end of the year.

His decision to leave the job came amid intense scrutiny of an Oct. 17 encounter in which police officers reportedly found Johnson asleep in his car at a stop sign.

Lightfoot later said Johnson confessed to her he had “a couple of drinks with dinner” before getting behind the wheel that night, and the incident was still being investigated as of Monday.

“Upon a thorough review of the materials of the Inspector General’s ongoing investigation, it has become clear that Mr. Johnson engaged in a series of ethical lapses that are intolerable,” Lightfoot said in a biting statement Monday.

“Mr. Johnson was intentionally dishonest with me and communicated a narrative replete with false statements regarding material aspects of the incident that happened in the early morning hours of October 17.”

Melania Trump officially unveils the 2019 White House Christmas decorations

First lady Melania Trump walks the Cross Hall inside the White House in a theme she’s called “The Spirit of America.” @FLOTUS/ TWITTER

First lady Melania Trump has officially decked the halls of the White House. This year, the theme is “The Spirit of America.”

The 2019 decorative approach features glittery patriotism throughout 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

The official White House Christmas tree, which arrived the week before from Pitman, Pennsylvania, stands more than 18 feet and is decorated with handmade paper flowers that honor the floral symbols of all 50 states.

“This Christmas season I want to honor those who have shaped our country and made it the place we are proud to call home,” Trump said in a White House press release.

The first lady’s official Twitter page also released a short video that shows the festive decor along with a message.

Statue of civil rights icon Rosa Parks unveiled in Alabama

The ceremony coincided with the anniversary of Parks’ Dec. 1, 1955 arrest that sparked the Montgomery Bus Boycott, a pivotal part of the civil rights movement.

“This depiction will inspire future generations to make the pilgrimage to our city, to push toward the path of righteousness, strength, courage and equality,” Reed, who recently became the first African American mayor of Montgomery, said at the ceremony, according to

Four granite markers near the statue honor plaintiffs in Browder v. Gayle, the court case that determined segregation on Montgomery buses was unconstitutional. One of the plaintiffs, Mary Louise Smith, took part in the ceremony Sunday.


Fed Chairman Emphasizes Strong Economy and Labor Market, Cautions Unsustainable Debt and Trade Developments Pose Risks

WASHINGTON, DC – NOVEMBER 14: Federal Reserve Board Chairman Jerome Powell testifies during a hearing before the House Budget Committee November 14, 2019 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. The committee held a hearing on “The Economic Outlook: The View from the Federal Reserve.” (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

If U.S. policymakers continue to spend without restraint and put off confronting out-of-control entitlement program growth, modest reforms no longer will be possible. Austerity will be the only option.

Failure to address this now could mean that today’s generation of children could be the first to reverse America’s trend of upward economic movement and instead end up worse-off than their parents.

Solving our fiscal crisis is not easy, but it is possible and the Heritage Foundation has a plan that would balance the budget within 10 years, let workers keep more of their hard-earned dollars, and give individuals more control over their future.

As Powell pointed out, putting the U.S. budget on a “sustainable path” would boost the growth and “vigor” of the U.S. economy and give policymakers the tools to provide stability in future downturns.


The Myth of Voter Suppression

Commentary/Opinion: Do Republicans win elections by preventing minorities from voting? The Left says yes, but the data says no.

Jason Riley, senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, settles the argument with hard evidence, separating fact from fiction.

Why Trump WILL Win In 2020

Commentary/Opinion: Here are 5 reasons why Trump could win the black vote in 2020.

President Trump Delivers Remarks Upon Departure

Supreme Court hears gun control case that inspired court-packing threat from Dems

The Supreme Court took up its first major gun control case in nearly a decade on Monday, hearing arguments in a dispute between a gun advocacy group and New York over a statute that restricted the transportation of firearms outside city limits — even when licensed, locked and unloaded.

The city’s statute was later amended but the court heard arguments over the original measure anyway, in a case that could have ramifications for local gun laws.

The fact the high court even considered the case — New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. City of New York — prompted a stunning complaint earlier this year from Democratic senators, who filed a brief essentially threatening to pack the court absent changes.

Trump Administration Responds To Democrats’ Deadline On Impeachment Participation

Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

In a letter, White House counsel Pat Cipollone slammed Nadler for scheduling the hearing at a time when Nadler knew that the president was going to be out of the country.

“Again, your letter provided no information whatsoever as to the dates these hearings will occur, what witnesses will be called, what the schedule will be, what the procedures will be, or what rights, if any, the Committee intends to afford the President,”

Cipollone continued. “In other words, you have given no information regarding your plans, set arbitrary deadlines, and then demanded a response, all to create the false appearance of providing the President some rudimentary process.”

World News:

London Bridge attack: Our policy on Islam

Anne Marie Waters Leader, For Britain

Russia, China launch ‘historic’ gas pipeline

In Buenos Aires, Argentina, on November 30, 2018, China's President Xi Jinping, left, shakes hands with Russia's President Vladimir Putin during a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the G20 Leaders' Summit.
In Buenos Aires, Argentina, on November 30, 2018, China’s President Xi Jinping, left, shakes hands with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin during a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the G20 Leaders’ Summit. (Mikhail Metzel/Tass/Abaca Press/TNS)

The project stems from a $400 billion deal that was struck in 2014 between Russia’s state-run Gazprom and the China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) to supply as much as 38 billion cubic meters (bcm) of gas annually for 30 years.

Neither CNPC nor Gazprom has revealed the gas-pricing terms, but it doesn’t have a “take-or-pay” clause in place domestically, thus leaving the marketing risk on the shoulders of the Chinese company.

The Power of Siberia pipeline is seen as part of Moscow’s efforts to mitigate the effects of financial sanctions imposed by the West over its actions in Ukraine.

Putin has said trade with China would reach a record $100 billion this year, up from $87 billion in 2018.

The new pipeline will bring bilateral trade to $200 billion by 2024 Xi said on December 2.

Russia has two more pipeline projects that soon will be launched to increase gas supplies to Europe while bypassing Ukraine.

TurkStream is scheduled to start operating on January 8 with one line flowing to Turkey and the other to southeastern Europe.

Typhoon Kammuri slams into Philippines, forcing thousands to flee

Villagers carry their belongings as they are evacuated in the eastern Philippines.
Villagers carry their belongings as they are evacuated in the eastern Philippines.EPA

The storm, which made landfall in Sorsogon province, is said to have maximum sustained winds of 175 km/h (110mph), with gusts of up to 240km/h, with storm surges of up to three metres (nearly 10ft) expected, the weather service said.

Tens of thousands had already fled their homes in the east of the country, where the typhoon was expected to hit first.

But some decided to stay despite the storm’s impending arrival.

Organisers of the Southeast Asian Games have suspended some competitions, including windsurfing, adding that other events would be delayed if necessary, but there is no plan to extend the games which are due to end on 11 December.

Zambia gay rights row: US ambassador ‘threatened’ over jailing of couple

Zambian President Edgar Lungu said his government will complain to the US over the diplomat's comments
Zambian President Edgar Lungu said his government will complain to the US over the diplomat’s comments.GETTY IMAGES

Daniel Foote said he was “horrified” by the jailing of Japhet Chataba and Steven Samba.

A judge quashed an appeal against their conviction last week, sentencing them both to 15 years in prison.

Same-sex relationships are outlawed in Zambia, where British colonial-era laws on homosexuality still apply.

Mr Foote implored the Zambian government to review the case and its homosexuality laws, but has since faced a backlash for doing so.

Several children killed in Turkish artillery attack in northern Syria, monitor says

Turkish soldiers in the border town of Tal Abyad, Syria, in this undated handout photo released by Turkish Defence Ministry on October 17, 2019.
Turkish Defence Ministry/Handout via REUTERS.

The shelling on Tal Rifaat, controlled by local Kurdish fighters, took place as students were leaving the building and wounded 21 others, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

Most of those killed in the attack were displaced from the Afrin region which was captured last year by Turkish troops and their Syrian proxies, Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman said.

Tal Rifaat, a strategic town located 20 kilometres (12 miles) south of Turkey’s frontier, is the site of regular confrontations between Turkish-backed forces and Kurdish fighters they view as “terrorists”.

China sanctions US over ‘unreasonable behaviour’ in Hong Kong unrest

PROTESTS/THANKSGIVING Protestors attend a gathering at the Edinburgh place in Hong Kong Protesters stand next to a US flag as they attend a gathering at Edinburgh Place in Hong Kong, China, on November 28, 2019.
28/11/2019 13:28 HONGKONG-PROTESTS/THANKSGIVING Protestors attend a gathering at the Edinburgh place in Hong Kong Protesters stand next to a US flag as they attend a gathering at Edinburgh Place in Hong Kong, China, on November 28, 2019.
Marko Djurica, Reuters

The move came as the world’s two biggest economies have been striving to finalise a “phase one” deal in their protracted trade war.

“In response to the unreasonable behaviour of the US side, the Chinese government has decided to suspend reviewing the applications for US warships to go to Hong Kong for (rest and) recuperation as of today,” foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said at a regular press briefing.

China had already denied requests for two US Navy ships to dock in Hong Kong in August, without specifying a reason why.

Hua said they would also apply sanctions to a number of US-based NGOs, although failed to give any specifics over the form sanctions would take.

Sanctions will apply to NGOs that had acted “badly” over the recent unrest in Hong Kong, she said, including the National Endowment for Democracy, Human Rights Watch and Freedom House.