July 2019 | 上海夜生活,上海夜生活网,上海夜网论坛

U.S. prosecutors subpoena documents in N.J. bridge scandal: lawyer

NEW YORK ( ) – The U.S. Attorney’s Office in New Jersey has issued subpoenas to Governor Chris Christie’s campaign and the state Republican Party for documents related to George Washington Bridge access lane closures, a lawyer for both groups said on Thursday.

Federal prosecutors are looking into the incident in September in which a trail of emails has linked top Christie aides to huge traffic jams, apparently orchestrated to settle a political score during the governor’s re-election campaign.

Christie, seen as a top Republican contender for the White House in 2016, has said he had no direct knowledge of the bri爱上海dge incident,上海夜生活桑拿会所Finn,, which is also under investigation by a state legislative committee.

In recent weeks, Democrats have made other allegations about the behavior of those close to Christie, a brash and charismatic executive who won re-election in a landslide after voters in this heavily Democratic state gave him high marks for his aggressive response to Superstorm Sandy in late 2012.

Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer has come forward charging that Christie withheld storm recovery funds for political reasons. Congressman Frank Pallone requested a probe into a marketing campaign designed to draw visitors to the Jersey Shore after the storm that prominently featured Christie.

Christie’s office has strongly denied any improper actions in either case.

Earlier this month, Christie fired his deputy chief of staff, Bridget Kelly, for her role in the so-called “Bridgegate” scandal. Two top Christie appointees to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, Bill Baroni and David Wildstein, have resigned their positions.

The lawyer for Christie’s campaign and the Republican party of New Jersey, Mark,上海夜生活论坛Barron, Sheridan, said the subpoenas also included emails involving Kelly, Baroni and Wildstein.

Asked for comment on the subpoenas, Rebekah Carmichael, spokeswoman for the federal prosecutor, said: “Our office can neither confirm nor deny taking specific investigative actions.”

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Peru president proposes referendum on political, judicial reform

LIMA ( ) – Peruvian President Martin Vizcarra challenged the opposition-run Congress on Saturday to call a referendum on judicial and political reforms aimed at uprooting systemic corruption in one of Latin America’s most promising economies.

Vizcarra called for a popular vote not just to fast track judicial reforms, but also to gauge support for a ban on private financing of political campaigns, an end to the reelection of lawmakers and the creation of a second chamber in Congress.

The proposal is Vizcarra’s latest attempt to distance himself from a political class widely seen a爱上海419s corrupt, following the resignation of the former president in March and a cronyism scandal that has roiled the justice system in recent weeks.

“My government is making a decided bet on strengthening the state as a whole in order to defeat the criminal and corrupt mafias that feed off our country,” Vizcarra said before Congress in his first Independence Day speech since taking office four months a,上海夜生活桑拿会所Ira,go.

“We need the input of all citizens. That’s why we’re convinced that a referendum is healthy for our democracy.”

It was unclear if Congress would give the green light needed for the referendum to be called. Without backing from lawmakers, Vizcarra would have to collect hundreds of thousands of voters’ signatures.

The head of the opposition party, Keiko Fujimori, the daughter of former authoritarian leader Alberto Fujimori, called for reflection. “Let’s remember that only in democracy and with respect for institutionality can we institute true change,” Fujimori said on Facebook.


Vizcarra did not propose a date for the referendum. But Peruvians will go to polls later in October to select mayors, governors and other local officials in regional elections.

A former vice president and governor of a small mining region, Vizcarra vowed to fight corruption “at any cost” when he took office to replace Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, who resigned the presidency to avoid impeachment on graft and vote-buying allegations he denied.

Since then, a second crisis has gripped the nation of 32 million people as local media have published a stream of phone conversations that appear to show judges trading favors with businessmen, lawmakers and the country’s new attorney general.

Thousands of Peruvians have taken to the streets in recent weeks to protest systemic graft, with many calling for fresh elections. A majority of Peruvians now disapprove of Congress, the government, the judiciary and prosecutors, according to a recent Ipsos poll.

“This crisis has reached a breaking point,” Vizcarra said. “That’s why, as president of the republic, I’ve decided, with the support of the citizenry, to lead a change long sought by honest Peruvians.”

Italy’s interior minister says EU trying to ‘swindle’ Britain:…

LONDON ( ) – Italy’s far-right interior minister, Matteo Salvini, has accused the European Union of trying to cheat Britain out of the Brexit it voted for, according to extracts from a newspaper interview published late on Saturday.

“There is no objectivity or good faith from the European side,” Salvini was quoted as saying in an intervi爱上海ew with Britain’s Sunday Times newspaper.

“My experience in the European parliament tells me you either impose yourself or they swindle you,” he added.

Britain is due to,上海夜生活论坛Kade, leave the EU on March 29 next year, and Prime Minister Theresa May is struggling to a,上海夜网Tempe,gree a long-term trading relationship with the bloc or to finalize a transitional deal to cover the period immediately after Britain leaves.

Salvini told May to stick to her principles and be prepared to walk away from the bloc without a deal – something many businesses fear could lead to chaos.

“On some principles there is no need to be flexible and you should not go backwards,” he said.

Separately, the newspaper cited an unnamed government minister as saying that Britain’s army would be ready to deliver food and medicine if there were delays at ports after Brexit.

“There is a lot of civil contingency planning around the prospect of no deal. That’s not frightening the horses, that’s just being utterly realistic,” the minister said.

Supermarkets, including German-owned Aldi, were also asking some suppliers to hold extra stocks of goods such as tea and coffee, the newspaper reported, citing a supplier.

Salvini has long had a hostile attitude to the EU, and has blamed the euro for Italy’s prolonged economic malaise and said he expected it to collapse.

More recently, he has pressed other EU countries to take more of the African migrants who try to land on Italy’s shores.

Amid bodyguard crisis, mixed bag for Macron in poll ratings

PARIS ( ) – French President Emmanuel Macron’s popularity slid to a fresh low following a scandal surrounding his former senior bodyguard, according to a wide-ranging survey on Sunday, countering a less damaging picture painted by other polls.

Macron, who came to power just over a year ago on an economic reform platform, has been mired in a furor involving his former senior bodyguard, who was caught on camera assaulting a May Day protestor while off duty and wearing police gear.

Alexandre Benalla, the former head of Macron’s security detail, was fired last week but opposition leaders criticized the government’s reaction as too slow and took aim at Macron’s refusal to comment on the incident for several days.

An Ifop survey of nearly 2,000 people, published in the French weekly newspaper Journal du Dimanche on Sunday, found Macron’s popularity had slipped one percentage point from a month earlier to a new low of 39 percent in July.

The poll showed a clear shift in opinion before and after the Benalla footage came to light on July 19, with the president’s ratings falling later in the month when they had previously appeared to improve.

Yet another survey on Saturday was more favorable to the 40-year-old former investment banker, whose popularity had taken a knock in recent months as critics described him as out of touch over policies seen as favoring the rich.

That Harris Interactive poll showed Macron’s ratings improving,上海夜生活Caris, slightly in Jul,上海夜生活论坛Ola,y, a month that was also marked by France’s World Cup soccer victory.

The Benalla scandal is set to get another airing this week in parliament, after the opposition conservative party presented a motion of no-confidence in the government.

It is very unlikely to succeed, as lawmakers from Macron’s party have a solid爱上海419 majority in the lower house.

Tweets scorn Egypt’s Sisi in renewed online criticism

CAIRO ( ) – Egyptians renewed online criticism of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on Saturday, hours after he said he was “saddened” by a similar campaign a few weeks ago.

The Twitter hashtag “Leave, Sisi” was the top trend in Egypt on the social media platform late in the day with more than 50,000 tweets.

The same hashtag trended last month, with nearly 300,000 tweets over several days, but then subsided. That campaign came as the government enacted painful austerity measures including increases in fuel, electricity, drinking water and Cairo metro prices. An opposing campaign defending Sisi appeared, but drew less online support.

Sisi said at a youth conference at Cairo University that last month’s campaign had upset him.

“I’m trying to get you out of this rut and you do a hashtag saying ‘Leave, Sisi’. Am I saddened or am I not saddened?” he said.

A few hours later, many Twitter users had responded by reviving the hashtag and posting criticism of his policies.

The number of Twitter messages is not necessarily an accurate indication of levels of satisfaction with Sisi. Many young Egyptians use social media, but many of its population of almost 100 million do not.

Critics of Sisi say he has presided over the most oppressive politic,上海夜生活Kailani,al crackdown in Egypt’s,上海夜生活桑拿会所Fergie, modern 上海龙凤419history, citing the jailing or alleged intimidation of opponents before March’s presidential election, and the arrests of journalists and online activists.

There has also been anger about economic reforms introduced in line with a $12 billion IMF loan agreement, which included slashing the value of the Egyptian pound in late 2016, making most people worse off.

Sisi has many supporters, however, who believe his economic measures will pay off.

They also say a crackdown on dissent is needed to stabilize Egypt, after a 2011 uprising and the unrest that followed, including an Islamist insurgency in the Sinai Peninsula that has killed hundreds of police, soldiers and civilians.

China’s premier says Tibet inseparable part of country’s ‘sacred’…

BEIJING ( ) – Tibet is an inseparable part of China’s “sacred” territory, and religious figures should promote national unity and ethnic harmony, Chinese Premier Li Keqian爱上海g said during a rare visit to a region that is a focus for international rights concerns.

Chinese troops marched into Tibet in 1950 in what China officially terms a peaceful liberation, and has ruled it with an iron fist even since.

It is one of Beijing’s most sensitive territorial issues, and has been hit by repeated anti-Chinese protests, although the region has fairly been quiet since the last large-scale demonstrations in 2008.

China routinely denies charges from rights groups and exiles of repression and says its rule ended serfdom and brought prosperity to what was a backward region, and that it fully respects the rights of the Tibetan people.

Li, who visited Tibet from July 25 to July 27, went to two major sites connected to Tibetan Buddhism, state news agency Xinhua said late on Saturday.

At the Jokhang Temple, which was damaged by a fire in February, Li inspected a monument dating back to the eighth century which marks an alliance between Tibet and the Tang Dynasty, Xinhua said.

“Since ancient times Tibet has been an inseparable part of the sacred territory of the motherland,” the report cited Li as saying in front of the monument.

Li said he hoped religious figures can protect national unity and make contributions to ethnic harmony, he added.

The report made no mention of the fire.

Li also went to the Potala Palace, like the Jokhang Temple a ,上海夜生活Babette,UNESCO World Heritage Site, once home to the Dalai Lama.

The current Dalai Lama, the highest figure in Tibetan Buddhism, fled into exile to India in 1959 after a failed uprising against Chinese rule.

China accuses him of being a dangerous separatist, though he says he only seeks genuine autonomy for Tibet. He remains widely revered in all Tibetan parts of China.

Li said he hoped Tibet can safeguard national unity and maintain lasting peace and stability, Xinhua added.

Senior state leaders only rarely visit Tibet, due to security and climatic considerations, as Tibet sits high above sea level and has thin air.

Rights groups says the situation for ethnic Tibetans inside what China calls the Tibet Autonomous Region remains extremely difficult.

Last week, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence said Tibet’s people “have been brutally repressed by ,上海夜网Odessa,the Chinese government”.

In June, the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights said conditions were “fast deteriorating” in Tibet.

China graft suspect gives self up, returns from United States

BEIJING ( ) – A Chinese corruption suspect who was on the country’s list of 100 most wanted overseas fugitives has return,上海夜生活论坛Harriet,ed to China from the United States after giving himself up, the anti-graft watchdog said late on Saturday.

Zhang Yongguang, a former policeman in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen, fled to the United States in 2010 and had been wanted on suspicion of taking bribes, according to the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection.

Zhang “returned to the country of his own accord and returned the dirty funds,” the commission said, without elaborating.

It was not 上海419论坛immediately possible to reach Zhang, his family, or a legal representative for comment.

In April 2015, Chinese authorities published a list of 100 “most-wanted” suspects it believes to be hiding overseas, many living in the United States, Canada and Australia.

Zhang is the 54th person on the list to have returned to China since the operation was launched, the commission said in a statement on its website.

“We will make persistent efforts in fighting against corruption and recovering stolen assets, leaving no room for corrupt fugitives to hide and no hope for those who want to flee,” it cited an unidentified official as saying.

Ma,上海夜生活桑拿会所Genavieve,ny Western countries, however, have been reluctant to help with China’s campaign, or to sign extradition treaties, unwilling to send people back to a country where rights groups say mistreatment of criminal suspects remains a problem.

They also complain China is often unwilling to provide proof of the crimes that would be acceptable to a Western court.

Analysis: For U.S. Republicans, political makeover has few changes

WASHINGTON ( ) – A year after Republican leaders vowed to “rebrand” their party to broaden its appeal in light of a dispiriting election loss to Democratic President Barack Obama, the Republican strategy for 2014 is looking a lot like the one from 2012.

At the Republican National Committee’s winter meeting this week in Washington, it was clear the panic that hit the party after the 2012 elections has subsided, although polls indicate that efforts to make the party more attractive to single women, minorities and gays, groups that favor Democrats by big numbers, have not made any headway.

Many Republicans remain concerned about the party’s long-term prospects in the face of such problems, but they have been heartened by the troubled launch of Obama’s healthcare overhaul and by polls that suggest Obama’s Democrats are not much more popular than Republicans.

So in many ways, this week’s meeting of Republican officials has been an affirmation of the party’s reluctance to change its core strategies for the 2014 midterm elections: Opposition to abortion and an assault on Obamacare, as the president’s healthcare overhaul is known.

It is a familiar platform that analysts say represents the influence of the most conservative elements of a party that continues to be plagued by bitter infighting between compromise-resistant Tea Party conservatives and more pragmatic “establishment” Republicans.

The focus on abortion and Obamacare, analysts say, also could undermine Republican efforts to lure women and minority voters who strongly support abortion rights and Obama’s efforts to help millions of uninsured Americans get health coverage.

“There hasn’t been any significant rebranding for Republicans. When the goals of rebranding have been largely ignored by major figures in the party, you have to be a little skeptical,” said political analyst Norm Ornstein of the American Enterprise Institute.

On Capitol Hill, a sweeping immigration overhaul that some Republican officials hoped would help the party gain ground with the nation’s rapidly growing Hispanic community, which overwhelmingly backed Obama in 2012, has been blocked by conservative Republicans in the House of Representatives who are wary of giving millions of undocumented immigrants a path to U.S. citizenship.

Republican officials say they do not believe their stances on issues such as immigration and abortion have harmed the party, but that some Republican candidates’ inability to clearly and sensitively express their views on such subjects has hurt.

“We don’t need to move away from our core values. We need to more clearly communicate those values,” said Kris Warner, an RNC member from West Virginia.


Republican efforts to attract women voters also continue to be complicated by indelicate rhetoric.

During a speech before the RNC on Thursday, former Arkansas governor and presidential candidate Mike Huckabee called on Republicans to aggressively argue to women voters that they are not “weaklings” who need to rely on the government for help.

In doing so, he served up the latest sound bite for Democrats who accuse Republicans of waging a “war on women.”

Arguing against government-funded birth control, Huckabee accused Democrats of telling women that, “t,上海夜生活Felicia,hey are helpless without Uncle Sugar coming in and providing them for them a prescription each month for birth control because they cannot control their libido.”

Leading Democrats quickly pounced. They said Huckabee’s comments reminded them of the 2012 campaign, when insensitive remarks about rape by two Republicans running for the U.S. Senate fueled Democrats’ claims that the Republican Party was an out-of-touch bastion of older white males.

“Mike Huckabee has no idea what he’s talking about,” Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz said. “If this is the (Republican) rebrand a year later, then all they’ve gotten is a year older.”

Huckabee’s comments followed a recent controversy over a memoir by Republican Representative Steve Pearce of New Mexico, who wrote that a wife should “voluntarily submit” to her husband, although that does not make her inferior.

Steve Munisteri, the state Republican chairman in Texas, said Republican candidates still need to watch the way they talk about controversial issues.

“The party still has a problem with people who don’t understand that how you say things can turn people off. Your tone matters. We have a multi-cultural society, and people have to believe you want them in your party,” he said.

The Republican House and Senate campaign committees have organized sessions with candidates and staff to teach them how to address controversial topics and avoid such self-inflicted wounds, officials said.

At the same time, the party is signaling it will be more aggressive in pressing for abortion restrictions, even though surveys have long shown that a majority of Americans support abortion rights.

On Wednesday, the party sent two bus loads of RNC members to attend the anti-abortion “Mar,上海夜生活桑拿会所Tash,ch for Life” on the National Mall in Washington. RNC spokeswoman Kirsten Kukowski said the party needed to “get back on offense” in fighting abortion.


So far, the Republican effort to reach out to women, minorities and other Democratic voting blocs has involved adjusting tactics more than changing the party’s platform.

The RNC has added more than 175 staff members to organize at the state level and reach out to black, Asian and Hispanic voters, party officials say.

The party also has hired technology specialists and open上海419论坛ed an office in California’s Silicon Valley to counter the Democrats’ data-driven voter turnout operation.

Still, polls indicate that more than half of Americans view the Republican Party unfavorably, a trend that does not bode well for a party that has lost the popular vote in five of the last six presidential elections.

The RNC is expected to adopt rules changes to shorten its presidential primary season in 2016 and move the party’s nominating convention from late August to June or July.

Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada would retain their right to kick off the process in February 2016, and the rest of the contests would be held between March and May.

The changes could make it more difficult for surprise contenders to emerge, but would help limit a combative presidential primary process that many Republicans blame for weakening party nominee Mitt Romney in 2012.

“We feel like there are some good things happening now,” said Shawn Steel, an RNC member from California. “We are going into communities that have never heard the Republican message, and we’re finding good candidates.”

Republicans seek own policy cure to replace Obamacare

WASHINGTON ( ) – Top Republicans are saying they can no longer just be the party of “No” on Obamacare: They need to come up with an alternative healthcare policy.

While many Americans are skeptical of President Barack Obama’s healthcare overhaul, they also tell lawmakers they worry about keeping their costs from getting out of control. For those voters, a party that offers a platform to repeal the 2010 law without anything to replace it may not be very attractive.

As a result, lawmakers from both the establishment wing of the Republican Party and the more fiscally conservative small-government proponents in the Tea Party movement are exploring healthcare policies.

U.S. House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner of Ohio said it would be a major topic at a Republican retreat next week.

“We need to present the American people with a positive,” said long-time Senator John McCain of Arizona, who,上海夜生活论坛Geoffrey, in 2008 had a detailed healthcare reform plan as the Republican Party’s presidential candidate against Democrat Obama.

“A number of people are working on it, and we’ve come up with the various provisions, and now hopefully we’re going to put together a Republican package” on healthcare, McCain told outside the Senate last week.

Several bills have already been introduced by Republicans in the House and Senate but no s,上海夜生活Naia,ingle plan has yet emerged.

Some start with the repeal of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act – a move that would almost certainly be vetoed by Obama if it passed both chambers, which is unlikely as long as Democrats hold the Senate.

Some bills propose new tax credits or deductions to help people pay for health insurance.

The law, commonly called Obamacare, passed Congress in 2010 as the most sweeping U.S. social legislation in 50 years and survived a legal challenge by opponents in the U.S. Supreme Court in 2012.

It requires most Americans to buy insurance, offers subsidies to help low-income people receive coverage and sets minimum standards for coverage. It aims to dramatically reduce the number of Americans who lack health insurance policies.

Instead of starting with a total repeal, Republican Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin has suggested transition legislation that might initially eliminate some provisions such as mandatory coverage of maternity care and move people with pre-existing conditions into high-risk insurance pools.

Some Tea Party-ba爱上海cked House conservatives also are urging action, arguing that it may no longer be enough to simply denounce Obamacare as lawmakers start campaigning for congressional elections in November.

“What’s our alternative to this terrible thing called Obamacare?” asked Representative Jim Jordan of Ohio at a recent lunch meeting of House Republican conservatives.

Another conservative, Representative Raul Labrador of Idaho, said that if Republicans want to win in 2014, they should start “letting the American people know what we are for.”

Boehner, who has presided over dozens of House votes to limit or curtail Obamacare, said that at their annual retreat January 29-31, House Republicans would discuss a plan to make healthcare insurance more accessible and affordable.


Republicans have opposed the law for years. They say Obamacare relies too heavily on mandates and results in too much government interference in the marketplace.

They point to the rocky rollout of the Obamacare website last October as evidence of flaws in the law. But analysts wonder whether they can unify around an alternative.

“The Republicans historically had a lot of health care bills … The Republicans never coalesced around a single bill, and that was the political weakness of the Republicans,” said Bob Moffit, a senior fellow at the conservative Heritage Foundation who was a top health official under President Reagan.

The administration says Obamacare is settled law now.

Vice President Joe Biden on Thursday touted popular provisions such as prohibiting insurers from rejecting people with pre-existing conditions. “We will not go back. America has turned the page.”

Republicans are not averse to cherry-picking some of the more popular bits of Obamacare. Two separate House Republican proposals would address the needs of people with pre-existing conditions through state-run “high-risk” insurance pools.

A House bill by Representative Tom Price of Georgia, an orthopedic surgeon, has been introduced for three Congresses in a row but has not had a single hearing or vote while Republicans have been more focused on trying to stop Obamacare.

Price’s bill proposes using refundable tax credits based on income to help Americans with the purchase of health insurance plans. McCain introduced a similar bill in the Senate.

A bill by Republican Representative Phil Roe of Tennessee would apply a standard tax deduction to help Americans pay for insurance. It has 122 co-sponsors and has been embraced by the Republican Study Committee, the largest bloc of House conservatives.

“No bill does everything,” Roe, an obstetrician, said in a telephone interview. “Let’s debate the differences … I think people want to hear that there are alternatives out there.”

Some outside conservative groups also like the idea of alternatives to Obamacare. FreedomWorks is surveying its six million members on ideas and will release the results in March.

Matthew Green, a professor of political science at Catholic University, thinks it was inevitable that Republicans would move from just opposing Obamacare to proposing alternatives.

“You can only get votes for so long from people saying, ‘I oppose the status quo’,” Green said.

U.S. brings fraud charges against firm that vetted Snowden

( ) – The爱上海 U.S. Justice Department accused United States Investigations Services (USIS), the largest private provider of security checks for the government, of bilking millions of dollars through improper background verifications.

USIS – which had vetted former spy agency contractor Edward Snowden – filed at least 665,000 flawed background checks between March 2008 and September 2012, which was about 40 percent of total submissions, the Justice Department said in a court filing on Wednesday.

The DOJ accused USIS of receiving millions of dollars that it otherwise would not have received had the government been aware that the background investigations had not gone through the quality review process required by contract.

Through a software known as “Blue Zone,” USIS was able to quickly make an electronic “Review Complete” notation without fully going through the mandated review process, DOJ said.

“USIS management devised and executed a scheme to deliberately circumvent contractually required quality reviews of completed background investigations in order to increase the company’s revenues and profits,” DOJ said in its filing.

USIS said it has been cooperating with the government’s investigation, and the allegations in the complaint related to a small group of people over a specific time period. The company said it had appointed a new leadership team, enhanced oversight procedures, and improved control protocols.

“The alleged conduct referenced in the civil complaint is contrary to our values and commitment to exceptional service,” a USIS spokesperson said via email.

USIS has a contract with the government since 1996 to vet individuals seeking employment with federal agencies. Such background checks include investigative fieldwork on each application.

The company is a unit of Altegrity Inc, whose debt prices fell slightly on Thursda,上海夜生活桑拿会所Quiana,y on news of the fraud charges.

A former employee of USIS filed a whistleblower lawsuit in July 2011 under the False Claims Act, which lets people collect rewards for blowing the whistle on fraud against the government.

The lawsuit alleged that USIS failed to perform quality control reviews in connection with its background investigations.

The DOJ filing said federal payments to the firm ranged from $95 to $2,500, depending on the type of background investigation. It requested a jury trial and seeks to recover treble damages and penalties.

USIS also vetted Aaron Alexis, the technology contractor who killed 12 people at the Washington Navy Yard in September. The lawsuit is not about the firm’s review of Alexis or Snowden, who is wanted by the U.S. government for leaking documents about the surveillance programs at the National Security Agency.

Private equity firm Providence Equity Partners LLC acquired Altegrity from Carlyle Group LP and Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stow in 2007 for $1.5 billion. Altegrity later expanded its intelligence and security consulting b,上海夜网Gabi,usiness through its $1.13 billion acquisition of Kroll Inc in 2010.

Even before the fallout from the Snowden controversy, Providence’s bet that Altegrity would benefit from government spending had turned sour, as sequestration and defense spending cuts weighed on the business of government contractors.

Altegrity has tapped Evercore Partners Inc for advice on shoring up its finances, a person familiar with the matter said earlier this month.

The case is United States Of America ex rel. Blake Percival vs U.S. Investigations Services, Case No. 11-cv-527, U.S. District Court, Middle District of Alabama (Northern Division)

No bank too big to indict, U.S. attorney general says

WASHINGTON ( ) – No American financial institution is too large to indict and no bank executive immune from criminal prose,上海夜生活Garth,cution, Attorney General Eric Holder said in a television interview.

In an interview with MSNBC scheduled to be broadcast on Friday, Holder cited the case against JPMorgan Chase & Co, which in November agreed to a civil settlement u上海419论坛nder which it would pay $13 billion to end a series of government investigations into its marketing and sale of mortgage-backed securities.

The settlement with JPMorgan, the largest U.S. bank, allowed prosecutors to pursue criminal charges if warranted, and that investigation is ongoing.

“There are no institutions that are too big to indict,” Holder said, according to an MSNBC transcript released before the interview.

“There are no individua,上海夜生活桑拿会所Benton,ls who are in such high level positions that they cannot be indicted, criminally investigated,” he said.

The Justice Department is investigating “significant financial institutions,” Holder said without elaborating.

“And the focus of those investigations is not only on the institutions but on individuals as well,” he told MSNBC.

Holder told in December the Justice Department plans to bring civil mortgage fraud cases against several financial institutions early in 2014, using the JPMorgan case as a template.

Australia’s government loses by-elections, denting re-election…

SYDNEY ( ) – Australia’s conservative government failed to win any of five by-elections held over the weekend, defeats widely seen as an indication Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull faces an uphill battle to be re-elected in a national poll due by May 2019.

“We will look very seriously and thoughtfully and humbly at the way in which the voters have responded,” Turnbull told reporters in Sydney on Sunday.

In what was coined “Super Saturday”, voters in five seats went to the polls after a handful of mainly Labor opposition lawmakers were forced from office after falling foul of the country’s constitution that bans politicians from elected office if they are dual citizens.

The Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) on爱上海 Sunday said four seats were retained by Labor and a fifth by the small Centre Alliance party, dealing a blow to Turnbull, who is under pressure to demonstrate ,上海夜生活Jasper,a viable pathway for re-election with his coalition badly trailing Labor in opinion polls.

Political analysts say Turnbull must win marginal seats in the state of Queensland, traditionally a conservative heartland, if he is to be re-elected.

But his government failed to win a key by-election seat in Queensland, despite support from Australia’s right-wing One Nation party.

Labor retained the Queensland seat of Longman with a bigger major,上海夜生活论坛Jacqueline,ity than it had secured in 2016.

Failure to win at least one seat at the by-elections means Turnbull will continue to struggle to pass legislation with only a one-seat majority.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten, who was targeted by the government over his poor personal approval ratings, said the results reflected the party’s focus on core issues such as health and education.

“It renews my conviction to double down in fighting for fairness and challenging growing inequality,” he told reporters in Queensland.

‘He looked like a terrorist!’ How a drive in rural India ended in a…

MURKI/MUMBAI, India ( ) – In the tiny hamlet of Murki in the hinterlands of south India, Inspector V.B. Yadwad surveyed a pile of bricks and stones in a ditch where he and other police officers had been attacked earlier this month while trying to save a group of five men on a road trip from a violent mob.

“We tried hard to stop them,” said Yadwad, pointing to injuries on his back. “They wouldn’t listen to anyone.”

Yadwad was one of eight policemen who rushed to the village on July 13 to try to control a mob of more than 200 that attacked the five friends, wrongly assuming they were child kidnappers.

The vicious assault left one of the five men, Mohammed Azam, a UK-educated IT worker from India’s tech hub in Hyderabad, dead, and at lest two of the others badly beaten. All eight officers were injured, two seriously.

Azam, who was 32 and worked for ,上海夜网Quentin,global consulting services firm Accenture ACN.N, is one of the latest victims of a wave of lynchings in India, as ill-equipped and outnumbered police struggle to contain mob violence triggered by false messages about child kidnappings spread via platforms like Facebook’s FB.O WhatsApp messaging service, which is very popular in India.

The Indian government says it is not tracking data for lynchings, but data portal IndiaSpend has tallied more than 30 deaths from nearly 70 such incidents since January 2017.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s administration, which has been facing criticism from opposition parties and the public for failing to do enough to stop the lynchings, has blamed WhatsApp, warning the messaging serv,上海夜生活Ira,ice of legal action if it did not curb the spread of fake news. (Full Story)

On July 20, WhatsApp said it was limiting the number of people someone can forward messages to simultaneously, and said it was considering more changes to curb the spread of fake messages in its largest market. (Full Story) But it is unclear how much this will restrain mob violence.

Police probing the lynchings of Azam and others say they are often triggered by deep-rooted prejudices against minorities in India. Azam’s own job at Accenture, according to his younger brother Akram, included reviewing the propriety of video content before it was uploaded to Alphabet Inc’s GOOGL.O YouTube.

“India is already vulnerable due to religious and caste fault lines,” said Rema Rajeshwari, a superintendent of police in the southern Telangana state, where some recent lynchings took place. “When you add WhatsApp to the mix, things can easily spiral out of control.”


In Murki, messages circulating in a local WhatsApp group, late in the day Azam was killed, simply said: “Child kidnappers found in Murki.” Videos and photos of Azam and his four friends, taken just before, were attached.

The five, who were in a new cherry red SUV, had set out from Hyderabad that day for a drive into the countryside. While passing through a hamlet where they planned to picnic, they tossed chocolates towards a group of children, according to three of the survivors.

What the men thought was a kind gesture in a poor village cost Azam his life, as a mob of angry villagers savagely attacked him and his friends.

The assault began when the group stopped to take selfies amid lush green fields beside a pond, just after driving by the kids, according to interviews with the survivors, police, villagers and other eye witnesses.

Three villagers first walked up and started deflating their tyres. “We asked them why are you removing the air? They yelled: you men are child kidnappers,” said retail worker Mohammed Afroz, one of the four survivors.

While the five tried to plead their innocence, dozens of villagers gathered. Some carried pick-axes and sticks. Photos and videos of the five men were posted on a 180-member WhatsApp group named ‘Mother Murki’, according to police.

That video, seen by , shows the five, most wearing western attire, trying to calm the crowd.

It did not work.

Salham Al Kubassi, a Qatari national, who was friends with Azam, was among the first to be hit. While two of the friends tried to reason with the mob, Kubassi, who is a policeman in Qatar, jumped into the SUV with Azam and their friend Mohammed Salman, who works at a Hyderabad car repair shop, and sped away, according to police and the survivors.

But a makeshift roadblock was set up at a nearby junction. The SUV careened off the road after it hit a tree trunk the villagers had put in the road and ended in a small, dry riverbed, police said.

It was the attack here that claimed Azam’s life.

Many villagers, both men and women, threw bricks and rocks at the toppled SUV, shattering its windows. Some then tied ropes around Azam and Salman and dragged them out of the vehicle as at least 200 others gathered, hurling abuse at them, police said.

“They came here to steal kids. Let’s hit these bastards and kill them!” people in the mob shouted, according to a police report. “Don’t let them go!”


While police say there were no child kidnappings recorded in or around Murki, child trafficking is a problem in India, and many children are sold into slavery, especially forced labor.

About 250,000 children were registered as missing on the government’s Track Child portal between January 2012 and March 2017.

Villagers in Murki said they had been hearing about child kidnapping gangs for months.

Photos and videos of the bodies of children being mutilated by alleged child abductors have been circulating via WhatsApp in many parts of India. Police showed some of the material they have gathered.

One video purports to show the bloodied body of a boy with his mouth gagged, as a man leans in and repeatedly stabs his heart. The messages exhort viewers to share them, “High Alert. Please Share As Much as Possible,” one said.

In all the areas where the recent lynching cases occurred, there were no such gangs, and the messages and reports were all false, police said.

The problem is that people “may not be able to read or write, but everyone understands photos and videos,” said Telangana Superintendent Rajeshwari.


In many recent lynchings, police say minority groups such as those from lower castes, have been targets. Hindu vigilantes have also killed over two dozen Muslim people for transporting cows in the past year, accusing them of slaughtering the animals considered sacred in Hinduism. (Full Story)

India’s home ministry issued a notice to police nationwide on July 4, calling lynchings over child kidnapping rumors “a serious concern,” according to a copy reviewed by . The government also issued a statement on Wednesday urging action against “cow vigilantes”.

Azam’s killing has sent a chill through Murki, where many fear discussing the attack following the arrest of more than 30 men and women from the area in the police investigation. No one has yet been charged.

When asked why上海419论坛 villagers attacked the men, Vijay Biradar, a village elder, said “people made a mistake.”

“Did you see the Qatari’s face? His big beard?” he said.

“He looked like a terrorist.”

Monsoon flooding forces thousands to evacuate homes in Myanmar

YANGON ( ) – Some 50,000 people in Myanmar evacuated their hom,上海夜生活Daryl,es after days of heavy monsoon rains left villages inundated and swept away bridges, while authorities scrambled to deliver aid to the affected regions, authorities and media said on Sunday.

President Win Myint visited the Bago region in central Myanmar to meet displaced residents on Saturday and urged local officials to step up the provision of temporary shelters and aid. An estimated 100,000 people may be affected by the floods.

Parts of Myanmar flood annually at the peak of the monsoon season, causing frequent landslides and widespread damage to farmland and infrastructure in爱上海 the Southeast Asian nation.

The country saw the worst monsoon flooding in a decade in 2015 when around 100 people reportedly died and over 330,000 were displaced.

The national disaster management committee on Sunday warned residents living near rivers and in low-lying areas to “immediately leave their homes as the water level…has exceeded the danger level,” according to state media on Sunday.

Torrential downpours washed away a section of a 60 meter (,上海夜生活论坛Mae,200 feet) concrete bridge in the northern Shan state, while rice paddies and roads in the central Kayin state suffered extensive damage, state media reported.

The western state of Rakhine also saw heavy rainfall submerge some roads. Aerial images shared on social media showed muddy brown water covering vast tracts of land.

The Red Cross said on Twitter it was distributing hygiene, kitchen, and shelter gear, posting photos of its volunteers getting people in flood-hit areas to safety in small boats.

The United Nations said in a statement it was following developments with “great concern”.

“The UN in Myanmar is mobilizing its partners, resources and capacity and is offering to provide support to the ongoing assistance delivered to the victims of the floods by the government of Myanmar,” said Knut Ostby, the U.N. resident and humanitarian coordinator.

Protesters chant anti-Putin slogans at Moscow rally against…

M,上海夜生活桑拿会所Ora,OSCOW ( ) – Thousands protested in central Moscow on Sunday against a proposed increase to the retirement age and the crowd chanted slogans critical of President Vladimir Putin whose approval ratings have been dented by the bill.

The rally organized by the opposition Libertarian Party chanted “Putin is a thief” and “away with the tsar,” slogans common at anti-Putin and anti-government protests.

The retirement age proposal is politically sensitive for Putin, who was re-elected in March, because it has prompted a series of protests across Russia since it was announced on June 14, the day Russia played the first match of its soccer World Cup.

Around 90 percent of the population oppose the bill, according to a recent opinion poll, and a petition against it has attracted 3 million signatures online.

More than 6,000 people came to Sunday’s rally some 2.4 kilometers (1.5 miles) from the Kremlin, according to White Counter, an NGO that counts participants at rallies using metal detector frames. Police put the number at around 2,500.

People held placards with slogans against the higher retirement age and one read: “stop stealing our future”. Authorities detained two protest organizers, Vladimir Milov, a former deputy energy minister and now an opposition campaigner, told .

The proposal to raise the retirement age, to 65 from 60 for men and to 63 from 55 for women, is part of an unpopular budget package designed to shore up government finances that is backed by lawmakers.

Putin, who once promised not to raise the retirement age, has tried to distance himself from the pension plan.

This month he said he did not like any of the proposals. He said Russia could avoid raising the retirement age for years, though a decision would have to be made eventually.

“We have to proceed not from emotions, but from the real assessment of economic conditions and prospects of its development and (the development of) t上海龙凤419he social sphere,” Putin said.

On Saturday, more than 12 thousand rallied on the same street in Moscow, according to the White Counter data.

The changes to the retirement age would be introduce,上海夜生活Oakley,d gradually, starting in 2019, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said when presenting the plan. Officials said the measure should help to raise an average pension in Russia, now at around 14,400 rubles ($229.52).

Greek seaside town remembers lives lost to wildfire

MATI, Greece ( ) – Mourners gathered in a church in the Greek coastal town of Mati on Sunday where they wept and lit candles in memory of those killed when a massive wildfire swept through the popular resort near Athens earlier this week.

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is facing fierce recriminations for the government’s response to the fire and has promised a national plan to avoid a repeat of the disaster.


Rescue crews are still looking for survivors of the blaze which began last Monday in Mati, 30 km (17 miles) east of Athens, as the death toll rose to at least 91 with dozens more injured.

“Some people survived but for those who died I wish they are well in heaven,” said 77-year old Theano Tsikoulou.

“Fires were burning everywhere, my husband and I were going and putting them out so that our house would not be burnt,” she said.

A total of 25 people remain missing whilst 59 bodies have been identified and a further 28 are still to be named, the fire brigade said on Sunday. Another four people have died in hospital.

Tsipras has accepted full political responsibility for the disaster and pledged a series of changes, including on illegal and haphazard construction which is thought to have worsened the blaze.

The main opposition New Democracy party, which leads in the polls, earlier called on the government to say how many people remain unaccounted for and criticized Tsipras’ television appearance on the night of the fire as a “sorry show.”

The wildfire left the area dotted with burnt-out trees, ashen earth and destroyed buildings as a clean-up operation continues.

Downpours on Sunday hit parts爱上海419 of the region after heavy rainfall and flash floods in areas on Saturd,上海夜生活桑拿会所Madelyn,ay, making it harder for the authorities trying to locate survivors and locals hoping to salvage what they can from the disaster.

But there were also signs of a return to normality as a children’s camp, which closed due to the blaze, was reopened on Sunday. The mayor of Athens invited youngsters affected by the fire to come along.

“The smiles should return,” George Kaminis wrote on Twitter.

Powerful quake kills 14 on Indonesian tourist island Lombok

SEMBALUN, Indonesia ( ) – A powerful 6.4 magnitude earthquake struck the popular tourist island of Lombok in Indonesia on Sunday killing 14 people and sending villagers fleeing from their beds into open fields to avoid collapsing buildings.

The quake, which rocked the island early in the,上海夜网Eliza, morning when many people were still asleep, injured 162 people and damaged thousands of houses.

Electricity was cut off in the worst-hit area, Sembalun, a sparsely populated area of rice paddies and the slopes of Mount Rinjani on the northern side of the island.

A 30-year-old Malaysian woman visiting Mount Rinjani, a popular trekking destination, was among those killed, said Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, the disaster mitigation agency spokesman.

He said the area was temporarily closed to climbers because there were reports of landslides. Hundreds of climbers are being evacuated from the Rinjani national park and 115 have been safely escorted out, Nugroho said.

“The most pressing needs now are medical personnel, stretchers, health equipment, kids wares and food,” Nugroho said.

An emergency tent was set up on a street in Sembalun to treat the injured because the local hospital was damaged, and th爱上海419ose in a critical condition were taken to other hospitals.

“It happened so suddenly at around 6 in the morning. Suddenly eve,上海夜生活论坛Gabi,rything simply collapsed,” said Siti Sumarni, a Sembalun resident. “My child was inside the house, thankfully he survived.”

Standing outside a green tent set up on a dusty field, she said nothing was left of her house.

Video footage showed ambulances lining the streets of Lombok and many houses damaged with only parts of brick walls standing.

“We jumped out of our beds to avoid anything falling on our heads,” said Jean-Paul Volckaert who runs a hotel near Senggigi on the western side of Lombok.

“I’ve been walking around but so far there is no damage. We were very surprised as the water in the pools was swaying like a wild sea. There were waves in the pools but only for 20 to 30 seconds,” he told by telephone.

A magnitude 6.4 earthquake is considered strong and is capable of causing severe damage.

The Lombok quake struck at 6:47 a.m. (2247 GMT on Saturday) and was only 4.35 miles deep (7 km), a shallow depth that would have amplified its effect.

It was centered 50 km (31 miles) northeast of the city of Mataram, according to the U.S. Geological Survey, but it was also felt strongly to the west on the neighboring island of Bali, Indonesia’s top tourist destination.

Over a hundred of subsequent tremors were recorded, with the largest aftershock recorded at 5.7 magnitude, Indonesia’s Meteorological, Climatological and Geophysics Agency said.

The earthquake was on land and did not trigger any waves or tsunami.

Earthquakes are common in Indonesia, which is located on the seismically active “Ring of Fire” that surrounds the shores of the Pacific Ocean.

On-the-job training: A German export hit losing favour at home

WINSEN AN DER LUHE, Germany ( ) – Nina Lorea Kley urgently needs young people to train as vehicle builders at her company’s factories in northern and eastern Germany. She has enough orders and money to hire 20 this summer but can only find 14.

Feldbinder makes 2,000 customised trailers, railway wagons and containers a year but won’t be able to keep that up without new recruits, especially because many employees are due to retire in the next few years.

Graphic: German education – tmsnrt.rs/2JRuDCK

“If we don’t manage to fill jobs that become free we’ll have to think about which orders we can fulfil,” said Kley, 41, a man爱上海aging director at the firm her father co-founded four decades ago. “We simply wouldn’t be able to take on certain orders anymore due to a lack of staff.”

Feldbinder is not alone. More than a third of German companies could not fill all of their training places last year while almost one in ten received no applications for such roles, a survey by the DIHK Chambers of Commerce found.

Last year, the number of vacancies for training positions was at its highest for more than 20 years.

Germany’s twin-track vocational training system, which involves up to 3-1/2 years of on-the-job learning in firms alongside theory lessons at vocational school, is credited with giving Germany the European Union’s lowest youth jobless rate – 6.8 percent in 2017 against an EU average of 16.8 percent.

Widely admired abroad, the training system is being exported in various forms to Europe, Asia, Africa and the United States. But its popularity is waning at home as young people increasingly prefer the higher status of a university degree.

That could hurt growth in Europe’s largest economy by exacerbating a skilled labour shortage, which is partly caused by hundreds of thousands of ageing employees leaving the labour market every year.

“It’s a dangerous trend – Germany is running out of skilled workers,” said DIHK President Eric Schweitzer. “At first, orders lie around for longer, then firms have to reject them outright – to the point where entire sectors run into problems.”

In response, the government has vowed to strengthen the training system and make it more attractive during this legislative period, which runs to 2021.

It plans to invest in equipment so vocational schools can adjust to the digital age, put a minimum trainee wage into law, boost career guidance at secondary schools, promote part-time training to help people reconcile their work and family life, and reduce the problem of regional imbalances in the jobs market by improving mobility.


The education ministry is working with 16 countries including Greece, China, India, Mexico, Russia, South Africa and the United States to reform their vocational training systems to make them more like the German system.

During her first meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump in March 2017, Chancellor Angela Merkel and company managers spent around an hour discussing vocational training with him, and Ivanka Trump met trainees on a vocational scheme at Siemens during her visit to Berlin the same year.

Foreign interest in the system has grown since the global financial crisis and its success lies partly in the heavy involvement of companies, which ensures it produces workers who can be deployed immediately.

Since 2013 the education ministry has been supp,上海夜生活论坛Garth,orting a project called VETnet whereby German Chambers of Commerce Abroad in 11 countries develop pilot vocational training projects with local companies.

They now offer 45 different occupations, with mechatronics fitter (technology combining electronics and mechanical engineering), tool mechanic and industrial mechanic the most popular. More than 820 companies are involved, with 7,400 trainees in China, Greece, India, Italy, La,上海夜网Sal,tvia, Mexico, Portugal, Russia, Slovakia, Thailand and the United States.

“The German government supports the internationalisation of vocational training because it guarantees competitiveness, social harmony and economic stability even during crises,” Thomas Rachel, the deputy education minister, told .

But the DIHK’s Schweitzer said the system is no longer as highly regarded in Germany as it used to be and it was vital to turn that around by showing young people how good their career and financial prospects are on the scheme.

“We need to ensure vocational training is as valued at home as it is as abroad,” he said.

University studies are increasingly popular. There were 515,327 new students in 2017, or 41 percent more than in 2005, the education ministry said.

That compared with 490,267 young people who started a traineeship in the dual system last year. Since 2013 the number of young people starting university degrees has been higher than the number starting as trainees, the education ministry said.

A record high total of almost 2.85 million students were enrolled in university degree courses in the 2017/2018 winter semester, according to the statistics office.

Those with university degrees earn more on average over their lifetime than those who do vocational training, a 2017 study by the Ifo institute found. Many believe going to university will ensure better career prospects too.

A government push that started in 2008 to get more young people into university also contributed to the rise in student numbers.

People with relevant professional experience can now study for some degrees despite not having higher education entrance qualifications, thereby widening the pool of people who can attend university.

Companies and industry groups complain that schools focus too much on sending young people to university and should also stress the benefits of the dual system, which offers training for 327 occupations at more than 426,000 companies.

“Of course we need engineers and mathematicians but not only them – we also need very well-qualified skilled tradesmen,” said Rainer Dulger, head of Gesamtmetall – a metal industry employers’ association.

Many firms are also preparing for a mass exit of experienced employees from 2020 as the post-World War Two baby boomers retire. There are around 300,000 fewer school leavers each year than people going into retirement, the DIHK said.

Kley said Feldbinder would have more people retiring in two to three years than it would be able to replace with its own trainees. Some 10 percent of her 950 employees are due to retire in the next five years.

“That means we’ll get smaller, we’ll shrink – it’s a real problem. We can no longer find people on the market,” she said.


Last year nearly 49,000 training positions, especially in the manual trades, hotel and catering sectors, were vacant – the most since 1995. At the same time, the number of applicants without trainee contracts rose to almost 24,000, highlighting a mismatch between employers and candidates.

In southern Germany, for example, there were far more trainee places on offer than applicants but in Berlin the opposite was true and some sectors like administration and IT were oversubscribed.

Another problem for Feldbinder, Kley said, is that many children no longer grow up in homes with a workbench or repair their own bikes, so they do not get a feel for manual jobs.

Almost half of companies are wooing university dropouts to help cover the shortfall and 16 percent are offering benefits like smartphones, extra holidays, gym membership or better wages to lure new trainees, the DIHK found.

But even firms that do find trainees are not always happy, telling the DIHK that many lack motivation or German and maths skills. A quarter of trainees end their contracts early, according to the education ministry.

At Feldbinder, Kley is trying to prevent costly dropouts by offering internships to make sure young people like the work before getting hired. She hopes to find more trainees by inviting schools to visit her company, sponsoring a carnival club and attracting more females.

The company hires one or two female trainee vehicle builders a year and would like to employ more, but many girls do not think of the traditionally male-dominated job when considering their options, Kley said.

“If we could attract girls, we’d suddenly have 50 percent more potential applicants,” she said.

Nigeria to send air force and 1,000 security personnel to tackle…

ABUJA ( ) – Nigeria will deploy its air force and 1,000 security personnel to fight banditry in the northwest of the country, President Muhammadu Buhari said on Sunday.

The move underscores how security has broken down across much of Nigeria, where an ineffective police force has exacerbated already-weak enforcement, particularly outside urban areas. The military is now deployed in more than 30 of the 36 states.

Nigeria is tackling a nine-year conflict with Boko Haram and Is,上海夜网Jason,lamic State West Africa in the northeast. There is also a conflict across much of its hinterland between farmers and herders that is now more deadly than the war against those insurgencies.

In addition, there are oil-fueled militancies in the Delta to the south and banditry and kidnappings through much of the country.

Banditry has plagued the northwest for years, particularly around Zamfara state and its border with Kaduna state, though a recent spate of kidnappings and killings in the region has put the region in the public eye.

“The Federal Government has assembled (a) 1,000-strong military force … (comprising) the army, air force, police and the civil defense to launch fierce att,上海夜生活论坛Carly,acks on the bandits terrorizing the villages and towns of Zamfara State,” the statement from the presidency said.

Under Buhari, Nigeria has often turned to the air force to carry ou上海龙凤419t policing, despite criticism from rights groups.

In 2015, Buhari came to power on a pledge to restore security. He is now seeking a second term in elections next February elections, though his critics say the situation has become worse.

Nuns get partial win in U.S. Supreme Court contraception fight

WASHINGTON ( ) – The U.S. Supreme Court said on Friday that, while litigation continues, an order of Roman Catholic nuns need not comply with a part of President Barack Obama’s healthcare law requiring employers to provide insurance that covers contraception.

In the latest skirmish over religious objections to providing government-mandated contraception, the four-sentence court order was a partial victory for the Little Sisters of the Poor, a Baltimore-based order of nuns that runs nursing homes, and Illinois-based Christian Brothers Services, which manages healthcare plans for Catholic groups.

The unusually worded order by the court imposed a requirement on the groups before they can claim the exemption. First, they must send written notification to the Department of Health and Human Services saying they object to the contraception mandate.

The court’s decision means that, as long as the groups send the letters, they are effectively exempt while litigation continues in lower courts, putting off for now any conclusive decision on this latest legal test of Obamacare, as the president’s 2010 Affordable Care Act has become known.

The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which represents the groups, hailed the court’s order.

“We are delighted that the Supreme Court has issued this order protecting the Little Sisters,” attorney Mark Rienzi said in a statement. “The government has lots of ways to deliver contraceptives to people. It doesn’t need to force nuns to participate.”

A spokeswoman for the U.S. Justice Department stressed in an email to that the order was not final. “This injunction applies only to the plaintiffs and is not a ruling on the merits of their case. And plaintiffs have always been eligible for an accommodation from the contraceptive coverage requirement.”


Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federa,上海夜生活Paige,tion of America, which supports the mandate, said in a statement the case focused only on the way groups like the Little Sisters can claim an exemption. “This is a case about paperwork, not religious liberty,” she said.

Dozens of other Catholic groups are involved in similar litigation, and most have won temporary injunctions. So far, no federal appeals court has ruled on the merits of the groups’ claims, according to the Becket Fund.


Th上海419论坛e organizations have accused the federal government of forcing them to support contraception and sterilization in violation of their religious beliefs, or face steep fines.

The Little Sisters lawsuit was filed also on behalf of hundreds of other groups that obtain benefits via Christian Brothers Services, although that has not been certified as a class-action at this stage. The Becket Fund said it would also benefit from the court’s order.

The unsigned Supreme Court order said it “should not be construed as an expression of the court’s views on the merits.”


The Obamacare law requires employers to provide health insurance policies that cover preventive services for women, including contraception and sterilization.

The act makes an exception for religious institutions such as houses of worship that mainly serve and employ members of their own faith, but not for schools, hospitals and charitable organizations that employ people of all faiths.

As a compromise, the administration agreed to an accommodation for non-profits affiliated with religious entities that was finalized in July. But the Little Sisters and other Catholic groups said the compromise process still violated their religious rights.

In court filings, the government had conceded it could not enforce the mandate against the Little Sisters in any case because of the nature of their health-care plan.

A federal judge in Colorado, William Martinez, denied the plaintiffs’ request for an injunction on December 27. The Denver-based 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals followed suit on December 31, prompting a last-minute plea to the Supreme Court.

Although Justice Sonia Sotomayor issued a temporary injunction on December 31, the court then spent more than three weeks weighing how to proceed.

In separate cases, the Supreme Court has agreed to hear oral arguments in March on whether for-profit corporations can object to the contraception mandate on religious grounds.