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Member since: Thu May 18, 2017, 11:36 AM
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Boris Johnson has canceled his planned trip to the White House after Trump's 'apoplectic' fury

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has canceled a trip to the US planned for next month after a furious phone call from President Donald Trump in which Trump slammed down the phone on the prime minister.

Johnson had been due to visit Washington last month but repeatedly delayed the trip after a series of rows with the president over Iran, Huawei, and a rejected request by the prime minister to extradite the wife of a US diplomat.

The disagreements culminated in a phone call last month in which Trump hung up on Johnson, according to officials with knowledge of the conversation.

Johnson has now canceled his trip altogether, and is not planning on visiting the country until the G7 summit in June.

At: https://www.businessinsider.com/boris-johnson-cancels-visit-donald-trump-slammed-phone-down-apoplectic-2020-2

Trump and U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson: A perfect call?

A. E. Hotchner, writer and friend of the famous, dies at 102

A.E. Hotchner, a novelist, playwright, biographer, literary bon vivant and philanthropist whose life was shaped and colored by close friendships with two extraordinarily gifted and well-known men, Ernest Hemingway and Paul Newman, died on Saturday at his home in Westport, Conn. He was 102.

Mr. Hotchner was not to the manner born, nor was he a celebrity. But he was nonetheless at home among the glitterati, one of those not-so-famous people whom famous people, for whatever reason, take to.

He was aware of this quality in himself, and he made use of it professionally. One of his books, “Choice People” (1984), consists of anecdotal profiles of many of his acquaintancea; another, “Everyone Comes to Elaine’s” (2004), is about that now-closed Manhattan bistro and its clientele.

His diverse body of work included novels, plays and a memoir about Ernest Hemingway. He was also a partner with his friend Paul Newman in business and charity, Newman's Own.

At: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/15/books/a-e-hotchner-dead.html

Author A.E. Hotchner, 1917-2020, and friend Paul Newman. Hotchner was a partner in the renowned Newman's Own charity, and co-authored his best-selling 1998 cookbook.

Fed nominee Judy Shelton could be in trouble as key GOP senators express concerns on 'outlier' views

One of President Trump’s nominees to the Federal Reserve Board, Judy Shelton, could be in trouble after her heated confirmation hearing Thursday.

Sen. Patrick J. Toomey (PA) and Sen. Richard C. Shelby (AL), top Republicans on the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, told reporters after they left the hearing room that they had “concerns” about Shelton.

If either senator votes against her, it would sink her confirmation hearing, making her Trump’s fifth Fed pick not to make it through the GOP-controlled Senate.

Shelton, 65, has spent years advocating for the United States to return to something akin to the gold standard, a view outside the mainstream that many economists say could hamper the nation’s ability to fight recessions.

The U.S. abandoned the gold standard in 1933, in the depths of the Great Depression.

More troubling to many is that Shelton criticized ultralow interest rates when President Barack Obama was in office but has recently embraced them, seemingly to align with Trump.

Many economists and investors say the Fed must be independent of political pressure to make the best decisions for the economy, but Shelton has questioned that tenet.

Shelton herself has been an outspoken Fed critic: “Why do we need a central bank?” she wrote in 2009. “What the Federal Reserve is doing is very close to central planning.”

At: https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/02/13/trumps-fed-nominee-judy-shelton-could-be-trouble-key-gop-senators-express-concerns-about-her-outlier-views/

Fool's gold: Trump Fed nominee Judy Shelton argues for a return to the gold standard - a policy largely abandoned by most world powers during the Great Depression due to its highly restrictive effects on credit.

Dad in Kansas jailed over medical debt

Heather and her son Lane Biggs just needed medical care. A few years ago, Lane was getting treated for leukemia, which he was diagnosed with at age 5, and at the same time, his mom Heather developed seizures from Lyme disease.

That left the family with a $70,000 medical debt that they couldn’t afford.

They didn’t make enough to afford health insurance, but they made too much to qualify for Medicaid.

After he missed a court appearance about his unpaid bills and was unable to get the money for the $500 bail, Tres was sent to jail.

At: https://www.yahoo.com/entertainment/dad-kansas-jailed-over-medical-140050030.html

Egypt population reaches 100 million people

Egypt’s population reached 100 million people on Tuesday, the official statistics agency CAPMAS said, putting more pressure on the government which sees the population boom as a threat to its economic reform plans.

The country’s 100 millionth person was recorded on the agency’s digital counter in eastern Cairo and on its website.

Around 99 million, however, live in the Upper or Lower Egypt regions along the Nile - equal to one seventh of the country's total land area.

This gives the country an effective population density of over 1,800 people per square mile - among the most dense on earth.

In the capital Cairo, a megalopolis of nearly 20 million, population density is around 130,000 per square mile - or nearly 10 times that of London.

The country, now the 13th most populous on earth, adds nearly 2 million inhabitants annually and its population has risen five-fold since 1950. Another 9 million Egyptians are estimated to live overseas.

At: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-egypt-population-idUSKBN2051MS

View of Cairo from Gezira Island - an upscale oasis in one of the world's largest and most crowded metro areas.

Lyle Mays, keyboardist and 11-time Grammy winner with Pat Metheny Group, dies at 66

Lyle Mays, the pianist and composer who co-founded the innovative jazz fusion band the Pat Metheny Group, has died, according to an announcement posted on his official Facebook page late Monday night. He was 66.

"Lyle was a brilliant musician and person, and a genius in every sense of the word," the post reads. "From his family, thank you for loving him and his music."

Metheny posted his own tribute on Facebook early Tuesday morning.

“Lyle was one of the greatest musicians I have ever known. Across more than 30 years, every moment we shared in music was special," he wrote.

At: https://www.usatoday.com/story/entertainment/celebrities/2020/02/11/lyle-mays-noted-jazz-keyboardist-dies-66/4721577002/

Lyle Mays, 1953-2020.

Zelenskiy asks Pope for help in releasing POWs in eastern Ukraine

Ukraine's president has asked Pope Francis for help in securing the release of prisoners of war held by Russia and by Russia-backed separatist fighters in eastern Ukraine.

Volodymyr Zelenskiy made the request after a meeting with the pontiff at the Vatican on February 8.

"[The pope] does everything possible to achieve peace and harmony throughout the world," Zelenskiy said in a tweet after their meeting.

"I asked for help with the release of Ukrainians captured in Donbas, Crimea, and Russia," he said.

Russia annexed the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea in March 2014. A month later, fighting broke out in eastern Ukraine in a conflict that has killed more than 13,000 people and displaced more than 1 million.

Since being elected in May 2019, Zelenskiy has overseen two major swaps of prisoners with Russia and the separatist fighters it backs in eastern Ukraine.

At: https://www.rferl.org/a/ukrainian-president-meets-pope-at-vatican-discusses-crisis-in-country-s-east/30423957.html

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and Pope Francis during today's meeting at the Vatican.

Arizona national monument, home to sacred Native American burial sites, is being blown up for wall

Source: CBS News

A national monument in Arizona, home to rare species and sacred Native American burial sites, is being blown up this week as part of construction for President Trump's border wall, Customs and Border Protection confirmed to CBS News.

"Controlled blasting" inside Arizona's Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument began this week without consultation from the Native American nation whose ancestral land it affects, according to the congressman whose district includes the reservation.

"There has been no consultation with the nation," said Congressman Raúl Grijalva of Arizona, who is the chair of the House Committee on Natural Resources and whose district contains the reservation and shares 400 miles of border with Mexico.

"This administration is basically trampling on the tribe's history — and to put it poignantly, it's ancestry."

Read more: https://www.cbsnews.com/news/organ-pipe-cactus-national-monument-blasts-arizona-national-monument-being-blown-up-for-border-wall-2020-02-07/

Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument & Mexican border

Trump Fans Flooded Iowa Caucus Hotline, Democrats Say

Source: Bloomberg

Supporters of President Donald Trump flooded a hotline used by Iowa precinct chairs to report Democratic caucus results after the telephone number was posted online, worsening delays in the statewide tally, a top state Democrat told party leaders on a conference call Wednesday night.

According to two participants on the call, Ken Sagar, a state Democratic central committee member, was among those answering the hotline on caucus night and said people called in and expressed support for Trump.

The phone number became public after people posted photos of caucus paperwork that included the hotline number, one of the people on the call said.

Read more: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-02-06/trump-fans-flooded-iowa-caucus-hotline-top-democrat-says

Caucus precinct chairs input results during Tuesday's Iowa vote.

The accidental public posting of the hotline number led to GOP efforts to flood phone lines, thereby further delaying reporting of results.

Viewership down sharply for Trump's State of the Union

Source: ABC News

Viewership was sharply down for President Donald Trump's State of the Union address on most of the top television networks — except for Fox News Channel.

The Nielsen company estimated that 37.2 million people watched Trump's speech live across 12 TV networks Tuesday night. That's down from 46.8 million people who saw his speech last year, and the smallest audience for his presidency.

Fox News had by far the biggest audience for a speech that was widely viewed as a kickoff to the president's reelection campaign. Nielsen said 11.6 million people watched on Fox, up 2% from last year's State of the Union.

But there were big viewership tumbles for other networks — 41% down from last year on MSNBC, 33% down on NBC and 30% each on CBS and ABC, Nielsen said.

Read more: https://abcnews.go.com/Entertainment/wireStory/viewership-sharply-trumps-state-union-68787069

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